Mormon silence on Baltimore. And Ferguson. And Cleveland.

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Members of the community hold hands in front of police officers in riot gear outside a recently looted and burned CVS store in Baltimore, Maryland, on April 28, 2015.  The day after rioters tore through Baltimore, the city's mayor was criticized on Tuesday for a slow police response to some of the worst U.S. urban unrest in years after the funeral of Freddie Gray, a 25-year-old black man who died in police custody. Maryland Governor Larry Hogan said he had called Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake repeatedly Monday but that she held off calling in the National Guard until three hours after violence first erupted. Photo courtesy of REUTERS/Jim Bourg

Members of the community hold hands in front of police officers in riot gear outside a recently looted and burned CVS store in Baltimore, Maryland, on April 28, 2015. The day after rioters tore through Baltimore, the city's mayor was criticized on Tuesday for a slow police response to some of the worst U.S. urban unrest in years after the funeral of Freddie Gray, a 25-year-old black man who died in police custody. Maryland Governor Larry Hogan said he had called Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake repeatedly Monday but that she held off calling in the National Guard until three hours after violence first erupted. Photo courtesy of REUTERS/Jim Bourg

Members of the community hold hands in front of police officers in riot gear outside a recently looted and burned CVS store in Baltimore, Maryland, on April 28, 2015.  The day after rioters tore through Baltimore, the city's mayor was criticized on Tuesday for a slow police response to some of the worst U.S. urban unrest in years after the funeral of Freddie Gray, a 25-year-old black man who died in police custody. Maryland Governor Larry Hogan said he had called Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake repeatedly Monday but that she held off calling in the National Guard until three hours after violence first erupted. Photo courtesy of REUTERS/Jim Bourg

Members of the community hold hands in front of police officers in riot gear outside a recently looted and burned CVS store in Baltimore, Maryland, on April 28, 2015. The day after rioters tore through Baltimore, the city’s mayor was criticized on Tuesday for a slow police response to some of the worst U.S. urban unrest in years after the funeral of Freddie Gray, a 25-year-old black man who died in police custody. Maryland Governor Larry Hogan said he had called Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake repeatedly Monday but that she held off calling in the National Guard until three hours after violence first erupted. Photo courtesy of REUTERS/Jim Bourg

In this week’s official Mormon news:

These are all significant stories – and #2 and #3 are both forward-thinking and yay-making. So this is me, cheering.

Except for one thing.

Nowhere to be found in this week’s official Mormon news:

  • A single comment from the LDS Church about what’s going on in Baltimore.

That’s not surprising, you say. It’s only been happening since Monday. How could LDS leaders be expected to respond to this event in just a few days?

Except that it’s not just been a few days. It’s been nearly a year.

Because Ferguson.

And Staten Island.

And Cleveland.

And South Carolina.

When you look at it that way, the Church’s strict radio silence on racial violence starts to feel pronounced and intentional.

When there’s a natural disaster, the Church is so quick to respond with sympathy, money, and aid. Whether we’re talking about Vanuatu last month or Nepal this past week, Mormon compassion for those who are suffering is immediate and tangible.

With other kinds of disasters – the kind that stem from human oppression — we are notoriously slow of speech.

I’m not saying the Church needs to respond to every single injustice that happens in a 24/7 news cycle. The world is too large – and, depressingly enough, too unjust – for that to be remotely realistic.

But half a century after the civil rights movement, black people are still dying in America’s streets at the hands of whites. Is it too much to expect that a prophetic religion that wants to offer God’s voice to us today would go out on a limb and say that, in general, this is wrong?

Maybe it is too much to be prophetic, to call out injustice where it is clearly occurring. If that’s the case, and we’re saving all our social capital for speaking prophetically on a few personal morality issues like sexual orientation, then perhaps we could at least go out of our way to be pastoral.

Bottom line: there are teenage black boys in our own wards who are wondering about their safety and worth.

Being pastoral here means affirming that black boys and men matter. That their bodies are not to be viewed as inherent public threats if they so much as don a hoodie. That we love them and stand with them.

Being pastoral means saying that out loud, in public, and with the full authority of the Church. Multiple times if necessary.

And given the terrible history of the last year, there’s little doubt that reiterating these affirmations will be necessary again all too soon.

 

 

  • TomW

    I don’t know exactly what “the Church” is supposed to say about Baltimore. Police brutality is bad, but the offenders remain a very small percentage of the men and women who strive to keep our streets safe. Destructive mobs are bad, but speaking out on that just gets you called a racist.

    Another reason not to rush to speak on such matters is that they are often misrepresented at the beginning. Take Ferguson, which is mentioned in the column, for example. It turns out that the entire “hands up, don’t shoot” schtick was based on a complete lie. How much anger was ginned up over that incident? How much destruction was inflicted upon the region? How much racial animosity was stirred in the nation? And for what? A lie. A lie which continues to be perpetrated even in this very context, despite the fact that we now know better. And yet Ferguson is still mentioned. It shouldn’t be, except within the context of rushing to judgment to embrace the rallying cries of race…

  • Sandy

    There are a couple ways to look at look at this issue. On one hand, the aim of the church is to spread the gospel, not to right all the wrongs in the world. As Elder Oaks taught, “just as Jesus did not teach how to overcome the mortal challenges or political oppression of His day, He usually inspires His modern servants to speak about what we must do to reform our personal lives to prepare us to return to our heavenly home.”

    But church leaders are also clear that their role–all of our roles–is to speak against evil. The church has a long history of decrying evils like child abuse, pornography, and “the disintegration of the family.” Racial violence is evil. Murder is evil. Injustice is evil. Police brutality is evil. I truly do not understand why the church treats it like it as an untouchable political topic. We have the resources to address this topic. The BOM teaches racial unity. Several apostles and prophets have addressed it. We could be a light to the world, but we are…

  • Martin Dion

    If all the people of this planet were born blind, would we have this problem?

    Is this a problem that has nothing to do with color but more to do with being poor and disadvantaged?

    Who is going to have compassion on the poor of this world and make sure they too have a respectable place on planet earth?

    The probability of a poor man succeeding is very low.The poor have real struggles and for them to succeed in life is so much more harder as they were never given the opportunity to succeed.

  • Sandy

    We are not. That should say we are not. I guess I ate up my character count.

  • Debbie Snowcroft

    They were silent during the Civil Rights movement, too.

    Oh. I’m sorry. That’s a mistake. Church leaders did speak out about the Civil Rights movement. Consider, for example, the inspired words of Elder Mark E. Peterson who explained it this way (BYU, August 27, 1954) :

    “Now we are generous with the Negro. We are willing that the Negro have the highest education. I would be willing to let every Negro drive a Cadillac if they could afford it. I would be willing that they have all the advantages they can get out of life in the world. But let them enjoy these things among themselves. I think the Lord segregated the Negro and who is man to change that segregation? It reminds me of the scripture on marriage, “what God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.” Only here we have the reverse of the thing — what God hath separated, let not man bring together again.”

  • A reader on Facebook just alerted me to an all-stake fast called by the Baltimore stake presidency. I am so glad to see this. FYI, anyone is welcome to fast in solidarity with them this Sunday.

    “We invite all members of the Baltimore Stake, as well as friends and neighbors who are not of our faith, to join with us in a special fast on Sunday, May 3rd, for peace in our city, and, in particular, for the safety and hope of the youth of Baltimore who are beset by poverty and violence.”

    https://www.facebook.com/baltimorestakeservice/photos/a.289943374433981.65811.160688854026101/833914143370232/?type=1&fref=nf&pnref=story

  • Really, TomW? I’m not sure what you’ve been reading, but perhaps you should try the U.S. Department of Justice’s report on Ferguson.

    Here is the New York Times summary of the department’s findings, released last month. “In a scathing report released Wednesday, the Justice Department concluded that the Ferguson Police Department had been routinely violating the constitutional rights of its black residents. According to the report, bias against African-Americans was routine and thorough, affecting ‘nearly every aspect of Ferguson police and court operations.’ For blacks, the report concluded, distrust and fear of the police was well-founded.”

    Read more at:
    http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2015/03/04/us/ferguson-police-racial-discrimination.html?_r=0

  • Thank you for this balanced and measured response, Sandy. I truly appreciate it.

  • shelly

    Since when is the Mormon Church required to chime in on all the happenings of the world? It sounds to me like this lady already has something against the Mormon Church. Is she an ex member? She’s not someone I would go to for an opinion on religion despite her degree. It’s pretty bold of her to assume where any church stands on a topic w/out trying to find out from that church first. It wouldn’t be hard to find out their true stance on it rather than making rash allegations and seeing an opportunity to be negative and spread hate. In addition, people are still assuming the thing that happened is race related. All the facts aren’t even in. The only racial thing I see are all these people in an uproar and destroying their own cities. Lately any situation w/ a black suspect and white officer is assumed to be racially motivated before considering facts. It’s funny they aren’t highlighting the other side. There are just as many, if not more instances of black against white racial…

  • hoffbegone

    “With other kinds of disasters – the kind that stem from human oppression”

    Excuse me, that may be a wrong characterization of Baltimore and Ferguson. However, if that is what you want to believe then that is up to you.

    When a natural disaster strikes, there is no ambiguity about what happened and what caused it. When a riot occurs and you think it is about oppression. Well, maybe that is why the Church is slow to respond. It’s because that is your opinion and it may not be the truth. By the time the truth comes out then you could discuss why the Church is slow.

  • hoffbegone

    Another point which I’ve been wanting to make for a long time and seems this is a good place to make it.

    Has anyone noticed alleged acts of police violence against blacks is actually government employees allegedly committing violent acts against blacks and it’s not the regular folk? Police are government employees. It is government employees that are racist, not you and me. And why aren’t we holding the bosses accountable?

    Is this trickle down racism?

  • Kim

    Wow, shelly. I’d think that before launching into so personal an attack on “this lady” and her (imagined) motives, you might want to read a few more of her blog entries. That’s really easy. Also, even if she were as you imagine her (which she manifestly isn’t), the value and validity of her “opinions” would be independent of her motives. We can often learn more from people who disagree with us than from those who mirror our prejudices. No one here is “spreading hate.” Rather, I read this as a (longing, aching) plea that prophets act like prophets and condemn social injustice. Finally, I’m astonished at your apparent belief that there is, especially “under color of law,” which is what counts here, anything even approaching more black on white violence than the other way around.

  • Jennifer

    I don’t know. But I do t think Jesus cared much about how he would be politically perceived . He spoke the truth regardless of how it would be interpreted, even onto his conviction and death sentence. So, your excus…whoops, reasonings are weak. The Church doesn’t say anything for the very reason that they are more concerned with their own standing than Jesus’.

  • This is about oppression. Systematic oppression of the less advantaged. Jesus said what you give to the poor you give to me, the same is true, what you don’t give to the less advantaged, even by denial, you give to him. You are in a sense denying Christ.

  • Diane

    Government is force. So, yes. We give people a badge which affords them certain powers over us, and then we turned the other way when they ignore the limits of those powers. We give them a gun and then worship and revere them because we live in fear. We want someone to protect us. We can see that in the BOM, too.

  • Debbie Snowcroft

    Oh, Jana dear, think about what you’re saying.

    Can god change people’s behavior? If no, what is the point of praying and fasting and asking him to do something he can’t do?

    If yes, what about free agency, and why doesn’t god intervene and stop murderers, rapists, and warmongering presidents ?

    If yes, why would god need to be asked? Is god unable to act goodly unless pious Mormons skip two measls and pray to his almighty ego? Why would god let innocent people’s businesses be vandalized and innocent people be hurt unless Mormons were praying and fasting?

    I will never understand the mental compartmentalization that seems to be a prerequisite for Mormon superstition (or any other religious superstition). It’s as if Mormons turn their brains off when they start talking religiously.

  • Averyl

    Is there a reason you’ve only talked about the Black men and boys who have been killed and attacked? Let’s not forget the Black women and girls!
    http://nymag.com/thecut/2015/04/black-women-and-girls-face-police-brutality-too.html

  • Listening Closely

    I want to compliment Shelly for being so observant. It doesn’t take to much to see that this article is from a pure prejudice view against the LDS church and nothing else. How do you compare a call to action to a natural disaster as compared with an induced human disaster that could have been prevented. But Jana did it. The only thing missing is the accolades for Reverend Jackson and Sharpton who are coming there to straighten things out. I wonder what Jana would have said to Jesus when he told His apostles not to go to the Gentiles and Samaritans to teach the gospel. Jana said, I don’t expect the church to respond to every injustice that happens. Well which ones do they respond to? the ones you think are important or what the church thinks is important. The church has responded to many crisis and helped a tremendous amount of people throughout the world regardless of what color they are, or language they speak, or if they were members of the church or not. And all you do is…

  • Aimee

    Thank you for this, Jana. I too have been troubled by the Church’s deafening silence on these issues.

    As a member of the Young Women’s presidency in a Baltimore Ward that serves the inner city I just have to add a plea to remember that it’s not just young black men whose bodies are at risk, who have little sense of safety or self-worth. I can’t betray the confidence of the incredible young women I have been privileged to get to know by sharing their hardships here, but trust that their very beings are under assault every day by the same forces that threaten our young men of color. I ask everyone here to keep them in your prayers as you contemplate the events occurring in our beloved city.

  • I only read TomW’s comment, and it just confirmed what my initial thoughts already were:

    Quite frankly, I would not really want the LDS church commenting on these issues because I think that somewhere, they would get the issues wrong and/or start a conversation that actively increases the amount of negative energy on the subjects (whether it’s at the top, whether it’s whatever the newsroom says, or whether it’s the conversations it would inspire in wards and stakes.)

