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Hebrew Idiom My Skin Is Black


Mars

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I had a much longer post, with much better formatting and reasoning typed up.  I just accidentally blew it all away and now I really feel the burn to get back to work so this will be much more from the hip:

 

I know that we've been talking about this on separate threads, but I felt this particular point needed its own thread.  And I didn't want to distract from the other threads' flow.  So...

 

I feel like Marvin Perkins' excellent FAIR presentation hinges on the strength of how widespread the usage and the accuracy of the claim that my skin is black is as a metaphor.  In other words, if that's not really a metaphor in the way Marvin Perkins uses it, the argument falls apart.  Or if it can be demonstrated that there's little chance Nephi would've picked up on that usage, then again, the argument falls apart.

 

Marvin doesn't really go into the linguistic history of that idiom, but rather takes it as accepted that it is an idiom that means what he thinks it means.  Here's a link to his presentation: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LfzFS2mIcNk

 

I only had limited time to investigate this, so I appreciate correction and additions.  Here's what I found:

 

1. If Nephi existed as Joseph Smith said - and I believe this to be true - then Nephi's usage of the metaphor runs a parallel with Jeremiah, as they would've been contemporaries.  At least, contemporaries as far as cultural elements like idioms would've go.

 

2. What about later usage of the metaphor in the Book of Mormon?  Well, Nephi's usage of it in 2 Nephi 5:21 as the first real occurrence but having it persist through the years is not a great surprise, imo.  Shakespeare would've written his many idioms and metaphors - dead as a doornail - back around 1600.  And yet, 400 years later, here we are.  Everyone with a good grasp of English knows what dead as a doornail means.

 

3. According to The Image of the Black in Jewish Culture: A History of the Other by Abraham Melamed which I found here: https://books.google.com/books?id=E1eQAgAAQBAJ&printsec=frontcover&source=gbs_ge_summary_r&cad=0#v=snippet&q=black%20skin%20job&f=false - I have found corroborating support that black skin is metaphorically a sign of great suffering.  I believe this is synonymous, at least conceptually, with being cursed or separated from God. 

 

4. Dating the authorship of Job is all over the board:  http://hermeneutics.stackexchange.com/questions/11587/when-was-job-written.  I'm not sure what to make of the data here.  It's possible that Job as we have it (more or less) was a composition of earlier information and done towards the end of the OT.  If so, that's a strong correlation.  But there are many Aramaisms of a type that echo more the Pentateuch and hence indicate its content is much older.  Not sure what to make of this.

 

Conclusion:

 

I think Marvin Perkins is well within reason to use this different reading in support of his argument that black skin is a metaphor for sadness or forlorn-ness (not truly a word, I know) as opposed to a 19th century commentary on those dirty "others."  To say nothing of the strength of his argument that the world didn't widely use the vernacular of "the races" as we know it today until after the late 1700s.

 

Thoughts?

Edited by Mars
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I'm not sure what the larger argument is regarding this context, but based on your post you seem to be saying (or Perkins seems to be saying) that every reference to dark skin color in the Book of Mormon can be explained metaphorically.

 

If that is the argument, then I find it to be preposterous.  The Book of Mormon is very specific about what, exactly, was meant by this change in skin color.  I would also point out that any metaphorical uses of "black skin" in the Bible are pretty obviously metaphorical.  They don't make sense to read them literally; the opposite is true in The Book of Mormon.

 

This is most obvious in Alma 3, and I've issued this challenge in the past to anyone who would suggest we understand the skin color change as metaphorical.

 

Just take the following verses in Alma 3, and substitute words or phrases you wish for the words which you suggest are metaphorical  (especially "dark" and "skin"). I will bold words that I feel indicate an outward, visible, literal interpretation as opposed to an inward, spiritual, metaphorical approach.

 

Quote

Alma 3

4 And the Amlicites were distinguished from the Nephites, for they had marked themselves with red in their foreheads after the manner of the Lamanites; nevertheless they had not shorn their heads like unto the Lamanites.

