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Anakin7

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I pointed out the flaws in the practice of using quotes without understanding context.

This is common knowledge. What you haven't done is demonstrate how any of the "poor historians" have been guilty of this.

I think I was quite clear how that is a method that reflects a rather paltry understanding of history or the discipline of study required for history.

Whose method?

Those who carry out such a flawed practice are either unfamiliar with the study of history (they tend to cut and paste their way towards a predrawn conclusion) or they know better but choose to do it anyway (which makes them disengenuous or dishonest in their approach).

"Those", meaning.... who?

So far you haven't negated what I have said, so I assume that you must agree that such practices should be stopped.

I wasn't trying to negate it. I was trying to salvage some sense of relevance. How do you think your comments are relevenat unless you're trying to suggest someone here is engaging in such intellectual dishonesty?

So far, you seem to be attempting to create doctrine where none exists.

I don't create doctrine, the Church does. Doctrine by definition is teachings provided by the Church. I'm not really interested in the relatively recent apologetic tactic of dismissing doctrine simply because it wasn't declared "official" by a unanimous vote or what not.

I suggest that your use of peoples opinions and your proclamation that somehow an opinion held by people makes it doctrine, reflects a certain lack of structural integrity in studying the history of the church

Wrong. When Spencer Kimball stands up in conference and addresses millions of members, what he is teaching constitutes doctrine, by definition.

You may need to go back to square one and try again, perhaps by understanding the context and content, as well as what doctrine really is, and more to the point, show something a bit more thoughtful and three dimensional, your could create a solid base reflecting a better understanding of history?

My understanding of history is fine. I appear to be the only one in this thread who knows that the doctrine and "official doctrine" distiniction is one that escaped most Mormons and even the LDS leadership, as early as a few decades ago. But it quickly became a popular methods used by the apologists to dismiss a century of embarrassing commentary from former leaders. Like most corporations, the Church sought to avoid accountability for certain teachings, so they insisted they'll only be held accountable for "official doctrine." And as we know, there is very little doctrine that is "official," and for good reason.

When you do that, you should have the ability to create a very good dialogue on the subject. So far it just appears that your information is somewhat limited in both scope and understanding.

Then you should be able to demonstrate this.

Good luck on your endeavors when you speak with a historian on the issue.

I don't need a historian to define the word "doctrine" for me. But you're going to need one if you hope to find the distinction between doctrine and "official" doctrine outlined somewhere in 180 years of Church literature. Before the 1980's that is...

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So far, you seem to be attempting to create doctrine where none exists. I suggest that your use of peoples opinions and your proclamation that somehow an opinion held by people makes it doctrine, reflects a certain lack of structural integrity in studying the history of the church. You may need to go back to square one and try again, perhaps by understanding the context and content, as well as what doctrine really is, and more to the point, show something a bit more thoughtful and three dimensional, your could create a solid base reflecting a better understanding of history? When you do that, you should have the ability to create a very good dialogue on the subject. So far it just appears that your information is somewhat limited in both scope and understanding.

Good luck on your endeavors when you speak with a historian on the issue.

Nice. To add something to the stew, the personal opinions reflecting the mainstream thinking among most Church leaders of the 19th century up through at least the presidency of David O' McKay, was not that blacks had been "rebellious" in the preexistence, but that they had been less "valiant" in their commitment to truth and respecting the plan of salvation as articulated by Jesus Christ. It really doesn't matter how authoritative the "tone" of such teachings were when the fact, both in retrospect and given the keys or salient principles by which true or correct doctrine can be discerned, remains that these teachings were never official doctrine, as they never underwent the process of acceptance as such as established in the Church.

