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Comments about ‘Book of Mormon expressly condemns anti-Semitism’

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Published: Thursday, Sept. 1 2011 5:00 a.m. MDT

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Kurt Matthia
Pleasant Grove, UT

From the Book of Mormon account in 3 Nephi 21, Jesus Christ gave this land to the remnant of Israel who remain in the latter days (see verse 22). The land clearly belongs to them.

The gentiles, or European and other immigrants, in the land in the latter days are told that, if they are faithful, they will be permitted to assist the remnant in building the New Jerusalem (see verse 23). The New Jerusalem is generally considered to be centered in North America.

If this understanding is correct, then Latter-day Saints should be advocating passage of a U.S. law and/or a pan-American treaty that would allow document native Americans throughout North and South America transnational status.

Their current status is as the Jews--people without a country. The European immigrant populations throughout the Americas tend to discriminate against them, if not worse.

With official transnational status, they would be able to move, live and work wherever in the Americas they chose. As least some part of the U.S. "illegal" immigration issue, would be resolved. After all the Europeans came as the ultimate illegal aliens and took the land away from native Americans.

nick
Provo, UT

Former BYU Professor John Sorenson's monumental work on migrations to the New World clearly proves that scores of groups/tribes/peoples immigrated to the New World during the past 3,000 years. Each group often contended with and, in some cases, replaced the peoples who preceeded them. Kurt's reasoning is faulty. Does a land automatically belong to the people who occupy it, even though they took it from another, earlier group of people?

Some of the groups were nearly extinguished such as the Jaredites and Nephites and other groups that modern history can document. The Aztecs severely persecuted neighboring tribes which, in part, led to their conquest when Cortez allied with those tribes. As part of the Spanish conquest, small pox wiped out nearly 90% of the indigenous population.

Finally, Kurt misreads Nephi. Joseph Fielding Smith argued that Mormons have been adopted into the remnant of Jacob. In addition, there has been so much intermarrying between Europeans and native Americans that it is difficult to classify all people south of the US border as pure remnant of Jacob. It's been my observation that the ruling classes in Latin America are of mostly European extraction.

Joan Watson
TWIN FALLS, ID

The point is, there is recorded in the Book of Mormon scriptures, God's warning concerning unthankfulness, hatred and evil actions toward His Covenant people. This particular scripture, quoting the Lord, is no small warning and it should resound as penetrating to the ear, heart and mind as do the Ten Commandments. History attest that the Jews have suffered terribly man's injustice and cruelty. Tyranical and unjust regimes, past and future would have done well, and will do well to heed such authoritative, mandated directive and warning.

Palm Star
Merced, CA

Whoa--way to hijack an article about the Book of Mormon supporting the Jews into a political statement advocating opening our borders! That's quite a stretch.

I appreciate the reminder of the Book of Mormon's teachings on the Jews.

Still scratching my head over the "people without a country" status.

New Yorker
Pleasant Grove, UT

What a great blessing it would be for all Native Americans to have transnational status. It would completely turn around their economics. Instead of being marginalized and discriminated against, the current nations would compete for them to prevent brain drain and loss of human resources.

nick - No, a land doesn't "automatically belong to the people who occupy it, even though they took it from another." The only justification for giving it lock, stock, and barrel to the European conquers is that they had the power to take it. And that is no justification at all. Your confounding of groups, scriptures, and argument that Mormons somehow are chosen by God to inherit instead of the Native Americans, is no argument at all. However the Europeans always have used any justification at all, regardless of how unjust it may be.

Mormoncowboy
Provo, Ut

Why would God, father of us all and no-respector of persons, have a "chosen covenant people" distinguishable from all others of those whom he created as equal heirs? Why would he not likewise abhor those acts of persecution against any other groups and societies? I mean if we are going to following that line of thinking, couldn't we also say:

"what thank ye the catholics for preserving the Christian texts"

or

"what thank ye the reformers for making the bible available to the lay reader"

or

"what thank ye gutenberg for the printing press"

etc.

Why does God play favorites like this?

Vanka
Provo, UT

New Yorker objects to Nick's "confounding" of groups, scriptures and argument "that Mormons somehow are chosen by God" to inherit North America.

Nick objects to the claim that Jews are "God's Chosen people".

Dan Peterson's article ignores the implications Der Judenstaat has for the Palestinian (and other) peoples of the Middle East. From their perspective, the Jewish occupation is a more blatant violation of national and ethnic sovereignty than the occupation by Europeans of the Americas.

