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Be careful, sometimes it is the hanging onto hurt and anger and the past when we should be moving on that perpetuates the wedges in our relationships whether between members of our families or between races.

-SlackTime

If a person feels that it was a bad (wrong) policy in the first place, it would be easier for them to move on if leadership stated that it was an error that has now been corrected. But our leadership has never done that.

So, should the leadership state that it was an error even if it wasn't an error just because there are those who feel it was a bad or wrong policy? I'm sorry KG, but either I really misunderstood you or I think that this type of attitude is sending a very wrong message.

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Be careful, sometimes it is the hanging onto hurt and anger and the past when we should be moving on that perpetuates the wedges in our relationships whether between members of our families or between races.

-SlackTime

If a person feels that it was a bad (wrong) policy in the first place, it would be easier for them to move on if leadership stated that it was an error that has now been corrected. But our leadership has never done that.

I can appreciate that. But is it possible that it wasn't "wrong" in the social fabric of the times. It became more and more "wrong" as our social fabric changed and so our perception of the policy or revelation when looking back looks "wrong" to us. When our societies and our Church was ready or at least mostly ready, (I knew members in my mission field who had a hard time with the change) then God made the change. In this case there is no reason for the Church to say anything, in fact, saying something would be counterproductive, no matter how much someone wants such a statement. At least that's how I see it.

-SlackTime

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I can appreciate that.  But is it possible that it wasn't "wrong" in the social fabric of the times.

Once again, I argue that words like the priesthood ban are the instigators of such racism. Otherwise, I wager that I have no reason to look differently at my black brothers and sisters and have no fear to talk to them. Having a leadership that refuses to refute the ban puts me at odds with my fellow mortals.

Why else would anyone think that [edit]Civil Rights[/edit] is a manipulative scheme derived from the evils of Communism? Certainly not the brethren... :P

So, should the leadership state that it was an error even if it wasn't an error just because there are those who feel it was a bad or wrong policy?  I'm sorry KG, but either I really misunderstood you or I think that this type of attitude is sending a very wrong message.

Even if they weren't in error, they need to apologize, and mean it. We're scaring off members (white and black) and potential investigators by the thousands who simply don't want to be referred to as not always worthy to hold the priesthood in the eyes of their Creator. Call me a numbers-zealot, but even if only one person feels welcome to enter our halls because we shirked the notion of inspiration of the ban, then so be it. I've then done my job.

If I am wrong about the ban (WHICH I DON'T THINK I AM) and I do convince the Presidency to refute, then the most that will happen will be that the apostles and I will go to hell, even if thousands of skeptics and their kin come into full fellowship, thus making us the world Church we always wanted to be. If it means bringing souls to Christ, then you better believe that I'm willing to go to hell for it.

[added]

I ain't finished. This is an example of choosing the worse of the two sins. Do we go against something that is arguably from God or not, or do we continue to alienate more and more members?

Adam had to make a similar choice: never partake of the fruit from the tree, remaining in the Garden of Eden forever, completely static and alone (he'd get tired of Eve's whining at some point); or take the fruit, and populate the earth, forwarding God's wonderful yet chaotic world plan?

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I do think that it would be considered "wrong" though for the times if we have people like Joseph Smith advocating a more inclusive positions towards blacks and policies such as allowing blacks to worship alongside whites in the temple. If we had inclusive policies initially, and if the man who ushered in this dispensation had a certain vision that by the end of his life was inclusive, and we have scripture that advocates this inclusive vision, then I think it's hard to make the argument that it wasn't necessarily wrong.

Please let me clarify that just because it doesn't make it okay DOESN'T mean that our time and place DON'T bear great weight on how we view the world. In that sense, I do not judge those from the past as a result. But it's awfully harmful if in today's world we are using notions simply out of tradition and nothing else. Notions that are divisive and really don't need to be defended if we have gone onto a new chapter in the community and church.

It was by no means an understanding we have today obviously, but there was an understanding nonetheless by Joseph Smith himself that blacks had the potential to rise from whatever their "lot" may be, regardless of station in this world or station in terms of lineages.

What we do see is mainly changing and shifting notions of blacks themselves among the community and leadership throughout the years, and it tends to correspond to a large degree to the outside culture. It happens.

I think that the relatively insignificant number of blacks in Utah further makes it harder to argue that the practice helped to guard the church any capacity too.

