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Was the Priesthood Ban a "Good Idea"?

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quote name='Jeff K.' timestamp='1300766330' post='1208988181'

Paul

You need to stop being intellectually dishonest . . . .

That's a serious charge you make against me. You will be well-advised to back it up with specifics.

: You are rapidly losing all credibility in front of the facts as they stand.

Do facts have judgmental ability? They do? Then please survey the facts and do me the favor of reporting their findings.

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: Lincoln did not allow the freedom of slaves in the North or border states.

That doesn't change the fact that his executive order resulted in freedom for 3.1 million of the nation's 4 million blacks. Moreover, it was a starting point for the complete elimination of slavery
.

Your editing lacks a certain level of integrity since it changes context.

He is saying actions speak louder than words. Venom is in the eye of the beholder. Lincoln did not allow the freedom of slaves in the North or border states. Utah's laws were that if an owner attempted to kill or sleep with a slave, that slave was free. Lincoln was nowhere near such a declaration. Do you get it yet?

The facts indeed change. Lincoln freed no slaves under his control, only those under control of a foriegn power. Actions speak louder than words and forever will.

That's a serious charge you make against me. You will be well-advised to back it up with specifics.

My point is made in this post.

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quote name='Jeff K.' timestamp='1300807049' post='1208988256'

: Your editing lacks a certain level of integrity since it changes context.

". . .a certain level," eh? And what level is that? (Not only am I intellectually dishonest, but now my editing lacks integrity. Jeff really knows how to hurt a guy.)

: The facts indeed change. Lincoln freed no slaves under his control, only those under control of a foriegn power.

If what you say is true (I haven't researched it), you seem to think it would have been fine for Lincoln to have used his executive power illegally.

L Actions speak louder than words and forever will.

Yes, and by golly--

An apple a day keeps the doctor away. . .a stitch in time saves nine. . .a penny saved is a penny earned. . .life is just a bowl of cherries. . .necessity is the mother of invention. . .it will all come out in the wash, etc. Do you have any original thoughts?

My point is made in this post.

It is? Where?

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Thank you for re-emphasizing the point I made with your follow up post.

Integrity is sometimes a difficult thing. Intellectual honesty equally so. It is hard when an idea you have in attacking the church ends up with no solid foundation in context. Does one really want to be left obfuscating instead of facing the truth of the matter?

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Moreover, [Lincoln's executive order] was a starting point for the complete elimination of slavery.

The "starting point for the complete elimination of slavery [in USmerica]" was the clause in the Constitution for the united States of America that specifically empowered Congress to forbid the future importation of slaves.

The Migration or Importation of such Persons as any of the States now existing shall think proper to admit, shall not be prohibited by the Congress prior to the Year one thousand eight hundred and eight, but a tax or duty may be imposed on such Importation, not exceeding ten dollars for each Person.

Lincoln's executive order was wholly ineffectual. It targeted only those states that were in rebellion, and unlikely to observe its stipulations. It was the blood of countless USmericans, spilt on the battlefields from Fort Sumter and Bull Run to Gettysburg, to Appomattox and Palmito Ranch.

Lehi

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As I see it, the big moral issue of the day was the morality of slavery.

Young proclaimed that slavery was a divine institution.

In the modern political climate Brigham's ideas about "slavery" should be termed "stewardship". Brigham Young believed that slaves should be treated with decency and that; "For their abuse of [the Black African] race, the whites will be cursed, unless they repent." (Journal of Discourses, Vol.10, p.110)

Brigham Young was not a hateful man. He did not want to be a slave owner, he said that if Utah were admitted into the union Utah would be a free state. Brigham Young said he would rather pay a man a fair wage and let him take care of himself than be a "steward" and provide for all of the needs of a slave.

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Uh-huh. That's right. Lincoln "expressed the same thing, more or less"; that is, he used nice language to deny the priesthood to black people.

And thus you give yourself away. You introduced the standard "racist Brigham" prooftexts -- which had nothing whatsoever to do with the Priesthood -- and insisted that they showed him to be less enlightened than his contemporaries. Indeed, with great swelling indignation, you declared:

he didn't meet even the rudimentary requirements of his day for civil speech and humane discourse.

Which, again, has nothing to do with the Priesthood. I point out that one of your standard prooftexts, lifted directly from what laughingly describes itself as "Mormonthink," actually related to Native Americans, who were at no time banned from receiving the Priesthood.

