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The Book of Mormon is a conundrum.

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I don't know if this is a conundrum or not in the BoM, but it's a mighty disservice for the Native Americans. https://lamanitetruth.com/the-lamanite-truth-project/

c/p:    The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints has identified “American Indians” as Lamanites since its founding in 1830. The Introduction to the Book of Mormon states, “After thousands of years, all were destroyed except the Lamanites, and they are among the ancestors of the American Indians.” The Book of Mormon is still being taught to Native Americans and Indigenous peoples as being an accurate historical record of their direct ancestors. Archaeology, DNA, and Indigenous oral history all disprove this claim.

     The terms: American Indian, Indian, Lamanite, and Children of Lehi are all labels the church has used interchangeably throughout its history to identify Native Americans. Since the Book of Mormon uses the term “American Indian”  this will appear often throughout the Lamanite Truth Project, but only to reflect the Mormon terminology. Please be sensitive to the Native American community as they have often been wrongly labeled, which is connected to colonization. The most acceptable terms to use are Native American or Indigenous.

Listed below are just some of the issues surrounding the term Lamanite when used to identify “American Indians”:

1- Native Americans have a rich and beautiful heritage. Telling Native Americans that they do not know their own history or ancestry is offensive. The act of replacing their heritage is a form of colonization and cultural genocide. This should never have happened to begin with, but with the knowledge we now have it definitely should not still be happening within Mormonism.

2- Native American cultural and spiritual traditions are considered remnants of evil within the Lamanite story found in the Book of Mormon. This destroys the beauty and spirituality of real living people. Native Americans should feel no shame over their cultural traditions, nor shame about their ancestors. They have been forced to choose between culture and the church, for choosing both is not welcomed in Mormonism.

3- Native American evil ancestry – The Book of Mormon teaches that American Indian ancestors were so evil that God cursed them by completely withdrawing His spirit from them. This is the reason Mormons give as to why Native Americans had no religion when America was colonized. This shows complete disregard for religious freedom, and total ignorance about Native American spirituality. The level of evil required for God to completely withdraw His spirit from an entire people has been put upon American Indians in the pages of the Book of Mormon. 

4- Native American ancestors were cursed with dark skin in the Book of Mormon. This dark skin curse was a physical sign of the greater curse, God removing His spirit from them. Darkened skin, as taught in the Book of Mormon, is a sign to more righteous people. God did this so the righteous might easily identify the unrighteous. God’s purpose for this physical sign of dark skin was to keep the righteous people from mixing (marrying) with the unrighteous people. Teaching living Native American people that this is the reason for their skin pigmentation, that it is a punishment from God, is deeply offensive. 

5- Native Americans pass on the sign of the curse, darkened skin, to their children. Another generation of Native American descendants raised with toxic religious racism. Babies… Native Americans should not be told that the pigmentation of their beautiful new babies are the result of ancestral curses. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints claims it never apologizes. In this instance it needs to. Speculation over “Lamanite” identity needs to cease.

6- Native Americans that join Mormonism are promised that the curse that God removed His spirit from them will be lifted if they join the Mormon church. However, any of their family that does not join The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints will still carry the curse. This deeply hurts and affects family relationships. Cultural shaming pushed into and between family members.

7- Native Americans have been taught that their skin will lighten in pigment as they embrace the gospel within The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. This is no longer a much talked about aspect of Lamanite identity, but it still exists. Living Native Americans were taught this and raised with this belief.

8- Native American ancestors turned away from God in the Lamanite story, thereby causing the Indigenous genocide and colonization of America. The Book of Mormon states that God punishes them with with the bloodshed of their people and the taking of their land. God brings people from other nations and gives American Indian lands to the new more righteous people. The Book of Mormon states: “Yea, he will bring other nations unto them, and he will give unto them power, and he will take away from them the lands of their possessions, and he will cause them to be scattered and smitten. Yea, as one generation passeth to another there shall be bloodsheds…” (2 Nephi: Chap 1)  This is a massively disrespectful teaching to the surviving and living descendants of Native American and Indigenous peoples. Their ancestors deaths and loss of land were not the result of being evil, and should not be dishonored with such a myth. Blaming Native Americans for their own genocide and colonization is beyond toxic.

     The above teachings of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints in regards to Lamanites and American Indians are current. To explore these teachings I have included the transcripts below of two conversations I had with Mormon missionaries: (Note: I  will not include the names of the missionaries in the transcript as I want to protect them. I do not hold an 18 or 19 year old responsible for being taught false doctrine with the church’s long held policy of American Indian erasure.)

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6 hours ago, clarkgoble said:

Except people did feel the leafs of the plates and some people got peeks at it while it was being moved. You have to account for those descriptions. The theory that it wasn't plates at all but a box with a manuscript doesn't line up with what people saw. Emma, for instance, while leaving the plates covered, picked them up and moved them as she cleaned. They also could lift up the leaves through the cloth.  Stowell's account is the most interesting since he testified under oath in court that he saw them when Joseph first brought them home. He described them as gold leaves with characters and a corner "resembled a stone of a greenish caste" likely describing oxidization of the alloy that may have included copper.

The translation of the 116 pages was likely different than the rest of the Book of Mormon. It's likely the 116 pages were done with a curtain separating Joseph and the scribe. When Oliver was the scribe Joseph would have needed the box to carry the manuscripts in. But that doesn't mean Joseph didn't also have a set of "plates." And I wouldn't put much stock in Emma's untruthful interview from 50 years after the fact. Plus, her statements seem anomalous compared to the other accounts.

