Charles Kingston Teaches the Native Americans at Washakie

April 2, 1933

Charles W. Kingston

On one occasion around 1933, Brother Charles Kingston had an impression that he should go to Washakie and preach to the Shoshone Native Americans living there.

Charles was living in Idaho Falls at the time but he didn’t have a car.  He worked for the railroad and had a pass that allowed him to ride the train without a ticket but the train didn’t stop at Washakie.  Charles instead rode from Idaho Falls to Pocatello where he knew a man with a car named Brother Petty.

When he arrived in Pocatello, Charles told Brother Petty, “I feel I should go to Washakie, would you drive me down there?”  Brother Petty agreed and drove him down to Washakie from Pocatello.

Washakie is an area just south of Portage, Utah.  Although it was not an Indian reservation, there were mostly Native Americans living there.  Most of the people who attended church were from the Northwest Shoshone Native American Tribe.  

Brother Charles and Brother Petty arrived at the church in Washakie a few minutes before meeting started and found two seats in the back of the chapel.  The meeting was a Stake Conference and the men taking charge were white Mormons settlers from around the area.  

When they saw Brother Charles and Brother Petty were visitors, the man taking charge invited them to come sit up in the front with him.  The man obviously didn’t know Charles, or the things he had been teaching the past few years.  He called on both of the men to talk.

Brother Petty talked first, but he didn’t say much.  Then they called on Brother Charles.

When Charles spoke, he felt a strong spirit of the Lord come over him and he felt he should preach the fullness of the Gospel including Consecration and Celestial Marriage to the people assembled there.  He spoke for some time, and by the time he had finished speaking, the men taking charge were very uncomfortable and squirming in their seats.

When the meeting was over, Brother Charles could see that the people running the meeting did not like the things that he had said, so at the end of closing prayer, he nudged Brother Petty and said, “I think we’d better get our of here.”  They hurried out the door to leave.  

Before they left, one of the Shoshone men stopped them and told Brother Charles that his talk was one of the most wonderful things he had ever heard.  He told Brother Charles that he heard the words in his own language, even though Charles had given the talk in English.  The man told Brother Charles, “You should have seen those fellows behind you twisting in their bones.” Referring to how uncomfortable the men were who were taking charge of the meeting.  Brother Charles and Brother Petty headed back to Pocatello.

One of the Shoshone men who heard him speak that day was George P. Sam who was a leader among the Shoshone in that area.  Travelling to Washakie that day started a friendship and acquaintance that led to George joining the Co-op for a short time in 1935.

The story illustrates the strong characteristics of Brother Charles; being able to follow his impressions even if they led him into a difficult spot.  Even though he knew the church had rejected the things he was teaching, he continued anyway and gained the acquaintance of the Shoshone people who were receptive to his message and would later play an important part in the Co-op’s history.

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