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Should the Church "retire" the Pearl of Great Price?


kamenraider

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Moses 7:22 And Enoch also beheld the residue of the people which were the sons of Adam; and they were a mixture of all the seed of Adam save it was the seed of Cain, for the seed of Cain were black, and had not place among them.

(Joseph Smith, the translator of this passage, seems to have understood "black" to mean "negro", for he equated the two in History of the Church, Vol. 4, pg. 501: "Tuesday, 25.â??Signed deeds for lots, to Law; transacted a variety of business in the city and office. In the evening debated with John C. Bennett and others to show that the Indians have greater cause to complain of the treatment of the whites, than the negroes, or sons of Cain.")

So, do you think the Church should put the Pearl of Great Price out to pasture? I recognize there is much good in the book, but are there not better resources for modern LDS to find the "good" stuff without promoting the dissemination of racist doctrine in the process?

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(Joseph Smith, the translator of this passage, seems to have understood "black" to mean "negro", for he equated the two in History of the Church, Vol. 4, pg. 501: "Tuesday, 25.â??Signed deeds for lots, to Law; transacted a variety of business in the city and office. In the evening debated with John C. Bennett and others to show that the Indians have greater cause to complain of the treatment of the whites, than the negroes, or sons of Cain.")

So, do you think the Church should put the Pearl of Great Price out to pasture? I recognize there is much good in the book, but are there not better resources for modern LDS to find the "good" stuff without promoting the dissemination of racist doctrine in the process?

I hope you're not equating Pearl of Great Price with the Book of Moses. The Pearl of Great Price includes much more than that, as I'm sure you're aware.

But to answer your question, no, the Church should absolutely not "retire" a sacred book of scripture, written and translated under direct inspiration by a prophet of God.

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But to answer your question, no, the Church should absolutely not "retire" a sacred book of scripture, written and translated under direct inspiration by a prophet of God.

Amen!

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So, do you think the Church should put the Pearl of Great Price out to pasture?

It would be a good start.

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I hope you're not equating Pearl of Great Price with the Book of Moses. The Pearl of Great Price includes much more than that, as I'm sure you're aware.

But to answer your question, no, the Church should absolutely not "retire" a sacred book of scripture, written and translated under direct inspiration by a prophet of God.

I absolutely agree with this.

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I hope you're not equating Pearl of Great Price with the Book of Moses. The Pearl of Great Price includes much more than that, as I'm sure you're aware.

...

Like the Book of Abraham?

Abraham 1:21-27

21 Now this king of Egypt was a descendant from the loins of Ham, and was a partaker of the blood of the Canaanites by birth.

22 From this descent sprang all the Egyptians, and thus the blood of the Canaanites was preserved in the land.

23 The land of Egypt being first discovered by a woman, who was the daughter of Ham, and the daughter of Egyptus, which in the Chaldean signifies Egypt, which signifies that which is forbidden;

24 When this woman discovered the land it was under water, who afterward settled her sons in it; and thus, from Ham, sprang that race which preserved the curse in the land.

25 Now the first government of Egypt was established by Pharaoh, the eldest son of Egyptus, the daughter of Ham, and it was after the manner of the government of Ham, which was patriarchal.

26 Pharaoh, being a righteous man, established his kingdom and judged his people wisely and justly all his days, seeking earnestly to imitate that order established by the fathers in the first generations, in the days of the first patriarchal reign, even in the reign of Adam, and also of Noah, his father, who blessed him with the blessings of the earth, and with the blessings of wisdom, but cursed him as pertaining to the Priesthood.

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, therefore my father was led away by their idolatry;

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Enoch didn't even bother to call upon the Canaanites to repent:

What a righteous racist guy!

Enoch did as God commanded him, and I find your self-righteous judgment of one of the Lord's prophets to be slightly offensive.

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So, do you think the Church should put the Pearl of Great Price out to pasture?

Of course not.

I recognize there is much good in the book, but are there not better resources for modern LDS to find the "good" stuff without promoting the dissemination of racist doctrine in the process?

What is racist about saying the seed of Cain were black? It's simply a fact being presented.

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In case you guys haven't noticed, this thread happens to bear a resemblance to cinepro's thread about retiring McConkie's book Mormon Doctrine, and I'm being facetious in suggesting this in order to make a point. My point is that if we're proposing to get rid of all the racist ideas, we might want to get rid of a few passages of scripture as well.

