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Racist Doctrine in Come Follow Me Lesson Manual Already Distributed


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It's times like these that I consider science and logic. 

For what it's worth, and it's not much, I'll share my Opinion.

Skin color has always been affected by diet and sun protection needs depending upon regional climate and agriculture.  

Without widespread understanding of the issues of racism before the 1960s I imagine most of our leaders were as "racist" as my own Utah bred family was during that time.  I wouldn't be surprised if Old Man So and So in my ward were to reference the "curse" in any given Sunday school lesson, regardless of the many brown skinned people attending class.  In fact my own father only stopped telling Polish jokes about 5 years ago.  Live and learn, man.

I do not believe for one second that brown skin was created as a curse.  I think brown skin has existed as long as man has existed.  I'm not terribly worried about the wording in the Book Of Mormon.  Even if back in the day, the prophets talked about curses, I believe they were certainly influenced by their time.  As we are now.  I can't wait to find out when I'm 90 what kind of awful things I'll be hung for saying today.  

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Nah, it's more fun to beat the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, its leaders, and its members over the head continually with accusations of racism, what with the segregated congregations we used to have, and all ...

:huh::unsure::unknw:  

Oh. :huh:

Wait. :huh:

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8 hours ago, juliann said:

Thanks for that Stevenson quote!!

But...see above. We don't need to edit the BOM. We need to insist that people stop giving them a racist reading. We need to edit people's racism. 

Thanks, and I’d love to try and do this, but some passages are just quite difficult to interpret differently especially for the literalists.  See Alma 3:6-7

”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.”

When the text says that the mark was placed by God, how do you square that without just saying the author of that text was mistaken and God had nothing to do with it.
 

 I sincerely want to know how you’d approach this as I’m planning a follow-up conversation with my Bishop about how we can address this topic in my ward.  Thanks 

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8 hours ago, Kenngo1969 said:

Nah, it's more fun to beat the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, its leaders, and its members over the head continually with accusations of racism, what with the segregated congregations we used to have, and all ...

:huh::unsure::unknw:  

Oh. :huh:

Wait. :huh:

It’s important to own up to our mistakes as a church, that’s part of the repentance process.  Especially when it’s clear we have work to do still when in 2020 you have curriculum employees echoing old racist ideas in manuals.  

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I am grateful for the quote by Elder Stevenson BUT it needs much more publicity to members. I hope I get an email and it is discussed at church. The story would have been well read if this repudiation was included in the headline of the article. Most would not realize this important denouncement of past racist speculations/teachings was so forcefully repudiated by a member of the Quorum of the Twelve unless they read the article which I already can't find on the Deseret News home page. A very small percentage of active members are going to see this article with this information. 

Edited by bsjkki
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2 minutes ago, hope_for_things said:

It’s important to own up to our mistakes as a church, that’s part of the repentance process.  Especially when it’s clear we have work to do still when in 2020 you have curriculum employees echoing old racist ideas in manuals.  

Curriculum employees?  How do you know that those involved with curriculum development weren't called to do so in much the same way you might've been called to the last position you filled in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints?

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25 minutes ago, CA Steve said:

The manuals should be recalled and reprinted. 

If they are recalled and reprinted, there will be no real need to talk about the error ever again even though if the manuals are passed out already as they are, there is a huge chance a good portion, maybe even a majority won't be returned as they will be forgotten one or two Sundays and then they get mixed up with the new manuals and so the hassle of trying to figure out which goes back as one is trying to get the kids in the car, etc....well, it goes to backburner and then forgotten.  And then when the new manual gets lost or gets babyfood on it or chewed by the dog, there is the 'perfectly good except for something weird I can't quite remember, but no big deal, let's use it anyway as I will surely know if I see it' manual on the shelf to replace the battered one.

Better imo to send out an email, have pages printed out to be taped inside manuals, and then talk about the issues when it gets covered.  Members will then have an example in front of them of how our culture holds on to false beliefs and how something that might seem trivial (a few words in a manual that may be read once or twice and then never read again) can undermine actual gospel teachings if we don't actively think and act on change.

