THE MORMON CURTAIN
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BLACKS AND THE PRIESTHOOD
Prior to 1978, Mormon leaders forbid Blacks from holding the Mormon Priesthood. Mormon leaders claimed that Blacks were cursed by the sin of Cain and were less valiant in the Mormon "Pre-existence".
| Joseph Fielding Smith wrote the following:
"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, Vol.1, pages 66-67
| Plain and simple?
In June of 1978, the LDS-owned Deseret News newspaper printed an announcement by the LDS First Presidency stating that God, by revelation, would now allow all worthy male members in the LDS Church to receive the priesthood as well as "blessings of the temple." (Deseret News, 6/9/78, 1A). This "revelation," known as Official Declaration 2, can be found in printed form at the end of the Doctrine and Covenants.
To understand why this announcement was of such extreme importance, it is necessary to go back in time to what Mormons refer to as the pre-existence. According to LDS theology, the God of Mormonism, Elohim, resides near a star called Kolob where he lives with his many heavenly wives. Together they are producing millions upon millions of spirit children.
Mormon leaders have taught that aeons ago the time came to present a salvation plan for those of God's children who would eventually advance to a mortal state. Two of Elohim's sons, Jehovah (the pre-incarnate Christ) and Lucifer, presented their respective salvation plans for mortal man. According to LDS President Harold B. Lee: "…Lucifer, a son of God in the spirit world before the earth was formed, proposed a plan under which mortals would be saved without glory and honor of God. The plan of our Savior, Jehovah, was to give to each the right to choose for himself the course he would travel in earth life and all was to be done to the honor and glory of God our Heavenly Father" (Stand Ye In Holy Places, p.219).
When Lucifer's plan was rejected, he rebelled against his brother and father and persuaded a third of God's spirit children to join him. Led by Michael the archangel, the remaining spirit children of God would join in what is known as the war in heaven. Lucifer would lose and become known as Satan; his followers then became demons. Both would be cast out of heaven.
Unfortunately this battle had casualties of another sort. According to LDS Apostle Bruce McConkie, some of those who fought on God's side "were more valiant than others…Those who were less valiant in pre-existence and who thereby had certain spiritual restrictions imposed upon them during mortality are known to us as the negroes. Such spirits are sent to earth through the lineage of Cain, the mark put upon him for his rebellion against God and his murder of Abel being a black skin...The present status of the negro rests purely and simply on the foundation of pre-existence" (Mormon Doctrine, p.527, 1966 ed.). According to Brigham Young, it was Joseph Smith who classified these people as The Seed of Cain. Young said that "Joseph Smith had declared that the Negroes were not neutral in heaven, for all the spirits took sides, but 'the posterity of Cain are black because he (Cain) committed murder. He killed Abel and God set a mark upon his posterity'" (The Improvement Era, Joseph Fielding Smith, p.105).
As a consequence of their lack of valiance, these spirit children of God would be banned from holding priesthood authority when they finally received their mortal bodies here on earth. This sanction would make it impossible for them to enjoy the blessings of exaltation. In other words, they would not be allowed to become Gods in eternity, nor would they have the ability to procreate in eternity.
Tenth LDS President Joseph Fielding Smith wrote, "It was well understood by the early elders of the Church that the mark which was placed on Cain and which his posterity inherited was the black skin. The Book of Moses informs us that Cain and his descendants were black" (The Way to Perfection, p.107).
Smith also stated that "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 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" (Doctrines of Salvation 1:61).
For these reasons, Bruce McConkie would write, "The negroes are not equal with other races where the receipt of certain spiritual blessings are concerned, particularly the priesthood and the temple blessings that flow therefrom…" (Mormon Doctrine, p.527, 1966 ed.).
Joseph Fielding Smith stated, "Not only was Cain called upon to suffer, but because of his wickedness he became the father of an inferior race" (The Way to Perfection, p.101). This comment is especially interesting since it was this same Joseph Fielding Smith who also said, "The Latter-day Saints have no animosity towards the Negro. Neither have they described him as belonging to an `inferior race'" (Answers to Gospel Questions 4:170).
The mark of a black skin would be of great importance to the LDS member for it would be the telltale sign as to who was and who was not qualified for celestial exaltation. In his book The Church and the Negro, Assistant church historian John Lund wrote, "It marked Cain as the father of the Negroid race. It also acted as a sign of protection for Cain and set his seed apart from the rest of Adam's children so there would be no intermarriage."
In a speech entitled Race Problems as they Affect the Church, LDS Apostle Mark E. Petersen asked, and answered, the following hypothetical question: "If I were to marry a Negro woman and have children by her, my children would all 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?" (p.21.)
Brigham Young taught a much greater extreme. In a sermon given on March 8, 1863, Young stated, "Shall I tell you the law of God in regard to the African race? If the white man who belongs to the chosen seed mixes his blood with the seed of Cain, the penalty, under the law of God, is death on the spot. This will always be so" (Journal of Discourses, 10:110).
The Devil's Representative?
On two separate occasions, third LDS President John Taylor stated that it was God's plan to allow the seed of Cain to remain on the earth in order for the devil to be properly represented. On August 28, 1881, he declared, "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" (Journal of Discourses 22:304).
The following year, Taylor reiterated his former comment when he said, "Why is it, in fact, that we should have a devil? Why did the Lord not kill him long ago? Because he could not do without him. He needed the devil and a great many of those who do his bidding to keep men straight, that we may learn to place our dependence on God, and trust in Him, and to observe his laws and keep his commandments. When he destroyed the inhabitants of the antediluvian world, he suffered a descendant of Cain to come through the flood in order that he might be properly represented upon the earth" (Journal of Discourses 23:336).
It isn't difficult to understand why many would look upon the LDS Church as a racist organization. However, Latter-day Saints would reject such a notion since, in their minds, the leaders were merely reflecting what they erroneously thought was the will of God. Mormons laid the responsibility for this doctrine on God Himself, not the personal bigotry, either real or imagined, of any particular Latter-day Saint. For instance, Mark Peterson said, "When He [God] placed the mark on Cain, He engaged in segregation. When he told Enoch not to preach the gospel to the descendants of Cain who were black, the Lord engaged in segregation. When He cursed the descendants of Cain as to the Priesthood, He engaged in segregation" (Race Problems, p.15).
Mormons were taught that even though Blacks could never be exalted and become Gods, they could enter the celestial kingdom. In his Race Problems as they Affect the Church speech (p.17), Peterson said, "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 a celestial resurrection." Slavery revisited?
Would those of African heritage be forever banned from holding the LDS Priesthood? Apparently not. LDS leaders did anticipate a day when the ban would eventually be lifted. However, such hopes did not support the change that came about in 1978. John Lund wrote, "There are two sublime stipulations that will have to be met before the Negroes will be allowed to possess the Priesthood, even if they are worthy... First, all of Adam's children will have to resurrect and secondly, the seed of Abel must first have an opportunity to possess the Priesthood" (The Church and The Negro, pp.109-110). As Lund noted, "These events will not occur until sometime after the millennium. It would be unwise to say Negroes will receive the Priesthood during their mortal existence."
Lund's comment is based on LDS precedent. On page 89 of his book he quotes a statement by the First Presidency that was given on August 17, 1951. That statement read, "The prophets of the Lord have made several statements as to the operation of the principle. President Brigham Young said, 'Why are so many of the inhabitants of the earth cursed with a skin of blackness? It comes in consequence of their father's 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 are now entitled to.'"
Notice Young made certain it was understood that only after "all the rest of the children" have received the priesthood that the curse be lifted. Lund wrote, "It is clearly stated in the above quotes that the Negroes must first pass through mortality before they may possess the Priesthood ('they will go down to death')" (p.47).
On December 3, 1854, Brigham Young said, "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" (Journal of Discourses 2:143).
President Wilford Woodruff noted in his journal that President Young said, "...that mark shall remain upon the seed of Cain until the seed of Abel shall be redeemed, and Cain shall not receive the Priesthood, until the time of that redemption" (History of Wilford Woodruff, p.351, as printed in The Way to Perfection, p.106).
Since the resurrection from the dead has not taken place, and the redemption of Abel's posterity has not come to fruition, it is apparent that the LDS Church was premature in its 1978 decision.
Contradicting Past Prophets and LDS Scripture
In Declaration 2, Spencer Kimball stated that past prophets of the LDS Church had promised that at some time the ban would be lifted and that God, by revelation, had shown him that the day has come. This statement is certainly misleading. As previously mentioned, past prophets had said the time would not come until after the resurrection, not 1978! Kimball's declaration contradicts both past LDS leaders and the Standard Works.
David O. McKay, Mormonism's ninth president, said, "I know of no scriptural basis for denying the Priesthood to Negroes other than one verse in the Book of Abraham (1:26)." This LDS passage reads, "Pharaoh, being a righteous man, established his kingdom and judged his people wisely and justly all his days, seeking earnestly to imitate that order established by the fathers in the first generations, in the days of the first patriarchal reign, even in the reign of Adam, and also of Noah, his father, who blessed him with the blessings of the earth, and with the blessings of wisdom, but cursed him as pertaining to the Priesthood." The obvious question is this: If LDS Scripture supports a curse upon the Seed of Cain, didn't lifting the curse violate LDS Scripture?
An article in the January 1969 Improvement Era magazine (p.13) quotes then-Apostle Harold B. Lee. He stated, "If it is not in the standard works, we may well assume that it is speculation, man's own personal opinion; and if it contradicts what is in the scriptures, it is not true." Lee would become president of the LDS Church on July 7, 1972. Lee's statement raises another obvious question: Since the Book of Abraham had been used to justify not giving the Blacks the Priesthood, doesn't the 1978 decision show that this reversal is 'not true'? Since the lifting of the ban contradicted LDS scripture, it seems that the membership should not have voted to sustain this decision on September 30, 1978.
A great majority of Latter-day Saints simply attributed this to "Latter-day Revelation" and questioned it no further; however, the timing for such a change is certainly suspect. In my opinion the fiasco in Brazil was one of the strongest reasons why the ban was lifted. In anticipation of the opening of its new temple in Sao Paulo, the LDS Church was ordaining hundreds of Brazilians to its priesthood. Did the LDS Church ignore Brazilian history? Between 1538 and Brazil's abolition of slavery in 1888, about five million African slaves were brought to that country. Through mixed marriages, Mulattos make up a substantial portion of the Brazilian population. How would the LDS Church possibly know whether or not those being ordained were qualified? With the dedication of this temple only a few months away, it would seem imperative that the church either lift the ban or face the possibility of a public relations nightmare.
The fact that Blacks were being punished for something they couldn't even remember doing makes this doctrine even more offensive. However, while lifting the ban may have put the LDS Church in a more positive light socially, it demonstrated once more the instability of its doctrines and the fickleness of its God. The decision made in 1978 also demonstrates that the LDS people will accept just about anything their leaders tell them. When it comes to accountability, the leadership of the LDS Church answers to no one. Latter-day Saints may respond by saying their leaders are accountable to God, but what does this really mean when they are allowed to make decisions that contradict what Mormons have historically considered to be God's unchanging will?
