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Blacks, The Priesthood, and 1978

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Elder MARK E. PETERSON

Race Problems -- As They Affect The Church

Convention of Teachers of Religion on the College Level,

Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah, August 27, 1954.

Read the quote. It's clear. Read it. Now. Put you eyes over the words and move them back and forth.

Thank you yes, I did that already. I do not find what you claim to find, although I can see that it is possible to read one of your pre-existing assumptions into it.

1. (That blacks were not the equals of whites) The full potential of blacks is not the full potential of whites, they committed a "sin" before being able to sin and were CURSED with a dark skin. This is PAINFULLY clear. Blacks NOT the equals of whites.

It is "PAINFULLY clear" to me that you are reading this in the most jaundiced way possible. Elder Peterson specifically said that he wanted blacks to have equality in every material sense.

2. (That their skin colour "bordered on sin) He says it: "We must not allow our feelings to carry us away, nor must we feel so sorry for Negroes that we will open our arms and embrace them with everything we have. Remember the little statement that we used to say about sin, "First we pity, then endure, then embrace"...." Being black is almost a sin. It is certainly the result of sin.

Yes, he though it the result of premortal sin. But did he say that the colour itself "bordered on sin" or was "almost a sin?" No. You made that up.

You just can't help "improving" your sources, can you? I guess you must be one of those "lazy critics" you elsewhere derided.

3. (That could only strive to serve the "higher races) Again he says it: "If that Negro is faithful all his days, he can and will enter the celestial kingdom. He will go there as a servant, but he will get celestial glory." So, little sambo, if you are REALLY good and REALLY faithful, then you get serve whitey in whitey heaven.

Ah, race-baiting. With inflammatory racial epithets, and all. How original, or something.

Are all anti-Mormons demagogues in training?

I did not default. A good man pointed out I was being snarky after pointing out this is essentially a difference of opinion. I stopped.

Only after you repeatedly claimed, without support, that a "reasonable person" could maintain the view that the timing was "suspicious."

Well you wouldn't know this, but reasonable people don't persist in maintaining suspicions that they know have no reasonable basis. So, do you have any reasonable basis for your accusation that the timing was "questionable?" This is a CFR, Nyal. You need to support your assertion or retract it.

If you weren't there SHUT UP! YOUR OPINIONS DON'T COUNT! I WAS THERE! LOOK AT ME I'M OLDER THAN YOU! AGE AGE AGE AGE!!!

http://www.don-lindsay-archive.org/skeptic...uments.html#age

Irrelevant and incompetent. Here is what your source actually says:

Argument From Age (Wisdom of the Ancients):

snobbery that very old (or very young) arguments are superior. This is a variation of the Genetic Fallacy, but has the psychological appeal of seniority and tradition (or innovation).

IOW, it's the age of the argument that is being appealed to as granting it superiority. We frequently hear it in politics: "My granddad voted Labour, and my dad voted Labour, so it's good enough for me." But nobody has tried to make such an argument. All anyone has said is, "I was an adult member of the Church at the time, so I can report what I observed. And you cannot."

You need to calm down, Nyal. Nobody has tried to tell you to shut up. Rather, your idiotic and intemperate outbursts look suspiciously like an attempt to silence anyone who is in a position to comment based upon their own experience.

Which is rather bad form, really.

Regards,

Pahoran

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Authors of nearly every news story that discusses Africa, Church growth, or African American Mormons, seem to feel the need to bring up 1978 in depth. Maybe this is acceptable. It is, after all, a part of our history. What I object to is the tone of many of these articles, but oh well.

My question is this: when did the other American churches begin to allow blacks to fully participate in their leadership? How many were actually segregated, while LDS wards were not? In fact, baptist congregations are still among the most segregated in the country (see: http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/7...g2.html?cat=47), althought voluntarily, and many religions continue to lack significant black leadership. Why is 1978 always brought up with us, but policy changes are rarely if ever brought up with other churches. Is it because it was a definitive date at which this changed, while other churches kind of fazed it in?

My point is that virtually ALL religions and churches have changed their approach to minorities, particularly blacks in the US. (As a point of fact, Jesus Christ changed his church's policy toward whites.) But the LDS continue to be hounded about their "overnight" change in policy.

As a side note, I personally believe the ban on the priesthood was a cultural, and not doctrinal policy, but that is my opinion. However, I loved Elder Sitati's quote in the trash tribune today:

It does not bother him that the church barred blacks from the priesthood until 1978.

"Christ came only to the Jews and not until the end of his mission did he commission the apostles to go to all the world," he said. "Different communities are invited to participate in the plan of salvation at different times. What is important is that the salvation to which they are invited is the same. It doesn't matter that the Jews were the first, if you like, and the Africans are the last."

Oh . . . and

Most of the current anti-Mormon attacks are imported from America, Sitati said. "Some people who are trying to protect their own faith spread bad stories about Mormonism. There is no indigenous hostility to the church."

http://www.sltrib.com/ci_12148790?source=most_viewed

There is a very important distinction here that often gets overlooked. The history of the Church regarding the priesthood and those of African descent is often used to paint the earlier LDS Church as a white only organization, but this does not stand up to closer scrutiny...

Elijah Abel was one of the first black men ordained to the priesthood and that happened way back in the days of Joseph and Brigham...

His descendants also received the priesthood.

In the 1950's, under the direction of David O. McKay, Melanesians, who have skin as dark as our African brothers and sisters, were given the priesthood because they were etermined to be of a different lineage than Africans. The first Fijians received the priesthood 3 years later in 1958. And people with dark skin in the Phillipines where given it even earlier. So it never had anything to do with skin color (see Armand Mauss, Neither White nor Black, Signature Books, pg. 152)... For some reason at that time, those of African lineage could not receive the priesthood. Since we don't have a revelation from the Lord on the reason for it, but we know the Church has been and is adamantly opposed to racism, we can assume it was not for that reason. It doesn't really pay to speculate. We simply don't know.

If you look at the early history of our Church regarding, race compared to other contemporary American churches, we actually had a very radical, forward thinking view of African Americans for that day. Joseph Smith for instance made statements about the equality of African Americans and their being subjects of salvation that would have been considered insanity in most of the established southern Churches.

It has always been the doctrine of the Church that every worthy person, regardless of race, who honors God and keeps his covenants, will enter into the Celestial Kingdom . This too would have rubbed a good portion of the established Churches in America the wrong way in the 1800's but we taught it just the same.

See these links:

http://www.blacklds.org (see the History link in particular)

http://www.jefflindsay.com/LDSFAQ/FQRace.shtml

Here is a talk by Alexander B. Morrison that is one of the finest talks I've seen written by a General Authority on the topic of the blilght of racism:

http://www.lds.org/ldsorg/v/index.jsp?vgne..._&hideNav=1

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Well, actually, neither can I. It sure appears that the LDS church is no more led by God than any other religion out there. . . . It appears that the LDS church is a man-made religion with no evidence that it has any more contact with God than any other reigion.

Yes, it certainly appears so. Leaders of most other churches claim revelations, visions of angels, and the like, in precisely the manner that Latter-day Saint leaders do.

From Leonard J. Arrington, Adventures of a Church Historian (Urbana and Chicago: University of Illinois Press, 1998), 176-177:

As a historian I sought to learn the particulars and record them in my private diary. The following account is based on dozens of interviews with persons who talked with church officials after the revelation was announced. Although members of the Twelve and the First Presidency with whom I sought interviews felt they should not elaborate on what happened, I learned details from family members and friends to whom they had made comments. . . .

Those in attendance said that as [President Kimball] began his earnest prayer, they suddenly realized that it was not Kimball's prayer, but the Lord speaking through him. A revelation was being declared. Kimball himself realized that the words were not his but the Lord's. During that prayer some of the Twelve -- at least two who have said so publicly -- were transported into a celestial atmosphere, saw a divine presence and the figures of former presidents of the church (portraits of whom were hanging on the walls around them) smiling to indicate their approval and sanction. . . .

At the end of the heavenly manifestation Kimball, weeping for joy, confronted the church members, many of them also sobbing, and asked if they sustained this heavenly instruction. Embracing, all nodded vigorously and jubilantly their sanction. There had been a startling and commanding revelation from God -- an ineffable experience.

Two of the apostles present described the experience as a "day of Pentecost" similar to the one in the Kirtland Temple on April 6, 1836, the day of its dedication. They saw a heavenly personage and heard heavenly music. To the temple-clothed members, the gathering, incredible and without compare, was the greatest single event of their lives. Those I talked with wept as they spoke of it. All were certain they had witnessed a revelation from God.

No evidence of any unusual revelation in that account.

And here is what Elder David B. Haight had to say as he reminisced about the revelation on priesthood during the April 1996 general conference. Clearly, like those apostles who wept when they spoke to Leonard Arrington about the revelation, he viewed it as nothing more than a routine business decision, purely human, suggesting no sort of divine guidance:

I would hope someday that our great-grandson Mark and others of our posterity would have similar spiritual experiences and that they would feel the spiritual power and influence of this gospel. I hope that Mark and others will have opportunities such as I had when I was in the temple when President Spencer W. Kimball received the revelation regarding the priesthood. I was the junior member of the Quorum of the Twelve. I was there. I was there with the outpouring of the Spirit in that room so strong that none of us could speak afterwards. We just left quietly to go back to the office. No one could say anything because of the powerful outpouring of the heavenly spiritual experience.

