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Criticism of Mormonism/Websites/FutureMissionary.com/Black Mormons
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A FairMormon Analysis of:A work by author: Anonymous
|The Prophet Joseph Smith|
A FairMormon Analysis of FutureMissionary page "Black Mormons"
FAIRMORMON'S VIEW OF THE CRITICS' CONCLUSIONS
The positions that the FutureMissionary article "Black Mormons" appears to take are the following:
- That racist quotes from Church leaders made in the late 1800's and 1950's somehow have relevance to missionary preparation.
- That the Book of Mormon supports segregation.
- That old prohibitions within the Church forbidding interracial marriage may have been abolished.
- That the Church teaches that "blacks could go to the Celestial Kingdom, but only as slaves," while stating that "most members believe this changed in 1978."
- That "blacks born prior to 1978 were born black because they were less valiant in the pre-existence," without mentioning that these ideas have been rejected by the Church, or even by some of those that made these statements originally.
FAIRMORMON'S RESPONSE AND SUPPORTING DATA
The website poses the question: "Were there black Mormons with the priesthood before 1978?"
- This is correct. Some black Mormons were ordained by Joseph Smith. Some time during Brigham Young's tenure, a priesthood ban was put into place.
- From the Doctrine and Covenants, Official Declaration 2
Official Declaration 2 The Book of Mormon teaches that “all are alike unto God,” including “black and white, bond and free, male and female” (2 Nephi 26:33). Throughout the history of the Church, people of every race and ethnicity in many countries have been baptized and have lived as faithful members of the Church. During Joseph Smith’s lifetime, a few black male members of the Church were ordained to the priesthood. Early in its history, Church leaders stopped conferring the priesthood on black males of African descent. Church records offer no clear insights into the origins of this practice. Church leaders believed that a revelation from God was needed to alter this practice and prayerfully sought guidance. The revelation came to Church President Spencer W. Kimball and was affirmed to other Church leaders in the Salt Lake Temple on June 1, 1978. The revelation removed all restrictions with regard to race that once applied to the priesthood.
|link=Mormonism and racial issues/Blacks and the priesthood |subject=Blacks and the priesthood |summary=Members of African descent were restricted from holding the LDS Church's lay priesthood until 1978. Understanding the priesthood ban is difficult, because the historical record is not entirely clear about the ban's institution. There is no contemporary, first-person account of the ban's implementation. Critics with an agenda, as well as sincere seekers with a laudable abhorrence of racism have used this fact to portray the former (or present) Church and its members as racist. Critics argue that God would not allow His church to ever deny blessings or privileges based on race. }}
The website poses the question "Did Mormons oppose slavery?" They answer that Joseph Smith opposed it, but that the Utah territory allowed it.
- The reason that Mormons were driven from Missouri is because of their abolitionist views, and increased voting power. This threatened Missouri's status as a slave state. However, some Latter-day Saints still accepted slavery, which was legal at the time. This practice carried over to the Utah territory. The entire country eventually went to war with itself over this issue.
- Outsiders do not seem to have regarded members of the Church in the 1830s as sharing typical American ideas about race. In 1835, a skeptical account of their doctrines and beliefs noted:
As the promulgators of this extraordinary legend maintain the natural equality of mankind, without excepting the native Indians or the African race, there is little reason to be surprised at the cruel persecution by which they have suffered, and still less at the continued accession of converts among those who sympathize with the wrongs of others or seek an asylum for their own.
The preachers and believers of the following doctrines were not likely to remain, unmolested, in the State of Missouri.
“The Lord God hath commanded that men should not murder; that they should not lie; that they should not steal, &c. He inviteth them all to come unto him and partake of his goodness: and he denieth none that come unto him; black and white—bond and free, male and female; and he remembereth the heathen; and all are alike unto God, both Jew and Gentile.” Again: “Behold! the Lamanites, your brethren, whom ye hate, because of their filthiness and the cursings which hath come upon their skins, are more righteous than you; for they have not forgotten the commandment of the Lord, which was given unto our father, &c. Wherefore the Lord God will not destroy them; but will be merciful to them; and one day they shall become  a blessed people.” “O my brethren, I fear, that, unless ye shall repent of your sins, that their skins shall be whiter than yours, when ye shall be brought with them before the throne of God*. Wherefore a commandment I give unto you, which is the word of God, that ye revile no more against them because of the darkness of their skins,” &c. “The king saith unto him, yea! if the Lord saith unto us, go! we will go down unto our brethren, and we will be their slaves, until we repair unto them the many murders and sins, which we have committed against them. But Ammon saith unto him, it is against the law of our brethren, which was established by my father, that there should any slaves among them. Therefore let us go down and rely upon the mercies of our brethren.”
E.S. Abdy, Journal of a Residence and Tour in the United States of North America, from April, 1833, to October, 1834, 3 Vols., (London: John Murray, 1835), 3:57-58.
The article poses the question "Is interracial marriage a sin?" The authors then provide two quotes from the late 1800's and one 1954 quote from Mark E. Peterson that prohibit interracial marriage. The authors then conclude that "Even interracial temple marriages are now performed. Many speculate that this law no longer applies now that black people can hold the priesthood."
