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LDS Church enhances web pages on its history, doctrine

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  • Bloodhound Provo, UT
    Dec. 9, 2013 8:14 p.m.

    I hope my Stake President and other leaders don't mind if I use my paper scriptures. I like them, find them easier to mark, and can see them better. I'm noticing a little bit of arrogance among some Church members who seem to think one is a Neanderthal if one isn't up on buying and using the latest digital gadget. It's rather amusing sometimes to watch these people stumbling around on their phones trying to find some spot in their manuals or when their devices run out of battery power.

  • Jack Aurora, CO
    Dec. 9, 2013 8:17 p.m.

    I think one word describes my feelings on this matter: Huzzah!

  • 1.96 Standard Deviations OREM, UT
    Dec. 9, 2013 8:26 p.m.

    Very impressive! I am glad we can now point church members and other individuals with sincere questions to official sources to help explain these sensitive topics in a condensed and simplified fashion. I imagine the church will address more sensitive topics as time goes on.

  • Hutterite American Fork, UT
    Dec. 9, 2013 11:21 p.m.

    Nothing enables an evolving reality like the internet. Gone are the days when you have to be held to so called truths issued in the past.

  • mattrick78 Cedar City, UT
    Dec. 9, 2013 11:24 p.m.

    @Bloodhound

    I use my paper scriptures as well. I feel it is something I can pass on to my children.

  • KellyWSmith Sparks, NV
    Dec. 9, 2013 11:51 p.m.

    As the church continues to come out of obscurity and out of darkness and shown to the world as a light upon a hill that cannot be hid, we now have a wonderful resource to show the world the facts regarding certain things that some thought were being kept a secret. I am impressed that the leadership has taken this added stance and given the membership something to share with others what is official.

    Of course the detractors will still make their claims but I long for the day when all will be revealed and nothing will be hidden as God opens His history to all to view. There will be some rather shocked faces as he shows the truth of what happened in the past and that, for example, he really did appear to Joseph Smith and, he really did reveal the Book of Abraham through revelation to him (among a LOT of other things).

    It will be then that those who have fought against the church will wish they wouldn't have and will regret all they have done to try and ruin The Lord's true church upon the earth.

  • Al Thepal Salt Lake City, UT
    Dec. 10, 2013 12:48 a.m.

    I am thrilled the the LDS Church is taking the time to put some of the tougher issues on the website. I just read the one on Race and the Priesthood and it doesn't gloss over the topic or try to sugar coat the Church's history on this point. Having the ability to go to the website of the Church and get the full story directly from the Church will be great for this and a few other "hard" topics. I look forward to the Church putting more of these on the website.

  • Say No to BO Mapleton, UT
    Dec. 10, 2013 6:38 a.m.

    I'd like a few more answers please:
    Are illegal aliens allowed to serve missions without returning home first?
    How do they obtain temple recommends?
    Is tax fraud still considered a sin?

  • Dave D Spring Creek, NV
    Dec. 10, 2013 7:11 a.m.

    "Church members are cheering the enhanced pages, especially the one on race and the priesthood, which plainly "disavows" theories some critics have claimed were church doctrine and the basis for a ban on blacks holding the priesthood, a ban lifted by revelation in 1978."

    Let's not take a step backward with this paragraph. Let's call it like it is. The Church is disavowing things that WERE taught as DOCTRINE by church leaders, often in general conference. I am not a critic, I just want my church to be open and honest about its history, and that includes you, Church-owned Deseret News. The Church's statement was a huge step in the right direction. Please, don't muddle things up by presenting things the way you did in this paragraph. Sure, some critics claimed these theories were doctrine, but so did many Church leaders through the years, and surely Church leaders are not critics.

  • Ohio-LDS NE, OH
    Dec. 10, 2013 7:17 a.m.

    Some very important commentary on the new church statement comes from LDS historian Richard Bushman. According to the SL Tribune, Bushman says that the church statement "is written as a historian might tell the story ... not as a theological piece, trying to justify the practice." Bushman goes on to say that the new statement "drains the ban of revelatory significance, makes it something that just grew up and, in time, had to be eliminated." In other words, the statement repudiates not just the rationales, but the ban itself.

  • Beart SAINT LOUIS, MO
    Dec. 10, 2013 7:17 a.m.

    I thought the issue of blacks and the priesthood was handled sensitively in the book not published by Deseret entitled "David O. McKay and the Rise of Modern Mormonism." Based on notes and diaries of Clare Middlemiss, Pres. McKay's personal secretary from his time of ordination as an apostle until his death. At the time of publication, though only a few years ago, the chances of the book's frank approach being allowed by Deseret Book were probably still quite slim.

    The point was made that Brigham Young established a policy - not a doctrine - about the issue. He wanted Utah to be a state; we are approaching the Civil War. Later custom afterward logically required revelation since the church was growing worldwide and during McKay's time, the civil rights era, restoring priesthood to blacks would probably have blown a hole in a church with such an insular membership heretofore.

    The sad part is the human need to know WHY an issue exists and so we begin making up our "truth." Pity for this. Lots of damage has happened because we require answers rather than relying on the Lord for our guidance when it's time.

  • DUPDaze Bakersfield, CA
    Dec. 10, 2013 7:28 a.m.

    Seriously...?! Oh, my. Words cannot describe how long overdue this is. The website continues to be underwhelmingly non-transparent and incomplete. Thank goodness for my parents awesome library, I have access to all doctrines taught. You still won't even allow posts here of a factual nature on certain controversies.

    It should be obvious and embarrassing that it is still impossible to get accurate and full documentation on certain controversial topics. All I have to do is ask three questions about the MMMassacre, BoM changes and the evolution of the temple ceremony to get my posts denied here.

    So yes, thank goodness for technology that still documents the reticence and non-full disclosure of Mormon history to this date.

    Too little, too late.

  • Casey See FLOWER MOUND, TX
    Dec. 10, 2013 7:39 a.m.

    To Say No To Bo

    I understand that people see illegal immigrants as part of the United States problems. In many cases, illegals do create many issues. But we must also judge as Christ would judge. I love Les Miserables because Victor Hugo shows how the letter of the law can be harsh and very Unchristian. The young man or young woman whose parents carried across the border had no say in the matter. The parent whose children are starving will take desperate actions to care for his / her family. As we all would.

    If by paying taxes or trying to make ammends for breaking a law, we imperile our family, would we do it?

    These are the issues bishops must grapple with when an otherwise law abidding, stalwart young man, woman, or family comes to him for a temple recommend or request to serve a mission. Does the bishop / stake president instead throw them under bus sort to speak? To report them would be to destroy that family or person.

    I am glad I don't have to judge.

  • Ohio-LDS NE, OH
    Dec. 10, 2013 8:00 a.m.

    Count me among the members who are cheering these new church statements. That said, it is incorrect for the DN to suggest that only "critics" are claiming the now repudiated theories were taught as doctrine. In reality, the curse of cain, lack of premortal valiancy, and other teachings that are now rejected were all officially taught as doctrine by prophets, apostles, seventies, and local leaders. As one example, the 1949 First Presidency statement on the priesthood ban said the ban was doctrine, revealed by God, and due to several of the racist theories the church now rejects.

    I am very grateful that we live in a time of greater light (to paraphrase Elder McConkie). But in our zeal to put down the mistakes of our ancestors, let us not make new mistakes by whitewashing who exactly is responsible for those teachings. That is our burden to wrestle with. We should not push it off for our children to stumble upon in the future.

  • 1.96 Standard Deviations OREM, UT
    Dec. 10, 2013 7:59 a.m.

    Ohio-LDS-

    Here is one very important detail to keep in mind regarding the ban: President McKay prayed about lifting the ban and didn't feel impressed to at that time. This is very significant because it strongly implies there were divine reasons for maintaining the ban for whatever reason. One day we will have all the answers, but this important detail should not be overlooked.

  • Third try screen name Mapleton, UT
    Dec. 10, 2013 8:02 a.m.

    Of course, such revelations about revelations creates a new set of problems.
    In the 60s the family of a friend of mine left the church over the position on the priesthood.
    What do we say to them?
    What do we say to all those missionaries (myself included) who taught that doctrine as coming from the Lord?
    Going forward, will we be more skeptical about direction from the general authorities? And what other "doctrines" will be subject to scrutiny?
    Looking for loopholes will become a hobby and rationalizing behavior now has a new ally.

