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emergence of new justifications for the black priesthood and temple ban


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1 hour ago, DBMormon said:

Once you choose to be rational rather than get excited about loopholes, this gets harder to reconcile issues like Race and Priesthood 

Given that irrational people use rational approaches and rational people see the value in non-rational approaches, a person using a rational approach (which does not work well in a vacuum, given other profitable tools) would discern between a matter of right and wrong and a matter of accountability, without conflating fallibility with accountability.

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15 minutes ago, mfbukowski said:

Well I kind of agree with that last statement-  about it being a "conundrum" . I put it all down to linguistic confusion actually.

So it kind of makes no sense to say the prophets did or did not make "mistakes"- as I see it now.

As in all these discussions it becomes a question of definitions.  And you certainly understand wording and its twists and turns!

I agree (see post above).

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35 minutes ago, Glenn101 said:

This was over thirty years after he joined the church. I was looking for something that we could glean from his early life that he was radically racist.

That's weird, but ok.

I'm curious why it matters when his racism developed. If he developed racist attitudes and beliefs at some point during his life and then implemented them during his time as prophet, that would seem to be more important. I don't imagine anyone was recording his childhood speeches so it's unlikely you'll find anything there, but good luck.

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10 minutes ago, mfbukowski said:

I just want to stress this again.

Simple logic.

If God doesn't allow prophets to go astray then there is no need for a Restoration.

Yes we can rationalize answers- "'It wasn't translated correctly' - AND after all we don't HAVE the "original"- therefore the earlier prophet got it right but it was not passed down to us correctly"

So we move the fallibility blame to others than the prophet.

How much does that matter?

The "scripture" is incorrect and therefore needs revision.  It doesn't matter how it got "wrong", we can rationalize anything we want - but  what matters is that it NEEDS REVISION and that is what prophets are for.

So we can debate who's fault the error was all day- and in fact we are doing that.

The fact remains that what WAS understood has CHANGED.

Call that "God repenting" or blame it on the prophet making a "mistake" or just accept that prophets are "fallible".

It really doesn't matter pragmatically.

We no longer believe what was believed in the past.  Gosh could it be that religion like science, can change and still be "right"?  Can it be that human needs change and language and understanding of God changes and that is why we need an open canon and THAT is what makes Mormonism unique and valuable in the world today? 

That we should stop worrying about history and get on with getting our lives straight today?

Nah, it couldn't possibly mean that.  ;) 

Somebody has to get the blame after all ! 

And it is up to us to judge who that devil is/was!   We can't leave that up to the Lord- he might repent!  It's great we don't have to!   ;)

 

 

 

 

Mark, a little quibble with your logic. God allowed the prophets and apostles to be killed off , often by their own people, (in several different ages) which always led to an apostasy of either a greater or lesser extent. The ministry of Jesus  itself could be looked at as a restoration in the sense that there again was a prophet (Jesus Himself) to lead the Children of Israel, or what was left of them, back into the paths of righteousness. had the world tolerated this "restoration" and allowed the prophets and apostles to live, there would have been no need for a restoration.

I do not think that Brigham Young was overly pressured by public opinion in the East not the hostile and derisive media. That had been part and parcel of the restoration almost from the very first. I believe that Brigham felt pretty secure  in the relative isolation of the Saints in Utah not to be overly affected by Eastern media.

As I have noted before, my main problem with "it was a mistake, blame Brigham" was something voiced by Hamba Tuhan that God is on record in demonstrating the ability and inclination to firmly correct his chosen prophets when they err. We have Baalam and his talking donkey. We have Moses whom the Lord was going to kill because he had not circumcised his son. We have Miriam who made bold to criticize her younger brother because of an Ethiopian woman he had married and was called out by the Lord and afflicted with leprosy. (I don't know why it was just Miriam and not Aaron also, but Aaron was called out, just no record of a punishment.) So, I am wondering why the Lord would have allowed Brigham Young to make such a mistake and leading the church astray for over 126 years.