6 hours ago, clarkgoble said:

There are good explanations since scryers often had to shut out light. But I certainly agree the hat provides opportunities for fraud. The table less so given the confined area and the fact the table was in use for other things during translation.

And why do you think scryers used this method? Are you saying they truly saw things written on stones in their hat? Isn't it more likely they did this to block anybody else from viewing the stone? And again, we have to separate the two different translation periods. My proposed method applies when Oliver was the scribe.

6 hours ago, clarkgoble said:

I agree that it doesn't eliminate fraud, although given the length of time and the confined area I do think it reduces its likelihood. But clearly fraud remains the most plausible model for non-believers. I think it important to note the difference of a magician or illusionist who depends upon short time for the trick and slight of hand to work. A process of months in a confined area makes that much more difficult albeit not impossible.

As I've said, Joseph could have set up the room every morning beforehand. The problem here is that for a naturalist (I wouldn't characterize myself as a non-believer) the seer stone method is out from the start. Some sort of memorization or trance-like on the spot creation is also out from the start. In my view both of those things are impossible. There has to be a simple explanation that fits with what we know about the process. Joseph reading from a manuscript is such an obvious answer that people don't want to believe it. We've conditioned ourselves (both believers and critics) by all of these crazy theories, that we can't believe it could actually be so simple.

6 hours ago, clarkgoble said:

Some sort of flawed intermediary seems necessary, whether that's some person doing the translation and giving it to Joseph or some process that makes use of Joseph's mind and familial phrases to translate similar ideas in a loose way.

 This is utter nonsense and it pains me to see very intelligent people including scholars I have a ton of respect for even wade into this type of conversation.

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Tacenda, we all have ancestors God withdrew his spirit from. These statements seem steeped in victimology and anger. In the Book of Mormon, the "skin of blackness" is not racist, since it happened between brothers. It is not spoken of after the coming of Christ. Naive views of Book of Mormon textual matters are held by many, but there is no systemic racism among most active church members. My "sister", of the Pima, Papago, Maricopa nations, is grateful to her four "sisters" everyday for their loving kindness and the blessings they gave her in the 1970s, and to this day she acknowledges how they helped her life immeasurably into the future, also helping her escape at the time some of the abuse and violence she suffered at the hands of her own people. I know whereof I speak.

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11 minutes ago, tkv said:

Tacenda, we all have ancestors God withdrew his spirit from. These statements seem steeped in victimology and anger. In the Book of Mormon, the "skin of blackness" is not racist, since it happened between brothers. It is not spoken of after the coming of Christ. Naive views of Book of Mormon textual matters are held by many, but there is no systemic racism among most active church members. My "sister", of the Pima, Papago, Maricopa nations, is grateful to her four "sisters" everyday for their loving kindness and the blessings they gave her in the 1970s, and to this day she acknowledges how they helped her life immeasurably into the future, also helping her escape at the time some of the abuse and violence she suffered at the hands of her own people. I know whereof I speak.

I don't know really, I just read it on the link, did you go to it and read more? I wouldn't mind if you disagree, in hopes you vs. them are right. Because it's pretty upsetting. Especially since in our history books they lie or leave out what the settlers did to these people.

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7 hours ago, Brant Gardner said:

Nick Frederick's work is very important on this topic for the Book of Mormon, and Thomas Wayment has an article coming about intertextuality in the JST with Clarke's Commentary. Both are important to understanding the nature of what Joseph did when translated.

I think Wayment's article is coming out in Creating Scripture: Joseph Smith’s Translation Projects and the Making of Mormonism that's supposed to be out in July from the University of Utah Press. I'm really looking forward to it. It'll include quite a few papers on the broader subject.

2 hours ago, JarMan said:

As I've said, Joseph could have set up the room every morning beforehand. The problem here is that for a naturalist (I wouldn't characterize myself as a non-believer) the seer stone method is out from the start. Some sort of memorization or trance-like on the spot creation is also out from the start. In my view both of those things are impossible. There has to be a simple explanation that fits with what we know about the process. Joseph reading from a manuscript is such an obvious answer that people don't want to believe it. We've conditioned ourselves (both believers and critics) by all of these crazy theories, that we can't believe it could actually be so simple.

What do you mean by naturalism here? I confess I don't see why the stone would pose any trouble for the naturalist. It might be implausible and it might be problematic for a certain methodological naturalism. However if you are a believer in at least the reality of real angels and a real life after death, I confess I don't see the problem in a naturalistic context. (Not to derail things into discussions of ontology and epistemology)

Now if by naturalism you mean something akin to what Dan Vogel means by it that's fine, but I'm then curious as to what you'd mean by believer in that context of no angels, divine communication or so forth. For those of us who don't embrace Dan's style of naturalism though you can surely see why the calculus is rather different.

2 hours ago, JarMan said:

 This is utter nonsense and it pains me to see very intelligent people including scholars I have a ton of respect for even wade into this type of conversation.

I can see people complaining it's science fiction. But while there may be reasons to doubt it, saying it's "utter nonsense" seems extreme.

