Lord declares it in the Doctrine and Covenants scriptures:
18 And this
testimony (The Book of Mormon] 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
LDS Church Proclamation
bear testimony that the "Indians" (so called)
of North and South America are a remnant of the tribes
of Israel; as is now made manifest by the discovery and
revelation of their ancient oracles and records."
- OFFICIAL CHURCH PROCLAMATION OF THE TWELVE APOSTLES
OF THE CHURCH OF JESUS CHRIST, OF LATTER-DAY SAINTS. April
For the record,
the LDS Church has consistently and emphatically declared
that Lamanites exist today, and who they are:
Doctrine and Covenants
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.
And now, behold, I say unto you that it is not revealed,
and no man knoweth where the city Zion shall be built,
but it shall be given hereafter. Behold, I say unto you
that it shall be on the borders by the Lamanites.
And thou shalt assist to settle all these things, according
to the covenants of the church, before thou shalt take
thy journey among the Lamanites.
And be you afflicted in all his afflictions, ever lifting
up your heart unto me in prayer and faith, for his and
your deliverance; for I have given unto him power to build
up my church among the Lamanites;
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.
But before the great day of the Lord shall come, Jacob
shall flourish in the wilderness, and the Lamanites shall
blossom as the rose.
And thus you shall take your journey into the regions
westward, unto the land of Missouri, unto the borders
of the Lamanites.
How could the
Lord's servants go among the Lamanites if the Lamanites
were gone? How could they establish a church of nonexistent
people? How could the Lamanites blossom as a rose if they
had already died off?
"Behold, there are many things engraven upon the
plates of Nephi which do throw greater views upon my gospel;
therefore, it is wisdom in me that you should translate
this first part of the engravings of Nephi, and send forth
in this work. Yea, and this was their faith—that
my gospel, which I gave unto them that they might preach
in their days, might come unto their brethren the Lamanites,
and also all that had become Lamanites because of their
"The Book of Mormon, which contains the truth and
the word of God - 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.
Verse 4 "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 thy Temple stand,
unto which all nations shall come in the last days?”
To which the the Lord answers the Prophet by telling him
to buy up the land "between Jew (Lamanite) and Gentile."
Heading, Verses 65-66. The Lord identifies Native-Americans
as "the remnants of Jacob"
Lord's Messenger to Joseph Smith
called me by name, and said unto me that he was a messenger
sent from the presence of God to me, and that his name
was Moroni; that God had a work for me to do."
there was a book deposited, written upon gold plates,
giving an account of the former inhabitants of
this continent (America), and the source from
whence they sprang."
- PoGP, Joseph Smith History, 1:33-34
The Angel Moroni
testified to Joseph Smith that the Book of Mormon gave
"an account of THE former inhabitants of this continent"
Not "some of" or "many of" but "the
Book of Mormon
Nephi 29: 3-4
"For after the book of which I have spoken shall
come forth...there shall be many which shall believe the
words which are written; and they shall carry them forth
unto the remnant of our seed. And then shall the remnant
of our seed know concerning us, how that we came out of
Jerusalem, and that they are the descendants of the Jews."
to the Book of Mormon also announces the book as "written
to the Lamanites, who are a remnant of the House of Israel."
Moroni closes the book of Mormon to his descendants, the
Native-americans when he makes a great promise about coming
to know it is true "by the power of the Holy Ghost"
(Moro. 10:4), a promise which he addressed not to the
gentiles but "unto my brethren, the Lamanites."
If the Lamanites
wouldn't survive until the coming forth of the Book of
Mormon - as Moroni should have known, since he was a righteous
prophet -- then why address his remarks to them?
the Book of Mormon scriptures, it promises to reach the
descendants of the Lamanites.
- It says
the Book of Mormon would speak to Native-Americans,
to Jews, to gentiles, and to the world.
- It would
inform the Native-Americans of God's promises (D&C
3:20) and covenants with their ancestors, the Lamanites,
that they were members of the House of Israel (Morm.
