A F.A.I.R. APOLOGIST DEFENDS RACIST PROPHETS

INTRODUCTION

Professor Randy Bott has paid the price for revealing too much about Mormon doctrine. He is now “retiring” from B.Y.U., planned (says his son) for the last year. In a recent blog article on By Common Consent titled “Bott-ulism Outbreaks and Protective Correlation”, concerning the recent firestorm about Bott’s recent interview in the Washington Post, they conclude,

“Ultimately, we all bear part of his shame. He did this for years — YEARS — and we only cared when it became a PR mess. The reporter from the Post held a mirror up to our faces, and we didn’t like what we saw. I have no idea where we’ll go from here, but I know that putting some lambsblood on Randy Bott and sending him out into the wilderness isn’t going to expiate our sins.”

For years, without “official” sanction, Mormon Apologists have been defending their racist past. Below is a conversation I had with a Mormon apologist from F.A.I.R. (in blue), who tried to defend the racist past of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints with the argument, “others did it first”, and “everyone else did it.” Also, they made the argument that God works in his own time, and since racism was so ingrained in American culture, it took until 1978 for Mormon “prophets” to fully understand what God’s will was in relation to this issue, and that all the “peer pressure” had disappeared  (and had nothing to do with) the 1978 “revelation” reversing this doctrine. It was also stated that God thought that Mormon Racism was “correct for it’s time”. Needless to say, I found this argument self-serving and disingenuous.

This was a long conversation that took place for more than a month, and I grew very weary of the illogic and ignorance of the person who I thought felt that it was easier to defend racism, than admit that Mormon “prophets” were wrong in practicing it. I archived the conversation before removing it from the page, due to the fact that many of my comments were blunt, and brought on by frustration at this person for their misleading statements, evasion of the truth, and pandering to dead Mormon authorities. I leave it to you, readers, to decide for yourself if my condemnation for this argument and the person who made it was justified. Also, this person and I had some history on the Facts Page, and had had this conversation and many others before this one. Since Facebook does not have a bold option, all original emphasis were in caps, and I have added some bold and italics to the original. I have changed the name of the person I had the conversation with, to “Mormon Apologist”.

On January 8, 2011, this comment was posted on my Facebook Page:

Mormon & LDS Facts: “For instance, the descendants of Cain cannot cast off their skin of blackness, at once, and immediately, although every one of them should repent Cain and his posterity must wear the mark which God put upon them; and his white friends may wash the race of Cain with fuller’s soap every day, they cannot wash away God’s mark.” (Prophet John Taylor, Millennial Star, v. 14, p. 418) ~ Suz 4,955 Impressions • 19.08% Feedback, January 8 at 8:47pm • Like • Comment • Promote

THE CONVERSATION

Mormon & LDS Facts: After Cain killed his brother Abel, God declared to Cain, “Now you are under a curse and driven from the ground, which opened its mouth to receive your brother’s blood from your hand. When you work the ground, it will no longer yield its crops for you. You will be a restless wanderer on the earth” (Genesis 4:11-12). In response, Cain lamented, “My punishment is more than I can bear. Today you are driving me from the land, and I will be hidden from your presence; I will be a restless wanderer on the earth, and whoever finds me will kill me” (Genesis 4:13-14). God responded, “Not so; if anyone kills Cain, he will suffer vengeance seven times over.” Then the Lord put a mark on Cain so that no one who found him would kill him” (Genesis 4:15-16). (gotquestions .org) ~ Suz January 9 at 1:56am • Like • 78

Mormon Apologist: Let me illuminate you: On Being Brought From Africa to America (Phillis Wheatley, 1753-1784)

“Twas mercy brought me from my Pagan land,
Taught my benighted soul to understand
That there’s a God, that there’s a Saviour too:
Once I redemption neither sought nor knew.
Some view our sable race with scornful eye,
“Their colour is a diabolic die.”
Remember, Christians, Negros, black as Cain,
May be refin’d and join th’angelic train.

Phillis Wheatley was a slave and America’s first black poetess. You will note in the above poem – published in 1773 – that she was aware of the curse of Cain, as it was being taught in churches at the time, LONG before Joseph Smith was born.

In other words, we LDS did not make the idea up. The “curse of Cain” nonsense was the product of pro-slavery ministers who taught it across the pulpit as part of a doctrine designed to make slaves believe that the Bible said they were meant to be slaves.

This argument was continuing right up to at least the beginning of the Civil War, as these articles show: http://www.jewish-history.com/civilwar/raphall.html http://www.jewish-history.com/civilwar/heilprin.html

If you read the above, you will see that one Rabbi uses the Bible to support slavery, another to refute it. If the debate over the “curse of Cain” extended into American Jewish thought, one can only imagine what was going on in Christianity at the time, especially in light of the fact that the Southern Baptist Convention came into being because Baptists in the South supported slavery. January 9 at 2:22pm • Like • 1

Mormon & LDS Facts:  Who here made the claim that this teaching originated with the Mormons?  Not any of us. And…because some erroneously taught about the ‘curse of Cain’, that makes it ok for Joseph Smith & later Brigham Young to adopt it, and institute a whole DOCTRINE about it that turned into a “commandment of God”? That makes it all – all right? So, according to Mormons, we are NOW to believe that it came from God? This is so ridiculous that even the Mormon Church is trying to call it “folklore”. Your argument is a straw man. Go ahead — set it up, and I’ll happily burn it down for you. _grindael, January 9 at 7:20pm • Like • 3

Mormon Apologist: Not doctrine, Grindael, POLICY.

You cannot seem to separate the 21st century, post-Civil Rights Era that we live in from Brigham Young’s time. If you would take your presentist glasses off JUST ONCE, you would have a little better idea of the world in which Brigham Young lived.

And it wasn’t just “some,” Grindael. It was “most.” Even the most ardent abolitionists were racist by our standards. It wouldn’t be until 1967 that anti-miscegenation laws would begin to be struck down, but that was the LAW, not necessarily public sentiment.

This means, Grindael, that well into our lifetimes there were places where it was illegal or just plain not safe for a mixed-race couple to get married, or for two people of different races (Read: black and white) even to be seen in public together. I knew people in the early ’80s, older than me, who still thought interracial couples “weren’t natural.”

I’m not saying it was right. However, there were a lot more men who felt called by God to be ministers to God’s children who were racially prejudiced, who considered Cain’s curse to be a dark skin, than you seem to be willing to admit. Brigham Young was undoubtedly more racist than Joseph Smith. That only makes him a product of his times. I do not agree with how he felt about people of color, but Brigham Young is not alive now. He died a long time ago, when the carpetbaggers were a bad name in the south, when the Ku Klux Klan was beginning to organize, and when Jim Crow laws began to be written.

He also lived at a time when people of color were not allowed in Protestant churches because they bore the “curse of Cain”.

Of course, it matters not a whit that even though Brigham Young said things about people of color that we NOW in the 21ST CENTURY find offensive, the LDS Church never shut its doors in the face of Negroes.

We never had segregated congregations.

We never allowed the KKK into our chapels, like many churches in the South did in the 1920s.

Joseph Smith ordained a black man an Elder, who served a mostly white congregation, long before such a thing happened in, say, any whites only Southern Baptist church.

Yeah, I know that Elijah Able was not allowed to get his endowments, and I do not excuse that. I realize other events occurred that were racist from OUR perspective. But I also know that nothing the LDS Church did holds a candle to the depredations suffered by people of color at the hands of “good Christians” during a much longer time span than that in which the LDS faith has existed.

Ever hear of Samson Occom? He was a Mohegan who became a minister, and who served in that capacity for a number of years before finding out he was being paid less than half what his white peers were being paid.

One of the reasons the people of Missouri didn’t like the Mormons is because we were friendly to the Indians.

How about Richard Allen and Absalom Jones? Both were popular Methodist ministers who brought a lot of people of color into their church even though they were restricted to early morning services. They helped the church build a balcony for “overflow,” only to find out the hard way that the balcony was was to be “Colored Only” seating. Jones was beaten and dragged from the church for daring to pray in the “Whites Only” section. The two men left and founded the African Methodist Episcopal Church, because the white congregation did not want them there.

Mormons never did that.

Ever been to the Cane Ridge Shrine in Kentucky? It’s just a few miles from where I live. Not only is it the location of the biggest camp meeting that was ever held in America, but it would late have a “Blacks Only” balcony.

Mormons never did that.

So you and people like you pitch a fit because various LDS leaders entertained racist views, even though most of those people are now dead or dying, and even though those same men were products of the societies in which they lived. You pitch a fit because the Priesthood was not extended to men of color in the LDS Church, even though a mere decade previously two of America’s greatest voices of the Civil Rights Era – Dr. Martin Luther King Junior and Robert F. Kennedy – were silenced by assassins.

Mormons didn’t kill those men, Grindael.

You play the racist card against Mormons because of the Priesthood ban, even though there has been little done to reunite black and white congregations of Protestant churches.

Mormonism has never had separate black and white congregations.

The racist argument against Mormonism is shallow and a fine example of tunnel vision. One must pretend that one’s own spiritual forebears had nothing to do with racism in order to raise the argument against Mormonism. One must be blind to everything that good Christians did in times past that were undoubtedly racist, just to have the “privilege” of accusing Mormonism of being racist.

Face it: In the 19th century, virtually everybody was racist, and it did not matter one bit what religion one belonged to. Yet, for some reason you expect Brigham Young and other LDS Prophets to fit your standards. For some reason, you expect God to have told them what YOU think they should have been told.

Have you ever thought for a moment that maybe, just maybe, God had a better grip on the situation than you do now or that Brigham Young did then? January 10 at 12:14am • Like •

Mormon & LDS Facts: Sorry, “Apologist”, you have no excuse, for I’ve had this conversation with you numerous times and offer the same PROOFS, and yet you still offer up your same trite excuses. Your leaders didn’t just “entertain racist views” (you try and make it sound almost quaint), they instigated a DOCTRINE OF RACISM that barred people from being equal based on their skin color. What is even more heinous, they taught that these people were evil in some “pre-existence”, that they were “representatives of the devil”, and that they would be servants to the white folk for all eternity, proclaiming it wasn’t their fault, it was all from God! This “official” statement from a Mormon First Presidency says it was DOCTRINE, DIRECT FROM GOD, in contradiction to what is written in the Bible:

August 17, 1949

The attitude of the Church with reference to Negroes remains as it has always stood. It is NOT A MATTER OF THE DECLARATION OF A POLICY but of DIRECT COMMANDMENT FROM THE LORD, on which is founded the doctrine of the Church from the days of its organization, to the effect that Negroes may become members of the Church but that they are not entitled to the priesthood at the present time. THE PROPHETS OF THE LORD HAVE MADE SEVERAL STATEMENTS as to the operation of the principle. President BRIGHAM YOUNG said: “Why are so many of the inhabitants of the earth cursed with a skin of blackness? It comes in consequence of their fathers rejecting the power of the holy priesthood, and the law of God. They will go down to death. And WHEN ALL THE REST of the children have received their blessings in the holy priesthood, THEN THAT CURSE WILL BE REMOVED FROM THE SEED OF CAIN, and they will then come up and possess the priesthood, and receive all the blessings which we now are entitled to.”

President Wilford Woodruff made the following statement: “The day will come when all that race will be redeemed and possess all the blessings which we now have.”

The position of the Church regarding the Negro may be understood when another DOCTRINE of the Church is kept in mind, namely, that the CONDUCT OF SPIRITS in the premortal existence has some DETERMINING EFFECT upon the conditions and circumstances under which these spirits take on mortality and that while the details of this principle have not been made known, the mortality is a privilege that is given to those who maintain their first estate; and that the worth of the privilege is so great that spirits are willing to come to earth and take on bodies no matter what the handicap may be as to the kind of bodies they are to secure; and that among the handicaps, failure of the right to enjoy in mortality the blessings of the priesthood IS A HANDICAP SPIRITS ARE WILLING TO ASSUME in order that they might come to earth. Under this principle there is NO INJUSTICE WHATSOEVER involved in this deprivation as to the holding of the priesthood by the Negroes.

The First Presidency,

George Albert Smith
J. Reuben Clark
David O. McKay

As for your statement that virtually everybody was a racist, that is another lie and I resent it. I’m not. I never have been. I’m married to a black woman. I grew up and know thousands that were not. Your pitiful excuses for those that claim to speak for God and AS GOD just don’t cut it. It is a desperate and transparent ploy to defend the indefensible. As for segregation in the public areas of Mormon Church, it was not widespread, but it went on:

“It seems to us that it ought to be possible to work this situation out without causing any feelings on the part of anybody. If the white sisters feel that they may not sit with them or near them, we feel sure that if the colored sisters were discretely approached, they would be happy to SIT AT ONE SIDE IN THE REAR or somewhere where they would not wound the sensibilities of the complaining sisters” (First Presidency letter [from Presidents Smith, Clark, and McKay] to Ezra T. Benson, 23 June 1942, in Bennion papers, see also http://archives.exmormon.org/LDS-First-Presidency-Directive-to-Segregate-Blacks-from-Whites-in-Relief-Society-Classes

That “Apologist”, is segregation. Instead of telling those WHITE racist sisters to treat their fellow BLACK human beings with dignity and love, and sit next to them, they would rather have them sit in the back of the Church. Why? Because it was taught in the Church that those of black heritage would be slaves to whites for all eternity, courtesy of the racist ‘prophet’ Brigham Young. Where did Young get it from? The Mormon God, who Brigham Young “revealed” was Adam.

And yes there were problems with segregation in America. But what you fail to mention, was that Jones and Allen were ordained by whites. Mormons reversed themselves on that. They didn’t shut their everyday Church doors to blacks, they shut their most holy and revered place – THEIR TEMPLES – to them, and taught that God said they were to be “slaves for eternity”. This my friend, was far, far worse.

Yes, some so-called ‘Christians’ did cause some of the tensions that made MLK a target of James Earl Ray. Racist Sir Han, Sir Han gunned down Kennedy. It was (and continues to be) a problem of society, which Jesus and his teachings transcended, but many could not live up to. That is what SIN produces. Does it justify what Young said came from Adam God? Is that what you are saying? Sounds like it to me: “God had a better grip on the situation than you do now or that Brigham Young did then” Bringing all that up makes no difference at all, for unlike Mormon “prophets”, those other so-called Christians never claimed to be God’s direct spokesman on earth, his very “oracles”:

“Thus saith the Lord, verily, verily I say unto you my son, thy sins are forgiven thee, according to thy petition, for thy prayers and the prayers of thy brethren have come up into my ears. Therefore, thou art blessed from henceforth that bear the keys of the kingdom given unto you; which kingdom is coming forth for the last time. Verily I say unto you, the keys of this kingdom shall never be taken from you, while thou art in the world, neither in the world to come; Nevertheless, through you shall the oracles be given to another, yea, even unto the church. And all they who receive the oracles of God, let them beware how they hold them lest they are accounted as a light thing, and are brought under condemnation thereby, and stumble and fall when the storms descend, and the winds blow, and the rains descend, and beat upon their house.” (Doctrine & Covenants, Section 90:1-5. (emphasis mine) See also, D&C 21:1, 2, 4-6, 5:10, 1:4-5.)

“Apostle” Orson F. Whitney, on June 3, 1888 declared,

“The intellect may shine, but it is the bosom that burns, and warms into life every movement that is born to bless humanity. I, therefore, speak to your hearts, and I would rather say three words BY THE POWER OF THE HOLY GHOST than lecture here for three hours on the fables of Greece and Rome.” He then added, “the dead letter may be precious, but the living oracle is beyond all price, and that “the Holy Ghost is the genius of “Mormon” literature.” (Brian Stuy, Collected Discourses Vol. 1, p. 153)

“Apostle” John Taylor gives the criteria for all who would “teach the things of God”:

“Well, who were the ancient Apostles? They were men chosen and selected by Jesus Christ, the Son of God. Who were these Prophets? Men who were in possession of the spirit of prophecy; and you show me a man who is called and inspired of God to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and I will show you a Prophet, for we are told that “the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy;” and if a man has not the spirit of prophecy and revelation HE IS NOT THE MAN TO TEACH THE THINGS OF GOD, for that is the principle by which all God’s chosen and authorized ministers in every age have been inspired, and by which they have taught the things of eternal life to the children of men.” (Journal of Discourses, Vol. 16, page 372)

But Mormons today would have us believe that these men repeated “folklore” constantly in General Conference Addresses. Yeah, right. You can’t have it both ways. “Apostle” Alonzo A. Hinckley (uncle of Gordon B. Hinckley) would speak of the ‘oracles of God’ in a 1935 General Conference Address. He states that “my brethren live in the love and favor of God and that they carry their responsibilities with fidelity.” He recognized the “unswerving integrity under every condition of life,” of President Heber J. Grant, and that his counselor J. Reuben Clark, was “a born straight thinker, a righteous defender of the truth, is a man of undeviating and unfaltering devotion to the Church” and that David O. McKay with his  “manly physique, a perfect physical specimen,” was “presided over by a trained and a keen mind,” and that “he enjoys a spirituality that has made him, not of his own volition but by common consent, the idol of youth.” He then concludes that,

“These men constitute the Presidency of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the oracles of God chosen to receive the mind and the will and the word of the Lord and to impart it unto the people. I bear testimony that the avenues of revelation are open. The brethren are worthy. Jesus is at the helm. This is his work and he leads his servants.”

“God bless the leaders of Zion and bring into our hearts a renewed felling of reverence, that henceforth their voices, as they speak as they are moved upon by the Holy Ghost, shall be unto us as the voice of God.” (Alonzo A. Hinckley, Conference Report, October 1935, p. 24.)

I suppose that this glowing testimony does not apply to their 1947 “Official Statement” that Blacks could not have the priesthood, and that it was a “commandment from God”? What excuse can you give for these “worthy” brethren, supposedly directed by Jesus himself, to perpetuate the racism of the past in their “one and only” true church? To make “folklore” a commandment of God?  What You affirm here, is that your “prophets” were no different from the rest of the world, and so had no direct link to God, and it’s exactly the opposite of what they say. (That they could perpetuate whatever folklore they liked and it was ok because they didn’t directly ask God if it was wrong). Why would anyone want to take their direction in anything after that display? But hey,  thank you very much for clarifying that. _grindael, January 10 at 5:18am • Like • 4

Mormon Apologist:

“There are statements in our literature by the early brethren which we have interpreted to mean that the Negroes would not receive the priesthood in mortality. I have said the same things… All I can say to that is that it is time disbelieving people repented and got in line and believed in a living, modern prophet. Forget everything that I have said, or what President Brigham Young or President George Q. Cannon or whomsoever has said in days past that is contrary to the present revelation. We spoke with a limited understanding and without the light and knowledge that now has come into the world. We get our truth and our light line upon line and precept upon precept.

“We have now had added a new flood of intelligence and light on this particular subject, and it erases all the darkness, and all the views and all the thoughts of the past. They don’t matter any more. It doesn’t make a particle of difference what anybody ever said about the Negro matter before the first day of June of this year [1978]. It is a new day and a new arrangement, and the Lord has now given the revelation that sheds light out into the world on this subject. As to any slivers of light or any particles of darkness of the past, we forget about them. We now do what meridian Israel did when the Lord said the gospel should go to the gentiles. We forget all the statements that limited the gospel to the house of Israel, and we start going to the gentiles.” ~Bruce R. McConkie, “All Are Alike unto God,” an address to a Book of Mormon Symposium for Seminary and Institute teachers, Brigham Young University, 18 August 1978

You continue to fight over an issue that was brought to a close a long time ago. I have NEVER denied that any LDS leader said things that are racist and offensive by our CURRENT standards. However, we simply cannot measure what was said in the past by what we understand now.

Brigham Young and others were racist by our standards. Big freaking deal. We cannot expect God to reveal to men living in times past what we expect them to know based on our level of knowledge.

You said:

“As for your statement that virtually everybody was a racist, that is another lie and I resent it.”

The operative word, Grindael, is WAS, but apparently you took no notice of that. I suspect this is because you have a problem separating the mores and standards of our time from those of times past.

You continue:
“I’m not. I’m married to a black woman.”

And I attended the Las Vegas Temple wedding of my best friend to a black woman back in ’94. It was one of the most spiritual experiences I have ever had in a Temple.

You continue:

“I grew up and know thousands that were not.”

Which goes to show you that mixed-race marriages are not as common yet as they ought to be. Society changes slowly.

You continue: “Your pitiful excuses for those that claim to speak for God and AS GOD just don’t cut it. It is a desperate and transparent ploy to defend the indefensible. ”

That depends entirely on your perspective. I look at what previous LDS leaders – and Latter-day Saints in general – believed against the larger backdrop of the society in which they lived. I consider what God may have thought was correct for the times, particularly in light of the fact that slavery had survived for centuries even in Christianity. It would not be until the middle of the 18th century that people would begin to consider the moral ramifications of slavery, and even then those considerations split this country in two in the middle years of the 19th century.

During much of the time period your quotes are derived from, it was considered scientific fact that Negroes are inferior. Since God did not call Brigham Young to be a scientist, I consider it not at all unusual that Young and others were not apprised of the truth of the matter. Even pseudoscience dies hard in the face of the facts.

You and your wife should rejoice in the fact that times have changed, and that you do not have to hear – as we would have even in the 1970s – offensive epithets like “N***er lover!!” I know that my friend and his wife did. The greatest shame in their marriage is that she was called home, a victim of acute leukemia, long before she should have been. Next to my own wife, she was the finest woman I have ever known.

Every one of your quotes were derived from times when anti-Negro racism was still common. Even the most recent dates from the WW2 era, when the average job a Black man could get in the Army was in food service or as a valet. That was a time when even the Homestead Grays had to serve under white commanding officers, and when the idea of letting a black man fly a plane was considered by many to be a crazy idea.

So with that kind of social backdrop, you expect even LDS women to be ready to let women of color share a pew with them? As for me, I think it’s crazy, but I wasn’t around in the 1940s, and my parents were just kids at the time.

Rather than give past LDS leaders credit for what they did even when they were ungodly ignorant by our standards, you stand in you 2011 ivory tower and shout epithets at them. Rather than look into how far we have come, you insist on dredging up the past. The only “proof” you have shown me is that LDS leaders in the past lived in a far different social environment than we do now, and one that would have been extremely intolerant of our 21st century views.

That, Grindael, is bigotry, and makes as much sense as the grandfather laws that were passed in the Jim Crow years to prevent blacks from voting. January 11 at 12:08pm • Like •

Mormon & LDS Facts: “Apologist”, you seem to be as ignorant as your leaders. For all the study you’ve done, you have no grasp of Mormonism, and fail at every turn to understand its history and doctrines. I can’t make up my mind if you are just stupid, or want to believe a lie for the sake of your social attachments or some other reason.

We cannot expect God to reveal to men living in times past what we expect them to know based on our level of knowledge.

How about what God had already revealed, that all men were equal? Paul said it 1800 years before Jo Smith was born:

So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for YOU ARE ALL ONE IN CHRIST JESUS. IF YOU BELONG TO CHRIST THEN YOU ARE ABRAHAM’S SEED, and HEIRS according to the promise. (Galatians 3:26-29 NIV)

All WERE alike unto God, long before 1978. If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, NOT Cain’s seed. It’s right there in the Bible. But since the Book of Mormon is more important to Mormons and speaks of God cursing people right and left with black skin, they chose to ignore Paul. And God thought racism was “correct for the time”? Are you kidding me? That’s your historical perspective?

I Guess you never heard of the Tuskegee Angels of WWII? Look them up. They might have had to fight racism, but thank God for people like Eleanor Roosevelt, who championed their cause. And I still resent what you said, and understood perfectly that it was past tense, but you would have people believe that EVERYONE in the 19th century was a racist, and that it was the NORM for all Christians to act that way. It wasn’t. That is what I resent. This kind of thinking only shows how ignorant you are.

That mea culpa by McConkie you quoted is one of the most ridiculous documents ever written by anyone. It’s a transparent ploy that anyone with a scrap of intelligence can see right through. I notice right off, that you did not defend your lie about Young’s racist Priesthood ban as still being a ‘policy’. That’s the THIRD time in a conversation that I’ve refuted your lie, and you still propagate it. No wonder you fit right in at F.A.I.R.

If you hadn’t had your head up your behind, you would have done the research necessary to understand the position of your own church. But time after time, you put your foot in your mouth by spouting off without really understanding the history of Mormonism, it’s leaders, and what they were all about, and you don’t pay attention, for I keep proving you wrong, and you stay stuck in the same groove that goes round and round and gets nowhere.

As for McConkie’s comments, he shoots himself in the foot with this self serving ‘explanation’:

“We spoke with a limited understanding and without the light and knowledge that now has come into the world. We get our truth and our light line upon line and precept upon precept.”

First off, McConkie is quoting a scripture that Isaiah uses in sarcasm to describe the perversion of God’s word into a set of rules. Obviously McConkie didn’t understand CONTEXT, or he never would have used this phrase. Here is what Isaiah said:

9 “Who is it he is trying to teach? To whom is he explaining his message? To children weaned from their milk, to those just taken from the breast? 10 For it is: Do this, do that, a rule for this, a rule for that; here a little here, a little there.” 11 Very well then, with foreign lips and strange tongues God will speak to this people, 12 to whom he said, “This is the resting place, let the weary rest”; and, “This is the place of repose”— but they would not listen. 13 So then, the word of the LORD to them will become: Do this, do that, a rule for this, a rule for that; a little here, a little there— so that as they go THEY WILL FALL BACKWARD; they will be INJURED and SNARED and CAPTURED. (Isaiah 28)

This exactly describes Young’s racist doctrine and the result of it, along with other Mormon regulations like the forced “word of wisdom” and tithing.To cut to the chase, McConkie is saying that all those ‘prophets’ were just wrong, but doesn’t dare admit it. How can one claim to be a prophet of God, speak with Him, get his word and law, and then have another ‘prophet’ totally contradict it 140 years later? That is what Mormonism does, CONSISTENTLY. Mormons didn’t get their pre-1978 “truth” line upon line from God, by your own admission they got it from so-called Christians who perverted the Bible to justify racism and slavery. Here is what Wilford Woodruff said in 1891:

October 16, 1894: We had meeting[s] with several individuals among the rest, Black Jane [who] wanted to know if I would not let her have her Endowments in the Temple. This I could not do as it was AGAINST THE LAW OF GOD, as Cain killed Abel. All the seed of Cain would have to wait for redemption UNTIL ALL THE SEED THAT ABEL WOULD HAVE HAD, that may come through other men, can be redeemed.” (Wilford Woodruff’s Journal, Vol. 9, p. 322).

It was important enough for Woodruff to ask God about polygamy, but not to ask God in relation to Jane Manning’s request to go to the temple? Really? So, did what Woodruff wrote happen by 1978? Nope. Not even close. On the one hand, you have men like McConkie, and a plethora of “mo-pologists” saying that these men only spoke with ‘limited knowledge’, and people like you saying:

“Brigham Young and others were racist by our standards. Big freaking deal.”

Are you really that ignorant “Apologist”? You have it EXACTLY BACKWARD. Many from Young’s own era stood against racism and slavery. Are you daft, that you don’t know this? Does defending the lies of Mormonism mean so much to you that you throw out all common sense and historical perspective? Or did you forget about the Civil War that was fought over slavery and racism? Have you forgotten about all the enlightened people of the 18th Century that weren’t racist, and that wanted to end slavery and racism? Or are you just purposefully acting that ignorant? January 11 at 8:28pm • Like • 7

Mormon & LDS Facts: Ever hear of Horace Greely? I hope so, for it will make this easier. Horace Greely was hated by Brigham Young & other Mormon leaders like John Taylor. Why? Because he was an abolitionist. He was against slavery and the racism it was founded upon. And he was also for women’s rights, and he deplored polygamy and the degradation of Mormon women by men like Brigham Young and Heber C. Kimball.

Your argument about ‘limited understanding and principle’ has been used before, and it is so ironic, so apt, that it just astounds me when I think about it. What am I talking about? A speech made by John Taylor. What did he say? Here is part of it:

“The feelings of the North and South have run very high, each party seeking to support their own peculiar views alone, and truth is out of the question. If they tell the truth, it is by accident. The object is not to tell the truth, but to sustain parties and party interests; for to tell the truth is not generally considered very politic.

True, there is a great profession of truth, and a great deal of apparent abhorrence of lies and falsehood, because falsehood is not popular, although it is practiced all the time.

The ministers say it is right to tell the truth, and then go to work and lie. One politician banters another, on account of the hypocritical course he has taken: and as quick as he has done that, he goes to work and lies, and deceives as much as he possibly can to sustain his party; and it is not whether a thing is true or not, but whether it is policy or not; and if a thing becomes policy, every influence, every kind of chicanery, falsehood, and deception is brought to bear upon it; and when a little truth will tell better, they mix that up along with it, but it is generally the least ingredient in the whole mass.

Talk to them about the Gospel and the Scriptures! They seem to think, even the ministers among them, that it is old fogyism. Talk about Abraham and his institutions! Say they, “You are taking us back to the dark ages. Such things would do eighteen hundred years ago; but WE ARE MORE ENLIGHTENED NOW; we have got more philosophy, more intelligence, and comprehend the nature of human existence better; we are men of greater renown than they. Those things might do for our grandfathers and great-grandfathers, but they will not do for us.”

If a little Scripture will suit them, they put it in; but if it won’t, they keep it out, and talk about expediency. Expediency is the great principle by which men are governed.

Talk about politics! What is it? It is this or that man’s policy. “If it is policy to tell the truth, we will tell it; if not, we will tell a lie.” A man cannot obtain a cause because it is just, but because it is policy, and because he can bring certain influences to bear on that thing. This is about the position of things as I find them, so far as my experience goes.

…they call Greeley a philosopher; and, in writing about him, I have called him the same. I believe him to be as dishonest a man as is in existence.

