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The Underlying Principles For Mark E Petersen's Address


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I made a promise to respond to Bobbieaware, but before I could the thread was closed. I generally like to keep my word.

 

For everyone, this thread is not about how the church should apologize or not. It’s also not about whether they disavowed the ban or not. Both of these were hashed out through several pages and more than a few personal slights, and I’m not interested in this for this thread.

 

The overarching theme of this can be found in this quote from Bobbie:

 

Putting controversy aside, I'm wondering how many here can go along with Elder Peterson's central premise: that the degree of faithfulness and valiance to God"s will one demonstrates in the preexistence has a direct affect on one's circumstances and opportunities in this life, and in the same way the degree of faithfulness and valiance to God's will one demonstrates in this life will have a direct affect on the circumstances and opportunities he will have after the resurrection?

A way to restate the same premise is to say that since there were some spirits who proved to ne noble and great in the pre-earth life, this fact necessarily indicates there were other spirits in the pre-earth life who were lress noble and not as great -- hence the disparity of circumstances and opportunities observed in this life; and as a natural corollary to this principle it can be said our post-resurrection lives will be affected by how faithful and valiant we are to God's will in this life.

Speaking of the above concept. the Lord has said our works follow us from one life into the next. In eastern religion, this process of reaping what one sows as one passes from one phase of existence to another is called karma. And though this concept is Mormonism 101. problems will inevitably occur if anyone ever dares to use real-life examples of the disparities among individuals and peoples to demonstrate how the principle is manifested in real-life.

 

 

Emphases mine. Basically throughout several responses to questions Bobbie proposed that Petersons “central premise” is still valid. My concern with this, and what I will propose is that one can’t have a premise without acknowledging the implications to see its actual validity. In Gospel language this would be following the whole “by their fruits ye shall know them” but towards ideas, not necessarily people. It should also follow the idea of what is “of God inviteth and enticeth to do good continually” which is defined as “to do good, to love God, and to serve him” we know that a large part of loving God is to love our neighbors and serve our fellow man. At the core of Bobbie and my disagreement is probably a fundamental emphasis on God Himself. Bobbie described Him as a “chastening God” I feel that I would describe him as ultimately a loving God. Of course I don’t think Bobbie nor I would say these are exclusionary descriptors, but I think these emphases are fundamental in this.  

 

My basic concern is that the only way this works is if we don’t think too long about the real-life implications. Bobbie, for her part, seemed to work to not focus on this. The issues Petersen was specifically addressing were labeled as “controversy,” “unpleasant,” “indelicate” and by our days standards “insensitive.” Part of this more gently wording is probably based on your (Bobbie) desire to not “speak ill of the Lord’s anointed.” But these labels mask a simple fact: the underlying principles in Petersen’s address were used to justify racism, mild xenophobia, and interracial marriage as a sin. Now, I don’t know Petersen and never will in this life. I’m sure, in many respects he was a good apostle and a good man. I also believe, like many/most people of his era, he held racist beliefs. I do not consider this speaking evil, because I don’t think Petersen as a flat character where racist = person working desperately to perpetuate evil and hate against another group. It simply means viewing one race as somehow better than the next. And that Petersen certainly believed.

 

The only way the core principle is taught remains okay is if the implications remain blurry and abstracted. When it is applied to actual people it becomes, as Bobbie put it “emotionally charged,” "hard sayings," etc. In fact, over time I got the feeling that focusing on the implications was just unpalatable for one reason or another. But that’s the thing, what makes this “hard” isn’t some form of profound truth, but because the implications will always err to the side of promoting a hierarchical view of humanity based on our social circumstances. It is a principle I tie with ideas that the Pharisees enjoyed promoting…this idea that there are unclean groups. It also goes against the revelation given to Peter where he learns that god is “no respector of persons” and that what “God hath cleansed, that call not thou common.” It gives justification for separation of different categories of people (as strongly highlighted throughout Petersen’s address) and subsequently antithetical to the overarching desire of God to make a people with “any manner of –ites” That were “in one” and have all things in common. At the very least it begs the question “what were you really, before this life” when met with any degree of trial or socially derived category of lesser than. Real life examples of disparities may include race, class, family situation, nationality, origin-of-birth, gender etc. This fosters in us a platform for justification for maintain inequitable systems, our own natural leeriness toward others different from us, and a blindness to our own faults or part in maintaining these inequalities. Because in the end, these social derivatives become something more than man-made, but God breathed….and what God creates have some form of eternal/natural resonance. Fighting this would be like fighting gravity…we can work to alleviate some of the symptoms but you can’t really change the way nature works. Such an idea would make it almost fatalistic to serve certain men, women, and children…because at the end of the day they need to repent of their past live’s failures. I’ve tried to think of positive implications to this, but honestly they’re few in numbers. A greater “clarity” or “profound truths” is apparently what Bobbie is aiming toward, but honestly I am quite underwhelmed by its spiritual depth. To me spiritual depth expands our appreciation of a Loving God and a people in total union one with the other and between our Father.

