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Switch to Forum Live View LDS Priesthood NOT a Hammer for Liberal Wedge Issue
2 years ago  ::  Apr 18, 2012 - 10:20PM #1
Acts 28:22
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2 years ago  ::  Apr 19, 2012 - 1:40AM #2
moksha8088
Posts: 4,812

Wait a minute, I thought it was all those naughty conservatives who were down on Mormonism for being unchristian.  Have they now morphed in the perennial "liberal" or is this just a strawman story, before the strawman has appeared on the scene?

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2 years ago  ::  Apr 19, 2012 - 11:50AM #3
Acts 28:22
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Apr 19, 2012 -- 1:40AM, moksha8088 wrote:


Wait a minute, I thought it was all those naughty conservatives who were down on Mormonism for being unchristian.  Have they now morphed in the perennial "liberal" or is this just a strawman story, before the strawman has appeared on the scene?



Oh come on Moksha, you're not that out of touch.


 

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2 years ago  ::  Apr 19, 2012 - 8:38PM #4
moksha8088
Posts: 4,812

I have to agree that the Priesthood ban is not a good analogous comparison with the LDS opposition to the civil marriage right for homosexuals.


What do you think of the analogy between the LDS opposition to the civil rights movement of the 1950-60s and the opposition to the civil marriage right for homosexuals? 


BTW, I was not trying to be out of touch as much as I was wishing to show the strawman side of that article.

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2 years ago  ::  Apr 20, 2012 - 9:23AM #5
Acts 28:22
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Apr 19, 2012 -- 8:38PM, moksha8088 wrote:


What do you think of the analogy between the LDS opposition to the civil rights movement of the 1950-60s and the opposition to the civil marriage right for homosexuals? 



 I remember that non-violent blacks endured loud, angry whites holding up hatefull demeaning signs.  Blacks found to be actively involved in the movement, had bricks thrown  through their windows in the middle of the night, they were threatened, in some cases lost jobs, had property vandalized.  Black churches were desecrated, burned.  Were LDS involved in this type of intimidation?


Non-violent LDS endured loud angry demonstrators holding up demeaning signs, using words like "MORmONS" and "H8ers".  Mormons, when found to have contributed to Prop 8, got theatening calls in the middle of the night, had property vandalized,  in some cases lost jobs.  LDS churches have been desecrated, burned.   Was it the gays or the Mormons using  intimidation?  


Our Church has a Family Proclaimation, that sets out in clear terms It's view on gender, sex and marriage; it can be found in our scriptures.  Is/was there any comparable proclamation addressing the civil rights movement?


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2 years ago  ::  Apr 20, 2012 - 9:41PM #6
moksha8088
Posts: 4,812

Apr 20, 2012 -- 9:23AM, Acts 28:22 wrote:


 Black churches were desecrated, burned.  Were LDS involved in this type of intimidation?




I have always taken a huge degree of comfort and appreciation that no LDS people were ever involved in the bombing of black churches.  Can't say the same for those loving to point fingers and declare we are not Christian. 


The LDS people saved their bedsheets for the wives, not for midnight cross burnings.

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2 years ago  ::  Apr 22, 2012 - 2:25PM #7
BillThinks4Himself
Posts: 3,156

There was a priesthood ban.  It lasted from Brigham Young to Spencer W. Kimball.  If you go back early enough, or read the words of sermons given off on the side, you get justifications for it, justifications that should make any reasonable person cringe.


Race of Cain?  Seriously?


I don't claim to know the exact reasons for the timing.  I don't think the opposition from the Civil Rights Movement matches up with the 1978 end of the ban.  The big moments in Civil Rights happened in the mid-50s and the mid-60s.  I don't know of anything in 1978 that lines up with the end of the priesthood ban.


Even claims that the Church was afraid of the influence of Jimmy Carter don't quite work, at least given the facts available to me.  Carter won in '76 and took office in '77.  Unless a decision was made during that period - one that required a lot of bureaucratic tinkering over the course of the next year or two - I still don't see an external trigger that definitely ended the ban.


I'd be curious about anybody's suggestion.


But I also don't see any reasoned principle on which blacks would be denied the priesthood from Brigham Young to Spencer W. Kimball.  I don't accept the Pearl of Great Price as historical.  To me, it's just a lot of sloppy nonsense that tends to hurt Joseph Smith's claims as a translator.  If you think "Egyptus" is an Egyptian word, or blacks are the race of Cain (though Joseph ordained Elijah Abel anyway), or that Africa was separated from all other continents because its people persecuted the people of Enoch - have at it.  


Enjoy life on Fantasy Island.


I'm not doing crazy.  If Brigham wanted to avoid putting the LDS Church into the middle of the Civil War - and used some mythology to get there - I'm cool with that.  If his successors had so much respect for him (or fear of another polygamy-ending schism) that they failed to end the ban until Spencer W. Kimball, that sounds about right.  If you're telling me that the LDS Church isn't immune to church politics - and that decisions are, in fact, influenced by how people will take the news - I knew it.


But if you're going to tell me that you actually believe some canard about the "race of Cain," you can have it.  I'm not going there.  I didn't make this mess.  I'm not here to clean it up and I'm certainly not interested in sucking the spilled milk off the dirty floor.  Anybody who does is an idiot, even if it's simply foolishness in pursuit of faith.  Still, double yuck.  Enjoy your digs, Moses, because you're not crossing Jordan and into the Promised Land.  You will die on the other side, a mere ghost and a memory of what Mormons used to be.


Enjoy!


To me the whole story is laughable.  The Hebrews, who weren't "white" to begin with, tell a story about the Sons of God and the Sons of Men.  Adam, beget in the image of God, has two sons, one of whom murders the other.  He, Cain, is cursed, exile and given a mark.  If the mark ever mattered, it's curious that Genesis never defines what it is.  Cain does, however, flee eastward and sets up great cities "east of Eden."  As the Garden of Eden was between the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers, that would put Eden in southern Iraq.  "East of Eden" would be the land of the Persians, a people who were genetically different from their Arab neighbors.  Some of them have blue eyes and reddish hair.  They're part of that Indo-European group who descended from southern Russia into India and Iran.


These people weren't black.  They were lighter than the people they over-ran.  Get a brain.


"Black" people come from Africa.  The ones who ended up in America came from West Africa, the heart of the Atlantic Slave Trade.  They weren't Egyptians, whose connection to the Arab tribes of the Middle-East was tighter than their connections to the Axumites of southern Egypt.  


The Israelites, who were regarded by their Babylonian captors as "westerners," were lumped together with the Egyptians, as Egypt was the massive empire that represented "the West" in opposition to these empires of "the East."  An examination of Jewish roots - from the hair and skin tone to copying of Phoenician and Canaanite temple architecture and rituals - certainly suggests a stronger connection to Egypt than the Old Testament is wont to acknowledge.  Still, in an attempt to establish their own legitimacy with the Babylonians, the Israelites imagined that their ancestor, Abraham, was originally a Chaldean (coming from Ur of the Chaldees).  To get him to Egypt, the Old Testament has to have God lead him to a Promised Land in the West, a land Abraham overshoots as he goes to Egypt to have adventures there.  The "She's My Sister" scandal is used to  explain Abraham's departure from Egypt, a departure needed to put him in the Promised Land, so God can promise it all to him and his seed.


But Abraham is a bit late in this story.  Adam and Eve beget Seth, in Adam's "image and likeness," who becomes the patriarchal leader of "the Sons of God."  Cain, in his banishment, has his own cities and progeny in the East.  These "Sons of Men" build ziggurats, like the famed Tower of Babel.  But a generation before the famed scattering, there's a problem.  The "Sons of God" are taking to them "The Daughters of Men."  Outside LDS circles, this is interpreted as some kind of sexual intercourse between men and angels, giving rise to "giants" in the land.  Within LDS circles, it's more of a problem of marrying outside the faith.  Over time, the faithful are marrying the unfaithful, corrupting the faith and culture of the faithful - to the point that God decides to wipe out the world (with a flood) and star over.


To Jews, telling and retelling this story, it's one of many stories with themes of gathering and scattering.  Imagine Americans living in a foreign land, following the fall of their culture.  They would struggle to keep their nation together, sewn together by bits and pieces of lore that form a separate identity.  The Jews who didn't simply disappeared from history.  They became Babylonians and later Persians and later the Hellenistic mixture created by Alexander's Macedonian Conquest of the East.  The Jews who came back, to re-form the Jewish nation, were those who maintained their separate identity with stories about gathering and the ever-present danger of scattering.  


The Old Testament is full of these stories.  Adam's family is divided by a murder.  Enoch starts a city.  Noah later gathers both family and animals - to save them from the flood.  Abraham's family is divided by strife between his sons (or their mothers).  Isaac's family is divided by strife between Esau and Jacob.  Jacob has to flee to a foreign land, where he gathers his family - four wives and 12 sons.  Joseph is separated from his brethren by being sold into captivity, but then gathers them together in Egypt - to save them from the big drought - where Moses gathers Israel, yet again, by separating it from Egypt.  On and on it goes, until the tribes split, after Solomon, and are then devoured, one by one, by successive empires, with the hope of being reunited later.


There's nothing here about black people.  Egyptus is a Greek word, not Egyptian.  Even if you identify her as black, that would connect her with Africa, not Cain.  If you connected her with Cain, that would identify her with the Persians, who weren't black.  It's a mass of contradictions.


This idea that God cursed Cain, so he couldn't have the priesthood, then cursed Cainan, the son of Ham, so that nobody in Africa would have the priesthood - but ignored Elijah Abel and others during the life of Joseph Smith while getting very concerned about it during the time of Brigham Young - is another mass of contradictions.


If you look at how the Church viewed slavery, it's clearly a topic that evolved.  When it was a New England church, moving westward into Ohio, the leadership took a dim view toward slavery.  It was when the Church had to consider moving South, into a hotbed of slavery, that the revelations began to come forward, justifying slavery as part of an overall "curse."  Within the Church, there was a civil war in Missouri - over who would be in charge - but between the Mormons and the Missourians, the big issue was one of a northern group settling in and possibly upsetting the balance.  These same Missourians would pour into Kansas, to throw the elections there and forge it as a slave state.  The bloody fights in Bleeding Kansas were all about protecting slavery.


If you track the development of the issue, as Mormons moved northward into Illinois, Joseph Smith's run for the presidency was on an anti-slavery ticket.  He wanted to buy the slaves and free them, giving southerners "just compensation" for their "property."  It would never happen, not just because Joseph Smith would never live to finish his run but because slavery was considered an economic necessity to the vast array of southern planters who took to cotton to make a kiling.  Cotton was the gold rush of its team, causing planters to gobble up every square foot of farmland they could get and forcing expansion westward across the South.  This is what caused the Mexican government to invite the original families to Texas, to prevent a conflict with the United States by getting Americans to settle the land - but as Mexicans.  It's also what fueled the Texas rebellion, as Mexico had outlawed slavery, a point of contention between Tejas and the other states in Mexico.  It was also what led to revolts in Texas, which were co-opted by the Bear Flag Revolt in California (where Americans were pouring in because of the Gold Rush there).


The Pearl of Great Price didn't prevent Mormons from getting slaughtered in Missouri, by people who saw the Mormons as trouble.  When Joseph Smith was killed in Illinois, Brigham Young was  in no hurry to adopt any policy that would add fuel to the fire.  As controversial as we see polygamy today, the idea of Mormons ordaining black ministers was much more so in the decade leading up to the Civil War.  There were churches, even then, that had black ministers, but most were up in New England or they were black churches, imitating what white churches were doing but to a completely all-black flock.  The idea of a church where anybody could be a minister to the entire congregation, where a black man could hold the priesthood and administer to white people, was extremely controversial in the 1850s.


Brigham Young put a stop to it.  He didn't take the priesthood from Elijah Abel but he certainly ended the practice of making such ordinations and, when it came to entering the temple, even Elijah Abel was locked out because he didn't have the right priesthood.  This had little effect on actual Mormons, since black Mormons were a tiny minority within the LDS Church, but it did allow Mormons to stay out of the brewing conflict in the coming "War Between the States."  It also helped Mormon missionaries in the South, who could deny any connection with the Abolitionist cause.  Unfortunately, by this time, the tag against Mormons wasn't so much the abolitionist smear so much as the now-familiar tag that Mormons are patriarchal, wife-stealing political operatives.


But the priesthood ban continued, via fears of schism.  It was considered, every time the Church changed leadership, but not until 1978 was there the confidence that the move could be made without splitting the Church.


Otherwise, I don't see an explanatory principal that isn't pure insanity.

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2 years ago  ::  Apr 22, 2012 - 7:49PM #8
Aka_me
Posts: 11,300

Apr 22, 2012 -- 2:25PM, BillThinks4Himself wrote:


There was a priesthood ban.  It lasted from Brigham Young to Spencer W. Kimball.  If you go back early enough, or read the words of sermons given off on the side, you get justifications for it, justifications that should make any reasonable person cringe.


