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  2. For better and worse, this is not how the church tends to shift on things. They're not into big repudiations. What usually happens is that it goes quiet and theres a quiet correction in how contemporary material words things. That's what's happened in the last 20 years or so. Find me a single statement in the last 2 decades from an apostle or prophet that talks about this topic to the general people. I can't think of a single one. The closest is what I quoted above, but I'll quote it again: Again, there is no caveate to this disavowal that gives an exception to the BoM. Lastly a "simple reading" is never simple. We go into that reading with our perceptions, cultural contexts, collective relative histories and personal experiences guiding what sticks out. That's why each time a person reads scripture, what sticks out and how they interpret it will and can shift. Personally as a biracial person the flaws in this common "simple reading" were always maddeningly contradictory. It flew in the face of my lived reality, it didn't make sense within the totality of the book of Mormon, and it usually needed other extra theories to kinda prop it up and make it slightly less of a racist interpretation that were equally not backed by a plain reading of the BOM. Most the statements relied on even then, were getting literally old (as in from the 1960's to 80's if not older). Even my teenager self with all the powers of a teenager brain could feel that something was absolutely holey about this interpretation. But I was also given no other interpretation to work with for a long time (felt like a long time from my teenager self...again there's been radical shifts in this in my lifetime, particularly in my 20's). So in the silence the old narrative would get more validation than other interpretations. That shifted as more and more voices began to get more time in the LDS public spheres. The "simple reading" was only simple when largely only white people from a US era that was overtly racist were the major ones reading, utilizing, and interpreting the text. There was less diversity in perspective to give people reason to pause and think about the inconsistencies and problems in the reading. Those that saw issue with it were still few in voice and/or influence. That's shifted as we move further and further from said era and more voices have been added to the conversation and are valued in it. it was artificially simple for decades, yes. But It was never a simple reading for me. If I had more access to voices and quotes like the ones shown in this thread, I wouldn't have had a moment of difficulty with having the clarification, because the other option was contradictory on a good day and this one leads to a far more coherent read. I assume I would have been similar to my spanish ward this weekend, who largely had no difficulty taking in my comment a couple similar ones when it came up. with luv, BD
  3. I would agree, and did so here: "The whole story is whitewashed. Instead of the phoenix (garuda) visiting Shiva at the top of Mount Meru, the garuda pays a visit to King Solomon in Jerusalem. " And here: "It doesn't fit in the Islamicized Hikayat Merong Mahawangsa" And here: "Also my reason for Marong not being critical to my hypothesis. He's late. The HMM has been thoroughly whitewashed by Islamic historians. Its only useful for identifying patterns that might reflect earlier accounts" By the way, of the two early 19th century accounts we've been discussing, I'm far more fond of the Book of Mormon. I wondered about it, and am certain that a phoenix flying from Sri Lanka to Jerusalem to conspire with King Solomon over how to prevent the wedding of a Persian prince and a Chinese princess is significantly different from the elephants mentioned in Ether 9. I don't think I'm the first on this forum to argue for using the Book of Ether in trying to put a historical context on the text of the Book of Mormon. Although I may be the first to have had the argument with a reviewer for the Mormon Interpreter. Let me point out that my earlier response proposes the Narrative of Zosimus as being the most relevant text to our discussion on establishing setting and culture. So instead of comparing elephants to garudas, let's look at similarities between the textual account of the Rechabites in the Narrative of Zosimus and the Lehites in the Book of Mormon. John Welch has already done some work on this, although I don't agree with everything here: https://archive.bookofmormoncentral.org/sites/default/files/archive-files/pdf/welch/2019-12-30/13_john_w._welch_the_narrative_of_zosimus_and_the_book_of_mormon_323-374.pdf
  4. That is the problem, imo. A simple reading of those verses (not referring to any others) wouldn’t need to have them search for a Lamanite in the troops anymore than one would need to search for a Native American in the Tabernacle Choir…they would have just had to ask the troop leaders who has a Lamanite in their troops and to go get him.
