Phineas

Racial Error in Come Follow Me Manual

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https://www.sltrib.com/religion/2020/01/18/error-printed-lds-church/

So according to this article, the church made a mistake in the printed Come Follow Me manual for the Book of Mormon followed by a correction in the digital version.  I honestly don't see the the mistake.  While the wording in the digital version is a lot better,  there is nothing incorrect about the original.  If there is a problem with racial insensitivity, the problem is with the Book of Mormon itself. Not the manual.  

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The new variant acknowledges the possibility that “skin color”  skin color.  

If we can placate our snowflake saints by making some nonessential concessions in order to get the people in the great and spacious building to laugh a little more softly, I guess suppose there isn’t much harm in that.

And the fact that the Tribune got a local English professor to all-but-support book burnings, was most illuminative.

Edited by Just_A_Guy

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1 hour ago, Just_A_Guy said:

The new variant acknowledges the possibility that “skin color”  skin color.  

If we can placate our snowflake saints 

JAG, the people I see disturbed by it are not snowflakes, they are brothers and sisters of color. Just because it is not an issue for you doesn't make them snowflakes. 

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26 minutes ago, LiterateParakeet said:

JAG, the people I see disturbed by it are not snowflakes, they are brothers and sisters of color. Just because it is not an issue for you doesn't make them snowflakes. 

I respect their feelings, but not enough to go passively along while they demand I accept a logically absurd form of hermeneutics or insist that the Church shred and re-print a run of millions upon millions of study manuals. 

There are some rational, sensitive, nuanced approaches we can take to the issue.  The ones being advocated by the people cited in the Tribune are not among them.  It’s a power play, a shriek of “notice me, and bend to my will!!” that doesn’t particularly impress me in a gospel context.

The simple fact is that the original manual wasn’t wrong, as per church doctrine—incomplete and potentially subject to misuse, sure; but not wrong.  But it supports a theological view (that in the isolated case of the Lamanites, there was a visually perceivable physiological change which for a limited time functioned as a sign of a deeper divine warning) that a certain fringe within the Church has been trying very hard to shame the Church into modifying.

Edited by Just_A_Guy

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If we are going to be burning books for not being racially sensitive enough,  we should be burning all the copies of the Book of Mormon.  

While the Book of Mormon does have a tolerant egalitarian message, it’s a mistake to sweep the more difficult passages under the rug.  It’s a losing conversation to say there is no racism in the Book of Mormon at all.  

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59 minutes ago, Phineas said:

If we are going to be burning books for not being racially sensitive enough,  we should be burning all the copies of the Book of Mormon.  

While the Book of Mormon does have a tolerant egalitarian message, it’s a mistake to sweep the more difficult passages under the rug.  It’s a losing conversation to say there is no racism in the Book of Mormon at all.  

This is what drives me nuts.  Why does there have to be?  Why are we trying to erase history?  Why can't we accept what the Prophet has said in this day and still acknowledge what was said in the past?   If it is no longer relevant today than I don't care if we do, or don't, teach it.  However, it's still there.

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1 hour ago, Phineas said:

While the Book of Mormon does have a tolerant egalitarian message, . . .

No, it doesn’t.  At least, not if the race revisionists get their way.

For the Book of Mormon’s condemnation of racism (2 Ne 26:33, Jacob 3:9) to have any teeth at all, it must have been condemning skin-tone based racism, which means there must have been a skin-tone based difference between the Nephites and the Lamanites.  We can quibble as to why that was so, or over how quickly it happened.  We can quibble over whether the result was truly a sign of divine disfavor or whether Nephi, as a sixth-century BC Jew, was simply conditioned to think that everything that happened was a manifestation of divine will and interpreted the change in that light.  But as both the original and revised manual indicate—there was a visually-discernible difference.  

You can make the Nephites color-blind, or you can read the record they left as an explicitly anti-racist document.  But textually, you cannot do both.  

Edited by Just_A_Guy

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45 minutes ago, Just_A_Guy said:

 

You can make the Nephites color-blind, or you can read the record they left as an explicitly anti-racist document.  But textually, you cannot do both.  

Very good points.  I have trouble accepting Brandt Gardner’s theory that all the language of skin color is entirely metaphorical.   

But whatever you believe about the skin color language, The Book of Mormon certainly has an anti-tribalism message if not a an anti-racism message.  The crowning event of the book is Christ coming and bringing about a society without any “ites.”   

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5 hours ago, Just_A_Guy said:

No, it doesn’t.  At least, not if the race revisionists get their way.

For the Book of Mormon’s condemnation of racism (2 Ne 26:33, Jacob 3:9) to have any teeth at all, it must have been condemning skin-tone based racism, which means there must have been a skin-tone based difference between the Nephites and the Lamanites.  We can quibble as to why that was so, or over how quickly it happened.  We can quibble over whether the result was truly a sign of divine disfavor or whether Nephi, as a sixth-century BC Jew, was simply conditioned to think that everything that happened was a manifestation of divine will and interpreted the change in that light.  But as both the original and revised manual indicate—there was a visually-discernible difference.  

