On Wednesday, July 28, former LDS Seventy George P. Lee, a Navajo, died at the age of 67 due to health problems. Lee was best known for being the first Native American LDS General Authority, being commissioned at the age of 32 in 1975. The up-and-coming star was the poster child for Spencer Kimball’s “campaign of education and economic development to ‘redeem’ North America’s Lamanites, who had so tragically languished under both U.S. and Canadian ‘Indian’ policies throughout the 20th century” (Salt Lake Tribune, 7/30/2010, p. B2).
President Kimball believed that the Native Americans would lead the forefront in building Zion and the LDS Church. In 1954, he told a General Conference audience,
“I beg of you, do not disparage the Lamanite-Nephites … Do not scoff and ignore these Nephite-Lamanites… Do not prate your power of speech or your fearlessness unless you too could stand with the Prophet Samuel on the city wall, dodging stones and spears and arrows while trying to preach the gospel of salvation. The very descendants of this great prophet are with us. They may be Navajos or Cherokees…. Mayas or Pimas…. Piutes or Mohicans…. And in these living descendants … will be redeemed, will rise and will become a blessed people. God has said it.” (Conference Report, April 1954, pp.106-108).
Six years later at the 1960 General Conference, he utilized 2 Nephi 30:6 (changed in 1981 from “white and delightsome” to “pure and delightsome”) to say the following:
“I saw a striking contrast in the progress of the Indian people today…. The day of the Lamanites is nigh. For years they have been growing delightsome, and they are now becoming white and delightsome, as they were promised. In this picture of the twenty Lamanite missionaries, fifteen of the twenty were as light as Anglos, five were darker but equally delightsome. The children in the home placement program in Utah are often lighter than their brothers and sisters in the hogans on the reservation. At one meeting a father and mother and their sixteen-year-old daughter were present, the little member girl–sixteen–sitting between the dark father and mother, and it was evident she was several shades lighter than her parents–on the same reservation, in the same hogan, subject to the same sun and wind and weather….These young members of the Church are changing to whiteness and to delightsomeness.”
Of course, black males were able to receive the priesthood in 1978, which is the reason for the changing of 2 Nephi 30:6 and a distancing of these Kimball quotes by LDS apologists.
Unfortunately for Lee, Ezra Taft Benson did not have the same affinity for the North American Native Americans, so when he took the presidency over in 1985, he scuttled the Native American programs that Kimball had set in place.
In addition, Kimball began to put more focus in on South America Indians rather than those from North America. Four years later, in 1989, Lee was publically excommunicated, both for his criticism on Native American policies as well as his view that General Authorities should not be paid. “It was Elder Lee’s resistance to this change,” LDS sociologist Armand Mauss said, “and his continuing claim to special leadership responsibilities for himself and his people, that brought him into increasing conflict with his colleagues among the general authorities.” (Salt Lake Tribune, 7/30/2010, p. B2)
Of course, when he was convicted of fondling a 12-year-old girl in 1994 (he told the girl that polygamy would be reinstated and that their relationship was proper), this gave fodder to his critics who were able to say, “Told you so.” (As if Joseph Smith didn’t use a similar line with young girls as well!) But though Lee was not a saint, it is very clear that he was the fall guy in a very unique time in LDS history. Criticizing the church from within is a big no-no in Mormonism. Today, if you combine the fact that DNA does not support the Mormon position that Native Americans are ancestors of the Lamanites along with the neutering of 2 Nephi 30:6, it is obvious that Native Americans don’t hold the same position as they once did in the Mormon Church. It will be a longshot to see another Native American from North America to make it to as high of a position in the LDS Church as George P. Lee.
"It will be a longshot to see another Native American from North America to make it to as high of a position in the LDS Church as George P. Lee."
Carlos H. Amado has been a member of the First Quorum of the Seventy for 18 years now–the same length of time that Lee had been a member of the same quorum at the time of his excommunication. While you might take issue with Amado's Mayan ancestry (he is only Mestizo), by United States standards he would be considered "very" Indian. But regardless, I'm pretty sure Amado–as all Guatemalans–would take issue with any claims that his native country is not, in fact, part of North America.
Technically, you're correct, continent-wise. Of course, I intended "North America" to refer to specifically Canada and the U.S. rather than "Central" America, which has become more of the emphasis in later years at to where the real Book of Mormons lands are located. When we say Native Americans in the U.S., we generally think of tribes such as Navajo, Cherokee, and Paiute, among many others.And I for one will be shocked to see any Native American from the U.S. to make it as high as Lee did, and at such a young age!
Eric, This is an interesting story. According to the Salt Lake Tribune of 9-2-1989, Elder Lee stated that
Church leaders were discriminating against native Americans and that there was a racist attitude
exhibited. He undoubtedly was privy to the feeligs of his fellow general authorities, so it makes you
wonder what was the real reason for his appointment. Anyway, given the PR mentality of the Mormon
heirarchy, I would'nt be too shocked to see another native American be appointed as a general
authority in the near future.
