Joseph with the Lamanites of “This Land”
“At length, on the 2nd day of July, 1843, President Joseph Smith and several of the Twelve met those chiefs in the court-room, with about twenty of the elders. The following is a synopsis of the conversation which took place as given by the interpreter:—
The Indian orator arose and asked the Prophet if the men who were present were all his friends. Answer—”Yes.”
He then said—”We as a people have long been distressed and oppressed. We have been driven from our lands many times. We have been wasted away by wars, until there are but few of us left. The white man has hated us and shed our blood, until it has appeared as though there would soon be no Indians left. We have talked with the Great Spirit, and the Great Spirit has talked with us. We have asked the Great Spirit to save us and let us live; and the Great Spirit has told us that he had raised up a great Prophet, chief, and friend, who would do us great good and tell us what to do; and the Great Spirit has told us that you are the man (pointing to the Prophet Joseph). We have now come a great way to see you, and hear your words, and to have you to tell us what to do. Our horses have become poor traveling, and we are hungry. We will now wait and hear your word.”
The Spirit of God rested upon the Lamanites, especially the orator. Joseph was much affected and shed tears. He arose and said unto them: “I have heard your words. They are true. The Great Spirit has told you the truth. I am your friend and brother, and I wish to do you good. Your fathers were once a great people. They worshiped the Great Spirit. The Great Spirit did them good. He was their friend; but they left the Great Spirit, and would not hear his words or keep them. The Great Spirit left them, and they began to kill one another, and they have been poor and afflicted until now.
The Great Spirit has given me a book, and told me that you will soon be blessed again. The Great Spirit will soon begin to talk with you and your children. This is the book which your fathers made. I wrote upon it (showing them the Book of Mormon). This tells what you will have to do. I now want you to begin to pray to the Great Spirit. want you to make peace with one another, and do not kill any more Indians: it is not good. Do not kill white men; it is not good; but ask the Great Spirit for what you want, and it will not be long before the Great Spirit will bless you, and you will cultivate the earth and build good houses like white men. We will give you something to eat and to take home with you.”
When the Prophet’s words were interpreted to the chiefs, they all said it was good. The chief asked, “How many moons would it be before the Great Spirit would bless them?” He [Joseph] told them, Not a great many.
At the close of the interview, Joseph had an ox killed for them, and they were furnished with some more horses, and they went home satisfied and contented.”
BYU Studies Quarterly, Volume 5 Chapter 25 page 481
“Once the red men were many; they occupied the country from sea to sea — from the rising to the setting sun; the whole land . . . Thousands of moons ago, when the red men’s forefathers dwelt in peace and possessed this whole land the Great Spirit talked with them, and revealed His law and His will and much knowledge to their wise men and prophets. This they wrote in a Book . . . written on plates of gold and handed down from father to son for many ages and generations. It was then that the people prospered and were strong and mighty; they cultivated the earth, built buildings and cities and abounded in all good things, as the pale faces now do . . . This Book, which contained these things was hid in the earth by Moroni, in a hill called by him Cumorah, which hill is now in the state of New York, near the village of Palmyra, in Ontario county . . . Thus ended our first Indian mission, in which we had preached the Gospel in its fullness and distributed the record of their forefathers among three viz.: the Cattaraugus Indians, near Buffalo, N.Y., the Wyandots, of Ohio and the Delawares, west of Missouri.”
Autobiography of Parley P. Pratt, pp. 56-6; Documentary History of the Church Vol 1: Footnotes 183:2-18
Just two months and twelve days before his death in 1877, Brigham Young was establishing a new stake in Farmington, Utah. In his discourse, he said the following: “Orrin P. Rockwell is an eyewitness to some powers of removing the treasures of the earth. He was with certain parties that lived nearby where the plates were found that contain the records of the Book of Mormon. There were a great many treasures hid up by the Nephites. Porter was with them one night when there were treasures, and they could find them easy enough, but they could not obtain them. When [Porter] tells a thing he understands, he will tell it just as he knows it; he is a man that does not lie. He said that on this night when they were engaged hunting for this old treasure, they dug around the end of a chest for some twenty inches. The chest was about three feet square. One man who was determined to have the contents of that chest took his pick and struck into the lid of it, and split through into the chest. The blow took off a piece of the lid, which a certain lady [Lucy Mack Smith, Joseph’s mother] kept in her possession until she died. That chest of money went into the bank. Porter describes it so he says this is just as true as the heavens are.”
