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  1. Wow…apologism abounds.

    1: LDS Prophets taught for years that the ban was the will of god. See Kimball 1963, First Presidency 1969.
    2: The 1978 revelation refers to the long-promised time when the ban would be removed.
    3: The LDS Church has never declared the ban was an error.
    4: The LDS Church has ALWAYS taught the ban had its source with God?


    The LDS Church was then and remains racist. Unless and until the LDS church denounces the teaching and explicitly apologizes, this is a stain on Mormonism.

    1. The ban had nothing to do with “racism” by the Church, thus the Church has nothing to apologize for.  The ban only applied to those of African Decent, not blacks.  Blacks of the Islands, Central/South America, India, etc. and all other races and colors WERE given the Priesthood.

      The Priesthood has always been restricted.  In Moses time only a certain Tribe/Lineage was given the Priesthood, was Moses Racist?  Christ while on the earth would only allow the Gospel to be taught to Jews, and it took Peter after Christ’s death getting a Revelation to take the Gospel to the Gentiles, was Christ a racist?

      If the ban had anything to do with “racism”, it was racism within the World itself.  Which is in my view the reason the ban existed.  And what happened by the late 70’s?  Racism against the black African essentially ended.

    2. There was never a revelation, nor anything from the Lord to change anything.  The government simply stepped in and threatened to remove the churches tax exemption status if they did not become politically correct and grant blacks the priesthood.  You are going to see it happen again in your life time with gays / gay marriage and other doctrines that will be changed by the pressures of a changing society.

  2. There is not a single statement from the church or brethren that suggests that the priesthood ban is a result of fallible men. And no, Bruce McConkie’s statement doesn’t do that.

    …and btw, the LDS Church was the last major american religion to integrate the priesthood or leadership of the church.

    Finally, this whole “the members weren’t ready” is really offensive, as though an all-loving God would grant his priesthood to a racist population, who we’re somehow worthy, while his black children weren’t?

    Just call it racism, deem it a mistake, and move on.

    1. I actually do agree that the majority of Church members were and still are racist. It’ll take generations to get over it.

      OTOH, how would the Church have fared during Civil War, then Jim Crow as it was institutionalized? Sure, the Baptists gave blacks the “priesthood” (which, according to their doctrine, belongs to “all believers” anyway), but they did it to keep blacks segregated in their own churches–itwas in no way an indication of equality.

      Let’s face it: Humans are, by default, racist. I am happy about 1978, but not about why it was needed. I’m reading a historical treatise, where you have another speculation about some verses in the Bible, Moses and Abraham having been combined by members, who didn’t like emancipatory ideas.

      Fact remains, that Christians have for over a thousand years distorted the doctrines regarding race, so that an expectation for a people to just “step out” of their culture completely is a tall order.

      If the Church had held all people equal, and had integrated congregations and priesthood, there is no way in Hell that Utah could have become a state in Jim Crow U.S. The influence of the Church goes way too deep…

      1. So, statehood was more important to God than his black children?

        This is all nonsense. Most other churches have at least recognized their practices of racism as a mistake. The LDS church continues to teach that it was a godly practice to exclude by race.

      2. You clearly know nothing about Mormon’s of the past or today to think either were and still are racist.  I was in this Church prior to the ban being lifted, and it was so NOT racist in it’s theology and people, that I didn’t even know the ban existed until it happened.  Not saying racist nor ethno-centrist mormons didn’t exist in the past, but you trying to claim any as racist today, and you are off your rocker.  I travel all over the  country and the world, and have for years, the Church isn’t and wasn’t racist.

    2. While I don’t think “the membership wasn’t ready” is a valid excuse,  I think it is used more to refer to white members of the church who would have walked away from the church if the ban had been lifted earlier.   This is by no means a good excuse, but I have often heard it that way.   

      Personally I think it was racist and wrong and should never have been and it allowed for the leadership to opine falsely on reasons for the ban, which has been harmful in many ways.   But most people I know (particularly the boomer generation that were pushing for it to change) tries to excuse the church by saying that the white members were not prepared for equality til that point.

      When I was on my mission, we were discouraged from preaching to muslims and were told it was an issue with their families.  I don’t know how true that was either. 

      1. Actually there were at least some members who were definitely NOT in favor of that ban being lifted.  I personally know people who left the Church over it or who nearly left the Church over it  (I have a sort of funny story about that if you can believe it).

        Bottom line is, I can very easily see how “the membership wasn’t ready” is actually a pretty good excuse from a worldly view.  But, I don’t think the decision was based upon that thinking at all.   

        So, while it may be a good reason — I don’t think it is the real reason.

        I have a point in saying that — a point I should make more explicit.   All of the above post was my opinion.  Another person may have an opinion that really and truly the decisions are made with the abilities of the Church members in mind and so on.  IF a person has that as a theory, I don’t think it does any good, nor does it really make sense to declare their opinion “wrong”.  More reasonably, it might be possible to describe an argument as “effective” or as “ineffective” in some respects, but to say an opinion is “wrong” or “invalid” is not useful.

        1. The problem with the “the members weren’t ready” theory is that, in good part, the members weren’t ready because their leaders continually preaches false doctrine about the blacks. Many of these leaders could’ve actually been helping move the members along to a better point, but instead held them back.

          1. I had never noticed the circularity to “the members weren’t ready” theory.  Thanks for the post.                                                 

    3. A Statement from the First Presidency:August 17, 1949The attitude of the Church with reference to Negroes remains as it has always stood. It is not a matter of the declaration of a policy but of direct commandment from the Lord, on which is founded the doctrine of the Church from the days of its organization, to the effect that Negroes may become members of the Church but that they are not entitled to the priesthood at the present time. The prophets of the Lord have made several statements as to the operation of the principle. President Brigham Young said: “Why are so many of the inhabitants of the earth cursed with a skin of blackness? It comes in consequence of their fathers rejecting the power of the holy priesthood, and the law of God. They will go down to death. And when all the rest of the children have received their blessings in the holy priesthood, then that curse will be removed from the seed of Cain, and they will then come up and possess the priesthood, and receive all the blessings which we now are entitled to.”

      1978 we saw things change.

      1. I believe that the LDS doctrine of the preexistence is pure nazi racism.  The following is a direct quote from my patriarchal blessing given to me in the 1990s:  “You are a direct blood descendent of Ephraim.  You worked diligently in pre-earth life.  Your blessings included coming forth in a land of freedom, under favorable conditions, to parents with great love.”   (I am white, blue eyed male born in Utah County.)

        What about the child starving in Africa?  LDS doctrine of the preexistence states:   You reap what you sow.   The African child wasn’t diligent enough in the pre-earth life!

        I find it interesting that the Book of Mormon (i.e. the Fullness of the Gospel) has no reference to the preexistence.  The Bible, also, has only stretched allusions to the preexistence.  AN OMNISCIENT GOD WITH PERFECT FOREKNOWLEDGE DOES NOT EQUAL PREEXISTENCE.

        Put the doctrine of the preexistence to 2 Nephi’s “Law of Witnesses Test“.  Does it pass?   2 Nephi states that Witnesses = Nations (i.e. Book of Mormon and the Bible, 2 different nations both testifying of Christ).

        1. I don’t have a satisfactory answer to your Law of Witnesses Test, but would like to ask whether perhaps your patriarch held a “pure nazi raci[st]” belief.  This is really a question of sources.  What sources constitute LDS doctrine?  If it is only the Bible and Book of Mormon, then your post is self-contradictory (there is no doctrine of the preexistence, but it is nazi racism), so you must believe that LDS doctrine includes more than that.  Does it include your patriarch’s statements?  Or is there some statements more authoritative than your patriarch, but less than the Bible and Book of Mormon, that you can point to as being racist?                                                 

          1. At the very heart of the “negro doctrine” is the ineffectual Mormon doctrine of the preexistence.  If I am wrong, please help me.  But as I understand, the conditions and blessings that we were born into are based upon our faithfulness and valiance in the pre-earth life.  This understanding is ingrained very deeply in Mormon culture.  I shared the quote from my patriarchal blessing as an illustration.

            Another example, the following is a General Conference Quote from Sheri Dew:   “Noble and great. Courageous and determined. Faithful and fearless. That is who you are and who you have always been. And understanding it can change your life, because this knowledge carries a confidence that cannot be duplicated any other way.”

            Who is this quote referring to?  Are all God’s children born “Noble and great”?  Or are some born “Insignificant and weak”?

            I do not see how this doctrine is workable.  Additionally, I do not see how this doctrine can be harmonized with the New Testament and Book of Mormon.  I concur with Professor Hamilton, we need to get back to the Pure Gospel of Jesus Christ (3 Nephi 27: 13-23 & 3 Nephi 11:40).  I think the Church is slowly moving in that direction.  But, I don’t think it will ever make it unless it officially & publically denounces all the useless and unnecessary speculations and junk.

            The harmonious message of the New Testament and the Book of Mormon is that we can “BECOME sons and daughters of god” though Christ and the baptism of water and fire.     We are to “WHOLLY” and “ONLY” rely upon the” MERITS OF HIM” who is mighty to save (3 Nephi 31:19 & Moroni 6:4).  We are NOT to rely upon self confidence that comes from knowing that we were “Noble and great. Courageous and determined. Faithful and fearless.”

            So what is True Doctrine?  The foundation of true doctrine is solely found in the Book of Mormon and Bible.

            In April, 1521, Martin Luther appeared before his ecclesiastical accusers at the Diet of Worms.  They had given him the ultimatum to repudiate his unwavering faith in the sufficiency and clarity of the Scriptures.  Luther responded, “Unless I am convicted by Scriptures and plain reason – I do not accept the authority of popes and councils, for they have contradicted each other – my conscience is captive to the word of God… God help me!  Here I stand.”

          2. My beliefs about pre-mortal life, whether or not they are generally to be found in those two books of scripture, are these:

            All human beings (and perhaps others) have always existed, and always will, though we may progress or evolve.  Our spirit parents, Heavenly Father and Heavenly Mother, gave us our spirit bodies, which are an improvement on being spiritually disembodied.  The next step in our evolution was to grow independently from our Heavenly Parents, which included spending time in a mortal body.  This body is an improvement over our past spiritual bodies, at least in the sense that it is a necessary stage in our metamorphoses (but maybe in other ways too).  Our Heavenly Parents’ plan provided a way for us to be free to chose, apart from Them, whether to continue to evolve.  Lucifer proposed a different plan.  It wouldn’t work, and was rejected by some, accepted by others.  Some of our spirit siblings chose not to evolve, so they didn’t. Those that accepted our Parents’ plan entered (or will enter) mortality.  Nobody who rejects it ever entered mortality or ever will.  That’s a simple matter of agency. 

            All the stuff about some people being more valiant than others and being blessed becaus of it, yeah, I think that’s all garbage.  It smacks of judgment and reward/punishment rather than agenc, and I have to admit that my understanding of a loving God is based in Their honoring of our agency, and not constantly passing judgment and damning.

            But even a belief in valiance being rewarded in that way doesn’t require racism.  It was (and is in many Mormons’ minds) coupled in that way, but you could buy the whole narrative without buying that race is a way to tell who was valiant and who wasn’t.  Couldn’t you?

            Again, I think it all comes down to authority.  This may sound egocentric, but I am my own greatest authority.  Sherri Dew, Thomas S. Monson, even the Book of Mormon aren’t as authoritative to my own mind as is my own moral sense.  But, maybe I got that egocentrism from the doctrine that I have always been and always will be.  Haha!  Who knows??


    4. Sorry if this is duplicated. I’m having trouble connecting and my reply vanished, perhaps just until moderated. In any case you’re wrong:

      [edit]Attribution to human error
      Although not refuting his belief that the policy came from the Lord, apostle Spencer W. Kimballacknowledged in 1963 that it could have been brought about through an error on man’s part. In 1963, he said, “The doctrine or policy has not varied in my memory. I know it could. I know the Lord could change his policy and release the ban and forgive the possible error which brought about the deprivation.”[45]


      How Mormon doctrine becomes Mormon doctrine is a bit more complicated than you imagine. Have a read if you’re really interested in understanding the “process” if you can call it that.

  3. Not a complicated issue at all. It’s racism. Period. The backflips to explain and justify are painful to listen to. Any explanation of this other than labeling it racism is silly.

    How about the priesthood ban relative to women? Sexism. Period.

  4. I also agree that this conversation was painful to listen to.

    Brigham Young said:  “Shall I tell you the law of God in regard to the African race? If the White man who belongs to the chosen seed mixes his blood with the seed of Cain, the penalty, under the law of God, is death on the spot. This will always be so.”  Journal of Discourses, Vol. 10, p.110, 1863

    Keith said, “Brigham Young was only giving his opinion.”  But Brigham Young didn’t say “this is my opinion,” rather, he was claiming to be speaking the law of God.  He claimed to be a prophet, seer, and revelator, able to declare authoritatively the law of God, and he claimed to be exercising that power and authority.  So either Brigham made no mistake, and God is a racist, or the President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints declared a false doctrine to be a true doctrine over the pulpit in General Conference.

