I think it is possible that the church had the benefit of the contribution of
African members withheld from it. That it is the church that was under
condemnation and that we now how have the benefit of world wide inclusion of all
manaen1 - So if items taken from the standard works are doctrine, then it
is still against the word of wisdom to eat meat unless in times of winter and
famine. Also, the word of wisdom as revealed by Joseph Smith allows for the
consumption of beer. Both of those have been reversed in modern LDS doctrine -
that beer can't be consumed, and meat can be eaten in any amount and at any
time. That doesn't make sense. Even if there was an official statement banning
beer and allowing for meat (which there isn') that would mean a prophet is
changing the standard works. You can't rewrite or change something that is
cannonized scripture. But thats what they have done with the word of wisdom.
Re:Billin NebraskaSources? I identified Pres. McKay as reported in
his biography. What other information do you have? So if the ban was
established by revelation why didn't the church say that? The church statement
says it doesn't " know precisely how, why, or when" the ban was put into
place, yet you state it was by revelation.
Oops! That last clause in my last comment should read, "and if there
were--good riddance." Apparently Deseret News doesn't recognize the em
dash. Must be a Utah thing.
mannem1: I think you need to take revelation out of your last quote and see what
it actually states about revelation. That is in the same place as you stated
earlier. You will find that I never stated anything about this as a doctrine
only that it was placed in effect through revelation. This same article states
that all policies, decisions, practices are done through revelation according to
the doctrines held in the standard works of the Church.Brahmabull
you will notice that I have never gone against something that is in the
publications, doctrines of the church or stated by the leaders of the Church.
However, you have stated such almost everytime.In fact, you have stated that
revelation basically ceased with Jseph Smith.Truthseeker you stated
that I said all presidents. I stated his predecessors. If I used the word all
in front of all predecessors then I was in error. I do know that the prayers
seeking revelation before June 1978 goes as far back as George ALbert Smith.
If Mitt Romney gets the GOP nomination, it's only a matter of time before this
issue is once again dragged out in the national media, especially given the race
of his Democratic opponent. And, once again, the media will overlook the most
telling aspect of this whole matter: that members of the Church of Jesus Christ
of Latter-day Saints received the 1978 revelation with open arms! Indeed, I
don't know of any who left the Church over the announcement, and if there
@Brahmabull, "The differences between doctrine/revelation and opinion have
become very hard to separate over the years."The Church made it
very easy a few years ago by defining and limiting official doctrine as what is
in the standard works, in official declarations and proclamations, and in the
Articles of Faith. They noted, "Not every statement made by a Church
leader, past or present, necessarily constitutes doctrine." This is
available on mormonnewsroom [Dot] org and searching Approaching Mormon
Doctrine.This means to me that the following are *not* primary
sources of the Church's authoritative doctrine:* Statements by Church
leaders in General Conference and elsewhere* Church manuals, videos, and
magazines * Journal of Discourses* Papers by BYU professors*
Heartfelt testimonies about a particular subject by members* The blogs
collectively known as "The Bloggernacle"* Recruiting statements by
BYU's coachesAn example is that some leaders spoke in General
Conference about how to raise self-esteem; others warned that it is just another
name for pride and to be avoided. This does not mean that the Church's
authoritative doctrine is that self-esteem is both bad and to be increased.
re:Bill in NebraskaThe quote you provided does not say ALL
presidents of the church sought for revelation to overturn the ban, neither does
it say the ban was instituted by revelation. And the current church statement
does not state that it was instituted by revelation. We do know, from a
biography of David O'McKay, that he considered the ban to be a policy and not
doctrine, but that he believed it would require revelation to overturn the ban.
Pres. McKay reported that he did indeed seek revelation to overturn the ban. We
also know that counselors Alvin Dyer and Hugh B. Brown were on opposite sides of
the issue. (Hugh B. Brown was in favor of overturning the ban).
Amen and Amen!! Bonnie A...my "trip" to conversion was MUCH like yours.
As I had a firm revelation of the truth of the gospel I decided I had to accept
the principle of the restriction and one other question(Joseph Smith(I was
Southern Baptist))on faith. I did this and was baptized in 1973. Some months
later I read a book by a black member(I believe it was Alan Cherry) and realized
that this most faithful black member seemed to want the priesthood so very
deeply and had had the faith for baptisim, then who was I to question. I
realized that I would someday grow to accept this. It turns out that other
things(numerous) would occur to me, that I did not understand,that had to be
accepted on faith also. We are all so much "young children"(regardless
of earthly age)and must accept that our very loving Father in Heaven sees the
forest and we only see the first line of trees. I am so grateful for His
patience and love for me!
