John Hamer, a Community of Christ pastor and cartographer, recently went on John Dehlin’s podcast Mormon Stories and made the following observation:
It’s not only that it’s academically impossible to justify arguing that the Book of Mormon is an ancient text, it’s actually an ongoing contribution to the injustice, the racism, imperialism, and genocide that my [European] ancestors hoisted upon indigenous people in the [western] hemisphere.Mormon Stories Episode #1063: The Book of Mormon’s 19th Century Context, Part 3.
Hamer, of course, is uniquely qualified to speak authoritatively on what is and isn’t academically possible when it comes to discussing Book of Mormon historicity in light of his extensive and penetrating academic publications on this subject.1 So we can confidently accept this point with no disputation. What’s odd, however, is how understated Hamer’s comment is.
I mean, sure, everybody knows that accepting the authenticity of the Book of Mormon makes you a genocidal racist. (This includes, naturally, Elder Larry Echo Hawk, those employees at Book of Mormon Central of Latin American and indigenous ancestry, and the scores of faithful Latin American Latter-day Saints who believe the Book of Mormon.) But I’m curious why Hamer left out all the other ways in which believing the Book of Mormon makes you a morally repugnant human cockroach. After all, I was always under the impression that it was common knowledge that believing in a historically-authentic Book of Mormon made you morally culpable for the following:
- The Crusades
- The Black Plague
- The Spanish Inquisition
- The Holocaust
- The Rwandan genocide
- The Trans-Atlantic slave trade
- The Spanish Flu pandemic
- The assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr.
- The Mỹ Lai Massacre
- The eruption of Vesuvius
- The Challenger explosion
- The Malaysia Airlines flight 370 disappearance
- The Heaven’s Gate mass-suicide
- Human sex trafficking
- The AIDS epidemic
- Pediatric cancer
- Stalin’s Forced Famine in the Ukraine
- The success of Nickelback
Well, I am sure that the indefatigable sleuth John Hamer will correct this oversight in his forthcoming book How Believing the Book of Mormon Literally Makes You Hitler, which I hear is going to become the definitive source on explaining how believing in ancient Nephites intrinsically compromises any worth you once had as a human being, justifies your banishment from decent society, and irrevocably casts you as a subhuman Nazi-Klansman-human sex trafficker-Nickelback enthusiast.2
- [Citation Needed]
- Before wrapping things up I must admit my envy of Hamer. To have such an abundance of white privilege that you can get away with casually accusing several million Latin American Latter-day Saints of being complicit in the genocide of their own race for simply believing a religious book is quite something.