Forty years on, most Mormons still believe the racist temple ban was God's will

This month, Mormons are celebrating the reversal of the priesthood/temple ban that was in place in the LDS Church until 1978. In the Next Mormons research, one question we endeavored to answer was how Mormons today feel about the ban.

I found the results surprising, and also rather depressing.

Just to explain this policy, until 1978 any Mormon of African descent was prohibited entrance into the Church’s temples for ordinances such as sealings and endowments. This effectively barred them from entering the highest level of heaven after death (the Celestial Kingdom), which Mormons believe can only be obtained by people who have received those ordinances in the temple.

The ban also prohibited men of African descent from holding the LDS priesthood, despite historical evidence that several black men were ordained to the priesthood under Joseph Smith before Brigham Young forbade it in 1852.

The 2016 NMS asked whether respondents felt that the ban on members of African descent was “inspired of God and was God’s will for the Church until 1978.” Respondents were given a five-point scale of possible responses, with the upshot being that nearly two-thirds of self-identified Latter-day Saints say they either know (37 percent) or believe (25.5 percent) that the ban was God’s will.

Another 17 percent think it might be true, and 22 percent say they know or believe it is false. Overall, then, a majority of Mormons still support the idea that the priesthood/temple ban was inspired by God. Only about one in five say they know or believe the ban to have been wrong.

One major surprise in the data was that Mormons of color were actually more likely to say they knew or believed the ban was God’s will than white Mormons were. 70 percent of non-whites affirmed this, compared to 61 percent of whites. That also remains true when we consider only African American respondents in a group by themselves: 67 percent of African Americans know or believe the priesthood/temple ban was God’s will, which is six points higher than the rate for whites. (The margin of error is high, however, since there were only 50 African American Mormon respondents in the study.)

Just because many non-white Mormons view the priesthood/temple ban as having been inspired by God does not mean they have warm feelings about it. About four in five say they are at least a little “troubled” by the ban, while only one in five are “not at all troubled.” Among white Mormons, by contrast, about one in three were not at all troubled.

One final finding from the research concerned former Mormons. Recall that only about one in five current Mormons say they know or believe the ban to have been wrong. Among former Mormons, that’s almost exactly reversed: only one in five think the ban was right. 83% of those who have left the Church do not think the ban was God’s will.

On a personal note, I’m in the minority here. I’m an active Latter-day Saint who believes the ban was the result of human error.

It was never God’s plan to deny an entire race of people entrance to the temple—and thus to eternal life—simply because of the color of their skin. We did that. Human beings did.

Mormons have come up with at least four different and rather horrifying excuses for our actions, including, in a rough chronological order:

  1. “Blacks bear the mark of Cain.”

This was a nineteenth-century American staple, and as the Church’s 2013 Gospel Topics essay on race points out, was common in society outside of Mormonism. This has not been taught by Mormon leaders for decades, but it’s certainly still on the books from the Young era.

  1. “Blacks were less valiant in the premortal life.”

This idea that blacks failed to choose a side in the “war in heaven” became more common about a hundred years ago, in the early 20th century. (See footnote 14 of the Gospel Topics essay, or Paul Reeve’s outstanding history Religion of a Different Color, 254–256.)

Bruce R. McConkie practically codified this folk belief in his 1950s bestseller Mormon Doctrine, which remained available through the Church’s official publisher until 2010. (See here for my celebratory post when the book was removed from circulation.)

  1. “Blacks just weren’t spiritually ready to have the priesthood until 1978.”

This one hit the news as recently as 2012, when a BYU professor was quoted in the Washington Post as claiming that the ban was actually to the benefit of blacks, because they were not prepared for the responsibility until then. He compared the situation to a child asking for car keys before being mature enough to use them. That same month, the LDS Church issued a statement that disavowed this professor’s reasoning. (“Some explanations with respect to this matter were made in the absence of direct revelation and references to these explanations are sometimes cited in publications. These previous personal statements do not represent Church doctrine.”) But that same statement also leaned heavily upon Reason #4, which was . . .

  1. “Gosh, we just don’t know how or when this happened.”

The Church’s 2012 statement was wonderful in its express condemnation of racism, but puzzling in its insistence that “It is not known precisely why, how or when this restriction began in the Church.” This month’s Ensign magazine further makes the claim that “no known records exist” to explain how the policy came about—which caused Jonathan Stapley to rightly and eloquently cry foul over at By Common Consent. There are copious historical records, and the evolution of the ban has been traced meticulously by historians like Paul Reeve.

