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Uneven Article Re: Elder Peter M. Johnson

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4 hours ago, stemelbow said:

I figured you might not.  I'm just saying pointing out that he was called with little fanfare does not suggest there should have been fanfare.  I'm saying, pointing out that no African American had been called in 41 years since the ban was lifted is clearly accurate.  Listing two non-African Americans to complain about the 41 years is silly.  I'm suggesting, saying there is a sign of progress does not suggest there have not been other signs previously.  

I"m clearly suggesting there is nothing uneven in the article, but oddly, you reaction to it was nothing but uneven.  

Well...I don't know...who might have reacted to the article in a dramatic fashion?    hm.... "...look at the Church in the bleakest way possible"  

I agree.  I thought the article was positive and balanced. It was also accurate. 

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6 hours ago, Thinking said:

..............................

It was factual, and oh by the way, your report left out this.

Quote

..................Gray, co-founder of the Genesis Group for black Latter-day Saints, said Johnson’s sermon was “overdue” and a sign that the church "is moving forward at a human pace.”

“It’s not always the speed that God might wish," he added, "but at a speed that makes mankind — and leadership — comfortable.”...........................

 

I met Darius Gray some years ago at a FAIRMORMON Conference in Sandy, Utah.  He was already elderly then.  He cried at that Conference when an LDS fried of mine told him about being a Freedom Rider in the deep South back in the 60s.  Gray didn't know that there were Mormons in the Civil Rights movement.  Did his heart good to know that.

The LDS Church has been holding regular conferences for a long time, and I wonder whether Elder Elijah Abel (Seventy) ever came back from one of his missions and gave a sermon at one of those Church conferences.

Edited by Robert F. Smith
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When I heard the talk I thought to myself, this man sounds like a baptist preacher.  Certainly didn’t have the same delivery as everyone else has always seemed to have. 

I appreciated the uniqueness of him. 

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7 hours ago, Thinking said:

Yes you did. However, you know that many people don't click on the link and depend on the quoted parts as being the most relevant. The end of the article (the part I quoted) was very positive. You could have included part of it.

 

 

It’s not Smac’s fault if people don’t avail themselves of the accessibility provided to them. 
 

When I give a link, I almost never quote the entirety of the thing I’m linking to. It’s unnecessary because, well, there’s a link provided. 
 

Seems like a weird thing to quibble over. 

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I think real progress will not have come until we as a people are no longer inclined to make a fanfare whenever someone of a certain race or nationality takes the pulpit at general conference or is sustained in one of the higher councils of the Church (or cease to make a stir when, in our perception, not enough people of a certain "flavor: are in those councils).

We need to get to the point of judging others not by the color of their skin but by the content of their character, as Dr. King put it.

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17 hours ago, rpn said:

But neither of those leaders were African AMERICAN in a church that for much of those 41 years was largely more AMERICAN than anything else.

The following isn't really directed at your post, rpn, I'm just using it as a springboard. 🙂 

I guess I don't understand why it's so surprising to some people that it has taken 41 years for the first American of African descent to be called as a general authority.  How many black priesthood holders were there on the rolls of the church the day before the 1978 revelation was announced?  ZERO.  How many were already members of the church?  Very darned few.  In other words, there were no Americans of African ancestry who were already members of the church in 1978 and prepared to be called to be general authorities.    How long does it take for an average priesthood holder of any race to gain sufficient gospel maturity and experience in church leadership to such a degree that he is ready to serve as a general authority?

It is almost always the case that a man will not be called to be a bishop who hasn't served in some other leadership calling, like bishopric member, elders quorum president or high priests group leader.  And I don't know of many stake presidents who haven't already been a bishop, or at least in a bishopric.  And if you look at the callings that general authorities have already held when they are called, almost all of them have been a stake president.  Bishops tend to serve for 5 years; stake presidents tend to serve for 10.  And how old are bishops when they are called?  I don't think I've ever seen a bishop who wasn't at least 30 years old when he was called.  So, 30 + 5 + 10 = 45 years old at a minimum by the time a man might be more or less eligible to be called as an area or general authority.

The church doesn't keep statistics on race, but historically, up until the last few decades most members lived in the United States, and in the United States the overwhelming majority of members have been white.  The pool of non-white members up until recently has been quite small, and especially so among black members in the US.  As far as I am aware, the largest number of black members in the Church are in Brazil and Africa.  So there should be no surprise at all that the first black general authorities hailed from Brazil and Kenya.  And given the historically very small number of Americans of African descent in the United States who are members, and that most general authorities were born into the church, it shouldn't be surprising that it took 41 years.  And how many priesthood holders of any race are there who will never gain such maturity and experience?  And consider too that the pool of available "slots" is relatively small, and openings in that pool are infrequent.