    Now, I don’t believe God is a racist.  I do, then, believe that sometimes even the President of the Church teaches false doctrine.  Why should that be so earth-shattering to members of the Church?  It is only hard to accept for those who want someone else to receive their revelation for them.  But if you are already in the habit of listening to what is being claimed (whether in the New York Times, or in Sunday School, or in General Conference, or in the Proclamation on the Family, or in the scriptures themselves), prayerfully studying it out in your mind, and working out your own salvation, then this stuff is manageable. 

    I don’t have to believe God is racist, or sexist, or homophobic, because I don’t believe any of that junk said about race, gender, or sexual orientation.  I don’t care what the forum, it’s all bunk.

    1. “Why should that be so earth-shattering to members of the Church?”  Because prophets only “teach false doctrine” when they are false or fallen prophets.  Period.

      If God is not racist, sexist, or homophobic, then the prophet is.  If the prophet is spewing this stuff, then he is not speaking for God, when he says he is.  This points to a false prophet.  Couple that “ah-hah” gotcha with statements to the effect that God would never allow the prophet to lead the church astray, multiplied by a factor of “hey, we are dealing with God’s children and their salvation”, and now you’ve got a real problem.

      If we just need to work it all out in our minds, then should have been offering the endowment to our black brothers and sisters in our garage, or something.  A lot of them were denied access to basic saving ordinances, let alone common respect and decency.

      We are still denying them common decency by not issuing new “revelation” denouncing the doctrine of the curse of the black skin.  No clarification of that nasty doctrine only means it still stands as God’s word on the subject.

      1. “[P]rophets only ‘teach false doctrine’ when they are false or fallen prophets. Period.”

        I don’t agree. To me, I find it hard to see the difference between this kind of black-and-white thinking and the kind that says that if a general authority of the church says Prop 8 is good, I have to support it.  My approach is very different.  Nothing said is immediately persuasive to me.  If at some point in my life, the President of the Church purports to speak the direct words of the Lord (based on past experience, I doubt this will ever happen again, or at least in my lifetime), I would take it very seriously. I would be very diligent in seeking affirmation from the Spirit.  But unless that happens, I will continue to seek truth from a variety of sources.  I can continue to sustain the President of the Church as a prophet, seer, and revelator, even if I disagree with even the most authoritative things he says, as long as he isn’t purporting to be prophesying, seeing, or revealing new information/doctrine.

        David murdered Uriah, Joseph Smith either committed adultery or just had sex with
        lots and lots of women, depending on your point of view, but that doesn’t mean they were no longer prophets.  Being a prophet isn’t a sign of righteousness, nor is it a sign or correctness.  In all my temple recommend interviews, I’ve never been asked whether I believed the President of the Church was not a murderer, an adulterer, or infallible. 
        Rather, did I recognize his authority to direct the Church?  That’s an easy question for me to answer.

        1. The problem is, it isn’t my thinking that is black and white (or yours, as you say regarding prop 8), it is the church’s.  There is no allowance amongst the leadership for prophets misspeaking when it comes to God’s word.  It is the prophets themselves, and scripture, that define fallen and false prophets.  That isn’t my definition.  The scriptures and the prophets are the ones who are black and white.

          Saying that God won’t allow Blacks to have the priesthood until the Millenium, then giving them the priesthood before then, means that God is NOT the same today, yesterday and forever, and He DOES change his mind.  Or it means that the prophets were wrong in either the first place or in making the change.  This isn’t just policy.  We are talking about saving ordinances for God’s children, salvific issues here.  So which is it?  Who was wrong?

          You say that the prophet can say things you disagree with as long as it isn’t doctrine is problematic because we just don’t know what is prophecy or doctrine.  Noone says “Thus sayeth the Lord” anymore.  So do we now get to pick and choose doctrine, and call the rest “policy” on our own?

          David (and Joseph Smith) wasn’t a prophet, he was a King (so was JS, look it up).  I never have asked that prophets be perfectly righteous, but if they say their words are God’s words, don’t tell me later they were wrong but still prophets.  If you do so, you are admitting that God does change his mind.  Back full circle now.

          As for TR interviews, I recognize TSM’s authority to direct the church, too.  So does the the rest of the world who aren’t members of the church.

          1. I’m not going to dedicate the time necessary to respond to every point, but the short response is this:

            (1)  I believe in a changing God
            (2)  I’m eagerly awaiting “Thus sayeth the Lord” to precede something coming out of Thomas S. Monson’s mouth.  Seriously.  Until then, he’s just an old guy to me.  I like his stories.  He reminds me of my dad (who I miss terribly).
            (3)  Find me the strongest single “Thus sayeth the Lord” racist/sexist/homophobic statement you can find, and I’ll be glad to respond to it.  Partly that’s because I don’t think you’ll find anything harsher than I’ve already dealt with, and partly that’s because I hope you will find something harsher so that I can reexamine the issue.  I think it’s healthy to do once in a while.                                                   

  5. I just saw a Washington Post poll shoing a head-to-head between Obama and Romney, with Romeny beating Obama 49% to 46%.  If Romney wins the nomination, every racist thing ever said over the pulpit will come out, and the fact that none of this has been retracted will create immense pressure on the Church.  For instance, questions like “Has any revelation on racial inter-marriage superceded the law of God as declared by Brigham Young?” will be common.

    1. I agree John. Just as Obama took a beating over the things said by his Pastor, Jeremiah Wright, Romney will have to endure the same treatment.

      1. I’m not sure whether turnabout is fair play, or whether two wrongs don’t make a right.  But if he wins the primary, he will have to answer for Brigham Young’s racism, not just his own.                                                 

    2. You are right.  Its an interesting problem.  I am sure he has capable people who have already worked on it or are working on it.  

      1. I’d bet he has some of his best working on it, but I doubt they’ll come up with a satisfactory answer as judged by the voters.  This will be very difficult to deal with.                                                   

  6. I just saw a Washington Post poll shoing a head-to-head between Obama and Romney, with Romeny beating Obama 49% to 46%.  If Romney wins the nomination, every racist thing ever said over the pulpit will come out, and the fact that none of this has been retracted will create immense pressure on the Church.  For instance, questions like “Has any revelation on racial inter-marriage superceded the law of God as declared by Brigham Young?” will be common.

  7. This episode was a terrible failure. I couldn’t bear to listen to the second half.  Too much arguing but not enough substance.  Poor moderation.  Poor panel selection.

    1. I hope this is kosher; please forgive me if not. I am copying here a comment and my response to it from one of the Facebook discussions, as it addresses similar feelings to what “Guest” has expressed.

      From Jed Hill over on the FB thread:
      just listened to the podcast and was a bit let down. There was no real
      direction to the debate and Keith seemed to dominate the discussion.
      However is was a good subject and it was quite a lively debate.

      My reply:
      for the note, Jed. I agree with you that the discussion got bogged down
      at times and also wandered a lot. Also that much of it felt like 3
      against 1 (Keith) who didn’t want to give in at all that God’s will was
      being thwarted by human beings. As I
      alluded to in the write-up on the site, however, in listening, I felt
      privileged to be able to listen in on their conversation. I may even
      have needed the two hours-plus total length to “hear” beyond just the
      words and arguments to the point where I could even barely begin to
      imagine their deep feelings and thought and faith worlds–so different
      in many ways from my own. Even as I’ve considered myself pretty well
      informed about the ban and revelation ending it, I haven’t had to really
      “live” the tensions they have. There were times when I found myself
      listening and wanting to call time out and ask a “Really?!” kind of
      question, but in the end I’m glad I wasn’t part of the conversation. I
      think sometimes we just need to hear and let others experience wash over
      us and seep in and become part of us. As we do, these experiences of
      others, whether we fully understand them or not, become part of the way
      we see or talk about things in the future. That’s what this podcast has
      done for me, and I’m grateful to Dustin putting it together for us.

      1. Dan,
        This is a wonderful response.  I agree, despite the fact that the podcast was a little difficult to listen to, it provided a interesting window of perspective for me.  And thanks to Dustin for being willing to tackle this issue…we all need a little gentleness our first time =)

  8. Oh…and btw, the title of this piece is misleading.

    The LDS Church has never moved beyond the negro doctrine. It won’t and it can’t unless and until it explicitly denounces past racist teachings, identifies them for what they were and apologizes for them.

    The LDS Church wasn’t just racist in the past, it is racist in the present: it continues to allow the perception that God, himself, is racist. You can’t move beyond that.

  9. I also agree that this was difficult to listen to.  Not because of the subject matter, but the simple lack of respect a couple of the panelists had for each other.  In the future, they need to shut up and listen, or the moderator needs to step in and turn off their microphones. 

    1. Hi Mark,

      Thanks for your comment. Let me just jump in with a bit of a look behind the curtain on the tech side of producing these. The four panelists were all in separate places joined through a Skype conference call, so there was no real ability for them to see facial expressions, watch hand signals, etc, to know when the other was about to jump in (or to signal them that they are maybe going a bit long and it’s time to yield the floor), and this set up also made it impossible moderator turn off someone’s mic. Dustin’s voice was recorded on one track while Darron, Marguerite, and Keith were all being recorded on a second track, but the same track as each other. I don’t agree with you that the panelists didn’t have respect for each other–I heard and felt they all liked and admired each other even in their differences–but I totally agree with the problem of their often talking over each other. A lot of passion, for sure…. In post production, if I could have I would have definitely worked hard on those spots where we couldn’t really tell what one person was saying because of the others speaking at the same time.


  10. Thanks for the feedback.  I don’t intend this to be the last conversation on this topic.  As the moderator, I take responsibility for the quality of the dialogue or lack thereof.  Keep the comments coming.  This is NOT a topic that I shy away from.  There will be future discussions on this and related topics.  

    1. Dustin I think you did a good job, but I agree it was difficult to listen to because of the talking over of each other.  It honestly gave me a little bit of a headache and at least a little bit of it seemed to be quibbling over semantics. 

    2.  One further thought for you Dustin.  How much did you guys talk about the goals, direction etc., of the podcast before you started?  I wonder if that might have helped a bit.  An outline maybe?

    3. Hi Dustin,

      I am really looking forward to other discussions led by you. Thanks for your efforts. This is of great (and personal) interest to me so please keep them coming.
      Quick question, if I may – if you could wave a magic wand, what would you like the end result to be for you, your family and the Church on this subject? What would bring you that internal peace?

      Thanks again.

    4. Just reading up on you sir. Have a gander at some of my ramblings on the negro priesthood ban and how Mormon doctrine is defined in general at my novel-online blog effort at http://lrwhitney.wordpress.com/ and let me know just how full of crap I am. I’m a big boy. I can take it in the name of furthering the cause of truth, justice, and the American Mormon way… 

  11. Hi,

    First time writing in this blog, so forgive me if I make mistakes and sorry for the long post.
    Just to be clear – I am an active black member, who joined the church in the early seventies. I remember watching my white friends of the same age, being ordained and able to pass the sacrament, while I sat behind them and watched. I was never ordained a deacon (due to the restriction), but I was ordained a teacher.

    I also listened to Dustin’s podcast the other day, so I think I understand his thoughts on this matter (with the sometimes ‘mental gymnastics’ one has to perform when asked ‘the question’).

    As ‘Guest’ stated above, I also had a hard time listening to this podcast (and I normally really enjoy them). I think one of the issues was that no-one seemed to know the Mormon black history well enough to definitively make a statement that everyone could agree on. Too much time was spent going back and forth trying to clarify each point. For a subject so sensitive (and especially on the anniversary), maybe Margaret Young or Darius Gray could have participated, just to keep everyone on the right track, historically wise. I believe having an understanding of the historical events were critical to this discussion.

    I found myself very frustrated listening to some of the statements that didn’t make sense, or were ‘cherry picked’ to fit the argument. One contributor stated he had read every book on the matter. I don’t think so. Certainly his contribution showed me it was more an emotional argument than evidential. And to use the line ‘when I was a Bishop’ is a low blow, in my opinion.

    I’m not sure whether the objective, ‘Moving Beyond the “Negro Doctrine'”, was achieved with this podcast. Not sure I believe it can be, for the following reasons:
    1) Me – I am being asked to ‘move on’. This can be difficult when the underlying doctrines have not changed, only the policy.   How can I move on when the Church won’t or won’t let me (see 3)?
    2) Members – I am still asked by close faithful white member friends why I continued in the faith when Blacks could not hold the priesthood. I remember not having the priesthood, so it is a question they feel is worth asking. But how am I supposed to move on? I do not believe that members can move on, when you still have the issue with 3 (below).
    3) The ‘Church’ – No official statement has been made by the Church on this in regards to writings by previous prophets. I do not think the Church wants to discuss this – so the church is between a rock and a hard place. If they say that President Young was wrong on this, what else was he wrong on? So prophets can lead the people of the Church astray? But what about The 14 Fundamentals? Please note that with OD1 and OD2 there were no changes to the Doctrine. So while these doctrines and teachings are still in place, it can be used to hit the black members with; explicitly by non-members, implicitly by members. Sometimes I feel beaten up by it all. And yet I stay faithful because I know the Gospel is true!

