I see respect and veneration for the church leaders that have come before. All of these men where raised on stories of the greatness of LDS founders. I assume that they saw JS as receiving revelation more readily than subsequent generations. Who are they to change something that he began? Wasn't it just recently that Elder Oaks was saying something about "We cannot change God's law."?Sheldon wrote:How do you all interpret the following letter from the FP, written in our life time (well, most of us old guys anyway). This letter clearly states that it originated with God, and ALL prophets (JS included) have taught it.
I believe JS did teach it. I do not believe that JS was consistent in teaching it or that he was consistent in practicing what he had (at one time taught), but he did (at least on some limited occasions) teach it.
First, JS either wrote or translated the PofGP:
Second, JS provides us with his interpretation on some things:Moses 7:8 "a blackness came upon all the children of Canaan. . . ."
Moses 7:12 "Enoch continued to call upon all the people, save it were [i.e., except] the people of Canaan, to repent. . . ."
Moses 7:22 ".for the seed of Cain were black and had not place among them."
Abraham 1:21 " king of Egypt [Pharaoh] was a descendant from the loins of Ham, and was a partaker of the blood of the Canaanites by birth."
Abraham 1:27 "Pharaoh being of that lineage by which he could not have the right of Priesthood. . . ."
So, JS did refer to modern black people as Sons of Ham and Cain (that according to scripture do "not have the right of Priesthood"). I understand that the association of black africans with sons of Cain and Ham was quite widespread in the US at that time."In the evening debated with John C. Bennett and others to show that the Indians have greater cause to complain of the treatment of the whites, than the negroes or sons of Cain" (History of the Church 4:501.)
After having expressed myself so freely upon this subject, I do not doubt but those who have been forward in raising their voice against the South, will cry out against me as being uncharitable, unfeeling and unkind-wholly unacquainted with the gospel of Christ.
It is my privilege then, to name certain passages from the bible, and examine the teachings of the ancients upon this nature, as the fact is incontrovertible, that the first mention we have of slavery is found in the holy bible, pronounced by a man who was perfect in his generation and walked with God.
And so far from that prediction's being averse from the mind of God it remains as a lasting monument of the decree of Jehovah, to the shame and confusion of all who have cried out against the South, in consequence of their holding the sons of Ham in servitude!
"And he said cursed be Canaan; a servant of servants shall he be unto his brethren. And he said, Blessed be the Lord God of Shem; and Canaan shall be his servant. God shall enlarge Japheth, and he shall dwell in the tents of Shem and Canaan shall be his servant." —Genesis 9:25-27
"Trace the history of the world from this notable event down to this day, and you will find the fulfillment of this singular prophecy. What could have been the design of the Almighty in this wonderful occurrence is not for me to say; but I can say that the curse is not yet taken off the sons of Canaan, neither will be until it is affected by as great power as caused it to come; and the people who interfere the least with the decrees and purposes of God in this matter, will come under the least condemnation before him; and those who are determined to pursue a course which shows an opposition and a feverish restlessness against the designs of the Lord, will learn, when perhaps it is too late for their own good, that God can do his own work without the aid of those who are not dictate by his counsel." (Joseph Smith Jr., Messenger and Advocate Vol. II, No. 7, April 1836, p. 290; History of the Church, Vol. 2, Ch. 30, pp. 436–40.)