Saturday, December 7, 2013

We finally have an official retraction of racism in mormon doctrine!!!

     The church is finally making attempts to own up to aspects of their troubled history, so this is pretty epic and wonderful in my opinion. I am so glad that they are candidly and openly admitting that the church taught, supported, and practiced extremely racist precepts in the past and that they now officially (in 2013) are disavowing all racism past and present.

     If I myself were to commit a grievous error, it is taught that admission of guilt is only part of the repentance process. It is not complete until you ask for forgiveness and issue an apology. On that premise, I submit that this official statement is missing an apology for the hurt and pain that these past doctrines caused. For the black men and women who were not allowed to attend the temple to be sealed as families during their time here on earth and who were taught that blessings of the priesthood did not apply to them in the way it did for those of white skin color. If the leadership does not see fit to issue an apology then that is up to their judgment, but I think an official apology would do wonders to heal those wounds.
     Furthermore, this quote from their announcement is troubling: "Today, the Church disavows the theories advanced in the past that black skin is a sign of divine disfavor or curse,"
     These "theories" were very solid "doctrine" when they were originally stated. For instance, on July 17th, 1947 a letter from the first presidency stated:
 "From the days of the Prophet Joseph even until now, it has been the doctrine of the Church, never questioned by any of the Church leaders, that the Negroes are not entitled to the full blessings of the Gospel. Furthermore, your ideas, as we understand them, appear to contemplate the intermarriage of the Negro and White races, a concept which has heretofore been most repugnant to most normal-minded people from the ancient patriarchs till now. God's rule for Israel, His Chosen People, has been endogamous. Modern Israel has been similarly directed. We are not unmindful of the fact that there is growing tendency, particularly among some educators, as it manifests itself in this area, toward the breaking down of race barriers in the matter of intermarriage between whites and blacks, but it does not have the sanction of the Church and is contrary to Church doctrine."

     There are TONS of other places where these racist "theories" were taught by prophets and apostles as incontrovertible doctrine. I won't even quote them all here because they make me want to puke. Calling it a theory now makes my mind bend a bit, but I suppose that works because they are stating it is NOT doctrine now.
     Also, if the church is going to be pro-active in disavowing racism, the following scriptures from the Book of Mormon (and even more in the bible) would need to be disavowed as well, or at least specifically footnoted as incorrect doctrine so that no one can ever read the scriptures and infer that skin color is or ever has been a curse or blessing from god:

2 Nephi 5:21: “And he had caused the cursing to come upon them…wherefore as they were white, and exceedingly fair and delightsome…the Lord God did cause a skin of blackness to come upon them.”

Jacob 3:8: “O my brethren, I fear that unless ye shall repent of your sins that their skins will be whiter than yours, when ye shall be brought with them before the throne of God.”

3 Nephi 2:15: "And their curse was taken from them, and their skin became white like unto the Nephites."

And from the Pearl of Great Price:
Moses 7:22: "And Enoch also beheld the residue of the people which were the sons of Adam; and they were a mixture of all the seed of Adam save it was the seed of Cain, for the seed of Cain were black, and had not place among them." 

    I absolutely praise the church for coming forward and finally disavowing all of these past principals that the church perpetuated for over 150 years of their 180 year existence. Hooray for modern revelation that paves the way for a better future! I hope that equality for women in the church and support for LGBT people will have comparable clarity applied in the future. That, of course, will be up to the brethren to reveal if so dictated, but my hope is there for that outcome.