You can make the Nephites color-blind, or you can read the record they left as an explicitly anti-racist document.  But textually, you cannot do both.  

So as the church sort of distances itself from the original narrative, how do you feel? Just curious, not arguing. 

According to an essay on their own website, "Today, the Church disavows the theories advanced in the past that black skin is a sign of divine disfavor or curse, or that it reflects unrighteous actions in a premortal life; that mixed-race marriages are a sin; or that blacks or people of any other race or ethnicity are inferior in any way to anyone else. Church leaders today unequivocally condemn all racism, past and present, in any form."

https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/study/manual/gospel-topics-essays/race-and-the-priesthood?lang=eng

Edited by MormonGator

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30 minutes ago, MormonGator said:

According to an essay on their own website, "Today, the Church disavows the theories advanced in the past that black skin is a sign of divine disfavor or curse, or that it reflects unrighteous actions in a premortal life; that mixed-race marriages are a sin; or that blacks or people of any other race or ethnicity are inferior in any way to anyone else. Church leaders today unequivocally condemn all racism, past and present, in any form."

"To disavow" does not mean "to deny" or "to repudiate" or "to proclaim as false". Rather, "to disavow" means "to deny support for". In other words, the Church at this point steadfastly refuses to align itself with that particular scriptural and historical interpretation. That is a much different thing from proclaiming that the interpretation is false. The interpretation might well be true, or might have some elements of truth in it. But the Church doesn't support any such theory. That is the point.

And to condemn "racism...in any form" seems obvious, so long as we understand what "racism" means (or should mean). It does not (or should not) mean acknowledging differences between people of different races. It does not (or should not) mean recognizing that there are unprofitable and even wicked culltural characteristics that end up being associated with race. It does (or should) mean that all people are recognized for their inherent value and are not prejudged or condemned for being a certain race.

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42 minutes ago, MormonGator said:

So as the church sort of distances itself from the original narrative, how do you feel? Just curious, not arguing. 

According to an essay on their own website, "Today, the Church disavows the theories advanced in the past that black skin is a sign of divine disfavor or curse, or that it reflects unrighteous actions in a premortal life; that mixed-race marriages are a sin; or that blacks or people of any other race or ethnicity are inferior in any way to anyone else. Church leaders today unequivocally condemn all racism, past and present, in any form."

https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/study/manual/gospel-topics-essays/race-and-the-priesthood?lang=eng

The Church’s current materials don’t substantively distance it from the Book of Mormon text, except insofar as I suggested above that they pretend to take seriously some snowflake-type arguments so as to keep a few fragile people in the Church until they can get a testimony.  If that works, then swell. 

The race-and-priesthood essay doesn’t strike me as having have any application to interpretations of 2 Ne 5; since the essay is limited to the present tense and the “original narrative” is very much bound up in past events.  Even if it did pose some sort of conflict:  the fact is that in two hundred years, Church members will still be reading 2 Nephi 5; whereas the Gospel Topics essays—for better or for worse—will be regarded as the same sort of quaint curiosities which we consider the Journal of Discourses to be.  They are geared towards resolving the angst of twenty-first century millennials who, in spite of their own youthful narcissism, are not the apex of either history or intellectual/spiritual evolution; and who will hated by their own successors just as much as they hate “boomers” now. 

Edited by Just_A_Guy

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3 minutes ago, Vort said:

It does not (or should not) mean recognizing that there are unprofitable and even wicked culltural characteristics that end up being associated with race.

What are those "cultural characteristics that end up being associated with race?" Again, just curious. 

Just now, Just_A_Guy said:

The Church’s current materials don’t substantively distance it from the Book of Mormon text, except insofar as I suggested above that they pretend to take seriously some snowflakes-type arguments so as to keep a few fragile people in the Church until they can get a testimony.  If that works, then swell. 

The race-and-priesthood essay doesn’t strike me as having have any application to interpretations of 2 Ne 5; since the essay is limited to the present tense and the “original narrative” is very much bound up in past events.  Even if it did pose some sort of conflict:  the fact is that in two hundred years, Church members will still be reading 2 Nephi 5; whereas the Gospel Topics essays—for better or for worse—will be regarded as the same sort of quaint curiosities which we consider the Journal of Discourses to be.  They are geared towards resolving the angst of twenty-first century millennials who, in spite of their own beliefs, are not the apex of history and are not going to be around forever.  

Fascinating. Thanks! 

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5 hours ago, Phineas said:

The crowning event of the book is Christ coming and bringing about a society without any “ites.”  

Well, I sincerely hope for my sake that there might be at least a few wh ites. :) 

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15 minutes ago, MormonGator said:

What are those "cultural characteristics that end up being associated with race?" Again, just curious.

Yeah...no. I'll pass, thanks.

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19 minutes ago, Vort said:

Yeah...no. I'll pass, thanks.

Understand. It’s easy to say that there are “cultural characteristics  that end up being associated with race” but much harder to actually name some of them. 

