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zelder

Priesthood Ban

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I agree. I think that is my point. They had no reason to doubt their cultural beliefs, and took them for granted that they were correct.

Because it confirmed their cultural prejudices. We humans tend to ignore what challenges our cultural beliefs and latch on to what confirms them.

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The topic description says it all. Was the priesthood ban the result of bigotry or was it really an inspired policy? Where did the ban come from?

Hi zelder,

Is it off the table to consider that the ban was from God? Is it off the table to consider that President Kimball did incorrectly in attempting to remove the ban?

If President Young is viewed by some as doing incorrectly in holding the ban up, are not others justified in viewing the matter the other way around (President Young was correct and President Kimball was incorrect)?

I realize that educated Americans are steeped in believing that being a "racist" is the worst of all sins (even though surprisingly the scriptures do not even mention this sin). But I know myself, I have absolutely no animosity or hate towards blacks or any other race. I believe that the Word of the Lord is based on eternal truth and love, and so I believe a loving God can hold back blessings from a people for eternal reasons that we do not perfectly understand.

Richard

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BookofMormonLuvr:

If you accept Peter as an Apostle. Does his resistance to teaching non Jews dismiss his Apostleship?

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BookofMormonLuvr:

If you accept Peter as an Apostle. Does his resistance to teaching non Jews dismiss his Apostleship?

Ah, but Peter was corrected and accepted that correction. He didn't claim some mantle of infallibility and refuse to admit he could be wrong. He didn't have to be corrected centuries later after he was dead.

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The topic description says it all. Was the priesthood ban the result of bigotry or was it really an inspired policy? Where did the ban come from?

Some of my "working" thoughts on the ban, in response to others....

------

Why should the Church "apologize" for something it didn't do?

That's why the Church shouldn't apologize, because it didn't do anything wrong. It simply followed the will of God. You are looking at the Church through eyes of modern social convention and ignorance of scripture in relation to racism and inequality, instead of what the Church actually did and was.

Let me explain why.....

1. The ban only applied to those of "African" lineage, not blacks.

2. All other races including blacks of the Islands, non African blacks of Central/South America "were" given the Priesthood.

3. Skin color was only one of the ways to help determine lineage, but not the final way.

4. White men were denied the priesthood if they had African Lineage.

5. Lineage was determined by Patriarchal Blessing, and Family History Work, not because you were "black".

6. The priesthood Biblically was always highly "restricted" also by Lineage, to certain Tribes, etc., and that didn't make the Church then "racist", it was simply the policy per Gods wishes.

7. Christ Himself denied the Gospel to be given to any non-Jew. It took Peter after Christ's death to receive a Revelation to give the gospel to the Gentile. Was Christ a racist?

One thing that's interesting with this, is that Christ did give the gospel to a "couple" of non-Jews. Likewise, in the LDS Church a "few" African blacks were also given the Priesthood.

8. Women are not given the Priesthood, but that doesn't mean the Church is gender racist, hating women, holding women down, belittling women, etc.. The actual reality is that men and women simply have different roles per the Gospel of Christ. Women still have authority in the Church, are leaders, are treated equally and with respect, etc. There is no "gender inequality".

9. Interesting to note that by the 70's Racism and even slavery of the black African had finally ended the world over (talking most, not the isolated cases that still occur). Thus, it is plausible that God operates according to man's timeline, as he's done Biblically on other issues such as the Higher Law vs the 10 Commandments etc., so the priesthood in order to not be defiled by the evils of racism, bigotry, and the slavery of man, was denied to those who were under those conditions. Thus, it had nothing to do with racism "by" the Church, but racism in the world at large. God does nothing unless man is ready for it.

10. The possible initial beginnings of the ban were believed to be according to an interpretation of the scriptures. However, there is no sure sign of this, thus possible that it was simply the way things were interpreted after the fact in trying to find scriptural reasons for the ban. Given the lack of evidence, the ban may have been put in place by revelation that was never canonized, and then the assumptions followed after.

11. The LDS Church always had messages of tolerance, and love for others, including blacks, and it always taught "against" racism. Being first exposed to the LDS Church before the ban was lifted, I can testify that those in the Church and the Church itself was so "non-racist" in it's behaviors and teachings, that I didn't even know the ban existed until it was lifted. It was also along with the Catholic Church, had no sign of racism in it. Many of the other religions I had attended over the years, there was often some sort of racist thing uttered, even in a black church I had attended for a period.

12. Mormons always kicked out the KKK whenever they tried to settle in Utah. That doesn't give any indication that Mormons were racist. In fact it gives the opposite indication.