Race of Cain?  Seriously?


I don't claim to know the exact reasons for the timing.  I don't think the opposition from the Civil Rights Movement matches up with the 1978 end of the ban.  The big moments in Civil Rights happened in the mid-50s and the mid-60s.  I don't know of anything in 1978 that lines up with the end of the priesthood ban.


Even claims that the Church was afraid of the influence of Jimmy Carter don't quite work, at least given the facts available to me.  Carter won in '76 and took office in '77.  Unless a decision was made during that period - one that required a lot of bureaucratic tinkering over the course of the next year or two - I still don't see an external trigger that definitely ended the ban.


I'd be curious about anybody's suggestion.



More importantly though, approximately two weeks prior to Kimball’s surprising declaration, President Jimmy Carter had phoned Kimball and informed him that the IRS was seriously considering removing the Mormon Church’s tax exempt status unless changes were made in their policy of discrimination.”


how does one verify "a phone call" which supposedly took place in 1978?


not sure exactly, but I have heard this from multiple sources, granted they could all be repeating one original source be it true or untrue.

buzz buzz... that dizzy fly is wrong to even think he can be an annoying.
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2 years ago  ::  Apr 22, 2012 - 8:24PM #9
BillThinks4Himself
Posts: 3,156

I've heard some version of this story.  I'm skeptical.  It has the virtue of providing a compelling reason for the Church to act - if it were going to act on an external threat - but I'm wondering why Carter would make such a call in 1978.  We know about similar calls - involving Presidents Eisenhower, Kennedy and Johnson - where governors were told, one way or another, that they were to stop defying federal law or face the consequences.  We know about them because they were recorded and the recordings are part of the public record.  I don't know of any similar documentation to back up the Carter story.


Then again, I've never gone to much trouble to look for it.


I would welcome any information about the external circumstances behind the 1978 revelation.  I'm not looking for a rehash of what the Church put out.  I can read.  If there is a case to be made that the Church bowed to public pressure, I'd like to know what pressure - relevant to 1978 - would have been sufficient to scare the Church into action.  


It's clear what pressure the Church was under when Joseph Smith started coming up with the Pearl of Great Price material canonizing the Southern Baptist arguments about the Race of Cain.  It's clear what pressure the Church was under when it gave up polygamy.


Had the Church made similar changes in the mid-50s, when Rosa Parks got arrested, that would have been one thing.  Had it done so in the 60s, when a whole series of protests and changes were taking place, that would have also been something.  I can imagine Johnson making such a phone call.  I've heard the voice of the late-great LBJ and it was not one you'd want to contend with.  The power of the president - as head of the Executive Branch - is nothing to take lightly.


Still, we have recordings of those calls.  We have the documentation to show it.  Carter did have issues with the LDS Church - because of the priesthood ban - proof of which can be found in how he used Mo Udall's LDS status to discredit him, even though Udall had gone into inactivity because he, himself, disagreed with the priesthood ban.  But that was about getting the Democratic nomination. In a nomination fight, just as in war, there are no rules except that winning is better than losing.


But if the LDS Church was scared of Carter (Imagine anybody being scared of Jimmy Carter), it certainly didn't show it in 1976, when Carter was elected, nor in 1977, when Carter took office.  By 1978, the Carter Administration was already beginning to unravel.  Carter remains the ultimate example of the presidency coming undone in the face of overwhelming problems and amazingly bad luck.  I find it hard to believe that the LDS Church would have caved on a Carter bluff.


But finding new facts is always fun.  So, somebody, if there's a smoking gun, let's see it.

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2 years ago  ::  Apr 22, 2012 - 9:57PM #10
Aka_me
Posts: 11,300

there won't be any hard evidence turn up to support Carter having any direct involvement because it was so long ago, they sent telegrams in those days for cryin out loud.


there is however hard evidence in the Bob Jones University case...


The IRS again notified the University on April 16, 1975 of the proposed revocation. Officially, the IRS revoked the University's tax exempt status on January 19, 1976.


what are the odd's that church leaders were following this case, then asked themselves whether IRS cross hairs could be put on BYU and/or the LDS church as a whole?


I'd say more likely than not.

buzz buzz... that dizzy fly is wrong to even think he can be an annoying.
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