Since then it has been shown that many or most of Brigham's contemporaries held racial views no more "politically correct" by today's standards than Brigham's were. And so now, suddenly, and only after you've been proven hopelessly, comprehensively wrong, you want to pretend that all along you were talking about nothing but denial of the Priesthood.

Your adroit footwork here provides evidence for the validity of Jeff's observation in post #123.

If you now want to confine yourself to talking about the Priesthood ban, then please do so. You may either admit that you were wrong to introduce the "racist Brigham" prooftexts to the thread, and wrong to try to argue from them that Brigham was in any regard more racist than his contemporaries, or you can try to ignore that issue, in which case we shall simply take that admission as read.

But please don't try to pretend that that was all you were talking about all along, because everyone who can read knows that to be false.

Okay?

Regards,

Pahoran

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In the modern political climate Brigham's ideas about "slavery" should be termed "stewardship". Brigham Young believed that slaves should be treated with decency and that; "For their abuse of [the Black African] race, the whites will be cursed, unless they repent." (Journal of Discourses, Vol.10, p.110)

That makes perfect sense. If slavery was a divine institution, and blacks were born to provide such service, then slaves who were a divine gift should not be mistreated or abused.

Brigham Young was not a hateful man.

Didn't say he was. I simple pointed out that he stated it was the official position of the LDS Church that slavery was a divine institution, and was not to be abolished.

He did not want to be a slave owner, he said that if Utah were admitted into the union Utah would be a free state.

Do you have a source on your later assertion? My understanding was that this issue was not in his hands, as it was resolved by the Missouri Compromise. Moreover, it would seem to contradict the position of the LDS Church at the time Slavery ought not be abolished.

Brigham Young said he would rather pay a man a fair wage and let him take care of himself than be a "steward" and provide for all of the needs of a slave.

Slave owners had to provide medical care, and to care for the slaves as they aged. Employers did not.

Pointing out that simple economic fact, doesn't earn him any brownie points.

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Compare the language of BY and Lincoln. BY's words are harsh and his tone is mean-spirited. In contrast, Lincoln's words are measured and civil, and his tone is that of a statesman. Any fair-minded person will readily perceive that.

There is a natural disgust in the minds of nearly all white people to the idea of indiscriminate amalgamation of the white and black races
Unfortunately sugarcoated bigotry, while more 'genteel' and civil, is more 'digestible' and acceptable as well...as is apparently demonstrated by how you perceive Lincoln's position to be first that of a "statesman" here instead of that of a bigot.

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If what you say is true (I haven't researched it), you seem to think it would have been fine for Lincoln to have used his executive power illegally.

On New Year's Day, 1863, Lincoln issued the final Emancipation Proclamation.76 Contrary to what its title suggests, however, the presidential edict did not immediately free a single slave. It "freed" only slaves who were under Confederate control, and explicitly exempted slaves in Union-controlled territories, including federal-occupied areas of the Confederacy, West Virginia, and the four slave-holding states that remained in the Union.

The Proclamation, Secretary Seward wryly commented, emancipated slaves where it could not reach them, and left them in bondage where it could have set them free. Moreover, because it was issued as a war measure, the Proclamation's long-term validity was uncertain. Apparently any future President could simply revoke it. "The popular picture of Lincoln using a stroke of the pen to lift the shackles from the limbs of four million slaves is ludicrously false," historian Allan Nevins has noted.77

http://www.ihr.org/jhr/v13/v13n5p-4_Morgan.html

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More on Lincoln's general POV from the link:

on August 14, 1862, Lincoln met with five free black ministers, the first time a delegation of their race was invited to the White House on a matter of public policy. The President made no effort to engage in conversation with the visitors, who were bluntly informed that they had been invited to listen. Lincoln did not mince words, but candidly told the group:61

You and we are different races. We have between us a broader difference than exists between almost any other two races. Whether it is right or wrong I need not discuss, but this physical difference is a great disadvantage to us both, as I think your race suffers very greatly, many of them, by living among us, while ours suffers from your presence. In a word, we suffer on each side. If this is admitted, it affords a reason at least why we should be separated.

... Even when you cease to be slaves, you are yet far removed from being placed on an equality with the white race ... The aspiration of men is to enjoy equality with the best when free, but on this broad continent, not a single man of your race is made the equal of a single man of ours. Go where you are treated the best, and the ban is still upon you.

