Comments about ‘LDS Church condemns past racism 'inside and outside the church'’

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Published: Wednesday, Feb. 29 2012 2:00 p.m. MST

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Bill in Nebraska
Maryville, MO

Brahmabull and KC Mormon:

This is really what the Journal of Discourses are and where they came from:
"The content of the Journal of Discourses was transcribed, sometimes inaccurately, and published between 1853 and 1886 in England. The compilation contains some statements of doctrine as well as other materials of interest to Latter-day Saints who lived far from the center of the Church, including speeches given for a variety of occasions, funeral addresses, reports from returning missionaries, prayers, and the proceedings of a trial."

Furthermore, "Questions have been raised about the accuracy of some transcriptions. Modern technology and processes were not available for verifying the accuracy of transcriptions, and some significant mistakes have been documented. The Journal of Discourses includes interesting and insightful teachings by early Church leaders; however, by itself it is not an authoritative source of Church doctrine."

Just because it may have been said doesn't make it so.

Brahmabull you constantly mislead and try to confuse the issue. Stop doing it. Just because you want to show how unintelligent everyone else is doesn't mean you have all knowledge. KCMORMON is right it is not SCRIPTUAL and thus really has no bearing in these conversations except to say what may have been said but to use it as a basis of truth is far reaching and wrong.

bountiful, ut

Those who forget the past are bound and in fact doomed to repeat it. Those who focus entirely way too much on the past are poisoned by it and limit the joy and happiness of today on into the future. It does not matter one iota why 1830-1978 unfolded how it did. It only matters how much of a testimony you have for the true gospel and how that is exhibited in your every day lives... People detach other people from the church because it isn't your fellow ward members that will obtain your salvation for you but you of yourself. I don't know what happened on that campus just across town from here, but I do know that just like any campus in the world you have to take what spews forth from a professor's mouth with a grain of salt... You must seek out the truth and know what it is when you find it... It is pretty safe to say that everything said over the pulpit in the conference center or comes from the church office building across the street can be taken as truth every time.

very concerned
Sandy, UT


Buena Vista, VA

Point taken. Of course you are correct. I thought about it after I posted my comments and realized I had mistakenly only mentioned African AMERICANS. Of course the ban on holding the priesthood extended to all of the black race.

Qwest Perfected
Salt Lake City, UT

The church spokesman doesn't know "why, how or when" black people were not accepted as equals? How is the "spokesman" for something he knows so little about?

Black people were not viewed as equal from the formation of the church and that did not change until 1978. How can he claim to not know this? I guess ignorance is bliss. I'm sure if he did a little reading in the book the church published as doctrine on the subject "Mormonism and the Negro," he would be able to understand why this policy existed.

By claiming you don't know or even that you don't agree, doesn't change the ugly facts from the past.

Atlanta, Fayetteville, GA

Thank you so much for this timely clarification.
I was also disappointed with ideas and opinions offered by a well-respected professor from BYU.
My "opinion" is that the restoration of the Priesthood could only occur after the foundation of this free United States of America was established with Her all-important tenant of Religious Liberty. Likewise, the same divine hand of providence inspired great men of faith to set in motion the "new birth of freedom" beginning with President Lincoln's signing of The Emancipation Proclamation.
Just as the Revolutionary War and the continued perseverance and struggle of our revered Founding Fathers gave way for the Seed Bed of Freedom; the Civil War, the fight against slavery and racism was an equally important and significant component to establishing freedom to ALL people in this land. In the aftermath of war, the long awaited freedom for Black Americans had finally come; but lingering racism remained; most evidenced through tolerated societies of hate and demoralizing Jim Crow Laws in the South.
Great and courageous men and women would still struggle on and persevere against great odds and at great personal and collective sacrifice to secure what the Âlaw of the land now promised but society was not so quick to cede.
Equality in a country that was established by His Almighty Hand was not as simple as the passage of a set of righteous laws. Injustice still dug in its miserable heels; a struggle still lay ahead that would prove to reveal great heroes and heroines from the Black communities of our nation. Non-violent demonstrations were oft times met with mob-driven violent resistance. Non-violent leadership epitomized by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. who inspired all (to this day) with his "I Have a Dream" speech, put his own personal safety aside, to spur a non-violent movement that would ultimately take his life.
Is there any doubt that long uttered prayers to secure real freedom for themselves and their loved-ones, would Âat last be answered? Should it surprise anyone to know that American Black families were upheld and comforted through the heartache and troubled waters of the Civil Rights era by an all loving Father in Heaven?
This most recent chapter in our nationÂs freedom struggle can be seen as the last frontier to "overcome" - to lay claim on complete and equal rights in this great country for all people, at all times and in all places.
Today guardians are posted at the doors of a brighter, more Âequal America to vigilantly protect Her hard won rights and freedoms from foggy and distorted ideologues of the past. Today in America, blacks and whites can attend the same schools, frequent the same businesses, eat in the same restaurants, live in the same neighborhoods, work in the same offices, and worship together in the same pew. I propose that the most recent Civil Rights struggle in our history is evidence of the continuation of a Divinely-led design for this country in the latter-days by an Omnipotent God that began His groundwork with Columbus, The Pilgrims, The Revolution, and The Declaration of Independence in 1776. The restoration of the Priesthood on the shores of the Susquehanna River occurred in1829. The Emancipation Proclamation was signed in 1863, followed by the ratification of the Thirteenth Amendment to our constitution in 1865.
100 years into the future from LincolnÂs mighty pen stroke, the Civil Rights Act was signed into law in 1964. Fourteen years later, in 1978, the revelation extending the Priesthood to Âall worthy male members of the Church without regard for race or color was announced by President Spencer W. Kimball.
In my view, it was more about the Lord's ground work being laid and His time tables. I rejoice to be living in these wonderful times when gospel blessings are equally available to all; to us, our ancestors and our posterity alike.

