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10THAmendment

Missionary work during the priesthood ban

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This blog post relates one account from a missionary to Brazil in 1977:

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Previous to that time the way the church dealt with blacks and the priesthood (in Brazil) had been a vexing problem since the first missionaries landed in Joinville in 1926. In the first few years blacks were almost never proselyted but that eventually changed and methods were developed to handle the ensuing problems. Previous to the time I arrived there was a lesson that was added to the regular discussions that dealt with the problem of determining whether the investigator had black lineage (scans of the documents, together with accompanying translation, can be found here). This lesson was given at the conclusion of the regular discussions. I don’t ever remember using this exact catechism style of discussion but we would try to accomplish the goal of determining the lineage of the persons being taught. Missionaries elsewhere in Brazil used similar lessons during this time — in a 2013 guest post at Keepapitchinin.org, Grant Vaughn provided scans of the lesson he taught in the Brazil Porto Alegre Mission from 1976-78.  Moreover, I would assume that most missions before my time had something of a similar nature.[1] 

And then there's this paper as well:

Religious Accommodation in the Land of Racial Democracy: Mormon Priesthood and Black Brazilians

Footnote 9 also has info about the special lineage lessons:

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I have identified numerous sets of instructions, guides, and lesson plans used to instruct missionaries on the racial question. The most extensive was a twelve-page booklet (8 1/4 X14") probably written in 1970, containing genealogical sheets, extensive instructions, theological explanations, and a Portuguese language lineage lesson. “Lineage Program, ”Brazilian Mission Ephemera, LDS Church Archives. See also Handbook: Brazil North Central Mission (São Paulo:The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Brazil Central Mission, n.d.), pp. 38-42, copy in possession of the author.

I found this especially interesting:

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The Mormon Church in Brazil has always struggled to find enough active male priesthood holders to staff local and regional organizations. It was frustrating to have an active member who was considered white by Brazilian racial perceptions but ineligible by Church standards. Two strategies emerged to overcome this problem and to allow ordination.

The first was for someone in priesthood authority to declare racial purity. This generally occurred at the bishop or stake-president level, but at times went all the way to the First Presidency. The most widely known case was that of the president of the Ipiranga, São Paulo Branch. In 1964, while doing his genealogy, he discovered a probable African ancestor in one of his grandmother’s lines.Upon informing the mission president, he was released from all priesthood duties and allowed to work in the Church only in positions not requiring the priesthood. After several years of faithful activity, he was asked to provide information concerning his genealogical research as well as Church activity, which was then forwarded to Salt Lake City. The First Presidency, after examining the documentation, concluded that he did not have the lineage of Cain and should be allowed to use his priesthood.  In this and other cases, priesthood authority nullified genealogical research and allowed for men with apparent African heritage to be declared racially eligible.

The second and more frequently used method relied on patriarchal blessings for determining lineage. Since blacks were not allowed to hold the priesthood,  the reasoning went, they could not be part of the house of Israel. Thus, the patriarch was instructed that if the person were  a descendant of Cain, he should not pronounce a tribal designation.  More significantly he was told not to declare whether the person had the lineage of Cain. Consequently,  if the recipient was declared to be from one of the tribes of Israel,  then Brazilian local leaders believed that he could not be a descendant of Cain. It was a very simple method to dispose of the difficult administrative problem of determining lineage in questionable cases.

 

And then this book if you're still interested in more info...

The Mormon Church and Blacks

Edited by cinepro
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2 hours ago, stemelbow said:

All that suggests, Scott, is that the Church was completely wrong concerning the ban.  

Non-sequitur. 

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Spanish speaking mission in Southern California.  Lots of folks from the Carribean.  Never instructed to avoid anyone.  Baptized a number of men prior to the revelation and was blessed to be able to go back and ordain them after the revelation.  

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1 hour ago, cinepro said:

This blog post relates one account from a missionary to Brazil in 1977:

And then there's this paper as well:

Religious Accommodation in the Land of Racial Democracy: Mormon Priesthood and Black Brazilians

Footnote 9 also has info about the special lineage lessons:

I found this especially interesting:

 

And then this book if you're still interested in more info...

The Mormon Church and Blacks

Relevant portions of the lesson, translated to English:

 

Quote

CONCEPT 5: GOD REVEALED THAT THE LINAGE OF CAIN COULD NOT RECEIVE THE PRIESTHOOD.

Elder: Since the time of Joseph Smith, there have always been prophets on the earth, for the Lord said through His prophet Amos, “Surely the Lord God will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets.” (Amos 3:7) It was revealed through ancient prophets who could receive the Priesthood just as we read about Abraham and Aaron. It was also revealed who could not receive the Priesthood. Would you like to read in the Book of Abraham 1:26-27?