2 hours ago, Tacenda said:

c/p:    The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints has identified “American Indians” as Lamanites since its founding in 1830. The Introduction to the Book of Mormon states, “After thousands of years, all were destroyed except the Lamanites, and they are among the ancestors of the American Indians.” The Book of Mormon is still being taught to Native Americans and Indigenous peoples as being an accurate historical record of their direct ancestors. Archaeology, DNA, and Indigenous oral history all disprove this claim.

Many tribes in the US came originally from the Mexico region. As such it's certainly completely believable they'd have Lamanite heritage if the Lamanites existed. If they mixed genetically with other tribes then they too would have Lamanite heritage - albeit perhaps just a small amount. Saying that oral history or DNA invalidates this just is factually incorrect depending upon what you mean by that. Archaeology is a bit more complicated. There are things that don't line up like metallurgy but while there are reasons to disbelieve I don't think it raises to the level of disproof.

Edited by clarkgoble
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On T and Y forms. There's some in the Read the Words article. Like this:

The co-referential use of you right before thou is also fairly typical Early Modern English:

Ezekiel 36:13
Because they say unto you, Thou land devourest up men, and hast bereaved thy nations;

1668 Jeremiah Burroughs [1599–1646] Gospel remission A30582
Now know and consider this day, what from God shall be said unto you, thou much dishonourest the pardoning grace of God.

1668 Richard Alleine [1611–1681] The world conquered A74977
when will it say unto you, thou hast served me long enough; thou hast serv’d thy pleasures, and thy estate,

Here's an example from Tyndale:

1573, A68831
Believe in Christ and thou shalt shortly find purgatories enough, as ye now make other feel.

What happened historically in English, under the influence of Norman French, was that ye came to be used to address not only multiple persons but also just one person. This is how the language stood coming out of the late Middle English period, shortly before the year 1500. The usage of second person pronouns was such that occasionally we can find close mixing of ye and thou referring to the same person. The King James Bible has mixing, but virtually all of it is of a different quality. The matter is complex: there is often unclear switching of ye and thou in plural address, and there is underlying usage to consider, in Hebrew and Greek.

Another complication to bear in mind is that you had become the dominant subject form (also called the nominative form) before 1570. The fact that ye had ceded first place to you during the middle of the 1500s might be little known, but the vast Early English Books Online database shows it to be the case, and scholars had determined this to be so well before the elaboration of the EEBO database. What this means is that nearby variation of singular ye and thou is mostly found in the 16th century and before. By the 17th century there was mostly you and thou variation, but with thou becoming less and less frequent over time as well.

The 1611 King James Bible didn’t reflect the reality that subject you had come to dominate, strongly maintaining earlier usage, following Tyndale’s 1530s usage. Nevertheless, slightly over seven percent of the time you was used as a subject in the original King James Bible. And a lot of this usage came from the earlier Bibles of the 16th century. This fact is hardly known today. Generally speaking, we aren’t aware of this variational usage anymore. Only special study reveals it, since subject you has been almost all eliminated from the King James Bible over time. Around 1680, nominative instances of you began to be changed to ye in Cambridge editions, and this was adopted a little later by Oxford and London editions. That is what we’re used to now. (A 1914 article by John S. Kenyon in the journal PMLA provided some of the above information.)

Here is a poetic example with full variation of thou, ye, and you:

1577, A04794
Yet notwithstanding all this gear, / thou coughest still perdy [indeed]
Ye are a crafty knave, you cough / to fare deliciously.

Here we know we have singular ye and you because they’re linked to singular knave.

Edited by champatsch

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1 hour ago, clarkgoble said:

What do you mean by naturalism here? I confess I don't see why the stone would pose any trouble for the naturalist. It might be implausible and it might be problematic for a certain methodological naturalism. However if you are a believer in at least the reality of real angels and a real life after death, I confess I don't see the problem in a naturalistic context. (Not to derail things into discussions of ontology and epistemology)

Now if by naturalism you mean something akin to what Dan Vogel means by it that's fine, but I'm then curious as to what you'd mean by believer in that context of no angels, divine communication or so forth. For those of us who don't embrace Dan's style of naturalism though you can surely see why the calculus is rather different.

I consider any appeal to the supernatural to be a conflict with a naturalist position. What I mean by being a believer is that I believe in the inherent goodness of the Book of Mormon. Maybe this means it was inspired by God. Maybe not.

1 hour ago, clarkgoble said:

I can see people complaining it's science fiction. But while there may be reasons to doubt it, saying it's "utter nonsense" seems extreme.

I was a little rude. But I wasn't wrong.

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5 hours ago, JarMan said:

As I have said, I read through every account of the translation process as assembled at fairmormon. I was already familiar with many of them. The Emma account that you rely so much upon has several problems. First, it's fifty years after the fact. She is being interviewed by her son and seems to be interested in casting Joseph Smith in a positive light. For example, when asked about plural marriage she said, "No such thing as polygamy, or spiritual wifery, was ever taught, publicly or privately, before my husband's death, that I have now, or ever had knowledge of." This, of course, was a flat out lie and brings into question the other things she said. Also, we have to be careful not to conflate the translation of the 116 pages with the rest of the Book of Mormon. It seems likely to me that most or all of the 116 pages was done with a curtain between Joseph and the scribe. Perhaps he hadn't fully developed his method yet of hiding the manuscript. He would have only needed to hide the manuscript from Oliver for about 60 working days. This isn't as difficult as some have tried to make it seem.

