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BLACKS AND MORMONISM
The history of how Mormonism has treated African Americans or those of African decent.
| Joseph Smith stated the following:
"For instance, the descendants of Cain cannot cast off their skin of blackness, at once, and immediately, although every soul of them should repent, obey the Gospel, and do right from this day forward. . . . Cain and his posterity must wear the mark, which God put upon them; and his white friends may wash the race of Cain with fuller’s soap every day, they cannot wash away God’s mark; The Lamanites, through transgression, became a loathsome, ignorant and filthy people, and were cursed with a skin of darkness … yet, they have the promise, if they will believe, and work righteousness, that not many generations shall pass away before they shall become a white and delightsome people; but it will take some time to accomplish this at best"
Source: The Latter-Day Saints Millennial Star, vol. 14, p. 418
| The Mormon Church has been doing Missionary work in Latin America since the 1920s, and Missionary work in Mexico as early as the 1870s. Yet, the LDS Church has had a doctrine then that males of African lineage could not hold the Priesthood. Brigham Young stated:
"Now then in the kingdom of God on the earth, a man who has has the Affrican blood in him cannot hold one jot nor tittle of preisthood; Why? because they are the true eternal principals the Lord Almighty has ordained...," (Speach by Gov. Young in Joint Session of the Legeslature. Feby. 5th 1852, giving his veiws on slavery.)
During the 16th, 17th, and 18th Centuries, Spain and Portugal imported many millions of African slaves into Latin American. The Country of Brazil received about four million African slaves during that time span. http://www.yorku.ca/mediar/releases_1...
The LDS Church tried very hard to make sure that no males of African lineage would be ordained to the Priesthood there in Brazil. The LDS Church instructed the LDS Missionaries there, to ask the males they taught there if they have any African ancestry. The LDS Church did Not want any males of African lineage to receive the Priesthood there in Brazil, as well as in U. S. America.
However, other Latin American Countries also received huge quantities of African slaves. Latin American Countries, such as Columbia and Venezuela, received huge quantities of African slaves. African Columbians make up about 26% of the population there today. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Afro-Lat...
Also Mexico is another Latin American Country that received huge quantities of African slaves. At least 200,000 African slaves were imported into Mexico between the years of 1521 and 1810. Most of the Africans that were brought into Mexico ended up intermarrying and intermixing with the Native Americans and People of Spaniard ancestry there.
Yet, I am not aware of any instances of hearing about any males in Mexico being denied the Priesthood there, before the year of 1978, because of African lineage.
| Kevin Barney writes:
"The notion that blacks were not valiant in the
preexistence is not correct. It was a "folk" doctrine
that arose as an attempt to explain the priesthood
ban, which seemed otherwise inexplicable. So
President Hinckley is absolutely correct not to state
that as a reason for the ban.
Notice what happened in the "discussion"? It suddenly turned on a detail. Many Church leaders taught that Blacks were "less valiant" in the preexistence (or at least had done something in the preexistence for which they were being punished.
We have a lot of material on this subject at the FAIR
Wiki; you can find the various articles linked at this
overview piece (link to FAIR).
We actually have an entire website dealing with issues
affecting black Latter-day Saints, which I would
encourage you to peruse (link to FAIR owned blacklds.org).
Good luck and best wishes,
The First Presidency said Blacks were "not entitled" to the priesthood. Brigham Young, when claiming prophetic powers said it was because they were descended from Cain. BY, by the way, never said it was because they were "less valiant."
But - Joseph Fielding Smith, an apostle, future prophet and the church's leading scriptorian published a book "The Way to Perfection" in which he stated:
"Not only was Cain called upon to suffer, but because of his wickedness he became the father of an inferior race. A curse was placed upon him and that curse has been continued through his lineage and must do so while time endures. Millions of souls have came into this world cursed with a black skin and have been denied the privilege of Priesthood and the fulness of the blessings of the Gospel. These are the descendants of Cain. Moreover they have been made to feel their inferiority and have been separated from the rest of mankind from the beginning...."
-Joseph Fielding Smith, "The Way to Perfection" p. 101
Again this is an apostle speaking and he doesn't say "maybe" or "possibly" or "personally I think" he lays down the doctrine.
In 1954 another apostle, Mark E. Petersen, in his official capacity spoke to institute teachers on the church's position on "Race relations." As well as teaching the "less valiant" reason stated:
"I would like to read to you now from The Way to Perfection, by President Joseph Fielding Smith. I believe the chapters in this book, three of them primarily, provide the best statement of our inter-racial position that I know anything about, and I certainly highly recommend them to you."
Later Joseph Fielding Smith published another monumental and popular work "The Doctrines of Salvation" in three volumes. In volume I we find:
"There is a reason why one man is born black and with other disadvantages, while another is born white with great advantage. The reason is that we once had an estate before we came here, and were obedient, more or less, to the laws that were given us there. Those who were faithful in all things there received greater blessings here, and those who were not faithful received less.... There were no neutrals in the war in heaven. All took sides either with Christ or with Satan. Every man had his agency there, and men receive rewards here based upon their actions there, just as they will receive rewards hereafter for deeds done in the body. The Negro, evidently, is receiving the reward he merits."
-Joseph Fielding Smith "Doctrines of Salvation," Volume 1, pages 66-67.
"Folk doctrine" is what you would expect members to come up with in gossip sessions. This was taught by the leaders to the members witout a dissenting voice.
But the exact reason for the ban is a minor point. That the apologist would jump on the fuzzy historical justification for that minor point is telling. What is important is that Mormonism was, in its policies, racist. The leader of the church today has said that past leaders weren't wrong in their racist policies. That means that the current prophet says that racism was right. That means that racism is an acceptable tenet of Mormonism--Oh, it's not supposed to be practiced openly now, just as polygamy is not supposed to be practiced openly now. But just as polygamy is still the doctrine of the church the stance of the church is that past leaders, who claimed God instituted the racist practices, were not wrong. That makes racism part of LDS doctrine, just not currently practiced.
Is there ANY authoritative statement that Blacks were NOT "less valiant" in the preexistence or is it just a "we don't know" situation? Remember, any such statement would have to be more authoritative than Joseph Fielding Smith's pronouncements and Bruce R. McConkie's concurring pronouncements and Mark E. Petersen's concurring pronouncements which were unchallenged for decades by any Church leaders.
If that was "folk doctrine" then everything taught during the last 25 years has been "folk doctrine." Conference is nothing but a celebration of "folk doctrine."
Of course in 25 years when someone brings up the earring ban of the past someone will say "oh, that was just 'folk doctrine.'"
I repeat, the main point is: The LDS church from the top on down embraced racist policies for over a century. The current prophet has said that the past leaders who implemented these racist policies, justified these racist policies and continued these racist policies were not wrong.