  5. Today
  6. Back in the 1980s I read a linguistics article about Shakespeare's usage, on his mixing of -s and -th inflection. He wrote plays from the late 1580s to the early 1610s. Grammars of his language have quite a few examples of immediate mixing, like E. A. Abbott’s A Shakespearian Grammar (London: Macmillan, 1869): Two Gentlemen of Verona, 4:2:15: "Yet, spaniel-like, the more she spurns my love, / The more it grows, and fawneth on her still." Influences on variation were phonology, meter, speaker, tone, and style. In the early modern period, verbs ending in -s, like witness, could show variation of three forms: in -s, -th, and -ø. The maintenance of -th usage with a verb like witness was stronger, because of phonology. {-s} inflection was northern, and of course came to dominate. The King James Bible is an artificial representation of 1610s usage, since it has so much 1530s Tyndale usage, and very little updating, and inflectional regularizing (archaizing) over time as well. This Bible had instances of {-s} in the Apocrypha, and the verb sticks varied immediately with remembereth in 1 Esdras 4:21. Abbott's grammar also discusses third person plural {-s} usage (§333), which is early modern usage found in the Book of Mormon but not in pseudo-biblical texts. An example is The Tempest, 3:3:2: "My old bones aches." Shakespeare has at least 10 of these with lexical verbs (in contexts where the grammatical subject is a plural NP and not an opaque relative pronoun), and 1 with is; the Book of Mormon has 2 instances with lexical verbs (aa3430, mi1017), and 4 instances with is (same syntactic context). Here is the earliest example in Early English Books Online of close variaion of taketh and returns: Bassianus taketh the charge of the armie, and Severus his father returnes into the Pro⸗vince. (1606, EEBO A18928, page 119) The author was born in 1566. There is also a 1579 example where the words are 14 words apart (translator born around 1540). In my WordCruncher EEBO database of 1.4 billion early modern words, a quick search found 15 instances of taketh within 11 words of returns. (There are examples of this variation in an online paper of mine.) In addition, the second person variation found in the Book of Mormon is found in the early modern period as well. What we get from uninformed critics, even academic critics, is a naive view based on little research of early modern usage. Take, for example, Bowen's 2016 dissertation (Purdue). Because he knew little about early modern variation, he thought most variation in pseudo-biblical texts was automatically a "Frankenstein hybrid". If he had looked at Shakespeare, he would have found that 23 scenes have has ~ hath variation within 20 words. So in his estimation, Shakespeare himself was creating a Frankenstein hybrid. Perhaps he thinks that the variation in the same verse of the Bible of "after that S" and "after S" is a mixing of early and late modern (Leviticus 14:43). Think about the double standard going on here. Lexical and syntactic usage in the Book of Mormon that only occurred in the early modern period is ignored, and language variation that was characteristic of the early modern period is a sign of modern authorship.