5 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.

6 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.

7 And their brethren sought to destroy them, therefore they were cursed; and the Lord God set a mark upon them, yea, upon Laman and Lemuel, and also the sons of Ishmael, and Ishmaelitish women.

8 And this was done that their seed might be distinguished from the seed of their brethren, that thereby the Lord God might preserve his people, that they might not mix and believe in incorrect traditions which would prove their destruction.



I will explain how I understand the verse:
 

Quote

4 And the Amlicites were [changed in appearance] from the Nephites, for they had [visibly] marked themselves with red in their foreheads after the manner of the Lamanites; nevertheless they had not shorn their heads like unto the Lamanites.

5 Now the heads of the Lamanites were shorn [a visible, physical change]; 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. [again, all of these are visible, physical descriptions]

6 And [the "and" continues the line of thought from the previous sentence.  There is no indication that we have now switched to a metaphorical explanation] 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. 

7 And their brethren sought to destroy them, therefore they were cursed; and the Lord God set a mark upon them, yea, upon Laman and Lemuel, and also the sons of Ishmael, and Ishmaelitish women.

8 And this was done that their seed might be distinguished from the seed of their brethren, that thereby the Lord God might preserve his people, that they might not mix and believe in incorrect traditions which would prove their destruction. 

[verses 5-12 appear to be a descriptive deviation from the story of the Amlicites, to remind the reader about the state of the Lamanites.  This is specifically bracketed by verse 5 specifying "Now the Lamanites..." and verse 13 beginning with "Now we will return again to the Amlicites]

I find the verses to be crystal clear, and can't see how a metaphorical explanation makes any sense. How does an "inner darkness" serve as a "mark" to deter intermarriage?

I look forward to reading the re-wording and clarification of those who suggest a metaphorical understanding.

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I will also point out that the "dark skin" issue in The Book of Mormon raises some of the same problems as the Priesthood Ban when it comes to God and his curses. 

 

From the context of the story in Alma 3, it is obvious that God needed a way to distinguish between these two groups of people so one group could identify the other and not mix with them.  But oddly, he chose skin color.  Not only that, he chose a "marker" that would also have great cultural ramifications over the centuries once Columbus discovered the New World, and a marker which also would occur through natural pigment variations in different populations over time.

 

God could have just as easily (and perhaps more effectively) used a marker that was more unique, such as red hair, purple eyes, green discoloration on the left arm, a big purple birthmark on the right cheek etc.  Using a naturally occurring variation in skin pigmentation wouldn't be very useful over time, and would lead to some pretty severe confusion after the Book of Mormon was published and the readers found themselves interacting with naturally dark-skinned descendants of the people that the book is claiming were marked by God with a dark skin.

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I had a much longer post, with much better formatting and reasoning typed up.  I just accidentally blew it all away and now I really feel the burn to get back to work so this will be much more from the hip:

 

I know that we've been talking about this on separate threads, but I felt this particular point needed its own thread.  And I didn't want to distract from the other threads' flow.  So...

 

I feel like Marvin Perkins' excellent FAIR presentation hinges on the strength of how widespread the usage and the accuracy of the claim that my skin is black is as a metaphor.  In other words, if that's not really a metaphor in the way Marvin Perkins uses it, the argument falls apart.  Or if it can be demonstrated that there's little chance Nephi would've picked up on that usage, then again, the argument falls apart.

 

Marvin doesn't really go into the linguistic history of that idiom, but rather takes it as accepted that it is an idiom that means what he thinks it means.  Here's a link to his presentation: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LfzFS2mIcNk

 

I only had limited time to investigate this, so I appreciate correction and additions.  Here's what I found:

 

1. If Nephi existed as Joseph Smith said - and I believe this to be true - then Nephi's usage of the metaphor runs a parallel with Jeremiah, as they would've been contemporaries.  At least, contemporaries as far as cultural elements like idioms would've go.