That means Mormonism is racist.
| || Elder George F. Richards: "The Negro Is An Unfortunate Man. He Has Been Given A Black Skin." |
Wednesday, Aug 1, 2007, at 07:12 AM
Original Author(s): Jw The Inquizzinator
Topic: BLACKS AND MORMONISM -Link To MC Article-
| ↑ |
Conference Reports, CR April 1939, Second Day-Morning Meeting: Elder George F. Richards
"The negro is an unfortunate man. He has been given a black skin....But that is as nothing compared with that greater handicap that he is not permitted to receive the Priesthood and the ordinances of the temple, necessary to prepare men and women to enter into and enjoy a fulness of glory in the celestial kingdom....What is the reason for this condition, we ask, and I find it to my satisfaction to think that as spirit children of our Eternal Father they were not valiant in the fight. We are told that Michael and his angels fought, and we understand that we stood with Christ our Lord, on the platform, "Father, thy will be done, and the glory be thine forever." I cannot conceive our Father consigning his children to a condition such as that of the negro race, if they had been valiant in the spirit world in that war in heaven. Neither could they have been a part of those who rebelled and were cast down, for the latter had not the privilege of tabernacling in the flesh. Somewhere along the line were these spirits, indifferent perhaps, and possibly neutral in the war. We have no definite knowledge concerning this. But I learn this lesson from it, brethren and sisters, and I believe we all should, that it does not pay in religious matters, matters that pertain to our eternal salvation, to be indifferent, neutral, or lukewarm."
| Included in the "priesthood ban on black men" was the ban on black women entering the temple. Women with even a trace of African-American ancestry were not allowed to receive their endowments or be sealed.
Lowell Bennion's excellent biography contains just one example of this. In this case, the girl's grandmother allegedly had some "Negroid blood" with prevented her from getting married in the temple. Bennion had to go all the way to the president of the church to intervene.
As always, Lowell saw the ban regarding blacks and the priesthood in terms of its impact on individual lives. One of his most powerful experiences was one that President McKay would remember.
About 1956 or 1957 a blond male freshman, fighting back tears, told Lowell after a Sunday school class, "They asked me to pass the sacrament today, but I couldn't because it's believed in my town that my grandmother in South Carolina had Negro blood."
He and his brothers and male cousins had been denied ordination to the priesthood but had remained active in the church "because my mother asked me to and I love her."
Then one morning he appeared in Lowell's office to report that his sister was planning to marry in the temple.
A few days later the young man called to report the marriage had been scheduled for the following Friday, but the young couple would not be married in the temple.
"Let me see what I can do," Lowell said.
He went to Hugh B. Brown, then assistant to the Quorum of the Twelve, who listened thoughtfully and made an appointment for Lowell with President McKay the next morning.
McKay greeted Lowell cordially, then asked, "What's on your mind?"
Lowell explained the situation involving the marriage and the wider ramifications to the family then summarized:
"President McKay, in my experience, the gospel builds life. Here I see it tearing it down."
McKay confided that in 1954 he had discontinued the practice in South Africa of tracing a convert's genealogy to certify its "purity." Then he mused, "When problems like this come to me, I say to myself, 'Sometime I shall meet my Father in Heaven, and what will He say?'"
Lowell responded quickly, "He'll forgive you if you err on the side of mercy."
McKay smiled, "But don't you think it's a little too late to do something about it?"
Lowell responded simply, "No, sir."
McKay paused then said, "Leave it to me."
Within a day or so Lowell heard from the young man that his sister would be married in the temple. Lowell recalled that McKay had said, "Now if we let the girl go, it means we should let the boy go too, doesn't it?" Lowell had replied, "Yes, if he's worthy." Two months later the young man asked Lowell to ordain him an elder preparatory to a mission call.
If the girl had been black herself, the church would not have made an exception.
| A Mormon doctrine that prevailed for much of the church’s history and some would argue is still part of the church’s teachings is the idea that God curses the children and descendents of evil-doers and unbelievers with additional skin pigmentation. Native Americans, having rejected the Christian teachings of their white and delightsome Nephite bretheren were cursed with dark skin as were the descendents of Cain, Adam’s boy and fratricidal brother of Abel. The curse on the descendents of Cain was sufficiently onerous that under Mormon Doctrine, Cain’s descendents would be deprived of the blessings of the priesthood and would therefore be limited in their opportunities for eternal progression. The interpretation of who descended from Cain and who had the curse came down as those of African descent.
Outside of the fact that all humans eventually descend from Africa where hominid species such as humans evolved, this doctrine never took into account the degree of intermarrying that took place in the ancient world. As a result, I can say with all the fiber in my bean, that I, Obi wan kolobi, having been descended from Cain, was never the less confirmed a deacon, teacher, priest, elder and high priest in the Mormon Church. And I, Obi wan kolobi am not alone. Most Mormons have English ancestors. I am among them. Most genealogists would logically conclude that 95% or so of all people of English descent could if given adequate information be able to track their genealogy back to the English King Edward I (longshanks) the misrepresented evil man from the movie Braveheart. The basis for this assumption regards what we know about the large number of known descendents and the large number of unknown. You also can calculate how many ancestors you as an Englishman had going back to the time of Edward I.
I Obi wan kolobi can actually trace my ancestry back to Edward I. My Great Great Great Grandfather Josiah Guile Hardy has the following direct ancestors (according to http://www.familysearch.com.
Sylvanus Hardy (64), Rebecca Hardy(128), Ebenezer Hardy(512), Mary Burbank(1,024), Martha Smith(2,048), Hugh Smith(4,096), Hugh Smith(8,192), Elizabeth Gorge(16,384), Winifred Budockshide(32,768), Frances Champernon(65,536), Catherine Carew(131,072), Catherine Huddesfield(262,144), Catherine Courtenay(524,288), Philip Courtenay(1,048,576), John Courtenay(2,097,152), Philip Courtney(4,194,304), Margaret de Bohun(8,388,608), Elizabeth Princess of England(16,777,216), Edward I(33,554,432).
This is one of several genealogies that I can trace back. But my purpose here is to show how many generations back you go and it’s implications. My Great Great Great Grandfather Josiah Guile Hardy was one of 32 GGG Grandparents that I can claim as ancestors. Each generation back, each of these ancestors have two parents who I also descend from. So each generation back, you double by two and see the numbers in parentheses by each ancestor. From England, little old Obi has potentially 33.5 million ancestors from a country that had scarcely over a million, the probability of not descending from Edward I is not good. (Interestingly, the probability of not descending from Charlemagne is pretty much non-existent for the entire western world) But let’s look for a moment at Edward I’s ancestry and a little bit of historic context behind it.
Edward I’s Great Grandfather Henry II married Eleanor, Duchess of Aquitaine and by so doing, created a situation where the Kings of England then also inherited this important Duchy in the south of France. This Duchy bordered with what is now northern Spain and the Kingdoms of Aragon, Leon, and Castille. In order to cement relations with these neighbors, much intermarrying went on between the English nobility and the Spanish nobility. Southern Spain at this time was controlled by the Moors, Muslims of African descent. The northern Spaniards intermarried quite liberally with the Moors and with them, carried African DNA to England. Follow this Moorish ancestor of mine, Urraca of Alvar:
Urraca of Alvar, born in 1017 begat Ramiro King of Aragon, who begat Sancho V King of Aragon who begat Ramiro II King of Aragon who begat Petronila Queen of Aragon who begat Alphonso II King of Aragon who begat Alphonso III King of Aragon who begat Raymond Bberinger Count of Provence who begat Elbeonore Countess of Provence who begat Edward I, (longshanks) King of England. Edward I descends from Africans! I and virtually all Englishmen descend from Edward I. Urraca is one of many ancestors of Edward I and other English nobility that descend from African Moors.
