Sunday, June 08, 2008

30 years

quite silently, the 30th anninversary of the revelation ending over a hundred years of a racist priesthood policy passed today. after having read gregory prince's wonderful biography, david o. mckay and the rise of modern mormonism, i feel even stronger that teh ban was not from divine will, but was a unjust and ungodly ban begun by brigham young and perpetuated by other unfortunately racist church leaders. i was hoping so much that this anniversary and the new leadership of president monson would initiate an official apology for all the pain and oppression caused by this ban. perhaps it is still to come...

i doubt it though.

19 comments:

  1. in the bible there was a time that only members of the tribe of levi could hold the priesthood. there was also a long time that only the high priest could enter the holy of holies in the temple. these are blatant acts of racism and bigotry. i demand that whoever was commanding such false doctrine give me a sincere apology. had any of my ancestors from europe wanted to join in and help officiate in the temple we would have been banned because of our race.

    has anyone taken the time to think that blacks actually had it easier than whites before? as an endowed member i am expected to live up to the covenants i made in the temple, much like living the higher law. blacks didn't have that high of a responsibility. true they couldn't gain the blessings that came with it in this life, but they couldn't gain the consequences that come with its disobedience either. if they never made those higher covenants god isn't going to hold them responsible for them. all god asks us to do is live up to the covenants we have made with him. as long as we do that he will take care of the rest.

    in the mean time i want an apology for the racist acts committed against my ancestors!

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  2. anonymous coward,

    in the bible there was a time that only members of the tribe of levi could hold the priesthood. there was also a long time that only the high priest could enter the holy of holies in the temple. these are blatant acts of racism and bigotry. . . . had any of my ancestors from europe wanted to join in and help officiate in the temple we would have been banned because of our race.

    the priesthood in the old testament was limited to descendants from a specific person. it had nothing to do with skin color, ethnicity, or race. this is very different from the priesthood ban initiated by brigham young which banned people from the priesthood based on the color of their skin.

    has anyone taken the time to think that blacks actually had it easier than whites before? as an endowed member i am expected to live up to the covenants i made in the temple, much like living the higher law. blacks didn't have that high of a responsibility.

    wow. what a stupid argument. this is the same reason i am against women's suffrage. it is so mean of us men to force the right of voting upon women. before they were so lucky to be able to live in ignorance. now they feel obligated to try to make educated decisions in their voting. us men are such bastards!

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  3. Although I can't commit 100% I agree that the ban was most likely not divinely instituted. Nevertheless, I can't understand why when David O. McKay prayed for the change he was told it wouldn't happen during his lifetime?

    There have been various levels of apologies given over the pulpit, but not a typical press conference apology like you might expect, but there have been some.

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  4. carson,

    harold b. lee was quite the racist. that's why i think mcckay was told no.

    semi-apologies have been over the years concerning racist theories for the ban. however, an apology for the ban itself has never been issued by the church.

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  5. If I remember right there was 1 other person that was against the ban being lifted and they had to wait until the 2 died off. Sad, but not a testimony breaker for me.

    I hadn't thought previously about a difference between the two types of apologies.

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  6. joseph fielding smith (who followed mcckay) was also against lifting the ban, though he wasn't even close to being as personally against black people in general as lee.

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  7. This is the type of thing that anti-Mormons write pamphlets about. Be careful when questioning the Lord's anointed.

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  8. Mars, understanding this as such actually makes this a non-issue for me.

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  9. "harold b. lee was quite the racist. that's why i think mcckay was told no."
    :: ha, nice ;)

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  10. Setsuko A.K.A. Mom6/10/2008 9:46 PM

    I have a very close friend who is African American. She joined the chuch in 1977. One year before that. When she joined the church she knew that she could not get the temple blessings but she joined the church any way because she had faith in and believed Prophets were called by Heavenly Father. And they speak for us from Heavenly Father. Amos 3:7 I believe that what all Prophets told us came from our Hevenly Father.
    If you want to hear an apology, it should come from members who acted as racist.

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  11. mars,

    the sad thing is that in many cases, what the anti-mormons are writing about is true. the damage occurs when a mormon eventually finds out is is true and feels like the church had been lying to them.


    mom,

    thanks for your thoughts. i guess i just feel a little differently. i think the prophets are human just like the rest of us and can make mistakes just like the rest of us. unfortunately, many of those racist leaders (like brigham young and harold b. lee) are dead and can no longer apologize for the pain they caused. however, because this was an institutional racism, i feel it is a duty for the leaders of the church to apologize - just as they kind of did recently to the descendants of those slaughtered by mormons during the mountain meadows massacre. although young, lee, and other church leaders were strongly racist, that does not mean they were any less of prophets. they were human like us and unfortunately held biases that were largely endemic to their time. still, when mistakes are made that greatly hurt others, apologies are in order.