  • Jonathan

    Our leaders have used their platform as prophet, seer & revelator to address many public & political issues: sanctity of marriage, plague of pornography, Prohibition, ERA, Prop 8, etc. Leaders consistently take public positions on issues. In the Ensign, Conference and in press releases, the Church consistently refrains from endorsing candidates or parties, instead encouraging us to be informed & make righteous choices. For the sake of neutrality, speaking up to encourage civility and empathy among members seems reasonable now. Frequently General Church leaders extend well wishes, kind thoughts & prayers to those who suffer & grieve. Remaining silent here, our Church may be perceived as condoning certain behaviors and positions at odds with our core beliefs. Since the 1978 Revelation re: Priesthood, the Church has made great efforts to embrace all God’s children more fully, yet many ugly remnants of racist beliefs remain—(remember the” fence sitter” doctrine?). In this PR age (I…

  • maddy

    Yes, I’m sorry to say I worry that Church leaders lack the sensitivity and understanding they need to make statements, resulting in an increase rather than decrease in misunderstandings. Hopefully better handled at the local level(?)

    That said,
    There are other moral issues rarely/never addressed by church leaders–such as poverty. The Catholic Church is more at the forefront on this issue. Many LDS members view poverty as a result of immorality on the part of the poor themselves.

    While the media at large has publicized these types of events, I haven’t seen much reporting on the day-to-day struggles, encounters between law enforcement and law abiding citizens. For example, comedian Chris Rock in a span of 7 weeks was pulled over 3 times. It was also interesting that in the internet series “Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee,” Jerry Seinfeld (driving) Chris Rock (passenger) ends with them being pulled over by a cop. Not staged. Wouldn’t that make you a little…

  • Yes, Kim, Jana should tell the prophet how to act like a prophet. ‘Cause you and she both had recent conversations with God and He has told both of you what He hasn´t told His prophet. Right?

    I think all of you commenters, as well as the author, Jana Reiss, and especially those who are active members who believe in modern day prophets, need to take a step back and think about what you are saying. Since when does anyone tell God’s representative on the earth how he should represent God. If he really is God´s mouthpiece, I think the Lord will do the job of telling what he should comment on. If you don’t believe that, and the majority of Jana’s readers do not, fine. You make your point quite clear, and you are welcome to your opinion.

    But you who do believe, think very carefully about your criticisms, and who it is you criticize.

    As far as Jana Reiss is concerned, the more I read her blog, the more I realize that for all her education, she just doesn´t have a clue.

  • James Carr

    Since no one can speak freely about Black issues that may include any culpability on their part, the problem is slowly being expected, then ignored. The blame game is corrupted with political correctness, so fewer and fewer people care about root causes and the need for better understanding. Those pretenses of concern go nowhere, nothing changes……from Watts to Baltimore. To me it is a issue for Blacks to look inward and solve. Most of us are simply jaded by the unnecessary repetitiveness of it……another day, another riot. Shrug.

  • Being a retired law enforcement officer, I can attest to the fact that what you see on the News is rarely the whole story. What you see on TV is only that which is inflammatory and sensational, ’cause that sells newspapers, boosts ratings, and gets reporters promoted.

    A mentally disturbed man throwing a temper tantrum in a police van and injuring himself isn´t good news. White police officers beating a black boy to death is.

    A very large drugged man who recently robbed a convenience store, and then attacked a police officer much smaller than him being shot in self-defence isn´t exciting. A white police officer shooting a poor little unarmed black teenager is.

    A Hispanic man shooting a very large man physically attacking him isn´t newsworthy. But because he’s half white, and he shot unarmed black teenager, now its on TV.

    A prophet of God exercises restraint, and yet fine upstanding citizens like Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton, are there before the bodies are cold.

  • Cary, you’re totally wrong. Prophets are not infallible. They are not above criticism.

  • Great post, Jana. Another point of comparison: GAs sure spend a lot of breath decrying gay marriage, for which there’s no obvious bad outcome, and can’t spare a word for things that are actually evil like the racism and brutality you mention in the post. It’s really disappointing. I expect more of watchmen on the tower.

  • Doc Anthony

    Maybe the LDS Church can publicly ask the Brown family why they set a city on fire (literally giving the orders to do so on TV, you’ll remember!).

    And then ask the Brown family why they still refuse to accept that the white policeman whose livelihood and reputation they destroyed, was demonstrated by both an official grand jury AND the US Attorney General Eric Holder’s official federal witch-hunt), to NOT be guilty of any illegal or racist activity, but instead fighting for his very life against a 300-pound strongarm robber and bully fresh from a same-day assault and robbery on a minority person HALF his size.

    And then the Mormons should ask out loud why the now-disgraced Brian Williams of NBC, and some CNN folks including Don Lemon, tried to re-make Ferguson into Selma and re-make “gentle giant who was shot in the back” Michael Brown Jr. into Martin Luther King Jr, without waiting for all (or even half) of the facts to come in.

    #ALL-lives-matter

  • Sorry Ziff, but you and many other past commenters on this blog have a very misguided understanding of what the term “infallible” means, when speaking with regards to the Prophet of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.

  • ron

    Only a micromanaging and cultist prophet would comment on everything. As elder oaks said many years ago: “the topics we covere are general, not specific in nature…” Be thankful for the instances they are specific as they are rare indeed and must be heeded…proclamation on the family, 1978 revelation on priesthood, etc.

    I for one dont find pleasure telling the bretheren what they should speak on. They are the lords prophets not mine.

  • Doc Anthony,

    Thanks for a little bit of sanity. Sadly, few of these commenters have a clear understanding of the real issues. I´d love to know how many of these commenters, who are so worried about the “horrible institutional racism in this country”, have ever spent any time in the inner city or other communities where these upstanding citizens use alleged racial injustice as a pretext to set their communities on fire, destroy other peoples’ property, and kill other innocent human beings. How many of them have police officers in their families who fear for their lives on a daily basis, because they have to go to work in these places where one wrong move can put your career or even life at great risk. Very few of these officers have a desire to hurt anyone. They just want to live to go home and be with their families at the end of the day. The day will come when these fine men and women will refuse to take the risk anymore, and then Heaven help these communities.

  • ron

    There is a bad outcome. That type of relationship cannot be sealed in heaven. The whole point is to enable people the oppertunity to return to heavenly father in a familial relationship and that type of relationship is sinful and is not found in the celestial kingdom.

  • Explain it to me, then. From what you said above, you believe the prophet can’t be criticized because he can’t be wrong. Is that not actually your position?

  • If their concern is based on something that might happen in the next life, why waste time fighting over whether it’s recognized by secular governments? That should have no effect whatsoever on the next life.

  • Sean

    Sister Riess, I think you got your answer. The reason that the Church doesn’t speak out against these instances is because half of our membership thinks that the cops aren’t killing ENOUGH young black men. Therefore, so long as it serves this particular flock, it is going to steer clear of these issues. Of course, this begs the question of how our Church continues to produce generation after generation of saints who are completely indifferent to the suffering of people of color in their midst. Only the Lord knows, I guess.

  • Allison

    Prophets are just men regardless of their calling. No one is perfect but Christ, meaning prophets are not perfect in the way they ask for and receive revelation. That has to be a given if you believe that Christ was the only perfect man on this earth. If you asked a prophet, I bet they are actually quite grateful for feedback because they simply cannot understand or comprehend the needs of all people. I personally believe they need that feedback to inform their questions and perspectives. It is neither a sin nor a declaration of disbelief to criticize a prophet or any leader within the church. I think that too often within the LDS church we are terrified of criticism and it stunts our progress as a people. Ironically, progress is the only way we receive more revelation.

