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Africans and Mormonism

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I apologize if this has been brought up, but I only have a couple questions and don't have the time to forum search through topics. Please don't take this as an attack, I'd just like to know.

1 ) Cain being darkened by God as punishment for his sin. Does this infer that the reason Africans are indeed dark is because of this, and not effect of the sun?

2 ) I know Joseph Smith has been quoted stating that abolishing slavery would be counter-productive to the curse placed upon them, and that whites at the time shouldn't have to suffer because of it. Was this a reflection of the religion itself? If it is, would you, as LDS Christians, agree with his opinion at the time?

3 ) Why were blacks unable to become ordained prior to 1970? And why were they then allowed to?

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Hi,

You will get a lot of different answers from LDS people. We are not unified in our beliefs regaring the priesthood ban prior to 1978 and the original reasons why the ban existed.

I prefer to obstain from offering my views because I don't want to offend anyone on the board or appear racist.

Have a great day.

Paul O

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1: As far as I know, the scriptures do not back up this point of view

2: Could you please provide the quotes so I can know what I am agreeing/disagreeing to?

3: Isaiah 55:8

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I prefer to obstain from offering my views because I don't want to offend anyone on the board or appear racist.

I think you just said a lot by your silence.

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1 ) Cain being darkened by God as punishment for his sin. Does this infer that the reason Africans are indeed dark is because of this, and not effect of the sun?

There is absolutely no evidence that the mark of Cain was skin color. It did become a handy way to justify slavery by American Christians, however. To understand this you have to go much further into history than the beginnings of Mormonism. (They later tagged Ham with the skin issue since it safely distanced blacks from Adam, the image of God, while Mormons tended to stay with Cain).

2 ) I know Joseph Smith has been quoted stating that abolishing slavery would be counter-productive to the curse placed upon them, and that whites at the time shouldn't have to suffer because of it. Was this a reflection of the religion itself? If it is, would you, as LDS Christians, agree with his opinion at the time?

JS proposed that slaves be bought by the government and sent to Africa (a particular place was popular at the time but I forget the name). The freeing them by government purchase part was, I think, brilliant considering what eventually happened. You have to remember that even those we consider saintly abolitionists never considered blacks as equals. What becomes difficult in sorting out how Mormons handled it was that leaders would blast slave master's brutality on one hand and then say something we would consider racist in today's world. What I find fascinating is that despite the Mormon's adherence to what was considered fact at the time (it was debated whether blacks were a different species) is that Mormons almost without exception maintained the position that everyone, even blacks and Indians were as much the children of God as anyone else and entitled to the same priviledges in the eternities.

3 ) Why were blacks unable to become ordained prior to 1970? And why were they then allowed to?

You will find differing opinions on this. I believe that the ban was a holdover from the early days when anyone but whites were considered to be some sort of subhuman mutation....but you have to be familiar with the history of race theory to understand the prevailing culture at the time Mormonism was established. (It's horrifying what can be considered "science"). You can then see how much Mormons broke away from it and where they did not. However, there is no record of a moment in time when any revelation was declared that the lineage of Cain could not yet receive the priesthood. In fact, the first blacks in the church were ordained. I suspect that it was simply never questioned and one prophet relied on another. When we do have records of it becoming a concern, the ban was lifted. Because we believe that human agency trumps divine coercion, the Mormon idea of prophecy is not one of God appearing with great announcements...we believe that most revelation comes only through inquiry.

As much as critics like to land on Mormons, I'd take our history on this topic as compared to others any day. But it still isn't a rosy picture. If we had not been upfront about the ban while others were just quietly throwing blacks out of their churches or preventing them from entering their seminaries....no one would even notice us.

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As much as critics like to land on Mormons, I'd take our history on this topic as compared to others any day. But it still isn't a rosy picture. If we had not been upfront about the ban while others were just quietly throwing blacks out of their churches or preventing them from entering their seminaries....no one would even notice us.

The above is a classic example of "living in denial". Perhaps Juliann will explain what the lds "2nd Article of Faith" states and why this was not applicable to blacks.

Time for the lds church to just admitt it's error.

Something about "what a tangled web we weave, when at first we practice to ...."

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As to whether I would agree with JS at the time (and I'll bring that forward even more) I have to say that I would. Racism was not even a concept until anti-Semitism came to the public conscience. Again...there is little evidence that even those brave abolitionists ever considered a black person their equal. Given that this was science it is like asking if you would have believed that adults gave off "bad air" during sleeping that could suffocate an infant next to them...likely you would.

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As to whether I would agree with JS at the time (and I'll bring that forward even more) I have to say that I would.

Brings to mind that saying: "Birds of a feather, flock together"

Racism was not even a concept until anti-Semitism came to the public conscience.

Brings to mind that saying: "Ignorance is bliss"

Again...there is little evidence that even those brave abolitionists ever considered a black person their equal.

Ahhh, so that's what Spencer Kimball used to rationalize the concept of Navajo children put into lds homes becoming "whiter" than their brothers and sisters who wereleft of the "nation"

Go Juliann, go!

Given that this was science it is like asking if you would have believed that adults gave off "bad air" during sleeping that could suffocate an infant next to them...likely you would.

As a gentleman, I would prefer to walk by you and smile as oppose to calling into question your release of "bad air" in front of others!

Juliann, I trust these are not the statements you would make in public!!!!!!!!!!!!

Moderator note: I have not seen one civil post from you since releasing you from the queue. :P It is very disappointing but I do hope you enjoyed your free time while you had it.

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I happen to know Juliann's views on this topic quite well, and she isn't one who is "living in denial."

How does one practice deception when one is stating a set of beliefs? The deception I see here is in holding the the LDS church's beliefs as "racist" and then letting the other Christian faiths walk away "Scott Free." (pardon the pun.)

One could easily argue that this is a case of the pot calling the kettle black. (Again--no pun intended) How many slaves were held by Christian ministers? What did the books say about blacks in those days? Who was it that wore the white sheets and the pointy hats? (hint--it wasn't the Mormons. We kept getting chased by that same group.)

The only thing that makes the LDS stand out from some of the other Christian denominations was that we were a little slower than some in changing a practice that went back over a 100 years for us and many hundred years for others. It was 1978 for us. For others it was 1973, and for others it was in the 1960's.

On the positive side, we accepted blacks into our congregations in the 1830s and continued to worship side by side with them (something many other denominations can't say.) We also always claimed that all people were children of God.

Scott

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P.S. Juliann,

You never did explain the conflict between the lds 2nd Article of Faith and the denial of this Article's commitment to the blacks.

"Bad smell again, perhaps"?

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I happen to know Juliann's views on this topic quite well, and she isn't one who is "living in denial."

How does one practice deception when one is stating a set of beliefs? The deception I see here is in holding the the LDS church's beliefs as "racist" and then letting the other Christian faiths walk away "Scott Free." (pardon the pun.)

One could easily argue that this is a case of the pot calling the kettle black. (Again--no pun intended) How many slaves were held by Christian ministers? What did the books say about blacks in those days? Who was it that wore the white sheets and the pointy hats? (hint--it wasn't the Mormons. We kept getting chased by that same group.)

The only thing that makes the LDS stand out from some of the other Christian denominations was that we were a little slower than some in changing a practice that went back over a 100 years for us and many hundred years for others. It was 1978 for us. For others it was 1973, and for others it was in the 1960's.

On the positive side, we accepted blacks into our congregations in the 1830s and continued to worship side by side with them (something many other denominations can't say.) We also always claimed that all people were children of God.

Scott

Scott,

My God, get a grip. We,re talking 1978. How many years is this after the abolition of slavery and the passage of the equal rights. Better yet how many years after Christ promised that His gift and blessings were allowed to all.

Brother, come to the truth. You and Julainn are both living in denial. I would love to hear either of you say any onf this in public!!!!!!!