These are my sentiments and feelings. I have examined his articles, watched his course, read his paper daily, and have formerly conversed with him a little; but lately I would not be seen in his company. I was thrown in his society in traveling from Boston, and occasionally met him afterwards; but I would not talk to him: I FELT MYSELF SUPERIOR TO SUCH A MEAN CONTEMPTIBLE CUR. I knew he was not after truth, but falsehood. “This Greeley is one of their popular characters in the East, and one that supports the stealing of NIGGERS and the underground railroad….he is one of the prominent newspaper editors in the Eastern country, and he is a POOR, MISERABLE CURSE.” (Journal of Discourses, Vol. 5, page 119)

This is the same man who would not be sealed to own father, because he thought his father was “beneath” him, because John Taylor was above him in “priesthood”. He was an “apostle”, and his father was only a lowly “high priest”.  As Abraham H. Cannon explains in his diary:

Thursday, Dec. 18th, 1890: . . .Father [George Q. Cannon] holds that we who live on the earth now and are faithful, will stand at the head of our lineage and will thus become Saviors as has been promised us. Pres. John Taylor was not sealed to his parents though they died in the Church, as he felt that it was rather lowering himself to be thus sealed when he was an apostle and his father was a high priest…

Kinda puts the whole Mormon family thing in perspective, doesn’t it? He also made sure he was ordained king of the world, just like Jo Smith was. Taylor is here making the same argument AGAINST those in his day, that you are against him and Brigham Young and the rest of that racist and self-serving bunch. Contrast that to what Greely wrote to Abraham Lincoln in 1862:

“A considerable body of resolute, able-bodied men, held in Slavery by two Rebel sugar-planters in defiance of the Confiscation Act which you have approved, left plantations thirty miles distant and made their way to the great mart of the South-West, which they knew to be the indisputed possession of the Union forces. They made their way safely and quietly through thirty miles of Rebel territory, expecting to find freedom under the protection of our flag. Whether they had or had not heard of the passage of the Confiscation Act, they reasoned logically that we could not kill them for deserting the service of their lifelong oppressors, who had through treason become our implacable enemies.

They came to us for liberty and protection, for which they were willing render their best service: they met with hostility, captivity, and murder. The barking of the base curs of Slavery in this quarter deceives no one–not even themselves. They say, indeed, that the negroes had no right to appear in New Orleans armed (with their implements of daily labor in the cane-field); but no one doubts that they would gladly have laid these down if assured that they should be free. They were set upon and maimed, captured and killed, because they sought the benefit of that act of Congress which they may not specifically have heard of, but which was none the less the law of the land which they had a clear right to the benefit of–which it was somebody’s duty to publish far and wide, in order that so many as possible should be impelled to desist from serving Rebels and the Rebellion and come over to the side of the Union, They sought their liberty in strict accordance with the law of the land–they were butchered or re-enslaved for so doing by the help of Union soldiers enlisted to fight against slaveholding Treason. It was somebody’s fault that they were so murdered–if others shall hereafter stuffer in like manner, in default of explicit and public directions to your generals that they are to recognize and obey the Confiscation Act, the world will lay the blame on you. Whether you will choose to hear it through future History and ’at the bar of God, I will not judge. I can only hope.” (Greely letter to Abraham Lincoln, August 18th 1862) January 11 at 8:29pm • Like

Mormon & LDS Facts: So what you are saying is that men like Horace Greely, who clearly understood that slavery was wrong, and that racism was wrong, had more light and knowledge than the whole kit and caboodle of Mormon Leaders who were supposedly inspired by God himself? That these so called ‘prophets’ were not examples and leaders in racism and in equality, but were down in the mud with all those that espoused such devilish and ignorant views?

Your approach to this “Apologist”, is simply deplorable. Yet you go on and on, because I cannot accept your dismal and mistaken point of view. Yes I said you said everybody WAS a racist – back then, for that is what you are continuing to say. And is there racism today? You bet. I see it all the time. I was living in Southern California in the late 60’s and early 70’s and personally saw how the blacks were treated. I personally witnessed racial violence back then. I am in a unique position to see it constantly perpetuated even today.  Your attending a mixed marriage wedding makes you such an expert, so perfectly able to understand and see it. I would be hiding my head in shame at the things you write and the justifications that you make, and your ‘token’ experience means nothing to me in the light of your ignorant and uneducated comments.

You say ‘society changes slowly’. That may be true “Apologist”, but the principles taught by the Saviour have been around for two thousand years, and those that claim to speak for God, those that claim the inspiration of the Holy Spirit have no excuse for espousing such racist views. It is a worldly view, and out of harmony with everything that Jesus taught and died for. Jesus and His real Apostles said that there would be FEW that found the truth. This is STILL true today. That alone shows that none of these men were prophets of the living God. In fact one of those men, (who love to say one thing, but DO something else) gives this lofty view:

“Nothing to my mind can be greater sacrilege in the sight of the Almighty than to undertake to speak in His name without the inspiration of His spirit. We may talk upon the branches of HUMAN LEARING and knowledge, SPEAKING AFTER THE MANNER OF MEN with but little of this feeling of timidity, but not when we undertake to speak of the principles of life and salvation, of the plan of human redemption as it has always existed—as it existed before the foundations of the world were laid, as it will continue to exist until every child of God except the sons of perdition shall be brought back and exalted in a degree of glory far beyond the comprehension of the finite mind.

Can a church not even bearing the name of the Redeemer, and having neither Apostles nor Prophets, bear the fruits enjoyed by the disciples of our Lord in the days of and subsequent to His ministry? Do any of them ever claim to have such fruits? Who among them HAVE THE ENDOWMENTS OF THE COMFORTER, whose mission it was and is to BRING THE TEACHINGS OF JESUS TO THE MEMORY, show THINGS TO COME AND LEAD TO ALL TRUTH? God neither changes nor is he a respecter of persons; the causes, therefore, which lie ordained to produce certain results in one age will produce them in another.”(Moses Thatcher, Journal of Discourses Vol. 26:303-4,10)

In two paragraphs, Moses Thatcher shoots yours and McConkie’s premise all to hell. Thatcher is here saying that NO OTHERS ON EARTH have what the Mormons do, that they alone can ‘show things to come and lead to all truth.” He explains what ‘speaking after the manner of men’ is, and ‘human learning’, and then makes the point that Mormons don’t do that ‘when we undertake to speak of the principles of life and salvation’. What could be more important, “Apologist” than the endowments that Jane Manning so desperately wanted and that men like Wilford Woodruff were too ignorant and self-serving to give to her?

McConkie and the other “suits” in SLC have NEVER given any kind of rational explanation as to WHY they chose to ‘lift the ban’ in 1978, but anyone with a particle of intelligence knows the real reason why. If we go by what your (and his) self-serving premise is, they lifted the ban because they finally caught up to the rest of the world. They finally got the ‘light and knowledge’ that virtually the whole of America had been trumpeting for more than a decade. The suits in SLC had finally ‘caught up’. And what is so ironic, what is so sadly evident, is that they were some of the last to let go of the institutionalized racism, when they should have been leading the way, for the Spirit of the Lord, IF THEY HAD IT, would have indicated to them long before that time, that they were in error. Reading the Bible in context might have done the trick also.

Horace Greely, and men like him that Taylor and Young so deplored had more of the Spirit of God than the self proclaimed ‘prophets’ of Mormondom. And yet you still go on, with statements like this one:

“I consider what God may have thought was correct for the times, particularly in light of the fact that slavery had survived for centuries even in Christianity. It would not be until the middle of the 18th century that people would begin to consider the moral ramifications of slavery, and even then those considerations split this country in two in the middle years of the 19th century.” January 11 at 8:30pm • Like • 2

Mormon & LDS Facts: What rubbish! The ban on blacks was NEVER about slavery, it was about RACISM. It was about singling out a race of people that they linked to a MURDERER. Yes, it was about all those social stigmas that you attribute to society, but you fail to make the connection that many others did not have such views. But the gospel should never have been solely an American institution, (i.e. The failed Mormon “Gathering” to Jackson County, Missouri) it was for the world, given to the world by the God of this world, who certainly did KNOW the difference, and would have communicated such a large BLUNDER to his ‘authorized’ servants here on earth. You fail to take notice of the fact that it was the WORLD who changed their views and opinions FIRST, with the ‘only living church on the face of the earth’ finishing a dismal last place.

You then give me this gem:

“So with that kind of social backdrop, you expect even LDS women to be ready to let women of color share a pew with them?”

Yes I do. It was done in other churches at that time. Once again, you missed the whole point of the quote, because you are so bent on justifying the racism of your ‘inspired’ leaders. I would not ‘expect’ every white woman living in the 40’s to let black women sit with them. (especially in the South) But what I WOULD EXPECT is an apostle of the Lord to tell them YES, YOU HAVE TO SIT NEXT TO THEM, FOR WE DON’T DISCRIMINATE HERE IN GOD’S HOUSE. And yes, many so-called Christians did the same, and it was wrong. But it is much more wrong, for those who claim to be the ‘only true and living church on the face of the earth’ to be doing it too, at the direction of those with the highest authority in that church.

You go on and on “Apologist”, about how ridiculous it is of me to hold them to a higher standard, but then, they are the ones who put themselves on that pedestal. When it comes down to it, these instances of racism, false teachings like Adam-god, adultery, lying, and the plethora of other problems so readily evident in Mormonism only go to show that the Mormon Church and it’s leaders doesn’t belong on it. And it proves that all their claims to be what they claim – are false.

You then end your scolding with this ignorant conclusion:

“Rather than give past LDS leaders credit for what they did even when they were ungodly ignorant by our standards, you stand in you 2011 ivory tower and shout epithets at them.”

2011 Ivory Tower? Really? Yes they were “ungodly ignorant” but not by our standards, but by the standards of the true Christians of their day.  If you had an ounce of integrity, you would have done far more research. The fight against racism started IN THE SOUTH, very early in the nineteenth century. As Stanley Harrold explains in his excellent book, The South in Antislavery History:

“In an early history of the movement, published in 1852, veteran abolitionist William Goodell recognized John Rankin of Tennessee as the pioneer formulator of the doctrine of immediate emancipation, which was at the heart of militant northern abolitionism from the 1830s through the Civil War. Goodell said that Rankin in the early 1820s had denounced the inherent sinfulness of slavery and advocated the “duty of its present abandonment.” Following the war, Samuel J. May, an associate of Garrison, and Henry Wilson, a leading Radical Republican, made similar assessments of Rankin and other southern abolitionists of the 1810s and 1820s. Wilson linked northern abolitionism to earlier efforts of ministers in Kentucky and Tennessee, whom he said “proclaimed with great clearness and force the distinctive doctrines of modern abolition.”

For Goodell, May, and Wilson, as well as for the less partisan historians who followed them in the late nineteenth century, the chief conduit of antislavery activism from the South to the North was Benjamin Lundy. A northern Quaker, Lundy was the most active abolitionist in the South in the 1820s. He published his weekly newspaper, The Genius of Universal Emancipation, in Jonesboro, Tennessee, and Baltimore, and he organized local antislavery societies throughout the upper South. Impressed more by Lundy’s moral tone than by his gradualism and affinity for schemes to expatriate freed slaves, early historians of abolitionism acknowledged his impact on the beginnings of the antislavery movement in New England and especially on its leader, [William Lloyd] Garrison, who briefly assisted Lundy in Baltimore. Former political abolitionist Austin Willey of Maine claimed that Lundy favored “Universal Immediate Emancipation” in the 1820s and called him the “morning star of Liberty.” A less passionate Holst described Lundy as the “immediate precursor, and, in a certain sense, the father of the abolitionists. “

The tradition that the antebellum northern antislavery movement rested on sourthern foundations attracted considerable support among professional historians in the twentieth century. As the century began Hart and, especially, his student Alice Dana Adams embraced the theme. Hart contended that Rankin, Lundy, and other southern abolitionists prior to 1831 used “substantially the same arguments” as “later abolitionists.” Adams argued that an active antislavery movement, distinct from the ACS, existed in the upper South during decades when antislavery sentiment in New England was dormant. She contended that between 1821 and 1831 southern antislavery advocates were so “aggressive” and “uncompromising” that the beginning of the great struggle over slavery “might be dated a decade earlier than it is usually reckoned.”

More recently Dwight L. Dumond, James Brewer Sewart, and Merton L. Dillon recognized a positive relationship between southern abolitionism before 1831 and northern immediatism thereafter. In books published in 1939 and 1961 Dumond—the leading historian of the antislavery movement in his era—traced the northern abolitionists’ immediatism to “the pioneering efforts of three Southern Presbyterian clergyman,” Charles Osborn, Elihu Embree, and Rankin. Stewart in 1973 supported those historians who, he said, “have argued, correctly, for the continuity which existed between antislavery thought of the upper South in the 1820s and the doctrines of northern abolitionists after 1830.” Relying on extensive primary research in pamphlet literature, Stewart said that southern evangelicals formulated abolitionist arguments based on Christian and republican precepts that were later adopted by northerners. But the most complete statement of the southern origins thesis appeared in Dillon’s 1966 biography of Lundy. Dillion contended that Lundy’s abolitionism derived from natives of Virginia, Kentucky, and especially Tennessee, and that Lundy in 1828 initiated and effort to spread their ideas to New England, directly influencing Garrison in the process. The abolitionists of the upper South, Dillion argued, laid the foundations of northern immediatism by breaking with the racist colonizationists, developing “various techniques of antislavery propaganda,” and establishing organizations. As recently as 1989 Herbert Aptheker endorsed the tradition that there was a “direct line” from Tennessee abolitionists Osborn and Embree to Lundy and Garrison.” (The South in Antislavery History, by Stanley Harrold, pages 11-13)

You then call me a bigot right off the bat, for pointing out what I have detailed above. If that is bigotry to you, then you really are a stupid man. After reading through what you have written, that is the only conclusion that I can come to. Like I said, not a leg to stand on._grindael, January 11 at 8:31pm • Like • 3

Mormon Apologist: Grindael said: “Are you really that ignorant “Apologist”? You have it EXACTLY BACKWARD. Many from Young’s own era stood against racism and slavery. Are you daft, that you don’t know this?”

I am quite aware of it. I do not, however, have it “exactly backward,” because even though Brigham Young was a racist by our standards, the fact is that because most of Mormonism’s membership at the time (in particular the Missouri period) were Northerners and tended to abolitionism. I am quite aware of the tireless work the Beechers and others did in pursuit of the abolition of slavery. I am aware of how Frederick Douglass learned how to read, and how that led to his position as one of the finest men of his generation. I am also aware that he tended to get treated, as we would have put it in the ’60s, as a “token Negro.”

You continue: “Does defending the lie of Mormonism mean so much to you that you throw out all common sense and historical perspective?”

I don’t think I am the one who has thrown out common sense and historical perspective. You seem to forget that Mormons, like everybody else at the time, were members of American society, and that social sentiments, racist or otherwise, came into Mormonism through its converts from other religions.

You continue: “Or did you forget about the Civil War that was fought over slavery and racism?”

That’s a less-than-intelligent question to ask me in regards to what I have posted previously on this topic on other threads, not to mention this one.

Are you aware of the racist sentiments that existed (primarily in the south) as a result of Caribbean nations throwing off the colonial yoke, declaring independence and banning slavery? Ever hear of a fellow named Toussaint l’overture? How about the Stono Rebellion? Gabriel Prosser? Denmark Vesey? Nat Turner? The endo of slavery in Haiti and Santo Domingo had Southern slaveholders scared spitless of a slave uprising in America, and it didn’t help that there were uprisings long before Prosser led his. The Turner Rebellion led directly to laws in South Carolina that denied the slaves the right to learn to read. Other laws denied them the right to hold their own religious services, and instead they were fed a diet of “Negroes are meant to be slaves” gospel.

You continue: “Have you forgotten about all the enlightened people of the 18th Century that weren’t racist, and that wanted to end racism?”

I am abundantly aware of them. In fact, I might just know a bit more about them than you, as I spent two semesters studying the literature of the era, with an emphasis on literature concerning American slavery and racism. I am also aware that those people represented the turning of the tide of racism, but also that their work represented the beginning of that turn.

You continue: “Or are you just purposefully acting that ignorant?”

I might ask the same. Why is it that you focus only on LDS racism and not that which occurred in the rest of American society? Why don’t you focus on the split between Northern (abolitionist) Baptists and Southern (pro-slave and racist) Baptists over the slavery issue? Why don’t you consider some of the very issues I have mentioned that the Mormons had little or nothing at all to do with? Ever hear of the 1837 “Mormon” War? One of the reasons for it was the fact that the Mormons leaned toward abolition and the pro-slavery Missourians could not abide the idea that they might become numerous enough to form a voting bloc and mess up what had been accomplished with the Missouri Compromise.

Perhaps you are ignorant of the fact that free blacks traveled with the Saints to what became Utah? That they left the United States for Mexico, where slavery was illegal?

My intent is not to protect the “lie that is Mormonism,” but to remind you and people like you that while Mormonism’s hands are dirty, yours are bloody. Show me an abolitionist of the day, and I will show you a person who is racially prejudiced by post-Civil Rights Era standards.

Ever hear of the term “Uncle Tom,” and what it meant in the ’60s? Yet in its day Harriet Beecher Stowe’s “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” was a towering piece of abolitionist literature.

No, I am not daft. I merely know some things you obviously do not. January 12 at 4:03pm • Like • 1

Mormon & LDS Facts: You seem to forget that Mormons, like everybody else at the time, were members of American society, and that social sentiments, racist or otherwise, came into Mormonism through its converts from other religions.

I haven’t forgotten any of that, I have simply put forth, which you ignore constantly, that these men were uninspired BECAUSE you say they took the worst from “so-called Christians”, and made it their own, a “revelation” unique to themselves, with a “pre-existence” backstory derived from a phony translation of an “autograph” that Jo Smith claimed came from Abraham. These quotes attest to the scorn that Mormon “prophets” felt for the doctrines of Christians:

“We talk about Christianity, but it is a perfect pack of nonsense…the devil could not invent a better engine to spread his work than the Christianity of the nineteenth century” (John Taylor, Journal of Discourses 6:167).

“Mormonism is Christianity; Christianity is Mormonism… Mormons are true Christians; their worship is the pure, unadulterated Christianity authored by Christ and accepted by Peter, James, and John and all the ancients” (Bruce R. McConkie, Mormon Doctrine, pg. 513).

“The most ignorant of our Elders, with the Spirit and power of God upon them, can, in knowledge of Scripture, lead the smartest of the Gentile priests into deep water, and dip them under, and draw them back again at their pleasure, and confound the Scripture knowledge of the priestcraft that is on the earth. ..With a regard to true theology, a more ignorant people never lived than the present so-called Christian world” (Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses 8:198,199).

And Jo Smith adamantly claimed that “I never built upon any other man’s ground.” (History of the Church Vol. 6, p. 408-412)

Why don’t you focus on the split between Northern (abolitionist) Baptists and Southern (pro-slave and racist) Baptists over the slavery issue?

At least there was a split. That is the point I’m making. January 12 at 4:10pm • Like • 2

Mormon Apologist: Horace Greely, part I:

Hmmm…. It seems that Brigham Young was not the only person who did not like Horace Greeley, and it seems that your opinion that his dislike of Greeley on account of his abolitionist views is simplistic. To wit:

“Horace Greeley, a man of great eccentricity and social idealism, was one of the best-known people in the America of his day. Now, though, his name has all but vanished from public consciousness, familiar only to some in specific areas of study. He was a man who launched one of the most influential newspapers of the time and even gained enough recognition to run for the presidency. However, it was his unconventional, liberal political ideologies that undid his reputation and lost him everything he had worked so hard to earn. The purpose of this paper is to explore the ways in which Horace Greeley lost his public reputation in his time and to explore some of his accomplishments that have had lasting effects, despite the unfamiliarity of his name to many Americans today.

The animosity that many harbored towards Greeley is evident today through his critics’ harsh commentaries that have survived through the years. “He is a self-made man who worships his creator,” New York reporter Henry Clapp, Jr. said of Greeley (Horace Greeley at the front, 2002 ). Yet, even if Greeley’s ego was as large as some of his critics claimed, he was not his only fan. It is reported that multitudes of tourists visited his newspaper every day, hoping for an opportunity to see the man himself.
http://voices.yahoo.com/horace-greeley-2796450.html

It seems that Greeley had an overweening ego, and that would be enough to alienate a lot of people from any man. January 12 at 4:19pm • Like •

Mormon Apologist: Horace Greeley, part II:

“So what you are saying is that men like Horace Greely, who clearly understood that slavery was wrong, and that racism was wrong, had more light and knowledge than the whole kit and caboodle of Mormon Leaders who were supposedly inspired by …God himself?”

You ignore the fact that even with the quotes you provide that the LDS were also opposed to slavery, which is only one of the reasons they left the USA for Mexico. Remember that I told you the slavery was illegal in Mexico?

But there is something else you ignore. I am going to provide a little bit of material you excised from that John Taylor quote about Horace Greeley:

“In relation to the general condition of things in the East at this time, there has been a great hue-and-cry, and almost every editor, priest, and dog that could howl, has been yelping. They joined heartily with Drummond, one of our amiable, pure, virtuous United States’ officers. You know him. I never saw him; but I have heard about him as one of those spotless, immaculate, holy kind of men that they sent from the United States to teach us good morals, correct procedure, virtue, &c., &c.

This pure man commenced a tirade against us, then other dogs began to bark. We soon told the truth about it; then, by-and-bye, somebody else would tell it; and he now stinks so bad, that they actually repudiate him. He is too mean even for them, and they had to cast him off. They supported him as long as they could, and finally had to let him drop.

The people are raging, and they do not know what for. The editor of the New York Herald, after summing up the whole matter, the only thing he could bring against us, after trying and trying for several weeks, was that we have burned some nine hundred volumes of United States’ law books. Of course I do not know anything about it; but if you did so, it is true, and if you did not, why it is a lie, and it all fizzles out. And, finally, he says, “The ‘Mormons’ have got the advantage of us, and they know it.” [Voices: That is true.] That was one truth, but it was told accidentally; one of those accidental things that slip out once in a while,—”they have the advantage of us, and they know know it.”

The majority of the people think you are a most corrupt people, following a doctrine something like those Free Love societies in the East. Greeley, the editor of the New York Tribune, was associated with one of those societies, and was its principal supporter.

That is what is called a virtuous kind of an abomination, used under a page 119 cloak of philosophy, a species of philosophy imported from France. Hence they call Greeley a philosopher; and, in writing about him, I have called him the same. I believe him to be as dishonest a man as is in existence.

These are my sentiments and feelings. I have examined his articles, watched his course, read his paper daily, and have formerly conversed with him a little; but latterly I would not be seen in his company. I was thrown in his society in travelling from Boston, and occasionally met him afterwards; but I would not talk to him: I felt myself superior to such a mean, contemptible cur. I knew he was not after truth, but falsehood.

This Greeley is one of their popular characters in the East, and one that supports the stealing of niggers and the underground railroad. I do not know that the editor of the Herald is any more honest; but, as a journalist, he tells more truth. He publishes many things as they are, because it is creditable to do so. But Greeley will not; he will tell what suits his clandestine plans, and leave the rest untold. I speak of him, because he is one of the prominent newspaper editors in the Eastern country, and he is a poor, miserable curse.

I do not consider that many of them are much better. They are in a state of vassalage; they cannot tell the truth if they felt so disposed. People talk very loudly about liberty; but there are very few who comprehend its true principles. There is a species of bondage that is associated with every grade of society. It is with the mercantile community, the editorial fraternity, the political world, and with every body of men you can associate with, up to members of Congress and the President of the United States. There are yokes made for men of every grade to put their necks into; and every one bows down to them willingly, and they are driven in their turn according to circumstances.”

The first point I want to make concerns your emphasis of the word “Nigger.” This is a fine example of your presentist argument against Taylor, given that Taylor was using what was at the time an acceptable word, derived from “Negro,” to describe blacks.

Second, beyond some of Taylor’s complaints against Greeley, he stresses Greeley’s support of the theft of slaves. This is not necessarily a pro-slavery but an anti-theft statement, and in keeping with Mormonism’s idea of how slavery should be brought to an end. Remember that it was not only a crime to steal a slave, that it was criminal for a slave to escape his owner, but that under the auspices of the Runaway Slave Act, ofttimes a legally free black could be arrested and returned to the South. It seems to me that John Taylor just might have had in mind the horrors that faced the escaped slave if caught and returned to the South.

You say: “You say ‘society changes slowly’. That may be true “Apologist”, but the principles taught by the Saviour of the World have been around for two thousand years, and those that claim to speak for God, those that claim the inspiration of the Holy Spirit have no excuse for espousing such racist views.”

And yet, slavery was practiced by Christians for much of the 2000 years you speak of.

You continue: “It is a worldly view, and out of harmony with everything that Jesus taught and died for.”

And yet, slavery was practiced by Christians for much of the 2000 years you speak of.

You continue: “That alone shows that none of these men were prophets of the living God.”

Indeed? LDS leaders opposed abolitionism as taught by its proponents for rational reasons, but they did not oppose the abolition of slavery. The greater enlightenment Taylor spoke of would likely have been a reference to ideas being tossed around in Mormonism concerning a way to free the slaves in a way that would not dump them precipitously into a suddenly very restrictive job market. We were chased out of Missouri in part because we OPPOSED slavery. However, the racist opinions of most of American society were also present in that subset of American society identified as Mormons. January 12 at 5:19pm • Like • 1

Mormon Apologist: The idea that Mormons, even their leadership, would necessarily be told that racism is wrong only indicates that you wish to second-guess God. It is also an indicator, from my perspective, that you don’t seem to have much of a grip on human nature, and how difficult it is for society to drop a bad idea. You also rather blatantly ignore the fact that even Bible Prophets had their problems.

Remember Jonah? God told him to preach repentance to Nineveh. The problem is, Jonah didn’t like Ninevites. Now, that sounds like a form of racism to me. Yes, Jonah got what was coming to him, but the point is, it took him a while, and a LOT of tribulation, to figure it out.

One could accuse Jonah of racism, given that he was told to take no prisoners in the conquest of Canaan.

What about Peter? Prior to his vision concerning Cornelius, the Gospel was not being taken to the Gentiles, because they were “unclean.” This sound again like a racist doctrine. Of course, God taught Peter that the time had come to teach the Gospel to the Gentiles, but He had to deliberately teach Peter the new doctrine. Peter did not think of it on his own.

Don’t forget that for a very long time in history the Israelites were the Chosen People, and that the Gospel was only for them.

One pro-slavery Baptist minister accurately pointed out that Jesus Christ did not teach that slavery was wrong, even though it was going on during His earthly life. This does not mean, of course, that Jesus was in favor of slavery, but only that for some reason the Bible account is silent on the issue. This, undoubtedly, is the reason that slavery continued to exist even in Christian world for a very long time.

The Priesthood ban was lifted only after Spencer W. Kimball spent a lot of time in prayer about the subject, which is in complete keeping with what the Savior tells us in Matthew 7:7-8. We do not, however, have any record that any LDS leader prior to Kimball did the same. Has it ever occurred to you that people like Brigham Young simply never asked about the subject?

You accuse me of trying to protect Mormonism, yet what I see with you and other critics of Mormonism is a refusal to recognize racism within your own religious background. People who live in glass houses should not throw stones. January 12 at 5:19pm • Like •

Mormon Apologist: You say: “Once again, you missed the whole point of the quote, because you are so bent on justifying the racism of your ‘inspired’ leaders. I would not ‘expect’ every white woman living in the 40’s to let black women sit with them. But what I WOULD EXPECT is an apostle of the Lord to tell them YES, YOU HAVE TO SIT NEXT TO THEM, FOR WE DON’T DISCRIMINATE HERE IN GOD’S HOUSE.

And yes, many so-called Christians did the same, and it was wrong. But it is much more wrong, for those who claim to be the ‘only true and living church on the face of the earth’ to be doing it too, at the direction of those with the highest authority in that church.”

No, I think you miss the point of what the Prophet was saying. I see him chastising the white women while telling the black women that they are quite welcome to the available seating. Also, not even the Prophet could force anti-racist policies on the congregation. To think he could is rubbish. You do not seem to connect your expectations with what God may actually have wanted. Once again, you EXPECT the Prophet to do what YOU expect. You are once again double-guessing God and His way of doing things.

Also, I do not “justify” their racism, not any more than I justify the racism of ANY religious leader. I do, however, recognize that even a Prophet must LEARN, and that God has never at any time revealed to a Prophet EVERYTHING, much less what I think He should reveal.

It’s all in the past. We cannot undo the past. Get over it. God reveals what He chooses to reveal according to His schedule, not ours or even yours. You seem to think that just because a Prophet is called of God that he will suddenly become perfect according to YOUR standards of perfection, regardless of the fact that not one Prophet has ever been perfect according to any given standards. You seem to think that because your own ministers are excused from their own behavior simply because they do not wear the mantle of “Prophet,” even though as ministers, preachers, pastors or whatever, they are still representatives of God and teachers of the Gospel.

Directing the accusation of racism at the LDS faith requires that you wear a special kind of blinders, and it requires that you be a special kind of hypocrite. Did past LDS leaders demonstrate racism? Yes. However, within the society they lived in, they were more liberal than you are willing to give them credit for. You also refuse, in your effort to paint Mormonism in the worst light possible, to acknowledge what has been done to Mormons because they were not as racist as the general public. You make no effort to find out why LDS leaders said what they did, or why.

You attempt to absolve your own brand of Christianity of its own racist views, up to and including the Curse of Cain nonsense, even though the historical record shows that such thought preceded Mormonism by centuries. You refuse to acknowledge that the early LDS Church was almost entirely made up of converts who carried with them the baggage of what they had been taught before. You refuse to acknowledge that even science at the time considered the Negro race to be inferior.

