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Racist Doctrine in Come Follow Me Lesson Manual Already Distributed


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28 minutes ago, teddyaware said:

 

Because I know God and Christ live and the Bible, the Book of Mormon, and the Pearl of Great Price are the word of God, the only possible conclusion I can come to is that God has good and fair reasons for pronouncing these curses for they are motivated by his perfect love and mercy, always wanting to do that which is in the eternal best interests of ALL of his children. It is even as the prophet Nephi said...

 

Nobody is denying being cut off from God because of unrighteousness isn't a curse. I suspect you think that means he changes skin color though. It's encouraging that you won't say it. Progress. 

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3 hours ago, Calm said:

If they are recalled and reprinted, there will be no real need to talk about the error ever again even though if the manuals are passed out already as they are, there is a huge chance a good portion, maybe even a majority won't be returned as they will be forgotten one or two Sundays and then they get mixed up with the new manuals and so the hassle of trying to figure out which goes back as one is trying to get the kids in the car, etc....well, it goes to backburner and then forgotten.

I disagree strongly.

The best example the church could make of this is to do everything in their power to remove and replace everyone of those manuals. Instead of a piece of paper or an email explaining why the manuals are wrong, what better example is there than a completely new manual to replace the one with the error? Every leader at every level should be made aware of that error and the efforts to replace every one of those books. That is the way to address this issue so that it permeates to all levels how serious the church is about this issue. Then, when anyone brings up the erroneous passage, the leadership can point to the efforts the church went to correct it AND WHY, not just some email or slip of paper. The church needs to lead by example not by email.

Edited by CA Steve
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57 minutes ago, JamesBYoung said:

Richard Bushman was speaking tonight at SLC Central Stake.

He differentiated between realistic faithfulness (which to me is Mormon mindfulness) and the idealistic-faith members.  The first is what I want to be: to look at matters realistically and react to them in a positive way that does not ignore the facts.

As an aside: the good professor cleaned up with Rough Stone Rolling in all the Mormon biography awards, except for one.  That author, the only one to win that year in Mormon bio other than Richard, was in the audience listening with what seemed real intensity.

I agree that on matters such as this OP or Joseph Smith, we need to be faithful realists.

When you no longer expect the church to be perfect in order to be true, it is very freeing. :)

Edited by bsjkki
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16 minutes ago, CA Steve said:

Then, when anyone brings up the erroneous passage, the leadership can point to the efforts the church went to correct it AND WHY, not just some email or slip of paper. The church needs to lead by example not by email.

How is the passage erroneous?  It’s only saying what’s in the Book of Mormon?  

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29 minutes ago, CA Steve said:

Every leader at every level should be made aware of that error and the efforts to replace every one of those books

This isn't a business where leaders can exact penalties for noncompliance.  There is no way in creation those books which have been handed out worldwide in urban and rural areas most likely (assuming nonEnglish have the same text translates) are going to even close to be mostly returned in order to be destroyed.  

Edited by Calm
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5 minutes ago, Calm said:

This isn't a business where leaders can exact penalties for noncompliance.  There is no way in creation those books which have been handed out worldwide in urban and rural areas most likely (assuming nonEnglish have the same text translates) are going to even close to be mostly returned in order to be destroyed.  

Who said anything about returning them?

The Church needs to provide replacements whenever and wherever they can.

The fact they can't get them all is irrelevant, it is the effort to try and do so that is important.

Edited by CA Steve
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7 minutes ago, CA Steve said:

Who said anything about returning them?

The Church needs to provide replacements whenever and wherever they can.

The fact they can't get them all is irrelevant, it is the effort to try and do so that is important.

They need to return them to the leaders who keep count at the very least if they want to replace them.  Otherwise there is no way to ensure they are dumped instead of put on the shelf as a backup copy.

The effort won't count for much if what results is more confusion by having for many families and maybe even ward libraries two almost identical copies out there with no indication of what was done wrong in one of them.

My approach may be from 15 years off and on being ward librarian and trying to talk people into disposing of out of date, but usable materials.

Edited by Calm
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4 minutes ago, Calm said:

They need to return them to the leaders who keep count at the very least if they want to replace them.  Otherwise there is no way to ensure they are dumped instead of put on the shelf as a backup copy.

