Comments about ‘LDS blacks, scholars cheer church's essay on priesthood’

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Published: Sunday, June 8 2014 3:15 p.m. MDT

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Apocalypse please
Bluffdale, UT

The essay says, "the church disavows the theories advanced in the past that black skin is a sign of divine disfavor or curse, or that it reflects actions in a premortal life." Is the church disavowing one of the main themes in the Book of Mormon too? What other theories will be disavowed in the future?

Beaverton, OR

I am a "white" man. I wasn't alive in '78. I was born just a few years later, but I am aware of some of the information out there about the "cain" theory and the "fence-sitters" theory. I first heard these things about 10 years ago. I still remember thinking that it sounded bogus - like people trying to make "logical" ends meet.

In my mind, I don't see why we can't all just rejoice together and let it alone. The "blacks" in the church are as faithful and worthy as any "white" person. I am just sick and tired of the way that some of us keep the racism alive so we have to feel the pain over and over and over again.

All of us in the church, whether black or white, male or female, have a lot of persecution headed our way due to our unyielding commitment to God's revealed law of chastity and marriage (male with female). We need to stick together.

Washington, DC

This is the reason we need a BYU-Africa located in Ghana or Nigeria. It not only repudiates the folklore, but puts our money where our mouth is and makes Africans "fellow citizens of the saints and of the household of God."

A BYU-Africa would be such a huge publicity win for the church it would swamp out any of the advertising in Times Square or other big publicity projects. Why spend millions on such things for a one-time visibility boost when a persistent, huge PR goldmine awaits in a BYU-Africa?

Finally, a BYU-Africa would not have to be expensive. Land, building materials, and labor are much cheaper. Get rid of the LDS Business College (which really is redundant now) and build a highly visible and highly needed asset that will generate positive PR for years and years.

The Shire, UT

...I am aware of some of the information out there about the "cain" theory and the "fence-sitters" theory. I first heard these things about 10 years ago. ...

The theories were, of course, based on scripture:

"22 And Enoch also beheld the residue of the people which were the sons of Adam; and they were a mixture of all the seed of Adam save it was the seed of Cain, for the seed of Cain were black, and had not place among them." Moses 7:22

"24 When this woman discovered the land it was under water, who afterward settled her sons in it; and thus, from Ham, sprang that race which preserved the curse in the land." Abraham 1:24


Orange County, CA


The idea of BYU-Africa is a great one. The PR value is nothing - the blessing it would be to the people of Africa is why it's a great idea.

Leesburg, VA

>>Is the church disavowing one of the main themes in the Book of Mormon too?

I must respectfully disagree with the claim that that's one of "the main themes in the Book of Mormon." In fact, I'd say it's not a theme of the book at all. The verse to which I think you're referring is a single historical observation by the writer -- not a prophetic utterance -- for which we're not even perfectly clear on the context. Without clear scientific context, I think it would be unwise to declare a direction connection between it and any modern group of people.

The only true themes of the Book of Mormon are that Jesus is the Christ, He lives, and societies and individuals prosper or fail to the degree that accept and obey of His gospel.

Cinci Man

I was taught growing up that one day the priesthood would be available to all worthy men. I served my mission in 1973-74 where there were many deprived of the priesthood. I was thrilled with the expected revelation. I didn't know when it would happen, but I hoped it would be in my lifetime. And what a blessing it is to the church to have all worthy men serve with honor and distinction is all positions to which they are called. The women of the church are also to be admired. How grateful we should be for line-upon-line revelation.

Layton, UT

I remember that day in 1978 that African-Americans were given the priesthood. It was my senior year of high school in California. Dave, a fellow member of my ward, also a senior at my high school, came running up to me to share the great news. It was a wonderful feeling!

layton, UT

RE Clarissa, I remember that day in 1978.
In 1978, Brazil 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.

RE: Cinci Man, Go ye therefore, and teach all nations=(*etnos), baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost(Mt 28:19) *Ethnicity, black or white.

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

Bountiful, UT

It may seem surprising to some that the LDS church could make such a big doctrinal mistake, i. e. Teach false doctrine, but such people don't think very deeply. If it were impossible for a church of God to stray from the truth, thr Jewish church at the time of Jesus would have accepted him, not rejected him. The Catholic church would not have strayed from the way and a restoration would not have been necessary.

Rather than blindly believe everything you hear from the brethren, pray for discernment that you can recognuze truth from error. Pray for church leaders that they will have Gods blessing to be centered in truth.

speak truth fear not
Orem, Utah

I am happy for all people to have the same rights and promises.