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  12. what are your sources that "young, lee, and other church leaders were strongly racist"? If you are going to say that their stance on blacks not getting priesthood is your evidence then you have a circular argument

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  13. My other thoughts:

    -Racist is too strong of a label and I don't feel comfortable with it. They may have had issues with blacks having the priesthood, but I'm sure they still saw them as children of God. There is a whole spectrum of racism from very minor to very large.

    The big important thing....
    -You can still be a great prophet and have slight racist tendencies, or at least could. To be one now is very different than being one then.

    Again, my interpretation of the history is more an institutionalized racism for the 20th century church leaders that were for the ban. BY probably had some racism tendencies that created the ban in the first place. The history shows that Joseph was much more open than BY. The most logical conclusion is that BY was and therefor created the problem that was then perpetuated and very hard to overcome due to it's policy inertia.

    I'm not sure if this is the same as what anon is saying, but I don't think the following is circular reasoning...It could be that the source of the "racism" was that having been born into and grown up in the church with the ban they developed the idea that it wasn't right for the blacks to have the priesthood. I'm no expert, that is just an opinion.

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  14. anonymous coward,

    there are a legion of quotations. as soon as you grow some courage and attach some sort of name to your demands, i'll consider responding more fully to them.

    carson,

    racist is a harsh word, but what else should we call it? i do agree though that their weaknesses do not limit their great achievements as prophets. for me, weaknesses show them as humans who despite their weaknesses are able to attain greatness. since i'm king of weaknesses, it makes me feel like i've got a chance.

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  15. Maybe the word just needs a clarifier to differentiate between people like an Arian Nation activist and some Irish guy that likes all races except for Aboriginal Australians because one killed his father in a drunk driving accident.

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  16. early leaders of the church would not give blacks the priesthood because they are racist and we know they are racist because they would not give blacks the priesthood that is circular reasoning.

    tell us narrator why do you need to find faults with other to feel better about yourself? you should read Matthew 5:48 (and check out the JST Matthew 5:50) and 3 Nephi 12:48. stop trying to bring people down to your level and start bringing yourself up to theirs.

    you can call me john

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  17. According to LDS Genesis, the proper term is "racialist," which draws the proper distinction between Mormons who upheld a policy that discrimminated based on race, while allowing that most of them would not feel at home in a Klan meeting. I like saying it because it makes me sound like Ali G.

    The priesthood ban is an absolute cipher for me; the more I learn about it the less I think I know. I have to say the McKay biography makes me less inclined to believe that racism was the source of the ban, since he was specifically told to quit asking for it to be lifted. However, it's a lot easier for me to accept that human error/racism was the sole impetus for the ban and its continuance through the McKay presidency than a God who would withhold the priesthood and temple blessings from millions in order to indulge the racism of two men in the Twelve.

    Basically the only thing I come away with on this issue is, "It's complicated." The more we learn and discuss it the closer we'll get to the bottom of it.

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  18. Are you seriously calling the Leaders of the LDS Church "Liars"??

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  19. john,

    there is a little box you can quikly check and enter a name in when you comment. i am not claiming that some leaders were racist simply because of the race-based priesthood ban (though without any evidence of revelation to initialize it, it's still pretty good reasoning). brigham young's rhetoric over the years against blacks got worse and worse. it was more than just abot the priesthood. he would rant on about their supposed lack of intelligence, their god-given state of slavery, he would preach on how blacks ought to be hung for sins that he would not condmen whites to. harold b. lee fought against attempts by mcckay, brown, and others to seek god's will t lift the ban. lee wanted black students banned from byu. lee told his daughter that if he had his way, blacks would never get the priesthood. it is for those reaons and many others that i feel justified in saying that they were racists. i do not think they were evil, but were perhaps unfortunate products of their time and culture. for lee (and mcckay - whoes faithful biographer admits had racist tendencies) growing up in a utah and a church that was quite antagonistic towards blacks, it's not difficult to see how they picked up their racism.

    i find no need to bring down others or find faults. i find a need to discover and do my best to understand truth. not everyone is as comfortable in living in ignorance as you.


    s.o.

    'racialist' just sounds too odd for me. perhaps 'moderately racist' or 'showed signs of racist tendencies' is better.


    mars,

    who are you aiming that absurd question at. though i'll admit that church leaders do lie (or misspeak the truth) at times (who doesn't), i don't seem to think i've claimed anything of the sort hear. more than not, when a church leader gets his facts wrong, he just simply didn't get his facts right.

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