 

2. What about later usage of the metaphor in the Book of Mormon?  Well, Nephi's usage of it in 2 Nephi 5:21 as the first real occurrence but having it persist through the years is not a great surprise, imo.  Shakespeare would've written his many idioms and metaphors - dead as a doornail - back around 1600.  And yet, 400 years later, here we are.  Everyone with a good grasp of English knows what dead as a doornail means.

 

3. According to The Image of the Black in Jewish Culture: A History of the Other by Abraham Melamed which I found here: https://books.google.com/books?id=E1eQAgAAQBAJ&printsec=frontcover&source=gbs_ge_summary_r&cad=0#v=snippet&q=black%20skin%20job&f=false - I have found corroborating support that black skin is metaphorically a sign of great suffering.  I believe this is synonymous, at least conceptually, with being cursed or separated from God. 

 

4. Dating the authorship of Job is all over the board:  http://hermeneutics.stackexchange.com/questions/11587/when-was-job-written.  I'm not sure what to make of the data here.  It's possible that Job as we have it (more or less) was a composition of earlier information and done towards the end of the OT.  If so, that's a strong correlation.  But there are many Aramaisms of a type that echo more the Pentateuch and hence indicate its content is much older.  Not sure what to make of this.

 

Conclusion:

 

I think Marvin Perkins is well within reason to use this different reading in support of his argument that black skin is a metaphor for sadness or forlorn-ness (not truly a word, I know) as opposed to a 19th century commentary on those dirty "others."  To say nothing of the strength of his argument that the world didn't widely use the vernacular of "the races" as we know it today until after the late 1700s.

 

Thoughts?

 

"I believe this is synonymous, at least conceptually, with being cursed or separated from God."

 

Interesting observation. Compare that to something Brigham Young said:

 

"I feel to bless this people, and they are a God-blessed people. Look at them, and see the difference from their condition a few years ago! Brethren who have been on missions, can you see any difference in this people from the time you went away until your return? [Audience voices: "Yes."] You can see men and women who are sixty or seventy years of age looking young and handsome; 
but let them apostatize, and they will become gray-haired, wrinkled, and black, just like the Devil."   (Journal of Discourses, vol. 5, p. 332)
 
Figuratively speaking, apostates countenance and souls become black and wrinkled in appearance. I believe that both a metaphorical and, as Cinepro discussed, a physical change occured in the case of the Lamanites. The Alma 3 scriptures are pretty clear about that. 
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I will also point out that the "dark skin" issue in The Book of Mormon raises some of the same problems as the Priesthood Ban when it comes to God and his curses. 

 

From the context of the story in Alma 3, it is obvious that God needed a way to distinguish between these two groups of people so one group could identify the other and not mix with them.  But oddly, he chose skin color.  Not only that, he chose a "marker" that would also have great cultural ramifications over the centuries once Columbus discovered the New World, and a marker which also would occur through natural pigment variations in different populations over time.

 

God could have just as easily (and perhaps more effectively) used a marker that was more unique, such as red hair, purple eyes, green discoloration on the left arm, a big purple birthmark on the right cheek etc.  Using a naturally occurring variation in skin pigmentation wouldn't be very useful over time, and would lead to some pretty severe confusion after the Book of Mormon was published and the readers found themselves interacting with naturally dark-skinned descendants of the people that the book is claiming were marked by God with a dark skin.

You clearly prefer to understand the text as imposing skin pigmentation from God, but there may be other ways of reading the text than simply metaphorical.  Since you mention Columbus, for example, you might be interested in what he found on first arrival in the New World:

 

They go naked as when their mothers bore them, . . .  They paint themselves black, and they are the colour of the Canarians, neither black nor white.  Some paint themselves white, others red, and others of what colour they find.  Some paint their faces, others the whole body, some only round the eyes, others only on the nose.  Brant Gardner, Traditions of the Fathers (Kofford, 2015), 119, quoting de las Casas, Journal of Christopher Columbus, 36.