Eagle Mountain, UT

The LDS church does not claim to understand why this revelation was not given before 1978. I don't claim any special knowledge about it. I am happy it is the way it is now and wish it had come sooner. There are tens of thousands of priesthood holders in the church that are black. The few I know are great people.

Salt Lake City, UT

This article reminds me of the need we all have to differentiate between what constitutes official doctrine and what is policy and what is tradition.

FAIRLDS states that only those things contained in the Standard Works and those statements sustained in general conferrence by Common Consent (the priesthood declaration and the banning of polygamy) are OFFICIAL doctrine. They go on to quote Harold B. Lee and Joseph Fielding Smith stating the same thing. The prophets have also stated that if any man, no matter their position in the Church, says something that is not outlined in scripture is only an OPINION.

Esquire was right saying that "Non-doctrinal ideas creep into practice and then become de facto 'doctrine'." This is what I believe happened. It's like the story of lab monkies who were sprayed with a hose when one of them tried to climb a certain ladder. The monkies began to enforce a ladder ban and beat up any monkey trying to climb the ladder. One by one, the monkies were replaced with other monkies who were never squirted and they were beaten up for trying to climb the ladder. Eventually all of the monkies were gradually replaced and the group still enforced the ban eventhough they had no reason why. This seens to be the case with the priesthood ban.

The current Church POLICY opposing CIVIL same-sex marriage is not based on doctrine. Scripture forbids LDS from using their religious beliefs as an excuse to infringe upon the rights and liberties of others (1 Cor. 10:29, D&C 134:4). Eventually, the Church will drop its opposition once it faces what the scriptures say and realizes that keeping that policy harms the Church. Look what the Church did regarding illegal immigration.

The bottom line is that unless a statement comes from the scriptures, it's just an opinion.

Ogden, UT

The Church and did not say that the doctrine was wrong just that we should not speculate why the doctrine was put into place. There are many hard doctrines that have yet to be revealed because we do not have the capacity to understand them. Remember Christ himself forbade teaching the gospel to the gentiles for a time.

Centerville, UT

Why did it take until Christ to tell people to turn the other cheek, remember in the mosaic law it was any eye for an eye, why did it take until Emma to talk to Joseph about the word of wisdom. Hurting our bodies with bad things, has always been a true principle, the thing is, we were not ready for it until asked about it. Remember God wants us to figure things out ourselves and then ask. Line upon line precept upon precept. All things true have always been true, It's us as a people that were not ready for the new laws. Think about how us as human beings throughout time have developed just like a child we have grown and matured here a little there a little, at appropriate times we got higher laws when we were ready. In 1978 we were ready for a higher law.


The Statement I read clearly said the practice of excluding blacks from the priesthood was NOT doctrine. So your comments below (calling it doctrine and comparing it to "hard doctrines") make no sense to me.

What I do read between the lines is that the policy was probably the result of racism within the church. No other ideas are offered that would explain it and racism within the Church is acknowledged. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to put two and two together, (and the Statement certainly leads to that conclusion) even if the Church doesn't want to come right out and say it.