- It would
convince the Native-Americans of the error of their
forbearers' traditions and iniquity (Alma 37:8-9; Mosiah
- If Native-Americans
were to learn how their Nephite-Lamanite ancestors slaughtered
each other until only Lamanites were left, they might
believe the gospel that LDS missionaries would bring
them (Morm. 5:9, 11, 14).
- The Book
of Mormon would convince the Native-Americans that the
message of the Bible is true; and when they believed
the biblical message, they also would accept the Book
of Mormon (1 Ne. 13:39).
- When the
Native-Americans accepted the new scriptures, they would
come to a knowledge of God and the redemption of Jesus
Christ. The Book of Mormon would lead them to end their
hatred of others, to befriend each other, and to stop
their contentions (Alma 26:9).
- Their faith
in Jesus and restored covenant with God would bring
peace and thus fulfill God's promises to Israel. In
return the Indians would become a "delightsome
people" (W of M 8).
also spends six chapters of 3 Nephi prophesying to the
Lamanites of our day and their central role in the final
preparation for His next coming, when all their enemies
"shall be cut off" (3 Ne. 20: 17) and they will
inherit the gentiles' land, cities, and strength, "no
weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper"
(22: 17) and "in thy seed shall all the kindreds
of the earth be blessed" (20:27). Those references
are not to the rebellious children of Laman or the wild
and dark-skinned enemies of Mormon. Those references are
to the diverse, multi-colored, and multi-talented North
and South American Indians and Polynesians of today, in
and out of the Church. Those peoples have a great mission
still to perform beyond what they have already achieved,
and they have been promised the help, however uncomprehending
or weak, of all of us who will respond to the spirit of
The Book of
Mormon also speaks about the future of Native-Americans.
- As an expression
of God's wrath, they would be scattered and smitten
by gentiles (1 Ne. 12:14).
- God would
take away their land (2 Ne. 1:11) and cause them to
be afflicted, slain, cast out, hated—to become
a "hiss and a by-word" (3 Ne. 16:9).
- But they
would survive (2 Ne. 3:3; Alma 9:16), and their fortunes
would change for the better when they discovered their
Israelite origins, learned of the restored gospel and
how to be saved (1 Ne. 15:14).
- They would
know that this knowledge comes from God, would rejoice
(2 Ne. 30:6), and would come into the "true fold
of God" (1 Ne. 15:15).
- They would
be nourished by gentiles (22:8) who would share the
records of the Jews and the Book of Mormon with them
(2 Ne. 29:13).
- In future
generations the Lamanites would become a "white
and delightsome people" (30:6).
gentiles and Native-Americans would build the New Jerusalem
(3 Ne. 20:22; 21:22-23).
Book of Mormon also makes it clear that the Lord reserved
the New World for the Book of Mormon Lamanites.
Book of Mormon says the Jaredites came to the New world
"where there never had man been" as well as
making this promise:
Lord would not suffer that they should stop beyond the
sea in the wilderness, but he would that they should come
forth even unto the land of promise, which was choice
above all other lands, which the Lord God had
preserved for a righteous people. And he had
sworn in his wrath unto the brother of Jared, that whoso
should possess this land of promise, from that time henceforth
and forever, should serve him, the true and only God,
or they should be swept off when the fullness of his wrath
should come upon them."
we can behold the decrees of God concerning this land,
that it is a land of promise; and whatsoever nation shall
possess it shall serve God, or they shall be swept off."
this is a land which is choice above all other lands;
wherefore he that doth possess it shall serve God or shall
be swept off; for it is the everlasting decree of God."
- Ether 2:7-11
the Jaredites were all "swept off the land"
because of their iniquity and God's everlasting decree.
when the Book of Mormon Nephites and Lamanites arrived
in the New world, it says the land had been "kept
from all other nations."
2 Nephi 9-11
obtained a land of promise, a land which is choice above
all other lands; a land which the Lord God hath covenanted
with me should be a land for the inheritance of my seed.
