Cursing vs. Marking in the Book of Mormon

Written by Brother Josh Gehly on Wednesday, October 01, 2014. Posted in Scripture Study

Cursing vs. Marking in the Book of Mormon

PLEASE NOTE: We are trying something different with this article. It presents an interpretation of a portion of scripture that is the opinion of the author and does not necessarily represent the view of The Church of Jesus Christ. It is intended to promote thought and perhaps discussion on this topic. Please consider this before leaving any comments. – Gospel Blog Ministry Review Team

I've always loved the Bible and Book of Mormon but have felt uncomfortable when reading scripture that says, "...after they had dwindled in unbelief they became a dark, and loathsome, and a filthy people, full of idleness and all manner of abominations." (See 1 Nephi 12:22-23; see also Alma 3:6, 2 Nephi 5:21-22, Jacob 3:8, 3 Nephi 2:15-16, among many others.)

These verses in the Book of Mormon certainly make it sound like God changed the DNA of a complete group of people when they sinned against Him. Then, once converted, the DNA of that group changed back: light-skinned saints to dark-sinned sinners and then dark-skinned sinners to light-skinned saints. Many people hold this belief.

I personally don't believe the skin color of any people genetically changed in the Book of Mormon. Skin color does not change today due to sin, and God is the same yesterday, today, and forever. We have beautiful saints across America and the entire world of varying ethnic groups and skin colors. I might burn bright red after 15 minutes in the sun while my wife gets very tan very quickly. Those characteristics reflect our diverse genetic makeup, not our love for God.

Consider the following portion of scripture from Alma 3:

"And the skins of the Lamanites were dark, according to the mark which was set upon their fathers, which was a curse upon them because of their transgression...therefore they were cursed; and God set a mark upon them...whosoever did mingle his seed with that of the Lamanites did bring the same curse upon his seed...whosoever suffered himself to be led away by the Lamanites was called under that head, and there was a mark set upon him."

Wow! Very clearly this explains that the Lamanites were cursed, and God set a mark upon them. The curse was given because of their sins. Anyone joining the Lamanites would fall into the same sins and receive a "mark." Now, let's look just a little deeper.

"...the Amlicites were distinguished from the Nephites, for they had marked themselves with red in their foreheads after the manner of the Lamanites ... for they also had a mark set upon them; yea, they set the mark upon themselves, yea, even a mark of red upon their foreheads. Thus, the word of God is fulfilled ... I will set a mark upon him that mingleth his seed with thy brethren, that they may be cursed also" (emphasis added).

The above verses indicate that the Amlicites were cursed and received a "mark," but the "mark" was something they placed upon themselves, just as the Lamanites did. To a Nephite, the outward sign of the "mark" was a confirmation of God's curse. Remember, the Book of Mormon is written from a Nephite point of view.

Did skin color genetically change darker? I don't think it did. The Lamanites probably covered their skin with a covering that the Nephites associated as "filthy." Remember, in Alma 55 Captain Moroni sends one Lamanite and a group of Nephites covertly to a Lamanite war camp. No Lamanite even suspected they were Nephites. If Nephites and Lamanites had natural differences in their genetic skin color, the spies could never have succeeded.

When the curse is lifted, God promises "their scales of darkness shall begin to fall from their eyes" (2 Nephi 30). When Christ appears to the Nephites at the Temple Bountiful, the people appear whiter than could be physically described. I believe the contrast between black and white, light and dark is spiritual (purity), not physical (skin color).

Remember in Matthew 6, "the eye is the lamp of the body; so then if your eye is clear, your whole body will be full of light ... if then the light that is in you is darkness, how great is that darkness!"

From this, I conclude that the only physical change for the Lamanites was a self-inflicted covering (mark), which the Nephites recognized in their culture and belief system as a fulfillment of God's curse.

This article has undergone ministry review and approval. Please see note at top of today's post.

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Comments (18)

  • David Nolfi

    David Nolfi

    01 October 2014 at 07:50 |
    The blog is indeed an opinion, thought provoking, debatable and I would welcome discussion.

    reply

  • Jonathan Scolaro

    Jonathan Scolaro

    01 October 2014 at 09:14 |
    Bro. Josh, great job on tackling a controversial topic. Kudos to the Gospel Bog for throwing this out there for discussion. That said, I have to disagree with the stance taken by the writer. (Love you, Josh!)

