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Lamanite

1978 Revelation A Result Of Government Pressure

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I'm fuzzy on this but I think I read somewhere that Petersen and Stapley each received the same revelation independently. And the matter must've been discussed in other meetings they attended prior to "the big one."

According to what I recall on the matter, several meetings had in fact taken place prior to the big one.

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The origin of the allegation that government pressure on the church's tax exemption prompted the revelation seems to be based on two things.

1) The IRS challenged Oral Roberts University's tax exemption because they refused to allow interracial dating on campus, or to let blacks attend and some other things. This happened in the early 70's and went to the Supreme Court twice, with Oral Roberts losing.

2 --- Rex Lee was Solicitor at the time and he recused himself from deliberations on the matter. After some extensive searches (though all internet), I have been unable to confirm what those who espouse this claim allege --- that Bro. Lee did so because he had defended the LDS church in similar case.

The IRS at the time sent the same letters to lots of colleges and those other than Oral Roberts simply fixed the problems. BYU, to my knowledge, had never done the things that Oral Roberts was accused of doing (though certainly President Wilkerson had discouraged interracial dating and one of the Apostles also opposed interracial dating after the Revelation (or maybe said that the fact that all worthy members could hold the priesthood didn't mean that interracial dating was encouraged). I attended BYU til 1977 and was married to a a person of color at the time of the revelation and I had never read or heard any counsel against dating those of color ever, so whatever was "counseled" at BYU wasn't widely published.) BYU never had the issue as part of its admissions or honor code. BYU never discriminated against people of color at all.

So why anyone would think that the church would be concerned about losing BYU's tax exemption is puzzling. And to extrapolate that concern to losing the CHURCH's tax exempt status is just plain absurd.

I think that the Brethern began building the Brazil temple knowing not only that those building it could not attend, but also knowing that the temple could not be staffed and run with the existing membership. I think it was a complete leap of faith on the Brethern's part, which the Lord answered with a revelation just in time to have the training and ordinances completed so that when the temple was open it could run like it needed to be.

Close it was actually Bob Jones University. In the case Bob Jones v. United States the Supreme Court ruled that racially a discriminatory religious university cannot claim federal tax exemption. Rex Lee, Solicitor General of the US, recused himself from the case because he had previously represented the church with the IRS when similar situation was raised. And arguing both sides of the case maybe a conflict of interest. You can read the account of this, including the authors interview with Rex Lee, in The Tenth Justice: The Solicitor General and the Rule of Law Chapter 5 The Bob Jones Case.

If the IRS had never raised the issued why would Rex Lee say he "had argued that the church should retain its tax-exempt status despite its racist policies and felt conflicted from arguing an opposing view in the Bob Jones case" P.51

From the Bob Jones case...

On January 12, 1970, a three-judge District Court for the District of Columbia issued a preliminary injunction prohibiting the IRS from according tax-exempt status to private schools in Mississippi that discriminated as to admissions on the basis of race. Green v. Kennedy, 309 F. Supp. 1127, appeal dism'd sub nom. Cannon v. Green, 398 U.S. 956 (1970). Thereafter, in July 1970, the IRS concluded that it could "no longer legally justify allowing tax-exempt status [under 501

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It's just typical anti-Mormon claptrap with no evidence to support it. It's false.

see above.

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It's false.

There is no evidence that such a threat was in the offing, and there is no evidence that any such non-existent threat played any role in the deliberations of the Brethren, which are reasonably well documented.

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Close it was actually Bob Jones University. In the case Bob Jones v. United States the Supreme Court ruled that racially a discriminatory religious university cannot claim federal tax exemption. Rex Lee, Solicitor General of the US, recused himself from the case because he had previously represented the church with the IRS when similar situation was raised. And arguing both sides of the case maybe a conflict of interest. You can read the account of this, including the authors interview with Rex Lee, in The Tenth Justice: The Solicitor General and the Rule of Law Chapter 5 The Bob Jones Case.

