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Brigham Young and how to rid the country of Native Americans

“There is a curse on these aborigines of our country who roam the plains, and are so wild that you cannot tame them. They are of the house of Israel; they once had the Gospel delivered to them, they had oracles of truth; Jesus came and administered to them after his resurrection, and they received and delighted in the Gospel until the fourth generation, then they turned away and become so wicked that God cursed them with this dark and benighted and loathsome condition; and they want to sit on the ground in the dirt, and to live by hunting, and they cannot be civilized. And right upon this, I will say to our government if they could hear me, “You need never fight the Indians, but if you want to get rid of them try to civilize them.” How many were here when we came? At the Warm Springs, at this little grove where they would pitch their tents, we found perhaps three hundred Indians; but I do not suppose that there are three of that bank left alive now. There was another band a little south, another north, another further east; but I do not suppose there is one in ten, perhaps not one in a hundred, now alive of those who were here when we came. Did we kill them? No, we fed them. They would say, “We want just as fine flour as you have.” To Walker, the chief, whom all California and New Mexico dreaded, I said, “It will just as sure kill as the world, if you live as we live.” Said he, “I want as good as Brigham, I want to eat as he does.” Said I, “Eat then, but it will kill you.” I told the same to Arapeen, Walker’s brother; but they must eat and drink as the whites did, and I do not suppose that one in a hundred of those bands are alive. We brought their children into our families, and nursed and did everything for them it was possible to do for human beings, but die they would. Do not fight them, but treat them kindly. There will then be no stain on the Government, and it will get rid of them much quicker than by fighting them. They have got to be civilized, and there will be a remnant of them saved.” Brigham Young – Discourse given in the new Tabernacle on April 9, 1871.

I stand all amazed at God’s choice in Mormon “prophets”. I wish I had more to write on this, but at the moment I am completely speechless, and honestly reading his words were a bit of a trigger for me. Dealing with some annoying emotions now. I have been for days. I thought I would be able to write more, but I think quoting him is enough. So ya, that happened… (Edit: If you read this, please follow also read the story of the Timpanogos Natives being given flour with crushed glass.)

Please always remember most current Mormons do not know this history within their church, and there are many good people within The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. As a member for 39 years I had very limited knowledge of where the teachings and traditions within Mormonism originated. Though I stand on the opposite side of things now, I hope everyone can have compassion for those still active in the religion.

(The Journal of Discourses was once regarded as official canon and is still used as a source for many quotes in every lesson manual.)

Sources Cited

Young, Brigham. Journal of Discourses, Volume 14, pg 86-87. April 9, 1871, Discourse delivered in the Tabernacle, Web. 18 February, 2018.





  1. Thank you, as always, for bringing light and understanding to the world. You truly are the prophetess needed. If only, if only, the Mormon Church could change. Alas, it never will, but will go quietly into the dust, perhaps a hundred years it will take to fully go away, but eventually it will.


    • Thanks Kevin. That quote was actually a hard one for me to share, but so important as much of the early history is ignored or dismissed. I don’t think the church will change either, if the last few weeks within it were any indicator. Thanks for your comment!


  2. I am also a lamanite, my parents come from Mexico. I was a very devout Mormon and supported and believed everything for 20 years. I am inactive 4years now. I believe the doctrine but I have problems with church practices which in turn lead me to sometimes doubt some doctrine. The way I handle these types of comments that have been documented in journal of discourses is: If our leaders can be saved after all this then so can I. They were human with limited understanding and not everything said was inspired or correct. God knows our hearts and I hope he will merciful to me with all of my short comings.


    • Hi, I agree they were human with limited understanding, as is the current leadership. Though even the current leadership officially admits that not all indigenous people are “Lamanites” and that they have not in fact officially found any Lamanites at all. Since DNA evidence has come forward the narrative has changed, though it is not openly discussed. I love your last words, expressing forgiveness and focusing on hope. I too have hope, that truth is embraced and honored. Thank you so much for your comment. I hope you find peace in your own personal journey.


  3. It’s interesting that the Church–not being able to “civilize” the Indians through coercion and political manipulation vis-à-vis the Council of Fifty and the planned overthrow of the U.S. government–now found native presence in the West a nuisance to the growing empire of Brigham Young. It’s yet another story of subjugation of native peoples. In this case, first, trying to leverage them through fanciful stories of lost history, divine disfavor, and eventual promised blessings through merciful conquerors, and second–when that didn’t work–trying to wipe them from the face of the Earth. As with other genocides, the conquerors must employ a rhetoric of dehumanization in order to justify their actions. This helps to maintain an “us and them” perspective. Through it all is utter disdain of the “Indians” and the refusal to even recognize them as peoples–ones which somehow managed to live for centuries before the Mormons came to save the salvageable remnants. What may even more telling as time reveals, is that Joseph Smith’s Book of Mormon was nothing more than an attempt to capitalize on Ethan Smith’s View of the Hebrews by feigning ancient scripture to settle the religious questions of the day, gain political power, and eventually reign unchallenged. As Apostles Wight and Kimball noted, Joseph had already been crowned president pro tem of the world. The lust for power takes so many paths.


    • Yes yes yes to all of this. But your last line is what really stood out to me, it all comes down to “power”. It isn’t about God, it is about men’s quest for power. Race, gender, orientation, land, politics, religion, all of these things within Mormonism’s history revolve around power. Love that you pointed out that ole Joe Smith wanted to profit off of a book. When he first wrote it he was simply trying to sell it. Thanks so much for your comment! Really enjoyed it.


    • Hi. Yes, I agree, he was a tyrant for sure. Though he is not solely responsible for the Lamanite mislabeling and racism, he was definitely a terrible part of history. I admit I have never heard anyone say they hate the restoration though. I am curious if you would be willing to explain. No pressure though. Thank you for including your views on the link you shared. I may view things differently, but do really appreciate your approach to faith.


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