Holy moly. This guy ( Lawrence O’Donnell ) is a maniac! He’s not backing down in the slightest — guns are a’blazin!!!! I knew this was coming…the whole “litany of dark Mormon doctrines played out in the mainstream press” thing. Do we (as Mormons) owe Mitt Romney / Lawrence O’Donnell / Mike Huckabee a sneer, or a thank you? Time will tell.
Unfortunately, as a 5th generation, semi-informed, active Mormon — I have to admit that Mr. O’Donnell gets it pretty much totally right in his enumeration of a few of the “dark” Mormon doctrinal and historical secrets. For example….
- I’ve been taught in the LDS Church for most of my life that dark skin was dealt out by God as a result of sin (to the American Indians, Pacific Islanders, and to the blacks). The church has stopped actively teaching these doctrines relatively recently (past few years) — but these teachings/doctrines have never been denounced/withdrawn, many (most) of the faithful LDS members I know still believe them, and these teachings remain part of our holy scripture to this day
- …..as does polygamy, by the way (a brief history of LDS polygamy based entirely upon church-friendly sources can be found here)
- All the Missouri stuff is accurate.
- The Brigham Young quotes are pretty much spot on — and we do still consider Brigham Young to be our “prophet, seer and revelator” (though in all fairness, recently we have been encouraged to discount teachings from past church prophets/leaders if they seem out of step w/ current church teachings — though I’m not sure how well this memo has penetrated the local church levels).
- We absolutely believe that Jesus and Satan (along w/ all of the rest of us) are siblings
- I could go on, but I won’t.
All this said — I can also say that as of late, both the church and its apologists seem to be dramatically distancing themselves from all of these more controversial teachings. Perhaps sunshine really is the best antiseptic?
I must conclude with 3 final thoughts:
- I comprehensively detest the way Mr. O’Donnell is choosing to air our own dirty laundry in public. In my opinion, this is something that we should be working through ourselves — not being forced to deal with it on the international media stage. Maybe if Sunstone and Dialogue had been embraced by the LDS Church in the 80s (instead of punished) we (as a people) would have already worked through much of this by now? Just a thought.
- Perhaps all this will ultimately lead to some official clarifications for us — LDS Church members — as to what we should, and should not believe as official LDS Church doctrine going forward. If something like this were to happen as a result of Election 2008, I’d personally kiss Mitt Romney (though probably only on the cheek).
- I must conclude by saying that I absolutely believe that God inspires this church, its leadership, and most importantly — its members (though I don’t claim that we — or any religion for that matter — has any particular “corner” on the inspiration market)
Can all of this get any more interesting? My gut says….you bet.