alter idem Posted November 6, 2009 Share Posted November 6, 2009 I didn't want to derail existing threads, so I'm starting another Cain, Blacks and the Priesthood thread (sorry )This is really bothering me because I feel there's got to be bits of truth in this, but I think there is also a lot of error.In trying to understand, I like to start with the scriptures as the basis for 'what we know' and then look at facts or evidence (if there is any) and then consider the statements or writings of others and traditions.Scripture tells us Cain killed Abel and was cursed for the killing.What was the curse? Gen. 4:11-12 'and now art thou cursed from the earth,..when thou tillest the ground, it shall not henceforth yield unto thee her strength; a figuitive and a vagabond shalt though be on the earth." Verse 14 also tells us from God's face would he be hid, clearly a part of the curse. Moses 5:41 gives additional information that "Cain was shut out from the presence of the Lord"When Cain cries that he will be killed for his sin, verse 15 tells us "the Lord set a mark on Cain, lest any finding him should kill him'.Where is the explanation that this 'mark' would be handed down through his descendants? Where is the explanation that this mark was that his skin turned black? This is the first point that a person who wishes to defend the belief that ALL Cain's descendants were black and would pass on this blackness to their children. Can it be proven in scripture? I don't believe it can.Some might cite Moses 7:8 "..the Lord shall curse the land with much heat, and the barrenness thereof shall go forth forever; and there was a blackness came upon all the children of Canaan, that they were despised among all people" There is no mention of them being the descendants of Cain and it says the 'blackness came upon them. There is no connection made between these "children of Canaan" and Cain's descendants and it sounds more like the heat of the land and barrenness was what affected their skin. Is there a basis in scripture for believing Cain's descendants were forbidden the priesthood? I would say the best evidence is in that statement of being 'shut out of the presence of God'--as others I've read have noted, when we enter the temple, we 'enter the presence of God' and so, being forbidden the temple and the ordinances of the Priesthood blessings of the Temple could justify that interpretation. But still, we have not made the connection of Cain to Ham and I do not believe we can.I think some have made the assumption by working backward using what is mentioned in the Book of Abraham and assuming that since they are talking about a 'curse' then this is the same 'curse' that was on Cain. But, there is no scriptural evidence (as I see it) to prove it.We next turn to Canaan(yet there is no mention of Cain; once again, only assumptions). The story of Noah's drunkenness and Ham's disrespect and the subsequent cursing of Canaan, his son. There just is not enough information in the scriptures to explain exactly what happened so all we can do is use what we have. Canaan would suffer for what Ham's wickedness. And the pronouncement was that Canaan's descendants would be the servants to Ham's brothers' descendants. This did happen. Canaan's descendants, the Canaanites (those who weren't killed) were subjugated by the Children of Israel, not to mention the Persians, Romans, etc.It was the story of Canaan that Protestants used to justify slavery. IMO, it was these same protestant beliefs that Brigham Young used to fill in the blanks to justify forbidding Black Africans from holding the priesthood. Why did he do it? He believed he was fulfilling the desire of God, though he never sited a revelation for this, nor could one ever be found. Was he inspired by God in his actions? I do not know. I think there are valid arguments on both sides.Brigham Young believed and taught a number of things on this topic, but many of them were not scriptural. First, he assumed that Cain's descendants were Black Africans. There was no scriptural basis for this belief, only traditions that Cain's seed was preserved through Ham. This was a protestant belief and in reading some scriptures in the Book of Abraham, one could work backward to make assumptions to support this claim--speculation clearly. However, we must face reality. Brigham Young claimed that Cain's descendants would not receive the priesthood until all others' descendants received it and that his lineage was specifically kept from having these blessings. However, as one poster mentioned, an understanding of population Genetics would have helped him realize that this was not possible (See Uncertain's post with accompanying link on the other thread)As his/her post explains, if Cain still had descendants today, that would mean virtually all of us would be Cain's descendants so if a drop of his blood REALLY means no priesthood, then none of us today would be eligible. When Bruce R. McConkie said that he and others spoke with limited knowledge on this subject, he was correct. Brigham Young's knowledge was limited and his explanations for the policy were based on beliefs born during the dark ages of apostasy and to justify slavery. If the ban was approved or appointed by God, then there must have been some other reason for it than what he identified.My belief is that it was 'allowed' by God. IMO, Brigham Young was speaking in hyperbole, not literally when saying Blacks would have to wait. He recognized that one day they would hold the priesthood. I think his establishing the policy had to do with the cultural sensitivities of the majority of members who were products of American/European culture-most of whom at the time were clearly prejudiced. I believe the people were not capable of seeing past the boundaries of race to be a Zion people--and God did not force them to accept a higher standard when clearly they were not capable of it. Like Moses having to veil his face before the Israelites, God would have to suffer the people to enforce their prejudices until they were sufficiently prepared to grow spiritually beyond them--As a people. He must allow for the 'weakest of saints' at times and often we are unable, as a people to enjoy greater knowledge and blessings because we are not at that level yet. Line up line, precept upon precept.Who suffered? The Black's to be sure, and clearly there will be need for repentance and forgiveness on the other side for the suffering and injustice this caused. But the LDS people suffered as well because they limited themselves on the blessings they could have enjoyed. Just think if they'd read the stories of the Nephites and the Lamanites and how they became one righteous people and lost their animosity for eachother..they could have accepted all peoples, rather than worrying about ethnicity and limiting the blessings of the gospel by their cultural prejudices. Just think of what could have been.... We today in the church aren't getting a pass for their choices either..we are still dealing with the fall out from the consequences of the past. But Heavenly father has infinite patience and he knows we learn and grow spiritually from our failings as well as our triumphs. Link to comment
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