There was a time when Church members still believed what Moroni first told Joseph Smith when he "gave a history of the aborigenes of this country" and said "this history was written and deposited" not far from Joseph's home near Palmyra, New York.
For example, Lucy Mack Smith told people it was a record of the Indians.
From Lucy Mack Smith's History, 1844-5.
I will now return to the time when the Elders set out for Misouri the reader will reccollect that Hyrum Smith my oldest son was directed to go by the way of Detroit I thought this would be a good opportunity for me to visit the family of my My Brother stephen Mack Who had been dead some 4 or 5 years this being 1831 and my brother died in 1826— Hyrum was very anxious to have me accompany him And as my niece was about returning home I this was another inducement for me to undertake the journey I accordingly set off in the month
[p. , bk. 12]
of june our company consisted Hyram Smith Brother Moredock [John Murdock] Lyman Wight Brother Corril [John Corrill] Almira Mack my Niece and myself—
When we went on board the boat we held a consultation to Determine whether it was best to say much concerning the gospel at first it was concluded that we should be entirely still as to religion but finally Hyrum said that Mother might say what she was disposed to and if a difficulty arose the Elders should assist her out of it
We had not been long on board when as I was setting one day at the door of the cabin very much engaged reading the Book of Mormon a lady accosted me thus What book have you madam you seem very much engaged The Book of Mormon I replied— The Book of Mormon said she what work is that I then gave her a brief history of the coming forth of the work She seemed highly delighted I said that it was a record of the Indians Is it possible she exclaimed why My Husband is a Missionary out now among the Indians and I am going to how I do wish that I could get a book to carry him