New LDS manual teaches racism. Mistake?

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New LDS manual teaches racism. Mistake?

Post by I have a question »

A recent blunder with a Sunday school manual for use by all members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints could set back progress the Utah-based faith has made on the issue of racism in the past few years — and alienate people of color.

Last year, the church produced a new manual for its 2020 curriculum, which will be a study of the faith’s signature scripture, the Book of Mormon, which Latter-day Saints believe tells the religious history of peoples in the ancient Americas.

Several passages describe a “dark skin” descending on one of the clans, and for much of the faith’s history that has been seen as a racial “curse.” These days, though, that interpretation is no longer part of church teaching.

That is why several early readers of the 2020 “Come, Follow Me” manual were troubled to see a note in one lesson that is a throwback to previous thinking.

“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 book explains, citing a statement made some 60 years ago by then-apostle and future church President Joseph Fielding Smith. “The dark skin was the sign of the curse. The curse was the withdrawal of the Spirit of the Lord. ... Dark skin ... is no longer to be considered a sign of the curse.”

https://www.sltrib.com/religion/2020/01 ... ds-church/

By the time this passage came to the church’s attention, the manuals had been printed.

Came to the Church’s attention? Do they not proof read these manuals at a senior level? Where was the spirit of discernment?

Church spokeswoman Irene Caso explained the problem this week.

“During the publication of the ‘Come, Follow Me’ manual for 2020, there was an error that resulted in the printing of material that doesn’t reflect the church’s current views on the topic,” she said in a statement. “To correct this, a decision was made to modify the content in the digital version of the lesson."

The “error” isn’t the problem. It’s merely a symptom of the problem.

These days, Caso added, 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."

It doesn’t disavow them enough to remove the promotion of those theories from its scriptures though.

The online manual says that “the curse of the Lamanites [one of the groups] was that they were ‘cut off from [the Lord’s] presence … because of their iniquity.’ ... When Lamanites later embraced the gospel of Jesus Christ, ‘the curse of God did no more follow them.’”

The Book of Mormon states that “a mark of dark skin came upon the Lamanites after the Nephites separated from them,” reads the online explanation. “The nature and appearance of this mark are not fully understood. … Later, as both the Nephites and Lamanites each went through periods of wickedness and righteousness, the mark became irrelevant as an indicator of the Lamanites’ standing before God.”

Caso declined to comment on whether the church considered either printing an extra page, acknowledging the error, or scrapping the entire print run and reprinting it with the revised version.

But others are wondering why not.

It’s not like they can’t afford the reprinting costs. So why does the Church want to allow the “erroneous” manuals to be in circulation?

Holly Richardson of the SLT adds:

Please don’t teach racism. Don’t teach it at home, don’t teach it in seminary or institute and don’t teach it in Sunday School. Our Heavenly Parents are not racists. Of course they are not. They love all of their children equally and I am convinced they make zero distinctions based on skin color or place of birth. Neither should we.
Let’s just get this out of the way: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has had leaders who were racist. Full stop. To their credit, modern church leaders have been much more proactive in making clear that all are welcome, with outreach worldwide, with specific talks and teachings focused on welcoming all, the new relationship with the NAACP and with the 2018 “Be One” celebration commemorating the 40th anniversary of the priesthood being restored for all worthy men.
It is therefore disheartening and more than a little disconcerting to discover refuted racist dogma in one of the current LDS Church’s manuals. OK. Maybe that’s underplaying it. It’s more like “What the FREAK?!” HOW is that even possible?!

https://www.sltrib.com/opinion/commenta ... rdson-lds/

How indeed...

Here’s the bottom line. Either the Church holds to the doctrine that a black skin was, as is taught within The Book Of Mormon and this new printed manual, a sign of disfavour in the eyes of God - in which case stop playing spin doctor and own it. Or it doesn’t. If the Church doesn’t hold to that doctrine, then it needs to remove all such teaching from it’s manuals and scriptures. It cannot be half pregnant on this one.

