“And there shall rise up one mighty among them…”

This question was recently put to me by a reader DMT on this website:

In 2 Nephi 3:24 it reads: “And there shall rise up one mighty among them”..

The Book of Mormon today has in the footnote for this verse “Joseph Smith” as being the one who will rise up, however, earlier versions of the Book of Mormon have it recorded as “an Indian Prophet”. Here is a link of a scanned copy of an earlier edition of the Book of Mormon showing the original footnote: http://www.weepingforzion.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/01/From-1905-BoM-indian-prophet.jpg

Without going into too many details it is impossible for Joseph Smith to be the “one mighty among them” as Joseph Smith is a pure Ephraimite. Lehi clearly states that this mighty person will come from the “seed” of his youngest son Joseph.

Not only is it impossible for Joseph Smith to be the “one mighty among them”, but Even Spencer W. Kimball apparently knew it was not Joseph Smith when he gave a talk (as the Prophet) and spoke about this very scripture.  Below is the conference talk reference with a quote from the talk:

President Spencer W. Kimball: “The Lamanites must rise in majesty and power.” (Conference Reports, Oct. 1947)
“The Lamanites must rise in majesty and power. We must look forward to the day when they will be “white and delightsome” (2 Ne. 5:21; 2 Ne. 30:6), sharing the freedoms and blessings which we enjoy; when they shall have economic security, culture, refinement, and education; when they shall be operating farms and businesses and industries and shall be occupied in the professions and in teaching; when they shall be organized into wards and stakes of Zion, furnishing much of their own leadership; when they shall build and occupy and fill the temples, and serve in them as the natives are now serving in the Hawaiian Temple where I found last year the entire service conducted by them and done perfectly. And in the day when their prophet shall come, one shall rise. . . mighty among them . . . being an instrument in the hands of God, with exceeding faith, to work mighty wonders (2 Ne. 3:24).”

As you can see this is very confusing that a Prophet of God would not know better…. And I’m not even talking about his racist comment “We must look forward to the day when they will be white and delightsome” as if being white is the only color that is delightsome. I’m talking about not knowing whether or not the person in 2 Nephi 3:24 is either “an Indian Prophet” or “Joseph Smith”.

For me, it is very frustrating how easy it is for the LDS Church to sweep things like this under the rug and no one in the Church ever recognizes it or questions it. No answer needs to be given and people carry on as if it is business as usual. In fact when I have brought this up in the past to Bishops and Stake Presidents they told me to not worry about things like that and if I kept doing so it would only lead to apostasy. Well they were wrong as I have not yet apostatized, but still if you know of a good logical reason as to why the footnote was changed to read “Joseph Smith” rather than leaving it as it was “an Indian Prophet” I would LOVE to hear it. You seem to be a person there is very few of these days which is someone who is willing to dig into the truth and come to some sort of answer for yourself.

Now I can easily see how leaving it as “an Indian Prophet” would cause people to wonder who that might be especially after a Prophet such as Spencer W. Kimball says “And in the day when their prophet shall come” meaning to me at least that we still haven’t seen this “one mighty” person at least not up to 1947 we hadn’t. So the church changing it to Joseph Smith squashes any curiosities and interest as to when that prophecy is going to be fulfilled.

Now I understand that it is just a footnote, I’m not saying the scriptures got modified, but even changing this footnote to me raises serious questions that I personally would like an answer too. I have yet to find anything on the internet that provides a good answer to this. Maybe I’m not a good Google searcher, but I have looked and haven’t found anything that provides a good answer. I have also asked may people in the LDS Church and 99% don’t even know anything about it, and the .1% that think they do just tell me it is dangerous to delve into the mysteries as it leads to falling away.

So please if you could I would LOVE to know what your personal opinion on this matter is.

Thanks for your time.

Hi DMT, it appears you’re as good a Google searcher as any, but there simply is little to no information regarding this online, which is interesting in itself due to the change in the footnote. What I did find was quite a bit on a scripture that has similar language, but doesn’t seem to be tied to this Book of Mormon scripture in any way.

I did find where this issue seems to have been discussed already online, although not by any qualified scholars, and there are some interesting speculations there.

