"It's Because You're Black" - June 2018 Ensign

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Curt Sunshine
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"It's Because You're Black" - June 2018 Ensign

Post by Curt Sunshine » 07 May 2018, 17:16

A short, excellent article.

Yes, we still have a road ahead of us when it comes to race, but this is a good step.

https://www.lds.org/ensign/2018/06/comm ... ook-shared
I see through my glass, darkly - as I play my saxophone in harmony with the other instruments in God's orchestra. (h/t Elder Joseph Wirthlin)

Even if people view many things differently, the core Gospel principles (LOVE; belief in the unseen but hoped; self-reflective change; symbolic cleansing; striving to recognize the will of the divine; never giving up) are universal.

"For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong." H. L. Mencken

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dande48
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Re: "It's Because You're Black" - June 2018 Ensign

Post by dande48 » 07 May 2018, 17:33

Preference for under-represented groups can be a double-edged sword.

It's a very good article, with some great insights. It does feel out of place with a lot of the past rhetoric, but in all the right ways. I remember this roomate I had in college (who was an all around great guy, for the record), who was offended by the mix-race marriage from Napoleon Dynamite. He was upset that their kids would grow up without a racial identity, and pointed to a few key quotes from former Church leaders.

While in the past, yup, there was some pretty extreme racisim, this article flies in the face of all of that. It almost feels like a coverup over some of the more embarassing parts of our Church history, which is as close as we get to a retraction. :thumbup: :thumbup:
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Re: "It's Because You're Black" - June 2018 Ensign

Post by Curt Sunshine » 07 May 2018, 17:43

Cover-up? This?

How is talking about current, lingering racism (and stating it is because of former justifications) a cover-up?

Seriously, I don't understand.
I see through my glass, darkly - as I play my saxophone in harmony with the other instruments in God's orchestra. (h/t Elder Joseph Wirthlin)

Even if people view many things differently, the core Gospel principles (LOVE; belief in the unseen but hoped; self-reflective change; symbolic cleansing; striving to recognize the will of the divine; never giving up) are universal.

"For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong." H. L. Mencken

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Re: "It's Because You're Black" - June 2018 Ensign

Post by dande48 » 07 May 2018, 18:49

Curt Sunshine wrote:
07 May 2018, 17:43
Cover-up? This? How is talking about current, lingering racism (and stating it is because of former justifications) a cover-up? Seriously, I don't understand.
"Because I'm Black" wrote:I’ve heard people ask my husband, who is white, what it’s like to be married to a black woman. At church, I have to remind myself that people are just being nice and trying to help when they ask if I’m a recent convert. I have grown up in the Church, served a mission, and been married in the temple, but the assumption that I must be new to the Church because I’m black reinforces that some people see my race rather than seeing me for who I am... I don’t know why the priesthood restriction was put in place. Personally, I’m OK with not knowing, because I know that God loves all of His children... While I feel the world has made progress, I’ve also felt the sting of stereotypes that some still hold.
Brigham Young wrote:"Cain slew his brother.... and the Lord put a mark upon him, which is the flat nose and black skin. Trace mankind down to after the flood, and tehn another curse is pronounced upon the same race – that they should be the 'servant of servants,' 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 favorable position, the children of Cain cannot receive the first ordinances of the Priesthood. They were the first that were cursed, and they will be the last from whom the curse will be removed.
Brigham Young wrote:"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. The nations of the earth have transgressed every law that God has given, they have changed the ordinances and broken every covenant made with the fathers, and they are like a hungry man that dreameth that he eateth, and he awaketh and behold he is empty."
George Albert Smith wrote:"Your ideas, as we understand them, appear to contemplate the intermarriage of the Negro and white races, a concept which has heretofore been most repugnant to most normal-minded people from the ancient patriarchs until now.... there is a growing tendency, particularly among some educators, as it manifests itself in this area, toward the breaking down of race barriers in the matter of intermarriage between whites and blacks, but it does not have the sanction of the Church and is contrary to Church doctrine."
I said it almost feels like a cover up. This is because: 1. They're glossing over the difficult parts of our Church history, briefly mentioning something everybody knows (no excusing, no apology), stating it's a mystery why, and the changing the subject. 2. Shifting the blame away from the Church and onto "the World". 3. The surface message was "don't be racist", but the underlying message felt like "look how not-racist the Church is."