13. Blacks and all races have "always" been allowed to be members of the Church, there was no segregation either compared to most other faiths, all races fellowshipped with each other.

14. Mormons, including the leadership of the Church always "lamented" the existence of the ban, but had Faith that one day the ban would be lifted. Such a common belief and view in the Church, even by it's leadership, again does not indicate a religion or a people who are "racist".

15. The ban was both a doctrine and a policy. The doctrine is that the priesthood is given of God according to His Will, and some of the possible commandments of such can be found in scripture, but given Latter-day Revelation, the Church is unsure whether those scriptures actually apply to the subject. The policy in this instance is that those of African Lineage were not to be given the Priesthood.

Doctrine does not change, but Policy's do. Meaning that sometimes the "practices" that relate to certain doctrines are what changes, not the doctrines themselves. For example, the Law of Sacrifice. The doctrine is still the same, but the practice is now different, we no longer kill animals.

In conclusion, studies have shown that Mormons were no more "racist" than any other population of America, some were racist, some where ethno-centrist, but most were neither, and certainly were not anything close to those in the South for comparison.

The Church itself also given the actual facts of the priesthood ban, was not "racist", but simply did what God said to do, and the Church could not do otherwise until He said otherwise. Had it been up to Mormons, the ban would have been lifted long before. But, God's Will is not man's Will in the LDS Church. We are led by God, not man.

It is true that some statements by LDS leaders were racist by our standards, some were ethno-centrist by our standards, and other statements are misconstrued and misused by critics, thus not actually racism, but something else is being stated. It is also true that some leaders made false assumptions in trying to "explain" the ban. However, none of these things were "doctrine" of the Church, and for that matter, were not believed by most of the Church, because after all, we have the scriptures and spirit ourselves. As a part of the checks and balances in the Church, the Church still remained intact and not led astray.

In conclusion, does the Church need and have any reason to apologize? Absolutely not....

It did nothing wrong. It cannot be blamed for the "ignorance" of anti-Mormons and the less informed mormon or non-mormon that is ignorant of the actual practice and policy's of the ban, and scriptural history, who usually just ignorantly take the anti-mormon viewpoint of the issue at face value. AFter all, it seems racist at first look, so the Church must have been wrong. Hence the so-called claim and need people have to want the Church to apologize.

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Some of my "working" thoughts on the ban, in response to others....

------

Why should the Church "apologize" for something it didn't do?

That's why the Church shouldn't apologize, because it didn't do anything wrong. It simply followed the will of God. You are looking at the Church through eyes of modern social convention and ignorance of scripture in relation to racism and inequality, instead of what the Church actually did and was.

Let me explain why.....

1. The ban only applied to those of "African" lineage, not blacks.

That's racist by definition. You're not doing the church any favors with this excuse. Better to clear the air and apologize than to make poor excuses.

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BookofMormonLuvr:

Peter received a revelation from God. He was perfectly willing to follow the practice of millenniums to restrict the the Gospel to Jews.

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BookofMormonLuvr:

Peter received a revelation from God. He was perfectly willing to follow the practice of millenniums to restrict the the Gospel to Jews.

Gentiles could always convert to Judaism. I don't think it was a matter of restriction, but proselyting.

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Was Jesus refusing to teach the Gentiles or even send his servants to them during his living ministry racist? He explicitely compared the Samaritan woman to a dog, too.

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Semlogo:

At the time Jews were exclusive of who could hear the Gospel as they understood it, and had for millenia. There was a difference of opinions within the Twelve. Those that wanted those early Christians to become Jews first, and those that did not. Peter was among those that wanted new converts to become Jews first. As the lead Apostle it was his call. It finally took a revelation from God to Peter to settle the issue.

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Was Jesus refusing to teach the Gentiles or even send his servants to them during his living ministry racist? He explicitely compared the Samaritan woman to a dog, too.

It was certainly religionist. I don't think there is much of a case that the differentiation was based on ethnicity, since Samaritans were the essentially same ethnicity as the Jews, and the Jews had intermarried with various other groups in the region.

Jesus was also VERY pro-Samaritan - even though the Samaritans were really the enemies of the Jews.

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The topic description says it all. Was the priesthood ban the result of bigotry or was it really an inspired policy? Where did the ban come from?

IMO I think the worst case scenario is that they were trying to follow the scriptures (such as Moses 7 and Abraham 1) and some such thing, however imperfect, was necessary in the eyes of God. I think it's likely to be somewhat more than that but it's not going to be any less than that. LDS doctrine in this case certainly does not meet the definition of 'racist' since there is no indication in the doctrine of inferiority based on skin color.