 

One may interpret such markings (and the mark of Cain) as being from God, the people so marked merely fulfilling divine judgment by their own hand -- if one is so disposed.  For the observant anthropologist (ethnologist), there is nothing new or strange here.

Edited by Robert F. Smith
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"I believe this is synonymous, at least conceptually, with being cursed or separated from God."

 

Interesting observation. Compare that to something Brigham Young said:

 

"I feel to bless this people, and they are a God-blessed people. Look at them, and see the difference from their condition a few years ago! Brethren who have been on missions, can you see any difference in this people from the time you went away until your return? [Audience voices: "Yes."] You can see men and women who are sixty or seventy years of age looking young and handsome; 
but let them apostatize, and they will become gray-haired, wrinkled, and black, just like the Devil."   (Journal of Discourses, vol. 5, p. 332)
 
Figuratively speaking, apostates countenance and souls become black and wrinkled in appearance. I believe that both a metaphorical and, as Cinepro discussed, a physical change occured in the case of the Lamanites. The Alma 3 scriptures are pretty clear about that. 

 

Yes, but was that a self-fulfilling prophecy by the Lamanites, as elsewhere in the Book of Mormon?  Did they mark themselves, as well as adopt a metaphorically dark visage?

 

As Brant Gardner has pointed out on this board, at http://www.mormondialogue.org/topic/57384-the-hill-cumorah/page-3?& ,

 

There is no action in the text that ever hinges on skin color. The situation where Captain Moroni is looking for a Lamanite is the best proof text here. He specifically needs a Lamanite, and sends one with two Nephites to the Lamanite guards. If there were skin color involved, it should have been rather obvious that the two Nephites accompanying the Lamanite were "not like the other" (in Sesame Street language). 
 
When you combine the data with the use of white (and no one has white skin, not even albinos) skin, it is quite obvious that the only textually appropriate solution is metaphorical (this includes the ability to change from a skin of blackness to white with the simple declaration of a change in allegiance, something rather impossible in human biology).
 
The actual text does not support the literal reading. So far, your evidence is that you say so. I'm sorry, but that just isn't sufficient.
 
Otherwise, see Brant's sytematic, full discussion in his Traditions of the Fathers, 158-164.
Edited by Robert F. Smith
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It is quite common for people to mark themselves to indicate " separateness " . Years ago, a man with a tattoo was likely in the Navy. Biker gangs wear special patches on their jackets. New Zealand natives mark themselves. Some African tribes can be distinguished by marks or apparel . Even the wearing of earrings used to have significance . It is conceivable that the mark placed on Cain became a source of pride and his descendants perpetuated it themselves.

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cinepro - i appreciate your thoughts and question.  i think some of the answers here will overlap with what i would say.  you'll have to give me some time to come up with a more definitive answer.  while i'm still working on all this for myself, let me just say that i see where you're coming from.  

 

i am not saying that all references to skin color in the book of mormon are idiomatic.  i'm saying that the the claim that nephi is using an idiom in 2 nephi 5:21 to connote suffering as a result of separation from God is well founded.  the hebrew idiom (written in reformed egyptian, no less!  ;) ) of black skin is supported in broader context outside the book of mormon.  all this as a result of my...  well, i don't think i'm a serious or rigorous enough of a person to call it 'research,' but for lack of a better term: as a result of my research.

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Yes, but was that a self-fulfilling prophecy by the Lamanites, as elsewhere in the Book of Mormon? Did they mark themselves, as well as adopt a metaphorically dark visage?

As Brant Gardner has pointed out on this board, at http://www.mormondialogue.org/topic/57384-the-hill-cumorah/page-3?& ,

There is no action in the text that ever hinges on skin color. The situation where Captain Moroni is looking for a Lamanite is the best proof text here. He specifically needs a Lamanite, and sends one with two Nephite to the Lamanite guards. If there were skin color involved, it should have been rather obvious that the two Nephites accompanying the Lamanite were "not like the other" (in Sesame Street language).

