LDS Church condemns past racism 'inside and outside the church'

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  • desert Potsdam, 00
    Nov. 29, 2013 8:27 a.m.

    Verse 3 : "... for after this manner doth the Lord God work among the children of men. For the Lord God giveth light unto the understanding; for he speaketh unto men according to their language, unto their understanding."

    There is no way this subject will have lack of explaining. All you need to do is look at what is said in the scriptures and what your personal view of the gospel tells you to compare it with. If the chuch says it does not know the beginning or whereabouts of this issue, then be careful not to judge, it could mean the origin of any approved revelation is not known to make it church doctrine, since Apostles and Prophets are concerned about the heavenly origin and the approval of its people.Records don't mean doctrine.

    African people are loving people and fun to be with, they do not lack that sense of humor as most white do. Am I racial now, no way. It is what you see inside, instead of pointing fingers to the outside of the vessel.

    Having denied the priesthood is stupid talking, since priesthood is hard work, not priestcraft to stand above others.

  • Gemimi Bakersfield, CA
    March 3, 2012 4:09 p.m.

    @HotGlove- Of course there's an answer to the dilemma. It won't get posted here, but it has to fo with sticking to God's Truth. That way you don't have to have revelations and doctrinal reversals.

    If you really want to have your head spin, read the Journal of Discourses or any valid construct of the SLC Tab talks by the General Authorities. They were absolutely convinced that the doctrine was from God because His prophet said so. They waxed eloquent on the subject and there is no shortage of documentation on it prior to 1978. My folks precious library has all the out-print books. I grew up in the '60's and we knew exactly what the doctrine was and the explanations on the "why" flowed freely in church meetings.

    The dilemma exists today because embarrassed leaders didn't deal with it then either.

  • europe1 Cambria, 00
    March 3, 2012 2:07 p.m.

    ...I think that there needs to be a concerted effort by Church members - if it would be the case (but I've not encountered it in Church at all) - that if somebody was to expound something as doctrine which is not doctrine that people should speak up (and maybe most do, I don't know)...yes, freedom of speech is important but some things need to be set straight. I have to comment that (correct me if I'm wrong) that Deseret News is owned by a Church owned company...well, I'm really impressed with the freedom of speech here - well done LDS Church and Deseret News! I've seen some awfully racist people, but not inside the Church (really!) - I think that with some Church members, if they say something, it's brought about by being naive - not as a result of a burning racism. I remember that my wife, who had joined the Church, has innocently (a while ago) asked in a Sunday School class about the reason for Priesthood and 'Blacks'...the thing is, nobody came up with an explanation - not even a false one. It's as if people were not comfortable with the question (that's a positive, don't you think?) and wanted to quickly move on. My Wife did not get an answer - because, I think, nobody felt comfortable with it...

  • Owen Heber City, UT
    March 3, 2012 12:04 a.m.

    "Does anyone see a solution to this dilemma?"
    Maybe not, but there is certainly a lesson to be learned from this (and polygamy). If you adopt a position or culturally popular proclamation as doctrine, it will be decades -- even a century -- before you can disassociate yourself from it.

  • Ghost Writer GILBERT, AZ
    March 2, 2012 4:21 p.m.

    @ Hutterite -- Straw Man fallacy (look it up)

  • HotGlobe SAN RAFAEL, CA
    March 2, 2012 12:20 p.m.

    This story misses the most important elements of the issue. The policy of denying people of African ancestry access to the priesthood and temple is what people specifically object to as racism. For LDS to say "we condemn any past racism, but the thing you think was racism actually wasn't racism," is never going to be accepted outside of the church (or by some within). If practicing racial segregation is always wrong, this recent generic condemnation does not appear sincere. The ongoing belief that temporary segregation is right when approved by God will continue to be perceived as a current racism by the church.

    The problem now is that the policy and the history are baked into the loaf. For non-Mormons, LDS seems to be inextricably linked with racism. There is no way now to say the only words that can free LDS from the outside judgment of ongoing racism. To say, "Ok, that policy was racism and it was wrong and we are sorry," would be to admit that Prophets are fallible. Prophets have committed to the explanation that God had His reasons for the policy and though He did not convey them, there was ongoing dialog about the duration of the policy. God never said, "You have been getting it wrong." Rather, the latest communication was "The time has finally come to change the policy."

    There can be no apology now without destroying the very foundation of the church. It can't be wrong to do what God told you to do, so an apology would mean that God did not mandate the policy and Prophets cannot be trusted to tell the truth. That crack would have no logical limit and would ultimately destroy faith in the church. Yet without the apology and the repudiation of the past, the place of LDS in American culture will be based on the perception that Mormons insist on maintaining a moral flaw. Does anyone see a solution to this dilemma?

  • jmort SLO, CA
    March 2, 2012 10:09 a.m.

    I grew up in part-member family. My father refused to join the church for several reasons beyond the scope of today's topic. But one reason he always cited was the church's refusal to grant priesthood to blacks. He felt there couldn't be a good reason for it and the leaders probably didn't know why, how or when this restriction began in the Church, but were perpetuating it out of blind obedience to past custom.

    And guess what? He was wrong about many things, but on this particular point he was dead-on correct.

  • jmort SLO, CA
    March 2, 2012 10:00 a.m.

    @Phillip H and others making the argument that the Lord withheld the priesthood from blacks until 1978 because the church as a whole was not ready for them to recive it.

    I reject that theory completely because it supposes that (1) the church membership was full of racists and (2) God chose to appease those racists in his church and not "rock the boat".

    I believe the restriction on blacks holding the priesthood was an overall detriment to the church and suppressed growth during its existence. The God I know and worship would not encourage or abide by racisim in his church for a minute, and certainly would not turn a blind eye to it to appease current members while turning off prospective members.

  • ClarkKent Bountiful, Utah
    March 2, 2012 9:29 a.m.

    Just to make it clear during an election year while a mormon is trying to run for President, his church is not racist and apparently has no idea WHY it discriminated against people of color for so many years. So for all of you African Americans, don't let this keep you from voting for Romney. How very timely for this public announcement to have been made. LOL

  • sharrona layton, UT
    March 2, 2012 7:59 a.m.

    lds4gaymarriage The bottom line is that unless a statement comes from the scriptures.

    And he denieth none that come unto him, black and white, bond and a free, male and female; and he remebereth the heathen; and all are alike unto God, both; Jew and Gentile.(2 Nephi 26:33).

    Then Peter began to speak: I now realize how true it is that God does not show favoritism but accepts from every nation the one who fears him and does what is right.(Acts 10:34-35)
    Among the prophets and teachers of the church at Antioch of Syria were Barnabas, Simeon (called the black man), Lucius (from Cyrene), Manaen (the childhood companion of King Herod Antipas), and Saul.(Acts 13:1 NLT)
    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) Scripture is clear God is no respecter of persons.

  • raybies Layton, UT
    March 2, 2012 7:00 a.m.

    Anyone who adheres faithfully to a religion must throughout their lifetime make many quasi-doctrinal shifts in their beliefs and understanding as further light and knowledge is revealed to them through their circumstances, personal insights, and spiritual inspiration. This is the very nature of the strait and narrow. Walking the path does not mean every step is perfectly centered on it--but that when we discover we're off path, we get back on.

    The "seed of cain" concept was a protestant belief even before Joseph Smith was around. It is based on interpretation of scriptures in the Old Testament, and does not require new scripture to get there. God has apparently been rather selective with his people in ancient days, as was clear when Peter was commanded to take the Gospel to the Gentiles (who were excluded from it, prior to Peter's vision).

    That gave LDS converts justification to embrace a policy that was politically attractive when the saints were doing everything to survive and remain neutral in any conflicts that might heap more violence against them. When it was not clear whether the LDS would survive the next few decades, and embattled by a government steeped in religious bigotry, Brigham Young scattered colonies of Mormon settlers all over the west in the hopes that some would survive. There was even a colony set up in Alabama (of all places). No doubt many of these colonies attempted to remain as inconspicuous as possible.

    It's my opinion that the ban was a historic relic based upon pragmatic expediency of the day. As society has become more enlightened, so too have the LDS benefitted from that enlightenment. LDS have not always been on the forefront of that, but when we believe in honest self-reflection and when we find we're off the path of truth, we do our darndest to change--and we do it together as a body of saints. I'm grateful for the many ways we receive greater light and truth. Always seeking Divine confirmation.

    We are fortunate to live in a time when God continues to inspire many people, including courageous modern day heroes like Martin Luther King Jr., Rosa Parks, and heroes who fought for civil rights.

    No doubt we see through a glass darkly, even today. I look forward to more light and truth as we humans put aside contention and hate and try harder to get along and love.

  • Phillip M Hotchkiss Malta, Mt
    March 2, 2012 3:18 a.m.