    Which brings me back to 1). I am asked to answer for the Church, because faithful members can’t find anything about it from the Church as the Church is silent on this matter (which leaves everyone speculating as to the reasoning). And when they do find something from Church sponsored sources, it’s statements from people like Presidents Young and Taylor, or Elders Pratt and Stapley.

    I believe there was an element of racism in the early days of the restored Church. I spoke with a good friend of mine (who is white) from New Zealand about this some time ago. He told me that the New Zealanders all thought this restriction doctrine was due to blatant racism in the 70’s. Why – because they had holders of the priesthood who were Aborigines  – and they were blacker than any of us.

    I also believe a lot of healing can happen if the Church was to formally apologise….

    1. Dear Undercover Brother,

      Thank you, very much, for sharing your thoughts and experiences with us! Please stick around and stay engaged as the conversation continues to unfold! I want to hear more from you.

      And I join you in hoping the church will renounce and apologize for the racist speculations and ugly speech and actions of the past and all the harmful ways they have affected so many people. May it come soon and help with the healing you hope….


    2. I like a lot of what you say — -particularly I like the words of experience.

      However, I have a question for you.   

      What do you think is a good reason for giving an apology?  

      I don’t think this is exactly as shallow a question as it sounds. 

      In essence it boils down to this:  

      Was there ANY reasonable or good reason for the ban at any time?

      If not — then how do you account for the fact that in other dispensations there were such bans according to the Scriptures?  Are you expecting the Church to reject the Scriptures in that case?

      If there was some reasonable and good reason for the ban at least some of the time but not at other times, then how do you tease out the point where it was reasonable and the point where it was not reasonable?   

      What EXACTLY is it that you feel the Church should apologize for?

      1. I’ll take the bait.  Although I was never denied the priesthood, I feel the Church owes me an apology.

        A good reason for giving an apology is when you do something you shouldn’t have done, and it hurts somebody.

        Was there ANY reasonable or good reason for the ban at any time?  No.

        Could you please provide some evidence of the ban being in place in other dispensations, rather than just referring to is as a fact?  But even assuming, for the sake of argument, that you’re right, that ‘fact’ could be explained by saying that previous dispensations were racist too.  The Nephites could be (and almost certainly were) racist and the Book of Mormon still be scripture.  Same with the Bible.  And even if there’s some passage that seems to suggest that the Lord is the author of the ban, well, even “the most correct book on earth” doesn’t claim to be perfect.  But in order to know what kind of explanation we’re dealing with, we would need you to make explicit what scriptural evidence you find for the ban in previous dispensations.

        If there was some reasonable and good reason for the ban at least some of the time…  I’ve already answered no, so I don’t need to go down that road with you.  If someone else wants to follow that branch of your questioning, then you could argue it with her/him, but I rejected the premise.

        And what EXACTLY…?  They should apologize for the hurt they caused for teaching a racist false doctrine, and also for the hurt they have continued to cause for not apologizing, and indeed for never rejecting other racist false doctrines they have never disavowed.

        1. As far as I can tell, you are engaging in the black and white thinking I alluded to in my post at the top of the page. 

          Did you read that post?I personally think the ban was inspired by God — for good reasons. 

            My thinking has nothing to do with racism in me.   

          If you need some detail on my thinking about this, I can give it to you, but having gone into such discussions before, I tend to not be interested in doing that because usually the other party is entrenched and unyielding.

          Incidentally, I also  think that racism (mixed marriage concerns) was always a part of the reason it continued for most of its history.  I am not bothered by that.  I don’t feel inclined to judge people in the past by standards of today.
          I think that there was a point where the ban did become unreasonable.  But to me finding that exact point is hard to determine.  So to me, it is very hard to see where an apology comes into play.As far as apologizing for hurt — who did they hurt?  Members who believed or Non-Members who did not believe?Should they also apologize for never considering me for the Quorum of the Twelve simply because I am not in the “in” crowd?   I would hope not.    

          1. Hi Charles,

            Thanks for your questions and I hope I can answer them to
            your satisfaction. If not, by all means respond and I will endeavour to do
            more. Again, my apologies for the long response.

            You stated that you believe that the ‘ban was inspired by
            God – for good reasons’. I do not believe that is the case.

            This is what Elder Holland said on the subject:

            “One clear-cut position is that the folklore must never
            be perpetuated. … I have to concede to my earlier colleagues. … They, I’m
            sure, in their own way, were doing the best they knew to give shape to [the
            policy], to give context for it, to give even history to it. All I can say is
            however well intended the explanations were, I think almost all of them were
            inadequate and/or wrong. …

            It probably 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. But some explanations
            were given and had been given for a lot of years. … At the very least, there
            should be no effort to perpetuate those efforts to explain why that doctrine
            existed. I think, to the extent that I know anything about it, as one of the
            newer and younger ones to come along, … we simply do not know why that
            practice, that policy, that doctrine was in place.“

            I would like to hear your response as to why you think the
            ban was inspired, and for what good reason. To help, it would be good if you
            could look at writings from Lester Bush, Armand Mauss, Darius Gray, Margaret
            Young or Alma Allred, to name but a few. In fact, Alma Young wrote a chapter in
            the book, ‘Black and Mormon’, which answers your question re: Abraham 1:26, 27
            better than I can.

            You stated, ‘As far as apologizing for hurt — who did they
            hurt?’ Well my response is, ‘You had to be there’. As a 12 year old without the
            priesthood, I watched my older black friends leave the Church in droves as they
            found out they could not do the things their white friends could. It was tough for
            me to witness and for my youth leaders as well. The lifting of the ban came in
            time for me, but it was not in time for them. I am so grateful that I did not
            have to make the decision some of my friends had to.  I did not have to go through the Revelation Vs
            Reason conflict as my friends did. I do admire my older black friends who remained
            active while this was going on. I can only imagine the ‘hurt’ they, their
            families and friends were feeling and continue to feel.

            Your question – ‘What do you think is a good reason for
            giving an apology?’  I mentioned a few reasons in my previous paragraph,
            but here’s some more from my perspective and I mean regarding the ‘Negro Doctrine’.
            What about for the teachings of Brigham Young, John Taylor, Bruce R. McConkie (who
            wrote Mormon Doctrine – the greatest anti-Mormon literature in our time, in my
            view. It is so sad visiting members homes and seeing it on their bookshelf, or
            hearing quotes from it in sacrament meetings), Harold B. Lee (who stated that Blacks
            would not hold the priesthood as long as he was alive), Mark E Petersen, Delbert
            L Stapley?  Do you want me to continue? When
            you read what President McKay was trying to do to know the Lord’s will on this during
            his tenure as President and compare and contrast that with Elder Lee’s comments
            and behaviour is there any wonder why the ban continued for so long? What about
            the ‘mixed marriage concerns’? Those ‘concerns’ are still found on the Lds.org
            website and is currently taught to our youth (Aaronic Priesthood Manual 3). What
            about the ‘curse of Cain doctrine’ being in total conflict with Articles of Faith
            2? While these things continue, either under the surface from previous statements
            or now in the Church classrooms, we still have a problem. And we, the black
            members’ are being asked to deal with it. It’s like the abused being asked to
            move on by the abuser and then being asked why the abuser should apologise. Unless
            you have been abused or watched someone else being abused it is so hard to
            explain, but don’t you think these things hurt? It is only because of my deep,
            personal testimony of this Gospel that I remain. Else why remain? I hope that
            my examples above help.

            Please don’t get me wrong. I love this Church; in spite of
            its flaws (please note that I differentiate the Church and the Gospel) and in
            spite of the hurt it causes. I know with all of my heart that God himself will
            only move as fast as we will let Him. And this is the same for a parent with
            responsibility for his/her children, a Home Teacher with responsibilities for
            his families, or a Prophet with responsibility for the Lord’s Church. Please read
            D&C 1: 24-28 for an understanding on how the Lord Himself deals with this.  And please read 2 Nephi 26: 33. This verse has
            been of great comfort to me. I hope it can be to you.

          2. That was a long reply.  I want to look at it in some detail.  I appreciate your efforts to respond.   

            Two other things that I appreciate that are perhaps subtle but I appreciate them far more deeply than the automatic gratitude of getting a reply and the less automatic but more sincere gratitude for getting such a detailed and thought out response are these:

            1.  Gratitude for your example of Faith.  I wrote a long bit here about some experiences I have had and so forth that as a result make me feel a kinship with people who have struggled and come out faithful.  But I have deleted it as too self serving, maudlin and uninteresting.  
            Bottom Line is this:  I am very grateful for examples of Faith because I don’t feel alone when I see them.This is true even if I do not agree with folks on specifics about what they believe.  I have come to value faith and loyalty above “mere” doctrine.  Although we may not have shared exactly the same issues and problems, I feel in my heart that we are brothers in Faith and Adversity and I am grateful to not be alone in that.2.  I am also grateful for what seems to me to be at least a partial ability to be open to other ideas.  Although I can tell that you have strong views and opinions, I don’t get the impression you just throw things out because you don’t agree with them. (Having just met you, I could be wrong, but I prefer to see you in that light!).   I am grateful to talk with someone of at least a partial open mind on the subject.When I say “open mind” — I don’t just mean open to progressive liberalization of Church policies.  I also mean open to the idea that politically incorrect ideas of the past may not have been exactly wrong — even if we find them unsatisfying now.As for myself, I do not consider myself to be exactly “open” to new ideas in the sense that I will abandon something I already believe to accept something new — on a whim.  But I can often incorporate new ideas along with prior ideas in what I hope are flexible ways.============While I want to reply in further detail later, I also want to address a couple of things quickly.

            * I like and agree with Elder Holland’s talk. While I used some of these arguments “back in the day”, I dropped them pretty quickly as they seemed somehow unsatisfying and I was left with simply “I do not know, but we have a hope it will change”.  I think the main reason I found the reasons unsatisfying was that these various stories and thoughts were too general and too broad.  Grouping specific individuals that you can talk to face to face in with a faceless lump of theoretical possibilities of  “Why the Ban”  just somehow didn’t resonate in my heart.  The ONLY reason that ever felt comfortable at the time was “Through history most people were denied the Priesthood, today almost everyone is and someday everyone will be”.  I saw it as an expansion process under the direction of God according to how He felt the work was going in the world.   This made sense to me.  It still does.

            But, the talk and your response raise this one question: Regardless of the reason for the Ban, and even if there is no apology for the doctrine itself, should there be an apology for the arguments made to explain it?  

            Lets make this more abstract.

            Should the Church apologize when members and leaders in a spirit of faith make intellectual efforts to reconcile their beliefs -in ANY area –  to explain them to the world, if later revelation or insights shows those efforts to be wrong?   Is this really what the Church should do?

            I’m not sure.  

            But I have a test that if I knew the answer to this question it would clarify the issue for me AT ONCE.  “Would doing so make the work of the on-going restoration and spreading of the Gospel of Jesus Christ more successful or less successful?”  

            If I knew the answer to that question, I would immediately know where I would stand on the matter.  (I am not looking for speculations or opinions on that answer by the way).

            If going back and re-banning the priesthood from blacks, whites or anyone — for a reason of “just because” — would serve the cause of the Restoration more than current policy, I would be all over it.  If declaring Brigham Young had horns and worshiped the Devil would serve the cause of the Restoration more than the current policy — I’d be on that too. If tattooing me purple, placing me up on a stage and announcing to the world that I could not be spoken to ever again would serve the cause of the Restoration, I would say “What are we waiting for?”.  But knowing what will be best for the cause of the Restoration is not something I can fathom — and more importantly, IT IS NOT MY JOB. This is the job of the President and the Apostles.  If they get it wrong — they have to answer to Christ, not to me.  At best, all I can do is open the idea to them.  But they have the responsibility — and I have the responsibility to sustain them or get out of the way at the very least.
            ====I will answer your question about what I think were good reasons a bit later.  I have one request though:  I do not have access to this book by Alma Young. Can you summarize her points with regard to Abraham 1: 26-27?  (I have my own by the way).

            Thanks for all your reply and your Faithful Example.

