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beastie

Zelph, the White Lamanite

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http://farms.byu.edu/display.php?table=jbms&id=202

This article seems to accept that, regardless of the other questions regarding the Zelph story, those who recorded the story described Zelph as a "white Lamanite".

How does this correlate with LGT? "Lamanite" is a political/social term, not a racial or ethnic term, under the LGT. "Lamanite" is really everyone else who was not a Nephite, and was opposed to the Nephites, regardless of where the Nephites were located at the time. Additionally, although Lehi may have been a "principal" ancestor in terms of "most important", obviously he was actually a minor ancestor and his genetic heritage had no impact on the "Nephites" or "Lamanites", physically speaking.

So where in the heck does a "white Lamanite" come from? Under LGT, does God turn Mesoamericans white if they're righteous enough?

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54 views and not a single reply? No one knows the apologist explanation for this?

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54 views and not a single reply? No one knows the apologist explanation for this?

nope, its just that the answer has been given so many times that we're all amazed that someone would repeat the question.

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Simple.... You answer your OWN question.

If the Lamanites were the "un-believers" predominately as you state, which is most LDS understanding of the Book of Mormon, then clearly there could have been some that were "white", could there not have been.

Then you have the issue that Lamanite skin color likely referred to a literal skin color AS WELL as a spiritual color, i.e. "Light".

So, while most likely were "dark" because of mixing with the locals both by DNA and in Spiritual qualities, there were likely some white skinned Lamanites as well as in DNA.

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I think apologists chalk up the whole "Zelph the white Lamanite" thing to human error on Joseph's part. Well...error for now, unless some BoM artifacts start turning up in the area, then statements made about Zelph will be used to show the prophetic abilities of Joseph Smith.

Its nifty the way that prophetic gig works.

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If I read the article right then I think we see that various opinions of what was found and who said what exist. We may never know what Joseph Smith actually said or thought about it. Also we may never know who this fellow was or what his connection was to the book of mormon. As you know Joseph Smith's Prophethood is based on revelation not on some 2000 yr old carcass.

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54 views and not a single reply? No one knows the apologist explanation for this?

Oh, please. Spare us the phony surprise when Zelph has come up every month on ZLMB while you were a moderator. Oh, let me add the punctuation...!!!!!!

Trolling does not go over well here.

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No, Zelph did not come up every month at ZLMB, and I don't remember the whiteness being the particular point of the question. Rather the emphasis was on how a Lamanite engaged in battle in NA conflicted with LGT. That is not my point. If the whiteness, in particular, has been addressed somewhere, I'd appreciate a link.

Lee, are you saying that some native mesoamericans would have been regarded as "white"?

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54 views and not a single reply?  No one knows the apologist explanation for this?

nope, its just that the answer has been given so many times that we're all amazed that someone would repeat the question.

LOL

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Do I have to spell it out?

Apologists of LGT would maintain that we could not expect to see physical characteristics inherited from Lehi to demonstrate in the Native Mesoamerican population. So where did the whiteness come from? It strains credulity to pretend that JS would label any native Mesoamerican "white".

Again, I've seen numerous threads devoted to explaining how Zelph, being in battle in NA, discredits LGT. But I don't recall any devoted to explaining how Zelph could have been white. Once again, if this has been addressed, either a link or simple summary would be nice. As long as people just say "oh, that's been addressed already" without any mention of how, then I remain unconvinced.

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One thing that is hard to explain(at least for the apolagists) though is why Joseph Smith wrote home to Emma his wife during zions march telling her just how exciting it was to be visiting the lands of the BofM.

"4 June 1834, during his trip through Illinois with a small company of Mormons, he wrote his wife that he and the others had been "wandering over the plains of the Nephites, recounting occasionally the history of the Book of Mormon, roving over the mounds of that once beloved people of the Lord, picking up their skulls & their bones, as proof of its divine authenticity." "

It is just amazing the length that apolagist will go to rationalize statements like the above. You often have to have more faith to believe in the theories of the apolagists then to just take Joseph Smith's statements at face value.

Japanguy

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Once again beastie, if it's not in the BoM take it with a grain of salt, even if it came from Joseph Smith. If you believe that Joseph wrote the BoM, as Dan Vogel does, then I can understand where you're coming from. But he didn't. And to think that he dictated it spontaneously, as Dan does, in about three months, is absolutely miraculous and unparalleled.