Brown: Reads Abraham 1:26-27.

Elder: This scripture affirms that Pharaoh was of the lineage that could not receive the Priesthood. To discover the origin of this lineage, let’s read the history of Cain and Abel in the Bible: (Gen. 4:8-15).

Brown: Reads Gen. 4:8-15.

Elder: Cain and his descendants received a mark that distinguished them from other persons. For reasons still not fully understood by man, and that date from our pre-mortal life, the descendants of Cain did not have the right to the Priesthood. For example, it was revealed to Abraham that Pharaoh, being of this lineage of Cain, could not receive the Priesthood. Mr. Brown, we have already seen how Abraham, Aaron and others received the Priesthood because they were called of God by revelation. In the same way, how do you feel about the revelation of God that the Prophets could not confer the Priesthood to the lineage of Cain?

Brown: Response.

Elder: Testimony.

CONCEPT 6: GOD REVEALED THAT THE NEGROES STILL CANNOT RECEIVE THE PRIESTHOOD.

Elder: Modern revelation has given us a fuller knowledge and better understanding with respect to this mark that was placed upon Cain. Mr. Brown, could you please read in Moses 7:22?

Brown: Reads Moses 7:22.

Elder: Ancient prophets had a way to distinguish the lineage of Cain because of the mark of black skin that the Lord had placed upon them. To know what God revealed with respect to these people today, we have to go to the modern prophets. Would you like to read the underlined pars of this letter?

Brown: Reads the Letter of the First Presidency, published in the Priesthood Bulletin, Volume 6, No. 1, February 1970.1

Elder: What does the letter say about Blacks and the Priesthood?

Brown: Response.

CONCEPT 7: IN THE FUTURE, WHEN REVEALED BY GOD, THE NEGRO WILL BE ABLE TO RECEIVE THE PRIESTHOOD.

Elder: That is it, Mr. Brown, the Blacks that honestly search for the truth and desire to affiliate with the Church can be baptized and have the opportunity to enjoy all the blessings of participating in the Kingdom of God. However, because God has revealed it, the Priesthood cannot be conferred upon them. But let us read what God said with respect to the Blacks in the future:

“Sometime in God’s eternal plan, the Negro will be given the right to hold the priesthood.”

Brown: Reads the rest of the letter.

Elder: I know that this is true. When the moment arrives, God will reveal it to His Prophets. Mr. Brown, what are you feelings concerning the teaching that God reveals his will with respect to the Priesthood to his servants the Prophets.

Brown: Response.

Elder: I testify to you that God truly guides and directs His Church through revelation. Now, Mr. Brown, how do you feel about the things we have discussed today.

Brown: Response.

Elder: I know, Mr. Brown, that the things that we discussed today are true. I also know that you and your family can be baptized and remain faithful in the Church bless without measure in this life and in eternal life. Mr. Brown, considering all these things do you feel that you could become a faithful and true member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, accepting the revelation God had given us concerning the lineage of Cain and the Priesthood?

Brown: Response.

Elders: Testimonies.

 

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1 hour ago, The Nehor said:

I disagree with your characterization of the Savior’s ministry.

I'm referring to the historical Jesus of course, not the theological Jesus.

 

1 hour ago, The Nehor said:

Also, the Jews and the Samaritans had long since divided into separate groups.

Not really separate racial groups as we would understand that term to mean. The Samaritans had married outside of the tribe and religion, but neighboring tribes/nations were of the same race.

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20 minutes ago, Gray said:

Relevant portions of the lesson, translated to English:

Marcus Martins (son of Helvecio) speaks about the "long lasting influence of those pseudo-doctrines that supported the priesthood ban function as a welcome mat to prejudices".  

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I confess that my feelings are still unsettled about this.  Here and there we hear testimonies of people who
heard this-or-that apostle state, back in the early 1970s, that there had been no “less valiant” people in
the pre-mortal realm, etc. To which I ask: “Why weren’t those statements published to
the entire Church?” I suppose some may have argued that we weren’t ready to hear
those things at that time. But that supposition is flawed, because it essentially states
that we were ready to hear racist views disguised as doctrine, but not ready to hear the
pure doctrine.
I am glad that finally those “pseudo-doctrines” were declared to be—at best—merely the
result of uninspired speculation mixed with prevailing social prejudices. But then, I also
ask “Why did it take 35 years after the 1978 Revelation for such declaration to be made
public?”
In my opinion those old “pseudo-doctrines” or rationales for the priesthood ban were far
more harmful than the ban itself. Their powerful influence still lingers decades after the
end of the ban. They provided a clear conduit through which prevailing social prejudices
could creep into and pollute the culture of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ

https://professor.byuh.edu/martinsm/martins.htm

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3 hours ago, 10THAmendment said:

What would have Christ’s reasoning been if He really did instruct the prophets of His one true church to “feed my sheep....except the black ones”? Why would God do that?