The problem is that Mormons want to engage in a collective amnesia because to do otherwise would be to admit the truth: that Brigham Young made a colossal and tragic mistake.

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  1. What are crows?

    Seagulls who chose not to eat crickets in the pre-existence!

  2. Question – since I’m too old to pretend to know everything.

    Does the LDS church accept/promote the idea that God changes its mind?

    I know that some people who claim to be Christian, despite the accounts in the Bible which undermine them, insist that God is “the same yesterday, today and forever”.

  3. Gee, more bigotry thinly disguised as religion.

    The sooner people stop believing in these fairy tales, the better off the world will be.

  4. “40 years later, most Mormons still believe the racist priesthood/temple ban was God’s will”
    Just the headline ALONE tells you more about the Mormon ban than the hole article.

  5. Ah, a “hole” comment on a “hole”article.

    Can we add anti-Mormon to anti-Catholic?

  6. Gee, more bigotry thinly disguised as commenting on religion.

  7. Well, Jana, if Brigham Young “made a colossal and tragic mistake” (a premise I absolutely agree with), doesn’t it make you wonder what other colossal and tragic mistakes the leaders of Mormonism have made and are capable of making?

    And that logic has led me to the certain conclusion that there is nothing prophetic at all about the leaders of the LDS church. They’re men pretending to be something they’re not.

  8. “This (curse of Cain) has not been taught by Mormon leaders for decades, but it’s certainly still on the books from the Young era.” …and still in the Pearl of Great Price.

  9. I feel completely comfortable with the idea that I don’t know why God told his prophets to initiate and continue this ban. I believe in God and believe in the whole Mormon story, including this ban, plural marriage, and the all-male priesthood, among other doctrine and policies that others might find to be false or abhorrent. That’s ok. And from the results of the mentioned survey it appears that many other Mormons feel similarly. Those that don’t apparently often leave the church. That’s ok, too. I guess the folks who experience the biggest problems are those like the author who want to be Mormon but don’t like some of the doctrine or policies.

  10. Religion has been the basis of bigotry and bloodshed for millenia. From slavery, through Jim Crow, and obviously up to and including today in America.

    Not bigotry. Just fact.

  11. Irreligion has made every other basis of bigotry and bloodshed fade into insignificance.

    Under the Soviet Union 61 million people were killed; Stalin was responsible for 43 million of them. Under Mao, another Marxist state, 77 million were killed. Pol Pot killed 2 million Cambodians out of a population of 7 million.

    So, within less than a century atheism killed more people than every other ism, belief, or disbelief in the entire history of mankind.

    How about bigotry? Marx called the German labor leader Ferdinand Lassalle a “Jewish N-gger.”

  12. So, within less than a century atheism killed more people than every other ism, belief, or disbelief in the entire history of (hu)mankind.

    That seems a bit of an exaggeration. However, since no one except God could have actually counted, we have no idea if it is true or not. We shall just have to wait and ask God.

  13. All religions are having the same problem.

    Everyone is his own Prophet, Pope, or Guru.

    It’s the age we live in.

  14. Hi Jana…in your article you state…..”This effectively barred them from entering the highest level of heaven after death (the Celestial
    Kingdom), which Mormons believe can only be obtained by people who have received those ordinances in the temple.”….This is not accurate. Baptism is the essential ordinance for membership in the Kingdom of God; membership in the Church and/or admittance to the Celestial Kingdom. Any baptized person who “endured to the end” with faith in Christ would qualify for the highest Kingdom.

    You state….”I’m an active Latter-day Saint who believes the ban was the result
    of human error.” President Kimball (who received the revelation to change it in 1978) said in a press conference held
    in December 1973, said in regards to the priesthood restriction being lifted….“It is the policy of the Lord who established it, and I know
    of no change, although we are subject to revelations of the Lord in case he should ever wish to make a change.”
    Please note…President Kimball said it was “the policy of the Lord…”

    You state….” It was never God’s plan to deny an entire race of people entrance to the temple—and thus to eternal life—simply
    because of the color of their skin. We did that. Human beings did.” …..Of course it wasn’t, you don’t explain it fully. Your
    argument and conclusions cheapen the issue and bring into contempt the sacred principle of revelation and divine authority.
    In 1852, Brigham Young also announced that the ban would be lifted at some future date and that black members would receive all the priesthood
    blessings and more. This statement by Brigham Young was pondered often by President Kimball when pleading with the
    Lord in regards to lifting the ban.

