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Racist Doctrine in Come Follow Me Lesson Manual Already Distributed


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5 minutes ago, hope_for_things said:

Clearly you have an opinion on the matter, why don’t you just share it.  

Are you changing the subject from your suggestion that all literalists interpret these passages the same way? My opinion is that not all literalists read these passage the same way, but I already shared and explained why a couple of times.

Or is there some other matter you want my opinion on?

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24 minutes ago, CV75 said:

Are you changing the subject from your suggestion that all literalists interpret these passages the same way? My opinion is that not all literalists read these passage the same way, but I already shared and explained why a couple of times.

Or is there some other matter you want my opinion on?

You seem to have a knack for confusing me.  I’ll try again. I don’t see how a literalist reading the BoM could interpret the passages in a non-racist way.  You seemed to imply that you think otherwise.  I’d be happy to hear how.  

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12 hours ago, hope_for_things said:

You seem to have a knack for confusing me.  I’ll try again. I don’t see how a literalist reading the BoM could interpret the passages in a non-racist way.  You seemed to imply that you think otherwise.  I’d be happy to hear how.  

Sorry, I don't mean to confuse. i think your premise is faulty because while one literalist might read the passages conveying racism, another might not. The same with any other approach. Unless we have a direct reference to condemning a group on the basis of "race" (it was on the basis of rebellion and apostasy) or even establishing phenotypically-dependent social or religious classes in these passages (the appearance came after the society split), a racist/non-racist interpretation wouldn't cross the purists's mind.

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13 hours ago, hope_for_things said:

I don’t see how a literalist reading the BoM could interpret the passages in a non-racist way.

I see all sorts of room for such interpretations.  "Racism" as applied to the Book of Mormon is, I think, often a form of presentism.  As BD put it

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It will always make more sense to me to define blackness and whiteness based on how scripture literature describes it (which to me is NOT a literal skin color change...that only work when a few verses are crystalized and left contextless with The rest of the text). It is an act of presentism IMO to work only in the paradigm of skin color as the most definitive meaning of black and white. 

I think the Book of Mormon is better characterized as exhibiting some ethnocentrism.  And even then, the text appears to recognize and condemn it.  Book of Mormon Central weighs in on this issue here:

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It is understandable how some, without this nuanced understanding, could read the Book of Mormon as a text that portrays the Nephites as having what we today would deem “racist,” or more properly ethnocentric, attitudes towards non-Nephites. “Could the Nephites have been racist in their views of the Lamanites?” asked John A. Tvedtnes. “Perhaps, in the same sense that the biblical patriarchs were racist when it came to their pagan neighbors—the Hittites, the Canaanites, and the Amorites—and did not want their offspring to marry these unbelievers.”

Brant A. Gardner remarked that “the Book of Mormon is, in fact, racist,” but quickly added that it is “not at all ['racist'] in the usual sense of the term.” Rather than being a form of modern racism that bases antipathy on a difference of skin color, Gardner reads Nephite “racism” as an ethnocentrism “along the insider/outsider boundary, not the white/dark boundary.” Gardner concluded that “the ‘skin of blackness’ was certainly intended to be a pejorative term, but it was not a physical description.”

It should not be overlooked that the Book of Mormon itself condemns this Nephite ethnocentrism. Jacob slammed Nephite ethnic pride when he declared, “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. . . . Wherefore, a commandment I give unto you, which is the word of God, that ye revile no more against them because of the darkness of their skins” (Jacob 3:5, 9). Clear at the end of Nephite history, tribalism and ethnocentrism was eschewed, and portrayed as leading to hatred, wickeness, pride, vanity, and rejection of the Gospel of Jesus Christ (4 Nephi 1:38–43). Whatever ethnocentric attitudes the Nephites may have exhibited were thus condemned by the Book of Mormon prophets.

