What is the proper response to an urban legend? Should an urban legend even be
acknowledged? Doesn't the very act of acknowledging an urban legend give
it credence?Let the Prophet speak for Christ. That's his role.
That's why Christ chose a prophet to be his spokesman to the world. If
Christ wanted urban legends to be the way of disseminating his doctrine, he
wouldn't need a prophet, would he?
Apparently, the folk doctrine exists because their is no official explanation
for the ban. This article notes the official church statement is ""we
(now) believe all people are God's children and are equal". What is
the official explanation for the ban from foundation to 1978?"Old times, it appears, may be soon forgotten." Those who hide from
the past cannot learn from it.
It is gratifying to see evidence as to the extent to which racial attitudes
have, and continue to, improve within the membership of the Church of Jesus
Christ of Latter-day Saints. The blessings of membership within the Church were
always extended to all who sought them (see 2Nephi 26: 33) However, prior to the
1978 revelation, rationales about the "curse of Cain" and various
references to the pre-mortal existence were widely used within the Church to
justify the practice of restricting those of black African descent from holding
the priesthood or participate in all temple ordinances. Sometimes these
restrictions were used by some members to excuse other blatant forms of racism.
Should we acknowledge our history? Of course, 1) so we can learn from it and
avoid similar pitfalls in the present and future, and 2) so we can be prepared
to honestly and candidly explain past practices within the Church. Yes, we need
milk before meat, but ignorance is generally NOT bliss, because "the glory
of God is intelligence," and we are to "obtain a knowledge of history
and of countries""and study and learn, and become acquainted with all
good books . . ."
Good to hear such an evil relic of the past is almost vanished
Moderate, Old times, it appears, may be soon forgotten." Those who hide from
the past cannot learn from it. True. (Genesis 7:22 JST) ,..all the seed of
Adam save it were the seed of Cain; for the seed of Cain were black and had not
a place among them.(Abraham 1:27)...Now, Pharoah being of that lineage by
which could not have the right of Priesthood.
Folk doctrine or not, was this practice from God or not? It would be helpful if
LDS Church leadership would confirm one way or the other. The first step to
opposing evil is to recognize it. If this was not of God, it needs to be
disavowed and repented of, just as slavery and apartheid have been disavowed and
repented of. If it was of God, then this should also be confirmed. We need to
decide whether we can really have a president for example who believes that it
was God's will to keep black people from participating in the LDS
priesthood and temple ordinances.This would be like having a president of South
Africa who believes that apartheid is currently wrong, but believes it was from
God at the time. Folk doctrines take place when there is no official clarity.
As a 62 year old Mormon, I can remember first understanding the restriction on
blacks receiving the priesthood when I was about twelve years old and had been
ordained a deacon. My father and grandfather told me about it. My father was
emphatic that the black Mormons who were in our former ward in central Salt Lake
City were faithful and accepted callings he had extended to teach Sunday School.
He told me that someone in the ward had complained to him about calling them to
teach, but the complainer was not himself someone who could be trusted to
fulfill a teaching calling. He did not offer any of these myths to explain it.
We knew it was an anomaly because Japanese people like my Mom and I and members
of other races, including Polynesians who had served as missionaries in Japan
with my Dad, had no restrictions.
If one does even a cursory internet search of what the modern day prophets have
said on this subject, one can easily see why many feel that the subject matter
of this article is anything but urban legend. The modern day prophets have said
a substantial amount about this and it is as accessible as one's computer.
There is a major flaw in the survey as reported in the story. That has to do
with the question asked if one had ever heard any of these "folk tales."
The flaw is that even though you may have heard one of these stories, that
doesn't make it true or that the listener gave it any credibility. After
all, none of these suppositions came from reliable or documented sources. The
survey needed to go one step further and determine if there was any credibility
to any of them. Had the authors done so, this story would have been a
"non-story" or slanted much differently.
My racially mixed family feels at home among the members of the Church of Jesus
Christ. Critics used to stir hate against Mormons for our teachings
on equality. Presently, critics try to paint Mormons as racist, and, when it
becomes apparent that LDS were, and are, less racist than others, critics pass
judgment and point to the obvious, that Brigham, or other leaders were less than
perfect. But no apostle has ever been perfect or omniscient. LDS do
not believe in infallible leaders. There was some racism among LDS, but it
has always been mild compared to others who had, and still have serious ongoing
issues: including Muslims, Catholics, Protestants, Evangelicals, gays (ongoing
problems with segregation and discrimination), atheists, and so on. No,
this doesn't justify any racism, as "ALL" racism has been condemned
by the Church, but I hope everyone will search their own hearts, and work on the
bigotry in their own groups, rather than attack me and my family for our faith
in Christ. LDS scriptures teach that God said to Abraham:
“9… thou shalt be a blessing unto thy seed...they shall bear this
ministry and Priesthood unto ALL nations”
Recent declarations by Church spokespersons of past teachings of the Church as
"folklore" or "folk tales" won't come as a surprise to 98%
of Americans. They already think the same thing of Mormonism. To them, it's
all folklore.So be careful using that term as an explanation of
historical teachings that were upheld by every prophet from Brigham Young to
Harold B. Lee. By attempting to wiggle out of an awkward situation, all
you're doing is discrediting every one of those past prophets and bringing
into question every doctrine ever taught from the pulpit.