    What if the case was,that it was not that the Afercan people were not ready to recive
    The Priesthood until1978 .but that the church as a whole was not ready for them to recive it?
    Their was a lot of raceiest ideas back then more so then now.When we as a whole was ready we became stronger
    Line upon line precept upon precept.I for one fells tbe world would be a better place, if all were color blind
    I think we need to look at people rather than look at groups of people. Then we will learn we are all diferent.
    I for one suport the church in were it stands for, then ,now, and in the future. When we are ready to grow more will
    will be given too us.

  • intlbizman2 SAN LUIS OBISPO, CA
    March 1, 2012 11:32 p.m.

    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.

  • lds4gaymarriage Salt Lake City, UT
    March 1, 2012 10:45 p.m.

    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.

  • SoCalChris Riverside, CA
    March 1, 2012 9:48 p.m.


    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.

  • donburi South Jordan, UT
    March 1, 2012 9:16 p.m.

    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.

  • intlbizman2 SAN LUIS OBISPO, CA
    March 1, 2012 8:04 p.m.

    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.

  • SoCalChris Riverside, CA
    March 1, 2012 6:22 p.m.

    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.

  • A Scientist Provo, UT
    March 1, 2012 6:19 p.m.

    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"?

  • Semper Fi Bakersfield, CA
    March 1, 2012 6:08 p.m.

    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.

  • Disco Vega MoTown, CA
    March 1, 2012 5:51 p.m.

    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.

  • patriot Cedar Hills, UT
    March 1, 2012 4:14 p.m.

    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.

  • intlbizman2 SAN LUIS OBISPO, CA
    March 1, 2012 4:01 p.m.

    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.

  • Ashtongramp Centerville, UT
    March 1, 2012 3:35 p.m.

    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.

  • JP71 Ogden, UT
    March 1, 2012 2:44 p.m.

    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.

  • lds4gaymarriage Salt Lake City, UT
    March 1, 2012 1:46 p.m.

    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.

  • TJ Eagle Mountain, UT
    March 1, 2012 1:12 p.m.

    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.

  • wstebar Atlanta, Fayetteville, GA
    March 1, 2012 12:33 p.m.

    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.

  • Qwest Perfected Salt Lake City, UT
    March 1, 2012 12:25 p.m.

    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.

  • very concerned Sandy, UT
    March 1, 2012 12:06 p.m.


    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.

  • JustTheTruthMan bountiful, ut
    March 1, 2012 12:03 p.m.

    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.

  • Bill in Nebraska Maryville, MO
    March 1, 2012 11:52 a.m.

    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.

  • Truthseeker SLO, CA
    March 1, 2012 11:51 a.m.

    I keep reading comments trying to justify or put forth a reason for the ban, overlooking the Church's statement:

    "It is not known precisely why, how or when this restriction began in the Church."

    Get it?

    The Church is no longer trying to justify the ban. There is no justification for the ban. None. So stop. Stop trying to explain it. Stop trying to justify it. Especially offensive are suggestions that it was done to protect Blacks.

    It should be an uncomfortable piece of LDS history, as was the internment of Japanese citizens, the denial of civil rights to women and blacks in U.S. history.

  • atl134 Salt Lake City, UT
    March 1, 2012 11:49 a.m.


    "...I'm shocked there has only been 67 comments posted about this topic. This is probably the most significant announcement the Mormon Church has made since June, 1978, when the Church overturned their long-standing ban on Blacks being allowed to hold the priesthood, officiate in positions of leadership and marry in the LDS Temple. Either potential posters are being blocked or folks are nervous about taking a position, not wanting to walk on eggshells...".

    Is it significant? What did this consist of?
    1. No condemnation of the priesthood ban. So that's nothing new.
    2. Condemnation of the racist claims made by some to explain the ban. This isn't new since there's been plenty here who have quoted previous statements on that matter.
    3. Condemnation of racism. Well... I would hope none of us would consider condemnation of racism to be a new policy.

    So, and anyone can correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't think there's actually anything new here in this statement.

  • Dektol Powell, OH
    March 1, 2012 11:20 a.m.

    Nice to see. Will these great leaders next condemn Joseph Smith for marrying 14 year olds and the wives of other men?

  • the hawk Sandy, UT
    March 1, 2012 11:18 a.m.

    What I find interesting is that Joseph Smith granted the preisthood to black men but after him no other prophet would. Did god change his mind from one prophet to another. The reason this bugs me is because when the whole gay rights thing came up a lot of you same posters said god said it's wrong and god doesn't just change his mind. Which is it. Polygamy dropped at the drop of a hat, blacks were originally given the preisthood then denied, all at gods bidding too. I would love some explanation on why you guys were so ardent in your prior statements. Especially the poster with the screenname cats.

  • CT98 Saint George, UT
    March 1, 2012 11:14 a.m.

    I was always taught that it was God's will that Blacks didn't have the priesthood. Just like Polygamy was God's will and I didn't understand that one either. I didn't have to understand the reasons just that it is God's will so you accept it.

    But the statement coming out of Salt Lake today says they don't know the "Why and How" of the old policy. Are you kidding me?!?! So know I am to believe that the old policy was put in place because of cultural folk beliefs by Brigham Young? Blacks were given the priesthood during Joseph Smith's lifetime so it must have started with Brigham.

  • phillyfanatic LONG BEACH, CA
    March 1, 2012 11:13 a.m.

    Good for the Mormons. If people of faith could join with them to condemn the secular humanism of the Obama led Dems nation wide, the nation would be better in two ways immediately: unity of our American traditional Judeo-Christian heritage, history and values and a defeat of the worse Prez in our history.

  • fender Washington, UT
    March 1, 2012 10:58 a.m.

    The LDS Church is nothing, if not predictable. If a policy keeps them out of the mainstream, hurts the missionary effort and makes the power base less stable, it will inevitably change. With Romney poised to become the Republican presidential nominee, every effort will be made to play down the Church's racist past. The Church's homophobic efforts will likely be unplugged until after the election as well.

  • The Utah Republican Alpine, UT
    March 1, 2012 10:52 a.m.

    The church has never claimed infallible leadership. From Joseph Smith on the leaders of the church have publicly documented their own errors, sometimes in scripture. Search the D&C and you'll read several times Joseph screwed up and was rebuked by the Lord. More recently I remember President Hinckley saying, "I hope I didn't get this wrong, but I think ..."

    What we claim is that every person can ask the Lord for direct revelation and that the prophet who presides can ask for revelation for everyone. We also believe that truth is revealed "here a little and there a little," sometimes by trial and error.

    We also believe that the prophet can't lead the church astray. But, there's a difference between going astray and making an error. What we don't claim is that every prophet, or anyone else, asks the Lord about every little thing. Prophets, Apostles, Seventies and Stake Presidents are guys with callings. Most of the time they all do their best.

    The issue of Blacks and the Priesthood is complicated. People think they know more than they do. Very few people know that President David O'Mackay started the discussion to ordain every man back in the late 50's, but it's documented.

    My personal (not doctrinal) opinion is that the church wasn't ready for growth in Africa until the 80's. It was barely prepared for growth in South America in the 70's, or Asia in the 60's. The old people who believed in their cultural mythologies were corrected half a century ago. They need to get over their false doctrine, and that professor should probably retire.

  • KC Mormon Edgerton, KS
    March 1, 2012 10:44 a.m.

    Brahmabull and Bill in Nebraska
    Perhapps I can shed some light on the topic of the JOD.
    First Bill yes they were recorded at the time of the discourses in short hand. This was done for the purpose of sending the words of the leaders of the Church to the Saints in England.
    Second Brahmabull have you ever given a deposition in court? The JOD is basically same thing. A stenographer takes shorthand of the discourse then later writes it out long hand. Now anyone who has ever given a deposition knows that today you are sent a copy of the long hand and told to read it over and make sure it is correct. Everyone I have ever seen has had mistakes made in it some minor some major. Now you must go back and remember EXACTLY what you said often times weeks later. Most people will not be able to do this. In the case of the JOD while some were given to the person for review most were not. This means that we can not be certain that they were copied exactly word for word. Some words may have inadvertently been left of or put in, others may have been misunderstood. This is part of why the leaders of the Church have said IT IS NOT SCRIPTURAL.

  • There You Go Again Saint George, UT
    March 1, 2012 10:38 a.m.


    "...I'm shocked there has only been 67 comments posted about this topic. This is probably the most significant announcement the Mormon Church has made since June, 1978, when the Church overturned their long-standing ban on Blacks being allowed to hold the priesthood, officiate in positions of leadership and marry in the LDS Temple. Either potential posters are being blocked or folks are nervous about taking a position, not wanting to walk on eggshells...".

    I made a comment last night around 9:00 PM.
    The comment was denied by the moderator.
    The comment was within the bounds set by the DN.
    The moderator has the option of denying any comment for whatever reason they choose.
    I appreciate the DN for making this forum possible.

