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latterdayteancum

Blacks And The Priesthood

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[...Too bad the world is such a messy place.

What about this Book of Mormon quote, concerning the reason the LORD caused the Lamanites to have a skin of blackness:

2 Nephi 5:21

21 And he had caused the cursing to come upon them, yea, even a

sore cursing, because of their iniquity. For behold, they had

hardened their hearts against him, that they had become like unto

a flint; wherefore, as they were white, and exceedingly fair and

delightsome, that they might not be enticing unto my people the

Lord God did cause a skin of blackness to come upon them.

22 And thus saith the Lord God: I will cause that they shall be

loathsome unto thy people, save they shall repent of their

iniquities.

23 And cursed shall be the seed of him that mixeth with their

seed; for they shall be cursed even with the same cursing. And

the Lord spake it, and it was done.

Is it not possible that a God of Love, who is dealing with eternal intelligences, will curse a race both for their sake and for the sake of others not under the curse?

Richard

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I've heard it explained that dark skin was not the curse, but the sign of the curse. Doctrinally, the dark skin came because of the curse (denial of priesthood)--not the other way around.

Of course, to someone who was denied the priesthood before the 1970s, that might be little consolation . . .

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“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 question”
If one were to call this comment "racist," logically one would also have to call it classist in the terms of economic, social and education as well as religious.

I supposed one could read it this way, but when seen in the greater context of church structure overall, I think one would be missing the boat.

One could take it as saying something along the lines as "stick to your own kind," but this if applied to all activity in the church would be contrary to what has been taught and developed extensively over time. Wards are not divided in terms of race, economic, educational, etc. status but on the grounds of population numbers and location resulting, in my experience, in interesting mixes, as in a mix of blue collar and doctors due to a university and industry being in the same boundaries, high immigrant numbers mixed with a senior white population, and wards that had every colour of skin known to man. We are, in fact, pushed often by church structure to leave our comfort zone and mixing with those we wouldn't normally mix with anywhere else. I have often been a companion with someone with a very different economic, educational, social and even race background and not once was I ever asked if I were comfortable with the partnering, but rather it was just expected I would be supportive of the decision. The only time I've ever seen any real concern about combining "different" individuals into a cohesive group was when language was an issue. Sometimes age is brought up due to different focuses at different times of life, but I have yet to see that being actually used as a determining factor for dividing companionships. I think this provides enough evidence that this is not some sort of generic racist/classist remark, but is being used only for this specific context of marriage.

Since the context of the advice (notice that it is "recommended" and not "instructed" even) is in choosing one's marriage partner, the entire quote comes to "marry someone who shares a common background." If this advice is improper, then I suppose we should throw out all of the studies that show commonality can have a significant impact on the success of a marriage relationship. Or we can accept them as a practical predictor and one to take into consideration when choosing a partner. How we weight it should depend on our personal circumstances---which is why I think the remark is no stronger than a "recommendation".

add-on: The current CES Institute manual on Celestial Marriage has this same quote without the race qualification. I think this is a recognition that in this day and age in Westren society at least (not in certain other ones unfortunately) that race has become less of a concern for marital problems than education or social/economic background. I believe it has never been a greater concern than religious differences.

http://www.ldsces.org/inst_manuals/Marriag...35311000_34.pdf

======

Are there any other remarks in the church manuals that you see are also along these lines and have less contextual problems for being presented as purely racist in character?

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Hammer said;

The one thing that bothers me more than any other thing about your statements is the blantant self-centered and all right attitude about my prejudice when you have no clue where I have been and who I am because of it. After coming out of that high school (slc South High) I should hate blacks and hispanics. I don't.

NOâ?¦you should not hateâ?¦instead you should have a deeper understanding of the pain many feel when confronted with racism. You have my deepest apology and sympathy.

Nowâ?¦image if that racism was taught from the pulpit. Image if you grew up believing that because of your preexistent behavior you were unworthy of exaltationâ?¦unworthy of the priesthoodâ?¦unworthy of the highest gifts God has to offer. No matter your behavior in this life you are unworthy of those higher blessings. You cannot through your own actions attain temple blessings. Instead, you are told that you have inherited a six thousand year old curseâ?¦orâ?¦you failed to measure up in the preexistence.

You are less worthy than all those around you, by virtue of the color of your skin, the width of your nose, the kink in your hair or the physical shape of your face. In Africa you had to prove that you could trace both sides of your linage out of Africa before you could receive the priesthoodâ?¦orâ?¦receive your temple blessings. Anything short of that kept you from accessing the higher blessings of the gospel.