That these theological, but non-binding, explanations for the "ban" were ultimately wrongheaded is not to be argued. That among some GAs they represented and/or were compatible with preexisting cultural biases I will not and have never argued (so was the case with Peter, for a time). The sense of holier-than-thou righteous "gotcha" indignation that is the constant companion of anti-Mormon criticism of the "ban," however, is indicative of an adversarial, prosecutorial spirit that clearly does not seek to understand this aspect of Church history in a balanced or fair light (let alone scholarly), but seeks simply to bash the object of its hostility by crying "racism!" (a plea that has so little meaning or force left that one might dare say the fielding of such a moral browbeating is an indication of a lack of intellectual marrow as much as of any assumed moral outrage) and then waiting behind the bushes with a slingshot until an apologist pops his head up and attempts a substantive debate.

Its all a very old game.

The Book of Mormon is crystal clear that the Lord does use morphological characteristics as symbolic of social/cultural/spiritual attributes, and the Book of Abraham is likewise clear that lineage (the concept of race is nowhere to be found in any of these scriptures, which isn't surprising, as it is a fundamentally modern idea) can be central to specific blessings/limitations in mortality or under certain conditions. While black skin is associated with those lineages that could not obtain the Priesthood anciently (cursed as to priesthood, but blessed as to wisdom), it is interesting that it is never given as a sign or symbol of that restriction. It was Pharaoh's lineage that was critical, not his "race" (whatever that means).

Yes, certain GAs overstepped what the revelations implied and made clear with their own theories as to the details of the "why" of the ban (McConkie, etc.), but we need not, and should not, given the mantel they worthily held, curse and spit at them for containing strong doses of the culture and times in which they lived and were socialized. Those here and in other forums who routinely impugn and jeer at apostles of prior decades, eras, and centuries, should remember that they are themselves in thrall to numerous bigotries, superstitions, and false ideas that are current in their generation and time (the present popular form of intellectually justified institutional and philosophical racism - multiculturalism - being just one of many examples that could be provided of ideologies that future generations will look back upon with a sense of righteous indignation) just as they were, and should approach criticism of past Brethren with the humility required of such a recognition.

Edited by Loran Blood

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Doctrine by definition is teachings provided by the Church.

Which you have conveniently conflated with doctrines provided by individual Church leaders, re your agenda.

I'm not really interested in the relatively recent apologetic tactic of dismissing doctrine simply because it wasn't declared "official" by a unanimous vote or what not.

Its not recent, nor is it an apologetic tactic. "Official" doctrine has clear and well established perimeters based in priesthood governance outside of which it need not be understood as binding upon the Church. This is all old territory, so not reason to go around the sugar bowl yet again.

Wrong. When Spencer Kimball stands up in conference and addresses millions of members, what he is teaching constitutes doctrine, by definition.

But then, there is still interpretation, and that's the rub. Correct interpretation in many cases requires the Spirit as teacher and facilitator, something that can be quite lacking in particular individuals.

And as we know, there is very little doctrine that is "official," and for good reason.

This seems to be a hybrid of both begging the question and argument from authority (Kevin's own). Quite a feat for just one short sentence.

I don't need a historian to define the word "doctrine" for me. But you're going to need one if you hope to find the distinction between doctrine and "official" doctrine outlined somewhere in 180 years of Church literature. Before the 1980's that is...

As if you've ever really studied that question at any length, of had gone through the vast quantities of primary sources necessary to make such a statement. And would you actually recognize it if you saw it?

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No, others have done a much better job than I ever will.

The "prevalent" use of the term "darkie" by white people in reference to blacks was racist to the core. Brigham's use of the term wholly demonstrated that he too was a racist. Most everyone was back then. What's embarrassing is any attempt by you, and others, to deny this fact by arguing "they weren't racists because everyone called them darkies back then!" That one's almost as silly as "We really don't know why blacks were banned from the priesthood."

Btw, please turn on your spell-check will ya? Now that's embarrassing! :)

Respectfully,

Balzer

They were all racists back then. Excuse me, but your presentism is showing.