I'd love to see the manuscript evidence for 2 Nephi 30:6. I would like to see if the Reformed Egyptian symbol that represented "white" is comparable to the symbol that represented "pure". Of course, I keep asking for someone to produce a Reformed Egyptian concordance, but if I was holding my breath I would have been dead a long time ago. If I was LDS I would question the changing of inspired scripture. Given how the Book of Mormon was translated (by the gift and power of God) there should be no reason to change a single word, especially in regards to a doctrine as important as inherited skin color that is a mark of disobedience. Obviously Prophet/President Kimball (supposed to be led by God and all that) understood the word white to be referring to skin color, not a person's spiritual condition, so the changing of the wording of 2 Nephi 30:6 that occurred under his presidency was dishonest. It reveals the dishonesty that plagues all man led organizations. Incidentally, I read many of the reader comments that followed the Salt Lake Tribune article. Many of the readers of that paper made it very clear that it even in Zion rational people who have examined the evidence can see that the LDS church is inconsistent at best, and a complete fraud at worst. How much evidence does a person need before it becomes clear that the LDS religion was fabricated by Joseph Smith and has been perpetuated by dishonest men?
Let's be honest: How many men of any ethnic background make it to the 1st Quorum
of the Seventy by age 32?
I'm pretty sure Brother Amado became a Seventy at age 36, which is still very
young by tradition's standard. But to suggest that there are no Native Americans
north of the border influential enough in the LDS faith to become
General Authorities is simply naive. In my several decades as an active Mormon I
have met dozens of Amerindians of non-Latin heritage holding positions
both high & low within LDS stakes. And I've never even lived in "Indian country" as you find in such predominantly LDS areas as southern Utah & parts of Arizona. The possibility is hardly as remote as you imagine.
But I'll have you think about it this way, Eric: Given his past history as an
LDS bishop & stake president, would you be entirely shocked if the current head
of the US Bureau of Indian Affairs, Larry Echohawk, were to someday become an
LDS Seventy or Apostle?
I've heard Brother Echohawk address BYU campus a couple times, & I can tell you
that I wouldn't be shocked in the least. As far as US public servants go, very,
very few Mormons of any ethnic background have higher & more respected
credentials than Bro Echohawk (a former state rep & Attorney General of
Idaho). And, yes, he still takes his Mormon faith pretty dang seriously.
As you can see, Larry is Pawnee, & is therefore as "American" as you could possibly be (& is
certainly a little more "American" than whiteboy me).
Maybe Joseph Smith did produce the reformed egyptian concordance… remember he produced an egyptian alphabet and grammar that was proven to be complete nonsense – maybe what he produced wasn´t the actual translation of the historical egyptian language, that was only the way through which God decided to inspire him to produce a "Reformed Egyptian" translation/concordance, but he didn´t know that because God decided to reveal it to me in these very last days and i reveal it to you at this moment.
Think about that!
You´re welcome, FARMS!
Even if he became a seventy, i doubt he would be advocating any lamanite cause, though. He wouldn´t even dare call/consider himself a lamanite anymore, if he ever did…
By the way, i know this sounds kind of mean, but does anyone has any pictures so that we can see how EchoHawk became white and delightsome over the years, as pres. Kimball shamelessly emphasized about in his talk?(sorry but i´m still pretty upset about that, had to let it out, feel free to erase this comment).
While liv4jc below cites 2 Nephi 30: 6 as evidence of the modern LDS Church's wish to change the clearly racist agenda of the Book of Mormon, he incorrectly identifies the emendation from "white & delightsome" to "pure & delightsome" as a change that occurred originally in the edition released in Pres. Kimball's time (1981). Actually, the 1981 emendation followed the 1840 edition in which Joseph Smith served as the primary (if not exclusive) editor. It was the last time JS would serve as editor of a BoM production, yet it would not be the version through which subsequent editions would be based — that is, until 1981, when an effort was undertaken by the LDS Church to include all of JS's editorial changes to the BoM (from both the 1837 & 1840 editions). While these emendations are few & far between in the text, a couple can be regarded as significant literary changes — 2 Nephi 30: 6 being one.
But if the 2 Ne 30: 6 emendation really amounted to an effort to de-racialize the BoM, then it definitely missed its overall mark. Many other far more incriminating passages remained unchanged (most obviously, 2 Ne 5: 21-25). In reality, the thoroughness of the 1981 editorial project subverts any claims tht the 2 Ne 30: 6 emendation was simply the result of a convenient, ad hoc agenda. Really, the simple emendation does little more than suggest that the white/dark ethnic standard in the BoM refers to symbolic, ethical qualities that superseded the purely physical issue of skin pigmentation tht seems to have divided the Nephites & Lamanites at least originally.
But that significance should shock no one familiar with the BoM text–for example, those who are aware of the Prophet Jacob's rebuke of Nephite racism towards Lamanites in Jacob 3: 7-9, & are also aware of the preeminent & heroic position of Samuel the Lamanite as a prophetic rebuker of the the Nephite people in Helaman 13-16. Not to mention the Anti-Nephi-Lehis & Helaman's stripling warriors.
Truth be told, the BoM is hardly a racist book–certainly not two centuries' past, or even now. But even now, contemporary LDSs are hardly trying to deny the BoM's treatment of race & racism. They are clearly issues dealt with in the text. What is being denied more & more (& rightly so) is the traditional view of the text as being a miraculous origin history of the Amerindian race (resulting from the Lamanite cursing). The BoM never claims to be an origin history, & such a reading of 2 Ne 5 leaves much too much to be desired at even the basic levels of literary criticism.
