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Genesis members, others respond to LDS racism statement

Published: Tuesday, March 6 2012 7:34 p.m. MST

"I know that God's priesthood exists in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints with every 12-year-old boy who is ordained a deacon all the way up to our living oracle, President Thomas S. Monson," Reed said, his powerful voice booming from the pulpit that he was gripping firmly. "The priesthood of God is on the earth. It binds families together. It is real. It is not made up. It is true and it is living and it is real."

Tamu Smith joked that "it isn't very often that my parents (who don't live in Utah) see Utah County in the national news." Still, she said, she is "grateful for what happened this week."

"I'm grateful for parents who raised me to understand that people are human, and they make mistakes," she said. "I'm grateful that they taught me to recognize the spirit, and to trust what the spirit tells me. I'm grateful that the leadership of the church made this statement. But mostly, I'm grateful for my relationship with the Lord. I know he loves me just the same as he loves everyone else."

The Post story and the LDS Church's reaction to it have been a matter of considerable controversy and discussion during the past week. Journalists, historians and anyone else who had an opinion on the matter have presented their thoughts, feelings and reactions in blogs, comments on newspaper web sites and in interpersonal communications.

For some, the recent surge of coverage on the subject has provided an opportunity to get all Latter-day Saints together on the same page, both in terms of the church's history and its position on the matter of race. Writing for the Huffington Post, Samuel Morris Brown, a member of the church and author of "In Heaven as It Is on Earth: Joseph Smith and the Early Mormon Conquest of Death," expressed his feeling that "increased scrutiny to its racial history can ultimately work to the good of Mormonism."

"Church leaders ... have publicly denounced entrenched racism among certain demographic groups within the church body," Brown observed. "Unfortunately, their efforts have not been successful enough to eliminate intermittent espousal of the kinds of scabrous folklore apparently related by this BYU professor. These narratives are deeply cruel, un-Christian, and contrary to the teachings of modern LDS Church leaders. It is well past time for those Mormons who still hold them to abandon them forever, with sincere apologies for treasuring racial bigotry for so long."

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