 

This is also why I began asking very specific questions. Not because I was emotionally charged, but to point out the fatal flaw to this idea….it only works if it remains in the abstract. It’s real-world implications speak wrong once you apply it to actual people. These “problems aren’t based on the emotional state of the people or using trigger words that have been deemed evil by our society that have largely moved past the beliefs expressed by Petersen. It’s simply because they are untrue.    

 

Now for the nitty gritty points where Bobbie answered 4 questions that I asked of her. I’ll try not to be repetitive and just answer things that I feel weren’t covered above. Bobbie if there was a point in your answers that you feel still needs addressing feel free to bring it up and I will try to answer from my perspective (see coming posts).

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My question: 1. Do you think I, because of my ancestry will only obtain the level of servant in the CK?

Bobbie’s answers (in full here):

After the 1978 revelation, the answer to your question is no; before the 1978 revelation, the informed answer to your question would be "I don't know.” If you will go back and read Elder Petersen's speech, you will see that toward the end of it he quotes Heber C Kimball who said he believed that one day the Lord would remover the priesthood ban and that those Church members formerly under the ban would one day be entitled to full exaltation in the celestial kingdom. So if you will carefully reread the speech you will plainly see that in 1954 the now reviled (among some members of this board) prophet of God, Mark E. Petersen, admitted at that time he didn't know, one way or the other, if those under the priesthood ban would ever see the day when they would have the opportunity to receive full exaltation -- but he definitely held out that hope as a possibility!

 

 

First, I don’t see how a decade could make a difference to whether or not my soul would be at best destined for a role as servant. If souls are eternal, 10 years shouldn’t make a difference. My issue with this response is that it feels like our arbitrary sense of time can effect the capacity of eternal souls/destinies. Petersen did state I don’t know, but his undertone was don’t assume it will. And he did have a choice. Today there are still people who will never receive the fullness of the Gospel and its ordinances in this life by no choice of their own. This is why we do temple work in the first place and will continue to for a long time to come: to leave this opportunity open to all the may be willing to receive it. Today, those who died pre-78 do not have a hold on their celestial capacities. So I, as a daughter of God who follows the Lord and hopes to “overcome all things” should have no blessing arrested or in question, simply by the year that I was born.  

Like it or not, unpleasant or not, what follows is what informed Elder Petersen to say what he said in his controversial speech. Please thoughtfully read and digest what the Lord says...

(D&C 138-15-18)

 

I know where the term comes from, what I’m missing, scripturally, is the steps that notify race and ancestral pedigree as qualifiers to this. These, from what I can tell, arent’ actually scriptural but based on the prejudices and finding reasons to a policy that people had forgotten how it was put in place. Their assumptions about that were shown to be very wrong. So I don’t feel the need to read their assumptions into this text.

So in Elder Petersen's day, an honest member would have to admit that since those under the priesthood ban could not receive the priesthood, and therefore could not receive the priesthood ordinance of eternal marriage, and if the ban was never lifted (and it wasn't for another 24,years), the best that one under the ban could obtain in the resurrection would be a celestial glory in the status of an angelic servant (and please note: the word servant is the Lord's -- NOT ELDER PETERSEN'S)

 

 

No they don’t. Let me give you an example from our day. While on my mission, I had the blessing to teach a transgender woman who had fully surgically transitioned. We didn’t know this at first, but when we mentioned baptism she was worried about it because of this fact (beyond this, she was very receptive to the message of the Gospel). At the time I knew nothing about our policies surrounding those like this person. So I asked my MP who then asked above him. He then gave me the policy which was basically that she could be baptized, but could not receive her endowment. He interpreted this to mean that she would not be able to progress in the CK. I stated no, I think this means that God will have to sort this one out (he also thought that was a valid thought). It made sense, because there was no clear way to know her gender on this earth and Gender was extremely important in the Temple ceremonies. But the Lord knows…so whether it was a mental disorder or a physical problem, it would be sorted by God and in time her work would be done for her…whether now or in the millennium. It also came years later in the response by Christofferson about us not having enough knowledge about this issue yet. There was a ban in place, but there was always room to see the capacity of their full celestial Glory be realized (not just a piece of it) based on doctrine. 

Now I must say I believe the only reason why you felt you had to ask this question is because it's likely you didn't read Elder Petersen's speech carefully enough. But I said that in order to answer your questions there would be "hard sayings" that would have to be made, so I sincerely hope the unvarnished truth will not cause you to falter. You asked for the unvarnished truth and you got it. But please understand that for those of us who were members of the Church before 1978, there is nothing I've said here that would have come as a surprise in those days, much less a shock.

 

 

You are incorrect in the reason I asked this question. It’s also funny to me to assume that one individual’s opinion whom I’ve never met and do not know would somehow make me falter because of some “unvarnished truth.” This thread was the first time I’ve read Petersen’s address in full, but this is by far not the first time I was presented with similar ideas and quotes or other documents that I’ve read in full that supported racist ideology….so the idea that is would be a surprise or shock to me has me lightly chuckling.

