Talk:The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints/Archive 7
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No racial discrimination under Joseph Smith
Can we get a cite for the part about blacks being ordained to the priesthood during Joseph Smith's lifetime? Aranhamo 16:03, 24 April 2006 (UTC)
Go through the entry on Elijah Abel, a Black man who escaped slavery, was ordained to the priesthood and became a general authority. There are many references about him in church history sources.
- Reaverdrop 18:18, 24 April 2006 (UTC) 
Off topic discussion
I propose from here to the end of this section be refactored (i.e. moved to an archive) as not helping improve the article. - unsigned by User:Trodel
Off topic discussion moved from here to User_talk:Reaverdrop#Relocated_off-topic_discussion_on_race_and_the_LDS_Church, unless there are any objections. - Reaverdrop 18:28, 28 April 2006 (UTC)
Also moved to Talk:Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints/Archive 7 -Visorstuff 18:52, 28 April 2006 (UTC)
Interesting side note - in the same talk where Brigham Young explains that no one with a drop of African blood can be ordained to the priesthood, he also says the same thing about Jews - and then points out a Jewish member of the audience and says he was able to receive the priesthood because God transformed his blood when he converted - so he no longer had a drop of Jewish blood. Too bad he didn't stick with that idea for Blacks too. He also said any priesthood holder who "mixes his seed" with a Black woman would drop dead on the spot.
Even though the Church repealed the doctrine of racial discrimination in 1978, they did so with no more rationale than the equivalent of "hey look, there's Elvis". That lack of explanation has resulted in many Church members today being led to adopt discriminatory feelings from trying to make sense of the historical doctrine with faith that the prophets could do no wrong. In the vacuum of official comment on it, what reasoned explanation is there? The Church will continue to be responsible for ongoing moral damage until the president of the church gets up in General Conference and says that Brigham Young sinned in denying priesthood based on race, and that all the church authorities until Spencer W. Kimball perpetuated that sin.
And they know they should, because they sent Bruce R. McConkie on tour to reinforce the rescindment by admitting that he had been all wrong in the explanations he had taught for the discriminatory doctrine. Having only one apostle actually admit he had been wrong though was too little an effort for real restitution.
- Reaverdrop 18:47, 24 April 2006 (UTC)
You may want to read the history of this issue more, Reaverdrop. It seems that since the 1890s the brethren weren't sure if it was a revelation or if it was simply a policy. Because of that one dispute for which there is no evidence of either way, the church will probably never officially offer an apology for this. How can they offer an apology if it was instituted by the Lord? There is a conundrum of this, and naturalistic historians would see it as a man-made policy, but if church leaders are unsure (or until more documents come to light on the matter) we'll not see it in our day. Was it racist? Yes - by today's standards. But God has a history of racist practices that we as humans don't understand or try to explain away - whether it is wiping out entire groups of people, or allowing entire ethnicities to be destroyed. That's just how he decided to do some things, or if you are a naturalistic historian, that's survival of the fittest. Not a church teaching I'm a fan of, but there's not a lot we can do until more documents come to light. -Visorstuff 23:03, 24 April 2006 (UTC)
- Well, if the Brethren felt at any time that it had just been a policy from the beginning, they would also have recognized their complete freedom to change it. And it seems like anyone who argued that it was revelation would have had to explain why it obviously was not recognized by Joseph Smith throughout his lifetime - and why a revelation of such magnitude, as one that categorically denies exaltation to a segment of the human race, and thereby would frustrate God's work and glory, would not have been unambiguously reported and recorded in the first place.