And everybody claims as their justification for displacing OTHERS the mandate of being Gods chosen people. Chosen for what? To do whatever you want to OTHERS; to displace them, to occupy their lands, to take their resources and ways of life.

Everyone except the atheists are claiming authority and justification from God for the horrors they are inflicting on OTHERS. Religion poisons everything.

Verdad
Orem, UT

Vanka:

Peterson is, if I'm not mistaken, an Arabist. I doubt that he's unaware of the Palestinian and other Arabs.

But these are short columns. There's only so much a writer can DO in one of them.

And what has religion got to do with Zionism? It was a secular nationalism, by and large, just like other nineteenth-century nationalisms. The first Zionists and the founders of the state of Israel were, on the whole, not practicing, religious Jews.

Even Peterson's article points out that Theodore Herzl was a SECULARIZED Jew. So was Dreyfus, I think, as well.

Valjean
Los Alamos, NM

"what thank ye the catholics for preserving the Christian texts"

"what thank ye the reformers for making the bible available to the lay reader"

"what thank ye gutenberg for the printing press"

Excellent questions. We should be thankful for all these things. Some of us are and have actually expressed our gratitude.

"Dan Peterson's article ignores the implications Der Judenstaat has for the Palestinian (and other) peoples of the Middle East. From their perspective, the Jewish occupation is a more blatant violation of national and ethnic sovereignty than the occupation by Europeans of the Americas."

Except that Jews have always constituted a substantial percentage of the population of Palestine, and either payed for the Arab lands they took or took them when they were abandoned by Arabs fleeing to join their enemies who were intent on eradicating them.

"Religion poisons everything."

Was it religion that poisoned your own attitude?

Mormoncowboy
Provo, Ut

Valjean:

You miss the point. Everyone of these groups, including the Jews, have been at each others throats over the centuries, debating who really is favored of God. The Phrase "what thank ye the Jews for the bible", comes from 2 Nephi chapter 29. It is part of Nephi's alleged prophecy of the apostasy and religious turmoil present in Joseph Smith's day. When many of the protestants who reject the Mormon message will say "a bible, a bible, we have got a bible". In that moment, Nephi rebukes the protestants for having reviled against the Jews. He fails to recognize that the most important part of the Bible, even as per his theology, would be the personal life and ministry of Jesus Christ - and we didn't get that from the Jews. Particularly not the preservation of such over 2000 years. No, we have the protestants, the Catholics, the scribes, and the creeds, to thank for that.

He is also speaking about how the Book of Mormon is to fulfill God's covenant with a portion of the house of Israel (Nephi's alleged descendants), those who are despised by the protestants...except we don't think they really exist anymore?

Michael_M
Scottsbluff, NE

The American Indians are not Hebrew but the BofM claims they are.

The Book of Mormon teaches that Europeans would come to America, scatter and nearly destroy the indigenous people because they were no longer Christian. If the Indians become Mormon they will blossom as a rose. The title page of the Book of Mormon says it is written to America's indigenous people (Lamanites). They can become pure and delightsome if they become LDS (implying that they are impure and unpleasant if they are not Mormon). This is a perverted idea resembling anti-Semitism, directed at America's indigenous people.

The indigenous American people who do not accept Mormonism's pseudo-history are still under the curse of their ancestors according to the BofM. The BofM needs to be discarded. There is no place in the 21st century for this disgusting Eurocentric teaching.

New Yorker
Pleasant Grove, UT

Hi Michael,

I will try to respond to your feelings, because you are very justified to feel the way you do. The only correction I might offer to your statement is to replace "Mormon" with "Christian." The Book of Mormon does not speak of Mormons, rather Mormon is the prophet who compiled the book.

That being said, I never understand how non-believers call Jesus a great teacher. He was either the Son of God incarnate, or he was an arrogant buffoon. Jesus repeatedly said things like, "I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me." No non-believer can take statements like this in any other fashion than the way you react to the Book of Mormon.

It all comes down to these questions: Is Jesus the Christ and Savior of the world? Did the Father and the Son appear to Joseph Smith and give him commandments? Is the Book of Mormon Christ's words to ancient prophets and translated by Joseph Smith?

From the beginning of Genesis to the last revelation in the Doctrine and Covenants, God makes bold statements. Jesus is the Christ. This Latter-day Saints believe.