The only thing I would like to know is why Brigham Young did this to the blacks in the first place. As far as I know there was no stated revelation from God to do this.

Very strange.

Any insights from knowledgeable people here?

And I am looking for facts not opinions or rhetoric.

Thanks to everyone in advance.

ER in AF
Harare, Zimbabwe, 00

I currently live in Zimbabwe (southern Africa) and lived in Rwanda for 3 years (central). The idea of a BYU-Africa is a great!! It would give opportunity for exchange of professors (BYU, BYU-I, H & A) and would give great insight and perspective to all students that attend. It would bind together the members of the church coming from different African countries into one church and give a great base for our humanitarian missionary efforts on this continent. The greatest growth for the church in the near future will be in Africa. Let's build an excellent university to help raise up the next generation of leaders. Access to excellent schools is difficult. We should select a country that is centrally located with a temple already in place and start this university! Monies from the Perpetual Education Fund can be cycled through the university instead of going out to other institutions and only being utilized one cycle. An MTC can be adjacent to it and it could provide income for the students similar to PCC does for BYU-H. An excellent trade college could be attached as well. There are many possibilities.

Upstate, NY

Apocalypse, there is a big difference between theory and doctrine. We never really had a doctrine on the issue so that lead to the springing up of various theories. Nice to see that the church finally addressed these.

Third try screen name
Mapleton, UT

It is easier to rationalize in the church these days, since our own leaders seem to be telling us that what we once thought was revelation really isn't. Are we to pick-and-choose which are revelations and which are not?
This is not an academic question. Five years ago I would have defended as revelation both the former ban on blacks and the family proclamation. Now I can point to the church website as authentic proof that neither qualifies.
The ex cathedra standard for LDS doctrine has just been raised.
But we do have a pattern in the Official Declarations. The prophet speaks in conference, followed by his counselor declaring his keys and authority...then a sustaining vote of the congregation.
Everything else spoken in conference is less than that.

Gilbert, AZ

I always had the thought that Laman and Lemuel probably tatood themselves and that's what is meant in the B of M. Not that they woke up one morning with a different skin tone. That's just me personal thought.


The 12/6/13 statement would have more meaning if it were a 1st Presidency statement
read on Sundays over the pulpit and printed in church magazines etc. As it is, it
comes off as semi official and few have heard of it just as the BYU student quoted in the article says.

NotInMiami, FL


To add to what @mhenshaw wrote - The Book of Mormon serves as a witness of the divinity of Christ; it establishes the truth contained in the Bible regarding Jesus Christ as our Savior. There are other themes in the Book of Mormon but Christ as our Savior is the main theme.

There are a few verses in the Book of Mormon that ostensibly talk about skin color; I write ostensibly because it is an assumption that might be unfounded to state that it is a reference solely or strictly to physical appearance rather than spiritual. Further, the Book of Mormon, while written for our day, was written in a time far removed from our day. Culture and race were viewed differently than they are today. So even if references to skin color are about physical appearance, they must be understood in the context of Book of Mormon cultures. That's difficult given the fact that we have little historical information of the time.

The LDS Church states that the priesthood ban is complex and might have had roots in racism. Regardless, it's time to move on; it’s been almost 40 years since the ban was lifted.

Arlington, VA

I joined the church in 1986 at age 40, long after blacks became eligible to receive the Priesthood. One aspect of that issue that I have never found an answer to and has stuck in my mind is this: If the Lord's church was restored through Joseph Smith in the 1830s then why was this 'prohibition' against blacks tolerated in the first place? Doesn't heavenly father love all his children the same? Why would this totally anti-Gospel principle be instituted and tolerated for so long, when it goes against the basic bedrock principles of the Gospel?

South Jordan, UT

I was about 18 months into my two year mission in Winnipeg, Manitoba when we heard the news. I remember the thrill in my heart and unfettered joy at the opportunity all had for the supernal blessings of the gospel.

Mom of ten

When I look at things to figure them out, especially with no known doctrine, I look outside the box. Maybe the advancement of the gospel was so important, the choice was made, at that time, to overlook the black issue. I mean, there was already so much controversy going on, with polygamy etc. that the race issue was not addressed at the time. God is eternal and not limited to our time frame. He works with imperfect people trying to work within an imperfect and sometime evil world. No one, regardless of when their earth experience happened, will be denied any of His blessings. Is it possible that the ban was allowed to continue for a greater purpose? To....? I do not know, but I know that God does make up for all our collective mistakes. I know I have chosen a path that was the "lesser of two evils" when there seemed to be little other choice. Just a thought. It is hard to judge the decisions of a different time and culture through eyes and cultures of today. I was not there, but I trust God to make all things right.

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