Mormon’s Hate Black People?


This is interesting. Mitt Romney’s foray into the presidency
has
white folks talking about religion and slavery.

This was the worst political speech of my lifetime. Because this man stood there and said to you “this is the faith of my fathers.” And you, and none of these commentators who liked this speech realized that the faith of his fathers is a racist faith. As of 1978 it was an officially racist faith, and for political convenience in 1978 it switched. And it said “OK, black people can be in this church.” He believes, if he believes the faith of his fathers, that black people are black because in heaven they turned away from God, in this demented, Scientology-like notion of what was going on in heaven before the creation of the earth.

I was actually surprised by the anger and candor of the
comments.
Do you know any Mormons?

For a long period of time Black African members of the LDS church were unable to hold the Priesthood. In honor of Black History Month let’s take a look at why this was so, when it changed, and what’s happening now.

The Priesthood
From the first days of the Church (1830) until 1978 members who were of Hamitic or Black African descent were denied the blessings of the Priesthood. Why were they denied the Priesthood for so long? Joseph Fielding Smith once stated, “a meaningful response to this question rests on an understanding of what the Priesthood is.”

Did you know that Black people weren’t allowed to
be Mormon’s until ’78?
But then again, Black people
weren’t allowed to be Republicans
either. And no I
don’t mean the Abraham Lincoln republicans
but
the Nixon Reagan Republicans.

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Do you have a problem with a Mormon President?

Should Romney come clean on the Mormon’s history with Black folks?

If he did, what difference would it make?

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Comments

  1. I have a problem with any President who runs on the platform that their religion will be the guiding light of their presidency. To me, that’s not representative of an all-inclusive government.

    Black people are not Mitt Romney’s chief voting demographic. Therefore, he’s not going to address the history between Black Americans and the Mormon faith if he doesn’t have to.

    Right now, the facts of the Mormon faith for his run for president are the equivalent of having a pink elephant in the room: everybody knows it’s there, everybody talks about it being there, and regardless if he comments on it or not, it’s still going to be there.
    He’s counting on the idea that people don’t know much about Mormonism.
    Right now, I’d say that’s working well for him.

  2. the prisoner's wife says:

    1. i don’t have a problem with Mit being president because he’s mormon, i have a problem with his stance on the issues.

    2. black people aren’t his main concern. white, evangelicals are going to take him down (look how Huckabee is surging). as far as coming clean, he was asked a question on..i think meet the press..and he said he got “emotional and wept” when he found out black folks could be down. he sounded like a punk, but i guess that was supposed to make him sound like he was happy?

    3. in college, one of my neighbors was a mormon. he was cool. couldn’t drink coffee, alcohol, or really go out with us. his sophomore year he went on his 2 year mission. he was cool people, but that’s the only mormon i’ve known.

  3. Changeseeker says:

    I knew a Mormon sociology grad student once who actually asked a visiting speaker if Black people weren’t good at sports because they have an extra muscle in their leg…!? That’s only one, of course.

    Anyway, I agree with the others who suggest that Romney has HUGE other problems, as well. Besides, I’d vote for Daffy Duck before I’d vote for a Republican at this stage of the game. Although, obviously, it doesn’t really matter since we can elect one man and have another take office TWICE IN A ROW and do nothing about it. So what are we really talking about?

  4. Model Minority says:

    . Besides, I’d vote for Daffy Duck before I’d vote for a Republican at this stage of the game.
    =========

    Oh my.

  5. Model Minority says:

    he was cool. couldn’t drink coffee, alcohol, or really go out with us.
    ========

    Dude.

    So not fun.

