There exists an “Alternative-Right” (Alt-Right) movement among some members of the LDS church. In spite of the LDS church’s recent statement condemning white nationalism (see here), many within the LDS church who identify as Alt-Right remain vigilant in support of white nationalism. The Alt-Right’s political stances tend to vary, but the most common points of agreement among various alt-right factions can be found here. On it’s face, it seems like a fairly reasonable list, but after reading many blog posts from Alt-Right supporters, their arguments sound more like this:
- The United States of America will face moral and economic collapse if it does not maintain a white majority.
- All forms of immigration from people of color should be severely restricted so that other cultures supposedly more prone to violence and moral degeneracy do not denigrate the white cultural heritage of the U.S.
- There should be no free-trade between nations. Free-trade between nations benefits poorer nations at the expense of white blue collar workers.
- And for the LDS Alt-Right, the gospel should be spread across the world but non-white members from other nations should stay within their own borders. Charitable contributions should also stay within the borders of the U.S.
The LDS Alt-Right may justify their support for these principles scripturally by making a false equivalency between the struggle between the Lamanites and the Nephites and present-day immigration in the United States.
To answer some of these claims, I have included arguments and scriptures below that the LDS Alt-Right may make to support their principles. Under each argument is a response I have made based on passages of the Book of Mormon. I have excluded any “love thy neighbor” scriptures from the arguments because the Alt-Right claims to love everyone; they just want people of color to stay far away. NOTE: These “responses” I make should not be taken as advocacy for or against any specific government policy. Rather, I am trying to convey a general mindset founded in the Book of Mormon as an alternative to the conclusions of the LDS Alt-Right:
Alt-Right Argument #1: The Lamanites were given dark skin so that the white Nephites would not mix with them. They were also separated because the Lamanites had a wicked culture. Like the Nephites and the Lamanites, white people in the U.S. should not mix with cultures of people of color to preserve the more righteous white culture.
- “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…And cursed shall be the seed of him that mixeth with their seed, for they shall be cursed even with the same cursing.” (2 Nephi 5:21, 23)
- “And because of their cursing which was upon them they did become an idle people, full of mischief and subtlety, and did seek in the wilderness for beasts of prey” (2 Nephi 5:24)
Response: The Nephites continuously sought to make peace with the Lamanites and cure them of their hatred towards the Nephites. Like the Nephites, members of the LDS church should seek out every opportunity to reach out to all nations and cultures, including those who openly hate us.
- “And it came to pass that many means were devised to reclaim and restore the Lamanites to the knowledge of the truth” (Jacob 7:24)
- “And I bear record that the people of Nephi did seek diligently to restore the Lamanites unto the true faith in God.” (Enos 1:20)
- “the sons of Mosiah…desired of him that he would grant unto them that they might…preach the things which they had heard, and that they might impart the word of God to their brethren, the Lamanites—That perhaps they might bring them to the knowledge of the Lord their God, and convince them of the iniquity of their fathers; and that perhaps they might cure them of their hatred towards the Nephites, that they might also be brought to rejoice in the Lord their God, that they might become friendly to one another, and that there should be no more contentions in all the land which the Lord their God had given them.” (Mosiah 28:1-2)
Alt-Right Argument #2: The Nephites separated themselves from the Lamanites geographically so that they would not be overrun. In addition, the Nephites were eventually destroyed because they were outnumbered by the Lamanites. Like the Nephites, white people in the U.S. should build strong borders and have as many white children as possible to protect against invading immigrants
- “And it came to pass that the Nephites had inhabited the land Bountiful, even from the east unto the west sea, and thus the Nephites in their wisdom, with their guards and their armies, had hemmed in the Lamanites on the south, that thereby they should have no more possession on the north, that they might not overrun the land northward. Therefore the Lamanites could have no more possessions only in the land of Nephi, and the wilderness round about. Now this was wisdom in the Nephites—as the Lamanites were an enemy to them, they would not suffer their afflictions on every hand, and also that they might have a country whither they might flee, according to their desires” (Alma 22:33-34)
- “And they were scattered upon much of the face of the land, and the Lamanites also. And they were exceedingly more numerous than were they of the Nephites; and they loved murder and would drink the blood of beasts” (Jarom 1:6)
Response: Few would disagree that the U.S. should be strategically protected from foreign invaders. The Lamanites, however, at that time were an actual invading army bent on killing all of the Nephites. Immigrants who want to work and freely trade in the U.S. are not an invading army. When the Nephites and the Lamanites had free-trade and immigration, there was peace and economic prosperity for all. In addition, a union of the Lamanites and Nephites was even necessary to defeat a common enemy; the Gadianton robbers. These Lamanites were then assimilated with the Nephites. Like the Nephites, we should allow immigrants of other cultures to live here peaceably
- “the Lamanites…delighted in wars and bloodshed, and they had an eternal hatred against us, their brethren. And they sought by the power of their arms to destroy us continually” (Jacob 7:24)
- “And behold, there was peace in all the land, insomuch that the Nephites did go into whatsoever part of the land they would, whether among the Nephites or the Lamanites. And it came to pass that the Lamanites did also go whithersoever they would, whether it were among the Lamanites or among the Nephites; and thus they did have free intercourse one with another, to buy and to sell, and to get gain, according to their desire. And it came to pass that they became exceedingly rich…And thus the sixty and fourth year did pass away in peace.” (Helaman 6:7-9, 13)
- “it became expedient that all the people, both the Nephites and the Lamanites, should take up arms against them [the Gadianton robbers]. Therefore, all the Lamanites who had become converted unto the Lord did unite with their brethren, the Nephites…And it came to pass that those Lamanites who had united with the Nephites were numbered among the Nephites” (3 Nephi 2:11, 12, 14)
Alt-Right Argument #3: White members of the LDS church should be less charitable to people oversees or to refugees and should instead focus on helping their own people in the U.S.