Once again, you refuse to bring your assertions into alignment with the facts.  Had you read my full-scale paper, you would have realized how wrong you are on each point:

    Emma Smith Bidamon was 74 years old when she answered the questions of her son Joseph III and his entourage in February of 1879.  The questions were specific and detailed, her answers convincing and fresh – except on the very personal and emotional issue of polygyny.  She died shortly thereafter, in that same year, and was, therefore, neither 78 nor 79 years old when giving this final testimony – as Ashment’s article and caption incorrectly suggest on page 11 – ............  Moreover, already at age 65, Emma had, in her own hand, written a description of the translation process in reply to a query from Mrs. George W. (Emma) Pilgrim: 

Quote

   Now the first that my husband translated was translated by the use of Urim and Thummim, and that was the part that Martin Harris lost.  After that he used a small stone, not exactly black, but was rather a dark color.

Mrs. Pilgrim’s request for Emma’s testimony may have been prompted by an earlier statement by Dr. William E. McLellen that “after the 116 pages were lost Joseph translated the rest of the Book of Mormon with a stone.”

    Other eyewitness testimony is corroborative of the general details.  For example, Emma’s brother-in-law, Michael Morse, knew Joseph in Harmony, Pennsylvania, and saw him translating on several occasions.  He later recalled that Joseph would place

Quote

    the Seer Stone in the crown of a hat, then putting his face into the hat, so as to entirely cover his face, resting his elbows upon his knees, and then dictating, word after word, while the scribes – Emma, John Whitmer, O. Cowdery, or some other, wrote it down.

Still earlier, between 1833 and 1847, Joseph Knight, Sr., described in his diary the translation equipment and process.  Note his personal recollection of Joseph on the morning of September 22, 1827: 

Quote

   . . . he seamed to think more of the glasses or the urim and thummem then [than] he Did of the Plates, for, says he, “I can see any thing; they are Marvelus.  Now they are writen in Caracters and I want them translated.”

Like many others, Knight mixed terminology or confused glasses and seer-stone while describing an actual translation method used by Joseph Smith:  

Quote

 Now the way he translated was he put the urim and thummim into his hat and Darkened his Eyes then he would take a sentance and it would apper in Brite Roman Letters.  Then he would tell the writer and he would write it.  Then that would go away the next sentance would Come and so on.  But if it was not Spelt rite it would not go away till it was rite, so we see it was marvelous.  Thus was the hol translated.

Knight correctly observes that Joseph lost the privilege of translating for awhile, although David Whitmer stated that this had happened twice: (1)  once, in a moment of arrogance, Smith spoke self-importantly about the plates, and the angel came and took both plates and spectacles in full view of those in the room; later (2) Smith allowed Martin Harris to take 16 plates [116 pages] home, and the plates and spectacles were taken away again – Smith using his egg-shaped seer-stone without the plates thereafter.  Of course, Whitmer was not an eyewitness to the first instance.  Nor could he have observed Joseph translating with the spectacles on and the plates open at the table – as he had several times described it – and he admitted as much to J. L. Traughber, Jr., October 13, 1879: 

Quote

   With the sanction of David Whitmer, and by his authority, I now state that he does not say that Joseph Smith ever translated in his presence by aid of Urim and Thummim; but by means of one dark colored, opaque stone, called a “Seer Stone,” which was placed in the crown of a hat, into which Joseph put his face, so as to exclude the external light.  Then, a spiritual light would shine forth, and parchment would appear before Joseph, upon which was a line of characters from the plates, and under it, the translation in English; at least, so Joseph said.

    When she was 55 years of age, David Whitmer’s younger sister, Elizabeth Anne Whitmer Cowdery (Oliver’s widow), presented William E. McLellan with her own eyewitness testimony from the time when she was in her mid-teens:                      

Quote

 Richmond, Ray Co., Mo. Feb 15th 1870

        I cheerfully certify that I was familiar with the manner of Joseph Smith’s translating the book of Mormon.  He translated the most of it at my Father’s house.  And I often sat by and saw and heard them translate and write for hours together.  Joseph never had a curtain drawn between him and his scribe while he was translating.  He would place the director in his hat, and then place his face in his hat, so as to exclude the light, and then [lacuna       ] <to his scribe the words (he said) as they appeared before him> [remainder of letter has been lost]

I present these and many other accounts, with full documentation, in my paper at https://www.scribd.com/doc/46307834/Translation-of-Languages .  If you want to make a coherent case (which I do not oppose in any way), you will have to make a similar formal presentation.

Edited by Robert F. Smith
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4 hours ago, Tacenda said:

I don't know if this is a conundrum or not in the BoM, but it's a mighty disservice for the Native Americans. https://lamanitetruth.com/the-lamanite-truth-project/

c/p:    The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints has identified “American Indians” as Lamanites since its founding in 1830. The Introduction to the Book of Mormon states, “After thousands of years, all were destroyed except the Lamanites, and they are among the ancestors of the American Indians.” The Book of Mormon is still being taught to Native Americans and Indigenous peoples as being an accurate historical record of their direct ancestors. Archaeology, DNA, and Indigenous oral history all disprove this claim.