  • hmataele West Valley City, 00
    March 1, 2012 10:30 a.m.

    I took a missionary preparation class from Brother Bott right before I went on my mission. I loved the class and his perspective as a recently returned Mission President. I believe that he was misquoted. I will share with you why. He said that during his tenure as the San Jose Mission President, he had two Elders who were teaching a black woman. The woman wanted to be baptized and asked the Elders to explain to her why blacks could not hold the priesthood. They related to her the LDS folklore from an outdated copy of Mormon Doctrine. The woman that wanted to be baptized was happy with the explanation and wrote to then President Hinkley and asked for further information to relay to a concerned friend. President Hinkley wrote to President Bott to tell him that the explanation regarding blacks and the priesthood is false and to never use that and to tell his missionaries to never us that explanation. He told President Bott to explain, we don't know why it was withheld. However it is no longer to be withheld from any worth male and they were to simply state that. I'm not sure what the complete discussion with the Washington Post writer was. I am confident that statements were taken out of context.

  • RG Buena Vista, VA
    March 1, 2012 10:23 a.m.

    T very concerned,
    It wasn't that African Americans weren't given the priesthood, it was blacks who weren't. Not all blacks are Americans, of course, and the problem was bigger in Africa (and Brazil to a lesser extent) than in the US. While the church could still exist in the USA before June 1978, it really couldn't in most of Africa.

  • hadtosayit Sandy, UT
    March 1, 2012 10:23 a.m.

    Prof. Bott's comments illustrate just how persistent and pervasive those old notions (of valiancy, superiority, etc.) are in the church. The poor man claims that his comments were taken out of context--why perpetuate such nonsense in the first place? Kudos for the Church for speaking out strongly and swiftly. Let's hope the lay membership gets on board.

  • RedShirt USS Enterprise, UT
    March 1, 2012 10:21 a.m.

    Reading the comments here, it is obvious that people have a hard time putting themselves in a position to view things in context of history.

    All of the people who are condemning slavery forget that the Bible states that slavery is ok. What isn't ok is the mistreatment of slaves.

    The statements by Joseph Smith and Brigham Young about the treatment of slaves mirrors the more recent statements about how Gays should be treated. Did the Church support slavery, not really, but they did condemn any action that would harm a slave.

    It is shameful when people assume that the current viewpoints on social issues are the same as they were 100 years ago.

  • Tyler Ray Taylorsville, UT
    March 1, 2012 10:09 a.m.

    I feel that God didn't issue Priesthood authority to blacks until 1978 because the world wasn't ready to accept blacks yet. It's not that the the church didn't feel blacks were ready. Whites weren't ready.

    I served my mission in South Africa where I taught thousands of blacks and met some who were not even let in the doors of the chapel because of apartheid and the laws of the country when they first heard of the church. But I also never ever heard any african complain about not bring able to have full church blessings. It's was because they understood that the Lord is about patience and timing. God knows exactly what he is doing when it comes to spreading his gospel. (refer to Joseph Sithati's talk in the october 2009 conference.)

    also. Revelation for the church only becomes revelation when it is consistently mentioned and supported by prophets and apostles. Not just one man.

  • WasatchReb Provo, UT
    March 1, 2012 10:07 a.m.

    The problem so many have in the LDS is faith (I'm LDS), is that they BELIEVE that nobody is perfect (except God and Jesus), but they EXPECT perfection from church leaders....the REALITY is that, in my opinion, the LDS Church had racism in it's past; and contrary to God's will, restrictions created based on the racism....mistakes were made by mistake-prone humans.

    However, with EVERY mistake made in the past, you have thousands of "church scholars" out there looking for justifications and reasoning to support the mistakes made.

    Clearly, mistakes have lasting effects....and until we're perfect, we'll keep making the best that we can do is be as close to God as possible.... I've ALWAYS felt, since the age of reason, that inhibiting blacks to receive the priesthood was wrong, and an incorrect principle...that God is the same today, and forever, and furthermore he never "allowed" this to happen...."people" allowed it happen. It was wrong then.... just as wrong as it is now.

  • Candide Salt Lake City, UT
    March 1, 2012 9:50 a.m.

    If the church has changed its viewpoint on this one item, I wonder what new revelations the Saints are culturally ready for?

  • Christmas Carole LAS CRUCES, NM
    March 1, 2012 9:46 a.m.

    P.S."The last be first and first shall be last"...!!(hope I haven't misquoted that!)

  • Brahmabull sandy, ut
    March 1, 2012 9:45 a.m.

    Bill - this quote comes directly from John A. Widtsoe. Unless you think he was lying.

    "Brigham Young secured stenographic reports of his addresses. As he traveled among the people, reporters accompanied him. All that he said was recorded. Practically all of these discourses (from December 16, 1851 to August 19, 1877) were published in the Journal of Discourses, which was widely distributed. The public utterances of few great historical figures have been so faithfully and fully preserved." Discourses of Brigham Young

    Stenographic reports, Bill. That is not a 3rd party. Yes it is a 2nd party, but recording it AT THE TIME IT WAS SAID. Apparantly you do not understand revelation very well. Nor do you understand what the journal of discourses actually are and how they were very accurately recorded.

    Stop trying to justify and make excuses for the journal of discourses. These statements were made.

  • Brahmabull sandy, ut
    March 1, 2012 9:36 a.m.

    Bill in Nebraska - stop the excuses regarding the journal of discourses. They are not 2nd and 3rd party statements. The discourses were recorded at the time the talks were given, much as they are today. There is no possible way that each talk, date, time, location could be recorded and put in 26 volumes if they weren't recorded at the time. They are too complete. They are all in order. They didn't compile 26 volumes with thousands of pages based on "oh so and so said this" and so on. Go read them yourself - you can tell they were recorded exactly as the talks were given and not just fabricated out of a third party as you claim. Do the research. Another attempt of yours to distort the truth and decieve.

  • Christmas Carole LAS CRUCES, NM
    March 1, 2012 9:35 a.m. I recall, "gentiles" were denied much in the New Testament times,(I believe there was a reference to gentiles as "dogs"). There is a time and season for everything, and I trust Heavenly Father as I do his Prophet upon the earth. There are MANY things in my life that I don't know the "why and wherefore".

  • Lagomorph Salt Lake City, UT
    March 1, 2012 9:33 a.m.

    Article: "Elder Holland said. 'It would have been advantageous to say nothing, to say we just don't know, and, (as) with many religious matters, whatever was being done was done on the basis of faith at that time ... We simply don't know why that practice, that policy, that doctrine was in place.'"

    The LDS Church is one of the most thoroughly documented organizations around. Everyone journals, obscure speeched by even minor authorities are archived and published, etc. Yet no one can find any documentation for why this particular practice was put into place and maintained for over a century?

    One possible explanation is that racial bias was so entrenched in segments of American culture (LDS and non-LDS alike) at the time that racial segregation was a cultural given, the default assumption, that required no documentation-- just as nobody takes the time to write a memo about why a tree cannot get a drivers license. The whole idea is inconceivable. Why bother to write it down?

  • BobP Port Alice, B.C.
    March 1, 2012 9:30 a.m.

    Now maybe we can address the anti Hispanic attitudes of many in the mountain west.

  • atl134 Salt Lake City, UT
    March 1, 2012 9:28 a.m.

    The problem with the "the culture wasn't ready for it explanation", which incidentally is also an attempt to make an answer when the church states that it has none, is that 1978 was so late that the world was starting to get on BYUs case about it. One would think God's church would be at the forefront of the civil rights movement, not lagging behind.

  • panbobor Colorado Springs, AP
    March 1, 2012 9:25 a.m.

    I have read a number of comments stating that Utah Territory legalized chattel slavery in the early 1850's. This in fact is not the case. I have written an article in the latest edition of Utah Historical Quarterly entitled "The True Policy for Utah: Servitude, Slavery, and 'An Act in Relation to Service,'" which argues that Utah Territory actually created a system of quasi-indentured servitude and gradual emancipation for former slaves who were brought into the Territory. This system was almost identical to those which existed in Illinois and other northern states. It further argues that while Brigham Young and other Mormon leaders certainly bought into the "Curse of Ham" theory, they believed that the appropriate action was to hire African-Americans as servants, not keep them in slavery.

  • Aloha Saint George Saint George, Utah
    March 1, 2012 9:24 a.m.

    Anytime these hot topics come up, I wonder why anyone wants to speak openly as to 'Why'this occurred and 'Why' it took until 1978 for Blacks to get the priesthood.

    For those who are believers in the faith and believe in a modern day prophet; the main question now is "What are you going to do with the opportunity today?"

    In Africa, Black members are joining by the thousands- they've clearly gotten over it. I know that in Africa, on area grew from 2 stakes(2000 members each) to 22 stakes in about a three year time span.

    IN the future, If you want to save your career, stay out of hot topics like this. Especially if you're working for BYU and are White.

  • Brahmabull sandy, ut
    March 1, 2012 9:23 a.m.

    You would think that this would not even have been an issue in the church back in the 1800's and early to mid 1900's. Racism should have never been in the church, because as an organization that was supposedly led by direct revelation, you would think they would be a little ahead of the world in that aspect. Just as the word of wisdom was supposedly "ahead of its time", so should have been the church regarding racism. Do you really think god would allow his church to do such things and say such things about another race without correction? And no, not the correction that took place 149 after the birth of the church.

  • John Pratt Manti, UT
    March 1, 2012 9:19 a.m.

    I would kindly suggest to ÂFlashback: The devil can give Ârevelations too. D&C 46:7. 2 Cor 11:14. Besides, IÂve yet to see anybody here address how God commanded the ancient Israelites to kill all the inhabitants of the land God had promised to themÂmen, women, children, animals. That sounds far more racist than Brigham ever was, and kind of makes all these fluffyduffy arguments I read here moot. So are all you saying that ÂGodÂs ways ought to be Âyour ways? (Isaiah 55:8-9). So continue to raise your Âmodern kids to be mall rats, teach your daughters to wear the latest advertising on their clothes (and fannies), and remain hyper ignorant of your own history and religion in favor of the changing and politically correct whims from 47 East S Temple. There is more than one way to offer your kids on the altar of Molech.

    Why would God inspire Isaiah to declare that there would be Âfew men left after the Âdefiled land is wasted, Âbecause they have transgressed the laws, changed the ordinance, broken the everlasting covenant? ÂFew men left is a latter-days prophecy. Hmmm, that must also be for a latter-day occurrence of having Âtransgressed the laws, changed the ordinance, broken the everlasting covenant. Who could be guilty of such a thing?

  • SpanishImmersed Mesa, AZ
    March 1, 2012 9:14 a.m.

    Having grown up in the segregated South, with separate restrooms and water fountains, etc. for Whites and Coloreds, I can testify that it wasn't the Church that wasn't ready for Blacks to hold the Priesthood, it was Man that wasn't ready!

    All things are revealed in the Lord's due time, and a mere 14 years after Blacks received civil rights is when the Revelation came.

  • Truthseeker SLO, CA
    March 1, 2012 9:13 a.m.

    The U.S. was divided over the issue of slavery. Many people believed it was wrong. Joseph Smith was a northerner as was Brigham Young, so the suggestion that the church tolerated/supported a priesthood ban to be "mainstream" is nonsense. At any rate, the ban persisted 12 yrs beyond the Civil Rights Act. Pres. David O'McKay believed it was a policy, not doctrine.

    Republicans thought it was entirely appropriate to examine the teachings of the church attended by Pres Obama, so of course they should not look at this as merely a witch hunt against Romney or an attack against the church, right?

    The Washington Post consulted a popular professor at the church-owned school. Not exactly what one would do if they were planning to write a "hit" piece.

  • very concerned Sandy, UT
    March 1, 2012 8:51 a.m.

    I'm sure some think they have it all figured out as to why the church did not extend the priesthood to African Americans. Unfortunately, they do not take the article and a myriad of leaders' statements at face value. I think the article was pretty clear. African American's were not given the priesthood. We don't know why. It changed in 1978. Taken as a whole, the article is pretty good at accurately portraying the church position. That has been a general, widespread, and consistent message from the brethren since well before the change. Some comments have given reasons for the ban, but by far, since I can remember (which is some time before the change) the comments from the brethren have been, *We donÂt know.*

    Comments from individual church members, then and now, have been racist. Therefore, I think the church does well to condemn racism by its members (and all others as well). As imperfect people, we need to be reminded against this serious sin of racism.

  • paperboy111 Lindon, UT
    March 1, 2012 8:23 a.m.

    I'm shocked there has only been 67 comments posted about this topic. This is probably the most significant announcement the Mormon Church has made since June, 1978, when the Church overturned their long-standing ban on Blacks being allowed to hold the priesthood, officiate in positions of leadership and marry in the LDS Temple. Either potential posters are being blocked or folks are nervous about taking a position, not wanting to walk on eggshells.

  • Mick Murray, Utah
    March 1, 2012 8:17 a.m.


    Who are you to think you deserve the exact explaination of why the blacks couldn't hold the priesthood.

    My earlier question was one I already knew the answer to. Look up the story of Jane Manning. A free black woman from the North who joined the church and came west with the saints. She lived with Joseph and Emma for a time. Many saints knew her, including future prophets. In Salt Lake she visited every prophet asking for permission to enter the temple. They each told her they have prayed for the answer and the time was not yet.

    Let us remember what the priesthood is for. Used to bless others, not to have power over.

    For those who think the church is racist, do you also think the church is sexist because women can't hold the priesthood? (I think I know the answer. Most hate just to hate. Funny that you blame the church for hate.)

  • Mike in Texas Cedar City, Utah
    March 1, 2012 8:15 a.m.

    I conclude that this hullabaloo is all about current politics. Whatever can be done to embarrass Romney is the order of the day. And I am not a Romney fan. This is just part of what Mormons have to go through because Romney is a viable candidate for President. Sometimes the light is all too glaring.

    Much of the policy if not doctrine came about because of 19 th century views on race, born of slavery and the common notion of that day that the black races were born to be servants to the more worthy white races. The BOM echoes that somewhat when it explains that the Lamanites were darker in skin color because of the unrighteousness of their ancestry. This and commen 19 th century attitudes set the tone for a dialogue and practices that discriminated against blacks because of their skin color.

    As a LDS student in the 1960's at the University of Arizona, I was called upon in class to defend the Churches practice at the time. It was not easy, but I told those questioning students that this would very soon be changed because the modern Church was not racist. That was surprising in one way because much of the literature at the time indicated that there could be no change is the practice until "the last of the seed of Able" had had a chance to possess the Priesthood. Maybe I had some inspiration? I don't think that the problem preventing priesthood for the blacks prior to 1978 was Blacks. The problem was weakness and lack of understanding by the Saints. It wasn't the blacks that had to "improve" it was us.

  • sharrona layton, UT
    March 1, 2012 7:56 a.m.

    @Bill in Nebraska: Joseph Fielding Smith said, Ham through Egyptus ,continued the curse which was placed upon the seed of Cain this dark race was separated and isolated from all the rest of Adams posterity before the flood, and since that that time the same condition has continued ,and they have despised among all people. This doctrine did not originate with President Brigham Young but was taught by the Prophet Joseph Smith¦ The way to perfection Pages 110-111.

    @KC Mormon, First lets keep in mind that whenever the policy began preventing blacks from holding the priesthood it was after the death of Joseph Smith.
    Genesis 7:10 JST), And there was a blackness came upon all the children of Cainan, that they were despised among all people. And (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.

  • Truthseeker SLO, CA
    March 1, 2012 7:44 a.m.

    Slavery was legal in Utah as a result of the Compromise of 1850, which brought California into the Union as a free state while allowing Utah and New Mexico territories the option of deciding the issue by "popular sovereignty." Some Mormon pioneers from the South had brought African-American slaves with them when they migrated west. Some freed their slaves in Utah; others who went on to California had to emancipate them there.

    The Mormon church had no official doctrine for or against slaveholding, and leaders were ambivalent. In 1836 Joseph Smith wrote that masters should treat slaves humanely and that slaves owed their owners obedience. During his presidential campaign in 1844, however, he came out for abolition. Brigham Young tacitly supported slaveholding, declaring that although Utah was not suited for slavery the practice was ordained by God. In 1851 Apostle Orson Hyde said the church would not interfere in relations between master and slave.

    The Legislature formally sanctioned slaveholding in 1852 but cautioned against inhumane treatment and stipulated that slaves could be declared free if their masters abused them. Records document the sale of a number of slaves in Utah.

  • eastcoastcoug Danbury, CT
    March 1, 2012 7:27 a.m.

    What concerns me more is our trying to speculate on WHY we didn't allow Blacks the Priesthood which always puts us on shaky ground with people today. Many of you are STILL doing it!! Try picturing that you are talking to a person of African descent using your reasons. Best to say you're just thrilled they are a brother or sister in the Gospel and leave it at that.

    You bloggers don't realize how your attempts to explain hit with a thud on people of diverse backgrounds out here in the real world. Stop presenting your political and world views as Gospel truth. Stick to what is "core" in your beliefs. God is not black or white, Conservative, etc.

  • shark Buena Vista, VA
    March 1, 2012 6:38 a.m.

    No one has yet explained the meaning of Abraham 1:26-27. I do NOT know or say it applies to blacks; yet it does show that certain lineages were denied the priesthood. So it is precedent for denying the priesthood based on lineage. Please everyone don't jump on me and call me racist.