... We look to our condition, owing to the existence of the two races on this continent. I need not recount to you the effects upon white men growing out of the institution of slavery. I believe in its general evil effects on the white race.

See our present condition -- the country engaged in war! -- our white men cutting one another's throats, none knowing how far it will extend; and then consider what we know to be the truth. But for your race among us there could not be war, although many men engaged on either side do not care for you one way or the other. Nevertheless, I repeat, without the institution of slavery, and the colored race as a basis, the war would not have an existence.

It is better for us both, therefore, to be separated.

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As to whether the Priesthood ban was a good idea, I believe it was not, it was a bad and malevolent. Whatever the scriptural justifications for the doctrine and practice, it was unquestionably racist and helped to perpetuate a "polite" form of racism in the Church against Blacks which persists to this day, although by lessening degrees as the older generations who lived during the ban adjust or die off, just as society as a whole has gradually been losing its racist attitudes since the civil rights movement of the 60's.

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Do you have a source on your later assertion? My understanding was that this issue was not in his hands, as it was resolved by the Missouri Compromise. Moreover, it would seem to contradict the position of the LDS Church at the time Slavery ought not be abolished.

In an interview with Horace Greeley July 13, 1859

H.G.

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As to whether the Priesthood ban was a good idea, I believe it was not, it was a bad and malevolent. Whatever the scriptural justifications for the doctrine and practice, it was unquestionably racist

And if it was the will of God? This position labels God as a racist, a stance I'd prefer to leave to others.

Lehi

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. . . Does one really want to be left obfuscating instead of facing the truth of the matter?

So what is your answer, Jeff?

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And if it was the will of God? This position labels God as a racist, a stance I'd prefer to leave to others.

Lehi

It is reasonable to assume that a policy as monumental as the ban would come in the form of a recorded revelation,* but we have none. What we have is the following (and there is much to indicate that BY held, at a minimum, racist views):

"A recent study has argued convincingly that antislavery sentiment in frontier territories was in part reflective of racial prejudice, and was designed to exclude Negroes from the region. Brigham Young interpreted Utah's anomalous proslavery legislation as accomplishing the same end. In a message commending the legislature late in 1852, he observed, 'The law of the last session so far proves a salutary measure, as it has nearly freed the territory of the colored population; also enabling the people to control all who see proper to remain, and cast their lot among us." (Lester E. Bush, Jr., and Amand L. Mauss, Neither White nor Black, Signature Books, 1984)

*Recall that it took a revelation to lift the ban.

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. . . It is hard when an idea you have in attacking the church ends up with no solid foundation in context.

Let's see, many faithful, life-long Latter-day Saints believe--and with good reason--that Southern Utah Saints were directly involved in the MMM, and in the cover-up that followed. It would seem then, if I "read" you correctly, Saints who hold that view and dare to express it would be "attacking the church."

Perhaps you would like to clarify your position on such matters.

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quote name='LeSellers' timestamp='1300812533' post='1208988302'

: The "starting point for the complete elimination of slavery [in USmerica]" was the clause in the Constitution for the united States of America that specifically empowered Congress to forbid the future importation of slaves.

I suppose you could call that clause a "starting point." Note, however, that it stipulates "the future importation of slaves." Nothing is said about slavery then in operation. Perhaps what you meant to cite was the Thirteenth Amendment to the U. S. Constitution. It consists of two sections: 1) "Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction." 2) "Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation." Do you know who led the drive to get the amendment passed by the House of Representatives? Abraham Lincoln.

: Lincoln's executive order was wholly ineffectual.

You can't be serious (yet something makes me afraid that you are). For your enlightenment--

"Despite criticism that the Emancipation Proclamation did not free slaves controlled by the Union, President Lincoln understood the impact his act would have. He later discussed the proclamation with artist Francis Carpenter: '. . .it is the central act of my administration and the great event of the 19th Century.' Two years later, Lincoln extended the proclamation's impact by pushing passage of the 13th Amendment abolishing slavery. . . . His actions led black writer and activist W.E.B. DuBois to call President Lincoln 'the noblest friend of the slave' and 'perhaps the greatest figure of the 19th Century.' Writing 60 years after the EP, DuBois said of the Great Emancipater: 'I love him not because he was perfect but because he was not--and yet triumphed'" (mrlincolnandfreedom.org, "Emancipation Proclamation").