On another note, Brigham Young, the prophet who most firmly cemented Mormon racist doctrines descends from all Englishmen. I have traced his genealogy through http://www.familysearch.com and have been unable to locate any non-Englishmen. Oh the irony, that brother Brigham, was a “brother” after all.
| || In Honor Of The LDS Church's "Celebration" Of Blacks, I Submit A Few Choice Quotes |
Wednesday, Jun 11, 2008, at 07:53 AM
Original Author(s): Jw The Inquizzinator
Topic: BLACKS AND MORMONISM -Link To MC Article-
| ↑ |
| “For behold, the Lord shall curse the land with much heat, and the bareness thereof shall go forth forever; and there was a blackness came upon all the children of Canaan, that they were despised among all people.”
- Pearl of Great Price, Mormon scripture, Book of Moses 7:8; online at http://scriptures.lds.org/moses/
Prophet Joseph Smith, Jr. (1805 – 1844):
“I do not believe that the people of the North have any more right to say that the South shall not hold slaves, than the South have to say the North shall.... the first mention we have of slavery is found in the Holy Bible.... And so far from that prediction being averse to the mind of God, it [slavery] remains as a lasting monument of the decree of Jehovah, to the shame and confusion of all who have cried out against the South, in consequence of their holding the sons of Ham in servitude.”
- Prophet Joseph Smith, Jr., History of the Church, v. 2, p. 438; online at http://www.antimormon.8m.com/hocindex...
“Thirteenth – ‘Are the Mormons abolitionists?’ No, unless delivering the people from priestcraft, and the priests from the power of Satan, should be considered abolition. But we do not believe in setting the negroes free.”
- Prophet Joseph Smith, Jr., History of the Church, v.3, p. 29; online at http://www.antimormon.8m.com/hocinde...
Prophet Brigham Young (1801-1877):
“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.”
- Prophet Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, v. 2, pp. 142-143; online at http://journals.mormonfundamentalism....
“You must not think, from what I say, that I am opposed to slavery. No! The negro is damned, and is to serve his master till God chooses to remove the curse of Ham.”
- Prophet Brigham Young, New York Herald, May 4, 1855, as cited in Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought, Spring 1973, p. 56
“The moment we consent to mingle with the seed of Cain the Church must go to destruction, - we should receive the curse which has been placed upon the seed of Cain, and never more be numbered with the children of Adam who are heirs to the priesthood until that curse be removed.”
- Prophet Brigham Young, Brigham Young Addresses, Feb. 5, 1852, LDS historical department; online at http://www.geocities.com/solmes.geo/a... and http://home.teleport.com/~packham/byo...
“Cain slew his brother.... and the Lord put a mark upon him, which is the flat nose and black skin. Trace mankind down to after the flood, and tehn another curse is pronounced upon the same race – that they should be the ‘servant of servants,’ and they will be, until that curse is removed; and the Abolitionists cannot help it, nor in the least alter that decree. How long is that race to endure the dreadful curse that is upon them? That curse will remain upon them, and they never can hold the Priesthood or share in it until all the other descendants of Adam have received the promises and enjoyed the blessings of the Priesthood and the keys thereof. Until the last ones of the residue of Adam’s children are brought up to that favorable position, the children of Cain cannot receive the first ordinances of the Priesthood. They were the first that were cursed, and they will be the last from whom the curse will be removed. When the residue of the family of Adam come up and receive their blessings, then the curse will be removed from the seed of Cain, and they will receive blessings in like proportion.”
- Prophet Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, v. 7, pp. 290-291; online at http://journals.mormonfundamentalism....
“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. He has placed life and death before his children, and it is for them to choose. If they choose life, they receive the blessings of life; if they chose death, they must abide the penalty. This is a law which has always existed from all eternity, and will continue to exist throughout all the eternities to come.”
- Prophet Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, v. 11, p. 272; online at http://journals.mormonfundamentalism....
“I am as much opposed to the principle of slavery as any man in the present acceptation or usage of the term, it is abused. I am opposed to abuseing [sic] that which God has decreed, to take a blessing, and make a curse of it. It is a great blessing to the seed of Adam to have the seed of Cain for servants.... Let this Church which is called the Kingdom of God on the earth; we will sommons [sic] the first presidency, the twelve, the high counsel, the Bishoprick [sic], and all the elders of Isreal [sic], suppose we summons them to apear [sic] here, and here declare that it is right to mingle our seed with the black race of Cain, that they shall come in with us and be pertakers [sic] with us of all the blessings God has given to us. On that very day, and hour we should do so, the priesthood is taken from this Church and the Kingdom of God leaves us to our fate.”
- Prophet Brigham Young, Brigham Young Addresses, Feb. 5, 1852, LDS archives; online at http://www.utlm.org/onlineresources/s...
Prophet John Taylor (1808 - 1887):
“For instance, the descendants of Cain cannot cast off their skin of blackness, at once, and immediately, although every should of them should repent.... Cain and his posterity must wear the mark which God put upon them; and his white friends may wash the race of Cain with fuller’s soap every day, they cannot wash away God’s mark.”
- Prophet John Taylor, Millennial Star, v. 14, p. 418; online at http://www.lds-mormon.com/racism.shtm...
“And after the flood we are told that the curse that had been pronounced upon Cain was continued through Ham’s wife, as he had married a wife of that seed. And why did it pass through the flood? Because it was necessary that the devil should have a representation upon the earth as well as God; and that man should be a free agent to act for himself, and that all men might have the opportunity of receiving or rejecting the truth, and be governed by it or not according to their wishes and abide the result; and that those who would be able to associate with the Gods in the eternal worlds. It is the same eternal programme. God knew it and Adam knew it.”
- Prophet John Taylor, Journal of Discourses, v. 22, p. 304; online at http://journals.mormonfundamentalism....
Apostle Orson Hyde (1805-1878):
“We feel it to be our duty to define our position in relation to the subject of slavery. There are several men in the valley of the Salt Lake from the Southern States, who have their slaves with them.”
- Apostle Orson Hyde, Millennial Star, 1851, p. 63
Apostle George F. Richards ( 1861 - 1950 ):
“The Negro is an unfortunate man. He has been given a black skin. But that is as nothing compared with that greater handicap that he is not permitted to receive the Priesthood and the ordinances of the temple, necessary to prepare men and women to enter into and enjoy a fullness of glory in the celestial kingdom [i.e., godhood].”
