Monday, December 9, 2013

Prophetic Segregation: throwing past leaders under the back of the bus


As many of you know, recently the LDS Church released its second essay in the Topic section on Race and Priesthood.  We've predicted these would come soon (see here, here and here).  

There’s much to laud.  They acknowledge that all races are equal and should be respected the same. They acknowledge that they have a checkered, even shady past in this regard.  They emphasize God’s love for all humanity.  The Church is disavowing past, present and future racism. 

However, in doing so, they segregate Joseph Smith from Brigham Young and subsequent leaders up to Kimball, and throw the middle group of leaders under the back of the bus.

In fact, I dare say, their words in the Topic dismantle much of the LDS Church itself.

Here are some of the claims in the essay (not in the order presented in the Topic).

Disavowing past, marginalizing their future
Claim: “Today, the Church disavows the theories advanced in the past that black skin is a sign of divine disfavor or curse, or that it reflects actions in a premortal life; that mixed-race marriages are a sin; or that blacks or people of any other race or ethnicity are inferior in any way to anyone else. Church leaders today unequivocally condemn all racism, past and present, in any form.”

I congratulate the LDS Church for marginalizing its own "theories" (e.g., "teachings")  of the past.  I congratulate them on condemning the theoretical racism of their own leaders.  They had 11 prophets that continued racism policies.  They don’t explicitly name them or call them out, except to condemn Brigham Young in one breath:

No one knows
Claim: “President Brigham Young publicly announced that men of black African descent could no longer be ordained to the priesthood... Following the death of Brigham Young, subsequent Church presidents restricted blacks from receiving the temple endowment or being married in the temple. Over time, Church leaders and members advanced many theories to explain the priesthood and temple restrictions. None of these explanations is accepted today as the official doctrine of the Church.”

This is like their press-release in early 2012  "It is not known precisely why, how, or when this restriction began in the Church but what is clear is that it ended decades ago..."

They don't know how it happened, except that Brigham Young started it and was entirely wrong.  And then they slyly, implicitly exonerate Brigham Young in the next breath with, “Church leaders pondered promises made by prophets such as Brigham Young that black members would one day receive priesthood and temple blessings.”

What did Brigham promise?  They don’t quote him in the Topic. So I will do it for you.

“When all the rest of the children have received their blessings in the Holy Priesthood, then that curse will be removed from the seed of Cain, and they will then come up and possess the priesthood, and receive all the blessings which we now are entitled to." (Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, Vol. 11, p.272.)

The blacks had to wait for the whites to be served? That's their exoneration and explanation?  Is that what happened in 1978?  Then why did the LDS Church continue missionary work in white communities?  Hmmm.

It is also clear that Brigham Young did not always or even often believe this would change. "This will always be so," he said.

"Shall I tell you the law of God in regard to the African race? If the white man who belongs to the chosen seed mixes his blood with the seed of Cain, the penalty, under the law of God, is death on the spot. This will always be so." (Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, Volume 10, page 110, empasis added at end)

Perhaps he changed his mind.  That doesn’t explain why the subsequent 11 prophets continued his racist ways.  The Topic doesn’t really offer any good explanation for this except to say their church was “restored amidst a highly contentious racial culture in which whites were afforded great privilege.” And “The justifications for this restriction echoed the widespread ideas about racial inferiority that had been used to argue for the legalization of black “servitude” in the Territory of Utah.

In other words, they were just following the crowd.  Wait, I thought the point of having a prophet was to lead the people! 

We're supposedly in the most wicked times, near the end times, and the prophet is supposed to guide us with higher morals and a brighter star.  Yet, they now argue the past leaders were just caught up in the culture, so we can excuse their lack of moral understanding and courage because the rest of the world was also a mess on race issues.  Does the prophet get a pass either way?

In fact, there’s a revelation that says if the prophet ever misleads the people, he will be removed by God.  It’s in the D&C, in Official Declaration 1

“The Lord will never permit me or any other man who stands as President of this Church to lead you astray. It is not in the programme. It is not in the mind of God. If I were to attempt that, the Lord would remove me out of my place, and so He will any other man who attempts to lead the children of men astray from the oracles of God and from their duty.” (Wilford Woodruff, Official Declaration 1)

The LDS Church tells us that its prophets followed the racist precepts of the world.  It tells us that, “Church leaders today unequivocally condemn all racism, past and present, in any form.”  Why didn't the Lord remove the false 11 prophets from their place?  Was Wilford Woodruff wrong?  So that means they Can lead members astray? 

