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Benji

Brigham Young and extreme racism

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"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." (Journal of Discourses 10:110)

I have read many similarly disturbing statements by Brigham Young in his Journal of Discourses and yet he is still considered to be a prophet of God by the Mormon church. How can this be so? I would think such things would be openly condemned by a church who supposedly no longer holds to racist doctrines. Of course the problem remains that Young claimed it would "always be so" that the penalty for a white person who mixed their "chosen seed" with th "seed of Cain" would be "death on the spot." It seems problematic that such a statement was made by a prophet of God.

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Here we go again !. Why is not the entire previous events leading up to this statement [Out of context !] given ?. Shall we remind you of the grandaddy of the protestant reformation Marti Luther's anti semetic viewpoints/statements ?. Shall wee also thow in Jean Calvin ?. In His Debt, Tanyan.

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Maybe racist today but what about in his day when he was speaking? Are you being racist against people who lived in the 1800's? Are you trying to seperate yourselves from people who spoke differently then you? I accept Brigham Young as a Prophet.

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Shall we remind you of the grandaddy of the protestant reformation Marti Luther's anti semetic viewpoints/statements ?. Shall wee also thow in Jean Calvin ?

These men did not claim to be prophets of God.

Benji

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Again there is lack of understanding and context.

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I find this so-called argument to be a non-issue. Brigham rightly or wrongly view's on blacks were in line with most of the society at the time. So the point is what? That Brigham has racist views, therefore he couldn't be a Prophet?

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Nice try, I expected this response from Benji. It was some time ago [ A number of years ago] that I saw the reference that Martin Luther [or those who were his followers] declared that he was a prophet. However you sidestepped the anti semetic nature of 2 of the "Founders of Protestantism". Motes and Beams to you.

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Benji;

Prophets are not perfect. Brigham was racist. So what? Moses was a murderer.

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I seem to remember reading that the gentile's were not to recieve the Gospel for a period of time [Only the House of Israel could be taught].

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Actualy Moses killed in defense of another not "murder".

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I have a friend who loves to show me documentation of the appauling misconduct of Africans/Asian/Indians races that were treated cruely by "Protestant" Christians who Killed/Tortured/Beat/Imprisoned/Raped/Put in concentration camps those not Christian. A google search will show that Somw/Many Christians have done things that are inappropriate for those who claims the title of Christian. Motes/Beams, casting stones. Sad.

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Where did Benji Go ?.

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Benji, Yes, Brigham Young held racist views, and spoke in racist terms. I don't think there is much dispute here. Extreme? Eh, for his time, I doubt it. I mean, I'm in a ethnically mixed marriage, we live in multicultural LA, and there have been instances where our relationship is treated like some big-to. I mean, really, to this day folks have a problem with mixed folks making babies.

His views in terms of blacks and their potential or even destiny is in sharp contrast to JS's views actually. They simply saw different potentials. JS seemed to casually mention blacks where from the line of Cain in one instance, but didn't seem to speak at length about this notion and how it affected them the way BY did. He specifically mentioned in regards to Elijah Abel, the first black priesthood holder, that he was a good example of how high one can raise himself, regardless of where he started. Sounds patronizing today, but actually means he didn't believe lineage could stop one from progressing and growing, a very important point to consider. JS by the end of his life did argue that any lineage ties to Ham that they may have did not mean they were destined to be slaves as well.

In contrast BY did believe that both the alleged lineage ties to Cain and Ham did affect their potential and destiny, at least here. He did believe that they could, as children of Cain, under no circumstance hold the priesthood, and that as children of Ham, were destined to be in subservient positions. This is where the quote you gave is rooted in- in terms of the notion of protecting the priesthood from thie lineage at all costs.

This does sound incomprehensible to us today, but it was a common belief for that time and place to mark blacks as offspring of Cain and to demonize them. The priesthood angle is uniquely Mormon, but you didn't need the priesthood angle to justify killing anyone who dares have sex with white folks, especially black men with white women. Let's be honest about that. Mixing and mingling without too much social consequence is a very recent thing, because our society is a very racist. Just the reality. I think some of the problems our church has had to deal with in terms of race is probably due to the fact that the church has it's roots in America, where race is such a factor in everything and so insidious in nature in this culture. I mean, I just read today how there's this growing trend to adopt black kids OUTSIDE of the states like Canada because there's not enough "demand" from adoptive parents for black kids, and yet other countries don't seem to have a problem with the notion of adopting black kids. Watch the coverage in the last week, see how race again becomes a focal point. We have a hard time dealing with it in our country.

Is it a highlight in Mormon history. No, not to me. Does it make people question someone's religious authority if they were speaking of their times in some instances? Sure, I understand that too. But I think faithful Mormons tend to think that prophets are a mixture of inspiration and humanity, that some things they do were ace, and others they do were indeed very human. And they will most likely(if they don't subscribe to this lineage deal) assign this quote to the latter quality.