I agree with your philosophy that "That we should stop worrying about history and get on with getting our lives straight today,"  All of the research that has been done, and all of the scriptural exegesis  has not answered the question whether it was from God or was Brigham lying.

Glenn

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1 hour ago, DBMormon said:

Again you can freely disagree.  And your right that a less likely, less reasonable, less rationale, answer could in fact be the right one.  But none of us are thinking rationally if we live our life expecting the less likely answer to be true.  That is the definition of irrational thinking.  

rational thinking is we expect the expect able.  When new evidence comes in that makes a less likely expectation now the most likely expectation, we change our minds.  But we don't living for the less likely expectation before the evidence comes in.  That's irrational thinking.  We don't plan at night for the sun not to come up the next day.  So with an explanation on that ask yourself
- Whats the most rational explanation for the Race ban and supporting doctrines of the past?
- how about the Book of Abraham conundrum?
- first vision accounts?
- lack of miracles in a verifiable age
- Nephi's transoceanic vessel?
- 2000 stripling warriors not losing 1 person in battle against a larger more experienced army and then many "fainting" from blood loss, but no gangrene and all return ASAP to health and fighting again?

You see we below the surface recognize that we choose intentionally to take a less likely answer on some or all of these.  Now stand back and look at all 2000 troublesome issues at once.  How irrational is it to choose the less likely explanation on 1400 of them?  Is that rational?  Could all 1400 or even all 2000 have the less likely explanation be the right one?  sure but that chance is so minute that it is for all intents and purposes statistically absurd.

Once you choose to be rational rather than get excited about loopholes, this gets harder to reconcile issues like Race and Priesthood

Can you please show me your statistical analysis report for each of the "troublesome" topics listed above?  Surely, if you have the only rational conclusion, and that any other possibility is "less likely", then you have the statistics to back it up, right?  Anything else would be irrational, right?   If this is simply a matter of statistical probabilities - show me the numbers!   Because what seems statistically absurd and irrational to me is making statistical analysis without any numbers or way to compare variables or probabilities.  What also seems absurd is assuming that you think that there is some objective list of variables that we can compute in a statistical probability equation for religious claims.  How can you possibly "rationally" account for all possible variables and their probabilities?

What seems rational to me is that rational minds can disagree on matters such as these. 

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48 minutes ago, HappyJackWagon said:

That's weird, but ok.

I'm curious why it matters when his racism developed. If he developed racist attitudes and beliefs at some point during his life and then implemented them during his time as prophet, that would seem to be more important. I don't imagine anyone was recording his childhood speeches so it's unlikely you'll find anything there, but good luck.

The question could very well be, did Brigham develop racist attitudes because of the ban or .... the old chicken and egg question. In the same Journal of Discourses sermon that you quoted, Brigham also is reported to have said: 

Quote

If the Government of the United States, in Congress assembled, had the right to pass an anti−polygamy bill, they had also the right to pass a law that slaves should not be abused as they have been; they had also a right to make a law that negroes should be used like human beings, and not worse than dumb brutes. For their abuse of that race, the whites will be cursed, unless they repent. I am neither an abolitionist nor a pro−slavery man. If I could have been influenced by private injury to choose one side in preference to the other, I should certainly be against the pro−slavery side of the question, for it was pro−slavery men that pointed the bayonet at me and my brethren in Missouri, and said, "Damn you we will kill you." I have not much love for them, only in the Gospel. I would cause them to repent, if I could, and make them good men and a good community. I have no fellowship for their avarice, blindness, and ungodly actions. To be great, is to be good before the Heavens and before all good men. I will not fellowship the wicked in their sins, so help me God. JD 10:110, Brigham Young, March 8, 1863

His racism all seems to have been involved with his beliefs concerning the ban.

Glenn

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3 hours ago, Robert F. Smith said:

As i pointed out to Glenn, it was the Mormon people, not leaders like David O. McKay and his contemporaries, who stymied the desire to immediately reintroduce ordinations of negroes.  Pres Kimball simply happened to be on station when the Lord decided to reintroduce such ordinations.  I am only guessing, based on the obvious racism I encountered among otherwise nice LDS members from time to  time in the decades leading up to 1978.  Based on the positive response which the Brethren received in 1978, I'd say that the Lord acted at just the right time.  I personally wanted him to act earlier, and so did the late Jerald Tanner -- who apostatized over the issue, and then began his long effort to destroy the LDS Church, which only resulted in strengthening it.

I understand your point but is this not item number 6 in the list of false justifications?

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2 hours ago, Glenn101 said:

This was over thirty years after he joined the church. I was looking for something that we could glean from his early life that he was radically racist.

If you're suggesting that Brigham Young joined the church as radically non-racist, and it was only decades in the Church (and scripture study) that turned him into the radical racist he later became, I'm not sure that's a good thing...

“The purpose of the gospel is … to make bad men good and good men better, and to change human nature.*”- David O. McKay

*Side effects may include radical racism.

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1 hour ago, Glenn101 said:

I understand your point but is this not item number 6 in the list of false justifications?

I suggest that we try to be realists and to place all such issues in their actual historical context.  If we do that, we are less likely to come up with silly excuses as to why we did not practice high moral and ethical principles.

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15 hours ago, Scott Lloyd said:

OK. I hold with the three scholars you quote here consistent with the institutional position of the Church that the reason for the ban is unknown. 

If the institutional Church doesn't know why Brigham Young implemented the ban, it should read footnote #9 on the essay it published on its website regarding the subject. 

It might find it very illuminating.

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47 minutes ago, cinepro said:

If the institutional Church doesn't know why Brigham Young implemented the ban, it should read footnote #9 on the essay it published on its website regarding the subject. 

It might find it very illuminating.

This article shows Brigham Young’s belief about blacks, but he is expressing it not in defense of the ban but in promotion of how difficult it is for the inhabitants of the earth to achieve full unity. He is not saying, “I have put the ban in place because…,” at least not in this speech. The institutional Church cannot say they know the reason for the ban when there is no clear documentation directing its implementation. She can say she disavows the reasons that have been given for it, but I can she why she cannot disavow the implementation of a policy (which would normally articulate its reasons) when she cannot point to its exact, precise origin.

Note 9: https://newspapers.lib.utah.edu/details?id=2578281

Edited by CV75
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2 hours ago, Glenn101 said:

Mark, a little quibble with your logic. God allowed the prophets and apostles to be killed off , often by their own people, (in several different ages) which always led to an apostasy of either a greater or lesser extent. The ministry of Jesus  itself could be looked at as a restoration in the sense that there again was a prophet (Jesus Himself) to lead the Children of Israel, or what was left of them, back into the paths of righteousness. had the world tolerated this "restoration" and allowed the prophets and apostles to live, there would have been no need for a restoration.

I do not think that Brigham Young was overly pressured by public opinion in the East not the hostile and derisive media. That had been part and parcel of the restoration almost from the very first. I believe that Brigham felt pretty secure  in the relative isolation of the Saints in Utah not to be overly affected by Eastern media.

As I have noted before, my main problem with "it was a mistake, blame Brigham" was something voiced by Hamba Tuhan that God is on record in demonstrating the ability and inclination to firmly correct his chosen prophets when they err. We have Baalam and his talking donkey. We have Moses whom the Lord was going to kill because he had not circumcised his son. We have Miriam who made bold to criticize her younger brother because of an Ethiopian woman he had married and was called out by the Lord and afflicted with leprosy. (I don't know why it was just Miriam and not Aaron also, but Aaron was called out, just no record of a punishment.) So, I am wondering why the Lord would have allowed Brigham Young to make such a mistake and leading the church astray for over 126 years.

I agree with your philosophy that "That we should stop worrying about history and get on with getting our lives straight today,"  All of the research that has been done, and all of the scriptural exegesis  has not answered the question whether it was from God or was Brigham lying.

Glenn

Ok I get it, and I agree with you, and will be glad to recharacterize my position as "We don't know" if anybody cares.

There was no published Revelation.

It was pretty clearly Brigham's decision.

There is no way of telling if it was the right decision or the wrong decision given the possibility that the church would not have survived had he not made the decision he made. The only way we could tell if it was a mistake or not would be if we jumped into a time machine and altered the timeline to see how it worked out. ;)

That is unknowable therefore "we don't know" is the best answer.

But frankly given those variables I'm not sure that the change of description makes much difference.

Certainly though we cannot know what would have happened had it gone the other way.

That is pretty undeniable.

 

Edited by mfbukowski
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I just finished article posted above. Maybe I missed the actual reason for the ban, but what I took from it was that the official position is, “We don’t know.” Is that a fair summary?

Edited by FunOnlineMan
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19 hours ago, Scott Lloyd said:

Number 7 above is not a false justification. It is a statement of fact. We indeed do not know why. It is the position the Church takes that we do not know why. 

"We do not know why" does not appear in the Race and Priesthood essay (Dec 2013).  CFR on the statement that "we do not know why" is the current official position of the church.  Paul Reeve wrote the Race and Priesthood essay which was endorsed and signed by the first presidency and quorum of the twelve.  Ahmad Corbitt (LDS church public affairs) does not get up after Paul Reeve's presentation and correct him.  

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19 hours ago, Scott Lloyd said:

Number 7 above is not a false justification. It is a statement of fact. We indeed do not know why. It is the position the Church takes that we do not know why. 

Here are 2 sources we can quickly look up of "we don't know why" which pre-date the disavowals and release of the Dec 2013 Race and Priesthood essay.   Do you feel these constitute authoritative declarations in place today (2018)?  

Hinckley response to german news reporter asking in 2002, "Why [did] it take so long time to overcome the racism?"
"I don't know.  I don't know.  I can only say that. "

Holland March 4, 2006 for "The Mormons" PBS interview:   "we simply do not know why that practice, that policy, that doctrine was in place.”

Edited by blueglass
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1 minute ago, blueglass said:

Holland March 4, 2006 for "The Mormons" PBS interview:   "we simply do not know why that practice, that policy, that doctrine was in place.”

Was it a practice?  Or was it really doctrine?  Or was it a practice treated as doctrine?  Is there any documentation such as church handbooks from the earliest days that outlined this policy?   Or was it strictly a verbal policy?  Merely a tradition?  :hi:

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7 hours ago, mfbukowski said:

We need to understand the climate of the day surrounding these issues.

Yes, absolutely!

But there is nothing in the historical context to compel me to believe that God not only allowed Brigham Young to make an uninspired mistake but that He also forewent correcting the nine presidents of the high priesthood who subsequently perpetuated that mistake. It may well be the case in the end, but it is not the only way of understanding and then interpreting the context.

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16 hours ago, Eek! said:

But the idea that Brigham Young and his successors got something so big so wrong for so long is probably a scary thought for Mormons who have been taught all their lives that all they have to do is follow the prophet.  

 

7 hours ago, DBMormon said:

Again you can freely disagree.  And your [sic] right that a less likely, less reasonable, less rationale [sic], answer could in fact be the right one.

Dismissing alternate perspectives as products of fear and/or 'less reasonable, less rational' thinking is possibly effective but rather cheap in the end.

Edited by Hamba Tuhan
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7 hours ago, mfbukowski said:

But we are rather obsessed with history, aren't we?

It's a tool. We use it to make sense of the present, to provide ourselves with an identity, to shape what we hope will be the future, and/or to beat people up with. It's all about utility.

Edited by Hamba Tuhan
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6 hours ago, mfbukowski said:

If God doesn't allow prophets to go astray then there is no need for a Restoration.

The pattern is that apostasy occurs not when prophets go astray but when people stop listening to them: 'This thou knowest, that all they which are in Asia be turned away from me'.