  7. This seems like a misuse of the word gaslight. No one is saying that these passages were never taken to mean skintone or race and that there weren't commonly accepted interpretations that was apart of mainstream LDS thought for much of church history that assumed this to one degree or another. That would be "gaslight-y." Shifting positions and saying let's move away from a modern lens that over focuses on race as a defining marker Is not gaslighting. Pointing to a less contradictory and more internally consistent interpretation of scripture is not the same as a psychological shorthand for a form of emotional abuse. Personally it really annoys me when people over extend the definition of gaslighting to mean just about any form of argument or discussion that encourages people to re-examine beliefs and perceptions. That is a healthy and necessary activity. No one grows if that can't be a thing. That form of mental shift is not the same as the mental manipulation I see my clients who are emotionally abused go through. Its a real phenomenon that is really dangerous to the person's mental health and grasp of reality. This tik tok vid is by no means that, even though I somewhat disagree (I'm not a fan of promoting it as a single tangible thing. My personal interpretation was that it was a shorthand for several things that was antithetical to nephite customs and safety). Disagreement about the meaning in a book is not a sign of being gaslit. It's a sign that we can differ in opinion in the church. As for actual church position, the current one is the one in the gospel topics essay about race and priesthood. There isn't an asterisk saying *except in the book of Mormon where it clearly states otherwise and no other interpretation could reasonably be made of said passages. The current method that it is taught in come follow me is with this statement, which quotes extensively from gospel topics: So basically the official statement is we don't fully know what was meant. There's no statement saying that people shouldn't explore the context to better understand the language used from a non-racialized lens. We are in a church that believes in continuing revelation and restoration. We're not beholden to everything past leaders assumed. Reinterpreting scriptures was there from the start and was a foundational concept in our faith. It shouldn't be surprising that an old racist interpretation is dying out as an explanation for these passages as we collectively grow away from that aspect of our past. It shouldn't be surprising that as old theories are disavowed new ones are sprouting up that are more consistent with the actual context of the BOM texts, let alone the Church's current position. It's not a bug, it's a feature of the church.* *Also not saying there are ways the church could potentially do this better. With luv, BD
  8. Of course it's been canonized. Just only by Mormons. If Mormons didn't believe it was scripture we wouldn't be having this conversation either. Right, but it's still a work of fiction. This is the problem that we run into when we deal with something like the Kedah Annals that you are so fond of. The Kedah Annals are dated to the late 18th or early 19th century. It claims to be a history of a much earlier period - but - much of what it describes isn't historical at all. Just as an example - the appearance of the Garuda as a major plot element is problematic (wouldn't you agree). I point this out because if we use the standards of Esther in terms of claiming that it establishes an authentic setting (this is perhaps the beginning of a discussion on methods), then we can believe that the Kedah Annals do not provide an authentic setting. By the same token, it is likely that the Book of Mormon doesn't provide us with an authentic setting either. The part of the text that would be the closest to history (assuming that the narrative is at least somewhat authentic) would be the contents of the small plates of Nephi - which allegedly were written by eye-witnesses to the events, and which were then translated only once some 2500 years later. The Jaredite record is provided (according to the text) only in a late translation of a highly editorialized early translation. It likely counts as mythical in the same way that the Kedah Annals contain mythical information. The Book of Mormon has a very clearly established setting. It was produced between 1827 and 1829 in the United States. Your concerns have a fairly high degree of irrelevancy until you come up with some sort of plan to distinguish between the translation and the urtext. What we really want is the source text - and without that source text, everything becomes speculative. There are lots of reasons for this - which I have discussed in various venues. The issue of the "elephant" is one of these issues. You keep bringing it up, but it is mentioned once in the text - and in a fairly contextless fashion - Ether 9:19 This is supposed to come from the Jaredite record. We don't really have a Jaredite record of course - because the Book of Ether isn't a translation, even in a very loose sense, of the Jaredite record. After all, in Ether 6:1 we read: "And now I, Moroni, proceed to give the record of Jared and his brother." Six chapters in, and only now are we getting the record? It is highly editorialized. And we have to wonder, is the elephant in Ether 9 significantly different from the Garudah in the Kedah Annals (and for those who are just following the discussion, you can read about the Garuda here). So we have a translation of a text that allegedly occurs a little over 2,000 years ago (the actual events, being contemporaneous with the mythical confounding of the languages concurrent with the tower of Babel, which is dated to more than 4,000 years ago), and this is at best paraphrased in the Nephite record in the Book of Ether, which is included with the gold plates that are then translated in 1828 into English. So we end up with a text that is less than helpful, two translations which may or may not be all that accurate, and so on. And yet, you want to argue that this is somehow significant for us in trying to put a historical context on the text of the Book of Mormon. You have to understand why this would raise a high level of skepticism right from the beginning.
  9. Thank you for clarifying. My take is still that the comparison is a poor one. As noted a few times now, what Latter-day Saints call a testimony or personal revelation would never be allowed as valid evidence for anything in a court of law. This is a major difference IMO.