          3. The sons of Noah who came out of the ark were Shem, Ham and Japheth. (Ham was the father of Canaan.) These were the three sons of Noah, and from them came the people who were scattered over the whole earth.Noah, a man of the soil, proceeded to plant a vineyard. When he drank some of its wine, he became drunk and lay uncovered inside his tent. Ham, the father of Canaan, saw his father naked and told his two brothers outside. But Shem and Japheth took a garment and laid it across their shoulders; then they walked in backward and covered their father’s naked body. Their faces were turned the other way so that they would not see their father naked.When Noah awoke from his wine and found out what his youngest son had done to him, he said,“Cursed be Canaan!The lowest of slaves will he be to his brothers.”He also said,“Praise be to the LORD, the God of Shem! May Canaan be the slave of Shem. May God extend Japheth’s territory;may Japheth live in the tents of Shem,and may Canaan be the slave of Japheth.”After the flood Noah lived 350 years. Noah lived a total of 950 years, and then he died.When you understand what was going on in this exchange, come back.

          4. I accept that God’s ways are not our ways and God may offend us from time to time.  I am prepared to be offended and remain faithful.   I am not a P.C. kind of person.

            Having said that, your post inviting me to leave until I understood the subtext of your message is a bit unkind.

          5. I’ll go one step further and say that quoting the Biblical passage used for centuries to justify slavery, and that continue to be used by white supremists, and then critically refer to the concept of polical correctness, and then quote the most ominous thing Joseph ever said???  If I had to guess, I’d say that your racism goes beyond my ability to comprehend.                                              

          6. Now you are beginning to understand why nobody in position of authority will make any comment on this subject.  

            This topic is beyond the ability of the untested and uneducated masses to comprehend.  In a less “PC era” leaders would from time to time explain what was going on, that’s not possible any longer.  If you don’t believe the Bretheren are “inspired” just imagine where the church would be w/o the change in policy in 1978.

            I’ll just say one more thing.  If you believe there are 3 degrees of glory in the next existence, do you believe there could possibly be 3 degrees of glory in whatever state you were in before you came to this earth?

            18 Howbeit that he made the greater star; as, also, if there be two spirits, and one shall be more intelligent than the other, yet these two spirits, notwithstanding one is more intelligent than the other, have no beginning; they existed before, they shall have no end, they shall exist after, for they are gnolaum, or eternal.   19 And the Lord said unto me: These two facts do exist, that there are two spirits, one being more intelligent than the other; there shall be another more intelligent than they; I am the Lord thy God, I am more intelligent than they all. 

            So, we’re back to step 1, you tell me why some people are born black, and I’ll explain to you why it matters.

          7. Whoa!  What the heck is going on here?!  Go take your KKK rhetoric back to Fox News and the Washington Times.                                                   

          8. Go up to the top, read the statement I posted by the 1st Presidency, circa August 17, 1949.

            I see you working. Your response is typical of people who have been through the “self-esteem curriculum” and brainwashing of our modern education system. Whenever confronted with information you find uncomfortable, attempt to besmirch the messenger.

          9. That’s the most racist argument I’ve ever heard personally.                                                   

          10. I’ve enjoyed your comments up until you maligned Fox news and Washington times, give me a break. You marginalize yourself with comments like that.

          11. The profile of the person I was addressing shows that s/he posts on both Fox News and the Washington Times.  I could have told him/her to keep his racist arguments to the SL Tribune (where s/he posts the most), but I read the Tribune and don’t want to run across this garbage again.                                    

          12. oh my!  i’ve linked over from the drudge report to couple of articles on The washington post and a couple to the FOX news websites and made a total of 6 comments there, out of a total of over 700.  You are like a walking talking point for the uniformed masses among us.

          13. I
            believe what pumped_up_kicks is referring to in the Genesis passages
            are the institution of the races of men that were preserved by God
            through the flood. Through Shem, Japheth and Ham descended the
            Semitic(Shemitic), Gentile and Cainanite peoples. The priesthood was not
            made available to the descendants of Ham as made clear in the Book of
            Abraham 1:26-27.

            reason for this ban on the priesthood is best explained in my research
            in the journal of Mosiah Hancock. If you are not familiar with the
            vision, it explains in detail the events in the pre-existence. The
            consequences of the pre-existence also breaks into 3 main categories.
            Those who opposed the plan of the Savior, those who fought for it and
            those who stood by and took no part in the war in heaven.

            is taught in Sunday school the fate of those who fought for and against
            the plan of salvation. Even the mention of a third group though is not
            taught. By not fighting for or against, this faction would not forfeit
            their first estate but would be hindered in mortality with respect to
            the priesthood.

            thoughts of the early church leaders on this such as the quotes by
            Brigham Young I have read posted in these responses, were that until
            every worthy male that had fought for their first estate had an
            opportunity to accept the priesthood the Cainanites would not be

            Salvation is free to all both young and old, free and bond, black and
            white, the right to the priesthood was to have restriction. If the
            Mormon doctrine of the pre-existence is true then there is a justifiable
            reason for the conditions of the priesthood.

            of your brethren is a sinful and venomous. To use a doctrine even if it
            is true to perpetuate hatred undermines the foundations of the gospel.

            is a topic with no easy answer. I wish to encourage any one black that
            has a testimony of the restored gospel to press forward with hope and
            love and I extend those same virtues toward you.

          14. The sons of Noah who came out of the ark were Shem, Ham and Japheth. (Ham was the father of Canaan.) These were the three sons of Noah, and from them came the people who were scattered over the whole earth.Noah, a man of the soil, proceeded to plant a vineyard. When he drank some of its wine, he became drunk and lay uncovered inside his tent. Ham, the father of Canaan, saw his father naked and told his two brothers outside. But Shem and Japheth took a garment and laid it across their shoulders; then they walked in backward and covered their father’s naked body. Their faces were turned the other way so that they would not see their father naked.When Noah awoke from his wine and found out what his youngest son had done to him, he said,“Cursed be Canaan!The lowest of slaves will he be to his brothers.”He also said,“Praise be to the LORD, the God of Shem! May Canaan be the slave of Shem. May God extend Japheth’s territory;may Japheth live in the tents of Shem,and may Canaan be the slave of Japheth.”After the flood Noah lived 350 years. Noah lived a total of 950 years, and then he died.When you understand what was going on in this exchange, come back.

        2. You asked about references to the ban in other dispensations.  I didn’t cover that in the post below.

          Try taking a look at Abraham Chapter 1: 26-27.  See what it says there.  Its pretty plain. 

          1. Yeah, I reject that passage.  It may have been denied to certain lineages, but such a denial was certainly not proper.  Rawls is much more persuasive than whoever wrote the Book of Abraham.                                                 

          2. You asked for evidence — I gave it to you.  

            You didn’t like the evidence, so you malign it.

            This is not honest dialog.

            You claim it was not proper.  But…You are no one in authority on this matter.  
            And as you reject that passage, I reject your rejection.  When I asked the question, I was really trying to get information from someone who was still a believer.   I know that non-believers will have non-believing answers and I can figure those out for myself.  

          3. It is honest dialog.  You asked a question about how I deal with the ban in other dispensations, I asked for an example, you provided it, and I answered your question honestly.  I am no one in authority to speak for the Church on this matter, and I haven’t claimed to be.  But I am an authority to speak for myself on this matter, which is what I have done.  I am a believer, but not in your brand of Mormonism.  (And perhaps your brand of Mormonism is the ‘authorized’ brand held by 99% of Mormons.  I’m not trying to malign it, I’m just saying I believe in another view of Mormonism.)

          4. As far as I can tell what you have “honestly” said is that you deal with the ban in other dispensations by rejecting that they occurred.

            I have no idea what a “brand”of Mormonism is.  I have never met two Mormons that were exactly the same in thoughts. 

            When I said “a believer” I was not speaking about “belief” as an abstraction.  I was referring to someone who believes that the Scriptures, particularly those from Joseph Smith, are inspired of God and that the only legitimate authority to promulgate the Gospel has been committed to the Church of Jesus Christ of latter-day Saints.

          5. How did you come to the conclusion that the way I “deal with the ban in other dispensations” is “by rejecting that they occurred”?  What I said was “It may have been denied to certain lineages, but such a denial was certainly not proper.”  How is that a rejection that it occurred?

            Assuming that the Book of Abraham is historic, rather than some other form of scripture (and we have parable, alegory, and sermon that come immediately to mind), all Abraham 1:26-27 shows is (a) that Noah cursed Pharoah as pertaining to the Priesthood, and that (2) Abraham (or whoever wrote the chapter) believed that Pharoah was of a lineage that denied him the right to the priesthood.  Where is the passage where God says “Pharoah, you can’t have the priesthood because of your lineage”?  

            Even without arguing over a bunch of other things that I could pick apart in this passage, all it shows is that Noah and Abraham were racist.  Holding such an interpretation isn’t logically inconsistent with your definition of believer:  “someone who believes that the Scriptures, particularly those from Joseph Smith, are inspired of God and that the only legitimate authority to promulgate the Gospel has been committed to the Church of Jesus Christ of latter-day Saints.”  Even if there are no translation errors in Abraham 1:26-27, you can believe it is a true statement about what Noah did (perhaps without authority to do so), or what may have been the practice in Abraham’s day, without believing that either was God’s will.  Furthermore, even the book of scripture that claims to be the most correct book on earth does not claim to be perfect, and in fact goes further to affirmatively claim to have mistakes.  And neither Joseph Smith nor Thomas S. Monson ever, to my knowledge, claimed to be infallable or perfect. 

  12. Just a wild theory, but if, as some people allude to, including this sister in the podcast, and Thurl Bailey, and others of African extraction, who have had similar spiritual experiences about this.  It seems that people in the church needed spiritual preparation for the ban to be lifted.  The spirit of the Lord had to work on them to so that they would be ready.  It seems that people in the Church may actually need some preparation for an apology to come from the Church.  Perhaps the “they aren’t ready” thing applies to people in the church who are not ready for the church to make an apology, which would introduce a doctrine that the brethren are “sometimes” wrong but mostly on the right track from a 10000 foot viewpoint.  I see the movements on the internet such as the Open Mormon/NOM/Whatever Mormon you are movement as being instrumental in preparing the way for that very apology, because ideas are beginning to circulate that the brethren are wrong sometimes, which pragmatically is closer to reality than we are usually taught in a correlated way.  But the way I see it, the regular Chapel mormons are simply “not ready” for an apology, because they are not as advanced in their thinking as Open Mormons are, or as Open Mormons have had to become out of necessity, whatever an Open Mormon is.  I would say an Open Mormon is anyone on the spectrum that exists outside of Chapel Mormonism.  I am hesitant to include people who have left the church in my own personal definition of Open Mormon.

      1. You are incorrect.  That theory does not fit the definition of the word “racist”.  It may, however be something else such as “elitist” or “arrogant”.

        1. I used to hold a belief about the ban that ran something like Person’s “wild theory.”  As I learned more about race theory, I recognized my own thinking as racist.  And although racism isn’t the end of the world (my racist grandmother was still a very good person), we should reject it.

          I also agree that the theory is elitist and arrogant.                                         

    1. “Do what is right and let the consequence follow.”

      If members aren’t ready to acknowledge blatant racism is wrong and the church was wrong to promote it then the church has some serious problems with its “Christian” membership. The argument of political expediency is a non-factor when you are supposed to believe that God leads the church.

  13. Listening to part 1, had to take a break.  I have about 10 minutes to go on that one.   Overall, I am actually enjoying the back-and-forth going on, although sometimes I want to jump in and interrupt myself.  Like the fact that Keith takes something Brigham Young said and minimizes it by saying it was an opinion, and then when President Kimball says the policy is the Lord’s will, that IS the Lord’s will.  It is seeming a little disorganized at times, but I am still enjoying listening overall.  

    Just one thing, though, and this is for part 1 (I will return and report on part 2)…. where’s Darron?  Did you just invite him to listen while everyone else discussed?  I kept waiting for him to say something, but I was disappointed…  

  14. No pun or metaphor intended here — but is “Black and White” thinking on this issue really necessary, valid, effective or correct?

    By “Black and White” thinking I mean this sort of thing:

    1.  The Ban on the Priesthood was right from the start, a revelation from God and it was how God wanted it right up until 1978.

    2.  The Ban on the Priesthood was, right from the start, nothing but egregious and purposeless racism by ordinary men and God had nothing to do with it.

    Statement 1 was more politically correct for many many years.  Now it is not.  Statement 2 is now ore politically correct these days.   Does that mean that Statement 1 is certainly wrong and Statement 2 is certainly right?  Or is there any chance that we might be fooling ourselves (again?) with black and white thinking?