Prophets have never been perfect, nor have they been entirely in the know. However, they have always done a pretty good job of doing what God required of them at the time, in spite of their imperfections. Prophets have never been required to be perfect, at least not by God, nor have they ever been required to be omniscient, which would frankly be impossible. More importantly, Prophets have NEVER been the kind of person that their critics expect them to be. Never. January 12 at 5:45pm • Like •

Mormon & LDS Facts: You said:

You ignore the fact that even with the quotes you provide that the LDS were also opposed to slavery, which is only one of the reasons they left the USA for Mexico.

They probably went to Mexico to escape Brigham Young, who made Utah a Slave Territory.

The greater enlightenment Taylor spoke of would likely have been a reference to ideas being tossed around in Mormonism concerning a way to free the slaves in a way that would not dump them precipitously into a suddenly very restrictive job market.

If so, why did Young make Utah a SLAVE TERRITORY? Why did he call slavery a “Divine Institution”, in a conversation with said Horace Greely on July 13, 1859. Young was asked about the issue of slavery and had the following exchange with Greeley:

H. G.–What is the position of your church with respect to slavery?

B. Y.–We consider it of divine institution, and not to be abolished until the curse pronounced on Ham shall have been removed from his descendants.

H. G.–Are any slaves now held in this territory?

B. Y.–There are.

H. G.–Do your territorial laws uphold slavery?

B. Y.–Those laws are printed; you can read for yourself. If slaves are brought here by those who owned them in the states, we do not favor their escape from the service of those owners.” (A. L. Neff, History of Utah, p. 618)

According to a Mormon “prophet” and “spokesman for God”, slavery should still be in effect today, since Young also said “as a prophet and in the name of Jesus Christ” that the “curse of Ham” would not be removed until ALL the “children of Abel” got their blessings first.

I’ll make this to the point, since what I’ve said, and the purposes thereof, have gone right over your head. You say “Why is it that you focus only on LDS racism and not that which occurred in the rest of American society?” If you haven’t figured it out yet, this page is about Mormonism. Though I’ve focused on Mormon racism, I’ve not dis-included Christians, or Americans. Or did you miss this (even though you quoted it):

Yes, many so-called Christians did the same, and it was wrong. But it is much more wrong, for those who claim to be the ‘only true and living church on the face of the earth’ to be doing it too, at the direction of those with the highest authority in that church.

The ban on blacks was NEVER about slavery, it was about RACISM. It was about singling out a race of people that they linked to a MURDERER. Yes, it was about all those social stigmas that you attribute to society, but you fail to make the connection that many others did not have such views, and that it was mostly a view held by Americans & some Europeans, but not much of the rest of the world. But “the gospel” should never have been an American institution, it was for the world, given to the world by the God of this world, who certainly did KNOW the difference, and would have communicated such a large BLUNDER to his ‘authorized’ servants here on earth. You fail to take notice of the fact that it was the WORLD who changed their views and opinions FIRST, with the ‘only living church on the face of the earth’ finishing a dismal last place.

You blather on:

You attempt to absolve your own brand of Christianity of its own racist views, up to and including the Curse of Cain nonsense, even though the historical record shows that such thought preceded Mormonism by centuries.

Where “Apologist”, have I done that? NOWHERE. You are lying here, to yourself, and to this page.

You go on and on about what I should EXPECT MORMON PROPHETS TO KNOW, and yes I expect them to know that racism is WRONG. Many in America did, and spoke against it and fought and died for that principle that is IN THE NEW TESTAMENT. Where were the Mormon Prophets? Holding up an incorrect belief (a “folklore” that they got from the very Christians they accuse of being abominable before God! How ironic is that? This crap you spew about them ‘having to learn’ is just that: crap. They were supposed to have the HOLY SPIRIT, as Moses Thatcher stated, and Mormons just can’t seem to live up to. (Which I notice you NEVER addressed, but I’m not surprised).

Oh and I’m so thrilled about your two semesters of study! Obviously it did not do you much good, for you can’t seem to see the big picture here, and give no reason why the enlightened Mormons would disregard the New Testament and cling to racist views that were espoused by those they themselves claimed were without the light and knowledge of the true gospel of Jesus Christ!

So what if others did not like Horace Greely? What has that to do with anything? MANY DID. The same could be said of Rupert Murdoch today.  It is his views condemning racism and slavery that Young and Taylor hated, which they were not afraid to say they did, or lie to and about the man. Read the quotes again. You strain at a gnat “Apologist”, as you do time after time. And where did Greely ever say he supported stealing slaves? This was unfounded accusation by Taylor, nothing more. And I’m not impressed with your internet searches or cut and paste about Greely. The N-Word always had problems. Especially in the context of Taylor’s quote, that is why it is capped. It wasn’t all about slavery, it was RACIST, and that is why Taylor used the word instead of ‘slaves’. Read it again. Before you do, read this, written in 1837:

 No one knows precisely when or how niger turned derisively into nigger and attained a pejorative meaning. We do know, however, that by the end of the first third of the nineteenth century, nigger had already become a familiar and influential insult.

In A Treatise on the Intellectual Character and Civil and Political Condition of the Colored People of the United States: and the Prejudice Exercised Towards Them (1837), Hosea Easton wrote that nigger “is an opprobrious term, employed to impose contempt upon [blacks] as an inferior race. . . . The term in itself would be perfectly harmless were it used only to distinguish one class of society from another; but it is not used with that intent. . . . [I]t flows from the fountain of purpose to injure.” Easton averred that often the earliest instruction white adults gave to white children prominently featured the word nigger. Adults reprimanded them for being “worse than niggers,” for being “ignorant as niggers,” for having “no more credit than niggers”; they disciplined them by telling them that unless they behaved they would be carried off by “the old nigger” or made to sit with “niggers” or consigned to the “nigger seat,” which was, of course, a place of shame.” http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/style/longterm/books/chap1/nigger.htm

Instead of “Niggers”, Taylor could have easily said ‘slaves’, but he uses the more derogatory term, and does that exactly for the reason of denigrating Greely and blacks. Even Thomas Jefferson understood the implications of the word, and favored the use of the word ‘blacks’ in his Notes on the State of Virginia:

“It will probably be asked, Why not retain and incorporate the blacks into the state, and thus save the expense of supplying, by importation of white settlers, the vacancies they will leave? Deep rooted prejudices entertained by the whites; ten thousand recollections, by the blacks, of the injuries they have sustained; new provocations; the real distinctions which nature has made; and many other circumstances, will divide us into parties, and produce convulsions which will probably never end but in the extermination of the one or the other race.”

So, once again your argument fails. You make my point time after time with your total lack of knowledge and justification of racism, and no matter what you say, your defense of these men shows your true feelings. You are a racist at heart “Apologist”, and I deplore it and condemn you for it.

You then say “yet slavery was practiced by Christians”….yes? So what? It wasn’t right, and there were MANY people who decried it and knew the right road. But the MORMONS were NOT AMONG THEM, they were on the WRONG SIDE, the side of the devil, who is the one who promotes such things, and they had no light or inspiration to tell them they were wrong, just racist leaders, and people like you, who would go along with whatever they said.

And I don’t ‘second guess God’ for God had nothing to do with the racism of Mormon leaders. He also had nothing to do with Mormonism, as is self evident. You WISH it was God I’m second guessing. I see things in their true light, as did MANY in that day and age who did NOT fall into the trap of racism. You obviously would have, with all your justifications for it. How deplorable is that?

You go on,

“I see him chastising the white women while telling the black women that they are quite welcome to the available seating.”

For being an English Major, you sure need work on your comprehension skills. He said,

“…we feel sure that if the colored sisters were discretely approached, they would be happy to SIT AT ONE SIDE IN THE REAR or somewhere where they would not wound the sensibilities of the complaining sisters.”

How do you chastise the WHITE SISTERS, when you are “approaching” the “colored sisters” and telling them to “sit at one side IN THE REAR”, or somewhere (anywhere but next to them) where they would not “wound the sensibilities of the complaining sisters”? That would be a neat trick.  You are so blind in your zeal to defend their racism, it’s like you are not even reading the same paragraph that I am.

You accuse me of trying to protect Mormonism, yet what I see with you and other critics of Mormonism is a refusal to recognize racism within your own religious background.

The Bible is my religious “background”. That is what I’m “protecting”. I am non-denominational for just such reasons. I don’t live in a glass house. Your “rubber and glue” strategy won’t work here.

You then once again give this whopper:

It’s all in the past. We cannot undo the past. Get over it. God reveals what He chooses to reveal according to His schedule, not ours or even yours.

Reading a lot of Gordon Hinckley lately? God did reveal the true and right way, when Jesus came. Many followed Him and were not racists, nor had slaves, and many died defending the RIGHT way,. Too bad your Mormon leaders were not among them, and were among the last holding on to racist doctrines and had to be literally shunned by society to get them to change. That was NOT God’s timetable, it was MAN’s, the men in your church who were backed into a corner and had nothing else to do but let that vile and degrading DOCTRINE go.

You then, once again, try to pin it on me:

You attempt to absolve your own brand of Christianity of its own racist views…

With that LIE, because I’ve NEVER attempted to absolve anyone, I’ve only espoused the views of the Saviour of mankind. I guess you must have problems with HIM, if you have problems with my point of view. I was brought up by a racist. It was one of my father’s favorite words. I went toe to toe with him about it. I NEVER fell into the trap of believing that LIE, like your Mormon ‘prophets’ did, and I did not need some lofty title to know right from wrong.

Now you’ve turned Jonah into a racist. How low will you stoop? There is nothing in the account to show he was RACIST. (Anything to defend racism, huh?) Jonah was troubled that they were ENEMIES of Israel, and that God would have COMPASSION upon them. There is NOTHING to show RACISM here, except in YOUR MIND. And even if this were so, GOD SHOWED JONAH HE WAS WRONG to feel as he did, he didn’t let Jonah keep believing and perpetuating a lie.  Why didn’t the Mormon God do so with YOUR “prophets”?

Prophets have never been required to be perfect, but what they reveal from God IS PERFECT for HE IS. (reread the Jonah story) What your leaders revealed came from SATAN, and they pawned it off as revelation from God. And you believe it because you still believe in them.

Mormon leaders were more “liberal” than I give them credit for? Are you kidding me? You just haven’t been paying attention to all the historical accounts of the 19th Century where people condemned slavery and racism. Mormons were on the OTHER SIDE OF THAT ARGUMENT.

You show yourself to be a racist “Apologist”, no matter what you say. You show it in your words, your actions and condemning me for condemning the racism of Mormonism, who made it a DOCTRINE in their church for years and years. You read RACISM into everything in the Bible, and grasp at any straw to justify it. God have mercy on you for doing so. _grindael January 13 at 9:20am • Like • 2

Mormon Apologist: Grindael said: “The ban on blacks was NEVER about slavery, it was about RACISM. It was about singling out a race of people that they linked to a MURDERER.”

You mean, like other churches didn’t want Negro preachers, because they were linked to a murderer? Sorry, Grindael, but your point is dulled by the facts of history that you do not take into account.

You continue:

“Yes, it was about all those social stigmas that you attribute to society, but you fail to make the connection that many others did not have such views, and that it was mostly a view held by Americans & some Europeans, but not the rest of the world.”

So, the Africans who practiced slavery themselves, and who willingly sold their vanquished enemies into slavery don’t count as part of the “rest of the world?”

You continue: “But the gospel should never have been an American institution, it was for the world, given to the world by the God of this world, who certainly did KNOW the difference, and would have communicated such a large BLUNDER to his ‘authorized’ servants here on earth.”

The leaders of Christianity prior to the Protestant Reformation considered themselves authorized, as do most Protestant ministers, unless things have changed a lot since I became LDS. Yet, slavery was practiced and even promoted by the Church in general and various types of ministers in particular.

You continue: “You fail to take notice of the fact that it was the WORLD who changed their views and opinions FIRST, with the ‘only living church on the face of the earth’ finishing a dismal last place.”

You are being selective again. Given that slavery still exists in the world today, and that a form of slavery still thrives right here in the United States even as we speak, your idea that the LDS Church finished a “dismal last place” fails to take a LOT of facts into account.

I noticed a headline on yesterday’s Lexington Herald-Leader. It read “SEGREGATION IN THE CHURCH” and I don’t think they meant Mormons. More later. January 14 at 7:45am • Like •

Mormon & LDS Facts: “Apologist”, your arguments have no merit, for I condemn all racism by anyone, regardless of who they are. Always have. All your “examples” show how ignorant you are. Those churches that practiced racism were WRONG! They were SINNING if they did so! How many times do I have to say it before it sinks in! So trying to justify it in the light of ‘others did it’ won’t work here, and your doing so, again, shows that you are a racist at heart. Keep on digging that hole “Apologist”, and please throw yourself in and cover it up when you’re done. January 14 at 4:16pm • Like • 3

Mormon Apologist: Grindael said: “Apologist”, your argument has no merit, for I condemn all racism by anyone, regardless of who they are. Always have. So trying to justify it in the light of ‘others did it’ won’t work here, and your doing so, again, shows that you are a racist. Keep on digging that hole “Apologist”, and please throw yourself in and cover it up when your done.”

Grindael, I also condemn racism. Calling me one only makes you look small, especially in light of what I have told you about attending a mixed-race Temple marriage. Oh, wait! You MADE FUN of that!

I guess the fact that I have lived overseas and have been a linguistic and racial minority myself matters not a whit to you. Or the fact that I consider myself mixed blood?

I look at the racism issue from an historical perspective. I am not justifying racism, merely looking at the issue from the perspective of the men who lived during those times. Times have changed. January 14 at 7:21pm • Like • 1

Mormon & LDS Facts: “Apologist” wrote:” I also condemn racism”

Could have fooled me. You continue…

I guess the fact that I have lived overseas and have been a linguistic and racial minority myself matters not a whit to you. Or the fact that I consider myself mixed blood?

What will we hear next, WHITE like me stories? I call you a racist, because you are DEFENDING those that institutionalized it. And Mormon leaders and apologists still defend those men as “great prophets”. What ‘mixed’ heritage are you from “Apologist”? Give me a clue here. Considering oneself ‘mixed’ for the sake of argument is the lowest kind of justification. Just from dialoging with you (for over a year now), I know a lot about you. You’re WHITE. And now you’re claiming PERSECUTION? Because you lived overseas!? You have no idea what it is to experience racism, be involved in an inter racial marital relationship and the burdens and hardships that go with it. I’ve seen your kind before. You ARE a racist, for you seek to justify it. Mormons were pro-slavery and racist. It’s in all the literature, and in everything they did and said. Thank God I’ve never walked your road “Apologist”, for it is full of ignorance and hypocrisy. With every comment you post, you show your true colors, and how some Mormons will defend it at all costs, no matter if it is right or wrong.

Let’s take a look at this from the “historical perspective”. Your quotes by Smith lack historical depth. He was running for President, “Apologist”. That changes many a public opinion, but not what is behind it all. But I’ll get to that. Let’s start at the beginning and work from there, shall we? These quotes written by Joseph Smith shows what he was really all about:

And it came to pass that I beheld, after they had dwindled in unbelief they became a dark and loathsome, and a filthy people, full of idleness and all manner of abominations (Book of Mormon, 1 Nephi 12:23).

And he had caused the cursing to come upon them, yea, even a sore cursing . . . 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).

Behold the Lamanites your brethren, whom ye hate because of their filthiness and the cursing which hath come upon their skins . . . (Book of Mormon, Jacob 3:5).

O my brethren, I fear that unless ye shall repent of your sins that their skins will be whiter than yours, when ye shall be brought before the throne of God (Book of Mormon, Jacob 3:8).

And the skins of the Lamanites were dark, according to the mark which was set upon their fathers, which was a curse upon them because of their transgression and their rebellion against their brethren, . . . who were just and holy men . . . and the Lord God set a mark upon them, yea, upon Laman and Lemuel, and also the sons of Ishmael, and Ishmaelitish women.

And this was done that their seed might be distinguished from the seed of their brethren, that thereby the Lord God might preserve his people, that they might not mix and believe in incorrect traditions . . . (Book of Mormon, Alma 3:6).

While the Book of Mormon states that God “denieth none that come unto him, black and white, bond and free” (2 Nephi 26:33), it still embraces a racist concept that dark skin is a curse from God, the exact “curse of Cain” doctrine in a nutshell.

A letter written Smith, to the Messenger and Advocate, an early Mormon newspaper, deriding those who would end slavery. Later, this letter was printed in “History of the Church“:

“DEAR SIR: —This place (Kirtland) having recently been visited by a gentleman who advocated the principles or doctrines of those who are called ABOLITIONISTS, and his presence having created an interest in that subject, if you deem the following reflections of any service, or think they will have a tendency to correct the opinions of the Southern public,…you are at liberty to give them publicity… I FEAR that the sound might go out, that ‘an Abolitionist’ had held forth several times to this community,…all, except a very few, attended to their own vocations, and left the gentleman to hold forth his own arguments to nearly naked walls. I am aware that many, who PROFESS to preach the Gospel, complain against their brethren of the same faith, who reside in the South, and are ready to withdraw the hand of fellowship, because they will not renounce the principle of slavery, and raise their voice against every thing of the kind. This must be a tender point, and one which should call forth the candid reflections of all men, and more especially before they advance in an opposition calculated to lay waste the fair states of the South, and let loose upon the world a community of people, who might, peradventure, OVERRUN OUR COUNTRY, AND VIOLATE THE MOST SACRED PRINCIPLES OF HUMAN SOCIETY, CHASTITY AND VIRTUE…. I do not believe that the people of the North have any more right to say that the South shall not hold slaves, than the South have to say the North shall. “How any community can ever be excited with the CHATTER of such persons, boys and others, who are too indolent to obtain their living by honest industry, and are incapable of pursuing any occupation of a professional nature, is unaccountable to me; and when I see persons in the free states, signing documents against slavery, it is no less, in my mind, than an army of influence, and a DECLARATION OF HOSTILITIES, against the people of the South. What course can sooner divide our union? “After having expressed myself so freely upon this subject, I do not doubt, but those who have been forward in raising their voices against the South, will cry out against me as being uncharitable, unfeeling, unkind, and wholly unacquainted with the Gospel of Christ….the first mention we have of SLAVERY is found in the Holy Bible,… And so far from that prediction being averse to the mind of God, it remains as a lasting monument of the DECREE OF JEHOVAH, to the shame and confusion of all who HAVE CRIED OUT against the South, in consequence of their holding the sons of Ham in SERVITUDE…. I can say, the CURSE IS NOT YET TAKEN OFF FROM THE SONS OF CANAAN, neither will be until it is affected by as great a power as caused it to come; and the people who INTERFERE THE LEAST WITH THE PURPOSES OF GOD in this matter, will come under the LEAST CONDEMNATION BEFORE HIM; and those who are determined to pursue a course, which shows an opposition, and a feverish restlessness against the DECREES OF THE LORD, will learn, when perhaps it is too late for their own good, that God can do his own work, without the aid of those who are not dictated by His counsel.” (History of the Church, by Joseph Smith, Vol. 2, pages 436-438)

It’s obvious where Brigham Young got this DOCTRINE from. Jo Smith. Then we move on to the Missouri era. About this, you say:

During the Missouri period the pro-slavery Missourians were scared spitless the Mormons would form an abolitionist majority in one corner of the state.

Yes, and your LIE as to me not knowing Mormon history is just that, which is obvious from your total lack of knowledge about these and other important issues. (That Mormon racism was a DOCTRINE is one of them – and I’ll have more on that later too – and your comment: ‘and POSSIBLY Brigham Young,’ shows your incredible ignorance and penchant for lying.

Back to Missouri and THAT situation. In July of 1833, the Mormons published an article in the Evening and Morning Star entitled “Free People of Color.” It stated:

To prevent any misunderstanding . . . regarding Free people of color, who may think of coming to the western boundaries of Missouri, as members of the church, we quote the following clauses from the Laws of Missouri.

The article then quoted two sections from the law which outlined that a “free negro or mulatto” must have a “certificate of citizenship,” and anyone aiding such persons to migrate to Missouri were obligated to ensure the blacks had proper identification and papers. The Mormon article continued:

Slaves are real estate in this and other states, and wisdom would dictate great care among the branches of the church of Christ, on this subject. So long as we have no special rule in the church, as to people of color, let prudence guide; and while they, as well as we, are in the hands of a merciful God, we say: Shun every appearance of evil (Evening and Morning Star, Independence, Missouri, July 1833, p. 109).

On page 111 of the same issue it stated:

Our brethren will find an extract of the law of this state, relative to free people of color, on another page of this paper. Great care should be taken on this point. The saints must shun every appearance of evil. As to slaves we have nothing to say. In connection with the wonderful events of this age, much is doing towards abolishing slavery, and colonizing the blacks, in Africa (Evening and Morning Star, July 1833, p. 111).

Sounds good, doesn’t it? Until you read the RETRACTION. These statements upset their slave-holding neighbors, as some people felt the Mormons actually were encouraging free blacks to move to the area. In an effort to calm the fears of the Missourians, the Mormons put out a special one page extra of their newspaper dealing with blacks:

“Having learned with regret, that an article entitled FREE PEOPLE OF COLOR, in the last number of the Star, has been misunderstood, we feel in duty bound to state, in this Extra, that our intention was not only to stop free people of color from emigrating to this state, but to prevent them from being admitted as members of the Church. . . . To be short, we are opposed to have free people of color admitted into the state; and we say, that none will be admitted into the church, for we are determined to obey the laws and constitutions of our country, . . . (Evening and Morning Star, Extra, July 16, 1833)

Why were they not “determined to obey the laws and constitutions of our country” when it came to polygamy, then? Bigamy was always against the law, as was adultery in most states, and they flagrantly broke those laws. But since this law was about discriminating against blacks they couldn’t break that law now, could they? Hypocrites. Puts the ‘Missouri problem’ right in perspective, doesn’t it.? But it gets better. (Not for your point of view though) It was in 1836 that Smith wrote the above letter I quoted for the M&A. Then, in 1838, Joseph Smith answered some questions that were frequently asked regarding the church. Question number thirteen was concerning slavery:

Thirteenth— “Are the Mormons abolitionists?” No, unless delivering the people from priestcraft, and the priests from the power of Satan, should be considered abolition. But we do not believe insetting the negroes free (History of the Church, vol. 3, p. 29).

Then you get to your quote, which Smith gave out in response to his Presidential bid. But let’s digress to that ordination of Elijah Abel. That was right at the time that Smith was formulating his racist doctrine on blacks as he invented the Book of Abraham. We read in an LDS Publication:

Abel, Elijah, the only colored man who is known to have been ordained to the priesthood . . . was ordained an elder March 3, 1836, and a seventy April 4, 1841, an exception having been made in his case with regard to the general rule of the church in relation to colored people (L.D.S. Biographical Encyclopedia, vol. 3, 1901–1936, p. 577).

In 1835 Joseph Smith purchased a collection of mummies and papyri from Michael Chandler, who was traveling through Ohio. He started working on a translation of one of the rolls of Egyptian papyri but did not publish his manuscript until 1842. He called it “The Book of Abraham”, which is now part of the Pearl of Great Price, and was published in the church-owned Times and Seasons. This new work, canonized in 1880, reflected Smith’s racist attitude towards blacks and priesthood:

“Now this king of Egypt was a descendant from the loins of Ham, and was a partaker of the blood of the Canaanites by birth. From this descent sprang all the Egyptians, and thus the blood of the Canaanites was preserved in the land. The land of Egypt being first discovered by a woman, who was the daughter of Ham, and the daughter of Egyptus, which in the Chaldean signifies Egypt, which signifies that which is forbidden; When this woman discovered the land it was under water, who afterward settled her sons in it; and thus, from Ham, sprang that race which preserved the curse in the land. Now the first government of Egypt was established by Pharaoh, the eldest son of Egyptus, the daughter of Ham, and it was after the manner of the government of Ham, which was patriarchal. Pharaoh, being a righteous man, established his kingdom and judged his people wisely and justly all his days, seeking earnestly to imitate that order established by the fathers in the first generations, in the days of the first patriarchal reign, even in the reign of Adam, and also of Noah, his father, who blessed him with the blessings of the earth, and with the blessings of wisdom, but cursed him as pertaining to the Priesthood. Now, Pharaoh being of that lineage by which he could not have the right of Priesthood, notwithstanding the Pharaohs would fain claim it from Noah, through Ham, therefore my father was led away by their idolatry (Pearl of Great Price, Book of Abraham, 1:21-27).

Scripture in 1842  = Curse of Cain/Slavery. Politics 1844 = Free the slaves, but keep them separate and use them for wars. We all know how Mormon leaders have lied when it came to politics.  When a reporter asked LDS President David O. McKay in 1961 about the basis for the policy of restricting blacks from priesthood, “he replied that it rested solely on the Book of Abraham”. ‘That is the only reason,’ he said. ‘It is founded on that.’ ” (“David O. McKay and Blacks,” by Gregory A. Prince, Dialogue, Spring 2002, p. 146).

In 1845 LDS Apostle Orson Hyde explained that those spirits who were unworthy were sent through the cursed lineage:

“At the time the devil was cast out of heaven, there were some spirits that did not know who had authority, whether God or the devil. They consequently did not take a very active part on either side, but rather thought the devil had been abused, . . . These spirits were not considered bad enough to be cast down to hell, and never have bodies; neither were they considered worthy of an honourable body on this earth: . . But those spirits in heaven that rather lent an influence to the devil, thinking he had a little the best right to govern, but did not take a very active part any way were required to come into the world and take bodies in the accursed lineage of Canaan; and hence the Negro or African race (“Speech of Elder Orson Hyde, delivered before the High Priests’ Quorum, in Nauvoo,” April 27, 1845, printed by John Taylor, p. 30).

Gaylon L. Caldwell, Mormon researcher and author, made the following observation:

“This doctrine is not without logical difficulties, however. Considering the Latter-day Saint dictum that “man is punished for his own sins” the curse on Cain is understandable and consistent with Mormon philosophy, since the Mormon scripture insists that he sinned knowingly and willfully. But how is one to account for the penalty on all his alleged descendants? An arbitrary God who would permit millions of people to be deprived of the priesthood, and hence its concomitant blessings, by accident of birth simply does not fit into the Mormon theology. As would be expected, this problem has led to the formulation of several theses. One of the most popular was framed by B. H. Roberts from a suggestion by Orson Hyde, early Apostle. Roberts suggested that since all spirits before living in the flesh had an opportunity to prove their fidelity to God and His laws during the “war in heaven” some of them might have been neutral, or proved less valiant than others, and thus lost the right of priesthood during their earthly sojourn (“Moral and Religious Aspects of the Negro in Utah,” (Gaylon L. Caldwell, Western Humanities Review, Winter 1959, p. 105).

Brigham Young himself, though, squashed that theory with this:

December 25, 1869: I attended the School of the Prophets. Many questions were asked. President Young answered them. Lorenzo Young asked if the spirits of Negroes were neutral in heaven. He said someone said Joseph Smith said they were. President Young said no they were not. There were no neutral spirits in heaven at the time of the rebellion. All took sides. He said if anyone said that he heard the Prophet Joseph say that the spirits of the Blacks were neutral in heaven, he would not believe them, for he heard Joseph say to the contrary. All spirits are pure that come from the presence of God. The posterity of Cain are black because he commit murder. He killed Abel and God set a mark upon his posterity. But the spirits are pure that enter their tabernacles and there will be a chance for the redemption of all the children of Adam except the sons of perdition. (Wilford Woodruff’s Journal, Vol. 6, p.511, December 25, 1869)

So, WHY was the whole POSTERITY of Cain singled out? Before I get into that, lets see how many Mormon Authorities took up the ball and contradicted Young:

There is a reason why one man is born black and with other disadvantages, while another is born white with great advantages. The reason is that we once had an estate before we came here, and were obedient, more or less, to the laws that were given us there.” (Doctrines of Salvation: Sermons and Writings of Joseph Fielding Smith, compiled by Bruce R. McConkie, vol. 1, Bookcraft, 1954, p. 61).

“Your position seems to lose sight of the revelations of the Lord touching the pre-existence of our spirits, the rebellion in heaven, and the doctrine that our birth into this life and the advantages under which we may be born, have a relationship in the life heretofore. From the days of the Prophet Joseph even until now, it has been the doctrine of the Church, never questioned by any of the Church leaders, that the Negroes are not entitled to the full blessings of the Gospel (First Presidency Letter (1947), as quoted in Mormonism and the Negro, by John J. Stewart and William E. Berrett, Horizon Publishers, 1978, p. 47).

Mark E. Peterson:

We cannot escape the conclusion that because of performance in our pre-existence some of us are born as Chinese, some as Japanese, some as Indians, some as Negroes, some Americans, some as Latter-day Saints. These are rewards and punishments . . . Is it not reasonable to believe that less worthy spirits would come through less favored lineage? . . .

Let us consider the great mercy of God for a moment. The Chinese, born in China with a dark skin, and with all the handicaps of that race seems to have little opportunity. But think of the mercy of God to Chinese people who are willing to accept the gospel. In spite of whatever they might have done in the pre-existence to justify being born over there as Chinamen, if they now, in this life, accept the gospel and live it the rest of their lives they can have the Priesthood, go to the temple and receive endowments and sealings, and that means they can have exaltation. . . .

Think of the Negro, cursed as to the Priesthood. . . . This negro, who, in the pre-existence lived the type of life which justified the Lord in sending him to the earth in the lineage of Cain with a black skin. . . . In spite of all he did in the pre-existent life, the Lord is willing, if the Negro accepts the gospel . . . he can and will enter the celestial kingdom. HE WILL GO THERE AS A SERVANT, but he will get celestial glory (“Race Problems—As they Affect the Church,” address by Apostle Mark E. Petersen at the Convention of Teachers of Religion on the College Level, Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah, August 27, 1954)

Bruce R. McConkie:

Though he was a rebel and an associate of Lucifer in pre-existence, and though he was a liar from the beginning whose name was Perdition, Cain managed to attain the privilege of mortal birth. Under Adam’s tutelage, he began in this life to serve God. . . . Then he came out in open rebellion, fought God, worshiped Lucifer, and slew Abel. . . As a result of his rebellion, Cain was cursed with a dark skin; he became the father of the Negroes, and those spirits who are not worthy to receive the priesthood are born through his lineage. He became the first mortal to be cursed as a son of perdition. As a result of his mortal birth he is assured of a tangible body of flesh and bones in eternity, a fact which will enable him to rule over Satan (Mormon Doctrine, by Bruce R. McConkie, Bookcraft, 1958 edition, p. 102; in the1966 and 1979 editions, p. 109).

