Prophets speak about Lamanites
“The Work Among the Lamanites” Elder Spencer W. Kimball
Of the Council of the Twelve Apostles
Spencer W. Kimball, Conference Report, October 1950, pp. 63-69
My brothers and sisters, I should like to express here my great love and admiration for President George F. Richards who was with us in our last conference but has since passed away. Of all the men I have known in my life, none has risen to greater heights, in my opinion, than Elder George F. Richards in saintliness, in vision, in understanding, and in love, humility, and power.
PRAYERS FOR LAMANITES
I was glad that President Beckstead mentioned in his prayer the Lamanite program. I thought, as he was praying, “Wouldn’t it be glorious if two hundred thousand Latter-day Saint families every morn before their breakfast, in their family prayers, were asking that the work of the Lord among the Lamanites might be furthered; and if those same two hundred thousand families might also be on their knees before they retired that night to ask again, among other things, that the blessings of the Lord might be brought to this great people?”
PLAN DEVISED BY THE LORD
The Lord has devised a very comprehensive plan, and I have a firm conviction that the blueprint that he worked out many millennia ago will be followed, and the structure will be built in accordance therewith.
The Prophet Joseph Smith dedicated the Kirtland Temple in 1836. His prayer, which he stated later was a revelation from the Lord, covered many matters, and in it he made this statement:
And cause that the remnants of Jacob, who have been cursed and smitten because of their transgression, be converted from their wild and savage condition to the fulness of the everlasting gospel (D&C 109:65).
Our Father began to speak through the mouths of prophets long centuries ago, outlining in prophetic words the history of those many centuries which were to follow. I’m sure that he inspired a little boy, Christopher Columbus, to stand on the quays in Genoa Italy, and yearn for the sea. He was filled with the desire to sail the seas, and he fulfilled a great prophecy (1 Ne. 13:12) made long, long ago, that this land, chosen above all other lands, should be discovered. And so when he was mature, opportunity was granted to him to brave the unknown seas, to find this land which had been cut off from the rest of the world long centuries, and to open the door, as it were, to the teaching of these people and bringing them back to their Heavenly Father.
I have a firm conviction that the Lord led the Pilgrims and the Puritans (1 Ne. 13:13) across the ocean, perhaps permitted the persecutions that would bring them here, so that when they came to the American shores with their righteous blood and their high ideals and standards, they would form the basis of a nation which would make possible the restoration of the gospel. I am sure that since there was not religious liberty, not political liberty here, the Lord permitted these few poorly-armed and ill-clad men at Valley Forge and elsewhere to defeat a great army with its trained soldiery and its many mercenaries, a few against the many, but the few had on their side the Lord God of heaven, that gave them victory. And there came political liberty and religious liberty with it, all in preparation for the day when a young boy would come forth and would seek and make contact with the Lord and open the doors of heaven again. Following that great manifestation to Joseph Smith came the opening of Cumorah Hill and the speaking of the dead from the dust.
PURPOSES TO BE FULFILLED
I am sure that all this was for a well-planned purpose. The Lord knew exactly what he was doing, and though evil forces were at play, they were all brought to bow, so that the purposes of the Almighty would be fulfilled.
I should like to quote to you a paragraph from Wilford Woodruff, stated by him in 1873:
I am looking for the fulfillment of all the things that the Lord has spoken.
For long centuries the Lord has said how this chosen people would fall into transgression and how some centuries after Christ they would be so deep in sin they would lose the faith, and that certain ones of them would be destroyed (Alma 45:9-14; Hel. 13:5-11). Now, Brother Woodruff says he knows that these things will all be fulfilled,
. . . and they will come to pass as the Lord lives. Zion is bound to rise and flourish. The Lamanites will blossom as the rose in the mountains. I am willing to say here that although I believe this, when I see the power of the nation destroying them from the face of the earth, the fulfillment of that prophecy is perhaps harder for me to believe than any other revelation of God that I have ever read.
Brother Woodruff lived in the day when the Lamanites were being destroyed. They were the “Vanishing Americans” at that time, and they were being persecuted and driven and killed and reservationed about that time of the nation’s history. He continued:
It looks as though there would not be enough left to receive the gospel; but notwithstanding this dark picture, every word that God has ever said of them will have its fulfillment, and they, by and by, will receive the gospel. It will be a day of God’s power among them and a nation will be born in a day (Isa. 66:8). The chiefs will be filled with the power of God and will receive the gospel, and they will go forth and build the New Jerusalem, and we shall help them. They are branches of the House of Israel and when the fulness of the Gentiles has come in and the work ceases among them, then it will go in power to the seed of Abraham (Journal of Discourses 15:282).
We are given to understand that the work commenced when the book came forth, for in Ether, fourth chapter, we read:
Therefore, when ye shall receive this record ye may know that the work of the Father has commenced upon all the face of the land (Ether 4:17).
The Prophet Joseph Smith gave us the thought that the Lord brought us out here from the East to bring the gospel to the Lamanites. One of the most important things that can possibly happen in this Dispensation of the Fulness of Times is to bring to the Lamanites a knowledge of God. He says:
. . . there will be tens of thousands of Latter-day Saints who will gather in the Rocky Mountains, and there they will open the door for establishing the gospel among the Lamanites, who will receive the Gospel and their endowments and the blessings of God.