Which reminds me -- if we're going to retire the Pearl of Great Price, including the Book of Moses, then we may as well retire the rest of the JST too:

JST Gen. 9:30. And he said, Blessed be the Lord God of Shem; and Canaan shall be his servant, and a veil of darkness shall cover him, that he shall be known among all men.
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(Joseph Smith, the translator of this passage, seems to have understood "black" to mean "negro", for he equated the two in History of the Church, Vol. 4, pg. 501: "Tuesday, 25.â??Signed deeds for lots, to Law; transacted a variety of business in the city and office. In the evening debated with John C. Bennett and others to show that the Indians have greater cause to complain of the treatment of the whites, than the negroes, or sons of Cain.")

So, do you think the Church should put the Pearl of Great Price out to pasture? I recognize there is much good in the book, but are there not better resources for modern LDS to find the "good" stuff without promoting the dissemination of racist doctrine in the process?

you are joking right? If not do you think we should also retire the Book of Mormon, the Bible and Doctrine & Covenents too?

Again I just love it when someone thinks they are wise enough to tell God what he should do.

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In case you guys haven't noticed, this thread happens to bear a resemblance to cinepro's thread about retiring McConkie's book Mormon Doctrine, and I'm being facetious in suggesting this in order to make a point. My point is that if we're proposing to get rid of all the racist ideas, we might want to get rid of a few passages of scripture as well.

Which reminds me -- if we're going to retire the Pearl of Great Price, including the Book of Moses, then we may as well retire the rest of the JST too:

Your comparison was lost on me. Cinepro's point was more valid (although I disagreed with him). "Retiring" Elder McConkie's Mormon Doctrine is not comparable to "retiring" part of the Standard Works.

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I hope you're not equating Pearl of Great Price with the Book of Moses. The Pearl of Great Price includes much more than that, as I'm sure you're aware.

But to answer your question, no, the Church should absolutely not "retire" a sacred book of scripture, written and translated under direct inspiration by a prophet of God.

Couldn't agree more with this! If we start taking things out of the Scriptures because the world doesn't want to accept them, how do we differ from "mainstream" Christianity?

I've always parsed references like the "offensive" one and similar as referring to spiritual darkness/blackness, not to skin. I'm pretty sure I've even seen doctrinal commentary that supports that.

(Note: PoGP is one of my favorite parts of the Scriptures, but I even feel that way about the military history portions of the Book of Mormon and some of the stuff in Leviticus and Numbers that doesn't seem relevant to our time. I'm sure there's a good reason for it to be in there.)

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Your comparison was lost on me. Cinepro's point was more valid (although I disagreed with him). "Retiring" Elder McConkie's Mormon Doctrine is not comparable to "retiring" part of the Standard Works.

Elder McConkie's Mormon Doctrine is heavily based on the standard works, including the ideas that are thought of as racist folklore and as having originated with Brigham Young, such as the "Curse of Cain."

There was nothing really "un-Mormon" about McConkie publishing these ideas in Mormon Doctrine.

LDS Missionaries were using the same passages of scripture from the Pearl of Great Price that Elder McConkie quoted in Mormon Doctrine in the "Lineage Lesson" that they taught in missions with large black populations like Brazil and Puerto Rico:

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An English translation:

LINEAGE LESSON

Brazil North Mission

December, 1970

After confirming the prior commitments with the investigator, continue on with the following dialogue. We have explained some marvelous teachings of the gospel and of the Church of Jesus Christ. One very important principle of the Church of Jesus Christ is that it is always guided by revelation. Letâ??s read what Christ said about revelation in his church. Read Matthew 16:15-17.

According to verse 17, how is it that Peter knew that Christ was the son of God?

-Response-

Yes, Peter received revelation from God. Until that date men said that Christ was John the Baptist, or Jeremiah, or some other prophet. But what did Peter receive that gave him a certainty while others were wrong?

-Response-

Exactly. Revelation is so important that Christ himself explained that his Church would be built on the principle of revelation. Do you want to read verse 18? Do you think that Christ would build His eternal church around a mortal man?

-Response-

A church founded or dependent on Peter or any other man would be the church of Peter or the church of some other man. But whose is the church that Christ organized?

-Response-

In this verse Christ is speaking about something eternal on which he built his church. And this is the same eternal principle mentioned in verse 17. What principle is this?