Brigham Young Journal of Discourses (Liverpool, 1878), vol. 19:36-39.
“We shall now introduce much circumstantial evidence, from American antiquities, and from the traditions of the natives, etc. First, says Mr. Boudinot: “It is said among their principal or beloved men, that they have it handed down from their ancestors, that the book which the white people have, was once theirs: that while they had it they prospered exceedingly, etc. They also say, that their fathers were possessed of an extraordinary Divine Spirit, by which they foretold future events, and controlled the common course of nature; and this they transmitted to their offspring, on condition of their obeying the sacred laws; that they did, by these means, bring down showers of blessings upon their beloved people; but that this power, for a long time past, had entirely ceased.” Colonel James Smith, in his journal, while a prisoner among the natives, says: “They have a tradition, that in the beginning of this continent, the angels or heavenly inhabitants, as they call them, frequently visited the people, and talked with their forefathers, and gave directions how to pray. Mr. Boudinot, in his able work, remarks concerning their language: “Their language, in its roots, idiom, and particular construction, appears to have the whole genius of the Hebrew; and what is very remarkable, and well worthy of serious attention, has most of the peculiarities of that language.” There is a tradition related by an aged Indian, of the Stockbridge tribe, that their fathers were once in possession of a “Sacred Book,” which was handed down from generation to generation; and at last hid in the earth, since which time they had been under the feet of their enemies. But these oracles were to be restored to them again; and then they would triumph over their enemies, and regain their rights and privileges.”
Quoted from A Voice of Warning An introduction to the faith and doctrine of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Chapter IV by Parley P. Pratt
“Oliver Cowdery wrote that the Ephraimites and the Lamanites were the “original settlers of this continent,” and that “an ancient prophet caused the plates from which the Book of Mormon was translated to be buried nearly two thousand years ago, in which is now called Ontario County, New York. In this same issue, W. W. Phelps wrote that it was “by that book [the Book of Mormon] I learned that the poor Indians of America were of the remnants of Israel.” Many other times editor Phelps identified the land of America as being the place where at least some Book of Mormon history took place, including the last battles of both the Jaredites and the Nephites.”
(see Messenger and Advocate, vol. 2, October 1835, and the letter of W. W. Phelps to Oliver Cowdery in that same issue.) Oliver Cowdery Latter Day Saints’ Messenger and Advocate, July 1835, pp. 158-159
Who and Where Are the Lamanites?
By Lane Johnson
To produce a map that shows where the Lamanites of the world are located today, the mapmaker must first decide exactly what a Lamanite is. This turns out to be no small task, because the term Lamanite is used in several different senses in the scriptures to describe a particular racial lineage, a political/religious group, a covenant people, etc. However, the Old and New Testaments and the Book of Mormon, viewed together in one limited sense as a partial record of the peopling of the earth, provide a useful context in which to view this problem.
The history of the peopling of the earth is really a history of the scattering of the descendants of Noah, who is sometimes referred to as the “second father of mankind.” This general scattering began soon after the Flood when the sons of Noah and their children began to spread forth “in their lands, … after their nations” (see Gen. 10:5, 20, 31) and was greatly accelerated at the time of the Tower of Babel, when the Lord confounded the people’s language and did “scatter them abroad upon the face of all the earth.” (Gen. 11:9.)
Immediately after the description of Babel in Genesis 11, the Old Testament record moves quickly to Abraham, a descendant of Shem, and ceases thereafter to be a record of all the descendants of Noah; instead, it focuses almost entirely on the Lord’s covenant people, presumably a relatively small part of the earth’s total population at that time. We know very little about the remainder of Noah’s seed, except that in time they wandered throughout the extent of the land to become the heathen nations of the earth.
The nations of the earth had been dispersing from the Tower of Babel for 1,500 years when the Ten Tribes of Israel were carried captive into Assyria. Shortly thereafter, Judah was taken into exile by Nebuchadnezzar, and although one group was permitted to return to rebuild Jerusalem, the bulk of the kingdom of Judah remained in Babylon to be eventually dispersed. Then, in A.D. 70, the remainder of the Jews were driven from the promised land by the Romans to complete the scattering of Israel.
