Micronesia's Coming of Age : The Mormon Role in Returning Micronesia to Self-Rule
Pacific Asia Inquiry
University of Guam College of Liberal Arts & Social Sciences
After World War II, the United Nations recognized the need to rebuild Micronesia's infrastructure and in 1947 formed a strategic trusteeship called the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands. Presidents Truman, Kennedy, Johnson, Ford, and Reagan generally oversaw the Trust Territory during the four decades of 1947 to 1986. Specifically guiding the Trust Territory were four key Mormon politicians: Elbert D. Thomas, John A. Carver Jr., Stewart L. Udall, and Morris K. Udall. This paper will briefly trace the contributions of these politicians in fostering self-determination, focusing primarily on what later became the Federated States of Micronesia, consisting of Pohnpei, Chuuk, Yap, and Kosrae. During the decades of 1947 to 1986, the interim government slowly rebuilt the economic and educational infrastructure, respecting local customs, protecting religious freedom, and gradually returning the islands to self-government. Toward the end of this period, Mormon missionaries began spreading through Micronesia, offering an alternative to churches that some view as traditional colonial influences: the Roman Catholic and Protestant denominations.