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Lamanite

Priesthood Ban And Revelation

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Until now....

"Forget everything that I have said, or what President Brigham Young or President George Q. Cannon or whoever has said in days past that is contrary to the present revelation. We spoke with a limited understanding and without the light and knowledge that now has come into the world. We get our truth and light line upon line and precept upon precept (2 Ne. 28:30; Isa. 28:9-10; D&C 98:11-12; 128:21). We have now had added a new flood of intelligence and light on this particular subject, and it erases all the darkness and all the views and all the thoughts of the past. They don't matter anymore.

"It doesn't make a particle of difference what anybody ever said about the Negro matter before the first day of June of this year (1978). It is a new day and a new arrangement, and the Lord has now given the revelation that sheds light into the world on this subject."

â??Sermons and Writings of Bruce R. McConkie

Part IIâ??The Mission of the Holy Ghost

Chapter 9â??Revelation on the Priesthood 1989

(Also spoken at a CES conference at BYU in August 1978)

I believe he was referring specifically to the idea that blacks would never have the priesthood in this life, or before all the other races had taken full advantage of it. I don't see how it applies to the theories regarding the origin of the ban; those would certainly still be valid even after the ban had gone away (unless Elder McConkie was arguing that the entire ban itself should be forgotten, and everything anyone ever said about it from day one should be considered a tragic error.)

But his categorical dismissal of 120+ years of teachings raises the interesting idea of wondering what else could be totally dismissed in the future. Could every teaching about the worldwide flood of Noah, or the historicity of the Book of Mormon, or that women shouldn't wear bikinis, also be swept away by the words of one apostle at a CES fireside?

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cinepro:

I take/took the "Forget everything that I have said, or what President Brigham Young or President George Q. Cannon or whoever has said in days past that is contrary to the present revelation." as a directive that they were wrong. And that we should move on. You know the "Line upon Line" theology.

I am sure there are still many questions to be answered, misunderstandings to be corrected, wrongs to be righted, in our seeing through that glass darkly of the Gospel. All in the Lords own good time my good Cinepro. All in the Lords own good time.

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cinepro:

I take/took the "Forget everything that I have said, or what President Brigham Young or President George Q. Cannon or whoever has said in days past that is contrary to the present revelation." as a directive that they were wrong. And that we should move on. You know the "Line upon Line" theology.

I am sure there are still many questions to be answered, misunderstandings to be corrected, wrongs to be righted, in our seeing through that glass darkly of the Gospel. All in the Lords own good time my good Cinepro. All in the Lords own good time.

If Elder McConkie was really repudiating the entire idea of the priesthood ban, and the theories promoted to support it, then huzzah to him. He really knew how to suck it up and admit when he was wrong, and that talk is an excellent example of his humility.

Unfortunately, I have only heard that talk referenced when someone questioned how past leaders could have been so mistaken regarding the scope and duration of the ban, not the philosophical and doctrinal justifications for its existence in the first place.

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cinepro:

I'm willing to state that I believe they were wrong in their rationalizations for the ban. Ala Elder McConkie. I further believe the ban itself was from God though I have no reference to any Revelation for it. It came into effect long before either of us were born. I guess if God had made me in charge of His Church(NO. I'm not asking for the job). I would have said: "We Don't Know", and forgone any personal speculations. But people tend to speculate about everything else. So why not that. :P

As I have said far too many times. I believe in the Restored Gospel. Not what everyones interpretations of it are. ;)

One further thought. When I go to meet my maker I don't believe that He will ask me about what JS,BY, BRM, GBH, or even what Thomas S. Monson believed(s). I am sure that I will have more than enough problems accounting for I did with what I believe.

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Ever since Jonah, and perhaps a good amount of time before, God has frustrated His servants by not behaving in a way they expected Him to behave. Unfortunately, by being dogmatic, they sometimes create problems for themselves. We sometimes forget that they're undergoing a learning process, the same as everyone else. Some prophets and apostles also sometimes associate themselves more with God than with man, and then, like Moses and others, they're forced to realize that despite their stations, deference must always be made to God.

Still, it's not up to us to make these determinations, but God. Anyone who concluded that Elder McConkie and others were no longer worth sustaining made a huge mistake.

The inference lurking behind this question regarding priesthood is, how can God be a respecter of persons and yet deny the priesthood to anyone? The answer is, priesthood is a calling, not a right. If President McKay wanted to reverse the policy and was forbidden to, we can only conclude that God sustained the ban for a reason that now eludes us. We know mortality is fraught with tests to try our integrity to the point of breaking. Such trials clear out the deadwood and even some very good souls who become deceived or misled. Since it's God's priesthood, He can deny it to me or to anyone else and I will uphold it. It's not my right. Baptism and salvation, however, are things that the Lord will not deny anyone of. If priesthood has to be deferred for awhile, so be it.

