A Divine Rebellion: Indigenous Sacraments among Global “Lamanites”
Religions. Mythology. Rationalism
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AbstractThis essay engages with some of the experiences and metaphysics of Indigenous peoples who are members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormonism/LDS/the Church) by responding to their structural construction as “Lamanites”. Lamanites have been interpreted within Mormonism to be ancestors of various global Indigenous peoples of the “Americas” and “Polynesia”. This essay reveals how contemporary Indigenous agency by presumed descendants of the Lamanites, who embrace both an Indigenous and a Mormon identity, shifts the cosmology of the Church. Interpretations of <i>The</i><i>Book of Mormon</i> that empower contemporary Indigenous agency paradoxically materialize a divinely inspired cultural rebellion within the Church itself. However, this tension that is mediated by Lamanites in the Church is not framed as an exclusive response to the Church itself but, rather, to a larger global hegemony of coloniality to which the Church is subject. These Lamanite worldviews can be understood as a process of restoring ancestral Indigenous sacraments (rituals) through Mormon paradigms, which are found and nurtured in the cracks and fissures of both the material and ontological infrastructure of Mormonism’s dominant paradigm. When Indigenous Mormons assert autonomous authorship of their own cosmogony and metaphysics, the Church beliefs of restoring a ‘primitive Christian church’ and ‘becoming Gods’ is creatively transformed into a more relevant and liberating possibility here and now.