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cinepro

Was the Priesthood Ban a "Good Idea"?

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Is any of this false? Do African blacks have "skin ... quite black"?

Actually they are colored in varying shades of brown. There isn't a single "black" person in existence, nor a "white" person for that matter. Both of these are misnomers we have inherited from previous generations, some of whom meant them as racist and/or privileging signifiers. Does that mean that all usage of these terms infer racism? No. Have these terms been widely accepted by both races? Yes. But that does not make them accurate. Just colloquial.

It's broader than that.

As far as "chronocentrism" is concerned, you have the unfair advantage of being the only participant with a definition of the word. I have access to the online OED, which is not only the most complete dictionary in the world, but also updated regularly. The word is apparently too new to have garnered their attention. Please describe where you first encountered it for the benefit of the thread.

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Actually they are colored in varying shades of brown. There isn't a single "black" person in existence, nor a "white" person for that matter. Both of these are misnomers we have inherited from previous generations, some of whom meant them as racist and/or privileging signifiers. Does that mean that all usage of these terms infer racism? No. Have these terms been widely accepted by both races? Yes. But that does not make them accurate. Just colloquial.

Then using the term should not be considered racist. After all, is not black beautiful?

As far as "chronocentrism" is concerned, you have the unfair advantage of being the only participant with a definition of the word. I have access to the online OED, which is not only the most complete dictionary in the world, but also updated regularly. The word is apparently too new to have garnered their attention. Please describe where you first encountered it for the benefit of the thread.

The best words are those native speakers can understand even without having heard them before.

I believe it was on the old alt.religion.mormon and soc.religion.mormon boards; it could have been as many as a dozen years ago

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Then using the term should not be considered racist.

Well, you didn't ask if it was racist. You asked if the term was false. It is false.

The best words are those native speakers can understand even without having heard them before.

Heh.. I agree with that.

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The point is that some of us think that it was not God's idea to ban blacks from holding the priesthood.

He banned everyone other than the Levites from the priesthood for a while. He withheld the Gospel from the Gentiles for a time. What exactly about the Priesthood ban to you gives you reason to think that He wasn't the one behind it as well?

Seriously, I think there are too many people who can't see the Eternal perspective here. A Temperary Priesthood ban is meaningless in the Eternal plan of our Father. The Lord promised that everyone who is worthy would have the blessings of the Priesthood. That some might not have them fully until much later than others doesn't mean the Lord doesn't keep His promises or that He is somehow unfair. Especially when it's His Priesthood.

The Lord directs His Church. I don't see how something this important wouldn't be addressed by Him.

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I would like to think that the Lord keeps the Bretheren on a shorter leash than that.

Some lack the faith to believe that unfortunately. They don't like it when the Lord requires things that are unpopular culturally. I can understand that completely. I don't blame them one bit. But though I have alot to learn, I know God does things that seem strange or even wrong to men for very wise purposes. Unfortunately, we need alot of humility and faith before we can even begin to understand them.

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Well, you didn't ask if it was racist. You asked if the term was false. It is false.

That is true, but misleading, since the contention was that the usage of the phrase was racist. If it was not (as you implied, if not stated outright) racist, then the underlying question is in error.

Further, as you said, it is understood by nearly everyone that "black" in relationship to skin color does not mean "black" as in a box of crayons. It's impossible to count the number of times I have heard people, speaking of their own skin, say, "I am black." If we take your position to its logical conclusion, they are liars.

"Black" is frequently a synonym for "dark", and I believe it was so used in the referenced Instructor article, as in all of the cases to which I referred in the previous 'graf.

Lehi

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I love Julie Smith's use of J. Stapley's car metaphor to describe the leading the Church astray principle:

"God will not let the car (Church) be driven into a ditch. He would remove the driver (The Prophet) first. But that doesn't mean that the prophet can

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If we take your position to its logical conclusion, they are liars.

Not necessarily. They could also merely be in error. Hence the proclivities of past generations pass subtle errors into future generations.

