Wednesday, February 27, 2013

In Changing the Lamanite Skin Color – Part I

At one time, the brothers Cain and Able, not only basically looked alike, but had the same color skin. However, because of Cain’s disobedience and subsequent killing of his brother (Genesis 4:8), the lord placed a mark upon him (Genesis 4:15) of a black skin (Moses 7:8, 22). This mark was placed upon Cain in a short time to keep him from being killed by those who saw him (Genesis 4:14; Moses 5:40).
Much later, in another age, Lehi and Sariah had four sons when they left Jerusalem: Laman, Lemuel, Sam and Nephi. However, at one point after Lehi’s death in the Land of Promise, Nephi and Sam and those who would go with him separated themselves from Laman, Lemuel and the sons of Ishmael who sought Nephi’s life. At that time the Lord told Nephi:
“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. 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. And thus saith the Lord God: I will cause that they shall be loathsome unto thy people, save they shall repent of their iniquities. And cursed shall be the seed of him that mixeth with their seed; for they shall be cursed even with the same cursing. And the Lord spake it, and it was done” (2 Nephi 5:20-23).
From this we learn five important happenings: 1) There are always consequences for our actions; 2) The Lord changed skin color instantly; 3) That skin color change became hereditary; 4) That skin color was passed on to anyone who joined the Lamanites; and 5) The offspring of such joining of white and black became hereditary.
Like the seed of Cain was black, the seed of Laman, Lemuel and the sons of Ishmael became black. And in neither case did this take several generations to accomplish, but happened immediately—“And the Lord spake it, and it was done.”
For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him (Colossians 1:16)
Perhaps to understand this, we need to consider God and who he is. That is, he is the creator of all things, and through his son, Jehovah/Jesus Christ (Moses 6:57), he created the heaven and the earth (Moses 2:1), and all things in it (Moses 2:29-31), and millions of earths like this one, and more than the particles of these earths put together (Moses 7:30) were his creations. God, of course, created man (Moses 2:27), and in so doing, was the author of DNA, genes, chromosomes, and gnomes, and other particle that makes up our bodies.
The God who created all this is certainly the God who can make changes to it as he chooses.
First of all, DNA, or deoxyribonucleic acid, is the hereditary material and nearly every cell in a person’s body has the same DNA. Most DNA is located in the cell nucleus (where it is called nuclear DNA), but a small amount of DNA can also be found in the mitochondria (where it is called mitochondrial DNA, or MtDNA).
Each human cell has 23 pairs of chromosomes, and each chromosome is an organized structure of DNA and protein, which is a single piece of coiled DNA containing many genes, regulatory elements and other nucleotide acid sequences—a succession of letters that indicate the order of nucleotides within a DNA or RNA molecule.  These nucleotides are subunits of DNA, with each nucleotide made up of a sugar, a phosphate and a base.
There are about 3.17 billion base pairs in a strand, and if completely unwound the strand would have a length of about six feet, and since most cells are diploid and have two copies, the total would be about 6.34 billion base pairs, and measure about 12 feet unwound.
The human gnome (a complete set of genetic information, called genetic code, is stored as DNA sequences within the 23 chromosome pairs) comprises about 3.2 billion nucleotides of DNA, divided into 24 linear molecules, with the shortest about 50-million and the longest 260-million nucleotides. Each contained in a different chromosome.
The mitochondrial genome is a circular “DNA molecule of 16,569 nucleotides, multiple copies of which are located in the energy-generating organelles called mitochondria. Life is specified by genomes. Every organism has a genome that contains all of the biological information needed to build and maintain a living example of that organism. The biological information contained in a genome is encoded in its DNA and divided into discrete units called genes. Genes code for proteins that attach to the genome at the appropriate positions and switch on series of reactions called gene expression.
It should be noted that chromosomal DNA encodes most or all of an organism’s genetic information--or stated differently, chromosomes are made out of DNA and a section of DNA is called a gene, which are small segments of DNA that are situated along the chromosomes. DNA is read at each gene and the code (genetic code) is translated by the cell into proteins. Simply put, a single gene carries a code, with different genes carrying many codes, which is called an alleles. Thus, DNA contains our genetic material...everything that makes us who we are (not counting the environmental factors). Therefore, all the genes that are expressed in our body are contained within our DNA. Genes are simply pieces of DNA that code for a specific polypeptide. DNA is coiled around histone proteins very tightly during cellular division; DNA + histones are called chromosomes.
So how is skin color determined? How was the skin color changed in the Lamanites? How was skin color changed immediately, and not as slow disbursement through several generations?
(See the next post, “In Changing the Lamanite Skin Color – Part II,” and how the skin color of different peoples, specifically the Lamanites, were altered)

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