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The Three Nephites

D&C - 113th section

Walker Lake, Nevada

Revelation to Joseph Smith Doctrine & Covenants 130: 15-16 "Joseph, my son, if thou livest until thou art eighty-five years old, thou shalt see the face of the Son of Man; therefore let this suffice, and trouble me no more on this matter.  I was left thus, without being able to decide whether this coming referred to the beginning of the millennium or to some previous appearing, or whether I should die and thus see his face."

DESERET NEWS November 18, 1890 - The newspapers of the whole country carried many stories of the event during 1890, including the Deseret News. But there were few who really believed it. They called it "the Messiah Craze" among the Indians. Never the less, it received wide attention in the nation’s press because of the Indian problems it created. The Indians were so agitated on at least 16 tribal reservations that General Miles of the U.S. Army found it necessary to make a tour of all army installations in and near these reservations, to see what could be done about all this agitation over an Indian Messiah.

This so—called "Messiah Craze" had become the inspiration for Chief Sitting Bull to believe that he could arouse the Indians to another victory greater than the destruction of Custer’s forces at the Little Big Horn, for the Messiah had promised them that the Whites should be destroyed from off this land, and the land would be given back to the Indians, from whom the Whites had so unfairly taken it, and had broken so many treaties concerning payment for it.  In fact, certain government agents found it necessary to have Chief sitting Bull "accidentally" killed to put a stop to his Indian Messiah activities.

In the Deseret News for Nov. 7, 1890, a St. Paul dispatch is quoted under the title of "Indian Messiah,’ as follows: "General Miles is here on his return from his Western tour. He says: ‘I have been in Utah, Montana and Cheyenne Reservations, investigating. You have no doubt heard that Indian tribes are reported to believe that the Messiah has come, who is to restore them to their former glory. . and drive the Whites from the land. I have learned that this belief exists among sixteen tribes. There is no doubt that many Indians who are holding this belief in the Indian Messiah are sincere, and a few have certainly seen some person on whom they look to be that Messiah.

"‘Several small parties of Indians have gone from their tribes to some point in Nevada. There they have been shown somebody disguised as the Messiah and have spoken with him. I am inclined to believe that there is more than one person impersonating this Messiah, as when the Sioux have spoken with him, he replied in the Sioux language. . . and so on, with the representatives of each nation.

"General Miles gave his opinion ’that the Mormons are prime movers in it. It is noteworthy, (says he) that this so—called Messiah tells Indians that when he comes to reign over them, firearms will no longer be used, that he will draw a line behind, which he will gather all Indians, and then he will roll the earth back upon the Whites. This has naturally excited the Indians and large numbers have accepted the new belief.  None is more ardent than Chief Sitting Bull, who is intensely Indian in all his ideas. .The argument Indians use is: "The Whites have had their Messiah, and the Indians NOW have theirs."’"

In the Deseret News for Nov. 8, 1890, an article dated Nov. 4th, taken from a Kansas City dispatch from Ft. Reno, Special, quotes Sitting Bull as follows:

"The Messiah said He had come to save the White Man, but they had persecuted Him, and now He had come to deliver the long tormented Indians. .All day Christ instructed them and gave them evidence of His powers.  He, Sitting Bull, told his people His story, and asked that Porcupine (one of the Twelve) be sent for to verify it.  He (Porcupine) returned with the same tale and presumably all were convinced.

"We have a large number of extracts from the different newspapers (says the editor) on the subject of , ‘The Indian Christ’, claiming to embody the assertions of the aborigines who state they have seen the Messiah and heard Him talk. .That a personage exhibiting super— natural powers has shown Himself...That He showed the marks of spikes having been driven through His hands. He had offered to save the Whites, and they had refused to accept Him, and now the day of the Indians, who are to be restored to ownership of the land, had come. He also taught them to be honest, peaceful, cleanly, and to give up all bad habits." The editor adds: ‘To say the least, it is a wonderful movement, and one is puzzled in endeavoring to account for it.

"He sternly denies General Miles suggested idea that the Mormons are connected with this event: ‘Indeed many Mormons are themselves conjecturing as to the meaning of this extraordinary agitation among the aborigines, and are puzzled to know what it means.’"

About the only official Mormon reaction we find, comes from Susa Young Gates, editor of the "Young Women’s Journal," Vol. 1:477--- "Few, if any, of our leading Brethren doubt the probability, of a certain, if exaggerated, foundation for these stories. Our Lord is evidently setting His hand to prepare the scattered remnants of Israel for the great events about to take place.’

