Wowzers!...and I get harassed for simply not being a card-carrying
I don't even have the right words to express how sad this article makes me ..
not that the church is condemning racism, but for the justifications given by
the church in this article. Based on what I have just read, I suppose that I
should accept the fact that at any time the church may recant something that has
been taught to its members in the past, using similar justifications. Sad sad
Why 1978? Because President Kimball asked. Probably should have asked a long
long time ago.
If they'd just fess up about past prophets either lying or putting their own
thoughts into a prophecy or two ... the church would be past ALL questionable
acts. Then the church could move on and stop going back on these topics.
I sometimes wonder why people of color are LDS members when people like Bott
continue to have such beliefs. I glad the LDS has taken a stance to root out
It's about time Randy Bott realizes he doesn't speak for the LDS Church, and
that some of his personal opinions are out of step with today's doctrine. As a
counselor in our stake presidency he used to also give uninformed speeches
condemning organic evolution--a long-proven field of science taught at Church
Universities, and an area where the LDS Church (unlike Randy Bott) has never
taken a position.
On this earth you are not going to get perfection. Not from individuals, and not
from ANY Church. The Pope has been wrong, the LDS church has been wrong. This is
something Catholics and LDS need to recognise.However what we can
expect from good people and good organizations is that they will recognise past
mistakes, feel sorry for them, acknowledge them and do better in the future.The LDS church being an imperfect, but a good organization, has done
I appreciate and am encouraged by the efforts made by the church to acknowledge
and clarity of its history.I hope that soon these words will become
true:"The church's position is clear," LDS Church spokesman
Michael Purdy said. "We believe all people are God's children and are equal
in His eyes and in the church. We do not tolerate racism in any form."Inequality is born not only out of racism.
This is a timely and well written article describing race in the LDS church.
For me there are lingering concerns. One, I was taught many times over many
years in many wards growing up, that the reason blacks could not hold the
priesthood was because they were descendants of Cain (somehow as if this
explained it.) Now if that is brought it is dismissed as not scripture-based.
There is no basis put forth by the church for withholding the priesthood from
African Americans that I have ever heard. For a church with a claim of divine
guidance through prophets as in the church of the Old Testament, I find this
disturbing. Second, given the forthrightness of the quote by President
Hinckley, condemning discrimination, it is disconcerting to look back to the
1950's and 1960's and not be able to come up with one memory of the church
backing the civil rights effort, which was, at its core, a fight against racial
I'm glad the church has come out with a statement against racism. What is sad is
that there has been a justification for or a toleration of racism for so long.
Utah when it was organized as a territory in 1850 chose to enter the union as a
slave territory because Brigham Young felt that slavery was justified in the
Bible. The other territory, New Mexico, which was admitted at the same time
chose to be a free territory. The KKK existed in Utah, blacks were not allowed
to stay at the Hotel Utah or even eat there (they could perform but had to stay
elsewhere), and there were a number of lynchings in the state including one in
Eureka where I live now and that person was found after he was hung and died, to
have not even been involved in the alleged act that got people worked up enough
to have him lynched. So there is a lot of history where Utah was on
the wrong side, seemed to justify it by their religious beliefs, and have not
truly repented of today. Still I'm glad it's finally getting addressed and hope
the church looks at other issues as well.
Kami, you unfortunately do not have a clue. The premise of the church is, that
the church is governed by revelation, and at any time through revelation
anything can change. Think Polygamy. I was on my mission when the revelation
was announced. I had one of the most intense spiritual experiences that I have
had in my entire life when I heard that announcement confirming to me, and I'm
sure to many others, that this revelation came from God. If you are a Mormon,
you should consider reading D&C chapters 8 and 9. May shed some light on
how things work.
I am not a young person and remember well the announcement in 1978. One very
distinct feeling I recall was that finally Whites (me included) were well enough
adjusted that they could welcome blacks. It requires little research to
recognize the politically charged atmosphere in Illinois about Blacks and
slavery. Certainly the American political atmosphere had an effect on the
early church. Now we can get beyond the kinds of pressures and biases that
helped spark civil war in our great nation. Furthermore, it does no good to
prejudice the future based on actions of the past.
You know...this is going to send numerous senior citizens into a twisting
tornado of confusion and unhappiness.
This is as easy as shooting fish in a barrel to show the LDS church's doctrine
that fair skinned peoples are God's people and that dark skinned folks are
evil.See 2 Nephi 5, Book of Moses 7, Abraham 1, to name just a
few.Oh and don't forget to read Journal of Discourses where Brother
Brigham as the sitting President and Prophet of the LDS Church said how the
black man (aka Negro) was inferior to the white man and forever will be.
Remember, the Journal of Discourses was considered at one time as the teachings
of the prophets and on the same level as a Conference Report.The LDS
church leadership today in my mind isn't racist, but it is very difficult and
disingenuous to say that it didn't have racist doctrine and that its current
scriptures don't espouse racial doctrines.
ThereÂs not a church on earth that has not at some time or other, practiced
racist policies toward other races, including blacks; not said to excuse it, but
to say singling out any one church for criticism, is as bigoted as racism,
itself. Mormons were one of the first groups in America, to suffer
persecution because of favoritism toward black people.Although
Joseph Smith consented to the owning of slaves (Church History Vol. II, p.
436-40), he afterwards claimed inspiration to the contrary and published
throughout the U.S. in 1844, the following: ÂPetition, also, ye
goodly inhabitants of the slave states, your legislators to abolish slavery by
the year 1850Â¦Pray Congress to pay every man a reasonable price for
his slavesÂ¦Break off the shackles from the poor black man, and hire
him to labor like other human beings; for an hour of virtuous liberty is worth a
whole eternity of bondage.Â (Church History Vol.III, p. XXVI) Belief that slaves should be freed, was one of the reasons Mormons were
killed, driven from their homes, and homes burned; with many other injustices
heaped on them because of their belief (ironically in a nation established by
those seeking freedom of religion and escape from tyranny), and eventually they
had to flee West, to find peace to live their own lives and worship God as they
chose. You might say it was an early Civil Rights movement, with a less happy
ending, than the present.To say that Mormons look down on black
Americans is to speak wrongly. ItÂs no more the truth than to say Jesus
looked down on Canaanites when he refused to help the woman from Canaan, because
He was sent only to the House of Israel. (Matthew 15: 22-28).
I can't even begin to express how glad I am to see the church take this strongly
worded stand. Let there be no more questions with this regard. I hope that
when the church sends young men to this part of the world that they ensure they
understand the policy. This is indeed a good and clear statement from the
You'd think that someone with an exclusive hotline to an infallible almighty
would get it right first time, every time.
This is one hole the church will never dig itself out of. If they defend the
past policies, that's bad. If they decry the past policies, they're undermining
the actions of men who are proclaimed prophets, seers, and revelators. What to
do? I don't know about everyone else, but I expect a little more.I
expect a little more from God (if there is in fact a god) than to appoint people
who are racist to do his bidding. I expect a little more from leaders than
racism. Humanity notwithstanding. I'm sure that with all the people who were
on the planet at the time, a large number of them were not racist. Of course,
we all know that being human covers all manner of sins. But really, if we're
going to start talking about how the prophets and seers and revelators and other
brethren are "only human after all", then please understand how this
liberates me to take their anti-gay sentiments and other proclamations with a
grain of salt. I actually decided to take that license over 8 years ago.
And it was pretty liberating to realize that I was pretty good at making well
thought out decisions for myself; decisions on moral issues that didn't hurt or
degrade others. And best of all, I don't anticipate ever having to apologize
again to any gay or black human being for the attitudes I held toward them
because I was just following orders.
Sorry detractors, women do not currently hold the priesthood, but that does not
mean that the church sees them as lesser people. As most active members know,
having the priesthood just means that it is your duty to help people move when
they sell or buy a home. Women can take this duty anytime they please. Active
LDS members will get this joke.
My first visit to Utah was a real eye opener, and a very sad one. The LDS
grandparents openly and loudly expressed their racism and prejudices in front of
the young children. How will this every be changed when this is continuing?
Now, If we can just get someone to recant some of Ezra T. Benson's off
Sounds like Bott is more willing to defend the priesthood color bar than I would
be, but I'd bet dollars to donuts he was misquoted. I don't trust journalists
farther than I can kick 'em. Not because they're malicious, necessarily, but
because they're generally knuckleheads. I read Bott's comment as
saying not so much that black people weren't ready to receive the Priesthood and
temple blessings until 1978, but that being denied the LDS priesthood is
actually a good thing, because it keeps you from being held to a higher standard
(and having to help people move and put away chairs). Of course
this is condescending tripe -- the whole point of the gospel is to stretch
people to reach for their divine potential, not to keep them safely infantile --
but it's not necessarily *racist* condescending tripe. And it would not
surprise me in the least that a Post reporter with a narrative to reinforce
would put the quote in a context that served the narrative more than the truth.
The Prof sounds pretty spot on in what the mormon church teaches. Not sure what
all the damage control is about.