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The next post was here:

My Questions:
2. If no, do you think my Black african predecessors will be servants in the CK not matter how much they embrace the gospel and the pertaining ordinances?
3. If so, where is your scriptural proof for it?
4. Also if so, ask yourself is this just/fair; are you better than me in following the Gospel because of your skin color/ancestry?

 

2) Even in the days when the priesthood ban was being enforced, the Spirit manifested to me -- through personal revelation -- that one day all people of black African heritage would have the fullness of all the blessings of the Gospel

 

 

This seems in conflict with your answer to #1 which assumed that you didn’t know whether I would be a servant in the CK (which is definitely not a fullness of the blessings). I’m sure this makes sense to you, but I feel like I’m missing something here.

In those days, the Spirit also manifested to me that the ban was a modern Abrahamic test (neither I nor anybody I knew liked or wanted the ban, but we felt it was a cross we all had to bear)), a test that if successfully endured (like the curse placed upon the Lamanites) would turn out to be a blessing in disguise. Just as the curse on the Lamanites proved to be no hindrance to the salvation of the many incredibly valiant Lamanites who were converted in the days of the sons of Mosiah (through their conversion they brought an end to the curse In their lives), I knew every single son and daughter of God of black African heritage, past and present. would one day have the blessed opportunity to receive the Gospel and the fullness of all its blessings. In fact, about 2 years before the ban was lifted, as I watched a Church produced film wherein President Kimball, in no uncertain terms, proclaimed that the Restored Gospel was going to be preached to all the inhabitants of Africa, the Spirit whispered to me the ban was about to come to an end. As God is my witness, this is the truth.

 

 

I know this was not your intent, but the first part of this is extremely patronizing. Your (generalized you...not just you individually) “cross,” as a white person with no African ancestry, was embarrassment/unanswered to having said policy in a time that racism and segregation were going out of style. The “abrahamic test” wasn’t for the vast majority of the saints. For most of them and in their day it wasn’t even discomforting because a) they didn’t know any/few people who had said ancestry and b) the society supported their ideology…it was not peculiar to have races have access to different things or to be separated out. The true “abrahamic test” came to people like Elijah Able who had to fight to maintain his priesthood ordinance because the prejudices of the people got the better of them. Or Jane Manning James who would lose out in receiving any versions of the temple blessings in her life because of the prejudices of the people. And the several hundred black saints who would have to bare the brunt of white prejudice and protestant false teachings assumed doctrine and later made into policies…that furthered other explanations based loosely in doctrine. Don’t get me wrong, I agree with you on the point that they would “one day have the blessed opportunity to receive the Gospel and the fullness of all its blessings.” But that this “curse” would be a “blessing in disguise” is debatable and feels to flippant to what actually happened for these black brother and sisters.

3) While there IS scriptural proof that the Lord has previously cursed certain peoples as pertaining to hearing the Gospel and/or not being able to hold the priesthood, even so, because of the personal revelation I received during the days of the ban, I knew that in the Lord's own good wisdom and time the ban would end and all those previously denied the priesthood, both living and dead, would have full access to all the blessings of the Gospel, including the fullness of the holy Priesthood. I also knew by personal revelation that the leaders of the Church were holy and loving men, and that if God wanted to end the ban before 1978 he would have commanded his faithful earthly servants to carry out his will.

 

I do not have said confidence in the this last sentence. Not that I don’t think they were holy and loving men…but that this doesn’t not free them from their own fallibility and moments of humanity. One only has to see this in why Petersen was added to the apostleship in the first place: an opening was made by the excommunication of the previous apostle. My personal feels, also from long study and prayer, etc. is that I’m not sure if the ban could have been lifted previous to 1978 due to the hearts of the Saints. 

4) To the spiritually untutored, the Lord seems to do things that appear unfair -- like placing a curse upon the Lamanites that caused the Nephites to loathe them, But through the scriptures the Lord has revealed to me that though at certain times he curses individuals and groups of people, all doubters will learn on the day of judgement, if not before, that the curses of the Lord are actually blessings in disguise. For instance, the curse of the fall has passed upon all men, women and children, and as a consequence of that fall the most horrific things imaginable happen all over the world on a constant basis[….] Yet the Lord has promised us in spite of all the horrors that have occurred -- and do constantly occurr -- on this planet, the atoning and healing power of Christ is going to make it possible for all things to work out for the best. Also, consider that the scriptures teach us that our Lord Jesus Christ was the most cursed man who ever lived. Yet the great curse that was placed upon him when he made his infinite and eternal sacrifice for sin turned out to be the greatest of all the blessings of his life and ours.