- I suppose it depends entirely on perspective. If one happens to believe that the Church only abandoned doctrinal racism in 1978 after relentless moral pressure from the outside world, which they finally managed to convince themselves coincided with a message from God - then one can hope that they will accomplish the additional moral progress needed to convince themselves that God wants them to admit it was a mistake in the first place - doubtless a mistaken policy, rather than a mistaken doctrine - and thereby serve as a force for the moral betterment of those who revere them as god's mouthpieces, who otherwise allow their faith to lead them to accept that treating an entire racial group as spiritually inferior, or even that wiping out entire groups of people or allowing entire ethnicities to be destroyed, may sometimes be mysteriously in accord with the will of God, rather than crimes against humanity without exception. - Reaverdrop 23:35, 24 April 2006 (UTC)
- When God gets around to it, it would be nice if an apology was given for keeping all the other tribes from possessing the Levitical priesthood. That was even more unusal than being racist. You could not even tell the difference but one tribe could officiate in priesthood positions and no one else was entitled to the same positions. You can imagine all the people that longed to officiate and yet God turned a cold shoulder to their pleas, not for a few decades, but for thousands of years.
- Reaver, you attempt to speak from a position of "knowing" what is so. Most believers of Christ operate from a position of "I don't know everything and some things I have to take on faith." It is not much condolance for the committed sceptic, but living by faith is not for everyone. Storm Rider (talk) 00:53, 25 April 2006 (UTC)
Reaverdrop, I'm sorry, I think you missed my point. Just prior to his death, Smith apparently instructed the Anointed Quorum not to ordain blacks to the priesthood. At the time, he was setting policy, giving revelations, and many other instructions that were not clarified due to his death. The brethren did not know if the teaching was policy relating to the presidential campaign, relating to the prophesy on war, relating to issues with the Utah migration, relating to revelation from God. Wilford Woodruff was asked if a black polygamous wife could be sealed to her husband in the temple. He responded that he didn't know if the teaching was a doctrine or policy, and that God didn't clarify with him at the time. Later, JFSmith was asked similar, and gave a similar reponse. These brethren believed and knew that it was a teaching of Smith's, but didn't know if it was given as a one-time instruction or as a general doctrinal revelation. Thus each president of the church since Woodruff prayed about it. The most publicized is David McKay's when he said "Well, I've inquired of the Lord repeatedly. The last time I did it was late last night. I was told, with no discussion, not to bring the subject up with the Lord again; that the time will come, but it will not be my time, and to leave the subject alone..." . There was heated discussion about presedence set by Smith previously ordaining, so it wasn't completely prohibited, but then there was discussion and evidence set forth as to why the prohibition would have been delayed. It is a complicated issue of policy versus revelation. - and to the brethren who were believers in Smith, they waited for a revelation to come on the matter. If you don't believe they receive revelation, then you should expect an apology. But that is the issue.
Incidentally, it was only six years earlier (1972) that baptist conferences voted to allow blacks similar privelges. That is hardly after years of "relentless moral pressure from the outside world" - especially as there were groups that changed their policies after the Mormon church. As has been stated elsewhere on wikipedia, the issue is that for Mormons the answer came, not by vote and popular opinions, but by revelation though a prophet.
Finally you wrote: :"that treating an entire racial group as spiritually inferior, or even that wiping out entire groups of people or allowing entire ethnicities to be destroyed, may sometimes be mysteriously in accord with the will of God, rather than crimes against humanity without exception." Again, tell this to Joshua, Caleb and the Canaanites. Tell this to the Anti-duluvians, the Jewish babylonians or assyrian survivors, the folks from Sodom, the folks from Samaria, the Philistines, the folks that David destroyed, the Jews after Jesus death, - all under the direction, instruction or approval of God. God is not an assasin, but he does things for a reason. And those who believe in him accept that he may have to do things that we may not agree with. Lot and Abraham didn't agree at first with His destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, but they accepted it. The issue is much more complicated than you seem to be so absolute on. There are few absolutes in the world. -Visorstuff 01:55, 25 April 2006 (UTC)