"toquer-villanTOQUERVILLE, UTI am not a young person and
remember well the announcement in 1978. One very distinct feeling I recall was
that finally Whites (me included) were well enough adjusted that they could
welcome blacks."- Whites were standing by blacks side in the
60's during the marches. They were ready for it ... so much that in 1964 the
civil rights movement was passed. Whites were ready for it .... some weren't
until 1978. But don't say generally that whites weren't well enough adjusted
for it."[I]t does no good to prejudice the future based on
actions of the past.""- I agree. The problem is nobody's
taken responsibility for it yet. I'll say again, If they'd just fess up about
past prophets either lying or putting their own thoughts into a prophecy or two
... the church would be past ALL questionable acts. Then the church could move
on and stop going back on these topics.What makes it worse is the
flagship educational structures that are all named after Brigham Young, one of
the first to set the precedent.America regrets slavery but doesn't
deny fault. Germany regrets the Nazi movement but doesn't deny fault. This is
how you move forward ... you come out with it and move on.
It's easy for us to denounce Jim Crow laws but when it comes to something like
the priesthood ban everyone outside the church is "okay just condemn the
policy and move on" but doing so in effect is saying that the prophets can
steer the church astray and takes away from the first half of the idea that
"the church is true but the people aren't". This leaves some LDS members
stuck in some sort of position where they feel they need an explanation for why
things were the way they were. Another tough thing is the idea that revelation
can change and that some things aren't doctrine... but I'm sure they were
considered doctrine by most members 100 years ago. So... does that mean there's
some things in place now that people think are doctrine that maybe 50 years from
now will be considered "that was just an apostle sharing their opinion of
something, it's not considered doctrine"? I guess my point is...
religion is complex.
Long past time for the church to set the record straight, just as they did with
the Mountain Meadows Massacre. An Ensign article on Joseph Smith's views of
slavery, the story of Elijah Abel etc. needs to be written so the mythological
history that continues to be circulated by well-meaning church members and
teachers can stop.
All I can say is that there is a huge difference in talk about racial things now
and when I joined the church in 1967.Up until some time after Pres.
Kimball's revelation, there were few Sundays that passed without some comments
about the Mark of Cain, or in which the Catholic church was mentioned as the
"Whore of the Earth."It has been very interesting to watch
the changes occur.
Sorry, I pushed the button too soon.Although the church has long
disowned blatant racism as a doctrine, it's still alive and well in some wards
at least. There have been times when I've had to get up and leave our High
Priests meetings and have thought seriously about simply not returning.You should hear some of the almost weekly comments about our black President
of the United States.
Those of you who stand against the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints
for the statements made in this article either don't understand what revelation
is, don't want to understand it, can care less and have your own agenda.Fact as stated in the article many times a revelation is received
without all the answers as to why. The article pretty much spelled this out.
It also states as Elder Holland stated that opinions attributed to President
Young and others were just that their own opinion as to what was said. The
Journal of Discourses were at one time yes supposed to be scripture. However,
as the information became more and more clearer it has not stood the scruitiny
that the General Conference talks today can take. First and foremost the
Journal of Discourses are SECOND to THIRD hand reports. The General Conference
talks are FIRST HAND, a huge difference.
Thinkman and others: What does it mean to have a curse that changes a man's
skin to blackness. That is a description, nothing more, nothing less. As you
read through out the Book of Mormon it talks of changing the garments to white,
a sign of purity. The biggest is a description of white as the driven snow. It
is white in its purity but as it ages it becomes black like the earth. It is no
longer pure. That is what I take from the scripture. A description.There is no hole as some of you put it to dig out of. The article pretty
spelled it out that no one knows why as the reason was never given. We can all
speculate why but that is all it will be.However, the Bible and the
scriptures are clear that Homosexuality is a grievous sin. The Bible is also
clear that marriage is between man and woman, not the other way around so the
Family Proclamation is just a clear as the scriptures are on this matter. Sodom
and Gommorah found this out. To put it any other way is taking your own eternal
progression at risk.
"You'd think that someone with an exclusive hotline to an infallible
almighty would get it right first time, every time."Actually, I
have lived with my wife for 30 years now, know her pretty dang good, have direct
communications, and still manage to interpret what she wants wrong...."I expect a little more from God (if there is in fact a god) than to
appoint people who are racist to do his bidding."Yeah, I think
God should have waited until people were perfect before calling them to do his
work..... but after nearly 2,000 years, no one showed up that met that profile.
And the last one he did have that matched to job description wasn't treated all
that well.It is a catch 22 - there are those who like to pretend
there is such thing as prophetic infalability, that every utterance is a direct
communication from God. And there are others who think they don't need any
guidance, and should be the only arbiter of what is right and wrong responsible
only to ones own judgement. More times than not the answer resides in the
middle, hence why we are endowed with the right of personal revelation. You
should always do the right thing because you believe it to be so, never just
because someone told you so.
To "LDS Liberal" why are you so angry and bitter? Are you or are you
not an LDS member?The things you have stated here make you sound
like an angry bitter anti-Mormon.
LDS LiberalMay I ask what "off comments" did Ezra T. Benson
make?How can you say that about a prophet of God?
Dear Bill in Nebraska: You are right on target!
Just a couple of points here. First lets keep in mind that whenever the policy
began preventing blacks from holding the priesthood it was after the death of
Joseph Smith while the Church was in transition both in leadership and in
location. It is understandable why some records would not be around. Second lets
also remember that we must look at statements from the past not in the context
of 2012 but in the context of the time. An opinion that is very offensive today
was very liberal in 1850.
Every single person (Mormon) knows exactly why blacks were given the preisthood.
I believe it would have happened eventually no matter what, but we all know why
it did happen. Same goes for polygamy!
"TOOSanpete, UTLDS LiberalMay I ask what "off
comments" did Ezra T. Benson make?How can you say that about a prophet
of God?"TOO, use you cognitive ability, critical thinking, and
search engine queries to find Ezra T Benson quotes regarding race or blacks. We
can't say them on this board.
so for 148 years the blacks couldnt have the priesthood as a matter of official
policy, and in that 148 years there was never any official reason given for that
policy? and nobody ever asked? whoah.
To Professor Bott: A man of your level of education and position should be in a
position to exercise more prudence in how you express your personal opinions in
public forums. By perception being at BYU you reprsent the Church to a degree in
the minds of some. What I find most disturbing is the notion that God might
somehow want to protect some from themselves by not granting to them the
priveledge to hold the Priesthood. This is difficult to understand when I see
so many (such as I) who in our imperfections are permitted to receive and
represent this Priesthood. If exactitude in righteousness is the minimum
requisite to holding the Pristhood I don't know anyone who totally qualifies. I
know some who exude the sense that they believe they have some sort of monopoly
on goodness however. Let us be humble and tolerant as we walk impefectly. I can
forgive Professor Bott for his indiscretion. Let us all try to learn from it
and do better. There is much honesty and forthrightness in this article. Kudos
DN for reporting this.
this article reads as nothing more then a sad attempt to displace a systemic
pattern of racism by the LDS church as just a bunch of rouge individuals within
the church. The fact are what they are the church did not allow blacks the
priesthood until 1978, it is a fact. We can look at it through the lens of
history for context but it is what it is.
Many comments have touched on the real issue.There are many
religions out there. Most, if not all have good intentions. Most
of their leaders are intelligent, caring people who do the best that they
can.But, they are men and man is fallible.When you hold
these men apart from others and claim that they get their guidance directly from
God, then you have created an expectation that their leadership and guidance
should be far superior to that of the average man.Allowing Blacks
into the priesthood in 1978 was not exactly a big stretch when you look at the
societal issues of the time.Ending polygamy was fairly predictable,
given the circumstances.It would appear that the leaders of the LDS
church were decent, wise men who made fairly predictable decisions based on the
times in which they lived.So, I don't fault them, but it is
difficult to conclude that they were getting any special guidance from above.
"It would appear that the leaders of the LDS church were decent, wise men
who made fairly predictable decisions based on the times in which they lived.So, I don't fault them, but it is difficult to conclude that they were
getting any special guidance from above."Bingo. Big time. When
you are claiming prophetic revelation, you are setting an extremely high bar in
which any future redaction will be viewed very critically.
I suspect that Prof. Bott was trying to explain the thinking of many Mormons
prior to 1978--and naively not realizing how crucial it is, when speaking to the
media, to emphasize that these views are NOT his own.
Joe Blow: That is the problem with so many people. They think everything said
from a prophet of the Lord is revelation. It is up to the individual to make
that decision. There are things that were said over the pulpit 150 years ago
that has no bearing on the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints today.
Much of what was stated to have been said by Brigham Young and others are more
or less second and third party statements. Some of their statements are most
likely true but when you have a person at a conference saying well Brigham Young
said this today, then another person writes it, then another person, the
comments change into something that really was never said or misinterpreted. As
Elder McConkie so vividly stated, that he and Brigham Young got it wrong, when
the Priesthood was given to all worthy males shows that not always something
said is overly true. However, with todays insights with television and such,
much of those comments can be seen in a different light.I have my
own opinion of the Priesthood and I hold to that. It is mine and only mine but
it amoounts to the only thing that is reasonable. If the Church was to grow as
it was, then I firmly believe the Lord set his hand, knowing full well when the
time was right that it could be changed. Remember it was a practice, not
"Should have asked befor 1978"How do you know the question
of blacks getting the priesthood wasn't asked before 1978 and the prophets who
asked were told no, not yet?