Brigham Young seemed to catch the vision of it. He said that the Lord could not have devised a better plan than to put us where we are in order to accomplish that very thing of educating and teaching the Lamanites. Our ancestors came a thousands miles across the desert, under terrific persecutions and hardships, to locate where the Gentiles had scattered the Lamanites. They had pretty well “reservationed” them here in the western states. They were in our every county, and the Lord brought us out here that we might teach them the gospel.
Brothers and sisters, that work has continued with some interruptions through the century. Now the Lord has made another step. It seems to me he is bringing the Lamanites back to us. They were sent onto reservations all over the west, and now the largest, the Navajo Reservation, will not support its people. The Navajos are being starved out. They are coming back among us into the beet and cotton fields, on the railroads, and in the mines to find employment. They are coming back into the stakes of Zion where we have stake missions and where we have thousands of good Latter-day Saints who live the gospel, and thousands of devoted stake missionaries who will teach them the truth. Here is our great opportunity. The Lord seems to have planned everything for our sake. If we fail our opportunity, I am sure the Lord will not easily forgive us.
You will be interested to know that there are some forty thousand Lamanite members of the Church in the world, including the islands of the sea. There are probably ten thousand Lamanite members in North America in the Mexican missions and the Indian mission. There are 902 Lamanite members in the English-speaking missions in the Eastern, Northern, Central States, and other North American missions. And this work has gone forward splendidly under some of our mission presidents. We have baptized 1823 Lamanites in the last two-and-a-half years in the three missions that specialize in Lamanite proselyting in North America. We have baptized 480 Indians down in the little Indian mission, with a token number of missionaries. About an equal number have been blessed children under eight years of age who belong to families of friends and investigators and members, so that we now have more than twelve hundred members there in our short period of missionary work. We have approximately seventeen hundred Indian members in the stakes of Zion. We have baptized 347 in the sixty-five stakes which have reported so far, in this period, since the work was inaugurated.
In the missions in the United States and Canada, we have baptized 248 Indians in this short period. You will be interested to know that we are baptizing more Indians for each missionary than the Church is baptizing in the rest of the world. There were three and three-tenths baptisms for each missionary in the Indian mission in 1949, compared to about two-thirds that many for the other missions in North America. We have about fifty baptisms of Indian youth who have come from the reservation and who are living in the homes of Latter day Saints on a daughter-mother and son-father basis. Here the Indian boy or girl becomes an unofficial member of the family, and is neither a servant nor a guest, where foster parents are taking care of them and are giving them education and training, and they soon come into the Church at their own request. We have about fifty-one Lamanite missionaries in the mission field now, and they will be increasing very rapidly, I am sure. We have a full-blooded Navajo girl who goes into the mission field Monday morning, the first from that nation. We have a Pima Indian in the mission field now, and we have a Catawba Indian coming from the East who goes into the mission home soon, en route to one of the other missions in the Church. Brother (E. Wesley) Smith told us yesterday there were ten Lamanite missionaries from Hawaii who were over in the Orient, I believe.
EARLY BRETHREN QUOTED
I should like to give you a few quotations from some of the early brethren. Joseph Smith said that this work was extremely essential, and he sent Oliver Cowdery, Peter Whitmer, Parley P. Pratt, and Ziba Peterson out as early as October, 1830. It wasn’t very long after the plates had come out of the Hill Cumorah. In section thirty-two of the Doctrine and Covenants, the Lord Jesus Christ says of those Lamanite missionaries:
. . . and I, myself, will go with them, and be in their midst . . . and nothing shall prevail against them (D&C 32:3).
And then the Prophet Joseph Smith said,
. . . and there (in the Rocky Mountains) they (the Latter-day Saints) will open the door for the establishing the gospel among the Lamanites who will receive the gospel and their endowments and the blessings of God.
And Brother John Taylor said:
. . . the work among the Lamanites must not be postponed if we desire to retain the approval of God.
Oliver Cowdery, even in that early day, had found the Navajos in the far Southwest, and he reported it to the brethren, feeling that it was a very important thing. Then Wilford Woodruff said this further, as he went down into the southwest, in New Mexico, and visited among the Indians there. He said:
“In my short communication of the second inst., I promised to give a fuller account of my visit to the Isletas which I will now endeavor to do.
The Isletas are one of the Pueblo groups down in New Mexico.
I view my visit among the Nephites one of the most interesting missions of my life, although short. I say Nephites, because if there are any Nephites on this continent, we have found them among the Zunis, the Lagunas, and the Isletas, for they are a different race of people, altogether, from the Lamanites. I class the Navajo, Moquis (Hopis) and Apaches with the Lamanites, although they are in advance of many Indian tribes of America. I class the Zunis, Lagunas, and Isletas among the Nephites.
And then he goes on to say, that as soon as they dismissed this particular meeting among the Isletas, and were going to leave, one of the Nephites arose.
