King sends PM to stop Prince Ata’s christening into Mormon Church

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Left: Prince Ata while he

His Majesty King Tupou VI sent the Prime Minister and soldiers to persuade his son, Prince Ata, to stop a baptism ceremony that would have made him a Mormon.

The baptism was to be held in the Havelu Stake Centre at the beginning of last month.

The Prime Minister was sent after the Prince sent away soldiers, led by Lieutenant Kiu Tu’ivakanō, the son of the Prime Minister, who were ordered by the king to intervene in the prince’s baptism ceremony in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (LDS).

When the soldiers relayed the king’s message the prince refused to obey and told the Mormon leaders at the ceremony he wanted them to continue and baptise him.

Prince Ata is the king’s second son and fourth in line to the throne.

According to unconfirmed reports received by Kaniva News, His Majesty later warned Prince Ata he could have some of his princely privileges revoked if he was baptised into the Mormon church.

The Prime Minister’s office and the Palace Office did not respond to our requests for comments.

One of the top members of the Mormon Church in Tonga and also a Member of Parliament, Semisi Sika, who attended the

Prince Ata,  the Guest of Honour at the Liahona and Sainehā alumini reunion 2014, in Hawaii. Liahona and Sainehā high schools belong to the  Mormon Church.
Prince Ata, the Guest of Honour at the Liahona and Sainehā Alumni Reunion 2014, in Hawaii. Liahona and Sainehā high schools belong to the Mormon Church.

prince’s baptism, spoke to Kaniva News about the ceremony.

Hon Sika told us the Prime Minister arrived and told the Prince the king had asked him to postpone the ceremony. The prince again refused to obey and told the Mormon leaders to go ahead and baptise him.

The Prime Minister asked the prince and the church leaders if they could wait as he wanted to go back and inform the king that Ata still wanted the baptism to go ahead.

The Prime Minister returned and told Prince Ata His Majesty asked to postpone the ceremony till they return from their overseas trips. With the help of the Nuku’alofa Stake President, ‘Alavini Sika, the prince  finally agreed and he was not christened on the day.

Hon Sika said the prince was about to be baptised on a Friday and Their Majesties were on a planned travel to the United States and Europe on Saturday.

He said the Prime Minister had reported that Their Majesties wanted to attend Ata’s baptism ceremony after they returned from overseas.

Almost two months later Prince Ata has still not been christened, but attends the church’s regular Sunday prayer

Prince Ata (middle of the front row) . Caption on Facebook says -  HRH Prince Ata attended the 5 Sessions of the October 2014 General Conference at the Havelu Chapel
Prince Ata (middle of the front row) . Caption on Facebook says – HRH Prince Ata attended the 5 Sessions of the October 2014 General Conference at the Havelu Mormon Church

programme and other activities.

It is understood Her Majesty Queen Nanasipau’u is currently in New Zealand and is expected to return to Tonga shortly.

The growth of the Mormon Church in Tonga has been dramatic. According to government statistics the church is now the second largest in Tonga after the Free Wesleyan Church. The Catholic church was previously the second largest church in Tonga.

Royals and church

The royal family and most of the nobility have been associated with the Free Wesleyan Church of Tonga since George Tupou 1, the founder of modern Tonga, allowed Christianity into Tonga.

He was baptised as Siaosi, the Tongan for George, in 1831.

When the church elects its president every three years, the president has to be confirmed by the king.

The Free Wesleyan Church is often seen as the state religion, although this is not officially the case.

In 2008, when the late King George V was crowned, he chose to be anointed by the Suva-based Anglican Archbishop of Polynesia, Jabez Bryce, instead of a clergyman from the Free Wesleyan Church of Tonga.

In 1989 Princess Fusipala was the first member of the royal household to be baptised into the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. She was the first cousin of King Tupou VI.

The main points

  • His Majesty King Tupou VI sent the Prime Minister and soldiers to persuade his son, Prince Ata, to stop a baptism ceremony that would have made him a Mormon at the beginning of last month.
  • Prince Ata is the king’s second son and fourth in line to the throne.
  • According to unconfirmed reports His Majesty warned Prince Ata he could have his title revoked.
  • The prince agreed to postpone the ceremony, but two months later he has still not been baptised, even though he continues to attend the LDS church.

