ULU LAU - Searching For Common Roots

A personal view on a connection between Polynesia, Pre-Columbian America, and the Book of Mormon.

Polynesian Mythology and Book of Mormon connections

Polynesian migration was something I did not pay too much attention to growing up in American Samoa. I read a few articles about the subject, but cared less about how Polynesia was colonized. This debate was taking place in lecture halls and laboratories that were far removed from my normal layman’s world. I became very interested in this topic again when I came across some books in the Columbus City library, which were about Samoa. Most of the information I use as reference was from those books and many available in the public domain. As a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, I have an interest in this subject because of the claims by some LDS church leaders that Polynesians are descendants of a people whose story is recorded in the Book of Mormon.

"In these islands of Samoa, Thou hast remembered Thine ancient promise 'unto them who are upon the isles of the sea' (2 Nephi 10:21)." (Apia Samoa Temple - Rededicatory Prayer by President Gordon B Hinckley, 4 September 2005.)

"We thank Thee, that thousands and tens of thousands of the descendants of Lehi, in this favored land, have come to a knowledge of the gospel, many of whom have endured faithfully to the end of their lives." (Laie Hawaii Temple - By President Heber J Grant, 27-30 November 1919)

"...the Polynesian Saints are characterized by a tremendous faith. Why do they have this great faith? It is because these people are of the blood of Israel. They are heirs to the promises of the Book of Mormon. God is now awakening them to their great destiny." (Mark E. Petersen: Conference Report, Apr. 1962, p. 112)

The Book of Mormon is purported to be a translation by Joseph Smith of ancient records written by a people who migrated from Jerusalem to the Americas. It's a religious article that's accepted by LDS members as scripture including me, but it's not seriously considered by others outside as a true history of the indigenous Americans. Despite being snubbed by many people including experts, I'm including it as an important part of this paper. True or not, the Book of Mormon is special to me and it's an honor to write about it.

In 2003 I scoured the public library and the Internet for books and materials about Polynesia and Pre-Columbian America. In so doing I came across the text of the "Solo Ole Va" that was available online. I also found William Sullivan's book "The Secret of the Incas." These two things inspired me to begin writing notes.

I know, you're probably thinking this is just a clever attempt by some wacky Mormon to push his believes. It's true that I want to share my Mormon views, but I can assure you that my ultimate goal is seeking truths about my Samoan and Polynesian cultures which I hope to illustrate.

This is neither an archaeological treatise nor an LDS theological lesson. It's a personal commentary on the germane information I compiled. To be honest with you, I'm a bit uncomfortable sharing this in public because I lack the technical expertise and writing ability to take on such an important task or the finesse to counter criticism that might follow. Deciding to make my thoughts public is a bit overwhelming. I mean, who am I? There are many LDS Church members who can write well about the LDS Church and professionals inside and outside the LDS Church who can speak well about science. Nevertheless, the impression of this information motivates me to pursue this project and share my personal opinion whatever the consequences.

I name this paper "Ulu Lau" because words like ululau are the kinds I've sought for comparison and analysis. The Samoan "ulu" means head, and "lau" is leaf. Combining the two words describes "the head leaf" as "ululau" or the newly budded leaf. Reversing the two words forms another Samoan word "lau'ulu" which is "hair" or "the leaf of the ulu plant." The ulu plant is one of the most valuable plants to the Samoans. It's precisely the dissection of words like these to find relationships and root meanings that I seek and try to make sense of.

My ultimately goal is to find out if the Samoan "Solo ole Va" myth provides any insight into the Polynesian migration topic. I want to find out if there are traditions from the Pacific and the Americas that shed light on the true essence of the Solo. It was time to search for answers.

My search revealed several interesting words including the word Togafiti. This word is made up of the words "Toga", or Tonga, and "Fiti", or Fiji. The meaning of togafiti is 'schemer' or 'stratagem'. Why? I layout an explanation in my paper.

Another interesting word in the Samoan language is Malamalama, which I assert ties Polynesia to Pre-Columbia America.

The Solo and other references I came across have convinced me that there are connections between ancient Polynesia and pre-Columbian America. I think these connections are more convincing than what the experts acknowledge. While words in the Samoan and pre-Columbian languages are different, a careful comparison of those words suggestively reveal some common roots. The similarity of words was very interesting to me and it's one of the highlights of this manuscript. Those words are listed in Appendix "A".

Is the Book of Mormon story real?

Whatever your position is about Polynesian migration and Mormon theology, I hope that you'll be patient and allow me to articulate my thoughts on these subjects. Open your mind to the possibility of a human history and stories about a past that is clouded in mysteries and often hidden by prejudices and ego. By the way, it's only a few pages long.

Downloading My Manuscript

You can download my draft (a Microsoft Word document) by Clicking Here.

So far, my document has 145 pages. Please realize this is a work in progress. Ignore the grammar. If the grammar bothers you, note down the correction and send it to me.

Thank you ... I hope you enjoy it.

Pen Fiatoa

  Polynesian Mythology Polynesian Legend Polynesian Migration Book of Mormon Polynesian Myth
  Samoan Myth Samoan Mythology Joseph Smith LDS Book of Mormon Polynesian Americans
  Inca Mythology Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Connection between Polynesia and America