The LDS Church tacitly admits that the previous statement, that the Lord won’t allow a prophet to lead the members astray, is false.  For nearly 150 years the prophets have led the people astray with racist policies and the current prophet administration does not know why this happened, they just know firmly, racism is wrong.  That repudiation of the former policy, of hundreds of statements made by Brigham Young, Wilford Woodruff, John Taylor, Bruce McConkie, and many more effectively opens the gate to an understanding that the current administrating prophets could be absolutely dead wrong on policies they have in place currently.

How does anyone know when to trust these men if they can be wrong about the salvation of an entire group of people for almost 150 years, through 11 administrations?  Why should we trust their current policies on gay marriage, tithing distribution to investments and more?

Some not as equal as others
Claim: “Church President David O. McKay emphasized that the restriction extended only to men of black African descent. The Church had always allowed Pacific Islanders to hold the priesthood, and President McKay clarified that black Fijians and Australian Aborigines could also be ordained to the priesthood and instituted missionary work among them.”

Interestingly, the reason, we can speculate, for this segregation of some black members receiving the priesthood and others not is to do with the Book of Mormon Lamanites.  The theory was, at the time of McKay, that the Fijians and other pacific aborigines were descendants of the Lamanites.  Skin color wasn’t the issue. It was national culture. African blacks were bad. Pacific blacks okay.  However, science has shown all the human population can trace their roots to Africa.  How does that square with Brigham Young’s promise that Africans would have to wait for “the rest of the children have received their blessings” before they get theirs, when we are all, to an extent, Africans?


Joseph good, Brigham bad
Claim: “During the first two decades of the Church’s existence, a few black men were ordained to the priesthood… There is no evidence that any black men were denied the priesthood during Joseph Smith’s lifetime.”

This claim is to help the LDS Church buoy up Joseph Smith as not a racist.  However, the Book of Abraham, Moses and Book of Mormon, which he produced, teach very racist doctrines.  For example, 2 Nephi 5:21 still says:

“And he had caused the cursing to come upon them, yea, even a sore cursing, because of their iniquity. For behold, they had hardened their hearts against him, and they had become like unto a flint; wherefore, as they were white, and exceedingly fair and delightsome, that they might not be enticing unto my people the Lord God did cause a skin of blackness to come upon them.”

3 Nephi 2:12-15 continues to teach that dark-skinned Lamanites who converted unto the Lord had their curse“taken from them, and their skin became white like unto the Nephites.”

Moses 7:22 says, "And Enoch also beheld the residue of the people which were the sons of Adam; and they were a mixture of all the seed of Adam save it was the seed of Cain, for the seed of Cain were black, and had not place among them."

The Topic said, "Today, the Church disavows the theories advanced in the past that black skin is a sign of divine disfavor or curse..."



Did they just disavow the Book of Mormon???!!  And the Book of Moses?  and Book of Abraham (Abra 1:23-26)?

Furthermore, one of the very basic tenets of Mormonism is racist at heart.  All members are segregated into racial groups according to the tribes of Israel.  If you are not directly part of or adopted into the lineage of Abraham, you cannot fulfill the requirements of salvation and exaltation.  When one gets a patriarchal blessing, the declaration of lineage is always made to that race.  Implied strongly in this is that Asians, Blacks, Indians, Amerindians, and others are not chosen.  They must at some level (blood or spiritual) declare and align themselves with the race of a Bedouin tribe or else be damned.

No matter how they try to paint Joseph Smith good, Brigham Young bad, the current leaders are still marred in the mess of the Book of Mormon and generally by their Abrahamic doctrines which are at heart racist.  And it shows in their other policies.

God not a respecter
Claim: “It affirms that God is “no respecter of persons” and emphatically declares that anyone who is righteous—regardless of race—is favored of Him.”

Claim: “The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints embraces the universal human family. Latter-day Saint scripture and teachings affirm that God loves all of His children and makes salvation available to all.”

Tell that latter to the gays.  Enough said.

82 comments:

  1. What you fail to get is that prophets are men and make mistakes. So what? You aren't perfect either. Look at the whole picture. They are guiding sons and daughters of God to heaven. Not perfectly, but the best they can.

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    1. The prophet is the mouthpiece, earthly representative and special personal emissary of God. If the prophet misspeaks, misacts, or misbehaves as he is communicating or upholding doctrine, the word of God, the will of God, etc., isn't that cause for concern?