  15. I don’t know, Bob…have Mormon priests been raping and abusing children? I await your reply…?

  16. What you’re seeing is a natural consequence of blind, unquestioning faith. When you decide that THE CHURCH must always be right about everything, even when it changes its doctrines, you fall out of the habit of thinking and questioning. You simply become a zombie operated by remote control, reflexively going along with everything the church authorities command. It’s a sad abdication of your most precious attribute: free thought.

  17. They’ll ignore those passages. We’re dealing with an emotional need here, a craving for absolute certainty (even if it’s wrong).

  18. Excellent points. You can be confident that the LDS church will totally ignore them.

  19. In your view, is it possible to criticize some aspect of Church X and not be “anti Church X”?

  20. 1. afaik LDS church has “bishops”, not priests.

    2. I’ve read lots of comments on some ex-Mormon sites about bishops abusing people. The LDS “church” does a much better job of covering this stuff up than the Catholic church.

  21. Your position would be much stronger if you could explain whether there is any such thing as legitimate or reasonable criticism of any denomination or religion.

  22. No, it isn’t. Yes, the PoGP mentions “a blackness came upon all the children of Canaan,” but it is attributed to a totally different event and is not directly attributed to God.

  23. Hebrews 3;8: “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.“

    God doesn’t change, neither does his Law, but circumstances do and so do people’s hearts.

  24. Why could not a person who is prophetic, also be capable of making a mistake?

  25. “And the LORD repented of the evil which he thought to do unto his people.” Exodus 32:14

  26. As a mormon child I was clearly taught over and over – dark skin bad, white skin good.

    As a mormon child I was taught that in pre-mortal existence, in the spirit world, those who are born with dark skin had sided with lucifer!!! …and that dark skin was a mark to show bad from good.

    Why is it that mormonism, a blatantly racist religion that teaches UTTER MADNESS, is allowed to exist and operate in our communities!?

    I am not a mormon now, but they messed my mind up for life! …how is this legal?

  27. I fall into the 17% that believe that the ban MIGHT have been God’s will. Yes, it has been traced back to Brigham Young, and yes, the evidence is solid that Young had the standard prejudices of his day (and generations to come), but with no official statement or reasoning for the ban given we simply don’t know. God might have had His own reasons for instituting the ban for a time; at a minimum, He had His own reasons for allowing it to continue.

  28. Just to explain this policy, until 1978 any Mormon of African descent

    It’s curious that the policy ended at a time when biologists and anthropologists had mostly accepted that the evidence pointed to the idea that Homo sapiens Is itself of African descent.

  29. Great point, Agni. All we need to do for confirmation of that truth is to read the Old Testament.

  30. It’s legal because of the First Amendment.

  31. “It was never God’s plan to deny an entire race of people entrance to the temple—and thus to eternal life—simply because of the color of their skin. We did that. Human beings did.”

    I fully concur with the writer here. Other churches, such as the Southern Baptists, have admitted their past racism, and have asked their black brothers and sisters for forgiveness. The structures for black Baptist churches still stand, but black Baptists are welcome in any church today.

    Some Baptist churches have even offered classes to their members and attendees, that encourage them to recognize the differences between the two races. This makes for better race relations, both at church and in the wider community.

    This is what is needed with the Mormons: an open admission that their decades of racism was wrong, and an open plea for forgiveness.

  32. The Book of Moses presents the idea that God cursed Cain (5:40) with black skin (7:8) and that the Canaanites inherited that skin (7:8), specifically so that they would not procreate with other races. (face palm)

    The Book of Abraham says that Ham married Egyptus (1:23) who was a Canaanite (1:21), and from whom all black people are descended after the great flood (1:24), before recounting how Pharaoh was denied the Holy Priesthood on account of his blood (1:26-27).

    The idea is as ridiculous as it is repulsive. Today, we disavow these “theories” but this much remains in our canon, even though we usually skip these verses in seminary and sunday school. I would like to see these verses get scrubbed.

  33. Eve was an afterthought, the rainbow is to mark the decision not to repeat mass murder (at least – not by flood).

    Look – it’s your book – if you don’t understand it don’t quote it.

    Oh – and in case you hadn’t realised, the Bible says Jesus of Nazareth died. – So he can’t be the same today can he – he was alive – now he dead.

  34. Yep, it’s a better world that rejects racism based on various myths.

  35. It’s a better world that rejects secular humanism, atheism, and sophistry like your own.

  36. There’s a problem with your Moses references, they don’t say what you claim they say. Here’s Moses 5:40:

    “40 And I the Lord said unto [Cain]: Whosoever slayeth thee, vengeance shall be taken on him sevenfold. And I the Lord set a mark upon Cain, lest any finding him should kill him.”