To simply dismiss the explanation of a practice that for 100 years
disenfranchised a whole class of people from participating in holding the
priesthood by saying we really don't know when or why it was started is just
ridiculous. We deserve a better explanation.The "Statement" is
vague and begs more questions than it answers.At best we are left thinking
that if a dumb policy (that is not doctrine and hurts people) somehow begins, it
may be blindly and unquestioningly followed by decades. Obedience seems to have
trumped common sense.
Joe, you make some good points, but whiffed on the primary concept here. The LDS
Church makes a fairly unusual assertion - that it is THE true church of Jesus
Christ, instituted and founded by God and therefore recognized as the sole
organization that is authorized to formally represent God on earth. Obviously that is a pretty major and attention-getting claim. Furthermore, it
is an either-or proposition. If a church sets itself up as the only true Church,
it loses all credibility if that is not so. If the church really is God's true
church, then it will be so - especially given the Mormon concept of God. When you think about it, the only way to really know the truth about the
Church is through the Book of Mormon test. If the Book of Mormon is actually the
Word of God, that validates Joseph Smith's prophetic calling, which also
substantiates the church as the Church of God. If the church really is God's
own, then He dictates how it should be run and administered. If the men He calls
to oversee His work are imperfect, that's God's problem, not mine. I don't call
them, but I do promise to follow them, trusting in the promise that my obedience
will be justified. Now, of course, whether Brigham Young espoused racist beliefs
as doctrine, that doesn't affect me personally. If it created a negative impact
on 19th century black people, that too is God's problem and it will be up to Him
to make it good for them. In other words, if the Church is not what
it says it is, then it is exactly what you described, a nice, human-based
organization that does good in the world and also has its warts. If the church
is exactly what the members believe, one might want to think twice about
opposing it, despite the apparent warts (all human) that pop up on occasion.
Another important point. When people read the words of prophets they need to
read them all. I have mention of the JOD, yet those commenting on it ignore
important words from it. Like Brigham saying the the time will com that blacks
will hold the priesthood (JOD 7:282), or him saying that no revelation given to
the Church is oerfect (JOD 2:314) because we can not understand the language of
God and he must lower himself to our language to communicate with us. Another
(though I do not have the location on hand talks about the problem of us
bringing traditions with us. This is very much on point in this conversation as
that is what people have been teaching as doctrine is simply TRADITION because a
clear explanation was lacking. It may well be something like in a time were the
LDS Church was so hated (as recently as the 1920's missionaries were shot at in
the US) how hard would it have been to be black and an LDS priesthood holder
hated for both race and religion in your own country. Not that that was the
reason for it just that if that or somethong similar was the reason for it and
that was not given to the Prophets people would then take traditions they had
like the curse of Cain (a tradition held by almost every Chrsitian Church in the
1800's) and place that in as the reason.
I was appalled to see those arguments raised again so many years after they had
been so forcefully condemned. Even if they were an historical reference to the
false beliefs of the time prior to the revelation on the priesthood, it showed
extraordinarily bad judgment to bring them up. Surely someone employed by BYU
should know better than to talk to a reporter from a publication that is hostile
to the Church about so sensitive a subject?
@ Mick "How do you know the question of blacks getting the priesthood wasn't
asked before 1978 and the prophets who asked were told no, not yet?"If that was the (simple) explanation, wouldn't the Church spokesperson
simple give it rather than saying we don't know why we were doing it?@ Osgrath Disenfranchising a whole class of people from the priesthood during
the 19th AND 20th centuries with no good reason is kind of a big "wart"
@Mick As to other prophets asking earlier, there is anecdotal evidence they may
have, but that the answer was not received. Why, we cannot know. It could have
as much to do with us as fallible humans as anything. I certainly don't know
for sure, but I suspect by the strength of comments made by apostles at the
time, such as Bruce R. McConkie, repudiating his own writings and reasoning,
none of those so-called "explanations" were even remotely valid. And it
has to be considered that the practice may never have been God's will at all.
I had Bott for two classes at BYU, and based on what he said in those classes, I
am nearly certain he was misquoted in the washington post article. He probably
mentioned that as one explanation people tried to give, back when the ban was in
place. One thing I noticed about him in his classes is it is easy
for him to get off on tangents. The reporter might have just mentioned the ban,
and Bott might have just gone off on different explanations people tried to
give, giving the reporter the fodder needed for the misquotations.
I'm not sure if I quite got my opinion across in my previous comment and I think
I have a good example. Imagine that the Supreme Court in 1890 were somehow given
a perfect knowledge of how Civil Rights should be and how the Civil Rights
Movement would play out ( just like God has a perfect love and knowledge of
man). Would they have passed laws against discrimination at that time? Pobably
not because America was too racist and not yet ready to live the way they
should. It's the same way with God sometimes. When Christ's disciples were
instructed to teach non Jews, it didn't prove that they were uninspired.
1Aggie, I invite you to read my comment again and look for the point I was
making. It all hinges on whether or not God was involved. If no, then any human
organization has warts of various sizes. If yes, you had better not focus on the
warts or you miss the whole point.
The Washington Post knows and understands very well how to contact the LDS
Church. The fact that they didn't do any homework to substantiate the Church's
doctrine and position reveals a lack of sincerity and their contemptuous desire
to bring up a sensitive topic and stir things up against Mitt Romney. The
Mormon Church is all too often the quick and easy target for controversy and is
taken advantage of way too often. The fact that the article occurred as voters
are about to go to the polls in Michigan and Arizona may be coincidental but
come on, really? It was a glorious day when the priesthood was opened to
all worthy males in the LDS Church! Regardless of the unfortunate
and misleading portions of the Washington Post article, I thank Darius Gray for
his involvement in helping to further the priesthood being bestowed on all
worthy males and for his tireless work in family history including his amazing
efforts with Freedman's Bank Records.
For a time blacks could not hold the Priesthood. Now they can. God be praised.
This is a great day.For me, I am so delighted that Pres Kimball kept
petitioning the Lord for this ban to be lifted, and after years of imploring,
his prayers were answered. Now, it is up to each of us to open our hearts and
our mouths to every person on earth. This Gospel is for all, as are the
blessings of the temple. Avail yourselves of the blessings that can be attained
therein, and no where else.
@ OsgrathI got your point, but I find your dismissal of the fact that
racism was admittedly shaping major church policy as a "wart" akin to
asking "yes Mrs. Lincoln, but besides that, how did you enjoy the
play?".Should we perhaps be overlooking child abuse by catholic
priests as "warts" as well? I mean where do we draw the line and why?
I applaud this church press release, since it reflects official, established
scripture, doctrine, and policy, which is all that a church press release should
xscribeI sincerely hope that ÂEvery single person (Mormon)
knows exactly why blacks were given the priesthood.ÂBefore the
revelation, I was taught that the priesthood ban would eventually be rescinded,
but it was thought that it would be well in the future - possibly the
millennium.I also recall the positively electric moment when this
revelation was announced to the world. The joy that was felt and the tears of
gratitude that were shed.In my own ward, a faithful black man was
given the priesthood very quickly afterward. There were so many in the circle
that they all had to struggle to fit around him.It was a great day
and a wonderful step for the Church.President Gordon B. Hinckley
said the following:Racial strife still lifts its ugly head. I am
advised that even right here among us there is some of this. I cannot understand
how it can be. It seemed to me that we all rejoiced in the 1978 revelation given
President Kimball. I was there in the temple at the time that that happened.
There was no doubt in my mind or in the minds of my associates that what was
revealed was the mind and the will of the Lord. Now I am told that racial slurs
and denigrating remarks are sometimes heard among us. I remind you that no man
who makes disparaging remarks concerning those of another race can consider
himself a true disciple of Christ. Nor can he consider himself to be in harmony
with the teachings of the Church of Christ. . . . Brethren, there is no basis
for racial hatred among the priesthood of this Church. If any within the sound
of my voice is inclined to indulge in this, then let him go before the Lord and
ask for forgiveness and be no more involved in such.
This is an issue that I thought about for years and I was, like so many,
thrilled when the policy was changed in 1978. It was the right thing to do.
The policy made no sense, particularly in light of the Second Article of Faith,
"We believe that men will be punished for their own sins, and not for Adam's
transgression." The policy contradicted one of the fundamental teachings of
the Church. After much thought and analysis, including considering the history
of the matter, I concluded that the policy was wrong from the beginning, that it
was not God's will, and was based on social and political mores of the mid-19th
Century Church leaders and the enormous political issues surrounding the Civil
War era. The policy was adopted for non-doctrinal reasons, justified by
nonsensical doctrinal arguments and fictions, and it became part of the policies
of the Church. We see this process reoccurring often over time. Non-doctrinal
ideas creep into practice and then become de facto "doctrine", including
certain public relations activities that have done the same, including in recent
times. Why these things aren't excised from the doctrinal realm is the subject
of another discussion. The bottom line is that the policy on the priesthood was
wrong and people should not try to justify it. The Church should apologize for
it, or at least express their regret that this was once a practice in the
Church, but it is no longer and all are welcome with open arms. We cannot run
from the past, and efforts to explain it away will always be futile and look
Moral of this story: Don't ever fall into the trap of agreeing to
be interviewed about the Church by the media, (who often obviously have an
agenda other than the one they tell you they have), and then compound it by
believing them when they say they will let you approve the story first, or that
they will give your comments in context, or promise to quote you exactly. If you MUST submit by assignment to speak to the media about the Church,
NEVER go off ranging and giving your opinions or thoughts or say anything which
is not official LDS policy and doctrine.