But I know some of you can't break that attachment. So what even if Joseph was wrong about a "white" Lamanite? I'm not saying he was, but too much importance is attached to such statements, I think. Even when I read the Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith I pick and chose what I will take seriously. I know this is a sore point: we pick and choose what suits us and reject what doesn't. I think you have to. If everyone took President Benson's views on communism seriously, and read his book An Enemy Hath Done This, you'd be under the same obligation as taking Joseph's opinion seriously, since both were prophets.

I find however that with the BoM I really don't have to pick and chose. You can read it very simplistically and draw simplistic conclusions. Or you can study it more carefully. Brant went over this many times, about skin colour and the BoM, and symbology.

Japanguy:

One thing that is hard to explain(at least for the apolagists) though is why Joseph Smith wrote home to Emma his wife during zions march telling her just how exciting it was to be visiting the lands of the BofM.

"4 June 1834, during his trip through Illinois with a small company of Mormons, he wrote his wife that he and the others had been "wandering over the plains of the Nephites, recounting occasionally the history of the Book of Mormon, roving over the mounds of that once beloved people of the Lord, picking up their skulls & their bones, as proof of its divine authenticity." "

It is just amazing the length that apolagist will go to rationalize statements like the above. You often have to have more faith to believe in the theories of the apolagists then to just take Joseph Smith's statements at face value.

See, there we go again. Joseph did not know definitely where the BoM occurred. That he was foundering on this one is obvious. On the other hand when Stephens was making his discoveries in Mesoamerica Joseph pointed to that also as evidence. But the scale of the BoM does not allow for both. This is the point you're not getting: Joseph was the translator, and he did not know that Jerusalem had walls, for example, so how would he know every speck of geography concerning the BoM? He may have at times assumed a hemispheric model, mabye even most of the time, but that he did not know the geography only points to the fact that he was not the author.

Many of you assign a God-like omniscience to Joseph. That's the problem. You can't accept that God might reveal something yet not tell all the details, even to the one who does the translation. When you weigh up the two, and see the discrepancies between what the Prophet thinks, and what the text actually says, a favourable verdict for authenticity beckons.

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Once again beastie, if it's not in the BoM take it with a grain of salt, even if it came from Joseph Smith. If you believe that Joseph wrote the BoM, as Dan Vogel does, then I can understand where you're coming from. But he didn't. And to think that he dictated it spontaneously, as Dan does, in about three months, is absolutely miraculous and unparalleled.

But I know some of you can't break that attachment. So what even if Joseph was wrong about a "white" Lamanite? I'm not saying he was, but too much importance is attached to such statements, I think. Even when I read the Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith I pick and chose what I will take seriously. I know this is a sore point: we pick and choose what suits us and reject what doesn't. I think you have to. If everyone took President Benson's views on communism seriously, and read his book An Enemy Hath Done This, you'd be under the same obligation as taking Joseph's opinion seriously, since both were prophets.

I find however that with the BoM I really don't have to pick and chose. You can read it very simplistically and draw simplistic conclusions. Or you can study it more carefully. Brant went over this many times, about skin colour and the BoM, and symbology.

Ray,

You have managed to put together a set of beliefs that doesn't correspond with most LDS that I knew and know. Most LDS do not believe you get to ignore, or pick and choose, from prophetic statements that are identified as "revelations", even if they are outside the BoM.

The reason why Zelph gets so much attention is that there are several diary entries and other writings that provide certain information about the event. There is more contemporaneous support for this revelation than for the First Vision. The base information that almost every single one of the writers agreed upon is that Zelph was a white Lamanite, and this information was received by JS through revelation. This is the same JS who called other visions revelations that led to the BoM. IOW, he knows what a "revelation" is, because he has experienced it. Now, apparently, you're telling me that only the revelation that ended up in the BoM counts? The other times he called it "revelation", it was just his opinion? He couldn't tell the difference between a revelation and his own opinions? So why would the BoM be different than any other of his opinions/unreliable revelations?

So, basically, Ray, you're telling me that there were no white Lamanites, and JS was full of baloney when he stated he had a revelation about a white Lamanite. Is that correct?

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you say "almost". Are you implying that there are diary entries that don't say white lamanite?

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One of the records does not mention Zelph being white.