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It is reasonable to assume that a policy as monumental as the ban would come in the form of a recorded revelation,* but we have none.

It may be "reasonable", but it is not a necessity. For instance, the Restoration of the Melchizedek Priesthood was pivotal in the Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, but it was not recorded. We don't have the record of the revelation of baptism for the dead, and there is no record of the revelation(s) regarding the other Temple ordinances. We don't have the record of the revelation that changed the reorganization of the First Presidency from several years to a few hours.

The record of a revelation is not mandatory for the revelation to be valid.

Lehi

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And if it was the will of God? This position labels God as a racist, a stance I'd prefer to leave to others.

If God indeed endorsed racism, then God is a racist. If it was not a policy of God, but of man, then there is no problem.

A scriptural argument could be made that Noah was racist since the ban began with him cursing Cainan, the interracial child of Ham and Egyptus, and his progeny because Ham "saw Noah's nakedness." If a racist policy begins with a prophet, why could it not be ended by one? Of course that only works if one is LDS as there isn't any evidence of a banning of the priesthood from the seed of Cain in non-LDS scriptures, religious texts, or commentaries.

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And thus you give yourself away. You introduced the standard "racist Brigham" prooftexts -- which had nothing whatsoever to do with the Priesthood . . .

Ah, but they had everything to do with the priesthood (your well-entrenched habit of misrepresenting my statements and posting half-truths is all-too predictable).

Here is just one of BY's many statements establishing the rationale for denying the priesthood to blacks: ". . .the Lord put a mark upon him [Cain], which is the flat nose and black skin. . . . How long is that race to endure the dreadful curse that is upon them? That curse will remain upon them, and they never can hold the Priesthood or share in it until all the other descendants of Adam have received the promises and enjoyed the blessings of the Priesthood and the keys thereof" (Journal of Discourses 7: 290-291, Oct. 9, 1859).

: -- and insisted that they showed him to be less enlightened than his contemporaries. Indeed, with great swelling indignation, you declared:

Which, again, has nothing to do with the Priesthood. I point out that one of your standard prooftexts, lifted directly from what laughingly describes itself as "Mormonthink," actually related to Native Americans, who were at no time banned from receiving the Priesthood.

I suspect the reason you omit my quotations is to facilitate misrepresenting them in your responses. That aside, MormonThink has an extensive section (eight single-spaced pages) entitled "Blacks and the Priesthood." No mention is made of Native Americans (yet another misrepresentation). You are, of course, free to discredit MT. Tellingly, however, you are unable to challenge the accuracy of the quotations it presents, ranging from BY to John Taylor to Wilford Woodruff, to Joseph Fielding Smith to Mark E. Petersen to George F. Richards to William Phelps to The Juvenile Instructor. Puts you in a tough spot, doesn't it. Sorry about that.

: Since then it has been shown that many or most of Brigham's contemporaries held racial views no more "politically correct" by today's standards than Brigham's were. And so now, suddenly, and only after you've been proven hopelessly, comprehensively wrong, you want to pretend that all along you were talking about nothing but denial of the Priesthood.

Have you ever taken a reading comprehension course?

: If you now want to confine yourself to talking about the Priesthood ban, then please do so.

Tsk, tsk, such swelling, righteous indignation. Inasmuch as BY initiated the Priesthood ban, my references to him and his statements could not be more relevant. Nice try, though.

: You may either admit that you were wrong to introduce the "racist Brigham" prooftexts to the thread, and wrong to try to argue from them that Brigham was in any regard more racist than his contemporaries. . .

As I have stated before, I have never said BY was more racist than his contemporaries (at least I can't find such a statement in my posts). What I have said is that as a prophet of God, BY should have had the inspiration--not to mention the decency--to rise above the crowd. Your position establishes him as just another "plain folks" guy.

: or you can try to ignore that issue, in which case we shall simply take that admission as read.

Oh gosh, golly gee; woe is me. Has anyone ever told you that you're "big" on control?

: But please don't try to pretend that that was all you were talking about all along, because everyone who can read knows that to be false.

". . .everyone who can read knows. . . .": Taken a survey have you? No? Read the minds of all who have contributed to this thread? No? Received hundreds of private messages supporting your accusation? No? Well, heck, I suppose only God knows the truth.

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Sigh the answer was given. You are either incapable of understanding it or simply obfuscating once again.

