The Navajo Tribe and Mormon Missionary Efforts

09 November

salt-lake-templeSeveral days ago one of our good friends here at LAM sent me a link to an article in the NY Times.  The story highlighted the relationship between the Navajo Indian tribe and the Mormon Church.

The article came across as a pretty typical look at how the Church today is going about proselytizing the Navajos.  One of the people interviewed was an older woman with grown children who were all alcoholics and she was able to find comfort in the Church because their teachings reminded her of many of the traditional values she held dear being a Navajo. I wasn’t sure exactly what teachings they were because the article didn’t say. My concern for her situation is if she gave up her culture to become a Mormon and found that they have many things in common why it doesn’t give her pause.

Above all that my main concern is of course the race issue and the story in the Book of Mormon. While the Church tries to tug at the heartstrings of these people by telling them the Book of Mormon is about their ancestors, they forgot to mention the story is a hoax and DNA tests confirm the Lamanites aren’t of Jewish ancestry.

The article briefly mentioned Mrs. Smith’s husband whom she married later in life had been part of the Indian Placement Program.  I was disappointed they didn’t go more in depth with the history of what the Church did with/to the Navajo Tribe.

From 1947 to 2000 the Mormon Church ran a foster care system of sorts under the guise of “helping” the Navajos to get a better education. Members would take Navajo children into their homes during the school year and then the children would go back to their respective families during summer months.  The Church’s agenda was cloaked with the hope they’d marry white people and fulfill the prophecy that the “dark and loathsome Lamanites” would one day become “white and delightsome”.

It was also disappointing that a paper like NY Times didn’t do more homework on the racist teachings of the Church and ask hard hitting questions like why the Church would be proselytizing to a group of people who will never be white and therefore unable to live up to the “lofty” standards of the LDS Church.  Why didn’t they ask members of the tribe what they thought about Book of Mormon passages that repeatedly show up declaring dark people are evil?

You can read the article in full here

With Love in Christ;

Michelle

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