- Apostle George F. Richards, Conference Report, April 1939, p. 58; online at http://www.ibae.org/html/fac139.html
Prophet David O. McKay (1873 - 1970):
“I know of no scriptural basis for denying the Priesthood to Negroes other than one verse in the Book of Abraham (1:26); however, I believe, as you suggest that the real reason dates back to our pre-existent life.”
- Prophet David O. McKay, as quoted in Mormonism and the Negro, Part 2, p. 19; online at http://www.mrm.org/multimedia/text/se... and http://www.utlm.org/onlinebooks/chang...
Prophet Joseph Fielding Smith (1876 - 1972):
“Not only was Cain called to suffer, but because of his wickedness he became the father of an inferior race. A curse was placed upon him and that curse has been continued through his lineage and must do so while time endures.... they have been made to feel their inferiority and have been separated from the rest of mankind from the beginning.”
- Prophet Joseph Fielding Smith, The Way to Perfection, p. 101, 1935; online at http://www.rickross.com/reference/mor... and http://www.helpingmormons.org/Lecture...
“It is true that the negro race is barred from holding the Priesthood, and this has always been the case. The Prophet Joseph Smith taught this doctrine, and it was made known to him, although we know of no such statement in any revelation in the Doctrine and Covenants, Book of Mormon, or the Bible.”
- Prophet Joseph Fielding Smith, The Improvement Era, v. 27, p. 565; online at http://www.utlm.org/onlinebooks/chang...
“It is very clear that the mark which was set upon the descendants of Cain was a skin of blackness... It has been noticed in our day that men who have lost the spirit of the Lord, and from whom His blessings have been withdrawn, have turned dark to such an extent as to excite the comments of all who have known them.”
- Prophet Joseph Fielding Smith, Juvenile Instructor, v. 26, p. 635; online at http://www.lds-mormon.com/racism.shtm... and http://www.mrm.org/multimedia/text/pu...
“There were no neutrals in the war in heaven. All took sides either with Christ or with Satan. Every man had his agency there, and men receive rewards here based upon their actions there, just as they will receive rewards hereafter for deeds done in the body. The Negro, evidently, is receiving the reward he merits.”
- Prophet Joseph Fielding Smith, Doctrines of Salvation, pp. 65-66; online at http://www.mormonismi.net/artikkelit/... and http://www.fairlds.org/apol/misc/misc...
“There is a reason why one man is born black and with other disadvantages, while another is born white with great advantages. The reason is that we once had an estate before we come here, and were obedient, more or less, to the laws that were given us there. Those who were faithful in all things there received greater blessings here, and those who were not faithful received less.”
- Prophet Joseph Fielding Smith, Doctrines of Salvation, p. 61; online at http://www.lightplanet.com/mormons/re... and http://www.bcmmin.org/aframer.html
“It is not the authorities of the Church who have placed a restriction on him [the black man] regarding the holding of the Priesthood. It was not the Prophet Joseph Smith.... It was the Lord!”
- Prophet Joseph Fielding Smith, quoted in John J. Stewart, The Glory of Mormonism, 1963, p. 154
Apostle LeGrand Richards (1886 – 1983):
“Walters: On this revelation, of the priesthood to the Negro, I’ve heard all kinds of stories: I’ve heard that Joseph Smith appeared; and then I heard another story that Spencer Kimball had had a concern about this for some time, and simply shared it with the apostles, and they decided that this was the right time to move in that direction. Are any of those stories true, or are they all?
[Apostle LeGrand] Richards: Well, the last one is pretty true, and I might tell you what provoked it in a way. Down in Brazil, there is so much Negro blood in the population there that it’s hard to get leaders that don’t have Negro blood in them. We just built a temple down there. It’s going to be dedicated in October. All those people with Negro blood in them have been raising money to build that temple. If we don’t change, then they can’t even use it. Well, Brother Kimball worried about it, and he prayed a lot about it.”
- Apostle LeGrand Richards in an interview with Wesley P. Walters and Chris Vlachos, August 16, 1978, Church Office Building, available online at: http://www.lds-mormon.com/legrand_richards.shtml
Apostle Bruce R. McConkie (1915-1985):
“Negroes in this life are denied the priesthood; under no circumstances can they hold this delegation of authority from the Almighty. The gospel message of salvation is not carried affirmatively to them.... Negroes are not equal with other races where the receipt of certain spiritual blessings are concerned...”
- Apostle Bruce R. McConkie, Mormon Doctrine, p. 477, 1958; online at http://www.mormonismi.net/artikkelit/...
Apostle Mark E. Peterson (1900 - 1984):
“When he told Enoch not to preach the gospel to the descendants of Cain who were black, the Lord engaged in segregation.”
- Apostle Mark E. Peterson, “Race Problems – As They Effect the Church,” Address given at the Convention of Teachers of Religion on the College Level, delivered at BYU, August 27, 1954; online at http://www.mormonismi.net/mep1954/
“I think the Lord segregated the Negro and who is man to change that segregation?”
- Apostle Mark E. Peterson, “Race Problems As They Affect The Church,” Address At the Convention of Teachers of Religion On the College Level, delivered at BYU, August 27, 1954; see Abanes, One Nation Under God, p. 363; online at http://www.mormonismi.net/mep1954/
“Is there reason then why the type of birth we receive in this life is not a reflection of our worthiness or lack of it in the pre-existent life? ... can we account in any other way for the birth of some of the children of God in darkest Africa, or in flood-ridden China, or among the starving hordes of India, while some of the rest of us are born here in the United States? We cannot escape the conclusion that because of performance in our pre-existence some of us are born as Chinese, some as Japanese, some as Latter-day Saints. There are rewards and punishments, fully in harmony with His established policy in dealing with sinners and saints, rewarding all according to their deeds....
“Let us consider the great mercy of God for a moment. A Chinese, born in China with a dark skin, and with all the handicaps of that race, seems to have little opportunity. But think of the mercy of God to Chinese people who are willing to accept the gospel. In spite of whatever they might have done in the pre-existence to justify being born over there as Chinamen, if they now, in this life, accept the gospel and live it the rest of their lives they can have the Priesthood, go to the temple and receive endowments and sealings, and that means they can have exaltation. Isn’t the mercy of God marvelous? Think of the Negro, cursed as to the Priesthood.... This Negro, who, in the pre-existence lived the type of life which justified the Lord in sending him to the earth in the lineage of Cain with a black skin, and possibly being born in darkest Africa – if that Negro is willing when he hears the gospel to accept it, he may have many of the blessings of the gospel. In spite of all he did in the pre-existent life, theLord is willing.... to give him the blessings of baptism and the gift of the Holy Ghost. If that Negro is faithful all his days, he can and will enter the Celestial Kingdom. He will go there as a servant, but he will get celestial glory.”
- Apostle Mark E. Peterson, “Race Problems – As They Effect the Church,” Address given at the Convention of Teachers of Religion on the College Level, delivered at BYU, August 27, 1954; online at http://www.mormonismi.net/mep1954/
“We must not inter-marry with the Negro. Why? If I were to marry a Negro woman and have children by her, my children would oil be cursed as to the priesthood. Do I want my children cursed as to the priesthood? If there is one drop of Negro blood in my children, as I have read to you, they receive the curse. There isn’t any argument, therefore, as to inter-marriage with the Negro, is there?”
