The Book of Mormon's version of history continues to be challenged--and championed--by skeptics and faithful
To the LDS faithful, Lamanites were real people with a real history.
Every Mormon prophet since the church's founding in 1830 has taught that Indians descended from Lamanites. The perceived link explains the church's initial outreach to Indians in the northeast and later in Utah. It is why the church created an Indian Placement Program, urging members in the 1950s to care for those they saw as part of their religious family. Mormon missionaries working in Central and South America have always told potential converts the Book of Mormon is their ancestors' story.
Non-Mormon archaeologists take the whole thing "as a complete fantasy, that this is a big waste of time," said Michael Coe, an emeritus professor of Mesoamerican studies at Yale, in last spring's PBS documentary "The Mormons."
I asked about this the last time I had Mormons come to visit. (I almost always engage them to talk.) They pointed to the Maya as possible relations to the Lamanites, given the large civilization that was there and "suddenly ended," which apparently corresponds to their writings. That means the person who carried the actual Books of Mormon to Upstate New York came from southern Mexico at the furthest north--quite a trek, to say the least!
That said, the two Mormons I chatted with were also quick to point out that they're a force behind getting many archaeological digs started, because they're looking for the scriptural information to be supported. I found that quite interesting.
Writerfella here --
There is NO "Indian-Mormon" connection, anymore than there would be an "Indian-Scientologist" connection. Both 'faiths' are as much fantasy as the books upon which they ostensibly are based. And, as in the case of 'Kennewick Man,' the purported archaeological proofs all were planted. Only if independent scientific discovery supported such beliefs would they be valid at all. Mormons would have more credibility in this world if only they had claimed to come from Atlantis...
I didn't say the Indian-Mormon connection was only the one claimed in the Book of Mormon. Indians and Mormons have many historical connections. These connections are suggested in this paragraph:
"Every Mormon prophet since the church's founding in 1830 has taught that Indians descended from Lamanites. The perceived link explains the church's initial outreach to Indians in the northeast and later in Utah. It is why the church created an Indian Placement Program, urging members in the 1950s to care for those they saw as part of their religious family. Mormon missionaries working in Central and South America have always told potential converts the Book of Mormon is their ancestors' story."
The history of such tribes as the Hopi is entangled with Mormonism. One whole tribe is supposedly Mormon:
"The Northwestern Band of Shoshone of Brigham City, UT has the dubious distinction of being the only Mormon Indian tribe in the United States."
These are further examples of the Indian-Mormon connection.
Writerfella here --
Ah, writerfella sees that maybe the Mormons DO claim to have come from Atlantis...
I dunno. Last time I spoke with Mormon Elders (kids really) they informed me that Joseph (the original Mormon) taught the Natives their thousands of years old traditions. That's when I said "Right"! The Mormon religion is how old??? I mean, how can a man from the 19th century (a White man at that) teach Indians what they have already been practicing for thousands of years? If anything, I think they got the story backwards. I am positive that this "Joseph" person stole our traditions. Hey, I give them credit for trying though.
I read the Mormon book about 20 years ago searching for my Native American Identity. I was shocked to discover that the Lamanites in the book were a "cursed" race.
According to the book, the original population of Nephites (now commonly known as Mormons) was a gentile (white) race, the first to people the Americas. In the years following their settlement in Central America, the Nephites grew in numbers and became divided into two warring populations. One segment of the population, the Nephites, remained true to God and the other became unbelievers and evil in their ways. These evil-doer people were named Lamanites. It was the Lamanites who eventually wiped out the Nephite race in the place now known as the state of New Hampshire, USA (where Joseph Smith later dug up the Mormon book written on golden tablets).
Anyway, the book says God had cursed the Lamanites by making their "skin dark" after they fell into "disbelief" and their “hearts hardened" towards their brethren the Nephites who were "exceedingly fair and delightsome" people. Apparently, there is also no hope of redemption from this eternal curse, according to the book. So, no matter how hard contemporary Lamanites (American Indians) try to become converted to the Mormon faith, they will never ever get into heaven, they are wasting their time. I was discouraged by all these revelations, to say the least, and threw the book away and went on to search for my identity elsewhere.
Two words and one concept...GLENN BECK...
Post a Comment