Red and Yellow, Black and White, they are Precious in His sight. Not according to Joseph Smith.
This excerpt is from "Mormonism, Shadow or Reality", Pages 96A and 96B
I can't take any credit for this, but it's such a good summary of how the LDS Church is only a product of its current age:
- The Book of Mormon originally written in the 1800's, conformed to the prevailing culture at the time.
- And now the LDS Church and the Book of Mormon has conformed to the prevailing culture at this time
Let me be clear, this old teaching is repugnant and disgusting. The LDS Church claims that it has received a new divine revelation and that people with dark skin are acceptable to God and can attain the priesthood. So does that mean that Joseph Smith had it wrong before? He's supposed to be God's mouthpiece, the Book of Mormon is supposed to be the most correct revelation that God has ever given man. Why the changes then?
CHANGE IN BOOK OF MORMON TO COVER UP EMBARRASSING TEACHING ABOUT SKIN COLOUR.
In the beginning, the Mormon Church taught that a dark skin is a sign of God's displeasure. This teaching comes directly Joseph Smith's Book of Mormon. The Book of Mormon teaches that about 600 B.C. a prophet named Lehi brought his family to America. Those who were righteous (the Nephites) had a white skin, but those who rebelled against God (the Lamanites) were cursed with a dark skin. The Lamanites eventually destroyed the Nephites; therefore, the Indians living today are referred to as Lamanites. The following verses found in the Book of Mormon and explain the curse on the Lamanites:
"And it came to pass that I beheld, after they had dwindled in unbelief, they became a dark, and loathsome, and a filthy people, full of idleness and all manner of abominations." (Book of Mormon, 1 Nephi 12:23)
"And he had caused the cursing to come upon them, yea, even a sore cursing because of their iniquity ... wherefore, as they were white, and exceeding 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 5:21)
"And the skins of the Lamanites were dark, according to the mark which was set upon their fathers, which was a curse n them because of their transgression ... " (Alma 3:6)
The Book of Mormon stated that when the Lamanites repented of their sins "their curse was taken from them, and their skin became white like unto the Nephites" (3 Nephi 2:15). The Book of Mormon also promised that in the last days the Lamanites-i.e., the Indians-will repent and "many generations shall not pass away among them, save they shall be a white and delightsome people." (2 Nephi 30:6) One of the most embarrassing things about the doctrine concerning the Indians is that they are not becoming "white" as the Book of Mormon prophesied. The anti-Mormon writer Gorgon H. Fraser claims that the "skin colour" of the Indians converted to Mormonism "has not altered in the least because their adherence to the Mormon doctrines" (What Does The Book of Mormon Teach, p. 46) .
It now appears that the Mormon leaders are trying to dissolve" the doctrine that the Indians will turn white after turning to Mormonism. The Church has just released its 1981 printing of the "triple combination" which contains the Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants and Pearl of Great Price. This new publication contains a very important change. Previous editions of the Book of Mormon had said that in the last days the Indians "shall be a white and delightsome people." (2 Nephi 30:6) In the new edition this has been altered to read that the Indians "shall be a pure and delightsome people."
The official Church magazine, The Ensign, tries to justify this change by stating:
"Most students of latter-day scriptures are aware that from the very first printing typographical errors have crept into the Book of Mormon .... "The Prophet himself attempted to correct some of these kinds of errors, but his many duties prevented him from completing the project; and even so, some of his corrections seem to have disappeared again in later editions. For example, the 1830 and 1837 printings of the Book of Mormon contained a prophecy that the Lamanites would one day become "a white and delightsome people" (2 Ne. 30:6). In the 1840 printing, which the Prophet edited, this passage was changed to read 'a pure and delightsome people,' but for some reason later printings reverted to the original wording." (The Ensign, October 1981, pages 17-18)
It should be noted that Church leaders are unable to produce any documentary evidence to support their claim that this was merely a correction by Joseph Smith of a typographical error. There were originally two handwritten manuscripts for the Book of Mormon-a copy which was written by Joseph Smith's scribes as he dictated it and a second "amended" copy that was prepared for the printer. Unfortunately, most of the first manuscript was destroyed through water damage. The Mormon scholar Stanley R. Larson informs us that this manuscript "does not exist for this section of the text ... " ("A Study of Some Textual Variations in the Book of Mormon Comparing the Original and the Printer's Manuscripts and the 1830, the 1837, and the 1840 Editions," Unpublished M.A. thesis, Brigham Young University, April 1974, page 283)
Fortunately, the second handwritten manuscript-the copy given to the printer to use to set the type for the first printing of the Book of Mormon-was preserved by Book of Mormon witness David Whitmer and is still in excellent shape. This handwritten manuscript does contain the portion printed as 2 Nephi 30:6. It uses the word "white," and therefore does not support the claim that Joseph Smith was only correcting a typographical error (see Restoration Scriptures, by Richard P. Howard, Independence, Missouri, 1969, p. 49). It should be remembered that both the first two editions of the Book of Mormon (1830 and 1837) used the word "white." It is especially significant that the 1837 edition retained this reading because the preface to this edition stated that "the whole has been carefully re examined and compared with the original manuscripts, by elder Joseph Smith, Jr., the translator of the book of Mormon, assisted by the present printer, brother 0. Cowdery, .. ," (Book of Mormon, 1837 Edition, Preface, as cited in The Ensign, September 1976, page 79)Besides all the evidence from the original Book of Mormon manuscript and the first two printed editions, there is another passage in the Book of Mormon which makes it very clear that Joseph Smith believed that the Lamanites' skins could be turned "white" through repentance:
"And their curse was taken from them, and their skin became white like unto the Nephites;" (3 Nephi 2:15)
We have taken this quotation directly from the new "triple combination" to show that the Mormon Church is still bound by the belief that righteousness affects skin colour even though Church leaders have changed the verse appearing as 2 Nephi 30:6.
