William J. Swain

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William J. Swain has served as a diplomat of the Marshall Islands to the United Nations.

Swain was born on a remote Ujae atoll. Raised Catholic, he joined The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints while attending junior college in Arizona. He served a full-time mission to Chicago. He graduated from BYU-Hawaii. When he returned to his native Marshall Islands, he went to work for the government, overseeing the East and Far East, including Japan, Singapore, Egypt, and Turkey. He opened the island nation’s embassy in Japan, and was then posted to the United Nations for two years.

He received a call one day from Church apostle L. Tom Perry. “That’s when things changed,” he said.[1] He had previously done translation work for the Church, and was tasked with translating the Book of Mormon. He also worked on the 1985 hymn book, the Ensign Magazine, Liahona, and Doctrine and Covenants.

Swain is the president of Pa Emman Kabjere, a Marshallese community organization in Hawaii that has been one of the main organizations involved in opposing Hawaii's attempts to cut off healthcare funding for Micronesian immigrants, many of whom suffer cancer and other diseases "at least in part caused by United States nuclear testing done in the Marshall Islands."[2]