Having been born and raised in the church there is a certain level of doubt I carried with me. Did I really understand what was taught? Was I wrong to feel shame over being a “Lamanite?” Was I wrong to react to the teachings in the manner I did? Simply put, did I overreact?
I have been told by a number of people that I “did not understand” the teachings. So I read from “good books” in an effort to understand.
Religious Studies Center – BYU – The Book of Mormon: Second Nephi, the Doctrinal Structure.” Chapter 7 – The Lamanite Mark (This chapter is 14 pages long. I will cover it in 2 parts.)
- “God wields a two-edged sword. He who blesses also curses.”
- “Both Cain and Laman came out in open rebellion against God. Both were cut off from his righteous influence. Both became marked men.”
- “The dark spirit manifested by Nephi’s older brothers… infected their posterity (Lamanites) with similar dispositions.”
- “There can be no question that their altered skin color was a miraculous act of God; it cannot be understood in purely metaphoric terms, nor as being nothing more than the natural consequence of prolonged exposure to the sun.”
- “Nephi was explicit that ‘the Lord God did cause a skin of blackness to come upon them’ (2 Nephi 5:21).”
- “…the Nephites hated the Lamanites ‘because of their filthiness and the cursing which hath come upon their skins,’ (Jacob 3:5,8)”
Being told I came from “Lamanite” ancestry, being viewed as a “Lamanite” by those around me, came with many connotations. I internalized all the pain – because I trusted. I trusted the Prophet Joseph Smith, I trusted the living prophet, I trusted the generations of Mormons in my family line, and I trusted the truth claims as my parents did.
- “The darkened pigmentation of their skins became a dominant genetic trait that was inherited by their posterity from that time forth.”
- “And cursed shall be the seed of him that mixeth with their seed; for they shall be cursed even with the same cursing. And the Lord spake it, and it was done” (2 Nephi 5:23).
- “Nephi recorded that ‘because of their cursing’ the Lamanites ‘did become an idle people, full of mischief and subtely, and did seek in the wilderness for beasts of prey’ (2 Nephi 5:24).”
- “they became wild, and ferocious, and a blood-thirsty people, full of idolatry and filthiness; feeding upon beasts of prey; dwelling in tents, and wandering about in the wilderness with a short skin girdle about their loins and their heads shaven; and their skill was in the bow, and in the cimeter, and the ax/ And many of them did eat nothing save it was raw meat; and they were continually seeking to destroy us. (Enos 1:20; cf. Jarom 1:6; Alma 17:14-15)”
Let the “good books” speak for themselves. Does it inspire pride of “Lamanite” heritage? Does it promote a love for my Native American heritage? Does it promote pride for heritage that so many different cultures have had stolen by this narrative? Did I overreact? Does it really sound like a loving God, or simply a man?
Though this is about “Lamanite” truth, many have been hurt by the teachings of the church. Finding out how deeply I was lied to was beyond painful. Truth is the one thing driving many to leave the church. We are one.
- Turner, Rodney. author of Chapter 7 The Lamanite Mark. The Book of Mormon: Second Nephi, the Doctrinal Structure, Volume 3. 1989. Religious Studies Center, BYU. Web. 9 July, 2017.