I think the speakers' rationale --  that it "was because the church really needed “worthy priesthood holders” at that period of time" [based on race] -- is the result of a poor choice of words (his or the mission president's); imperfect recollection of what was said or meant by the mission president (e.g. "eligible"); ignorance, racism or racist influence of either or both individuals; or a combination of any or all of these.

I don't have an answer to your hypothetical. Some prophets heard, "Wait" without being given any specific reason, so the same might apply with other instruction.

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I seem to recall reading about a "pencil test" in the hair of Brazilian men.  If you could stick a pencil in their curly hair and it stayed it was because of their "negro blood". If it fell out you could give them the missionary lessons.  I couldn't find anything with a quick search so I may be thinking of a apocryphal story that I was told rather than read. 

Phaedrus   

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15 hours ago, 10THAmendment said:

At stake conference a couple weeks ago, a speaker mentioned that on his mission to Brazil in the 1970s it was policy to “avoid” contacting and teaching anyone who at all looked to be of African decent. This was because the church really needed “worthy priesthood holders” at that period of time. He didn’t specify whether that was mission specific or if that was general counsel from the very top for all missions. 

Anyone have any insight? I have to say that deeply troubled and disturbed me. Not only because my wife is black (and my baby having African blood now too) but because I simply cannot imagine the Savior avoiding teaching people during His ministry based on their race. 

Since I was a missionary during the Priesthood Prohibition era, I can say that we were instructed to teach black people only if they specifically asked for us to do that.  If we tracted one up, we could invite them to a meeting, but nothing else.  This was taught in the SLC mission home.

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7 hours ago, phaedrus ut said:

I seem to recall reading about a "pencil test" in the hair of Brazilian men.  If you could stick a pencil in their curly hair and it stayed it was because of their "negro blood". If it fell out you could give them the missionary lessons.  I couldn't find anything with a quick search so I may be thinking of a apocryphal story that I was told rather than read. 

Phaedrus   

But, despite its sketchy provenance, you've done a nice job spreading it here, anyway.  Congratulations! :rolleyes: 

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11 hours ago, Gray said:

That racism was what was driving the bad theology, as well as the popular notion that black people were descended from Cain or Ham.

"I remind you that no man who makes disparaging remarks concerning those of another race can consider himself a true disciple of Christ." - President Hinckley

In all respects, Mormons were latecomers to the already set quasi-biblical racism of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.  Not simply "bad theology," the concept was entirely alien to the Church founded by Joseph Smith.  See David M. Goldenberg, The Curse of Ham: Race and Slavery in Early Judaism, Christianity, and Islam (Princeton Univ Press, 2003).  See also David M. Goldenberg, “Early Jewish and Christian Views of Blacks,” paper delivered at the Yale Univ Symposium on Collective Degradation: Slavery and the Construction of Race, November 7-8, 2003, online at https://glc.yale.edu/sites/default/files/files/events/race/Goldenberg.pdf .

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7 hours ago, mrmarklin said:

Since I was a missionary during the Priesthood Prohibition era, I can say that we were instructed to teach black people only if they specifically asked for us to do that.  If we tracted one up, we could invite them to a meeting, but nothing else.  This was taught in the SLC mission home.

That is my recollection in Central America. 

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I'm really grateful this is all before my time. I helped teach a beautiful African American family on my mission. Unfortunately, it was in the ward with the Ward Mission Leader from Hell©, who, along with his wife, was a pathetic racist who told us not to teach anyone who wasn't white and wealthy (and then stalked us to make sure we followed their instructions ... which we didn't!). Before this family attended church the first time, we warned them that a very small handful of vocal families in the ward were overt racists who needed to repent, and they laughed and told us they'd moved up from the South and knew all about how to deal with that. I didn't believe them, but they did, and they were baptised some time after I was transferred. What a miracle, I thought!

My mission president actually told the stake president that he was going to pull all eight missionaries from the ward if Bro Lucifer wasn't released, but then the whole family moved back to Salt Lake City instead, which solved that problem. (I was serving in the office at this point.)

