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Doctrines & Scholarship / Re: Elder Oaks, Polygamy, and Public Criticism
« Last post by kazbert on Today at 08:57:17 pm »
Is it important to me that the darkened skin be literal? I like the question. It made me think. But, no. Whatís important to me is that we donít reinterpret a scripture only because we may be embarrassed by what it is saying. I canít presume to know anotherís motivations, so Iíll own that mistake.

Could it be purely figurative? I suppose so, but short of a GA officially calling the shot I'm inclined to think the plain-talking Nephi meant what he said. You say that the narrative doesn't support it being literal. At this point you have studied it out far more than I have so I am out of my depth. We will just have to politely agree to disagree.

I once had a gospel teaching that acted like a splinter in my mind. There was something wrong with the picture (my perception of it, at least). I had to study it out on my own without help because I couldn't explain what was bothering me about it in a way that would allow others to see the conflict I was seeing. It took me ten years to resolve the matter to my own satisfaction. It turned out to be semantic -- a single word having more than one meaning, depending on the context, but a word so familiar that most never stop to think about it.
Doctrines & Scholarship / Re: Elder Oaks, Polygamy, and Public Criticism
« Last post by Taalcon on Today at 08:05:28 pm »
(For the record, my position has changed on this because I eventually approached the text on its own to see what best made sense. My biggest initial observation that first took me out of the 'traditional' reading was that the narrative doesn't make sense if it actually happened that way. That the rest of the small plates records absolutely make no sense if this happened. My first solution, still assuming that Nephi actually meant a literal change of skin, was that he was wrong. That was partly prompted by an observation that he wasn't reported as being present, or even seeing any of the then-current generation of his brothers ever again. I made some leaps in logic, and came up with a theory that seemed to work. This position was critiqued, and Brant Gardner actually one of my blog posts on this topics in his book to a) note the observations that I made that were correct, but b) to show where my initial premise fell apart in the narrative. I was frustrated and didn't want to accept the other approach until later, when I realized ... he was right. My position has absolutely changed, and it comes primarily from reading the text for how it is, and how it plays out in context.)
Doctrines & Scholarship / Re: Elder Oaks, Polygamy, and Public Criticism
« Last post by Taalcon on Today at 07:19:11 pm »
You've asked why it's so important to others for it to NOT be that way. It seems now that it's very important to you right now that is IS that way.

You keep going back to ' accepting what it says'. It's very curious to me what signifies the line where people are very quick to give something a unique or symbolic definition one place, but insist on one thing or another being literal, even when the context allows for it.

This 'dark skin' interpretation has been used in the past by members to explain why Native Americans are dark skinned, because of the assumption that the Lehites were the only living people on the continent when they arrived (allowing the exception of a dying out Jaredite line). The Church has gone out of its way to change introductory material in the Book of Mormon to make clear that the position is that Lehites are now understood to be just 'among' the ancestors of the natives, and not the 'principal' or initial ancestors. That was a big shift in narrative in and of itself, and is also directly related to acceptance of the significance of this idea.

Joseph Fielding Smith and Spencer W Kimball believed in their day they were seeing Native Americans start to turn more white because of righteousness, with 'Whiteness' being the default, and the 'brown' being something 'off' that needed to be corrected, or explained away.

All of this aside - in the text, such a thing happening would not make any practical sense in the course of the narrative. It's not followed up on in any way that substantially supports your reading of it. Whatever assumption you bring to the text colors (no pun intended) how you 'see' the story. Try reading it with the other perspective in mind. Is anything lost in the narrative? Does something no longer make sense? On the other hand, might it shed some new light on other passages?

Others here have acknowledged they tied their insistence on the old interpretation  with their views of prophetic authority and linking it with the priesthood ban in that regard. There are some here who have a very hard time with the modern declaration that the past expressions that Skin Color was a legitimate signifier of a Curse were wrong, because of how they feel they need to understand how God works within his Church and with his prophets.