 

 

I think we view curses in the scriptures very differently. First, Christ as “cursed” in scriptures (I could only find one specifically). It states in galatians 3 that he was “made a curse for us: for it is wrttend, Cursed is every one that hangether on a tree.” Ie. he chose to partake in death to be raised from it and to free us from the “curse of the law”….which is a fancy way of saying that we could be freed from our individual sins. Second, I feel that this is overgeneralizing the language of cursings in the Scriptures. For example, it’s not said that Adam and Eve were cursed, but rather that the Land was cursed “for their sake.” The only one specifically cursed in these verses was Satan. Sorrow and trial, particularly in LDS theology/texts do not equal cursed….but a necessity to this life in general.

The curse of specific peoples is very different IMO, from those of A+E (I’m not even going to touch on Christ…that’s completely different). To read it as one and the same is an error IMO. And before you ask, yes I’ve read these cursings carefully….very very carefully. Insomuch that I have a rough draft of an analysis on that that’s 15 pages long, single spaced. It started as a simple scripture study in wanting to understanding how scriptures define “blackness”…the ones that we have traditionally defined/assumed as skin color, due to a past that held systemic racism as the norm. I’m still polishing and figuring out what I’m going to do with this paper, but the main thrust would probably diverge from a number of the assumptions that you have mentioned about Lamanite cursings and the curse historically presumed to be tied to those of African descent (cain or ham, your pick). I also had my own particular revelation after all this study. It was simple: the reason we read this so wrong was because we were racist. I say this without holding any Ill will toward our LDS predecessors…many of whom our my direct ancestors. It didn’t come with with a sense of malice but moreso a sense of peace that they were wrong on this thing and that’s ok because I will likely be wrong about a few things too. No one is free of that. In my heart my own “wrestling with the Lord” came to a complete peace from that point on with this issue. I don’t expect you to accept this anymore than I accept all of your answers.  I state this to say that I too have prayed, pondered, and listened to the spirit. My point of reference in all this is drastically different from your own. I don’t think that means I’m irreparably biased, but rather that my perspective may shed needed light into the picture. Part of the reason that no other answer fully fit (and I went through almost all of them) was what I mentioned in implications. In the abstract, it may work, but it’s implications for us today and God’s ultimate purposes seemed in conflict.

But I’ve said my piece and responded to the best of my ability. If there’s something more you wanted to focus on in this, please bring it up.       

Also anybody else is free to comment as they see fit. I just ask for civility and that we not focus on what I mentioned in the OP. Thanks!

With luv,
BD

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Now here you are doing exactly what I said I din't want to do. I said I wanted to take things one question at a time so that we could go one specific point at a time so as to keep things from becoming overwhelming, and here you do the exact opposite. Unless you are willing to go back to my desired format, our discussion is going to come to an end after this post.

But for now, as I've already made clear, I will now answer one of your questions: The reason why. I said I would have answered "I don't no" to the question as to whether or not those under the ban prior to 1978 would one day receive the priesthood is because that was the official position of the Church, as stated by Mark E Petersen in his address. So if I was teaching a Gospel doctrine class before 1978, and a class member asked me if I believed the ban would ever be lifted, I would have said I "I don't know," because to say otherwise would have been to contradict the leaders of the Church. Unlike some Members of the Church, I have never been one to come out in open opposition to the leaders of the Church. Because I knew the revelation I received to the contrary was private and meant to be kept close to my heart, I hope you'll excuse me that I didn't go around shouting to the rafters that the church leaders were in error.

I don't know if you're aware of the following important fact, but the prophet Alma puts the members of the Church under an very strict commandment that they are not to blab out personal revelations that are meant to be held sacred. At this very moment, I know a great deal about the hidden meaning of the temple endowment, and I also know other mysteries pertaining of the kingdom of God that I must hold sacred, so I guard my tongue so as to not violate Alma's warning that comes with dire consequences for those who disobey.

Now I may have shared my knowledge with one or two very trusted confidants, but even then I would have been careful to say I didn't know 100% for sure.

Now if you want to continue, I hope you'll graciously agree to my terms. otherwise I'm going to ignore you. Just pretend we're participating in a live public debate, where each debater at the podium gets to ask and then answer one question at a time.

Edited by Bobbieaware
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i think bobbieaware has made a serious conflation between temporal circumstance and spiritual obedience.

 

obedience and faithfulness in the pre-existence does not, in the aggregate, mean you are born in more affluent standings than others.  it means you are more spiritually healthy.  if the gospel winds up not getting to you because, and i have no idea how the system works, you're born in calcutta in 1200 instead of orem in 1975, you will retain those spiritual blessings in the form of your relationship with God.

 

it's true that abraham 3 says that the great ones are foreordained to be leaders in God's kingdom and certainly a plain english reading of that means they'll be leaders in the organized church in whatever dispensation it may be found.

 

but i do not equate leadership in the church, or spiritual obedience in the pre-existence, to temporal conditions.  too many factors in play.  to say nothing of talking about the heavy human cost of how one culture rises over another.