    The mark of Cain is intended as protection, not a curse.

    So here’s Moses 7:7-8:

    “7 And the Lord said unto me: Prophesy; and I prophesied, saying: Behold the people of Canaan, which are numerous, shall go forth in battle array against the people of Shum, and shall slay them that they shall utterly be destroyed; and the people of Canaan shall divide themselves in the land, and the land shall be barren and unfruitful, and none other people shall dwell there but the people of Canaan;

    “8 For behold, the Lord shall curse the land with much heat, and the barrenness thereof shall go forth forever; and there was a blackness came upon all the children of Canaan, that they were despised among all people.”

    No mention of Cain, and “a blackness [that] came upon all the children of Canaan” AFTER they had carried out a Tamerlane-style massacre, and no mention that it was the result of a curse from God.

  37. Actually there are ordained priests in the LDS Church. They are usually 16 to 18 year old teens who prepare the communion for distribution by deacons (12 to 14) and teachers (14 to 16) during the service. They are part of the LDS Church’s Aaronic Priesthood. None of them lead LDS wards or branches (congregations.)

    Bishops or branch presidents lead congregations and they are ordained to the Melchizedek Priesthood. Bishops are ordained high priests. Branch presidents can be elders or high priests.

  38. Regardless what you believe is or isn’t implied, it all harks back to a very human concept that those who are different from us, are lesser than us. And what more obvious differences exist than skin tone. And for some reason, white Europeans above all others have believed that they were better than everyone else. They were the saviors of the lesser races. They were the panacea for all the world’s ills.

    I’m not familiar with that concept in the cultural heritage of any other race on this planet, neither among black, brown, red or yellow melanin groups. Most peoples of the earth have believed that they were the chosen at some point in their history. This is why it is almost universal that a people’s name for themself translates as “the people.” And then they had a name for everyone else who were not “the people.” But they also usually had a way for someone who was not of the people, to be adopted into the tribe and become the people, no matter how different they looked externally.

  39. While, I am a member, I do not think reading the old testament can confirm anything about prophets in terms of objective evidence.It is simply confirmation bias for someone who already believes.

  40. If I’m recalling correctly, the “revelation from god” came at a time when the US gummint was suing a number of universities for racial discrimination, most famously Bob Jones “university”.

  41. The LDS “church” is an example of brilliant social engineering. It, and its surrounding culture (especially in Salt Lake, but also in other places) is set up to add difficulty of having thoughts other than the ones the LDS church wants you to have, and especially, to make it very difficult to speak out.

  42. The answer to this question by religions is clever: god is forever etc, but fallible humans make mistakes….of course, when you point this out to different religions, in terms of things like abortion, gays, etc, then you get a lot of hemming and hawing…

  43. But how come god doesn’t make things so crystal clear that there is no chance for humans to misunderstand what god wants? Doesn’t god have the power to do that?

  44. Altho the LDS “church” has admitted that racism began with Bring’Em Young, as far as I know, it still has not addressed the horrible, blatant racism of past church president Ezra Taft Benson.

  45. Agni,

    There is a difference in a “mistake” and in a “colossal and tragic mistake.”

    A mistake is a misstatement, a brief lapse in judgement, or a similar error. Consistently declaring an entire race of people as inferior and declaring their eternal opportunities lesser than others is not a “mistake.” It is a spiritual tragedy.

    If one can dismiss what Brigham Young did as a “mistake,” and given we all make mistakes, what makes Mormon prophets special at all?

  46. Yes, there were other social and political factors that were part of the revelatory process.

  47. One of the things I find especially interesting is that the top men of the LDS “church” clearly believe that only they can receive revelations from god!

  48. But if it was decalared by god, as the baptists and Mormons claimed, how could they have been wrong about that?

  49. It’s legal because it is religion, and they can claim whatever they wish. Who is going to prove them wrong? Why, they can even claim they are exempt from laws forbidding discrimination on the basis of religious belief, because they have belief, and it is sincerely religious.

  50. I believe it was kimball claiming that the policy was divine in origin that brought into contempt the idea of sacred principle and divine authority.

  51. I would like to see the. On the front page of the SLC Tribune and the New Yourk Times.

  52. In the 1970’s before the ban was lifted…Mormon institutions like BYU were about to face major outside boycotts of sports and other educational activities. BYU was also a viciously racist place — as many black athletes who travelled there to play, would mention.