The fact that Joseph Smith believed that the Indians' skins would actually become white seems to also be verified by a revelation he gave in 1831. In the updated material for the chapter on polygamy we discuss this revelation and show that it was suppressed until 1974 when we printed it in Mormonism Like Watergate? Since that time the Mormon Church Historian Leonard J. Arrington and his assistant Davis Bitton published the important portion of it in their book, The Mormon Experience, page 195:
"'For it is my will, that in time, ye should take unto you wives of the Lamanites and Nephites that their posterity may become white, delightsome and just, for even now their females are more virtuous than the gentiles."'
Like Joseph Smith, President Brigham Young taught that the Indians would "become 'a white and delightsome people'" (Journal of Discourses, Vol. 2, p. 14:11. Mormon leaders from Joseph Smith to the present time have continually used the Book of Mormon to prove that the Indians would become white if they turned to Mormonism.
Spencer W. Kimball, who became the twelfth President of the Church on December 30, 1973 strongly endorsed that teaching. In the LDS General Conference, October 1960, Mr. Kimball stated:
"I saw a striking contrast in the progress of the Indian people today ... they are fast becoming a white and delightsome people .... For years they have been growing delightsome, and they are now becoming white and delightsome, as they were promised .... The children in the home placement program in Utah are often lighter than their brothers and sisters in the hogans on the reservation.
"At one meeting a father and mother and their sixteen-year-old daughter were present, the little member girl---sixteen -sitting between the dark father and mother, and it was evident she was several shades lighter than her parents-on the same reservation, in the same hogan, subject to the same sun and wind and weather .... These young members of the Church are changing to whiteness and to delightsomeness. One white elder jokingly said that he and his companion were donating blood regularly to the hospital in the hope that the process might be accelerated." (Improvement Era, December 1960, pp. 922-23)
The reader will notice that Spencer W. Kimball used the Book of Mormon phrase, "a white and delightsome people." This. of course, is the very phrase that has now been changed to read, "a pure and delightsome people." After using the word "white" to prove his point in a conference address, one would think that President Kimball would he opposed to changing it to "pure." The Ensign, however, seems to indicate that he approved of the change. It states that "every correction" in the triple combination "was approved by the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve, and the Brethren felt good about each of them" (October 1981, p. 18). We find it very difficult to find any evidence of inspiration in the whole matter.
In any event, the Church now wants to suppress the Book of Mormon's teaching concerning skin color. Ron Barker, of the Associated Press, questioned Church spokesman Jerry P. Cahill concerning the matter:
"Asked whether church members should assume that faithful Mormon Indians would one day become light complexioned, Cahill said they should assume that they will become a 'pure and delightsome people."' (Salt Lake Tribune, September 30, 1981)
We can probably expect more revisions in Mormon books to cover up this embarrassing doctrine. Apostle Bruce R. McConkie, who has recently had to revise his book Mormon Doctrine to conform to the change on the anti-black doctrine, will undoubtedly have to revise his section on the "LAMANITE CURSE." On pages 428-29 of the 1979 printing of Mormon Doctrine we find the following:
" ... a twofold curse came upon the Lamanites: ...'they became a dark, and loathsome, and a filthy people, full of idleness and all manner of abominations.' (1 Ne. 12:23.) So that they 'might not be enticing' unto the Nephites, 'the Lord God did cause a skin of blackness to come upon them.' (2 Ne. 5:20-25; Alma 3:14-16.) ...
"During periods of great righteousness, when groups of Lamanites accepted the gospel and turned to the Lord, the curse was removed from them .... the curse was removed from a group of Lamanite converts and they became white like the Nephites. (3 Ne. 2:15-16.) ...
"When the gospel is taken to the Lamanites in our day and they come to a knowledge of Christ and of their fathers, the 'scales of darkness' shall fall from their eyes; 'and many generations shall not pass away among them, save they shall be a white and delightsome people.' (2 Ne. 30:6.) Finally, before the judgement bar of God, all who have been righteous, Lamanites and Nephites alike, will be free from the curse of spiritual death and the skin of darkness. (Jae. 3:5-9)"
We believe, of course, that Apostle McConkie has the right to alter his book in any way he desires. His changes concerning the anti-black doctrine are certainly a step in the right direction. When it comes to the Book of Mormon, however, I wonder how the Mormon leaders can justify altering words that were supposed to have been translated by the power of God.