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Thank you for re-emphasizing the point I made with your follow up post.

Integrity is sometimes a difficult thing. Intellectual honesty equally so. It is hard when an idea you have in attacking the church ends up with no solid foundation in context. Does one really want to be left obfuscating instead of facing the truth of the matter?

Let's see, many faithful, life-long Latter-day Saints believe--and with good reason--that Southern Utah Saints were directly involved in the MMM, and in the cover-up that followed. It would seem then, if I "read" you correctly, Saints who hold that view and dare to express it would be "attacking the church."

Perhaps you would like to clarify your position on such matters.

Bringing in anonymous sources and saying they are faithful and using that to bolster your position. Yeeeeaah, riiiiight. That is a scholarly approach.

Since no real proof seems avialable other than a belief, it would appear to me that for you belief is as sufficient or more so than facts. Amazing.

It appears you can't "read" very well.

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Let's see, many faithful, life-long Latter-day Saints believe--and with good reason--that Southern Utah Saints were directly involved in the MMM, and in the cover-up that followed. It would seem then, if I "read" you correctly, Saints who hold that view and dare to express it would be "attacking the church."

Perhaps you would like to clarify your position on such matters.

A dizzying leap from "Brigham as Racist" to MMM, neither being particularly relevant to the OP.

Resolutely played, pp.

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Ah, but they had everything to do with the priesthood (your well-entrenched habit of misrepresenting my statements and posting half-truths is all-too predictable).

Here is just one of BY's many statements establishing the rationale for denying the priesthood to blacks: ". . .the Lord put a mark upon him [Cain], which is the flat nose and black skin. . . . How long is that race to endure the dreadful curse that is upon them? That curse will remain upon them, and they never can hold the Priesthood or share in it until all the other descendants of Adam have received the promises and enjoyed the blessings of the Priesthood and the keys thereof" (Journal of Discourses 7: 290-291, Oct. 9, 1859).

Yes, that has some relationship to it. It appears to be the first one that does, unless I've missed something.

I suspect the reason you omit my quotations is to facilitate misrepresenting them in your responses. That aside, MormonThink has an extensive section (eight single-spaced pages) entitled "Blacks and the Priesthood." No mention is made of Native Americans (yet another misrepresentation).

You accuse falsely, as you habitually do. For your convenience, I reproduce the second item from your first handful of note-cards:

"You may inquire of the intelligent of the world whether they can tell why the aborigines of this country are dark, loathsome, ignorant, and sunken into the depths of degradation [emphasis fixed]. (Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, 7:336)

Who are the "aborigines of this country," Paul?

You are, of course, free to discredit MT. Tellingly, however, you are unable to challenge the accuracy of the quotations it presents, ranging from BY to John Taylor to Wilford Woodruff, to Joseph Fielding Smith to Mark E. Petersen to George F. Richards to William Phelps to The Juvenile Instructor. Puts you in a tough spot, doesn't it. Sorry about that.

It doesn't really; but I accept your apology, being sure that it is as deeply sincere as everything else you've posted. The fact remains, however, that quote mining is a disreputable game, and only disreputable scoundrels play it. That's because an "accurate" quote may entirely misrepresent something, simply by virtue of being stripped of its context.

As I have stated before, I have never said BY was more racist than his contemporaries (at least I can't find such a statement in my posts). What I have said is that as a prophet of God, BY should have had the inspiration--not to mention the decency--to rise above the crowd. Your position establishes him as just another "plain folks" guy.

Permit me to refresh your memory.

Not only did he not meet today's political correctness requirements, he didn't meet even the rudimentary requirements of his day for civil speech and humane discourse. Can you imagine that President James Buchanan (or any responsible American leader) would say anything even remotely as racist as Brigham Young's deplorable "some members of the human family that are black, uncouth, uncomely. . .low in their habits." etc?

Emphasis per me. You don't mind me changing the emphasis to highlight what you are missing, do you?

So, according to you, no "responsible American leader" did or "would say anything even remotely as racist as Brigham Young's" little snippets that constitute your favourite quotes. Please explain why that doesn't mean he was more racist than his contemporaries? Personally I can't wait; this has got to be good.

In the meantime, I would advise you against trying to pretend that I have misrepresented your statements. Not only do you and I both know that your accusation is false, but I've just proven that it is.

Regards,

Pahoran

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