Miracle of Protection: David O. McKay Saves Tahitian Saints

“Sunday Sermon”

The miracles of divine protection occur frequently among the Latter-day Saints and other people of faith. Most believers have personally experienced or witnessed such miracles.

In July 1959, thirty Tahitian saints had worked, saved, and sacrificed, to raise enough money to finance a trip to the Hawaii Temple. It had taken a lot of work to bring the mission yacht into dry dock for repairs and repainting.  

The saints not only got permission from the French officials, but also from President David O. McKay in Salt Lake City.

Then a disturbing call came from the mission office. Everyone who planned on going on the voyage was to meet at the mission home shortly before the departure. 

A messenger from President McKay had arrived. The saints were asked to cancel their trip. President McKay gave no explanation. He merely asked the mission leader: “go and stop them. They won’t make it, and if we allow them to come, we’ll be in trouble with the [French] government. We’ll be responsible for them. So, you go and stop them.”

After hearing the message from President McKay, the Tahitian saints expressed their testimonies of the inspiration of the Church leaders. The only way to show their love and appreciation for the blessings the Lord had given them was to be obedient to the counsel. They voted unanimously to accept the Prophet’s counsel.

The long anticipated voyage was cancelled. No one knew why. 

Several days later, the mission yacht sank in the harbor. An exhaust pipe from the kitchen was rusted, and the surrounding wood was rotten. They thought the worker hired to work on the boat had repaired all the damage. Instead, the worker merely pointed over the rotten wood and rusty pipe. He covered over the damage instead of repairing it.  

Had the saints launched as scheduled, they would have been far from land when the boat sank, and they all would have drowned.

The universal lesson: “Follow the prophet. In this there is safety and success.”

(Sources: R. Lanier and JoAnn M. Britsch, “A Prophet’s Warning,” New Era, Mar. 1976, 12; Tahiti-Papeete Mission History, http://www.mission.net)


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