    The writer's argument that the Nephite spies were not noticeable to the Lamanites soldiers (Alma 55) could easily be explained by the fact that many Anti-Nephi-Lehies (dark skinned) had defected to the Nephites, and vice-versa, so that at that point in history, there was already a mixture of dark and light skinned people on both the "good guys" and "bad guys" teams.

    Secondly, in 3Nephi 2:15-16, when it says that "their curse was taken from them, and their skin became white like unto the Nephites", I find it hard to imagine that this indicates that they stopped applying a "self-inflicted covering". Especially since this is not mentioned in the case of the "Anti-Nephi-Lehis" or the "2000 strippling warriors". You would have thought that long ago they would have stopped applying said covering, and that this would have been mentioned previously in the Book of Mormon.

    Lastly, there's the mere fact that the Indigenous people of North and South America tend to have darker skin than their European counterparts. (Though, who can tell how much Asian or Pacific Islander migration and intermarriage may have taken place over the years. So, this is really beyond our scope of understanding.)

    At any rate, both the Bible and Book of Mormon are replete with "Politically Incorrect" statements regarding race, gender, etc... This said, I would be curious to here from a brother or sister of darker complexion what their take on this scripture is and if they find it offensive or not.

    Lastly, I am willing to concede that the Book of Mormon really gives us very limited insight in terms of natural things (what on earth are cureloms and cumoms anyways??? (see Ether 9:19)) and really focuses on the spiritual. That said, perhaps these types of questions regarding skin color or animals in the Book of Mormon will be revealed to us at a later date, and for the time being we should focus on the spiritual aspects. (Spreading the Gospel of Christ.)

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  • Josh

    Josh

    01 October 2014 at 10:50 |
    Jonathan,

    Great comments my brother and I value your opinion and contribution. If we were at a roundtable discussion I would have a more detailed reply, but think it may be best for me to sit back and let others contribute to the discussion one way or the other.

    I would just say: I am white and my ancestors were white pagans for thousands of years until 'converted' (by the sword in most cases). Their skin color never fluctuated due to sin -- and my ancestors had plenty of sin to go around. Also, the Nephites came from ancient Israel who certainly did not have 'white' skin. We have to in some respect look at this from a Nephite perspective.

    If we take the comments in the Bible and Book of Mormon as a cultural perspective (put our feet in the shoes of the writer), I think it provides a lot of answers. For example, the Israelites had some harsh words for other cultures and separated themselves with a marking of circumcision representing their covenant to the Lord.
    In reverse, the Nephites saw the red dot of the Amlicites and fulfillment of the Lord's curse upon them.

    Anyways, just some of my thoughts and comments. Would value any and all contributions one way or the other. While we may not have the same interpretation or come to the same conclusion, I believe the discussion is valuable and worth having. Agree, kudos to the blog for allowing this dialog to happen.

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    • Jonathan Scolaro

      Jonathan Scolaro

      01 October 2014 at 20:58 |
      Valid point, Josh. You've definitely given me food for thought. And regardless of who's ultimately right or wrong, I think the key takeaway from your argument is that skin color is not an indicator by any means of an individual's personal righteousness or lack thereof. Who knows exactly why God chose to create different so many varying ethnicities? But what is clear is that God has worked through men and women of all races and nationalities. From Paul's (a Jew) ministry to the Romans, or Bro. John Penn's (African American) ministry to the Italian Americans in the early 20th century, it's all the hand of God. Apache, Navajo, Filipino, Chinese, Latino...I personally love the diversity in our church.

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  • Anonymous

    Anonymous

    01 October 2014 at 15:28 |
    2 Nephi 5

    [21] And he had caused the cursing to come upon them, yea, even a sore cursing, because of their iniquity. 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. Their DNA did indeed change. To conclude otherwise is erroneous and illogical.

    However, there will be no skins of blackness nor skins of darkness on anybody anywhere in the future 1000 year Peaceful Reign upon the earth.

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  • Anonymous

    Anonymous

    01 October 2014 at 15:44 |
    Zech.14

    [21] Yea, every pot in Jerusalem and in Judah shall be holiness unto the LORD of hosts: and all they that sacrifice shall come and take of them, and seethe therein: and in that day there shall be no more the Canaanite [black skins or dark skins] in the house of the LORD of hosts [The Church of Jesus Christ of the Peaceful Reign].

    reply

  • Anonymous

    Anonymous

    02 October 2014 at 01:33 |
    I believe their skins became dark.....thus their DNA would have had to have changed.

    reply

  • Ted Kolek

    Ted Kolek

    05 June 2015 at 18:04 |
    I was just reading The Book of Daniel in The Old Testament. I came across the following two verses:

    Daniel 11:35 "And some of them of understanding shall fall, to try them, and to purge, and to make them white, ..."