Edited by Mars
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Since every mortal on earth kept his First Estate, everyone made the cut, everyone won that prize, everyone was ENOUGH for Him, then yes, what we get on earth is the result of our willingness to follow Him during the pre-existence.    And, yes, what we get in the eternities is dependent on what we choose here.   What we individually experience on earth is perfectly planned to assure that we have the opportunity to chose Him and become like Him, and follow Him.   That means that everyone on earth is equal in His eyes, whether they proved themselves as a shepherd in mongolia in the 15th century, a young women who died in childbirth in South Africa's most humble shanty in 2010, or they were King Richard the Lionhearted.

 

The problem with all these kind of discussions is that Heavenly Father doesn't look at us or our circumstances or experiences, or define success or best in the same way that those who do not yet see eternity do.  

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i think bobbieaware has made a serious conflation between temporal circumstance and spiritual obedience.

obedience and faithfulness in the pre-existence does not, in the aggregate, mean you are born in more affluent standings than others. it means you are more spiritually healthy. if the gospel winds up not getting to you because, and i have no idea how the system works, you're born in calcutta in 1200 instead of orem in 1975, you will retain those spiritual blessings in the form of your relationship with God.

it's true that abraham 3 says that the great ones are foreordained to be leaders in God's kingdom and certainly a plain english reading of that means they'll be leaders in the organized church in whatever dispensation it may be found.

but i do not equate leadership in the church, or spiritual obedience in the pre-existence, to temporal conditions. too many factors in play. to say nothing of talking about the heavy human cost of how one culture rises over another.

Please show me a single quote from any of my posts that indicates I believe some "are born in more affluent standings than others" if they are very faithful in the preexistence? I think you're getting your incorrect information either by reading between the lines of my posts and making assumptions, or by reading BlueDreamS mischaracterizations of what I believe in her posts. This nonsense is a prime example of why I want to proceed one specific point or question at a time.

Edited by Bobbieaware
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Since every mortal on earth kept his First Estate, everyone made the cut, everyone won that prize, everyone was ENOUGH for Him, then yes, what we get on earth is the result of our willingness to follow Him during the pre-existence. And, yes, what we get in the eternities is dependent on what we choose here. What we individually experience on earth is perfectly planned to assure that we have the opportunity to chose Him and become like Him, and follow Him. That means that everyone on earth is equal in His eyes, whether they proved themselves as a shepherd in mongolia in the 15th century, a young women who died in childbirth in South Africa's most humble shanty in 2010, or they were King Richard the Lionhearted.

The problem with all these kind of discussions is that Heavenly Father doesn't look at us or our circumstances or experiences, or define success or best in the same way that those who do not yet see eternity do.

You've just perfectly stated my own point of view! Many thanks!

To all who want to engage me in debate: Please read rpm's post (above) and before you make any comments or ask any questions, please understand I am in complete agreement with his sage observations. Again, please read and digest rpn's post before jumping to rash and ludicrous conclusions about what you think I believe.

Edited by Bobbieaware
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Now here you are doing exactly what I said I din't want to do. I said I wanted to take things one question at a time so that we could go one specific point at a time so as to keep things from becoming overwhelming, and here you do the exact opposite. Unless you are willing to go back to my desired format, our discussion is going to come to an end after this post.

Bobbie,

The issue with insisting on "one question at a time" is that it sounds a lot like an attempt to control the discussion. Like a lawyer cross-examining a hostile witness, you seem to want to lead BlueDreams in a direction that you anticipate, and she doesn't.

Is that your intent?

There is nothing at all preventing you from focusing upon one question and hashing it out, and then coming back to the others. But you ought not to expect to be allowed to define the rules of the discussion.

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I would just point out that while BlueDreams is correct in her logic about the uncomfortable results of this line of thinking, there have been LDS leaders who saw the same line of logic but did not shrink from the implications, but instead classified them as logical doctrine and taught as much. 

 

It wasn't an isolated statement by Elder Petersen.
 

Caste System

However, in a broad general sense, caste systems have their root and origin in the gospel itself, and when they operate according to the divine decree, the resultant restrictions and segregation are right and proper and have the approval of the Lord. To illustrate: Cain, Ham, and the whole negro race have been cursed with a black skin, the mark of Cain, so they can be identified as a caste apart, a people with whom the other descendants of Adam should not intermarry. (Gen. 4; Moses 5.)
...
 
All this is not to say that any race, creed, or caste should be denied any inalienable rights. But it is to say that Deity in his infinite wisdom, to carry out his inscrutable purposes, has a caste system of his own, a system of segregation of races and peoples. The justice of such a system is evident when life is considered in its true eternal perspective. It is only by a knowledge of pre-existence that it can be known why some persons are born in one race or caste and some in another.
 
Bruce McConkie, Mormon Doctrine, 1st Ed.

Edited by cinepro
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Bobbie I'm at work right now, so I don't have time to respond, but I wanted to state that you are welcome to respond however you see fit. I had previously asked just for one thing: that you answer 4 relatively simple questions. You've done that. Now I have no expectations. I'm not all that caring about where this discussion goes (as long as it's civil), and of course your welcome to clarify any point. I welcome it...or I wouldn't have posted this in the first place. But I should forewarn you, I'll probably disagree with your opinions and I will point out the discrepancies I see and my varying perspective on it.