Yea, the Lord hath covenanted this land unto me, and to
my children forever, and also all those who should be
led out of other countries by the hand of the Lord. Wherefore,
I, Lehi, prophesy according to the workings of the Spirit
which is in me, that there shall none come into this land
save they shall be brought by the hand of the Lord."
it is wisdom that this land should be kept as yet from
the knowledge of other nations; for behold, many nations
would overrun the land, that there would be no place for
an inheritance. Wherefore, I, Lehi, have obtained a promise,
that inasmuch as those whom the Lord God shall bring out
of the land of Jerusalem shall keep his commandments,
they shall prosper upon the face of this land; and it
shall be kept from all other nations, that they
may possess this land unto themselves."
Book of Mormon also explain how the Lamanites eventually
spread to all parts of the Americas
came to pass that they did multiply and spread, and did
go forth from the land southward to the land northward,
and did spread insomuch that they began to cover the face
of the whole earth, from the sea south to the sea north,
from the sea west to the sea east."
- Helaman 3:8
Consistent Testimonies of Joseph Smith
to Native-americans, the Prophet Joseph Smith declared:
"The Great Spirit has given me a book, and told me
that you will soon be blessed again. The Great Spirit
will soon talk with you and your children. This is the
book which your fathers made. I wrote upon it (showing
them the BoM). This tells you what you have to do. 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."
The Prophet Joseph Smith, Official Church History, Vol
5, p. 381
of Mormon is a record of the forefathers of our western
Tribes of Indians... By it we learn that our western tribes
of Indians are descendants from that Joseph that was sold
- The Prophet Joseph Smith, Letter to Rochester, New York,
newspaper editor N. C. Saxton, January 4, 1833.
important and interesting book, the history of America
is unfolded, from its first settlement by a colony that
came from the Tower of Babel, at the confusion of languages
to the beginning of the fifth century of the Christian
era. We are informed by these records that America in
ancient times has been inhabited by two distinct races
of people. The first were called Jaredites and came directly
from the Tower of Babel. The second race came directly
from the city of Jerusalem, about six hundred years before
Christ. They were principally Israelites, of the descendants
of Joseph. The Jaredites were destroyed about the time
that the Israelites came from Jerusalem, who succeeded
them in the inheritance of the country. The principal
nation of the second race fell in battle towards the close
of the fourth century. The remnant are the Indians that
now inhabit this country."
- The Prophet Joseph Smith, Official Church Publication
Times and Seasons, (March 1, 1842) III:707.
To be clear
what the word “remnant” meant to the Prophet
Joseph Smith, used in the Book of Mormon quote above:
'remnant' of Book of Mormon peoples are the Indians that
now inhabit this country (The United States)”
- Encyclopedia of Joseph Smith's Teachings, Mormon Church,
Deseret Book, p. 336
In June 1834,
the Prophet Joseph Smith recounted the discovery of the
skeleton of 'Zelph, the white Lamanite' in a mound in
Illinois, referring to "the mounds which had been
thrown up by the ancient inhabitants of this country -
Nephites, Lamanites, etc., subsequently the visions of
the past being opened to my understanding by the Spirit
of the Almighty, I discovered that the person whose skeleton
was before us was a white Lamanite, a large thick-set
man, and a man of God. His name was Zelph. He was a warrior
and chieftain under the great prophet Onandagus, who was
known from the Hill Cumorah, or eastern sea to the Rocky
mountains. .. He was killed in battle by the arrow found
among his ribs, during the last struggle of the Lamanites
- Documentary History of the Church, II:79-80; Manuscript
History of the Church, Book A-1:482-83, LDS Church Archives,
Salt Lake City.)
we, because we believe in the Book of Mormon as the history
of the aborigines of this continent, must we be expelled
from the institutions of our country?"
- The Prophet Joseph Smith, Letter to the Freemen of the
State of Vermont, the "Brave Green Mountain Boys",
and Honest Men . . .December, 1843
Official LDS Church Sources
Lamanites Will Become a Great People - The Lord said that
when his coming was near, the Lamanites would become a
righteous and respected people. He said, 'Before the great
day of the Lord shall come, . . . the Lamanites shall
blossom as the rose' (D&C 49:24). Great numbers of
Lamanites in North and South America and the South Pacific
are now receiving the blessings of the gospel."
- Current Official Church Instruction Handbook, Gospel
Principles, page 265
are more than 60 million people of Lamanite extraction.