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2 hours ago, CV75 said:

This article shows Brigham Young’s belief about blacks, but he is expressing it not in defense of the ban but in promotion of how difficult it is for the inhabitants of the earth to achieve full unity. He is not saying, “I have put the ban in place because…,” at least not in this speech. The institutional Church cannot say they know the reason for the ban when there is no clear documentation directing its implementation. She can say she disavows the reasons that have been given for it, but I can she why she cannot disavow the implementation of a policy (which would normally articulate its reasons) when she cannot point to its exact, precise origin.

Note 9: https://newspapers.lib.utah.edu/details?id=2578281

I honestly have no idea what you are talking about.  This is what Brigham Young said:

Quote

Now then, in the kingdom of God on the earth, a man who has the African blood in him cannot hold one jot nor tittle of Priesthood; Why? Because they are the true eternal principals the Lord Almighty has ordained, and who can help it − men cannot, the angels cannot, and all the powers of Earth and Hell cannot take it off, but thus saith the Eternal, ‘I am, what I am, I take it off at My pleasure’, and not one particle of power can that posterity of Cain have, until the time comes the [Lord] says He will have it taken away. That time will come, when they will have the privilege of all we have the privilege of, and more. In the Kingdom of God on the Earth the Africans cannot hold one particle of power in Government” (The Teachings of President Brigham Young: Vol. 3 1852-1854, Fred C. Collier, ed., p. 43. Speech given to the Joint Session of the Legislature in Salt Lake City, on Thursday, February 5, 1852. Brackets in original).

When he refers to the "true eternal principles of the Lord Almighty" being that the "posterity of Cain" can't have the Priesthood, what do you think he is saying?

 

He didn't just say it once, either.  He made it very clear, many times over several decades, exactly why blacks couldn't have the Priesthood.  He was the one that instituted the ban, and he explained why he thought there needed to be a ban.

Quote

“Why are so many of the inhabitants of the earth cursed with a sin of blackness? It comes in consequence of their fathers rejecting the power of the Holy Priesthood, and the law of God. They will go down to death. And when all the rest of the children have received their blessings in the Holy Priesthood, then that curse will be removed from the seed of Cain, and they will then come up and possess the priesthood, and receive all the blessings which we now are entitled to. The volition of the creature is free; this is a law of their existence, and the Lord cannot violate his own law; were he to do that, he would cease to be God” (Brigham Young, August 19, 1866, Journal of Discourses 11:272).

 

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1 hour ago, cinepro said:

I honestly have no idea what you are talking about.  This is what Brigham Young said:

When he refers to the "true eternal principles of the Lord Almighty" being that the "posterity of Cain" can't have the Priesthood, what do you think he is saying?

 

He didn't just say it once, either.  He made it very clear, many times over several decades, exactly why blacks couldn't have the Priesthood.  He was the one that instituted the ban, and he explained why he thought there needed to be a ban.

 

My remarks were limited to the source you provided for the Church’s more careful consideration (Note 9 / my link). This source discusses his views, not the policy or the ban. He is not connecting his views to the policy but to humanity’s current failure to be united as children of God. 

He also expresses his views in these additional second and third quotes you provided, but again he does not tie them to the ban. A full examination of the record and its context would show what greater point he was making with his references to the seed of Cain. I know it’s a subtlety, but without a clearly stated connection, we really do not know with certainty the origin or reason for the implementation of the ban. Some draw conclusions over which they have great conviction and confidence, but these do not require as high a standard of documentation whether one supports or opposes the ban from its inception to OD-2.

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51 minutes ago, Hamba Tuhan said:

Dismissing alternate perspectives as products of fear and/or 'less reasonable, less rational' thinking is possibly effective but rather cheap in the end.

Thanks for pointing out how my choice of words distracted from my main point.  Let me rephrase:

Is it possible that Brigham Young and his successors got something so big so wrong for so long?   Why or why not? 

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