Ah yes, a public forum.

The great fear of mormonism!

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Well said, Scott.

I think other religions should take a close look at their own history and quit picking on the Mormons. Civil rights in America is a fairly fresh concept.

Paul O

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Joey,

I live in Dallas and am pretty good friends with a black man of 63 years of age. Believe me, blacks had a tough time here in Dallas before civil rights. Cops could hassle them for no reason at all...

The LDS church has always welcomed blacks in their congregations as brothers and sisters in the gospel. That

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Well said, Scott.

I think other religions should take a close look at their own history and quit picking on the Mormons. Civil rights in America is a fairly fresh concept.

Paul O

Come on, let's get a reality check here.

We are talking about christian doctrine here. Not civil unrest or social trends.

What other church, claiming to be of christian tenet, has ever had a doctrine declaring that people of black skin were unworthy in the eyes of God in the last 2000 years.

Well said, Scott.

I think other religions should take a close look at their own history and quit picking on the Mormons. Civil rights in America is a fairly fresh concept.

Again, it's that : "birds of a feather thing here"

Perhaps misery really does love company!!!

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What other church, claiming to be of christian tenet, has ever had a doctrine declaring that people of black skin were unworthy in the eyes of God in the last 2000 years.

Probably the ones that refused to worship under the same roof or allow blacks to drink from the same water fountain or ride in the front of the bus. Oh my, there were many American Christians who were cruel to blacks!

I think you need to check your history, friend.

Paul O

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I apologize if this has been brought up, but I only have a couple questions and don't have the time to forum search through topics. Please don't take this as an attack, I'd just like to know.

1 ) Cain being darkened by God as punishment for his sin. Does this infer that the reason Africans are indeed dark is because of this, and not effect of the sun?

2 ) I know Joseph Smith has been quoted stating that abolishing slavery would be counter-productive to the curse placed upon them, and that whites at the time shouldn't have to suffer because of it. Was this a reflection of the religion itself? If it is, would you, as LDS Christians, agree with his opinion at the time?

3 ) Why were blacks unable to become ordained prior to 1970? And why were they then allowed to?

Answers:

1. The Biblical mark of Cain is not a 1 to 1 relationship with dark skin.

2. I do not know where this question comes from. Politically the Mormons had problems in Missouri because of their liberal stand on allowing blacks freedoms. Joseph Smith said that problems with Blacks in the USA would persist even after they were freed.

3. The blacks were allowed to be ordained long after many LDS thought it should have been done. But just because we think something ought to be does not mean it will happen on our time schedule. I personally believe that many otherwise faithful members needed some preparation. I believe there are still some prejudices among the LDS including myself. When I travel I make an effort to learn of the people where I will visit and learn enough language to get around without a translator. I try to understand all I can but to be honest there are some things (especially food) that is hard for a Utah born and raised Mormon to swallow. I will say that most things have been worth the effort.

The Traveler

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What other church, claiming to be of christian tenet, has ever had a doctrine declaring that people of black skin were unworthy in the eyes of God in the last 2000 years.

Probably the ones that refused to worship under the same roof or allow blacks to drink from the same water fountain or ride in the front of the bus. Oh my, there were many American Christians who were cruel to blacks!

I think you need to check your history, friend.

Paul O

This is a rather interesting response. I would add what religion condemns cults but forgets to mentions the worst cult in USA history? What religion backed and financed the KKK?

There is a bad joke that asked why the South had the KKK and Utah had the Mormons? Answer - The South had first choice.

