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cinepro

Was the Priesthood Ban a "Good Idea"?

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One of the things that appeals to me most about the Church is the abundance of "good ideas". Meaning, almost every doctrine or policy that I can think of has, at its core, some degree of goodness, apart from any belief in the theological origin of the idea. By "goodness", I mean sensibleness or logic, or obvious benefit to Church members apart from just being obedient.

For example, I think the doctrine of the Sabbath is a good idea. The Law of Chastity is a good idea. I think Temple Work is a good idea. The Word of Wisdom is a good idea.

I would even admit that in the time and place in which it originated and was practiced, polygamy had elements of being a good idea (primarily for its ability to increase the number of children born to faithful Church members).

I think missionary work is an incredibly good idea, both for the general benefits to the men who serve the missions and for the growth it adds to the Church.

As I thought about it yesterday, I just couldn't convince myself that the Priesthood Ban (wherein black people of presumed African descent were denied the priesthood and Temple blessings from the mid 1800's to 1978) was a "good idea".

I've heard the theoretical explanations for it, but I'm curious if anyone actually looks at it and thinks "Yes, that was a good idea"?

On the flipside, I think ending the priesthood ban was a tremendously good idea (on many different levels).

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For some of us, it will never be a good idea. But that's what you get when you start out with a group of 19th century Caucasians in America: racist roots.

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One of the things that appeals to me most about the Church is the abundance of "good ideas". Meaning, almost every doctrine or policy that I can think of has, at its core, some degree of goodness, apart from any belief in the theological origin of the idea. By "goodness", I mean sensibleness or logic, or obvious benefit to Church members apart from just being obedient.

For example, I think the doctrine of the Sabbath is a good idea. The Law of Chastity is a good idea. I think Temple Work is a good idea. The Word of Wisdom is a good idea.

I would even admit that in the time and place in which it originated and was practiced, polygamy had elements of being a good idea (primarily for its ability to increase the number of children born to faithful Church members).

I think missionary work is an incredibly good idea, both for the general benefits to the men who serve the missions and for the growth it adds to the Church.

As I thought about it yesterday, I just couldn't convince myself that the Priesthood Ban (wherein black people of presumed African descent were denied the priesthood and Temple blessings from the mid 1800's to 1978) was a "good idea".

I've heard the theoretical explanations for it, but I'm curious if anyone actually looks at it and thinks "Yes, that was a good idea"?

On the flipside, I think ending the priesthood ban was a tremendously good idea (on many different levels).

I think in context of the times it was a good idea, the Church was already greatly persecuted and the last thing it needed was another reason to attack the Mormons.

At the time of the institution of the ban the US was in a very unstable position regarding black people, there had even been wars over a state being a free state or a slave state (Kansas). So I feel that at a time of such dogged persecution of the Church and such determined attacks to destroy the Church the worst thing it could do is give it's assailants further reason to continue to seek it's destruction.

Remember that even the anti-slavery Northerners were not pro civil rights, the North was at that time in a de facto state of segregation and arguable still is segregated. Look at the inner city schools and neighborhoods they are predominately minorities.

So the last thing that the Church needed was such problems and further excuses from the detractors to incite the public against the saints, I believe the Lord understood this and allowed the ban to help preserve the Church.

This is my understanding of the matter and how I reconcile it, and it it my personal opinion on the matter.

I feel that God would rather allow a temporary ban on the priesthood (like he has used in past) than to allow his Church to be destroyed when he has so much work to be done.

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For some of us, it will never be a good idea. But that's what you get when you start out with a group of 19th century Caucasians in America: racist roots.

So only white men can be racist?

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So only white men can be racist?

Apparently, that is what some people think, especially is some segments of today's society.

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So only white men can be racist?

No, but racism is only effective among members of a more powerful race.

So in white-European dominated USA, the answer is still essentially "yes," and it was even more true circa 1830.

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No, but racism is only effective among members of a more powerful race.