- The issue is "complicated" as in genocidal campaigns, racial discrimination, and other prima facie evil acts have to be considered potentially justifiable if you accept the literal reality of the God of either the Old Testament and/or the Book of Mormon. But just asserting that there are few absolutes in the world is a pretty bland and unresponsive way of equivocating over the moral acceptibility of genocide. You have to accept an argument along the lines of, a whole society was evil enough that only by exterminating it entirely can the evil be stopped from perpetuating. In our day, it is only sick thugs like Joseph Kony and Ratko Mladić who apply that idea in practice, and if their stories are accepted at face value, the Moses and Joshua of the Old Testament belong in the same category. What is complicated about this is that reasonable people who would otherwise feel pure moral repugnance to accounts of murder and genocide such as those that fill the Old Testament are instead persuaded to equivocate over them by their faith that such horrors somehow spring from an all-benevolent god. That is why I see faith as inevitably immoral. Faith by definition is suspension of rational thought and accepting beliefs in the absence of objectively verifiable demonstration; by definition then it is irrational and arbitrary. While it has often inspired people to do good, there can never be any guarantee that this will persist, because an irrational foundation remains always capable of arbitrary change. When the only standard for determining good and evil is what an unobservable god says it is, there can be no surprise when that standard of good and evil becomes unrecognizable compared with a rational, objective standard. It is precisely that "complicated" logic that creates suicide bombers for Al Qaeda and Hamas. As Steven Weinberg said, there have always been good people who do good and evil people who do evil, but for good people to accept evil, that takes religion. - Reaverdrop 05:29, 25 April 2006 (UTC)
Thank-you for your views. I did not justify any of the above actions, nor did I support them with my explanation, however, I did state that by being so absolute as to what is right and wrong is not wise. What is right and wrong is very subjective - and to understand that - with or without faith - you need context. You likely did not live through the issue of prohibition of Blacks and the priesthood, nor of polygamy. You cannot understand the issue without having expereienced it. Thatis like understanding the revolutionary war issues completely - merely, we get a surface understanding as we read the account. "Taxation without representation" was not the issue, but it is the easiest thing for historians to understand and teach to others. You do not take into account the context. I'm personally for making immigration easier, yet 80 percent of the public in the US thinks we need tighter restrictions. I see it as a racism issue for most involved (the same racist issue against chinese, japanese, irish, scottish, ethiopians, laotians, vietnamese and others), and think that denying others to come here except for security issues, is wrong, and shows an aryan-like superiority - called by others "America patriotism as a religion." To me it is wrong. We are in a cycle yet again, and in another 20 years, we'll be in the same place again. Its been going on since 1812. But I do understand the context, as I am living through this one. I see the crime here in arizona by illegal aliens, but think there are better ways to solve this issue. To me citizenship and religious practice are two seperate issues - especially in matters of ethnicity and background.
Comparing this issue to Joseph Kony and Ratko Mladić is very different - they do not compare. Mormons did not seek to kill others, nor wipe out their culture - in fact, just the opposite. And in any case, those are more cultural and ethnic focused than race-related. You wrote: "But just asserting that there are few absolutes in the world is a pretty bland and unresponsive way of equivocating over the moral acceptibility of genocide." I did not use absolutes to justify or even to discuss the racism issue, but rather to discuss your absoluteness that you know the issue, when you weren't involved. I try not to discus items I am not familiar with, and I try to go deep into understanding all of the issues at hand. You seem to have a surface understanding of this issue, have formed an opinion (which is a good thing), but feel that your opinion is the right one, regardless of any other evidence. It is not that simple. There were many factors in play, and you should not be so quick to judge others historically. Was it wrong that women wreen't allowed to vote? In todya's world, yes. But what factors in the victorian era (ironically named for a woman) that led to a lack of sufferage? Why in republics did one vote per household stand, versus one vote per adult (male or female). (incidentally, Utah territory allowed woman and black sufferage for many years, before the law was repealed and they were prohibited to do so by the federal government). What they saw as right in that situation - equal citizen rights - was prohibited by other americans. Deciding who holds the priesthood seems tame compared to that - especially when today, any one can become a minister by filling out an online form. Blacks could still pray in church, become auxillery president heads (and were) and do the rest that women could do, yet, because they couldn't give blessings, it is seen as a bad thing. Most churches don't allow any member to give blessings or lead meetings as it is, so the point is circular. Nice discussion, but would suggest a comparitive history class that helps with context for you, but probably won't respond again to this thread, as we obviously have different views, and further discussion will be fruitless. Happy editing. -Visorstuff 16:32, 25 April 2006 (UTC)
- You keep insisting that points in which I differ from your point of view are due to my incomplete understanding or superficial knowledge, apparently because my insufficient knowledge hasn’t convinced me of moral relativism - an odd stance in the defense of faith in God. Sorry, but I simply don’t agree that one can’t possibly form moral evaluations of anything outside one’s personal experience. My grandfather has personally related to me remembrances of his materal grandfather always on the run from federal authorities because he was a practicing polygamist, and I have the journals of two other polygamist ancestors - but I should be prohibited from conceiving any moral judgments on polygamy without personally living it? I just don’t understand why you would argue that.