While many Evangelical critics would love for Mormons to "play by the rules" & continue to read the BoM just as their fathers & fathers' fathers did–respect for the word of God demands more of us. Just as it demands more of Evangelicals–to willingly read the Bible in ways that deliver it from misreadings promoted by past Catholic, Protestant, & even Evangelical students & scholars. Does not the word of God deserve at least that much from us?
"But that significance should shock no one familiar with the BoM text–for example, those who are aware of the Prophet Jacob's rebuke of Nephite racism towards Lamanites in Jacob 3: 7-9, & are also aware of the preeminent & heroic position of Samuel the Lamanite as a prophetic rebuker of the the Nephite people in Helaman 13-16. Not to mention the Anti-Nephi-Lehis & Helaman's stripling warriors."
What he is really saying here is how the self-righteous mormons view the world around them – "hey, we know we´re better than everyone else because we have the truth/we are white nephites, but see, God loves everyone, he even let a lamanite be a prophet, we are not as racists as everyone thinks we are…
Lets read the verse you referenced, Jacob 3:8
"O my brethren, I fear that unless ye shall repent of your sins that their skins will be whiter than yours, when ye shall be brought with them before the throne of God."
Anyone who doesn´t know the Book of Mormon could assume that Jacob was rebuking their racism, but when you read the entire BoM in context, you see that the whole point of the lamanite curse was so that the nephites wouldn´t mix themselves with the lamanites… and then, as with all things mormon, dark cursed skin didn´t mean dark cursed skin anymore and they were all mixed together throughout some portions of the book.
It´s funny because at times the lamanite´s skin turned white because of their conversion, but afterwards it seems that God didn´t care about it anymore and said "whatever" and stopped turning the lamanite´s skin color back to white and delightsome.
So, to say "Truth be told, the BoM is hardly a racist book" is very dishonest.
This is where we nonMormons really miss the boat. We have no testimony of Mormonism. If we had a testimony of Mormonism all of these troublesome historical facts, details and quotes would simply go away. Just reading this article with the quotes made me realize the degree to which Mormons have to stuff it when it comes to their religion and the statements made by the leadership. But the Mormons who show-up here are endlessly creative in finding rationalizations for maintaining their testimony in Mormonism. The emotional investment must be really heavy for Mormons if they are willing to sacrifice their integrity in order to find justification for nonsense like dark skin people becoming whiter because of their faith in Mormonism. That's just plain insulting but can be made all better by the TBMs.
"I would like to see if the Reformed Egyptian symbol that represented "white" is comparable to the symbol that represented "pure". Of course, I keep asking for someone to produce a Reformed Egyptian concordance, but if I was holding my breath I would have been dead a long time ago."
What a great idea! I would like to see a BoM Interlinear so we can follow the translation of the Reformed Egyptian hieroglyphics like we can follow the translation of the Bible from Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek. (The LDS Church could possibly make an Interlinear BoA, which would prove interesting.) Oh yeah, a BoM Atlas would be great too.
In all seriousness, it's the above situation that prevents me from taking Mormonism seriously.
"The BoM never claims to be an origin history, & such a reading of 2 Ne 5 leaves much too much to be desired at even the basic levels of literary criticism."
Alright, so you believe in the BoM and at the same time deny it, because in 2 Ne. 1 Nephi talks about the promised land(Americas). we read:
8 "And behold, it is wisdom that this land should be kept as yet from the knowledge of other nations; for behold, many nations would overrun the land, that there would be no place for an inheritance."
We also know when God was going to fulfill his promise to Israel and give them the land he promised Abraham, he commanded Joshua to exterminate the people that were occupying it. The BoM is silent of any war the nephites had to engange in to conquer their land, therefore they didn´t had to fight for it, it was preserved and waited for their arrival.
Also, if there were other peoples already living in that land when they got there, why there´s no mention of any – every time the nephites met other peoples they were mentioned – mulekites and jaredites…
It´s clear if you read the BoM in context that the Americas was the lehite´s promised land that had been kept from other nations. The Lord first gave it to the Jaredites but they destroyed themselves and left the land to the lehites. Once they received from the Lord they filled the earth:
"And it came to pass that they did multiply and spread, and did go forth from the land southward to the land northward, and did spread insomuch that they began to cover the face of the WHOLE EARTH, from the sea south to the sea north, from the sea west to the sea east. (Helaman 3:8)
the traditional view of the text as being a miraculous origin history of the Amerindian race (resulting from the Lamanite cursing)? TRADITIONAL VIEW? It´s the exact same view today endorsed by church leaders…WTH?
try to be more honest/accurate next time.
Also, i don´t know who watched this church movie: The Testaments of One Fold and One Shepherd (http://www.mormoninfo.org/news-info/film-reviews/lds-films/testaments-one-fold-and-one-shepherd).
I thought interesting that they show an african woman accompanying one of the main characters… but the BoM never made any mention of anything of the sort.
This is an interesting article about it: http://www.raceandhistory.com/historicalviews/anc…
I just remeberd a testimony i heard a few years ago in a fast & testimony meeting.
