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The Negro is barred from the priesthood purely on racial grounds. The Mormons consider that male membership in the priesthood is a requisite for higher place in the Celestial Paradise. Priesthood membership is a requisite for an office in management of the church's temporal affairs. As we will understand in the unraveling of the theology, the Mormon discrimination against the Negro is the ultimate that can be had on racial grounds . A gray-haired Negro Mormon who may have spent his adult life in the careful practice of all the complicated and demanding rules set down by the LDS church stands disenfranchised before the altar where a youth whose beard is just beginning to fuzz may preside. Nor can they have their children and their wives "sealed" to them for eternity . This means that the LDS church actually is one of the most influential organs of racial bigotry in the United States. The mortal existence offers lesser opportunity for the improvement of their souls than for other races. The Negro Mormon can hold no office whatsoever in a church which offers some office to every one of its male members at some time in his life. So he never really leaves the feeling that black skin makes a man inferior.
Also, during the generation after Brigham Young, three other important internal developments occurred that seemed to point to a divinely condoned racial restriction. As we untangle the theology, we must always remember that every devout male Mormon—except the Negro—is expected to become a member of the Aaronic priesthood as a boy of twelve years and a member of the Melchizedek priesthood at eighteen or twenty years . A twelve-year-old may become a member of the Aaronic priesthood, more than this Negro man has been able to achieve through a lifetime of devotion. All the imposing list of wonderful and truly praiseworthy things about this tremendous and impressive institution helps to conceal this ugly corner of its theology.
of historical theories glorifying the Anglo-Saxon heritage above others and claiming literal Israelite origins for the peoples of Great Britain and northwestern Europe. Mc Conkie, Bookcraft, 1958 edition, pp.476-477; in second edition, 1966, p. In 1949 the LDS Church First Presidency issued an official statement on priesthood denial to blacks: The attitude of the church with reference to the Negroes remains as it has always stood. Smith stated: I had a young lady who was blonde, a[n]d no sign or indications visibly of the Negro line at all, but yet she was deprived of going to the Temple . If they have any blood of the Negro at all in their line, in their veins at all, they are not entitled to the blessings of the Priesthood . ," speech at LDS Institute of Religion, Salt Lake City, Jan. The church has successfully become everyman's church—except it cannot be the African Negro's church.
Enoch saw the people of Canaan, descendants of Cain, and he says, "and there was a blackness came upon all the children of Canaan, that they were despised among all people." . Such spirits are sent to earth through the lineage of Cain, the mark put upon him for his rebellion against God and his murder of Abel being a black skin (, by Bruce R. We have these conditions by the thousands in the United States today and are getting more of them. No limit as to how far back so far as I know ("What is a Patriarchal Blessing? In 1966 Wallace Turner, a reporter for the , wrote the following: The most serious problem facing the LDS church today is the Negro question.
Yet throughout the religious institution which produced the Tabernacle Choir and David O.
Mc Kay there exists a current of powerful strength that for generations has carried racial bigotry wherever the missionaries carried the Restored Gospel of Joseph Smith. However, the Bible offers salvation and baptism to all mankind, regardless of race.
Summary of LDS Teaching on Blacks Prior to 1978 the LDS teaching concerning blacks could be summarized as follows: In the "pre-existence" certain spirits "lent an influence to the devil" and displayed a "lack of integrity to righteousness." Because of their "unfaithfulness in the spirit world," they were "cursed under the cursing of Cain" and cannot "hold the Priesthood of God." Cain became "the father of an inferior race." The unfaithful spirit children were assigned to be born through "the accursed lineage of Canaan" and "through the loins of Ham." Those cursed are "marked" with a "flat nose" and a "black covering" which is "emblematical of eternal darkness." They are a "vile" and "inferior" race and "their intelligence stunted." In fact, they are a "representation" of the "devil" upon the earth. An innocent question popped out: "Why have you no mission anywhere in Africa except in South Africa? Since there were already thousands of Nigerians interested in joining the LDS Church, the ban on missionaries created a leadership vacuum. Because the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has a lay priesthood to which almost every adult male member belongs, the effect has been to limit Negroes to second-class membership. Brown, one of the two counselors serving President David O. We would like it to be known that there is in this Church no doctrine, belief, or practice that is intended to deny the enjoyment of full civil rights by any person regardless of race, color, or creed." Church observers generally agree that this statement was made because the NAACP had threatened to picket Temple Square. With to play in the first half, nine Negroes, some of them wearing black wristbands, walked out on the basketball floor while the game was in progress.