How can the church claim now that previous statements on the subject given by
prophets were absent of revelation and were only opinion?? That make absolutely
no sense. That is called cherry picking. They weren't there, they don't know
that the statements made were without revelation. So any current prophet can
just claim ANY statement made by anybody before him was just opinion - even
those by Joseph Smith? Unless of course it is faith promoting, then it goes from
opinion to doctrine. The differences between doctrine/revelation and opinion
have become very hard to separate over the years.Bill in Nebraska -
you have a habit of saying things that aren't true (like most prophets asked god
about the priesthood restriction, without citing any sources. Then you say the
ban was a revelation, when the church now says they don't know why, how, or when
it came about) So you are going directly against what the church is saying, as
if you are the ultimate authority on the matter.
I love reading how the faithful justify and rationalize this but never even
consider the *gasp* unthinkable possibilities that are so obvious.
@Sharrona, "(Genesis 7:10 JST), And there was a blackness came upon all the
children of Cainan, that they were despised among all people." If blackness "came upon" them, they must not have been black before.
Therefore, they couldn't have been under any presumed earlier restriction tied
to black skin.Also, Cainan descended from Seth, not Cain, and was an
ancestor of Enoch, Methuselah, and Noah (JST Gen. 6:12,15,17,19,21; KJV Gen
5:25,28). Your misuse of this verse in the context of the restriction would bar
some of Seth's descendants from the priesthood. A more-likely
reading includes the heat and barrenness of their land noted in the preceding
verse which could cause a darker skin to come upon a people as noted in v. 10.
That this darker skin resulted in being despised by their lighter neighbors is
nothing new (cf our "red neck"). Scripture notes but doesn't justify
them being despised/ostracized (v. 22) or denied the priesthood. (See instead
Jacob 3:9).Better to avoid unofficial sources, like JST, when
attempting to establish official doctrine. The official Moses 7:7-8 speaks of
"people of CANAAN" and says blackness came upon "children of
CANAAN." "Canaan" means "lowlands," which fits the
@Sharrona, "There is no known primary source from Joseph Smith teaching the
priesthood restriction, Check JS on national equalization History of the Church,
Volume 5, pages 218-219 and The book of Abraham."I checked your
HC reference; nothing there that's relevant. Please recheck and correct if you
can.Nothing in the Book of Abraham ties the priesthood restriction
directly to black skin or race. Please share the source that you believe does
if you have a specific one in mind. Meanwhile, I suggest that you check the
notes about Abr 1:2-3, 27; 3:22 on p. 198 of "Lengthen Your Stride,"
biography of Pres. Kimball by his son, published by Deseret Book.
@Bill in Nebraska,If the priesthood's restriction came by
revelation:- Where is it? Please cite the source I can look at.
Or, at least the *official* statement from the Church that it was by revelation,
not unoffial personal comments.- Why was Hugh B. Brown, 1st
Counselor to David O. McKay, proposing that because it was NOT given by
revelation, a revelation would not be needed to end it? (cf "David O. McKay
and the Rise of Modern Mormonism," p. 100). Why was he not corrected with
the information that actually it was by revelation?- Why did the
Church say *this month* that we do not know how it came to be. If it was by
revelation, wouldn't they say it was but that we don't know why?"You have to understand that no such ban would have ever been put in place
except through revelation." Upon what are you basing this assumption?
Please also cite the Church's official statement that says this. Maybe you have
to understand that policies and practices sometimes come from leaders' best
judgment, not from direct revelation.
To Mannen and Truthseeker: The ban was put in plae by revelation.
Why and the reasons behind it we do not know. Those are the facts. It was
lifted again by revelation.You have to understand that no such ban
would have ever been put in place except through revelation. Just because it
was revelation doesn't mean the reasons were clear made clear.As for
predecessor Presidents of the Church asking, "The question of etending the
blessings of the priesthood to blacks had been on the minds of many of the
Brethren over a period of years. It had repeatedly been brought up by
Presidents of the Church. It had become a matter of particular concern to
President Spencer W Kimball." "This revelation came after a period of
years in which other Presidents of the Church had pondered and prayed about the
matter." Further, "In addition to testifying that revelation guides the
decisions of Church leaders, President Kimball taught that we can all receive
revelation to guide ourlives."These decisions were done by
revelation and then removed through revelation. Believe it or not. Source
Teachings of the Presidents - Specer W Kimball. Teachings of Gordon B Hinkley.
@Bill in Nebraska, "Actually it doesn't conflict with the Church of Jesus
Christ of Latter-Day Saints leaders statements. You need to really read what is
said. They only state that the reason for the ban, when it was received and etc
is not known."As I really read last week's statement from the
Church, I find it says,"It is not known precisely why, HOW [like
your claim that it was by revelation] or when this restriction began"and "THE ORIGINS [like your claim that it was by revelation] OF
PRIESTHOOD AVAILABILITY ARE NOT ENTIRELY CLEAR. Some explanations with respect
to this matter were made in the absence of direct revelation and references to
these explanations are sometimes cited in publications. These previous personal
statements do not represent Church doctrine.Â (Emphasis added)If how the restriction began is not precisely known and the origins of its
availability are not entirely clear, how is your precise, entirely-clear
statement that it was by revelation not in conflict with the Church's position?