hard to get posted the obvious. If these "folklores" were so prominet, I
I can attest that they were, then a large majority of the church until right now
believed a false doctrine. I just bring it up so we are aware that the church
can stumble, it has in the past versions of the church. Why not now? So be
carefull what you believe over what the Book of Mormon teaches. That's our
When people try to tell the Lord what to do they seem to forget the truth of all
things. Is it really important to us to know why the ban was put into place. I
pondered over these thoughts for a number of years. Years when I was away from
the church and living in the world and away from the teachings of the Church.
When I decided to come back I wanted to know the answer to all things just as
many of those posting here have done. I got to a point that I thought I knew
more than the leadership did and questioned everything. Then one day I did what
I should have done in the beginning and received the following:It
wasn't my worry about the ban or other things I questioned. It had nothing
to bear on my own eternal progression. Why should I worry about something that
had no bearing on me and me alone. I questioned this answer for
years and yet the same answer came again and again. Finally, I understood what
was being said.
Because Mormonism is claimed to be founded as a result of modern day revelation
and visitations by deity: if it is true, Mormons should not have to sweat the
details of the imperfections of leadership. Can believing Mormons feel confident
that, despite imperfect in many ways, prophets Joseph and Brigham were called of
God and were great in their own right? Thankfully, socially accepted
racially discriminatory practices of days past by individuals, organizations and
governments are slowly but surely disintegrating in our modern world. How do we
handle the past? We learn from our errors. We apologize. We make reparations
when necessary and we move forward without looking in the rear view mirror.Must we beg forgiveness into the eternities for past indiscretions? I
hope not. Otherwise, Americans would never be forgiven until we gave a sizeable
portion of the land of America back to the war torn nations of American
aboriginals and Mexican settlers. We must also be obliged to repay millions of
Americans of African heritage the costs of forcefully separating their
forefathers from the lifestyle and land of their birth and for committing them
to unacceptable involuntary servitude. The blame of discrimination is shared by
The LDS church corporation is as much (or more) about politics as it is about
religion. Politics always shifts and sways with the merits of the times. Romney
is a good example of Mormonism: he can be, or say what ever is popular for the
time that is expected to further his goals. And so it is with the LDS church: it
changes with the seasons of the times. It is man's doings. If there is a
god, he shouldn't be blamed for man's fatuity.
@Bill in Nebraska: Brazil(1978) was one of the strongest reasons why the ban
was lifted. The opening of its new temple in Sao Paulo, the LDS Church was
ordaining hundreds of Brazilians to its priesthood. Did the LDS Church ignore
Brazilian history? Between 1538 and Brazil's abolition of slavery in 1888,
about five million African slaves were brought to that country. Through mixed
marriages, Mulattos make up a substantial portion of the Brazilian population.
How would the LDS Church possibly know whether or not those being ordained were
qualified? With the dedication of this temple only a few months away, it would
seem imperative that the church either lift the ban or face the possibility of a
public relations nightmare. For there is no difference between Jew
and Gentile, the same Lord is Lord of All and richly blesses All who call on
him, for, Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord WILL BE SAVED(Roman 10:
I've heard that idea as a repudiated concept. Joseph Fielding Smith
“It makes no difference what is written or what anyone has said, if what
has been said is in conflict with what the Lord has revealed…the teachings
of any…high or low…” included. Some professional
critics cling to their folkloric doctrine that anything controversial said, is
LDS doctrine. Some overstate acceptance of this folklore among leaders.
BYoung, who probably instituted the ban, denied it, ‘there were no
neutral [spirits] in heaven..All spirits are pure…”And
according to FAIR "Repudiated ideas/Neutral in "war in
heaven"":Joseph Smith never taught it; The First Presidency under
Joseph F. Smith rejected this idea: “no revelation, ancient or
modern…(and no) authoritative statement…”; and other leaders
repudiated it, including McConkie, who formerly taught the idea, but, as we
know, later said: “We spoke with a limited understanding and without the
light and knowledge that now has come into the world.We get our truth and our
light line upon line…”This is how prophets and apostles
have always learned, as outlined in Conference yesterday.
