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Black people wasn't allowed as members until 1978!?!

Discussion in 'Latter-day Saints DIR' started by Kristoffer, Mar 29, 2015.

  1. Kristoffer

    Kristoffer Member

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    I´ve understand it that the mormon church didn't allow black people to be members before the year 1978.
    - Is this correct?
    - Why had the church this law?
    - What was the presidents argument to first have this law, and then remove it?
     
  2. Katzpur

    Katzpur Not your average Mormon

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    No, it's not. Blacks have been permitted to me members of the Church since it was founded in 1830, and the Church has always had integrated congregations. For a number of years (though not from the beginning) Black men were not allowed to hold the Church's priesthood. This ban was lifted in 1978 and since that time, there has been no discrimination of any kind in the Church.

    This is actually a very involved issue and it's almost impossible to say with absolute certainty. Brigham Young (second President of the Church) instituted the ban sometime during his administration. There was actually no revelation authorizing it, but it became a policy nevertheless. Today, the Church's leadership acknowledges that while Brigham Young may have found what he believed to have been scriptural support for the policy, it was more likely that it was just a matter of him being a product of the culture in which he had been raised. At that time (the latter half of the 1800s), racism was prevalent everywhere in America. One would hope that a Mormon leader would not be influenced by the prevailing attitudes of the American people, but unfortunately he was. While there were a number of explanations commonly given for the ban in the 20th century, since 1978, we have been told that all of these reasons were no more than speculation.

    There was no real argument put forth when the policy went into effect. It was basically just accepted that Brigham Young was doing what God wanted. By the 20th century, there seems to have been some talk among the Church's leadership and a general feeling among the Church's membership that there would eventually come a time when priesthood authority would be extended to Black men. The thing is, a new policy could not be implemented until all fifteen of the Church's top men (the "First Presidency" and the "Quorum of the Twelve Apostles") were in agreement on it. To make a long story short, this did not take place until June, 1978. A copy of the revelation received by those fifteen men follows:

    As we have witnessed the expansion of the work of the Lord over the earth, we have been grateful that people of many nations have responded to the message of the restored gospel, and have joined the Church in ever-increasing numbers. This, in turn, has inspired us with a desire to extend to every worthy member of the Church all of the privileges and blessings which the gospel affords.

    Aware of the promises made by the prophets and presidents of the Church who have preceded us that at some time, in God’s eternal plan, all of our brethren who are worthy may receive the priesthood, and witnessing the faithfulness of those from whom the priesthood has been withheld, we have pleaded long and earnestly in behalf of these, our faithful brethren, spending many hours in the Upper Room of the Temple supplicating the Lord for divine guidance.

    He has heard our prayers, and by revelation has confirmed that the long-promised day has come when every faithful, worthy man in the Church may receive the holy priesthood, with power to exercise its divine authority, and enjoy with his loved ones every blessing that flows therefrom, including the blessings of the temple. Accordingly, all worthy male members of the Church may be ordained to the priesthood without regard for race or color. Priesthood leaders are instructed to follow the policy of carefully interviewing all candidates for ordination to either the Aaronic or the Melchizedek Priesthood to insure that they meet the established standards for worthiness.

    We declare with soberness that the Lord has now made known his will for the blessing of all his children throughout the earth who will hearken to the voice of his authorized servants, and prepare themselves to receive every blessing of the gospel.

    I was 29 years old at the time of this announcement, and it was one of the happiest days of my life.


     
    #2 Katzpur, Mar 29, 2015
    Last edited: Mar 29, 2015
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  3. Katzpur

    Katzpur Not your average Mormon

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    I'm not sure what your point is, Skwim. You essentially just repeated what I already said.
     
  4. Katzpur

    Katzpur Not your average Mormon

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    There was no such implication. I was 100% honest in explaining that they did face discrimination in the Church up until 1978. Now stay out of the LDS DIR.
     