 

I'll look at the rest of your post when I have a better key board. in the meantime feel free to respond as you wish.

 

With luv,

BD

Edited by BlueDreams
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I would just point out that while BlueDreams is correct in her logic about the uncomfortable results of this line of thinking, there have been LDS leaders who saw the same line of logic but did not shrink from the implications, but instead classified them as logical doctrine and taught as much. 

 

It wasn't an isolated statement by Elder Petersen.

 

Hey, wait a minute.  I don't see anything in Genesis 4 or Moses 5 that says anything about a black skin.  They both say "the mark of Cain."  Did people just decide that must be the Black race and therefore "the mark of Cain" is a black skin?

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Bobbie,The issue with insisting on "one question at a time" is that it sounds a lot like an attempt to control the discussion. Like a lawyer cross-examining a hostile witness, you seem to want to lead BlueDreams in a direction that you anticipate, and she doesn't.Is that your intent?There is nothing at all preventing you from focusing upon one question and hashing it out, and then coming back to the others. But you ought not to expect to be allowed to define the rules of the discussion.

Here is my intention: SInce this subject is so controversial and pitfall-ridden, I'm more comfortable taking things one specific point in argument at a time. And because it seems I'm one of the few (if not the one and only) participant on this board willing to be sympathetic to the pre-1978 Church and Elder Petersen, I want to stay focused like an eagle on any incoming rhetorical bombs.

And your suggestion that I'm trying to control the conversation like a prosecutor is incorrect. Understand, I'm the defendant here, not the prosecutor. And like any defendant being prosecuted by a hostile prosecutor, with a courtroom filled with spectators who have alrrady prejudged me as guilty as charged, I prefer to take one point in rgument or question at a time, so that I can thoughtfully focus on crafting an honest. pertinent and effective response without focusing on 30 things at once.

Since I'm the one in the proverbial hotseat, I prefer that the hostile prosecution pose one argument or ask one question at a time. I am willing to participate but not put my head on a chopping block. If people don't like it, there are plenty of other topics to focus upon. In the previously locked thread on this subject, I already more than proved I am willing to be fully responsive to each point of argument or question. So let the prosecutor make a case or ask some questions and I'll be happy to answer.

But do realize that I'm wise enough to know when a sky darkened by birds of prey is waiting to descend and pounce on the first sign of weakness. Anyway, if my case is so weak and the prosecution's case is all but a fait accompli, it should be easy enough to dispatch me to the dungeon soon enough.

Edited by Bobbieaware
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(Edit- in response to sanpitch) In short: yeah basically. The belief orginated sometime in the late 17th century and took flight as an explanation for why it was okay to continue black slavery/slave trade. It became common belief for many a Protestant person insomuch that people of Cain/ham were pretty normative for describing blacks. You can see this by searching for ham/Cain in the JS papers. It was used as justification for the ban, but the belief far outdated the policy (JS believed it too). So when they read it mark simply meant dark skin. It was "obvious" to them and is a great example of the problems with circular reasoning. Back to work!

Edited by BlueDreams
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Just wanted to let Blue Dreams know how much I love and admire her.  :Your enduring strength and patience is just astounding to me.

You have surpassed the concept of valiance and just respect you so much. 

 

I can't comment anything on this thread..because to me a proves a point with my own interpretation of God.  I just don't believe that Petersen was or had any spiritual ties with God on this matter.  In which case, if there is no Prophets, Seers and Revelators that can really speak for God, where does that leave anyone in the church?

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The next post was here:

My Questions:

2. If no, do you think my Black african predecessors will be servants in the CK not matter how much they embrace the gospel and the pertaining ordinances?

3. If so, where is your scriptural proof for it?

4. Also if so, ask yourself is this just/fair; are you better than me in following the Gospel because of your skin color/ancestry?

 

 

This seems in conflict with your answer to #1 which assumed that you didn’t know whether I would be a servant in the CK (which is definitely not a fullness of the blessings). I’m sure this makes sense to you, but I feel like I’m missing something here.

I know this was not your intent, but the first part of this is extremely patronizing. Your (generalized you...not just you individually) “cross,” as a white person with no African ancestry, was embarrassment/unanswered to having said policy in a time that racism and segregation were going out of style. The “abrahamic test” wasn’t for the vast majority of the saints. For most of them and in their day it wasn’t even discomforting because a) they didn’t know any/few people who had said ancestry and b) the society supported their ideology…it was not peculiar to have races have access to different things or to be separated out. The true “abrahamic test” came to people like Elijah Able who had to fight to maintain his priesthood ordinance because the prejudices of the people got the better of them. Or Jane Manning James who would lose out in receiving any versions of the temple blessings in her life because of the prejudices of the people. And the several hundred black saints who would have to bare the brunt of white prejudice and protestant false teachings assumed doctrine and later made into policies…that furthered other explanations based loosely in doctrine. Don’t get me wrong, I agree with you on the point that they would “one day have the blessed opportunity to receive the Gospel and the fullness of all its blessings.” But that this “curse” would be a “blessing in disguise” is debatable and feels to flippant to what actually happened for these black brother and sisters.

