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Comments about ‘Book shares life and times of an African-American Mormon’

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Published: Thursday, April 21 2011 4:30 a.m. MDT

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Gunner
South Jordan, UT

Keith is a great guy. His son is best friends with my son and has coached my son in baseball. He really is a good guy. I hope this books does very well.

Idaho Coug
Meridian, Idaho

I appreciate the author's faith and ability to help others look beyond a difficult era in our LDS history.

However, I think that a thorough review of our LDS history requires a conclusion that many statements by early leaders (particularly Brigham Young) on this subject were NOT reflective the will or feelings of a loving God but instead were clearly personal opinion only. I understand that some apologists have fit the doctrine regarding blacks and the priesthood into the Gospel. But no one can fit some of the actual comments made by leaders into anything but ignorance and an unfortunate reflection of the racist era in which they lived.

International Cougar Fan
Tacoma, WA

I plan on buying the book. I know there are others who will benefit from the faith and experience of Keith.

SLCMom
Salt Lake City, UT

I am very interested in reading this book. The LDS Priesthood Revelation issue has been a big sticking point for years. Many have left the church because of it [both because blacks were NOT given the priesthood, and because they WERE]. It seems to me the only ones that will ever be considered legitimate defenders of the issue will have to be the black LDS themselves. There are plenty of LDS just like Idaho Coug who wish to Cherry Pick what they will believe and accept about their religion, and make excuses for their prophets when something historically feels embarrassing. Thats a risky approach. What happens when your current prophet asks you to do something that you dont like, dont agree with, or seems too hard? Where are you going to draw the line before you walk away? I personally feel that if you are going to claim to be a faithful Latter-day Saint and its Gods one true church on the earth, then you have to accept every prophet since Joseph Smith, and every revelation and directive they gave to the church was Gods will. Seems the message of the book.

Idaho Coug
Meridian, Idaho

To SLCMom,

I completely appreciate your perspective. I just haven't figured out yet which is more dangerous - "cherry picking" or "accept(ing) every prophet since Joseph Smith, and every revelation and directive they gave to the church was Gods will."

Have you actually read some of the comments Brigham Young and other early leaders made about blacks? I respect your faith, but I would be interested in whether, after reading them, you still believe they reflect "God's will" or the personal opinion of the man speaking.

It has been made clear by past and current leaders that prophets and apostles often state personal opinions. And yet when members like myself state that they feel something was personal opinion they are usually looked at as unfaithful and weak.

Again, I respect members like you who clearly have more faith than do I. But I would also hope that you could respect that my doubts are an honest attempt to struggle through my testimony regarding things that are simply difficult to reconcile at times. Sometimes I wish that struggle allowed me to just put those things on the proverbial shelf and cheerfully move on as so many do.

Greg Carlisle
Orem, Utah

I know Keith Hamilton well and I have read his book-truelife experiences of a man who has lived with racism and prejudice and is able to separate the things of God from the words and actions of men regarding both his personal life and doctrinal truths. His foundational message concerning the LDS Church's "Blacks and the Priesthood" issue and the 1978 Revelation on Priesthood is that they are matters of faith, not history. Just like we cannot explain the "First Vision" it has to be taken upon faith. Keith puts forth a different perspective that than taken by Idaho Coug and others who truly (and rightfully) believe that taking a historical perspective based upon the statements of early LDS leaders will lead to the set of conclusions supported by Idaho Coug. Perhaps Idaho Coug should read Keith's book and learn more about his story before labeling Keith a Mormon apologist who is improperly trying to fit historical comments by LDS leaders into the Gospel and resist stating as fact what he believes to be reasons and purposes behind the LDS priesthood ban against Blacks and the 1978 Revelation on Priesthood.

Cats
Somewhere in Time, UT

SLC Mom: Just so you know, there are those who masquerade on these posts as LDS, but actually spend all their time trying to find ways to destroy the faith of others. These people are not really what they represent themselves to be. Please just be aware of that.

bigv56
Cottonwood, CA

Great story, lots of courage. I am sure he has heard his share of stupids comments and opinions. Makes the people who go inactive because of an argument or other imagined issues look even smaller.

BlueHusky
Mission Viejo, CA

The LDS doctrine on the priesthood for people of African descent has been thoroughly researched by historians. Brigham Young announced the doctrine sometime before the Civil War. Joseph Smith ordained blacks, so the practice did not originate with him. Brigham was most likely a child of his time. The concept of the curse of Cain and other origin notions were popular at that time. Every Christian church in the South had to justify slavery. It would not be unreasonable for Brigham to wonder about that. Brigham, while a great organizer, and the literal rescuer of the people, preached many ideas that have been discredited or disavowed by subsequent church presidents.

We do not believe in prophetic infallibility, nor that the Bible is inerrant. Passages in the Book of Mormon, oft quoted, referring to curse of dark skin, etc., refer to the opinions of the Nephites themselves. They don't necessarily reflect the beliefs of modern LDS.

The most likely explanation for the practice is that Brigham Young established it, and nobody cared until the Civil Rights movement of the early 1960s. President Kimball abolished the practice, and that works great for me.

