By Chris Anderson
On April 28, 1789 Lieutenant Fletcher Christian led a mutiny aboard the British vessel H.M.S. Bounty. Captain Bligh and 18 other crew members were set adrift in a launch. (Their remarkable 4000-mile journey across the open ocean to reach safety in the Dutch East Indies is a story of great faith and courage in itself). The Bounty returned to Tahiti and picked up a number of Polynesian men and women and sailed around the South Pacific seeking an island on which to settle. In 1790 the ship and its now mixed crew discovered that Pitcairn Island was actually located 188 miles from where it was shown on the charts, so they made the decision to settle there, feeling they would be out of reach from British authorities, who would without doubt send vessels to hunt them down. After stripping the Bounty of everything useful, they then burned her.
It did not take long before relations between the British crew and their Polynesian companions deteriorated. They took to murdering each other. Fletcher Christian was among the victims of an orgy of violence that included beheadings. Conditions were so bad that some of the women and one of the Englishmen even committed suicide. Drunkenness and sloth were endemic. At this rate, it would not be long before the entire enterprise would fall into oblivion.
Within a few years only two men, Ned Young, and John Adams remained alive. Young began to read the ship’s King James bible, and became convicted in his heart. He taught Adams how to read, and together they began to teach the Polynesian women and their children the principles of Christianity.
Young died in 1800 from asthma. In 1808 when the American ship Topaz re-discovered Pitcairn Island, they found a thriving community of peace-loving people. In 1814 the British ships Briton and Tagus landed on the island and reported that the inhabitants exemplified benevolence and honesty. In 1829 Adams died an honored founder and father of a community that became an exemplar of honesty, diligence, and morality. What happened on a small scale on Pitcairn Island, has occurred on a larger scale throughout history. Why? Because the Word of God is powerful, able to transform both individuals and whole societies. No other book has done so much good. This is proof that an all-powerful God is the Author of this powerful book.