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Racist Doctrine in Come Follow Me Lesson Manual Already Distributed


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13 minutes ago, Thinking said:

But there was a time when some people were less eligible because of their skin color or race.

Yes, but I don't think a person should be taught that they are or would have been unworthy or ineligible (in God's eyes) because of their race or skin color. People might have believed and enforced it, yes, but to be taught that it was correct? That's wrong, cut and dry wrong. 

The kids I mentioned before should know what happened, that it was believed and taught and enforced, but they should never be expected to believe that those beliefs were ever correct. That's why repudiation is necessary. They should hear, "We're sorry, this was wrong, it was never right." 

Edited by Meadowchik
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58 minutes ago, CV75 said:

It seems to me that the Lehites were of a mindset where skin color and separation was the most effective and meaningful way for the Lord to deal with them so as to preserve the covenant in the promised land for as long as possible, for whatever reason. Every cultural group has its admirable and less-admirable mores (especially when viewed with presentism or egocentrism), some supportive of the covenants and some not, hence "The light shineth in darkness, and the darkness comprehendeth it not; nevertheless, the day shall come when you shall comprehend even God, being quickened in him and by him."

This sounds like a plausible interpretation of the dynamics in the text.  I think we should ask ourselves the question whether or not the way they interpreted these things as coming from the Lord is colored more by their prejudices and culture, rather than the will of the divine.  Then we can ask the questions about our own culture today.  What does it mean to be on the covenant path?  Does that include any specific attributes that set me apart from others.  Does that justify any ways of thinking that might be prejudicial towards others, or does this require a higher standard of myself for how I go about my treatment of others?  These are all questions that can be asked and reflected upon.

I personally reject the idea that God has ever viewed any particular group of people as more special than other groups of people.  I see those characterizations as apologetics written into scriptures reflecting the political dynamics of groups in conflict.  I don't see these ideas as reflective of the gospel message at its core which encourages love for all God's children, and the concept that we'll be judged by our actions and not by any sort of group affiliation.  

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41 minutes ago, mfbukowski said:

So then what is "your own testimony" as opposed to accepting anything you have been taught without question?

Why accept the Book if Mormon at all?

Or why not accept the Zoroastrian Avesta as "Holy Writ," or the Koran??

Why deny them the status of scripture?

Sorry but to face these issues is necessary when one is a convert.

How do you know the Baptists did not get it right?

Why are you not a Jehovah's Witness?

Great points!! 

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15 minutes ago, JAHS said:

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. The curse was the withdrawal of the Spirit of the Lord and the Lamanites becoming a "loathsome and filthy people, full of idleness and all manner of abominations." (I Nephi 12:23.) The Lord commanded the Nephites not to intermarry with them, for if they did they would partake of the curse.

At the time of the Savior's visit to the Nephites all of the people became united, and the curse and the dark skin which was its sign were removed. The two peoples became one and lived in full harmony and peace for about two hundred years.

There were no robbers, nor murderers, neither were there Lamanites, nor any manner of -ites; but they were in one, the children of Christ, and heirs to the kingdom of God. (IV Nephi, verse 17.)

EVIL BROUGHT RETURN OF DARK SKIN

After the people again forgot the Lord and dissensions arose, some of them 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 the rose." (D. & C. 49:24.)

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. (ANSWERS TO GOSPEL QUESTIONS, VOL. 3)

Holy cow!!  No wonder they removed vast portions of these statements.  This is filled will all kinds of racist doctrine that the church disavowed in its Topics essay.  Thanks for finding these quotes, this is disturbing and shocking.  I had a feeling that JFS wasn't quite so charitable as that hack job of an out of context quote was portraying.  Even the sentence that says "dark skin... is no longer to be considered a sign of the curse." is talking only about people who are converted to the church.  So non-members are still cursed according to JFS. 

This is wild stuff, that anyone on a church curriculum committee was able to read through a quote like this from JFS and try and dissect it and misrepresent it to try and show the church's current position on this issue is also quite out of touch with the times.  And who says racism doesn't exist in the church today.  This story is amazing.  

Let me make a prediction, I think this story is going to go viral and the church is going to have to respond in a more official way.  This kind of racism just can't be perpetuated in our current culture.  It looks so so so bad...

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4 hours ago, hope_for_things said:

You have to connect the dots, and for whatever reason church leaders are unwilling to just explicitly state that those passages in the BoM don’t reflect current church teachings.  They could throw Nephi under the bus and say that this was Nephi’s opinion and it was influenced by his cultural views and was a fallible human like the rest of us.  ............................ 