I am not following you here Calm. No count is needed. Distribute them the same way the originals went out and ask members not to use the old copies and, most importantly, take the opportunity to explain why it is being done. If members want to hang on to the old ones, no one can prevent that, but at least the church itself is showing they are trying to correct the problem and making members aware of that effort.  Every time an old book shows up, leadership should be encouraged to take that opportunity to explain the error and the effort made to correct it.

Edited by CA Steve
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14 minutes ago, CA Steve said:

Every time an old book shows up, leadership should be encouraged to take that opportunity to explain the error and the effort made to correct it.

Yeah...I am just not seeing this happening.  Leaders have too much to keep track of to register this.  And the books are being kept in the home so who are the leaders 5 years from now correcting when the first version gets taken from the shelf to use as a reference for FHE or whatever?

I added to my post above, my experience dealing with new and out dated materials as a ward librarian, getting people to follow basic policies....pretty slim.  Having one set policy (insert online info into book) as opposed to two (ignore book or throwaway book and get replacement) makes it more likely imo to get it done on a wider basis.

Edited by Calm
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1 hour ago, teddyaware said:

My line of reasoning is eminently reasonable. If the Bible, Book of Mormon and Pearl of Great Price truly are sacred books of holy scripture, written by living prophets of God, and if the curses pronounced upon certain lineages therein have their origin in the mind of a perfectly loving and just God, then there must be good, just and merciful reasons why such curses are instituted.

Because I know God and Christ live and the Bible, the Book of Mormon, and the Pearl of Great Price are the word of God, the only possible conclusion I can come to is that God has good and fair reasons for pronouncing these curses for they are motivated by his perfect love and mercy, always wanting to do that which is in the eternal best interests of ALL of his children. It is even as the prophet Nephi said...

24 He doeth not ANYTHING save it be for the benefit of the world; for he loveth the world, even that he layeth down his own life that he may draw ALL men unto him... (2 Nephi 26).

The same mighty prophet of God who wrote the above words of scripture apparently didn’t find the curse that God placed upon the Lamanites to be in any way at odds with the wonderful, all-embracing redemptive inclusiveness of God that he expressed near the end of his life.

Remember, at the time prophet Nephi testified that the Lord placed a curse upon the Lamanites he had the very same in-depth knowledge of the deepest mysteries of the inner workings of the kingdom of God that the Brother of Jared and John the Beloved had;  yet it appears he was not troubled in the slightest that the curse upon the Lamanites was going to hold back their salvation and spiritual progression when viewed from an eternal perspective.

My suggestion is that if you know the Book of Mormon is true it would be a good idea to withhold judgement on whether or not God’s curses are just and true until you have the full scope of revelatory information needed in order to correctly make a fully informed judgement.

The curse of the fall of man is by far the most far reaching, impactful and seemingly devastating of all the curses of God. Yet we are constantly taught that even though the fall introduced such horrors as plagues and mass murder to the world , ultimately the curse of the fall will prove to be a blessing in disguise, with infinitely more good coming as a consequence of the fall than if the fall had never occurred.

My testimony is that when we have enough of the facts to comprehend the complete picture of the divine drama, we will gratefully realize that God knew best and that more good came about as a consequence of his pronounced curses than if they had never been decreed. I’m fully confident that one day we will understand that all of God’s curses will ultimately turn out to be blessings in disguise for “He doeth not anything  save it be for the benefit of the world...”

 

You said in the other post you would not accept your own beliefs (testimony) above scripture and then I asked how you knew a given scripture was correct. 

All you did here is assert your own beliefs, and did not answer the question, thereby contradicting your own statement to not put your own beliefs above scripture.

You simply asserted your testimony in effect, contradicting yourself. Bad argument.

I agree with your point but it seems you are not understanding that having a testimony MEANS asserting your own beliefs in what scriptures to follow 

That was my whole point in the first place 

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1 minute ago, mfbukowski said:

My suggestion is that if you know the Book of Mormon is true it would be a good idea to withhold judgement on whether or not God’s curses are just and true until you have the full scope of revelatory information needed in order to correctly make a fully informed judgement.

And so you have the full scope and I do not.

Oh yeah that should convince me.

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1 hour ago, juliann said:

Nobody is denying being cut off from God because of unrighteousness isn't a curse. I suspect you think that means he changes skin color though. It's encouraging that you won't say it. Progress. 

