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The 1978 Revelation (official Declaration-2)


Thinking

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I have heard many times that the Lord does things in "His own due time." Was the lifting of the priesthood ban done in the Lord's own due time, or were outside influences involved?

OFFICIAL DECLARATION—2

To Whom It May Concern:

On September 30, 1978, at the 148th Semiannual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the following was presented by President N. Eldon Tanner, First Counselor in the First Presidency of the Church:

In early June of this year, the First Presidency announced that a revelation had been received by President Spencer W. Kimball extending priesthood and temple blessings to all worthy male members of the Church. President Kimball has asked that I advise the conference that after he had received this revelation, which came to him after extended meditation and prayer in the sacred rooms of the holy temple, he presented it to his counselors, who accepted it and approved it. It was then presented to the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, who unanimously approved it, and was subsequently presented to all other General Authorities, who likewise approved it unanimously.

Is there a record of a revelation which disqualifies blacks from being ordained to the priesthood?
President Kimball has asked that I now read this letter:

June 8, 1978

To all general and local priesthood officers of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints throughout the world:

Dear Brethren:

As we have witnessed the expansion of the work of the Lord over the earth, we have been grateful that people of many nations have responded to the message of the restored gospel, and have joined the Church in ever-increasing numbers. This, in turn, has inspired us with a desire to extend to every worthy member of the Church all of the privileges and blessings which the gospel affords.

It must have been a nightmare to organize wards and stakes with no available priesthood leaders.
Aware of the promises made by the prophets and presidents of the Church who have preceded us that at some time, in God’s eternal plan, all of our brethren who are worthy may receive the priesthood, and witnessing the faithfulness of those from whom the priesthood has been withheld, we have pleaded long and earnestly in behalf of these, our faithful brethren, spending many hours in the Upper Room of the Temple supplicating the Lord for divine guidance.
Which "prophets" made these promises, and what are the references?
He has heard our prayers, and by revelation has confirmed that the long promised day has come when every faithful, worthy man in the Church may receive the holy priesthood, with power to exercise its divine authority, and enjoy with his loved ones every blessing that flows therefrom, including the blessings of the temple. Accordingly, all worthy male members of the Church may be ordained to the priesthood without regard for race or color. Priesthood leaders are instructed to follow the policy of carefully interviewing all candidates for ordination to either the Aaronic or the Melchizedek Priesthood to insure that they meet the established standards for worthiness.

We declare with soberness that the Lord has now made known his will for the blessing of all his children throughout the earth who will hearken to the voice of his authorized servants, and prepare themselves to receive every blessing of the gospel.

Sincerely yours,

Spencer W. Kimball

N. Eldon Tanner

Marion G. Romney

The First Presidency

Recognizing Spencer W. Kimball as the prophet, seer, and revelator, and president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, it is proposed that we as a constituent assembly accept this revelation as the word and will of the Lord. All in favor please signify by raising your right hand. Any opposed by the same sign.

The vote to sustain the foregoing motion was unanimous in the affirmative.

Salt Lake City, Utah, September 30, 1978.

Was the "priesthood ban" ever presented at General Conference and accepted unanimously?

I still remember 1978, the year I graduated from Jr. High School. Spencer W. Kimball announced that he had received a revelation which extended priesthood blessings to all worthy males. Being a teenager and naive to what was really going on in the world, I never heard about the legal issues which the Church faced as a result of its policy of not ordaining blacks to the priesthood.

Civil Rights Act? Section 501c of the IRS Code? Huh? My main concern was to get to school with as few zits as possible.

Of course the Church denies any outside influence, but it was in jeopardy of losing its tax-exempt status because 501c forbade discrimination based on race.

The timing of this "revelation" sure is interesting.

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I have heard many times that the Lord does things in "His own due time." Was the lifting of the priesthood ban done in the Lord's own due time, or were outside influences involved?...

Do a search on this forum and you will find the miriad of threads that discuss this topic ad nauseum.

The basic answer to your question (was this a revelation based on the Lord's time or because of outside influences) is: "Yes". To both.

The Lord often makes revelations based on the situation His people find themselves in.

