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Lamanite

Priesthood Ban And Revelation

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As we begin to celebrate the commemoration of the revelation on the Priesthood, I have taken some time to reflect. It's also timely because I'm teaching the Priesthood lesson this week which is more or less about revelation.

I have considered the Priesthood ban a product of men and cultural mores of the late 19th century for some time now. However, as I sat pondering this commemoration, I recall that Pres. McKay prayed over the issue several times and never was able to receive the answer that it was time to extend the blessings of the Priesthood to all men. Of course in 1978 that all changed after SWK spent much time fasting and praying as an individual prior to going to the Temple in the same attitude of fasting and prayer with the Brethren that wonderful June morning. My point is that DOM being a Prophet of God and his mouthpiece on earth, surely would have received the go ahead if this really was a practice instituted of men and cultural prejudice. Instead God saw fit to stay the course for a little while longer. I can't imaging God perpetuating this practice if it was not his to begin with.

I guess I say with Elder Oaks, " don't know".

Big UP

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My point is that DOM being a Prophet of God and his mouthpiece on earth, surely would have received the go ahead if this really was a practice instituted of men and cultural prejudice. Instead God saw fit to stay the course for a little while longer. I can't imaging God perpetuating this practice if it was not his to begin with.

There are several other options. Keep using your imagination.

The most important thing to remember is that the Priesthood Ban didn't effect an entire generic "race" or group of people. It effected specific individuals.

On June 7, 1978, as 12-year-old African boy could not be ordained to be a deacon, and a couple being married where one of them was black could not be sealed in the Temple. On June 8, what changed? What changed with that 12-year-old boy to allow him to get ordained? What changed with that couple?

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There are several other options. Keep using your imagination.

The most important thing to remember is that the Priesthood Ban didn't effect an entire generic "race" or group of people. It effected specific individuals.

On June 7, 1978, as 12-year-old African boy could not be ordained to be a deacon, and a couple being married where one of them was black could not be sealed in the Temple. On June 8, what changed? What changed with that 12-year-old boy to allow him to get ordained? What changed with that couple?

What other options are there? Have you received a revelation? The imagination is a tricky thing. It can come up with a lot of ideas. Some may be good, and others not so good.

I accepted the revelation when it was announced in 1978 with great gladness. I do not know the why's and wherefore's that existed up to that time. I only knew and know that I had received a spiritual confirmation that the Church was true and I trusted the Lord to lead is church through His chosen prophets.

I do not know why David O. McKay did not get the go ahead. He was the first prophet that I can remember. I do remember that he was a really kind and gentle person and revered by every member that I ever heard speak of him. I do feel that his supplications were sincere and that God had a reason for not allowing President McKay to lift the ban. I just do not know.

Right now, I am happy to go forward in the Gospel.

Glenn

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What other options are there? Have you received a revelation? The imagination is a tricky thing. It can come up with a lot of ideas. Some may be good, and others not so good.

I accepted the revelation when it was announced in 1978 with great gladness. I do not know the why's and wherefore's that existed up to that time. I only knew and know that I had received a spiritual confirmation that the Church was true and I trusted the Lord to lead is church through His chosen prophets.

I do not know why David O. McKay did not get the go ahead. He was the first prophet that I can remember. I do remember that he was a really kind and gentle person and revered by every member that I ever heard speak of him. I do feel that his supplications were sincere and that God had a reason for not allowing President McKay to lift the ban. I just do not know.

Right now, I am happy to go forward in the Gospel.

Glenn

The biggest reason I don't believe God had anything to do with the ban is because it just doesn't work in the first place. "Race" isn't precise enough to deny a right to certain, specific people. If we had DNA testing 150 years ago, there never could have been a priesthood ban in the first place. After all, how many thousands of people probably received the priesthood having a black ancestor in their lineage? Why would God give a ban that could never be consistenly applied in the first place?

You should definitely read Armand Mauss's 1981 article "The Fading of the Pharaohs' Curse: The Decline and Fall of the Priesthood Ban Against Blacks in the Mormon Church". When the Church was forced to get more and more specific in deciding just who couldn't get the priesthood, it assumed a degree of precision that was just impossible to attain. The article also discusses the many factors that may have prevented President McKay from taking full action. And interestingly, President McKay considered the ban to be policy, not doctrine, in the first place.