EDIT: ONe more thing to consider about BY-while his religious views on certain races made his notions very rigid(like that of Cain), sometimes his religious views on certain ethnic group helped him to humanize them more. For instance, because of the special place that Lamanites have in Mormon theology in terms of the last days, BY actually believed that these brown folks had alot of potential. So, racism is a tricky thing, in how other understandings factor into one's personal views really.

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Benji and extreme anti-Mormonism.

Benji,

you wrote:

I have read many similarly disturbing statements by Brigham Young in his Journal of Discourses

No you haven't.

You've never laid eyes on a Journal of Discourses.

All you have ever done is unthinkingly swallow the tiny little selection of prooftexts culled from its pages and published on anti-Mormon hate sites.

If it were not so, you would be able to quote something that isn't found in the standard anti-Mormon field manual.

But you can't.

Furthermore, unless you have a lot fewer fingers than everybody else, there aren't "many" such statements in the JoD.

And finally, it's not "his" JoD at all. It contains talks given by a great many people--almost all of them extemporaneous--and was published in England.

It seems problematic that such a statement was made by a prophet of God.

It is problematic that you expect us to believe that you find your prooftext at all "disturbing," unless in your dictionary "disturbing" is synonymous with "gleeful."

And your characterisation of Brigham's utterly conventional 19th-century views as "extreme racism" is of the usual standard of most anti-Mormon assertions; that is, it is false.

And demonstrates your "extreme ignorance."

Regards,

Pahoran

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Nice try, I expected this response from Benji. It was some time ago [ A number of years ago] that I saw the reference that Martin Luther [or those who were his followers] declared that he was a prophet. However you sidestepped the anti semetic nature of 2 of the "Founders of Protestantism". Motes and Beams to you.

No, in all the time I spent in the Lutheran church (18 years of solid devotion) I never once read ANYWHERE that Martin Luther OR ANY Lutheran claimed him to be a prophet. He is believed to be an inspired man of God, but no prophet - Luther would be the first to tell you that. Seeing as how I think I have an edge on you when it comes to Luther's theology and writings, how about we just put the issue of his "prophetic" calling to rest. Of course, if you have a source that you would care to site where he does indeed say such a thing, I would be happy to continue this debate.

And by the way, it is neither suprising or disheartening to see that Luther disliked the Jews. That was sort of the popular view in Germany back then. It should also not be either suprising or disheartening that Brigham Young also said such things about the African Americans - that too was a fairly common held view back then. Don't get all red - the fact that he made a few comments with racist undertones should not hurt your faith.

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By the way, compared to many in his day, the views expressed by Brigham Young in the statement above would be considered mild. I imagine that others back then said worse. Consider also the belief that BY held: he believed that those with dark skin were cursed by God for their lack of righteousness. I am in no way agreeing with him - I don't think those statements are really becoming of someone claiming to be a prophet of God - but I can understand the circumstances in which they were made.

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the fact that he made a few comments with racist undertones should not hurt your faith.

I certainly disagree. I think that this kind of idea could not come from a true prophet. No one with dialog with God could harbor such ignorant feelings. I'm sure someone will point to some passage in a text thousands of years old (and many times translated) to prove me wrong. No way. Your church withheld the blessings of religion to an entire group of people based on ill-concieved social influences. Period. BY was no more a prophet than I.

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I find this so-called argument to be a non-issue. Brigham rightly or wrongly view's on blacks were in line with most of the society at the time. So the point is what? That Brigham has racist views, therefore he couldn't be a Prophet?

Exactly. Simple isn't it.

He might have been a great many things, but in direct contact with God and the leader of Jesus Christ's one true church? I think the racism is a serious hint here. There were plenty of people that knew racism was wrong in his day. He should have been one of them.

What kind of information does one get from God anyway? Who lives and the sun or the fact that all men are equal in God's sight?

Another question might be, was he Christ-like or a rather dictator bully?

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the fact that he made a few comments with racist undertones should not hurt your faith.

I certainly disagree. I think that this kind of idea could not come from a true prophet. No one with dialog with God could harbor such ignorant feelings. I'm sure someone will point to some passage in a text thousands of years old (and many times translated) to prove me wrong. No way. Your church withheld the blessings of religion to an entire group of people based on ill-concieved social influences. Period. BY was no more a prophet than I.

AKS, I never said I liked his opinions or agreed with them. However, I also don't believe Brigham to have been a prophet, so maybe that is why I don't really mind. In my personal opinion, we all have our vices - even religious leaders. Racism was Brigham's. However, you also have to look at the teachings of his church. He believed that (at the time) the priesthood was being with-held from a certain group of people because of their righteousness. If that were the belief back then, why would you want to get up and tell your congregation that it is OK to marry someone who you believe to be unrighteous. Of course, we can then get into a discussion about whether or not the priesthood ban was genuinely from God, which would be an entirely new thread.