    Daniel 12:10 "Many shall be purified, and made white, and tried; ..."

    There are more than a few references in The Bible that are expressed in terms of white and black. It is obvious they do not mean to imply a literal and physical change of skin color, but refer to purity/impurity, cleanness/uncleanness, spiritual light/darkness, good/bad, righteousness/wickedness, etc.

    If a member of The Church had come across the above verses in The Book of Mormon, rather than in The Bible, it is a good bet that they would automatically presume it has to do with physical skin color. We (LDS) have been conditioned to think that way in regard to The Book of Mormon. I don't think the Lamanites had any physical skin color change come upon them. I think it's more likely that we have been, from the get-go, under a false understanding regarding the curse upon the Lamanites.

    We believe that there are those of other religions laboring under false traditional beliefs. But just because we might have more light in certain matters, let's not ever think that we are above passing-on our own false notions from generation to generation. And I think this notion of the Lamanites literally changing physical skin shades is a false notion.

    Precept upon precept; line upon line; here a little, there a little. Maybe it's time to reconsider this issue and to quit passing-on to others that the literal skin of the Lamanites was altered. It doesn't change our doctrine.

    Here are a couple of references from The Bible regarding blackness and skin:

    Lamentations 5:10: "Our skin was black like an oven because of the terrible famine."

    Job 30:30: "My skin is black upon me, and my bones are burned with heat."

    Do you read those literally as a physical skin color change?

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    • Jonathan

      Jonathan

      06 June 2015 at 19:43 |
      Ted,

      Thanks so much for your thoughtful take on this subject. I was not aware of these "white" skin color references in the Bible! The scriptures you referenced in Daniel appear to confirm the notion that "whiteness" refers to spiritual purity, rather than physical appearance when mentioned in the scriptures. It definitely enhances my reading of the Book of Mormon scriptures that Josh originally mentioned.

      This said, however, the scriptures you referenced regarding "black skin" in Lamentations and Job I feel do not pertain to this discussion. The term "black" in these contexts appears to be a descriptor for diseased, feverish skin, not skin color. It may just be a KJV translation issue. For instance, check out the NIV translation of these scriptures:

      Lamentations 5:10 "Our skin is hot as an oven, feverish from hunger."

      Job 30:30 "My skin grows black and peels; my body burns with fever."

      Anyways, thanks again for sharing the great Daniel references. I will archive them somewhere for later reference!

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      • Ted Kolek

        Ted Kolek

        07 June 2015 at 00:56 |
        Hello.

        Well, first off, thanks.

        Actually the Biblical verses that I quoted in regard to black skin in Job and in Lamentations belong very much to this discussion. They demonstrate very clearly that the reference to black skin should not be taken literally.

        As far as newer Bible versions, some lean more to the side of dynamic equivalence (thought for thought), and do not reflect the actual Hebrew, Greek, or Aramaic words. The KJV leans more in the direction of a literal translation.

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  • David Nolfi

    David Nolfi

    06 June 2015 at 07:31 |
    Ted
    I rejoice in the simplicity within the Book of Mormon. I read the following:
    II Nephi 5: 20 Wherefore, the word of the Lord was fulfilled which he spake unto me, saying that: Inasmuch as they will not hearken unto thy words they shall be cut off from the presence of the Lord. And behold, they were cut off from his presence.

    21 And he had caused the cursing to come upon them, yea, even a sore cursing, because of their iniquity. 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.

    22 And thus saith the Lord God: I will cause that they shall be loathsome unto thy people, save they shall repent of their iniquities.

    23 And cursed shall be the seed of him that mixeth with their seed; for they shall be cursed even with the same cursing. And the Lord spake it, and it was done.

    24 And because of their cursing which was upon them they did become an idle people, full of mischief and subtlety, and did seek in the wilderness for beasts of prey.

    I read in simple term that the skin color was blackened. If you have difficulty understanding the description of the curse the LORD placed upon the Lamanites I must conclude that you disbelieve the simplicity of what is written. Certainly it's your choice; however, I will stand what is plainly written in the WORD OF GOD.