To be sure, the LDS curse upon the Blacks had no biblical justification. This teaching most certainly reflects the social upbringing and bigotry of Mormonism's early leaders rather than the will of the Christian God. The message of the New Testament proclaims that a person's past has no bearing on what he can receive from our gracious God. The Bible declares that God will not hold past transgressions against those who come to Him by faith. (Isaiah 43:25; Jeremiah 31:34; Romans 4:5-7, 23; Hebrews. 8:12).
Declaration 2 definitely leaves us with reasons to question the validity of the LDS Church. One, there was no biblical reason for the discrimination in the first place; and two, there was no precedent according to Mormonism to lift it.
| In The Beginning |
>In 1969 Hugh B. Brown actively lobbied to allow blacks to receive the priesthood. This was supported by a majority of the apostles. They formed a "special committee was to report on the Negro situation". The change was approved while Harold B. Lee was absent. Upon his return he rejected the decision and persuaded the quorum to rescind the vote. The reaffirmation of the restriction was a collaborative effort of Neal A. Maxwell, Gordon B. Hinkley and G. Homer Durham. (Michael D. Quinn - Mormon Hierarchy Extensions of Power p. 14)
>For decades Spencer W. Kimball had been troubled about this race restriction. (ibid p. 15) . At the cornerstone-laying ceremony for the Brazilian temple 9 March 1977, Kimball privately told Helvecio Martins to prepare himself to receive the priesthood. He pointedly asked if Martins "understood the implications of what President Kimball had said".(ibid p.16)
>On March 23, 1978 he began discussing the matter with his counselors. Kimball met privately with individual apostles who expressed their "individual thoughts" about his suggested end to the priesthood ban. (ibid)
>After discussing this in several temple meetings and private discussions, Kimball wrote a statement.. And presented it to his counselors on 30 May. He then asked his counselors and apostles to "fast and pray"..at their temple meeting on 1 June. At the temple council that day "the feeling was unanimous".. (ibid)
>On 7 June 1978 Kimball informed his counselors that "through inspiration he had decided to lift the restrictions on priesthood." In the meantime he had asked three apostles (including Boyd K Packer) to prepare "suggested wording for the public announcement of the decision. (ibid)
A letter written to LeGrand Richards on September 11, 1978 corroborates this reason. Chris Vlachos wrote to LeGrand Richards confirming the content of explanations he had been given concerning the revelation. LeGrand Richards acknowledged the letter and in part said "It wouldn't please me if you were using the information I gave you when you were here in my office for public purposes. I gave it to you for your own information, and that is where I would like to see it remain."
Here is an excerpt from the letter LeGrand Richards was confirming:
>One of the most interesting items which you mentioned was that the whole situation was basically provoked by the Brazilian temple-that is, the Mormon Church has had a great difficulty obtaining Priesthood leadership among the South American membership; and now with this new temple, a large proportion of those who have contributed money and work to build it would not be able to use it unless the Church changed its stand with regard to giving the Priesthood to Blacks.
>I believe that you also mentioned President Kimball as having called each of the Twelve Apostles individually into his office to hear their personal feelings with regard to this issue. While President Kimball was basically in favor of giving the Priesthood to Blacks, didn't he ask each of you to prepare some references for and against the proposal as found in the scriptures? (quotes taken from photostatic copies of the letters found in SI Banister - For Any Latter-day Saint)
The decision was monetary without a doubt. It was also very political. The Mormon Church could easily lose face. The Mormon Church had spent over 50 Million on a complex in what was one of the countries producing the most baptisms. It was the new South American distribution center for all materials. It was also the new regional church offices.
The Mormon Church views temples as profit centers. When a temple is built, they have an identifiable increase in all revenue from the area, and specifically tithing. (Ostling - Mormon America)
There were not enough people with verified ancestry to run the temple, let alone be patrons. Even with the change, missionaries were taken from the field and trained as temple officiators and veil workers to man the temple for the first month it was open. (from personal experience - I was one of the missionaries - verifying proof upon request)
As far as dates, the revelation was made June 1978 and the temple dedication was October 1978. Initial training of workers was held in September. Very tight time frames by Morg standards.
Then there is the issue of the tax exempt status. First you must understand that educational nonprofits are treated differently than religious nonprofits. Here is an explanation of how religious nonprofits are treated. (I hold a CPA in the state of Utah and a Masters in Accounting-I will verify this to anyone who cares to email me)
>In the U.S., the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) grants non-profit status to churches, synagogues, temples, mosques and other religious organizations. This is of tremendous financial benefit. Meanwhile, clergy and other employees are guaranteed free speech under the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. They are free to voice their opinions and beliefs, and advocate changes to legislation. They can attack women's freedom to obtain an abortion. They can advocate that special rights be reserved for heterosexuals, and not extended to gays and lesbians, including the right to marry. Christian Identity, neo-Nazi groups, and everyone else are free to engage in hate speech against women, racial minorities, sexual minorities, immigrants, and other groups. A pastor in Texas recently called on the U.S. Army to round up and execute area Wiccans with napalm. The tax exempt status of his church was not threatened. Religious groups can promote a stand on other similar "hot" religious topics, from spanking children to the death penalty and physician assisted suicide. They are even allowed by the IRS to contribute small amounts of money and resources to the fight for changes in legislation. In the words of the IRS regulations: "no substantial part of (church) activities (may consist of) carrying on propaganda, or otherwise attempting to influence legislation." Unfortunately, the term "substantial" is not defined precisely in the service's regulations.
BYU - Ricks - CCH
The IRS was putting pressure on private schools to stop discrimination with the US vs. Bob Jones University. This ruling would directly affect BYU, Ricks, CCH and other US Mormon owned schools. These schools are organized under separate nonprofit corporations which are owned by the Corporation of the President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. As you can see from the following excerpts from case documents the Bob Jones University case was directed at educational nonprofits. This would have affected the Morg, but not the core corporation.
>On January 12, 1970, a three-judge District Court for the District of Columbia issued a preliminary injunction prohibiting the IRS from according tax-exempt status to private schools in Mississippi that discriminated as to admissions on the basis of race. Green v. Kennedy, 309 F. Supp. 1127, appeal dism'd sub nom. Cannon v. Green, 398 U.S. 956 (1970). Thereafter, in July 1970, the IRS concluded that it could "no longer legally justify allowing tax-exempt status [under 501(c)(3)] to private schools which practice racial discrimination." IRS News Release, July 7, 1970, reprinted in App. in No. 81-3, p. A235. At the same time, the IRS announced that it could not "treat gifts to such schools as charitable deductions for income tax purposes [under 170]." Ibid. By letter dated November 30, 1970, the IRS formally notified private schools, including those involved in this litigation, of this change in policy, "applicable to all private schools in the United States at all levels of education. (emphasis added) " See id., at A232.
BYU, Ricks and CCH probably received this letter.
>On June 30, 1971, the three-judge District Court issued its opinion on the merits of the Mississippi challenge. Green v. Connally, 330 F. Supp. 1150, summarily aff'd sub nom. Coit v. Green, 404 U.S. 997 (1971). That court approved the IRS's amended construction of the Tax Code. The court also held that racially discriminatory private schools were not entitled to exemption under 501(c)(3) and that donors were not entitled to deductions for contributions to such schools under 170. The court permanently enjoined the Commissioner of [461 U.S. 574, 579] Internal Revenue from approving tax-exempt status for any school in Mississippi that did not publicly maintain a policy of nondiscrimination.
>The IRS's 1970 interpretation of 501(c)(3) was correct. It would be wholly incompatible with the concepts underlying tax exemption to grant tax-exempt status to racially discriminatory private educational entities. Whatever may be the rationale for such private schools' policies, racial discrimination in education is contrary to public policy. Racially discriminatory educational institutions cannot be viewed as conferring a public benefit within the above "charitable" concept or within the congressional intent underlying 501(c)(3). Pp. 592-596.
>The Government's fundamental, overriding interest in eradicating racial discrimination in education substantially outweighs whatever burden denial of tax benefits places on petitioners' exercise of their religious beliefs. Petitioners' asserted interests cannot be accommodated with that compelling governmental interest, and no less restrictive means are available to achieve the governmental interest. Pp. 602-604.
Rex Lee recused himself from the case. It has been stated that he did this because he had been previously involved in a discrimination case involving the Mormon Church. I have looked for further information about this, but have not been able to find any. If anyone has information about original source information, please let me know. He had been the dean of the BYU Law School which was one of the schools that would have been affected by the Bob Jones decision. That also would have been a reason to recuse himself. In 1986-87 Rex Lee did argue the CORPORATION OF PRESIDING BISHOP v. AMOS, 483 U.S. 327 (1987) case and did not feel it was a conflict.
Other Religious Nonprofits
Corporate Sole is the safest organization for a racist 501(c)(3) Here are a couple of groups that are registered Corporate Soles in the state of Washington and recieving federal tax exempt status. The Corporation of the President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints is a Corporate Sole.
>Harrie A. Schmidt Jr., state chairman of the Populist Party, which is run nationally by Ku Klux Klan leader Kim Badynski.
>Glen Stoll, a Populist Party member who also is involved in the Embassy of Heaven, an anti-government religious organization based in Sublimity, Ore. Stoll was the leader of the Liaison Group, which called for militia members across the Northwest to assist Whatcom County constitutionalist Donald Ellwanger in a 1995 standoff with the IRS.
>Doyal Gudgel, also active in the Liaison Group, but best known for organizing events in Seattle for David Irving, a British man who denies the Holocaust happened.
>Despite huge holes in the secretary of state's database, Lunsford was able to spot about 50 corporation soles associated with white supremacists, militiamen, constitutionalists or people who deny the Holocaust. He discovered some supporters of the Christian Identity, anti-government group Posse Comitatus had set up "soles" as early as 1979.
These are other nonprofits registered for religious purposes:
>The Creativity Movement (TCM) is a non-Christian, non-profit, religious organization, with their head office in Illinois. Creativity, based on the eternal laws of nature. Their prime objective is: "The survival, expansion and advancement of the white race."
>They regard themselves as being motivated by a love for the white race. This implies extreme hatred of non-white races. They are overwhelmingly hate-filled towards Jews, African-Americans, and other non-whites. They hate homosexual behavior. However their concern in this area appears to be muted in comparison to other white-supremacist organizations.
>The Heritage Preservation Association (HPA) is a nonprofit membership group whose purpose is to "fight political correctness and cultural bigotry against the South." To that end, the HPA declared "Total War" last January on those who allegedly attack Southern heritage, focusing especially on the NAACP and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference because of those groups' opposition to the Confederate battle flag in South Carolina. Over the last three years, the HPA has worked closely with the white supremacist League of the South to stage pro-Confederate flag rallies and similar events, and in 1999 HPA President P. Charles Lunsford joined the League.
>The NAAWP, like David Duke, has tried to hide its hate, but its racist and anti-Semitic views, like those of its founder, are evident. NAAWP News, the group's newsletter, has regularly published articles with titles like "Anti-Semitism is normal for people seeking to control their own destiny"; "Jewish control of the media is the single most dangerous threat to Christianity," and "Why most Negroes are criminals."
| On the closed "Al Sharpton" thread I was asked for a reference on my claim that GBH has stated, on the record, that past LDS racism was not wrong.
From an interview on Australian Television at
A little over half way down the page.
Interview of GBH by David Ransom. Aired: November 09, 1997
RB: Now up until 1978 I understand Blacks were not allowed to be priests in your Church?
GBH: That is correct. Although we have Black members of the Church. They felt that they would gain more in this Church than any other with which they were acquainted and they were members of the Church. In 1978 we (the president of the Church) received a revelation under which all worthy men would receive all the blessings of the Church available to them as well as to any others. So across the world now we are teaching the Gospel to Blacks, Whites, everyone else who will listen.
RB: So in retrospect WAS THE CHURCH WRONG IN THAT?
GBH: NO I DON'T THINK IT WAS WRONG. It things, various things happened in different periods. There’s a reason for them.
RB: WHAT WAS THE REASON FOR THAT?
GBH: I DON'T KNOW WHAT THE REASON WAS. But I know that we’ve rectified whatever may have appeared to be wrong at that time.
So whatever "may have appeared to be wrong" has been changed but nothing was really wrong. Also Hinckley brings up that "there's a reason" for past LDS racism but he doesn't know what the reason was.
Until 1978 it was the policy and practice of the Mormon church (Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) to bar those with black African ancestry (even partial) from admission to the Mormon priesthood, which otherwise was open to all (non-black) male members of the church. This ban also applied to keep black members of the church from participation in the sacred temple ceremonies which Mormon doctrine says are necessary for admission to the highest degrees of the Celestial Kingdom. In other words, blacks would never get as high a place as members of other races in Mormon heaven.
Mormon theologians justified this racial prejudice by claiming that the black race is descended from Cain, who was cursed and marked (supposedly with a black skin; Genesis 4:8-15). His descendants, through Ham, the son of Noah who was also cursed (Genesis 9:18-27), continued to bear the mark (black skin) and the curse, in the Mormon view. This ban was further justified by reference to the Mormon belief in a great War in Heaven before the creation of the world, when the forces of good overcame the forces of evil; Mormons believe that one's position at birth in this life is determined by one's valiance in that struggle. Those human beings who were born to privileged and prosperous white Mormons were obviously very valiant. Blacks were (just as obviously) less valiant.
These ideas were widely taught by Mormon prophets, from Brigham Young's day to the late 1970's.
Mormon Apostle Bruce R. McConkie summarized the doctrine as follows:
"The Negroes are not equal with other races where the receipt of
certain spiritual blessings are concerned, ...but this inequality is not of
man's origin. It is the Lord's doing, is based on his eternal laws of
justice, and grows out of the lack of spiritual valiance of those concerned in their First Estate [the pre-existence]." Mormon Doctrine, p. 527 - 528, 1966 edition
Typifying the attitude of Mormon leaders was Mormon Apostle Mark E. Petersen, who said, in an address at Brigham Young University on "Race Problems as They Affect The Church" (August 27, 1954, as quoted in Jerald and Sandra Tanner's book The Changing World of Mormonism, p. 307):
"Now, we are generous with the Negro. We are willing that the Negro
have the highest kind of education. I would be willing to let every Negro drive a Cadillac if they could afford it. I would be willing that they have
all the advantages they can get out of life in the world. But let them enjoy these things among themselves."
The 1978 Change
In 1978, this policy and practice changed, and the Mormon leaders announced that, pursuant to revelation, black members of the church would have full equality: priesthood for worthy black men and temple privileges for all worthy black members. The change was incorporated into the Mormon book of scripture Doctrine and Covenants.
Critics of the church point out that, although the ban has been removed, and the practice has changed, the doctrine (that Blacks are cursed because they were less valiant in the pre-existence) has not changed. This seems to follow the Mormon pattern of changing a practice without changing the doctrine on which the practice was based, such as when polygamy was abandoned in 1890, but retained as a church doctrine even today. Or when the practice of "blood atonement" (shedding the offender's blood to atone for certain sins such as apostasy or adultery) was given up, but retained as a pantomime slitting of the throat in the temple ritual until 1990.
It has always been a puzzlement to me that the 1978 change of practice in that church, allowing blacks to receive the priesthood, is not in the Doctrine and Covenants in the form of a revelation, but only as an
"Official Declaration - 2" which reports that a revelation had been received. The text of the revelation, however, is not given, nor has there been any indication that it was recorded anywhere.
Through contacts I have with some former members of the office support staff at the Church Office Building, I have been able to obtain a photocopy of the only copy of the actual revelation. So far as I know, it has not yet been published anywhere. The text follows:
REVELATION given to Spencer W. Kimball, March 6, 1978, Salt Lake City, Utah.
andnbsp; 1. Hearken, my servant Spencer, unto the voice of the Lord thy God, and receive my word in answer to thy fervent pleas!
andnbsp; 2. Lo, I am well pleased with thee and my servants the Apostles and with all the righteous Saints of my Church. Because of your righteous obedience you are blessed, and I now reveal my Word unto thee, to proclaim unto my Saints and unto all the World;
andnbsp; 3. For thou hast oft inquired of me regarding the skin of blackness which marks many of my faithful children, because of which the blessings of my priesthood and of my exaltation have been denied to them;
andnbsp; 4. And thy cries and the cries of my black children have ascended unto me, and I now reveal unto thee further light and knowledge in this matter.
andnbsp; 5. For my Church is like unto your father Abraham, whom I did sorely tempt, in that I commanded him to take his beloved son and offer up his life as a sacrifice to me;
andnbsp; 6. And lo, Abraham in the fulness of righteous obedience did take his son, and did bind him to an altar of rough stones, and did raise the knife to sacrifice him, according to the command which I had given him.
andnbsp; 7. And by mine angel did I stop his hand, for his sacrifice of obedience was complete.
andnbsp; 8. For human life is not to be taken as a sacrifice to me, except the sacrifice of the Only Begotten, of which Isaac was a type, for such a doctrine and practice is repugnant to me.
andnbsp; 9. But it was for Abraham a test of obedience to my Word.
andnbsp; 10. And lo, likewise the doctrine of the curse of Cain and the mark of blackness, as well as everything pertaining thereto, is also repugnant to me, but was given unto my Saints as a test.
andnbsp; 11. And ye have been valiant and righteous in obeying the words of my mouth which were given not as true doctrine but only as a test for your benefit.
andnbsp; 12. Now, therefore, rejoice in my blessing and receive my Word! For no more shall ye make any distinction among my Saints as to their race or as to the color of their skin; for I the Lord God am no respecter of persons, but all shall come unto me and all may be worthy to receive all the blessings of my Gospel without let or hindrance.
Revelation on Blacks and the Priesthood (1978) - continued
andnbsp; 13. And now, my servant Spencer, I recommend unto thee my young servant Claymore "Rappa" Johnson, whom in my wisdom I have called and chosen and who, in obedience to my call, has requested baptism at the hands of my servants in East Los Angeles, having repented of his former life of pimping and car theft, yea, even as my servant Joseph Smith, Jr., repented of his former life of treasure hunting and sorcery.
My source indicates that the copy had to be pieced together from many shreds; apparently it had accidentally been run through an office shredder. For this reason the name "Claymore" is not entirely clear.
andnbsp; 14. For it is my will that Claymore be brought to the headquarters of my Church, and that he be there ordained as mine Apostle, and that he be set apart as the Senior Apostle of my Quorum;
andnbsp; 15. For lo, the last shall be first, and the first shall be last, and the meek shall inherit the earth, as it is written.
andnbsp; 16. And when I call thee, Spencer, to enter into thy reward, then shalt thou confer upon my servant Claymore the keys of the Priesthood, yea, the keys to bind and loose, to prophesy, to reveal, to know all things, yea, even the leadership of this my Church.
andnbsp; 17. For times are changing, and the end is near.
andnbsp; 18. And furthermore, as an ensample unto my Saints, I call upon my servant Mark E. Petersen, and as his reward for valiancy and obedience I give unto him in the New and Everlasting Covenant of Marriage my servant and daughter Beulah Jackson Beauregard, who has recently ended her long and faithful life of service to me in Harlem, State of New York, and passed through the veil chaste and unmarried; and I direct my servant Mark and his faithful wife and helpmeet of lo these many years to enter into my house, yea, into my temple in Salt Lake City, and there shall Mark and Beulah be sealed together as husband and wife, with Mark's wife kneeling at the altar as proxy for Beulah, and thus shall Beulah have her eternal exaltation and Mark an eternal plurality of wives.
andnbsp; 19. And unto all my faithful servants, from the greatest unto the least, I likewise command them to search out those children of mine of differing races, and, as I have commanded my servant Mark, to provide for them the sealing ordinances in accepting them as their eternal wives and family, that in my Kingdom there shall be all races together in every family, for time and all eternity.
andnbsp; 20. For shall not all things be restored? And, if it please me, shall I not command my servant Claymore, when he shall be my mouthpiece on earth, that my revelation as to plurality of wives be restored, yea as it was in the days of my servant Brigham Young? For lo, am I not now preparing the world to accept all forms of marriage? And yea, even concubinage, as my servants Joseph and Brigham never deigned to practice? And shall I not, through my servant Claymore, if it please me, extend to my daughters the power of the priesthood? And yea, bless the marital union of elder to elder, or sister to sister?
andnbsp; 21. My Saints shall receive my Word, line upon line, and precept upon precept, as they prove themselves worthy. Prepare yourselves, for I come quickly. Amen.
In what may be pure coincidence, Los Angeles police investigated in June 1978 the apparent murder of a 22-year-old black man, Clayborn Johnson, whose body was found near the parking lot of a local Mormon meeting-house, with the throat slit from ear to ear. The police theorized that it was a gang-type execution, since acquaintances said that Johnson had recently "got religion" and had neglected his gang activities. The crime remains unsolved.
© Richard Packham Permission granted to reproduce for non-commercial purposes, provided text is not changed and this copyright notice is included
| In another thread, poster "mikeutah" indicates that he is "interested in the sources to back . . . up" claims regarding "[t]he 'real' reason for [the] 'Blacks and Priesthood' revelation," saying the he "just want[s] to research it more thoroughly."
Hopefully the following will be of assistance to him and others with a similar interest:
--Almost Down for the Count–The Mormon Church’s Brush with a Federal Knock-Out Punch Over Its Anti-Black Doctrine--
What are to be made of reports that, circa 1978, the Mormon Church was in danger of losing its federal tax-exempt status due to its racially-discriminatory policies targeted against Blacks?
