Notes for my writing

This blog is made up of notes on the gospel as found in the only true and living church, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. This includes notes that are either excerpts from or ideas for books I either have in draft or may yet write.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

The prophets of this and other ages are not and were not racists.

I am surprised at members who blithely proclaim that the priesthood was withheld from the blacks during much of this dispensation because the prophets were racists. One member who advocated this view nicely illustrated the road it leads down.

He believed that Bruce R McConkie kept the priesthood from going to the blacks. His accusations of that apostle were quite radical. In order to rationalize his accusations, he believed that the church is led by debate and discussion. He believed that the priesthood was withheld as a continuing act of racism by modern day prophets. He had come to the point where he believed that the prophets in the scriptures were bigots,

Wow, talk about being able to judge a doctrine by its fruits.

I gather my responses to him as well as other arguments here because it is nice to have some ideas of how to answer such a ridiculous idea, though the best reply to such ideas may simply be "Have more faith".

These were written to someone who was firmly and publicly asserting that the brethren were racists. So keep that in mind when reading them. 


This is the church of Jesus Christ, not the Church of Internal Debate

You write as if the brethren weren't using revelation to decide how to act but internal debate. The account of the revelation on the priesthood is as clear as the account of the vision of the redemption of the dead, or Peter's vision that the gospel would go to the gentiles despite all the years during Christ's mortality of doing the opposite. This is the Church of Jesus Christ, not the church of internal debate. In fact, this is the only church on the face of the earth that is led by revelation rather than by internal debate. You simply could not have been more wrong.


Debate and discussion is no more a correct description of how that church is led than it is a correct description of how a testimony is gained.

Regarding your claim that the brethren lead the church by internal debate. Yes, The Lord does expect us to study things out. That is different than your tacit claim that the Lord's hand is shortened so he cannot grant revelations on behalf of an entire race if, as leaders study it out, his revelations don't match their gut instincts. But that is only half the story. The real issue is that studying something out is still radically different in the church than in the world. It involves a group seeking the whisperings of the spirit. They discuss, yes, but they also listen, and primarily for the direction of the Holy Ghost. Debate and discussion is no more a correct description of it than it is a correct description of how one gains a testimony. Yes, there is studying out of the word, but it is coupled with the whisperings of the Holy Ghost, the whisperings of that being who, when it speaks to us, allows us to say "I KNOW" instead of just "I believe". That is the way the church is led and, yes, that IS revelation. Joseph Smith stated "The Holy Ghost is a revelator, no man can receive the Holy Ghost without receiving revelations."


If you are publishing your claims that almost all modern prophets were racists and misconstruing the brethrens actions in destructive ways to further your arguments,  that is apostacy.

You seem to just not be able to write much that isn't somehow laced with criticism of church leaders, at least, that is what you opened with, and you immediately clarified that your criticism wasn't limited to defaming just one apostle (because you did portray him as essentially holding the priesthood away from many somehow against God's own will), but extended it to the others by calling them racists. Obviously not every prophet was just blindly following a statement by Orson Hyde. You are accusing a lot of our prophets of racism. It makes me think of a statement I ran into recently where someone had asked whether it was apostacy to disagree with the church. The answer was no, but that if one not only disagreed, but then went about publishing their views and misconstruing the actions of church leaders in destructive ways to further their cause, well, that was the definition of apostacy. Does that not fit? There must be better directions you can take your life.


Describing the leadership of prophets and apostles divorced from the guidance of the Holy Ghost takes the life out of it and is a lie.

Did I mention that the church is no more led by internal debate than one gains a testimony by debate? Studying something out coupled with listening to the whisperings of the spirit is a completely different thing that debate and discussion. That is a key to revelation which is why it can bring a testimony, which is, itself, a revelation. The church is led by the the same pattern of revelation that allows one to stand up and say "I KNOW the Church is true". 

Describing the church as being led in the way you portray is no more correct than describing a testimony as being gained by debate. You have wrung the Holy Ghost completely out of the matter, and have described what would be left without it. You may as well give a man's eulogy by describing his dead physical corpse. You took all the life out of it, described what was left, and called that the church. Put the life back into it, and then describe how the church is led. It is led by men, yes, studying things out, but also seeking unison and the listening for the whisperings of the Holy Ghost as they study it out. They have sacred experiences that they do not share, and have said so on multiple occasions.

Your portrayal of it as being led by internal debate is both misleading and destructive because it robs the church of its lifeblood of revelation.


Blessings that vary from group to group are all through the scriptures and the gospel.

Actually blessings that vary from group to group are all through the gospel. We get patriarchal blessings to find out which tribe we belong to. Different tribes are called to play different roles. We believe that all who accept the gospel are adopted into the seed of Abraham and inherit blessing from that. The gospel went first to Israel, then to the gentiles. In the latter days, it is going first the the gentiles, and then to the Jews (as stated all through the scriptures). There are some promises made to the Jews, other promises made to the Lamanites, others made to the Israelites and yet other promises made to those who live in the Americas. Why isn't everyone in the church offended at all this apparent racism and ethnicism? The answer is easy, we KNOW it isn't racism because we know our God, and have faith that he knows best. 