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"You see some classes of the human family that are black, uncouth, uncomely, disagreeable, sad, low in their habits, wild, and seemingly without the blessings of the intelligence that is generally bestowed upon mankind. The first man that committed the odious crime of killing one of his brethren will be cursed the longest of any one of the children of Adam. Cain slew his brother. Cain might have been killed, and that would have put termination to that line of human beings. This was not to be and the Lord put a mark on him, which is the flat nose and black skin. Trace mankind down to after the flood, and then other curse is pronounced upon the same race - that they would be the "servant of servants;" and they will be, until that curse is removed; and the Abolitionists cannot help it, nor in the least alter that decree." - Brigham Young

"I will say then that I am not, nor ever have been in favor of bringing about in anyway the social and political equality of the white and black races - that I am not nor ever have been in favor of making voters or jurors of negroes, nor of qualifying them to hold office, nor to intermarry with white people; and I will say in addition to this that there is a physical difference between the white and black races which I believe will forever forbid the two races living together on terms of social and political equality. And inasmuch as they cannot so live, while they do remain together there must be the position of superior and inferior, and I as much as any other man am in favor of having the superior position assigned to the white race. I say upon this occasion I do not perceive that because the white man is to have the superior position the negro should be denied everything."

-Fourth Debate with Stephen A. Douglas at Charleston, Illinois, September 18, 1858 (The Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln edited by Roy P. Basler, Volume III, pp. 145-146.)

Let's tear down the Lincoln Memorial. It memorializes a racist hypocrite.

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Pointing out more egregious offenses, or claiming "but everyone did it back then" hardly justifies expressions of racism.

Oh, please! You are using the standards of today and applying them to 170 years ago. Give me a break. Racism of today was certainly not racism of 2000 years ago ( you know, where slavery was just fine with OT and NT people) or 500 years or 50 years ago. Standards are fluid and have been since man began his sojourn on earth.

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No, others have done a much better job than I ever will.

The "prevalent" use of the term "darkie" by white people in reference to blacks was racist to the core. Brigham's use of the term wholly demonstrated that he too was a racist. Most everyone was back then. What's embarrassing is any attempt by you, and others, to deny this fact by arguing "they weren't racists because everyone called them darkies back then!" That one's almost as silly as "We really don't know why blacks were banned from the priesthood."

Btw, please turn on your spell-check will ya? Now that's embarrassing! :)

Respectfully,

Balzer

Balzer, don't be so self-righteous. No where in my post did I attempt to portray BY as a non-racist. What I ridiculed and continue to do so, is the complaint X said Y. If your question is, "Was Brigham Young a racist?" I would respond, yes. HOWEVER, I would never use as evidence that he was a racist because you used the term "darkie" in his speech. Using this type of standard it would be interesting to dissect your speech and make generalizations about you or anyone else.

If you wish tcriticizeze the LDS position on blacks and the priesthood, then do so, but at least use reason rather than appeal to base sensationalism to attract the ignorant and uneducated.

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Which you have conveniently conflated with doctrines provided by individual Church leaders, re your agenda.

No conflation is required since this is already one and the same. You cannot create distinctions where none exist, for the "convenient" purpose of avoiding embarrasing commentary and liberating the Church of all accountability. The fact is when an LDS authority stands up in conference, what he teaches represents "teachings" of the Church. If not, then what pray tell does? If the Church, or any organization, doesn't want to be held accountable for such teachings, then it has no business providing a pulpit in an official setting where the teachings are sanctioned and made "in the name of Jesus Christ" (the Church's name!) and the audience is asked to sustain the speaker. They don't call General Conference an "opinion" conference. It is one of only two annual opportunities members get to hear teachings straight from the Church's highest leaders, including the Prophet and apostles. What's the point in this if it is all just a mish-mash of biased opinions that can be overturned at any future point in time?

When I was on my mission, we were told repeatedly that we were official representatives of the Church. Therefore, what the missionaries taught, constituted Church teaching by definition. You don't get to pick and choose what teachings you're comfortable with. If the Church provides the venue by which such teachings can be delivered to the masses, then it is both responsible and accountable for what is taught. This is why in certain circumstances, the Church has felt the need to come forward and repudiate some of the things that were taught in the past by some members. This implies that those things which were not repudiated or stirred controversy, are considered acceptable doctrine by the Church.