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  5. Norman

    Norman Defender of Truth

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    Norman: Some black men did hold the Priesthood before 1978! But except in the case of Elijah Abel and his descendants, all men of Hamitic lineage (bloodline) were forbidden to hold the LDS Priesthood before 1978. However, there are black-skinned men of non-Hamitic lineages, like the Dravidians of India, the Aborigines of Australia, the Melansians of Fiji and Melanesia, and the Negritoes of the Philipines and Indonesia, all had a right to the Priesthood, and those who were worthy Members of the Church held it before 1978. Also, white-skinned Hamites could not hold the Priesthood or partake of the higher ordinances of Mormon Temples until 1978. There are black-skinned men of non-Hamitic lineages, like the Dravidians of India, the Aborigines of Australia, the Melansians of Fiji and Melanesia, and the Negritoes of the Philipines and Indonesia, and their are white-skinned Hamites in Africa. Mulatto (white-skinned and dark-skinned Brazilians with mixed European and African ancestry)

    Author: Cherry, Alan
    Author: Embry, Jessie L.

    The history of black membership in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints can be divided between the era from 1830 to June 1978 and the period since then.

    HISTORY. Though few in number, blacks have been attracted to the Church since its organization. Early converts (such as Elijah Abel) joined during the 1830s; others (such as Jane Manning James) joined after the Saints moved to Illinois. Among those who came to Utah as pioneers were Green Flake, who drove Brigham Young's wagon into the Salt Lake Valley, and Samuel Chambers, who joined in Virginia as a slave and went west after being freed. Throughout the twentieth century, small numbers of blacks continued to join the Church, such as the Sargent family of Carolina County, Virginia, who joined in 1906; Len and Mary Hope, who joined in Alabama during the 1920s; Ruffin Bridgeforth, a railroad worker in Utah, converted in 1953; and Helvecio Martins, a black Brazilian businessman, baptized in 1972 (he became a general authority in 1990). These members remained committed to their testimonies and Church activities even though during this period prior to 1978 black members could not hold the priesthood or participate in temple ordinances.

    The reasons for these restrictions have not been revealed. Church leaders and members have explained them in different ways over time. Although several blacks were ordained to the priesthood in the 1830s, there is no evidence that Joseph Smith authorized new ordinations in the 1840s, and between 1847 and 1852 Church leaders maintained that blacks should be denied the priesthood because of their lineage. According to the book of Abraham (now part of the Pearl of Great Price), the descendants of Cain were to be denied the priesthood of God (
    Abr. 1:23-26). Some Latter-day Saints theorized that blacks would be restricted throughout mortality. As early as 1852, however, Brigham Young said that the "time will come when they will have the privilege of all we have the privilege of and more" (Brigham Young Papers, Church Archives, Feb. 5, 1852), and increasingly in the 1960s, Presidents of the Church taught that denial of entry to the priesthood was a current commandment of God, but would not prevent blacks from eventually possessing all eternal blessings.

    Black Latter-day Saints are a nonhomogeneous mix of various "kindreds, tongues, and peoples" emerging from thousands of years of unprecedented religious and cultural exclusions. As with LDS Afro-Americans, many black members outside the United States encounter contrasting circumstances of full ecclesiastical involvement, on the one hand, and general Church ignorance of their respective cultures, on the other hand. Local leaders and members (primarily white Latter-day Saints) often lack a good working knowledge of black members' needs, concerns, and circumstances. Despite the 1978 priesthood revelation and expanded missionary work among blacks, unexplored challenges to their growth and retention remain in counterpoint to their happiness with priesthood inclusion.

    Despite the cultural miscommunications that remain, black Latter-day Saints enjoy opportunities in all phases of Church activity, including missionary work, quorum leadership, bishoprics, and stake presidencies, along with other members. The first entirely black African stake was organized in 1988. Indeed, black Latter-day Saints may be an LDS historical enigma that has emerged as a prime example of success in LDS brotherhood and sisterhood.

    Source:

    Blacks - The Encyclopedia of Mormonism
     
  6. Kristoffer

    Kristoffer Member

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    This is very interesting! Thanks for explaining this to me! :)
    But, i got interested in the "ordination to either the Aaronic or the Melchizedek Priesthood", that was taken up, and that Skwim told more detailed about. What is it that the two of these priesthoods got as responsibilities for the church? What does it say for the member who inherit this kind of responsibility?
     