But just a few hours after the announcement was made to the press, I was assigned to attend a stake conference in Detroit, Michigan. When my plane landed in Chicago, I noticed an edition of the Chicago Tribune on the newsstand. The headline in the paper said, "Mormons Give Blacks Priesthood." And the subheading said, "President Kimball Claims to Have Received a Revelation." I bought a copy of the newspaper. I stared at one word in that subheading: claims. It stood out to me just like it was in red neon. As I walked along the hallway to make my plane connection, I thought, Here I am now in Chicago walking through this busy airport, yet I was a witness to this revelation. I was there. I witnessed it. I felt that heavenly influence. I was part of it. Little did the editor of that newspaper realize the truth of that revelation when he wrote, "Claims to Have Received a Revelation." Little did he know, or the printer, or the man who put the ink on the press, or the one who delivered the newspaper -- little did any of them know that it was truly a revelation from God. Little did they know what I knew because I was a witness to it.

Nope. Again, no hint whatever of any exceptional "divine" guidance.

With the issue of the 1978 revelation, critics have picked an unusually brilliant illustration of their notion that the Church doesn't really claim divine direction.

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Pahoran

I can't spell it out any better. It is clear. I can say it's clear. I can emphasize and reword for you. If anyone else than the fine Elder can show me my error interpreting this text, please educate me. I am finished kicking against the prick. We will have to stay in disagreement.

You are right about the age thing quoted, though.

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Pahoran

I can't spell it out any better. It is clear. I can say it's clear. I can emphasize and reword for you. If anyone else than the fine Elder can show me my error interpreting this text, please educate me. I am finished kicking against the prick. We will have to stay in disagreement.

You are right about the age thing quoted, though.

On this board, it's literally impossible to accurately quote Peterson on race, or accurately quote church leaders on a host of issues. If the quote is negative for whatever reason, you've left out a word, or left out context, or are relying on hearsay, or failing to rely on reliable hearsay, or it was a transcription error, or something or anything else or whatever else.

To the rest of the world, you obviously described what Peterson said and believed about Black men and women.

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On this board, it's literally impossible to accurately quote Peterson on race, or accurately quote church leaders on a host of issues. If the quote is negative for whatever reason, you've left out a word, or left out context, or are relying on hearsay, or failing to rely on reliable hearsay, or it was a transcription error, or something or anything else or whatever else.

To the rest of the world, you obviously described what Peterson said and believed about Black men and women.

Who on earth are you talking about? Me?

Or Elder Mark E. Petersen?

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Who on earth are you talking about? Me?

Or Elder Mark E. Petersen?

I was wondering that too.

It works either way right up until one gets to the word "black". (missing emoticon goes here)

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On this board, it's literally impossible to accurately quote Peterson on race, or accurately quote church leaders on a host of issues. If the quote is negative for whatever reason, you've left out a word, or left out context, or are relying on hearsay, or failing to rely on reliable hearsay, or it was a transcription error, or something or anything else or whatever else.

To the rest of the world, you obviously described what Peterson said and believed about Black men and women.

Thank goodness. I was beginning to question my sanity.

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Who on earth are you talking about? Me?

Or Elder Mark E. Petersen?

Woops, I meant Mark E. Petersen.

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EbedAnti.png

Point 1. Of course.

Point 2. Total cop out, since there is no possible way to separate revelation from opinion (and yes I read the church's statement, it solves nothing).

I just love it when non-Mormons critique past LDS priesthood policy. It is generally a sign that they are either ignorant of, cavalier towards or hypocritical in regards to non-LDS denominational history. For example Richard Furman was the pastor of the First Baptist Church of Charleston, South Carolina, back in 1838. He summed up the Baptist philosophy of the south in that day and age. "The right of holding slaves is clearly established in the Holy Scriptures, both by precept and example." Contrast that with Joseph Smithâ??s abolition stance. Furman's stance is tame when you contrast it with one of the key figures in the founding of the Southern Baptist Convention.

Two men, Alexander Stephens -- the vice-president-elect -- and Baptist minister Basil Manly, Sr. accompanied Jefferson Davis in the inauguration parade of the first president of the Confederate States of America. Basil Manly was known as the Chaplain to the Confederacy. He was a Baptist Minister, Educator and plantation owner along the Black Warrior River. He was a vocal and strident advocate of slavery. This led to many personal and professional conflicts with northerners which polarized the Baptist governing body then known as the Baptist General Convention. This polarization lead directly to the schism of the Baptist General Convention and in the creation of the Southern Baptist Convention in 1844-45. Manly chaired a committee of the Baptist State Convention of Alabama which prepared what is known as the Alabama Resolutions. These resolutions made a demand on the Acting Board of the Baptist General Convention to formally recognize that slaveholders were to be appointed on an equal basis with non-slaveholders. Until the Acting Board complied with the demand, the congregations in the south would withhold of their monetary contributions. When the Acting Board refused, the south withdrew from the general body and organized the Southern Baptist Convention.