They are "not equal with other races where the receipt of certain spiritual blessings are concerned," and they are "not entitled to the full blessings of the gospel." They are "denied the priesthood," and they cannot be married in the temple. An article in discussed the issue: Pending a new revelation, possible at any time, Mormons are committed to a certain degree of built-in segregation: Negroes cannot be admitted to the church's priesthood. Mc Kay in the First Presidency of the Mormon Church. "The pending 'civil rights' legislation is, I am convinced, about 10 per cent civil rights and 90 per cent , December 14, 1963). it is claimed that the failure of the 35th session of the Utah Legislature to pass any Civil Rights legislation was due to hidden and behind the scenes opposition from the Mormon Church. The statement, a concession that prevented such action, continued by affirming equal opportunities in housing, education, and employment while still maintaining the right of the church to deny priesthood. lost to Arizona, 90-77, in a game marred by racial protest . As the Negroes filed onto the court, play stopped and BYU Coach Stan Watts pulled his team from the floor. Other student demonstrators broke a window and screamed, "Stop the Game" but that was the extent of the protest (, January 9, 1970).We have the ignorant, the sleepy and the deceived who provide temptations and avenues of apostacy for the unwary and the unfaithful, but we have a prophet at our head and he has spoken. Do Homework Brethren, if we had done our homework and were faithful we could step forward at this time and help save this country (, this portion was edited to leave out the part about the Communists. was born in 1929 and was ordained a Baptist minister in 1948. Rosa Parks, a 42 year old seamstress, refused to give up her seat to a white passenger on a Montgomery bus and was arrested. After many years of debate, on November 2, 1983, the U. government finally passed into law the Martin Luther King Jr. King's death for as much yardage as possible." Benson's hand-out continued that "Martin Luther King had been affiliated with at least the following officially recognized Communist fronts," and listed three organizations. Day, said Ross Peterson, director of the Mountain West Center for Regional Studies. Various states reacted to the national declaration of Martin Luther King Jr. Two early black activists that have had temple baptism and endowment ordinances performed for them are David Walker and Frederick Douglass. His endowments have been done for him about a dozen times and he has been sealed/married to two different women (see Appendix D). students from every state in the nation and 56 foreign countries have selected BYU as the university of their choice. In 1969 he wrote of the denial of priesthood to those of black African ancestry: Personally I doubt if we can maintain or sustain ourselves in the position which we seem to have adopted but which has no justification as far as the scriptures are concerned so far as I know. In November 1969 Brown privately lobbied Stanford University to delay their decision to boycott BYU. Quinn goes on to relate how Apostle Brown "was able to get a proposal allowing full priesthood for Blacks approved by the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles." One of the apostles who signed this proposal was Spencer W. The group, which carried signs reading, "Stop Mormon Racism," was sponsored by the Black Students Union and the Students for New Action Politics ( February, 16, 1970). Tom Hudspeth, head football coach at BYU, was more forthcoming about the matter. The next week students protested at a BYU/University of Washington game: SEATTLE (UPI) — Student protesters ran riot over the University of Washington campus for more than an hour Friday but the crowd that had swelled to 2,500 broke up when word went out that police were on their way. Wilkinson of BYU said the University of Washington had apparently broken its promise to take no action without conferring with BYU. "If there is good reason to end the contract in 1972 there is good reason to end it now," a Black student Union spokesman said. Wilkinson, BYU president, said he was "surprised and shocked" at the step taken by the leaders of the University of Washington. John Hogness, executive vice president of the latter school, said the step was taken to protect the lives and safety of persons on the university campus. Because of pressure from the WAC presidents' council, as well as from demonstrators nearly everywhere BYU competed, school administrators revised their policy on black recruitment and began actively seeking key black athletes. A subsequent story in the newspaper reported that the "lawmen . At any rate, Wallace claimed the LDS Church was behind the whole affair: Ex-Mormon Douglas Wallace Friday renewed his assertion that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was behind April police surveillance of Mr. Marchant was placed under arrest at approximately p.m. Marchant published a sheet in which he called for a demonstration against the church's policy: Next October Conference (1978) I will join all interested in a march on Temple Square in Salt Lake City.It was changed to read: What are you doing to fight it? holiday, to be celebrated on the third Monday of January each year. King was a communist and stated that the civil rights movement was part of a communist conspiracy. Benson was simply repeating the Birch view of King. "For [the Utah Legislature] not to recognize this