A New Mopologetic Gambit? Smoot Tries Out Racial Politics

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honorentheos
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Re: A New Mopologetic Gambit? Smoot Tries Out Racial Politic

Post by honorentheos »

Symmachus wrote:
Thu Feb 28, 2019 9:41 am
There seems to me an easy out for the historicists: "Nephites were racists...and look what happened to them!"
I don't think they can.

The deeply racist message of the Book of Mormon isn't at bed rock with the claim dark skin is the sign of a curse from God. If so, one could still arguably claim this was an artifact of pre-Columbian beliefs held by literal Nephites. This is just a narrative expression of the racist beliefs in the Book of Mormon borrowing from the Bible.

The actual bed rock racist message of the Book of Mormon is that there was no way the Native Americans and their ancestors could be responsible for the advanced civilizations evident to the early European migrants. Native Americans were savages, dirty, wild and uncivilized. This is irretrievably embedded in the period of European occupation.

This was a belief that Joseph Smith didn't invent but was wide spread in the 19th century. The Book of Mormon mainstream and keeps fresh a belief from that era that has otherwise died out both for being factually wrong and for being abhorrent to reasonable people.
Last edited by honorentheos on Sun Jul 26, 2020 8:30 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: A New Mopologetic Gambit? Smoot Tries Out Racial Politics

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For example:
honorentheos wrote:
Mon Jun 22, 2020 1:41 am
I do think there is a bit more to Peterson's attempt to portray the issue as one where scientific discovery influences how literally one takes a particular narrative. I believe he is deflecting from the historical 19th Century context that informed the creation of the Book of Mormon. That being the widely held view the Native Americans of the time were too course, too uncivilized to have been responsible themselves or descended from the same people who were responsible for the mound building and other evidence the Americas were home to advanced civilizations.

The Book of Mormon is based entirely on this premise - that an extinct civilized race is the only explanation for this because the American Indians were savages.

Consider this poem from 1832 titled The Prairie by one of the great poets of the era that demonstrates this was a part of the zeitgeist around the composition of the Book of Mormon:

https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/ ... e-prairies

Excerpt:

As o’er the verdant waste I guide my steed,
Among the high rank grass that sweeps his sides
The hollow beating of his footsteps seems
A sacrilegious sound. I think of those
Upon whose rest he tramples. Are they here—
The dead of other days?—and did the dust
Of these fair solitudes once stir with life
And burn with passion? Let the mighty mounds
That overlook the rivers, or that rise
In the dim forest crowded with old oaks,
Answer. A race, that long has passed away,
Built them;—a disciplined and populous race
Heaped, with long toil, the earth, while yet the Greek
Was hewing the Pentelicus to forms
Of symmetry, and rearing on its rock
The glittering Parthenon. These ample fields
Nourished their harvest, here their herds were fed,
When haply by their stalls the bison lowed,
And bowed his maned shoulder to the yoke.
All day this desert murmured with their toils,
Till twilight blushed, and lovers walked, and wooed
In a forgotten language, and old tunes,
From instruments of unremembered form,
Gave the soft winds a voice. The red man came—
The roaming hunter tribes, warlike and fierce,
And the mound-builders vanished from the earth.
The solitude of centuries untold
Has settled where they dwelt. The prairie-wolf
Hunts in their meadows, and his fresh-dug den
Yawns by my path. The gopher mines the ground
Where stood their swarming cities. All is gone;
All—save the piles of earth that hold their bones,
The platforms where they worshipped unknown gods,
The barriers which they builded from the soil
To keep the foe at bay—till o’er the walls
The wild beleaguerers broke, and, one by one,
The strongholds of the plain were forced, and heaped
With corpses. The brown vultures of the wood
Flocked to those vast uncovered sepulchres,
And sat unscared and silent at their feast.
Haply some solitary fugitive,
Lurking in marsh and forest, till the sense
Of desolation and of fear became
Bitterer than death, yielded himself to die.
Man’s better nature triumphed then. Kind words
Welcomed and soothed him; the rude conquerors
Seated the captive with their chiefs; he chose
A bride among their maidens, and at length
Seemed to forget—yet ne’er forgot—the wife
Of his first love, and her sweet little ones,
Butchered, amid their shrieks, with all his race.


The highly regarded poet, William Bryant, had nothing to do with Mormonism. That was simply what people assumed at the time. The natives were savages, so there must have been a race they rendered extinct. The Book of Mormon is part of the tradition that viewed this extinct race as members of the lost tribes of Israel. But otherwise it was not inventing so much as offering up an answer to a question people in the time and place of it's authorship would have understood it was answering. Much like it seems very interested in answering other questions of the time relying on pseudepigraphic authority.

The Book of Mormon has ensured these outdated, racist beliefs found a way to survive into the 21st Century. His claim that this is akin to an anthropologist who fails to view native religious stories as fact in an etic rather than emic manner as of a kind is revealing. If he honestly believes that, he does not understand the underlying issue. If he knows he was misrepresenting the roots of what makes the Book of Mormon a relic of past racist beliefs that allows them to persist long since they should have been sent to the bin of history, then, well.
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honorentheos
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Re: A New Mopologetic Gambit? Smoot Tries Out Racial Politic

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Doctor Scratch wrote:
Fri Mar 01, 2019 10:06 pm
Gadianton wrote:
even if this is the case, who cares? Have the Heartland folks gotten the beat down for dissing FARMS? A relative of mine recently used the Heartland theory on me and had clearly been warned about FARMS by his source. It seems like the Heartland operation has been openly calling FARMS on their apostasy for years and the Brethren are okay with it.
It seems that, rather like the Mopologists themselves, the Brethren don't mind watching a blood feud amongst the faithful.
Like Chairman Mao and the red guard factions during the cultural revolution, so long as the factions argue over who is the group more accurately reflecting Joe Zedong thought, it's to their benefit so why not let it go on?
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Re: A New Mopologetic Gambit? Smoot Tries Out Racial Politics

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John Hamer wrote:
Sun Jul 26, 2020 1:10 am
Is Elder Larry Echo Hawk a racist? No.