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So, should the leadership state that it was an error even if it wasn't an error just because there are those who feel it was a bad or wrong policy?

Is that what I said? I'll have to reread my post. Of course they should not lie. If the ban truly came from God, they owe no apology. (that's a big IF) I personally don't believe it came from God. I think it was an unfortunate, misguided policy of Brigham Young and his successors.

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Guest KW Graham

== I have no response to that. I'm just mystified that a seemingly intelligent person with any knowledge of biology would believe that dark skin is a curse from God and not a human adaptation. To me, it's absolutely absurd. But, I can't argue with someone who doesn't want to know.

Was that directed towards me?

As Jan pointed out, a curse or "mark," call it whatever you want. I have no problem referring to it as a mark. The fact is it has been traditionally held in Mormonism that the black skin was no "adaptation" by the sun. It was a "mark" God decided to do, to set them apart. The reasons for doing so is really irrelevant to the fact that Mormonism has consistently taught this. In any event, it is pretty solid in LDS teaching, so your problem is with the Church not me. I'm just remaining faithful to what I was taught by my own faith. If you think that makes me less intelligent, then so be it.

Ultimately, as I noted before, your explanation has not been proved by science. It is just a wild theory you've uncritically accepted - perhaps for the sake of political correctness- at the expense of rendering your own faith superfluous.

Forgive me if I don't indulge in every liberal Mormon hypothesis as it arises.

PS: And for teh record, I'm quite "mystified" as to why someone would come on a religious forum and be "mystified" because some people prefer religious explanations over the allegedly "scientific."

:P

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Hmm. Traditionally yes, it's been held that black skin was a mark and a curse. Traditionally, WEstern Christianity held similar notions.

This traditional notion of how black people came to be though doesn't really fit our modern understanding. Not because of political correctness.

We can look at how 19th century people came to process groups and people and lineages and blackness in such terms. We can see how for them, it was a tradition too that predated our Mormon ancestors by hundreds of years. And we can see why it was

considered common understanding or knowledge, just like today we don't think twice of believing the world to not be flat.

It's harder to maintain a similar faith in such a traditional teaching though in our present day, which may explain why we don't hear this type of processing in church today. You just don't. You don't hear leaders processing race or lineage in such a way today either.

Just because we may have been taught this traditional notion growing up, doesn't mean we have to maintain that notion if we are getting cues that it's a traditional notion that is not being asserted in the present.

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Ultimately, as I noted before, your explanation has not been proved by science. It is just a wild theory you've uncritically accepted - perhaps for the sake of political correctness- at the expense of rendering your own faith superfluous.

A wild theory? Okay, you're right. It's much more logical to believe that God punishes people (and their descendants) by giving them dark skin. It's also much more Christian.

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Guest KW Graham

== A wild theory? Okay, you're right. It's much more logical to believe that God punishes people (and their descendants) by giving them dark skin. It's also much more Christian

Well, if the Christian God is the God of the Bible, then yes. It is more Christian. God was partial when he allowed only the Levites to hold the priesthood. He was partial when he said the gospel was to be preached to the Gentiles lastly.

Your problem is that you're trying to foist modern-day, PC, multicultural standards upon God. If you do so then God will always appear as a racist, period. Your judgment is on him, not me.

And you're sounding more and more like a secular humanist. This silly, "it is more logical to believe (pick your scientific claim) than to believe (pick your religious claim)" is their trademark.

Your problem isn't that I'm a racist, or that I refuse to see logic. Your problem is that you cannot follow through with your argument. You baldly assert it is logical, but when pressed to argue the point, you bail out. And as you do so you insist there are scientific studies out there somewhere that prove your case. We're supposedly just too lazy or too stupid to look it up. :P

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I don't think anyone's calling you a racist or singling out. I think people are disagreeing with the implications of what you are asserting. The implications are big, that's the reality.

I don't see how having a different interpretation to the race/lineage deal is somehow pc. That seems to marginalize just as much as you feel to be marginalized.

I don't see how comparing ourselves to the God's Chosen people of the OT applies to us MOrmons either. Yes, we are the Chosen people, but in very different terms!!! Our job isn't to close ranks, our job is to spread the word of the gospel, redeem the dead, and strengthen the Saints! Very different job descriptions here, and our descriptions seems to be inclusive in nature, not exclusive like the OT folks.

