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Beyond Ordinary: Faith, truth and priesthood restriction

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  • Cats Somewhere in Time, UT
    March 9, 2012 8:25 a.m.

    Wow! What a great aricle! What a man of faith! He's spot on!

  • hc1951 Bend, OR
    March 9, 2012 8:29 a.m.

    Thanm you :-)

  • BonnieA SPRINGVILLE, UT
    March 9, 2012 8:51 a.m.

    Wow. This was the most beautiful article I've ever seen written on this subject. Thank you, from the bottom of my heart for writing it. As a colorless Mormon (with a colorful spirit!) this issue was the single greatest hindrance for my faith, 30 years ago as a teen. I knew I had no right to be outraged (being colorless), and I felt like I couldn't say anything without offending everyone, including God. I've struggled for all that time, trying to understand God and building my faith, waiting to understand this. Just one week before the Post article came out, I finally had the confidence to question God about this and to stand my ground and not be intimidated by my own humble station before him, and I found my peace with it, just as described in this article. Sometimes, I think, God allows a situation to broil, measuring our willingness to push him in our advocacy of others. Why would he visit Abraham and tell him of his plans at Sodom, if not also to let Abraham see what it feels like to advocate? The tests are myriad. I love the image of Israel's slavery. Profound to apply to us.

  • roswell Saint George, UT
    March 9, 2012 9:18 a.m.

    Keith,
    Once again your thoughts and comments are right on. This issue is not the only one that is not clearly answered by history or facts, and consequently we are left to determine how we will respond. There are good reasons to respond with faith, as there are numerous witnesses, both general (to all people) and personal that this work is of God. I choose also to respond with faith. Unfortunately, there are many that are unable or unwilling to see with an eye of faith, believing that some absolute fact or document must provide confirmation before they will believe. If they only understood that even science demands acceptance of some principles on faith. Thanks again

  • JM Lehi, UT
    March 9, 2012 9:56 a.m.

    Great article, my Black LDS family members have always felt more welcome among LDS than others. I've taught my children that the language in the Book of Mormon and PofGP are symbolic ("skins of blackness" and "blackness came upon" (how so if Cain already Black in our terms?), Abraham married Egyptian, all non-Shemetic people restricted back then etc). Israelites were dark skinned people Lamanites and Nephites were probably one color (see FAIR lds)and were one race (so can't be racist towards each other) etc.
    Also, without being negative about others, I've tried to explain that the LDS Church has always been among the most progressive. Racism issues, genocide, etc among mainstream Christians, the gay community, atheists, liberals, etc have been, and are still, much worse than among Mormons.

  • sharrona layton, UT
    March 9, 2012 10:03 a.m.

    Faith, truth and priesthood restriction,A perfect example involves the restricted earthly ministry of Jesus Christ. The New Testament clearly shows that Jesus taught his disciples that while he was on the earth both he and they were to go "but unto the lost sheep of the House of Israel[Mt 15:34]." Yet Christ never explained why his Father gave him that limitation or why he passed it on to his disciples.
    Paul explains the prophecy Isaiah 49:6, we now turn to the Gentiles. For this is what the Lord has commanded us: ÂÂI have made you a light for the Gentiles, that you may bring salvation to the ends of the earth( Acts) 13:47. Jesus is the light to Gentiles.

  • Bobster Boise, ID
    March 9, 2012 10:28 a.m.

    I have enjoyed following this topic in the news and appreciate Brother Hamilton's insight and perspective. When I was a teenager in Utah (pre-1978 Revelation) I recall attending a fireside where an African American member of the church talked about his conversion to the Church. I do not recall his name or much about what he said. I will never forget his incredible faith and love for the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. He had found the same peace that Brother Hamilton wrote about.

  • scootd28* SALT LAKE CITY, UT
    March 9, 2012 1:12 p.m.

    Outstanding article! As with polygamy somehow this was the Lord's will. I don't know how, but I know so much that is true- by extension this is also true. The love that I feel as a member of the Lord's Kingdom overshadows everything and confirms the truth of the gospel. Besides, I always figure that I still need to learn to love my neighbor. Then, when I've done that, I'll worry about those other things.

  • Thinkman Provo, UT
    March 9, 2012 1:16 p.m.

    So we don't know how or why or whom started the ban to giving blacks the priesthood yet we know for a certainty that Joseph Smith translated the Book of Mormon from gold plates that are no longer on the earth?