I have to agree with the notion that BY was not racist, a caveat perhaps being for his time.

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IMO I think the worst case scenario is that they were trying to follow the scriptures (such as Moses 7 and Abraham 1) and some such thing, however imperfect, was necessary in the eyes of God. I think it's likely to be somewhat more than that but it's not going to be any less than that. LDS doctrine in this case certainly does not meet the definition of 'racist' since there is no indication in the doctrine of inferiority based on skin color.

I have to agree with the notion that BY was not racist, a caveat perhaps being for his time.

I think B.Y. was typical for his time, but he was somewhat racist, even for then. Joseph Smith is a better example - somewhat racist by today's standards, but not racist at all by 19th century standard. Very progressive, even.

In any case, I don't think B.Y. meant any harm.

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LDS doctrine in this case certainly does not meet the definition of 'racist' since there is no indication in the doctrine of inferiority based on skin color.

The word race comes from a word meaning 'root'. It has nothing to do with skin color, and has everything to do with lineage. Skin color is often an indicator of lineage.

If you feel a certain lineage is superior, or better than another, or requires different levels of rights than another by nature of their lineage, that is, by definition, racism. Plenty of white Jews were killed in history by white Racists.

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I find this whole thread absolutely fascinating.

I'm probably older than most of you here. I remember exactly what I was taught as a child about the Priesthood ban. As I grew and matured, what I was taught by my parents, my Sunday school teachers, my Seminary teachers, Bishops, Stake Presidents, on up, made less and less sense to me. Notions of blacks being "less valiant in the pre-existence", being "fence-sitters in the war in heaven",

I'm sure some people were talking about "fence-sitters in the war in heaven" somewhere; every President of the Church from Brigham on down denied it, so they were presumably responding to something.

I also am probably older than most here. I, too, remember exactly what I was taught as a child about the Priesthood ban. I was taught that there were no "fence-sitters." I was also taught the usual explanations, with the caveat that none of them were revealed and therefore should not be accepted as official doctrine.

And I was also taught that the ban would be removed someday.

Which it was, partway through the second year of my mission.

Regards,

Pahoran

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I'm sure some people were talking about "fence-sitters in the war in heaven" somewhere; every President of the Church from Brigham on down denied it, so they were presumably responding to something.

I also am probably older than most here. I, too, remember exactly what I was taught as a child about the Priesthood ban. I was taught that there were no "fence-sitters." I was also taught the usual explanations, with the caveat that none of them were revealed and therefore should not be accepted as official doctrine.

And I was also taught that the ban would be removed someday.

Which it was, partway through the second year of my mission.

I was taught the same, though I heard people speculate in Elder's Quorum meetings about the alleged fence-sitters.

I was 3 years back from my mission when the ban removal, long promised and prayed for, occurred. There was jubilation in the streets.

And speculation by nuts that a whole lot of people would leave the Church . . . droves of people even.

Never happened.

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I'm sure some people were talking about "fence-sitters in the war in heaven" somewhere; every President of the Church from Brigham on down denied it, so they were presumably responding to something.

I also am probably older than most here. I, too, remember exactly what I was taught as a child about the Priesthood ban. I was taught that there were no "fence-sitters." I was also taught the usual explanations, with the caveat that none of them were revealed and therefore should not be accepted as official doctrine.

And I was also taught that the ban would be removed someday.

Which it was, partway through the second year of my mission.

Regards,

Pahoran

I admit I had some erroneous conceptions laid on me by my parents. They were really good folk who were repeating what they had heard. I never heard it from the pulpit. I'm afraid that I was further influenced by Bruce R. McKonkie before he became further enlightened. I have been further enlightened since also.

Glenn

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I admit I had some erroneous conceptions laid on me by my parents. They were really good folk who were repeating what they had heard. I never heard it from the pulpit. I'm afraid that I was further influenced by Bruce R. McKonkie before he became further enlightened. I have been further enlightened since also.

Glenn

Incidentally, on the subject of "unenlightened" Bruce R: when President Kimball was studying the Priesthood ban out in his mind, in the period leading up to the 1978 revelation, he asked Elder McConkie for his view on the doctrinal standing of the ban. Elder McConkie went away and looked at the documentary evidence, then came back and reported that the ban did not originate with Joseph Smith, and it was not based upon any revelation.

Regards,

Pahoran

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Incidentally, on the subject of "unenlightened" Bruce R: when President Kimball was studying the Priesthood ban out in his mind, in the period leading up to the 1978 revelation, he asked Elder McConkie for his view on the doctrinal standing of the ban. Elder McConkie went away and looked at the documentary evidence, then came back and reported that the ban did not originate with Joseph Smith, and it was not based upon any revelation.

