2 Nephi 31:4-7 If the Lamb of God, he being holy, should have need to be baptized by water, to fulfil all righteousness, how much more need have we, being unholy, to be baptized, yea, even by water! 43–63 for an elaboration on these identifications, yielding the evidence justifying the “plan of salvation” model. )) 2 Nephi 6:11 The phrases “driven to and fro ” is also in Job 13:25 and, “come to the knowledge of” is the same in 2 Timothy 3:7. What is the “mark” in the Book of Mormon? According to this model, the Book of Mormon would predictably follow a model of a collective, excluded-middle, conception of others as “bad,” opposed to themselves as “good.” If it did not, it would not accurately represent the culture that produced it. 2. 2 Nephi 12. Because they have become Nephites, they therefore “became white like unto the Nephites.” This shift in skin of blackness to skin became white on the basis of a change from outsider to insider explains why the first appearance of the idea of the curse on the Lamanites has a different inception than this mention in 2 Nephi 5:21. In 1 Nephi 12:23, Nephi prophesies: “And I beheld, after they had dwindled in unbelief they became a dark, and loathsome, and a filthy people.” This is a reference to the Lamanites who survive the wars that destroy the Nephites (1 Ne. 25 Adam fell that men might be; and men are, that they might have joy. 2 Nephi 13. The logic of the passage relies upon the metaphorical use of the insider/outsider terminology to mean unrighteous/righteous. For example, Nephi utilized Isaiah 3:15 (= 2 Nephi 13:15) and Isaiah 5:21 (= 2 Nephi 15:21) in his commentary on the pride of latter-day Gentiles in 2 Nephi 26:20. Fair/white is paired with dark/black in the antithetical parallel. That situation creates the need for a comparison, but since the Nephites cannot be “dark” the Lamanites by default become “whiter” than the Nephites. “Fair and delightsome” contains no reference to either “skin” or “white.” It would be a mistake, however, to assume that their absence means they are not part of the oppositional pairing since they do appear in other contexts. That's the message I get from this verse. . In order to understand the purposes of the Lord in this regard, it is useful to examine a similar situation as found in the Old … (See commentary accompanying Jacob 3:3.). Reading the Text or Reading into the Text: When 2 Nephi 5:21 says, “The Lord God did cause a skin of blackness to come upon them,” the phrase has been interpreted quite literally as a change in skin pigmentation. 2 Nephi 6. Second Witness: Analytical & Contextual Commentary on the Book of Mormon, Vol. It echoes the promises and prophecies of Jacob in Genesis 49 to his posterity. Israelites also shared this widespread prejudice against “others,” as Malina and Neyrey point out: “First-century members of the house of Israel felt concerning all other peoples the way the Greeks felt about barbarians.”. Asians are termed “yellow,” although they certainly do not have yellow skin. The use of that skin color to make cultural assumptions about race is social. CLICK HERE to read 2 Nephi 14.. The opposite of “delightsome” is “loathsome.” The term “loathsome is paired with “dark” in 1 Nephi 12:23 and is the reason for the cursing in 2 Nephi 5:22. For behold, they had hardened their hearts against him, that they had become like unto a flint; wherefore, as they were white, and exceedingly fair and delightsome, that they might not be enticing unto my people the Lord God did cause a skin of blackness to come upon them. For behold, they had hardened their hearts against him, that they had become like unto a flint; wherefore, as they were white, and exceedingly fair and delightsome, that they might not be enticing unto my people the Lord God did cause a skin of blackness to come upon them. 11:35). Here is the verse from the LDS 2 Nephi 5:21 And he had caused the cursing to come upon them, yea, even a sore cursing, because of their iniquity. 2 Nephi 9. 5:21, 4 Ne. Racism in the Book of Mormon: The Book of Mormon is, in fact, racist, although not at all in the usual sense of the term. Nibley stands on the metaphorical side of the issue, though he still suggests that exposure to the sun could create the “blackness.” With this much disagreement on a single phrase in the text, how can we know how it should be read? 2 The people (the house of Israel) that walked in darkness (spiritual darkness -- apostasy and captivity) have seen a great light (that is, they will see the Savior and hear his teachings); they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined (or upon them will the light shine). 