  6. (I’m LDS) I would like to understand the LDS Church’s restriction on holding the priesthood because my people mostly come from northern Europe and, as I understand it, they could not hold the priesthood either for almost all the history of the world that our black brethren could not.
    .
    In Old-Testament times, the priesthood was concentrated in the 12 tribes of Isreal, then only among the Levites. In New-Testament times, Paul had to have a special revelation to even share Christ’s gospel with non-Israelites. The only time I’m sure that my people could hold the priesthood and black people could not is 1852-1978. Black members received the priesthood before then, e.g. Elijah Abel (http://www.timesandseasons.org/?p=3027).
    .
    I remember well the general rejoicing in the Church, including my own, upon the announcement that the ban was banned. One of the Apostles gave a talk about it a couple months later. Here’s an excerpt:
    .
    We have revelations that tell us that the gospel is to go to every nation, kindred, tongue, and people before the Second Coming of the Son of Man. And we have revelations which recite that when the Lord comes he will find those who speak every tongue and are members of every nation and kindred, who will be kings and priests, who will live and reign on earth with him a thousand years. That means, as you know, that people from all nations will have the blessings of the house of the Lord before the Second Coming.
    .
    We have read these passages and their associated passages for many years. We have seen what the words say and have said to ourselves, ?Yes, it says that, but we must read out of it the taking of the gospel and the blessings of the temple to the Negro people, because they are denied certain things.? There are statements in our literature by the early Brethren which we have interpreted to mean that the Negroes would not receive the priesthood in mortality. I have said the same things, and people write me letters and say, ?You said such and such, and how is it now that we do such and such?? And all I can say to that is that it is time disbelieving people repented and got in line and believed in a living, modern prophet. Forget everything that I have said, or what President Brigham Young or President George Q. Cannon or whomsoever has said in days past that is contrary to the present revelation. We spoke with a limited understanding and without the light and knowledge that now has come into the world.
    .
    We get our truth and our light line upon line and precept upon precept. We have now had added a new flood of intelligence and light on this particular subject, and it erases all the darkness and all the views and all the thoughts of the past. They don?t matter any more.

    .
    (full text available here: http://speeches.byu.edu/reader/reader.php?id=11017)
    .
    I hope that says enough.
    .
    Here are some links about black Mormons today:
    .
    http://www.BlackLDS.org
    .
    New 5-story Mormon chapel on Malcom X Blvd in Harlem, NYC (NY Times)
    http://www.nytimes.com/2005/10/02/nyregion/02mormon.html?ex=1130212800&en=3b984001abe44410&ei=5070
    .
    African-American LDS bishop in Washington, DC
    http://www.ldsmag.com/people/060213bishop.html
    .
    GHANA:
    Dedication of LDS temple in Ghana, Africa ? 6-part photo essay
    http://www.ldsmag.com/churchupdate/040116dedication1.html
    Visit to one of LDS wards (congregation) in Accra, Ghana
    http://www.ldsmag.com/photoessay/040204nungua.html
    Various LDS converts
    http://www.ldsmag.com/churchupdate/040130faces.html
    .
    Gladys Knight?s (LDS convert in 1997) Grammy-winning gospel choir:
    http://www.suvchoir.org/
    .
    Growing LDS Church in Africa (Washington Post)
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/11/18/AR2007111801392_pf.htm
    – see embedded video also
    .
    Helvecio Martins, black General Authority in LDS Church from Brazil
    http://www.ldsmag.com/people/030610martins.html
    .
    LDS (black) returned missionaries in Sierra Leone, service project
    http://news.sl/drwebsite/publish/article_20055503.shtml
    .
    Sam Warren (Drifters founder), LDS convert
    http://www.ldsmag.com/people/060224warren.html
    .
    Camaroonian LDS trip to LDS temple in Nigeria
    http://www.bsmarkham.com/mission/Africa/Aug%2005/aba.html
    .
    Various current-day African-American LDS converts
    http://www.ldsmag.com/people/030610families.html
    .
    Peace!

  7. Quote from the WSJ: “Mormonism was a defiantly apartheid faith that denied blacks full participation based on doctrinal beliefs that whites are “pure” and “delightsome,” while black-skinned people are “unrighteous,” “despised” and “loathsome” descendants of the biblical Cain, who was cursed for killing Abel.”

    I have been a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints all my life, and I was never taught that or anything of the sort. I was taught that blacks didn’t hold the priesthood because God hadn’t given them the priesthood at this time — something for which there was historical precedent in Old Testament times when only one tribe of Israel performed priestly duties, the sons of Levi.

    The prophet who restored the Church, Joseph Smith, DID ordain people of black heritage to the priesthood. For reasons we will probably never know, prophets after Joseph Smith did not (recall that this was just prior to the civil war and there is some evidence that members of the Church had been persecuted in Missouri and Nauvoo because they did not support slavery politically).

    But I was never taught that it was because blacks were inferior human beings.

    Given the number of faithful black church members before the revelation of 1978, it should be obvious that something other than “apartheid” was going on. And in my lifetime, black members could always do anything white members without the priesthood could do.