Elder Johnson is 52.  Since he served a full-time mission, it seems that he was either born into the church, or converted no later than early adulthood.  He's served in a bishopric and as a stake president.  Thus, he's gone through the "cursus honorum" or normal career path in the church, and was one of the few men of any race who were ready to be a general authority at a time when a "slot" was available.  It all combines to make it completely unsurprising that Elder Johnson is the first American of African descent to be called as a General Authority.  It could hardly have happened any faster.  I expect that there will be many more like him.

 

Edited by Stargazer
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5 hours ago, Hamba Tuhan said:

This sounds intellectually nice, but I distinctly remember the physical thrill that went up and down my body not once or even twice but several times when I visited the Salt Lake Temple right before starting my mission and found myself sitting next to an African-American brother about my same age. That thrill was sheer gratitude mixed with joy and several other things that I don't have names for but all of which felt really good. And none of it would have been possible if this brother in Christ had just blended into the mass of humanity instead of standing out to me as an individual with his own unique place and story ... much of which was inevitably entangled with his 'race' and with a policy that the Lord saw fit to place upon His Saints for a time.

I know what you mean. When the 1978 revelation was announced I was on cloud nine about it.  And when Elder Martins was called to the 70 as well.  I got to hear him once at a stake conference -- his English was halting, but his spirit was immense.  We are all thrilled when we witness positive historic events, there is no doubt of that, nor should there be.

But what I think Scott is trying to say is that what will really be remarkable is that there are no longer any remarkable events like this.  When all the "firsts" have been done, and the gospel is  universal.  Personally, I don't think we will have reached that point until we are several decades into the Millennium. There will be plenty to be thrilled about!

Quote

I personally think He was trying to teach us something, but we cannot learn what that is if we don't see others for who they are -- including identities and histories. It's similar to how I felt earlier today when my boss, upon reading of the synagogue attack in Germany yesterday, asked me to pen letters of solidarity to our city's rabbis. I cannot do that with any level of sensitivity or insight without recognising and valuing the stories and identities both of those men carry uniquely by virtue of being practising Jews.

👍

Edited by Stargazer
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1 hour ago, Stargazer said:

So, 30 + 5 + 10 = 45 years old at a minimum by the time a man might be more or less eligible to be called as an area or general authority

If someone who was 25 to 35 called to be a counselor in EQ in 78, then EQP in 80, was called as bishop at 30 to 40 in 83, SP in 88, finished serving there in 98 at age 45-55.

Here we are 20 years later....

Quote

It could hardly have happened any faster. 

Not really. 

Quote

  And how many priesthood holders of any race are there who will never gain such maturity and experience?  And consider too that the pool of available "slots" is relatively small, and openings in that pool are infrequent.

There are currently 1629 stakes in the US.  Assume average 1000 stakes in the last 30 years (since potentially serving in SP if ordained to priesthood in 78). Changing every ten years means around 3000 potential currently trained candidates minus the already called or gone inactive or otherwise unavailable. 

Of course, only 3% of American Saints are black, so if proportional back in 98 about 30 candidates and now 90 if I did my math right.  Since some would be ill or dead and others no longer active, say 60.

However Alabama got its first black stake president in 2013, so I have my doubts about proportionality nor do I think they should be choosing leaders based on that.  I couldn’t find out the first AA SP, just before 2005 iirc. 

A possible limiting factor is many African American members live in inner cities and while I see bishops from all incomes, stake presidents I know have been upper middle class or higher in income...I don’t know if there is anything relevant to the calling that being comfortable financially aids, probably time commitment though is it more than a bishop?

Edited by Calm

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As has been noted here several times, he is the first African American GA.

Often people confuse African American with being black. That is true to an extent, but it more specifically refers to black people descended from slaves in the United States, or black people born in the US to more recently immigrated black parents and grandparents (like Obama) whose racial background makes inheritors of all the stigmas, norms, values, culture and other aspects of being descended from slaves.

Black immigrants tend to identify more with their specific countries or ethnic backgrounds, such as Nigerian, Ghanian, Congolese, or somewhere in the Caribbean. African Americans often do not, as the location of their ancestors was lost in the slave trade, and due to their length of time in the United States.

Encompassed in all that are unique forms of worship, speech, and expression that are unique to African Americans and not to black people more generally. It would be very exciting to me if I were an African American, to hear someone that looked and sounded like my background in General Conference.