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    2. So let me get this straight. You are telling us that 11 different prophets, starting with Brigham Young, simply repeated the same mistake about not giving black men the priesthood? And that isn't a big deal because they were men? With the supposed direct line of communication with God, what were those 11 men doing? What were they talking to God about? Mormon doctrine teaches that the temple ordinances are the pinnacle of this life and are thus required for salvation. That seems like a pretty big mistake to repeat over and over; and for God to not correct.

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    3. "So what?"

      So I don't want to follow them if they're just men. I am a man who makes mistakes too, so I might as well lead myself.
      If they were wrong about blacks, why should listen to them with regards to gays? When science, society, and my own conscience tell me the prophets are wrong, it seems likely that 30 years from now the church will have to apologize again. I'd just as soon not participate this time.

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    4. I don't expect prophets to be perfect. If they were making small mistakes her and there it wouldn't be a big problem for me. For example recently they started allowing 18 year olds to serve missions. Let's say it turns out their pilot programs were wrong and it is a disaster and they change the age back to 19. I can forgive that. It was an honest mistake and they were doing their best. Going back to Joseph Smith's time I can maybe forgive him for starting a bank that failed. There were lots of banks that failed during those years and I don't expect that any business venture a prophet starts will automatically be successful. I might take issue with him using his power as prophet to convince church members to invest but at least it was in an area unrelated to the gospel itself. But this is a totally different issue. You say the prophets are leading sons and daughters of God to heaven, but if the temple ordinances are required for salvation were they leading God's black children to heaven. When you are talking about the eternal salvation of an entire race of people that is where I draw the line in allowing prophets to make mistakes. If they are inspired in any way I would expect God to stop them from making such a terrible mistake.

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    5. If they are just men, fallible, and about which we shouldn't have any expectations of perfection, why do we so often hear the quote, “The Lord will never permit me or any other man who stands as President of this Church to lead you astray. It is not in the programme. It is not in the mind of God. If I were to attempt that, the Lord would remove me out of my place, and so He will any other man who attempts to lead the children of men astray from the oracles of God and from their duty.”

      You can't have your cake and eat it, too. If they are just fallible men and these travesties touted as official doctrine can turn out to be complete (harmful) hogwash, then LDS need to STOP using the Wilfred Woodruff quote, because it's clearly rubbish.

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    6. "What you fail to get is that prophets are men and make mistakes."

      Exactly - that's what they are - just men who make mistakes. In fact if you take the stance that they are just regular men like everyone else, using their own intuition and not being lead directly by God" - suddenly it all makes perfect sense.

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    7. If a church is led by a prophet who receives instruction directly from God, why would it need to have pilot programs for anything?

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    8. Some things are doctrine, meaning the prophet is literally speaking the words of God. Other things are opinions, best efforts so to say. The missionary pilot program is not church doctrine, it is their current opinion about how to manage the large organization the church has become.
      The analogy was appropriate, not allowing men of African descent the Priesthood was doctrine, and should not have been wrong, let alone so wrong for so long. Moving the age to serve missions has more to do with managing social aspects of the church. God did not "reveal" to the prophets to make that change, and I don't think any of the General Authorities would claim it was anything but a seemingly convienent change.

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    9. I think a big part of the problem is that we have ample evidence of the Mormon "Prophets" acting like men. The evidence we need is for them be the Prophets that they claim to be. So, if you are trying to prove that the Mormon Prophets are fallible men who make mistakes, then I accept your argument. On other hand, if you are trying to say that they are people who actually speak to God and have insights and authority greater than the average man, then I would suggest that is where you should be providing your evidence.

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    10. I think a big part of the problem is that we have ample evidence of the Mormon "Prophets" acting like men. The evidence we need is for them be the Prophets that they claim to be. So, if you are trying to prove that the Mormon Prophets are fallible men who make mistakes, then I accept your argument. On other hand, if you are trying to say that they are people who actually speak to God and have insights and authority greater than the average man, then I would suggest that is where you should be providing your evidence.

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    11. When the "prophet" decides to change the missionary age from age 19 to 18, this affects the lives of hundreds of thousands of young people AND their families. If you have a direct line to God, why not ask him about this? Isn't he supposed to be directing the church through his prophets? How can it make sense for Monson to say...I think maybe we should change the mission age from 19 to 18. But I'm not going to find out if this is something God wants. Let's experiment, see how it goes and then roll it out.
      This isn't about choosing between gladiolas and roses to decorate for April Conference, this is significant. Pilot programs are tests to see if what you thought was a good idea actually works. You save pilot programs for big things because you don't want to make a huge commitment without knowing for sure if it will work. So, again, IF your church is led by a prophet of God, why have a pilot program? Let's see: I can get a 100% certain answer by asking God, or I can go with what seems like a good idea, run with it awhile, compile data, check results and then roll it out for everyone.
      No, the only reason to have a pilot program is because the prophet is just a man, pretending to be God's voice. And I no longer allow him to stand between me and God.