  • 1.96 Standard Deviations OREM, UT
    Dec. 10, 2013 8:09 a.m.

    Say No to BO-

    Tax fraud: Handbook 1 in the church (available to Bishoprics and Stake Presidencies) answers this question to leave no doubts whatsoever. Ask a bishopric member to read to you section 17.1.23 (Income Taxes) from Handbook 1 for an answer.

    Emmigration/Immigration: Also ask a bishopric member to read to you section 17.1.18 (Emigration of Members) in Handbook 1. This does not directly answer your questions about illegal aliens, but will serve as very strong foundation and you can probably come to a conclusion yourself.

  • Ahawk89 Ankeny, IA
    Dec. 10, 2013 8:14 a.m.

    I don't believe that simply linking to another church-based website or article answers the underlying issues addressed. The difficult history and doctrines espoused by those outside the church are rooted in historical fact and are proven through original LDS sources. Truth, where ever it is found, is truth. Spinning history and ignoring long taught and difficult historical doctrines doesn't dismiss the fact that the church as a very checkered past. If you read or question a doctrine seen on an outside website, in an article, or in a tract, don't just dismiss it as false, research it. Follow the cited references, most from LDS sources. Study it out for yourself and don't allow the church to direct your path. Many times, the references will generate more questions, follow those to their conclusion. If you allow only the church sponsored and faith promoting history to stand without proof, are you seeking the personal truth that the church promotes? Don't be afraid to question. When your personal eternal life, and that of your family, is at stake, it is important to understand and seek the truth, where ever that truth lies or where it may lead.

  • I know it. I Live it. I Love it. Provo, UT
    Dec. 10, 2013 8:12 a.m.

    Say No,

    You're questions, while direct are still leading.

    Our bishops aren't perfect people, neither are our members. But we don't require anyone to be perfect in order to obtain a temple recommend. Temple recommends aren't trivial, nor a matter of judgement. They are a matter of worthiness to obtain certain blessings.

    Instead, I have one questions for you.

    A man and woman are in love and want their marriage to be united by God for eternity, and unbreakable. Because of his past mistakes, he still owes a debt to society. He may not even be welcome to society.

    Would you deny their desire, perhaps even God's, to unite them?

    Personally, I do believe in sustaining the law. But I also don't see the relevance of someone's desire to enforce justice, with our desire to worship and attend the temple. To what end should justice exclude allowing families to be happy? Are the two mutually exclusive? It's more worth examining the rules critics are introducing into this situation than it is to examine our own beliefs... why? Because the rules are the criteria we are being held against.

  • Coach Biff Lehi, UT
    Dec. 10, 2013 8:16 a.m.

    Just read the page on the ordination of black men to the priesthood. Well done.

  • gittalopctbi Glendale, AZ
    Dec. 10, 2013 8:32 a.m.

    @Dave D Why should the DN include everything you want to hear/read? Just read the webpage on this topic and you will see that your concerns are met.

    I like @Ohio-LDS and @1.96 Standard Deviations' observations.

    This change is big, really big. And exciting. Nice direction the First Presidency is going. Good to see that these often criticized "old men leaders" recognize technology. It makes no difference what the critics or member complainers say or will say about this or any other aspect of the church: The Lord moves in His own time table in in His own way and while at times explains/teaches us what He does, He chooses not to at times for His own purposes. That is what faith is all about.

  • cjb Bountiful, UT
    Dec. 10, 2013 8:37 a.m.

    Instead of claiming they can't lead the Church astray, as it is now acknowledged Brigham Young did in this instance, why not ask that members pray for them so this doesn't happen?

  • Malihini Northern, UT
    Dec. 10, 2013 8:39 a.m.

    I also just read the page on Race and Priesthood. It provided some good historical context and explained the process leading up to the revelation given, but after reading it the question remains unanswered: Why were the blacks denied the priesthood in the first place? Honestly. I am not being sarcastic. But can anybody explain why the original ban as there? Was it because of political pressure when UT was made a state? It looks like all of the "common" explanations were disavowed, so what is the explanation of the original ban? Can anybody shed some light on it or direct me?

  • Esquire Springville, UT
    Dec. 10, 2013 8:43 a.m.

    Ultimately, it all boils down to faith in the basics of the Gospel. And Church members need to be more discerning. Just because an administrative announcement is made, or a leader makes an inspiring statement or exhortation, it does not mean that becomes a core doctrinal matter. The blacks and the priesthood issue is a good example. I don't believe it ever came from God. The same holds true for other statements that became doctrinal in application but were never intended as such. Example, President McKay's statement, "Every member a missionary". Or the PR campaign the Church executed in the early 1970s on families has since taken on a life of its own to the exclusion of all those who don't fit the mold (singles, for example). Even President Hinkley's "Six B's" took on an exagerated life of its own. Members would do well to remember Joseph Smith's statement that a prophet is only a prophet when acting as such. Otherwise, he is fallible. A good man surely, but fallible. Some expect us to look at our leadership as infallible, and it isn't so.

  • Dave D Spring Creek, NV
    Dec. 10, 2013 8:53 a.m.

    @gittalopctbi,
    I do not expect the Deseret News to address all my concerns. But as a news organization, I do expect them to be honest. And the paragraph I highlighted is not honest. I have read the statement on the Church's website (not to mention many of the referenced sources) and am pleased with the progress, though even this statement ignores things that ought to be addressed. To try to spin the story so it is the critics who are to blame rather than the leaders and general membership of the Church who actually made these racist statements only gives church members room to persist in believing that our racist past was, somehow, divine. If you truly believe that all are alike unto God, that cannot hold up.

  • Cinci Man FT MITCHELL, KY
    Dec. 10, 2013 9:02 a.m.

    I have read the article about Race and the Priesthood and I am truly impressed that the Church has embraced its history so completely. As a young boy, my parents always taught us that one day blacks would have priesthood privilege equal to others. I always hope it would happen in my lifetime. I served my mission among blacks in the early 70's and my hope grew significantly as I wanted these blessings for families I taught and baptized. There has been much faith required of me in my lifetime, and in this matter, there is no exception. In the grand scheme of things, I believe that whatever trials or limitations we face, man-made or God-given, God will rectify and qualify and justify and glorify all His children through His mercy, justice, love, and perfect plan.

  • desert Potsdam, 00
    Dec. 10, 2013 9:04 a.m.

    Nobody of us is perfect, we are told God is.

    I think what we might overlook here (e.g. church history and priesthood), is that the church, as it is true, needs to depend and rely on revelations to guide it. They have little choice, if things aren't the way we expect them. Not knowing everything about it puts us in the same struggle. That will be hard for people outside of the church to understand. There is no way we can ever overcome this problem, we just have to wait for more restorations to come. Our weakness is the past but more weak is the worthiness of the church to receive more.
    At least we are on the road for it.

  • mattrick78 Cedar City, UT
    Dec. 10, 2013 9:13 a.m.

    "Nothing enables an evolving reality like the internet. Gone are the days when you have to be held to so called truths issued in the past."

    I don't know. The Enlightenment achieved a lot without the Internet.

  • 1aggie SALT LAKE CITY, UT
    Dec. 10, 2013 9:15 a.m.

    This is definitely a start but as Mahalini points out, the basic question of why blacks were denied the priesthood in the first place remains artfully unanswered.

  • Allen Salt Lake valley, UT
    Dec. 10, 2013 9:31 a.m.

    Another viewpoint about the Priesthood that must be considered is policy vs. principle. When Brigham Young declared that blacks could not hold the Priesthood, was he declaring a policy or a principle? Policies change but principles don't. I believe that Brigham Young's statement was a policy not a principle, because Brigham Young taught that the time would come when blacks would hold the priesthood.

    Why did Brigham Young declare a policy about the Priesthood? I don't know. To answer that question, we would have to look at the context of his statement, and we will need help from historians to do that. The revelation of 1978 declared the principle that all worthy men can hold the Priesthood.

    Why did some LDS give reasons why blacks could not hold the Priesthood? I think it is because those LDS felt reasons should be given why the policy was in effect. Since Brigham Young apparently did not explain his policy, some people gave their own reasons about the issue.

    When policies change, it is difficult for many LDS to accept the change. This indicates those members have mistakenly thought certain policies were principles and not policies.

