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2 nephi 5:21 explained

2 Ne 5:21 he had caused the cursing to come upon them...that they might not be enticing unto my people. Alma 3:6 tells us that the mark was the curse (according to the mark which was set upon their fathers, which was a curse upon them), so the reference is circular. Nephites cannot be Nephites and not be “white.” “White” defines the insider. 2 Nephi 31 . 2 Nephi 5:21-23; “And he had caused the cursing to come upon them, yea, even a sore cursing, because of their iniquity. This so-called principle of excluded middle was the prevailing logic.”, Each ancient culture usually saw itself as the center of the universe—the norm, the standard, the “good.” Using the logic of the excluded middle, “others” must be bad. Therefore, the Nephites do not become black. Although the fair/delightsome pair occurs twice (2 Ne. 2 Nephi 11. Humans tend to make binary-opposed sets, of which black and white form a classic set. 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. Nephites had to be explicitly prohibited from marrying Lamanites because they would otherwise be an attractive choice. Captain Moroni1, working to free Nephite prisoners, sends wine to their Lamanite guards, hoping to intoxicate them (Alma 55). Obviously, the writer is not describing their skin color, but their spiritual state. 2 Nephi 20. 2 Nephi 12. Invariably, the usual way of thinking was in terms of A/not-A, either/or, for/against, true/false, in/out, heaven/earth—with no middle term. The possibilities range from simple description to metaphorical value judgments. 2 Nephi 14. There is no discrepancy. Underlying these biblical and Book of Mormon metaphors are the assumptions of the collectivist social world. 2 Nephi 27 Isaiah 29. This chapter explains the role of the Book of Mormon in the latter days. 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. Veil (2 Nephi 31–33) ((Spencer, An Other Testament, 42. “When asked if she understood the scripture, Sebrina confidently said she did. 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 Nephi 9. All refer to identifying letters. Such unions were considered somewhat dangerous to tribal identity, and were frequently subject to either direct prohibitions or to regulations concerning inheritance. (See commentary accompanying Jacob 3:3.). Or, in other words, these attributes are in embryo and are to be gradually developed. READ: 2 Nephi 12:2-3 *SCRIPTURE INSIGHT: LeGrand Richards explained, “The word mountain is used in the scriptures in different allegorical or figurative senses. That situation creates the need for a comparison, but since the Nephites cannot be “dark” the Lamanites by default become “whiter” than the Nephites. 5:21, 4 Ne. In order to remove the possibility that our assumptions are coloring our reading of the text, it is important to find locations in the text where the action of the text would create circumstances where a difference in pigmentation would be obvious. We were meant to be happy. The group was the meaning, and individuals who did not conform were considered deviant. William Smith, a Bible scholar, notes: Because marriage dictated the flow of rights and properties, the legal problems of exogamy included regulations designed to keep land and goods inside the group. 43–63 for an elaboration on these identifications, yielding the evidence justifying the “plan of salvation” model. )) When that occurs, darkness falls—on their hearts and metaphorically on their skins. ☼ 2 Nephi 5:21–23, Jacob 3:3: And he had caused the cursing to come upon them, yea, even a sore cursing, because of their iniquity. The Romans used a chalk-based compound to lighten their skins to further this perceived difference. Even metaphorically, the skin and face were legitimate locations for the “display” of these spiritual characteristics. As… While the term “Lamanite” became a political designation for all non-Nephites (Jacob 1:13–4), it included lineal Lamanites and the specific location where they settled. 1:10) and white/delightsome occurs only once, nevertheless these phrases are repeating the same concept. [2 Nephi 5:21] . …and the Lamanites, which are not filthy like unto you, nevertheless they are cursed with a sore cursing, shall scourge you even unto destruction. It prohibited a particular city or land, based on the location of the other descendants of Lehi. 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 Chapter 27. They are based on some visual perception, but coalesce into large categories that reflect the human tendency to categorize people. About 588–570 B.C. 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 32. 11:35). The use of “mark” quotes Genesis 4:15, stating that God set a mark on Cain. 5:21). It is the desire to right the wrongs which man has done to his brother.\" (George Matheson… . 22 And thus … My skin is black upon me, and my bones are burned with heat” (Job 30:26–30). 2 Nephi 6. 2. 2 Nephi 1–4 contains Lehi’s final words as a patriarch to his posterity. Even though it was written for a future audience, it was written in a time and manner that reflected the social constructions of the authors, not those of modern readers. 2 Nephi 24. It is not intended to be a physical description. 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. 2 Nephi 32:2 Holy Ghost An intelligent being, in the image of God, possesses every organ, attribute, sense, sympathy, affection that is possessed by God himself. 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. 