Predictably, true-believing Mormons have never been willing to admit that their Church was at one time had its back against the Internal Revenue Service ropes, where it was close to being stripped of its tax-exempt status due to its anti-Black doctrine--and barely managed to dance away from a federal government knock-out only by abandoning its officially-sanctioned bigotry.
There's the final bell.
Time to examine the scorecard.
--The Official Mormon Cult Claim: Alleged Threats of Federal Tax-Exempt Revocation Had Absolutely Nothing To Do with Black Men Belatedly Getting the Priesthood--
Speaking for the Mormon Church’s Public Affairs Department in response to accusations about its suspicious reversal of its long-standing anti-Black priesthood doctrine, LDS spokesman Bruce L. Olsen flatly denied that the Church’s decision to grant priesthood authority to Black men was in any way related to fear of losing federal tax exempt status.
With a straight face, Olsen asserted:
”It's one thing to distort history, quite another to invent it. Kathy Erickson . . . claims that the federal government threatened the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints with its tax-exempt status in 1978 because of the Church's position regarding Blacks and the priesthood.
“We state categorically that the federal government made no such threat in 1978 or at any other time. The decision to extend the blessings of the priesthood to all worthy males had nothing to do with federal tax policy or any other secular law.
"In the absence of proof, we conclude that Ms. Erickson is seriously mistaken.”
(Bruce L. Olsen, “Distorted History,” in "Public Forum," Salt Lake Tribune, 5 April 2001)
(Interestingly enough, a former missionary who served under Olsen-- when the latter was his mission president--made the following observation about both the Mormon Church’s decision to reverse course on Black priesthood and Olsen:
”If it was tax considerations and liberal Jimmy Carter that made the Church abandon institutionalized racism, I can understand why the Church is now so Republican.
”[By the way,] Bruce Olsen was my [mission president] and is a great guy. He does have an impossible job representing the Church on PR issues. Like a tobacco executive in charge of expounding on the health benefits of tobacco, he has his work cut out for him.”
(“Interesting stuff,” RfM post by “activejackmormon,” 7 February 2006)
--Color It Contrary: The Case of Mormon U.S. Solicitor General Rex Lee--
Reacting to Mormon mouthpiece Olsen’s dubious claims, Gary Anderson, in a letter to the editor of the "Salt Lake Tribune," countered:
"I was quite surprised by LDS PR man Bruce Olsen's attack . . . regarding the Mormon Church's motivations for abandoning its anti-Black doctrine . . . .
“His bold assault is particularly amazing in light of the fact that history ‘distortion’ and ‘invention’ have been trademarks of Mormonism since its inception. Of course, the risk in Mr. Olsen's gallant tossing of the gauntlet is that someone might just pick it up.
“For example, it didn't take much investigation to discover that in 1981 the Solicitor General of the United States, Rex Lee, a Mormon, recused himself from a case against Bob Jones University.
“In that case, the U.S. government was threatening to revoke Bob Jones University's tax-exempt status because of its racist policy of prohibiting interracial dating.
"When asked why he took himself off the case, Mr. Lee explained that previously when representing the Mormon church in a similar case, he had argued that the Dhurch should retain its tax-exempt status despite its racist policies and felt conflicted from arguing an opposing view in the Bob Jones case. (see, "The Tenth Justice," [by] Lincoln Caplan, Knopf, 1987, p. 51, note 2 . . . p. 293).
“If the [Mormon] Church's tax-exempt status was never threatened by the U.S. government because of its racist policies, why was Mr. Lee making such an argument, presumably in an era before 1978?
“Given Lee's explanation, Olsen's ‘categorical’ assertion that federal tax law was never a motivating factor in the church's 1978 change in racial policy rings disingenuous. One thing true history teaches us is that secrecy breeds dishonesty.
“It's fairly easy for Mr. Olsen to hide behind the tightly secured vaults in the Church Office Building and demand proof. If he was a true knight, he would throw open the doors to the vault and invite inquiring minds in to examine the minutes of meetings held by Church leaders in the months and days leading up to the 'revelation,' so we might decide for ourselves the Church's actual motivation for the change.
"What's that you say, Mr. Olsen? Salamander got your tongue?"
(Gary Anderson, Springfield, Virginia, letter to the editor, "Salt Lake Tribune," 22 April 2001)
In the book to which Anderson refers, author Caplan notes, in fact, that U.S. Solicitor General/Mormon Lee (who would eventually become president of BYU) recused himself from the case of Bob Jones v. IRS, wherein the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that religious schools which practice racial discrimination could be constitutionally stripped of federal tax exempt protection.
Lee, writes Caplan, bowed out of the case because Lee had previously petitioned the IRS for tax exempt refuge in behalf of the racially-discrimnatory Mormon Church.
Lee, noted Caplan, begged off because, given his previous advocacy for the color-bound Mormons, he now considered it improper for him to argue in behalf of the IRS against color-bound Bob Jones University.
From Caplan’s book:
”Rex Lee . . . who had been sworn in as Solicitor General seven months before [the Bob Jones brief was filed in 1982], had once represented the Mormon Church when it faced a problem like Bob Jones's and, to avoid the appearance of a conflict of interest, he had taken himself off the case.” (p. 50)
“In 1970, the Internal Revenue Service ruled that Bob Jones no longer qualified for tax-exempt status because of [its] segregationist policy, so the school changed it. Blacks could be accepted if they were married to other Blacks, or if they promised not to date or marry outside their race . . .
"By the time of the Supreme Court case, a decade later, the number of Blacks attending the school was less than a dozen, making the ratio of Whites to Blacks about 550 to one.
“From the vantage point of the Solicitor General's office, the legal issue in the Bob Jones case was routine. It was a tax question.” (p. 53)
As one unpersuaded skeptic points out regarding the Mormon Church’s unpersuasive denials over its threatened tax-exempt status:
”If the IRS had never threatened the LDS Church's tax exempt status, why was Lee arguing over it and race with the IRS on the Church's behalf?”
Another understandable doubter observed:
"The only thing he [Olsen] stated is that the Church never was 'threatened' by the Government, NOT that the Church wasn't worried that such a thing *could* happen and was watching court rulings [like the one that was occurring in Wisconsin] to see if they could continue discriminating against [Black] members.
"Yes, it is possible to lose tax-exempt status for discrimination--Bob Jones University lost it once for its interracial dating policy."
It should be pointed out here that although Lee recused himself from the Bob Jones case, the reasons why he did so are a matter of some dispute.
As one contributor on the RfM board has noted:
”It has been stated that he did this because he had been previously involved in a discrimination case involving the Mormon Church. . . .
“He [Lee] had been the dean of the BYU Law School which was one of the schools that would have been affected by the Bob Jones decision. That also would have been a reason to recuse himself. In 1986-87 Rex Lee did argue the CORPORATION OF PRESIDING BISHOP v. AMOS, 483 U.S. 327  case and did not feel it was a conflict.”
(“What we DO know about the 1978 ‘revelation,’” RfM post by “nao crer,” firstname.lastname@example.org, 8 February 2006; and idem, “Re: We do the best we can with the sources currently available,” RfM post, 8 February 2006)
--The Issue of Tax-Exempt Status, As Applied to the Mormon Church--
In order to understand what was at stake for the Mormon Church in regard to possibly losing its tax-exempt status due to its racial bias against Black men, it is important to understand what kind of tax-exempt protection the LDS Church enjoyed.
Again, reference is made to the same poster directly quoted above. This observer also identifies himself as “hold[ing] a CPA in the state of Utah and a Masters in Accounting,” adding that he received his CPA “in 1981, which is in the same time frame [as the Mormon Church reversal of its anti-Black priesthood doctrine].”
He further observes that “[t]he IRS law concerning non-profit organizations has not substantially changed since the inception.”
He then goes on to explain how educational non-profit organizations and religious non-profit organizations “are treated differently:”
”In the U.S., the . . . IRS grants non-profit status to churches, synagogues, temples, mosques and other religious organizations. This is of tremendous financial benefit.
“Meanwhile, clergy and other employees are guaranteed free speech under the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. They are free to voice their opinions and beliefs, and advocate changes to legislation . . . The tax exempt status of [their churches is] not threatened [by doing so].
“Religious groups can promote a stand on other similar ‘hot’ religious topics . . .
“They are even allowed by the IRS to contribute small amounts of money and resources to the fight for changes in legislation.
“In the words of the IRS regulations: ’No substantial part of (church) activities (may consist of) carrying on propaganda, or otherwise attempting to influence legislation.’ Unfortunately, the term ‘substantial’ is not defined precisely in the Service's regulations.”
(“What we DO know about the 1978 ‘revelation,’” RfM post by “nao crer,” 8 February 2006; and idem, “Corporate Soles–IRS andamp; Bob Jones University,” RfM post, 8 February 2006)
--The Mormon Church Had Good Reason to Fear Revocation of Its Federal Tax-Exempt Status, in Light of the Bob Jones Decision--
The LDS Church which, as a tax-exempt organization, practiced notorious racial discrimination against Blacks, was most likely notified of the Jones decision by the federal government and would have undoubtedly become concerned about losing its tax-exempt status.
As one contributor observed:
”A lot of tax-exempt organizations were worried during the Bob Jones case about losing their exempt status over discriminatory policies, according to my statutory law professor. . . .
“The Supreme Court decided the Bob Jones case in the ‘80s, at which point the federal government (under Reagan) was no longer behind the IRS's interpretation of ‘charitable organization’ defined as excluding those promoting bad public policies, like racism, but Bob Jones still lost in the Court.
“The controversy started years before when the IRS sent Bob Jones a notice that they were no longer tax exempt. Whether the Mormon Church received such a notice from the IRS, they would have been well aware of the situation with Bob Jones long before the Supreme Court case, as most non-profits apparently were.”
(“Aphrodite,” RfM post, 7 February 2005)
Indeed, in all probability the Mormon Church was notified by the federal government of the potential ramifications it faced in the wake of the Jones decision:
“The IRS was putting pressure on private schools to stop discrimination with the U.S. vs. Bob Jones University.
“This ruling would directly affect BYU, Ricks, CCH [Church College of Hawaii] and other U.S. Mormon-owned schools.
“These schools are organized under separate non-profit corporations which are owned by the Corporation of the President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. . . . [T]he Bob Jones University case was directed at educational non-profits. This would have affected the [Mormon Church], but not the core corporation.”
Why, and how, would this have affected the Mormon Church? The answer lies in the tax-exempt status of its privately-owned schools:
”Based on court documents, BYU, CCH, and Ricks were probably notified . . . [since] [t]his affected educational 501(c)(3) organizations.”
How the Bob Jones case, specifically, would have impacted BYU is explained as follows:
”The Bob Jones case was concerning a university and discrimination by the university. BYU is a separate 501(c)(3) corporation and there was a risk of losing its tax exempt status for the same reason as in the Bob Jones case.
“BYU received government research funds and participated in sporting events governed by the Amature Sports Act. It is an educational non-profit rather than a religious non-profit.”