- The authors present this data as if there is uncertainty as to whether or not there is a prohibition against interracial marriage in the Church. There is no prohibition. To imply otherwise is disingenuous.
- Why do the site authors present three racially charged quotes from the 1800's and 1950's, when racial issues were much worse than they are today? How does this help prepare the prospective missionary? The web page has more of the appearance of a racial attack than an attempt to provide any sort of answers to prospective missionaries.
- Why didn't the authors provide a quote that represents the thinking of the modern Church on the subject? There are plenty of them available.
- President Gordon B. Hinckley responded to this issue in 2006 (Gordon B. Hinckley, "President Gordon B. Hinckley on Racial Intolerance," (April 2006) off-site):
Racial strife still lifts its ugly head. I am advised that even right here among us there is some of this. I cannot understand how it can be. It seemed to me that we all rejoiced in the 1978 revelation given President Kimball. I was there in the temple at the time that that happened. There was no doubt in my mind or in the minds of my associates that what was revealed was the mind and the will of the Lord.
Now I am told that racial slurs and denigrating remarks are sometimes heard among us. I remind you that no man who makes disparaging remarks concerning those of another race can consider himself a true disciple of Christ. Nor can he consider himself to be in harmony with the teachings of the Church of Christ. How can any man holding the Melchizedek Priesthood arrogantly assume that he is eligible for the priesthood whereas another who lives a righteous life but whose skin is of a different color is ineligible?
|link=Mormonism and racial issues/Racial statements by Church leaders |subject=Racial statements by Church leaders |summary=Why did past prophets make racist statements? God had already revealed to Peter that he should not call anything "common" that God had cleansed (Acts 10:9-16), yet some modern-day prophets thought that blacks were inferior to whites; why is that? }}
The website asks the question "Did Mormonism oppose the civil rights movement?" It then provides yet another 1954 quote from Mark E. Peterson in which he supports segregation.
- Why is it important for a prospective missionary to know that a Church leader in the 1950's supported segregation? What relevance does this have to their mission?
- Why are there no quotes presented that represent the modern Church on this subject?
- Here's a quote from Russell M. Nelson (Russell M. Nelson, "'Teach Us Tolerance and Love'," (April 1994):
Only the comprehension of the true Fatherhood of God can bring full appreciation of the true brotherhood of man. That understanding inspires desire to build bridges of cooperation instead of walls of segregation.
|link= |subject= |summary= }}
The website asks the question "Can blacks go to the celestial kingdom?" It then "answers" it by quoting Mark E. Petersen's 1954 talk yet again, claiming that "blacks could go to the Celestial Kingdom, but only as slaves." The authors also claim that "Most members believe this changed in 1978 when blacks were allowed to hold the priesthood."
- The Church does not have a doctrine which states that Blacks will be servants in heaven.
- Mark E. Petersen said that they would be "servants" in the Celestial kingdom, not "slaves." The website displays his actual quote, so we do not know why the site authors chose to change it to "slaves" in their commentary.
|quote= The Church repudiates such racial statements made in the past:
- The Church unequivocally condemns racism, including any and all past racism by individuals both inside and outside the Church.
—"Race and the Church: All Are Alike Unto God", Newsroom, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
- There will indeed be servants in the Celestial Kingdom, but the Doctrine and Covenants indicates that such servants are not limited to a particular race. DC 132:16.
Therefore, when they are out of the world they neither marry nor are given in marriage; but are appointed angels in heaven, which angels are ministering servants, to minister for those who are worthy of a far more, and an exceeding, and an eternal weight of glory.
|link=Mormonism and racial issues/Mark E. Peterson claims that Blacks become servants in heaven |subject=Mark E. Peterson claims that Blacks become servants in heaven |summary=Elder Mark E. Peterson said, " If that Negro is faithful all his days, he can and will enter the celestial kingdom. He will go there as a servant, but he will get a celestial resurrection. He will get a place in the celestial glory." }}
The website poses the question "Why were blacks born black?" It then "answers" this with a collection of repudiated pre-1978 quotes claiming that blacks were not valiant in the pre-existence.
- Why do the site authors consider a repudiated and outdated teaching to be a vital part of missionary preparation for the twenty-first century?
- Why do they not include the Church's more recent statements on the subject, including the recent change in heading of Official Declaration #2?
- Here is the heading of Official Declaration 2:
Official Declaration 2
The Book of Mormon teaches that “all are alike unto God,” including “black and white, bond and free, male and female” (2 Nephi 26:33). Throughout the history of the Church, people of every race and ethnicity in many countries have been baptized and have lived as faithful members of the Church. During Joseph Smith’s lifetime, a few black male members of the Church were ordained to the priesthood. Early in its history, Church leaders stopped conferring the priesthood on black males of African descent. Church records offer no clear insights into the origins of this practice. Church leaders believed that a revelation from God was needed to alter this practice and prayerfully sought guidance. The revelation came to Church President Spencer W. Kimball and was affirmed to other Church leaders in the Salt Lake Temple on June 1, 1978. The revelation removed all restrictions with regard to race that once applied to the priesthood.
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