And let’s be clear, what is contained within the scriptures trumps any essays, manuals, leader statements etc. Until it’s removed from the Book Of Mormon the Church Of Jesus Christ Of Latter-day Saints teaches that people with a black skin have been cursed because of disfavour in the eyes of God - it says so right there in 2nd Nephi.

End of.
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Re: New LDS manual teaches racism. Mistake?

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I have a question wrote:Here’s the bottom line. Either the Church holds to the doctrine that a black skin was, as is taught within The Book Of Mormon and this new printed manual, a sign of disfavour in the eyes of God - in which case stop playing spin doctor and own it. Or it doesn’t. If the Church doesn’t hold to that doctrine, then it needs to remove all such teaching from it’s manuals and scriptures. It cannot be half pregnant on this one.

And let’s be clear, what is contained within the scriptures trumps any essays, manuals, leader statements etc. Until it’s removed from the Book Of Mormon the Church Of Jesus Christ Of Latter-day Saints teaches that people with a black skin have been cursed because of disfavour in the eyes of God - it says so right there in 2nd Nephi.

This situation is a perfect example of the ubiquitous Mormon double bind - damned if you do and damned if you don't. It's just one of the myriad of problems now arising from the original sin of Mormonism.

According to the Church News, about 150 million copies of the Book of Mormon have been printed over time and the book has been published in 90 languages. The truth claim that dark skin is God's curse appears in all of them. Like the LDS Church, the Book of Mormon itself has many problems, some so fundamental that embarrassing changes had to be made to the "most correct of any book on this earth."

Whether the Mopologists care to acknowledge the fact or not, the more recent of these changes were forced by the science based publications of Dr. Simon Southerton (who could not have come up with a more appropriate and impactful title than The Sacred Curse for his latest book). Southerton and many others, highly qualified and respected in their fields, have had the knowledge and the courage to publicly and pointedly demonstrate, using hard data, that the Book of Mormon is an egregious fraud.

While a re-printing of the 2020 lesson manuals to remove the offending language, as suggested by IHAQ, would be a well founded if expensive decision, it would also be a Band Aid for the problem at best.

There are still millions of copies of the original source of the racist curse language in the homes of the Mormon faithful as well as the woke and the critics. Missionaries are still mandated to peddle the defective product.

Given that the entire edifice of the LDS Church is based on false and readily falsifiable truth claims, and given its leaders continue to lie as they deny, dodge and deflect the facts, even demanding that they not be criticized even when wrong, what hope can there really be for its long term future?

Looks as though the current leadership may have decided that shedding the old, re-branding and attempting to morph into a more mainstream Christian denomination is the path forward for the CoJCoLDS.

Is discouraging the use of the word 'Mormon' as a nickname for the Church and its people intended as the first step toward eventual de-emphasis or even de-canonization of the Book of Mormon? Will the new Church of Jesus Christ eventually become a larger more and wealthy version of the RLDS Community of Christ?
David Hume: "---Mistakes in philosophy are merely ridiculous, those in religion are dangerous."

DrW: "Mistakes in science are learning opportunities and are eventually corrected."

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Re: New LDS manual teaches racism. Mistake?

Post by Doctor CamNC4Me »

Who was the galaxy brain posting here claiming it wasn’t dark skin being used to distinguish sinner from saint?

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Re: New LDS manual teaches racism. Mistake?

Post by Kishkumen »

My guess is that someday these things will be rightly suppressed and the passages of scripture connecting skin color to righteousness will have about as much pull as odd passages in Leviticus, which no one seems to pay any real attention to.

In the meantime, we will continue to see this stuff popping up here and there, either because someone nodded, or someone deliberately wants to promote these ideas.
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Re: New LDS manual teaches racism. Mistake?

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The Book of Mormon states that “a mark of dark skin came upon the Lamanites after the Nephites separated from them,” reads the online explanation. “The nature and appearance of this mark are not fully understood.