     The terms: American Indian, Indian, Lamanite, and Children of Lehi are all labels the church has used interchangeably throughout its history to identify Native Americans. Since the Book of Mormon uses the term “American Indian”  this will appear often throughout the Lamanite Truth Project, but only to reflect the Mormon terminology. Please be sensitive to the Native American community as they have often been wrongly labeled, which is connected to colonization. The most acceptable terms to use are Native American or Indigenous.

Listed below are just some of the issues surrounding the term Lamanite when used to identify “American Indians”:

1- Native Americans have a rich and beautiful heritage. Telling Native Americans that they do not know their own history or ancestry is offensive. The act of replacing their heritage is a form of colonization and cultural genocide. This should never have happened to begin with, but with the knowledge we now have it definitely should not still be happening within Mormonism.

2- Native American cultural and spiritual traditions are considered remnants of evil within the Lamanite story found in the Book of Mormon. This destroys the beauty and spirituality of real living people. Native Americans should feel no shame over their cultural traditions, nor shame about their ancestors. They have been forced to choose between culture and the church, for choosing both is not welcomed in Mormonism.

3- Native American evil ancestry – The Book of Mormon teaches that American Indian ancestors were so evil that God cursed them by completely withdrawing His spirit from them. This is the reason Mormons give as to why Native Americans had no religion when America was colonized. This shows complete disregard for religious freedom, and total ignorance about Native American spirituality. The level of evil required for God to completely withdraw His spirit from an entire people has been put upon American Indians in the pages of the Book of Mormon. 

4- Native American ancestors were cursed with dark skin in the Book of Mormon. This dark skin curse was a physical sign of the greater curse, God removing His spirit from them. Darkened skin, as taught in the Book of Mormon, is a sign to more righteous people. God did this so the righteous might easily identify the unrighteous. God’s purpose for this physical sign of dark skin was to keep the righteous people from mixing (marrying) with the unrighteous people. Teaching living Native American people that this is the reason for their skin pigmentation, that it is a punishment from God, is deeply offensive. 

5- Native Americans pass on the sign of the curse, darkened skin, to their children. Another generation of Native American descendants raised with toxic religious racism. Babies… Native Americans should not be told that the pigmentation of their beautiful new babies are the result of ancestral curses. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints claims it never apologizes. In this instance it needs to. Speculation over “Lamanite” identity needs to cease.

6- Native Americans that join Mormonism are promised that the curse that God removed His spirit from them will be lifted if they join the Mormon church. However, any of their family that does not join The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints will still carry the curse. This deeply hurts and affects family relationships. Cultural shaming pushed into and between family members.

7- Native Americans have been taught that their skin will lighten in pigment as they embrace the gospel within The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. This is no longer a much talked about aspect of Lamanite identity, but it still exists. Living Native Americans were taught this and raised with this belief.

8- Native American ancestors turned away from God in the Lamanite story, thereby causing the Indigenous genocide and colonization of America. The Book of Mormon states that God punishes them with with the bloodshed of their people and the taking of their land. God brings people from other nations and gives American Indian lands to the new more righteous people. The Book of Mormon states: “Yea, he will bring other nations unto them, and he will give unto them power, and he will take away from them the lands of their possessions, and he will cause them to be scattered and smitten. Yea, as one generation passeth to another there shall be bloodsheds…” (2 Nephi: Chap 1)  This is a massively disrespectful teaching to the surviving and living descendants of Native American and Indigenous peoples. Their ancestors deaths and loss of land were not the result of being evil, and should not be dishonored with such a myth. Blaming Native Americans for their own genocide and colonization is beyond toxic.

     The above teachings of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints in regards to Lamanites and American Indians are current. To explore these teachings I have included the transcripts below of two conversations I had with Mormon missionaries: (Note: I  will not include the names of the missionaries in the transcript as I want to protect them. I do not hold an 18 or 19 year old responsible for being taught false doctrine with the church’s long held policy of American Indian erasure.)

I couldn't help as I read this post but think that what you describe is in some very similar ways what the Mormon faith has done to non-LDS Christians with the mythology of the total or at least great apostasy. Of course not every one of your eight points applies, but there are many similarities. Perhaps most common is the extreme nature of the account that has greatly offended non-LDS Christians over the past 180 years. Proclaiming that the Father and Son affirm that all other Christian faiths are an abomination is somehow vaguely familiar to what you describe in your eight points. Calling all the faith works of every other Christian faith the works of men, of the devil, describing them as blasphemous, calling all non-LDS Christians "so called Christians," claiming that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the only true and living church sounds strikingly like your eight points, just said in a different way against a different people group and for the purpose of crafting a careful separation from "the other." 

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11 minutes ago, Robert F. Smith said:

Once again, you refuse to bring your assertions into alignment with the facts.  Had you read my full-scale paper, you would have realized how wrong you are on each point:

    Emma Smith Bidamon was 74 years old when she answered the questions of her son Joseph III and his entourage in February of 1879.  The questions were specific and detailed, her answers convincing and fresh – except on the very personal and emotional issue of polygyny.  She died shortly thereafter, in that same year, and was, therefore, neither 78 nor 79 years old when giving this final testimony – as Ashment’s article and caption incorrectly suggest on page 11 – ............  Moreover, already at age 65, Emma had, in her own hand, written a description of the translation process in reply to a query from Mrs. George W. (Emma) Pilgrim: 

Mrs. Pilgrim’s request for Emma’s testimony may have been prompted by an earlier statement by Dr. William E. McLellen that “after the 116 pages were lost Joseph translated the rest of the Book of Mormon with a stone.”