Alvin R. Dyer, assistant to the twelve and later ordained an apostle, spoke on racial issues to the Norwegian Mission gathering in Oslo, Norway, on March 18, 1961. In this talk he said:

We have talked a lot about missionary work and heard the testimonies of those who have spoken. I want to talk to you a little bit now about something that is not missionary work, and what I say is not to be given to your investigators by any matter of means. . . . Why is it that you are white and not colored: Have you ever asked yourself that question? Who had anything to do with your being born into the Church and not born a Chinese or a Hindu, or a Negro? Is God such an unjust person that He would make you white and free and make a Negro CURSED under the cursing of Cain that he could not hold the Priesthood of God? . . . Those who have been cursed in the pre-existence were born through this lineage of Ham. . . .Why is a Negro a Negro? . . . The reason that spirits are born into Negro bodies is because those spirits rejected the Priesthood of God in the pre-existence. This is the reason why you have Negroes upon the earth.

You will observe that when Cain was influenced by the power of Lucifer to follow him and to fall down and worship him in the beginning, it was then that . . . Cain rejected the counsel of God. He rejected again the Priesthood as his forebearers had done in the pre-existence. Therefore, the curse of the pre-existence was made institute through the loins of Cain. Consequently, you have the beginning of the race of men and women into which would be born those in the pre-existence who had rejected the Priesthood of God. . . . Ham reinstated the curse of the pre-existence when he rejected the Priesthood of Noah, and in consequence of that he preserved the curse on the earth. Therefore, the Negroes to be born thereafter, or those who were to become Negroes, were to be born through the loins of Ham.

All of this is according to a well worked-out plan, that these millions and billions of spirits awaiting birth in the pre-existence would be born through a channel or race of people. Consequently, the CURSED were to be born through Ham (“For What Purpose,” talk by Alvin R. Dyer, Oslo, Norway, March 18, 1961, typed copy in our files. Part of this talk is quoted in The Church and the Negro, by John L. Lund, 1967, p. 97).

Then you have the Mormon ‘Patriarchal Blessings’ that focus on RACE and how some are so much more blessed than others, the WHITE RACE, of course being the ‘chosen’ one, where people were the MOST valiant, the MOST loyal, the MOST pure! In answering how some of different families could be from different TRIBES, Fielding Smith said this:

Question: “I wish to receive an answer to the following question: Is it possible for all the members of a family, including father and mother, to be of the tribe of Ephraim and one son in that family to be of the tribe of Manasseh?”

Answer: It is very possible that a patriarch in giving blessings to a family may declare that one or more may be of a different lineage from the others through the inspiration which he receives. We have in our archives, blessings showing this difference to exist in families. Without giving this question careful thought one might conclude that the patriarch HAD SPOKEN WITHOUT INSPIRATION [INDEED!], but such would be an incorrect conclusion.

The fact is that we, each and all, have descended through a mixed lineage. . . . Therefore, through the scattering of Israel among the nations, the blood of Israel was mixed with the Gentile nations, fulfilling the promise made to Abraham. Most of the members of the Church, although they are designated as descendants of Abraham, through Israel, also have in their veins Gentile blood. This is to say, no one is a direct descendant through Ephraim through each generation, or through Manasseh or any other one of the sons of Jacob, without having acquired the blood of some other tribe in Israel in that descent. . . .

The Book of Mormon states that Joseph Smith the Prophet was a descendant of Joseph, son of Jacob. By revelation we learn also that he is of the tribe of Ephraim, but it is evident that he also had some Gentile blood in him, for it is written in the Book of Mormon, that it came forth, “by way of the Gentile,” and it came by Joseph Smith. It is reasonable, therefore, to understand that we one and all have come through a mixed relationship, and that the blood of Ephraim and also of Manasseh could be in the veins of many of us, likewise the blood of others of the twelve tribes of Israel, and that none of us had come through the ages with clear exclusive descent from father to son through any one of the tribes (Answers to Gospel Questions, by Joseph Fielding Smith, vol. 3, Deseret Book, 1960, pp. 61-64) January 15 at 4:16 pm • Like • 2

Mormon & LDS Facts: The farther one researches, the more twisted and unbelievable these explanations become. Take this statement by Smith, and one has to ask, REALLY? When one reads this nonsense:

. . . as the Holy Ghost falls upon one of the literal seed of Abraham, it is calm and serene; . . . while the effect of the Holy Ghost upon a Gentile, is to purge out the old blood, and make him actually of the seed of Abraham (History of the Church, vol. 3, p. 380).

Approved by Brigham Young:

Again, if a pure Gentile firmly believes the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and yields obedience to it, in such a case I will give you the words of the Prophet Joseph—”When the Lord pours out the Holy Ghost upon that individual he will have spasms, and you would think that he was going into fits.”

Joseph said that the Gentile blood was actually cleansed out of their veins, and the blood of Jacob made to circulate in them; and the revolution and change in the system were so great that it caused the beholder to think they were going into fits (Journal of Discourses, vol. 2, p. 269).

Even Jews were not excluded in this ridiculous scenario:

If a Jew comes into this Church, and honestly professes to be a Saint, a follower of Christ, and if the blood of Judah is in his veins, he will apostatize. He may have been born and bred a Jew, . . . and have openly professed to be a Jew all his days; but I will tell you a secret—there is not a particle of the blood of Judaism in him, if he has become a true Christian, a Saint of God; for if there is, he will most assuredly leave the Church of Christ, or that blood will be purged out of his veins. We have men among us who were Jews, . . . here is brother Neibaur; do I believe there is one particle of the blood of Judah in his veins? No, not so much as could be seen on the point of the finest cambric needle, through a microscope with a magnifying power of two millions (Journal of Discourses, vol. 2, p. 142).

Then of course you have apologists like Armand Mauss trying to justify such nonsense:

“With the passage of time, especially in recent decades, authoritative Mormon discourse has placed less emphasis on the salience of literal lineage and more emphasis on the potentially universal inclusiveness of God’s ancient covenant with Abraham. As this change of emphasis continues, the logical paradox is on the way to resolution. After all, if embracing the gospel of Christ is all that really matters for full participation in the Abrahamic covenant, why should one’s genetic lineage be given any salience whatsoever? Yet the earlier focus on the importance of literal Israelite has remained influential in the thinking of many Mormons, even into the twenty-first century, seemingly as a residue of the racialist interpretations of history once so common in America as well as in Europe.” (All Abraham’s Children, p. 3).

Nah, it wasn’t “seemingly” at all. It was blatant racism. Mauss further commented:

“During the life and ministry of Joseph Smith, Mormonism shared several millennial expectations with its Protestant American environment. These included the gathering of both the Jews and the “lost tribes” of Israel, with a special vanguard role for the tribe of Ephraim in that gathering. . . . Like many other Americans, they also identified the American Indians as descendants of the lost tribes. With the exodus to Utah in the middle of the nineteenth century, Mormon conceptions about lineage evolved into a fuller racialist explanation of history generally and of the Saints’ own destiny in particular. This racialist framework synthesized three elements: (1) an emerging and expanded understanding about premortal life; (2) British Israelism; and (3) Anglo-Saxon triumphalism. Anglo-Saxon triumphalism and, to a lesser extent, British Israelism had gained widespread popularity among intellectual elites in America, as well as in parts of Europe.By the early decades of the twentieth century, a racialist historical narrative had developed in which some lineages were favored over others by deity or destiny or both. The Mormon version of this narrative provided a rank-ordering of lineages that maintained the preeminent position of Mormons as mainly Anglo-Saxon descendants of Ephraim, charged with the responsibility of building and ruling the eventual kingdom of God on earth.” (All Abraham’s Children, pp. 35-36).

Sound familiar? But of course SOMEONE has to try and make some kind of excuse for men who proclaimed a doctrine said at first to be “direct from GOD” only a ‘worldly’ view , and that they, as men no better than anyone else who has twisted the teachings of the Bible, having no links to the divine, just jumped on the worldly bandwagon of racism. Too bad there are too many Mormon ‘authorities’ who have said that it wasn’t “speculation and folklore”. And of course the incredulity that Mormon “prophets” would ever take a doctrine of “Christianity” (those that the Mormon God said were an “abomination” to him) and make it their own. But to get back to Elijah Abel:

Even though Elijah Abel was allowed to retain his priesthood and go on a mission after the Mormons came to Utah, he was not allowed to participate in the temple endowments.

Armand Mauss explains:

Slavery itself was to come to an end in another decade. . . . The restrictive policy on priesthood, however, lingered on. It was periodically reconsidered after Brigham Young’s death in 1877, usually in response to a petition from a black member or sympathizer. The first of these reconsiderations occurred as early as 1879, when Young’s successor, John Taylor, responded to a petition from Elijah Abel (the sole surviving black member to have received the priesthood) that he be admitted to the sacred temple rites of the church. Taylor’s consultations turned up a claim by two prominent local church leaders that in the mid-1830s they had heard Joseph Smith declare that Negroes could not be given the priesthood and THAT ABEL WAS SUPPOSED TO BE STRIPPED OF IT before Smith died”. (All Abraham’s Children, pp. 215-216)

A good time to ask God a few questions? Nah! Why bother Him with that?

Taylor himself, though a contemporary of these witnesses and a close associate of Smith, could recall no such instruction. . . .

After that, each hearing and reconsideration by the church leadership simply brought another confirmation of the policy, so that by about 1920 there was an accumulation of precedents from previous leaders, as well as a rapidly receding institutional memory about the historical origins of the policy.” (ibid).

And then it progressed to “apostles” like Fielding Smith saying that the ordination itself was ‘invalid’. While “apostle” Joseph Fielding Smith was aware that Elijah Abel had been ordained to the LDS priesthood he affirmed that it was invalid. In a letter dated April 10, 1963 he wrote:

According to the doctrine of the church, the Negro, because of some condition of unfaithfulness in the spirit—or pre-existence, was not valiant and hence was not denied the mortal probation, but was denied the blessing of the Priesthood. In the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints he has the privilege of baptism, confirmation and membership along with everyone else, as far as this life is concerned. . . . It is true that elders of the church laid hands on a Negro and blessed him “APPARENTLY” with the Priesthood, but they could not give that which the Lord had denied. It is true that Elijah Abel was so “ordained.” This was however before the matter had been submitted to the Prophet Joseph Smith. . . . It was afterwards that the Prophet Joseph Smith declared that the Negro was not to be ordained. In the Book of Abraham in the Pearl of Great Price is a statement to the effect that the seed of Canaan were denied the Priesthood. . . . Now if the Lord declared to the Prophet Joseph Smith that for some reason the Negro was not to receive the Priesthood, then that is the end of the question. . . Now I am not responsible for this restriction. According to the Book of Moses and the Book of Abraham, the descendants of Cain were denied in the beginning. This is set forth in these records (Letter from Joseph Fielding Smith to Joseph H. Henderson, April 10, 1963 Page 2 here).

Again:

“The descendants of Cain were barred from the blessings of the Priesthood. They may be baptized for the remission of their sins, but they cannot hold the Priesthood by divine decree, as pointed out in the Book of Abraham.” (Letter from Joseph Fielding Smith to Morris L. Reynolds, May 9, 1966)

Ah, but what about those sons of Elijah Abel? Yep, they were ordained, but they could not get temple endowments. Don’t want to have those ‘negroes’ in the oh so ‘sacred’ temple, with all those white women there! And what did a Mormon Patriarch say about one of Abel’s grandson, Eugene Burns? In the Salt Lake Tribune report of his funeral we read:

Eugene Burns, colored, died last week at his home, . . . of a severe attack of typhoid fever of short duration . . . He was 24 years of age and was to have been married on the day on which his funeral occurred.

Funeral services over the remains of the dead man were held . . . Sunday afternoon. At the request of the family Rev. D. A. Brown, pastor of the First Baptist church, conducted the services. Following his remarks of condolence and sympathy to the bereaved friends who had gathered, Patriarch Miner, president of one of the quorums of the seventies of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, made a few remarks. In the course of the dissertation he stated in substance that all that ever existed of the dead man lay in the casket before the altar.

Soul Was Doomed.

He further said that an Ethiopian could not reach the state of exaltation necessary to entrance into Heaven. HIS SOUL WAS DOOMED BEFORE HIS BIRTH. The patriarch’s remarks caused awe and consternation among the hearers and precipitated an ecclesiastical scrimmage. . . .
Burns was a grandson of Abel, the body servant of Joseph the Prophet. Abel was a Negro, and, according to the remarks of Patriarch Miner, is the only one of his race who ever succeeded in gaining entrance within the pearly gates. The reason he was so successful in accomplishing that feat, according to the patriarch, was his loyalty and service to Joseph the prophet, and his belief that the Mormon religion is the only one that ever happened. . . .

“This is hardly the place to bring forth matters of truth,” said the venerable patriarch as he ascended the pulpit after Mr. Brown had concluded his remarks, “but the truth ought always to be told. . . .

“I repeat, the truth must be told,” continued the aged man in continuing the strange panegyric. He quivered and shook in the throes of intense excitement. “I am president of a quorum of seventies of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. I am here to bear testimony not to the man who is dead, but to his grandfather, Abel. . . . For his services to the prophet and his faith in our religion he was raised to the order of the Melchesidek Priesthood. He was the only colored man who ever lived that belonged to that order. . . . It is not to be wondered at, too, when you consider the teachings of our church in relation to the colored people. . . . The third and LAST CLASS of spirits is the class that fell. Because of their fall they are compelled to reside IN BONDAGE. They are given carnate bodies, but can never lift the yoke of bondage. That class of spirits includes THE NEGROES. . . .

“For the colored race, however, there is an exalted state in the next world into which they may go. Provision has been made in the teachings of the Prophet Joseph so that the negro may step up into that PRELIMINARY state of exaltation, and when he gets there a chance is given him to accept redemption, according to the teachings of Joseph Smith.

Mr. Brown Objects.

Mr. Brown immediately arose and declared that no such teachings existed in the Bible. In refutation of the assertions of the patriarch he read several selections from the Bible, citing instances where men with black skins had been saved. He attempted to calm the feelings that had been aroused by the remarks of the patriarch. . . . Burn’s family are Mormons, though the young man is said to have never affiliated himself with the church (Salt Lake Tribune, Nov. 1, 1903, p. 8).

And you want to DEFEND such racism “Apologist”? Put it into some historical perspective that makes it ok? Why don’t we just say that burning Jews can be rationally explained, for SOME people did it in the 1940’s? Hitler was only a man, don’t you know, and learning as he went! There were lots and lots of people back then who hated Jews. So you shouldn’t be surprised that Hitler was burning them, it’s just the natural course that events reached at that time. Sure “Apologist”, I bet THAT approach, like your Mormon one, will be readily hailed by everyone as a justifiable ‘free pass’. Hitler, like your own ‘prophets’ even said:

“Hence today I believe that I am acting in accordance with the will of the Almighty Creator: by defending myself against the Jew, I am fighting for the work of the Lord”. (A. Hitler, Mein Kampf (“My Struggle”), Houghton Mifflin, New York: Hutchinson Publ. Ltd., London, 1969 pg. 60)

Now what do we make of these outright contradictions and ignorant teachings? Lets start with how, Mormons went to great lengths, even inventing stories of having seen Cain to bolster this ‘black skin’ racism. Before the death of A.O. Smoot, Joseph F. Smith inquired of him about this specific event, and the following letter was written by Smoot, addressed to Smith,

President Joseph F. Smith, Salt Lake City:

Dear Brother: In relation to the subject of the visit of Cain to Brother David W. Patten in the State of Tennessee, . . . It was in the evening, just twilight, when Brother Patten rode up to my father’s house, . . . My mother having first noticed his changed appearance said: “Brother Patten, are you sick?” He replied that he was not, but had just met with a very remarkable personage who had represented himself as being Cain, who murdered his brother, Abel. He went on to tell the circumstances as near as I can recall in the following language:As I was riding along the road on my mule I suddenly noticed a very strange personage walking beside me. He walked along-beside me for about two miles. His head was about even with my shoulders as I sat in my saddle. He wore no clothing, but was covered with hair. His skin was very dark . . .Your friend and Brother, A. O. Smoot (Life of David W. Patten: the First Apostolic Martyr, by Lycurgus A. Wilson, Deseret News, 1900, pp. 57-59).

“Captain Fearnaught” charging a bunch of State Militia dying a martyr? Sent to his death by Jo Smith’s stupidity? I don’t think so. This account of seeing Cain was repeated by Abraham H. Cannon, who wrote in his diary:

“Thurs., Nov. 9 1893: . . .– Bro. J. F. Smith told about David Patten having seen and walked with Cain. Cain is described as being a very large man, his head being even with that of David Patten when the latter was seated on his animal. I always entertained the idea that Cain was dead, but my attention was called to the passage of scripture concerning the curse of God which should fall upon whoever should slay Cain. I supposed this meant whoever should kill his seed.” (Diary of Abraham H. Cannon, Vol. 18; 1894.)

Now THAT is Mormon folklore! But that doesn’t stop Spencer Kimball from embellishing on it in his opus The Miracle of Forgiveness, (pages 127-128) or countless other “authorities”  repeating it as if it were fact, as Kimball does.  Abraham H. Cannon also wrote,

Tuesday, March 29th, 1892. . . I asked Jos. F. Smith why it was that Ham’s son Canaan was cursed instead of Ham for exposing his Father’s person. He said that the Prophet Joseph is credited with saying that the sin of Ham consisted in trying to casterate his father, Noah, and kill his brothers, Shem and Japeth, so that he might become the head of the nations of the earth. Ham had married a daughter of Cain, and by him the curse was carried through the flood. The seed of this union is the Egyptians, who are not black, but after Ham’s curse, his seed were entirely black. Hence the difference between the races who now inhabit Africa.”

This blatant racism by Abraham’s father, George Q. Cannon,

We will first inquire into the results of the approbation or displeasure of God upon a people, starting with the belief that a black skin is a mark of the curse of Heaven placed upon some portions of mankind. . . . We understand that when God made man in his own image and pronounced him very good, that he made him white. We have no record of any of God’s favored servants being of a black race. . . .When God cursed Cain for murdering his brother Abel, He set a mark upon him that all meeting him might know him. . . . After the flood this curse fell upon the seed of Shem, through the sin of their father, and his descendants bear it to this day. . . . We are told in the Book of Abraham in the Pearl of Great Price, that Egypt was discovered by a woman, who was a daughter of Ham, the son of Noah. . . .The pure Negro, as represented by the people of Guinea and its neighboring countries, is generally regarded as the unmixed descendant of Ham. . . . Their skin is quite black, their hair woolly and black, their intelligence stunted, and they appear never to have arisen from the most savage state of barbarism.” (Juvenile Instructor, October 15, 1868, p. 157)

The November 15, 1868, Juvenile Instructor told the kiddies that some day,

“when all men capable of receiving the priesthood, enlightened by the spirit of God and guided by its whisperings, will lose their extravagances of character and appearance, and become “a white and delightsome people” PHYSICALLY as well as morally” (Juvenile Instructor, vol. 3, no. 22, Nov. 15, 1868, p. 173).

And the racist suits in SLC published article after article, and gave speeches like this one by ‘enlightened prophet’ John Taylor:

Why is it, in fact, that we should have a DEVIL? Why did not the Lord kill him long ago? . . . He needed the devil and great many of those who do his bidding just to keep . . . our dependence upon God, . . . When he destroyed the inhabitants of the antediluvian world, he suffered a descendant of Cain to come through the flood in order that he [the devil] MIGHT BE PROPERLY REPRESENTED upon the earth (Journal of Discourses, vol. 23, Oct. 29. 1882, p. 336).

No wonder this man was calling blacks ‘niggers’. Perspective, “Apologist”. We must look at this in perspective. Even the devil had a black skin and was portrayed so in the ‘sacred’ endowments:

Furthermore, modifying the endowment is nothing new. It has been changed numerous times in the past. First standardized under Brigham Young’s direction, it took the better part of a day to perform an endowment in pioneer times. Even before the most recent update, I can think of a number of changes implemented just since I have been attending the temple: the congregation no longer sings a hymn, the reference to THE DEVIL HAVING A BLACK SKIN has been dropped, he no longer specified the amount of his salary offer to the minister, members are no longer required to wear the old style ceremonial garments in the temple, and the covenant concerning chastity has been modified to specifically rule out homosexual acts (“A Kinder, Gentler Mormonism: Moving Beyond The Violence Of Our Past,” by Keith E. Norman, Sunstone, August 1990, p. 10).

Where does my alleged bigotry come into play here? But then we come to the great contradiction that the racist suits in SLC never fathomed:

Hugh Nibley reinforced the teaching that Mormons descend from Ham through Asenath, mother of Ephraim:

Alma 10:2: “I am Amulek, . . . a descendant of Aminadi, . . . and Aminadi was a descendant of Nephi, who was the son of Lehi.” He was proud of his genealogy. And here we have an extremely important genealogical note. Lehi was a descendant of Manasseh, who was half Egyptian. His mother was Asenath, who was of the blood of Ham, a pure Egyptian. She had to be—her father was a high priest of Heliopolis. [Lehi] was a descendant of Manasseh whose twin brother was Ephraim. We claim that we are descended from him. He was also a son of Asenath, the Egyptian woman. . . . (“Teachings of the Book of Mormon” — Semester 1: Transcripts of [29] Lectures Presented to an Honors Book of Mormon Class at Brigham Young University, 1988–1990. Introduction and 1 Nephi 1–Mosiah 5. By Hugh Nibley, FARMS, 1993).

According to this, no Mormon could have held the priesthood prior to 1978, including Joseph Smith, because, as Mark E. Peterson elaborates:

Now what is our policy in regard to inter-marriage? As to the Negro, of course, there is only one possible answer. We must not inter-marry with the Negro. Why? If I were to marry a Negro woman and have children by her, my children would all be cursed as to the priesthood. Do I want my children cursed as to the priesthood? If there is ONE DROP OF NEGRO BLOOD in my children, as I have read to you, they receive the curse. There isn’t any argument, therefore, as to the inter-marriage with the Negro, is there? There are 50 million Negroes in the United States. If they were to achieve complete absorption with the white race, think what that would do. With 50 million Negroes inter-married with us, where would the priesthood be? Who could hold it, in all America? Think what that would do to the work of the Church! (“Race Problems—As they Affect the Church,” August 27, 1954)

Oh that’s right! For those selected WHITES, the bad blood was purged out! If this was how the process worked, then why wouldn’t it work for the blacks who accepted the Mormon “gospel”? We know why, because black people didn’t turn white when they became Mormons. They were still “cursed” with that black skin of the devil. And once again, they put it all on God, and speculation about the pre-existence (but of course with the “authority” of an “apostle”):

“caste systems have their root and origin in the gospel itself, and when they operate according to the divine decree, the resultant restrictions and segregation are right and proper and have the approval of the Lord. To illustrate; Cain, Ham, and the whole negro race have been cursed with a black skin, the mark of Cain, so they can be identified as a caste apart, a people with whom the other descendants of Adam should not intermarry. . . . In effect the Lamanites belonged to one caste and the Nephites to another, and a mark was put upon the Lamanites to keep the Nephites from intermixing with and marrying them. . . . The justice of such a system is evident when life is considered in its true eternal perspective. It is only by a knowledge of pre-existence that it can be known why some persons are born in one race or caste and some in another (Mormon Doctrine, by Bruce R. McConkie, 1979 edition, p. 114).

But this ‘one drop’ of Negro blood didn’t seem to matter by 1978, now did it? And why? Here is the answer on how the Mormon Church WAS FORCED TO CHANGE IT’S RACIST DOCTRINE:

Armand Mauss wrote:

. . . by 1908, as president of the church, [Joseph F.] Smith was now claiming that Abel’s ordination (and presumably that of any other black) had been “DECLARED NULL AND VOID by the Prophet himself” . . . Also, during the generation after Brigham Young, three other important internal developments occurred that seemed to point to a divinely condoned racial restriction.
The first development was the formal canonization of the Pearl of Great Price, . . . in 1880. . . The second development, partly related to the first, was a fuller unfolding of the doctrine relating to premortal existence, . . . The third development was the gradual adaptation, . . . of historical theories glorifying the Anglo-Saxon heritage above others and claiming literal Israelite origins for the peoples of Great Britain and northwestern Europe. . . .

By the early twentieth century, these new doctrinal developments were available to provide confirmation, retroactive though it might have been, for the accumulated precedents that had denied black church members access to priesthood and temple rites after 1852. With the installment of Heber J. Grant as church president in 1918, no Mormon leader was still living who could remember when teachings and policies toward blacks had been otherwise. . . Finally, in an important 1931 book, The Way to Perfection, the scholarly young apostle Joseph Fielding Smith . . . synthesized and codified the entire framework of Mormon racialist teaching that has accumulated . . . Integrating uniquely Mormon ideas of premortal decisions about lineage with imported British Israelism and Anglo-Saxon triumphalism, [Joseph Fielding] Smith in effect postulated a divine rank-ordering of lineages with the descendants of ancient Ephraim (son of Joseph) at the top (including the Mormons); the “seed of Cain” (Africans) at the bottom; and various other lineages in between (All Abraham’s Children, pp. 216-217).

“Apostle” Joseph Fielding Smith,

Not only was Cain called upon to suffer [for killing Abel], but because of his wickedness he became the father of an inferior race. A curse was placed upon him and that curse has been continued through his lineage and must do so while time endures. Millions of souls have come into this world cursed with a black skin and have been denied the privilege of Priesthood and the fulness of the blessing of the Gospel. These are the descendants of Cain. Moreover, they have been made to feel their inferiority and have been separated from the rest of mankind from the beginning. Enoch saw the people of Canaan, descendants of Cain, and he says, “and there was a blackness came upon all the children of Canaan, that they were despised among all people.” . . . In the spirit of sympathy, mercy and faith, we will also hope that blessings may eventually be given to our negro brethren, for they are our brethren—children of God—notwithstanding their black covering emblematical of eternal darkness (The Way to Perfection, by Joseph Fielding Smith, Genealogical Society of Utah, 1935, pp. 101-102).

In 1947 the LDS Church First Presidency issued an official statement on priesthood denial to blacks:

The attitude of the church with reference to the Negroes remains as it has always stood. It is not a matter of the declaration of a policy but of direct commandment from the Lord on which is founded the doctrine of the Church from the days of its organization, to the effect that Negroes may become members of the Church but that they are not entitled to the priesthood at the present time (as quoted in Black Saints in a White Church, p. 24).

In 1966 Wallace Turner, a reporter for the New York Times, wrote the following:

The most serious problem facing the LDS church today is the Negro question. The church has successfully become everyman’s church—except it cannot be the African Negro’s church. A man can have skin black as a moonless night—and he can be a full-fledged member of the Mormon priesthood. But he can have blue eyes, white skin and blond curly hair and have an African Negro in his ancestry and find himself rejected by the Mormons as an applicant for priesthood. A Negro can join the church. But he may not move a step further. For the African and his children’s children the doctrine of eternal progression has little meaning. The doctrine of marriage for time and eternity is for others, not for them. The mortal existence offers lesser opportunity for the improvement of their souls than for other races.

The Negro is barred from the priesthood purely on racial grounds. As we untangle the theology, we must always remember that every devout male Mormon—except the Negro—is expected to become a member of the Aaronic priesthood as a boy of twelve years and a member of the Melchizedek priesthood at eighteen or twenty years . . . The Mormons consider that male membership in the priesthood is a requisite for higher place in the Celestial Paradise. But Negroes are barred from this advancement. Priesthood membership is a requisite for an office in management of the church’s temporal affairs. So Negroes are barred from office. As we will understand in the unraveling of the theology, the Mormon discrimination against the Negro is the ultimate that can be had on racial grounds . . . The Negro Mormon can hold no office whatsoever in a church which offers some office to every one of its male members at some time in his life. A gray-haired Negro Mormon who may have spent his adult life in the careful practice of all the complicated and demanding rules set down by the LDS church stands disenfranchised before the altar where a youth whose beard is just beginning to fuzz may preside. A twelve-year-old may become a member of the Aaronic priesthood, more than this Negro man has been able to achieve through a lifetime of devotion. To hold any church office, a Mormon must be a member of the priesthood.

There is an even deeper disability for Negro Mormons. They are barred from the Temple. This has great significance. It means they cannot have a Temple wedding. Nor can they have their Temple endowments. Nor can they have their children and their wives “sealed” to them for eternity . . . Mormonism is a total way of life. A devout Mormon never really leaves his religious shell as he goes about his life in the secular world. So he never really leaves the feeling that black skin makes a man inferior. This means that the LDS church actually is ONE OF THE MOST INFLUENTUAL ORGANS OF RACIAL BIGOTRY IN THE UNITED STATES. All the imposing list of wonderful and truly praiseworthy things about this tremendous and impressive institution helps to conceal this UGLY CORNER of its theology. When one hears the Tabernacle Choir, one forgets that no Negro could ever hope to achieve a place in that group. When one listens to the gentle voice and kindly expressions of David O. McKay, one forgets that no Negro can ever hope to become president of the LDS church. Yet throughout the religious institution which produced the Tabernacle Choir and David O. McKay there exists a current of powerful strength that for generations has CARRIED RACIAL BIGOTRY wherever the missionaries carried the Restored Gospel of Joseph Smith.