More blaming God for their ugly doctrines. Why did you practice polygamy? God made us do it, we don't why. Why did you ban blacks from the priesthood? God made us do it, we don't why. Why were the Lamanites cursed with dark skin? God did it. We don't why. Why do you discriminate against gay people? God makes us do it. We don't why. I'm so grateful the church has living prophets who speak for God and can answer these questions for us.
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Re: New LDS manual teaches racism. Mistake?

Post by Fence Sitter »

Sounds like an edition worth collecting for posterity as a defense against future gaslighting. I am going to have to ask my wife to get me a copy.

"The Church never taught that and even if they did it was discontinued by the middle of the 20th century, long ago!"

"Here, let's read from the 2020 church wide curriculum manual."
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Re: New LDS manual teaches racism. Mistake?

Post by Dr Moore »

If it was such a horrific error, why not recall all of the printed manuals containing said horrific error?

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Re: New LDS manual teaches racism. Mistake?

Post by Doctor CamNC4Me »

Dr Moore wrote:If it was such a horrific error, why not recall all of the printed manuals containing said horrific error?


Because they actually believe it.

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Re: New LDS manual teaches racism. Mistake?

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Dr Moore wrote:If it was such a horrific error, why not recall all of the printed manuals containing said horrific error?


Good question. Put those billions to good use, I say.
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Re: New LDS manual teaches racism. Mistake?

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Maybe whomever approved the inclusion in that lesson manual, had read this article.

Skins as Garments in the Book of Mormon: A Textual Exegesis by Ethan Sproat
https://scholarsarchive.BYU.edu/cgi/vie ... ntext=jbms

The article includes the following gem:

According to a reading I will defend in the course of this article, this
passage suggests the possibility that “the skins of the Lamanites” are
to be understood as articles of clothing, the notable girdle of skin that
these particular Lamanites wear to cover their nakedness

I once had an individual whom has written for the Interpreter in a casual conversation bring this up. So apparently this has gone around the water-cooler at their secret cave as a totally plausible concept.

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Re: New LDS manual teaches racism. Mistake?

Post by Doctor CamNC4Me »

So, the Lord cursed the Lamanites with a bad fashion sense?

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Re: New LDS manual teaches racism. Mistake?

Post by Dr LOD »

Doctor CamNC4Me wrote:So, the Lord cursed the Lamanites with a bad fashion sense?

- Doc

Apparently so.

That explains why one of my kid always wears black. I thought it was a social group thing from school. Silly me it was the Lords curse all this time. And all this time I had mistakenly thought his beautiful tan skin was a sign of the curse. /s

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Re: New LDS manual teaches racism. Mistake?

Post by MsJack »

I find the hand-wringing over this kind of strange given that the Book of Mormon so prominently uses dark skin as a sign of disfavor from God.
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Re: New LDS manual teaches racism. Mistake?

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MsJack wrote:I find the hand-wringing over this kind of strange given that the Book of Mormon so prominently uses dark skin as a sign of disfavor from God.


Maybe it is the embarrassment of the idea being highly offensive that is a problem. Theodicy. If God did it, it can’t be stupid, offensive, or wrong. Ergo, it must be the case that God is not being properly understood.
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Re: New LDS manual teaches racism. Mistake?

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Dr LOD wrote:Maybe whomever approved the inclusion in that lesson manual, had read this article.

Skins as Garments in the Book of Mormon: A Textual Exegesis by Ethan Sproat
https://scholarsarchive.BYU.edu/cgi/vie ... ntext=jbms

The article includes the following gem:

According to a reading I will defend in the course of this article, this
passage suggests the possibility that “the skins of the Lamanites” are
to be understood as articles of clothing, the notable girdle of skin that
these particular Lamanites wear to cover their nakedness

I once had an individual whom has written for the Interpreter in a casual conversation bring this up. So apparently this has gone around the water-cooler at their secret cave as a totally plausible concept.


