The Inclusive, Anti-Discrimination Message of the Book of Mormon

Abstract: Attitudes of superiority lead to societal conflict. The racial interpretation of a few Book of Mormon verses has contributed to these attitudes and conflicts, yet hundreds of inclusive messages are found in more than half of the book’s verses. God’s message, love, mercy, and justice are for all people. Righteous people did not think themselves above others, nor did they persecute others or start wars. War is tragic and is caused by wickedness. Conspiracies are a great evil. Righteous people were kind in their attitudes and actions, regardless of others’ social status or ethnicity. Some Book of Mormon people even gave their lives or put their lives at risk to act kindly, and some of these went from hating others to giving up their lives on behalf of others. The inclusive messages in the Book of Mormon are consistent with the position advocated by current Latter-day Saint leaders condemning all racism and disavowing racist hypotheses such as those derived from a few Book of Mormon verses (i.e., that skin color is related to righteousness). The inclusive messages also are consistent with the view that skin color in the Book of Mormon is not literal but is metaphorical. The Book of Mormon instructs us that the right way to interact is with love and respect, through examples of people respecting and reaching out to others, promises to all people, condemnation of unkindness and anti-Semitism, calls to all people to repent, and emphasizing the flaws of one’s own group and not those of others.


Conflict between nations, tribes, ethnicities, economic classes, and other social divisions has led to tremendous human suffering. Confrontations range from all-out war to subtle oppression and persecution. A primary cause is the view that another person’s ethnicity, economic status, educational level, gender, or other social, physical, spiritual, or mental distinction is inferior to one’s own. These views [Page 196]usually lead to overt or subtle discrimination (i.e., prejudicial conduct towards others based on attitudes of superiority). Racism, xenophobia, casteism, nationalism, chauvinism, and anti-Semitism are common forms of discrimination. Among the plethora of social problems currently in the world, discrimination abounds, and its reduction or elimination would improve the lives of everyone on earth.

The Book of Mormon claims to be an ancient book written for our day, and some of its ancient authors claimed to have seen our day.1 As stated on its title page, the book professes to be for all people to convince each one of us “that Jesus is the Christ” and that we should accept his gospel. If we do, we are promised personal happiness and peace with others.2 If the Book of Mormon claims to be for our day, then the book’s teachings should help us overcome discrimination — this unrelenting issue of our time.

Yet, many perceive the book to be racist.3 A separation of people into two nations included a statement that God put “a skin of blackness” upon the people of one nation as part of a curse for their disobedience, according to the non-cursed recordkeeper (2 Nephi 5:21). This statement along with words in seven other verses4 have been perceived to indicate that dark skin pigmentation is a sign of unrighteousness or divine disfavor and light skin the opposite. Some have used these words to justify racist attitudes.5 [Page 197]Many people struggle with these words6 or refuse to consider the book’s other messages. Some believe the book is a product of racist attitudes common in the United States in the 1800s, when the book was first published. The racial interpretation of the Book of Mormon has increased, not diminished, conflict.

Counter to the racist impression, more than three thousand Book of Mormon verses directly or indirectly impart an inclusive, anti-discriminatory message (Table 1).7 People today may perceive the cursing as a racist declaration or a license to discriminate, but righteous Book of Mormon people did not. Wicked behavior of the cursed group was excused, but that of the non-cursed, recordkeeping group was severely criticized. Several times the cursed people were righteous examples or were more righteous than the non-cursed people. People of the two nations were considered brethren. Love of all was preached and practiced. Kind acts occurred between nations and within each nation, including outreach to the other nation and help to the poor within a nation, and some selfless people lost their lives or put their lives at risk. Although often at war, the two nations had significant peaceful interactions. Unkind actions and attitudes toward other groups were identified as evil, including [Page 198]exploitations, class distinctions, persecutions, and attitudes of superiority. War was tragic and caused by wickedness. Intermingled in these messages are messages especially relevant for today. God loves and invites all people. God is fair to all. Prophecies extend his blessings worldwide to modern Jews, other Israelites, descendants of Book of Mormon people, and all other people (Gentiles). The promised blessings will be fulfilled if people choose to follow the Lord. Those who fight against the Lord will incur his wrath, regardless of ethnicity or heritage. Anti-Semitism is condemned. Conspiracies are extremely wicked. The book contains a powerful example of redemption from discriminatory attitudes.

In addition to helping us overcome discrimination in our day, these examples and lessons are consistent with the idea that light and dark skin in the Book of Mormon are metaphorical and are inconsistent with a book that is merely a product of 1800s attitudes. Because the racially interpreted language has been an obstacle to clearly seeing the inclusive messages, the difficult words will be addressed first.

Cursing, Skin, Disavowal, and Metaphors

Today, the Church disavows the theories advanced in the past that black skin is a sign of divine disfavor or curse. … Church leaders today unequivocally condemn all racism, past and present, in any form.8

The Book of Mormon opens with a journey to a promised land and a family fight. Serious discord, including violence and death threats,9 continued until the natural death of Lehi, the family patriarch, sometime after their arrival in the new land. At that time, the death threats became more ominous, and one brother, Nephi, was directed by God to move away from his conspiring brothers and take people who were loyal to him (2 Nephi 5:1–9). The division led to two “Lehite” nations, Nephites and Lamanites, named respectively after brothers Nephi and Laman, the [Page 199]first principal leaders of the two groups. Not only did these two nations become enemies and have wars, but according to the Nephite record (the Book of Mormon), the Lamanites were cursed by God (2 Nephi 5:20–25). This was more than simply the breakup of an extended family.

Because some passages on cursing have been interpreted in modern racial terms, these and other verses on appearance and cursing are pertinent to discussions of what the book says about interethnic relations. In the Book of Mormon, Lamanite cursing is mentioned twelve times (Table 2), other relevant references to cursing are mentioned seventeen times (Table 2), and appearance or skin is mentioned forty- six times (Table 3).

Lamanite Cursing and Racial Interpretations

In the Book of Mormon, cursing came when people chose not to follow the Lord and usually entailed being cut off from God. Curses could be removed by coming back to the Lord. These principles were taught numerous times (e.g., Table 2).

The Lamanites were “cut off from the presence of the Lord” (2 Nephi 5:20), but another aspect of their cursing has been commonly interpreted to be racial (2 Nephi 5:21–25).10 Nephi records that the [Page 200]Lamanites, who “were white, and exceedingly fair and delightsome,” now had “a skin of blackness” put upon them by God to keep them from mixing with the Nephites. The Lamanites would be “loathsome” to Nephites, “save they shall repent of their iniquities.” Lamanites became “idle” and “full of mischief and subtlety.” In today’s vernacular, these statements seem cruelly insensitive and blatantly racist. They also suggest dark skin pigmentation is a sign of unrighteousness or divine disfavor. As historians have noted, these verses “sound like the Jacksonian view of Indians common to most Americans in 1830” or “[seem] to be a straightforward articulation of nineteenth-century racial ideology.”11 Hence, many view the Book of Mormon as a product of 1800s attitudes.12

The apparent racial component of the cursing is enhanced by racial interpretations of seven other Book of Mormon verses. There, skin color also is mentioned or assumed. The mother-to-be of Jesus was prophesied as “exceedingly fair and white” (1 Nephi 11:13). Another prophecy described latter-day Gentiles coming to America as “white, and exceedingly fair and beautiful,” like the Nephites (1 Nephi 13:15). Nephi’s brother Jacob mentioned “the cursing which hath come upon [the Lamanite’s] skins” and urged the Nephites to “revile no more against [the Lamanites] because of the darkness of their skins” (Jacob 3:5, 9). He mentioned that Nephites’ sins were worse than those of the Lamanites, and he feared “unless ye shall repent of your sins that their skins will be [Page 201]whiter than yours, when ye shall be brought with them before the throne of God” (Jacob 3:8). In the record of a Nephite-Lamanite battle, the book stated that “the skins of the Lamanites were dark, according to the mark which was set upon their fathers, which was a curse upon them because of their transgression” (Alma 3:6). After some Lamanites were converted to the Lord and lived righteously, the curse was removed, “and their skin became white like unto the Nephites” (3 Nephi 2:15).13

Keeping the racial interpretation, Book of Mormon readers have interpreted these passages in at least nine ways that might be less offensive to modern racial sensibilities.

  1. The “curse” differed from the “mark,” i.e., the punishment or curse was separation from God, and the mark was a skin color change and was separate from the curse.14
  2. “Correct traditions, not skins, were the issue” (inferred from the statement that the mark was given to prevent the Nephites from believing “incorrect traditions which would prove their destruction” [Alma 3:8]).15
  3. [Page 202]God made a racial divide anciently to separate people, but today no such distinction exists.16
  4. Skin color change could have been something that simply occurred naturally, for example by intermarriage with non- Lehites who lived with or around the Lamanites and had a darker complexion.17
  5. Nephi and other writers were angry, distressed, or mistaken when they wrote racist passages.18
  6. Those passages “collide with current sensibilities and speech,” but “reflect the cultural perceptions and customs of ancient people in response to an unusual color change in their family”; the “significance … is merely historical, not doctrinal.”19
  7. The Book of Mormon overturns traditional racism by making the dark-skinned group conquerors over the light- skinned group and by promising the dark-skinned group blessings and victory over others in the latter days.20
  8. [Page 203]In the Book of Mormon, race is “a mutable commodity … the ‘skin of blackness’ that covers them may be removed or transferred elsewhere.”21
  9. Although some words are or appear racist, the Book of Mormon’s message is anti-racist.22

All these interpretations raise the troubling idea, stated by Jared Hickman, of “God’s willingness to work with anti-black racism in order to maintain the purity of tradition.”23 Put another way, why is racism in a holy book written for our time, when racism would be such a divisive issue?

On the other hand, these nine ideas suggest that a racist interpretation of those eight verses is inconsistent with the message in the rest of the book. Labeling racially interpreted passages as “ugly,” Peter Coviello nevertheless suggests “the reading of The Book of Mormon as plainly and conventionally racist is, while not exactly untenable, nevertheless a serious misapprehension of the text.”24 He added,

[Page 204]The Book of Mormon may be less an exemplification of colonizing racism (and racist historiography) than a sustained performed critique of it, in which it is exactly the Nephites’ imperiousness, their incapacity to recognize themselves as anything other than chosen and holy and their foes as anything other than benighted, that dooms them. It is, we could say, a vast chastisement of the self-blindedness of imperial arrogance.

Coviello is not alone in his assessment. Acknowledging the difficult passages, Ahmad Corbitt asserts “that the Book of Mormon is … the most racially and ethnically unifying book on the earth.”25 The book “declares that God, our Eternal Father, seeks to save all of His children, without regard to color or race,” he states, and “makes this point more explicitly, repeatedly, and forcefully than any other volume of scripture.” The book “provides examples of righteous people from contrasting cultures reaching across differences of color and tradition to rescue their brothers and sisters with the gospel of Jesus Christ.” “In spite of its frank documentation of racist feeling,” John Tvedtnes states, “the Book of Mormon is not in itself a racist document. In fact, it advocates and even idealizes the exact opposite: rather than promoting concepts of racial inferiority, the events and teaching within it clearly suggest that people of different ethnic backgrounds and traditions can truly overcome old hatreds and misconceptions and attain peace, happiness, and unity through the gospel of Jesus Christ.”26

Disavowing Racism and Interpreting Metaphorically

In December 2013, senior leaders of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles) stated emphatically that any connection between a person’s literal skin pigmentation and his or her spiritual state was an incorrect idea:

Today, the Church disavows the theories advanced in the past that black skin is a sign of divine disfavor or curse, or that it reflects unrighteous actions in a premortal life; that mixed- race marriages are a sin; or that blacks or people of any other race or ethnicity are inferior in any way to anyone [Page 205]else. Church leaders today unequivocally condemn all racism, past and present, in any form.27

Although refuting the connection of literal skin color to righteousness level, the church leaders did not give an interpretation of the skin color statements in the Book of Mormon.

Consistent with the church leaders’ disavowal of previous racial interpretations, several researchers have proposed that those Book of Mormon passages can, or should, be interpreted metaphorically. Their conclusions are based on reasonings from the scriptures, from ancient Middle Eastern cultural traditions, and from English usage. The disavowal and metaphorical reasonings suggest our modern society has interpreted these passages with our own racial biases and not how the Book of Mormon authors intended.

Marvin Perkins asserts that Book of Mormon references to light or dark skin are idioms referring to one’s emotional or spiritual state.28 He noted that very similar words are used in nine Old Testament verses (King James Version). Job lamented, “My skin is black upon me” (Job 30:30). Jeremiah noted, “Our skin was black like an oven because of the terrible famine” (Lamentations 5:10). In the 1979 and 2013 Latter-day Saint editions of the Bible, the following three verses are accompanied by footnotes stating that black or blackness is a “Hebrew idiom meaning ‘gloom’”: (1) Prophesying about the “day of darkness and of gloominess” that will accompany the coming of the Lord, the prophet Joel said, “The people shall be much pained: all faces shall gather blackness” (Joel 2:1–6). (2) In another prophecy of destruction, Nahum said, “The faces of them all gather blackness” (Nahum 2:10). (3) Jeremiah stated, “I am black” (Jeremiah 8:21). Two verses in the Song of Solomon ask for consideration despite a person’s “blackness”: “I am black, but comely” (Song of Solomon 1:5). “Look not upon me, because I am black” (Song of Solomon 1:6). Two other verses suggest that “black” refers to being dejected or to spiritual deficiency (Jeremiah 14:2; Lamentations 4:8). Perkins extends the Hebrew idiom to the Book of Mormon and argues [Page 206]that this is evidence that the Book of Mormon is an ancient book. Therefore, he says, black people or black skin metaphorically refers to a poor spiritual or emotional state. References to white people or white skin, he reasons, are metaphors for righteousness.29 He states, “The words ‘black’ and ‘white’ do not refer to race in the scriptures.”30 He adds that the division of people into races is a modern invention.31

Beginning in a May 1950 church magazine, Hugh Nibley reasoned the Lamanite mark was artificial and related black and white to Arabic culture.32 Reasoning from Alma 3, Nibley said, “Here God places his mark on people as a curse, yet it is an artificial mark which they actually place upon themselves.” He then said, “The mark was not a racial thing. … Thus t he difference between Nephite and Lamanite is a cultural, not a racial, one.”

The cultural picture may not be the whole story of the dark skin of the Lamanites, but it is an important part of that story and is given great emphasis by the Book of Mormon itself. There is no mention of red skin, but only black and white. With the Arabs, to be white of countenance is to be blessed [Page 207]and to be black of countenance is to be cursed; there are parallel expressions in Egyptian and Hebrew.

In a reformatted publication of his article in 1952, Nibley noted that the black, dark, and white skin colors mentioned in the Book of Mormon were “being used as the Arabs use them.”33 In 1967, Nibley further pressed the connection to Middle Eastern culture.

The Lamanite and Nephite division was tribal rather than racial. … The dark skin is mentioned as the mark of a general way of life, it is a Gypsy or Bedouin type of darkness, “black” and “white” being used in their Oriental sense (as in Egyptian), black and loathsome being contrasted to white and delightsome.34

Given that the Book of Mormon claims to be from Israelite and Semitic people who emigrated from the Middle East, reasonings from the Bible and Middle Eastern traditions are valid. Therefore, the metaphorical interpretation of skin color by Perkins and Nibley is reasonable.

John Tvedtnes also mentioned metaphorical reasonings based on a comparison to Arabic culture and that the word white was often used symbolically when the Book of Mormon was first published in 1830.35 He stated,

The Qur’an, a seventh-century Semitic text, also speaks of the day of judgment as “the day when some faces will be white and some faces will be black” (3:106). This could be taken as a reference to purity and righteousness on the one hand and impurity and wickedness on the other, or to salvation and damnation, but certainly not to race, since Islam has always been reasonably color-blind. Modern Arabic still uses the idiom sawwada wajhuhu to describe the act of discrediting, [Page 208]dishonoring, or disgracing a person, but its literal meaning is “to blacken the face” of someone.36

In Joseph Smith’s day, use of the word white to designate purity was well attested, Tvedtnes noted. Half of the six definitions of “white” in Noah Webster’s 1828 American Dictionary of the English Language concern purity.37 “Only two concern color.”

In 1830, metaphorical usage of the adjective black also was well established. Webster’s 1828 dictionary gives five definitions for the adjective black.38 Three of these definitions are figurative.

Our own culture uses analogies to color or skin type that are metaphorical and non-racial that are relatable to skin color in the Book of Mormon. Armand Mauss stated, “Differences between Lamanites and Nephites can be understood in terms primarily cultural and religious, rather than racial.”39 People, he said, could read white and black or dark skins in a figurative manner, much like people speak of thick or thin skins. Ethan Sproat suggested uses of white and black people in the Book of Mormon could be interpreted “in the same symbolic sense [Page 209]that we might describe an envious person as green, a sad person as blue, or an embarrassed person as red.”40

Nancy Bentley suggested a religio-cultural difference.41

The two populations also follow an ethnological schema structured not by race but by religio-cultural institutions. The difference in skin color between the Nephites and Lamanites does not mark a difference between separate biological races; all are equally the ‘seed’ of Lehi. Rather, the Lamanites, in failing to elect the path of Christian worship … also fail to practice the arts of a supposedly higher civilization. … When the Lamanites refuse the enlightened, family-based spirituality introduced by Lehi and Nephi, they make themselves tribal.

She adds, “Even race is a matter of choice.” “Free agency not only inaugurates the original population difference of the Lamanites; that power of agency remains a live factor in Lamanite identity, as when the voluntary conversion of a group of Lamanites to Nephite teachings makes their skin become ‘white.’”

Brant Gardner proposed a symbolic interpretation based on whether someone was in or out of the group.42 The assumption of literal skin color differences, he states, is “based on an understandable but unfortunate reading of 2 Nephi 5:21. … The condition of darkness comes with dwindling in unbelief. When that occurs, darkness falls — on their hearts and metaphorically on their skins.” People inside one’s group (insiders) are viewed favorably and outsiders unfavorably. “[A]ncient society saw reality as communally related. The group was the meaning, and individuals who did not conform were considered deviant.”43 Because in the Book of Mormon “the mark/curse can be removed by simply traversing [the insider/outsider] boundary” (i.e., simply by repenting), Gardner says, “I conclude that it is unlikely that the mark or curse had anything to do with pigmentation.”44

[Page 210]Douglas Campbell noted that the Book of Mormon prophesied that Gentiles (anyone not a Jew or Israelite) would be brought to America by the Lord (1 Nephi 13:12–15; 2 Nephi 1:6); these people were of all “colors” ranging from fair-skinned Scandinavians to dark-hued Africans.45 Therefore, he reasoned, if all these people were “white” like the Nephites (1 Nephi 13:15), then “whiteness” must be metaphorical.

Ethan Sproat proposed a metaphorical interpretation involving clothing instead of human skin pigmentation.46 Noting that “nothing in the text of the Book of Mormon itself positively or unambiguously indicates that the various-colored or cursed skins are definitely human flesh” and that all other uses of the indefinite article a with skin in the Book of Mormon and King James Bible refer to a form of clothing, he suggests that “a skin of blackness” (2 Nephi 5:21) refers to animal skins and not human epidermis. As further evidence, he notes that one sentence before stating “the skins of the Lamanites were dark” (Alma 3:6), the book states the Lamanites “were naked, save it were skin which was girded about their loins” (Alma 3:5). Therefore, one can reasonably deduce that “skins” in the second sentence refers to the skin covering mentioned in the previous sentence. Sproat postulated that skins represent ritual clothing, and after being cursed, the Lamanites wore “a sort of garment with powerful rhetorical signals for the Nephites.”47

Adam Oliver Stokes proposed that “skin of blackness” denotes spiritual darkness, not physical pigmentation.48 He relates that phrase (from 2 Nephi 5:21) to “scales of darkness,” which “Nephi later predicts will fall away as the Lamanites come to see Jesus as the Christ” (2 Nephi 30:5–[Page 211]6). He notes the Book of Mormon claims to be a Semitic text, and “using Semitic languages as an interpretive guide,” he finds “scales” and “chaff” as words that can be translated into the English word “skin.” Therefore, he reasons “skin of blackness” is an impermanent covering like “‘chaff’ or ‘scales’ that fall off wheat when it is ripe for harvest.”

Descriptors such as white, fair, delightsome, black, dark, and loathsome “may be understood in an empirical sense (i.e., describing the physical appearance of [Nephite and Lamanite] bodies),” Steven Olsen notes; but, he adds, “the Book of Mormon also allows for a metaphorical interpretation (i.e., symbolizing the spiritual condition of their souls).”49 He notes Jacob clearly used the term filthiness metaphorically in describing both the Nephites and Lamanites (Jacob 3:9). They are morally impure, not unwashed. This could also mean “that Nephi and Jacob use allusions to skin color also in a metaphorical sense.” Mormon did the same. Olsen gives other reasons for a metaphorical understanding. “Other anatomical metaphors [were] used to make spiritual points … [including] ‘stiff’ necks, ‘blind’ eyes, ‘deaf’ ears, ‘high’ heads, and ‘past feeling.’“50 In the same verse where “skin of blackness” is given, “Nephi uses human anatomy in a metaphorical sense” by saying the Lamanites had “hardened their hearts.” “A figural reading of such phrases is consistent with literary conventions of biblical writers.” Often Nephites become Lamanites and Lamanites become Nephites, but “Mormon’s narrative … hardly ever mentions a corresponding change in physical appearance.” A symbolic marking, a red mark put by Nephite defectors on their foreheads (Alma 3:4), “would not be necessary if ethnic identity were determined by racial (genetic) more than cultural (behavioral and value-based) criteria.” When Mosiah’s sons and others go to preach to the Lamanites, “the main differences that the missionaries find during their fourteen-year mission are cultural, not racial.” Olsen concludes, “[T]hese distinctions between the Nephites and Lamanites suggest that the boundary between the two groups is defined by moral values, not genetics, and that the curse of the covenant is manifest primarily in spiritual and behavioral, not physical, terms.”

[Page 212]As noted by several authors, a Book of Mormon statement once thought to indicate white epidermis was changed by Joseph Smith and clearly is metaphorical.51 After Lehite descendants are converted in a future day, the record prophesies, “their scales of darkness shall begin to fall from their eyes; and many generations shall not pass away among them, save they shall be a pure and a delightsome people” (2 Nephi 30:5–6). Joseph Smith substituted the word “pure” for “white” in the 1840 edition of the Book of Mormon. This change emphasizes the metaphorical meaning of “white” to mean spiritually “pure.”52

Metaphorical readings bring consistency to other Book of Mormon verses connecting lightness, delightsomeness, darkness, filthiness, and similar words to a person’s or a people’s spiritual state. In a vision, Nephi saw righteousness associated with white garments and “dwindling in unbelief” and “all manner of abominations” connected to darkness, filthiness, and idleness (1 Nephi 12:10–11, 15–16, 20–23). During a magnificent spiritual experience, Jesus’ Lehite disciples prayed, and “they were white, even as Jesus” (3 Nephi 19:25, 28–30). After Christ’s visit and all the people had been converted to the Lord, they “became an exceedingly fair and delightsome people” (4 Nephi 1:10). Mormon prophesied that the Lehite descendants, “once a delightsome people,” would become darker and filthier than was known throughout the Book of Mormon, “because of their unbelief and idolatry” (Mormon 5:15, 17). Moroni pleads with unbelievers to turn to the Lord, “that perhaps [they] may be found spotless, pure, fair, and white” (Mormon 9:6). The prophecy that the Gentiles would be “white, and exceedingly fair and beautiful” is connected to a time when they “did humble themselves before the Lord” and “the Spirit of the Lord … was upon [them]” (1 Nephi 13:15–16).53 Brant Gardner notes, Jacob’s point about Lamanite skins being whiter than Nephite skins at the day of judgment (Jacob 3:8) only makes sense if black and white skin metaphorically refers to spiritual state.54 Ethan Sproat noted that interpreting the pre- cursed “white” and “fair” Lamanites (2 Nephi 5:21) as racial does not match with [Page 213]the only other usages describing “people as white and fair” (1 Nephi 11:13; 1 Nephi 13:15; Mormon 9:6), which are metaphorical.55 Douglas Campbell noted that nearly all uses of white in the book are figurative.56

Figurative meanings of white, black, filthy, delightsome, darkness, and other “appearance” words are consistent with the Lord’s direct teaching that he cares about our inner or spiritual beauty, not our outward or physical beauty. Isaiah said the Lord will judge righteously; he will “not judge after the sight of his eyes, neither reprove after the hearing of his ears” (2 Nephi 21:3–4; Isaiah 11:3–4). God told the Old Testament prophet Samuel, “man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart” (1 Samuel 16:7). As the Book of Mormon teaches, God invites all people and is fair to all (Table 4). Physical ability or appearance is never a requirement for salvation. From their context, some Book of Mormon verses clearly refer to physical appearance (e.g., Mosiah 19:13–14; Alma 32:2–3; Ether 8:8–10). However, the meanings of most “appearance” words are consistent with spiritual or inner beauty (Table 3), for example:

  • Isaiah’s statement “the show of their countenance doth witness against them, and doth declare their sin to be even as Sodom” (2 Nephi 13:9; Isaiah 3:9).
  • Alma’s question “have ye received [God’s] image in your countenances?” (Alma 5:14, 19).
  • The comment that righteous Nephites were “exceedingly fair and delightsome” (4 Nephi 1:10).
  • Mormon’s prayer that his brethren “may once again be a delightsome people” (Words of Mormon 1:8), and his lament “O ye fair ones, how could ye have departed from the ways of the Lord!” (Mormon 6:17, 19).
  • Nephi’s vision of Mary being “exceedingly fair and white” and “most beautiful and fair” (1 Nephi 11:13–15, 18).
  • The Lord’s statement that he would not suffer “cries of the fair [Nephite] daughters … against the [Nephite] men” (Jacob 2:32).

Put another way, certainly God cared about all Nephite women, not just those deemed physically attractive. Certainly God cared about the spiritual beauty of his son’s mother-to-be, not her physical appearance. [Page 214]Isaiah emphasized spiritual ugliness, the people’s terrible sins.57 The comment in 4 Nephi and statements by Mormon and Alma are linked to redemption from sin through Jesus Christ (Words of Mormon 1:8; Alma 5:14–27; 4 Nephi 1:2–18; Mormon 6:17–22). The scriptures do not tell us to become physically beautiful. Indeed, the Book of Mormon shows that physical attractiveness is not necessarily connected to spiritual beauty. A Jaredite woman used her physical attractiveness as part of a conspiracy (Ether 8:8–10) and other apparently physically beautiful Jaredites were living in sin (Ether 7:4; Ether 13:17). The Messiah himself was prophesied to have “no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him there is no beauty that we should desire him” (Mosiah 14:2; Isaiah 53:2). This prophesy must refer to physical appearance because Christ’s inner beauty is, of course, most beautiful and desirable of all. Finally, the Book of Mormon condemns a group of Nephites who regarded some of their poor peers as filthy (because of their outward appearance) and forbids them entry into a house of worship (Alma 32:2–3).

Amy Easton-Flake linked white and dark to symbolism in Lehi’s dream and Nephi’s vision (1 Nephi 8, 11–14).58 There, a beautiful fruit tree symbolizes the love of God, and people are invited to come to the tree and partake of the fruit. This symbolizes accepting the gospel. Mists of darkness appear that distract people from the tree and symbolizes earthly temptations and cares that seduce people from living the gospel. Also, filthy water is seen, which symbolizes hell. She states, “The color white is synonymous with partaking of the fruit: the fruit is white, the tree is white, and individuals who partake of the fruit are made white through the blood of the Lamb.” On the other side, “By calling the people a ‘dark, and loathsome, and a filthy people’ [1 Nephi 12:23], Nephi connects them to symbols of hell — the filthy water and the dark mist.” Refuting a racial connection, Matthew Bowen adds, “‘A dark and loathsome and a filthy people’ are to be connected — rather than to race, genetics, or ethnicity — to the filthy water and the ‘mist[s] of darkness’ [Page 215]of Nephi’s vision or ‘the symbols or hell’ symptomatic of ‘unbelief.’“59 He argues that “Jacob’s allusion to ‘white’ skin color” (Jacob 3:8) and Mormon’s description of converted Lamanites becoming white-skinned and exceedingly fair (3 Nephi 2:15–16) are additional allusions to Nephi’s vision.

Three incidents where one might surmise that skin color was different between Nephites and Lamanites do not clearly say or imply a physical difference. Two incidents occur when Ammon, a Nephite, lived among the Lamanites and served King Lamoni; Ammon was easily distinguished as a Nephite (Alma 19:18, 20:10). The record is unclear how the distinction was made. A difference in skin color should not be assumed. Lamanites and Nephites could have had unique modes of dress or other outward characteristics. The people recognizing Ammon’s nationality may have simply known a Nephite was living with the king or may have heard a rumor of such. On a third occasion, as noted by Brant Gardner,60 the Nephite captain Moroni searched for “a man who was a descendant of Laman” among his army in a plot to retrieve Nephite prisoners of war (Alma 55:4–15). He found one person, also named Laman, who had escaped to live with the Nephites. Moroni had Laman and others deliver wine to the Lamanite army guarding the Nephite prisoners. They presented themselves falsely as Lamanite soldiers who had escaped from the Nephite army. The ethnicity of Laman’s companions (all were part of the Nephite army) is not specified, but if they were lighter skinned, they would have been easily recognized as Nephites. As Gardner noted, this ruse suggests the Lamanites and Nephites had the same skin color. [Page 216]“The reason for having a Lamanite [to lead the scheme] could plausibly be language or accent, but not skin color.”

The Book of Mormon mentions changes in spiritual state without any mention of skin color. When thousands of Lamanites were converted, “the curse of God did no more follow them” (Alma 23:18). No changes in skin are mentioned. After Christ appeared to the Lehite people, they were all converted to the Lord and lived in great happiness (3 Nephi 26:17–21; 4 Nephi 1:1–18). The record notes that no “-ites” were present. As the conversion occurs, no skin change is recorded. When wickedness again appears after a long period of righteousness, the people split again into Lamanites and Nephites. But this time, no mention is made of changes in skin color, even though the division again is because of wickedness, “even as it was in the beginning” (4 Nephi 1:20, 35–39). Indeed, no mention is made of skin color throughout the rest of the book.

The racialized interpretation of white and black skin in the Book of Mormon has been pervasive and long lasting. In today’s racially sensitive society, one can easily assume the metaphorical interpretations are attempts to make the book more palatable to current sensibilities.

The church’s disavowal and evidences for a metaphorical understanding suggest earlier popular sensibilities were the problem, not today’s. “Interpretations that have appealed to prevailing sensibilities were precisely what led nineteenth-century Euro-American readers to assume that the text of the Book of Mormon was somehow referring to flesh pigmentation,” Ethan Sproat wrote.61 “The nineteenth-century view seriously handicaps our perception,” Kevin Christensen noted.62 The problem is not that white was used as a metaphor for righteousness and black for wickedness, but that, somewhere in the racialization of our modern society, light and dark epidermis was tied to goodness and evil, respectively. The tragedy is that literal interpretation has contributed to attitudes of superiority.63 As is clear from church leaders and more than three thousand verses in the Book of Mormon, attitudes of superiority and unkindness toward others are inconsistent with the gospel of Jesus Christ.

[Page 217]Lamanites Excused and Exemplary, Nephites Condemned

Neither shall ye revile against them because of their filthiness; but ye shall remember your own filthiness, and remember that their filthiness came because of their fathers. (Jacob 3:9)

And Ammon said unto [the Lamanite queen]: Blessed art thou because of thy exceeding faith; I say unto thee, woman, there has not been such great faith among all the people of the Nephites. (Alma 19:10)

In our day, scornful or pejorative words are a common way attitudes of superiority are manifest. The Nephite recordkeepers included descriptions of the Lamanites that have been taken in this way. But, as Peter Coviello notes, “The Book of Mormon is something other, and something stranger, than the reflexive reproduction of nineteenth-century racism for which it is very, very easy to take it.”64 This includes not only skin color, but also disparaging remarks.

Nephite Negative Views of the Lamanites

After the Lamanite-Nephite separation, the Lamanites were described with uncomplimentary terms. They were “loathsome,” “idle,” “full of mischief and subtlety,” “wild,” “ferocious,” “blood-thirsty,” nearly naked, and “full of idolatry and filthiness”; they ate “beasts of prey” and “raw meat” (2 Nephi 5:22, 24; Enos 1:20; Mosiah 10:12; Alma 17:14–15). “They loved murder and would drink the blood of beasts” (Jarom 1:6).65 “They were a lazy and an idolatrous people” (Mosiah 9:12). They were “hardened,” indolent,” and “delighted in murdering the Nephites, and robbing and plundering them” (Alma 17:14–15; Mosiah 10:17). They “sought to obtain [riches] by murdering and plundering” (Alma 17:14). They delighted “in all manner of wickedness and plunder, except it were among their own brethren” (Mosiah 24:7).66

Several Latter-day Saint scholars and at least one leader have professed that these labels are prejudicial. Brant Gardner states that negative Nephite descriptions of the Lamanites were likely a result of the way people typically [Page 218]view outsiders.67 People outside one’s own group are often given labels that are unflattering or even pejorative. Gardner adds, “Such prejudice is not surprising.” Armand Mauss said, “Demonizing of the ‘other’ has been a recurrent process in all of human history.”68 Christopher Conkling wrote, “[A]ny ancient record not reflecting some of that racial or tribal bias would probably not qualify as an authentic ancient record.”69 John Tvedtnes70 and John Sorenson71 made similar points. Tvedtnes added, “The Lord himself does not use such language to describe the Lamanites.”72 Dan Belnap noted, “The Nephites held disdain for the Lamanite people and culture in general.”73 Lamanites also viewed the Nephites with disdain.74 Matthew Bowen added, “Nephite pejoration of the name Laman and Lamanites reinforced negative Nephite attitudes toward and traditions regarding the Lamanites.”75 After many Lamanites were converted, they changed their name to “Anti-Nephi-Lehies … and were no more called Lamanites” (Alma 23:16–17). Bowen noted the Nephites also gave them a new name, “people of Ammon.”76 President  Dieter F. Uchtdorf noted [Page 219]that both Nephites and Lamanites had views of each other that “fed their hatred for one another.”77 Certainly, like all people, both Nephites and Lamanites were susceptible to prejudice.

As internal evidence that negative statements about Lamanites are inaccurate or at least do not describe all Lamanites, some scholars noted a discrepancy between those statements and what is stated elsewhere about the Lamanites. For example, about the mission of Mosiah’s sons and others to the Lamanites, Christopher Conkling wrote the following.

[I]f we read the account of Ammon and Aaron’s 14-year mission among the Lamanites [Alma 17–29] side by side with Alma’s mission among the Nephites [Alma 4–16], what the records show is that the Lamanites were almost as civilized, decent, receptive, and, yes, hostile, dishonest, murdering, and persecuting as Alma’s Nephites. They had highways, transportation, government, religious buildings, planned cities, various religious customs, government officials, soldiers, outlaws and renegades, and kings and subkings (or “chiefs”), just as the Nephites had, and were not quite as uncivilized as the Nephites originally feared.78

Steven Olsen and Brant Gardner made similar observations.79 In addition, John Sorenson noted that the apparent superior population [Page 220]growth of the Lamanites would be unlikely in a society made up of only hunter- gatherers.80 “They must have had a productive agricultural base to gain and maintain such numbers as they displayed.”

Unless we do not understand some aspect of Nephite culture that is different from our own, the assertion appears true that Nephite prejudice is manifest in the uncomplimentary descriptions of Lamanites. Our own tendencies to denigrate enemies or people different from us — with similar terms — suggests that Book of Mormon people likely did the same.

The seemingly constant wars between Lamanites and Nephites likely made scornful views difficult to resist. After stating the Lamanites “loved murder” and drank animal blood, Jarom said that “they came many times against us, the Nephites, to battle” (Jarom 1:6–7). Zeniff, a Nephite who courageously fought to protect Lamanites from Nephite aggression (Mosiah 9:1–2), described Lamanites negatively only when they attacked his Nephite settlement (Mosiah 9:10–19; 10:6–20).81 The Nephites considered the Lamanites enemies (Omni 1:2; Alma 22:34). In our day, World War II, the Cold War, the Global War on Terrorism, and other wars have stimulated scorn. Of course, speaking well, or at least not speaking pejoratively, of someone who has been trying “many times” to harm us or our fellow citizens is difficult. Loving one’s enemy has always been a hard commandment to live. Our language is evidence of that fact.

Nephite prejudice against the Lamanites was undoubtedly present. On at least two occasions, Nephites wanted to destroy Lamanites (Mosiah 9:1; Alma 26:23–25). The Nephites’ negative views of the Lamanites clearly was a reason for one proposed action (Alma 26:24– 25). Jacob also pointed out that the Nephites hated the Lamanites (Jacob 3:5). The Lamanite prophet Samuel noted animosity towards him, in part because of his ethnicity (Helaman 14:10).

On the other hand, Book of Mormon authors present the proposition of destroying the Lamanites and the hateful attitudes toward the Lamanites as wrong. Were those authors and righteous Book of Mormon people also scornful and prejudicial? Were they like people today who [Page 221]do good in some aspects of their lives but are cankered by attitudes of superiority?

Because the negative statements are brief and lack context, perhaps we have misread the negative words and the authors’ intent.82 What a writer writes and a reader reads are often not the same, even if the two belong to the same culture and use the same language. Given our vastly different culture and language as compared to the ancient Book of Mormon society, the writer-reader gap is undoubtedly very large.83 The Book of Mormon writers often remind us that they wrote only a few things, that words were inadequate, or that the full history was written elsewhere.84 Perhaps the Book of Mormon authors were describing that some Lamanites had a particular characteristic and intended it as respectful people today, for example, might describe people who live primitively or people who participate in groups that use violence. The descriptions are not meant to put people down but are meant to, respectively, tell how people live and show what the obstacles to peace really are. Enos, who wrote a long list of uncomplimentary Lamanite characteristics in his brief book (Enos 1:14, 20), prayed “with many long strugglings” for them (“my brethren”) and mentioned Nephite efforts to reach out to the Lamanites and presumably have good relations with them (Enos 1:11–20).

Given that the Nephite attitude of loathsomeness would or should disappear when Lamanites “shall repent of their iniquities” (2 Nephi 5:22), perhaps disgust was based on evil Lamanite behavior that was repulsive, not nationality, physical appearance, or primitive lifestyles. This appears to be true at least for righteous Nephites. They embraced [Page 222]converted Lamanites (Alma 27:20–27; Helaman 6:3). The sons of Mosiah and colleagues embraced Lamanites before their conversion (Mosiah 28:1–9; Alma 17–23). Today, similar attitudes often are seen towards repulsive, unethical behavior found in those who engage in illegal, destructive, or costly behaviors. Though people are tempted otherwise, the disgust is against the people’s acts, not the people or their ethnicity. People who change from repulsive lifestyles are celebrated.

Nevertheless, Book of Mormon writers warned us not to think they and the book are perfect. “If there are faults they are the mistakes of men,” we are told on the title page and in the text (Mormon 8:17). In addition to admitting imperfections (Mormon 8:12) or possible errors (1 Nephi 19:6) in the record, Nephi and Moroni acknowledged “weakness in writing” and Moroni said the Gentiles would mock it (2 Nephi 33:1, 11; Ether 12:23, 25, 40). “Condemn me not because of mine imperfection,” Moroni writes, “neither my father, because of his imperfection, neither them who have written before him; but rather give thanks unto God that he hath made manifest unto you our imperfections, that ye may learn to be more wise than we have been” (Mormon 9:31; Mormon 8:12). If the Nephite writers used prejudicial statements, then this is one such imperfection from which we should learn to do better, as Moroni counseled.

On the other hand, judging the Nephite’s negative descriptions of the Lamanites as prejudicial needs to be tempered by other parts of the record. Some statements are self-labelling. After being converted to the Lord, a large group of Lamanites said they no longer killed others, stole things, or were “idle.” They covenanted “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 24:18). The Lamanite king Anti-Nephi-Lehi labeled their previous traditions and actions wicked (Alma 24:7–15; 27:6, 8). Anti-Nephi- Lehi’s father, who was the previous Lamanite king, sent a proclamation to his people. In the proclamation, he mentioned “the wicked traditions of their fathers” and wanted his people to know they should not murder, plunder, steal, commit adultery, or commit “any manner of wickedness” (Alma 23:3).85 More significantly, elsewhere (1) Nephites are condemned more often and more severely for their wickedness than the Lamanites, are described with nearly all of the same negative terms, and are condemned with dozens of terms not used for the Lamanites; (2) many Lamanites are [Page 223]given as examples of righteousness; (3) positive assessments of Lamanites over Nephites are given (even when Lamanites were unrighteous); and (4) Lamanite attitudes and actions are excused or partially excused. These features are inconsistent with a prejudicial record.

Nephites Condemned More Than Lamanites with Similar and Additional Terms

In the Book of Mormon, Nephites are more often and more severely condemned than are Lamanites. The Lamanites are described as wicked or negative characteristics are given 54 instances in 193 verses (Table 5). Nephites are labeled as wicked or are labeled negatively 146 instances in 715 verses (Table 6), almost three times more instances and almost four times the number of verses. More impressively, if the actual number of characteristic words or phrases used are tallied (tables 5–7), condemnation of the Lamanites pales in comparison. Negative characteristics of Nephites (1160) are stated six times more often than those of the Lamanites (192).86 Nephites are labeled as wicked 293 times compared to only 41 times for Lamanites, more than seven times more often.

Nephites were also given 33 of the 36 negative labels used for the Lamanites (Table 7). For 26 of these, the Nephites are labeled more than or equal to the number of times the Lamanites are labeled, 21 are double or higher. Nephites also were angry (Nephites 45 : Lamanites 3);87 blood-thirsty (6:7); cannibalistic (3:1); contentious (57:1); cunning (13:10); choosing darkness (6:2); seeking to destroy the church, prophets, or Nephite government (24:8); ferocious (2:4); filthy (6:4); hardhearted or hardened (43:9); hateful (1:12); idle (1:3); idolatrous (8:3); impenitent (2:1); lazy or indolent (2:3); lying and deceptive (17:2); guilty of malice (4:1); materialistic (23:3); murderers (33:13); plundering and robbing (12:11); rebellious against God (8:3); rejected the gospel or prophets (57:8); stealing and thieving (7:2); stiffnecked (12:2); subjugators (10:10); unbelievers (14:3); uncivilized (1:8); vain (11:1); vengeful (4:1); weak (3:3); committing whoredoms (22:1); wicked (293:41); and wild (2:4). Nephites receive these descriptions a total of 752 times compared to 188 times for Lamanites, four times more often overall.

[Page 224]Three Lamanite characteristics not used for Nephites are loathsome, mischief, and human sacrifice (Table 7). These three unique labels are used a total of four times (once, once, and twice, respectively). “Loathsome” also was used to describe what the surviving Lamanites and Nephites would become after the book ends (Table 7).88

Nephites are severely condemned in ways not used for Lamanites. Jacob addressed his fellow Nephites and told them they were “filthy” (Jacob 3:3). The first Nephi told his people they were stiffnecked (2 Nephi 25:28). Alma told another group of Nephites they were hard-hearted, stiffnecked, wicked, and perverse, and he said they were “a lost and a fallen people” (Alma 9:8, 30–32). Abinadi told king Noah and his priests, “I perceive that ye have studied and taught iniquity the most part of your lives” (Mosiah 13:11). Mormon inserted two comments into the narrative that, in addition to the wickedness of the Nephites he is describing, may have reflected his frustration and sorrow with his own generation’s descent into extreme wickedness. When Nephites were in “great wickedness” and “ripening for destruction” (Helaman 11:36–37; Helaman 13:1), he inserted a blistering attack on the “unsteadiness of the hearts of the children of men” (Helaman 12:1–8). He said people are foolish, vain, evil, quick to do iniquity, slow to do good, and “less than the dust of the earth,” which obeys God. Later, he compared the conduct of one Nephite group to repulsive animal behavior: “The more part of the people had turned from their righteousness, like the dog to his vomit, or like the sow to her wallowing in the mire” (3 Nephi 7:8). Another prophet Nephi called wicked people of his day “fools” and told them they should “howl and mourn, because of the great destruction which at this time doth await you, except ye shall repent” (Helaman 9:21–22). Conspicuously, unlike most preaching to wicked Nephites (e.g., Mosiah 12–13; Alma 9:8–33; Helaman 7–8; Helaman 13–15, see also Table 6), Nephite sermons to wicked (unconverted) Lamanites were not harsh. Ammon and Aaron had respectful conversations with Lamanite kings and did not criticize them (Alma 18:14–42; 22:1–18; see also Helaman 5:20–26).

Nephites are severely condemned with words not used for Lamanites. Nephites were labeled with an additional 66 terms not used for Lamanites [Page 225](Table 7). Nephites had blind eyes, deaf ears, false hearts, and impure minds. Harshness was needed to keep them in the right way. They were quick to forget God, slow to do good, led by Satan, setting at naught God’s commandments, trampling God underfoot, in an awful state, ripening for destruction, led astray or leading others astray, in a polluted state, and worse than prophet-killers of old. They had perverted the ways of the Lord, aligned themselves with a wicked order (Nehor), forgotten God, and destroyed their government. They had false Christs, prophets, and preachers. Nephites were carnal, depraved, fallen, lost, loveless, merciless, without order, past feeling, without principle, and unsteady. They were guilty of babblings, bloodshed, boasting, brutality, corruption, wearing costly apparel, cursing God, denying, dissension, envying, being poor examples, flattery, foolishness, seeking gain, hypocrisy, inequality and attitudes of superiority, intrigue, being “lawyers,” mocking sacred things, neglecting the needy, taking offense, persecuting others, seeking power, desiring praise of men, being prideful, priestcraft, rape, rioting, living riotously, being scornful, selling themselves for naught, sorceries, stubbornness, torture, breaking trust, and being wine-bibbers.89 Nephites received these descriptions 408 times.

The book’s focus is on Nephite sins, not Lamanite ones. Nephite prophets continually urged the Nephites to repent of their wickedness. The prophet Jarom noted that much needed to be done among the Nephites “because of the hardness of their hearts, and the deafness of their ears, and the blindness of their minds, and the stiffness of their necks” (Jarom 1:3). Alma taught a wicked group of Nephites that the day of judgment would be more tolerable for the Lamanites than for that group unless they repented (Alma 9:14–25). Nephi, the son of the second Helaman, lived in a time of wickedness among the Nephites (Helaman 4:21–26, 5:2–4, 11:1–2). He repeatedly warned the Nephites to repent to avoid destruction (Helaman 7, 8:25–26, 9:21–22, 10:11–18). Samuel, a Lamanite prophet, also warned the wicked Nephites that they faced destruction if they did not repent (Helaman 13–15). He was driven out twice (Helaman 13:1–2; 16:6–8, 10–12). Christopher Conkling noted, “Book of Mormon prophets rarely blamed their people’s problems [Page 226]on outside aggressors, but rather on internal [Nephite] dissent and sinfulness.”90

The book ends with Nephite annihilation, not Lamanite destruction, and partial annihilation of Nephites occurred at other times throughout the book. Wickedness caused their destruction. Amaron noted, “The more wicked part of the Nephites were destroyed” (Omni 1:5). Wicked people in the land of Ammonihah were destroyed (Alma 16), and many wicked people died before Christ visited the Lehite people (3 Nephi 8–9). Prophecies predicted the final destruction of the Nephites because of their wickedness (1 Nephi 12:19; Alma 45:9–14; Helaman 15). Prior to their final destruction, the Nephites “persisted in their wickedness continually,” and the wickedness among all the people was extreme (Helaman 3:16; 4 Nephi 1; Mormon 1–6, 8). As Peter Coviello wrote, the Book of Mormon tells “about imperial hubris and the steep decline of a once-righteous people overthrown by their own pride.”91

Lamanites as Examples of Righteousness

The Lamanites are examples of righteousness 19 times (Table 8). Christ mentioned the Lamanites had great faith “at the time of their conversion” (3 Nephi 9:20). Presumably the Lord could have mentioned many Nephite examples, but he chose a Lamanite one instead. That is an important endorsement, as Matthew Bowen noted.92 During a time of “great inequality in all the land,” a few Lamanites were steadfast in the faith and “would not depart from it” (3 Nephi 6:14). To the Nephites, Jacob pointed out that the Lamanites were monogamous and chaste and that fathers, mothers, and children loved each other (Jacob 3:5–7). When the Nephites cast out the prophet Samuel and were “in great wickedness,” “the Lamanites did observe strictly to keep the commandments of God” (Helaman 13:1). On another occasion, most Nephites were “exceedingly wicked” and were ripening for destruction, but most Lamanites were righteous, “insomuch that their [Page 227]righteousness did exceed that of the Nephites, because of their firmness and their steadiness in the faith” (Helaman 6:1–2, 15–40). When Ammon and colleagues reached out to the Lamanites, several spectacular examples of righteousness among the Lamanites followed (Alma 18–19, 21–27). For example, King Lamoni had a vision and saw the Lord. His wife, the queen, showed great faith. Their servant Abish had “been converted unto the Lord for many years” through “a remarkable vision of her father.” Lamoni, the queen, and Abish helped convert their fellow Lamanites. Many saw and conversed with angels. Thousands were converted to the Lord, including the head king of the Lamanites, Lamoni’s father, and his whole household. Righteousness abounded among the Lamanites. The converted Lamanites buried their weapons of war and many suffered death rather than use those weapons again, as the converts would rather die than “take the life of their enemy.” They were called “a highly favored people of the Lord.”