What we see in this brief account is a picture of the general dissemination of the descendants of Noah throughout the world, beginning at the time of the Flood, with other groups—remnants of Israel—breaking away at intervals to follow the earlier migrants to the various corners of the earth and establish themselves among them as strangers, though distantly related.
Within this broad picture we find the people of the Book of Mormon, which is a partial record of some of those who were, at various times, led out of the Old World by the Lord to become established in the American continents: the Jaredites, who were led away at the time of the Tower of Babel and were, therefore, a part of the earliest dissemination of the descendants of Noah; the Lehi colony, led out of Jerusalem during the reign of Zedekiah, just prior to the captivity of Judah by Nebuchadnezzar; and the colony of Mulek, the youngest son of Zedekiah, who departed Jerusalem eleven years after Lehi.
The term Lamanite was first applied to the literal family of Laman, Lehi’s eldest son. This name very soon took on a broader application, however, when Laman, Lemuel, and some of the sons of Ishmael rebelled against and sought to kill Nephi, in whom the Lord had vested his authority. At that time the Lord cut them off from his presence and caused a darker skin coloring to come upon them. (See 2 Ne. 5:19–21.) Thereafter the name Lamanite referred to a religious/political faction whose distinguishing feature was its opposition to the church. (See Jacob 1:13–14.) Lineage became an increasingly minor factor, and later there are many examples of Lamanites becoming Nephites and Nephites becoming Lamanites.
For nearly 200 years after the coming of Christ to the Americas, there were no Lamanites “nor any manner of -ites; but they were in one, the children of Christ, and heirs to the kingdom of God.” (4 Ne. 1:17.) Soon, however, a part of the people fell away and took upon them the name of Lamanites; “therefore there began to be Lamanites again in the land.” (4 Ne. 1:20.) Clearly, Lamanite in this case again refers to the state of righteousness of a political/religious group, presumably a composite of the descendants of many of the original colonists in the New World. The Lamanites of this definition survived beyond the close of the Book of Mormon record, and it is these people from whom the Lamanites of today descended. That is to say, they are the descendants of Lehi, Ishmael, and Zoram (see D&C 3:17–18); they are the descendants of Mulek and the others of his colony (see Hel. 6:10; Omni 1:14, 15); and they may also be descended from other groups of whom we have no record. Certainly they have mixed with many other lineages at the far reaches of their dispersal in the Americas and most of the islands of the Pacific since the time when Moroni bade them farewell in A.D. 421.
In this composite group is the blood of Israel, for we know that Lehi was of the tribe of Manasseh (see Alma 10:3), that Ishmael was of Ephraim (see JD 3:184), and that Mulek was of Judah, being a descendant of King David through Zedekiah. Therefore, the Lamanites of today—all the mixed descendants of the Book of Mormon peoples—have a legitimate claim to the blessings of the Abrahamic covenant and, in turn, the duty to now carry these blessings to those nations of the earth who yet remain in darkness, the remainder of the descendants of Noah.
Early Mormon Lamanism, Forgotten Apocalyptic Visions, and the Indian Prophet
By David G.June 14, 2010
The year 1890 looms large in American history. It ranks up there with 1776, 1877, and 1945 as important dates that historians have used to organize our past. It also shapes collective memory. Mormons most readily associate 1890 with the Woodruff Manifesto and the “official” end of polygamy. For Americans, and westerners more specifically, 1890 represents the end of the Frontier, the most American part of our history, to paraphrase Frederick Jackson Turner. According to C. Vann Woodward, the 1890s marked the hardening of segregation in the South.
1890 also marked the date of the last significant massacre of between 150 and 300 Oglala Lakota Indians (Sioux) at Wounded Knee, South Dakota. As the last major altercation between a Native group and the U.S. military, Wounded Knee has taken on great significance in Western and Native histories, marking the symbolic date of the last time that Native peoples had the potential to rise up militarily to define their own destinies. As Philip Deloria has noted, “Some people—especially white Americans—dated the end of the old days to 1890, when U.S. soldiers had surrounded and slaughtered Big Foot’s band at Wounded Knee Creek. . . . Wounded Knee seemed to mark a. . .division across time. It split old days apart from new days (even as memory and shared culture stitched them together again).” For white America, Wounded Knee marked the end of the “Indian Wars” of the late nineteenth-century, the last of the “heroic yet doomed” military struggles over the fate of the continent.