Michael_M
Scottsbluff, NE

The United States government believed that the way to "civilize" the American Indian was to make them Christian. Many now realize and admit how wrong that was.

But Mormonism continues to teach that the American Indian is in a fallen and degraded state unless they become Mormon. The teachings of the BofM indicate that the beautiful, rich and ancient traditions of America's indigenous people are considered false traditions of the fathers.

The American Indian is blamed for what happened and still happens to them with the fantasy, pseudo-history notion that their ancestors had turned against Christianity and killed off the righteous followers of Jesus before Columbus came. Such ideas are disgusting in the 21st century.

Mormonism carries an extreme view directed toward America's indigenous people. Mormonism teaches that America's indigenous people are fallen Hebrews who can only become pure and delightsome by becoming Mormon.

These bold statements that you refer to in LDS scriptures are from whose God? The myths from the Near East should not be imposed on a beautiful people in the Americas. Religions that do not believe in Jesus are just as valid as Mormonism. No other mainstream Christian church degrades indigenous traditions like Mormonism.

Bill in Nebraska
Maryville, MO

To Michael: I totally disagree with you. Though I am also American Indian I do not agree with the level that many of them have taken against the US Government or The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. I firmly and totally believe the Book of Mormon to be the word of our Heavenly Father and another testament of the Divinity of Jesus Christ. Therefore, I am repulsed by your accussations.

Maybe you should really research things before you put on such a tirade. Unlike some I have researched and find nothing about the Book of Mormon or its members that degrades the American Indian. Many of your fellow brethren in South and Central America are accepting the Gospel of Jesus Christ everyday.

I stand with the Book of Mormon and the LDS Church. I come through the Cherokee and the Commanche. My heritage walked on the trail of tears and I am a descendant of the Last War Chief of the Commanche. I accept things as they are and find it quite interesting that we are descendants of Joseph. Do you have any real proof we are not? The answer is no.

Art
SALT LAKE CITY, UT

I am Jewish and have been fascinated by the philo-Semitism in the LDS religion. I had always assumed that all religions are anti-Semitic, but experiences with many Mormons have convinced me that the philo-Semitism among Mormons is broad and deep. Even though I have read many explanations for philo-Semitism, I am not confident that I fully understand how it began and why it has persisted. This particular article was send to me by an LDS friend. Of course, I liked the article very much. It might give me a broader understanding of philo-Semitism if Mr. Peterson could provide more information about his motivation for writing the article.

Michael_M
Scottsbluff, NE

nick said "Joseph Fielding Smith argued that Mormons have been adopted into the remnant of Jacob."

That is not correct. Joseph Fielding Smith's words are still taught in chapters 21 and 25 of the current Doctrines of the Gospel Institute Manual.

The great majority of those who become members of the Church are literal descendants of Abraham through Ephraim, son of Joseph. Those who are not literal descendants ... when they are baptized and confirmed they are grafted into the tree and are entitled to all the rights and privileges as heirs"

It is essential in this dispensation that Ephraim stand in his place at the head, exercising the birthright in Israel which was given to him by direct revelation."

It is Ephraim, today, who holds the priesthood. It is with Ephraim that the Lord has made covenant and has revealed the fulness of the everlasting gospel. It is Ephraim who is building temples and performing the ordinances in them for both the living and for the dead."

Mormonism teaches that they are above the Jews because they are from Ephraim. Except for the American Indian. They have a lesser status because they are from Manasseh.

arabengineer
BEVERLY HILLS, CA

Some rather crazy comments... transnational American indians? What?!?

Anyway, I think many of you are reading waaaay too much into this article. This article isn't about the modern State of Israel, Palestinians, or anything of the sort. Dr. Peterson simply speaks out against anti-Semitism. Dr. Peterson has only authored one book and it happens to be a very pro-Muslim book titled "Muhammed: Prophet of God." If you google Dr. Peterson you can find him discussing Islam, there are even some radio recordings, and he completely rejects, for example, the sort of rhetoric heard from persons like Glenn Beck. Dr. Peterson is very pro-Muslim. As for his specific thoughts on the Israel-Palestine issue, perhaps someone should just ask him since that seems to be what most are concerned about.

And also note, semites include Arabs, not just Jews. And what's a Jew in the BOM context, are we talking blood or religion? Does it matter? BTW there are more Jews in the USA than Israel.

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