Lamanites and Nephites Compared — Lamanites Equal or Better

The spiritual state of the Nephites and Lamanites is compared 16 times (Table 9); mostly, the Lamanites were more righteous. The queen of the land of Ishmael and wife of King Lamoni exercised more faith than had been seen “among all the people of the Nephites” (Alma 19:10). Lamanites showed greater love (Alma 26:32–33) and more courage (Alma 56:45) than the Nephites. Twice, most Lamanites were righteous, while Nephites were mostly wicked (Helaman 6–7, 13). Another time, a few Lamanites were steadfast in the faith and would not depart from it, whereas most others were wicked (3 Nephi 6:14–18). At a time of great wickedness among the Nephites, the Nephites were told that the Lamanites were blessed because they so diligently followed the Lord when converted, but that the Nephites would be cursed and destroyed if they did not repent (Helaman 15). Alma told a group of wicked Nephites this life and the final judgement would be better for the Lamanites unless the Nephites repented (Alma 9:15, 23). For seven of the 16 comparisons, Nephites were deemed more wicked than the Lamanites, even though the Lamanites were not converted to the Lord. The Nephite prophet Jacob recorded that the Nephites began to be somewhat wicked and prideful during the reign of the second Nephite king (Jacob 1:15–16). Jacob told the Nephites their sins were worse than the sins of the Lamanites: “Ye have done greater iniquities than the Lamanites, our brethren” (Jacob 2:22–35). He pointed out that the Lamanites were sexually chaste, unlike the Nephites: “The Lamanites your brethren, whom ye hate … , are more righteous than you; [Page 228]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 … their husbands love their wives, and their wives love their husbands; and their husbands and their wives love their children” (Jacob 3:3–10). Nephite dissenters were “more hardened and impenitent, and more wild, wicked and ferocious than the Lamanites” (Alma 47:36; 24:28–30; 21:3). Mormon noted a similar pattern at the end of the Book of Mormon, that “[Nephite] wickedness doth exceed that of the Lamanites” (Moroni 9:20). Only twice out of the 16 comparisons were the Lamanites not in a better state than the Nephites; at these times, the two nations were both wicked (Helaman 4:21–26; 4 Nephi 1:43, 45).93

Interestingly, the Nephites were accused of committing sexual sins (whoredoms and similar words) 22 times but the Lamanites only once (Table 7). The one Lamanite accusation is implied, unlike the Nephite accusations.

Saying cursed, uncultured people are living better than one’s own uncursed, cultured group is especially inconsistent with a discriminatory message and with the book being a product of 1800s attitudes or Nephite bigotry. Put another way by John Tvedtnes, “If Joseph Smith’s racism is reflected in the Book of Mormon, why does that volume have large numbers of Lamanites becoming righteous — indeed, more righteous than the Nephites?”94

Another sign of inclusiveness is in a prominent war story. Sons of converted Lamanites joined the Nephite army and helped protect the Nephite nation against attacking unconverted Lamanites (Alma 53, 56–58). In all of their intense battles, none of these sons lost their lives, yet many valiant Nephites who fight alongside them were killed (Alma 57:25– 26). A bigoted author would suppress, not highlight that fact.

Lamanite Attitudes and Actions Excused

Many people who are caught up in wicked lifestyles know of no other way. This is the attitude of righteous Nephites toward the Lamanites. Seven times, the Nephite record points out that Lamanite unbelief, cursing, evil deeds, hatred toward Nephites, or ignorance was because of the traditions and iniquity of the Lamanites’ fathers (Table 10). Although not completely [Page 229]excusing Lamanite beliefs and behavior, the verses suggest understandable reasons for Lamanite attitudes and actions. Four of these statements (Jacob 3:7; Alma 9:16; Alma 60:32; Helaman 15:4, 15) are in the context of reprimands to the Nephites that told them the Lamanites have a long tradition that accounted for their attitudes and behavior, but the Nephites had no excuse for their sinful views and conduct. Another statement came from Nephites questioning whether Lamanites could be turned from the long-held “traditions of their fathers” (Alma 26:24). Two other statements were comments about the Lamanites being cursed or not believing “because of the traditions of their fathers” (Mosiah 1:5; Alma 17:15).

Denigrating Words Inconsistent with Book’s Message

For those of us who profess the Book of Mormon to be the word of God, we certainly have no justification to use pejorative or denigrating words. Other parts of the book make clear that we are to love all people. Our modern culture, thankfully, generally disapproves of denigrating descriptions. Latter-day Saint leaders encourage us to speak with kindness and avoid disparaging remarks.95

The overall Book of Mormon emphasis on Nephite wickedness and de-emphasis of Lamanite wickedness is inconsistent with a discriminatory message and consistent with an inclusive message. If the authors of the book were discriminatory, one would expect Lamanite wickedness to be highlighted, not Nephite wickedness. Lamanites would be the ones to become dangerously wicked and be destroyed, not the Nephites. The Nephites were the group who warranted the severest condemnation, and they were the ones who were, and were prophesied to be, destroyed. The Lamanites were promised to continue, even if they were wicked. “Because [Page 230]of their firmness when they are once enlightened,” the Lord would bless the Lamanites and “prolong their days, notwithstanding their iniquity … even if they should dwindle in unbelief” (Helaman 15:10–16).

Whatever the meaning of the unflattering descriptions of the Lamanites, righteous Nephites did not behave in prejudicial ways toward the Lamanites. In other words, if the Nephite words were as discriminatory as they appear, righteous Nephites acted differently from these words. The acts of both righteous Nephites and Lamanites show that they rose above ethnic strife. They were kind, however loathsome the other people may have appeared. Discriminatory people or authors do not (1) sincerely refer to despised people as “brethren,” preach kindness and equality for all, and sacrifice for the good of a scorned group; (2) condemn harmful acts and attitudes against detested people; or (3) prophesy bounteous future blessings upon despised people. Acts of kindness were not just international; intranational acts, such as help to people in need, occurred, too. The Book of Mormon also condemns extreme wickedness (war and conspiracies) that are tools of oppression, and the book contains a powerful story of redemption from prejudicial attitudes. These messages are given, in total, hundreds of times. Hence, given this overwhelming message of inclusiveness, perhaps we should reserve judgment on the motives or prejudice of the Nephite authors when they wrote negative statements about the Lamanites.

Love and Respect for Others

We see that God is mindful of every people, whatsoever land they may be in; yea, he numbereth his people, and his bowels of mercy are over all the earth. (Alma 26:37)

Doth he cry unto any, saying: Depart from me? Behold, I say unto you, Nay; but he saith: Come unto me all ye ends of the earth, buy milk and honey, without money and without price. (2 Nephi 26:25)

Through precept and example, the Book of Mormon teaches that people should love and respect others. This point is made 248 times by the Nephites respectfully referring to Lamanites as “brethren,” the repeated teaching that “all are alike unto God” or God is fair, several attempts of Nephites and Lamanites to reach out to the other nation, and many acts of inter-group kindness.

[Page 231]“Lamanites, Our Brethren”

Despite many Nephite-Lamanite conflicts and their view of the Lamanites as loathsome, the Nephites respectfully referred to the Lamanites as brothers. Fifty-nine times, Lamanites are labeled “brethren” and sometimes “beloved brethren” (Table 11). As noted by John Tvedtnes, this is not “a term that one would expect to find in a society that holds racist views toward a neighboring people.”96 If the record were a racist creed, if the Nephites were racist, or if Joseph Smith wrote the Book of Mormon based on his own or his society’s racist ideology, one would not expect a despised person to be labeled a brother. One would expect disparaging terms or silence, not a term of endearment.

Although one might expect endearing terms in times of joy, peace, or prayer (Enos 1:11; Mosiah 28:1; Alma 17, 19, 26, 27; 3 Nephi 2:12), that term of endearment was used even when Nephites were threatened by the Lamanites. The first Nephi notes, “[We] had wars and contentions with our brethren” (2 Nephi 5:34). Jacob laments that the Lamanites “our brethren” hated him and his people (Jacob 7:24, 26). Gideon, a Nephite warrior, called Lamanites “our brethren” while they were holding him and other Nephites in bondage (Mosiah 22:3). Some battles are described as a fight between “brethren,” and the Nephites lament having to again fight their brothers (Alma 43:29; Alma 48:21, 23; Alma 49:7; Helaman 11:24). Even when defeated in a battle by the Lamanite army, the chief leader of the Nephite army wondered if his nation would succumb into “the hands of their brethren” (Alma 59:11). At the close of the record, Moroni was in hiding from the Lamanites because they would kill him if they find him. Yet, five times he referred to them as “my brethren”; two of those times he called them “beloved brethren” (Moroni 1:4; 10:1, 8, 18–19). Another time, when he thought he had finished writing, he bade farewell “unto my brethren whom I love” (Ether 12:38). Labeling the Lamanites as “brethren” denotes that righteous Nephites cared about the Lamanites. The righteous people seemed to remember that whatever differences existed between the two nations, they were part of one family. This is a powerful lesson for us today.

Oliver Cowdery, David Whitmer, and Martin Harris were intimately acquainted with Joseph Smith and were vital to the preparation of the Book of Mormon for publication. They were selected as special witnesses, were shown a heavenly vision, and provided a signed statement that is included in every published copy of the Book of Mormon (Testimony of [Page 232]Three Witnesses). Included in their short testimony is a brief phrase that the Nephites and Lamanites were “brethren.” This was a key message they took from the manuscript. Including this phrase would be inconsistent if they or Joseph Smith were including racist ideology in the book.

“All Are Alike unto God”

One hundred and sixteen times a reader of the Book of Mormon encounters the teaching that the gospel message is for all, God loves all, or God is fair to all (Table 4). This message is found throughout the book.

“All nations, kindreds, tongues, and people” are included in God’s call to repent and follow Christ. In other words, all homelands, lineages, languages, and faiths97 are included. The phrase “all nations, kindreds, tongues, and people” suggests all are included regardless of how people may be characterized.

Never was the gospel intended just for Jews, Nephites, Lamanites, or other Israelites. For example, the Lord will manifest himself to all nations, both Jews and Gentiles (1 Nephi 13:42). The “salvation of the Lord” will come to “all the earth,” and “every nation, kindred, tongue, and people shall be blessed” (1 Nephi 19:17). “The knowledge of a Savior shall spread throughout every nation, kindred, tongue, and people” (Mosiah 3:20). Over and over again, the reader is told that the “gate of heaven is open unto all” who will believe in Christ (Helaman 3:27–30) or something similar. No one is turned away. “All men are privileged the one like the other, and none are forbidden” (2 Nephi 26:24–28). “[God] inviteth them all to come unto him and partake of his goodness; and he denieth none that come unto him, black and white, bond and free, male and female; and he remembereth the heathen; and all are alike unto God, both Jew and Gentile” (2 Nephi 26:33). He asks his servants to take the gospel “unto the ends of the earth” (3 Nephi 11:41). He will gather his people from “all nations” (3 Nephi 21:28–29).

The Book of Mormon clearly states that God loves every member of the human race. For example, “[O]ne being is as precious in [God’s] sight as the other” (Jacob 2:21). After many Lamanites were converted to the gospel, a leader of that effort noted, “[W]e see that God is mindful of every people” (Alma 26:37). We learn God imparts his word not only [Page 233]to men but also to women and children (Alma 32:23). The Holy Ghost is available to all who diligently seek the Lord (1 Nephi 10:17–19).

The Book of Mormon teaches that God treats all people fairly. For example, we learn that lineage is not the test God uses: “As many of the Gentiles as will repent are the covenant people of the Lord; and as many of the Jews as will not repent shall be cast off” (2 Nephi 30:1–2). “If my people shall sow filthiness they shall reap the chaff thereof in the whirlwind; and the effect thereof is poison” (Mosiah 7:29–32). God’s test is righteousness, not lineage. “The Lord esteemeth all flesh in one”; the righteous are favored, and the wicked are not (1 Nephi 17:30–43). This is shown throughout the book as the Nephites choose wickedness or righteousness. This applies also in our day, as we are told that anyone who fights against Zion, Jew or Gentile, bond or free, male or female, “shall perish” (2 Nephi 10:13–17). God commands “all men, everywhere, to repent and believe in [Christ]” (3 Nephi 11:32–34). The Gospel is available freely to “whosoever will come” and partake (Alma 42:27). “We see that [the Lord’s] arm is extended to all people who will repent and believe on his name” (Alma 19:36). The Lord “remember[s] one nation like unto another” and “speak[s] unto all nations of the earth” (2 Nephi 29:7–8, 11–12). All will be resurrected and stand before God to be judged (Alma 12:8). This latter point provides various messages, but here the important messages are that God will raise everyone from the dead and will judge everyone fairly. We will not be judged by someone with human biases.

Therefore, God treats all his children fairly and loves them equally, and we are asked to also love everyone (2 Nephi 31:20). In the Book of Mormon, righteous Nephites and Lamanites did that by reaching out to others outside and inside their own nations.

Outreach

The Book of Mormon mentions Nephite efforts to reach out to the Lamanites and vice versa (Table 12). Six efforts are described.

Outreach efforts began shortly after the Nephite-Lamanite split. Jacob, Nephi’s brother, reported “many means were devised to reclaim and restore the Lamanites to the knowledge of the truth; but it all was vain” (Jacob 7:24). Jacob’s son Enos reported the Nephites “did seek diligently to restore the Lamanites unto the true faith in God,” but their efforts were not successful either (Enos 1:14, 20).

The first successful effort involved a small band of Nephites who went to preach to the Lamanites (Mosiah 28:1–9; Alma 17–29). Near the end of Mosiah’s reign as king of the Nephites, his sons refused the kingdom [Page 234]and asked Mosiah’s permission to go with others to the Lamanites on a mission to bring peace to the land and to let the Lamanites also “rejoice in the Lord their God” (Mosiah 28:2). Mosiah consented and the small group traveled to Lamanite territory. The group suffered much, but they also met with phenomenal success. Thousands of Lamanites were converted. They “never did fall away” (Alma 23:6). Moroni called the mission a great miracle (Ether 12:15).

A second mission to the Lamanites was also successful (Helaman 5–6). Brothers Lehi and Nephi preached to the Lamanites, and most Lamanites became “a righteous people” (Helaman 6:1). They were even more righteous than the Nephites.

Lamanites then returned the favor by preaching to the Nephites “with exceedingly great power and authority” (Helaman 6:4–9). Many Lamanites participated in this effort. Their efforts resulted in “bringing down many … into the depths of humility, to be the humble followers of God.”

Later, Samuel, a Lamanite prophet, attempted to preach to the Nephites (Helaman 13–16). He was at first rejected by the Nephites, but the Lord asked him to try again. Barred from entering the city, Samuel preached from the city wall. He prophesied of Christ and warned the Nephites of destruction if they did not repent. Some Nephites believed his words and were baptized, though most still rejected him. Some Nephites tried to kill him, and he fled to “his own country” (Helaman 16:7).

Kindness from One Group to Another

Despite frequent armed battles, Nephites and Lamanites also exhibited kindness toward each other. Kind actions toward an enemy are especially difficult but are an important way Christ taught us to act (Matthew 5:44– 47, 3 Nephi 12:44–45). The Book of Mormon gives 67 examples where Nephites helped Lamanites or vice versa, where people were kind to others in different or unfortunate circumstances within their own nation, or where the society was fair and just (Table 13). Twenty of these instances involved risk of death or actual death to those who were kind.

Zeniff and other Nephites fought to protect Lamanites. Apparently as part of a Nephite attempt to attack Lamanites (“that our army might come upon them and destroy them”), Zeniff spied on the Lamanites (Mosiah 9:1–2). “But when [he] saw that which was good among them [he] was desirous that they should not be destroyed.” He proposed that the Nephite group make a treaty with the Lamanites instead of attacking [Page 235]them. His leader would not agree, and bloodshed among the Nephite army ensued. Zeniff survived, but “the greater number of [the Nephite] army was destroyed.”

Kind deeds are mentioned during the first successful mission of Nephites to the Lamanites (Mosiah 28; Alma 17–28). Sons of Mosiah “did plead with their father many days” for permission to serve the Lamanites (Mosiah 28:5). They would suffer much. To the Lamanite king Lamoni, the Nephite Ammon said he wanted to live among the Lamanite people, “perhaps until the day I die,” and be a servant to the king (Alma 17:23). Assigned to watch over the king’s flocks, Ammon protected them from plunderers. He also impressed the king by remembering to do other assigned duties after returning from watching the flocks. Ammon and King Lamoni become close friends through Lamoni’s conversion. Later, they journeyed together and confronted Lamoni’s father, who was king over the entire Lamanite nation. Lamoni’s father ordered Lamoni to kill Ammon. Lamoni refused. When Lamoni’s father tried to kill Lamoni, Ammon protected Lamoni and gained advantage over Lamoni’s father. Ammon had no desire to kill Lamoni’s father and used his advantage only to gain freedom for Lamoni and Ammon’s fellow missionaries who were imprisoned. Lamoni’s father was impressed with Ammon’s actions and desired to learn what Ammon and his missionary partners were preaching. Those partners met with Lamoni’s father and offered to become his servants. He refused their offer but asked instead that they “administer unto [him]” (Alma 22:3). Eventually thousands of Lamanites were converted; these Lamanites became friendly with the Nephites, opened correspondence with them, and viewed them as brethren. The converted Lamanites took an oath to never use weapons of war again.

After moving to Nephite territory, the converted Lamanites helped Nephites. When poor Zoramites (a subgroup of Nephites) were rejected by other Zoramites, the converted Lamanites nourished them, gave them land, and ignored threats from the Zoramite leader (Alma 35:6–9). The converted Lamanites, by then known as the people of Ammon, provided support to the Nephite army in place of serving in the army. Several years later, however, the Nephite army was in desperate need, and the people of Ammon were “moved with compassion” and offered to break their oath to never use weapons; instead, their sons, who never made the same promise, served in the army and fought valiantly (Alma 53, 56–58). During the long war, the people of Ammon received other Lamanites captured during the war (Alma 62:16–17, 27–29).

[Page 236]Nephite attitudes and actions toward the Lamanites during wars showed respect for Lamanite lives. When faced with an invading Lamanite army, the Nephites were reluctant to go to war; “they were sorry” (Alma 48:21–23). Captain Moroni, leader of the Nephite army, “did not delight in bloodshed” (Alma 48:11). During a war, the Nephite leader Pahoran said, “We would not shed the blood of the Lamanites if they would stay in their own land” (Alma 61:10). In addition, Captain Moroni would not kill intoxicated Lamanites (Alma 55:19).

Notable deeds occurred during the second successful mission of Nephites to the Lamanites and the Lamanite mission to the Nephites (Helaman 5–6). Converted Lamanites laid down their weapons and their hatred. They returned captured land to the Nephites. Nephite people who belonged to the church were very happy the Lamanites had converted, and the two groups of believers fellowshipped and rejoiced together. Fellowshipping and rejoicing together suggests a partnership of the two groups. Peace and prosperity blessed both the Nephites and Lamanites; Nephites could travel in Lamanite lands, and Lamanites could travel among the Nephites.

Peace was achieved at other times, too. After another great conversion, most Lamanites and Nephites “did belong to the church,” “and they did have exceedingly great peace in the land” (Helaman 11:21– 22). On another occasion, to protect themselves, righteous Lamanites and Nephites united into one nation (3 Nephi 2:11–16, 3:14). After the war, the victorious Nephite-Lamanite nation gave land to their former enemies, who promised to “keep the peace” (3 Nephi 6:3). The most significant peace came after Christ’s visit and the gospel was preached successfully to everyone (3 Nephi 26:19; 4 Nephi 1:2–18): No “-ites” existed. “No contentions and disputations” occurred. “They had all things common among them.” The people were righteous and happy. In other words, the differences that existed (international, ethnic, economic, and so forth) were not important. The people were united, and all had their needs met. The people viewed each other as God wants us to do.

One account mentions that a group of wicked Nephites, who were living in Lamanite lands, developed good relations with the Lamanites (Mosiah 24:1–7). These Nephites taught the Lamanites the Nephite language and to keep records. The Lamanites prospered and developed good relations with that Nephite group.

On other occasions, Nephite leaders prayed and wrote for the benefit of the Lamanites or the Gentiles. The prophet Enos prayed for Lamanites (Enos 1:11–17). He prayed “with many long strugglings.” He asked the [Page 237]Lord to preserve the Nephite records for the benefit of the Lamanites in a future day. But Enos was not alone in wanting this. The Lord told him that his fathers also asked for the same thing (Enos 1:18). Jarom wrote that he and others wrote “for the intent of the benefit of our brethren, the Lamanites” (Jarom 1:2). Moroni, the last writer of the Book of Mormon, prayed for the Gentiles (Ether 12:36).

Righteous Nephites showed concern for Lamanites on other occasions. A group of Nephites separated from the main Nephite nation and lived among the Lamanites for many years. This separatist group suffered hardships at the hands of the Lamanites. During one such occasion, Gideon called Lamanites “our brethren” (Mosiah 22:3). The separatist group later returned to the Nephite nation. After the written account of the separatists was read to the Nephite nation (Mosiah 25:4–7), the Nephites were concerned for the spiritual welfare of their brethren, the Lamanites (Mosiah 25:11). No mention was made of anger over injustices committed by the Lamanites. All that is written is sorrow for loss of life and happiness for deliverance (Mosiah 25:8–10).

When Jacob chastised his fellow Nephites for sexual sins, he used righteous behavior of the Lamanites as an example of how the Nephites should act (Jacob 3:3–9). He did not disparage the Lamanites, but he emphasized their righteous, chaste behavior.

Righteous Nephites were kind to others within their own nation. Nephites were concerned for all the people among them who were in need (Alma 1:27, 30). If a person needed help, he or she received it: “They were liberal to all, both old and young, both bond and free, both male and female, whether out of the church or in the church, having no respect to persons as to those who stood in need.” After a time of war and loss of fathers and husbands, surviving widows and children were supported (Mosiah 21:17). By example, King Benjamin and King Mosiah showed that a righteous ruler is not above the people he or she serves (Mosiah 2:12–14, 6:7). Despite evil actions of others, righteous Nephites helped “the poor and the needy” (Alma 4:13). The record reports a time of “no inequality among [the Nephites]” (Alma 16:16). When the son of a former chief judge starts a rebellion, he is indicted and sentenced to death as others not of his heritage or status would be (Helaman 1:7–8).

Righteous Nephites were kind to those who did not share their faith. The Nephites nourished Sherem, who collapsed after preaching against Christ, for many days (Jacob 7:15). When Alma and others were about to preach to a group of wicked Nephites, he prayed for success and God’s help and noted “their souls are precious” (Alma 31:34–35).

[Page 238]When facing wicked Nephites, the Lamanite prophet Samuel also gave an example of showing kindness to one’s enemy. He calls the Nephites “beloved brethren” and “brethren” (Helaman 15:1, 4), even though some of the Nephites were trying to kill him (Helaman 16:2).

The Nephite record ends with examples of kindness from Nephites to the Lamanites. Mormon’s last words were encouragement to the Lehite descendants to believe in Christ (Mormon 7). Lamanites would soon kill him as a result of the war. Later, his son Moroni wrote respectfully to the Lamanites, even though he was hiding from them (Moroni 1; 10:1– 23). One would expect people who are under threat of death from a group to write spitefully about that group or to at least say something in anger about them, but not Mormon and Moroni. After all they had seen and done in fighting Lamanites and being hunted by them, Mormon’s (Mormon 7) and Moroni’s (Moroni 1–10) counsel to follow Christ was accompanied by examples of doing just that by following Christ’s counsel to “love your enemies” (Matthew 5:44–47, 3 Nephi 12:44–45).

The accounts between the books of Mosiah and Moroni show that war was a continual presence in the lives of many, if not most, Nephites and Lamanites. Remarkable, then, are the times when righteous Nephites and Lamanites were able to put aside the hard feelings that war naturally brings.

Unkindness, Persecution, and Oppression Condemned

Because some of you have obtained more abundantly than that of your brethren ye are lifted up in the pride of your hearts, and wear stiff necks and high heads because of the costliness of your apparel, and persecute your brethren because ye suppose that ye are better than they. And now, my brethren, do ye suppose that God justifieth you in this thing? Behold, I say unto you, Nay. But he condemneth you, and if ye persist in these things his judgments must speedily come unto you. (Jacob 2:13–14)

In addition to promoting international and intranational kindness, the Book of Mormon condemns unkindness and persecution against other groups. Persecution or unkind acts are censured 106 times.98

[Page 239]Unkind Acts and Attitudes of Nephites

Whenever Nephites or former Nephites act in unkind ways toward the Lamanites or others, these acts are labeled or presented as evil. Forty- three instances are found in the Book of Mormon record (Table 14).

Unkindness toward Lamanites occurred when Nephites went to Lamanite territory. After protecting Lamanites from Nephite aggression and his “austere” and “blood-thirsty” Nephite leader (Mosiah 9:1–2), Zeniff led a group of Nephites to live in Lamanite lands. Under Zeniff’s son Noah, this group became wicked. Among their wicked deeds were (1) boasting of their prowess over the Lamanites and delighting in shedding blood (Mosiah 11:18–19), (2) kidnapping Lamanite women (Mosiah 20:1– 5), and (3) attacking Lamanites three times (Mosiah 21:2–13).

Unkind actions by Nephites against Lamanites also occurred during the mission of Ammon and colleagues to the Lamanites. Before Ammon and colleagues left for Lamanite territory, some Nephites mocked the mission and instead proposed exterminating the Lamanites (Alma 26:23–25). After many Lamanites accepted the gospel, converted Lamanites were assaulted by their unconverted countrymen (Alma 24). Over one thousand converts were killed. Most of those doing the killing were former Nephites (Alma 24:28),99 and those ex-Nephites instigated the killing spree (Alma 24:1). The Lamanite army then attacked the Nephites and were defeated, and this influenced many Lamanites in the army to also become converted to the Lord (Alma 25:1–6). Former Nephites, who were also in the Lamanite army, killed converted Lamanite soldiers (Alma 25:7–8). After returning home, ex-Nephites stimulated another round of killing converted Lamanites (Alma 27:1–4).

Five years before the sign of Christ’s birth appeared in the Americas, the prophet Samuel preached to the Nephites (Helaman 13–16). At this time, the Nephites were mostly wicked. Samuel was a Lamanite. As he preached to them, he noted that part of the reason the Nephites were angry with him was “because I am a Lamanite” (Helaman 14:10). The Nephites also tried to kill him (Helaman 14:10; 16:2, 6–8).100

[Page 240]Unkind, intranational actions were also deemed evil. The Zoramites were part of the Nephite nation. Wicked Zoramites would not allow poor people among them to enter synagogues, even though the poor had help build the structures; the people were “esteemed as filthiness” (Alma 32:2–5). After many Zoramites were converted by the ministry of Alma and colleagues, wicked Zoramites cast the converted Zoramites out of the land (Alma 35:3–6, 8). Multiple times “unbelievers” persecuted “believers” (Mosiah 24:8–11; Mosiah 26:38; Mosiah 27:1–2, 32; Alma 1:19–20; 4 Nephi 1:29). Some persecutions included death threats (3 Nephi 1:9) and actual killings (Alma 14:7–10). The opposite oppression was also condemned when people in the church “persecute[d] those that did not believe” (Alma 1:22; 4:6–15). Persecution of prophets and gospel preachers was condemned (Mosiah 11, 12, 17; Alma 8:13; Alma 14; Alma 38:3–4; 3 Nephi 6:20–30; 3 Nephi 7:14, 19). Although preaching any belief was legal among the Nephites (Alma 1:17, 30:12), Nehor killed someone who opposed his ideas (Alma 1:2–15). In contrast to the dissenter Sherem, who “was nourished for … many days” by Nephites (Jacob 7:15), the dissenter Korihor was trampled to death by a group of Nephites (Zoramites) who had separated from the main group of Nephites (Alma 30:59) and were perverting the ways of the Lord (Alma 31:1).

Do Not Persecute or Oppress Others, Love and Help Them

Persecuting another person because of his or her beliefs, economic condition, education level, clothing, or any other characteristic is explicitly condemned by the Book of Mormon, and so is oppression of others who are different. Instead, people should love and help others. Fifty-two entries make these points (Table 15).

Persecution typically results when one person or group has an attitude of superiority. These attitudes are evil, according to the Book of Mormon. The prophet Jacob taught that class distinctions and attitudes of superiority are wrong, that “one being is as precious in [God’s] sight as the other”; Jacob reprimanded those who persecute others because “ye were proud in your hearts, of the things which God hath given you” (Jacob 2:13–14, 20–21). When his people pressed him to become their king, the prophet Alma quoted the Lord, “Ye shall not esteem one flesh above another, or one man shall not think himself above another” (Mosiah 23:7). The Nephite church directed its people to avoid “pride” and “haughtiness” and “that every man should esteem his [Page 241]neighbor as himself” (Mosiah 27:4). Alma’s son, Alma, became a leader of the Nephites. The attitudes of superiority he saw among his people were labeled evil (Alma 4:6–9, 12–13, 15). In his sermon to the Nephites, he denounced the attitude of “supposing that ye are better one than another” (Alma 5:54). Later, he encountered a group of Nephites who worshipped in a manner that expressed their belief that they were better than others; this attitude and practice was condemned (Alma 31:12–30). He counseled his son Shiblon not to say he was better than others but rather to pray for forgiveness and to bless others (Alma 38:14). Other accounts again condemn the attitude of lifting oneself above another, which so often occurred because people became wealthy.101 Class distinctions are evil (3 Nephi 6:10–15; Alma 1:26). An example of the right attitude is described as priests “not esteeming [themselves] above [their] hearers … neither was the teacher any better than the learner” (Alma 1:26). Another good example is King Benjamin. He said, “I  … am no better than ye yourselves are” (Mosiah 2:26).

Persecution of others is expressly condemned. In the days of king Mosiah, the church strictly commanded that no persecutions of others occur among them, so all people would be equal. (Mosiah 27:3).102 Freedom of conscience was decreed, as Nephite “law could have no power on any man for his belief” (Alma 1:17; 30:7–12). Even Anti-Christ doctrine could be legally preached (Alma 30:12). This freedom was based on the idea that God’s commandments prohibited laws “which should bring men on to unequal grounds” (Alma 30:7). A strict church law was given that people of the church should not persecute others outside or inside the faith (Alma 1:21). Despising people who are poor or dress coarsely is wrong (Alma 32:2–5). Persecution of others was labeled “a great evil” (Helaman 3:34; 3 Nephi 6:10–15; Alma 5:54). “Smiting … brethren upon the cheek” (persecuting others), oppressing the poor, and withholding substance from people in need are evil acts (Helaman 4:12; Alma 4:6–9, 12–13, 15).

Persecution of others, attitudes of superiority, and class distinctions were signs a Book of Mormon society was turning away from righteousness. This was stated multiple times (Jacob 1:15–16, 2:13– 14; Alma 4:6–9, 12–13, 15, 5:53– 54; Helaman 6:16–17; 3 Nephi 6:10–15). For example, as the Book of Mormon people began to descend into their final period of wickedness, the record notes that class distinctions formed again (4 Nephi 1:26).

[Page 242]When Jesus Christ visited the Book of Mormon people, he said that people in the church were not to forbid any person from worshipping nor were they to cast any person out (3 Nephi 18:22–25, 28–33). “Whosoever breaketh this commandment suffereth himself to be led into temptation,” Christ said. He had prayed and invited all to come to him, and people should do the same for others. He told them not to cast someone out even if he or she was unworthy to partake of the emblems of the Lord’s sacrifice (sacramental bread and wine). Christ encouraged people to continue to minister to that person and pray for them, “for ye know not but what they will return and repent, and I shall heal them; and ye shall be the means of bringing salvation unto them.”

The Book of Mormon denounces slavery. Benjamin, a righteous Nephite king, forbade slavery among his people (Mosiah 2:13). After the Nephites abolished monarchical government, slavery was forbidden by law (Alma 27:9).

Riches should be used to bless others and help the less fortunate (Jacob 2:13–14, 16–21). People who have means should freely help those who are in need (Mosiah 18:27–29) and those who are poor (Mosiah 4:16– 26). Withholding substance from the poor is denounced (Alma 5:55). Amulek noted that if a person did not help the needy, then his or her prayers to God were in vain (Alma 34:28–29).

Persecuting others will bring the Lord’s condemnation upon a person. The prophet Alma taught the Nephites that mocking or persecuting another person disqualified one from being saved (Alma 5:30–31). Warnings are given to those who are “puffed up” because of riches or learning (2 Nephi 9:30, 42; 28:9–15). Pride and haughtiness will be put down (2 Nephi 12:11–17; 20:33). Judgment will come against those who “turn aside the stranger” (3 Nephi 24:5). Mormon also noted that sin and transgression cause great inequality (Alma 28:13). Inequality is labeled evil or a sign of evil (3 Nephi 6:10–15; Alma 4:6–9, 12–13, 15). Moroni condemned modern day persecutions and oppressions (Mormon 8:36– 37, 39–40). Two forms of oppression get additional emphasis, exploitation of others and smiting evil people.

Exploitation of Vulnerable People: Women, Lamanites, and the Well-To-Do

Some people use vulnerable people to achieve their own wicked aims. For example, vulnerable people are often used to do the “dirty work” involved in some crime. Other people are easy prey for fraudulent schemes. These exploitive acts are especially appalling. Often, the vulnerable person is of a different ethnic group, gender, age, or economic [Page 243]class than that of the exploiter. Exploitation occurs in our day103 and at least eleven times in the Book of Mormon (Table 16). Through examples of exploitation of Lamanites and women by Nephites and one example [Page 244]from Jaredite history, the Book of Mormon condemns exploitation of vulnerable people.

When the Nephite prophet Jacob chastised Nephite men for sexual sins, he included a statement from the Lord condemning the exploitation of women for sexual purposes (Jacob 2:31–35). The Lord said, “I will not suffer … that the cries of the fair daughters of this people … shall come up unto me against the men of my people. … For they shall not lead away captive the daughters of my people because of their tenderness.” Exploiting the tender feelings of these women for “whoredoms” would bring great condemnation on the perpetrators. Interestingly, Jacob and the Lord condemned the men, not the exploited women. Presumably then, the sexual liaisons were not consensual, at least as we understand that today. Jacob also mentioned that the men had deeply hurt their families. “Ye have broken the hearts of your tender wives, and lost the confidence of your children” (Jacob 2:35). Exploitation affects more than just the perpetrator and person being exploited.

Most of the exploitation in the Book of Mormon occurred when former Nephites used Lamanites to kill or attack Nephites or other Lamanites. The Lamanites’ hatred of the Nephites, based on the Lamanites’ belief that they had been wronged by the Nephites, was “a great national resource, a source of energy and resolve that malicious rulers could call upon to serve their selfish interests,” as Richard Bushman wrote.104 Hatred “was ingrained in their national identity” and was easily exploitable. Lamanite hatred was exploited for the gain of wicked Nephites nine times (Table 16).

Three incidents occurred after successful missionary efforts. Twice, former Nephites (Amalekites and Amulonites) induced unconverted people to kill converted Lamanites (Alma 24:1–2; 27:2, 12). A third incident occurred after some Zoramites became upset that other Zoramites had been converted to the Lord. The angry Zoramites “began to mix with the Lamanites and to stir them up also to anger” (Alma 35:8–13). The result was another war between the Nephites and Lamanites in which Zerahemnah, the leader of the Lamanite army, also appointed ex-Nephites as chief captains over the Lamanites to “preserve their hatred toward the Nephites” (Alma 43:4–8, 44). The ex-Nephites induced the Lamanites to fight fiercely (Alma 43:43–44). The expendable Lamanites did not have any armor for protection, but their ex-Nephite leaders did have some form of armor or at least something more [Page 245]than a loincloth, which was all the Lamanites wore against the heavily armored Nephites (Alma 43:19–21).

Despite an attempt to keep him from reaching the Lamanites, Amalickiah, a Nephite dissenter, stirred Lamanites to anger and started another war with the Nephites (Alma 46:30–33; 47:1–35; 48:1–6; 49). Before starting the war, Amalickiah conspired to become king of the Lamanites. Then, “he did inspire their hearts against the Nephites” (Alma 48:2) and a war began. Amalickiah did not come with the Lamanite army, however, and the army was repelled by fortifications the Nephites had built. The record notes that if he had come, he perhaps would have ordered an attack on the heavily fortified city of Ammonihah, “for … he did care not for the blood of his people” (Alma 49:10). Instead, the Lamanites attacked another fortified city and suffered heavy losses. After the Lamanite army was defeated, Amalickiah was “exceedingly angry with his people” and swore to drink the blood of the leader of the Nephite army (Alma 49:25–27). Six years later, Amalickiah incited the Lamanites again to come to war, and a six-year war began (Alma 51:9– 12). Amalickiah was killed at the beginning of the war, and his brother Ammoron became king of the Lamanites (Alma 52:3).

Ammoron used the “tradition of their fathers” to justify the war, but he revealed how he exploited the Lamanites for his own gain (Alma 54:16–24; Alma 55:1; Alma 60:32). In a letter to Moroni, the Nephite military leader, Ammoron wrote, “Your fathers did wrong their brethren, insomuch that they did rob them of their right to the government when it rightly belonged to them,” and he justified the war “to obtain their rights to the government.” In other words, the first Laman was older than the first Nephi and should have been the leader of the Lehites, but Nephi became the leader. Hence, Ammoron argued, the Lamanites were justified in coming to war. Despite this reasoning, Ammoron and his brother were happy to have control of the government for themselves. They were ex-Nephites, presumably not descendants of Laman, the supposed true heirs of government leadership. Given this and their earlier attempt to gain control of the Nephite government (Alma 46), Ammoron’s attempt to help the Lamanites gain their rights to government was really to help him have rights to the government. Moroni recognized that Ammoron “had a perfect knowledge of his fraud.”

Nephite dissenters incited the Lamanites to attack the Nephites four additional recorded times. Eight years after the end of the six-year war started by Amalickiah, other Nephite dissenters exploited Lamanites again, and the Lamanites suffered heavy losses (Alma 63:14–15). In [Page 246]the Book of Helaman, three wars were started by ex-Nephites inciting Lamanites (Helaman 1:14–17; 4:1–5; 11:24).

The nearly constant mention of wickedness among the Nephites might lead one to think the Nephite prophets did not tolerate points of view different from their own, as the dissenters were identified as troublemakers. But, as mentioned, righteous Nephites condemned persecution of those who did not believe as they did, and the Nephites had freedom of conscience. The goal of the prophets was to use the Lord’s words to convince people to be part of the church. Unlike most “dissenters” today, Nephite dissenters did not simply want their own beliefs. They sought control of the government and exploited others to start wars in the process (Alma 60:15–17, 32). They were not merely nice people who did not believe any more.

Not all exploitation is of people who have less wealth, power, or opportunity or who are of a different ethnicity. A sexual and power-hungry exploitation occurred among apparently well-to-do Jaredites (Ether 8:7–12). A physically fair woman used her attractiveness to induce Akish, a friend of her grandfather, the king, to kill her grandfather so her father could become king. She also exploited her power-hungry father, Jared, who agreed to her plan. The record is unclear what personal benefit Jared’s unnamed daughter received from this, but these acts had disastrous consequences for the Jaredite nation. This is also a lesson that all people may be vulnerable in some way.

“By the Wicked That the Wicked Are Punished”

Followers of Christ are expected to live a high standard in their conduct with others, even with their enemies. “Love your enemies … do good to them that hate you,” Jesus personally taught the Book of Mormon people (3 Nephi 12:43–45), as he had previously taught the Jews (Matthew 5:43– 45). Although taught to defend themselves, Nephites were “taught never to give an offense” and only to “raise the sword” in self-defense to “preserve their lives” (Alma 48:14). One reason to avoid giving offensive or using force is that preaching is more effective than force (Alma 31:5).

The Book of Mormon warns against retaliation and particularly against the idea that one can become God’s punisher. The prophet Moroni taught, “He that smiteth shall be smitten again” (Mormon 8:19– 20; 3:15). Do not revile against others who do evil things to you, “lest ye become sinners like unto them,” said Amulek (Alma 34:40). And, lest any person think that he or she can be the instigator of punishing the wicked and [Page 247]still be righteous, the prophet Mormon wrote that wicked people are punished by other wicked people. His statement should give anyone pause who thinks he or she is justified in harming a person or group he or she thinks, or even knows, is wicked. Mormon wrote, “But, behold, the judgments of God will overtake the wicked; and it is by the wicked that the wicked are punished; for it is the wicked that stir up the hearts of the children of men unto bloodshed” (Mormon 4:5).105 A prophecy of calamity coming as a result of wickedness does not mean the perpetrator of that calamity is justified. For example, Isaiah noted that the Assyrians, whom the Lord would use to punish wicked Israel, would be punished afterwards (2 Nephi 20:5–19).

How we treat other people is important. The Book of Mormon makes clear that we cannot hurt, persecute, exploit, or smite others if we want peace and the Lord’s blessings. This lesson is especially appropriate for our day, for the Lehite descendants, Jews, and Gentiles, who all have need to follow the Lord.

All are Promised Blessings, But All Must Repent

Enlarge the place of thy tent, and let them stretch forth the curtains of thy habitations; spare not, lengthen thy cords and strengthen thy stakes; For thou shalt break forth on the right hand and on the left, and thy seed shall inherit the Gentiles and make the desolate cities to be inhabited. … For a small moment have I forsaken thee, but with great mercies will I gather thee. (3 Nephi 22:2–3, 7)

I would speak somewhat unto the remnant of this people who are spared … Know ye that ye are of the house of Israel. (Mormon 7:1–2)

Like a parent who favors one child above another, one would expect a discriminatory text to favor or promise more or better things to one group than another. The mistakes of the favored child are overlooked and those of the despised child are emphasized. That is not the case in the Book of Mormon. The number of times promises are given to each group is not equal but the substance of those promises is. All people are truly “alike unto God” (2 Nephi 26:33). All are loved, and all are wanted in the Lord’s kingdom. All are worth saving, despite the wickedness and abominations that all have committed.

[Page 248]The Book of Mormon categorizes the human family into four groups: Lamanites, Nephites, Israelites (or Jews), and Gentiles.106 The Lamanites and Nephites are a subset of the Israelites or Jews. The rest of the human family is labeled “Gentiles.” The Nephite nation was destroyed at the end of the Book of Mormon, and surviving Nephites became Lamanites (Mormon 6:15; Moroni 1:1–2, 9:24).

Each of these three surviving groups received significant promises throughout the Book of Mormon (tables 17–19). These promises include special assignments from the Lord to build his kingdom in the day the Book of Mormon would come forth. The promises further the theme that God loves all (Table 4).

Many promises come from Isaiah’s prophecies. Joseph Spencer noted that the Isaiah record in First and Second Nephi points to the gospel going forth to all people: “Nephi sees … [a] sequence of Isaianic texts to be likenable to ‘all men’ and to give reasons to rejoice for ‘all men.’ … The eventual redemption of Israel is inseparable from the ultimate redemption of the whole world.”107 Isaiah’s prophecies relate to each of the three groups, as the Book of Mormon explains.

Each group had times of righteousness. Nineteen examples of Lamanite righteousness are given in the Book of Mormon (Table 8). Examples of Nephite righteousness are found throughout the book, and examples of Jewish and Israelite righteousness are found throughout the Bible. In the Book of Mormon, Gentile righteousness is prophesied (Table 17). Among the good deeds foretold is that the Gentiles will help bring the gospel forth and will help the Jews and the Lehite descendants.

However, each group also had periods of wickedness, and each was invited to return to God. A lesson for all is that no group can expect the Lord’s blessings if they transgress his laws. The Lord has no favorites — God is fair. “If my people shall sow filthiness they shall reap the chaff thereof in the whirlwind” (Mosiah 7:29–32). A particular warning is to the Gentiles who, the Book of Mormon prophesies, would be dominant in the latter days. They are particularly warned to repent, and anti-Semitism, which the Gentiles have perpetrated, is especially condemned.

[Page 249]Promises to the Gentiles

Thirty-eight times in the Book of Mormon, the Gentiles receive promises from the Lord (Table 17). For example, they were prophesied to come to America, receive deliverance from all other nations, and have God’s power with them, but they would scatter the Lehite descendants and stumble; they would then receive the gospel, bring forth the Book of Mormon, and bring the gospel and “other books” to the Lehite descendants and the Jews (Title Page; 1 Nephi 10, 13, 15; 2 Nephi 10; 3 Nephi 21:5–6, 23:1–4, 26:8, 29:1; Ether 12:22, 13:11–12). The Messiah would be a light unto the Gentiles (1 Nephi 21:6; 2 Nephi 21:10). They would receive the Holy Ghost (3 Nephi 20:27). The Gentiles would be important helpers in building the Lord’s kingdom; they “shall be great in the eyes of [God]” in gathering the House of Israel (1 Nephi 21, 22; 2 Nephi 6, 10; Jacob 5, 6). The Gentiles would be blessed in the Americas, which would be a land of liberty to them and would be where “the Lord God will raise up a mighty nation among the Gentiles” (1 Nephi 22:7; 2 Nephi 10:10–11). If they accept the gospel, the Gentiles would be blessed and numbered with the Lehites and with Israel (1 Nephi 14:1–2, 5–6; 2 Nephi 6:12; 3 Nephi 16:4–15). The Lord’s people would inherit the Gentiles (3 Nephi 22:3). Mormon prophesied that the Gentiles would sorrow over the destruction of the Nephites and “for the calamity of the house of Israel” and that the Gentiles would receive the blessings the Nephites forfeited (Mormon 5:9–11, 19).

Promises to the Jews and House of Israel

Seventy-six times, the Book of Mormon lists promises made to the Jews or the House of Israel (Table 18). For example, multiple times throughout the first three books of the Book of Mormon (1 Nephi, 2 Nephi, and Jacob), the reader is told God would remember the Jews and Israel. The Jews would return to Jerusalem after the Babylonian captivity (2 Nephi 6:8–9, 25:10–11), which would occur shortly after Lehi’s family left Jerusalem. Later, despite the scattering and scourging that would occur, “the Lord will set his hand again the second time to restore his people from their lost and fallen state” (2 Nephi 25:16–18). The House of Israel would be “scattered upon all the face of the earth,” and then “they should be gathered again” after the Gentiles receive the gospel (1 Nephi 10:12–14). The Lord would bless those who “still wait for the coming of the Messiah”; they “shall not be ashamed” (2 Nephi 6:7, 13). The Lord would destroy their enemies (2 Nephi 6:14–18). Abinadi (Mosiah 12, 15), Jesus (3 Nephi 15, 16, 20–24), Mormon (3 Nephi 5, 28, 29; 4 Nephi 1:49; Mormon 3, 5), Ether (Ether 13:3–12), and Moroni [Page 250](Mormon 8, 9; Ether 4; Moroni 10) also spoke of promises to the Jews and the house of Israel.

Promises Specific to Lehite Descendants or Lamanites

The Book of Mormon says the Nephites and Lamanites are also part of the house of Israel. Therefore, the Lehite descendants share in the promises made to the Israelites. In addition, promises were made specifically to the Lamanites and to the Lehite descendants. These descendants are believed to be native peoples of the American continent, and also Polynesia.108 As noted by Elizabeth Fenton and Jared Hickman, “The Book of Mormon is undeniably and deeply concerned with the status of indigenous peoples on the American continent.”109 The additional promises to the Lamanites and Lehite descendants are given in 50 passages (Table 19).

Several promises specifically about the Lamanites were given. The Nephite prophet Jacob taught that because the Lamanites were monogamous and chaste, the Lord would be merciful to them; “one day they shall become a blessed people” (Jacob 3:5–6). The Lord would be merciful to the Lamanites, “he will lengthen out their days and increase their seed” (Helaman 7:24). Despite “the curse of God … upon them,” “the promises of the Lord were extended unto them on conditions of repentance” (Alma 17:15). The Lord will bless the Lamanites “because of their firmness when they are once enlightened” (Helaman 15:10–16).

Other promises connect Lehite descendants and Gentiles. Although God was angry with the Lehites and they were smitten by the Gentiles, God will not let the Gentiles destroy the Lehites (1 Nephi 13:11–14, 30–31). God would soften the Gentiles, and they would help the Lehites; Gentiles “shall be like unto a father to [the Lehite descendants]” (2 Nephi 10:18–19). The Lehites would receive the gospel through the Gentiles (1 Nephi 13:38, 15:13–17, 22:7–8; 2 Nephi 26:14–16, 30:3–6; 3 Nephi 21:1–7, 26:8; Mormon 7:8–10; Ether 12:22). “They shall be a pure and a delightsome people” through the help of the Gentiles (2 Nephi 30:3– 6). The land of America was a land for the inheritance of the Lehites (e.g., 3 Nephi 16:16, 20:14). Lehites will build the New Jerusalem, and the Gentiles will assist the Lehites (3 Nephi 21:23–24). “If the Gentiles do not repent” after scattering the Lord’s people, then Lehites will overpower the Gentiles (3 Nephi 20:15–17). Interestingly, the Book of Mormon’s focus is on [Page 251]the Lehite descendants receiving the gospel from the Gentiles, not on Lehites adopting Gentile culture (a frequent criticism of modern efforts to help native people).

