022-024: Black and Mormon — The Darron Smith Story

March 30, 2006
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In this 3 part series, we interview Darron Smith–a black man who joined the LDS church as a teenager in Tennessee. After serving a mission for the LDS Church and graduating from the University of Utah, Darron began a 10 year teaching career at church-owned Brigham Young University.

Late last year, Darron’s employment was terminated in response to (according to Darron) his public outspokenness regarding the LDS Church and its treatment of blacks–past and present.

In this podcast, Darron:

  • Discusses his positive upbringing in the LDS Church
  • Provides a brief history of Blacks within the LDS Church
  • Discusses his termination from BYU, and
  • Relates his future hopes for the LDS Church with regard to these issues

As always, these podcasts are available via iTunes. In addition, to listen directly to these podcasts:

  • Click here for episode 1
  • Click here for episode 2
  • Click here for episode 3

Finally, for those interested, check out PBS Religion & Ethics this weekend for an interview w/ Darron Smith about his story. My TV guide tells me that this will be on Sunday morning at 6:30AM on KUED (Channel 7), but please correct me if I’m wrong.

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29 Responses to 022-024: Black and Mormon — The Darron Smith Story

  1. March 31, 2006 at 8:14 am

    I’m honored to be the first one to reply after such a great podcast with such an honorable and great man as Darron Smith. I respect this man so much!! All I can say, is that Darron Smith sounded like me talking, as he basically said and reiterated almost everything that I’ve been saying over the last 10 months, regarding the Mormon Church and their hideous racist teachings and past.

    This subject of racism, is what led me right out of the Church and it all started with the article and Darron Smith’s story from the Salt Lake City Weekly, that was written in December 2004. The contents of that article, including the statements from Brigham Young and the treatment of his wife(who is white) in Church, when she spoke up, were absolutely shocking to me and opened my eyes to the Mormon racism, that has never been repudiated or apologized for.

    I fully credit Darron Smith, for planting that seed, that ultimately led me to further research and ultimately my freedom. He is a great man!! Unless, of course, you consider honesty, integrity and justice to be dirty words? I will always be grateful for his fight for justice and exposure of these embarrassing, racist teachings and statements.

    http://www.slweekly.com/editorial/2004/feat_2004-12-16.cfm

    Darron Smith reiterated over and over, very powerfully and eloquently, the fact that they(current or past Mormon Hierarchy), refuse to apologize for their racist Apostles and Prophets, along with all of the horrible racist statements and teachings, from the very beginning.

    They just sweep these horrible things that were both said and done, under the proverbial rug, and treat them, as Hinckley says, like “little flecks of history.” In other words, “they are behind us now, we have temples in Africa, they are good people, they have their own leaders”, and so on and so on, never actually addressing the racist things that have actually been said and taught.

    They still sell and praise “Mormon Doctrine” and just blame it on the time period and when it was written. So it was okay to be a racist Apostle or Prophet, because, hey, everybody was, it was just the way it was back then, right?What a disgrace!! Is it really that hard to say, “we are sorry, we were wrong, those aren’t inspired words, etc?”

    It’s amazing that all Darron wants, and all many of us want, regarding the racist issues, is an APOLOGY, or as Darron Smith says, an atoning of their past sins, just like they preach and expect from us, but they refuse, these white men, as they sit on their thrones, as we’ll get to see once again, first hand, this weekend.

    A bunch of white men, telling the world how it is, to forgive, repent, etc, while they are the biggest hypocrites of all, refusing to say three simple words; WE ARE SORRY!! What was it Benson said about PRIDE? How many current black Apostles does the Mormon Church have? How many black Seventies? How many black seventies has the Church had since 1978? ONE!! That’s it!!

    The late Helvécio Martins was called in 1990 and then released in 1995 after completing his 5 years. I guess the Church was happy, with their TOKEN black man, weren’t they? I guess that proved they were no longer racists, or better yet, that God was no longer a racist, because it was never them, it was God all along, wasn’t it?

    Helvécio Martins Son Marcus, was one of the first black missionaries called since Elijah Abel, and from what I understand, he had to cancel his wedding, to do the Church a big PR favor and go on a mission.

    Hmmm….I guess we’ll have to watch conference on Sunday and then read the forthcoming Ensign, to see if we can find a black man anywhere up on the stand or in those center pages. Good luck!! But hey, that’s behind us now, get over it, right?

    I’m not gonna say much more, because Darron Smith already said it all. John, I can’t wait to see how your fans and the TBMS, respond to this one. The fact that this interview was out for over a day and there were no comments, says a lot to me. You have over 500 people subscribed now John and I’m the first one to comment?

    Where’s Bookslinger and the gang? Somebody please say something besides me. I’m not condemning this racism just because it is a “Mormon thing”, and highly embarrassing to all members and the Mormon hierarchy, rather racism and bigotry of any kind, is wrong, period!!

    Silence speaks a thousand words. I challenge you TBMS that listened to this and are reading my words, to come clean, and be honest with yourselves and accept the reality and totality of what Darron Smith said. Exactly what are the implications of this racism?

    What does it really mean, that supposedly inspired Apostles and Prophets, that aren’t allowed to lead the Saints astray,(according to Woodruff, Benson and Ballard) were racists and the current Apostles and Prophets refuse to apologize? Didn’t they lead the Saints astray then and still are now, by simply refusing to address the issue, make a wrong right or apologize?

    Don’t respond to what I’m writing guys, rather respond to what Darron Smith said and expressed in this interview. I doubt very seriously, that I’m saying much that he would disagree with, knowing his candidness, honesty and desire to fight for justice. Are you guys actually going to attack this fine man, Darron Smith, as you have attacked me and would attack me, for saying the very same things.

    Will you die-hard TBMERS and apologists, dare attack a well respected and educated black man, when he says that the Mormon Church is racist and has had a lot of RACISTS? Is he making it up or just too angry for you? Is it possible that what he is saying is truth and it needs to be addressed ASAP by the current Mormon Hierarchy?

    From a recent thread over at FAIR, regarding “when they will call a black man to be an apostle”, I honestly fear what some of you may say. If it’s really all up to God, then there are only two real possibilities; God is still a racist, reverting back to pre-1978, which goes all the way back to Cain, or, there isn’t one worthy black man on the planet to be an Apostle or in the first 2 quorums of the Seventies?

    You would think that they would be smart enough to call at least one or two “token” black men, just so that it wouldn’t be so obvious, wouldn’t you? Hell, how about calling a black woman to be the head of the Church’s Sunday school or Relief Society or something? Can you Imagine? Sadly, it will probably never happen.