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  2. The question is, how can one tell if the CURRENT PROPHETS are wrong if previous prophets can be disregarded so easily?

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    1. That's why the church tells us to pray. Don't just follow by blind faith. The Holy Ghost is our best guide.

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    2. I prayed. That's how I found out that they were all wrong. :)

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    3. Where was the Holy Ghost when those 11 men were withholding the priesthood and temple ordinances for an entire human race? Did he not show up or were the prophets just not listening?

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    4. Then why have the prophet in the equation at all? Why can't we just live our lives and pray for guidance at points when we need it? I don't see what a living prophet who is sometimes right and sometimes wrong adds to the equation except more confusion. Presumably the prophets who made mistakes were praying too right? So if they pray and make mistakes, isn't it possible (even likely) that the members then praying about the prophets' message will then compound that mistake even more?

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    5. I feel the spirit when I eat a cheese burger and chocolate cake. Does that mean it's good for my body? I know so. The Holy Ghost told me so. And running makes me feel terrible so I know it's bad.

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  3. Most of the zealous church members I know tend to treat prophets words as scripture. Yet, when there's something controversial, they're only just men and make mistakes. That's awfully convenient, isn't it?

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  4. Every prophet has made mistakes. Adam fell. Jonah doubted. Peter denied Christ. But that doesn't mean they weren't called of God. You are all expecting far too much from men who are called of God. Be kind and forgive. Accept Jesus will make it right.

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    1. If you choose to believe in prophets and believe that they are fallible, how many decisions lacking simple moral judgment do you endure before calling into question whether or not ANY of their statements are inspired.

      Why would you choose a totalitarian, unaccountable regime such as the church has become.

      Seems like the POPE is winning this argument, at the moment.

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    2. I think you are expecting far too little from men who are called of God.

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    3. That's exactly what they are delivering. Nothing

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    4. Certainly all church leaders are men and make mistakes in their personal lives. But that is not what we're talking about here. We are talking about an ENTIRE RACE of people who were excluded from temple ordinances and thus eternal salvation based on -- a mistake? Really? If you believe that God is truly at the helm of this church leading it through a living prophet the how could 11 successive prophets make such a monumentally big mistake without God stepping in and correcting it?

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    5. I used to be a Mormon Bishop. After being released I spent three years on the High Council. During that time I spent over a year researching my doubts, finally emailing my Stake President and telling him I was done. I have come to believe this is supposed to be an individual spiritual journey with no need whatsoever from prophets.

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    6. It's not about forgiving individuals, it's about men who hold themselves up as standing in a special relation to God, whose words are to be taken as Gospel, who yet are wrong.

      Fine, forgive them. But why follow them?

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  5. And who are we supposed to trust if not prophets? Politicians? They were racists. Scientists? They were racists. He without sin can cast the first stone. The prophets aren't perfect! Trust the spirit and pray!

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    1. It is obvious and unfortunate that you don't recognize the disconnect in your argument. Politicians aren't claiming to speak in the name of God. Scientists are claiming to speak in the name of God. Prophets, however, are making that claim. Therefore, they are being held to a higher standard.

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    2. Why should be trust the spirit when it tells everyone differ things? It tells Muslims their religion is true, and everyone else that their religion is true. It tells people to marry people they are compatible with. I recently read a story where the spirit told a woman to place her child on his stomach to sleep, leading to his death. If the spirit exists, it is a prankster God, completely unreliable and untrustable. And since that spirit tells people to rape and kill, it is an evil spirit. But there is no spirit, just your own psychology, and the LD$ Church uses simple psychological tricks to convince people that the spirit is telling them that lies are truth.

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    3. Trust the Spirit? Try reading about cognitive bias and see if that makes sense.

      Trust in reason and experience. They will steer you more truly than biassed feelings in your 'heart.'

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  6. I was led to this blog from a Mormon forum. It has completely smashed my view of my church. I now see that I can't really rely on Monson or others to tell me absolute truth. I am now in a confused and worried state. I have no idea where I am going.