Nowâ?¦fast forward three decadesâ?¦the people that you worship with every Sunday are still saying that the â??doctrineâ? of withholding the priesthood from blacks (I prefer folklore) was and is â??Godâ??s willâ?. That God willed it, that this racism prior to 1978 was God ordained. The residue from that racism continues to be taught when ever this subject is discussed in Church or here on the Internet when people make statements about Godâ??s intent. That is institutionalized racism.

hammer said;

I will state agqain, that what you are saying is the worlds opinion not Gods. God knows all. God does what He does and He answers to no man. He will put His leaders in compromising places for the world to test and try them to see if they will do what so ever the Lord asks of them.

It is this kind of self righteous opinion that I am talking about. I was once where you areâ?¦I challenge you to find one reference of revealed scripture that reinforces this folklore as doctrine.

Please take a few minutes and 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

I hope it will help you the way it helped me. Brother Mauss is an active member of the Church and has authored several books on Mormonism and Church history; he is a retired University Professor, and well respected in LDS academic circles.

I totally understand where you are coming from. But as I sit here tonight pondering upon the events of last night I don't see that you have any case great enough to make an eternal difference to the people who were faithful inspite of this momentary deprevation.

Let me explain. Last night my 26 year old single daughter tried for the 3rd time to gain a temple recommend. She wants so badly to receive her endowments. She has tried to be called on a mission

but was denied the opportunity because she had been given 'bi-pollar' drugs when she was 8 years old and took them for two months. This being in her history she was red flagged and given a psychological screening and found not fit for a normal mission. She could be called to be a greeter at the church office building but that was it. No MTC, No Temple endowments.

She has taken the temple ready classes three times and been promised endless times that after she was 24 she could go. But each and every time she is denied. Not because of unworthiness, but because she isn't attached to a man.

Don't try and tell me there isn't millions of members in the church today who are denied these same blessings daily for no really good reason other than it is policy --- every day of the week.

Yet they stay faithful, wait upon the Lord and do what they are able to do. I guess I could go on a rampage and write a couple of books noting all the policies and leaders doing harm to an innocent group of young people. But why? Isn't this the life and challenge we chose when we chose Christ in the pre-existence? To hazzard all challenges and hardships?

Sorry I just can't validate hacking at past or present leadership for calls that the Lord makes.

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Hammer, I got news for ya Honey....The fact that your daughter is being denied the recommend that she so badly wants, and accoording to LDS standards is worthy of, is NOT, I repeat NOT a decision of the Lord. This is a decision of clearly uninformed men that have absolutely no idea what it means to be bipolar. And she took the meds when she was 8 for crying out loud and it is STILL being held against her?!! This is appalling and frankly I feel sorry for your daughter. Does she have outbursts, emotional swings, violent tendencies, etc.? If she functions the same as any general person of society then I see no reason that she is being denied something she so clearly wants and is deserving of. (Why she wants it, I'll never understand, but to each their own.)

I also believe that the priesthood ban on Blacks was absolutely positively NOT of God either. This was man's bigoted and offensive decision. Period.

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Hammer said,

Sorry I just can't validate hacking at past or present leadership for calls that the Lord makes.

Point 1, my intent is not to â??hackâ? the leadership past of present. I have tremendous love and sympathy for them, yet that does not change history.

Point 2, weâ??ll thatâ??s the real question, whether the Lord made that decision or not.

Point 3, I am sincerely sorry for the mountain your daughter has to climb, you and your daughter have my empathy and prayers.

I do not agree that this issue is a simple black hats and white hats kind of issue. There is much more to this issue than the Lord Commanded and we obeyed.

Finally, I am still waiting for you to provide me with one cite of where anyone received a revelation about this issue, other than to discontinue the folklore.

Please refrain from insulting me itâ??s getting old. Especially when you define my intent.

JR

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Jesus didn't refuse to go amon the Gentiles as I recall. He did however, instruct the apostles not to right away go to the Gentiles. There is a reason far more simple than the one you are perhaps thinking. The apostles did not live among the Gentiles, they lived among the Jews, The point Jesus was making was this...If you cannot go among your own people or the people that you live with comune with, whatever, and make disciples of them, then how can you expect to make disciples of those you do not live among? It had nothing to do with who was worthy or not worthy but rather who they actually lived among.

IOW if I can't make disciples of the people on my own stree, then how can I expect to make disiples of peple living in Asia?