    Oh and we know for certainty that the LDS church is the one true church of God on the earth yet something so sacred and important as the power of God (priesthood) was held from blacks for some unknown reason?

    With the LDS church claiming to be inspired, why did it take till 1978, (a full decade after the Civil Rights Act and over 100 years after the Emancipation Proclamation) to give blacks and all worthy males the priesthood?

    These are the questions I got on my mission 20 years ago when asked by JWs, Baptists, Catholics and even non-Christians.

  • Bill in Nebraska Maryville, MO
    March 9, 2012 5:52 p.m.

    Thinkman: You again refuse to see that the article tells us this. Answer why did Christ withold the priesthood from all of the house of Israel. Why just the Levites? Didn't he discriminate then? From what I have been able to gather Moses and Aaron were never told why. That is germane to this debate whether others want to believe it or not. The Lord picks who will hold HIS priesthood. Again as the article stated, it proves that the orders comes from the Lord not man. Either as a member you believe the Lord is in charge or you believe it not. Either Joseph Smith was a prophet or he is fraud. There is no well Joseph was but Brigham isn't. All of those chosen from Joseph down to President Monson are either Prophets or they are not. Those are the questions and members telling the Quorum of the Twelve and the First Presidency what they need to do is really saying they no more than the man chosen by the Lord to be the leader of the LDS Church and that isn't so.

  • manaen Buena Park, CA
    March 10, 2012 1:43 a.m.

    Good thoughts that skirt the damage last week's Bottulisms caused the work of those of us trying to use the restored gospel to solve societal problems. I'm involved with a couple of groups in LA working against gang violence. I've used the restored gospel in our work as I've found opportunities. Frequently, I'm the only not-black person in our meetings.

    I was challenged after Darron Smith's article in "Deadspin" last year but was able to answer it was written by a fired BYU professor. But, what am I to say about Bott's ignorance-spreading? The effect of the Church's denounciation of his comments the next day is diluted severely by the fact that he's been retained so long in the classroom -- and remains there. If Darron Smith should have been let go for his writings, and I agree that he should have been, how is Bott still working on campus? How do I explain this discrepancy? In the absence of answers to these questions, my ability to refer to our restored gospel is curtailed greatly and this results in the loss of the better, enduring solutions that it creates.

    Could we have recognition of this kind of damage?

  • manaen Buena Park, CA
    March 10, 2012 1:52 a.m.

    @Bill in Nebraska, "Again as the article stated, it proves that the orders comes from the Lord not man."

    Both of the Church's statements last week declared that we do not know why, when, or how the priesthood restriction came to be. Your affirmative claim that it came from the Lord conflicts with the Church's twice-declared position.

  • sharrona layton, UT
    March 10, 2012 8:40 a.m.

    RE: Bill n Nebraska, Again as the article stated, it proves that the orders comes from the Lord not man. Either as a member you believe the Lord is in charge or you believe it not. Either Joseph Smith was a prophet or he is fraud.
    Joseph Fielding Smith, The doctrine did not originate with President Brigham Young but was taught by the Prophet Joseph Smith¦we all it is due to his teaching that the negro today is barred from the Priesthood. The Way to perfection, pp 110-111

  • manaen Buena Park, CA
    March 10, 2012 7:44 p.m.

    @Sharrona, you omitted that Joseph Fielding Smith revealed in the next paragraph that his source was a comment in 1895 by George Q. Cannon, 51 years after the Prophet's death.

    There is no known primary source from Joseph Smith teaching the priesthood restriction.

    BTW, Joseph Fielding Smith said "Way to Perfection" and his other books are personal writing, not an official statement of Church doctrine. He wrote,

    "The Bible, Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants, and the Pearl of Great Price, including the Articles of Faith, have been received by the vote of the Church in general conference assembled as the standard works of the Church. On this platform we stand. The Church is not responsible for the remarks made by any elder or for the numerous books that have been written. The authors of the words or books must be responsible for their own utterances. [...] If I should say something which is contrary to that which is written and approved by the Church generally, no one is under obligation to accept it." (Doctrines of Salvation, Vol. I, pp. 322, 323)

  • Bill in Nebraska Maryville, MO
    March 10, 2012 10:24 p.m.

