What effects did the Mormons have on the Plains Indians?
They did their best to convert and ally with the Native
Americans. These were fairly successful as the Church teaches that
the Book of Mormon itself is actually a history of the former
inhabitants of the Ancient Americas - that is, that the history is
of the forerunners of the various Indian tribes of the Americas.
The Church also teaches and practices kindness and peace towards
all peoples. As a result, many Indians were willing to side with
the Mormons during the Mountain Meadows Massacre.
The LDS also raised Indian children in the belief that if they
grew up in Mormon homes, they would become white and delightsome as
they grew in favor with God. This concept was also part of the
ancient teachings contained within the Book of Mormon.
On May 13, 1870, Brigham Young wrote the following to Mr. D. L.
Thomas of lndianapolis, Indiana in reply to his questions about the
policy pursued toward the Indians in Utah: "... eternal vigilance
is the price of safety, and have proved it wise to be prepared for
them should they come as friend or foe. In caring more for the
preservation of our property than for their removal, we have found
another safeguad. The policy we have endeavored to pursue has been
to treat them kindly and strive to raise them up to our standard
instead of sinking to theirs."