Saturday, May 03, 2008

Lifting the Curse: Literacy, Economy, Religious Liberty

Some critics of the Book of Mormon contend that the teaching of the Book are racist because it mentions that the Lamanites were cursed with black skin. Unfortunately, this is a huge and unfortunate misunderstanding of the Book of Mormon due to unfamiliarity with Hebrew grammatical structure.

According to the Book of Mormon, black skin is not a curse. It was an indirect mark associated with the curse. What is a curse? The curse of the Fall of Adam is the effects of Adams' sin that prevent his children from having the same choice. Because of the Fall, we the children of Adam cannot live in the garden and have the same choice to partake of the tree of knowledge or not. Yet we will suffer the consequences of death even though we don't get to make the same decision under the same circumstances. Not fair.

So it was with the children of Cain, and Ham and the Lamanites. Their apparent rejection of the principles and culture of civilization, literacy, industry, and agriculture cursed their children. Abel was a farmer and Cain was a hunter. He killed Abel and then left the family. He then became a hunter-gatherer which doomed his children to a life of hardship and exerting all efforts, hardly being able to hunt and gather enough calories. Therefore they didn't have free time to learn, study, and ponder spiritual things. The children of Cain would not have the same opportunity to accept God that Cain had. That is the curse.

The darker skin was associated with it only because living a hunting-gathering lifestyle led to more melanin production. But it doesn't mean that a person is less in the sight of God. God is no respecter of persons. They are cursed, but it was Cain who was responsible. This is the same for the children of Ham, and the Lamanites and whatever other group has adopted the savage culture.

But grains like wheat and corn are the staff of life. They can not only support large populations but they can support large civilizations. These grains are easily grown and harvested and are high in nutrients. And they can be stored for millennia. Thus people who have not rejected the agricultural and civil culture of Abel would be literate, industrious, and free and able to practice religion according to the dictates of their conscience.

The Book of Mormon does not teach that people with black skin are less in the eyes of God. What is a huge theme of the Book of Mormon is how to remove the curse. The curse is removed Six steps: 1. Agriculture, 2. literacy(Priests of Noah), 3. Industrialization 4. Free Trade, 5. Religious Liberty(Lamoni), 6. Elected Government. Then, these factors open up a people to missionary work (sons of Alma). And we see that many Lamanites were converted to the truth and those Lamanites with their dark skin were highly regarded in the Book of Mormon for their steadfastness and zeal towards Christ.

The Book of Mormon recipe is working today to lift the curse upon other nations and peoples of the Earth so that they can read God's word and be led to reject the "wicked traditions of their forefathers;" until one day the gospel will be preached to every kindred, tongue and people. While those of us who enjoy religious freedom are urged to "stand fast in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free."

Even today, there are segments of our society that mark themselves with tattoos or an effeminate voice as a sign that they have adopted a degree of savage, idividualistic, materialistic, ghetto, or sexually permissive culture. And there are other curses that parents pass on to their children like racism. A common curse it the consequences when a wayward child who grew up in a Christian home rejects that lifestyle. That child's children are considered cursed because they won't have the same opportunity. That is just what the doctrine of cursing is all about. Biblical cursing simply describes an inequality of opportunity and the resultant consequences and has nothing to do with God loving some people more that others. The major theme of the Bible describes how Christ's atonement lifts the curse of Adam, while the Book of Mormon addresses the lifting of the curse of Laman and Lemuel which was the same curse Cain passed to his children .

No comments: