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In this episode, Doug Fabrizio of RadioWest interviews Margaret Young, Marvin Perkins, Russell Stevenson, and John Dehlin about the LDS church’s new web page entitled “Race and the Priesthood.”
When I saw this episode I thought, Doug Fabrizio on Mormon Stories!? awesome! But you tricked me…
Fantastic episode! I was pleased and a bit surprised to hear John holding the church’s feet to the fire on this issue. He was sounding more like John Larsen than John Dehlin ;)
Once again as stated before . . .
“I believe that the LDS Church needs to face its racist past. President Thomas S. Monson needs to make a public statement at General Conference addressing the racism of its past leaders; stating that their actions and statements were not conforming to the teachings of Jesus Christ; stating that their actions and statements were very hurtful and damaging; and, finally, asking for the forgiveness of all black people of the world for the awful racism that was found among the LDS Church’s leadership and its members. It kind of sounds like the repentance process to me – one of the Church’s basic tenants!”
Church leaders demand nothing less from its members when they make mistakes and sin. My wife can not repent for me; nor can my friends.
And what, exactly, would such a statement accomplish?
It would show the blacks, whites of the church, it would show the world, publically, the real and heartfelt sorrow felt by the leadership of the church for the damage, the hurt and pain they have caused the black community by pretending they were not as good as the white male member of the priesthood. And it would be an example to the other white man in this white church of America.
And, it would humble the men in these positions; these men who get paid a high six figure income, who are driven from place to place in their limos,, who’s expenses are paid from food and groceries to dry cleaning to maid service and remind them,that they are still just men here on earth and they should try to set an example by living the gospel.
And, a public repentance by the leaders would demonstrate to the blacks of our community and our church that we are truly sorry and will not allow discrimination to once again become a silent unspoken vendetta against the black people.
Brigham Young should be the one who issues that public apology. Hopefully cosigned by people like Joseph F Smith, Harold B Lee, McConkie and a few others …. problem is that they are all dead.
Tommy Monson issuing that apology would be as useful as the one Pope John Paul issued over the inquisition…or was that another Pope?
Plus, as stated in the program, an apology that is forced isn’t much of an apology isn’t it?
Agreed, John what’s up, I’ve always thought you progressed in your thinking and were looking for the positive while the other John has simply digressed to name calling. I’ve truly enjoyed the discussions on your podcast and the way people are treated respectfully. You seemed to lack that calm and respect that I’ve come to enjoy. Were you “posing” for public radio. You seemed only interested in pushing an “agenda” than answering the questions at had. Bad hair day? Instead of answering your the first question, it seemed you were making an opening statement. What office are you running for? Hopefully the “peace” will be back in following episodes. I look forward to seeing where you go from here. May your journey be bright.
Name calling? Who called who a name? I missed that part.
Elder Bruce R. McConkie (Apostle) later wrote of how the 1978 Revelation was received:
“When we were…by ourselves in that sacred place where we meet weekly…President Kimball brought up the matter of the possible conferral of the Priesthood upon those of all races. That was a subject that the group of us had discussed at some length on numerous occasions in the preceding weeks and months. He said that if the answer was to continue our present course of denying the Priesthood to the seed of Cain, as the Lord had theretofore directed, he was prepared to defend that decision to the death. But, he said, if the long sought day had come in which the curse of the past was to be removed, he thought we might prevail upon the Lord so to indicate. It was during this prayer that the Revelation came. The Spirit of the Lord rested mightily upon us all; we felt something akin to what happened on the Day of Pentecost and at the dedication of the Kirtland Temple.”
> He said that if the answer was to continue our present course of denying the
> Priesthood to the seed of Cain, as the Lord had theretofore directed
That seems in conflict with the current statement, no? I don’t think the current statement is saying the Lord directed it.
This is a courageous post and much of it resonates with me. Joseph Smith is dead and he is who he is for better or worse. His restoration gospel needs another restoration and the Leaders know it. Give it another 20 years of internet and much more “Leader – Member symbiosis” and we may see a Gorbachev in the LDS church who promotes Glasnost and Perestroika. Would the example of the RLDS church be satisfactory to you ?
Well said Frank. Today’s prophet could also take responsibility for the LDS churches misrepresentation of the character of God in this matter.
Blacks Ridiculed again by the Mormon Church
By Lee B. Baker, Former Mormon High Priest and Bishop
18 November 2013
For several years now, every Tuesday evening I have had the great privilege of hosting “Teaching The Truth”, an LDS focused broadcast to the Christian and Mormon listeners of Worship FM 101.7 in Monrovia, the capital City of Liberia, West Africa.
I have come to know several of the station managers and a number of the more frequent callers to this weekly program. Through their comments, questions and photographs, I have been genuinely moved to see the application of their unyielding faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.
Over the past few months the question of racist teachings in the Book of Mormon and from the past Leadership of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has been on the minds of the Black Liberian converts to Mormonism and the many African Christians who struggle to understand how such a Church can be growing in Africa.
I believe the answer is relatively simple; it has been the perfect merging of a sincere lack of knowledge on the part of the Black Mormon Converts and a disturbing lack of accountability on the part of the White Mormon Leaders. A near total lack of knowledge across Africa specific to the more explicitly racist teachings found within the current Mormon Scriptures, principally that of Black Skin and even less information concerning the racism and bigotry openly and officially taught by the early Leadership of the Mormon Church. These facts, combined with the current Church Leadership’s inability to clearly and specifically reject its own racist teachings both in print and from its past Senior Leadership (liberally using the terms Nigger, Darky, Sambo and Skin of Blackness), has left the Black Race with only a short irresponsible and offensively juvenile Official Statement that claims the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints knows very little about its own race-based policy, which lasted for well over 100 years:
“It is not known precisely why, how or when this restriction began in the Church, but it has ended.” – Official Mormon Press Release concerning Race and the Church
Maintaining a detailed and comprehensive history of every aspect and teaching of the Church has been both one of the hallmarks and one of the downfalls of Mormon Church. Within the relatively young Church, authoritative documentation, however corrupt it may have been, has never been in short supply. Each of the Senior Leaders of the Mormon Church has had several official biographers as well as an army of Church approved historians to record all aspects of the History of the Church. In fact, one of my first of many “Callings” in the Mormon Church was that of a Ward (Congregational) Historian, long before I became a Mormon High Priest and Bishop.
The peculiar assertion that the Mormon Church itself does not know the details of its very own race-based policy of restricting the Blacks from holding the Priesthood is tremendously embarrassing for all Mormons and exceptionally degrading for anyone who actually believes it.
As a former local leader of the Mormon Church, I have repeatedly assured the African members of the Mormon Church that the documents and “Scriptures” I have read to them over the air are both Authorized and Official for the time period they are relevant to. I clearly state the current position of total acceptance of all Races by the Church, but I must highlight the fact that the Book of Mormon still carries it’s obviously racist message that dark skin was a curse from God. I have said many times on-air that like the Mormon Missionaries, I too believe that every African should have a copy of the Book of Mormon, if only to learn the truly racist teaching of the Mormons, directly from the Book of Mormon.
I have and will continue to teach the African Nations from the authentic Mormon Scriptures and the official Church History documents, which I had been provided by the Mormon Church to know my responsibilities as a Mormon Bishop. The Official Records of the Mormon Church include many jokes and sermons given within the Official Semi-Annual General Conference of the Mormons, using freely the terms Nigger, Darky and Sambo. Additionally, these LDS Church documents record nearly 100 graphic sermons and lessons that clearly teach the principle, practice and policy that Black Skin was, is and will remain forever the Curse of Cain.
Only in the recent past has the “Complete History” of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints come to the attention of its own membership, much less to the under developed regions of the world. As this information is discovered, an ever increasing number of members of the Mormon Church have come into a personal crisis of faith, most notably Elder Hans Mattsson of Sweden, a General Authority of the Mormon Church who has gone public with his doubts and questions concerning the appalling treatment of the Black Race by the Mormon Church.
Not unique to Africa, has been the Mormon Church’s training of young Missionaries to strictly avoid any discussion of several of the more embarrassing, yet true, teachings of the 183 year old Church. Among the prohibited subjects to discuss have been, becoming a God, the practice of Polygamy and religious racial restrictions on the Black Race.
With the smooth talent of a skilled politician, the Mormon Church has ended its Official Racial Restrictions with the following hypocritical and deceitful, but technically accurate Statement:
“The origins of priesthood availability are not entirely clear. Some explanations with respect to this matter were made in the absence of direct revelation and references to these explanations are sometimes cited in publications. These previous personal statements do not represent Church doctrine.”
As a former Mormon Bishop and member of the Mormon Church for over 32 years, let me be of some help with the translation of this very carefully crafted, yet deceitful message. The two key and noteworthy phrases are: “in the absence of direct revelation” and “These previous personal statements do not represent Church doctrine.”
I will address the most obvious first, clearly the “previous statements” from the Church and its Leadership “do not” represent the Church doctrine today. The policy was reversed in 1978 and there is no question as to the current policy of today. The hypocritical deception is that between 1830 and 1978 those “statements” did, very much “DID” not “DO” represent past Official and Legitimate Mormon Church doctrine. Yet, I do give full credit to the clever Mormon authors and editors of today for their most skillful use of the English language.
And finally, the most revealing and enlightening statement from the Mormon Church is: “in the absence of direct revelation”. So then, it is incredibly true and accurate that without any mockery or sarcasm to state that; The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints had for nearly 140 years, restricted a significant portion of the human race, millions and millions from what they teach is God’s intended blessings of Eternal Marriage, Salvation and even Godhood, without knowing why they did it, all without “direct revelation”?
This Official Statement of religious shame and embarrassment comes from the Headquarters of a Church that claims to be guided in all things by “direct revelation”. How then, did such an exclusive doctrine based on prejudice, bigotry and racism become so widely accepted, so authoritative, so convincing and so commanding for so long, without any “direct revelation”?
As a former Bishop of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, I give testimony that what they have stated is true, in that, they are racist and do not hide the History of the Church from its members or the public, this, their Official Statement on Race and the Church demonstrates that fact.
I believe that the truly wicked teachings as well as the repulsive history of the Mormon Church concerning Polygamy, Polyandry-(sharing wives among the men), Blood Atonement, as well as restricting the Blacks from the Mormon Priesthood is available for those who have eyes to see and ears to hear.
It is my prayer that all Mormons and non-Mormons alike will come to know the true history of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I wish that every adult around the world could find the time to read the calculated racism and bigotry found within the Book of Mormon. My hope is that all mankind could discover the contemporary Mormon Teachings, to see the deception they hold, and then… to read the True Word of God with the eyes of a child, and follow the True Jesus, the True Christ found only in the Bible.
Lee B. Baker
Former Mormon High Priest and Bishop
 1 Nephi 11:13, 1 Nephi 12:23, 1 Nephi 13:15, 2 Nephi 5:21, 2 Nephi 30:6, Jacob 3:5, Jacob 3:8-9, Alma 3:6, Alma 3:9, Alma 3:14, Alma 23:18, 3 Nephi 2:14-16, 3 Nephi 19:25, 30, Mormon 5:15, Moses 7:8, Moses 7:12, Moses 7:22, Abraham 1:21, Abraham 1:27
 A full and complete list is available upon request from Lee B. Baker former Mormon Bishop, contact: email@example.com
@Mr Lee B baker- you posted that long comment once before on this web site here. https://mormonstories.org/lowry-nelson/
@John Dehlin I thought you where articulate and spoke well. Thank you for putting your self out there in the public eye. I imagine it hasn’t all been easy. It has not been easy always for me to speak my mind about the church, especially to others with in it who have stone hard ideas about what they believe. My conscience(Holy Ghost) tells me not to be silent. Thank you for being an example.
When I heard you were on the program John I though to myself that Doug had no one on to represent any opposing view to the other, pro LDS stance guests. I was glad to hear your name but I wanted someone to hold our church accountable, but i didn’t think you’d do it John. How glad I am to say that you were great! You said what needed to be said, tied it into today’s contemporary issues of GLBT, women and eschewing other folk doctrines by questioning everything from the Salt Lake 15.
Thanks for your reasoned tone that bore through a lot of conversation that made no sense to me with its double speak and bad apologetics. Russel stepped in it and left us all agog with the casting of this doctrine onto the shoulders of the members. Pretty sure I heard Margaret say it as well. I’m not sure they understand how off putting that is, and will do far more damage in trying to keep members around.
Thank you, John for not sugar-coating your comments! The LDS church needs to hear more voices that stand up to them and let them know that people aren’t just falling in line any longer.
Russell Stevenson’s comments were deplorable. To suggest the Mormon’s weren’t ready for the truth (insert Jack Nicholson) is apologetics at its worst. Thank you John for calling him out on that.
I couldn’t agree more John with your thoughts that the Church should follow its own teachings on the repentance process. An apology is necessary, signed by the First Presidency and Twelve.
What a mess. It only took 150 years to reveal that BY was a racist, not God.
Do what is right, let the consequence follow…
I agree Missouri. But if Mormons weren’t ready for the truth, it is only because the LDS Church has misled them for so long and has conditioned modern Mormons to obey instead of being inquisitive.
It would be akin to doctor being unable to deliver a life saving medicine to a patient because the doctor has been administering the wrong medication and hasn’t stopped yet!
Sure must be nice to be able to completely disregard your Christian duty to an entire group of people (and actively work against them) for over 100 years, and then post a webpage, blaming it on someone long dead and still enjoy being “infallible” and even being seen as better than those who cared all along. There MUST be a diagnosable mental illness involved here.
Maureen: “You don’t understand Jay our Prophet will never lead the Church astray!!”
Jay: “But didn’t the Prophet, Brigham Young and the Prophets who followed him until 1978 lead the church astray with regard to blacks in the priesthood.”
Maureen: “Yes, but they were speaking as a men.”
Jay: “Hmmm…That’s puzzling to me. Didn’t they all say they were speaking for God and didn’t the Church members follow their lead, in spite of this human error?”
Maureen: “You still don’t understand sometimes men get things wrong.”
Jay: “Okay, so your current Prophet could be getting things wrong with what they are telling you now. Is that correct?”
Maureen: “No, I told you the prophet cannot lead the Church astray.”
Jay: Bangs his head against the wall and proclaims: “My five year old has more reasoning ability than this.”
It is honestly difficult for Church members to discern when a prophet is speaking as a man or as a prophet. There are literally no “key words” one can look for.
Brigham young pounded the podium, uttered the phrase “Thus saith the Lord,” and declared that no man may be saved without believing in the Adam-God doctrine. However, current prophets have now rendered the Adam-God doctrine to the trash heap of “theories of man”.
We receive truth from two sources: other people (leaders) and personal revelation. To support our leaders, we are taught to humbly ask in prayer for our own confirmation of what is right and wrong. However, if we receive an answer that does not support statements made by a leader then it is our fault. The good old double bind. We did not ask with enough faith, humility, and love. We received our answer from the “dark side.” We are being deceived.
If we persist in our belief that the leader is wrong, we are told, “That is fine as long as you do not talk about your beliefs in public.” Is the assumption that we will eventually come around and fall in line? Buy time and let the infidel work out his problems.
In general, does being “published” mean we can accept a leader’s statements as doctrine? Does being cannonized mean we can accept it as doctrine?
Is the Proclamation on the Family doctrine? Could it be deemed a “mistake of a man” in fifty years when the U.S. Government threatens to remove tax-exempt status from all organizations that do not fully and equally accept same-sex marriages?
“Unheard of, absurd… Some things I will not, I cannot, allow. Tradtion-Marriages must be arranged by the papa. This should never change.”
So many word games, levels of indirection, and insulating “partner” organizations, just to avoid liability, having to admit error or to say “sorry.”
Your comment is spot on, and very beautifully worded. I have witnessed first-hand everything you mentioned.
It seems so weird to me now that more people cannot see these facts. But I guess they just keep their blinders on and do what they have been conditioned to do.
This new statement from the church seems to really blow the idea of modern day prophets out of the water.
Before when they would put in on God, I would think, “Okay, God obviously knows best, I guess I just can’t comprehend it”. Now that they came out and said, “Hey all that stuff was wrong, here is actually what happened”, it really just makes me feel like they think we are stupid.
They tell us, “As it turns out, they all just got it wrong for 100 years, and as a result they lead hundreds of thousands of church members to believe that they were receiving this revaluation from God…but they are just fallible men”. Now there is a new group of men who put out a new statement, and we’re to believe this is the REAL statement. So ‘real’, infallible ‘truth’ comes from PR people? Not from the Prophets?
Thank you John for going on this program and asking the questions that you did. The Church’s statement is a laudable rejection of racism, but I’m still left feeling that it did not go far enough. Why wasn’t this statement mentioned on mormonnewsroom.org? Why did it come from unnamed historians instead of the leadership of the Church? Why was there no apology for the direct damage the policy had on people and relationships, and for the indirect damage caused by the racist ideologies passed off as doctrine (sorry, “theories”) that influenced generations of Mormons?
“Mistakes were made” is what managers say, not leaders. I get a sense from many commenters and commentators that they want to see leadership out of the Brethren, not management and PR spin. Leaders take ownership, and talk about how we can do better. Leaders try to get out in front of important issues, not wait 35 years for the followers to finally be ready before taking ownership and commenting.
I’m still shocked at the “blame the members” arguments. Like most members, I grew up singing “Follow the prophet! Follow the prophet! Don’t go astray. Follow the prophet! Follow the prophet! He knows the way!” And yet Russell and Marvin think members should have stood up to church leadership more? Come on. We’re supposed to follow the Brethren. They’re prophets, seers, and revelators. They know the way! If members didn’t push hard enough, it’s because we were all taught to not push the Brethren at all.
And why would we push the Brethren? They’re supposed to have a “bat phone” to heaven! This wasn’t some nuisance issue of little importance — it was discussed for decades before 1978. People were chastised and disciplined for publicly disagreeing with church leadership, and people left the Church because of it. It was important. If prophets refuse to use the bat phone because of cultural prejudice, then we should know that. If the bat phone gives a busy signal, or a disconnected signal, then we should know. If leaders don’t have a bat phone, but instead are as susceptible to the spirit as “any good Methodist,” then we should know. If their statements are merely their well-considered opinions, and not the thoughts of God, then we should know. They should tell us, so we can adjust our understanding.
Amen indeed. Very well said!!
^^^I like this comment.
another Amen from me!
Thanks John for holding your own in there. I’m really frustrated with how the radio show went though. They kept stating that the current chruch statement says that the ban was not of divine origin and was just from Brigham Young and it’s been disavowed. THAT’S NOT TRUE!
This very carefully worded statement only disavows the theories, but it leaves the ban up in the air (neither disavowing it or claiming it had divine origin). I’m disappointed that Margret Young and Marvin Perkins completely dismissed that point when it was brought up by the person writing into the show. (though that write in person did go too far in claiming that the statement confirmed divine origin for the ban)
It would have taken no more that two extra words to disavow the ban along with the theories, and it didn’t do it. It weasles its way to not make a decision leaving people that want to believe it was from God, and those that want to believe it wasn’t, both feeling justified.
The article is great at disavowing racism and the racist theories and racist statements made in the past and it should be applauded for it, but in regards to the ban itself, the statement is lukewarm at best and and I want to spew it out of my mouth.
As a full tithe payer I feel cheated.
The church should have posted this notice to the front of the church website. It still feels like they are sweeping it under the rug. Keeping it on the low down. I shouldn’t have to find out about it here or on facebook. I have my home page set at LDS.org. I hope to see more change. I do have hope. My faith is holding out for more change.
The elephant in the room is that the church and its prophets shoveled a bunch of dung and expected the members to eat it. And we did, faithfully.
I know they are just men, they are not perfect. But for goodness sakes, please stop walking around clamming to be Gods mouth piece if this is what you produce. Maybe this is a sign they are gradually stepping down the intensity of such rubbish.
I feel all men and women are entitled to manifest God just as much as any other person.
A couple of weeks ago a family member of mine argued with me regarding black skin being a curse from God and pre-mortal righteousness. They whole heartedly believe this. And yet, they have no idea of this statement on lds.org. The leaders need to communicate to their members and not just post something online in hopes that members won’t read it. The need to resign from the church is becoming overwhelming for me.
Exactly! If the Church really wanted the message to be sent that it was opposed to all of these theories then it would be on the front page of the website. Actually, something like this should probably be read from the pulpit, to show the Church means business. Instead it’s hidden on the website, and most members will only find out about it (_if_ they find out about it) through Facebook or friends.
Read from the pulpit… EXACTLY. This is the action the church should take if it is serious about changing the minds of the public and its own members. Read this statement in every meetinghouse and stake conference in 2014.
First of all let me start off by saying Thank you John for your Honesty, hopefully the brethren will take a page from your book.
Secondly, Russell to insinuate that the “Mormon rank and file” wasn’t ready for the statement is a “evil and pernicious doctrine.”
Change has always come from the grass roots level. It is only because of the Mormon rank and file and social pressures outside the church
that these issues are even brought to light in the first place.
To suggest that faithful members are to blame for the delay in this Revelation…..Doctrine….Principal…..Statement or whatever the church PR wishes to call it these days, takes the focus of responsibility from the self appointed Prophets, Seers and Revelators.
Come on Brethren of the First Presidency and the Quorum of the 12 Apostles, have some integrity. Live up to the calling God gave you otherwise what purpose do you actually serve?
Can some one help me? I am in a little bit of a dilemma. The church has come out and said as much that the Prophet Brigham Young was wrong with some doctrine/policy (lets not split hairs) he taught. Then other prophets fallowed suit by ether teaching the same belief or not correcting it for many years after.
My dilemma is this. I get really board going to the temple. I go with the intent to learn something new each time and enjoy the quiet, a time to meditate. I think about the persons name who I am going threw the temple for. I have been there so many times I have the ceremony memorized. I have actually seen people fall asleep during the ceremony. I personally have not fallen asleep I strive to live by the covenants I have made and keep sacred things secret. Other than that I don’t buy into it.. I can get the same feelings I get in the temple when I worship God in the woods, when I meditate on life upon a Mountain top, I feel God just as strong when I watch a good Disney Movie. How do I know that there are Jews and atheists on the other side waiting to hear the gospel message? I have heard the prophets talk about it and say it is true. When I pray about it and ponder it, the answer I get from the “Holy Ghost” is that the doctrine of the temple is not all that its cracked up to be. I’m exercising faith when I fallow the prophets. To me the prophet was always right when they said something was doctrine or it was talked about over the pulpit. Do I fallow my heart or the prophet?
I appreciate the Church. I love the effort the leaders make. I hope they continue to make moves like they have that show honesty and humility. Even a little movement in the right direction is still in the right direction.
The Church admitting there has been error made will ultimately help the church and its people. It might not feel good to some that the church is moving toward admitting guilt and not fast enough for others, but in the end it will be for the better. The closer we come to admitting what is the truth and not just what we want to be true, the better off we will all be.
The one thing you need to accept deep in your psyche is the possibility that the church is not a church that has any special favor of “a divine”, but just another church, like the thousands that have come before, and the thousands that will come after. Our church with its leaders are like all other churches and leaders are subject to human mistakes and frailties, just like any endeavor taken up by human hands no matter the good intentions. Religion is insidious because of its authoritarian nature, and when mistakes are made they are tardily remedied due to the mistaken perception that it is according to God’s dictates. Not saying it can’t be a positive experience for you or your family, just saying nothing special about the Mormon church, nor the Catholic church, nor Islam, or any other organization that claims to know the will of the Divine and/or has special access to such knowledge.
All dissonance and mental gymnastics left my thinking when I saw our church as just one of thousands, our God as just one in thousands, nothing special, nothing unique, just humans trying to make sense of a world full of fear, anxiety and loathing. Karl Marx’s critique of Hegel’s philosophy of Right is one of the most elegant critiques of why man pursues religion, God, and the need for faith. (The first 12 or so paragraphs, you’ll recognize them). You mentioned how you’ve felt the same spirit with Disney as you did in the Temple. This is a huge insight, and should spur you into the fields of epistemology, coming to understand how and why we know the things we know, and what does not qualify as “knowing”. Good luck. It’s a great journey, well worth it.
Well said. It is funny how everyone can see the flaws in perception, and biases in other people, yet can be completely blind to it in themselves. And after all, we are slaves to what we are blind to.
It seems to me that there is a transcendent experience to this reality we are all sharing. Some one experiences that transcendent “beyond” and then they slap a label onto it. Then they interpret their label as fact and duality arises. Then people throw on their different colored jerseys and define, and set limits to ideas like God.
From there they all have their arbitrary morals that are obviously ‘right’ to them, but they fail to realize how subjective these things are. Obviously God doesn’t want you to drink tea/coffee/alcohol, but it is totally fine to eat pork and show your hair in public…Those Muslims are just silly, they happen to believe the wrong things..
How am I the only person who realized they may be wrong? And more importantly, I feel like the only person who activly tries to falsify my own assumptions.
I don’t want to believe, I want to understand, I want to know (if that is possible).
I too used to be locked in due to special pleadings, conformation bias, groupthink, social/cultural pressures, and from fear. I didn’t realize that when I would read something that conflicted with my programming and I felt discomfort, it was not Satan or evil, it was simply cognitive dissonance.
Unfortunately, the human mind has no way of telling truth from falsehood, that is why there are so many different and competing belief systems. It is also unfortunate that cognitive dissonance occurs when we hold two competing ideas, rather than having it triggered when we hold a false idea. If we are programmed to think that something is right or wrong, to us, that is reality.
Why try to shape reality to fit it into your current paradigm? Why not let reality determine what you believe to be real? Truth should transcend cultural boundaries. That is why there is no Mormon Mathematics, or Muslim Physics.
We are not all Mormon, or Christian, or Muslim etc. But we are all human. That is a truth that can transcend boundaries. Why shouldn’t we just wear the jersey of ‘human’.
I for one, think it is time we give up our archaic notions of ‘righteousness’, ‘evil’, and ‘wrong’. The way I see it, if people can strike a balance between 1) Individual autonomy, and 2) Not making others suffer/social well-being. That would be a truly free society.
The first step for me was exactly what you said Rude Dog, I began to study the epistemology of what I thought I knew, and realized that my beliefs were not justified. I have been a “seeker” ever since.
We should seek to understand rather than condemn, judge, or label things as ‘good’ or ‘bad’, ‘right’ or ‘wrong’.
Thank you for your post Rude Dog.
I agree with Rude Dog’s response to you below.
I too went through this same thing. I would feel the spirit far more when I would hear a song that reminded me of my wife, than I ever did in the temple.
I began to really study the epistemology, trying to find out what I knew, then how do I know that is true, and finally, asking myself if my beliefs were justified.
As Alan Watts said, “It’s like swallowing a ball of hot iron, you can’t get it down, but you can’t spit it back up”.
It was a scary experience peeling back layer of my ego to reveal what was at the core. Unfortunately I found layers upon layers of conformation bias, programming, groupthink, fear, and when I finally stripped all of those away I was left to examine my special pleadings, my unquestioned assumptions, that everyone seems to neglect inspecting. I had to ask myself, 1)How do you know there is a God? 2) How do you know Joseph Smith was who they say he was? 3) How do I know modern day revelation is possible? 4) Could all these beliefs that I believed, could they have been something other than the labels I assigned to them. 5) Where did I get the labels?
After all of that I realized that I don’t know if there is a God. –there could be, sure. It would explain the complexity of life and the universe, but as modern day science points out, God is not a necessity. I focused mainly on that question, because I figured if I could justify God’s existence, it would be my foundation to build from. I thought, “Oh I’ll pray about it”, and I did. Fervenlty. Multiple times a day. I’d stay up for hours pleading with God to let me know he was there. I never got more than anything I could explain away as my own mind. So I decided to try to understand it. There is an excellent youtube series from Valerie Tarico, a psychologist, called “God Through the Lens of Cognitive Science”, that explains away most of what I was experiencing. I realized that all the things I thought were signs, or proof, throughout my whole life, were, in fact, experienced by believers of all faiths. These things were even experienced by people who believed in things like bigfoot, or alien abductions.
I had to ask myself, “If our religion is ‘different’ or ‘special’ in some way, why then do all these other religions experience the exact same thing, only with different labels?”
I wanted to understand belief. I have been reading, watching, and listening to everything I can find on the subject of belief for a year now. It has been very enlightening. Our experiences as Mormons are no different that born again Christian experience, or Hindu’s experiencing Atman as Brahman. They all have different labels for the same thing, but at the core, it is the same experience, we just label, and emphasize different parts.
So I have come to the stance of ‘Don’t know’. There could be a God. Sure! If there is, it seems he works through natural means. Once one has an understanding of the cognitive science behind belief, and learn that everyone experiences the same thing, you start to see that God either works through the brain, and does not favor one group, or he is not needed. We do not need the hypothesis of demons to explain seizures anymore so we use Occum’s Razor to shave it away. We understand how storm systems work now days without having to appease any storm gods, so we have no need for the storm god hypothesis. Demons could have some effect on seizures, and storm gods could affect weather, but if they do have an effect, it is not needed to treat and understand these phenomena.
So for me, it was about peeling back the layers, and finding my base assumtions. Once I found those I really inspected them. I tried to falsify everyting I knew. If it is true, I should be able to demonstrate to myself that it is true. There are only two things I absolutely know are true at this moment. 1) I am. 2) Don’t know.
If I do know, I do not know that I know, so I still don’t know. and I know that I am, but I cannot say for sure that anyone else is.
These things may seem very abstract now, but as Descartes said, “Doubt all things as far as possible”. How else can we get to the truth??
John, props man! This interview just reconfirmed to me why you’re still part that, now “non-rasist”, organization. That interview would’ve been so one-sided without your voice. This is a HUGE issue and it’s sickening to think there are people like Russell Stevenson who say, “the MEMBERS weren’t ready for it”!!!
If the leadership had come out in 1978 and apologized, and said blacks actually DID get the priesthood in Joseph’s day, and that apology and information was an actual widespread teaching throughout the church, then his student wouldn’t have been so stund to barely be hearing it in 2013!!! He can’t be saying this young BYU student is a complete racist. He’s trying to portray this kid as a racist that “couldn’t handle the truth” until 2013. His story came across though, that this kid was in utter SUPRISE. Now this kid is going have more cognitive dissonance to deal with every time he sees the big “Y” on campus. He’s surprised because he’s been taught his whole life about the horrible justified racism in the BoM, Moses, BoA, and all the teaching of previous leaders. People are racist because they’ve been TAUGHT racism.
I left the church because the appologist arguments make ABSOLUTELY NO SENSE to anyone who’s not an indoctonated Mormon. The problem is, as the final caller had stated, the church is built on a house of cards. A logical person would say, “Hey, if God’s not racist, don’t you think he could’ve found some people who had more progressive views on equality then Brigham Young?” If half of America was against slavery, surely there was one or two people living near the “Hill Comorah” who believed in equality.
Didn’t God make Moroni travel clear up from Central American to bury the “gold plates”? If he had the power to make that miracle happen then don’t you think he would be powerful enough to select 15 men who believed in equality?
My wife and I left the church because we realized the Mormon God has no power. This leads to racisim, bigotry, and absolute judgmentalism! All justified by its highest leaders. Cognitive dissonance in its worst form. A complete “brain-drain” that is damning thousands upon thousands of beautiful, bright and intelligent members of the church.
You should’ve brought up to Russell the Nauvoo Relief Society minute book where it CLEARLY shows Joseph Smith condoned women laying hands on people for healing the sick (josephsmithpapers.org)!! I know the information in that document will be used to finally justify women getting, at least, some priesthood authority…in 20-30 years, as you stated.
Thanks again for your efforts and outspoken voice!
“condoned” wasn’t quite the right word. Joseph Smith approved of women laying hands on people to receive healings.
From the Nauvoo Relief Society Minute Book:
“Respecting the female laying on hands, he [Joseph Smith] further remark’d, there could be no devils in it if God gave his sanction by healing— that there could be no more sin in any female laying hands on the sick than in wetting the face with water— that it is no sin for any body to do it that has faith, or if the sick has faith to be heal’d by the administration.” (p. 33)
“Prest. S. then offered instruction respecting the propriety of females administering to the sick by the laying on of hands— said it was according to revelation &c. said he never was plac’d in similar circumstances, and never had given the same instruction.
He clos’d his instructions by expressing his SATISFACTION in improving the opportunity.” (p. 38 emphases added)
“Mrs. Chase prophesied that henceforth, if the sisters are faithful, the gifts of the gospel shall be with us, especially the gift of healing &c. &c.” (p. 66)
And, just for some humor, another false revelation by JS that was included in the minutes:
[Joseph Smith] “This Society shall have power to command Queens in their midst— I now deliver it AS A PROPHECY that before ten years shall roll round, the queens of the earth shall come and pay their respects to this Society— they shall come with their millions and shall contribute of their abundance for the relief of the poor— If you will be pure, nothing can hinder. (p. 36 emphases added)
“The truth will set you free”
Healing is done by faith in the scriptures not priesthood. Even healers outside of the LDS church perform their healing by faith.
Pardon the pedantry, but the Northerners weren’t so anti-slavery as they like to think. Check out the book: Ebony and Ivy, by Craig Steven Wilde about slavery in the elite northern universities of the US. So much for enlightened academic institutions.
Having said that, I agree we had prophets, who were supposed to see above the mists.
Love that song “With God on Our Side” by Dylan. Someone should adapt that to Mormon history.
I hope the Church will soften the rhetoric about following Church leaders. What of those who dissented and were punished because the Spirit told them, “No, No, No” when they prayed about the priesthood restriction? More virgins in the afterlife? Can we please start embracing Article of Faith number 11?
Can we please see more Pope Francis and less Bruce R from our God?
I totally understand that racism was widely held by many people in the northern states. BUT, those states were FREE because the the majority didn’t believe in slavery. Surly there were a handful or two of progressive thinkers (for the time) that God could better call to that “prophetic” office.
[Big eye roll to the Mormon god]
That’s a great passage, and there is an even more interesting passages even more interesting where JS refers to the Relief Society as a “kingdom of priests.” Does it mean the same thing as an ordination to be an Elder or High Priest? I don’t believe that it does, esp. since healing was considered (at that time) to be more a spiritual gift than a priesthood ordinance. The “kingdom of priests” merits more commentary, and in fact, I’m inclined to believe that endowed women *do* in fact hold the priesthood, though it is manifested in a different way.
Russell, thanks for your response. Could you please give us some other “even more interesting passages”? I’d love some more studying.
What about women blessing their husbands as part of the Second Anointing ceremony? Is it not true that during that ceremony, both the husband and the wife’s calling and election are made sure, guaranteeing them exaltation in this life? Which actually makes them Kings and Queens…in THIS life. And, accordingly, the woman would have the full priesthood, which is why she can bless her husband during the Second Anointing ceremony?
Again…this is done in this life…currently performed today…in the temple…guaranteeing exaltation…before the second coming and judgement day….women blessing their husbands in the full power of the priesthood. Please help me understand the difference better.
Especially how someone can be GUARANTEED exaltation in this life?
I’ve been away from this scene for the holidays. If you are interested in learning more about the “kingdom of priests,” then look at the 1842 RS minutes, available on the Joseph Smith Papers website.
The Second Anointing is an interesting ceremony. The question isn’t whether women were ordained to the priesthood (they clearly were and, I would argue, are) but what they are ordained to do. The priesthood is a fairly complicated conglomerate of authorities and powers; it is entirely possible to hold the priesthood w/o having the authority to bless the sacrament, etc. My sole argument is that blacks/priesthood and women/priesthood are different narratives entirely with different precedents. My podcast, Mormon History Guy, will be addressing women and the priesthood over the next couple months. Stay tuned.
Russell, thanks for your candidness. You may want to clue in the 15 “special witnesses” to your findings.
While you’re at it, you may want to also clue them into the many official statements made about why it was actually taught as DOCTRINE that blacks should never receive the priesthood in this life.
Also concerning the absolutely racist teachings about black (flint) skin in the BoM, Moses, and PoGP. No one can studiously look at these three books of scripture and say Joseph Smith wasn’t racist. Or, at least, perpetuating the racial bigotry of his day.
This racial bigotry the Mormon god was, evidently, impotent to stopping.
Hey John I am so pleased for with the strength of your statements! I personally agree with the caller who said the church falls like a house of cards. At the end of the show the conversation turned to where are the female examples like Brother Abel’s. I’m sorry time ran out and it was not brought up that for many years of church history women did hold and administer in priesthood ordinances specifically giving blessings. Joseph fully supported this and it continued generations after his death.
As far as the house of cards go. I remember Dan Wortherspoon’s podcasts on Atheism, and while discussing his worshiped Fowler’s 5 stages of faith, Wortherspoon seemed perplexed that a deconstruction of faith could happen in a relative short period of time. Wortherspoon came across as only validating a deconstruction of faith if it happened over an extended period of time, taking up to some years for it to be legitimate. I remember thinking that once I digested and dealt with the first issue (Book of Abraham), although I had to deconstruct them all individually (polygamy, Book of Mormon, Masonry, racism) they all came pretty quickly, clearly, and profoundly. I remember thinking after listening to Wortherspoon that “a house of cards” is exactly how I would characterize my fleeing testimony.
The last “official” statement by the church on the matter of race – that I am aware of – was by the First Presidency on Aug 17, 1949. This current release on LDS.ORG is not an “official” church position as far as I am concerned. Let the prophet address it in General Conference and state for the record the new position of the church, or add his signature to the bottom of the recently released statement.
Who needs reality TV when we get a front-row seat to this inflection in the Mormon experience?
Rrrrr, the last “official” statement was the SWK 1978 announcement. Nonetheless, my point being, that this press release is not “official”.
I, for one, stand by Brigham Young’s racist statements and am very dearly glad this latest statement put out by the church on LDS.org is not official yet.
There is a point which Russell Stevenson did not address when quoting McConkie’s CES symposium address, “All are alike unto God” Aug 18, 1978 talk where he says the oft quoted, “Forget everything that I have said, or what President BY . . . We spoke with limited understanding, without light and knowledge, . . . We have now added a new flood of intelligence and light on this subject, it erases ALL the darkness and ALL the views and ALL the thoughts of the past.” Then only 3 years later the Priesthood book c1981 is published where McConkie adds how wonderful it is that the “ancient curse is no more!”, The seed of Cain and Ham, and Canaan and Egyptus all these now have power to rise up and bless Abraham.” Isn’t it wonderful! The seed of Cain can now have the priesthood! There is a huge reason a transcript of the prayer Kimball offered to God in the temple is not available. It is because Kimball asked God as quoted by McConkie who was there at the prayer meeting, Kimball pled with the Lord and asked if the answer was to continue our present course of denying the priesthood to the seed of Cain.” Clearly Kimball believed a false doctrine that blacks were of the seed of Cain, and then McConkie even 3 years later is still blinded by the “light and knowledge”.
Perhaps McConkie should have said, “Forget everything that I have said, or that I am saying, or will say” on the topic of race.
Sadly, Joseph Smith still adopted the folk doctrine that blacks were of the cursed seed of Ham, Canaan, etc. based on his statement in March 1836, (History of the Church 2:438-439) yet he still ordains Elijah Abel an Elder on March 3 of 1836. If Elijah’s patriarchal blessing from JS Sr. had declared him of the lineage of canaan like Jane Manning James instead of “an orphan” with no lineage would Elijah still be ordained by JS? Likely yes, as JS did not believe cursed gentile meant no priesthood ordination, it meant blackness JST Genesis 7, but not priesthood restriction. So therein lies the strange conundrum in the Kimball prayer in 1978, to grant priesthood blessings to the seed of Cain, when JS did not believe that Canaan, Ham, ever had a priesthood restriction. Then the wildest irony of all that BY stated that JS Jr. was a “pure Ephraimite” in his 1855 talk about how belief in Christ produces a blood transfusion for the believing pure gentile, when Ephraim was of the son of Joseph of Egypt and his cursed Egyptian wife Asenath daughter of the egyptian priest of On, which was of the same cursed lineage of Pharoah written in McConkie’s 1981 chapter! So in summary folk doctrines were adopted from gentiles by cursed Ephraimites to curse blacks for the sins of their fathers, then Kimball pleads with the Lord to reverse a ban which Joseph Smith never instituted, to grant the seed of Cain the priesthood. Now cursed Ephraimites are disavowing the curse which never existed, all while carrying “out of africa” dna.
I am so grateful to see the church leadership has taken a big step to clarify the church’s position on this issue. I served as Young Men’s President in a predominantly African-American inner-city Chicago Ward in the early 1990’s. It was a unique ward with a small number of us “transplants” being associated with the University of Chicago community and the rest of the Ward being native Chicago south-siders.
While administering that calling (which I still call the best calling I’ve ever had in the church), it became extraordinarily distressing for me to hear some of the awful explanations about why people of African lineage were banned from the priesthood for over 100 years. The curse of Cain, pre-mortal cowardice, not being “white and delightsome”, or the worst, in my opinion: “we just don’t know but take it on faith.” That included a truly disturbing encounter I had with a visiting LDS Apostle, which ignited what had been a smouldering faith crisis in my own life.
My own studies of this issue 20 years ago lead me to virtually the same narrative outlined in the new church publication, with the exception of asking why, if God is running this church, it was allowed to happen and why it has taken so long to correct. I have had to work that out for myself over the years since and I am still taking some of that on faith. This landed me in the same place that Bro. Perkins described in the podcast, where I hear and consider the words of church leaders and but I rely on the Holy Ghost for my truth.
Lastly, I know it is very difficult for the leadership of a conservative faith-based organization to ever say “we go it wrong” so kudos to LDS church leadership for this courageous admission.
It’s just another church. And you can partially thank Stanford and Cal Berkeley and the other PAC 8 schools for forcing the half semi apology on racism today. If they didn’t refuse to play BYU in the seventies and deny admission to their conference because of the race issue, then the “revelation” probably would not have happened when it did. Oh wait it wasn’t a revelation in 1978 but a mere policy change.
Mormons really need to think about what their church is really about. Does God really want his children to be controlled by 15 men who seem to be following the crowd on everything? Where is the leadership? Why are they so much about money, cutting worker hours to save on healthcare costs? Do they follow the golden rule? It is where Christ said all the law and prophets were supposedly based.
Does God really think people should be kept out of the temple because they drink tea? Lets get his fresh take on the temple recommend questions.
All respect to John Dehlin. You talked about the things that I thought about. You Raised issues that were pertinent and require attention. This policy was in place for a long time. Church has accepted hat it was a mistake. So then, what do we mean by ‘the true church?’ what does it mean to be a prophet? I’m not suggesting thy prophets should be perfect but that is not the issue here. Our leaders claim to be guided b Jesus himself. So what was he doing for more than a century? Chilling? We are told our leaders will never lead the church astray. Well doesnt this massive error qualify? These are wholly legitimate questions to ask. You go for it JD!!!
Dave… you are asking some really great questions… all of which I have wrestled with myself over the years. While it may not work some for some people, my own faith journey (which includes staying in the church rather than leaving) has led me to the following conclusions 1) The concept of “True Only Church” is an invention of fundamentalist-minded Mormons based on their interpretation of Joseph Smith interpretation of God’s voice to him. We have truths in our church that are incredibly powerful and unique and many people had received incredible fulfillment and do incredible works by embracing them. For those people, that one true church is their truth. 2) A prophet is simply a man called to speak for God. However, God’s voice is only manifest through those prophets if we hear God’s call through the Holy Spirit. If we blindly follow that man’s words and expect that man to be perfect, we are going to be disappointed. 3) I have had to let go of the belief that God is a CEO directing ever detail of church operations. Using the corporate analogy, (although some prefer the Clockmaker analogy), I see God more as a major investor. He has a lot of other things going on and primarily relies on the Holy Spirit, and man’s conscience, intelligence, and agency to direct the affairs of The Church. And not to be glib but it was a man that said that the Prophet would never lead the church astray. That is not canonized in scripture. Personally, I had never had spiritual manifestation that that statement is true and there is a lot in scripture that contradicts it.
Thanks Mike. Really helpful of you to take the time. I’m actually active at church after a few years of absence and I have a reconstructed faith based on Christ himself. I do not believe that ours is the ‘true’ church nor do I believe any church is true nor needs to be. God is true and Christ is true. The Mormon format is the chosen playground upon which I choose to carry out my faith simply because that is my background. I don’t think that religion and faith is all about getting your beliefs right or to be exact about every minutiae of doctrine. For me, it’s about an experiential exchange with God. A real, meaningful relationship is everything. It means little to ‘know’ because the devil also knows and it doesn’t do him much good does it? As I form a relationship with god I can embark upon a fresh, open voyage with God, together discovering new truths. Following the prophet is not an option for me since, clearly, prophets get it catastrophically wrong. Jesus said ‘come follow me’. That is what I have always done and in fact, so far anyway, has never failed me. Within Mormonism, I see lots of opportunities to serve in a Christian way.
Mike and Dave
Thank you both for your thoughtful, personal comments. So well said. Both of you capture and articulate better what I have similarly felt and live as my own faith journey–which is always in process.
Thanks for the exchange, guys. It gets a bit lonely sometimes being a less-than-conventional-thinking latter-day saint. It is good to know there are kindred spirits out there. As a dutiful Mormon, I am off to FHE now ;-)
For me mode and manner of delivery spoke to the pathos of a beleaguered leadership that has already spent its moral capital on dismal attempts to preserve its obdurate claim to divine revelation in the face of so dissonant a legacy.
The thing about Pope Francis that has so much of the world impressed, is how he articulated a simple but important vision for Catholics that so many people can embrace: serving the needy.
It seems to me our vision has been about modern revelation, prophets, and the fullness of the gospel. I’m surprised at how many faithful defenders of the gospel are ruffled by this statement, because they feel they’ve been thrown under the bus, teaching what they thought was gospel: the curse of dark skin that’s in our scriptures and the words of our prophets. But suddenly it’s been disavowed.
So our vision seems to be getting frayed now not just by the doubters, but by whoever wrote that article and disavowed what our leaders taught for a century.
It feels like we need a Pope Francis-like vision, but unique to us. We have so many virtues, like being family-focused, our amazing volunteerism, aspirational values, etc. But it’s getting buried under the questions about what having prophets mean and whether we really have them.
A discussion on Race and Priesthood is not complete without going back to the Old Testament –or the New Testament where applicable– to see how practices at that time shape the discussion, even in modern times. Especially since it is the prevailing point of reference that shapes same-gender discussions even today, among other issues.
Point being, going back 200 years is a historical drop in the bucket on some of these issues and how they are handled. It is very interesting to me to see how people are have such an easy time admitting that Old Testament prophets made mistakes and perhaps even sinned, but with modern prophets, we set up some other standard for them with respect to how we evaluate them, and perhaps that standard is incorrect. Our modern sensibilities have an easy time critiquing the old prophets because their time was so different, but completely ignore how different the times were 170 years from even now culturally. Or at least, we downplay that fact, because it is a fact.
Point being, Brigham Young made mistakes. We all know it. Why God allowed it we will not know, but it happened. But does that mean that he was not called of God or does it make the Church less “true”–however you decide to define that word? If so, then it is time to revise our Bibles as well, and call out all of the old teachings that we now take umbrance with.
Good point Chris. Maybe those prophets in the Bible aren’t really prophets. It might all be a sham. I didn’t think about that.
I don’t think we set up some other standard for how we evaluate recent prophets, they set up that standard and taught it to us. As Wilford Woodruff said, “The Lord will never permit me or any other man who stands as President of this Church to lead you astray.”
Or as Joseph Smith said, “I told the bretheren that the Book of Mormon was the most correct of any book on earth…”
Statements like those set pretty high expectations.
Maybe this is not a sign we need to revise our holy books. Maybe it is a sign of the absurdity of the idea that the words of the hold books were inspired by God..
Is anything in any holy book really something a man could not have written himself?
How do we even know that OUR holy book is the right or true one? Maybe the Koran is the ‘right’ one? Maybe the Vedas from Hinduism? Maybe some of the books that did not make the Cannon were perhaps divinely inspired?
How do you not see the arbitrary nature of these books? Is the Book of Mormon somehow different? What have you used as ‘truth test’? Maybe you tried reading/praying and got a fuzzy feeling that YOURS is true?? Where did you get that truth test? Was it not from the very thing you are trying to test of? Circular reasoning is a good way to sure up your own beliefs.
As the old saying goes–The easiest person to fool is yourself.
Speaking of a prophet vs speaking as a man = LDS trump card. That’s the best way to rationalize for every doctrine that is dicey in the church.
Who knows what is true or not? What is prophecy? THe way I see it the HOUSE always win. They own the card deck.
Good for JD going all angry elf on the format. The church needs to be accountable for this disgusting doctrine. I learned growing up they were cursed due to CAIN and that eventually they would receive the benefits of the Priesthood.
What kind of GOD is this? If that is a GOD he’s a total jerk.
Mormonism has great features but as John Larson said it is now a HOUSE OF CARDS.
When I read the “Race and the Priesthood” statement I was struck by its appeal to – or prooftexting of – a snippet from 2 Nephi 26:33 – “all are alike unto God.”
In the complete verse Nephi explicitly adds “black and white” to the “Jew [and] Greek”, “bond and free”, and “male and female” that Paul included in his letter to the Galatians (3:28), purportedly written over 500 years later. Today this belated appeal shows that Mormon prophets let their claims to ongoing revelation blind them to what scripture was telling them all along. So, a presumed strength reveals itself a profound weakness. And this makes the “male and female” part stand out. Will this same snipped scripture be used in some future quasi-official statement by a leadership beleaguered with its legacy of sexism? This question isn’t calling for a prophecy – just some forward thinking about what may or may not be doctrine after all.
Pope Francis progressive “quotations” are often overstated and inaccurate.
“Just as the commandment ‘Thou shalt not kill’ sets a clear limit in order to safeguard the value of human life, today we also have to say ‘thou shalt not’ to an economy of exclusion and inequality. Such an economy kills. How can it be that it is not a news item when an elderly homeless person dies of exposure, but it is news when the stock market loses 2 points?”
“While the earnings of a minority are growing exponentially, so too is the gap separating the majority from the prosperity enjoyed by those happy few. This imbalance is the result of ideologies which defend the absolute autonomy of the marketplace and financial speculation. Consequently, they reject the right of states, charged with vigilance for the common good, to exercise any form of control. A new tyranny is thus born, invisible and often virtual, which unilaterally and relentlessly imposes its own laws and rules … In this system, which tends to devour everything which stands in the way of increased profits, whatever is fragile, like the environment, is defenceless before the interests of a deified market, which become the only rule.”
– Pope Francis, 2013
It doesn’t get much blunter than that. He is comparing economic inequality to murder.
Can you imagine this coming from Thomas Monson?
Whether you agree with Pope Francis’s ideology or not, this statement reflects a vision that encompasses the entire world which is what a leader of a true world religion should be offering.
Mormonism is not a world religion. There’s more to that than sending children all over the world to teach prescribed dogma and baptize – or building chapels and temples in so many countries – or translating the Book of Mormon into so many languages. And promises of eternal exaltation bought with predominantly in-group circumscribed behavior and thinking is “spiritually” provincial.
So is offering a belated, and arguably disingenuous, explanation about racism, which given the age of the GAs, they all very likely personally guilty of – or deluded about.
Thanks for sharing this.
Please give examples
Pretty much All Religion has become is a failing ploy buy elites to retain hierarchical advantage over others. The good news is that it is failing. The bad news is that a fair number of people still buy into it.
Does this mean I don’t believe? No, but the age of “man leading man” must end. The actual ‘Devil’ is most likely us, and our inability to overcome animal instincts that no longer work for our good. Whatever God is, is most likely what happens in a future where we can leave our ‘Junk DNA’ behind.
Several have spoken about the “race and the priesthood” statement coming up short apology-wise. Here’s few thoughts on that, for what its worth.
First, I’m not sure what it means for an institution to apologize – institutions don’t feel remorse – they don’t feel responsibility. These are capacities of people.
Rather, institutions – like corporations – shield people – particularly leader-people – from personal responsibility and liability. More than this, being an institutional representative means not having to say you’re personally sorry. And even for the rank-and-file, being too wrapped up in an institution – melding one’s self-identity with it – can prevent them from feeling sorry (or, in the worse case, leading them to participate in atrocities)
Related to this might be the most proximate reason for the GAs not apologizing. Given their ages, it’s likely that most have believed these “theories of men,” perhaps as recently as Randy Bott’s public discourse. That certainly would make an apology on behalf of the institution (or past leaders) disingenuous. Perhaps this is what they want to avoid. Can you imagine being in that situation? They can’t distance themselves sufficiently.
On the other hand, I think I understand what it means for an institution to make restitution and for its leadership to orchestrate that. But I don’t know what form that might take. For instance, thinking counterfactually, consider the millions of blacks who would have become Mormons if the racist “policy” were never established, but didn’t. How would you either apologize or make restitution to them?
[Has anyone considered this forfeiture of millions of members – black and white? What an extraordinary fiasco. Can you imagine the scene with Joseph, Brigham, Taylor, Woodruff, Snow, …, Joseph Fielding Smith, and Harold B. Lee all sitting in a row outside Jesus’ office waiting for their accountability interview? Harold B. Lee says, “Guys, we’re screwed.” Then Joseph Fielding looks over at McKay with an accusatory glance followed by Mackay doing the same to George Albert and so on down the line to Brigham, who says, “I’m dead sure I got it right. And if I didn’t, well, where was Jesus during all this?” Meanwhile Joseph, hat in hand, stares down and says nothing.]
But then, the black members deserve something – and that something should be personally delivered from the First Presidency and published. I don’t think the white members need an apology. For one thing, they need to figure out how to forgive themselves if they never mustered enough sensitivity or empathy to let it bother them- though some acknowledgement of unrighteous dominion by the Brethren would help.
But everyone deserves something from the present general leadership that opens the way ahead with everyone feeling humbled and needful of each others help. I’d be impressed by personal admissions that being prophets, seers and revelators isn’t all that it’s been cracked up to be rather than offering vague concessions about not being perfect. They should stop the “I know” rhetoric and cut out their posing generally. It’s past the point of pretending. I think people would love them all the more for that.
Finally, the Brethren ought to strip down the doctrine after consulting some forward-looking thinkers so there isn’t another “[de-] Proclamation to the World” . Keep it simple – you don’t need to get past this only to get worn down by evolution and creationism. And then just let people build and maintain a simple faith based on good works that extend the church’s resources a bit more liberally and broadly. What are they saving it for?
This is wearing me out. I’m got to take a break … a long one I think.
 The following blog post as a copy of the 1947, “The Negros: A Proclamation to the World,” which apparently established the race policy on the same level as “The Family: A Proclamation to the World.” https://goodreasonblog.blogspot.com/
Beautiful post. You are extremely well thought out.
For some reason it bothers me when things like this happen.. Maybe it’s just seeing injustice that bothers me.
In the branch of psychology called Transactional Analysis, there is the notion of the “Parent / Child relationship”, where one party assumes the role of the Parent, while the other party assumes the role of the child.
That seems to be what has happened here.
The Church leaders are the authority figures and are in the role of the parent. They are the morality police. They will punish you for making mistakes. But suddenly they are the ones that make a mistake and they pull the ol’ “they’re fallible men”. So we get punished if we drink tea. But decades of discrimination, resulting in lost faith and destroyed lives gets nothing except an excuse?…it doesn’t even deserve a formal apology?..I guess that is one of the luxuries of being the parent, you don’t have to apologize or play fair, because at the end of the day, you don’t have to. The frustrating part is, we can’t even get mad at the parent, or openly question them, because then we will be in trouble for being mad or second guessing, or “speaking ill of church leaders”. We just have to fall into the submissive child role yet again. It is the classic “because I said so”. I hated that line as a child, I hate that line as an adult, and even though I am a parent myself I hope I never just speak from authority without being able to explicitly explain my reasons.
This is not an isolated event to the LDS church by any means. Any organization or individual with power (real or perceived) can easily fall into the parent role, and the church members most definitely fall into the submissive child role easily.
Why can’t both parties interact as adults? Why can’t church members publicly voice concerns and ask hard questions without fearing disciplinary actions by bishops or other leaders, or discrimination from fellow church members?
Along that same line, why can’t the church have complete transparency? Maybe no one really knows what is going on and it has just as much politics as any other organization, along with a major concern about PR. I for one, would rather learn a hard truth than be fed a bunch of near-truths, or flat-out lies for years only to find out later what the truth really is. And even once the lies or mistakes are exposed we still cannot openly question or criticize the men, the policies, or the doctrine.
Why not? Wouldn’t questioning injustices and seeking to correct them make any organization stronger?
Until that day I suppose we’ll just stay in our assigned roles as children and submit to what the church instructs. I wish I knew a solution, but I do not know of one.
In the midst of all this passionate and intelligent discussion, I’d like to offer a comment that I hope will not come across as condescending, but why are we surprised that this blatant evidence of human failing with historical evidence in the Scriptures tell us that this would be so? The early Christian church was riven by racial issues regarding the conversion of the Gentiles to the point that I believe it was the undoing of the early Saints but it was an issue that was shared by both the members and leaders. 10 to 15 years after the great commission to take the gospel to every nation kindred tongue and people the early church leaders were still dragging their feet and took a vision and a visitation of an angel to get Peter to cross the threshold of a Gentile’s door; this development led to the great Jerusalem conference and the official proclamation from the brethren proclaiming the equality of the Saints, but even after all this according to Paul, approximately a decade later Peter still was still falling back into the old social norms when it came to associating with both Jews and Gentiles in public (which by the way had no justification in Scripture, either in the old or the New Testament). It is no wonder that Paul taught that all prophecy would fail (1st Corinthians 13:8) and by implication the prophets who gave those prophecies – which he saw firsthand in himself and in others – but that in this regard we should cleave unto charity which would never fail, because the prophets don’t have the full picture as he said:
For we know in part, and we prophesy in part.
But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away.
One day, this will all make sense but until then we must look to the best intentions of everyone involved and apply the healing balm of charity to cover the wounds which we all inevitably inflict upon those who are closest to us.
Have a wonderful Christmas with friends and family
PS: John keep up the good work
Like many apologists (not saying you are one, but you do what they do here), you misunderstand and misrepresent the issue of proselytizing gentiles in the New Testament. It wasn’t about race; it was about whether or not gentiles should become Jews (i.e. get circumcised and observe the Torah) in order to become Christians. Gentiles could become Jews by conversion. Ethnicity didn’t matter. Paul argued that conversion to Judaism wasn’t necessary, and according to Acts, Peter eventually agreed.
Please stop perpetuating the false analogy to Mormons and race.
Where is Prof. Ralph Hancock? I would sincerely like to hear his thoughts on all this. Especially the question of “if they were wrong on this monumental policy/doctrine/practice for 150 years, what else is a philosphy of men?”
John, thank you so much for your boldness through out this broadcast. You echoed my own thoughts and feelings. Thank you for representing those of us who know that there IS a connection between race, gender, and LGBT issues in the church.
It is easy for the church to state the position of the church regarding race today. And to state that two explanations for the past behavior given by some in the past are not todays doctrine of the church. What is missing is an evaluation of the behavior in the past and an explanation of the past behavior.
Brigham Young gave a talk to SLC 3rd ward, June 23, 1874 where he said: “I have often said to the Latter-day Saints — ‘Live so that you will know whether I teach you truth or not.’ Suppose you are careless and unconcerned, and give way to the spirit of the world, and I am led, likewise, to preach the things of this world and to accept things that are not of God, how easy it would be for me to lead you astray!”
So Russell Stevenson was right. The congregations of careless victims and the lost prophets as a symbiotic mass of fallen people, lead each other into the ditch of racial hatred, and spit in the face of God by claiming he was the source of the folklore doctrine.
I just finished listening to this podcast. I feel sick.
I am a Utah County active Mormon trying to hold onto a thread of a testimony to keep me active in the Church. I wait for that inspiring “a-ha” moment when I will get a “Holy Ghost” feeling or the Church makes a wonderful revelation that will help solidify my testimony. I fear I wait in vain.
What I have “known” but “put on the shelf” for years, and what this “announcement” solidifies even further:
1) The leaders of the Church are no better than me. I have as much, or more, access to the divine as they have. They are simply successful business men who were, or have become, “career Church” and now run a multi-billion dollar business. They do what is necessary to protect that business… at all costs.
2) The Church is no better than any other “run of the mill” church. Preach Jesus, repentance, holy ghost, pass around a hat (or a 3.5 x 6 grey envelope), setup a shingle and there you go. Nothing else needed.
3) The unquestioned adherence to every word the “brethren” say by the “lock step robots” is downright terrifying. If these guys don’t even know what Mormon Doctrine is, if they cannot discern right from wrong, if they cannot lead us to a higher ground, what good are they? And to think they “command” an army of drones that will jump off the nearest cliff if they tell them to. I hate to say it but it is Nazi’ish.
Mr Stevenson, I have attended my LDS Orem ward for 25 years now. At least 95% of them are exactly “lock step robots”. In fact I can’t think of a better term to describe them. I hope that outside of Utah there is more individual thinking. Remember the KSL Doug Wright Show quote, “When two people agree all of the time, only one of them is doing the thinking.”
4) You cannot trust the judgement of anyone employed directly or indirectly by the Church. They are in crosshairs of the firing squad. Their daily bread depends on them always “looking on the bright side.”
If the game is “find the one true church,” you must consider all sides of all issues, otherwise you might just happily sit in your “incorrect church” all your life and never find the wonderful nirvana that is the LDS Church. Or, vice versa?
5) You cannot trust the word of deep rooted anti-Mormons. To be fair, they have an agenda too. However, I hear more truth, as the Holy Ghost burns by bosom, coming from them than from Church leaders.
6) I cannot allow Church leadership to have control over my life. If they are just men, no better than me, then they do not deserve the promise I made in the Temple to never talk “bad” about them.
When I made that promise I was an 18 year old boy who simply wanted to fit into my loving Mormon family and group of friends. I went to the Temple because that is what Mormon boys do at that age. If I would have known then what I know now, I would not have done it.
When we have Stake or Regional visitors at our ward, I watch the behavior of the members. Wow! No need to explain because if you have seen it you already understand, and if you have not seen it you probably work at BYU.
Mr Monson et. al.
I would wager that you are scared to death, you feel a huge weight, you do not get the “revelation” that you thought you would, you have to fight for every “burning in your bosom.” You probably thought you would walk into the Holy of Holies and find something that would confirm you really are God’s mouthpiece. When you found nothing, you had to dig deep. You had to convince yourself that such is the “norm.” But you feel inadequate. You wonder.
I am fine with that. If you would just tell me, I would respect you so much more.
If you do this, I would like to be like you. I want to explore, ask questions, understand, search for my own “burnings.” I want to be accepted in my congregation for the person I am, with all my flaws. I want a loving ward. I want to be in this fight “with” you.
Your current behavior creates an illusion of absolute knowledge. You demand silent adherence. You know the mysteries of the universe. You cannot lead us astray. You are the man. That mirage is unsustainable. It will eventually crumble. It is starting to crumble.
Indirectly your behavior produces a society of fear. I cannot grow at Church. You won’t let me talk about anything interesting. I can’t ask the questions that I want to ask because the Inquisition is always listening. The “Stake Hit Squads” are at your beck and call. Why do you do that? I hear it is because you love me. I am confused.
I wish I could write this post using my real name, but the environment of fear that you and your predecessors have created does not allow me to do so. I have a family, kids, a positive neighborhood reputation, future temple weddings to protect. I am forced to prostitute my morals to stay under your radar.
You are a slightly entertaining story teller putting on a show that has no substantive output. You are behind the curve. You are out of touch. You are entertainment. You are repetitive. I am told that is because I have not adopted what you have already told me. That is false.
Please, just tell me the truth. Just be a human. Just tell your marketing department to let you be human. The Potemkin village they construct around you is transparent.
I would guess there are a lot of people waiting for you. Please don’t let me down.
Just finished watching a GREAT documentary about the rise and SCANDALOUS fall of CleanFlix. They made a great point that repressive societies tend to cause appearances-driven (one might use the word “Gilded”) values systems that hide and even create a lot of undesirable results.
“You want America back, well I want America FORWARD”
– Bill Maher
“A conservative is someone who stands athwart history, yelling Stop”
– William F. Buckley
I find it interesting that so many people want to label this as a racial issue. I haven’t heard anyone take a logical approach to this “practice”. The logical approach would be how does this Church grow with blacks as members when in both the North, South, East and West parts of the world, for the most part, whites and blacks did not go to church, school or work together in th 1800’s. How does this Church grow with a multi racial, multi-cultural membership. I would think that it would not grow at all or extremely slowly.
Now, why the practice was not lifted earlier than 1978 I don’t know. But to claim it was racist is a cop out!!