  10. While there is correlation between belief and faith they are not the same thing. Interestingly the (KJV) Old Testament only uses faith twice (in the context of belief). Yet, faith is had. The word faith in the New Testament is pistis -- a word associated with integrity, loyalty, reliable, etc. Two individuals can hold the same belief about a subject and yet have a different faith response. Two individuals can have the same (spiritual or not) experience and yet have a different faith response. I very likely have a much more educated belief in the Book of Mormon (content, history, etc.) than a new convert, and yet it is possible for the same individual to have more faith in the Book of Mormon than me. Faith is not the same as belief but it is the internal and external response to belief. Words we often toss around are things like "faith is an action verb". Simplistic, but apt. I was a little confused when you associated one as being causative of the other. The two interplay with each other, yet neither are they the same. A faithful response to a correct belief increases the belief and a correct belief reinforces faith -- they reinforce each other. This is the primary thesis on Alma's discourse on faith in Alma 32 (that faith and belief support each other and ought grow together). On the other hand, lack of faith in a correct belief usually causes us to discard the belief (this is the pattern seen in the thread's linked surveys). God is much more concerned about our faith in Christ than our beliefs. As Paul put it, "without faith it is impossible to please God". Correct faith changes our character, our beliefs, our nature. Faith is the instrument of consent which allows the Atonement to work on our souls. Faith in Christ is the scaffolding that surrounds the erection of our eternal mansion (the perfection of our character and nature). A scaffolding that is anything other than faith in Christ must necessarily fail and the mansion being built with that scaffolding along with it. While God is more concerned with our faith in Christ than our beliefs, faith without supporting beliefs is likewise of no substance. We sometimes call it blind faith or zeal without knowledge. But God does not and never has left us blind if we have eyes to see and ears to hear. In this context of understanding, D&C 93:31 becomes quite clear: "Behold, here is the agency of man, and here is the condemnation of man; because that which was from the beginning is plainly manifest unto them, and they receive not the light." "Behold, here is the agency of man, and here is the condemnation of man; because [we receive evidence of Christ sufficient to hold belief in Him], and [we don't exercise faith in Him]." Yes.
  11. I am not following you here. I am not connecting your comment to the skin of darkness topic. Whether it is a fictitious work or not does not seem to have bearing on the words about skin color. I am simply noting that a simple reading of the text as well as how, as far as I know, all LDS leaders who have commented on the passages, understood and spoke about them, indicate is it speaking of dark skin. If you can find LDS authority that teaches an alternative interpretation please share it. Other wise I view this as another apologetic argument trying to spin something uncomfortable to something more acceptable to us today. If the passages really don't refer to skin color perhaps a LDS leader with authority can teach this and repudiate how their predecessors taught about these passages.
  12. By LDS standards and as far as being a gay Mormon, Charlie Bird has built a fairly significant public persona and brand, including: publishing his first book on the subject with LDS-owned Deseret Book, Without the Mask: Coming Out and Coming Into God's Light, a soon-to-be-released new book called Expanding the Borders of Zion, guest appearances in pro-LDS podcasts (here and here, still available via Deseret Book), self-identifying himself on social media (per his Facebook account) as: "Former Cosmo Couger, LGBTQ Advocate, Member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints" (including a backdrop photo of him being featured on a Utah-based news program), co-headlining his own online podcast series, Questions From the Closet (as recently as 14 February, 2024) As such, I imagine he has experienced and continues to expect to experience some degree of attention/notoriety/fame/infamy. I support he and his husband's activism in all its forms, whether public or in their own personal circumstances, especially since it comes from a place of quasi-celebrity privilege, and therefore a certain degree of protection from consequences that other, less-known members routinely face. That said, I find Equality Utah/Wyoming/Arizona's pearl clutching over 'invasions of his privacy' by some taking Mr. Bird at his word and choosing to attend Charlie's ward (in a private space where the buildings literally say "public welcome") to witness for themselves if/how he's "expanding the borders of Zion" to be a bit over the top--he's literally built a brand on doing so. He's continued to be public about partnering with The Church to some degree (it's not entirely clear how that dynamic works to me, though he's still apparently in enough good grace to remain not only an active, calling-carrying member, but somewhat promoted via Deseret Book), so it's easy to see that some are curious about how that's going for his ward, his leaders, and himself--again, in a public place (if any were stalking them in their home or other personal spaces, that would be an entirely different matter, IMO). I see the actions of some in this thread as taking opportunities to celebrate divergent 'factions' of the LGBT movement be critical of one another--but don't believe anyone (however mildly) gloating of such necessarily share the goals of Mormon Stories, Equality Utah, and Mr. Bird, himself, all of which promote more inclusive and safe spaces for LGBT individuals within Mormonism, it's Faith, beliefs, and culture, as well as equal civil liberties and protections.