True, this is all done in a cloak of Christian piety and concern for the brotherhood of man. Seldom is there any surface cruelty (The Mormon Establishment, by Wallace Turner, Houghton Mifflin, 1966, pp. 218-219, 243-245).

McConkie, again,

Negroes in this life are denied the priesthood; under no circumstances can they hold this delegation of authority from the Almighty. The gospel message of salvation is not carried affirmatively to them . . .

Negroes are not equal with other races where the receipt of certain spiritual blessings are concerned . . . (Mormon Doctrine, by Bruce McConkie, Bookcraft, 1958 edition, p. 477; changed in later editions). January 15 at 4:15 pm • Like •

Mormon & LDS Facts: News reports leading up to the priesthood “revelation”:

Mormon missionaries are directed not to proselytize Negroes and to keep out of “areas of transition.” Not even Joseph Fielding Smith’s invitation to “darkies” is tolerated in the mission program. The membership ranks are being filled with those whose religious commitment is to the maintenance of a racist society and who find Mormon theology a sanctimonious front for their convictions (The Christian Century, Sept. 29, 1965, p. 1183).

“The church has no intention of changing its doctrine on the Negro,” N. Eldon Tanner, counselor to the First Presidency told SEATTLE during his recent visit here. “Throughout the history of the original Christian church, the Negro never held the priesthood. There’s really nothing we can do to change this. It’s a law of God” (Seattle Magazine, December 1967, p. 60).

Of course, Tanner is still hailed as a “mighty pillar” of Mormonism, “I can’t stand here without remembering my association with N. Eldon Tanner, a great mentor of mine. What a giant in the land we had in N. Eldon Tanner,” gushed Thomas Monson on March 4, 2009 at the dedication of a building in Tanner’s name.

In all humility I must say that God has not inspired me to feel good about the Church’s practices regarding Negroes. In fact, I have come to feel very strongly that the practices are not right and that they are a powerful hindrance to the accepting of the gospel by the Negro people.

As a result of my belief, when my wife and I went to San Francisco Ward’s bishop to renew our temple recommends, he told us that anyone who could not accept the Church’s stand on Negroes as divine doctrine was not supporting the General Authorities and could not go to the temple. Later, in an interview with the stake president we were told the same thing: if you express doubts about the divinity of this “doctrine” you cannot go to the temple (Grant Syphers, Dialogue, vol. 2, no. 4, Winter 1967, p. 6).

So, should we call this “divine” folklore? But the press, and the nation were just getting started:

The tragedy of this denial of the LDS priesthood is not that it is unfair to the handful of Negroes actually in the LDS Church. The odious part of this doctrine is that it serves to rationalize all other forms of temporal discrimination. Therefore, this denial indirectly affects all Negroes who come in contact with members of the LDS Church. . . .

People who have been taught since childhood that Negroes are “cursed by God” and therefore cannot hold the priesthood, probably find it perfectly natural to conclude that Negroes must be inferior—why else would God curse them?—and could not possibly make desirable neighbors, business associates, or sons-in-law.

The indirect cost of this doctrine in human misery and wasted potential can only be guessed at (Daily Utah Chronicle, University of Utah, November 22, 1966).

On January 11, 1963, the President of the Mormon Church surprised the world by announcing that the Church was going to send a mission to Nigeria. Wallace Turner reported in the New York Times:

The Mormons are vigorous proselyters, maintaining missions all over the world, except in the Negro nations in Africa. They have a mission among the whites in the Union of South Africa. Earlier this year a plan was announced to send a mission to Nigeria, but the mission has not left Salt Lake City (New York Times, Western Edition, June 7, 1963).

The mission was not allowed to proceed due to the fact that the Nigerian government viewed the Mormons as racists and refused to grant visas to LDS missionaries. This developed from a number of articles in the Nigerian Outlook attacking the Mormon position on blacks.

A Nigerian student, who was attending college at San Luis Obispo, California, attended a Mormon meeting and encountered their racial teachings. He later wrote an article for the Nigerian Outlook condemning the Mormon Church:

The student invited me to their prayer meeting the following Sunday . . . I was intrigued and went out of curiosity. I did not want to sit with the congregation. The white boy sat with me behind the large curtains that span the width of the very large hall. . . .When their prayers broke up I was introduced to the leader of the Church in the city. . . . But the evening got ruined when my curiosity again started wandering away. . . . An innocent question popped out: “Why have you no mission anywhere in Africa except in South Africa?” Mr. Roy said: . . . “It is our article of faith that the Negro was cursed by God and this makes him unworthy to hold the office of a priest or elder in our Church.”

Ungodly Race Superiority

I can’t tell you here now how long we talked. But it was over three hours. In the end he lent me one of the most important books of their religion— Mormonism and the Negro [by John J. Stewart]. I did not eat or sleep until I finished reading the book. The following day I returned the book to him. When he asked me what I thought of the book I told him it was fatuous.

Their God is not our God. I do not believe in a God whose adherents preach the superiority of one race over the other. And this is what the Mormons preach.

The BIG Question is: why should the Mormons leave proselytizing among the Negroes in America and decided to go to Nigeria? The statement by one of the Mormon leaders about a “cautious and guarded approach” to proselyting actively among Negroes, in Nigeria should make Nigerians “cautious and guarded” too. Nigeria has the largest Negro population in the world (seconded by U.S.A.).

The Mormons could by trickery establish a church in Nigeria and use this as massive propaganda for propagating and spreading their religion of race hate and race superiority and discrimination in America.

Some may say that they want to change their policy. I do not think this would be a correct assumption. Why, let them start in America where Mr. Smith started his religion with his wife and relations-in-laws barely 100 years ago. Let them first of all make themselves acceptable to the Negroes here in the States before venturing to distant Nigeria (Article by Ambrose Chukwu, Nigerian Outlook, Enugu, Nigeria, March 5, 1963)

Most of the Mormon hierarchy did not regret their inability to send missionaries into “black Africa” nearly as much as they regretted the unfavorable publicity. (The Christian Century, September 29, 1965, p. 1184).

Survey for change?

SALT LAKE CITY, June 3—The top leadership of the Mormon church is seriously considering the abandonment of its historic policy of discrimination against Negroes. . . .Because the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has a lay priesthood to which almost every adult male member belongs, the effect has been to limit Negroes to second-class membership. . . .

One of the highest officers of the church said today that the possibility of removing this religious disability against Negroes has been under serious consideration.
“We are in the midst of a survey looking toward the possibility of admitting Negroes,” said Hugh B. Brown, one of the two counselors serving President David O. McKay in the First Presidency of the Mormon Church.

“Believing as we do in divine revelation through the President of the church, we all await his decision,” Mr. Brown said (New York Times, June 7, 1963).

In 1963 the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People threatened to picket the LDS Church. On October 5, 1963, the Deseret News reported:

Albert B. Fritz, NAACP branch president, said at a civil rights meeting Friday night that his organization promised not to picket the 133rd Semi-Annual General Conference of the Church on Temple Square.

He added, however, that the NAACP will picket Temple Square, next Saturday if the Church does not present an “acceptable” statement on civil rights before that day (Deseret News, Oct. 5, 1963).

The next day, October 6, 1963, Hugh B. Brown stated in the LDS Church Conference:
We believe that all men are the children of the same God and that it is a moral evil for any person or group of persons to deny any human being the right to gainful employment, to full educational opportunity, and to every privilege of citizenship.” (as quoted in Dialogue, Summer, 1968, p. 4).

However, two months later, Apostle Ezra Taft Benson declared that the civil rights movement was part of a “Communist” conspiracy. The Deseret News reported:

LOGAN, UTAH—Former agriculture secretary Ezra Taft Benson charged Friday night that the civil right’s movement in the South had been “fomented almost entirely by the Communists.”

Elder Benson, a member of the Council of the Twelve of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, said in a speech at a public meeting here that the whole civil rights movement was “phony.” . . .

“The pending ‘civil rights’ legislation is, I am convinced, about 10 per cent civil rights and 90 per cent a further extension of socialistic federal controls.” Elder Benson said, “It is part of the pattern for the Communist take-over of America” (Deseret News, December 14, 1963).

So much for “prophetic” discernment.

By reason of their numerical strength the Mormons elect most of the public officials, through the entire state, and here is where conflict begins. In most instances these elected public officials, conscious of the spirit concealed behind the walls of the Temple, adhere strictly to the doctrines of their church in the performance of their public duty and thereby refuse to employ or appoint any Negroes in any position of authority or trust.

. . . it is claimed that the failure of the 35th session of the Utah Legislature to pass any Civil Rights legislation was due to hidden and behind the scenes opposition from the Mormon Church. . . .

Any church has a right to believe what it will but it has no right to impose those beliefs on others against their will, and when those beliefs are detrimental to the welfare of others to the extent of infringing on their right to earn a decent living, such a church has no right to use the machinery of the state to enforce those beliefs (A Negro On Mormonism, by David H. Oliver, 1963, pp. 30-31).

Tensions continued to mount and in the spring of 1965 the NAACP led a march “from the federal office building [in Salt Lake City] to the steps of the [LDS] church administration building” (The Christian Century, Sept. 29, 1965, pp. 1185-1186).

The Deseret News reported:

About 250 persons demonstrated in front of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints offices Sunday, asking for a statement on civil rights. . . (Deseret News, March 8, 1965, p. B11).

At the April 1965 LDS General Conference, Apostle Ezra Taft Benson declared:

What are we doing to fight it? Before I left for Europe I warned how the Communists were using the civil rights movement to promote revolution and eventual takeover of this country. When are we going to wake up? What do you know about the dangerous civil rights agitation in Mississippi? Do you fear the destruction of all vestiges of state government?

Now, brethren, the Lord never promised there would not be traitors in the Church. We have the ignorant, the sleepy and the deceived who provide temptations and avenues of apostacy for the unwary and the unfaithful, but we have a prophet at our head and he has spoken. Now what are we going to do about it?

Do Homework

Brethren, if we had done our homework and were faithful we could step forward at this time and help save this country (Salt Lake Tribune, April 7, 1965, p. A-5).

However, when this speech was printed in the official LDS magazine, The Improvement Era, it was edited to leave out the part about the Communists. It was changed to read:

What are you doing to fight it? Brethren, if we had done our homework and were faithful, we could step forward at this time and help save this country (Improvement Era, June 1965, p. 539).

The deeply Mormon attitude apparently discriminating against Negroes because of their race is becoming a burning issue in that church—and beyond the church . . . January 15 at 4:16 pm • Like • 6

Mormon & LDS Facts: Escalating social pressure:

The increasing heat of racial pressures in the country has brought it into focus as one of the few uncracked fortresses of discrimination (Los Angeles Times, Aug. 27, 1967).

On April 14, 1968, the Arizona Daily Star reported that there was a boycott by eight blacks at the LDS Church’s Brigham Young University:

The University of Texas-El Paso athletes stayed away from Saturday’s competition at the church-operated BYU . . . They said there was a belief on the campus “that the blacks are inferior and that we are disciples of the devil”. . .

President Hugh B. Brown, a member of the First Presidency of the Church, said the athletes are unclear on the church’s doctrine denying Negroes membership in the Mormon Priesthood.

“At the present time we do not give Negroes the priesthood. Priesthood, in our view, is leadership. There is not enough leadership among Negroes to warrant establishing him as a member of leadership,” President Brown said (Arizona Daily Star, April 14, 1968).

STANFORD, CALIF. (UPI) — Stanford University announced Wednesday it will schedule no new athletic or other competitions with Brigham Young University because of alleged racial discrimination by the Mormon Church . . .

President Kenneth Pitzer said Stanford . . . will not schedule any further meetings, including debates and other non-athletic competition.
“It is the policy of Stanford University not to schedule events with institutions which practice discrimination on a basis of race or national origin, or which are affiliated with or sponsored by institutions which do so,” he said.

“Top officials of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which sponsors BYU, have told Stanford University officials that the church currently has policies stating that no Negro of African lineage may have the right of priesthood” (Salt Lake Tribune, November 13, 1969).

A prophetic statement?

On November 14, 1969, the Tribune reported that William Wyman, special assistant to President Kenneth Pitzer, stated that:

“if Brigham Young wants to play Stanford teams in the future the Mormon Church will have to “REINTERPRET GOD’S WORD” and establish doctrines compatible with Stanford’s policy” (Salt Lake Tribune, November 14, 1969)

Finally getting through?

First Counselor Hugh B. Brown had been on record for six years as favoring an end to this ban. In 1969 he wrote of the denial of priesthood to those of black African ancestry:

Personally I doubt if we can maintain or sustain ourselves in the position which we seem to have adopted but which has no justification as far as the scriptures are concerned so far as I know. I think we are going to have to change our decision on that. The President says that it can come only by revelation. If that be true then it will come in due course. I think it is one of the most serious problems confronting us because of course it affects the millions of colored people. . . .

In November 1969 Brown privately lobbied Stanford University to delay their decision to boycott BYU. The night before Stanford’s announcement, Brown told the university’s vice-president that he expected the church to drop this restriction (The Mormon Hierarchy: Extensions of Power, D. Michael Quinn, Signature Books, 1997, p. 14).

Brown did not accept gracefully the defeat of his effort to reverse the church’s ban against African Americans. Less than a week after he had reluctantly signed Lee’s statement, Brown told a San Francisco newspaper reporter that the church’s priesthood ban against blacks “will change in the not too distant future.” Known for “his fiery temper,” Lee privately exploded on 27 December, saying that Brown had been “talking too much.”. . . (The Mormon Hierarchy: Extensions of Power, p. 15).

The president of the Tucson branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People has requested permission to hold a protest rally at the University of Arizona before the Arizona-Brigham Young University basketball game Thursday.

Three days later the Salt Lake Tribune reported:

. . . Brigham Young University . . . lost to Arizona, 90-77, in a game marred by racial protest . . . With 1:40 to play in the first half, nine Negroes, some of them wearing black wristbands, walked out on the basketball floor while the game was in progress.
As the Negroes filed onto the court, play stopped and BYU Coach Stan Watts pulled his team from the floor. The blacks were on the court for only a few minutes, however, when police and security officers ushered them away . . .

Other student demonstrators broke a window and screamed, “Stop the Game” but that was the extent of the protest (Salt Lake Tribune, January 9, 1970).

Even national magazines reported the racism, like Sports Illustrated,

Ending a 10-game ordeal on the road, the Cougars last week limped home to Provo, Utah with a 4–10 record, one of the worst starts in Stan Watt’s lengthy coaching career. That was depressing enough of course, but the boys from “The Y” . . . were bedeviled by a special problem: a gathering wave of protest against a recently reaffirmed doctrine of the Mormon Church that Negroes be denied admission to priesthood. As much as the Cougars would like to ignore them, the protests have grown in intensity to the point where they have almost transcended all else.

“You try not to think about it,” said one of the Cougars, “but it does affect your play. Sometimes there are calls—‘Look out, we’re going to get you’—and other threats. And there’s always tension in the stands.”

“The thing that worries me and the boys” said Watts . . . “is how far will it go?” Then leaning over and lowering his voice, he added, “One of these days, you know, somebody might pull a gun or some thing.”. . . This season’s protests have included the wearing of black wristbands by some San Jose State players, the booing of the Y’s dancing Cougarettes during the Quaker City Tournament in Philadelphia and the throwing of eggs on the floor at Arizona State. By far the most serious trouble, however, came on January 8, when the Cougars went to Tucson . . . Vandals poured lighter fluid on the gym floor and set it afire . . . All five Arizona starters—three of them black—wore black wristbands . . . the Arizona coach Bruce Larson, is a bishop in the Mormon Church, so, in effect, the Wildcat players and fans were protesting against their own coach . . . (Sports Illustrated, January 26, 1970, pp. 38-39).

Leave it to the Mormons to spin this as persecution against them, instead of the other way around.

‘Token Negroes’?

Finally, BYU realized it had to make some concessions. In the book, Brigham Young University: A House of Faith, Gary James Bergera and Ronald Priddis observed:

UTEP president Joseph Ray wrote to BYU president Ernest Wilkinson, “Without any suggestion at all of trying to run your business, I think your institution will be a thorn in the side of the [Western Athletic] conference until such time as you recruit at least a TOKEN NEGRO athlete. Until you do, all explanations that the charges [of racism] are not true will not carry the RING OF CONVICTION.” . . .

Student senates at the University of Arizona, Arizona State University, University of New Mexico, Colorado State University, University of Wyoming, and other universities and colleges voiced their support of black students protesting policies and recommended severing athletic ties with the Mormon school. Students at the University of Hawaii, in a general student election, and the University of Washington’s faculty senate took the same position. Administrations of at least five colleges and universities accepted such recommendations and refused to schedule further games with BYU. Among these schools were Stanford University, California State University at Hayward, and the University of Washington . . . The immediate response from BYU officials to the protests was to dismiss them as part of a communist-inspired ploy to undermine the stability of the United States. “These people aren’t after us. They’re after America,” said Coach Watts . . . The BYU Alumnus provided details of the school’s trouble in an article entitled, “Militants, Reds, Attack Y, Church.” The article promised alumni that BYU would continue to “hold the line on principles despite the propaganda.” President Wilkinson saw in the demonstrations a sign of an imminent apocalypse . . .

Because of pressure from the WAC presidents’ council, as well as from demonstrators nearly everywhere BYU competed, school administrators revised their policy on black recruitment and began actively seeking key black athletes. The school’s first black football player, Bennie Smith, enrolled in 1972, followed two years later by the school’s first black basketball player, Gary Batiste. Smith later expressed disappointment in the promise of athletic recruiters that there was little racial prejudice on campus. “After you get here, it’s a whole different story,” Smith claimed. Batiste was suspended from the team before completing his first semester. It was five years before a second black player, Keith Rice was recruited for the basketball squad . . . Edward Minor of the Florida A & M instructional science department, who had been engaged in 1960 to teach classes at BYU during a summer session, had been reassigned when Wilkinson discovered that Minor was black. Wilkinson feared “that students and others [might] take license from [Minor’s engagement as a guest lecturer] and assume that there [was] nothing improper about mingling with other races” (Brigham Young University: A House of Faith, by Gary James Bergera and Ronald Priddis, Signature Books, 1985, pp. 299-302).

On March 10, 1970, a question arose regarding armed guards at LDS buildings:

Bishop Brown commented briefly in answer to questions regarding the Church’s position on vigilante groups and reports of armed guards on Church property . . .

He said the Church does have and always has had armed guards to protect Church properties, some of which are invaluable and irreplaceable. He affirmed that two guards are stationed at the Church Office Building . . . (Deseret News, March 10, 1970).

Tabernacle Choir gets its “Token Negroes”

In November of 1969 a minister in Denver, Colorado, called for a boycott of Mormon goods, including records of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir:

The Rev. Roy Flourney . . . called for reform of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon) in what he alleged is a practice of racism against blacks. . . .

The Church of the Black Cross, . . . is calling for:

—Boycott of Mormon goods, such as record albums of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.

—Discouraging tourist travel to Utah, home state of the church (Denver Post, Nov. 15, 1969).

Interestingly, on January 25, 1970, the New York Times reported: “Recently the Mormon Tabernacle Choir took in two Negro women as second sopranos, and reportedly, is about to welcome a Negro tenor.” Then on February 21, 1970, the Salt Lake Tribune reported that, “Black faces are among the sea of white ones in the 375-voice Mormon Tabernacle Choir.” The two new black members of the choir were identified as Wynetta Martin and Marilyn Yuille.

It should be noted that Mrs. Martin waited two or three years to get into the choir, whereas Miss Yuille was singing in the choir only two days after her audition. This whole matter seemed especially strange when one considers the fact that Miss Yuille was put in the choir less than three weeks after the Denver Post (November 15, 1969) announced that the Church of the Black Cross was calling for a boycott of “record albums of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.”

Trouble with the Boy Scouts

In 1974, the Mormon doctrine of discrimination against blacks brought the Boy Scouts into a serious confrontation with the NAACP. Nationally, the Boy Scouts did not discriminate because of religion or race, but Mormon-sponsored troops did have a policy of discrimination. On July 18, 1974, the Salt Lake Tribune reported:

A 12-year-old Boy Scout has been denied a senior patrol leadership in his troop because he is black, Don L. Cope, black ombudsman for the state, said Wednesday . . . The ombudsman said Mormon “troop policy is that in order for a scout to become a patrol leader, he must be a deacon’s quorum president in the LDS Church. Since the boy cannot hold the priesthood, he cannot become a patrol leader.”

Shortly before Boy Scout officials were to appear in Federal Court Friday morning on charges of discrimination, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints issued a policy change which will allow black youths to be senior patrol leaders, a position formerly reserved for white LDS youths in troops sponsored by the church . . .

An LDS Church spokesman said Friday under the “guidelines set forth in the statement, a young man other than president of the deacons quorum could (now) become the senior patrol leader if he is better qualified” (Salt Lake Tribune, July 18, 1974).

A scheduled tour of the Tabernacle Choir to New England in 1974 had to be cancelled because of protests from black clergymen in the region. In the same year, the Church inadvertently ran afoul of the Boy Scouts of America through a new [LDS] organizational arrangement that had the effect of integrating its scout troops more closely with the Aaronic Priesthood groups. The Church and the BSA had earlier agreed on this change, but neither had anticipated the barring of black youths from positions of scout leadership in Mormon troops. (Actually, all non-Mormons in those troops were also barred.) The Church was soon confronted by an NAACP suit over the matter, and corrective action was very fast in coming (Dialogue, Autumn 1981, vol. 14, no. 3, p. 20). January 15 at 4:16 pm • Like •

Membership in revolt

In 1976 the LDS Church found itself repeatedly embarrassed by one of its own members who became alienated over the priesthood ban and decided to take matters into his own hands. On April 3, 1976, the Salt Lake Tribune reported:

PORTLAND, Ore. — A member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints ordained a black into the priesthood Friday, saying he did so in an attempt to force a revision in Mormon doctrine
about the Negro race.

Douglas A. Wallace . . . first baptized Larry Lester in the swimming pool of a motel in northeast Portland. He then ordained Lester to the office of priest in the Aaronic Priesthood of the LDS Church . . .

The rites were preceded by a news conference at which Wallace said he has been bothered by the Mormon Church’s bias against blacks, and he feels the time has come to challenge it. He said often all that is required to change a policy is for someone to break out of tradition . . .

Wallace said he hopes there are no recriminations against him for his action, such as excommunication.

On April 13, 1976 the Salt Lake Tribune revealed that,

“Wallace was excommunicated from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Sunday for ordaining a black man into the church’s priesthood.”

After a confrontation with church personnel at an April conference session, Mr. Wallace was ejected from the Tabernacle. Later he was served with “a court order barring him from attending conference” (Salt Lake Tribune, October 4, 1976).

On April 5, 1977, the Salt Lake Tribune reported:

Mormon dissident Douglas A. Wallace charged Monday that a Salt Lake City police officer, shot early Sunday was keeping surveillance on him in a nearby residence.

Acting Police Chief Edgar A. Bryan Jr. denied it.

He said his men were not keeping surveillance on Mr. Wallace, an excommunicated member of the Church . . . but he would not say what the stakeout’s purpose was.

Officer David W. Olson remained in critical condition Monday . . . where personnel said he suffered a severed spinal cord from a single shot in the neck. The policeman was shot accidentally by his partner . . . Wallace was staying at the home of a friend, Dr. John W. Fitzgerald . . .He was in Salt Lake City to try to make an appearance at the LDS World Conference last weekend. Attorneys for the church, however, obtained a temporary restraining order . . . which prevented the dissident from visiting Temple Square.

“I have not committed any crime, and I don’t intend to commit any crime. I have been raised in the Mormon faith and I am a man of peace . . . This is not Russia; this is not Nazi Germany; there is no reason why I should be under surveillance of the police” Mr. Wallace said.

On April 6, 1977, the Salt Lake Tribune related:

Ex-Mormon Douglas Wallace . . . Tuesday afternoon said he will subpoena various high ranking police and sheriff’s deputies to establish the fact . . .Mr. Wallace said also, “It is clear from the evidence that we have uncovered that I was under surveillance. The police department’s denial of that simply compounds the wrong. Is this going to be Salt Lake’s sequel to the Watergate scandal?”

With Mr. Wallace and his attorney pressing them hard, the police were finally forced to admit the truth about the matter:

Salt Lake City police officers admitted Thursday that the accidental wounding of an undercover officer occurred during surveillance of Mormon dissident Douglas A. Wallace . . .
“Reports released Thursday by both the county sheriff’s office and the county attorney show that six officers were on stakeout around the John W. Fitzgerald home . . . where Mr. Wallace was staying.

Those who know Mr. Wallace find it strange that there were so many policemen on the surveillance crew watching him at 4:20 a.m. A subsequent story in the newspaper reported that the “lawmen . . . had been on duty for 16 straight hours, Chief Willoughby said” (Salt Lake Tribune, April 15, 1977).

At any rate, Wallace claimed the LDS Church was behind the whole affair:

Ex-Mormon Douglas Wallace Friday renewed his assertion that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was behind April police surveillance of Mr. Wallace that led to the accidental shooting of a Salt Lake City police officer (Salt Lake Tribune, September 17, 1977).

Finally, David Olson, the disabled police officer, took exception to a press release issued by the church. In a letter to the editor of the Salt Lake Tribune, January 18, 1978, Mr. Olson made a sarcastic attack on the president of the LDS Church:

I would also like to thank Spencer W. Kimball for his press release concerning the police involvement combined with the LDS church’s efforts to restrict Douglas A. Wallace from the temple grounds, specifically the Tabernacle, on April 3, 1977.

His denial of these actions is wrong. Any man who can take such actions and still call himself a prophet deserves more than I to be confined to this wheelchair.

Officer Olson apparently could not face the thought of being paralyzed for the rest of his life, and on March 25, 1980, the Salt Lake Tribune reported that he “committed suicide early Sunday morning, according to Murray Police.”

Byron Marchant was another Mormon who put a great deal of pressure on the LDS Church. Mr. Marchant took a very strong stand against racism in the church. The Dallas Morning News for October 20, 1977, reported:

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — The man who cast the first vote in Mormon history against a leader of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has been excommunicated and fired as chapel janitor. Byron Marchant, 35, of Salt Lake, is the second opponent of the church policy withholding the priesthood from blacks to be excommunicated in the last two years.

When Mr. Marchant tried to distribute literature at Temple Square at the April 1978 LDS Conference he was arrested:

Byron Marchant, excommunicated member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was arrested . . . at Temple Square on charges of trespassing . . . Marchant was requested to leave the church grounds after he offered literature to people waiting in line . . . Mr. Gibbs said police officers were contacted and Mr. Marchant was placed under arrest at approximately 1:45 p.m. (Salt Lake Tribune, April 3, 1978)

Mr. Marchant published a sheet in which he called for a demonstration against the church’s policy:

Next October Conference (1978) I will join all interested in a march on Temple Square in Salt Lake City. In the event the Mormon Church decides to ordain worthy Afro-Americans to the priesthood this demonstration will be a sort of celebration. A demonstration of support. In the meantime, every person and/or group concerned about Utah Racism is encouraged to speak out and attend the October protest.

Mr. Marchant’s threat of a demonstration at the next conference must have caused some concern among General Authorities of the LDS Church. The leaders of the church were obviously worried that a demonstration could turn violent. In addition, it would undoubtedly attract the news media and provide further embarrassment to the church. The issue regarding blacks and the LDS Church was so explosive that the slightest incident could have touched off a riot in which people might be injured or even killed.

An article in the Salt Lake Tribune observed:

The last three years have also seen repeated attempts by church dissidents to subpoena Mormon leaders into court proceedings, with the central issue often related to the church’s belief about blacks (Salt Lake Tribune, June 10, 1978).

The Brazil delimma

A major problem the church has faced with its policy regarding blacks was in Brazil, where the church is building a temple. Many people there are miied [mixed?] racially, and it is often impossible to determine whether church members have black ancestry (Deseret News, June 10, 1978).

The Tanner’s savvy observation in 1963

“If the pressure continues to increase on the Negro question, the leaders of the Mormon Church will probably have another revelation which will allow Negroes to hold the priesthood.” (Will There Be A Revelation Regarding the Negro? by Jerald and Sandra Tanner, 1963)

Let’s do the old polygamy shuffle! In 1865 an article in the Millennial Star we read,

“We have shown that in requiring the relinquishment of polygamy, they ask the renunciation of the entire faith of this people. . . .There is no half way house. The childish babble about another revelation is only an evidence how half informed men can talk.” (Millennial Star, Oct. 28, 1865).

In 1973, O. Kendall White Jr. accurately portrayed the problems that would accompany a new “revelation” concerning the priesthood:

Since they believe in “continuing revelation,” Mormons have a mechanism that enables them to reverse previous positions without repudiating the past. . . . That the church will invoke such a mechanism to resolve the racial issue is not too unlikely . . . this approach has a serious drawback. It is the tendency not to acknowledge the errors of the past. While revelation could be used to legitimize a new racial policy and to redefine Mormon relations with black people, Mormons might still be unwilling to condemn the racism involved in their history. They might be inclined to argue that Mormons in earlier periods were under a different mandate than the one binding them. This obviously implies that the church is never wrong. Thus, change may come through the notion of continuing revelation, but the racist aspects of Mormon history will not necessarily be condemned (“Boundry Maintenance, Blacks, and the Mormon PR,” Journal of Religious Thought, Autumn-Winter, 1973, pp. 57-58).

LDS scholar Jessie L. Embry discussed the struggle that had been going on in Brazil:

. . . church membership in Brazil had grown enormously during the 1960’s and 1970’s. Determining who was black had always been a sensitive issue in the racially mixed country. In 1978 a temple, from which blacks would be excluded, was under construction. Complicating the problem was the perplexity of determining which deceased men were “eligible” (that is, not black) for proxy ordinations to priesthood. (Mormons believe in vicarious proxy baptisms, priesthood ordinations, and marriages for the dead.) (Black Saints in a White Church, p. 28)

As if on cue, the revelation to extend priesthood to blacks came in June of 1978, just months prior to the dedication of the Brazilian temple at the end of October.