An important doctrinal implication of extending the priesthood to all such "Negro-looking" peoples was to emphasize that the critical criterion was not color per se, but lineage (from "Hamitic" Africa).15

Dialogue, Vol.14, No.3, p.12 - p.13

Who today would assume we can determine the "lineage" of whole groups of people from the way they look? How much African DNA constitutes a curse? Can a curse be spread with just one ancestor, hundreds of generations ago? Wouldn't that be important to know? How about one ancestor a dozen generations ago?

The whole article is here. It starts on page 10.

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As we begin to celebrate the commemoration of the revelation on the Priesthood, I have taken some time to reflect. ... I can't imaging God perpetuating this practice if it was not his to begin with.

...

Hi Lamanite,

D&C 136:31 warns the Latter-day Saints that they would be tried in ALL things. This revelation was received by President Young. Was God warning the Saints that even President Young himself would seriously err in his teachings?

If President Young, on the other hand, was basically correct in his teachings about the blacks and the Priesthood ban, then could D&C 136:31 be a warning that the LDS church, set up among the Gentiles, would be tried with leaders that would eventually make extremely serious errors to please the world?

I recommend that sincere believers in the restoration who are concerned that all is NOT well in Mormonism today consider the Word of the Lord found in the Second Book of Commandments on this matter.

offensive link removed and do not do this again.

Richard

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I don't know the answer to this, but just bringing it up as a possibility...

Is there any chance that DOM was a racist himself and didn't want the ban lifted? That although he claimed to have prayed for guidance, he knew what he was doing?

Or, it could be possible that he was praying in all sincerity for something that, deep down, he didn't want. Therefore he couldn't get an answer.

I don't say this as a dig on the prophet. My Grandma was one of the sweetest old ladies you'd ever meet. But she HATED blacks. It was just how she was raised.

Perhaps it took this many generations before a prophet was placed that wasn't raised in that culture of racial hatred.

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It may well be that the ban was a trial to the NON-BLACK members of the Church. :P

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I have considered the Priesthood ban a product of men and cultural mores of the late 19th century for some time now.

My point is that DOM being a Prophet of God and his mouthpiece on earth, surely would have received the go ahead if this really was a practice instituted of men and cultural prejudice. Instead God saw fit to stay the course for a little while longer. I can't imaging God perpetuating this practice if it was not his to begin with.

God tends to work with people where they are, on their level. I suspect that God would have been more than happy to give all races the priesthood earlier, but He was working with the Church where it was. Perhaps He saw that many members of the Church would have had serious problems with giving blacks the priesthood and didn't want half his people to apostatize, so He held off for a while until conditions got better and Church members were less, well, prejudiced.

Just a theory, but it works for me. :P

DH

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God tends to work with people where they are, on their level. I suspect that God would have been more than happy to give all races the priesthood earlier, but He was working with the Church where it was. Perhaps He saw that many members of the Church would have had serious problems with giving blacks the priesthood and didn't want half his people to apostatize, so He held off for a while until conditions got better and Church members were less, well, prejudiced.

Just a theory, but it works for me. :P

DH

I'm sorry, but I give more credit to the early saints. To say that they crossed an entire nation, buried hundreds, if not thousands of loved ones, had homes burned, whipped, beaten....but that negro getting the priesthood...they just wouldn't stand for that???

Not buying it.

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Consider what it means to have the Priesthood, and that we, unlike so many other churches, do not divide congregations by race. Today a Black Man can preside as a Bishop over a ward that is very predominantly White. Now consider if that were the case 50 years ago or 100 years ago, perhaps it might have impeded the work of the Church.

I can theorize many other reasons why the Ban was allowed by God to continue, but I would agree wholeheartedly that the Ban had no basis in revelation, scripture, or any legitimate doctrine.

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Scottie:

The LDS were expelled from Missouri BECAUSE of their acceptance of the Blacks.

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God tends to work with people where they are, on their level. I suspect that God would have been more than happy to give all races the priesthood earlier, but He was working with the Church where it was. Perhaps He saw that many members of the Church would have had serious problems with giving blacks the priesthood and didn't want half his people to apostatize, so He held off for a while until conditions got better and Church members were less, well, prejudiced.