2 Nephi 14. A representative of this school of thought is Milton R. Hunter of the Council of the Seventy: For Elder Hunter, the change in the skin color is absolutely physical and remains a distinction throughout Book of Mormon history. 2 Nephi 5. The cursing follows the people who work iniquity. First, the greater fulfillment of the prophecy centers in Jesus Christ, who was Immanuel, the son of the virgin Mary. Thus, Nephi can claim that the Lamanites are cursed because they fall under that foundational prophecy of the land which included both a blessing and a curse, according to righteousness. A contrasting reading is that the changed skin color does not involve a physical change in the pigmentation. We should not presume that their meanings are our meanings. Even metaphorically, the skin and face were legitimate locations for the “display” of these spiritual characteristics. Even the reversal, becoming white, is a metaphor: “And some of them of understanding shall fall, to try them, and to purge, and to make them white, even to the time of the end: because it is yet for a time appointed” (Dan. The early division of the Old World peoples into two mutually exclusive marriage groups would have caused a difficulty for the marriage patterns inherited from the Old World, where the preferred marriage partner was someone within the same tribe (Num. As set forth in 2 Nephi 2 and 2 Nephi 9, discuss the three fundamental doctrines of the gospel, the creation, the fall, and the atonement. The Book of Mormon is indeed prejudiced against the Lamanites. Therefore, the Nephites do not become black. The patriarchal laws of inheritance preserved lands and goods. 2 Nephi 25. Therefore, we should see this prohibition as similar to that against the Canaanites. This is a marvelous rhetorical device because the collectivist perspective of this ancient culture would consider such a condition unthinkable. 2 Nephi 2. It would be seen as a prevention of apostasy, exactly like the prohibition against marrying Canaanites in the Old World. Douglas Campbell, a professor of computer science at Brigham Young University, examined the textual uses of “white” in the Book of Mormon and concludes that the term is used metaphorically for purity and/or cleanliness. The use of “mark” quotes Genesis 4:15, stating that God set a mark on Cain. 2 Nephi 5:21-23; “And he had caused the cursing to come upon them, yea, even a sore cursing, because of their iniquity. It represents a particular culture with a distinctive worldview. This happened in 70 A.D. when the Roman Army invaded and destroyed Jerusalem. It is as accurate when described in 2 Nephi as it is prophetically at the end of Nephite culture. One is this establishment of rules concerning potential marriage partners, and the second is the nature of the skin of blackness. For example, 2 Nephi 5:21 still says: “And he had caused the cursing to come upon them, yea, even a sore cursing, because of their iniquity. However, in the context of the Old Testament mark on the forehead we find: The mark is pigmentation if and only if the curse is pigmentation. 2 Nephi 8. The Canaanites were not only the people who lived in the land before Israel conquered it, but they were also a people with a similar religion. Rodney Turner, LDS professor of religion, attributes this pigmentation change to God’s direct and miraculous action: Along with the assumption that the skin pigmentation was darkened as part of the curse, there were many who also believed that the conversion of dark-skinned “Lamanites” to the gospel would lead to a physically whiter skin. The condition of darkness comes with dwindling in unbelief. 2 Nephi 22. For behold, they had hardened their hearts against him, that they had become like unto a flint; wherefore, as they were white, and exceedingly fair and delightsome, that they might not be enticing unto my people the Lord God did cause a skin of blackness to come upon … The curse’s purpose is to set a social barrier between the two peoples. 2 Nephi 1–5. Exogamy (marriage outside of the group) and the Lamanite Curse: There is not only a geographic division between the brothers and their families, but a moral and religious chasm as well. The ancient world was actually quite prejudiced but did not necessarily base such prejudices upon skin color. 