I also taught a deeply beautiful African American woman who had been looking for God her whole life, first in Christianity, then in other faiths, and finally a different kind of god in her political activism. (She'd built up a very successful feminist bookshop before retiring and starting an educational charity.) She was another miracle. She saw an ad for the Book of Mormon on the telly one night, but she only caught the end and didn't know what it was for, but she said she could feel the very thing she'd been searching for just from the phone number, which she hastily jotted down. Teaching her pretty much consisted of our asking her what she thought about X and then listening to her teach us. She knew the doctrines of the Restoration almost completely somehow. The last time I spoke with her before her passing, she was serving in a Khmer-speaking branch and loving every second of it.

It would have killed me to have needed to pass these people by. The Lord asks hard things of us.

I'm confident, however, that these people would have sought out the blessings of the gospel even under restriction. What faith and goodness!

Edited by Hamba Tuhan
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This may be only peripherally related, but I was proud of the performance by our Sister Gladys Knight of the National Anthem at the Super Bowl this year. I am even prouder of her courage in agreeing to do it despite ideologically based criticism. 

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On 2/6/2019 at 11:50 AM, stemelbow said:

The church was wrong.  NO God involved at all.  That's much easier than trying to pin it on God and wonder why or how.  

So we ignore God doing the same thing throughout the Bible?

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9 hours ago, Avatar4321 said:

So we ignore God doing the same thing throughout the Bible?

We also ought to accept the Bible as ancient writings, and treat them as if they aren't defining God.  The Bible is a collection of various peoples and cultures trying to reflect on paper their ideas and interactions with God.  I don't see the need to treat any particular story as God-inspired and most definitely think any attributing to God is on the part of the people writing the story and thus is not necessarily God.  I simply can't run with the same assumptions you do, apparently.

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On 2/7/2019 at 12:13 AM, Scott Lloyd said:

This may be only peripherally related, but I was proud of the performance by our Sister Gladys Knight of the National Anthem at the Super Bowl this year. I am even prouder of her courage in agreeing to do it despite ideologically based criticism. 

huh?  More info?  How are you proud of another singing a song?  I guess I"m missing something.  Have you worked on her singing with her or something?  Also, what criticism did she receive?  

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2 hours ago, stemelbow said:

huh?  More info?  How are you proud of another singing a song?  I guess I"m missing something.  Have you worked on her singing with her or something?  Also, what criticism did she receive?  

Proud of her because she is a Church member, and I feel a sense of community with her as I might with any Latter-day Saint in good standing who achieved or did something noteworthy. 

Plus, I’ve been a Gladys Knight fan since my youth, before she joined the Church. I love hearing “Midnight Train to Georgia,” “Heard It through the Grapevine” and “You’re the Best Thing That Ever Happened.” It goes without saying she is an icon in the world of pop, rock and soul music. I like that such a luminary is among our people.

I’m puzzled that you would not grasp this. You seem to have a very limited concept of what it means to be proud of someone.

I heard she was criticized for not standing with the leftists over the whole Colin Kapernick (sp?) “take a knee” nonsense. I understand she believes, as I do, that the National Anthem should not be dragged into political or social controversies. 

Edited by Scott Lloyd

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On 2/6/2019 at 9:23 PM, Kenngo1969 said:

But, despite its sketchy provenance, you've done a nice job spreading it here, anyway.  Congratulations! :rolleyes: 

The pencil test was a well known test of African heritage.  What I don't recall was the circumstance I remembered it used by missionaries. 

Phaedrus 

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On 2/6/2019 at 11:42 AM, Gray said:

Relevant portions of the lesson, translated to English:

 
Quote

 

CONCEPT 5: GOD REVEALED THAT THE LINAGE OF CAIN COULD NOT RECEIVE THE PRIESTHOOD.

Elder: Since the time of Joseph Smith, there have always been prophets on the earth, for the Lord said through His prophet Amos, “Surely the Lord God will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets.” (Amos 3:7) It was revealed through ancient prophets who could receive the Priesthood just as we read about Abraham and Aaron. It was also revealed who could not receive the Priesthood. Would you like to read in the Book of Abraham 1:26-27?

Brown: Reads Abraham 1:26-27.

Elder: This scripture affirms that Pharaoh was of the lineage that could not receive the Priesthood. To discover the origin of this lineage, let’s read the history of Cain and Abel in the Bible: (Gen. 4:8-15).

Brown: Reads Gen. 4:8-15.