A black woman got up to bear her testimony and talked about a dream she had. In this dream she said that she was in the celestial kingdom, everything was white and shinning, and that she was able to look herself in a mirror. When she saw her reflection she said that her face had changed, and that she had lost her african features and had turned white, european white.
She then bore a testimony saying that all those who were exalted would go through the same transformation and become (european) white.
The brainwashing works miracles in some people´s lives.
If i wasn´t there to listen to that with my own ears i wouldn´t have believed it.
You could make the same argument, melo, for the Hebrew Bible & the self-righteousness of Israelites/Jews towards those of the uncircumcision. Whether or not such self-favoritism represented racism is rather insignificant. People are people, & I hope you're honest enough to admit that ethnic favoritism is ethnic favoritism, whether or not racism is involved. Does the Hebrew Bible promote self-righteousness because it designates such a superficial marker as circumcision as one of its basic standards for marriage & acceptance into the covenant people? If you don't think the Bible promotes ethnic purity then I think you need to break out the reading lamp & give the good book a major revisit.
Of course, as we're all aware, the whole issue of Jewish ethnic purity & self-righteousness becomes a major issue & controversy in the New Testament. Are we to be unduly dismissive of the Nephites because they seem to have done a better job than the Jews at understanding that God's call for ethnic purity was not a call to despise other people? But rather, a call intended to keep their children from mixing with the wicked traditions of others who did not know the Lord, nor the righteousness of His words & laws?
For behold, they had hardened their hearts against him (the Lord), that they (Laman & his followers) had become like unto a flint; wherefore, as they were white, and exceedingly fair and delightsome, that they might not be enticing unto my people the Lord God did cause a skin of blackness to come upon them. And thus saith the Lord God: I will cause that they shall be loathsome unto thy people, save they shall repent of their iniquities.
And cursed shall be the seed of him that mixeth with their seed; for they shall be cursed even with the same cursing. And the Lord spake it, and it was done. And because of their cursing which was upon them they did become an idle people, full of mischief and subtlety, and did seek in the wilderness for beasts of prey.
And the Lord God said unto me: They shall be a scourge unto thy seed, to stir them up in remembrance of me; and inasmuch as they will not remember me, and hearken unto my words, they shall scourge them even unto destruction. (2 Nephi 5: 21-25)
If the Israelites in the land of the Canaanites & Philistines could've distinguished themselves along the neat racial line of the Nephites in the New World realm of the "Lamanites," then perhaps we would hear less in the Bible of circumcision & the ethnic segregation it was designed to encourage. The fact that the above Lamanite curse resulted in such deprived behavior as becoming "an idle people, full of mischief and subtlety…seek[ing] in the wilderness for beasts of prey" certainly suggests to many Mormon readers like myself that the Lamanites' "skin of blackness" was an indication that they had intermarried with native peoples of a different racial type who espoused those depraved lifestyles. That is, depraved in the eyes of the children of Lehi who the Lord had taught better, though quite innocent & natural to those who were born into such traditions. The Book of Mormon is typically much better than the Hebrew Bible in acknowledging sinfulness as the result of unfaithfulness & disobedience rather than ignorance & tradition.
For this reason the Lamanites are typically treated in the Book of Mormon much more favorably & honorably then the Bible treats the Canaanites & Philistines.
But if you doubt that the Book of Mormon recognized its Nephite/Lamanite racial divide along the lines of a superficial ethnic marker like circumcision, then I think you need to read Alma 3: 4-19, either for the 1st time, or again. The Book of Mormon clearly DOES NOT teach racial superiority.
So what you've established here, melo, is that the Book of Mormon (Nephi) teaches that other "nations" from the Old World were not led to the promised land of the New World–allowing the Nephites the freedom to inherit unclaimed lands for their posterity. This isn't necessarily suggesting that other people weren't already there; rather, it's saying that whatever people were there did not represent the political power & threat that existent in the Old World–that is, the "nations" that didn't allow for the Nephites to freely inherit a blessed land in the general vicinity of their Jerusalem homeland. (Since Nephi was forced to flee w/ his family into the arid Arabian wilderness, he was well aware that all the good stuff in the Middle East was already claimed by other "nations.")
What the BoM later teaches us, however, is that Nephi actually spoke in ignorance. The Lord had indeed led another people from the Old World (the Jaredites) who had become a "nation" that might've threatened the inheritance of his children if not for their own wickedness & consequent demise.
While your point is noted that the BoM doesn't explicitly identify any known peoples not descended from Old World stock, what you don't allow for is that the text might fairly represent a simplified history that is typical of all ancient lore. The biblical Israelites, for instance, identify themselves originally as Aramaean foreigners in a land of Canaanites, but scholars will tell you that's a simplification. Religiously & linguistically speaking, the "Hebrew" Israelites of the classical biblical era were Canaanite rather than Aramaic. Are we illogical to assume that the Nephites in their simplified history couldn't have identified native "others" in the Promised Land–not simply as utter foreigners, as do the biblical Israelites–but rather, as foreigners identified through their disobedient ancestors who had joined them? When one sets about to create a neat & simplified national or tribal history, there are always multiple literary ways to go about doing it.