. . . full of the spirit of the Lord and said, “Friends, why do you dismiss us and leave us this way? This is the first time we have heard of our forefathers and the gospel and the things we have looked for from the traditions of our fathers. If our wives and children are weary, let them go home. We want to hear more. We want you to talk all night. Do not leave us so.”
Brother Brigham Young said: “It is our duty to feed and teach these Indians.” Let me quote a few lines from him. He advised us to “educate them and teach them the gospel” so that many generations would not pass ere they should become a white and delightsome people (2 Ne. 30:6).
This is the land they and their fathers have walked over, called their own. And they have just as good right to call it theirs today as any children have to call any land their own. They have buried their fathers and mothers and children here. This is their home, and we have taken possession and occupy the land where they used to hunt. Now the game is gone, and they are left to starve… The Lord has given us the ability to cultivate the ground and reap bountiful harvests. We have an abundance of food for ourselves and for the stranger… We are living on their possessions and at their homes.
I should like to quote again from President John Taylor. He said:
The work among the Lamanites must not be postponed if we desire to retain the approval of God. Thus far we have been content simply to baptize them and let them run wild again, but this must continue no longer; the same devoted effort, the same care in instructing, the same organization and priesthood must be introduced and maintained in the House of Lehi as amongst those of Israel gathered from Gentile nations. As yet God has been doing all, and we comparatively nothing. He has led many of them to us, and they have been baptized, and now we must instruct them further and organize them into churches with proper presidencies, attach them to our stakes, organizations, etc., in one word, treat them exactly in these respects as we would and do treat our white brethren.
HISTORY OF LAMANITE WORK
Brigham Young put this into practice, the proclaiming the gospel to the Lamanites, and he sent missionaries up on the Salmon, over in Carson Valley, over into Moab, down on the Santa Clara up around Blackfoot, and elsewhere. He also sent a mission out to the Indian territory. We made five attempts to establish the work in that area. There were twelve missionaries went in 1855. The missionaries were withdrawn from almost all of these places when Johnston’s Army came to Utah. And so the work ceased in many places. Malaria, persecution, and death hampered the work, and by 1860 the Indian territory mission work had lapsed. There were few missionaries to send, the Civil War was on, and conditions at home were difficult, and we had just begun to get established here in the West. A period of seventeen years elapsed, and those converts and investigators were lost, of course, with no one to teach them. In 1877 another group of missionaries went to the Indian territory. After six months they returned. The malaria was too much for them. A year later Elder George Teasdale was sent with some other missionaries, and the work began again, but they also returned in about six months. The malaria was most severe.
Two years later a fourth attempt was made to establish the work, and missionaries were sent again. Though the malaria was severe, they remained, and the mission went on to the present time: but other changes that were severe came upon the Indian work. Texas, Kansas, Missouri, and other states were added to the Indian Territory Mission, and it became the Central States Mission, and the emphasis was gradually transferred from the Indians to the non-Indians. When I was in that mission in 1914, no mention was ever made of Indians, all the work being done among the whites. About two years ago President Francis Brown of that mission sent missionaries again to work among the Indians in Oklahoma, and the work is again going forward.
It is time now that we began to give proper emphasis to this great work of bringing the Lamanites to a knowledge of their God. It is our responsibility and our opportunity. Now, brothers and sisters, in the stakes and missions you will have a chance to teach the Indians. Let your prayers ascend to the Lord in behalf of them and then do your utmost to bring them to higher standards, and above all, give to them the gospel of the kingdom and the knowledge of God, as they once had.
May the Lord bless the Lamanite people, and bless us that we many realize our responsibilities toward them. This I pray in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.
Additional Talks about Wonderful Lamanites
A Study of the
ARTICLES OF FAITH
by James E. Talmage
Not less conclusive are the prophecies contained in the Book of Mormon relating to this great falling away. Nephi, son of Lehi, predicted the oppression of the North American Indians at the hands of the Gentiles, and declared that at that time the people will be lifted up in self-pride, having departed from the ordinances of God’s house; they will build to themselves many churches, but in these they will preach their own wisdom, with envyings, and strife, and malice, denying, however, the power and miracles of God.
The Lamanites, while increasing in numbers, fell under the curse of divine displeasure; they became dark in skin and benighted in spirit, forgot the God of their fathers, lived a wild nomadic life, and degenerated into the fallen state in which the American Indians—their lineal descendants—were found by those who rediscovered the western continent in later times.
The Archeology and Ethnology of the western continent contribute some corroborative evidence in support of the Book of Mormon. These sciences are confessedly unable to explain in any decisive manner the origin of the native American races; nevertheless, investigation in this field has yielded results that are fairly definite, and with the most important of these the Book of Mormon account is in general accord. No exhaustive treatment will be attempted here, as such would require space far beyond present limitations. For detailed consideration of the subject the student should consult works especially devoted thereto. Among the most significant of the discoveries respecting the aboriginal inhabitants, are the following:
1. That America was peopled in very ancient times, probably soon after the building of the Tower of Babel.
2. That the continent has been successively occupied by different peoples, at least by two classes, or so-called races, at widely separated periods.