    So faced with boycott’s …God apparently sent a message to the old white Mormon Apostles that the ban should be lifted. Good to know that God reacts to public opinion… I suspect LGBT and others will eventually put enough pressure on God to make some more changes. So stay tuned…

  53. And your point is what, Howard? ?

  54. “Look – it’s your book – if you don’t understand it don’t quote it.”

    Classic. LOL

  55. Hey, Ben!! It’s been a minute my friend, how are ya? ?— Actually this is an easy one (At least for me): misinformed men made these scurrilous declarations, NOT ALMIGHTY GOD. In context, the Scriptures affirm the reality that the enslavement of human beings has be occurring since humanity has been in existence. But realize this , Ben: the Bible neither endorses nor even mentions the concept of RACE-BASED SLAVERY, in EITHER Testament. That idea arose from the sin-laden hearts and souls of vicious, conciousless men. Hope that helps, and God bless you!! ??? [P.S.–I probably spelled conciousless wrong; a little help? ?]

  56. When I asked that question, most answers were variations of the same thing: God is so majestic, his concepts so infinite and he exists on such a superior plane that the scriptures are him dumbing down for us mere humans, conveying infinite concepts in our limited human language, while trying to hint at the possibilities.


  57. “specifically so that they would not procreate with other races”

    Epic fail in that regard. Gimme some of that brown sugar anytime!

  58. Hi, Laurence.

    Yes, I know that. That was my point. It was men claiming to speak for god who were the problem. Men tend to do this a lot. There are a host of ills in the history of the world, caused by men who claimed to be speaking god’s will.

    I’ll take the gospel of St. Fred Astaire, who said that whenever he had to say something about anyone. He would ask himself first: is it true, is it nice and is it necessary?

  59. Bob sorry but your idea of equating criticism of the leadership and doctrines and beliefs of the lds church as anti mormon is a idea that the leaders of the lds church came up with to have themselves and lds members get out of answering any questions especialy ones they could not answer about the strange doctrines and practices in your church that joseph smith and brigham young taught and not found in other churches

  60. What makes any prophet special? Good question.

    Consistently declaring an entire race of people as inferior and declaring their eternal opportunities lesser than others

    That sounds similar to what Noah (considered a prophet and saint by Christians) did in Genesis 9:25:

    Cursed be Canaan!
    The lowest of slaves
    will he be to his brothers.

    Now, there are at least two ways of interpreting this statement by Noah. One is that Noah actually said this, in which case Noah was cursing all of Canaan’s descendants to be slaves. Some people might see the prophet/saint Noah’s curse as divinely revealed, but others might see it was a tragic mistake.

    A second way of reading this is that the author/editor of Genesis 9 placed these words into Noah’s mouth, as a way of explaining why the Canaanites were seemingly cursed by God. Thus, even if Noah didn’t actually say the curse, it was believed that he did in fact say the curse. Some people might see the attribution of the curse to Noah as divinely revealed, but others might see it as a tragic mistake.

    So, the bottom line Is that even someone considered to be a prophet, or a saint, can say something (or can be believed to say something) that future generations might see as a tragic mistake. And indeed, Noah’s “statement” had tragic consequences for enslaved Africans in what is now the U.S.

  61. Yeah…talk about BS!!! Funny how he can make so many other things clear–no divorce (tell it to the RCC), etc.

    I’ve lately been thinkg about why so many religions have strong rules about sex, and I have a hypothesis, and I’d be interested in seeing your opinion:

    I think the sex drive is strong for most people;’ religions understand that, so they make rules about it, figuring that that’s one way of gaining control over people. Whaddya think?

  62. Gee, I thought my point was obvious: you asked if Mormon “priests” have been raping and abusing children–I suspect that was supposed to be a rhetorical question–and I responded that such accusations have in fact been made–if you know where to look for the info.

    Perhaps I should have been even clearer: LDS church control of members’ behavior and thinking, has meant that the church has had some success in suppressing such allegations.

    I gather you disagree?

  63. Dave can i ask where in the bible does it say priests 16 to 18 years old and deacons 12 to 14 years old and teachers 14 to 16
    Last time i looked elders deacons bishops and presbyters were the husband of one wife
    They were chosen by the congregation they wereto be knowledgeable beyond reproach
    And were truthful and yes were yes and their no were no meaning they did not second guess what they meant their are to be fair and full of wisdom and compassionate and show mercy i do not think children between the ages of 12 and 16 years old can have the reason and attributes required to hold the elder or deacon or presbyter office you must have maturely which being older in age and experience you can aqquire such things

  64. Wow, “WorldTabler”…did you notice how much like a Roman Catholic you sound? Why do some religious systems insist that their adherents check their minds at the door?? ???

