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Blacks And The Priesthood

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I just posted an article on my blog dealing with racism I encountered within the Church while serving a mission, and the "theory" that has been offered by some member of the Church that the revelation to not extend the Priesthood to blacks was not from the Lord and an error made by Church leadership because they were "men of their time."

Blacks and the Priesthood

My question to the board is how many of you do believe this revelation was received in error? And if you do not believe this what are your theories as to why the Lord did not extend the Priesthood to all worthy males sooner?

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I just posted an article on my blog dealing with racism I encountered within the Church while serving a mission, and the "theory" that has been offered by some member of the Church that the revelation to not extend the Priesthood to blacks was not from the Lord and an error made by Church leadership because they were "men of their time."

Blacks and the Priesthood

My question to the board is how many of you do believe this revelation was received in error? And if you do not believe this what are your theories as to why the Lord did not extend the Priesthood to all worthy males sooner?

This is the umpteenth thread on this subject. But here goes...

The revelation was in fact a revelation from the Lord.

IMHO, the revelation could have come sooner, if both the brethren and the body of the church had made it a matter of fasting and prayer earlier.

I like the line from the Thurl Bailey fireside that: "Your people were not ready and our people were not ready".

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I just posted an article on my blog dealing with racism I encountered within the Church while serving a mission, and the "theory" that has been offered by some member of the Church that the revelation to not extend the Priesthood to blacks was not from the Lord and an error made by Church leadership because they were "men of their time."

Blacks and the Priesthood

My question to the board is how many of you do believe this revelation was received in error? And if you do not believe this what are your theories as to why the Lord did not extend the Priesthood to all worthy males sooner?

Honestly, I don't know. Because there were black men who held the priesthood in Joseph Smith's day, I wonder if somehow an error of man was handed down from generation to generation until it was fixed. I suppose that is a more comfortable answer but I really don't know. There are a lot of tough questions out there. I know that I will go through this life not ever learning a satisfying answer to those questions. But that is the price of all religion right?

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My question to the board is how many of you do believe this revelation was received in error?

I see it as revelation.

And if you do not believe this what are your theories as to why the Lord did not extend the Priesthood to all worthy males sooner?

The majority of people simply weren't ready for that sort of social change.

With luv,

BD

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I believe the revelation was from the Lord. I also remember, in the 70's hearing instruction from the pulpit contesting the idea that blacks were less valiant or neutral in the war in the Heaven. We were specifically taught that every person who obtained a mortal body was valiant in the pre-mortal existence.

I don't know why there was time when blacks were not given the priesthood. I don't know why only the Levites were among the children of Israel. But I trust there was some purpose God had for it to be so. I do not believe any of the prophets were or are racists.

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I just posted an article on my blog dealing with racism I encountered within the Church while serving a mission, and the "theory" that has been offered by some member of the Church that the revelation to not extend the Priesthood to blacks was not from the Lord and an error made by Church leadership because they were "men of their time."

Blacks and the Priesthood

My question to the board is how many of you do believe this revelation was received in error? And if you do not believe this what are your theories as to why the Lord did not extend the Priesthood to all worthy males sooner?

I am completely convinced--in fact, I have a sure testimony--of the following:

1) The 1978 revelation was divinely inspired. Without question.

2) All those who lived and died before that time, who did not have the opportunity to receive the blessings of the Priesthood in this life, will have that opportunity in the next. Thus, they are denied no blessing available to others.

I am also convinced of the following:

1) Whatever the true reasons for the ban, the explanations given by various people, including Presidents of the Church, were speculative attempts to explain it. Thus, any honest critic, should such ever appear, will make a clear distinction between the two things and not attempt to conflate them. All the evidence shows that, from an early time, the ban was supported by post hoc explanations that were not offered as revealed truth.

2) While the ban was in force, the only proper thing for any Latter-day Saint to do was to obey it.

Regards,

Pahoran

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This is a hard one. Since Joseph Smith did allow the priesthood to some black members, it is hard for me to say it wasn't an error and wasn't due to the opinions of man. I DO substain our prophets of old and I think the options you gave are good for why the ban was in place. I try not to pass judgements. This is just so hard. I do NOT believe that the priesthood was denied due to being unworthy or the seed of Cain or anything along those lines. The New Testament explains how God is not the respecter of persons and loves everyone.

EDIT: I definitely believe the revelation in 1978 was from God.

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The reasons that you posted in your blog are the most acceptable to me . I can not believe that Blacks are less Valient .My opinion was that it was racist. After reading your post I no longer hold that opinion.

Thanks

Alvarado

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I believe it was a revelation from God.

