As the recent LDS essay largely ignored the facsimiles below is an actual Egyptian translation compared to Joseph Smith’s interpretation:
If the church is a hospital for sinners then what is excommunication? Is it someone saying –
- You are too sick to be admitted – keep out of our hospital ward!
- We are putting you into a contagious disease unit (solitary confinement) so you don’t infect others!
- You don’t have the necessary health insurance (right type of doubts or sins) to be able to use this hospital!
- We obvious don’t meet your needs – why don’t you just start your own hospital!
- Our sickness is better than your sickness – when your sickness resembles ours please come back!
- What sickness? There is no sickness here! A hospital? No we are just a social club – you are mistaken about our purpose!
This is one of the problems with the recent excommunication of Kate Kelly: If she was wrong – how would cutting her off really help her?
In the past this blog has covered some of the ways in which Mormonism unjustly affects women:
- Women & Mormonism
- Women Are Responsible For Men’s Lusts?
- Mormonism and Rape
- Toilet Paper & Patriarchy
On the “Recovery From Mormonism” forum one contributor added another way – as female missionaries:
A word of advice to all new female missionaries preparing to enter the MTC.
As you are just heading out on your mission, I entered the MTC almost the same day back in 1990. I’m now about to turn 44.
I don’t think it is possible to understand how Patriarchy hurts women until you actually enter the mission field and you see how the church is run and you see just how little power you really have. You work and work and then have to turn your investigators over to a boy 3 years younger than you to baptize and your investigator is looking at you like you are a weak, weak woman who can’t literally work for god on her own. Wait, you’ll see.
Then, you’ll go to numerous zone meetings where the boys will get up and preside and lead and you will sit quietly with your companion and say nothing.
You will work at least 80 hours a week and still jump when the DL calls and wants you teach one of their female investigators even though you are exhausted, your laundry needs done, you’ve eaten nothing but pasta all week,…you’ll go…because the boys come first and you have to be “selfless”. And, when your companion or yourself becomes suicidal because of the lack of any control you have over your life out there…you’ll be blamed, not the church, not the program, not the regime.
So, here’s my advice and I hope you can here me. Remember this…you are doing all of this for FREE. Either you, or your friends and family are paying for you to be a saleswoman for the Corporation of the President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. For the next 18 months, you will attempt to convert people who will pay 10% to the church for a lifetime. You are literally filling the back accounts of the church, while yours is emptying. And when you come back, there is nothing for you. No tuition assistance, no lump sum payment…nothing. But the church could have already made thousands because of your work and hard hard labor.
So, I will tell you what I wish someone would have told me.
[I originally titled this series “Race and Lies, but …] Perhaps “lie” is too emotive a word, even when an accurate one, to describe the historical problems with the LDS Church’s “Race and the Priesthood” statement. From reading the web page I noticed 10 such problems, four of which I have already covered, and a few of which I’ll document below (a more comprehensive document is available here:
Problem #6 – Jane Manning & the Temple
Jane Manning James, a faithful black member who crossed the plains and lived in Salt Lake City until her death in 1908, similarly asked to enter the temple; she was allowed to perform baptisms for the dead for her ancestors but was not allowed to participate in other ordinances.” (Official LDS Statement)
Fact: In 1894 Jane Manning James was sealed to Joseph Smith. Not as a daughter, or as a wife, or as a friend, but as a servant!
She was “attached as a Servitor for eternity to the prophet Joseph Smith and in this capacity be connected with his family and be obedient to him in all things in the Lord as a faithful Servitor” (Salt Lake Temple Adoption Record, May 18, 1894, Book A, p. 26). Because Jane couldn’t participate in temple ceremonies directly, Bathseba W. Smith acted as her proxy for and Joseph F. Smith as proxy for Joseph Smith.
Isn’t even a vicarious ordinance participating? Isn’t that what we are told by the church about baptisms for the dead (that it is efficacious if people agree on the other side of the veil, and that they are taking part in spirit)? Is the Church saying she wasn’t involved – that it was against her will?
