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Gordon Hinckley on Why Blacks Were Denied the LDS Priesthood

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Published on Jan 27, 2007

Until 1978, no person of African descent was allowed into the LDS (Mormon) priesthood. German Reporter asks LDS President Gordon B. Hinckley why this was the case. His response begs the question of whether Mr. Hinckley can rightly be called a "prophet, seer and revelator". His response also demonstrates the patronizing and paternalistic attitude that many in the LDS Church still adopt toward persons of color.

Comments • 7,041

Joe peaceman
If you look into it, you might find that those who POST THESE anti-mormon videos have a beam in their eyes (see below) but want to stir bigotry against true Christians. I’ve heard all the quotes that they take out of context and post day after day. I’ve explained that my Black/Native American Mormon family have never felt discriminated against by Mormons. No one is perfect, but Mormons have always had fewer racial issues than others.  They don't have any videos about the endemic racism among gays, atheists, etc.  They single out embers of Christ's Church. Ask yourself what drives them to do it? It's not God that drives Ihvm, I'm certain that God does not promote hate against any group.       Back in the day our “Christian” neighbors justified hating us like this-      This is how antimormonism used to justify their bigotry-  “As the promulgators of this extraordinary legend maintain the natural equality of mankind, without excepting the native Indians or the African race, there is little reason to be surprised at the cruel persecution by which they have suffered..."  Now they do it by pulling quotes out of context and thoughtlessly pasting.   "The curse of Cain was used to support a ban on ordaining blacks to most Protestant clergies until the 1960s in both the U.S. and Europe."  This is where they are coming from-  Martin Luther “Prophet” & founder of Protestantism not only advocated  “concubinage” (but for men to “abstain from…boys.” & said Saint John wasn’t inspired & “hated this God who punished sinners” but he also called Jews "envenomed worms"  "the devil's people" etc & advocated setting synagogues on fire, destroying prayerbooks, seizing Jews' property, smashing up homes, & encouraged “slaying them" etc  because of their "false gods." This carried on into the ‘Christian” Nazi tradition.   If they were really concerned you would be doing something about this sort of thinking, still alive today:  Many people taught that Blacks had no souls and STILL support racism & even slavery TODAY claiming it is Biblical etc.. This is in the mainstream: Why Christians Should Support Slavery posted 1/01/1992 http://www.christianitytoday.com/ch/1992/issue33/3324.html From beliefnet Scandal of the Evangelical Conscience “I cite poll after poll that shows, as one evangelical leader noted, "that evangelical Christians are as likely to embrace lifestyles every bit as hedonistic, materialistic, self-centered, and sexually immoral as the world in general….And when it comes to racism, Lord have mercy. …evangelicals were more racist than everybody else. Compare Brigham Young  "For their abuse of that race, the whites will be cursed, unless they repent." To the views of the founder of American evangelicalism, George Whitefield, “...cruelty can have the positive effect of heightening ‘the sense of their natural misery,’ thereby increasing receptivity to the Christian message.” Or the stories of “Christian slaveholders, including clergymen, ‘brutalizing their slaves’ which ‘abound in the narratives of former slaves.’” This from Catholic website (not anti-Catholics, who distort, but not as much as anti-Mormons distort) Cardinal Avery Dulles makes the following observations about the Catholic Church and the institution of slavery: For many centuries the Church was part of a slave-holding society. The popes themselves held slaves, including at times hundreds of Muslim captives to man their galleys. Theologian Laennec Hurbon asserted ". .. one can search in vain through the interventions of the Holy See-those of Pius V, Urban VIII and Benedict XIV-for any condemnation of the actual principle of slavery.” RACISM AND THE CHURCH The History, Scope, and Nature of the Problem [Article Excerpted from Author’s Must We Be Silent?] By Samuel Koranteng-Pipim, PhD Director, Public Campus Ministries, Michigan Conference  Decades of research offer compelling, but sobering, evidence that more racial prejudice exists in the Christian church than outside of it….regular attenders are more prejudiced than those who attend less often…. Billy Graham remarked…“evangelical Christians have turned a blind eye to racism.” Tim Unsworth “The religious segregation that took shape then persists today. According to one recent poll, fewer than half of the Christians in the U.S. said they attend a church that includes anyone from another race. The Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. wrote his famous "Letter from Birmingham City Jail" in response to a public statement by eight prominent local church leaders (including the bishops of the Catholic, Episcopal, and Methodist churches), who had denounced him as an "extremist" and "outsider." Catherine Meeks reminds U.S. Christians that racism is still alive in their churches: "Too little has changed!   