And yes, some will never stick in the page or it will fall out, but at least there has been some focus on the comment itself rather than the manual as a whole and therefore a greater chance of learning.

And what a great example not to trust manuals to be perfect!  A solid concrete example of leaders saying "we make mistakes, you need to pay attention and not assume 'all is well' all the time".

And if our leaders don't do it, printing up Elder Stevenson's quote and having copies for people in our classes and study group/family is something we can still do on our own.

PS:  if Leadership does not make a bigger point than they have already, it could be wiser to recall, but that is still going to leave many out there.  It is not that great of a solution imo, the benefits (some manuals are removed and the Church shows it is willing to spend money on corrections) may be much less than the costs (a relatively passive approach for membership probably won't change minds that much as it will be accepted something was wrong, but not studied out much).

Edited by Calm
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23 minutes ago, Kenngo1969 said:

Curriculum employees?  How do you know that those involved with curriculum development weren't called to do so in much the same way you might've been called to the last position you filled in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints?

I have no clue whether they are employees or not, and I don’t see how this is even relevant to my comment.  

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23 minutes ago, hope_for_things said:

Thanks, and I’d love to try and do this, but some passages are just quite difficult to interpret differently especially for the literalists.  See Alma 3:6-7

”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.”

When the text says that the mark was placed by God, how do you square that without just saying the author of that text was mistaken and God had nothing to do with it.
 

 I sincerely want to know how you’d approach this as I’m planning a follow-up conversation with my Bishop about how we can address this topic in my ward.  Thanks 

I'm not going to find the other Biblical references, this should do. How do you approach this declaration of black skin?  Job 30: 30 My skin is black upon me, . . .   I continue to see a demand for literalness as question begging which means we have to look at ourselves. Why, why, why are we as Mormons insisting that we give the BOM a different reading than we do the Bible? 

Alma's verse are very convoluted. It almost sounds like he didn't get it either. I don't get how literal skin is a curse here. It doesn't flow naturally. It doesn't even makes sense because people traded sides. That's a lot of skin color changing. And how would a "mark" be passed on to children?

We have the darkness, i.e., unrighteousness, something that a "mark" demands..... but why the heck aren't we treating it like scholars do Cain's mark, we have precedence there. Do you consider anyone today claiming Cain's mark to be literal black skin to be sane? Yet here we are doing the same thing. So I start with that's crazy and go from there. I don't start with Lamanites had literal black skin (which nobody did). 

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1 hour ago, hope_for_things said:

Thanks, and I’d love to try and do this, but some passages are just quite difficult to interpret differently especially for the literalists.

I have copies of 16th-century documents written by European priests in the Far East that describe the inhabitants of New Guinea as white when they live on the coast but black when they live in the interior. I also have documents that describe local chiefs in what is now eastern Indonesia as white ('just like Europeans') whilst depicting their subjects (including their families) as black. Further documents compare the black-skinned people in the Spice Islands with the white-skinned people of Japan (who were also indistinguishable from Europeans). Please tell me how you think I should interpret these passages.

Edited by Hamba Tuhan
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55 minutes ago, Calm said:

If they are recalled and reprinted, there will be no real need to talk about the error ever again even though if the manuals are passed out already as they are, there is a huge chance a good portion, maybe even a majority won't be returned as they will be forgotten one or two Sundays and then they get mixed up with the new manuals and so the hassle of trying to figure out which goes back as one is trying to get the kids in the car, etc....well, it goes to backburner and then forgotten.  And then when the new manual gets lost or gets babyfood on it or chewed by the dog, there is the 'perfectly good except for something weird I can't quite remember, but no big deal, let's use it anyway as I will surely know if I see it' manual on the shelf to replace the battered one.