Elder: Cain and his descendants received a mark that distinguished them from other persons. For reasons still not fully understood by man, and that date from our pre-mortal life, the descendants of Cain did not have the right to the Priesthood. For example, it was revealed to Abraham that Pharaoh, being of this lineage of Cain, could not receive the Priesthood. Mr. Brown, we have already seen how Abraham, Aaron and others received the Priesthood because they were called of God by revelation. In the same way, how do you feel about the revelation of God that the Prophets could not confer the Priesthood to the lineage of Cain?

Brown: Response.

Elder: Testimony.

CONCEPT 6: GOD REVEALED THAT THE NEGROES STILL CANNOT RECEIVE THE PRIESTHOOD.

Elder: Modern revelation has given us a fuller knowledge and better understanding with respect to this mark that was placed upon Cain. Mr. Brown, could you please read in Moses 7:22?

Brown: Reads Moses 7:22.

Elder: Ancient prophets had a way to distinguish the lineage of Cain because of the mark of black skin that the Lord had placed upon them. To know what God revealed with respect to these people today, we have to go to the modern prophets. Would you like to read the underlined pars of this letter?

Brown: Reads the Letter of the First Presidency, published in the Priesthood Bulletin, Volume 6, No. 1, February 1970.1

Elder: What does the letter say about Blacks and the Priesthood?

Brown: Response.

CONCEPT 7: IN THE FUTURE, WHEN REVEALED BY GOD, THE NEGRO WILL BE ABLE TO RECEIVE THE PRIESTHOOD.

Elder: That is it, Mr. Brown, the Blacks that honestly search for the truth and desire to affiliate with the Church can be baptized and have the opportunity to enjoy all the blessings of participating in the Kingdom of God. However, because God has revealed it, the Priesthood cannot be conferred upon them. But let us read what God said with respect to the Blacks in the future:

“Sometime in God’s eternal plan, the Negro will be given the right to hold the priesthood.”

Brown: Reads the rest of the letter.

Elder: I know that this is true. When the moment arrives, God will reveal it to His Prophets. Mr. Brown, what are you feelings concerning the teaching that God reveals his will with respect to the Priesthood to his servants the Prophets.

Brown: Response.

Elder: I testify to you that God truly guides and directs His Church through revelation. Now, Mr. Brown, how do you feel about the things we have discussed today.

Brown: Response.

Elder: I know, Mr. Brown, that the things that we discussed today are true. I also know that you and your family can be baptized and remain faithful in the Church bless without measure in this life and in eternal life. Mr. Brown, considering all these things do you feel that you could become a faithful and true member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, accepting the revelation God had given us concerning the lineage of Cain and the Priesthood?

Brown: Response.

Elders: Testimonies.

 

Ah, the good old days where we used scripture to discriminate against blacks.  Those days regrettably are gone, Thank goodness we still have the gays and can use the scriptures to justify discrimination against them and their families.

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21 hours ago, Avatar4321 said:

So we ignore God doing the same thing throughout the Bible?

There isn't a single example of this in the Bible. Granted there are worse things God was blamed for, such as sex slavery and genocide.

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I don't know how much of a lasting effect the ban will have.  It's been long enough that it seems to mostly bother the white critics of the church today.  Since the ban was lifted, I've had black HT'ers, EQPs, Bishops, counselors, and now our current SP is a brotha.  If they can remain believing members of the church, it doesn't make sense to for me to get upset since I'm a whitey.

It's hard to believe that for many decades God allowed prophets to ignore his will and continue the ban.  He would have done something like sending a whale to swallow them for disobeying.  Whatever the reasons (and it didn't help when leaders and members were left to speculate), I appreciate hearing the testimonies of the black leaders and members in my stake who don't seem to hold a grudge against the church for the Priesthood ban. 

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On 2/8/2019 at 7:20 AM, stemelbow said:

We also ought to accept the Bible as ancient writings, and treat them as if they aren't defining God.  The Bible is a collection of various peoples and cultures trying to reflect on paper their ideas and interactions with God.  I don't see the need to treat any particular story as God-inspired and most definitely think any attributing to God is on the part of the people writing the story and thus is not necessarily God.  I simply can't run with the same assumptions you do, apparently.

If that is the case then we can readily say we know absolutely nothing about God.  Including how he feels on any particular subject.

If every record of God's dealings with men is simply the suppositions of those men then we know nothing about him.  (Which according to one of those men would mean we don't have eternal life either).

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1 hour ago, JLHPROF said:

If that is the case then we can readily say we know absolutely nothing about God.  Including how he feels on any particular subject.

If every record of God's dealings with men is simply the suppositions of those men then we know nothing about him.  (Which according to one of those men would mean we don't have eternal life either).

You’re telling me after all these years NOW it’s starting to sink in?  😁

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