Book of Mormon Notes– How deep can you dig?

2008, December 17

Book of Mormon | Real or Imaginary–Brant Gardner and David Bokovoy’s Claim of Mormon’s Bias against the Lamanites? Part 3 by grego

Book of Mormon | Real or Imaginary–Brant Gardner and David Bokovoy’s Claim of Mormon’s Bias against the Lamanites? Part 3
by grego

Are there places in the Book of Mormon where good things are said of the Lamanites?
I’ve already written and posted about compassion in the Book of Mormon. That would be a good place to start.
Here, the Lamanites are merciful because of compassion; and slavery is more profitable than killing:
Mosiah 19:14 And it came to pass that the Lamanites had compassion on them, for they were charmed with the beauty of their women.
Mosiah 19:15 Therefore the Lamanites did spare their lives, and took them captives and carried them back to the land of Nephi, and granted unto them that they might possess the land, under the conditions that they would deliver up king Noah into the hands of the Lamanites, and deliver up their property, even one half of all they possessed, one half of their gold, and their silver, and all their precious things, and thus they should pay tribute to the king of the Lamanites from year to year.
Is it biased to say that the Lamanites were “charmed with the beauty of their women”? I’ve lived in lands among many races, and I’ve seen this as typical of darker men towards lighter women, not atypical. Is it true, that lighter women are more beautiful than darker women? That’s not the point–to those men they were charmed by their beauty, and that’s what the Book of Mormon is saying.

What did Jacob, who was an original Nephite, say?
Jacob 3:5 Behold, *the Lamanites your brethren, whom ye hate because of their filthiness and the cursing which hath come upon their skins*, are *more righteous than you*; for they have not forgotten the commandment of the Lord, which was given unto our father–that they should have save it were one wife, and concubines they should have none, and there should not be whoredoms committed among them.
Well, it seems that some of the early Nephites didn’t like the Lamanites; slightly understandable, given that the Lamanites were often trying to kill them or such. Whoops… already in Jacob we see that the Nephites and Lamanites aren’t clearly split the righteous versus the wicked in all ways, and that the Lamanites are more faithful to the good that they have from their fathers, than the Nephites.

Here are two times when the Lamanite king swore an oath and kept it:
Mosiah 19:25 And it came to pass that the king of the Lamanites made an oath unto them, that his people should not slay them.
and
Mosiah 20:24 And it came to pass that the king was pacified towards his people; and he said unto them: Let us go forth to meet my people, without arms; and I swear unto you with an oath that my people shall not slay thy people.
Mosiah 20:25 And it came to pass that they followed the king, and went forth without arms to meet the Lamanites. And it came to pass that they did meet the Lamanites; and the king of the Lamanites did bow himself down before them, and did plead in behalf of the people of Limhi.
Mosiah 20:26 And when the Lamanites saw the people of Limhi, that they were without arms, they had compassion on them and were pacified towards them, and returned with their king in peace to their own land.

We also never hear of Lamanites breaking their oaths to never war again.

And, as all who know the story know, Ammon, Aaron, and the other missionaries had great success, and the Lamanites became different people:
Alma 23:18 And *they began to be a very industrious people*; yea, and they were friendly with the Nephites; therefore, they did open a correspondence with them, and the curse of God did no more follow them.
Alma 24:18 And this they did, it being in their view a testimony to God, and also to men, that they *never would use weapons again for the shedding of man’s blood; and this they did, vouching and covenanting with God, that rather than shed the blood of their brethren they would give up their own lives; and rather than take away from a brother they would give unto him; and rather than spend their days in idleness they would labor abundantly with their hands*.
Alma 24:19 And thus we see that, *when these Lamanites were brought to believe and to know the truth, they were firm, and would suffer even unto death rather than commit sin*…
Surely this is not Lamanite bias!

Here’s a great Lamanite conversion:
Helaman 5:19 Therefore they did speak unto the great astonishment of the Lamanites, to the convincing them, insomuch that there were eight thousand of the Lamanites who were in the land of Zarahemla and round about baptized unto repentance, and were convinced of the wickedness of the traditions of their fathers.