  7. Katzpur

    Katzpur Not your average Mormon

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    It matters greatly to me that Black people were discriminated against. I detest discrimination and always have. As I said before, the day the ban was lifted was one of the most memorable and happy days of my life.
    Equality is absolutely NOT the issue here. The question posed by the OP concerned whether Blacks could or could not be members of the Church prior to 1978, not whether they were all of the benefits membership afforded non-Blacks. My answer was both honest and comprehensive. Your reply insinuated that it was not.

    Don't BS me. You no more care about what kind of a day I have than I care about yours.
     
    #7 Katzpur, Mar 30, 2015
    Last edited: Mar 30, 2015
  8. 9-10ths_Penguin

    9-10ths_Penguin 1/10 Subway Stalinist
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    Do you mean no racial discrimination? The LDS Church still forbids women from being priests, right?
     
  9. Katzpur

    Katzpur Not your average Mormon

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    Yes, I meant racial discrimination, because that is the subject of this thread. :rolleyes: And yes, the LDS Church still forbids women from being priests, as does the Roman Catholic Church and the Eastern Orthodox Church. This is a policy that is apparently very problematic to about .001% of all LDS women, and it's really not the topic of this thread at all. If you want to discuss the issue of women and the LDS priesthood, start a new thread and ask your questions.
     
    #9 Katzpur, Mar 30, 2015
    Last edited: Mar 30, 2015
  10. 9-10ths_Penguin

    9-10ths_Penguin 1/10 Subway Stalinist
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    Terms like "no discrimination of any kind" suggest something larger than just the narrow focus of the thread.

    Makes sense - people tend not to join churches (or leave, if they're already members) if they disagree with the church's position and beliefs.

    For similar reasons, I imagine that before 1978, most black Mormons agreed with their priesthood ban, too.
     
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  11. Katzpur

    Katzpur Not your average Mormon

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    Well forgive me! If I had left it at that, I can understand why you'd say what you're saying, but I didn't. I explained how, with respect to Black members of the Church, there was no discrimination after 1978. You ought to know me well enough by now that you wouldn't suggest that I was being intentionally deceptive or less than forthcoming. I'm surprised to think that you're suggesting that.

    Really. That's news to me.

    Imagine all you want. That would be a very difficult thing to prove one way or another. All I can do is relate my experience:

    I was 29-years old when the ban was lifted, and working at an ad agency in downtown Salt Lake, just a couple of blocks from Church headquarters. It was late morning. I guess someone in the office had a radio on, because that's the only way any of us would have found out that soon after the announcement. News spread through the agency like wildfire. Some people didn't believe it; they assumed it was a hoax, because there has been absolutely no hint that it was going to take place. I was so excited I could hardly stand it. I decided I was going to take my lunch a little bit early since I simply couldn't concentrate on my work. I walked across the street to the large downtown mall. As I walked, I became aware that I was smiling. Actually, I was grinning from ear to ear. I was so thrilled that I just couldn't contain myself. When I realized what I was doing, I became very self-conscious. I mean, who walks down the street alone with a huge smile plastered on her face? :D I tried to stop smiling and look normal, but as I looked around to see who might have noticed me, everyone I saw was smiling, too! Big smiles! It was the strangest thing imaginable. Everybody I saw was thrilled.
     
    #11 Katzpur, Mar 30, 2015
    Last edited: Mar 30, 2015
  12. 9-10ths_Penguin

    9-10ths_Penguin 1/10 Subway Stalinist
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    I'm not suggesting that. I don't think you intendedto mislead anyone, but the way your post was worded left a false impression.

    You say it was a surprise. Does this mean that there wasn't a vocal movement calling for the ban to be lifted in the period leading up to when it happened? Was the ban considered controversial in LDS circles before 1978?
     
  13. Katzpur

    Katzpur Not your average Mormon

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    Well, if it did, it was entirely unintentional.

    Not within the Church. As a matter of fact, any real pressure from outside the Church had pretty much died out 10-15 years earlier. The announcement was entirely unexpected.