- As for the comparison with Kony and Mladic, it was made in reference to Moses and Joshua - there are something like fifty different occasions in the five mosaic books when one of them reports an order from God to attack or wipe out pretty much anyone outside their own tribe as enemies of God. Mormons and all other Christians, Jews and Muslims are constrained by their faith to interpret that genocidal campaign as divinely inspired and morally blameless, and leave them to reason from there. While Mormons haven’t toppled the walls of Jericho, they have practiced a belief that race is indicative of spiritual worth - a direct legacy of the teaching and practice of that doctrine in the Old Testament, as applied to justify ethnic cleansing. Whether or not most churches forbade any lay members from performing ordinances that Mormons forbade only of Blacks is irrelevant to the systematic racial discrimination of the Mormon church. Minimizing it as only preventing them from giving certain blessings is disingenuous - the priesthood is required for exaltation, and for temple endowment and marriage which are also required for exaltation. The official Mormon belief on Blacks was that they were ineligible to receive the steps necessary to return to Heavenly Father and receive eternal life, making it only logical for prophets, seers and revelators (as every apostle is sustained as) like Bruce R. McConkie to reason and teach that this must be because they were only marginally valiant in the pre-existence, ineligible for eternal life, and therefore a permanent spiritual underclass on Earth. That an otherwise good man like him, and many other Church members I know, would be led by Mormon doctrine, whether present or historical, to honestly embrace the belief that some human beings could be categorized as of secondary worth in the eyes of God, is an example of the inevitably irrational and arbitrary dictates of faith serving as a force for corrupting the moral good sense of its believers. - Reaverdrop 07:49, 26 April 2006 (UTC)
- This is somewhat off-topic so I apologize in advance - Although the blessings of the temple were not available to blacks prior to Official Declaration 2 - it was always church doctrine that they could return to Heavenly Father and live in the Celestial Kingdom. When the revelation came, the ordinance work would be done for those members (as work for the dead if the revelation was not received prior to their death). As you know, Bruce R McConkie changed the wording you refer to because that was never the church doctrine.
- Back to topic If the effort is to include some information about JS's actions re blacks - then we need to include that he ordained, authorized the ordination, etc of black members. The comment that the instruction to stop was not explained is very relevant in that his death prevented anything other than speculation about the purpose.
- Finally, this is getting too far afield and we should refocus on what needs to be done to the article Trödel 13:33, 26 April 2006 (UTC)
Yes Trodel, it is now completely off topic. Reaverdrop, it was taught, from Young onward that someday Blacks would be ordained again, and that ALL blacks would have the same blessings as other races in regard to exaltation. Just they would have to wait for a time and possible recieve in the next life. Christ said/taught similar of Samaritans and others that were not Jewish. Temporary exclusivity and inclusion of a group of people is not a new religious concept, but it is usually temporary. Why could only Jews be saved between 1400 BCE and the time of Christ? Dunno. Not for me to decide. And just becuase you have ancestors who lived polygamy does not mean you understand their situation or polygamy. The author of the book "A Mormon Mother" very clearly tells her children that they will never understand polygamy because they didn't live the principle, nor did they have to sacrifice for it. Just in the same way as I've never experience the spiritual effect of levitical sacrifices, I can study them, but I'll never fully understand them. In the words of Brigham Young, "To know, they must experience." I don't claim to know, and I'd be willing to bet I've studied both of these issues more than most. I'm not claiming relativity, but jsut don't be so absolute. There are too many factors to "know for sure" unless you claim personal revelation or were there. If you have either of those two, I'll gladly accept your arguments, disagree and (I've already) move(d) on. Back to the discussion, I actually think a link to Blacks and Mormonism should suffice for the main article. -Visorstuff 19:13, 26 April 2006 (UTC)
- Then I guess we can't morally condemn any murderers unless we go out and try committing murder first. What a load of crock. If humans can understand black holes by analyzing them without diving into them, they can understand moral implications of actions they don't directly participate in. In fact, personal moral judgment would be impossible without making moral evaluations of actions without trying them first.