Edited by MormonGator

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20 minutes ago, MormonGator said:

Understand. It’s easy to say that there are “cultural characteristics  that end up being associated with race” but much harder to actually name some of them. 

Oh, it's easy enough to recognize and name some of them. But it's suicide.

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I think it was Brigham Young that said, "Only a fool would be offended when no offence was intended - but it is takes a greater fool to be offended when an offence is intended."  In Brigham's day they did not use the term snowflake - it had not been invented yet.  I think you can easy substitute snowflake where Brigham said fool.

 

The Traveler

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If people have problems with the Book of Mormon which can lightly be attached to the racist issues of today, wait until they read the Pearl of Great Price where it is pretty blatant.

I would HOPE that the church sticks with it's doctrine (though some question how much the Church bureaucracy is going to gaslight the rest of it's history similar to what it appears to have been trying to do over the past decade) but there is even sentiment that the Church eventually will sideline the Book of Mormon and Pearl of Great Price (or decanonize, or just simply outright change it to say something completely different) in order to say that these things were never part of the Church to begin with.

The irony of the racist ideas and items is that they still are part of the Scriptures (and really, undeniably so no matter how revisionist try to repaint it) in our present day.

The bigger irony that I've run across in life is that those members that I know that are minorities seem to be troubled, but have less problems overall with these passages than those of us who are deemed "white" which strikes me as strange that we are trying so hard to 'revise' our history when sticking to our guns and simply saying that is how it was back (and maybe an apology for things we cannot fix) then would go over better with many of the young adults who are leaving then trying to gaslight them with reformed ideas or explanations or saying it isn't there when it is plain for any to see.

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1 hour ago, Emmanuel Goldstein said:

I think that the reason the Lamanites started having darker skin was because of their inter-marriage with the Native Americans that were already here when they arrived, e.g. The Adena, Olmecs, Toltecs, etc.

This is my own private supposition, as well.

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It could be.

Something I thought of previously and have considered more strongly more recently, though it does not exactly conjoin with current church teachings, is in relation to the original ideas of the curse of dark skin.

In this, if we look at the peoples of the African Continent comparatively to those of Northern Europe we find that they have various differences.  Genetically we are told via evolution and science that they do not really share a common ancestor since before Biblical times or several thousand years prior to Biblical events.  DNA now seems to verify some of this.  Other than when they met and mixed together later, the actual genes and DNA show that they diverged from each other long ago.

How is this possible if we believe in a Flood that happened more recently?  Is it possible that with the cursing came an actual change in the DNA of those peoples?

A change of genetics or the actual DNA of a group of people to make them different and stand out in a different manner than the rest of the family would seem to be an obvious way of creating a mark that others could easily recognize physically.

Relating this to the Book of Mormon we also find an oddity.  People who mixed together and grew white, would change later on and knew from whom their ancestry was.  They still knew if they were true Lamanites...or in the case of later prophets...Nephites or his descendants.  This could be that there were literal genetic differences among them as well, and that the cursing that afflicted Laman and Lemuel actually created a genetic change in their DNA. 

This then would also explain some of the things we've seen with DNA recently in our tests comparative to those of the tribe of Judah (of course, it should also be pointed out that we may be looking at the wrong identifiers in the DNA.  If they were of different tribes, and we believe that some of the peoples of Europe were of the various tribes of Israel, than it would reason that the identifiers of Hebrew vs. that of being a member of Judah or Levi would be found in other markers that are common between Europeans and Jews or something along those lines).  If the mark was a true physical change, than something could have been changed genetically, meaning DNA would be different as well to a degree.

Just a thought, though absolutely NOT a popular one in this day and time in the Church.

It is ironic then that we overlooked this type of idea in our eagerness to promote the idea, even in the last century, that the Lamanites were the same in every way to the Nephites and those of the tribe of Judah (or that all the Hebrews would share the same genetics as those who were of the tribe of Judah) without the possibility of a genetic change to create the mark.  If so, perhaps we would have looked beyond DNA markers to connect the tribe of Judah to the remnants of the Lamanites in such haste, (though the study was quite limited) and be dismayed when such markers did not seem to indicate a connection between the two.

Edited by JohnsonJones

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Since this week's Come Follow Me chapters are 2 Nephi 1-5..which includes the verses being discussed here....  

I was watching Don't Miss This on Youtube and they mentioned Elder Stevenson talking to the NAACP about this issue.  BOLD is my addition.

Quote

 

Elder Stevenson began his remarks saying he was “deeply saddened and hurt” by an error included in a recent Church manual referencing outdated commentary about race.

“Our position as a Church is clear. We do condemn all racism, past or present, in any form and we disavow any theory that black or dark skin is a sign of a curse. We are brothers and sisters and I consider you friends.”

https://www.thechurchnews.com/leaders-and-ministry/2020-01-20/naacp-elder-stevenson-martin-luther-king-jr-172357

 

I love David and Emily's discussion about these verses...they start the video with it about 3 minutes in.

 

Edited by LiterateParakeet

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