It is no accident that the Church now prospers among them
in Mexico, Central and South America, in the islands of
the sea, and among the Indian tribes of North America."
- Apostle Boyd K. Packer, Church Ensign, Mar 1974, page
contrast to the relatively few in North America who could
claim Lamanite lineage (1.3 million), Packer pointed to
the many millions in Mexico, Yucatan, Guatemala, and throughout
South America: 'In all . .. . there are seventy-five million
six hundred thousand who share in your [Native American
Lamanite] birthright, of whom thirty million nine hundred
ninety thousand are pure Indians.'"
- Apostle Boyd K. Packer, Indian Week Conference at BYU,
cited by Armand L. Mauss, All Abraham’s Children,
have confirmed the existence of a great pre-Aztec civilization
on the American continent. The Book of Mormon is a record
of this civilization, beginning some 600 years before
Christ when a man named Lehi left Jerusalem and came by
boat to the Americas. The book was preserved by these
ancient people on sheets of gold. Lehi’s son Nephi
was a great prophet who foresaw much of this new land’s
future. He foresaw a time after Christ’s resurrection
when the Son of God would appear in America."
- Apostle L. Tom Perry, “God’s Hand in the
Founding of America,” New Era, Jul 1976, 45
too made promises to the tribe of Joseph, whose land,
America, was to be precious for the things of heaven and
of earth, and who would “push the people together
to the ends of the earth.” (See Deut. 33:13-17.)
These are just some of the biblical prophecies, and we
have the Book of Mormon record which tells of the Jaredites
who were the first to come to America. They came at the
time of the confusion of languages during the building
of the tower of Babel”
Eldon Tanner, “If They Will But Serve the God of
the Land,” General Conference, also LDS Church Ensign,
May 1976, p.48.
natives belong to the house of Israel.... The Lord has
taken from this race any disposition for improvement even
to this day; the best of them consider it a disgrace to
work. Whatever drudgery is performed is done by their
squaws, or by slaves captured from neighboring, tribes
or bands. Ask any of them to work; the reply is, "me
big Indian, me no work."... It is prophesied by Nephi
as follows: "For after the book [Book of Mormon]
of which I have spoken shall come forth, and be written
unto the Gentiles, and sealed up again unto the Lord,
there shall be many which shall believe the words which
are written; and they shall carry them forth unto the
remnant of our seed [the present American Indians.] And
then shall the remnant of our seed know concerning us,
how that we came out from Jerusalem, and that they are
descendants of the Jews."
- The Prophet Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses Vol.
work of the Lord 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 of priesthood must be introduced and
maintained among 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
- The Prophet John Taylor, Official Church Publication,
Mellennial Star 44:33; Oct 18, 1882.
satisfied that although we have done a little for the
Lamanites, we have got to do a great deal more. I sealed
the first Lamanite-ish man and woman together that ever
were sealed in this dispensation. It was in the Endowment
House, and quite a number of brethren and sisters were
present. The man's name was Laman. The day will come when
these Lamanites, with the dark skin that rests upon them,
will enter into these Temples of the Lord in these mountains
and do a great deal of work. They will come to an understanding
of the redemption of the dead. They will have wisdom given
unto them. They will have light and truth given unto them,
and the spirit of their forefathers will be manifest unto
them. I am thankful that I am able to see these Lamanites
here. The Prophet of God saw what would come to pass,
and he told the truth.
- The Prophet Wilford Woodruff, St. George Conference,
June 12th and 13th, 1892.
that the existing Indian tribes are all direct descendants
of Lehi and his company, and that therefore they have
sprung from men all of whom were of the house of Israel."
- Apostle James E. Talmage, The Articles of Faith, p.293
recent years there has arisen among certain students of
the Book of Mormon a theory to the effect that within
the period covered by the Book of Mormon, the Nephites
and Lamanites were confined almost within the borders
of the territory comprising Central America and the southern
portion of Mexico; the Isthmus of Tehuantepec probably
being the "narrow neck" of land spoken of in
the Book of Mormon rather than the Isthmus of Panama...This
modernistic theory of necessity, in order to be consistent,
must place the waters of Ripliancum and the Hill Cumorah
some place within the restricted territory of Central
America, notwithstanding the teachings of the Church to
the contrary for upwards of 100 years... In the light
of revelation it is absurd for anyone to maintain that
the Nephites and Lamanites did not possess this northern
land... In the face of this evidence coming from the Prophet
Joseph Smith, Oliver Cowdery and David Whitmer, we cannot
say that the Nephites and Lamanites did not possess the
territory of the United States and that the Hill Cumorah
is in Central America."