- Apostle Mark E. Peterson, “Race Problems – As They Effect the Church,” Address given at the Convention of Teachers of Religion on the College Level, delivered at BYU, August 27, 1954; online at http://www.mormonismi.net/mep1954/
Apostle N. Eldon Tanner (1898 - 1982):
“The Church has no intention of changing its doctrine on the Negro. Throughout the history of the original Christian church, the Negro never held the priesthood. There’s really nothing we can do to change this. It’s a law of God.’”
- Apostle N. Eldon Tanner, Seattle Magazine, Dec. 1967, p. 60; online at http://www.watchman.org/lds/smorgas.htm
“Having learned with extreme regret, that an article entitled, ‘Free People of Color,’ in the last number of the Star, has been misunderstood, we feel in duty bound to state, in this Extra, that our intention was not only to stop free people of color from emigrating to this state [Utah], but to prevent them from being admitted as members of the Church.”
- The Evening and the Morning Star, July 16, 1833, reprinted in History of the Church, v. 1, pp. 378-379; online at http://www.geocities.com/solmes.geo/r...
“... a black skin is a mark of the curse of heaven placed upon some portions of mankind.”
- Juvenile Instructor, v. 3, p. 157; online at http://www.utlm.org/onlinebooks/chang...
“In fact we believe it to be a great sin in the eyes of our Heavenly Father for a white person to marry a black one. And further, that it is a proof of the mercy of God that no such race appear to be able to continue for many generations.”
- Juvenile Instructor, v. 3, p. 165; online at http://www.spotlightministries.org.uk...
“We will first inquire into the results of the approbation or displeasure of God upon a people, starting with the belief that a black skin is a mark of the curse of heaven placed upon some portions of mankind.... We understand that when God made man in his own image and pronounced him very good, that he made him white.”
- Juvenile Instructor, v. 3, p. 157; online at http://www.xmission.com/~country/chng...
“Those who believe that the Church ‘gave in’ on the polygamy issue and subsequently should give in on the Negro question are not only misinformed about Church History, but are apparently unaware of Church doctrine.... Therefore, those who hope that pressure will bring about a revelation need to take a closer look at Mormon history and the order of heaven.”
- Elder John L. Lund, The Church and the Negro, pp. 104-105, 1967; online at http://www.utlm.org/onlinebooks/chang...
“Those who would try to pressure the Prophet to give the Negroes the Priesthood do not understand the plan of God nor the order of heaven. Revelation is the expressed will of God to man. Revelation is not man’s will expressed to God. All the social, political, and governmental pressure in the world is not going to change what God has decreed to be.”
- Elder John L. Lund, The Church and the Negro, p. 109; online at http://www.mormonismi.net/artikkelit/...
“First, [before the seed of Cain get the priesthood] all of Adam’s children will have to resurrect and secondly, the seed of Abel must have an opportunity to possess the Priesthood. These events will not occur until sometime after the end of the millennium.”
- Elder John L. Lund, The Church and the Negro, pp. 109-110
“The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has no call to carry the Gospel to the Negro, and it does not do so.”
- Elder Arthur M. Richardson, That Ye May Not Be Desired, p. 13; online at http://www.churches-of-christ.net/tra...
“Also, the gospel was not carried to this segregated black group... the Negroes tread the earth with black dishonorable bodies as a judgment of God because at the time of decision in the pre-existence they were faint-hearted and exhibited an infirmity of purpose – they were not valiant in the cause of the Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, they were entitled to no better earthly lineage than that of the first early murderer, Cain. They were to be the ‘servant of servants.’ They were to be segregated. No effort was made to carry the gospel to them as a people.”
- Elder Arthur M. Richardson, That Ye May Not Be Deceived, pp. 9-10; online at http://www.utlm.org/onlinebooks/chang...
“... No direct efforts have been made to proselyte among them [Negroes].”
- Elder William E. Berrett, Vice President of Brigham Young University, Mormonism and the Negro, Part 2, p. 5; online at http://www.utlm.org/onlinebooks/chang...
“Even Joseph’s ‘calling for the end of slavery by 1850’ in his Presidential campaign is not so liberal as Brodie supposes.... Joseph Smith was, therefore, to some degree a racist, a segregationist, a colonizer, and only incidentally a supporter of abolition. He had some elements of liberalism in his thinking, but these had definite limits. His record... is marked with ambiguity.”
- Marvin Hill, BYU Professor, Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought, Autumn 1970, p. 99
“A different thing is going on in South America where Mormon missionaries are pushing ahead full throttle. There the former careful selection to keep out ‘white Negroes’ has been allowed to slide a little.... ‘There is no question but that in Brazil they have been ordaining priests who are part Negro,’ said one careful observer.”
- Wallace Turner, The Mormon Establishment, p. 261, 1966
“The Negro Mormon can hold no office whatsoever in a church which offers some office to every one of its male members at some time in his life. A gray-haired Negro Mormon who may have spent his adult life in careful practice of all the complicated and demanding rules set down by the LDS church stands disenfranchised before the altar where a youth whose beard is just beginning to fuzz may preside.”
- Wallace Turner, The Mormon Establishment, pp. 243-244
“The Quorum upheld a decision by John Widtsoe denying a temple recommend to a ‘sister having one thirty-second of negro blood in her veins...’”
- Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought, Spring 1973, p. 66
Because of LDS policy toward nonwhites,
“the late sixties found the Brigham Young University the focal point of militant protests. Sports events provided the context for protests, boycotts, disrupted games, mass demonstrations, and ‘riots.’ At one point the conflict among schools within the Western Athletic Conference became so intense that the conference almost disbanded. Administrators, already embroiled in student demonstrations over Vietnam, began to separate themselves from the Mormon school. Stanford University, for instance, severed all relations with Brigham Young University.”
- O. Kendall White, Jr., and Daryl White, “Abandoning an Unpopular Policy: An Analysis of the Decision Granting the Mormon Priesthood to Blacks,” Sociological Analysis, v. 41, p. 233, Fall 1980
“In all humility I must say that God has not inspired me to feel good about the Church’s practices regarding Negroes.... when my wife and I went to San Francisco Ward’s bishop to renew our temple recommends, he told us that anyone who could not accept the Church’s stand on Negroes as a divine doctrine was not supporting the General Authorities and could not go to the temple. Later, in an interview with the stake president we were told the same thing: if you express doubts about the divinity of this ‘doctrine’ you cannot go to the temple.”
- Grant Syphers, LDS scholar, Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought, Winter 1967, p. 6
“My plea, then to the civil rights organizations and to all critics of the Mormon Church is: get off our backs! ... agitation over the ‘Negro issue’ by non-Mormon groups, or even by Mormon liberals, is likely simply to increase the resistance to change.”
- Armand L. Mauss, Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought, Winter 1967, pp. 38-39
“The Church is either true or it isn’t. If it changes its stand on the strength of the ‘great stream of modern religious and social thought,’ it will be proven criticism.... If the Church is true it will hold to its beliefs in spite of its members. If it is false, more power to the easy-way-out philosophers who claim to know the ‘imperious truths of the contemporary world.’”