  • catsissie

    Man does keep his free agency. But what we fast and pray for is the softening of hearts, and knowing that it comes to those who are willing to accept that in their hearts and their lives. We could not ask for anything more than that, for to force a change would not just be wrong of us to want, but it wouldn’t actually make for the heartfelt change in another that would improve anything. And the truth is, that in fasting and praying for changes in others’ hearts, we actually make more lasting changes in our own. With that, coming along with changes in our own attitudes, words, and daily behaviors, we can change our own corner of the world….if we change enough corners, each of us, can we not change the world, person by person?

  • Fred M

    Cary–did God reveal the Word of Wisdom to Joseph Smith out of the blue, or did Emma complain first? Did God reveal that the design of temple garments should be changed on His own, or did members complain to their leaders first? How about the changes in the temple ceremony? Did God reveal that those needed to be changed in a vacuum, or did members complain to their leaders first? The revelations ending polygamy and the priesthood ban are also examples of this. Allowing women to pray in sacrament meeting is another one.

    All revelation doesn’t come this way, but there is a clear pattern. Someone complains, the prophet goes to the Lord, and then revelation comes. If you are unaware of this, then you have no real understanding of how the church works. Often the Lord clearly inspires his prophet through the complaints of his people!

  • Wayne Dequer

    LDS members who view poverty primarily as a result of immorality on the part of the poor themselves, misunderstand and/or misrepresent the gospel of Jesus Christ. Let me suggest the following: Matthew 25: 31-46, King Benjamin’s Address in Mosiah 4 — especially verses 16-26, and many links at https://www.lds.org/search?lang=eng&query=poor+and+needy. This has been a significant focus of President Thomas S. Monson and was beautifully addressed by Elder Holland in October of 2014 (see https://www.lds.org/general-conference/2014/10/are-we-not-all-beggars?lang=eng ).

  • Wayne Dequer

    In the meridian of time, Christ lived in a society with brutality by those responsible enforcing the laws of the Jews and Romans and periodic rebellions against the abuses of power. He had relatively little to say directly about the topics. As in our day, He focused on the gospel message and encouraged all to following it’s teachings.

    In the Latter-days, Joseph Smith said that he taught correct principles and the people governed themselves. Lord has given specific revelations about the abuse of power in D&C 121:34-46. I seem to remember that section being quoted at least 3 times April’s general conference. However, anarchy and riot are also to be avoided (see D&C 134).

    The gospel focuses on changing hearts and behaviors. President Benson said: “The Lord works from the inside out. The world works from the outside in. The world would take people out of the slums. Christ takes the slums out of people . . . Christ changes men, who then change their environment.”

  • Wayne Dequer

    There are certainly LDS members who are callous and indifferent as well as other folks. Christ teaches: “But when thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth”(Matt 6:3). Much good is done by many people very quietly.

    I lived for over 40 years in the San Gabriel Valley of the greater Los Angeles area. The community, schools and wards were fully integrated. I remember a black family with a single mom and 3 typical boys. They had financial and emotional challenges. The bishop, ward leaders, and members reached out to the family helping and being involved. A former bishop became involved in mentoring and tutoring 2 of the boys. One of them was accused by a troubled girl. That former bishop spent may hours working with the boy, the family, and the schools to keep the boy from being simply expelled. The school made sure the boy was monitored and counseled and the troubled girl got the outside counseling she needed.

    Such outreach is not uncommon.

  • Wayne Dequer

    In the April 2006 General Conference, President Hinckley said: “I have wondered why there is so much hatred in the world. . . . Racial strife still lifts its ugly head . . . 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. . . . If any within the sound of my voice is inclined to indulge in this, then let him go before the Lord and ask for forgiveness and be no more involved in such.”

  • JD

    That you cite the department of justice doesn’t really strengthen your case, particularly given their partisan prism of “justice” under the Obama administration that’s been silent on almost everything else. That you are also blind the left-wing Alinksy machine behind these “uprisings” echoed by a equally partisan media is also troubling. That you want the Church to get in the middle of it, preposterous.

  • “With other kinds of disasters – the kind that stem from human oppression…”

    My heart goes out to Mormons, who are oppressed by legalism. In order to work your way back to the Father you have to make temple covenants and keep them, get married in the temple, keep the commandments. And after all of this God tells us in Romans 3:20 that He will not declare anyone righteous by their observing the law.

    And the answer is so simple. But I’ve heard Mormons mock imputed righteousness. Even though the Scriptures teach imputed righteousness. A righteousness that comes from God. Read Romans chapters 3 and 4.

    You’re working very hard for something God has already said He will never receive from your hand. You’re working very hard for something Jesus already has gained for you. Yet your leaders keep this from you.

    A prophet of God will testify about imputed righteousness (Romans 3:21).

    http://downtownministries.blogspot.com/2015/03/definition-of-grace.html

  • Kim McCall

    Wayne — I wonder how you are so confident that you know what Jesus talked about over a three-year public ministry. The final verse of John should warn us against reasoning “from absence of evidence to evidence of absence.” And the diversity of the Gospels indicates (to me, at least) that in addition to inspiration, the writers were motivated by varying goals of their own (here I carefully avoid the word ‘agenda’), which may explain how they decided what to include and exclude. I also notice that you say nothing about the Book of Mormon or the prophetic books of the Old Testament, which are replete with condemnations of social injustice, of accumulation of wealth, etc. Finally, Jesus did warn of the dangers of wealth. And most importantly, Matthew records Jesus saying that our eternal destiny depends on whether we succor the poorest and most disadvantaged among us. To withhold sympathy (and good works) from them is to withhold them from Jesus. Let’s heed that plea from our…

  • I use to work in a predominantly “African American” office. When people found out I was LDS, I got 2 reactions:

    1. Mormons are bigots and hate blacks (worst)
    2. Mormonism is a white church for white people, we accept blacks now, but it’s still really only for whites (best)

    Why do we get these reactions?

    My ward boundaries are set up to include a predominantly “African American” area, and when non-“European Americans” come in they do not feel at home. We do not make them feel welcome. Our hymns are not happy. Our speakers do not preach. We are slow, and uncomfortably happy all the time.

    We won’t talk about these things because, we are a white church. We are a conformist origination. We want everyone to come in, get baptized, put on a white shirt & tie and act like nice white folk. We won’t apologize for our sins against the black community.

    In short, the LDS Church doesn’t care about black people.

  • Dave

    Heard this WEEK by an apostle:

    “I am convinced that had my countrymen felt and applied the power of divine love and compassion, the Holocaust never could have happened. The evil that befell the world could have been prevented. Such heartache could not have descended upon the planet.”

    “The great tragedy is if only we could take the time to truly know the other person, we would discover that perhaps we are not so different at all. He who once was our enemy can become our friend … Too often evil rises in the world because good men and good women do not find the courage to speak against it. And sometimes terrible, preventable events happen because we fail to open our mouths.”