Now one thing I've noticed is you haven't done that here. Is that where you are as well and just haven't used that approach? If not, what is so convincing about your reading of it (or something connected to it?) that, at this point, you seem to feel you need to hold onto it, and hold out hope for something further to make its point?

I'm really curious. Others' answers have surprised me, and been instructive.
Doctrines & Scholarship / Re: Elder Oaks, Polygamy, and Public Criticism
« Last post by kazbert on Today at 06:02:35 pm »
My point is that if the Lamanites' skin of blackness is indeed literal, why is that a problem? Why do we need to explain it away rather than accepting what it says, while also being careful not to attach to it something it doesn't say? God frequently uses concrete examples to teach spiritual lessons. In 1 Samuel, Uzzah was killed by God for putting forth his hand to steady the ark. There was a clear spiritual message behind God's action, but Uzzah was literally dead, not figuratively dead because it may seem to our eyes that God was overly harsh on Uzzah.

It is our GAs' prerogative to declare what is doctrine and what is opinion. If they say that it is doctrine this day forth that the Lamanites' skin of blackness was not literal, then I'm on board with it. I won't insist in public that it was literal. It's not my place to do so. But privately I'll be sticking it on my mental shelf of things I'm looking forward to seeing in its fullness in the next life because I'm thinking there's a piece of the picture missing.
Games / Re: Board games
« Last post by Palmon on Today at 05:22:04 pm »
We've enjoyed:



Ticket to Ride - US and Europe

Apples to Apples


Scum - card game

Doctrines & Scholarship / Re: Elder Oaks, Polygamy, and Public Criticism
« Last post by Taalcon on Today at 03:58:49 pm »
I think the skin of blackness in the BoM was exactly what it says it was.

I don't this is as helpful in making the point you're trying to make.

For behold, they had hardened their hearts against him
they had become like unto a flint
a skin of blackness to come upon them.

The other day, I was part of a conversation with someone where this specific topic had not come up at all.
They were describing a family member who had begun making what they saw as damaging choices, and had started looking down on others, and treated people poorly. They described this person as having lost their, and I quote, 'bright and shinyness'. Another used the expression, 'something has changed in their countenance', saying they felt like they could see a difference in them.

Have you ever read a book where someone's countenance is described as being 'darkened'? What was being indicated?

In the ancient world, such descriptors are even more common. If you've read through this thread, several examples are given. I take it you believe this book was written in a 600-ish BC context. What would have made sense in that context?

According to the text itself, Nephi's group left them before this change is declared to have happened. Less than a generation later, they're told specifically not to judge by appearances and affiliations. What would have been the practical purpose of a generational change in melanin?

Have you ever referred to someone as a "Non-Member"? You are referring to someone not as to what they are, but what they are not. You are comparing them to yourself. If this small group of Nephites were "Bright and shiny", as my family member used the term, that generation of Lamanites would be distinguished because of their attitudes and behaviors that they were not that.

The people who became the Lamanites had not always been heard hearted, or 'as a flint'. But there was a point where they had become, as a unit, opposed to listening to Nephi's position. And him leaving with the artifacts would cement that. It would confirm everything they believed, and harden their hearts even more. We learn that generations later Lamanites still spoke of the tradition that Nephi stole the relics from them.

A bioligical change would not be necessary to distinguish between the two opposing clans - one with the scriptures, holy artifacts, and the covenants, one who had rejected them, but still coveted them.

I believe the skin of blackness was just as real and noticeable as the hardening of the heart, and becoming as flint. I also believe it was just as biological and physical and literal as those as well.