If the IRS had never raised the issued why would Rex Lee say he "had argued that the church should retain its tax-exempt status despite its racist policies and felt conflicted from arguing an opposing view in the Bob Jones case" P.51

From the Bob Jones case...

I would imagine that BYU, Ricks etc.. would have recieved this letter.

More...

Looking back it's open to interpretation whether or not the complete tax exemption for the church was in jeopardy. But from the result of this case finally decided in 1982 it's clear that racially discriminatory educational institutions were warned about their potential loss of tax exempt status in 1970.

Phaedrus //added quotes

I was going to mention the improtant distinction between "the Church" and "Church educational institutions", but I am pleased to see that you have already done so in your addendum. I am aware of Rex Lee's involvement in the Title 9 litigation in relation to BYU, but I have heard no mention of similar action made against the Church, itself. In fact, I can't imagine what legal basis there may be for such action, particularly given the free exercise clause of the First Amendment. That is why I suspect the rumor mentioned in the OP is incorrect, and likely confused the Church, itself, with its Church Schools.

Thanks, -Wade Englund-

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It's false.

There is no evidence that such a threat was in the offing, and there is no evidence that any such non-existent threat played any role in the deliberations of the Brethren, which are reasonably well documented.

It can't be non-existent when Rex Lee said that he argued on behalf of the church with the IRS on just such an issue. It can't be non-existent when the IRS states they mailed a letter to all private educational institutions in 1970 informing them that racial discrimination may put their 501c3 status at risk.

Whether or not the IRS influenced the OD in 1978 is open to interpretation. But playing the "it's a anti-mormon lie" card over and over gets a bit tiresome.

Phaedrus

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It can't be non-existent when Rex Lee said that he argued on behalf of the church with the IRS on just such an issue. It can't be non-existent when the IRS states they mailed a letter to all private educational institutions in 1970 informing them that racial discrimination may put their 501c3 status at risk.

Whether or not the IRS influenced the OD in 1978 is open to interpretation. But playing the "it's a anti-mormon lie" card over and over gets a bit tiresome.

Phaedrus

It also gets tiresome when anything that happens to, or about, BYU is also automatically extended to the Church on the whole.

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I was going to mention the improtant distinction between "the Church" and "Church educational institutions", but I am pleased to see that you have already done so in your addendum. I am aware of Rex Lee's involvement in the Title 9 litigation in relation to BYU, but I have heard no mention of similar action made against the Church, itself. In fact, I can't imagine what legal basis there may be for such action, particularly given the free exercise clause of the First Amendment. That is why I suspect the rumor mentioned in the OP is incorrect, and likely confused the Church, itself, with its Church Schools.

Thanks, -Wade Englund-

It should also be noted that the Title 9 had to do sexual discrimination rather than racial discrimination. And, the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA), which had to do with equality between the sexes, was more of a dominate subject in the news than race.

As such, if pressure were being exerted on the Church by the government in 1978, it would have been regarding women and the priesthood rather than blacks and the priesthood.

Thanks, -Wade Englund-

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I was going to mention the improtant distinction between "the Church" and "Church educational institutions", but I am pleased to see that you have already done so in your addendum. I am aware of Rex Lee's involvement in the Title 9 litigation in relation to BYU, but I have heard no mention of similar action made against the Church, itself. In fact, I can't imagine what legal basis there may be for such action, particularly given the free exercise clause of the First Amendment. That is why I suspect the rumor mentioned in the OP is incorrect, and likely confused the Church, itself, with its Church Schools.

Thanks, -Wade Englund-

Yes I agree the church is not BYU or Ricks. Very different issues and the free exercise clause would protect the larger church. Lee was also involved in the case CoJCoLDS vs. Amos in representing the church regarding racial discrimination with employment. But IIRC the tax status of the church wasn't an issue in that case so his representation mentioned in The Tenth Justice is apparently on another matter.