- Apostle and Prophet Joseph Fielding Smith, Church News,
Feb. 27, 1954, pp. 2-3
saw a striking contrast in the progress of the Indian
people today.... The day of the Lamanites is nigh. For
years they have been growing delightsome, and they are
now becoming white and delightsome, as they were promised.
In this picture of the twenty Lamanite missionaries, fifteen
of the twenty were as light as Anglos, five were darker
but equally delightsome The children in the home placement
program in Utah are often lighter than their brothers
and sisters in the hogans on the reservation. At one meeting
a father and mother and their sixteen-year-old daughter
were present, the little member girl--sixteen--sitting
between the dark father and mother, and it was evident
she was several shades lighter than her parents--on the
same reservation, in the same hogan, subject to the same
sun and wind and weather....These young members of the
Church are changing to whiteness and to delightsomeness."
- Apostle and Prophet Spencer W. Kimball, General Conference
Address, Spring 1960
Columbus discovered America, the native inhabitants, the
American Indians as they were soon to be designated, were
a people of mixed blood and origin. Chiefly, they were
Lamanites, but such remnants of the Nephite nation as
had not been destroyed had, of course, mingled with the
Lamanites. Thus the Indians were Jews by nationality....
[since then] there has been [a]... dilution of the pure
Lamanitish blood. ... But with it all, the great majority
are the descendants of the original inhabitants of the
Western Hemisphere, the dominant blood lineage is that
of Israel. The Indians are repeatedly called Lamanites
in the revelations to.... become again a white and delightsome
people as were their ancestors a great many generations
- Apostle Bruce R. McConkie, Mormon Doctrine, 2nd Ed.,
1966, pp. 32-33.
the Book of Mormon is about the only historical document
we have at the present time of this great western world?
... . It tells, briefly, it is true, a story that at once
could be accepted by scientists, philologists and all
other men who would investigate it. Every year brings
to our knowledge something that corroborates that book
as a true historical document"
- Apostle Andrew Jensen Conference Report, October 1907,
(holding the Book of Mormon in his hand) we present a
record of this American continent, a history of a branch
of the tribe of Joseph, for nearly 600 years before Christ,
and until 420 years after Christ, a history of the Lord's
dealings with them from the time they left Jerusalem until
one of their principal nations fell in battle, because
of their apostasy; and the descendants of the remaining
remnant are this degenerated people we call Indians, who
still exist. .... which afterwards became a "multitude
of nations," according to the blessing pronounced
by the ancient patriarch Jacob, when [p.174] blessing
his two grandsons, Ephraim and Manasseh."
- Apostle Orson Pratt Journal of Discourses Vol. 19, p.173
pray to the Father, in the name of Jesus, to convert these
Indian tribes around us ... that they shall be instructed
not only in relation to their fathers and the Gospel contained
in the record of their fathers... because they are of
the blood of Israel"
- Apostle Orson Pratt, Journal of Discourses Vol. 17,
blood of Manasseh is found in the tribes and nations of
the Indians of North and South America."
- Apostle Hyrum G. Smith, Conf report April 1929, p 123
have scarcely touched the Indian races. There is an immense
field spreading out before the Elders of this Church in
the redemption of these poor remnants of the house of
Israel. ... But here stretches out before us this immense
continent on the south, peopled with descendants of the
house of Israel"
- Apostle George Q Cannon, Collected Discourses Vol. 5,
serve and to teach hundreds of the children of Father
Lehi. One expression of appreciation from an Indian boy
included these moving words: "Before I took LDS seminary
I didn't have very much to live for. ... I had always
felt that Indians could not do things as well as white
people. Now I know that I am a child of God. I know that
my people are of the house of Israel. ... "
- Apostle Neal A. Maxwell Conference Report, October 1970,
had the privilege of laboring among the true blood of
Israel, through the loins of Joseph, through the two branches
of the House of Israel--Ephraim and Manasseh -- a people
whom the Lord loves -- a people whom the Lord chastens
and forgives because of their great faith."