When you combine the data with the use of white (and no one has white skin, not even albinos) skin, it is quite obvious that the only textually appropriate solution is metaphorical (this includes the ability to change from a skin of blackness to white with the simple declaration of a change in allegiance, something rather impossible in human biology).

The actual text does not support the literal reading. So far, your evidence is that you say so. I'm sorry, but that just isn't sufficient.

Otherwise, see Brant's sytematic, full discussion in his Traditions of the Fathers, 158-164.

Pure speculation by Brother Brant Gardner.

The Lamanite in question whose name was Laman, was one of the servants of the King murdered by Amalikiah. The text states Captain Moroni sent Laman with some of his name. "His men" could of been some of the other Lamanite servants who fled when the King was murdered. And even if "his men" referred to Nephites, the text states they approached the Lamanites in the evening and Laman stated, "fear not for I am a Lamanite" meaning the Lamanites couldn't tell due to the failing light of the sun if Laman or the men with him were Nephites or Lamanites.

In addition, the current overall leader of the Lamanites was a Nephite dissenter, so if the Lamanites saw Laman with some white Nephites - which we could speculate dressed after the manner of Lamanites in the subterfuge - they would naturally assume these white guys with Laman were Nephite dissenters.

Edited by PeterPear
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Please explain how in these verses the reference to skin color is a metaphor.

1 Nephi 11:13

13 And it came to pass that I looked and beheld the great city of Jerusalem, and also other cities. And I beheld the city of Nazareth; and in the city of Nazareth I beheld a virgin, and she was exceedingly fair and white.

3 Nephi 19:25

25 And it came to pass that Jesus blessed them as they did pray unto him; and his countenance did smile upon them, and the light of his countenance did shine upon them, and behold they were as white as the countenance and also the garments of Jesus; and behold the whiteness thereof did exceed all the whiteness, yea, even there could be nothing upon earth so white as the whiteness thereof.

3 Nephi 2

14 And it came to pass that those Lamanites who had united with the Nephites were numbered among the Nephites;

15 And their curse was taken from them, and their skin became white like unto the Nephites;

16 And their young men and their daughters became exceedingly fair, and they were numbered among the Nephites, and were called Nephites. And thus ended the thirteenth year.

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Please explain how in these verses the reference to skin color is a metaphor.

1 Nephi 11:13

13 And it came to pass that I looked and beheld the great city of Jerusalem, and also other cities. And I beheld the city of Nazareth; and in the city of Nazareth I beheld a virgin, and she was exceedingly fair and white.

3 Nephi 19:25

25 And it came to pass that Jesus blessed them as they did pray unto him; and his countenance did smile upon them, and the light of his countenance did shine upon them, and behold they were as white as the countenance and also the garments of Jesus; and behold the whiteness thereof did exceed all the whiteness, yea, even there could be nothing upon earth so white as the whiteness thereof.

3 Nephi 2

14 And it came to pass that those Lamanites who had united with the Nephites were numbered among the Nephites;

15 And their curse was taken from them, and their skin became white like unto the Nephites;

16 And their young men and their daughters became exceedingly fair, and they were numbered among the Nephites, and were called Nephites. And thus ended the thirteenth year.

 

First one could be metaphor as there are words that could mean white and pure and white ended up in the text.

 

For the latter two, no idea.

 

I suspect the sign (or mark) of the curse was darker skin but I find it likely that it happened because the Lamanites interbred with a preexisting population with darker skin not (like my child's version of the Book of Mormon said) because they woke up one day and their skin was dark (and in that book Lemuel was shocked that Laman was darkest of all).

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Even if one dismisses the context in which "skin" and "mark" have been used (which is pretty difficult to do as Cinepro has shown), it raises the question, "how on God's green Earth did the BoM's divine editor let this one slip past him"?