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ANd I keep using this but it goes to this notion of the blacks and curses and alleged scriptural consistency being argued here:

A careful reading of the Mormon scriptures reveals a very complex picture---

1)Cain's descendants, who "were black," are never again identified after Moses 7:22(an antedilutvian time) nor are Cain's brethren who were shut out with him(Gen. 5:26 JST).

2)The antedilvuian people of Canaan were apparently not black until they fought with the people of Shum(thus are questionably, if at all, connected with Cain)(Moses7::P; and the JST renders Canaan as "Cainan," and gives the impression that these were the prophet Enoch's own people(Gen. 7:6-10; for Enoch's background, Gen. 6:43-44).

3)Nowhere is it stated that Ham married a descendant of the antediluvian people of Canaan. The closest suggestion of this is through the reference to Pharaoh, a descendent of Ham and also a descendant of the "Canaanites"(Abr. 1:21), YET other references in the book of Abraham to Canaanites refer to the descendants of Ham's son, Canaan, to whom the Pharaoh could had been related also.

4)All that is said of Ham's wife is that her name was "Egyptus, which is Chaldean signifies that which is forbidden"(Abr. 1:23); yet we are told that Ham, shortly before the flood was of such high standing that he "walke with God"(Moses 8:27).

5)The Pharaoh and his lineage, the only persons identified as being denied the preisthood(Abr. 1:26-27, are minimally identified as descendants of Ham and Egpytus. ONLY with the Pharaoh is any connection between the descendants of Ham through Egyptus and those through Canaan even suggest,,,,,,

6) YET the Pharaoh is hardly a "servant of servants." Moreover, the Pharaoh is depicted as a "white" in Facsimile 3 in the book of Abrham, in obvious contrast to a "black slave belonging to the prince."

7) Finally no reference is made to any son of Ham other than Canaan being cused with servitude nor any lineage of Ham other than that of Pharaoh being denied the priesthood. the caus of the preisthood denial is not given(one wonders idolatry), nor is there any continuous lineage of "black people" apparent in any of the scriptures."

(NEither White NOr Black, p.35)

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Guest KW Graham

== I don't see how comparing ourselves to the God's Chosen people of the OT applies to us MOrmons either. Yes, we are the Chosen people, but in very different terms!!! Our job isn't to close ranks, our job is to spread the word of the gospel, redeem the dead, and strengthen the Saints! Very different job descriptions here, and our descriptions seems to be inclusive in nature, not exclusive like the OT folks.

I never said, hinted or suggested that black folks are or should be excluded. Blacks have always been included in the Church, just not always in the priesthood. But priesthood restriction according to race is not racism, IMO. Strict racism is when one race feels it is superior to another race, because of its race. It is more of a mindset than an action. I don't think that ever existed in Mormonism. But by the looser definition of racism - which is simply discrimination - Mormonism can easily be understood by modern standards as racism. But then again, it can be applied to God too. After all, he initially chose the Jews as his people. The OT God by modern standards was a racist.

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Kevin-Okay, here's from where I"m coming from. I have had to deal with alot of the implications of our practices as a person with some darker pigment going on. I don't think you were being exclusionary yourself in terms of race, I'm just saying your points have racial implications when put in practice.

Theoretically, we can say it doesn't have to be racist. But in reality, it does become racist. Color and skin pigment becomes a "marker" to judge one's character, one's ancestry, one's potential. That is the historical legacy of the implications of denying by way of race(but assuming that race can be interchanged with lineage).

Not only did our church put a ban on the priesthood, we did at one point of our history not proselyted to blacks. We discouraged any social familiarity with them. Why? Cause if you are friendly with them, the next thing you know, people start intermarrying and making babies and then curses start crossing racial lines.

These legacies of color coding in our church were divisive and created a hierarchy. It just did. I'm only 33 , but dealt with alot of the residue of these notions, even as a non-black and post-ban lifting.

So, in theory, it can look clean. But when we humans play anything out in reality, it gets messy and ugly. That's where inclusion comes in, and where race and color coding did become a very exclusionary subject in terms of who would be able to lead, hold the priesthood, be treated as equals in any capacity, and even hear the gospel. That's a very sad legacy, but I think we are making strides to do better. I know our people are good people, and will do right by people. But we do need to deal with these legacies to better understand why there is pain still, and some real misgivings whether our community will accept people regardless of skin color.