Writing in the New York Times, June 11, 1978, Professor Mario S. DePillis observed: “For Mormonism’s anti-black policy a revelation was the only way out, and many students of Mormonism were puzzled only at the lateness of the hour.”

On 7 June 1978, Spencer Kimball informed his counselors that “through inspiration he had decided to lift the restrictions on priesthood.” In the meantime he had asked three apostles . . . to prepare “suggested wording for the public announcement of the decision.” The First Presidency used the three documents to prepare a fourth preliminary statement which was “then reviewed, edited, and approved by the First Presidency. This document was taken to the council meeting with the Twelve on Thursday, June, 8, 1978.” The apostles made additional “minor editorial changes” in the nearly final statement which was then presented to all general authorities the next day, just hours before its public announcement (The Mormon Hierarchy: Extensions of Power, p. 16).

Does this process sound like a direct revelation from God to a prophet? The Mormons weren’t fooling anybody. Though the Church today would like to downplay these events, the words of O. Kendall White Jr. have proven to be almost prophetic, “change may come through the notion of continuing revelation, but the racist aspects of Mormon history will not necessarily be condemned.”

Legacy of Bigotry

Shortly after Martin Luther King’s murder several people began lobbying to get a nationally recognized holiday named in his honor. After many years of debate, on November 2, 1983, the U.S. government finally passed into law the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday, to be celebrated on the third Monday of January each year. The first national celebration was on January 20, 1986. While the state of Utah established such a holiday in 1986, the name was changed to “Human Rights Day.” Part of the resistance to name the holiday after Dr. King was the prominent Utah view that Dr. King was unworthy of such an honor. Apostle Ezra Taft Benson had implied that Dr. King was a communist and stated that the civil rights movement was part of a communist conspiracy. (Curse of Cain? Racism in the Mormon Church, by Jerald & Sandra Tanner)

Michael Quinn wrote:

In response to U.S. president Lyndon Johnson’s designation of 7 April as a national day of mourning for Reverend King, Apostle Benson immediately prepared a statement for distribution which complained that “the Communists will use Mr. King’s death for as much yardage as possible.” Benson’s hand-out continued that “Martin Luther King had been affiliated with at least the following officially recognized Communist fronts,” and listed three organizations. Benson was simply repeating the Birch view of King. . . . in his talk to BYU’s devotional in May 1968 Benson accused the U.S. Supreme Court of treason. He added that “a prerequisite for appointment to high government office today is one’s past affiliations with communist fronts or one’s ability to follow the communist line.” Benson’s address to BYU students also quoted three times from the Birch Society’s official magazine, including references to “black Marxists” and “the Communists and their Black Power fanatics” (“Ezra Taft Benson and Mormon Political Conflicts,” by D. Michael Quinn, Dialogue, vol. 26, no. 2, p. 64).

It wasn’t until 2000 that Utah Governor Mike Leavitt signed into law a bill adopting the regular holiday name of “Martin Luther King Day” (see “Utah Designates Dr. King’s Birthday a Holiday; Last State To Adopt The Day,” Jet, April 24, 2000).

The last State! The LAST, all the way to the year 2000! And the racism lingers on:

The Utah Legislature does not observe Human Rights Day, a day in Utah that is meant to replace Martin Luther King Jr. Day, said Ross Peterson, director of the Mountain West Center for Regional Studies.

“For [the Utah Legislature] not to recognize this day just seems ignorant of other races and cultures,” said Doug Beazer, secretary of the Black Student Union at Utah State University. “It seems like they’re so involved in a white, predominantly religious society and don’t care about America as a whole, just the one small group. . . .”

Many state and public offices will be observing Human Rights Day, however, the Legislature begins sessions on this day each year and public school classes are usually also in attendance.

The conflict in Utah not only stems from this day being nationally recognized as Martin Luther King Jr. Day and Utah’s desire to change it to Human Rights Day, but also because the Legislature doesn’t truly observe the day, said Gabe Carter, president of the Black Student Union. . . .

When using the phrase “human rights,” it seems like Utah is trying to incorporate more people into the holiday, but failing to recognize that Martin Luther King Jr. was the fundamental character of the ’60s is unfortunate, Beazer said. . . .

Various states reacted to the national declaration of Martin Luther King Jr. Day in a variety of ways and Utah was one that decided to observe Human Rights Day instead, Peterson said. . . .
“It speaks poorly of the Utah Legislature not to recognize this holiday in any form. . . .” Carter said. . . .

Peterson said, “It ought to be King’s day, it ought to be observed, and the Utah Legislature should come into session on Tuesday. Without King, it doesn’t tell the whole story” (“Some Say Utah Lacks Recognition of Human Rights Day,” by Denise Albiston, The Statesmen, Utah State University, January 16, 2004).

Contrast the above to the Bible, which teaches us (for 2000 years now) “God is no respecter of persons: but in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him” (Acts 10:34-35)_grindael. (Many thanks to Curse of Cain? Racism in the Mormon Church, by Jerald & Sandra Tanner, especially for the news reports of the period.) _grindael, January 15 at 4:16 pm • Like •

Mormon Apologist: Grindael said: “What ‘mixed’ heritage are you from “Apologist? Give me a clue here. Considering oneself ‘mixed’ for the sake of argument is the lowest kind of justification.”

Why should I tell you, Grindael?? Why? Each and every time I try to help you understand my perspective, you simply use it as an opportunity to launch yet another childish attack. It seems to me you are running out of argument and are now reduced to personal attacks.

You continue: “Just from dialoging with you, I know what you are. You have no idea what it is to experience racism, be involved in an inter racial marital relationship and the burdens and hardships that go with it.”

I have not had the experience of enjoying an inter-racial marriage myself, no. However, the aforementioned friend whose marriage I was at in the Temple has always been quite open about the trials and tribulations of a mixed-race marriage, up to and including the problems associated with the two special needs adopted children – one of whom was viciously attacked by a couple of white hoodlums a couple of years ago – and the one daughter he and his wife had. I’ve also seen the trials faced by others I know who have enjoyed mixed-race marriages, and I’ve always supported them as best I could.

You continue: “I’ve seen your kind before.”

No, you haven’t.

You continue: “You ARE a racist, for you seek to justify it.”

Funny. I guess all the time I have spent working with English Language Learners of many racial backgrounds is just a demonstration of my racism. I guess helping a good friend (who was one of my students) from Togo learn English AND get his green card was merely a demonstration of my racism. I guess this also means the fact I wish my daughter would date his son is also a demonstration of my racist leanings. Then, of course, there is my deep and long-lasting love of poetry written by people of color, like Maya Angelou (who is also a role model, since she was an English Teacher and once got national Teacher of the year), Langston Hughes, Phillis Wheatley and Richard Allen. I suppose my feelings about how black congregants of white churches who were forced to endure racism is ALSO an indication of my racist inclinations? Then, of course, are the many friends of color I had growing up and still have now, is yet another indication of my racism?

Oh yeah, Grindael. You have me pegged. You don’t know a blasted thing about me.

You continue: “Mormons were pro-slavery and racist.”

Racist, perhaps, though we were LESS SO than many Protestants of the times we speak of. Pro-slavery? Sorry, but history simply does not back that argument up.

You continue:

“It’s in all the literature, and in everything they did and said. Thank God I’ve never walked your road “Apologist”, for it is full of ignorance and hypocrisy.” Ignorance and hypocrisy? Indeed. January 17 at 12:33pm • Like •

Mormon Apologist: You continue: “With every comment you post, you show your true colors, and how Mormons will defend at all costs, no matter if it is right or wrong.”

I don’t defend the bad, I merely point out that you are trying to judge LDS leaders by ignoring the times in which they live and while doing so ignoring the role the rest of Christianity played in creating the environment in which Mormonism was born.

Let me point out a few things to you that you seem to wish didn’t get written:

“All Christians believe that the affairs of the world are directed by Providence for wise and good purposes. The coming of the negro to North America makes no exception to the rule. His transportation was a rude mode of emigration; the only practicable one in his case; not attended with ore wretchedness than the emigrant ship often exhibits even now, notwithstanding the passenger law. What the purpose of his coming is, we may not presume to judge. But we can see much good already resulting from it–good to the negro, in his improved condition; to the country whose rich fields he has cleared of the forest and made productive in climates unfit for the labour of the white man; to the Continent of Africa in furnishing, as it may ultimately, the only means for civilizing its people.”

From William John Grayson’s The Hireling and the Slave, second edition (Charleston: John Russell, 1855)

“Slavery, it appears, is of great antiquity. It has existed in the world, in some form or other, even from the times immediately following, if not before the flood. It may be regarded as one of the penal consequences of sin–an effect of that doom pronounced upon the human race in consequence of the disobedience of our first parents, whereby perpetual labour was entailed upon man as the only means of sustaining life–“Cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life. In the swat of thy face shalt thou eat bread till thou return unto the ground.”

“Neither do we find anything in the writings of the Apostles condemnatory of slavery. The relation of Master and Slave is frequently spoken of, but never with one word of disapprobation. The relative duties of each are inculcated with freedom and earnestness, in the same manner as are those of other relations subsisting among men, such as parents and children, husbands and wives, magistrates and citizens; while no intimation whatever is given that that particular one is more inconsistent with the principles and spirit of the gospel than the rest. Indeed we are furnished with one remarkable instance, in which an Apostle appears to have been instrumental, not in setting at liberty, (as some over-benevolent persons in our day are forward to do) but in reclaiming and sending back to his master, A FUGITIVE SLAVE! I allude to the case of Onemsimus. Phileon, it appears, was a Christian–a convert of St. Paul’s–and a slaveholder. His slave Onesimus had eloped from his master; but meeting St. Paul in his travels, he became a convert to the Christian Faith, and now, under the influence of Christian principle set home to his conscience, doubtless by the faithful exertion of the Apostle, he resolved on returning to his master’s service. This occasion sees to have led to the writing of the “Epistle to Philemon,” of which this very Oensimus was the bearer. January 17 at 12:34pm • Like •

Mormon Apologist: From The Rights and Duties of Slaveholders: Two Discourses Delivered on Sunday, November 27, 1836, in Christ Church, Raleigh, North-Carolina, By George W. Freeman, (Charleston: A.E. Miller, Printer to The Protestant Episcopal Society for the Advancement of Christianity in South-Carolina, 1837)

“If then it is consistent with science, to believe that the mind will be great in proportion to the size and figure of the brain: it is equally reasonable to suppose, that the acknowledged meanness of the negroe’s intellect, only coincides with the shape of his head; or in other words, that his want of capability to receife a complicated education renders it improper and impotitic, that he should be allowed the privileges of citizenship in an enlightened country! It is in vain for the Amalgamationists to tell us that the negroes have had no opportunity to improve, or have had less opportunities than European nations; the public are well aware that three or four thousand years could not have passed away, without throwing advantages in the way of the Africans; yet in all this time, with every advantage that liberty, and their proximity to refined nations could bestow, they have never even attempted to raise themselves above their present equivocal station, in the great zoological chain. (pp. 24-25)”

From: Richard H. Colfax’s Evidence Against the Views of the Abolitionists, Consisting of Physical and Moral Proofs, of the Natural Inferiority of the Negroes (New York: James T. M. Bleakley Publishers, 1833)

Do I agree with these people? Absolutely, emphatically not! However, this is a mere sampling of a few who believed such in the 19th century, and who were integral parts of the social tableau in which we find Mormonism coming into being. This is the social backdrop against which ANY charge of racism leveled against ANY person living prior to the Civil Rights Era. January 17 at 12:34pm • Like •

Mormon Apologist: I happened to find a discussion about Uncle Tom’s Cabin which supports what I have been trying to tell you:

n 1852, Harriet Beecher Stowe wrote “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” to show slavery as a thing so cruel and unjust. In the first year over 300,000 copies of her book were sold. In 1856, over two million copies were sold. Her book was made in 13 different languages. When President Lincoln went to meet her he said, “So you’re the little girl that started this big war.”

When Harriet Beecher Stowe’s antislavery novel Uncle Tom’s Cabin was published, it was an immediate best-seller, and became the most sensational and best-selling book of the 19th century. French writer George Sand described the international phenomenon: “This book is in all hands and in all journals. It has, and will have, editions in every form; people devour it, they cover it with tears.” Today, the novel has been criticized for its stereotypical depictions of black characters, as well as its sentimentalism and moralism. But as problematic as some of the book’s language and descriptions are, in the 1850s, Uncle Tom’s Cabin evoked international sympathy for African American slaves.
http://www.africanaonline.com/2010/08/uncle-toms-cabin/

Note the part that says “Today, the novel has been criticized for its stereotypical depictions of black characters, as well as its sentimentalism and moralism.”

Notice the word “today”?? As in, “in our time”? Those “stereotypical depictions” were not problematic in 19th century America, any more than the equally silly “noble savage” depiction of American Indians during the same period.

Again, this is the kind of society in which the LDS leaders prior to the Civil Rights Era were born and raised. It takes a LOT to unlearn the foibles of society, even when inspired by God. January 17 at 12:39pm • Like •

Mormon & LDS Facts:  “Many friends of color”? I rest my case that you haven’t been around many blacks. And why should you tell me indeed, “Apologist”, about your so called ‘mixed’ heritage. Nothing to say, perhaps? All I see presented here from you is pseudo-intellectual B.S. You think you have it all figured out, that what you try to justify as acceptable behaviour, was and still is looked at that way, cause you quoted a couple of ‘scholars’ with opinions. That’s ok, but any who really read through this thread will see the truth for what it is.

And why the personal comments? Because you warrant it, “Apologist”. Not that you don’t give as good as you get, for you have. (You came out swinging by calling me a bigot right off the bat). But the difference between you and I is that I’m not whining about it in every post. You want to discuss these kinds of issues, then be prepared for others to judge your motives by what you write. You certainly are full of judgement about me, and hey, that’s ok, cause I’m self-secure enough to not let it bother me. I’m not tossed about by every wind of folklore as Mormons were and still are. Everything you have discussed and listed as ‘experience’, shows you have no inkling about racism, and don’t understand its implications or what it actually does to people’s lives. And remember, YOU came HERE, to MY PAGE to defend racism.

Instead of shouting from the rooftops that these men were wrong, that they should have been leading the way in righteousness, you go back to the books and dig out MORE obscure instances about the history of ‘uncle tom’ or the meaning of the n- word, or some other thing that doesn’t make a bit of difference to the lives that the Mormon Church has destroyed, torn apart and belittled. Let’s make someone a SLAVE FOR ALL ETERNITY because her skin color was darker than mine. I’m sure it never even crossed your mind the amount of agony and sorrow Jane Manning went through to hear THAT from your ‘inspired’ self-righteous racist ‘prophets’.

You call me a ‘bigot’ that I say that the LDS finished a dismal ‘last’ in civil rights, but then I quote newspaper articles of the time (yes that very period in time) where that same conclusion is drawn, and yet you act like I’m seeing things through the ‘looking glass’. The Mormon church was literally hammered into submission by the press, social pressure, and it’s own membership and VIOLENCE, which they brought on themselves, AS USUAL. They were then too arrogant to admit the mistake, but passed it off as some grand ‘revelation’ that was about as transparent as clear glass. It all stunk to high heaven, and still does.

I don’t need your lectures on history, or your comments that I don’t know my history. I’ve shown just how little you really know by that very first comment you made that it was a ‘policy’ not a ‘doctrine’. Then you say that it was ‘possibly’ attributed to Brigham Young, ignoring the plethora of quotes to show otherwise. This is purposeful lying on your part, and if you would do as much research into Mormonism as you do trying to defend the racism in it, you might actually learn something.

And, when you get down to it, what difference would it have made anyway, if it were ‘policy’ or ‘doctrine’ except for appearances sake, something which the Church defends at all costs, using every scheme of Satan to do so, and try to get those false prophets off the hook, something you try and do at every turn. _grindael, January 17 at 2:19pm • Like • 1 person

Mormon Apologist: You know, if Renee Olson were still among the living, she would tear you apart, grindael. Just so happens she was an anti-Mormon just like you before she realized she was being fed a lot of nonsense about Mormonism, and she became LDS. She was, until her untimely death last summer, a staunch apologist for the LDS Church. I got a chance to meet her a few years ago, and had the pleasure of having breakfast with her and Armand Mauss. Oh, and Renee was black. January 17 at 4:33pm • Like •

Mormon Apologist: You say:

“Why should you tell me indeed, “Apologist”? About your so called ‘mixed’ heritage. Nothing to say, perhaps?”

Not to you, anyway. It’s simply none of your business. Suffice it to say that part of my heritage consists of a persecuted minority. January 17 at 4:34pm • Like •

Mormon Apologist: Grindael said: “And why the personal comments? Because you warrant it, “Apologist”. Not that you don’t give as good as you get, for you have. But the difference between you and I is that I’m not whining about it in every post.”

Who’s whining? I’m merely pointing out to you that the use of a classic anti-Mormon logical fallacy doesn’t help your argument. I have also noticed that you are resorting to the fallacy more frequently. Frankly, I think I’m getting under your skin, and it annoys you that unlike less well-educated LDS who fall for your argument, I am not giving in.

You continue:

“You want to discuss these kinds of issues, then be prepared for others to judge your motives by what you write.”

By the same token, if you are going to attack my faith, you are going to hear it from me and those dreaded apologists.

You continue: “You certainly are full of judgement about me, and hey, that’s ok, cause I’m self-secure enough to not let it bother me.”

If you were that secure, Grindael, you would not be attacking Mormonism. By doing it, you are merely fulfilling a Joseph Smith prophecy.

You continue: “Everything you have discussed and listed as ‘experience’, shows you have no inkling about racism, and don’t understand it’s implications or what it actually does to people’s lives.”

You keep saying that, but vain repetition doesn’t make it so. It just sounds good to you to say it again and again. The fact is, you have no facts with which to make that judgment. You have only your opinion and no facts save those I have given you which contradict your opinion.

You continue:

“And, when you get down to it, what difference would it have made anyway, if it were ‘policy’ or ‘doctrine’ except for appearances sake, something which the Church defends at all costs, using every scheme of Satan to do so, and try to get those false prophets off the hook, something you try and do at every turn.”

You mean, like you continue to back away from information I offer showing the general attitude of American society in the 19th century? The fact that your best response to racism in American Christianity is to call them “so-called Christians?”

Sorry, Grindael, but try as you like to ignore it, there are two sides to the story.

As for my “internet trolling,” I put it down to knowing where to look because its my business to know the 19th century, and because a very excellent instructor got me interested in the subject. January 17 at 4:49pm • Like •

Mormon Apologist: Earlier you quoted Armand Mauss. I had the privilege of hearing him give this talk several years ago and talking with him about the subject some the next day. Here are excerpts:

“Much of the conventional “explanation” for the priesthood restriction was simply borrowed from the racist heritage of nineteenth-century Europe and America, especially from the slavery justifications of the antebellum South.9 Understandable–even forgivable–as such a resort might have been for our LDS ancestors, it is neither understandable nor forgivable in the twenty-first century. It is an unnecessary burden of misplaced apologetics that has been imposed by our history upon the universal and global aspirations of the Church. Until we dispense with it once and for all, it will continue to encumber the efforts of today’s Church leaders and public affairs spokespersons to convince the world, and especially the black people of America, that the Church is for all God’s children, “black and white, bond and free, male and female.”

Footnote 9 reads:

“See, for example, H. Shelton Smith, In His Image, But…: Racism in Southern Religion, 1780-1910 (Durham, North Carolina: Duke University Press, 1972), especially 129-136; and Forrest G. Wood, The Arrogance of Faith: Christianity and Race in American from the Colonial Era to the Twentieth Century (Boston: Northeastern University Press, 1990), 84-111. The survival of such racist biblical folklore even in modern Protestant churches is demonstrated in the brief study by Cain Hope Felder, Race, Racism, and the Biblical Narratives (Minneapolis, Minnesota: Fortress Press, 2002).

Once we have dispensed with the old “explanation,” however, what can we offer instead? How can we explain the situation to those inside and outside of the Church who ask us about the erstwhile doctrines and policies in the Church on racial matters? Let me answer that question by asking you to listen in on an imaginary conversation between me and one of my college students. (I have never had precisely this conversation, but it is a composite of many that I have had over the years with members, non-members, and LDS youth.) In what follows, “A” will stand for myself, Armand, and “Q” will stand for Questioner, providing the usual Q and A format.

Q : I hear that the Mormon Church is racist, or at least that many Mormons are. Anything to that rumor?

A : I guess most white people in America have grown up with some racist beliefs, and Mormons have had their share. However, national polling data for more than a decade have revealed that Mormons are actually less likely than other Americans, on average, to support racist ideas and policies.11

Q : But aren’t black people unwelcome in the Mormon Church, or subjected to some kind of second-class status?

A : Not for the past twenty-five years. It is true that from the middle of the nineteenth century until 1978 the few black people who joined the Church could not be given the priesthood.

Q : Why was that?

A : The reasons are not entirely clear, but the policy seems to have begun officially in 1852 with an announcement by Brigham Young, who was Church president at that time. He made that announcement as part of the deliberations in the Utah territorial legislature over the legal status of both blacks and Indians, and in particular whether slavery should be permitted in the territory.12

Q : So, was it permitted?

A : Yes, for about a decade.13

Q : That sounds pretty racist to me. How can you justify that?

A : I wouldn’t try to justify it. Slavery in America was a racist institution. Brigham Young himself did not actually want slavery in Utah, but he did believe that black people were not the social or intellectual equals of white people, and that slavery should be tolerated for Mormon slave-holders moving to Utah as long as it was tolerated elsewhere in the United States.

Q : Why would Brigham Young believe such things?

A : Because he was a nineteenth-century American, and hardly any white people of that time, North or South, believed in equality for blacks. Slavery was still an unsettled issue throughout the nation, with some even in the South opposed to it, and many even in the North who were willing to tolerate it. Brigham Young’s ideas were really right in the mainstream of American thinking at that time. They were very close to the ideas of other prominent Americans from Thomas Jefferson to Abraham Lincoln, who himself did not even free all slaves with his Emancipation Proclamation.14

Q : I thought most Americans of that time believed in God and in the Bible. Where was God in all this?

A : It is doubtful that God had anything to do with it. Many Americans of the time, including Brigham Young and most other Mormon leaders, believed that the scriptures justified the subordination of black people because they were descendants of Cain or of other biblical figures who had sinned egregiously. Latter-day Saints do not believe that God takes responsibility for the evil in the world, or that He condones the use of his name or of the scriptures to justify evil. Yet he has granted human beings their agency either to operate a society according to His principles or to pay the consequences. The Civil War and the racial strife since then have been the consequences of slavery.

Q : But don’t Mormons believe that their Church is led by prophets of God? How could prophets have permitted racist ideas and practices to become part of their religion?

A : Prophets are not perfect and don’t claim to be; nor do they always act as prophets in what they say and do.15 People in all ages, including those who become prophets, grow up without questioning much that is assumed by everyone else in their respective cultures, unless some experience motivates them to seek revelation on a given matter. January 17 at 5:04pm • Like •

Mormon Apologist: Q : Well, maybe so, but racism is such an obvious evil that I would think authentic prophets would have been more sensitive to it.

A : Why? It seems obvious to all of us now, but not to people who believed in Manifest Destiny, the White Man’s Burden, and “the only good Indian is a dead Indian.” Even the original apostles of Jesus assumed that non-Jews could not become Christians unless they first accepted Judaism and circumcision. The apostle Paul disputed that, but the idea persisted.16

Q : Did all the early Mormon leaders hold racist ideas?

A : Pretty much–like all other Americans. But there was a range of opinion. Not all of them embraced all of the racist ideas in the culture. For example, Joseph Smith, the founding prophet of the LDS Church, saw no reason to keep black people from holding the priesthood, even though he shared the conventional idea that they were descendants of Cain and Ham. We have no record that he ever sought a special revelation on the question; he just accepted blacks into the priesthood.17 He also believed that the innate inferiority of blacks so widely assumed at that time was as much a result of inferior environment and opportunity as of lineage.18

Q : So why didn’t Joseph Smith’s views on such matters prevail in the Mormon Church?

A : Joseph Smith was assassinated while still a young man, and well before the race question led to the Civil War. We can’t be sure whether his ideas would have changed later or how. We do know that his successor, Brigham Young, had somewhat different ideas, though not necessarily based on revelation; and he headed the Church for more than thirty years.

Q : Didn’t anyone question Young’s views during all that time or later?

A : All of Brigham Young’s successors tended to assume that he had had a good reason for withholding the priesthood from black members and had probably gotten the policy from Joseph Smith. A few black members questioned the policy a time or two, but when they did so, the Church leaders reconsidered and simply reiterated it. By the time the twentieth century arrived, no Church leaders were living who could remember when the policy had been otherwise.19 Meanwhile, the nation as a whole had become permeated with so-called Jim Crow laws restricting all kinds of privileges for blacks. In that environment, the Mormon restriction on priesthood seemed entirely natural.

Q : But other religious denominations were critical of such racial restrictions, weren’t they?

A : Eventually they were, but not until the age of civil rights in the 1960s. Prior to that time, only a minuscule number of blacks were ordained in any denomination–except, of course, in the so-called black denominations such as the AME and the predominantly black Baptist groups.

Q : But wasn’t the Mormon racial policy more pervasive and severe than in other religions?

A : Not really. In the Mormon case, the policy was simply more conspicuous because of the universal lay priesthood that Mormons extended to all men except blacks. In other churches, the racial restrictions were more subtle. Ordination to the ministry in all major denominations required access to the professional seminaries. Before the age of civil rights, the seminaries, like the schools of law and medicine, were the gatekeepers to these careers, and blacks were rarely admitted to any of the professional schools, including seminaries (except, again, in the black denominations). Most of today’s religious critics of the erstwhile Mormon racial restriction belong to denominations in which there were scarcely any more black ministers or priests than in the Mormon Church.20 Not many institutions in American society, including religious institutions, can be very proud of their historic treatment of black people. January 17 at 5:05pm • Like •

Mormon Apologist:

Q : When did the Mormon Church finally change its policies about blacks?

A : 1978.

Q : That seems a little late. Didn’t most churches and other institutions drop all their racial restrictions a lot earlier than that?

A : Yes; generally a little earlier. But Church leaders had the matter under consideration for at least twenty years before 1978.22

Q : What took so long? Why couldn’t the prophet just change the policy?

A : Especially in such important matters as this one, a prophet or president in the LDS Church is not inclined to act alone. The president, his two counselors, and the twelve apostles are all considered “prophets, seers, and revelators,” and they usually act as a body when deciding on fundamental doctrines and policies. This process is by definition a conservative one, since it requires a relatively long period of discussion, deliberation, and prayer in order to reach a consensus–in order to feel that they have all been moved by the Holy Spirit toward the same decision. The prophets came close to consensus more than once across the years before they finally achieved it in 1978.23

Q : That seems like a very cumbersome process, which might actually constrain God in getting through to the prophet with a revelation. Why couldn’t God just speak to the president or prophet and tell him what to do?

A : Well, of course, God could do anything He wanted to do. In the Mormon tradition, however, the revelatory process normally (not necessarily always, but normally) begins with human initiative, whether that of a prophet or of any other individual seeking divine guidance. The individual formulates a question or proposal and takes that to God in prayer for divine confirmation. This was the pattern followed by Joseph Smith himself in what Mormons call “the Sacred Grove.” It is the pattern also in Mormon scriptures such as D&C 9 and Moroni 10:4-5. Mormon prophets do not sit around waiting for revelations. They typically take propositions to the Lord for confirmation, and these propositions are the products of a great deal of prayerful deliberation, both individually and collectively.

Q : So this is what finally happened in 1978?

A : Yes. President Spencer W. Kimball had anguished for some time over the restriction on black people, and he took a great deal of initiative in persuading his colleagues to make it a matter of the most earnest prayer and deliberation.24 In response to their collective efforts, he reported on June 8 that “the Lord (had) confirmed” (my italics) that the priesthood should be extended to all worthy male members (Official Declaration #2).

Q : Was President Kimball the first prophet to focus so intensely on the issue?

A : Not necessarily. Most of his predecessors said little or nothing about the matter, except for President David O. McKay (1951-1970). He was clearly deeply concerned about it even in the 1950s, when he visited several parts of the world with black populations, and even black Church members. One of his counselors, Hugh B. Brown, was also publicly anxious to see a change in Church policy. However, they were apparently never able to galvanize the consensus among the other apostles that might have changed the policy ten or fifteen years earlier.25

Q : Too bad. It would have looked a lot better for the Church if the change had come sooner.

A : Maybe, but not necessarily. During the 1960s, the Church was under a great deal of pressure over its racial restrictions from various national organizations and leaders. Indeed, I recall that period as a public relations nightmare for the Church. Yet if the Church had made the policy change then, the public relations outcome might have been anticlimactic, since the Church would have appeared to be caving in to political expediency, rather than maintaining its own prophetic and procedural integrity, even in the face of public criticism.26

Q : Well, anyway, now that the Church has dropped its earlier racist ideas and policies, is it attracting many black members?