    Mannen: Actually it doesn't conflict with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints leaders statements. You need to really read what is said. They only state that the reason for the ban, when it was received and etc is not known. However, they all will state that the revelation received by President Kimball came from the Lord. They also state that before the revelation that all of President Kimballs predeceessors all requested answers to the ban and none was given. So yes, if the revelaion came in 1978 as stated by revelation, then it was by revelation that the Lord determined the ban. Why that is so no one currently alive knows why. To try to speculate upon it is wrong for anyone and is strickly opinion, not doctrine. If it wasn't of the Lord, it would have been removed much sooner than it was as it would have been revealed much earlier.

    Don't put words into their mouths as you are doing.

  • sharrona layton, UT
    March 10, 2012 10:34 p.m.

    @Manaen, you omitted that Joseph Fielding Smith revealed in the next paragraph that his source was a comment in 1895 by George Q. Cannon( the premier Mormon Apostle was reliable), 51 years after the Prophet's death.
    There is no known primary source from Joseph Smith teaching the priesthood restriction, Check JS on national equalization History of the Church, Volume 5, pages 218-219 and The book of Abraham.

    (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.

  • Truthseeker SLO, CA
    March 10, 2012 11:07 p.m.

    Re:Bill in Nebraska

    What is your source for the claim that ALL Prophets before Pres. Kimball asked about the ban?

    The claim that it was God's design the ban wasn't lifted earlier is merely conjecture on your part. Maybe he didn't want the ban, in line with Joseph Smith's practice, but allowed man to exercise agency.

  • wstebar Atlanta, Fayetteville, GA
    March 10, 2012 11:15 p.m.

    Well said.

  • hc1951 Bend, OR
    March 11, 2012 9:05 a.m.

    What if (FYI this is ME, Sis. H., speaking) the only way Father can help us understand our own strength is to put a burden on us that is so heavy we can only carry it with His help? Now THAT is a method I am personally acquainted with!

  • manaen Buena Park, CA
    March 11, 2012 11:52 a.m.

    @Bill in Nebraska, "Actually it doesn't conflict with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints leaders statements. You need to really read what is said. They only state that the reason for the ban, when it was received and etc is not known."

    As I really read last week's statement from the Church, I find it says,

    "It is not known precisely why, HOW [like your claim that it was by revelation] or when this restriction began"
    and
    "THE ORIGINS [like your claim that it was by revelation] OF PRIESTHOOD AVAILABILITY ARE NOT ENTIRELY CLEAR. Some explanations with respect to this matter were made in the absence of direct revelation and references to these explanations are sometimes cited in publications. These previous personal statements do not represent Church doctrine. (Emphasis added)

    If how the restriction began is not precisely known and the origins of its availability are not entirely clear, how is your precise, entirely-clear statement that it was by revelation not in conflict with the Church's position?

  • Bill in Nebraska Maryville, MO
    March 11, 2012 7:15 p.m.

    To Mannen and Truthseeker:

    The ban was put in plae by revelation. Why and the reasons behind it we do not know. Those are the facts. It was lifted again by revelation.

    You have to understand that no such ban would have ever been put in place except through revelation. Just because it was revelation doesn't mean the reasons were clear made clear.

    As for predecessor Presidents of the Church asking, "The question of etending the blessings of the priesthood to blacks had been on the minds of many of the Brethren over a period of years. It had repeatedly been brought up by Presidents of the Church. It had become a matter of particular concern to President Spencer W Kimball." "This revelation came after a period of years in which other Presidents of the Church had pondered and prayed about the matter." Further, "In addition to testifying that revelation guides the decisions of Church leaders, President Kimball taught that we can all receive revelation to guide ourlives."

    These decisions were done by revelation and then removed through revelation. Believe it or not. Source Teachings of the Presidents - Specer W Kimball. Teachings of Gordon B Hinkley.

  • manaen1 Buena Park, CA
    March 11, 2012 8:16 p.m.

    @Bill in Nebraska,

    If the priesthood's restriction came by revelation:

    - Where is it? Please cite the source I can look at. Or, at least the *official* statement from the Church that it was by revelation, not unoffial personal comments.

    - Why was Hugh B. Brown, 1st Counselor to David O. McKay, proposing that because it was NOT given by revelation, a revelation would not be needed to end it? (cf "David O. McKay and the Rise of Modern Mormonism," p. 100). Why was he not corrected with the information that actually it was by revelation?