-Response-

1. The Church of Jesus Christ is built on the rock of revelation.

Exactly. Christ explained to his apostles that He built His Church on the rock of revelation. In your opinion, Brother Nunes, what is revelation?

-Response-

We can say, then, that revelation is communication between God and his servants on the earth. And why is revelation so important?

-Response-

Lets read Acts 13:2-3. How were Barnabas and Paul called to the ministry?

-Response-

Lets look at another example of revelation in the primitive church. In the first days of the church the gospel was preached only to the Jews. However, Peter had a dream in which he was ordered to go and preach to the family of the gentiles. This caused some conflicts in the church, but when Peter explained that he had been ordered by God to preach to the gentiles, the Church accepted this new teaching. Why did they accept this teaching?

-Response-

Then, on what principle was the Primitive Church founded and guided?

-Response

Then, by what principle was the Primitive Church founded and guided?

2. All that the Church does and teaches is by revelation.

When the Church was restored, who was called by God to receive revelation for the Church?

-Response-

But after the prophet Joseph Smith was martyred, could it be that the Church was to continue without divine guidance?

-Response-

Since that time of Joseph Smith there have always been prophets on the earth. As God said in Amos 3:7, â??Surely the Lord God will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets.â? Thus, what does God do when he has something to reveal to the Church today?

-Response-

3. Revelation from God for the Church comes through the prophet.

I know that today we have a true prophet, and that he is guided by God. Now, in the scriptures we see that Barnabas and Paul were called by revelation to receive the priesthood. Brother Nunes, in your opinion, what is the priesthood?

-Response-

Speaking about the priesthood, Paul said: â??And no man taketh this honor unto himself, but he that is called of God, as was Aaron.â? (Heb. 5:4) Lets return and see how Aaron was called. Here in Exodus 28:1 God was speaking about the prophet Moses. Read Exodus 28:1. According to this scripture, how was Aaron called?

-Response-

And still today, Brother Nunes, why do all men have to be called by revelation to receive the priesthood?

-Response-

4. A man must be called by God through revelation to receive the priesthood.

As you already know, worth men in the Church after 12 years of age are called to receive the priesthood. And by what principle are they called?

-Response-

If a man was called by inspiration to receive the priesthood, should he accept this call?

-Response-

If you are called by a servant of God to receive the priesthood, will you accept this responsibility and blessing?

-Response-

5. If I am called I will accept the priesthood.

Anciently, it was revealed who could receive the priesthood. We already read about Barnabas, Paul, 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? What does verse 27 say about Pharaoh and the priesthood.

-Response-

Exactly, Brother Nunes. Pharaoh was a descendant of people who could not receive the priesthood. Lets examine this lineage to learn its origin. Are you acquainted with the story of Abel and Cain?

-Response-

Lets read this story in the Bible. Read Genesis 4:8-15. Cain and his descendants received a mark that distinguished them from all other peoples. This people, the descendants of Cain, for reasons not completely known to men, do not have the right to the priesthood. For example, it was revealed to Abraham that Pharaoh, being from this so called lineage of Cain, could not receive the priesthood. Brother Nunes, we have seen that Aaron, Barnabas, Paul, and others receive the priesthood because they were called by God by revelation. In the same manner, why have the prophets not given the priesthood to the lineage of Cain?

-Response-

In order to understand the mark put on Cain and to understand how the prophets distinguish this lineage, lets read Moses 7:22. Read Moses 7:22. How was this lineage distinguished from the others?

-Response-

And concerning the priesthood, why was this group or this lineage different?

-Response-

6. God revealed anciently that the lineage of Cain could not receive the priesthood.

In order to understand what God revealed about this people today, we need to go to the modern prophets. Do you want to read the underlined part of this pamphlet? Read the following part from the letter of the First Presidency published in the â??Priesthood Bulletin.â? Vol6. No. 1 - February 1970. â??Since the beginning of this dispensation, Joseph Smith and all of the successive presidents of the Church have taught that the Negroes, while spiritual children of a common Father, and descendants of our earthly parents Adam and Eve, still cannot receive the Priesthood, for reasons that we believe are known to God, but which He has not made completely known to men.â? What does this say there about the Negroes and the priesthood?

-Response-

Exactly. Negroes that honestly seek the truth and desire to join the church can be baptized. However, why does the Church not confer the Priesthood on them?