3. That the aboriginal inhabitants came from the East, probably from Asia, and that the later occupants, or those of the second period, were closely allied to, if not identical with, the Israelites.
4. That the existing native races of America form a common stock.
From the outline already given of the historical part of the Book of Mormon, it is seen that each of these discoveries is fully sustained by that record. Thus it is stated therein:
1. That America was settled by the Jaredites, who came direct from the scenes of Babel.
2. That the Jaredites occupied the land for about eighteen hundred and fifty years, and that at about the time of their extinction, near 590 B.C., Lehi and his company came to this continent, where they developed into the segregated nations Nephites and Lamanites, the former becoming extinct near 385 A.D.—about a thousand years after Lehi’s arrival on these shores—the latter continuing in a degenerate condition until the present, and being represented by the Indian tribes.
3. That Lehi, Ishmael, and Zoram, the progenitors of both Nephites and Lamanites, were undoubtedly Israelites, Lehi being of the tribe of Manasseh while Ishmael was an Ephraimite, and that the colony came direct from Jerusalem, in Asia.
4. That the existing Indian tribes are descendants of the immigrants whose history is contained in the Book of Mormon, and that therefore they have sprung from progenitors who were of the house of Israel.
4. Concerning a Common Origin of Native American Races—That the many tribes and nations among the Indians are of common parentage is generally admitted; the conclusion is based on the evident close relationship in their languages, traditions, and customs. “Mr. Lewis H. Morgan finds evidence that the American aborigines had a common origin in what he calls ‘their system of consanguinity and affinity.’ He says, ‘The Indian nations from the Atlantic to the Rocky Mountains, and from the Arctic sea to the Gulf of Mexico, with the exception of the Esquimaux, have the same system. It is elaborate and complicated in its general form and details; and, while deviations from uniformity occur in the systems of different stocks, the radical features are in the main constant. This identity in the essential characteristics of a system so remarkable tends to show that it must have been transmitted with the blood to each stock from a common original source. It affords the strongest evidence yet obtained of unity in origin of the Indian nations within the regions defined.'”
Autobiography of Parley P. Pratt
After traveling for some days we called on an Indian nation at or near Buffalo; and spent part of a day with them, instructing them in the knowledge of the record of their forefathers. We were kindly received, and much interest was manifested by them on hearing this news. We made a present of two copies of the Book of Mormon to certain of them who could read, and repaired to Buffalo. Thence we continued our journey, for about two hundred miles, and at length called on Mr. Rigdon, my former friend and instructor, in the Reformed Baptist Society. He received us cordially and entertained us with hospitality.
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 tribes, viz: the Catteraugus Indians, near Buffalo, N. Y., the Wyandots of Ohio, and the Delawares west of Missouri.
History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints
History of Joseph Smith, the Prophet,
An Introduction and Notes by B. H. Roberts
Chapter 15 – notes
11. The Mission to the Lamanites—As the “mission to the Lamanites” is a very prominent event in early Church history, it is proper that the labors of the brethren engaged in at should be spoken of more fully than appears anywhere in the Prophet’s narrative, and at this point, following the letter of Oliver Cowdery, seems as appropriate a place as will be found to speak of it. It has already been said that the brethren of the mission called upon the Cattaraugus tribe, near Buffalo, New York, (p. 120 note). After leaving Kirtland, on their journey westward, they visited the Wyandot tribe of Indians near Sandusky, Ohio, with whom they spent several days. “We were well received,” writes Elder Parley P. Pratt, “and had an opportunity of laying before them the record of their forefathers, which we did. They rejoiced in the tidings, bid us Godspeed, and desired us to write to them in relation to our success among the tribes further west, who had already removed to the Indian territory, where these expected soon to go.”—Aut. P. P. Pratt, p. 54.
On arriving at Independence two of the company secured employment, while the other three crossed the frontier and began their labors among the Indians. They visited the Shawnees, spending one night with them, and the next day crossed the Kansas river and began their labors among the Delawares. They sought an interview with the chief of the Delawares, known among the whites as Chief Anderson. He was the grand sachem of ten nations or tribes, and consequently possessed of large influence. He had always opposed the introduction of missionaries among his people, and therefore did not at first extend a very hearty welcome to the brethren. However, through an interpreter, the brethren made known their errand and explained to him the Book of Mormon and the information it contained for his people. They asked to be heard before a full council of his nation, a proposition which the chief took under consideration until the next day. Next morning the conversation with the Delaware Chief was renewed, but he was not inclined at first to call the council. But as he began to understand better the nature of the Book of Mormon, he changed his mind and asked the brethren to suspend their conversation until the council could be assembled. A runner was dispatched to the tribes, and in about an hour forty leading men were assembled and seated in grave silence to hear the message concerning the book of their forefathers. At the request of the chief Oliver Cowdery in substance delivered the following address:
Oliver Cowdery’s Speech to the Delawares.
“Aged Chief, and Venerable Council of the Delaware nation: we are glad of this opportunity to address you as our red brethren and friends. We have traveled a long from towards the rising sun to bring you glad news; We have traveled the wilderness, crossed the deep and wide rivers, and waded in the deep snows, and in the face of the storms of winter, to communicate to you great knowledge which has lately come to oar ears and hearts and which will do the red man good as well as the pale face.