    Let’s just blame God once again, because after all, it’s all his call, in his ballpark and these men are just doing what God wants. Isn’t that the easy way out? That way, they never have to take responsibility for anything they do or say and it’s a clean deal.

    I can’t wait to see how you die-hards deal with this truth, that fell from the lips of Darron Smith. It must be disturbing to many of you, how passionate, right and sincere Darron Smith is about this and maybe, just maybe, it’s because he’s black and has lived his life as a black man and experienced these racist teachings first hand? Maybe he understands the racist attitudes better then us white folk? Ya think?

    I’m gonna watch that show on FX that he was talking about and you should all watch it too. I’m sure that we can all learn a lot from it. There is no way that a white man, can fully comprehend what it is like to live life as a black man and to know how they feel, when they first learn the racist teachings of the Mormon Church.

    Why is it that I, as a white man, feel so passionately about the injustice of the racism in Mormonism, when so many of you, so called TBMS, can just easily dismiss or justify it? Is it possible that an Anti-Mormon has more love, compassion and understanding than a Mormon TBM or Mormon Apologist? Could that really happen?

    I thought that I was pure evil now and had thrown away my first estate? Maybe some of you actually learned something from John’s presentation on why people REALLY leave the Church. Could it be that I’m still full of love and compassion, even more than many of you, as I fight for justice and truth, just like Darron?

    The problem is, in order to believe in the truthfulness of the church, and the almost infallibility of the Mormon Prophets and Apostles, you have to either sweep this racism under the rug as Hinckley does or figure out a way to justify it and make it all okay.

    That’s not a good position to be in and is basically a lose lose, for those of you members that are doing either of the two above options. Both options, leave you looking really really bad and well, like a racist!!

    I do admire John for at least admitting to these issues and problems, like he did in that slide presentation, when he was first getting started. Kudos John, for being intellectually honest with yourself and not being in denial, regarding the very existence of these racist issues.

    Those of you that don’t believe there is anything wrong with the Mormon Church’s racist teachings, would you be able to say that to Darron Smith’s face, after hearing his comments, passion and sincere desire and pleading for an apology?

    Like I said, I can’t wait to read the responses, that is if there are any besides mine. I’m sure that somebody else will have something to say, at least I hope so. I’m sure some will just want to attack me, but hey, like I said, address the words and expressions of Darron Smith, not me.

    I say praise God for honest, truth seeking men, like Darron Smith, who believes in justice and honesty and will even risk his church membership and his job at BYU, if that’s what it takes, to get it out there and express how he feels. The Mormon church and hierarchy, are all about suppression of “freedom of thought.”

    I suspect that in the very near future, Darron Smith, will be called to a “court of love.” Then again, they may actually be afraid of him at this point, as that would be the biggest PR disaster since Mark Hofmann.

    I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, the Mormon Church and the world in general, needs more men like Darron Smith. If only the Mormon Hierarchy could love him and appreciate him and learn from him, instead of dismissing him/firing him through an Email, from BYU. I think that says it all doesn’t it!!

    Those arrogant, prideful men, called Mormon General Authorities, one even called “the Prophet of God, with all the keys”, will never ever learn from past mistakes and they just keep making new ones. How sad!! Will they ever figure it out? Oh yeah, I keep forgetting, it’s not them, it’s God.

    May God bless you Darron Smith in your quest for truth and justice!!

    Samuel the Utahnite

  2. ebb
    March 31, 2006 at 10:31 am

    I wonder if we can response sometimes with “I don’t know” or “I don’t understand” coupled with “I am sorry”.

    John.. it would have been nice to have had Darron share his testimony with us. If fact I think, I would loved to hear all your guests share their testimonies about Christ.

  3. John Dehlin
    March 31, 2006 at 10:39 am

    Hey ebb…I believe that Darron did bear his testimony at the beginning of episode 2. Did you happen to catch it? Let me know if I’m mistaken…but I listend to it this morning, so I’m pretty sure.

  4. April 1, 2006 at 4:36 am

    John and Darron,

    Thanks for the timely and thought-provoking podcast. I’m still in the midst of listening but I’ve included a trackback link from a related post over on Purim entitled: “To Kill a Mockingbird: The Church as False Accuser.”

  5. Vian Wireman
    April 2, 2006 at 8:02 pm

    Wow.

    I don’t think I’ve ever heard the issue summed up as well as when Darron compared the need for the church to follow it’s OWN basic teachings regarding repentance.

    here they are from the top of my head.

    1. Feel sorrow.
    2. Confess.
    3. Ask Forgiveness.
    4. Rectify problems created by this action.
    5 Forsake past actions and recommit to God.

    Sitting in conference my mind was wandering back to this simple thought. There is logic so powerful that all the explaining in the world stands naked against a simple truth.

    When will this happen? When will the church right this error? 5 years? 20 years?

    It just seems so ludicrous to me now, and it’s hard to ignore. I Confess, as a teen before i began to really think things through, the undercurrent that somehow i was spiritually superior to another by the color of my skin appealed to me. This is not something taught to me by my parents. EVER. It came from church. It’s wrong. It needs to be stomped out completely. The church will never really move ahead until this happens.

    Bravo Darron and John.

  6. Puck
    April 2, 2006 at 11:22 pm

    To Samuel, I am sorry that you have allowed the mistakes of church leaders to destroy your faith. I am sorry that you had allowed yourself to believe that the leaders of our great church are above human mistakes or folly. It seems that your testimony was founded in the wrong place. I think Darron would probably be sorry as well that you have turned his words into a dagger on your own soul. From the sounds of this podcast, that seems to not have been his intent.

    For me the black priesthood issue acutally strengthens my testimony in Joseph Smith as a divinely inspired prophet. He got it right. It seems to me that subsequent leaders got it wrong. Aparently without inspiration. But I do not fault God, only men. It’s unfortunate and I do not have any good explanations. Sometimes I wonder if God allowed it to happen to avoid a more serious racism problem in the church. Could you imagine how church sanctioned segregation could have had an equally devastating history to the church.

    Regardless, I agree that an apology is due and I think it will come. Someday there will be black apostles. And the Church of Jesus Christ will roll forth as Joseph Smith and other prophets said it would and fill the earth.

  7. Pingback: LDSLF: Lineages
  8. Aaron
    April 3, 2006 at 12:23 am

    Darron Smith and John Dehlin,

    Thank you.

    I hope it is okay with Brother Smith if I refer to him in the familiar and use his first name. I took some notes about what Darron said. There was a lot that I wanted to comment on. I have been thinking about it for a few days. I do not want to say anything that treats such a serious matter without respect. I finished listening at around 4a.m. and needed some time to sleep and to ponder. I am still not ready to make a complete comment, I may never be completely ready to address this matter, but I want to say something before I get interrupted with other things and forget to say something.