One point discussed is whether the person referenced could be Joseph Smith, based solely on the scripture. This seems reasonable to me, since the words say “among them” and not “from among them”. Was Joseph Smith among the Lamanites? Depends on what “among the Lamanites” means. One could interpret that as loosely as to mean anyone anywhere in the Western Hemisphere. I recognize that answer might not satisfy you, but that’s the best I can come up with on that point.

Moving on, one question we might ask is whether or not Joseph Smith could actually be described as “an Indian prophet”. At first glance, that would seem to stretch credulity, since no one, to my knowledge, has ever claimed that Joseph Smith himself was a Lamanite or Indian. But is that the only correct interpretation of the phrase? Could “an Indian prophet” be a prophet who is not an Indian himself, but a prophet who preaches to the Indians? I don’t know, I’m just throwing it out there as an idea.

Regarding President Kimball’s statement, I went and read the entire talk to see if the context might change the interpretation. It didn’t. Except that as I read and re-read the part you quoted, I wondered if President Kimball was referring to a future event, or merely adopting the language of the Book of Mormon as it refers to a future event. That is, when President Kimball said “And in the day when their prophet shall come, one shall rise…” was he knowingly referring to Joseph Smith?

And so allow me to put forth an alternative interpretation of all this. Joseph Smith was called “among” the Indians. Joseph Smith was “the Indian prophet”, that is, a prophet who preached to the Indians, but the footnote was obviously confusing so the Church changed it to just say Joseph Smith. And President Kimball was referring to Joseph Smith when he refers to “their prophet”.

Of course I’m speculating here. What we really need is firsthand information about who put in the footnote “an Indian prophet” and why. Perhaps it was a mistake by whoever wrote that footnote, but nobody questioned it until later, and once it was questioned they said “Well yeah, that’s wrong, let’s change it.” And since President Kimball isn’t around we can’t ask him exactly what he meant, although perhaps there are other talks by President Kimball that would lend clarity (or just confuse things more, for that matter).

What is interesting to me is that there isn’t more mention of this on anti-Mormon websites. It seems that if this presented any sort of silver bullet for them they would have latched onto it. The fact that they haven’t, when they have latched so strongly onto other things, would seem to indicate that even they don’t see anything of value here, and so perhaps neither should we.

Not sure if this is a satisfactory answer or not, but that’s the best I can come up with at the moment.

One final note, regarding what you interpret as a “racist comment”, I would point you to some of the statements from Darius Gray and Marvin Perkins, who have written and spoken extensively on blacks and the LDS Church. I’d also point you to 2 Nephi 30:6 which reads “and their scales of darkness shall begin to fall from their eyes; and many generations shall not pass away among them, save they shall be a pure and a delightsome people.”

The point is, the words “white and delightsome” or “darkness” do not necessarily refer to skin color. In fact, there is much evidence that these words have nothing to do with skin color, but with worthiness, righteousness, and purity. My opinion is that President Kimball wasn’t waiting for the day when the Lamanites’ skin would turn white, but when they would be a pure and righteous people. This seems to be supported by his words that immediately follow “white and delightsome” when he says “sharing the freedoms and blessings which we enjoy; when they shall have economic security, culture, refinement, and education; when they shall be operating farms and businesses and industries and shall be occupied in the professions and in teaching; when they shall be organized into wards and stakes of Zion, furnishing much of their own leadership; when they shall build and occupy and fill the temples, and serve in them as the natives are now serving in the Hawaiian Temple where I found last year the entire service conducted by them and done perfectly.”

It seems clear to me that this is his definition of what it means to be “white and delightsome”.


  1. Thanks for your reply Joshua, I appreciate the effort you put into it. Unfortunately I'm still left to wonder about it. You do bring up some interesting ideas however which is way more than anyone else I've ever talked too about it has ever said before so I truly thank you for that.

    For me personally I think it is a very big stretch to think Spencer W. Kimball was referring to Joseph Smith. When you read that paragraph he starts out by saying "The Lamanites must rise in majesty and power. We must look forward to the day when they will be “white and delightsome”". Two parts stand out to me first one is "must rise" and second one is "must look forward" saying these things to me means future events and then he lists off things that he now sees happening as evidence that the future only holds more blessing for them. Keeping all of it in context he says "And in the day when their prophet shall come" in the same paragraph speaking about what the future holds. I realize we weren't there to really see how it was said, and as you said he is no longer alive to ask him, but it seems to me a pretty big stretch to say he was referring to something that happened in the past and was talking about Joseph Smith. Again that's just me, but thanks for taking a stab at it I do appreciate it. Keep up the good work!

    Oh and P.S. I also find it hard to believe that he (Kimball) was not talking about skin color and was only speaking about spiritual color due to the fact that the Book of Mormon clearly states that they were cursed with darker skin so as to not be enticing, and if anyone married and had kids with them their offspring would pickup this same dark skin curse. Which is why it makes it hard for me to think all of that is referring to spiritual cleanliness / whiteness. I really do believe if we could travel back in time and ask Joseph Smith himself what is meant by these scriptures in terms of dark skin for a curse and ask him whether or not it was something physical or symbolic he would have definitely said it was physical. There is enough quotes by early latter day Prophets about black people that would indicate this belief system back then.

    Anyway, thanks again!

  2. It always amuses me how you the Gentiles (after the period of Joseph Smith) are so devoid of revelation and understanding. Didn’t the Lord say of them through Isaiah :
    1 But, behold, in the last days, or in the days of the Gentiles—yea, behold all the nations of the Gentiles and also the Jews, both those who shall come upon this land and those who shall be upon other lands, yea, even upon all the lands of the earth, behold, they will be drunken with iniquity and all manner of abominations—

    5 For behold, the Lord hath poured out upon you the spirit of deep sleep. For behold, ye have closed your eyes, and ye have rejected the prophets; and your rulers, and the seers hath he covered because of your iniquity. (2 Nephi 27)

    You cannot see far ahead – Truly the Times of Gentiles are Fulfilled –
    10 And thus commandeth the Father that I should say unto you: At that day when the Gentiles shall sin against my gospel, and shall reject the fulness of my gospel, and shall be lifted up in the pride of their hearts above all nations, and above all the people of the whole earth, and shall be filled with all manner of lyings, and of deceits, and of mischiefs, and all manner of hypocrisy, and murders, and priestcrafts, and whoredoms, and of secret abominations; and if they shall do all those things, and shall reject the fulness of my gospel, behold, saith the Father, I will bring the fulness of my gospel from among them.

    11 And then will I remember my covenant which I have made unto my people, O house of Israel, and I will bring my gospel unto them. (3 Nephi 16)

    30 And in that generation shall the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled. (DyC 45)

    The scripture is so clear, that only envy and jealousy could cloud the mind and sear your judgement.

    First of all Follow the Context – is Lehi is Specifically Speaking to Joseph his very own Son or speaking in general or broader terms? “5. And now, behold, my son Joseph”, “23 Wherefore, because of this covenant thou art blessed; for thy seed shall not be destroyed, for they shall hearken unto the words of the book.”

    Anyone/We can clearly see that he is speaking specifically to Joseph – Lehi’s very own son, and Also speaking about his son’s seed, specifically, and goes on to say in the next verse: “24 And there shall rise up one mighty among them,”, ~THEM~ Following the context he was just speaking about his Seed, meaning his son Joseph’s seed (Lehi’s son Joseph), specifically, THEM LOGICALLY MEANS JOSEPH’s LEHI’s SON’s SEED.
    It continues: “who shall do much good, both in word and in deed, being an instrument in the hands of God, with exceeding faith, to work mighty wonders, and do that thing which is great in the sight of God, unto the bringing to pass much restoration unto the house of Israel, and unto the seed of thy brethren.”

    Something very clear here is that this man’s name does not have to be Joseph, just that he will be a descendant of Joseph. Does not mention him translating anything, but primarily focused on “much restoration unto the house of Israel, and unto the seed of thy brethren.” Again, contextually specifying who he is clearly speaking to and his mission.

    The Lamanites of children of Lehi will arise again, and Be RESTORED, not just Gathered, but RESTORED – with the Law of Consecration and Plural Marriage, and only the purest gentiles will remain after the Lord bring’s desolation upon them for turning from Him, yes only a fraction of a fraction of gentiles will remain, to be counted among the Lamanites or Lehi’s seed, to assist them the Lamanites (will have the revelation/direction and keys to direct the work) to build the NEW JERUSALEM.

