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Olavarria

The Priesthood Ban

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First, where is this doctrine written?

It's not nor has ever been doctrine.

Second, does this imply that one's mortal experience is dependent on something more than keeping one's first estate? In other words, were black's less valiant than white's in the premortal existence?

This is erroneous speculation that seems to get passed down. Valiance in the Pre-mortal existance has nothing to do with skin color.

And what of those who are born mentally retarded - were they less valiant than those who are able-minded? What of any of us who are afflicted with disease at birth?

My 19 yr old son has Autism. I was told, by quite a few members, that he was "so valiant in the PME that his reward on earth is he can't be tempted by Satan and he will go directly to the CK after he dies." I'm not sure how much of this is true...what I do know is: 1. my son is a wonderful blessing to my family and the "valiance" thing doesn't matter and 2. Special needs people are here to teach compassion, especially with the rising of Generation Me, Me, Me!

I mean, how far can we stretch this doctrine which has not been fully revealed yet implies a mortal experience that is punitive based on premortal worthiness?

Or, please, help me, am I misreading this?

H.

Any answer to this would most likely be speculation with some scripture thrown in...

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Read this speech by Bruce R. McConkie

All Are Alike unto God

Bruce R. McConkie was a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles

of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints when this address

was given at the CES Religious Educators Symposium on 18 August 1978.

It's easy to google and find

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Here's something, for starters, that I really don't get:
The attitude of the Church with reference to Negroes remains as it has always stood. It is not a matter of the declaration of a policy but of direct commandment from the Lord, on which is founded the doctrine of the Church from the days of its organization, to the effect that Negroes may become members of the Church but that they are not entitled to the priesthood at the present time.

Is Toronto so young that he has no memories that go back beyond 1978?

Where is this doctrine declared? Is it simply that BY declared it, and thus it is such?

If Toronto is LDS he already knows the answers to these questions: There's plenty of information online. The Church made a 180 degree turnabout on how Subsaharan Africans and their offspring elsewhere were to be incorporated into the Church fully. Period. And so it remains today. They are brothers and sisters. Fully. Period. And have been since 1978. At this point, 32 years later, it seems to me it's an historical oddity that is happily behind us.

But, even if that is so, I really have a problem with this:
The position of the Church regarding the Negro may be understood when another doctrine of the Church is kept in mind, namely, that the conduct of spirits in the premortal existence has some determining effect upon the conditions and circumstances under which these spirits take on mortality and that while the details of this principle have not been made known,

Whatever for? It was a speculation . . . even members of the First Presidency speculate. They didn't know why the ban was in place, they only knew that BY and others said some things a few generations earlier. They had no direction from Heaven on why, but they knew that it would be lifted at some point. It was, scant 10 years after DOM's death.

First, where is this doctrine written?

If Toronto is LDS he already knows the answer to this.

Second, does this imply that one's mortal experience is dependent on something more than keeping one's first estate? In other words, were black's less valiant than white's in the premortal existence? And what of those who are born mentally retarded - were they less valiant than those who are able-minded? What of any of us who are afflicted with disease at birth? I mean, how far can we stretch this doctrine which has not been fully revealed yet implies a mortal experience that is punitive based on premortal worthiness?

The FP statement quoted says nothing about worthiness. It only said that things probably happen in the pre-mortal world that determine to some unknown extent what happens to one here. It should not be taken farther than its plain language: we don't know, but maybe it has something to do with what happened before. Why is this so difficult?

Or, please, help me, am I misreading this?

Misreading what?

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Will you really mention that the ban was sometimes implemented in a racist way?

That is soo wrong and mean spirited too. Even Bruce R. suggested we should forget everything that was said/taught before the "78" revelation due to limited knowledge.

No it's not wrong, it's a fact. People with dark skin in places such as Fiji or New Guinea who could not possibly be of Hamitic lineage were wrongly denied the priesthood for many years. I'd call that a racist way of implementing the ban.