I was pretty young when the ban was lifted, but I still remember it and my
parent's excitement. My dad had received personal spiritual confirmation in the
temple weeks prior that it was going to happen. Having read and
pondered the many explanations and the early history of the church, regarding
the embattled state of the converts, the martyrdom of Joseph Smith (if he had
not been killed, I doubt the priesthood ban would've become as ensconced as it
did), and Brigham Young's divine appointment as the second prophet of the Lord
to lead His church, I still believe that the priesthood ban was a protection
mechanism probably more based on need to keep the membership appear as
mainstream and non-radical as possible--then over time the policy became
justified through some rather ridiculous (to me as one viewing history in a more
progressive time) and far reaching rationalizations. To hold such views today
would be deemed racist, though in historical context it's much less wanton. Fwiw, Spencer W. Kimball was not the first LDS prophet to ask God to
lift the ban. I have heard stories dating back as far as Heber J. Grant. I've
also heard rumor the responses to prayer given back then was that the membership
of the church were not ready for it. Considering the vast demand on our already
impressive body of missionaries in the world today, I can see how the church
might've fractured with a less unified body of saints.I give the
above as my opinion, not binding on official LDS doctrines. The church
encourages its members to find out the truth of things on our own terms and with
our own minds. I believe Joseph Smith saw God the Father and His son Jesus
Christ, following the same quest for religious truth. Joseph was a prophet
called to restore Christ's church. He was martyred for staying true to his
divine mission. Pres. Thomas S. Monson continues that mission today. They are
men who seek to do God's will--far more intently than I personally ever have. I
admire them both.
No one has yet explained the meaning of Abraham 1:26-27. I do NOT know or say it
applies to blacks; yet it does show that certain lineages were denied the
priesthood. So it is precedent for denying the priesthood based on lineage.
Please everyone don't jump on me and call me racist.Pharaoh, being a
righteous man, established his kingdom and judged his people wisely and justly
all his days, seeking earnestly to imitate that order established by the fathers
in the first generations, in the days of the first patriarchal reign, even in
the reign of Adam, and also of Noah, his father, who blessed him with the
blessings of the earth, and with the blessings of wisdom, but cursed him as
pertaining to the Priesthood. (verse 26)Now, Pharaoh being of that
lineage by which he could not have the right of Priesthood, notwithstanding the
Pharaohs would fain claim it from Noah, through Ham, therefore my father was led
away by their idolatry; (verse 27)
What concerns me more is our trying to speculate on WHY we didn't allow Blacks
the Priesthood which always puts us on shaky ground with people today. Many of
you are STILL doing it!! Try picturing that you are talking to a person of
African descent using your reasons. Best to say you're just thrilled they are a
brother or sister in the Gospel and leave it at that. You bloggers
don't realize how your attempts to explain hit with a thud on people of diverse
backgrounds out here in the real world. Stop presenting your political and world
views as Gospel truth. Stick to what is "core" in your beliefs. God is
not black or white, Conservative, etc.
Slavery was legal in Utah as a result of the Compromise of 1850, which brought
California into the Union as a free state while allowing Utah and New Mexico
territories the option of deciding the issue by "popular sovereignty."
Some Mormon pioneers from the South had brought African-American slaves with
them when they migrated west. Some freed their slaves in Utah; others who went
on to California had to emancipate them there.The Mormon church had
no official doctrine for or against slaveholding, and leaders were ambivalent.
In 1836 Joseph Smith wrote that masters should treat slaves humanely and that
slaves owed their owners obedience. During his presidential campaign in 1844,
however, he came out for abolition. Brigham Young tacitly supported
slaveholding, declaring that although Utah was not suited for slavery the
practice was ordained by God. In 1851 Apostle Orson Hyde said the church would
not interfere in relations between master and slave.The Legislature
formally sanctioned slaveholding in 1852 but cautioned against inhumane
treatment and stipulated that slaves could be declared free if their masters
abused them. Records document the sale of a number of slaves in Utah.
@Bill in Nebraska: Joseph Fielding Smith said, Ham through Egyptus ,continued
the curse which was placed upon the seed of Cain this dark race was separated
and isolated from all the rest of Adams posterity before the flood, and since
that that time the same condition has continued ,and they have despised among
all people. This doctrine did not originate with President Brigham Young but
was taught by the Prophet Joseph SmithÂ¦ The way to perfection Pages
110-111.@KC Mormon, First lets keep in mind that whenever the policy
began preventing blacks from holding the priesthood it was after the death of
Joseph Smith.Genesis 7:10 JST), And there was a blackness came upon all
the children of Cainan, that they were despised among all people. And (Genesis
7:22 JST) ,..all the seed of Adam save it were the seed of Cain; for the seed of
Cain were black and had not a place among them.
I conclude that this hullabaloo is all about current politics. Whatever can be
done to embarrass Romney is the order of the day. And I am not a Romney fan.
This is just part of what Mormons have to go through because Romney is a viable
candidate for President. Sometimes the light is all too glaring.Much of the policy if not doctrine came about because of 19 th century views
on race, born of slavery and the common notion of that day that the black races
were born to be servants to the more worthy white races. The BOM echoes that
somewhat when it explains that the Lamanites were darker in skin color because
of the unrighteousness of their ancestry. This and commen 19 th century
attitudes set the tone for a dialogue and practices that discriminated against
blacks because of their skin color.As a LDS student in the 1960's at
the University of Arizona, I was called upon in class to defend the Churches
practice at the time. It was not easy, but I told those questioning students
that this would very soon be changed because the modern Church was not racist.
That was surprising in one way because much of the literature at the time
indicated that there could be no change is the practice until "the last of
the seed of Able" had had a chance to possess the Priesthood. Maybe I had
some inspiration? I don't think that the problem preventing priesthood for the
blacks prior to 1978 was Blacks. The problem was weakness and lack of
understanding by the Saints. It wasn't the blacks that had to "improve"
it was us.
1aggie-Who are you to think you deserve the exact explaination of
why the blacks couldn't hold the priesthood.My earlier question was
one I already knew the answer to. Look up the story of Jane Manning. A free
black woman from the North who joined the church and came west with the saints.
She lived with Joseph and Emma for a time. Many saints knew her, including
future prophets. In Salt Lake she visited every prophet asking for permission
to enter the temple. They each told her they have prayed for the answer and the
time was not yet. Let us remember what the priesthood is for. Used
to bless others, not to have power over.For those who think the
church is racist, do you also think the church is sexist because women can't
hold the priesthood? (I think I know the answer. Most hate just to hate.
Funny that you blame the church for hate.)
I'm shocked there has only been 67 comments posted about this topic. This is
probably the most significant announcement the Mormon Church has made since
June, 1978, when the Church overturned their long-standing ban on Blacks being
allowed to hold the priesthood, officiate in positions of leadership and marry
in the LDS Temple. Either potential posters are being blocked or folks are
nervous about taking a position, not wanting to walk on eggshells.
I'm sure some think they have it all figured out as to why the church did not
extend the priesthood to African Americans. Unfortunately, they do not take the
article and a myriad of leaders' statements at face value. I think the article
was pretty clear. African American's were not given the priesthood. We don't
know why. It changed in 1978. Taken as a whole, the article is pretty good at
accurately portraying the churchÂ position. That has been a general,
widespread, and consistent message from the brethren since well before the
change. Some comments have given reasons for the ban, but by far, since I can
remember (which is some time before the change) the comments from the brethren
have been, *We donÂt know.* Comments from individual church
members, then and now, have been racist. Therefore, I think the church does
well to condemn racism by its members (and all others as well). As imperfect
people, we need to be reminded against this serious sin of racism.
The U.S. was divided over the issue of slavery. Many people believed it was
wrong. Joseph Smith was a northerner as was Brigham Young, so the suggestion
that the church tolerated/supported a priesthood ban to be "mainstream"
is nonsense. At any rate, the ban persisted 12 yrs beyond the Civil Rights Act.
Pres. David O'McKay believed it was a policy, not doctrine.Republicans thought it was entirely appropriate to examine the teachings of
the church attended by Pres Obama, so of course they should not look at this as
merely a witch hunt against Romney or an attack against the church, right? The Washington Post consulted a popular professor at the church-owned
school. Not exactly what one would do if they were planning to write a
Having grown up in the segregated South, with separate restrooms and water
fountains, etc. for Whites and Coloreds, I can testify that it wasn't the Church
that wasn't ready for Blacks to hold the Priesthood, it was Man that wasn't
ready! All things are revealed in the Lord's due time, and a mere
14 years after Blacks received civil rights is when the Revelation came.
