Who Are the Lamanites?





What is the consistent LDS Church Doctrine regarding the ancestral origins of American Indians?

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indian-warriorsThe Lord declares it in the Doctrine and Covenants scriptures:

D&C 3:18-20 --

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 saved. Amen

Official LDS Church Proclamation

"We also 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."

For the record, the LDS Church has consistently and emphatically declared that Lamanites exist today, and who they are:

The Doctrine and Covenants

lamanite-doctrineD&C 28: 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.

D&C 28: 9
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.

D&C 28: 14
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.

D&C 30: 6
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;

D&C 32: 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.

D&C 49: 24
But before the great day of the Lord shall come, Jacob shall flourish in the wilderness, and the Lamanites shall blossom as the rose.

D&C 54: 8
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?

D&C 10:45,48 "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 dissensions.

D&C 19:26-27 "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.

D&C 57:Heading, 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."

D&C 109: Heading, Verses 65-66. The Lord identifies Native-Americans as "the remnants of Jacob"

mormon-lamaniteThe Lord's Messenger to Joseph Smith

"The Angel 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."

"He said 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 former inhabitants."

The Book of Mormon

mormon-gold-plates2 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."

The preface 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?

Throughout 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. 7:1-2).
  • It would convince the Native-Americans of the error of their forbearers' traditions and iniquity (Alma 37:8-9; Mosiah 28:1-2).
  • 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).

Jesus Christ 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 Lehi.

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).
  • Together gentiles and Native-Americans would build the New Jerusalem (3 Ne. 20:22; 21:22-23).

mormon-bookThe Book of Mormon also makes it clear that the Lord reserved the New World for the Book of Mormon Lamanites.

The Book of Mormon says the Jaredites came to the New world "where there never had man been" as well as making this promise:

"And the 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."

"And now, 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."

"For behold, 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

Eventually, the Jaredites were all "swept off the land" because of their iniquity and God's everlasting decree.

Much later 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

"We have 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."

"And behold, 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."

The Book of Mormon also explain how the Lamanites eventually spread to all parts of the Americas

"And it 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

The Consistent Testimonies of Joseph Smith

moromn-lamanitesPreaching 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

"The Book 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 into Egypt…".
- The Prophet Joseph Smith, Letter to Rochester, New York, newspaper editor N. C. Saxton, January 4, 1833.

"In this 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:

“The '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 and Nephites."
- Documentary History of the Church, II:79-80; Manuscript History of the Church, Book A-1:482-83, LDS Church Archives, Salt Lake City.)

"Must 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

Other Official LDS Church Sources

mormon-doctrine"The 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

"There 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 3

indian-tribes"In 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, p. 96

"Archaeologists 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

“Moses 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”
- Apostle
N. Eldon Tanner, “If They Will But Serve the God of the Land,” General Conference, also LDS Church Ensign, May 1976, p.48.

"These 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. 10, p.359

mormon-baptism"The 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 brethren.
- The Prophet John Taylor, Official Church Publication, Mellennial Star 44:33; Oct 18, 1882.

"I am 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.

"We believe 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

"Within 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

mormon-lamanites"I 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

"When 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 ago."
- Apostle Bruce R. McConkie, Mormon Doctrine, 2nd Ed., 1966, pp. 32-33.

"... that 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, p.96

"Here (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

"We can 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, p.301, (1875)

"... the 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

"And we 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, p.269

"... to 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, p.93

"I have 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, p.47

"Here 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

"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."
- Apostle Delbert L. Stapley , Conference Report, April 1956, p.56

"I presume 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 1907, p.86

"Guatemala 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, p.80

"That 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, p.353 (1874)

"Following 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."
Elder Milton R. Hunter, "Archaeology and the Book of Mormon," p.71

"Neither 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, p.56

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 response was:
" 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).

"Not until 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 here."
--Spencer W. Kimball, "Of Royal Blood," Ensign, July 1971, 7 (In the "Special Lamanite Section")

"This 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

"The Lord 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

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