”Religious organizations are allowed to discriminate. There are early rulings on this, but in 1987 the Mormon Church was directly involved in such a case. In CORPORATION OF PRESIDING BISHOP v. AMOS, 483 U.S. 327 (1987), it was affirmed that a religious organizations can discriminate in hiring under section 702 of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
”Religions have always been able to limit their membership to any group. There are many examples of religious organizations that limit their membership. . . .
”Religions could always do whatever they want as long as they were not taking public money.”
Not only is the Mormon Church a registered 501 (c)(3) organization, it is a racially discriminatory one.
For racist organizations such as the Mormon Church, "Corporate Sole is the safest organization for a racist 501(c)(3). . . . The Corporation of the President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints is a Corporate Sole.”
Just how the Bob Jones ruling affected private schools like BYU was made clear in a federal court ruling that denied tax-exempt status to private schools.
These rulings undoubtedly would have given the racially-discriminatory Mormon Church serious pause about its own standing before the federal government on the matter of continued tax-exemption protection:
“On January 12, 1970, a three-judge District Court for the District of Columbia issued a preliminary injunction prohibiting the IRS from according tax-exempt status to private schools in Mississippi that discriminated as to admissions on the basis of race.( Green v. Kennedy, 309 F. Supp. 1127, appeal dism'd sub nom. Cannon v. Green, 398 U.S. 956 ).
“Thereafter, in July 1970, the IRS concluded that it could ‘no longer legally justify allowing tax-exempt status [under 501(c)(3)] to private schools which practice racial discrimination.’ ("IRS News Release," July 7, 1970, reprinted in App. in No. 81-83, p. A235).
“At the same time, the IRS announced that it could not ‘treat gifts to such schools as charitable deductions for income tax purposes [under 170].’ (Ibid) By letter dated November 30, 1970, the IRS formally notified private schools, including those involved in this litigation, of this change in policy, ‘applicable to all private schools in the United States at all levels of education.’” (See id., at A232).
“BYU, Ricks and CCH probably received this letter.”
Why the Mormon Church, burdened as it was with its anti-Black priesthood doctrine, would have been concerned about losing its federal tax-exempt status was made abundantly clear in the district court’s ruling:
“On June 30, 1971, the three-judge District Court issued its opinion on the merits of the Mississippi challenge (Green v. Connally, 330 F. Supp. 1150, summarily aff'd sub nom. Coit v. Green, 404 U.S. 997 ). That court approved the IRS's amended construction of the Tax Code.
“The court also held that racially discriminatory private schools were not entitled to exemption under 501(c)(3) and that donors were not entitled to deductions for contributions to such schools under 170. The court permanently enjoined the Commissioner of [461 U.S. 574, 579] Internal Revenue from approving tax-exempt status for any school in Mississippi that did not publicly maintain a policy of nondiscrimination.
”The IRS's 1970 interpretation of 501(c)(3) was correct. It would be wholly incompatible with the concepts underlying tax exemption to grant tax-exempt status to racially discriminatory private educational entities. Whatever may be the rationale for such private schools' policies, racial discrimination in education is contrary to public policy. Racially discriminatory educational institutions cannot be viewed as conferring a public benefit within the above 'charitable' concept or within the congressional intent underlying 501(c)(3)(pp. 592-596).
”The government's fundamental, overriding interest in eradicating racial discrimination in education substantially outweighs whatever burden denial of tax benefits places on petitioners' exercise of their religious beliefs. Petitioners' asserted interests cannot be accommodated with that compelling governmental interest, and no less restrictive means are available to achieve the governmental interest (pp. 602-604).
This key information pointing, as it does, to the real vulnerablity Mormon Church-owned private schools faced with regard to having their tax-exempt status removed by the federal government because of the LDS Church's racially discriminatory practices was completely ignored by LDS spokesman Bruce Olsen. Worse still, Olsen grossly misrepresented the facts.
As Olsen's inartful dodging demonstrates, Mormon Church spokesmen are akin to diplomats, in that both are sent forth to lie in behalf of the organizations they represent:
"[Olsen's] . . . quote . . . was consistent with the [Mormon Church's] use of half truth. [His] statement . . . only addressed the Church as a religious organization. He was not addressing the related issue of the Mormon owned schools. [Again, quoting Olsen:]
"'It's one thing to distort history, quite another to invent it. Kathy Erickson . . . claims that the federal government threatened the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints with its tax-exempt status in 1978 because of the Church's position regarding Blacks and the priesthood.
"'We state categorically that the federal government made no such threat in 1978 or at any other time. The decision to extend the blessings of the priesthood to all worthy males had nothing to do with federal tax policy or any other secular law.' . . .
"The [Mormon Church] was not threatened directly; however, their wholly-owned schools were threatened. The financial ramifications in conjunction with the possible political embarrassment made an untenable situation."
(“BYU (Edited),” RfM post by “nao crer,” 7 February 2006; “Educational nonprofits,” idem, RfM post, 8 February 2006; “What we DO know about the 1978 ‘revelation,’” idem, RfM post, 8 February 2006; and idem, "I appreciate your thanks," RfM post, 9 February 2006)
--An Insider Source Within the Mormon Church Confirmed That Fear of Losing Its Tax-Exempt Status Helped Drive LDS, Inc. to Abandon Its Anti-Black Priesthood Ban--
Writing in their article, “Death of the Anti-Black Doctrine,” Jerald and Sandra Tanner recount what they discovered concerning the Mormon Church’s tax-driven disavowal of its racist teachings:
”. . . [W]e . . . learned from a source within the [Mormon] Church that Church leaders were very concerned that they were going to lose their tax exempt status on property they own in the United States.
“In the months just prior to the revelation, Church leaders were carefully watching developments in a case in Wisconsin in which an organization was about to lose its tax exempt status because of racial discrimination.
“The Church leaders finally became convinced that the tide was turning against them and that they would lose their tax exempt status in Wisconsin and eventually throughout the United States because of their doctrine of discrimination against Blacks. . . .
“[I]t may very well have been the ‘straw that broke the camel's back.’”
(Jerald and Sandra Tanner, “Death of the Anti-Black Doctrine,” in "The Salt Lake City Messenger," Issue No. 41, December 1979)
--A Reported Warning to Mormon President Spencer W. Kimball from U.S. President Jimmy Carter--
According to one source, amid mounting pressures for the Mormons to join the 20th century, the Chief Executive of the United States did some arm twisting of his own:
”Kimball's announcement [reversing the LDS anti-Black priesthood ban] coincided with events which were adversely affecting the Mormon Church.
“For a period of time immediately prior to Kimball's declaration, several major universities, had announced that until such time as the Mormon Church reversed its policy of racial discrimination, they would no longer take part in athletic events in which BYU participated.
“More importantly though, approximately two weeks prior to Kimball's surprising declaration, President Jimmy Carter had phoned Kimball and informed him that the IRS was seriously considering removing the Mormon Church's tax exempt status unless changes were made in their policy of discrimination.”
Providing possible credence to the claim of a purported phone call from President Carter to President Kimball (in which the former allegedly warned the latter that the Mormon Church’s tax-exempt status was in danger of being removed unless it jettisoned its racially discriminatory practice of banning Blacks from the priesthood), are numerous indicators that a Carter-Kimball line of personal communication did, in fact, already exist around the time that the LDS Church revoked its anti-Black priesthood ban.
One piece of tantalizing evidence indicating a close relationship between Carter and Kimball comes from Carter’s White House daily diary entry dated 11 March 1977, which records that Carter met with Kimball for 21 minutes, although the details of their discussion were not specified.
A photograph of their White House encounter was actually captured on photographic film.
As one observer noted:
”According to the President Carter Library, President Kimball and Jimmy Carter met on 03/11/1977. [T]his would be in the right time frame.
“And a good search revealed the actual photograph–at lds.org.
(“According to the President Carter Library,” RfM post by “CLee the Anti-Mormon,” 8 February 2006)
Edward Kimball, in his biographical work, "Lengthen Your Stride: The Presidency of Spencer W. Kimball," reports that President Kimball, in fact, received a phone call from President Carter the same year of their White House meeting:
”In 1977, President Kimball and Marion G. Romney were attending a stake conference in Filmore, Utah. The White House telephone operator tracked President Kimball down and said that President Jimmy Carter wished to speak to him.
“Spencer was at the pulpit speaking, so President Romney took the call. President Carter was preparing to speak at a Baptist convention about missionary work and asked many questions about the Mormon program: How many missionaries? What salary do they receive? How long do they serve? Where do they come from? Where are they sent? He complimented the Church on an inspired program and asked that he be sent additional information."
Five months before the Mormon Church abandoned its priesthood prohibition against Black males, Carter was the invited guest of the LDS Church at a Salt Lake City event celebrating the family.
Carter’s participation in those festivities are described on the Mormon Church’s official website:
"On 27 January . . . (1978), President Jimmy Carter of the United States was invited by . . . [the Mormon] Church to the All-American Family Week held in Salt Lake City.
“After the meeting, President Carter said that attending the Family Week was a most pleasurable experience for him. He also praised the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints for launching the welfare and community services programs. He remarked, ‘If these programs can be extended to all states in the nation, my job as the president will be much easier.’”
When Kimball eventually announced the Mormon Church’s reversal of its anti-Black priesthood ban, Carter again contacted him, this time by written correspondence.
According to the article, “The LDS Church and African-Americans: THE PRIESTHOOD BAN:”
“Jimmy Carter, then-president of the United States, wrote President Kimball, ‘I welcome today your announcement. . . . I commend you for your compassionate prayerfulness and courage in receiving a new doctrine. This announcement brings a healing spirit to the world and reminds all men and women that they are truly brothers and sisters.’”
In the pro-Mormon publication, "Meridian Magazine," under the headline, “Hallelujah! The 25th Anniversary of the Revelation on Priesthood,” Maurine Jensen Proctor reports that Carter made this contact with Kimball in order to relay his approval of the Mormon Church’s reversal on its racist ban relative to Black membership in the LDS priesthood:
”President Jimmy Carter commended President Spencer W. Kimball for ‘compassionate prayerfulness and courage.’
If one is to believe Latter-day lore, Carter even suggested to Kimball that the Mormon Church’s reversal on its ban against Black priesthood acquisition was divinely inspired.
According to LDS writer Janet Brigham:
"Even President Jimmy Carter implied acceptance of the revelation's divine origin. A telegram from Carter to President Kimball said, 'I commend you for your compassionate prayerfulness and courage in receiving a new doctrine.'
(Most of the above information on the Carter-Kimball connection comes from “Polygamy and Racism--a funny but sad story,” RfM post by “cricket,” cricket AT salamandersociety.com, in which the author notes that he also “found some notes about Jimmy Carter and Spencer Kimball.” 7 February 2006)
The evidence of Carter-Kimball connective tissue shows that a line of interpersonal contact existed between the two men during the time period when the Mormon Church was considering, and eventually implementing, its priesthood change pertaining to Black men.