I like the line from the Thurl Bailey fireside that: "Your people were not ready and our people were not ready".

I agree with this line of thinking.

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I believe it was a revelation from God.

I like the line from the Thurl Bailey fireside that: "Your people were not ready and our people were not ready".

I agree with this line of thinking.

Rubbish. If that reasoning is to be accepted, I would have an awfully difficult time explaining Christ's teachings during his ministry. If members of the restored church, the overwhelming majority of whom grew up in the U.S. with our (at least philosophical) committment to racial equality, were not ready to receive doctrine from God on equality, then the Jews of the new testament certainly were not ready for what Christ taught. Moreover, how can you argue that the people were ready for the doctrine of polygamy but were not ready for blacks to receive the priesthood??? I think polygamy caused way more persecution against the church than giving blacks the priesthood ever would have. The subscription to the idea that God (not church leaders) was the decision maker behind the doctrine on not giving blacks the priesthood is really a refusal to accept the fallibility of leaders. Conservatives want to be able to keep believing that leaders should not be questioned because it is way more convenient not to have to think things through and take them with a grain of salt. As best as I can tell, with the limited information I have, leaders themselves (such as Mark E. Peterson and Brigham Young) personally had racist views. To shift the explanation to a supposedly unprepared general membership of the church is merely an attempt shield leaders from their own human frailty. Thank goodness GBH is more enlightened on the subject of race (even though his loyalty to dead prophets apparently prevents him from admitting their error).

I guess I'd like to hear the answer to this question: Who exactly was not ready for the doctrine that blacks could be given the priesthood? As far as I can tell, the answer as of the 1950s and 1960s certainly was not "the general membership of the church." I imagine the overwhelming majority of church members would have accepted such a doctrine (had it been preached from the top) had it arrived even as early as the mid 1800s.

It is the church's LEADERS whom the conservatives hold as being enlightened. They should be ahead of the times, not behind them. If the general population of the U.S. had accepted a constitutional amendment giving equality to blacks as early as the post-civil war era, why in the freak would it have taken "enlightened" church leaders until 1978 to realize that God operates on the same principle of racial equality and non-discrimination?

The most plausible explanation for this is clearly that past leaders erred. If one can't even accept that as a possibility, then he is on shaky ground indeed. Was it not Brigham Young himself who stated that he is so afraid that church members would blindly follow their leaders that they would be led into error? Why should we be so afraid of criticizing doctrinal positions taught by our leaders if we disagree? We don't have to lose respect for them, and we can still hold ourselves to high standards.

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the revelation to not extend the Priesthood to blacks was not from the Lord and an error made by Church leadership

Bang on.

Either God is racist or the early church leaders erred. Take your pick.

Once again, William James gives us a beautiful post. Well put!

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I donâ??t think the attitude towards blacks extended only to limiting the priesthood.

Prior to the lifting ban on the priesthood the church in my experience did not actively try and convert black people. I served a mission in Virginia from 76-78 under two mission presidents, and was there when the revelation was received.

Prior to the announcement, we were instructed to avoid tracking out black families. If we encountered a black family we were told to give them a pamphlet (or welcome them to the neighborhood..) (lol) but not try and set up discussions. If we were approached by a black about learning more about the church we could only give the discussions w/ the mission presidentâ??s approval.

If there is something funny to this is that we kept records including street numbers of where we tracked and marked black homes for the next set of missionaries to avoid. The day after revelation, we received word from the mission prez. to go slowly on approaching any black families. Being more focused on our monthly stats to the mission home, we took our tracking logs looking for black families knowing our teaching hours would sky rocket. And they did.

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I am also convinced of the following:

1) Whatever the true reasons for the ban, the explanations given by various people, including Presidents of the Church, were speculative attempts to explain it. Thus, any honest critic, should such ever appear, will make a clear distinction between the two things and not attempt to conflate them. All the evidence shows that, from an early time, the ban was supported by post hoc explanations that were not offered as revealed truth.

Regards,

Pahoran

Wow! "speculative attempts to explain it". What teachings of the current leaders am I allowed to put in this category? Hindsight gives us a scalpel to slice off those teachings we think are speculation. I wonder what reaction I'd get in SS if I said that the brethrens teachings on Homosexuality, polygamy, and the eternal progression of God were no doubt mere speculation.

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I have strong feelings about this issue and many on this board will disagree with me. Unfortunately those individuals want to ignore the past comments of Prophets and Apostles or dismiss them with a â??that was their opinionâ?.

I would suggest that if you wish to know the â??authoritativeâ? statements from the brethren, from that era, on the subject, you should read three books.