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No, in all the time I spent in the Lutheran church (18 years of solid devotion) I never once read ANYWHERE that Martin Luther OR ANY Lutheran claimed him to be a prophet. He is believed to be an inspired man of God, but no prophet - Luther would be the first to tell you that.

You realize, of course, that this line of reasoning inevitably leads to a declaration that "my leaders were not in touch with God so it is ok when they don't act like we think they should". There really is nowhere to go with this. If one is "inspired" that does indicate a relationship with God. Whatever label you want to put on that is incidental to the relationship with God. So to maintain this you have to start with they were only inspired some of the time. Well, LDS claim that for "prophets", too. So then you have to go to they were not inspired at all. And I have seen that happen more than once for those particularly eager to hold up their double standards.

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Benji and extreme anti-Mormonism.

Benji,

you wrote:

I have read many similarly disturbing statements by Brigham Young in his Journal of Discourses

No you haven't.

You've never laid eyes on a Journal of Discourses.

You can't know this and you are essentially calling someone a liar.

The whole JOD is online so what makes you think he hasn't read as much as you?

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the fact that he made a few comments with racist undertones should not hurt your faith.

I certainly disagree. I think that this kind of idea could not come from a true prophet. No one with dialog with God could harbor such ignorant feelings. I'm sure someone will point to some passage in a text thousands of years old (and many times translated) to prove me wrong. No way. Your church withheld the blessings of religion to an entire group of people based on ill-concieved social influences. Period. BY was no more a prophet than I.

You are raving.

Because you know nothing of revelation or the holy apostleship, you ignorantly assume that a prophet must receive some kind of instantaneous and total enlightenment along with his calling.

If you were prepared to even consider any source of information to be more authoritative than your own vast prejudices, you would quickly learn that you are completely wrong in this assumption.

Someone who knows as little as you do really needs to cultivate a little more humility.

Tarski wrote:

Exactly. Simple isn't it.

When something is so simple it requires no thought or comprehension, then it might be just a little bit too simple.

Another question might be, was he Christ-like or a rather dictator bully?

Or to put it another way, who was the real Brigham: the dictator of anti-Mormon propaganda, or the leader who stayed behind to put out the campfires after a church picnic?

Regards,

Pahoran

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No, in all the time I spent in the Lutheran church (18 years of solid devotion) I never once read ANYWHERE that Martin Luther OR ANY Lutheran claimed him to be a prophet.  He is believed to be an inspired man of God, but no prophet - Luther would be the first to tell you that.

You realize, of course, that this line of reasoning inevitably leads to a declaration that "my leaders were not in touch with God so it is ok when they don't act like we think they should". There really is nowhere to go with this. If one is "inspired" that does indicate a relationship with God. Whatever label you want to put on that is incidental to the relationship with God. So to maintain this you have to start with they were only inspired some of the time. Well, LDS claim that for "prophets", too. So then you have to go to they were not inspired at all. And I have seen that happen more than once for those particularly eager to hold up their double standards.

I never said that Luther's beliefs about the Jews were OK. I just said that he never claimed to be a prophet. If you remember, someone told Tayran that Luther never claimed to be a prophet, Tayran responded rather smugly that he had heard otherwise. In all honesty, I really just wanted to whipe the grin off Tayran's face with that one.

By the way, Tayran, the offer still stands. Find me a source where Luther claimed to be a prophet if you like. I will get my writings and discourses of Luther out, just in case, to look up a reference if you can provide one.

If you read my posts, you will see that I neither condoned nor condemned either Martin Luther OR Brigham Young for their comments. I was just stating that one needs to understand the times in which they lived.

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I have read many similarly disturbing statements by Brigham Young in his Journal of Discourses and yet he is still considered to be a prophet of God by the Mormon church. How can this be so? I would think such things would be openly condemned by a church who supposedly no longer holds to racist doctrines. Of course the problem remains that Young claimed it would "always be so" that the penalty for a white person who mixed their "chosen seed" with th "seed of Cain" would be "death on the spot." It seems problematic that such a statement was made by a prophet of God.

And yet Billy Graham's answer to Martin Luther King's appeals was that black and white children would never be holding hands. But that is ok for some bizarre reason.

And of course...in that same JoD lecture....BY said this:

    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.

No religion can be proud of their past when it comes to race relations which is why this is such a joyful topic for illiterate antis. The historical records are filled with statements much worse than anything BY came up with....but where are statements equal to the above? Where was the Christian leadership of the time demanding the same thing BY was demanding? They actually had the power to enforce it!

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