For more information

Mormons in Tonga

Church and state in Tonga

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  1. Ne tuʻutuʻuni atu ʻe he tuʻí ha kau sōtia fakataha mo e Tama Palēmiá ke fai hano fakakolekole hono ʻalo ko ia ko Pilinisi Ata ke taʻofi hano ouau papi ne lolotonga lele ke fakahoko ai ia ko ha taha mēmipa ʻi he Māmongá.

    Ko e papi ko ʻení naʻe fai ʻi he Senitā ʻa e Siasi ʻi Havelú ʻi he konga ʻuluaki ʻo e māhina kuo ʻosí.

    Naʻe fekauʻi atu ʻa e Palēmiá hili ia hano fakafoki mai ʻe he Pilinisí ha kau sōtia ne taki atu ʻe Lafitani Kiu Tuʻivakanō ko e ʻalo ʻo e Palēmiá, ʻa ia ne tuʻutuʻuni ʻe he tuʻí ke nau taʻofi e ouau papi ʻo e Pilinisi ʻi he Siasi ʻo Sīsū Kalaisi ʻo e Kau Māʻoniʻoni ʻo e Ngaahi ʻAho ki Mui ní.

    Ko e taimi ne fakahoko atu ai ʻe he kau sōtiá ki he tama pilinisí ʻa e fekau ʻa e tuʻí naʻe ʻikai ke ne tali peá ne fekau ʻe ia e kau taki ʻo e siasí ke hoko atu pe hono papí ʻona.

    Ko Pilinisi Atá ko e ʻalo fika ua ia ʻo e tuʻí pea ko e fika fā ia he fakahokohoko ki he taloní.

    Fakatatau ki ha fakamatala ka ‘oku te’eki lava ʻe he ongoongo ʻa e Kanivá ke fakapapauʻi hono moʻoní, ʻoku pehē naʻe ki muí ni he me’a ne hokó ha fakatokanga ʻa e tuʻí kia Ata ʻe malava ke toʻo ha ngaahi monū oku ne maʻu ʻi hono tuʻunga pilinisí ka hoko atu ai pē hano papi ia he Siasi Māmongá.

    Kaekehe fekauʻaki mo e meʻá ni ne talanoa ki he Ongoongo ʻa e Kanivá e taha ʻo e kau tuʻukimuʻa he Siasi Māmongá ʻi Tonga pea ko e Mēmipa Fale Alea foki, ko Sēmisi Sika, ʻa ia naʻá ne ʻi he ouau papí tonu.

    Ne fakahā mai ʻe Sika kia kimautolu naʻe aʻu ange ʻa e Palēmiá ʻo fakahā ki he pilinisí ʻoku kole mai ʻa e tuʻí ke toloi muʻa ʻa e papí. Naʻe kei kalo pe ʻa e Pilinisí mo ne tala ki he kau taki ʻo e siasí ke hoko atu pe hono papí ʻona.

    Mahino foki ne ʻosi kamata e papí ʻo ʻosi ʻa e konga ʻuluakí pea ko e hoko mai ʻeni ke ō ki he vai papí mo hono fakaaʻu atu ʻe he Palēmiá e fekau mei he tuʻí.

    Koeʻuhī ne kei loto pe Pilinisí ke papi pe ia naʻe kole leva ʻa e Palēmiá ki ai mo e kau taki siasí ke nau tatali muʻa ka ne toe meʻa atu ki he tuʻí ʻo fakahā ki ai ʻoku loto pe ʻa Ata ia ke papi.

    Ne iku tali ai ʻa e siasí kae meʻa atu ʻa e Palēmia ki Palasi.

    Naʻe foki mai pe e Palēmiá ʻo tala kia Ata ʻoku kole mai pe tuʻí ke toloi ʻa e ouau papí kae ʻoua leva ke na liuaki mai mo e kuiní mei Haʻana folau ki muli. Naʻe tokoni atu ʻa e Palesiteni ʻo e Siteiki Nukuʻalofá, ʻAlavini Sika ʻi hono fakakolekole Pilinisí peá ne iku ʻo ne tali pea ʻikai ai fakakakato hono papí he ʻaho ko iá.

