Friday, December 12, 2014

Mormonism - A Racist Religion

The Mormon Church disavows their historical stance on denying the priesthood to blacks, essentially claiming it was cultural, and that, “Over time, Church leaders and members advanced many theories to explain the priesthood and temple restrictions. None of these explanations is accepted today as the official doctrine of the Church.

They also say that Brigham Young only had a “policy” restricting blacks from the priesthood:
“In two speeches delivered before the Utah territorial legislature in January and February 1852, Brigham Young announced a policy restricting men of black African descent from priesthood ordination. At the same time, President Young said that at some future day, black Church members would “have [all] the privilege and more” enjoyed by other members.”

Now, was it only a “policy” with no doctrinal binding?  Let’s look at what Brigham Young really taught.

"Cain slew his brother...and the Lord put a mark upon him, which is the flat nose and black skin.... How long is that race to endure the dreadful curse that is upon them?  That curse will remain upon them, and they never can hold the Priesthood or share in it until all the other descendants of Adam have received the promises and enjoyed the blessings of the Priesthood and the keys thereof.  Until the last ones of the residue of Adam's children are brought up to that favorable position, the children of Cain cannot receive the first ordinances of the Priesthood."
"When all 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...he is the last to share the joys of the kingdom of God.
Journal of Discourses, vol 7. pp 290-291, vol. 2, p. 143

You have to remember that Brigham Young was a prophet of God, and this teaching came from Young as God’s instrument.  Young never said it was a “policy,” rather he gave it as a doctrinal teaching.  Notice that the prophetic part as to when the black man will be allowed the priesthood - what the “future day” would be: considering that the priesthood was given to blacks in 1978, I guess that was a false prophecy!

Nevertheless, there is a book on my shelf, copyrighted in 1960, titled, “Mormonism and the Negro,” by John J. Stewart, with a supplement by William E. Berrett.  Stewart was an associate professor of Journalism at Utah State University at the time, and had done his thesis on Joseph Smith.  Berrett was Vice President of Brigham Young University, Vice Administrator of the Unified School System of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, as well as an LDS church historian.  In his position, Berrett must be teaching accurately the doctrines of the LDS. Both these men were well-versed in the LDS history and were acclaimed in their fields.

Looking at the front fly-leaf, we have the following describing the book:  “A sermon published by request in explanation of the Latter-day Saints Church doctrine regarding the Negro and those of Negroid blood.  As will perhaps be evident from reading this book the sermon was originally prepared and given in answer to criticisms and accusations made against the L.D.S. Church policy.  While effectively presenting this defense, the author has contributed a beautiful discourse introducing Mormon philosophy and teachings pertaining to man’s destiny.  Now, in addition to the original manuscript, a wealth of historical information on this subject is presented in a supplement by William E. Berrett, called THE CHURCH AND THE NEGROID PEOPLE.  This serves as additional reference and further enlightenment to the reader.”  (my emphasis)

So this book was published by a request - although they don’t say by who.  Both authors made it clear in the FORWARD that they are writing as individuals and “not as official spokesmen for the Church, except insofar as they have inserted quotations from various Presidents of the Church.”  Remember, though, that the President of the LDS is also their living prophet, so his teachings are the official and revealed will of God.

On p.8 of Berrett’s supplement, he said, “...in a meeting, May 31, 1879, at the home of President A.O. Smoot, Provo, Utah, leaders of the Church reapproved that the Priesthood was not for the Negro....” Then on p.10, citing what took place at that meeting, there is a report of a discussion between Joseph Smith and two church members where Smith said, “...the spirit of the Lord saith the Negro has no right nor cannot hold the Priesthood.

The Book of Moses and the Book of Abraham, both of which are part of Pearl of Great Price, state that the Negro are descendants of Ham, and therefore under the “curse of Cain” (i.e., the curse of black skin).  

Berrett said, “The teachings of Joseph Smith that the Negro should not be given the Priesthood seem to have been well understood by those who stood closest to him in the councils of the Church.  Brigham Young, second President of the Church, had no question whatever in the matter.”  Berrett then cites Young’s teachings as noted above, and said that the same teaching was published in the Desert News on 3 April 1852.

After citing the Desert News, Berrett said, “President Wilford Woodruff taught the same doctrine in regard to the Negro.

Presidents Wilford Woodruff and David O. McKay cited Abraham 1:26 and the behavior of the Negro in the pre-existence as the probable cause of the restriction from Priesthood, with the teaching that it was through Cain’s line that the Negro was to come into the world.

The point is that, beginning with Joseph Smith, who said the Negro was not permitted the Priesthood, to Brigham Young who gave the requirements before the Negro would get the Priesthood, all LDS Presidents/Prophets of the Church have agreed with the teachings.  While the speculation as to the reason is based on the doctrine of eternal progression, the general teaching is that the Negro did indeed descend from Cain and is under the curse of black skin.  The teaching is from their first prophet and is continued through each church prophet as being from God.

On pages 46-47 of Stewart’s sermon, he cites a letter from the first Presidency of the Mormon church, dated 17 July 1947, as saying, “From the days of the Prophet Joseph even until now, it has been the doctrine of the Church, never questioned by any of the church leaders, that the Negroes are not entitled to the full blessings of the gospel.” (my emphasis).

Notice that it is stated as settled doctrine.

Bruce McConkie, in his book, “Mormon Doctrine,” even states unequivocally that, “Negroes in this life are denied the priesthood; under NO circumstances can they hold this delegation of authority from the Almighty.  The gospel message of salvation is not carried affirmatively to them... Negroes are not equal with other races where the receipt of certain spiritual blessings are concerned...” (1958, p.477)

Joseph Fielding Smith made it clear when he said that Cain “became the father of an inferior race.” (my emphasis).  All dark-skinned people are inferior due to the curse of dark skin, in LDS doctrine, but the Negro is the most inferior of them all.

I could literally write pages and pages of LDS teachings on the inferiority of the black man, and why he was to never receive the priesthood until all other souls received it, but the point I’m making is that the current LDS hierarchy, in their embarrassment over their history of racism, pretends to not know why the blacks were forbidden the priesthood in the first place, and then claim that God gave them a revelation in 1978 which contradicted His previous revelation to Brigham Young!

Mormonism Research Ministry has posted a 2-part article (part two is linked from part 1) about how the LDS is currently looking at their past teachings, and whether they still hold the LDS “Scripture” as reliable - the conundrum they are facing as they try to distance themselves from another part of their legacy as a non-Christian cult.

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