Wounded Knee also had significant consequences for what might be called “Lamanism,” or the cultural production of Lamanites among white Latter-day Saints. As John-Charles Duffy suggests, the massacre ended “armed resistance to the U.S. government. . . .[and] Indians’ submission to the reservation system dulled apocalyptic expectations about Lamanites violently reclaiming their promised land.” In truth, it is doubtful that most white Mormons today, or even most Mormon historians for that matter, recognize the full significance of Lamanites/Native Americans in early Mormon history. When The Book of Mormon appeared in 1830, it was a radical document, one that envisioned the eradication of much of white America by Native Americans and the absorption of a small group of converted Gentiles into the chosen remnant of Jacob (see especially 3 Nephi 21). Much of Joseph Smith’s Zion project centered around the promise of the large-scale conversion of Lamanites and rumors circulated from the 1830s through the 1890s of a white Mormon/Native American alliance that would wipe out white America. Parley P. Pratt, in his highly influential Voice of Warning, addressed Native America in saying that
the very places of their [that is, white Americans] dwellings will become desolate except such of them as are gathered and numbered with you; and you will exist in peace, upon the face of this land, from generation to generation. And your children will only know, that the Gentiles once conquered this country, and became a great nation here, as they read it in history; as a thing long since passed away, and remembrance of it almost gone from the earth.
Perhaps due to the rampant rumors of the white Mormon-Native alliance, Pratt deleted this passage from subsequent editions. Ironically, with the possibility of such Indian violence existing only in memory or distant millenialism after1890, it has been white Mormons who have largely forgotten the violent Lamanism of the early church.
White Mormons have also forgotten that some early Saints looked for the Lord to raise up a great Indian prophet. In late 1830, Ohio newspaperman Eber D. Howe noted that Oliver Cowdery and his companions continued “on their mission to the Indians (or Lamanites, as they term them) in the ‘far west,’ where they say a Prophet is to be raised up, in whom the tribes will believe.” This is intriguing. Unfortunately, surviving evidence has not been located to flesh out what else Cowdery, JS, or others thought of this Indian prophet. However, when Orson Pratt prepared annotations for the 1879 edition of the Book of Mormon, his footnote for 2 Nephi 3:24,
And there shall rise up one mighty among them, who shall do much good, both in word and deed, being an instrument in the hands of God, with exeeding faith, to work mighty wonders, and do that which is great in the sight of God, unto the bringing to pass much restoration unto the house of Israel, and unto the seed of thy brethren.
Pratt noted that the one to be risen up would be “an Indian prophet.” Howe’s use of the phrase “to be raised up” suggests that Cowdery and others had this verse in mind when talking about this Indian prophet, although without more evidence, we can’t know for certain.
The missionaries visited the Wyandots (Hurons), the Delawares, the Catteraugus (Seneca Iroquois), and the Shawnees during this first Lamanite mission. While we do not know for sure why these groups were chosen for proselyting, Lori Taylor has noted that each of these Native nations claimed prophetic traditions. The Hurons spoke of Deganawidah, the Master of Things and the Peacemaker, a Huron prophet who taught the Iroquois Confederacy a new social order of cooperation. The Delawares followed Neolin, a prophet who encouraged his people to reject European ways in favor of the old ways, in order to gain favor with the Great Spirit. Neolin was associated with Pontiac and his war in 1763-1764. The Iroquois believed in Handsome Lake, a prophet who received heavenly visitations in 1799-1800 from four visitors who encouraged him and his people to embrace traditional practices and to observe the ceremonial cycle. He encouraged his people to give up alcohol, witchcraft, and other vices. And lastly, the Shawnees followed Tenskwatawa, brother of the famous Tecumseh, who taught that the Shawnee needed to reject white ways in order to push back white settlement. Tenskwatawa learned from Handsome Lake and taught some things that appears to be influenced by Christianity. Although it is unclear how much the early Mormons knew about these prophets or the Native peoples who claimed them, Taylor’s speculation that the missionaries proselyted the Wyandots, Delawares, Catteraugus, and Shawnees for this reason remains intriguing. Equally fascinating is Taylor’s analysis of a story told by some contemporary Iroquois that JS knew about Handsome Lake’s teachings (who was active in western New York until his death in 1815) and that the Book of Mormon was shaped by Handsome Lake’s ideas. Whether there is any truth to such accounts awaits further investigation by ethnohistorians, but one thing is certain, the Book of Mormon and early white Mormon interpretations of it had more in common with the apocalyptic visions of Neolin, Tenskwatawa, and other Native prophets than with the views of most other white Americans of the nineteenth century.
