"Lamanite Scholarships" at BYU Idaho (Formerly Ricks College)
A poster on the Recovery from Mormonism boards named "scarecrowfromoz" did a little research on the BYU Idaho web site and found the following very interesting links about "Lamanite Scholarships". The reason that these are so interesting is because of the Church's new stand on the Lamanites (PDF Link) after the revelation of DNA evidence that has come to light in the last few years, the most recent publication being the much-publicized article published in the LA Times this week.
For those of my Catholic readers who might be unfamiliar with the story in the Book of Mormon, the book begins with an account of Lehi and his wife Sariah and his four sons, (beginning at the eldest) Laman, Lemuel, Sam, and Nephi. They are from Jeruselem around 600 BC. God tells them that Jeruselem is about to be destroyed, and he commands them to build a boat and He will guide them.
They build a boat, and go over to the Americas. There ended up being two big "tribes" in the Americas, the Nephites (descendants of Nephi), who were the 'good guys' and the Lamanites (descendants of Laman and Lemuel), who were the 'bad guys'. We knew that the Lamanites were the bad guys because of the following scriptures (with emphasis added):
- 2 Nephi 5 14, 20-22
14 And I, Nephi, did take the sword of Laban, and after the manner of it did make many swords, lest by any means the people who were now called Lamanites should come upon us and destroy us; for I knew their chatred towards me and my children and those who were called my people.
20 Wherefore, the word of the Lord was fulfilled which he spake unto me, saying that: Inasmuch as they will not hearken unto thy words they shall be cut off from the presence of the Lord. And behold, they were cut off from his presence.
21 And he had caused the cursing to come upon them, yea, even a sore cursing, because of their iniquity. For behold, they had hardened their hearts against him, that they had become like unto a flint; wherefore, as they were white, and exceedingly fair and delightsome, that they might not be enticing unto my people the Lord God did cause a skin of blackness to come upon them. [NOTE: This was also used as the scripture that was some of the basis for not granting Black men the Priesthood until 1978.]
22 And thus saith the Lord God: I will cause that they shall be loathsome unto thy people, save they shall repent of their iniquities.
Eventually, at the end of the Book of Mormon, all of the Nephites are killed by the Lamanites in a huge war, and the surviving Lamanties go on to populate North America. We know that the "Native Americans" are really Lamanites because of their dark skin, or at least that is what I was taught as a child.
It should be noted that throughout the Book of Mormon, Lamanites who repented and followed God's teachings would lose the trait of dark skin and would again become "pure and delightsome" (which, by the way, before 1981, was "white and delightsome"). It was often asked why Native Americans who became Mormon did not have the phenomenon of skin lightening as was desribed in the Book of Mormon.
But I digress. I hope that you find the below links interesing:
"President Hafen had the privilege of meeting Elsie Rigby and thanking her for several significant contributions to the college. Her latest gift was $50,000 to establish the Elsie Rigby Lamanite Scholarship and Loan Program. The money would be used for scholarships for South American Indians to attend Ricks and for loans to North American Indians to allow them to attend Ricks while awaiting their governmental education funds. The fund helped many Indian young people attend Ricks."
At BYU, you can still give to the Elsie Rigby fund for "Lamanite and Foreign Students"
"The University also boasts its own popular performing group. The Lamanite Generation, comprised of Native Americans, Hispanic, and Polynesian performers..."