Thursday, May 21, 2009

Black Nephite

"When there's no where else to run, is there room for one more son, one more son? If you can hold on, if you can hold on, hold on."
All These Thing's I've Done- The Killers

(yes, I changed son-sun)

Black Nephites! To the best of my knowledge nobody has ever touched on the subject. There are still a handful of BoM historical works out there I haven't read but I'm working on it just to be sure of what everyone else has done. I have taken the Hemingway advice of "Knowing who to Beat" to heart and so I must know what everyone else has done. Because to me there is no point in doing what has already been done unless you can do it better.

Meet Taharka, a big burly mute bodyguard to Lilith. He is a Nubian and alas the first introduction anyone gets to a black Nephite in book one; is that he is not a good guy but that's just how it is. I named him after a Nubian king that conquered Egypt during king Hezekiah's day, so not long before Lehi really. Will Smith is supposed to be making a movie about him titled 'the Last Pharaoh' but I am not a Will Smith fan.

My genesis for the character came from my opinion on Phoenicians coming to the America's and almost certainly having some Nubian's among their crew's. I use this big time in 'Bless the Child'. So by the time Mormon is a boy, I have Nubian's in Zarahemla and no one bats an eye. I was also inspired by the idea of Melungeon's. They are a creole people living in the Appalachians that I have read up on. For ages their origins have been shrouded in mystery and numerous members have claimed that they predated Europeans in America. Current DNA research and other scholarly evidence says that they are simply indentured servants or freed slaves that merged with the Cherokee but I was fascinated with the idea of them having been here in America ages before Columbus as some of them claim. Tying them to Nubian's and Nephite's to make that particular tale true was just fun and allowed me to insert black characters into my Book of Mormon fiction.

I must admit, I don't even know any African-Americans in the LDS church but if I were a young LDS A-A man, I think it would be great to have an African Nephite in my Book of Mormon story. Just like I, as a half Lithuanian (the rest Scot/English/German/Swedish murder machine) puts myself into the Curelom skin boots of my lead Nephite character. And my sons when they are older and reading can put their quarter Lithuanian and itsy bit of Lamanite into the moccasin's of Zelph. So I am sorry that the first Black Nephite isn't a good guy, but this is gonna be a big series, so just wait till July 2010 for book two 'Blood of Our Fathers'.


Nichole Giles said...

Sounds way interesting. Can't wait for it to come out so I can read it! I've had similar thoughts myself, so I'm interested in seeing what you do with this.


G. Parker said...

Interesting thought process behind picking your characters. Obviously done lots of research! lol. Although, I have to object with your thoughts in the post on aztecs...Wasn't that who they were?? A civilization of intelligent people who suddenly disappear? Anyway...I don't want to debate ya...that would take too much of both our time, but just my thoughts. Good blog!

Th. said...


The Nephites were long gone before there were any Aztecs.

lachish said...

I think this is a very interesting idea. When you mentioned the Phoenicians, it brought to mind something I had seen on TV once about a shipwreck which was found off the coast of Brazil. I can't remember what kind of ship it was, but it was old world -- Roman, Greek, or Phoenician, etc. It was intriguing to hear about some of the artifacts they found at the site that suggested there was trade occurring between the Americas and the Mediterranean area.

OK, I googled it. Here is a link:

Roman Shipwreck in BrazilAnyway, I think your idea here is cool!

David J. West said...

Oh Dear my testimony is in check Spaulding must be the one.

J.K. thanks for the link lachish. As I mentioned in Th's blog about Atlantis, this stuff is my bread and butter. There was also a shipwreck of Phoneicains off of Brazil who left a tablet blaming it in Ba'al. So Ilove finding all of this stuff and weaving it together.