 Deloria, Indians in Unexpected Places, 15-16.
 Duffy, “The Use of ‘Lamanite’ in Official LDS Discourse,” Journal of Mormon History 34, no. 1 (Winter 2008): 131.
 Walker, ““Seeking the ‘Remnant’: The Native American during the Joseph Smith Period,” Journal of Mormon History 19, no. 1 (1993): 1-33. Walker argues that historians have largely failed to recognize the centrality of Native Americans in early Mormonism. Mormon historians are not alone in marginalizing the importance of Native Americans when writing about nineteenth-century America. See Susan Scheckel’s The Insistence of the Indian: Race and Nationalism in Nineteenth-Century American Culture for a discussion of the centrality of Natives in nineteenth-century America and the tendency of twentieth-century historians to emphasize slavery as the central race question of the century. Much of the new New Indian History of the last two decades has recovered the power and agency of Native peoples in early American history. See Richard White, The Middle Ground, Alan Taylor, The Divided Ground, Ned Blackhawk, Violence Over the Land, and Pekka Hamalainan, The Comanche Empire, for some of the best examples of this new literature.
 As quoted in Underwood, The Millenarian World of Early Mormonism, 80.
 “The Book of Mormon,” The Painesville Telegraph, 30 November 1830, 3.
 Thanks to Robin Jensen, the 2004 Joseph Smith Papers Student Researcher of the Year, for checking the reference for me.
 Taylor, “Telling Stories About Mormons and Indians,” PhD. Diss, State University of New York at Buffalo, 2000, 141-60, 306-51. Taylor notes that Handsome Lake’s nephew, Red Jacket, spoke in Palmyra in 1822.
Read the article below for other great insight on the Native Americans and the Mormons.
SEEKING THE “REMNANT”: THE NATIVE AMERICAN DURING THE JOSEPH SMITH PERIOD by Ronald W Walker
Blessing from Joseph Smith Sr., 9 December 1834
Joseph Smith, junior was born in Sharon, Windsor County, Vermont, December 23, 1805.1
Joseph, my son, I lay my hands upon thy head in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, to confirm upon thee a father’s blessing
. The Lord thy God has called thee by name out of the heavens: thou hast heard his voice from on high from time to time, even in thy youth.2
The hand of the angel of his presence has been extended toward thee by which thou hast been lifted up and sustained; yea, the Lord has delivered thee from the hands of thine enemies and thou hast been made to rejoice in his salvation: thou hast sought to know his ways, and from thy childhood thou hast meditated much upon the great things of his law.3
Thou hast suffered much in thy youth, and the poverty and afflictions of thy father
’s family have been a grief to thy soul.4
Thou hast desired to see them delivered from bondage, for thou hast lov’d them with a perfect love. Thou hast stood by thy father
, and like Shem, would have covered his nakedness, rather than see him exposed to shame: when the daughters of the Gentiles
laughed, thy heart has been moved with a just anger to avenge thy kindred.5
Thou hast been an obedient son: the commands of thy father
and the reproofs of thy mother
, thou hast respected and obeyed— for all these things the Lord my God will bless thee. Thou hast been called, even in thy youth to the great work of the Lord: to do a work in this generation which no other man would do as thyself, in all things according to the will of the Lo[r]d. A marvelous work and a wonder has the Lord wrought by thy hand,6
even that which shall prepare the way for the remnants of his people to come in among the Gentiles, with their fulness, as the tribes of Israel are restored.7
I bless thee with the blessings of thy fathers Abraham, Isaac and Jacob; and even the blessings of thy father Joseph, the son of Jacob.8