    Pharaoh, being a righteous man, established his kingdom and judged his people wisely and justly all his days, seeking earnestly to imitate that order established by the fathers in the first generations, in the days of the first patriarchal reign, even in the reign of Adam, and also of Noah, his father, who blessed him with the blessings of the earth, and with the blessings of wisdom, but cursed him as pertaining to the Priesthood. (verse 26)

    Now, Pharaoh being of that lineage by which he could not have the right of Priesthood, notwithstanding the Pharaohs would fain claim it from Noah, through Ham, therefore my father was led away by their idolatry; (verse 27)

  • raybies Layton, UT
    March 1, 2012 6:30 a.m.

    I was pretty young when the ban was lifted, but I still remember it and my parent's excitement. My dad had received personal spiritual confirmation in the temple weeks prior that it was going to happen.

    Having read and pondered the many explanations and the early history of the church, regarding the embattled state of the converts, the martyrdom of Joseph Smith (if he had not been killed, I doubt the priesthood ban would've become as ensconced as it did), and Brigham Young's divine appointment as the second prophet of the Lord to lead His church, I still believe that the priesthood ban was a protection mechanism probably more based on need to keep the membership appear as mainstream and non-radical as possible--then over time the policy became justified through some rather ridiculous (to me as one viewing history in a more progressive time) and far reaching rationalizations. To hold such views today would be deemed racist, though in historical context it's much less wanton.

    Fwiw, Spencer W. Kimball was not the first LDS prophet to ask God to lift the ban. I have heard stories dating back as far as Heber J. Grant. I've also heard rumor the responses to prayer given back then was that the membership of the church were not ready for it. Considering the vast demand on our already impressive body of missionaries in the world today, I can see how the church might've fractured with a less unified body of saints.

    I give the above as my opinion, not binding on official LDS doctrines. The church encourages its members to find out the truth of things on our own terms and with our own minds. I believe Joseph Smith saw God the Father and His son Jesus Christ, following the same quest for religious truth. Joseph was a prophet called to restore Christ's church. He was martyred for staying true to his divine mission. Pres. Thomas S. Monson continues that mission today. They are men who seek to do God's will--far more intently than I personally ever have. I admire them both.

  • windsor City, Ut
    March 1, 2012 6:23 a.m.

    Moral of this story:

    Don't ever fall into the trap of agreeing to be interviewed about the Church by the media, (who often obviously have an agenda other than the one they tell you they have), and then compound it by believing them when they say they will let you approve the story first, or that they will give your comments in context, or promise to quote you exactly.

    If you MUST submit by assignment to speak to the media about the Church, NEVER go off ranging and giving your opinions or thoughts or say anything which is not official LDS policy and doctrine.

  • Esquire Springville, UT
    March 1, 2012 6:12 a.m.

    This is an issue that I thought about for years and I was, like so many, thrilled when the policy was changed in 1978. It was the right thing to do. The policy made no sense, particularly in light of the Second Article of Faith, "We believe that men will be punished for their own sins, and not for Adam's transgression." The policy contradicted one of the fundamental teachings of the Church. After much thought and analysis, including considering the history of the matter, I concluded that the policy was wrong from the beginning, that it was not God's will, and was based on social and political mores of the mid-19th Century Church leaders and the enormous political issues surrounding the Civil War era. The policy was adopted for non-doctrinal reasons, justified by nonsensical doctrinal arguments and fictions, and it became part of the policies of the Church. We see this process reoccurring often over time. Non-doctrinal ideas creep into practice and then become de facto "doctrine", including certain public relations activities that have done the same, including in recent times. Why these things aren't excised from the doctrinal realm is the subject of another discussion. The bottom line is that the policy on the priesthood was wrong and people should not try to justify it. The Church should apologize for it, or at least express their regret that this was once a practice in the Church, but it is no longer and all are welcome with open arms. We cannot run from the past, and efforts to explain it away will always be futile and look ridiculous.

  • Twin Lights Louisville, KY
    March 1, 2012 5:53 a.m.


    I sincerely hope that ÂEvery single person (Mormon) knows exactly why blacks were given the priesthood.Â

    Before the revelation, I was taught that the priesthood ban would eventually be rescinded, but it was thought that it would be well in the future - possibly the millennium.

    I also recall the positively electric moment when this revelation was announced to the world. The joy that was felt and the tears of gratitude that were shed.

    In my own ward, a faithful black man was given the priesthood very quickly afterward. There were so many in the circle that they all had to struggle to fit around him.

    It was a great day and a wonderful step for the Church.

    President Gordon B. Hinckley said the following:

    Racial strife still lifts its ugly head. I am advised that even right here among us there is some of this. I cannot understand how it can be. It seemed to me that we all rejoiced in the 1978 revelation given President Kimball. I was there in the temple at the time that that happened. There was no doubt in my mind or in the minds of my associates that what was revealed was the mind and the will of the Lord. Now I am told that racial slurs and denigrating remarks are sometimes heard among us. I remind you that no man who makes disparaging remarks concerning those of another race can consider himself a true disciple of Christ. Nor can he consider himself to be in harmony with the teachings of the Church of Christ. . . . Brethren, there is no basis for racial hatred among the priesthood of this Church. If any within the sound of my voice is inclined to indulge in this, then let him go before the Lord and ask for forgiveness and be no more involved in such.

  • anti-liar Salt Lake City, UT
    March 1, 2012 2:22 a.m.

    I applaud this church press release, since it reflects official, established scripture, doctrine, and policy, which is all that a church press release should do.

  • 1aggie SALT LAKE CITY, UT
    March 1, 2012 12:35 a.m.

    @ Osgrath
    I got your point, but I find your dismissal of the fact that racism was admittedly shaping major church policy as a "wart" akin to asking "yes Mrs. Lincoln, but besides that, how did you enjoy the play?".
    Should we perhaps be overlooking child abuse by catholic priests as "warts" as well? I mean where do we draw the line and why?

  • Andermart Pullman, WA
    March 1, 2012 12:26 a.m.

    For a time blacks could not hold the Priesthood. Now they can. God be praised. This is a great day.

    For me, I am so delighted that Pres Kimball kept petitioning the Lord for this ban to be lifted, and after years of imploring, his prayers were answered. Now, it is up to each of us to open our hearts and our mouths to every person on earth. This Gospel is for all, as are the blessings of the temple. Avail yourselves of the blessings that can be attained therein, and no where else.

  • bluejean Farmington, UT
    Feb. 29, 2012 11:43 p.m.

    The Washington Post knows and understands very well how to contact the LDS Church. The fact that they didn't do any homework to substantiate the Church's doctrine and position reveals a lack of sincerity and their contemptuous desire to bring up a sensitive topic and stir things up against Mitt Romney. The Mormon Church is all too often the quick and easy target for controversy and is taken advantage of way too often. The fact that the article occurred as voters are about to go to the polls in Michigan and Arizona may be coincidental but come on, really?
    It was a glorious day when the priesthood was opened to all worthy males in the LDS Church!

    Regardless of the unfortunate and misleading portions of the Washington Post article, I thank Darius Gray for his involvement in helping to further the priesthood being bestowed on all worthy males and for his tireless work in family history including his amazing efforts with Freedman's Bank Records.

  • Osgrath Provo, UT
    Feb. 29, 2012 11:40 p.m.

    1Aggie, I invite you to read my comment again and look for the point I was making. It all hinges on whether or not God was involved. If no, then any human organization has warts of various sizes. If yes, you had better not focus on the warts or you miss the whole point.

  • sportsfan21 OREM, UT
    Feb. 29, 2012 11:35 p.m.

    I'm not sure if I quite got my opinion across in my previous comment and I think I have a good example. Imagine that the Supreme Court in 1890 were somehow given a perfect knowledge of how Civil Rights should be and how the Civil Rights Movement would play out ( just like God has a perfect love and knowledge of man). Would they have passed laws against discrimination at that time? Pobably not because America was too racist and not yet ready to live the way they should. It's the same way with God sometimes. When Christ's disciples were instructed to teach non Jews, it didn't prove that they were uninspired.

  • Al Thepal Salt Lake City, UT
    Feb. 29, 2012 11:25 p.m.

    I had Bott for two classes at BYU, and based on what he said in those classes, I am nearly certain he was misquoted in the washington post article. He probably mentioned that as one explanation people tried to give, back when the ban was in place.

    One thing I noticed about him in his classes is it is easy for him to get off on tangents. The reporter might have just mentioned the ban, and Bott might have just gone off on different explanations people tried to give, giving the reporter the fodder needed for the misquotations.

  • DeepintheHeart Lewisville, TX
    Feb. 29, 2012 10:46 p.m.

