Race and The Priesthood

Public forum to discuss questions about Mormon history and doctrine.
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SilentDawning
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Re: Race and The Priesthood

Post by SilentDawning » 11 Dec 2013, 20:00

cwald wrote:This statement, really, is validating my position...the position that cost me my standing within my family and church. Sure, TBM's are not going to see it that way...but it's there and eventually it will start to seep in. There is going to be some pain and more bleeding. It took the church 180 years of "obedience and prophet worship" doctrines to dig themselves into this mess. They can't and will not be able to dig themselves out of this hole overnight.

But kudos church, it's start. And you have to start somewhere.
Yep, Cwald said what took me a full chapter to write. Good job.
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cwald
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Re: Race and The Priesthood

Post by cwald » 11 Dec 2013, 20:17

Thanks SD. Love your posts lately.
Last edited by Anonymous on 12 Dec 2013, 08:51, edited 1 time in total.
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mackay11
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Race and The Priesthood

Post by mackay11 » 11 Dec 2013, 20:31

Roy wrote:
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 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."?

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:
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. . . ."
Second, JS provides us with his interpretation on some things:
"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.)
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.
Thanks, I've never seen those verses and quotes so it's extra information.

Joseph ordained blacks. The article also makes that point. It would seem that this scriptural idea wasn't picked up and applied by Joseph Smith.

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JohnLocke
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Re: Race and The Priesthood

Post by JohnLocke » 12 Dec 2013, 09:13

Just was reading this statement again and had a thought while reading this part:
"Today, the Church disavows the theories advanced in the past that black skin is a sign of divine disfavor or curse, or that it reflects actions in a premortal life; that mixed-race marriages are a sin; or that blacks or people of any other race or ethnicity are inferior in any way to anyone else. Church leaders today unequivocally condemn all racism, past and present, in any form."
If the church disavows the "theories" used to explain the ban, but not the ban itself, is this still racism? In other words, there was absolutely no reason to withhold essential church ordinances from a certain group of people, but nevertheless it was the will of God? I've heard this argument used, and I think it misses the point on what racism is. It's as if they're saying all the ugly reasons given for it were wrong but it was still okay because it was God's will, and that is somehow not racist. This statement seems to me to let people come to their own conclusions as far as the "God's will" question goes, and I can see church members still spinning it so that it that way (and somehow the policy not being racist). I know from a very good source that church is planning on doing several of these "difficult subject" articles. The one I would love to see is one on prophetic authority, because I honestly feel like this is the main root cause the tension in struggling members. Most of the issues can point back to this. I can't imagine what the consequences of disavowing the "prophet will never lead the church astray" teaching would be on members, but I think it's a strategic move that will be need to be made eventually, or the problem will just get worse. We will need to completely redefine what a "prophet" is, which could take years as we root out old ingrained ideas, but it will be worth it.

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Orson
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Re: Race and The Priesthood

Post by Orson » 12 Dec 2013, 09:56

Welcome John!

I agree any comments justifying or explaining the ban are racist. The way I look at it the ban has been revoked and the justifications disavowed. The church saying "we can't pair a revelation to the ban" is effectively saying there was no good reason for it in the first place, it was the policy of men leading the church and not the work of God. We could argue for a more explicit "yes, it was a mistake" statement but I am glad we at least have as much as we do now so that we can make this argument as well as we can.

I also look forward to additional topics.
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Re: Race and The Priesthood

Post by Curt Sunshine » 12 Dec 2013, 11:07

I understand the Church leaders didn't come out and say, explicitly, right now, that the ban wasn't the will of God (and I think I understand why, at least partly) - but anyone who reads this explanation and still believes it was the will of God (or that the current leaders think it was the will of God) . . . probably wouldn't accept an explicit statement either. It says quite clearly that Joseph didn't practice a ban and that Brigham didn't do so as a result of revelation. It says every reason / justification given for the ban was wrong - and Elder Holland once said "spectacularly wrong". Finally, the paragraph you quoted includes the following:
"Church leaders today unequivocally condemn all racism, past and present, in any form."


I bolded "all" and "in any form" because "any form" includes, by definition, a ban - especially when preceded by "past and present". That sentence is the capstone summation of the explanation, and, in that position, condemns the ban as racist - even if some members won't think enough to see it.