Thanks,

-Smac

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Yay - I got to substitute teach the lesson on Sunday!  I kept this issue in my back pocket in case we still had time at the end of the lesson.  We did, so we got a good 5 minutes of apologetics on the issue.   I asked blunt questions like "who here thinks blacks were less valiant in the pre-existence?" (nobody seemed to agree with that), and "What is the 'skin of blackness'?"  (got answers ranging from an increase in melanin in the skin, to just a metaphorical darkness that had nothing to do with color.)

Then I read word for word the 3-4 paragraphs on the issue found online.  Emphasized that we're not fully aware of what a 'skin of blackness' actually looked like, but there was both a spiritual and a physical component to it.  And we are fully confident that it only meant something for a limited period of time, after which it stopped having any relevance whatsoever.  

A bishopric counselor mentioned that it might have been a bit too much detail, but he was overall happy with my job.   I figured the worst they could do was fire me. :)

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On 2/17/2020 at 3:11 PM, hope_for_things said:

People with dark skins exist, yes, that is true.  It is a direct result of evolutionary factors and has nothing to do with God.  God doesn't alter skin color. 

I didn't see evolution as a contributing factor in how the Lamanites got dark skin in that manual.  Do
you have a church reference that could explain your view?

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20 hours ago, theplains said:

I didn't see evolution as a contributing factor in how the Lamanites got dark skin in that manual.  Do
you have a church reference that could explain your view?

I don't rely on the religious speculation for my views about skin color, I rely on science.  It literally has nothing to do with anything in the BoM.  

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1 hour ago, Tacenda said:

Interesting you don't just link to the Church's scriptures....

https://www.fairmormon.org/archive/publications/what-does-the-book-of-mormon-mean-by-skin-of-blackness

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What is the “mark” in the Book of Mormon? Alma 3:6 tells us that the mark was the curse (according to the mark which was set upon their fathers, which was a curse upon them), so the reference is circular. However, in the context of the Old Testament mark on the forehead we find:

Thus the word of God is fulfilled, for these are the words which he said to Nephi: Behold, the Lamanites have I cursed, and I will set a mark on them that they and their seed may be separated from thee and thy seed, from this time henceforth and forever, except they repent of their wickedness and turn to me that I may have mercy upon them.

And again: I will set a mark upon him that mingleth his seed with thy brethren, that they may be cursed also.

And again: I will set a mark upon him that fighteth against thee and thy seed. (Alma 3:14–16)

The mark is pigmentation if and only if the curse is pigmentation. Marking the forehead with paint appears to be sufficient to create an identifying “mark” that falls significantly short of altering body pigmentation. Possessing the mark cannot prove that the curse is skin color, because that would beg the very question that needs to be proved. The function of the mark is social separation, but it is the same insider/outsider barrier already discussed. Since the mark/curse can be removed by simply traversing that boundary, I conclude that it is unlikely that the mark or curse had anything to do with pigmentation.

 

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On 2/26/2020 at 11:10 AM, Calm said:

Interesting you don't just link to the Church's scriptures....

https://www.fairmormon.org/archive/publications/what-does-the-book-of-mormon-mean-by-skin-of-blackness

 

LOSING THE DARK PIGMENT...
“After the people again forgot the Lord and dissensions arose, some of them [Native Americans] took upon themselves the name Lamanites and the dark skin returned. When the Lamanites fully repent and sincerely receive the gospel, the Lord has promised to remove the dark skin. The Lord declared by revelation that, ‘before the great day of the Lord shall come, Jacob shall flourish in the wilderness, and the Lamanites shall blossom as a rose.’ The dark skin of those who have come into the Church is no longer to be considered a sign of the curse. Many of these converts are delightsome and have the Spirit of the Lord. Perhaps there are some Lamanites today who are losing the dark pigment. Many of the members of the Church among the Catawba Indians of the South could readily pass as of the white race; also in other parts of the South.”
~Joseph Fielding Smith, Answers to Gospel Questions 3:123 (1953)~
http://www.ldsdefector.com/fact-1974/
I feel like I've had this discussion before, dejavoo. So is JFS saying the same thing?