With Carter and Kimball enjoying such a comfortable and regular one-to-one communication around the time of the Mormon Church's anti-Black doctrinal flip-flop, this potentially opens another investigative trail for examining claims that Carter also allegedly warned Kimball that continuation of the LDS priesthood ban against Blacks could endanger its tax-exempt position.
--Not-So-Secret Combinations: Consumer Boycotts, Vacation Detours, NAACP Lawsuits, ACLU Threats, Advice from Paid Professional Consultants, and Pressure from the IRS--
At the time the Mormon Church relented and reversed its anti-Black doctrine, societal and governmental forces were converging to bring it to its wobbly white and delightsome knees:
” . . . [A]nti-Mormons urged for boycotts of recordings of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and the cancellation of vacations to Utah.
“The NAACP initiated several lawsuits against Mormon Boy Scout troops, charging that Church policy was foisting racism on minority Scouts. . . . “
“Several professional consulting firms which the Church had previously hired for other matters suggested to Church leaders that they reconsider the status of Blacks in the Mormon Church as part of a major overhaul of church policy. . . .”
“Worst of all, the IRS suggested that the racial policies of the Mormon Church might justify a suspension of its tax-exempt status.”
(Lorraine Hewlett, “The Second Great Accomodation,” 17 June 2004)
Mike Schreib, pastor of the Pionner Baptist Bible Church in Ontario, California, in an article entitled, “Mormonism: A Religion for Dumb White People,” further lays out the legal hurdles facing a besieged Mormon Church in danger of taking a haymaker tax hit to the chin:
”In early 1978, the Mormon Church found itself suffering from a massive news media campaign criticizing their attitudes towards blacks and nonwhites. Allegations of discrimination and racism by such groups as the NAACP and ACLU were directed against the LDS Church, and rightly so.
"The Mormon leadership began to sweat.
“If things progressed badly for them, they feared losing large numbers of their members who saw the Church as a White supremacist haven, and were willing to tell the media about it.
"Even worse, they feared losing their federal tax exempt status from the IRS; a loss that would have devastated their financial empire.
“On June 8, 1978, Mormon President and prophet, Spencer W. Kimball announced to the world a new 'Official Declaration' from the Lord.
"Suddenly, he claimed, “. . . all worthy male members of the Church may be ordained to the priesthood WITHOUT REGARD TO RACE OR COLOR.” (original emphasis)
The cult monitoring group, “Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance” offers a broad overview of the increasing governmental pressures being brought to bear on the Mormon Church to abandon its racist doctrines and practices toward Blacks:
”More federal political pressure was felt by the [Mormon] Church in the 1970s over the Church's institutionalized racism.
"The Pearl of Great Price limited the advancement within the Church by Blacks or by persons with Black ancestors. (Higher levels in the priesthood were permitted for Australian aboriginal males, Polynesian men, etc.). . . .
“The U.S. Internal Revenue Service threatened [the] LDS's tax exempt status.
"There was a groundswell of opinion against racism by many Americans who recognized the centuries of injustice against Afro-Americans.
"Additional opposition came from sports groups which threatened to cancel events with Brigham Young University.
"Anti-Mormon religious groups promoted boycotts of Church businesses and of Utah tourism.
"The Church received a new revelation from God in [June] 1978 . . . which abolished racism within the Church. “
--Memories of National News Accounts Indicating Mormon Church Fear of Losing Its Tax-Exempt Status Due to Its Anti-Black Priesthood Doctrine--
News reports around the time that the Mormon Church reversed its anti-Black priesthood ban are said to have detailed the Church’s concern about losing its tax-exempt protection.
Writes one recollecting observer:
”I was not a member at the time but remember hearing all this discussion (in the late '70's) on the ‘national news’ about the LDS Church being threatened with losing its tax exempt status over discrimination issues.
“The topic was a hot one--and it blew over quickly when the ‘Blacks [and] the priesthood’ revelation was issued.
”I've been amazed that so few members of the Church seem to be aware that this was even an issue. There have to be some recorded media reports at the time or articles in 'Time' and other news magazines that we can compile and reference.”
(“. . . [T]his is a great summary. [W]e need to keep working on this,” RfM post by “FCI,” email@example.com, 8 February 2006)
--Conclusion: Saving Mormonism's Tax-Exempt Bacon with a Convenient Revelation--
The California-based Christian Research Institute Journal sums up the LDS Church’s financially-footed flip-flop on its anti-Black doctrine, in the coldest of cold cash terms.
Writes Latayne C. Scott in “Mormonism and the Question of Truth:”
”LDS leaders . . . perceived threats in both the outcome of a recent court case on racial discrimination and in the possibility of an IRS review of the Church's tax-exempt status.
“So, in a tersely-worded statement (a far cry from earlier revelations, which began with 'Thus saith the Lord') the Church announced that Blacks were suddenly eligible for the priesthood it had denied them for almost 150 years.”
Use the Blacks, praise the Lord and pass the tax exemption.
| NOTE: I know that some readers, as a defensive reaction, will tell themselves that I am either lying or grossly exaggerating in the review of this book. You are cordially invited to head on over here or here to order yourself a copy so you can verify the accuracy of this review. |
http://www.abebooks.com/servlet/Searc... or http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_nos...
Cassius Review of Books
Volume I, Issue I
Cassius University, 2010
Review by Darth J
To retain plausible deniability, the views expressed in this article do not necessarily represent the position of Cassius University, Mormon Discussions, or the author himself.
Review of John L. Lund, "The Church and the Negro: A Discussion of Mormons, Negroes and the Priesthood." Salt Lake City: John Lewis Lund, 1967 (6th Printing, 1972). 129 pages (including bibliography). $2.75 (original cover price). (Short quotes from the work reviewed have quote marks; longer quotes are in blue text.) Edited for the MC: Are in Blockquote Italics.
One of the most common coping mechanisms for Generation X and younger LDS Church members regarding the pre-1978 priesthood ban for blacks--or more specifically, Negroes---is to say, "We just don't know why." Hand in glove with this coping mechanism is the mantra that, "the Church never taught that," or even, "not official doctrine" when mention is made of the pre-1978 teachings of church leaders about why blacks could not be ordained to the priesthood. If you are looking for the perfect gift for a person who holds these views that will carpet bomb this idyllic, politically correct revisionist history of the Church while eliciting hysterical shrieks of, "That's not official doctrine!!!" and possibly end a long-standing friendship with an active LDS person in the process, then The Church and the Negro is the book for you.
One of the best ways to get a snapshot of current mainstream LDS thinking is to peruse mainstream literature by LDS authors. If you dispute this, then take some time to browse through your nearest Deseret Book store or its website and tell me how many books you come across recommending that we pray to Heavenly Mother, suggesting that The Book of Mormon is inspired fiction, arguing in favor of same-sex marriage, or wondering aloud why women do not hold the priesthood. With this in mind, let us turn to Brother Lund's work.
John L. Lund was in a unique place to summarize the Church's pre-1978 stance on "the Negro question" (his words). As we are told on the back of the book's dust jacket,
John Lewis Lund, a native of Olympia, Washington, and a graduate of the [sic] Brigham Young University, B.A., M.Ed., has long been interested in the Negro question. While serving a mission for the L.D.S. Church in Mexico, it was his privilege to baptize several Negroes into the Church. Mr. Lund has lectured and traveled extensively in the western states discussing the issue of the Negro and the Mormon Church. Mr. Lund has also been employed by the Brigham Young University Education Week program as a lecturer on religious topics. He is married and has three children. For the past few years the author has been a religious instructor for the department of Seminaries and Institutions of the Mormon Church.
One thing that should catch the reader's attention here is that there are two references to "the Mormon Church" by an employee of what is now called the Church Educational System, a marvelous slap in the face to those who erupt with righteous indignation when the LDS Church is called "the Mormon Church." These references to "the Mormon Church" are continued throughout the book. However, the most important point is that, given that the author is a professional employee of the Church in instructing members about church doctrine, he probably knows whereof he speaks on "the Negro question."
It should also delight those who take refuge in "we don't know why" that Brother Lund supports his work in excruciating, meticulous detail. The total text of the book is only 129 pages, yet this includes a full 216 consecutively numbered footnotes, an annotated bibliography from page 112 to the top of page 126, and an additional bibliography on pages 127-129. Further, the entire Chapter IX, "Church Leaders Speak Out on the Negro Question," is devoted to quoting General Authorities on why blacks were forbidden from holding the priesthood. As one might guess, Bruce R. McConkie is quoted extensively throughout The Church and the Negro, but since finding statements by Elder McConkie that make contemporary Mormons cringe is like shooting fish in a barrel, I will focus on Brother Lund's quotes from other General Authorities whom contemporary Mormons desperately wish to believe were more progressively minded.
Chapter I informs the reader the "the Mormon Church" has more to offer the Negro than any other church, and identifies Brother Lund's intended audience.
This book is written for the express purpose of explaining to members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints the doctrine of the Church concerning the Negro. It is expected that many non-Mormons as well as Negroes will read this work. It is hoped that all who do will be open-minded and fair in their evaluation of the Mormon position.....It is the most ardent desire of the author that even those who do not agree with the Mormon position will at least understand why Latter-day Saints believe as they do.
The next chapter offers us platitudes about how discrimination is wrong, and invokes a straw man argument to dissuade critics from judging the Church by the conceded racism of some of its members. Brother Lund demonstrates the unsoundness of such reasoning thus:
I saw a Mormon who liked to smoke cigars.
This contrived syllogism is not even close to the reasons for which many people find the priesthood ban disturbing, but let us move on. Brother Lund cites Joseph Fielding Smith and other church leaders for the proposition that Negroes are entitled to civil rights, unwittingly suggesting that man's law is more just than God's. The one-page Chapter III examines a statement by David O. McKay admiring George Washington Carver, in which President McKay states that noble people of every color hue will be rewarded (by God), which further supports Brother Lund's argument that the Church is all for civil equality, just not ecclesiastical equality.
Therefore, all Mormons like to smoke cigars.
Therefore, the Mormon Church teaches its members to smoke cigars.
Finally, in Chapter IV, we finish these empty niceties and get into doctrine. Unsurprisingly, Brother Lund jumps right into the biblical story of Cain. After reviewing the story of Cain and his murder of Abel, Brother Lund discusses the mark of Cain.
Frankly, sincerely, and somewhat abruptly, President Brigham Young has told us that the mark of Cain was "a black skin." For the Latter-day Saint no further explanation is required. However, it is not necessary to rely on this single statement to arrive at this same conclusion. There are numerous references made by both ancient and modern prophets that point to the fact that Cain was the father of the race that became known as Negroid.