- Paul C. Richards, Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought, Autumn 1967, p. 6
“The revelation that the church is talking about with respect to the Negro and the priesthood should have been sought 50 years ago – not now when we are forced into looking for one. Even if a revelation should come now, we have compromised our position because it looks as if we have been forced into seeking it, which will be true.”
- Donald Ira French, Jr., Mormon elder and writer, Time, Nov. 1, 1963
“A 12-year-old boy scout has been denied a senior patrol leadership in his troop because he is black, Don L. Cope, black ombudsman for the state, said Wednesday.... The ombudsman said Mormon ‘troop policy is that in order to become a patrol leader, he must be a deacon’s quorum president in the LDS church. Since the boy cannot hold the priesthood, he cannot become a patrol leader.”
- Salt Lake Tribune, July 18, 1974
“The Saints would have been so much better off if they had never gone near Missouri because they... compromised their position by adopting an idea that already prevailed... that ‘Negroes are cursed with a black skin and that they are intended as the curse of Noah on Canaan goes, to be ‘servant of servants.’”
- Sterling McMurrin, “The Mormon Doctrine and the Negro,” address given to the Salt Lake Branch of the N.A.A.C.P., March 1969
“There are Negroes born into families of wealth and refinement, others who are blessed with great talents, and there are those born into the lowest classes of society in Africa, in squalor and ignorance, living out their lives in a fashion akin to that of the animals. Does not this infinite variety of circumstance give further evidence of man’s being assigned that station in life which he has merited by his performance in the premortal existence.”
- John J. Stewart, The Glory of Mormonism, 1963, inside front flap book cover and p. 44
“When God allows a spirit to take on a Negroid body, do you suppose He is unaware of the fact that he will suffer a social stigma? Therefore, if you say this Church is unjust in not allowing the Negro to bear the Priesthood, you must, to be consistent, likewise say that God is even more unjust in giving him a black skin.”
- John J. Stewart, The Glory of Mormonism, 1963, p. 154
“I want to talk to you a little bit now about something that is not missionary work, and what I say is NOT to be given to your investigators [potential converts] by any matter of means.... Why is it that you are white and not colored?.. God is not unjust to cause a righteous spirit to be born as a cursed member of the black race.”
- LDS European Mission president, Alvin R. Dyer, “For What Purpose?,” Missionary Conference in Oslo, Norway, March 18, 1961, printed in The Negro in Mormon Theology, pp. 48-58
“With the concurrence of President McKay, a young man of known Negro ancestry was ordained to the priesthood after receiving a patriarchal blessing which did not assign him to a ‘cursed’ lineage. In another case, President McKay authorized two children with Negro ancestry to be sealed in the temple to the white couple who had adopted them.”
- Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought, Spring 1973, p. 45
“[A Negro] looks as though he has been put in an oven and burnt to a cinder.... His hair baked crisp, his nose melted to his face, and the color of his eyes runs into the whites. Some men look as if they had only been burned brown; but he appears to have gone a stage further, and been cooked until he was quite black.”
- “From Caucasian to Negro,” quoted in Bush, Mormonism’s Negro Doctrine: An Historical Overview, pp. 57-58, endnote #99
R.L.D.S. Prophet, Joseph Smith III
“It is expedient in me that you ordain priests unto me, of every race who receive the teachings of my law, and become heirs accourding to the promise.... Be not hasty in ordaining men of the Negro race...”
- RLDS Prophet Joseph Smith III, revelation to the RLDS Church, May 4, 1865; online at http://www.centerplace.org/hs/dc/rdc-...
| For anyone who does not know, Thurl Bailey is African-American. He played for the NC State Wolfpack team coached by Jimmy V. His team beat Houston in the famous NCAA finals. He also played for and is now a commentator for your Utah Jazz. He married a "white" Mormon and converted.
Thurl gives a fireside about his conversion and references blacks and the Priesthood. In it he says, he is so grateful that his wife looked past the color of his skin to see the real person. I can only suppose the real person he is talking about is "white"? Throughout the fireside, Thurl seems embarrassed in front of this 100% white BYU audience that he is black.
As the fireside continues, Thurl recounts his struggle with the Black question. But it seems Thurl did not put up much of a fight. It was enough that his Stake Mission President said " we don't know why", and " it was time" for blacks to be allowed to be "Priests". After that he was "all-in".
The entire fireside is uncomfortable. The all "white" members all with fake accepting smiles on their faces. His wife with an awkward expression of pride and anger. I assume that before they were married, many people disapproved. Thurl basically asking forgiveness of his new "family" for being black.
It was hard to watch. I am not saying Thurl is not a great man or sincere in his faith. I felt sorry for him.
By Joanna Brooks, October 25, 2009
"While many Mormons would like to forget the Church's history of discrimination against blacks, an Apostle's recent statements comparing the post-Proposition 8 Mormon backlash to the Civil Rights-era harassment of black voters have brought that painful past back into the spotlight."
"Mormon Apostle Dallin Oaks chose a friendly audience deep within the Book-of-Mormon-belt for his now controversial October 13 speech in defense of the Mormons' ongoing fight against same-sex civil marriage. Speaking to students at Brigham Young University-Idaho, Oaks decried the continuing erosion of religious freedom and the declining influence of religion in the public sphere, before mounting a strongly-worded defense of "the ancient order" of marriage against the "alleged 'civil right' of same-gender couples to enjoy the privileges of marriage." ...Oaks, a former University of Chicago law professor who clerked for United States Supreme Court Chief Justice Earl Warren in 1957 and 1958 in the aftermath of the Warren court's landmark Brown vs. Board of Education (1954) desegregation decision, knew that his black-Mormon comparison would draw public attention. In fact, when he previewed his speech for an AP reporter on October 12, he speculated that it might "be offensive to some."..."
"Sure enough, commentators from within (and without) the world of Mormonism have questioned the soundness of Oaks' analogy, asking whether Mormons in their effort to eliminate same-sex marriage are more justly characterized as proponents of religious freedom or opponents of gay human rights. In fact, four Mormon gay rights groups issued a joint statement on October 16 urging the Apostle to consider how the Mormon anti-gay marriage effort might paradoxically compromise religious freedom for members of faiths that recognize the sanctity of committed same-sex relationships."
"But most of Oaks' respondents politely sidestepped an even deeper paradox troubling his black-Mormon analogy: the fact that Mormons have our own long and peculiar history of discrimination against African Americans. MSNBC commentator Keith Olbermann alluded to this history when he gave Oaks his daily "worst person in the world" award on October 14. Comparing the Proposition 8 Mormon backlash and the harassment of black voters was especially inappropriate, Olbermann argued, because Mormons had been "on the wrong side of integration."..."