Just a theory, but it works for me. :P

DH

I don't buy it either. You're telling me that the omnipotent God perpetuated a ban on the priesthood not because of anything the Africans had done, but because some unknown theoretical percentage of a few hundred thousand (supposed) Saints might not like it, even though the reason they might not like it was mistake in the first place? I mean, I never heard of any complaints from these racist white Saints over Mexicans, or Polygnesians, or Chinese, or any other people getting the Priesthood, but God was willing to specifically go along with the ban anyway?

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You should definitely read Armand Mauss's 1981 article "The Fading of the Pharaohs' Curse: The Decline and Fall of the Priesthood Ban Against Blacks in the Mormon Church". When the Church was forced to get more and more specific in deciding just who couldn't get the priesthood, it assumed a degree of precision that was just impossible to attain. The article also discusses the many factors that may have prevented President McKay from taking full action. And interestingly, President McKay considered the ban to be policy, not doctrine, in the first place.

CISOROOT=/dialogue&CISOPTR=6654&REC=13"]here. It starts on page 10.

I never understood the ban to be doctrine. I will read that article as soon as possible. Thanks for the link.

Glenn

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I'm sorry, but I give more credit to the early saints. To say that they crossed an entire nation, buried hundreds, if not thousands of loved ones, had homes burned, whipped, beaten....but that negro getting the priesthood...they just wouldn't stand for that???

Not buying it.

Consider this: since racial attitudes were so deeply ingrained (Blacks not even considered "real" humans by some people), would Blacks have been limited in how they could use their priesthood anyway? I can easily picture an alternate reality in which Blacks held the Priesthood, but couldn't go home teaching with white companions or to white homes. I can also easily imagine a world in which separate Black wards are the norm, because at one time mixed-race wards were too dangerous - just consider the reaction of certain groups of people when they realized that at any time a Black man could be given spiritual authority over whites. Even in DOM's time, it wouldn't have be pretty.

I tend to think that in 1978, we finally reached a critical mass of white Saints who were actively, if privately, praying for change, plus a climate in which Blacks would be allowed by society to fully exercise their priesthood.

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If there's anything I think former LDS leaders were wrong about regarding the ban, it would be their interpretation of who those of the cursed lineage were, rather than about there being any cursed lineage. They seemed at one point to assume that all people with dark skin were under the curse in question, which is clearly wrong. I think the chances are slim that all blacks of African descent were under the curse, yet they opted to make the possible exceptions wait rather than have local leaders seek revelation regarding each individual case (in the absence of proof one way or the other).

edit: corrected a typo error

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Cinepro:

Does your idea of an omnipotent God FORCE people to believe certain things?

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I can't imaging God perpetuating this practice if it was not his to begin with

Interesting conclusion. I wonder what the scriptural or revelatory precedences existed that the leadership even knew to ban blacks from the priesthood? Did they just guess it as God's will blindly and luckily get it right? Where does God ask the church in scripture or revelation to ban blacks from the priesthood?

Anyway, not to nitpick here as this issue has been rehashed many times over.

I wonder if members have contemplated the damage this "policy" or practice has had on the church over the years and the negative image of the church it has fostered worldwide amongst potential investigators or converts? If the gospel is so important for the eternities, why is God making his church look and act the same as a man-made church? At least as far as outsiders are concerned looking in at Mormonism?

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The Lord, through his Prophet, instituted the Ban and the Lord, through his Prophet (see Amos 3:7) rescinded the Ban. The Lord is not required to reveal his reasons for why and when. We follow his Prophet through faith and receiving our own testimonies by the Spirit.

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Tchild2:

"If the gospel is so important for the eternities,"

Having the Gospel is important. Having the Priesthood in this life? Not so much.

"why is God making his church look and act the same as a man-made church? At least as far as outsiders are concerned looking in at Mormonism?"

That will be a problem as long as us mere mortals are in the Church.

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Tchild2:

"If the gospel is so important for the eternities,"

Having the Gospel is important. Having the Priesthood in this life? Not so much.

I know women who would and that have left husbands to seek out and have the "priesthood in their homes". So all those "blessings" one gets for exercising the priesthood, and taking out temple endowments (men have to have the priesthood for the temple) are smoke and mirrors?

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Tchild2:

I never said that having, and using, the Priesthood is "Smoke and Mirrors". Further; Going to the highest degree of the Celestial Kingdom is not contingent on having had the Priesthood in this life.