A : Conversions in Africa are really quite startling, but of course racial conflict in the U.S. has never been especially salient to Africans. The growth of the Church among African Americans, however, has been much slower, largely because of the lingering racist heritage of the past, and the seeming inability of the Church to deal with this heritage candidly.27 Those black members and investigators who find it hard to look past all that have also found it hard to remain active in the Church. We have a lot yet to do. January 17 at 5:06pm • Like •

Mormon Apologist: A couple of end-notes:

13 – Slavery in early Utah never involved as many as even a hundred blacks, and it was never an important economic institution there. The process by which the permissive “Act in Relation to Servitude” was passed by the Utah Territorial Legislature is a complicated story, which is summarized very nicely by Newell G. Bringhurst in his Saints, Slaves, and Blacks, Chapter 4, especially 61-73. As Bringhurst explains, the reluctant acceptance of slavery in Utah was the product of (1) a series of national political compromises attempting to limit the spread of slavery while still allowing room for “popular sovereignty,” and (2) a desire to accommodate the few Southern Mormon slaveholders who had immigrated to Utah. As Bringhurst also points out, however, the legal restrictions placed by the territorial legislature upon the actual practice of slavery, and upon the treatment of slaves, made the institution more like indentured servitude than slavery per se during the decade of its existence in Utah. See also the extended discussion of the slavery issue in Lester E. Bush, Jr., “Mormonism’s Negro Doctrine: An Historical Overview,” Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought 8:1 (Spring 1973), 11-68, especially 22-31.

14 – Lincoln partisans among contemporary historians have tended to gloss over his views on the race issue before and during the Civil War. From his debates with Stephen A. Douglas all the way through to the Emancipation Proclamation of 1862-1863, Lincoln’s public statements do not reflect the principled opposition to slavery that appears in his Gettysburg Address and afterward. Near the beginning of the Civil War, when journalist Horace Greeley asked Lincoln if his main objective in the war was freeing the slaves, Lincoln famously responded that his main objective was saving the Union, and that if he could achieve that goal without freeing any slaves, he would do so. Even the Emancipation Proclamation freed only those slaves living in the states still in rebellion at that time. See the somewhat jaded treatment of Lincoln by Lerone Bennett, Jr. (editor of Ebony Magazine) in his Forced into Glory: Abraham Lincoln’s White Dream (Chicago: Johnson Publishing, 2000), which has the opposite of the conventional bias but is nevertheless a useful corrective to the naïve popular assumption of today that white racism was mainly a feature of the South (or of Utah!) from the 1860s to the 1960s. January 17 at 5:12pm • Like

Mormon Apologist: Mauss cited this book, so I looked it up. Pay attention to comments made on page 194 and then keep going through to page 100.
http://books.google.com/books? January 17 at 5:15pm • Like •

Mormon Apologist: Mauss himself is saying much of the same thing I have been telling you all along.

As for Jane Manning James, I seem to remember reading that she was fine with being sealed to the Smith family as a servant. It wasn’t what she asked for, but she didn’t have to go through the sealing if she hadn’t wanted to. Seems to me that critics of Mormonism make a lot bigger fuss over the issue than Jane did.

The same, I believe, just might go for a lot of black people. Renee Olson, when I heard her speak back in ’03, began her talk with a joke about “white guilt” over slavery. While her remark was indeed quite funny, she also made a point about how a lot of white Americans react to the slavery and racism of the past. I see this reaction, to be honest, in your fussing and fuming over LDS racism in America’s past.

The next morning, when Bro. Mauss, Sis. Olson and I happened to run into each other in the hotel dining room, we sat down and talked about history and racist issues. At one point I looked at Renee and began the following short conversation:

“You know, Renee, one of my ancestors was a slave trader.”

She looked at me and said, “You know what that means to ME!”

I then said, “Ah, but the good news is that he was killed by one of his own slaves.”

She laughed and said “Oh! You go then!”

There are, by the way, blacks with the last name of [ ]. I’ve no doubt I am related to them in some way, though most seem to be connected to Choctaw Nation Freedman Clans, so the relationship will probably be distant. January 17 at 5:35pm • Like •

Mormon & LDS Facts: I quote:

God is speaking to us in a consistent voice. God will deal with all the human family equally. We might be in a large ward or a small branch, our climate or vegetation may differ, the cultural background and language might vary, and the color of our skin could be totally different. But the universal power and blessings of the restored gospel are available to all, irrespective of culture, nationality, political system, tradition, language, economic environment, or education.

Today, we have again apostles, seers, and revelators who are watchmen on the tower, messengers of supernal, healing truth. God speaks to us through them. They are profoundly aware of the different circumstances we members are living in. They are in this world but not of this world. They point the way, and they offer help for our difficulties, not through THE WISDOM OF THIS WORLD but from an eternal Source.

Only a few years ago, in a First Presidency Message, President Thomas S. Monson said: “The problems of our day loom ominously before us. Surrounded by the sophistication of modern living, we look heavenward for that unfailing sense of direction, that we might chart and follow a wise and proper course. He whom we call our Heavenly Father will not leave our sincere petition unanswered.”1

We have a living prophet on the face of the earth again, even President Thomas S. Monson. He knows our challenges and fears. He has inspired answers. There is no need to fear. We can have peace in our hearts and peace in our homes. We can each be an influence for good in this world by following the commandments of God and relying on true repentance, the power of the Atonement, and the miracle of forgiveness.

The prophets speak to us in the name of the Lord and in divine plainness. As the Book of Mormon confirms, “For the Lord God giveth light unto the understanding; for he speaketh unto men according to their language, unto their understanding” (2 Nephi 31:3).

It is our responsibility not only to listen but also to act upon His word that we may claim the blessings of the ordinances and covenants of the restored gospel. He said, “I, the Lord, am bound when ye do what I say; but when ye do not what I say, ye have no promise” (D&C 82:10).

There may be times when we feel overwhelmed, hurt, or on the edge of discouragement as we are trying so hard to be perfect members of the Church. Be assured, there is balm in Gilead. Let us listen to the prophets of our day as they help us to focus on the things that are central to the Creator’s plan for the eternal destiny of His children. The Lord knows us, He loves us, He wants us to succeed, and He encourages us by saying: “And see that all … things are done in wisdom and order; for it is not requisite that [men or women] should run faster than [they have] strength. … [But] it is expedient that [they] should be diligent” (Mosiah 4:27). (Heeding the Voice of the Prophets By President Dieter F. Uchtdorf – Second Counselor in the First Presidency)

HOW UTTERLY THIS FAILED IN THE FACE OF ALL THE ABOVE EVIDENCE.

Today, we have again apostles, seers, and revelators who are watchmen on the tower, messengers of supernal, healing truth. God speaks to us through them. They are profoundly aware of the different circumstances we members are living in. They are in this world but not of this world. They point the way, and they offer help for our difficulties, not through the wisdom of this world but from an eternal Source. (Dieter F. Uchtdorf, Second Counselor in the First Presidency, July 2008, Ensign)

HOW DID THEY ‘POINT THE WAY’ IN THE CASE OF MORMON RACISM? “THE WORLD” POINTED THE WAY, AND THE MORMON PROPHETS FOLLOWED, NOT THE OTHER WAY AROUND.

And your comment, “You mean, like you continue to back away from information I offer showing the general attitude of American society in the 19th century? The fact that your best response to racism in American Christianity is to call them “so-called Christians?”

Is just pure ignorance. Time and again, I’ve shown that “general attitudes” were contrasted by a significant group of society that worked for change. I’ve shown that there were many who did not partake of this “general attitude” that you say MUST excuse your “prophets” from culpability. Horace Greely was ONE example of MANY. You act like there was no one but him, and that I’m wrong about the many who joined him, and that he took his inspiration from, and ignore my other examples. I will address this below. You could not be more wrong. If you would take the time, you yourself would find many more examples. The problem is, YOU DON’T WANT TO. Also, the problem with slavery was that it was tied to money. That made men greedy, another sin that has no place in any Christian. And of course, we have the words of the Savior,

“Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? Likewise, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them. “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’” (Matthew 7:15-23 NIV)

One fruit of Mormonism is racism. It is still practiced, for Mormon leaders have never renounced all the men who did so. They were among the “so-called Christians” that advocated such behaviour, and believed and taught such doctrines. They were not of God. They are still not of God, and now claim “amnesia” and “folklore” when it comes to this doctrine.

As for Jane Manning James, I seem to remember reading that she was fine with being sealed to the Smith family as a servant. It wasn’t what she asked for, but she didn’t have to go through the sealing if she hadn’t wanted to. Seems to me that critics of Mormonism make a lot bigger fuss over the issue than Jane did.

And she didn’t “go through the sealing” it was done for her by PROXY, because SHE WASN’T ALLOWED IN THE TEMPLE. And why a year later (if she was so satisfied), did she ask to be sealed to the Smith’s (as family) YET AGAIN.? Where is your empathy man? _grindael January 18 at 10:49am • Like

Mormon & LDS Facts: Also, as to Renee Olson, she was as wrong as you are. She stated at a F.A.I.R. Conference,

“Only that the Lord knew of the ban, but did nothing to stop it. As to the exact reason why, only He knows.”

She doesn’t “dispel” anything here, she was being as untruthful as you are. Brigham Young, the great “prophet”, gave the answer more than once, but Mormons ignore it. And Olson says, “Does an apostle of the Lord speak for the whole Church? No. Only the prophet can do that.” Well, that “prophet” Brigham Young said,

“Adam had two sons Kane & Abel. Cain was more given to evil than Abel. Adam was called to offer sacrifice also his sons. The sacrifice of Abel was more acceptable than Canes & Cane took it into his heart to put Abel out of the way so he killed Abel.

The Lord said I will not kill Cane But I will put a mark upon him and it is seen in the [face?] of every Negro on the Earth And it is the decree of God that that mark shall remain upon the seed of Cane & the Curse untill all the seed of Abel should be re[deem?]ed and Cane will not receive the priesthood untill or salvation untill all the seed of Abel are Redeemed. Any man having one drop of the seed of Cane in him Cannot hold the priesthood & IF NO OTHER PROPHET SPAKE IT BEFORE I will say it now IN THE NAME OF JESUS CHRIST. I KNOW IT IS TRUE & THEY KNOW IT. The Negro cannot hold one particle of Government But the day will Come when all the seed of Cane will be Redeemed & have all the Blessings we have now & a great deal more. But the seed of Abel will be ahead of the seed of Cane TO ALL ETERNITY.” (Wilford Woodruff’s Journal, Vol. 4, p.97, Sunday, January 4, 1852).

And again:

“Their has been a great stir to exhalt the Negro & make him equal to the white man but there is a curse upon the seed of Cain & all Hell cannot wipe it out & it cannot be taken off untill God takes if off. When A person unlawfully seeks for power & exhaltation by taking the blessings which belongs to Another He will sink far below the other. As Lucipher the son of the morning Sought the glory that belonged to Christ the first Born He was thrust down to Hell. So Cain sought Abels Blessing & took the life of his brother. The consequence was Cain was cursed & his seed & this curse will remain untill Abels posterity will get all the Blessing their is for him. Then the curse may be taken from Cain or his posterity but his posterity will be below Abels.” (Wilford Woodruff’s Journal, Vol. 4, p.43, July 29, 1851)

So a Mormon “prophet” did give a precise reason why Cain and his posterity were banned from the priesthood. He said it as a prophet “in the name of Jesus Christ”. George Albert Smith, speaking at Conference with Brigham Young right there with him in 1857 said,

“God said to Cain, I will put a mark upon you, that no man may kill you. I want the crocodile, the hyena, that would destroy the reputation of our females to feel that the mark is upon him; and the avenger upon his path, ready to pounce upon him at any moment to take vengeance; and this, that the chastity of our women, our wives and daughters, may be preserved: that the community may rest in peace, and no more be annoyed by such vile depredations.” (Journal of Discouses, Vol. 1, p.99)

Young affirmed that he “and his brethren” instructed the people as GOD HIMSELF did with Adam in the Garden of Eden. (Journal of Discouses, Vol. 1, p.234-5). Young again, taught the exact reason for the priesthood ban in 1854,

“We have this illustrated in the account of Cain and Abel. Cain conversed with his God every day, and knew all about the plan of creating it his earth, for his father told him. But, for the want of humility, and I through jealousy, and an anxiety to [p.143] possess the kingdom, and to have the whole of it under his own control, and not allow any body else the right to say one word, what did he do? He killed his brother. The Lord put a mark on him; and there are some of his children in this room. WHEN ALL THE OTHER CHILDREN OF ADAM have had the privilege of receiving the Priesthood, and of coming into the kingdom of God, and of being redeemed from the four quarters of the earth, AND HAVE RECEIVED THEIR RESURRECTION FROM THE DEAD then it will be time enough to remove the curse from Cain and his posterity. He deprived his brother of the privilege of pursuing his journey through life, and of extending his kingdom by multiplying upon the earth; and because he did this, HE IS THE LAST to share the joys of the kingdom of God.” (Journal of Discourses, Vol. 2, pages 142-43, December 3, 1854)

Young could not be more clear here. And once again we see a Mormon “prophet” being ignored and his “revelations” being claimed as “folklore”. And again,

“The seed of Ham which is the seed of Cain descending through Ham, will, according to the curse put upon him, serve his brethren, and be a “servant of servants” to his fellow-creatures, until God removes the curse; and no power can hinder it. These are my views upon slavery. I will here say a little more upon this point. The conduct of the whites towards the slaves will, in many cases, send both slave and master to hell. This statement comprises much in a few words. THE BLACKS SHOULD BE USED as SERVANTS, and not like brutes, but they must serve. It is their privilege to live so as to enjoy many of the blessings which attend obedience to the first principles of the Gospel, though they are not entitled to the Priesthood.” (Journal of Discourses, Vol. 2, p.184, February 18,1855)

Notice that Young does not use the N-word here. He says “blacks”. They KNEW the difference. I would have loved to have debated this with Renee Olson. I respect her devotion to her beliefs, but she was sadly mistaken when it came to the facts. Hopefully, she won’t be a slave in the Mormon heaven too long. If were up to Young, she would be, for there are a lot of white folks who haven’t been resurrected yet.  _grindael January 17 at 6:57pm • Like •

Mormon Apologist: Grindael said: “HOW DID THEY ‘POINT THE WAY’ IN THE CASE OF MORMON RACISM? “THE WORLD” POINTED THE WAY, AND THE MORMON PROPHETS FOLLOWED, NOT THE OTHER WAY AROUND.” It still does not occur to you that racism was endemic in our culture for most of our history. January 18 at 11:56am • Like •

Mormon Apologist: Let me show you some quotes you have not employed.

Joseph Smith (1st President of the Church) said in 1842:

“I have advised (slaveholders) to bring their slaves into a free country and set them free–educate them–and give them equal rights.” (Compilation on the Negro in Mormonism, p.40)

He said in 1844:

“They [blacks] came into the world slaves, mentally and physically. Change their situation with the whites, and they would be like them. They have souls and are subject to salvation. Go to Cincinnati or any city, and find an educated Negro, who rides in his carriage, and you will see a man who has risen by his own mind to his exalted state of respectability.” (History of the Church 5:217)

He also said:

“The Declaration of Independence ‘holds these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal: that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.’, but, at the same time, some two or three millions of people are held as slaves for life, because the spirit in them is covered with a darker skin than ours…The Constitution of the United States of America meant just what it said without reference to color or condition, ad infinitum!” (Messages of The First Presidency 1:191-2)

He said in 1844:

“Break off the shackles of the poor black man and hire him to labor like other human beings.” (History of the Church 5:209)

Parley P. Pratt (Apostle) said in 1855:

“I love a man without regard to his country, or where he was brought up, without reference to color or nation. I love a man that loves truth.” (Journal of Discourses, 3:182)

Brigham Young (2nd President of the Church) said in 1860:

“Negroes should be treated like human beings, and not worse than dumb brutes [animals]. For their abuse of that race, the whites shall be cursed, unless they repent.” (Journal Discourses 10:111)

He said in 1863:

“Men will be called to judgment for the way they have treated the Negro.” (Journal of Discourses 10:250)

David O. McKay (9th President of the Church) said in 1935:

“What a different world this would be if men would accumulate wealth, for example, not as an end but as a means of blessing human beings and improving human relations. A Christian conception of the right and value of a human soul, even though his skin be dark, would have prevented the slaughter that at this moment is being perpetuated in Ethiopia [when Fascist Italian troops under Mussolini invaded that country]. (Conference Reports, Oct. 1935, p.101)

He said in 1944:

“America has the great opportunity to lead the world from political intrigue and cheap demogoguery, from national selfishness, from unrighteous usurpation of power, and from unholy aggrandizement. She must prove to the people of the world that she has no selfish ends to serve, no desire for conquest, nor of national or race superiority. When these ideals are established, America can blaze the trail and lead the world to peace.” (Teachings of David O. McKay, pp.281-2)

John A. Widstoe (Apostle) wrote in 1946:

“The ‘master race’ claims are sheer poppycock, used by characterless men to further their own interests. There has never been a monopoly of mastery in human achievement by any one nation. To claim so is simply to allow the lawless nationalism to run wild. The ‘master race’ doctrine of the late war was an ugly delusion, conceived by the powers of evil, whose prince is Satan, the devil.” (Evidences and Reconciliations, pp.3-4)

President McKay said in 1951:

“George Washington Carver [famous African-American scientist] was one of the noblest souls that ever came to earth. He held in close kinship with his Heavenly Father, and rendered a service to his fellowman such as few have ever excelled. For every religious endeavor, for every noble impulse, for every good deed performed in his useful life, George Washington Carver will be rewarded, and so will every other man be he red, white, black, or yellow, for God is no respecter of person.” (Home Memories of David O. McKay, p.231)

Joseph Fielding Smith (10th President of the Church) said in 1962:

“The Latter-day Saints, commonly called ‘Mormons’, have no animosity toward the Negro. Neither have they described him as belonging to an ‘INFERIOR’ race. (Deseret News June 14, 1962, p.3)

He said in 1963:

The Mormon Church does not believe, nor does it teach, that the Negro is an inferior being. Mentally, and physically, the Negro is capable of great achievement, as great or in some cases greater than the potentiality of the white race.” (LOOK magazine, Oct. 22, 1963, p.79)

Bruce R. McConkie (Apostle) wrote in 1966:

“Certainly the Negroes as children of God are entitled to equality before the law and to be treated with all the dignity and respect of any member of the human race. Many of them certainly live according to higher standards of decency and right in this life than do some of their brothers of other races; a situation that will cause judgment to be laid ‘to the line, and righteousness to the plummet.’ (Isa. 28:17) in the day of judgment.” (Mormon Doctrine, 1966 edition, p.528)

President Spencer W. Kimball (12th President of the Church) said in 1972:
“Racial prejudice is of the devil. Racial prejudice is of ignorance. There is not a place for it in the Gospel of Jesus Christ.” (Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball, p.237) January 18 at 11:59am • Like •

Mormon Apologist: From Joseph Smith on his Presidential platform:

“My cogitations, like Daniel’s, have for a long time troubled me, when I viewed the condition of men throughout the world, and more especially in this boasted realm, where the Declaration of Independence “holds these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness;” but at the same time some two or three millions of people are held as slaves for life, because the spirit in them is covered with a darker skin than ours; and hundreds of our own kindred for an infraction, or supposed infraction, of some over-wise statute, have to be incarcerated in dungeon gloom, or penitentiaries, while the duellist, the debauchee, and the defaulter for millions, and criminals, take the uppermost rooms at feasts, or, like the bird of passage, find a more congenial clime by flight.

“The wisdom which ought to characterize the freest, wisest, and most noble nation of the nineteenth century, should, like the sun in his meridian splendor, warm every object beneath its rays; and the main efforts of her officers, who are nothing more nor less than the servants of the people, ought to be directed to ameliorate the condition of all, black or white, bond or free; for the best of books says, “God hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth.”

“Our common country presents to all men the same advantages, the facilities, the same prospects, the same honors, and the same rewards; and without hypocrisy, the Constitution, when it says, “We, the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, ensure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America,” meant just what it said without reference to color or condition, ad infinitum.

“The aspirations and expectations of a virtuous people, environed with so wise, so liberal, so deep, so broad, and so high a charter of equal rights as appears in said Constitution, ought to be treated by those to whom the administration of the laws is entrusted with as much sanctity as the prayers of the Saints are treated in heaven, that love, confidence, and union, like the sun, moon, and stars, should bear witness,

“For ever singing as they shine, The hand that made us is divine!”

“Unity is power; and when I reflect on the importance of it to the stability of all governments, I am astounded at the silly moves of persons and parties to foment discord in order to ride into power on the current of popular excitement; nor am I less surprised at the stretches of power or restrictions of right which too often appear as acts of legislators to pave the way to some favorite political scheme as destitute of intrinsic merit as a wolf’s heart is of the milk of human kindness. A Frenchman would say, “Presque tout aimer richesses et pouvoir” (Almost all men like wealth and power.)”

….
“Petition, also, ye goodly inhabitants of the slave States, your legislators to abolish slavery by the year 1850, or now, and save the abolitionist from reproach and ruin, infamy and shame.

“Pray Congress to pay every man a reasonable price for his slaves out of the surplus revenue arising from the sale of public lands, and from the deduction of pay from the members of Congress.

“Break off the shackles from the poor black man, and hire him to labor like other human beings; for “an hour of virtuous liberty on earth is worth a whole eternity of bondage.” Abolish the practice in the army and navy of trying men by court-martial for desertion. If a soldier or marine runs away, send him his wages, with this instruction, that his country will never trust him again; he has forfeited his honor.”
….
“More economy in the national and state governments would make less taxes among the people; more equality through the cities, towns, and country, would make less distinction among the people; and more honesty and familiarity in societies would make less hypocrisy and flattery in all branches of the community; and open, frank, candid decorum to all men, in this boasted land of liberty, would beget esteem, confidence, union, and love; and the neighbor from any state or from any country, of whatever color, clime or tongue, could rejoice when he put his foot on the sacred soil of freedom, and exclaim, The very name of “American” is fraught with “friendship!” Oh, then, create confidence, restore freedom, break down slavery, banish imprisonment for debt, and be in love, fellowship and peace with all the world! Remember that honesty is not subject to law. The law was made for transgressors. Wherefore a * * * * good name is better than riches.”

JOSEPH SMITH.
NAUVOO, ILLINOIS.
February 7, 1844. January 18 at 3:57pm • Like • 2

Mormon Apologist: This progressive thinking is probably one of the reasons that Joseph Smith was killed a mere five months later. January 18 at 3:59pm • Like •

Mormon & LDS Facts: “Apologist”, it DOES occur to me that racism was ‘endemic’ in our culture. So what? Legalism was endemic in Hebrew culture and Jesus showed that it was wrong. He took the high road, UNLIKE those that claimed to speak for God. What you are skirting, is that Mormon Prophets claimed to have a ‘direct line’ to God. That direct line failed at the most basic of things: that ‘all are alike unto God’, to use McConkie’s transparent phrase.

You can say anything you want to refute it, but you can’t refute their words and deeds, which don’t add up. You talk of Smith and his presidential declarations, but fail to note that Smith wanted to send blacks to Texas and free them AFTER they were used as cannon fodder for the war there. All the ‘good’ quotes you use, are political in nature, crafted for a specific purpose, to gain support. They mean nothing.

Apologetic responses carry no weight. What does, is that the Mormon Church systematically singled out one race as ‘evil’, a race they said were the representatives of Satan on earth, and that they stuck to this UNTIL FORCED TO CHANGE BY PUBLIC OPINION AND PRESSURE.

You quote Fielding Smith (one of the quotes from the Elijah Able Society of Black Latter-day Saints) where he says that the no one called the Blacks ‘an inferior race’ but he himself did so in 1931:

“Not only was Cain called upon to suffer, but because of his wickedness HE BECAME THE FATHER OF AN INFERIOR RACE.” (The Way to Perfection, page 101 [1931])

He then clarified, for I’ve had Mormons tell me that he did not mean the negroes:

“According to Brigham Young, Joseph Smith classified THESE PEOPLE as The Seed of Cain. Young said that “Joseph Smith had declared that the NEGROES were not neutral in heaven, for all the spirits took sides, but ‘the posterity of Cain are black because he (Cain) committed murder. He killed Abel and God set a mark upon his posterity'” (The Way to Perfection, Joseph Fielding Smith, p.105).

And again:

“It was well understood by the early elders of the Church that the mark which was placed on Cain and which his posterity inherited was the BLACK SKIN. The Book of Moses informs us that Cain and his descendants were black” (The Way to Perfection, p.107).

Gee, so who is LYING here “Apologist”? Fielding Smith BLATANTLY LIED. You also left off without finishing the quote from that Look article where Smith said,

“I would not want you to believe that we bear any animosity toward the Negro. “Darkies” are wonderful people, and they have their place in our church.” Look magazine, October 22, 1963, page 79.

“DARKIES… HAVE THEIR PLACE”.  No wonder these guys rarely give interviews to the media anymore. And once again, you quote and don’t look at the whole picture, instead believing the LIE, and that those that called themselves “apostles” HAD TO LIE, to cover their own asses.

“Negroes should be treated like human beings, and not worse than dumb brutes [animals]. For their abuse of that race, the whites shall be cursed, unless they repent.” (Journal Discourses 10:111)

That was on March 8, 1863. Yes, and in the same sermon Young also said,

“The rank, rabid abolitionists, whom I call black-hearted Republicans, have set the whole national fabric on fire. Do you know this, Democrats? They have kindled the fire that is raging now from the north to the south, and from the south to the north. I am no abolitionist, neither am I a proslavery man; I hate some of their principles and especially some of their conduct, as I do the gates of hell. The Southerners make the negroes, and the Northerners worship them; this is all the difference between slaveholders and abolitionists. I would like the President of the United States and all the world to hear this. Shall I tell you the law of God in regard to the African race? If the white man who belongs to the chosen seed mixes his blood with the seed of Cain, the penalty, under the law of God, is DEATH ON THE SPOT. This will always be so.” (page 110)

And at the next Conference (which you also quote),

What is the cause of all this waste of life and treasure? To tell it in a plain, truthful way, one portion of the country wish to raise their negroes or black slaves and the other portion wish to free them, and, apparently, to almost worship them. Well, raise and worship them, who cares? I should never fight one moment about it, for the cause of human improvement is not in the least advanced by the dreadful war which now convulses our unhappy country.

Ham will continue to be the servant of servants, as the Lord has decreed, until the curse is removed. Will the present struggle free the slave? No; but they are now wasting away the black race by thousands. Many of the blacks are treated worse than we treat our dumb brutes; and men will be called to judgment for the way they have treated the negro, and they will receive the condemnation of a guilty conscience, by the just Judge whose attributes are justice and truth.

Treat the slaves kindly and let them live, for Ham must be the servant of servants until the curse is removed. Can you destroy the decrees of the Almighty? You cannot. Yet our Christian brethren think that they are going to overthrow the sentence of the Almighty upon the seed of Ham. They cannot do that, though they may kill them by thousands and tens of thousands. (Journal of Discourses Vol. 10, page 250)

Young was all for “good treatment” PHYSICALLY. But as for the rest, well, you can read, can’t you? I can do this all day with your quotes, or all year, the way this is going.

What got Smith killed was not ‘progressive thinking’ but good old fashioned anger at his megalomaniac aspirations. Keep quoting “Apologist”, but you can’t justify the quotes, in the light of the DOCTRINE staying in place until PEER & SOCIAL PRESSURE FORCED, yes FORCED the LDS CHURCH to CHANGE IT, by ‘convenient’ ‘revelation’. Keep ‘mopologizing’, but really, do some REAL research. Your lack of knowledge about the Mormon church ASTOUNDS me._grindael January 18 at 9:30pm • Like

Mormon & LDS Facts: And your lengthy quotes of Mauss? Didn’t my posts sink in at all? Here is a refresher, for after a lengthy quote by him, I said:

Sound familiar? But of course SOMEONE has to try and make some kind of excuse for men who proclaimed a doctrine direct from GOD being only a ‘worldly’ view , and that they, as men no better than anyone else, having no links to the divine, just jumped on the worldly bandwagon of racism. Too bad there are too many Mormon ‘authorities’ who say otherwise.

In other words (in case you didn’t get it) I understood EXACTLY where you get your line of reasoning from. I’ve read his book. He uses the same faulty line of reasoning that you are clinging to. Too bad it just doesn’t work, in the light of Bible teachings and that there were MANY who did NOT believe the crap that some were slinging around about ‘inferior races’.

A couple of points that I noticed right away:

However, they were apparently never able to galvanize the consensus among the other apostles that might have changed the policy ten or fifteen years earlier.

I thought it was the “prophet’s” prerogative to get “revelation” for the church. What does a “consensus” of the “apostles” have to do with that? It’s not like McKay ASKED God. There is no record that he did. Why not? What’s wrong with this picture? This only shows that Mormonism is run by a “consensus” not by a “prophet” who goes to God and says, “This is what God told me to do”.  What was the difference in the 20 or so years that passed between McKay and Kimball? Racist’s Lee, Fielding Smith, and a bunch of others that would not allow it to happen. These men basically held the “prophet” hostage.

Yet if the Church had made the policy change then, the public relations outcome might have been anticlimactic, since the Church would have appeared to be caving in to political expediency, rather than maintaining its own prophetic and procedural integrity, even in the face of public criticism.

This is wishful thinking, and self-serving pandering. The fact is, that in early 1978 the U.S. Justice Department threatened to remove the church’s tax exempt status. And like the polygamy problem, (where the U.S. Government confiscated their property) it all came down to money. When their purse strings were threatened, they caved.

The president, his two counselors, and the twelve apostles are all considered “prophets, seers, and revelators,” and they usually act as a body when deciding on fundamental doctrines and policies. This process is by definition a conservative one, since it requires a relatively long period of discussion, deliberation, and prayer in order to reach a consensus–in order to feel that they have all been moved by the Holy Spirit toward the same decision

Why didn’t Brigham Young use this method BEFORE he instituted the policy in  the first place? “Feel” like they were moved by the Holy Spirit? Does God dictate by committee? Corporations do.