The manuals are not written by the Brethren, and the leader who actually reads the proposed text of a manual may not be well-qualified to do so.  This was particularly evident in 1978 (after the priesthood revelation) when Bruce R. McConkie stated publicly that he, Brigham Young, George Q. Cannon, and others had been wrong on the race issue -- that we should forget what he and others had said because they all spoke without light and knowledge.  Elder McConkie was clearly trying hard to repent and to undo the damage which he and his father-in-law had done on that issue.  They were well-meaning, but deeply misinformed.

Anyone wanting to understand the true BofM context should consult anthropologists like John Sorenson, Brant Gardner, or the late John Tvedtnes.  They read the text with a careful scholarly eye.  A scholarly reading can draw one main conclusion:  The mark of darkness on Lamanites as a curse for rebellion is actually a self-marking (Alma 3:6-16).

For comparison, note that the mark on the forehead of the anointed high priest (Ezekiel 9:4-6) is the Hebrew letter tau, which is an “X” (diagonal cross).[1]  It is interesting that the Amlicites likewise mark themselves on the forehead, yet that marking is attributed to God.  As Kevin Christensen points out,

Quote

Ezekiel 9 discusses “a mark upon the foreheads” of certain men and his contemporary, fellow exiled temple priests; Jacob also discusses the “mark”(Jacob 4:14) and what had been “manifest plainly” (a direct allusion to that which ties the content of Lehi’s first public discourses in 1 Nephi 1:19 to Jacob’s own statements in Jacob 4: 4‒12 on his foreknowledge of Christ). However, Spencer defers to the anointing of Davidic kings without considering their priestly roles and refers to discussion points offered by secular historians who focus on politics. Barker characteristically looks at the temple priesthood in a way that illuminates the significance of Jacob’s mark as the anointing behind the title of Messiah.[2]

 

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Alma 3:6-8,10 “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…and the Lord God set a mark upon them, yea, upon Laman and Lemuel, and also the sons of Ishmael, and Ishmaelitish women. And this was done that their seed might be distinguished from the seed of their brethren….whosoever suffered himself to be led away by the Lamanites was called under that head, and there was a mark set upon him.

Alma 3:13-16, “Now we will return again to the Amlicites, for they also had a mark set upon them; yea, they set the mark upon themselves, yea, even a mark of red upon their foreheads. 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.”

When it says that the Lord set that mark on them, that is obviously not meant literally, because the mark is explicitly something they do to themselves.  Anyone familiar with Amerind lore knows that they have all manner of self-marking according to tribe.


[1] Barker, The Revelation of Jesus Christ, 162, cited by Christensen, 49-50.

[2] Christensen, Interpreter, 31 (2019):49.

Edited by Robert F. Smith
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4 minutes ago, hope_for_things said:

This sounds like a plausible interpretation of the dynamics in the text.  I think we should ask ourselves the question whether or not the way they interpreted these things as coming from the Lord is colored more by their prejudices and culture, rather than the will of the divine.  Then we can ask the questions about our own culture today.  What does it mean to be on the covenant path?  Does that include any specific attributes that set me apart from others.  Does that justify any ways of thinking that might be prejudicial towards others, or does this require a higher standard of myself for how I go about my treatment of others?  These are all questions that can be asked and reflected upon.

I personally reject the idea that God has ever viewed any particular group of people as more special than other groups of people.  I see those characterizations as apologetics written into scriptures reflecting the political dynamics of groups in conflict.  I don't see these ideas as reflective of the gospel message at its core which encourages love for all God's children, and the concept that we'll be judged by our actions and not by any sort of group affiliation.  

I'm not sure we can tell how racist the Lehites were, or became over the generations. It seems to me the Lord used skin color as a sign they could wrap their minds around under survival conditions, not having the luxury of civil political dialog or detente. The Lord speaks for Himself in the Book of Mormon as to who the chosen people are, and why. It was not because they are inherently special. Of course we are to love Him first, and keep the covenant path first, and by extension (and second) love His other children.

We can easily tell, usually in retrospect, how racist others have been. I think most people might be surprised at how racist they are, or how racist their posterity will allege them to be. Such is life, and grace.

For full introspection, I suggest asking the three questions about our own culture from the perspective of being on the covenant path, and not from an outsider's perspective.

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27 minutes ago, Meadowchik said:

Yes, but I don't think a person should be taught that they are or would have been unworthy or ineligible (in God's eyes) because of their race or skin color. People might have believed and enforced it, yes, but to be taught that it was correct? That's wrong, cut and dry wrong. 