So in white-European dominated USA, the answer is still essentially "yes," and it was even more true circa 1830.

Racism has nothing to at all, with more powerful races!

In fact this statement is so racist in and of itself that I had to point out it's hypocritical nature.

Racism is simply about pride and arrogance, it has nothing to do with race, when you live, or anything besides such sickening pride of outward appearances that you are a bigot.

The ignoramuses that talk about racist old white guys, are themselves bigger bigots and racists than those they accuse of racism, IMO.

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Nah, it probably wasn't a good idea for us.

But whatever God wanted, that's all that matters really. Because it may have helped people in certain ways; we do not know the effects of it all.

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One of the things that appeals to me most about the Church is the abundance of "good ideas". Meaning, almost every doctrine or policy that I can think of has, at its core, some degree of goodness, apart from any belief in the theological origin of the idea. By "goodness", I mean sensibleness or logic, or obvious benefit to Church members apart from just being obedient.

For example, I think the doctrine of the Sabbath is a good idea. The Law of Chastity is a good idea. I think Temple Work is a good idea. The Word of Wisdom is a good idea.

I would even admit that in the time and place in which it originated and was practiced, polygamy had elements of being a good idea (primarily for its ability to increase the number of children born to faithful Church members).

I think missionary work is an incredibly good idea, both for the general benefits to the men who serve the missions and for the growth it adds to the Church.

As I thought about it yesterday, I just couldn't convince myself that the Priesthood Ban (wherein black people of presumed African descent were denied the priesthood and Temple blessings from the mid 1800's to 1978) was a "good idea".

I've heard the theoretical explanations for it, but I'm curious if anyone actually looks at it and thinks "Yes, that was a good idea"?

On the flipside, I think ending the priesthood ban was a tremendously good idea (on many different levels).

No, I don't think it was a good idea.

There are some positives from it, but on balance, it would have been better if it had been otherwise.

Here in New Zealand it is well known that the highest concentration of university graduates and otherwise successful Maori is found in the Church. I can't help wondering if much the same phenomenon might have been observed among black Americans had there never been a Priesthood ban.

Regards,

Pahoran

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There was a time in which I thought it was a bad idea, such a bad idea that I even left the Church primarily because of it.

But, when I came to learn more, returned to the Faith, and learned even more and more of history in and out of the Church, I absolutely now believe it was not only a good idea, but an absolute "necessity". It has been interesting to me how the "ties" of history and truth become more and more clear and thus seen due to having requisite Faith.

There are many things I could say and have said about it, but in relation to the OP, I've realized that if everything about the Church was so wonderful and "easy" to understand and embrace at first glance, would the Church really have some of the best and brightest and be really the same, i.e. if we had pretty much an "easy" theology like most other religions do?

I don't know, just a thought.

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racism is only effective among members of a more powerful race

I'm going to share a couple of stories.

Kindergarten-aged me lived in a mostly white & old Californian [hispanic] enclave in Northern California 1955-60. An approximately equal number of black folks lived in the rest of the town. At a time when anti-white propagandizing was being exported from Berkeley [even then] into our and adjacent towns, black on white outrages started becoming more and more frequent, such that it was no longer safe for any white person to venture out alone. The schools were not exempt.

Story 1: Mixed race track team from smaller school visits the HS in my town. Groups of 5-10 black guys would descend on individual athletes from the smaller school and rough them up pretty good. Several guys were badly hurt, but not seriously injured, by the time the coach of the smaller school, a former paratrooper and Intermountain Golden Gloves champion, discovered what was going on. He gathered his troops together, armed them with track cleats (back in the days of cinder tracks, cleats were 3/4" long) and javelins, backed them onto the bus as the mob, now about 100 strong, threatened. He got all the kids on the bus, entered himself, after which the bus was rushed by the mob, which started rocking it, trying to knock it over to get at the track kids, the coach, and the driver with murderous intent.