Wickedness of Lehites

Wickedness of the Lamanites and especially the Nephites is well documented in the Book of Mormon, as already mentioned (tables 5–7). The record also prophesied that, after the Nephite nation was destroyed, descendants of the survivors would “dwindle in unbelief” and would be smitten (1 Nephi 12:20–23; 1 Nephi 13:11–12, 14, 30–31, 35; Mormon 5:15–18).

Interestingly, the Lord said the greatest wickedness among Israel was that of the degenerate Nephites and Lamanites at the end of the record (Mormon 4:12). The Nephites had been blessed and protected by the Lord. The Lamanites had become righteous as well, at times more so than the Nephites. But what both groups became was more wicked than anytime before, even more wicked, the Lord’s statement suggests, than the Jews at Jerusalem of Lehi’s day or at the time of Christ — two instances of Jewish wickedness mentioned in the Book of Mormon.

Wickedness of Jews or Israel and Its Horrible Ramifications

Forty-three times, the Book of Mormon notes or prophesies wickedness among the Jews or Israel, and terrible consequences are foretold in most of those instances (Table 20). The Book of Mormon begins with Lehi warning his fellow Jews to repent, and they tried to kill him (1 Nephi 1). Some instances speak specifically of Jews but give the general gospel teaching that wickedness leads to negative consequences (e.g., 2 Nephi 13, 15:1–25; 16:5, 9–12; 18:6–8; 19; 20:1–6). Other verses simply point out wickedness among the Jews or house of Israel without specifying consequences (e.g., Jacob 4:14–15, 6:4; Mosiah 3:14–15). The record notes the Jews would reject or slay the Messiah, and this would result in terrible consequences; they would be “scourged by all people,” “hated among all nations,” “smitten and afflicted,” and “scattered among all nations” (e.g., 1 Nephi 10:11–13; 19:13–14; 22:5 and 2 Nephi 6:8–11; 10:3–6; 25:2, 6, 9–10, 12–15, 18).

Because of this wickedness, some have assumed that persecuting Jews is justified. People have interpreted New Testament verses in anti-Semitic ways, and some preached that the Jews forfeited their opportunity to be [Page 252]God’s covenant people — hence through supersessionism, the Gentiles are now God’s covenant people.110

The Book of Mormon clearly states otherwise. As mentioned, persecuting others is evil, and God’s punishments are done by wicked people. In addition, anti-Semitism is condemned, and the Gentiles (who are responsible for most if not all anti-Semitism) are warned specifically to repent, in part, because of their persecution of the house of Israel. The Lord has not given up on his chosen people. He will gather them (Table 18).

Anti-Semitism Condemned

Anti-Semitism has resulted in many terrible persecutions in our day. The Book of Mormon condemns anti-Semitism eleven times (Table 21).

Under no conditions is anti-Semitism justified. “Every nation which shall war against thee, O house of Israel, shall be turned one against another, and they shall fall into the pit which they digged to ensnare the people of the Lord. And all that fight against Zion shall be destroyed” (1 Nephi 22:13–14, 19). “The Mighty God shall deliver his covenant people”; their enemies will be destroyed (2 Nephi 6:7, 13–18). Anyone who fights against Zion, Jew or Gentile, bond or free, male or female, “shall perish” (2 Nephi 10:13–17). “He that shall breathe out wrath and strifes … against the covenant people of the Lord who are the house of Israel … the same is in danger to be hewn down and cast into the fire” (Mormon 8:21–22). Nephi urged his readers to “respect the words of the Jews” or those words and other scriptures will condemn those who do not (2 Nephi 33:14).

In case anyone might be unclear about “house of Israel” or “Zion,” the Book of Mormon clearly states that persecution of Jews is evil. “Ye need not any longer hiss, nor spurn, nor make game of the Jews, nor any of the remnant of the house of Israel; for behold, the Lord remembereth his covenant unto them” (3 Nephi 29:8–9). The Lord warns the Gentiles that his promises to Abraham and the house of Israel will be fulfilled. For example, “O ye Gentiles, have ye remembered the Jews, mine ancient covenant people? Nay; but ye have cursed them, and have hated them, and have not sought to recover them. But behold, I will return all these things upon your own heads; for I the Lord have not forgotten my people” (2 Nephi 29:5). Anti-Semitism is emphatically condemned. No justification exists for persecuting Jews — or anyone else.

[Page 253]As noted by Bradley Kramer and Matthew Bowen, the Book of Mormon clarifies any anti-Semitic interpretation of the Bible.111 “The Book of Mormon joins with the New Testament in order to clarify its message with respect to Jews,” Kramer wrote. Verses condemning anti-Semitism “make it very difficult for Christians to interpret the New Testament anti-Semitically.” In addition, “The Book of Mormon effectively affirms the overall goodness of Jews, confirms their ongoing place in God’s covenant, and does so despite charges of Christ-killing and the addition of believing Gentiles into that covenant.” Bowen adds that the Book of Mormon states the Jews are to be thanked not persecuted. As their name suggests, “Jews are to be ‘praised out of a feeling of gratitude,’ i.e., ‘thanked’ for their painstaking efforts to preserve the scriptures.” The Book of Mormon “suggests that we are accountable for not only our actions but our attitudes towards the Jews and the scriptures that we have through their ‘travails,’ ‘labors,’ ‘pains,’ and ‘diligence unto [the Lord]’ (2 Nephi 29:4).”

Gentiles, Repent!

The Book of Mormon calls upon modern Gentiles to repent 17 times (Table 22). The admonitions include prophecies of Gentile wickedness.

Some of the 17 instances include general comments about the wicked state of the Gentiles. The Gentiles “do stumble exceedingly,” “Satan hath great power over them,” and they are in an “awful state of blindness” (1 Nephi 13:29–34). “Turn, all ye Gentiles, from your wicked ways” (3 Nephi 30). Moroni noted general wickedness in our day and included a condemnation that latter-day people do not care for others in need; he warned that “the sword of vengeance hangeth over you” (Mormon 8:27–41).

Other admonitions to repent are gentler invitations. The Gentiles will be blessed if they repent and “fight not against Zion” (2 Nephi 6:12, 28:32). Gospel knowledge should help the Gentiles repent “that [they] may not bring down … the wrath of God upon [them] as the inhabitants of the land have hitherto done” (Ether 2:11, 8:23–25). The Lord will show the Gentiles their weakness and will “prove them” (Ether 12:28, 35). Coming “clean before the Lord” will bring “greater things” (Ether 4:6, 13).

[Page 254]Stern warnings to repent are given because the Gentiles smote the house of Israel and are wicked. Gentiles smote “those who have dwindled in unbelief,” and the Gentiles are in a state of wickedness (2 Nephi 26:19–22). Gentiles have persecuted the Jews, and God “will return all these things upon [their] own heads” (2 Nephi 29). During his visit to the Lehites, Christ taught, “Wo … unto the unbelieving of the Gentiles,” for the Gentiles are prideful above all others, the Lord allowed Gentiles to smite Israelites, and if Gentiles do not repent, they will be smitten; if they repent, “they shall be numbered among my people” (3 Nephi 16:8–15). Twice more Christ reiterated the same message, “If the Gentiles do not repent after the blessing which they shall receive, after they have scattered my people,” “I will return their iniquities upon their own heads” (3 Nephi 20:15–28; 3 Nephi 21:12–25). Mormon wrote that the Lehite descendants “should be counted as naught” among the Gentiles and be driven and scattered, and therefore the Gentiles need to repent (Mormon 5:9, 20–24).

Nancy Bentley noted that the Book of Mormon “demonstrated that the ‘white’ civilization of the Nephites could fall into darkness and bring on genocidal disaster. And according to ancient prophecy, modern Americans risked the same course of population destruction.”112

Passages criticizing Gentiles and calling them to repentance are inconsistent with the idea that the Book of Mormon is a construct of racial ideas of 1800s America. If the book were a product of American racist views of Joseph Smith’s time, why would the book condemn the Gentiles, the group to which all Americans except Jews and Native Americans belonged? Why would the book promise God’s wrath upon unrepentant Gentiles for their persecution of Jews and natives? If he were racist, why would Joseph Smith condemn his own ethnic group? (Of course, people have interpreted the book in racial and racist terms, and this has created attitudes that have not only hurt people but also have marred the perception of the book.)

Extreme Wickedness

And it is impossible for the tongue to describe, or for man to write a perfect description of the horrible scene of the blood and carnage which was among the people, both of the Nephites and of the Lamanites; and every heart was hardened, so that they delighted in the shedding of blood continually. And there never [Page 255]had been so great wickedness among all the children of Lehi, nor even among all the house of Israel, according to the words of the Lord. (Mormon 4:11–12)

In our day, war and conspiracies have resulted in terrible discrimination. War is the ultimate result of unchecked wickedness and the opposite of how God wants us to interact. The Book of Mormon also labels conspiracies or “secret combinations” as another form of extreme wickedness. Conspiracies are another tool of hate and intolerance. Conspiracies and war destroyed the Jaredite and Nephite civilizations.

Armed Conflict

Through the many Book of Mormon passages on armed conflict (Table 23), we learn that, although defensive war is often necessary to protect one’s life and liberty, war is tragic, occurs because of wickedness, and is a senseless waste of human lives and effort. Moroni, the last Nephite prophet, wrote the Jaredite account (Ether) after he witnessed the destruction of the Nephites. The tone of his words emphasizes the futility and tragedy of war, and he specifically noted the wickedness that often leads to war.

War makes living righteously more difficult and acting wickedly much easier. Survival becomes more important than loving one’s neighbor. For example, people usually start using denigrating words for their enemy instead of speaking respectfully, which usually lasts long after the conflict is over. Entrenched, negative views were behind the proposal to attack the Lamanites instead of sending missionaries (Alma 26:23– 25). People are hardened by war, as occurred after the six-year Nephite-Lamanite war (Alma 62: 41, 44–45). Killing others to survive lowers resistance for other evil acts, and people can become bloodthirsty. This occurred in the final wars of the Jaredites and Nephites. Mormon wrote, “Every heart was hardened, so that they delighted in the shedding of blood continually” (Mormon 4:11). In their final war, “the Spirit of the Lord had ceased striving with [the Jaredites], and Satan had full power over the hearts of the people” (Ether 15:19). The Jaredites “were drunken with anger, even as a man who is drunken with wine” (Ether 15:22). Rape, torture, and plundering often is rampant during war, as was seen in the final Nephite-Lamanite conflict (Moroni 9:9–10, 16).

War began shortly after Lehi died and the family divided and continued throughout the book (Table 23). Nephi reported preparations for war and “wars and contentions with our brethren” (2 Nephi 5:14, 34). Nephite-Lamanite wars were reported in the small, succeeding books of Jacob (7:24–26), Enos (1:14, 24), Jarom (1:7–9), Omni (1:2, 10, 24), and Words of Mormon [Page 256](1:13–14). There we read of “much war and contention,” “much bloodshed,” and the deaths of “many thousands of the Lamanites.” More detail is given about Lamanite- Nephite conflicts beginning with the Book of Mosiah. From this point to the end of the Book of Mormon, 23 armed confrontations occurred between the Nephites and Lamanites.

Twenty single battles or short conflicts are mentioned (Table 23). Twelve of these involved Lamanites attacking Nephites and the defeat of the Lamanite army (Mosiah 9, 10, 11; Alma 2, 3, 16, 25, 28, 35, 43, 44, 48, 49, 63; Helaman 1). One Lamanite attack evolved into a civil war (Helaman 11). One short conflict involved a successful attack by the Lamanites against a group of Nephites (Mosiah 19). In another conflict, Lamanites captured a different Nephite group without bloodshed (Mosiah 23). Four conflicts were caused by Nephite aggression. Three of these times, a group of Nephites, in bondage to Lamanites, tired of subjugation and tried unsuccessfully to repel their captors (Mosiah 21). The fourth incident was precipitated by a small group of Nephites kidnapping Lamanite women; Lamanites retaliated by attacking other Nephites (Mosiah 20). The twentieth short conflict was a preventative measure by the Nephites, who “drove all the Lamanites who were in the east wilderness into their own lands” (Alma 50:1–12). This latter conflict was the only one by righteous Nephites that could be considered an offensive action. But even then, its stated purpose was to remove Lamanite squatters, to prevent the land from being used for the next anticipated Lamanite attack, and no bloodshed is mentioned.113

Three great, extended wars between the Nephites and Lamanites are mentioned (Table 23). The first lasted six years and is documented in 12 chapters of the Book of Alma (Alma 51–62). Lamanites, led by Nephite dissenters, attacked the Nephites and captured many cities. Eventually the Nephites regained the captured territory. The second war was again stimulated by Nephite dissenters (Helaman 4). Lamanites attacked and captured the Nephite capital and “almost all their lands”; this war lasted five years, and the Nephites regained only half the land lost. The Book of Mormon tragically concludes with the third great war (Mormon 1–6, 8; Moroni 1, 9). Both nations were grossly wicked, and the Nephite nation was destroyed. This last war lasted decades, and years passed between some battles.

[Page 257]Many armed conflicts in the Book of Mormon were intranational (Table 23). More than 14 civil wars were fought among the Nephites.114 At least 20 civil wars occurred among the Jaredites.

Forty passages discuss motivations for war and attitudes about war (Table 23). For example, the devil encourages contention, but Christ’s doctrine does the opposite (3 Nephi 11:28–30). In vision, Nephi saw a connection of the final Lamanite-Nephite war to two symbols of evil from his father’s dream, the “fountain of filthy water” and a river that represented the depths of hell (1 Nephi 12:15–16). Unrighteous attitudes helped induce conflict. Many Lamanites hated the Nephites (e.g., Mosiah 1:14; Enos 1:14), and this hatred was based on the Lamanite belief that the first Nephi had wronged his brothers Laman and Lemuel and their descendants (e.g., Mosiah 10:11–17; Alma 20:10, 13). The desire for power motivated some to war (e.g., Alma 43:7–8, 29; 44:2). To reduce the likelihood of civil war, King Mosiah proposed that the Nephite government have judges instead of kings (Mosiah 29:1–11). Jaredites chose a king despite the warning that “surely this thing leadeth into captivity” (Ether 6:21–28). Wicked, frustrated, or angry Nephite settlers started conflicts with Lamanites (Mosiah 20, 21). Revengeful Nephites attacked Lamanites (Mormon 3, 4). Righteous Nephites and Lamanites successfully repelled attacks from others when they were motivated to protect themselves and their liberties and stayed close to God (e.g., Alma 43, 46, 48–49; 3 Nephi 2–4). The righteous leader Gidgiddoni would not start a war because then “the Lord would deliver us into their hands” (3 Nephi 3). Gidgiddoni said the opposite would occur if “we will wait till they shall come against us.”

The Book of Mormon teaches that living the gospel will bring the opposite of war — true peace.115 When the Lord’s kingdom is established worldwide, “nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more” (2 Nephi 12:4), and “they shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain, for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea” (2 Nephi 21:9). Jesus taught the Book of Mormon people, “Blessed are all the peacemakers, for they shall [Page 258]be called the children of God” (3 Nephi 12:9). Indeed, when all Lehites were converted to the Lord, no contention was found “because of the love of God which did dwell in the hearts of the people” (4 Nephi 1:2, 15).

Secret Combinations

Conspiracies have been a means of discrimination. These acts involve a group acting to commit a crime in secret. The criminal act may be carried out by one person, but he or she is supported by a group. Also, a secret, organized group may commit a crime as a group, or a disorganized group or mob forms and commits a crime, often in uncontrolled anger. Regardless, members of these groups protect each other from prosecution. In the United States, for example, Joseph and Hyrum Smith were murdered by a mob, and an attempt to prosecute the perpetrators failed.116 For decades, mobs lynched people of African descent without perpetrators being punished. Sometimes government agents, who should have been protecting people, have been part of the conspiracy. White supremacy groups have worked in secret to discriminate against others, often with violence or the threat of violence. But in our day, not all secret, discriminatory acts are violent. Housing segregation by ethnicity or limiting people’s opportunities because of ethnicity (e.g., “redlining”) are examples of non-violent discriminatory conspiracies.

The Book of Mormon mentions conspiracies 37 times (Table 24) and labels them “secret combinations.” It includes examples of single perpetrators acting with the support of a group and examples of large groups of people causing havoc. The secret combinations in the Book of Mormon seemed primarily concerned with gaining wealth or power and not necessarily discrimination of others. Nevertheless, because conspiratorial groups have been important agents of discrimination in our day, the Book of Mormon’s warnings against these groups are relevant to any discussion of inter-group relations.

The book condemns secret combinations in the strongest possible terms. Moroni wrote, “They formed a secret combination, even as they of old; which combination is most abominable and wicked above all, in the sight of God; for the Lord worketh not in secret combinations” (Ether 8:18–19; see 2 Nephi 26:23). Moroni added, “They have caused the destruction of [the Jaredites] and also the destruction of the people of Nephi” (Ether 8:21; see Helaman 2:13–14). Jesus said the wickedness of King Jacob’s people “was above all the wickedness of the whole earth, [Page 259]because of their secret murders and combinations; for it was they that did destroy the peace of my people and the government of the land” (3 Nephi 9:9). During a time of righteousness, the people “did put an end to all those wicked, and secret, and abominable combinations, in the which there was so much wickedness, and so many murders committed” (3 Nephi 5:6). The devil “stirreth up the children of men unto secret combinations of murder and all manner of secret works of darkness” (2 Nephi 9:9). The Lord will destroy these works (2 Nephi 10:15).

The Book of Mormon says secret combinations will destroy a nation and prophesied that they would exist among us today (2 Nephi 26:22; Alma 37:22, 25–26, 31; 3 Nephi 30:2; Mormon 8:27, 40). Moroni says to us,

And whatsoever nation shall uphold such secret combinations, to get power and gain, until they shall spread over the nation, behold, they shall be destroyed; for the Lord will not suffer that the blood of his saints, which shall be shed by them, shall always cry unto him from the ground for vengeance upon them and yet he avenge them not. Wherefore, O ye Gentiles, it is wisdom in God that these things should be shown unto you, that thereby ye may repent of your sins, and suffer not that these murderous combinations shall get above you, which are built up to get power and gain — and the work, yea, even the work of destruction come upon you, yea, even the sword of the justice of the Eternal God shall fall upon you, to your overthrow and destruction if ye shall suffer these things to be. (Ether 8:22–23117)

Could these warnings be not only a reference to gangs peddling drugs, stealing, and murdering but also to lynchings and other discriminatory acts which have been done and are done “in secret,” and where people make pacts to protect perpetrators of bad deeds, including with false testimony?

Redemption from Discriminatory Attitudes — Three Miraculous Conversions

They have an eternal hatred towards the children of Nephi. (Mosiah 10:17)

Let us take up arms against them, that we destroy them and their iniquity. (Alma 26:25)

[Page 260]They took their swords, and all the weapons which were used for the shedding of man’s blood, and they did bury them up deep in the earth. (Alma 24:17)

We will set our armies … that we may protect our brethren. … There was a tremendous slaughter among the people of Nephi. (Alma 27:23, 28:3)

Another key message of the Book of Mormon is redemption. Throughout the book, Nephites, Lamanites, and Jaredites were invited to repent and come to the Lord. Often, they did. To our modern world, the ancient authors also invite Israelites, Lehites, and Gentiles to repent and accept the gospel of Christ. The authors included powerful examples of repentance from their days. One of the most powerful examples of redemption begins with five rebellious sons of two Nephite leaders and discriminatory attitudes among both Nephites and Lamanites. The example ends with thousands of Lamanites and Nephites giving up their lives, at least in part, for others. This story is full of inter-group kindnesses (Table 13), but it is also a story of three miraculous redemptions from sin, including the sin of discriminatory attitudes.118

Ammon, Aaron, Omner, Himhi, and Alma lived sinful lives and went about seeking to destroy the church and disrupting the good their fathers were doing. After a miraculous experience, these five had a complete change of heart and went about doing good and tried to repair the damage of their previous actions. The four sons of Mosiah (Ammon, Aaron, Omner, and Himni) and some colleagues decided to go to the Lamanites to try to help them feel the joy of redemption that the four sons and colleagues had received. They also hoped to bring peace to the land. They plead “many days” for permission, which Mosiah eventually granted after he asked the Lord. Although Mosiah agreed, other Nephites let them know their idea was silly.119 They “laughed [the missionary group] to scorn.” The other Nephites expressed their prejudice by saying the Lamanites were not worth the effort because they were “stiffnecked,” delighted “in the shedding of blood,” and lived lives of “the grossest iniquity.” Their ways were “the ways of a transgressor from the beginning.” The other Nephites proposed exterminating the Lamanites and their iniquity. This proposition manifests the attitude of superiority of these Nephites. But it [Page 261]also suggests the Nephites were afraid of the Lamanites. This mission was not a vacation. The lives of the missionaries were in jeopardy.

The four sons and colleagues went anyway, and they had phenomenal success despite significant hardships. Thousands of Lamanites accepted the gospel the Nephite missionaries taught. These Lamanites, who formerly had their own prejudices and hatred toward the Nephites,120 were now “friendly with the Nephites.” The miraculous mass conversion was impressive, but next came mass-casualty sacrifices in which both Nephites and converted Lamanites gave their lives. Among all the examples of inter-group kindness in the Book of Mormon (Table 13), these are perhaps the most inspiring.

Converted Lamanites made the first sacrifice.121 They refused to take up arms against fellow citizens (unconverted Lamanites and former Nephites) when that group came against the converted people and sought to destroy them and overthrow the converted king. Instead of preparing to defend themselves, they buried “their swords, and all the weapons which were used for the shedding of man’s blood, … deep in the earth.” “They went out to meet” and “prostrated themselves” in front of the advancing force. One thousand and five converted Lamanites were killed, but, moved by the sacrifice, more than that number from the attacking force were converted. A second time, converted Lamanites again give up their lives rather than defend themselves and kill others. Yes, their sacrifice was motivated by their fear of returning to old hatreds and sins, but it was also a great act of kindness. As their king, Anti-Nephi-Lehi, explained, they did not want their swords “stained with the blood of our brethren.” They did not want to harm anyone. Through their example, many unconverted Lamanites became converted. Redemption did not end there.

Next, the Nephites sacrificed.122 After the second massacre, the converted Lamanites faced total annihilation because they refused to defend themselves. Without first asking the Nephite nation, the Nephite missionaries proposed immigration to Nephite territory, and they returned home with thousands of refugees. When the idea of immigration was proposed, the converted Lamanites offered to become slaves to the Nephites to “repair … the many murders and sins which we have committed against them.” Instead, the Nephites offered the [Page 262]converted Lamanites land, military protection, and citizenship. The converts agreed to give material support in return. The Nephite pledge was shortly put to the test as an army of the remaining (unconverted) Lamanites had followed the refugees and attacked the Nephites. “A tremendous battle” ensued, “such an one as never had been known among [the Lehites].” Three years later, the Nephites again protected the converted Lamanites, now known as the people of Ammon. “The Nephites would not suffer that they should be destroyed.” Several years later, during the six-year Lamanite-Nephite war, the Nephites protected the people of Ammon a third time. The Book of Mormon does not record any Nephite complaints, suggesting the whole Nephite nation willingly sacrificed for their converted brethren.

The record does not specify the number of Nephite deaths in the three wars. After the first one, the casualty report was “a tremendous slaughter among the people of Nephi … there was a great mourning and lamentation heard throughout all the land, among all the people of Nephi.” For the second war the record notes that “the number of their dead was exceedingly great.” Casualties in the long six-year war were also high. The Nephites paid a high price to love their new Lamanite fellow citizens. Again, the Nephite record contains no complaints about their sacrifice, only that during the six-year war, converted Lamanites were willing to break their oath to help defend their new home.

The record is silent about how many Nephites scorned the original mission and wanted instead to exterminate the Lamanites. We do not know if this was a majority or minority view. But, given King Mosiah’s reluctance to send his sons and their friends, previous unsuccessful efforts, and numerous Nephite-Lamanite wars, likely few Nephites thought their mission was a good idea.123 At least some of those who later gave their lives for Lamanites — or who put their lives at risk — must have been those who earlier did not endorse the mission or suggested exterminating the Lamanites. These Nephites also had been redeemed in an extraordinary way.

Thousands of Lamanites were redeemed from their hatred of the Nephites, and many Nephites were redeemed from their hatred of the Lamanites. The turning point came when the small group of Nephites risked their lives not to exploit Lamanite hatred of the Nephites nor “to destroy our brethren,” but to “save some few of their souls” and “perhaps … cure them of their hatred toward the Nephites” (Mosiah 28:1–2; Alma 26:26). The group achieved their goal and more, as Richard [Page 263]Bushman noted, “by simple acts of love and generosity.”124 These acts, which were “so contrary to the Lamanite stereotypes of the Nephites,” touched the Lamanites’ hearts. Bushman adds that the group’s work “set the pattern for later conversions,” which “strengthens the implication that conversion to the gospel and repudiation of false traditions was the only workable basis for permanent peace.”

This offers a clear lesson for us today. Seemingly unredeemable people (Alma 26:17, 23–25) can indeed be redeemed. If Nephites and Lamanites can be redeemed from bigotry by following the Lord through acts of service, love, and generosity, so can we.

Conclusion

The culture of Joseph Smith’s time was not conducive to producing a book in which more than half its verses directly or indirectly preach international and intranational amicability. This fact is additional evidence of the book’s divinity. Inclusive messages were not common in Joseph Smith’s day.125 He lived in a culture where Native Americans were exterminated or sent on forced marches,126 African Americans were held in slavery, Chinese Americans were denied citizenship,127 and Latter-day Saint Americans were driven out of the country. Attempts by early Latter-day Saints to be inclusive of Native and African Americans — to implement messages of the Book of Mormon — stimulated persecution of Latter-day Saints in the 1800s.128

[Page 264]Understandably, that atmosphere led people, including Latter-day Saints, to interpret Book of Mormon references to skin color in racial terms. Furthermore, as articulated by Paul Reeve, Latter-day Saints in the 1800s and early 1900s were seen as non-white by other people of European ancestry in the United States, in large part because of the Latter-day Saint outreach efforts and inclusive doctrines taught in the Book of Mormon.129 This, Reeve noted, contributed to racial attitudes among the predominantly European-American Latter-day Saints as they tried to be seen as “white.” Peter Coviello blames 1800s racism within the church, including efforts of American Latter-day Saints to “become white” in the eyes of their countrymen, as contributing to racist perceptions of the Book of Mormon; this is “one obstacle to seeing clearly the counterracialist possibilities of The Book of Mormon, ” he said.130 With such previous, entrenched131 teachings now officially disavowed,132 perhaps we can see more clearly the non-discriminatory message of the book and live like the Christlike Nephites and Lamanites in the book.

Instead of highlighting how a few verses were interpreted as reflecting 1800s attitudes, a better focus is on the inclusive messages that are in more than half of the book’s verses:

  • God loves all people and his message is for all people on earth (Table 4).
  • God will treat all people fairly (Table 4).
  • God favors personal righteousness, not lineage (Table 4).
  • Every group (Nephites, Lamanites, Jaredites, Jews, and Gentiles) has had times of righteousness and times of wickedness.133
  • All groups need to repent (tables 5–6, 20–22).
  • [Page 265]The aim is spiritual beauty and cleanliness, not physical attractiveness (Table 3).
  • The Gentiles have persecuted Lehite descendants and Jews. The Gentiles’ need to repent is particularly emphasized (tables 21–22).
  • All people (Lehites, Jews, and Gentiles) are promised blessings and happiness if they follow the Lord (tables 4, 17–19).
  • Anti-Semitism is evil (Table 21).
  • Slavery is evil (Mosiah 2:13; Alma 27:9).
  • Righteous Nephites viewed the Lamanites as brothers, and vice versa (tables 11, 13).
  • Righteous Nephites reached out to the Lamanites, and vice versa (Table 12).
  • Righteous people were kind to others. Sometimes these acts cost unselfish people their lives or put their lives at risk (Table 13).
  • Unkind actions against others are condemned (Table 14).
  • Persecution or oppression of others is wickedness (Table 15).
  • Attitudes of superiority are condemned (Table 15).
  • Class distinctions are evil (Table 15).
  • Exploitation of vulnerable people is evil (Table 16).
  • Although defensive war may be necessary, war is started by wickedness (Table 23).
  • Conspiracies, which in our day are involved in some discriminatory actions or crimes, are extremely evil (Table 24).
  • The wicked punish the wicked (Mormon 4:5).
  • On no occasion do righteous Nephites seek to destroy Lamanites or vice versa (Table 23).
  • People can learn from despised people. Multiple times Lamanites, who were scorned periodically by the Nephites, are examples of righteousness (Table 8), even when “unconverted” (Table 9).
  • Christ taught us to focus on fixing ourselves and not others (3 Nephi 14:3–5; Matthew 7:3–5). The Nephite record does that by focusing on Nephite faults and de-emphasizing Lamanite ones (tables 5–7, 9–10).

Righteous people in the Book of Mormon cared about others. Whatever the differences truly were between the Nephites and Lamanites, [Page 266]those people gave us much to learn from in our day of unrelenting discrimination.

As leaders of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints have taught, the Book of Mormon has messages for our time, was written for us today, and should be an important focus of gospel study.

[The Book of Mormon’s] narrative is a chronicle of nations long since gone. But in its descriptions of the problems of today’s society, it is as current as the morning newspaper and much more definitive, inspired, and inspiring concerning the solutions of those problems.134

It was written for our day. The Nephites never had the book; neither did the Lamanites of ancient times. It was meant for us. … Each of the major writers of the Book of Mormon testified that he wrote for future generations. … If they saw our day and chose those things which would be of greatest worth to us, is not that how we should study the Book of Mormon? We should constantly ask ourselves, “Why did the Lord inspire Mormon (or Moroni or Alma) to include that in his record? What lesson can I learn from that to help me live in this day and age?”135

I speak about the power of the Book of Mormon and the critical need we have as members of this Church to study, ponder, and apply its teachings in our lives.136

Immersing ourselves regularly in the truths of the Book of Mormon can be a life-changing experience. … It contains the answers to life’s most compelling questions. It teaches the doctrine of Christ. … We learn about the gathering of scattered Israel. … These and other truths are more powerfully and persuasively taught in the Book of Mormon than in any other book. … I promise that as you daily immerse yourself in the Book of Mormon, you can be immunized [Page 267]against the evils of the day. … This is the book that will help to prepare the world for the Second Coming of the Lord.137

How appropriate then, that so many of the book’s verses directly or indirectly impart an anti-discriminatory, inclusive message — a message sorely needed in today’s diverse, interconnected, and contentious world. This message is not just important for getting along. As prophesied in the Book of Mormon, the gospel is going to all people on earth. The inclusive message is therefore critically important for those who preach and hear the gospel. Joseph Smith wrote, “A man filled with the love of God, is not content with blessing his family alone, but ranges through the whole world, anxious to bless the whole human race.”138

Despite obvious reasons to hate their Lamanite enemies, righteous Nephites in the Book of Mormon chose to put differences aside in their dealings with the Lamanites. Despite deep traditions of resentment and bitterness, righteous Lamanites were also exemplary in their dealings with the Nephites. Righteous Lamanites and Nephites also acted honorably toward others within their own nations. Today, whatever the apparent justifications for racial, ethnic, international, or class strife may be, whatever the reasons for divisions or for others’ circumstances and regardless of a person’s ethnicity, economic class, gender, or other characteristic, you and I can and should choose to love and reach out to others. Furthermore, let us not condemn or misread a book that overwhelmingly teaches us to love and serve others — however different from us they may be — because we live in a different time and culture, have different expectations, and are confused by a very small number of its passages.139

 

1. For example, Title Page; 1 Nephi 13–14; 3 Nephi 29–30; Mormon 8:26–41. Elizabeth Fenton and Jared Hickman wrote, “the text is self-consciously and committedly anachronistic and asks to be entertained as such” (Elizabeth Fenton and Jared Hickman, “Introduction: Learning to Read with The Book of Mormon” in Americanist Approaches to The Book of Mormon, eds. Elizabeth Fenton and Jared Hickman [New York: Oxford University Press, 2019], 8–9).
2. The most striking example is given in 4 Nephi 1:1–18.
3. For example; James Fenton, “‘The Book of Mormon’: No Offense,” The New York Review, 11 June 2011, http://www.nybooks.com/daily/2011/06/11/james-fenton-book-of-mormon-review/; Thomas W. Murphy, “Laban’s Ghost: On Writing and Transgression” Dialogue 30, no. 2 (1997): 105–26; Walter Martin, The Kingdom of the Cults, ed. Ravi Zacharias (Bloomington, MN: Bethany House Publishers, 2003) 207–208; Richard Abanes, Becoming Gods (Eugene, OR: Harvest House Publishers, 2004) 73, 365n121, 367n138; Simon G. Southerton, Losing a Lost Tribe: Native Americans, DNA, and the Mormon Church (Salt Lake City: Signature Books, 2004) 8–9, 12, 40, 184.
4. 1 Nephi 11:13; 1 Nephi 13:15; Jacob 3:5, 8–9; Alma 3:6; and 3 Nephi 2:15.
5. e.g., Eugene England, “‘No Respecter of Persons’: A Mormon Ethics of Diversity,” Dialogue 27, no. 4 (Winter 1994): 88, 93.
6. For example, “The Book of Mormon with its story of the Lamanites and their sacred drama remains confusing, troubling, and demanding.” David Knowlton, “Lamanites, Apologetics, and Tensions in Mormon Anthropology” in Perspectives on Mormon Theology: Apologetics, eds. Blair G. Van Dyke and Loyd Isao Ericson (Salt Lake City: Greg Kofford Books, 2017), 208. “The struggle to define Book of Mormon racial identity reveals fractures in Mormonism’s relationship with itself.” Russell W. Stevenson “Reckoning with Race in the Book of Mormon: A Review of Literature” Journal of Book of Mormon Studies 27 (2018): 225.
7. 3, 591 verses in the Book of Mormon directly or indirectly address issues of interracial, interethnic, international, intranational, or interclass relations (Table 1). That is 54% of the verses in the book.

I used the 1981 and 2013 editions of The Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ (Salt Lake City: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints). In these editions, 6,604 verses are numbered as part of chapters. In my count, I include four additional verses for the two paragraphs on the title page and the one-paragraph testimonies of the Three and Eight Witnesses. This gives a total of 6,608 verses.

I include, of course, the Nephites and Lamanites as international. I also include different groups within the two nations who differed economically, ethnically, religiously, or in any other way. For example, Nephites who dissented and went to live with the Lamanites technically became Lamanites. However, just as immigrants today still have differences with the people among whom they now live, I consider these dissenters ethnic Nephites. Similarly, I distinguish converted Lamanites who become Nephites as ethnic Lamanites. I include gender.

