Apology

Posted by: Andee / Category: , ,


I grew up believing that the Church was perfect. The people were not. How many times have you heard that little phrase in Mormon culture? A million at least. That phrase is used almost as much as "He was acting as a man, not as a prophet," or "The temple is sacred, not secret." Bull S*it on all of it. The church is very, very far from perfect. The 2 billion dollar mega-mall project in Salt Lake City is proof of that, along with the apology the African-American community is still waiting for for when the church wouldn't allow black men to hold the priesthood.

I would LOVE to ask all the faithful Mormons reading my blog right now if they believe the Mormon Church owes certain groups apologies? Do you think it's right that the church never said they were sorry about the whole "Curse of Cain" thing? It's one of the reasons the Mormon church will always be looked at like a racist organization. The least they could do for their own good is apologize and admit they were wrong... damn wrong.

There was never a curse of Cain. Black people were not cursed with darker skin because they were less than good in the pre-existance. They are human beings just like we are. They are just as smart, witty, kind, and sincere. They didn't deserve what happened to them in the past, both in and out of the church. The very, very least the church could do is say, "I'm Sorry."

Every time I read an article quoting a prophet or general authority regarding racism, they usually say something like, "That is all behind us," or "That was in the past." It's nice that the church finally decided that their racist claims were not in their best interests. I say it that way because I sincerely doubt they allowed African-Americans and other minorities to hold the priesthood because they felt it was what God wanted. Nope. They knew that they had to do something or they were going to lose their tax-exempt status. They knew it had to be done... not because it was the right thing to do, but because it was good for them.

Lets take some time to consider what was going on in the church right before the decision was made to allow blacks the priesthood...

  • Under President Jimmy Carter, Brigham Young University and possibly the LDS Church itself was in danger of losing their tax exempt status if they continued to discriminate against blacks.
  • Colleges were boycotting athletic games against BYU. The mood in the country at the time was decidedly against the Mormons.
  • The Boy Scouts of America was putting a lot of pressure on the Church since only priesthood holders could be boy scout troop leaders in LDS scout troops this was denying black scouts the same opportunities that white scouts had.
  • Members and missionaries the world over were embarrassed and ashamed at what the church taught in Sunday School about blacks. The members were not racist and did not like believing in and teaching racist doctrine.
  • The 1978 "revelation" was just prior to the temple opening in Sao Paulo Brazil. They had built an area office, distribution center and temple. The population has intermarried to an extent that it could not be determined if the people have any black lineage. The Church had publicly stated that people could not enter the temple if they "had even a drop of negro blood." Who was going to use the temple in Brazil? This was creating a public image nightmare in Brazil.
  • The Church was becoming a global church. How could they possibly succeed in Africa and countries with large black populations?

I was taught that spirits come to the world completely innocent. They had no sin. How then, does the assumption that dark skin is a punishment fit into that?

Lets not forget the horrific comments made by past leaders of the Church...

“Think of the Negro, CURSED AS TO THE PRIESTHOOD.... This negro, who, in the pre-existence lived the type of life which justified the Lord in sending him to the earth in the lineage of Cain with a BLACK SKIN, and possibly being born in darkest Africa—if that negro is willing when he hears the gospel to accept it, he may have many of the blessings of the gospel. IN SPITE OF ALL HE DID IN THE PRE-EXISTENT LIFE, the Lord is willing, if the Negro accepts the gospel with real, sincere faith, and is really converted, to give him the blessings of baptism and the gift of the Holy Ghost. If that Negro is faithful all his days, he can and will enter the celestial kingdom. He will go there AS A SERVANT, but he will get celestial glory.” -Mark Peterson, 1954 BYU
Oh, so no matter what good a person with dark skin does, the best he or she can be in the after life is a servant to white people?

“And after the flood we are told that the curse that had been pronounced upon Cain was continued through Ham's wife, as he had married a wife of that seed. And why did it pass through the flood? because it was necessary that the devil should have a representation upon the earth as well as God;...” John Taylor, Journal of Discourses, Vol. 22, page 304
Oh, so black skin is evidence that the devil has representation on the earth? No apology for that comment either...
"And if any man mingle his seed with the seed of Cain the only way he could get rid of it or have Salvation would be to come forward and have his head cut off and spill his blood upon the ground- it would also take the life of his children." (Wilford Woodruff Journal) 4th prophet of the LDS Church
Wow. So, if you mix your seed with a black person, the church would cut off your head, kill your wife, as well as your innocent children... nice. Sounds like God was really speaking through that man, doesn't it? It should be so obvious to people that these men were not prophets when they read these things. They should see it. Why don't they see it?

Comments like this are not only morally and ethically wrong, but they have never been dealt with. No one has made an apology for that comment. No one. Someone should.