Behold, he looked after his posterity in the last days, when they should be scattered and driven by the Gentiles, and wept before the Lord: he sought diligently to know from whence the son should come who should bring forth the word of the Lord, by which they might be enlightened, and brought back to the true fold, and his eyes beheld thee, my son: his heart rejoiced and his soul was satisfied, and he said, As my blessings are to extend to the utmost bounds of the everlastings hills; as my father’s blessing prevailed above the blessings of his progen[i]tors, and as my branches are to run over the wall,9
and my seed are to inherit the choice land whereon the Zion
of God shall stand in the last days, from among my seed, scattered with the Gentiles, shall a choice Seer
whose bowels shall be as a fountain of truth,11
whose loins shall be girded with the girdle of righteousness,12
whose hands shall be lifted with acceptance before the God of Jacob to turn away his anger from his annointed, whose heart shall meditate great wisdom, whose intelligence shall circumscribe and <and> comprehend the deep things of God, and whose mouth shall utter the law of the just: [p. 3] His feet shall stand upon the neck of his enemies, and he shall walk upon the ashes of those who seek his destruction: with wine and oil it shall he be sustained, and he shall feed upon the heritage of Jacob his father: the just shall desire his society, and the upright in heart shall be his companions: No weapon formed against him shall prosper, and though the wicked mar him for a little season, he shall be like one rising up in the heat of wine— he shall roar in his strength, and the Lord shall put to flight his persecutors: his he shall be blessed like the fruitful olive, and his memory shall be as sweet as the choice cluster of the first ripe grapes. Like <a> shief [sheaf] fully ripe, gathered into the garner, so shall he stand before the Lord, having produced a hundred fold.13
Thus spake my father Joseph.14
Therefore, my son, I know for a surety that these things will be fulfilled, and I confirm upon thee all these blessings. Thou shalt live <to> do the work which the Lord shall command thee: thou shalt hold the keys
of this ministry, even the presidency
of this church
both in time and in eternity. Thy heart shall be enlarged, and thou shalt be able to fill up the measure of thy days according to the will of the Lord. Thou shalt speak the word of the Lord and the earth shall tremble; the mountains shall move and the rivers shall turn out of their course. Thou shalt escape the edge of the sword, and put to flight the armies of the wicked. At thy word the lame shall walk, the deaf shall hear and the blind shall see. Thou shalt be gathered to Zion
and in the goodly land thou shalt enjoy thine inheritance
thy children and thy children’s children to the latest generation; for thy name and the names of thy posterity shall be recorded in the book of the Lord, even in the book of blessings an <and> genealogies, for their joy and benefit forever. And now, my son, what more shall I say? Thou art as a fruitful olive and a choice vine: thou shalt be laden with precious fruit.17
Thousands and tens of thousands shall come to a knowledge of the truth through thy ministry, and thou shalt rejoice with them in the Celestial Kingdom
Thou shalt stand upon the earth when it shall reel to and fro as a drunken man, and be removed out of its place:19
thou shalt stand when the mighty judgments go forth to the destruction of the wicked: thou shalt stand on mount Zion when the tribes of Jacob come shouting from the north, and with thy brethren, the sons of Ephraim, crown them in the name of Jesus Christ:20
Thou shalt see thy Redeemer Come in the clouds of heaven,21
and with the just receive the hallowed throng with shouts of hallalujahs, praise the Lord. Amen
, wife of Joseph Smith jr. was born in Harmony
, Susqehannah County, Pennsylvania, July 10, 1804.