Cedar Hills, UT

People - especially professors at BYU - need to STOP doing their own speculation about Church doctrine in the class room or at the pulpit. You can choose to believe what you want - just keep it to yourself especially in such sensitive matters as this. This statement by by this professor is very hurtful to African American Mormons not to mention the damage it does out in the mission field. No one except God himself knows exactly why Blacks were denied the Priesthood and speculation is useless and dangerous. The bottom line, Blacks can hold the Priesthood now and I am content to leave the rest to God.

Disco Vega
MoTown, CA

Thank God for continuing revelation and living prophets. Put your trust in the living prophet and you will not be lead astray. Somethings we cannot see or do not understand why or how God does things, but for sure there is a plan to his purposes.

Semper Fi
Bakersfield, CA

Why doesn't your living prophet hold Q&A sessions and answer the controversies? Seems ungenerous to keep all the answers in-house and not share his special insight and access.

Additionally, why not open up the archives and shine light in what documents you do have?

If you want to shed the impression of hiding and denying, then expose and discuss. Jesus said He hid nothing and did all His miracles in the open. I'd vote for His example and put the naysayers at bay.

A Scientist
Provo, UT

Is the Church and its members really going to plead ignorance of God's reasons for denying blacks the priesthood and temple ordinances?

And then turn around and insist that Mormons do not engage in "blind obedience"?

Riverside, CA

Ive been active in church for 40 years and don't recall ever being taught a doctrinal basis for the priesthood policy. Sure, I heard plenty of speculation but it was always couched as just that. On my mission (which was just prior to the revelation) we always explained that we didn't know why blacks couldnt hold the priesthood but the day would come when they would. Thankfully it came soon.

Personally I believe the Lord had his reasons, just as He had reasons for preaching the Gospel first the Jew then the Gentile as others have said. I will say this. It must take a lot of meekness and spirituality to not take offense at the policy and to submit to what you perceive as the Lord's will. Whether or not it was part of a plan, it seems there is now a particularly valiant and humble subset in the Church membership.

I'm not naive and I know racism has existed inside the Church, like everywhere else, and I'm pleased the Church made this statement.


I think those of you (too many to call out by name) who are saying and implying that God withheld the priesthood from blacks need to reread the Statement. It says "It is not known precisely why, how or when this restriction began in the Church". In other words, your leaders are not saying it came from God. You are going out on an unwarranted limb by assuming it was from God when your own leaders are agnostic regarding its origin.

South Jordan, UT

Wow, lots of speculation despite the official statement that "It is not known precisely why, how or when this restriction began in the Church". Many posters need to re-read the article.

I agreed with you until your strange comment that the Church's stand on gay marriage is not based on doctrine. You should read all of the relevant scriptures, not just the ones you want to interpret to suit your own point of view.

Riverside, CA


I understand your point but I have to say this statement of yours is pure speculation: "What I do read between the lines is that the policy was probably the result of racism within the church."

I don't believe it's unreasonable to hold the belief that the timing was part of a divine plan, especially in light of the 1978 statement: "Aware of the promises made by the prophets and presidents of the Church who have preceded us that at some time, in God's eternal plan, all of our brethren who are worthy may receive the priesthood, and witnessing the faithfulness of those from whom the priesthood has been withheld, we have pleaded long and earnestly in behalf of these, our faithful brethren, spending many hours in the Upper Room of the Temple supplicating the Lord for divine guidance.

"He has heard our prayers, and by revelation has confirmed that the long-promised day has come when every faithful, worthy man in the Church may receive the holy priesthood . . ."

I feel like Pagan with the cutting and pasting.

Salt Lake City, UT

donburi -
I agreed with you until your strange comment that the Church's stand on gay marriage is not based on doctrine. You should read all of the relevant scriptures, not just the ones you want to interpret to suit your own point of view.

LDS4 - The scriptures are clear that homosexuality is a sin. That is undeniable. the issue is whether the we, as Christians, can use our beliefs on homosexuality to deny homosexuals secular/civil rights. 1 Cor. 10:29 says that we can't. I'd love to hear your take on that verse.


Thank you for your quotes regarding the ending of the policy to withhold priesthood from blacks. However, it has nothing to do with (and certainly doesn't refute in any way) my assertion that the policy was probably the result of racism within the church.
Because God decides to end something does not mean that thing was of God. For example, God caused a flood to end many evils on the earth; those evils were of man, not of God. God chose to end a policy in 1978. That does not mean he condoned the policy before that date, and it does not mean the policy wasn't borne of racism.

How many times has the Church officially acknowedged racism within its ranks? Only once that I know of, and it happened to be in the very same statement regarding why blacks were not allowed to hold the priesthood. Coincidence? I think the leadership is smarter than that. The point was well made without actually condemning past leaders and members.

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