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Blacks have always been included in the Church, just not always in the priesthood.

And the fact that you can so easily swallow this drivel is just plain sad. Why don't you wake up and join us the the 21st century?

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Blacks have always been included in the Church, just not always in the priesthood.

And the fact that you can so easily swallow this drivel is just plain sad. Why don't you wake up and join us the the 21st century?

I agree. It translates to "Blacks are welcome, but they cannot act in the name of God."

How insulting.

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Guest KW Graham

AKS, what's your problem? What "drivel" are you talking about? What I said is a fact. Your problem is with LDS history, not me.

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Your problem is that you're trying to foist modern-day, PC, multicultural standards upon God. If you do so then God will always appear as a racist, period. Your judgment is on him, not me.

And you're sounding more and more like a secular humanist. This silly, "it is more logical to believe (pick your scientific claim) than to believe (pick your religious claim)" is their trademark.

Your problem isn't that I'm a racist, or that I refuse to see logic. Your problem is that you cannot follow through with your argument. You baldly assert it is logical, but when pressed to argue the point, you bail out. And as you do so you insist there are scientific studies out there somewhere that prove your case. We're supposedly just too lazy or too stupid to look it up. :P

Well thank you Dr. Graham for psychoanalyzing my 'problem'. You don't know anything about me or my beliefs.

I don't believe that God ever cursed anyone with dark skin. The curse was the loss of the spirit through disobedience. The Book of Mormon was not written by God. Like the Bible, it was written by human beings and wasn't dictated by God Himself. By the time it was abridged, hundreds of years had passed since the separation of the people. It seems more likely to me that Laman and Lemuel's people intermarried with the local people, and their offspring were noticably more dark skinned than they were. Somewhere along the line, their curse of spirit withdrawal was associated with their dark skin. I believe this to be an interpretation of the writers of the Book of Mormon and not an act of God. Early church leaders could support this view because they didn't know anything about the history of skin color or how it came about.

Scientific explanations aren't "wild theories." People have been living in Africa for tens of thousands of years longer than anywhere else in the world. It's the cradle of humanity.

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Guest KW Graham

== I agree. It translates to "Blacks are welcome, but they cannot act in the name of God."

Uh, am I supposed to be disagreeing with this? This is my point.

But historically, Mormons have traditionally been more accepting of blacks than other Christian denominations. It is just that the priesthood ban was a formal act while the rejection of blacks in Protestant Churches were more informal.

For example, the largest Protestant denom, the SBC, came into existence primarily because it disagreed with the other Churches about freeing blacks from slavery.

But why point fingers at them when it is so much more fun to highlight Mormon histor.

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AKS, what's your problem? What "drivel" are you talking about? What I said is a fact. Your problem is with LDS history, not me.

No, my problem is with people like you who believe the ban was truly evoked by God.

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Guest KW Graham

== Early church leaders could support this view because they didn't know anything about the history of skin color or how it came about.

You seem to be operating under the delusion that Church authorities have always declared "revelation" so long as it was in accordance with the latest science. Kinda makes you wonder why we need prophets in the first place if what they say gets trumped by scientists! Get real Katherine, from your recreation of Mormonism above, you should probably consider starting your own Church.

And you still haven't been able to argue the point through. Scientists say mankind was originally black. But then you insist black skin came from "adaptation." This is incoherent. So which is it?

== Scientific explanations aren't "wild theories."

Newsflash for ya. Many of them are; until they are supported with "logic," compelling evidence and sound reasoning that is. "Logic" that actually relies on the logical method, rather than playing on modern sensibilities of the gullible. You read a theory and run with it. Why? Well, it was technically "scientific" wasn't it? And we know scientists never hypothesize about anything, nor do they do so erroneously. Right?

What planet are you writing from anyway?

== People have been living in Africa for tens of thousands of years longer than anywhere else in the world. It's the cradle of humanity.

Yet, they "adapted" to become black! Seems you don't have such a stranglehold on "logic" after all, if you can't even see the contradicting directions you're taking your argument.

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Guest KW Graham

== No, my problem is with people like you who believe the ban was truly evoked by God.

OK AKS, why don't you go ahead and quote me. Show me where I stated my belief as to who or what caused the "ban."

Fact is, you're clueless about where I'm coming from. You saw a sentence you didn't like, in a huge thread, and decided to jump in without reading much at all.

