William Swain

William Swain

William Swain

1986, History and Government
Latter-day Saint Marshallese translator, Waipahu, Hawaii

“Will” Swain, who was born on remote Ujae atoll, held positions of responsibility for the Republic of the Marshall Islands after graduating from BYU-Hawaii that took him from Majuro to various international diplomatic postings and eventually the United Nations in New York City.

Swain joined the Church while attending junior college in Arizona, and recalls he enrolled at BYUH “quite by accident” after serving a mission in Chicago. “My world views changed quite drastically,” he says. While still a Seasider he also began to do translation work for the Church.

“Coming to BYU-Hawaii was the right decision,” he adds. “It was the right environment for growth academically and spiritually.”

Returning to the Marshalls after graduation, he immediately went to work for the government. “When I came home, I was the only one who had that kind of a background,” he says of his assignments overseeing the East and Far East, including Japan, Singapore, Egypt and Turkey. He also opened the island nation’s embassy in Japan, and was next posted to the United Nations for two years.

“Then I got a call from Elder L. Tom Perry. That’s when things changed,” he says of his return to doing translation work for the Church. “The Book of Mormon is completed into Marshallese. We’re doing the hymn book, the green hymn book — that’s a good challenge. We’re doing the Ensign Magazine. We’re doing articles in the Liahona at this point, and the Doctrine and Covenants is underway.”

My world views were changed quite drastically when I attended BYU-Hawaii. I am very proud to be a BYU-Hawaii graduate. I cherish the times that I spent with my professors.