Definition of a Cover-up: An attempt to prevent people's discovering the truth about a serious mistake or crime.
"The whole world is a comedy to those that think, a tragedy to those that feel." - Horace Walpole

"Even though there are no ways of knowing for sure, there are ways of knowing for pretty sure."
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Re: "It's Because You're Black" - June 2018 Ensign

Post by Curt Sunshine » 07 May 2018, 20:49

Definition of a Cover-up: An attempt to prevent people's discovering the truth about a serious mistake or crime.


I guess we simply disagree about this, since I see absolutely no attempt at covering up the past.

This was an individual's story of facing ongoing racism from members of the Church, not a doctrinal or historical treatise or essay. Laying the burden of an almost cover-up on this personal story of on-going racism is not something I am willing to do.
I see through my glass, darkly - as I play my saxophone in harmony with the other instruments in God's orchestra. (h/t Elder Joseph Wirthlin)

Even if people view many things differently, the core Gospel principles (LOVE; belief in the unseen but hoped; self-reflective change; symbolic cleansing; striving to recognize the will of the divine; never giving up) are universal.

"For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong." H. L. Mencken

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Re: "It's Because You're Black" - June 2018 Ensign

Post by SamBee » 08 May 2018, 03:06

But when my good friend and I applied for the same college and only I got in, she didn’t mention any of that. Instead, she said what I started to hear from a lot of people.

“It’s just because you’re black.”
This is the real effect of positive discrimination, insectionality and "liberalism". It actually undermines black successes to some extent.

I'm glad to say my ward just now doesn't have much of an issue with race. Other than the Chinese members getting callings, but that's because we have a revolving door of them, and many of them return home quickly after university.
DASH1730 "An Area Authority...[was] asked...who...would go to the Telestial kingdom. His answer: "murderers, adulterers and a lot of surprised Mormons!"'
1ST PRES 1978 "[LDS] believe...there is truth in many religions and philosophies...good and great religious leaders... have raised the spiritual, moral, and ethical awareness of their people. When we speak of The [LDS] as the only true church...it is...authorized to administer the ordinances...by Jesus Christ... we do not mean... it is the only teacher of truth."

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Re: "It's Because You're Black" - June 2018 Ensign

Post by Roadrunner » 08 May 2018, 10:05

Curt Sunshine wrote:
07 May 2018, 17:16
A short, excellent article.

Yes, we still have a road ahead of us when it comes to race, but this is a good step.

https://www.lds.org/ensign/2018/06/comm ... ook-shared
Curt,
Thank you for posting; I probably wouldn't have seen this article. I may try to find a way to reference it or talk about in during my ward meetings.

RR

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Re: "It's Because You're Black" - June 2018 Ensign

Post by Roy » 08 May 2018, 12:14

Love, Love, Love that this is in the Ensign. I like that it subtly questions assumptions that church members may have about race.

I agree with points made by both Dande and Curt.

There are a number of LDS speakers that I feel are influential and impactful. I believe that their collective work is helping to shift the cultural assumptions and understandings that we as LDS have. I have observed that in doing so it is important for them to present their ideas as building upon (rather than a departure from) the understanding and teaching of previous generations of church leadership.

I loved the grace filled doctrine of the book "Believing Christ". In the book he mentions how his LDS university students are so soft in the fundamentals of the gospel - thinking essentially that we earn our way into heaven. He called them "soft in the middle" and lays the blame for this at their feet. What goes unexplored is that these university students were products of lifetimes of instruction in church programs and curriculum.

I loved the talk "His grace is sufficient" by Brad Wilcox. Perhaps the best thing Brad does in this talk is to compare our works/efforts to be like practicing a piano. Mistakes are expected and those with the big picture (God & Jesus) are not looking for individual performance but individual growth. Rather than to say that perhaps we have swung too far into works camp and that we could learn a few things from our evangelical brothers and sisters, Brad implies that LDS have a better understanding of Grace than evangelicals. "They (Brad's Born-again Christian friends) are so excited about being saved that maybe they are not thinking enough about what comes next. They are so happy the debt is paid that they may not have considered why the debt existed in the first place. Latter-day Saints know not only what Jesus has saved us from but also what He has saved us for." Later he talks about young people giving up because they feel that they cannot measure up to the exacting standards and are tired of being failures. He places the blame on the young people - not on a culture that stresses perfection and punishes those that fall short. He says that those that give up do not understand the gospel, grace, and the atonement.
Too many are giving up on the Church because they are tired of constantly feeling like they are falling short. They have tried in the past, but they always feel like they are just not good enough. They don’t understand grace.