The kids I mentioned before should know what happened, that it was believed and taught and enforced, but they should never be expected to believe that those beliefs were ever correct. That's why repudiation is necessary. They should hear, "We're sorry, this was wrong, it was never right." 

Correct.  But they should also be taught the full history of the LDS Church, that Joseph Smith was considered an abolitionist, and that Church members in Missouri were persecuted, robbed, and even killed for not having segregated congregations -- and for ordaining Black men, such as Elijah Abel (who was a Seventy and served several missions).  They should have pride that Joseph Smith publicly called for an end to slavery.

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5 minutes ago, Fair Dinkum said:

This is a lingering problem within the church caused by their failure to clearly communicate the disavowal of their past racist doctrine. 

That a large percentage of church membership still believe dark skin is a curse is evidence the church needs a first presidency member to unmistakably communicate today’s church doctrine on race 

mid the church spent as much energy on race policy as they have their gay policy  no one would misunderstand modern church race doctrine

Here in Utah, I find no hint that a large percentage of LDS members harbor a belief in dark skin as a curse.  Just the opposite.  Most of the racist types left the Church after June 1978.

However, you do have some other excellent recommendations here.

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23 minutes ago, hope_for_things said:

Holy cow!!  No wonder they removed vast portions of these statements.  This is filled will all kinds of racist doctrine that the church disavowed in its Topics essay.  Thanks for finding these quotes, this is disturbing and shocking.  I had a feeling that JFS wasn't quite so charitable as that hack job of an out of context quote was portraying.  Even the sentence that says "dark skin... is no longer to be considered a sign of the curse." is talking only about people who are converted to the church.  So non-members are still cursed according to JFS. 

This is wild stuff, that anyone on a church curriculum committee was able to read through a quote like this from JFS and try and dissect it and misrepresent it to try and show the church's current position on this issue is also quite out of touch with the times.  And who says racism doesn't exist in the church today.  This story is amazing.  

Let me make a prediction, I think this story is going to go viral and the church is going to have to respond in a more official way.  This kind of racism just can't be perpetuated in our current culture.  It looks so so so bad...

I don't see where he says non-members  fall under this  specific curse.
One thing to keep in mind is that Joseph Fielding Smith was quite a maverick in his desires to tackle and answer any and every question that anyone might ask, and was very willing to express his own opinion about any subject, whether or not what he said represented official teachings.  Much like Bruce R McConkie who later admitted he was wrong on a number of subjects.

 

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20 minutes ago, Teancum said:

Great points!! 

Really there's only one point in that is that one must have their own testimony or all argumentation is in vain.

No historical statement can't prove a statement about morality, purpose or meaning.

Abraham Lincoln gave an address and a certain place and time. That fact has nothing to do with the significance of what he said on that occasion. What he said is still as significant today as it was when he said it.

And yet anyone could have said it and it would still be a significant.  They were significant ideas that he shared with the rest of humanity. The fact that he was president of course helped the statements to be publicized. But anyone could have made the statements and they would retain their significance

If the world is destroyed by a comet in 2023 that historical event, if one can logically even call it that, there will be no one left to  know about the "event" , will have nothing to do with the importance of mankind or what was lost. Arguably no one to know or even care.

Again, there were eyewitnesses to the crucifixion who did not accept the messiahship of Jesus Christ.

They were eyewitnesses to the actual history of what is happening as they saw it happening, and yet they had no idea of the significance.

Historicity and the validity of significance or moral truth are independent variables.

Others, like those of us on this board , affirm most vigorously the messiahship of Jesus Christ and yet have not been historical Witnesses

Why would that be? Because the Lord himself has given a spiritual witness we cannot deny.

I actually feel a little sorry for folks who cannot see this point.

Yes for the atonement it to be efficacious it must have actually happened. But that doesn't mean that we need historical evidence or proof that are actually happened. That is a huge and tragic logical error.

The proof is in our lives as we live them.

 

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27 minutes ago, JAHS said:

I don't see where he says non-members  fall under this  specific curse.
One thing to keep in mind is that Joseph Fielding Smith was quite a maverick in his desires to tackle and answer any and every question that anyone might ask, and was very willing to express his own opinion about any subject, whether or not what he said represented official teachings.  Much like Bruce R McConkie who later admitted he was wrong on a number of subjects.

Quote

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.

