News Release

Fifth Generation Mormon Missionary Follows in Footsteps of Great-Great Grandfather


Young missionary, Jacob Gary Anderson, will arrive 26 August, 2014 in Samoa to serve a two-year mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. 

126 years ago, Jacob’s great-great grandfather, Joseph H. Dean, arrived as a missionary in Samoa, later  becoming the first mission president to serve there.

While serving as a missionary in Hawaii, Joseph Dean received word from a Hawaiian Latter-day Saint living in Samoa, Samuela Manoa, that people there were interested in the Church.  Joseph requested and received permission from then Church President Wilford Woodruff to teach the gospel of Jesus Christ in the Samoan Islands. 

On 21 June, 1888, Samuela Manoa and his wife, Faasopo, greeted Joseph Dean, his wife Florence, and infant son Jasper as they waded ashore on the island of Aunu’u, close to the island of Tutuila (now American Samoa). 

A painting by Clark Kelly Price depicting their arrival hangs in the faith’s Apia Samoa Temple.  Prints of the painting can also be found in the Honolulu Hawaii Temple, the Church’s mission home in Samoa, and on monuments in Apia and American Samoa. 

In 1914, Joseph’s son, Harry A. Dean, was also called to serve as a missionary in Samoa.

Harry Dean requested permission from the Apia Samoa Mission President to translate and compile a new hymnal with both words and music for the Samoan members. 

When Joseph Dean heard of his son’s assignment, he requested permission to join his son in Samoa and assist with the project. The father-son team, along with Samoan citizen Kipeni Su’apa’ia, accomplished this task, printing the first hymnal, O Pese A Siona (Songs of Zion), in 1918. 

Regarding his work on the Samoan hymnal, Joseph Dean said, “I consider this as one of the main achievements of my life.”

In 1958, Harry Dean and Kipeni Su’apa’ia were asked to make additional revisions to the hymnal. The book was printed in June 1965 with the new name O Viiga I Le Atua (Praises to God).  This hymnal contains 332 hymns ― several written and composed by Joseph and Harry Dean ― and ten anthems.  A reprint of this hymnal in 2012 was authorized by the Church for worldwide use.

Jacob Gary Anderson, who arrives in Samoa to start his missionary service later this month, discovered recently to his delight that the song being sung each morning at the Missionary Training Centre in Provo, Utah, where he has been attending ― was written by his grandfather, Harry Dean.

“Every time I sing that song now,” Jacob says, “I sing it so loud, and love to sing the words and song my Grandpa wrote. It’s an amazing feeling!”

“I’m so grateful for my heritage. I am learning a lot about the sacrifice and missions served by my grandpas and it is really making me appreciate and want to be like them.”

Jacob’s father, Kim Dean Anderson, and his uncle, Hal Gary Anderson, were asked to write the forward to R. Wayne Shute and Tuifao Tufuga’s book A Bright Samoan Sunrise, that highlights the early and faithful pioneers of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Samoa.  Last year these two men appeared on Samoan television to discuss the work of their ancestors.

From great-great grandfather to great grandfather, to father, and now son, a family’s Samoan legacy continues.

Watch a video about Latter-day Saint missionaries.

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