By Chad Blair 09/04/2012
Michael Levine/Civil Beat
Mitt Romney's campaign for the U.S. presidency has greatly increased attention on the Mormon church in America. If elected, he would be the first Mormon president.
A new book, "A Chosen People, A Promised Land" (University of Minnesota Press, 2012), helps remind us of the church's deep roots in Hawaii and its connections with the group that comprised nearly all of its first converts: Native Hawaiians.
"Chosen People, Promised Land" is not a political book per se and has nothing to do with Romney. But it does chronicle the remarkable establishment and rise of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, or LDS, as the Mormon church is more formally called, in a Pacific outpost far from the Mormon home in Utah.
As explained by author Hokulani K. Aikau, an associate professor of indigenous and Native Hawaiian politics at the University of Hawaii-Manoa, the Laie community on Oahu's North Shore represents a second "promised land" for a "chosen people" to help spread the religion into the Pacific.