Eleven o'clock on Sunday morning . . . is the most segregated hour in Christian America.—Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. “…the Catholic Church held the view that blacks were cursed by God….Pope…indulgence to a prayer for the ‘wretched Ethiopians in Central Africa that almighty God may at length remove the curse of Cham [Ham] from their hearts.’” “Jewish rabbis taught a story about the origin of black skin. The Encyclopædia Judaica claims: “Ham’s descendant (Cush) Is black skinned as a punishment for Ham’s having had sexual intercourse in the ark.” Slave traders got considerable support for their racist views from religious leaders…edicts of Roman Catholic popes sanctioned the subjugation and enslavement of “pagans” and “infidels” so that their “souls” might be saved for “God’s Kingdom.” Having received the blessing of the church, early European explorers and slave traders felt no qualms about their brutal treatment of native peoples. “…black slavery was sanctioned by Catholic, Anglican, Lutheran, Presbyterian, and Reformed churchmen and theologians,” says the book Slavery and Human Progress. “No modern church or sect had sought to discourage its members from owning or even trafficking in black slaves.” You view the BofM through your own culture, and you see literal skin color as a curse. That's your issue, not mine or the BofMs, or Joseph's. Joseph Smith made it clear that the BofM language is symbolic on skin color. He clarified that it means is "pure." You see skin color as a curse but that's on you, Lamanites and Nephites were the same race, so they weren't racists. And, it's not racism.  Nephites may have ALSO considered their "brethren"s' skin painting, or red dots, or suntans (from being "naked"), etc. to be spiritually unattractive, but that has no bearing on race or on my faith in Christ, or on the truthfulness of the BofM.  It does show that the BofM is an ancient book.  Again,  "Until marriage, young men painted themselves black (and so did warriors at all times); tattooing and decorative scarification began after wedlock, both men and women being richly elaborated from the waist up by these means."--The Maya, Michael D. Coe, p. 144.        "The famous Bonampak murals depict human figures with bodies painted black. Figurines frequently show paint and face and body tattooing. The Spaniards eliminated this practice among the people by converting them to Christianity (or killing them). [Verneil W. Simmons, Peoples, Places, and Prophecies, p. 279]  Again, the BofM explains that that those who fought against the Nephites (who were Semitic and North African and of the SAME RACE) were CURSED and the mark was "RED," "BLACK," etc. the red mark was on the forehead only. You might claim this is racist also, and applies to native Americans, but Nephi, Jacob, etc. didn't share your racist views about themselves or their "brethren" who were of the same race. “And again: I will set a mark upon him that fighteth against thee and thy seed. (Alma 3:14-16) Again, ancient related people used the same forms of speech-  “Koestler (1976, p. 22) cautions the reader not to place too much weight on this description, since it was customary…to refer to (some clans) as “white” and (other) clans as “black.”" Even though they were the same color.
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Jay Forrester
Book of Mormon, a fable, sacred only to Mormons, shows their so-called heavenly father is a racist "And the LORD HAD CAUSED THE CURSING TO COME UPON THEM, yea, even a sore cursing, BECAUSE OF THEIR INIQUITY. For behold, they had hardened their hearts against him that they had become like unto a flint; wherefore, as they were white, and exceedingly fair and delightsome, that they might not be enticing unto my people the LORD GOD DID CAUSE A SKIN OF BLACKNESS TO COME UPON THEM" (Book of Mormon, 2 Nephi  5:21)
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MrNirom
Prophet, Seer, Revelator.. Is that the question that was posed here by the author of this video?  Really? If God does not reveal.. how is one who receives revelation.. supposed to reveal it?  If God does not show a Seer what he is to see... how does one expect a Seer to see?  If God does not communicate to his Prophet a prophecy... how does one expect that from a prophet?  God chooses what he is going to reveal to his servants the Prophets.  Is that so hard to understand?  Why do people expect more out of the servants of God than what God is willing to offer?
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HEAVEN IS 4 REAL
Abraham Lincoln read the book of Mormon cover to cover and it was a tool in his decision to end slavery.
Joan'ne Valentina
May God forgive you all for taking his word and denying it. The bible is God's own word not a prophet who thinks he wrote it better. I pray for all Mormons. To them that have an ear let him hear.
TheWayWord
Its very telling that Mr Hinkley says, ' WE ' are helping to develop these people. Wow.
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Joe peaceman
Again, my Black Mormon family members don’t feel any discrimination among Mormons. We’ve discussed it.  No one is perfect, but Mormons have always had fewer racial issues than others. But nominal Christians at lhvm stir bigotry towards us.  Back in the day our “Christian” neighbors justified hating us like this-     Now they do it by pretending we are the racists, but we have a mote, campared to their beam.  If the concern were about bigotry, they would go where it is.  So I can only assume that they wish to promote bigotry, rather than reduce.  If they were really concerned they would be doing something about this sort of thinking, still alive today:  Many people taught that Blacks had no souls and STILL support racism & even slavery today, claiming it is Biblical etc.. This is in the mainstream: Why Christians Should Support Slavery posted 1/01/1992 http://www.christianitytoday.com/ch/1992/issue33/3324.html From beliefnet Scandal of the Evangelical Conscience “I cite poll after poll that shows, as one evangelical leader noted, "that evangelical Christians are as likely to embrace lifestyles every bit as hedonistic, materialistic, self-centered, and sexually immoral as the world in general….And when it comes to racism, Lord have mercy. …evangelicals were more racist than everybody else. The curse of Cain was used to support a ban on ordaining blacks to most Protestant clergies until the 1960s in both the U.S. and Europe. RACISM AND THE CHURCH The History, Scope, and Nature of the Problem [Article Excerpted from Author’s Must We Be Silent?] By Samuel Koranteng-Pipim, PhD Director, Public Campus Ministries, Michigan Conference  Decades of research offer compelling, but sobering, evidence that more racial prejudice exists in the Christian church than outside of it….regular attenders are more prejudiced than those who attend less often…. Billy Graham remarked…“evangelical Christians have turned a blind eye to racism.” Tim Unsworth “The religious segregation that took shape then persists today. According to one recent poll, fewer than half of the Christians in the U.S. said they attend a church that includes anyone from another race. The Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. wrote his famous "Letter from Birmingham City Jail" in response to a public statement by eight prominent local church leaders (including the bishops of the Catholic, Episcopal, and Methodist churches), who had denounced him as an "extremist" and "outsider." Catherine Meeks reminds U.S. Christians that racism is still alive in their churches: "Too little has changed!   Eleven o'clock on Sunday morning . . . is the most segregated hour in Christian America.—Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. “So often Negroes in Mississippi and Alabama and Georgia and other places have been taken to that tree that bears strange fruit. And do you know that the folk lynching them are often big deacons in the Baptist churches and stewards in the Methodist churches feeling that by killing and murdering and lynching another human being..."   MLK  “…the Catholic Church held the view that blacks were cursed by God….Pope…indulgence to a prayer for the ‘wretched Ethiopians in Central Africa that almighty God may at length remove the curse of Cham [Ham] from their hearts.’” Slave traders got considerable support for their racist views from religious leaders…edicts of Roman Catholic popes sanctioned the subjugation and enslavement of “pagans” and “infidels” so that their “souls” might be saved for “God’s Kingdom.” Having received the blessing of the church, early European explorers and slave traders felt no qualms about their brutal treatment of native peoples. “…black slavery was sanctioned by Catholic, Anglican, Lutheran, Presbyterian, and Reformed churchmen and theologians,” says the book Slavery and Human Progress. “No modern church or sect had sought to discourage its members from owning or even trafficking in black slaves.”
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Joe peaceman
Those accusing Mormons of being racist should look into their hearts and ask themselves why they feel the need to do so. Is it from concern for racial minorities? Or is there a desire to hurt Mormons? Are anti-Mormons guilty of bigotry when they overlook the fact that Mormons are, and have been, much less racist than others? Haters stir hate. If you were concerned with eliminating bigotry you would probably go where bigotry is….or I would think that would be the case.  You’re probably aware of the fact that I’ve heard all the quotes that y’all take out of context and post day after day. So ask yourself what drives you to do it. : ).  No justification, needed for me.    I
Rosella A Alm-Ahearn
Clearly this old guy Hinkley was alive in 1978, and there must have been some doctrine preached at that time and before that time that justified the the Mormon doctrine on this issue.  Evidently Hinkley has selective amnesia, or chooses to not answer.  Or perhaps has Alzheimer's disease or Parkinson's disease and should not be in charge of anything like a portion of the Mormon heirarchy.
Joe peaceman
One of the ironies of anti-mormon bigotry is that those who most loudly stir bigotry towards LDS almost always come from those communities that are the most racist today & Historically.  As Juliann Reynolds says on Black lds "Their (anti-mormon) views do not move us toward the solution ...while nervously whistling past the graveyard of their own troubled religious history. ... reduce the black race to nothing more than a convenient brickbat in their polemical assaults" The critics have a giant beam in their eye, & they clearly aren't seeking to remove a the mote from the LDS past, but are trying to turn it into a beam, so they won't have to remove their own beam. 
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