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Mormonism and racism?


AtroposHeart

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I have heard many conflicting sources about the Mormons and race.

 

Is it true that in the book of Mormon that God punishes the Native Americans by darkening their skin?

 

I have also heard this is a misrepresentation of Mormon belief/

 

What is the real story

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I was raised Mormon but can't really tell you what the Book of Mormon says (which says how good of a kid I was!) but I've seen passages from it online that show what you're saying is true.

From my experience in the church, there weren't too many people who weren't white. People of Colour tended to be in their own wards, partially because the church has wards based on language (Spanish, "Chinese", etc) but I felt there was a sense of seperation with those who did choose to come to the English ward. I felt seperated from most people in the church in general though, and those that I did like tended to become 'inactive' - I was allowed to stop going as well, as a young teen - so your mileage may vary.

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Well, if the musical "The Book of Mormon" is to be believed, the church did some kind of flip-flop on racial issues in 1978.

I believe that the Lord, God, has sent me here

And I believe that in 1978, God changed his mind about black people!

You can be a Mormon..

A Mormon who just believes!

GfTlyuZphf8

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Not a Mormom, but read a lot about them. The "Lamanites" were given dark skin as a punishment for their rebelliousness against God. Coincidentally, when Mormonism began in America, it was the early 1800s and non whites weren't exactly considered equals of white people. The rules of the Church allowed blacks to join the church, but wouldn't allow non-white males to be priesthood holders (the ones who will get their own planets to rule in the afterlife).

Then in 1978 God changed his mind about black people*, the Church officially changed its white-male-only-priesthood holder rule. I think that as more Mormons went on missions and the largest increasing populations of Mormons were located in Africa and Asia, someone in the church realized the whites-only rule would hinder the spread of Mormonism in places where whites are the minority, and the president of the church (who speaks directly to God*) officially changed the rules on race.

*Great lines from the Book of Mormon musical

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I have heard many conflicting sources about the Mormons and race.

Is it true that in the book of Mormon that God punishes the Native Americans by darkening their skin?

I have also heard this is a misrepresentation of Mormon belief/

What is the real story

The verse in question is 2 Nephi 5:21:

21 And he had caused the acursing to come upon them, yea, even a sore cursing, because of their iniquity. For behold, they had hardened their hearts against him, that they had become like unto a flint; wherefore, as they were white, and exceedingly fair and delightsome, that they might not be enticing unto my people the Lord God did cause a skin of blackness to come upon them.

Here's an old interview with the Osmonds, like many that we snark on, this interview shows how easily people blindly drink the koolaid.

QuSde2jGhm8

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The verse in question is 2 Nephi 5:21:

21 And he had caused the acursing to come upon them, yea, even a sore cursing, because of their iniquity. For behold, they had hardened their hearts against him, that they had become like unto a flint; wherefore, as they were white, and exceedingly fair and delightsome, that they might not be enticing unto my people the Lord God did cause a skin of blackness to come upon them.

Here's an old interview with the Osmonds, like many that we snark on, this interview shows how easily people blindly drink the koolaid.

QuSde2jGhm8

Back in the south, we used to call it "separate but equal." :twisted: :twisted: :twisted: :twisted:

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I have heard many conflicting sources about the Mormons and race.

Is it true that in the book of Mormon that God punishes the Native Americans by darkening their skin?

I have also heard this is a misrepresentation of Mormon belief/

What is the real story

Yep. I have had BOM class many, many times and this issue has always come up. The reference comes from 2 Nephi 5:20-25 where the Lamanites are cut off from God's presence due to their rebelliousness and their skin became dark. This skin of blackness was not the "curse" (being cut off from God's presence was http://www.lds.org/manual/book-of-mormon-student-study-guide/2-nephi-5?lang=eng&query=skin+blackness). It was done so that the Nephites would not intermarry or mix with the Lamanites and bring the curse upon themselves (being cut off from God by picking up their rebelliousness). Later (3 Nephi 2:15), when the Lamanites repented and were righteous, they were allowed back into God's presence and the skin of blackness was lifted from them.