Wow, what manuel is this taught in? and are you teaching this to the investigators? Are the missionaries supporting this also? For as long as I have been a member I was never taught this.

First of all I ought to clarify that when I say "limited flood" I mean limited in it's effects, not in it's scope. The depth of the flood given in the scriptures is only 15 cubits, which wouldn't cover mountains (I assume they were considered covered by the excessive rain). I believe that it effected the whole world, but I don't believe that it exterminated all life on earth except what was in the ark. It makes no sense to me to imagine Noah driving the ark down to Australia, for example, dropping off the koalas, kangaroos and platypuses and telling them to tread water until land appeared.

As far as pre-Adamites go, the Church has declared that it does not have a position on the issue so I don't think that anyone can say that either the pro or con side is somehow more Mormon.

I also want to point out that I mentioned these things as personal beliefs of mine and not as things I teach while representing the Church. That being said, I still don't think that ideas become any more true by being published in a Church manual.

Since you noticed errors from Genesis Group you should email them with the corrections.

Not a bad idea, but not exactly high priority for me.

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As I understand it, the current official position is "we don't know". Given what little I know about the history of the ban, that makes alot of sense.

My questian is: why do we "need" an explanation?

Isnt the fact that the ban existed and then lifted good enough?

I can only speak as an outsider, yet I think the reasons why I would want to hear an explanation for the priesthood ban ought to be obvious. Those reasons are:

1. My attitude towards racism is the one expressed by Pope Paul III in 1537. He said:

The sublime God so loved the human race that He created man in such wise that he might participate, not only in the good that other creatures enjoy, but endowed him with capacity to attain to the inaccessible and invisible Supreme Good and behold it face to face; and since man, according to the testimony of the sacred scriptures, has been created to enjoy eternal life and happiness, which none may obtain save through faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, it is necessary that he should possess the nature and faculties enabling him to receive that faith; and that whoever is thus endowed should be capable of receiving that same faith. Nor is it credible that any one should possess so little understanding as to desire the faith and yet be destitute of the most necessary faculty to enable him to receive it. Hence Christ, who is the Truth itself, that has never failed and can never fail, said to the preachers of the faith whom He chose for that office 'Go ye and teach all nations.' [Matthew 28] He said all, without exception, for all are capable of receiving the doctrines of the faith. The enemy of the human race, who opposes all good deeds in order to bring men to destruction, beholding and envying this, invented a means never before heard of, by which he might hinder the preaching of God's word of Salvation to the people: he inspired his satellites who, to please him, have not hesitated to publish abroad that the Indians of the West and the South, and other people of whom We have recent knowledge should be treated as dumb brutes created for our service, pretending that they are incapable of receiving the Catholic Faith.

So, in short, racism is evil, has always been evil, and will always be evil, no matter what form it takes and in what circumstances. Hence I must ask why the LDS Church, which supposedly receives commands from God is a process of continuing revelation, would do something evil for such a long time.

2. The ban on blacks in the priesthood was lifted in 1978, and 1978 was not very long ago. That makes the LDS Church among the very last significant institutions on earth to recognize the common humanity and equality of blacks. As Rev. Martin Luther King pointed out many times, all racist policies inflicted harm on black people, regardless of who was making them or what justifications were given. If God actually guides the LDS Church through continuing revelation, why would God want that Church to be the last major Church to do what is morally right?

3. Churchs such as the Southern Baptists who once took a wrong stance on racial equality have been able to admit their mistakes and apologize for them. Why is the LDS Church, alone among major churches, still not willing to issue an official statement saying that their policy towards blacks for most of their history was wrong?

I myself am not black but that hardly means I don't care about what black people suffered in the recent past. Differing stances on race issues give me a strong motivation to believe that my church, which has had the morally correct stance towards racism throughout its history, is the one truly guided by God, as compared to a church that has had the morally wrong stance throughout almost all of its history and is still unwilling to officially admit making a mistake on the issue.

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Is Toronto so young that he has no memories that go back beyond 1978?

I am not yet 39, and was baptized in 1992. I was not aware of the church's history of denying the priesthood to black's until a couple of years later, probably found out in a priesthood lesson somewhere.

Whatever for? It was a speculation . . . even members of the First Presidency speculate. They didn't know why the ban was in place, they only knew that BY and others said some things a few generations earlier. They had no direction from Heaven on why, but they knew that it would be lifted at some point. It was, scant 10 years after DOM's death.

If Toronto is LDS he already knows the answer to this.

Speculation I can handle, but when a prophet of God says:

It is not a matter of the declaration of a policy but of direct commandment from the Lord, on which is founded on the doctrine of the Church...

... and says....

The position of the Church regarding the Negro may be understood when another doctrine of the Church is kept in mind, namely, that the conduct of spirits in the premortal existence has some determining effect upon the conditions and circumstances under which these spirits take on mortality

...well, those don't *sound* like speculation to me, they *sound* like a prophet is re-iterating doctrine as evidenced by phrases like 'is founded on the doctrine' and 'may be understood when another doctrine is kept in mind', doctrine that I can't find anywhere in the scriptures.

The FP statement quoted says nothing about worthiness. It only said that things probably happen in the pre-mortal world that determine to some unknown extent what happens to one here. It should not be taken farther than its plain language: we don't know, but maybe it has something to do with what happened before. Why is this so difficult?

Maybe I'm dumb, I dunno, but I think that when someone says that the reason someone is black is because of something they did in the premortal existence, and being black meant you were not allowed the same rights and privileges as those who were white, well, that sounds an awful lot like you did something for which you are being punished.

Maybe I'll make myself fully clear right now: I believe that Brigham Young led the church astray concerning blacks and the priesthood, and that George Albert Smith led the church astray with this letter. They were fallible, I accept that, and I don't think any of us should tolerate apologetic or doctrinal gymnastics that make any attempt to explain this, without clear, unequivocal doctrine to support the view that blacks should not have received the priesthood.

H.

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So, in short, racism is evil, has always been evil, and will always be evil, no matter what form it takes and in what circumstances. Hence I must ask why the LDS Church, which supposedly receives commands from God is a process of continuing revelation, would do something evil for such a long time.

3. Churchs such as the Southern Baptists who once took a wrong stance on racial equality have been able to admit their mistakes and apologize for them. Why is the LDS Church, alone among major churches, still not willing to issue an official statement saying that their policy towards blacks for most of their history was wrong?

I myself am not black but that hardly means I don't care about what black people suffered in the recent past. Differing stances on race issues give me a strong motivation to believe that my church, which has had the morally correct stance towards racism throughout its history, is the one truly guided by God, as compared to a church that has had the morally wrong stance throughout almost all of its history and is still unwilling to officially admit making a mistake on the issue.

I was about to write a post similar to this one, because I have the *exact* questions regarding God's support of a morally wrong stance. The best I can suppose is that God did not support racism, and that prophets are not infallible and have led the church astray on this point.

H.

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LDSToronto:

Did Jesus lead the Church astray when he would only go to the Jews?

I think you are unnecessarily drawing a false conclusion. It very well could be a matter that whites will be judged rather harshly for their treatment of their black brothers and sisters.

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No it's not wrong, it's a fact. People with dark skin in places such as Fiji or New Guinea who could not possibly be of Hamitic lineage were wrongly denied the priesthood for many years. I'd call that a racist way of implementing the ban.

Yes, it is. We don't know why the ban and to teach otherwise, ie racism, is wrong.

First of all I ought to clarify that when I say "limited flood" I mean limited in it's effects, not in it's scope. The depth of the flood given in the scriptures is only 15 cubits, which wouldn't cover mountains (I assume they were considered covered by the excessive rain). I believe that it effected the whole world, but I don't believe that it exterminated all life on earth except what was in the ark. It makes no sense to me to imagine Noah driving the ark down to Australia, for example, dropping off the koalas, kangaroos and platypuses and telling them to tread water until land appeared.

