Laman’s Curse: Etiology and Race in the Book of Mormon #BOM2016

2 Nephi 5

For behold, they had hardened their hearts against him, that they had become like unto a flint; where fore, as they were white, and exceeding fair and delightsome,  that they might not be enticing unto my people, therefore the  Lord God did cause a skin of blackness to come upon them.  And thus saith the Lord God, I will cause that they shall be loathsome unto thy people, save they shall repent of their iniquities.–2 Nephi 4 (1830 Edition)

Etiology is the study of how things got to be the way they are. Religion and mythology are full of etiological tales. The story of the Tower of Babel (Genesis 11:1-9) is an etiological story to account for the development of languages. “How the Bear Lost Its Tail” is an etiological story about why bears don’t have tails. We humans are naturally curious; we like to know where things come from. And our emotional desire for explanations far exceeds our rational capacity to discover true answers. In the absence of good science, we are always willing to buy stories that just seem like they ought to be true. [Read more…]