Throughout the BoM's creation these verses have passed through the hands of many prophets and not one time did the Holy Ghost inspire them to change the wording or at least add a couple of sentences clarifying "black skin" is actually metaphorical.

Since the publication of the BoM in 1830, we've had 16 prophets, and apparently not one of them have been inspired to officially clarify these scriptures that many see as racist. I find it hard to believe that God has made it known through his servants the number of earrings his children should wear, but on this issue he remains silent.

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Yes, but was that a self-fulfilling prophecy by the Lamanites, as elsewhere in the Book of Mormon?  Did they mark themselves, as well as adopt a metaphorically dark visage?

 

As Brant Gardner has pointed out on this board, at http://www.mormondialogue.org/topic/57384-the-hill-cumorah/page-3?& ,

 

There is no action in the text that ever hinges on skin color. The situation where Captain Moroni is looking for a Lamanite is the best proof text here. He specifically needs a Lamanite, and sends one with two Nephite to the Lamanite guards. If there were skin color involved, it should have been rather obvious that the two Nephites accompanying the Lamanite were "not like the other" (in Sesame Street language). 
 
When you combine the data with the use of white (and no one has white skin, not even albinos) skin, it is quite obvious that the only textually appropriate solution is metaphorical (this includes the ability to change from a skin of blackness to white with the simple declaration of a change in allegiance, something rather impossible in human biology).
 
The actual text does not support the literal reading. So far, your evidence is that you say so. I'm sorry, but that just isn't sufficient.
 
Otherwise, see Brant's sytematic, full discussion in his Traditions of the Fathers, 158-164.

 

 

To me the scriptures say so:

 

Alma 3:6

"And the skins of the Lamanites were dark, according to the mark which was set upon their fathers,"

 

Jacob 3:5

"Behold, the Lamanites your brethren, whom ye hate because of their filthiness and the cursing which hath come upon their skins, are more righteous than you; for they have not forgotten the commandment of the Lord, which was given unto our father"

 

The righteous Lamanites still had the dark skin.

 

President Joseph Fielding Smith answered the following question:
Question: "The question I have is concerning the present status of the Lamanites. I know that Laman and Lemuel and their families were cursed, but to what extent is this curse carried today? Was the darker skin all or just part of the curse? Will this curse be completely forgotten and taken away by the Lord on the basis of repentance and complete acceptance of the gospel?"
 
Answer: The dark skin was placed upon the Lamanites so that they could be distinguished from the Nephites and to keep the two peoples from mixing. The dark skin was the sign of the curse. 
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Even if one dismisses the context in which "skin" and "mark" have been used (which is pretty difficult to do as Cinepro has shown), it raises the question, "how on God's green Earth did the BoM's divine editor let this one slip past him"?

Throughout the BoM's creation these verses have passed through the hands of many prophets and not one time did the Holy Ghost inspire them to change the wording or at least add a couple of sentences clarifying "black skin" is actually metaphorical.

Since the publication of the BoM in 1830, we've had 16 prophets, and apparently not one of them have been inspired to officially clarify these scriptures that many see as racist. I find it hard to believe that God has made it known through his servants the number of earrings his children should wear, but on this issue he remains silent.

 

I'm not convinced he has been silent. God does not speak only to his prophets.

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I'm not sure what the larger argument is regarding this context, but based on your post you seem to be saying (or Perkins seems to be saying) that every reference to dark skin color in the Book of Mormon can be explained metaphorically.

 

If that is the argument, then I find it to be preposterous.  The Book of Mormon is very specific about what, exactly, was meant by this change in skin color.  I would also point out that any metaphorical uses of "black skin" in the Bible are pretty obviously metaphorical.  They don't make sense to read them literally; the opposite is true in The Book of Mormon.

 

This is most obvious in Alma 3, and I've issued this challenge in the past to anyone who would suggest we understand the skin color change as metaphorical.