Being cut off from God because of unrighteousness IS a curse; but as I said, ultimately a curse that’s a blessing in disguise.

Most people in today’s world would consider the idea of God cursing blood (DNA) lineages, starting with certain specific wicked forebears, to be racist whether the cursed race has certain outward identifying physical characteristics or not. In Germany, before and during World War II, it was often impossible to tell the difference between some blue eyed, blonde haired Ashkenazi Jews and Aryan Germans, so they would have to resort to using birth and genealogical records in order to make the determination. In addition, it was often impossible to physically distinguish between the Northern Irish citizens of Protestant English heritage and those Northern Irish citizens of Irish Catholic heritage, yet for decades these people were immersed a bloody race conflict. As can be seen by these two lone  examples among many, it’s childish and naive to think racism hss more to do with outward physical appearance than it does with DNA.

I can guarantee you that the idea of cursing people by blood lineage, with or without the cursed lineage having obvious distinguishing physical characteristics, will be condemned today by almost all people as bing racist. So whether the Lamanites had dark skin or not, the idea of cursing a people by bloodline will be considered racist in today’s world. In other words, asserting that the Lamanites didn’t actually have dark skin doesn’t put the Church in the clear and prevent savvy anti-Mormons from insisting that the Book of Mormon and the Pearl of Great Price  perpetuate the “ugly” idea of divinely instituted racism. For example, whatever the reasons were for the Nephites and the Lamanites avoiding each other and not intermixing, it would most definitely be condemned by most in today’s world as being an example disgusting racism. Yet the scriptures emphatically testify that the Lord did indeed curse certain bloodlines. 
 

So it appears that in order to avoid condemnation by the world the Church is going to have to expunge all scriptural references to bloodlines being cursed by God. If that doesn’t happen, brace yourself for stormy seas.

 

Edited by teddyaware
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15 hours ago, juliann said:

They absolutely should have recalled those manuals.

Ignoring and splashing the most humiliating comments you can come up so members of that group "won't forget them" is vile, however. Especially when it is a l w a y s the same quotes that should be considered common knowledge by now. What excuse is there for not giving a link rather than two pages of villifying a race that you don't belong to? What is next? Monthly pictures of the torture so descendants will never forget the Civil Rights brutality? Are you one of those who denounces everyone's sins in your sacrament meeting talk to make sure they can never forget? That's good for people, right? Remember how people used to opine about the evils of abortion while there were women sitting in the audience who had had one? 

Here is how I decide who is racist. There are alternatives to the BOM readings. The best being to treat it as what it claims to be, an ancient text. At that point it becomes close to stupidly racist to insist this is about skin color. Sure, it was interpreted that way, But that just makes those people the racists who have no support or standing in doing it. So let's see what happens when you treat the BOM as an ancient text. Let's do some criticism, you know, like scholars do. If you want to understand word meaning, look for other instances.

Recognize this? Here is old Alma putting it in black and white for the racists who want to make sure that blacks never, ever, ever, will be able to see themselves as beloved and respected humans (and if they do, why, shove some ugly quotes in their faces!)

Probably the most misued verse in the BOM is  "he denieth none that come unto him, black and white,". Because Alma told us twice what black and white means: wicked and righteous/out of the church/in the church. So we can use that. Or we can be racist and make it all about skin color, exactly what enlightened folk claim the BOM did. 

And yet I was talking about the history of church leaders' treatment of race and how they related the Book of Mormon curse to the Biblical curse.

I agree that discretion is important but also this is a thread about racism in the church. This is not the aborted baby billboard on the highway.

But as Deborah Alexis says above, talking about it is important. Talk about the history of it. Normalize talking about it and normalize the framing of it as a bad thing that was wrong to make sure there is no doubt whatsoever that it was wrong. 

When I was at BYU in the 90s, Randy Bott was spouting racist ideas in his extremely popular religion classes and he continued to do so into the 2000s. That's thousands of students, many of which who also took his mission prep classes to go on to serve their missions. 

We need to talk about how the church continued the attitudes of racism and how that impacts people still. Re-interpreting scripture is not enough.