    @Mick As to other prophets asking earlier, there is anecdotal evidence they may have, but that the answer was not received. Why, we cannot know. It could have as much to do with us as fallible humans as anything. I certainly don't know for sure, but I suspect by the strength of comments made by apostles at the time, such as Bruce R. McConkie, repudiating his own writings and reasoning, none of those so-called "explanations" were even remotely valid. And it has to be considered that the practice may never have been God's will at all.

  • 1aggie SALT LAKE CITY, UT
    Feb. 29, 2012 10:40 p.m.

    @ Mick "How do you know the question of blacks getting the priesthood wasn't asked before 1978 and the prophets who asked were told no, not yet?"

    If that was the (simple) explanation, wouldn't the Church spokesperson simple give it rather than saying we don't know why we were doing it?

    @ Osgrath Disenfranchising a whole class of people from the priesthood during the 19th AND 20th centuries with no good reason is kind of a big "wart" to me.

  • DeepintheHeart Lewisville, TX
    Feb. 29, 2012 10:35 p.m.

    I was appalled to see those arguments raised again so many years after they had been so forcefully condemned. Even if they were an historical reference to the false beliefs of the time prior to the revelation on the priesthood, it showed extraordinarily bad judgment to bring them up. Surely someone employed by BYU should know better than to talk to a reporter from a publication that is hostile to the Church about so sensitive a subject?

  • KC Mormon Edgerton, KS
    Feb. 29, 2012 10:34 p.m.

    Another important point. When people read the words of prophets they need to read them all. I have mention of the JOD, yet those commenting on it ignore important words from it. Like Brigham saying the the time will com that blacks will hold the priesthood (JOD 7:282), or him saying that no revelation given to the Church is oerfect (JOD 2:314) because we can not understand the language of God and he must lower himself to our language to communicate with us. Another (though I do not have the location on hand talks about the problem of us bringing traditions with us. This is very much on point in this conversation as that is what people have been teaching as doctrine is simply TRADITION because a clear explanation was lacking. It may well be something like in a time were the LDS Church was so hated (as recently as the 1920's missionaries were shot at in the US) how hard would it have been to be black and an LDS priesthood holder hated for both race and religion in your own country. Not that that was the reason for it just that if that or somethong similar was the reason for it and that was not given to the Prophets people would then take traditions they had like the curse of Cain (a tradition held by almost every Chrsitian Church in the 1800's) and place that in as the reason.

  • Osgrath Provo, UT
    Feb. 29, 2012 10:18 p.m.

    Joe, you make some good points, but whiffed on the primary concept here. The LDS Church makes a fairly unusual assertion - that it is THE true church of Jesus Christ, instituted and founded by God and therefore recognized as the sole organization that is authorized to formally represent God on earth.

    Obviously that is a pretty major and attention-getting claim. Furthermore, it is an either-or proposition. If a church sets itself up as the only true Church, it loses all credibility if that is not so. If the church really is God's true church, then it will be so - especially given the Mormon concept of God.

    When you think about it, the only way to really know the truth about the Church is through the Book of Mormon test. If the Book of Mormon is actually the Word of God, that validates Joseph Smith's prophetic calling, which also substantiates the church as the Church of God. If the church really is God's own, then He dictates how it should be run and administered. If the men He calls to oversee His work are imperfect, that's God's problem, not mine. I don't call them, but I do promise to follow them, trusting in the promise that my obedience will be justified. Now, of course, whether Brigham Young espoused racist beliefs as doctrine, that doesn't affect me personally. If it created a negative impact on 19th century black people, that too is God's problem and it will be up to Him to make it good for them.

    In other words, if the Church is not what it says it is, then it is exactly what you described, a nice, human-based organization that does good in the world and also has its warts. If the church is exactly what the members believe, one might want to think twice about opposing it, despite the apparent warts (all human) that pop up on occasion.

  • 1aggie SALT LAKE CITY, UT
    Feb. 29, 2012 10:14 p.m.

    To simply dismiss the explanation of a practice that for 100 years disenfranchised a whole class of people from participating in holding the priesthood by saying we really don't know when or why it was started is just ridiculous. We deserve a better explanation.
    The "Statement" is vague and begs more questions than it answers.
    At best we are left thinking that if a dumb policy (that is not doctrine and hurts people) somehow begins, it may be blindly and unquestioningly followed by decades. Obedience seems to have trumped common sense.

  • Mick Murray, Utah
    Feb. 29, 2012 10:08 p.m.

    "Should have asked befor 1978"

    How do you know the question of blacks getting the priesthood wasn't asked before 1978 and the prophets who asked were told no, not yet?

  • Bill in Nebraska Maryville, MO
    Feb. 29, 2012 10:07 p.m.

    Joe Blow: That is the problem with so many people. They think everything said from a prophet of the Lord is revelation. It is up to the individual to make that decision. There are things that were said over the pulpit 150 years ago that has no bearing on the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints today. Much of what was stated to have been said by Brigham Young and others are more or less second and third party statements. Some of their statements are most likely true but when you have a person at a conference saying well Brigham Young said this today, then another person writes it, then another person, the comments change into something that really was never said or misinterpreted. As Elder McConkie so vividly stated, that he and Brigham Young got it wrong, when the Priesthood was given to all worthy males shows that not always something said is overly true. However, with todays insights with television and such, much of those comments can be seen in a different light.

    I have my own opinion of the Priesthood and I hold to that. It is mine and only mine but it amoounts to the only thing that is reasonable. If the Church was to grow as it was, then I firmly believe the Lord set his hand, knowing full well when the time was right that it could be changed. Remember it was a practice, not doctrine.

  • Chachi Charlottesville, VA
    Feb. 29, 2012 9:58 p.m.

    I suspect that Prof. Bott was trying to explain the thinking of many Mormons prior to 1978--and naively not realizing how crucial it is, when speaking to the media, to emphasize that these views are NOT his own.

  • Emajor Ogden, UT
    Feb. 29, 2012 9:31 p.m.

    "It would appear that the leaders of the LDS church were decent, wise men who made fairly predictable decisions based on the times in which they lived.

    So, I don't fault them, but it is difficult to conclude that they were getting any special guidance from above."

    Bingo. Big time. When you are claiming prophetic revelation, you are setting an extremely high bar in which any future redaction will be viewed very critically.

  • JoeBlow Miami Area, Fl
    Feb. 29, 2012 9:21 p.m.

    Many comments have touched on the real issue.

    There are many religions out there.

    Most, if not all have good intentions. Most of their leaders are intelligent, caring people who do the best that they can.

    But, they are men and man is fallible.

    When you hold these men apart from others and claim that they get their guidance directly from God, then you have created an expectation that their leadership and guidance should be far superior to that of the average man.

    Allowing Blacks into the priesthood in 1978 was not exactly a big stretch when you look at the societal issues of the time.

    Ending polygamy was fairly predictable, given the circumstances.

    It would appear that the leaders of the LDS church were decent, wise men who made fairly predictable decisions based on the times in which they lived.

    So, I don't fault them, but it is difficult to conclude that they were getting any special guidance from above.

    Feb. 29, 2012 9:11 p.m.

    this article reads as nothing more then a sad attempt to displace a systemic pattern of racism by the LDS church as just a bunch of rouge individuals within the church. The fact are what they are the church did not allow blacks the priesthood until 1978, it is a fact. We can look at it through the lens of history for context but it is what it is.

  • Meckofahess Salt Lake City, UT
    Feb. 29, 2012 9:01 p.m.

    To Professor Bott: A man of your level of education and position should be in a position to exercise more prudence in how you express your personal opinions in public forums. By perception being at BYU you reprsent the Church to a degree in the minds of some. What I find most disturbing is the notion that God might somehow want to protect some from themselves by not granting to them the priveledge to hold the Priesthood. This is difficult to understand when I see so many (such as I) who in our imperfections are permitted to receive and represent this Priesthood. If exactitude in righteousness is the minimum requisite to holding the Pristhood I don't know anyone who totally qualifies. I know some who exude the sense that they believe they have some sort of monopoly on goodness however. Let us be humble and tolerant as we walk impefectly. I can forgive Professor Bott for his indiscretion. Let us all try to learn from it and do better. There is much honesty and forthrightness in this article. Kudos DN for reporting this.

  • barndog48 AMERICAN FORK, UT
    Feb. 29, 2012 8:56 p.m.

    so for 148 years the blacks couldnt have the priesthood as a matter of official policy, and in that 148 years there was never any official reason given for that policy? and nobody ever asked? whoah.

  • LValfre CHICAGO, IL
    Feb. 29, 2012 8:56 p.m.

    Sanpete, UT
    LDS Liberal

    May I ask what "off comments" did Ezra T. Benson make?
    How can you say that about a prophet of God?"

    TOO, use you cognitive ability, critical thinking, and search engine queries to find Ezra T Benson quotes regarding race or blacks. We can't say them on this board.

  • xscribe Colorado Springs, CO
    Feb. 29, 2012 8:54 p.m.