    “If we love as Christ loved, if we truly follow the path He practiced and preached, there is a chance for us to avoid the echoing tragedies of history and the seemingly unavoidable fatal flaws of man.” -Dieter F. Uchtdorf (Apr 24, 2015)

  • If you view religion as superstition,what’s the point of your gratuitous comments,Ms.Snowcroft? Obviously you have nothing meaningful to add to the conversation,and your scorn and derision serves no clear-cut purpose,so…what?

  • Mary

    The article gave me a little hope for members of the LDS faith, the comments confirm the ‘church’ will always be more culture than their gospel. As a former Mormon who left, after much searching and pondering and lots of prayer, I left. My relationship with God has never been better.

    Now, that said, how amazing if Mormons put their political and social organizing skills together for climate change or got angry about human trafficing or showed up quietly in Baltimore to hand out sandwiches and assist business owners and families feeling threatened. Instead we get speeches about how religion is under attack and organized protests about how gay marriage will destroy the family.

    Jana, I don’t know you, but I appreciate Mormons trying to live christ’s message and how you boldly brought up the quiet bigotry many of us have (LDS or not…)

  • Jim

    I would refer you to the last two paragraphs from The Family: A Proclamation to the World. Read the whole thing. Especially read the cautions in the last two paragraphs to see where the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints revealed view of this social subject is based.

  • TomW

    Jana, JD correctly points out that the Eric Holder Justice Department hasn’t exactly been an impartial player in America’s race issues. And yes, America’s professional class of race mongers inflamed the Mike Brown story with malicious fabrications peddled to an eager media and swallowed by an equally eager population to whom facts often do not matter. Even if the Ferguson PD has issues, which it seemingly does, Mike Brown’s demise is the result of his own behavior alone.

    I recommend two links which address Ferguson and why I believe it should not have been referenced in the column:

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/post-partisan/wp/2015/03/16/lesson-learned-from-the-shooting-of-michael-brown/

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xl7Q36V9pg4

    Whereas this is my 2nd post, please let me know if I am permitted to respond to anyone else’s comments directed to me, or if they are to understand that my silence hereafter is a function of restriction rather than lacking the will…

  • Maddy

    I credit Gina Colvin for sharing this:

    “A friend recently shared an observation with me about lovers and critics of the church. Hers was a reflection on a commencement speech at Cornell by John W. Gardner in 1968. Gardner mused astutely:
    Pity the leader caught between unloving critics and uncritical lovers.”

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  • Maddy

    No doubt law enforcement officers have a difficult job. And, no doubt, most are good and decent people just trying to do their jobs. I’ve had a bishop who was an officer and in my current ward have several officers. I also lived in the Los Angeles area during the Rodney King riots and can even say I, (white woman) experienced discrimination from black store clerk(s). Best we don’t paint people with a broad brush.

    There are real relational problems between law enforcement and the black community. Just like there are “bad apples” who look for any excuse to commit mayhem, there are “bad” cops and bad/ill-conceived procedures. How good is society about sorting/weeding out the bad apples?

  • W

    It’s even worse than you’re saying, Jana — this kind of thing goes back to the New Testament where Paul tells *actual slaves* to be obedient to their masters and everybody to be cool with their government because the status quo is the will of God (and let’s not get started on Jesus’ racist commentary and leftover miracle crumbs when it came to people like that canaanite woman).

    All part of a long history of the religious leaders merely teaching people principles underlying social justice instead of getting *serious* by lending their weight to political movements designed to make it all actually happen. If Jesus was serious about ending oppression, he could have maybe even at least said something about the unacceptable abuses of the Roman regime.

  • SanAntonioRob

    Yes, only a small percentage of policeman have a desire to hurt anyone. Just like only a small percentage of inner city residents have a desire to commit crimes. Just like only a small percentage of the Baltimore protesters are complicit in the looting and burning. I think we all understand that, despite your condescending remarks that anyone without identical views to your own has no understanding. Those kind of condescending remarks seem to be your shtick.

    Do some people lump all policeman into the “jerk” crowd because of a few bad apples? Yes. Do some policeman lump all people into the suspicious, liar crowd because of a few bad apples. Yes. I have personally experienced that multiple times, and I am a middle class, white, family man living in neighborhoods where police presence is rarely required. I can’t imagine what poor, inner city blacks who live in a high crime neighborhood must face. Can’t blame them for staging demonstrations to make people sit up and take…

  • NashvilleTrevor

    I’m perfectly fine with the church avoiding direct comment on these listed issues. So much of the public debate one these topics is based on each person’s pre-conceived framing of these issues, and due to the lack of clear-cut facts at this point, much of the public debate is largely innuendo based on assumptions that may or may not be grounded in fact.

    Coming at this from a corporate communications background, I don’t believe the church’s members and/or friends have much to gain from the church commenting. On the other hand, the church’s antagonists could have a field day with comments based on assumptions that later turn out to have been based on factually incorrect assumptions.

    The author is operating under the assumption that the church’s comments on this issue would be welcome and/or useful to some. From a communications standpoint, I think there is little to be gained by entering into a discussion at this point.

  • Timothy Davis

    The new York times is often biased to say the least. In saying this, I stand with the Church in its silence. I’m a person of few words myself but when I speak without thought I hurt. That’s what this country is doing. That’s what the Church refuses to do.

  • Nathan

    It sounds like you’re reaching. You’re so incensed, that you start wondering about why others aren’t as outraged as you are, and then you read into not what has been said, but what isn’t even there to criticize. Direct your own ire at righting the clear wrongs on the table, and not lashing out at organizations on the side.

  • Sean

    Dr. King once said, “Silence is betrayal.” Whether true or not, that is the perception. As a African-American convert, the FIRST question I am asked by my friends and families is, “Why did you join that racist church?” They don’t ask me about the trinity or polygamy or historicity of the BOM. They don’t know (or care) anything about that stuff. What they want to know is how could any self-respecting black person join a church that missed the civil rights movement.

    As a result of our “fence sitting” on this issue, there are 30+ million souls who will never be exposed to our version of the Gospel (at least, on this side of the veil). Now, if that isn’t an issue of salvation that the Church should be concerned about, I don’t know what is. And our current silence isn’t bridging that chasm, but only making it wider.

  • Wayne Dequer

    Kim — Thanks for your thoughtful comment. The length of each comment is wisely limited. In this strand, I have commented elsewhere about the need to succor the poor and need, and overcome racism and abuses of power. I have cited the Matt 25 passage that says “inasmuch as ye have done it unto the least of these . . .”, so I agree with you, “that our eternal destiny depends on whether we succor the poorest and most disadvantaged among us.” We must seek, develop and practice the pure love of Jesus Christ — Charity. I appreciate that Dave has quoted President Uchtdorf’s comments of this week, below. Thank you for encouraging me to take the opportunity clearly express my compassion for those in Baltimore, Ferguson, and in too many places elsewhere in world where the poor and oppressed live in fear and despair. They are in my prayers and we should do what we can within our sphere of influence to alleviate suffering and share the gospel message of love.

  • Ben

    I feel the same way about the LDS Church’s silence on Climate Change, especially considering how it will negatively impact Utah and the surrounding states in the west. It comes across as indifference at best, and ignorance at worst. It was heartening to see the Pope speak publicly about the moral imperative that we have to respond to this, and I would love to see LDS leaders do the same – similar to how they did with the MX missle base in Uath in 1981.