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If there's anything I think former LDS leaders were wrong about regarding the ban, it would be their interpretation of who those of the cursed lineage were, rather than about there being any cursed lineage. They seemed at one point to assume that all people with dark skin were under the curse in question, which is clearly wrong. I think the chances are slim that all blacks of African descent were under the curse, yet they opted to make the possible exceptions wait rather than have local leaders seek revelation regarding each individual case (in the absece of proof one way or the other).

The idea of there being any cursed lineage at all doesn't make sense to me. We are punished for our own transgressions, after all, not for anybody else's. Yes, I've heard the argument that the "curse" of dark skin was meant to separate the races so that the "wicked" lineage would not corrupt the "righteous" lineage, but seeing as how white people do not exactly have a glowing record of righteousness and black people are not any more wicked than we are, that theory doesn't hold water. Besides, the Book of Mormon makes it very clear that the Nephites became more wicked than the Lamanites, who were "cursed" with a dark skin.

It puzzles me that so many contemporary LDS should think the pioneers incapable of prejudice. I've met plenty of modern LDS who are prejudiced and I don't think the pioneers were any more righteous than modern Mormons. Our society has gradually moved toward greater acceptance of people of color (though we still have work to do), to the point where a black man now has a very good chance of winning the White House, whereas in the time of the early Church, slavery was still being practiced. It's not unreasonable to suspect that many of the early Saints were prejudiced. I'm sure all of the Saints were not prejudiced, and as a group they may have been less so than their neighbors, and more power to them for that, but that doesn't mean they were perfect about it or regarded blacks as equals.

DH

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Consider this: since racial attitudes were so deeply ingrained (Blacks not even considered "real" humans by some people), would Blacks have been limited in how they could use their priesthood anyway? I can easily picture an alternate reality in which Blacks held the Priesthood, but couldn't go home teaching with white companions or to white homes. I can also easily imagine a world in which separate Black wards are the norm, because at one time mixed-race wards were too dangerous - just consider the reaction of certain groups of people when they realized that at any time a Black man could be given spiritual authority over whites. Even in DOM's time, it wouldn't have be pretty.

I tend to think that in 1978, we finally reached a critical mass of white Saints who were actively, if privately, praying for change, plus a climate in which Blacks would be allowed by society to fully exercise their priesthood.

This is my point. We would likely not have been able to manage the level of integration of all members that we have today had the ban been lifted earlier, or it would've (I believe) affected membership. Because we were ready when it ended, the integration of Blacks into the priesthood has been complete and unrestrained.

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It may well be that the ban was a trial to the NON-BLACK members of the Church. :P

Marion D. Hanks sure thought so. He at least thought that the perpetuation of the ban from at least DOM onward was a reflection of whites not being ready as opposed to blacks no being prepared.

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I'm picking myself up from the floor... I actually agree with something Cinepro said :P ... (Cinepro, you know me... I'm kidding you)

This subject has indeed been discussed from every angle and point of view... and, I could be all wrong here, but here's a thought... Cinepro is right, there didn't seem to be any problem with peoples of various races and skin shades in general holding the priesthood. So I don't think the Saints were widely racist.

Perhaps there was a reason from God for the ban specifically of blacks... I lean toward BY being influenced by the cultural aspects of the day and with what is known in the Remote Viewing world as AOL (Analytical OverLay) wherein a person lets his own views/experiences/culture affect his interpretation of images received.

Perhaps BY let his own views and those of the day affect his interpretation of whatever was revealed to him... i.e., he interpreted that there was something "inferior" or "wrong" with the blacks vs. perhaps their not being "ready" in the day's culture and practice... someone mentioned how in those days whites would have reacted to blacks presiding in meetings, etc. etc. Leaders following after BY accepted his interpretation because he was the Prophet, and made easier by the continued culture. I know several since BY were troubled by the ban, but nothing happened until SWK. And by that time there had definitely been a change in thinking in our culture...

Incidentally, when I was a girl growing up my folks always raised me with the idea that one day when the time was right the ban would be lifted and the blacks would be strengthened and raised up and be able to receive every blessing of heaven and earth... so when the ban was lifted, it was something I welcomed wholeheartedly... sort of, At Last!

Perhaps BY was all wrong in the first place... but the Lord corrected it in less than 150 years... a seemingly long time to us, but barely a blink to Him...

I don't think about it very often... I've moved forward and am too busy interacting with my black brothers and sisters whether in Church, the temple, the community... wherever...

GG

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