- Noah comes to mind. The Lord wouldn't have to have had Noah prophesy about the Flood if the world wasn't ready for it.

- Moses and the whole process of leaving Egypt. If the Pharaoh had been a more righteous man, the plagues wouldn't have been necessary.

Let's see ... who else?

- Peter getting the "gospel to all Gentiles" revelation. Hmmm. Why did Jesus wait until *after* He was resurrected and assended into heaven to tell Peter this?

- How about Jonah who got one revelation and then was peeved because it didn't happen when the people repented? How could the Lord be so influenced by society?

The timing of this "revelation" sure is interesting

Usually, posters here who have problems with the 'timing' of revelations only point to the lifting of the priesthood ban and the recinding of polygamy as 'proof' that revelations to prophets in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are not revelations but 'proof' that the Church has been nagged to death by the world.

:P

In my opinion, the Lord will give revelations when He feels it is necessary. Based on His knowledge of the world and His saints and His plan for the overall redemption of as many of His children as possible. He knows how long trials and hardships need to be for each of us individually and all of us a whole.

As far as the priesthood ban goes, there were many, many, many people at the time who had prayed for years that the Lord would give the priesthood to all worthy men. The funny thing is that when it finally did happen, the reactions were varied. One reaction is like yours - "the Church doesn't get 'real' revelations, the leaders just finally decided that enough was enough". One was "the leaders have gotten it wrong. The Church isn't true any more". Another was "Finally what we prayed for is here!!!" I'm sure there were other reactions as well.

Every time a revelation is made, every time a new procedure or policy comes from the prophet and/or our other leaders, people have to choose to accept it as part of the Lord's work or not. This is also in the Lord's plan. <g> You get to choose your response to any and all revelations.

Jane

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Jane gave an excellent response to this question which seems to stump so many, though why I don't know. I think it is an example of how very aware the Lord is of his people. One might ask if it was done for political expediency alone why it wasn't done a lot earlier, not why it was finally done when it was.

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Good points all. The real surprise comes from pointing to this particular revelation. Did Thinking start at the back of the D&C when he began reading it? The entire book is a model of the Lord's servants going to him to seek his guidance on situations, most of which consisted of outside pressures, persecutions, etc. From the 116 pages, to wine in the sacrament, to anything else you read, this is the model of revelation. And we're somehow surprised at this? Doesn't the concept of 'modern revelation' necessarily involve 'modern issues'? Faced with modern problems and pressures, would Thinking have the Prophets and Apostles query the Lord about older concerns, such as the role of women in Rabbinic Judaism?

Those who seek personal revelation follow the same principal--outside influences and pressures cause them to go to the Lord in prayer or seek answers in the scriptures. Through revelation we learn how to deal with those concerns. Sometimes the answer is to modify or change a behavior due to influences beyond our control (picture Alma's followers praying siliently while under bondage to Lamanites), sometimes the answer is to leave the situation entirely and remove yourself from that outside influence, and sometimes it is to stand firm. You can find examples of each of these in the scriptures. To point to only one pattern is rather disengenuous. The difference is that we rely on the Lord to tell us when it is appropriate to modify something based on external influences , to leave, or to stand firm. To modify it because of the outside pressure without the Lord's guidance is what Elder Packer calls "reversing the channels of revelation."

Regards

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I have heard many times that the Lord does things in "His own due time." Was the lifting of the priesthood ban done in the Lord's own due time, or were outside influences involved?...Of course the Church denies any outside influence, but it was in jeopardy of losing its tax-exempt status because 501c forbade discrimination based on race....

The fact that the June 1978 change was made without a "common consent" vote of the membership still seems very wrong to me.

I realize that four months later in the October 1978 conference a common consent vote was taken, but asking after the fact is clearly not the same thing.

The ban was based on the revealed truth that we all have Eternal intelligences that were not created out of nothing. God seeks to teach and help each of us, and God is perfectly just, but what we deserve is based on our own efforts-- not on what "idealistically" we should have.

Idealistically, if God had created us out of absolutely nothing, why should any of us not have the very same blessings as others? But it is not God's fault when we disqualify ourselves from blessings, as we are eternal beings, and God does not interfere with our free agency to make choices.