Response: The Nephites were charitable to all people, both within and without the church. The Nephites also accepted refugees who were fleeing violence. We should also be charitable to all people and be willing to accept refugees fleeing violence.
- “when Ammon and his brethren saw this great work of destruction, they were moved with compassion, and they said unto the king [of the Lamanites]: Let us gather together this people of the Lord, and let us go down to the land of Zarahemla to our brethren the Nephites, and flee out of the hands of our enemies, that we be not destroyed…And it came to pass that the voice of the people [the Nephites] came, saying: Behold, we will give up the land of Jershon…And behold, we will set our armies between the land Jershon and the land Nephi, that we may protect our brethren in the land Jershon…” (Alma 27:4, 22-23)
- “And thus, in their prosperous circumstances, they did not send away any who were naked, or that were hungry, or that were athirst, or that were sick, or that had not been nourished; and they did not set their hearts upon riches; therefore they were liberal to all, both old and young, both bond and free, both male and female, whether out of the church or in the church, having no respect to persons as to those who stood in need” (Alma 1:30)
Alt-Right Argument #4: Russell M. Nelson said that the gathering place for the saints in Brasil is in Brasil, etc. This means that members of the LDS church in other nations should stay in their own lands.
- “The Lord has decreed the establishment of Zion in each realm where He has given His Saints their birth and nationality. Scripture foretells that the people “shall be gathered home to the lands of their inheritance, and shall be established in all their lands of promise.” “Every nation is the gathering place for its own people.” The place of gathering for Brazilian Saints is in Brazil; the place of gathering for Nigerian Saints is in Nigeria; the place of gathering for Korean Saints is in Korea; and so forth. Zion is “the pure in heart.” Zion is wherever righteous Saints are.” (https://www.lds.org/general-conference/2006/10/the-gathering-of-scattered-israel.p12?lang=eng)
Response: Write a letter to Elder Nelson and see if he agrees with your interpretation of his quote. He was clearly stating that members of the LDS church should feel no obligation to gather in Salt Lake City, but that saints everywhere can create their own Zion where they live. Nowhere does he say “we want all the people of color to leave and we don’t want any more to immigrate here because they will destroy our white culture”
ADDITIONAL POINTS FOR THE ALT-RIGHT MEMBERS OF THE LDS CHURCH TO CONSIDER
God probably doesn’t care what your culture is. The Pharisees and Sadducees also thought they were special because of their heritage. God only cares that you keep his commandments
John the Baptist criticized the Pharisees and Sadducees, who believed they had no reason to repent for their sins because of their being heirs of the Abrahamic covenant. John mocks their feelings of superiority based on their heritage by stating:
“And think not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you, that God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham” (Matthew 3:9). It is my opinion that John would say the same thing to white nationalists who advocate expelling non-white cultures from the U.S. in the name of preserving a white majority.
No member of the church should ever revile against anyone based on the color of their skin. Members of the LDS church should only worry about their own iniquities
“Wherefore, a commandment I give unto you, which is the word of God, that ye revile no more against them [the Lamanites] because of the darkness of their skins; neither shall ye revile against them because of their filthiness; but ye shall remember your own filthiness, and remember that their filthiness came because of their fathers” (Jacob 3:9)