I live in Eastern Washington. The Bundy’s misguided and atrocious take-over of a Federal visitor’s center in Eastern Oregon has got me thinking on one of the most fundamental issues of the Book of Mormon, that Native Americans are somehow supposed to be connected to the awful God of the Old Testament through Israelite bloodlines, were cursed with dark skin (but now Seminary Teachers call it a “mark” not a “curse”, but a rose by any other name still smells the same in my book), and that Christopher Columbus was a God-inspired hero and America is the Promised Land. No wonder Bundy is doing what he’s doing; he’s following the Book of Mormon! I am sorrowful because I believed in and helped with that awful racist part of Mormon culture, the Indian Placement program. I loved and revered Spencer W. Kimball during that time, and did what I was told to help the local Indians at our Richfield, UT, placement program, which included a dormitory of “Indians” as well as many placement students at individual homes in our town. What awful racists we were (and are, since we still haven’t disavowed the Book of Mormon where the teachings originated), inspite of our recent “essay” on racism. We’re still racist, and I say, “we” even though I’m completely out of Mormonism.
Kevin I think you and many lds members misunderstand what the curse is. The curse has nothing to do with physical skin color.The curse is separation from God and becoming a wicked people and committing all kinds of atrocities. The mark as mentioned in the Book of Mormon is also mentioned which does refer to physical appearance but the mark is neutral. In the case of the Amlicites they were once Nephites and rebelled and became wicked. They were wicked and cursed. It does not say god changed their skin color. But in order to distinguish themselves from the Nephites they put red on their foreheads. Alma 3:13 13 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 By making this physical mark on their foreheads.… Read more »
Your explanation, while being the “official” church answer, is a labored one. It is also a fairly new explanation that took hold after the priesthood change in 1978. Let’s look at some of the key verses where it is first discussed by Nephi and Jacob: And he had caused the cursing to come upon them, yea, even a sore cursing … 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 (Book of Mormon, 2 Nephi 5:21). and Behold the Lamanites your brethren, whom ye hate because of their filthiness and the cursing which hath come upon their skins … (Book of Mormon, Jacob 3:5). The “sore cursing” was not being cut off from God. Nephi clearly states the curse is a change in skin color because of their wickedness.… Read more »
The verse you quote says they were cursed with a skin of blackness but there are no native Americans in north and south America that have black skin. Also using the word blackness or black to describe ones demeanor as a physical appearance is not out of of place in a scriptural context. Here are some examples from the old testament. Nephi and Jacob would have been familiar with the old testament and this way of describing a darkened spiritual appearance as a outward manifestation. Lamentations 5:10 10 Our skin was black like an oven because of the terrible famine. Job 30:30 30 My skin is black upon me, and my bones are burned with heat. Song of Solomon 1:5,6 5 I am black, but comely, O ye daughters of Jerusalem, as the tents of Kedar, as the curtains of Solomon. 6 Look not upon me, because I am black, because the… Read more »
David: I am not an LDS member any longer. One very prominent LDS member, a former prophet of your church, “misunderstood” with the following idea, and that is what I grew up thinking because of his status as apostle and then prophet during my youth. I like your explanation, but it is not the explanation and interpretation that is plain and simple from Alma 3:6 or from former prophets. Blame me for following the prophet of my era, and not changing to today’s more modern thinking in LDS culture, that’s OK, but please at least acknowledge the my understanding wasn’t just me and some lowly LDS members’ making our own interpretations. I also noticed that you didn’t say anything about the Indian Placement Program? What do you remember about that era, if anything, or what do you know about it? Prophet Spencer W. Kimball, General Conference, Oct. 1960 “The Lord has never… Read more »
I can certainly understand why members would believe that it refers to physical skin color.
I don’t know anything about the Indian Placement Program are there a lot of Indians who have been placed in this program who are complaining about how horrible it was.
By the way everything I posted concerning skin color being an outward spiritual representation was done by my own research. Until now I did not the church had a stance on the subject.
David: I sense a great disparity in our ages. The article “tapir rider” posted should be helpful in explaining the Indian Placement Program. I am 52, and I came out gay and left the church 2 years ago. Your phrasing just above scares me, “skin color being an outward spiritual representation” doesn’t sound much different than racism. Where do you stand on the idea that God is no respecter of persons, that all are alike unto Him, both bond and free, etc., and in that same verse from the Book of Mormon, the statement that God doesn’t do anything except it is PLAIN. Your explanation of the “curse” or “mark” is not very plain at all. When a supposed prophet of God, many of them, plainly read the Book of Mormon and plainly tell the saints that the curse is dark skin and that the Indians will be made “white and… Read more »
You are right you are much older than me.