Another member of Zion's Camp, 22-year-old Moses Martin, also reported the finding of Zelph. Martin was present when the digging occurred and was impressed with the size of the skeleton and with Joseph's vision of the unnamed prophet. But he said nothing about his being a white Lamanite or his having served under a prophet chief named Omandagus or Onandagus. Instead, in the Martin account, the deceased man was "a mighty prophet

(from the linked article in the first post)

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How do we account for the variation in the Moses Martin diary?

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What is the to-do here, anyway? That Zelph is described as a "white Lamanite"? :P

Don't any of you ever read the Book of Mormon? <_<

It is quite plain early on (in the book) that the Nephite and Lamanite distinctions are political, not racial. Many times, one group or another defects from one group to the other (going both ways). And in 4th Nephi, the distinction ceases. They are all one happy tribe together. Until a group separates itself out and "calls" itself Lamanite.

If Joseph Smith wanted to label the dead man discovered as "Zelph the White Lamanite", the appellation should have surprised no one who had read the book to any degree of seriousness. (And apparently didn't, at the time.)

Beowulf

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So, basically, Ray, you're telling me that there were no white Lamanites, and JS was full of baloney when he stated he had a revelation about a white Lamanite.  Is that correct?

Beastie,

You and some of the others are having some basic trouble grasping plain things I write. I don't mean that as an insult. It's true. It also makes me wonder if that extends to your so often erroneous assessments of Mormonism. I can't help but wonder.

1) I never said there were no white Lamanites. Here is what I wrote:

So what even if Joseph was wrong about a "white" Lamanite? I'm not saying he was, but too much importance is attached to such statements, I think.

2) I never said that Joseph Smith was "full of baloney". That's you're overemphasis on a peccadillo.

So let me again clarify my position to you, by quoting what I said in my original posts:

So what even if Joseph was wrong about a "white" Lamanite? I'm not saying he was, but too much importance is attached to such statements, I think. Even when I read the Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith I pick and chose what I will take seriously. I know this is a sore point: we pick and choose what suits us and reject what doesn't. I think you have to. If everyone took President Benson's views on communism seriously, and read his book An Enemy Hath Done This, you'd be under the same obligation as taking Joseph's opinion seriously, since both were prophets.

I realise that this is not the view of many LDS, which frankly is one reason I find activity in the church challenging. But it could have been my view in the 80s, before I thought long and hard about where I really stand on these issues. That has taken years and years of brain-sweat and sometimes emotional turmoil. But I have whittled down what I believe can be, discarded what I find unsustainable, and kept truths that I cannot compromise and which are clear to me. If I thought it was all "baloney" I would have long dumped it. But I cannot seriously take all Joseph Smith's statements as coming directly from God. Nor Brigham Young, nor anyone else. And this to me is what sets the BoM apart; it is "pure revelation". Even so, Nephi added this qualification, "if there be faults, they be the faults of men". And I take Brigham Young's admonition seriously, to test everything a prophet teaches. The context of the "Zelph revelation" is clouded by sometimes contradictory journal entries from very mortal and interpretative men writing with some religious enthusiasm. It's not hard for me to question that, but it's very hard for me to question the BoM.

You must approach the sources critically, not with a "got you" attitude. Are you looking for blunders so you can add some self-justification, or have you seriously considered those comments in light of the fact of the "faults of men", and man's interpretations, can be wrong, or embellished by a "fanciful and flowery imagination"?

"The things of God are of deep import" and deserve far more thoughtful consideration.

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With links to actual primary sources:

Zelph Stuff

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No, Zelph did not come up every month at ZLMB, and I don't remember the whiteness being the particular point of the question. Rather the emphasis was on how a Lamanite engaged in battle in NA conflicted with LGT. That is not my point. If the whiteness, in particular, has been addressed somewhere, I'd appreciate a link.

Lee, are you saying that some native mesoamericans would have been regarded as "white"?

For all we know, Zelph could have been an albino Native American. Or, he could have come from some lighter skinned Native American group - not all Indians today are dark skinned, BTW. And other cultures have been found here, including Chinese, Norse, Australasian, and Caucasian (Kennewick Man, for example). What is the chance he stumbled across one lighter-skinned person? Stranger things have happened.

After 3 Nephi, the term "Lamanite" was more political than it was biological. Joseph Smith may not have realized that, but still could have found a lighter skinned Lamanite that had been in great wars.