  13. Things like this just appear dishonest and gaslight-y on the whole, given the actual church positions on race over its history. People do what they can to survive, and attachment to beliefs can feel like a matter of life and death. So it should not be surprising that these apologetics exist. The alternative is a church who at best says, "We don't know, we were wrong and we are likely still wrong about many things." Can a church like that benefit people? (I think so. )
  14. I know one thing if you run around in the jungle with just a loin cloth on in the tropics your skin will become very very dark. It's taken my legs about 3 years in cold rainy weather with pants on for my tan to start peeling off. It was really thick and it's coming off in chunks. Just trying to inject some humor into the subject.
  15. @jkwilliams I have a minute to finish off my thought. On what I mean by internal consistency. There's already been really good answers about the problems in the texts. Namely that there's multiple smaller accounts where there's obviously so little physiological difference between the nephites and the lamanites that style or dress and speech are the big indicators of distinction. Even where the language of "skins," "blackness," or "white/fair/delightsome" are used, the context focuses on behaviors, degree of righteousness, cultural cues, and degree of animosity between the two groups. The big ones are 2 Ne 4, Jacob 4, Alma 3, 3 Ne 2. All of these expound on the curse/mark language with a context that focuses on their differences in behavior and level of animosity. When they discuss looks, they focus on dress and body modifications (shorn heads, marks on foreheads, loin cloths, etc). So it means focusing and prioritizing only on the word skin and filling in a modern definition, rather than letting the context on how the phrase in the passage is used in said passages to define the term. The cursing/mark are used interchangeably in language and always have a caveat of changing based on a person's righteousness and animosity towards the Nephites. So these changes are basically immediately. As people that were "black" suddenly become "white" within the time it takes to convert and align with the nephites....this can lead to 3 convoluted solutions. a) That rate of mixing with existing populations lightened or darkened the decedents of lehi (this is entirely inferred, again based on our modern assumption that focuses on literal skin color as the defining feature of group ID and ignoring much of the actual text) b) that they had a unique form of cursing that has literally never happened in any other scriptural context except maybe the PoGP....but definitely not in recent times. Which is disjointed and contradictory to the idea of God being and engaging the same with Their children since forever. C) JS made this all up and juxtaposed common racial thought into the text. Which only works if you have a poor understand of the evolution of racialized thought in the US. The BoM is only a validation of this if it's read superficially. It conflicts and contradicts with a lot of thought and even how people at that time discussed race. Especially the more you look at the details around it It prioritizes and ignores other conversion accounts and descriptors in the BoM and the language used in these texts that very much parallel or use similar phrasing, but doesn't have the "skin" language directly tied to it. Examples of this include earlier language in 1 ne that describes the "multitudes" of people who "obtained the land of promise" as white and "like unto" the nephite pre-slaying. (This has several problems of a literal reading. It only focuses on assuming the gentiles that "obtained the land" were literally white or looked like the nephites before they were out. Said Nephit group, who had intermixed and lost all labels/distinctions for 200 yrs with the lamanites and other ites and were largely a political distinction based on what traditions they maintained by the end. Said "multitudes" that would entail waves of immigrants from every major continent in the old world. So you have to put a ton of assumptions in there to make it work). There's the mary descriptor, that when you look at the context of the beginning of the chapter, it's clear that the language is paralleling the description of the tree of life. But we don't assume Mary literally looked kinda like a shiny tree. It ignores several other conversions where skin language isn't used at all, but curse removal definitely is. The biggest one is the anti-nephi-lehites, that's described in lengthy detail about all the ways they changed. It focuses on their means of industry, their correspondence and relationship with the nephites, their religious beliefs, their covenants made and finishes by saying the "curse did no more follow