  • Ben
  • snj

    To boot, we don’t even really hear from church leaders these days unless it’s behind a teleprompter at general conference, which is all rehearsed. The church PR department is running the show. It would feel nice to have engaging leaders (esp. prophet and quorum of the 12) on a more regular basis.

  • NashvilleTrevor

    Another way of stating my opinion is that I believe the church needs to choose its battles carefully, particularly when it comes to public, hot-button issues. They’re involved in a few of those issues right now. Commenting on other hot-button issues (particularly where the church has no potential to be seen as an opinion leader) is probably not in their best interest if they wish to stand out on those issues for which they do want to be associated.

  • Wayne Dequer

    You are correct that the Church has Not taken an official position on Global Warming and Climate Change nor has it endorsed a specific plan for dealing with it. However, it has taken a clear position on Environmental Stewardship and the associated gospel principles at http://www.mormonnewsroom.org/article/environmental-stewardship-conservation .

  • Tim

    Its about People hurting People. Its not Education its opinion on the authors part. And there are no Saints on this earth, only sinners so how can we flunk Sainthood?

  • Non-Mormon

    The comments here are as instructive as the silence of your “moral” leaders.

  • Fred M

    I was going to mention this! I think very few church members know about this. An Official Statement condemning nuclear weapons proliferation! My guess is if the conflicts of Baltimore, etc., ended up in the Church’s own backyard–like this one did–they might have more to say about them.

  • Susiebjoe

    Jana, thanks for telling it like it is. Black boys and Men’s lives matter. I just do not get the silence of our kind, caring leaders either. Thanks for using your voice and putting is out there.

  • Toni

    Did the Catholics and Baptists come out with statements about Baltimore?

  • Wayne Dequer

    Indeed the First Presidency’s opposition MX missile deployment appears to have something to do with proposed placement in Utah. However, it was also part of a significant gospel theme of distrust of military might. In 1981, Spencer W. Kimball was still the President of the Church. In June of 1976 he published an article entitled “The False Gods We Worship” as he reflected on the bicentennial of the United States which can be found at https://www.lds.org/ensign/1981/06/news-of-the-church/first-presidency-statement-on-basing-of-mx-missile?lang=eng#sthash.0VcAlT96.dpuf . He specifically identified 3 false gods: contempt for the environment; the quest for affluence; and the trust in deadly weapons. Unfortunately it did Not get a lot of traction in the Utah Mormon Culture of that era. Rereading it almost 40 years later, it still sounds quite applicable and relevant today.

  • EG

    This was a senseless post.

    Toni is right.
    Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson the race baiters don’t count.

    ALL lives matter.

  • joshd

    I guess maybe I just don’t understand why the Church needs to take a public stance on the issue. The church speaks out on issues where the morality could be called into question, where there could be a debate on the inherent goodness or badness of it. For example, the issue of Gay Marriage, pornography, and other such things, where the views of the world and God separate. But tell me where is there anything about this where the Church needs to clear anything up? I think we need to meditate on how God teaches us, step by step, a little at a time. But God requires us to act on what we know to be right. We know racism is wrong, we know murder is wrong. We need to walk on with what we know guiding the way. God and the Church will speak when it is necessary to guide his people into new and enlightened paths. But this is something that we can and should be responsible for on this earth. So let us make the change, cuz God already spoke.

  • James Carr

    Why would they have to? Religion speaks against this type of behavior across the board, every day…….and has for thousands of years. What do we expect to hear from clergy, rabbis, priests, or nuns. Sin is ripe in the air.
    It reminds me of the headlines produced after every terrorist attack in the world: “The President Strongly Denounces the Violence in —————“. Duh, what else can he say. Just wish he’d do something.

  • Miguel

    Thank you for the much needed post. many of these comments are saddening and leave much to desire in humans. Empathy is needed for these minority groups that have long suffered with visible lines of oppression that affect behavior throughout their history’s in America. Black people are fighting against much instilled perceptions of violence and fear. the perception are instilled culturally even in their own race. Our authorities act on these assumptions and treat them very differently at a disproportionately alarming rate.

    As the church tackles other social issue and has to deal with racial issues internally first. I hope its can speak on how we treat minorities in this country as this is very much an issue of power, empathy and sympathy.

  • ron

    This is a day of repentance not procrastination. If laws are passed condoning sin it will fool the people into not repenting as they will confuse earthly laws with gods laws and assume they are rightious while in sin.

  • ron

    As much as social issues are fun to discuss (because the topics change daily) giving blogs and commenters endless ammunition, im sure the lord was simply exhausted in preaching that repenting of sins was the most important topic of his day because so few understood that then and even now in the restoration. he healed to show he could forgive sin, not for healings sake alone. His patience with us is truly divine.

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  • Eli

    From what I understand, the brethren and sisters of Church leadership are far more informed on day-to-day happenings in this world than many would like to believe. After they have essentially “studied it out in their mind,” it’s ultimately up to the Lord, through one level of revelation or another, as to if and how the Church will respond (even if that revelation is “your call” by default).
    As for all the good the Church can do speaking out on a subject, or all the professions and politics individual members can participate in to make a difference, I think that ultimately the greatest change in our society will simply come about one Book of Mormon at a time, so to speak.
    Society will never change in great measure unless individuals and families do first. A mountain is moved one shovel load at a time. I would imagine we’re better off having the Church hand everyone shovels equipped with purpose than we would be if it simply told the world what was wrong with the mountain.

  • Sheryl

    Actually, God’s prophets have always spent more time warning people against things that might look harmless while expecting us to recognize obvious dangers on our own. (The Word of Wisdom cautions us against drinking tea and coffee, not against jumping off cliffs or swimming in sewage :-))

    I have family members and dear friends who are African American, and yes, the current situation is horrible. Many white Latter-day Saints are oblivious to the terror black mothers live with every time they let their children leave the house.

    Sadly, these fears are not limited to blacks living in the USA–a huge amount of immigration to the US (both legal and illegal) is driven by even more unsettled conditions in many countries around the world. I personally have seen the Church help the oppressed of any nationality–they just do most of their work behind the scenes, not in political demonstrations.

  • Colin Blaine Douglas

    D&C 87, just for starters, explains exactly what is going on in Baltimore, and on the entire planet, and the restored gospel explains what could fix it.

  • Carrie Brotherson

    Jana,
    I have lived in an inner city ward. And I know many who still do. The church speaks on this subject every day. With time, money, and resources. I know young men of color, many young men of color, whose lives literally are saved and given hope by the church in the inner city.
    You have a platform. Do some research and write about the tremendous and permanent good being done by quiet faithful saints in Detroit, Boston, New York, Washington, Chicago and yes–Baltimore.
    I know young man, who is now a returned missionary and about to graduate college, who comes from this neighborhood in Baltimore. His life says all that needs sayin.

  • Lewis Craig

    Yes, but there is no record that Jesus commented on every political issue of the day. His mission had a different focus.

  • Lewis Craig

    It is almost funny the way you stack the deck against the Church by listing one quote and ignore many positive statements regarding civil rights by Church leaders since the early 1940’s. I’m sure you’ve read them, but to only quote this one shows your prejudice.