    David

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    • Ted Kolek

      Ted Kolek

      07 June 2015 at 00:13 |
      Thank you for the response, David.

      Are you sure that it isn't you that might be having difficulty understanding the Lamanite curse?

      You are right, the simplicity is there; it is in the plainness of idiomatic expression; albeit, definitely more plain to the understanding of anyone within the Nephite culture. The concept of race is a comparatively new invention (1400's?). It gained in popularity with the work of Johann Friedrich Blumenbach in the late 1700's. One of the factors that was used to give definition to race was skin pigmentation. It was Blumenbach that presented a color scheme to classify people by race—black, white, yellow, red, brown—long after Biblical and Nephite times.

      If the Nephites were referring to the actual color of their physical skin, they wouldn't describe themselves as white. I mean, they weren't Norwegian, right? (By the way, Norwegians aren't truly white either, are they?)

      The phrase "a skin of blackness" could just as easily have been stated as "a veil of darkness." We are reading the text through the filter of our present culture, where we have designated people in racial terms of physical skin color, and we are putting a literalness to an idiom of a culture that ended sixteen hundred years ago.

      I am reminded of a story that I once heard about an American that was speaking through an interpreter to a Chinese audience. He told the audience that he was tickled to death to see them. The interpreter was not familiar with the expression "tickled to death," and so he told the Chinese audience, "This man says that he scratches himself till he dies at the sight of you."

      I know that this is a major paradigm shift for most LDS, but honestly, brother, sometimes simplicity isn't as simple as it first appears to be, especially when we are reading through culturally tinted glasses.

      “I have tried for a number of years to get the minds of the Saints prepared to receive the things of God; but we frequently see some of them, after suffering all they have for the work of God, will fly to pieces like glass as soon as anything comes that is contrary to their traditions." — Joseph Smith

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  • Josh

    Josh

    08 June 2015 at 08:47 |
    Ted,

    For the record, I think your comments are VERY relevant for the discussion and agree with many of my points above. Thank you for the contributions!

    I absolutely agree with you - the curse has nothing to do with skin color based upon my personal interpretation of Alma 3.

    IF we are willing to concede that, to a Nephite, a Lamanite putting a red dot on their forehead was fulfillment of the Lord's curse -- AND (thanks to your contribution) we see Biblical support of black and white regarding skin referring to affects from the sun, spiritual purity/impurity among other things - THEN it is reasonable to conclude that the Nephites and Lamanites had the exact same skin color.

    Take, for example, the Nephite name which some scholars have suggested has an Egyptian etymology meaning 'goodly' or 'fair'. Then evaluate Mormon chapter 6. We see more and more the cultural impact of their identity instead of a physical difference in skin tone.

    Why would Mormon or Moroni need to identify themselves as a pure descendent of Nephi? How could Nephites show up in Lamanite camps without any suspicion?

    We read a subtle underlining throughout the text that this was 2 people separated by distinct religious ideologies, cultural, and government differences. The boarders of Zarahemla were not based upon segregation of skin tone, but complete differences in their cultures and religion.

    And, yes, the Book of Mormon being written by a Nephite point of view speaks derogatory towards the 'bad guy' Lamanites. In spiritual context, we would say rightfully so...

    Ted - thanks again for your comments. I couldn't agree more with you here.

    David, I value your contribution as well - although we disagree. I already referenced those scriptures you are quoting in your replies and distinctly addressed them. Do you have a response to the actual interpretation drawn from the Word of God as I propose? Ted brings up some great comments in support of the article as well.

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    • Ted Kolek

      Ted Kolek

      09 June 2015 at 00:56 |
      Hello, Josh.

      I have never had a more sincere belief in The Book of Mormon than I now have. God speaks to the heart, mind, and spirit throughout its pages. Its validity can be felt by all who will approach it with an open mind and true desire to know.

      I should tell you that I am not a member of this church. I stumbled onto a link to this website via a Google search. Nevertheless, we share a common conviction that The Book of Mormon is Scripture.

      On this particular subject (Nephites/Lamanites and skin color), I think my eyes have been given more light, and I rejoice at a better understanding. It becomes increasingly more clear to me that I, like most, had been misunderstanding the references that pertain to this subject. I would just shrug my shoulders and say, “Well, if God saw fit to change the physical skin color of the Lamanites, then that’s what He did.” But, as I said, it seems to me that I am being given more light; and with that light, it is becoming more clear to me that this popular belief of a physical skin color change coming upon the Lamanites is erroneous.

