Creative Writing

You and the Destiny of the Indian by Dean L. Larsen

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Using scriptures and religious texts held by the LDS church (BoM, Bible, D&C, Pearl of Great Price) as the primary source material for his book, LDS General Authority Elder Dean L. Larsen gives a racial history of the peoples who, church members believe, inhabited the American continent before the arrival of Europeans--with a focus on the arrival of Lehi, Nephi, the Nephites and Lamanites to the Americas from Jerusalem . The book uses scriptural examples both to show modern Native Americans are the descendants of those peoples, There are those who, upon reading the account of the curing of the Lamanites, have concluded that those whom we know as Lamanites today are the direct descendants of the degenerate progeny of Laman and Lemuel (p. 13-14), and to make claims about God's intended property rights and spiritual rights for Native Americans: as a result of their spiritual decline, the book argues, The Lamanite people have never had an unqualified inheritance in this land because for those who continue to reject his gospel and follow after the incorrect traditions of their fathers, there is no promise in this promised land. (Part III, p. 31-32, citing 1 Nephi 31, Mormon 7, 2 Nephi 1:13-14). Part IV: A Promise of Redemption This section warns against several influences: Popular cultural sentiment in favor of preserving the so-called “Indian Culture” or “Indian Way”, Societies and institutions organized to perpetuate Indianism, People in high public office, and scholars in the fields of anthropology and sociology, [who] have vigorously attacked those who would attempt to promote any changes which would erase some vestiges of Indian culture which still remain. Elder Larsen asks What is the true culture of the Indian? and ponders the changes which will be required of the Lamanite people in order to regain their rights to the “Promised Land” (p. 33-34). Elder Larsen answers his question on the “true culture” of Native Americans for his readers: Religious beliefs [of Native Americans] became corrupted and rituals were contrive to more effectively serve the diabolical purposes of the rebellious leaders, The Lamanites of today have been through a period of 1600 years of spiritual and cultural decline and Those who would glorify the counterfeit of sixteen centuries and oppose the rejection of meaningless forms and empty traditions are not the benefactors of the American Indians and the other Lamanites of this day (p. 36-37, citing 4 Nephi 38-39, 1 Nephi 15:15-16, Mosiah 1:5, and the story of Ammon in Alma 18-26). In order to determine the cultural changes the Lord asks of Native Americans, Elder Larsen returns to the LDS scriptures for guidance: Native Americans must repent of their sins, [Native Americans must] know the incorrectness of the traditions of their fathers and The Lord expects [Native Americans] to find this renewed incentive in the restored gospel of Jesus Christs and not in some modernization of the “Indian Way” (pgs 40-42, citing Alma 9:16-17, Alma 17:15, 2 Nephi 30:4-6). Part V: The Role of the Gentiles This section describes the arrival of the Europeans as important to the restoration of Christ's gospel to the Native Americans “before they can fully qualify for an inheritance in this land” (pg 46). Elder Larsen describes the relationship between the Gentiles (Europeans and their descendents, in this context) and the Native Americans: [3 Nephi 21:4,6] says the Lord understood that it would not be easy for the Gentiles to adopt the role of benefactor after having been a scourge to the Lamanites. It would be difficult to become “nursing mothers and fathers” [1 Nephi 21:22-23] to those who had been despised and rejected, (pg 47) The progenitors of today's Lamanites were shown the day of redemption of their children, and in their prayers asked a blessing upon the Gentiles who would assist in this work, We must remember the Lamanites' ultimate achievement cannot be realized o
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Cec 2010

Jul 29, 2017
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