    Other eyewitness testimony is corroborative of the general details.  For example, Emma’s brother-in-law, Michael Morse, knew Joseph in Harmony, Pennsylvania, and saw him translating on several occasions.  He later recalled that Joseph would place

Still earlier, between 1833 and 1847, Joseph Knight, Sr., described in his diary the translation equipment and process.  Note his personal recollection of Joseph on the morning of September 22, 1827: 

Like many others, Knight mixed terminology or confused glasses and seer-stone while describing an actual translation method used by Joseph Smith:  

Knight correctly observes that Joseph lost the privilege of translating for awhile, although David Whitmer stated that this had happened twice: (1)  once, in a moment of arrogance, Smith spoke self-importantly about the plates, and the angel came and took both plates and spectacles in full view of those in the room; later (2) Smith allowed Martin Harris to take 16 plates [116 pages] home, and the plates and spectacles were taken away again – Smith using his egg-shaped seer-stone without the plates thereafter.  Of course, Whitmer was not an eyewitness to the first instance.  Nor could he have observed Joseph translating with the spectacles on and the plates open at the table – as he had several times described it – and he admitted as much to J. L. Traughber, Jr., October 13, 1879: 

    When she was 55 years of age, David Whitmer’s younger sister, Elizabeth Anne Whitmer Cowdery (Oliver’s widow), presented William E. McLellan with her own eyewitness testimony from the time when she was in her mid-teens:                      

I present these and many other accounts, with full documentation, in my paper at https://www.scribd.com/doc/46307834/Translation-of-Languages .  If you want to make a coherent case (which I do not oppose in any way), you will have to make a similar formal presentation.

You haven't identified a single thing that contradicts me. Instead you've resorted to reading Emma's mind and insinuating that since you wrote a paper on this subject you are right by default. This looks a lot like desperation to me.

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3 hours ago, Tacenda said:

I don't know really, I just read it on the link, did you go to it and read more? I wouldn't mind if you disagree, in hopes you vs. them are right. Because it's pretty upsetting. Especially since in our history books they lie or leave out what the settlers did to these people.

Actually, Tacenda, the history books do tell the whole story.  It is just that no one reads history.  Same applies to the  horrible situation for women and children on so many reservations today.

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1 minute ago, JarMan said:

You haven't identified a single thing that contradicts me. Instead you've resorted to reading Emma's mind and insinuating that since you wrote a paper on this subject you are right by default. This looks a lot like desperation to me.

You might try engaging with the reason and logic I brought to the question, instead of once again ignoring the direct contradictions with your scenario.  My paper was a reply to Ed Ashment, who likewise played fast and loose with the facts.  Unless and until you make a formal presentation based on facts, your case will languish without acceptance.

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13 hours ago, Robert F. Smith said:

You might try engaging with the reason and logic I brought to the question, instead of once again ignoring the direct contradictions with your scenario.  My paper was a reply to Ed Ashment, who likewise played fast and loose with the facts.  Unless and until you make a formal presentation based on facts, your case will languish without acceptance.

Robert, you appear to be so emotionally invested in this issue that you've become incoherent. You've also misstated my position several times in order to build your straw man. As far as making a formal presentation, I have a paper almost finished that supports an early modern creation of the Book of Mormon but no plans and no time to write one regarding the witness accounts. I actually think these statements speak for themselves. I am more interested, anyway, in pursuing the early modern angle and have ideas for several more papers (but not really any time).

Stop the personal attacks.

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1 hour ago, Navidad said:

I couldn't help as I read this post but think that what you describe is in some very similar ways what the Mormon faith has done to non-LDS Christians with the mythology of the total or at least great apostasy.

Claiming that what the Bible says - that apostasy would occur in the last days - a "mythology" doesn't help your case. You end up simply fighting against what the Bible plainly states. Paul flatly states many would depart from the faith. He also says some will have a form of godliness, but deny the power thereof.

Quote

 Proclaiming that the Father and Son affirm that all other Christian faiths are an abomination is somehow vaguely familiar to what you describe in your eight points. 

That is not the claim. The claim is that the creeds are an abomination - not that other Christians are an abomination.

I don't quite agree with Tacenda's claims either. The BoM does not teach that the "American Indian ancestors" were evil. It does teach that some Lamanites were evil, but the reader should note that the Lamanites were at one time living the covenant of marriage much better than the Nephites.  

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2 hours ago, JarMan said:

Robert, you appear to be so emotionally invested in this issue that you've become incoherent. You've also misstated my position several times in order to build your straw man. As far as making a formal presentation, I have a paper almost finished that supports an early modern creation of the Book of Mormon but no plans and no time to write one regarding the witness accounts. I actually think these statements speak for themselves. I am more interested, anyway, in pursuing the early modern angle and have ideas for several more papers (but not really any time).

Sorry to hear that you have difficulty finding time to write all this up.  I really want to see you do so successfully.  I don;t care so much whether you include the witness accounts, but only that whatever case you make be a coherent one.

While taking unkind jabs at me, you might want to recall that I have been encouraging you in this endeavor since you first raised the issue.  I am very appreciative of anyone who can successfully throw light on the mystery of EModE in the Book of Mormon.  Thus far, no one has been able to do so.  If you can do so, my hat will be off to you.  If you cannot, I will not hesitate to say so.  This isn't a friendly Relief Society meeting here, JarMan.

