In this interview, we visit with Angelo Baca, Sarah Newcomb, Cam Lebbon, Hyrum Joe, and Sheldon Spotted Elk about their experiences as Native Americans within Mormonism. As a framing, we utilize Angelo Baca’s chapter in the new book “Decolonizing Mormonism – Approaching a Postcolonial Zion,” edited by Dr. Gina Colvin and Dr. Joanna Brooks. The essay is entitled: “Porter Rockwell and Samuel the Lamanite Fistfight in Heaven.”

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  1. Bob Lyons November 25, 2018 at 11:28 pm - Reply

    Here’s a problem to the Book of Mormon story.

  2. Jose Galdamez November 26, 2018 at 11:07 am - Reply

    Lots of love and shout-outs to my very distant cousins on this podcast (I have some Mayan and Aztec ancestry). The timing of this podcast wrapped up nicely with my current studies regarding Native Americans and Mormonism. Dr. Murphy and Angelo Baca’s essay below was my latest read. It served as good prep for lots of the discussion had amongst the panelists.

    I agree very much with the overall decolonization sentiment while accepting we may never see such a move from the church in our lifetimes. Rejecting racism in scripture and coming to terms with a fictional Book of Mormon narrative would be like removing the last Jenga piece from the base of a tower. The doctrinal structure would collapse and not much would be left. If this is to happen it will be in baby steps over many decades as the church deemphasizes any literalness of its historical claims. They’ll never deny historicity outright, but they may talk less about it.

    For example, the church will no longer host the Hill Cumorah Pageant after 2020. One wonders what this means in the grand scheme of things.

    I highly recommend watching Baca’s documentary “In Laman’s Terms: Looking at Lamanite Identity.” It is rich with nuggets of cultural gold regarding Native American culture and the effects of colonialism. I for one learned that Native American tribes were not known for committing genocide down to the last person. That was a European custom. Seeing this in the Book of Mormon casts even more doubt regarding its historicity.

    • Coriantumr November 28, 2018 at 3:38 pm - Reply

      Violence is part of the human experience. Native Americans and Europeans share that experience as well as everybody else in the world. One of the things about this “de-colon-izing” movements that have appeared on the horizon is that they tend to muddle the water their way. Since you share some Mexica [aka Aztec in Colonial terms] blood then you are advised to read Guillermo Marin. Guillermo thru his references would take you places and to books that are quite interesting. I do not agree with Guillermo 100% of the time and he has a crack in the jar………his adherence to Castaneda [Carlos, of Don Juan’s teachings fame]. But some of his positions are entirely justified. Unlike Brother Baca, or former Brother colonially… He is of mixed blood and like me of uncertain ancestry. One of the things which I did not hear from the panelists was the fact that in BoM canon, after JC visits the Americas and scares the be-Jesus out of everybody the Nephite and Lamanite civilizations converge into a homogeneous society. Said society comes apart not on the Lamanite’s watch but of the Nephite’s. I’m not entirely sure if in those 400 years part of that society was able to manage the archeoastronomy feats that most Meso American civilizations achieved but they might have done so. Clearly for people like Guillermo, perhaps Yourself and myself our identity was formed by The State. My State and Guillermo’s is keen on selling a grandiose Mexica “empire”. Brother Baca has the feats of Chaco and the Hohokam cultures to be proud of. Surprised that he did not mentioned them since I know Baca has been quite active in the Bear Ears monument controversy. Dineh people claim ascendancy from Ancient Puebloans although that is, of course, unlikely. But Baca is partly Hopi and they claim that ancestry too. The Lamanite portrait in the BoM is biased but even then that society eventually terminates the “better society” permanently. No small feat when the opponents are better trained than you are………

  3. Paul November 29, 2018 at 2:02 pm - Reply

    Even being a Caucasian 5th generation Mormon with Danish heritage I still felt uncomfortable when Richard g Scott gave this talk in 1998. I didn’t fully understand why then, but I have a much better understanding now. Things can become so much clearer if you allow yourself to use critical thinking with regards to every aspect of your life including your religious beliefs, especially those that you were taught as a small child.

  4. Paul November 29, 2018 at 2:17 pm - Reply

    Here’s one more thing to put things in perspective.

    What if somebody or maybe a religious group dug up the bones of Brigham Young, basically robbed his grave, and put his skeleton on display in a museum? How would you feel? What if it were the remains of Joseph Smith? Or maybe a more modern prophet such as Ezra Taft Benson?

    If that would bother you then read this

  5. Emma March 30, 2019 at 7:15 am - Reply

    March 2019
    Don’t know if you will read this……
    This is very important podcast. I would love to hear more I feel you just touched on the tip of the glacier… so much more for you to tell

    I apologize for what TScc and this country has done to you. It is cruel…really horrible. Your Native American culture is amazing I love it.

    One point I wanted to bring up. It seems pretty clear that part of jo Smith’s motivation was to get the Indians on his side — to get their support …see him as a prophet. To follow and even obey him as gods prophet sent to save them

    Why would he do this? Well first bec his first goal was to get more power. He said that he wanted to take over the country, and with their support he could

    The more people he could add to his kingdom the more power he had

    What do you think? Have you heard this?

    Please do more interviews with “ lamanites”— exmos I’m interested in Polynesian and the Hispanic population

  6. Adele Hauwai August 30, 2021 at 9:42 am - Reply

    I love Native Americans. Our ingidenous Maori people of NZ connect back to your people. I’ve never seen Lamanites in a negative term. There’s good & bad people in every culture. I’m sensitive of all the traumas that happened amongst your people & other indigenous cultures. Definitely connect to God.

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