Basil Manly, owned more than 40 slaves. In his 1836 â??Lecture on Antsâ? a sermon justifying slavery said: â??It surely ought to comfort the abolitionists to know that although the ants do hold slaves, the masters are humane and gentle, and the slaves are contented, industrious, and happy.â? I wonder if one particular slave named Sam would agree with Manlyâ??s assessment. In his diary, Manly recorded that a slave named Sam â??behaved very insolently to Thos G. Grace, and refused to measure or receive a load of coal which Grace had brought. By order of the Faculty, he was chastised, in my room, in their presence. Not seemingly humbled, I whipped him a second time, very severely." (Mark Gibney, Rhoda E. Howard-Hassmann, Jean-Marc Coicaud , â??Age of Apologyâ?, Philidelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, [2008], pg. 110)

When the southern states began to secede from the Union, Basil Manly was at the forefront in tendering his support. â??The Alabama Baptist Convention, meeting at the end of 1860 in Tuskegee, unanimously adopted a resolution offered by Basil Manly Sr. proclaiming that Alabama Baptists felt bound to declare themselves â??subject to the call of proper authority in defense of the sovereignty and independence of the state of Alabama, and of her sacred right as a sovereignty to withdraw from this union.â?? In this declaration they were â??heartily, deliberately, unanimously, and solemnly united.â?? One observer believed that this declaration, â?¦ â??did more to precipitate the secession of Alabama from the Union than any other one cause.â??â? (Daniel W. Stowell, â??Rebuilding Zionâ?, New York: Oxford University Press, [1998], pg. 34) In fairness, it should be noted that southern Civil War era Methodists, Presbyterians, etc. followed a similar path.

Manly played a crucial role in the development of Baptist theological education. He was an influential key player in the founding of several institutions of higher education including Furman University and the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. Manly was also the second president of the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa. Through these institutions, his ideology, theology and agenda thrived long after he passed on. Manlyâ??s theological defense of slavery is the foundation on which the Baptist schism, the secession of the southern states and the post civil war southern segregation policies are, in part, built.

So which path would the United States have been better off following, the abolitionist policies of Joseph Smith, American Prophet or the architect of Southern Baptist Convention, Basil Manly, the Chaplain to the Confederacy? Which path lead to the fracturing of American society? Which path caused hundreds of thousands of deaths by war, famine and disease? Which path lead to integrated congregations and which path lead to segregationist ideologies? It was only after 150 years that the Southern Baptists finally repented of their ties to slavery in a formal resolution adopted in 1995! See http://www.sbc.net/resolutions/amResolution.asp?ID=899

So when you anti-Mormons crank up your diatribes, I just smile.

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I just love it when non-Mormons critique past LDS priesthood policy.
But what is really amusing is that they don't believe in our Priesthood authority anyway. The irony is they aren't entitled to the Priesthood either because it is restricted to those who are baptised and faithful members of the church. The further irony is that we had many black members and many in Africa who wanted membership prior to the release of the ban and in spite of the ban. Go figure!

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So when you anti-Mormons crank up your diatribes, I just smile.

This is the best that you can come up with to defend the inspiration of Chuch leadership? Comparing its history with southern slave-holding Baptists? That is pretty poor.

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EbedAnti.png

I just love it when non-Mormons critique past LDS priesthood policy. It is generally a sign that they are either ignorant of, cavalier towards or hypocritical in regards to non-LDS denominational history.

...

So when you anti-Mormons crank up your diatribes, I just smile.

What? Of course the Baptists were just as screwed up as the LDS Church was. If I tell Mary she looks frumpy in the red dress, that doesn't mean I think the red dress looks good on Sue.

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EbedCommonality.png

This is the best that you can come up with to defend the inspiration of Chuch leadership? Comparing its history with southern slave-holding Baptists? That is pretty poor.

That is the best rebuttal which you can offer? The schismatic destroyer of a denomination, the founder of the Southern Baptist Convention, the man who almost singlehandedly motivated an entire state to seceed from the union, the confidant of Confederate leadership and chaplain to the Confederacy, the founder and leader of great southern universities, the man after which boulevards are named and statues are built, the great Basil Manly, you relegate to a mere a slave-holdiing baptist? Now that is truly poor ... patheticly poor.

The inspiration of the Church's leadership needs no defense. You would know this if you had actually opened your Bible and studied similar occurances found in the ancient scriptural texts. Let me help you out a little bit. Back in 1969, my grandfather sat me down and explained his understanding of the black priesthood issue. His understanding, I believe, is as accurate as any I've seen since that time. However, I would remind you that we do not know all the reasons why God waited until 1978 for blacks of African extraction to hold the priesthood. At best, we can merely speculate. What follows is only a small part of what my grandfather explained to me. Try to come up with something other than a drive-by-snark-shot this time. Do you think you are up to such a task?

A history of the priesthood shows that while the blacks may be the last group to receive the priesthood, they are not the only group who had to wait.

Initially, the priesthood was held by a few, select individuals such as Melchizedek. Melchizedek is called the priest of the most high God and Abraham paid to him his tithing.

â??And Melchizedek king of Salem brought forth bread and wine: and he was the priest of the most high God. And he blessed him, and said, Blessed be Abram of the most high God, possessor of heaven and earth: And blessed be the most high God, which hath delivered thine enemies into thy hand. And he gave him tithes of all.â? (Genesis 14:18-20)

The sons of Aaron was the first group to receive the priesthood.