- Apostle E. Wesley Smith Conference Report, October 1950,
he [God] has the Indian or Lamanite, with a background
of twenty-five centuries of superstition, degradation,
idolatry, and indolence.... I present to you a people
who, according to prophecies, have been scattered and
driven, defrauded and deprived, who are a "branch
of the tree of Israel -- lost from its body -- wanderers
in a strange land"--their own land.... I beg of you,
do not disparage the Lamanite-Nephites ... Do not scoff
and ignore these Nephite-Lamanites... Do not prate your
power of speech or your fearlessness unless you too could
stand with the Prophet Samuel on the city wall, dodging
stones and spears and arrows while trying to preach the
gospel of salvation. The very descendants of this great
prophet are with us. They may be Navajos or Cherokees....
Mayas or Pimas.... Piutes or Mohicans.... And in these
living descendants ... will be redeemed, will rise and
will become a blessed people. God has said it."
- Apostle and Prophet Spencer W. Kimball, Conference Report,
April 1954, p.106-108
sense I do not feel sorry for the Indian people because
they are children of promise, belonging as they do to
the house of Israel and are the posterity of Abraham,
the father of the faithful, through whose lineage the
Lord promised that all nations of the earth are to be
blessed; therefore, they are a chosen race and people
unto God, possessing a divine and royal heritage."
- Apostle Delbert L. Stapley , Conference Report, April
that a majority of the brethren and sisters who are here
this afternoon have read in the Book of Mormon the statement
made by one of the writers, quoting the words of our Savior,
in regard to the city of New Jerusalem, that the Gentiles
should be called to assist the Lamanites, or the seed
of the house of Israel, in the erection and building of
that city. ... I begin to see a little of the preparatory
work that I think is going to fit and prepare the seed
of Lehi, or the Lamanites, to perform this great and glorious
work that has been predicted upon their heads. One of
the ancient prophets predicted that kings and queens should
be the nursing fathers and nursing mothers of the seed
of Israel in the latter days; and I find that, in a sense,
this is being fulfilled in the stake over which I preside.
The government of the United States, which, I presume,
may be classed with the kingdoms of the earth, is establishing
schools, and there is one in our neighborhood that I desire
to refer to briefly. It is upon the San Juan river, among
the Navajo Indians, and is costing several hundreds of
thousands of dollars."
- Apostle Walter C. Lyman , Conference Report, October
is a country of about three million people. About half
of them still dress in the Indian costume of a thousand
or two thousand years back. They are wonderful people,
very simple.... . I went... to present them with a Book
of Mormon. I started to say, "I come to give you
a copy of the Book of Mormon, a history of your people,"
and two chiefs immediately arose on their feet, and I
started to say, "You are of the house of Israel,"
but before I could get it out of my mouth they jumped
to their feet and said, "We are of the House of Israel."
- Apostle Gordon M. Romney, Conference Report, April 1957,
is the destiny of our Indian tribes... the Lord has rewarded
unto them double for all the sins that were committed
by their ancient fathers in their apostasy, and when he
has visited them in judgment according to the prophecies
that are contained in this Book of Mormon, and the times
of the Gentiles who noir occupy this land are fulfilled,
then the Lord will make have his arm, and he will redeem
these remnants of Israel, that they may inherit the blessings
promised to their ancient fathers."
- Apostle Orson Pratt, Journal of Discourses Vol. 16,
the discovery of America, the Quiches vigorously opposed
marrying Spanish conquistadors and members of successive
groups of European colonists. They have held tenaciously
to a traditional custom practiced by the ancient Israelites
and brought to America by the Nephites who I believe were
among their forebears. This custom was based on a belief
that people of Israelite stock are God's chosen people
and must keep their racial stock pure. While the Nephites
were living the gospel of Jesus Christ during Book of
Mormon days, this chosen people doctrine was a safeguard
against their marrying Lamanites. After the last great
war, the surviving Nephites, however, mixed with the Lamanites;
but it seems that the chosen people doctrine survived
and was handed down through their pagan posterity, the
Quiche Mayas. It has resulted in this people maintaining
themselves through successive generations as a more or
less pureblood Indian race, perhaps maintaining themselves
as direct descendants of Nephite-Lamanite peoples more
purely than have any other tribe of the American Indians."
