Journal of Book of Mormon Studies


The Book of Mormon, Lamanites, racism, theology


Few verses in the Book of Mormon are as problematic and controversial as 2 Nephi 4:35 (LDS 5:21). Critics of the Book of Mormon have routinely pointed to this verse and its reference to Lamanites receiving a "skin of blackness" as evidence of racism and racist theology in Mormonism's sacred scriptures. The verse has also failed to escape ridicule in pop-cultural depictions of Mormonism, as seen most recently in the hit Broadway musical, The Book of Mormon. The verse and its interpretation are of perennial interest to readers of the Book of Mormon, believing or not, since the racial stance of the volume seems to center around the interpretation of the passage.