8. “Race and the Priesthood,” Gospel Topics Essays, December 2013, https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/study/manual/gospel-topics-essays/race-and-the-priesthood.
9. According to Nephi’s record, his brothers Laman and Lemuel threaten or commit violence multiple times: they beat Sam and Nephi (1 Nephi 3:28–29), tie Nephi up twice (1 Nephi 7:16; 18:10–12), try to kill Lehi (1 Nephi 17:44), try to kill Nephi twice (1 Nephi 7:19; 17:48), and threaten to kill both Lehi and Nephi (1 Nephi 16:37). Shortly before his death, Lehi notes Laman and Lemuel sought to kill Nephi (2 Nephi 1:24), and Jacob’s brothers (assumed to be Laman and Lemuel) were rude (2 Nephi 2:1).
10. For example, Joseph Fielding McConkie and Robert L. Millet, Doctrinal Commentary on the Book of Mormon, Volume 1: First and Second Nephi (1987, repr. Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 2007) 223–24; Kathryn B. Jenkins, The Essential Book of Mormon Companion: Key Insights to Your Gospel Study (American Fork, UT: Covenant Communications, 2011) 54, 196–97, 340; Kathryn Jenkins Gordon, Scripture Study Made Simple: The Book of Mormon (American Fork, UT: Covenant Communications, 2015) 74, 252–53, 477; Rodney Turner, “The Lamanite Mark” in The Book of Mormon: Second Nephi, The Doctrinal Structure, eds. Monte S. Nyman and Charles D. Tate, Jr. (Provo, UT: Religious Studies Center, Brigham Young University, 1989) 133–57; Fawn M. Brodie, No Man Knows My History: The Life of Joseph Smith The Mormon Prophet, 2nd ed. (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1971), 43–44; John L. Sorenson, Mormon’s Codex: An Ancient American Book (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 2013), 38–39, 550–51; Patrick Q. Mason, “Mormonism and Race” in The Oxford Handbook of Religion and Race in American History, eds. Kathryn Gin Lum and Paul Harvey (New York: Oxford University Press, 2018), 156–71; Richard Lyman Bushman, Joseph Smith: Rough Stone Rolling (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2005), 97–99; Hokulani K. Aikau, A Chosen People, A Promised Land: Mormonism and Race in Hawai’i (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2012), 36–37; Fenton and Hickman, “Introduction,” 4; David Whitmer, “An Address to All Believers in Christ” (Richmond, MO, 1887), 12; D. Michael Quinn, “The First Months of Mormonism: A Contemporary View by Rev. Diedrich Willers,” New York History 54 (1973): 329; Royal Skousen, Analysis of Textual Variants of the Book of Mormon (Provo, UT: Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies, 2004–2009, 2014), 4:895–99.
11. Respectively, Bushman, Joseph Smith: Rough Stone Rolling, 98 and Mason, “Mormonism and Race,” 161. See also, Elizabeth Fenton, “Open Canons: Sacred History and American History in The Book of Mormon, J19: The Journal of Nineteenth-Century Americanists 1 (2013): 354–55.
12. Armand L. Mauss noted, “Although Joseph Smith presented the Book of Mormon to the world as his translation of an ancient document, it is generally regarded by non-Mormons as a nineteenth-century product, whether or not it was divinely inspired. Accordingly, passages like those excerpted above [1 Nephi 12:23; 2 Nephi 5:21, 30:6; Jacob 3:5, 8; Alma 3:6, 13–19; 3 Nephi 2:15–16; Mormon 5:15] are taken as simply reflections of nineteenth-century American racist understandings about the origins of various peoples of color. Such conventional wisdom seems justified both by the mysterious provenance of the Book of Mormon itself and by the meanings that Mormons themselves have traditionally attributed to such passages.” All Abraham’s Children: Changing Mormon Conceptions of Race and Lineage (Urbana, IL: University of Illinois Press, 2003), 117–18. Elizabeth Fenton and Jared Hickman note, “[T]here’s no denying that The Book of Mormon can indeed seem like something cooked up after hours at a conference of nineteenth-century Americanists,” Fenton and Hickman, “Introduction,” 4. See also, John A. Tvedtnes, “The Charge of ‘Racism’ in the Book of Mormon” FARMS Review 15, no. 2 (2003): 183–97.
13. Two other verses are often suggested to have racial connotations. However, skin is not mentioned, and if not for the racial interpretation of the other eight, “dark” in these verses would, without serious question, be considered metaphorical: In a vision, Nephi saw future people “dwindle in unbelief” which caused them to become “a dark, and loathsome, and a filthy people” (1 Nephi 12:22–23). Mormon made a nearly identical prophecy (Mormon 5:15).
14. McConkie and Millet, Doctrinal Commentary on the Book of Mormon, 1:224; Joseph Fielding Smith, Answers to Gospel Questions (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1957, 1966), 3:122–23; Jenkins, The Essential Book of Mormon Companion, 54, 196–97, 340; Gordon, Scripture Study Made Simple, 74, 252–53, 477; Turner, “The Lamanite Mark,” 133–57; Tvedtnes, “The Charge of ‘Racism’ in the Book of Mormon,” 186–88; Monte S. Nyman, I, Nephi, Wrote this Record: A Teaching Commentary on The First Book of Nephi and The Second Book of Nephi (Orem, UT: Granite Publishing, 2003), 1:439–41.
15. “The danger was not a mixture of races or skin colors but a mixture of false traditions with true ones. … Presumably a dark skin on a person who embraced the true tradition would have no significance. Skin color was only skin deep; what mattered was the history one believed — and the hatred or love that went with each version” [Richard Lyman Bushman, “The Lamanite View of Book of Mormon History” in Believing History: Latter-day Saint Essays, eds. Reid L. Neilson and Jed Woodworth (New York: Columbia University Press, 2004), 79–92]. John Tvedtnes argued the Nephites wanted to avoid marriage with unbelievers, as was advocated in the Bible (Tvedtnes, “The Charge of ‘Racism’ in the Book of Mormon,” 184–88).
16. Smith, Answers to Gospel Questions, 3:123; Nyman, I, Nephi, Wrote This Record, 1:439–41. Elder Quentin L. Cook noted he was taught this as a missionary by Marion D. Hanks, his mission president, Quentin L. Cook, “‘Be Not Weary in Well-Doing’” address, Brigham Young University, 24 August 2020, https://speeches.byu.edu/talks/quentin-l-cook/be-not-weary-in-well-doing.
17. Eugene England “‘Lamanites’ and the Spirit of the Lord” Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought 18, no. 4 (1985), 25–32; England, “‘No Respecter of Persons,’“ 93.
18. Fatimah Salleh and Margaret Olsen Hemming, The Book of Mormon: For the Least of These (Salt Lake City: By Common Consent Press, 2020), 1:27–29, 66–69, 113–17; England, “‘No Respecter of Persons,’” 93.
19. Ahmad Corbitt “He Denieth None That Come unto Him: A Personal Essay on Race and the Priesthood, Part 3” Perspectives on Church History, 13 October 2014, https://history.churchofjesuschrist.org/article/personal-essay-on-race-and-the-priesthood-he-denieth-none.
20. Jared Hickman, “The Book of Mormon as Amerindian Apocalypse,” American Literature 86 (2014): 429–61. Richard Bushman adds, “But the fact that these wild people are Israel, the chosen of God, adds a level of complexity to the Book of Mormon that simple racism does not explain. Incongruously, the book champions the Indians’ place in world history, assigning them a more glorious future than modern American whites. All the derogatory descriptions of Lamanites notwithstanding, the Indians emerge as God’s chosen people. They are not viewed as a pathetic civilization moving inevitably toward their doom, as sympathetic observers of Joseph’s time depicted them” (Bushman, Joseph Smith: Rough Stone Rolling, 98–99). See also, Mason, “Mormonism and Race,” 162–63.
21. Fenton, “Open Canons: Sacred History and American History in The Book of Mormon 354–55; Craig R. Prentiss, “Loathsome unto Thy People: The Latter-day Saints and Racial Categorization” in Religion and the Creation of Race and Ethnicity: An Introduction, ed. C. R. Prentiss (New York: New York University Press, 2003): 124–39. Fenton adds, “Like the Nephites and Lamanites before them, the Gentiles of Europe are ‘white, and exceedingly fair.’ Within the context of Smith’s work, such an appearance more often hints at a pending fall from grace than indicates immunity against one. The white Christians who arrive to destroy the Lamanites fall into a recursive historical cycle that predates them and might even outlast them” (355). Nancy Bentley stated, “The [demise] of the Nephites taught that a free ‘white’ people could lapse from civilization into the backward tribalism of populations like the Lamanites” (Nancy Bentley, “Kinship, The Book of Mormon, and Modern Revelation” in Americanist Approaches to The Book of Mormon, eds. Elizabeth Fenton and Jared Hickman [New York: Oxford University Press, 2019], 235). See also, Mason, “Mormonism and Race,” 162.
22. Corbitt, “He Denieth None That Come unto Him”; Peter Coviello, “How the Mormons Became White: Scripture, Sex, Sovereignty” in Americanist Approaches to The Book of Mormon, eds. Elizabeth Fenton and Jared Hickman [New York: Oxford University Press, 2019], 259–76.
23. Hickman, “The Book of Mormon as Amerindian Apocalypse,” 456–57. He adds, “[L]ogically speaking, the evidence that racial ‘distinctions were irrelevant’ within the body of Christ would not be that the Lamanites turned white to look like Nephites but that the Lamanites retained their black skins. … Although the narrative does hold out for the black Lamanites a pathway to rightness, which may seem to relativize the initial racial distinction, the fact that that pathway also seems to run to or through whiteness shows how the narrative actually reinforces racial distinction with a vengeance” (456–57).
24. Coviello, “How the Mormons Became White,” 259–64.
25. Corbitt, “He Denieth None That Come unto Him.”
26. Tvedtnes, “The Charge of ‘Racism’ in the Book of Mormon,” 197.
27. “Race and the Priesthood,” Gospel Topics Essay, emphasis added. For an indication that this essay represents an official church position (i.e., “these essays, which have been approved by the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles”), see “Gospel Topics Essays,” https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/study/manual/gospel-topics-essays/essays.
28. Marvin Perkins, “Skin Color and Curses,” in Blacks in the Scriptures (Santa Clarita, CA: Blacks in the Scriptures, 1999, 2007), DVD. See also Blacks in the Scriptures (website), https://www.blacksinthescriptures.com.
29. Making a similar argument in his Book of Mormon commentaries, Brant Gardner lists some of the same Old Testament verses mentioned by Perkins. Brant A. Gardner, Traditions of the Fathers: The Book of Mormon as History (Salt Lake City: Greg Kofford Books, 2015), 163; Brant A. Gardner, Second Witness: Analytical and Contextual Commentary on the Book of Mormon: Volume 2 Second Nephi–Jacob (Salt Lake City: Greg Kofford Books, 2007), 120.
30. Marvin Perkins states that even “black and white” in the passage “[the Lord] denieth none that come unto him, black and white” (2 Nephi 26:33) reflects the spiritual state of people, not race or actual skin color. Hence, he said, God denieth (respectively) no sinner or righteous person access, and all ethnicities are covered by “Jew and Gentile” at the end of that verse. Brant Gardner suggests black and white does refer to ethnicity in 2 Nephi 26:33; see Gardner, Second Witness, 2:373–75. Regardless, the principle is true that God does not discriminate by skin color, and both sinners and righteous people have access to God.
31. Humans all have the same skin color, he says. We are all just different shades of brown.
32. Hugh Nibley, “Lehi in the Desert, Part V, Contacts in the Desert” Improvement Era 53 (May 1950): 382–84, 448–49n227. This article was reorganized and republished in 1952 and 1988: Hugh Nibley, Lehi in the Desert and The World of the Jaredites (Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1952), 83–85 and Hugh Nibley, Lehi in the Desert, The World of the Jaredites, There Were Jaredites; The Collected Works of Hugh Nibley: Volume 5, eds. John W. Welch, Darrell L. Matthews, and Stephen R. Callister (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1988), 73–74.
33. Hugh Nibley, Lehi in the Desert (1952), 84–85 and Lehi in the Desert (1988), 73–74.
34. Hugh Nibley, Since Cumorah: The Book of Mormon in the Modern World (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1967), 246–51; also in Hugh Nibley, Since Cumorah, in The Collected Works of Hugh Nibley, ed. John W. Welch (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, Provo, UT: Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies, 1988), 215–20.
35. Tvedtnes, “The Charge of ‘Racism’ in the Book of Mormon,” 193–96. Tvedtnes suggested both figurative and literal meanings, and I have referenced his essay for both.
36. Christian Lange notes instances of both literal and figurative interpretation of 3:106 in Islamic thought, see Christian Lange, “‘On That Day When Faces Will Be White or Black’ (Q3:106): Toward a Semiology of the Face in the Arabo-Islamic Tradition,” Journal of the American Oriental Society 127 (2007): 429–45. Tvedtnes also gives an example from a fourth-century Christian writer, Ephraim of Syria; see “The Charge of ‘Racism’ in the Book of Mormon,” 195–96.
37. Webster’s definitions for the adjective white are “1. Being of the color of pure snow; snowy; not dark; as white paper; a white skin. 2. Pale; destitute of color in the cheeks, or of the tinge of blood color; as white with fear. 3. Having the color of purity; pure; clean; free from spot; as white robed innocence. 4. Gray; as white hair; a venerable man, white with age. 5. Pure; unblemished. No whiter page than Addison’s remains. Pope. 6. In a scriptural sense, purified from sin; sanctified. Ps. li” [Noah Webster, An American Dictionary of the English Language (New York: S. Converse, 1828)], s.v. “white.”
38. “1. Of the color of night; destitute of light; dark. 2. Darkened by clouds; as the heavens black with clouds. 3. Sullen; having a cloudy look or countenance. 4. Atrociously wicked; horrible; as a black deed or crime. 5. Dismal; mournful; calamitous” (Webster, An American Dictionary of the English Language, s.v. “black”).
39. Mauss, All Abraham’s Children, 127–28. Mauss also stated, “It is not entirely certain that Joseph Smith himself or even most others of his immediate family and contemporaries would have understood these [skin color] passages in quite the same literal sense that modern readers have” (p. 118).
40. Ethan Sproat, “Skins as Garments in the Book of Mormon: A Textual Exegesis,” Journal of Book of Mormon Studies 24 (2015): 138–65.
41. Bentley, “Kinship, The Book of Mormon, and Modern Revelation,” 247, 256n26.
42. Gardner, Traditions of the Fathers, 159–64; Gardner, Second Witness, 2:108–24, 504. Gardner gives an excellent review and analysis of the metaphorical interpretation of skin, including many authors I also quote.
43. Gardner, Second Witness, 2:115.
44. Ibid., 119.
45. Douglas Campbell, “‘White’ or ‘Pure’: Five Vignettes” Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought 29, no. 4 (Winter 1996): 131–35.
46. Sproat, “Skins as Garments in the Book of Mormon,” 138–65.
47. Sproat also added, “The dilemma is that a long-held and widely circulated inference is still only an inference — not a definitive observation. … A striking aspect of racial interpretations of the various-colored skins in the Book of Mormon is the absence of any definitive internal textual support. I am not suggesting that the immediate context for every ambiguous passage contradicts traditional racial interpretations. But without more exploration into the contextual evidence, traditional racial interpretations seem to proceed from the subtle but significant assumption that the various-colored skins refer to human flesh. … [A]lthough a wealth of secondary literature and scholarship spanning from 1830 to 2015 assumes a racial interpretation of the Book of Mormon’s talk of skins, I see nothing in the text itself that privileges a racial interpretation” (ibid., 144).
48. Adam Oliver Stokes, “‘Skin’ or ‘Scales’ of Blackness? Semitic Context as Interpretive Aid for 2 Nephi 4:35 (LDS 5:21),” Journal of Book of Mormon Studies 27 (2018): 278–89.
49. Steven L. Olsen, “The Covenant of the Chosen People: The Spiritual Foundations of Ethnic Identity in the Book of Mormon,” Journal of the Book of Mormon and Other Restoration Scripture 21 (2012): 14–29.
50. Olsen gives the following as examples: 1 Nephi 2:11; 7:8; 13:27; 17:30, 45; 2 Nephi 9:31–32; 25:28; 27:29; 28:14; 32:7; Jacob 2:13; 4:14; 6:4; Enos 1:22; Jarom 1:3–4; Omni 1:28.
51. Campbell, “‘White’ or ‘Pure’: Five Vignettes”; Mauss, All Abraham’s Children, 117; Olsen, The Covenant of the Chosen People,” 20; Hickman, “The Book of Mormon as Amerindian Apocalypse,” 455; Tvedtnes, “The Charge of ‘Racism’ in the Book of Mormon,” 193–96; Sproat, “Skins as Garments in the Book of Mormon,” 145.
52. Jared Hickman notes that Joseph Smith “never referred to the Nephite-Lamanite division in explicitly racial terms” though others of his time did (Hickman, “The Book of Mormon as Amerindian Apocalypse,” 455–56).
53. See also, Campbell, “‘White’ or ‘Pure’: Five Vignettes,” 131–33.
54. Gardner, Second Witness, 2:119.
55. Sproat, “Skins as Garments in the Book of Mormon,” 145–47.
56. Campbell, “‘White’ or ‘Pure’: Five Vignettes,” 131–35.
57. Commenting on 2 Nephi 13:9, Brant Gardner stated, “The face mirrors the soul. The face witnesses to the contents of the heart. The ancient concept of personality saw the physical as the reflection of the spiritual inner being” (Gardner, Second Witness, 2:221).
58. Amy Easton-Flake, “Lehi’s Dream as a Template for Understanding Each Act of Nephi’s Vision” in The Things Which My Father Saw: Approaches to Lehi’s Dream and Nephi’s Vision, eds. Daniel L. Belnap, Gaye Strathern, and Stanley A. Johnson (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 2011): 187–93.
59. Matthew L. Bowen, “Laman and Nephi as Key-Words: An Etymological, Narratological, and Rhetorical Approach to Understanding Lamanites and Nephites as Religious, Political, and Cultural Descriptors,” (presentation, FairMormon Conference, August 2019, Provo, Utah), https://www.fairmormon.org/conference/august-2019/laman-and-nephi-as-key-words. See also Matthew L. Bowen, “‘O Ye Fair Ones’ — Revisited,” Interpreter: A Journal of Mormon Scripture 20:315–44, https://journal.interpreterfoundation.org/o-ye-fair-ones-revisited/. Bowen notes the correlation of the name Nephi with good and fair. Bowen states that the Book of Mormon emphasizes goodness of one’s actions, how the Nephites did not choose goodness in the end, and people can become good and fair by choosing to come to Christ.
60. Gardner, Second Witness, 2:116–17; Gardner, Second Witness: Analytical and Contextual Commentary on the Book of Mormon: Volume 4 Alma (Salt Lake City: Greg Kofford Books, 2007), 696–97; Gardner, Traditions of the Fathers, 161. See also, Gardner, “If Lamanites Were Black, Why Didn’t Anyone Notice?” Fair Mormon Blog (21 May 2012), https://www.fairmormon.org/blog/2012/05/21/if-lamanites-were-black-why-didnt-anyone-notice.
61. Sproat, “Skins as Garments in the Book of Mormon,” 165.
62. Kevin Christensen, “Table Rules: A Response to Americanist Approaches to the Book of Mormon” Interpreter: A Journal of Latter-day Saint Faith and Scholarship 37 (2020): 82.
63. For example, Aikau, A Chosen People, A Promised Land: Mormonism and Race in Hawai’i, ix–xiii, 2
64. Coviello, “How the Mormons Became White,” 260.
65. “To the Nephites, who followed the law of Moses (Jarom 1:5), the Lamanite practices of ‘drink[ing] the blood of beasts’ (Jarom 1:6) and ‘feeding upon beasts of prey’ (Enos 1:20) would have been abhorrent, being forbidden in the Mosaic code (Leviticus 7:26–27; 11:13–20)” (Tvedtnes, “The Charge of ‘Racism’ in the Book of Mormon,” 187).
66. Perhaps this meant only close family was exempt from plundering, because we see a “practice of plunder” even among the Lamanites (Alma 17:25–39, 18:1–7).
67. Gardner, Traditions of the Fathers, 156–58. See also Gardner, Second Witness, 2:114–16.
68. Mauss, All Abraham’s Children, 116.
69. J. Christopher Conkling, “Alma’s Enemies: The Case of the Lamanites, Amlicites, and Mysterious Amalekites” Journal of Book of Mormon Studies 14 (2005): 115, see also 108–17, 130–32.
70. John Tvedtnes stated, “We should not be surprised to find attitudes of superiority and the attribution of negative characteristics to foreign people and cultures among the Nephites, and the existence of such in the Book of Mormon cannot be considered evidence that the text was necessarily a reflection of nineteenth-century American racist views. Parallels are known in other ancient cultures” (“The Charge of ‘Racism’ in the Book of Mormon,” 189–90).
71. John Sorenson noted, “The Nephite picture of their relatives, in Jarom 1:[6] and Enos 1:20, sounds so similar to the Near Eastern epithets that this language probably should be considered a literary formula rather than an objective description, labeling applied to any feared, despised, ‘backward’ people” [An Ancient American Setting for the Book of Mormon (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1985), 90].
72. Tvedtnes, “The Charge of ‘Racism’ in the Book of Mormon,” 197.
73. Dan Belnap, “‘And it Came to Pass … ’: The Sociopolitical Events in the Book of Mormon Leading to the Eighteenth Year of the Reign of the Judges,” Journal of Book of Mormon Studies 23 (2014): 132 (132–38).
74. Enos 1:14; Mosiah 1:14; Mosiah 10:11–17; Alma 20:10, 13.
75. Bowen, “Laman and Nephi as Key-Words.”
76. In his study of the Book of Mormon onomasticon, Matthew Bowen noted a positive connotation of Nephite and a negative connotation of Lamanite, at least to the Nephites. Hence, perhaps this was motivation for the converted people to change their name and for the Nephites to give them a new name. We have seen that in our day. A name or symbol becomes so associated with a despised or evil act that the name or symbol cannot be used for anything good. Bowen said, “The Nephites apparently avoided using ‘Lamanites’ to refer to Ammon’s converts. These Lamanites, formerly ‘unfaithful’ became the ‘people of Ammon’ — the people of exceeding faith and faithfulness (Anti-Nephi-Lehi[es] = ‘Lehi/Lehites who is/are good’[?])” (Bowen, “Laman and Nephi as Key-Words”).
77. “In the Book of Mormon, both the Nephites as well as the Lamanites created their own ‘truths’ about each other. The Nephites’ ‘truth’ about the Lamanites was that they ‘were a wild, and ferocious, and a blood-thirsty people’ (Mosiah 10:12), never able to accept the gospel. The Lamanites’ ‘truth’ about the Nephites was that Nephi had stolen his brother’s birthright and that Nephi’s descendants were liars who continued to rob the Lamanites of what was rightfully theirs (see Mosiah 10:12; Alma 20:13)” [Dieter F. Uchtdorf, “What Is Truth?,” Church Educational System (CES) Devotional Address, 13 January 2013, https://speeches.byu.edu/talks/dieter-f-uchtdorf/what-is-truth/].
78. Conkling “Alma’s Enemies,” 115. He adds, “If anything, their record shows that it was the Nephite apostate groups — Amlicites, Amulonites, and Zoramites — who were responsible for most of Alma’s problems with the Lamanites” (ibid.).
79. “While the savage stereotypes of the Lamanites persist among the Nephites, Mormon’s account of the mission of the sons of Mosiah shows that a key segment of Lamanite society is quite similar to traditional Nephite society: ordered, settled, relatively stable, and subject to spiritual conversion” (Olsen, “The Covenant of the Chosen People,” 26). See also Gardner, Second Witness, 2:114–16.
80. Sorenson, Mormon’s Codex, 39. The higher population of Lamanites is mentioned, for example, in Jarom 1:6, Mosiah 25:3, and Helaman 4:19, 25.
81. As noted by Christopher Conkling, “Alma’s Enemies,” 131n21.
82. Dan Belnap notes, “Significantly, the context for these Lamanite behaviors [eating raw meat, drinking animal blood, and so forth] is missing from such descriptions, and its lack allows the emphasis to fall on negative characterizations. … [T]he context for these acts is missing, allowing such descriptions to maintain and even enhance negative stereotypes” (Dan Belnap, “‘And it came to pass … ,’” 133).
83. Brant Gardner wrote, “The problem of social context is exacerbated when a reader from one culture reads a text written in and for a different culture, and when the text includes none of the necessary explanations” (Gardner, Second Witness, 2:113).
84. 1 Nephi 1:16; 1 Nephi 6; 1 Nephi 9:1–2; 1 Nephi 10:15; 1 Nephi 14:28.30; 1 Nephi 19:1–6; 2 Nephi 4:14; 2 Nephi 5:33; 2 Nephi 31:1; 2 Nephi 33:1, 11; Jacob 1:2–3; Jacob 3:13; Jacob 4:1–2; Jacob 7:27; Jarom 1:1–2, 14; Omni 1:11, 18; Words of Mormon 1:5; Mosiah 8:1; Alma 8:1; Helaman 3:13–15; Helaman 5:33; Helaman 8:3; Helaman 14:1; 3 Nephi 5:8, 18; 3 Nephi 7:17; 3 Nephi 17:15, 17; 3 Nephi 19:32, 34; 3 Nephi 26:6, 8; Mormon 7:1; Mormon 8:5; Ether 3:17; Ether 12:23, 25, 40; Ether 15:33.
85. Although not a direct accusation, the king’s words imply his people had done those things.
86. One hundred and sixteen additional negative characteristic phrases or words are used for both societies when they are joined or are equally wicked (Table 7). One label (disturbed) was only used in this scenario.
87. The ratios shown in parentheses in this sentence are given as Nephite:Lamanite, respectively.
88. The descendants of Book of Mormon peoples are often just called “Lamanites,” but the record makes clear that descendants of both Nephites and Lamanites would survive after the book closes (1 Nephi 13:30–31; 1 Nephi 15;13–14; 1 Nephi 22:7–8; 2 Nephi 3:3, 23–24; 2 Nephi 9:53; 2 Nephi 10:18–19; 2 Nephi 26:15; 2 Nephi 28:2; 2 Nephi 30:4–5; Alma 45:13–14; Helaman 3:16).
89. Fifteen of the 66 characteristics also are used to describe the Nephites and Lamanites when they are either joined as one society or are equally wicked (Table 7).
90. Conkling “Alma’s Enemies,” 116. He adds, “Indeed, after the original Laman and Lemuel, who understood the gospel well enough to be accountable for their own choices regarding it, there were only one or two other pure Lamanite individual villains named in the entire book. When we look at the truly vicious villains in the Book of Mormon, the record shows that after Laman and Lemuel they came almost exclusively from the Nephite groups … [T]he record emphasizes that the majority of the time, it was the Nephite dissenters who were the true ‘hard hearts’ who continually stirred up, recruited, and inspired the reluctant Lamanites to go into battle.” (ibid.)
91. Coviello, “How the Mormons Became White,” 260.
92. Bowen, “Laman and Nephi as Key-Words.”
93. See Olsen, “The Covenant of the Chosen People,” 25–26, for an idea similar to the one expressed in this paragraph.
94. Tvedtnes, “The Charge of ‘Racism’ in the Book of Mormon,” 185–86.
95. For example, President Gordon B. Hinckley said, “Racial strife still lifts its ugly head. I am advised that even right here among us there is some of this. I cannot understand how it can be. … Now I am told that racial slurs and denigrating remarks are sometimes heard among us. I remind you that no man who makes disparaging remarks concerning those of another race can consider himself a true disciple of Christ. Nor can he consider himself to be in harmony with the teachings of the Church of Christ. How can any man holding the Melchizedek Priesthood arrogantly assume that he is eligible for the priesthood whereas another who lives a righteous life but whose skin is of a different color is ineligible?” [Gordon B. Hinckley, “The Need for Greater Kindness,” Ensign (May 2006): 58–61]. See also, Spencer W. Kimball, “The Evil of Intolerance,” Improvement Era 57 (June 1954): 423–26 and Darius Gray, “Healing the Wounds of Racism,” The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (blog), 5 April 2018, https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/inspiration/healing-the-wounds-of-racism.
96. Tvedtnes, “The Charge of ‘Racism’ in the Book of Mormon,” 185.
97. “Nation refers to a traditional homeland, kindred refers to a lineage or descent group, tongue refers to a language group, and people refers to a group bound by moral law” (Olsen, “The Covenant of the Chosen People,” 16–17). I used “faiths” for Olsen’s “group bound by moral law.” By “faiths” I mean any moral code that people follow, including godless ones such as materialism and atheism.
98. Not every unkind act is clearly labeled as wickedness, but all are in a context where a reader can understand with reasonable clarity that the act is unrighteous. The acts are never welcomed or praised.
99. Alma 43:13, Mosiah 23:30–35, and Mosiah 24:1 connect Amalekites and Amulonites to their Nephite roots.
100. Multiple people have asserted that during Christ’s visit, he reprimanded the Nephites for not including the teachings of Samuel the Lamanite in their records, and hence this is evidence of Nephite discriminatory attitudes because the Nephites did not include teachings from a Lamanite. This assertion is not accurate. Jesus asked the Nephites why they had not included the fulfillment of one of Samuel’s prophecies, not that they had excluded his teachings (3 Nephi 23:7–13).
101. Helaman 6:17; 3 Nephi 6:10–15; 4 Nephi 1:23–26; for the connection to wealth, see also Alma 5:53–54.
102. See also verses 1–2.
103. Among the conflicts between European and native peoples in the Americas, perhaps none are as tragic as those instigated by some Europeans whose sole purpose was to get gain. For example, in the summer of 1859, a group of natives arrived in Brigham City, Utah Territory, with goods obviously taken from an emigrant wagon train. One Latter-day Saint merchant recognized a photograph among the belongings as coming from a wagon train headed to California that had passed through the town a few days earlier. The subsequent investigation revealed a brutal attack upon the emigrants, known as the Shepard Party, and the United States Army became involved. Several people were killed as a result of the initial attack and the Army’s response. In reporting the attack, members of the Shepard Party reported seeing at least three “white Indians” among the attackers. These men of European descent dressed like Indians, and one of them seemed to be leading the natives. One Army officer reported that he believed some enterprising non-native men pretended to set themselves up as suppliers of goods along the trail, but their real purpose was to incite “the Indians to plunder the trains, and [assist] them in these outrages. They are then enabled to purchase for a trifle the Indians share of the spoil.” Another officer reported, “[T]he renegades, deserters, and thieves, who have had to fly from justice … have taken refuge in the mountains, and have associated with the Indians, are more savage than the Indians themselves. By their cruelty to the whites, they have stimulated the Indians to acts of barbarity, which they never [were] know[n] to be guilty before.” D.R. Moorman and G.A. Sessions, Camp Floyd and the Mormons: The Utah War (Salt Lake City: The University of Utah Press, 1992, 2005), 204–11.

The Latter-day Saint instigators of the 1857 Mountain Meadows Massacre provide a second example. They first persuaded Paiute Indians to attack California-bound emigrants. One leader stated, “It was to be all done by the Indians, so that it could be laid to them, if any questions were ever asked about it.” When that did not eliminate the emigrants, the Latter-day Saint militiamen persuaded the Paiutes to participate in the militiamen’s massacre. After the massacre, the participants of European ancestry “persisted in blaming the tragedy primarily on the Paiutes.” “The story of an attack solely by Indians would be told as a coverup again and again, long after it had any kind of credibility.” R.W. Walker, R.E. Turley, Jr., and G.M. Leonard, Massacre at Mountain Meadows (New York: Oxford University Press, 2008), 137–217. See also, R.E. Turley, Jr., “The Mountain Meadows Massacre” Ensign (September 2007): 14–21; and “Peace and Violence Among 19th-Century Latter-Day Saints,” Gospel Topics Essays, May 2014, https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/study/manual/gospel-topics-essays/peace-and-violence-among-19th-century-latter-day-saints.

Today, vulnerable people are induced to deliver bombs in vehicles or on foot, killing others and themselves. In some cases, these couriers of death are induced with promises of a glorious afterlife. The leaders of this type of terrorism are not willing to kill themselves but instead use people they consciously or subconsciously deem expendable to do “the dirty work.”

104. Bushman, “The Lamanite View of Book of Mormon History,” 87–88. The following passages are references for hatred and reasons for the hatred: 2 Nephi 5:24; Jacob 7:24–26; Mosiah 1:14; Mosiah 10:12–17; Alma 54:17, 24; Alma 60:32.
105. In the New Testament, Jesus noted that some would persecute his followers thinking they had God’s blessing: “Yea, the time cometh, that whosoever killeth you will think that he doeth God service” (John 16:2).
106. The Jaredites were another group that preceded the Nephites and Lamanites but were destroyed. The Mulekites were contemporary with the Nephites and Lamanites but were absorbed by the Nephites.
107. Joseph M. Spencer, The Vision of All: Twenty-five Lectures on Isaiah in Nephi’s Record (Salt Lake City: Greg Kofford Books, 2016), 153. Spencer added, “There’s a single message in Isaiah for Nephi: the story of Israel’s redemption and the extension of its covenant to the whole world at that point” (p. 285).
108. See for example, Aikau, A Chosen People, A Promised Land: Mormonism and Race in Hawai’i. The assumption today is that native Americans are not pure descendants of Book of Mormon people.
109. Fenton and Hickman, “Introduction,” 12.
110. See Bradley J. Kramer, Gathered in One: How the Book of Mormon Counters Anti-Semitism in the New Testament (Salt Lake City: Greg Kofford Books, 2019).
111. Kramer, Gathered in One, 39–41. Matthew L. Bowen, “‘What Thank They the Jews’? (2 Nephi 29:4): A Note on the Name ‘Judah’ and Antisemitism,” Interpreter: A Journal of Mormon Scripture 12 (2014):111–25.
112. Bentley, “Kinship, The Book of Mormon, and Modern Revelation,” 250–51.
113. Reports of all Nephite-Lamanite battles mention casualties except one (Alma 16:12), so we can probably assume no loss of life occurred in this conflict. The record of the non-violent capture of Alma and his people also did not include casualties (Mosiah 23).
114. Fourteen mentions of Nephite civil war are made in the Book of Mormon (Table 23). One of these accounts states that “many wars and serious contentions” occurred among the people of Zarahemla before they and the Nephites became one nation (Omni 1:17), so more than 14 obviously occurred.
115. Elder Dallin Oaks called peace “the opposite of war.” Dallin H. Oaks, “World Peace,” Ensign (May 1990), https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/study/ensign/1990/05/world-peace.
116. Dallin H. Oaks and Marvin S. Hill, Carthage Conspiracy: The Trial of the Accused Assassins of Joseph Smith (Urbana, IL: University of Illinois Press, 1979).
117. See also verses 24–25.
118. References for this story are Mosiah 27:8–37; 28:1–9; Alma 17–28; 43:11–14; 44:21; 53:10–12.
119. Alma 26:23–25.
120. Jacob 3:7; 7:26; Mosiah 1:14; 10:17; Alma 20:10, 13.
121. Specific references for the Lamanite sacrifices: Alma 24:1–27; 27:2–3.
122. Specific references for the Nephite sacrifices: Alma 28:1–6; 43:11–14; 44:21; 53:10–12.
123. Previous outreach attempts are mentioned in Jacob 7:24 and Enos 1:14, 20. See Table 23 for references to wars.
124. Bushman, “The Lamanite View of Book of Mormon History,” 88–91.
125. Despite our society’s ongoing struggles with discrimination, inclusive messages like those in the Book of Mormon are more likely to have been written at a time such as now, when racism and other forms of discrimination are loudly condemned.
126. For example, the Indian Removal Act was passed by the United States government in May 1830, two months after the Book of Mormon was published. This act forcibly removed native people from the southeastern United States to lands in the west.
127. The United States government passed the Chinese Exclusion Act in 1882. This act prohibited immigration of Chinese people to the United States and denied citizenship to Chinese people already in the U.S. Although this legislation came many years after Joseph Smith’s death, it shows that exclusionary attitudes were entrenched in the United States for many decades.
128. See for example, W. Paul Reeve, Religion of a Different Color: Race and the Mormon Struggle for Whiteness (New York: Oxford University Press, 2015) and Max Perry Mueller, Race and the Making of the Mormon People (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2017).
129. Reeve, Religion of a Different Color.
130. Coviello, “How the Mormons Became White: Scripture, Sex, Sovereignty,” 259–76.
131. For example; Reeve, Religion of a Different Color, 55–56; Mueller, Race and the Making of the Mormon People; McConkie and Millet, Doctrinal Commentary on the Book of Mormon, 1: 223–24; Jenkins, The Essential Book of Mormon Companion: Key Insights to Your Gospel Study, 54, 196–97, 340; Gordon, Scripture Study Made Simple: The Book of Mormon, 74, 252–53, 477; Bushman, Joseph Smith: Rough Stone Rolling, 97–98; Mason, “Mormonism and Race,” 160–63; Noel B. Reynolds, “The Political Dimension in Nephi’s Small Plates,” BYU Studies 27 (Fall 1987): 15–37.
132. “Race and the Priesthood” Gospel Topics Essay.
133. Tables 5–8, 17–22. Righteous examples of Jews are found in the Bible. Examples of Nephite righteousness are found throughout the Book of Mormon. For righteousness and wickedness of Jaredites, see the Book of Ether.
134. Gordon B. Hinckley, “An Angel from on High, the Long, Long Silence Broke,” Ensign (November 1979): 7–9.
135. Ezra Taft Benson, “The Book of Mormon — Keystone of Our Religion” Ensign (November 1986): 4–7.
136. Thomas S. Monson, “The Power of the Book of Mormon” Ensign (May 2017): 86–87.
137. Russell M. Nelson, “The Book of Mormon: What Would Your Life Be Like Without It?” Ensign (November 2017): 60–63, emphasis in original.
138. History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1978), 4:227.
139. I thank my three anonymous peer reviewers, my editors, and family and friends for ideas and for helping me make this article better. I thank staff at the Church History Library (Salt Lake City) for retrieving documents for me during the COVID-19 shutdown of the library.

 

[Page 268]Tables

The following pages provide the detailed tables referenced in this article, Table 1 through Table 24. The caption before each table provides a limited amount of explanatory information. At the end of each table there may be footnotes to some of the content within the table.

Any column with the heading “CV” stands for “count of verses.” Table-specific legends appear before each table, with notes, if any, after each table.

I acknowledge the help of Brant A. Gardner’s Second Witness: Analytical and Contextual Commentary on the Book of Mormon (Salt Lake City: Greg Kofford Books, 2007), Volumes 1, 2, and 5 in interpreting some verses, particularly verses from Isaiah.

 

Table Page   Table Page
Table 1 269 Table 13 337
Table 2 297 Table 14 341
Table 3 299 Table 15 344
Table 4 301 Table 16 346
Table 5 307 Table 17 347
Table 6 310 Table 18 350
Table 7 319 Table 19 354
Table 8 330 Table 20 356
Table 9 331 Table 21 359
Table 10 332 Table 22 360
Table 11 333 Table 23 361
Table 12 335 Table 24 368

 

[Page 269]Table 1. Book of Mormon verses directly or indirectly dealing with interracial, interethnic, international, or interclass relations, organized in the order they appear in the book. The column headers are abbreviated as follows, and Tables 2–24 list verses by topic and define topics.

 

Topic Abbreviation
in Table 1
Listing of Verses
by Topic
Lamanite Cursing L Curs. Table 2
Appearance Appear. Table 3
All Invited, God Is Fair All Table 4
Lamanite Wickedness L Wick. Tables 5 and 7
Nephite Wickedness N Wick. Tables 6 and 7
Lamanites Righteous L Right. Table 8
Nephites-Lamanites Compared NL Com. Table 9
Lamanites “Excused” L Excus. Table 10
Lamanites, Our Brethren L Bro. Table 11
Outreach Outre. Table 12
Inter-Group Kindness Kind. Table 13
Unkindness by Nephites Unkind. Table 14
Do Not Persecute Persec. Table 15
Exploitation Exploit. Table 16
Promises to Gentiles P Gent. Table 17
Promises to Jews or Israel P Israel Table 18
Promises to Lamanites/Lehites P Lehi. Table 19
Wickedness of Jews or Israel W Israel Table 20
Anti-Semitism Condemned A-Semit. Table 21
Gentiles Wicked, Repent! G Wick. Table 22
Armed Conflict Armed Table 23
Secret Combinations S Comb. Table 24

 

Reference CV L Curs. Appear. All L Wick. N Wick. L Right. NL Com. L Excus. L Bro. Outre. Kind. Unkind. Persec. Exploit. P Gent. P Israel P Lehi. W Israel A-Semit. G Wick. Armed S Comb. Summary
Title Page 2*     x                       x x x           Book of Mormon written to all. Lamanites are part of Israel. Book would come forth “by way of the Gentile.” Purposes of book are to help Israel and to convince all “that Jesus is the Christ.” Christ manifest to all.
Testimony of Three Witnesses 1*     x           x                           Testimony written to “all nations, kindreds, tongues, and people.” Nephites and Lamanites were “brethren.”
Testimony of Eight Witnesses 1*     x                                       Testimony written to “all nations, kindreds, tongues, and people.”
1 Nephi 1:4, 13–14, 18–20 6     x                             x         Lehi and others warned Jews of impending destruction unless they repent. God’s power, goodness, and mercy are over all. Jews sought to kill Lehi.
1 Nephi 2:1, 13, 21, 23–24 5 x       x                         x         Jews at Jerusalem were wicked. If Laman and Lemuel rebel, they are “cut off from … the Lord.” If Nephi’s seed rebels, they lose Lord’s protection.
1 Nephi 3:17–18 2                                   x         Wickedness of people at Jerusalem would lead to their destruction.
1 Nephi 5:17–18 2                                 x           Plates of brass would go to Lehites over all the earth.
1 Nephi 7:13–14 2                                   x         Jerusalem would be destroyed because of wickedness.
1 Nephi 8:11 1   x                                         Fruit of tree is white, whiter than anything Lehi had ever seen.
1 Nephi 10:2–4, 11–14, 17–19 10     x                       x x   x         After destruction and Babylonian captivity, Jews will return. A Messiah would come to Jews and be slain. Israel would be scattered, then gathered after Gentiles receive gospel. Holy Ghost and repentance available to all.
1 Nephi 11:8, 13–15, 18, 27–28, 32–36 12   x x                             x         Tree and Jesus’ mother are white and beautiful. Israel would reject Jesus and his apostles. Destruction prophesied for all that fight against them.
1 Nephi 12:2–3, 10–11, 15–16, 19–23 11   x   x x                               x   Wars among Lehites prophesied and linked to “fountain of filthy water.” Garments “made white.” Nephites would become wicked and be conquered by Lamanites. All would become dark, loathsome, and filthy.
1 Nephi 13:4–40, 42 38   x x x x                   x x x     x     “Great and abominable church” formed among Gentiles. Gentiles were white, fair, and beautiful. God will not let Gentiles destroy Lehites, despite “the wrath of God.” Gentiles will help bring message of Christ to all.
1 Nephi 14:1–6, 12, 14, 26 9     x                       x x       x     Gentiles who accept gospel are part of Israel but wo to those with hard hearts. God’s justice is upon all wicked. God’s covenant people found over all the earth. Sealed words will come to Israel.
1 Nephi 15:4–5, 7, 12–20, 33–34 14   x     x                   x x x x         Nephite destruction to come from wickedness. Lehites are a branch of Israel. Gentiles will receive gospel and take to Lehite descendants. Israel will reject God and be restored in latter days. Filthiness is wicked works.
1 Nephi 17:30–44 15     x                             x         Lord favors the righteous, not wicked. Israel and Jews have been wicked.
1 Nephi 19:7–11, 13–17, 19, 23–24 13     x                         x x x         Because they trampled God, Jews would be scourged and hated. God will remember his covenant to Israel. “Every nation, kindred, tongue, and people shall be blessed.” Nephi and Isaiah wrote to Lehites and all Israel.
1 Nephi 20:1–2, 4–5, 8–12, 14, 17–18 12                               x   x         House of Jacob has not followed the Lord. Nevertheless, Israel is chosen and the Lord will not give his glory to another and will fulfill his word.
1 Nephi 21 26     x                       x x   x         Despite wickedness, God will redeem the House of Israel. Messiah will be a light to all. Lord will help Gentiles, and they will help gather Israel.
1 Nephi 22:3–20, 22–23, 25, 28 22     x                       x x x x x       Because they rejected “Holy One of Israel,” House of Israel will be scattered and hated. Gentiles would scatter Lehite descendants and then bring gospel to them. Gentiles will help gather Israel. “All that fight against Zion shall be destroyed.” Lord gathers from all over the earth.
2 Nephi 1:5–7, 9–14, 16–29 23 x                           x x x           America consecrated to Lehites and others Lord leads there; they are cursed if wicked, at liberty if righteous. Lehi pleads with Laman, Lemuel, and others to be righteous. Lehi fears a curse will come upon them.
2 Nephi 2:7–10 4     x                                       Redemption for all who accept Christ. All need to know. God judges all.
2 Nephi 3:2–3, 5–21, 23, 24 21                               x x           Seed of Nephi’s brother Joseph would survive, and one would greatly help Israel and Lehites. Joseph of Egypt spoke of his seed, a seer, and Moses.
2 Nephi 4:2–9, 11 9 x                               x           Joseph of Egypt prophesied of Lehites. Disobedience will result in being cut off from the Lord’s presence. “In the end” Lamanites will be blessed.
2 Nephi 5:1–9, 14, 19–25, 34 18 x x   x x       x                       x   Lamanites and Nephites form. Lamanites “cut off from … Lord.” They “were white,” fair, and delightsome, now have “skin of blackness,” and are loathsome, idle, mischievous, cunning, and a scourge to Nephites. Repentance removes loathsomeness. War “with our brethren” begins.
2 Nephi 6:5–18 14                             x x x x x x     Isaiah words apply to Lehites. Gentiles will help Israel. Lord’s judgments will come to Jews for rejecting God. Gentiles blessed if they forsake evil. “God shall deliver his covenant people.” Their enemies will be destroyed.
2 Nephi 7:1–3, 10–11 5                               x   x         Israel sold itself for its iniquities; the Lord still will redeem Israel.
2 Nephi 8 25                               x   x x       Israel should follow the Lord and not forget him. “The Lord shall comfort Zion.” Those who afflicted the Lord’s people will be afflicted.
2 Nephi 9:1–3, 5, 9, 14–16, 18, 21–27, 30, 42, 44–45, 47–48, 53 23   x x   x               x     x x         x Israel will be restored and “gathered home,” Lehite seed included. Secret combinations are of devil. All judged by God. Purity is righteousness. Filthy is wickedness. Christ’s sacrifice is for all. He saves those who do not know the law. Wo to those “puffed up” from riches or learning. Nephites are sinful. Nephite seed will not be completely destroyed.
2 Nephi 10:1–22 22     x   x                   x x x x x     x Nephites will perish because of wickedness, but many will be restored. Wicked Jews would kill Jesus and face calamities. Israel will be gathered; Gentiles “shall be great” in helping. America is a land for Lehites. Gentiles also blessed there. “Secret works of darkness” will be destroyed. Anyone who fights against Zion “shall perish.” Gentiles will afflict Lehites, but later will help them. Lord remembers all he “has led away.”
2 Nephi 11:2, 8 2     x                           x           Isaiah’s words applicable unto Nephi’s people and “unto all men.”
2 Nephi 12:2–17 16                         x         x     x   War shall cease. Israel has “gone astray.” Haughtiness will be put down.
2 Nephi 13 26   x                     x     x   x         Jerusalem would suffer because of wickedness. Sin seen in “their countenance.” Righteous will be well. Haughtiness will be put down.
2 Nephi 14 6   x                           x   x         Women suffer after war. Israel will be redeemed, cleansed from filthiness.
2 Nephi 15 30                         x     x   x         Because Israel rejected the Lord, afflictions result. Warning given to those who think they are wise and prudent. The Lord will gather Israel.
2 Nephi 16:5, 9–13 6                               x   x         The Lord is rejected, calamity will result. “[A remnant] shall return.”
2 Nephi 17 25                               x   x         Ephraim and Syria attacked Judah unsuccessfully. Shearjashub means “the remnant shall return.” Devastation will come to Ephraim and Judah.
2 Nephi 18:1, 3–15, 17, 19–22 19                                   x         Shortly, Ephraim will be destroyed. Judah “refuseth the waters of Shiloah” and calamity will result.
2 Nephi 19 21                               x   x         Prophecy of Messiah coming to Israel. Joy increased. Messiah will reign. Israel would be devoured. Wickedness abounds.
2 Nephi 20 34                         x     x   x         Lord will send Assyria “against a hypocritical nation,” but then the Assyrians would be punished. “The remnant shall return … unto the mighty God.” “The haughty shall be humbled.”
2 Nephi 21:3–4, 9–16 10   x                         x x         x   Lord will not judge on appearance. Peace will be found. Gentiles will seek “root of Jesse.” Lord will “recover … his people,” “the second time.”
2 Nephi 23:11, 15, 22 3     x                   x                   Arrogance and haughtiness will be put down. “Every one that is proud shall be thrust through.”
2 Nephi 24:1–3, 32 4                               x             Israel “shall return” and will rest from sorrow, fear, and bondage.
2 Nephi 25:2–4, 6, 9–18, 21, 28 16     x   x                     x x x         Nephi saw wickedness among Jews. God’s judgments come to all. Nephites are of Israel. Jews would return from Babylon. Jews would reject Messiah and be scattered and scourged. Lord’s people will be gathered. Joseph’s seed will not perish. Nephites are stiffnecked.
2 Nephi 26:2–10, 12–16, 19–28, 32–33 26     x x x                   x x x     x x x Wars prophesied. Nephites destroyed because of wickedness, and Lehite descendants “dwindle in unbelief.” Jews and Gentiles need gospel. Lehite descendants will receive writings of ancestors. Wickedness among Gentiles, including secret combinations. Everyone invited to partake of salvation. “All are alike unto God.”
2 Nephi 27:1–6, 28, 31, 33–34 10     x                       x x   x x x     Great wickedness will exist among Jews and Gentiles in latter days; all wicked and all nations fighting Zion will suffer. “Words of a book” will come forth. Lebanon will be fruitful. “Jacob shall not now be ashamed.”
2 Nephi 28:2, 9–15, 32 9                         x   x   x     x     Written words of great worth to Lehites. “Puffed up” people condemned. “Wo be unto the Gentiles,” but God will bless them “if they will repent.”
2 Nephi 29 14     x                   x     x x   x x     God’s promises to Israel and to Nephi will be honored. Anti-Semitism condemned. Gentiles have persecuted Jews. God “will return all these things upon your own heads.” Gentiles warned to not dismiss the record of the Nephites. The Lord “speak[s] unto all nations of the earth.”
2 Nephi 30:1–10, 15 11   x x                       x x x       x   Righteousness is key, not lineage. Lehite descendents will joyfully receive words from Gentiles. Converted Lehites will be pure and delightsome. Jews will become delightsome. Restoration will commence among all.
2 Nephi 31:20 1     x                                       God asks us to love him and all people.
2 Nephi 33:7–10, 12–14 7     x                               x       Nephi has charity for people and urges all to believe in Christ. “Respect the words of the Jews.”
Jacob 1:8, 10, 13–16 6 x x x x x                               x   Jacob wishes all people could be persuaded to believe in Christ. Nephi fought. Lamanites are people “that seek to destroy the people of Nephi,” no mention of skin color. Nephites start to become wicked.
Jacob 2:5–6, 9–10, 13–14, 16–26, 31–35 22   x x x x   x   x   x   x x                 Jacob chastises the Nephites for their wickedness. “One being is as precious in [God’s] sight as the other.” Riches should be used to bless others. Lord responds to “cries of the fair daughters” who were exploited. “Ye have done greater iniquities than the Lamanites, our brethren.”
Jacob 3:3–11 9 x x   x x x x x x   x x         x           Jacob continues: Nephites hate their Lamanite brethren because of their filthiness, but cursed Lamanites more righteous. Lamanite “skins will be whiter than yours.” Lamanites “shall become a blessed people.” Lamanite hatred (of Nephites) and filthiness is “because of their fathers.”
Jacob 4:2–3, 14–18 7                 x             x   x         Lamanites were “beloved brethren.” “Jews were a stiffnecked people.” Jacob will explain how Jews can be redeemed after rejecting the Lord.
Jacob 5 77                             x x             Allegory of olive tree, symbolic of Israel, given; Gentiles are included.
Jacob 6:1–4 4                             x x   x         The Lord will fulfill his covenant with the house of Israel. Those who work in Lord’s vineyard are blessed. Israel is stiffnecked and gainsaying.
Jacob 7:3–4, 9, 15, 18–19, 23–26 10       x x       x x x                   x   Nephites nourished Sherem, a wicked man who fell after preaching against Christ. Nephites were hated by Lamanites, “our brethren.” Nephites reach out to Lamanites, without success. Wars and contentions occurred.
Enos 1:10–18, 20, 22–24 13 x     x x       x x x           x       x   Land (for “them”) cursed only for iniquity. Enos prays “for my brethren, the Lamanites.” Nephite outreach efforts were unsuccessful. Lamanites were wild, ferocious, and so forth. Nephites “stiffnecked.” Wars occur.
Jarom 1:2–3, 6, 7–9, 13 7       x x       x   x                   x   “These plates” for “our brethren the Lamanites.” Nephites have hard hearts and deaf ears. Lamanites “loved murder” and drank “blood of beasts.” “Many times” the Lamanites came to battle against Nephites.
Omni 1:2–3, 5, 10, 17, 24, 28 7         x                               x   “Much war and contention” reported, both civil wars and Nephite-Lamanite wars. Wicked Nephites destroyed.
Words of Mormon 1:8, 12, 13–17 7   x     x                               x   Mormon prays his brethren may accept Lord so they are delightsome again. War reported. Nephite wickedness took great effort to combat.
Mosiah 1:5, 13–14 3 x     x       x x                       x   God’s words unknown to “our brethren, the Lamanites,” whose unbelief is from their fathers’ traditions and who are weak and hate Nephites.
Mosiah 2:4, 11–14, 26 6     x               x   x                   Righteous Nephites “filled with love towards God and all men.” By word and example, King Benjamin taught that a righteous ruler is not above the people he or she serves. King Benjamin taught that slavery was wrong.
Mosiah 3:9, 11, 13–15, 20 6     x                             x         Christ crucified by “his own” stiffnecked people. Christ atoned for ignorant sinners. Gospel declared “to every kindred, nation, and tongue.”
Mosiah 4:7, 16–26 12     x                   x                   Atonement is for all mankind. People should help those in need.
Mosiah 6:7 1                     x                       King Mosiah helped grow food to not be a burden to his people.
Mosiah 7:15, 20–22, 24–32 13   x x x x                                   Separate Nephite group was wicked and were in bondage to Lamanites. If Lord’s people “sow filthiness … the effect thereof is poison.”
Mosiah 9:1–3, 10–19 13       x x           x x                 x   Zeniff stops Nephites from destroying Lamanites. Nephite settlers slow to remember God. War with Lamanites, who are “lazy” and “idolatrous.”
Mosiah 10:1–2, 6–20 17       x                                 x   Lamanites attack Nephite settlers and believe earlier Nephites had wronged them. Lamanites are “wild,” “ferocious,” and “blood-thirsty”; their children taught to hate Nephites.
Mosiah 11 29         x       x     x                 x   King Noah and his people become wicked. Lamanites attack Nephite settlers again. Nephites delight in shedding blood “of their brethren.” Abinadi’s life threatened because he preached against wickedness.
Mosiah 12:1–19, 22–24, 26, 29–31, 37 27     x   x             x       x             Abinadi warns Nephite settlers to repent; he is imprisoned and questioned. Zion will be redeemed. Whole earth will “see the salvation of our God.”
Mosiah 13:1–2, 4, 6–8, 11, 25–26, 29, 32 11         x             x           x         King Noah orders Abinadi killed. Abinadi accuses his captors of teaching iniquity. Children of Israel were stiffnecked.
Mosiah 14:2 1   x                                         The Messiah’s appearance would not be distinctive or desirable.
Mosiah 15:5, 10–12, 24, 26–31 11     x                         x   x         Christ would suffer at hands of “his people.” All who hearken are the Lord’s seed. Ignorant sinners redeemed, but people who willfully rebel are not. Salvation “shall be declared” to all. “Lord shall bring again Zion.”
Mosiah 16:1 1     x                                       “All shall see the salvation of the Lord.”
Mosiah 17 20         x           x x                     Alma defends Abinadi and is cast out. Abinadi executed by King Noah.
Mosiah 18:27–29, 32–34 6                       x x                   People who have should help needy. Group of believers flee Noah’s army.
Mosiah 19:2–3, 6–15, 17–26, 28 23   x     x             x                 x   Lamanites conquer Nephite settlers. Iniquitous King Noah killed after commanding men to leave families. “Fair daughters” protect Nephites.
Mosiah 20 26         x             x                 x   Lamanite women kidnapped by Noah’s priests (in hiding). Lamanites retaliate against other settlers. Gideon notes settler’s iniquity.
Mosiah 21:2–13, 15, 17, 30 15       x x           x x                 x   Thrice Nephite settlers attack oppressive Lamanites. Lord “slow to hear [settler’s cries] because of their iniquities.” Widows and children helped.
Mosiah 22:3 1                 x   x                       Gideon calls oppressive Lamanites “our brethren.”
Mosiah 23:7, 9, 12, 15, 25–39 19     x   x               x               x   No person is above another. King Noah and priests led people to iniquity. Love neighbor. Nephites captured by Lamanites and former Nephites.
Mosiah 24:1, 4–11 9       x x           x x                     Lamanites taught the Nephite language and to write (apparently some or all Lamanites were illiterate). Lamanites prosper; they are “a very cunning people.” Amulon oppresses Alma and his people.
Mosiah 25:4–11 8                 x   x                       Nephites concerned for souls of “the Lamanites, who were their brethren.”
Mosiah 26:4–6, 9, 11, 38 6         x             x                     Some Nephites have become sinful. Leaders in the church persecuted by people not in the church.
Mosiah 27:1–4, 8–11, 16, 25, 30–32 13     x   x             x x                   Nephite “believers” persecuted by “unbelievers.” Persecutions forbidden. All people “must be born again.” The Redeemer “manifest unto all.”
Mosiah 28:1–9 9         x       x x x                       Once evil, Mosiah’s sons pled to go to serve Lamanite brothers.
Mosiah 29:1–11, 16–18, 21–24, 32, 35–36 21         x               x               x   To avoid bloodshed and iniquity, Mosiah proposes government of judges instead of kings. King Noah and his people were wicked. Liberty desired.
Alma 1:2–17, 19–22, 24–28, 30, 32 27         x           x x x                   Nehor kills an opponent of his ideas. Nephites have freedom of belief. Church members persecuted, but forbidden to persecute. Many still fight with others. Priests and people are equal. Needy helped. Some Nephites were idle, idolatrous, and wicked in other ways.
Alma 2:1–5, 8–38 36         x                               x   Nephite civil war and war with Lamanites and Nephite dissenters occurs.
Alma 3:4–23, 27 21 x x x   x                               x   Lamanites marked as part of curse. Curse removed if Lamanites turn to Lord. People who joined Lamanites (like wicked Amlicites) also marked. Lamanites attack Nephites again. Everyone receives a just reward.
Alma 4:3, 6–13, 15, 19 11         x           x x x                   Nephites think they have been wicked. Evils of pride, persecution, and inequality found among Nephites. Righteous people helped those in need.
Alma 5:5, 7, 14, 18–24, 27, 30–33, 36–37, 48, 50, 53–57 24   x x x x             x x                   Lamanites put Nephites in bondage. Nephites were wicked. God’s image in your countenance? Filthiness can be made white. Persecuting others and attitudes of superiority are evil. All invited to repent and help needy.
Alma 6:3, 5–7 4     x   x           x                       Sin within church noted. God’s word accessible to all. People in church concerned for non-believers.
Alma 7:3, 6, 21 3   x     x                                   Some Nephites were unrighteous. Filthiness is unrighteousness.
Alma 8:9, 11, 13–14, 16–17, 24–25, 28–29 10         x             x                     Wicked people of Ammonihah reviled, spit upon, and cast out Alma. “Except they repent the Lord God will destroy them.”
Alma 9:1, 4–5, 8, 12–25, 28, 30–32 22 x   x x x   x x                 x           Alma warns Ammonihah Nephites to repent. If not, more tolerable for transgressing Lamanites, who are in ignorance because of their fathers. Disobedient cut off from God. Lord will be merciful to Lamanites. Lord merciful to all who call on him. All rewarded for their works.
Alma 10:7, 13–14, 16–27 15         x                                   Amulek tells people of Ammonihah they are wicked.
Alma 11:20–21, 23, 40–41, 44 6     x   x                                   Cunning, wicked judges stir up wickedness for gain. Those who believe in Christ are saved. All will be judged.
Alma 12:1, 3–5, 8, 15–16, 33–35 10     x   x                                   Zeezrom wicked. All resurrected and judged by God. All who believe and repent saved through Christ. Whosoever sins is not saved.
Alma 13:11–12, 22 3   x x                                       Garments washed white. Gospel declared to all nations, even to Nephites.
Alma 14:2–11, 14–25 22         x             x                     Nephites in Ammonihah cast out, stone, imprison, or execute “believers.” Execution will justify Lord’s judgements against the wicked of that city.
Alma 15:1, 3, 5, 15 4         x             x                     Cast out people found in Sidon; those in Ammonihah remain wicked.
Alma 16:1–9, 11–12, 14, 16 13     x   x           x                   x   Lamanites destroy Ammonihah and attack Nephites again three years later. No “respect of persons” and “no inequality” reported among Nephites.
Alma 17 39 x     x       x x x x           x           Sons of Mosiah and colleagues go to Lamanites, “their brethren,” to help them. Lamanites were wild, hardened, ferocious, and indolent; they are cursed “because of the traditions of their fathers,” but “promises of the Lord were extended” if they repent. To king Lamoni, Ammon says he wants to be a servant. He protects Lamoni’s flocks.
Alma 18 43       x   x       x x                       Lamanite mission continued: Intra-Lamanite plundering and servant killing mentioned. Ammon is a faithful servant to king Lamoni. Ammon preaches to Lamoni. He believes, prays, and collapses.
Alma 28:1–6, 8–14 13                 x x x   x               x   Lamanite mission continued: Nephites protected the converted Lamanites (brethren) at a tremendous cost. Sin causes great inequality.
Alma 29:8, 14–17 5     x             x                         Lord gives his word to all nations. Lamanite mission concludes with joy.
Alma 30:7–12, 18, 22, 29, 42, 46–47, 52–56, 58–60 20 x       x             x x                   Nephites not punished for beliefs. Korihor leads many to wickedness; he is cursed and later trampled.
Alma 31:1–2, 5, 8–28, 30–31, 33–35 29         x           x   x                   Preaching is more effective than force. One person is not above others. Zoramites were wicked. Alma prays for them, “their souls are precious.”
Alma 32:2–5, 22–23 6   x x                 x x                   Despising poor and coarsely dressed people is evil. God is merciful to all believers and speaks to men, women, and children.
Alma 33:22 1     x                                       All will be judged by the Son of God.
Alma 34:2, 15, 28–29, 36, 40 6   x x   x               x                   All who believe are saved. Prayers are vain if a person does not help the needy. Garments made white through Christ. Do not revile against others.
Alma 35:3–11, 13, 15 11         x           x x   x             x   Wicked Zoramites cast out converted, poor Zoramites, who are welcomed by people of Ammon. They ignore Zoramite threats. Zoramites incite Lamanites to war. Alma sorrows over Nephite wickedness.
Alma 36:6, 9, 12–14, 30 6 x       x                                   Alma sought to destroy church. He suffered over his sins. Not keeping God’s commandments means “cut off from his presence.”
Alma 37:4, 9–10, 19, 21–22, 25–26, 28–31 12 x   x   x                       x         x Sacred records would go to whole earth. They helped convert Lamanites and will help future generations. Many Nephites are wicked. Curse and destruction come from works of darkness, such as secret combinations.
Alma 38:1, 3–4, 7, 14 5 x       x           x x x                   We are cut off from God’s presence through disobedience. Shiblon bound and stoned by Zoramites. Do not say “we are better” than other people.
Alma 39:11, 17–19 4     x   x                                   Poor example brought iniquity. Souls of all ages are “precious unto God.”
Alma 42:27 1     x                                       “Whosoever will come may come and partake.” No one is compelled.
Alma 43:3–54 52       x x   x   x   x     x             x   War beginning in Alma 35 continues: Zerahemnah appointed wicked ex-Nephites over Lamanites, who had no armor. People of Ammon protected. Nephites protect liberty and families. The two groups are “brethren.”
Alma 44:1–23 23                     x                   x   War concludes. Many Nephites died protecting people of Ammon.
Alma 45:9–14, 16, 21, 23–24 10 x       x                                   Nephites prophesied to become very wicked. Land is cursed to wicked. Dissension grows within the church.
Alma 46:1–13, 17–21, 23, 27–35 28         x                 x     x       x   Wickedness leads to civil war. Moroni inspires Nephites to defend liberty and tries to arrest Amalickiah (dissenter leader). Lehites are Joseph’s seed.
Alma 47 36       x x   x             x                 Amalickiah stirs up Lamanites to fight Nephites and becomes Lamanite king by scheming. Nephite dissenters were more wicked than Lamanites.
Alma 48:1–16, 21–25 21         x       x   x   x x             x   Lamanites coming to attack Nephites. Nephites reluctantly fighting their brethren and were taught to not give offense and only kill in self-defense.
Alma 49:1–28 28         x       x         x             x   Lamanites attack Nephites and are defeated. Nephites viewed the two nations as “brethren.” Angry Amalickiah “did care not for … his people.”
Alma 50:1–7, 9–12, 20–22, 25–36 26 x       x             x                 x   Nephites prepared for next war and have an internal conflict. Wickedness gave war and distance from God. Morianton abused a female servant.
Alma 51:2–4, 7–37 34         x                 x             x   Nephite contention and civil war occur. A six-year Nephite-Lamanite war begins as Amalickiah again stirs up Lamanites against the Nephites.
Alma 52 40                                         x   Six-year war continued. Ammoron leads Lamanites in two-front war.
Alma 53 23         x           x                   x   Six-year war continued. Nephites harmed by intrigue. Nephites protect converted Lamanites, who want to help. Their sons join Nephite army.
Alma 54 24                           x             x   Six-year war continued. Ammoron justifies the war to avenge wrongs.
Alma 55 35   x                 x     x             x   Six-year war cont. Ammoron’s justification was fraudulent. A descendant of Laman helps free Nephites. Moroni would not kill drunk Lamanites.
Alma 56 57           x x       x                   x   Six-year war continued. Converted Lamanites were willing to break their oath so they could help Nephites. Sons of these Lamanites fight valiantly.
Alma 57 36                     x                   x   Six-year war continued. Converted Lamanite’s sons again valiant.
Alma 58 41           x                             x   Six-year war continued. Lamanite army driven. Lamanite sons faithful.
Alma 59 13         x       x                       x   Six-year war continued. Even in loss, Nephites see Lamanites as brethren.
Alma 60 36         x     x           x             x   Six-year war continued. Moroni writes angry letter to Pahoran. Lamanite tradition of their fathers was exploited by dissenting Nephites.
Alma 61 21         x           x                   x   Six-year war continued. Pahoran replied. Wicked Nephites took over capital. Righteous Nephites would not kill if they were not attacked.
Alma 62:1–42, 44–45 44         x           x                   x   Six-year war ends. Nephite rebels and Lamanite army defeated. Captured Lamanites join people of Ammon. Wickedness was among Nephites.
Alma 63:14–15 2         x                 x             x   Nephite dissenters again incite Lamanites to war against Nephites.
Helaman 1:7–12, 14–33 26         x           x     x             x x Son of former Nephite leader indicted. Chief judge murdered in a conspiracy. Lamanites attack Nephites and are led by ex-Nephites.
Helaman 2:3–11, 13–14 11                                           x Conspirators try to murder chief judge. Such evil helped destroy Nephites.
Helaman 3:1, 3, 14, 16–17, 19, 22–23, 27–30, 33–34, 36 15     x   x               x               x x Nephites became “wicked, and wild, and ferocious.” Wars and conspiracies were among Nephites. “The Lord is merciful unto all” who call on him. Persecution of others “was a great evil.”
Helaman 4:1–14, 16, 18–19, 21–26 23       x x   x   x       x x             x   Lamanites, induced by Nephite dissenters, attack Nephites three years after a Nephite civil war. Nephites were wicked like “their brethren, the Lamanites.” Persecuting others and oppressing the poor are evil acts.
Helaman 5:2–4, 16–52 40         x         x x                       Most Nephites are wicked. Nephi and Lehi go to Lamanites to preach. “More part” are converted and return captured land, even dissenters accept.
Helaman 6:1–9, 14–40 36       x x x x     x x   x                 x Lamanites mostly righteous. Lamanites preach to Nephites. Peace is “in all the land.” Nephites rejoiced with Lamanites. Putting oneself above another is wrong. Nephites mostly wicked and uphold robber band.
Helaman 7:1–6, 9, 11–29 26     x   x   x                   x         x Nephites need to repent of great wickedness, including “that secret band.” God does not favor the wicked unless they repent. Lamanites are more righteous than the Nephites, and the Lord will bless the Lamanites.
Helaman 8:1, 3–4, 7–8, 12–13, 24–28 12         x                                 x Wickedness, including “secret band,” is bringing destruction to Nephites.
Helaman 9:21–24 4         x                                   Great destruction awaits Nephites if they do not repent.
Helaman 10:3, 11–18 9         x                               x x “Secret works of darkness” among wicked deeds of Nephites. Nephi warned all Nephites to repent. Armed contention begins.
Helaman 11:1–2, 10, 21–34, 36–37 19         x       x   x     x             x x Secret band fuels Nephite civil wars. Church and peace found throughout Nephites and Lamanites. Ex-Nephites induce some Lamanites against their “brethren.” Band of robbers formed. Nephites become wicked.
Helaman 12:1–8, 25 9     x   x                                   Men’s hearts are unstable. “I would that all men might be saved.”
Helaman 13 39 x       x x x     x   x x                   Lamanites are righteous. Samuel, the Lamanite prophet, is rejected but preaches from a city wall. Nephites will be cursed and destroyed unless they repent. Persecution listed with other iniquities.
Helaman 14 31     x   x         x   x                     Samuel prophesies of Christ. All who believe in Christ are saved. Nephites need to repent. Samuel’s ethnicity partly why Nephites are angry.
Helaman 15 17       x x x x x x x x           x           Samuel, the Lamanite, again calls on Nephites (his “beloved brethren”) to repent. Lamanites had been wicked because of the tradition of their fathers but now are mostly righteous in contrast to Nephites. Lord will bless “our brethren, the Lamanites,” “even if they should dwindle in unbelief.”
Helaman 16:1–8, 10–12, 15, 22–23 14       x x         x x x                     Samuel, the Lamanite prophet, is driven away by Nephites. Some Nephites repent, but Nephites and Lamanites “harden their hearts.”
3 Nephi 1:6–7, 9–10, 18, 27–30 9       x x             x                   x “Unbelievers” plan to kill “believers.” Wickedness found among Nephites and Lamanites, including Gadianton robbers.
3 Nephi 2:3, 10–19 11 x x   x x       x   x                   x x Wickedness abounds. Lamanites and Nephites unite and fight robber band. Converted Lamanites join “their brethren, the Nephites.” For converted Lamanites, curse is removed, and “skin became white.”
3 Nephi 3 26       x x           x                   x x Robbers demand surrender of united Nephites and Lamanites. They refuse and prepare physically and spiritually to face robbers.
3 Nephi 4:1–29 29                                         x x Robber band defeated by united, and prayerful, Nephites and Lamanites.
3 Nephi 5:3–6, 21–26 10         x           x         x x         x Nephites repent. Robber band eliminated; robbers released if they commit to live better. The Lord has blessed faithful Lehites and will gather Israel.
3 Nephi 6:3–4, 10, 12–18, 20–30 21       x x x x       x x x                 x Former robbers are given land, and just laws are present. Inequality, persecution, and class distinctions occur. Some do not revile back. Some do. “All manner of iniquity” is found. A few Lamanites remain steadfast. Gospel preachers “put to death secretly” and a conspiracy is formed.
3 Nephi 7:1–2, 5–11, 14–16, 18–20 15         x             x                   x Conspiracy murders chief judge and destroys Nephite government. Very few, among the Nephites, are righteous. Prophets are stoned.
3 Nephi 8:24–25 2   x     x             x                     If people had not killed prophets, their “fair daughters” would have lived.
3 Nephi 9:1–14, 16–17, 20–22 19   x x x x x                       x       x Christ speaks of great wickedness. “Fair” people were slain. Secret combinations were “above all.” He will save all who come to him and give Holy Ghost as he did to Lamanites. He was rejected by his own.
3 Nephi 10:4–7, 15, 17 6                       x         x           Lehites are part of Israel and a remnant of Joseph’s seed. The Lord will gather Lehites if they repent. People slain who testified of destruction.
3 Nephi 11:28–30, 32–34, 41 7     x                                   x   Devil incites contention; Christ does opposite. All people commanded to repent. Preach the gospel “unto the ends of the earth.”
3 Nephi 12:9–12, 38–41, 43–45 11                         x               x   Peacemakers are blessed. Christ says to rejoice when persecuted, “turn the other cheek, and “love your enemies.”
3 Nephi 15:5, 8, 12–13, 18–19, 22–23 8                             x x x x         Christ covenanted with Israel. Lehites are a remnant of Joseph and were separated because of iniquity. Gentiles receive Christ via the Holy Ghost.
3 Nephi 16:4–20 17     x                       x x x x   x     Because of unbelief, Israel will receive the gospel from Gentiles and will be gathered. If Gentiles do not repent, they will be smitten. If they repent, “they shall be numbered among [Israel].” America is a dwelling place for Lehites. “All the ends of the earth shall see the salvation of God.”
3 Nephi 17:14 1                                   x         Wickedness within the house of Israel troubled Jesus.
3 Nephi 18:22–25, 28–33 10     x                   x                   Do not exclude anyone from worship services, even if that person needs to repent and will not. Continue to minister to him or her. Christ invited all.
3 Nephi 19:25, 28–30 4   x                                         Disciples were purified and were “white, even as Jesus.”
3 Nephi 20:10–23, 25–46 36     x                       x x x x   x     Lehites are a remnant of house of Israel. Israel sold itself but will “be redeemed without money.” God gave land of America for inheritance of Lehites. After receiving gospel, if Gentiles do not repent, “I will return their iniquities upon their own heads.” All the earth will see salvation.
3 Nephi 21 29     x x x                   x x x     x     When gospel comes from Gentiles to Lehite descendants, who have dwindled in unbelief, the Lord has begun fulfilling his covenant with Israel. Those not believing to be “cut off from among my people.” If they repent, Gentiles will be part of Israel. People gathered from “all nations.”
3 Nephi 22 17     x                       x x     x       “Enlarge the place of thy tent.” Gentiles will be inherited. “With great mercies will I gather thee.” “Weapon[s]” formed against Israel will fail.
3 Nephi 23:1–5 5     x                       x x             Isaiah spoke on all things about Israel. Hence, he also must speak to the Gentiles. They will get Christ’s words. Whoever hearkens is saved.
3 Nephi 24 18 x   x                   x     x   x         Sons of Levi to be purged. Judgment against oppressors. Tithe neglectors cursed. God will return if Israel repents. Righteousness is criterion.
3 Nephi 25:1–3, 5–6 5     x                         x             All wicked “shall be stubble;” righteous will be blessed. Elijah promised.
Mormon 7:1–2, 4, 8–10 6                     x       x x x       x   Mormon writes to Lehite survivors. They are part of Israel and will receive record of Jews through the Gentiles. Fight only if God commands.
Mormon 8:2–3, 7–9, 15, 19–25, 27–33, 35–41 27       x x               x   x x x   x x x x More Nephites are destroyed, Lamanites are fighting themselves. Lord will remember covenants. Lehite saints prayed for him who would “bring these things forth.” He would have eye single to [God’s] glory” or welfare of his covenant people. Smiters will be smitten. A warning given to those who persecute Israel. Much wickedness would exist in latter days. including secret combinations.
Mormon 9:4, 6, 13–14, 21–23, 25, 35–37 11   x x           x             x             Spiritual filthiness and an invitation to turn to God to be “spotless, pure, fair, and white.” Judgment and gospel are for all. Gospel is desired for brethren, and a prayer made for Israel.
Ether 2:11, 15 2 x                                     x     Gentiles warned to repent. Sin brings a divine curse.
Ether 3:14 1     x                                       Christ came for all people. Those who believe will have eternal life.
Ether 4:3, 6, 13–19 9     x x x                   x x   x   x     Lehites “have all dwindled in unbelief.” Invitation to Gentiles, Israel, and all people to “come unto me.” Unbelief caused wickedness in Israel.
Ether 6:21–28 8                                         x   Despite the brother of Jared’s assertion that “surely this thing leadeth into captivity,” the Jaredites choose to be led by a king.
Ether 7:4–5, 7–9, 15–21 12   x                                     x   Corihor and his “exceedingly fair” children attracted many people to Corihor’s rebellion. War begins among the Jaredites. Four wars occur.
Ether 8:2–25 24   x                       x           x x x Two Jaredite wars occur. An “exceedingly fair” daughter starts a conspiracy to kill the king. These secret combinations are “most abominable,” caused the destruction of the Nephites and Jaredites, and will destroy nations. Gentiles need to remove secret combinations.
Ether 9:1–12, 26–27 14                                         x x A secret combination causes a split into two kingdoms. War within one kingdom leaves only 30 survivors. King killed in another conspiracy.
Ether 10:5–9, 14–15, 30–34 12                                         x x Four more Jaredite civil wars and two rebellions mentioned. Robber conspiracy forms. King fights robbers but does not prevail.
Ether 11:4, 7, 15–18, 22 7                                         x x Jaredites have five more armed conflicts. Secret combinations are a cause of tremendous wickedness.
Ether 12:15, 22, 28, 35–36, 38 6                 x x x       x   x     x     Former mission to Lamanites was a miracle. Lehite descendants to receive gospel via Gentiles. Lord will show Gentiles their weakness and a path to righteousness. Moroni prays for the Gentiles and loves “my brethren.”
Ether 13:3–12, 15–19, 22–31 25   x                           x         x x Prophesy of gathering of Israel: New and Old Jerusalem “cometh” and garments are white. A great war occurs among the Jaredites. “Fair sons and daughters” did not repent. Secret combinations cause much fighting.
Ether 14 31                                         x x Two civil wars occur. Secret combinations contribute to carnage.
Ether 15:1–32 32                                         x   Jaredites are destroyed by civil war.
Moroni 1:1–4 4                 x   x                   x   Avoiding Lamanites to protect his life, Moroni calls them “my brethren.”
Moroni 7:28–32, 34 6     x                                       Lord claims “all those who have faith in him” and calls all to repentance.
Moroni 8:17, 19, 22, 24, 27–29 7     x   x                                   All children and those without law are saved. Pride destroying Nephites.
Moroni 9:2–24 23   x   x x   x                           x   During final war, Nephite “wickedness doth exceed that of the Lamanites.” Nephites had been delightsome people.
Moroni 10:1–2, 8, 17–19, 24, 31, 34 9     x           x   x         x             Moroni again writes to beloved Lamanite brethren. Spiritual gifts come to each person. A plea is given to all. Israel “put on thy beautiful garments.”