I do not have said confidence in the this last sentence. Not that I don’t think they were holy and loving men…but that this doesn’t not free them from their own fallibility and moments of humanity. One only has to see this in why Petersen was added to the apostleship in the first place: an opening was made by the excommunication of the previous apostle. My personal feels, also from long study and prayer, etc. is that I’m not sure if the ban could have been lifted previous to 1978 due to the hearts of the Saints. 

I think we view curses in the scriptures very differently. First, Christ as “cursed” in scriptures (I could only find one specifically). It states in galatians 3 that he was “made a curse for us: for it is wrttend, Cursed is every one that hangether on a tree.” Ie. he chose to partake in death to be raised from it and to free us from the “curse of the law”….which is a fancy way of saying that we could be freed from our individual sins. Second, I feel that this is overgeneralizing the language of cursings in the Scriptures. For example, it’s not said that Adam and Eve were cursed, but rather that the Land was cursed “for their sake.” The only one specifically cursed in these verses was Satan. Sorrow and trial, particularly in LDS theology/texts do not equal cursed….but a necessity to this life in general.

The curse of specific peoples is very different IMO, from those of A+E (I’m not even going to touch on Christ…that’s completely different). To read it as one and the same is an error IMO. And before you ask, yes I’ve read these cursings carefully….very very carefully. Insomuch that I have a rough draft of an analysis on that that’s 15 pages long, single spaced. It started as a simple scripture study in wanting to understanding how scriptures define “blackness”…the ones that we have traditionally defined/assumed as skin color, due to a past that held systemic racism as the norm. I’m still polishing and figuring out what I’m going to do with this paper, but the main thrust would probably diverge from a number of the assumptions that you have mentioned about Lamanite cursings and the curse historically presumed to be tied to those of African descent (cain or ham, your pick). I also had my own particular revelation after all this study. It was simple: the reason we read this so wrong was because we were racist. I say this without holding any Ill will toward our LDS predecessors…many of whom our my direct ancestors. It didn’t come with with a sense of malice but moreso a sense of peace that they were wrong on this thing and that’s ok because I will likely be wrong about a few things too. No one is free of that. In my heart my own “wrestling with the Lord” came to a complete peace from that point on with this issue. I don’t expect you to accept this anymore than I accept all of your answers.  I state this to say that I too have prayed, pondered, and listened to the spirit. My point of reference in all this is drastically different from your own. I don’t think that means I’m irreparably biased, but rather that my perspective may shed needed light into the picture. Part of the reason that no other answer fully fit (and I went through almost all of them) was what I mentioned in implications. In the abstract, it may work, but it’s implications for us today and God’s ultimate purposes seemed in conflict.

But I’ve said my piece and responded to the best of my ability. If there’s something more you wanted to focus on in this, please bring it up.       

Also anybody else is free to comment as they see fit. I just ask for civility and that we not focus on what I mentioned in the OP. Thanks!

With luv,

BD

Clearly we do not believe in predestination and foreordination is about merit, not punishment.

 

The whole idea that we are punished for our own "sins" and not Adam's, for example illustrates to me that the whole notion that we would be punished here for lack of valiance in the preexistence is nonsense.

 

We come here with a clean slate and it's up to us to mess it all up.  ;)

 

How can it be said that we have agency if we come here with fewer spiritual abilities than others?  We have enough to contend with here as a "test", and thinking that the pre mortal life was part of the "test" just really confuses the whole idea of the Plan of Salvation.

 

It just doesn't fly.

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Just wanted to let Blue Dreams know how much I love and admire her.  :Your enduring strength and patience is just astounding to me.

You have surpassed the concept of valiance and just respect you so much. 

 

I can't comment anything on this thread..because to me a proves a point with my own interpretation of God.  I just don't believe that Petersen was or had any spiritual ties with God on this matter.  In which case, if there is no Prophets, Seers and Revelators that can really speak for God, where does that leave anyone in the church?

It leaves us the same way it leaves them, of course.

 

We need to consult the spirit for ourselves.  The answers others give are to be tested personally by each of us for ourselves, no matter who gave them.

 

Anything else would be blind obedience, and that is not part of the program.

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In short: yeah basically. The belief orginated sometime in the late 17th century and took flight as an explanation for why it was okay to continue black slavery/slave trade. It became common belief for many a Protestant person insomuch that people of Cain/ham were pretty normative for describing blacks. You can see this by searching for ham/Cain in the JS papers. It was used as justification for the ban, but the belief far outdated the policy (JS believed it too). So when they read it mark simply meant dark skin. It was "obvious" to them and is a great example of the problems with circular reasoning. Back to work!