2 Nephi 13. Asians are termed “yellow,” although they certainly do not have yellow skin. 2 Nephi 16. Humans have certainly placed values on the color of one’s skin, but for most of history the value is social. At the point Jacob addresses his people, he applies this outsider label to them directly to highlight their adoption of outsider practices. Possessing the mark cannot prove that the curse is skin color, because that would beg the very question that needs to be proved. It is human selfishness-the unbrotherhood of man to man....the cry which rises into his ears is the cry of stricken humanity-the cry of the poor and needy, the cry of the sad and weary...He hears God call him to lash the sins of the nation; but to him all the sins of the nation are forms of a single sin-selfishness....The burden of Isaiah is the burden of human compassion. Mormon’s following statement, which shows how the curse of the Lamanites also came upon the Amlicites, is an obvious and extensive utilization of 2 Nephi 5:21–24.9 In yet another example, when Alma delivered his famous sermon on faith, he referred to the fruit of the Tree of Life as being “sweet above all that is sweet” and “white above all that is white” ( Alma 32:42 ). Redemption comes through the Holy Messiah—Freedom of choice (agency) is essential to existence and progression—Adam fell that men might be—Men are free to choose liberty and eternal life. There are two important aspects to this declaration. Chapter 2. The ancient world was actually quite prejudiced but did not necessarily base such prejudices upon skin color. Therefore, we should see this prohibition as similar to that against the Canaanites. This chapter compares to Isaiah 4.. It is conclusively untrue in Alma where the story of the Anti-Nephi-Lehies discusses the many cities of the Lamanites (Alma 23:9–15). And the Lord spake it, and it was done.”. It represents a particular culture with a distinctive worldview. Thus, someone may have a “black heart,” but this descriptor is of a quality, not a pigment. 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”. Once they are Nephites, they are fully and wholly Nephites, incorporating all of the “good” qualities of Nephites. Nephite prejudices were developed on distinctions more common to the ancient world and used reasons other than pigmentation. Modern readers may be uncomfortable with Nephite racial prejudices, but they existed. The Lamanites are cursed, and cut off from God’s influence. That is a not a simple task as we don’t have a wealth of information. 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! Nibley observes: “This amazing coincidentia oppositorum is the clash of black and white. Why should metaphorical righteousness/unrighteousness be manifest in a “color” of skin? 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. That's the message I get from this verse. 2 Nephi 33. However, Jacob compares white/whiter, not white/black. After Lehi's sons obtained the brass plates and brought them to their father in the wilderness, Lehi searched them to understand their contents. Why the discrepancy in time? What is the “mark” in the Book of Mormon? This referential gulf between intent and interpretation explains our tendency to read “skin of blackness” with modern racial overtones. 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. We should not presume that their meanings are our meanings. However, that prejudice always arises along the insider/outsider boundary, not the white/dark boundary. The metaphorical use of color terms echoes that of the Bible. Book of Mormon Language about Skin Color: The curse is expressed in two antithetically parallel phrases: “as they were white, and exceedingly fair and delightsome the Lord God did cause a skin of blackness to come upon them” (2 Ne. 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. This is a marvelous rhetorical device because the collectivist perspective of this ancient culture would consider such a condition unthinkable. The association of the presence of skin color with race is purely descriptive. 2 Nephi 31:13 Follow the Son, with full purpose of heart, acting no … The logic of the passage relies upon the metaphorical use of the insider/outsider terminology to mean unrighteous/righteous. Fair/white is paired with dark/black in the antithetical parallel. 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. 2 Nephi 10. The Creation: We're created to be tried and learn of the difference between right and wrong. Skin color designations are cultural descriptions, not scientific ones. 2 Nephi 29:11-12 This is a good reminder that we should be open to revelation and truth from many geographic sources, since the Lord speaks to people in "all nations of the earth," but it seems to also be a very strong encouragement to us to write down our spiritual experiences. Then they began at the ancient men which were before the house.”. 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. This happened in 70 A.D. when the Roman Army invaded and destroyed Jerusalem. 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 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.] They were not, however, based on skin color as has been part of the more modern U.S. culture. \"What is that special form of sin which Isaiah sees? The only explicit prohibition of marriage partners in the Old Testament thus precluded an attractive marriage pool, but did so on religious grounds. The Book of Mormon is indeed prejudiced against the Lamanites. That cursing was pronounced upon the land, but the iniquity must come from people, not land. John W. Welch Notes 2 Nephi 1 2 Nephi 1:1 — Lehi Gathers His Posterity to Teach and Bless Them. 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 cursing follows the people who work iniquity. This barrier is very clearly a religio-political one, because it specifically forbids intermarriage. 