 

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15 hours ago, hope_for_things said:

Just found another article on the same speech.  

https://www.deseret.com/utah/2020/1/20/21069626/naacp-huntsman-foundation-rosie-rivera-elder-stevenson-common-ground

I find it encouraging to see strong statements like this, but lets be honest.  Its not just "theories" by leaders of the modern church that we have to grapple with, its scripture in the BoM.  If we're going to "disavow" these theories, we either need to edit the BoM text (this has its own possible negative ramifications), or we need to explain how the characters in the BoM must have been prejudiced and influenced by their culture and that skin color is not connected to any kind of disfavor or sign or curse or however you want to say it.  Essentially, don't throw God under the bus, its human error, not God.   

Yes, to the last sentence especially! We see ourselves by how we believe God sees us. Falsehoods, then about how God sees people then creates enmity between people and God and between people and people.

Another Dialogue essay, "Imagery and Identity," by Daylin Amesimeku, is the author describing the ordeal of their daughter becoming aware of race and not readily identifying with common images of Jesus because of those image portrayals.

https://www.dialoguejournal.com/articles/imagery-and-identity/

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15 hours ago, juliann said:

 

Here is the Deborah Alexis quote I mentioned in case you missed it:

https://www.dialoguejournal.com/issues/fall-2019/?fbclid=IwAR1XA7h_E9OtpV4zFrS9q-8X5nmkjiOTm5z6qXsjx8J1PcFRDYGKYzxwWDc

Excerpt from "Listening for a Change", by Deborah Alexis:

"I am not a follower of Christ first, or black first, or woman first; these are all things that I am simultaneously. I cannot be in alliance with people who do not acknowledge all of me. My multiple identities are constantly informing each other. BYU is not yet my dream school, but I would like it to be. There are some promising changes, including some 
attempts to increase the admissions of students of color. Yet retention of students of color is just as vital. And I would say that the same goes for the larger Church. I want people of color who attend this school, and who join the Church, to feel empowered, valued, and supported. I do not want people of color to have to carry this load alone. It’s disappointing to watch people lose interest or roll their eyes when I mention these issues in class and during Church discussions. It starkly reminds me that I am alone when it comes to this. I am expected to ally myself with BYU and the Church, to demonstrate my unfailing commitment to them while there are few who believe they have any responsibility to mourn with me, to take on the burden of societal and religious racism I disproportionately carry as a woman of color."

 

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13 hours ago, juliann said:

I'm not going to find the other Biblical references, this should do. How do you approach this declaration of black skin?  Job 30: 30 My skin is black upon me, . . .   I continue to see a demand for literalness as question begging which means we have to look at ourselves. Why, why, why are we as Mormons insisting that we give the BOM a different reading than we do the Bible? 

Alma's verse are very convoluted. It almost sounds like he didn't get it either. I don't get how literal skin is a curse here. It doesn't flow naturally. It doesn't even makes sense because people traded sides. That's a lot of skin color changing. And how would a "mark" be passed on to children?

We have the darkness, i.e., unrighteousness, something that a "mark" demands..... but why the heck aren't we treating it like scholars do Cain's mark, we have precedence there. Do you consider anyone today claiming Cain's mark to be literal black skin to be sane? Yet here we are doing the same thing. So I start with that's crazy and go from there. I don't start with Lamanites had literal black skin (which nobody did). 

It would be interesting to see how some studies on the thinking of the average member today and how they interpret various passages of scripture.  It wasn't that long ago that the Benson's, Peterson's and McKonkie views were dominant on church culture and this episode allowing an outdated view on race to make its way into a 2020 manual shows that there are strains of thinking within the church that to certain degrees reflect racist sentiments.  

Your question about how do we read scripture in the church is a central question on this topic.  Do we read the passages that are written in the voice of deity, as reflecting the divine will?  It takes a more mature reading of scripture to step out of that paradigm and realize that just because a scriptural passage written by a "prophet" in the voice of God, doesn't mean that the words written reflect thoughts of God.  Perhaps a closer look at passages like from Isaiah 55:8-9 would be helpful.  "My thoughts are not your thoughts". 

I also think that a reading of history is very important on this topic.  We ought to really look at the way racist priesthood and temple ban started in the church and the way it evolved into a "doctrine" and also the way that it became "revealed" as no longer important.  A close look at the history is very informative about what revelation and authority are and how the traditions in our religion develop over time and how God works with leaders, members and non-members alike. 

