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Insight Archive

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Native American Emphasis

You may be wondering: "Why the emphasis on the Native American?"
I do take pride in being a person of Native American descent (50%). It isn't my main reason, however. I have chosen it to emphasize because of the Book of Mormon.

Elder Larry EchoHawk, a Pawnee and former Attorney for The Shoshone-Bannock Tribes (yes, my tribe), shared the story of his experience while reading the scared book for the first time last year in October, "On the title page I read that it is 'written to the Lamanites, who are a remnant of the house of Israel; and also to Jew and Gentile.' In the introduction to the Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ, it says that the Lamanites 'are among the ancestors of the American Indians.' As I read the Book of Mormon, it seemed to me that it was about my American Indian ancestors."
Just as the Bible is a written history of the Jews and God's dealings with them, and to the convincing of the Jew and Gentile of the divinity of Jesus Christ; The Book of Mormon is a written history of the Native Americans and God's dealings with them, and to the convincing of the Native Americans (and Jew and Gentile) of the divinity of Jesus Christ. Elder EchoHawk noted further that, "The Book of Mormon has a special message for descendants of the Lamanites, a remnant of the house of Israel. Nephi expressed this message while interpreting his father’s vision of these latter days: 'And at that day shall the remnant of our seed know that they are of the house of Israel, and that they are the covenant people of the Lord; and then shall they know and come to the knowledge of their forefathers, and also to the knowledge of the gospel of their Redeemer, which was ministered unto their fathers by him; wherefore, they shall come to the knowledge of their Redeemer and the very points of his doctrine, that they may know how to come unto him and be saved' (1 Nephi 15:14)."

 We, the descendants of Lehi, are of the House of Israel. Our God is the God of Abraham, Issac, and Jacob. The covenants the Lord made with them are ours also. We may claim divine right to those promises as we come unto our Savior, Jesus Christ. The Book of Mormon testifies to that fact. An important observation to keep in mind is the Native Americans (in the United States and Northward) are not the only descendants of Lehi. We ought not neglect those who are also of Mayan, Incan, and Aztec descent. They, primarily known as Hispanics (of which I am 25%), are also of the the House of Israel.
I know there are some who are not of Lamanitic ancestry (of which I am the other 25%) who will read this. That, too, is fine. The Book of Mormon is also written to "Jew and Gentile." Though, this blogs existence is to echo the plea of Elder EchoHawk, "I especially ask the remnant of the house of Israel, the descendants of the people of the Book of Mormon, wherever you may be, to read and reread the Book of Mormon. Learn of the promises contained in the Book of Mormon. Follow the teachings and example of Jesus Christ. Make and keep covenants with the Lord. Seek for and follow the guidance of the Holy Spirit." And to join in the plea our father Lehi: "... arise from the dust [my brothers and sisters]... and be determined... and...united in all things, that ye may not come down into captivity... put on the armor of righteousness. Shake off the chains with which ye are bound, and come forth out of obscurity, and arise from the dust." (2 Nephi 1: 21-23; underline added) God, through his Holy Spirit, has given me a wonderful gift. That is the knowledge of Jesus Christ. He is the only way I can be saved. I also know Christ has called a prophet to guide us before his second reign, even the Prophet Joseph Smith, and His kingdom is the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

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