08 February 2011

2 Nephi 4-5: Because of their unbelief, the Lamanites are cursed, receive a skin of blackness

The title to this post is taken from the official LDS summary for 2 Nephi 5 -- at least it was the official summary, until it was changed by the LDS church in December 2010. In the new revised version, the Lamanites (Native Americans) are no longer cursed by God with "a skin of blackness" for their unbelief, but are "cut off from the presence of the Lord."

Let's take a closer look and see what the Mormons are so embarrassed about.

Chapter 4 is a total waste of a golden plate. The 1350 or so words can be summed up with just two: Lehi died.

And It came to pass after my father, Lehi, had spoken unto all his household, according to the feelings of his heart and the Spirit of the Lord which was in him, he waxed old. And It came to pass that he died, and was buried. 2 Nephi 4:12

But chapter 5 is a another thing entirely.

It begins with Nephi's brothers rebelling against him again. (See here, here, here, here, here, and here for previous rebellions.)

So Nephi cries his little heart out to the Lord.

Behold, It came to pass that I, Nephi, did cry much unto the Lord my God, because of the anger of my brethren. 2 Nephi 5:1

And his brothers try to kill him (so they won't have to listen to him anymore).

But behold, their anger did increase against me, insomuch that they did seek to take away my life.

Yea, they did murmur against me, saying: Our younger brother thinks to rule over us; and we have had much trial because of him; wherefore, now let us slay him, that we may not be afflicted more because of his words. For behold, we will not have him to be our ruler; for it belongs unto us, who are the elder brethren, to rule over this people. 2 Nephi 5:2-3

Nephi didn't write down all the stuff they said about him. Suffice it to say that they said whatever and whatnot and so forth.

Now I do not write upon these plates all the words which they murmured against me. But it sufficeth me to say, that they did seek to take away my life. 2 Nephi 5:4

Then Nephi's good buddy (God) told him to get the heck out of there and take all his brown-nosing family and friends with him.

And It came to pass that the Lord did warn me, that I, Nephi, should depart from them and flee into the wilderness, and all those who would go with me.

Wherefore, It came to pass that I, Nephi, did take my family, and also Zoram and his family, and Sam, mine elder brother and his family, and Jacob and Joseph, my younger brethren, and also my sisters, and all those who would go with me. And all those who would go with me were those who believed in the warnings and the revelations of God; wherefore, they did hearken unto my words. 2 Nephi 5:5-6

So they took all their stuff and, after travelling for the space of many days, camped out for a while at a place they called Nephi.

And we did take our tents and whatsoever things were possible for us, and did journey in the wilderness for the space of many days. And after we had journeyed for the space of many days we did pitch our tents.

And my people would that we should call the name of the place Nephi; wherefore, we did call it Nephi. 2 Nephi 5:7-8

At Nephi they all decided to call themselves the people of Nephi (the Nephites).

And all those who were with me did take upon them to call themselves the people of Nephi. 2 Nephi 5:9

Everything was perfect with the people of Nephi. God was with them, they prospered exceedingly, had all kinds of crops and animals, along with the magic compass ball.

And the Lord was with us; and we did prosper exceedingly; for we did sow seed, and we did reap again in abundance. And we began to raise flocks, and herds, and animals of every kind. And I, Nephi, had also brought the records which were engraven upon the plates of brass; and also the ball, or compass, which was prepared for my father by the hand of the Lord, according to that which is written. And It came to pass that we began to prosper exceedingly, and to multiply in the land. 2 Nephi 5:11-13

They made lots of swords (patterned after the sword of Laban that Nephi cut Laban's head off with),

And I, Nephi, did take the sword of Laban, and after the manner of it did make many swords. 2 Nephi 5:14

And buildings,

And I did teach my people to build buildings. 2 Nephi 5:15a

And all kinds of stuff out of wood, iron, copper, brass, steel, gold, silver, and other precious metals that were lying around everywhere in great abundance.

And to work in all manner of wood, and of iron, and of copper, and of brass, and of steel, and of gold, and of silver, and of precious ores, which were in great abundance. 2 Nephi 5:15b

They built an exceedingly fine temple, just like Solomon's, except not quite as fancy. (According to the Bible it took 150,000 men seven years to build the temple, but Nephite crew of a dozen or so men managed just fine.)