- As for "the church taught all along that Blacks would get the priesthood someday soon", that is the Church's Soviet revisionism. I grew up hearing that too, but I haven't found any pre-1978 evidence to confirm it. On the contrary, Brigham Young said pretty clearly that they would never get it - just as there is no written evidence dating before 1838 for Joseph Smith claiming to have seen both God the Father and Jesus as corporeal beings in the First Vision. Take your own advice and read up a little more on the history before you try to teach others. - Reaverdrop 19:29, 26 April 2006 (UTC)
Comparison murder to polygamy and denying a group of people a privilege is laughable and idiotic (no offense meant). I imagine that you believe the church is just as evil for denying women the priesthood. But that is another topic - is is it just more acceptable. In fact, we deny those under the age of eight membership and the priesthood. That is equally evil as murder? C'mon, you are getting too emotional to this argument.
Second you wrote: "the church taught all along that Blacks would get the priesthood someday soon, that is the Church's Soviet revisionism. I grew up hearing that too, but I haven't found any pre-1978 evidence to confirm it."
This confirms my point above. You haven't studied the issue very indepth at all - especially if you base that off of Brigam Young, who in multiple sermons taught blacks would get the priesthood one day. Even the old infobases CDs had access to that level of detail. Try studying an issue before arguing it. If you are this un-informed, you don't have much to stand on. The difference is that I do study and write about this. You, apparently, do not. To satisfy, here are a few examples:
President Wilford Woodruff "The day will come when all that race will be redeemed and possess all the blessings which we now have." 
Brigham Young: "Why are so many of the inhabitants of the earth cursed with a skin of blackness? It comes in consequence of their fathers rejecting the power of the holy priesthood, and the law of God. They will go down to death. And when all the rest of the children have received their blessings in the holy priesthood, then that curse will be removed from the seed of Cain, and they will then come up and possess the priesthood, and receive all the blessings which we now are entitled to." 
In 1970, during the administration of David O. McKay, the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and First Presidency had voted to end the policy, however, McKay was absent because of age-related disability and First Counselor Harold B. Lee was traveling on church business. When President Lee returned, he called for another vote on the issue, and this time it was defeated, upon Lee's belief that such a large change in Church policy should originate in revelation." (Edwin B. Firmage, ed., The Memoirs of Hugh B. Brown, "Editor's Afterward", Salt Lake City, Signature Books, 1988.)
"Then change will come in due course. It seems to me that if we had admitted the Negro to the church as a full member, at the time of Joseph Smith, we would have had more trouble with the government than we then had. Holding ourselves aloof from that until after the Civil war gave us the opportunity to establish the church without that question coming to the front. It was, in other words, [I believe] a policy, not necessarily a doctrine." (Memoirs of Hugh B. Brown, page 129)
You may wnat to go back and read the bio of president mcKay, quoted above for example, which states "Well, I've inquired of the Lord repeatedly. The last time I did it was late last night. I was told, with no discussion, not to bring the subject up with the Lord again; that the time will come, but it will not be my time, and to leave the subject alone...".