For instance, in the history of America's Puritan founding we've retained some superficial recollection of the various native tribes involved in the Plymouth & Boston settlements (Wampanog vs Narragansett vs Massachusetts, etc.), but in our traditional history-telling it's simplified to a story about our Christian forefathers vs the depraved, pagan natives (that is, the "Pilgrims" vs the "Indians" — or some romanticized spin or deconstruction of that). Should we be so shocked that the Nephites in their simplified history preferred to recognize the native "others" as brothers rather than foreigners? Brothers who they owed something to by way of basic love & respect? If our own Puritan forefathers & the biblical Israelites could've done the same for the natives in the countries which they settled, how much better might history have turned out for those native populations?
As for there being no proof of native "others" in the BoM, I encourage you to read Alma 50: 25-33 concerning the "Land Northward," & explain to me who the "they" are in vs 32 who are to unite with Morianton & his people? If they aren't Nephites, they aren't Lamanites, & they clearly aren't Morianton's own people, then who are they? It's hazy subtleties like this that convince readers like myself that a real, complex history exists behind the simplified history presented by the Book of Mormon text. As is the case with all literary histories, ancient & modern. The Bible is certainly no exception.
Lastly, for your observation, melo, that the BoM describes the Nephites as "cover[ing] the face of the whole earth." In doing so you've simply underscored the limited cosmographical context which the BoM describes (as does the Bible). Obviously, in the verse here "whole earth" isn't intended to mean that the Nephites went back across the ocean to cover the face of the Old World as well. "Earth" in this context, then, means something decidedly less than the entire planet. But if not the whole planet, how much less was actually intended? Traditional readings of the BoM text took this designation of "whole earth" to refer to the whole Western Hemisphere, but if the BoM is to be accepted as a history more or less parallel to the Hebrew Bible, then a much smaller region of "earth" was surely intended. After all, the ancient Hebrew conception of the "whole earth" was a region significantly smaller than the Western Hemisphere. The Hebrews didn't know of the Hindu Indians & northern Europeans till Hellenistic times, & then mainly as far-off people of legend only. And the Chinese & Native Americans were still far removed from their known "earth" even by that late date.
As many literary critics have pointed out, the travel times described between lands in the BoM clearly suggest a region of "earth" much, much smaller than the entire hemisphere.
I guess another thing that I find fascinating in Mormondom, is the seemingly lack of embarrassment on the part of Mormons to quotes like the ones offered in the article above. I cringe in embarrassment and I'm not Mormon. I guess that goes under the category of being embarrassed "for someone". I would think that after awhile the sure volume and weight of the evidence against Mormonism would be so heavy that a person's testimony would collapse under it. But that's where the hook comes in and the hook is "I've had it revealed to me by God that Mormonism is true." And that's the bottom line, once the personal revelation is experienced, all evidence that runs contrary to the revelatory feeling, must be ignored. The only thing I can figure out is that Mormonism must reinvent itself about every generation and the old time stuff must be relegated to the vault.
What happened to this idea, proclaimed by the Mormon prophet, that American Indians were going to turn white? I suppose that's another one of those things of which can be said, (a) he was just expressing his opinion or (b) there's been a new revelation and the Mormon god declares that they won't be turning white any more. I wish I had the quote here about true believers (in anything) for whom the more convoluted an idea is, the more it must be true. This is Mormonism in a nutshell.
This article also highlights the fact that politics rather than revelation guide Mormon policies. One prophet is really into the whole Laminite program and the next isn't. This uppity Lee actually wanted something to happen and yet the politics of the leadership wouldn't allow it. Politics drives the Mormon leadership even though the rank and file think that it's some mystical happening down there in Salt Lake City.
Mantis, you said, " While many Evangelical critics would love for Mormons to ' play by the rules' and
continue to read the BoM as their fathers and father fathers did—-respect for the BoM demands more
My question is, who made these "rules" that LDS used to "play by" ? Was it Mormon prophets and Apostles
who are said to be invested with the authority to correctly interpret the written Word of God for the church with
the promise not to lead astray ?
Considering that Mormon leaders have described their interpretations as, " divine direction " , what do we
see as an example of this in respect to their teachings about black skin ?
Lastly, what about Elder Lee's criticisms of his fellow general authorities ?
"If the Israelites in the land of the Canaanites & Philistines could've distinguished themselves along neat racial lines like the Nephites in the New World realm of the "Lamanites," then perhaps we would hear less in the Bible of the practice of ethnic segregation known as circumcision."
Oh my goodness… what can i say after reading that…
I think that´s why God gave the Israelites commandments, like circumcision, because skin color have more to do with enviromental conditions than with a people´s faithfulness…right?
"many Mormon readers like myself that the Lamanites' "skin of blackness" was an indication that they had intermarried with native peoples of a different racial type who espoused those depraved lifestyles."
Man, you gotta have your own seer stone to interpret that! uhauhauhauhauha
What about when their color was turned back to white and delightsome? Was it that the lamanites left those other racial types and started marring nephites again?
Your post is absolutely incredible…
btw, God favored the people of Israel because of the covenant he made with Abraham – in the nephite case, he and his brothers were already under a covenant therefore this whole skin change is completely pointless – why didn´t God curse the fallen Israelites the same as Laman and Lemuel? Or were everyone else around the people of Israel of dark skin? Of course not…
You´ve got to be joking me!