“Once the red men were many; they occupied the country from sea to sea—from the rising to the setting sun; the whole land was theirs; the Great Spirit gave it to them, and no pale faces dwelt among them. But now they are few in numbers; their possessions are small, and the pale faces are many.
“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, together with their history and the things which should befall their children in the latter days.
“This Book was 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.
“But they became wicked; they killed one another and shed much blood; they killed their prophets and wise men, and sought to destroy the Book. The Great Spirit became angry and would speak to them no more; they had no more good and wise dreams; no more visions, no more angels sent among them by the Great Spirit; and the Lord commanded Mormon and Moroni, their last wise men and prophets to hide the Book in the earth, that it might be preserved in safety and be found and made known in the latter-day to the pale faces who should possess the land, that they might again make it known to the red men, in order to restore them to the knowledge of the will of the Great Spirit and to His favor. And if the red men would then receive this Book and learn the things written in it and do according thereunto, they should be restored to all their rights and privileges; should cease to fight and kill one another; should become one people; cultivate the earth in peace, in common with the pale faces who were willing to believe and obey the same Book and be good men and live in peace.
“Then should the red men become great and have plenty to eat and good clothes to wear, and should be in favor with the Great Spirit and be His children, while He would be their Great Father and talk with them, and raise up prophets and wise and good men among them again who should teach them many things.
“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.
“In that neighborhood there lived a young man named Joseph Smith, who prayed to the Great Spirit much, in order that he might know the truth, and the Great Spirit sent an angel to him and told him where this Book was hid by Moroni, and commanded him to go and get it. He accordingly went to the place and dug in the earth and found the Book written on golden plates.
“But it was written in the language of the forefathers of the red men; therefore this young man, being a pale face, could not understand it; but the angel told him and showed him and gave him knowledge of the language and how to interpret the Book. So he interpreted it into the language of the pale faces, and wrote it on paper and caused it to be printed, and published thousands of copies of it among them, and then sent us to the red men to bring some copies of it to them, and to tell them this news. So we have now come from him, and here is a copy of the Book, which we now present to our red friend, the Chief of the Delawares, which we hope he will cause to be read and known among his tribe; it will do them good.”
We then presented him with a Book of Mormon.
There was a pause in the council and some conversation in their own language, after which the chief made the following reply;
The Chief’s Reply.
“We feel truly thankful to our white friends who have come so far and been at such pains to tell us good news, and especially this new news concerning the Book of our forefathers; it makes us glad in here,”—placing his hand on his heart. “It is now winter; we are new settlers in this place; the snow is deep; our cattle and horses are dying; our wigwams are poor; we have much to do in the spring—to build houses and fence and make farms; but we will build a council house and meet together, and you shall read to us and teach us more concerning the Book of our fathers and the will of the Great Spirit.”
Elder Parley P. Pratt in his report of the matter adds: “We continued for several days to instruct the old Chief and many of his tribe. The interest became more and more intense on their part, from day to day, until at length nearly the whole tribe began to feel a spirit of inquiry and excitement on the subject. We found several among them who could read, and to them we gave copies of the Book, explaining to them that it was the Book of their forefathers. Some began to rejoice exceedingly and took great pains to tell the news to others in their own language. The excitement now reached the frontier settlements in Missouri, and stirred up the jealousy and envy of the Indian agents and sectarian missionaries to that degree that we were soon ordered out of the Indian country as disturbers of the peace, and even threatened with the military in case of non-compliance. We accordingly departed from the Indian country and came over the line, and commenced laboring in Jackson county, Missouri, among the whites. We were well received and listened to by many, and some were baptized and added to the Church.
“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 tribes, viz.: the Cattaraugus Indians, near Buffalo, N. Y.; the Wyandots, of Ohio; and the Delawares, west of Missouri.”—Aut. P. P. Pratt, pp. 56-61.
JESUS THE CHRIST
James E. Talmage
The predictions thus far cited as relating to the life, ministry, and death of the Lord Jesus, are the utterances of prophets who, excepting Adam and Enoch, lived and died on the eastern hemisphere. All save John the Baptist are of Old Testament record, and he, a contemporary of the Christ in mortality, figures in the early chapters of the Gospels. It is important to know that the scriptures of the western hemisphere are likewise explicit in the declaration of the great truth that the Son of God would be born in the flesh. The Book of Mormon contains a history of a colony of Israelites, of the tribe of Joseph, who left Jerusalem 600 B.C., during the reign of Zedekiah, king of Judah, on the eve of the subjugation of Judea by Nebuchadnezzar and the inauguration of the Babylonian captivity. This colony was led by divine guidance to the American continent, whereon they developed into a numerous and mighty people; though, divided by dissension, they formed two opposing nations known respectively as Nephites and Lamanites. The former cultivated the arts of industry and refinement, and preserved a record embodying both history and scripture, while the latter became degenerate and debased. The Nephites suffered extinction about 400 A.D., but the Lamanites lived on in their degraded course, and are today extant upon the land as the American Indians.