Regards,

Pahoran

That's exceedingly interesting. "Did not originate with Joseph Smith"?

CFR?

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That's exceedingly interesting. "Did not originate with Joseph Smith"?

CFR?

Most historians don't believe it originated with Joseph Smith. If it did, then why did they continue ordaining blacks after Joseph Smith? Just one example, William McCary was ordained in 1846.

Here is something from the history timeline at blacklds.org http://www.blacklds.org/history

1879: Abraham Smoot and Zebedee Coltrin Claim Joseph Smith Instituted the Priesthood Ban

Smoot, who owned two slaves, and Coltrin claim that Joseph Smith instituted the ban in the 1830s and dropped Abel from the priesthood. (L. John Nuttal diary, May 31, 1879, p. 170, Special Collections, BYU). Coltrin is working from an old memory and makes several factual errors. Joseph F. Smith provides the two certificates indicating Abel

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Here is another bit of information from the history timeline. http://www.blacklds.org/history

1895: Joseph F. Smith Claims Abel was Ordained Under Direction of Joseph Smith

The Quorum of the Twelve discuss the black issue again. Joseph F. Smith is a strong advocate that Joseph meant for blacks to received the priesthood. In contrast, George Q. Cannon asserts that Joseph Smith instituted the ban, but says it is second-hand information he heard from John Taylor.

---------------

One more interesting fact is that the whole Book of Abraham scripture argument started with B. H. Roberts in 1885, long after the ban was put in place.

Then in 1900 we get this:

1900: President Lorenzo Snow Expresses Doubts On the Issue.

On August 18, 1900, President Lorenzo Snow states that he isn

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Most historians don't believe it originated with Joseph Smith. If it did, then why did they continue ordaining blacks after Joseph Smith? Just one example, William McCary was ordained in 1846.

Thank you Scott. I was referring to the story that Elder McConkie had told President Kimball that it didn't originate with Joseph Smith.

Regardless of what "most historians" do or don't believe, we should never underestimate the creativity of Church leaders and apologists. It was, after all, Joseph Fielding Smith who told someone that there were two Elijah Abels in the early days of the Church, one white and one black, and that we were confusing the white priesthood-holding one with the black non-priesthood holding one.

So I just want to make sure.

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Thank you Scott. I was referring to the story that Elder McConkie had told President Kimball that it didn't originate with Joseph Smith.

Regardless of what "most historians" do or don't believe, we should never underestimate the creativity of Church leaders and apologists. It was, after all, Joseph Fielding Smith who told someone that there were two Elijah Abels in the early days of the Church, one white and one black, and that we were confusing the white priesthood-holding one with the black non-priesthood holding one.

So I just want to make sure.

I have no reference on the McConkie quote. We will have to wait for that. :P

I agree Cinpro, there was much confusion and speculation at all levels of the church on this issue. The one that I get puzzled over is Joseph F. Smith who fought so hard for this issue, and then took the opposite position in his old age. So should we quote the young Joseph F. Smith, or the older Joseph F. Smith?

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Here is another bit of information from the history timeline. http://www.blacklds.org/history

1895: Joseph F. Smith Claims Abel was Ordained Under Direction of Joseph Smith

The Quorum of the Twelve discuss the black issue again. Joseph F. Smith is a strong advocate that Joseph meant for blacks to received the priesthood. In contrast, George Q. Cannon asserts that Joseph Smith instituted the ban, but says it is second-hand information he heard from John Taylor.

---------------

One more interesting fact is that the whole Book of Abraham scripture argument started with B. H. Roberts in 1885, long after the ban was put in place.

Then in 1900 we get this:

1900: President Lorenzo Snow Expresses Doubts On the Issue.

On August 18, 1900, President Lorenzo Snow states that he isn

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The records are unclear about the origins of the Priesthood ban, this is not surprising given the amount of chaos in the early years of the Church.

Indeed, and the advice/policy about not conferring priesthood upon slaves (who might then, conceivably, preside over their masters who had a lesser degree of priesthood), though baptizing them with owner permission is telling, in my view. First issue is that JSJr is being meticulous to respect property rights then extant: people who don't own themselves don't have the freedom to make choices. It is a similar policy as that present one requiring parental okeydokey to teach/baptize minors. Second issue is speculation on my part and I'll not go into it at this point.

Thank Heaven, however, that the ban is now almost 33 years gone. How many posters were even alive when it was terminated?

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