    - Why did the Church say *this month* that we do not know how it came to be. If it was by revelation, wouldn't they say it was but that we don't know why?

    "You have to understand that no such ban would have ever been put in place except through revelation." Upon what are you basing this assumption? Please also cite the Church's official statement that says this. Maybe you have to understand that policies and practices sometimes come from leaders' best judgment, not from direct revelation.

  • manaen1 Buena Park, CA
    March 11, 2012 8:38 p.m.

    @Sharrona, "There is no known primary source from Joseph Smith teaching the priesthood restriction, Check JS on national equalization History of the Church, Volume 5, pages 218-219 and The book of Abraham."

    I checked your HC reference; nothing there that's relevant. Please recheck and correct if you can.

    Nothing in the Book of Abraham ties the priesthood restriction directly to black skin or race. Please share the source that you believe does if you have a specific one in mind. Meanwhile, I suggest that you check the notes about Abr 1:2-3, 27; 3:22 on p. 198 of "Lengthen Your Stride," biography of Pres. Kimball by his son, published by Deseret Book.

  • manaen1 Buena Park, CA
    March 11, 2012 9:42 p.m.

    @Sharrona, "(Genesis 7:10 JST), And there was a blackness came upon all the children of Cainan, that they were despised among all people."

    If blackness "came upon" them, they must not have been black before. Therefore, they couldn't have been under any presumed earlier restriction tied to black skin.

    Also, Cainan descended from Seth, not Cain, and was an ancestor of Enoch, Methuselah, and Noah (JST Gen. 6:12,15,17,19,21; KJV Gen 5:25,28). Your misuse of this verse in the context of the restriction would bar some of Seth's descendants from the priesthood.

    A more-likely reading includes the heat and barrenness of their land noted in the preceding verse which could cause a darker skin to come upon a people as noted in v. 10. That this darker skin resulted in being despised by their lighter neighbors is nothing new (cf our "red neck"). Scripture notes but doesn't justify them being despised/ostracized (v. 22) or denied the priesthood. (See instead Jacob 3:9).

    Better to avoid unofficial sources, like JST, when attempting to establish official doctrine. The official Moses 7:7-8 speaks of "people of CANAAN" and says blackness came upon "children of CANAAN." "Canaan" means "lowlands," which fits the heat/barren/darker-skin explanation.

  • LValfre CHICAGO, IL
    March 12, 2012 3:15 a.m.

    I love reading how the faithful justify and rationalize this but never even consider the *gasp* unthinkable possibilities that are so obvious.

  • Brahmabull sandy, ut
    March 12, 2012 8:34 a.m.

    How can the church claim now that previous statements on the subject given by prophets were absent of revelation and were only opinion?? That make absolutely no sense. That is called cherry picking. They weren't there, they don't know that the statements made were without revelation. So any current prophet can just claim ANY statement made by anybody before him was just opinion - even those by Joseph Smith? Unless of course it is faith promoting, then it goes from opinion to doctrine. The differences between doctrine/revelation and opinion have become very hard to separate over the years.

    Bill in Nebraska - you have a habit of saying things that aren't true (like most prophets asked god about the priesthood restriction, without citing any sources. Then you say the ban was a revelation, when the church now says they don't know why, how, or when it came about) So you are going directly against what the church is saying, as if you are the ultimate authority on the matter.

  • Christmas Carole LAS CRUCES, NM
    March 12, 2012 10:44 a.m.

    Amen and Amen!! Bonnie A...my "trip" to conversion was MUCH like yours. As I had a firm revelation of the truth of the gospel I decided I had to accept the principle of the restriction and one other question(Joseph Smith(I was Southern Baptist))on faith. I did this and was baptized in 1973. Some months later I read a book by a black member(I believe it was Alan Cherry) and realized that this most faithful black member seemed to want the priesthood so very deeply and had had the faith for baptisim, then who was I to question. I realized that I would someday grow to accept this. It turns out that other things(numerous) would occur to me, that I did not understand,that had to be accepted on faith also. We are all so much "young children"(regardless of earthly age)and must accept that our very loving Father in Heaven sees the forest and we only see the first line of trees. I am so grateful for His patience and love for me!