Edited by Tacenda
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3 hours ago, Tacenda said:

feel like I've had this discussion before

Probably because you have.  Most conversations on the board are repeats imo besides those tied to current events, like a shooting.

Quote

So is JFS saying the same thing?

Saying the same thing as who? Or what?

Edited by Calm
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1 hour ago, Calm said:

Probably because you have.  Most conversations on the board are repeats imo besides those tied to current events, like a shooting.

Saying the same thing as who? Or what?

As Fairmormon, in the link you shared. 

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6 hours ago, Tacenda said:

LOSING THE DARK PIGMENT...
“After the people again forgot the Lord and dissensions arose, some of them [Native Americans] took upon themselves the name Lamanites and the dark skin returned. When the Lamanites fully repent and sincerely receive the gospel, the Lord has promised to remove the dark skin. The Lord declared by revelation that, ‘before the great day of the Lord shall come, Jacob shall flourish in the wilderness, and the Lamanites shall blossom as a rose.’ The dark skin of those who have come into the Church is no longer to be considered a sign of the curse. Many of these converts are delightsome and have the Spirit of the Lord. Perhaps there are some Lamanites today who are losing the dark pigment. Many of the members of the Church among the Catawba Indians of the South could readily pass as of the white race; also in other parts of the South.”
~Joseph Fielding Smith, Answers to Gospel Questions 3:123 (1953)~
http://www.ldsdefector.com/fact-1974/
I feel like I've had this discussion before, dejavoo. So is JFS saying the same thing?

Certainly an interesting opinion. Keep in mind that’s ALL it is. 

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From what I've learned, the church was all abuzz at all levels with the notions of converting the Lamanites.   Then Native American GA George P. Lee was excommunicated in 1989, and later sent to prison for molesting a little girl, and everybody just stopped talking about Native Americans overnight because things were awkward.   I'm oversimplifying, but I don't think I'm wrong.

Edited by LoudmouthMormon
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4 hours ago, LoudmouthMormon said:

From what I've learned, the church was all abuzz at all levels with the notions of converting the Lamanites.   Then Native American GA George P. Lee was excommunicated in 1989, and later sent to prison for molesting a little girl, and everybody just stopped talking about Native Americans overnight because things were awkward.   I'm oversimplifying, but I don't think I'm wrong.

I think it was lessening earlier on as activism was spreading among Native Americans.  The Indian Placement Program was winding down already in the 80s from what I remember and read (I was at BYU from 76 to 86 as my husband got his doctorate there).  I think the biggest factor was Pres. Kimball's high focus was lost after his death, somewhat like Scouting and Pres. Monson.

Iirc, sometime in the late 90's we hosted some young women of what had been called Lamanite Generation (Living Legends?) who were performing for a few days in Calgary.  Great kids.  So I don't see it as totally disappearing either.  

Looks like they are still going:  https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Living_Legends_(BYU)

Edited by Calm
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This was posted elsewhere. It looks like Joseph says something similar to what the Book of Mormon says as far as skin being dark. 

“Verily, I say unto you, that the wisdom of man, in his fallen state, knoweth not the purposes and the privileges of my holy priesthood, but ye shall know when ye receive a fullness by reason of the anointing: For it is my will, that in time, ye should take unto you wives of the Lamanites and Nephites, that their posterity may become white, delightsome and just, for even now their females are more virtuous than the gentiles.”

~Joseph Smith, 1831 revelation, recorded in a letter from W.W. Phelps to Brigham Young, dated 12 August 

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  • 3 months later...

So many past church leaders taught that it was skin not just darkness in spirit. Are those prophets false prophets if they say skin? Everyone for the most part has seen their racist comments. I wonder if the church needs to teach over and over that the BoM and Pearl of Great Price, scripture isn't literal skin color, because apparently people think it is, even former prophets. After this whole "black lives matter" deal, the church should focus on making sure members understand the true meaning. And many do not know about the essay on blacks and the PH. It's time folks!