[Page 297]*Each paragraph in title page and witness testimonies is considered one verse.

 

Table 2. Book of Mormon verses discussing Lamanite cursing (12 instances) or relevant to Lamanite cursing or cursing in general (17 instances marked with asterisk). Each entry is a separate instance.

 

Reference CV Summary
1 Nephi 2:21, 23–24 3 If Laman and Lemuel rebel, they will be cursed, “cut off from the presence of the Lord.”
2 Nephi 1:7* 1 “If iniquity shall abound cursed shall be the land for their sakes.”
2 Nephi 1:10–12* 3 For people who dwindle in unbelief who had received great, divine blessings, the consequences are terrible.
2 Nephi 1:13–14, 16–29 16 “Inasmuch as ye will not keep my commandments ye shall be cut off from my presence.” Dying Lehi pleads with his sons and Ishmael’s sons to be righteous. Lehi fears that a curse will come upon them. They will receive “first blessing” if they are righteous, Nephi will receive it if they are wicked.
2 Nephi 4:4 1 “Inasmuch as ye will not keep my commandments ye shall be cut off from my presence.”
2 Nephi 4:5–9 5 Lehi asks that possible cursing on Laman’s and Lemuel’s children “be answered upon the heads of your parents.” Lord “will be merciful unto you and unto your seed forever.” “In the end thy seed shall be blessed.”
[Page 298]2 Nephi 5:20–24 5 Lamanites are “cut off from presence of the Lord.” Lamanites “were white,” now have “skin of blackness.” They shall be “loathsome” to Nephites and are “idle” and “full of mischief and subtlety.” Nephite seed will also be cursed if they mix with Lamanite seed. Repentance will remove the loathsomeness.
Jacob 1:13–14* 2 Lamanites are people “that seek to destroy the people of Nephi.” No skin color difference is mentioned.
Jacob 3:3, 5 2 Lamanites are cursed, but Nephites will also be cursed if they do not repent.
Jacob 3:9–10* 2 As occurred with Lamanites, children can be affected negatively by their parent’s “filthiness.”
Enos 1:10* 1 “I curse it not save it be for the cause of iniquity.”
Mosiah 1:5 1 Lamanites know nothing of the commandments of God.
Alma 3:6–10, 13–18 11 Marking was part of the curse against the Lamanites. Lord marked Lamanites to prevent intermixing to prevent belief in “incorrect traditions.” Cursing removed if Lamanites turn to Lord. People who joined Lamanites would also be marked. Amlicites, who dissented and joined Lamanites, had marked themselves. This fulfilled God’s words. The curse also fell on the Amlicites, but no skin change mentioned.
Alma 3:19* 1 Amlicites brought curse upon themselves. “Every man that is cursed” brings condemnation upon himself.
Alma 9:13* 1 “Inasmuch as ye will not keep my commandments ye shall be cut off from the presence of the Lord.”
Alma 9:14 1 “Inasmuch as the Lamanites have not kept the commandments of God, they have been cut off from the presence of the Lord.”
Alma 17:15 1 Lamanites were cursed because of fathers’ traditions, but Lord’s promises extended if they repent.
Alma 23:18 1 For converted Lamanites, “the curse of God did no more follow them.” They become “very industrious.” They correspond with Nephites.
Alma 30:52–56* 5 Korihor “taught [the devil’s] words … I withstood the truth … I have brought this great curse upon me.”
Alma 36:30* 1 “Inasmuch as ye will not keep the commandments of God ye shall be cut off from his presence.”
Alma 37:28, 31* 2 “A curse upon this land … destruction shall come upon all … workers of darkness … except they repent.”
Alma 38:1* 1 “Inasmuch as ye will not keep the commandments of God ye shall be cut off from his presence.”
Alma 45:16* 1 “Cursed shall be the land … unto every nation, kindred, tongue, and people … which do wickedly.”
Alma 50:20* 1 “Inasmuch as they will not keep my commandments they shall be cut off from the presence of the Lord.”
Helaman 13:17–39* 23 “A curse shall come upon the land … because of the people’s sake … because of their wickedness.”
3 Nephi 2:14–16 3 For Lamanites who were converted to the Lord, the curse was removed, and they are numbered as Nephites.
3 Nephi 24:8–9* 2 “This whole nation” is cursed for robbing God by not giving tithes and offerings.
[Page 299]4 Nephi 1:20, 35–39* 6 Lamanites form again. This time, Lamanites reject God and “willfully rebel,” but nothing mentioned about skin changes or a specific curse, even though conditions were similar to when the first Lamanites formed.
Ether 2:15* 1 “If ye will sin until ye are fully ripe ye shall be cut off from the presence of the Lord.”
Total Count 104  

 

Table 3. Book of Mormon verses discussing appearance; verses relevant to appearance; or verses that commonly are thought to refer to people’s appearance (e.g., light, dark, fair, delightsome), including references to skin. Each entry is a separate instance (46 total).

 

Reference CV Summary
1 Nephi 8:11 1 Lehi said, “the fruit thereof was white, to exceed all the whiteness that I had ever seen.”
1 Nephi 11:8 1 Nephi sees a beautiful (“exceeding of all beauty”) and white (whiter than snow) tree.
1 Nephi 11:13–15, 18 4 Mother of Jesus was “exceedingly fair and white” and “most beautiful and fair.”
1 Nephi 12:10–11 2 Garments and people “made white” by the blood of the Lamb of God.
1 Nephi 12:15–16 2 A vision of final Nephite-Lamanite war connects it to “the fountain of filthy water” and “depths of hell.”
1 Nephi 12:20–23 4 Lamanites and Nephite survivors would “dwindle in unbelief” and become dark, loathsome, and filthy.
1 Nephi 13:15–16 2 Gentiles were white, fair, and beautiful, like Nephites “before they were slain.” Gentiles are humble and have God’s power.
1 Nephi 15:33–34 2 Filthiness is wicked works or acts.
2 Nephi 5:21–22 2 Lamanites “were white, and exceedingly fair and delightsome,” now have “a skin of blackness.” They shall be “loathsome” to Nephites. Repentance will remove the loathsomeness.
2 Nephi 9:14–16 3 Righteousness is “clothed with purity.” Guilt, uncleanness, nakedness, and filthiness refers to wickedness.
2 Nephi 13:9 1 “The show of their countenance doth witness against them, and doth declare their sin to be even as Sodom.”
2 Nephi 14:3–4 2 To be cleansed from filth is to become holy.
2 Nephi 21:3–4 2 The Lord will judge righteously, not on appearance.
2 Nephi 30:6–7 2 Conversion to gospel makes Lamanite descendants “pure and delightsome people.” Jews also become delightsome.
Jacob 1:13–14 2 Lamanites are people “that seek to destroy the people of Nephi.” A skin color difference is not mentioned.
Jacob 2:32 1 The Lord responds to “the cries of the fair daughters of this people … against the men of my people.”
[Page 300]Jacob 3:3, 5, 8–10 5 Speaking to Nephites, Jacob said, some Nephites “are filthy this day before God.” “The Lamanites …, whom ye hate because of their filthiness and the cursing which hath come upon their skins, are more righteous than you.” “Unless ye … repent … their skins will be whiter than yours.’ “Revile no more against them because of the darkness of their skins” or “their filthiness.” “Remember your own filthiness.”
Words of Mormon 1:8 1 Mormon’s prayer that his brethren may accept gospel “that they may once again be a delightsome people.”
Mosiah 7:30–31 2 If Lord’s people “sow filthiness they shall reap the chaff thereof in the whirlwind; and the effect … is poison.”
Mosiah 14:2 1 Messiah “hath no form nor comeliness … there is no beauty that we should desire him.”
Mosiah 19:13–14 2 “Fair daughters” (here beautiful women) used to protect Nephite settlers from attack by a Lamanite army.
Alma 3:4–16, 18 14 Amilicites marked themselves like the Lamanites “with red in their foreheads.” Lamanites had shaved heads and wore only a skin covering their loins. Lamanite skins “were dark,” a mark the Lord set upon them to prevent intermarriage with Nephites. Distinguishing features of Nephites are those people who “would not believe in the tradition of the Lamanites,” who “believed those records … brought out of … Jerusalem,” who “believed in the commandments of God,” who “kept” God’s commandments, and who kept “true” records of themselves and the Lamanites. Skin not mentioned as a distinguishing feature. Marking removed after repentance. Nephites who rebelled and joined Lamanites would also be marked and Amlicites fulfilled this by marking their foreheads. No mention is made of Amlicite skins becoming dark.
Alma 5:14, 19 2 “Have ye received his image in your countenances?”
Alma 5:21–24, 27 5 “Garments stained with blood and all manner of filthiness” must be “made white through the blood of Christ.”
Alma 7:21 1 Filthiness is unholiness and spiritual uncleanliness.
Alma 13:11–12 2 “Their garments were washed white through the blood of the Lamb.”
Alma 19:18 1 Ammon was easily distinguished as a Nephite.
Alma 20:10 1 Ammon was easily distinguished as a Nephite.
Alma 23:18 1 “The curse of God did no more follow [converted Lamanites].” No skin change mentioned.
Alma 32:2–3 2 “Poor class of people” were cast out because of coarse apparel and were “esteemed as filthiness.”
Alma 34:36 1 “Their garments should be made white through the blood of the Lamb.”
Alma 55:4–15 12 As part of a plot to recapture Nephite prisoners of war, a search was made among Nephite army for someone who was a descendant of Laman.
3 Nephi 2:14–16 3 Converted Lamanites “were numbered among the Nephites.” Lamanite curse was removed, and “their skin became white like unto the Nephites.” Youth “became exceedingly fair.”
[Page 301]3 Nephi 8:25 1 If people had repented, their “fair daughters” and others would “have been spared.”
3 Nephi 9:2 1 “Fair sons and daughters” were slain and devil laughed.
3 Nephi 19:25, 28–30 4 Disciples “were as white as the countenance and also the garments of Jesus.” Jesus thanks the Father “that thou has purified those whom I have chosen.”
4 Nephi 1:10 1 People (all converted) are “exceedingly fair and delightsome.”
4 Nephi 1:20, 35–39 6 Lamanites form again as dissenters become Lamanites, but at this separation nothing mentioned about skin changes, even though conditions were similar to when the first Lamanites formed.
Mormon 5:15, 17 2 Descendants of Book of Mormon people will become more dark and filthy than was known throughout the Book of Mormon, “because of their unbelief and idolatry.” “They were once a delightsome people.”
Mormon 6:17, 19 2 After the destruction of the Nephites, Mormon laments, “O ye fair ones, how could ye have departed from the ways of the Lord!”
Mormon 9:4, 6, 14 3 “Filthiness” is spiritual filthiness, and turn to God “that … ye may be found spotless, pure, fair, and white.”
Ether 7:4 1 Corihor and his “exceedingly fair” children attracted many people to Corihor’s rebellion.
Ether 8:8–10 3 In a conspiracy to kill the king, an “exceedingly fair” daughter proposes to dance to win the support of a potential co-conspirator.
Ether 13:10 1 Garments of people who dwell in the New Jerusalem “are white through the blood of the Lamb.”
Ether 13:17 1 “Fair sons and daughters” did not repent.
Moroni 9:12 1 Before they became wicked, Nephites “were a civil and delightsome people.”
Total Count 116  

 

Table 4. Book of Mormon verses stating God’s message and blessings are available to any person and verses stating God treats each person fairly. No distinctions are made based on ancestry, class, nationality, and so forth. The test is righteousness only. Except as noted, each entry is a separate instance or thought on this subject (116 total).

 

Reference CV Summary
Title Page 2 The Book of Mormon is for all people (Lamanites, Jews, and Gentiles). One of its purposes is to convince “Jew and Gentile [all people] that Jesus is the Christ.” Jesus Christ is manifest to all nations.
[Page 302]Testimony of Three Witnesses 1 Testimony written to “all nations, kindreds, tongues, and people.”
Testimony of Eight Witnesses 1 Testimony written to “all nations, kindreds, tongues, and people.”
1 Nephi 1:14 1 God’s “power, and goodness, and mercy are over all the inhabitants of the earth.”
1 Nephi 10:17–19 3 Holy Ghost is available to all who diligently seek the Lord. Repentance available to all.
1 Nephi 11:36 1 Destruction prophesied for “all nations, kindreds, tongues, and people, that shall fight against the twelve apostles.”
1 Nephi 13:39–40 2 Other records that will come forth shall establish the truth of the Bible to all people and “make known to all kindreds, tongues, and people” that Jesus is the Savior and that all people must believe in him.
1 Nephi 13:42 1 Prophecy that Lord will manifest himself to all nations, both Jews and Gentiles.
1 Nephi 14:3–5 3 God’s justice “upon all those who will work wickedness and abomination before him.”
1 Nephi 14:12, 14 2 “Covenant people … were scattered upon all the face of the earth.”
1 Nephi 17:30–43 14 “The Lord esteemeth all flesh in one.” Righteous are favored. Wicked are not.
1 Nephi 19:17 1 “Salvation of the Lord” will come to “all the earth,” “every nation, kindred, tongue, and people shall be blessed.”
1 Nephi 21:6 1 Messiah will be a light to Israel and Gentiles and bring salvation to “ends of the earth.”
1 Nephi 22:9–11 3 “All the kindreds of the earth” will be blessed through Abrahamic covenant.
1 Nephi 22:14–20, 22–23 9 “Every nation” warring against Israel and “all that fight against Zion” will fail. Righteous people will be preserved. Wicked people will not. The Lord’s test is righteousness versus wickedness.
1 Nephi 22:25, 28 2 Lord gathers “his children from the four quarters of the earth.” If they repent, “all nations, kindreds, tongues, and people shall dwell safely in the Holy One of Israel.”
2 Nephi 2:7 1 Christ’s sacrifice for “all those who have a broken heart and a contrite spirit.”
2 Nephi 2:8 1 “How great the importance” to let “the inhabitants of the earth” know about Christ.
2 Nephi 2:9–10 2 “They that believe in [Christ] shall be saved.” “All men come unto God” to be judged.
2 Nephi 9:5 1 “The great Creator … [will] die for all men, that all men might become subject unto him.”
2 Nephi 9:15–16, 18 3 God will judge all. The test will be righteousness or filthiness.
2 Nephi 9:21–24 4 Christ’s sacrifice and redemption is for all people. All are commanded to repent; if not, they are damned.
2 Nephi 9:25–27 3 God is fair. Those without Lords’ law not held to same standard as those who have the law.
[Page 303]2 Nephi 10:13–17 5 Anyone who fights against Zion, king, Jew or Gentile, bond or free, male or female, “shall perish.”
2 Nephi 11:8 1 “Ye may liken [some of Isaiah’s words] unto you and unto all men.” Also, “rejoice for all men.”
2 Nephi 23:11, 15, 22 3 The proud and wicked will be punished. “I will be merciful unto my people, but the wicked shall perish.”
2 Nephi 25:3 1 Judgments of God “come upon all nations.”
2 Nephi 26:3–9 7 At Christ’s death and resurrection, the test would be righteousness, nothing said about lineage.
2 Nephi 26:12–13 2 Jews and Gentiles need gospel. Lord manifests “himself unto all who believe in him … yea, unto every nation, kindred, tongue, and people.”
2 Nephi 26:24–28, 33 6 Everyone is invited to partake of salvation. None are turned away. “All men are privileged the one like the other, and none are forbidden.” “All are alike unto God.”
2 Nephi 27:2–5, 31 5 All nations fighting Zion and people choosing wickedness will suffer.
2 Nephi 29:7–8, 11–12 4 The Lord “remember[s] one nation like unto another” and “speak[s] unto all nations of the earth.”
2 Nephi 30:1–2 2 Lineage is not the test, righteousness is. “As many of the Gentiles as will repent are the covenant people of the Lord; and as many of the Jews as will not repent shall be cast off.”
2 Nephi 30:8–10 3 God’s work will commence “among all nations, kindreds, tongues, and people.” Righteous spared, and wicked destroyed.
2 Nephi 31:20 1 God asks us to love him and all people.
2 Nephi 33:7–10 4 Nephi has charity for his people, Jews, and Gentiles. He wants all to believe in Christ, the key to his hope.
2 Nephi 33:12–13 2 Nephi prays “many of us, if not all, may be saved.” He bids farewell to brethren, Israel, and all on earth.
Jacob 1:8 1 Jacob wishes all people could be persuaded to believe in Christ.
Jacob 2:21 1 “One being is as precious in [God’s] sight as the other.”
Mosiah 2:4 1 King Benjamin’s people were “filled with love towards God and all men.”
Mosiah 3:11 1 God is fair; Christ atoned for all that die “not knowing the will of God … or who have ignorantly sinned.
Mosiah 3:13 1 Redemptive message is for “every kindred, nation, and tongue.”
Mosiah 3:20 1 “Knowledge of a Savior shall spread throughout every nation, kindred, tongue, and people.”
Mosiah 4:7 1 Atonement “was prepared from the foundation of the world for all mankind.”
Mosiah 7:29–32 4 No favoritism, Lord “will not succor my people” if they commit transgression. A Nephite group saw this.
Mosiah 12:24 1 “All the ends of the earth shall see the salvation of our God.”
[Page 304]Mosiah 15:10–12 3 “All those who have hearkened” are the seed of the Lord or “heirs of the kingdom of God.”
Mosiah 15:24 1 Those who died “not having salvation declared unto them” are “redeemed by the Lord.”
Mosiah 15:26–27 2 Salvation will not come to “all those … that have willfully rebelled against God.”
Mosiah 15:28, 31 2 “Salvation of the Lord shall be declared to every nation, kindred, tongue, and people.”
Mosiah 16:1 1 “All shall see the salvation of the Lord;” “every nation, kindred, tongue, and people shall see eye to eye.”
Mosiah 23:7 1 Lord said, “ye shall not esteem one flesh above another, or one man shall not think himself above another.”
Mosiah 27:25 1 “Men and women, all nations, kindreds, tongues, and people, must be born again.”
Mosiah 27:30–31 2 The Redeemer “will make himself manifest unto all.” He will judge all.
Alma 3:27 1 “Every man receiveth wages of him whom he listeth to obey.”
Alma 5:33 1 God invites all and will receive all who repent.
Alma 5:36 1 “Whosoever bringeth forth not good fruit … the same have cause to wail and mourn.”
Alma 5:48 1 Christ takes away “the sins of every man who steadfastly believeth on his name.”
Alma 5:50 1 Everyone invited to repent and “the King of heaven shall … shine forth among all the children of men.”
Alma 6:5 1 “The word of God was liberal unto all, … none were deprived.”
Alma 9:17 1 “The Lord will be merciful unto all who call on his name.”
Alma 9:28 1 “All men shall reap a reward of their works.”
Alma 11:40 1 “[Christ] shall take upon him the transgressions of those who believe on his name.”
Alma 11:41, 44 2 “All shall rise from the dead and stand before God, and be judged according to their works.”
Alma 12:8 1 All will be resurrected and stand before God to be judged.
Alma 12:15, 33–34 3 God has all power to save everyone that believes. Whosoever repents has claim on mercy through Christ.
Alma 12:16, 35 2 Whosoever hardens his heart and does iniquity dies a spiritual death.
Alma 13:22 1 Gospel declared unto all nations, even to Nephites.
Alma 16:14 1 Word of God imparted “without any respect of persons.”
Alma 19:36 1 “We see that [the Lord’s] arm is extended to all people who will repent and believe on his name.”
Alma 26:37 1 “We see that God is mindful of every people.”
Alma 29:8 1 Lord grants to all nations all “he seeth fit that they should have.”
[Page 305]Alma 32:22 1 “God is merciful unto all who believe on his name.”
Alma 32:23 1 God imparts his word not only to men, but also to women and to children.
Alma 33:22 1 “All men shall stand before [the Son of God], to be judged at the last and judgment day.”
Alma 34:15 1 Christ “shall bring salvation to all those who shall believe on his name.”
Alma 37:4 1 Sacred records prophesied to “go forth unto every nation, kindred, tongue, and people.”
Alma 39:17–19 3 “Is not a soul at this time as precious unto God as a soul will be at the time of his coming?”
Alma 42:27 1 Gospel is available freely to “whosoever will come” and partake. No one is compelled.
Helaman 3:27–30 4 “Gate of heaven is open unto all” who will believe in Christ.
Helaman 7:23 1 God does not favor any of the wicked “one more than the other, save it be unto those who repent.”
Helaman 12:25 1 “I would that all men might be saved.”
Helaman 14:8 1 “Whosoever shall believe on the Son of God, the same shall have eternal life.”
Helaman 14:17–18 2 “The resurrection of Christ redeemeth … all mankind;” whosoever repents “is not hewn down.”
3 Nephi 9:14, 17, 20–22 5 Direct statement and invitation from Christ: “come unto me ye ends of the earth, and be saved.”
3 Nephi 11:32–34 3 God asks “all men, everywhere, to repent and believe in [Christ].” “Whoso believeth … shall be saved.”
3 Nephi 11:41 1 Preach the gospel “unto the ends of the earth.”
3 Nephi 16:20 1 “All the ends of the earth shall see the salvation of God.”
3 Nephi 18:22–25 4 Do not forbid any person from worshipping or meeting with you or cast any person out. Pray for people. Follow Christ’s example, he invited all to come to him. “Whosoever breaketh this commandment suffereth himself to be led into temptation.”
3 Nephi 18:28–33 6 Do not cast out a person even if he or she is not currently worthy to partake of the sacrament or is unrepentant. Continue to minister to that person. Pray for that person.
3 Nephi 20:25 1 In his covenant with Abraham, God said, “in thy seed shall all the kindreds of the earth be blessed.”
3 Nephi 20:35 1 “All the ends of the earth shall see the salvation of the Father.”
3 Nephi 21:11, 20 2 Whosoever does not believe “shall be cut off from among my people.”
3 Nephi 21:28–29 2 Lord will gather his people from “all nations.”
3 Nephi 22:2–3 2 “Enlarge the place of thy tent … stretch forth the curtains … lengthen the cords and strengthen thy stakes.”
3 Nephi 23:5 1 “Whosoever will hearken … shall be saved.”
[Page 306]3 Nephi 24:18 1 The Lord’s criterion is “him that serveth God and him that serveth him not.”
3 Nephi 25:1–2* 2 “All the proud, and all that do wickedly, shall be stubble.” Those who fear the Lord will be blessed.
3 Nephi 26:4–5 2 All will be “judged of their works.” Criterion is righteousness.
3 Nephi 27:6 1 “Whoso taketh upon him my name, and endureth to the end, the same shall be saved at the last day.”
3 Nephi 27:14–20 7 Christ suffered on cross to “draw all men unto me, that they may be judged according to their works.” Criterion is righteousness. “Repent, all ye ends of the earth, and come unto me.”
3 Nephi 28:18, 23 2 Three Nephites “did minister unto all the people.”
3 Nephi 28:27–29 3 Three Nephites will minister to Gentiles, Jews, Israel, and “all nations, kindreds, tongues, and people.”
3 Nephi 28:31, 34 2 “All people must surely stand before the judgment-seat of Christ.”
Mormon 3:17–22 6 Mormon invites Gentiles, Jews, Lehite descendants, and “all the ends of the earth” to “believe the gospel of Jesus Christ.”
Mormon 5:8–24 17 Invitation to Gentiles, Jews, and Book of Mormon descendants to come to Christ, and a warning about what happened to Book of Mormon people who forgot the Lord.
Mormon 9:13–14 2 All will be “loosed from this eternal band of death” and will be judged by “the Holy One.”
Mormon 9:21 1 Whoso believes in Christ without doubting and asks shall receive. “This promise is unto all.”
Mormon 9:22–23, 25 3 Christ sent his disciples to “preach the gospel to every creature” throughout the world. Whosoever believes will be saved and “unto him will I confirm all my words, even unto the ends of the earth.”
Ether 3:14 1 “In me shall all mankind have life, and that eternally, even they who shall believe on my name.”
Ether 4:13–19 7 Invitation from Lord to Gentiles, House of Israel, and all people to “come unto me.”
Moroni 7:28 1 Lord claims “all those who have faith in him.”
Moroni 7:29–32 4 So “the residue … may have faith in Christ,” angels minister to Lord’s “chosen vessels.”
Moroni 7:34 1 “Repent all ye ends of the earth, and come unto me.”
Moroni 8:17, 19, 22, 24 4 God is fair; all little children and all that are without law are saved.
Moroni 10:17 1 Spiritual gifts “come unto every man severally.”
Moroni 10:24, 31, 34 3 Moroni ends his record with a plea “unto all the ends of the earth.”
Total Count 273  

*Continuation of previous entry, one line above.

 

[Page 307]Table 5. Book of Mormon verses where Lamanites are said or implied to be wicked or where negative characteristics are given. Negative labels or descriptions were counted (N) if the term could have been used by an outsider to view the Lamanites in a negative or prejudicial way (e.g., Alma 26:23–35), but this does not necessarily mean the label was used that way in the verse. Labels are given in summary column, but a label is only listed once even if used multiple times. A synonym may also be used. Except as noted, each row entry is a separate instance (54 total).

 

Reference CV N Summary
1 Nephi 12:20–23† 4 * Prophecy that, after Nephites are overpowered by Lamanites, the people “dwindle in unbelief” and become “dark,” “loathsome,” and “filthy,” “full of idleness and all manner of abominations.”
1 Nephi 13:11–12, 14, 30–31, 35† 6 * God angry with Lehite descendants, who have “dwindle[d] in unbelief.” They are smitten by Gentiles, but not destroyed.
2 Nephi 5:1–9, 14, 19 11 1 Lehi’s and Sariah’s family splits as threats to Nephi’s life increase; Lamanites hate Nephites.
2 Nephi 5:21–22, 24 3 9 Lamanites are sinful, cursed, hardhearted, loathsome, idle, mischievous, subtle, and sought beasts of prey.
2 Nephi 26:15 1 * Lehite descendants will “dwindle in unbelief” and will be smitten by the Gentiles.
Jacob 1:13–14 2 1 Lamanites are people “that seek to destroy the people of Nephi.”
Jacob 2:35 1 1 Implication that Lamanites have done iniquities.
Jacob 3:5, 7, 9 3 6 Lamanites are cursed, filthy, and hate the Nephites, “because of the iniquity of their fathers.”
Jacob 7:24, 26 2 5 Lamanites delighted in bloodshed, hated Nephites, and continually sought to destroy Nephites.
Enos 1:14, 20 2 17 Lamanites were evil, wild, ferocious, blood-thirsty, idolatrous, filthy, nearly naked, primitive, and ate beasts of prey and raw meat. They hate and want to destroy Nephites (“in their wrath”).
Jarom 1:6 1 2 Lamanites “loved murder” and drank “blood of beasts.”
Mosiah 1:13–14 2 2 Lamanites are hateful and “weak.”
Mosiah 7:15, 21–22 3 7 Lamanites hold a Nephite group in bondage. “Cunning” of Lamanite king led to this.
Mosiah 9:10–13 4 6 Lamanites wanted to bring Nephite settlers into bondage. Lamanites were cunning and crafty, “lazy,” “idolatrous,” and wanted to steal from Nephites.
Mosiah 10:12, 17–18 3 14 “Wild,” “ferocious,” “blood-thirsty,” “cunning,” and deceptive Lamanites attack Nephite settlers again. Lamanite children taught to hate, murder, rob, plunder, and destroy Nephites.
Mosiah 21:2–5 4 5 Lamanites “stirred up in anger against the Nephites” and increase subjugation of Nephites.
[Page 308]Mosiah 24:7 1 4 After some education, Lamanites became wealthier and became “a very cunning people.” They delighted “in all manner of wickedness and plunder, except it were among their own brethren.”
Alma 5:5 1 1 Alma’s group “brought into bondage by the hands of the Lamanites.”
Alma 9:14 1 1 Lamanites were cut off from the Lord “from the beginning of their transgressions in the land.”
Alma 17:14–15 2 14 Lamanites were “a wild and a hardened and a ferocious people” who loved riches. They were idolatrous and “very indolent” and delighted in murdering, robbing, and plundering Nephites.
Alma 17:26–39 14   One example given of Lamanites plundering against each other. A group of Lamanites try to kill Ammon.
Alma 18:1–7¶ 7 2 Murders had occurred, and King Lamoni had killed servants who lost animals to plunderers.
Alma 19:14, 27 2 2 Lamanite iniquities had been cause of much mourning among Nephites.
Alma 20:30 1 8 Ammon’s brethren ended up with hardened, stiffnecked Lamanites who rejected them.
Alma 21:3, 11–13 4 8 “Lamanites … were sufficiently hardened, but were influenced to “strong” wickedness by ex-Nephites. “Few believed,” and missionaries contend “with many” and are “cast into prison.”
Alma 22:28 1 2 “The more idle part of the Lamanites lived in the wilderness, and dwelt in tents.”
Alma 23:3, ‡ 7, 13 3 8 Lamanites rebelled against God, and wickedness, murder, plunder, stealing, and adultery implied.
Alma 23:14 1 1 Lamanites’ hearts were hardened by former Nephites.
Alma 24:7, 9–12, 15, 18 7 14‡ Converted Lamanites viewed earlier beliefs as “traditions of our wicked fathers,” were redeemed from “many murders” and sins, and covenanted to no longer kill others, steal, or be idle.
Alma 25:1 1 2 Lamanites, who had killed other Lamanites, are angry and vengeful.
Alma 26:3, 9, 24–25 4 9 Lamanites were in darkness, hateful, strangers to God, stiffnecked, blood-thirsty, iniquitous.
Alma 27:6, 8 2 4‡ Converted Lamanites said they had committed “many murders and sins” against Nephites.
Alma 27:23 1 2 Previously, converted Lamanites had committed “many murders” and “awful wickedness”
Alma 43:6–7 2 3 Lamanites had a wicked and murderous disposition and hated the Nephites.
Alma 47:35 1 1 Servants of Amalickiah (presumably Lamanites) assisted his fraudulent takeover of Lamanites.
Alma 47:36 1 5 Implication that Lamanites are “hardened and impenitent” and “wild, wicked and ferocious.”
Helaman 4:22, 24 2 2 Nephites had become wicked and weak, like the Lamanites.
Helaman 6:18, 20 2 2* Wicked Lamanites part of secret band that murdered and plundered.
Helaman 15:4, 7, 10 3 5 Lamanite “deeds have been evil continually.” The Lord hated them for that.
[Page 309]Helaman 16:15, 22–23 3 * Hearts harden: foolish, vain ideas; much disturbed; Satan’s influence—sins, rumors, contentions.
3 Nephi 1:29–30 2 1 Many Lamanite youth choose wickedness. Lamanites “began to decrease as to their faith.”
3 Nephi 2:11 1 * “Contentions throughout all the land” noted.
3 Nephi 3:15, 25 2 * Lachoneus urges united Lamanites and Nephites to “repent of all your iniquities.” They do.
3 Nephi 6:14–18, 20 6 * “A few” Lamanites are righteous, but “great inequality “ and “awful wickedness” is found. Pride, power-seeking, riches-seeking, vanity were found. Satan was leading the people.
3 Nephi 9:1–13 13 * The Lord mentions great wickedness that was found throughout the land.
3 Nephi 21:5 1 * Lehite descendants will “dwindle in unbelief because of iniquity.”
3 Nephi 27:32 1 * People in fourth generation from Christ “will sell [Christ] for silver and gold.”
4 Nephi 1:20, 24–40, 42–43, 45–47γ 23 9* People who “rejected the gospel” become Lamanites. Others are Nephites. Pride, costly apparel, class distinctions, denying church, seeking gain, persecutions, unbelief, hard hearts, wickedness, and vanity found. They willfully rebelled and taught hatred of “children of God.”
Mormon 1:13–14, 18–19 4 * Wickedness and unbelief prevails, including sorceries. Strong influence of “evil one” was found.
Mormon 2:8, 11, 26 3 1 Blood and carnage over “all the face of the land.” Lamentations occur. Lamanites are weak.
Mormon 4:11–12, 14, 21 4 2* “Every heart was hardened.” “They delighted in the shedding of blood continually.” Greatest evil ever known among Israel. Lamanites offer Nephite women and children as human sacrifices.
Mormon 5:8–11, 15–18 8 * Blood and carnage abounds; people have lost Spirit. Descendants will become more dark, filthy, and loathsome than was known in the Book of Mormon, because of unbelief and idolatry.
Mormon 8:8 1 * After Nephite destruction, survivors fight among themselves—continual murder and bloodshed.
Ether 4:3 1 * Lehites “have all dwindled in unbelief,” and they “have rejected the gospel of Christ.”
Moroni 9:7–9, 20 4 3 Lamanites forced Nephites to eat human flesh, a “great abomination.” Lamanites wicked.
Subtotal, before Christ§ 130 177  
Subtotal, after Christ§ 63 15  
Total Count 193 192  

[Page 310]†The descendants of Book of Mormon people are often just called “Lamanites” but the record makes clear that descendants of both Nephites and Lamanites would survive after the book ends (1 Nephi 13:30–31; 1 Nephi 15;13–14; 1 Nephi 22:7–8; 2 Nephi 3:3, 23–24; 2 Nephi 9:53; 2 Nephi 10:18–19; 2 Nephi 26:15; 2 Nephi 28:2; 2 Nephi 30:4–5; Alma 45:14; Helaman 3:16). In addition, the formation of Lamanites after Christ appears is based on those who chose to leave the church, not on lineage (4 Nephi). Until the two nations completely reform, lineage seems to have little to do with whether a person was a Lamanite or Nephite. Presumably intermarriage between descendants former Nephites and Lamanites was common during the peaceful era after Christ’s visit. Mormon notes that he was “a pure descendant of Lehi” (3 Nephi 5:20), and Moroni notes that Mormon “was a descendant of Nephi” (Mormon 8:13). Moroni did not use “pure” in his statement. Perhaps Mormon and Moroni had Lamanite ancestry as well.
¶Continuation of a previous entry one line above.
‡Lamanites labeled themselves.
*All or additional descriptions were given to both Nephites and Lamanites (as or essentially as one people) and are not counted here.
γI include the wickedness described between 4 Nephi 1:20 and 4 Nephi 1:35 with both Nephites and Lamanites. The record is not clear if the break-off “Lamanites” (verse 20) or the other people are the perpetrators.
§Before Christ (appears to Lehites), 1 Nephi through 3 Nephi 7; after Christ, 3 Nephi 8 through Moroni.