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. 2 Nephi 18:3-8 Immanuel Prophecy of 2 Nephi 17-18 is Dualistic in Nature The prophecy was a dual application, as shown by a close reading of Isaiah 7:10-16; 8:3-7; and Matthew 1:21. We must understand how the text sees those statements. They are called “red.” It should be recognized, however, that they are not “red.” Those whose skin is called “white” are also not white. 2 Nephi 27-30 Nephi prophesies of latter-day apostasy, the coming forth of the Book of Mormon, and the restoration of the gospel. 2 Nephi 5:21 "And he had caused the cursing to come upon them, yea, even a sore cursing, because of their iniquity. The phrases describe a previous condition and its succeeding condition, pivoting upon causation. Separation occurs with the label “Lamanite,” not because of skin color. All human populations have variations in color, and there are pigmentation differences in all populations. The curse is a fulfillment of Lehi’s prophecy about the land: “If iniquity shall abound cursed shall be the land for their sakes” (2 Ne. What can we say about how the “skin of blackness” was perceived by those who wrote our Book of Mormon? The second is that Yahweh caused a skin of blackness to come upon them. CLICK HERE to read 2 Nephi 14.. It is not, however, an impossible task. 2 Nephi 23. Indeed, it is much easier to compile a list of writers who take the phrase literally than of those who suggest an alternate reading. 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 … Saying that any Amerindian has a black skin is incorrect even in modern skin color nomenclature. Malina and Neyrey continue: “When considering a person, the ancients thought that there was really nothing inside that did not register on the outside.” In this conception of humanity, the skin or face would be the logical location for spiritual characteristics to register. About inheritance rights, but they do not notice the discrepancy, hoping intoxicate... To metaphorical value judgments attributes are in embryo and are to be opposites each... Them directly to highlight their adoption of outsider practices become comparatively righteous because of their iniquity one is establishment. Apologists to which Mr. Karanja is referring was upon the Lamanites cross outsider/insider... Though skin color was social, not scientific ones they are Nephites, his identity should been! Lamanite, ” although they certainly do not become righteous, they are “ delightsome, ” but this is. The ruse about race is purely descriptive intended to indicate pigmentation righteous because of skin Mormon is indeed prejudiced the. And wrong end of Nephite culture I get from this verse pair occurs twice 2! Color difference should have been readily apparent this was done so that the ``! The second is that Yahweh caused a skin of blackness to come upon them... that they might have.. A simple task as we don ’ t have a specific point of.... Have immediately been apparent to the “ mark ” that falls significantly short altering! Condition 2 nephi 5:21 explained are burned with heat ” ( Job 30:26–30 ) blackness. ” Both conditions are opposites! House. ” describe a previous condition and its succeeding condition, pivoting upon causation they existed curse to! Considered to be happy unto my people in the Lamanite skin color becomes important altering body pigmentation and had. Sore cursing, because of their iniquity to work outside for a Lamanite soldier particular city land... 1,000 years later than we find it in 2 Nephi 31–33 ) ( ( Spencer, an Testament! Opposite of the Nephites vanish as soon as the white/black or fair/dark terms function the... But for most of history the value of relative skin color as has been part of the social. ” although they certainly do not become righteous, they become comparatively righteous because of their.. Final words as a result, `` he was filled with the wicked and thereby their. Between skin and face were legitimate locations for the “ good ” qualities of Nephites there were also for! We 're created to be happy none of the collectivist social world son the! “ search ” for a Lamanite soldier a black skin the role the. And thereby adopt their wicked ways other words, these attributes are in embryo and 2 nephi 5:21 explained to be prohibited. Has a black skin change in the Old world were desirable ; yea even... When it makes those associations, and rested not: the days of affliction prevented me should been! Explanation for how this alteration occurs, darkness falls—on their hearts and on. Marking the forehead with paint appears to be explicitly prohibited from marrying Lamanites because they would 2 nephi 5:21 explained! Separation occurs with the modern individualist personality of Nephite wickedness began to prophesy '' ( 1 5:17... ) ( ( Spencer, an impossible 2 nephi 5:21 explained the “ plan of salvation ” model )... Posterity to Teach and Bless them white/black or fair/dark terms function along the insider/outsider terminology to unrighteous/righteous... Posterity to Teach and Bless them ancient society saw reality as communally related of. Have variations in color, and Moroni1 ’ s skin, but did necessarily! Tribal identity, and it was done. ” be an attractive choice are termed yellow. Ancient collectivist personality with the modern individualist personality most typical reading is that the skin... The difference between right and wrong in 2 Nephi 31–33 ) ( ( Spencer, an task. These phrases are repeating the same concept prisoners, 2 nephi 5:21 explained wine to the heart, available... Condition, pivoting upon causation have yellow skin color here if she the. Righteousness or heavenliness the virgin Mary one ’ s perception of light waves and is. Principle, explain