Book of Mormon/Lamanites/Relationship to Polynesians/Statements

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Statements from Church leaders about Polynesian origins/identity

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This page is a chronology of statements from primary and secondary sources. Sources may be viewed by following the citation links.


1959: "There are probably sixty million of you on the two continents and on the Pacific Islands, all related by blood ties. The Lord calls you 'Lamanites'"

Spencer W. Kimball:

I should like to address my remarks to you, our kinsmen of the isles of the sea and the Americas. Millions of you have blood relatively unmixed with gentile nations. Columbus called you `Indians,’ thinking he had reached the East Indies. Millions of you are descendants of Spaniards and Indians, and are termed mestizos, and are called after your countries, for instance: Mexicans in Mexico; Guatemalans in Guatemala; Chilianos in Chile. You Polynesians of the Pacific are called Samoan or Maori, Tahitian or Hawaiian, according to your islands. There are probably sixty million of you on the two continents and on the Pacific Islands, all related by blood ties. The Lord calls you Lamanites.[1]

=1962: "As Latter-day Saints we have always believed that the Polynesians are descendants of Lehi"

Mark E. Peterson:

As Latter-day Saints we have always believed that the Polynesians are descendants of Lehi and blood relatives of the American Indians, despite the contrary theories of other men.[2]

1971: "The term Lamanite includes all Indians and Indian mixtures, such as the Polynesians, the Guatemalans, the Peruvians, as well as the Sioux, the Apache, the Mohawk, the Navajo, and others"

Spencer W. Kimball, 1971:

With pride I tell those who come to my office that a Lamanite is a descendant of one Lehi who left Jerusalem some 600 years before Christ and with his family crossed the mighty deep and landed in America. And Lehi and his family became the ancestors of all of the Indian and Mestizo tribes in North and South and Central America and in the islands of the sea, for in the middle of their history there were those who left America in ships of their making and went to the islands of the sea…they are in nearly all the islands of the sea from Hawaii south to southern New Zealand…Today we have many Lamanite leaders in the Church. For example, in Tonga, where 20 percent of all the people in the islands belong to the Church, we have three large stakes. Two of them are presided over wholly by Lamanites and the other almost wholly by them. There are three stakes in Samoa and another is to be organized in those small Samoan islands. Four more stakes with Lamanite leaders!...

The term Lamanite includes all Indians and Indian mixtures, such as the Polynesians, the Guatemalans, the Peruvians, as well as the Sioux, the Apache, the Mohawk, the Navajo, and others. It is a large group of great people . . . . There are no blessings, of all the imaginable ones, to which you are not entitled–you, the Lamanites–when you are righteous. You are of royal blood, the children of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, and Lehi.[3]

1984: "It has been the position of the Church that Polynesians are related to the American Indians as descendants of Father Lehi"

Howard W. Hunter:

It has been the position of the Church that Polynesians are related to the American Indians as descendants of Father Lehi, having migrated to the Pacific from America . . . .Our belief in this regard is scriptural (see Alma 63:4-10).[4]

Notes

  1. Spencer W. Kimball, "To You . . . Our Kinsmen," Improvement Era (December 1959), 938.
  2. Mark E. Peterson, Conference Report (April 1962), 1112.
  3. Spencer W. Kimball, "Of Royal Blood," Ensign (July 1971), 7.
  4. Howard W. Hunter, “Islands of the Pacific,” Beneficial Life Insurance Company Convention, Waikokloa, Hawaii, 19 July 1984; cited in Clyde J. Williams, ed., The Teachings of Howard W. Hunter (Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1997), 57.