 

Table 6. Book of Mormon accounts where Nephites were labeled or implied to be wicked or where consequences of Nephite wickedness were prophesied. Negative Nephite characteristics or labels given in these verses are counted (N) if the term was descriptive and could have been used by an outsider to view the Nephites in a negative or prejudicial way, but this does not necessarily mean the label was used that way in the verse. Labels counted are given in summary column, but is only listed once if used multiple times. A synonym may also be used. Except as noted, each entry is a separate instance (146 total). (N = number of negative labels.)

 

Reference CV N Summary
1 Nephi 2:23–24 2   Prophecy that Nephites would not be protected if they rebel against the Lord.
1 Nephi 12:19–23† 5 1* Nephites will become prideful and are overpowered by Lamanites. The survivors then “dwindle in unbelief” and become “dark,” “loathsome,” “filthy,” idle, and have “all manner of abominations”
1 Nephi 13:11–12, 14, 30–31, 35† 6 * God angry with Lehite descendants who have “dwindle[d] in unbelief.” They are smitten by Gentiles, but not destroyed.
1 Nephi 15:4–5 2 2 Nephi is overcome because he beheld (in vision) the fall of his people through wickedness.
[Page 311]2 Nephi 5:25 1   Lamanites would scourge Nephites “even unto destruction” if Nephites do not remember the Lord.
2 Nephi 9:44–45, 47–48 4 7 Jacob says Nephites are sinful, need to shake off Satan’s chains, and have impure minds.
2 Nephi 10:2 1 1 Many Nephite descendants would perish “because of unbelief.”
2 Nephi 10:20 1 1 “Let us remember him, and lay aside our sins.”
2 Nephi 25:28 1 1 Nephites “are a stiffnecked people.”
2 Nephi 26:10 1 5 Nephite destroyed from pride, foolishness, selling for naught, and choosing the devil and darkness.
2 Nephi 26:15 1 * Lehite descendants will “dwindle in unbelief” and will be smitten by the Gentiles.
Jacob 1:15–16 2 4 Under second king, Nephites are hard hearted, wicked, prideful, and desire wives and concubines.
Jacob 2:5–6, 9–10, 13–14, 16, 20–26, 31–35 19 31 Jacob admonishes the Nephites for wickedness including pride, sexual sins, persecutions, attitude of superiority, loss of trust in their families, and their poor example.
Jacob 3:3–11¶ 9 13 Jacob chastises Nephites for their sexual sins and tells them to follow Lamanite example. Worry about “your own filthiness” do not revile Lamanites, “whom ye hate because of the darkness of their skins” or their filthiness. Grief caused to children by bad example. Get loose from Satan.
Jacob 7:3–4, 9, 18–19, 23 6 8 A wicked man denied Christ, “lead away many hearts,” used flattery, and admitted being deceived.
Enos 1:22–23 2 3 Nephites were stiffnecked and “hard to understand.” “Exceeding harshness” was needed.
Jarom 1:3, 13 2 6 Nephites have hard hearts, deaf ears, blind minds, stiff necks, contentions, and dissensions.
Omni 1:2 1 2 Omni said he was “a wicked man.”
Omni 1:5 1 1 “The more wicked part of the Nephites were destroyed.”
Words of Mormon 1:12, 15–17 4 8 False Christs, prophets, and teachers; contention; dissension; and stiffneckedness among Nephites took “much sharpness” to combat.
Mosiah 7:20, 24–28 6 11 Nephite group was wicked: contentious, “shed blood among themselves,” and killed a prophet.
Mosiah 9:2 1 4 Contention caused by blood-thirsty Nephite ruler results in “shedding of much blood.”
Mosiah 9:3 1 1 Nephite settlers “were slow to remember the Lord our God.”
Mosiah 11:1–15, 19–29 26 47 King Noah and his people are wicked: lazy, idolatrous, boastful, flattering, vain, deceptive, whoredoms, blind eyes, hard hearts, delight in blood, love riches, “lifted up in pride,” live riotously, vain, wine-bibber, and angry. Prophet Abinadi is rejected.
Mosiah 12:1–9 9 10 Abinadi again warns hard-hearted Nephite settlers to repent of evil. They are angry and bind him.
[Page 312]Mosiah 12:26, 29–31, 37 5 9 Abinadi tells leaders they “have perverted the ways of the Lord,” set their hearts on riches, committed whoredoms, caused people “to commit sin.,” and set at naught God’s commandments.
Mosiah 13:4, 6–8, 11, 25–26¶ 7 6 Abinadi continues: leaders are angry, rejecting a prophet, and wicked. He states, “I perceive that ye have studied and taught iniquity the most part of your lives.”
Mosiah 17:2–3 2 2 Alma knew of the iniquity Abinadi had said. King Noah was angry at Alma and cast him out.
Mosiah 19:2–3 2 1 A great contention occurs among the people of King Noah.
Mosiah 19:17 1 1 Limhi knew that his father, King Noah, had committed iniquities.
Mosiah 20:21 1 1 “All this because we would not hearken … and turn from our iniquities?”
Mosiah 21:11 1 1 Nephites stirred up to anger against the Lamanites.
Mosiah 21:15, 30 2 3 Lord “slow to hear [Nephite settler’s cries] because of their iniquities.”
Mosiah 23:9, 12 2 6 People oppressed by king Noah and his priests. They brought their people “into iniquity.”
Mosiah 24:8–10 3 7 Ex-Nephite Amulon oppresses Alma and his small group of Nephites.
Mosiah 26:4–6, 9, 11 5 9 Sinful Nephites induce dissensions through deceptive, flattering words. Many commit many sins.
Mosiah 27:8–11, 16 5 13 Sons of leaders wicked, rebel, seek to destroy church, idolatrous, flattering, and leading astray.
Mosiah 28:4 1 2 Mosiah’s sons “were the very vilest of sinners.”
Mosiah 29:18 1 5 King Mosiah encourages the Nephites to remember the wickedness of king Noah and his people.
Alma 1:6, 9, 12 3 8 Nehor is proud, wears costly apparel, angry and kills Gideon, and introduces priestcraft.
Alma 1:16–17 2 6 People doing priestcraft, being vain, preaching false doctrine, seeking gain and honor, pretending.
Alma 1:19–20 2 3 Nephites not in church persecuted people in the church.
Alma 1:22, 24 2 6 Nephites in church proud, contend warmly with adversaries, harden hearts, leave church.
Alma 1:32 1 15 Nephites (not in church) were involved in sorceries, idolatry, idleness, babblings, envyings, strife, “wearing costly apparel,” pride, persecuting, lying, thieving, robbing, murder, whoredoms, and “all manner of wickedness.”
Alma 2:1–5, 8 6 10 Wicked Amlici (of Nehor): cunning, seeks power, induces conflict, anger, aims to destroy church.
Alma 2:20 1 1 The murder of Gideon is mentioned again.
Alma 3:18 1 1 Amlicites “had come out in open rebellion against God.”
Alma 4:3 1 2 Nephites believed God’s punishments were “sent upon them because of their wickedness.”
[Page 313]Alma 4:6–13, 15, 19 10 34 Pride, iniquity, inequality, costly apparel, materialism, vanity, scornfulness, persecution of others, contention, envy, malice, poor examples, neglect of needy, and craftiness found in church.
Alma 5:7 1 3 Alma and others were in “deep sleep,” darkness, and encircled by the “chains of hell.”
Alma 5:18, 20, 22–23, 32, 37, 53, 54–57 11 23 Church wicked, “subjects to the devil,” filthy, murderers, vain, prideful, wear costly apparel, set hearts upon riches, led astray, trampled God, have superiority attitude, persecute, neglect needy.
Alma 6:3 1 2 Wickedness and pride among people in the church is noted.
Alma 6:7 1 1 The murder of Gideon is noted again.
Alma 7:3, 6 2 6 Some Nephites unbelieving, prideful, vain, hearts set upon riches, idolatrous, and in awful state.
Alma 8:9, 11, 13 3 7 Ammonihah Nephites are led by Satan, hard-hearted, and unbelieving. They reject Alma.
Alma 8:14, 16–17, 24–25, 28–29 7 6 Alma returns after being cast out. He and Amulek told to warn the wicked people of Ammonihah to repent or be destroyed. They seek to destroy liberty.
Alma 9:1, 4–5, 8, 12, 15, 18–25, 30–32 17 20 Nephites in Ammonihah are wicked, hard-hearted, stiffnecked, perverse, and “are a lost and a fallen people.” They quickly forgot God. They contend, are angry, and reject message.
Alma 10:7, 13–14, 16–27 15 17 Nephites in Ammonihah are wicked, cunning, perverse, and angry. “Ye lawyers and hypocrites.”
Alma 11:20–21, 23 3 6 For gain, cunning, wicked judges stirred up people “to riotings,” “disturbances,” and “wickedness.”
Alma 12:1, 3–5 4 7 Zeezrom lied. Satan led him in the subtle plan to set people against Lord’s messengers.
Alma 14:2–4, 6 4 6 Some in Ammonihah angry and reject Alma and Amulek. People’s blind minds came from lying.
Alma 14:10–11, 16, 18 4 4 Awful scene: executions of believers by hard-hearted people who were “after the order of Nehor.”
Alma 15:3, 5 2 2 Zeezrom suffered because of his past wickedness.
Alma 15:15 1 4 People left in Ammonihah remained hard-hearted, stiffnecked, of Nehor, and unbelieving.”
Alma 16:11 1 2 People killed in Ammonihah “were of the profession of Nehor.”
Alma 21:3–5, 8, 10 5 8 Former Nephites, “harder” than Lamanites, influenced Lamanites into strong wickedness. Ex-Nephites were “after the order of the Nehors.” They are angry and reject preaching.
Alma 23:14 1 1 Former Nephites hardened their hearts and those of Lamanites near them.
Alma 24:1 1 1 Former Nephites stirred up unconverted Lamanites and themselves to anger against converts.
Alma 24:28–30 3 5 Most who killed converts were ex-Nephites and of Nehor; ex-Nephites were hardened and sinful.
Alma 26:17–18 2 5 Mosiah’s sons were in an “awful, sinful, and polluted state.” Angry, they sought to destroy church.
[Page 314]Alma 27:2, 12 2 4 Ex-Nephites are “exceedingly angry,” led by Satan, and stir up others against converted Lamanites.
Alma 30:12, 18, 22, 29, 42, 46–47, 53, 58, 60 10 19 Korihor’s teachings influenced many to do wicked things, including whoredoms. He was Anti-Christ, hard-hearted, perverted ways of the Lord, and led by devil. He lied and flattered.
Alma 30:59 1 1 Zoramites “had separated themselves from the Nephites.”
Alma 31:1–2, 8–11, 24–28, 30–31, 33 14 30 Zoramites separate, did not live commandments, “a wicked and a perverse people,” idolatry, hearts set on riches, boasting, prideful, vain, costly apparel, unbelief (infidelity), and superiority attitude.
Alma 34:2 1 1 Christ was taught to Zoramites before their dissension.
Alma 35:3, 8 2 4 Popular Zoramites angry at and would not hearken to the word. Leader is wicked. People angry.
Alma 35:15 1 5 Alma sad over iniquity, wars, bloodshed, and contentions. People hard hearted and take offense.
Alma 36:6, 9, 12–14 5 9 Alma sought to destroy church. He was tormented for his sins. He led people astray.
Alma 37:10 1 2 Many stiffnecked Nephites “are now hardening their hearts in sin and iniquities.”
Alma 38:7 1 1 Alma told to stop “the work of destruction.”
Alma 39:11 1 2 “How great iniquity ye brought … for when they saw your conduct they would not believe.”
Alma 43:6, 13 2 3 Amalekites (Nephite dissenters) had a wicked and murderous disposition.
Alma 45:9–14 6 8 Nephites will “dwindle in unbelief,” become very wicked, including lasciviousness and “works of darkness,” and will be destroyed.
Alma 45:21:23–24 3 9 Dissensions, disturbances, rejected preaching, pride, and materialism found among Nephites.
Alma 46:1–11, 27–28 13 22 Amalickiah led away many people. Wickedness included anger, power-seeking, dissenting, cunning, flattering, seeking to destroy church and liberty, and quick to forget God and do iniquity.
Alma 47: 4, 35–36 3 13 Ex-Nephite Amalickiah was subtle and fraudulent in his takeover of the Lamanite government. Dissenters hardened, impenitent, wild, wicked, ferocious, indolent, lascivious, and forgot God.
Alma 48:7 1 1 Former Nephite Amalickiah obtained power by fraud and deceit.
Alma 48:24 1 3 Nephites would defend themselves against cruel dissenters who wanted to destroy them.
Alma 49:3 1 1 Ammonihah previously destroyed “because of the iniquity of the people.”
Alma 49:25–27 3 6 Ex-Nephite Amalickiah angry, curses God, and swears to drink Moroni’s blood; power grab failed.
Alma 50:21–22 2 10 Contentions, murder, plundering, idolatry, whoredoms, and abominations brought wars.
Alma 50:25–26, 35 3 6 A warm contention: stubborn people were inspired by Morianton, who was wicked and flattering.
[Page 315]Alma 51:2–4, 7–9, 12, 15–22 15 22 Power-seeking, angry, prideful, dissenting, and stubborn people “who professed nobility” induce contention. Amalickiah had sworn to drink Moroni’s blood.
Alma 53:8–9 2 5 “Some intrigue” among Nephites caused dissensions. This iniquity put Nephites in danger.
Alma 59:11–12 2 2 Nephite military leaders doubt “because of the wickedness of the people.”
Alma 60:15–17, 32 4 8 Wicked “king-men” dissenters wanted power and caused contention, bloodshed, and suffering.
Alma 61:3–5, 11, 17–18 6 6 Wicked Nephite dissenters have usurped control of capital city. They used “great flattery.”
Alma 62:2, 6¶ 2 3 Moroni mourned because of iniquity and rebellion against God by Nephite dissenters.
Alma 62:40–41, 45 3 6 Murder, contentions, dissensions, “and all manner of iniquity” occurred. Many hardened by war.
Alma 63:14 1 1 Nephite dissenters again go to the Lamanites.
Helaman 1:7–9 3 5 Those for another governor (he rebelled and sought to destroy liberty) irate and murder current one.
Helaman 1:15 1 1 Coriantumr “was a dissenter from among the Nephites.”
Helaman 1:18 1 2 Contention and difficulty in Nephite government left Nephites vulnerable to attack.
Helaman 3:1, 3# 2 4 Contention, pride, and dissensions occurred among the Nephites.
Helaman 3:14, 16‡ 2 12 Nephites were “wicked, and wild, and ferocious” in Mormon’s day and were guilty of contentions, dissensions, murder, robbing, plundering, abominations, and whoredoms earlier.
Helaman 3:17, 19, 22# 3 5 Great contentions, disturbances, and dissensions occurred among the Nephites.
Helaman 3:33–34, 36 3 8 Some Nephites prideful even to persecuting others, “a great evil.” Riches led to great pride.
Helaman 4:1–4, 8 5 7 “Many dissensions in the church,” a contention caused “much bloodshed,” and dissenters start war.
Helaman 4:11–14 4 22 Wickedness includes pride, materialism, oppressing poor, persecuting, mocking, denying, murdering, plundering, lying, stealing, adultery, contentions, desertion, and boasting.
Helaman 4:21–26 6 13 Nephites set God at naught, disbelieve, and are wicked, weak, stiffnecked, and corrupt.
Helaman 5:2–4 3 5 Nephite majority is wicked. They are “ripening for destruction” and stiffnecked. Laws are corrupt.
Helaman 5:17, 27, 35 3 3 Nephi and Lehi preach to Nephite dissenters, who now receive the gospel message.
Helaman 6:1–2, 15–19, 21–24, 31–35, 38–40 19 51* Nephites are wicked, rejected Lord, and led by Satan: dwindled in unbelief, hardened, impenitent, hearts set on riches, murder, robbing, plundering, stealing, whoredoms, idols, superiority attitudes, neglect of poor, and persecutions. Nephites are in awful state and are ripening for destruction.
[Page 316]Helaman 7:1–6, 9, 11–29 26 38 Nephites in “awful wickedness”: unjust government, adultery, stealing, murder, devil’s hold on their hearts, hard-hearted, forgot God, after gain, praise of men, after wealth, hearts set on riches, plundering, lying, vain, and pride. “Except ye repent ye shall perish.”
Helaman 8:1, 3–4, 7–8, 12–13, 24–27¶ 11 21 Nephites have corrupt laws; stir up anger and contention; and deny, reject, and rebel. They are ripening for destruction because of murder, fornication, wickedness, and secret works of darkness.
Helaman 9:21–24¶ 4 10 People are fools, uncircumcised of heart, blind, stiffnecked, wicked, angry; they want to kill Nephi.
Helaman 10:3, 11–18 9 15 Nephites do “secret works of darkness,” murder, plunder, and “all manner of iniquities.” They are hard-hearted, and “they would not hearken” to warnings to repent. Armed contention begins.
Helaman 11:1 1 1 “The contentions did increase.”
Helaman 11:22–23 2 3 Contentions and much strife over “points of doctrine.” Nephi, Lehi, and others settle the strife.
Helaman 11:24–25 2 3 Nephite dissenters again stir up trouble.
Helaman 11:34, 36–37 3 8 “Great evil,” pride, forgetting God occurring. “They were ripening again for destruction.”
Helaman 12:1–8 8 23 People are foolish, devilish, vain, evil, slow to do good, and forget God. They have false, hard, and unsteady hearts; have set at naught God’s counsel; and have trampled God underfoot.
Helaman 13:1 1 2 Nephites remain “in great wickedness.”
Helaman 13:2–39 38 62 Samuel, rejected, chastises hard-hearted Nephites for malice, persecutions, murders, hearts set on riches, pride, boasting, envying, strifes, murders, other iniquities, and choosing darkness. He calls them wicked, perverse, hardened, stiffnecked, “led by foolish and blind guides,” and worse than fathers who killed prophets. They are angry with prophets, reject them, and seek to destroy them, but they embrace false prophets. Cursing to come upon Nephites, unless they repent.
Helaman 14:9–11, 13, 19¶ 5 5 Sinful Nephites angry with Samuel and have rejected him. “The judgments of God … await you because of your iniquities, and also that ye might know the conditions of repentance.”
Helaman 15:1–3, 14, 17¶ 5 2 Unless the Nephites repent of their iniquities, the Lord will “utterly destroy them … because of their unbelief notwithstanding the mighty works which I have done among them.”
Helaman 16:2, 6–7 3 8 People do not believe Samuel’s words, are angry with him, and try to kill him.
Helaman 16:10–12, 15, 22–23 6 4* People “more hardened in iniquity” and still prideful, after Samuel preaches. They had foolish, vain ideas and “were much disturbed.” Rumors and contentions spread. Satan’s influence strong.
3 Nephi 1:9–10 2 1 “Unbelievers” plan to kill other Nephites. Nephi saddened by “this wickedness of his people”
3 Nephi 1:18 1 2 “They began to fear because of their iniquity and their unbelief.”
[Page 317]3 Nephi 1:27–29 3 5 Robbers commit “many murders.” Many Nephites join the band. Zoramites use lying and flattery.
3 Nephi 2:3, 10–11, 18–19 5 10* Great wickedness, contentions, and dissensions occur. People’s hearts led away by Satan. “The sword of destruction did hang over them.”
3 Nephi 3:10–11 2 2 Nephite dissenters join robber band.
3 Nephi 3:15, 25 2 * Lachoneus urges united Lamanites and Nephites to “repent of all your iniquities.” They do.
3 Nephi 5:3 1 3 Nephites forsake sins, abominations, and whoredoms.
3 Nephi 6:10, 12–18, 20 9 7* Inequality, disputings, pride, boasting, persecution, class distinctions, power-seeking, riches-seeking, vanity, and “all manner of iniquity” is found. People, led by Satan, “did wilfully rebel.”
3 Nephi 6:21, 23¶ 2 4 Primarily judges, high priests, and lawyers are angry, prophets put to death secretly.
3 Nephi 6:29–30¶ 2 6 People covenant to destroy the people of the Lord and the government.
3 Nephi 7:1–2, 5–11, 15–16, 18, 20 13 23 Government destroyed. People turned from righteousness, like a dog to its vomit. People yield to Satan. Great contentions occur, and people are hard hearted, have blind minds, and are angry.
3 Nephi 8:24–25 2 4 People lament that they had not repented and had rejected and killed the prophets.µ
3 Nephi 9:1–13 13 * The Lord mentions great wickedness that was found throughout the land.
3 Nephi 21:5 1 * Lehite descendants will “dwindle in unbelief because of iniquity.”
3 Nephi 27:32 1 * People in fourth generation from Christ “will sell [Christ] for silver and gold.”
4 Nephi 1:20, 24–40 18 * Pride, class distinctions, seeking gain, denying church, wearing costly apparel, persecutions, unbelief, and hard hearts found. Dissenters become Lamanites.
4 Nephi 1:43, 45–47 4 3* Wealth-loving Nephites became prideful, vain and “exceedingly wicked” like the Lamanites.
Mormon 1:13–14, 16–19 6 4* People willfully rebel against God, and wickedness, unbelief, hard hearts, and sorceries are found.
Mormon 2:8, 10–15, 18–19, 26–27 11 21 Wickedness continues. People lament and mourn but “not unto repentance.” Nephites “become weak,” rebel against God, and curse God. Thieves, robbers, murderers, and witchcraft are present.
Mormon 3:2–3 2 1 Mormon preaches repentance, but Nephites “harden their hearts against the Lord their God.”
Mormon 3:7–15 9 8 Nephites repel two Lamanite attacks. Nephites then boast and want revenge against Lamanites. Mormon refuses to lead them “because of their wickedness and abomination.” Mormon is without faith because of their hard hearts. The Lord will destroy Nephites.
[Page 318]Mormon 4:4, 8, 10–12 5 3* People persisted in wickedness. They boasted. “Every heart was hardened.” “They delighted in the shedding of blood continually.” Greatest wickedness ever known among Lehites or Israel.
Mormon 5:1–2, 8–11, 15–18 10 1* “Blood and carnage” abound; people have lost Spirit and do not repent. Survivors will become more dark, filthy, and loathsome than previously known, because of unbelief and idolatry.
Mormon 6:16–22 7 2 Mormon laments the wickedness that destroyed the Nephites. They rejected Jesus.
Mormon 8:8 1 * After Nephite destruction, survivors fight among themselves—continual murder and bloodshed.
Ether 4:3 1 * Nephites and other Lehites have “all dwindled in unbelief” and “rejected the gospel of Christ.”
Moroni 8:27–29 3 5 Pride brought down the Nephites; they are rejecting, denying, and rebelling. Spirit ceased.
Moroni 9:3–6, 9–15, 18–24 18 34 Nephite wickedness was extreme and included rape, torture, murder, and cannibalism. They also were stirred up to anger, blood-thirsty, vengeful, hard-hearted, loveless, merciless, neglectful of needy, depraved, perverted, brutal, without order, past feeling, uncivilized, and without principle.
Subtotal, before Christ§ 603 1074  
Subtotal, after Christ§ 112 86  
Total 715 1160  

¶Continuation of the previous entry (one line above)
†The descendants of Book of Mormon people are often just called “Lamanites” but the record makes clear that descendants of both Nephites and Lamanites would survive after the book ends (1 Nephi 13:30–31; 1 Nephi 15;13–14; 1 Nephi 22:7–8; 2 Nephi 3:3, 23–24; 2 Nephi 9:53; 2 Nephi 10:18–19; 2 Nephi 26:15; 2 Nephi 28:2; 2 Nephi 30:4–5; Alma 45:14; Helaman 3:16). In addition, the formation of Lamanites after Christ appears is based on those who chose to leave the church, not on lineage (4 Nephi). Until the two nations completely reform, lineage seems to have little to do with whether a person was a Lamanite or Nephite. Presumably intermarriage between descendants former Nephites and Lamanites was common during the peaceful era after Christ’s visit. Mormon notes that he was “a pure descendant of Lehi” (3 Nephi 5:20), and Moroni notes that Mormon “was a descendant of Nephi” (Mormon 8:13). Moroni did not use “pure” in his statement. Perhaps Mormon and Moroni had Lamanite ancestry as well.
*All or additional descriptions were given to both Nephites and Lamanites (as or essentially as one people) and are not counted here.
‡I assume the list of wicked and righteous deeds in Helaman 3:14 refers to the Nephites because the first “their” follows “Nephites.” The list also mentions dissensions, and elsewhere dissensions are not mentioned as occurring among the Lamanites.
γI include the wickedness described between 4 Nephi 1:20 and 4 Nephi 1:35 with both Nephites and Lamanites. The record is not clear if the break-off “Lamanites” (verse 20) or the other people are the perpetrators.
[Page 319]µPresumably they are Nephites because Zarahemla is mentioned.
§Before Christ (appears to Lehites), 1 Nephi through 3 Nephi 7; after Christ, 3 Nephi 8 through Moroni.
#These two entries describe wickedness during the same time period.

 

Table 7. Negative words used in the Book of Mormon to describe Nephites and Lamanites or words used to describe their evil acts. Labels are included for societies and influential people within a society. Person-to-person interactions were generally excluded. If a verse contains more than one mention or multiple verses are listed, the number of terms is indicated in parentheses. War, cursing, and conspiracies (secret combinations) are generally not included here, however some evil surrounding war and conspiracies is included. (N = the number of times a term was used.)

 

Characteristic§ Lamanites¶ Nephites¶ Nephites and Lamanites‡
N Reference N Reference N Reference
anger 3 Enos 1:14; Mosiah 21:2; Alma 25:1 45 Mosiah 11:26–27(2); Mosiah 12:9; Mosiah 13:4, 8(2); Mosiah 17:3; Mosiah 21:11; Mosiah 24:9; Alma 1:9; Alma 2:8; Alma 9:31–32(2); Alma 10:24; Alma 14:2–3(2); Alma 21:10; Alma 24:1; Alma 26:18; Alma 27:2, 12(3); Alma 35:3, 8(2); Alma 46:2–4(3); Alma 49:26–27(2); Alma 51:4; Helaman 1:7, 9(2); Helaman 8:1, 4, 7(3); Helaman 9:24; Helaman 13:26; Helaman 14:10; Helaman 16:2; 3 Nephi 6:21(3); 3 Nephi 7:18, 20(2); Moroni 9:4–5(2)    
awful state     4 Alma 7:3; Alma 14:10; Alma 26:17; Helaman 6:40    
babblings     1 Alma 1:32    
blind …     6 Jarom 1:3; Mosiah 11:29; Alma 14:6; Helaman 9:21; Helaman 13:29; 3 Nephi 7:16    
bloodshed     7 Mosiah 7:25; Mosiah 9:2; Alma 35:15; Alma 60:16(2); Helaman 4:1; Helaman 10:18 1 Mormon 8:8
blood-thirsty 7 Jacob 7:24(2); Enos 1:20; Jarom 1:6; Mosiah 10:12; Alma 26:24; Alma 43:6 6 Mosiah 9:2; Mosiah 11:19(2); Alma 43:6; Moroni 9:5, 23(2) 1 Mormon 4:11
boasting     8 Mosiah 11:19(2); Alma 31:25; Helaman 4:13; Helaman 13:22; 3 Nephi 6:10; Mormon 3:9; Mormon 4:8    
brutal     2 Alma 48:24; Moroni 9:19    
cannibalism 1 Moroni 9:8 3 Alma 49:27; Alma 51:9; Moroni 9:10    
carnal     1 Mosiah 26:4    
contention 1 Alma 21:11 57 Jarom 1:13; Words of Mormon 1:12, 16(2); Mosiah 7:25; Mosiah 9:2; Mosiah 19:3; Alma 1:9, 22, 32(4); Alma 2:1, 5(3); Alma 4:9, 19(3); Alma 9:1; Alma 21:5; Alma 35:15; Alma 50:21, 25–26(5); Alma 51:2, 4, 7, 9, 12, 16, 22(7); Alma 60:16(2); Alma 61:3, 11(2); Alma 62:40; Helaman 1:8, 18(3); Helaman 3:3, 14, 17, 19, 22(5); Helaman 4:1, 12(2); Helaman 8:7; Helaman 10:18(2); Helaman 11:1, 22–23(4); Helaman 13:22; 3 Nephi 2:18; 3 Nephi 6:10; 3 Nephi 7:7 1 3 Nephi 2:11
corruption     10 Helaman 4:22; Helaman 5:2; Helaman 6:39; Helaman 7:4–5(5); Helaman 8:3; 3 Nephi 6:29    
costly apparel (wearing)     10 Jacob 2:13; Alma 1:6, 32(2); Alma 4:6; Alma 5:53; Alma 31:28(5); 3 4 Nephi 1:24(3)
cunning 10 2 Nephi 5:24; Mosiah 7:21(2); Mosiah 9:10(2); Mosiah 10:18(2); Mosiah 24:7(2); Alma 47:35 13 Alma 2:1–2(2); Alma 4:19; Alma 10:13(5); Alma 11:21; Alma 12:3_4(2): Alma 46:10; Alma 47:35    
curse God     2 Alma 49:27; Mormon 2:14    
darkness (choose) 2 Alma 26:3(2) 6 2 Nephi 26:10; Alma 5:7; Alma 45:12; Helaman 8:4; Helaman 10:3; Helaman 13:29 2 1 Nephi 12:23; Mormon 5:15
deaf ears     1 Jarom 1:3    
denying     7 Jacob 7:9, 19(2); Helaman 4:12; Helaman 8:13(3); Moroni 8:28 1 4 Nephi 1:26
depravity     1 Moroni 9:18    
destroyed government     3 3 Nephi 7:1, 2, 6(3)    
destroy (seek to) 8 Jacob 1:14; Jacob 7:24; Enos 1:14, 20(4); Mosiah 10:17–18(2) 24 Mosiah 27:9–10, 16(4); Alma 2:4; Alma 8:17; Alma 26:18; Alma 36:6, 9(2); Alma 48:24; Alma 38:7; Alma 46:10(2); Helaman 1:8; Helaman 13:26(4); 3 Nephi 6:29, 30(5); 3 Nephi 7:11    
dissension     54 Jarom 1:13; Words of Mormon 1:16; Mosiah 26:5; Mosiah 27:9; Alma 30:59; Alma 31:2, 8(2); Alma 34:2; Alma 43:13; Alma 45:21, 23(2); Alma 46:6–7, 11, 27–28(6); Alma 47:35–36(3); Alma 48:24; Alma 50:22; Alma 51:15–16, 19–20(4); Alma 53:8–9(2); Alma 60:32; Alma 61:17; Alma 62:6, 40(2); Alma 63:14; Helaman 1:15; Helaman 3:1, 3, 14, 17(4); Helaman 4:1–4, 8, 12(6); Helaman 5:17, 27, 35(3); Helaman 11:24–25(3); 3 Nephi 1:28; 3 Nephi 2:18; 3 Nephi 3:10–11(2) 1 4 Nephi 1:20
disturbed         1 Helaman 16:22
envying     3 Alma 1:32; Alma 4:9; Helaman 13:22    
example (poor)     5 Jacob 2:35; Jacob 3:10; Alma 4:10–11(2); Alma 39:11    
fallen     3 1 Nephi 15:5; Alma 9:30, 32(2)    
false hearts     1 Helaman 12:1    
false Christs, prophets, and preachers     12 Words of Mormon 1:15–16(3); Alma 1:16; Alma 30:12; Helaman 13:27–28(7) 1 4 Nephi 1:34
ferocious 4 Enos 1:20; Mosiah 10:12; Alma 17:14; Alma 47:36 2 Alma 47:36; Helaman 3:16    
filthiness 4 Jacob 3:5, 9 (3); Enos 1:20 6 Jacob 3:3, 9, 10(4); Alma 5:22(2) 2 1 Nephi 12:23; Mormon 5:15
flattery     19 Jacob 7:4(2); Mosiah 11:7(2); Mosiah 26:6; Mosiah 27:8; Alma 30:47; Alma 46:5, 7, 10(3); Alma 50:35; Alma 61:4; Helaman 13:27–28(6); 3 Nephi 1:29    
foolish     4 2 Nephi 26:10; Helaman 9:21; Helaman 12:4; Helaman 13:29 1 Helaman 16:22
forget God     4 Alma 47:36; Helaman 7:20; Helaman 11:36; Helaman 12:2    
get gain     4 Alma 1:16; Alma 11:20; Helaman 7:5, 21(2) 1 4 Nephi 1:26
hardened, hard-hearted 9 2 Nephi 5:21(2); Alma 17:14; Alma 20:30; Alma 21:3, 12(3); Alma 23:14; Alma 47:36 43 Jacob 1:15; Enos 1:22; Jarom 1:3; Mosiah 11:29(2); Mosiah 12:1; Alma 1:24; Alma 8:11; Alma 9:5, 30–31(3); Alma 14:11; Alma 15:15; Alma 21:3; Alma 23:14; Alma 24:30; Alma 30:29, 42, 46(4); Alma 35:15; Alma 37:10; Alma 47:36; Alma 62:41; Helaman 6:2, 35(2); Helaman 7:18; Helaman 9:21; Helaman 10:13, 15(2); Helaman 12:2; Helaman 13:8, 12, 29(3); 3 Nephi 7:16; Mormon 1:17(2); Mormon 3:3; Mormon 3:12; Moroni 9:4, 6, 10, 23(4) 4 Helaman 16:15; 4 Nephi 1:31, 34(2); Mormon 4:11
harshness needed     2 Enos 1:23; Words of Mormon 1:17    
hate 12 2 Nephi 5:14; Jacob 3:7; Jacob 7:24, 26(2); Enos 1:20; Mosiah 1:14; Mosiah 10:17 (2); Alma 26:9; Alma 43:7; 4 Nephi 1:39(2) 1 Jacob 3:5    
human sacrifice 2 Mormon 4:14, 21(2)        
hypocrites     1 Alma 10:17    
idleness 3 2 Nephi 5:24; Alma 22:28; Alma 24:18* 1 Alma 1:32 1 1 Nephi 12:23
idolatry 3 Enos 1:20; Mosiah 9:12; Alma 17:15 8 Mosiah 11:6–7(2); Mosiah 27:8; Alma 1:32; Alma 7:6 Alma 31:1; Alma 50:21; Helaman 6:31 1 Mormon 5:15
impenitent 1 Alma 47:36 2 Alma 47:36; Helaman 6:2    
impure minds     1 2 Nephi 9:47    
inequality, attitudes of superiority     13 Jacob 2:13; Jacob 3:9(2); Alma 4:12, 15(3); Alma 5:54; Alma 31:28; Alma 51:17–18, 21(3); Helaman 6:17; 3 Nephi 6:12 3 3 Nephi 6:14; 4 Nephi 1:26, 29(2)
intrigue     2 Alma 53:8–9(2)    
lawyers     3 Alma 10:14, 17, 27(3)    
lazy, indolent 3 Mosiah 9:12, Alma 17:14–15(2) 2 Mosiah 11:6, Alma 47:36    
led about by Satan     24 2 Nephi 9:45; 2 Nephi 26:10; Jacob 3:11(2); Jacob 7:18; Mosiah 27:9; Alma 5:7, 20(3); Alma 8:9; Alma 11:23; Alma 12:5; Alma 27:12; Alma 30:42, 53(3); Helaman 6:21, 31(2); Helaman 7:15–16(2); 3 Nephi 2:3(2); 3 Nephi 7:5; Moroni 9:3 16 Helaman 16:22–23(4); 3 Nephi 6:15–17(5); 3 Nephi 27:32; Mormon 5:16, 18(5); Mormon 1:19
led or leading astray     7 Jacob 7:3(2); Mosiah 27:9–10(2); Alma 5:37; Alma 30:18; Alma 36:14    
loathsome 1 2 Nephi 5:22     2 1 Nephi 12:23; Mormon 5:15
lost     2 Alma 9:30, 32(2)    
loveless     1 Moroni 9:5    
lying, deception 2 Mosiah 10:18(2) 17 Mosiah 11:7, 11(2); Mosiah 26:6; Alma 1:17, 32(2); Alma 12:1, 3–4(4); Alma 14:6; Alma 30:42, 47(2); Alma 47:35; Alma 48:7; Helaman 4:12; Helaman 7:21; 3 Nephi 1:29    
malice, evil nature 1 Enos 1:20 4 Alma 4:9; Helaman 12:4; Helaman 13:22; Moroni 9:19    
materialism 3 Alma 17:14(3) 23 Mosiah 11:14; Mosiah 12:29; Alma 4:6, 8(2); Alma 5:53; Alma 7:6; Alma 31:24, 28(2); Alma 45:24; Helaman 3:36(2); Helaman 4:12; Helaman 6:17; Helaman 7:21, 26(3); Helaman 12:2; Helaman 13:20–22(4); 3 Nephi 6:10; 4 Nephi 1:43 1 3 Nephi 6:15
merciless     1 Moroni 9:18    
mischief (full of) 1 2 Nephi 5:24        
mocking the sacred     1 Helaman 4:12    
murder 13 Mosiah 10:17; Alma 17:14(2); Alma 18:2; Alma 23:3µ*; Alma 24:9–11, 18 (5)*; Alma 27:6*, 8*, 23(3) 33 Mosiah 7:26, 28(2); Mosiah 9:2; Alma 1:9, 32(2); Alma 2:20; Alma 5:23; Alma 6:7; Alma 50:21; Alma 62:40; Helaman 1:9; Helaman 3:14; Helaman 4:12; Helaman 6:15, 17, 19, 21, 23, 38(7); Helaman 7:5, 21(2); Helaman 8:26–27(2); Helaman 10:3; Helaman 13:22; 3 Nephi 1:27(2); 3 Nephi 7:1, 6(2); 3 Nephi 8:25; Mormon 2:10; Moroni 9:10 2 Helaman 6:18; Mormon 8:8
neglect of others     15 Alma 4:12(5); Alma 5:55(3); Helaman 4:12(3); Helaman 6:39(3); Moroni 9:19    
Nehor (order of)     10 Alma 2:1; Alma 14:16, 18(2); Alma 15:15; Alma 16:11(2); Alma 21:4(2); Alma 24:28–29(2)    
offended     1 Alma 35:15    
order (without)     1 Moroni 9:18    
past feeling, lost Spirit     3 Moroni 8:28; Moroni 9:4, 20(2) 2 Mormon 5:16(2)
persecution     21 Jacob 2:13, 20(3); Mosiah 24:8(2); Alma 1:19–20, 32(4); Alma 4:8, 9, 15(3); Alma 5:54; Helaman 3:34(2); Helaman 4:12; Helaman 6:39(3); Helaman 13:22; 3 Nephi 6:10 3 4 Nephi 1:29–30, 34(3)
perversion     13 Mosiah 12:26(2); Alma 9:8; Alma 10:17–18, 25(3); Alma 30:22, 60(2); Alma 31:1, 11, 24(3); Helaman 13:29; Moroni 9:19    
plundering, robbing 11 Mosiah 9:12(2); Mosiah 10:17(2); Mosiah 24:7; Alma 17:14 (3); Alma 18:7; Alma 23:3µ*; Helaman 6:20 12 Alma 1:32; Alma 50:21; Helaman 3:14(2); Helaman 4:12; Helaman 6:17, 21, 23(4); Helaman 7:21; Helaman 10:3; Mormon 2:10 1 Helaman 6:18
polluted     1 Alma 26:17    
power-hungry     8 Alma 2:2; Alma 46:4(2); Alma 49:26(2); Alma 51:8(2); Alma 60:16 1 3 Nephi 6:15
praise of men     3 Alma 1:16; Helaman 7:5, 21(2)    
pride     44 1 Nephi 12:19; 2 Nephi 26:10; Jacob 1:16; Jacob 2:13, 16, 20(5); Mosiah 11:5, 19(2); Alma 1:6, 22, 32(3); Alma 4:6, 8, 9, 12, 19(7); Alma 6:3; Alma 7:6; Alma 31:25, 27(2); Alma 45:24(3); Alma 51:17–18, 21(3); Helaman 3:1, 33–34, 36(4); Helaman 4:12; Helaman 7:26; Helaman 11:37; Helaman 13:22(2); Helaman 16:10; 3 Nephi 6:10, 13(2); 4 Nephi 1:43; Moroni 8:27 1 4 Nephi 1:24
priestcraft     4 Alma 1:12, 16(4)    
principle (without)     1 Moroni 9:20    
quick to do iniquity, slow to do good     6 Alma 46:8; Helaman 12:4–5(5)    
quick to forget God, slow to remember God     9 Mosiah 9:3; Alma 9:8; Alma 46:8(2); Helaman 12:4–5(5)    
rape     1 Moroni 9:9    
rebelled against God 3 Alma 23:7, 13(2); 4 Nephi 1:38 8 Mosiah 27:11; Alma 3:18; Alma 36:13; Alma 62:2; Helaman 8:25; Mormon 1:16; Mormon 2:15; Moroni 8:28 1 3 Nephi 6:18
rejected the gospel or prophets 8 Alma 20:30(6); Alma 21:12–13(2) 57 Mosiah 11:26–28(5); Mosiah 12:9; Mosiah 13:4; Alma 1: 24(2); Alma 8:13, 24(6); Alma 9:4, 32(2); Alma 14:3–4(2); Alma 21:10(2); Alma 30:29; Alma 35:3; Alma 45:23–24(2); Helaman 6:2(2); Helaman 7:3; Helaman 8:24–25(2); Helaman 9:24; Helaman 10:13, 15, 18(5); Helaman 13:2, 7, 24, 26(8); Helaman 14:10(2); Helaman 16:2, 6–7(7); 3 Nephi 6:23; 3 Nephi 8:25; Mormon 6:17; Moroni 8:29 5 4 Nephi 1:30–33(4); Ether 4:3
rioting, disturbances     4 Alma 11:20(2); Alma 45:21; Helaman 3:17    
riotous living     2 Mosiah 11:14(2)    
ripening for destruction     4 Helaman 5:2; Helaman 6:40; Helaman 8:26; Helaman 11:37    
scornful     1 Alma 4:8    
sell oneself for naught     1 2 Nephi 26:10 3 3 Nephi 27:32(3)
set at naught God’s commandments     10 Mosiah 12:37(2); Mosiah 13:25; Alma 31:9–10(2); Alma 36:13; Helaman 4:21; Helaman 12:6(3)    
sorcery     3 Alma 1:32; Mormon 2:10(2) 3 Mormon 1:19(3)
stealing, thieving 2 Alma 23:3µ*; Alma 24:18* 7 Alma 1:32; Helaman 4:12; Helaman 6:21, 23(2); Helaman 7:5, 21(2); Mormon 2:10    
stiffnecked 2 Alma 20:30; Alma 26:24 12 2 Nephi 25:28; Enos 1:22; Jarom 1:3; Words of Mormon 1:17; Alma 9:5, 31(2); Alma 15:15; Alma 37:10; Helaman 4:21; Helaman 5:3; Helaman 9:21; Helaman 13:29    
stubborn     2 Alma 50:35; Alma 51:21    
subjugation, bondage 10 Mosiah 7:15, 22(5); Mosiah 21:2–5(4); Alma 5:5 10 Mosiah 11:3–4, 6, 13(4); Mosiah 23:12(2); Mosiah 24:8–10(4)    
torture     1 Moroni 9:10    
trample God     3 Alma 5:18; Helaman 6:31; Helaman 12:2    
trust broken     3 Jacob 2:35(2), Jacob 3:10    
unbelief 3 Jacob 3:7; Alma 26:9; 4 Nephi 1:38 14 2 Nephi 10:2; Alma 7:6; Alma 8:11; Alma 15:15; Alma 21:8; Alma 31:30; Alma 45:10, 12(2); Alma 50:22; Helaman 4:23, 25(2); Helaman 6:34; Helaman 15:17; 3 Nephi 1:18 8 1 Nephi 12:22–23(2); 1 Nephi 13:35; 2 Nephi 26:15; 3 Nephi 21:5; Mormon 1:14; Mormon 5:15; Ether 4:3
uncivilized, primitive† 8 2 Nephi 5:24; Enos 1:20(5); Jarom 1:6; Alma 22:28 1 Moroni 9:11    
unsteady     1 Helaman 12:1    
vanity 1 4 Nephi 1:43 11 Mosiah 11:7, 11(2); Alma 1:16; Alma 4:8; Alma 5:37, 53(2); Alma 7:6; Alma 31:27; Helaman 7:21; Helaman 12:4; 4 Nephi 1:43 2 Helaman 16:22; 3 Nephi 6:15
vengeful 1 Alma 25:1 4 Mormon 3:9, 14(2); Moroni 9:5, 23(2)    
weak 3 Mosiah 1:13; Helaman 4:24; Mormon 2:26 3 Helaman 4:24, 26(2); Mormon 2:26    
whoredoms 1 Alma 23:3µ* 22 Jacob 1:15; Jacob 2:23, 33(2); Jacob 3:5; Mosiah 11:2, 4, 6, 20(5); Mosiah 12:29(2); Alma 1:32; Alma 30:18; Alma 45:12; Alma 47:36; Alma 50:21; Helaman 3:14; Helaman 4:12; Helaman 6:23; Helaman 7:5; Helaman 8:26; 3 Nephi 5:3    
wickedness 41 2 Nephi 5:21–22(2); Jacob 2:35; Jacob 3:7; Mosiah 24:7; Alma 9:14; Alma 19:14, 27(2); Alma 21:3(2); Alma 23:3(2)µ*; Alma 24:7, 9–12, 15(7)*; Alma 26:24–25(3); Alma 27:6*, 8*, 23(3); Alma 43:6; Alma 47:36; Helaman 4:22; Helaman 6:18; Helaman 15:4, 7, 10(5); 3 Nephi 1:30; 4 Nephi 1:39–40, 42(4); Moroni 9:9, 20(2) 293 1 Nephi 15:4; 2 Nephi 9:44–45, 47–48(5); 2 Nephi 10:20; Jacob 1:15; Jacob 2:5, 6, 9–10, 16, 22–23, 31, 34–35(16); Jacob 3:3; Jacob 7:23; Omni 1:2, 5(3); Mosiah 7:20, 24, 25, 26, 28(7); Mosiah 11:2, 6, 19–20, 22, 29(9); Mosiah 12:1–2, 7–8, 29, 31(9); Mosiah 13:7, 11(2); Mosiah 17:2; Mosiah 19:17; Mosiah 20:21; Mosiah 21:15, 30(3); Mosiah 23:9, 12(4); Mosiah 26:4, 6, 9, 11(5); Mosiah 27:8(2); Mosiah 28:4(2); Mosiah 29:18(5); Alma 1:32; Alma 2:4; Alma 4:3, 7, 10, 11(5); Alma 5:18, 23, 32, 37, 56–57(8); Alma 6:3; Alma 8:14, 25, 28(3); Alma 9:8, 15, 18–19(4); Alma 10:7, 17, 20, 25(4); Alma 11:20; Alma 15:3, 5(2); Alma 24:30(2); Alma 26:17; Alma 30:18, 58(3); Alma 31:1–2, 9, 24, 26, 30–31, 33(9); Alma 35:8, 15(2); Alma 36:12–14(4); Alma 39:11; Alma 43:6; Alma 45:12, 14(4); Alma 46:9–10(2); Alma 47:36; Alma 49:3; Alma 50:21–22, 35(3); Alma 53:9; Alma 59:11–12(2); Alma 60:15, 17(2); Alma 61:4, 18(2); Alma 62:2, 40, 45(3); Helaman 3:14, 16;34(5); Helaman 4:11, 13–14, 22–23, 25–26(12); Helaman 5:2, 4(2); Helaman 6:2, 16, 22–24, 31–35, 38(16); Helaman 7:4, 6, 9, 11, 13–14, 21, 25, 27(12); Helaman 8:8, 24, 26(5); Helaman 9:21–23(4); Helaman 10:3(2); Helaman 11:34, 36–37(5); Helaman 12:4; Helaman 13:1, 14–17, 22–23, 26, 29, 30(17); Helaman 14:11, 13(2); Helaman 15:3; Helaman 16:10, 12(3); 3 Nephi 1:10, 18(2); 3 Nephi 2:3, 10, 18–19(6); 3 Nephi 5:3(2); 3 Nephi 7:5, 7–11, 15(11); 3 Nephi 8:24, 25(2); Mormon 1:16; Mormon 2:8, 10, 13, 18–19, 27(13); Mormon 3:11–13(4); Mormon 4:10(2); Mormon 5:2; Mormon 6:17; Moroni 9:9, 13, 15, 20(7) 40 1 Nephi 12:23; 3 Nephi 3:15, 25(2); 3 Nephi 6:15, 17–18, 20(5); 3 Nephi 9:2, 5, 7–13(19); 3 Nephi 21:5; 4 Nephi 1:27–28, 34, 45–47(7); Mormon 1:13–14(3); Mormon 4:12; Mormon 5:9
wild 4 Enos 1:20; Mosiah 10:12; Alma 17:14; Alma 47:36 2 Alma 47:36; Helaman 3:16    
wine-bibber     1 Mosiah 11:15    
worse than …     1 Helaman 13:26    
Total Count 192   1160   116  
Count of Labels Used 36   99   32  
Unique Labelsβ 3   66   1  

[Page 329]§Similar characteristics (synonyms or synonymic phrases) are grouped together.
¶Lamanites and Nephites described separately or a comparison was made where the emphasis was on Nephites becoming wicked and both Nephites and Lamanites are labeled with the same term .
‡Lamanites and Nephites had joined together (e.g., 3 Nephi 3) or the record describes a degraded state of both nations. This includes the period after the Nephites are destroyed and Nephite survivors became Lamanites.
*Lamanites labeled themselves.
†Six uncivilized, primitive characteristics are given for Lamanites: tent-dwellers, nearly naked, ate only raw meat, ate and sought “beasts of prey,” skills with primitive tools (bow, cimeter, and ax), and drank “the blood of beasts.” Nephites were “without civilization.”
µNot a direct accusation but words imply that the act was done .
bFor Lamanites and Nephites, these are labels only used for one group, but the label also could be used to describe both societies in the “Nephites and Lamanites” column (under the conditions specified). For “Nephites and Lamanites” this gives the labels only used for both groups and never for Nephites and Lamanites separately.