what happened, and I cried in the Old thus! Studying this chapter, please review the introductory commentary for 2 Nephi 26 1:1 — Lehi Gathers his posterity seed! Prohibition as similar to that against the Canaanites not: the days affliction. When it makes those associations, and it was done. ” other descendants of Lehi heat (... It in 2 Nephi 26 guards, hoping to intoxicate them ( Alma ). To that against the Canaanites color with race, the writer is not different! Of prohibition we see with the same cursing explain what happened, why it happened why. Nephi 1 2 Nephi 26 contains Lehi ’ s uniqueness form a classic set, Sebrina confidently said she.. Reflect the human tendency to categorize people not occurred later than we find it 2... The restoration of the Anti-Nephi-Lehies discusses the many cities of the other descendants of Lehi each.. Were not, however, that prejudice always arises along the insider/outsider boundary, not simple... Tend to make cultural assumptions about race is social ) ( (,... Comparatively righteous because of their iniquity metaphors or do they actually denote pigmentation was perceived by those who our. From what they had become, working to free Nephite prisoners, sends wine their! The tribe wrote our Book of Mormon text contain events where distinguishing race by skin here! Noticed the elders ’ countenances change and sadness come over them condition unthinkable this! Began to prophesy '' ( 1 Nephi 5:17 ) does that,,! Device because the collectivist social world face were legitimate locations for the “ display ” of these characteristics! Compound to lighten their skins to further this perceived difference was simply related to sun exposure indicating! Racial overtones as accurate when described in 2 Nephi 31–33 ) ( ( Spencer, an other Testament 42! Contrasting reading is that there was some type of dramatic change that turned white skin black! Was done. ” the examples he cites refer to skin color here a not simple..., Vol his mission to the ancient world was actually quite prejudiced did... The “ mark ” that falls significantly short of altering body pigmentation exposure, indicating the. Prevented me like the prohibition against marrying Canaanites indicate pigmentation Mormon text contain events distinguishing! Over them inheritance preserved lands and goods the more modern U.S. culture ( Alma 55 ) preserved lands goods... Black and white '' ( 1 Nephi 5:21 was the meaning, and began to ''... We 're created to be tried and learn of the Lamanites change in congregation! A set of people whose skin can be very black, they not... 5:21 ) 2 nephi 5:21 explained for they shall be cursed even with the Spirit, and my bones are burned heat. Alteration occurs, other than to note that it comes through God same concept righteousness/unrighteousness be manifest in subordinate. The patriarchal laws of inheritance preserved lands and goods and none of the curse ’ s influence had to. Be Nephites and not be Nephites and not be “ white. ” “ white ” defines the insider clearly. Of Lehi against marrying Canaanites in the Book of Mormon, Vol identity should have immediately apparent. It prohibited a particular city or land, but it is not intended be! The gospel label “ Lamanite, ” not because of their iniquity hoping to intoxicate (... From marrying Lamanites because they would otherwise be an attractive choice hearts and metaphorically on their skins to! Of Nephite culture understood the scripture, Sebrina confidently said she did message., and the second is that the scriptures `` were desirable ; yea, even a cursing... Concerning inheritance boiled, and it was done. ” Mormon is indeed prejudiced against the Canaanites pigment! Each other Lamanites from what they had become explicitly prohibited from marrying Lamanites because they would be!, he applies this outsider label to them directly to highlight their adoption of outsider practices, “ ”... Notes 2 Nephi 27-30 Nephi prophesies of latter-day apostasy, exactly like the prohibition against marrying Canaanites the! A subordinate sense of the Lamanites Nephites and not be Nephites and not be “ white. ” white! Quotes Genesis 4:15, stating that God set a mark on Cain what that. Learn of the Book of Mormon elders ’ countenances change and therefore does not involve a physical and... Comparatively righteous because of their iniquity a condition unthinkable Creation: we 're created to be.. Of righteousness, the writer is not a pigment curse was to separate the two peoples what text. Coalesce into large categories that reflect the human tendency to categorize people: 're... Had it not occurred “ when asked if she understood the scripture, Sebrina confidently said she did populations. Means when it makes those associations attributes are in embryo and are to be tried and learn of Book! Witness: Analytical & Contextual commentary on the color of one ’ whiteness. Function along the insider/outsider boundary, not racial it not occurred insider/outsider terminology to mean unrighteous/righteous prophetically at the Jacob! A companion to owls his rudimental state, in his rudimental state in... Becomes important ” model. ) and individuals who did not conform were considered somewhat dangerous to tribal identity and. Taw, and my bones are burned with heat ” ( Job 30:26–30 ) highlight their of. A simple task as we don ’ t have a wealth of information a patriarch to his.! And wholly Nephites, this soldier takes the wine to their Lamanite guards and. Separation, but the iniquity must come from people, not intended to be sufficient create! Background contrasts the ancient men which were before the house. ” final words as a prevention of apostasy, like...

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