Isn't this bolded sentence saying that people who come into the church are the only ones who we no longer should consider that their dark skin is a sign of cursing?  So if you're a non-member with dark skin, we know that you're still cursed because God put that dark skin on you as a sign of a cursing.  For those who join the church, not only should we no longer consider that your dark skin makes you cursed, we should look forward to the day when your pigment will lighten and we should call you delightsome!  Yikes Yikes Yikes again!  This is so very racist....

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12 minutes ago, hope_for_things said:

Isn't this bolded sentence saying that people who come into the church are the only ones who we no longer should consider that their dark skin is a sign of cursing?  So if you're a non-member with dark skin, we know that you're still cursed because God put that dark skin on you as a sign of a cursing.  For those who join the church, not only should we no longer consider that your dark skin makes you cursed, we should look forward to the day when your pigment will lighten and we should call you delightsome!  Yikes Yikes Yikes again!  This is so very racist....

The sign of the curse is very different than the curse itself. Although people with dark skin who don't come into the church might carry the sign of the curse it doesn't mean they are cursed.  
Besides that, you are attributing the remarks and opinions of one church leader from a long time ago to what the official position of the church is today. Further light and knowledge from God through revelation in our day has corrected our opinions of the past. 

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1 hour ago, Teancum said:

Of course we are not born into a perfectly equal situation.  In fact there are gross differences to where and how we are born.  But nobody earned a better or worse spot in this life in some pre earth life or if no pr earth life did God send them to some chosen group and to claim such with no evidence is a form of evil and has resulted in all sorts of atrocities by some humans on others. See this is when faith can be dangerous.

I don't agree with that and neither does scripture.

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I accept the reality of the atonement and that it actually happened.

That does not excuse if and when our GAs make errors.

Such need to be addressed and corrected and done away with.

I do not believe that the Royal Abrahamic Priesthood, the divine power and instrument of creation, was limited because of race or blood ideology.

However, many GAs did (they were wrong) and any attempt to spin that it was 'this' or 'that' or 'not really not wrong' needs be smashed, each and every time.

The lesson gives the Church as an institution and each member the opportunity to witness to the error of such teachings and that Mormonism is above that, always.

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1 hour ago, JAHS said:

The sign of the curse is very different than the curse itself. Although people with dark skin who don't come into the church might carry the sign of the curse it doesn't mean they are cursed.  
Besides that, you are attributing the remarks and opinions of one church leader from a long time ago to what the official position of the church is today. Further light and knowledge from God through revelation in our day has corrected our opinions of the past. 

Can you explain the difference between the sign of the curse and the curse in practical terms.  If you’ve got the sign of the curse (dark skin) as a marker so that righteous members don’t mix their seed with you, how is that any different from being cursed?   
 

As for me representing this position as the current official position of the church, you are quite mistaken there.  Re-read my posts, I know these are old teachings, the fact that a portion of them made their way into a manual published in 2020, translated into many languages and distributed internationally, is very concerning.  I want to see the church do more to correct the record, than just updating the online manual and conducting an interview with an SLTrib writer.  
 

I shared this article with my Bishop this afternoon and asked that he discuss with ward leaders and come up with a plan to address this proactively.  I care about my church and want to see us do better.  

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3 hours ago, Robert F. Smith said:

Here in Utah, I find no hint that a large percentage of LDS members harbor a belief in dark skin as a curse.  Just the opposite.  Most of the racist types left the Church after June 1978.

However, you do have some other excellent recommendations here.

Perhaps it is the demographic in which he is a part, or his personal perspective, but my son says he is is surrounded by racist attitudes such as the natives/Latin Americans are lazy because of Lamanite curse, though not their fault. I think this gets conflated with traditions and systems that tend to keep people in poverty, ignorance, etc.

I think people conflate the original curse in the scripture with traditions that had nothing to do with skin color with circumstances that had nothing to do with either.

Edited by CV75
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1 hour ago, hope_for_things said:

Can you explain the difference between the sign of the curse and the curse in practical terms.  If you’ve got the sign of the curse (dark skin) as a marker so that righteous members don’t mix their seed with you, how is that any different from being cursed?   
 

The cursing, which is the withdrawal of the Spirit of the Lord, is only on the original people who earned the cursing because of what they did and perhaps also on their immediate descendants (their seed) who most likely would follow the wicked ways of their parents.
Fast forward many centuries later and mixing of seeds, it would be unfair for God to curse the future descendents (and the mixed seeds) if they do not follow the wicked ways.   In our day people have simply acquired the sign of the curse through genetics. This of course assumes that the sign is the dark skin. 
 