There was also a point (one of early ones) where the Nephites were becoming rebellious/unrighteous (and the Lamanites becoming more righteous) (Jacob 3) and they were warned that unless they repented their skin would be darker than the Lamanites when brought before God (meaning that just because outwardly they did not have a symbol of being cut off from God it did not make them immune from this fate if they continued their illicit behavior). Jacob essentially told the Nephites to not look down ("revile") upon the Lamanites because of the skin/behavior inherited from their fathers because the Nephites were sinners as well (worse than them at this point) and setting a bad example for their children that would result in their children's destruction (which they would be punished for because they allowed it to happen). In this instance Jacob (Prophet during this time) pointed out that the Lamanites were more righteous than the Nephites and chastised them for their ill behavior despite the Nephites believing themselves to be better (which they weren't).

My two cents.

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Guest Anonymous

Yep. I have had BOM class many, many times and this issue has always come up. The reference comes from 2 Nephi 5:20-25 where the Lamanites are cut off from God's presence due to their rebelliousness and their skin became dark. This skin of blackness was not the "curse" (being cut off from God's presence was http://www.lds.org/manual/book-of-mormon-student-study-guide/2-nephi-5?lang=eng&query=skin+blackness). It was done so that the Nephites would not intermarry or mix with the Lamanites and bring the curse upon themselves (being cut off from God by picking up their rebelliousness). Later (3 Nephi 2:15), when the Lamanites repented and were righteous, they were allowed back into God's presence and the skin of blackness was lifted from them.

There was also a point (one of early ones) where the Nephites were becoming rebellious/unrighteous (and the Lamanites becoming more righteous) (Jacob 3) and they were warned that unless they repented their skin would be darker than the Lamanites when brought before God (meaning that just because outwardly they did not have a symbol of being cut off from God it did not make them immune from this fate if they continued their illicit behavior). Jacob essentially told the Nephites to not look down ("revile") upon the Lamanites because of the skin/behavior inherited from their fathers because the Nephites were sinners as well (worse than them at this point) and setting a bad example for their children that would result in their children's destruction (which they would be punished for because they allowed it to happen). In this instance Jacob (Prophet during this time) pointed out that the Lamanites were more righteous than the Nephites and chastised them for their ill behavior despite the Nephites believing themselves to be better (which they weren't).

My two cents.

Wow! In every element of that story, dark skin is a sign of being cursed / separated from God. It's also used as a tool to show who should and should not be allowed to marry or mix together.

[sarcasm] How absolutely lovely! I wonder how anyone could ever read this as racist! [/sarcasm]

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Lots of people like to rush in and defend Mormonism, but I know that African Americans couldn't be church leaders for a very long time. Yeah, they were racist, even for their time.

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@sogba, I don't know if you've ever read the BOM, but at the beginning the Lamanites were incredibly wicked people and were marked as a way to protect the people (much like we make sure criminals in our society are registered and jail logs made public so people can protect themselves and their families). The generations that came after this initial wicked generation began to become more and more righteous (learning from their ancestors mistakes and not repeating them) and were allowed back into the presence of God (even without the mark being lifted as in the verse from 3 Nephi). The BOM also contains many examples of Lamanites that were incredibly righteous and wonderful people (Samuel the Lamanite being one of the more famous ones) that many use as role models in the present time.

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@sogba, I don't know if you've ever read the BOM, but at the beginning the Lamanites were incredibly wicked people and were marked as a way to protect the people (much like we make sure criminals in our society are registered and jail logs made public so people can protect themselves and their families). The generations that came after this initial wicked generation began to become more and more righteous (learning from their ancestors mistakes and not repeating them) and were allowed back into the presence of God (even without the mark being lifted as in the verse from 3 Nephi). The BOM also contains many examples of Lamanites that were incredibly righteous and wonderful people (Samuel the Lamanite being one of the more famous ones) that many use as role models in the present time.