Phaedrus

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It can't be non-existent when Rex Lee said that he argued on behalf of the church with the IRS on just such an issue. It can't be non-existent when the IRS states they mailed a letter to all private educational institutions in 1970 informing them that racial discrimination may put their 501c3 status at risk.

Whether or not the IRS influenced the OD in 1978 is open to interpretation. But playing the "it's a anti-mormon lie" card over and over gets a bit tiresome.

Phaedrus

So, BYU gets a letter in 1970, and then doesn't hear anything more about it. BYU continues to admit blacks and allow them all student rights just like it did before.

The Church, which has admitted blacks since 1830, changes its position in 1978 on leadership.

But, if we try to connect the dots---we have 8 years go past before any change is made.

That doesn't sound like a lot of pressure to me.

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That is just the point. And nothing I have read specifies which case Rex E. Lee argued a contrary position, and what the full nature of the conflict might have been. It is possible that his conflict arose from positions he took in internal discussions (as the duty to recuse ones' self so as not to propound contrary position is not spelled out and attorneys get to determine for themselves when they should recuse).

And it is even possible (since I couldn't find anything by Bro. Lee himself, discussing it), that Brother Lee recused himself to avoid any linkage between the Church and Bob Jones University. His assistant solicitor general handled the case.

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So, BYU gets a letter in 1970, and then doesn't hear anything more about it. BYU continues to admit blacks and allow them all student rights just like it did before.

The Church, which has admitted blacks since 1830, changes its position in 1978 on leadership.

But, if we try to connect the dots---we have 8 years go past before any change is made.

That doesn't sound like a lot of pressure to me.

Lets look at the time line.

  • 1970 The IRS mails a letter regarding racial discrimination to non-profit private educational institutions. Presumably this would include Bob Jones, BYU, Ricks, and many others.....
  • Somewhere between 1970-1978 Rex Lee argues on behalf of the church retaining it's tax exempt status despite racial discrimination.
  • 1978 the issue become irrelevant because of OD2.
  • 1983 Bob Jones University loses its Supreme Court Case.

The IRS issue may or may not have been "a lot of pressure" there is know way of knowing. I don't personally feel that the OD was make to save the church on the tax issue. But you don't have Rex Lee argue your position with the IRS on a non-important or trivial issue.

Luckily the 1978 revelation solved any issues large or small.

Phaedrus

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If you ever run across a book, The Tenth Jusitice: The Soclicitor General and the Rule of Law by Lincoln Caplan, 1987, check it out. (Don't confuse it with the recent legal thriller by Brad Meltzer with a similar name).

Caplan discusses with Rex Lee why he recused himself as Solicitor General (the guy who argues for the US gov. before the Sup. Ct.) in the Bob Jones v IRS case. In that matter the Supreme Court decided that a racially discrimintory religious university could not claim federal tax exempt status. Lee said that he had recused because he had previously argued before the IRS for the right of the LDS church to practice racial discrimination and still be tax exempt. Lee felt it would be unethical for him to now argue the the other side for the government.

If the IRS had never threatened the LDS church's tax exempt status, why was Lee arguing over it and race with the IRS on the church's behalf?

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If you ever run across a book, The Tenth Jusitice: The Soclicitor General and the Rule of Law by Lincoln Caplan, 1987, check it out. (Don't confuse it with the recent legal thriller by Brad Meltzer with a similar name).

Caplan discusses with Rex Lee why he recused himself as Solicitor General (the guy who argues for the US gov. before the Sup. Ct.) in the Bob Jones v IRS case. In that matter the Supreme Court decided that a racially discrimintory religious university could not claim federal tax exempt status. Lee said that he had recused because he had previously argued before the IRS for the right of the LDS church to practice racial discrimination and still be tax exempt. Lee felt it would be unethical for him to now argue the the other side for the government.

If the IRS had never threatened the LDS church's tax exempt status, why was Lee arguing over it and race with the IRS on the church's behalf?

Check it again...he was arguing on behalf of BYU, not the religious practices of the LDS Church.

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It can't be non-existent when Rex Lee said that he argued on behalf of the church with the IRS on just such an issue.