    I find it difficult as a white man who grew up in a very white community to know how to deal with the issue of racism. I only knew 3 black people before I turned 30, 1 raised in the U.S. 2 raised in Africa. I am told that I am a racist merely because I am white. To me that seems to be a racist attitude to label me as a certain kind of person because of my race. The picture of all whites as racists has had me confused, wondering if I was a racist, and praying that I was not. I also feel that I am being asked to repent for the sins of my fathers. This causes confusion as well, men should be punished for their own sins… I should not be punished for being white any more than some else should be punished for being black, brown or other invented description of skin color. I do recognize that by being white I have many more opportunities to choose my path in life. My life is easier because I am white. My ancestors and this nation have become wealthy off of the lives of black men and other non whites who have not shared equally in that wealth. I recognize that much of my opportunity in life has come from that wealth handed down from whites to whites. I recognize the inequity, but I do not know what to do about it.

    Because I had little experience with black people my ideas of black people originally came from T.V. much of which is a negative stereotype. I should have known that race does not determine everything about a person from my experience with the 3 black people I knew, they are very different from each other. I have moved to a more racially diverse city than my birth and have had experiences with people of different races. I have learned that whites are not the only racists. I have had people be surprised by my actions when I didn’t act like the way white people are supposed to act. I have met people black, white, brown etc who think ill of others simply because of their race. Does this excuse whites from their racism? NO! Not in the least bit. Any person with any kind of racism is dead wrong. Yes some people of all races are racists, but because whites are in the majority in this nation and this church we have all the advantages that racism steals and gives to the majority. We therefore have the majority of the responsibility to correct the problem. We also suffer from the disadvantages as well. And we deserve those disadvantages for any racism that we harbor. What a tragedy it is that we miss out on hearing the story of testimony from another perspective. We in the Church of Jesus Christ hold dear the Book of Mormon because it is a witness by an additional group of people that Jesus is the Christ. In the mouth of two or three witness shall every word be established. We love to have many witnesses of Christ, but when we have unkind beliefs about another race we deny another person the chance to bare their witness and us the blessing to hear it.

    I was very moved by what Darron said. I wanted to cry. It makes me sick inside when I hear how evil and unkind people can be to each other. I am sure that God weeps when he sees racism or any other evil.

    Darron and John, please collect your sources which correct the myths concerning race that are being taught as doctrine. Post it online, maybe we could make a pamphlet in pdf format that anyone could print out and keep in their scriptures for reference. Just last week a CES director told me the Cain and Ham myths, I am so glad this was a private conversation, a public discussion would have been so much worse. He presented it to me as doctrine, I felt sick and wanted desperately to correct him. I could not because I have no references to back me up. All I could do is refer to the second article of faith and the knowledge of a loving God and say that I did not believe him. Next time I want to be ready so that I may help someone be in harmony with Christs teachings.

    I think that many in the Church have accepted the Cain and Ham myths because we read so much of the Covenant people in The Old Testament and how the Covenant was passed through lineage. Now that we have been adopted into the Covenant we don’t see the problem of how unloving it feels to deny a person blessings merely on the basis of genealogy. It is also pleasing to hear that you are better than someone else. True doctrine tells us that all of us have the same genealogy, God is the father of everyone, His blessings therefore belong to everyone, black and white, bond and free. President Hinckley said something like that in the Priesthood session. I have to read and study that talk a few more times. I think Elder Nielsen or Oaks had something to say about it is well. I won’t try to comment until after I read their talks and I am sure of what they said.

    Darron you said that you know what it like to be both black and white. I am not sure if that is exactly true. I do think that you know what it is like to live in a white world and a black world. I think that you know how to act in a white world and a black world, how to flip the script. Most white people do not know how to act in a black world. I do think there are some similarities with both worlds. We both are told that we are to act a certain way because of our race. We are told to think a certain way because of our race. We also view the world in a certain way because of our race. We view, act and think a certain way because of our race. But we also view, act and think a certain way that is different than the stereotype of our race because of our religion. But we also view, act and think a certain way that is different than the stereotype of our race and our religion because of our family. But we also view, act and think a certain way that is different than the stereotype of our race, our religion, and our family because we are unique individuals. Diversity comes from many diverse sources, race is but one.

    I think that many people have missed some incredibly important points that Darron made. He made the points very well.

    1.He pointed out that he has a strong testimony of the church, that God leads it and that President Hinckley is a true prophet.

    2.He pointed out the proper method of prayer and revelation. A question is asked and God answers. If the quesition is not asked, the answer is not given. The church was not restored until Joseph asked God a question. Sometimes the answer is not the one expected or wanted but the question has asked before an answer can be given. I see that God’s church has run this way since Adam first offered sacrifices. When a new problem comes up, a question is asked and God reveals. I think some of this has to do with the need for us to live by faith. That we need to struggle to live our lives. God cannot control our every move both in and out of the Church because we have to exercise our agency through faith.

    3.Darron recognizes that the men who run the church are imperfect, but imperfect people are all God has to work with. If every time I made the wrong decision I was immediately struck by lighting I would learn quickly to not do wrong. But I would be acting like Pavlov’s dog. I would not be acting out of faith, out of agency, only out of behavior training. Likewise If every decisions made by the leaders in the Church worked out perfectly, if God did not allow them to make any mistakes, then we would not have the opportunity to choose to follow them with faith. I think that Darron recognizes this and is just pointing out a mistake and asking for a correction, a repentance to me made.

    After saying that I have to add that there is a danger in trying to tell the leadership what to do. I think it is appropriate to inform them of problems. They are wise but not omniscient, we hold that attribute to be exclusive to God. If they are not aware of a problem they can not make a decision and seek guidance for a correct action. But we must be careful not to steady the ark.1 Chr. 13: 9-12 D&C 85: 8 There is an order in the kingdom. Those who are called to lead are those who have the authority to lead. We say they are not perfect when we think they made a mistake but then we condemn them for being imperfect. If you say someone is imperfect then you must allow them to make mistakes. I used to work at the church office building. I presented many proposals to the General Authorities that I thought were the exact direction the church should go. Almost all of them were adjusted and many were just flat denied. Later I learned that they had a better plan which addressed the problem in a better way. I say this not to say that they are perfect, but after pointing out their imperfections I feel it only fair to point out that they also do may things spot on. Their are those who would take Darron’s story and try to paint the church authorities as demons with it. That is not in keeping with Darron’s point of view. He said from the beginning that he has a strong testimony of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and that President Hinckley is a true prophet of God. I will add Amen.