Unfortunately when you claim to be the one and only true church of God, you set yourself up to be perfect in every thing, every aspect, every practice etc… We should not take the perfection of the Gospel of Christ and apply it to the Church that tries to teach and live his Gospel. Just as we should not take the clarity and written intent of the US Constitution and then fault it for the misinterpretations of politicians, judges and so forth.
Anytime people are involved things are not going to be perfect. We need to quit demanding that it be so.
I attend a ward with black members that joined before they could hold the priesthood. All I can say is that they accept the Church as it is today and does not fault it for past practices.
Christ taught that we must forgive all, should we not then forgive past Prophets and Church leaders for practices that are in the past.
These are men who are trying to do their best to share the Gospel of Christ. And yet may fall short as human beings do. Forgive and forget.
Peace,Love and Understanding!
Great thoughts. I wonder what your stance is on the gay rights movement? Should gays be allowed to enter into the “practice” of marriage?
Your argument about the constitution contains a fallacy. The constitution was setup by MEN who were adamant that religion and government should be separated. They saw how destructive people can be who do the most abhorrent acts IN THE NAME OF GOD.
Enough for now, I don’t want to get off subject; do you believe the church should finally stop its RACIST views about homosexuals and fully accept them into its loving bosom? If not, please give me a clear scriptural and/or doctorinal reason why God is justified in continuing to be a bigot?
Well put Lance, I fully agree with your stance. I am curious to see how/if JW responds.
I have friend with similar views as JW’s but from my view they lack empathy for the people who are offended by the church’s stance on Blacks and the Priesthood/temple. Empathy is not putting yourself in their shoes, it’s about being them in their shoes. Just because I am personally not offended by a joke about Jews does not mean the joke is not offensive to others, even if they are not Jewish.
People seem to fail to realize that even though these people are “just ‘fallible’ men” these are fallible men who have an audience with God. If these fallible men are still leading our church, how do we know that our current leaders are not just going along with the times of not allowing women to hold the priesthood and labeling homosexuality as a sin??? In 30 years will these also be stamped with the ‘Not Doctrine’ clause? Even though now it is ‘doctrine’ just like the church’s official stance on blacks was in their statement in 1947?
This whole thing sounds like a crazy person trying to explain to you how they are sane. It makes perfect sense if you are also crazy, but for everyone else it just makes it more apparent how insane you and your fellow crazies are.
(No offense to any crazy people)
> to claim it was racist is a cop out!!
Well I think we should be honest about what our prophet said: “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.”
I don’t think it’s unreasonable for us to acknowledge that we said some things we shouldn’t have, and apologize to anyone we hurt.
It seems like most of the discussion here is assuming the church now admits that the “ban” was in error.
But, while I see that the church disavows theories about WHY blacks may have been denied the PH, I don’t see that the church disavows having had that policy DURING that time. Am I missing it? (probably)
Or could it be that the official church policy may still be that the ban was the right thing to do at the time?
This seems significant to me… since that stance would essentially uphold that there still hasn’t been incorrect revelation in the past.
Here is my problem….if the early “Prophets” were believed to have only “a sliver of light” – then isn’t that the same as any other church and/or preacher? Haven’t we been taught that other churches have “some truth”, but in absence of the “full truth” (that we oh-so-enlightened Mormons were supposed to have), they insert “the doctrines of man” or just make guesses?
If this policy was just the fallacy of Brigham Young (and many other leaders after him), then isn’t he a prime example of having only “some truth” and then mixing his little bit of truth (if he had any at all) with the “doctrines of men”? So what makes him a prophet? Or any more led or guided by God than anyone else?
People keep saying that we can’t expect the leader to be perfect. But I don’t believe that is the real problem! I don’t think that most LDS think that the leaders are perfect men, and we accept that just fine. I think that many would laugh if we learned that one of them stubbed a toe and uttered a swear word. Many would find it endearing, making that leader more approachable. And we would forgive, even severe sins, if we believed the man had repented. I think that we like that our leaders are human, and never expected them to be perfect.
HOWEVER, the problem is that these men claimed be teaching GODS words – DIRECTLY. We were told that what they taught over the pulpit was scripture! That they were receiving “direct revelation” for what they taught over the pulpit. The reason that so many of us are disillusioned by this problem is not because they expected that the leaders were perfect, but because they thought that those leaders were teaching God’s words! We didn’t expect the people to be perfect, but we DID expect the teachings to be from God himself, so those teachings were supposed to be perfect! It has ALWAYS been implied that the teachings of these men were perfect and from God himself, and that we were never to question them.
After all, wasn’t that the whole point of Joseph Smith going into the grove to pray? To find out which teachings were true? Isn’t the point of having a Prophet so that we wouldn’t be taught false doctrine?! Isn’t that the whole point of the Church itself?! To be “the truth”!?
Sadly, to me, the church now seems like it can be summed up like this, “Satan will tell you 9 truths to get you to believe 1 lie”. Not just because of this one controversy, but because the whole list of lies, coverups, and reversals of doctrine.
I hope to live to see the day when the LDS church will follow the RLDS.
The Book of Abraham does not belong into the Canon.
What puzzles me most is that the current LDS authorities continue to play the gamble of the churches founder. Hence all new confessions by the authorities are subtle and minimalist and only mirror some of the inescapable conclusions of its own scholars. In this play they are supported by the vast majority of the members who cherish the security of their beliefs guaranteed by absolute ecclesiastical authority over a more risky uncertainty where God / Jesus is very much alive, but far less predictable. It seems that the LDS church has been busy for the last 170 years to propagate revelations that slowly and subtly dismantle the esoteric revelations of its foundational first 14 years. I recon that the LDS church would have a solid future based on general Christianity, its unique culture of sound family principles and character values, its social fabric, youth ministry and leadership principles combined with high birth rates. Why are they so afraid to face the truth of a checkered charismatic founder who’s claim to divinity has become unsustainable ? Is it the risk another break off of 10% of its fundies ? Is a slow erosion from within preferable ?
Derren Brown (born 27 February 1971)is a British illusionist, mentalist, trickster, hypnotist, painter, writer, and sceptic.
Joseph Smith (born December 23, 1805) is an American illusionist, mentalist, trickster, hypnotist, writer, philosopher, freethinker and a fervent Christian Millennialist believer. His revelatory evolutions have not passed the tests of modern times.
Thanks for calling it how you see it, John. Very refreshing.
As European converts we have been duped into trusting Joseph that he has been called by God to fix a Christianity that God despises and look what a mess he created (FLDS). The predominantly positive culture of today’s mythically founded LDS church is mostly the merit of its Judaeo-Christian roots and the willingness of succeeding administrations to undo the practice of some of the damaging heresies introduced by Joseph in the name of God. I have been too serious and too trusting to ignore an authoritative claim that I could not refute. I didn’t join because I wanted to give up my culture, I did it cause I thought I had to or God would condemn me (remember the woes). I resisted the urge to yield for 3 years while grappling with doubts until I got sufficiently depressed to agree to be baptised. This was based on a scripture that obedience to whatever little light I received is a prerequisite for a testimony. And then there was the D&C passage that taught we should not demand a further witness. So both me and my wife have gone through a double disillusionment or 360 degrees faith journey to convert out of and back into Christianity and it has shaken up the faith of some of our kids as well. Today’s Christianity is not perfect, but it has more truth life and spirit than what we where lead to believe by Mormon propaganda. I am not aware that the LDS gospel sales pitch has changed and the missionary sales force is bigger than ever. Granted it does some good in many peoples lives, but for us the fruits have been sweet and sour and I could not lie to my kids and turn them into LDS missionaries.
How do we know if the new view is what true? How do we know if this new position is not a result of darken minds now? Who was the person that wrote this new view? Was it a direct revelation from God or an angel? So we have the Church today, nameless people because I do not know who wrote the new, calling leaders from the past wrong, the whole situation for me gives me more questions on who is truly inspired, past leaders or the leaders now.
I have wondered if the LDS Church is really being lead by Jesus through the president of the church. Statements that just appear on their website in a nameless fashion does not instill confidence. Truly the church is still under condemnation and there is gross darkness in the minds of the people and it’s leaders. I can tell you one thing I certainly feel confusion from the leaders past and present.
It’s absolutely absurd for them to make people believe that The Church’s racism was not thought of as doctrine at the time and well into the 1970’s. The doctrine of racism is codified in the LDS Scriptures themselves.
“…after they had dwindled in unbelief they became a dark, and loathsome, and a filthy people, full of idleness and all manner of abominations.” (I Nephi 12:23)
“…Behold, they had hardened their hearts against him…wherefore, as they were white, and exceeding fair and delightsome, that they might not be enticingunto my people the Lord God did cause a skin of blackness to come upon them. And thus saith the Lord God: I will cause that they shall be loathsome unto thy people, save they shall repent of their sins.” (2 Nephi 5:21-22)
“And the skins of the Lamanites(4) were dark…which was a curse upon them because of their transgression against their brethren…therefore they were cursed; and the Lord God set a mark upon them. And this was done that their seed might be distinguished from the seed of their brethren, that thereby the Lord God might preservehis people…” (Alma 3:6,8)
“And then shall they [Lamanites] rejoice…and their scales of darkness shall begin to fall from their eyes; and many generations shall not pass away among them, save they shall be a white and delightsome people” (2 Nephi 30:6, 1830, 1920, and 1977 editions)”
Yes…as he says in the podcast, “read your scriptures. You can get answers without waiting for them from the pulpit.” So are the scriptures the doctrine? I’m confused.
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