Milton R. Hunter, "Archaeology and the Book of Mormon,"
will He suffer that the Gentiles shall destroy the seed
of thy brethren"—that is, the Lamanites proper.
They were not to be permitted to destroy Nephi's seed
that should be mingled among the Lamanites, nor should
they be permitted to destroy the Lamanites—that
is, the descendants of Laman and Lemuel. Nephi predicted
this. To-day it is said that the Indians will perish,
and that it is impossible to save them. Here is the word
of God recorded in this sacred book. ... And strange to
say—if anything can be said to be strange connected
with the work of God—the descendants of those ancient
covenant people of the Lord, have gladly received the
testimony of the servants of God. Wherever we have gone
and mingled with those people, with those Red Men, and
been able to communicate to them the truths of which we
are in possession, which God has revealed to us, ... and
everywhere where those men with red skins dwell, they
have gladly received the testimony of God's servants concerning
the Gospel, and they rejoice in its fullness and in the
knowledge that their fathers once possessed, and of the
redemption that Jesus Christ has wrought out for them."
- Apostle George Q Cannon, Journal of Discourses, Vol.
25, p.124, (1884)
We must always
remember, we only have the authentic record which furnishes
the true origin of the American Indians, their history
and God's work and gospel teachings among them. Great
are the promises of the Lord unto the Indians, which spiritual
blessings this people alone hold the keys, rights, and
powers to grant and bestow upon them. In a sense I do
not feel sorry for the Indian people because they are
children of promise, belonging as they do to the house
of Israel and are the posterity of Abraham, the father
of the faithful, through whose lineage the Lord promised
that all nations of the earth are to be blessed; therefore,
they are a chosen race and people unto God, possessing
a divine and royal heritage. However, I do feel sorry
about the lack of privileges, denial of citizenship rights,
and insufficient opportunities for schooling and culture
which continue to shroud them in darkness and despair.
Our apparent insufficient interest and somewhat unsatisfactory
follow-up of the Prophet Joseph Smith's taking the Book
of Mormon and the gospel to the Indian as well as partial
failure to heed the counsel of all presidents of the Church
in relation to this program, is an indictment against
us and represents a challenge and an obligation we cannot
afford longer to ignore.
- Elder Delbert L. Stapely, Conference Report, April 1956,
And, in May
1844 a band of Sac and Fox Indians came and camped out
in Nauvoo to see JS, complaining "they had been robbed
of their lands by whites and cruelly treated." J.S.'s
" I told them I knew they had been wronged, but that
we had bought this land and paid our money for it. I advised
them not to sell any more land, but to cultivate peace
with the different tribes and with all men, as the Great
Spirit wanted them to be united and to live in peace.
'The Great Spirit has enabled me to find a book [showing
them the Book of Mormon], which told me about your fathers,
and the Great Spirit told me, 'You must send to all the
tribes you can, and tell them to live in peace;' and when
any of our people come to see you, I want you to treat
them as we treat you.'" (Vol 6, p. 401-402).
the revelations of Joseph Smith, bringing forth the Book
of Mormon, did any one know of these migrants. It was
not known before, but now the question is fully answered.