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9 minutes ago, JAHS said:

The cursing, which is the withdrawal of the Spirit of the Lord, is only on the original people who earned the cursing because of what they did and perhaps also on their immediate descendants (their seed) who most likely would follow the wicked ways of their parents.
Fast forward many centuries later and mixing of seeds, it would be unfair for God to curse the future descendents (and the mixed seeds) if they do not follow the wicked ways.   In our day people have simply acquired the sign of the curse through genetics. This of course assumes that the sign is the dark skin. 
 

Creative interpretation, I guess somewhat nicer than Joseph Fielding Smiths ideas.  

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Let's say we gave a T/F quiz to currently acting seventies, stake presidents and bishops with this quiz question:  T/F   "the Lord God did cause a dskin of eblackness to come upon them."  2 Nephi 5:21

What responses would we expect to receive? 

Fine too easy - let's give it a whole lot of nuance and turn this into a multiple choice quiz:

Question 13:  Many latter day saints under your stewardship may have questions about why the church still believes 2 Nephi 5:21 notwithstanding the revelation received in 1978 .  Which response best describes the church's position on this matter?

a)  "the Lord God did cause a dskin of eblackness to come upon them."  2 Nephi 5:21  In the same manner the Lord God inspired prophets to prevent His holy priesthood from conferral on those of black african descent. 

b)  Nephi grew up learning egyptian, and learned from his forefathers that Pharoah was denied priesthood blessings due to his lineage, and therefore culturally impacted the text in 2 Nephi 5:21.  Nephi believed it was the Lord Gods intent to curse his brothers with blackness but he was wrong.  His cultural upbringing in Egypt/Israel impacted what he wrote in Guatemala. 

c)  Joseph Smith grew up in a cultural milieau of theories on the racial origins of black people and while "translating" the words of Nephi infused his own racial prejudice into the text. 

d) "this former leader of the Church (Nephi, Joseph, Brigham, JosephF, John Taylor, Wilford Woodruff, Harold B. Lee, McConkie, Mark Peterson, Ezra T. Benson) were all  was wrong, plain and simple, and had simply stated their opinion, an opinion that was incorrect."  The Lord has never cursed people with a skin of blackness. 

e)  The church used to believe 2Ne 5:21 prior to 1978, but we don't believe this verse anymore.

f) 2Ne5:21 is an example that sadly, "throughout history, many groups of God’s children are or have been persecuted or disadvantaged by prejudices, such as those based on ethnicity or culture or nationality or education or economic circumstances." 

g) "Church records offer no clear insights into the origins of this strange scripture verse, or practice"

h)  When it says "Lord God" this could mean anything, could mean Baal, a counter personality of YHWH, or possibly even a whispering ghost who tainted the text, who knows?

i)  "skin" in demotic egyptian could refer to a word for clothing made from a black otter.  Nephi's brothers wore these black otter wetsuits a lot and did a ton of surfing on the beach of Monterrico,

 

 

 

Edited by blueglass
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I am curious what you all think.  The Book of Mormon itself doesn't claim to be perfect and Joseph Smith never claimed it was perfect only  "the most correct".  Why couldn't the use of dark skin be based on the bias of either Mormon or Joseph Smith as to what the curse actually was?  We want our dead prophets to be perfect but I don't personally think they were nor is every bit of any scripture 100% perfect because it was revealed to and written down by imperfect men.  Scripture doesn't have to be perfect to bring us to God.

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4 minutes ago, kimpearson said:

I am curious what you all think.  The Book of Mormon itself doesn't claim to be perfect and Joseph Smith never claimed it was perfect only  "the most correct".  Why couldn't the use of dark skin be based on the bias of either Mormon or Joseph Smith as to what the curse actually was?  We want our dead prophets to be perfect but I don't personally think they were nor is every bit of any scripture 100% perfect because it was revealed to and written down by imperfect men.  Scripture doesn't have to be perfect to bring us to God.

Fallibility is a fair way to look at it, I think. 

The most correct book quote strikes me as funny these days with leaders like Trump.  What other person writes a book and then declares that their book is the most correct ever written.  Humble much?  Ha!  😆

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4 hours ago, Robert F. Smith said:

Correct.  But they should also be taught the full history of the LDS Church, that Joseph Smith was considered an abolitionist, and that Church members in Missouri were persecuted, robbed, and even killed for not having segregated congregations -- and for ordaining Black men, such as Elijah Abel (who was a Seventy and served several missions).  They should have pride that Joseph Smith publicly called for an end to slavery.

Then Brigham Young came along...

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