them" (alma 23). Again one can assume it was about skin tone if you want, but that's not remotely mentioned in the context of the text and there was plenty of space to mention it. What is emphasized is again spiritual behaviors, alliances, and general customs. (It also started with a major description of conversion of the king that again uses of light/dark to describe his conversion...but this time it's a veil that's lifted.) There's also a passage in Helaman 5 that is also ignored. This one does use the word darkness in it....but this time it relates to a cloud. The lamanites and nephite dissenters are surrounded in a cloud of darkness that a voice comes out of. The Nephite missionaries among them are seen in the dark cloudiness with shining faces looking like angels. They end up asking "What shall we do, that this cloud of darkness may be removed from overshadowing us?" Which starts a pretty spectacular conversion that leads them to the traditions and doctrines of the nephites with the promise that "the cloud of darkness shall be removed from overshadowing you" and then being encircled by a pillar of fire. Which starts even more lamanite conversions...and again the same big changes are mentioned: changes in allegiance, changes in spiritual beliefs and customs, loss of false traditions. It also ignores the use of whiteness when jesus comes. He comes to a people who were technically already united in earlier chapters and described as becoming "white" earlier in 3 ne. These are the more righteous folk of the lands...so it's a fair assumption they fit into that "white" category. They're introduce and engaged with the ways of Jesus and then become "white" again "like jesus" (3 ne 19). This whiteness is described as being white like his "countenance" and "garments"...so much so that it exceeds the whiteness of anything else on earth. Later on, post zion society for 200 years and when both groups have become thoroughly corrupted, there's several descriptions that hale back to these narratives to help describe how bad the people have gotten. Again, there's no reason to ignore these verses. They directly parallel the language and descriptions used in the major "skin" oriented verses. But when blackness or whiteness is interpreted from a modern era lens that has/had an unhealthy fixation on racial differences, these get at best de-prioritized or completely ignored all together. The text becomes weirdly disjointed, the curse is only partially removed only a couple of times even though it is always conditional on covenant bearing, the mark and the curse are differentiated even though the text uses them interchangeably, etc. In the end it made more sense that it was a symbolic shorthand for several major problems than as a literal singular descriptor. It was less disjointed. Skin tone doesn't work the way the word "skin of blackness" and its derivatives are used in the BoM. And the same phrasing is readily switched out with other imagery and overtly symbolic terms that have the same black/white motif but are obviously not about skin tone in a way that is obviously referencing the OG cursing. Again, I get why this negotiation with the text would seem at first non-sensical. I really do. Except when I really immersed myself in these texts...what became more non-sensical was the traditions of our fathers. So following the example of the BoM, it seems better to let go of the errors of their traditions for a greater light. With luv, BD
  16. Judging by how much it's used, shooting the messenger must be an important apologetic took.
  17. I honestly don't blame you. When I first was introduced to the idea I dismissed it. Not once but multiple times. Usually before getting through the first page of whatever argument was being made for non-racialist readings. Even though the race oriented idea was frustrating on a good day and nonsensical on a bad one, it was hard to see beyond generations of cultural assumptions/interpretation that was given to me as a fact. I watched a presentation by Marvin Perkins that finally made me ask "What does it look like to read these passages as symbolic change instead of skin tone?" I went through every last passage of the tone changes and then every passage of a major lamanite/nephite conversion sequence...and then moved out to the PoGP and even the aspects in the OT that are taken that way. And suddenly these disjointed dissonant passages actually flowed and made better sense in a pattern of covenantal language. At this point I can't see the other interpretation really. It doesn't make even remote sense compared to a symbolic reading. With luv, BD
  18. Using a corrected reverse image of the recently discovered daguerreotype of the prophet Joseph Smith as a template, a skilled artist produced this striking image of how the prophet may have appeared as a young man.