Unless one is willing to believe that denying black people entrance to Hotel
Utah was God's will, one has to accept the premise that LDS church leader
ARE capable of (significant) error.This is not to demean them, we
are all capable of error.I give credit to LDS leaders for
recognizing past errors and doing better, Just as I would hope they would give
me credit when I do the same.
JM: "But no apostle has ever been perfect or omniscient. LDS do not believe
in infallible leaders." But they do believe that a prophet
cannot (or will not be permitted) to lead the church astray. In my mind, a
prophet proves his fallibility by tripping over a rock, forgetting a
member's name, or leaving out a word in a scripture he is reading over the
pulpit. However, there must be a point where the prophet passes
"infallibility" and enters "leading astray," otherwise they
would never assure church members it couldn't happen. Joseph Smith directed
the ordination of Elijah Abel. Brigham Young "probably instituted the
ban" (JM). Unless God was unsure of how he wanted to handle the issue, one
of them was wrong. It has affected thousands of Saints and millions historically
worldwide. It seems to me that one of them led the Church astray, or God just
really doesn't care."We get our truth and our light line
upon line"This isn't a "line upon line" issue.
Nothing was added to or built upon. If anything, policy was redacted. A great
change was made, but a huge void still exists where folklore once resided.
I think the article is a little misleading. The biggest thing to me is that 9%
of LDS people agree that its true, of the 45% who had heard of it. This means
that of the people who had heard of this teaching, 20% believe it to be true. To
me that's too high of a percentage. It shows that we still have a long way
to go in order to eradicate old teachings like this from the minds of church
To MM79414,Your math is all messed up. If 45% of LDS had heard of it
and only 9 % of that 45% believed it. Then only 4% of ALL LDS believed it. Not
20% as you miscalculated.
The "folk doctrine" related to the denial of priesthood to blacks will
not die away until it is replaced by authoritative re-interpretations of the
relevant scriptures. such have not been forthcoming. You can't beat
something with nothing.
To Donn and others: No apology needed. No one needs to pay anything to anyone.
This is the society we live in where many feel something is owed to them.
Nothing is owed to you. Mistakes are made. Look at Moses who was denied entry
into Israel because of transgression. So what.Revelation removed
the ban. It was done, end of story. To keep bringing it up is to do nothing
but to perpetuate what many consider a mistake. Sorry, Donn but maybe you ought
to read the the stories of those who were there when President Kimball received
the revelation. Oh, that is right you don't believe it so you have to come
up with something that satisfies you. Sorry, I believe in visions, revelations
and that God speaks through prophets today. If you don't that isn't
my problem but yours. I will trust in those who the Lord has selected to lead
his Church. There teachings are still there. The Book of Mormon is true as is
the Bible but the fulness of the Gospel is within the covers of the Book of
@Bill in NebraskaSee here's the problem... actually there are two
problems.1. Children of Jim Crow supporters who oppose segregation tend to
renounce past segregation. The church position seems to still be that the ban
was correct for the time period that it was in place. If someone said
segregation was a good thing for the period it occurred, that's way
different than them saying it was wrong. 2. The church claims to be driven
by prophetic revelation and there are plenty of instances where the ban on the
priesthood was outlined in very official manner. It seems that the church wants
to hold this narrow line where they try and avoid saying prophets can lead the
church astray but also want to avoid saying that the priesthood ban was correct
(surely not using those words in the recent statement... but they sure
didn't condemn it either). Having it both ways leads to confusion, and
further questions, as I'm sure Mitt Romney will continue to discover.
@JM"There was some racism among LDS, but it has always been mild
compared to others who had, and still have serious ongoing issues: including
Muslims, Catholics, Protestants, Evangelicals, gays (ongoing problems with
segregation and discrimination), atheists, and so on. "Insulting
other faiths does nothing to A: give sympathy towards your church (since you
just slammed the one I attend) or B: change the LDS's 100+ year history of
a priesthood ban that extended so long that Stanford boycotted BYU over it.
Bill in Nebraska, The Book of Mormon is true as is the Bible but the fulness of
the Gospel is within the covers of the Book of Mormon?In 2Nephi
26:33... ; and he denieth none that come unto him, black and white, bond and
free, male and female; and he remembereth the heathen; and all are alike unto
God. both Jew and Gentile. Also see(2 Nephi 26:28).Among the
prophets and teachers of the church at Antioch of Syria were Barnabas, Simeon
(called the black man, Lucius (from Cyrene)….(Acts 13:1 NLT)God is
… the King eternal, immortal, INVISIBLE, the only God, be honor and glory
for ever and ever. Amen. (1Tim 1:17). Skin color should not be an issue.For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile, the same Lord is Lord of
All and richly blesses All who call on him, for, Everyone who calls on the name
of the Lord WILL BE SAVED(Roman 10: 10-12).