You continue to amaze me.
First of all, wether they found other peoples on the north doesn´t matter, because my point was that according to the BoM the Lamanites originated the indian race, and the Nephites were the main power of the Americas.
As for the "whole earth", they were clearly referring to everything between oceans/seas(north, south east and west), and we know that hill cumorah was in New York, therefore they covered at least the entire U.S. Your seer stone might tell you something different, but that´s what JS and many other "prophets" after him taught, and they were the ones with authority to reveal those things!
"Should we be so shocked that the Nephites in their simplified history preferred to recognize the native "others" as brothers rather than foreigners? Brothers who they owed something to by way of basic love & respect?"
You´re not serious, are you? Israelites didn´t mix themselves with uncircumcised people, they considered them unclean. How on earth would they call or consider them brothers? If they did live the law of moses as the BoM points out, they shouldn´t have mixed themselves with the natives ever.
That´s another huge problem with the BoM – we find almost no trace of any observance of the Law of Moses and of jewish culture and tradition…
"What the BoM later teaches us, however, is that Nephi actually spoke in ignorance"
"Are we to be unduly dismissive of the Nephites because they seem to have done a better job than the Jews at understanding that God's call…"
I guess Nephi wasn´t very good at geography and writing, but was much better than the jews at understanding God´s commandments…
Wait a second…wasn´t nephi a jew? I had forgotten about that. Cool, huh?
"The Book of Mormon is typically much better than the Hebrew Bible in acknowledging sinfulness as resulting from unfaithfulness & disobedience rather than ignorance & tradition."
What Bible did you read that made you come to that conclusion?
Oh, you must have read it through your own seer stone, that would explain it.
Not joking you at all, melo.
Since you're totally satisfied w/ the traditional Book of Mormon reading of the "cursing" of a "skin of blackness" to come upon Laman & his followers, I will yet again remind you that the BoM nowhere explains that this "curse" was the result of a miraculous event, nor that it represented the origin of the Amerindian "race." Those readings are imposed upon the text every bit as much as my (& others') understanding that the Lamanite curse resulted from inter-mixing with dark-skinned natives.
I think we can both agree that the depraved lifestyle of Laman & his followers (the idleness, nudity, & hunting beasts of prey) is explained by the text as the result (not the cause) of their cursing. I think we can also both agree (contrary to some Mormon apologetic claims) that the "cursing" itself was the "skin of blackness" which is said to come upon Laman's group. In the traditional reading (the obvious reading in your estimation — the mocking delivery wasn't needed to make that point), you are inclined to take this literary position:
* that text is saying that such depraved & primitive tendencies are inherent to the Amerindian "race."
The problem with this verdict is that it doesn't at all jive with the text's treatment of the Lamanites. Time & again the BoM emphasizes that when Lamanite persons embraced the Lord's commandments, they were every bit as capable of faithfulness & righteousness as the Nephites (& several times, as a people, exceeded the Nephites in this regard). Furthermore, it fails to adequately explain why in classical BoM times even the wicked Lamanites dwelt in "cities," fought with "swords" & "armor," & lived a relatively "civilized" lifestyle. They are definitely not portrayed as the primitive tribal folk dealt with originally by Nephi. In other words, the BoM clearly does not describe the depraved qualities described by Nephi of the Lamanite "cursing" as innate qualities of the Lamanite peoples.
But the alternative reading that you laugh at very adequately jives with the BoM's actual & sustained treatment of the Lamanite people. It explains that Nephi wasn't characterizing a racial stock, but was instead describing the physical & social conditions of the very specific, tribal people that he personally observed. Furthermore, it explains that the deprived lifestyles adopted by Nephi's unfaithful relatives were a result of their racial "cursing" because that cursing was itself a metaphoric description of their inter-mixing with a separate people, & the consequent adoption of that people's deprived lifestyle.
If you want to believe that Laman & Lemuel suddenly turned black & then went kooky as a consequence, then you're certainly entitled to that reading. But don't pretend that it jives with the rest of the BoM's treatment of people and human transformation. It simply doesn't jive with another single example from the text, never mind the majority of it. Regardless of whether or not it jives with the common Mormon interpretation of the text before 1950, it still represents a very poor & problematic reading of the text. The Mormon people have in large measure repented of their ignorance & presumptuousness, but you refuse, melo. Not because you're intellectually incapable of giving the Book of Mormon text a more thorough evaluation, but because you've concluded that it deserves no such consideration. It's just much easier to sit back & disparage those Mormons who are obviously trying to turn lead to gold in their twisted re-readings of the BoM. Unfortunately, by laughing off my arguments, you have only admitted that you are either unwilling or incapable of matching my understanding of the BoM text. In which case you have indirectly admitted that you are not as qualified as I to dictate what the BoM text is or is not.
And contrary to your earlier claim, melo, the traditional reading regarding the Lamanite curse is NOT endorsed (officially or otherwise) by the current leadership of the LDS church. That's simply an out-n-out lie or a severe misunderstanding on your part.