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Hammer said,

Sorry I just can't validate hacking at past or present leadership for calls that the Lord makes.

Point 1, my intent is not to â??hackâ? the leadership past of present. I have tremendous love and sympathy for them, yet that does not change history.

Point 2, weâ??ll thatâ??s the real question, whether the Lord made that decision or not.

Point 3, I am sincerely sorry for the mountain your daughter has to climb, you and your daughter have my empathy and prayers.

I do not agree that this issue is a simple black hats and white hats kind of issue. There is much more to this issue than the Lord Commanded and we obeyed.

Finally, I am still waiting for you to provide me with one cite of where anyone received a revelation about this issue, other than to discontinue the folklore.

Please refrain from insulting me itâ??s getting old. Especially when you define my intent.

JR

You disregard what I have stated and the whole church membership has been taught and this is that President Kimball prayed and received. What more do you want?

It is of God. YOu can't accept that and you say I am hurling insults when I state that it is from God. I just don't get your game.

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If that reasoning is to be accepted, I would have an awfully difficult time explaining Christ's teachings during his ministry.

Teachings like this, for example?

Then Jesus went thence, and departed into the coasts of Tyre and Sidon. And, behold, a woman of Canaan came out of the same coasts, and cried unto him, saying, "Have mercy on me, O Lord, thou Son of David; my daughter is grievously vexed with a devil." But he answered her not a word. And his disciples came and besought him, saying, "Send her away; for she crieth after us." But he answered and said, "I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel."

You oversimplify.

Too bad the world is such a messy place.

Matthew 15:28

"Then Jesus said to her in reply, "O woman, great is your faith! 12 Let it be done for you as you wish." And her daughter was healed from that hour."

Do you want to add the part about the dogs and scraps? She put herself at that level.

Sure go ahead and add it, it only goes to further the point Jesus makes in Matthew 15:28. Jesus says he came only for the children of Israel, yet he grants this woman's request due to her great faith. Since Jesus can't lie, I think it's pretty obvious that the woman became a child of Israel through her faith, and was able to receive all the blessings as a daughter of Abraham through her faith in Christ.

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If that reasoning is to be accepted, I would have an awfully difficult time explaining Christ's teachings during his ministry.

Teachings like this, for example?

Then Jesus went thence, and departed into the coasts of Tyre and Sidon. And, behold, a woman of Canaan came out of the same coasts, and cried unto him, saying, "Have mercy on me, O Lord, thou Son of David; my daughter is grievously vexed with a devil." But he answered her not a word. And his disciples came and besought him, saying, "Send her away; for she crieth after us." But he answered and said, "I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel."

You oversimplify.

Too bad the world is such a messy place.

Matthew 15:28

"Then Jesus said to her in reply, "O woman, great is your faith! 12 Let it be done for you as you wish." And her daughter was healed from that hour."

Do you want to add the part about the dogs and scraps? She put herself at that level.

Sure go ahead and add it, it only goes to further the point Jesus makes in Matthew 15:28. Jesus says he came only for the children of Israel, yet he grants this woman's request due to her great faith. Since Jesus can't lie, I think it's pretty obvious that the woman became a child of Israel through her faith, and was able to receive all the blessings as a daughter of Abraham through her faith in Christ.

No it only indicates she was given her request of healing for her daughter. Nothing more.

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I want to say something about the SWK quote. I think it was advice that (at that time) interracial marriages would be difficult for themselves and their children. While I didn't agree with the advice at that time, it would have been very common advice by most people of all races. Watch Guess Whose Coming to Dinner, the movie was based on that exact advice.

Clearly times have changed, and that would not be the advice today by very many people. Society and people have come a long ways.

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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?

My LDS friend think that it was not a faulty revelation - including the change in 1978.

If you were a black person how would you feel?

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I think President Hinckley's explanation is best when he said, that not thinking those with a different skin color were worthy of the Priesthood, was a matter of arrogance. That makes perfect sense, considering ours is a God of Love and not of intolerance.

Now Moksha. You know perfectly well that President Hinckley's statement was not offered as an explanation for the former Priesthood ban, but as a rebuke to some contemporary individuals who, having no religious duty to withhold the Priesthood from anyone, really are being racist if they imagine it should be withheld.

So why do you assert something when you know it isn't true?