And another one:
Helaman 5:40 And it came to pass that the Lamanites said unto him: What shall we do, that this cloud of darkness may be removed from overshadowing us?
Helaman 5:41 And Aminadab said unto them: You must repent, and cry unto the voice, even until ye shall have faith in Christ, who was taught unto you by Alma, and Amulek, and Zeezrom; and when ye shall do this, the cloud of darkness shall be removed from overshadowing you.
Helaman 5:42 And it came to pass that they all did begin to cry unto the voice of him who had shaken the earth; yea, they did cry even until the cloud of darkness was dispersed.
Helaman 5:43 And it came to pass that when they cast their eyes about, and saw that the cloud of darkness was dispersed from overshadowing them, behold, they saw that they were encircled about, yea every soul, by a pillar of fire.
Helaman 5:44 And Nephi and Lehi were in the midst of them; yea, they were encircled about; yea, they were as if in the midst of a flaming fire, yet it did harm them not, neither did it take hold upon the walls of the prison; and they were filled with that joy which is unspeakable and full of glory.
Helaman 5:45 And behold, the Holy Spirit of God did come down from heaven, and did enter into their hearts, and they were filled as if with fire, and they could speak forth marvelous words.
Helaman 5:46 And it came to pass that there came a voice unto them, yea, a pleasant voice, as if it were a whisper, saying:
Helaman 5:47 Peace, peace be unto you, because of your faith in my Well Beloved, who was from the foundation of the world.
Helaman 5:48 And now, when they heard this they cast up their eyes as if to behold from whence the voice came; and behold, they saw the heavens open; and angels came down out of heaven and ministered unto them.
Helaman 5:49 And there were about three hundred souls who saw and heard these things; and they were bidden to go forth and marvel not, neither should they doubt.
Helaman 5:50 And it came to pass that they did go forth, and did minister unto the people, declaring throughout all the regions round about all the things which they had heard and seen, insomuch that the more part of the Lamanites were convinced of them, because of the greatness of the evidences which they had received.
Helaman 5:51 And as many as were convinced did lay down their weapons of war, and also their hatred and the tradition of their fathers.
Helaman 5:52 And it came to pass that they did yield up unto the Nephites the lands of their possession.
Helaman 6:1 And it came to pass that when the sixty and second year of the reign of the judges had ended, all these things had happened and the Lamanites had become, the more part of them, a righteous people, insomuch that their righteousness did exceed that of the Nephites, because of their firmness and their steadiness in the faith.

That experience is alluded to by Jesus himself:
3 Nephi 9:20 And ye shall offer for a sacrifice unto me a broken heart and a contrite spirit. And whoso cometh unto me with a broken heart and a contrite spirit, him will I baptize with fire and with the Holy Ghost, even as the Lamanites, because of their faith in me at the time of their conversion, were baptized with fire and with the Holy Ghost, and they knew it not.

More about righteous Lamanites and wicked Nephites:
Helaman 6:35 And thus we see that the Spirit of the Lord began to withdraw from the Nephites, because of the wickedness and the hardness of their hearts.
Helaman 6:36 And thus we see that the Lord began to pour out his Spirit upon the Lamanites, because of their easiness and willingness to believe in his words.
Helaman 6:37 And it came to pass that the Lamanites did hunt the band of robbers of Gadianton; and they did preach the word of God among the more wicked part of them, insomuch that this band of robbers was utterly destroyed from among the Lamanites.
Helaman 6:38 And it came to pass on the other hand, that the Nephites did build them up and support them, beginning at the more wicked part of them, until they had overspread all the land of the Nephites, and had seduced the more part of the righteous until they had come down to believe in their works and partake of their spoils, and to join with them in their secret murders and combinations.

Nephi says:
Helaman 7:24 For behold, they are more righteous than you, for they have not sinned against that great knowledge which ye have received; therefore the Lord will be merciful unto them; yea, he will lengthen out their days and increase their seed, even when thou shalt be utterly destroyed except thou shalt repent.

What about here?:
Helaman 13:1 AND now it came to pass in the eighty and sixth year, the Nephites did still remain in wickedness, yea, in great wickedness, while the Lamanites did observe strictly to keep the commandments of God, according to the law of Moses.
Helaman 13:2 And it came to pass that in this year there was one Samuel, a Lamanite, came into the land of Zarahemla, and began to preach unto the people. And it came to pass that he did preach, many days, repentance unto the people, and they did cast him out, and he was about to return to his own land.