â??And thou shalt anoint them, as thou didst anoint their father, that they may minister unto me in the priestâ??s office: for their anointing shall surely be an everlasting priesthood throughout their generations.â? (Exodus 40:15)

The Levites next received the priesthood, shortly thereafter.

â??The priests the Levites, and all the tribe of Levi, shall have no part nor inheritance with Israel: they shall eat the offerings of the LORD made by fire, and his inheritance.â? (Deuteronomy 18:1)

â??And they commanded the people, saying, When ye see the ark of the covenant of the LORD your God, and the priests the Levites bearing it, then ye shall remove from your place, and go after it.â? (Joshua 3:3)

Allow me to interject that like President Kimball, Moses received a revelation to make such a change. And for 2,000 years, until the time of Jesus, that was the way it remained. Jesus was the first non-Levite to hold the priesthood since the time of Moses. With rare exception, for 2,000 years, until the time of Jesus, that was the way it remained. Jesus was one of the few non-Levites to hold the priesthood. (Hebrews 7:11-14)

â??If therefore perfection were by the Levitical priesthood, (for under it the people received the law,) what further need was there that another priest should rise after the order of Melchisedec, and not be called after the order of Aaron? For the priesthood being changed, there is made of necessity a change also of the law. For he of whom these things are spoken pertaineth to another tribe, of which no man gave attendance at the altar. For it is evident that our Lord sprang out of Juda; of which tribe Moses spake nothing concerning priesthood.â? (Hebrews 7:11-14)

During his mortal ministry Jesus specifically precluded the gentiles from even receiving the Gospel, let alone receiving the priesthood.

â??These twelve Jesus sent forth, and commanded them, saying, Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not: But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.â? (Matthew 10:5-6)

â??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. Then came she and worshipped him, saying, Lord, help me. But he answered and said, It is not meet to take the childrenâ??s bread, and to cast it to dogs. And she said, Truth, Lord: yet the dogs eat of the crumbs which fall from their mastersâ?? table. Then Jesus answered and said unto her, O woman, great is thy faith: be it unto thee even as thou wilt. And her daughter was made whole from that very hour.â? (Matthew 15:21-28)

A great controversy arose in the church when Peter first preached the gospel to the Gentiles and allowed Cornelius to be baptized. Again, I must interject that like President Kimball, Peter had to receive a revelation in order to change the policy and his personal prejudices.

â??When they heard these things, they held their peace, and glorified God, saying, Then hath God also to the Gentiles granted repentance unto life.â? (Acts 11:18)

Note: Read Acts chapters 10 and 11 for the full story of how the very controversial act of allowing the Gentiles to hear the Gospel and become members of the church came about.

The Gentiles were joint heirs with the Jews and like Paul, could benefit from the workings of the Priesthood and Power of God.

â??That the Gentiles should be fellowheirs, and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel: Whereof I was made a minister, according to the gift of the grace of God given unto me by the effectual working of his power.â? (Ephesians 3:6-7)

Clearly, blacks are not the only group who had to wait but they did have to wait longer than any other group. No one, not even you, Your Snarkiness, really knows why God waited until 1978 for blacks to hold the priesthood. However as my grandfather explained to me: â??The Parable of the Workers in the Vineyard (Matthew 20:1-16) says that it doesn't matter when you get in line because the pay is the same. However, it is better to be the last in line than not in the line at all.â?

May I suggest that you get in line? The line forms at the baptismal font.

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During his mortal ministry Jesus specifically precluded the gentiles from even receiving the Gospel, let alone receiving the priesthood.

A great controversy arose in the church when Peter first preached the gospel to the Gentiles and allowed Cornelius to be baptized. Again, I must interject that like President Kimball, Peter had to receive a revelation in order to change the policy and his personal prejudices.

The Gentiles were joint heirs with the Jews and like Paul, could benefit from the workings of the Priesthood and Power of God.

Clearly, blacks are not the only group who had to wait but they did have to wait longer than any other group. No one, not even you, Your Snarkiness, really knows why God waited until 1978 for blacks to hold the priesthood. However as my grandfather explained to me: â??The Parable of the Workers in the Vineyard (Matthew 20:1-16) says that it doesn't matter when you get in line because the pay is the same. However, it is better to be the last in line than not in the line at all.â?

May I suggest that you get in line? The line forms at the baptismal font.

So there was arbitrary discrimination from Jesus until 1978 and beyond. That's not a defense of Mormonism, it's an indictment of Christianity.

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So there was arbitrary discrimination from Jesus until 1978 and beyond. That's not a defense of Mormonism, it's an indictment of Christianity.

Right...which, presumably if the argument was being made to one of our EV critics, then it would be a valid reply.

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QUOTE

As a historian I sought to learn the particulars and record them in my private diary. The following account is based on dozens of interviews with persons who talked with church officials after the revelation was announced. Although members of the Twelve and the First Presidency with whom I sought interviews felt they should not elaborate on what happened, I learned details from family members and friends to whom they had made comments. . . .