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Upon further reading, it appears there may have actually been a de facto "baptism-ban" in South Africa:

In South Africa, yes. It was a violation of the de facto law of the land for Whites and Blacks to congregate together. There were a number of policies in place in that country forbidding conversions and baptisms between the two groups as well.

So, yes, this South African example was a lone exception to the normal practice of the Church. It was exacerbated by the fact that Blacks in those lands could not be ordained to give Blacks the ability to participate in the necessary ordinances which would have circumvented the law via loophole therein, wherein they could have had Black congregations. So, yes, I can see why people in South Africa had to wait as well as those under the influence of a mission located in South Africa. But, it does not apply to the other nations in Africa in the same way.

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I just lost my testimony of cinepro. He covered up the truth through non-disclosure.

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I just lost my testimony of cinepro. He covered up the truth through non-disclosure.

That was my plan all along. To lull people into thinking there had never been a ban on baptisms, and then wait two hours and nine minutes and spring the truth on them.

But it shouldn't be long before those who have faith in my omniscience and benevolence point out to you that the information was freely and publicly available to you all along, so it's your fault, not mine.

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cinepro:

I'm willing to state that I believe they were wrong in their rationalizations for the ban. Ala Elder McConkie. I further believe the ban itself was from God though I have no reference to any Revelation for it.

Without the "rationalizations" (i.e. logical reasoning) or a revelation, what do you have?

It seems the entire basis of peoples' faith on the matter is that so many apostles couldn't have been so wrong for so long. But in light of McConkie's apparently sweeping dismissal, I don't see why people feel the compulsion to even justify it with faith.

What is there to lose from coming out and saying the whole awful mess was a tragic mistake? That the racial attitudes of early LDS leaders were perpetuated by a desire by later leaders to not contradict the traditions of the past (or their wholesale but mistaken conviction in the logic of the arguments they had heard, or the belief that it couldn't have started without a revelation in the first place)?

If McConkie is truly giving us permission to dismiss all the previous teachings on the subject, I suggest we do just that. In light of President Hinckley's statement on the matter, I think we would be wholly justified.

In the end, is any man who thinks that blacks of the 1950's were somehow unworthy to receive the priesthood any worse than someone who thinks they shouldn't today?

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I overheard an usher tell someone it was being recorded for later broadcast on KBYU. And the skybox on this morning's Deseret News indicates one can go to the Web site and see a slide show with audio from last night's event.

Excellent, thanks for the info.

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Without the "rationalizations" (i.e. logical reasoning) or a revelation, what do you have?

It seems the entire basis of peoples' faith on the matter is that so many apostles couldn't have been so wrong for so long. But in light of McConkie's apparently sweeping dismissal, I don't see why people feel the compulsion to even justify it with faith.

What is there to lose from coming out and saying the whole awful mess was a tragic mistake? That the racial attitudes of early LDS leaders were perpetuated by a desire by later leaders to not contradict the traditions of the past (or their wholesale but mistaken conviction in the logic of the arguments they had heard, or the belief that it couldn't have started without a revelation in the first place)?

If McConkie is truly giving us permission to dismiss all the previous teachings on the subject, I suggest we do just that. In light of President Hinckley's statement on the matter, I think we would be wholly justified.

In the end, is any man who thinks that blacks of the 1950's were somehow unworthy to receive the priesthood any worse than someone who thinks they shouldn't today?

You are trying to force a false dichotomy here. One can admit that past conjectural rationalizations for the ban were wrong without acknowledging that the whole thing "was a tragic mistake." One can believe that the policy was divinely mandated but not know the reason why. Which essentially is the position the Church holds today on the matter.

That is to say, if it was just a matter of the Church leaders getting around to overcoming their own prejudices, why did President Kimball have to spend many hours in the upper room of the temple, petitioning God day after day on behalf of black Church members? Why the eager acceptance of the revelation when it finally came, as opposed to reluctant compliance? I just don't perceive the level of innate prejudice on the part of the Brethren that some would have us believe persisted up until June 8, 1978.

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Scott Lloyd:

I agree. As a further idea along that line. If Copernicus was mistaken on certain aspects of his theory, doesn't mean we should throw out the idea that the planets revolve around the sun.

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You are trying to force a false dichotomy here. One can admit that past conjectural rationalizations for the ban were wrong without acknowledging that the whole thing "was a tragic mistake." One can believe that the policy was divinely mandated but now know the reason why. Which essentially is the position the Church holds today on the matter.

