My thoughts regarding racism and the LDS church:
Since the subject of racism in the LDS church was brought up in the comments of a previous post, I thought I would dedicate a new post to the subject and copy all the comments from previous posts and paste them here, since they really have nothing to do with the original posts. I don't mind getting off on a few tangents, but the response was so overwhelming I decided to move the comments to a new post.
Racism Is Taught In The Book Of Mormon
The overall story of the Book of Mormon is the continual struggle and battles between the "white and delightsome" Nephites against the "dark and loathsome" Lamanites. The original Book of Mormon includes the phrase "white and delightsome" much more often. Modern versions of the Book of Mormon now say "pure and delightsome" in place like 2 Nephi 30:6. You can read the original text here, and compare it with the current text here. You can see how they have replaced the word "white and delightsome" with "pure and delightsome".
However, the phrase "white and exceedingly fair and delightsome" still managed to slip by the LDS PR patrol in their revisions of the Book of Mormon.
Before we continue, it is important to also point out that there is really no such thing as a "white" person. Nobody's skin is truly "white" white, it is just a lighter shade of tan.
The worst part regarding the Book of Mormon and racism isn't just the racial conflicts, but it is that the dark skin was a curse placed on the Lamanites and their posterity.
Some have said that the Lamanites were cursed and that the dark skin was only a "mark" of the curse, and not the actual curse. However, that is not what the Book of Mormon says.
2 Nephi 5:21 "And he had caused the cursing to come upon them, yea, even a sore cursing, because of their iniquity. For behold, they had hardened their hearts against him, that they had become like unto a flint; wherefore, as they were white, and exceedingly fair and delightsome, that they might not be enticing unto my people the Lord God did cause a skin of blackness to come upon them."
Alma refers back to the incident when they were cursed with the dark skin.
Alma 3:6 "And the skins of the Lamanites were dark, according to the mark which was set upon their fathers, which was a curse upon them because of their transgression and their rebellion against their brethren"
Alma 3:6 says specifically that the mark WAS the curse. So the dark skin wasn't a mark on the cursed people, the mark WAS the curse put on the people.
The Ban On Blacks And The Priesthood Until 1978
Joseph Smith never taught that blacks could not hold the priesthood. In fact, the first black LDS Elder was Elijah Abel, ordained an Elder by Joseph Smith himself on March 3, 1836 and ordained a seventy a few months later by Zebedee Coltrin. Elijah later became a seventy and served honorable missions. Although he was ordained to the office of seventy, he was not considered a general authority at the time. Other blacks were given the priesthood under Joseph Smith, but very few. However, the fact remains that Joseph Smith gave the priesthood to blacks.
Brigham Young is the person that changed the doctrine that placed a ban on the blacks to receive the priesthood. In fact, under Brigham Young, Elijah Abel was barred from receiving his temple endowments because he was black, even though he still remained a seventy and continued doing missionary work.
Brigham Young's Famous Journal Of Discourses
The journal of discourses is probably the most dreaded official church document by most LDS members, yet it is a favorite among those that are critical of the church. The entire journal of discourses can be read in the right column under "reference material". Some "spiritual thoughts" by Brigham Young as found in his Journal:
"You see some classes of the human family that are black, uncouth, uncomely, disagreeable and low in their habits, wild, and seemingly deprived of nearly all the blessings of the intelligence that is generally bestowed upon mankind....Cain slew his brother. Can might have been killed, and that would have put a termination to that line of human beings. This was not to be, and the Lord put a mark upon him, which is the flat nose and black skin." (Journal of Discourses, Vol. 7, page 290).
"In our first settlement in Missouri, it was said by our enemies that we intended to tamper with the slaves, not that we had any idea of the kind, for such a thing never entered our minds. We knew that the children of Ham were to be the "servant of servants," and no power under heaven could hinder it, so long as the Lord would permit them to welter under the curse and those were known to be our religious views concerning them." (Journal of Discourses, Volume 2, page 172.)
"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, Volume 10, page 110.)
What About The 2nd Article Of Faith?
To say that a darker shade of tan is a curse from God is bad, but to go further and say that their descendants also have a curse goes against the 2nd article of faith:
"We believe that men will be punished for their own sins, and not for Adam’s transgression."
The second article of faith says that Adam's sins are not passed down to his children. So how is it that Cain's punishment of the dark skin is passed down from generation to generation, but the original sin, Adam's transgression, is not? Perhaps it should have said:
"We believe that white men will be punished for their own sins, and not for Adam's transgression, however black men will be punished for Cain's transgression".
Monday, July 16, 2007
My thoughts regarding racism and the LDS church: