How to address this?

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journeygirl
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How to address this?

Post by journeygirl » 03 Feb 2014, 21:44

Tonight my family was discussing the story of Cain and Abel. We were at my parents' house, and they told me that in their Sunday school class yesterday while talking about this story, the black skin/Cain curse idea came up. I was so disappointed I wasn't there, since I would have spoken up and said something. My mother decided to leave the class.

Then my 8 year old son said in his primary class he was told by his teachers that the curse on Cain was black skin. Further, the kids then speculated that was how black people came to be, and according to my son the teachers confirmed this speculation! :shock:

I don't know his teachers at all, so I was planning to just get their emails and at least let them know that the idea of black skin as a curse is not supported by scripture or the lesson manual, and then link them to the new Race and the Priesthood article on lds.org that has a sentence about the Cain/curse issue. I showed my mom the article too, and I hope she might be brave enough to bring it up next week. In their class it seemed like it was more questioning what the curse was rather than stating clearly that it was black skin like in my son's class.

I've mentioned before that I teach 11 year olds in primary, and one girl in my class did ask what the curse was. I told her that it doesn't say, but that it was something that was meant to protected Cain from others. I said I had seen a movie once that showed it like symbol on his forehead, but that no one really knows. One other girl speculated that it was a force field, and I said that was possible, but the scripture doesn't say what it was.

Anyway, do you think an email is a good way to go to let my son's teachers know the current views on the subject? I'm worried a direct confrontation would embarrass them, and since I don't know them at all, might be more hostile than a short email.

Did anyone else's Sunday school class go that way?

church0333
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Re: How to address this?

Post by church0333 » 04 Feb 2014, 00:40

I go to the gospel essentials class because the GD class causes me to much anxiety right now so not sure what they taught. If I heard about the things you talked about I would start handing out the essay on race and the priesthood.

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DarkJedi
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Re: How to address this?

Post by DarkJedi » 04 Feb 2014, 04:19

Since I don't go to church I can't address what happened in Sunday School. But, I don't think an email with the text or a link to the LDS.org article is too confrontational. I have found in my conversations with my active LDS friends that they are mostly unaware of the stuff that has been posted lately on LDS.org. My SP counselor neighbor didn't know about the priesthood post until I told him about it, although he is familiar with the Joseph Smith Papers posts. I don't think it's too forward to make people aware of what is there - it is the official church site and what is there can be considered the official stance of the church. I also think that it's going to take some time to break the old myths, suppositions and speculations because they have been so widely taught for so long as doctrine. And I believe it is the responsibility of the enlightened to reasonably enlighten others (in fact, that seems to be what the missionary program is all about).
Last edited by DarkJedi on 04 Feb 2014, 06:45, edited 2 times in total.
In the absence of knowledge or faith there is always hope.

Once there was a gentile...who came before Hillel. He said "Convert me on the condition that you teach me the whole Torah while I stand on one foot." Hillel converted him, saying: That which is despicable to you, do not do to your fellow, this is the whole Torah, and the rest is commentary, go and learn it."

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mercyngrace
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Re: How to address this?

Post by mercyngrace » 04 Feb 2014, 05:36

I definitely think emailing it with a quick note would be fine:

Hi Sister Jones!

Hope you are having a fabulous weeks so far. My son, Jimmy came home Sunday and was excited to tell me all about your class. I'm happy he enjoys his time with you in Primary. One thing he mentioned was that the topic of the curse of Cain came up. I thought you might be interested in the church's recently released statement on Race and the Priesthood. It goes into detail on some past teachings about the curse. I found it quite interesting when I read it and thought you might as well. https//www.getuptospeedatlds.org

See you Sunday!
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Her sins, which are many, are forgiven; for she loved much: but to whom little is forgiven, the same loveth little. ~ Luke 7:47

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SilentDawning
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Re: How to address this?

Post by SilentDawning » 04 Feb 2014, 05:49

I would address the disavowal with the teacher, with my kids, and the primary president.

Although the church is slowly trying to change certain cultural aspects of our religion, they are not being public and in some cases, proactive about it. Everything is hush hush or if mentioned in conference, does not seem to be trickling down to the local leadership.

Therefore, hasten the awareness. Give the primary president and teacher the Priesthood disavowal from the church site (do a search here, you will find it on StayLDS). Underline the paragraph that disavows all theories and all racism. Teach the kids about it in your home as well so they know what parts of the church teachings need to be neutralized.
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mackay11
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How to address this?

Post by mackay11 » 04 Feb 2014, 07:44

<start rant>

Until they have the statement read from the pulpit, in the lesson manuals and read in GC this sort of racist nonsense will continue.

What embarrassing, gibberish nonsense. This is the kind of thing that makes me question whether it would be better to just leave after sacrament meeting. I don't want primary to teach my kids racist views.
</end rant>

I think an email link to both the teacher, primary pres (separately) and the Sunday school teacher would be reasonable.

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hawkgrrrl
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Re: How to address this?

Post by hawkgrrrl » 04 Feb 2014, 08:25

From Moses 5, it looks like the "curse" was that he couldn't grow plants anymore, a black thumb. If that's the punishment for murder, I must have murdered someone because I am hopeless with plants. As a farmer (which Cain was), that would be a tough curse. The black skin nonsense is from protestantism. Brigham Young seems to have brought it in with him (as a convert).

I would absolutely address it with the teacher to make sure she understands that teaching is disavowed. No question she is simply not up to speed. And I'd mention it to the Primary President too. I tend to agree with Mackay11 that until things get said from the pulpit (and perhaps even beyond that - specifically called out as things not to teach in the manuals) they will continue to be said.

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journeygirl
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Re: How to address this?

Post by journeygirl » 04 Feb 2014, 09:42

Thanks for your great comments everybody. It feels so weird that this has come up, like I'm in a time warp or something! I had thought this way of thinking was in the past. It would be so nice if the church could be open about this at least, since it is so important to disavow. That's probably a good idea to contact the primary president too, as several of you mentioned. I wonder how many other classes may have gone that direction last week.

Mercyngrace- your email looks a lot friendlier than what I was thinking! I should probably compose it more like yours though!

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On Own Now
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Re: How to address this?

Post by On Own Now » 04 Feb 2014, 09:45

journeygirl,

Personally, I wouldn't send an email... I wouldn't talk to the teacher. I understand why others would, and I liked MnG's proposed email... but like I said, I, myself, wouldn't... A few reasons:

- The lesson has already been taught. It was already taught in your ward by other teachers in classes where you have no insight, and you don't know what was said in all the other classes. In other words, you really don't know how pervasive it was and it is too late to "fix" the lesson as taught. If you had been in a lesson where it was taught, you could have piped up, but you have already missed that opportunity. As was immortalized in Seinfeld, it is easy to come up with a comeback after the moment has passed.

- Your son's teacher is not teaching 8-year-olds in primary because of his/her great knowledge of the scriptures/gospel. Likely, he or she is just going by what he/she has heard before. Because of this, I wouldn't be so direct as to focus the laser of my discontent on a single person; it is a collective mindset that needs resolution. It needs a collective approach.

- I have a good friend who has a son the same age as my son. I can recall, with a chuckle, a time when they were about 8-9 when the other boy stayed over at our house for a night, which was common. The next morning, the mom called over and said that little "Billy" had left his jacket at our house. I said, OK, I'll go get it. But, I looked, and couldn't find it. I called her back and said that I didn't think that "Billy" came over with a jacket, and it didn't seem to be here. She pressed. No, "Billy" said he took the jacket, and that he left it there. She was quite adamant and a little abrasive. OK, so I looked harder. Called her back... Well, I said, it doesn't seem to be here, I mean, I looked everywhere... By now, she was downright rude about it... I give her a pass, because she's a dear friend, but she repeated that "Billy" said he had left it at our house, I assured her I would keep an eye out for it. I continued to look. The next day, when I saw her, I again apologized that I wasn't able to find it. Her response was to let me know that they had found it in the yard at their house. "Billy" never did bring his jacket over to my house and didn't leave it there either. But, he was a little kid, so that was what he thought happened. I tell you this long, drawn-out story, simply to underscore that when a child is your witness, you don't really know what was said. You only know what they understood. It's not evidence worth a confrontation. It's entirely possible that the teacher taught that the curse of Cain was black skin. It is entirely possible that other kids speculated about that and the teacher simply said, that we don't really know, but that that is possible. A child would probably take that as confirmation. All I'm saying is that kids have a pair of glasses that they see the world through, and their perception of what a somebody else said or what somebody else meant is not always reality. I mean, have you ever asked your son to do something and he did something else?

What I WOULD consider doing is going to the Bishop. Not to say that this particular teacher said this, but rather to say that I was aware that this had been taught. If pressed about who, I'd say, "Don't you think this is something that should be made clear to the whole ward?" Then, I'd say, I'm going to ask the primary presidency to do a sharing time about it. In other words, I'd give the Bishop the opportunity to handle it in a public way, but I wouldn't absolve myself of it. If, after those attempts, nothing is happening, I think I'd be tempted to bare my testimony about the recent article on race, and give some details about what I knew was true about it. The reason for all this is to address the real problem, which is that many (most?) members of your ward still have that old belief and whoever teaches that lesson to your son the NEXT time, it isn't likely to be the one that taught him THIS time.
"Let us therefore no longer pass judgment on one another, but resolve instead never to put a stumbling block or hindrance in the way of another." --Romans 14:13

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DarkJedi
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Re: How to address this?

Post by DarkJedi » 04 Feb 2014, 09:55

That approach wouldn't work with our bishop, OON. He'd just let it slide.
In the absence of knowledge or faith there is always hope.

Once there was a gentile...who came before Hillel. He said "Convert me on the condition that you teach me the whole Torah while I stand on one foot." Hillel converted him, saying: That which is despicable to you, do not do to your fellow, this is the whole Torah, and the rest is commentary, go and learn it."

My Introduction

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