Race and the Mormon Priesthood
Here we are again – the Church has had to come out and make another public statement that they’re not a racist organization. I wonder…how many more times will they have to do this before they denounce their racist canon?
You see, I just can’t help myself. I love the Mormons and I desperately want to see them rid themselves of any hint of racism, but in order to do this some major housecleaning needs to take place, else it’ll keep rearing its ugly head as it did a few days ago.
This recent go-round started late last week when Melissa e-mailed alerting me to the latest conversations Mormons are having online. The topic of course was the defense of the Church’s past racist practices. On this Mormon dialogue board they discussed the new article printed in the latest edition of the Gospel Topics section of the LDS Church and at first I wondered why this was such a big deal because it sounds like the same spin for a different day.
And then I started receiving Google alerts for articles in various newspaper andwire services about this newly released statement put out by the Church. From those publications it became obvious there’s something going on. It was the death of Nelson Mandela. The Church published a formal condolence acknowledging his death and then the very LDS Meridian Magazine posted that along with the new statement in Gospel Topics found on the LDS website.
I’m only going to address a couple of things in this new montage of the same ol’ thing, but if you want to see the rest of it you can do so here.
As a side note worthy of mention I have to point out a must read article they posted on the same page about Race and the Priesthood. A widget over on their sidebar points out another time God had lifted a restriction he put on His children. The link provided a section of scripture on Acts chapter ten. So I have to ask: what does God telling Peter there’s no sin in eating pork have to do with racism?
Lest I digress…let’s take a look at a few things they mentioned in their statement:
“God created the many diverse races and ethnicities and esteems them all equally. As the Book of Mormon puts it, “all are alike unto God.””
It’s nice they pulled out one verse from their beloved canon to try and prove their point, but what about the rest of the story?
The Book of Mormon is rife with racial slams of how the “dark and loathsome Lamanites” were unworthy of God’s favor and in the Doctrine and Covenants we find Smith reiterating the fact the Lamanites were cursed with a dark skin because of sin. From the Pearl of Great Price we read in the Book of Moses that God cursed the land and turned some inhabitants black so they’d be despised amongst other people – Moses 7:8, 22;
“For behold, the Lord shall curse the land with much heat, and the barrenness thereof shall go forth forever; and there was a blackness came upon all the children of Canaan, that they were despised among all people. 22 And Enoch also beheld the residue of the people which were the sons of Adam; and they were a mixture of all the seed of Adam save it was the seed of Cain, for the seed of Cain were black, and had not place among them.”
1 Nephi 12:23; “And it came to pass that I beheld, after they had dwindled in unbelief they became a dark, and loathsome, and a filthy people, full of idleness and all manner of abominations.”
2 Nephi 5:21-24; “And he had caused the cursing to come upon them, yea, even a sore cursing, because of their iniquity. For behold, they had hardened their hearts against him, that they had become like unto a flint; wherefore, as they were white, and exceedingly fair and delightsome, that they might not be enticing unto my people the Lord God did cause a skin of blackness to come upon them. 22 And thus saith the Lord God: I will cause that they shall be loathsome unto thy people, save they shall repent of their iniquities. 23 And cursed shall be the seed of him that mixeth with their seed; for they shall be cursed even with the same cursing. And the Lord spake it, and it was done. 24 And because of their cursing which was upon them they did become an idle people, full of mischief and subtlety, and did seek in the wilderness for beasts of prey.”
Mosiah 9:12; “Now they were a lazy and an idolatrous people; therefore they were desirous to bring us into bondage, that they might glut themselves with the labors of our hands; yea, that they might feast themselves upon the flocks of our fields.”
3 Nephi 19:25; “And it came to pass that Jesus blessed them as they did pray unto him; and his countenance did smile upon them, and the light of his countenance did shine upon them, and behold they were as white as the countenance and also the garments of Jesus; and behold the whiteness thereof did exceed all the whiteness, yea, even there could be nothing upon earth so white as the whiteness thereof.”
D&C 109:65-66; “And cause that the remnants of Jacob, who have been cursed and smitten because of their transgression, be converted from their wild and savage condition to the fulness of the everlasting gospel; 66 That they may lay down their weapons of bloodshed, and cease their rebellions.”
When the Church or those in authority in the Church try to publicly proclaim that Joseph Smith wasn’t racist and proof is found in the fact that he allowed Elijah Abel to hold the priesthood, all one has to do is look at the facts. It was one or two black people who held the priesthood until Brigham Young came along and banished them from holding it altogether.
All the examples I’ve listed here are from the mouth of Joseph Smith. He claims this is God’s revelation to him and mankind, but this is not the nature of the God we know in the Bible. The God of the Bible never made comments such as this god did.