    I recently read “Cry the Beloved Country.” it is about racism in South Africa. There is a quote in the book where one black clergy speaks to another and says, “My only fear is that when they have turned to loving, we will have turned to hating.” I hope that now as the black members of the church are loving, we will be loving as well.

  9. April 3, 2006 at 1:26 pm

    When I listened to the podcast I was so surprised to hear names I knew personally. My wife grew up in the third. She is a Kane. Dan Kane was her dad. I even worked with one of the lifforths(?). You likely are the same age as several of my cousins in the Driskel family as they were one of the long term families in the ward .

    Anyway. I called my FIL and he remembers you well. He said even back then that you were a strong willed person who was not afraid to speak your opinion even when others did not want to listen or hear it. For me that’s a positive. To many people say “just follow the breathren and all will be well” and somehow that view leaves me unsettled.

    I think the main point many likely missed in what was said was that openly talking about the problem is a step to repentance. That has not started.

  10. April 3, 2006 at 2:03 pm

    I identify with those who struggle with racism. Nobody in our society remains untouched and uncorrupted by racism. That does not mean that we are evil. It means that we were born in difficult times and have to deal with it.

    If we engage our problems honestly then our children will have less of burden with respect to racism than we have. Most importantly, the burden shifts from people who happen to have African ancestors.

    I don’t want my children to hear from their teachers or anyone else in Church that the fence sitter doctrine is from God. They don’t need to learn that God is a racist. How much worse would it be for the parent of a “black” child?

    We need to take responsibility for our beliefs. If we do that without denial and without hiding behind authorities then our mindset is bound to become more loving, more caring, and more neighborly.

  11. jordanandmeg
    April 3, 2006 at 6:54 pm

    hear hear

  12. April 5, 2006 at 12:35 pm

    I’m about halfway through the podcasts but I heard Darron say somthing that I just can’t get past. When he speculates that many of the converts in Africa are converting to be able to leave Africa, to become a part of white society…isn’t that just as hurtful to converts in Africa as the fence-sitter speculation? If I were an African convert I would be quite offended at such an outlandish, judgemental statement. And it’s something Darron didn’t even have to say, it did nothing to strengthen his argument, it did nothing to solidify any of his points, it was purely a dig at Africans.

    Then there was the (uber-tolerant) SamueltheUtahnite’s comment about the brother in the Q70 who was black being the “token black man.” How would that brother feel if he heard you suggest him being called to the Q70 had nothing to do with his spirituality but rather because he was the “token black man”?

    This kind of rhetoric is the exact kind of stuff Darron says is hurtful, yet both him and SamueltheUtahnite are doing it right in front of us.

  13. April 5, 2006 at 10:59 pm

    Rusty,

    It’s sad to see that my remarks, as well as Darron’s, appear to have gone right over your head. First of all, my “token” remark, is meant to show how absurd and ridiculous it is, that the late Helvécio Martins was the first and only black General authority in the LDS church’s history.

    In other words, it is the opposite of how you’ve interpreted it, but you are using a Mormon mindset and not an open mind. You do not want to blame the Church or it’s Hierarchy for their past sins and would prefer to just pretend it isn’t happening, hasn’t happened, etc.

    Even with the 1978 revelation, it took 12 years to call Helvécio Martins to be a Seventy. He served his five years and was released in 1995. Nobody has been called since, in the last 11 years. So, was he a token? It appears that way doesn’t it?

    The fact is that there have to be plenty of worthy black men out there, but none have ever been called. For you to suggest otherwise Rusty is insulting. Of course, Rusty, I’m sure that you go by the belief that it’s all inspired of God, right?

    So, it’s actually all on God, that there haven’t been anymore black men called, because God is the racist and the only reason that the ban even existed in the first place, right? It’s amazing Rusty, how you want to turn the focus away from the topic and the evilness of this uninspired doctrine of the Devil, to the fact that Darron and myself are spouting racist attitudes. Amazing!!

    Here was a post that I wrote, with the help of Michael Quinn’s Extension of power, showing that it is anything but revelation, at least to be called as an Apostle. It’s all in who you know and who you or your wife are related to, who you name a building after(Bednar), etc.

    Inspiration? What’s that? Oh, your a direct descendant of Joseph Smith, your Grandpa was an Apostle; step right up, you’ve been called of God, to keep the royal bloodlines going!!

    http://mormondiscussions.com/phpbb/viewtopic.php?t=246

    Don’t be shocked Rusty, if CECIL O. SAMUELSON, current BYU President, is the next Apostle, since he just named a building after Hinckley. But please come on over to Mormon Discussions and we can debate it if you want, or just Email me at SamueltheUtahnite@yahoo.com.

    Helvécio Martins was a member of the Quorum of the Seventy–the first black Seventy since Elijah Abel. (In Brother Abel’s time the Seventy were ordained to do missionary work and were not considered general authorities of the Church.)

    He was a great man and worthy, just as I’m sure that there are plenty of other black men, right now, that are worthy, but not called. To say that there hasn’t been even one other worthy black man, in the last 28 years, is insulting, isn’t it? Why is this? Just read my above post and you’ll understand perfectly.

    If there are other worthy black men Rusty, that are out there and waiting, why wouldn’t God call them? Your comments Rusty, that it was solely based on his spirituality, is insulting, because that means that no other black man has measured up. Did you ever consider that?

    So, in conclusion, up until now, Helvécio Martins has been the “token” black man, called to be a General Authority, because there hasn’t been one before or since. What would you call it? It has nothing to do with his worthiness, or spirituality, rather, that the Mormon Hierarchy had already waited 12 years and hadn’t called one black man to be a General Authority since “the Lord” lifted the ban. Now 11 years after his release and 16 years after he was called, we are tapping our fingers once again. I call that “token.”

    Of course in the 11 years of President Hinckley, nada, zilch!! Again, I ask why? You tell me Rusty? Is it all God? I wrote a post yesterday on my blog, that goes over almost all of the main comments that Hinckley has ever made regarding the blacks, along with Brigham Young, McConkie, Orson Hyde and on and on.(Too many to name here)

    http://mormontruth.blogspot.com/2006/04/gordon-b-hinckley-mormon-prophet-of.html

    It may help you understand more fully, just how far back this racism goes and why it has lasted so long. Mr. Hinckley may not be able to figure out why it exists or where it came from, but it doesn’t take one very long to figure it out if they want to. I believe that he knows perfectly well and is just acting. How could he not know?

