Contents

Page 35

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Title Volume 18, Number 4, Winter 1985
Subject Periodicals; Mormons; Religious thought; Philosophy and religion
Description Independent national quarterly established to express Mormon culture and examine the relevance of religion to secular life. It is edited by Mormons who wish to bring their faith into dialogue with human experience as a whole and to foster artistic and scholarly achievement based on their cultural heritage. The journal encourages a variety of viewpoints; although every effort is made to insure accurate scholarship and responsible judgment, the views expressed are those of the individual authors and are not necessarily those of the Mormon Church or of the editors.
Website http://dialoguejournal.com
Publisher Dialogue Foundation, 202 West 300 North, Salt Lake City, Utah 84103
Scanning Vendor Backstage Library Works - 1180 S. 800 E. Orem, UT 84097
Contributors Newell, Linda King ; Newell, L. Jackson
Date 1985
Type Text
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Language eng
Rights Management Digital image, copyright 2004, Dialogue Foundation. All rights reserved.
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Title Page 35
Identifier V18N04-2529_Page 35.jpg
Source Dialogue: Vol 18 No 4
Description Whittaker: Historical and Bibliographical Introduction 35 Smith approved Andrew Jackson's policy of moving the eastern Indian tribes to a western reservation, noting that the U.S. government was actually assisting with the gathering of Israel (HC 2:358-62, Prucha 1:183-292). During the few times Smith personally met with Indian leaders, he counselled peace and referred them to the Book of Mormon for the details of their own history. (See Parry's essay in this volume. HC 4:401-2, 5:363, 479-81, 6:401-2.) No one essay or book can possibly treat all the complex issues of Mormon relations with native Americans. What we seek to do here is to present a historical overview, identify some key topics, and provide an adequate bibliography for serious study of native Americans and Mormons in the continental United States north of Mexico and excluding Alaska. An Overview of Mormon-Native American Relationships The first Mormon preaching among native Americans occurred when Joseph Smith sent several missionaries to the western border of Missouri in the winter of 1830-31 (Jennings 1971; Pratt 1874). In a revelation given in Missouri on 17 July 1831 Joseph Smith told these first missionaries to the Indians: "For it is my will that in time, ye should take unto you wives of the Lamanites and Nephites that their posterity may become white, delightsome and just, for even now their females are more virtuous than the gentiles." William W. Phelps included the "substance" (two pages) of the revelation in a 12 August 1861 letter to Brigham Young, now in the Church Historical Department. Several things are apparent: (1) While the Book of Mormon strongly teaches that God removes the curse of the dark skin, this document implies that intermarriage can; (2) Some scholars think that this revelation was the initial impetus for plural marriage, as some of the missionaries had wives in Ohio; and (3) This document seems to have begun the Mormon practice of marrying native Americans. Some of the contents of the document better fit an 1861 context and it is possible that Phelps added his own understanding thirty years later. Ezra Booth confirms early talk about marrying Indians, but the reasons for doing so probably did not include polygamy or even changing skin color, but rather facilitating entrance into the reservation for missionary work (Booth 1831; W. Hall 1852, 59; J. Brown 1960, 320-23; Brooks 1944; Coates 1972; Stenhouse 1873, 657-59; Bachman 1975, 68-73). This first Indian mission ended in failure, produced the first non-Mormon charges that Mormons and Indians were in league to destroy other whites on (15 Feb. 1844): 432. In 1833, an editorial in the Evening and Morning Star [1 (June 1833) : 99] saw recent reports of archaeological excavations in North Carolina and Ohio as providing proof of both Nephite and Jaredite skills in art and science. Four months before this report, the same newspaper cited the reports of Lt. Col. Galindo from Central America about the great civilizations in ancient America. Early Mormon commentators saw no contradiction in their claims that all native Americans were explained by the Book of Mormon. This view allowed them to see evidence of Lamanites everywhere they went in North America. John Sorenson (1985) assumes a local setting, claiming that the Book of Mormon requires a locus in Central America. While this thesis promises to become the new orthodoxy within Mormonism, it modifies the thrust and content of early Mormon apologies.
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