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7 hours ago, Robert F. Smith said:

I am very appreciative of anyone who can successfully throw light on the mystery of EModE in the Book of Mormon.  Thus far, no one has been able to do so.  If you can do so, my hat will be off to you.  If you cannot, I will not hesitate to say so.  This isn't a friendly Relief Society meeting here, JarMan.

I think other linguists need to join into this endeavor in order to solve the supposed EmodE mystery. I wonder, as Clark Goble pointed out, how wide a berth Mr. Carmack gives to what is considered EmodE and what is not? In other words, what would a secular linguist and any other linguist for that matter say is EmodE in the book of mormon and not EmodE? Where is the line? Would other linguists even see EmodE in it or simply pass it off as a common spoken English of backwoods N.Y. of those days? Has Mr. Carmack compared the printer's manuscript to some of the early mormon documents in Dan Vogel's books? He found EmodE in the D&C and I wonder if letters from Martin Harris, for example contain EmodE?

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58 minutes ago, Exiled said:

I think other linguists need to join into this endeavor in order to solve the supposed EmodE mystery. I wonder, as Clark Goble pointed out, how wide a berth Mr. Carmack gives to what is considered EmodE and what is not? In other words, what would a secular linguist and any other linguist for that matter say is EmodE in the book of mormon and not EmodE? Where is the line? Would other linguists even see EmodE in it or simply pass it off as a common spoken English of backwoods N.Y. of those days? Has Mr. Carmack compared the printer's manuscript to some of the early mormon documents in Dan Vogel's books? He found EmodE in the D&C and I wonder if letters from Martin Harris, for example contain EmodE?

Thus far no one has been able to find evidence of EModE in early 19th century documents, and some people on this board have been looking, as has Carmack.  Since the language was already extinct, that would be an odd circumstance anyhow.  This is an entirely secular research project.  I know of no EModE in the D&C.

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18 minutes ago, Robert F. Smith said:

Thus far no one has been able to find evidence of EModE in early 19th century documents, and some people on this board have been looking, as has Carmack.  Since the language was already extinct, that would be an odd circumstance anyhow.  This is an entirely secular research project.  I know of no EModE in the D&C.

Mr. Carmack finds it in the Book of Commandments (forerunner to the D&C as you know). You can find it here as you know: https://www.mormoninterpreter.com/on-doctrine-and-covenants-language-and-the-1833-plot-of-zion/

He thinks he would find more if he had better, more trustworthy original manuscripts. Interestingly, Mr. Carmack views the finding of archaic forms in the earlier version of the d&c and the plot of Zion language as evidence of tight control or evidence of God's language.

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Tacenda wrote:

Quote

the Book of Mormon uses the term “American Indian”

It doesn't.  Neither word appears in the Book of Mormon text.  That matters a lot.

And the term "lamanite" very early on becomes a political label rather than an ancestral label. See Jacob 1:14.  Jacob, an immigrant at the start of the Book of Mormon story states this plainly, that from that point on, Lamanites are whoever is unfriendly to the Nephites, and is not a careful, precise, accurate, and comprehensive declaration of ancestry.  Ignoring what Jacob plainly states leads to all sorts of trouble in dealing with subsequent uses, not only in the Book of Mormon itself, but by later commentators, LDS or not.

It also helps in considering the curse in the Book of Mormon to notice that skins can be garments.  See Ethan Sproat, on Skins as Garments.

http://publications.mi.byu.edu/fullscreen/?pub=3592&index=6

Sproat has this:

Quote

Alma 3:5–6 is comprised of two sentences, in each of which the word skin(s) appears. Commentaries handle the two sentences in one of three ways: (1) by treating both of them independently, as if two very different things were at issue; (2) by commenting on only the second of the two sentences, remaining silent about the first; or (3) by failing to comment on either sentence.3 All three of these approaches miss the fact that, when read in context, the use of skins in the second sentence appears to form part of a historical explanation of the use of skin in the first sentence. Here is the text:

“Now the heads of the Lamanites were shorn; and they were naked, save it were skin which was girded about their loins, and also their armor, which was girded about them, and their bows, and their arrows, and their stones, and their slings, and so forth. And the skins of the Lamanites were dark, according to the mark which was set upon their fathers, which was a curse upon them because of their transgression and their rebellion against their brethren, who consisted of Nephi, Jacob, and Joseph, and Sam, who were just and holy men.” (Alma 3:5–6)4

According to a reading I will defend in the course of this article, this passage suggests the possibility that “the skins of the Lamanites” are to be understood as articles of clothing, the notable girdle of skin that these particular Lamanites wear to cover their nakedness. Significantly, these are the only two references to skins in Alma 3, which contains the Book of Mormon’s most thorough explanation of the Lamanite curse and the curse’s relationship to skins. Thus situated, Alma 3:5–6 might serve as an interpretive Rosetta stone. If both instances of skins in Alma 3:5–6 refer to clothing, then the other five references to various-colored or cursed skins in the Book of Mormon could also refer to clothing and not—as traditionally assumed—to human flesh pigmentation.

