MHA with Darius – Part 2

Friday May 22: The first session we attend is titled “‘Who is Man to Change that Segregation?’: Race in Twentieth-Century Mormon Culture, Practice, and Doctrine.” The title comes from a talk given at BYU by Apostle Mark E. Peterson. In the talk Peterson states: “I think I have read enough to give you an idea of what the Negro is after. He is not just seeking the opportunity of sitting down in a cafe where white people eat. He isn’t just trying to ride on the same streetcar or the same Pullman car with white people. It isn’t that he just desires to go to the same theater as the white people. From this, and other interviews I have read, it appears that the Negro seeks absorption with the white race. He will not be satisfied until he achieves it by intermarriage. That is his objective and we must face it. We must not allow our feelings to carry us away, nor must we feel so sorry for Negroes that we will open our arms and embrace them with everything we have. Remember the little statement that we used to say about sin, ‘First we pity, then endure, then embrace’….

The first paper is given by Ruth Knight Bailey–beautifully. It addresses Indian identity and priesthood, and has fascinating case studies. Much of it is new information, and I’m intrigued.

The second paper is by Ardis Kay Smith. Using letters to the editor from BYU’s _The Daily Universe_ in the 1960s, Ardis keeps her focus on her title: “Is This Racial Freedom?” The letters address segregation and the priesthood restriction.

I was a child in Provo during the 1960s, and Darius was a student at BYU in 1965. As I read the letters Ardis has on the screen, some appalling and some pious, I find that I am actually getting sick. There’s even a bit of irony that the audience is all white–except for Darius. (In fact, he’s the only black person at MHA.) I wonder if this paper is hitting the others in the audience like it’s hitting me–if we’ll need to pass a bucket for people to throw up in. Of course, the letters are from white students. In 1965, Darius was one of two black students at BYU. The other, a woman, finally left after a group of students working on the grounds crew shouted racial epithets and threw apple cores at her. Darius, after being called in to the administration and told that parents had complained he had been conversing with their daughters and that he must not associate with white women, left BYU “on a dead run”, as he puts it.

Yes, some of the students encouraged “tolerance” and condemned prejudice in those letters to the editor. That attitude, however, often led to the view of black Mormons as exotic creatures–almost celebrities. You’d want to take one of them home to dinner to show how open-minded you were, and you’d probably relish the questioning looks from your parents. When Darius was asked in 1988 what the signal would be that blacks were truly equals in Christ’s church, he said, “When we cease to be exotic.”

The next paper is from Stirling Adams about the subject he knows well: _Mormon Doctrine_. Nobody knows that book and its history better than Stirling. He talks about the sections I am very familiar with–racial degeneration, etc. Though I am well-acquainted with the words, I find my head shaking over and over again. I am still feeling a little sick.

After the session, several people approach Darius and me offering to sign a petition or whatever it takes to get _MD_ off the shelves. They love Darius, and he is not being treated as “exotic.” He is known and respected.

In the afternoon, we show our documentary. This remarkable crowd of scholars gives us a standing ovation. I see that Darius is getting emotional as he looks over the audience, on their feet. His emotions make me teary as well. He dances a little to the song which finishes our doc: “I’m gonna sit at the welcome table…one of these days…I’m gonna tell Him how you treated me…one of these days…I’m gonna walk and talk with Jesus…one of these days…” We answer questions about our film. Our DVD sells out almost immediately, and Darius and I give each other a fist bump.

All day, through any session we’ve attended which related to race, I have been aware of who was speaking for Blacks throughout church history. It certainly wasn’t blacks themselves. Many white folks tried to define who blacks were and where their limits were set. A couple of books written by black Mormons came out during the sixties and seventies, mostly telling how faith got them through the hard issues. But the other Black voices, the voices pained by poverty and stripped to thin threads by restriction, voices which faith hadn’t saved–those voices were overwhelmed and muted by accusation. In the year Darius attended BYU, the Varsity Theater showed a film titled _Civil Riots_–about the Communist links to the Civil Rights Movement.

Friday evening: I find that I can access my e-mail in the hotel lobby. I open a note from my adopted missionary son, who’s serving in the Congo. (I adopted him when Bruce and I served in the MTC.) He has sent photos. There he is, a handsome white man accustomed to eating organic foods and working on political issues in California. Four African elders flank him. It seems they are dancing, though my adopted son looks a little lost. All are smiling. I have urged him to learn not just French but the dialects spoken where he is. Respect the people by learning whatever they call “our language.” Hear them in their own voices and using the words they speak most comfortably. Honor their words. Love the people. Let them move into your heart.

Comments

  1. I have really appreciated these posts, Margaret.

  2. Molly Bennion says:

    If we believe more in truth and love than in honoring past authority (or worse, perpetuating a myth of perfection in authority), I see no option but to renounce explicitly MD and its ilk.

  3. Kevin Barney says:

    Margaret, I could have told you that however many copies of the DVD you brought to the conference, it wasn’t going to be enough!

    I’ll tell you a funny MHA story. Several years ago I’m sitting at a table of folks during one of the MHA banquets. The topic of the priesthood ban comes up, and I start raving about this great review that had come out in BYU Studies of two recent books that dealt with the history of biblical justifications for slavery. And it turns out that the guy sitting next to me who I’m raving about this review to was Stirling Adams–the very guy who had written the review I was talking about! So that was how I first met Stirling.

    That’s the kind of thing that happens at MHA.

  4. Thanks for this, Margaret. What is it about the name Ardis that makes for major MoHistory mojo?

    > …Darius and I give each other a fist bump.

    What? Now BCC harbors terrorists?? ;-)

  5. Steve Evans says:

    Margaret, my only regret is that I wasn’t there to see it all myself.

  6. Margaret, This is wonderful and important. Why can’t this be in our church manuals?

  7. What Steve Evans said.

  8. It’s probably not a bad idea to get MD off the shelves, since it never should have been published in the first place. But I wonder if it would be better to keep publishing it, but replace that section with McConkie’s “Forget everything I have ever said” statement on it. Or maybe bind an additional page with the statement on it so it doesn’t mess up the pagination, and would be harder to miss. That would help to get the word out.

  9. Thanks, Margaret. Really wonderful, and I wish I had been there. I appreciate you sharing your perspectives on Darius’s experiences at MHA. I guess I should be so surprised that he’s the only black person at the conference, but it still makes me shake my head.

    The papers at that session look excellent. What is Stirling doing with all that research? Has he published any of it yet?

    Also, for those interested in Ardis Smith’s work, she did a couple of guest posts for the JI awhile back. Here are the links:

    http://www.juvenileinstructor.org/byu-lds-teachings-and-the-civil-rights-movement/

    http://www.juvenileinstructor.org/crm-the-daily-universe-and-the-1950s-part-one/

  10. er, should not be so surprised

  11. Thanks for this more personal take on MHA, Margaret. Just out of curiosity, what has been done to let DB know that there is a growing chorus calling for MD to be taken off the shelves and out of print? I know phone calls have been made by various individuals, but has an actual petition been circulated, signed, and then turned in? It seems like it would be pretty easy to gather 1,000+ signatures (especially if one used an online petition) and then send it in.

    Also, are there any black Latter-day Saints currently researching Mormon history (professional or amateur)? I assume there are at least a few doing it at least as hobbyists, and would encourage them to submit a paper (or session) for next year’s MHA in Independence. Perhaps Darius or someone else could make an announcement at a Genesis group meeting, pass out the call for papers, etc.

    In fact, a session on the history of the Genesis group would be quite interesting. I imagine that if more sessions dealt with the black Latter-day Saint experience (and especially if those sessions included presentations by black Latter-day Saints), more black people would likely show up.

  12. Steve Fleming says:

    Thanks Margaret, I appreciated your insight and was touched by your film.

    David G., are you taking notes?

  13. Steve Fleming says:

    That question to David was a request for help on a project not some sort of accusation.

  14. Margaret,
    Let’s organise that petition. Let’s do it online, send it far and wide, and then show it the powers that be at Deseret Book.

  15. Molly, (#2) I’m with you and with no offense intended to ABH (#8), if Bruce R. was so wrong on that question, what other things are in MD that have been quoted and accepted as authoritative fact for so long, did he also express an erroneous, uninspired opinion concerning.

    The Mark E. Petersen talk referenced above and the Delbert Stapley letter to George Romney are despicable. Is there any record (I know Kevin Barney will know) of the Church officially denouncing these statements by members of the Quorum of the Twelve?

  16. Elder Oaks in a newspaper and a couple of apostles on the PBS interviews admitted that these beliefs were false.

  17. When was Elder Petersen’s talk given? It just blows my mind that he was able to say that with no consequences. I find it a very chilling talk.

    And is there a place somewhere where I can read McConkie’s “forget everything I said” statement? I don’t think I’ve seen it before.

    I would love to see your documentary, Margaret. It sounds wonderful.

  18. aloysiusmiller says:

    Censorship is censorship no matter where it comes from.

  19. J.,

    Thanks. I’ll take a look.

  20. Amy–you can google the talk. It’s called “All Are Alike Unto God.” The passages alluded to here are as follows:
    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.

  21. I am with my daughter and her family in Indiana and have very little time on the internet. I apologize for not responding to the comments. Ronan–the petition? I don’t think it’d do much. There are other ideas, though. I personally am feeling a convergence which seems beyond our poor ability to add or detract. Aslan is on the move, as I often say.

  22. Ex Husker says:

    “When Darius was asked in 1988 what the signal would be that blacks were truly equals in Christ’s church, he said, “When we cease to be exotic.”

    You just need to be in the right Wards… Large inner city wards have plenty of blacks/Africans/AA’s. Nobody is treated as exotic. I wonder if this is just another Utah issue?

  23. Matt W. says:

    One option available is that you can write a review of Mormon Doctrine at Deseret Book’s website. I just did and said that while I love Elder McConkie, this book is out of date and not doctrinal, teaching folklore that was refuted by Elders Oaks, Holland, and McConkie himself. If enough people put negative reviews on the book, one is bound to get noticed…

  24. Not in my religion! says:

    I think the idea of an online petition is excellent. Deseret Book claims to be sensitive to its readers views. In fact it just pulled the Steph Meyers books due to reader complaints.
    A petition that cites and quotes from the 6-8 sections with teachings that are offensive, extreme, historically and factually incorrect and theologically unsound would be painful for DB to ignore.

  25. When was Elder Petersen’s talk given? It just blows my mind that he was able to say that with no consequences. I find it a very chilling talk.

    Amy, Elder Peterson gave his talk in August 1954, just a few months after the May 1954 Supreme Court decision, Brown v. Board of Education, which struck down legal segregation. Opposition to the court’s ruling and the wider civil rights agenda run throughout the presentation.

    http://www.mormonismi.net/mep1954/

  26. Juliann says:

    Matt, all I see on the DB website are 5 star reviews. Yikes.

  27. I just love that song at the end of the documentary. I am always moved by the line you included in the post: I’m gonna tell Him how you treated me…one of these days

    Aslan is on the move. Love it.

  28. StillConfused says:

    I read quotes like the first one in the original post and I just marvel that people can be so gross.

  29. #22–Ex husker: I’ve been to many predominantly African American wards. It has been a joy. And I frankly believe that even Utah is doing quite well in accepting black members. The comment from Darius was, as you noted, made in 1988. My reference point was even earlier–the years when those letters to the editor were being written in the 60s. Retention of African American converts in the Church is lousy, but those who do stay fill chapels in all sorts of places.

  30. Unfortunately, shortly after his “eloquent” apology, McConkie came out with a less than graceful new edition of his “Mormon Doctrine.” Yes, he omitted the notion that blacks would not possess the priesthood in this life (by then, a clear contradiction of God’s true plan for his children), yet at the same time, he had the audacity to keep intact many other racist notions, speculations and uninspired folk religion under the cover of the extremely deceitful title “Mormon Doctrine.”

    Regarding his explanations about the black race, those aren’t doctrines per say, but they are uninspired falsehoods of a seer with no vision, a prophet who speaks his own will instead of the will of God, and a revelator that reveals the vile prejudices of his own soul. The very name of the book makes me sick as it makes a mockery of the church’s doctrines, pollutes the mind of the untrained reader, and provides tools to the racist to justify all kinds of prejudice and remain unrepentant. What a delight for Lucifer this book must be.

    There have been many arguments about this man’s teachings and we must not create a tangent for them here. (Thus providing another venue for McConkie’s followers to further perpetuate his racist, tasteless, tactless, arrogant, disgraceful and uninspired views)
    Tying to clear up all this racism with more of McConkie’s words would most likely be confusing to the average reader. Because of McConkie’s attempts to keep on perpetuating racist notions in his book after his apology, one must at least internally debate whether his words of apology referred only to the clearly exposed contradiction that blacks would not obtain the priesthood in this life exclusively and not to his other false teachings. Or if his words were simply an attempt to redeem himself as an authoritative church spokesperson after having made a fool out of himself by teaching in blindness that which was contrary to what the Lord had in mind for His children, while having been sustained as an Apostle, prophet, seer and revelator. To the academics that are familiar with McConkie’s extensive fallacies, the question arises if any of his words with respect to this issue have any validity at all.

    To me, having McConkie clear up this racist episode is like trying to clean dust with more dust, or mud with more mud. We must focus on what must become the real source of the solution for this disgraceful issue, those who have been called to clarify in our day: the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.

    Although I definitely encourage and will participate in any effort of bringing light to other members of the church, such as petitions, etc. I honestly believe this is an issue of the level of seriousness that should not be tackled (neither will it be completely and effectively tackled) by individual members.

    This is the job of the first presidency. Instead of giving quiet and vague explanations in dark interviews, they need to MAN UP to the issue and officially address the issue and all its disgraceful SPECIFICS to members of the church in conference so that disputes over this nonsense can finally be put to rest. They must address these SPECIFICALLY. Elder Holland’s response in that interview also implies that he is not even fully familiar with the specifics of the issue… BECOME FAMILIAR!!! Gosh, these things came from your organization!

    This garbage spoken by Mark E. Petersen, they have quietly omitted it from the electronic database of BYU speeches, but no attempt has been made to repudiate such diabolical and anti-Christian speech. I have read it so many times before, and every time I read it the Spirit leaves, and there is this feeling of vile and emptiness and my stomach starts to turn as I read these attitudes that so blatantly oppose the teachings of our Lord Jesus Christ. Yes, diabolical and Anti-Christian is the only way I can describe this speech. And our leaders? They seem so concerned about the reputation of these dead men, while having no concern for the damage they continue to do among the children of God.

    If a petition is to be done, it needs to be done with respect of clarifying specific practices and teachings past and present, and it must be petitioned to the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. If we as members petition this, maybe the day will come when they will stop turning their blind eye to this issue, as if hoping that it will go away by itself with time. We and they don’t believe in this: We don’t believe our wrongdoings will simply fade away with time by turning a blind eye to them. We believe we must have faith in Jesus Christ and face them, acknowledge them, ask for forgiveness for them, rectify them doing ALL WE CAN toward restitution, and abandoning them. I am sorry to say but in my opinion, and as of today, the leaders of this Church have shown a dismal example of this simple process which we proclaim to the world: true and honest repentance.

    Sister Margaret Young, I am grateful for you and Mr. Darius in your initiative and efforts to address this issue in the most tactful and inspired manner. I pray (and we should all pray) that our leaders will be enlightened to effectively address this issue too. Something that in my opinion is embarrassingly long overdue.

    I am sorry if for some in here my comments will seem extremely demanding and critical of our leaders, but someone must do it. It is their duty to guide us, and we must have the guts to ask of them for light where there is so much darkness. All is not well in Zion, and all these people whom Sister Young talks about that turn to Darius for a spark of light are being ignored by our leaders.

    I will sign and cooperate with whatever petition and whatever step is done to clear up some of the filth that still sits home shelves and bookstores.

  31. Ugly Mahana says:

    It is interesting to read this series in conjunction with the series of 12 questions currently at the Times and Seasons blog. One thing I note is that Brother Perkins objects to black saints being expected to address Priesthood ban issues, while Sister Young seems to be concerned that the presentations regarding the ban at this conference were made and attended by white persons. I wonder if there is a disconnect between two perspectives, or if I am missing something.

  32. Pemble (and anyone else),

    I compiled a bunch of the most direct and unambiguous statements by apostles and Prophets regarding the ban and the justifications for it since it was ended. They can be found at:

    http://thingsofmysoul.blogspot.com/2009/04/repudiating-racist-justifications-once.html

  33. Re 31: Oh goodness, how did I convey an idea that I was “concerned” that presentations on race-related subjects at MHA were given by white people? It was notable that Darius was the only black person in attendance. Notable because it suggests that we ought to have more representation of black Latter-day Saints at meetings like MHA, and I plan on doing what I can to make that happen. I’m grateful to have such scholars as those I heard talk so well about these issues. I hope for a day when we have many presentations–on any subject–by black scholars as well. As president elect of the Association for Mormon Letters, I will be working hard to get AML showing LDS literature from around the world. So I was making an observation, not an objection. I believe Marvin doesn’t object to black saints “being expected” to address the priesthood ban, since he and Darius both do it often. The problem is when anyone is given a question about the ban and they’re unprepared to answer, or when a black person learns about the restriction for the first time while serving a mission, as often happens. I have not yet heard of any of them going home after getting that new information, but I’ve heard of serveral who were on the brink of doing so.

  34. Ugly Mahana says:

    I think you’re right, that I read into your post something that wasn’t there. Thanks for the articulate and thoughtful response.

  35. Margaret,

    Thanks so much for these blog posts. I spent 16 1/2 years in the Air Force in Montgomery Alabama, where in 1987, as a newly called Ward mission leader and 1st Counselor in the Stake Mission Presidency, we decided it was time to have the missionary work go to the black people in the stake.

    Having grown up in Montana, where the term “racism” really had no meaning to me, I was totally and completely shocked at the racist reception we received by so very many members at that time. It took us over a decade to get most members to accept an integrated stake.

    My heart would cry out as I sat in leadership meetings, where ward leaders would ask why we needed to do so much more for the new black converts. “Why can’t they pull themselves up by their own bootstraps?” or “Why can’t they get their own rides – self-reliance, remember?” were too often heard in meetings.

    I am so amazed by people like Darius, who have stood firm in their testimonies against such great odds. No doubt there will be many members, including a few General Authorities, that will be having to give apologies for statements made in the past.

    I’m ready to sign a petition.

  36. Manuel-WOW dude. Seriously. Calling the Brethren and living Prophet of God to repentance? Let me just find my list of signs of the times and cross off that one off…

    My friend, I fear you are standing on dangerous ground. It don’t think it’s called “guts” when one speaks evil of the Lord’s anointed. And I’m fairly certain that it isn’t courage born of God that leads you to proclaim that members need to band together and force the Brethren to repent.

    Maybe all that “darkness” you are experiencing has affected your ability to recognize that you are looking beyond your authorized mark, and have presumed a stewardship that belongs to God Himself.

    Not once in the recorded history of God’s word have the “Saints” who have chosen to rise up against the Lord’s chosen Prophets been operating under the influence of the Holy Ghost. None have been vindicated as righteous or heroic. So as you rally the troops to strike down the “vile and diabolical” words and intentions of BRM and Mark E Peterson, I beg you to prayerfully review the declared consequences and loss of precious blessings.

    I don’t know Darius, but I hope he isn’t the kind of person who would approve of the anger and retribution stirred up here. I think it would sicken him to know that other members are attempting to honor or vindicate his race by exhibiting the same contempt, derision, and bigotry towards others that they have deemed to be sinful, unenlightened and undeserving.

  37. I have spent the day with my daugher and grandchildren. We visited the Underground Railroad museum in Cincinnati. Any Latter-dy Saint who believes in this gospel is called to invite souls to Christ. Obviously, the spirit of contention simply won’t work in such an invitation. So, as I said to my grandkids, CALM DOWN. WE WILL HAVE HARMONY. There are some hard issues, but surely “friends at first are friends at last.”

  38. Well Pete, thank you for your concern about my spiritual well being. I am not surprised at your reaction and I understand that it is not ill intended, but let me nonetheless, and perhaps in my imperfection, provide responses to your concerns to the best of my ability.

    First of all, you don’t know me. I know where I stand, and also my Bishop knows well where I stand, and I still have a temple recommend, and I attend the temple regularly; therefore, per the judgment of the man of God who was called to have stewardship over me in these matters; I am worthy of all the blessing available in this dispensation. Now, you, have already judged that what I wish for does not come from God. Let me tell you that is quite a stretch of a speculation on your part, and a wrong one at that, per the judgment of the man who actually has stewardship over me. I know it is hard for people to take my views, I don’t expect it, I don’t ask for it. But please respect me and don’t cross the boundary of telling me whether I am unrighteous or rebellious. It is not your call buddy.
    I love and obey my leaders when they speak for God and the Spirit testifies to me they do. Otherwise, I am not bound whatsoever to support, cover up, omit, remain silent or tolerate things that are outrageous and opposite to true Christian values.

    D&C 45:57 For they that are wise and have received the truth, and have taken the Holy Spirit for their guide, and have not been deceived—verily I say unto you, they shall not be hewn down and cast into the fire, but shall abide the day.

    Many leaders have been wrong. This is not the Church of Brigham Young, nor the Church of Bruce McConkie, this is the Church of Jesus Christ and it is Him whom I follow. I believe I am responsible to have the Holy Ghost with me that I may know right from wrong. And through this gift, I follow God the best I can, and so do they, the leaders whom you seem to think of as ineffable and undisputable.

    It is true, I am not a blind follower, I don’t think we are justified to follow simply because words were uttered out of the mouths of the anointed, I believe the Holly Ghost will bear witness of all things, I believe this is how things like the Mountain Meadows Massacre can be avoided. We are agents unto ourselves, and the time is here when we cannot rely on others’ “oil for our lamps.” I will continue to strive to have the Spirit, so that I may be able to CORRECTLY follow my leaders, never putting them before God, for I follow God first and before him is none.

    You call my hunger for justice “anger and retribution” when I am simply demanding that they do what they are supposed to, clarify matters. I am not asking for their temple blessings to be taken from them. I’m not asking that a hostile environment to be created so that they are belittled, psychologically abused and humiliated and considered to be lesser heirs for decades to come.

    I am asking for the clarification of a disgraceful doctrine that continues to pollute the masses in this Church. So, where is the retribution? How is it that the brethren could possibly “pay” for what has been done? This is not about retribution, it is about rectification. And noot for me, but for the spirits of the members of the Church who still ache at these things. If you cannot understand that, I am sorry, but it is real. The pain is real, the disheartening feelings are real. It does have an effect on the spiritual well being of the children of God.

    It is not me who is affected by the “darkness.” I already know what Jesus taught regarding our fellow men. It is the souls that won’t be converted because we don’t have the courage to admit our mistakes. It is the obstacle it represents in establishing the Kingdom of God. It is the masses who still believe in the teachings of the likes of McConkie, when current Apostles themselves have repudiated his ideas. It is the missionaries that Sister Young speaks about that are on the brink of going home after learning of the disgraceful policy, having almost nowhere to turn in their own religion for a just explanation. It is the people who still come to these blogs and perpetuate the false teachings. These are the ones who are affected by the darkness. These are the ones who are in need of the light.

    And yes, I think it is regretful that if anyone wants to find a spark of light, they have to go on a scavenger hunt for vague quotes in a PBS documentary or in newspaper interviews. We have better venues and authority to deal with these issues.