Samuel the Lamanite lauds the Lamanites:
Helaman 15:3 Yea, wo unto this people who are called the people of Nephi except they shall repent, when they shall see all these signs and wonders which shall be showed unto them; for behold, they have been a chosen people of the Lord; yea, the people of Nephi hath he loved, and also hath he chastened them; yea, in the days of their iniquities hath he chastened them because he loveth them.
Helaman 15:4 But behold my brethren, the Lamanites hath he hated because their deeds have been evil continually, and this because of the iniquity of the tradition of their fathers. But behold, salvation hath come unto them through the preaching of the Nephites; and for this intent hath the Lord prolonged their days.
Helaman 15:5 And I would that ye should behold that the more part of them are in the path of their duty, and they do walk circumspectly before God, and they do observe to keep his commandments and his statutes and his judgments according to the law of Moses.
Helaman 15:6 Yea, I say unto you, that the more part of them are doing this, and they are striving with unwearied diligence that they may bring the remainder of their brethren to the knowledge of the truth; therefore there are many who do add to their numbers daily.
Helaman 15:7 And behold, ye do know of yourselves, for ye have witnessed it, that as many of them as are brought to the knowledge of the truth, and to know of the wicked and abominable traditions of their fathers, and are led to believe the holy scriptures, yea, the prophecies of the holy prophets, which are written, which leadeth them to faith on the Lord, and unto repentance, which faith and repentance bringeth a change of heart unto them–
Helaman 15:8 Therefore, as many as have come to this, ye know of yourselves are firm and steadfast in the faith, and in the thing wherewith they have been made free.
Helaman 15:9 And ye know also that they have buried their weapons of war, and they fear to take them up lest by any means they should sin; yea, ye can see that they fear to sin–for behold they will suffer themselves that they be trodden down and slain by their enemies, and will not lift their swords against them, and this because of their faith in Christ.
Helaman 15:10 And now, because of their steadfastness when they do believe in that thing which they do believe, for because of their firmness when they are once enlightened, behold, the Lord shall bless them and prolong their days, notwithstanding their iniquity–
Helaman 15:11 Yea, even if they should dwindle in unbelief the Lord shall prolong their days, until the time shall come which hath been spoken of by our fathers, and also by the prophet Zenos, and many other prophets, concerning the restoration of our brethren, the Lamanites, again to the knowledge of the truth–
Helaman 15:12 Yea, I say unto you, that in the latter times the promises of the Lord have been extended to our brethren, the Lamanites; and notwithstanding the many afflictions which they shall have, and notwithstanding they shall be driven to and fro upon the face of the earth, and be hunted, and shall be smitten and scattered abroad, having no place for refuge, the Lord shall be merciful unto them.
Helaman 15:13 And this is according to the prophecy, that they shall again be brought to the true knowledge, which is the knowledge of their Redeemer, and their great and true shepherd, and be numbered among his sheep.
Helaman 15:14 Therefore I say unto you, it shall be better for them than for you except ye repent.
Helaman 15:15 For behold, had the mighty works been shown unto them which have been shown unto you, yea, unto them who have dwindled in unbelief because of the traditions of their fathers, ye can see of yourselves that they never would again have dwindled in unbelief.
Helaman 15:16 Therefore, saith the Lord: I will not utterly destroy them, but I will cause that in the day of my wisdom they shall return again unto me, saith the Lord.
Helaman 15:17 And now behold, saith the Lord, concerning the people of the Nephites: If they will not repent, and observe to do my will, I will utterly destroy them, saith the Lord, because of their unbelief notwithstanding the many mighty works which I have done among them; and as surely as the Lord liveth shall these things be, saith the Lord.

And there’s more, but I think that should be enough to get the correct idea.

Are there any places in the Book of Mormon where the Nephites are described in a negative light?
In addition to the parts included in the section above, there is more.
Here, the Nephites are described as very wicked, and the Lord tells them of impending death and other problems with the Lamanites if they don’t repent:
Mosiah 11:6 Yea, and thus they were supported in their laziness, and in their idolatry, and in their whoredoms, by the taxes which king Noah had put upon his people; thus did the people labor exceedingly to support iniquity.
Mosiah 11:7 Yea, and they also became idolatrous, because they were deceived by the vain and flattering words of the king and priests; for they did speak flattering things unto them.
Mosiah 11:8 And it came to pass that king Noah built many elegant and spacious buildings; and he ornamented them with fine work of wood, and of all manner of precious things, of gold, and of silver, and of iron, and of brass, and of ziff, and of copper;
Mosiah 11:9 And he also built him a spacious palace, and a throne in the midst thereof, all of which was of fine wood and was ornamented with gold and silver and with precious things.
Mosiah 11:13 And it came to pass that he caused many buildings to be built in the land Shilom; and he caused a great tower to be built on the hill north of the land Shilom, which had been a resort for the children of Nephi at the time they fled out of the land; and thus he did do with the riches which he obtained by the taxation of his people.
Mosiah 11:19 And now, because of this great victory they were lifted up in the pride of their hearts; they did boast in their own strength, saying that their fifty could stand against thousands of the Lamanites; and thus they did boast, and did delight in blood, and the shedding of the blood of their brethren, and this because of the wickedness of their king and priests.
So, does that mean that Mormon also has a Nephite bias? Or just a “king Noah” bias? Or is he, once more, presenting “things as they were”?

And there is more, much more.


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