 It's an important essay,  essential I think, but could have been improved by considering passages like 1 Nephi 12:11, 2 Nephi 8:24 (where Jerusalem is to put on beautiful garments... how does a city put on garments?  Or are the garments a metaphor for righteous behavior?), Jacob 1:19,  Jacob 2:2, Alma 5:22, Alma 7:25, 3 Nephi 27:19, Ether 12:37, that discuss the the significance of clean and filthy garments in exactly the same was as the passages on clean and filthy skins.  Jacob  It's always about behavior.   The righteous are favored of God.

And in the Book of Mormon, greater knowledge leads to greater accountability.  Hence, the mercy applied to Lamanites, and the notible occasions when they are said to be more righteous than Nephites.  Jacob 3:5-7, for instance.  And in the Book of Mormon, one of the key notions is that costly apparel is a sign of moral depravity.  Skin pigmentation, however, is not.

In the Book of Mormon "as many of the Gentles as will repent are the covenant people of God." (for example, 2 Nephi 30:2).  

"Hath he commanded any that they should depart out of the synogogues, or out of houses of worship? Behold, I say unto,  Nay.  Hath ne commanded any that they should not partake of salvation?... all men are privileged the one like unto the other, and none are forbidden."  See 2 Nephi 26:24-33.  "He denieth none that come unto him, and partake his goodness; and he denieth none that come unto him, black and white, bond and free, male and female, and he remembereth the heathen: and all are alike unto God, both Jew and Gentile." 

Now if some LDS have misread these scriptures that is a problem, but just the kind of problem we ought to expect, and repent of.  "Inasmuch as they erred, it might be made known. And inasmuch as they sought wisdom, they might be instructed; and inasmuch as they sinned, they might be chastened, that they might repent.  And inasmuch as they were humble they might be made strong, and blessed from on high, and receive knowledge from time to time" (that is, not infallible, not omniscient, and subject to more and better understanding if we seek it out.).  D&C 1:25-28. 

And in all of this it helps to not oversimplify the Book of Mormon picture of what goes in in the New World. See Matt Roper's essential "Nephi's Neighbors"

https://publications.mi.byu.edu/fullscreen/?pub=1126&index=10

FWIW,

Kevin Christensen

Canonsburg, PA

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12 minutes ago, Kevin Christensen said:

Tacenda wrote:

It doesn't.  Neither word appears in the Book of Mormon text.  That matters a lot.

And the term "lamanite" very early on becomes a political label rather than an ancestral label. See Jacob 1:14.  Jacob, an immigrant at the start of the Book of Mormon story states this plainly, that from that point on, Lamanites are whoever is unfriendly to the Nephites, and is not a careful, precise, accurate, and comprehensive declaration of ancestry.  Ignoring what Jacob plainly states leads to all sorts of trouble in dealing with subsequent uses, not only in the Book of Mormon itself, but by later commentators, LDS or not.

It also helps in considering the curse in the Book of Mormon to notice that skins can be garments.  See Ethan Sproat, on Skins as Garments.

http://publications.mi.byu.edu/fullscreen/?pub=3592&index=6

Sproat has this:

 It's an important essay,  essential I think, but could have been improved by considering passages like 1 Nephi 12:11, 2 Nephi 8:24 (where Jerusalem is to put on beautiful garments... how does a city put on garments?  Or are the garments a metaphor for righteous behavior?), Jacob 1:19,  Jacob 2:2, Alma 5:22, Alma 7:25, 3 Nephi 27:19, Ether 12:37, that discuss the the significance of clean and filthy garments in exactly the same was as the passages on clean and filthy skins.  Jacob  It's always about behavior.   The righteous are favored of God.

And in the Book of Mormon, greater knowledge leads to greater accountability.  Hence, the mercy applied to Lamanites, and the notible occasions when they are said to be more righteous than Nephites.  Jacob 3:5-7, for instance.  And in the Book of Mormon, one of the key notions is that costly apparel is a sign of moral depravity.  Skin pigmentation, however, is not.

In the Book of Mormon "as many of the Gentles as will repent are the covenant people of God." (for example, 2 Nephi 30:2).  

"Hath he commanded any that they should depart out of the synogogues, or out of houses of worship? Behold, I say unto,  Nay.  Hath ne commanded any that they should not partake of salvation?... all men are privileged the one like unto the other, and none are forbidden."  See 2 Nephi 26:24-33.  "He denieth none that come unto him, and partake his goodness; and he denieth none that come unto him, black and white, bond and free, male and female, and he remembereth the heathen: and all are alike unto God, both Jew and Gentile." 

Now if some LDS have misread these scriptures that is a problem, but just the kind of problem we ought to expect, and repent of.  "Inasmuch as they erred, it might be made known. And inasmuch as they sought wisdom, they might be instructed; and inasmuch as they sinned, they might be chastened, that they might repent.  And inasmuch as they were humble they might be made strong, and blessed from on high, and receive knowledge from time to time" (that is, not infallible, not omniscient, and subject to more and better understanding if we seek it out.).  D&C 1:25-28. 

And in all of this it helps to not oversimplify the Book of Mormon picture of what goes in in the New World. See Matt Roper's essential "Nephi's Neighbors"

https://publications.mi.byu.edu/fullscreen/?pub=1126&index=10

FWIW,

Kevin Christensen

Canonsburg, PA

Nice try. It has to be difficult to continually disclaim the obvious. Are you going to drive the bus over President Kimball this time, the supposed apostle to the lamanites that thought the "lamanite" kids skin color became progressively more white due to the Indian placement program?

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