Just so I understand, the Lamanites were cursed with a dark skin for rejecting the gospel, and the dark skin was a loinclith they had to wear so the Nephites could identify them? Who manufactured these loincloths and distributed them to the Lamanites? Who enfoorced the wearing of these dark skinned loincloths? Why did the Lamanites agree to wear these loincloths? Were the loincloths like the star of David patch that the Jews were forced to wear in Germany under Nazi rule? what was the penalty for Lamanites who refused to wear the dark skinned loincloth? And since the Nephites and Lamanites apparently had the same actual skin color, and the Lamanites are the ancestors of the Native Americans, does that mean the Nephites also looked like modern native americans?
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Re: New LDS manual teaches racism. Mistake?

Post by Dr Exiled »

The skins as garments article has to be a low point in Mormon apologetics. I guess it can go into the "say whatever, however silly it is, as long as it plausibly defends the kingdom" file. The Dale's article is in there along with everything from Dr. Skousen's and Dr. Carmack's ghost committee/EmodE "findings."
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Re: New LDS manual teaches racism. Mistake?

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Here is a selection of responses to this topic of debate made by posters over on MAD...
The Book of Mormon never says that all people with a darker skin tone are that way due to a curse from God.  The quote in the manual doesn't say that either.  This is one specific group of people that we're talking about.  No need to universalize it.

The cursing, which is the withdrawal of the Spirit of the Lord, is only on the original people who earned the cursing because of what they did and perhaps also on their immediate descendants (their seed) who most likely would follow the wicked ways of their parents.
Fast forward many centuries later and mixing of seeds, it would be unfair for God to curse the future descendents (and the mixed seeds) if they do not follow the wicked ways.   In our day people have simply acquired the sign of the curse through genetics.

The sign of the curse is very different than the curse itself. Although people with dark skin who don't come into the church might carry the sign of the curse it doesn't mean they are cursed. 

When it says that the Lord set that mark on them, that is obviously not meant literally, because the mark is explicitly something they do to themselves.  Anyone familiar with Amerind lore knows that they have all manner of self-marking according to tribe.

It seems to me that the Lehites were of a mindset where skin color and separation was the most effective and meaningful way for the Lord to deal with them so as to preserve the covenant in the promised land for as long as possible, for whatever reason.

Jobs skin turned black in Job 30:30 which obviously is not literal. Job did not become black. Black skin is an ancient thing that means doom and gloom over a person. The early prophets of the church were simply preaching false doctrine when they degraded black people said it was literal. 

To the bolded, this might help "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." (Book of Mormon student manual)

The teaching itself that there was such a curse exactly correct, the curse is absolutely real.

These are not older disavowed teachings IMHO.  Read the Book of Mormon. The language is clear. 
The manuals appear to be putting a PC spin on what the book actually says.  But something happened, to coin a phrase.

The language of both the Book of Mormon and current Church teachings are both clear.  Reconciling them is up to the individual.

Well the only way I can reconcile it is that black skin overall is not a sign of divine disfavor or curse.  But for the people in the above scripture it was used to help prevent inter marriage.   We cannot disavow Book of Mormon scriptures that is just smoke and mirrors.

http://www.mormondialogue.org/topic/725 ... stributed/

Racism is alive and well in the pews and office complexes of The Church Of Jesus Christ Of Latter-day Saints. And the Book Of Mormon 2020 manual justifies their viewpoints.
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Re: New LDS manual teaches racism. Mistake?

Post by Kishkumen »

The bizarre attempt to separate the curse from its outward manifestation as the “sign of the curse” is really odd to me and it does not work. It is a distinction without a difference. The best explanation of the curse is that it is a xenophobic fantasy in which those who felt they were more righteous and more attractive denigrated those who were different as part of the fiction of their “superior” identity. This explanation can apply to the book’s 19th century author or to ancient Nephites, as the case may be.
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Re: New LDS manual teaches racism. Mistake?

Post by kairos »

DrW wrote:
I have a question wrote:Here’s the bottom line. Either the Church holds to the doctrine that a black skin was, as is taught within The Book Of Mormon and this new printed manual, a sign of disfavour in the eyes of God - in which case stop playing spin doctor and own it. Or it doesn’t. If the Church doesn’t hold to that doctrine, then it needs to remove all such teaching from it’s manuals and scriptures. It cannot be half pregnant on this one.