Did such a threat exist in 1978? Evidence, please.

Did it ever exist? Evidence, please.

I've seen and heard nothing -- and I've paid very close attention over the years, besides having been alive and even sentient in 1978 and the years leading up to the revelation -- to suggest that any tax threat of any kind (let alone a serious one) played any role whatever in motivating the lead-up to the revelation on priesthood.

It can't be non-existent when the IRS states they mailed a letter to all private educational institutions in 1970 informing them that racial discrimination may put their 501c3 status at risk.

It's a considerable leap in both time and subject to attempt to link the revelation of 1978 with a 1970 IRS mass mailing to private schools and colleges.

Whether or not the IRS influenced the OD in 1978 is open to interpretation. But playing the "it's a anti-mormon lie" card over and over gets a bit tiresome.

Whereas falsely imputing those words to me is somehow fresh and exhilarating?

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Did such a threat exist in 1978? Evidence, please.

Did it ever exist? Evidence, please.

It's a considerable leap in both time and subject to attempt to link the revelation of 1978 with a 1970 IRS mass mailing to private schools and colleges.

I've been calling for evidence since the beginning; none has been forthcoming from anyone.

Dark Sparks has replied at my blog and one of the points made in my response is that the mental gymnastics that one has to go through in order to link IRS actions and Mississippi Jurisprudence in 1971 to an independent event in 1978 is just plain silly.

Big UP!

Lamanite

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Racist? For being in the hospital? Good thing I know you are trying to be funny. :P

I was just noting that he was in the hospital, and he had been known to have strong racist ideas in the past. I'm sure nothing would have been different had he been sitting at the table with the other 14 Apostles. It's just an interesting bit of trivia.

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Did such a threat exist in 1978? Evidence, please.

Did it ever exist? Evidence, please.

I have no idea if it was a open issue in 1978. It may well have been completely resolved and therefore a non-issue in 1978. I have no clue. But at some point prior to the 1982 arguments in front of the Supreme court there was a issue.

I've seen and heard nothing -- and I've paid very close attention over the years, besides having been alive and even sentient in 1978 and the years leading up to the revelation -- to suggest that any tax threat of any kind (let alone a serious one) played any role whatever in motivating the lead-up to the revelation on priesthood.

It's a considerable leap in both time and subject to attempt to link the revelation of 1978 with a 1970 IRS mass mailing to private schools and colleges.

The fact that the Bob Jones case was in front of the Supreme Court in 1982 on the very basis of that 1970 IRS letter speaks more to the relevance of the issue than a non-interested parties recollection.

Whereas falsely imputing those words to me is somehow fresh and exhilarating?

My "it's a anti-mormon lie" was my simple paraphrasing interpretation of you misrepresenting the reality that it was "anti-Mormon claptrap" and it had"no evidence to support it."

I think the evidence stands on it's own and I'm sure the readers of this thread can decide whether or not it was a issue or just a claptrap without evidence.

Phaedrus

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I have no idea if it was a open issue in 1978. It may well have been completely resolved and therefore a non-issue in 1978. I have no clue. But at some point prior to the 1982 arguments in front of the Supreme court there was a issue.

The fact that the Bob Jones case was in front of the Supreme Court in 1982 on the very basis of that 1970 IRS letter speaks more to the relevance of the issue than a non-interested parties recollection.

My "it's a anti-mormon lie" was my simple paraphrasing interpretation of you misrepresenting the reality that it was "anti-Mormon claptrap" and it had"no evidence to support it."

I think the evidence stands on it's own and I'm sure the readers of this thread can decide whether or not it was a issue or just a claptrap without evidence.

Phaedrus

claptrap...just thought I'd vote...since I'm a reader.

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I have no idea if it was a open issue in 1978.

It was certainly not an issue being publicly discussed in 1978. I was paying close attention.