The Traveler

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Juliann talks as if the attitudes of the LDS Church towards race were more enlightened than thse of other Churches. This is simply not so. By denying blacks the Priesthood unto 1978, Blacks were treated as second-class citizens. It is important to remember that the RLDS Church (Community of Christ), which traces its roots to the same events as the LDS Church, decided virtually from the start that blacks wetre eligible for the priesthood, just like everybody else. So they were way ahead of the LDS Church in treating blacks as equals to whites in the Church. That was a widely recognized distinction between the two Church groups for over a century. It is also worth remembering that even after the LDS lifted the ban on blacks in the priesthood, influential Church members like Bruce McConkie were still speaking in opposition to interracial dating; that kind of racial separatist thinking was far more common among leaders of the LDS Church than others. I reember well when colleges such as Stanford and the University of Washington publicly announced (in the 1970s, befre the ban on blacks in the priesthood was lifted) thjat they were no longer going to let their teams compete against BYU because of theitr objection to what they perceived aqs racism.

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Juliann talks as if the attitudes of the LDS Church towards race were more enlightened than thse of other Churches. 

Please don't put words in my mouth. I said no such thing. I did point out two areas that I think do stand apart from the prevailing culture while I quite clearly said that Mormons did tend to go along with the prevailing culture.

By denying blacks the Priesthood unto 1978, Blacks were treated as second-class citizens.

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So what some of you are saying is that: Yes, blacks have always been equal, and we (Mormons) fought for it the whole way. But you still think that the forced servitude was somewhat justifiable?

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So what some of you are saying is that: Yes, blacks have always been equal, and we (Mormons) fought for it the whole way. But you still think that the forced servitude was somewhat justifiable?

:P No and no.

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Juliann, if wounds are to be healed, then fcts must be faced, not hidden or glossed over. The LDS Church has a problem gaining and keeping black members which many other leading Christian denominations do not have because of what many blacks have perceived to be prejudicial attitudes within the Church. I rwemember, because it occurred in my college years in the early '70s, when protests by blacks against BYU racial policies were fervent (at one game, violent). Inter-racial dating was then forbidden at BYU. When the University of Washington announced it would no longer play games against BYU because of racial discrimination, that was significant. BYU--the most prominen LDS-affililiate college or university--was recognized as being out of the American mainstream, behind the times compared to most colleges, in terms of rcial attitudes. William Berrett, Vice President of BYU and Vice Administrator of the Unified School System of the LDS Church wrot a supplement to John Stewart's "Mormonism and the Negro (1960)"--as hurtful a white supremacist book as ever read justifying the LDS positions on raciak discrimination. Individuals like Berrett were so high u in the LDS world that their views cannot be dismisseed as those of random individuals. They were leaders and educators. Until Church officials acknowledge past sins in attitudes towards blacks that were taught widely within the Church, I don't know how wounds will heal. Very, very few blacks are members of the LDS Church (much less high-up me4mbers). And, Juliann, if you want that situaion to improve, you must ask why so few black people have felt welcome in the Church, and what could be done to make things better.

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So what some of you are saying is that: {snip}  But you still think that the forced servitude was somewhat justifiable?

"[E]ver learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth" (2 Tim. 3:1-7). You need to read better for content.

Slavery was a given in human experience and whose existence was never questioned until the Anglo-American abolitionist movements.

So . . . we have how many thousands of years of human existence where slavery was presumed the norm . . . and less than 200 years of human existence where slavery is held by some to be an evil.

What was your point again?

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Louis D,

I think you would find racially mixed churches have a hard time keeping membership in the US. The Church has no problem keeping black members in Ghana. People in America are use to worshiping with their own ethnicity, be it Korea, Black, Vietnamese, Hispanic or what have you. To have someone come to a LDS service who is use to a more lively worship service is difficult. Culture plays a huge role in who we are comfortable worshipping with. The LDS Church is the only major denomination to have people meet in the congregation they live in. One does not see Black or Hispanic congregations in the Church. We use to, but this is wrong and we should worship together. More can be done to bring differng cultures together this way than any I can think of. What would you have the Church do? I can apoligize for my culturally stupid father if you would like. Bigotry was rampant with his age group no matter the socio-economic level or culture. Whites are not the only bigots in America. All Cultures, Creeds, or Ethnicities have work to do in this area ( I didn't mention race because their is only one: The Human Race).

Dr Fatguy

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