Or a letter "To General Authorities, Regional Representatives of the Twelve, Stake Presidents, Mission Presidents, and Bishops" dated, December 15, 1969: The position of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints affecting those of the Negro race who choose to join the Church falls wholly within the category of religion. It has no bearing upon matters of civil rights. In no case or degree does it deny to the Negro his full privileges as a citizen of the nation. This position has no relevancy whatever to those who do not wish to join the Church. Those individuals, we suppose, do not believe in the divine origin and nature of the church, nor that we have the priesthood of God. Therefore, if they feel we have no priesthood, they should have no concern with any aspect of our theology on priesthood so long as that theology does not deny any man his Constitutional privileges...From the beginning of this dispensation, Joseph Smith and all succeeding presidents of the Church have taught that Negroes, while spirit children of a common Father, and the progeny of our earthly parents Adam and Eve, were not yet to receive the priesthood, for reasons which we believe are known to God, but which He has not made fully known to man...President McKay has also said, "Sometime in God's eternal plan, the Negro will be given the right to hold the priesthood." Until God reveals His will in this matter, to him whom we sustain as a prophet, we are bound by that same will. Priesthood, when it is conferred on any man comes as a blessing from God, not of men."
It is true that the Negro race in their native land occupy lands of much heat, as well as they did before the flood, but such discussion does not aid us much in the matter of the curse placed on Cain and his posterity. In regard to this we should be satisfied with what the Lord has revealed in relation to Cain and his posterity. The Pearl of Great Price tells us definitely that the Egyptians were denied the priesthood. The Prophet taught his brethren that Cain was denied the priesthood and his posterity also to the latest generations. The promise was given that this curse, or restriction, will be removed, when the time comes in some future sphere, when Abel will have posterity. This is published in The Way to Perfection, chapters 15 and 16. Joseph Fielding Smith, Answers to Gospel Questions, Vol.2, p.177
Or you may want to read the widely publicized talk by Elder SW Kimball about the "change of color" of dark skinned people to lighter skin based on time and righteousnes. Or the much published by church critics mntues of a 1st presidency and twelve meeting about whether or not Elijah Abel's daughter could go trhough the temple, or the biography of Heber J. Grant. Or the Biography of Hugh B. Brown. or the Orson Pratt comment that the priesthood would be given to blacks after the blood of Israel flowed in the veins of all peoples of the earth" or Brigham Young stating that they'd get it after all of Abels progenitors received it, or the 1949 first presidency statement that said "but that they are not entitled to the priesthood at the present time"
You may want to study the topic in-depth - even from such readily available sources (or even read Blacks and Mormonism and its talk page history) before thinking you understand the issue. I could have gotten your previous arguments from any old anti-Mormon or church critic web-site - but the difference is that those sources discount the balanced view and statments such as above that are easily accessible as primary sources. I did "Take [my] own advice and read up a little more on the history before [I] try to teach others" The advice is still offered to you. I'm sorry if this seems condescending, but this same issue comes up over and over and is really a moot point. You are a gifted editor, and you raise good questions that need to be addressed in the article. Keep up the good work. Once again, happy editing. Sorry to take up so much room on this page on this already-hashed over topic. Other editors, feel free to move the referenced quotes above to the relevent articles. -Visorstuff 20:24, 26 April 2006 (UTC)
- You're right that I didn't get the wording right about one thing above: that the church authorities taught that Blacks would never receive the priesthood, when what they taught was that Blacks would never get the priesthood until after the work had been finished for everyone else - and that everyone else had even received the resurrection, which places the event after the Millenium and at the very end of the world. Although, that's not much of a significant difference; it's still totally inconsistent with the church's doctrinal switcheroo in 1978, making the Church's post-1978 re-interpretations of earlier pronouncements revisionist, and it still imposes a doctrine that Blacks as an entire people were second-class citizens in the kingdom of God, a doctrine they never repudiated in the act of saying merely that "okay now enough time has passed for even Blacks to have the priesthood", and that still has an ongoing, active effect of convincing church members, because of their faith in earlier church prophets, that there must have been validity to the doctrine and therefore that Blacks are on some kind of inferior spiritual basis than everyone else.