Story 2: Smaller high school feels the effects shortly thereafter, where the black girls put razors in their shoes to enable them to slice the legs and feet of the white girls. White girls learn not to go anywhere alone. Black girls start bringing baseball bats and braining the white guys who were escorting the white girls. Riot ensues. In a "come together" meeting a few days later, black parents take the microphone, with the penultimate speaker, summing up those who went before, said: "There aren't enough of us yet, but when there are, we're gonna getcha, and don't you never forget it!" Those who attended, including the same coach, remember it to this day. They believed it then and believe it now.

Story 3: I've got more. Do you want I should go on?

Don't you dare make such an ignorant and dangerously stupid statement to those who may have suffered unspeakable atrocities at the hands of racially-motivated "less powerful" members of "less powerful" groups. Every single race riot of which I'm aware has resulted in the racially-motivated theft, robbery, rapine, assault, and murder of "more powerful" people by "less powerful" ones. When the guy with the baseball bat, .38 special, or knife is threatening you, you[/]b are the "less powerful" one. When you buy into race-hucksterism as you do in your post, you do serious damage to those innocents.

Every person motivated by race hatred is capable of great mischief regardless whether he is a member of a "protected class." To claim otherwise is abuse.

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Whether it was a good idea or a bad one depends, at least partially, one whose idea it was.

I am of the camp the firmly believes it was not of mortal origin, i.e., God mandated it. From this vantage point, it was quintessentially a good idea.

I used to spend a lot of time trying to figure out why God would implement such a plan. I no longer bother: it is just not worth the time and (fruitless) effort involved. When we get to the other side of the veil, we'll probably know. Nothing we have here gives us any powerful indication of what happened, much less why.

What is odd to me is that it was only a small subset of mankind excluded from holding the Priesthood. Why African Blacks? Why not Orientals, as well, or why not everyone who was not Israelite, or not English, or European? Why just one class? Joseph was not racist, especially as measured for his time. Brigham Young was no more than Joseph, nor were John Taylor and Wilford Woodruff. I can't identify a single President of the Church who was, and it is another point that they all agreed on two things that pertain: African Blacks would be able to hold the Priesthood at some point, and they were also eligible to go to the Celestial Kingdom. True racists would not make those concessions.

Further, it seems odd that it was not for a decade or more after the book of Abraham with its "justification" for the ban that it was initiated in earnest. If it had been the reason for the book of Abraham, as I have read on other forums, why would Joseph not have begun the ban as soon as he could? Why would others be responsible for its commencement?

The whole "it was evil early Mormon racists what done it" meme just doesn't quite make the sense those who advance it want us to believe.

Lehi

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Here in New Zealand it is well known that the highest concentration of university graduates and otherwise successful Maori is found in the Church. I can't help wondering if much the same phenomenon might have been observed among black Americans had there never been a Priesthood ban.

That's an interesting observation. I don't know much about Maori, but aboriginal people here in Canada are underprivileged, and I wonder if the Church would elevate them the same way it has the Maori.

But, and I only am going by observation, don't many black Americans get post-secondary educations? I thought rates were going up?

H.

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If I were to base my opinion only on what I thought was the best and the most rational

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If I were to base my opinion only on what I thought was the best and the most rational

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It sure seems like a bad idea from our point of view. It caused and still causes so much controversy and confusion. Its not one of the more glamorous aspects of our history, That's for sure.

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One of the things that appeals to me most about the Church is the abundance of "good ideas". Meaning, almost every doctrine or policy that I can think of has, at its core, some degree of goodness, apart from any belief in the theological origin of the idea. By "goodness", I mean sensibleness or logic, or obvious benefit to Church members apart from just being obedient.

For example, I think the doctrine of the Sabbath is a good idea. The Law of Chastity is a good idea. I think Temple Work is a good idea. The Word of Wisdom is a good idea.

I would even admit that in the time and place in which it originated and was practiced, polygamy had elements of being a good idea (primarily for its ability to increase the number of children born to faithful Church members).