Those in attendance said that as [President Kimball] began his earnest prayer, they suddenly realized that it was not Kimball's prayer, but the Lord speaking through him. A revelation was being declared. Kimball himself realized that the words were not his but the Lord's. During that prayer some of the Twelve -- at least two who have said so publicly -- were transported into a celestial atmosphere, saw a divine presence and the figures of former presidents of the church (portraits of whom were hanging on the walls around them) smiling to indicate their approval and sanction. . . .

At the end of the heavenly manifestation Kimball, weeping for joy, confronted the church members, many of them also sobbing, and asked if they sustained this heavenly instruction. Embracing, all nodded vigorously and jubilantly their sanction. There had been a startling and commanding revelation from God -- an ineffable experience.

Two of the apostles present described the experience as a "day of Pentecost" similar to the one in the Kirtland Temple on April 6, 1836, the day of its dedication. They saw a heavenly personage and heard heavenly music. To the temple-clothed members, the gathering, incredible and without compare, was the greatest single event of their lives. Those I talked with wept as they spoke of it. All were certain they had witnessed a revelation from God.

From Leonard J. Arrington, Adventures of a Church Historian (Urbana and Chicago: University of Illinois Press, 1998), 176-177:

Dan posted this quotation and yet it was overlooked by our critics. It seems very clear that something strange happened during the revelation granting africans the priesthood. Now of course, all the people present could be lying but I don't think so. How to explain this kind of happening? There are two explanations: it either happened or it didn't. If it did happen, revelation is alive and well in the lds church. If it is a lie, why would church leaders lie about this?

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the great Basil Manly, you relegate to a mere a slave-holdiing baptist? Now that is truly poor ... patheticly poor.

Umm, is he or is he not a slave-holding Baptist? Regardless, what he did or didn't do is irrelevant to the discussion.

The inspiration of the Church's leadership needs no defense. You would know this if you had actually opened your Bible and studied similar occurances found in the ancient scriptural texts. Let me help you out a little bit.

So since there's an ancient precedent of racism, it's acceptable today? There is a whole host of other ancient activities I'm sure you would not feel comfortable with the modern Church taking part in today, so please don't try to use this. Furthermore, the ancient restrictions on priesthood with respect to Levites and others had a lot more to do with politics and power than with race.

Let me point out here the usual amateur apologist approach of assuming that my objection to historical LDS policy derives from some religious commitment (usually assumed to be Evangelical Christian) and that my objection can be silenced through an appeal to the Bible (because you assume I believe in its inerrancy, or some other such thing).

And for 2,000 years, until the time of Jesus, that was the way it remained. Jesus was the first non-Levite to hold the priesthood since the time of Moses.

This is not very accurate. David, for example, held a priesthood. And according to LDS doctrine, every ancient prophet held the Melchizedek priesthood. There were prophets who did not come from Levitical lineage.

No one, not even you, Your Snarkiness, really knows why God waited until 1978 for blacks to hold the priesthood.

I happen to believe that God had little if anything to do with withholding the priesthood from blacks.

May I suggest that you get in line? The line forms at the baptismal font.

Been there. And if I hadn't, this lame defense would not make me suddenly want to.

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So there was arbitrary discrimination from Jesus until 1978 and beyond. That's not a defense of Mormonism, it's an indictment of Christianity.

To my understanding, christians understand that the jews are the chosen people by god. It was to the jews that Christ appeared. God is strange. :P

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EbedIneptitude.png

Umm, is he or is he not a slave-holding Baptist? Regardless, what he did or didn't do is irrelevant to the discussion.

I struck a nerve, huh?

So since there's an ancient precedent of racism, it's acceptable today?

You lost me. What is this supposed â??ancient precedent of racismâ? and why are you introducing it without foundation into this discussion at this time?

There is a whole host of other ancient activities I'm sure you would not feel comfortable with the modern Church taking part in today, so please don't try to use this.

You can read my mind, can you? Just how sure are you? Now a host by definition is "1. An army. 2. A great number; a multitude." To me that means thousands, possibly hundreds of thousands or even millions. Letâ??s see just how sure you are, shall we? Provide me with a mere fraction of a host, say 250 activities which I â??would not feel comfortable with the modern Church taking part in today.â? See how generous I am feeling? You need not come up with thousands or more of such activities. Shucks, I'm feeling especially generous. Make it just 50. If you cannot do that, then I can only suppose that this, like everything else in this post and your previous post, is nothing more than gas and hot air.

Furthermor, the ancient restrictions on priesthood with respect to Levites and others had a lot more to do with politics and power than with race.

And I am supposed to accept your unsubstantiated statement as worth something? And if so why? You do realize that this is a debate and that you are supposed to offer something to support your statement but have yet to do so? Get with the program, bud.

Let me point out here the usual amateur apologist approach of assuming that my objection to historical LDS policy derives from some religious commitment (usually assumed to be Evangelical Christian) and that my objection can be silenced through an appeal to the Bible (because you assume I believe in its inerrancy, or some other such thing).