The Lamanites, while increasing in numbers, fell under the curse of darkness; they became dark in skin and benighted in spirit, forgot the God of their fathers, lived a wild nomadic life, and degenerated into the fallen state in which the American Indians—their lineal descendants—were found by those who rediscovered the western continent in later times.
A Topical Guide to the Scriptures of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
© 1977 Deseret Book Company
Topical guide – “Indians” refers to: Book of Mormon; Israel, Joseph, People of; Israel, Restoration of.
DISCOURSES OF BRIGHAM YOUNG
Second President of
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
Selected and Arranged
by John A. Widtsoe
The Indians or Lamanites—The Lamanites or Indians are just as much the children of our Father and God as we are. So also are the Africans. But we are also the children of adoption through obedience to the Gospel of his Son. 11:272.
As we have here an assemblage of the people from other settlements, I wish to impress them with the necessity of treating the Indians with kindness, and to refrain from harboring that revengeful, vindictive feeling that many indulge in. I am convinced that as long as we harbor in us such feelings toward them, so long they will be our enemies, and the Lord will suffer them to afflict us. I certainly believe that the present affliction, which has come upon us from the Indians, is a consequence of the wickedness which dwells in the hearts of some of our brethren. If the Elders of Israel had always treated the Lamanites as they should, I do not believe that we should have had any difficulty with them at all. This is my firm conviction, and my conclusion according to the light that is in me. I believe that the Lord permits them to chasten us at the present time to convince us that we have to overcome the vindictive feelings which we have harbored towards that poor, downtrodden branch of the House of Israel. 11:263.
DOCTRINE AND COVENANTS COMMENTARY
Hyrum M. Smith
Janne M. Sjodahl
19. For this very purpose The Book of Mormon plates were preserved and translated in order that all these should be brought to a knowledge of the Savior. It may be concluded, then, that among the American Indians and the Polynesians who are mostly the descendants of the Lamanites, is also a sprinkling of the descendants of the Nephites who may have escaped the general destruction.
TEACHINGS OF THE PROPHET JOSEPH SMITH
Selected and arranged by the Historian, Joseph Fielding Smith, and his Assistants in the Historian’s Office of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
The Book of Mormon is a record of the forefathers of our western tribes of Indians; having been found through the ministration of an holy angel, and translated into our own language by the gift and power of God, after having been hid up in the earth for the last fourteen hundred years, containing the word of God which was delivered unto them. By it we learn that our western tribes of Indians are descendants from that Joseph who was sold into Egypt, and that the land of America is a promised land unto them, and unto it all the tribes of Israel will come, with as many of the Gentiles as shall comply with the requisitions of the new covenant.
It has been said by many of the learned and wise men, or historians, that the Indians or aborigines of this continent, are of the scattered tribes of Israel. It has been conjectured by many others, that the aborigines of this continent are not of the tribes of Israel, but the ten tribes have been led away into some unknown regions of the north. Let this be as it may, the prophecy I have just quoted “will fetch them,” in the last days, and place them in the land which their fathers possessed. And you will find in the 7th verse of the 30th chapter, quoted, “And the Lord thy God will put all these curses upon thine enemies, and on them that hate thee, which persecuted thee.”
Much has been said and done of late by the general government in relation to the Indians (Lamanites) within the territorial limits of the United States. One of the most important points in the faith of the Church of the Latter-day Saints, through the fullness of the everlasting Gospel, is the gathering of Israel (of whom the Lamanites constitute a part) that happy time when Jacob shall go up to the house of the Lord, to worship Him in spirit and in truth, to live in holiness; when the Lord will restore His judges as at the first, and His counselors as at the beginning; when every man may sit under his own vine and fig tree, and there will be none to molest or make afraid; when He will turn to them a pure language, and the earth will be filled with sacred knowledge, as the waters cover the great deep; when it shall no longer be said, the Lord lives that brought up the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt, but the Lord lives that brought up the children of Israel from the land of the north, and from all the lands whither He has driven them. That day is one, all important to all men.
The Book of Mormon
2 Ne. 26:19
19 And it shall come to pass, that those who have dwindled in unbelief shall be smitten by the hand of the Gentiles.
And I had faith, and I did cry unto God that he would preserve the records; and he covenanted with me that he would bring them forth unto the Lamanites in his own due time.
Doctrine & Covenants:
18 And this testimony shall come to the knowledge of the Lamanites, and the Lemuelites, and the Ishmaelites, who dwindled in unbelief because of the iniquity of their fathers, whom the Lord has suffered to destroy their brethren the Nephites, because of their iniquities and their abominations.
19 And for this very purpose are these plates preserved, which contain these records—that the promises of the Lord might be fulfilled, which he made to his people;
20 And that the Lamanites might come to the knowledge of their fathers, and that they might know the promises of the Lord, and that they may believe the gospel and rely upon the merits of Jesus Christ, and be glorified through faith in his name, and that through their repentance they might be saved. Amen.
27 Which is my word to the Gentile, that soon it may go to the Jew, of whom the Lamanites are a remnant, that they may believe the gospel, and look not for a Messiah to come who has already come.