    Then again, he pretended to not know if God was once a man too. The 1978 revelation, just as Darron says, did not wipe the slate clean, and the fact is, this crap, is still taught to this day.

    As Aaron said above:

    “Just last week a CES director told me the Cain and Ham myths, I am so glad this was a private conversation, a public discussion would have been so much worse. He presented it to me as doctrine, I felt sick and wanted desperately to correct him. I could not because I have no references to back me up. All I could do is refer to the second article of faith and the knowledge of a loving God and say that I did not believe him. Next time I want to be ready so that I may help someone be in harmony with Christs teachings.”

    So, the very fact that a current CES director, still believes this garbage and teaches it or at least speaks about it, is unbelievable and disgraceful. Until the Mormon Church repudiates all of this, every bit of it, it will not die, it will not go away and black people will not be able to heal. How can they?

    Also, as mentioned in the podcast by Darron and in the above comment, why doesn’t the Church have to follow their own repentance process, that they expect the members follow perfectly, to the T, including CONFESSION.

    Black members, like Darron Smith, that know the truth, yet want to remain members, would finally, be able to put this behind them, if the Mormon Hierarchy, would just take care of business and repent. Will it happen? I seriously doubt it, but I sure the hell hope so and the sooner the better.

    What the Hierarchy doesn’t understand, is that most of us would shut up and quit talking about it, if they would officially apologize, state that these teachings weren’t doctrinal, weren’t inspired, and that they were sorry. Why don’t they? Because they have too much to lose, as John Dehlin stated in the podcast.

    The ramifications would be tremendous and if those men were wrong, maybe Hinckley’s wrong and uninspired. It would throw the entire power structure and “inspired of God” and “God won’t allow Prophets/Apostles to lead the church astray”, into complete chaos. The fact that Mr. Hinckley even brought it up at all, is astounding, but equally astounding, is how clueless he appears to be regarding the racism and it’s origins.

    Also, it would be nice if they would stop selling books, spewing this trash, at Jesus’ official bookstore, Deseret book. How do you overcome this racism, when you still sell church books, in the Church’s bookstore, that teach it?

    Not to mention that the racist beliefs of Mormonism are also derived from and contained in, the Book of Mormon, Book of Abraham, Book of Moses, and even the Doctrine and Covenants, Declaration 2, that once again, puts all the
    blame at God’s feet. President Kimball, had to plead with “the Lord”, to lift HIS ban on blacks having the Priesthood. So, it wasn’t men, it was God, because they were punished for being the “seed of Cain.”

    Rusty, if you have some clarity on this issue that I can’t understand, Darron and others can’t understand, please let us in on it, as it seems pretty clear cut. How was this allowed to be taught in the first place, by men that can’t lead us astray, and why does it continue on being taught and perpetuated to this day?

    Declaration 2:

    “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.”

    http://scriptures.lds.org/od/2

    Honestly Rusty, I will never again be a Mormon, as those days are long past and I can say that with 100% surety. However, for those that want to stay, despite all the problems, especially black members, who are basically lied to when taught by the missionaries, they deserve this apology and repudiation to happen and I won’t be quiet until it does. I’m sure that Darron won’t be quite either, as he is more passionate than anybody.

    Now, in defense of the missionaries, 99% of the time, the missionaries are innocent victims, that are unknowingly lying to their black and white investigators, because they are only teaching what the Church has told them to share. They believe it and teach it, just like I did and even Darron did. It is wrong and needs to stop immediately!!

    Best wishes Rusty and may you seek a better understanding of this matter and have compassion and love for those that have suffered because of it.

    Samuel

  14. Paul
    April 6, 2006 at 10:33 am

    Fantastic podcast, guys. Thank you.

    Before this podcast came out, I had a discussion on racism with my Elders Quorum President. Both of us are white.

    My position was that at a minimum, the church needed to set the record straight regarding the racists teachings given by past church leaders. An apology would also be nice. My non-authoritative opinion is that the ban was a racially motivated mistake. But I don’t expect church leaders to be beyond the biases of their generations.

    My EQ president’s position was that people of all races are treated fairly in the church today. That’s all that matters. He expressed that apologizing or clarifying racist doctrine could just add salt to the wound. He went on to give quotes from Thurl Bailey and others on http://www.blacklds.org supporting his position that there are no problems today. He believes that most African Americans have moved beyond this issue and that it is not a serious deterrent to African American converts joining the church. He served a mission in a predominantly African American area and didn’t feel that racism factored into his investigator’s thinking significantly.

    Needless to say, I agreed to disagree with my EQ president.

    In the podcast, Darron explained that change can not occur until those in power decide to make the change. Based on my conversation with my EQ President, I wonder whether those in power are really able to see a need for change. I wonder whether we can expect to see a clarification on past racist teachings until there are more voices like Darron’s taking a stand. There are certainly a large number of African American LDS members that are taking the position that racism is behind us as a church.

    Darron, what is your take on this?

  15. jdub
    April 6, 2006 at 12:52 pm

    John and Darron, thanks for a great podcast!
    I do not agree with everything that was said, but that’s probably a good thing right. On the other hand, I thought the podcast was very informative and needful. I think it was great to hear President Hinckley address the issue on Saturday. Although, I don’t think what was said resolves the issue, but I think it is a good sign that Darron (and others) are being heard and a more open dialogue is starting.
    The other day I was walking through the BYU Bookstore and I was looking at some books. I saw the Book Darron co-edited Black and Mormon and thought it somewhat ironic that they (BYU) would let the individual go while continued to sale what seems to be the reason for his dismissal (if it can be called that). I think it would have been more appropriate (although I still wouldn’t agree with it) to not sale the book and keep Darron teaching. Anyway, I thought it was interesting.
    Further, today Darius Gray gave a lecture on the history of blacks and the priesthood. He did a great job, pointing out the inconsistencies involved in this history. I am glad this topic is being more freely addressed. Yet, I think we still have a ways to go.

    Thanks guys!

  16. dbollard99
    April 6, 2006 at 9:27 pm

    I agree. I thought it was a great podcast. Honestly, I don’t know what I think would be better for the church, whether to come out and make a big apology, which would certainly get the press involved…but I guess it’s something they just can’t sit on forever, eh?

    I’m white, and I don’t really know what I think though. My home teacher is black, and he’s one of the most spiritual guys I know, but I don’t even know his feelings about blacks and the preisthood, and don’t even know if I should bring it up…

    I dunno..but great podcast! Love the eye-opener stories.

  17. Jiggs Casey
    April 9, 2006 at 2:47 am

    John,

    as always, an excellent podcast. I have only finished part one, but I have really enjoyed hearing the story and I think you do a great job as an interviewer.