    1. (by the way, my questions were not intended for people who have already made the decision that the Church is false — I am more interested in the answers from people who accept the Church)

      1. Hi Charles,
        I might be missing something here, but this does not make sense to me. Who said that Statement 1 was ever correct? Who said it was a revelation from God? I know the brethren said it needed a revelation to overturn the ban, but that is not the same as saying the ban itself came by way of revelation. If your starting point is wrong, how are you going to get it right? BTW – If there was a revelation I would like to read it.
        I think your statement 2 is incorrect as well. ‘… purposeless racism by ordinary men’? I don’t think so. These were men trying to do the very best that they could within the sometime difficult circumstances. I just do not believe they were correct on this matter. But it does not affect my testimony of the truthfulness of the Gospel. I have learned (by sometimes sad experience) to trust in the arm of the Lord.
        I don’t think it’s a case of political correctness. To my mind the evidence starts getting in the way.
        Joseph Smith taught it – no, he did not and many black men held the priesthood and served missions during Joseph Smith’s time. It’s due to the curse of Cain ‘doctrine’ – no, this was opinion and contradicts A of Faith 2. It’s backed up by this scripture or that scripture – no, this was an opinion to back up the ‘doctrine’.  It was the doctrine of the Church – no, President David O McKay stated that the position on ordination of blacks was ‘policy’, not ‘doctrine’ and that the practice would someday be changed.  Ah, it’s because you were ‘fence sitters’ – no, again, an opinion and we know very little that has been revealed about the pre-existent state of man. It’s because God wanted it that way – now that is possible, but looking at what the brethren have written on the subject it seems more likely that man wanted it that way.
        God the Father and His son, Jesus Christ are perfect Gentlemen. They will not come in unless invited.

        1. Statement 1 was adhered to by many people up to and beyond 1978.    Surely you know this.

          Statement 2 is postulated by many people today.  Surely you know this.

          These are black and white points of view aren’t they?

          1. Hi Charles,

            I think I better understand where you are coming from now. I guess I was trying to say these are not the only ones that could be considered by some to be ‘black and white points of view’. For example, I don’t remember anyone saying it was a ‘revelation from God’ (that would be far too ‘absolute’); other terms were used (see the list I provided, for examples). So many things were postulated by so many people as ‘black and white’ statements up to and subsequent to 1978 and even today, like you said.

            There is a chance that we might fool ourselves, but only if we allow our thinking (or reason) to override what has been spiritually revealed to us by God by the power of the Holy Ghost (reason and revelation will always have a level of conflict on this subject, I think, until we receive further light and knowledge). To me, that is the true test of faith.  It takes effort, patience, prayer, study and having unshakeable faith in the character of Christ.
            This is my own personal ‘black and white’ view. Others may differ.

  15. I just wanted to point out that claiming that God was behind the priesthood ban is the worst strategy I can think of.  Defending God’s racism is far more difficult than defending Brigham Young’s.  If we try to bite the bullet and claim that the racism was cosmically justified, I think we’ll lose our teeth.

    1. I would much prefer to hang out with atheists and agnostics, or anyone else who thinks this universe is governed by nothing more than probabilities, etc., than to hand out with anyone who believes that this universe is governed by a racist god.  At some point, our common culture that brings us afinity loses out to our differing world views.                                                 

  16. I would like to thank all four of you.  You did a great job showing the divers views on this issue.  I have a few questions that I hope I can get each of you to respond to.

    I was a bit surprised at the overwhelming warmth that Elder Hinckley’s comments were recieved.  It sounded like all of you regardless of your view on the source of the ban acknowledged that some passed leaders were racist or at least said racist things. I think by anyones standards Brigham’s statements about death to interracial couples would be considered racist.  While Brother Joseph have been more progressive for his day, but by todays standards would be given that label as well.  When you see the first presidency of 1950 writing letters that seem to advocate segregation calling desegregation social intercourse saying it should be avoided.  You look at Elder Mark E. Peterson preaching against interracial marriage as late as 1980.  These all seem to be clear examples.  My question is, was Hinckley giving these men a pass or was he saying they did not hold the priesthood?

    My next question is what could comes next.  Whether you believe the priesthood ban was a result of God’s will or bigotry it seems to naturally open the question when will we start talking about the gender ban. In fifty years will be reading declaration 3 that says that priesthood is now extended to all worthy members regardless of their gender? Why or why not?

    I look foreword to reading each of your responses. Thank you.


    1. Marguerite, Darren, Keith, and Dustin,

      These questions were not meant to be rhetorical.  I really was not trying to be snarky.  I am sorry if it came across that way.  I believe you all have personal and well studied perspective on this issue and I want to understand your perspective on these questions.

      How do you fit what Gordon B. Hinckley with our history?  And why was it not a logical extension to your discution to talk about the last group that are banned form the priesthood?  

  17. My
    hat goes off to Dustin for moderating this podcast.  Some of the early comments indicate that many
    found the episode “painful to listen to” at times.  Come on people, get over it!!!  Let’s give a new moderator a chance here at
    Mormon Matters.  I am sure that had the
    topic been on something mundane, Dustin would have had an easy time keeping the
    commentary from getting “out of control”. 
    I think it is more than a little unfair to expect a new guest host to magically
    show up with the moderation skills of Tim Russert; and yes, I think we should
    all expect that a healthy discussion on this topic will invariably get as far out
    of control as any political debate.

    1. Hi Greg,

      I agree. I think Dustin did a wonderful job considering the difficult subject matter and the eagerness of the other participants to make their views known. I would not have liked to have tried it myself.

    2. I thought Dustin did an exceptional job.  This was a very difficult pod cast to moderate and I thought he hit it out of the park.  Even when pparticipants were running over each other and determined to only have their point of view heard he made sure everyone was heard.  Bravo

  18. As a white male I can’t even begin to understand what it was and is like to be black and Mormon.  I do, however, have an intimate knowledge of what it’s like to be indoctrinated by the Mormon church.  Keith is fully indoctrinated and shows the signs of being so in his inconsistent thinking, fallacious arguments, and complete and utter inability to concede even the most obvious problems with his view.  He is defending an indefensible position and it shows.  On top of it, he consistently talked over others while at the same time getting irritated at anyone who cut him off.

    The main tactics I see, speaking specifically, is he dismisses general conference talks when they are lethal to his view as mere opinions, but clings with white knuckles to the statements that support his view.  He also made a few arguments from ignorance, particularly the argument that since we don’t have any doctrinal declaration restricting priesthood to blacks, therefore it was God’s will, despite overwhelming evidence it was an evolved racist policy initiated by Brigham Young.

    Lastly, how many panelists believe in a literal flood?  Obviously Keith does and it seemed Marguerite does.  But Daron and Dustin?  That was another “Really?” moment for me when it was discussed with apparent credulity that Africans could have possibly descended from Ham, or even Canaanites.  This is demonstrably false and to be blunt, naive and silly.  But that’s what Mormonism does, it takes educated people and forces them to be OT literalists.  I know because I was one of those 5 years ago.  

    As for Dustin as the moderator, the only way he could have really controlled the conversation was by having a mute button for each individual panelist.  Keith simply wanted to bulldoze everyone into submission.

  19. This was hard to listen to. Kinda like those arguments you get into with your spouse?!? Although we usually ended it with makeup se . . . nevermind.

    It is hard to discuss something with people you don’t agree with when you take it very personally. Thanks, for doing this. It must have been very hard.

  20. So, how come the fact that blacks couldn’t participate in temple ordinances until 1978 never really came up?  Keith kept talking about how all the history and information surrounding the discussion didn’t matter, and that all we have to do is focus on having faith.  How does that work for blacks pre-1978?  They weren’t even allowed to participate in the saving ordinances of endowment and celestial marriage.  Did God not care whether they were sealed because they were black?  Because they were cursed?  Because they sinned in the preexistence?  Does it just not matter, because that’s obviously how God wanted it? 

  21. Keith and I probably disagree on many, many things, but I’ll give him this: I think he was the most intellectually honest of the bunch. His research is actually pretty solid, and the only way to remain within the church and to justify the ban is to cling fast to faith that God understands these issue better than a human does. I, personally, find that conclusion completely untenable.

    What I found troubling was Marguerite’s recurring attempt to make the discussion “faith-promoting” referencing her own experience of not knowing anything about the ban prior to joining the Church. She seemed to be interested in a cover-up that would shield vulnerable members from understanding the particulars of the faith. Completely dishonest, imo.

    As for Darron…his position, straight-up racism, is the obvious answer. But, I’d be curious to know how he justifies membership in a religion, claiming to be led by God, but which gets this (and other) basic, fundamental questions wrong? What did the LDS Church get right that would justify the gravity of being the last major american religion to recognize that racism is incompatible with the so-called Christian view?

    As for Dustin, my previous statement that this episode was painful to listen to had nothing to do with the moderation. All confusion and grasping at straws on this issue lays squarely at the institutional church; you cannot have a rational, reasoned discussion relative to this issue, because the Church has simply buried its head in the sand, hoping that time will erase the stain of this sin. It won’t.

  22. Look at all the hoops we go through to try to justify, explain, condemn, rationalize, or apologize for the black priesthood issue. I don’t think God had anything to do with a ban or lifting of the ban. Its man who is to be blamed or praised here.  Because the alternatives are:

    -Man is racist (Delbert Stapley, Mark Peterson, BrighamYoung etc.)  http://www.boston.com/news/daily/24/delbert_stapley.pdf

    -God is racist  (Bible references, lamanites dark skin curse)

    -God has nothing to do with any of the race based teachings in the mormon church or any of the race based biblical teachings.  Its all man’s cultural attitudes toward the human condition, races, and superiority. Man uses God and religion to justify his own views.  

  23. What a maddening discussion.  I come to Mormon Matters because I need an Open and Honest conversation about Mormonism.  Usually it’s an uplifting and encouraging experience.  Not this time.  If I wanted a double speaking apologetic argument, I would go to FARMS or FAIR.  Very uncivil.  A structured debate format would have been much better.

    However, after thinking about it, I think that this conversation was good and needed.  This is a perfect  and current picture of the anguish, frustration, confusion and pain caused by this subject.

    The body of this church is crying.  We do not need businessmen.  We do not need a new Mall.  We do not need a Mormon President of the United States.  We do not need PR from Michael Otterson.  We do not need Seers that “See not” and Prophets that “Prophesy not” (Isaiah 30:10).   WE NEED TRUTH!

    1. Ouch. Keith is the symbolic fruit of the sin of not labeling the ban racism and apologizing outright. My heart breaks for the cognitive dissonance that Keith and the rest of the panelists have endured to maintain their faith.

      But ultimately, they, too, are perpetuating this and other grievous sins by participating in the Church.

    2. Oh geez, the Salt Lake Tribune comments section?  Talk about a continual diatribe by a bunch of ex-mos, no-mos and ho-mos about all things Mormon.

      These “locals” wake up everyday and look into the mirror and repeat their life mantra: “my life sucks and it’s the Mormon’s fault!”

      Most people are smart enough to realize they aren’t planted in cement and there is a big wide world out there and if they don’t like Mormons all roads lead out of town.  And we get stuck with people too stupid to read a map.

  24. “Those are not contradictory … things happen for a reason … they were men … it was policy not doctrine … there’s a process … we don’t know … it can be accurate but not the whole picture … you can’t say that its not true [either] … you have to ask first … there was a vote … it’s implied … God’s always right on time … the Lord was a little more subtle … let me see if this makes it a little more clear … there are exceptions … maybe we’re talking semantics … lawyers…”

    What a tangled web we must weave when we practice to believe?

  25. Honestly, you all are using human logic and opinion. For those of you who believe in the Church and truly have a testimony of it being the true Church of Christ, you should understand that regardless of our opinion or own priorities, God has a much better perspective than anyone who can try to explain or justify it.  Remember that before blacks couldn’t have the priesthood, no one could have the priesthood, regardless of race, until Joseph Smith.  God has his plan, and we’re expected to follow it, it’s not our priority to understand why he does what he asks us to do.  It’s our priority to obey.  If you want to question what’s been revealed to the prophets take it up with God rather than make some unnecessary debate about something that we probably will never understand within our lifetimes, nor do we need to, all you’re doing is keeping that scenario which is already long gone and dead alive.  Drop it and worry about other things.

    1. If we’re using human logic and opinion, what are you using? If you answer faith, I’ll likely respond that faith is intrinsic to all human endeavors, as is logic.

    2. If God is a loving God which I believe he is.  He would give his children the ability to use their logic with the spirit to evaluate what our leaders tell us.  Other wise we would be at the whim of any mistake our fallible leaders might make, or at the whim of a God that was not kind, loving, or perfect, but only  powerful.  A kind loving God would give us the ability to evaluate all of his instructions, and particularly those from his leaders. Anything less would mean God made us blind followers that have no ability for any accountability and no ability for growth and learning.  We would be blind minions ready to follow anyone or thing stronger than us and make them our God. This would be a God I would be unwilling to follow.  This would be a God I would be happy to fight.  But I do not believe nor have I ever believed this was the God that created us. For I believe in a God the created free agence that have the ability though his son’s atonement to learn and become like him.  

  26. A debatable analysis of the 1978 Revelation – clearly built on secular assumptions.

    “Dear Brethren: As we have witnessed the expansion of the work …
    we have been grateful that people of many nations have responded … and have
    joined the Church. This, in turn, has inspired us with a desire to extend to
    every worthy member … the privileges and blessings which the gospel affords.”