I would kindly suggest to ÂFlashback:Â The devil can give
ÂrevelationsÂ too. D&C 46:7. 2 Cor 11:14. Besides, IÂve
yet to see anybody here address how God commanded the ancient Israelites to kill
all the inhabitants of the land God had promised to themÂmen, women,
children, animals. That sounds far more racist than Brigham ever was, and kind
of makes all these fluffyduffy arguments I read here moot. So are all you
saying that ÂGodÂs ways ought to be ÂyourÂ ways?Â
(Isaiah 55:8-9). So continue to raise your ÂmodernÂ kids to be mall
rats, teach your daughters to wear the latest advertising on their clothes (and
fannies), and remain hyper ignorant of your own history and religion in favor of
the changing and politically correct whims from 47 East S Temple. There is more
than one way to offer your kids on the altar of Molech. Why would
God inspire Isaiah to declare that there would be Âfew men leftÂ after
the ÂdefiledÂ land is wasted, Âbecause they have transgressed the
laws, changed the ordinance, broken the everlasting covenant?Â ÂFew
men leftÂ is a latter-days prophecy. Hmmm, that must also be for a
latter-day occurrence of having Âtransgressed the laws, changed the
ordinance, broken the everlasting covenant.Â Who could be guilty of such a
You would think that this would not even have been an issue in the church back
in the 1800's and early to mid 1900's. Racism should have never been in the
church, because as an organization that was supposedly led by direct revelation,
you would think they would be a little ahead of the world in that aspect. Just
as the word of wisdom was supposedly "ahead of its time", so should have
been the church regarding racism. Do you really think god would allow his church
to do such things and say such things about another race without correction? And
no, not the correction that took place 149 after the birth of the church.
Anytime these hot topics come up, I wonder why anyone wants to speak openly as
to 'Why'this occurred and 'Why' it took until 1978 for Blacks to get the
priesthood.For those who are believers in the faith and believe in a
modern day prophet; the main question now is "What are you going to do with
the opportunity today?" In Africa, Black members are joining by
the thousands- they've clearly gotten over it. I know that in Africa, on area
grew from 2 stakes(2000 members each) to 22 stakes in about a three year time
span.IN the future, If you want to save your career, stay out of hot
topics like this. Especially if you're working for BYU and are White.
I have read a number of comments stating that Utah Territory legalized chattel
slavery in the early 1850's. This in fact is not the case. I have written an
article in the latest edition of Utah Historical Quarterly entitled "The
True Policy for Utah: Servitude, Slavery, and 'An Act in Relation to
Service,'" which argues that Utah Territory actually created a system of
quasi-indentured servitude and gradual emancipation for former slaves who were
brought into the Territory. This system was almost identical to those which
existed in Illinois and other northern states. It further argues that while
Brigham Young and other Mormon leaders certainly bought into the "Curse of
Ham" theory, they believed that the appropriate action was to hire
African-Americans as servants, not keep them in slavery.
The problem with the "the culture wasn't ready for it explanation",
which incidentally is also an attempt to make an answer when the church states
that it has none, is that 1978 was so late that the world was starting to get on
BYUs case about it. One would think God's church would be at the forefront of
the civil rights movement, not lagging behind.
Now maybe we can address the anti Hispanic attitudes of many in the mountain
Article: "Elder Holland said. 'It would have been advantageous to say
nothing, to say we just don't know, and, (as) with many religious matters,
whatever was being done was done on the basis of faith at that time ... We
simply don't know why that practice, that policy, that doctrine was in
place.'"The LDS Church is one of the most thoroughly documented
organizations around. Everyone journals, obscure speeched by even minor
authorities are archived and published, etc. Yet no one can find any
documentation for why this particular practice was put into place and maintained
for over a century?One possible explanation is that racial bias was
so entrenched in segments of American culture (LDS and non-LDS alike) at the
time that racial segregation was a cultural given, the default assumption, that
required no documentation-- just as nobody takes the time to write a memo about
why a tree cannot get a drivers license. The whole idea is inconceivable. Why
bother to write it down?
...as I recall, "gentiles" were denied much in the New Testament
times,(I believe there was a reference to gentiles as "dogs"). There is
a time and season for everything, and I trust Heavenly Father as I do his
Prophet upon the earth. There are MANY things in my life that I don't know the
"why and wherefore".
Bill in Nebraska - stop the excuses regarding the journal of discourses. They
are not 2nd and 3rd party statements. The discourses were recorded at the time
the talks were given, much as they are today. There is no possible way that each
talk, date, time, location could be recorded and put in 26 volumes if they
weren't recorded at the time. They are too complete. They are all in order. They
didn't compile 26 volumes with thousands of pages based on "oh so and so
said this" and so on. Go read them yourself - you can tell they were
recorded exactly as the talks were given and not just fabricated out of a third
party as you claim. Do the research. Another attempt of yours to distort the
truth and decieve.
Bill - this quote comes directly from John A. Widtsoe. Unless you think he was
lying."Brigham Young secured stenographic reports of his
addresses. As he traveled among the people, reporters accompanied him. All that
he said was recorded. Practically all of these discourses (from December 16,
1851 to August 19, 1877) were published in the Journal of Discourses, which was
widely distributed. The public utterances of few great historical figures have
been so faithfully and fully preserved." Discourses of Brigham YoungStenographic reports, Bill. That is not a 3rd party. Yes it is a 2nd
party, but recording it AT THE TIME IT WAS SAID. Apparantly you do not
understand revelation very well. Nor do you understand what the journal of
discourses actually are and how they were very accurately recorded.Stop trying to justify and make excuses for the journal of discourses. These
statements were made.
P.S."The last be first and first shall be last"...!!(hope I haven't
If the church has changed its viewpoint on this one item, I wonder what new
revelations the Saints are culturally ready for?
The problem so many have in the LDS is faith (I'm LDS), is that they BELIEVE
that nobody is perfect (except God and Jesus), but they EXPECT perfection from
church leaders....the REALITY is that, in my opinion, the LDS Church had racism
in it's past; and contrary to God's will, restrictions created based on the
racism....mistakes were made by mistake-prone humans.However, with
EVERY mistake made in the past, you have thousands of "church scholars"
out there looking for justifications and reasoning to support the mistakes made.
Clearly, mistakes have lasting effects....and until we're perfect,
we'll keep making them....so the best that we can do is be as close to God as
possible.... I've ALWAYS felt, since the age of reason, that inhibiting blacks
to receive the priesthood was wrong, and an incorrect principle...that God is
the same today, and forever, and furthermore he never "allowed" this to
happen...."people" allowed it happen. It was wrong then.... just as
wrong as it is now.
I feel that God didn't issue Priesthood authority to blacks until 1978 because
the world wasn't ready to accept blacks yet. It's not that the the church didn't
feel blacks were ready. Whites weren't ready.I served my mission in
South Africa where I taught thousands of blacks and met some who were not even
let in the doors of the chapel because of apartheid and the laws of the country
when they first heard of the church. But I also never ever heard any african
complain about not bring able to have full church blessings. It's was because
they understood that the Lord is about patience and timing. God knows exactly
what he is doing when it comes to spreading his gospel. (refer to Joseph
Sithati's talk in the october 2009 conference.) also. Revelation for
the church only becomes revelation when it is consistently mentioned and
supported by prophets and apostles. Not just one man.
Reading the comments here, it is obvious that people have a hard time putting
themselves in a position to view things in context of history.All of
the people who are condemning slavery forget that the Bible states that slavery
is ok. What isn't ok is the mistreatment of slaves.The statements
by Joseph Smith and Brigham Young about the treatment of slaves mirrors the more
recent statements about how Gays should be treated. Did the Church support
slavery, not really, but they did condemn any action that would harm a slave.It is shameful when people assume that the current viewpoints on social
issues are the same as they were 100 years ago.
Prof. Bott's comments illustrate just how persistent and pervasive those old
notions (of valiancy, superiority, etc.) are in the church. The poor man claims
that his comments were taken out of context--why perpetuate such nonsense in the
first place? Kudos for the Church for speaking out strongly and swiftly. Let's
hope the lay membership gets on board.
T very concerned,It wasn't that African Americans weren't given the
priesthood, it was blacks who weren't. Not all blacks are Americans, of course,
and the problem was bigger in Africa (and Brazil to a lesser extent) than in the
US. While the church could still exist in the USA before June 1978, it really
couldn't in most of Africa.
I took a missionary preparation class from Brother Bott right before I went on
my mission. I loved the class and his perspective as a recently returned Mission
President. I believe that he was misquoted. I will share with you why. He said
that during his tenure as the San Jose Mission President, he had two Elders who
were teaching a black woman. The woman wanted to be baptized and asked the
Elders to explain to her why blacks could not hold the priesthood. They related
to her the LDS folklore from an outdated copy of Mormon Doctrine. The woman that
wanted to be baptized was happy with the explanation and wrote to then President
Hinkley and asked for further information to relay to a concerned friend.