What if (FYI this is ME, Sis. H., speaking) the only way Father can help us
understand our own strength is to put a burden on us that is so heavy we can
only carry it with His help? Now THAT is a method I am personally acquainted
Re:Bill in NebraskaWhat is your source for the claim that ALL
Prophets before Pres. Kimball asked about the ban?The claim that it
was God's design the ban wasn't lifted earlier is merely conjecture on your
part. Maybe he didn't want the ban, in line with Joseph Smith's practice, but
allowed man to exercise agency.
@Manaen, you omitted that Joseph Fielding Smith revealed in the next paragraph
that his source was a comment in 1895 by George Q. Cannon( the premier Mormon
Apostle was reliable), 51 years after the Prophet's death. There is no
known primary source from Joseph Smith teaching the priesthood restriction,
Check JS on national equalization History of the Church, Volume 5, pages
218-219 and The book of Abraham.(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.
Mannen: Actually it doesn't conflict with the Church of Jesus Christ of
Latter-Day Saints leaders statements. You need to really read what is said.
They only state that the reason for the ban, when it was received and etc is not
known. However, they all will state that the revelation received by President
Kimball came from the Lord. They also state that before the revelation that all
of President Kimballs predeceessors all requested answers to the ban and none
was given. So yes, if the revelaion came in 1978 as stated by revelation, then
it was by revelation that the Lord determined the ban. Why that is so no one
currently alive knows why. To try to speculate upon it is wrong for anyone and
is strickly opinion, not doctrine. If it wasn't of the Lord, it would have been
removed much sooner than it was as it would have been revealed much earlier.
Don't put words into their mouths as you are doing.
@Sharrona, you omitted that Joseph Fielding Smith revealed in the next paragraph
that his source was a comment in 1895 by George Q. Cannon, 51 years after the
Prophet's death.There is no known primary source from Joseph Smith
teaching the priesthood restriction.BTW, Joseph Fielding Smith said
"Way to Perfection" and his other books are personal writing, not an
official statement of Church doctrine. He wrote, "The Bible,
Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants, and the Pearl of Great Price, including
the Articles of Faith, have been received by the vote of the Church in general
conference assembled as the standard works of the Church. On this platform we
stand. The Church is not responsible for the remarks made by any elder or for
the numerous books that have been written. The authors of the words or books
must be responsible for their own utterances. [...] If I should say something
which is contrary to that which is written and approved by the Church generally,
no one is under obligation to accept it." (Doctrines of Salvation, Vol. I,
pp. 322, 323)
RE: Bill n Nebraska, Again as the article stated, it proves that the orders
comes from the Lord not man. Either as a member you believe the Lord is in
charge or you believe it not. Either Joseph Smith was a prophet or he is
fraud.Joseph Fielding Smith, The doctrine did not originate with President
Brigham Young but was taught by the Prophet Joseph SmithÂ¦we all it is
due to his teaching that the negro today is barred from the Priesthood. The Way
to perfection, pp 110-111
@Bill in Nebraska, "Again as the article stated, it proves that the orders
comes from the Lord not man."Both of the Church's statements
last week declared that we do not know why, when, or how the priesthood
restriction came to be. Your affirmative claim that it came from the Lord
conflicts with the Church's twice-declared position.
Good thoughts that skirt the damage last week's Bottulisms caused the work of
those of us trying to use the restored gospel to solve societal problems. I'm
involved with a couple of groups in LA working against gang violence. I've used
the restored gospel in our work as I've found opportunities. Frequently, I'm
the only not-black person in our meetings. I was challenged after
Darron Smith's article in "Deadspin" last year but was able to answer it
was written by a fired BYU professor. But, what am I to say about Bott's
ignorance-spreading? The effect of the Church's denounciation of his comments
the next day is diluted severely by the fact that he's been retained so long in
the classroom -- and remains there. If Darron Smith should have been let go for
his writings, and I agree that he should have been, how is Bott still working on
campus? How do I explain this discrepancy? In the absence of answers to these
questions, my ability to refer to our restored gospel is curtailed greatly and
this results in the loss of the better, enduring solutions that it creates. Could we have recognition of this kind of damage?
Thinkman: You again refuse to see that the article tells us this. Answer why
did Christ withold the priesthood from all of the house of Israel. Why just the
Levites? Didn't he discriminate then? From what I have been able to gather
Moses and Aaron were never told why. That is germane to this debate whether
others want to believe it or not. The Lord picks who will hold HIS priesthood.