The silver lining to this entire snafu, is it might give us as a culture the opportunity to grow and mature in ways that we wouldn't otherwise have.  

An interesting finding from The Next Mormons by Jana Riess (see below link) is just how many people still think that the priesthood ban was God's will.  An unfortunate conclusion to make, that I believe the Gospel Topics essay and recent statements by Stevenson, clearly are denouncing, but you'll still have many people who want to put that horrible practice in our history directly on God's shoulders instead of blaming the leaders influenced by their culture.  All are alike unto God in my book. God never singles out a group based on race or any other identifiers.  We are only punished for our own sins, not the sins of others.  These are key principles of Mormonism.  Why do we as a people, continue to believe in false doctrines?  

https://religionnews.com/2018/06/11/40-years-later-most-mormons-still-believe-the-racist-priesthood-temple-ban-was-gods-will/

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13 hours ago, Hamba Tuhan said:

I have copies of 16th-century documents written by European priests in the Far East that describe the inhabitants of New Guinea as white when they live on the coast but black when they live in the interior. I also have documents that describe local chiefs in what is now eastern Indonesia as white ('just like Europeans') whilst depicting their subjects (including their families) as black. Further documents compare the black-skinned people in the Spice Islands with the white-skinned people of Japan (who were also indistinguishable from Europeans). Please tell me how you think I should interpret these passages.

Good point, there are many examples throughout history of race being a fluid definition that varies across time and place.  We even see this in Mormonism and is elucidated extremely well in Paul Reeve's award winning book Religion of a Different Color, which I think is absolutely one of the most important books written in the past decade in Mormonism. 

https://www.amazon.com/Religion-Different-Color-Struggle-Whiteness/dp/019067413X/ref=sr_1_1?crid=2BETPYGBZI3FO&keywords=religion+of+a+different+color&qid=1579705594&s=books&sprefix=religion+of+a+different+%2Caps%2C184&sr=1-1

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9 hours ago, teddyaware said:


 

So it appears that in order to avoid condemnation by the world the Church is going to have to expunge all scriptural references to bloodlines being cursed by God. If that doesn’t happen, brace yourself for stormy seas.

 

Scriptural references to bloodlines from manuals or the scriptures themselves?  Our biggest problem is the fact that our canonized scriptures have racism.   Do we need to start cutting out outdated cultural and racial ideas from our own scriptures?   Or should we put on a disclaimer like we see on Disney+ shows.

Edited by Rivers
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7 hours ago, Meadowchik said:

Excerpt from "Listening for a Change", by Deborah Alexis:

"I am not a follower of Christ first, or black first, or woman first; these are all things that I am simultaneously. I cannot be in alliance with people who do not acknowledge all of me.

 

I have a better idea. How about we just acknowledge people by the content of their character as Dr. King would want us to do?   

Edited by Rivers
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12 hours ago, Hamba Tuhan said:

It's like the whole Lehite DNA thing we've seen play out in this forum over the past week. People who think the Book of Mormon is a fraud keep telling us that we have to understand it in ways that their arguments/criticisms require. Heaven forbid we should apply to the Book of Mormon the same kinds of close, critical, academically informed readings that serious people apply to all other historical texts.

I'm still waiting for @hope_for_things to tell me how I should be interpreting the usage of black and white in reference to people in 16th-century documents.

There are many ways to interpret documents, from a literary perspective to a historical perspective, and how one interprets something and the assumptions they bring to interpretation, is key.  Hermeneutics as scholars refer to this, play an important part of scripture study.  

I've mentioned this in the thread a couple times already, that I think this is the pivot point in this conundrum.  How will members square the current teaching of the church on race as elucidated in the Gospel Topics essay and recent statements, with prior teachings of the church, including the BoM.  See previous post with the survey from Jana Riess about how many members still think that the priesthood ban was directed by God.  Then reconcile that perspective with the statements that God doesn't use curses or signs of curses or anything to do with skin color to label people.  Here is the center pillar of the wrestle with the older traditional beliefs and the current position. 

