Book of Mormon Notes– How deep can you dig?

2008, December 13

Book of Mormon | Real or Imaginary–Brant Gardner and David Bokovoy’s Claim of Mormon’s Bias against the Lamanites? Part 1 by grego

Book of Mormon | Real or Imaginary–Brant Gardner and David Bokovoy’s Claim of Mormon’s Bias against the Lamanites? Part 1
by grego

Some Mormon/ LDS apologists, including Brant Gardner and David Bokovoy, claim that Mormon had a clear nonfactual bias against the Lamanites, or that Mormon used untrue or stereotypical caricatures of them.

I have found that this is not only necessary to discuss in defense of truth and Mormon, but for a few other reasons, too. This is the chink in the armor that becomes gaping holes.

First, it can be THE excuse for “exposing” Mormon’s weakness and fallibility as a writer/ historian, in an excuse to expand the possibilities of other interpretations than those allowed by the text–to “open it up”, so to say, to make more leeway in wriggling and supporting a personal (and rarely scripturally-supported) point of view. This is also very convenient when one desires to match up the Book of Mormon with what is known of Central American history, when it should be matching up history and anthropology to the Book of Mormon. Unfortunately, when one plays this game of forcing the Book of Mormon to fit what is currently known, it’s a game based on a slippery slope of science…

Another big reason is that, since we “know” that Mormon had a bias, we understand he also had a bias about Captain Moroni, that Mormon gets way too carried away when writing about him and wars, etc. I imagine, maybe this is because some in the LDS Church are afraid to accept the clear teachings about freedom and such.

There is a third reason I’ve found this argument particularly disdainful: I’ve heard it as an excuse to reject all the “fringe” (what one wants to call fringe) teachings of Ezra Taft Benson (even though they were covered hundreds of talks and decades of time). Here’s how the argument goes: See, Ezra Taft Benson got carried away in his writings and teachings about government, freedom, the Book of Mormon and secret combinations, etc., which is not really spiritual stuff, because of a personal fetish–just following the precedent of Mormon getting carried away in his writings and teachings about war and Captain Moroni, which is not really spiritual stuff, because of a personal fetish; and we know he did that, because of how he treated the Lamanites in the Book of Mormon with a negative, personal bias. (Note, folks, the similarity between the topics and manners in which Ezra Taft Benson and Captain Moroni spoke…)

Yet somehow, in all the Book of Mormon, I personally can’t find this so-called Lamanite bias *anywhere*. So I asked for references in the text, and in fact, I’ve asked Brant Gardner and David Bokovoy and others for instances of clear/ concrete cases unsupported in any logical, normal way examples in the text, and… they never showed it/ were able to show it. It seems that the imagination is strong when convenient, and dull when not wanted…

And, claims of Mormon’s Lamanite bias or use of strong exaggeration in his writing in the Book of Mormon based on what I have been shown are clearly unsupported by the text. (Brant Gardner claimed to have dug deep into the story of Ammon and the king’s flock, and said that Mormon was completely wrong on a point or two; but were one to continue digging even deeper, it would be seen that Brant Gardner’s claim is wrong, as his digging was also incomplete and not completely correct.)

The main point of this Lamanite bias claim is this:
Mormon portrays the Lamanites in a very negative light–such as being wicked, savage, living in tents, eating raw meat and drinking blood, etc. Then, it’s often said that this is done in contrast to the way the Nephites are portrayed–shown as righteous, high-classed, highly developed people. This, in the face of other parts of the text that show developed Lamanite society, cities with buildings, governments, etc.–in contrast to the Lamanite stereotype; obviously showing Mormon was biased.

Let’s see if *any* of this is true. (I will not treat “Nephites=good, Lamanites=bad” topic deeply here.)

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