Last night the Church of Jesus Christ held a 40th anniversary of its doctrinal and policy change to allow those of African Descent to receive Priesthood and Saving ordinances in the Temple. As we all know the Church has been hush hush forever about this change and it context in our past. And then in 2013 when the Race and Priesthood Essay came out For the first time the Church felt comfortable speaking out and disavowing the theories behind those restrictions. But what was left ambiguous was the Ban itself. It seemed the Church preferred to allow people to make up their own minds. For those who needed the ban to be from God, they could read that into it. For those who needed the ban to be a Racist man made thing, they could have their cake and eat it too. Until that was last night…. When Elder Oaks said the following
“As part of my prayerful study, I learned that in general, the Lord rarely gives reasons for the Commandments and directions he gives to his servants” – Elder Oaks June 1st 2018
Hereby rendering ineffective the ambiguity of the Essay. Elder Oaks has taught us on several occasions to “Be One” and this celebration was no different. And yet if to “Be One” means I have to allow this unhealthy institution to shield itself from accountability and allow it to portray God as a racist SOB who he himself on his throne reached out to his servants and implemented the Priesthood and Temple ban without allowing any safe space left to believe that this Church’s leaders simply screwed up and have less of a direct connection than they want others to believe…. No thanks.
And PS You didn’t cry.
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Thanks Bill for your commentary. This is the best Dallin and thus the 12/15 have. Something along these lines:
1. We don’t know the reasons for the ban. We only know that reasons previous leaders gave before are wrong cuz the spirit never confirmed them to DHO. And really it’s the members who have prevented the church from moving forward on this issue. Don’t you know we just met with the NAACP?
2. God hasn’t given any real/true reasons for why he let us be racists for so long, nor does he have to. It might look like God is racist, but he can’t be racist, he’s god.
3. Always defer to leadership even if we don’t give reasons for policies/doctrines or if our reasons are wrong (any confirmations by the spirit or lack thereof should be ignored until such personal revelation agrees with the the latest statements by the brethren).
4. Just because some leaders have been wrong…erm…didn’t have a full understanding in the past doesn’t mean we are wrong about LGBTQ issues. There’s a reason I didn’t include their kind in my long list of groups who still suffer due to prejudicial traditions.
5. Don’t act out on your SSA or you can’t go to the temple. Discriminating against sexual deviants isn’t the same as discriminating against racial minorities (even if our reasoning around this issue eerily reflects the reasoning of past leaders I’ve just dissed).
I’m sure there are other points I’ve missed, but this is what is bouncing around in my head right now…It’s late.
Double whammy this weekend. This, and Pres. Nelson telling the youth that they are part of an elite that needs to find others like them, the most elected. If they are call weird that’s ok, they should wear it as a badge of honor. Not what I want to teach my children. Also, he told them to be smarter than previous generations, like mine I guess, even though I grew up being told I was part of the most selected too. Yucks!
I think your lenses are over critical towards the church.
Let’s never give up on hope. If there’s enough people hoping for change a critical mass will cross the tipping point.
Bill, I was also intrigued with this passage:
“Even as we unite to abandon all attitudes and practices of prejudice, we should remember that it is not prejudice for the Church to insist on certain rules in furtherance of the Lord’s requirement of worthiness to enter a temple. The Lord has declared that obedience to covenants and commandments is an essential requirement to enjoy sacred blessings.”
WTF does this mean? Is he implying that it was not prejudice to keep African Americans out of the temple because God commanded it? No, no apology forthcoming, and we’ll just whack you again with the obedience stick while we’re here.
I’m troubled by the dishonesty of DHO in his comments at the “Be One” event. Let me get this straight:
Even though the R&P essay of 2013 disavows ALL the racist teachings given to explain the ban (Reminder: given by EVERY “prophet” from Brigham Young to Harold B Lee),
AND it admits there is no document, no recorded revelation declaring that God revealed, directed or commanded the Priesthood and Temple Ban against blacks,
AND no president of the church ever officially claimed to have received any such revelation, direction or commandment,
AND Oaks proudly claims “I studied the reasons then being given and could not feel confirmation of the truth of any of them”, meaning he did not believe the WELL-DOCUMENTED statements by his “prophetic leaders” about the ban,
BUT he believed the same “prophetic leaders” regarding the TOTALLY UNDOCUMENTED commandment barring blacks from the priesthood and exalting ordinances of the temple? To Oaks that part seemed like it came straight from the mouth of God?
How can you be discerning enough to not believe the racist reasons given repeatedly, officially, and in great detail by your prophetic leaders, but still believe those same leaders about the ban itself despite lack of documentation?
In dissecting his comments, the reality seems to be that he is simply doing the same thing that the essay does. He disavows the reasons given but implies it was a commandment without actually stating that it was, making room for comfortable believers to comfortably believe and marginalizing everyone else.
And when he said “The reasons that had been given to try to explain the prior restrictions on members of African ancestry—even those previously voiced by revered Church leaders—were promptly and publicly disavowed”, didn’t you just want to scream “CITATIONS, PLEASE!!”?
After reading the opinion piece by Jana Riess in the Trib about the findings of her survey of Mormons from 2016, I’m not surprised about Oaks implying that the ban came from God and we were right to have followed it, even without understanding God’s inscrutable reasons. Her survey showed that about 76 percent of Mormons either “knew” or “believed” that the ban came from or was the will of God. That is staggering. And so the legacy of elemental racism continues, even if we “disavow” the reasoning.
This reminds me why I have always struggled with being associated with the social/political attitudes of Mormons growing up and living in the church for over 65 years. Enough.
Sorry, David, truth IS offensive to some, and those who are offended ARE offensive, Jesus said. Let’s follow the real Jesus on these maters of “ravening leaders in fine wool suits” putting words in His mouth?