That is to say, if it was just a matter of the Church leaders getting around to overcoming their own prejudices, why did President Kimball have to spend many hours in the upper room of the temple, petitioning God day after day on behalf of black Church members? Why the eager acceptance of the revelation when it finally came, as opposed to reluctant compliance? I just don't perceive the level of innate prejudice on the part of the Brethren that some would have us believe persisted up until June 8, 1978.

I'm sorry, but I don't think the process involved in undoing the ban speaks to the origin or legitimacy of the ban itself. And I don't think prejudice was the only motivator behind the perpetuation of the ban. Even if it took direct revelation from God to end the ban, it doesn't mean the ban was started or perpetuated by that same avenue of revelation.

Just as modern LDS might not have a racist bone in their bodies but still support the ban as being inspired (including many on this board), I think leaders (even apostles) of that era could support the ban out of a host of motivations, neither of which might include racism or inspiration.

In the end, my belief that the Priesthood Ban was not from God is ironically based on the principles of intelligent design. That being, the idea that something God created will show from its construction, design, and implementation that it was created by an omniscient being. I don't see God's fingerprints on the priesthood ban. It was ill conceived, with no chance for a genetically based implementation that could be applied with precision to individuals. It's one thing to point to a continent and "race" and say "They don't get the priesthood". But the priesthood isn't given to continents and races, it's given to individuals. If you can't apply the policy consistently and reliably to individuals, then it is useless.

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I appreciate your advocacy but I admit that I admire the faith of those whose testimonies I heard last night so much more than your complaints, cynicpro.

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You are trying to force a false dichotomy here. One can admit that past conjectural rationalizations for the ban were wrong without acknowledging that the whole thing "was a tragic mistake." One can believe that the policy was divinely mandated but not know the reason why. Which essentially is the position the Church holds today on the matter.

That is to say, if it was just a matter of the Church leaders getting around to overcoming their own prejudices, why did President Kimball have to spend many hours in the upper room of the temple, petitioning God day after day on behalf of black Church members? Why the eager acceptance of the revelation when it finally came, as opposed to reluctant compliance? I just don't perceive the level of innate prejudice on the part of the Brethren that some would have us believe persisted up until June 8, 1978.

With this, I would agree.

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cinepro:

Whatever Gods' reasons for the ban, God has not told us them. We can only use examples of like bans used in the past. We believe the Church is true, that we are lead by true Prophets of God via God Himself. Regrettable as it is that some people speculated(even in high places) about the motivations of God, is nothing new. It is now 30 years from the last definitive statement. I suggest it is past time to move on.

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I appreciate your advocacy but I admit that I admire the faith of those whose testimonies I heard last night so much more than your complaints, cynicpro.
Wait, so they were bearing testimony that the ban was from God? I've got to find a transcript.
cinepro:Whatever Gods' reasons for the ban, God has not told us them. We can only use examples of like bans used in the past. We believe the Church is true, that we are lead by true Prophets of God via God Himself. Regrettable as it is that some people speculated(even in high places) about the motivations of God, is nothing new. It is now 30 years from the last definitive statement. I suggest it is past time to move on.
Your first sentence totally contradicts your third sentence. I'm afraid you're going to have to choose one or the other.

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cinepro:

Question:

What does the last statement of the Church say?

Answer:

OFFICIAL DECLARATIONâ??2

To Whom It May Concern:

On September 30, 1978, at the 148th Semiannual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the following was presented by President N. Eldon Tanner, First Counselor in the First Presidency of the Church:

In early June of this year, the First Presidency announced that a revelation had been received by President Spencer W. Kimball extending priesthood and temple blessings to all worthy male members of the Church. President Kimball has asked that I advise the conference that after he had received this revelation, which came to him after extended meditation and prayer in the sacred rooms of the holy temple, he presented it to his counselors, who accepted it and approved it. It was then presented to the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, who unanimously approved it, and was subsequently presented to all other General Authorities, who likewise approved it unanimously.

President Kimball has asked that I now read this letter:

June 8, 1978

To all general and local priesthood officers of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints throughout the world:

Dear Brethren:

As we have witnessed the expansion of the work of the Lord over the earth, we have been grateful that people of many nations have responded to the message of the restored gospel, and have joined the Church in ever-increasing numbers. This, in turn, has inspired us with a desire to extend to every worthy member of the Church all of the privileges and blessings which the gospel affords.

Aware of the promises made by the prophets and presidents of the Church who have preceded us that at some time, in Godâ??s eternal plan, all of our brethren who are worthy may receive the priesthood, and witnessing the faithfulness of those from whom the priesthood has been withheld, we have pleaded long and earnestly in behalf of these, our faithful brethren, spending many hours in the Upper Room of the Temple supplicating the Lord for divine guidance.