There are other articles about the Indian Messiah in the Desert News for Nov 10, 1890, and Nov.. 18th, and Dec. 16th and 17th, 1890. —Also many more of them in the Deseret Weekly of this period, and in the "Contributor," Vol. 12:114, and several in Vol. 52 of the "Millennial Star, which will not all be given here. But of special interest is the one in the Deseret News, for No,. 18, 1890, quoting from a Chicago dispatch of Nov. 17, 1890. ,

"General Miles has received from the Post—Adjutant. at Ft. Custer, Montana, a report of Lt. Robertson, who carefully investigated the new religious craze at the Cheyenne Agency. His talks were principally with Porcupine, Apostle of the new religion among the Cheyenne, and with Big Beaver, who accompanied Porcupine on his visit to the new Christ at Walker Lake, Nevada... Porcupine told him that there were several hundred Indians at Walker Lake at the time, including representatives of the Cheyenne, Sioux, Arapahoes, Gros-Ventres, Utes, Navajos, Bannocks, and other strange tribes, —some were white, from a far distance that he did not know."

Apostle Porcupine's Sermon

Millenial Star August 18, 1890, Volume 52:532-535.  Eye-witness account of F.K. Upham "It tells how a very righteous young Indian by the name of Porcupine from the Cheyennes was, like certain wise men of the East, inspired to make this long pilgrimage to Walker Lake, Nevada, to see their Messiah.  He was accompanied by his wife and two other Indians, and, like the wise men of the East, they were very content with the high reward of their journey, for they had seen the Christ!"

"It was possibly in the vicinity of Walker Lake or Pyramid Lake in Nevada.  It was in the Mountains where Porcupine found himself with many strange Indians whose language he could not speak, and who, like himself, had come from afar off, - but all had come to see the Christ.

"At sundown the Indians collected in large numbers, and after it became dark He appeared to them, - a large fire being built to throw the light on him.  He was not as dark as an Indian nor as light as a white man, and his dress was partly like each. He sat for a long time in perfect silence, with his head bowed, during which time the Indians never moved nor spoke.  They were told that if they even whispered, the Christ would know it and be displeased .

"After a time He raised His head, and then Porcupine saw that he was fair to look upon, that His face had no beard, and was youthful, and that His bright hair extended to His waist.

"Porcupine had heard that the Christ of the white man had been nailed to the cross, and looking he was able to see the scars of the nails in the hands of the Indian's Christ when he raised them.  In His feet he could not see the marks of the nails by reason of the moccasins, but he was told they were there, and that in His side were spear marks which were concealed by the shirt He wore.

"Porcupine was told that His own coming had, with eleven others, been foretold by the Christ, who had sent for them, and that was why he had involuntarily taken the long journey...

"The Christ spoke to them and took Porcupine by the hand, and told them that they were all His children.  He talked to them until it was day, telling them that He had made them, and all the things around them; that in the beginning God had made the Earth, and after a time had sent Him on the earth to teach the people what was right; but the people were afraid of Him, and 'this is what they did to Me.' showing the scars.

"He said, when He found that the children were bad, He went back above, and promised to return after many hundred years.  Now the time was up and God had told Him the earth was old and worn out, and had sent Him again to renew it and make things better.  He said that all the dead were to be resurrected and brought back to life on this earth, which was too small to hold them all; but He would do away with Heaven and make the earth large enough to hold them all.

"He spoke about fighting, that it was bad, and that Indians must not do it anymore; that the earth hereafter was to be all good and everybody must love one another.

"He said He would send among them those who could heal wounds and cure the sick by the laying on of the hands, and that the good would live here forever, and the buffalo would come back.

"He said it was wrong to kill men of any kind, that if any man disobeyed these teachings, he would be banished from the face of the earth; that the Indians must believe all that He now told them, and not say that He lied, for He would know their thoughts, no matter what part of the world they were in, and they could not expect to deceive Him.

"Among those whom Porcupine saw were some who seemed like white men, but they all seemed good--and all listened and believed what the Christ said to them.

"During Porcupine's stay of many days, the Christ several times repeated these talks and told the Indians that when they returned to their people they must tell them all these things.  But He was not all the time visible, and could disappear at will. 'He is here among us tonight and knows all that we are talking about!' said Porcupine. ' - I am sorry to say there are one or two Cheyennes who do not believe what I have said, I wish these and some of you would go back with me and see that I have spoken the truth.  When you have seen Christ once, you can see Him in your sleep, that is, if you have shaken His hand; and through Him you can go to heaven and see your friends who are dead.  I see Him often in my sleep and He told me there was trouble for the Cheyennes.  The next night He came to me and told me that all would be well in the end."


D&C - 113th section

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