I can't tell you how many times someone has mentioned that God wanted it that way at that time. That there was some reason that people with dark skin couldn't hold the priesthood. My Mom's ex-bishop even told me that he thought God wanted it that way because Joseph Smith was too persecuted as it was, and allowing blacks the priesthood would have been too hard on him. I can't tell you how bad I wanted to flip him off or shake him senseless for thinking that.

I will never, ever... accept that racism is justified by God. Anyone who knows what a truly loving God is, would agree with me.

Anyone reading these comments or the hundreds of others on the internet should be absolutely furious with the leaders for not apologizing sooner.

The very least the church could do right now is issue an apology to those it hurt in the past. I won't hold my breath.


19 comments:

  1. Nicko Says:

    I find this whole issue rather unsettling because you don't tell the whole truth behind the matters or perhaps you don't know. IT is quite not well known amongst those who persecute the Church on this issue that President Kimball was not the first to be concerned with the issue of Blacks and the Priesthood. President McKay was also concerned with it back in the 50's. Hugh B Brown too. Kimball was the one who was able to finally get consensus amongst the 12 and the 1st presidency to repeal the laws.

    Regarding the previous comments made by those who went before us, I find it intriguing that you think that the Church will apologise for what was essentially something that individuals said. As an Australian Political community, we've never been asked to publicly apologise for the racial torrents from one of your pollies Pauline Hanson, yet you seem to believe that the Church should be held accountable for the actions of the few. Regardless of what you suggest, I don't think its going to happen. And no, you shouldn't hold your breath there.

    I don't know the reasoning behind the blacks and the priesthood thing. I surmise that it was essentially a cultural thing. So many churches/institutions back in the 1800's were anti-equality, it wasn't just our own. I essentially believe that after the post-war civil rights movement, the time was right to allow the Negro population in. Of course this is all surmation. The reason is still not declared. Needless to say, individuals like Elder Holland declare quite starkly that they others in the past were wrong.

    But lets consider Sydney for a moment the reality. The church not allowing the priesthood to the Black population is relatively minuscule compared to the massive injustices caused and still being caused by your larger and more structured institutions in the US. There is relatively no admittance nor apology from many of these, including your own Government for New Orleans.

    You however seem to think that the black community at large are 'hurt in the past' for what was a small and insignificant religion compared to the massive civil and human rights tragedies that have and still do occur in the larger and much more hurtful US society.

    If you truly believe in equality and justice for all, start by critiquing your own Government which and those state governments which have perpetuating some very serious crimes against the human society of equality.

    I think you should know, I am a person of 'colour' and do not advocate what Peterson, Young, etc, have said. They were however part of a culture that in my view,was highly racist, to the point that inequality was considered normal.

    I've blabbed on too long..sorry.

  1. Travis Says:

    The church has a huge problem with addressing their history, especially this, because anyone can look back and see how wrong it was now that the church has stopped teaching all of the racist doctrine in church every Sunday.

    I've also come to realize that the church is not perfect, like we are taught from a very early age in the church. For all of the church members who read this blog, read through the quotes from all of the church authorities regarding blacks and think to yourself, can I believe what they said? Can I believe that what they said was what God wanted them to say? Can I believe in a God like that? Answer those questions truthfully and honestly before you do anything else. You see, that God is the same God that you worship today.

  1. Sydney Says:

    Thanks for the comment Travis, I agree completely.

    Instead of addressing the issue, they skirt around it and play word tag. It's messed up, and something needs to be done about it.

    One day I would like to think the church had as much integrity as they tell their own members to have.

  1. Sydney Says:

    Nicko, where did I not tell the whole truth? Please tell me. The church was racist and I will continue to consider them racist until they do one simple thing... apologize.

    So if you are saying that the church shouldn't apologize for things that prophets and apostles have said while acting as leaders in the church? This was doctrine! This was taught! My Mom was taught this!!! This wasn't the "actions of a few."

    I have no idea how you can make it okay in your head to even rationalize what was taught and said by the church regarding race.

    It's not okay. It's not.

    There is no amount of mental gymnastics I could ever do to change my mind. They were WRONG, dead wrong.

  1. Sydney Says:

    I critique ANYONE who is or has been a racist. Simply because the united states believed in slavery doesn't make it okay that the church did too.

    My point is that God supposedly speaks to the prophets of the church. God wouldn't speak to men who say such horrible things.

    Period.

    They owe people an apology... will they have the integrity to do it? Or will they simply not talk about it because it brings up how wrong they really were?

    We all know the answer to that question, don't we?

  1. Travis Says:

    Nicko,

    Consider the situation... a few presidents of the church think that is time to stop being racist, so they try to talk their fellow prophets, seers and revelators into taking their side. Thats very nice and all, but I thought that prophets have a direct line to God, so why didn't they all ask God if it was time so that they could all get the same answer?