  • Truthseeker SLO, CA
    March 12, 2012 11:57 a.m.

    re:Bill in Nebraska

    The quote you provided does not say ALL presidents of the church sought for revelation to overturn the ban, neither does it say the ban was instituted by revelation. And the current church statement does not state that it was instituted by revelation. We do know, from a biography of David O'McKay, that he considered the ban to be a policy and not doctrine, but that he believed it would require revelation to overturn the ban. Pres. McKay reported that he did indeed seek revelation to overturn the ban. We also know that counselors Alvin Dyer and Hugh B. Brown were on opposite sides of the issue. (Hugh B. Brown was in favor of overturning the ban).

  • manaen1 Buena Park, CA
    March 12, 2012 12:43 p.m.

    @Brahmabull, "The differences between doctrine/revelation and opinion have become very hard to separate over the years."

    The Church made it very easy a few years ago by defining and limiting official doctrine as what is in the standard works, in official declarations and proclamations, and in the Articles of Faith. They noted, "Not every statement made by a Church leader, past or present, necessarily constitutes doctrine." This is available on mormonnewsroom [Dot] org and searching Approaching Mormon Doctrine.

    This means to me that the following are *not* primary sources of the Church's authoritative doctrine:
    * Statements by Church leaders in General Conference and elsewhere
    * Church manuals, videos, and magazines
    * Journal of Discourses
    * Papers by BYU professors
    * Heartfelt testimonies about a particular subject by members
    * The blogs collectively known as "The Bloggernacle"
    * Recruiting statements by BYU's coaches

    An example is that some leaders spoke in General Conference about how to raise self-esteem; others warned that it is just another name for pride and to be avoided. This does not mean that the Church's authoritative doctrine is that self-esteem is both bad and to be increased.

  • Nachtmerrie_in_Brugge Mesa, AZ
    March 12, 2012 6:43 p.m.

    If Mitt Romney gets the GOP nomination, it's only a matter of time before this issue is once again dragged out in the national media, especially given the race of his Democratic opponent. And, once again, the media will overlook the most telling aspect of this whole matter: that members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints received the 1978 revelation with open arms! Indeed, I don't know of any who left the Church over the announcement, and if there wereÂgood riddance.

  • Bill in Nebraska Maryville, MO
    March 12, 2012 7:32 p.m.

    mannem1: I think you need to take revelation out of your last quote and see what it actually states about revelation. That is in the same place as you stated earlier. You will find that I never stated anything about this as a doctrine only that it was placed in effect through revelation. This same article states that all policies, decisions, practices are done through revelation according to the doctrines held in the standard works of the Church.

    Brahmabull you will notice that I have never gone against something that is in the publications, doctrines of the church or stated by the leaders of the Church. However, you have stated such almost everytime.In fact, you have stated that revelation basically ceased with Jseph Smith.

    Truthseeker you stated that I said all presidents. I stated his predecessors. If I used the word all in front of all predecessors then I was in error. I do know that the prayers seeking revelation before June 1978 goes as far back as George ALbert Smith.

  • Nachtmerrie_in_Brugge Mesa, AZ
    March 12, 2012 8:22 p.m.

    Oops! That last clause in my last comment should read, "and if there were--good riddance."
    Apparently Deseret News doesn't recognize the em dash. Must be a Utah thing.

  • Truthseeker SLO, CA
    March 12, 2012 9:28 p.m.

    Re:Billin Nebraska

    Sources? I identified Pres. McKay as reported in his biography. What other information do you have? So if the ban was established by revelation why didn't the church say that? The church statement says it doesn't " know precisely how, why, or when" the ban was put into place, yet you state it was by revelation.

  • Brahmabull sandy, ut
    March 13, 2012 8:38 a.m.

    manaen1
    - So if items taken from the standard works are doctrine, then it is still against the word of wisdom to eat meat unless in times of winter and famine. Also, the word of wisdom as revealed by Joseph Smith allows for the consumption of beer. Both of those have been reversed in modern LDS doctrine - that beer can't be consumed, and meat can be eaten in any amount and at any time. That doesn't make sense. Even if there was an official statement banning beer and allowing for meat (which there isn') that would mean a prophet is changing the standard works. You can't rewrite or change something that is cannonized scripture. But thats what they have done with the word of wisdom.

  • beckts Farmington, UT
    March 21, 2012 1:03 p.m.

    I think it is possible that the church had the benefit of the contribution of African members withheld from it. That it is the church that was under condemnation and that we now how have the benefit of world wide inclusion of all peoples.