    Not particularly. I'm sure there were people like me who believed it should have been lifted long before it was, but if there was any kind of a movement among the membership to have it lifted, I was completely unaware of it. Living right in Mormon-central, I think I'd have known about it.
     
    #13 Katzpur, Mar 30, 2015
    Last edited: Mar 30, 2015
  14. Norman

    Norman Defender of Truth

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    Norman: Your are welcome skwim, and thank you for your interest in this topic :)
     
  15. Norman

    Norman Defender of Truth

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    Norman: Hi 9-10ths_Penguin, I hope you don't mind me interjecting here. Yes, the woman of our Church do not hold the priesthood. However, they have a greater role to play
    in the largest woman's organization in the world called the "Relief Society." The sisters of our Church have there own General presidency and hold a very significant place in
    our Church. Without the sisters there would be no Latter Day Saint Church. They are wonderful and respect that men hold the priesthood, however as Katzpur pointed out there
    is a small minority who thinks the priesthood should be given to them. However, the sisters are blessed through the priesthood through there husbands and if single or widowed
    through Home Teachers who visit every month to these sisters. I just wanted to share that with you.
     
  16. Norman

    Norman Defender of Truth

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    Norman: Hi Skwim, I hope you don't mind me jumping into your conversation with katzpur; who gave an excellent response in her first post. In answering your question, yes, I guess
    you could look at the black brothers of our Church who were denied the priesthood could be looked at as discrimination. Although as I stated in my other post to you that there were
    some black brothers of our Church that was granted the priesthood. Just to add a bit more to the conversation, this does go back to the Old Testament which is another long explanation
    that I will spare you with. Another consensus goes back to the pre-existent. You may or may not know that we as Latter Day Saints believe that we lived as spirit children with our Heavenly
    Father before we came to the earth to gain physical bodies to house our spirits. So, this is just two explanations, the old testament and pre-existent. Thank you for your interest in this thread.
    Your buddy, Norman.
    :)
     
  17. fantome profane

    fantome profane Beyond your borders do not live a lesser people..
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    If I can ask a question that is just a little bit off topic, what about the rule that says that women cannot hold the priesthood? Is that authorized by an official revelation, or is that just the belief of someone who was the product of the culture in which they were raised?
     
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  18. Norman

    Norman Defender of Truth

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    Norman: Hi 9-10ths_Penguin, I am sure it was controversial in LDS circles and just to add to that. During the civil rights era in the United States, denial of the priesthood to blacks drew increasing criticism, culminating in athletic boycotts of Brigham Young University, threatened lawsuits, and public condemnation of the Church in the late 1960s. When questioned about the Church and blacks, Church officials stated that removal of the priesthood restriction would require revelation from God-not policy changes by men. I hope this helped answer your question.

    Source:

    Blacks - The Encyclopedia of Mormonism
     
  19. Norman

    Norman Defender of Truth

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    Norman: Hi Kristoffer, I think it is important to share with you how our Church obtained these Priesthoods. It may be a lot to stomach but this is the account; followed by responsibilities
    of the two priesthoods. Sorry if this is long, however just go to
    www.lds.org and read from the Doctrine and Covenants and follow the scriptures that I post below when you have more time.

    Joseph Smith:

    ...we on a certain day went into the woods to pray and inquire of the Lord respecting
    baptism for the remission of sins, that we found mentioned in the translation of the plates. While we were thus employed, praying and calling upon the Lord, a messenger from heaven descended in a cloud of light, and having laid his hands upon us, he ordained us, saying: “Upon you my fellow servants, in the name of Messiah, I confer the Priesthood of Aaron, which holds the keys of the ministering of angels, and of the gospel of repentance, and of baptism by immersion for the remission of sins. … “He said this Aaronic Priesthood had not the power of laying on hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost, but that this should be conferred on us hereafter; and he commanded us … that I should baptize Oliver Cowdery, and that afterwards he should baptize me. “Accordingly we went and were baptized. I baptized him first, and afterwards he baptized me—after which I laid my hands upon his head and ordained him to the Aaronic Priesthood, and afterwards he laid his hands on me and ordained me to the same Priesthood—for so we were commanded. “The messenger who visited us on this occasion and conferred this Priesthood upon us, said that his name was John, the same that is called John the Baptist in the New Testament, and that he acted under the direction of Peter, James and John, who held the keys of the Priesthood of Melchizedek, which Priesthood, he said, would in due time be conferred on us” (JS—H 1:68–72; emphasis in JS—H 1:70, 72 added).2

    ...the Lord … answered us out of the heavens, and while we were in the heavenly vision the angel came down and bestowed upon us this priesthood; and then, as I have said, we repaired to the water and were baptized. After this we received the high and holy [Melchizedek] priesthood from Peter James and John who appeared to us and laid their hands upon us and conferred the Melchizedek upon us.”
    4

    The authority and power that God gives to man to act in all things for the salvation of man (
    D&C 50:26–27). Male members of the Church who hold the priesthood are organized into quorums and are authorized to perform ordinances and certain administrative functions in the Church.

    A priest’s duties in the restored Church are described:
    D&C 20:46–52;

    The Melchizedek Priesthood is the higher or greater priesthood; the Aaronic Priesthood is the lesser priesthood. The Melchizedek Priesthood includes the keys of the spiritual blessings of the Church. Through the ordinances of the higher priesthood, the power of godliness is made manifest to men (
    D&C 84:18–25; 107:18–21).

    God first revealed this higher priesthood to Adam. The patriarchs and prophets in every dispensation had this authority (
    D&C 84:6–17). It was first called the Holy Priesthood, after the Order of the Son of God. It later became known as the Melchizedek Priesthood (D&C 107:2–4). When the children of Israel failed to live up to the privileges and covenants of the Melchizedek Priesthood, the Lord took away the higher law and gave them a lesser priesthood and a lesser law (D&C 84:23–26). These were called the Aaronic Priesthood and the law of Moses. When Jesus came to the earth, he restored the Melchizedek Priesthood to the Jews and began to build up the Church among them. However, the priesthood and the Church were lost again through apostasy. They were later restored through Joseph Smith, Jr. (D&C 27:12–13; 128:20; JS—H 1:73). Within the Melchizedek Priesthood are the offices of elder, high priest, patriarch, Seventy, and Apostle (D&C 107). The Melchizedek Priesthood will always be a part of the kingdom of God upon the earth. The President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the president of the high or Melchizedek Priesthood, and he holds all the keys that pertain to the kingdom of God on the earth. The calling of President is held by only one man at a time, and he is the only person on the earth authorized to exercise all priesthood keys (D&C 107:64–67; 132:7).

    The Melchizedek Priesthood was conferred on Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery:
    D&C 27:12–13; ( JS—H 1:72; )

    This priesthood received by oath and covenant:
    D&C 84:33–42;

    There are two divisions or grand heads, the Melchizedek and the Aaronic priesthoods:
    D&C 107:6;

    The Melchizedek Priesthood holds the rights to administer all spiritual blessings :
    D&C 107:8–18;

    Moses, Elias, and Elijah gave Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery priesthood keys:
    D&C 110:11–16;

    I now give unto you the officers belonging to my priesthood, that ye may hold the keys thereof:
    D&C 124:123;

    Thank you for your interest in our Church :)
     
  20. Norman

    Norman Defender of Truth

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    Norman: Hi fantome profane, I hope you don't mind me jumping in here. It was by official revelation. Below I posted a response to Penguin.

    Norman: "Hi 9-10ths_Penguin, I hope you don't mind me interjecting here. Yes, the woman of our Church do not hold the priesthood. However, they have a greater role to play
    in the largest woman's organization in the world called the "Relief Society." The sisters of our Church have there own General presidency and hold a very significant place in
    our Church. Without the sisters there would be no Latter Day Saint Church. They are wonderful and respect that men hold the priesthood, however as Katzpur pointed out there
    is a small minority who thinks the priesthood should be given to them. However, the sisters are blessed through the priesthood through there husbands and if single or widowed
    through Home Teachers who visit every month to these sisters. I just wanted to share that with you."
     
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