    This brings up other problems... why doesn't God just REVEAL to the prophets that its time? That never happened. This seems like a bunch of guys debating and, because of the political pressure at the time, they all finally decided to cave.

    This doesn't sound like the church that I was taught to believe in.

  1. Travis Says:

    Sydney,

    I wanted to comment about why the church will never apologize... You see, its paramount to announcing that the church and its doctrine were not right. They still think that the doctrine is divine. They still think that they were right. To think otherwise would be the same as admitting that the entire church is a fraud. Never going to happen. Just ask any TBM. If they really are TBM, they have to agree that the doctrine was correct, but God changed it because "it was time" to lift the curse. Plus, its much easier to chalk the whole thing up to "we don't know why - only God knows - we'll know after we die". That way you don't have to entertain the idea that the church may not be all it claims.

  1. Sydney Says:

    Travis, you are right. I know you are... it's just frustrating that people make excuses for this kind of thing. They were wrong. It's obvious, but people keep those blinders on and pretend God wanted it that way.

    Sometimes I get so frustrated with it!!!

  1. Travis Says:

    Syndey, Your completely right about it being frustrating. Whats more frustrating is that I spent so much time in the church and never even thought to think about it a little. I had those blinders on and wore them proudly. I'm just as frustrated with myself as I am with the church.

  1. Nicko Says:

    Well...let me start by saying how I rationalise it is that these Brethren were wrong. And this doctrine should never have been taught regardless.

    I can only surmise my arguments on this matter because A I don't know enough and B the Church doesn't tell us.

    I can say however that if you thought Prophets were always in direct line with God and if that is your argument against the manner in which Prophets have said things, then you need only look to the OT to see examples of where people have said/done things against the will of God. I dare say that these brethren were not in direct line with God. I can again only surmise that the world in the US was not ready to receive Blacks in the Priesthood because of the culture. Having said all of this, have I ever defended the comments? No. Will the church apologise? Unlikely.

    Again, you're really talking minuscule problems in a higher degree of racism that ran through your country. What I don't see in your posting is critiques of the wider social issues. You appear to single out the church as the 'racist' organisation of the day. Check the history of your Presidents comments, leaders of other faiths, etc, etc, etc. The Spirit of Reconciliation is a political arena and one that religion plays a role in I admit, but doesn't start.

    If you truly believe in equality and justice for past 'sins', start by arguing for your politicians to begin the process instead of spending your time trying to push an agenda on what is essentially a minor institution in the global scheme of things.

    I want to point out yet again my dislike for past comments made by leaders. They were in my humble opinion wrong and improper. Having said that, why should I and my collegues in the Church who are much more tolerant and much more culturally aware be made to pay for the thoughts of a few?

    Did it make it right that the church was like this when slavery was 'the norm'? Of course not. Did God not like it? Of course he didn't. Was it possible to have blacks in the priesthood back then? I don't know. That question we cannot answer because we cannot know what would have happened to the church should have they allowed it to happen in 1830.

  1. Nicko Says:

    Travis..

    with all due respect thats rubbish. Can you do me a favour and check out FAIR LDS and look for a speech given by Renee Olsen?

    I don't consider it doctrine and you can call me a TBM if you want...but what you have said there is complete garbage and doesn't relate to me or my colleagues who are all strong members of the church.

  1. Sydney Says:

    I am glad you at least feel the brethren were wrong. I would have a hard time if you thought that God actually wanted it this way. My question to you now is, how do you know if the prophets are right and wrong? Obviously, they have been wrong in the past, right? How can you tell? I thought the prophets could never lead you astray, but obviously in this case, they did.

    You are also right that the church doesn't tell you enough. They should be more than honest and willing to talk about issues, but instead they tend to talk about things like this by saying, "It's in the past." Not good enough.

    I know the church will never apologize as I have commented before your last post. They should though. The people they have hurt deserve the apology.

    This problem isn't minuscule. I am sorry you think it is. I find it a basic human rights issue myself. And with all due respect to you Nicko, you don't know anything about how I spend my free time except for what I put on this blog.

    You might consider this a "small problem" but I don't... and there are thousands of people who agree with me.

    My arguments are not silly or a waste of time. They mean something to me and others. You can agree or disagree, but telling me how I should and shouldn't be spending my time and what deserves my time is kind of out of line.

  1. Travis Says:

    Nicko,

    Your attempt to claim that the church had to keep the priesthood from the church becuase that was the norm doesn't make any sense? That logic would mean that the church shouldn't have practiced polygamy becuase it wasn't the norm either. Word of Wisdom? etc.