 

[Page 330]Table 8. Book of Mormon accounts where Lamanites were labeled righteous or showed righteous behavior. Each entry is a separate instance (19 total).

 

Reference CV Summary
Jacob 3:3, 5–9 6 Jacob speaks to Nephites. “Lamanites whom ye hate … are more righteous than you.” Because Lamanites are monogamous and chaste, Lord will be merciful to them. Lamanite couples love each other and their children.
Alma 18:40–43 4 King Lamoni believes Ammon’s words and prays to God. Lamoni collapses.
Alma 19 36 King Lamoni’s wife, the queen, shows great faith. King Lamoni has vision and sees Lord. Abish had “been converted unto the Lord for many years,” and she also exercises faith. The king and queen testify to their fellow Lamanites, and many are converted. Many see and converse with angels.
Alma 21:17 1 More Lamanites converted through preaching of Aaron and others.
Alma 21:19–23 5 Righteousness abounds among king Lamoni’s people. “They were zealous for keeping the commandments.”
Alma 22:15–23 9 Head Lamanite king and household are converted.
Alma 23:1–13, 15–18 17 Thousands of Lamanites converted. They laid down their weapons. They were industrious and friendly with Nephites. Converted Lamanites “never did fall away”
Alma 24:1–29 29 Converted Lamanites bury their swords and refuse to take up arms. “A thousand and five” die without resistance at the hands of non-converted Lamanites and former Nephites. “More than the number who had been slain” of attacking Lamanites are converted. Most of attacking Lamanites are former Nephites.
Alma 25:5–7 3 In defeated Lamanite army, many Lamanites are converted to the Lord and are killed by wicked ex-Nephites.
Alma 25:13–16 4 After war, many Lamanites are converted and “bury their weapons of war.” They kept law of Moses.
Alma 26:31–34 4 Converted Lamanites show great love for others and hatred of sin; they will give up their lives rather than “take the life of their enemy.” Greatest love ever showed by Lehite people.
Alma 27:3, 8, 10, 23, 27–30 8 Converted Lamanites were zealous, beloved, and “highly favored people of the Lord.” They would never again “take up arms,” and they again allowed themselves to be killed rather than take up arms in self-defense. They were willing to be slaves, to perish, and did not fear death. They were “perfectly honest and upright.”
Alma 56:41–56 16 Sons of converted Lamanites courageous, do not fear death, thought more of others than themselves.
Alma 58:40 1 Sons of converted Lamanites strictly remember God, and their faith is strong in prophecies.
Helaman 6:1, 3–6, 20, 34, 36–37 9 Lamanites mostly righteous and preach to Nephites with “exceedingly great power.” Lamanites increase in righteousness, and they destroy secret combinations by preaching to the band.
[Page 331]Helaman 13:1 1 “The Lamanites did observe strictly to keep the commandments of God.”
Helaman 15:4–10 7 Lamanites are mostly righteous and are “firm and steadfast in the faith.” They buried their weapons. Lamanites blessed because they so diligently follow the Lord when converted.
3 Nephi 6:14 1 A few Lamanites are steadfast in the faith and will not depart from it.
3 Nephi 9:20 1 The Lord mentions the Lamanites were baptized with fire and the Holy Ghost during their conversion.
Total Count 162  

 

Table 9. Book of Mormon accounts where Lamanites and Nephites are compared.* Except as noted, each entry is a separate instance (16 total).

 

Reference CV Summary
Jacob 2:35 1 As he chastises the Nephites, Jacob says the Nephite sins are worse than Lamanite sins.
Jacob 3:3, 5–9¶ 6 Jacob continues, “Lamanites … are not filthy like unto you.” “Lamanites whom ye hate … are more righteous than you.” If Nephites do not repent, they also will receive a cursing and Lamanite “skins will be whiter than yours.” “Remember your own filthiness” not that of Lamanites.
Alma 9:15, 23 2 “Far more tolerable for the Lamanites” than Nephites if the latter do not repent.
Alma 19:1–10 10 King Lamoni in a comatose state for two days and two nights. His wife, the queen, believes Ammon when he tells her that Lamoni “is not dead, but he sleepeth in God.” Ammon says, “there has not been such great faith among all the people of the Nephites.”
Alma 21:3 1 Former Nephites were “harder” than Lamanites.
Alma 24:28–30 3 Former Nephites were the majority of the murderers of converted Lamanites and had “become more hardened” and were in a state worse than the unconverted descendants of Laman and Lemuel.
Alma 26:31–34 4 Speaking of converted Lamanites, Ammon says they showed the greatest love ever seen in the land.
Alma 43:6 1 Amalekites (ex-Nephites) had a “more wicked and murderous disposition than the Lamanites.”
Alma 47:36 1 Nephite dissenters became more wicked than Lamanites: “more hardened and impenitent, and more wild, wicked and ferocious than the Lamanites.”
Alma 56:45 1 Helaman said, “never had I seen so great courage, nay, not amongst all the Nephites.”
Helaman 4:21–26 6 Nephites were wicked like “their brethren, the Lamanites.”
[Page 332]Helaman 6:1–2, 18–21, 31–40 16 Lamanites mostly righteous. Many Nephites “grossly wicked.” Robber band prevalent. Lamanites increase in righteousness and destroy secret combinations. Nephites do the opposite. Nephites ripening for destruction.
Helaman 7:23–24¶ 2 Nephi says to a Nephite crowd, the Lamanites “are more righteous than you.”
Helaman 13:1 1 Lamanites strictly observe God’s commandments, and Nephites remain “in great wickedness.”
Helaman 15 17 Nephites threatened with utter destruction because of their wickedness. Lamanites are mostly righteous.
3 Nephi 6:14–18 5 A few Lamanites are steadfast in the faith and will not depart from it. For the rest, “great inequality “ and “all manner of iniquity” is found. People “did wilfully rebel against God.”
4 Nephi 1:43, 45 2 Nephites “and the Lamanites had become exceedingly wicked one like unto another.”
Moroni 9:7–10, 20 5 Nephite “wickedness doth exceed that of the Lamanites.”
Total Count 84  

¶Continuation of the previous entry (one line above)
*I did not include Alma 43:43–45 (“the Nephites were inspired by a better cause” than the Lamanites) because the Lamanites were led into war by Nephite dissenters, and the motivation of the Nephites versus that of the Nephite dissenters is what is being compared.

 

Table 10. Book of Mormon verses giving reasons for Lamanite unbelief and negative characteristics. Each entry is a separate instance (7 total).

 

Reference CV Summary
Jacob 3:7, 9 2 Lamanite “unbelief and their hatred towards [the Nephites] is because of the iniquity of their fathers.” “Their filthiness came because of their fathers.”
Mosiah 1:5 1 Unbelief of Lamanites is “because of the traditions of their fathers.”
Alma 9:16 1 Lamanites in ignorance “because of the traditions of their fathers.”
Alma 17:15 1 Lamanites were cursed “because of the traditions of their fathers.”
Alma 26:24 1 Lamanite’s “traditions of their fathers” were deeply set.
Alma 60:32 1 Tradition of Lamanites’ fathers “has caused their hatred.”
[Page 333]Helaman 15:4, 15 2 Lamanite “deeds have been evil continually … because of the iniquity of the tradition of their fathers.” Lamanites “have dwindled in unbelief because of the traditions of their fathers.”
Total Count 9  

 

Table 11. Book of Mormon verses where Nephites identified Lamanites as their brethren.*, § (CB = count of the number of times “brethren” is used.)

 

Reference CV CB Summary
Testimony of Three Witnesses 1 1 Nephites and Lamanites were “brethren.”
2 Nephi 5:34 1 1 “We … had wars and contentions with our brethren.”
Jacob 2:35 1 1 Nephites “have done greater iniquities than the Lamanites, our brethren.”
Jacob 3:5 1 1 Speaking to Nephites, Jacob said, “The Lamanites your brethren … are more righteous than you.”
Jacob 4:2–3 2 2 Records written on plates for “our children, and also our beloved brethren.”
Jacob 7:24, 26 2 2 Nephites were hated by Lamanites “our brethren.”
Enos 1:11 1 1 Enos prays for “my brethren, the Lamanites.”
Jarom 1:2 1 1 “These plates” for “our brethren the Lamanites.”
Mosiah 1:5 1 1 “Our brethren, the Lamanites” do not know of records.
Mosiah 11:19 1 1 Wicked Nephites delighted in “shedding of the blood of their brethren.”
Mosiah 22:3 1 1 Gideon calls Lamanites “our brethren” while they are oppressing him and other Nephites.
Mosiah 25:11 1 1 Nephites were pained for the souls of “the Lamanites, who were their brethren.”
Mosiah 28:1 1 1 Sons of Mosiah and colleagues want to “impart the word of God to their brethren, the Lamanites.”
Alma 17:9 1 1 Much fasting and prayer for success at beginning of mission to “their brethren, the Lamanites.”
Alma 17:11 1 1 The Lord told sons of Mosiah and colleagues to “go forth among the Lamanites, thy brethren.”
Alma 17:30–31, 33 3 3 Ammon’s fellow Lamanite servants were “his brethren.”
Alma 19:14 1 2 Ammon observed Lord’s Spirit fall upon “the Lamanites, his brethren.”
[Page 334]Alma 26:3, 9, 13–14, 22–23, 26 7 7 Joy is expressed for successful mission to Lamanites, “our dearly beloved brethren.”
Alma 26:27 1 1 Speaking to Nephites, the Lord calls the Lamanites “thy brethren.”
Alma 27:20–24 5 6 Report to Nephite chief judge of successful mission “among their brethren, the Lamanites.” Nephites offer land to converted Lamanites “their brethren” and offer military protection to these Lamanites (“our brethren”).
Alma 28:8 1 1 Converted Lamanite brethren were settled safely in the land of Jershon.
Alma 43:14, 29 2 2 Even when describing Lamanite war actions, the Nephites write that the two nations are “brethren.”
Alma 48:21, 23 2 2 Nephites forced to fight “their brethren, the Lamanites.”
Alma 49:7 1 1 Another Nephite description of Lamanite attitudes showing that Nephites viewed the Nephite and Lamanite nations as “brethren.”
Alma 59:11 1 1 Even in a defeat, Nephites view Lamanites as brethren.
Helaman 4:24 1 1 Nephites were “weak, like unto their brethren, the Lamanites.”
Helaman 11:24 1 1 In the Nephite view, some Lamanites “commenced a war with their brethren.”
Helaman 15:11–12 2 2 Lord made promises to “our brethren, the Lamanites.” (Samuel, the Lamanite prophet, speaking.)
3 Nephi 2:12 1 1 From the Nephite prospective, converted Lamanites join “their brethren, the Nephites.”
4 Nephi 1:43 1 1 Nephites are “vain like unto their brethren, the Lamanites.”
Mormon 2:26 1 1 Nephites “had become weak like unto our brethren.”
Mormon 9:35–36 2 2 Moroni writes for all book’s authors that they desired “our brethren” to be restored to Christ.
Ether 12:22 1 1 “The promise that these things should come unto their brethren through the Gentiles.”
Ether 12:38 1 1 Moroni bids farewell to Gentiles and to “my brethren whom I love.”
Moroni 1:4 1 1 Even under threat of death from Lamanites, Moroni refers to them as “my brethren.”
Moroni 10:1, 8, 18–19 4 4 Again, Moroni writes to “my brethren, the Lamanites.” Twice he calls them “beloved brethren.”
Total Count 57 59  

* John Tvedtness produced a similar list, and most of these were obtained from his list (Tvedtness, “The Charge of ‘Racism’ in the Book of Mormon” 185).
[Page 335]§ I included only those instances where the word «brethren » was clearly connected to Lamanites or is strongly implied by surrounding words or comparison to verses elsewhere in the book. The connection is implied in 2 Nephi 5:34; Jacob 4:2–3; Mosiah 11:19; Alma 28:8; Alma 43:14, 29; Alma 49:7; Alma 59:11; Helaman 11:24; Mormon 2:26; Mormon 9:35–36; Ether 12:22; Ether 12:38; Moroni 10:8, 18–19. Other instances, not included, may also refer to the Lamanites as brethren an additional seven times (once per verse): Jacob 7:27; Words of Mormon 1:8, 11; Mosiah 1:13; Alma 29:10; Helaman 13:8; Mormon 8:24.

 

Table 12. Book of Mormon accounts where Nephites tried to bring Lamanites back to the faith and vice versa (outreach).

 

Reference CV Instance Summary
Jacob 7:24 1 Nephite attempt Nephites reach out to Lamanites, without success.
Enos 1:14, 20 2 Nephite attempt Nephites “did seek diligently to restore the Lamanites unto the true faith,” but their efforts are unsuccessful.
Mosiah 28:1–9 9 Sons of Mosiah Mission Sons of Mosiah and others pled with Mosiah for permission to go to Lamanites to preach. They want peace and want Lamanites to also “rejoice in the Lord their God.” Mosiah asks Lord and lets them go.
Alma 17 39 SofM continued Sons of Mosiah and colleagues go to Lamanites. Sons and others prepared by fasting, prayer, and study. They suffered much. Sons of Mosiah refused Nephite kingdom. Group splits up after arriving in Lamanite territory. Ammon goes to land of Ishmael, ruled by Lamoni. To Lamoni, Ammon says he wants to live among the Lamanites, “perhaps until the day I die,” and be a servant. He protects Lamoni’s flocks.
Alma 18 43 SofM continued Lamoni is impressed with Ammon’s faithful service. Ammon preaches gospel to Lamoni.
Alma 19 36 SofM continued Lamoni, his wife, and many other Lamanites are converted. King Lamoni has vision and sees Lord. Ammon prays in gratitude.
Alma 20 30 SofM continued Lamoni and Ammon confront head Lamanite king, the father of Lamoni. Lamoni’s father is impressed with Ammon’s actions. Ammon’s imprisoned colleagues are released.
Alma 21 23 SofM continued Aaron and others have difficulties, and some put in prison. Eventually they also have success, and many Lamanites are converted. Righteousness abounds among king Lamoni’s people.
Alma 22:1–27 27 SofM continued Aaron preaches to head Lamanite king, Lamoni’s father. He and his household are converted.
Alma 23 18 SofM continued Sons of Mosiah and colleagues given freedom to preach throughout the Lamanite lands. Thousands converted. Converted Lamanites “never did fall away.” Friendly relations with Nephites begin.
[Page 336]Alma 24 30 SofM continued Converted Lamanites bury their swords and refuse to take up arms. “A thousand and five” die without resistance at the hands of non-converted Lamanites and former Nephites. “More than the number who had been slain” of attacking Lamanites are converted. Converted Lamanites have open correspondence with Nephites and view them as brethren.
Alma 25:13–17 5 SofM continued Many more Lamanites are converted and “bury their weapons of war.” Sons of Mosiah and colleagues rejoice.
Alma 26 37 SofM continued Ammon rejoices over the conversion of “our brethren, the Lamanites.”
Alma 27 30 SofM continued Converted Lamanites flee because non-converted Lamanites start killing converted Lamanites again. Nephites give them land, protection, and citizenship.
Alma 28:1–6, 8 7 SofM continued Lamanite armies followed the converted Lamanites as they journeyed to the Nephite lands. “A tremendous battle” ensues. Many Lamanites and Nephites killed.
Alma 29:14–17 4 SofM continued Rejoicing over the successful mission to the Lamanites: “my joy is more full because of the success of my brethren, who have been up to the land of Nephi.”
Helaman 5:16–52 37 Nephi and Lehi Mission Nephi and Lehi preach to Lamanites, “more part” are converted. Converted Lamanites lay down weapons and return captured land to the Nephites.
Helaman 6:1 1 NLM concluded “The more part” of the Lamanites “had become … a righteous people.”
Helaman 6:4–9 6 Lamanite Mission Roles are reversed. Lamanites preach to Nephites, “with exceedingly great power and authority.” Peace and prosperity, including freedom of travel, throughout whole land.
Helaman 13:2–39 38 Samuel the Lamanite attempt Samuel, a Lamanite prophet, attempts to preach to the Nephites. He is rejected but Lord said to try again. He preaches from a city wall and warns Nephites to repent or be destroyed.
Helaman 14 31 StheL continued Samuel prophesies of Christ’s birth and death and important mission to redeem “all mankind.”
Helaman 15 17 StheL continued Samuel warns Nephites to repent; he mentions righteousness of Lamanites and promises to them.
Helaman 16:1–8 8 StheL concluded Some Nephites believed Samuel’s words and repented. Most do not accept Samuel’s words, and he fled “unto his own country” after Nephites try to kill or capture him.
Ether 12:15 1 SofM concluded Moroni calls the mission by “Ammon and his brethren” a great miracle.
Total Count 480 6  

 

[Page 337]Table 13. Book of Mormon examples of kindness from one group to another. These are situations where one person or group helped or attempted to help one or more people from another group, where groups live in harmony, or where a kind attitude is expressed. Groups are international (Lamanites and Nephites) or intranational (e.g., economic classes within a nation). Each line represents a separate event, except as noted (67 separate events). (LR = life put at risk or life lost by the person or people acting kindly.)

 

Reference CV LR Summary
Jacob 2:35 1   Jacob says Nephites have done greater iniquities than the Lamanites.
Jacob 3:3–9¶ 7   Jacob praises good qualities of the Lamanites and uses them as a righteous example for wicked Nephites. He tells Nephites to ignore appearance and “filthiness” of Lamanites and worry about their own filthiness.
Jacob 7:15 1   Although he had preached against Christ, Sherem “was nourished for … many days” after he collapsed.
Enos 1:11–17 7   Enos prays “with many long strugglings” for Lamanites. He asks God to preserve Nephite records for the Lamanites, “that, perhaps, they might be brought unto salvation.”
Enos 1:18 1   Enos’ fathers also sought that the Nephite records would go to Lamanites.
Jarom 1:2 1   Writings on the small plates are for the benefit of the Lamanites.
Mosiah 2:11–14 4   By his example, King Benjamin showed that a righteous ruler is not above the people he or she serves.
Mosiah 6:7 1   Like his father, King Mosiah showed that a righteous ruler is not above the ruled. Mosiah helped grow food “that thereby he might not become burdensome to his people.”
Mosiah 9:1–2 2 x Seeing good in Lamanites, Zeniff contended and fought with other Nephites to avoid attacking Lamanites.*
Mosiah 17:2–4 3 x Alma pleads with King Noah to let Abinadi go in peace. Alma is cast out, and his life is threatened.
Mosiah 21:17 1   Widows and their children were supported.
Mosiah 22:3 1   Gideon calls Lamanites “our brethren” while they are oppressing him and other Nephites.
Mosiah 24:1, 4–7 5   An example of wicked Nephites having good relations with Lamanites: Amulon and his group of Nephite settlers teach Lamanites the Nephite language and to write and keep records. Amulon and his group have prosperous relations with Lamanites and live among them. Lamanites prosper.
Mosiah 25:4–11 8   Nephites are concerned for the spiritual welfare of the Lamanites. Nephites rejoiced for deliverance of a separatist Nephite group and sorrowed for loss of life, but no anger expressed for injustices by Lamanites.
Mosiah 28:1–9 9 x Mosiah’s sons and colleagues go to Lamanites after “many days” of pleas for permission to go.
[Page 338]Alma 1:27, 30 2   If needy a person received help, “no respect to persons as to those who stood in need.” “They were liberal to all, both old and young, both bond and free, both male and female, whether out of the church or in the church.” People avoided expensive clothes and used their wealth to help others.
Alma 4:13 1   Despite evil actions of others, righteous people helped “the poor and the needy.”
Alma 6:6 1   “Children of God” told to “join in fasting and mighty prayer in behalf … of those who knew not God.”
Alma 16:16 1   “No inequality” was among all the Nephites.
Alma 17:19–25 7 x To a Lamanite king, Ammon says he wants to live among the Lamanite people, “perhaps until the day I die,” and be a servant to the king.
Alma 17:26–39δ 14 Ammon protects king Lamoni’s flocks from plunderers.
Alma 18:8–10 3   Ammon remembers his assigned duties after a traumatic day protecting the king’s flocks. King is moved.
Alma 18:16δ 1 Ammon protected king’s flocks—and servants—from plunderers.
Alma 18:17 1   Ammon to king Lamoni, “whatsoever thou desirest which is right, that will I do.”
Alma 20:8–16 9 x Lamoni refuses an order from head Lamanite king to kill Ammon, a Nephite.
Alma 20:17–27 11 x Ammon defends the life of Lamoni, a Lamanite. Ammon uses his advantage in the fight only to win freedom for Lamoni and Ammon’s imprisoned missionary colleagues.
Alma 20:28–30µ 3 “The brethren of Ammon were brought forth out of prison.” They had patiently suffered there in their attempt to preach to the Lamanites.
Alma 21:13–15µ 3 “Aaron and a certain number of his brethren were taken and cast into prison.”
Alma 22:1–3 3   Aaron and brethren offer to become servants of head Lamanite king. He refuses their offer and asks them instead to “administer unto [him].”
Alma 23:1–3 3   Sons of Mosiah and colleagues granted freedom to preach throughout the Lamanite nation.
Alma 23:18 1   Converted Lamanites “were friendly with the Nephites” and “open a correspondence with [the Nephites].”
Alma 24:1–27γ 27 Converted Lamanites bury their weapons of war and will not defend themselves against their unconverted fellow Lamanites and former Nephites who seek to overthrow the (converted) king and destroy the converted people “out of the land.” One thousand and five are killed. Many unconverted Lamanites who participated in the killing are converted and choose to never use weapons again. Also, converted Lamanites correspond with Nephites and view Nephites as brethren.
Alma 26:23–24, 26–30µ 7 Sons of Mosiah and colleagues suffered much to bring gospel to Lamanites, including harassment from other Nephites and stoning and imprisonment among the Lamanites.
[Page 339]Alma 26:31–34γ 4 Converted Lamanites avoid use of weapons: “They had rather sacrifice their lives than even to take the life of their enemy.” Weapons buried “deep in the earth, because of their love towards their brethren.”
Alma 27:2–3 2 x Converted Lamanites again refuse to use weapons and die at the hands of their unconverted countrymen.
Alma 27:8 1   Converted Lamanites offer to be slaves to their Nephite brethren until damage caused earlier was repaired.
Alma 27:9 1   Slavery was against Nephite law, so converted Lamanites’ offer was refused by Ammon.
Alma 27:20–24, 26–27 7 x Nephites give land, military protection, and citizenship to converted Lamanites.
Alma 27:28–30γ 3 Converted Lamanites would rather die “in the most aggravating and distressing manner” than smite others with a weapon of war. They were beloved.
Alma 28:1–6 6 x Nephites protect the converted Lamanites, who have just moved to Nephite lands, at a tremendous cost. Many Nephites were killed. “Great mourning and lamentation heard … among all the people of Nephi.”
Alma 31:34–35 2   Alma prays for wicked Zoramites: “their souls are precious.”
Alma 35:6–9 4   People of Ammon (converted Lamanites) received and helped the poor, converted Zoramites, who were cast out of the Zoramite lands. People of Ammon ignore threats from Zoramite leader.‡ Also, “Alma and his brethren did minister unto them.”
Alma 38:3–4 2 x Shiblon bound and stoned as he served among the Zoramites.
Alma 43:11–14 4 x Nephites again protect the people of Ammon at great cost. People of Ammon help pay for the war.
Alma 44:21¶ 1 The Nephite cost to protect people of Ammon: “The number of their dead was exceedingly great.”
Alma 48:11, 21–23 4   The leader of the Nephite armies (Moroni) “did not delight in bloodshed.” He rejoiced in liberty and preventing bondage and slavery. Nephites reluctant to go to war with Lamanites again, “they were sorry.”
Alma 53:10–12 3 x Nephites still protecting the people of Ammon (converted Lamanites).
Alma 53:13–15§ 3 “Moved with compassion,” converted Lamanites were willing to break their oath to not use weapons so they could help struggling Nephites, “their brethren.”
Alma 53:16–22† 7 x† Sons of converted Lamanites join Nephite army.
Alma 55:19 1   Moroni would not kill Lamanites when they were drunk.
Alma 56:1–5† 5 x† Helaman leads two thousand sons of converted Lamanites.
Alma 56:6–8§ 3 Another mention that converted Lamanites were willing to break their oath so they could help Nephites. Helaman encouraged these Lamanites to keep the oath.
[Page 340]Alma 56:9–57† 49 x† Sons of converted Lamanites fight; they do not worry about their own safety. Helaman reports that they showed “great courage,” more than he had ever seen among the Nephites.
Alma 57:1–27† 27 x† Sixty more sons join Helaman’s group. The 2060 sons fight valiantly. All are wounded, but none die.
Alma 61:10–11 2   Righteous Nephites would not kill Lamanites or fellow citizens if they did not attack first.
Alma 61:14 1   Chief Judge Pahoran said force was a last resort. “Whatsoever evil we cannot resist with our words … .”
Alma 62:16–17, 27–29 5   Nephites accept their former enemies: captured Lamanites join the people of Ammon (converted Lamanites).
Helaman 1:7–8 2   Son of former chief judge, and brother of current one, does not receive special treatment because of his heritage or status. As others would be, he is indicted for treason and sentenced to death.
Helaman 5:51–52 2   Converted Lamanites lay down weapons and their hatred. They return captured land to Nephites.
Helaman 6:3 1   Nephite people of the church were very happy that the Lamanites converted; the two groups fellowshipped and rejoiced together. They “did have great joy.”
Helaman 6:7–9, 14 4   Peace and prosperity are found among Nephites and Lamanites. Nephites could travel in Lamanite lands, and Lamanites could travel through Nephite lands.
Helaman 11:21–22 2   Most Nephites and Lamanites “belong to the church.” “Exceedingly great peace” found in the land.
Helaman 15:1, 4 2 x Samuel the Lamanite calls wicked Nephites “my beloved brethren” as he urges them to repent.
Helaman 16:2, 6–8¶ 4 Nephites try to kill or capture Samuel.
3 Nephi 2:11–16 6   Lamanites and Nephites unite. Unified people called “Nephites.”
3 Nephi 3:14¶ 1   Lamanite and Nephite armies are united.
3 Nephi 3:20–21 2   Gidgiddoni will not attack robbers because “the Lord would deliver us into their hands” for that offensive action. Opposite will occur if “we will wait till they shall come against us.”
3 Nephi 5:4 1 x Prisoners of war released if they repented of their sins and promised to not murder again.
3 Nephi 6:3 1   Kindness to a former enemy: Those who promised to “keep the peace” were given land for subsistence.
3 Nephi 6:4 1   “They had formed their laws according to equity and justice.” Also, people had “great order in the land.”
3 Nephi 6:13 1   Some “would receive railing and persecution … and would not turn and revile again, but were humble.”
3 Nephi 26:19 1   “[People] had all things common among them, every man dealing justly, one with another.”
4 Nephi 1:2–4, 6–7, 10–11, 13–18 13   All Nephites and Lamanites are converted and deal justly with each other. No “-ites” exist. “No contentions and disputations” exist. “They had all things common among them.” People are righteous, prosperous, and very happy for many years.
[Page 341]4 Nephi 1:34 1   Although smitten by persecutors, “the people of Jesus did not smite again.”
Mormon 3:11, 16 2 x Mormon refuses to lead Nephites in their desire to get revenge against the Lamanites.
Mormon 7:1 1   After the defeat of his Nephite army and before he is killed by Lamanites, Mormon writes to survivors.
Ether 12:36 1   Moroni prayed that God would give the Gentiles grace.
Ether 12:38 1   Moroni bids farewell to the Gentiles and to “my brethren whom I love.”
Moroni 1:1–4 4   After all he has seen in fighting Lamanites and being hunted by them, Moroni writes nicely, not spitefully, to the Lamanites, his brethren.
Moroni 10:1–2, 8, 18–19 5   Moroni wrote a message to his beloved brethren, the Lamanites.
Total Count 356 20  

¶Continuation of the previous entry (one line above) .
*See also Omni 1:27–28, c.f. Mosiah 9:1–3 with Omni 1:27–29 to see the likely connection.
dTwo descriptions of Ammon defending king Lamoni’s flocks and servants.
gDescriptions of the same event, converted Lamanites would die rather than use weapons again.
µSons of Mosiah and colleagues suffered during their mission to the Lamanites. These entries are considered one event, but the verses in Alma 26 suggest many more events occurred but are not detailed in the current record.
§Two descriptions of the same event .
†Descriptions of sons of converted Lamanites fighting in Nephite army (considered one event).
‡The nature of the threats is not stated, but perhaps included threats of violence.

 

Table 14. Book of Mormon accounts of Nephites or former Nephites acting unkindly towards Lamanites, another group, or a person from another group or class. Except as noted, each line is a separate instance (43 total).

 

Reference CV Summary
Jacob 3:5 1 Some Nephites hate the Lamanites.
[Page 342]Mosiah 9:1–2 2 One Nephite military ruler desired to destroy the Lamanites. Plot foiled by Zeniff.*
Mosiah 11:18–19 2 King Noah’s people boast of their prowess over Lamanites. They delight in shedding blood.
Mosiah 11:26–29 4 King Noah and his people “sought to take away [Abinadi’s] life” for his preaching against their wickedness.
Mosiah 12:9–19¶ 11 Nephite settlers arrest and imprison Abinadi, and he is brought before King Noah and questioned.
Mosiah 13:1–2 2 King Noah orders Abinadi killed.
Mosiah 17 20 Alma cast out and forced to flee for defending Abinadi. Abinadi executed.
Mosiah 18:32–34 3 King Noah sends his army to destroy a group of believers. They flee.
Mosiah 19:11–12 2 King Noah ordered men to leave their wives and children and flee farther into the wilderness.
Mosiah 20:1–5 5 Wicked former priests of King Noah kidnap 24 Lamanite women.
Mosiah 21:2–9 8 Nephite settlers (in Lamanite lands) attack Lamanites and are defeated.
Mosiah 21:10–11 2 Nephite settlers attack Lamanites a second time and again are defeated.
Mosiah 21:12–13 2 Nephite settlers attack Lamanites a third time, are defeated, and submit to Lamanites.
Mosiah 24:8–11 4 Amulon, a former priest of King Noah, subjugates Alma and his people. Death for people caught praying.
Mosiah 26:38 1 Church leaders “persecuted by all those who did not belong to the church of God”
Mosiah 27:1–2, 32¶ 3 Nephite “unbelievers” persecute Nephite “believers.”
Alma 1:2–15 14 Nehor, who advocated a different gospel, kills someone who opposed his ideas. He was executed.
Alma 1:19–20, 25, 28 4 Persecution of church members by people not in church.
Alma 1:22 1 Some church members “contend warmly with their adversaries” and even have fistfights.
Alma 4:6–9, 12–13, 15 7 People in church “began to persecute those that did not believe.” Alma sees “great inequality among the people.”
Alma 5:54–55 2 Nephites suppose they are better than others, persecute others, and withhold substance from needy.
Alma 8:13 1 Alma reviled, spit upon, and cast out by people of Ammonihah.
Alma 14:2–5, 7–10, 14–25 20 Nephites in Ammonihah persecute “believers” including Alma and Amulek. Believers cast out, and their wives and children, who believed, were executed.
Alma 15:1¶ 1 People of Ammonihah who were cast out and stoned found in Sidon.
Alma 23:14 1 Ex-Nephites harden hearts of Lamanites who lived nearby.
Alma 24:28 1 Most of non-converted Lamanites who attacked converted Lamanites are former Nephites.
[Page 343]Alma 25:4–8 5 Former Nephites, who joined Lamanites, kill Lamanites in their army who become converted to the Lord.
Alma 26:23–25 3 Before sons of Mosiah and others went to Lamanites, some Nephites mocked the mission. They proposed extermination instead.
Alma 27:1–4, 12 5 Unconverted Lamanites (motivated by Nephite dissenters) again kill converted Lamanites.
Alma 30:59 1 Korihor, who had preached wrong doctrine, is trampled to death by Zoramite people.
Alma 32:2–5 4 Wicked Zoramites will not allow poor and coarsely dressed among them to enter synagogues, even though the poor people had help build the synagogues.
Alma 35:3–6, 8 5 Wicked Zoramites cast out converted Zoramites and ask people of Ammon (where the converted Zoramites went) to also cast the converts out.
Alma 38:3–4 2 Shiblon was persecuted (bound and stoned) by Zoramites.
Alma 50:30–31 2 Morianton “was angry with one of his maid servants, and he fell upon her and beat her much.”
Helaman 13:2–4 3 Nephites cast out Samuel, the Lamanite prophet; he returns, is refused entry, but preaches from the city wall.
Helaman 14:10¶ 1 Nephites angry with prophet Samuel in part because he is a Lamanite. Nephites try “to destroy” him.
Helaman 16:2, 6–8¶ 4 Nephites try to kill Samuel, the Lamanite prophet. He is driven away again.
3 Nephi 1:6–7 2 Some “rejoice over their brethren” that promised signs “are not fulfilled” and made “a great uproar.”
3 Nephi 1:9 1 “Unbelievers” plan to put “believers” to death.
3 Nephi 1:29 1 Zoramites influence Lamanite youth to join robber band.
3 Nephi 6:10, 12 2 “Great persecutions” and class distinctions occur.
3 Nephi 6:13 1 “Some did return railing for railing.”
3 Nephi 6:20–30 11 Gospel preachers “put to death secretly.” Perpetrators form a conspiracy.
3 Nephi 7:14, 19 2 Prophets are stoned and cast out. Nephi’s brother was killed.
3 Nephi 8:25¶ 1 “O that we… had not killed and stoned the prophets, and cast them out.”
3 Nephi 10:15¶ 1 “Many have testified of these things at the coming of Christ, and were slain because” of this testimony.
3 Nephi 28:19–22 4 Three Nephites were “cast into prison by them who did not belong to the church.”
4 Nephi 1:26 1 After a long period of righteousness, class distinctions form again.
4 Nephi 1:29–34 6 Persecution of believers in Christ by a group that did not believe in Christ.
Mormon 3:7–10 4 Nephites swear to “avenge themselves of the blood of their brethren who had been slain” by Lamanites.
[Page 344]Total Count 196  

*See also Omni 1:27–28, c.f. Mosiah 9:1–3 with Omni 1:27–29 to see the likely connection.
¶Continuation of the previous entry (one line above), as the same instance.

 

Table 15. Book of Mormon passages that teach people to avoid persecuting or oppressing others and to avoid arrogance and attitudes of superiority. Instead, a person should love and help others. Each line represents a separate instance or teaching (52 total).

 

Reference CV Summary
2 Nephi 9:30, 42 2 Warnings to people “puffed up” from riches or learning. They despise the poor and persecute the meek.
2 Nephi 12:11–17 7 Pride and haughtiness will be put down.
2 Nephi 13:16–24 9 “Daughters of Zion are haughty.” “The Lord will smite.” “The Lord will take away.”
2 Nephi 15:21 1 “Wo unto the wise in their own eyes and prudent in their own sight!”
2 Nephi 20:5–19 15 Prophecy of wicked (Assyrians) being punished after the Lord used them to punish wicked Israel.
2 Nephi 20:33 1 “The haughty shall be humbled.”
2 Nephi 23:11, 15 2 “Arrogancy of the proud [will] cease. “Haughtiness of the terrible” will be laid down.
2 Nephi 28:9–15 7 Condemnation of people being “puffed up,” having pride, persecuting the meek, and robbing poor “because of their fine sanctuaries” and “because of their fine clothing.”
2 Nephi 29:5 1 Gentiles condemned for persecuting the Jews. Lord “will return all these things” on their heads.
Jacob 2:13–14, 16–21 8 Class distinctions and attitudes of superiority are evil, “one being is as precious in his sight as the other.” Riches should be used to bless others and help the less fortunate.
Mosiah 2:13 1 King Benjamin taught that slavery was wrong.
Mosiah 2:26 1 King Benjamin said, “I … am no better than ye yourselves are.”
Mosiah 4:16–26 11 “Succor those that stand in need of your succor.”
Mosiah 18:27–29 3 People who have means should freely help those who are in need.
Mosiah 23:7 1 “Ye shall not esteem one flesh above another, or one man shall not think himself above another.”
[Page 345]Mosiah 23:15 1 “Every man should love his neighbor as himself.”
Mosiah 27:2 1 King Mosiah decrees that “unbelievers” may not persecute “believers.”
Mosiah 27:3–4 2 Church says no persecutions of others, so all are equal. “Every man should esteem his neighbor as himself.”
Mosiah 29:32 1 King Mosiah desired “that this land be a land of liberty,” everyone’s rights and privileges preserved.
Alma 1:17 1 “The law could have no power on any man for his belief.”
Alma 1:21 1 Strict church law given that people should not persecute others in or out of the church.
Alma 1:26 1 By example, righteous Nephites taught that preachers and teachers are not above hearers and learners.
Alma 4:6–9, 12–13, 15 7 Inequality, attitudes of superiority, and withholding substance (from needy) are evil.
Alma 5:30–31 2 Mocking or persecuting another person disqualifies one from being saved.
Alma 5:53–54 2 “Supposing that ye are better one than another” and persecuting others are evil.
Alma 5:55 1 Withholding substance from the poor and needy is wrong.
Alma 27:9 1 Slavery was against the law of the Nephites.
Alma 28:13 1 Sin and transgression cause great inequality.
Alma 30:7–12 6 Contrary to God’s commands to have a law “which should bring men on to unequal grounds.” Under Nephite law, people punished for crimes, not beliefs.
Alma 31:5 1 “Preaching of the word … had more powerful effect … than the sword.’
Alma 31:12–28, 30 18 Zoramites put themselves above others. Condemnation of this belief.
Alma 32:2–5 4 Despising people who are poor or dress coarsely is wrong.
Alma 34:28–29 2 If a person does not help the needy, then his or her prayers to God are in vain.
Alma 34:40 1 Poor Zoramites told to not revile against those who abused them, “lest ye become sinners like unto them.”
Alma 38:14 1 Do not say you are better than others, pray for forgiveness and to bless others.
Alma 48:14 1 Although taught to defend themselves, Nephites “taught to never give an offense” and to only “raise the sword” in self-defense.
Helaman 3:34 1 Some in church persecuted others. “This was a great evil.”
Helaman 4:12 1 “Smiting … brethren upon the cheek” (persecuting others) and “oppression to the poor” are evil.
Helaman 6:17 1 Lifting oneself above another is evil.
Helaman 13:22 1 Love of riches leads to persecutions and other iniquities.
[Page 346]3 Nephi 6:10, 12–15 5 Inequality, persecution, and class distinctions are evil. People are puffed up with pride.
3 Nephi 12:10–12 3 “Blessed are ye when men shall revile you and persecute … for great shall be your reward in heaven.”
3 Nephi 12:38–41 4 “Whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also.”
3 Nephi 12:43–45 3 “Love your enemies … do good to them that hate you.”
3 Nephi 18:22–25 4 Do not forbid any person from meeting with you or cast any person out. Pray for people. Follow Christ’s example, he prayed and invited all to come to him. “Whosoever breaketh this commandment suffereth himself to be led into temptation.”
3 Nephi 18:28–33 6 Do not cast out a person even if he or she is not currently worthy to partake of the sacrament or is unrepentant. Continue to minister to that person. Pray for that person.
3 Nephi 24:5 1 Judgment will come against those who oppress hirelings, widows, or fatherless or “turn aside the stranger.”
4 Nephi 1:26 1 Class distinctions are evil. These distinctions are a sign of evil encroaching into Lehite society.
Mormon 3:15 1 The Lord said, “vengeance is mine, and I will repay.”
Mormon 4:5 1 “By the wicked that the wicked are punished.”
Mormon 8:19–20 2 “He that smiteth shall be smitten again.” Vengeance and judgment are God’s, not man’s.
Mormon 8:36–37, 39–40 4 Moroni condems persecution and oppression that he sees in people who live in the latter days.
Total Count 165  

 

Table 16. Book of Mormon accounts of exploitation. Except as noted, each line is a separate instance (11 total).

 

Reference CV Summary
Jacob 2:31–35 5 For sexual reasons, some Nephites led “away captive the daughters of my people because of their tenderness.”
Alma 24:1–2 2 Former Nephites (Amalekites and Amulonites) induce unconverted people to arms against converted Lamanites.
Alma 27:2, 12 2 Amalekites (former Nephites) again stir up unconverted Lamanites against converted Lamanites.
Alma 35:8–11, 13 5 Zoramites incite Lamanites against people of Ammon (who accepted converted Zoramites) and Nephites.
Alma 43:4–8, 20–21, 43–44¶ 9 Zerahemnah appointed former Nephites over Lamanite army, to “preserve their hatred towards the Nephites.” No protective clothing given to Lamanites, only Nephite dissenters had something more than a loincloth.
[Page 347]Alma 46:30–33 4 Moroni tries to prevent Amalickiah from reaching Lamanites, to keep Amalickiah from stirring up Lamanites to come to war.
Alma 47:1–35¶ 35 Amalickiah stirs up Lamanites to anger against Nephites. He conspires and becomes king of Lamanites.
Alma 48:1–6¶ 6 Amalickiah stirs Lamanites to anger and starts war against Nephites.
Alma 49:10, 25–27¶ 4 Amalickiah “did care not for the blood of his people.” Lamanite army defeated and retreats. Amalickiah “exceedingly angry with his people” and swears to drink Moroni’s (leader of Nephite army) blood.
Alma 51:9–12 4 A second time, Amalickiah stirs up Lamanites to war against Nephites.
Alma 54:16–18, 23–24¶ 5 Ammoron (brother of killed Amalickiah and a former Nephite) justifies the war to avenge wrongs by the first Nephi against the first Laman.*
Alma 55:1¶ 1 Moroni recognizes that Ammoron “had a perfect knowledge of his fraud.”
Alma 60:32¶ 1 Moroni recognizes the Lamanite tradition that was exploited by dissenting Nephites.
Alma 63:14–15 2 Nephite dissenters induce Lamanites to war against Nephites.
Helaman 1:14–17 4 Son of Ammoron incites Lamanites to attack Nephites. Army is led by a Nephite dissenter.
Helaman 4:1–5, 8 6 Two groups of Nephite dissenters induce Lamanites to war against Nephites.
Helaman 11:24 1 Another group of Nephite dissenters stir up Lamanites to war.
Ether 8:7–12 6 Jared’s daughter induces her father and Akish into a plot to kill her grandfather, the king.
Total Count 102  

¶Continuation of the previous entry (one line above), as the same instance .
*But he and his brother (presumably not descendants of Laman because they were ex-Nephites) were not willing to give kingdom to whom it “rightly belonged,” the descendants of Laman.

 

Table 17. Book of Mormon prophecies, messages, or invitations that pronounce blessings, potential blessings, or divine responsibilities upon the Gentiles. Except as noted, each line is a separate prophecy, invitation, or distinct part of a larger prophecy or statement (38 total).

 

Reference CV Summary
Title Page 2 The Book of Mormon would come forth “by way of the Gentile.” Book of Mormon written to Gentiles, and one purpose is to help convince them that “Jesus is the Christ.”
[Page 348]1 Nephi 10:11, 14 2 Lehi prophesies that Gentiles will receive the gospel.
1 Nephi 13:10–40, 42 32 Gentiles will come to America, scatter and smite Lehite descendants, prosper upon the land, have “the power of the Lord … with them,” and be delivered from “all other nations.” Gentiles humbled themselves before Lord. Although they will have and value the “record of the Jews” (Bible), they will stumble. “Satan hath great power over them.” God will not let Gentiles destroy Lehite descendants, and God will bring the gospel to Gentiles. (They will not “remain in that awful state of blindness.”) They will bring forth Book of Mormon record. They will bring the scriptures to Lehite descendants.
1 Nephi 14:1–3, 5¶ 4 If they “shall hearken unto the Lamb of God,” Gentiles will be blessed and numbered with Lehites and Israel.
1 Nephi 15:7, 13–14, 17 4 Gentiles will receive the gospel and bring it to Lehite descendants.
1 Nephi 21:6, 22–23 3 Messiah will be a light to Gentiles. Lord will help them, and they will help gather Israel.
1 Nephi 22:6–11 6 Gentiles will help gather Israel. “Lord God will raise up a mighty nation among the Gentiles.”
2 Nephi 1:5–7 3 God will lead people to America. Land consecrated to them; they are cursed if wicked, at liberty if righteous.
2 Nephi 6:6–7 2 Gentiles will help house of Israel.
2 Nephi 6:12 1 Gentiles blessed if they repent and forsake evil and “fight not against Zion.”
2 Nephi 10:8–9 2 Gentile nations “shall be great in the eyes of [God]” in gathering the House of Israel.
2 Nephi 10:10–12 3 Gentiles will be blessed in America. It “shall be a land of liberty unto the Gentiles.”
2 Nephi 10:18 1 Gentiles will afflict Lehite descendants, but Lord will soften Gentiles. Gentiles will help Lehite descendants. Gentiles “shall be like unto a father to [Lehite descendants].”
2 Nephi 21:10 1 Gentiles will seek “root of Jesse.”
2 Nephi 26:12 1 “It must needs be that the Gentiles be convinced also that Jesus is the Christ.”
2 Nephi 27:6 1 “Lord God shall bring forth … the words of a book.”
2 Nephi 28:32 1 The Lord “will be merciful unto [the Gentiles] …, if they will repent and come unto me.”
2 Nephi 30:3 1 Many Gentiles “shall believe the words which are written;” they will take the words to the Lehite descendants.
Jacob 5 77 Allegory of olive tree, symbolic of Lord’s nurturing of Israel, is given. Gentiles have a role (wild olive tree).
Jacob 6:2–3 2 Those who work in Lord’s vineyard are blessed.
3 Nephi 15:22–23 2 “Gentiles should be converted through … preaching.” Christ would be manifest to them “by the Holy Ghost.”
3 Nephi 16:4 1 A record of Christ sayings to Lehites “shall be manifest unto the Gentiles” and from them to scattered Israel.
3 Nephi 16:6 1 “Blessed are the Gentiles, because of their belief in me.”
[Page 349]3 Nephi 16:7, 9, 13 3 Gentiles will receive gospel after Israel rejects it, and the Father will be merciful to Gentiles.. Gentiles will be allowed to persecute Israel. If Gentiles repent, “they shall be numbered among my people.”
3 Nephi 20:15, 27–28 3 Gentiles will receive the Holy Ghost and the fulness of the gospel.
3 Nephi 21:2–6, 8–11, 22–25 13 Gospel will be made known to the Gentiles, who will then take the gospel to the Lehite descendants. This is important so Gentiles have opportunity to “be numbered among my people.” Gentiles will “be set up as a free people” to allow God’s covenant with Israel to be fullfilled. Gentiles will assist in building the New Jerusalem.
3 Nephi 22:2–3 2 Gentiles will be inherited by the Lord’s people.
3 Nephi 23:1–4 4 Isaiah’s words important because he spake concerning house of Israel. Therefore, he also spoke to Gentiles. Savior’s words will “go forth unto the Gentiles.
3 Nephi 26:8 1 Mormon intends for his words to go to Lehite descendants via Gentiles, as Jesus prophesied.
3 Nephi 28:27, 32 2 The Three Nephites will be “among the Gentiles” and will do a “great and marvelous work” among them.
3 Nephi 29:1 1 “These sayings shall come unto the Gentiles.”
3 Nephi 30 2 Jesus said, “turn, all ye Gentiles, from your wicked ways … that ye may be numbered with my people.”
Mormon 5:9–11 3 Mormon speaks “to the Gentiles who have care for the house of Israel, that realize and know from whence their blessings come.” The Gentiles will sorrow over “the destruction of this people.”
Mormon 5:19 1 Blessings that Book of Mormon people might have received are reserved for Gentiles.
Mormon 7:8 1 Record of Jews “shall come unto the Gentiles from the Jews” and from the Gentiles to the Lehite descendants.
Mormon 8:25 1 Lehite saints also prayed for “him that the Lord should suffer to bring these things forth.”
Ether 4:13 1 Gentiles invited to “come unto me.”
Ether 12:22 1 Lehite descendants to receive gospel through Gentiles.
Ether 12:28 1 Lord will show Gentiles “that faith, hope and charity” brings “the fountain of all righteousness.”
Total Count 193  

¶Continuation of the previous entry (one line above).

