An American original

When Mormon missionary James Brown carried his message to the frontier in the 1850s, he found a tribe of Shoshone Indians willing to listen. They had heard about Jesus before, but never about this new book Brown had brought. He told them of a distant and now dead prophet who had been given the Book of Mormon. Brown passed it around so tribal members could see it and turn the pages. The young men of the tribe balked. They grumbled that this was another fantasy of the white man. But then, as Brown recalled in his memoir, Chief Washakie silenced them. He picked up a Colt revolver and held it before the group. “The white man can make this,” Washakie instructed, and it proved that “the face of the Father is towards him.” The Shoshone should take the Book of Mormon seriously, the chief concluded, because they took guns seriously.


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