    Naʻe pehē ʻe Siká naʻe ʻai ke papi e pilinisí ʻi he ʻaho Falaite ka ne ʻosi palani e folau ia ʻa ʻEna ʻAfifió ki ʻAmelika mo ʻIulope ʻi he Tokonakí.

    Naʻá ne pehē ne lipooti ange ʻe he palēmiá ʻoku fakaʻamu ʻEna ʻAfifió ke na ʻafio tonu ʻi he papi ʻo Atá hili haʻana liuaki ki Tonga pea ko e ʻuhinga ia ʻo e kole ke toloí.

    Ko e lava ʻeni ʻa e mei māhina ʻe ua ʻoku teʻeki papi ʻa e Pilinisí ka ʻokú ne maʻu lotu hohoko pe ʻi he ngaahi houa lotu ʻa e siasí he Sāpaté pea kau ʻi he ngaahi ouau fakasiasi kehekehe pe fakatatau mo e tokēteline ʻa e Māmongá.

    ʻOku lahi meʻa pe ʻa e tamá ʻi he ʻapi ʻo e fāmili Siká he ngaahi ʻahó ni pea fakatatau kia Semisi ko e konga pe ia ʻo teuteuʻi ʻo e tamá ke fakakakato ʻa hono ouau papí.

    ʻOku teʻeki toe fakapapauʻi ha ʻaho ke fai ai ka ʻoku mahino ʻoku fakaongoongo pe ki Heʻene ʻAfió, fakatatau ki he fakamatala ʻa Sēmisí.

    ʻOku mahino pe foki ʻoku kei ʻi Nuʻu Sila ʻa Kuini Nanasipauʻu pea ʻe vavé ni pe haʻane liuaki ki Tonga.

    ʻOku vave ʻaupito e tupu tokolahi ʻa e Siasi Māmongá ʻi Tongá. Fakatatau ki he sitetisitika ʻa e puleʻanga Tongá ko e siasi ʻeni ʻoku fika ua ʻene tokolahi taha ʻi Tonga he lolotonga ní kae kei fika ʻuluaki pe ʻa e Siasi Uēsilianá. Ko e Siasi Katoliká naʻe fika ua ki muʻá.

    Siasi mo e Fale ʻo Haʻamoheofó

    Ko e fale ʻo e tuʻí mo e tokolahi ʻo e kau nōpelé ko e kau tupuʻi Siasi Uēsiliana Tauʻatāina ʻo Tongá talu hono tali ʻe Tupou I e lotu Kalisitiané ki Tongá.

    Ko Tupou I ʻa ia ʻoku taku ko e Faʻunga ʻo Tonga ʻi Onopōní, naʻe papitaiso ia ʻaki ʻa e hingoa ko e Siaosi ʻa ia ko e faka-Tonga ki he George i he 1831 ʻi he Uēsilianá.

    Ko e taimi ʻoku fili ai ʻe he Uēsilianá ʻa ʻenau palesiteni ʻi he ngaahi taʻu konifelenisi kotoa kuopau ke fakanofo ia ʻe he tuʻí.

    Kuo hange ai ʻa e Uēsilina ko e siasi fakafonuá ia neongo ʻoku ʻikai pehē.

    ʻI he 2008 ʻi he taimi ne hilifaki kalauni ai ʻa e Laʻā-Kuo-Ungafonuá, Siaosi V, ne ʻikai tākailolo mo fakahoko hono ouau lotú ʻe he kau taki ʻo e Uēsilianá ʻo hangē ko e angamahení ka ne fili ʻe ia ʻa e ʻAleki Pīsope ʻa e ʻIngilani ʻi Suvá, Jabez Bryce, ke ne fakahoko.

    ʻI he 1989 ne hoko ai ʻa Pilinisesi Fusipala Vahaʻi ko e fua mēmipa ia mei he Fale ʻo e Tuʻí ke papitaiso ʻi he Māmongá . Ko e kāsini ʻuluaki ia ʻo e tuʻí.