Is Stephen Smoot a racist? If he can say "the Book of Mormon has zero historicity," then I don't know. If he can't and instead believes the Book of Mormon is historical or if he believes it has a kernel of historicity, then by definition, Stephen Smoot is a racist (and, I will say again, he is guilty of ongoing genocide).
He is perpetuating a system that puts puts people he claims are Lamanites on an unequal basis because of the color of their skin (or now shirts) And a system that justified, in literature and from the pulpit, their genocide and continued displacement.

Smoot can change the definition of a racist around to suit his needs. But it doesn’t change the fact that he is still participating in a racist system. I see him as a racist.

I don’t believe Echohawk is racist, yes he has a belief system tied up in Mormonism. He also has a documented history of fighting against the racism that those systems, including Mormonism, engender.

I recently sat in the same room and later chatted with him. We were at a presentation on violence against Native American women (which is committed predominantly by non-native men). To put it into perspective my wife and daughters have a 4x lifetime risk over a white woman of being murdered. That is double of what BLM protests are about.

Smoot is a brown nosing tool, At least that is what a BYU professor who knows him said to me.

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Re: A New Mopologetic Gambit? Smoot Tries Out Racial Politics

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To put it another way, if you were talking with someone who expressed racial prejudice against Native Americans based on skin color today there is no automatic reason to assume they are Mormon. But if you are talking to someone today who believes the archeological evidence for great Western Hemisphere pre-Columbian civilizations is likely from a people imported from the Old World that was left behind by this extinct fair skinned people who have disappeared? My immediate assumption would be they are somehow tied to Mormonism. Absent Mormonism it's difficult to see how someone today ended up with this archaic belief that died out among the general population generations ago.

I think folks like Smoot react so negatively to this point because most Mormon apologetics doesn't just provide cover for it. Rather, it's the very foundation of Book of Mormon apologetics. How does one explain the Book of Mormon as history without asserting the evidence we see in the archeological record is really evidence for Nephites and vice versa? Mayan civilization doesn't map onto Nephite culture without pulling at and perverting Mayans culture, for example. But it also demands that the Mayans were the ones perverting the correct godly way of doing things. Mayan blood rituals can only be a hit for Smith if the Book of Mormon is accurately describing a god-sanctioned religious practice that the late period Mayans appropriated and turned into pagan ritual. Mayan architecture and cities? Nephite architecture and cities.

Apologetics for a historical Book of Mormon is the very business of perpetuating 19th century racism.
Last edited by honorentheos on Sun Jul 26, 2020 10:32 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: A New Mopologetic Gambit? Smoot Tries Out Racial Politics

Post by Physics Guy »

Huh. An interesting point.

As far as I can tell it wouldn't necessarily have to be a telling point, in principle. In principle a modern Mormon apologist could let the Mayans have their own cities and temples and obsidian weapons and little wheeled toys (but not full-scale wagons) and load-carrying deer, while also insisting that the Nephites had a parallel culture of steel swords and horses and chariots (for certain values of "steel swords" and "horses" and "chariots") that was later lost without trace in those pesky old steel-rusting, bone-sinking jungles and swamps.

But that would be too close to postulating an invisible elephant even for Mormon apologists. And anyway it doesn't take a FARMS or a Maxwell Institute to mount defenses like that. A serious academic defense of the faith that can be worth its little slice of the hundred billion has to come up with evidence, or at any rate evidence theater.

And so whatever might seem to be possible in principle, in practice the Mormon apologists have to seize on anything remotely comparable to Old World civilization that might turn up in the New World, and ascribe it to Nephites. All the actual archaeological evidence is not Nephite but Mayan, so the only way to create Nephite evidence is to say that Mayan achievements must in fact have been Nephite.

The Mormon apologists might not want to perpetuate 19th century racism on principle. They're just driven to do that in practice, because of the absence of any real Nephite evidence.
Last edited by Physics Guy on Sun Jul 26, 2020 10:36 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: A New Mopologetic Gambit? Smoot Tries Out Racial Politics

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Physics Guy wrote:
Sun Jul 26, 2020 10:31 am
The Mormon apologists might not want to perpetuate 19th century racism on principle. They're just driven to do that in practice, because of the absence of any real Nephite evidence.
Exactly. They bristle at it being called racist because they don't think that what they are saying is racist. But as long as they insist on the Book of Mormon being historical, the facts of the narrative of the Book of Mormon perpetuate racism. Defending it's historicity defends it's racist worldview.
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Re: A New Mopologetic Gambit? Smoot Tries Out Racial Politics

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If you reread the Dale's paper on the supposed hits for the Book of Mormon representing a Mayan context, you'll see the extent of appropriation this effort requires.
The world is always full of the sound of waves..but who knows the heart of the sea, a hundred feet down? Who knows it's depth?
~ Eiji Yoshikawa

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