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Yet, they "adapted" to become black! Seems you don't have such a stranglehold on "logic" after all, if you can't even see the contradicting directions you're taking your argument.

Well, you are truly hopeless... Go ahead and declare yourself the "winner" and continue with your head in the sand.

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Guest KW Graham

== Well, you are truly hopeless... Go ahead and declare yourself the "winner"

Why would I do that when you insist on doing it for me? You keep showing up with, again, no substance, just empty rhetoric and pithy comments. I've demonstrated your argument to be double-talk with no logical merit. You've responded by attacking me instead of the argument.

That's OK. We see this here all the time.

== and continue with your head in the sand.

I'm not the one running from the argument.

:P

Kather in the great: "Modern humans originated in Africa. That is a fact."

Don't take her word for it, just follow what is presumably the cutting edge of scientific "explanations" at her one and only source, e.wikibooks.org!

The "scientist" who wrote this cheesy article is so important, he or she doesn't even need to identify him/herself.

<_<

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== No, my problem is with people like you who believe the ban was truly evoked by God.

OK AKS, why don't you go ahead and quote me. Show me where I stated my belief as to who or what caused the "ban."

Fact is, you're clueless about where I'm coming from. You saw a sentence you didn't like, in a huge thread, and decided to jump in without reading much at all.

Maybe I misunderstood you. I was responding to:

In any event, it is pretty solid in LDS teaching, so your problem is with the Church not me. I'm just remaining faithful to what I was taught by my own faith. If you think that makes me less intelligent, then so be it.

I thought you really believed that God cursed a race by making their skin dark. I apologize for misrepresenting you. Only a complete rube could believe such non-sense. Clearly you are no rube.

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== I agree. It translates to "Blacks are welcome, but they cannot act in the name of God."

Uh, am I supposed to be disagreeing with this? This is my point.

You don't find this notion to be racist? If I were black and I just heard that statement, member or not, I'd be hard-pressed to leave the LDS Church. PLAIN AND SIMPLE.

But historically, Mormons have traditionally been more accepting of blacks than other Christian denominations. It is just that the priesthood ban was a formal act while the rejection of blacks in Protestant Churches were more informal.

IS THAT SO?? Why did the Catholic Church have their first elected bishop in 1854? I want you to read this quote from Moksha carefully. If you don't read it, I suggest doing a little research on who was accepting of whom. Google's a really easy way.

Here is some extraneous information I just learned: On June 10, 1854,  James Augustine Healy was ordained in Paris, France, thus becoming the first African-American priest in the Catholic Church.  James Healy became the first Black bishop of Portland, Maine in 1875.

Two brothers followed him to study abroad.  Alexander Sherwood  Healy was ordained for the diocese of Massachusetts. Patrick Frances Healy obtained his PH.D (the first Black) from Louvian University, Belgium and became the first Black president of Georgetown University (Washington D.C.).

The three brothers were sons of an Irish Plantation owner in Georgia and a slave woman. Their sister Eliza, became a nun and notable school administrator.

Let's look in the holy book of all holy books, David O. McKay and the Rise of Modern Mormonism. Shall I tell you the thoughts of McKay in regard to the African race? (He said this to BYU President Ernest L. Wilkinson for allowing black students on campus in 1960.)

"If a granddaughter of mine should ever go to the BYU and become engaged to a colored boy there, I would hold you responsible" (McKay, pp. 64).

This is 1960, for crying out loud!! Does this not whet your appetite? How about this one: it's a quote from W. Miller Barbour, field director of the National Urban League, as published in Frontier magazine about segregation in Utah. She's talking to Harmon O. Cole, who felt the sting of racism in Utah.

"We are not free to eat or to sleep where we want, nor, in a theater, can we sit where we choose; we are even, in some instances, refused the common courtesy of going openly to a hotel to see a Caucasian friend. She was asked at the desk to take the service elevator to her friend's room, since Negroes were not allowed to use the passenger elevator" (McKay, pp. 66).

For example, the largest Protestant denom, the SBC, came into existence primarily because it disagreed with the other Churches about freeing blacks from slavery.

But why point fingers at them when it is so much more fun to highlight Mormon histor.

We're now comparing our level of religious tolerance to those of the Southern Baptist Church?? Of course, I mean no disrespect to our Southern Baptist friends: at least they have apologized for their racist beliefs. WE have not.

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