There are young women who know they are daughters of a Heavenly Father who loves them, and they love Him. Then they graduate from high school, and the values they memorized are put to the test. They slip up. They let things go too far, and suddenly they think it is all over. These young women don’t understand grace.
The speech "“A Future Only God Could See for You” by Eva Witsman is truly impactful in that it empowers women to co-pilot their life trajectory with God. The entire speech is marvelous and offers a compelling and cohesive message. Honestly that idea is fairly revolutionary and is a departure from what might have been taught from the pulpit in times past. Sister Witsman does such a great job weaving together her main points that one could assume that this empowerment for women was what was always intended and hoped for by church leadership.

For example, Sister Witsman said,
"Women’s voices are needed in all echelons of human activity. President Spencer W. Kimball said:

'We wish you to pursue and to achieve that education . . . which will fit you for eternity as well as for full service in mortality. . . .

. . . We do not desire the women of the Church to be uninformed or ineffective.''
The more full text from SWK is below with the parts quoted by Sister Witsman in bold:
Some women, because of circumstances beyond their control, must work. We understand that. We understand further that as families are raised, the talents God has given you and blessed you with can often be put to effective use in additional service to mankind. Do not, however, make the mistake of being drawn off into secondary tasks which will cause the neglect of your eternal assignments such as giving birth to and rearing the spirit children of our Father in Heaven. Pray carefully over all your decisions.

We wish you to pursue and to achieve that education, therefore, which will fit you for eternity as well as for full service in mortality. In addition to those basic and vital skills which go with homemaking, there are other skills which can be appropriately cultivated and which will increase your effectiveness in the home, in the Church, and in the community.

Again, you must be wise in the choices that you make, but we do not desire the women of the Church to be uninformed or ineffective. You will be better mothers and wives, both in this life and in eternity, if you sharpen the skills you have been given and use the talents with which God has blessed you.

So yes, these influential speakers do something that "almost feels like a cover-up". They are careful to speak sheepese. They do not attack or criticize Mormon sacred cows of church leadership that would cause many to get defensive and tune out the message altogether. They avoid being critical of the sacred cows even if that might mean that they have to dance around and otherwise ignore what some may feel to be the elephant in the room. They may even employ a little bit of revisionist history and cherry picking by only selecting the quotes that fit their theme and cutting those that do not.

It can be like adding the proverbial "spoon full of sugar" that makes the Mormon medicine go down - not to be choked on or rejected. The LDS church (and Christianity before that) has a long history of cloaking new ideas in old trappings in order for them to gain respectability and acceptance. The process continues in our day.

Therefore, I can agree with the points made by both dande and Curt.
"It is not so much the pain and suffering of life which crushes the individual as it is its meaninglessness and hopelessness." C. A. Elwood

“It is not the function of religion to answer all the questions about God’s moral government of the universe, but to give one courage, through faith, to go on in the face of questions he never finds the answer to in his present status.” TPC: Harold B. Lee 223

"I struggle now with establishing my faith that God may always be there, but may not always need to intervene" Heber13

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Re: "It's Because You're Black" - June 2018 Ensign

Post by DarkJedi » 08 May 2018, 15:06

Love the comments, Roy, thanks. The Givens make a point similar to Wilcox's in The Christ Who Heals, and I totally agree - I think LDS theology does teach a "better" version of the atonement (but that most latter-day saints don't get it).
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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Re: "It's Because You're Black" - June 2018 Ensign

Post by DarkJedi » 08 May 2018, 15:11

Thanks for sharing, Curt - I probably would not have seen this otherwise.

Love this comment from the article (the last paragraph):
My faith is in God. I am so grateful for the gospel of Jesus Christ found in His Church. I have always loved it and wanted to learn more about it. The more I study the scriptures, the more that love grows. I’ve lived the gospel and I’ve seen its blessings. I don’t think I could live my life as well or as happily if I weren’t a member of the Church. Thanks to the Savior and His gospel, I can become better and find peace through any struggle I have.
I like it because it does not conflate the gospel and the church and it's a very simple profession of faith. I could honestly say all of this myself, although I would likely soften the "I don't think I could live...." line a bit.

There is no question racism exists in the church.
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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