8 And now, behold, I say unto you that you shall go unto the Lamanites and preach my gospel unto them; and inasmuch as they receive thy teachings thou shalt cause my church to be established among them; and thou shalt have revelations, but write them not by way of commandment.
2 And that which I have appointed unto him is that he shall go with my servants, Oliver Cowdery and Peter Whitmer, Jun., into the wilderness among the Lamanites.
8 And thus you shall take your journey into the regions westward, unto the land of Missouri, unto the borders of the Lamanites.
D&C Section 57 Introduction – 1986 Edition
Revelation given through Joseph Smith the Prophet, in Zion, Jackson County, Missouri, July 20, 1831. HC 1: 189-190. In compliance with the Lord’s command (Section 52), the elders had journeyed from Kirtland to Missouri with many varied experiences and some opposition. In contemplating the state of the Lamanites and the lack of civilization, refinement, and religion among the people generally, the Prophet exclaimed in yearning prayer: “When will the wilderness blossom as the rose? When will Zion be built up in her glory, and where will they Temple stand, unto which all nations shall come in the last days?” Subsequently he received this revelation.
4 Wherefore, it is wisdom that the land should be purchased by the saints, and also every tract lying westward, even into the line running directly between Jew and Gentile.
[Footnote on the bottom of page 103 of the 1986 D&C:]
4b IE by metonymy “Jew” here refers to the Lamanites, and “Gentile” to the white settlers.
[——————- End of gatherings from http://library.deseretbook.com/ …]
[Other references found:]
Meet the Mormons
Published by Deseret Book
…Following the extermination of the Nephite civilization, the Lamanites continued to inhabit the Western Hemisphere. Their posterity, with some supplementary groups, constituted the many aboriginal tribes, now known as the American Indians, that were found by European discoverers of the new world.
Book of Mormon Student Manual Religion 121 and 122
Prepared by the Church Education System
Published by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
Salt Lake City, Utah
(c) 1989, 1996 by Intellectual Reserve, Inc.
Page 15 discusses 1 Nephi 15:12-16.
[Here is a direct quote from the Mormon scripture:]
Behold, I say unto you, that the house of Israel was compared unto an olive-tree, by the Spirit of the Lord which was in our father; and behold are we not broken off from the house of Israel, and are we not a branch of the house of Israel?
And now, the thing which our father meaneth concerning the grafting in of the natural branches through the fullness of the Gentiles, is, that in the latter days, when our seed shall have dwindled in unbelief, yea, for the space of many years, and many generations after the Messiah shall be manifested in body unto the children of men, then shall the fullness of the gospel of the Messiah come unto the Gentiles, and from the Gentiles unto the remnant of our seed—
And at that day shall the remnant of our seed know that they are of the house of Israel, and that they are the covenant people of the Lord; and then shall they know and come to the knowledge of their forefathers, and also to the knowledge of the gospel of their Redeemer, which was ministered unto their fathers by him; wherefore, they shall come to the knowledge of their Redeemer and the very points of his doctrine, that they may know how to come unto him and be saved.
And then at that day will they not rejoice and give praise unto their everlasting God, their rock and their salvation? Yea, at that day, will they not receive the strength and nourishment from the true vine? Yea, will they not come unto the true fold of God?
Behold, I say unto you, Yea; they shall be remembered again among the house of Israel; they shall be grafted in, being a natural branch of the olive-tree, into the true olive-tree.
From Ensign, Dec. 1975, pp. 4-5, 7:
“…The Lord’s promises with regard to the Lamanites began to be fulfilled with the coming forth of the Book of Mormon in this dispensation (see Eth. 4:17) … Truly our paths have met once more … the Lamanites, also a people of disobedience now returned to the fold … The Lamanites must rise again in dignity and strength to fully join their brethren and sisters of the household of God…”
Page 41 – part of chapter 13 which deals with 2 Nephi: 28-30
[section relating to 2 Nephi 30:4.] Descendants of the Jews
…Mulek, and possibly all the Mulekites, were Jews of the tribes of Judah. They were “exceedingly numerous” (Omni 1:17) when discovered by the people of King Mosiah. In addition to being descendants of the Jews in the national sense, there is also a blood relationship to the tribe of Judah among the modern Lamanites…
[section relating to 2 Nephi 30:4-6.] “The Remnant of Our Seed”
“…We now have some half million Indian or Lamanite members in the Church…” (Spencer W. Kimball, The Lamanite [address delivered at Regional Representatives’ Seminar, 1 Apr. 1977], pp. 4, 7, 12).
[section relating to Mormon 7:1-2.] Descendants of Great Book of Mormon Leaders
Mormon, knowing that his words would come forth in the last days, gave a special message to the Lamanites of our day. He called these people “the remnant of this people who are spared … yes … a remnant of the house of Israel …The Lamanites of today are descendants of great Book of Mormon leaders.
[A chart is shown on page 133. It is a time line which shows Lehi as a single line, then the line breaks into two with the identification “Lamanites” for one line and “Nephites” for the other line. The line joins back together at 34AD and continues as a single line until 201 AD. Then the line breaks apart again. The chart states that the Nephites were destroyed in approximately 400AD, and it states that “The Lamanites of today are descendants of the people who lives after the appearance of Christ.”]
