What About the "Lamanites"?
On this board, much bandwidth has been consumed discussing the Book of Mormon poeple called the “Nephites” - an anachronistically advanced civization of city-builders who forged steel, created road networks, operated a monetary economy and even practiced key elements of Christianity (including naming Jesus as Christ) all before Jesus himself was even born. To this date, there is no factual evidence that this "Nephite" civilization ever existed.
In a great war of extinction, we are told, the “Nephites” were supposedly wiped out, to the last man by the "Lamanites". The” Lamanites” supposedly survived to Joseph Smith’s day and even continue on today. The alleged extinction of the "Nephites" provides what Mormons regard as a plausible reason to account for the complete lack of any evidence that they ever even existed.
But what about the other Book of Mormon civilization – the one the BoM calls the “Lamanites”?
The Mormon church tells us that, unlike the so-called “Nephites”, the “Lamanites” not only exist today but based on WHO the “Lamanites” supposedly are, their number constitutes the largest single ethnic diaspora in human history. Virtually all of the native peoples of the Western Hemisphere (North and South America) and at least most of the Pacific region are supposedly “Lamanites” or, the “Descendants of the Book of Mormon peoples” 1.
Six months after the founding of the Mormon Church, “prophet” Smith dispatched Oliver Cowdery and Parley P. Pratt to lead the first mission to the American Indians – the ones the BoM calls the, “Lamanites”. Cowdery and Pratt traveled to Ohio and beyond - at that time a fronteer region, populated mostly by Native Americans. The early Mormons clearly understood their “prophet” to have revealed that the plains people of North America are the “Lamanites”. There was a common speculation of the day, which began over a century before Joseph Smith’s supposed revelation, that erroneously assigned the identity of the “lost tribes” of Israel to the North American Indians, chiefly the Plains People and the tribes of the North East. Smith's "revelation" appears to have simply capitalized on this common, but incorrect guesswork. Nevertheless, later this view expanded among Mormons and today, according to the official LDS website, the descendants of "Jared" and "Lehi" includes the indigenous peoples of the South Pacific as far South as New Zealand and stretching Northwest across Tonga, Fiji, Samoa, and Hawaii and also includes the native peoples of North and South America, or some portion of them.2
If the Mormons are telling the truth, it is at least extremely odd but more likely just plain idiotic; but ...ALL of these hundreds of tribes and millions of peoples scattered over half of planet Earth are just flat wrong about their own identity, their own history, their own languages, their own cultures, their own religions, etc. Contrary to what the LDS church teaches them, they seem to think that they actually understand their own histories, cultures, religions and languages, etc. in a variety of ways that have nothing whatsoever to do with what Joseph Smith assigned to them in his alleged "revelations from God" in the BoM. For example, none of them show any evidence of having ever been aware of the existence of any of their alleged Biblical or BoM ancestors, or their story or the key elements of the BoM (it’s history, language, culture, religion, etc.). There are no “Nephites” ever once mentioned among ANY of the thousands of oral or written traditions of any of these real-world peoples. None of them speak of the patriarchs of Israel or any part of Judaism or even YHWH. Apart from Mormons coming to town and telling them what their linguistic, ethnic, cultural and historical past supposedly is, not one of them gives the slightest evidence that anyone who is a member of these civilizations has ever known anything about the peoples, places and events that the BoM tells them is their unique and common history.
I challenge any Mormon to show that I am wrong. If you and your "prophets" and "scriptures" are telling the truth, then you should, for example, be able to ...
1. SHOW US that any Native American civilization (of either North or South America), or any Pacific Island culture ever showed any evidence that would indicate that understood that they were descended from the Israelites, (prior to a Mormon coming to town and telling them that story, of course).
2. SHOW US some reason to think that any Algonquin, Hawaiian, Piute, Mayan or Samoan tradition ever taught that their ancestors slaughtered the highly advanced “Nephite” civilization in a massive war of extinction somewhere in the Americas.
3. SHOW US some reason to think that any Polynesian culture traces their own history to North or South America in general, and the lineage of "Lehi" or any biblical character in particular.
4. SHOW US that the Cree or the Blackfoot or the Maori or the Navaho that Jesus Christ ever spoke to their ancestors in person (again, somewhere in the Americas),
5. SHOW US that the languages of the people of the South Pacific s are traceable to Hebrew and that the universal consensus of all informed linguists is flat wrong in concluding that their language is the Oceanic subgroup of the Austronesian language.
If you cannot meet any such challenge as those above, then it will remain obvious that, not only is Mormonism based on a total fantasy but that Mormons exhibit equal , LARGE doses of ignorance and arrogance when arrive among any native people in the Americas or the Pacific region and start telling them a FALSE history of their own culture.
1. Who and Where Are the Lamanites? By Lane Johnson Assistant Editor, Ensign, Dec 1975 (available at LDS.ORG)
Last edited by BrianH; 09-25-13 at 02:33 PM.