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Comments about ‘Race, folklore and Mormon doctrine’

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Published: Wednesday, Feb. 29 2012 2:52 p.m. MST

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AlphaSmith
LINDON, UT

Nice article, Nathan. Well done.

"God has always been discriminatory."

Bott was right about that. I've been a member all my life and I can't have the priesthood. I'm a girl.

Canyontreker
TAYLORSVILLE, UT

@Alpha Smith "I've been a member all my life and I can't have the priesthood. I'm a girl."

You have the Priesthood. For some reason women don't "hold" the Priesthood. Yet, they are still set apart by the laying on of hands to work under the direction of the Priesthood. Women still have the responsibility to teach and preach and lead prayers in congregations. They receive all the blessings and responsibilities to work in the Temple.

What happened to the blacks is far different. Black women still don't "hold" the Priesthood, but receive the highest ordinances of the Church and Temple. But, many black women did not have this privilege before 1978 either. I am so thankful we all do now.

Flashback
Kearns, UT

It would be interesting to see the entire transcript of what Bott said or listen to the whole unaltered tape. IF Bott was quoted in context and correctly then he deserves to get his fanny kicked. If he was quoted out of context and had made it clear to the students that these were some of the old theories as to why the ban and quoted them as part of the class (like quoting McConkie), then the Washington Post deserves to get their fanny kicked.

Gotcha journalism at its best.

LValfre
CHICAGO, IL

" IF Bott was quoted in context and correctly then he deserves to get his fanny kicked. If he was quoted out of context and had made it clear to the students that these were some of the old theories as to why the ban and quoted them as part of the class (like quoting McConkie), then the Washington Post deserves to get their fanny kicked."

I couldn't agree more Flashback. My girlfriend, a current black mormon, recently talked to another member about the priesthood ban just this weekend ironically, on Sunday. The girl had shared with my girlfriend the same story ... that white's weren't ready for it yet and it really was a blessing in disguise.

It's this kind of irrational thought and surrendering of the conscious that irritates me the most. You can accept that as an answer? How many other bishops have shared that story over the years?

Ron Hilton
Holladay, UT

Bott's comments were at the very least insensitive and politically tone deaf, but his biggest error was to present his views as representing authoritative church doctrine. Having said that, I hope the church will continue to allow sufficient academic freedom to explore difficult issues in church history and doctrine in a responsible way. Also, Oman's closing swipe at Romney, while clever and more politically correct, betrays a subtle reverse racism in its own right.

LDS Liberal
Farmington, UT

I reckon Utah Sen. Chris Buttars is a BYU fan?

Thinkman
Provo, UT

Bruce R and Jeffrey Holland both understate what is patently obvious.

The policy of not giving black men the priesthood, nor allowing black women entrance into the temple wasn't misunderstood or inadequate. The policy was racist, pure and simple and the scriptures for the LDS church including the Book of Mormon (see 2 Nephi 5) and the Book of Moses and Abraham each espouse racist doctrine.

I wish LDS members would study their church's history as much as they study the Book of Mormon and attend the temple.

A voice of Reason
Salt Lake City, UT

I have my beliefs and no one can change them but me. I believe in fairness, freedom, and justice. I believe the LDS Church is God's true church teaching the most peaceful plan of happiness, the most love to our families, and the most wonderful doctrines capable of existing. With something I hold so dear, it is a concern when others attack those beliefs. But even more troubling isn't the hatred people have with the church- it's that they do so in hypocrisy.

The world condemns a past of polygamy and non-violent policies involving race, but about free agency and not about punishing innocent people- while that same world practices promiscuity, child abandonment, family abandonment, wife "swapping", lynching, and every other despicable, evil, secret combinations of murder and the worst evils- while their future generations attempt to hold us accountable of something somehow worse than their own actions- while we were promoting peaceful doctrines instead. One may disagree about their morality, but FOR those times- for those people- those doctrines promoted peace ACCORDING to the people they were for.

It might not be the most 'right' thing to deny one child desert- but if it prevents both your children from getting themselves in a dangerous situation, taking away the desert could be the best choice available- not because you as a parent aren't perfect, but because your children aren't.

The truth is up to an all knowing, all seeing God to know. Every member of the human race sees only the most minute fraction of that picture- yet it's easy to be quick to judge each other. There is a reason Jesus Christ commanded us not to judge each other. We aren't perfect and we don't have a perfect picture of everything. That's just how it is.

Virgil
SALT LAKE CITY, UT

I'm sure it counts as folklore too, but somebody once told me that they thought that the church wasn't yet worthy to have African American members until it had been sufficiently purged of racism. Looking at it backwards, it kind of makes some sense.

atl134
Salt Lake City, UT

I think the problem is that people can look back and say "Jim Crow laws were racist" so what they feel the LDS church is supposed to do is to condemn the previous leaders and say that the priesthood ban was wrong. That would, however, disagree with the claims like the first half of "the church is true, the people are not" and "the prophet will never lead us astray".

James B. Young
SALT LAKE CITY, UT

I don't know Flashback and would not indicate his comments are based on any motive except the best. However, his comments are, behaviorally, a form of 'commenter gotcha'. Anyone can find the article, and find commentaries by those who heard him. Yes, he was given the benefit of the doubt. Bott's words are correctly reported.

I would caution all that we can lean the other way too far by engaging in 'persecution complex' defense. The Church and its leaders are mature, grown, responsible, and good as an institution and as individuals. Where the LDS like Brother Bott or the leaders make mistakes, correcting the record is absolutely essential.