Furthermore, we can see Smith’s personal views about African Americans in their own books so if/when people say there’s no evidence of Smith being racist you can know for certain this isn’t true. While Young took it to another level, it doesn’t exclude Joseph’s behavior.
History of the Church 5:217: “The Prophet’s View of the Negro Race…Elder Hyde inquired the situation of the negro. I replied, they came into the world slaves mentally and physically. Change their situation with the whites, and they would be like them. They have souls, and are subjects of salvation…Had I anything to do with the negro, I would confine them by strict law to their own species, and put them on a national equalization.”
The article on the LDS website went on saying;
“The Church was established in 1830, during an era of great racial division in the United States. At the time, many people of African descent lived in slavery, and racial distinctions and prejudice were not just common but customary among white Americans. Those realities, though unfamiliar and disturbing today, influenced all aspects of people’s lives, including their religion. Many Christian churches of that era, for instance, were segregated along racial lines.”
Since when did two wrongs make a right? The truth is that not all Christian churches in America were racist. While it’s true some of them were, there were still just as many that were not. The Curse of Cain theory was used as a way to excuse man’s awful practice of slavery and to justify their ungodly behavior.
God has made it very clear in His word that He doesn’t tolerate sin of any kind and as true believers we need to ask God to remove the sin of pride from our hearts. Pride seems to be at the core of every sin!
God created man in His image so this is the first thing we need to always remember. Whether someone is Asian, black, Arab, Jewish, white or Indian we’re all created in His image. Secondly, God divided humanity into two groups; Jews and Gentiles. Because of pride in the hearts of His children (here we go with that subject again!) God sent His Son Jesus to die for our sins, thereby putting an end to all this division. In essence Jesus destroyed the dividing wall of hostility (Ephesians 2:14).
We also need to be mindful of the many times God said that He doesn’t show partiality so neither should we. Deuteronomy 10:17, Acts 10:14, Romans 2:11 and Ephesians 6:19.
As Christians our desire is to exemplify the Lord in all we do so we must ask ourselves if this type of practice is exemplifying Him. James warned that those who discriminate are judges with evil thoughts – James 2:4. “Are ye not then partial in yourselves, and are become judges of evil thoughts?”
The true feelings of the Mormon Church are manifested in their published canon and sermons given by past and present leaders. If the Church really wasn’t racist why do they feel the need to keep saying they’re not? And why do they think they look more acceptable by pointing their finger at others who were guilty of the same thing?
The last point I want to highlight is what they said about race relations in Brazil. While most people are already aware the Church faced major issues with opening a temple in São Paulo, Brazil, it’s what they had to say here that made me wonder why they keep doing what they do. Let’s take a look at what that was –
“As the Church grew worldwide, its overarching mission to “go ye therefore, and teach all nations” seemed increasingly incompatible with the priesthood and temple restrictions… The Book of Mormon declared that the gospel message of salvation should go forth to “every nation, kindred, tongue, and people.” While there were no limits on whom the Lord invited to “partake of his goodness” through baptism, the priesthood and temple restrictions created significant barriers, a point made increasingly evident as the Church spread in international locations with diverse and mixed racial heritages…”
I can imagine that manmade rules would pose a problem with what the Lord said in Matthew 28:18-20. He told us to make disciples of ALL nations. How do you exclude someone because of the color of their skin? Just writing the sentences out like they did should serve as a wakeup call there’s something wrong with the Church!
“… Church leaders pondered promises made by prophets such as Brigham Young that black members would one day receive priesthood and temple blessings… after “spending many hours in the Upper Room of the [Salt Lake] Temple supplicating the Lord for divine guidance,” Church President Spencer W. Kimball, his counselors in the First Presidency, and members of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles received a revelation.”
Does this sound as if God gave a revelation to Mr. Kimball? Remember this is how the original witnesses to the Book of Mormon gained a testimony of the golden plates. They didn’t actually see them, but had a revelation about them. If they didn’t really see the plates did Kimball really receive a revelation?
Moreover, the promise made by Brigham Young was that blacks would receive the priesthood AFTER all of humanity had been born. Not before or during the time people were still being born – AFTER.
Journal of Discourses 2:143; “When all the other children of Adam have had the privilege of receiving the Priesthood, and of coming into the kingdom of God, and of being redeemed from the four quarters of the earth, and have received their resurrection from the dead, then it will be time enough to remove the curse from Cain and his posterity.”
Please pray for these dear people that when they read statements like this they’ll begin to wonder why people keep bringing this up. The media doesn’t make repeated remarks about other churches as they do with the Mormon Church so why is that?
With Love in Christ;
1 Cor 1:18
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