"The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints prohibited individuals of African descent from joining the Church's lay priesthood (open to all devout Mormon men over the age of twelve), serving as missionaries, or participating in Mormon temple ordinances from 1849 until 1978, a fact that many Mormons today find difficult to talk about or explain. In the earliest years of Mormon history, during the 1830s and 1840s, six or seven African-American men including Elijah Abel (1808-1885) and Walker Lewis (1798-1856) were ordained to the Church's priesthood. But under the leadership of Mormon Church president Brigham Young, the ordination of African-American men ceased, African-American men and women were prohibited from temple worship, and intermarriage was officially discouraged."
"Some historians believe that Young's about-face on the status of African Americans may have been motivated by embarrassment stemming from an 1847 scandal involving an excommunicated African-American Mormon named William McCary, or by political pressures surrounding the extension of slavery to Utah territory."
"Whatever the actual motivation for the priesthood ban, Mormons soon articulated a number of working theological narratives to legitimate anti-African American discrimination, drawing liberally from European and European-American folk theologies that identified Africans and African Americans as the descendents of Cain or Ham. According to some Mormons, the priesthood ban was an element of the curse placed upon Cain for killing his brother Abel (Genesis 4), or the curse levied on Ham's son Canaan to punish Ham's humiliation of his father, Noah (Genesis 9:20-27). The Pearl of Great Price, a Mormon book of scripture, described the people of Canaan as being cursed with "blackness" (Moses 7:5-8) and indicated that descendents of Ham and his wife Egyptus were "cursed... as pertaining to the Priesthood" (Abraham 1:21-26)."
"In 1849, Brigham Young declared that "the Lord had cursed Cain's seed with blackness and prohibited them the Priesthood," a position he reaffirmed in a January 16, 1852 statement to the Utah territorial legislature:
Any man having one drop of the seed of [Cain]… in him cannot hold the priesthood and if no other Prophet ever spake it before I will say it now in the name of Jesus Christ I know it is true and others know it."
"Another rationale for Mormon discrimination against African Americans was articulated in 1845 by Mormon Apostle Orson Hyde, who speculated that the cursed condition of African Americans was a consequence of their actions during their premortal existence."
"Throughout the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, these doctrines gained traction while memories of early African-American priesthood holders like Elijah Abel faded; Church leaders continued to prohibit temple ordinances and priesthood ordination for Church members with as little as "1/32" African-American ancestry. In 1949, the First Presidency of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints issued a statement declaring that the black priesthood ban was a "direct commandment from the Lord, on which is founded the doctrine of the Church from the days of its organization.".."
"The rise of the Civil Rights Movement in the 1950s and 1960s actually spurred some Mormon leaders to renew their support for discrimination. In a 1954 speech at Brigham Young University, Apostle Mark E. Peterson denounced interracial marriage on theological grounds, arguing that "if there is one drop of Negro blood in my children... they receive the curse [of Canaan]"; in 1958 Bruce R. McConkie wrote in Mormon Doctrine that African Americans had been "less valiant in the pre-existence," and thus "sent to earth through the lineage of Cain." Speaking from the pulpit at a semi-annual Church Conference in 1965, Apostle Ezra Taft Benson (a former Secretary of Agriculture under Eisenhower) charged that the Civil Rights Movement was a Communist plot to destroy America."
"Other Mormon leaders were more moderately disposed towards African American equality. Historians credit Apostle Hugh B. Brown and Church President David O. McKay with efforts to open the question of ending the priesthood ban, even though both men maintained personal misgivings about the Civil Rights Movement. In 1969, the First Presidency of the Church issued an official statement expressing support for full civil equality under the law for all citizens regardless of race while defending the black priesthood ban as a prerogative of religious freedom."
"...In the years since the repeal of the priesthood ban, a number of official steps have been taken to correct prejudice within the Church. The Church published a new edition of the Book of Mormon in 1981, replacing a promise that the righteous would become "white" with a promise that they would be made "pure" (2 Nephi 30:6), but leaving intact a handful of other Book of Mormon scriptures correlating dark skin with spiritual accursedness. In 1990, Helvecio Martins, an Afro-Brazilian Mormon, became the first man of African descent to be ordained as one of the Church's General Authorities. African-American Mormons and their allies have also undertaken a number of unofficial efforts to raise consciousness about Black Mormon experience and concerns, like the well-received 2007 documentary Nobody Knows: The Untold Story of Black Mormons."
"But without an official, explicit clarification of earlier teachings on race, many older Mormons continue to quietly maintain and circulate old beliefs connecting blackness and the priesthood ban to the Cain-Ham genealogy or to lack of spiritual valiance in pre-earthly life. Younger Mormons born after the end of the priesthood ban, and raised in what one prominent black Mormon has described as Mormonism's "deafening silence" on race, have little knowledge of the Church's history of discrimination and few resources for coming to terms with it."
"Indeed, Mormons may now have a greater sense of their own historical persecution as a religious minority than they do a sense of responsibility for the Mormon Church's discriminatory history. Whereas Mormonism's African-American problem is rarely discussed within mainstream orthodox Mormon circles, stories about nineteenth-century anti-Mormon mob violence, the state of Missouri's 1838 Mormon "extermination order," the assassination of Joseph Smith Jr., and the subsequent exodus to Utah are frequently recounted. Last November's protests directed at Mormon temples and wardhouses after the election only confirmed and intensified Mormons' deeply-held sense of marginalization and persecution."
"Elder Oaks' October 13 analogy between African Americans and Mormons mobilized this sense of persecution and galvanized Mormon same-sex marriage opponents, just as Maine's Proposition 1 campaign to ban same-sex marriage enters its home stretch and last-minute fundraising appeals from the National Organization for Marriage find their way into Mormon same-sex marriage activists' inboxes."
| || Jane Manning James, Being Black, Could Not Be Sealed To Her Own Family - Was Sealed To Joseph Smith As A Servant |
Thursday, Apr 19, 2012, at 12:44 PM
Original Author(s): Utlm
Topic: BLACKS AND MORMONISM -Link To MC Article-
| ↑ |
| Jane Manning, along with her family, converted to Mormonism in the 1840s. According to Jessie L. Embry, instructor of history at Brigham Young University, Jane
grew up in Connecticut during the 1820's, earning her living as a domestic. When Mormon missionaries came to the area, she listened and along with other family members joined the church. In 1843 eight members of the Manning family started toward Nauvoo . . . The Mannings set out on foot and, . . . finally arrived in Nauvoo where Joseph Smith welcomed them into his home. Before the Latter-day Saints left Nauvoo, Jane Manning married another black Mormon, Isaac James. . . . In 1869 Isaac left the family, selling his property to Jane. He returned to Salt Lake City approximately twenty-one years later just before he passed away. . . .
Wilford Woodruff, fourth president of the LDS Church, recorded the following in his journal for October 16, 1894:
Jane Manning James was a member of the female Relief Society and donated to the St. George, Manti, and Logan temple funds. She repeatedly petitioned the First Presidency to be endowed and to have her children sealed to her. During the time that Isaac was gone, Jane asked to be sealed to Walker Lewis who, like Elijah Abel, had been ordained during Joseph Smith's lifetime.