I think missionary work is an incredibly good idea, both for the general benefits to the men who serve the missions and for the growth it adds to the Church.

As I thought about it yesterday, I just couldn't convince myself that the Priesthood Ban (wherein black people of presumed African descent were denied the priesthood and Temple blessings from the mid 1800's to 1978) was a "good idea".

I've heard the theoretical explanations for it, but I'm curious if anyone actually looks at it and thinks "Yes, that was a good idea"?

On the flipside, I think ending the priesthood ban was a tremendously good idea (on many different levels).

Was God right to reserve the Aaronic priesthood exclusively for the tribe of Levi, and deny the other tribes that privilege?

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On balance it was not a "good idea" it was a trial. To me the question is was it a trial for the Blacks or for the Whites?

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The term "good idea" is based upon an idea, or theory from man. Some ideas are good, some aren't. There is an argument there as to whether an idea meets criteria of being good or bad and sometimes we don't know until much later. However a revelation from God is NOT an idea, they are commandments given for our greater good.

The debate might more seriously be, was the ban a revelation from God or an idea from man? And then if it is the latter, then we can ask whether the idea is good or bad.

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For some of us, it will never be a good idea. But that's what you get when you start out with a group of 19th century Caucasians in America: racist roots.

Gee, and all along I thought it was from God. Racist God I guess too.

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The term "good idea" is based upon an idea, or theory from man. Some ideas are good, some aren't. There is an argument there as to whether an idea meets criteria of being good or bad and sometimes we don't know until much later. However a revelation from God is NOT an idea, they are commandments given for our greater good.

The debate might more seriously be, was the ban a revelation from God or an idea from man? And then if it is the latter, then we can ask whether the idea is good or bad.

That's my point. I can't think of another example of something claiming to be a revelation that also isn't a good idea at some obvious level.

Other than the suggestion that the non-black members of the Church benefited from the ban in some way, does anyone have any other theories about how the ban might have been good?

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cinepro:

Was not eating pork a "Good Idea"? Shellfish? Those were claimed to come from God. How about male circumcision? It too was claimed to come from God. The invading of a foreign land killing all the inhabitants, and stealing their wealth?

The list of things that are "Good Ideas" purported to have come from God are long and varied.

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That's my point. I can't think of another example of something claiming to be a revelation that also isn't a good idea at some obvious level.

how about the food laws given to moses? One day all sorts of yummy things are impure and unclean, the next day those same things are clean.

---------

as for the priesthood ban, there is no reason to suggest that allowing Blacks full faith and fellowship would have caused more troubles for the early Church. Can things get much worse than tar and feathering? run out of ones home time and time again? having effectively a "shot on sight" order against you?

--------

krose, utter none-sense about who can and can not be racist.

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cinepro:

Was not eating pork a "Good Idea"? Shellfish? Those were claimed to come from God. How about male circumcision? It too was claimed to come from God. The invading of a foreign land killing all the inhabitants, and stealing their wealth?

The list of things that are "Good Ideas" purported to have come from God are long and varied.

I think the dietary restrictions in the Law of Moses were probably a good idea at the time. Certainly invading a land, killing the inhabitants and keeping their stuff has obvious benefits. Male circumcision was a way to visibly (and until recently, permanently) differentiate one group of men from another.

For who those people were and what they were trying to accomplish, each of those practices seem to align with their goals and principles.

Can the same be said for the Priesthood ban?

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cinepro:

Pigs were kept during OT Times. I think a good case could be made while the children of Israel wandered in desert not to keep them. Humans and pigs are both omnivores, with an advantage going to pigs because they can digest grass where we can't. That would be a distinct disadvantage for a wondering desert people with limited resources. But that disadvantage would disappear once they settled down. The advantage would shift to humans as pigs are a great resource in converting waste foods into valuable meat. There is no rational explanation why why could not have enjoyed a bacon cheese burgher.

Shellfish would have been a great resource especially for people living along the Mediterranean Sea.

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