President Hinkley wrote to President Bott to tell him that the explanation
regarding blacks and the priesthood is false and to never use that and to tell
his missionaries to never us that explanation. He told President Bott to
explain, we don't know why it was withheld. However it is no longer to be
withheld from any worth male and they were to simply state that. I'm not sure
what the complete discussion with the Washington Post writer was. I am confident
that statements were taken out of context.
paperboy111"...I'm shocked there has only been 67 comments
posted about this topic. This is probably the most significant announcement the
Mormon Church has made since June, 1978, when the Church overturned their
long-standing ban on Blacks being allowed to hold the priesthood, officiate in
positions of leadership and marry in the LDS Temple. Either potential posters
are being blocked or folks are nervous about taking a position, not wanting to
walk on eggshells...".I made a comment last night around 9:00
PM.The comment was denied by the moderator.The comment was within
the bounds set by the DN.The moderator has the option of denying any
comment for whatever reason they choose.I appreciate the DN for making
this forum possible.
Brahmabull and Bill in NebraskaPerhapps I can shed some light on the topic
of the JOD. First Bill yes they were recorded at the time of the
discourses in short hand. This was done for the purpose of sending the words of
the leaders of the Church to the Saints in England.Second Brahmabull have
you ever given a deposition in court? The JOD is basically same thing. A
stenographer takes shorthand of the discourse then later writes it out long
hand. Now anyone who has ever given a deposition knows that today you are sent a
copy of the long hand and told to read it over and make sure it is correct.
Everyone I have ever seen has had mistakes made in it some minor some major. Now
you must go back and remember EXACTLY what you said often times weeks later.
Most people will not be able to do this. In the case of the JOD while some were
given to the person for review most were not. This means that we can not be
certain that they were copied exactly word for word. Some words may have
inadvertently been left of or put in, others may have been misunderstood. This
is part of why the leaders of the Church have said IT IS NOT SCRIPTURAL.
The church has never claimed infallible leadership. From Joseph Smith on the
leaders of the church have publicly documented their own errors, sometimes in
scripture. Search the D&C and you'll read several times Joseph screwed up
and was rebuked by the Lord. More recently I remember President Hinckley
saying, "I hope I didn't get this wrong, but I think ..."What we claim is that every person can ask the Lord for direct revelation and
that the prophet who presides can ask for revelation for everyone. We also
believe that truth is revealed "here a little and there a little,"
sometimes by trial and error.We also believe that the prophet can't
lead the church astray. But, there's a difference between going astray and
making an error. What we don't claim is that every prophet, or anyone else,
asks the Lord about every little thing. Prophets, Apostles, Seventies and Stake
Presidents are guys with callings. Most of the time they all do their best.The issue of Blacks and the Priesthood is complicated. People think
they know more than they do. Very few people know that President David O'Mackay
started the discussion to ordain every man back in the late 50's, but it's
documented.My personal (not doctrinal) opinion is that the church
wasn't ready for growth in Africa until the 80's. It was barely prepared for
growth in South America in the 70's, or Asia in the 60's. The old people who
believed in their cultural mythologies were corrected half a century ago. They
need to get over their false doctrine, and that professor should probably
The LDS Church is nothing, if not predictable. If a policy keeps them out of
the mainstream, hurts the missionary effort and makes the power base less
stable, it will inevitably change. With Romney poised to become the Republican
presidential nominee, every effort will be made to play down the Church's racist
past. The Church's homophobic efforts will likely be unplugged until after the
election as well.
Good for the Mormons. If people of faith could join with them to condemn the
secular humanism of the Obama led Dems nation wide, the nation would be better
in two ways immediately: unity of our American traditional Judeo-Christian
heritage, history and values and a defeat of the worse Prez in our history.
I was always taught that it was God's will that Blacks didn't have the
priesthood. Just like Polygamy was God's will and I didn't understand that one
either. I didn't have to understand the reasons just that it is God's will so
you accept it. But the statement coming out of Salt Lake today says
they don't know the "Why and How" of the old policy. Are you kidding
me?!?! So know I am to believe that the old policy was put in place because of
cultural folk beliefs by Brigham Young? Blacks were given the priesthood during
Joseph Smith's lifetime so it must have started with Brigham.
What I find interesting is that Joseph Smith granted the preisthood to black men
but after him no other prophet would. Did god change his mind from one prophet
to another. The reason this bugs me is because when the whole gay rights thing
came up a lot of you same posters said god said it's wrong and god doesn't just
change his mind. Which is it. Polygamy dropped at the drop of a hat, blacks were
originally given the preisthood then denied, all at gods bidding too. I would
love some explanation on why you guys were so ardent in your prior statements.
Especially the poster with the screenname cats.
Nice to see. Will these great leaders next condemn Joseph Smith for marrying 14
year olds and the wives of other men?
paperboy111"...I'm shocked there has only been 67 comments
posted about this topic. This is probably the most significant announcement the
Mormon Church has made since June, 1978, when the Church overturned their
long-standing ban on Blacks being allowed to hold the priesthood, officiate in
positions of leadership and marry in the LDS Temple. Either potential posters
are being blocked or folks are nervous about taking a position, not wanting to
walk on eggshells...".Is it significant? What did this consist
of?1. No condemnation of the priesthood ban. So that's nothing new.2. Condemnation of the racist claims made by some to explain the ban. This
isn't new since there's been plenty here who have quoted previous statements on
that matter.3. Condemnation of racism. Well... I would hope none of us
would consider condemnation of racism to be a new policy.So, and
anyone can correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't think there's actually anything
new here in this statement.
I keep reading comments trying to justify or put forth a reason for the ban,
overlooking the Church's statement:"It is not known precisely
why, how or when this restriction began in the Church."Get it?
The Church is no longer trying to justify the ban. There is no
justification for the ban. None. So stop. Stop trying to explain it. Stop
trying to justify it. Especially offensive are suggestions that it was done to
protect Blacks. It should be an uncomfortable piece of LDS history,
as was the internment of Japanese citizens, the denial of civil rights to women
and blacks in U.S. history.
Brahmabull and KC Mormon:This is really what the Journal of
Discourses are and where they came from:"The content of the Journal of
Discourses was transcribed, sometimes inaccurately, and published between 1853
and 1886 in England. The compilation contains some statements of doctrine as
well as other materials of interest to Latter-day Saints who lived far from the
center of the Church, including speeches given for a variety of occasions,
funeral addresses, reports from returning missionaries, prayers, and the
proceedings of a trial."Furthermore, "Questions have been
raised about the accuracy of some transcriptions. Modern technology and
processes were not available for verifying the accuracy of transcriptions, and
some significant mistakes have been documented. The Journal of Discourses
includes interesting and insightful teachings by early Church leaders; however,
by itself it is not an authoritative source of Church doctrine."Just because it may have been said doesn't make it so.Brahmabull
you constantly mislead and try to confuse the issue. Stop doing it. Just
because you want to show how unintelligent everyone else is doesn't mean you
have all knowledge. KCMORMON is right it is not SCRIPTUAL and thus really has
no bearing in these conversations except to say what may have been said but to
use it as a basis of truth is far reaching and wrong.
Those who forget the past are bound and in fact doomed to repeat it. Those who
focus entirely way too much on the past are poisoned by it and limit the joy and
happiness of today on into the future. It does not matter one iota why 1830-1978
unfolded how it did. It only matters how much of a testimony you have for the
true gospel and how that is exhibited in your every day lives... People detach
other people from the church because it isn't your fellow ward members that will
obtain your salvation for you but you of yourself. I don't know what happened on
that campus just across town from here, but I do know that just like any campus
in the world you have to take what spews forth from a professor's mouth with a
grain of salt... You must seek out the truth and know what it is when you find
it... It is pretty safe to say that everything said over the pulpit in the
conference center or comes from the church office building across the street can
be taken as truth every time.
RGBuena Vista, VAPoint taken. Of course you are
correct. I thought about it after I posted my comments and realized I had
mistakenly only mentioned African AMERICANS. Of course the ban on holding the
priesthood extended to all of the black race.
The church spokesman doesn't know "why, how or when" black people were
not accepted as equals? How is the "spokesman" for something he knows
so little about?Black people were not viewed as equal from the
formation of the church and that did not change until 1978. How can he claim to
not know this? I guess ignorance is bliss. I'm sure if he did a little
reading in the book the church published as doctrine on the subject
"Mormonism and the Negro," he would be able to understand why this
policy existed.By claiming you don't know or even that you don't
agree, doesn't change the ugly facts from the past.
Thank you so much for this timely clarification.I was also disappointed
with ideas and opinions offered by a well-respected professor from BYU.My
"opinion" is that the restoration of the Priesthood could only occur
after the foundation of this free United States of America was established with
Her all-important tenant of Religious Liberty. Likewise, the same divine hand of
providence inspired great men of faith to set in motion the "new birth of
freedom" beginning with President Lincoln's signing of The Emancipation
Proclamation. Just as the Revolutionary War and the continued perseverance
and struggle of our revered Founding Fathers gave way for the Seed Bed of
Freedom; the Civil War, the fight against slavery and racism was an equally
important and significant component to establishing freedom to ALL people in
this land. In the aftermath of war, the long awaited freedom for Black Americans
had finally come; but lingering racism remained; most evidenced through
tolerated societies of hate and demoralizing Jim Crow Laws in the South.Great and courageous men and women would still struggle on and persevere
against great odds and at great personal and collective sacrifice to secure what
the Âlaw of the landÂ now promised but society was not so quick to
cede. Equality in a country that was established by His Almighty Hand
was not as simple as the passage of a set of righteous laws. Injustice still dug
in its miserable heels; a struggle still lay ahead that would prove to reveal
great heroes and heroines from the Black communities of our nation. Non-violent
demonstrations were oft times met with mob-driven violent resistance.