And let’s be clear, what is contained within the scriptures trumps any essays, manuals, leader statements etc. Until it’s removed from the Book Of Mormon the Church Of Jesus Christ Of Latter-day Saints teaches that people with a black skin have been cursed because of disfavour in the eyes of God - it says so right there in 2nd Nephi.

This situation is a perfect example of the ubiquitous Mormon double bind - damned if you do and damned if you don't. It's just one of the myriad of problems now arising from the original sin of Mormonism.

According to the Church News, about 150 million copies of the Book of Mormon have been printed over time and the book has been published in 90 languages. The truth claim that dark skin is God's curse appears in all of them. Like the LDS Church, the Book of Mormon itself has many problems, some so fundamental that embarrassing changes had to be made to the "most correct of any book on this earth."

Whether the Mopologists care to acknowledge the fact or not, the more recent of these changes were forced by the science based publications of Dr. Simon Southerton (who could not have come up with a more appropriate and impactful title than The Sacred Curse for his latest book). Southerton and many others, highly qualified and respected in their fields, have had the knowledge and the courage to publicly and pointedly demonstrate, using hard data, that the Book of Mormon is an egregious fraud.

While a re-printing of the 2020 lesson manuals to remove the offending language, as suggested by IHAQ, would be a well founded if expensive decision, it would also be a Band Aid for the problem at best.

There are still millions of copies of the original source of the racist curse language in the homes of the Mormon faithful as well as the woke and the critics. Missionaries are still mandated to peddle the defective product.

Given that the entire edifice of the LDS Church is based on false and readily falsifiable truth claims, and given its leaders continue to lie as they deny, dodge and deflect the facts, even demanding that they not be criticized even when wrong, what hope can there really be for its long term future?

Looks as though the current leadership may have decided that shedding the old, re-branding and attempting to morph into a more mainstream Christian denomination is the path forward for the CoJCoLDS.

Is discouraging the use of the word 'Mormon' as a nickname for the Church and its people intended as the first step toward eventual de-emphasis or even de-canonization of the Book of Mormon? Will the new Church of Jesus Christ eventually become a larger more and wealthy version of the RLDS Community of Christ?


Amen and Amen Dr W!!

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Re: New LDS manual teaches racism. Mistake?

Post by kairos »

In a 1970's master's thesis from BYU, the author I. Tan Easily offered that the Lord provide the Lamanites with the technology to develop salon tanning beds - once the beds were manufactured, the Lord declared that every Lamanite get a Groupon for ten sessions-proceeds going to the Nephites, and that after the ten sessions each Lamanite would don a "I am cursed'
sticker to his or her outer garment. once the thousands of Lamanites were cursed, the tanning beds were taken back in to heaven (actually the white angels had a war over who would get them next). So in the thesis Ms Easily concluded :1)that the curse was only for first generation Lamanites or until the tans faded; 2) the Lamanites actually looked better-sleek oiled tanned bodies, so the curse was ineffective and 3) angels in heaven may not have wings but they sure have great tans!

Don't look for this thesis- it was confiscated by the ghost committee in an effort to clarify what the middle english word for "curse" is and how it relates to dark, black and tanned.

MS Easily also recommended further study on whether the curse could more easily have been implemented by God if God simply required a genital piercing of the Lamanites which certainly would have kept the Nephites out of the Lamanite tents at night.

Respectfully submitted so truth may talk and Bul*#it walk!

k

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Re: New LDS manual teaches racism. Mistake?

Post by Dr Moore »

I wonder what would constitute a recallable offense in printed church manuals.

What if an offensive image had been surreptitiously embedded in one of the picture frames? Would the church recall for that reason?
What if a sneaky writer embedded a nasty vertical text message on the left hand margin, like Schwarzenegger did as governor? Would the church recall for that reason?

Then why not for an offensive piece of disavowed racial doctrine, which has the potential to do far more harm than either of the above.

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