day just seems ignorant of other races and cultures," said Doug Beazer, secretary of the Black Student Union at Utah State University. ." Many state and public offices will be observing Human Rights Day, however, the Legislature begins sessions on this day each year and public school classes are usually also in attendance. When using the phrase "human rights," it seems like Utah is trying to incorporate more people into the holiday, but failing to recognize that Martin Luther King Jr. Day in a variety of ways and Utah was one that decided to observe Human Rights Day instead, Peterson said. David Walker was born in 1785 and died in 1830 "under mysterious circumstances." He had urged slaves to "resort to violence when necessary to win their freedom" (see Frederick Douglass, born in 1817 and died in 1895, was "a leader in the abolitionist movement and the first black citizen to hold high rank (as U. Since blacks could always be baptized in the LDS Church the question arose in South Africa in the early 1900s as to whether or not blacks could do baptisms in the temple for their dead relatives. We have been unable to determine to what extent, if any, blacks were allowed to go to the temple to do baptism for the dead in the early part of the Twentieth Century. publicly announced to the nation that Stanford would no longer schedule competition with BYU . "Their color ranges from black to brown to yellow to white. True, there are not many black students on our campus. I think we are going to have to change our decision on that. The night before Stanford's announcement, Brown told the university's vice-president that he expected the church to drop this restriction (The Mormon Hierarchy: Extensions of Power, D. Kimball (who would officially change the ban in 1978). Lee, who was absent from the 1969 meeting, quickly pressured "the Quorum of Twelve to rescind its vote. we believe the Negro, as well as those of other races, should have his full constitutional privileges as a member of society, and we hope that members of the Church everywhere will do their part as citizens to see that these rights are held inviolate. From the beginning of this dispensation, Joseph Smith and all succeeding Presidents of the Church have taught that Negroes, while spirit children of a common Father, and the progeny of our earthly parents Adam and Eve, were not yet to receive the priesthood, for reasons which we believe are known to God, but which he has not made fully known to man. Mc Kay, has said, "The seeming discrimination by the Church toward the Negro is not something which originated with man; but goes back into the beginning with God. Blacks at BYU In trying to justify the lack of black athletes at BYU, President Ernest L. He acknowledged that in the past blacks were discouraged from coming to BYU. The students were protesting the refusal of the university to sever relations with Brigham Young University immediately. The next day the printed another article about the matter: The Black Students Union pressed the administration of the University of Washington for more concessions today, demanding that athletic ties with Brigham Young University be severed immediately . Some 3,000 students, led by the BSU, paraded peacefully on the school's campus in Seattle Monday over the issue of alleged racism at BYU. The demonstrations "pose an extremely hazardous and explosive situation," Dr. The BYU Alumnus provided details of the school's trouble in an article entitled, "Militants, Reds, Attack Y, Church." The article promised alumni that BYU would continue to "hold the line on principles despite the propaganda." President Wilkinson saw in the demonstrations a sign of an imminent apocalypse . The school's first black football player, Bennie Smith, enrolled in 1972, followed two years later by the school's first black basketball player, Gary Batiste. Wallace that led to the accidental shooting of a Salt Lake City police officer ( I would also like to thank Spencer W. In the event the Mormon Church decides to ordain worthy Afro-Americans to the priesthood this demonstration will be a sort of celebration. In the meantime, every person and/or group concerned about Utah Racism is encouraged to speak out and attend the October protest. Marchant's threat of a demonstration at the next conference must have caused some concern among General Authorities of the LDS Church.Twentieth Century Attitudes While Elijah Abel, along with at least one other black, had been ordained to the priesthood during Joseph Smith's life, Brigham Young took a different stand. by 1908, as president of the church, [Joseph F.] Smith was now claiming that Abel's ordination (and presumably that of any other black) had been "declared null and void by the Prophet himself" . The first development was the formal canonization of the , . To hold any church office, a Mormon must be a member of the priesthood. When one hears the Tabernacle Choir, one forgets that no Negro could ever hope to achieve a place in that group.He instituted a very strict rule that no blacks were to be ordained or given temple ordinances. There is an even deeper disability for Negro Mormons. When one listens to the gentle voice and kindly expressions of David O.Although Wallace Turner's observations were made more than a decade before the church granted the priesthood to blacks, such public criticism undoubtedly had a significant impact on church leaders. In the book of Acts, Philip was commanded to preach the gospel to an Ethiopian (a black) who was then baptized (Acts -39).