He has heard our prayers, and by revelation has confirmed that the long-promised day has come when every faithful, worthy man in the Church may receive the holy priesthood, with power to exercise its divine authority, and enjoy with his loved ones every blessing that flows therefrom, including the blessings of the temple. Accordingly, all worthy male members of the Church may be ordained to the priesthood without regard for race or color. Priesthood leaders are instructed to follow the policy of carefully interviewing all candidates for ordination to either the Aaronic or the Melchizedek Priesthood to insure that they meet the established standards for worthiness.

We declare with soberness that the Lord has now made known his will for the blessing of all his children throughout the earth who will hearken to the voice of his authorized servants, and prepare themselves to receive every blessing of the gospel.

Sincerely yours,

Spencer W. Kimball

N. Eldon Tanner

Marion G. Romney

The First Presidency

Recognizing Spencer W. Kimball as the prophet, seer, and revelator, and president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, it is proposed that we as a constituent assembly accept this revelation as the word and will of the Lord. All in favor please signify by raising your right hand. Any opposed by the same sign.

The vote to sustain the foregoing motion was unanimous in the affirmative.

Salt Lake City, Utah, September 30, 1978.

I see no reasons let alone speculations for the reason for the ban.

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cinepro:

Whatever Gods' reasons for the ban, God has not told us them. We can only use examples of like bans used in the past. We believe the Church is true, that we are lead by true Prophets of God via God Himself. Regrettable as it is that some people speculated(even in high places) about the motivations of God, is nothing new. It is now 30 years from the last definitive statement. I suggest it is past time to move on.

How is it not also speculation to say that the priesthood ban was of God?

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I see no reasons let alone speculations for the reason for the ban.

Nor does it say that the ban was God's idea in the first place.

Just so we're clear, I absolutely agree that the priesthood ban was not a result of anything that the spirits of black people had or hadn't done in the pre-existence. I acknowledge that such was taught by several prophets and apostles from Brigham Young on, but I firmly believe they were absolutely mistaken, even if they didn't know it at the time.

The problem is that if it were possible for Church leaders to be so mistaken on the source of the ban, they could also be mistaken on the source of the ban. You can't argue that when they were repeatedly explaining the source of the ban, they didn't know what they were talking about, but in those rare, rare times when they might have suggested another source (or acknowledged the complete lack of any coherent idea regarding why), they did know what they were talking about.

And as I've said before, the fact that it took a revelation to end the ban doesn't mean that we can infer an origin for the ban, or even speculate regarding God's disposition towards the ban as it was perpetuated. The manner in which a policy is ended does not speak to any other aspect of that policy.

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Growing up in the south, I have a unique perspective on this. I did not grow up LDS, but in the church that I attended if a black man came into the church, someone would have asked him to leave. In the south in the 50's and 60's the policy was "equal but separate" (At least when it came to religion) all others matters, not so! I did not join the church until 1979...I fear that I would not have done so if the pre-1978 policy was still in effect when I started investigating the church.

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Wait, so they were bearing testimony that the ban was from God? I've got to find a transcript.

Actually, one man in particular was quite candid in saying he has no idea why the ban ever occurred. He was also quite candid in saying that he refuses to let the things he doesn't understand override his testimony and other answered prayers from God.

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Wait, so they were bearing testimony that the ban was from God? I've got to find a transcript.
The testimonies were to the effect of what we have been saying here, that the reasons for it are not known.One of the speakers said, "Heavenly Father knows the answer," and "The Lord may not be inclined to provide a simple and universally satisfying explanation." But
How foolish it would be to imagine that because I do not understand some things, the things I do know and understand by the powerful workings of the Spirit in my heart are any less real or true.
Actually, one man in particular was quite candid in saying he has no idea why the ban ever occurred. He was also quite candid in saying that he refuses to let the things he doesn't understand override his testimony and other answered prayers from God.
Right. I made a recording that affirms this. See verbatim quotes above.

On the other hand, I didn't hear anything to the effect of what cinepro has been asserting, that the whole thing was "a tragic mistake."

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Actually, one man in particular was quite candid in saying he has no idea why the ban ever occurred. He was also quite candid in saying that he refuses to let the things he doesn't understand override his testimony and other answered prayers from God.

Having been there as well, this brother's testimony was quite touching as well as being highly impactful. His faith and trust in God was implicit and evident. Would that I could be this faithful!

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How is it not also speculation to say that the priesthood ban was of God?

Why would the prophet petition God persistently, day after day, to end something God didn't start? That makes no sense.

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