      You make valid points, and yes, we are in agreement.

      The Scriptures are replete with idiomatic expressions. As an example, we read of pondering something in the heart, and having a hardness of heart. Surely, no one attaches a literalness to the belief that the physical heart is the organ with which we process our thoughts, nor that the heart can literally become hard and yet still pump blood.

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  • David Nolfi

    David Nolfi

    08 June 2015 at 10:24 |
    Dear Believers
    I think it strange that we take the simplicity of the WORD OF GOD and steer to such an academic solution eluding to ‘God would not punish or mark skin color’ for identification purposes. Possibly this is too extreme for the Lord? Keep in mind to willfully reject Jesus Christ and His Gospel brings dire consequences!

    III Nephi 2: “13 And it came to pass that before this thirteenth year had passed away the Nephites were threatened with utter destruction because of this war, which had become exceedingly sore.
    14 And it came to pass that those Lamanites who had united with the Nephites were numbered among the Nephites;
    15 And their curse was taken from them, and their skin became white like unto the Nephites;
    16 And their young men and their daughters became exceedingly fair, and they were numbered among the Nephites, and were called Nephites. And thus ended the thirteenth year.”

    Again the WORD OF GOD speaks in simplicity to the curse of skin color; here the lifting of the curse of skin color. I would expect that you will delve into academia for deeper explanation to suit your understanding. We respectfully disagree AND the truth of the darkening of skin is evidenced in the existing remnant of Joseph who today have a darker skin; BUT, we will conveniently blame the sun. However, there are other aspect of the curse that cannot be denied.

    Consider: III Nephi 15: “20 And verily, I say unto you again that the other tribes hath the Father separated from them; and it is because of their iniquity that they know not of them.
    21 And verily I say unto you, that ye are they of whom I said: Other sheep I have which are not of this fold; them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd.”

    The scripture clearly indicates that Jesus visited the other tribes to establish “one fold, and one shepherd”. Sadly all the tribes of Israel fell into wickedness and rejected the Son of God! The Gospel was removed from them and from the face of the earth; hence, the falling away. And inasmuch as there is a remnant of the remaining lost tribes [not lost from the Father] and they rejected Jesus Christ and His Gospel would the Lord curse them for rejecting? Would the Lord curse the skin color; it being one aspect of the curse? Allow me, YES.

    There is a clear and simple consequence for rejecting Jesus Christ and His Gospel: for the Nephites total annihilation, for the Jews their riches are their curse, for the Gentiles upon this Promised Land – they shall be swept off with fully ripened in iniquity. Any remaining remnant of the House of Israel was also cursed because they also rejected Jesus Christ and His Gospel. If not then the Gospel never fell away!

    It appears that since we have the knowledge of the remnant of Joseph contained in the Book of Mormon AND we love them AND we seek diligently to bring their record and their inheritance to them we write our opinions to soften the curse and displeasure of God upon them for their willful rejection of Jesus Christ and His Gospel. IV Nephi 38 “And it came to pass that they who rejected the gospel were called Lamanites, and Lemuelites, and Ishmaelites; and they did not dwindle in unbelief, but they did wilfully rebel against the gospel of Christ; and they did teach their children that they should not believe, even as their fathers, from the beginning, did dwindle.”

    I must conclude that if a people, Gentile or House of Israel, willfully rejects Jesus Christ and His Gospel once they have received it and enjoyed the blessings of it – If they reject it they are either cursed or annihilated.

    Love & Prayers
    David Nolfi

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  • Ted Kolek

    Ted Kolek

    09 June 2015 at 07:49 |
    2Nephi 26:33: “. . . black and white, bond and free, male and female; and he remembereth the heathen; and all are alike unto God, both Jew and Gentile.”

    Sometimes the above verse is used as a demonstration of God’s love for all, regardless of race. It is presumed that the “black and white” is referring to physical skin color. Now compare the following two verses:

    Alma 1:30: “. . . both old and young, both bond and free, both male and female, whether out of the church or in the church, . . . “

    Alma 11:44: “. . . both old and young, both bond and free, both male and female, both the wicked and the righteous; . . .”

    The similar phraseology is obvious. Is it possible that “black and white” do not refer to skin color, but instead correspond to “out of the church or in the church,” in the second verse and to “the wicked and the righteous” of the last verse?