This time in the world's history is rather unique. In these days the gospel is taken to all people.
Christ did not have his disciples go to teach among the gentiles until after his resurrection, when a revelation was given to Peter. 

Christ even expressed initial reluctance to do a miracle for a gentile woman. He even stated to his disciples "I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel." 

If Brigham Young had said the same, would have not many have called it an act of racism? Should we call Christ a racist for stating that he was "not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel".

Absolutely not. We do not correct the Savior with modern political correctness. Instead we cast away the ideas of men and listen to the Savior.


The claim that revelation was superceded by personal racism to the detriment of huge numbers of souls is inconsistent with the truth that this church is led by Jesus Christ. It is a not a little lie, it is a big lie.

If a man is holding an eagle but insisting that is is a catfish, I would feel like something was seriously wrong. The more seriously and insistently he claims it, the more I might think he was either crazy or struggling with some sort of delusional deviousness. Its the method of "people will believe a big lie sooner than a little one; and if you repeat it frequently enough people will sooner or later believe it."

You are doing the same thing. And so I suppose I will keep on pointing it out.

Big Lie: One can have true faith that this church is led by Jesus Christ and simultaneously believe that the church kept the priesthood from black men for 150 or so years because the apostles and prophets in the church were too bigoted to accept God's will to the contrary.

According to the Lectures of Faith in order for a man to gain faith sufficient unto life and salvation he must know that the course he is pursuing the course God desires him to pursue.

If our leaders can't properly give inspiration on saving and exalting ordinances for millions of people on the earth, then it simply isn't the Church of Jesus Christ now is it. He wouldn't be the one in charge in that sort of situation.

Also, according to lectures on faith, it would be impossible for members who accepted such an idea to ever develop faith sufficient unto life and salvation. If you can't trust your leaders at that scale, you can't really trust any of their counsel now, can you?

This is a big lie in the sense of the above propaganda method. It is utterly false, it is destructive propaganda. You have dressed it up nicely. That is no surprise, as it makes it more palatable. But it is a big lie.


The leaders of the church are not and were not racists.

Let me first point out that the native americans and the white settlers had a prolong and bloody history. As examples I know of directly, one of my ancestors had his wife and his six children stolen from his home during the french american war. Note that capturing a woman and six children and running off with them is by no means advancing a war effort. The woman and three of the children were later killed out of hand and the other three, including the one I am descended from, were transported and sold as slaves by their native american captors.

Researching another ancestor I find that in the earliest years of the settlement of north america there was a period during which English settlements would simply disappear, being burnt to the ground with the inhabitants killed or carried away by the natives. The settlers simply had no way of knowing if their settlement would be next.

My point is not to argue sides in all that american history. My point is merely to point out that native americans and white settlers had a prolonged and bloody history.

-- Having established that -- 

So if the early brethren were really racists it is extraordinarily peculiar that they took such pains to get the gospel to the native americans by sending 4 missionaries walking 1500 miles to preach to them less than a year after the church was established with just 6 members. 

Critics are good at ignoring that the gospel was sent early on to a race that had a long and bloody history with the white settlers, i.e. a long history with the very group the early church leaders were part of. 

Parley Pratt served multiple missions in south america. The early church had missionaries going to diverse parts of the world. At tremendous difficulty early church members served in parts of the world where they had no knowledge of the language or culture, just to save souls. This is not white supremacy! These men were not racists! The claim is absolultely ridiculous!

This effort continued through those many years you accuse the brethren of racism. A well known example, Joseph F Smith, served in Hawaii at the age of 15. He was called to go there by the church leaders you accuse of racism, to bring those people the gospel. The accusations of racism by church leaders are just so absolutely ridiculous. They carried the gospel to diverse parts of the world at great personal cost. Those who cry racism do so because they are closing their eyes to the great difficulties suffered by those who would travel to people with diverse skins and cultures in the hope of saving their souls. These were not the days of the MTC and relative safety for missionaries. This was a wide open world with no guarantees that you would come back. It was in days of poverty and struggle when the sacrifice was far more extreme. It was often leaving your wife and children to work the farm in the dessert of Utah so you could save someones soul, quite possibly someone whose skin was different than your own. 

The claim that they were racists goes well beyond ignorance because it is so deeply insulting to the terrible sacrifices they made, in many cases precisely to save the souls of those of other races and cultures. This is not a group blinded by the ideals of their own cultures and flesh tones. It is quite the opposite. It is just so insulting and ignorant to stomp on their tremendous sacrifices and call them racists.


A note on wording.

If something is ridiculous, silly, insulting or ignorant, I will use words like "ridiculous", "silly", "insulting" or "ignorant". These are real concepts, not just arbitrary words


Addressing the falsehood - stick to its core contradiction

As those who teach this are effectively using the method of "people will believe a big lie sooner than a little one; and if you repeat it frequently enough people will sooner or later believe it" then it is important to keep those big lies front and center, pointed out for what they are.

Big Lie #1: One can have true faith that this church is led by Jesus Christ and simultaneously believe that the church kept the priesthood from black men for 150 or so years because the apostles and prophets in the church were too bigoted to accept God's will to the contrary.

Big Lie #2: One can have true faith in the scriptures while reading the actions of the scriptural prophets as bigotry.

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