It must get a little discouraging for Mormons that their rationalizations regarding the tall tale known as the BoM have little impact outside of their closed system world of Mormonism. All of the rationalizations stacked on top of each other can't reach a height necessary to prove to the world at large that Smith's book was a product of his very active imagination. The DNA evidence really has to be trimmed and tapered by Mormons to come up with some plausible explanation for why the American Indians are not descendents of middle eastern Jews. This is why the personal testimony of the Mormon, consisting of good feelings about the BoM, must be clung to like a piece of drift wood in a ragging sea.
This particular article points out the wholesale intellectual bankruptcy of Mormonism. So spiritual revelation becomes the fall back position for the Mormon. There's no thought given to the fact that "spiritual" feelings are nothing more than a reaction to an implanted desirable thought.. A notion does not have to be true to make someone feel spiritually/emotionally good. There are perhaps many things in the BoM that could make someone feel emotionally high if they are so inclined. That's why evidence is so important. This Mormon notion that the dark skin of some folks will turn white due to the effects of Mormonism should be enough in and of itself for someone to have serious concerns about the teachings of this religion.
Do you think many LDS thought about if the mark of the "curse" was a black skin, then why were some
babies being born black after June of 1978 ?
That's real easy, it's because the ban was lifted and black skin was not a curse in Mormonism after 1978. The Mormon god progressed in more knowledge and truth and revealed to the then prophet that, well, black is beautiful. It was the 70s after all attitudes were changing within and outside the African American community and it was all lead by the Mormon god, right? Remember too that this was the era when the Osmonds were battling it out with the Jackson Five for pop music superiority. I'm sure the Mormon god figured that since the dark skin soul group from Gary, Ind. were kicking butt on the music charts and out distancing the fair and delightsome boys from Utah, he'd forget about the curse. Now the downside of all of this of course is that the Jacksons were Jehovah Witnesses. That's a little embarrassing for Mormons in the battle of the bands. That is, African-American JWs besting the white bread Mormons and they were doing it while still cursed! The curse had to go!
Checking out those two pictures of George P. Lee confirms one thing. That is, when people leave Mormonism they really deteriorate. In fact the Mormon narrative says that they end up as drunks, drug addicts or some other terrible thing. Now I wonder why he left Mormonism? Well it seems that they booted him out. I thought that people usually leave Mormonism because someone offended them or they fell into serious sin; usually sexual immorality. It's never, and let me repeat NEVER because they figured out that Mormonism is a fraud.
One thing I know for sure is that comparing the above pictures of George P., his skin definitely got darker after he left Mormonism. Check out the pictures if you don't believe me. Therefore the church is true!
I wonder if Mormons ever stop to seriously consider that they and yes, their prophets aren't really hearing from deity? This article points out the really strange, bizarre and laughable Mormon teaching that the Native Americans skin would grow lighter as a result of the influence of Mormonism. This is just plain inane and stupid. However guarding their belief that the Mormon god reveals these things to the prophets, Mormons have to buy it…..buy it all. So my point, wouldn't you think this would cause even a smidgen of doubt regarding the truthfulness of these revelations? Mormons really can't entertain doubt about revelation. To do so would put them on a slippery slope to the point where many, who stay in the church because despite the fact that they know it isn't true, does a lot of good. I'd debate that point but at the end of the day it's just too risky to call into question just about anything in Mormonism because to do so invites more questions. More questions raise more doubts and feelings that run contrary to the emotions that were suppose to affirm that it's all true.
As long as I’m continuing to “amaze” somebody, I guess I’ll keep responding.
melo says: “according to the BoM the Lamanites originated the indian race…”
Actually, it’s according to your interpretation of the BoM that the “Lamanites originated the Indian race.” But worse, you haven’t once presented your literary argument for this belief; in fact, you haven’t even clearly stated what it is that you mean by the above statement. I’m left to assume you’re following the traditional reading that understands the curse of dark skin upon Laman’s group as some kind of miraculous, instantaneous creation of a new kind of racial stock. Unfortunately this is at best a very creative interpretation of the text, & as I explained in my last post, a reading that doesn’t at all fit with the text’s treatment of the Lamanite peoples. The BoM treats the Lamanites as socially depraved (in their wickedness), but it does NOT treat them as innately depraved as the traditional reading of 2 Nephi 5 invariably does.
melo again says: Israelites didn´t mix themselves with uncircumcised people, they considered them unclean. How on earth would they call or consider them brothers? If they did live the law of moses as the BoM points out, they shouldn´t have mixed themselves with the natives ever.
melo, you’ve just summarized the logic of why the Nephites didn’t mix with the Lamanites–& why the Lord established the “curse” to discourage them from doing so. However, you’ve also pointed out a justifiable reason why the Nephites didn’t treat the Lamanites like the Israelites treated the Canaanites & Philistines. In the Bible the Canaanites & Philistines are treated wholly as “other”—or, as you said (in good Hebrew terminology) “unclean.” On the other hand, the Israelites were not quite so exclusionary in their treatment of ancestral kin—like the Aramaeans and Moabites. While the Israelites were often warned against inter-mixing with even these kinfolk, the restrictions weren’t nearly so severe as with the Canaanites & Philistines.