I don't think even the leaders of the church have properly wrestled with this issue.  Go back to Elder Oaks talk at the worldwide priesthood celebration of 40 years since 1978.  In a nut shell, he says he never felt good about the priesthood ban, back before it was lifted.  But he was determined to still place faith in the leaders that they were being led by God.  Sounds like even Oaks would answers Jana's essay in the affirmative that God was behind the ban.  Yet, we have statements that we disavow that teaching.  How interesting that we're at this point in history, church leaders are having to wrestle with two conflicting positions that they have, wanting to still support the old ideas about the ban, and perhaps not recognizing how that support directly contradicts the current position the church is promoting.  I'm grateful for the conflict, because that is how we get change.  

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11 hours ago, JamesBYoung said:

Richard Bushman was speaking tonight at SLC Central Stake.

He differentiated between realistic faithfulness (which to me is Mormon mindfulness) and the idealistic-faith members.  The first is what I want to be: to look at matters realistically and react to them in a positive way that does not ignore the facts.

As an aside: the good professor cleaned up with Rough Stone Rolling in all the Mormon biography awards, except for one.  That author, the only one to win that year in Mormon bio other than Richard, was in the audience listening with what seemed real intensity.

I agree that on matters such as this OP or Joseph Smith, we need to be faithful realists.

Thanks for sharing.  Who was the other author in the audience and what book did they win a bio award for?  

Also, you sound like you may be interested in this book which few people I've spoken with seem to know about.  It's Bushman writing about his experiences as he traveled around on his Rough Stone Rolling book tour.  Very interesting insights.  

https://www.amazon.com/Road-Joseph-Smith-Authors-Diary/dp/1589581024/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=on+the+road+with+richard+bushman&qid=1579707066&sr=8-1

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11 hours ago, Tacenda said:

https://www.fairmormon.org/answers/Mormonism_and_racial_issues/Blacks_and_the_priesthood/Statements#cite_note-1

Interesting link from Fairmormon, with three statements from church leaders dating from 1949 to 1978, Elder McConkie's being only two lines deep. It's remarkable the lack of revelation from God on this. What is it, was it just racism or not? The essays don't give a clear answer that it was do they? Not exactly sure. 

"Forget everything I have said, or what...Brigham Young...or whomsoever has said...that is contrary to the present revelation. We spoke with a limited understanding and without the light and knowledge that now has come into the world." [2]

The most important paragraph in the essay, and you can see the wording repeated in the statements from Elder Stevenson on Monday, is this paragraph.  It really tells you everything you need to know about the church's current position.  

Quote

Today, the Church disavows the theories advanced in the past that black skin is a sign of divine disfavor or curse, or that it reflects unrighteous actions in a premortal life; that mixed-race marriages are a sin; or that blacks or people of any other race or ethnicity are inferior in any way to anyone else. Church leaders today unequivocally condemn all racism, past and present, in any form.

So, any racism, past or present, has been condemned and disavowed.  This includes the priesthood ban, which so many members today still believe was authored by God, (see Jana Riess the next Mormons study I linked to earlier)

The priesthood ban, was racism, clearly, by definition, it discriminated on the basis of race.  If God commanded it, then God was being racist.  It fits the definition of racism perfectly, whether it was authored by God or by man, it was racism, period.  If we can't clearly define a term like racism, then we have no language by which to communicate.  If you want to justify the racism, that is your prerogative.  It was racism.  

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4 minutes ago, hope_for_things said:

 

I've mentioned this in the thread a couple times already, that I think this is the pivot point in this conundrum.  How will members square the current teaching of the church on race as elucidated in the Gospel Topics essay and recent statements, with prior teachings of the church, including the BoM. 

 

Very good question.  It’s something we all have to wrestle with.  
 

I would start by pointing out the fundamental gospel teachings that we are all children of God with equal worth.  And that the ultimate goal is for us all to become “one” as Christ prayed for in John 17.   Once we try to view everything through that lens, maybe this will all be easier to deal with.
 

 

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11 hours ago, teddyaware said:

Because I know God and Christ live and the Bible, the Book of Mormon, and the Pearl of Great Price are the word of God, the only possible conclusion I can come to is that God has good and fair reasons for pronouncing these curses for they are motivated by his perfect love and mercy, always wanting to do that which is in the eternal best interests of ALL of his children. It is even as the prophet Nephi said...

How do you square this perspective with the clear statements from Elder Stevenson and in the Gospel topics essay quoted in this thread?  The idea that these curses have their origins with God, is being disavowed, condemned and denounced.  

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