Skin Color and Curses
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SKIN COLOR & CURSES (Clarifying the uses of the words skin, black and white in the scriptures)
Segment 2 Of the Blacks in the Scriptures DVD Series
ORIGINS OF SKIN COLOR AND RACE
In the book of Genesis, fourth chapter of the Bible, the curse of Cain is mentioned. This passage describes the brothers, Cain and Abel, and the offering they both made to God. God accepted Abel’s offering, but not Cain’s. Cain’ then rose up against his brother Abel and slew him. As a result Cain was cursed and a mark set upon him.
Scholars have not reached a consensus as to the original meaning and significance of the curse of Cain. Likewise, they have also not come to a consensus as to what Cain’s mark would have been. The word in Gen. 4:15 “owth is translated as “mark”, which could mean a sign, an omen, warning, or even a remembrance. The Bible merely explains that the mark was to serve as a sign or warning, but not what form the mark took.
Throughout history, Cain’s curse and mark have been interpreted in various ways. Many scholars have interpreted the “curse” as Cain’s inability to cultivate crops and his necessity to lead a nomadic lifestyle. They’ve interpreted the “mark” as a warning to others, but are unable to determine from the biblical text what form the mark took.
Many Christians have interpreted that the “mark” is a part of the “curse”. In the 18th century, in the United States as well as Europe, the teaching was birthed that Cain’s “mark” was a black skin, and that Cain’s descendants were black and still under “the curse of Cain”. Even though the majority of Cain’s descendants were destroyed in the flood, Latter-day Saints, or Mormons, beginning in the early to mid 1800’s, believed that Cain’s bloodline was preserved on the ark through the wife of Noah’s son, Ham, whose name was Egyptus. Interestingly, though this was an almost universally held view amongst the LDS faithful, and widely taught still today, it has never been canonized as doctrine.
With this being so widely taught and accepted, some naturally have seen themselves as better than those with skin colors darker than theirs. Many even share this thought privately, never connecting the thought with the true definition of racism. However, these racial and ethnic interpretations of the curse and mark have been, for the most part, abandoned by most conservative theologians since the mid-20th century, although they still have some following among the older generation of Caucasians, as well as a very small number of Protestant churches.
The second lecture in the Blacks in the Scriptures DVD series answers squarely the questions regarding the curse and the mark that have escaped scholars and theologians for centuries. With uncanny irony, the clarification is provided by a combination of the Bible and the Book of Mormon. Many people of color and those concerned about equality would think that the Book of Mormon would be one of the last places to look to settle issues of equality. But they are finding by the thousands, through the inspired scholarship of the Blacks in the Scriptures DVD series that the Book of Mormon helps to prove that black skin is not a curse, nor could it ever be. You really have to see this DVD series.
What exactly is skin color?
Our skin is literally a defense mechanism that is designed to protect us from the harmful climate conditions caused by extreme sun, or in the case of a lack thereof, to allow more vitamin D in. Did you ever notice that people whose ancestors are closer to the equator have a darker brown skin? And as you move farther away from the equator, their ancestors become lighter and lighter? Why is this? Because the skin has adapted to protect the body from the severe heat; and vice versa for those in colder regions. And as the genetic markers are passed on to the offspring through the mating process, so are the physical characteristics of the parents. Like all the other organs of the human body, the skin is the largest organ, and like the others, it is
a wonderful adapting organ, which gets darker in areas of extreme heat as a protection, and gets lighter in areas of lesser heat to allow the body to absorb vitamin D from the sun’s rays vital to our survival.
When people are in the hotter climates the skin becomes a darker brown as a protection from the damaging rays. As they move into areas with less sun, the built in sun blocking shade or darker skin is reduced so that more sun, which is carrying the vitamin D, can get in. Without this process, man would die, because the darker skin is causing a blockage of vitamin D in areas where there is lack of intense sun light.
The way you appear as far as skin color is concerned is nothing more than a defense mechanism that your body is equipped with to help protect you from the sun. That’s it. And contrary to the philosophies of men, your skin color has nothing to do with the idea that you were greater than or lesser than in the pre-mortal; or that it’s the result of the so called curse of Cain or Ham; or even that you’re the blood line of a pure race. The only thing pure in that type of thinking, is that it is purely the work of Satan and not of God. The reality, whether one wishes to accept it or not, is that skin color is a defense mechanism and it’s role in regards to who we were before this life or who we will become after this life is about as significant as to what our shoe size may be.
Thus, there is no such thing as a white person or black person. The word “race” is defined as “a group of persons related by common descent or heredity”. The truth of the matter is that we are one race carrying different shades of brown pigmentation; all of us are the posterity of father Adam and mother Eve. As you observe the human family, we all range from a very dark brown to a very light brown skin tone. And the reason that this is so is because our loving Heavenly Father created an amazing body with the ability to adapt to varying environments for our survival. We are literally one race with different family traditions and cultures.