BTW, on my mission in Bolivia, we had a full blown native couple who had a son that was blue eyed and blond. They called him gringo. Since they lived in a very poor area of Bolivia, and most European descent Bolivians tended to live in the jungle or richer areas of the Andes, the likelihood of a blond, blue-eyed Caucasian marrying into the poorer campesino families was highly unlikely (especially when you consider they look down upon the native Indians there). So, light skin does happen.

rameumptom

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You and some of the others are having some basic trouble grasping plain things I write. I don't mean that as an insult. It's true. It also makes me wonder if that extends to your so often erroneous assessments of Mormonism. I can't help but wonder.

1) I never said there were no white Lamanites. Here is what I wrote:

Ray, if you feel free to ignore this particular revelation, then that must mean you think he's full of baloney, at least on this one point.

Actually I'm trying to understand LGT. It is so alien to anything I believed, or heard taught, as a believing LDS, I'm still trying to figure out the details. It doesn't seem logical for LGTists to believe that the skin of "lamanites", as the political, nonethnic group, sometimes turned white, and certainly the modern LDS church has tried to distance itself from that position. Hence, my curiosity about how LGTists work out the white Lamanite Zelph. Apparently, from comments below, zelph was just an aberration, like an albino. What a remarkable coincidence.

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USU78 Posted on Jan 14 2005, 02:37 PM

  With links to actual primary sources:

Zelph Stuff 

Am I hallucinating, or isn't this the same article I linked at the beginning of this thread?

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How do we account for the variation in the Moses Martin diary?

I don't think it's significant, and neither does Godfrey, who said:

Furthermore, readers would be told that most sources agree that Zelph was a white Lamanite who fought under a leader named Onandagus (variously spelled).

Apparently, in his opinion, this was the basic, agreed upon, statements. That is why it seems logical to ponder the whiteness in particular, more than the dating or anything else.

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Ray, if you feel free to ignore this particular revelation, then that must mean you think he's full of baloney, at least on this one point.

I wouldn't say he was "full of baloney". I think he sometimes speculated on things he should not have. I'm not a purist. I believe that in things like this, where we are talking about a discovery of human skeletal remains, the Prophet may well have felt that the "Spirit of the Almighty" inspired him. I'm certain he felt the same when he sent the Brethren to Canada to sell the copyright for the BoM.

It would not be the first time someone thinking they were being inspired by the Spirit was wrong. But then, we can't say positively he was wrong. This is the problem Dan Vogel constantly brings up, the unreliability of revelation, and I have some sympathy with that sentiment. However, my core belief is in the BoM and the inspiration I see there, which I feel is totally contrary to the sort of speculation we see with the Zelph incident.

Let me give you the bottom line: The BoM is the key. Forget about Zelph. When you can explain how, by valid comparisons and examples, the BoM was written, and can show through a very similar process of duplication HOW it was done, and that process turns out to be a natural means, then you are on to something. Then the "reality" will strike home. You can think something is divine UNTIL you see otherwise. Resorting to Zelph is hacking at the branches, and it's an interesting thought, but not crucial for me. Not even sure why I entered this thread. Trying to decipher Zelph, for me, is like trying to work out why the car is still running when theoretically it shouldn't be. But it's still going, so there must be a reason why. When someone can show me why, and there's nothing miraculous about why it's still runing, then I might reconsider, but not until then.

None of the theories and ideas have persuaded me. When people say "Joseph Smith wrote the BoM", I say that is baloney. So show me a person in equivalent circumstances, in other words, duplicate the process, and show us that it has natural causes and effects. All the ideas so far are just way, way off the mark, and none meet the criteria for valid duplication, where we can say, "yes, now we fully understand how it was done", and there is a perfectly natural explanation. That is when my faith in the BoM will be in serious trouble. But this process will be exacting and thorough, not the baloney and lazy, fuzzy theories we usually get from antis and exmos which are all speculation and/or just personal belief - no more valid than having faith.

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Ray,

You have managed to put together a set of beliefs that doesn't correspond with most LDS that I knew and know. Most LDS do not believe you get to ignore, or pick and choose, from prophetic statements that are identified as "revelations", even if they are outside the BoM.

You have misrepresented what Ray said, of course. You have to to continue. And most LDS here would agree that we don't take everything a leader says with the same gravity. Gosh...Shades even called us all "internet Mormons for doing just that! Again, the disingenuousness is wearing thin. And if you know what all we Mormons think why are you asking us anything anyway? This is trolling.

The reason why Zelph gets so much attention is that there are several diary entries and other writings that provide certain information about the event.

The only reason "Zelph" gets any attention at all is because of people who like to recycle the same tired questions over and over and over....

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