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    1. That is completely understandable. I found myself in the same situation several months ago. Please don't be afraid to really look into what you believe. It's difficult but completely worth it. Truth must prevail. Check out www.mormonthink.com to get some insight. Sometimes truth is more important than our own biases. Good luck on your journey!

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    2. And don't be afraid to speak up over at http://www.reddit.com/r/exmormon. Even if you choose to believe, the community there will listen to you and support you through it. We know what you're going through.

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    3. It's hard- it's *so* hard- to lose absolute certainty. But it's the only way to gain true freedom and finally live life as an adult. The church depends on its members willfully remaining intellectually stunted through a fear of questioning. It's a gospel of arrested development. You know how they say, "I never said it would be easy- I only said it would be worth it?" That's true of questioning your faith. If it can't stand up to questioning, that's a sign it's holding you back. Stay with it and trust yourself. If you're open to learning the truth, it will be the most spiritual experience of your life, even if it destroys your faith forever.

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    4. It is important to find community support - you wont find any support in the LDS community, only judgment and fear. The reddit.com exmormon forum is great, and there are also communities on Facebook that can provide support and help you during this difficult time. Try the Mormon Hub to start. Thousands of other mormons just like you are in the process of leaving the church, you are not alone. It is a difficult process - but its much easier if you have others you can talk to and run things past who have walked that same path. Good luck!

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    5. Don't be afraid of the uncertainty, or even of realising that the prophet (or even the Church itself) doesn't have all the answers. Truth is truth. If the truth is that the prophet isn't going to offer perfectly inspired information, then that's the truth. Just take a deep breath and relax. You are a rational being, capable of seeking out truth and acting on your own reason and experience. Where you are going will be decided by you. And that's okay.

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    6. Roger,

      You need to ask yourself some basic questions. One, do you believe that we were created by a supreme being? Two, do you believe that we are a product of evolution? Three, do you believe we came from the big band theory? If you believe we were created by the supreme being, you as an individual need to ask yourself some questions. Such as:

      Why are we here? For what purpose did God create us? As his personal toy? Why are we here on earth? What is our purpose while we are here on earth? Where do we go when we die? What do other relgions believe? If we go to Heaven what will we do? Will we sit around praising the Lord? If you believe we go to Heaven, why not just stay there to begin with? Why would a good, kind loving Heavenly Father punish us for the original sin? Why wouldn't I be given the opportunity to eat of the friut of the tree or not? What if I didn't eat it?

      See, throughout my life I asked myself these questions and no one gave me answers that made any sense. Then I looked into and investigated the Mormon church and for the first time something made sense. For the first time there were answers that made sense.

      I realize that the prophets are not perfect. I realize they are going to make mistakes, even Joseph Smith. However, so did all of the prophets of the old testament. You can't listen to people that pull out little pieces and put it under a microscope. You have to look at the whole picture and ask yourself, does it make sense?

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    7. No, it does not make sense.

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  7. I have to agree with the comments on here about the convenience of the argument that Mormon prophets were only acting as men and made mistakes. I can accept that, but if I accept that, then I cannot accept that the church is the one true church on earth and is led by Jesus Christ. I also cannot blindly accept the church's current positions (on same sex marriage in particular), because there is no guarantee that we won't find out these "policies" are wrong in the future. You can't have it both ways. Either the prophet speaks to God and shouldn't get this stuff wrong, or he does not and the church is not the one true church on the earth. I am fine with the second conclusion, but the church needs to change its whole narrative about what it is.

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    1. What kind of logic is that? You can't agree with the position of the church regarding same sex marriage because the policy could be wrong. It doesn't take a prophet to tell you that same sex marriage is wrong. It only takes intelligent thinking and the ability to see what this action will lead to. Nothing all that complicated, unless you incapable of seeing the end results.

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    2. What the hell are you talking about? Where will "this action lead to"? And, what will be "the end results"? Are you really that nieve to think that humanity will cease to exist if there's gay marraige? People don't just "poof", turn gay. How many hedrosexuals are there that can't have kids? If they get married, will the human race cease to exist because they can't procreate?

      Your argument is so ignorant and bigoted. The top 15 would be very proud of your racism! Welcome to 2013. You may want to buckle up...the next ten years will probably be a very bumpy ride for you.

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  8. It's not the imperfect people leading people astray that I take issue with. It's the god that promised that he wouldn't allow them to lead us astray.

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    1. Is it God the promised you, or man telling you that God promised you?