Regards,

Pahoran

No, I am fairly certain President Hinckley's words and wisdom had a retroactive quality to them. In his address he related to us some of the history of the lifting of the Priesthood Ban. His reasoning was applicable to both the present and well as the past. Don't forget this came right on the heels of a former BYU professor calling for the Church to offer a clarification for past reasons given for the Priesthood ban. His reply in my mind was an answer to that call and has given us an answer as to its true origins. "I remind you that no man who makes disparaging remarks concerning those of another race can consider himself a true disciple of Christ. Nor can he consider himself to be in harmony with the teachings of the Church of Christ. How can any man holding the Melchizedek Priesthood arrogantly assume that he is eligible for the priesthood whereas another who lives a righteous life but whose skin is of a different color is ineligible?"

The true of President Hinckley's remarks echo to both the past and present.

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Hammer said,

You disregard what I have stated and the whole church membership has been taught and this is that President Kimball prayed and received. What more do you want?

It is of God. YOu can't accept that and you say I am hurling insults when I state that it is from God. I just don't get your game.

This is what I said in my original post.

JR said,

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.

Please note the bolded statement about inspired nature of the 1978 revelation!

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Wow...accoording to Hinkley's statement regarding that people that make disparaging remarks about people of other races not being allowed to call themselves Christian....That means by his very own definition, there are many past LDS prophets that cannot call themselves Christian. Now that's a doozy!!! The guy from the 50's comes to mind but I cannot think of his name off hand.

Give me a few minutes and I will find the exact quote I am looking for.

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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.

Pantsman, have you even tried to read the other blogs?

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Interesting. On one hand we have:

"I remind you that no man who makes disparaging remarks concerning those of another race can consider himself a true disciple of Christ. Nor can he consider himself to be in harmony with the teachings of the Church of Christ. How can any man holding the Melchizedek Priesthood arrogantly assume that he is eligible for the priesthood whereas another who lives a righteous life but whose skin is of a different color is ineligible?"

And the article of faith that says that we will only be responsible for our own sins.

And on the other we have:

2 Nephi 5:21

21 And he had caused the cursing to come upon them, yea, even a

sore cursing, because of their iniquity. For behold, they had

hardened their hearts against him, that they had become like unto

a flint; wherefore, as they were white, and exceedingly fair and

delightsome, that they might not be enticing unto my people the

Lord God did cause a skin of blackness to come upon them.

22 And thus saith the Lord God: I will cause that they shall be

loathsome unto thy people, save they shall repent of their

iniquities.

23 And cursed shall be the seed of him that mixeth with their

seed; for they shall be cursed even with the same cursing. And

the Lord spake it, and it was done.

as well as over 100 years of racial discrimination. By that I simply mean that distinctions were made based on race, I don't know a less charged way to say it.

Anyway, on the surface it seems like these two views are totally incompatible.

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AKS:

From FARMS:

How can one justify the change from "white and delightsome" in 2 Nephi 30:6 to "pure and delightsome"?

"White" need not refer to skin color, as is clear from the following passages from the biblical book of Daniel: "And some of them of understanding shall fall, to try them, and to purge, and to make them white, even to the time of the end: because it is yet for a time appointed" (Daniel 11:35). "Many shall be purified, and made white, and tried; but the wicked shall do wickedly: and none of the wicked shall understand; but the wise shall understand" (Daniel 12:10).

In both of these passages, the meaning of the word "white" is most obviously pure; to "make white" is to purify (see also Mormon 9:6). When Joseph Smith first translated the Book of Mormon, he gave the literal rendering of "white" for the passage in 2 Nephi 30:6. For the 1840 edition, he changed it to "pure," realizing that this better reflected the meaning of the word used by Nephi.

That the terms "white and pure" were considered synonymous by the rabbis is supported by the medieval Jewish kabbalistic text, Zohar 211b, which speaks of the purification of the souls of the dead by being "immersed in that 'river of fire'" mentioned in Daniel 7:10. The text says that "fire alone has the virtue of consuming every pollution in the soul, and making it emerge pure and white . . . for that soul will have to pass through the fire in order to come out pure and white" (Maurice Simon, and Paul P. Levertoff, The Zohar (New York:, 1958), 4:218-20.)

Much the same can be said about the meaning of blackness in Scriptural thought.

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AKS:

From FARMS:

How can one justify the change from "white and delightsome" in 2 Nephi 30:6 to "pure and delightsome"?

