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Which explanation for the Priesthood Ban makes the most sense?


cinepro

  

27 members have voted

  1. 1. Which, to your mind, is the least absurd explanation for the Priesthood ban?

    • Some factor from the pre-mortal existence determined that certain spirits, once placed in mortal bodies, could not have the Priesthood after ~1850 and until 1978.
      3
    • Some ancient action caused God to place a curse on a certain people, and their modern descendants could not have the priesthood until 1978.
      7
    • There is another more logical explanation that still maintains the divine origin of the ban.
      17


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Over the years, supporters of the "divine theory" for the origin of the Priesthood Ban on black members of the Church (including female members not being able to attend the Temple or be married therein) have generally drifted towards two different theories. One explanation involves a curse brought upon a race because of the actions of an ancient ancestor. The other involves theorizing about unknown events in the pre-mortal existence being the cause.

It's my impression that both of these theories are untenable.

The ancient ancestor theory doesn't work based on population genetics. Namely, the intermingling of peoples would cause such a curse to quickly spread throughout the entire world (with the exception of totally isolated tribes). Thousands of years later, the "blood" of the cursed race would run through the veins of just about everyone alive.

The "pre-mortal curse" seems unlikely based on the way the ban was implemented and removed. The most logical way to "ban" someone from the priesthood is to send them to Earth in a location and era where there is no priesthood to begin with. If race is a spiritual characteristic, then it seems odd that the specific spirits who were effected by the ban (i.e. joined the Church after 1850 and died before 1978) were also those same spirits meant to be banned from the priesthood. If race isn't a spiritual characteristic, then it is interesting that God chose the black African race to be signifiers of the ban at precisely the same time those people would be facing tremendous persecution.

So I'm curious, in the absence of any authoritative (and still valid) doctrine on the subject, which of the two explanation do people think is the most logical and least problematic from a logistical perspective?

And for either, please explain how Joseph Smith's ordination of Elijah Abel fits into the theory. Was he an exception (i.e. he was a spirit mistakenly placed in a black body but still worthy of the curse, but no subsequent people could be exceptions)?

Or is there another theory for the divine origin that makes more sense (other than "I have faith that God commanded it, we just don't know why...")?

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I would like to explain or give some background of the reasons of the rationale for my vote for item 3. As I see it, God has some attributes that we should either know or intuitively expect from a being that is all powerful and is described as personifying love. Among those would be that:

God loves all of His children here on earth.

He is not a respecter of persons, in other words, He loves us all equally.

He wants us to be successful and happy.

He knows more about what we need than we do.

God has a plan, and we don't necessarily know or understand all of the nuances of that plan.

God knows how to be very successful in bringing his children back, and He will be very successful in His endeavors.

I watched a talk by Thurl Bailey once where he talked about how he prayed about it. It's hard to remember his comments exactly, but he indicated that the answer as it came to him was along the lines that it just wasn't time. What I came up with through my own studying it out, pondering, etc. was similar. Basically all parties involved were just not ready for it to happen yet. I believe, in part, that Martin Luther King and some others were most likely inspired leaders, it was no accident that they were there at just the right time, and it was necessary for blacks to rise up in the 60s and proclaim their freedom and equal place before it would be able to happen. In other words, the timing had to be right, and in 1978 it was. I see divine wisdom in it. I think it's just one more something of the anything that the enemies of the Church will try to use against us; in other words, it's a fake reason(that's what makes them rationalizations) to rationalize their rejection of a gospel that expects the best of us and to avoid the discomfort of change.

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I do believe it is not so much the African Americans; it is more to do with some of the mormons were not ready to accept blacks into the priesthood. I don't believe that God will make a commandant or change unless we are ready for it. And I do also believe that God deals with each generation with their own needs.

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We don't know why God has kept the priesthood within only certain groups all throughout history. It has been His pattern since the beginning.

But consider this: IF the priesthood had been given to Blacks in the 1800s, would the Church have survived? Other religions of that era kept Blacks in their own congregations. There were white Baptists and black Baptists, yet they did not worship together. The LDS Church never segregated races in their congregations. As far as I know, black members worshipped along side white members, or am I wrong here?

The LDS Church was struggling to get its foothold with plenty of resistance and persecution, and if it had extended priesthood leadership positions to black members, perhaps that would have brought the final crushing blow of public outrage. God sometimes lets time heal prejudices, meaning letting the old mindsets die out, before introducing new concepts. Kind of like letting the old religious falsehoods die out behind the iron curtain, so that the new generation would be ready to hear the truth when the iron curtain opened up again. After the reforms of the 60s, our society was finally ready to accept Blacks as equals in the 70s.