- And I don't find it laughable to compare doctrine-enshrined racism with the types of genocidal campaigns in the Bible that you referred to as murder. Every serious genocide and ethnic war is based in part on dehumanizing the opposing tribe as less than fully human or as unworthy as an entire class in God's eyes. The distinction between that and the Church's racist doctrine is one of degree only, not of kind. The Biblical precedents of God's blessings being restricted by ethnicity cited to support the Mormon doctrine of racism are the same teachings that went hand-in-hand among those Biblical people with justifying wars of aggression and genocide among their neighbors. Slavery and lynchings in America were often done under religious justifications for viewing Blacks as the seed of Cain, inferior, and disfavored of God, parallel to those justifications held by the church leaders who introduced racism into Mormon doctrine. Rather than serving as a force against one of the great evils of human history, which a great many people were doing then, and which anyone claiming the special moral insights of being the only group with direct communication from God must have been expected to do, the Church remained thoroughly neutral and complicit on slavery, an institution maintained only by daily violence and threat of violence against its subjects and which intrinsically constitutes violence against human dignity. Regardless of the form in which religiously justified racism expresses itself, it constitutes people's faith assuring them that evil is good, thereby interfering with their own conscience.
- It’s again disingenuous for you to characterize the Mormon doctrine as merely denying a privilege; Mormon doctrine considers priesthood an absolute prerequisite for temple marriage and eternal life. This sets the Church’s racist discrimination on the priesthood apart from its gender discrimination, since it still teaches that women are fully capable of having temple marriage and eternal life by benefit of their husband’s priesthood. Not Black women though, even if they wanted to marry a white man, since he would then drop dead on the spot, according to Brigham Young. And it’s not honest to treat the question as one the Brethren were unsure was a matter of doctrine or policy, as many of them tried to do in your quotes, in light of the early church leaders’ pronouncements; it could hardly be mere church policy for Blacks to have been ineligible for the priesthood until after everyone else was resurrected.
- Support for the Church’s teaching that Blacks could not receive the priesthood until the end of the world can be found in your own citations, such as Brigham Young: “And when all the rest of the children have received their blessings in the holy priesthood, then that curse will be removed from the seed of Cain, and they will then come up and possess the priesthood, and receive all the blessings which we now are entitled to.” And Joseph Fielding Smith: “The promise was given that this curse, or restriction, will be removed, when the time comes in some future sphere, when Abel will have posterity.”
- And there’s this, from Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses 2:136 (references are to the talks beginning on the cited page number): “We have this illustrated in the account of Cain and Abel. Cain conversed with his God every day, and knew all about the plan of creating this earth, for his father told him. But, for the want of humility, and through jealousy, and an anxiety to possess the kingdom, and to have the whole of it under his own control, and not allow any body else the right to say one word, what did he do? He killed his brother. The Lord put a mark on him; and there are some of his children in this room. When all the other children of Adam have had the privilege of receiving the Priesthood, and of coming into the kingdom of God, and of being redeemed from the four quarters of the earth, and have received their resurrection from the dead, then it will be time enough to remove the curse from Cain and his posterity. He deprived his brother of the privilege of pursuing his journey through life, and of extending his kingdom by multiplying upon the earth; and because he did this, he is the last to share the joys of the kingdom of God.”
- This also from Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses 7:282 – and you tell me whether his description of Blacks indicates whether his doctrine was born of revelation or personal racial prejudice: “You see some classes of the human family that are black, uncouth, uncomely, disagreeable and low in their habits, wild, and seemingly deprived of nearly all the blessings of the intelligence that is generally bestowed upon mankind. The first man that committed the odious crime of killing one of his brethren will be cursed the longest of any one of the children of Adam. Cain slew his brother. Cain might have been killed, and that would have put a termination to that line of human beings. This was not to be, and the Lord put a mark upon him, which is the flat nose and black skin. Trace mankind down to after the flood, and then another curse is pronounced upon the same race-that they should be the "servant of servants;" [the same religious justification commonly used by slave-holders] and they will be, until that curse is removed; and the Abolitionists cannot help it, nor in the least alter that decree. How long is that race to endure the dreadful curse that is upon them? That curse will remain upon them, and they never can hold the Priesthood or share in it until all the other descendants of Adam have received the promises and enjoyed the blessings of the Priesthood and the keys thereof. Until the last ones of the residue of Adam's children are brought up to that favourable position, the children of Cain cannot receive the first ordinances of the Priesthood.”