Saw this statistic about Utah. On the map it looks fine and dandy but when you compare the logistics it looks really bad for Utah. Are LDS more racist because of lack of understanding the scriptures? 

c/p

In Utah, the African Americans comprise just 1.06 percent of the population but they accounted for 10 percent of police killings over the past seven years - a disproportional rate of 9.21 times. In Minnesota, Black Americans are nearly four times as likely to be killed by law enforcement, with Black victims comprising 20 percent of those killed, despite comprising only 5 percent of the overall population.

https://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/interactive/2020/05/mapping-police-killings-black-americans-200531105741757.html?fbclid=IwAR0zP_lAdA9Rw9HIjGBJT5GrvDtIvNgNcBC9USEbrgz3RgfV_kTPnMfso-0

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6 minutes ago, Tacenda said:

So many past church leaders taught that it was skin not just darkness in spirit. Are those prophets false prophets if they say skin? Everyone for the most part has seen their racist comments. I wonder if the church needs to teach over and over that the BoM and Pearl of Great Price, scripture isn't literal skin color, because apparently people think it is, even former prophets. After this whole "black lives matter" deal, the church should focus on making sure members understand the true meaning. And many do not know about the essay on blacks and the PH. It's time folks!

Saw this statistic about Utah. On the map it looks fine and dandy but when you compare the logistics it looks really bad for Utah. Are LDS more racist because of lack of understanding the scriptures? 

c/p

In Utah, the African Americans comprise just 1.06 percent of the population but they accounted for 10 percent of police killings over the past seven years - a disproportional rate of 9.21 times. In Minnesota, Black Americans are nearly four times as likely to be killed by law enforcement, with Black victims comprising 20 percent of those killed, despite comprising only 5 percent of the overall population.

https://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/interactive/2020/05/mapping-police-killings-black-americans-200531105741757.html?fbclid=IwAR0zP_lAdA9Rw9HIjGBJT5GrvDtIvNgNcBC9USEbrgz3RgfV_kTPnMfso-0

How much crime does that 1.06 percent commit?

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10 minutes ago, rodheadlee said:

How much crime does that 1.06 percent commit?

Yes. Raw population figures don’t tell us much. We need to look at it as a comparison of police engagement. 

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34 minutes ago, Tacenda said:

So many past church leaders taught that it was skin not just darkness in spirit. Are those prophets false prophets if they say skin? Everyone for the most part has seen their racist comments. I wonder if the church needs to teach over and over that the BoM and Pearl of Great Price, scripture isn't literal skin color, because apparently people think it is, even former prophets. After this whole "black lives matter" deal, the church should focus on making sure members understand the true meaning. And many do not know about the essay on blacks and the PH. It's time folks!

Saw this statistic about Utah. On the map it looks fine and dandy but when you compare the logistics it looks really bad for Utah. Are LDS more racist because of lack of understanding the scriptures? 

c/p

In Utah, the African Americans comprise just 1.06 percent of the population but they accounted for 10 percent of police killings over the past seven years - a disproportional rate of 9.21 times. In Minnesota, Black Americans are nearly four times as likely to be killed by law enforcement, with Black victims comprising 20 percent of those killed, despite comprising only 5 percent of the overall population.

https://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/interactive/2020/05/mapping-police-killings-black-americans-200531105741757.html?fbclid=IwAR0zP_lAdA9Rw9HIjGBJT5GrvDtIvNgNcBC9USEbrgz3RgfV_kTPnMfso-0

My understanding is that the way blacks are treated in the USA today is rooted in economics as they evolved from the 1600s. And of course economics and politics are basically the same thing.