Among these other prophets is Wilford Woodruff, who
taught that "the Lord said I will not kill Cain, but I will put a mark upon him, and that mark will be seen on the face of every Negro upon the face of the earth . . ." (ellipsis in original)
Pages 16 and 17 then explain how LDS doctrine tells us that Cain was a son of perdition. The next several pages discuss why the Lord rejected Cain's offering: because it was not an animal sacrifice, and thus Cain was rejecting Jesus Christ. Further, we are reminded that Cain was inspired by Satan, as told in The Pearl of Great Price. But most interesting here is that Cain's real motive for killing Abel is to gain Abel's priesthood birthright. As Brother Lund explains, the Inspired Version of the Bible by Joseph Smith teaches us that Adam and Eve's children before Cain and Abel were unrighteous, and so the birthright to having the priesthood passed to Cain, who lost it through his own wickedness, and then went to Abel. Brother Lund cites Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith to show us that the Prophet Joseph taught that Abel is "still holding the keys of his dispensation." Somehow, Cain believed he could get the right to holding priesthood authority back by murdering Abel. The importance of this detail will become apparent later.
To the chagrin of fans of a local flood theory, Brother Lund tells us that the lineage of Cain was preserved in the global flood by Ham, who married Egyptus, and thus the unfortunate anachronism enshrined in The Book of Abraham that the Egyptian race descended from, and took its name from, Egyptus. Further, Brother Lund refers to Abraham 1:21-27 to affirm the obvious, which is that the BoA teaches that the Egyptians could not hold the priesthood because they were black.
Foreshadowing some church teachings that will soon be discussed, Lund also quotes Elder B.H. Roberts recounting the fanciful Egyptus story;
And was it by Ham marrying her, and she being saved from the flood in the ark, that 'the race which preserved the curse in the land' was perpetuated? If so, then I believe that race is the one through which it is ordained those spirits who were not valiant in the great rebellion in heaven should come; who rendered themselves unworthy of the Priesthood and its powers, and hence it is withheld from them to this day.
Lund repeatedly refers to black people as "Negroids," but the prize for most cringe-worthy ethnic reference has to be on page 29:
Melvin R. Brooks states that Ham "married a Negress, Egyptus, and by this marriage the seed of Cain was perpetuated through and after the flood . . ."
This book is certainly educational; the author of this review had never, in his entire life, previously heard a black woman called a "Negress."
Chapter V explains the concept of priesthood in Mormonism and then, unfortunately for contemporary revisionist Mormons, asks why Negroes cannot hold the priesthood. First, Brother Lund explains that it is all a matter of time, and refers (as contemporary Mormons do) to Jesus withholding the gospel from the Gentiles at first as an example. Brother Lund also quotes David O. McKay as stating that the day will come when Negroes will have the right to hold the priesthood. In contemporary Mormon revisionism, this isolated statement is taken as evidence that President McKay was thinking progressively and that the priesthood ban was allegedly a "practice," not a "doctrine." We will soon discover that those hopes are fantastically misplaced.
Brother Lund then discusses the Mormon doctrine of a pre-mortal life and the war in heaven, and you can probably guess where he is headed.
It is the Mormon belief that in our pre-mortal state there were a large number of individuals who, due to some act or behavior of their own in the pre-existence, forfeited the right to hold the Priesthood during their mortal lives, but would be allowed to possess the Priesthood in the due time of the Lord.
Quoting The Way to Perfection by Joseph Fielding Smith, Brother Lund explains that
Negroes, we see, "were not denied the privilege of the second estate [mortality] but were permitted to come to the earthlife with some restrictions placed upon them. That the Negro race, for instance, had been placed under restrictions because of their attitude in the world of spirits, few will doubt. It cannot be looked upon as just that they should be deprived of the power of the Priesthood without it being a punishment for some act, or acts, performed before they were born."
Returning again to President McKay, the figurehead of Mormon revisionist history, Brother Lund quotes him as follows:
By operation of some unwritten eternal law with which man is yet unfamiliar, spirits come through parentages for which they are worthy---some as Bushmen of Australia, some as Solomon Islanders, some as Americans, as Europeans, as Asiatics, etc., etc., with all the varying degrees of mentality and spirituality manifest in parents of the different races that inhabit the earth.
President McKay's equating mentality and spirituality with race is indeed a sharp kick to the crotch of those who want to believe that his thinking was more in line with au courant LDS talking points. The source for this quote, by the way, is another work that is delightfully entitled, "The Church and the Negroid People."
However, Brother Lund assures us that black people are not being punished for what Cain did. "The only real relationship between Cain and the Negroes is that they were chosen to come through Cain's lineage" because of their deeds in the pre-mortal realm.
Another security blanket for contemporary Latter-day Saints about the priesthood ban is the belief that prophets before 1978 predicted that blacks would receive the priesthood some day. This is true, but what is always omitted from this revisionism is that the Church taught there were two major conditions for this to happen. The first condition is that all of Adam's children had to be resurrected---that is, all of the human race, including untold billions who were waiting in the pre-mortal spirit realm, would have to experience life, death, and resurrection first. In addition to apostle Bruce R. McConkie, Brother Lund cites church president Brigham Young:
Brigham Young disclosed in a speech delivered in the Salt Lake Tabernacle on December 3, 1854, that the Negroes will not have the privilege of receiving the Priesthood until "...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." Some twelve years later in 1866, Brigham Young again commented on the Negro and the Priesthood. In this speech he is quoted as saying, "They [Negroes] will go down to death. And when all the rest of the children [of Adam] have received their blessings in the Holy Priesthood, then that curse will be removed from the seed of Cain, and they will come up and possess the priesthood and receive all the blessings we now are entitled to."
The second condition to blacks receiving the priesthood goes back to Cain murdering Abel over Abel's birthright to the priesthood. To rectify this situation, Abel must become a god and begin having his own spirit children before Cain's descendants can. Brother Lund's source for this? The Prophet Joseph Smith, who taught that Negroes could not hold the priesthood or hold any of its offices until the seed of Abel received the priesthood (Lund's footnote for this is Milton R. Hunter's Pearl of Great Price Commentary). Other prophets who taught as much, and whom Lund cites, are Brigham Young, Wilford Woodruff, and Joseph Fielding Smith. Quoting the latter, Lund tells us on page 49 that
It will first of all be necessary that Abel marry, and then be resurrected, and ultimately exalted in the highest degree of the Celestial Kingdom so that he can have a continuation of his seed. It will then be necessary for Abel to create an earth for his spirit children to come to and experience mortality. These children will have to be "redeemed" or resurrected. After the resurrection or redemption of Abel's seed, Cain's descendants. the Negroes, will then be allowed to possess the Priesthood. Joseph Fielding Smith has said that [citing Answers to Gospel Questions] "the Lord decreed that the children of Cain should not have the privilege of bearing the priesthood until ABEL HAD POSTERITY who could have the priesthood and that will have to be in the FAR DISTANT FUTURE. When this is accomplished ON SOME OTHER WORLD, then the restrictions will be removed from the children of Cain who have been true to their 'second' estate." (emphasis in original)
We then move on to "Interracial Marriage and the Negro," which is not looked upon favorably. While there are many quotes, scriptures, and supporting footnotes here, this chapter can be summarized by the following quote that Brother Lund provides from a First Presidency letter to former BYU sociology department head, Dr. Lowery Nelson:
Your ideas, as we understand them, appear to contemplate the intermarriage of the Negro and White races, a concept which has heretofore been most repugnant to most normal-minded people from the ancient patriarchs till now. God's rule for Israel, His Chosen People, has been indogamous. Modern Israel has been similarly directed. We are not unmindful of the fact that there is a growing tendency, particularly among some educators, as it manifests itself in this area, toward the breaking down of race barriers in the matter of intermarriage between white and blacks, but it does not have the sanction of the Church and is contrary to Church doctrine.
In Chapter VII, Brother Lund tells us what the Negro can do in the Church today (i.e., at the time of his writing), since they cannot have the priesthood until the biblical Abel becomes a god and raises his own generation of gods on another planet. We learn that blacks can serve in auxiliary organizations (like Primary and Relief Society), can give talks, pray, serve missions but not perform priesthood ordinances, perform baptisms for the dead but not be endowed or sealed in the temple----in short, except for the latter two, everything that women can do in the Church today. When looking at it this way, perhaps contemporary Mormons won't see it as so bad: since a twelve year-old boy has more ecclesiastical authority than any adult woman in the Church, perhaps contemporary Mormons can make themselves believe that in retrospect maybe black members of the LDS Church didn't mind being ecclesiastically subservient based entirely on their ethnicity.
Chapter VIII provides us with "Comments By and About Mormon Negroes," which essentially amount to testimonials about how the Church is just great as long as you know your place. Anyone who doubts this reviewer's saying so is welcome to read through their own copy of The Church and the Negro and see if this is not the case.
However, this chapter also contains a nice surprise for revisionist Mormons who point to Elijah Abel as an example of how blacks not being ordained to the priesthood was supposedly a "practice" but not a "doctrine." Brother Lund informs us
That Elijah Abel was a good man is not in question. The fact that he held the Priesthood is also a matter of record. But, as mentioned, the record needs to be clarified in a very major point. Once it was discovered that Elijah Abel was of Negroid ancestry, he was dropped from his Priesthood Quorum (1879).
Brother Lund's source for this information? The records in the Church Historian's office. Brother Lund also explains that the idea that the Church knowingly ordained a black man to the priesthood is mistaken, because Elijah Abel "was 'one-eighth Negro and light of color.' Nevertheless, he did have Negro blood and was therefore not eligible for the Priesthood."
In addition, while contemporary Mormons tell themselves that the priesthood ban originated with Brigham Young, Brother Lund assures us that it was Joseph Smith who taught, "No person having the least particle of Negro blood can hold the priesthood" (citing Abraham O. Smoot, as quoted in "The Church and the Negroid People"). Brother Lund refers to the same source in the next chapter (page 81) to clarify that, "The Prophet [Joseph Smith] instructed Abraham O. Smoot to baptize the Negro but not confer the Priesthood upon him."
Brother Lund provides in Chapter IX a look at what various church leaders have said about black people. There are many wonderful quotes in this chapter, but there are two that are particularly of interest for contemporary Mormons who are under the impression that the priesthood ban was not "doctrine," that the Church did not officially teach that the priesthood ban was based on what black people did in the pre-existence, and that David O. McKay was more enlightened than others of the Brethren about these issues.
Brother Lund quotes an official statement from the First Presidency dated August 17, 1951:
The attitude of the Church with reference to Negroes remains as it has always stood. It is not a matter of the declaration of a policy but of direct commandment from the Lord on which is founded the doctrine of the Church from the days of its organization, to the effect that Negroes may become members of the Church but they are not entitled to the Priesthood at the present time. The prophets of the Lord have made several statements as to the operation of the principle. President Brigham Young said: "Why are so many of the inhabitants of the earth cursed with a skin 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 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 are now entitled to.....failure of the right to enjo
Also, on page 91, a letter dated November 3, 1947 by David O. McKay is quoted, which sheds further light on the oft-stated mantra that he allegedly believed there was no doctrinal basis for the priesthood ban:
y in mortality the blessings of the Priesthood , is a handicap which spirits are willing to assume in order that they may come to earth. Under this principle there is no injustice whatsoever involved in this deprivation as to the holding of the Priesthood by Negroes."
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."