Again as the article stated, it proves that the orders comes from the Lord not
man. Either as a member you believe the Lord is in charge or you believe it not.
Either Joseph Smith was a prophet or he is fraud. There is no well Joseph was
but Brigham isn't. All of those chosen from Joseph down to President Monson are
either Prophets or they are not. Those are the questions and members telling
the Quorum of the Twelve and the First Presidency what they need to do is really
saying they no more than the man chosen by the Lord to be the leader of the LDS
Church and that isn't so.
So we don't know how or why or whom started the ban to giving blacks the
priesthood yet we know for a certainty that Joseph Smith translated the Book of
Mormon from gold plates that are no longer on the earth? Oh and we
know for certainty that the LDS church is the one true church of God on the
earth yet something so sacred and important as the power of God (priesthood) was
held from blacks for some unknown reason?With the LDS church
claiming to be inspired, why did it take till 1978, (a full decade after the
Civil Rights Act and over 100 years after the Emancipation Proclamation) to give
blacks and all worthy males the priesthood?These are the questions I
got on my mission 20 years ago when asked by JWs, Baptists, Catholics and even
Outstanding article! As with polygamy somehow this was the Lord's will. I don't
know how, but I know so much that is true- by extension this is also true. The
love that I feel as a member of the Lord's Kingdom overshadows everything and
confirms the truth of the gospel. Besides, I always figure that I still need to
learn to love my neighbor. Then, when I've done that, I'll worry about those
I have enjoyed following this topic in the news and appreciate Brother
Hamilton's insight and perspective. When I was a teenager in Utah (pre-1978
Revelation) I recall attending a fireside where an African American member of
the church talked about his conversion to the Church. I do not recall his name
or much about what he said. I will never forget his incredible faith and love
for the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. He had found the same peace that
Brother Hamilton wrote about.
Faith, truth and priesthood restriction,A perfect example involves the
restricted earthly ministry of Jesus Christ. The New Testament clearly shows
that Jesus taught his disciples that while he was on the earth both he and they
were to go "but unto the lost sheep of the House of Israel[Mt 15:34]."
Yet Christ never explained why his Father gave him that limitation or why he
passed it on to his disciples.Paul explains the prophecy Isaiah 49:6, we
now turn to the Gentiles. For this is what the Lord has commanded us:
ÂÂI have made you a light for the Gentiles, that you may bring
salvation to the ends of the earth( Acts) 13:47. Jesus is the light to Gentiles.
Great article, my Black LDS family members have always felt more welcome among
LDS than others. I've taught my children that the language in the Book of Mormon
and PofGP are symbolic ("skins of blackness" and "blackness came
upon" (how so if Cain already Black in our terms?), Abraham married
Egyptian, all non-Shemetic people restricted back then etc). Israelites were
dark skinned people Lamanites and Nephites were probably one color (see FAIR
lds)and were one race (so can't be racist towards each other) etc. Also,
without being negative about others, I've tried to explain that the LDS Church
has always been among the most progressive. Racism issues, genocide, etc among
mainstream Christians, the gay community, atheists, liberals, etc have been, and
are still, much worse than among Mormons.
Keith,Once again your thoughts and comments are right on. This issue is
not the only one that is not clearly answered by history or facts, and
consequently we are left to determine how we will respond. There are good
reasons to respond with faith, as there are numerous witnesses, both general (to
all people) and personal that this work is of God. I choose also to respond
with faith. Unfortunately, there are many that are unable or unwilling to see
with an eye of faith, believing that some absolute fact or document must provide
confirmation before they will believe. If they only understood that even
science demands acceptance of some principles on faith. Thanks again
Wow. This was the most beautiful article I've ever seen written on this subject.
Thank you, from the bottom of my heart for writing it. As a colorless Mormon
(with a colorful spirit!) this issue was the single greatest hindrance for my
faith, 30 years ago as a teen. I knew I had no right to be outraged (being
colorless), and I felt like I couldn't say anything without offending everyone,
including God. I've struggled for all that time, trying to understand God and
building my faith, waiting to understand this. Just one week before the Post
article came out, I finally had the confidence to question God about this and to
stand my ground and not be intimidated by my own humble station before him, and
I found my peace with it, just as described in this article. Sometimes, I think,
God allows a situation to broil, measuring our willingness to push him in our
advocacy of others. Why would he visit Abraham and tell him of his plans at
Sodom, if not also to let Abraham see what it feels like to advocate? The tests
are myriad. I love the image of Israel's slavery. Profound to apply to us.
Thanm you :-)
Wow! What a great aricle! What a man of faith! He's spot on!