    The American Experiment or American Dream or Manifest Destiny will pale in comparison to the Day Israel and the Remnant of Jacob is Restored, not just Gathered.

    They will Lead the Church and have the Keys. Yes! Israel will have the Keys again and be Restored to the land of their Inheritance. And unlike the Gentiles who refused the Patriarchal Order – Law of Consecration and Plural Marriage, The Lamanites will Receive it and Abide in it, for the Glory of Chirst and ZION!!!

    3 Nephi 29
    8 Yea, and ye need not any longer hiss, nor spurn, nor make game of the Jews, nor any of the remnant of the house of Israel; for behold, the Lord remembereth his covenant unto them, and he will do unto them according to that which he hath sworn.

    9 Therefore ye need not suppose that ye can turn the right hand of the Lord unto the left, that he may not execute judgment unto the fulfilling of the covenant which he hath made unto the house of Israel.

    Isaiah 28
    21 For the Lord shall rise up as in mount Perazim, he shall be wroth as in the valley of Gibeon, that he may do his work, his strange work; and bring to pass his act, his strange act.

    3 Nephi 30
    1 Hearken, O ye Gentiles, and hear the words of Jesus Christ, the Son of the living God, which he hath commanded me that I should speak concerning you, for, behold he commandeth me that I should write, saying:

    2 Turn, all ye Gentiles, from your wicked ways; and repent of your evil doings, of your lyings and deceivings, and of your whoredoms, and of your secret abominations, and your idolatries, and of your dmurders, and your priestcrafts, and your envyings, and your strifes, and from all your wickedness and abominations, and come unto me, and be baptized in my name, that ye may receive a remission of your sins, and be filled with the Holy Ghost, that ye may be numbered with my people who are of the house of Israel.

    I testify to you that this is TRUE. IJCNA!

  3. dmt
    i re-read this scripture a ton n also wonder y j.smith is referenced?
    cuz rite b4 it, it says the seed of joseph will hearken 2 the BofM
    THEN afta that it says, the mighty 1 will rise up among them

    i’d think that if it really was j.smith, itd of read 1st bout the mighty 1 then bout josephs seed hearkening 2 the words of the BofM that he translated the plates in2
    not puttin the caboose b4 the engine

    also the BofM uses mighty in the context of physically strong
    eg captain moroni was mighty
    j.smith was tall but he was nevva associated w having incredible strength that was very signifigant in his life
    no doubt he had incredible faith but most the ppl of signifigance in the BofM, had xtreme faith yet werent described as mighty

    i also agree w joshua that the mighty 1 dont necessarily need 2b a lamanite, due 2 the wording of “..among them..” n not “..from among them..”
    go utes!!

  4. Does this answer your questions?
    Who wants to stretch his puny arm to steady the ark of God? Hason is dead, Aldridge was replaced, Hinckley is dead and Sweeney was sent to the wilderness.

  5. , it was hard to overlook the underdog mentality of the story. I think her books do her much more justice (as they usually do), because her brilliance is amplified with the written word. Your comments about the gltaoficroiin of abnormal are interesting, although I have to admit that I always find myself gravitating towards it because I find defects and diversions from the norm fascinating. Maybe it’s because it makes me feel more normal.

  6. There is a prophecy among the Hopi Indians which refers to a coming prophet who is white and has two white helpers. It sounds a lot like the One Mighty and Strong man like unto Moses who would obviously be the Lord’s prophet at the time of this coming event to be fulfilled. His two white assistants could be his two counselors. I don’t know but this Hopi Prophecy seems consistent with this expected white man and his two assistants possibly being the ones to minister to the Lamanites and actuate their mass conversion. This coming white man is one they refer to as Pahanna.

  7. The foot note “Indian prophet” is the opinion of either Orson or Parley Pratt, I can’t recall. The footnotes in the scriptures are not scripture so varying opinions exist. But it doesn’t change the real meaning of this scripture. Look at the Indian painted on the wall in the Manti Temple with Zion in the background. The early saints very well understood this prophecy. The problem is this prophecy takes our eyes off of Salt Lake City and look elsewhere for a prophet from the “remanat of Jacob” to lead the saint’s to Zion ( see 3 Nephi 21:14-24)

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