But I hope you’re not suggesting that the Hebrews couldn’t mix with the Canaanites because they were innately “too good” for them. How is this any different from the superiority complex you’ve been accusing Mormons of upholding with their so-called racism against Amerindians?
You seem pretty casual & convenient in your dismissal of the Canaanites as irrelevant people, melo. As the Bible explains, their segregated/"unclean" status (& even despised status) was because of a “curse” upon Ham’s son, Canaan–the consequence of some act of impropriety by Ham against his righteous father, Noah. Other than the fact that the Nephites are far more respectful of the Lamanites than the Israelites were of the Canaanites, how is this whole scenario of ethnic segregation & favoritism in the BoM any different from the Israelite/Canaanite scenario of the Bible? Are not Laman & his followers likewise segregated from the Lord's people as a result of a historical sin that caused their lineage to abandon the Lord & follow a sinful lifestyle? Again, how is this any different from the Bible's treatment of the Canaanites & their ancestral curse?
I think you bring up a legit observation & criticism of LDS religion & practice, willy (&, in fairness, to other Christian traditions as well).
I take the (increasingly popular) position that for Mormons to do the word of God justice as it's found in the Book of Mormon (or in other scripture), we must be willing to admit tht our precursors in the faith may have oftentimes read the text wrong — sometimes even terribly wrong. Opposition to such change within the LDS Church typically runs along the lines of just what you've stated — that the past prophets (whether JS, BY, JFieldingS, etc) read the text along traditional lines, so who are we to say tht they got it wrong (& all the church since has likewise had it wrong)!
The problem w/ this line of thought is tht it makes these men into angels rather than prophets. But the claim has never been that JS (or BY, etc) was an angel. Rather, it's always been the position of the LDS Church that it was founded on specific revelations given to JS, not on every opinion tht JS held concerning the Bible, BoM, or what not–much of which is traceable to his own upbringing, not to revelation. Oftentimes JS & his successors participated in traditional understandings of doctrine rather than originating the doctrine–so to use them as a basis for clinging to traditional knowledge & readings is quite absurd. While I think it's certainly in a believing Mormon's interest to respectfully & sensitively study what JS, BY, or any other GA had to say about this scripture or that doctrine, to presume that their every opinion on a variety of matters represented God's mind is simply unwise. Furthermore, it cheapens the reality that God did at very specific points speak (& continues to speak) through such men.
Really, the whole notion of invoking the authority of "the prophets" or "the brethren" as a way of closing the scriptures to critical & personal investigation & inquiry is simply an act of conservatism that strikes against what the scriptures demand of us: that is, a broken heart, a contrite spirit, & invariably, an open mind as well. To let tradition scream too loudly in our ears is to deny the Spirit of the Lord a chance to enlighten us. This goes for Mormons, just as it goes for all Christians, of whatever persuasion.
Mantis, Thanks for the reply. Allow me to comment on some things that you said. You said that the Mormon Church was founded on specific revelation given to Joseph Smith. I understand this point, but we are also told that Mormon prophets/apostles teach an interpret the written Word for all LDS, and that these teachings are referred to as pure doctrine, in other words their accurate. ( in the NT this is called "sound doctrine'–1 Timothy 4:6 ). Notice at 2 Timothy 2:15-18 that two men violated this which caused them to be led astray, and lead others astray. This makes them false teachers. Now you have admitted that your leaders have often failed to rightly interpret the Word, this means that sincere LDS who submit to them were led astray, does it not ? Yet these very same leaders have said in print that they would NEVER lead their people astray ! To be a false prophet brings God's displeasure and even his judgement ( Alma 13:20 ).
Can you see the seriousness of this type of conduct by those who claim to be prophets/apostles ? To be sure LDS, even though sincere, are held accountable especially when they try to help their prophet rationalize out of his indictment and proceed to sustain him as a teacher over them.
You said, " We must be willing to admit that our precurors in the faith may have often times read the text wrong—sometimes terribly wrong." Thank you for being honest Mantis. To bring out the full extent of just how serious this issue is you could have said it thusly : " we must be willing to admit that out prophet/apostles have often advanced false doctrine by their incorrectly interpreting the Word of God. " Consider Brigham Young's testimony " It is my duty to see that correct doctrine is taught and to guard the Church from error, it is my calling……." I read in Mormon periodicals were Mormon leaders are said to be guides to spiritual truth for all LDS. Matthew 15:14 ( NAS) warns that to be guided by blind ( spiritual ) leaders is perilous.
At this point we need to remember that a false prophet isn't always like a Brian David Mitchell ( the self styled Mormon prophet who among other things, kidnapped Elizabeth Smart.) False prophets can be moral, sincere, and family oriented men. They become false prophets/teachers by dispensing inaccurate interpretations of God's Word. They are to dismissed from our lives as authority figures. Jesus took the time to warn us of such men–Matthew 24:11. Considering an Brigham Young's testimony above, we have had 180 years of a track record from which to evaluate Mormon prophets/apostles . They have violated their duty. Mantis I heartly agree with you concerning your last two sentences in your reply to me. I'll close by submitting that all of us don't need another prophet, we need a Savior ( who just happens to be the Prophet to end all prophets–Hebrews 1:1-3 ; 7:25 ) Take care and have a good weekend.