  • Wolfsbane69 ogden, UT
    Dec. 10, 2013 9:41 a.m.

    So the current church is stating that what previous prophets, seers, revelators, apostles taught as doctrine (recieved via revelation from almighty God) was just policy when the first presidency specifically stated it was not policy but official doctrine is not doctrine but policy? So every prophet and apostle from Brigham Young to Spencer Kimball was wrong and taught false doctrine, leading the church astray? but the D&C says God will never allow that to happen. If God allows church leaders to teach false doctrine then how can we trust them? What are current prophets teaching that future prophets will look back on and say "they were speaking as men" or "Thomas S. Monson was a man of his time and was wrong"? Why did God allow false teachings in his church for 150 years?

  • mattrick78 Cedar City, UT
    Dec. 10, 2013 9:54 a.m.

    @1aggie

    At one point only the sons of Aaron could hold the priesthood and then only Jews. In the long run, it all works out

  • sharrona layton, UT
    Dec. 10, 2013 10:11 a.m.

    RE: Allen, Brigham Young declared that blacks could not hold the Priesthood? Policy or principle,

    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, Joseph Fielding Smith.

    In 1978, Brazil was one of the strongest reasons why the ban was lifted. The opening of its new temple in Sao Paulo, the LDS Church was ordaining hundreds of Brazilians to its priesthood. Did the LDS Church ignore Brazilian history? Between 1538 and Brazil's abolition of slavery in 1888, about five million African slaves were brought to that country. Through mixed marriages, Mulattos make up a substantial portion of the Brazilian population. How would the LDS Church possibly know whether or not those being ordained were qualified? With the dedication of this temple only a few months away, it would seem imperative that the church either lift the ban or face the possibility of a public relations nightmare.

    Among the prophets and teachers of the (early) church at Antioch of Syria were Barnabas, Simeon (called the black man, Lucius (from Cyrene)….(Acts 13:1 NLT)

  • Legalize_the_Constitution SOUTH JORDAN, UT
    Dec. 10, 2013 10:17 a.m.

    This is long overdue and the right direction towards more transparency around the history of the church, but it's still not enough. Ever since I started learning that elements of official church history I was taught were not only incomplete, but fictionalized stories in many cases, I have wondered when the church will acknowledge faults of the past and start to define their course for the future. I'm glad it's happening now, albiet slowly.

    As for the new "official" statements on Blacks and the Priesthood, I think the acknowledgement that past doctrines taught by Apostles and Presidents of the church were incorrect, should cause an orthodox believing member to question what other doctrines are potentially incorrect, and when is a "prophet" speaking for the Lord, vs. when is he speaking as a man. These are fundamental questions that have to be raised, and when I started raising them for myself that's when my eyes started to be opened and the faith crisis began for me. I'm still on that journey now, and it's a hard one, much harder than serving a mission or any other challenges I've faced earlier in life.

  • Legalize_the_Constitution SOUTH JORDAN, UT
    Dec. 10, 2013 10:33 a.m.

    @Mahalini
    It seems like God allows us to stumble and fall not only individually, but as a church as well. Bruce R. McConkie who made very racist statements about blacks in Mormon Doctrine, later recanted his earlier beliefs with a statement at a BYU conference where he said, “It doesn’t make a particle of difference what anybody ever said about the Negro matter before the first day of June of this year, 1978. It is a new day and a new arrangement, and the Lord has now given the revelation that sheds light out into the world on this subject. As to any slivers of light or any particles of darkness of the past, we forget about them. We now do what meridian Israel did when the Lord said the gospel should go to the Gentiles. We forget all the statements that limited the gospel to the house of Israel, and we start going to the Gentiles.”

    The church also once taught that polygamy was essential to exaltation in the celestial kingdom. Many doctrines have changed with time, we need to be less dogmatic and also realize that our leaders are fallible humans that make mistakes.

  • JayTee Sandy, UT
    Dec. 10, 2013 10:38 a.m.

    Ultimately, we have to be guided a lot by our own consciences and our own understanding. All organizations are staffed and led by other mortals, and as such are subject to mortal frailties and ideologies. It isn't always popular or acceptable to actually say this in many venues, but it's the absolute truth. As divine beings created by God, we are each given powers of intelligence and understanding, and we only disregard or discount those abilities to our own peril. After all, we're the ones who must personally bear the consequences of whatever we think, feel, or believe . . . so it stands to reason that we should be vigilant in this realm, and act accordingly.

  • Casey See FLOWER MOUND, TX
    Dec. 10, 2013 10:44 a.m.

    Regarding the points that Brigham Young and others who taught that not all men could have the priesthood where wrong.

    Initially the Apostles only went to the Jews. Even Christ himself said he wasn't to go to the Gentiles. In Matt 15:22-27, Christ told the woman of Canaan that he wasn't sent but to the Lost Tribes of Isreal, and she responded that even the dogs eat the crumbs from their master's table.

    For what ever reason, Christ was only to teach in his mortal ministry to the tribes of Isreal. Did that mean he didn't love the Gentiles and Heathens. No, it just means that it wasn't their time.

    The scriptures even say that the first shall be last and the last shall be first. The gospel went to the Jews first, and it will be taught to them last in the latter days.

    For what ever the reason, the Lord didn't need for all to have the Priesthood at the same time in this dispensation. When he needed the gospel to go forth in his timeline, he made sure that the prophet understood that all worthly males should hold the priesthood.

  • Instereo Eureka, UT
    Dec. 10, 2013 10:44 a.m.

    I"m glad the church has issues this explanation about blacks and the priesthood. It takes a lot of faith on the part of the church to lay it all out there because there are now a whole new set of questions to account for like why a prophet say something as a policy yet it be interpreted as a doctrine and then it not being corrected for years by a future prophet because there was confusion about it being a policy or a doctrine or whatever the reason.

    It will be interesting to see how the topic of polygamy will be handled, particularly the practice before the 1852 announcement of the practice when it was practiced long before that date and after the 1890 announcement of it ending when it was practiced after until the little known 1905 second proclamation. Finally how will idea that the first wife had to consent when it's a pretty well established fact that Emma did not consent and in fact fought against it. Which of course this brings about many more complications in the relationship between Emma and Joseph.

    Still I'm glad there is an effort being made to be transparent by the church.

  • happy2BGrandma Pleasant Grove, UT
    Dec. 10, 2013 10:51 a.m.

    Ever growing---always learning. This current increase of information just confirms to me as to the continuing growth of those that lead the LDS Church through inspiration. Great leaders throughout religious history each have a human, opinonated side. Brigham Young did a great deal of good, but unlike the Savior, was not perfect. We all need to express our appreciation to researcher Dean Jessee for the amazing gift he gave us all in telling us the true and remarkable story of Joseph Smith. I believe this was the beginning of the current thought that we are not ashamed of our past. We understand. We've grown up and stopped apologizing.

  • Truthseeker SLO, CA
    Dec. 10, 2013 10:58 a.m.

    "Members of the Church who were considered to be of African descent were restricted from holding the LDS Church's lay priesthood prior to 1978. The reason for the ban is not known. There is no contemporary, first-person account of the ban's implementation. There is no known written revelation instituting the ban. In 1949, the First Presidency, led by President George Albert Smith, indicated that the priesthood ban had been imposed by "direct commandment from the Lord."
    "The attitude of the Church with reference to Negroes remains as it has always stood. It is not a matter of the declaration of a policy but of direct commandment from the Lord, on which is founded the doctrine of the Church from the days of its organization, to the effect that Negroes may become members of the Church but that they are not entitled to the priesthood at the present time.
    —First Presidency statement, August 17, 1949"
    (FairLDS)

  • Grace Bakersfield, CA
    Dec. 10, 2013 11:03 a.m.

    Some serious oxygen deprivation at high altitudes going on here? The Tanners alone have documented changes and accurate historical evidence for over forty years. And what were we told by church leaders re those facts?... Summon up some honesty here, my Beehive brethren.

    Since when is it a "really big and exciting" deal that your ecclesiastical leaders decide to openly deal with controversies almost two centuries after the fact? Even the Vatican dealt with its Nazi sidings within half a century. Why is openly dealing with controversies suddenly such a paradigm shift that it generates uphoria here? I am baffled. My thirty-plus years as a generational Mormon of (proud) heritage saw dealing with our controversies closer to a Vlad Putin's preference for executive order, rather than an open forum for improved understanding.

    All the naval gazing and questioning of past prejudices here are so outside of objective reasoning, not to mention the total Biblical absence of anthing even close to the LDS priesthood. If each successive church prophet never revealed the heavenly reasoning, considering the possibility of man-made authorship is a viable option.

    And that is the conclusion of many of us who left for doctrinal reasons.

  • Pac_Man Pittsburgh, PA
    Dec. 10, 2013 11:04 a.m.

    "This is long overdue and the right direction towards more transparency around the history of the church, but it's still not enough."

    You are right. It is not enough...for some people. Not matter how transparent the Church is about its history, it is doubtful that it will move the needle. People have already made up their mind, and nothing will change it. It has always been that way.

  • Allen Salt Lake valley, UT
    Dec. 10, 2013 11:44 a.m.

    @Sharrona "n 1978, Brazil was one of the strongest reasons why the ban was lifted."

    I don't know if Brazil was one of the reasons why the ban was lifted, but that country certainly benefited, as you have said, by the lifting of the ban. My wife's uncle was the first President of the Temple in Brazil, and he was to have to make the final decision whether or not individuals could enter the Temple. That was a very heavy burden that he didn't relish, and he and his wife were relieved when the ban was lifted. At the time the ban was lifted, there was an active LDS in my ward who was of African descent, and we all rejoiced when we heard about the ban being lifted.

    The comments being made about this article show that it is difficult for most of us to separate policy from principle. Even church leaders, both local and general, have had a difficult time. We all need to recognize that LDS leaders are, as others have said in their comments, not infallible in their decisions and actions, but they are still inspired in their callings.

  • Legalize_the_Constitution SOUTH JORDAN, UT
    Dec. 10, 2013 12:09 p.m.

    @Allen "LDS leaders are, as others have said in their comments, not infallible in their decisions and actions, but they are still inspired in their callings."

    One of the things I believe we need to move away from in the church is the idea that we should always follow our leaders. You say that leaders are inspired in their callings, and I would alter that statement to say that leaders have the right to inspiration, but that because they are fallible and human, they often make mistakes. Some would say that it is better to follow a leader, even if they are doing something wrong, and that somehow God will bless us for that obedience. This is a problem in my mind, and I think we need to speak out about it in the church. I believe we should be individually accountable for doing something morally wrong, even if we were commanded by a leader to do it. Think about the things you are being taught, use wisdom, reason, judgment, prayer and personal inspiration to determine if you believe they are true, and then follow your conviction to do what is right.

  • Henry Drummond San Jose, CA
    Dec. 10, 2013 12:39 p.m.

    You buried the lead Tad.

    1. As someone who is not LDS, I think this new statement on Blacks and the Mormon Priesthood is the most wonderful thing to come from the Church since 1978. It is a bold new move towards healing, reconciliation, and reality. It says God does not consider any of his children to be inferior - and never did. It reaches out the hand of friendship as never before to those who the Church once discriminated against. Calling this statement a "website enhancement" is like calling the Declaration of Independence "a political blog."

    2. By the way, in the 7th graph you state it was anti-Mormons who promoted racial theories as "church doctrine and the basis for a ban on blacks holding the priesthood." I personally heard those theories taught over the public from the highest leaders of the Church. I'll also never forget when an Apostle of the Church who formerly promoted those ideas said, "obviously I was wrong." I sincerely hope you meant to say something else. There is certainly nothing to be gained from such an outrageous statement except to detract from the true Christian Spirit shown in this wonderful gesture by the Church.

  • IsaacsTM Huntingtown, MD
    Dec. 10, 2013 1:44 p.m.

    Wouldn't it be great if the democrats were as open and transparent about their history and support of slavery as the Church is on this particular point of the priesthood? If I were being critical of the Church for its history and used this particular piece of its history to bash the Church or question my faith, and I was at the same time a member or supporter of the democrats, I would have to compare the histories of these two organization with respect to blacks. I would have to leave the democrat party, the party of slavery, immediately when I realized that the democrats have been way way worse then the Church ever was on issues of race. I would have to join the republican party, the party of Lincoln and emancipation, as a matter of principle and consistency.

  • Mendel Iowa City, IA
    Dec. 10, 2013 2:00 p.m.

    @Say No to BO:
    Based on my experience as a former bishop, which carries zero official weight, my answers to your 3 questions are:
    "Are illegal aliens allowed to serve missions without returning home first?" Yes.
    "How do they obtain temple recommends?" By honestly answering the interview questions.
    "Is tax fraud still considered a sin?" I assume so.

    It should be noted that although I issued many temple recommends, I cannot recall ever issuing a recommend to a perfect or sinless person. None of the recommends I issued was ever rescinded by the Stake Presidency. It is amazing to me how much confidence the Church places in the individual judgement, and if you will, inspiration of local priesthood leaders. I issued more than a few recommends to undocumented residents, and I did so prayerfully and with a good conscience. These are some of the most temple-worthy people I know. I also issued temple recommends to people who were working on overcoming sin--I guess that would be about everybody.

  • desert Potsdam, 00
    Dec. 10, 2013 2:06 p.m.

    @ DAVID D

    Look from the eternal perspective of things ?

    "... now it is better that a man should be judged of God than of man, for the judgements of God are ALWAYS just, but the judgements of men are not always just."(Mos 29)

    Each one of a problem was meant to be, if we cannot do anything about it or change the substance thereof. But God does do these things to bless his children, for us hard to comprehend. Only white people thought black to be a problem, Blacks never did.
    After we passed through the veil, we will know that all His works are just.

    I don't think on this historical-web the church is failing, I wonder if they intented this for people to have something to chew on. Because the implications are clear and ground position is set firm.

    God was never racial, the church intentions never either,
    but God will never lose battle on saving his children. Is not repentance our main focus on earth, then so is the Priesthood a means to repent. The Whole have no need for a physician, but the Sick.
    Some day no races no nations, all being one in Christ.

  • mattrick78 Cedar City, UT
    Dec. 10, 2013 2:24 p.m.

    Detractors and naysayers will never be satisfied. Yet they cry for some explanation they claim Church leadership is holding back. Even if they could imagine the worst possible answer, it could not be that much worse than the explanation already offered: the priesthood was withheld from those because of the color of their skin. Its really that simple. Now move on.

  • sharrona layton, UT
    Dec. 10, 2013 3:02 p.m.

    RE: Casey See, For what ever reason, Christ was only to teach in his mortal ministry to the tribes of Israel.

    I ask, didn’t Israel understand? First Moses says, “I will make you jealous by those who are not a nation; with a senseless nation I will provoke you to anger.” And Isaiah is even bold enough to say, “I was found by those who did not seek me; I became well known to those who did not ask for me.”(Roman 10:19-20 NET). Because of Jewish unbelief.

    Jesus went to, “the other sheep” or Gentiles,( in John 10:16). .. I want you to know that God's salvation has been sent to the Gentiles, and they will listen!" Acts 28:28.

    RE: Allen, Priesthood authority? In(D&C 110: 1-16) Elias and Elijah appear to JS, but in the Bible they are the same person. The KJV translators attempted to transliterate Elijah to Elias because there isn’t a Greek character for the English letter J.

    To avoid confusion, modern translations: NIV, NJKV, Catholic Bible have Elijah instead of Elias in(Mt 11:14, Mark 9:12-13; Luke 1:17)JS mis-understood the KJV.

  • Chris B Salt Lake City, UT
    Dec. 10, 2013 3:07 p.m.

    If Mormon prophets say things that are simply not correct, does that mean that God told them something incorrect(since they're speaking for God)

    Or did the prophets simply not understand what God told them? And if so, how does one ever know whether a prophet is truly speaking for God or just claiming he is?

  • JayTee Sandy, UT
    Dec. 10, 2013 3:13 p.m.

    With regard to temple recommends, I know some people who could probably sail right through all the recommend questions--and maybe have. However, they are also some of the most dangerous people on the planet in my opinion, given their avowed ideologies and positions. Some of these folks spend a lot of time in our nation's capitol, and are working busily to overthrow what we have left of a free nation. Scary stuff, but further proof that ecclesiastical edicts, traditions, and even judgments don't always cover the entire gambit of our existence or its ramifications.

  • Thinkman Provo, UT
    Dec. 10, 2013 3:29 p.m.

    1.96,

    There is absolutely no reason that David O McKay had to justify keeping the Priesthood from Blacks and also keeping Temple admittance to black men and women.

    Keeping Blacks or any race of people from having the Priesthood was a vile and racist policy.

    For others as well as 1.96,

    As someone who studied and taught LDS Church history, I hope that the LDS Church realizes that ALL history is useful and necessary to be shared with the public and most especially to LDS Church members.

  • JoeBlow Far East USA, SC
    Dec. 10, 2013 3:49 p.m.

    I see the LDS church doctrine like arguing gravity.

    You can talk all bout how and why, but the apple still falls to the ground.

    With staunch LDS, there us no use in discussing the "warts" because, in the end, there has to be an explanation or reason. And there are usually many, depending on who you ask.

    The key is to pick the one you are comfortable with and move on.

    Isn't it just possible that the MEN who led the church just went with the flow about blacks?
    Maybe there was no reason as to why. Maybe it just seemed like the thing to do.

    And then, with all the uproar in the 60's and 70's, isn't it just possible that a smart leader realized that this could not continue if the church was to grow?

    Same with polygamy. Isn't the most logical explanation as to why it started, the obvious one? And, isn't the reason for the end of polygamy also most likely the logical/obvious one?

    Yes, these could certainly be inspiration from above, but how can one discount the possibility of decisions of plain old mortal men?

  • desert Potsdam, 00
    Dec. 10, 2013 4:10 p.m.

    @ mattrick78

    No the priesthood was not denied because of the color of their skin,
    it was denied because of such claim that those blessings were reserved for future generation of people of such certain tribe and lineage.

    That is a very big difference.

    Also the Lamanites were denied such blessings after times of Moroni, not because of their skin color. The Whiteness referred to in the scriptures is in relation to the spiritual purity of people, not skin color.

    Egypt tried to upheld the old patriarchal system, but was denied. What skin color did they have? Skin color is an indication of blood lineage, it has nothing to do with worthiness.

  • JSB Sugar City, ID
    Dec. 10, 2013 4:19 p.m.

    I wonder if some of the delay in giving the priesthood to blacks didn't have something to do with apartheid in South Africa. Would the church have been placing some of its members at risk if the church changed its policy? Or would it loose recognition? Back in the '60s it was against the law for blacks and whites to go to the same church in South Africa. Perhaps the time for the revelation was related to a softening of South Africa's apartheid policy. Just a thought.

  • Grace Bakersfield, CA
    Dec. 10, 2013 7:27 p.m.

    You can't spin the PC card here. It is what it is and it's documented to the teeth. Reversals on bans or doing a 180 on plural/celestial marriage won't change what every 19th-century LDS prophet said came straight from God (of this world). Lipstick it all you want. We lived it and taught it, cringed while trying to explain it, as The Brethren didn't budge for almost 150 years.

    Black skin was the curse of Cain. Polygamy was/is the Order of Heaven. Coffee, cigarettes and liquor keep you out of the temple, from being sealed for eternity, and from joining The Father and The Son in the Celestial Kingdom.

    The high exodus rate began in the 90's. So now they try to get in front of the caboose? Since the '80's, The Brethren have allocated the debates and apologetics to FAIR, FARMS and BYU profs. They could have simply had a fireside chat with "God's very spokesman" answering any questions. And now with all the technology, they still defer to the pulpit twice a year?

    'White and delightsome' is not pure and delightsome on any level or lipstick.

  • Rikitikitavi Cardston, Alberta
    Dec. 10, 2013 9:08 p.m.

    So let me see if I get this straight: reading many of the above comments tells me that prior to President Kimball, every Prophet was party to a false practice.(including Brigham Young). Sorry people but I reject that notion entirely. I accept that certain explanations had no basis in truth

    Let me see if I get this straight: according to many of the above comments, every Prophet prior to President Kimball was party to a false/erroneous practice vis-a-vis blacks and the Priesthood. Sorry people but I totally reject that notion. I firmly support all Prophets of this dispensation as Prophets, Seers, and Revelators, and that this Church is the Lord's kingdom on the earth. You cannot have it both ways folks..... The Church is true but many Prophets went happily along with false doctrine!!!!. BULLoney! I do not have answers on many things but I say it again BULLoney!!The Savior is in control, He has reasons for things we do not understand.

  • 1.96 Standard Deviations OREM, UT
    Dec. 11, 2013 7:31 a.m.

    Thinkman-

    In the Old Testament, only the tribe of Levi had the priesthood. Christ himself also limited the preaching of the gospel to the Jews and excluded the gentiles for a time. Why? I don't know. God's wisdom is far greater than our own and all things come at the proper time and place. God is merciful and just, and temple work allows for the blessings of the gospel to reach everyone dead or alive.

    President McKay was a prophet of God and His authorized spokesman at that time. This prophet of God did not feel impressed to lift the ban at that time after pleading with God. God's wisdom is far greater than our own and all things come at the proper time and place. Have faith that God is merciful and just.

  • 1aggie SALT LAKE CITY, UT
    Dec. 11, 2013 8:31 a.m.

    Excuse me people, but it was pointed out above that the First Presidency in 1949 issued the following statement confirming that the ban was DOCTRINE:

    "It is not a matter of the declaration of a policy but of direct commandment from the Lord, on which is founded the doctrine of the Church from the days of its organization, to the effect that Negroes may become members of the Church but that they are not entitled to the priesthood at the present time.
    —First Presidency statement, August 17, 1949"

    Why is this very clear and all-important declaration not even mentioned on the website? Seems like the usual whitewashing is going on to me.

  • Brahmabull sandy, ut
    Dec. 11, 2013 9:10 a.m.

    To those claiming the priesthood ban was policy and not doctrine...

    "From the days of the Prophet Joseph Smith even until now, it has been the doctrine of the Church, never questioned by Church leaders, that the Negroes are not entitled to the full blessings of the Gospel." (Statement of The First Presidency on the Negro Question, July 17 1947, quoted in Mormonism and the Negro, pp.46-7)

    "The attitude of the Church with reference to Negroes remains as it has always stood. It is not a matter of the declaration of a policy but of direct commandment from the Lord, on which is founded the doctrine of the Church from the days of its organization, to the effect that Negroes may become members of the Church but that they are not entitled to the priesthood at the present time." (The First Presidency on the Negro Question, 17 Aug. 1949)

    It is clear that if the highest members of the church, the first presidency say that it is doctrine, the it was doctrine. They claimed it was a direct revelation from the lord. So now, were they wrong with that revelation?

  • metatron Mount Laurel, NJ
    Dec. 11, 2013 10:18 a.m.

    The racism taught as doctrine in the July 17, 1947 letter by the First Presidency to Dr. Lowry Nelson, was a tentacle of the apostasy that held on after the restoration, and polluted the minds of the Lord's anointed. Lucifer himself was the origin of these folk doctrines, and he sought to destroy the church by whispering lies in the ears of the prophets through the years to prevent the elect, foreordained for leadership, faithful African people of the earth from receiving blessings. God was not the source of the doctrines. Lucifer took pride that he was able to thrash prophets in this way just as he laughed with glee when Mark Hoffman deceived prophets with his forgeries. It is a time for tears that it took so long for the voice of the Lord to be heard. Also a time for joy that we can move on into the future and let the scars preserve for us a remembrance of the glimmers of hope that have emerged.

  • metatron Mount Laurel, NJ
    Dec. 11, 2013 10:48 a.m.

    Footnotes, or editor notes will need to be
    added disavowing the following scriptures:
    1) 2 Nephi 5:21 "Lord God did cause a skin of blackness to come upon them."
    2) Alma 3:6
    3) 3 Nephi 2:15
    4) Jacob 3:8-9
    5) Moses 7:22 "for the seed of Cain were black, and had not place among them."
    6) JST Genesis 7:10
    7) JST Genesis 7:29 "for the seed of Cain were black, and had not place among them."

  • JoeBlow Far East USA, SC
    Dec. 11, 2013 11:05 a.m.

    "and he sought to destroy the church by whispering lies in the ears of the prophets "

    My earlier point exactly.

    But then, that brings us to another conundrum.

    You are claiming that the Profits were all led astray concerning blacks and the priesthood.
    So, you are suggesting that the profits can be led astray and present incorrect teachings?
    How often do you think that happens. When will it happen next. Was the introduction of Polygamy also wrong and "wispered" by "Lucifer himself"?

    I will give it to you. While it was creative, these attempts to justify past issues create more confusion and problems than they explain.

  • Brahmabull sandy, ut
    Dec. 11, 2013 11:12 a.m.

    metatron

    Nice. So gods own anointed, who supposedly communicate and get revelation from god directly, couldn't tell that this "doctrine" was coming from satan? If so, then we can never trust that the revelations came from god... The Doctrine and Covenants states that a prophet can never lead the church astray... Revelations from the devil would be considered leading astray

  • raybies Layton, UT
    Dec. 11, 2013 12:21 p.m.

    Interesting discussion. I am a little disappointed. I think it'd be easier if the church identified racist doctrines outright, rather than explaining policy vrs doctrine. I honestly don't have a problem respecting prophets who endorsed racist viewpoints. We all have weaknesses. I can feel the promptings of the Holy Ghost regarding their teachings. With the curriculum program of the church doing so much work to present the teachings of prophets of old for relevance today, I'd think we could weather the claim.

    The problem is the potential to imply that anything a prophet says is just his bias rather than relevation. I suspect that our leaders sometimes receive promptings, and even in attempting to put such promptings into words of instruction for the general membership they aren't entirely sure they've managed to communicate what God wanted communicated. It's the same fear Moroni feared when he worried about "the mistakes of men".

    But we should be able to cope with that. Perhaps that's one of the greatest tests we face as a membership is the need to think for ourselves, rather than place the onus of infallibility on our leadership.

  • metatron Mount Laurel, NJ
    Dec. 11, 2013 1:21 p.m.

    - 1.96
    I had to respond to this idea that, "only the tribe of Levi had the priesthood". This is not correct, as it is stated in Psalms 110, "Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek." There were plenty of non-levite priests in the Old Testament;
    - Gideon - built an altar and performed sacrificial rites and he was of the tribe of Manasseh.
    - Minoah - the father of Sampson who was of the tribe of Dan performed sacrificial priesthood rites.
    - Elkenah - Father of Samuel was of the tribe of Ephraim and he held the priesthood.
    - David's sons - Tribe of judah were ordained priests 2 Samuel 8:18 they held offices in the priesthood, then we have the book of Mormon:
    Lehi - Tribe of Manasseh, Nephi, Jacob, Alma, etc. held the priesthood in the old testament.
    To be of Christ and an heir is to hold priesthood power, Galatians 3:29 "If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise."

  • metatron Mount Laurel, NJ
    Dec. 11, 2013 1:33 p.m.

    DNA analysis shows that the some Africans such as descendants of the Falashic, and Lemba of Ethiopia and Zimbabwe have a legal right to the priesthood as y-chromosomal tests have verified that a line of males carry the cohen modal haplotype. After entering the waters of baptism, and entering the "new and an everlasting covenant" DCov 22,

    DandCov 68:16,18
    DandCov 107:16,76
    "But a literal descendant of Aaron has a legal right to the presidency of this priesthood, to the keys of this ministry"

  • Rikitikitavi Cardston, Alberta
    Dec. 11, 2013 3:22 p.m.

    Many comments above are from folks who have no testimony of the Restored Church. Your words are now and have been for years simply a re-hash of the malarkey we have heard from you all along. Don't waste your time and mine as I have come to realize just from your name here that your words merit ZERO of my time. If all you have is the Bible then you are part of the 39,000 so-called Christian denominations. Where is God at this moment? Where is his Only Begotten, Jesus Christ at this moment? They sure have been quiet for 2000 years. NO ...WAIT...living Prophets actually walk the earth AND speak for the Savior Himself! The most senior Prophet is none other than President Thomas S. Monson. There is daily proof around the globe of the divinity of the Lord's Restored Gospel. For those who humbly follow Him, His hand is manifest in boundless tender mercies and mighty miracles. I have personally felt his influence in my own life and will testify to His suffering for me in Gethsemane and on Golgotha on the cross.

  • John Pack Lambert of Michigan Ypsilanti, MI
    Dec. 11, 2013 3:54 p.m.

    I have to say I am quite encouraged by the page on "Race and the Priesthood", and wish it had been published many years ago. On the other hand, I am not sure anything there is new, just a little more officially from the Church. Spencer W. Kimball said in a 1956 BYU speech "Inter-racial marriage is no sin." However I am glad to see this idea directly and pointedly attacked. While serving a mission in Nevada in 2000-2002 I knew Church members who rated inter-racial dating as a very high level sin. I found such views very disturbing and racist.

    Elder McConkie denounced all pre-1978 attempts to explain the status of blacks and the priesthood by himself and others in August 1978. Unfortunatly as a talk to CES teachers it was not widely available, and his book that perpetrated some of the very misinformation that he denounced continued in print for many years after that.

    Elders Holland and Oaks denounced the attempted explantions in their interview for the PBS special "Mormons", but I will admit this is the most upfront the church has been. I applaud this.

  • John Pack Lambert of Michigan Ypsilanti, MI
    Dec. 11, 2013 4:01 p.m.

    The most intriguing thing I find in the new statement on race is that the very place where Brigham Young seems to have announced the race restriction on the priesthood he said that at some future point people of African descent would receive "all the privaleges and more" then available to church members. This seems to be from recently transcribed speeches given by Brigham Young, and seems to add a different nuance to his views.

  • desert Potsdam, 00
    Dec. 11, 2013 4:11 p.m.

    Early statements by the church show clearly that this is a very uneasy situation, and this present historical work out also.

    The church should be a All-loving, Christ-like institution having no argue to other matters.

    However, the brethren cannot circum-talk reality as of being the Lord's church.
    If they felt it was withheld from the African people, they could do no otherwise but hope explanations would come, not clear enough until today.

    "Our living prophet, President David O. McKay, has said, "The seeming discrimination by the Church toward the Negro is not something which originated with man; but goes back into the beginning with God...."

    The history of bibel times tells us much about strong unpopular revelations, we just are used to pick the good stuff. I am glad that this stupid polygamy stuff left us, I am glad Africa is one of the strongest in church progress today.

    In my personal opinion, the Lord did his atoning work , He wants people to be saved. The road toward salvation of all men, is a huge project, and we need to wait on Him.
    However, this issue will not come back and haunt us again.

  • sharrona layton, UT
    Dec. 11, 2013 6:41 p.m.

    RE: 96 Standard Deviations , only the tribe of Levi had the priesthood.

    The Aaronic or Levitical priesthood ended with the death of Christ. The entire function ,and the term Cohen means, ’one who stands up for another, and mediate the cause.” Before the *Great Sacrifice ,the priest had to stand in the gap for the people and offer animal sacrifices. Do Mormons still carry out this function. No! Therefore their office is insignificant.

    Christ is a priest forever after "the order of Melchisedec," Hebrews 5:6.

    It’s clear in Hebrews 7:24 that the priesthood held by Christ is unchangeable and does not transfer to another since He lives forever.

    An important principle to Luther and the Reformation was “the priesthood of all believers.” (i.e)”
    But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God's special possession(peculiar), that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.(1 Peter 2:9 NIV).

    RE: Rikitikitavi, Gethsemane, Luke 22:43–44 is absent from the oldest papyrus and MS of Luke.. Catholic Bishops conference and modern translations agree.

    @ Desert, See History of the Church, Volume 5, pages 218-219

  • PBradley Sydney Australia, 00
    Dec. 11, 2013 7:23 p.m.

    The new section on race and the priesthood is well written and very welcome. I think it could be somewhat more explicit, though. In Matthew 10:5, the Lord tells his disciples to not go into "any city of the Samaritans". Since Christ was not racist, it can only be because Jewish converts would have split the early Church asunder if they had been required to sit alongside Samaritan converts in Christian meeting places. Who was 'unworthy' in this instance - the Jewish converts, of course.

    Take the logical leap forward to the nascent restored Church in the 19th and 20th Centuries in America. Had white LDS converts been required to sit alongside black converts, it would have been the cause of great divisions in the Church that Joseph Smith and subsequent prophets were establishing under God's direction. So, bottom line, who were the 'unworthy' ones in the 19th and 20 Centuries? Certainly not the blacks. It would have been the whites because of the endemic racism in the broader white community of the time.

    So, perhaps there were some God-inspired reasons for the priesthood ban, even though some of the early Brethren misinterpreted why it was occurring.

  • ThinksIThink SEATTLE, WA
    Dec. 11, 2013 10:39 p.m.

    Thirty years ago I was a nineteen year old kid living in Salt Lake City. I tried to tell my LDS friends that there was no mark of cain on African Americans, I tried to tell them that it was absolutely false that blacks were less valiant in the pre-existence. I defended myself vigorously as my LDS friends insisted the ban on blacks holding the priesthood was in fact god's will.

    Now, thirty years later the LDS church leaders are finally saying what I said as a teenager. Part of me wants to get in touch with those friends and ask them how I knew these truths as a teenager but their own leaders didn't reach the same conclusion for decades.

  • cjb Bountiful, UT
    Dec. 11, 2013 11:31 p.m.

    It was never true that leaders of God's church couldn't lead the church astray. It happened with the Jews, (Their leadership at the time caused that people to reject their own Messiah). The early Christian church devolved and brought us the inquisition wherein people were tortured to death for not adhering to church doctrine.

    Yes God does grant churches that he has established the freedom to stray, and their respective leadership was highly involved in this straying.

    Rather than claim they are somehow different and can't be lead astray, which has been proven false for churches past and now for the LDS church, ... pray and ask for the members to pray for you that you don't do it.

    This claim along with the immoral stands the church has at times adopted, has caused LDS to throw reason and conscience out the window, dumbing them down.

    Pride cometh before a fall.

  • A Scientist Provo, UT
    Dec. 12, 2013 3:22 a.m.

    I invite all questioning believers to consider the theological position of the nonbelievers: we have never been led astray by our leaders (we don't have any to whom we defer).

  • sharrona layton, UT
    Dec. 12, 2013 7:46 a.m.

    @96 Standard Deviations , only the tribe of Levi had the priesthood.

    The Aaronic or Levitical priesthood ended with the death of Christ. The entire function ,and the term Cohen means, ’one who stands up for another, and mediate the cause.” Before the *Great Sacrifice ,the priest had to stand in the gap for the people and offer animal sacrifices. Do Mormons still carry out this function. No! Therefore their office is insignificant.

    Christ is a priest forever after "the order of Melchisedec," Hebrews 5:6 . It’s clear in Hebrews 7:24 that the priesthood held by Christ is unchangeable and does not transfer to another since He lives forever.

    An important principle to Luther and the Reformation was “the priesthood of all believers.” (i.e)”

    But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God's special possession(peculiar), that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.(1 Peter 2:9 NIV)

    RE: Rikitikitavi, Gethsemane, Luke 22:43–44 is absent from the oldest papyrus and MS of Luke.. Catholic Bishops conference and modern translations agree.

    @ Desert, See, History of the Church, Volume 5, pages 218-219

  • happy2bhere clearfield, UT
    Dec. 12, 2013 8:00 a.m.

    I have thought that the ban on blacks had much to do with the times America was living in. In those days black people were not even considered a full person. Hatred of blacks was so intense that it would spill over to even white people who were known to help blacks. The Church was going through its own period of being hated and I suspect that the last thing they needed at the time was to be seen as a black accepting church. As we know members of the early Church were killed and run out of town all the way to what is now Utah. Mormons were hated enough as it was, the addition of having the racist hatred added to them was probably a burden they didn't need. It doesn't make it right, but in those days I suspect many members were very afraid of the world around them and what was going to happen. I only wish the ban had been lifted sooner than 1978. I was glad to see a black Bishop while I was on my mission in England in 1982.

  • JoeBlow Far East USA, SC
    Dec. 12, 2013 8:36 a.m.

    "I have thought that the ban on blacks had much to do with the times America was living in. In those days black people were not even considered a full person. Hatred of blacks was so intense that it would spill over to even white people who were known to help blacks."

    Yes, all that is true.

    But, come on. Sincerely think about it. Dont you think that if there were guidance from above, it would have been " Yes, I know this will be difficult, but these are all my people and should be treated the same"

    The way it was handled certainly looks to be the decisions of smart mortal men based on the times. That is the most likely scenario.

  • cjb Bountiful, UT
    Dec. 12, 2013 9:18 a.m.

    Is there a place one can go to in order to determine if a pronouncement is policy or doctrine? Is there a website? It would have been nice to know all this back in the day.

  • Brahmabull sandy, ut
    Dec. 12, 2013 9:35 a.m.

    Rikitikitavi

    Prophets don't speak for christ. They are just men, speaking for themselves. If they were speaking for christ I don't think they would get so many things wrong and have to correct them later.

  • Don$1000 Salt Lake City, UT
    Dec. 12, 2013 10:37 a.m.

    Basic doctrine taught in years past seems to have been whitewashed away, particularly by the LDS web teams. Now we only get taught the kiddy, supernatural, or politically correct versions with almost total neglect for the inspired teachings and symbolism behind the Scriptures and Temple. Who can be enthusiastic for a religion whose watered-down teachings and interaction with the world come from its PA, legal departments, and web teams than actual leaders who should understand the symbolism and are supposedly holy and annointed. If men in their last act of life can't make decisions without a legal team, public affairs team, marketing teams, web teams, and a host of nepotistic Ivy League intellectuals, then where is there any room for God or divine inspiration in any of this? Today's Church sounds like the church Isaiah described. "Where are the strong men, where are the wise men, where are the prophets, where are the mothers, where are the virtuous women who don't shop at City Creek or Station Park malls and drive fancy SUVs?"

  • happy2bhere clearfield, UT
    Dec. 12, 2013 10:52 a.m.

    JoeBlow

    Well, maybe there was no Red Sea for the Lord to part to save his people. Could be that since the LDS Church was so new, and vulnerable, he saw that it would have been totally destroyed before it ever had a chance to run west and establish itself. The Lord does work in ways that we don't often see or understand. After all, he could use his power to do a lot of things to help, but doesn't. Free agency still had to be allowed to rule the day. Both on the side of good as well as evil. Sometimes the Lord steps in when absolutely necessary, and sometimes, (usually in my opinion) he lets human free agency take place. After all, there can be no fair judgement of any person who did not have a choice to do good or evil. The persecutors of the black people will be held accountable in the end. That I have faith in. And some of them may have been LDS at the time.

  • Thinkman Provo, UT
    Dec. 12, 2013 2:09 p.m.

    happy2bhere,

    It is OK to just admit that the doctrine was racist.

    There are no mind gymnastics, no conjectures, no theories needed to just come to the very simple and correct conclusion that keeping the Priesthood from Blacks was racist.

    The men who run and manage and lead the LDS church are just that: men

    They have no special calling, or authority that either you or I have to speak for God other than they just take it to be the center of their lives.

    It is too bad that the LDS Church is just now finally admitting that the doctrine was wrong in the first place.

  • Kimber Salt Lake City, UT
    Dec. 12, 2013 4:56 p.m.

    I love people who can question and so I'm so happy to participate on here. I have had questions such as this since I was a little girl and am so glad to see them in print. I believe that people are coming face to face with the fact that I figured out about "realization" on many things (rather than revelation) as many want to believe in. God Bless!

  • FelisConcolor North Salt Lake, UT
    Dec. 13, 2013 9:48 a.m.

    That thumping sound you hear is Brigham Young being thrown under the bus....

  • Thinkman Provo, UT
    Dec. 13, 2013 10:30 a.m.

    I want to applaud the Deseret News for allowing comments and insights that may not support or endorse everything the LDS church does.

    Keep this forum more open to dissenting, yet respectful views! If you do, your readership and exposure will only increase.

  • Charles S Freedomville, AZ
    Dec. 13, 2013 11:59 a.m.

    "Thinkman Provo, UT

    It is OK to just admit that the doctrine was racist."

    What specifically was racist about the doctine?

    I reject the rest of you post completely. No one needs to make any apologies for the ban on the prieshood. And no one needs to come to any conclusion that Joseph Smith or any of the other prophets were incorrect until the lift in 1978.

    Every prophet and apostle who is living or who has lived is a spokesman for Christ. Undeniable. Yes, they are men, but they are men called of God to lead the world back to Christ.

    You do not have to believe or accept this for it to be true.

    RE the critics outside and within the church, no amount of information on any issue they deem contriversial or wrong will ever suffice.

  • Wastintime Los Angeles, CA
    Dec. 13, 2013 1:29 p.m.

    I think it's very interesting that in the website discussion, the Church goes into much discussion regarding the racial culture in America (even with a major section of the discussing titled "The Church in an American Racial Culture"). Why is this necessary? In fact, what does America's racial culture have to do at all with whether Blacks should have been allowed or not allowed to hold the priesthood in a church with living prophets and God at the head?

    I'm curious what others think.

  • The Caravan Moves On Enid, OK
    Dec. 13, 2013 5:29 p.m.

    Regarding blacks and the pre-1978 ban on Priesthood ordination:

    It is a documented fact that Joseph Smith ordained at least a few black men to the Priesthood.

    However, let's look at some other facts....

    1 - The priesthood is literally the power and authority of God.

    2 - Joseph Smith's day, and afterwards for many generations, was a time of great oppression of blacks; ranging from slavery in the 1800s to organized lynchings in the 1930s-60s in which those sworn to uphold the law often turned a blind eye to violence and murder.

    Now.....what do you think would have happened if a black man (who, at worst, was a legal slave or, at best, was a 'free' man on paper but one who was still oppressed, badgered and beaten 'under the table') declared to a white person (especially a white male) that they (a black man) held the very "power and authority of God"?

    What do you think would have happened to them?

    I'll give you a hint: it likely would not have been a cordial discussion between the white person and the black Priesthood holder.

    So perhaps blacks not holding the Prieshtood (momentarily) was for their own protection?

  • Truthseeker SLO, CA
    Dec. 14, 2013 10:45 a.m.

    Re:Caravan
    "It is a documented fact that Joseph Smith ordained at least a few black men to the Priesthood."
    "So perhaps blacks not holding the Prieshtood (momentarily) was for their own protection?"

    ?????

    Doesn't make sense at all, especially when the church relocated to UT.
    Also ignores the many years the ban persisted after the Civil Rights Act.

    This issue raises many troubling and conflicting messages and pronouncements coming from leaders.

  • Homer1 MIDVALE, UT
    Dec. 14, 2013 12:26 p.m.

    The idea that the church has nothing to apologize for is just "infallibility" under a different light. We are all (even as a group of believers) just humans engaged in the awesome task of living--by that I mean making mistakes, taking risks, looking through the glass darkly, etc. It may be that the notion of apologizing as the first step in repentance is uncomfortable and we avoid that discomfort by thinking the institution is above that, or that God would never let the institution be human or weak or "fallible". Both of those hopes are ways to absolve us from any responsibility for this racism, and yet, it is that ability to choose and be responsible for our choices that will help us grow into what we are meant to be. Repentance is required even from the Chosen People. And I disagree that it's done on the Lord's time.

  • Wastintime Los Angeles, CA
    Dec. 14, 2013 3:20 p.m.

    An apology to black members and the entire membership is in order. Simply updating a webpage will not do.

  • A Scientist Provo, UT
    Dec. 14, 2013 5:28 p.m.

    When Catholic or Protestant Church leaders made mistakes, Mormons called it "the Great Apostasy". But when Mormon leaders made mistakes, Mormons either deny it and cover it up in order to maintain the illusion of "infallibility" (the Brethren will NEVER lead you astray. God would remove them before he would allow that), or they begrudgingly admit that "God works through imperfect, fallible men" -- just, apparently NOT Catholic, Protestant, and other imperfect, fallible men, right?

    When Catholic history records that Apostles were killed and Church authority rested in Councils of "imperfect" Bishops, Mormons cry "Apostasy!", but when Joseph Smith dies without establishing clear succession of authority, Mormons declare some supernatural, questionable event by Brigham Young to justify succession of authority.

    When Protestant and Catholic leaders changed doctrine or rituals, Mormons attack: "See the Apostasy!" But when Mormon scriptures have "white and delight some" changed to "pure and delight some", and other scriptures and endowments are changed, it is "continuing revelation".

    When Catholic Popes condemn and apologize for racist or doctrinally errant statements of past Leaders, Mormons claim it confirms the Apostate Catholic Church. But Mormon leaders' not apologizing is "faith-affirming?

  • John Pack Lambert of Michigan Ypsilanti, MI
    Dec. 14, 2013 8:12 p.m.

    I think people have to accept that there is ambiguity about why the ban was in place. We do not understand when exactly it was put in place, but we do have evidence that it was not enforced on those already ordained and that some men of known African descent were ordained after the ban was put in place.

    I doubt we will ever understand why in this life. I have to side with those who think the ban was against God's will, but he allowed it because in his wisdom he saw its continuance as less disruptive. I have known African-American members alive during the ban who had ideas on the ban that seemed to imply they thought it had positive effects on the Church. However since one of the theories I have heard ignores the fact that the Catholic Church was able to operate as a multi-racial institution in the US, although with few African-Americans outside of Louisiana and Baltimore before 1970, I am not sure their arguments work either.

    We do not know why it started and we do not know why the Lord did not bring about its ending sooner.

  • John Pack Lambert of Michigan Ypsilanti, MI
    Dec. 14, 2013 8:17 p.m.

    For what it is worth the importance of families is not a 1970s PR campaign. It is a direct result of Doctrine and Covenants section 131 among other revelations. The current emphasis on familes is actually a result of the "Proclamation on the Family".

    On the other hand, the 1970s actually see the church for the first time actually start to try and organize programs for singles. Harold B. Lee who had spent some time as a widower was one of the key people pushing for that.

    "Every member a missionary" may be a statement of David O. McKay, but the Doctrine and Covenants say "It becometh every man who has been warned to warn his neighbor". It is actually the attempts to delegate missionary work to a special class of people that is out of line with the doctrine, not the notion that we all have a duty to share the gospel.

  • Wastintime Los Angeles, CA
    Dec. 15, 2013 8:59 a.m.

    @John Pack Lambert of Michigan

    " I have to side with those who think the ban was against God's will, but he allowed it because in his wisdom he saw its continuance as less disruptive. "

    So the God who created this and countless other worlds, who reins down hurricanes and tsunamis, who destroyed Sodom, Gomorah, and other wicked cities, allowed this practice, which was against his will, to continue because to end it at anytime prior to a decade after the Civil Rights Act passed would have be "disruptive"? ThIs is the most amusing thing I've read in a long time.

  • Oatmeal Woods Cross, UT
    Dec. 18, 2013 1:01 p.m.

    Whoever thought that prophets were perfect, inerrant and always said what God had in mind have failed to read the Old Testament.

  • Icthru U redland, OR
    Dec. 19, 2013 1:25 a.m.

    I have never read in church doctrine or in history in general, where it was deemed that whites, at the time of the restoration, lived in a culture of "great priveledge". does the author have any examples to back this sweeping generality ? In fact MANY white people arrived in this new world as indentured servants. Read Benjamin Franklin's history. He worked as a slave for about seven years or so.I am not saying indentured service was the same as slavery, but, Great Priveledge? define that please. this is probably better discussed in morman circles but there are many comments about the new Official response to blacks and the withholding of the priesthood.

  • Commodore West Jordan, UT
    Dec. 20, 2013 8:22 a.m.

    @ Raybes

    You said, " But we should be able to cope with that. Perhaps that's one of the greatest tests we face as a membership is the need to think for ourselves, rather than place the onus of infallibility on our leadership."

    This is an incredibly difficult position to be in. To be in a state contrary to those in authority in the Church may end up getting you excommunicated. If one of those in authority is in fact acting as a man, he will not get excommunicated.....but you will. That is an extremely precarious situation to find your self.

    My difficulty lies in the fact that we are:
    1. Told to think for ourselves and pray about it
    2. Follow the prophet, he won't lead you astray
    3. You will get excommunicated if you publicly disagree with the decision of the current prophet
    4. Statements of past prophets can be commented on by current prophets and called policy, instead of doctrine.
    5. A prophet is only a prophet when acting as such.

    Do you see some serious issues with this list?

  • Searching for Truth USA, UT
    Dec. 18, 2014 11:00 p.m.

    It is great to see the church addressing some of these issues. I appreciate the proactive approach. They are right on point with their assumption that anything short of full disclosure appears devious. The next step is fiscal disclosure. I feel like I'm not the only one who is interested in more information. There are places in the world, including Canada, where it is required to disclose. Why not be open about it? Thoughts?