Quote of the Week


March 5, 2010 by The Mormon Worker

“After hearing the remarks of President Rey L. Pratt, with reference . . . to the masses of down-trodden and oppressed people in Mexico, thirteen millions of whom are held under serfdom and slavery, by the descendants of their conquerors – who could not devoutly wish that some mighty and just power, equal to the task, would extend the hand of freedom to those oppressed people, even if it cost the lives of their oppressors? I do not want war; but the Lord has said it shall be poured out upon all nations. I would rather the oppressors should be killed than to allow the oppressors to kill the innocent.”

– President Joseph F. Smith, Conference Report, October 1916, 154.

President Smith made these comments in General Conference, following the remarks of Mexican Mission President Rey L. Pratt, who had just given a talk in support of the then on-going Mexican revolution led by Pancho Villa and Emiliano Zapata. Zapata was the revolutionary after which the current Zapatista movement in Chiapas, Mexico is named.

8 thoughts on “Quote of the Week

  1. todrobbins says:

    Word. What a solid statement.

  2. Kate says:

    Ok, wait… I am no church history scholar, but how does this square with the Mormon Battalion joining the war against Mexico in the 1850s(ish)?

  3. todrobbins says:

    I’m going to say: 66-ish years of Mormon evolution? We supported Abraham Lincoln’s call to protect trade routes near Promontory Point around 1860 if I recall, not for patriotic reasons but financial incentives. The Church was still experiencing a revolution from anti-Mormon sentiments to cultural acceptance as of 1916.

  4. todrobbins says:

    To clarify, I meant in the post-Manifesto Church, the resentment towards the Federal Government was still ripe even though the Church was seeking more assimilation into mainstream American culture. I think that’s a clarification.

  5. SUNNofaB.C.Rich says:

    so, who exactly was this Joseph F. Smith calling the oppressor in oct. 1916? Huerta? Carranza? The U.S.?

  6. Joseph says:


    My understanding of the Mormon Battalion (according to quotes I’ve read from Church leaders of the time, notably Brigham Young) was that they were pretty much just using the government that had just oppressed them to help them move out West. The battalion soldiers were promised they would not see combat if they were righteous, and they in fact did not see any combat. The only exchange they had with the Mexican people was a peaceful one in Tucson (for which there is now a monument in downtown Tucson). The Mormon Battalion really never had any military purposes, but was really just a means of getting a large number of the Saints out West on Uncle Sam’s tab (which I think they were justified in doing, since the feds had completely dropped the ball on protecting saints from the mobs). So I don’t really see this as incongruous at all.

    Just read a really depressing and scary story about the Mexican people who are still under oppression:


  7. todrobbins says:


    Exactly what I was poorly trying to explain! Ha. And about the High Country News article: holy hummers! Yikes.

  8. Kate says:

    Hm… not sure self-interest resolves the conflict for me. But, thank you for your comment… I found that article highly disturbing, but more like a rant than a good piece of journalism.

    Although… no one can deny that what is happening in Juarez/Mexico in general is anything less than highly disturbing. So, maybe that’s just what he was going for.

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