Better imo to send out an email, have pages printed out to be taped inside manuals, and then talk about the issues when it gets covered.  Members will then have an example in front of them of how our culture holds on to false beliefs and how something that might seem trivial (a few words in a manual that may be read once or twice and then never read again) can undermine actual gospel teachings if we don't actively think and act on change.

And yes, some will never stick in the page or it will fall out, but at least there has been some focus on the comment itself rather than the manual as a whole and therefore a greater chance of learning.

And what a great example not to trust manuals to be perfect!  A solid concrete example of leaders saying "we make mistakes, you need to pay attention and not assume 'all is well' all the time".

And if our leaders don't do it, printing up Elder Stevenson's quote and having copies for people in our classes and study group/family is something we can still do on our own.

PS:  if Leadership does not make a bigger point than they have already, it could be wiser to recall, but that is still going to leave many out there.  It is not that great of a solution imo, the benefits (some manuals are removed and the Church shows it is willing to spend money on corrections) may be much less than the costs (a relatively passive approach for membership probably won't change minds that much as it will be accepted something was wrong, but not studied out much).

Looking at the printed version, the online the only difference is the part about dark skin being a sign. Then take the statement from a few years ago and restated today.

What we are left with is that the passages in the Book of Mormon referring to dark skin do not literally mean dark skin - as in epidermis.

Edited by provoman
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27 minutes ago, juliann said:

 

We have the darkness, i.e., unrighteousness, something that a "mark" demands..... but why the heck aren't we treating it like scholars do Cain's mark, we have precedence there. Do you consider anyone today claiming Cain's mark to be literal black skin to be sane? Yet here we are doing the same thing. So I start with that's crazy and go from there. I don't start with Lamanites had literal black skin (which nobody did). 

Does Bible state that mark on Cain was dark skin?

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36 minutes ago, juliann said:

I'm not going to find the other Biblical references, this should do. How do you approach this declaration of black skin?  Job 30: 30 My skin is black upon me, . . .   I continue to see a demand for literalness as question begging which means we have to look at ourselves. Why, why, why are we as Mormons insisting that we give the BOM a different reading than we do the Bible? 

What is strange to me is when it comes from people who personally don't view the scriptures in such a literal fashion, but they insist that literal black skin has to be viewed as the Church's official interpretation.

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10 minutes ago, Calm said:

What is strange to me is when it comes from people who personally don't view the scriptures in such a literal fashion, but they insist that literal black skin has to be viewed as the Church's official interpretation.

It's like the whole Lehite DNA thing we've seen play out in this forum over the past week. People who think the Book of Mormon is a fraud keep telling us that we have to understand it in ways that their arguments/criticisms require. Heaven forbid we should apply to the Book of Mormon the same kinds of close, critical, academically informed readings that serious people apply to all other historical texts.

I'm still waiting for @hope_for_things to tell me how I should be interpreting the usage of black and white in reference to people in 16th-century documents.

Edited by Hamba Tuhan
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4 minutes ago, juliann said:

Nope. But it became the default interpretation which made it even easier to do the same thing with the BOM.  

Even where the Book of Mormon uses the word "mark" (Alma 3), dark skin is also used. Also given what has been presented previously by authorities in the Church, it seemed self evident what was meant. 

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1 hour ago, juliann said:

I'm not going to find the other Biblical references, this should do. How do you approach this declaration of black skin?  Job 30: 30 My skin is black upon me, . . . 

Here are a few more:

Quote

I am black, but comely, O ye daughters of Jerusalem, as the tents of Kedar, as the curtains of Solomon. Look not upon me, because I am black, because the sun hath looked upon me: my mother’s children were angry with me; they made me the keeper of the vineyards; but mine own vineyard have I not kept.

 

Quote

For the hurt of the daughter of my people am I hurt; I am black; astonishment hath taken hold on me.

 

Quote

Judah mourneth, and the gates thereof languish; they are black unto the ground; and the cry of Jerusalem is gone up.