From the 1986 edition of the Book of Mormon: Introduction
“…The record gives an account of two great civilizations. One came from Jerusalem in 600 B.C., and afterward separated into two nations, known as the Nephites and the Lamanites. The other came much earlier when the Lord confounded the tongues at the Tower of Babel. This group is known as the Jaredites. After thousands of years, all were destroyed except the Lamanites, and they are the principal ancestors of the American Indians…”
A Voice Calling : from the hills of America to the children of its ancient people
by Albert R. Lyman
Published by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
(c) 1948, reprinted 1970
A clear voice is calling, calling from the very dust of America to the children of its ancient people. It is calling to the children of the native tribes who follow the old trails, hunted in the forests, and lived in freedom on the mountains and plains before the coming of the white man.
Who are these tribes? They are called Indians, but it was a mistake that these Americans should ever have been given that name. Long before they were called Indians, most of them called themselves Lamanites. Their numerous people occupied America from north to south, and from east to west. When they broke up into many tribes with tribal names, they forgot the one general name by which they had once been known.
The history of this old Lamanite nation is the most important record which has been translated into English since the translation of the Bible… This record is the Book of Mormon. It is a voice of love and assurance from prophets among the ancient Lamanites to the wandering remnant of their posterity… It is the history of their people in ancient America… bidding them to turn from their old ways and claim the heritage of their promised birthright.
…after many generations of their people had died in darkness, he would call to them again, restoring their lost scriptures, and when they repented and made themselves worthy of his presence, he again would come again among them.
He told them that after a long time white men would cross the big waters, white men whom he called Gentiles. He told them that “these Gentiles will scatter my people . . . and my people shall be cast out from among them.” But they should not be without hope. He said that when the Gentiles reject the fullness of the gospel which was to be preached to them, that he would remember the covenant which he had made unto his ancient people and bring the gospel unto them. He promised the fathers of the Lamanites that he would do a great and a marvelous work among their children in the latter days.
One of their ancient prophets, inspired by the Lord, said that when this book comes forth among the Gentiles, some of them will believe it, and will bring it to the remnant of the Lamanites. Then will the Lamanites know about their fathers, that they came from Jerusalem, and that they are descended from the house of Israel…
We who bring you this record are commonly called Mormons because we believe the record of your fathers. We are the “few among the Gentiles” who have accepted the message of the book. We now offer it to you with the solemn testimony that it is the truth. We have proved it in the way that the prophet of your people said it could be proved, and it is clear to our understanding. We have it for those of you who desire to read it. We bring it to you with sincere purpose of heart, praying that you may know it as we know it. And we implore you to return and walk again as did your fathers in the way of the Lord.
Further literature and information may be secured without obligation by writing
COMMITTEE ON INDIAN AFFAIRS
47 East South Temple Street
Salt Lake City 1, Utah
Southwest Indian Mission
108 East Aztec
Gallup, New Mexico
Messages of the First Presidency of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, 1833-1964.
Introd., notes, and index, by James R. Clark
Volume 4 – 1901-1915
1911 – October 15 – Deseret News, November 4, 1911; also Oakland Tribune,
October 15, 1911, p. 232 – 251 (excerpts from – emphasis added)
“AN ANCIENT RECORD
Three years later was revealed to him, in a similar way, an ANCIENT RECORD, a book of metallic plates having the appearance of gold, and CONTAINING A HISTORY OF AMERICA ages prior to its discovery by Columbus. The revealer of these plates, who proclaimed himself a messenger from God, gave his name as Moroni, and stated that he was one of many prophets who, when in mortality, had ministered to a people called Nephites, a branch of the house of Israel, formerly inhabiting this land. The NEPHITES were the CIVILIZED ANCESTORS OF the DEGENERATE LAMANITES, OR AMERICAN INDIANS. The writings of these prophets, compiled and abridged by Mormon, the father of Moroni, had been buried in a hill anciently called Cumorah, in which place of deposit the youthful prophet, directed by the angel, discovered them. By means of interpreters Urim and Thummim found with the plates, he translated the hieroglyphic characters of the Nephite record, and the result was the Book of Mormon, published to the world early in 1830. The title page of the volume contains the testimony of three witnesses, Oliver Cowdery, David Whitmer, and Martin Harris, who solemnly aver that an angel showed them the plates after Joseph Smith had translated them, and that they heard a voice from heaven declare that the translation was by the gift and power of God. Eight other witnesses testify that they saw the plates and handled them while they were in the prophet’s possession, prior to being reclaimed by the angel.”
“In conclusion, let us say, as representing the body of religious worshipers over whom we have the honor to preside: We cherish none but sentiments of good will toward mankind. We regard all men as our brothers, children of the universal Father, and for their benefit and for his honor and glory we and our fellow servants are laboring, and expect to labor to the close of our mortal lives; passing hence to continue, in the world of spirits, the work of salvation inaugurated here. Peace be unto all, in the name of our Lord and Savior!
JOSEPH F. SMITH, ANTHON H. LUND, JOHN HENRY SMITH,
First Presidency of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.”