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Not necessarily. They could also merely be in error. Hence the proclivities of past generations pass subtle errors into future generations.

Well, they could be blind, but I assume most of them have seen a box of Crayola brand crayons and know the differences between the one labeled "Black" and their skin.

The issue is, a far as I can tell, that "black" does not necessarily mean the same thing in all contexts.

Lehi

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He banned everyone other than the Levites from the priesthood for a while. He withheld the Gospel from the Gentiles for a time. What exactly about the Priesthood ban to you gives you reason to think that He wasn't the one behind it as well?

Largely the fact that there was never a revelation from God banning blacks from the priesthood! Brigham Young decided blacks would no longer receive the priesthood (even though several were ordained under J.S.'s administration) and it became policy, but no doctrine was ever given to justify the decision, and no revelation was ever announced.

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By convention, we underline or italicize the title of a book in any case.

Emphasis does change the meaning of the words though it may not change the words themselves. That's why we use emphasis.

Italicizing, underlining, and boldfacing words does not change their meaning. The words mean what they mean. Such typographical devices can only amplify the meaning of words or assuage their meaning. The latter is typically accomplished by punctuation, as in He was a "good" husband; or by placement of a question mark, as in He was a good [?] husband. Intonation in oral communication functions in the same way. Perhaps you can find me a dictionary in which the definitions of words are listed 1) without any underlining, italicizing, or boldfacing, and 2) with underlining and/or italicizing/boldfacing.

: You ignore completely the fact that Brother Brigham said that all men (including, explicitly, African blacks, were his brothers and sisters ("you are of my bones and of my flesh") and that that he explicitly said they would receive the blessings of the Priesthood when the Lord allowed it. He was in error as to the timing, but that was minor in comparison to the notions, then prevalent, that African blacks were not even human, that they had no souls, could not be saved, etc. A racist would have taken a much harsher position than any of the XIX and XX brethren did.

Unfortunately, BY didn't follow the example of Joseph Smith, Jr., his mentor and hero. Note the following: "Except for a brief lapse in early 1836, Joseph advocated taking the gospel to both 'bond and free,' ignoring the race issue. . . .the house rules for the Kirtland Temple, the Saints' most sacred building, allowed for the presence of 'male or female bond or free black or white.' The same policy was followed in Nauvoo, where 'persons of all languages, and of every tongue, and of every color. . .shall with us worship the Lord of Hosts in his holy temple.' Nothing was done during Joseph's lifetime to withhold priesthood from black members. Joseph knew Elijah Abel, a black man who was ordained a seventy, and is said to have entertained him." (Richard Lyman Bushman, Joseph Smith: Rough Stone Rolling, p.289)

: You have yet to make any argument (at least one that does not use circular reasoning: "it's racist because God would not be racist") that accounts for the possibility that Brother Brigham was doing God's will and that, therefor, his view of African blacks as children of God, although "in the back of the bus", was correct.

I see; hence, Brother Brigham was doing God's will but Joseph Smith was not.

: Why did Brother Brigham see them as his brothers and sisters, but identify them as being servants and slaves, and that due their their state as slaves, they were ignorant, uncouth, etc? Because, aside from the accurate description of their facial features, skin, and hair, everything he said about them came about because they were denied education, culture, and association with others, and he said that was the reason.

Wrong. BY didn't say that was the reason, to wit: "Cain slew his brother. Cain might have been killed, and that would have put a termination to that line of human beings. This was not to be, and the Lord put a mark upon him, which is the flat nose and black skin." (Journal of Discourses 7:290-291, Oct. 9, 1859)

I'm out of time, but I will address the balance of your post in due course.

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This has been one of the great heartaches for me and Church history; a prophet of God acting as a man made Church policy and other prophets allowed it to continue. Worse, it took a revelationi to end it when it did not take a revelation to begin with. It was unjustified and each prophet and apostle will bear responsibility for allowing it. I dare say that there will be serious condemnation for it.