    The segregationist quote by Elder Peterson reflects a popular if not predominant view of the day. To imply that it reflects the view of the Church is an error. It would be interesting to read what leaders of other churches at that time were saying. As a society we’ve come a long way and still have a long way to go. Representing the view of any organization by one obscure, personal opinion quote does not help us to get there.

  • Lewis Craig

    Debbie, what’s your alternative to fasting and prayer? Doing nothing? I doubt that, but I’d like to know what you suggest.

  • Lewis Craig

    Jana, Facebook and Peggy Stack in the Salt Lake Tribune covered this. It has been handled at the appropriate level, not ignored.

    I will add that you refer to black young men as “black boys.” In the communities I’ve worked in those would be fighting words and the sure sign of a bigot. Black youth or black young men would be appropriate terms. Having worked with youth for many decades, out of respect I would never call any of them boys or girls, but young men or young women. I’m not trying to be PC, but just respectful.

    My best wishes to you and all who post here.

  • Lewis Craig

    I totally agree about blacks being pulled over more than whites. I once listed to a man of color with a Phd who drove a BMW. He lived in Virginia and had been pulled over more times than you can count.

    In all the years I’ve sat in crusty high priest meetings, I’ve never heard anyone address poverty coming as a result of immorality. And I live in Arizona, not the most liberal of states! What I do hear is a willingness to pay offerings, donate to good causes and offer service.

    We all know that the deterioration of the family is a root cause of poverty. The Church is at the forefront of making and trying to keep families together. To paraphrase Thoreau, we are working on the root of the problem, not hacking away at the branches.

  • Lewis Craig

    I’ve ben in the Church for over 50 years. I’ve never met the “half” who want more black people killed. Your post is pure mythology and very offensive.

  • RobertL

    Jana,
    Sometimes you write very good articles and sometimes you seem to just want something to complain about. This appears to be the second.

    First of all you list the problem of blacks being killed by whites, but when someone points out that the officer in Ferguson was cleared of criminal wrongdoing, you simply changed the subject to to talk about other police problems in Ferguson. Secondly, in Baltimore three of the six police officers charged in the killing are black.

    Certainly, violence in the areas you mention is a problem, including sometimes at the hands of police officers. But a problem is also people making conclusory statements before all the facts are known, or contrary to known facts, as you seem to have done. But I guess doing so makes people feel like they care more than others…

    .

  • cwandrews

    Jana, due respect, but I think this is a bridge too far. The events in Baltimore, etc. are troubling but the LDS Church is truly a global organization and needs to communicate in that way. Has the LDS leadership specifically addressed ISIS, Boko Haram or al Qaeda? Not that I’m aware, but who could argue that wholesale slaughter of non-Muslims is infinitely more impactful than domestic rioting? I would also question what the Church could offer by way of constructive commentary…observance of the rule of law seems a pretty fundamental premise upon which LDS beliefs are centered. What else needs to be said?

  • JanaLee

    Unfortunately, the LDS Church doesn’t have the “political capital” to be an effective voice against racism in the public square. If they tried, they would be called hypocritical, based on the historical treatment of blacks in/by the church. As you mentioned several apostles and prophets have addressed the issue, but a press release regarding the riots would only bring scorn and mocking from the media against the church.

  • JanaLee

    A thoughtful post.

    Church leaders are very concerned about this issue.

    If the church had a press release amidst the riots that condemned police brutality/racism, it would be implied that the riots are a justifiable response, which could exacerbate the violence.

    If the press release condemned the violence and expressed sympathy for those who suffered injury during the riots, that would be seen by some as being callous to the grievances of the rioters.

    Instead of taking sides, shouldn’t they address the underlying causes of the violence?

    Police brutality is only a small contributor. Unemployment, chronic poverty, lack of opportunities and a lack of hope strain people to the breaking point.

    The church offers solutions to these complex problems. They involve things like: learn to care for each other; strengthen families (reduces gang violence); increase integrity and trust (generally and between races/classes); repentance/forgiveness; and faith in a loving God (restores…

  • JanaLee

    …faith in a loving God restores hope to those in despair. I guess I used too many characters.

  • NashvilleTrevor

    Dude, chill. I disagree with some of the premise of the article, too, but you have no basis for an ad hominem attack like that. Saints can disagree without being disagreeable.

  • Randy Astle

    You seem to be looking for things to complain about.

    For many reasons, it is far better that Church leaders avoid making public statements about such things.

  • Listening Closely

    Esteban, you hit it right on the head. You know what Jana is doing. I think more and more people see this for what it is. No matter which way you slice this up, it still comes out Anti-Church!

  • Richard Giroux

    I haven’t read all of the comments, but I live in the Baltimore area and I want to point out that our youth will go to downtown Baltimore this Saturday to help clean up after the riots. Also, local membership were encouraged from the pulpit to fast and pray for the restoration of peace in Baltimore.
    Given that it would have been irresponsible to the Church to mobilize its membership, en masse, to provide service while the city was still under curfew and considered dangerous, the Church had very little to report with regard to rendering service.
    I am concerned about the author’s stance that somehow the Church must make a public statement taking sides in fractious issues, particularly when facts are not completely known.
    The Church focuses on preaching the gospel and helping people to change their hearts, which then leads to them changing their behaviors. This applies equally to rioters and police who use violence without justification.

  • Richard Giroux

    As an add on to my last, I remember hearing Elder Robert Wood speak, who had been an Area Seventy whose assigned Area included New York City. In the mid-nineties, the Church made a significant purchase of real estate in Harlem to build a large meetinghouse, Bishop’s storehouse and administrative offices. At the time, it was one of the largest investments in Harlem in many years.
    When interviewed by local media, a reporter asked “Shouldn’t the Church be helping people get out of the ghetto?” To which, Elder Wood responded “The Church exists to help get the ghetto out of people.”

  • I agree that it is nice to have prophets and apostles speak about current events in a way that prompts us to act more compassionately and truthfully. That said, I am uncomfortable with members of the Church who “wait for the signal” from Salt Lake before following the core tenets of their faith: a faith based beautifully and unequivocally on the love of Jesus Christ. We shouldn’t need a General Conference address to spur us to action when we encounter racism or homophobia. If we are truly disciples of Christ, all we should need is His love to guide us. We should pray, we should fast, and we should love whether or not we get specific counsel to do so. The general counsel from General Conference has always been to pray and to fast and to love.

    I am grateful you made note of this in the comment section, Jana, when you referenced a Baltimore Stake that is doing just that – fasting for hope and healing in their community. I will join them.

  • Douglas

    It would not be inappropriate for LOCAL LDS leaders (like the SP in the Baltimore MD Stake) to call for peace, calm, and reconciliation.

    Jana – what position would you have the Church as a WHOLE take? Or, at least what hasn’t already been stated? Methinks the issue has been WELL covered.
    (1) Racism has been condemned as something to be repented of numerous times.
    (2) We believe in upholding the laws, even those not to our liking.
    (3) We believe in personal responsibility.