 

Just take the following verses in Alma 3, and substitute words or phrases you wish for the words which you suggest are metaphorical  (especially "dark" and "skin"). I will bold words that I feel indicate an outward, visible, literal interpretation as opposed to an inward, spiritual, metaphorical approach.

 

Quote

I will explain how I understand the verse:

 

Quote

I find the verses to be crystal clear, and can't see how a metaphorical explanation makes any sense. How does an "inner darkness" serve as a "mark" to deter intermarriage?

I look forward to reading the re-wording and clarification of those who suggest a metaphorical understanding.

  • 2 Nephi 30:6

    6 And then shall they rejoice; for they shall know that it is a blessing unto them from the hand of God; and their scales of darkness shall begin to fall from their eyes; and many generations shall not pass away among them, save they shall be a pure white and a delightsome people.

I think they should have left the original white here unless they are going to change the referencese to skin color to filthy and pure as well, because it drives home the point.

Now when this scripture is fulfilled, do you think their skin color is going to change? I don't, yet the curse will be lifted, and their countenance(skin) will be white.

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I'm not convinced he has been silent. God does not speak only to his prophets.

If the common thinking of a literal black skin is indeed wrong, wouldn't God's mouthpiece be the best person to clarify?

Im a little conflicted here because I'm all for people believing these verses are speaking metaphorically. IMO, it's a much better alternative than the traditional interpretation. That being said, I don't believe the text nor the current paradigm church leaders have created allow for a metaphorical reading.

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I'm not convinced he has been silent. God does not speak only to his prophets.

What of Amos 3:8 that every LDS seminary student is taught?

Seriously, is the Lord revealing his secrets to PhDs and not to his Prophets?

The fact that the Lord stated:

2 Nephi 26:33

33 For none of these iniquities come of the Lord; for he doeth that which is good among the children of men; and he doeth nothing save it be plain unto the children of men; and he inviteth them all to come unto him and partake of 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.

Shows He's not racist, nor sexist, no matter the color of the skin or gender of His children.

If Laman and Lemuel had kept the commandments we wouldn't be talking about this. But the Lord protected the more righteous by what he did.

There's no need to speculate and twist the scriptures to fit the agenda of critics. If you succumb to the mocking fingers of the great and spacious building, "all who gave heed fell away" to paraphrase the words of Lehi.

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If the common thinking of a literal black skin is indeed wrong, wouldn't God's mouthpiece be the best person to clarify?

Im a little conflicted here because I'm all for people believing these verses are speaking metaphorically. IMO, it's a much better alternative than the traditional interpretation. That being said, I don't believe the text nor the current paradigm church leaders have created allow for a metaphorical reading.

 

He probably would be the best person to clarify generally assuming God wants to clarify generally. The evidence suggests therefore that he does not. While to some this looks like a PR disaster I am not sure he looks at it the same way.

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What of Amos 3:8 that every LDS seminary student is taught?

Seriously, is the Lord revealing his secrets to PhDs and not to his Prophets?

The fact that the Lord stated:

2 Nephi 26:33

33 For none of these iniquities come of the Lord; for he doeth that which is good among the children of men; and he doeth nothing save it be plain unto the children of men; and he inviteth them all to come unto him and partake of 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.

Shows He's not racist, nor sexist, no matter the color of the skin or gender of His children.

If Laman and Lemuel had kept the commandments we wouldn't be talking about this. But the Lord protected the more righteous by what he did.

There's no need to speculate and twist the scriptures to fit the agenda of critics. If you succumb to the mocking fingers of the great and spacious building, "all who gave heed fell away" to paraphrase the words of Lehi.

 

I'll take a prophet over a phd anyways. Phds are a dime a dozen. I am not arguing God is a racist, a sexist, or anything of the sort.

 

As to Amos I believe God does reveal much to his prophets. As the scriptures show the prophet is under no obligation to share everything he knows.

