Racist principles were taught to older Mormons such as Professor Randy Bott

There’s one big reason the usually popular BYU Professor Randy Bott stepped in it big time trying to explain the LDS Church’s longtime denial of priesthood and temple blessings to members of African descent by calling it a “blessing.” (Read, read, and read) Bott and others of that era in the LDS Church were taught these types of condescending “compassionate” racist principles when learning about the LDS Churches ban on blacks decades ago.

Bott was born in 1945 and grew up in Northern Utah. In 1958, the Mutual Improvement Association listed “Choose Ye This Day,” a young adult novel, published by Bookcraft in Salt Lake City, written by Emma Marr Petersen, the wife of LDS Apostle Mark E. Petersen. Ms. Petersen was a popular LDS youth writer. I recall reading some of her books as late as the 1970s.

I have no idea if Bott read “Choose Ye This Day,” but this novel, valued enough by church hierarchy to be recommended to LDS teens, is by any fair definition, riddled with the racism prevalent in that era. Ironically, a few days ago, I read an article in The Journal of Mormon History, “The War in Heaven and Mormon Thought,” by Boyd J. Petersen, that references racist elements in “Choose Ye This Day.” In the novel, two LDS students are debating whether their school football team should accept a black athlete. One student, “Kent,” says that “Even the Church holds out against the Negros(sic).” As Boyd J. Petersen summarizes, another student, “Steve,” wants to play with “Milo,” the black student. The teens consult”Hank Weston,” a hamburger stand owner with a reputation for honesty. From Petersens’ JMH article: “Hank opines that his ‘attitude on this subject is pretty well guided by my religious views … so I hope you won’t mind if I mix a little religion with what I say.’ Hank then teaches the students that blacks are cursed in mortality because they were not as valiant in war in heaven. He confesses, though, that he has ‘heard some of our {Church} leaders teach that even the Negro can go to the celestial kingdom if he is faithful. However, he can only be a servant there.’ He justifies this idea by adding: “That is more than many white people will receive, for many of them will be placed in the lower degrees of glory in the next world, because they did not live righteously. So in some respects, Negroes, if they are faithful, may receive a higher glory in the world to come than those of other races who defile their birthright.” Hank concludes: “Each race may develop within itself. So far as the Negroes are concerned, we will give them every right and privilege within their race that we claim for ourselves within our own race, but we will not become intimate with them in any way, and we will not intermarry with them. … I believe that is a fair position to take, and I believe it squares with the word of God.” Hank’s position is finally summed up by one of the students: ‘So you would be in favor of allowing a Negro to play on our football team, as long as we did not take him so far into our social life that some white girl might become infatuated with him.’ ‘That is just what I believe,’ responds Hank.’”

That’s pretty noxious stuff, and “Hank” is a terrible, racist role model for the two youths. Nevertheless, this book is one that LDS Church leaders were recommending Mormon teens read 50-plus years ago. (To be fair, the list includes a lot of good books, such as “Profiles in Courage,” by John F. Kennedy.)

In the same JMH article, Petersen refers next to a statement made by the LDS Apostle Bruce R. McConkie, who said in 1979, after blacks were granted priesthood blessings, ”Forget everything that I have said, or what President Brigham Young or President George Q. Cannon or whoever has said in days past that is contrary to the present revelation. We spoke with a limited understanding without the light and knowledge that now has come into the world.”

McConkie was right to say “forget everything” said on that topic, and I assume we can cast “Choose Ye This Day” into a trash can filled with other bigotries. But institutionalized racism is hard to unlearn, as the Bott episode shows. It would be great if today’s LDS Church leaders would offer a public apology for its past racial policies to go along with its recent terse statement of disapproval of what Bott said.

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44 Responses to Racist principles were taught to older Mormons such as Professor Randy Bott

  1. Preston says:

    I served a month of my mission in the Sugarhouse area of SLC. Once I was on splits with a white-haired high priest and was flabbergasted — I won’t tell the story — by his hateful racism. That was the first clue I had that there really was a time when racism against blacks was a mainstream attitude among Latter-day Saints.

    I’m blessed and proud to be descended from great-great-great grandparents who grew up in Aladamnbama and who, on their wedding day, were given two slaves as gifts by their parents. That same day they freed the slave, pissing their parents off to no end, and as soon as they could swing it, they got the hell outta dodge.

    Racism was never universal in the church, but to those who wanted to cherish that feeling, there was ample excuse for it. I didn’t know anything about the priesthood policy until the day it was changed; it was all over the news, and I had to ask, what the heck?

    Later that year (I was nine, almost ten) one of my grandmothers puzzled me by saying in near despair, “Preston, promise me you’ll never marry a black woman.”

    I didnj’t understand what the heck gramma was going on about; I’d just seen my first black person the year before on a trip to Disneyland, and the notion of marrying anyone was far from my mind.

    I grew up with a third of students who were Navajos. Because American Indians were practically LDS royalty in the culture I was raised in, the notion that color was a mark of shame never entered my mind. Perhaps because I was never around blacks, all the clues that racism was real skipped over my head; looking back, I can see the racial jokes that everyone shared that today aren’t funny, but at the time seemed as natural as the schoolyard hazing and teasing we turned upon each other at any sign of vulnerability.

    It’s easy for us to be self-righteous about how people felt in those days. The fact is, we’re not better people than they were, just lucky that we grew up in a different age.

  2. Kelly says:

    I find it insulting to insinuate that members of the Mormon Church should live insulated from the larger culture in which they are a part of. Somehow it is ok to expect Mormons to drown out the continuous drone of the culture in which they live as if somehow all other in society have succeeded in not being tainted therewith. Further, to look back upon a time when blacks were black and whites were white and derisively characterize an entire organization for the attitudes of its members toward either of these groups is preposterous. I am not sure what privilege of intellectual license gives this author the right to call any one person or origination racist when in 1970 the entire country was shamefully bigoted by any of today’s, often skewed and Godless, standard. I watch old movies, and blush at the light certain individuals are portrayed in. Watch any of the Shirley Temple movies or M.A.S.H. series and you will see clearly what I mean. At times in the past Americans were racist in ugly ways. But, as is true today (mostly for fear of being branded as insensitive or politically incorrect), most Americans held, and do hold, their prejudice in the quiet chambers of the heart and only expose the prejudice hidden there when challenged or under duress. I find it ironic that today we can publicly, shamelessly and irreverently, use words and openly talk about things such as vagina, penis or intercourse for example, yet are censored for expressing a view on a particular theological belief. In our day censor by the use of monikers such as racist have become devoid of meaning and are really no more than scurrilous slander used to incite passions of derision and division toward persons and organizations that do not appear to “go with the flow” of Godless modernity. Finally, Choose Ye this Day was a fictional work. It had merit in its day; whereas Bruce McConkie spoke as an emissary of the Lord Jesus. What has been spoken will bear out its usefulness and weight in time – God’s time not ours.

    • Ben Pales says:

      Vagina Vagina Vagina. Penis Penis Penis. Those are the anatomicly correct terms, and no I am not ashamed to say them or discuss them, and neither is my 14 year old daughter. Good Grief!!!!

    • Poqui says:

      I do agree that is unfair to expect the LDS members to be insulated from the culture of the time. I don’t think LDS thoughts and feelings were much different than most Christian churches in that era. I don’t recall seeing “Colored Drinking Fountain” signs in any LDS meetinghouse when I was younger.

  3. Wake up! says:

    Unreal! I can’t believe you didn’t consider the source … with this post, you have become just like a liberal reporter, except I don’t think you were intentionally lying as he was.

    What you have done here is not something to be proud of. Below is from Professor Bott’s son.
    _______________________________
    As many of you know, my dad (Randy) has been in the news… The explanation is simple… yes, he did grant an interview to Washington Post to discuss “Mitt Romney”. The reporter told him that he had cleared the interview with BYU and the Dean of Religion – which he found out this morning was a lie. The reporter misquoted and misrepresented the majority of the interview. My dad has been asked by BYU and the church to remain silent, but I feel his side should be told.

    Some have noticed that we have deactivated the Know Your Religion Blog… This was not done as an admittance of guilt, but was done at the request of BYU until things settle down.

    Any of you who personally know my father, know that he is definitely NOT a racist, as the media would have you believe. It amazes me that no one at BYU or the church seem to care to give him the benefit of the doubt, investigate what was really said; instead it seems easier to just believe a liberal Washington Post Reporter, go on “hear-say”, and throw my dad under the bus.

    Here’s hoping that people will take the time, and reflect on their experiences with my dad and judge him according to his works, rather than lies that a reporter makes up to stir the pot during an election season.

    Just thought you should know the truth behind the story… – Ryan Bott

    • Bob Becker says:

      I’d merely note that you’ve provided nothing but allegations that he was misquoted and lied about in the story. You’ve not even identified the parts of the story you think were misquotations or outright fabrications. And I’d note that people who give interviews and who come to regret having done so often claim to have been misquoted or quoted out of context. Absent something to support your claims, your rebuttal is not especially convincing. There may be something too it, but it’ll take more than a close relative’s unsupported claims that the story was inaccurate or dishonest to establish for many readers, certainly this one, that that’s so.

      • Neal Cassidy says:

        “Patriotism is the last refuge of the scoundrel.” Samuel Johnson. That must be updated to the statement “I was misquoted.” as the last defense of the racist.

      • Kenneth Anderson says:

        The media have great power and have been known to abuse it, spin it like a record player! There is a reason why “Media Training” exists. Let me give everyone a hint, it is not because the media always gets it right. Media Training is to make your statements fool proof and minimize spin. You can guess who the fool is in fool proof. If you can’t guess who the fool is, chances are you!

        How often is something done that is inflammatory and completely idiotic? Everyday! If there wasn’t anything interesting in the news, some people would be out of a job.

    • Vin says:

      It would be easier to believe that Bott was misquoted if his personal blog didn’t contain the same racist ideas.

      His claim that he’s being victimized by an evil reporter do nothing to make me feel like he feels even the slightest bit penitent.

      • Erick says:

        I have hard time swallowing the idea that Bott is somehow independantly the aggressor in this situation. I think Doug nailed it quite well. Yes, Bott’s comments were “racist”, but the context of that racism is a long history of Mormon discourse and practice. He is a product of his upbringing in Mormonism, and seems not to have evolved at the same pace or direction as the Church generally.

        • Vin says:

          I agree totally. I think he’s the fall guy in this case. However, he is a professor of religion at a university concerned about it’s national reputation, and not only is he 45 years behind on his scholarship, he spoke to the national press in a matter-of-fact way about it. That’s where he will likely be censured\disciplined.

          The racist ideas? Oh yeah, absolutely common, especially among older generations.

    • Dejeni says:

      Let’s just say that I don’t find this hard to believe at all. My husband and I each had occasion to be interviewed by the press. We both received training at a military executive course about handling PR. Nonetheless, he ended up on the front page of a national newspaper with a single sentence taken out of context — the article definitely skewed anti-war. It was not his only such experience. I was interviewed twice by different news organizations. While I felt the journalists were trying to just do the write-up of the local story, I still didn’t like the fact that they could (and did) paraphrase my words. I realized I had no ability to have input on the use of my words/ thoughts in the resulting article.

      It is my observation after associating for over 30 years with people from diverse backgrounds as we’ve moved around the country — that Sunday is still the most segregated day in America. Is that b/c of religious community policies dating back to past eras? Is it due to personal choice or cultural traiditions? It is a complex and not simplistic issue.

  4. tom says:

    Doug

    You are one of the most courageous Mormons I know, and a fabulous writer to boot.

    This piece brought back lots of memories of Ogden in the 50′s and the blatant racism I grew up with in and out of the Church. There were many times in those years where I learned lessons in Seminary and in the halls of jr High and High School about the lowly status of the negro and how they were cursed with the mark of Cain. I was also taught that the “good ones” would be servants in the Celestial Kingdom. My saintly grandmother, the kindest, sweetest and most loyal Mormon woman in 50′s Ogden, would give me stern warnings about the evils of the blacks and how they were not safe to be around and if any of them even came near me to run away as fast as I could. As very little kids we used to always be warned to not put change in our mouths because some “nigger” might have had it in his ear! Even some of the riddles we were taught by our parents were racist – ie: “eany meany miny mo, catch a nigger by the toe, if he hollers make him pay, fifty dollars every day”

    Ogden of course was strictly segregated in those years and the blacks were restricted to below Washington and business wise to the South side of lower 25th Street. I am glad to have lived long enough to learn better, and proud that I outgrew this learned racism. Some haven’t you know, and I agree with the above commenter who says it is still with us, just much more submerged because of political correctness.

    • Bob Becker says:

      In re: ie: “eany meany miny mo, catch a nigger by the toe, if he hollers make him pay, fifty dollars every day.” That one, or a variation on it, was pretty much nationwide, I think, and can’t be laid specifically at the feet of Utah Mormons. Growing up in Brooklyn, NY in the late forties where to the best of my knowledge I not only never met, but never heard of a Mormon], a common choosing rhyme was “eeny, meeny, miney, mo, catch a nigger by the toe; if he hollers, let him go. My mother said to pick this one — one, two, three, out you go.” By the time we moved to Long Island, mid fifties, it’d been cleaned up to “eeny, meeny, miney, mo, catch a tiger by the toe, if he hollers let him go etc. etc. etc.” Forgetting and using the older version, or using the n-word in any context, got me a rap on the head from the parental unit. Point made.

      • tom says:

        Mr. Becker:

        If my mid 50′s Ogden parents had been as enlightened as your mid 50′s Brooklyn parents I would have come to my semi liberal and racially accepting state 20 years sooner than I did. I’m just thankful that I did get there. As the old saying goes: “better late than never”. Unfortunately there are a few relatives and people I grew up with that will never get there. For the most part they are still good and honest people however, and most of them have learned not to tell racist jokes around me!

  5. SixMom says:

    Lighten up and let them make progress.

  6. Mikeasell says:

    Great article. I am surprised that this conversation across the media has become about whether the Mormon church teaches racism. Of course they don’t…anymore. However, the 900 lbs gorilla is not being discussed.

    Churches change stands all the time, and it is disingenuous to attack the Mormon church for making changes, while others churches get applauded for the same thing.

    However, there is a difference between the LDS faith and other churches: cue the gorilla: If a “prophet” and the leaders he has called, speak on behalf of God on a topic, and teach it not just as a practice, but as actual revelation from God, and then later on those words are dismissed as errors or personal opinions, then how can they they believe that the current prophet is not just speaking his personal opinion?

    The church’s own statement suggests that the church is led by men, not God.

    To say that these issues are not important because they happened in the past is a short sighted way to dismiss the fact that the LDS church changes profound (and allegedly eternal) doctrine at a moments notice, not to mention whenever social pressure is applied. Then why “restore” the original church? Why do they pretend that necessary and eternal doctrine can conveniently be downgraded to a mere “practice” that can be discontinued? I am amazed when I read the 180 degree turns they have made in regards to homosexuality, polygamy, the nature of God and in this case, race. I am even more impressed by the mental gymnastics that these good people are asked to do in order to continue to believe that they are led by prophets.

    • Jack says:

      I like what Bruce R. McConkie had to say after the 1978 revelation:

      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.

      It doesn’t make a particle of difference what anybody ever said about the Negro matter before the first day of June of this year, 1978. It is a new day and a new arrangement, and the Lord has now given the revelation that sheds light out into the world on this subject. As to any slivers of light or any particles of darkness of the past, we forget about them. We now do what meridian Israel did when the Lord said the gospel should go to the Gentiles. We forget all the statements that limited the gospel to the house of Israel, and we start going to the Gentiles.

      • Erick says:

        “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.”

        I am sure that if the 1978 revelation had truly been a “…flood of intelligence and light on this particular subject”, then Mr. Bott would have been able to avoid the mess he’s in now. Instead we really just got a policy change with no explanation at all. Not even thirty years later.

        • Neal Cassidy says:

          The LDS church was receiving increasingly bad publicity on the negro policy in the 1970s. There were boycotts and demonstrations when BYU teams played at various universities. There was also the threat og lawsuits being filed by the gederal government against BYU and the possibility that the LDS church would lose its tax empent status. The LDS church is always looking to expand and recruit new members and the people of Africa were targeted for conversion. Their are scores of LDS people under the age of 40 who have never had to explain the LDS priesthood policy to nonmembers.

  7. laytonian says:

    Another interesting book (still available through amazon.com) is “Mormonism and the Negro”, 1960, Bookcraft — the same LDS imprint that published “Choose Ye This Day”.

    That book is chock-full of scriptural references that confirm how “the negroid” are seen by God.

    Truly sad.

  8. laytonian says:

    Also: Thank you, Doug Gibson.

    Even we “gentiles” who grew up in Utah in the 1950s, knew the doctrine as explained to us by members.

    The current statements by the LDS Church are, in my estimation, a careful masking of the truth — and not at all flattering to their case.

    • Poqui says:

      I’m sorry, I fail to see the masking of the truth. None of the current LDS leaders have taught any of this racial doctrine. The statement made by the LDS Church condemns this teaching from previous leaders. That seems to me the opposite of masking. It’s an admission that the LDS Church has turned a deaf ear in the past to this teaching due to it’s cultural acceptance (all over the US by people of all religions) at the time. I am very proud of the LDS Church for making this declaration.

  9. Montana says:

    This has been going on too long, it’s a good start but our law enforcement has a long way to go.

    When someone hides behind religion to do or say something that is wrong we should stand up and point it out (right the wrong).

    When I was a kid I lived in Utah, and the Boy Scouts was taken over by Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (FLDS Church). This, so called religion, practices underage polygamy, they send the boy s off on missions to divide the underage sisters among the dirty old men of the clan. Now when these underage girls get pregnant, these same dirty old men, send them to the state to get their welfare checks. You should see some of the palace homes that are paid with welfare checks. By the way this is the newest religion that was created right here in United States of America.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9iisl-xH3Xs

    • Poqui says:

      Wow, what a convoluted expression of mixed truths!

      1) The Boy Scouts of America has never been “taken over” by the FLDS (aka polygamists) in Utah. The BSA is an independent non-profit national organization that operates within many religious groups and organizations.

      2) The FLDS does not send their boys on missions. They are a pretty tight-knit society who is not looking to expand through proselytizing. And when they have practiced under-age marriages the law has stepped in and arrested the guilty parties: see Warren Jeffs and others who are now in prison.

      Please don’t disparage Utah with your lies.

  10. Pingback: The Bott Gaffe: A Chronology | Times & Seasons

  11. Poqui says:

    Yes, it is sad. But remember that this is a book published by individuals who feel the need to hold on to racist teachings, not by the LDS Church. Utah and Mormonism came late to the Civil Rights party since the black population was minimal to none until the last decade. I am member of a minority group who has lived first hand some of the racist statements. I am secure enough to shrug them off as ignorant hillbilly comments and move on. I am glad to see progress in my 46 years of life.

  12. Mikeasell says:

    I guess by the same token, people cannot take this latest statement by the LDS church as an official position since it has not been added to the cannon as official doctrine, an therefore it is personal opinion. We can also ignore everything said outside of official doctrine as it is all folk tales.

    So that leave us with only the ever changing scriptures as the sure foundation of LDS doctrine. This also clarifies that the prophet speaks doctrine directly from God, except when he gets it wrong, in that case he is but a humble flawed servant doing the best he can. So we can know he is a prophet because the things he guesses right on are from God, and all his other guesses can be written off as personal opinion.

  13. rthoms says:

    When I was a kid growing up in Utah, racism existed, but it wasn’t something that was a big deal because there wasn’t many black people here. I remember when I met the first black person, in person, in my life. I was in fourth grade and the first black family moved into our city. The kids went to our school. We weren’t told we couldn’t play with them, but we were admonished not to get too close. They were almost like a novelty to us. I remember kids asking if they could touch their skin. They only lived there for a year and then moved to Layton where they felt more comfortable, at least that was the rumor.
    I remember that blacks weren’t allowed to swim at the pool at Lagoon. My older brother went on his mission to L.A. and was told not to approach them, but if they approached him he could talk with them. In sunday school we were taught that all righteous people could attain the Celestial Kingdom. Even those with darker skin. Their skin would be changed to white if they made it. Maybe not official doctrine but we were taught that.
    My sister married a black man and it just about killed my mother. She was so relieved when my sister got divorced. My mother once made the statement, “Now that she is divorced I can say this. But I used to get so scared when we went to his parents house in Ogden. Not that I am racist or anything, but black people are scary.”
    My point is racism was alive in northern Utah, but there just wasn’t signs saying it outright. It was more of a hushed thing. And it still is with some people.

  14. Jack says:

    Someone is saying on another blog that this is a pdf of professor Bott’s own blog on the subject. Interesting read if it is indeed his blog.

    http://bycommonconsent.files.wordpress.com/2012/02/know-your-religion_-blacks-and-the-priesthood.pdf

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  16. Myth Buster says:

    There is only 1 Race of humans on earth. The word you are looking for is Generation, the re-generation of a person through the Holy Ghost forms the New Covenant Christian Church a Called Out” Assembly called Ekklesia in Greek or Holy in Hebrew.
    Mormons were taught incorrectly they were Israelites, specifically of Ephraim, Manasseh and Dan to set them apart from the Gentile “Race”
    All lies. If you want to be in the Born Again “Generation” ask Jesus Christ

  17. Wesmanlv says:

    Kelly – i could agree with you except for one ting. the Mormon church makes a claim that it is the one and only true church of God on the entire earth. It claims it has prophets who commune directly with God. It claims that is is ‘of the world’ and not ‘in the world’. Therefore the one and only true church of God with it’s prophet who speaks with God should have been setting the example of morality for all the world to see. To justify the racist behaviors of church members simply flies in the face of everything the Mormon church claims to be.

  18. Wesmanlv says:

    CORRECTED EDIT (my apologies) Kelly – I could agree with you except for one thing. The Mormon church claims that it is the one and only true church of God on the entire earth. It claims it has prophets who commune directly with God. It claims that is is ‘in the world’ and not ‘of the world’. Therefore the one and only true church of God with it’s prophet who speaks with God and is ‘in’ not ‘of’ the world should have been setting the example of morality for all the world to see. It should have opposed not allowed slavery. It should have never taught in any forms anything that appears to be even a little racist. To justify the racist behaviors of church members simply flies in the face of everything the Mormon church claims to be.

  19. Robbee24 says:

    There is significant ignorance on this subject. Mormons were as discriminated against for simply being Mormon as Blacks were for the color of their skin. The state of Missouri issued an extermination order making it legal to murder LDS people in that state. Contrary to popular belief the primary reason that Missourians were against Mormons was not because of weird religious beliefs but because Mormons voted in a bloc. Mormons were moving into the state by the thousands. Mormons were against Missouri being a slave state and this was the primary reason for prejudice against them.

    Mormons didn’t lynch blacks, they didn’t relegate them to the back of the bus, they didn’t practice all the many and varied forms of racism. Mormons did disallow blacks from holding the Mormon priesthood. Many assume all Mormons bought into all of the many forms of racism practiced by the Baptists, Evangelical Christians, Born again Christians of the deep south. Were their racist Mormons in the 50′s and 60′s? Yes, but not to nearly the degree there were racist Christians in other religions in the deep south.

    I grew up in Utah in the 50′s and 60′s. The “N” word was not used in my home. I was taught to treat blacks as equals. The lifting of the ban by Spencer W. Kimball in 1978 was a joyous day to most Mormons I knew personally. The unconvincing and tortuous explanations of why blacks couldn’t hold the priesthood were given no weight in my family and in many other families I knew. We and many other Mormon families (but not all) were estatic at the news in 1978. I served a mission in the ghetto’s of Harlem in New York City many years prior to 1978. I was not discouraged from teaching and baptizing black families (and did so). The majority blacks I met and taught Mormonism to, judged us as missionaries and the LDS in general based upon the totality of its teachings and how they were treated by the other members. Every black that attended LDS meetings during my time in New York was welcomed and greeted enthusiastically with open arms by the members. What I’ve experienced in the LDS church is very little racism by most (but not all) of its members. However, without knowing me personally I have been accused as being racist simply for being Mormon because of the LDS church’s former policy. The broad ugly brush of prejudice takes many forms and needs to be opposed in all forms.

  20. gil m says:

    The GAs issued the 1890 Manifesto doing away with polygamy and the 1978 statement that confers the Priesthood on all men regardless of race calling both declarations Revelations from God. If the GAs want to issue the same as church policy, well and good, but don’t try to blame God for it! What I can’t understand is how intelligent, educated, church members can swallow anything the GAs say is revelation from God hook, line, and sinker, without a second thought or without blinking an eye! Truly as one GA stated back in 1941, when the GAs speak, “The thinking has been done.”End of matter!