    It’s not NECESSARY for the Church to weigh in on what’s going on in Ferguson, MO, or Baltimore, MD or any other place where some young black man bought it either due to police incompetence (BART station shooting in 2011, something more in my neck of the woods) or the perp’s own fault. The members are capable of judging the facts and making their political or legal decisions for themselves. Read D&C 58:26,27.

    It seems that you want the Church to just see it YOUR way. Thou shalt not steady the Ark.

  • Douglas

    Andrew – do you need the Church to micromanage something which the Good Lord gave you brains, eyes, ears, and a vocie to deal with on your own?

    At most, when tempers flare, all I want to see is a voice of calm. But I want my Lord Jesus as my ELDER Brother, not BIG Brother.

  • Douglas

    Wayne – I can agree wholeheartedly with the late President Hinckley’s talk on racism and still contend that each of these young (black) men would be alive IF they hadn’t chosen to fight the law (hint: “law” usually wins…).

    I’ve heard that one of three black males between the ages of 15 and 55 are either in jail, prison, or under some form of supervision (juvee, probation, or parole). Sad? Sure it is…but it also tells me that two of three black males between 15 and 55 are law-abiding. I want to see all the WHITE liberal “sob sisters” and other “limousine liberals” get all worked up over THAT group. The silence is deafening…

  • Douglas

    A fictional quote, to be sure, but applicable to your assertion of what YOU think a GA should say, you not having taken one step in their shoes:

    Col. Jessup: “….I suggest you pick up a weapon, and stand a post. Either way, I don’t give a damn what you think you are entitled to. “

  • Douglas

    Only half? Pity the rest haven’t ‘seen the light’!!!

    Seriously, though like most military men don’t REALLY want to go to war (as a Naval officer on a “Boomer”, I knew what that meant…), so most cops would be quite happy to never have to draw their service firearm(s) in the line of duty, let alone use it or any other means of lethal force.

    However, in thankfully but a FEW situations, is killing needed. I think of the King riots back in ’92. Oh that we’d have a rapid reaction force, with say a battalion of Army Guard attack helicopters that could unleash their mini-guns (3000 rounds/minute) on the rioters. Would a few thousand dead ‘gang-bangers’ be a gruesome sight? Yep, it would…but some 23 years later, I doubt you’d see the current unrest.

    As Nick Lowe opined, “Ya gotta be cruel to be kind…”

  • Douglas

    Under the “I’m a Mormon” meme, look up the story of the bishop of the Atlanta 1st ward, who appears to be of the African persuasion.

    Doesn’t ‘care’ about BLACK people? No, cares about ALL people…only a spoilsport like yourself see race. We just see brothers and sisters in Christ.

  • Douglas

    The Church likely got involved b/c, at the time, being more parochial than now (thrice the membership and more interests outside the USA), was worried not about the desert of eastern NV and western UT glowing in the dark (after a Soviet nuclear strike), but rather about the influx of a ‘boomtown’ mentality that would disrupt the quiet of predominantly LDS intermountain desert communities.

    However, it wasn’t anything the Church said that scuttled the rail-mobile MX missile concept. Our own ability to launch a counter-force strike against the similar Soviet SS-24 called into question the survive-ability of a rail-mobile system. The development of the Trident II D5, which has a similar throw ‘weight’ of the MX and accuracy, and its deployment with the Ohio-Class subs (I served on the Florida and the Tennessee) gave the Navy that role.

  • Douglas

    Maybe SWK was ‘inspired’ enough to know about the Trident D5 missile program and the W88 warhead that it’d carry (see my comment above) that would render tearing up tiny LDS desert communities unnecessary?

    And yes, It’s well to have ‘credible deterrence’ (as one Alphonse Capone supposedly said, “you can get a lot further with a kind word and a gun than just a kind word..”), but we ought to trust in the Lord first rather than our toys.

    OTOH, that Mr. Andropov, Mr. Chernenko, and Mr. Gorbachev (who tenure indeed saw the Berlin wall torn down…) might have missed a few nights sleep due to the some 240 W88 thermonuclear warheads aboard 24 SLBMs on each of our Ohio-class subs did help me reach for the Nytol less to get my ZZZZss…

  • Douglas

    The LORD ‘runs’ the show. The GAs have gotten understandably gun-shy dealing with sniping morons like yourself.

  • Douglas

    I’ll come listen to a PROPHET’s voice, thank you, and turn to dear sister Riess to remind myself of what Micheal MacDonald meant when he sang lead for the drippy Doobies tune, “What a FOOL believes”

  • Douglas

    The MOST important thing offered is the Gospel of Jesus Christ with HIS ability to heal souls. Just imagine if one of ten young black men that are now ‘in trouble’ would find the truth, repent, turn their lives around, and soon be serving missions and afterwards finding a worthy girl and taking her to the temple. Imagine the transformation that would result in said community.

  • Douglas

    Alexander – you don’t need the GAs in Salt Lake or your local bishop/SP for that. If the issue bugs you that much, you can be an agent unto yourself to do good works (D&C 58:26, 27)

  • dcsouthgw

    Jana, you made a significant statement that the church can’t comment or take a stand on every civil issue or story. I agree, but thinkthat yourline one the sand is far different than the church’s and mine. I don’t need the church to explain to me why discrimination is bad. They already have doctrine about discrimination. I also don’t like the idea of them chiming in on highly partisan topics, because then it gives the impression that they prefer one party over then next. As much as there is media talk about racial issues with police, each case had its own merits like with Michael Brown. The Justice department found no fault with the officer who was charged or the investigation, but many problems with the department. Like it or not, it is still highly politicized. Conservatives, liberals, Republicans, Democrats, libertarians, etc, etc will all have different takes on the causes and solutions of this issue. I don’t get the need to call the church it on this.

  • Dcsouthgw

    Jana – continued:
    If the church would take a stand, what are they taking a stand on? Is it the cases that come up almost every week now? Is it the justice department results on Ferguson that are highly policitized? Do we know enough about the issue of police use of force, systematized racism for the church to make any definative statement other than, “We encourage people and governments everywhere to promote equality on the basis of… yatta, yatta, yatta.” Is that substantially different that how they already speak on equality, fairness, or common decency? As a Ph.D, you know as well as anyone that statistics are twisted for all sides, so this issue is far from clarity. For all of these reasons and more, I think this article is so very misdirected. The church has to segregate itself to clear, spiritual issues, not muddled and politicized rhetoric and media hype.

  • I watched Selma a few weeks ago. If you wish a prophetic message, from either “higher-up church leaders” or “local church leaders” or yourself or some other ordinary LDS, why not consider recommending to all persons who are able to do so that that they and ponder the movie Selma?

    King and his people triumphed and they triumphed against difficulty and persecution and it appears that they triumphed because they used wise methods in a wise, good and worthwhile cause.

    As for Baltimore . . . it appears that some of the Baltimore police involved were themselves A-A . . . it appears that there had been a practice of giving some people rough rides and intentionally hurting them in a way that made it difficult to trace the injury back to the persons causing the injury . . . and in this case, it got out of hand . . . and it was wrong to begin with . . .

    Ferguson was the case of an idiotic assaulting person charging an armed cop with the intent to disable him or take his weapon…