  8. I also grew up a Mormon in Mormon dominated Utah. I considered myself a curious young man with a social conscience, easily affronted by injustice throughout the world. As a youth I asked leaders, friends, and parents to explain the basis for postponement (as it was always explained to me, not a denial) of blacks receiving the Priesthood. Most only answered, they didn’t know but when the Lord decided the time was right, it would happen. Occasionally an uninformed person would offer as speculation some of the racist reasons that are often put forth by people who really just have it out for Mormons, but my friends and I and every intelligent adult I knew thought these people were bigots. We never heard these views coming as official pronouncements of church leaders. More often intelligent and sensitive Mormons were speculating to me that this was perhaps a historical mistake, a policy that started in order to deflect some of the anti-Mormon animosity that arose especially in Missouri as a result of dominant Mormon anti-slavery sentiment. In Utah, we were far from the heart of the civil rights movement in America, far enough for some to be indifferent about the question or to treat it as a philosophical abstraction(there were no blacks in my high school–and the only three I knew personally well as a child and teenager were very popular, including one our 90% Mormon Boys’ State program elected as our governor). But most of us were growing up watching the same national news, listening to the same popular music, and reading the same literature as our peers and student counterparts across the nation. We felt the position of the church on the Priesthood was a burden we had to bear with faith. At the same time we knew those Latter-day Saints we grew up with were good people and we felt a natural loyalty to the Church. No one ever taught me blacks were inferior beings; in fact we received the same social science lessons, read the same text books, current in most schools and colleges outside of the deep south that taught racial inferiority was nonsense. My freshman year at Brigham Young University, 1972, I took a class in race relations–again, no inferiority theories were taught–quite the contrary in fact. It’s hard to explain the conflicts running through our hearts during this period. Developing simultaneously a confidence in God and a love for all his children that seemed on the surface contradictory, required great faith that somehow this was going to work out. My local leaders, to the extent they discussed the question at all, urged us to have love, patience and faith and the time would surely come when we got this sorted out. In 1978 when the announcement was made, we believed it finally had begun. Every Mormon I knew, from the top to the bottom, cheered, cried and rejoiced. The burden was gone and we hoped the walls that had built up between us and our black brothers and sisters would eventually be too. Again–no one taught me racial inferiority; in fact the Book of Mormon says God invites all men to him freely, black or white. I don’t know a single practicing Mormon who wants to perpetuate myths of racial superiority (nor non-practicing one either for that matter, though I don’t know all 13 million Mormons of course). Please–those of you on the other side of this question who have been offended, help us let it go and move on. I don’t think you’ll get institutional apologies because I really don’t think anyone knows exactly what to apologize for, since we always believed the discrimination was only apparent, and not genuine racism. I’m sure this won’t satisfy some of you, but it’s as true as I can articulate it. Sorry for the long entry and if you got this far, thanks for your patience. TJ

  9. TJ and Maenen. OMG.

    I needs some PEETS for I get into y’all responses.

    I am sorta excited that the post garnered such extensive comments from new folks.

    Thank you.

    ****Does happy new commenter dance.

    Imma go shower and get some coffee. BRB.

  10. manaen said.
    =======

    I read your post.

    I will visit a couple of the links.

    I am not sure exactly what the Apostle is saying.
    Is the gist that Blacks could not receive priesthood before ’78? And that after a new light and knowledge was received the rule was changed?

    My question is what triggered the change? What triggered the new light?

  11. TJ,

    Dude, Mormons in Missouri were abolitionist?

  12. Hi TJ,

    Thank you for your comment.

    You come across as being thoughtful and sincere.

    So, let me get this straight. Black folks have always been allowed to be Mormons, just not Priests. Then something happened in ’78 and we were allowed to become priests?

    WHAT HAPPENED IN ’78?

    Why do you mention the kinds of classes and text books that you read? I am not sure how its connected to the rest of your comment.

  13. M.Dot,
    .
    You said,
    .
    I am not sure exactly what the Apostle is saying.
    Is the gist that Blacks could not receive priesthood before ’78? And that after a new light and knowledge was received the rule was changed?
    .
    My question is what triggered the change? What triggered the new light?

