Joseph Smith

Joseph Smith
Prophet, Seer and Revelator

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Indian Children

As Brigham Young worked with the Indians, he found their ways different from his.

A number of the Indians stole children from other tribes and took them to Mexico where they sold them into slavery. Brigham taught the Indians this practice was wrong.

During a fight between a Ute band and the Little Wolf band, the Utes took two children hostage. The Utes wanted to sell the young Indians, a boy and a girl, to Charles Decker, Brigham’s brother-in-law, but he didn’t want to buy children. The Utes threatened to kill the children if Brother Decker didn’t buy them. Brother Decker still hesitated, so the Utes killed the Indian boy. Brother Decker was afraid the Utes would kill the girl also, so he traded her for a gun.

He took the Indian child to live with his sister, Clara Decker Young, at Brigham’s home. The family named her Sally. Because Sally had been mistreated by the Indians, she stayed to herself at first, not wanting to be with the other children. But Clara loved her and took care of her, and Sally learned to help with the housework. She eventually became the chief cook in the Beehive House (one of Brigham’s homes).

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Railway under the Table

Brigham Young had some very creative ideas about how to live. He thought the pioneers could cook and eat together. He suggested that five hundred people might eat in a hall with a kitchen at one end. “[If there is] a person at the further end of the table . . . he should telegraph that he wanted a warm beef steak; and this is conveyed to him by a little railway, perhaps under the table . . . And when they have all eaten, the dishes are piled together, slipped under the table, and run back to the ones who wash them.” Would kids have a hay-day with this one. I would love watching this under-the-table railway myself.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Indians in Las Vegas

Heavenly Father not only told Brigham what to do for the entire Church, but also for individuals when Brigham needed their help to colonize the west.

Aroet Lucious Hale records in his journal that he and several others were called at April Conference of 1855 to serve a mission to the Navajo Indians in the Colorado River area. Their main camp was to be in Las Vegas. It was not a safe place to go because the Indians raided emigration parties who passed through on their way to southern California. The Indians stole the pioneers’ animals and sometimes killed the men, leaving the women and children in the desert.

Before the missionaries traveled to Las Vegas, Brigham gave them a blessing that if they would remain prayerful and follow Brigham’s “council strictly,” they would return safely to their families and find them all well.

On their mission, one of the missionaries nearly drowned crossing the Colorado River. He and his horse went into a deep, swirling hole, sucking both of them under the water and pulling the man off his horse. The missionaries on the bank thought he was dead. But the man swam to the surface, coughing and sputtering. He grabbed the horse’s tail and was pulled to the bank. Brother Hale remembered President Young’s blessing and was grateful for it.

Another time, seven of the missionaries, including Brother Hale, were out scouting when they were surrounded by twenty Navajos covered with war paint, bows drawn, and arrows pointing at them. The missionaries’ Indian guide ran away, and the men were left alone. Their interpreter, George Been, told the Navajos that the Mormons were sent by the Great White Chief Brigham Young to trade with them if they would smoke the peace pipe.

George Been found out from the Indians that the chief’s papoose was sick and dying. The Navajos said their god was angry because the Indians allowed the white man to cross their lands. If the child died, the Mormons would all be killed at sundown. George convinced the Indians to allow the missionaries to go to their camp and smoke the peace pipe. After they smoked, the missionaries were permitted to see the papoose. A missionary named Brother Snider took his handkerchief, dipped it in warm water, and washed the child. When the child was clean they knelt around the papoose and administered a blessing. The child opened his eyes and was healed. The missionaries fed the papoose a little bread and sugar in warm water. It was all the food they had with them. The men were allowed to return to Las Vegas unharmed.

Aroet Lucious Hale thought again of President Young’s blessing and was thankful. Every missionary eventually returned home to find their families safe and well.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Follow the Prophet

Right after the pioneers came to the Salt Lake Valley, the gold rush began in California. Some of the Saints wanted to leave to work the California gold fields and then return to Utah with lots of money.

Brigham knew Heavenly Father wanted the Saints to stay in the Salt Lake Valley. He told the people that “Those of you who stop here and are faithful to God . . . will make more money and get richer than you that run after the God of this world; and I promise you in the name of the Lord [those] who stay here . . . will prosper and be able to buy you twice over. Here is the place God has appointed for his people.”

Some members of the Church decided to go to California anyway. Sam Brannan had brought a group of Mormons by ship from New York around the tip of South America to San Francisco, and he wanted the Church to relocate in California where the weather was mild and the gold was plentiful. Brother Brannan came to Utah to convince Brigham Young to move the Church there. When Brigham Young refused, Sam Brannan returned to the San Francisco area to get gold. He also bought and sold land and became one of the wealthiest men in California. But he acquired drunken habits and lost his family and all his money. He died a pauper.

Great Lesson for kids to teach them to follow the Prophet.