The final two chapters are questions and answers and a summary of what Brother Lund had previously discussed.
Considering that Brother Lund was a church education employee and the agonizing detail he provides for his sources, claiming that he was shooting from the hip or not representative of mainstream LDS thinking prior to the ending of the priesthood ban is simply not sufficient. Indeed, despite the revisionist history now trumpeted by the Church and its cheerleaders about what the Church used to teach and the "we don't know" cop-out of 148 years of ecclesiastical apartheid, The Church and the Negro delivers a spectacular psychic donkey punch to those who have gone along with this revisionism. I highly recommend finding a copy of this gospel classic for a view of where Mormon thinking was before the spin machine took over in the wake of the 1978 revelation Spencer W. Kimball had that everything was going to be better now, and the ensuing McConkie Mulligan that amounted to, "Never mind." The Church and the Negro has, I think, pretty much killed, buried, and nailed the coffin shut on the idea that "we don't know" why the priesthood ban was in place for nearly a century and a half, and then thrown the coffin into Mount Doom, before dropping Mt Doom under the continental plates.
| My Rather Extensive Cult Institutional Memory Reveals A Devious, False Church That Consistently Lies About Its History |
Friday, Mar 16, 2012, at 01:43 PM
Original Author(s): Victim
Topic: BLACKS AND THE PRIESTHOOD -Link To MC Article-
| ↑ |
| I actually worked for the same organization that mitt's dad George Romney oversaw in his politically charged world! George moved on to what appeared to be greener political pastures for him... not so! For starters, let's get this information out there... mitt romney is no George Romney!
For someone who has lived through much of the history we have been discussing these days my rather extensive CULT institutional memory reveals a devious, false church that consistently lies about it's history/ does so with great frequency!
As a 17 year old, I first attended byu in September of 1963. During the 1964-65 basketball season, I can remember going to a byu, Arizona State game at the smith field house in Provo, Utah! To my astonishment, I was treated to at-least one Molotov Cocktail landing on the elevated basketball court... there may have been two - can't recall for sure! Why - it was a stern warning from those who considered byu/the mormon church racists! It was abundantly clear that a boiling point had been reached... blacks would not tolerate mormon racist policies any longer! Mel Daniels, then a University of New Mexico basketball player who went on to have a successful professional career, put his fist through one of the half glass doors to the visitor locker room over his disgust for mormon church sponsored elitism/discrimination toward blacks!
I also vividly remember mormon CULT opposition to the Civil Rights Movement/ watching Martin Luther King deliver his refreshing I have a Dream Speech on black/white television! According to many mormon racists, the pursuit of Civil Rights was a communist inspired conspiracy that exploited ignorant blacks who were led by a fully complicit communist named Martin Luther King! mormon profit David O. McKay/counselor Hugh B. Brown had an extremely difficult time keeping a muzzle on fringe conservative mormon apostle/flaming anti-communist ezra t. benson/ others of the same disturbed mindset, who saw a communist in every closet while adamantly embracing mormonism's racist doctrines from the beginning! McKay/Brown actually attempted to lift the priesthood ban in 1969 but were thwarted by very influential apostle harold b. lee... the "Lion of the Lord" for those who might not know!
I also recall the CULT'S opposition to the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) for women! victim refused to hop on the mormon stake chartered bus/ participate in a rally in SLC, Utah against equal rights for women/was later shunned by local ecclesiastical taskmasters for not jumping on the band wagon! I know, you've heard it before, the church is politically neutral - right, so much for mormon folklore?
According to CULT racist doctrine... one drop of negro blood running through your veins made you black as blackest African even if your appearance may have been white/delightsome, tough love for you... no priesthood/temple blessings in this life, but, if you were faithful, you could become a servant in the celestial kingdom after all of the sons/daughters of Adam, who did not have a drop of negro blood running through their veins, had been resurrected/judged!
As a prelude to the CULT capitulation in 1978, we must realize that mormonism's blatant racism was killing church growth in the third world, particularly Brazil, where a new temple was nearing completion in Sao Paulo/scheduled for dedication in the fall of 1978! To the chagrin of the mormon profits in zion, it was becoming more/ more difficult to find members who met the stringent white standard for blood! Empty temple anyone... embarrassment - anyone? In addition, as many of you may know, an American President allegedly threatened byu with revocation of it's tax exempt status because of institutional racist policies/ refusal to make amends! The CULT itself was also being scrutinized at the same time for the church wide priesthood ban against blacks! To complicate matters further, there was a tiff with the Boy Scouts of America over discrimination against black boys in mormon Scout Troops to resolve! And then again, there were major colleges who were boycotting previously scheduled sporting events withbyu/threatening to stop rescheduling byu in the future over it's obvious racism/blatant discrimination!
Because mormon profts don't receive any direct revelation from GOD, Kimball sought a convenient, non-revelation, manipulative ploy that would justify a change - kind of like the 1890 perfectly timed interaction with Deity/resultant manifesto banning polygamy that took some time to stick? How about, I asked GOD to let me know if he opposed lifting the 148 yr old Priesthood Ban against blacks! He didn't respond, so, he must agree... hocus pocus, tweedily dee - it's modern day revelation, can't you see? By golly, we'll lift the ban before it all hits the fan!
Okay, now we can better understand why mormon profit spencer w. kimball caved in on the priesthood ban for backs! On June 9, 1978, the lifting of the ban revelation was printed in the Deseret News/later presented to a general assembly of the church on Sept 30, 1978 at general conference! Like everything else presented at general conference, it too was unanimously approved, even if there may have been a few objections!
The mormon one true CULT on earth has opposed every initiate to expand human rights/dignity to disadvantaged human beings in our lifetime! Peep stone jo smith's mormonism is a disgrace! Good People, it just never felt quite right to me!
| I never used to think about this much. As a TBM and as a missionary, I would just want to stay as far away as possible from this topic. Now that my mind is free to think critically, I'm trying to piece this all together.
I figure this topic has been beaten to death already on here, but I don't want to research through mountains of old posts. So I apologize for my laziness.
GBH in his interview with Mike Wallace, when asked about blacks and priesthood, his response was "that was their interpretation of the doctrine at the time" and "It's behind us".
So, what constitutes doctrine then, if it was official policy amongst 10 or so different church presidents. And what constitutes interpretation of doctrine? What then was the doctrine? And how was the interpretation different?
Of all the racist comments by early church leaders, the most hurtful, offensive and damning must be John Taylor's, stating that blacks survived noah's flood so that satan could have representation on earth.
Brigham Young stated that blacks would never hold the priesthood.
Obviously the church has since retracted on this policy, or "interpretation", which is obviously good, in a sense, but only after immense pressure I'm sure. However, isn't the veracity of the church today, entirely dependant on its prophets and chain of authority? If we can prove that former prophets were indeed false prophets, or preached false doctrine, or falsely interpreted (false) doctrine, doesn't that by default also mean that current prophets are also false prophets? How is this in any way definsible, or rationalized by a TBM when critical thinking or study has been done on this topic (amongst many others)?
I can't remember where I heard this, but I remember hearing of a black TBM asking a white TBM about this, and the response that he got, and to his satisfaction apparently, was "The one thing that set us apart as a church in its racism at the time, was that all the racism was so well documented, not hidden" (that was the jest). As if to suggest that church leaders despised the no priesthood for blacks doctrine/policy, and that they longed for the day that it would be extended to them. Suggesting that flaunting it was proof of their hating the policy. All the while saying that they were satan's representatives, and that blacks would only be granted access to heaven as slaves or servants.
Sorry, but scratch my head. I don't get it. Actually I do get it, there's only one answer and it's a simple one, It's a false religion. I understand the answer, but why oh why is it so hard for others to grasp it? As soon as I learned this, when I was a TBM, I stopped believing. I was unconverted in a matter of minutes.
| It is, in my opinion, clear that from a faithful LDS perspective, some sort of priesthood ban on a group of people was/is mandated by God. The Book of Abraham clearly states that "Pharaoh being of that lineage by which he could not have the right of Priesthood." Clearly we have a group of people who are not/were not eligible to hold the priesthood. The question isn't if a priesthood ban is of divine origin, the question is; was the implementation of the priesthood ban, as practiced by the Church up until 1978, divinely guided? In fact how do we know current leaders are being guided by God now in respect to this very same issue?
When people like Spacecadet play word games by trying to claim that the ban is not about race, that it is about lineage, they are only addressing the scriptural basis for the ban, not its application. They are intentionally avoiding the greater questions that should be answered by the faithful about the racism inherent in how the ban was enforced in the church.
Why did God allow his chosen prophets to establish and maintain such racism within His church for over 100 years. Why, when David O McKay asked about rescinding the ban, was he told no by God? Why would the 1947 presidency and other LDS church prophets go so far as to declare the ban and its application as doctrinal, extending its implications to include interracial marriage?
Why hasn't the church apologized to both those who were denied the priesthood and to those it punished for speaking up against erroneous practices?
What steps is the church taking to erase institutional racism within the church and the blind obedience that allows such beliefs?
Is this current statement by the church on race and the priesthood doctrinal or is this just an op-ed piece?
Why do statements by an anonymous church newsroom spokesperson overrule what a dead prophet has said?
And finally, as Buffalo put it, how do we know that today's doctrine isn't tomorrow's folklore?
The statement by President Newsroom on Race and the Priesthood is not designed to answer any questions about the divine origins of the priesthood ban, rather it is aimed at making excuses for the implementation of the racist priesthood ban that existed within the church for over a century, excuses that avoid accepting any responsibility and attempt to place the blame on society at large.
What is it a prophet does again?
By the way this also raises another interesting question for the faithful.
Who are these descendants of the Egyptians who are not supposed to have the priesthood and how does one identify them? Are unworthy members being awarded the priesthood blessings even now? (Maybe, like the Lamanites, they are just another lost tribe.)
| According to a recent LDS church press release, Brigham Young was solely responsible for the racist doctrine of the Mormon Church.
President Dieter Uchtdorf, during the October General Conference of the LDS Church, said: "And, to be perfectly frank, there have been times when members or leaders in the church have simply made mistakes." He was speaking of Brigham Young.
By throwing Young under the bus and making him the scapegoat for past misdeeds, the LDS Church conveniently overlooks the racism exhibited by their founder, Joseph Smith. It was Smith who believed that holding the sons of Ham in servitude was acceptable, calling slavery a divine "curse." The LDS Church publication, the "Messenger and Advocate," (vol. 2, pp. 289-301, April 1836), has Smith attesting that slavery as practiced by the Southern states was ordained by God and in keeping with the "gospel of Christ."
The racist doctrine of the Mormon Church lasted for a period of 130 years or so and only ended in 1978 due to a "revelation" from God. It leaves one wondering how LDS prophets, who supposedly have an open line of communication with and who are so uniquely in harmony with the deities they exalt, could have carried on the Smith/Young legacy of bigotry for so long.
Who was it who said God's anointed will not lead us astray? Sure, that's right, it was that the same guy who called slavery a divine institution. Just saying.
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