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  9. "I am now in a confused state and have no idea where I am going"
    Been there. Keep learning and growing. You will break through the glass ceiling. I promise it is wonderful to learn what true faith is when all the supposed "answers" are spoon fed to you. Your relationship with God will bloom in ways you never knew possible. It is an awesome experience to awaken and come out of the denial box. Good luck to you !!

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  10. Doesn't prophet mean one who predicts the future with God's help? So, if the "prophets" got it wrong, what else did they get wrong? I believe that is the huge implication of these
    essays designed to overcome the past. It shows they aren't really what they claim. It shows that maybe this church is just like any other except that this church had the ponzie like growth dynamic that always fails in the end when the last sucker gets recruited.

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  11. The good news is that a bad doctrine just got booted AND that new doctrines can now replace old "theories" of current doctrines in the near future without a direct revelation from God. That's great news!

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  12. I joined the church based on the fact that Joseph Smith was a Prophet of God. He was visited by God and His Son, and communed with deity throughout his earthly ministry. The apostasy was ended by the call of Joseph as Prophet.

    Now it appears that in his many conflicting accounts of his First Vision he seems to have forgotten that he was visited by God the Father and Jesus Christ.

    Add to this, Joseph taught quite clearly in the Book of Abraham and Book of Moses the curse of Cain was carried through the Flood (which never happened) by Egyptus, wife of Ham, one of Noah's 3 sons. He also taught in the Book of Mormon that the Lord caused a skin of blackness to come upon the Lamanites because of their sins and so that they might be loathsome to the Nephites. So, now the Prophet Thomas S. Monson says these were mistakes of the past and just a reflection of attitudes in those days.

    What you are actually saying, President Monson, is none of these men spoke the truth regarding important matters of doctrine. Blacks were disadvantaged until at least 1978, more than a decade after civil rights were granted by a secular government.

    The most recent revelation by a so called prophet (Gordon B. Hinckley) was regarding the number of earrings to be worn by women.

    Come off it. The gig is up. No prophets, no need for a restored church.

    Admit it President Monson, you have no answers. The only single answer that makes sense and answers every issue, is that Joseph made it all up.

    Admit it President Monson, liquidate the "Corporation of the President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints", your corporation sole, and distribute the assets to bona fide charities, as mandated in your corporation's constitution.

    At the same time confess to all your members that they have been duped.

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    1. Excellent Tom!

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    2. "as mandated in your corporation's constitution"

      can you elaborate on this? there seems to be a lot more to that statement.

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    3. dp76, take a look at:

      http://mormondisclosures.blogspot.com/2012/09/boogie-on-down-corporation-with-sole.html

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    4. Since you apparently know all the answers to the question of Mormon's, how about you tell everyone where we came from, why we are here and where we go when we die. And while you are at it, if you believe we were created by God, please tell us why we were sent here instead of staying in Heaven with hm.

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    5. Anyone can tell you anything about where you came from, who you "are", and where you are going. But there's no way to objectively verify it, so why bother? Just because you've chosen to believe one mythology doesn't mean that I have to, as well. The myth is fun for kids, but it's crippling for anyone who's ready to move on to more mature and enlightening things.

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  13. Also, to those who attribute 100 years of bigotry and discrimination to a "mistake" and not official doctrine I offer you this statement made by the First Presidency on August 17, 1949:
    "The attitude of the Church with reference to Negroes remains as it has always stood. It is not a matter of the declaration of a policy but of direct commandment from the Lord, on which is founded the doctrine of the Church from the days of its organization, to the effect that Negroes may become members of the Church but that they are not entitled to the priesthood at the present time. The prophets of the Lord have made several statements as to the operation of the principle. President Brigham Young said: "Why are so many of the inhabitants of the earth cursed with a skin of blackness? it comes in consequence of their fathers rejecting the power of the holy priesthood, and the Law of God. They will go down to death. And when all the rest of the children have received their blessings in the holy priesthood, then that curse will be removed from the seed of Cain, and they will then come up and possess the priesthood, and receive all the blessings which we now are entitled to."

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    1. Clearly theories of racism that can be disavowed include "direct commandment[s] from the Lord, on which is founded the doctrine of the Church."

      Nothing to see here. Move on!

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    2. This is what happens when MAN attempts to find answers to everything. They were wrong, but that doesn't mean everything about the church is wrong.

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  14. The need was not restoration, it was the need for money ,greed ,admiration, to be elite. Sounds like modern day Pharasees to me.

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    1. Exactly. This was to take the Smith family out of the fields and into what they believed was an elite life that they felt they deserved, so they made it all up to dupe and steal from everyone who would listen and to those who would not listen...they'd just steal their goods and property and then kill whomever stood in their way.

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    2. Sure, and the ultimate plan was to be tarred and feathered, held in prison and then killed! Brilliant plan!

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    3. No one is saying the Smiths were brilliant. Quite the opposite, in fact. A certain flair for criminal schemes, yes, but overall lacking in intellectual ability is how I would characterize them.

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  15. “When all the rest of the children have received their blessings in the Holy Priesthood, then that curse will be removed from the seed of Cain, and they will then come up and possess the priesthood, and receive all the blessings which we now are entitled to." (Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, Vol. 11, p.272.)

    NB: The curse is not the ban, it's the skin of darkness. Brigham believed that when the time was right, the remaining black people would become white (like the Lamanites in the Book of Mormon) and THEN receive the priesthood. This is why he can say this quote, and then say elsewhere that black men would never have the priesthood - because when he thought they wouldn't be black when they got it.

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  16. Unfortunately for the church, this 'blacks & the priethood' issue is only 1 of hundreds of issues that members and non-members can't reconcile. The statements from the church only dig a bigger hole & beg more questions. Truth is that these are just men trying to plug holes in a dam ready to burst. Mormon prophets don't have a direct line to God. This article proves that they even disagree. Hence, they can't be proven reliable. What current beliefs will future 'prophets' be apologizing for? Gay bashing? Minimizing women in the church? Tithing? Twists on the Word of Wisdom? Temple worship? Book of Abraham?

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    1. I'm sure David T. will be happy to agree with you about the gay issue! lol

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  17. I feel like chruch members must have had these same discussions when they banned polygamy. :) I haven't been a member for years, but when I think back to my childhood I shudder at how racist we were in the church. I remember my mother telling the story of the curse of black skin and how a bishop in her ward got up in Sacrament Meeting once and denounced a man in the congregation because the spirit had revealed to him that the man had negro blood in his veins "maybe only one drop, but one drop defiled him" and then she told a story of a lamanite brother who had converted and his son had lighter skin than he had and his grandsons were even whiter and they were turning white because of their righteousness! Good grief. I love my family and many of them are still devout members, but I cannot go back. My faith was totally shaken the first time I went through the temple. That made me question everything about the church. The Mormon religion has a lot of redeeming values, but I don't believe a prophet who speaks directly to God is one of them.

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  18. Excellent blog post. It expresses my thoughts of the past few days in a concise and well thought out way. I've been making notes and gathering my thoughts on how to express my feelings on this. You did it beautifully.

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    1. Several months ago, I suddenly realized that apostles are not "prophets, seers, and revelators." I am still open to the possibility that JS did receive ancient priesthood keys and that the priesthood was passed on to others.

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    2. Joseph and Oliver only started to talk about "priesthood restoration" around 1834 or 35. There was no mention of it at the official meeting to organize the church on April 6, 1830--just a setting apart of each other to be an officer of the church, with the title "elder"--which is a term found in the Bible and thus very commonly used for a church officer the world over (see "Elder" (Christianity)" in Wikipedia).

      There are substantive reasons to doubt that angels bestowed priesthood authority on Joseph and Oliver. For one, Oliver couldn't keep his story straight. In addition, Book of Commandment sections that came after the purported restoration made no mention of the restoration (until Joseph and Oliver changed one of the sections several years later, in the 1835 D & C, to add the only canonical references to the claimed visits of John the Baptist, and Peter, James, and John). To learn more about this, see http://mormonthink.com/priesthood.htm#full

      If the priesthood isn't real, the church has no more authority than any other group or individual sharing ideas with the world about life, the universe, and everything. Plenty of ideas out there about where we came from, why we're here, and where we're going . . . just read Dianetics, the Koran, the Bhagavad Gita, ad infinitum.

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  19. Just over 26% of the world's population come from Africa. The "mistakes" of 11 prophets would have denied the priesthood and blessings of the temple to a quarter of God's children. that is some BIG mistake we are all supposed to forgive and forget. I also note that there has not actually been an official apology asking for forgiveness.

    If the church really were what it claims to be, denying those blessings to so many would be an appalling crime. However, this is yet more evidence that there is nothing divine in the leadership of LDS Corp.

    spanner

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  20. This is all good and thought out... but these same arguments debase the Bible, all of Christianity and Judaism. I guess the Muslims had it right all along.

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    1. Yes, and especially the ones that knock down large buildings.