After Isaac died, Jane asked that they be given the ordination of adoption so they would be together in the next life. She explained in correspondence to church leaders that Emma Smith had offered to have her sealed to the Smith family as a child. She reconsidered that decision and asked to be sealed to the Smiths. Permission for all of these requests was denied.
Instead the First Presidency "decided she might be adopted into the family of Joseph Smith as a servant, which was done, a special ceremony having been prepared for the purpose." The minutes of the Council of Twelve Apostles continued, "But Aunt Jane was not satisfied with this, and as a mark of dissatisfaction she applied again after this for sealing blessings, but of course in vain" (Black Saints in a White Church, by Jessie L. Embry, Signature Books, 1994, pp. 40-41).
I had several meetings with H. B. Clawson Concerning some of our Affairs in Calafornia. We had Meeting with several individuals among the rest Black Jane wanted to know if I would not let her have her Endowments in the Temple. This I Could not do as it was against the Law of God. As Cain killed Abel All the seed of Cain would have to wait for Redemption untill all the seed that Abel would have had that may Come through other men Can be redeemed (Wilford Woodruff's Journal, 1833-1898, vol. 9, typescript, edited by Scott G. Kenney, Signature Books, 1985, p. 322).
| DW and I lived in Kinshasa, Congo, for a couple of years. I wrote this steam-of-consciousness thing on RfM one month before I left and came back to the states. I was still new to RfM, where I found the strength--and the idea, really--to resign my membership when I got home:
I was attending church last Sunday, Sac Mtg only, and fell into my usual bored-outta-my-mind, get-me-outta-here state, just before dropping into a soft coma. I live in an African nation where church meetings of all denominations are lively and involve electric guitars, vibrant, colourful clothes, dancing, singing and sometimes pea-whistles.
Anyway, that's what I wrote that day. I am only familiar with African Mormonism as it is or was in Congo. In Kinshasa proper and in the outskirts they built wonderful (by Congolese standards) and modern buildings, very comfortable by Congo standards. No A/C, but high ceilings with plenty of hanging fans. They had a kind of pianola organ or player-organ, a real organ with all the LDS hymns programed into it. You could either play it for real, or just select a hymn and it plays by itself and any speed you want. The Congolese always selected "super-slow." It would take over 5 minutes to get through the hymn. The conductor would open the hymn book and announce how many verses he or she wanted to sing by yelling out a number: "Quatre!" meant all four verses.
Coming briefly out of my coma to wipe off the accumulation of drool, I looked around and saw the poor Africans, and how they had been reduced down to a lower state. All but a few were conservatively Mormon-dressed, many of them dozing with chins on their chests, a couple of kids sprawled out horizontally on the bench. A guy at the pulpit was droning on in French about Joseph Smith being a pretty great guy, and I think even the bishopric was nodding off.
Made me think when my family and I were in a ward in a predominantly African-American part of an eastern US city. Oddly enough, the missionaries converted the occasional black. I remember one black father got up and bore his testimony, and jumped in the air "for the joy of Jesus." That didn't play too well with the bishopric and the collection of white folk, knowwhatimean? After several months he got up to the pulpit again during a particularly slow fast day (you know what I mean, don't you?) and told everyone what a boring, colourless place it was (maybe he meant that he was looking upon a sea of white faces), and wondered how we tolerated it. A couple of months later he and his whole family were gone.
I'm old enough to remember the non-correlated days of Mormonism. There was plenty of room for boredom then, too, but so much nicer than now. There were youth activities, softball competitions, basketball competitions, mission farewells, mission homecomings, church budget drives, and even (godferbid) bazaars. Anyone remember this? I kid you not; once we had a BBQ behind the church to raise money for the budget, and the bishop had a boxing ring set up and various guys challenged each other to a one-round match. (Turned out to be a bad idea in the end, because some guys got pounded and then carried grudges.)
We never had guitars, though. And dancing was right out.
Congolese are beautiful people, and by that I mean physically. And as is the habit of most Third Worlders, they dress up rather than down when appearing in public because you don't want to appear to be as poor as you actually are. Somehow they all managed to be squeaky clean on Sunday, having ironed their white shirts and colorful maputa on a table with (I kid you not) an iron that you put bits of burning charcoal in.
The meetings were dreary and I don't know how they, as Africans, endured it. They must have looked at all the other Sunday services in the other churches with great envy--people dancing, people singing, electric guitars playing riffs. But in the Mormon church they at least got the rare chance to re-charge their mobile phones. An electrical outlet was the first thing they all headed for, and every outlet was taken by a phone charger clear though all the meetings.
Anybody can baptize a Congolese. They all believe in magic and in fetishes, so the idea of Mormonism, a guy seeing visions, gold plates, angels, and underwear with magical properties all sound like just the ticket. But alas, while the missionaries baptize 30-40 people per month, there is probably no more retention than anywhere else. And no, they didn't bother telling the Congolese that the church used to practice racial exclusion.
The Kinshasa mission had some 80 missionaries, all from other Francophone countries, but mostly from one of the two Congos. The only white people were the mission president, the bean counter and his wife, the "humanitarian" mission couple, and a proselyting couble that worked in Lubumbashi. The mission presidets (I knew two of them) were both class-A assholes.
No one would normally be able to pay tithing because almost no one had money. They were so poor that they alternated eating days by gender, the females in the family eating on one day, the males eating on the next. But the church grounds, always easily 1 1/2 to 2 acres, had "tithing gardens." Don't ask me how they worked because I have no idea.
In Kinshasa there was an LDS distribution center where you could by garments subsidized by the church. They cost about $0.75 per item, I kid you not. Now they have a temple.
I have just rambled. I don't know if this is informative or not.
| Did you date or marry a black person or adopt a black child DESPITE having been taught that black people were "less valiant" or "fence sitters" in the "War In Heaven?"
I dated a black boy in high school, this was 1996. His mom was white, and he seemed to be only interested in white girls, that I ever knew about anyways. Our high school was a very mixed population, and us pasty white people were in the minority there.
There was no problem for me to go out and do things on the town with this guy, but when I tried to bring him home, you know like my two previous boyfriends...
Oh the poo that hit the fan!
I was NOT allowed to bring THAT boy into the house!
However, I found out that my mom made a compromise with my dad, and he was allowed on the porch.
This old house had a long porch on one side of the house that had been covered at some point and turned into the laundry/furnace/shoe room. It was enclosed from the weather, with windows and paint and everything, but was not really heated, and full of junk.
My mom cleaned up one small part of it and turned it into a "game room". I think I had my friend over once after that, and we sat out there and it felt so absurd and sad to me, and made me embarrassed of my parents. I couldn't even imagine what he was sitting there thinking about my family, and how it must feel on his end. :(
I had a car, so we just stuck to going out for dates.
Then I graduated high school, and that was the end of that, as my whole life changed dramatically.
And yes, I was taught that blacks were fence sitters. That equalled less valient, and so they were marked for my safety.
I was told many many times how fortunate and virtuous I was to be born to white parents already in the church. My older relatives are very racist.
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