To use a very imperfect metaphor, I’d imagine it being like a Scot who grew up hearing Texan General Authorities my whole life. Yeah, they’re (likely) white. We speak the same language. It’s all good. But were I to hear someone suddenly speak with a think Highland accent my ears would definitely pick up, and I may even feel some level of emotion, than if it were a Texan drawl.

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Elders Alvarado and Johnson spoke in cadence and tone much differently than the other speakers.

I dislike intensely the 'Mormon tone' of the GAs when speaking.  Robert Millet at BYU takes it to the nth degree, imho.

Edited by Jake Starkey
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16 hours ago, LoudmouthMormon said:

It was nice to see JRR Tolkein finally get his due in Gen Conference.  But I will not be happy until Frank Herbert's Dune gets top billing.  And don't even get me started on the lack of Asimov in the upper echelons of the church. 

I wonder if there is a gom jabbar in the First Presidency's vault...

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1 hour ago, Jake Starkey said:

Elders Alvarado and Johnson spoke in cadence and tone much differently than the other speakers.

I dislike intensely the 'Mormon tone' of the GAs when speaking.  Robert Millet at BYU takes it to the nth degree, imho.

I have to walk away during the female cadence and sticky sweetness.  

 

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Yes, MustardSeed, I understand how discomfiting that makes one feel.

Elder Alvarado must have family heritage in Pentecostalism or evangelicalism, for his preaching cadence is not the typical LDS-GA homiletics the which we all have become accustomed to in a lifetime of Mormon sermonology.

Edited by Jake Starkey
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2 hours ago, ERMD said:

I wonder if there is a gom jabbar in the First Presidency's vault...

I hear the prophet's security detail all use Glock maula pistols.

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11 hours ago, Scott Lloyd said:

I think real progress will not have come until we as a people are no longer inclined to make a fanfare whenever someone of a certain race or nationality takes the pulpit at general conference or is sustained in one of the higher councils of the Church (or cease to make a stir when, in our perception, not enough people of a certain "flavor: are in those councils).

We need to get to the point of judging others not by the color of their skin but by the content of their character, as Dr. King put it.

When i think of this, i think of three experiences that have helped shape my picture of becoming zion over the years.

The first was of a ward that truly felt like zion. It was a ward made of several (30+) ethnicities from varying walks of life and regions of the world. I felt like it was a calling just participating in the ward as a lay member. There you were valued for all the experiences that made you you. Cultural heritage and backgrounds were not just a nice perk during food activities but an asset that all could learn from. Needless to say, the ward had a very high baptism rate. 

The second was a comment from a person going through several chronic health problems. She mentioned to me that she had thought once she’d been in a zion-esque ward...until she became too ill to participate in a lot of activities and her friend base in the ward suddenly dried up. She realized it was wonderful for those who fit, but there were likely always people on the margins who did not feel that same welcoming and place.

the last was of a temple cultural celebration in UT. I won’t mention a lot of specific details. But their district had a strong number of specialty wards (think groups like chinese, spanish, and native american wards). Several of these groups wanted to incorporate a dance or experience from their cultures to celebrate. But the person in charge was a white utahn who had decided previously what would be the main numbers and was not open to incorporating other things. So the history focused on white 1800’s pioneers and the numbers and dances were largely focused on local white and pop culture references/experiences. And the minority wards were placed and brought to celebrate based on that image of UT.

I think it’ll one day be lovely to have a time where the content of character is the judgment block for all. BUT if it’s not done with their context and heritage as valued additions to the table of the gospel, it will be incomplete. It won’t be zion. 

We all like the image of MLK’s speech but the lines to get to that image were marked by themes of justice, visibility, and viable pathways to freedom and success. These lines in particular stand out to me: 

As we walk, we must make the pledge that we shall always march ahead. We cannot turn back. There are those who are asking the devotees of civil rights, "When will you be satisfied?" We can never be satisfied as long as the Negro is the victim of the unspeakable horrors of police brutality. We can never be satisfied, as long as our bodies, heavy with the fatigue of travel, cannot gain lodging in the motels of the highways and the hotels of the cities. We cannot be satisfied as long as the Negro's basic mobility is from a smaller ghetto to a larger one. We can never be satisfied as long as our children are stripped of their selfhood and robbed of their dignity by signs stating "For Whites Only". We cannot be satisfied as long as a Negro in Mississippi cannot vote and a Negro in New York believes he has nothing for which to vote. No, no, we are not satisfied, and we will not be satisfied until justice rolls down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream.

 
....
 
I am not unmindful that some of you have come here out of great trials and tribulations. Some of you have come fresh from narrow jail cells. Some of you have come from areas where your quest for freedom left you battered by the storms of persecution and staggered by the winds of police brutality. You have been the veterans of creative suffering. Continue to work with the faith that unearned suffering is redemptive.”