    .
    Here are my personal anwers. I hope they’re helpful.
    .
    Yes, there was a period when blacks could be members but could not be priests — like I explained there were times when my people (mostly northern Europeans) could not be priests. A revelation to our prophet opened the priesthood to worthy men of any lineage.
    .
    The immediate answer for what triggered the change was that the prophet and other church leaders had been praying for this for a long time. I suppose one of the main reasons was that, according to a presentation at BYU-Idaho, the Church received more requests for information from Nigeria and Ghana than from the rest of the world combined (http://www.byui.edu/Presentations/Transcripts/Devotionals/2001_04_03_LeBaron.htm).
    .
    The current prophet, Gordon B. Hinckley, was present when this revelation came. He said some 10 years later,
    .
    I was not present when John the Baptist conferred the Aaronic Priesthood. I was not present when Peter, James, and John conferred the Melchizedek Priesthood. But I was present and was a participant and a witness to what occurred on Thursday, June 1, 1978. My memory is clear concerning the events of that day. Since we are commemorating the tenth anniversary of that historic event, I wish to give you my personal witness of what occurred.
    .
    Each first Thursday of the month is a day for fasting and the bearing of testimony by the General Authorities of the Church. So many of the Brethren are absent from home on the first Sunday of the month because of assignments to stake conferences that we hold our monthly testimony meeting in an upper room of the Salt Lake Temple the first Thursday of the month. The Thursday of which I speak was June 1, 1978. We heard testimonies from some of the brethren, and we partook of the sacrament of the Lord?s Supper.
    .
    It was a wonderfully spiritual meeting, as are all such meetings in these holy precincts and under these circumstances. Then the members of the First Quorum of the Seventy and the Presiding Bishopric were excused, while there remained the president of the Church, his two Counselors, and ten members of the Council of the Twelve?two being absent, one in South America and the other in the hospital.
    .
    The question of extending the blessings of the priesthood to blacks had been on the minds of many of the Brethren over a period of years. It had repeatedly been brought up by Presidents of the Church. It had become a matter of particular concern to President Spencer W. Kimball [the prophet at the time].
    .
    Over a considerable period of time he had prayed concerning this serious and difficult question. He had spent many hours in that upper room in the temple by himself in prayer and meditation.
    .
    On this occasion he raised the question before his Brethren?his Counselors and the Apostles. Following this discussion we joined in prayer in the most sacred of circumstances. President Kimball himself was voice in that prayer. I do not recall the exact words that he spoke. But I do recall my own feelings and the nature of the expressions of my Brethren. There was a hallowed and sanctified atmosphere in the room. For me, it felt as if a conduit opened between the heavenly throne and the kneeling, pleading prophet of God who was joined by his Brethren. The Spirit of God was there. And by the power of the Holy Ghost there came to that prophet an assurance that the thing for which he prayed was right, that the time had come, and that now the wondrous blessings of the priesthood should be extended to worthy men everywhere regardless of lineage.
    .
    Every man in that circle, by the power of the Holy Ghost, knew the same thing.
    .
    It was a quiet and sublime occasion.
    .
    There was not the sound ?as of a rushing mighty wind,? there were not ?cloven tongues like as of fire? (Acts 2:2?3) as there had been on the Day of Pentecost. But there was a Pentacostal spirit, for the Holy Ghost was there.
    .
    No voice audible to our physical ears was heard. But the voice of the Spirit whispered with certainty into our minds and our very souls.
    .
    It was for us, at least for me personally, as I imagine it was with Enos, who said concerning his remarkable experience, ?And while I was thus struggling in the spirit, behold, the voice of the Lord came into my mind.? (Enos 1:10.)[In The Book of Mormon]
    .
    So it was on that memorable June 1, 1978. We left that meeting subdued and reverent and joyful. Not one of us who was present on that occasion was ever quite the same after that. Nor has the Church been quite the same.
    .
    All of us knew that the time had come for a change and that the decision had come from the heavens. The answer was clear. There was perfect unity among us in our experience and in our understanding.

    .
    [full text available here: http://lds.org/ldsorg/v/index.jsp?vgnextoid=2354fccf2b7db010VgnVCM1000004d82620aRCRD&locale=0&sourceId=6bb6d7630a27b010VgnVCM1000004d82620a____&hideNav=1
    .
    I hope this helps and that you and your readers have a Merry Christmas!