Now the Lamanites number about sixty million; they are
in all of the states of America from Tierra del Fuego
all the way up to Point Barrows, and they are in nearly
all the islands of the sea from Hawaii south to southern
New Zealand. The Church is deeply interested in all Lamanites
because of these revelations and because of this great
Book of Mormon, their history that was written on plates
of gold and deposited in the hill. The translation by
the Prophet Joseph Smith revealed a running history for
one thousand years-six hundred years before Christ until
four hundred after Christ-a history of these great people
who occupied this land for that thousand years. Then for
the next fourteen hundred years, they lost much of their
high culture. The descendants of this mighty people were
called Indians by Columbus in 1492 when he found them
--Spencer W. Kimball, "Of Royal Blood," Ensign,
July 1971, 7 (In the "Special Lamanite Section")
Angel appeared so pleasant, beautiful and glorious, and
his countenance radiated such happiness on the mind of
this young lad that all fear was taken from him as on
the former occasion. This personage told him that he was
an Angel of God, and that he had been sent, in answer
to his prayer, with a very important message to deliver
to him; that God designed to accomplish a great work on
the earth, and that he was to be a chosen instrument in
laying the foundation of, and establishing this work.
He commenced telling him about the ancient inhabitants
of this continent. He told him that the present American
Indians were the descendants of Israel; that their forefathers
were brought here from Jerusalem about six centuries before
Christ; that when they came they were a righteous people
and had Prophets among them; that when they landed on
this continent they commenced, by the commandment of the
Lord, keeping a record of their history, their prophecies
and sacred doings upon metallic plates; that that nation,
after having dwelt here about a thousand years, fell into
great wickedness; that they divided themselves into two
great nations; that the portion that had these plates,
the Nephites, had so far apostatized from the Lord, that
he threatened their overthrow, and to destroy them if
they did not repent; that the Prophets went forth among
them prophesying that if they did not repent, the other
nation, called Lamanites, would destroy them from the
face of the land.
- Apostle Orson Pratt, Sep 22, 1872
had sent him as a messenger, in answer to his prayer,
in order to impart unto him further information. And then
he commenced telling him that this great American continent
was once occupied by a numerous people, the descendants
of the house of Israel, most of them the descendants of
a remnant of the tribe of Joseph; that they carne here
from Jerusalem by the direct guidance of the Almighty,
some six centuries before Christ; that in a vessel, which
they built by the command of God, they came round by the
Gulf of Arabia, crossed the Great Pacific Ocean, and landed
on the western coast of South America; that the descendants
of these people had many Prophets among them, and that
after they had been on this continent about a thousand
years, during the progress of which they had become divided
into two distinct nations, they fell into great wickedness,
and that God threatened them with overthrow; the people
of one of these nations were called Lamanites, from Laman,
one of the colony which came out of Jerusalem; that the
people of the other nation were called Nephites, taking
their name from Nephi, the brother of Laman; that between
three and four centuries after Christ these two nations
occupied the two great wings of this continent, the Lamanites
occupying South America, and the Nephites North America;
but the Nephites, at that time, having apostatized [p.281]
from the religion of their fathers, and many of them having
become exceedingly wicked, the Lord threatened them with
an overthrow. And he commanded one of the last Prophets,
named Mormon, to make an abridgment of all the records
of former Prophets who had been raised up on this land,
an abridgment of the history of the nation from the time
that they left Jerusalem until that time. He did so, and
committed the abridged record, written on plates of gold,
into the hands of another Prophet, his son Moroni. The
original records, from which the abridgment was made,
were hid up by Mormon in a hill called Cumorah, in the
interior of what is now called the State of New York,
but the abridgment was still in possession of the Prophet
Moroni. About this time, or a little before this time,
there had been a fifty years war between the inhabitants
of North and South America; and finally the Lamanites
of South America drove the Nephites from the Isthmus,
and continued to burn their towns, cities and villages,
and they destroyed hundreds and thousands of the Nephites;
and ultimately they were driven into what we now call
the State of New York. Three hundred and eighty years
after the birth of Christ they entered into terms of peace,
or, in other words, an armistice, for the space of four
years, during which time the two nations gathered together
all their forces into one vicinity, near the hill Cumorah.
And when the four years of peace, or armistice, had expired,
they came together in battle, in which the Nephites were
overpowered, and hundreds of thousands of them killed,
including women and children. Moroni, who was among the
few Nephites who were spared, and in whose possession
was the abridgment which had been made by his father,
Mormon, was commanded to hide up that abridgment in the
hill Cumorah, near the town of Manchester, Ontario County,
State of New York."
- Apostle Orson Pratt, Sep 20, 1874