- Brigham Young again, also from the talk starting on Journal of Discourses 10:104 - compare the reality of this teaching with your citation of Hugh B. Brown suggesting the church's racist doctrine was just to avoid upsetting the federal government (if that was a valid justification, why polygamy?) and tell me he was not in top revisionist gear: “The rank, rabid abolitionists, whom I call black-hearted Republicans, have set the whole national fabric on fire. ... The Southerners make the negroes, and the Northerners worship them; this is all the difference between slaveholders and abolitionists. … If the Government of the United States, in Congress assembled, had the right to pass an anti-polygamy bill, they had also the right to pass a law that slaves should not be abused as they have been; they had also a right to make a law that negroes should be used like human beings, and not worse than dumb brutes. For their abuse of that race, the whites will be cursed, unless they repent.”
- To work for Blacks to be free of slavery was to worship them?! Give him credit, I guess, for calling slave-holders to repent of treating their slaves abusively, rather than "merely" using them like human beings.
- And here’s a little chestnut, also from the talk starting on 10:104: “Shall I tell you the law of God in regard to the African race? If the white man who belongs to the chosen seed mixes his blood with the seed of Cain, the penalty, under the law of God, is death on the spot. This will always be so.” Even in 1978 after the "revelation", the Church News ran a column reminding its readers that this didn't mean they should start intermarrying with Blacks.
- My point stands: the Church encrusted a sadly typical nineteenth century racist mindset into a doctrine, thus ensuring that it persisted generations longer among its believers than it did among the general populace; and rather than repudiating and atoning for its earlier racist doctrine, the Church through today has only tried to minimize it through revision, unwilling to admit to past error, thus ensuring that its believers continue to accept the validity of the old doctrine, which can only serve as an ongoing influence for corrupting their consciences.
- - Reaverdrop 23:32, 27 April 2006 (UTC)
I do not have more than three minutes to respond, and conversations elsewhere have suggested I drop this topic. However, you have a few major doctrinal errors in your argument.
You wrote: "Mormon doctrine considers priesthood an absolute prerequisite for temple marriage and eternal life" This is not true - mostly. For example, little children are "excused" from having the priesthood as a requirement for exaltation - which is/was equally true and taught about blacks who joined the church.
Second, I still find no revisionism in any of my research - on this topic or otherwise. Yes, things are simplified now, and emphasized differently, doesn't mean they weren't taught before. If you re-read the quotes above (and the other references I pointed you to) you'll find that the promises were believed to come either just prior or after the millenium. Joseph Fielding Smith and Harold B. Lee taught that blacks would get the priesthood after the blood of israel flowed through the viens of all the nations of the earth. Both prior to 1978. HBBrowns' memiors reference this and his belief that the time was close for this to occur. One study was cited in other research, that every person alive today is a decendant of Moses, and that our nearest common ancestor lived in the 12-1300 AD - an argument used by apologists on the matter. Again, I'm not judging or justifying the doctrine, but stating it is much more complex that you are making it out to be. The accusation of revisionism by most critics is unfounded. Why did early missionaries emphasize living prophets to those they taught (except in Asia/Africa)? Because the people they taught already believed in Christ. Why teach the first two principles of the old missionary discussions if the people already believe it? But then you have violent defenses of the atonement by each of the apostles from David Patten (if you ever read history of the church, its my bathroom reading) to David Bednar. Revisionism is a lame argument and is wholly unfounded. Okay three minutes is up, gotta run. -Visorstuff 00:08, 28 April 2006 (UTC)
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