, my daughter-in-law, thou art blessed of the Lord, for thy faithfulness and truth: thou shalt be blessed with thy husband, and rejoice in the glory which shall come upon him: Thy soul has been afflicted because of the wickedness of men in seeking the destruction of thy companion,22
and thy whole soul has been drawn out in prayer for his deliverance: rejoice, for the Lord thy God has heard thy suplication. Thou hast grieved for the hardness of the hearts of thy father
’s house, and thou hast longed for their salvation.23
The Lord will have respect to thy cries, and by his judgments he will cause some of them to see their folly and repent of their sins; but it will be by affliction that they will be saved. Thou shall see many days; yea, the Lord will spare thee till thou art satisfied, for thou shalt see thy Redeemer. Thy heart shall rejoice in the great work of the Lord, and no one shall take thy rejoicing from thee. Thou shalt ever remember the great condescension of thy God in permitting thee to accompany my son when the angel delivered the record of the Nephites to his care.24
Thou hast seen much sorrow because the Lord has taken from thee three of thy children:25
in this thou are not to be blamed, for he knows thy pure desires to raise up a family, that the name of my son might be blessed. And now, behold, I say unto thee, that thus says the Lord, if thou wilt believe, thou shalt yet be blessed in this thing <and> thou shalt bring forth other children, to the joy and satisfaction [p. 4] of thy soul, and to the rejoicing of thy friends. Thou shalt be blessed with understanding, and have power to instruct thy sex.26
Teach thy family righteousness, and thy little ones the way of life, and the holy angels shall watch over thee: and thou shalt be saved in the kingdom of God; even so. Amen.
,} Clerk and Recorder.
, December 9, 1834. [p. 5]
1 This was likely not part of the blessing but something added by Cowdery when he recorded it. Similar information precedes all of the other blessings given that day.
2 See JS History, ca. Summer 1832, 3.
3 Concerning his interest in religion at an early age, JS wrote in 1832, “At about the age of twelve years my mind became seriously imprest with regard to the all importent concerns for the wellfare of my immortal Soul which led me to searching the scriptures believeing as I was taught, that they contained the word of God.” (JS History, ca. Summer 1832, 1–2.)
4 Joseph Smith Sr. lost his farm in New York in 1825 and struggled to support his family thereafter. Prior to bestowing blessings on his children on 9 December 1834, he stated, “My frame is feeble because of the many trials and fateagues which I have endured in this life.” He further stated that he had often not been faithful to the Lord and “I have not always set that example before my family that I ought: I have not been diligent in teaching them the commandments of the Lord. . . . Notwithstanding all this my folly, which has been a cause of grief to my family, the Lord has often visited me in visions and in dreams, and has brought me, with my family, through many offlictions, and I this day thank his holy name.” In his 1832 history, JS said, “I fell into transgressions and sinned in many things which brought a wound upon my soul and there were many things which transpired that cannot be writen and my Fathers family have suffered many persicutions and afflictions.” (Bushman, Joseph Smith and the Beginnings of Mormonism, 66–68; Patriarchal Blessings, 1:1; JS History, ca. Summer 1832, 4.)
5 See Genesis 9:20–23.
6 See Isaiah 29:11–14; Revelation, Feb. 1829 [D&C 4:1]; Book of Mormon, 1830 ed., 111 [2 Nephi 27:26]; JS History, ca. Summer 1832, 5; and “The Book of Mormon,” The Evening and the Morning Star, Jan. 1833, –.
7 See Isaiah 49:6; and Book of Mormon, 1830 ed., 54 [1 Nephi 21:6].
8 See Revelation, ca. Aug. 1835 [D&C 27:9–10].
9 See Genesis 49:22, 26.
10 See Book of Mormon, 1830 ed., 66–67 [2 Nephi 3:6–7, 15, 18]. “Seer” was one of JS’s ecclesiastical titles, suggesting that he is the one referred to here. (Revelation, 6 Apr. 1830 [D&C 21:1]; Revelation, 11 Nov. 1831–B [D&C 107:92].)
11 See Letter to William W. Phelps, 27 Nov. 1832 [D&C 85:7].
12 See Isaiah 11:5; and Book of Mormon, 1830 ed., 98 [2 Nephi 21:5].
13 See Mark 4:8, 20.
14 This refers to Joseph the patriarch, son of Jacob, and suggests the same blessings for JS.
15 See Revelation, 8 Mar. 1833 [D&C 90:2–3]; and Historical Introduction to Account of Meetings, Revelation, and Blessing, 5–6 Dec. 1834.