So when it says in Abraham 1:

27 Now, Pharaoh being of that lineage by which he could not have the right of Priesthood, notwithstanding the Pharaohs would fain claim it from Noah, through Ham...

then we have to trust that the reason the this lineage could not have the right of Priesthood was a just reason, based on their eternal choices.

And remember, Abraham was not saying that Pharoah was thus "evil", because just before this verse he says this about Pharoah:

" 26 Pharaoh, being a righteous man, established his kingdom and judged his people wisely and justly all his days..."

Richard

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Thinking-this is a subject I'm very interested in myself. However, I have to say if outside influences were the main cause, then the lifting of the ban is very anti-climatic because it came at a very odd time. Like years after alot of the controversies from the outside culture came to fruition--but then dissipated.

I personally believe it is inside influences that moved things along, no outside influences. Mormons are quite comfortable being on the outside or on the fringe, we even take pride in it(as a peculilar people quote unquote). Alot of times we as a community take it we are doing what we should do when we face op position.

But when you look at the fact that the church was internationalizing, and issues of what's "black" and "white" was coming into play and reconsideration, and had been for a couple of decades, you see how internal forces utlimately made more of an influence than anything.

I think the key is looking at the timing of it all, and what events coincide and don't coincide with the timing.

one interesting chapter you can read online about the decades that led up to the ban can be found here from "Neither White Nor Black":

http://www.signaturebookslibrary.org/neith...r5.htm#Chapter5

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I've always had a few questions regarding Official Declaration 2. Here is one quote that contains both of the relevant questions

He has heard our prayers, and by revelation has confirmed that the long-promised day has come when every faithful, worthy man in the Church may receive the holy priesthood, with power to exercise its divine authority, and enjoy with his loved ones every blessing that flows therefrom, including the blessings of the temple.
  1. There is a announcement that a revelation was received but no revelation was published. Was there an actual revelation received? If so why not publish it?
  2. The language of the declaration lifts the priesthood and temple ban for all worthy males. What about women of African decent? Where was their temple ban lifted?

Phaedrus

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[*]There is a announcement that a revelation was received but no revelation was published. Was there an actual revelation received? If so why not publish it?

Revelations don't have to appear in any given way. Joseph Smith had revelations that came through him and were recorded by dictation, but when he had a vision or entertained angels, he many times described the event without actually using a first person response. Still, had he chosen to do so or not, it makes no difference.

[*]The language of the declaration lifts the priesthood and temple ban for all worthy males. What about women of African decent? Where was their temple ban lifted?

All was lifted. There now are no restrictions of any kind.

Because of the Lord's foreknowledge, He knew from the beginning when the day would be. The scriptural number representing priesthood, according to Richard Draper, is twelve. Throughout the Book of Revelation, twelve is repeatedly used to represent priesthood or priesthood authority (see Opening the Seven Seals: The Visions of John the Revelator). I find it interesting that President Kimball was the twelveth president of the church.

I also know that President McKay also took this issue to the Lord on numerous occasions but was told it would be left to another president of the church. No one knows exactly what happened, but President McKay told friends at one point that he'd been told not to bring the matter up again (see David O. McKay and the Rise of Modern Mormonism, by Gregory A Prince and Wm Robert Wright).

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All was lifted. There now are no restrictions of any kind.

Yes we know that because of present practice. Where is it announced "all was lifted". OD2 specifically says its for males. Black women had a temple blessing ban, so apparently there change was made without the aid of revelation.

Phaedrus

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Yes we know that because of present practice. Where is it announced "all was lifted". OD2 specifically says its for males. Black women had a temple blessing ban, so apparently there change was made without the aid of revelation.

Phaedrus

Whereas the ban wasn't put in place via revelation, I see no problem with it being lifted (for black women) without revelation.

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Yes we know that because of present practice. Where is it announced "all was lifted". OD2 specifically says its for males. Black women had a temple blessing ban, so apparently there change was made without the aid of revelation.

Phaedrus

Or maybe there is a relationship there that you don't understand?