  14. FYI, Joseph Smith, the first prophet in the Mormon Church, ran for President of the U.S. in 1844 — until he was killed by a mob. Here are some excerpts from his platform:
    .
    Born in a land of liberty, and breathing an air uncorrupted with the sirocco of barbarous climes, I ever feel a double anxiety for the happiness of all men, both in time and in eternity. My cogitations, like Daniel’s, have for a long time troubled me, when I viewed the condition of men throughout the world, and more especially in this boasted realm, where the Declaration of Independence “holds these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness;” but at the same time some two or three millions of people are held as slaves for life, because the spirit in them is covered with a darker skin than ours; and hundreds of our own kindred for an infraction, or supposed infraction, of some over-wise statute, have to be incarcerated in dungeon gloom, or penitentiaries, while the duellist, the debauchee, and the defaulter for millions, and criminals, take the uppermost rooms at feasts, or, like the bird of passage, find a more congenial clime by flight.
    .
    The wisdom which ought to characterize the freest, wisest, and most noble nation of the nineteenth century, should, like the sun in his meridian splendor, warm every object beneath its rays; and the main efforts of her officers, who are nothing more nor less than the servants of the people, ought to be directed to ameliorate the condition of all, black or white, bond or free; for the best of books says, “God hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth.”
    .
    Our common country presents to all men the same advantages, the facilities, the same prospects, the same honors, and the same rewards; and without hypocrisy, the Constitution, when it says, “We, the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, ensure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America,” meant just what it said without reference to color or condition, ad infinitum. The aspirations and expectations of a virtuous people, environed with so wise, so liberal, so deep, so broad, and so high a charter of equal rights as appears in said Constitution, ought to be treated by those to whom the administration of the laws is entrusted with as much sanctity as the prayers of the Saints are treated in heaven, that love, confidence, and union, like the sun, moon, and stars, should bear witness,
    .
    [?]
    .
    Petition, also, ye goodly inhabitants of the slave States, your legislators to abolish slavery by the year 1850, or now, and save the abolitionist from reproach and ruin, infamy and shame. Pray Congress to pay every man a reasonable price for his slaves out of the surplus revenue arising from the sale of public lands, and from the deduction of pay from the members of Congress. Break off the shackles from the poor black man, and hire him to labor like other human beings; for “an hour of virtuous liberty on earth is worth a whole eternity of bondage.”
    .
    [?]
    .
    Oh, then, create confidence, restore freedom, break down slavery, banish imprisonment for debt, and be in love, fellowship and peace with all the world! Remember that honesty is not subject to law. The law was made for transgressors.
    .
    [?]
    .
    The southern people are hospitable and noble: they will help to rid so free a country of every vestige of slavery, when ever they are assured of an equivalent for their property.
    .
    [?]
    .
    Mr. Van Buren said, in his inaugural address, that he went ?into the presidential chair the inflexible and uncompromising opponent of every attempt, on the part of Congress, to abolish slavery in the District of Columbia, against the wishes of the slave-holding States; and also with a determination equally decided to resist the slightest interference with it in the States where it exists.? Poor little Matty made this rhapsodical sweep with the fact before his eyes, that the state of New-York, his native state, had abolished slavery, without a struggle or a groan. Great God, how independent! From henceforth slavery is tolerated where it exists: constitution or no constitution, people or no people, right or wrong: vox Matti; vox Diaboli; ?the voice of Matty? ? ?the voice of the devil;? and peradventure, his great “Sub-Treasury” scheme was a piece of the same mind: but the man and his measures have such a striking resemblance to the anecdote of the Welchman and his cart-tongue, that, when the constitution was so long that it allowed slavery at the capitol of a free people, it could not be cut off; but when it was short that it needed a Sub-Treasury, to save the funds of the nation, it could be spliced!
    .
    [..]
    .
    In the United States the people are the government; and their united voice is the only sovereign that should rule; the only power that should be obeyed, and the only gentlemen that should be honored at home and abroad; on the land and on the sea: Wherefore, were I the president of the United States, by the voice of a virtuous people, I would honor the old paths of the venerated fathers of freedom: I would walk in the tracks of the illustrious patriots, who carried the ark of the Government upon their shoulders with an eye single to the glory of the people and when that people petitioned to abolish slavery in the slave states, I would use all honorable means to have their prayers granted, and, give liberty to the captive; by paying the southern gentlemen a reasonable equivalent for his property, that the whole nation might be free indeed!

    .
    JOSEPH SMITH.
    NAUVOO, ILLINOIS.
    February 7, 1844.
    .
    [Original available at:
    http://contentdm.lib.byu.edu/cdm4/document.php?CISOROOT=/NCMP1820-1846&CISOPTR=2836&REC=1