Non-violent leadership epitomized by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. who inspired
all (to this day) with his "I Have a Dream" speech, put his own personal
safety aside, to spur a non-violent movement that would ultimately take his
life. Is there any doubt that long uttered prayers to secure real freedom
for themselves and their loved-ones, would Âat lastÂ be answered?
Should it surprise anyone to know that American Black families were upheld and
comforted through the heartache and troubled waters of the Civil Rights era by
an all loving Father in Heaven?This most recent chapter in our
nationÂs freedom struggle can be seen as the last frontier to
"overcome" - to lay claim on complete and equal rights in this great
country for all people, at all times and in all places. Today guardians
are posted at the doors of a brighter, more ÂequalÂ America to
vigilantly protect Her hard won rights and freedoms from foggy and distorted
ideologues of the past. Today in America, blacks and whites can attend the same
schools, frequent the same businesses, eat in the same restaurants, live in the
same neighborhoods, work in the same offices, and worship together in the same
pew. I propose that the most recent Civil Rights struggle in our history is
evidence of the continuation of a Divinely-led design for this country in the
latter-days by an Omnipotent God that began His groundwork with Columbus, The
Pilgrims, The Revolution, and The Declaration of Independence in 1776. The
restoration of the Priesthood on the shores of the Susquehanna River occurred
in1829. The Emancipation Proclamation was signed in 1863, followed by the
ratification of the Thirteenth Amendment to our constitution in 1865.100
years into the future from LincolnÂs mighty pen stroke, the Civil Rights
Act was signed into law in 1964. Fourteen years later, in 1978, the revelation
extending the Priesthood to Âall worthy male members of the Church without
regard for race or colorÂ was announced by President Spencer W. Kimball.In my view, it was more about the Lord's ground work being laid and His time
tables. I rejoice to be living in these wonderful times when gospel blessings
are equally available to all; to us, our ancestors and our posterity alike.
The LDS church does not claim to understand why this revelation was not given
before 1978. I don't claim any special knowledge about it. I am happy it is the
way it is now and wish it had come sooner. There are tens of thousands of
priesthood holders in the church that are black. The few I know are great
This article reminds me of the need we all have to differentiate between what
constitutes official doctrine and what is policy and what is tradition.FAIRLDS states that only those things contained in the Standard Works and
those statements sustained in general conferrence by Common Consent (the
priesthood declaration and the banning of polygamy) are OFFICIAL doctrine. They
go on to quote Harold B. Lee and Joseph Fielding Smith stating the same thing.
The prophets have also stated that if any man, no matter their position in the
Church, says something that is not outlined in scripture is only an OPINION.Esquire was right saying that "Non-doctrinal ideas creep into
practice and then become de facto 'doctrine'." This is what I believe
happened. It's like the story of lab monkies who were sprayed with a hose when
one of them tried to climb a certain ladder. The monkies began to enforce a
ladder ban and beat up any monkey trying to climb the ladder. One by one, the
monkies were replaced with other monkies who were never squirted and they were
beaten up for trying to climb the ladder. Eventually all of the monkies were
gradually replaced and the group still enforced the ban eventhough they had no
reason why. This seens to be the case with the priesthood ban.The
current Church POLICY opposing CIVIL same-sex marriage is not based on doctrine.
Scripture forbids LDS from using their religious beliefs as an excuse to
infringe upon the rights and liberties of others (1 Cor. 10:29, D&C 134:4).
Eventually, the Church will drop its opposition once it faces what the
scriptures say and realizes that keeping that policy harms the Church. Look
what the Church did regarding illegal immigration.The bottom line is
that unless a statement comes from the scriptures, it's just an opinion.
The Church and did not say that the doctrine was wrong just that we should not
speculate why the doctrine was put into place. There are many hard doctrines
that have yet to be revealed because we do not have the capacity to understand
them. Remember Christ himself forbade teaching the gospel to the gentiles for a
Why did it take until Christ to tell people to turn the other cheek, remember in
the mosaic law it was any eye for an eye, why did it take until Emma to talk to
Joseph about the word of wisdom. Hurting our bodies with bad things, has always
been a true principle, the thing is, we were not ready for it until asked about
it. Remember God wants us to figure things out ourselves and then ask. Line
upon line precept upon precept. All things true have always been true, It's us
as a people that were not ready for the new laws. Think about how us as human
beings throughout time have developed just like a child we have grown and
matured here a little there a little, at appropriate times we got higher laws
when we were ready. In 1978 we were ready for a higher law.
@JP71The Statement I read clearly said the practice of excluding blacks
from the priesthood was NOT doctrine. So your comments below (calling it
doctrine and comparing it to "hard doctrines") make no sense to me.What I do read between the lines is that the policy was probably the
result of racism within the church. No other ideas are offered that would
explain it and racism within the Church is acknowledged. It doesn't take a
rocket scientist to put two and two together, (and the Statement certainly leads
to that conclusion) even if the Church doesn't want to come right out and say
People - especially professors at BYU - need to STOP doing their own speculation
about Church doctrine in the class room or at the pulpit. You can choose to
believe what you want - just keep it to yourself especially in such sensitive
matters as this. This statement by by this professor is very hurtful to African
American Mormons not to mention the damage it does out in the mission field. No
one except God himself knows exactly why Blacks were denied the Priesthood and
speculation is useless and dangerous. The bottom line, Blacks can hold the
Priesthood now and I am content to leave the rest to God.
Thank God for continuing revelation and living prophets. Put your trust in the
living prophet and you will not be lead astray. Somethings we cannot see or do
not understand why or how God does things, but for sure there is a plan to his
Why doesn't your living prophet hold Q&A sessions and answer the
controversies? Seems ungenerous to keep all the answers in-house and not share
his special insight and access.Additionally, why not open up the
archives and shine light in what documents you do have?If you want
to shed the impression of hiding and denying, then expose and discuss. Jesus
said He hid nothing and did all His miracles in the open. I'd vote for His
example and put the naysayers at bay.
Is the Church and its members really going to plead ignorance of God's reasons
for denying blacks the priesthood and temple ordinances?And then
turn around and insist that Mormons do not engage in "blind obedience"?
Ive been active in church for 40 years and don't recall ever being taught a
doctrinal basis for the priesthood policy. Sure, I heard plenty of speculation
but it was always couched as just that. On my mission (which was just prior to
the revelation) we always explained that we didn't know why blacks couldnt hold
the priesthood but the day would come when they would. Thankfully it came
soon.Personally I believe the Lord had his reasons, just as He had
reasons for preaching the Gospel first the Jew then the Gentile as others have
said. I will say this. It must take a lot of meekness and spirituality to not
take offense at the policy and to submit to what you perceive as the Lord's
will. Whether or not it was part of a plan, it seems there is now a
particularly valiant and humble subset in the Church membership. I'm not naive and I know racism has existed inside the Church, like everywhere
else, and I'm pleased the Church made this statement.
I think those of you (too many to call out by name) who are saying and implying
that God withheld the priesthood from blacks need to reread the Statement. It
says "It is not known precisely why, how or when this restriction began in
the Church". In other words, your leaders are not saying it came from God.
You are going out on an unwarranted limb by assuming it was from God when your
own leaders are agnostic regarding its origin.
Wow, lots of speculation despite the official statement that "It is not
known precisely why, how or when this restriction began in the Church". Many
posters need to re-read the article.lds4gaymarriage-I agreed
with you until your strange comment that the Church's stand on gay marriage is
not based on doctrine. You should read all of the relevant scriptures, not just
the ones you want to interpret to suit your own point of view.
intlbizman2,I understand your point but I have to say this statement
of yours is pure speculation: "What I do read between the lines is that the
policy was probably the result of racism within the church."I
don't believe it's unreasonable to hold the belief that the timing was part of a
divine plan, especially in light of the 1978 statement: "Aware of the
promises made by the prophets and presidents of the Church who have preceded us
that at some time, in God's eternal plan, all of our brethren who are worthy may
receive the priesthood, and witnessing the faithfulness of those from whom the
priesthood has been withheld, we have pleaded long and earnestly in behalf of
these, our faithful brethren, spending many hours in the Upper Room of the
Temple supplicating the Lord for divine guidance."He has heard
our prayers, and by revelation has confirmed that the long-promised day has come
when every faithful, worthy man in the Church may receive the holy priesthood .
. ."I feel like Pagan with the cutting and pasting.
donburi -lds4gaymarriage-I agreed with you until your strange
comment that the Church's stand on gay marriage is not based on doctrine. You
should read all of the relevant scriptures, not just the ones you want to
interpret to suit your own point of view.LDS4 - The scriptures are
clear that homosexuality is a sin. That is undeniable. the issue is whether
the we, as Christians, can use our beliefs on homosexuality to deny homosexuals
secular/civil rights. 1 Cor. 10:29 says that we can't. I'd love to hear your
take on that verse.