  65. Yep, nothing says “better” more than denigrating people based on an appeal to a made-up authority. Talk about sophistry. I’ll take atheists an secular humanism.

  66. Yep, nothing says “better” than a self-appointed critic panning 3,000 years of Judeo-Christian belief and offering … nothing.

    Irreligion has made every other basis of bigotry and bloodshed fade into insignificance.

    Under the Soviet Union 61 million people were killed; Stalin was responsible for 43 million of them. Under Mao, another Marxist state, 77 million were killed. Pol Pot killed 2 million Cambodians out of a population of 7 million.

    So, within less than a century atheism killed more people than every other ism, belief, or disbelief in the entire history of mankind.

    How about bigotry? Marx called the German labor leader Ferdinand Lassalle a “Jewish N-gger.”

    And those atheist and secular humanist charities doing such good work across the world …. not.

    Bigotry thinly disguised as commenting on religion.

  67. I did not equate criticism of the leadership and doctrines and beliefs of the Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter-day Saints as anti-Mormon.

    I suggested that “Just the headline ALONE tells you more about the Mormon ban than the hole article.” coming from a Jewish atheist might indicate that along with his long history of anti-Catholicism he might be adding anti-Mormonism.

    One would expect the doctrines and practices of the Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter-day Saints to differ from other churches – its foundation was based on the belief that the true church had been lost and would be restored to its pristine state through the church.

    Btw, I am not a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter-day Saints.

  68. Which invalidates everything they claim to know – surely it can’t all be guesswork and wishful thinking – can it?

  69. I didn’t defend the system, I just explained it as it exists in the LDS Church. When you think that yours is the only true church, led by Christ who gave the church the “keys to the kingdom,” that church can organize itself as it wishes.

    Elders and bishops (high priests) in the LDS Church are 18 years old and above, adults.

  70. Faux Prophets always make mistakes. There is a reason many people are running away from religion and Mormonism in particular.

  71. Actually it’s because of the First Amendment, the same thing that protects your anti-religious speech, silly comments, and so on.

    Destroy that and you destroy yourself.

    Whether that’s worth it or not is a separate discussion.

  72. Don’t confuse them with facts.

    Their minds were made up.

  73. The nature of the bible means you can derive almost any conclusion or commandment or law you want from it. By “nature of the bible”, I mean (1) afaik all serious bible scholars agree that all the books of the NT were written decades after the death of Jesus (if he even was a real character);

    (2) all the books were written and re-written and re-written, often with subsequent scribes making changes on their own to original texts; (3) “the bible” was put together around 325 AD at some famous conference (name slips my mind at this moment). An event like this, deciding which books to include and which to omit, would necessarily involve lots of negotiation.

    As well, of course, the Catholic bible differs by 1 or 2 chapters from the Prot bible.

  74. No, BYU wasn’t “about” to face “major outside boycotts,” it was ALREADY facing boycotts and protests and had for years without impact. Much more likely to have been the cause of the final consideration leading to the revelation lifting the ban was the Sao Palo Brazil temple, built with the enthusiastic support of Brazilian Mormons, most of whom would not be able to enter that temple so long as the ban was in place. The ban was lifted on June 8, 1978 (resulting in Church-wide celebrations), and the temple was dedicated October 30 of the same year.

    And even if you don’t believe that the LDS Church is led by prophets, blown by the winds of public opinion, don’t forget that the Church is now an INTERNATIONAL organization, with over half of its membership outside the US — and most of that membership is NOT in western Europe. And with the US likely 50% increase over the next generation is thanks to a Total Fertility Rate of between 3 and 4, with people leaving the Church in the US at a slightly higher rate than new conversions, that isn’t going to change. So no, there would be no great urge to have a sudden revelation.

    Oh, and God being influenced by public opinion? Consider Matthew 19:

    Some Pharisees came and tried to trap him with this question: “Should a man be allowed to divorce his wife for just any reason?”

    “Haven’t you read the Scriptures?” Jesus replied. “They record that from the beginning ‘God made them male and female.’” And he said, “‘This explains why a man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife, and the two are united into one.’ Since they are no longer two but one, let no one split apart what God has joined together.”

    “Then why did Moses say in the law that a man could give his wife a written notice of divorce and send her away?” they asked.

    Jesus replied, “Moses permitted divorce only as a concession to your hard hearts, but it was not what God had originally intended.”

  75. Yup – what I was suggesting is that, since we only see god(s) through humans and humans are fallible the image of god(s) we see is, inevitably, false.

    Therefore everything people “know” about god(s) is, at best, possibly true and, at worst, guaranteed wrong.

  76. Perhaps we should remember that no–one, theist, deist or atheist, whether in pursuit of their beliefs or not has ever wiped out anything like the percentage of humanity (and all other life-forms) as some people think their perfectly good god did.

  77. Agni,

    Sorry, I was traveling or I would have responded sooner.

    Are you seriously comparing this:

    Cursed be Canaan!
    The lowest of slaves
    will he be to his brothers

    To the HORRIBLE things Brigham Young said about Blacks?

    “You must not think, from what I say, that I am opposed to slavery. No! The negro is damned, and is to serve his master till God chooses to remove the curse of Ham.”

    “…. and the Lord put a mark upon him, which is the flat nose and black skin. Trace mankind down to after the flood, and then another curse is pronounced upon the same race – that they should be the ‘servant of servants,’ and they will be, until that curse is removed; and the Abolitionists cannot help it, nor in the least alter that decree.”

    “Why are so many of the inhabitants of the earth cursed with a sin of blackness? It comes in consequence of their fathers rejecting the power of the Holy Priesthood, and the law of God.”

    And I could go on and on.

    And please, tell me, in your view was Brigham Young correct or was he “mistaken” when he said those things?

  78. What Noah supposedly said about Canaanites was used to justify the enslavement of Africans by Euro-American Southern Christians; and what Young said was a similar justification. From a Canaanite perspective, what Noah said would have probably sounded horrible; an African-American would likewise view the Young’s statements. Both what Noah supposedly said, and what Young said, are statements that, I would argue, are not revelatory of God’s Mind, and reflect a fallible human’s attempt to justify an injustice.

  79. I agree with you.

    And I think that supports my premise that Young was pretending to speak for deity. But he really wasn’t. And that, coupled with his other egregious behaviors leads me to the conclusion that he was a smart man but a spiritual fraud as was his predecessor Joseph Smith. And with those two as its foundation, that leads me to the conclusion that Mormonism is a sad fraud.

  80. And the solution is to not join.

    Next problem …

  81. Jana,……Jesus is looking at you right now, Do you believe in the RACISM of the LDS ???????????

  82. So Jana, when did you become an expert on God’s plan? You state that He ‘never intended to deny an entire race entrance into the Temple’. Really? And you’ve divined this how? Is this your testimony, or are you venting? Check your history, sister. How would you depict the whole Noah’s ark story? It would be a fair statement, would it not, to say that God denied an entire ‘race’, or ‘population’, of their right to breathe, simply because they were disobedient. In Israel, for hundreds of years, God denied an entire race of their right to freedom, so they were enslaved by the Egyptians. These were HIS people!!! In the Book of Mormon AND the Bible, He has denied entire armies of their right to live as they lost battles with other armies and nations. He denied the firstborn sons in Egypt of their right to grow old. What makes you think that God’s plan involves any special protection for the Black race?? As a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, I find your article naive, offensive, degrading, and full of holes. You expose your true colors in this article, as you attack members of this church. Tell me, in any scripture, where did Jesus ever teach his disciples that it was ok to criticize others for being different? For thinking differently, or behaving differently from themselves? When did Jesus ever teach his disciples that attacks on His followers were ok? If you look closely Jana, you might learn that Christ was actually protective of His Saints, even if they tended to be confused or slow or dense or even sinners themselves. They were trying to follow Him, and nobody was perfect in doing so. Today, we’re still getting it wrong, as is evidenced by your article. I’m not referring to any of the racial stuff, I’m referring to your attack(s). You’re not being Christlike. Sister to sister, I’m calling you out on your lack of integrity. Reasonable minds can discuss and agree and disagree on subjects such as Blacks and the Priesthood. But amidst the debate, there is no room for small-mindedness, meanness, blame, and guessing. You don’t provide nearly enough evidence to draw the conclusion that your article’s title assumes. In other words, you’re kind of clueless here. Try a re-write. Try being kind. Try putting yourself in someone else’s shoes. Try being a little less accusatory, and a little more scholarly in your search for the truth. And remember, your believing in something doesn’t make it factual. Best of luck with your writing career, too.

  83. Um, I’ve lost count of the times that the leaders of the LDS church openly discussed and admitted and asked forgiveness for what is still misunderstood today, the whole Priesthood ban. I don’t ever hear of other churches, such as the Baptists, annually celebrating the moment that the racism ‘ended’ in their church. Are you aware of any? Each year, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints celebrates the end of the ban, and invites people of all races and walks of life to join with them. The LDS Church is very much up front and frank about this entire matter, which makes the discussions in this thread almost comical, if they weren’t so invested with the need to spread ill ill and even lies.

  84. Sarcasm, Ben? Is sarcasm an appropriate tool to be discussing a matter of this gravity? Really? I find that when people resort to sarcasm, it is because they lack anything intelligible to say.

  85. This is hilarious…. a discussion about men claiming to speak for God, in response to an article by a woman claiming to speak for God. Now I’ve been entertained. Thank you!

  86. No Ben. The title of the article tells us much more about who the author is than it does about the Priesthood ban. In fact, it doesn’t have anything much to say at all about the Priesthood ban.

  87. Finally, a reasonable answer that is also informative and factual. Thanks, David!

  88. Hey John, nowhere in the Bible is there evidence of the Prebster’s system, either, if you’re going to take that approach. In fact, I’m not sure the word ‘Presbyteriam’ even exists in the Bible.

  89. David, your experiences as a child are tragic, but I doubt that they’re representative of children all over the church. I was raised in the church, and nobody, not my parents, teachers, bishops, nobody taught me ever that we were anything than children of God, and equals here on earth.

  90. Oh please… this comment is so far off that I’m bored with it. I’m a member of this church and I have no problem speaking out, on any subject, at any time. Where’s your evidence to support that this church suppresses free speech?

  91. Actually, Agni’s post was analogous. The remarks made in both cases are similar.

  92. Well, for one, a friend who’s a lawyer who converted to Mormonism as an adult and who regards himself as a loyal Mormon. And other Mormon friends I’ve had. And for sure, many ex-Mormons writing on ex-Mormon sites.

    And am I wrong that a bunch of Mormons have been excommunicated for speaking out?

    In, say, the Catholic church, or any other mainstream church if you speak out publicly against something, most churches and clergy will just shrug. That certainly does not appear to be the case with the LDS church.

  93. I assume you’ll be sending me money. Entertainment doesn’t come cheap!

  94. Howard,

    Per the LDS Church, particularly, Elder Robert L. Simpson.

    There are very few reasons for excommunication in this Church. I can only think of three.
    Church members can become candidates for excommunication as they involve themselves in gross iniquity.
    Church members become candidates for excommunication as they become involved in or advocate plural marriage.
    Church members become candidates for excommunication as they apostatize from the teachings of the Church.

    Then he adds,

    It should also be made clear that an apostate is not an indifferent or an inactive member of the Church but rather one who flatly denies the divine nature of the Church or one who is antagonistic against or unresponsive to his priesthood authority.

    There you have it. Speaking out isn’t a big deal. Speaking against, campaigning, publicly seeking to destroy the Church or its reputation will get you into trouble. Why should the Church or any religious organization tolerate attempts to destroy them or their reputation? Why should they just ‘shrug their shoulders’ when a cancer is threatening to spread throughout the Church?

    The Church doesn’t concern itself with people who disagree. But if you’re going to declare war on the Church, they’re not going to tolerate it. The ex-Mormons who write derogatory posts online, after they’ve left the church, are appropriate examples of people who have declared war on the Church. They’re gone. They’re no longer a part of the Church, yet they insist on tearing the Church down. What’s with that?

    Faith is sacred, in any religion. In times of crisis, it can be incredibly fragile. There have been many times in my life when I’ve clung to my faith for dear life, because it is all that I had. That’s what makes faith sacred, because it can literally sustain someone who might otherwise perish. As I struggle with my faith, and lean on it for dear life, I’m grateful that the Church protects me from people who would seek to destroy it. If I’m in denial, then give me my peace in denial. Don’t tear down what is at times the only thing keeping me going.

    Other churches who shrug their shoulders and allow members to threaten the faith of other members? Well, I can’t see how they sleep at night, or even survive as churches.

    As far as your friend the lawyer and the other folks you listed? They’re not ‘evidence’ that speaking out gets you ex’d. They’re just a list of people who I’m guessing have been ex’d, correct? So, why were they ex’d, specifically? What are their stories? Are these friends people who attack the church on anti-Mormon websites?

  95. -“Blacks were less valiant in the premortal life.”-
    Wells f’kaLL YEAH… THEY’s was sorta busy pickin’ y’alls cotton in ‘xchange fer a kot in the slave pens. These modern day ‘saints’ are just continuing the traditions of their slavemaster brethren!

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