The LDS history, like the history of all American and their institutions, is problematic. Why? Because our history as a nation and as a people and as variety of cultures has been problematic. To single out LDS leaders of the past as somehow being outside of the cultural and social milieu of America seems problematic. They were Americans living in an era with all the particular issues of the day. Why would LDS leaders be different than other Americans living in the same era?

Brother Bott needs to be counseled, probably already has been, by his file leadership. The rest of us can learn from it and move on.

Truthseeker
SLO, CA

Never had Botts as a teacher but somehow I learned the justification for the priesthood ban was related to the "mark of Cain" and/or blacks not being "valiant" in the pre-existence etc. I'm sure a majority of U.S. Mormons continue to believe it.

Thankfully, over the years I've done my own research on the topic and discovered the facts.

It is long past time for the church to correct the mythology and report accurate church history. At the time the ban ended, I didn't know what McConkie had written about the priesthood ban so his statement meant nothing to me. And, being young, I didn't take the time to track down what he said so I could know what to unlearn. The facts need to be laid out, the history needs to clear, the record set straight.

Steven Harper
Salt Lake City, UT

If the sentiments and substance of Oman's beliefs could be promulgated in Utah... and take root firmly in our rapidly diversifying culture... We might finally have men (and women) to match our mountains.

barndog48
AMERICAN FORK, UT

The fact is that the LDS church did not allow persons of African descent to hold the priesthood prior to 1978. If brother Bott was bringing up old reasons for the ban that brother Holland and others regard as folklore, then please tell us what was the official church justification for denying these individual the priesthood prior to 1978. There must have some reason for the church to have had that policy.

Cats
Somewhere in Time, UT

Dear Barndog48: As has been stated many times...the brethren do NOT know the reason. President Hinckley made that clear.

Adam offered sacrifice and after MANY DAYS he was approached by an angel and asked why he was offering sacrifice. He stated, "I know not save the Lord hath commanded it." There are MANY things that we don't know the reason for except that they are commandments. We do not know the reason for the priesthood ban, but we are required to follow the Lord's commandments. It is important that we accept these commandments and sometimes we just don't know the reason. That is what faith is for. I have learned in my life that there are many things I don't understand, but I have learned to trust Christ and follow him in all things.

Truthseeker
SLO, CA

re:Cats
"There are MANY things that we don't know the reason for except that they are commandments."

At this point we don't even know, (the church hasn't said), when, how and who was commanded to deny the priesthood to blacks in the first place.

Don't you find that puzzling?

How many commandments do we not know how they originated? We know how polygamy originated, we know where the Ten Commandments came from, we know what Jesus taught, we know where the principle of tithing came from etc. Which prophet received the commandment to not extend the priesthood to blacks, when during Jospeh Smith's time it wasn't that way? Is the commandment in the scriptures somewhere?

bebot
SHAWNEE MISSION, KS

I have taken multiple classes from Brother Bott. He uses many scriptures, quotes, and church resources to make his case. Everyone gladly accepts that God favored the Jews in biblical times, but when God withholds something from a race we cant accept that there is a reason. Im ashamed of the fact Blacks were denieed the priesthood because I have never seen a reason why they would be considerred inferior.I dont understand this and many other things but I dont think Brother Bott should be treated as rogue professor when he bases his argument on teachings from the bible, lds scripture, and latter day prophet teachings.

Lermentov
PROVO, UT

I talked with one of the first black Church members to receive the priesthood. We both felt in our hearts that the reason they couldn't hold the priesthood for a time is that the members of the church couldn't handle it. They were still a young sapling, and the racism in the U.S. was pretty strong. It would have, we felt, destroyed the young Church. When the time came that the church was strong enough, the ban was able to be lifted. Just an opinion, but it seems more generous than some of the other ones out and about.

barndog48
AMERICAN FORK, UT

dear cats you wrote:

Dear Barndog48: As has been stated many times...the brethren do NOT know the reason. President Hinckley made that clear.

Adam offered sacrifice and after MANY DAYS he was approached by an angel and asked why he was offering sacrifice. He stated, "I know not save the Lord hath commanded it." There are MANY things that we don't know the reason for except that they are commandments. We do not know the reason for the priesthood ban, but we are required to follow the Lord's commandments. It is important that we accept these commandments and sometimes we just don't know the reason. That is what faith is for. I have learned in my life that there are many things I don't understand, but I have learned to trust Christ and follow him in all things.

my question
when exactly did the brethern receive this commandment and where exactly is it recorded?

Ben H
Clearfield, UT

When I was serving as the ward executive secretary when I lived in Alaska, we were discussing this concept in our ward Priesthood Executive Council meeting. Two of the members of that group were African-American, the High Priests Group leader a a member of the Stake High Counsel. We were discussing concerns that the ward mission leader had about a mixed race family working with the missionaries. One counselor in the Bishopric began to gave a short doctrinal thesis, much like Professor Bott. But the conversation was ended by the High Priests Group leader who said, "this does not bother me. If it did, I would not be sitting today with you today."

Sometimes we are over apologetic where we do not need to be. If people do not want to be friendly with Latter-day Saints, they will find any excuse that they can grab hold of. If it were not for race and the priesthood, it would be something else. Sometimes we go way over the top to apologize for something that we had no control over. That is what Bott did.

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