    Have you ever heard that when a prophet of the church talks, its as if he were God speaking to you? A prophet is Gods mouthpiece. Whenever I hear the excuse that prophets speak for themselves and not for God, I wonder why there is any point to even have prophets. I wonder why prophets are able to lead us astray. I think you can see where I am going with this.

    Also, when I refer to prophets, I'm referring to those whom the church claims are prophets, the first presidency and quorum of the 12 apostles. They are all prophets, seers and revelators. We are supposed to believe everything they say. When a prophets speaks, the thinking has been done. Need I go on?

  1. Anonymous Says:

    Racism still exists in the church. Blacks may now hold the priesthood, but the effects of the "brethren" being wrong have not gone away. Saying "we abhor racism" doesn't make the problem go away.

    Go to primary and watch the kids sing "Book of Mormon Stories." Putting two fingers up behind their heads and reducing ALL Native Americans to a stereotype is one example.

    Every single apostle and first presidency member is caucasian. Coincidence or white privilege much, anyone?

    Furthermore, the cultural argument doesn't hold. It doesn't matter what the larger cultural mindset was at the time. If you claim to be the one true church of Jesus Christ with a direct party line to revelation from the Lord, then you would never discriminate against anyone who is considered one of his children, because divine insight should extend beyond the current cultural scene.

    And I do look at this on a larger political scale, which is one of the reasons, among many, that I refuse to associate myself with a church who won't admit its wrong in relation to its racist past and whose core text - The Book of Mormon - is laced with racist notions.

  1. Sydney Says:

    Anonymous,

    I couldn't agree more. Mormons claim their prophet talks and communicates with God Himself. How can someone who speaks with and for God say such horrific things?

    The only conclusion is that the people who said these things were not inspired at all...

    If they are not inspired, why do they follow the current prophet and continue to back up the very church authorities who said these things.

    After reading some of the things Brigham Young said about women and those with dark skin, I was sickened that he has a school named after him. I don't believe he was a good man... at all.

  1. JulieW8 Says:

    Personally, I believe apologies are worth **** when they're current and worth even less when they're for something that happened years ago. The people who made those decisions are dead and gone. The people they affected are dead and gone. What, exactly, is an apology supposed to accomplish?

    Good lord - get off the apologist train, stop whining (like the picture says) and MOVE ON. Or aren't there enough CURRENT issues for you to complain about?

  1. Andee Says:

    Julie,

    I hear where you are coming from, but look at it from another point of view.

    For instance, someone who has been a member of the church their entire lives (like me) and learns of this horrible past from the leaders that were praised as kind and loving. There is nothing kind or loving about Brigham Young. Just my opinion of course.

    If you don't like hearing me complain, don't come. That is basically what this blog is. I am dealing with the things about the church I should have known about from the beginning. If you don't care to read about it, don't read.

    Andee

  1. JulieW8 Says:

    Andee -

    Are you saying I'm not welcome unless my POV is the same as yours?

    We're having a discussion. I just happen to handle my emotions differently and I gave my POV.

    I was raised LDS. Do I feel lied to? No. Everyone has their own version of truth and what they believe to be true. I tell people who worked for me that I will always tell them the truth insofar as I believe it to be the truth, based on available information. You'd have trouble convincing me that my family was involved in a conspiracy to hide the truth about the LDS church to keep me from leaving it. Being a parent is difficult and I hope my children don't hold it against me that I raised them with the best of my ability. I try to return the favor to the people who raised me. Everyone is just doing the best they know how; unfortunately, for many of them, their best falls far short of what we'd like to see.

    I found a lot of peace in Zen philosophy. All I'm saying is you can choose to allow negativity in your life but why would you? What do you hope to accomplish with it? What good does it do? Is it actually making your life better? You can spend a lot of time and energy picking apart what's wrong with something, whether it's the LDS church or something else - or you can choose to use your time and energy on things that actually make a difference and make your life and the lives of those around you better. If you can honestly say this is making you a happier person, then far be it from me to say it's not a very useful use of energy. Otherwise, I know a lot of former LDS who've benefited mightily from professional therapy.

  1. Andee Says:

    Julie,

    Of course that isn't what I am saying. You are welcome to share your opinion here... but you were basically telling me to shut up and stop "whining." I was just returning the favor.

    You don't feel lied to. *You* don't feel lied to. I do, and there are tons of others out there who agree with me. Your opinion is simply yours, and mine is mine. I am not trying to convince you of anything. I am just talking about the issues I am dealing with in my daily life.

    If you have a philosophy of zen and peace, thats fantastic. Good for you.

    I think you are trying your hardest to make it seem like I am insane, off my rocker, or stupid. It's not the case. My opinions, thoughts, feelings, and the things I believe are valid. Nothing you say will change that.

    Your attitude sounds like you are trying your hardest to sound superior to me, and you are not.

    Andee