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  21. "This is all good and thought out... but these same arguments debase the Bible, all of Christianity and Judaism. I guess the Muslims had it right all along."

    Nonsense. There's not a single word in the Bible about judging people by skin color. Or have you forgotten that one of the early converts to Christianity was an Ethiopian whom Philip just happened to meet on the road? (Acts 8:26-39)

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    1. That doesn't prove anything. Some of the early converts to Mormonism were black too. That one verse doesn't change the fact that that parts of the Bible support slavery or that the majority of slavery in America was perpetuated by "good Christian" people in the South.

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    2. Let's not pretend that Mormonism or the book of Mormon is any more ridiculous than the rest of Christianity and the Bible.

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  22. From David's article, "Did [the church] disavow the Book of Mormon?" From my perspective, the Church's statement conflicts directly with their scriptures, (specific examples pasted below... beware the wall of text, sorry about that). How is one supposed to reconcile the new statement about the ban from man in regards to what it says in the scriptures about dark skin? Technically, we could say that the curse itself was just the dark skin, but it's precisely because of that curse that the ban was instated in the first place, right? How can you faithfully spin the BOM passages without then questioning the validity of the rest of the BOM, and in turn the man who brought it to light?

    -- BOM Examples --

    1 Nephi 12:23 - And it came to pass that I beheld, after they had dwindled in unbelief they became a dark, and loathsome, and a filthy people, full of idleness and all manner of abominations.

    2 Nephi 5:21 - And he had caused the cursing to come upon them, yea, even a sore cursing, because of their iniquity. For behold, they had hardened their hearts against him, that they had become like unto a flint; wherefore, as they were white, and exceedingly fair and delightsome, that they might not be enticing unto my people the Lord God did cause a skin of blackness to come upon them.

    Jacob 3:5 - Behold, the Lamanites your brethren, whom ye hate because of their filthiness and the cursing which hath come upon their skins, are more righteous than you; for they have not forgotten the commandment of the Lord, which was given unto our father—that they should have save it were one wife, and concubines they should have none, and there should not be whoredoms committed among them.

    Jacob 3:8 - O my brethren, I fear that unless ye shall repent of your sins that their skins will be whiter than yours, when ye shall be brought with them before the throne of God.

    Jacob 3:9 - Wherefore, a commandment I give unto you, which is the word of God, that ye revile no more against them because of the darkness of their skins; neither shall ye revile against them because of their filthiness; but ye shall remember your own filthiness, and remember that their filthiness came because of their fathers.

    Alma 3:6 - And the skins of the Lamanites were dark, according to the mark which was set upon their fathers, which was a curse upon them because of their transgression and their rebellion against their brethren, who consisted of Nephi, Jacob, and Joseph, and Sam, who were just and holy men.

    3 Nephi 2:15 - And their curse was taken from them, and their skin became white like unto the Nephites;

    Mormon 5:15 - And also that the seed of this people may more fully believe his gospel, which shall go forth unto them from the Gentiles; for this people shall be scattered, and shall become a dark, a filthy, and a loathsome people, beyond the description of that which ever hath been amongst us, yea, even that which hath been among the Lamanites, and this because of their unbelief and idolatry.

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  23. It's just another church, people. That's what these essays show so far and I'm sure the future essays will show the same thing.

    On another note, I wouldn't give this church any money until it opens up the books. It would also be nice if it followed Jesus' advice to the rich man and give its billions away to the poor and then actually follow Jesus by not cutting worker hours to save money on healthcare costs. It justifies its riches as necessary for its missionary work and promulgating the message. However, with the internet, there is no need for the billions it retains.

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  24. I'm a little confused,. Is the church just disavowing the theories behind the exclusion, or are they disavowing the exclusion altogether, saying the exclusion was never of God?

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  25. I can only shake my head at yet more soft-pedaling of the truth. I'm intensely interested in the last point you made, namely, what does this mean for the BOM, if the Church is "disavowing the theories behind the exclusion?" Are they going to take out those "dark" references in those obnoxious verses? Are they going to change all scripture to reflect this disavowal? (I'm sorry if this has already been discussed. I just can't wade through the wall of "anonymous" comments, that get confusing as to who is saying what.)

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  26. I would like to say that I find this site very informative and I appreciate it very much. I remember converting to the church and every time I had a question I often heard that I would learn as I studied "line upon line, precept after precept". I cannot believe all of the lies I was taught! The church should change that to 'Lies upon lies, pretext after pretext".

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