  21. Mikeasell says:

    I do not think that saying that Mormons had it tough is a valid or even coherent excuse for racist teachings. Saying that Mormon paternalism towards blacks is proof that the LDS church should get a pass on teaching racism is at best disingenuous. lacking the moral courage to simply admit fault, and instead, dismiss decades of apartheid as some type of fairy tale that grew inexplicably out of folklore is very telling. Censoring an excellent professor for telling EXACTLY what the church teaches and then pretending outrage, is just evil.

  22. Amanda says:

    Dearest Ryan

    I sincerely feel your hurt. My father also referred to the same racist principles that were quoted in the article. Regardless of whether or not he was “misquoted” they are in fact racist thoughts. I don’t view my father as a racist. He loves my husband–who is black–dearly. But he did in fact encourage me to marry within my own race and make other racist comments. He said these things not because he is a racist, but because it is what was taught to him growing up. He didn’t know any different. He has no racist feelings towards blacks, but he still holds to racist principles that were ingrained in him his entire life. For some reason many have difficulty dennouncing these teachers (althought church leadership has already done that).

  23. Robin Martell says:

    I look forward to the day when the church leaders will accept gay marriage and they will say that the church’s discrimination against gays was only “folklore”.

  24. Robert Nielson says:

    If they claim to not know where the curse idea and the no priesthood for black members began, they are either straight out lying, or know nothing about their own scriptures! The whole nefarious thing has it’s birth in the “Pearl of Great Price”. The books of Moses and Abraham both discuss the black skin and the priesthood ban for those of Cain’s bloodline. I’ve long considered Their scriptures myth and folklore at best, and malicious lies and deception at worst! Most biblical scholars take the view that the bible is figurative or a parable and not historic fact. Some also take the view that Cain’s line is the line that all mankind descended from and that the line of Seth and it’s obvious similarities to Cain’s, was a later addition. This addition was to cover the less than palatable truth that we all descended from a cursed individual. Skin pigmentation is not a curse It’s scientifically known that pigmentation helps in dealing with harsher rays from the sun as you move closer to the equator. So therefore it turns out a black skin is truly a blessing from God and the Mormon church is full of bullshit!

  25. Kenneth Card says:

    Dear Robin Martel and all others struggling with truth and common sense! Each of us are endowed with the innate sense of right and wrong, good and evil and therefore each of us will face our own beliefs, fears, and judgments based on the foundation of what actually is right and wrong, good or evil from within!
    God who lives outside of us, as a separate being, will not judge a behavior of homosexuality… you will! You will come to face to face with the truth one day from within yourself! And all Mormons or likeminded who thought or believed in polygamy or that Blacks should not have the priesthood… and list could go on and on, as to who is saved or not save under this religion or that religion or no religion at all. What really matters is being ignored!
    All will come face to face with their own beliefs and we will each judge ourselves accordingly. Most people are in self-denial of the truth and one of the basic truths is that we are all spiritual beings first and foremost (there is no beginning or will there ever be an end to our spiritual integrity)… and with this comes the knowledge that we are co-equal with each other; in the sense that we all have the potential to become as “God” in attribute and character (period!). This is woven into our spiritual DNA…deny it if you choose, it simply will not change the truth of our potential!
    And the other truth that most are in self-denial of is that we are co-eternal beings and always have been… meaning we have always existed as a spiritual being of light and truth. It does not stop here either; all creature’s great and small have also always existed in their spiritual form. God did not make them. God himself could not create his own Spirit! Now what each of us does with this “truth” is our choice. We can use common sense and learn to see “life” (goodness, kindness, honesty, virtue) in every choice we make or… we can choose “death;” in other words “damn ourselves” because we refuse to embrace “life,” which God has chosen! Now go do the right thing!

  26. Pingback: Still no formal repudiation. Let June 8th be a day of shame. | Mormon Coffee

  27. Pingback: Shame, Shame, Shame: Thirty Five Years Later And Still No Apology | Beggar's Bread

  28. Pingback: Shame, Shame, Shame: Thirty-Five Years Later And Still No Apology | The Edge

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