1. â??David O Mckay and the rise of modern Mormonismâ?, Prince and Wright

This book gives great historical context to the issue of blacks and the priesthood and prevailing view of the brethren during the 30, 40, 50, and 60â??s.

2. â??The Church and the Negroâ?, John L. Lund

This is a horrible book; it lays out the prevailing view of most members of the church prior to the proclamation.

3. â??Mormonism and the Negroâ?, Stewart

This book lays out the prevailing view of members of the church prior to the revelation. The roots of this folklore is in the Pearl of Great Price, and many today still hold to the view that the curse of Cain and less valiant theory.

Finally, I would suggest you read an article by Armand L. Mauss on this subject, he directly addresses all the issues surrounding the blacks and the priesthood folklore and it helped me confront the cold reality of the facts.

1. â??Mormonism and the Negro: Faith, Folklore, and Civil Rightsâ?, Armand L. Mauss

It can be found here, http://www.signaturebookslibrary.org/neither/neither1.htm

Now to your questions;

Yesâ?¦the Prophet was inspired. However IMHO the Church was dragged kicking and screaming to the point where the leadership was forced to take the question to the Lord. Therefore, the answer is purely one of faith; if you donâ??t believe then the decision to give the priesthood to the Blacks appears very convenient and political. Likewise, if you are a believer you will see the hand of God guiding the actions President Kimball. I am a believer even though I hold many unorthodox views.

Yesâ?¦I believe most of the leadership was racist, especially by todayâ??s standards. Even if you examine the leadership by the standards of the day, they were behind the curve in the USA and Utah had/has a dismal record when it comes to racial equality and civil rights. To know more about this subject read the McKay book or Maussâ??s article.

Institutional racism was part of our doctrine, nobody knows why, a lot of people guess why, some choose to ignore the ugly racist history of the Church. The saints in prior generations including Prophets and Apostles thought they knew why, they stated it plainly, those that deny it do not know their own history.

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If the general population of the U.S. had accepted a constitutional amendment giving equality to blacks as early as the post-civil war era, why in the freak would it have taken "enlightened" church leaders until 1978 to realize that God operates on the same principle of racial equality and non-discrimination?

Try reading up on US history, not the sanitized versions, but the history that mentions what happened in the South as soon as the Northern Troops left, how the recently freed blacks were suddenly disenfranchised of the vote almost everywhere. Not just in the South. They lost the war, but won the ideology. Read up on the 3000+ very public lynchings (an average of one a week up into the 1950s), and the Tulsa Massacre and Rosewoood (in the 1920s), Emmett Till in the 1950s, and Watts and Boston in the (1960s). Read the recent book on Noah's Curse: The Biblical Justification of Slavery, and notice that the LDS arguments and attitudes were not peculiar "Mormon Doctrine" but inherited from the larger culture.

Then try reading books and essays by Armand Mauss and Lester Bush on the history of the priesthood ban. And read D&C 1 very carefully, noticing the express mention regarding the leadership, that "inasmuch as they erred, it shall be made manifest: inasmuch as they sought wisdom, they might be instructed." Things should seem a little less mysterious. It may not be beautiful, but it is understandable.

Kevin Christensen

Bethel Park, PA

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Prior to the lifting ban on the priesthood the church in my experience did not actively try and convert black people. I served a mission in Virginia from 76-78 under two mission presidents, and was there when the revelation was received.

I have heard these stories.

In the mid 80â??s on my mission, while preparing to baptize two African American sisters, I was told by a Bishop that he didnâ??t want â??n#ggersâ? in his ward. We went to the mission President, he spoke to the Bishop and we baptized the two Black sisters a week later.

I remember being asked by several black families, that we taught, why Blacks couldnâ??t hold the priesthood until 1978. I am embarrassed and a little angry to admit that we gave them the curse of Cain and the less valiant response. I always had a hard time with it. I could never understand how man could be punished for the sins of their very remote ancestors, nor could I comprehend how a less valiant act could occur in the â??war in heavenâ?. After all we all made the correct decision, choice, and followed the saviorâ?¦ right?

I do not believe this doctrine (folklore) was ever inspired, I believe it was false racist doctrine that crept into the Church and should be condemned today. It is sad that so many members continue to hold to these racist views.

My wife and I are in a multiracial marriage. My wife has been present in church meetings when racist discussions occur, unfortunately it is always wrapped in scripture and religion and almost never do those engaged in the discussion realize their words hurt my beautiful wife. The Churches racism is institutionalized and it continues to be taught in some of our Sunday school manuals.