    This is an interesting
    admission. The First Presidency was prompted by the conversion of people they
    assumed God had disqualified. This
    points to their stark parochialism. What was going through their minds for all those years of the Civil Rights movement and the dramatic change in the moral
    zeitgeist it produced by the ’70s?

    “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…”

    Does anyone have explicit
    references to such promises?  Were
    these promises made by prophets speaking as prophets?  A plain reading strongly suggests this.  Of course, this implies that the policy was in harmony with God’s will and absolves the leaders of the responsibility for “not asking.”

    “… 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.”

    Note the passive language
    in the phrase, “has been withheld.”  This is
    the same responsibility-eluding rhetorical style that politicians employ when they say,
    “mistakes were made.”  Who was
    doing the withholding? They  won’t say explicitly – they won’t be pinned down – but the clear inference is that it was God.

    Again given that promises had been made, this Presidency’s “pleading” strongly suggests that the Brethren
    were pretty sure God was behind it.  This is a rather odd state of affairs – asking God if it was finally time to give them permission to do the right thing when it comes to the governance of the one true Church.

    “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, with power to exercise its
    divine authority, and enjoy with his loved ones every blessing that flows there
    from, including the blessings of the temple.


    Again, it is very
    important to pin down (or not, depending on your point of view) who was making this promise.  The simplest interpretation is that it was God’s promise –
    from which one can infer that God backed the policy all along.

    “Accordingly, all worthy male members of the
    Church may be ordained to the priesthood without regard for race or color.
    Priesthood leaders are instructed to follow the policy of carefully
    interviewing all candidates for ordination to either the Aaronic or the
    Melchizedek Priesthood to ensure that they meet the established standards for

    The point Keith made
    about this injunction not being explicitly directed on people of African
    dissent is, indeed, the intention of this wording here.  But it is also obvious that this is all about people of
    African dissent.

    The point is to understand that this rhetoric is simply euphemistic.  It avoids
    explicit reference to “denial,” which triggers negative moral emotions, and avoids explicit
    reference to “African,” which highlights racism.  It’s a positive spin.

    “We declare with soberness that the Lord has now
    made known his will for the blessing of all his children throughout the earth
    who will hearken to the voice of his authorized servants, and prepare
    themselves to receive every blessing of the gospel.

    Am I alone in finding the central clause in
    this statement strikingly ironic and hubristic?  After all that transpired at the hands of LDS leaders their central requirement is for people to “hearken to the voice of his authorized

    This entire statement has as much to do with preserving of ecclesiastical authority (institution-serving) as giving privileges and blessings to people who never deserved to be excluded. It clearly reflects a Presidency that can neither accept responsibility or pin it on previous leadership for fear of it undermining their own authority.  They do this by ambiguously pointing to God’s tacit
    acceptance even as they point to their own righteous desires.  From a person of a different faith this would come across as an insult to God. 

    Complementing this, we find faithful members providing cover for God by blaming fallible leaders.  Of course, the problem with this line of apologetics is that it cannot commit to what degree fallibility would implicate leaders as fraudulent.  Its a sort of tacit agreement between the leadership and rank-and-file to keep passing the buck back and forth, or to just agree to ignore it and leave it in the past.

    So much for this jaded observer of this sad issue.


  27. It pains me to hear an educated law professor who attended Standford Law School actually believe in the stories of Ham, Cain, and Able. Perhaps she was merely speaking in the same currency as other believing members, but a modicum of due diligence on this topic would quickly reveal that the early Bible stories are myths made up by a people trying to explain their natural conditions. There is ample academic materials that lay this out quite well. It’s just sad and painful to hear people trying to work through Old Testament doctrines as through they are fact. Such literal beliefs make it very difficult for people like African Americans to work out their own place in the world based upon a Bronze Age book. A little bit of study would quickly resolve all of the backbreaking mental gymnastics that one must perform to work through the lineage issues. The panelists seem so concerned about whether there was a record of Brigham Young’s teaching and making sure their claims are substantiated by the evidence, now it’s time to turn these critical thinking skills to the Old Testament, the Book of Abraham, and other sources upon which these beliefs are built.

    Keith was the only one willing to take the prophets at their word. As many commenters have identified, there are ample quotations indicating that the early Church leaders, both as a matter of opinion and official doctrine, believed that black skin was a curse as a result of their behavior in the pre-existence. It’s just so frustrating to hear a law professor and other attorneys making apologetic arguments when they would never advance such arguments of statutory construction to their clients or in academic publications. Yet, when it comes to matters of the Church, they are willing to cast aside all of their critical thinking to maintain a system of belief.

  28. Elder
    Holland Publicly Denounces Past Racist Teachings by LDS Church Leaders


    Apostle Jeffrey R.

    4, 2006




    “I’ve talked to many blacks and many whites as well about the lingering
    folklore [about why blacks couldn’t have the priesthood]. These are faithful
    Mormons who are delighted about this revelation, and yet who feel something
    more should be said about the folklore and even possibly about the mysterious
    reasons for the ban itself, which was not a revelation; it was a practice. So
    if you could, briefly address the concerns Mormons have about this folklore and
    what should be done.”


    “One clear-cut position is that the folklore must never be
    perpetuated. … I have to concede to my earlier colleagues. … They, I’m
    sure, in their own way, were doing the best they knew to give shape to [the
    policy], to give context for it, to give even history to it. All I can say is
    however well intended the explanations were, I think almost all of them were
    inadequate and/or wrong. …”


    “It probably 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. But some explanations were
    given and had been given for a lot of years. … At the very least, there
    should be no effort to perpetuate those efforts to explain why that doctrine
    existed. I think, to the extent that I know anything about it, as one of the
    newer and younger ones to come along, … we simply do not know why that
    practice, that policy, that doctrine was in place.”


    “What is the folklore, quite specifically?”


    “Well, some of the folklore that you must be referring to are
    suggestions that there were decisions made in the pre-mortal councils where
    someone had not been as decisive in their loyalty to a Gospel plan or the
    procedures on earth or what was to unfold in mortality, and that therefore that
    opportunity and mortality was compromised. I really don’t know a lot of the
    details of those, because fortunately I’ve been able to live in the period
    where we’re not expressing or teaching them, but I think that’s the one I grew
    up hearing the most, was that it was something to do with the pre-mortal
    councils. … But I think that’s the part that must never be taught until
    anybody knows a lot more than I know. … We just don’t know, in the historical
    context of the time, why it was practiced. … That’s my principal [concern],
    is that we don’t perpetuate explanations about things we don’t know. …”


    “We don’t pretend that something wasn’t taught or practice
    wasn’t pursued for whatever reason. But I think we can be unequivocal and we
    can be declarative in our current literature, in books that we reproduce, in
    teachings that go forward, whatever, that from this time forward, from 1978
    forward, we can make sure that nothing of that is declared. That may be where
    we still need to make sure that we’re absolutely dutiful, that we put [a]
    careful eye of scrutiny on anything from earlier writings and teachings, just
    [to] make sure that that’s not perpetuated in the present. That’s the least, I
    think, of our current responsibilities on that topic. …”

    1. Holland’s response sounds just like a politician who has been trapped in a corner. “I really don’t know a lot of the details of those, because fortunately I’ve been able to live in the period where we’re not expressing or teaching them.”  And, “I think, to the extent that I know anything about it, as one of the
      newer and younger ones to come along, … we simply do not know why that
      practice, that policy, that doctrine was in place.” Do you think he would say “we don’t know” if the priesthood ban weren’t overwhelmingly considered racist? Distance, distance, distance. “We don’t know.” “I’ve never heard of that.” “That was before my time.” Holland knows full well what and where the teachings came from.  Didn’t JFK once say, “success has a thousand fathers but failure is an orphan?” What was once a doctrine declared loud and proud in the times of Brigham Young and John Taylor couldn’t be more embarrassing today.

  29. This was actually one of my favorite Mormon Matter episodes.  After listening to the previous Mormon Matter podcasts I was beginning to forgot the Mormonism I had learned while growing up.  Listening to Mormon Matters might have led me to think that religion is good and even helpful to non believers, science is good and compatible with religion, and most Mormons are able to analyze evidence in a reasonable way.

    Listening to the absurd discussion on this podcast episode reminded me that if you are willing to accept that some 14 year old kid saw god then you are willing to accept anything.  If you accept that “with god all things are possible” then you have a nice explanation of anything you want. The discussion was over before it even began when Keith was placed on the panel.  I could not have dreamed of a better panel member to illustrate the problems with this type of belief in god.

    Thank you Mormon Matters.

    1. Blake, I think you’re right about that. I for one appreciated Keith’s contribution because he was the only one willing to take the LDS doctrines seriously. He didn’t try to use infallibility apologetics and took the doctrine logically where it should based upon a literal belief system. 

    2. I’m sorry your Mormonism growing up was so painful for you, Blake. My best wishes for you to find peace.

      Your note here is difficult for me to read, however, as I’m not sure how much you wrote it for its humor and how much it represents a genuine decision on your part to jump out of the complexity that the podcast was apparently starting to raise for you–a call into re-evaluating pains and perspectives that hurt you. 

      I don’t know if what I say here is too much like “testimony” for you to take it seriously, but let me venture anyway: My experience is that religion DOES have great depth and insight; it IS reasonable in many ways even if it champions a non-rational approach (which is way different than IR-rational approach) to understanding our experiences; it leads to good results for far more people who have taken its invitations to prayer, meditation, study, service, change, etc., than negative results (cold comfort, I know, for those damaged by bad religion–and my heart breaks for those). For you or anyone to let someone’s modeling of a particular (and fragile) type of belief move you away from taking a wider view of religion (or Mormonism) as a whole and back into thinking that view IS what religion/Mormonism fully is–well, to me, that does not seem “reasonable.” There are various ways to jump out of complexity. One is retreat–collapsing one of the  horns of the dilemma or one of the sides of the paradox. I don’t think that’s a long-lasting or very satisfying way out (though I know it is sometimes necessary at least for a while as sometimes things can be particularly damaging and we need to step away from them and regain our strength and wider perspective). The way I highly recommend dealing with complexity is to go “through” it and into a much richer form of simplicity, a clear orientation toward life and the universe that still recognizes all the crap but just doesn’t let it paralyze you and keep you from moving forward in good causes. My own experiences, and I know this is true for millions of others, is that this pushing through is possible–and it is also what I think constitutes one of the most important things we can do here during our time on earth (whether we were “sent” here to do it or if this is simply the result of folks discovering it as a key way to happiness given the nature of the universe.)

      I am not at all a believer in God’s absolute sovereignty the way Keith is–I am far more in tune with the “weeping God” of Mormonism whose dreams and ideals for us aren’t always realized and often take time and exact high costs before we “get it”– but I’m grateful for Keith’s willingness to share his faith in his book and in this discussion. I hold him in my heart even as I don’t share his perspectives.

      1. Dan…is the LDS Church racist? Was it racist? Should the LDS Church apologize? Admit its error?

        I’m thinking about what you’ve written here, and will certainly respond in more detail, but my hope is that in your “pushing through” you’ll also find ways to push back against that which is damaging about religion.

        You can start right here, in this forum, by declaring unequivocally how you feel on the matters raised in this podcast.

        1. Hi Timothy,

          I think Dan has already stated his thoughts on this matter. He said in response to my earlier comment …”And I join you in hoping the church will renounce and apologize for the
          racist speculations and ugly speech and actions of the past and all the
          harmful ways they have affected so many people. May it come soon and
          help with the healing you hope….”

          Are you looking for more than this or have I missed something?

        2.  Hi Timothy,One of my sadnesses about some of the ways the discussion has gone here in the comments about this episode has been to see the way terms like “racist” or “elitist” (and even “apologetics”) have been used in unhelpful ways—ways that seem designed to shut down real exploration, designed to stand in place of having to make an argument or really respond to another’s comments, employed to disallow a more nuanced viewpoints about a position into the discussion. And frankly, you have been one of those who I feel has used terms in this way. You and some other commentors have represented a sort of all or nothing view that feels to me very similar to the flavor that Keith represented in the podcast (simply with an opposite set of starting points) and who got blasted for it. For this reason, I’m hesitant to want to accept an invitation to talk about “racism” in they type of rhetorical space you’ve outlined.Now, if you’re willing to accept some nuance and let an opinion that the Church has been and still exhibits institutional racism become a piece of a larger puzzle, a larger discussion that also includes positives, then I say “yes” that it has been and still is guilty of a level of racism. And as Undercover Brother has pointed out in a previous response of mine, I do very much think more public retractions of bad folklore and sincere acknowledgments of pain and harm and also apologies are in order. I hope and pray for healing, and I believe taking the issue head on is the only way that this can ever come.