Am I making sense? I'm not sure.pardon.gif

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I do believe it is not so much the African Americans; it is more to do with some of the mormons were not ready to accept blacks into the priesthood. I don't believe that God will make a commandant or change unless we are ready for it. And I do also believe that God deals with each generation with their own needs.

Except that He commanded polygamy without batting an eye. The saints were required to live that, and MANY of them had an extremely difficult time with it.

Why shouldn't we expect that God would command all the saints to accept the negros as full sons and daughters of God? Would this have been any more difficult to live than polygamy?? I say no.

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Over the years, supporters of the "divine theory" for the origin of the Priesthood Ban on black members of the Church (including female members not being able to attend the Temple or be married therein) have generally drifted towards two different theories. One explanation involves a curse brought upon a race because of the actions of an ancient ancestor. The other involves theorizing about unknown events in the pre-mortal existence being the cause.

Here is what I would say about this.

Didn't God create the races in the first place?

Are we to think that He did just for the heck of it, or did he have a reason for do so?

Are we just placed where we are when born to earth randomly or is there a reason?

Wouldn't those reasons be for our advantage and for the overall advantage toward the successful ends of God's plan?

Are we all the same when we come to earth or are we already well developed in our personalities, strengths, weaknesses to some degree? -As a parent that has had several children, I know that they are their own individualities.

Do all things come to good for God? Does that mean curses, too? -or would God's curses in effect be for our benefit in the long run?

Could the thing that is called a curse, in actually be a blessing? Think about it; if you hold the priesthood, aren't there times when you think it would be easier if you didn't have that responsibility? Could it actually be that limiting certain souls from holding the priesthood for a time could have been a protection? Remember that for hundreds of years all races were not afforded holding the priesthood, and, even in prior dispensations, there were limitations as to who and how they could hold the priesthood.

Surely, there are many things that we could or should take into consideration when considering this.

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Except that He commanded polygamy without batting an eye. The saints were required to live that, and MANY of them had an extremely difficult time with it.

Why shouldn't we expect that God would command all the saints to accept the negros as full sons and daughters of God? Would this have been any more difficult to live than polygamy?? I say no.

Having an extremely difficult time with something doesn't make it wrong. Life is extremely difficult; maybe God should have just left it out.

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We don't know why God has kept the priesthood within only certain groups all throughout history. It has been His pattern since the beginning.

But consider this: IF the priesthood had been given to Blacks in the 1800s, would the Church have survived? Other religions of that era kept Blacks in their own congregations. There were white Baptists and black Baptists, yet they did not worship together. The LDS Church never segregated races in their congregations. As far as I know, black members worshipped along side white members, or am I wrong here?

The LDS Church was struggling to get its foothold with plenty of resistance and persecution, and if it had extended priesthood leadership positions to black members, perhaps that would have brought the final crushing blow of public outrage. God sometimes lets time heal prejudices, meaning letting the old mindsets die out, before introducing new concepts. Kind of like letting the old religious falsehoods die out behind the iron curtain, so that the new generation would be ready to hear the truth when the iron curtain opened up again. After the reforms of the 60s, our society was finally ready to accept Blacks as equals in the 70s.

Am I making sense? I'm not sure.pardon.gif

Very Good. I think that goes along with what I said, but I am not here to write a book, if you know what I mean. The Church had a hard enough time already being seen as abolitionists. I guess God is smarter than people apparently give Him credit for.

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Having an extremely difficult time with something doesn't make it wrong. Life is extremely difficult; maybe God should have just left it out.

I never said anything about it being right or wrong.

One would think that God would either suspend polygamy because "the people weren't ready", just as He didn't give blacks the priesthood, OR make the saints accept that blacks are equal children in His eyes and accept them. No more of a trial than accepting polygamy.

But the argument that God withheld the priesthood because it would have been too hard on the saints is worthless. We've seen quite plainly that God doesn't care 2 bits about how hard His followers have it. You obey Him and His arbitrary commandments, or suffer His wrath. End of story.

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Except that He commanded polygamy without batting an eye. The saints were required to live that, and MANY of them had an extremely difficult time with it.

I don't know if He batted an eye, but I agree with you here. You'd think accepting Blacks would have been a cake walk compared to polygamy. But I tend to project my thinking into everyone else, and that's not always wise.

Why shouldn't we expect that God would command all the saints to accept the negros as full sons and daughters of God? Would this have been any more difficult to live than polygamy?? I say no.

But what about the antis? It would have given them all the more fuel to feed their hatred.