And I, Nephi, did build a temple; and I did construct it after the manner of the temple of Solomon save it were not built of so many precious things; for they were not to be found upon the land, wherefore, it could not be built like unto Solomon's temple. But the manner of the construction was like unto the temple of Solomon; and the workmanship thereof was exceedingly fine. 2 Nephi 5:16

Then the people of Nephi who lived in a place called Nephi wanted to make Nephi their king.

And It came to pass that they would that I should be their king. 2 Nephi 5:18a

But Nephi said they should have no king.

But I, Nephi, was desirous that they should have no king; nevertheless, I did for them according to that which was in my power. 2 Nephi 5:18b

So Nephi became their ruler instead.

And behold, the words of the Lord had been fulfilled unto my brethren, which he spake concerning them, that I should be their ruler and their teacher. 2 Nephi 5:19

When Nephi's rebellious brothers found out that Nephi was the ruler, they rebelled against Nephi's rule, just as God said they would. So God cut them off from his presence.

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. 2 Nephi 5:20

And cursed them.

And he had caused the cursing to come upon them, yea, even a sore cursing, because of their iniquity. 2 Nephi 5:21a

God's curse caused "a skin of blackness to come upon" the Lamanites to make them appear repulsive to the "white, and exceedingly fair and delightsome" Nephites.

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. And thus saith the Lord God: I will cause that they shall be loathsome unto thy people. 2 Nephi 5:21b-22

And if any white and delightsome Nephite tried to mix some seed with a loathsome, dark-skinned Lamanite, God would curse that Nephite with dark skin, too.

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. 2 Nephi 5:23

But God's curse of the Lamanites was more than skin deep. It affected their entire beings. They became idle, mischievous, savages -- and they remain so to this day, according to the LDS church. (Mormons believe Native Americans are the descendants of the Lamanites.)

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. 2 Nephi 5:24

But everything was exceedingly good with the Nephites. Nephi made priests out of his little brothers, Jacob and Joseph.

And It came to pass that I, Nephi, did consecrate Jacob and Joseph, that they should be priests and teachers over the land of my people. 2 Nephi 5:26

The Nephites were happy campers.

And It came to pass that we lived after the manner of happiness. 2 Nephi 5:27

Nephi wrote stuff down on his plates.

And I, Nephi, had kept the records upon my plates, which I had made, of my people thus far. 2 Nephi 5:28

And on other plates that God told him to make. It was all good to God and profitable to his people.

And It came to pass that the Lord God said unto me: Make other plates; and thou shalt engraven many things upon them which are good in my sight, for the profit of thy people. 2 Nephi 5:30

God was pleased, Nephi was pleased, and the people of Nephi were so pleased they could hardly stand it. And if you're pleased with the things of God you'll be pleased with Nephi's plates, too.

And I engraved that which is pleasing unto God. And if my people are pleased with the things of God they will be pleased with mine engravings which are upon these plates. 2 Nephi 5:32

But if you want to know the more particular part of anything else you'll just have to search Nephi's other plates.

And if my people desire to know the more particular part of the history of my people they must search mine other plates. 2 Nephi 5:33

It suffices for me and Nephi to say that forty years passed away with some wars and whatnot. Read all about in Nephi's other plates.

And it sufficeth me to say that forty years had passed away, and we had already had wars and contentions with our brethren. 2 Nephi 5:34

Blogging the Book of Mormon
Next episode -- 2 Nephi 6: Someday God will force non-Mormons to eat their own flesh and get drunk on their own blood


Anonymous said...

Nephi is so hardcore. Building large structures and leaving the important details on other plates.

That's exactly what I'd do if I was a product of another's imagination.

Koiu Lpoi said...

Wait a minute, they made swords? SWORDS? And they made a bunch of them? C'mon Mormons, dig me up an ancient egyptian-style sword here in America! I dare you!

Cmfernandez9283 said...

Wait, I just received a brand spanking new copy of the BoM a week ago and mine still summarizes chapter five as the Lamanites being cursed with skin of blackness! I had a field day with this because the Elders who visited me were loving up my girlfriend, yea, even spending hours with her alone, AND SHE'S BLACK! This book is the cream of the crazy crop and Joseph Smith had the whole religion thing figured out. Too bad JK Rowling didn't add Abraham and Moses to Harry Potter or she could have been crowned high priestess of a New World Order. Damn, missed her chance!!