How I Lost My Faith While Serving as a Mormon Bishop

I was reading an article about a new essay on race and the priesthood that the church had released.  And I went to the church’s website, navigated my way and found the essay and read it and there’s a part in there that just really hit me. In the essay, they disavowed that dark skin is a sign of divine disfavor or curse. And I agree that that is the case except I remember as a missionary sitting in my chair doing my personal study reading the book of Mormon and in second Nephi I think it’s chapter five when the Nephites and the Lamanites split off into two groups and the Lord curses the Lamanites with dark skin. And it’s very clear that that’s what he does and it says it’s I think it’s Nephi speaking in first person for the Lord and he says “he cursed with the skin of blackness so that they would be not appealing to the Nephites.” And I remember reading that as a missionary in New Zealand with lots of polynesian people where I’m serving and thinking “that’s horrible”. But it was from God. Like I completely accepted that this was from God and my feeling wasn’t that it was horrible; my feeling was “how would it feel to be a person of color and read this”. And I was terrified that someone may ask me about this in New Zealand but it never came up and I just remember feeling that way. And when I read that essay and I read that paragraph, that memory came back to me immediately and I thought “these two things contradict each other.” Here’s the church saying we disavow that dark skin is a sign of a curse and here is either Jesus or Nephi or Mormon or Joseph Smith, the only four people that could have written that verse, and they’re saying in first person “it’s a curse” and it just shook something loose in me because I trusted my church leaders and prophets. I just had faith in prophets that if you follow the teachings of the prophets, your life will work out and all of a sudden it just shook my confidence in the scriptures a little bit. It never had occurred to me that prophets can be wrong and not just like a little wrong but in ways that can affect people’s lives.