Its not recent, nor is it an apologetic tactic. "Official" doctrine has clear and well established perimeters based in priesthood governance outside of which it need not be understood as binding upon the Church. This is all old territory, so not reason to go around the sugar bowl yet again.

It is a clear tactic that I have proved over and over again. You have never been able to reconcile the fact that the Church knew of nothing about "official" doctrine before the 1980's. It might be old territory, but it is territory that no one has been able to address effectively. All you're doing is what you usually do, and that is to attack me while trying to hand wave the issue away.

But then, there is still interpretation, and that's the rub. Correct interpretation in many cases requires the Spirit as teacher and facilitator, something that can be quite lacking in particular individuals.

There was no room for interpretation when Kimball states explicitly that white and delightsome refers to skin tone. No room whatsoever to interpret his statement as metaphor. You can try to dig up the context and prove me wrong, but that would require doing something beyond argument via assertion.

This seems to be a hybrid of both begging the question and argument from authority (Kevin's own). Quite a feat for just one short sentence.

Actually it is the conclusion derived by several highly educated and respected LDS scholars, including Blake Ostler and Kevin Barney. But by all means, if you feel there is a lot of "official doctrine" out there, then please provide just a short list.

Edited by Xander

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Jeff, you're not going to be able to excuse Brigham Young's remarks by blaming "poor historians" (have any names?) for pointing out what he said. There is nothing intellectually dishonest about doing so. That is what historians do. No one is "applying them to modern times." That's a ridiculous straw man. LDS leaders have traditionally taught that the black race is black because it is cursed because their Father, Cain, was cursed. They weren't born into this out of bad luck, it is because these individuals were rebellious in the preexistence. So they earned their plight. Brigham Young ridiculed the physique of the negro, and the Church has taught that we should all become white and delightsome. Spencer Kimball taught that Native Americans who were associating with the Church saw their skin tone change multiple shades. Yes, this is a uniquely LDS doctrine and by all accounts, it is racist, Stop blaming "poor historians" for pointing out what you never got out of sacrament meetings.

Xander, your post is an example of the three monkies that cover their ears, close their eyes, and close their mouth for fear of seeing reality. I am reminded of my niece at a doctor's appointment that became extremely anxious over the need to get a shot. All she could do was say, "I won't be calm, I won't be calm" while progressively getting louder. Nothing would console her until she got her shot. The attempt to use the standards of one period of history to condemn another is poor methodology and is the sign of being a poor historian.

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Xander, your post is an example of the three monkies that cover their ears, close their eyes, and close their mouth for fear of seeing reality. I am reminded of my niece at a doctor's appointment that became extremely anxious over the need to get a shot. All she could do was say, "I won't be calm, I won't be calm" while progressively getting louder. Nothing would console her until she got her shot. The attempt to use the standards of one period of history to condemn another is poor methodology and is the sign of being a poor historian.

Your personal attack is well noted, but the fact is racism exists in all period of history whether you like it or not. As an example, you don't get to call something murder today but say a killing in 1830 doesn't count as murder, simply because it was a long time ago and you revere the person who did the killing.

So no, I am not covering my ears. I hear what you say, but I reject your false characterization of me and what I am saying. I also reject your poor standards for what constitutes legitimate history. There is absolutely nothing wrong with quoting early LDS leaders. The Church does it all the time. But funny how the inspirational stuff they say doesn't get swept under the rug of irrelevancy due to changes in "historical periods" or whatever in the world you're trying to argue. No, the Church and its apologists glady recite these things as if they were said just yesterday. But if you want to use statements and actions to shape a credible, respectable and honorable image of certain individuals, then you have to deal with the statements and actions that run contrary to that perception as well. Otherwise you're not a true historian at all, just an apologist.