We still have a ways to go as a general society...but we also have a ways to go as a church as well. Ignoring that there are still concerns today and being content with the progress we have made isn’t enough. We have steps to take. Some we can do individually, some which are institutional in nature. Many black american  LDS members so this moment as one small step to that equitable and just future. One that is more truly zion in nature. 

 

With luv

BD

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6 hours ago, Stargazer said:

The following isn't really directed at your post, rpn, I'm just using it as a springboard. 🙂 

I guess I don't understand why it's so surprising to some people that it has taken 41 years for the first American of African descent to be called as a general authority.  How many black priesthood holders were there on the rolls of the church the day before the 1978 revelation was announced?  ZERO.  How many were already members of the church?  Very darned few.  In other words, there were no Americans of African ancestry who were already members of the church in 1978 and prepared to be called to be general authorities.    How long does it take for an average priesthood holder of any race to gain sufficient gospel maturity and experience in church leadership to such a degree that he is ready to serve as a general authority?

It is almost always the case that a man will not be called to be a bishop who hasn't served in some other leadership calling, like bishopric member, elders quorum president or high priests group leader.  And I don't know of many stake presidents who haven't already been a bishop, or at least in a bishopric.  And if you look at the callings that general authorities have already held when they are called, almost all of them have been a stake president.  Bishops tend to serve for 5 years; stake presidents tend to serve for 10.  And how old are bishops when they are called?  I don't think I've ever seen a bishop who wasn't at least 30 years old when he was called.  So, 30 + 5 + 10 = 45 years old at a minimum by the time a man might be more or less eligible to be called as an area or general authority.

The church doesn't keep statistics on race, but historically, up until the last few decades most members lived in the United States, and in the United States the overwhelming majority of members have been white.  The pool of non-white members up until recently has been quite small, and especially so among black members in the US.  As far as I am aware, the largest number of black members in the Church are in Brazil and Africa.  So there should be no surprise at all that the first black general authorities hailed from Brazil and Kenya.  And given the historically very small number of Americans of African descent in the United States who are members, and that most general authorities were born into the church, it shouldn't be surprising that it took 41 years.  And how many priesthood holders of any race are there who will never gain such maturity and experience?  And consider too that the pool of available "slots" is relatively small, and openings in that pool are infrequent.

Elder Johnson is 52.  Since he served a full-time mission, it seems that he was either born into the church, or converted no later than early adulthood.  He's served in a bishopric and as a stake president.  Thus, he's gone through the "cursus honorum" or normal career path in the church, and was one of the few men of any race who were ready to be a general authority at a time when a "slot" was available.  It all combines to make it completely unsurprising that Elder Johnson is the first American of African descent to be called as a General Authority.  It could hardly have happened any faster.  I expect that there will be many more like him.

 

he used to be Muslim!

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24 minutes ago, Duncan said:

he used to be Muslim!

He gets 20 bonus years for that...

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13 hours ago, Scott Lloyd said:

It’s not Smac’s fault if people don’t avail themselves of the accessibility provided to them. 
 

When I give a link, I almost never quote the entirety of the thing I’m linking to. It’s unnecessary because, well, there’s a link provided. 
 

Seems like a weird thing to quibble over. 

When you dont have substance to add quibbling over weird things is all you can do.

Personally ive liked what ive seen of the talk. The fact that the enemies of the Church are trying to pretend this is some remarkable milestone rather just a continuation in the on going gathering of Israel is sad. They focus so much on who is speaking and less what He said.

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The "continuation is in the ongoing gathering of Israel is sad" because it is unnecessary.

Romney, Stapley, Lee, and the other GAs who delayed the opening of the temple and priesthood blessings to all worthy church members have a special price to pay, including those who listened to Lee instead of Brown.

No one, no not one, including me, are exempt from the Lord's ire.

Edited by Jake Starkey

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1 hour ago, Jake Starkey said:

in the House of the Lord

 

Image result for glock 26 maula image

Until all death threats stop, and the “lambs of God”, are not being lead to the slaughter. Until all can beat their “swords In plowshares”. 

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Loved the talk by Elder Johnson and I am so thankful for the diversity I am seeing in leadership. I probably won’t see a female president of the church in my life time, but l would be happy to see female bishops, stake presidents, etc. I believe we are starting to focus more on training our YW to be leaders, so who knows? Having said that, I trust Heavenly Father and his timing.

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27 minutes ago, Bill “Papa” Lee said:

Until all death threats stop, and the “lambs of God”, are not being lead to the slaughter. Until all can beat their “swords In plowshares”. 

Then ccw in church.

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