16 See Revelation, 20 May 1831 [D&C 51:4]; and Revelation, 20 July 1831 [D&C 57].
17 See James 5:7.
18 See Vision, 16 Feb. 1832 [D&C 76:69–70]; and Revelation, 27–28 Dec. 1832 [D&C 88:20–25].
19 See Revelation, 7 May 1831 [D&C 49:23–24].
20 See Revelation, 3 Nov. 1831 [D&C 133:26–32].
21 See Revelation, 27–28 Dec. 1832 [D&C 88:96–98]; and 1 Thessalonians 4:14–17.
22 An 1830 injunction to Emma directed her to be a “comfort unto my Servent Joseph thy husband in his afflictions with consoleing words in the spirit of meekness.” JS had experienced much affliction from antagonists, sometimes with direct repercussions for Emma. For example, on the night of 24–25 March 1832 in Hiram, Ohio, a group of men dragged JS from his bed, attempted to force aqua fortis, a highly corrosive solution of nitric acid and water, into his mouth, and then tarred and feathered him. After dragging JS from the house, the door was left open, exposing JS’s and Emma’s infant son Joseph Murdock, already sick with the measles, to the cold night air. This apparently exacerbated his illness, and he soon died from complications, further grieving JS and Emma. In August 1833 and again in the early months of 1834, JS wrote that church members in Kirtland, Ohio, suffered “great persicution on account of” Doctor Philastus Hurlbut, who lied in an attempt to “b[r]ake down mormanism” and who “saught the distruction” of the church, JS, and his family. (Revelation, July 1830–C [D&C 25:5]; JS History, vol. A-1, 205–209; Letter to Church Leaders in Jackson Co., MO, 18 Aug. 1833; JS, Journal, 28 Jan. 1834; see also “Mormon Trial,” Chardon [OH] Spectator and Geauga Gazette, 12 Apr. 1834, .)
23 Isaac Hale, Emma’s father, was opposed to the marriage of JS and Emma in 1827. Although Hale did take in JS and Emma and sold them part of his property and the home where JS worked on his translation of the Book of Mormon, Hale never believed in the book or JS’s ministry. (JS History, vol. A-1, 8; Deed from Isaac and Elizabeth Hale, 25 Aug. 1830; Isaac Hale, Affidavit, 20 Mar. 1834, in Howe, Mormonism Unvailed, 262–266.)
24 See Willard Chase, Affidavit, 11 Dec. 1833, in Howe, Mormonism Unvailed, 245–246; and “Mormonism—No. II,” Tiffany’s Monthly, Aug. 1859, 164–165. Not only did Emma accompany JS to the hill where he obtained the gold plates, she also served as a scribe for JS during his translation of the record. (Briggs, “A Visit to Nauvoo in 1856,” 454; Joseph Smith III, “Last Testimony of Sister Emma,” Saints’ Herald, 1 Oct. 1879, 289–290; Knight, Reminiscences, 1.)
25 On 15 June 1828, Emma gave birth to a son who died within an hour; on 30 April 1831, she gave birth to twins, a boy and a girl who lived only three hours. In early May 1831, JS and Emma adopted Joseph and Julia Murdock, whose mother died in childbirth. Joseph Murdock died on 29 March 1832. Joseph Smith III was born in Kirtland on 6 November 1832. At this time, then, only two of JS and Emma’s six children were still living. (JS History, 1834–1836, 9; JS History, vol. A-1, 209.)
26 A July 1830 revelation called Emma an “Elect Lady” and explained to her that she would “be ordained under his [JS’s] hand to expound Scriptures & exhort the Church.” Emma was eventually named president of the Female Relief Society of Nauvoo, an ecclesiastical organization of Latter-day Saint women formed in March 1842. During the organizational meeting of the Relief Society, JS stated that Emma had been ordained “at the time, the Revelation was given, to expound the scriptures to all.” JS also commented on the meaning of “Elect Lady,” explaining that “Elect meant to be Elected to a certain work &c, & that the revelation was then fulfilled by Sister Emma’s Election to the Presidency of the Society.” (Revelation, July 1830–C [D&C 25:3, 7]; Relief Society Minute Book, 17 Mar. 1842; JS, Journal, 17 Mar. 1842, underlining in original.)
(Notice in the previous quote marked in RED is the same scripture George Washington put his hand on from the Bible, when inaugurated. Genesis 49:22)