‘Mormon Land’: Native American law professor discusses the ‘curse,' Lamanites and how to view troubling verses in church scripture

(Photo courtesy of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) A scene taken from the early pages of the Book of Mormon during shooting of the second season of the Book of Mormon Video Library project on set near Springville, Utah, June 2018.

This year, members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are studying the faith’s signature scripture, the Book of Mormon.

A printed Sunday school manual accompanying the course caused a stir recently when news broke that it contained outdated teachings about “dark skin” referred to in the text as being a “curse” and a sign of divine disfavor.

The church corrected the reference in its digital manual and an apostle even told a Martin Luther King Day gathering of the NAACP that he was “saddened” by the error. But the uproar has revived questions about race in the Book of Mormon and the Utah-based faith as a whole.

Discussing those issues on this week’s podcast is Michalyn Steele, who teaches at Brigham Young University’s law school and is a member of the Seneca Nation of Indians. She grew up in a small Latter-day Saint congregation on the Cattaraugus Reservation in New York.

Click to listen on Spotify or SoundCloud.