If true, this raises the uncomfortable realization that Joseph was factually wrong about a fairly important piece of the religion he was preaching, and that his incorrect personal opinions were able to make their way into official doctrine. This leaves open the question of what else he might have gotten wrong.
Brigham Young also made this mistake when he said:
Spencer W. Kimball believed Brigham Young's prophecy was being fulfilled. In 1960, he said that the Native Americans
In the conference talk "Of Royal Blood," Kimball further says:
"The term Lamanite includes all Indians and Indian mixtures, such as the Polynesians, the Guatemalans, the Peruvians, as well as the Sioux, the Apache, the Mohawk, the Navajo, and others. It is a large group of great people." (Spencer W. Kimball, "Of Royal Blood," Ensign, July 1971, p. 7).
The Book of Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants, and multiple church leaders beginning from Joseph Smith, all seem to tell a single coherent and consistent story: Modern Native Americans are the direct descendants of Lehi and his family, Israelites, from 600 B.C.
Below: "Joseph was instructed by the Lord to preach to the Lamanites who were not really Lamanites."