book report: Samson Occum by Love 1899 American Indians and the "lost tribes" of Israel

I knew Joseph Smith, founding prophet of the Latter Day Saints, believed that the Indians were "missing" Israelites. I also knew that he was not alone in this belief in the mid-18th century. But then, while reading Jeff Siemers great blog, Algonkan Church History, he mentions in the post The Hope of Israel how Puritan missions to the Indians were partly motivated by this theory as well. His blog also has motivated my latest choice from the library shelves, Samson Occum and the Christian Indians of New England by W. DeLoss Love, 1899.

I am enjoying this history, especially the foibles and failures of minsters, both English and native, that are not unfamiliar to our times and seasons. One of these weaknesses is false motivation for good purposes, including redeeming these "lost" Israelites. John Eliot, apostle to the Indians founded separate villages for Indians to get civilized in the English way. Love writes,
The experiment at Nonantum had not been two years under way before Eliot discovered that an enlargement of his plan was necessary. The grant of land was not large enough, and it was too near the English. Moreover, it was not a suitable place to gather hi converts from other native villages and tribes into the Indian town which had come to be his ideal. This latter fact was important. So early as 1649 his original design had grown to a hope of founding a community where all the Christian Indians should be governed after the theocratic ideal of the Scriptures. He seems to have been impressed with the notion, then entertained by many, that the American Indians were the lost tribes of Israel. He even thought that such an assembling of dry bones might be a fulfillment of prophecy. p.11


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