Lie #3 – No official doctrine for restrictions?

Over time, Church leaders and members advanced many theories to explain the priesthood and temple restrictions. None of these explanations is accepted today as the official doctrine of the Church.”  (Official LDS Church statement, 2013)

Church leaders give us theories? Is it a theory when it is preached as truth in General Conference? Is it a theory when it is written in a church published book? Is it a theory when they said it was revealed by revelation? If after all of that it is still a theory then when is anything a church leader says not a theory?

What are the theories that were wrongly advanced? The “Race and the Priesthood” statement lets us know what two of these views were:

1. “According to one view, which had been promulgated in the United States from at least the 1730s, blacks descended from the same lineage as the biblical Cain, who slew his brother Abel. Those who accepted this view believed that God’s “curse” on Cain was the mark of a dark skin.”

2. “Around the turn of the century, another explanation gained currency: blacks were said to have been less than fully valiant in the premortal battle against Lucifer”

Where would church leaders and members possibly get the idea that “blacks descended from the same lineage as the biblical Cain”? Perhaps they just looked at LDS scripture:

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 guess that crazy Moses snuck some things into LDS scripture that are not really LDS doctrine! Whatever next?

What about the concept of blacks being less valiant in the pre-mortal world? Surely that never made it into any official LDS statement did it?

August 17, 1949: The LDS First Presidency issues the following statement regarding the church and the negroes:

“The attitude of the Church with reference to Negroes remains as it has always stood. It is not a matter of the declaration of a policy but of direct commandment from the Lord, on which is founded the doctrine of the Church from the days of its organization, to the effect that Negroes may become members of the Church but that they are not entitled to the priesthood at the present time. The prophets of the Lord have made several statements as to the operation of the principle. President Brigham Young said: “Why are so many of the inhabitants of the earth cursed with a skin of blackness? It comes in consequence of their fathers rejecting the power of the holy priesthood, and the law of God. They will go down to death. And when all the rest of the children have received their blessings in the holy priesthood, then that curse will be removed from the seed of Cain, and they will then come up and possess the priesthood, and receive all the blessings which we now are entitled to.”

President Wilford Woodruff made the following statement: “The day will come when all that race will be redeemed and possess all the blessings which we now have.”

The position of the Church regarding the Negro may be understood when another doctrine of the Church is kept in mind, namely, that the conduct of spirits in the pre-mortal existence has some determining effect upon the conditions and circumstances under which these spirits take on mortality and that while the details of this principle have not been made known, the mortality is a privilege that is given to those who maintain their first estate; and that the worth of the privilege is so great that spirits are willing to come to earth and take on bodies no matter what the handicap may be as to the kind of bodies they are to secure; and that among the handicaps, failure of the right to enjoy in mortality the blessings of the priesthood is a handicap which spirits are willing to assume in order that they might come to earth. Under this principle there is no injustice whatsoever involved in this deprivation as to the holding of the priesthood by the Negroes.”

The First Presidency

The Official LDS Church statement of 1949 states:

  • The discrimination against blacks holding the Priesthood has always been the same.
  • This discrimination is a commandment from God – not a policy.
  • Blacks cannot receive the Priesthood until after the resurrection
  • This was determined by behavior in the pre-mortal state
  • Restricting blacks from having the Priesthood is not an injustice.

One might look to Alma 13 to see this doctrine in Mormon scripture too:

3 And this is the manner after which they were ordained—being called and prepared from the foundation of the world according to the foreknowledge of God, on account of their exceeding faith and good works; in the first place being left to choose good or evil; therefore they having chosen good, and exercising exceedingly great faith, are called with a holy calling, yea, with that holy calling which was prepared with, and according to, a preparatory redemption for such.

4 And thus they have been called to this holy calling on account of their faith, while others would reject the Spirit of God on account of the hardness of their hearts and blindness of their minds, while, if it had not been for this they might have had as great privilege as their brethren. (see Abraham 1:22-23 also)

Again we see contradictory official Church statements. Who knows what the LDS Church won’t believe or refuse to believe it once believed next week.