At no time does a Christian back down because of persecution. Fear of persecution is not a worthy excuse for anyone. Thankfully, for bearing this injustice for so long I believe our black brothers and sisters will be even more blessed.

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I have a few questions for this thread.

1. Assuming we are lead by prophets, how do we know the ban was not put into place by revelation? Is it really any worse than asking Abraham, a man who was rescued from literally being under the knife of being sacrificed, to sacrifice his own son? Or asking Nephi to behead Laban?

2. Even if it was BY's own idea, if it was really contrary to the will of the Lord, wouldn't he have said something earlier?

3. Why is civilization assumed to be better than barbarism? Sure, barbarian civilizations have their problems, but are they really any worse than crucifixion or throwing people to the lions for worshiping the wrong god or sending people to gulags?

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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 agree with your list except for polygamy - it didn't increase birthrate. It only had the effect of creating a large group of unmarried LDS men, because the smaller group had taken all the women. I regard both polygamy and the priesthood ban as mistakes.

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I have a few questions for this thread.

1. Assuming we are lead by prophets, how do we know the ban was not put into place by revelation? Is it really any worse than asking Abraham, a man who was rescued from literally being under the knife of being sacrificed, to sacrifice his own son? Or asking Nephi to behead Laban?

2. Even if it was BY's own idea, if it was really contrary to the will of the Lord, wouldn't he have said something earlier?

3. Why is civilization assumed to be better than barbarism? Sure, barbarian civilizations have their problems, but are they really any worse than crucifixion or throwing people to the lions for worshiping the wrong god or sending people to gulags?

1) We know revelation is true by the confirmation of the Holy Spirit. I see no relevance to the personal commandments to Abraham; they affected him and his son personally. The Ban afffected an entire race for decades. In addition, it was never claimed to be revelation; it was the work of man, who just happened to be a prophet and he used his role as a prophet to enforce his personal understanding.

2) What makes you think that the Lord didn't? There were leaders who did not support this practice and there were apostles throughout the history that rejected it and attempted to change it.

3) Civilization maintains the dignity of the individual while not sacrificing the functioning of the community.

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"Yes, that was a good idea"?

It depends on whose idea it was!

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I have a few questions for this thread.

1. Assuming we are lead by prophets, how do we know the ban was not put into place by revelation? Is it really any worse than asking Abraham, a man who was rescued from literally being under the knife of being sacrificed, to sacrifice his own son? Or asking Nephi to behead Laban?

2. Even if it was BY's own idea, if it was really contrary to the will of the Lord, wouldn't he have said something earlier?

3. Why is civilization assumed to be better than barbarism? Sure, barbarian civilizations have their problems, but are they really any worse than crucifixion or throwing people to the lions for worshiping the wrong god or sending people to gulags?

1) We know revelation is true by the confirmation of the Holy Spirit. I see no relevance to the personal commandments to Abraham; they affected him and his son personally. The Ban afffected an entire race for decades. In addition, it was never claimed to be revelation; it was the work of man, who just happened to be a prophet and he used his role as a prophet to enforce his personal understanding.

2) What makes you think that the Lord didn't? There were leaders who did not support this practice and there were apostles throughout the history that rejected it and attempted to change it.

3) Civilization maintains the dignity of the individual while not sacrificing the functioning of the community.

1. Where is the proof one way or the other? It seems we are making assumptions based on our own preferences.

2. Maybe an assumption, but if the Lord specifically told me He wanted things one way, I'd be terrified to teach the opposite.

3. Compare Norse communities which were essentially semi-independent republics with the Roman Empire or Soviet Russia.

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The notion that the morals of one society are better or worse than the morals of another society is dependant upon two essential factors; first, the degree to which the one judging the society agrees with the ideals of the society, and second, how effective the morals of the society are at promoting those ideals.