I am most please to admit that I am guilty as charged of being an amateur. To the best of my knowledge the Church has yet to field its first professional apologist. Therefore, if you thought that would hurt my itty-bitty feelings, Iâ??m afraid you will be disappointed. Your amateur comment (pun intended) only made me snicker at you â?¦ well â?¦ it was more of a jovial chortle, almost approaching a hearty guffaw.

This is not very accurate. David, for example, held a priesthood. And according to LDS doctrine, every ancient prophet held the Melchizedek priesthood. There were prophets who did not come from Levitical lineage.

You are correct, of course. A point for you! You should be rather pleased with yourself. I will make the necessary change in my previous post.

I happen to believe that God had little if anything to do with withholding the priesthood from blacks.

As a self-confessed apostate, what you believe is of precious little value to me especially when you offer nothing of any particular significance in support of an argument other than your opinion. Well, actually, you did not even offer an argument.

Been there. And if I hadn't, this lame defense would not make me suddenly want to.

And just how would you characterize your response which with one lone exception was bereft of substance, support or merit. At best you can claim that it was longer than your previous post but substantially it was the same: very poor â?¦ pathetically poor.

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William, there is a bigger problem here.

The LDS church is supposed to have prophets who communicate directly with God, who is really running the church.

Why did God, who is no respecter of culture, allow this ban to take place? And, even though his mouthpiece claimed that the blacks would not get the priesthood until all the sons of Adam, God caved?

Can you not see the difference between religions led by men who follow the culture of the times vs a church led by God?

To continue this line of thought, consider that in 2000, the Prophet of the Church stood and told the world that men should not wear earrings, and women should limit themselves to one pair.

Now, regardless of whether or not you feel President Hinckley's statement was revelation, or the advice of a wise but fallible leader, it sets the bar for the kinds of things the Prophet will speak to the world about, which apparently includes aesthetic and cultural matters.

I understand that God didn't prompt/encourage/command John Taylor or any of his successors to stand and say "All races are created equal in the eyes of God. Skin color is merely a genetic permutation of skin pigment that doesn't indicate anything about the intelligence, personality, or spiritual condition of the person."

It just would have been really, really cool if He had.

Heck, President Hinckley stood at the pulpit in General Conference in 2006 and said the following:

Now I am told that racial slurs and denigrating remarks are sometimes heard among us. 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?

Would it have been so hard for God to ask Brigham Young to do the same thing?

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Pahoran

I can't spell it out any better. It is clear. I can say it's clear. I can emphasize and reword for you. If anyone else than the fine Elder can show me my error interpreting this text, please educate me. I am finished kicking against the prick. We will have to stay in disagreement.

Yes, we will stay in disagreement, because you obstinately persist in being wrong.

Here is the paragraph you rely upon to support your false accusation:

I think I have read enough to give you an idea of what the Negro is after. He is not just seeking the opportunity of sitting down in a cafe where white people eat. He isn't just trying to ride on the same streetcar or the same Pullman car with white people. It isn't that he just desires to go to the same theater as the white people. From this, and other interviews I have read, it appears that the Negro seeks absorption with the white race. He will not be satisfied until he achieves it by intermarriage. That is his objective and we must face it. We must not allow our feelings to carry us away, nor must we feel so sorry for Negroes that we will open our arms and embrace them with everything we have. Remember the little statement that we used to say about sin, "First we pity, then endure, then embrace"....

Elder Petersen did not say that skin colour was sinful, or bordered on being sinful, or anything else. He said that Civil Rights activists wanted to mingle the races in marriage. He was opposed to interracial marriage. He didn't come out and call it sinful, but clearly he thought it was in some way analogous to sin; hence his paraphrase of Alexander Pope.

Now, I think he was wrong in his conclusion; I don't believe they had such an agenda. Also, while I understand why he would not want Latter-day Saints to enter into marriages that would deprive their children of Priesthood blessings in this life, I fail to see that interracial marriage is or ought to be a bad thing. Neverthless, that was his position.

Now, because I am an unusually generous fellow, I will call your claim about sinful skin colour a "misunderstanding." And I will allow it to be a misunderstanding until you pop up on another thread and repeat your discredited claim, what time it will become something more deliberate.

You are right about the age thing quoted, though.

Thank you for that. Now I hope the next time someone refers to their own experience, you won't chuck your toys out of the cot.

In the meantime, you have an outstanding CFR. For your convenience, I repeat it here:

You previously claimed, without support, that a "reasonable person" could maintain the view that the timing of the 1978 Revelation was "suspicious."

Well you wouldn't know this, but reasonable people don't persist in maintaining suspicions that they know have no reasonable basis. So, do you have any reasonable basis for your accusation that the timing was "questionable?" This is a CFR, Nyal. You need to support your assertion or retract it.

Well, how about it?