In Matthias F. Cowley’s book, ‘Wilford Woodruff’ [p. 587], the following story is told:
‘There is one peculiar characteristic noticeable in the journal ow Wilford Woodruff., . . . [He] love to dwell upon the good deeds of others . . . . . He said in his journal of o of October, that year , that ‘Aunt Jane,’ the colored sister, had been to see him She was anxious to go through the Temple and receive the highest ordinances of the Gospel. President Woodruff blessed her for her constant, never changing devotion to the Gospel but explained to her her disadvantages as one of the descendants of Cain.
“In after years, when President Joseph F. Smith preached the funeral sermon of this same faithful woman, he declared that she would, in the resurrection, attain the longing of her soul and become a white and beautiful person.
Elijah Abel was given a similar blessing by Joseph Smith, Sr. That is the ultimate reward of the most faithful black Mormons: to become white! (Although still servants in eternity).
Lie #4 – Blacks would some day have the Priesthood
President Young said that at some future day, black Church members would ‘have [all] the privilege and more” enjoyed by other members.’
What is wrong with this statement? In reality Brigham Young did not say this would happen at some general “future day” – he said it would happen at a specific future day. This is a major point. The impression is given it could happen any time the Lord said to the leaders to go ahead, but that is not what Brigham Young (or Joseph Smith) taught.
Brigham Young taught it could not happen before Abel came forward in the resurrection and his children outnumbered those of Cain – that did not happen before or by 1978:
Now I tell you what I know: when the mark was put upon Cain, Abel’s children were in all probability young; the Lord told Cain that he should not receive the blessings of the Priesthood, nor his seed, until the last of the posterity of Abel had received the Priesthood, until the redemption of the earth. If there never was a prophet or apostle of Jesus Christ [that] spoke it before, I tell you, this people that are commonly called Negroes are the children of old Cain. I know they are; I know that they cannot bear rule in the Priesthood, for the curse on them was to remain upon them until the residue of the posterity of Michael and his wife receive the blessings the seed of Cain would have received had they not been cursed, and hold the keys of the Priesthood until the times of the restitution shall come, and the curse be wiped off from the earth and from Michael’s seed. Then Cain’s seed will be had in remembrance and the time come when the curse should be wiped off.
Now, then, in the Kingdom of God on the earth, a man who has the African blood in him cannot hold one jot nor tittle of Priesthood. Why? Because they are the true eternal principles the Lord Almighty has ordained, and who can help it? Men cannot, the angels cannot, and all the powers ofearth and hell cannot take it off; but thus saith the Eternal I am, what I am, Itake it off at my pleasure, and not one particle of power can that posterity of Cain have until the time comes that says he will have it taken away.
… Were the children of God to mingle their seed with the seed of Cain it would not only bring the curse of being deprived of the power of the priesthood upon themselves but they entail it upon their children after them, and they cannot get rid of it.” (Brigham Young Addresses 2:77, 5 January 1852)
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.
Lie #2 – Discrimination didn’t start with Joseph Smith?
There is no evidence that any black men were denied the priesthood during Joseph Smith’s lifetime.” (Official LDS Church statement, 2013)
Another carefully worded statement. Some may presume from it that the priesthood denial doesn’t have its origins with Joseph Smith, which would be wrong. However, the concept and practice of restricting priesthood based on race both started in Joseph Smith’s day. In fact the LDS Church officially acknowledged this in 1968:
LDS First Presidency letter, 15 December 1968:
To General Authorities, Regional Representatives of the Twelve, Stake Presidents, Mission Presidents, and Bishops.
In view of confusion that has arisen, it was decided at a meeting of the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve to restate the position of the Church with regard to the Negro both in society and in the Church.
A word of explanation concerning the position of the Church.
From the beginning of this dispensation, Joseph Smith and all succeeding presidents of the Church have taught that Negroes, while spirit children of a common Father, and the progeny of our earthly parents Adam and Eve, were not yet to receive the priesthood, for reasons which we believe are known to God, but which He has not made fully known to man.
Our living prophet, President David O. McKay, has said, ‘The seeming discrimination by the Church toward the Negro is not something which originated with man; but goes back into the beginning with God. … ‘Revelation assures us that this plan antedates man’s mortal existence, extending back to man’s pre-existent state.’ President McKay has also said, ‘Sometime in God’s eternal plan, the Negro will be given the right to hold the priesthood.’