And there is no evidence in any scholarly treatment of the topic that I've read -- from Edward Kimball (a law professor who was exceptionally well placed to observe) or Leonard Arrington (the Church Historian at the time) or Armand Mauss (perhaps the Church's premiere authority on the racial issue) or anybody else -- to suggest that any issue related to the IRS played any role whatsoever in the deliberations of the Brethren leading up to the 1978 revelation.

It may well have been completely resolved

If it existed at all.

But at some point prior to the 1982 arguments in front of the Supreme court there was a issue.

Involving what issue, exactly?

The fact that the Bob Jones case was in front of the Supreme Court in 1982 on the very basis of that 1970 IRS letter speaks more to the relevance of the issue than a non-interested parties recollection.

What issue?

It's a big leap -- an extraordinarily big leap -- from threatened government sanctions against discriminatory practices at a private college to threatened government sanctions against a religious group's First Amendment rights. You've provided no evidence suggesting that anybody ought to take that leap with you.

My "it's a anti-mormon lie" was my simple paraphrasing interpretation of you misrepresenting the reality that it was "anti-Mormon claptrap" and it had"no evidence to support it."

There is not a shred of evidence -- certainly you've provided none -- to support the occasionally heard anti-Mormon canard that the revelation of 1978 was motivated by political/fiscal considerations.

I think the evidence stands on it's own

Perhaps it does. Would you mind sharing it with us, so that we can judge for ourselves?

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claptrap...just thought I'd vote...since I'm a reader.

Ahyep!

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What issue?

Apparently one representing the Church closely related to the Bob Jones. I'm relying on Lincoln Caplan's interview with Rex Lee as recorded in his book.

Here is a image from the book.

10thJustice.png

Maybe there was no issue. But according to Rex Lee the church "faced a problem like Bob Jones's". Considering the number of large private religious schools with policies that could be perceived as racist in the 1970's I have no reason to doubt the accuracy of Lee's statements.

You may have been at BYU during Rex Lee's tenure as President. From what I know of his reputation he was considered a honest guy. If he says there was a issue and therefore he has a conflict I'm going to believe him.

Again I'm not arguing that this is the reason for OD2 or that the leaders of the church felt pressure. I have no idea what they thought. But what we do know is that there was some issue with keeping 501c3 status and the church's former policies.

Phaedrus

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That's a pretty slender reed on which to balance your claim.

Lincoln Caplan says that Rex Lee said that the LDS Church faced a problem like Bob Jones's. But what does that even mean? A church isn't a school. And the free exercise of religion is something very different from a private school's ability to discriminate on the basis of race.

This is so vague and unspecific as to be, in my opinion, of no value. Was BYU facing a case analogous in some significant way to the case that faced Bob Jones University? Possibly. Does that mean that the Church was? Less obviously. Did Rex Lee actually affirm that? Or, since he offers no quotation from Rex Lee, was that Lincoln Caplan's take on the issue? Should I rely heavily upon Lincoln Caplan? I don't trust most journalists at all. In almost every case in which I've figured in a news story, there have been substantial errors and my position has been significantly distorted.

I repeat that there is no evidence in any scholarly treatment of the topic that I've read -- from Edward Kimball (a law professor who was exceptionally well placed to observe) or Leonard Arrington (the Church Historian at the time) or Armand Mauss (perhaps the Church's premiere authority on the racial issue) or anybody else -- to suggest that any issue related to the IRS played any role whatsoever in the deliberations of the Brethren leading up to the 1978 revelation. Such an issue isn't even mentioned, to the best of my recollection.

Which strongly suggests that the claim incorporated in the title of this thread -- "1978 Revelation A Result Of Government Pressure" -- is false and without basis in either evidence or reality.

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That's a pretty slender reed on which to balance your claim.

Lincoln Caplan says that Rex Lee said that the LDS Church faced a problem like Bob Jones's. But what does that even mean?

I'm just suggesting that the evidence suggests that there was a similar issue. I'm making no claims to their motivation. Are you saying you have evidence that contradicts Caplan and Lee? I've presented mine where is yours?

Phaedrus

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