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This is one doctrine that is such a thorn in the side, on the one hand if the LDS say that the priesthood ban was from man, then all other doctrines are suspect. But if they say the ban was from God then the LDS God is an unmitigated racist. It's a very tough topic for LDS. All churches have their faults, but to something as important as the priesthood if the Prophet's erred for hundred years, then what else could be in error that is major doctrine? It's tough.

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I believe the ban was a tragic mistake that took revelation to undo it. I also believe the impetus for the revelation was the Lord's improved understanding of population genetics and the attendant realization that every living soul on Earth had some negro blood flowing through their veins.

But when discussing the issue, I think it's very easy to forget the black women who were collateral damage to the priesthood ban. After all, they couldn't attend the Temple or be sealed therin, even to a white priesthood holder.

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But when discussing the issue, I think it's very easy to forget the black women who were collateral damage to the priesthood ban. After all, they couldn't attend the Temple or be sealed therin, even to a white priesthood holder.

The whole episode is shameful and embarrassing!!!!

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it continues to be taught in some of our Sunday school manuals.

References please.

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I just posted an article on my blog dealing with racism I encountered within the Church while serving a mission, and the "theory" that has been offered by some member of the Church that the revelation to not extend the Priesthood to blacks was not from the Lord and an error made by Church leadership because they were "men of their time."

Blacks and the Priesthood

My question to the board is how many of you do believe this revelation was received in error? And if you do not believe this what are your theories as to why the Lord did not extend the Priesthood to all worthy males sooner?

It was no error. The church should not follow the world. The world should follow the church. Those who believe God's ways/church's ways should be the same as the world's ways are sadly mistaken.

If a modicum of understanding were used to see the masive difference in thinking of God to the world, these kinds of threads would not be filled up.

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it continues to be taught in some of our Sunday school manuals.

References please.

Here is one example;

Aaronic Priesthood, Manual 3, current version, printed 1995,

President Spencer W. Kimball said,

â??We recommend that people marry those who are of the same racial background generally, and of somewhat the same economic and social and educational background (some of those are not an absolute necessity, but preferred), and above all, the same religious background, without questionâ? (Marriage and Divorceâ? in 1976 Devotional Speeches of the Year [Provo: Brigham Young University Press, 1977], p.144).

I taught this lesson (I omitted this offensive quote) last year to my young men. Moreover as a young man I was taught this and more, growing up in the late 70â??s early 80â??s.

I am appalled that this kind of institutionalized racism continues be taught to our children.

My wife while serving, several years ago, in the young womenâ??s presidency helped plan a fireside that taught that one should not marry outside of your own race. It brought my wife to tears. She is the product of a multiracial marriage and is part of a multiracial marriage.

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I just posted an article on my blog dealing with racism I encountered within the Church while serving a mission, and the "theory" that has been offered by some member of the Church that the revelation to not extend the Priesthood to blacks was not from the Lord and an error made by Church leadership because they were "men of their time."

Blacks and the Priesthood

My question to the board is how many of you do believe this revelation was received in error? And if you do not believe this what are your theories as to why the Lord did not extend the Priesthood to all worthy males sooner?

It was no error. The church should not follow the world. The world should follow the church. Those who believe God's ways/church's ways should be the same as the world's ways are sadly mistaken.

If a modicum of understanding were used to see the masive difference in thinking of God to the world, these kinds of threads would not be filled up.

Yep, that settles it: "God said so."

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it continues to be taught in some of our Sunday school manuals.

References please.

Here is one example;

Aaronic Priesthood, Manual 3, current version, printed 1995,

President Spencer W. Kimball said,

â??We recommend that people marry those who are of the same racial background generally, and of somewhat the same economic and social and educational background (some of those are not an absolute necessity, but preferred), and above all, the same religious background, without questionâ? (Marriage and Divorceâ? in 1976 Devotional Speeches of the Year [Provo: Brigham Young University Press, 1977], p.144).

I taught this lesson (I omitted this offensive quote) last year to my young men. Moreover as a young man I was taught this and more, growing up in the late 70â??s early 80â??s.

I am appalled that this kind of institutionalized racism continues be taught to our children.

My wife while serving, several years ago, in the young womenâ??s presidency helped plan a fireside that taught that one should not marry outside of your own race. It brought my wife to tears. She is the product of a multiracial marriage and is part of a multiracial marriage.

It isn't racial. It is biblical and theogically correct. You aren't trying to see things through God's perspective you are all about the world. You can't serve God and Mammon

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It isn't racial. It is biblical and theogically correct. You aren't trying to see things through God's perspective you are all about the world. You can't serve God and Mammon

Either God is no respecter of persons, or He isn't. Supposedly all are alike unto God, but here you are telling us they aren't.

That's a shame that Johnny Rotten's wife experienced that.

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