  19. I was referring to the Jaredites, pretty sure consensus is that they went east across the Pacific. But no matter, there's zero evidence for either direction and as soon as that is set as a requirement for our narrative, we unnecessarily raise the difficulty of establishing a setting and culture that is detailed and accurate.
  20. If you want to say it doesn’t have to make sense because it’s fiction and not about a real event and Joseph messed up a plot point, then just say it. I am only curious about how those who insist it must be referring to race explain that part, not as a challenge, but actual curiosity. Ignoring it is certainly one approach, not terribly satisfying though.
  21. I'm interested to learn the truth about all this at some future time. Anyway, there is nonbiblical early modern meaning in the text, and there is a lot of biblical early modern meaning as well. One meaning of black skin in the early modern period is extremely dark skin; another meaning, in the same entry in OED2 (def. 1c), is little darker than many Europeans. The latter meaning is the likely one for the Book of Mormon.
  22. If Latter-day Saints want to renegotiate the meaning of their sacred texts to root out racism, more power to them. I just wish, while they were at it, they would hurry up and accept their gay brothers and sisters too. There is WAY more scriptural support for God using skin color as a marker of disfavor than there is of divine displeasure with homosexuality.
  23. The one I remember without spending a long time searching is early. In the book header for 1 Nephi we have "Nephi taketh his brethren and returns to the land of Jerusalem." This can be seen in Skousen's Earliest Text.
  24. Things we should know to approach this topic: 1) There was a belief in a dark-skinned race eliminated a white race that was promoted and probably fairly well known in the New York region. It was paralleled by the need to fit the Native Americans into a biblical framework where they didn't otherwise fit. The lost 10 tribes trope is similar though not as specific. 2) The way the Book of Mormon was read by its earliest reception artist was particularly literal, and influenced by the cultural assumptions about the origins of the Native Americans. Many of those ideas were semi-codified for a long time because they were believed and promoted by prominent Saints (and apostles and a prophet or two--or more). 3) The idea that there was a pigmentation change is demonstrably unscientific. It just doesn't happen. This has led to a more careful reading of the text--with various results. 3a) One of the results has been to find the "real" reason behind a physical pigmentation change. This is where we get the skins argument as well as the tattoo and black body paint. None of those do more than put a bandage on the issue. They really don't explain the text. 3b) The other option has been to see the skin of blackness as metaphorical. That black/white symbolic dyad explains all the verses that fit into this equation (including the reason Joseph changed from "white and delightsome" to "pure and delightsome." Personally, I like the black body paint as the reason the metaphor developed as specifically "black." I tried to convince the author of that article that it was best explained as a visual image leading to the metaphor than as a description that reified the black skin. I didn't get him to change. When you decide that you have to carefully read the text rather than react to the way it was read by the early audience, you find that there is no physical basis for any pigmentation change. The text belies the literal reading as a change in pigment. The need to find the Lamanite is one of the examples. I recently recognized another. After the Amlicite and Lamanite battle, the Nephites have to sort the dead. They determine who is a Lamanite by the shaved head. If they were black and everyone else was white, the shaved head wouldn't be needed as a distinction. There is no final conclusion to this because we still have those who insist that a skin of blackness must be read as black skin. There are probably Church members who remember President Kimble believing that the Native American skin color actually became lighter. Those ideas will persist for a while longer. However, there is no way to consistently read the text that allows for pigmentation change. On the other side of black is white. As the Nephite apostles and Christ are praying, they become white! I thought they already were. 😉
  25. Or, it might be evidence of just that. But whether it is or it isn’t, it can be considered as evidence either way.
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