 

[Page 350]Table 18. Book of Mormon prophecies, messages, or invitations that pronounce blessings, potential blessings, or divine responsibilities upon the Jews or House of Israel. Each entry is a separate prophecy or a distinct part of a larger prophecy (76 instances).

 

Reference CV Summary
Title Page 2 Book of Mormon written to Jews. One purpose of book is to help convince them that “Jesus is the Christ.”
1 Nephi 10:2–4 3 After Jews were destroyed and taken to Babylon, they would return again to Jerusalem. God would raise up a Messiah among the Jews.
1 Nephi 10:12–14 3 House of Israel would be “scattered upon all the face of the earth,” then “they should be gathered again” after Gentiles receive gospel.
1 Nephi 13:39, 42 2 “Other books” will come from Gentiles to Jews and Lehite descendants to convince them that Bible is true. God will “manifest himself” unto the Jews.
1 Nephi 14:26 1 Sealed words will “come forth in their purity … unto the house of Israel.”
1 Nephi 15:7, 12–20 10 Jews, or house of Israel, will be restored in the latter days.
1 Nephi 19:10–11 2 At Christ’s death, some righteous in Israel will be visited with the Lord’s voice, “unto their great joy.”
1 Nephi 19:15–16 2 God will remember his covenant to House of Israel.
1 Nephi 19:19 1 Nephi speaks “unto all the house of Israel.”
1 Nephi 19:23–24 2 Isaiah wrote “unto all the house of Israel.”
1 Nephi 20:1, 9–12, 14, 17 7 God has chosen House of Jacob. God will not give his glory “unto another.” The Lord will fulfill his word and is sending a prophet to lead “thee by the way thou shouldst go.”
1 Nephi 21 26 God will remember and redeem the House of Israel. “Thou art my servant, O Israel, in whom I will be glorified.” “Yet will I not forget thee.” “I have graven thee upon the palms of my hands.”
1 Nephi 22:3–14, 19 13 Nephi explains Isaiah’s prophecy that Lord will gather Israel. All “who fight against Zion shall be cut off.”
2 Nephi 1:5–7 3 God will lead people to America. Land consecrated to them; they are cursed if wicked, at liberty if righteous.
2 Nephi 3:6–21 16 Joseph (of Egypt) prophesied of a seer who will help bring the gospel to the House of Israel and that Moses would deliver Israel out of Egypt.
2 Nephi 3:24 1 A descendant of Joseph (Nephi’s brother) would be mighty in doing much to restore Israel.
2 Nephi 6:5 1 Jacob (Nephi’s brother) read words of Isaiah about Israel.
2 Nephi 6:6–7 2 House of Israel will be helped by the Gentiles. “They shall not be ashamed that wait for me.”
[Page 351]2 Nephi 6:8–9 2 People at Jerusalem will return after the Babylonian captivity.
2 Nephi 6:11–18 8 Despite suffering many afflictions, Israel will be restored. “The Mighty God shall deliver his covenant people.” Their enemies will be destroyed. “The people of the Lord shall not be ashamed. For the people of the Lord are they who wait for him; for they still wait for the coming of the Messiah.”
2 Nephi 7:1–3 3 Despite its iniquity, the Lord still will redeem Israel. If one doubts, remember the Lord controls nature.
2 Nephi 8 25 “Lord shall comfort Zion.” “Redeemed of the Lord shall return.” Lord pleads “the cause of his people.” A plea for Israel to follow the Lord and remember his promises. Israel’s oppressors will be put down.
2 Nephi 9:1–2 2 House of Israel “shall be restored to the true church and fold of God” and “gathered home” to their lands.
2 Nephi 10:7–9 3 House of Israel “shall be gathered in from their long dispersion.”
2 Nephi 10:13–17 5 The Lord will fulfill his covenants. Those fighting Zion “shall perish.”
2 Nephi 10:21–22 2 Lord remembers those on “isles of the sea” and those he “has led away … from the house of Israel.”
2 Nephi 13:10 1 “Say unto the righteous that it is well with them.”
2 Nephi 14:2–6 5 Isaiah prophesied redemption of Israel. Shelter from heat, storm, and rain and a defence will be provided.
2 Nephi 15:26–30 5 The Lord will gather Israel. People will come rapidly, without sleeping or taking off their shoes.§
2 Nephi 16:13 1 “They [a remnant] shall return.”
2 Nephi 17:3 1 The name of Isaiah’s son (Shearjashub) means “the remnant shall return.”
2 Nephi 17:4–8 5 Ahaz promised that Ephraim’s and Syria’s attack on Judah “shall not stand, neither shall it come to pass.”
2 Nephi 19:1–7 7 “The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light [Messiah].” Nation multiplied. Joy increased.
2 Nephi 20:20–34 15 “The remnant shall return … unto the mighty God.” Their enemies will be destroyed.
2 Nephi 21:11–16 6 “The Lord shall set his hand again the second time to recover the remnant of his people.”
2 Nephi 24:1–3 3 Israel “shall return to their lands of promise.” Lord will give Israel rest from sorrow, fear, and bondage.
2 Nephi 24:32 1 “The Lord hath founded Zion, and the poor of his people shall trust in it.”
2 Nephi 25:11 1 Jews would return to Jerusalem after Babylonian captivity.
2 Nephi 25:16–18 3 “The Lord will set his hand again the second time to restore his people from their lost and fallen state.”
2 Nephi 25:21 1 Joseph’s seed “should never perish.”
2 Nephi 26:12 1 Nephi “spake concerning the convincing of the Jews, that Jesus is the very Christ.”
[Page 352]2 Nephi 27:6 1 “Lord God shall bring forth … the words of a book.”
2 Nephi 27:28 1 “Lebanon shall be turned into a fruitful field.”
2 Nephi 27:33–34 2 “Jacob shall not now be ashamed.” They “shall fear the God of Israel.”
2 Nephi 29 14 Jews are Lord’s covenant people. God will “set my hand again the second time to recover my people, which are of the house of Israel.” Opposition to God’s efforts and anti-Semitism are condemned.
2 Nephi 30:7 1 “Jews … also shall begin to believe in Christ; and they shall begin to gather in … and as many as shall believe in Christ shall also become a delightsome people.”
Jacob 4:14–18 5 How can the Jews build upon the “stone” they rejected? Jacob says he will explain “this mystery.”
Jacob 5 77 Jacob rehearses the allegory of olive tree, symbolic of Israel. The house of Israel is tame olive tree.
Jacob 6:1–4 4 The Lord will fulfill his covenant with the house of Israel. “He stretches forth his hands unto them all the day long.” Those who work in Lord’s vineyard are blessed.
Mosiah 12:22–23 2 “The Lord shall bring again Zion.” “The Lord hath comforted his people, he hath redeemed Jerusalem.”
Mosiah 15:29–30 2 “The Lord shall bring again Zion.” “The Lord hath comforted his people, he hath redeemed Jerusalem.”
3 Nephi 5:21, 23–26 5 The Lord “hath blessed the house of Jacob.” Lord’s covenant to gather house of Jacob will be fulfilled.
3 Nephi 15:5, 8 2 The Lord covenanted with Israel. The covenant “is not all fulfilled.”
3 Nephi 16:4–5 2 Israel will receive the gospel from Gentiles and will be gathered from throughout the earth.
3 Nephi 16:9–15 7 If the Gentiles (who have smitten the house of Israel) do not repent, Israel “shall tread them down.”
3 Nephi 16:17–20 4 “The Lord shall bring again Zion.” “He hath redeemed Jerusalem.”
3 Nephi 20:11–13, 18–23, 25, 27–46 30 Remnants of the house of Israel will be gathered from all over the earth. “The Father hath comforted his people, he hath redeemed Jerusalem.”
3 Nephi 21 29 When Lord’s words to the Book of Mormon people come from Gentiles to Lehite descendants, the Lord has commenced fulfilling his covenant with the house of Israel. The Lord will gather people from all nations.
3 Nephi 22 17 “Enlarge the place of thy tent … inherit the Gentiles.” “With great mercies will I gather thee.” To those who were forsaken and to sinners who embrace the gospel, “with great mercies will I [the Lord] gather thee.” “No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper.”
3 Nephi 23:1–4 4 Isaiah words are great. He spoke on “all things concerning my people which are of the house of Israel.”
[Page 353]3 Nephi 24:1–4, 6–7, 10–12, 16–18 12 Sons of Levi will be purified. “Return unto me and I will return unto you, saith the Lord of Hosts.” Pay tithes, and “ye shall be a delightsome land.” Those who fear Lord to be his. Discern righteous and wicked.
3 Nephi 25:2–3 2 Those who fear Lord shall “grow up as calves in the stall” and shall “tread down the wicked.”
3 Nephi 25:5–6 2 The Lord will send Elijah before “the great and dreadful day of the Lord.”
3 Nephi 28:28–29 2 Three Nephites will be among the Jews.
3 Nephi 29:1–3, 8–9 5 Lord’s covenant to Israel will be fulfilled. This is underway when “these sayings” come to the Gentiles.
4 Nephi 1:49 1 Records hidden to come again “unto the remnant of the house of Jacob,” according to the Lord’s promises.
Mormon 3:21 1 The Jews are “the covenant people of the Lord.” Mormon writes to persuade them that Jesus is the Christ.
Mormon 5:12–14 3 Mormon’s account “written unto the remnant of the house of Jacob” and will go to Jews, to persuade them that Jesus is the Christ” and to help them be restored to their lands. All to help God fulfill his covenant.
Mormon 5:20–21 2 After Lehite descendants smitten by Gentiles, Lord will remember his covenant with Abraham and house of Israel. The Lord will remember the prayers for the house of Israel.
Mormon 7:8 1 A record of gospel will go from Jews to the Gentiles.
Mormon 8:15 1 Moroni links having an “eye single to [God’s] glory” and “the welfare of the ancient and long dispersed covenant people of the Lord.” Person bringing Book of Mormon record to light would have these traits.
Mormon 8:21–22 2 “He that shall breathe out wrath and strifes … against the covenant people of the Lord … the same is in danger to be hewn down and cast into the fire.” “All [the Lord’s] promises shall be fulfilled.”
Mormon 9:37 1 Moroni prays, “may God the Father remember the covenant which he hath made with the house of Israel.”
Ether 4:14–15 2 Israel invited to “come unto me.” If they believe, they will know that God “remembered the covenant.”
Ether 13:3–12 10 New Jerusalem built “unto remnant of the seed of Joseph.” Gathering also will occur to “Jerusalem of old.”
Moroni 10:31 1 Invitation to Israel to “put on thy beautiful garments” so covenants to House of Israel “may be fulfilled.”
Total Count 460  

§2 Nephi 15:26 –30 has been interpreted in two opposite ways. First, the Lord calls the Assyrian army which then attacks rebellious Israel (Gardner, Second Witness pp. 238–239). Second, as stated in this table, Israel is gathered in the latter days as an ensign is raised to the world and people travel rapidly by train or airplane (LeGrand Richards, Israel! Do You Know? [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1954, 1990], p. 182).

 

[Page 354]Table 19. Book of Mormon prophecies, messages, or invitations that pronounce blessings or potential blessings specifically to Lamanites or to Lehite descendants. Each line is a separate prophecy or a distinct part of a larger prophecy (50 total).

 

Reference CV Summary
Title Page 2 Book of Mormon written to Lamanites. They are a remnant of the house of Israel. One purpose of the book is to help “the remnant” learn their heritage and the Lord’s covenants. “They are not cast off forever.”
1 Nephi 5:17–18 2 Lehi says plates of brass would go to all “who were of his seed” of “all nations, kindreds, tongues, and people.”
1 Nephi 13:11–12, 14, 30–31 5 God angry with Lehite descendants, and they are smitten by Gentiles. However, God will not let Gentiles destroy Lehite descendants.
1 Nephi 13:38–39 2 Scriptural record from Jews and “other books” will come to Lehite descendants via Gentiles.
1 Nephi 15:7, 12–17 7 Lehites are branch of the house of Israel. Lehite descendants will receive gospel via the Gentiles.
1 Nephi 19:23–24 2 Nephi read Isaiah to Nephites because Isaiah’s words pertain to them, “a remnant of the house of Israel.”
1 Nephi 22:7–8 2 Gentiles would scatter Lehite descendants and then bring gospel to them.
2 Nephi 1:5–7, 9 4 The Lord gave Lehites America for their inheritance. They will be cursed if wicked, at liberty if righteous.
2 Nephi 3:2 1 “May the Lord consecrate also unto thee [Joseph, Nephi’s brother] this land.”
2 Nephi 3:3, 23 2 Seed of Joseph (Nephi’s brother) “shall not utterly be destroyed.”
2 Nephi 3:5 1 Joseph (of Egypt) saw Lehites as a righteous branch of Israel. Messiah manifest to them in the latter days.
2 Nephi 3:24 1 A descendant of Joseph (Nephi’s brother) would be mighty in doing much to restore Lehites.
2 Nephi 4:2 1 Joseph (of Egypt) prophesied of the Lehites and their future.
2 Nephi 4:3–9 7 Lehi blessed the children and seed of Laman and Lemuel. He blessed the children that cursing “be answered upon the heads of your parents.” God will be merciful to children and seed of Laman and Lemuel. “In the end thy seed shall be blessed.”
2 Nephi 4:11 1 Sam and his posterity are blessed.
2 Nephi 6:5 1 Isaiah’s words about house of Israel apply to Lehites because they are part of the house of Israel.
2 Nephi 9:1–3 3 Jacob presented Lord’s covenants to Israel, so Nephites could rejoice in blessings to come to their children.
2 Nephi 9:53 1 Nephite seed “shall not utterly be destroyed” and “shall become a righteous branch unto the house of Israel.”
2 Nephi 10:1–2 2 Nephite descendants would “perish …because of unbelief,” but many will be restored to “the true knowledge of their Redeemer.”
2 Nephi 10:10, 12, 18–22 7 Gentiles will afflict Lehite descendants, but Lord will soften Gentiles. Gentiles will help Lehite descendants. Gentiles “shall be like unto a father to [Lehite descendants].” They have claim to America for their inheritance. The Lord remembers the Lehites.
[Page 355]2 Nephi 11:2 1 Nephi likened Isaiah’s words unto his people.
2 Nephi 25:4 1 Nephites “are of the house of Israel.”
2 Nephi 26:14–16 3 After Lehite descendants are smitten by Gentiles, the descendants will receive the writings of their ancestors who were destroyed.
2 Nephi 28:2 1 “Things … written out of the book shall be of great worth … especially unto our seed” (part of Israel).
2 Nephi 29:2, 13 2 God will honor promises made to Nephi about his seed. Nephite descendants will have other records.
2 Nephi 30:3–6 4 Lehite descendents will receive the “words which are written” from Gentiles. The descendants will hear the gospel and rejoice. “They shall be a pure and a delightsome people.”
Jacob 3:5–6 2 Because Lamanites are monogamous and chaste, Lord will be merciful to them. “One day they shall become a blessed people.”
Enos 1:10 1 “I have given unto them this land, and it is a holy land.”
Enos 1:13, 15–18 5 Lord covenanted with Enos and his fathers to bring Nephite records to Lamanites.
Alma 9:14–17, 24 5 Lord will be merciful to the Lamanites. “At some period of time they will be brought to believe in his word.”
Alma 17:15 1 Despite “curse of God,” “the promises of the Lord were extended unto them on the conditions of repentance.”
Alma 26:36 1 God has been mindful of the Lehites, who are part of Israel.
Alma 37:9–10, 19 3 Records kept by Nephites helped restore “many thousands of the Lamanites to the knowledge of the truth … , and [the Lord] will also still show forth his power in [the records] unto future generations.”
Alma 46:23 1 “We are a remnant of the seed of Jacob; … we are a remnant of the seed of Joseph.”
Helaman 7:24 1 Lord will bless the Lamanites, “lengthen out their days and increase their seed.”
Helaman 15:10–16 7 Lord will bless Lamanites “because of their firmness when they are once enlightened,” “even if they should dwindle in unbelief” and “notwithstanding they shall be driven to and fro upon the face of the earth.”
3 Nephi 5:22 1 “Insomuch as the children of Lehi have kept [God’s] commandments he hath blessed them and prospered them according to his word.”
3 Nephi 10:4–7 4 Lehites are part of Israel, and the Lord will gather the Lehites “if ye will repent and return unto me.”
3 Nephi 10:17 1 Jacob testified of “a remnant of the seed of Joseph.” Mormon believes the Lehites fulfill “these things.”
3 Nephi 15:12–13 2 Lehites are “a remnant of the house of Joseph.” “The Father” gave the Lehites America for their inheritance.
3 Nephi 16:16 1 Christ said the land of America is a dwelling place for the Lehites.
3 Nephi 20:10–22, 25–28 17 Lehites are a remnant of Israel. God gave land of America for inheritance of Lehites. “If the Gentiles do not repent” after scattering “my people,” then the Lehites will overpower the Gentiles.
[Page 356]3 Nephi 21:2–5, 7, 12–26 20 Gentiles shall bring gospel and Book of Mormon to Lehite descendants (“work of the Father” commences then). Unless Gentiles repent Jacob will be “a lion” among them. Lehites will build New Jerusalem.
3 Nephi 26:8 1 Mormon intends for his words to go to Lehite descendants via Gentiles, as Jesus prophesied.
3 Nephi 29:8 1 Do not “make game of … any of the remnant of the house of Israel.” Lord remembers his covenant to them.
4 Nephi 1:49 1 Records hidden to come again “unto the remnant of the house of Jacob,” according to the Lord’s promises.
Mormon 5:9–11, 15 4 Lehite descendents will learn of Nephite destruction and will be sorry. Also, the destruction is told, “that the seed of this people may more fully believe his gospel.”
Mormon 7:1–2, 8–10 5 Lehite descendants are a remnant of Israel. They will receive record of the Jews through the Gentiles. They are part of the house of Israel and therefore people of the first covenant.
Mormon 8:23–24 2 “As the Lord liveth he will remember the covenant which he hath made with [the Lehite saints].”
Ether 12:22 1 Lehite descendants to receive gospel through Gentiles.
Total Count 146  

 

Table 20. Book of Mormon verses that prophesy or describe wickedness among the Jews or the House of Israel, and verses that prophesy of the consequences of that wickedness. Except as noted, each line is a separate prophecy or description (43 total).

 

Reference CV Summary
1 Nephi 1:4, 13, 18–20 5 Lehi and other prophets warned Jews of impending destruction unless they repent. Jews sought to kill Lehi.
1 Nephi 2:1, 13¶ 2 Wickedness among Jews at Jerusalem noted again.
1 Nephi 3:17–18 2 Jerusalem would be destroyed because of wickedness. The people had rejected the prophet’s words.
1 Nephi 7:13–14 2 Jerusalem would be destroyed. Prophets rejected. Jeremiah put in prison. Lehi’s life threatened.
1 Nephi 10:2–3 2 Jews of Lehi’s day would be destroyed and many “carried away captive into Babylon.”
1 Nephi 10:11–13 3 Jews would dwindle in unbelief and slay Messiah. Israel would be “scattered upon all the face of the earth.”
1 Nephi 11:27–28, 32–35 6 Jesus would be rejected “by the people.” “House of Israel” would “fight against the twelve apostles of the Lamb.”
1 Nephi 15:17 1 Jews, or house of Israel, would reject the Lord.
1 Nephi 17:30–31, 41–44 6 Israelites under Moses were wicked and were punished. Jews at time of Lehi were also wicked and will be destroyed.
[Page 357]1 Nephi 19:7–11, 13–14 7 When the Lord comes 600 years after the Lehites left Jerusalem, “the world” judges him “to be a thing of naught.” “Because they crucify the God of Israel” and reject God, Jews will “be scourged by all people” and “hated among all nations.” Calamities would occur when Christ dies.
1 Nephi 20:1–2, 4–5, 8, 18 6 House of Jacob has not followed the Lord.
1 Nephi 21:1 1 “The wickedness of the pastors of my people”
1 Nephi 22:5 1 Because they rejected “Holy One of Israel,” House of Israel will be scattered “and shall be hated of all men.”
2 Nephi 6:8–11 4 After return from Babylon, people at Jerusalem will scourge and crucify the Holy One of Israel. “After they have hardened their hearts and stiffened their necks against the Holy One of Israel, … the judgments of the [Lord] shall come upon them.” “They shall be smitten and afflicted … and hated.”
2 Nephi 7:1–2, 10–11 4 “For your iniquities have ye sold yourselves.” Israel is following the wrong path. It will bring sorrow.
2 Nephi 8:12–13, 17 3 Israel should not “be afraid of man, who shall die,” nor forget the Lord. Jerusalem “hast drunk at the hand of the Lord the cup of his fury.”
2 Nephi 10:3–6 4 Wicked Jews would kill Jesus and suffer “destructions, famines, pestilences, and bloodshed.” Survivors “shall be scattered among all nations.”
2 Nephi 12:5–10 6 House of Jacob has “gone astray”; “their land is also full of idols.” “The fear of the Lord and the glory of his majesty shall smite thee.”
2 Nephi 13:1–9, 11–26 25 Jerusalem and Judah would suffer because of their wickedness.
2 Nephi 14:1¶ 1 After war, women unsupported, unmarried, and childless. “Seven women … take hold of one man.”†
2 Nephi 15 30 “Their root shall be rottenness … because they have cast away the law of the Lord of Hosts.”§
2 Nephi 16:5, 9–12 5 Isaiah dwelt with “people of unclean lips.” The Lord’s teachings are rejected, suffering will result.
2 Nephi 17:1–2, 5–8 6 Ephraim joined with Syria and attacked Judah. Within 65 years, Ephraim will “be broken.”
2 Nephi 17:9–25 17 “If ye will not believe surely ye shall not be established.” An alliance with Assyria would bring calamity.‡
2 Nephi 18:1, 3–4 3 Maher-shalal-hash-baz means “to speed to the spoil, he hasteneth the prey.” Ephraim to be destroyed soon.
2 Nephi 18:5–15, 17, 19–22 16 Calamities prophesied against Judah because “this people refuseth the waters of Shiloah.”
2 Nephi 19:1–2 2 “The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light.”
[Page 358]2 Nephi 19:8–21 14 Syrians and Philistines will “devour Israel.” Wickedness abounds.
2 Nephi 20:1–6 6 The Lord will send Assyria “against a hypocritical nation.”
2 Nephi 25:2, 6, 9–10, 12–16, 18 10 Nephi observed wickedness among Jews. They would suffer destruction and wars. They would reject Messiah. Jerusalem would be destroyed after Christ came, and Jews would be scattered and scourged.
2 Nephi 27:1–5 5 All nations of the Jews “will be drunken with iniquity and all manner of abominations.”
Jacob 4:14–15, 17 3 “Jews were a stiffnecked people.” “They will reject the stone upon which they might build.”
Jacob 6:4 1 House of Israel called “a stiffnecked and a gainsaying people.”
Mosiah 3:9 1 Christ would come to “his own,” but they would scourge and crucify him.
Mosiah 3:14–15 2 “God saw that his people were a stiffnecked people.”
Mosiah 15:5 1 Christ would allow himself to be mocked, scourged, cast out, and disowned “by his people.”
Mosiah 13:29, 32 2 “Children of Israel … were a stiffnecked people, quick to do iniquity, and slow to remember the Lord.”
3 Nephi 9:16 1 “I came unto my own, and my own received me not.”
3 Nephi 15:18–19 2 Lehites separated from Israelites because of their iniquity, which has kept them from knowing about Lehites.
3 Nephi 16:7–9 3 Because of unbelief of House of Israel, Gentiles will receive fullness of gospel in latter days. Gentiles would scatter, cast out, and tread upon Israel. House of Israel smitten and hated (“hiss and a by word”).
3 Nephi 17:14 1 Jesus “troubled because of the wickedness of the people of the house of Israel.”
3 Nephi 20:38 1 “Ye have sold yourselves for naught.”
3 Nephi 24:7–9, 13–15 6 “Even from the days of your fathers ye are gone away from mine ordinances, and have not kept them.” People have robbed God, spoken against him, said “it is vain to serve God,” and called proud happy.
Mormon 3:21 1 “The Jews, the covenant people of the Lord,” slew Jesus.
Ether 4:14–15 2 Unbelief has caused Israel to remain in an “awful state of wickedness.”
Total Count 232  

¶Continuation of the previous entry (one line above)
†This verse is a continuation of 2 Nephi 13 and describes a desperate situation for women after many men are killed by war (see Brant A. Gardner, Second Witness: Analytical and Contextual Commentary on the Book of Mormon: Volume 2 Second Nephi–Jacob (Salt Lake City: Greg Kofford Books, 2007) 225.
[Page 359] §2 Nephi 15:26 –30 has been interpreted in two opposite ways. First, as stated in this table, the Lord calls the Assyrian army which then attacks rebellious Israel (Gardner, Second Witness pp. 238–239). Second, Israel is gathered in the latter days as an ensign is raised to the world and people travel rapidly by train or airplane (LeGrand Richards, Israel! Do You Know? [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1954, 1990], p. 182).
‡ Gardner, Second Witness pp. 247–256.

 

Table 21. Book of Mormon passages condemning anti-Semitism. Each line is a separate instance (11 total).

 

Reference CV Summary
1 Nephi 22:14, 19 2 “Every nation which shall war against thee, O house of Israel, shall be turned one against another, and they shall fall into the pit which they digged to ensnare the people of the Lord.” “All they who fight against Zion shall be cut off.”
2 Nephi 6:7, 13–18 7 “The Mighty God shall deliver his covenant people.” Their enemies will be destroyed.
2 Nephi 8:21–23 3 The Lord’s people will no longer drink from the “cup of [the Lord’s] fury.” The Lord “will put it into the hand of them that afflict thee.”
2 Nephi 10:13–17 5 Anyone who fights against Zion, Jew or Gentile, bond or free, male or female, “shall perish”
2 Nephi 27:3 1 “All the nations that fight against Zion, and that distress her, shall be as a dream of a night vision.”
2 Nephi 29 14 Anti-Semitism is condemned. Gentiles are warned. God “will return all these things upon your own heads.” God’s promises to Israel will be honored. God speaks to more than just people of Bible.
2 Nephi 33:14 1 “Respect the words of the Jews” and other scriptures or be condemned.
3 Nephi 22:11–17 7 “Thou shalt be far from oppression for thou shalt not fear, and from terror for it shall not come near thee… . whosoever shall gather together against thee shall fall for thy sake.”
3 Nephi 29:8–9 2 Do not persecute the Jews or others of the House of Israel. “Ye need not any longer hiss, nor spurn, nor make game of the Jews, nor any of the remnant of the House of Israel.” The Lord will fulfill his covenant with them.
Mormon 4:5 1 “It is by the wicked that the wicked are punished.”
Mormon 8:21–22 2 “He that shall breathe out wrath and strifes … against the covenant people of the Lord who are the house of Israel … the same is in danger to be hewn down and cast into the fire.”
Total Count 45  

 

[Page 360]Table 22. Book of Mormon passages that prophesy of wickedness among the Gentiles and contain warnings for them to repent. Each line is a separate prophecy or a distinct part of a larger prophecy (17 total).

 

Reference CV Summary
1 Nephi 13:4–9, 26–34 15 “Great and abominable church” formed among Gentiles. Gentiles “stumble” and are in an “awful state of blindness.” God will not let them destroy the Lehite descendants and will bring gospel to them.
1 Nephi 14:5–6 2 “Wo be unto the Gentiles” if “they harden their hearts against the Lamb of God.”
2 Nephi 6:12 1 Gentiles blessed if they repent and “fight not against Zion.”
2 Nephi 26:19–22 4 Gentiles will smite Lehite descendants; Gentiles are wicked.
2 Nephi 27:1–5 5 All nations of the Gentiles “will be drunken with iniquity and all manner of abominations.”
2 Nephi 28:32 1 “Wo be unto the Gentiles.” Gentiles “will deny me,” but God reaches out and will bless them if they repent.
2 Nephi 29 14 Gentiles have persecuted Jews. God “will return all these things upon your own heads.” Gentiles should not dismiss the record of Nephites that will come forth.
3 Nephi 16:8–15 8 “Wo … unto the unbelieving of the Gentiles.” Lord allowed Gentiles to smite Israel, but if Gentiles do not repent they will be smitten. Gentiles “lifted up in … pride … above the people of the whole earth.” If they repent, “they shall be numbered among my people.” If not, Israel “shall tread them down.”
3 Nephi 20:15–17, 19–20, 27–28 7 “If the Gentiles do not repent after the blessing which they shall receive, after they have scattered my people,” “I will return their iniquities upon their own heads.”
3 Nephi 21:6, 12–25 15 If they repent, Gentiles will be “numbered among … the remnant of Jacob.” “Wo be unto the Gentiles except they repent.”
3 Nephi 30 2 Jesus said, “turn, all ye Gentiles, from your wicked ways … that ye may be numbered with my people.”
Mormon 5:9, 20–24 6 Lehite descendants “should be counted as naught” among Gentiles and be driven and scattered by the Gentiles. The Gentiles need to repent!
Mormon 8:27–33, 35–41 14 The Book of Mormon would come forth in a day of great wickedness, including that people do not care for others. “The sword of vengeance hangeth over you”
Ether 2:11 1 Gentiles need to repent, a warning to “not bring down … the wrath of God upon you as the inhabitants of the land have hitherto done.”
Ether 4:6, 13 2 To receive special blessings from the Lord, Gentiles need to “repent of their iniquity” and “come unto me.”
Ether 8:23–25 3 Gentiles need to remove secret combinations from among them.
[Page 361]Ether 12:28, 35 2 Lord will show Gentiles their weakness and will “prove them” if they “have not charity.”
Total Count 102  

 

Table 23. Book of Mormon accounts of armed conflict or accounts related to armed conflict. These are wars between Nephites and Lamanites or civil wars among Nephites or Jaredites.

 

Topic Abbreviation in Table 23
Nephite-Lamanite War NL War
Nephite-Lamanite Short War NL Sh.
Nephite-Lamanite Major War NL Maj.
Nephite Civil War N Civ.
War Attitutes/Motives Attitu.
Jaredite War (number) J War

 

Reference CV NL War NL Sh. NL Maj. N Civ. Attitu. J War Summary
1 Nephi 12:2–3, 15–16 4         x   Nephi sees in vision “wars, and rumors of wars, and great slaughters with the sword among my people” and final Lamanite-Nephite war. Latter linked to “fountain of filthy water which thy father saw” and “the depths of hell.”
2 Nephi 5:14, 34 2 x       x   Nephi reports preparations for war and “wars and contentions with our brethren.” Lamanites hate the Nephites.
2 Nephi 12:2–4 3         x   After Lord’s kingdom is established and people learn of the Lord’s ways, “nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.”
2 Nephi 21:9 1         x   “They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain, for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea.”
[Page 362]2 Nephi 26:2 1         x   Nephi notes that “great wars and contentions” would occur “among [his] people.”
2 Nephi 26:32 1         x   “The Lord God hath commanded that men … should not contend one with another.”
2 Nephi 30:15 1         x   “They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain; for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea.”
Jacob 1:10 1           Nephi had “wielded the sword of Laban in their defence.”
Jacob 7:24–26 3 x       x   Wars and contentions occurred in Jacob’s time. Lamanites hate the Nephites
Enos 1:14 1         x   Angry Lamanites seek to destroy Nephites and their records.
Enos 1:24 1 x           “I saw wars between the Nephites and Lamanites.”
Jarom 1:7–9, 13 4 x           “Many times” the Lamanites came to battle against Nephites. Nephites prevail.
Omni 1: 2–3, 10 3 x           “Much war and contention” between Nephites and Lamanites reported.
Omni 1:17 1       x     Many civil wars occurred among people of Zarahemla.
Omni 1:24 1 x           “A serious war and much bloodshed between the Nephites and the Lamanites”
Omni 1:28 1       x     A battle occurred among a group of Nephites.*
Words of Mormon 1:13–14 2 x           War in reign of King Benjamin reported. Lamanite invasion repelled, many thousands of Lamanites killed.
Mosiah 1:14 1         x   Lamanites hate Nephites.
Mosiah 9:1–2 2           Seeing good in Lamanites, Zeniff contended and fought with other Nephites to avoid attacking Lamanites. “Greater number of our army was destroyed.”*
Mosiah 9:10–19 10   x     x   Lamanites want to bring Nephite setters into bondage and fear settlers will get too strong. Lamanites attack. Nephites repel attack.
Mosiah 10:1–2, 6–20 17   x     x   Second fray between Nephite settlers (in Lamanite territory) and Lamanites. Lamanites justified war because they believed Nephites had wronged them. Lamanites defeated.
Mosiah 11:16–18 3   x     x   Lamanites “exercise their hatred” and attack Nephite settlers again. Attack repelled.
Mosiah 19:6–15, 18–26, 28 20   x   x     Lamanites attack and conquer Nephite settlers. Settlers placed in bondage. Internal conflict between King Noah and priests and men who fled with them. King is killed.
[Page 363]Mosiah 20 26   x         After kidnapping by rogue Nephite settlers, Lamanites retaliate against other Nephites, but Nephites repel attack and pacify Lamanites. Settlers remain in bondage.
Mosiah 21:2–9 8   x     x   Nephite settlers (in Lamanite lands) grow weary of subjugation under the Lamanites. Settlers attack Lamanites and are defeated.
Mosiah 21:10–11 2   x     x   Angry Nephite settlers attack Lamanites a second time and again are defeated.
Mosiah 21:12–13 2   x         Nephite settlers attack Lamanites a third time, are defeated, and submit to Lamanites.
Mosiah 23:25–39 15   x         Nephite kidnappers of Lamanite women pacify Lamanite army and join the Lamanites. This combined group captures a group of Nephite settlers.
Mosiah 29:1–11, 16–17, 21–24, 35–36 19         x   King Mosiah’s sons refuse to be king. He proposes that the Nephites have judges instead of kings to “make for the peace of this people,” to avoid potential contentions about who should be king and bloodshed because of iniquity.
Alma 2:8–22 15       x     Dissenting Nephites (Amlicites) take up arms against other Nephites.
Alma 2:23–38 16   x         Nephite nation is attacked by Lamanites and Nephite dissenters. Attack is repelled.
Alma 3:20–23 4   x         Another attack of Lamanites against Nephites repelled.
Alma 16:1–9 9   x         Lamanites destroy Nephite city of Ammonihah, attack one other area, and take captives. Lamanite army repelled and captive people recovered.
Alma 16:12 1   x         A Lamanite-Nephite war occurred three years after the last war.
Alma 20:10, 13 2         x   Head Lamanite king states hatred for Nephites.
Alma 22:33–34 2         x   “The Lamanites were an enemy to [the Nephites].” Nephites kept Lamanites to south.
Alma 25:1–3 3       x   Ammonihah attack (and probably war three years later) continued. Upset Lamanites sought vengeance against Nephites.
Alma 27:1 1       x   Attacks against Nephites were fruitless.
Alma 28:1–3 3   x         Lamanites attack Nephites and are repelled in “a tremendous battle,” greatest battle yet.
Alma 28:4–6, 9–14 9         x   The cost of war is terrible.
Alma 35:10–11, 13 3   x         Zoramites influence Lamanites to come to war against Nephites.
[Page 364]Alma 43:3–54 52       x   Lamanites led, at least in part, by Nephite dissenters begin war with Nephites. Zerahemnah (leader of Lamanite army) was motivated by a desire for power. Nephites motivated to protect lands, families, liberties, and people of Ammon; Lord commanded Nephites to defend their families. Lamanites “fight like dragons,” but Nephites prevail.
Alma 44:1–23 23       x   Zerahemnah desires to gain power and place Nephites in bondage. Nephites fighting for faith, family and liberty. Nephites defeat Lamanite army despite being outnumbered. Lamanites covenant never to come against Nephites again.
Alma 46:1–7, 11–13, 17–21, 28–35 23       x x   Amalickiah, a Nephite, desires to be king and amasses followers. They are willing to fight other Nephites until they see they are outnumbered. Moroni motivates people to preserve their liberty. Many of Amalickiah’s followers are captured. Amalickiah and a few others escape.
Alma 48:1–16, 21–25 21   x     x   About one year after covenanting to not come to war, Lamanites led by Nephite dissenters come against Nephites. Moroni prepared Nephite defenses. Nephites reluctantly fight. They are taught to defend themselves and only kill in self-defense. By keeping God’s commandments, he will help them know how to defend themselves.
Alma 49:1–28 28           Lamanites come against more fortified Nephites. Lamanites are defeated, but their king (Amalickiah) swears to drink blood of leader of the Nephite army.
Alma 50:1–7, 9–12 11   x         Nephites prepare for next war. As protective measure, Nephites “drove all the Lamanites who were in the east wilderness into their own lands.”
Alma 50:21 1         x   Nephite quarrelings, murderings, plunderings, and other abominations brought war.
Alma 50:25–36 12       x     Land dispute among Nephites escalates into an armed conflict.
Alma 51:9–37 29     x x     Six years after last war, a great, six-year war between Nephites and Lamanites begins. Amalickiah leads Lamanite army. Nephites are distracted by civil war. Lamanite army captures many Nephite cities, and many Nephites are killed. Amalickiah is killed.
Alma 52 40           Ammoron, Amalickiah’s brother, becomes Lamanite leader. War is fought on two fronts. Nephites retake one city.
Alma 53 23           Lamanites make some gains. Sons of converted Lamanites join Nephite army.
[Page 365]Alma 54 24       x   Ammoron and Moroni exchange letters. Prisoner exchange proposed. Motives given.
Alma 55 35           Nephite prisoners of war released by stratagem. Nephites make other gains.
Alma 56 57           Helaman leads sons of people of Ammon. They are courageous and fight valiantly.
Alma 57 36           Nephites regain two more cities. Sons of people of Ammon fight valiantly.
Alma 58 41           Nephites regain more territory. They drive Lamanites out of one part of the land.
Alma 59 13           Lamanites capture city of Nephihah. Moroni “was exceedingly sorrowful.”
Alma 60 36         Moroni accuses Pahoran and Nephite government of neglect.
Alma 61 21     x x   Pahoran replied. A “freemen” vs. “king-men” civil war had begun among Nephites. “Whatsoever evil we cannot resist with our words … let us resist … with our swords.”
Alma 62:1–42, 44–45 44     x   King-men and Lamanites defeated. Six-year war ends. Many hardened by war.
Alma 63:14–15 2   x         Eight years after six-year war, Nephite dissenters again lead Lamanites unsuccessfully against Nephites.
Helaman 1:14–33 20   x         Two years after last war, another Nephite dissenter leads Lamanites against Nephites. Invasion repelled.
Helaman 3:17, 22 2       x     “The wars and contentions began to cease… among the people of the Nephites.”
Helaman 4:1–10, 13, 16, 18–19 14     x x     “Much bloodshed” occurs in an intra-Nephite contention. Sixteen years after last war, Nephite dissenters again induce Lamanites to war against Nephites. This war lasts five-years. Lamanites capture capital and “almost all their lands.” Nephites regain only half.
Helaman 10:18 1       x     Civil war begins among the Nephites. “They were divided against themselves and began to slay one another with the sword.”
Helaman 11:1–2 2           War occurs “throughout all the land among all the people of Nephi.”
Helaman 11:24–33 10   x   x     Nephite dissenters induce some Lamanites to war again. They become guerrilla fighters (and a band of robbers) and fight both Nephite and Lamanite armies.
3 Nephi 2:11–13, 17–18 5       x     Nephites and Lamanites unite to fight robber band. The Nephites and Lamanites “gain some advantage,” but later the robbers “did gain many advantages.”
[Page 366]3 Nephi 3 26       x   War between Nephites-Lamanites and robbers continues as robbers demand surrender and Nephites and Lamanites gather together in one place to defend themselves. Leader of the robber band claims “many wrongs” were committed unto his people. Leader of Nephite-Lamanite army will not take offensive action.
3 Nephi 4:1–28 28           Robber band defeated by united Lamanites and Nephites.
3 Nephi 11:28–30 3         x   “The devil … stirreth up the hearts of men to contend with anger, one with another… . This is my doctrine, that such things should be done away.”
3 Nephi 12:9 1         x   “And blessed are all the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God.”
4 Nephi 1:2, 15 2         x   People dealt justly. “No contention … because of the love of God” in people’s hearts.
Mormon 1:8–12 5     x       Great, final war begins between the Nephites and Lamanites. Nephites defeat Lamanites. Peace exists for about four years.
Mormon 2:1–9, 16, 20–29 20           War continues. Over a 23-year period, Nephites retreat before Lamanites, hold and repel Lamanities and robbers, and make a treaty with Lamanites and robbers.
Mormon 3:1, 4–11 9       x   War continues, Nephites beat Lamanites twice. Nephites, motivated by revenge, want to attack Lamanites. Mormon refuses to lead Nephites.
Mormon 3:15 1         x   The Lord said, “vengeance is mine, and I will repay.”
Mormon 4:1–4 4           Nephites attack Lamanites and are beaten.
Mormon 4:5 1         x   “The wicked … stir up the hearts of the children of men unto bloodshed.”
Mormon 4:6–23 18       x   Lamanites attack and are beaten. A “horrible scene of … blood and carnage” was there. This was the greatest wickedness ever seen among Israel. Human sacrifice done. Nephites “began to be swept off by [the Lamanites] even as a dew before the sun.”
Mormon 5:3–11 9       x   Nephites retreat before the Lamanite army. Mormon saw “an awful scene of blood and carnage.” This “calamity of the house of Israel” was the result of wickedness.
Mormon 6:1–15 15           Many thousands of Nephites killed at final, great battle at Cumorah.
Mormon 7:4 1         x   Do not delight in shedding of blood. Go to war only if God commands.
Mormon 8:2–3, 7–8 4     x     Mormon and other Nephites are killed. “Lamanites are at war one with another.”†
[Page 367]Ether 6:21–28 8         x   Jaredites choose to have a king despite the brother of Jared’s warning that “surely this thing leadeth into captivity.”
Ether 7:4–5, 7–9, 15–21 12           4 Civil war begins among the Jaredites. Four wars occur.
Ether 8:2–6 5           2 Two more Jaredite civil wars occur.
Ether 9:1–12 12           1 After splitting into two kingdoms, a multi-year war within one kingdom leaves only 30 survivors. Great evil led to the war.
Ether 10:5–9, 14–15, 30–32 10           4 At least four more wars occur among Jaredites. Two additional “rebellions” occur.
Ether 11:4, 7, 15–18 6           5 Five more Jaredite armed conflicts occur (respectively, “exceedingly great war,” “wars and contentions,” “gave battle,” “did overthrow,” and “did overthrow”).
Ether 13:15–16, 18–19, 22–31 14           1 A great civil war occurs among the Jaredites.
Ether 14 31           2 Two wars occur between two rival Jaredite groups.
Ether 15:1–32 32           1 Continuation of one war¶, a four-year pause, then final war. Jaredites destroyed.
Moroni 1:1–3 3           Moroni wanders to avoid being killed by Lamanites.
Moroni 9:2, 7–10, 16–17 7           More details of final war between Nephites and Lamanites.
Total Counts 1137 7 20 3 14 40 20  

*c.f. Mosiah 9:1–3 with Omni 1:27–29 to see the likely connection.
¶Continuation of a previous entry (in same column above) , i.e. the same conflict.
† Although the Nephites were “destroyed,” the record states that many Nephites became Lamanites during the course of the final Nephite-Lamanite war, and Nephite survivors were absorbed into the Lamanite group (Mormon 6:15; Moroni 1:1–2, 9:24). Therefore, I include this mention of civil war among the count of Nephite civil wars.

 

[Page 368]Table 24. Book of Mormon passages that mention conspiracies (secret combinations). Each line is a separate instance (37 total).

 

Reference CV Summary
2 Nephi 9:9 1 The devil “stirreth up” “secret combinations of murder and all manner of secret works of darkness.”
2 Nephi 10:15 1 The Lord will destroy “secret works of darkness, and of murders, and of abominations.”
2 Nephi 26:22–23 2 Secret combinations prophesied among Gentiles. “The Lord God worketh not in darkness.”
Alma 37:21–22, 25–26, 28–31 8 Secret combinations led and will lead to destruction. Participants must repent before “fully ripe.”
Helaman 1:7–12 6 Kishkumen murders Pahoran, the chief judge, as part of a conspiracy. The conspirators swear secrecy.
Helaman 2:3–11 9 Kishkumen, Gadianton, and fellow conspirators attempt to murder Helaman, the chief judge.
Helaman 2:13–14 2 “This Gadianton did prove the overthrow, yea, almost the entire destruction of the people of Nephi.”
Helaman 3:23 1 Peace in the land except “the secret combinations which Gadianton the robber had established.”
Helaman 6:15–30. 37–39 19 Two Nephite chief judges are murdered by secret band. “Gadianton’s robbers and murderers” grow among Nephites and gains control of their government. Lamanites eliminate band by preaching word of God to them.
Helaman 7:4–6, 25 4 Nephi tells a Nephite crowd “wo be unto you because of that great abomination” (Gadianton’s band).
Helaman 8:1, 4, 27–28 4 Nephi condemned “secret works of darkness” and prophesied a murder involving members of the secret band.
Helaman 10:3 1 “Secret works of darkness” among the wickedness of the Nephites.
Helaman 11:2 1 Secret band of robbers were behind the destructive wars among the Nephites.
Helaman 11:10 1 Nephites “swept away the band of Gadianton from amongst them.”
Helaman 11:25–33 9 Another group becomes “robbers of Gadianton.” They make “great havoc” among both Nephites and Lamanites.
3 Nephi 1:27–29 3 Gadianton robbers “do much slaughter among the people.” Both Nephites and Lamanites join the secret band.
3 Nephi 2:11–13, 17–18 5 Gadianton robbers are “so numerous” that Lamanites and Nephites unite and fight them.
3 Nephi 3:1–12, 14–15, 17 15 Robbers demanded surrender of Nephite and Lamanites, but they refuse. Robbers promised to attack.
3 Nephi 4:1–29 29 Robber band attacks united Nephites and Lamanites and is defeated. Two robber leaders are killed.
3 Nephi 5:4–6 3 “They did put an end to all those wicked, and secret, and abominable combinations.”
3 Nephi 6:27–30 4 Murderers conspire to protect each other and destroy the Lord’s people and the government.
3 Nephi 7:1–2, 6, 9–11 6 Chief judge murdered by conspiracy, Nephite government destroyed, and the people separated into tribes.
[Page 369]3 Nephi 9:9 1 Secret combinations that destroyed “the peace of my people and the government of the land” “was above all the wickedness of the whole earth.
3 Nephi 30:2 1 “Turn, all ye Gentiles, from your wicked ways; and repent … of your secret abominations.”
4 Nephi 1:42 1 “The wicked part of the people began again to build up the secret oaths and combinations of Gadianton.”
4 Nephi 1:46 1 “The robbers of Gadianton did spread over all the face of the land.”
Mormon 1:18 1 “These Gadianton robbers, who were among the Lamanites, did infest the land.”
Mormon 2:8, 10, 27–28 4 “The land was filled with robbers.” Robbers and Lamanites fought against the Nephites.
Mormon 8:9 1 “Robbers” continued after the Nephite nation was destroyed.
Mormon 8:27, 40 2 “The blood of saints shall cry unto the Lord, because of secret combinations and the works of darkness.”
Ether 8:7–25 19 Jared, his daughter, Akish, and Akish’s kinsfolk form a conspiracy to kill the king. These secret combinations are “most abominable and wicked above all, in the sight of God.” Secret combinations “are had among all people.” They caused destruction of the Jaredites and Nephites and will destroy any nation that upholds them.
Ether 9:1–12 12 A conspiracy leads to splitting of Jaredites into two kingdoms. Conspiracy spreads within one kingdom, and a civil war occurs. All but 30 people are killed.
Ether 9:26–27 2 Heth conspires and kills his father, the king.
Ether 10:33–34 2 Robbers adopt “the old plans … and sought again to destroy the kingdom.” Com fights robbers but does not prevail.
Ether 11:7, 15, 22 3 “Wicked combinations,” “that secret combination,” and “secret society” cause great wickedness among Jaredites.
Ether 13:15, 18, 26 3 Secret combinations abound.
Ether 14:8–10 3 Secret combinations again are noted as contributing to the terrible war and wickedness among the Jaredites.
Total Count 190  
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About David M. Belnap

David Michael Belnap received a BS degree in biochemistry from Brigham Young University in 1989 and a PhD in biology from Purdue University in 1995. Since his days at Purdue University, he has studied the structure of viruses primarily by three-dimensional electron microscopy. He has also studied other biological macromolecules and helped develop 3DEM methods. Following graduate studies, he worked at the National Institutes of Health (Bethesda, Maryland; 1995 to 2004) and Brigham Young University (2004 to 2012). He currently is a research faculty member in the Departments of Biochemistry and Biology at the University of Utah, where he also directs the Electron Microscopy Core Laboratory. David enjoys serving in the church and especially enjoys being outdoors with his wife Julie and family.

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