2 Nephi 5:21 reads: And he had caused the cursing to come upon [the Lamanites], yea, even a sore cursing, because of their iniquity. Reinforcing the insider/outsider // white/black concept is Jacob 3:8, comparing the Nephites unfavorably to the Lamanites: “Unless ye shall repent of your sins… their skins will be whiter than yours, when ye shall be brought with them before the throne of God.” This passage associates skin with color, in this case, white. He explained her reaction and experience with that information: “During the lesson they read a passage that the elders weren’t sure she understood. The group was the meaning, and individuals who did not conform were considered deviant. 2 Nephi 24. Note how Jacob uses the “filthy” label that accompanies “dark” in 1 Nephi 12:23 Mormon 5:15: “But, wo, wo, unto you that are not pure in heart, that are filthy this day before God; for except ye repent the land is cursed for your sakes; and the Lamanites, which are not filthy like unto you, nevertheless they are cursed with a sore cursing, shall scourge you even unto destruction” (Jacob 3:3). Obviously, the writer is not describing their skin color, but their spiritual state. Who gave these great doctrinal discourses? 2 Nephi 16. There is no discrepancy. That is a not a simple task as we don’t have a wealth of information. The second is that Yahweh caused a skin of blackness to come upon them. Such unions were considered somewhat dangerous to tribal identity, and were frequently subject to either direct prohibitions or to regulations concerning inheritance. 2 Nephi 27-30 Nephi prophesies of latter-day apostasy, the coming forth of the Book of Mormon, and the restoration of the gospel. 1:10) and white/delightsome occurs only once, nevertheless these phrases are repeating the same concept. It is not intended to be a physical description. In Elizabethan England and in earlier Roman culture, the dark skin was the sign of a common laborer, and the lighter, whiter skin the sign of nobility. As to each principle, explain what happened, why it happened, and what would have resulted had it not occurred. Lehi concluded that the scriptures "were desirable; yea, even of great worth" (1 Nephi 5:21). She noticed the elders’ countenances change and sadness come over them. Yet as in the case with other animate beings, the shape of the individual human more than adequately reveals the type of personality he or she can be and explains his or her ‘nature.’ For humans, too, anatomical form determines behavior and reveals the nature of the human being in question.”. Armand L. Mauss, professor emeritus of sociology at Washington State University, discusses this very issue: There are many ways in which color may be associated with a person. 2 For I, Nephi, have not taught them many things concerning the manner of the Jews; ... [Nephi has explained Isaiah in reference to the geography using his knowledge of the land surrounding Jerusalem.] 2 Nephi 11. After Lehi's sons obtained the brass plates and brought them to their father in the wilderness, Lehi searched them to understand their contents. Hence, both from proximity and from familiarity of customs, they might make attractive marriage partners except that their religion was not Yahweh’s. That cursing was pronounced upon the land, but the iniquity must come from people, not land. The covenant prophecies which Joseph of Egypt uttered appear in 2 Nephi 3:5-21 and in outline are as follows: Joseph of Egypt's seed would not be completely destroyed, but would be delivered through another of his descendants, Joseph Smith (verse 7-15) by means of the Book of Mormon, which would manifest the Messiah and his covenants with their forefathers, as well as this Israelite branches's true … 2 Nephi 18. The second part of this verse indicates that, after the curse, another sign was placed upon the Lamanites that allowed for a separation between the Lamanites and Nephites. 2 Nephi Chapter 27. The purpose of the curse was to separate the two peoples. Since the mark/curse can be removed by simply traversing that boundary, I conclude that it is unlikely that the mark or curse had anything to do with pigmentation. Descriptions of Lamanites repeat the same stock phrases over time: Each quotation describes “how the Lamanites are.” While there is at least a possibility that the description was true when Nephi began this traditional stereotyping of the Lamanites, it was untrue by the time of Enos if not earlier. In normal reference, the Lamanites are “dark” and “filthy.” However, that “filthiness” is obviously a moral quality. Two things happen to the Lamanites as a result of their “harden[ing] their hearts against him.” The first is that they are cursed. 