    I am looking forward to hearing the “rest of the story.”

    Keep up the great work!

    Jiggs Casey

  18. April 10, 2006 at 2:15 pm

    SamueltheUtahnite,
    You clearly understand what I think much better than I do so there’s no reason for me to say any more (this last sentence should garner a five-paragraph explanation of what I just meant). Congratulations on extracting all of my thoughts and beliefs from my one paragraph addressing you.

    If you want to engage in a rational, thoughtful discussion I’m more than happy to, but you must understand how difficult it is when your opposition already knows every single thing about you before you even begin.

  19. Wayne Arnett
    April 20, 2006 at 11:09 am

    Great podcast! Racism is a difficult topic. I view myself a non-racist, but occasionally I have a racial bias come into my head which I try to fight off.

    I grew up mostly in the south and saw racism at it ugliest. I was in Biloxi, Mississippi when our all-white school was integrated for the first time, as federal marshals stood guard. Three brave black kids came to our Junior High. I watched in horror as white kids jeered them with racial slurs as they huddled together at lunchtime. The next day they did not return. The principle announced on the intercom, “See, they don’t really want to come to our schools.”

    I served a mission in South America in the late 60s before the ban was lifted on ordaining blacks to the priesthood. It was a difficult thing to handle. Most of the people we taught in Venezuela had African ancestry. The policy at the time was to confer the priesthood or not depending only on their answer in the baptism interview about where their ancestors came from. If they said Africa, they didn’t get the priesthood. If they said they got their darker skin from native American ancestors, they were ordained. In all of the baptism interviews I conducted, I explained the exact consequences of their answer, before I asked the question. I never got a wrong answer and ordained dozens who looked very African. I never felt bad about doing this. It seemed like a good work-around for a serious issue.

    I recently found a couple of audio tapes that I had sent home from my mission. I was shocked to hear me, thirty-seven years ago, making, not one, but two, racist comments on the tape. My attitudes and sensitivity to this issue have changed so much in the meantime that I could hardly believe it was me saying those things. It only demonstrates that we are all the product of our times.

    As I listened to Darron’s podcast, I felt guilty that I do not have any close black friends. We have had a couple of black people in our ward. A elderly black woman joined the church in our ward a few years ago. Everyone was friendly to her, including me, but she moved out of our ward a short time after her baptism and we never became good friends. We also had a woman in our ward that was married to a black man who was not a member. He came to some ward activities, but rarely to church. I went out of my way to be friendly to him at these activities, but we never became good friends.

    I found myself wishing that Darron was in our ward. I can tell we would become fast friends and would have great conversations in the foyer during Sunday school.

    My former stake president once told me a joke that I considered racist in content. When he finished the joke, I told him I didn’t appreciate racist humor and asked him not to tell me racist jokes in the future. He replied that he was not a racist, and as proof he told me that he had had dear friends who were black. He described a black man that had worked for his father as a farm laborer. He told me he used to sit on the black man’s lap and play with his large calloused and black hands. There you go. How could he be a racist if his dad employed black men to do hard manual labor on the family farm?

    My point is that many racists don’t even recognize their own racism. They don’t even recognize the harm in racist jokes.

    Darron’s call for church leaders to make a strong statement against racism in the church was certainly met by President Hinkley in the April 2006 Priesthood session:

    “Racial strife still lifts its ugly head. I am advised that even right here among us there is some of this. I cannot understand how it can be. It seemed to me that we all rejoiced in the 1978 revelation given President Kimball. I was there in the temple at the time that that happened. There was no doubt in my mind or in the minds of my associates that what was revealed was the mind and the will of the Lord.
    “Now I am told that racial slurs and denigrating remarks are sometimes heard among us. I remind you that no man who makes disparaging remarks concerning those of another race can consider himself a true disciple of Christ. Nor can he consider himself to be in harmony with the teachings of the Church of Christ. How can any man holding the Melchizedek Priesthood arrogantly assume that he is eligible for the priesthood whereas another who lives a righteous life but whose skin is of a different color is ineligible?
    “Throughout my service as a member of the First Presidency, I have recognized and spoken a number of times on the diversity we see in our society. It is all about us, and we must make an effort to accommodate that diversity.
    “Let us all recognize that each of us is a son or daughter of our Father in Heaven, who loves all of His children.
    “Brethren, there is no basis for racial hatred among the priesthood of this Church. If any within the sound of my voice is inclined to indulge in this, then let him go before the Lord and ask for forgiveness and be no more involved in such.”

    Although President Hinkley did not formally apologize on behalf of the church, as Darron would like, his statement should go a long way to curb racism in our church.

    I am not sure that a formal “apology” is necessary. As john pointed out in the podcast, it could undermine the authority of the leaders to issue a formal retraction. It seems the real issue is lingering racism in the church. President Hinkley’s talk has started us on the path of ending racism in our church.

    I’m going to carry President Hinkley’s comments in my scriptures so I can read it to any Mormon that makes racist remarks in the future.

    Great podcast. Good Luck Darron. Keep up the good work John.

  20. Susan K.
    April 22, 2006 at 3:39 am

    “I am not sure that a formal “apology” is necessary. As john pointed out in the podcast, it could undermine the authority of the leaders to issue a formal retraction.”

    I just love this statement of Wayne’s. (He really does seem like a good guy)

    It just sums up for me everything the issue was about. Why apologize when it would undermine the leadership? It might even make them feel uncomfortable. Meanwhile, let the membership continue to sift through horrible racist past statements as if they would justify current attitudes such as the one with Wayne’s Stake pres. heck, I’ve heard comments in church as recently as TWO WEEKS AGO.

    The guy who summed up the repentance process indeed did leave out one very important first step and that’s to RECOGNIZE that something needs to be righted. No problems here.

  21. Wayne Arnett
    April 26, 2006 at 6:50 pm

    I have been giving some more thought to the issues raised by this podcast. Darron is asking that the church call more black general authorities, and suggested that it is time to call our first black apostle. He points out that there are many qualified and worthy black men. He is probably right that many could serve in these capacities and serve well.

    However, the leadership of our church is not a representative form of democracy. It is a theocracy. The apostles and general authorities are called by God. Those who are called to serve are not a representative cross-section of the church. They do not represent us to the Lord. Rather, they represent the Lord to us. The Lord does not always call the most worthy, the best educated, or best qualified. He chooses based on his own criteria.

    I am from Arizona. As far as I know we don’t have any apostles, currently, from Arizona. I don’t think we have had any since Spencer W. Kimball and Delbert Stapley. Does this mean that we Arizonans are un-represented in the council of the twelve? I suppose so, but it does not seem important. Those chosen to lead us seem to be good men, doing their human best to lead this church.

    I, like Darron, hope we have more black general authorities. Black general authorities make it easier to stamp out the racist attitudes that still exist among us. But when a black apostle is called, he will be called because the Lord chooses him, and not because he is black. To call a black apostle to fill some quota, or place a token in the council has the potential of undermining his effectiveness as an apostle.

    I think Ronald Reagan said something similar on the subject of having a woman president. I believe he said, “Yes, we will have a woman president someday. And when we do, it will not be because she is a woman, but because she is the best man for the job.” Only Ronald Reagan could get away with such a statement.

    We don’t really get rid of racism until race really doesn’t matter, to anyone. At some future date, it won’t matter whether we have any black general authorities or white ones for that matter. When racism is finally removed from our society, race will become completely irrelevant. I look forward to that day.

  22. May 18, 2006 at 4:17 pm

    I have another reason why the LDS church won’t repent and apologize for the priesthood ban and racial comments made by LDS prophets and apostles. I think if the church truly repented and changed it would call into question some of its core doctrines. In his post above, Aaron said that “Just last week a CES director told me the Cain and Ham myths…” When I went to institute just a few years ago the teacher taught the seed of Cain doctrine. You see polygamy is still a doctrine, for example some LDS males can marry more than one woman in the temple while remaining married to only one woman civilly; it is only the policy of practicing polygamy in the world that has changed; and the same thing applies in the issue of African Americans and the church. The church has changed the practice (a policy) of racism, but has kept the doctrine. The seed of Cain doctrine in the LDS church must still be repudiated. The LDS church shouldn’t just apologize but repudiate the seed of Cain doctrine and declare it false. This doctrine is both absurd and racist in the view of educated adults. And yes, despite the fact that many LDS members are not aware that such a doctrine exists in their church. The evidence is irrefutable. LDS scripture teaches that blacks are cursed with black skin (see Moses 7: 8, 12, & 22 and Abraham 1:21-27). LDS leaders have made official statements declaring that blacks are the seed of Cain. As you know John, the LDS prophet Brigham Young declared:

    “You see some classes of the human family that are black, uncouth, uncomely, disagreeable and low in their habits, wild, and seemingly deprived of nearly all the blessings of the intelligence that is generally bestowed upon mankind….Cain slew his brother. Can might have been killed, and that would have put a termination to that line of human beings. This was not to be, and the Lord put a mark upon him, which is the flat nose and black skin.” (The Journal of Discourses vol. 7, page 290).

    The LDS Church sanctioned the seed of Cain doctrine. In 1949 the First Presidency made an official statement declaring that:

    “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’…” (The First Presidency Statement on the Negro Question, August 17, 1949; also cited in Mormonism and the Negro, by John J. Stewart and William E. Berrett, 1960, Part 2, p. 16).

    When President Hinckley was interviewed on 60 minutes we heard the following dialogue:

    Mike Wallace: From 1830 to 1978, blacks could not become priests in the Mormon Church. Right?

    Gordon B. Hinckley: [shifting in his chair] That’s correct.

    Mike Wallace: Why?

    Gordon B. Hinckley: Because the leaders of the church at that time interpreted that doctrine that way. [cut]

    Mike Wallace: Church policy had it that blacks had the mark of Cain. Brigham Young said, “Cain slew his brother, and the Lord put a mark upon him, which is the flat nose and black skin.”

    Gordon B. Hinckley: It’s behind us. Look, that’s behind us. Don’t worry about those little flecks [or bits?] of history.

    Mike Wallace: Skeptics will suggest, “Well, look, if we’re going to expand, we can’t keep the blacks out.”

    Gordon B. Hinckley: Pure speculation. [Laughs.]

    Source: http://www.lds-mormon.com/60min.shtml

    The truth is that the seed of Cain dogma is not “behind us” in the Mormon Church. We’ve already seen in the quote above that the Mormon Church issued a statement in 1949, citing Brigham Young’s teaching that blacks cannot receive the priesthood until after the resurrection. When Hinkley responded to the question of why blacks were denied the priesthood he implied that the leaders just “interpreted that doctrine that way.” But it wasn’t a mere interpretation but official doctrine. In the official statement of 1949 blacks are referred to as the “seed of Cain.” In the Personal Testimony of Revelation on Priesthood by Elder Bruce R. McConkie, blacks are referred to as the seed of Cain as well. So it’s not some obscure bit of history in the past that we can forget about as Hinkley wants his audience to think. Unfortunately it is Mormon doctrine and should be repudiated by the LDS church if they want to truly bury their racist history in the past. And besides, the seed of Cain teaching has been debunked a long time ago. My gosh, it was used by certain Christians in the South to justify slavery. It is a belief that is not held by most Christians today. This is because modern anthropology has dispelled this myth (see: http://www.aaanet.org/stmts/racepp.htm). It’s time that Mormons do the same.

    In your wonderful short documentary titled “About the Blacks…” A Story about Race and Mormonism, you give an excellent call for reformation in the Mormon Church. That’s a great documentary and the only thing I would add is that we question the seed of Cain doctrine. I grew up in the church being told that blacks could not hold the priesthood in the past because they were the cursed seed of Cain, and that much is still clear doctrine in the church. But I also learned growing up that they were born with the curse because blacks were unvaliant in the Preexistence. I later was told by more compassionate egalitarian Mormons that that was never an LDS doctrine, so I thought it wasn’t either for a long time. Then I ran across the following facts:

    • On Apr 27th in 1845 Orson Hyde referred to Negroes as the cursed lineage of Canaan and that the curse of servitude was for their actions in the preexistence .
    • On August 17, 1949, The First Presidency made an official statement on the Negro Question declaring that: “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 premortal 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…”
    • In 1954 Joseph Fielding Smith affirmed this teaching by writing in Doctrines of Salvation, Vol. 1, pages 66-67: “There is a reason why one man is born black and with other disadvantages, while another is born white with great advantage. The reason is that we once had an estate before we came here, and were obedient, more or less, to the laws that were given us there. Those who were faithful in all things there received greater blessings here, and those who were not faithful received less…. There were no neutrals in the war in heaven. All took sides either with Christ or with Satan. Every man had his agency there, and men receive rewards here based upon their actions there, just as they will receive rewards hereafter for deeds done in the body. The Negro, evidently, is receiving the reward he merits.”

    The church needs to repent and practice stage four of the repentance process: rectify problems created by the sinful doctrine of the seed of Cain and its immoral ramifications over the years that has led to inevitable racism.