Tommy2Shoes
Lehi, UT

Have met very few black priesthood members, but all that I have met are men of faith and service. Glad someone is writing about his experience and faith. All need to help one another get through this life and prepare to meet God. I also converted from the Southern Baptists and am glad to follow the current prophet. Study what Pres Monson says about the issues of today. Put his suggestions and ideas to the test. You will be blessed.

friedeggonAZstreets
Glendale, AZ

Yay! I can't wait to read it. What a great missionary tool. I hope my non-
LDS friends will read it. I hope it starts selling at other places besides Desert Book. I will be posting a link to his website on my facebook wall in hopes my friends will want to read it. Thank you, Bro. Hamilton for writing this book.

MoJules
Florissant, MO

Idaho Coug, I was posting a lot of comments on the Fox News website, when the controversy about Brandon Davis from BYU's basketball team was going on. There were a lot of Mormon haters that posted and they would say, "Brigham Young said this and that". I did a lot of research and found that probably 19 out of 20 were so taken out of text and they were wanting to create a stir by only telling 1/10th of the information. I will admit that there was one statement and I didn't agree with it or like it, but I also know that church leaders are not perfect and can say things that are their opinion and Brigham Young was one to really spurt off his opinion. But the answering of the attacks on the Mormon church really helped me to discover how many things I have heard through the years have such a spin on them. But yes a tad bit of truth, hmmmmm, who does that?

Idaho Coug
Meridian, Idaho

Cats - you have very little understanding for anyone without a testimony exactly as your own. I'm grateful that in my experience many in the church are a bit more empathetic for where different members are on their journey.

Bill in Nebraska
Maryville, MO

To Idaho Coug and his responders: I agree that we need to follow the CURRENT prophet. What Brigham Young has stated on occassion could have been taken as RACIST today but would not have been taken that way when it was stated.

My firm belief is that we need to understand the world in which we live in so I ask the following questions:

Could the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints have grown as it did from 1830 to today if blacks had been permitted to hold the Priesthood from the beginning?

Was the United States and the world ready in 1830 for everyone to be treated equally with the priesthood?

Was the United States and the world ready in 1950 for everyone to be treated equally with the priesthood?

Was the United States and the world ready in 1978 for everyone to be treated equally?

Answer those questions first then look at the comments made by some church leaders in the time frame of their existance. You will find that answer is quite obvious an opinion of theirs at that time, but the teaching was correct for that period. Today all hold the priesthood.

JM
Lehi, UT

My LDS family is multiracial, including Black. They are much more offended by the anti-Mormon and Tribune push to paint all of us LDS as racist bigots than they are by anything said on the subject by Brigham Young etc. (He was quite progressive for the times, although perhaps not as much as JS).

They understand there is bigotry everywhere, but less so in Mormonism (and, as CATS points out, part of the anti-Mormon effort to paint LDS as bigots includes posing as bigoted LDS online).

My family also understands that BoM references to skin are probably misunderstood. Lehites probably all had similar brown skin. Skin references anciently were references to religiosity (see wiki, white skin). Joseph Smith translated directly from the ancient text, and, before publication, perhaps sensing skin references would be misunderstood, he began changing. More of these ancient references were clarified in the 80s.

I have known many black LDS, have attended meetings in predominately black branches, etc, and there are several mixed marriages in my Lehi ward, and each of their spirits have moved me in ways that no others have.

IJ
Hyrum, Ut

I read an article in DN some time ago concerning Elder McConkie's book, "Mormon Doctrine" in which one fellow said Elder McConkie was an apostle but .... At that point I had to wonder. Had Satan planted a seed of apostacy in this brother? What stops any of us from saying, Thomas Monson is the the prophet but .... It is a slippery slope when we allow ourselves to second guess those we supposedly sustain as prophets, seers, and revelators. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways.

nfs
Bountiful, UT

Jeffrey Holland said "we don't know" when asked why Blacks were denied the priesthood in the PBS interview series. A 2007 LDS public affairs doc states that church doctrine is limited to what is endorsed publically by the 1st Presidency and the Twelve. That means scriptures, handbooks, recent statements on Christ and the family, etc. Everything else is one person's opinion. In my opinion the reason I'm a pasty beige guy who loads up on carbs each Fall is because my ancestors evolved in northern climes. The reason some folks have more pigment in their skin is because their ancestors eveolved in climates where they needed protection from the sun. Period.

skeptic
Phoenix, AZ

It is amazing how the human mind can rationalize to be true what ever it is it chooses to beleive; and the true believing Mormons do it as well, or better than most. But, the question is: can the truth be molded to fit ones wishes and remain the truth. It may not matter all that much; because if you are not too happy with doctrine and ceremony in the church today, just hang in there because it is constantly changing and maybe tomorrow it will fit better with what you want it to be, or what you choose to believe as truth.

Whos Life RU Living?
Ogden, UT

Ok so who are these wolves in sheeps clothing?

I think it is funny how the people who are worried about this issue are the ones that probably do the most damage to the church's image.

LordPillsbury
Mcminnville, OR

I like "Bill in Nebraska's" approach. It worked for him and it works for me as well. Another thought I reflect on is the story of Abraham and Isaac. I often feel as if God was testing the church. Many former leaders felt compelled to explain this commandment and theory after theory arose, perhaps true and perhaps not. But it could have simply been a test of obedience.

I remember the joy I felt that day in 1978 when it was announced that "all worthy males" could hold the priesthood. I was always taught that some day the Lord would allow this. And it happened. This is coming from a guy who grew up in Virginia.

I look forward in reading Bro. Hamilton's book.

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