Dark skin as a signal to make innocent people aware of criminals? RACIST! RACIST!* I just want to scream the word 'racist' at the top of my lungs now. Nothing about any of what you are saying diminishes the inherent, explicit, outright racism of this. Everything you say only adds to it. It really, really adds to it. I am stunned that you either can't see it or can't see the harm in it.

*This particular outburst is directed at the concept that you are outlining, not you. I don't mean that I want to call you a racist.

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@sogba, I don't know if you've ever read the BOM, but at the beginning the Lamanites were incredibly wicked people and were marked as a way to protect the people (much like we make sure criminals in our society are registered and jail logs made public so people can protect themselves and their families). The generations that came after this initial wicked generation began to become more and more righteous (learning from their ancestors mistakes and not repeating them) and were allowed back into the presence of God (even without the mark being lifted as in the verse from 3 Nephi). The BOM also contains many examples of Lamanites that were incredibly righteous and wonderful people (Samuel the Lamanite being one of the more famous ones) that many use as role models in the present time.

Ok, Lamanites= Native Americans. So basically what you're saying is that a long time ago, the Native Americans were "incredibly wicked people" and so god "marked" them with dark skin so the good white people could stay away from them. Nowadays, the Native Americans aren't so bad anymore but they are still "marked" as a result of their ancestors' wickedness. Wow, that's one fucked up story. And you tell this to your children?

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Guest Anonymous
@sogba, I don't know if you've ever read the BOM, but at the beginning the Lamanites were incredibly wicked people and were marked as a way to protect the people (much like we make sure criminals in our society are registered and jail logs made public so people can protect themselves and their families). The generations that came after this initial wicked generation began to become more and more righteous (learning from their ancestors mistakes and not repeating them) and were allowed back into the presence of God (even without the mark being lifted as in the verse from 3 Nephi). The BOM also contains many examples of Lamanites that were incredibly righteous and wonderful people (Samuel the Lamanite being one of the more famous ones) that many use as role models in the present time.

Back again to stick up for Mormonism, eh? They should put you on the payroll, if they haven't. If there's any money left after their concentrated effort to deny rights to gay people.

Did you ever answer why you think Mitt Romney is going to do what's best for all of the American people in light of the fact that he told a single mother that she was going to be excommunicated from the church if she didn't give her baby up for adoption when he was a bishop? That was after you said he had so much compassion for people because he held that office. :roll:

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Dark skin as a signal to make innocent people aware of criminals? RACIST! RACIST!* I just want to scream the word 'racist' at the top of my lungs now. Nothing about any of what you are saying diminishes the inherent, explicit, outright racism of this. Everything you say only adds to it. It really, really adds to it. I am stunned that you either can't see it or can't see the harm in it.

*This particular outburst is directed at the concept that you are outlining, not you. I don't mean that I want to call you a racist.

Then we will have to agree to disagree. You see it one way and I see it the other. The Lamanites were not denied blessings as a result of this marking and were (and their ancestors are today) a chosen and choice people.

And thanks for not calling me a racist :). It would really confuse my boyfriend if I were. :lol:

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Then we will have to agree to disagree. You see it one way and I see it the other. The Lamanites were not denied blessings as a result of this marking and were (and their ancestors are today) a chosen and choice people.

And thanks for not calling me a racist :). It would really confuse my boyfriend if I were. :lol:

So what about the part where black people have dark skin because they sided with Satan and not Jesus before the world was created? That is not racist either?

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Then we will have to agree to disagree. You see it one way and I see it the other. The Lamanites were not denied blessings as a result of this marking and were (and their ancestors are today) a chosen and choice people.

And thanks for not calling me a racist :). It would really confuse my boyfriend if I were. :lol:

Only since 1978. But they haven't turned white and delightsome yet. Why'd that get taken out of the Book of Mormon, again?

