2 Nephi 5:20–25. The Lamanites Were Cursed
• Verses 20–25 in 2 Nephi 5 answer at least four
questions about the curse that came to the Lamanites:1. What was the curse?
The curse is clearly defined in verse 20 as being “cut
off from the presence of the Lord.”2. What caused the curse?
According to verse 21, the cause of the curse came
“because of their iniquity” and “hardened . . . hearts.”
Since the days of Adam’s Fall, wickedness has
resulted in being cut off from the presence of the
Lord (see 1 Nephi 2:21; 2 Nephi 4:4; 9:6; Alma 9:13;
Ether 10:11).3. What was the mark or sign set upon the
It is also explained in verse 21 that so “they might
not be enticing unto my people [the Nephites] the
Lord did cause a skin of blackness to come upon
them [the Lamanites].” It would appear that this was
done to limit the spreading of more wickedness.
Later Alma suggested this same motive when he
explained that “the skins of the Lamanites were
dark . . . that thereby the Lord God might preserve
his people, that they might not mix and believe
in incorrect traditions” (Alma 3:6, 8). Throughout
scripture we find warnings of the Lord not to marry
unbelievers (see Deuteronomy 7:2–3; 2 Corinthians
6:14); the result of doing so was often that the
righteous were turned away from the Lord (see
Deuteronomy 7:4; 1 Kings 11:4; D&C 74:5).
Some people have mistakenly thought that the
dark skin placed upon the Lamanites was the
curse. President Joseph Fielding Smith (1876–1972)
explained that the dark skin was not the curse:
“The dark skin was placed upon the Lamanites so
that they could be distinguished from the Nephites
and to keep the two peoples from mixing. The dark
skin was the sign of the curse [not the curse itself ].
The curse was the withdrawal of the Spirit of the
Lord. . . .
“The dark skin of those who have come into the
Church is no longer to be considered a sign of the
curse. . . . These converts are delightsome and have
the Spirit of the Lord” (Answers to Gospel Questions,
comp. Joseph Fielding Smith Jr., 5 vols. [1957–66],
3:122–23).4. What was the result of the curse?
Finally in verse 24 we learn that the result of the
curse—being cut off from the presence of the
Lord—is that they “become an idle people, full of
mischief and subtlety.”
One great blessing is that the curse is only valid as
long as people are wicked. If they repent, the “curse
of God [will] no more follow them” (Alma 23:18).
There are many examples of righteous Lamanites
who repented and enjoyed the Spirit of the Lord; one
of them even became a prophet (see Helaman 13:5).Book of Mormon Student Manual Chapter 8
Notice that official LDS doctrine from this newly published manual is incompatible with FAIR's MormonVoices.org front/center speculation of a tattoo. Now MormonVoices.org, like FAIR generally does a pretty good job of defending the Church. But in this case, they engage in Bott-like speculation whereas the Church's apologetic is to merely to steer the conversation in a different direction while keeping existing doctrine in place.