 

If you have interacted with me at all you would know that my danger comes not from having mocking fingers pointed at me but rather from setting up a small and confined building closer to the tree of life and spending my time mocking the mockers in the great and spacious building.

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I'll take a prophet over a phd anyways. Phds are a dime a dozen. I am not arguing God is a racist, a sexist, or anything of the sort.

 

As to Amos I believe God does reveal much to his prophets. As the scriptures show the prophet is under no obligation to share everything he knows.

 

If you have interacted with me at all you would know that my danger comes not from having mocking fingers pointed at me but rather from setting up a small and confined building closer to the tree of life and spending my time mocking the mockers in the great and spacious building.

Lol! :) I am a fan of your humor. And my comment was meant in a general context.

To all: I do not understand why comments or articles have to be made in attempt to excuse the text of the Book of Mormon over skin color. It's a big turnoff. Quit letting critics control and define your testimony.

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................................It is conceivable that the mark placed on Cain became a source of pride and his descendants perpetuated it themselves.

Indeed, the New Jerusalem Bible (a translation by Roman Catholic scholars) contains a note indicating that Gen 4:15 refers to clan markings warning of blood vengeance, while the New Oxford Annotated Bible refers to it as "a protective mark, perhaps a tattoo."  The Hebrew term for that mark is 'ot "sign."   One should also compare the mark of the beast in Revelation 12:16-18, a mark placed in the right hand or forehead (the number or name of the beast).  In each case, the marks appear to be made by humans, even if divine power is entailed.  That is how expert exegetes understand all of them.

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To all: I do not understand why comments or articles have to be made in attempt to excuse the text of the Book of Mormon over skin color. It's a big turnoff. Quit letting critics control and define your testimony.

Why not allow expert exegesis of such texts, rather than off the wall interpretations which do great violence to both logic and literature?

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Even if one dismisses the context in which "skin" and "mark" have been used (which is pretty difficult to do as Cinepro has shown), it raises the question, "how on God's green Earth did the BoM's divine editor let this one slip past him"?

Throughout the BoM's creation these verses have passed through the hands of many prophets and not one time did the Holy Ghost inspire them to change the wording or at least add a couple of sentences clarifying "black skin" is actually metaphorical.

Since the publication of the BoM in 1830, we've had 16 prophets, and apparently not one of them have been inspired to officially clarify these scriptures that many see as racist. I find it hard to believe that God has made it known through his servants the number of earrings his children should wear, but on this issue he remains silent.

Reading metaphors requires that the reader understand them.  Texts do not contain directions on how to read them.  That is something the reader brings to the text.  If the reader doesn't know what an allegory, metaphor, or symbol is, then he will not see it.

 

God has not given instructions on how many earrings should be worn by pirates or young women.   :pirate:

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3. According to The Image of the Black in Jewish Culture: A History of the Other by Abraham Melamed which I found here: https://books.google.com/books?id=E1eQAgAAQBAJ&printsec=frontcover&source=gbs_ge_summary_r&cad=0#v=snippet&q=black%20skin%20job&f=false - I have found corroborating support that black skin is metaphorically a sign of great suffering. I believe this is synonymous, at least conceptually, with being cursed or separated from God.

Conclusion:

I think Marvin Perkins is well within reason to use this different reading in support of his argument that black skin is a metaphor for sadness or forlorn-ness (not truly a word, I know) as opposed to a 19th century commentary on those dirty "others." To say nothing of the strength of his argument that the world didn't widely use the vernacular of "the races" as we know it today until after the late 1700s.

Thoughts?

My understanding is, the custom for those who are mourning, or are penitent (lamentations) was to sprinkle their heads with ashes, or, sit on the ground in ashes. Black to the ground then, referring to this custom, which would cover the skin in black ash.

See, Jeremiah 6:26

O daughter of my people, gird thee with sackcloth, and wallow thyself in ashes: make thee mourning, as for an only son, most bitter lamentation: for the spoiler shall suddenly come upon us.

Edited by saemo
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