As far as pre-Adamites go, the Church has declared that it does not have a position on the issue so I don't think that anyone can say that either the pro or con side is somehow more Mormon.

You can believe whatever you want. How does ones beliefs, pro or con, make them "more Mormon"?

I also want to point out that I mentioned these things as personal beliefs of mine and not as things I teach while representing the Church. That being said, I still don't think that ideas become any more true by being published in a Church manual.

I agree, but the manuals are way less speculative.

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LDSToronto:

Did Jesus lead the Church astray when he would only go to the Jews?

I think you are unnecessarily drawing a false conclusion. It very well could be a matter that whites will be judged rather harshly for their treatment of their black brothers and sisters.

I believe Christ was and is infallible, perfect, and without flaw. I don't feel the same about the prophets, former-day or latter-day. Is it possible that Brigham Young was wrong? I say yes, it is possible, because the God I know can not promote evil in any form, and bias based on skin tone is evil.

H.

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As I understand it, the current official position is "we don't know". Given what little I know about the history of the ban, that makes alot of sense.

What makes you think the Church's official position is "we don't know"?

Or did you mean "We don't know why Brigham Young instituted it"?

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LDSToronto:

I too believe that Jesus was/is infallible, perfect, and without flaw. However it is a double standard if that Jesus was/is infallible, perfect, and without flaw and we mere fallible, imperfect, and with flaws mortal do the same things that he did, and under his command are to be condemned.

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As I understand it, the current official position is "we don't know". Given what little I know about the history of the ban, that makes alot of sense.

My questian is: why do we "need" an explanation?

Isnt the fact that the ban existed and then lifted good enough?

All need is rooted in either a positive or a negative response to the Light of Christ.

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LDSToronto:

I too believe that Jesus was/is infallible, perfect, and without flaw. However it is a double standard if that Jesus was/is infallible, perfect, and without flaw and we mere fallible, imperfect, and with flaws mortal do the same things that he did, and under his command are to be condemned.

Jesus did not deny the priesthood to black people. Nor did He discriminate in His ministry.

H.

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I am not yet 39, and was baptized in 1992. I was not aware of the church's history of denying the priesthood to black's until a couple of years later, probably found out in a priesthood lesson somewhere.

Fair enough. I suggest checking this out: By folks who oughtta know.

Should you have further questions, I am delighted to discuss further. You really ought to visit blacklds.org, FAIR's subsidiary site first, however.

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3. Churchs such as the Southern Baptists who once took a wrong stance on racial equality have been able to admit their mistakes and apologize for them. Why is the LDS Church, alone among major churches, still not willing to issue an official statement saying that their policy towards blacks for most of their history was wrong?

In the documentary called Nobody Knows: The Untold Story of Black Mormons Rev. Cecil Murray was interviewed and he said President Hinckley apologized to him for the church's role in slavery and racism in America.

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Fair enough. I suggest checking this out: By folks who oughtta know.

Should you have further questions, I am delighted to discuss further. You really ought to visit blacklds.org, FAIR's subsidiary site first, however.

Thanks for the link, USU78, it was very helpful. This article spoke to me and affirms my own feelings and beliefs regarding this issue.

H.

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I would like to propose a couple of ideas that I haven't really seen discussed.

1. Ordaining blacks to the priesthood may have intensified the persecution of the church to a level where it would not have survived.

2. Those blacks who would have received the priesthood were it not for the ban may have been righteous/worthy/advanced enough that they didn't need the priesthood in mortality.

Of course, all we really need to know is that the Lord was at least OK with the ban. See Moses 5:6

Yours under the accepting oaks,

Nathair /|\

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As I understand it, the current official position is "we don't know". Given what little I know about the history of the ban, that makes alot of sense.

