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Research Proposal Essay

1019 words - 5 pages

For my research proposal, I wish to discuss the involvement of the LDS church, known as the Mormon Church, within the Indian removal that took place during the 1830’s. The Indian Removal Act was passed approximately one month after the initial organization of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The founder of the LDS church, Joseph Smith, received a revelation that he was to preach his gospel in Indian Territory. In September of 1830, roughly 6 months after the founding of the church, he gave a mission calling to one of his church members who held the Mormon priesthood, his name was Oliver Cowdery. This calling was given to Oliver Cowdery in New York State where he then commenced his mission in October of 1830. The interesting part of Oliver Cowdery’s missionary calling was that he was supposed to proceed on a 1,500 trek across the known country in Western Indian territory where he to then preach to the Indians. Instead of simply teaching to a local tribe, the order was given to preach in the same area where at nearly the same time, southern Indian tribes would also be relocating to as a result of the Indian Removal Act. Oliver Cowdery and his companions began their mission in October and the first Indians they were able to teach were the Cattaraugus Indians in Buffalo, New York who accepted two copies of their Book of Mormon.
My central focus for this research essay will be to find the extent of Mormon involvement with the tribes that were forced to relocate due to the Indian Removal Act. I still do not have a complete idea about narrowing my topic down but as I begin my research I want to find information on a broader context of involved the Mormons were. However, what I hope to be able to focus on is the relations between the Mormons and the tribes that ended up west of Missouri where the final location for the Indian mission was to take place. From New York, the Mormon missionaries trekked to Independence, Missouri where they were only about 12 east of unorganized Indian Territory. This is the location of relations that I hope to focus on.
The historical importance of this Mormon mission to the Indians stems from the beliefs and teachings that come from the Book of Mormon. The Book of Mormon contains the stories of ancient civilizations that began around 600 B.C. and start around a family who was told to leave Jerusalem and travel to a promise land. Mormons hold the belief that this promise land was finally settled somewhere in South America. The father of the family who left Jerusalem was named Lehi and two of his sons were named Nephi and Laman. The Book of Mormon covers their advancement on the American continents over the next 1,000 years until eventually the Lamanites warred against the Nephites and slaughtered the entire Nephite population. Mormons hold the belief that those same Lamanites are the ancient ancestors of the modern-day American Indians....

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