-SlackTime

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Or maybe there is a relationship there that you don't understand?

-SlackTime

If you're implying that women have a pseudo-priestesshood in the temple that's fine. Then the church should say so and also announce the lifting of the ban for black women was by revelation also.

Phaedrus

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There is also a school of thought regarding the timing of the lifting of the ban that it was related to the building of the Sao Paulo Temple in Brazil. Members whom lived in Brazil at the time and were preparing to attend the temple were engaged in genealogy work to take names to the temple. These members were white, however, and in doing their genealogy, discovered that they had black ancestry. Legrand Richards was interviewed regarding this (www.i4m.com/think/comments/mormon-racism.htm) and admits that because of the "negro"blood in the Brazilians, the temple would have basically gone unused.

While the timing of the Lord rescinding this may seem plausible to some, there also seems to be a strong case that would support that the Church was going to have a hard time functioning in the mainstream if it did not rescind this. I think so many of us can just say we don't understand how the Lord works, and support what happens in the Church, but there are also those of us who think that everytime something of controversy comes up and the comment is "we don't know how the Lord works and just have to have faith", it puts us in a difficult spot.

Free Agent

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If you're implying that women have a pseudo-priestesshood in the temple that's fine. Then the church should say so and also announce the lifting of the ban for black women was by revelation also.

Phaedrus

I implied nothing, my statement was simple and direct. That there may be a relationship that you don't understand. In any case I don't see or acknowledge any need for the Church to "officially" acknowledge the change at all.

-SlackTime

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The fact that the June 1978 change was made without a "common consent" vote of the membership still seems very wrong to me.

I realize that four months later in the October 1978 conference a common consent vote was taken, but asking after the fact is clearly not the same thing.

The ban was based on the revealed truth that we all have Eternal intelligences that were not created out of nothing. God seeks to teach and help each of us, and God is perfectly just, but what we deserve is based on our own efforts-- not on what "idealistically" we should have.

Idealistically, if God had created us out of absolutely nothing, why should any of us not have the very same blessings as others? But it is not God's fault when we disqualify ourselves from blessings, as we are eternal beings, and God does not interfere with our free agency to make choices.

So when it says in Abraham 1:27 Now, Pharaoh being of that lineage by which he could not have the right of Priesthood, notwithstanding the Pharaohs would fain claim it from Noah, through Ham..."

then we have to trust that the reason the this lineage could not have the right of Priesthood was a just reason, based on their eternal choices.

It is hard to give up the notion that we white people are superior and were superior since the pre-existence, isn't it. But the line in Abraham is just not enough to prop up your comfortable arrogance. I know that sounds strong. Forgive me. But EVERYBODY in Pharoah's world who wasn't a Levite was of a lineage that did not have the right of the priesthood. At that point in time God sent the priesthood through this designated lineage only or to specially called prophets. Different periods in the earth's history had different rules for the priesthood. It was Christ himself who opened things up, and the Jews squawked their heads off. They could not imagine filthy Gentiles being allowed the blessings of redemption. It was not easy to change their minds and cultural change did not come easily. In fact, if you study the Jerusalem Council from the Book of Acts, James, the brother of Jesus, who seems to have been the local head of the church for the Jerusalem church, which everyone assumed would be the Headquarters of the new faith, was not welcoming to Gentiles and for a time they were treated like second class citizens in Christ's church. None of the leaders saw what was coming: That Jerusalem would be destroyed and the Jewishness of the early church would wither away, leaving Gentile congregations in charge of the new movement.