2 Nephi 29. Indeed, it is much easier to compile a list of writers who take the phrase literally than of those who suggest an alternate reading. [2 Nephi 5:21] . Saying that any Amerindian has a black skin is incorrect even in modern skin color nomenclature. There is only one clear example. For behold, they had hardened their hearts against him, that they had become like unto a flint; wherefore as they were white, and exceedingly fair and delightsome, that they might not be enticing unto my people the Lord God did cause a skin of blackness to come upon them. 2 Nephi 6:10 Jacob says that because of what the Jews did to Christ – they would be afflicted, scattered, smitten, and hated. 2 Nephi 28. It is not significantly different from ascribing emotion to the heart, which is an organ having no biological relevance to emotions at all. In contrast, ancient society saw reality as communally related. However, that prejudice always arises along the insider/outsider boundary, not the white/dark boundary. Lamentations 4:7–8 (Revised English Version), ascribes metaphorical color to capture the before/after conditions of the Babylonian captivity: Obviously no pigmentation change occurred as the “white” faces of the princes became “blacker than soot.” Here are two other examples: The metaphor can also use “skin”: “When I looked for good, then evil came unto me: and when I waited for light, there came darkness. Why the discrepancy in time? My skin is black upon me, and my bones are burned with heat” (Job 30:26–30). This comparison of white/whiteness also occurs in Nephi’s description of the tree: “I looked and beheld a tree; and it was like unto the tree which my father had seen; and the beauty thereof was far beyond, yea, exceeding of all beauty; and the whiteness thereof did exceed the whiteness of the driven snow” (1 Ne. One of the ways we can avoid being deceived by Satan can be found in 2 Nephi. The Lamanites do not become righteous, they become comparatively righteous because of Nephite wickedness. 2 Nephi 27 Isaiah 29. And he had caused the cursing to come upon them, yea, even a sore cursing, because of their iniquity. 2 Nephi 10. This chapter explains the role of the Book of Mormon in the latter days. Its very point is the episode’s uniqueness. Of significance is the fact that Moroni had to “search” for a Lamanite soldier. Before studying this chapter, please review the introductory commentary for 2 Nephi 26. 2 Nephi 31:13 Follow the Son, with full purpose of heart, acting no … For example, 3 Nephi 2:14–15 reads: “And it came to pass that those Lamanites who had united with the Nephites were numbered among the Nephites; And their curse was taken from them, and their skin became white like unto the Nephites.”. He Had Caused the Cursing to Come Upon Them that They Might Not Be Enticing Unto My People, “The Lord God Did Cause a Skin of Blackness to Come Upon Them”, “Lord God Did Cause a Skin of Blackness to Come Upon Them”, “They Shall Be Loathsome Unto Thy People”, Cursed Shall Be the Seed of Him That Mixeth with Their the Lamanite Seed, “Nevertheless They Are Cursed with a Sore Cursing”, “The Lamanites shall Scourge You Even Unto Destruction”. As Bruce Malina (professor of theology at Creighton University) and Richard Rohrbaugh (professor of religious studies at Lewis and Clark College) point out: The problem of social context is exacerbated when a reader from one culture reads a text written in and for a different culture, and when the text includes none of the necessary explanations: What we need to know is what that phrase means in the context of the people and times in which it was written. About 588–570 B.C. The metaphorical use of color terms echoes that of the Bible. Nephites had to be explicitly prohibited from marrying Lamanites because they would otherwise be an attractive choice. The two “colors” are considered to be opposites of each other. We must understand how the text sees those statements. Because they would not accept such a gift from a Nephite, Moroni finds a Lamanite in his own troops, a former guard of the Lamanite king. What can we say about how the “skin of blackness” was perceived by those who wrote our Book of Mormon? At the point Jacob addresses his people, he applies this outsider label to them directly to highlight their adoption of outsider practices. Thus, someone may have a “black heart,” but this descriptor is of a quality, not a pigment. The association of the presence of skin color with race is purely descriptive. They are based on some visual perception, but coalesce into large categories that reflect the human tendency to categorize people. 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