My questian is: why do we "need" an explanation?

Isnt the fact that the ban existed and then lifted good enough?

It HAS to be enough, for it is all we have. If we NEEDED more, we'd have more.

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I would like to propose a couple of ideas that I haven't really seen discussed.

1. Ordaining blacks to the priesthood may have intensified the persecution of the church to a level where it would not have survived.

2. Those blacks who would have received the priesthood were it not for the ban may have been righteous/worthy/advanced enough that they didn't need the priesthood in mortality.

Of course, all we really need to know is that the Lord was at least OK with the ban. See Moses 5:6

Yours under the accepting oaks,

Nathair /|\

I've suggested #1 here several times. But it usually is quickly passed by. I agree that it makes a lot of sense.

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I've suggested #1 here several times. But it usually is quickly passed by. I agree that it makes a lot of sense.

Number one may a reasonable explanation for why the Lord ALLOWED the ban to be put in place. However, I don't think anyone believes the original instigators of the ban did it for this reason and that's the problem with trying to use it to explain or excuse their actions.

From Nathair's post:

2. Those blacks who would have received the priesthood were it not for the ban may have been righteous/worthy/advanced enough that they didn't need the priesthood in mortality

This sounds like some cop out excuse they give for why women don't hold the priesthood and to me it has the ring of hollow platitude. :P

Of course, all we really need to know is that the Lord was at least OK with the ban. See Moses 5:6

How is does this scripture prove that the Lord was 'OK' with the ban? How do we know the Lord commanded it? To do this, you'd need to show where it was commanded, ie, a revelation and I believe you will be hard pressed to find that. Other's have tried and failed.

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Well, a key instigation for the Jackson County Missouri mobbings was the (inaccurate) reading of the Evening and Morning Star to say that the Mormons were extending an open invitation to Free Blacks to come into the state, and into their ranks. (When in fact the paper suggested the opposite - to obey the laws of the land and not cause a stir, avoiding the appearance of evil).

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Number one may a reasonable explanation for why the Lord ALLOWED the ban to be put in place. However, I don't think anyone believes the original instigators of the ban did it for this reason and that's the problem with trying to use it to explain or excuse their actions.

From Nathair's post:

This sounds like some cop out excuse they give for why women don't hold the priesthood and to me it has the ring of hollow platitude. :P

How is does this scripture prove that the Lord was 'OK' with the ban? How do we know the Lord commanded it? To do this, you'd need to show where it was commanded, ie, a revelation and I believe you will be hard pressed to find that. Other's have tried and failed.

If it wasn't acceptable to the Lord, He would have put a stop to it a long time earlier. If, that is, He is really the Head of the Church like He says He is. Moses 5:6 is not about the ban per se, but rather about the attitude we should have when we know the Lord's will, but not the reasons. Trust in the Lord thy God and lean not unto thine own understanding.

Yours under the faithful oaks,

Nathair /|\

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As I understand it, the current official position is "we don't know". Given what little I know about the history of the ban, that makes alot of sense.

My questian is: why do we "need" an explanation?

Isnt the fact that the ban existed and then lifted good enough?

I have already gone on record that The Church, IMHO, needs to come out w an apology for this terrible stance by BY in light of absolutely no credbile scriptural support nor revelatory support. Perhaps outside of the predominantly "Anglo Utah", this issue has and will continue to be one of the "Achilles Heel" for real meaningful growth. The "we don't know" answer is just becoming more and more embarrassing to the intellectually savy world, particularly in light of all readily accessible historcal documents of our Church history.

We can contnue to take the "ostrich" approach for the feel good need in isolation. But we will never move forward in meaningful ways outside of the Wasatch Corrirdor. "We don't know" is now received as "we don't want to talk about that" for most new prospects, outside of Utah, partcularly our african American brothers and sisters we would want as members.

It's simply embarrassing!!!

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