Faithfully your brethren,
The First Presidency
Hugh B. Brown
N. Eldon Tanner
Is the LDS Church officially repudiating this official LDS Church statement? Their latest statement is in direct conflict with it. Was the First Presidency of 1968 teaching false doctrine, and – if so – what does this say about the reliability of their successors?
The 1968 First Presidency wasn’t mistaken or speaking from ignorance, there is in fact ample evidence that the Priesthood ban began with Joseph Smith – even if the practice wasn’t always consistently or fully implemented. It’s origins were more with Joseph than the LDS Church wants people to believe:
“Cain’s Priesthood proved a cursing to him because of his unrighteousness.” (Joseph Smith, 1840, History of the Church 2:213. Note: Joseph speaks of “the Negroes or sons of Cain”, thus equating the black race and lineage of Cain together, see Joseph Smith Journal, 25 January 1842; History of the Church 4:501 & 1:75)
“He [Noah] cursed him [Canaan, Ham’s son] by the Priesthood which he held, and the Lord had respect to his word, and the Priesthood which he held… and the curse remains upon the posterity of Canaan until the present day.” (Joseph Smith, History of the Church 4:445-6)
“He [Joseph F. Smith] said that the Prophet Joseph is credited with saying that…Ham had married a daughter of Cain, and by him the curse was carried through the flood…after Ham’s curse, his seed were entirely black.” (Journal of Abraham H. Cannon, 29 March 1892, see First Presidency Meeting Minutes, 18 august 1900).
“A black skin … has ever been a curse that has followed an apostate of the holy Priesthood.” (Joseph Smith, Times & Seasons 6:857.)
The LDS Church has issued an official statement on “Race and the Priesthood“. It was an opportunity for the LDS Church to apologize about its discrimination in the past, but instead it used it as a chance to justify itself once again. In doing so it made many provably false statements:
Lie #1 – No Segregation in the LDS Church?
“There has never been a Churchwide policy of segregated congregations.” (Official LDS Church statement, 2013)
This is a carefully worded statement that depends on how you define congregation. However, if one takes the dictionary definition of “an assembly of persons met for worship and religious instruction” then the LDS Church definitely did officially endorse such segregation:
First Presidency Letter to President Ezra T. Benson, Washington [D.C.] Stake, 23 June 1942:
Dear President Benson:
Through the General Board of the Relief Society, who reported to the Presiding Bishopric, and they to us, it comes to us that you have in the Capitol Reef Ward in Washington two colored sisters who apparently are faithful members of the Church.
The report comes to us that prior to a meeting which was to be held between the Relief Societies of the Washington Ward and the Capitol Ward, Bishop Brossard of the Washington Ward called up the President of the Relief Society of the Capitol Ward and told her that these two colored sisters should [not] be permitted to attend because the President of the Capitol Ward Relief Society failed to carry out the request made of her by the Bishop of the other ward.
We can appreciate that the situation may present a problem in Washington, but President Clark recalls that in the Catholic churches in Washington at the time he lived there, colored and white communicants used the same church at the same time. He never entered the church to see how the matter was carried out, but he knew that the facts were as stated.
From this fact we are assuming that there is not in Washington any such feeling as exists in the South where the colored people are apparently not permitted by their white brethren and sisters to come into the meeting houses and worship with them. We feel that we cannot refuse baptism to a colored person who is otherwise worthy, and we feel that we cannot refuses to permit these people to come into our meeting houses and worship once we baptize them.
It seems to us that it ought to be possible to work this situation out without causing any feelings on the part of anybody. If the white sisters feel that they may not sit with them or near them, we fell very sure that if the colored sisters were discreetly approached, they would be happy to sit at one side in the rear or somewhere where they would not wound the sensibilities of the complaining sisters. We will rely upon your tact and discretion to work this out so as not to hurt the feelings on the part of anyone.
Of course, probably each one of the sisters who can afford it, has a colored maid in her house to do the work and to do the cooking for her, and it would seem that under these circumstances they should be willing to let them sit in Church and worship with them.