I think with its recent very clear and repeated disavowment of the old interpretation, they are indicating that while there may be different perspectives on what it does mean, they want to be very clear on what it does not mean.
scruffy: that can't happen here. Unless they commit and are convicted of a real secondary crime (such as escaping or killing someone in prison), they cannot have time added for infractions. Where some confusion might come in is with parole. For instance, say someone is convicted of first degree murder. They may be sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole after 20 years. The parole board is where those rule infringements and good behavior come into play. After 20 years, the inmate may apply for parole. The parole board then has to look at their prison records and interview them and other evidence to determine if they show signs of remorse/rehabilitation/being able to be good outside of prison (though parole is not complete freedom, it requires a parole officer to check in with regularly among all kinds of other life restrictions). If their behavior has been bad, they will be denied parole. More and more these days, however, because of overcrowding, parole is granted regardless of behavior or possibility of recidivism. In which case, many people consider a 10-25 year sentence to actually be a 10 year sentence, and claim or even think their sentence has been 'extended,' when it hasn't at all. They just didn't make parole to get out early.
Forum News, Discussion, and Help / Re: Private Members Only Area
« Last post by kazbert on Today at 03:30:20 pm »
It looks like I'm basically done.

I appreciate the hard work by the Admins to keep this forum up and running smoothly.  :)
Doctrines & Scholarship / Re: Elder Oaks, Polygamy, and Public Criticism
« Last post by kazbert on Today at 03:00:17 pm »
Though a part of me tells me it's a bad idea, I'm jumping into this fray rather late. I did my best to read all 7 pages that preceded my post, but my apologies in advance if I'm rehashing something that has already been settled. If any part of my thinking doesn't follow logically, I welcome my illogicality being pointed out though I may pout for a few moments first.

Let's say, for the moment, that the Lamanites' curse was a very literal darkening of their skin. Korihor asked for a sign and was cursed by being struck dumb. Does that mean that all people in all places and in all times who can't speak are cursed for some iniquity committed by them or their ancestors? The Lamanites were cursed with a dark skin. That does not make dark skin a curse for anyone other than the BoM Lamanites, in their place and time. Black skin is a curse only when God uses it as such, and it is a curse only to those He intended to curse.

In our good-will efforts to become more culturally sensitive, it becomes frustrating when cultural sensitivity becomes weaponized. When someone says that they feel offended, it can't be left open-ended. There are logical limits to what can justly be claimed to be insensitive.

I think the skin of blackness in the BoM was exactly what it says it was. I can see how the skin of blackness in the BoM would come across today as insensitive, but I'm not one to counsel God for using a visible discriminator (if that fits an individual's definition of racism, so be it) by way of wresting that scripture into meaning something else. I look forward to a time when we all finally learn to be slow to give offense, slow to take offense, and quick to forgive. Holding onto resentment is corrosive and emotionally exhausting. I can't understand why anyone would want to hold onto it so tightly, let alone seeking to justify their doing so and insisting that everyone else adopt that toxic behavior. But that is the human condition.

The Israelites were not Northern Europeans, which people are as white as white gets unless you're an albino. The descendants of Abraham were neither Caucasian nor Negroid, but something in between, though perhaps closer to the former than the latter. There is a great variety of skin hues in between those two extremes. That leaves plenty of room for the typical hue of ancient Israelites to be noticeably lighter than however dark a hue God placed on the Lamanites without the Lamanites being fully dark-skinned, whether they were or not. We only know that the Lamanites' hue was sufficiently darker for the difference to be obvious.

I have asked black members here and there why they joined the Church. Their answer is the same as my own: They read the BoM, pondered, prayed, and received a witness by the Spirit.
Music / Re: Your favorite Rush Albums
« Last post by TurkeyLurker on Today at 11:48:59 am »

The station of my youth.  Ask crowman if he remembers John and Dan in the morning.

Jon is still on 103.5  I enjoy hearing him when I'm in town, which is usually on "block party weekends," which I really enjoy.   :D  It's really the only time I listen to classic rock on purpose.  I like new hard rock these days.  Sometimes, you just get tired of the same old stuff.

I met Dan, who was doing a news story for the NPR affiliate about 10 years ago.  His voice really does sound like that in real life, and he's very tall.
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