So what is new about God not telling us the end from the beginning? I heard Elder Bill Parmley and his wife Shanna Sunday night speak at a fireside about their experiences in Africa. He is serving as the Area President in West Africa, an area that takes in 30 countries. Black Africans are joining the church by the hundreds. There are whole congregations of hundreds of "members" (3 that Bro Parmley knows of) that are conducting themselves as Mormon churches but have no baptized leaders or members. It is too dangerous to send missionaries there. (Angola, D R Congo) We just keep sending them encouragement and literature. The people have great faith and joy in the gospel. They carry their scriptures with them faithfully. Shanna remarked how faithfully they read and study the Book of Mormon. "To see a room full of teenagers earnestly looking up every scriptural reference in a talk, in their dog-eared, well marked scriptures put me to shame." They have just started the first singles ward in Africa in Johanesburg. The enthusiasm is "amazing." The only difference in their meetings is that though the chapel is full, there are only 3 cars in the parking lot. They all walked or took taxis or buses. They love one another and share with each other out of their poverty. They take in whole families of children when relatives die. They showed a slide of a boy named Christian sitting on his bed, a cot, with a huge black suitcase next to him. It filled up the little room that he shared with an orphaned cousin. He had saved for this suitcase, his prized possesion, so that he could take it on his mission.

I could go on and on about the sacrifices these people make to keep all the commandments with exactness and joy. They could not care less about your doubts and questions about the Lord's timing. They need to get going because it takes 45 minutes to walk to their home teaching appointment.

Less valiant in the pre-mortal existence? Ha. Don't look now but someone just passed you on the path up the mountain.

Humbly,

E-A

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Personally, I think the Utah people were so rascist, including many of the pioneers, that practical Brigham took away the priesthood right for the Black people. Joseph had no problem with that. He ordained a Black man a 70.

Utah is still fairly racist. Speaking from personal experience only.

In 1978... 1978!!!!!! people still had a problem with Blacks holding the priesthood. Many people left the Church because of that. They called President Kimball a "fallen prophet".

So, once again, I think that Brigham fuddled up a bit, but lets be honest, would the church have been able to survive if he hadn't? Considering the culture of the 19th century USA west? I think Brigham did what he needed to keep the church going strong. I don't have problem with that, I know lots of Black people who don't have a problem with that. Better a few years of callousness towards our Black brothers and sisters, than the true church falling because of it's American racist brothers and sisters.

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The fact that the June 1978 change was made without a "common consent" vote of the membership still seems very wrong to me.

Maybe we should all vote on who the next prophet should be. And maybe if people were allowed to vote, Blacks would never have gotten the priesthood, considering racism etc., even though God was willing. That is why we have a prophet, and that is why things aren't done by common consent.

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Really? Please show me where section 501c says that. Section 501c Thanks.

My apologies. 501c just lists what kind of groups may qualify for tax exempt status.

501i: Prohibition of discrimination by certain social clubs

Notwithstanding subsection "a", an organization which is described in subsection c7 shall not be exempt from taxation under subsection "a" for any taxable year if, at any time during such taxable year, the charter, bylaws, or other governing instrument, of such organization or any written policy statement of such organization contains a provision which provides for discrimination against any person on the basis of race, color, or religion.

My understanding is that the Church is also considered a social club.

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My apologies. 501c just lists what kind of groups may qualify for tax exempt status.

501i: Prohibition of discrimination by certain social clubs

Notwithstanding subsection "a", an organization which is described in subsection c7 shall not be exempt from taxation under subsection "a" for any taxable year if, at any time during such taxable year, the charter, bylaws, or other governing instrument, of such organization or any written policy statement of such organization contains a provision which provides for discrimination against any person on the basis of race, color, or religion.

My understanding is that the Church is also considered a social club.

See bolded section. If the church is a "social club," it is guilty of this.

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I have heard many times that the Lord does things in "His own due time." Was the lifting of the priesthood ban done in the Lord's own due time, or were outside influences involved?

Are you a male, or are you a person? Are you an atheist, or are you a human?

In case you don't get it (which you probably don't) "either-or" questions that don't use non-intersecting categories are fairly meaningless.

Civil Rights Act? Section 501c of the IRS Code? Huh? My main concern was to get to school with as few zits as possible.

This may explain something. Like why you have such vague notions about these things.

Of course the Church denies any outside influence, but it was in jeopardy of losing its tax-exempt status because 501c forbade discrimination based on race.

Was it indeed? And was there any contemporary evidence of such "jeopardy," or does that only exist retrospectively?

The timing of this "revelation" sure is interesting.

The "timing" of events that lead to the post hoc fallacy is usually "interesting."

Regards,

Pahoran

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