-Response-

7. God revealed that Negroes still cannot receive the priesthood.

For this reason the priesthood is not actively preached to the lineage of Cain. The prophets have told us to preach the gospel to those that have the right to the priesthood. But lets read what god said about the Negroes in the future. Read the following paragraph from the letter of the First Presidency: â??President McKay also said that â??One day in the eternal plan of God, the Negro will be given the right to possess the Priesthood.â??â? What did the prophet say about the Negroes and the priesthood?

-Response

I know that this is true. And when that time comes, how will we know?

-Response-

8. In the future when it is revealed by God, Negroes will receive the priesthood.

Doe you accept that teaching that God revealed his will concerning his priesthood to his prophets, Mr. Nunes?

-Response-

Good, I know that this is the truth and that God really guides and directs the Church through modern revelation. Now, Mr. Nunes, do you know if any of your ancestors were Negro or descendants of Negroes?

-Response-

If in the future you discover that one of your ancestors was Negro will you tell your Branch President?

-Response-

If this happened do you think you would remain firm and faithful to the church and your covenants with God?

-Response

First Presidency Letter

From The First Presidency, February, 1970

A word of explanation with respect to the position of the Church:

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has as its origin, existence and hope for the future, the principle of continuing revelation. â??We believe in all that God has revealed, in all that He now reveals, and we believe the He will yet reveal many great and important things pertaining to the Kingdom of God.â?

Since the beginning of this dispensation, Joseph Smith and all of the succeeding presidents of the Church have taught that the Negroes, while spirit children of a common Father, and descendants of our earthly parents, Adam and Eve, still cannot receive the Priesthood, for reasons that we believe are known to God, but that He has not made fully known to mankind.

President David O. McKay, always repeated that â??The apparent discrimination of the Church against the Negro is not something that originated with man; but has itâ??s origin with Godâ?¦

â??The revelation assures us that this plan existed before the mortal existence of men, extending their state from the pre-existence.â?

Until God reveals His will on this subject, to him to who we support as a prophet, we are subjected to His very will. The Priesthood, when conferred on any man, it is received as a blessing from God, not from men.

Our feelings are exclusively those of love, compassion, and a more profound appreciation for the rich talents, endowments and the fervent efforts of our Negro brothers. We are anxious to share with men of all races the blessings of the Gospel. We do not have congregations that are racially segregated. If we were leaders of an undertaking created by ourselves and operated only according to our earthly wisdom, it would be a very simple thing to act according to the desires of the people. However, we believe that this work is guided by God and that the giving of the Priesthood should wait his revelation. To act in any other fashion would be to negate the very premise upon which the Church is established.

... If we start taking things out of the Scriptures because the world doesn't want to accept them, how do we differ from "mainstream" Christianity?

...

A very good question. We don't even need to take things out though if we can reinterpret them, and rewrite history to our liking.

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Elder McConkie's Mormon Doctrine is heavily based on the standard works, including the ideas that are thought of as racist folklore and as having originated with Brigham Young, such as the "Curse of Cain."

So? The comparison is still not valid. The fact is, the Book of Moses is revelation from God. Elder McConkie's book is not. Calling for the retirement of a doctrinal book and calling for the retirement of sacred scripture are not the same thing.

There was nothing really "un-Mormon" about McConkie publishing these ideas in Mormon Doctrine.

I never said there was. I have little doubt that Elder McConkie's published views reflected the standard consensus on the issue.

LDS Missionaries were using the same passages of scripture from the Pearl of Great Price that Elder McConkie quoted in Mormon Doctrine in the "Lineage Lesson" that they taught in missions with large black populations like Brazil and Puerto Rico:

I'm not especially concerned with what missionaries may have previously taught using the scriptures. The simple fact remains that the Book of Moses, as well as the rest of the Pearl of Great Price, was inspired by God. I would never call for the "retirement" of any of God's word.

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My opinion is that Joseph Smith said these books are revelations from God. Therefore, the prophetic mantle of Joseph Smith rests on the truthfulness of these books, as well as the other translations and prophecies that were given. Therefore, if we toss out even part of them as being false, we are pretty much admitting that Joseph wasn't a prophet. I think for this reason we can never eliminate the PoGP from the canon. Even with all the problems, we have to find a way to explain them. I think Nibley did a pretty good job.

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