When judging a society, it is a common, natural tendancy to judge that society by one's own ideals. Ideals are entirely subjective. They are preferences for existence. There is no such thing as "true ideals" or "correct ideals". At best one can simply claim a preference for a particular set of ideals. One might even attribute such ideals to God. Nevertheless, the superiority of one set of ideals is a entirely subjective and a matter of personal preference.

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At no time does a Christian back down because of persecution. Fear of persecution is not a worthy excuse for anyone.

Although I agree that those prophets will answer for upholding this tradition, I wouldn't be surprised if they are shown a considerable measure of mercy regarding it.

We are still talking about great men here. Not perfect, but great. Brigham Young had lots of wild ideas, but he was also a considerable frontiersman who led the early saints to a land of their own and helped them to survive and flourish. None of his failures erase the fact that he took a beaten group of religious exiles and established them in the west, and none of his dogmas erase his Priesthood or his calling. The Lord used him as a tool for righteousness in a precarious time for the church, and anyone who can't see that is obsessively fixated on his failings.

Did he do a perfect job? No. But neither did Joseph Smith. Nor did any of the prophets that followed them. Smith is referred to as a "rough stone", but in truth all of them were rough stones.

These men are great Americans. Like all great Americans, they had their faults. But they also contributed to a great spiritual movement in this country. Even Ezra Taft Benson, who openly preached in General Conference that the civil rights movement was a front for communist infiltration and used the Church to openly promote the John Birch Society, committed perhaps the most inspired prophetic act in the last 25 years when he renewed the church's emphasis on the Book of Mormon. After all the crap he pulled in the '60s and after his body began to seriously fail him, he still did something utterly righteous in reminding us of the implications of Section 84.

I too am ashamed of certain policies and mistakes, but I'm honestly not ashamed of any of our prophets. Even in view their humanity, I revere them. They don't deserve to have their histories whitewashed, and simultaneously they don't deserve any less respect for being imperfect.

Faith is to be placed in principles and Deity, not people.

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Joseph Smith III took a group of scattered, beaten group of religious exiles and brought them hope and great leadership for over 50 years. There are great men in many churches who inspired and led their people in difficult times. That is why we must judge a church's doctrine by the scriptures, not the great men (or women) who have led them.

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It depends on whose idea it was!

If we don't know for sure whose idea it was, can we help in part to determine the idea's origin by judging the value of the idea?

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I tend to think that the priesthood ban equates to the ending of polygamy.

Verily, verily, I say unto you, that when I give a commandment to any of the sons of men to do a work unto my name, and those sons of men go with all their might and with all they have to perform that work, and cease not their adiligence, and their enemies come upon them and bhinder them from performing that work, behold, it behooveth me to crequire that work no more at the hands of those sons of men, but to accept of their offerings.

In both cases, I think the Saints were perfectly willing to make the sacrifice, but the Lord knew that it would be too much of a sacrifice. I don't think the Church would have survived if the Lord hadn't done both.

Were they good ideas? Well, the Church is still here.

Yours under the trusting oaks,

Nathair /|\

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: . . . Is any of this false? Do African blacks have "skin ... quite black"? Is their "hair woolly and black"? Was their "intelligence stunted*"? Was their an African culture that could be described as "arisen from the most savage state of barbarism"?

You are free, Lehi, to question a statement that appeared in an official publication of the Church. Here is another statement from the Juvenile Instructor (vol. 26, p. 635) that you are also free to question: ". . .it is very clear that the mark which was set upon the descendants of Cain was a skin of blackness, and there can be no doubt that this was the mark Cain himself received. . . . " You will, obviously, be justified in questioning this next statement, but it appeared in the same publication: ". . . in fact, it has been noticed in our day that men who have lost the spirit of the Lord, and from whom His blessings have been withdrawn, have turned dark to such an extent as to excite the comments of all who have known them."

: "Stunted" means that, under normal conditions, the thing stunted by some intervention, would have been greater than it actually turned out to be. It is not the nature of the thing that made it smaller, but the intervention

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