Since all we know about the reasoning for plural marriage was the fulfillment of all things or IOW to complete the restoration, I can see reasons why it had to happen when it did. But Blacks were denied priesthood blessings for only a couple of generations which can relatively quickly be compensated for through family history work. So I think God stayed the revelation to include Blacks, to give the Church time to become strong and well established and to give society time to change its mindset.

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Here is what I would say about this.

Didn't God create the races in the first place?

Are we to think that He did just for the heck of it, or did he have a reason for do so?

Whether or not God "created" racial distinctions, why would race be any more meaningful than eye color or left-handedness when determining differences between people?

Would the priesthood ban make any less sense if it were enacted only against people with freckles? Or people with detached earlobes?

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But what about the antis? It would have given them all the more fuel to feed their hatred.

If God were worried about what the anti's might do, He wouldn't have enacted polygamy.

Since all we know about the reasoning for plural marriage was the fulfillment of all things or IOW to complete the restoration, I can see reasons why it had to happen when it did. But Blacks were denied priesthood blessings for only a couple of generations which can relatively quickly be compensated for through family history work. So I think God stayed the revelation to include Blacks, to give the Church time to become strong and well established and to give society time to change its mindset.

You believe that the restoration was complete pre-1978? I would think that giving the priesthood to all worthy males would be a prerequisite for a complete restoration.

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I wish you had added "other" as an option.

Same here, I'm not going to answer it; I think think of better ones then this.

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One would think that God would either suspend polygamy because "the people weren't ready", just as He didn't give blacks the priesthood, OR make the saints accept that blacks are equal children in His eyes and accept them. No more of a trial than accepting polygamy.

But the Saints were in fact ready to accept plural marriage. It didn't destroy the Church. In fact, an argument can be made that it greatly strengthened it.
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I never said anything about it being right or wrong.

One would think that God would either suspend polygamy because "the people weren't ready", just as He didn't give blacks the priesthood, OR make the saints accept that blacks are equal children in His eyes and accept them. No more of a trial than accepting polygamy.

But the argument that God withheld the priesthood because it would have been too hard on the saints is worthless.

I'm with you so far.

We've seen quite plainly that God doesn't care 2 bits about how hard His followers have it. You obey Him and His arbitrary commandments, or suffer His wrath. End of story.

How did you arrive at this conclusion?

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Whether or not God "created" racial distinctions, why would race be any more meaningful than eye color or left-handedness when determining differences between people?

Would the priesthood ban make any less sense if it were enacted only against people with freckles? Or people with detached earlobes?

Actually your point is well taken. A distinction that would provide identification would have been needed. In this case, i suspect there was probably a symbolic purpose.

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I chose the last option. Although it, too, is absurd, it is the LEAST absurd of the three. A much more plausible explanation is that the ban was not devine at all. JS had it right and BY's racial prejudices caused BY to get it wrong. Continuing racial prejudice, combined with irrational fear of the consequences of declaring BY to be in error, combined to perpetuate the ban until it was removed in 1978. Even then, Spencer W. Kimball did it very creatively, avoiding any admission that the ban was wrong.

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A much more plausible explanation is that the ban was not devine at all. JS had it right and BY's racial prejudices caused BY to get it wrong. Continuing racial prejudice, combined with irrational fear of the consequences of declaring BY to be in error, combined to perpetuate the ban until it was removed in 1978. Even then, Spencer W. Kimball did it very creatively, avoiding any admission that the ban was wrong.

So I guess you were sitting on on all those meetings of the apostles where they discussed the ban, and heard them saying that they couldn't lift it because it would declare Brother Brigham to have been wrong?

By the way, this is a stupid poll.

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If God were worried about what the anti's might do, He wouldn't have enacted polygamy.

I certainly see your point. But it was vital that the Church be successful, since this is the last dispensation, and possibly the inclusion of Blacks at that time, would have destroyed it. Polygamy nearly did, and finally it was ended before the Church went under.

You believe that the restoration was complete pre-1978? I would think that giving the priesthood to all worthy males would be a prerequisite for a complete restoration.

I don't really know. Was the Church complete during Christ's and the Apostles' time? I don't think the priesthood was available to all males then. I think the restoration meant that all the keys and rights of the priesthood were restored to the earth. So the priesthood keys were here, but not yet available to all. That's my best guess.

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All evidence seems to point out that the ban came from the personal opinions of Brigham Young and his contemporaries of a like mind, not from Joseph Smith and not from God.

"Other" would really bethe best option and I am in complete agreement with Semlogo above. For some unexplained reason after Blacks had been ordained BY created a new policy tha affected our African brothers and sisters for the next 100+ years.

As far as the two proposed reasons stated , neither is correct and both are in error.

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