Regards,

Pahoran

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Authors of nearly every news story that discusses Africa, Church growth, or African American Mormons, seem to feel the need to bring up 1978 in depth. Maybe this is acceptable. It is, after all, a part of our history. What I object to is the tone of many of these articles, but oh well.

My question is this: when did the other American churches begin to allow blacks to fully participate in their leadership? How many were actually segregated, while LDS wards were not? ...My point is that virtually ALL religions and churches have changed their approach to minorities, particularly blacks in the US. (As a point of fact, Jesus Christ changed his church's policy toward whites.) But the LDS continue to be hounded about their "overnight" change in policy..

I think that racism has been a difficult topic for all biblically-based religions, especially in the US. The overlaying issue of "prophetic insight" aside, the entire christian community has had to struggle with the notion that portions of the bible that seemed to indicate that there were inferior races may, in fact, have been immoral.

The history of the quakers is a good comparison to the LDS. They left England and started their own state (Pennsylvania) as a refuge from religious persecution a little less than two centuries or so before the LDS left the United States to form a community in the West as a refuge from religious persecution. The Friends were some of the first to advocate Abolition and were instrumental in starting the Pennsylvania Abolition Society in 1789. When one looks to BY's contemporaries, it is interesting to note the Ben Franklin became the president of the PAS in 1790. Of the two, my opinion is that BF was the more enlightened and possibly prophetic. But moving on...

Despite this and the fact that any "black" could join the Friends, they are widely reported to have reserved a seperate, segregated bench for "people of color". It seems that most of the people could not live up to the ideal, and it took a long time to accept the higher morality that we hopefully hold to today. But on the whole, they seem to be the most progressive of all the religions in the US on this issue.

And this pattern seems to be the case with most religions in America. Some were more timely in being successful in welcoming all races into the bosum of whatever God they worshiped quickly as the realization that viewing any person as inferior based on race was immoral and should be opposed. Others took longer. Some still haven't I guess.

The LDS church seems to be a paradox in this case. There is good evidence that much of the racism and bitterness against immigrants during the late 19th and early to mid-20th century was dulled in Utah by the fact that so many Utahn's were immigrants. The resurge of the KKK in the 1920's was fought by the LDS faith, even though it found favor in many protestant religions through out the country due to it's support of prohibition, anti-catholism, and "moral high ground" stance during the cultural wars in the 1920's (nothing new under the sun, as the preacher said looking forward to the 1960's and 70's. And another KKK surge as well, this time with more LDS member support). Of course, in the 1920's the Mormon's were not loved by the Klan, and it is hard to say what would have happened if they had favored the LDS faith. But it is what it is.

But as far as religious inclusivness goes, the institutionality of the church seems to have prevented it from reaching the moral maturity that other religions in the US developed in viewing racism as being immoral. Rather, the role of the LDS church was to state that there was a higher morality that had been violated, in the pre-existiance, and thus justified the priesthood ban.

Quoting from a letter written to a mormon professor who felt opposed to the ban in the 1940's (and I admit that this is most readily found in anti-sources. But who's fault is that?)

"...The basic element of your ideas and concepts seems to be that all God's children stand in equal positions before Him in all things. Your knowledge of the Gospel will indicate to you that this is contrary to the very fundamentals of God's dealings with Israel dating from the time of His promise to Abraham regarding Abraham's seed and their position vis-a-vis God Himself. Indeed, some of God's children were assinged to superior positions before the world was formed.

"We are aware that some Higher Critics do not accept this, but the Church does. Your position seems to lose sight of the revelations of the Lord touching the pre-existence of our spirits, the rebellion in heaven, and the doctrines that our birth into this life and the advantages under which we may be born, have a religionship in the life heretofore.

"From the days of the Prophet Joseph Smith even until now, it is has been the doctrine of the Church, never questioned by any of the Church leaders, that the Negroes are not entitled to the full blessings of the Gospel.

"Furthermore, your ideas, as we understand them, appear to contemplate the intermarriage of the Negro and White races, a concept which has heretofore been most repugnant to most normal-minded people from the ancient partiarchs till now. God's rule for Israel, His Chosen People, has been endogamous. Modern Israel has been similarly directed.

"We are not unmindful of the fact that there is a growing tendency, particularly among some educators, as it manifests itself in this era, toward the breaking down of race barriers in the matter of intermarriage between whites and blacks, but it does not have the sanction of the Church and is contrary to Church doctrine.

"Faithfully yours,

George Albert Smith

J. Reuben Clark, Jr.

David O. McKay

The First Presidency"

And to me this is the greater issue. Regardless of whether BY was representative of people in his day, the basic structure of the church allowed his out-dated views to be rationalized and practised by what where most certainly morally good and upright people for a lot longer period than they would have been if those same people had been allowed to judge the issue independantly of the insititution. And who knows how many people who were not-so-moral used his statements to justify their attitudes?

It seems, in this case, that having a bad "prophecy" is worse than having none at all. So whether he was putting his pant on or taking them off when he said this, people suffered for it.

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