"White" need not refer to skin color, as is clear from the following passages from the biblical book of Daniel: "And some of them of understanding shall fall, to try them, and to purge, and to make them white, even to the time of the end: because it is yet for a time appointed" (Daniel 11:35). "Many shall be purified, and made white, and tried; but the wicked shall do wickedly: and none of the wicked shall understand; but the wise shall understand" (Daniel 12:10).

In both of these passages, the meaning of the word "white" is most obviously pure; to "make white" is to purify (see also Mormon 9:6). When Joseph Smith first translated the Book of Mormon, he gave the literal rendering of "white" for the passage in 2 Nephi 30:6. For the 1840 edition, he changed it to "pure," realizing that this better reflected the meaning of the word used by Nephi.

That the terms "white and pure" were considered synonymous by the rabbis is supported by the medieval Jewish kabbalistic text, Zohar 211b, which speaks of the purification of the souls of the dead by being "immersed in that 'river of fire'" mentioned in Daniel 7:10. The text says that "fire alone has the virtue of consuming every pollution in the soul, and making it emerge pure and white . . . for that soul will have to pass through the fire in order to come out pure and white" (Maurice Simon, and Paul P. Levertoff, The Zohar (New York:, 1958), 4:218-20.)

Much the same can be said about the meaning of blackness in Scriptural thought.

You might have a point if the verse did not explicitly say "skin of blackness."

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Moses 5: 6

6 And after many days an angel of the Lord appeared unto Adam, saying: Why dost thou offer sacrifices unto the Lord? And Adam said unto him: I know not, save the Lord commanded me.

Boy, you got to hand it to Adam, instead of saying 'You want me to do what!' he followed his Lord's command. The lord will not always tell us the why. Sometimes we can't handle the why. We always seem to look for the bad in things. It is that way with the priesthood being denied the black man. Some use the arguement of women not having the priesthood. We should look for the good in all things.

For instance:

The church encourages that a girl that becomes pregnant out of wedlock to give the child up for adoption. I am from the south where family name and honor are strong as are the ties of family. When I first heard this counsil I could not agree with it. But as I listened to the voice of reason and the whisperings of the spirit I began to see the wisdom in it. It is the same with the priesthood. It has advanced throughout the ages. From father to son in one race, to any worthy male in another race, and now today it is available to any worhy male in the world. From the peoples of Abraham to the caucasian to the blacks. The Lord's ways are not ours and there is always a reason behind what the Lord does. The prophets were not in error and the revelation was right on. To say the brethern were wrong in that aspect is to step toward apostacy.

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The Lord's ways are not ours and there is always a reason behind what the Lord does. The prophets were not in error and the revelation was right on.

Wow. Just how do you know that it was the Lords way in this case? I find it hard to believe.

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The Lord's ways are not ours and there is always a reason behind what the Lord does. The prophets were not in error and the revelation was right on.

Wow. Just how do you know that it was the Lords way in this case? I find it hard to believe.

The Lord is the same today, yesterday, and forever. His pattern for revealing truth to the world has not changed. The prophets have revealed the will of the Lord and it is insignificant if I or anyone else believes it or not, it has been revealed. If one will follow God's way to finding truth, then they can know also. When a prophet speaks as a prophet then it is the Lord's will.

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...Too bad the world is such a messy place.

What about this Book of Mormon quote, concerning the reason the LORD caused the Lamanites to have a skin of blackness:

2 Nephi 5:21

21 And he had caused the cursing to come upon them, yea, even a

sore cursing, because of their iniquity. For behold, they had

hardened their hearts against him, that they had become like unto

a flint; wherefore, as they were white, and exceedingly fair and

delightsome, that they might not be enticing unto my people the

Lord God did cause a skin of blackness to come upon them.

22 And thus saith the Lord God: I will cause that they shall be

loathsome unto thy people, save they shall repent of their

iniquities.

23 And cursed shall be the seed of him that mixeth with their

seed; for they shall be cursed even with the same cursing. And

the Lord spake it, and it was done.

Is it not possible that a God of Love, who is dealing with eternal intelligences, will curse a race both for their sake and for the sake of others not under the curse?

You appearing to be making a couple of assumptions, implicit in your question, with which I have problems:

1. You assume that a curse is something imposed and not embraced (G-d always gives options: covenant blessings and cursings with the individual free to choose between them).

2. You assume the "skin of blackness" is something physical and not spiritual (a position not at all clear from the text).

3. You assume that Lamanites and Nephites were of different races (a position not at all clear from the text).

Are those your assumptions? Before we can go forward with your thread-hijacking question, we ought really to both be on the same page.

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