Dark Skin = Bad?

In the Book of Mormon, I don’t understand why white skin is associated with being good, fair and beautiful and dark brown or black skin is associated with being cursed, loathsome and evil.

I am guessing it started with the “curse” of Cain. Wikipedia says, “There is no scholarly consensus as to the original meaning and significance of the curse and mark of Cain.  There is also no clear consensus as to what Cain’s mark would be. Cain’s curse and mark have been interpreted in several ways. Following the literal Biblical text, most scholars interpret the “curse” as Cain’s inability to cultivate crops and his necessity to lead a nomadic lifestyle. They interpret the “mark” as a warning to others.”

“Historically, some Christians have interpreted the Biblical passages so that the “mark” is thought to be part of the “curse”. In 18th century America and Europe, it was commonly assumed that Cain’s “mark” was black skin, and that Cain’s descendants were black and still under Cain’s curse.”

“While the majority, if not all, of Cain’s descendants would have been killed in the great flood, according to Mormons from the late 19th to mid 20th century, Cain’s bloodline was preserved on the ark through Egyptus, wife of Ham (son of Noah). The Book of Abraham, interpreted by Joseph Smith, is the source of the story of this Egyptus who preserves “the curse….” by surviving the flood as Ham’s wife. One must note, however, that in this canonized source her lineage to Cain is not given, nor is anything mentioned concerning her skin color. Thus, Mormons combined the widespread assumption that Cain’s curse was a blackness of skin with another common belief in Europe and America, that the curse of Ham, for seeing his father’s nakedness, was black skin.”

“Accepting the theory that God had cursed black people, some have used the “curse” as a Biblical justification for racism.”

In the Book of Mormon the “cursing” of dark skin continues, 2 Nephi 5:21-24 it reads, “And he (the Lord) had caused the “cursing” (dark skin) to come upon them, (the Lamanites/Native Americans), yea, even a sore cursing, because of their iniquity. 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, save they shall repent of their iniquities. 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. And because of their cursing (dark skin) which was upon them they did become an idle people, full of mischief and subtlety…”

In Nephi 13: 15 white, fair skin is associated with beauty . “I (Nephi) beheld that they were white, and exceedingly fair and beautiful…” Dark skin is never referred to as beautiful in the Book of Mormon.

In 3 Nephi 2:14-16 states, “And it came to pass that those Lamanites (dark-skinned Native Americans) who had united with the righteous Nephites (white-skinned people) were numbered among the Nephites; And their curse (of dark skin) was taken from them, and their skin became white like unto the Nephites; And their young men and their daughters became exceedingly fair (beautiful), and they were numbered among the Nephites. This insinuates that a reward for righteousness is white skin ??

In the book of Jacob 3:8 it implies that white skin is a representation of being righteous. It states, “O my bretheren (reprimanding the white-skinned Nephites who were behaving wickedly), I fear that unless ye shall repent of your sins that their (the dark-skinned Lamanites) skin will be whiter than yours, when ye shall be brought with them before the throne of God”. Do we believe that dark-skinned people who led righteous lives will be turned into white skin after they die?

Another related concern is in 1 Nephi 11:13 it says, “…I beheld the city of Nazareth; and in the city of Nazareth I beheld a virgin, and she was exceedingly fair and white.” This passage refers to Mary, Jesus’ mother who was certainly not white. Like Jesus himself, her race and people would have had darker tan, olive skin, not Caucasian white.

If the Book of Mormon is supposed to be the most correct book on earth and we are to get nearer to God by abiding by it’s precepts and teachings, I am just wondering about what it actually teaches people about the color of people’s skin.

These questions, along with the obvious one of the blacks not being able to receive the priesthood until 1978 makes me concerned. 

What do you think?

This entry was posted in Black Skin and The Priesthood, Book of Mormon and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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