I see this explanation as a necessary step toward a more explicit disavowal of the ban, but I absolutely see it, as worded, as a disavowal of the ban.

If you want more context for other things leaders have said since 1978, read the following compilation post on my personal blog. I might have linked it already in this thread (too lazy right now to check), but I think it's important enough to link again.

"Repudiating Racist Justifications Once and for All" (http://thingsofmysoul.blogspot.com/2009 ... -once.html)

Frankly, if this is important to you, I would copy the quotes and have them in your scriptures or some other place so they are handy if someone says something stupid.
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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.

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Sheldon
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Re: Race and The Priesthood

Post by Sheldon » 12 Dec 2013, 11:08

cwald wrote:This recent statement about the priesthood ban, really, is validating my position...the position that cost me my standing within my family and church. Sure, TBM's are not going to see it that way...but it's there and eventually it will start to seep in. There is going to be some pain and more bleeding. It took the church 180 years of "obedience and prophet worship" doctrines to dig themselves into this mess. They can't and will not be able to dig themselves out of this hole overnight.
Richard Bushman came to pretty much the same conclusion
"It is written as a historian might tell the story," Bushman says from his home in New York, "not as a theological piece, trying to justify the practice."

By depicting the exclusion as fitting with the common practices of the day, says Bushman, who wrote "Rough Stone Rolling," a critically acclaimed biography of Smith, "it drains the ban of revelatory significance, makes it something that just grew up and, in time, had to be eliminated."

But accepting that, Bushman says, "requires a deep reorientation of Mormon thinking."

Mormons believe that their leaders are in regular communication with God, so if you say Young could make a serious error, he says, "it brings into question all of the prophet’s inspiration."

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Re: Race and The Priesthood

Post by Curt Sunshine » 12 Dec 2013, 11:16

I agree, Sheldon - and I think that is a wonderful thing. I support and sustain our leaders, but I loathe the way we have granted them a cloak of infallibility. Our current leaders have shed that cloak - quite openly, with a very few who seem to be struggling to let it go. If this shatters that cloak for members who are holding onto it, great. It might cause more faith crises, but if that's the price of letting go of such an apostate idea, so be it.
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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SilentDawning
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Re: Race and The Priesthood

Post by SilentDawning » 12 Dec 2013, 17:15

I am glad we are having this conversation. I love Bushman's commentary about the paradigm shift MOrmons will have to make. This was the point I was trying to make earlier in this thread. I also respect the new generation of leaders who are "coming out" with their infallibility. That makes me respect them a lot more as part of my faith crises is a lack of respect for some of the leadership I have seen, which is egocentric to the church -- this admission of fallibility on key doctrinal points shows a degree of humility I haven't seen before.

At the risk of being over-optimistic, this is a glimmer of the kind of church I can find a place within again -- notice how I said glimmer. But there is hope -- think of all the changes -- elevating Ward Council over PEC to give women a stronger voice, some talks that tell leaders NOT to treat members as "units" to staff the church...and a key statement -- that the church is not a moving service!!! (It was BKP who said that, of all people).
"It doesn't have to be about the Church (church) all the time!" -- SD

"The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. No price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself."

A man asked Jesus "do all roads lead to you?" Jesus responds,”most roads don’t lead anywhere, but I will travel any road to find you.” Adapted from The Shack, William Young

Ann
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Re: Race and The Priesthood

Post by Ann » 13 Dec 2013, 02:22

Sheldon wrote:
Richard Bushman came to pretty much the same conclusion
"It is written as a historian might tell the story," Bushman says from his home in New York, "not as a theological piece, trying to justify the practice."

By depicting the exclusion as fitting with the common practices of the day, says Bushman, who wrote "Rough Stone Rolling," a critically acclaimed biography of Smith, "it drains the ban of revelatory significance, makes it something that just grew up and, in time, had to be eliminated."

But accepting that, Bushman says, "requires a deep reorientation of Mormon thinking."

Mormons believe that their leaders are in regular communication with God, so if you say Young could make a serious error, he says, "it brings into question all of the prophet’s inspiration."
Just curious, where is this quote from? Thanks for including it.
"Preachers err by trying to talk people into belief; better they reveal the radiance of their own discovery." - Joseph Campbell

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"Therefore they said unto him, How were thine eyes opened? He answered and said unto them, A man that is called Jesus made clay, and anointed my eyes...." - John 9:10-11

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