The light of Christ, even with the massive benefits of the Restoration (directly through priesthood keys and indirectly through supporting secular advancements), shines through both economics and politics with varying degrees of intensity and success based on one-by-one, individual reception and conversion. Members of the Church are as wrapped up in politics and economics as much as anyone else, for better or worse (the Gospel makes bad men good and good men better), and the principles of Zion can maintain and safeguard the elect (the humble and repentant) in the right direction.

I think the solution in Utah -- since you seem to focus on Utah --  is broader than clarifying a point of two of doctrine within the members of the majority religion (is that really the cause?), and whatever creates ignorance and contention over this issue is bound to stifle the desire to to include everyone in the solutions, and the desire to compromise on practical solutions along the way to perfection / a more perfect union.

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50 minutes ago, rodheadlee said:

How much crime does that 1.06 percent commit?

No one knows.  It's not a matter of how much is recorded.  It's a matter of mistreatment.  If they commit .3 percent of the crime and yet are persecuted for 5% of the crime, then the problem isn't that they commit more crime, per capita, but that they are targeted more as culprits.  

It's like you're sitting in the midst of everything that's happening and not catching any of it.  

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1 hour ago, Tacenda said:

So many past church leaders taught that it was skin not just darkness in spirit. Are those prophets false prophets if they say skin? Everyone for the most part has seen their racist comments. I wonder if the church needs to teach over and over that the BoM and Pearl of Great Price, scripture isn't literal skin color, because apparently people think it is, even former prophets. After this whole "black lives matter" deal, the church should focus on making sure members understand the true meaning. And many do not know about the essay on blacks and the PH. It's time folks!

Saw this statistic about Utah. On the map it looks fine and dandy but when you compare the logistics it looks really bad for Utah. Are LDS more racist because of lack of understanding the scriptures? 

c/p

In Utah, the African Americans comprise just 1.06 percent of the population but they accounted for 10 percent of police killings over the past seven years - a disproportional rate of 9.21 times. In Minnesota, Black Americans are nearly four times as likely to be killed by law enforcement, with Black victims comprising 20 percent of those killed, despite comprising only 5 percent of the overall population.

https://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/interactive/2020/05/mapping-police-killings-black-americans-200531105741757.html?fbclid=IwAR0zP_lAdA9Rw9HIjGBJT5GrvDtIvNgNcBC9USEbrgz3RgfV_kTPnMfso-0

You'd have to know the percent of crime committed by each race verses their mortality rate at the hands of the police before you can use this statistic to mean anything.  

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42 minutes ago, Scott Lloyd said:

Yes. Raw population figures don’t tell us much. We need to look at it as a comparison of police engagement. 

No we don't.  That will be skewed, because as it turns out, police tend to engage black people, particularly, black men more.  The whole issue we're facing here is black men, in particular, are facing interrogation, and police suspicion more than white men, and every other race for that matter.  

 

 

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On 2/26/2020 at 11:46 AM, Tacenda said:

I've pointed to this essay a couple of times, Ethan Sproat, "Skins as Garments", which offers essential observations on the two uses of "skin(s)" in Alma 3:5-6, and as you read Sproat's case, consider that your question here does not mention Alma 3:5.

https://scholarsarchive.byu.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1572&context=jbms

My recent "Table Rules" essay in the Interpreter quoted Sproat on Alma 3:5-6 and several "Americanist" scholars who pointed out the racism that was widespread in the US before the Book of Mormon appeared, and which, I argue, inevitably influenced how people read the book, notably never discussing Alma 3:5 in commenting on Alma 3:6.  

https://journal.interpreterfoundation.org/table-rules-a-response-to-americanist-approaches-to-the-book-of-mormon/

Something quite similar happens with the pre-LDS use of the story of Noah's Curse.  We continue to be blamed for an inheritanced reading that distorted how we should read our scripture.  See the essential Stirling Adams review of two books by Jewish scholars here:

https://byustudies.byu.edu/content/curse-ham-race-and-slavery-early-judaism-christianity-and-islam-noahs-curse-biblical 

FWIW,

Kevin Christensen

Canonsburg, PA

 

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