Faithfully your brethren,
Heber J. Grant
J. Reuben Clark, Jr.
David O. McKay
In the footnotes the LDS Church does admit that –
“At some periods of time, reflecting local customs and laws, there were instances of segregated congregations in areas such as South Africa and the U.S. South.”
However, the question should be asked “Why should the LDS Church follow local customs? Shouldn’t it oppose customs that are unethical or immoral?”. Early Christians broke laws just to be Christians, why was the LDS Church so afraid to do so? Aren’t there higher laws which take precedence?
The LDS Church’s claims at obeying “customs and laws” are often quite dubious too:
“Brother [Moses] Mahlangu received the missionary discussions in 1964 in Johannesburg, South Africa. His request for baptism was denied due to existing laws of the land. […] For the next 14 years, Moses distributed copies of the Book of Mormon and other missionary material to his people. On Sundays Moses would go to the Church in Johannesburg and sit outside the window. Members would open the windows and turn up the speakers so he could listen. […] Moses was a true pioneer among the blacks of South Africa. He held regular meetings in his home, where he taught from the Book of Mormon and prepared many of his friends for the gospel. Beginning in 1978, Moses Mahlangu and others from Soweto were allowed to attend church meetings in the Johannesburg chapel. Moses Mahlangu was baptized in June 1980.” (http://www.lds.org/pages/moses-mahlangu-the-conversion-power-of-the-book-of-mormon)
What is interesting about this account on the official LDS web site is that it admits a black South African was kept out of ward meetings prior to 1978. It infers that this was due to the law of the land, but that is incorrect, as Apartheid (the law which segregated blacks and whites) wasn’t repealed until 1991. Before that time mixed racial congregations existed amongst Catholics, Anglicans, Methodists, and other religions.
Segregation is not only part of modern LDS Church history it is also part of LDS scripture:
Alma 3:14 – “set a mark on them that they and their seed may be separated from thee and thy seed. …”
Moses 7:22 – “… for the seed of Cain were black and had not place among them.”
A recently leaked LDS Europe Area Presidency report gives an interesting insight into the ‘growth’ of the Church in Europe.
It seems there are less than 50,000 active adult members in all of Europe – including Russia (48,668 temple recommend holders), and a total attendance of 100,000. That is out of half a million claimed members (an inactivity rate of 80%).
On average only 7000 people join the church per year, and during a 3 year period (2009-12), only 28651 people were baptized, but church attendance only went up 1129 people. That means the church lost 96% of those gains (through a combination of low retention of converts and existing members).
There were once 3 sets of presidencies to cover this area, now there is one, many missions have been consolidated too due to lack of success. On average each missionary now baptizes half a person (whether its the top or bottom half it doesn’t say).
The Area Presidencie’s goal is to double Sacrament Meeting attendance in 1 year, although in four years it has only increased 6% and convert baptisms are not increasing proportionately to the number of missionaries (Wouldn’t this require each missionary baptizing over 70 people – given the inactivity rate?).
As an interesting addendum, although growth was stagnant in many areas, one county, Cornwall, saw a drop in membership. In this county a Bishop resigned his membership and sent a letter to his congregation.
Lack of Charity Spending
The LDS Church spends the least of any similarly sized organization – including for-profit corporations – on humanitarian aid. However it owns more for-profit enterprises than any other ‘charitable’ institutions – including a multi-billion dollar mall.
The High Rates of Depression & Suicide
Utah has the highest rate of male teen suicides in the nation & Utah leads the nation in most prescriptions fill for antidepressants. (Deseret News, Oct. 21, 2011 & Salt Lake Tribune, Nov 23, 1998-A9)
The High Rates of Fraud & Bankruptcy
Utah has the highest rate of personal bankruptcy in the nation, and the highest rate of foreclosure. (October 30, 2001, USA Today & Deseret News, March 19, 2008.)
The Lacks of Rights and Respect Given To Women
Utah is considered the second worse state for women economically & has one of the highest domestic violence rates. (Salt lake Tribune, Feb 17, 2004.) Utah is also the #1 US Internet Porn state. (Deseret News, March 3, 2009) Unsurprisingly its also one of the highest in its incidents of rape. (Salt Lake Tribune, 7/12/03)