    Every single person (Mormon) knows exactly why blacks were given the preisthood. I believe it would have happened eventually no matter what, but we all know why it did happen. Same goes for polygamy!

  • KC Mormon Edgerton, KS
    Feb. 29, 2012 8:47 p.m.

    Just a couple of points here. First lets keep in mind that whenever the policy began preventing blacks from holding the priesthood it was after the death of Joseph Smith while the Church was in transition both in leadership and in location. It is understandable why some records would not be around. Second lets also remember that we must look at statements from the past not in the context of 2012 but in the context of the time. An opinion that is very offensive today was very liberal in 1850.

  • Cats Somewhere in Time, UT
    Feb. 29, 2012 8:41 p.m.

    Dear Bill in Nebraska: You are right on target!

  • TOO Sanpete, UT
    Feb. 29, 2012 8:08 p.m.

    LDS Liberal

    May I ask what "off comments" did Ezra T. Benson make?
    How can you say that about a prophet of God?

  • RedShirt USS Enterprise, UT
    Feb. 29, 2012 8:03 p.m.

    To "LDS Liberal" why are you so angry and bitter? Are you or are you not an LDS member?

    The things you have stated here make you sound like an angry bitter anti-Mormon.

  • UtahBlueDevil Durham, NC
    Feb. 29, 2012 7:39 p.m.

    "You'd think that someone with an exclusive hotline to an infallible almighty would get it right first time, every time."

    Actually, I have lived with my wife for 30 years now, know her pretty dang good, have direct communications, and still manage to interpret what she wants wrong....

    "I expect a little more from God (if there is in fact a god) than to appoint people who are racist to do his bidding."

    Yeah, I think God should have waited until people were perfect before calling them to do his work..... but after nearly 2,000 years, no one showed up that met that profile. And the last one he did have that matched to job description wasn't treated all that well.

    It is a catch 22 - there are those who like to pretend there is such thing as prophetic infalability, that every utterance is a direct communication from God. And there are others who think they don't need any guidance, and should be the only arbiter of what is right and wrong responsible only to ones own judgement. More times than not the answer resides in the middle, hence why we are endowed with the right of personal revelation. You should always do the right thing because you believe it to be so, never just because someone told you so.

  • Bill in Nebraska Maryville, MO
    Feb. 29, 2012 7:36 p.m.

    Thinkman and others: What does it mean to have a curse that changes a man's skin to blackness. That is a description, nothing more, nothing less. As you read through out the Book of Mormon it talks of changing the garments to white, a sign of purity. The biggest is a description of white as the driven snow. It is white in its purity but as it ages it becomes black like the earth. It is no longer pure. That is what I take from the scripture. A description.

    There is no hole as some of you put it to dig out of. The article pretty spelled it out that no one knows why as the reason was never given. We can all speculate why but that is all it will be.

    However, the Bible and the scriptures are clear that Homosexuality is a grievous sin. The Bible is also clear that marriage is between man and woman, not the other way around so the Family Proclamation is just a clear as the scriptures are on this matter. Sodom and Gommorah found this out. To put it any other way is taking your own eternal progression at risk.

  • Bill in Nebraska Maryville, MO
    Feb. 29, 2012 7:19 p.m.

    Those of you who stand against the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints for the statements made in this article either don't understand what revelation is, don't want to understand it, can care less and have your own agenda.

    Fact as stated in the article many times a revelation is received without all the answers as to why. The article pretty much spelled this out. It also states as Elder Holland stated that opinions attributed to President Young and others were just that their own opinion as to what was said. The Journal of Discourses were at one time yes supposed to be scripture. However, as the information became more and more clearer it has not stood the scruitiny that the General Conference talks today can take. First and foremost the Journal of Discourses are SECOND to THIRD hand reports. The General Conference talks are FIRST HAND, a huge difference.

  • one old man Ogden, UT
    Feb. 29, 2012 6:52 p.m.

    Sorry, I pushed the button too soon.

    Although the church has long disowned blatant racism as a doctrine, it's still alive and well in some wards at least. There have been times when I've had to get up and leave our High Priests meetings and have thought seriously about simply not returning.

    You should hear some of the almost weekly comments about our black President of the United States.

  • one old man Ogden, UT
    Feb. 29, 2012 6:46 p.m.

    All I can say is that there is a huge difference in talk about racial things now and when I joined the church in 1967.

    Up until some time after Pres. Kimball's revelation, there were few Sundays that passed without some comments about the Mark of Cain, or in which the Catholic church was mentioned as the "Whore of the Earth."

    It has been very interesting to watch the changes occur.

  • Truthseeker SLO, CA
    Feb. 29, 2012 6:31 p.m.

    Long past time for the church to set the record straight, just as they did with the Mountain Meadows Massacre. An Ensign article on Joseph Smith's views of slavery, the story of Elijah Abel etc. needs to be written so the mythological history that continues to be circulated by well-meaning church members and teachers can stop.

  • atl134 Salt Lake City, UT
    Feb. 29, 2012 6:27 p.m.

    It's easy for us to denounce Jim Crow laws but when it comes to something like the priesthood ban everyone outside the church is "okay just condemn the policy and move on" but doing so in effect is saying that the prophets can steer the church astray and takes away from the first half of the idea that "the church is true but the people aren't". This leaves some LDS members stuck in some sort of position where they feel they need an explanation for why things were the way they were. Another tough thing is the idea that revelation can change and that some things aren't doctrine... but I'm sure they were considered doctrine by most members 100 years ago. So... does that mean there's some things in place now that people think are doctrine that maybe 50 years from now will be considered "that was just an apostle sharing their opinion of something, it's not considered doctrine"?

    I guess my point is... religion is complex.

  • LValfre CHICAGO, IL
    Feb. 29, 2012 6:14 p.m.


    I am not a young person and remember well the announcement in 1978. One very distinct feeling I recall was that finally Whites (me included) were well enough adjusted that they could welcome blacks."

    - Whites were standing by blacks side in the 60's during the marches. They were ready for it ... so much that in 1964 the civil rights movement was passed. Whites were ready for it .... some weren't until 1978. But don't say generally that whites weren't well enough adjusted for it.

    "[I]t does no good to prejudice the future based on actions of the past.""

    - I agree. The problem is nobody's taken responsibility for it yet. I'll say again, If they'd just fess up about past prophets either lying or putting their own thoughts into a prophecy or two ... the church would be past ALL questionable acts. Then the church could move on and stop going back on these topics.

    What makes it worse is the flagship educational structures that are all named after Brigham Young, one of the first to set the precedent.

    America regrets slavery but doesn't deny fault. Germany regrets the Nazi movement but doesn't deny fault. This is how you move forward ... you come out with it and move on.

  • mightymite DRAPER, UT
    Feb. 29, 2012 6:05 p.m.

    The Prof sounds pretty spot on in what the mormon church teaches. Not sure what all the damage control is about.

  • TheProudDuck Newport Beach, CA
    Feb. 29, 2012 5:57 p.m.

    Sounds like Bott is more willing to defend the priesthood color bar than I would be, but I'd bet dollars to donuts he was misquoted. I don't trust journalists farther than I can kick 'em. Not because they're malicious, necessarily, but because they're generally knuckleheads.

    I read Bott's comment as saying not so much that black people weren't ready to receive the Priesthood and temple blessings until 1978, but that being denied the LDS priesthood is actually a good thing, because it keeps you from being held to a higher standard (and having to help people move and put away chairs).

    Of course this is condescending tripe -- the whole point of the gospel is to stretch people to reach for their divine potential, not to keep them safely infantile -- but it's not necessarily *racist* condescending tripe. And it would not surprise me in the least that a Post reporter with a narrative to reinforce would put the quote in a context that served the narrative more than the truth.

  • LDS Liberal Farmington, UT
    Feb. 29, 2012 5:37 p.m.

    If we can just get someone to recant some of Ezra T. Benson's off comments...

  • no fit in SG St.George, Utah
    Feb. 29, 2012 5:34 p.m.

    My first visit to Utah was a real eye opener, and a very sad one. The LDS grandparents openly and loudly expressed their racism and prejudices in front of the young children. How will this every be changed when this is continuing?

  • Scott1 Quiet Neighborhood, UT
    Feb. 29, 2012 5:34 p.m.

    Sorry detractors, women do not currently hold the priesthood, but that does not mean that the church sees them as lesser people. As most active members know, having the priesthood just means that it is your duty to help people move when they sell or buy a home. Women can take this duty anytime they please. Active LDS members will get this joke.

  • moniker lewinsky Taylorsville, UT
    Feb. 29, 2012 5:32 p.m.