SoCalChris,Thank you for your quotes regarding the ending of the policy to
withhold priesthood from blacks. However, it has nothing to do with (and
certainly doesn't refute in any way) my assertion that the policy was probably
the result of racism within the church.Because God decides to end
something does not mean that thing was of God. For example, God caused a flood
to end many evils on the earth; those evils were of man, not of God. God chose
to end a policy in 1978. That does not mean he condoned the policy before that
date, and it does not mean the policy wasn't borne of racism. How
many times has the Church officially acknowedged racism within its ranks? Only
once that I know of, and it happened to be in the very same statement regarding
why blacks were not allowed to hold the priesthood. Coincidence? I think the
leadership is smarter than that. The point was well made without actually
condemning past leaders and members.
What if the case was,that it was not that the Afercan people were not ready to
reciveThe Priesthood until1978 .but that the church as a whole was not
ready for them to recive it?Their was a lot of raceiest ideas back then
more so then now.When we as a whole was ready we became strongerLine upon
line precept upon precept.I for one fells tbe world would be a better place, if
all were color blindI think we need to look at people rather than look at
groups of people. Then we will learn we are all diferent.I for one suport
the church in were it stands for, then ,now, and in the future. When we are
ready to grow more will will be given too us.
Anyone who adheres faithfully to a religion must throughout their lifetime make
many quasi-doctrinal shifts in their beliefs and understanding as further light
and knowledge is revealed to them through their circumstances, personal
insights, and spiritual inspiration. This is the very nature of the strait and
narrow. Walking the path does not mean every step is perfectly centered on
it--but that when we discover we're off path, we get back on. The
"seed of cain" concept was a protestant belief even before Joseph Smith
was around. It is based on interpretation of scriptures in the Old Testament,
and does not require new scripture to get there. God has apparently been rather
selective with his people in ancient days, as was clear when Peter was commanded
to take the Gospel to the Gentiles (who were excluded from it, prior to Peter's
vision). That gave LDS converts justification to embrace a policy
that was politically attractive when the saints were doing everything to survive
and remain neutral in any conflicts that might heap more violence against them.
When it was not clear whether the LDS would survive the next few decades, and
embattled by a government steeped in religious bigotry, Brigham Young scattered
colonies of Mormon settlers all over the west in the hopes that some would
survive. There was even a colony set up in Alabama (of all places). No doubt
many of these colonies attempted to remain as inconspicuous as possible. It's my opinion that the ban was a historic relic based upon pragmatic
expediency of the day. As society has become more enlightened, so too have the
LDS benefitted from that enlightenment. LDS have not always been on the
forefront of that, but when we believe in honest self-reflection and when we
find we're off the path of truth, we do our darndest to change--and we do it
together as a body of saints. I'm grateful for the many ways we receive greater
light and truth. Always seeking Divine confirmation.We are fortunate
to live in a time when God continues to inspire many people, including
courageous modern day heroes like Martin Luther King Jr., Rosa Parks, and heroes
who fought for civil rights. No doubt we see through a glass darkly,
even today. I look forward to more light and truth as we humans put aside
contention and hate and try harder to get along and love.
lds4gaymarriage The bottom line is that unless a statement comes from the
scriptures. And he denieth none that come unto him, black and white,
bond and a free, male and female; and he remebereth the heathen; and all are
alike unto God, both; Jew and Gentile.(2 Nephi 26:33).Then Peter
began to speak: I now realize how true it is that God does not show favoritism
but accepts from every nation the one who fears him and does what is right.(Acts
10:34-35)Among the prophets and teachers of the church at Antioch of Syria
were Barnabas, Simeon (called the black man), Lucius (from Cyrene), Manaen (the
childhood companion of King Herod Antipas), and Saul.(Acts 13:1 NLT) For
there is no difference between Jew and Gentile, the same Lord is Lord of All and
richly blesses All who call on him, for, Everyone who calls on the name of the
Lord will be saved.(Roman 10:10-12) Scripture is clear God is no respecter of
Just to make it clear during an election year while a mormon is trying to run
for President, his church is not racist and apparently has no idea WHY it
discriminated against people of color for so many years. So for all of you
African Americans, don't let this keep you from voting for Romney. How very
timely for this public announcement to have been made. LOL
@Phillip H and others making the argument that the Lord withheld the priesthood
from blacks until 1978 because the church as a whole was not ready for them to
recive it.I reject that theory completely because it supposes that
(1) the church membership was full of racists and (2) God chose to appease those
racists in his church and not "rock the boat".I believe the
restriction on blacks holding the priesthood was an overall detriment to the
church and suppressed growth during its existence. The God I know and worship
would not encourage or abide by racisim in his church for a minute, and
certainly would not turn a blind eye to it to appease current members while
turning off prospective members.
I grew up in part-member family. My father refused to join the church for
several reasons beyond the scope of today's topic. But one reason he always
cited was the church's refusal to grant priesthood to blacks. He felt there
couldn't be a good reason for it and the leaders probably didn't know why, how
or when this restriction began in the Church, but were perpetuating it out of
blind obedience to past custom.And guess what? He was wrong about
many things, but on this particular point he was dead-on correct.
This story misses the most important elements of the issue. The policy of
denying people of African ancestry access to the priesthood and temple is what
people specifically object to as racism. For LDS to say "we condemn any past
racism, but the thing you think was racism actually wasn't racism," is never
going to be accepted outside of the church (or by some within). If practicing
racial segregation is always wrong, this recent generic condemnation does not
appear sincere. The ongoing belief that temporary segregation is right when
approved by God will continue to be perceived as a current racism by the
church.The problem now is that the policy and the history are baked
into the loaf. For non-Mormons, LDS seems to be inextricably linked with racism.
There is no way now to say the only words that can free LDS from the outside
judgment of ongoing racism. To say, "Ok, that policy was racism and it was
wrong and we are sorry," would be to admit that Prophets are fallible.
Prophets have committed to the explanation that God had His reasons for the
policy and though He did not convey them, there was ongoing dialog about the
duration of the policy. God never said, "You have been getting it
wrong." Rather, the latest communication was "The time has finally come
to change the policy."There can be no apology now without
destroying the very foundation of the church. It can't be wrong to do what God
told you to do, so an apology would mean that God did not mandate the policy and
Prophets cannot be trusted to tell the truth. That crack would have no logical
limit and would ultimately destroy faith in the church. Yet without the apology
and the repudiation of the past, the place of LDS in American culture will be
based on the perception that Mormons insist on maintaining a moral flaw. Does
anyone see a solution to this dilemma?
@ Hutterite -- Straw Man fallacy (look it up)
"Does anyone see a solution to this dilemma?" Maybe not, but there
is certainly a lesson to be learned from this (and polygamy). If you adopt a
position or culturally popular proclamation as doctrine, it will be decades --
even a century -- before you can disassociate yourself from it.
...I think that there needs to be a concerted effort by Church members - if it
would be the case (but I've not encountered it in Church at all) - that if
somebody was to expound something as doctrine which is not doctrine that people
should speak up (and maybe most do, I don't know)...yes, freedom of speech is
important but some things need to be set straight. I have to comment that
(correct me if I'm wrong) that Deseret News is owned by a Church owned
company...well, I'm really impressed with the freedom of speech here - well done
LDS Church and Deseret News! I've seen some awfully racist people, but not
inside the Church (really!) - I think that with some Church members, if they say
something, it's brought about by being naive - not as a result of a burning
racism. I remember that my wife, who had joined the Church, has innocently (a
while ago) asked in a Sunday School class about the reason for Priesthood and
'Blacks'...the thing is, nobody came up with an explanation - not even a false
one. It's as if people were not comfortable with the question (that's a
positive, don't you think?) and wanted to quickly move on. My Wife did not get
an answer - because, I think, nobody felt comfortable with it...
@HotGlove- Of course there's an answer to the dilemma. It won't get posted
here, but it has to fo with sticking to God's Truth. That way you don't have to
have revelations and doctrinal reversals.If you really want to have
your head spin, read the Journal of Discourses or any valid construct of the SLC
Tab talks by the General Authorities. They were absolutely convinced that the
doctrine was from God because His prophet said so. They waxed eloquent on the
subject and there is no shortage of documentation on it prior to 1978. My folks
precious library has all the out-print books. I grew up in the '60's and we
knew exactly what the doctrine was and the explanations on the "why"
flowed freely in church meetings.The dilemma exists today because
embarrassed leaders didn't deal with it then either.
Verse 3 : "... for after this manner doth the Lord God work among the
children of men. For the Lord God giveth light unto the understanding; for he
speaketh unto men according to their language, unto their understanding."There is no way this subject will have lack of explaining. All you need
to do is look at what is said in the scriptures and what your personal view of
the gospel tells you to compare it with. If the chuch says it does not know the
beginning or whereabouts of this issue, then be careful not to judge, it could
mean the origin of any approved revelation is not known to make it church
doctrine, since Apostles and Prophets are concerned about the heavenly origin
and the approval of its people.Records don't mean doctrine.African people are loving people and fun to be with, they do not lack that
sense of humor as most white do. Am I racial now, no way. It is what you see
inside, instead of pointing fingers to the outside of the vessel.Having denied the priesthood is stupid talking, since priesthood is hard work,
not priestcraft to stand above others.