    Honestly, it is very difficult to believe that those of the Nephite culture would think in the racial terms that we of the present day do. We hear “black and white” and we automatically think in terms of race and skin shades, while the Nephites would probably automatically think in terms of morality and spiritual light.

    1 Nephi 11:13: “And it came to pass that I looked and beheld the great city of Jerusalem, and also other cities. And I beheld the city of Nazareth; and in the city of Nazareth I beheld a virgin, and she was exceedingly fair and white.”

    So if, in the above verse, Nephi is recording a physical description of Mary’s skin tone by saying she is white, then why doesn’t he say something like, “. . . and she had long, raven black, wavy hair; full, pouting, red lips; sparkling green eyes; rosy cheeks; thin of frame; and three and a half cubits stature”?

    The answer is obvious: When using the word “white,” Nephi is describing Mary as morally pure and clean, exceedingly so. It has nothing to do with her physical complexion.

    Just one more thing: Does it seem logical that God would be teaching us not to judge people by their physical appearance, and then He changes the physical skin of the Lamanites to a darker shade so the Nephites can judge them by skin color?

    Anyway, the bottom line is that there isn’t any such thing as white people and black people. If we are honest, there is only one color scale to describe the physical skin color of the human family: Brown. Some of us are on the far end of the lighter side of that scale, some of us are on the far end of the darker side, some of us are smack dab in the middle, and the rest are scattered to varying degrees from the middle toward either end.

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  • DAVID NOLFI

    DAVID NOLFI

    09 June 2015 at 13:40 |
    LAST POST

    Skin color does not limit the love of Jesus Christ. If we repent and humble ourselves to the WORD OF GOD, Gentile or Hebrew, we become the CHILDREN OF GOD, THE COVENANT PEOPLE OF GOD. The Lord looks to a humble and obedient heart without respect of person.

    If the Lord curses a people they are cursed, according to His Divine Will. We can offer our opinions but the evidence of truth stands in clear and simple terms!

    You want to mix spiritual understanding with fleshly condition to justify your points. SORRY! DON'T WORK!

    Regardless of our opinions the WORD OF GOD stands true.

    Love & Prayers
    B. David Nolfi

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  • Ted Kolek

    Ted Kolek

    09 June 2015 at 21:31 |
    (Joshua 10:12–13)
    12 Then spake Joshua to the Lord in the day when the Lord delivered up the Amorites before the children of Israel, and he said in the sight of Israel, Sun, stand thou still upon Gibeon; and thou, Moon, in the valley of Ajalon.
    13 And the sun stood still, and the moon stayed, until the people had avenged themselves upon their enemies. . . .

    There it is; in plain and straightforward words: “ . . . the sun stood still, ...” It doesn’t say anything about the earth. From those plain and straightforward words, it is abundantly clear that the earth is stationary and the sun moves across the sky, over the earth, each day. So we can now dispense with all that politically correct, academic nonsense of the earth rotating on its axis and the planets orbiting the sun. We have absolute, indisputable Scriptural truth, in plainspoken words that the sun was moving and then it stopped.

    Is that how we are to embrace the Word of God to enlighten our minds toward spiritual growth?

    The account of this episode evidences a culture that held a geocentric view. That doesn’t mean the account isn’t true; it means only that the account is worded according to that culture’s understanding of things. As far as Joshua and others were concerned, the sun stood still. But simply because the account is rendered in that cultural context, doesn’t dictate to us that we have to hold to a geocentric view.

    The same thing can be applied to the Nephite culture. Just because the Nephites spoke of themselves as being white and of the Lamanites receiving a skin of blackness, doesn’t dictate to us that we must push a literalness, according to our present day concepts of race and skin color, onto their cultural expressions that have nothing to do with actual physical skin color.

    (Ether 3:1)
    “. . . and did molten out of a rock sixteen small stones; and they were white and clear, even as transparent glass; . . .”
    How can stones be white and at the same time clear and transparent?
    Answer: Only when we understand that white in this context does not imply a literal coloring of the stones.

    I could say more on this subject, but I think I have probably said enough to give food for thought. I think we might be living in a time when God will be opening the minds of The Saints (meaning all that have received The Book of Mormon) to a better understanding in dispelling some inaccurate beliefs that have been held among us.

    I would like to thank The Church of Jesus Christ for allowing me (a nonmember of your church) to express my views on this subject. I appreciate it very much. Thank you.

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