          Even as I push through, am I willing to push back? As I think my track record leading Sunstone shows in the articles and essays we published and symposium discussions we hosted during my tenure there, I am very willing in my own life and actions to push back against those attitudes that are damaging people. Check, too, the earlier MM podcasts as we discussed BYU and the Honor Code in both the Brandon Davies incident and then regarding Darron Smith’s broader claims about the way black athletes are disciplined there at much higher rates than others. I think we took good, open-hearted looks in these. In these publishing and hosting decisions, however, I always maintained an awareness that some ways of speaking “truth to power” are simply more effective than other ways. Some might say that concerns about being “strategic” is a cop-out and that the only way someone can have integrity is to scream their pain to all the world and leave as fast as they can the place, person, institution that helped facilitate their pain. I fully recognize that this might be necessary for many. We all have different autobiographies and different temperaments. But, at the same time I acknowledge that as a path that might be best for the health of some people, I also argue that “integrity” in looking at the racism within the church demands that we take every angle into account, that we don’t focus just upon pain but also upon things such as the interplay of free agents working and doing the best they can behind a veil, upon the growth that IS being manifest (albeit slower growth than we’d want, especially in the middle of our pain), how we in our own lives have had to be taught lessons in painful ways and how we’ve gotten things wrong and taught things that are not true and that are harmful and have needed to repent so we ought to ask why in the heck wouldn’t we grant at least some grace to an institution in its need to do the something similar? I don’t know how you will feel about my response here. I hope it is with a sense that I do offer it from a good place in my heart, from my authentic experience, and with genuine hope that you’ll find peace and a way to be the kind of agent for truth and justice and mercy that you hope in your highest heart to be.

          1. Dan…

            Thanks for the response. I’m well aware of your work with Sunstone, and respect and have expressed my gratitude for your work previously.

            But, I’m not willing to allow the LDS Church or its constituent members any more time to explore so-called nuanced understandings of racism. We don’t allow these nuanced views in government, in schools, in business or frankly, in any other religious institution that I’m aware of, and not because the world didn’t spend millenia wringing its hands over the issues; it did, and nuanced racism lost, badly. The arguments were never that good in other contexts, and they haven’t aged well with time. Racism is just racism, no matter how nuanced the justification.

            You seem to be asking me to protect the delicate sensibilities of those who are not yet ready to bring their world-view into the rapidly evolving modern world, laying aside my much greater sense of responsibility to the principles of race and social justice. I most certainly am not avoiding the hard work of argumentation; rather, I’m using that in places where there’s legitimate and substantial disagreement. That’s not here.

            So, how long shall we wait? The LDS Church was already the very last of any major American religion to fully integrate its leadership, and that was more than 30 years ago.

            Beyond that, the authoritarian structure of the LDS Church makes the stain of racism much worse than it exists in most other contexts, because it took simple human racism and attributed it to God, thereby making it much more difficult for this community of people to extricate this sin from their culture.

            Finally, and I don’t know for certain that this was your intent, I find it distasteful that you’d position four African American members in the role of defending the honor of the Church on this topic; it was as if you were trying to state “look, it’s not really racism if black people believe it isn’t!” Whether you were or not, I’m guessing you’re aware that many not-yet-ready-to-progress members certainly take that view.

            Enough already, Dan. I’m not simply speaking from my “pain” as a disaffected member; I’ve pushed through my pain long ago, through and past that “uncomfortable” place you describe above. And guess what; it never gets easier. There remains, always, much work to be done.

          2. Timothy,Clearly we both want to bring about similar changes. Our disagreements are over the most effective strategies for changing minds and hearts. I’ve rarely seen in-your-face, impatient, “I have the right answer, and YOU must agree with me,” “sensibilities of people be damned,” styles work, especially in bringing long-term changes. For that you have to win hearts, and people won’t open their heart to you if they don’t feel like you have taken the time to really know them, to know the complexities of the factors that are at play in issues like this. No heart can ever be won if that person doesn’t feel respected by you. I haven’t felt in any of your responses that you respect the LDS Church and the portion of its members who to date haven’t thought or felt their way through these past teachings to see how wrong and hurtful they are. As such, I don’t think your approach will work. Perhaps, however, you’re not even caring to be an agent of change for Mormons other than to help them see that they should exit the Church, or perhaps your active participation here in this discussion is to serve as a warning to non-LDS passers-by that there’s nothing deeper or more profound at play in Mormonism other than simple racism. If so, perhaps you’re succeeding. You’re wrong that there isn’t depth, but you may indeed succeed in persuading some to your view.I’m not arguing anywhere for “nuanced racism.” I’m arguing for more awareness of the many competing pieces of the puzzle that are in play, with the intent that greater awareness and greater empathy might lead to more productive results. I want to fight against all forms of racism, but I believe diving into the root causes and understanding the forces that keep its momentum going and lovingly working with people “where they are” instead of just loudly telling them “where they should be by now” is a far more effective strategy for unseating it from human hearts. I am glad you have pushed through your pain as a disaffected church member, but I don’t agree with you that it never gets “easier.” I’m a long way from these always being my first response, but every time I end up choosing love and patience instead of disdain and harsh judgment, my choice is rewarded—more peace in my soul, better relations with others that often includes my learning different and valuable things from them even as I recognize my influence on them.About the question of if the panel’s intent (via its make-up consisting of four black Mormons) was to “defend the honor of the Church on this topic,” here’s the backstory. Dustin Jones brought the idea of doing this panel discussion to Mormon Matters ahead of making the recording. He alerted me to the members of the panel he wanted to put together. I knew or knew of all of them, and it sounded terrific to me. He and I came to an agreement to include it in the schedule to release the week of the anniversary of the ban’s repeal. No “intent” other than hosting a discussion that would show the diversity of experiences and approaches to these issues of different black Church members. In earlier comments, I’ve shared my own discomforts with how some of the discussion ended up going, and that I also found it hard at times to “enjoy” But, also reiterating what I said before, upon listening my major emotion was gratitude for the chance to listen in on a lively discussion among passionate persons on this subject that is a very big part of their lives as black Latter-day Saints. Whether or not I agree with any of their approaches to this issue, interpretations of scripture and the way God works in this world, argumentation styles, or anything else, I’m grateful to now be able to hold their stories of faith and struggle as part of me. I’m glad we ran it. Given your zeal in this discussion forum, it seems like you are, too! Win-Win (even if our desires for its effect differ)? 

          3. Dan…sorry for the delayed response. I won’t get into a full response here, because this seems to be going off topic of the discussion quite a bit.

            However, in short, I do believe that your stance relative to this issue and others relating to mormonism do more harm than good. You are essentially putting padding on the fence of the fence sitters. But, more than that, you are asking those who are riding the fence to look backward, into the corral of mormonism. I’d rather they get off the fence and put their energy into better uses; this world is full of need.

            Encouraging long-suffering navel gazing over questions such as whether or not the LDS Church is racist/sexist/bigoted is simply lost energy. By overwhelming standards, the answers are yes. Get over it, move on with your life, and find a better, more important project that can benefit from your energies (speaking generally, not to Dan specifically).

            Finally, at the end of my post, I said “it never gets easier.” My meaning was poorly communicated. What I meant to convey is that once you move past these questions, there are other, more important and more needy discussions happening in the world outside of mormonism. The work of doing good is ongoing and requires energy and effort. It’s an effort that is eternal in nature.


          4. We clearly read each other differently.

            I don’t see myself as encouraging anyone to look backward unless it’s to see if there is depth and emphases within Mormonism that they’ve missed. Mormonism is no more and no less screwed up than any other religion when someone takes literalist/fundamentalist positions and lives it at that level. And, clearly, many Mormons do, just as many folks from other traditions do, as well. On the other hand, Mormonism’s teachings are also just a rich as any other in terms of the invitations they contain for us to have profound and transformative spiritual experiences, and I love many of its particular twists and flavors in those invitations and sensibilities about who and what we are that it contains. My sense in your comments and our exchanges is that you’ve not experienced these depths via the Mormon invitations, hence you’re looking for them (have found them?) somewhere else. If so, more power to you. We both believe that working to grow in compassion that leads to bettering the world is eternal work. The fact that we see the world differently and choose to value different realms in which to do that work shouldn’t lead us to have to tear down the other’s arena as being inferior to the one we’ve chosen.

            All my best in all you do (except trying to tell me that Mormonism isn’t bigger and broader and capable of leading to deep spiritual transformation when my experience is that that’s not at all the case!). 😀


      2. Dan, I’m curious what you’d have to say to someone like me. I’ve looked at the evidence and no longer find the Church’s basic, foundational truth-claims credible. When I try to put it all together, it just doesn’t make sense anymore. I can’t work through the problem of evil, the free agency/God’s omniscience problem, the lack of credible historical evidence supporting the Old and New Testaments, and of course the story of Joseph Smith. And, as I tried to “push through” Mormonism for a year trying to find some deeper richness, I just couldn’t find it. Basically, I’m pretty close to Randy and Tyson who you interviewed on a former Mormon Stories podcast. I recall you related to them quite a bit and seemed to agree with their viewpoints for the most part.  I’m really in a good place without the Church. I guess, in your words above, I have chosen to “retreat.” But you also mentioned that this isn’t a “long-lasting or very satisfying way out.” Am I in need of a course correction?  (Serious question, not trying to be argumentative.)

        1. Jason.  Thanks
          for sharing a bit of your journey here and inviting me into a conversation.
          First off, I’m genuinely glad you are in a good place without the church. I
          want you to have your best, fullest life, and if your journey toward that has
          meant an exit from Mormonism (at least day-to-day involvement–or have you
          found yourself wanting to discard all remnants of your past Mormon “identity”
          as well?) more power to you. Love, serve, become compassionate, be a boon to
          humankind—all of that is what’s important, not whether or not it’s a particular
          vehicle that aids you in getting there.


          list of things that you haven’t found to be credible and then your mention of
          Randy and Tyson both show me that in many ways, you’re not really just focused
          on Mormonism—that in some ways it’s religion in general (problem of evil,
          problematic claims inherent in traditional monotheistic definitions of God,
          etc.) that is more on your mind and are your deeper issues. Mormonism is your
          home tradition, so you’re wondering about Joseph Smith and the Bible that
          Mormons also claim as scripture, but I’m getting a sense that the lack of
          credulity for you right now is centered on the questions about whether there
          are truths or aspects of reality that religion really can and does elucidate in
          an important way. Am I close?


          I am, let me say these are the great questions to be asking! I asked them and
          am very grateful I did. No “course correction” needed! I hope you will dive in
          with all your might. Push science and logic and rationality and a sensationist
          epistemology as far as you can. If you discover that they lead you to
          developing all the qualities you want to develop and to the richness of life
          and levels of experience you dream for yourself, then you’ve won the highest


          sense, however, is that in truly pushing these, you’ll find what I found and
          that I read about millions of others who have focused on particular approaches
          and who have pushed them as hard as they can be pushed have discovered as well
          , which is that every methodology, every field of inquiry, every theory has its
          limits. They are fantastic at illuminating pieces of the larger puzzle, but no
          one approach or even cluster of approaches can capture all of reality as it is
          experienced. Now, of course, religious approaches are just as ill equipped to
          explain everything. Note the spectacular failures every time religion tries to
          venture into science territory; note, too, how its adherents are just as vulnerable
          to tunnel vision and rigid thinking and a desire to escape complexity as any
          other group of people. It’s in our nature to want answers and to want them now
          and with as little upset to our serenity as possible (George Costanza is the
          “Everyman”!), so when we feel like we’ve hit upon a fruitful pathway, our
          tendency is to want to follow it and stay safe by following its guiding
          principles. So, if there is a “course correction” to be made, for me
          it’s always going to come in at this place: if as you keep going you discover
          aspects of reality being devalued or left out because they aren’t approachable
          or describable by your current methodologies and discovery processes, then
          please expand and try to be informed by additional sources and perspectives.
          Always remain open to chances to explore more (or “the More” as
          William James calls all that stuff that lies below our consciousness and


          I say I am in agreement with a high percentage of Randy and Tyson’s atheistic
          critiques of religion when it is not at its best, I mean it. When I say I also
          celebrate the many, many gifts of science, I mean it. Where I differ is in
          their over-enthusiasm (at least as it comes across to me, and also where they
          are in their journey at this moment) for just scientific, rational, secular
          approaches as eventually being able to explain everything and provide values,
          etc. I’m sure we can argue nuance here, but I catch a whiff in their thinking
          that science, etc. is “the” way, “the” methodology for making the wisest and
          most just judgments, and that in science’s ability to self-correct when
          contrary evidence piles up guarantees that science is “the” safe and sure path
          to follow.


          many ways, the only thing I can offer as defense of my claim against this sort
          of trajectory being “the” way is my own experience of finding unsatisfactory
          and flat a world that admits no real veracity to the most powerful, deepest
          experiences of my life. These “spiritual” experiences were and are experienced
          at a level that every part of my sense of myself tells me is far deeper than
          what can be explained via the five physical senses and/or chemistry (or that
          can be replicated by things like the Persinger helmet), and that have their
          roots at a level where cognition and the capacity of language cannot capture.
          Because these experiences are rooted in this level below senses et al, neither
          I nor any person can ever get them exactly or fully “right” when we try to put
          them into words and convey them to others (and even ourselves).


          however, because it is an approach that recognizes these kinds of experiences,
          is of great value because at its core, it is religion that most readily affirms
          this ineffability and welcomes and promotes symbol and analogy and ritual and
          experiential paths as ways of circling around and trying from different angles
          to decipher what these experiences mean (just the same way that poets and
          artists can often come the closest to capturing the meaning of some things—even
          as we recognize that parts still elude them). At its best, religion also asks
          each person to check his or her own experience against any claim rather than
          rely on the authority of tradition or someone else’s summary of what it all
          means. Religion also has its own kind of experimental method and empirical
          verifications (do this, and here’s what you can expect; see afterward if you
          feel more centered in deep reality), its own checks and balances (people who we
          sense have traveled these paths before and who have attained a kind of deep
          wisdom and who have more familiarity in this less divided-out and concisely
          labeled territory that lies below our senses and their perceptions and who are
          people that we can measure our own progress against), etc. It’s difficult
          terrain and I am nowhere close to finishing my journey in it, but I strongly
          sense that deep and lasting satisfaction can only come when we honor all our
          experiences—even the ones that don’t add up in the rational mind.


          my sense of things, anyway, and a roundabout approach to your query about
          possible course corrections I might recommend for you as you keep journeying.
          Hope there’s something substantive to chew on here. And if you’d ever like to
          chat more specifically about areas where I think Mormonism does a really good
          job or offers promising angles into such things as the problem of evil, agency
          vs determinism, God’s omnipotence, etc., I’d be very happy to dive in with you
          there, as well. (And, of course, I am also very happy to dive in deeper on
          these more general “value of religious approaches” questions.)