    These comments are adapted from my online essay at http://www.geocities.com/exmormon2000/seedcain.html.

  23. jordanandmeg
    May 18, 2006 at 4:30 pm

    “The church needs to repent and practice stage four of the repentance process: rectify problems created by the sinful doctrine of the seed of Cain and its immoral ramifications over the years that has led to inevitable racism.”

    How?

  24. May 18, 2006 at 4:58 pm

    How to repent and change its doctrine? Good question. I own an 1891 Doctrine and Covenants. It sates in the Fifth Lecture on Faith that the Holy Ghost is not a person and only Jesus has a physical body. My 1891 D&C opens with the Lectures as DOCTRINE. My relatives believed this DOCTRINE and had a testimony of it. Then the church changed its core doctrine of the Godhead and removed the Lectures from the cannon. The same thing needs to happen today. The first thing the church needs to do is remove Moses 7: 8, 12, & 22 and Abraham 1:21-27 from the cannon, or at least make an official statement at General Conference reinterpreting these scriptures while repudiated the seed of Cain doctrine. Then they should repudiate The First Presidency Statement on the Negro Question given on August 17, 1949, that I quote from above, and apologize pubicly for the priesthood ban. Declaration 2 does not repudiate any doctrine but merely changes a practice while the doctrine still stands. Once this happens I believe true repentance will be accomplished.

    I hope this answers your question.

    – Bill Kempton

  25. BEA
    July 18, 2006 at 3:55 pm

    [quote]Now I am told that racial slurs and denigrating remarks are sometimes heard among us. I remind you that no man who makes disparaging remarks concerning those of another race can consider himself a true disciple of Christ. Nor can he consider himself to be in harmony with the teachings of the Church of Christ. How can any man holding the Melchizedek Priesthood arrogantly assume that he is eligible for the priesthood whereas another who lives a righteous life but whose skin is of a different color is ineligible?[/quote]

    I can’t help but see the irony in Pres. Hinkley’s statement. Aparently the above statement is not meant as an retroactive statement. Am I off base to think that he is saying past prophets and apostles that actively taught those doctrines to the “flock” had no right to the priesthood or to be called a true diciple of Christ?

    [quote]Mike Wallace: Church policy had it that blacks had the mark of Cain. Brigham Young said, “Cain slew his brother, and the Lord put a mark upon him, which is the flat nose and black skin.”

    Gordon B. Hinckley: It’s behind us. Look, that’s behind us. Don’t worry about those little flecks [or bits?] of history. [/quote]

    Aren’t a majority of the churches teachings “history”? Why bother studying the Old Testament every forth year in Sunday School? I can’t think of anything less relevent to life today than the Old Testament. And let’s not forget that the whole so called “lineage” “explanation” for the existence of black folks in the first place comes from the Old Testament or some “dirivative” work (POGP). Yet that isn’t considered behind us or past history.

    It pains me to have men supposedly called of god that had enough light and knowledge to proclaim the doctrines in the first place no longer have a clue as to the doctrines intial origins. Why not just continue to proclaim that God was the one responsible for the racist doctrines? After all that was good enough for the church for years. I guess it’s just not comfortable to potray “god” as the father of racism and arian supremacy. Of course Brother Brigham said slavery was a divine institution after all. Still though regardless of if the church ever chooses to apologize for the racist teachings of Brigham Young, Joseph Fielding Smith, McConkie and others it will really ring hollow as one of the basic things taught in the Book of Mormon (and the Bible for that matter) is that dark skin is considered evil , less worthy and is a punishment meted out to those that are less worthy. How can anyone believe or worse yet excuse such things in todays society?

  26. Andrew Hopper
    March 21, 2007 at 8:00 am

    The fact is: You do not have a testimony unless it was based on faith and what the Holy Ghost testified to you. If these details mattered, they’d be much more controversial in the church today. If these details mattered to you, you lost the spirit a long time ago.
    Get your head out of the details and look at the church as a whole, and what it is doing for the world. Your family will suffer for your actions, John Dehlin.

    • Jessica
      November 23, 2012 at 7:43 pm

      A testimony built on false information can’t stand! Only a testimony built on truth! Having faith in things that are not true will leave us confused and disenchanted when confronted with the truth! John Dehlin is a good man, just searching for truth.

  27. Jessica
    November 23, 2012 at 6:39 pm

    I just finished listening to the first and second parts of this podcast and just started into the 3rd part. I realize I am writing this way after this podcast was recorded, but I just found Mormonstories about a month ago and decided to start from the beginning and listen to as many as I could.
    The first thing I want to say is, I completely agree that the racist theories of the church need to be called out for what they were and are, wrong and terrible doctrine! I believe it’s difficult to do this because we claim that our leaders are lead by God and won’t lead us astray, so to say they were wrong in the past means we are wrong now when we think they may not lead us astray. It all turns into one big mess! It is a sad thing, but I think we need to accept that our “prophets” have and can lead us astray. So, we need to be, individually, in tune with the spirit, which all humans are entitled to, so that we learn to love others as the Savior loves them and not think of ourselves as superior or inferior to one another.
    Now, I realize this next comment isn’t the topic of this podcast, but it was brought up by Darron and I have to say something. Just like the black doctrines leave an awful taste in our mouths, I believe polygamy does the same for many woman, me being one of those. I am sickened by the thought that my reward in Heaven is to be a reward to my husband along with his many other wives! I am not a piece of property to be given as a trophy! I can’t accept Joseph’s revelation concerning Emma in D&C 132, which is The Lord telling Emma she would be “destroyed” unless she accepts the polygamy doctrine. I don’t believe this doctrine came from the Savior I know and love, and I believe it was and is hurtful to women. I recently watched “The Son’s of Perdition” and believe we should all watch this before we try to justify polygamy and say the woman back in the day were fine with it. This documentary opened my eyes to the reality of polygamy. Very painful! We need to think a little more about the statement, “by their fruits, ye shall know them.” Polygamy is one of Joseph’s doctrinal fruits. I am just glad I was lucky enough to be born to ancestors that left polygamy behind; otherwise, I might be one of the many wives of a man in the groups that continue this practice today. I say, yes, even Joseph, made a big mistake and woman are still paying the price today, because some still live this doctrine that was “never supposed to be taken from the earth” and will supposedly “return during the millennium”.
    Saying this is very sad to me, because I am coming from the background of a very firm true believer. But I finally have taken everything off “my shelf” and am finding myself starring at a lot of painful information. I don’t know if anyone will read this, but it feels therapeutic to at least write it for myself.
    Thank you John for finding a way to allow people to speak and for others to listen!

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