Nails it.  Racism can be overcome but it seems part of the human condition as the "natural man".  We always want to feel better about ourselves by making someone less than we are, when indeed that makes US their inferior.

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I would also suggest that everyone look up an incredible talk by Paul Reeve at the recent Fairmormon Conference about his book Religion of a Different Color: Race and the Mormon Struggle for Whiteness.

 

Heck just buy the book!  The talk is not yet posted as of this moment, but will be soon I am sure.

 

His thesis, backed with much evidence, is essentially that Mormons were ordaining blacks early on and showed no prejudice whatsoever toward blacks until around - 1858? was that the year?  Anyway, there had suddenly appeared many many attacks against Mormonism in the East about how because of polygamy and their intermarriage with all races that Mormons were becoming a "mongrel race" who were clearly inferior to white people.

His thesis is that this caused a reaction in the church leadership which led to the policy of not ordaining blacks, so that ironically Mormons could become "white"

 

Paul caps off Religion of a Different Color with a sort of epilogue that shows how after struggling so long to be white, Mormonism almost instantaneous became too white (despite relative demographic diversity) when the culture shifted beneath it.

 

http://bycommonconsent.com/2015/02/14/review-religion-of-a-different-color/

 

For me this finally is a satisfactory explanation for how all this mess came to be.

 

It shows that prophets and church leadership are human beings subject to the same social forces as all human beings, but we have been figuring that out now for quite some time.

 

Addition: In fact if you look up the book and look at the cover, you will see a political cartoon of the time, of a "Mormon Elder" walking his children of multiple races, all dressed in costumes reflecting presumably the ethnicity of their multiple mothers.

 

http://www.amazon.com/Religion-Different-Color-Struggle-Whiteness/dp/0199754071

Edited by mfbukowski
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I'm going to answer in the affirmative, that yes, our actions and valiance in the preexistence plays a role in our mortal circumstances. I don't believe that means that valiance = a more affluent, racially-specific existence, or leadership in the church. It can mean birth into the covenant and leadership, but limiting it to such also limits the scope of the Gospel. The Gospel of Christ includes many of the moral, familial, political, and social teachings of Lao Tzu, Confucius, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Tennyson, Philo Judaeus, Socrates, Nelson Mandela, Ben Gurion, etc. I believe that many valiant spirits were sent and born into circumstances where they would face difficulty, poverty, deprivation, racial prejudice. I believe that many would not experience or even know of the church, priesthood, or Christ. Yet God needed them in those areas to further his cause and strengthen his Kingdom.

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It leaves us the same way it leaves them, of course.

 

We need to consult the spirit for ourselves.  The answers others give are to be tested personally by each of us for ourselves, no matter who gave them.

 

Anything else would be blind obedience, and that is not part of the program.

It does.  Leaves us like everyone else.  No body special..all equals in the eyes of God. 

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It does.  Leaves us like everyone else.  No body special..all equals in the eyes of God. 

Reminds me of the Japanese, they were very special leading up to the Second World War, they thought they should rule Korea and China and others.  The Germans also were a supreme race and tried to rule much of Europe.  LDS seemed to me to want to feel special to God, being of a "White and Delightsome skin color."  Everyone wants to feel special.

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It does.  Leaves us like everyone else.  No body special..all equals in the eyes of God. 

Of course you realize that is not what I said.

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Please show me a single quote from any of my posts that indicates I believe some "are born in more affluent standings than others" if they are very faithful in the preexistence? I think you're getting your incorrect information either by reading between the lines of my posts and making assumptions, or by reading BlueDreamS mischaracterizations of what I believe in her posts. This nonsense is a prime example of why I want to proceed one specific point or question at a time.

Serious question...and only one....

When was the last time you read Elder Petersen's talk?

I ask because I do not read it even close to as you apparently do though I am generally someone who works hard at giving everyone the benefit of the doubt which would definitely include everything Elder Petersen has said, but full benefit still leaves me to conclude the Church is correct in dispensing with his talk.

Edited by calmoriah
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I don't necessarily have a problem with saying that our choices in premortality influenced, in many respects, our station here in mortality.  However, I think the problem comes in when we attempt to ascribe this or that specific circumstance to this or that specific choice.  When we say that, except for occasional brief glimpses, our memory of premortality has been withheld, I think that's exactly what we mean, and if that's true, I don't see how such attempts to attribute specific premortal choices to specific circumstances can ever fly.  It's no different here in mortality: when people we perceive as faithful encounter difficult circumstances, like Job's friends, our first instinct is to wonder what they're doing wrong.  The answer may very well be, "Nothing."  So it was in premortality: While our first instinct might be to wonder what someone born into what we perceive as disadvantaged circumstances did wrong, the answer to this question, too, may very well be, "Nothing."  With our limited understanding and perspective, it doesn't do us very much good to speculate otherwise.  We barely understand what's going on here in the Second Act, much less remembering what happened in premortality (the First Act) or anticipating what's going to happen in postmortality (the Third Act).

Edited by Kenngo1969
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