 

Quote

Her Nazarites were purer than snow, they were whiter than milk, they were more ruddy in body than rubies, their polishing was of sapphire: Their visage is blacker than a coal; they are not known in the streets: their skin cleaveth to their bones; it is withered, it is become like a stick.

 

Quote

Our skin was black like an oven because of the terrible famine.

Every one of these passages refers to ancient Israelites/Jews, and all but the first one come from the prophet Jeremiah, a contemporary of Lehi's.

Edited by Hamba Tuhan
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Richard Bushman was speaking tonight at SLC Central Stake.

He differentiated between realistic faithfulness (which to me is Mormon mindfulness) and the idealistic-faith members.  The first is what I want to be: to look at matters realistically and react to them in a positive way that does not ignore the facts.

As an aside: the good professor cleaned up with Rough Stone Rolling in all the Mormon biography awards, except for one.  That author, the only one to win that year in Mormon bio other than Richard, was in the audience listening with what seemed real intensity.

I agree that on matters such as this OP or Joseph Smith, we need to be faithful realists.

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https://www.fairmormon.org/answers/Mormonism_and_racial_issues/Blacks_and_the_priesthood/Statements#cite_note-1

Interesting link from Fairmormon, with three statements from church leaders dating from 1949 to 1978, Elder McConkie's being only two lines deep. It's remarkable the lack of revelation from God on this. What is it, was it just racism or not? The essays don't give a clear answer that it was do they? Not exactly sure. 

"Forget everything I have said, or what...Brigham Young...or whomsoever has said...that is contrary to the present revelation. We spoke with a limited understanding and without the light and knowledge that now has come into the world." [2]

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On 1/19/2020 at 4:05 PM, 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?

My line of reasoning is eminently reasonable. If the Bible, Book of Mormon and Pearl of Great Price truly are sacred books of holy scripture, written by living prophets of God, and if the curses pronounced upon certain lineages therein have their origin in the mind of a perfectly loving and just God, then there must be good, just and merciful reasons why such curses are instituted.

Because I know God and Christ live and the Bible, the Book of Mormon, and the Pearl of Great Price are the word of God, the only possible conclusion I can come to is that God has good and fair reasons for pronouncing these curses for they are motivated by his perfect love and mercy, always wanting to do that which is in the eternal best interests of ALL of his children. It is even as the prophet Nephi said...

24 He doeth not ANYTHING save it be for the benefit of the world; for he loveth the world, even that he layeth down his own life that he may draw ALL men unto him... (2 Nephi 26).

The same mighty prophet of God who wrote the above words of scripture apparently didn’t find the curse that God placed upon the Lamanites to be in any way at odds with the wonderful, all-embracing redemptive inclusiveness of God that he expressed near the end of his life.

Remember, at the time prophet Nephi testified that the Lord placed a curse upon the Lamanites he had the very same in-depth knowledge of the deepest mysteries of the inner workings of the kingdom of God that the Brother of Jared and John the Beloved had;  yet it appears he was not troubled in the slightest that the curse upon the Lamanites was going to hold back their salvation and spiritual progression when viewed from an eternal perspective.

My suggestion is that if you know the Book of Mormon is true it would be a good idea to withhold judgement on whether or not God’s curses are just and true until you have the full scope of revelatory information needed in order to correctly make a fully informed judgement.

The curse of the fall of man is by far the most far reaching, impactful and seemingly devastating of all the curses of God. Yet we are constantly taught that even though the fall introduced such horrors as plagues and mass murder to the world , ultimately the curse of the fall will prove to be a blessing in disguise, with infinitely more good coming as a consequence of the fall than if the fall had never occurred.

My testimony is that when we have enough of the facts to comprehend the complete picture of the divine drama, we will gratefully realize that God knew best and that more good came about as a consequence of his pronounced curses than if they had never been decreed. I’m fully confident that one day we will understand that all of God’s curses will ultimately turn out to be blessings in disguise for “He doeth not anything  save it be for the benefit of the world...”

 

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