2 Nephi 30:6 "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 and a delightsome people." It is interesting to find out what the Book of Mormon considers to be a "pure" people. The Printer's Manuscript and 1830 ed both say "a white and delightsome people."
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@sogba, I don't know if you've ever read the BOM, but at the beginning the Lamanites were incredibly wicked people and were marked as a way to protect the people (much like we make sure criminals in our society are registered and jail logs made public so people can protect themselves and their families). The generations that came after this initial wicked generation began to become more and more righteous (learning from their ancestors mistakes and not repeating them) and were allowed back into the presence of God (even without the mark being lifted as in the verse from 3 Nephi). The BOM also contains many examples of Lamanites that were incredibly righteous and wonderful people (Samuel the Lamanite being one of the more famous ones) that many use as role models in the present time.

And fast forward, the prophet changes his mind and they are all really ok. I won't go into the social pressure around this whole issue, or the fact that the LDS were having a hard time converting people of color. Lets face it, most folks don't want to join a club that grants them second class status.

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Then we will have to agree to disagree. You see it one way and I see it the other. The Lamanites were not denied blessings as a result of this marking and were (and their ancestors are today) a chosen and choice people.

And thanks for not calling me a racist :). It would really confuse my boyfriend if I were. :lol:

1) You are honestly saying that you cannot see the racism in using dark skin as an indicator of wickedness and as a cue not to interact with a person? I suppose we will have to agree to disagree on that one.

2) 'I have a boyfriend of a different race so non-racist points for me'. Nice. More subtle than it's usually done but still classless.

Edited for clarity.

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Back again to stick up for Mormonism, eh? They should put you on the payroll, if they haven't. If there's any money left after their concentrated effort to deny rights to gay people.

Did you ever answer why you think Mitt Romney is going to do what's best for all of the American people in light of the fact that he told a single mother that she was going to be excommunicated from the church if she didn't give her baby up for adoption when he was a bishop? That was after you said he had so much compassion for people because he held that office. :roll:

For the record, I am not for denying rights to any gay people, including marriage benefits.

I will stick up for my religion because I am not ashamed of my beliefs. I will speak up when something about my religion comes up in order to offer insight as I have grown up in the church and can offer that perspective rather than allow false information to continue to be passed around.

I also choose not to believe everything I hear/read about people because I believe in giving every person the benefit of the doubt. I'd rather make my own decision about a person rather than allow the opinion of one person dictate how I view them.

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Only since 1978. But they haven't turned white and delightsome yet. Why'd that get taken out of the Book of Mormon, again?

Actually, Wilford Woodruff in 1898 chastised the members for their racism during a general conference meeting by pointing out that the Lamanites were a chosen people. I can copy/paste the quote if you'd like.

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Actually, Wilford Woodruff in 1898 chastised the members for their racism during a general conference meeting by pointing out that the Lamanites were a chosen people. I can copy/paste the quote if you'd like.

No thanks. If it wasn't racist, why did they change it?

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Why is mixed race dating/marriage also discouraged in "For the Strength of Youth"?

I read a FSY pamphlet about two years ago that said that people should only date and marry their own race. That seems a bit racist to me. Does FSY still state that, or did they finally get rid of that line?

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I've read the BoM. The racism isn't misinterpreted, it's blatant and constant. It's not just one verse, either.

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Dhani_C, what do you think about the fact that it's been proven that Native Americans were not descended from Israelites but most likely from Asians? And that the majority of what went on in the BOM could never have happened?

Why do you buy into the idea that Jesus paid America a special visit? To me it just looks like a giant ploy for people to have a reason to say that America is The Most Speshul Country Evah. And for Joseph Smith to feed his ego. The man read the 'plates' out of a HAT with a STONE. And then whenever he wanted to do something dodgy (eg marry underage women) that was okay because God said so. And then curiously enough the church realised polygamy was wrong when it was banned, just like how they realised the racist parts were wrong after the civil rights movement. I guarantee that one day, when homophobia gets the same stigma as racism (as it should), the church will 'realise' that the verses condemning homosexuality were mistranslated as well.

How can you not see the strings?

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