          1. Dan. Your response is beautiful and stirring to me, thanks for taking the time and energy to share it.

          2. Dan, sorry I”m so late to respond to your terrific reply. You’ve given me a lot to think about. I agree with you that science is a limited form of understanding the physical realm. I think most atheists would agree that a realm exists beyond the reach of science. But I think they would also say that we have no other reliable tool to reach that realm – whatever it might be.

            Again, thanks for your thoughts Dan. Very meaningful.


      3. I think the beauty of this episode really was Keith’s absolute and blind devotion to the Mormon church.  It was amazing and scary.

        Dan, my guess is that most people can see some good in religion.  Most of us “ex-mo’s” can probably even see some good in the Mormon religion.  There is certainly much that I miss and much good that I have not found elsewhere.  But, that isn’t the problem.  The problem is the amount of damage that religion causes in the lives of many people.  I too am grateful that Keith was able to share his faith–I find it helpful to remember what I left and why I left it.

        From what I heard on this episode, Keith was unable to listen to questions, unable to look at alternative explanations or alternative arguments and blindly devoted to some notion of god that makes no sense.  From what I heard, Keith’s blind devotion made no sense to either Darron or Marguerite–they seemed as astounded with Keith as I was.

        Dan, I think I understand you have this vision of religion doing lots of good for you and yours.  I think I understand your stages of faith ideas and your view that stage x is just as valid as a place as stage y.  But, I believe that people in some of your stages are much more likely to cause a lot of harm to others than people in other stages.  I believe this is the struggle that needs more discussion–how do we protect people from the damage that religion causes.  I believe that what I heard of Keith’s kind of Mormonism, this Mormonism (and religion in general) has enormous potential to cause harm to others.  I had forgotten about these Mormons, this podcast was a nice way to experience this again.

        1. Hi Blake,

          Thanks for your response here. I think your comments are very fair and excellent observations.

          My pushback would be about how the stages of faith really represent human development stages (with Fowler picking up on this one part of development, with “faith” defined by Fowler as representing centers of value and what gives our life meaning at different stages of human development, with nothing in his theories tied to any specific religious claims). Hence your note about people who are at some stage(s) of faith doing more damage and harming others  applies equally well to those who center their lives and see the biggest meaning located in race or economic status or power, etc. There is no need for there to be a belief in God for someone to be dangerous and harmful and pain-causing to others.

          If you grant this, then the question becomes, if religion more than or just as well as economic theories, power seeking, wrong redressing, etc. offers resources for course corrections, for seeing people and situations in compassionate ways.  For me, that answer is yes. Every religion, as Fowler writes, at its deepest core provides a compelling vision for the kingdom of God, utopia, nirvana and the qualities of spirit people need to create that. Our job is to journey through the dogmatic, black-and-white, give-my-agency-over-to-another, turf protecting, bureaucratic bullying, etc., parts to see the deep truths and join the powerful current that ultimately yields peace and transformation. I don’t deny that some secular humanist visions point to the same kind of transformations, as well. But I’ll definitely defend religion as having tremendous resources for leading people to this same, peaceful, constructive, beautiful place of peace.

          Thanks for engaging here!

    3. The problem with blindly accepting the “with God all things are possible” argument is that “without God all things are permissible.”

      Do you believe in moral authority and the idea of right and wrong that has to be spelled out for every single individual and situation, or have you evolved to a point of ultimate truth where things either work, or they don’t work.  At that point, truth doesn’t have to be “defined” for the lowest common denominator, it just “is.”

  30. I want to briefly address two key arguments that were advanced to justify the LDS Church’s actions re: the priesthood.

    1) “The Lord will only answer until we are willing to ask.” I cannot imagine a more unjust God than this. On a micro level, perhaps this reasoning works. But on a macro level, it falls apart. A just God would not punish blacks based on the fact that 15 men weren’t of the disposition to properly ask or receive an answer. Remember, we’re not just talking about priesthood. Blacks were not permitted to receive SAVING ORDINANCES in the temple. So I guess what the apologists would have us believe is that God was fine sitting back and waiting until the Brethren were willing to ask about the priesthood with the right mindset while, in the meantime, denying thousands of blacks saving ordinances. What kind of parent would say to their child, “Oh yeah, I could have really helped you out by telling you not to touch that hot stove. But your older brother never asked me about it. But let me tell you, I totally wanted to help you.” Why is the salvation of black people tied up with the 15 Brethren for not asking? Doesn’t this contradict a core tenant of Mormonism that man will be punished for their own sins?  And please don’t tell me that those blacks will have the chance to receive the saving ordinances after this life. Brigham Young and many other prophets have taught that mortality is the better time to prepare for our salvation than in the Spirit World.

    2) “The Brethren/Church membership were not ready for the revelation.” Since when did the Lord care about us being ready for revelation? Do you think the membership was prepared to accept the Law of Concecration in Kirkland? No. In fact, people left in droves after that revelation and the Lord didn’t seem to mind. After all, the Lord is no respecter of men. What about polygamy? Joseph Smith was not of the disposition to receive that revelation. Sure, he asked about it in D&C 132, but he claimed to not want to practice it. The Church membership also left in droves once word got out about polygamy. The Lord didn’t seem to mind then that people weren’t ready. In fact, William Law pleaded with Joseph to not go forward with this revelation because the membership wasn’t ready. Again, the Lord went forward.

    Since when did the Lord get so soft and caring about us “being ready” for a revelation? When Joseph Smith wasn’t ready to practice polygamy, the Lord sent an angel with a sword and threatened to kill him if he did not comply. If the Brethren weren’t ready for the revelation (similar to Joseph with polygamy), where was the angel with the sword for the blacks and the priesthood issue? As Keith argued, when it comes to maro-level revelations, the Lord will provide on HIS timetable and does not wait until you are ready. Therefore, we know that the Lord has been and is willing to intervene by threat of force if necessary. There are ample examples of this in the Book of Mormon as well. Apparently this issue just wasn’t very important for the Lord to intervene with an angel, but I guess polygamy was.

  31. It was disappointing that Darron’s voice was not heard more throughout the podcast.  The few opportunities he did have to speak I thought were very insightful and I would have liked to have heard more of his perspective.
    Keith mentioned the often heard apologist response that Brigham Young and others were merely “speaking their opinion” on certain controversial matters regarding race.  The question I have to that is this:  How are we to determine which statements by prophets are “opinion” and which are from God?  This is not a rhetorical question and I am genuinely curious to know how people like Keith answer it.

  32. Keith Hamilton:” I’m not trying to tell anyone how to view it or what to think, but I’ll be damned if I let anyone disagree with me”

  33. This was a very difficult podcast to listen to.  I appreciate Keith’s perspective, but am puzzled why he seemed unwilling to allow for multiple resolution paths.  I would love a repeat of the podcast, but in three sections — one each with Dustin interviewing the panelists separately.  I’d love to have clarification about how each have resolved this issue personally, as well as their perspective for how to move past the “Negro Doctrine”, without having to listen to them argue over which resolution path was acceptable.

  34. LOL! The priesthood issue regarding the Negro race is very easy to understand but many are too caught up in the heat of the argument to let sense get the best of them. Noah had three sons. Shem, Ham and Japeth. Abraham comes from Shem’s seed. Abraham is the father of the priesthood and God covenants that he and his seed should have it. Abraham has Issac, and Issac has Israel. Israel has the tribes. Some members are literal ancestors of the tribes and some are adopted into the tribes. This means that the priesthood was only promised to Shem’s seed. Ham’s race, Negroes, and Japeth’s seed, much of Asia, were never promised any priesthood blessings. The priesthood was never for them. God, through his mercy, extended the blessings of the priesthood to all eventually. I think the scriptures are full of examples of this type of treatment. People are wicked but if they repent they are eventually blessed. Sometimes God is slower to hear their cries because they were slow to show gratitude for their blessings.

    One of the biggest tasks of the early saints was to grow the Church through child birth and polygamy. If a man or woman were to marry into the seed of Ham all Church growth in that family would cease. This is why Brother Young condemned it. Marrying a Negro would damn the much needed progression of the Church. Negroes could be baptized but not receive the priesthood or temple covenants. Families couldn’t be sealed to each other. This is damnation. The Negroes never had any former promise to the priesthood. That is why they got it many years later. The hard truth that so many get offended by. They are now our brothers and sisters and have blessings that Abraham and his posterity had. I think members fall away because they are built upon Christ as their foundation. Rather they are built upon the relationships, which are good, with members of the Church. Once they get offended or the Church is attacked politically they start to run with the crowd. Another reason is that most members don’t understand what government’s role is. They have no idea what the Constitution and Declaration of Independence was about nor do they understand the grand role and destiny of America. They are deceived by politicians, scientists and the main stream media. They have no idea how deceived they are. They are chosen but will quickly fall prey to the devil’s agonizing chains. Many more people will lose hope and faith in general when the US economy goes to third world status. That is a conversation for another time.

    1. ” I think members fall away because they are built upon Christ as their foundation”  You are exactly right. We leave because Christ is our foundation. Not racist false prophets like Brigham Young.

      Your justification is racist garbage right out of the 60s and 70s. It is this kind of hateful filth that my young mind was filled with as a youth in the church. I reject this racism, and I reject your sickening justifications for it.

    2. Hi,

      With all due respect to Cornelius, I think his comments encapsulate perfectly what is wrong with the Church trying to move ‘beyond the Negro doctrine’. To me, it is simply this: the Church as a whole cannot move forward because the leadership of the Church cannot and currently will not apologise for what was taught in the past. It’s not in the nature of any leadership to make such moves (unless you are Rupert Murdoch). The Church leadership just doesn’t ‘get it!’

      So you are left with a situation where people like Cornelius writes what he believes to be Church ‘doctrine’ on this subject, and people like Tired responds saying it is racist garbage.
      What makes it sadder is that Cornelius’ ‘doctrine’ is 100% correct, as far as the Church is concerned. It is what is taught and is part of the theology. The simple fact it is 100% wrong and is 100% racist (as Tired stated) makes no difference. It is (not was) as the Church taught. And as the Church leadership will not apologise, it is left to the individual members to do it for them.
      So – as this ‘doctrine’ is current, not been corrected in any way and no Church leader has officially apologised for it (I mean at General Conference), I should be able to teach this ‘doctrine according to Cornelius’ to wards in Linden, London and Lagos today, correct? I would not be censured in any way as I am teaching the doctrines of the kingdom, right? We should be able to shout this doctrine from the rooftops, have it added back into the Missionary discussions and have President Uchtdorf proclaim to the world at our next General Conference: ‘Thus saith the Lord!’, shouldn’t we?

      If my last paragraph made you feel as uncomfortable reading it as it did me writing it, it shows how utterly wrong and ungodly this ‘doctrine’ truly was and is. But if you felt ok about my last paragraph I’ll repeat Cornelius’ last sentence, ‘That is a conversation for another time.’

  35. This is the most disturbing LDS-related podcast I have ever heard. The twisted apologetic logic to defend the church’s racism against one’s own people, just to be able to insist “the church and every word from every leader is true” in the face of a mountain of facts that prove otherwise. I honestly have never heard worse apologetic logic used by people that should not even try to justify racism in the church.

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