    This is one hole the church will never dig itself out of. If they defend the past policies, that's bad. If they decry the past policies, they're undermining the actions of men who are proclaimed prophets, seers, and revelators. What to do?
    I don't know about everyone else, but I expect a little more.
    I expect a little more from God (if there is in fact a god) than to appoint people who are racist to do his bidding.
    I expect a little more from leaders than racism. Humanity notwithstanding. I'm sure that with all the people who were on the planet at the time, a large number of them were not racist. Of course, we all know that being human covers all manner of sins. But really, if we're going to start talking about how the prophets and seers and revelators and other brethren are "only human after all", then please understand how this liberates me to take their anti-gay sentiments and other proclamations with a grain of salt.
    I actually decided to take that license over 8 years ago. And it was pretty liberating to realize that I was pretty good at making well thought out decisions for myself; decisions on moral issues that didn't hurt or degrade others. And best of all, I don't anticipate ever having to apologize again to any gay or black human being for the attitudes I held toward them because I was just following orders.

  • Hutterite American Fork, UT
    Feb. 29, 2012 5:21 p.m.

    You'd think that someone with an exclusive hotline to an infallible almighty would get it right first time, every time.

  • UtahBlueDevil Durham, NC
    Feb. 29, 2012 5:17 p.m.

    I can't even begin to express how glad I am to see the church take this strongly worded stand. Let there be no more questions with this regard. I hope that when the church sends young men to this part of the world that they ensure they understand the policy. This is indeed a good and clear statement from the church.

  • Moracle Blackshear, GA
    Feb. 29, 2012 5:16 p.m.

    ThereÂs not a church on earth that has not at some time or other, practiced racist policies toward other races, including blacks; not said to excuse it, but to say singling out any one church for criticism, is as bigoted as racism, itself.

    Mormons were one of the first groups in America, to suffer persecution because of favoritism toward black people.

    Although Joseph Smith consented to the owning of slaves (Church History Vol. II, p. 436-40), he afterwards claimed inspiration to the contrary and published throughout the U.S. in 1844, the following:

    ÂPetition, also, ye goodly inhabitants of the slave states, your legislators to abolish slavery by the year 1850¦Pray Congress to pay every man a reasonable price for his slaves¦Break off the shackles from the poor black man, and hire him to labor like other human beings; for an hour of virtuous liberty is worth a whole eternity of bondage. (Church History Vol.III, p. XXVI)

    Belief that slaves should be freed, was one of the reasons Mormons were killed, driven from their homes, and homes burned; with many other injustices heaped on them because of their belief (ironically in a nation established by those seeking freedom of religion and escape from tyranny), and eventually they had to flee West, to find peace to live their own lives and worship God as they chose. You might say it was an early Civil Rights movement, with a less happy ending, than the present.

    To say that Mormons look down on black Americans is to speak wrongly. ItÂs no more the truth than to say Jesus looked down on Canaanites when he refused to help the woman from Canaan, because He was sent only to the House of Israel. (Matthew 15: 22-28).

  • Thinkman Provo, UT
    Feb. 29, 2012 5:16 p.m.

    This is as easy as shooting fish in a barrel to show the LDS church's doctrine that fair skinned peoples are God's people and that dark skinned folks are evil.

    See 2 Nephi 5, Book of Moses 7, Abraham 1, to name just a few.

    Oh and don't forget to read Journal of Discourses where Brother Brigham as the sitting President and Prophet of the LDS Church said how the black man (aka Negro) was inferior to the white man and forever will be. Remember, the Journal of Discourses was considered at one time as the teachings of the prophets and on the same level as a Conference Report.

    The LDS church leadership today in my mind isn't racist, but it is very difficult and disingenuous to say that it didn't have racist doctrine and that its current scriptures don't espouse racial doctrines.

  • no fit in SG St.George, Utah
    Feb. 29, 2012 5:07 p.m.

    You know...this is going to send numerous senior citizens into a twisting tornado of confusion and unhappiness.

  • toquer-villan TOQUERVILLE, UT
    Feb. 29, 2012 4:47 p.m.

    I am not a young person and remember well the announcement in 1978. One very distinct feeling I recall was that finally Whites (me included) were well enough adjusted that they could welcome blacks. It requires little research to recognize the politically charged atmosphere in Illinois about Blacks and slavery.
    Certainly the American political atmosphere had an effect on the early church. Now we can get beyond the kinds of pressures and biases that helped spark civil war in our great nation. Furthermore, it does no good to prejudice the future based on actions of the past.

  • Flashback Kearns, UT
    Feb. 29, 2012 4:43 p.m.

    Kami, you unfortunately do not have a clue. The premise of the church is, that the church is governed by revelation, and at any time through revelation anything can change. Think Polygamy. I was on my mission when the revelation was announced. I had one of the most intense spiritual experiences that I have had in my entire life when I heard that announcement confirming to me, and I'm sure to many others, that this revelation came from God. If you are a Mormon, you should consider reading D&C chapters 8 and 9. May shed some light on how things work.

  • Instereo Eureka, UT
    Feb. 29, 2012 4:42 p.m.

    I'm glad the church has come out with a statement against racism. What is sad is that there has been a justification for or a toleration of racism for so long. Utah when it was organized as a territory in 1850 chose to enter the union as a slave territory because Brigham Young felt that slavery was justified in the Bible. The other territory, New Mexico, which was admitted at the same time chose to be a free territory. The KKK existed in Utah, blacks were not allowed to stay at the Hotel Utah or even eat there (they could perform but had to stay elsewhere), and there were a number of lynchings in the state including one in Eureka where I live now and that person was found after he was hung and died, to have not even been involved in the alleged act that got people worked up enough to have him lynched.

    So there is a lot of history where Utah was on the wrong side, seemed to justify it by their religious beliefs, and have not truly repented of today. Still I'm glad it's finally getting addressed and hope the church looks at other issues as well.

  • klangton Akiachak, AK
    Feb. 29, 2012 4:42 p.m.

    This is a timely and well written article describing race in the LDS church. For me there are lingering concerns. One, I was taught many times over many years in many wards growing up, that the reason blacks could not hold the priesthood was because they were descendants of Cain (somehow as if this explained it.) Now if that is brought it is dismissed as not scripture-based. There is no basis put forth by the church for withholding the priesthood from African Americans that I have ever heard. For a church with a claim of divine guidance through prophets as in the church of the Old Testament, I find this disturbing. Second, given the forthrightness of the quote by President Hinckley, condemning discrimination, it is disconcerting to look back to the 1950's and 1960's and not be able to come up with one memory of the church backing the civil rights effort, which was, at its core, a fight against racial discrimination.

  • Baccus0902 Leesburg, VA
    Feb. 29, 2012 4:41 p.m.

    I appreciate and am encouraged by the efforts made by the church to acknowledge and clarity of its history.

    I hope that soon these words will become true:
    "The church's position is clear," LDS Church spokesman Michael Purdy said. "We believe all people are God's children and are equal in His eyes and in the church. We do not tolerate racism in any form."

    Inequality is born not only out of racism.

  • cjb Bountiful, UT
    Feb. 29, 2012 4:36 p.m.

    On this earth you are not going to get perfection. Not from individuals, and not from ANY Church. The Pope has been wrong, the LDS church has been wrong. This is something Catholics and LDS need to recognise.

    However what we can expect from good people and good organizations is that they will recognise past mistakes, feel sorry for them, acknowledge them and do better in the future.

    The LDS church being an imperfect, but a good organization, has done just that.

  • geggett Orem, UT
    Feb. 29, 2012 4:35 p.m.

    It's about time Randy Bott realizes he doesn't speak for the LDS Church, and that some of his personal opinions are out of step with today's doctrine. As a counselor in our stake presidency he used to also give uninformed speeches condemning organic evolution--a long-proven field of science taught at Church Universities, and an area where the LDS Church (unlike Randy Bott) has never taken a position.

  • Zola South Oakland, CA
    Feb. 29, 2012 4:21 p.m.

    I sometimes wonder why people of color are LDS members when people like Bott continue to have such beliefs. I glad the LDS has taken a stance to root out racism.

  • LValfre CHICAGO, IL
    Feb. 29, 2012 4:19 p.m.

    If they'd just fess up about past prophets either lying or putting their own thoughts into a prophecy or two ... the church would be past ALL questionable acts. Then the church could move on and stop going back on these topics.

  • Canyontreker TAYLORSVILLE, UT
    Feb. 29, 2012 4:12 p.m.

    Why 1978? Because President Kimball asked. Probably should have asked a long long time ago.

  • Kami Bountiful, Utah
    Feb. 29, 2012 4:03 p.m.

    I don't even have the right words to express how sad this article makes me .. not that the church is condemning racism, but for the justifications given by the church in this article. Based on what I have just read, I suppose that I should accept the fact that at any time the church may recant something that has been taught to its members in the past, using similar justifications. Sad sad day.

  • LDS Liberal Farmington, UT
    Feb. 29, 2012 3:55 p.m.


    ...and I get harassed for simply not being a card-carrying Republican?!