    You are comparing my desire to have false teachings repudiated in order to shed light into the minds and confusion of the masses, to the shameful acts and policies that kept generations of worthy members from receiving the blessings of the gospel because of their skin, and I think you know this is not even close to a fair comparison and not even close to what I am trying to convey. If my excited comments have conveyed that to you, I apologize, but I don’t believe you think this is so.

    This is how I feel: what they did was shameful and destructive, what I am demanding is in my opinion just and constructive and we are in dire need of it. And yes, what I see our current leaders do is definitely NOT ENOUGH. But to your surprise, I think even Elder Holland agrees with me, since he says that “the least” we can do is to stop perpetuating the folklore. “The least” must imply that “at most” we still could do much more, and by “we” I mean “them.”

    It’s ok if you disagree with me, I understand. It is ok if you think there is no need for repentance, for clarification, for restitution, for acknowledgement. I do think we need them, and no, that does not make me an apostate. Don’t try to call others to disapprove of me by twisting my words and by creating exaggerated juxtapositions that I never conveyed.

    But like I said, I still do appreciate your concern, for I don’t believe in the infallibility of my leaders, and that may be a red flag for you about my testimony. For me, it is the opposite. It is a red flag of people’s testimonies, when they can’t accept that our leaders are humans and make mistakes that often need restitution and yes, sometimes full repentance. I find these type of people often break down when they have to face the facts, although for the most part, they often choose to remain in ignorance.

    And on your list of the signs of the times, you can also cross the following:
    Matt. 20: 16: 16 So the last shall be first, and the first last: for many be called, but few chosen.

  39. Ex Husker says:

    @Margaret Young – you said, “Retention of African American converts in the Church is lousy”

    I agree. I also think that would be a MUCH better topic of conversation and have FAR more power in changing the future of the Church. It would be nice to discuss solutions. I don’t think book banning is a solution. It’s not even a start. Local bishops and stake presidents, who spend so much time in thought and prayer on this subject, could use additional thoughts, ideas and counsel that will make a difference in the lives of the people.

    Thanks for all your work.

  40. Matt W. says:

    Just wanted to note that negative reviews are popping up of Mormon Doctrine as Deseretbook.com

    See Here

    http://deseretbook.com/store/product/190509

  41. Thanks, Manuel. You are stepping on to a very thin tightwire and I appreciate you for that. I admire the way you handle the inevitable ecclesiastical challenge to your strong (not strong as in aggressive or offensive, but rather as in firm and clear) opinion. Keeping our church honest, accountable for its stewardship, and moving forward in God’s work is just as important institutionally as it is individually. None of us in our individual callings is immune from accountability, from challenges, and from inevitable growth. In fact, that is how we MAGNIFY our callings. The annointed at the top must MAGNIFY their callings also. An apostle one hundred years ago is certainly not the end all of church leadership. I too, call on today’s leadership to rise up to the occasion and do what needs to be done. If they don’t it will rest on the next and the next until we can finally move forward.

  42. Friends,

    This isn’t an issue of GAs being evil. It is an issue of people being guided by a wrong idea, and carrying it to an extreme conclusion.

    MMM occurred because bishops and stake presidents responded to fear and rhetoric expounded by Pres Brigham Young and other GAs. This does not make the GAs involved evil, but only misdirected on this topic. But the event of MMM is evil. It took 150 years for the truth to come out, and to allow for wounds to be healed. The wounds did not have to be kept open and reopened for such a long time, had the issue been fairly dealt with over a century ago.

    We now are looking at a new MMM with the ban. While the revelation on the priesthood has opened doors, the bleeding that occurred before has not been stopped. It would be nice for the Church to come out and establish a new baseline from which we can all move forward.

    It was brave of Pres Kimball to state that Pres Young was wrong concerning the Adam-God theory. Now is a good time to also state that his Cain/Ham curse theory was also wrong. It was based upon 19th century Christianity’s beliefs to keep blacks as slaves, and to justify that century’s prejudices. Now we can move forward. I do not believe that any of the current General Authorities are racists. However, like you and me, they are human. There’s nothing wrong with admitting when we’re wrong, and moving forward. I hope we can have that occur soon.

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