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Oh, please! You are using the standards of today and applying them to 170 years ago. Give me a break. Racism of today was certainly not racism of 2000 years ago ( you know, where slavery was just fine with OT and NT people) or 500 years or 50 years ago. Standards are fluid and have been since man began his sojourn on earth.

I find the charge of presentism in this context puzzling-- perhaps because I'm not sold on moral relativism.

Edited to add:

I'm not sure why my ethical judgments should be constrained by the preferred methodology of some historians. While I certainly see value in trying to understand historical figures in light of the accepted values of their day, I don't see why that should be the only way to understand and evaluate them-- especially if I'm asked to respect some of their ideas as having some inspired status that is relevant to me today.

Edited by TNBu

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Oh, please! You are using the standards of today and applying them to 170 years ago. Give me a break. Racism of today was certainly not racism of 2000 years ago ( you know, where slavery was just fine with OT and NT people) or 500 years or 50 years ago. Standards are fluid and have been since man began his sojourn on earth.

"Presentism" is a popular apologetic cop out and some folks try to invoke this whenever they can, but it doesn't apply here. According to the logic employed above, racism never existed at all before the Civil Rights movement. Racism, according to Storm, is just a modern novelty that didn't apply at all 170 years ago. Or maybe he can tell us what would constitute racism in Joseph Smith's day? After all, if slave owning didn't constitute racism, then what did? If calling blacks inferior didn't constitute racism, then what could? His reasoning is convoluted to say the least. Racism is determined by attitudes not time lines. Racism is quite simply the belief that one race is inferior to another, and that was precisely the sentiments expressed by the earliest Mormon leaders. They were cursed to be servants in this life and in the next. They were to be punished by being denied equal blessings. Even worse, their physical appearance was considered ugly, as it represented the "mark" of their curse. They were to suffer for the crimes of their Father (the evil Cain) as well as their lack of "valiance" in the preexistence. That's racist by any definition of the term, no matter what period of time you're thinking of.

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"Presentism" is a popular apologetic cop out and some folks try to invoke this whenever they can, but it doesn't apply here. According to the logic employed above, racism never existed at all before the Civil Rights movement. Racism, according to Storm, is just a modern novelty that didn't apply at all 170 years ago. Or maybe he can tell us what would constitute racism in Joseph Smith's day? After all, if slave owning didn't constitute racism, then what did? If calling blacks inferior didn't constitute racism, then what could? His reasoning is convoluted to say the least. Racism is determined by attitudes not time lines. Racism is quite simply the belief that one race is inferior to another, and that was precisely the sentiments expressed by the earliest Mormon leaders. They were cursed to be servants in this life and in the next. They were to be punished by being denied equal blessings. Even worse, their physical appearance was considered ugly, as it represented the "mark" of their curse. They were to suffer for the crimes of their Father (the evil Cain) as well as their lack of "valiance" in the preexistence. That's racist by any definition of the term, no matter what period of time you're thinking of.

My, where there is a committment to be obtuse, it comes in all spades (that relates to a card game so please don't seek to turn my turn of phrase in to an appeal to racism). Your comment is a good example of how silliness parades as intellectual and moral superiority. Ask yourself, racism compared to who? Keep thinking....that's right, it will come. Compared to the social mores of when? Keep at it; that's it, of TODAY. It is a complete farce to say that Jesus was a racist because he spoke of slavery without condemning it. Why did Joseph ordain some blacks to the priesthood? Even just one is enough; why? There is a hope to have at least a degree of neutrality and your position is completely void of any objectivity. You are making hasty generalizations where there was a range of ideas and concepts.

Let's just agree to disagree. Your position can only exist in the mind of psuedo-elitist. The reality of good historical commentary to to judge an individuals by the norms that existed in their period of life. Pray to God that you are never at the mercy of those who live 100 yearss from now.

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This topic has been closed by a moderator.

Reason: Multiple complaints of personal jabs and it's only 2 pages. If someone wants to start the topic in Social hall to just discuss the value of the site they can but let's not devolve into a racial discussion.

Kind regards,

Mormon Dialogue & Discussion Board Staff

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