The Lamanites - An Identity Crisis

Written by John Carson



There have been some changes made to the Introduction page of the Book of Mormon. It’s very easy to read past these changes without realizing what the LDS church, which Mormons call "The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints", had done. One of those changes has to do with their stance on the ancestral lineage of the American Indians.


Let’s take a peak at this change they made with identifying the characters called Lamanites in their Book of Mormon (BofM), by comparing the 2006 edition with the edition available on the LDS Church’s official website. Their 2006 edition reads:


“After thousands of years, all were destroyed except the Lamanites, and they are the principal ancestors of the American Indians.”


The person is introduced here to a story about one group of people who Mormons believe lived in the Americas who were completely destroyed, and another group that had survived called Lamanites. The person reading this introduction would expect to read stories about these Lamanites, identified as being “the principal ancestors of the American Indians”


As the stories in the BofM unfold, the reader learns this Introduction is an accurate overview of the book. Who were these people and are they fictitious characters or real? We know American Indians are real, but are these characters called Lamanites really the American Indians?  


The bloodline of the Lamanites is told to have come directly from a BofM character named Lehi, who is the father of Laman, Lemuel, Sam, Nephi, Jacob and Joseph (Laman is the father of the Lamanites). Lehi is depicted in the BofM to be a Hebrew from the tribe of Manasseh.


So if this Introduction to the BofM accurately describes of what the book teaches, then the American Indians are depicted in it as people who descended directly from the Israelites. 


To Mormons, the BofM is not a fictitious book, but considered to be scripture. So they view these characters and the stories about them to be real. However, DNA and archaeological science have proven the American Indians are not of Israeli descent. See: It's In The DNA for more details (Mormon “scriptures” demonstrating who they teach American Indians are, is also available here).


The LDS church changed the BofM Introduction to now read:


“After thousands of years all were destroyed except the Lamanites, and they are among the ancestors of the American Indians.”


Regardless of how the Introduction was changed, the BofM and Doctrine & Covenants (D&C), also viewed by Mormons as scripture, unequivocally identify the Lamanites as the principal ancestors of the American Indians. 


It is clear this change is an attempt to side with science, but it has devastating consequences. How? The changes the LDS church made to a page that is supposed to introduce what their scriptures teach, is flat-out deceptive and dishonest. Mormon leaders who are responsible for these changes, know what the BofM and D&C teach. They were very... allow me to use an intellectual word... sneaky. How?


They removed the word “principal” and added the word “among”. This Introduction now identifies the Lamanites and American Indians as distinct groups of people, since the word among no longer identifies the Lamanites as being the American Indians. One group of people is now depicted as being with a separate group of people.


When I read an introduction to a book, I expect it to introduce the actual topics I will be learning from it’s pages. It would be as if I read the introductory page of a fiction novel that began: 


“This is a story about giants who sailed to an island. These giants now live among its inhabitants known as the Simple-kin.” 


Before even reading the contents of the novel, I would expect the characters to be true to what I had just read in the introduction. How will the Simple-kin and giants get along? After learning that the story is not about giants being among the Simple-kin, but that they are the Simple-kin, I would conclude that the person who wrote the introduction never even read the novel.


But Mormon leaders did read the BofM and D&C. They are the experts of Mormonism, and they know that what they wrote in the newest Introduction to the BofM is contrary to the information people are going to read in its pages. So, yes, sneaky is a good word to use to describe the changes these Mormon leaders made.


What does the Bible have to say about the actions these Mormon leaders took to hide what Mormonism really teaches?


Jesus warned: “For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, slanders.” (Matthew 15:19)


This verse is fitting because these Mormon leaders gave false witness to what the BofM teaches. Giving false witness comes out of an evil heart.


“For such men are false apostles, deceitful workers, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. No wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. Therefore it is not surprising if his servants also disguise themselves as servants of righteousness, whose end will be according to their deeds.” (2 Corinthians 11:13-15)


The changes to the BofM Introduction is a work of deception. Those who are responsible for those changes knew that they were disguising what the BofM and D&C teaches.


Lying lips are an abomination to the LORD, But those who deal faithfully are His delight.” (Proverbs 12:22)


I can go on, but I hope you get the point. There’s no such thing as a little white lie. God detests lying lips, deceptive workers and false witnesses which, as we have seen, fit the description of these Mormon leaders who made these sneaky changes.


If you are a Mormon reading this, it is Almighty God Who you are to be accountable to. He does not want you to follow in the ways of those who are deceptive; this includes those leaders who have lied to you. Sneaky leaders who lie are not to be feared. Only God is to be feared.


“For the mouths of those who speak lies will be stopped.” (Psalm 63:11)