Brigham Young himself did not actually want slavery in Utah

Really? When he was Governor of Utah Territory, he made it pro-slavery and called slavery a “divine institution”, and said it would be in effect until all the white people were resurrected. I can go on and on. Mauss is fooling himself, but he can’t change the historical record. _grindael January 18 at 9:43pm • Like • 11

Mormon Apologist: Grindael said, “Apologist”, it DOES occur to me that racism was ‘endemic’ in our culture. So what?” Indeed? Then why have you not followed Jesus’ advice and removed the beam from your own eye? January 18 at 10:50pm • Like •

Mormon Apologist: You continue: You quote Fielding Smith where he says that the no one called the Blacks ‘an inferior race’ but he himself did so in 1931:

“Not only was Cain called upon to suffer, but because of his wickedness HE BECAME THE FATHER OF AN INFERIOR RACE.” (The Way to Perfection, page 101 [1931])

And that would refer to Cain’s descendants, who died in the Flood.

You continue: He then clarified, for I’ve had Mormons tell me that he did not mean the negroes:

“According to Brigham Young, Joseph Smith classified THESE PEOPLE as The Seed of Cain. Young said that “Joseph Smith had declared that the NEGROES were not neutral in heaven, for all the spirits took sides, but ‘the posterity of Cain are black because he (Cain) committed murder. He killed Abel and God set a mark upon his posterity'” (The Way to Perfection, Joseph Fielding Smith, p.105).

Indeed. And that stance has been since refuted.

You continue: And again:

“It was well understood by the early elders of the Church that the mark which was placed on Cain and which his posterity inherited was the BLACK SKIN. The Book of Moses informs us that Cain and his descendants were black” (The Way to Perfection, p.107).

Okay. And Bruce R. McConkie himself and other General Authorities have stated that they were wrong.

You continue:

“Gee, so who is LYING here “Apologist”? And once again, you quote and don’t look at the whole picture, instead believing the LIE, and that those that called themselves Apostles of Jesus Christ HAD TO LIE, to cover their own asses.”

While you simply will not admit or discuss the part that the rest of Christianity played in the racism issue to which Mormonism does not hold a candle. You avoid admitting that any Christian will regard his or her minister as a man or woman of God, or that the Catholics and Orthodox ALSO believe that their leadership has a direct line to God, AND you keep bringing up the direct line of men who you do not consider to be Prophets, thus making your argument self-contradictory. January 18 at 10:52pm • Like •

Mormon Apologist: The problem, Grindael, is that I DO look at the whole picture, AND I remember that we are taught to forgive and not to judge. I also know that the official stance of the First Presidency is that our leaders have never been perfect. Since the Bible itself bears that out, in that there were no perfect Prophets in ancient times, it seems that modern-day Prophets have more going for them than you are willing to allow.

Now, if you truly believe that LDS Prophets were and are pawns of Satan for what they taught and believed, then it should be of no consequence, because you can pat your own religious leaders on their backs and tell them they have it right. Instead, you rail against men who were doing what was required of them, and claiming – with no Biblical support to back up your assertions – that they should have known what we think is right in the 21st century. You refuse to accept the idea that God would have guided them according to His own plan and according to what He felt they were capable of understanding in the 19th century and the first 2/3 of the 20th century. God knows better than either one of us how things were then, and He of course educated His children as quickly as they were able to understand. Racism, and the ignorance that drives it even among God’s chosen, is a deeply ingrained problem in the human psyche, and God knows that. He has never had us do something we cannot do, but I’ve noticed that He is pretty masterful at doing what is right at the time.

I would suspect that this is why He did not have His own Son preach against slavery, and why God had Jesus confine His teaching to the Jews, not the Gentiles, waiting instead for His Apostles to take that task on later.

You continue:

“What got Smith killed was not ‘progressive thinking’ but good old fashioned anger at his megalomaniac aspirations.”

Given that he didn’t expect to win the election, and that his primary motive for running for the office was to call attention to what was happening to the Saints because of persecution, AND given that his leadership style indicated anything BUT megalomania, you once again are building an argument yo cannot support. That’s the typical “conspiracy theory” type nonsense that the Tanners were fond of spouting.

You continue:

“Keep quoting “Apologist”, but you can’t justify the quotes, in the light of the DOCTRINE staying in place until PEER & SOCIAL PRESSURE FORCED, yes FORCED the LDS CHURCH to CHANGE IT, by ‘convenient’ ‘revelation’.”

More than five years after the last race riot prior to the Rodney King riots that would happen much later. 17 years BEFORE the SBC apologized for their part in racism and slavery. The same church that was experiencing explosive growth in Africa, even while the Priesthood ban was in place. The same church that was building a Temple in Sao Paolo, where a large number of black LDS lived.

Oh, there was pressure alright, but it was coming from WITHIN the Church, not without. If the Church had indeed given in to public pressure, why did it wait until after the pressure was gone in 1978.

You continue: “Keep ‘mopologizing’, but really, do some REAL research. Your lack of knowledge about the Mormon church ASTOUNDS”

Hey, I never said I was an expert. However, I believe I am a lot more careful with the data than you are, and my conclusions are not driven by hate and anger, as yours seem to be. I realize, as apparently you do not, that the leadership of the Church has always come from the rank and file, though there was for some time an apparent preference for relatives of the Smith family in the First Presidency. I realize, as apparently you do not, that God has never dumped an incomprehensible amount of information into any man’s head (Ezekiel MIGHT be an exception, depending on how you interpret his wheel vision) or asked him to do something he could not do.

What I see God doing is far more subtle than what you seem to think should be going on. If God had merely told His latter-day Prophets that racism was bad, I rather doubt the lesson would have sunk in, or if it did, the lesson would have been to little avail in the general society, those who God wants to follow Him. An epiphany of the likes that Paul or Alma the Younger had only work with certain individuals, and only at certain times.

God, the teacher, rarely does things without first preparing His students (us) and He does it with His lesson plan. Even a mortal school teacher knows that you cannot drop a first grader into a high school senior class and expect him to succeed. A teacher, including God Himself, realizes that a student often has inaccurate preconceptions that must be unlearned and replaced with correct information, and that the learning process cannot go faster than the student is capable of leaning. It goes without saying that the same applies to an entire classroom.

So, the Church that Jesus Christ founded (amidst a time of oppression and racial and social prejudice) was restored in the Antebellum period, a time of racial and social prejudice. Like Jesus’ disciples in ancient times, the latter-day disciples had much to learn. From my perspective, it looks to me that certain seeds had to be sown and take root before other problems – such as racism – could be addressed. Society, including members of the restored Church, had to unlearn many hundreds of years of what had been accepted fact, but was in fact wrong-headed thinking. They had to be shown, for instance, that men of color made good soldiers. In fact, in WW2 the lesson was that men of color were willing to fight to the death for a nation that oppressed them. In truth, we saw in more than one war America’s most oppressed minority (save perhaps the Japanese who were put in internment camps) was willing to fight, even though the white men who commanded them did not respect their manhood.

Every white person in America, not just Mormons, had to learn the true worth of the minority who had been brought to these shores as chattel. They had to learn they were and are equal in every way to any other race on this planet. It was only as God taught this lesson, line upon line, precept upon precept, that He was finally able to relieve the oppression against the Negro race and get the oppressors to realize the wrongs they had committed and to make amends.

And you know, in the process both sides of the issue gained strengths they never knew they had. People of the race who had long oppressed the others became their champions. Civil rights leaders learned not only that slavery was bad, but that the racism that continued even among the abolitionists for many years was no longer acceptable.

It never had anything to do with a direct line to God, save that God only taught what He knew his children could learn, including His Prophets. Probably the hardest lesson for some to learn was forgiveness for the evil that had gone on before, even among the best-intended. Tolerance also was a hard lesson for some, yet many did in fact learn tolerance and forgiveness.

You can scream and holler all you want about racism within Mormonism, grindael, but the fact remains that Mormons and their leaders are just as human as anybody else, and as prone to mistake. They were and are part of their surrounding society. January 18 at 10:53pm • Like • 1

Mormon Apologist: grindael said: “In other words (in case you didn’t get it) I understood EXACTLY where you get your line of reasoning from. I’ve read his book. He uses the same faulty line of reasoning that you are clinging to.” Funny thing is, so did Fawn Brodie. How do you explain that? January 18 at 11:03pm • Like • 1

Mormon & LDS Facts: Your definition of direct line to God is whenever is that God lets things just happen and never gives any light or direction to these “prophets” of yours. And when these “prophets” claim He does, you say naw, it was only their ‘opinion’. Nice little loophole you have going there. So you are skirting the issue, especially in the light that Smith taught that when one has the constant companionship of the Holy ‘Ghost’ and one has their ‘calling and election made sure’ the heavens are opened to them and the get to be taught all the mysteries of God, until they have a ‘perfect knowledge’ of them. This doesn’t leave much room for those men to have the dismal track record they had on race.

Then why have you not followed Jesus’ advice and removed the beam from your own eye?

Because I don’t have one. I’m not the one defending racism, you are. There isn’t a ‘beam’ in my eye “Apologist”, for I am judging them in righteousness. They condemn themselves with their own failed doctrines & prophecies. And since you are in bed with these false prophets, and listen to what your itching ears want to hear, you are subject to that judgement also. You are a racist, because you condone the racism of your past prophets by making excuses for it, just as those who run the church do so today.

You say:

No, that direct line failed to provide the inspiration that YOU think they should have had. It all comes back to YOUR expectations of the Prophets, with no thought at all as to what their mission was at the time.

Nope, wrong again. It is what THEY say, and what THEIR expectations and proclamations say that I go by. ‘The prophet will never lead you astray’, Follow the prophet even if he tells you to do something wrong.’ Blah, blah, blah… These men aren’t prophets; they are imposters and false teachers.

I am merely putting them in historical perspective.

Try that with Hitler and the Jews and see how far it gets you. Knowing you, you’ll try it.

“You talk of Smith and his presidential declarations, but fail to note that Smith wanted to send blacks to Texas and free them AFTER they were used as cannon fodder for the war there.”

Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith. Go look it up.

So, a minority religion did this, but not the rest of Protestantism, especially Evangelical Protestantism? You’re throwing rocks inside a glass house again.

Not the point, for I’ve said they were wrong also. What does the fact that Mormonism is a “minority religion” have to do with anything? And why do you keep bringing others into this? I’ve condemned them all. More than once. I’m not protecting a church, or men or society, LIKE YOU ARE. You lie down with the dogs “Apologist”. Your filthy with it. I judge them all guilty because they were. It was sin, evil, wrong, and to those responsible, Jesus will say, ‘I never knew you’.

You wish. If the Church had truly given in to public pressure the Priesthood ban might have been lifted in 1968, not 1978. In case you hadn’t notice, the Civil Rights Era, or at least the most dramatic portion of it, had been over a few years by 1978.

Once again, you show how little you know of the situation. That is almost, but not quite the most laughable thing you’ve said. I guess all those things I posted about the escalating peer pressure, violence and the problems in Brazil just went right over your head. (I’m not surprised, defend at all costs and lie, lie, lie, like your leaders teach you to.) The problem was not only societal, it was INTERNAL, and it was escalating. Not only did B.Y.U have problems with boycotts, it also had problems with Housing Issues in the wake of the ERA controversy:

 BYU Housing Controversy

On February 28, the U.S. justice Department charged that BYU off-campus housing practices violate the Fair Housing Act, and gave the university one month to conform. The threatened suit grew out of an incident in which a BYU female applied for an apartment in a building approved for male student housing. BYU’s policy is that unmarried male and female students may not live in the same building, even if they live in separate apartments, and all students must live in university-approved housing. 

In March the school’s president, Dallin H. Oaks, pointed out to Justice that Title IX provides that separation of male and female students in on and off-campus housing is not discriminatory, and asked for clarification of the Department’s position. In April, Senators Jake Garn (R-Utah), Charles Mathias (R-Md.) and James McClure (R-Idaho) announced new legislation which would permit private schools and colleges to require separate housing for men and women. According to the Deseret News, BYU officials would consider building new dorms and buying apartment buildings to house all students in university owned facilities rather than give up the policy. That might satisfy Justice, but the economic consequences would be enormous since 19,000 of the school’s 26,000 students live in the contested housing. Meanwhile, BYU and justice are negotiating out of court. Sunstone 3:4/6 (May 78)

BYU Fights ERA Boycott

Brigham Young University has threatened to withdraw from nine organizations which are boycotting states that have not ratified the Equal Rights Amendment. BYU President Dallin H. Oaks was quoted in the Deseret News as having written each organization that, “we are embarrassed to have membership in an organization that engages in such a repressive tactic.” Sunstone 3:4/6 (May 78)

BYU and justice Reach Accord

On June 8, BYU and the Justice Department signed an agreement resolving the alleged discriminatory housing practices of the university. justice will not oppose BYU’s requiring all single students to live in university-approved housing. Non-student housing complexes or wings of complexes, however, must allow both male and female renters, while student housing complexes continue to be strictly segregated. Syndicated columnist James J. Kilpatrick summed up the agreement: “Brigham Young conceded, though no concession was truly required, that its rules for students could not be imposed upon non-students. The department conceded that although the Fair Housing Act prohibits sex discrimination in all circumstances, the act does not prevent sex discrimination in every case…. It is wonderful, believe me, what victories our government can achieve when it tries.” Sunstone 3:5/6 (Jul 78)

LDS Hawaii Center Challenges IRS

The Mormon church-owned Polynesian Cultural Center is filing suit in federal court to challenge the Internal Revenue Service’s revocation of its tax-exempt status. Because of its church affiliation, the PCC had been considered tax-exempt until the IRS denied them that status in 1979. The PCC’s tax attorney, James M. Cowley, said the IRS has assessed the PCC for taxes dating back to 1972, the first year the Hawaiian tourist center showed a substantial profit. Sunstone 6:1/9 (Jan 81)

IRS And BYU

The Internal Revenue Service cannot force Brigham Young University to turn over names and addresses of those who have donated to the school, U.S. District Judge David K. Winder has ruled. The ruling overturns a recommendation to the contrary made earlier by U.S. Magistrate Daniel A. Alsup.

The government had argued that since every one of the returns of 162 BYU donors-in-kind audited to date had shown overvaluation, there existed suspicious circumstances which created the likelihood that the other donors-in-kind had overvalued their donations. “The court rejects this contention and holds that there is no reasonable basis to believe that one or more BYU donors have overvalued their gifts simply because one or more donors have overvalued theirs,” said Winder.

Government officials said any appeal of the decision by the government to the U.S. Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals will be up to the U.S. Department of Justice. Sunstone 5:4/10 (Jul 80)

The Civil Rights Movement was hardly over by 1978, in fact it was just warming up and the Church found itself under fire for opposing the ERA and so had problems with the Justice Department.

Your effort here, to say that this had all just blown over and that there was no pressure on the Church is plainly at odds with the historical facts. (As usual).

Of course, I don’t see you opening up Evangelical Protestantism to air out its skeletons, because if you did you would not have an argument.

It’s not the purpose of this page. But I have been critical here, and elsewhere. You are trying to divert the issue. Plus, they have never claimed to be the only living church on the face of the earth and speak directly to the whole earth for God. They don’t have added “scripture” that states :

Behold there are save two churches only; the one is the church of the Lamb of God, and the other is the church of the devil; wherefore, whoso belongeth not to the church of the Lamb of God belongeth to that great church, which is the mother of abominations; and she is the whore of all the earth. (1 Nephi 14:)

Mormons claim they are the ONLY church “authorized” to speak for God. Protestantism may have its “skeletons”, and I acknowledge them, but that is because men deviate from the teachings of the Saviour. Mormon “prophets”, who claim to speak FOR and AS God, are under greater scrutiny, BECAUSE of this claim. Their teachings simply do not hold up in the light of truth. And there were MANY “Protestants” who CONDEMNED such behavior, within their own ranks. I stand with them. If Mormons do this, they are excommunicated for not “sustaining the brethren”.

Not only was Cain called upon to suffer, but because of his wickedness HE BECAME THE FATHER OF AN INFERIOR RACE.” (The Way to Perfection, page 101 [1931])

And that would refer to Cain’s descendants, who died in the Flood.

That is a flat out lie. Man oh man,  “Apologist”, how can you live with yourself and lie like you do? January 18 at 4:52am • Like • 3

Mormon & LDS Facts: Here is Fielding Smith proving you a liar:

“According to Brigham Young, Joseph Smith classified THESE PEOPLE [the Negroes] as The Seed of Cain. Young said that “Joseph Smith had declared that the NEGROES were not neutral in heaven, for all the spirits took sides, but ‘the posterity of Cain are black because he (Cain) committed murder. He killed Abel and God set a mark upon his posterity'” (The Way to Perfection, Joseph Fielding Smith, p.105).

Indeed. And that stance has been since refuted.

Only ATTEMPTED, by ‘mopologists’ like yourself who will never admit the truth of it, when it is staring you in the face. But I guarantee you will ignore this, like you ignore everything else I have proved.

Okay. And Bruce R. McConkie himself and other General Authorities have stated that they were wrong.

No they didn’t. They NEVER have. Provide ONE STATEMENT, please. JUST ONE. YOu can’t. They have said RACISM is wrong, but not what they did. They hailed the Priesthood ban as a ‘revelation’, which it was not. It was a lie. It was a bunch of corporate “suits” who got together and made a decision for the good of the company. They never admitted that the Church was wrong for perpetuating the racist doctrine in the first place. So their “forget what anyone ever said” means literally NOTHING. I wish I had the time to analyze McConkie’s mea culpa in depth. But here is a few things. He says:

“I would like to say something about the new revelation relative to the priesthood going to those of all nations and races. “He [meaning Christ, who is the Lord God] inviteth them all to come unto him and partake of his goodness; and he denieth none that come unto him, black and white, bond and free, male and female; and he remembereth the heathen; and all are alike unto God, both Jew and Gentile” (2 Nephi 26:33).

These words have now taken on a new meaning.”

What new meaning? They weren’t plain enough two thousand years ago? HE DENIETH NONE THAT COME UNTO HIM. What is so hard to understand about that? Unless of course, you have a convenient passage of “scripture” invented later that says you must “qualify” that statement. So they were actually only removing their own qualification, the Book of Abraham invention. If they had stuck to the Bible in the first place, there wouldn’t have been a problem. “We spoke with a limited understanding and without the light and knowledge that now has come into the world.” Yes, without the light and knowledge that the U.S. Government would revoke their tax exempt status, and that they could somehow weather the storm of public outcry. You think they would have learned from polygamy.

While you simply will not admit or discuss the part that the rest of Christianity played in the racism issue to which Mormonism does not hold a candle. You avoid admitting that any Christian will regard his or her minister as a man or woman of God, or that the Catholics and Orthodox ALSO believe that their leadership has a direct line to God, AND you keep bringing up the direct line of men who you do not consider to be Prophets, thus making your argument self-contradictory.

Wrong again. All men who have a DIRECT line to God and live the commandments ARE NOT RACISTS. All others will be judged on that, whether they are Catholics, Protestants or any others. Get over it. Why was the ONLY TRUE CHURCH (as they claim, and who condemns all others as having no authority or revelation) wallowing in the mud with these people you (and they) are condemning? My argument makes perfect sense, it only doesn’t to you, because you can’t use anything against me. I believe in Jesus and the Bible, NOT A CHURCH, or a PASTOR. That is the way Jesus intended it.

Oh this is just hilarious:

AND given that his leadership style indicated anything BUT megalomania

Yeah, the guy who had himself ordained ‘king of the earth’. Who sent men on missions and committed adultery with their wives. Who demanded absolute obedience from his followers at all times. Who organized the Danites and sent them out to murder people. Who ran Nauvoo like a dictator, committed treason & and excommunicated men without trials because they revealed what he was REALLY DOING, and went so far as to destroy their property to shut them up. Yup, THAT leadership style got him killed. January 19 at 4:58am • Like

Mormon & LDS Facts: God knows better than either one of us how things were then, and He of course educated His children as quickly as they were able to understand. Racism, and the ignorance that drives it even among God’s chosen, is a deeply ingrained problem in the human psyche, and God knows that

Racist b.s. from a racist at heart. I quoted the bible to show that all are equal to God in all ways. You ignored it, as usual. You mean, they were incapable of understanding that racism was wrong until 1978? Are you serious?

God, the teacher, rarely does things without first preparing His students (us) and He does it with His lesson plan. Even a mortal school teacher knows that you cannot drop a first grader into a high school senior class and expect him to succeed. A teacher, including God Himself, realizes that a student often has inaccurate preconceptions that must be unlearned and replaced with correct information, and that the learning process cannot go faster than the student is capable of leaning. It goes without saying that the same applies to an entire classroom.

This isn’t Seminary, and I’m not some duped member of the corporation that you can fool with that garbage. You fail to take into account that MANY MANY MANY MANY men WERE NOT RACISTS!!!!!!!!!! Why were they NOT? If they could NOT be, then why would Mormon Prophets be racists? Were they that slow and stupid that they could not see the wrong in it? They were supposed to be the leaders, but the WORLD LED THEM. Keep making excuses, “Apologist”, you keep digging a bigger hole and making yourself look more and more stupid.

Every white person in America, not just Mormons, had to learn the true worth of the minority who had been brought to these shores as chattel. They had to learn they were and are equal in every way to any other race on this planet. It was only as God taught this lesson, line upon line, precept upon precept, that He was finally able to relieve the oppression against the Negro race and get the oppressors to realize the wrongs they had committed and to make amends.

EVERY white person? Like those that were lynched in the south in the 50’s? Like those that fought against slavery and racism since the beginning of this nation? THOSE whites? Once again, apologist dribble. And read up on why God in SARCASM used the ‘line upon line’ phrase in the Bible. I explained that above, but once again, you just run in circles and spout the same redundant arguments over and over again.

You can scream and holler all you want about racism within Mormonism, grindael, but the fact remains that Mormons and their leaders are just as human as anybody else, and as prone to mistake. They were and are part of their surrounding society.

Not when they claim to be the only true and living church on the face of the earth and that they can’t lead people astray. A whole lot of people were led astray by their false racist doctrine.

As to Fawn Brodie, in 1970 Marvin Hill wrote an article for Dialogue called The Manipulation of History, and though I don’t agree with all his conclusions, he writes,

“Even Joseph’s “calling for the end of slavery by 1850” in his Presidential campaign is not so liberal as Brodie supposes…. Joseph Smith was, therefore, to some degree a racist, a segregationist, a colonizer, and only incidentally a supporter of abolition. He had some elements of liberalism in his thinking, but these had definite limits. His record … is marked by ambiguity…”

But her weakest claim is that Joseph became the black man’s champion after January, 1842, when he “came under the influence of abolitionist C. V. Dyer.” Joseph never met Dyer, nor is there sufficient evidence that he came under his influence. While Mrs. Brodie has maintained elsewhere that Joseph Smith and Dyer had correspondence, a careful reading of the History of the Church shows that it was John C. Bennett who corresponded with Dyer (but only to a limited extent) and that Joseph, after reading Dyer’s letters, commented that he shared Dyer’s anger at the Missourians who had sentenced three abolitionists in the state to twelve years in prison. Joseph had personal reasons for feeling that Missourians sentenced men unjustly–this rather than slavery was likely what made him angry.

Again, Mrs. Brodie overlooks the fact that while Joseph might have advocated “equal rights” for Negroes, he had no specific plans for their social improvement after they were free. In the Richards’ account it is noted that Joseph believed them incapable of self-government. He told Judge Adams in December 1842, “Should the slaves be organized into an independent government they would become quarrelsome [;] it would not be wisdom . . .” He is reported in the same source to have told Adams that he could not support a Southem presidential candidate because he might acquire a “religious peak” against the Saints and “subdue them and compel our children to mix with their slaves.” (Dialogue, Vol.5, No.3, p.98 – p.99, Autumn 1970)

I have seen the quote you used above by Smith all over the internet. It is always incomplete. The Complete quote is,

[Question] By Elder [Orson] Hyde, “What would you advice a man to do who come in the [Church] having a hundred slaves?” Joseph [replied], “I have always advised such to bring their slaves {page 12} into a free country, set them free, Educate them and give them their equal rights. Should the slaves be organized into an independent government, they would become quarrelsome. It would not be wisdom.” (Scott H. Faulring, An American Prophet’s Record, p.260).

Into a “free country” does not necessarily mean America. The fact is,  Smith advocated using the slaves (and Indians for that matter) in the War with Mexico and then give them their own country, not let them be free in America. The reason: fear of intermarriage.  As Hill brings out in his article, Smith’s views were evolving, and one must take into account that he was running for President, and playing the political game in 1844. His views in the Book of Abraham were the ones that really counted, and they were racist. No one in the Church has ever changed that, or apologized for it.  _ grindael January 18 at 5:14am • Like • 1

Mormon Apologist: Grindael said: “Your definition of direct line to God is whenever is that God lets things just happen and never gives any light or direction to these prophets of yours. And when these prophets claim He does, you say naw, it was only their ‘opinion’. Nice little loophole you have going there.”

Loophole?????

Show me anywhere in the Bible where it says a Prophet of God cannot have an opinion! If God deprives a man of his right to an opinion, He deprives him of his free agency and deprives him of the opportunity to learn the truth for himself, sometimes the hard way.

No Bible Prophet was perfect, no LDS Prophet has ever claimed perfection, and there is no LDS doctrine of infallibility concerning any Prophet past or present. More importantly, the First Presidency has made it very clear what is or is not official doctrine and how to know what is or is not official doctrine.  January 19 at 6:02am • Like •

Mormon Apologist: grindael said: “This isn’t Seminary, and I’m not some duped member that you can fool with that garbage. You fail to take into account that MANY MANY MANY MANY men WERE NOT RACISTS!!!!!!!!!!”

And you fail to take into account how many that were. You named only ONE abolitionist in this entire thread, whereas I have mentioned abolitionists and slave revolt leaders, and ministers of color who were the subject of racism. You have not supported your side of the argument very well, and have in no way shown that I am a racist at heart. January 19 at 6:02am • Like

Mormon & LDS Facts: Indeed. And that stance has been since refuted.

Refuted? Never. Denied? Yes. Lied about? Yes. Obfuscated? Yes.

You’re kidding, right? You simply can’t be serious with that last comment. You obviously only read what you wanted to. Go back and read what I wrote.  Absalom Jones and Richard Allen were two blacks ordained to be Methodist Preachers in the 1700’s. You mentioned them, remember? They were licensed by St. George’s Church in 1784. They did experience a segregated Congregation, but they also did preach to whites. The segregated Congregation caused them to break away and start their own church. But Richard Allen also said,

“Many of the white people [who] have been instruments in the hands of God for our good, even such as have held us in captivity, are now pleading our cause with earnestness and zeal.”

If you want more, here are a few:

During the Congressional debate on the 1820 Tallmadge Amendment, which sought to limit slavery in Missouri as it became a state, Constitution signer Rufus King declared that,

“laws or compacts imposing any such condition [slavery] upon any human being are absolutely void, because contrary to the law of nature, which is the law of God, by which he makes his ways known to man, and is paramount to all human control.”

In 1774, Benjamin Franklin and Benjamin Rush founded America’s first antislavery society; John Jay was president of a similar society in New York. When Constitution signer William Livingston heard of the New York society, he, as Governor of New Jersey, wrote them, offering:

“I would most ardently wish to become a member of it [the society in New York] and… I can safely promise them that neither my tongue, nor my pen, nor purse shall be wanting to promote the abolition of what to me appears so inconsistent with humanity and Christianity… May the great and the equal Father of the human race, who has expressly declared His abhorrence of oppression, and that He is no respecter of persons, succeed a design so laudably calculated to undo the heavy burdens, to let the oppressed go free, and to break every yoke.”

And as for calling those who pursued slavery and racism “so-called Christians”, I’m not the only one:

“Christianity, by introducing into Europe the truest principles of humanity, universal benevolence, and brotherly love, had happily abolished civil slavery. Let us who profess the same religion PRACTICE ITS PRECEPTS… by agreeing to this duty.” —Richard Henry Lee, President of Continental Congress and Signer of the Declaration of Independence. Memoir of the Life of Richard Henry Lee and His Correspondence With the Most Distinguised Men in America and Europe (Philadelphia: H.C. Carey and I. Lea, 1825), Vol. I, pp. 17-19. The first speech of Richard Henry Lee in the House of Burgesses.

“[I]t ought to be considered that national crimes can only be and frequently are punished in this world by national punishments; and that the continuance of the slave trade, and thus giving it a national sanction and encouragement, ought to be considered as justly exposing us to the displeasure and vengeance of Him who is equally Lord of all and who views with equal eye the poor African slave and his American master.” —Luther Martin, Constitutional Convention Delegate. James Madison, The Records of the Federal Convention, Max Farrand, editor (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1911), Vol. III, pg. 211.

“Domestic slavery is repugnant to the principles of Christianity… It is rebellion against the authority of a common Father. It is a practical denial of the extent and efficacy of the death of a common Savior. It is an usurpation of the prerogative of the great Sovereign of the universe who has solemnly claimed an exclusive property in the souls of men.” —Benjamin Rush, Signer of the Declaration of Independence. Minutes of the Proceedings of a Convention of Delegates From the Abolition Societies Established in Different Parts of the United States, Assembled at Philadelphia, on the First Day of January, One Thousand Seven Hundred and Ninety-Four… (Philadelphia: Zachariah Poulson, 1794), p. 24. “To the Citizens of the United States.”

And of course, in 1833 you would never have seen a whole SOCIETY OF PEOPLE say ANYTHING like this, would you?

“We further believe and affirm — that all persons of color, who possess the qualifications which are demanded of others, ought to be admitted forthwith to the enjoyment of the same privileges, and the exercise of the same prerogatives, as others; and that the paths of preferment, of wealth and of intelligence, should be opened as widely to them as to persons of a white complexion.” (American Anti-Slavery Society’s Declaration of Sentiments 1833)

As another founding member, Theodore Sedgewick Wright (who was African American) said,

“I will say nothing about the inconvenience which I have experienced myself, and which every man of color experiences, though made in the image of God. I will say nothing about the inconvenience of traveling; how we are frowned upon and despised. No matter how we may demean ourselves, we find embarrassments everywhere. But, this prejudice goes farther. It debars men from heaven. While sir, slavery cuts off the colored portion of the community from religious privileges men are made infidels. What, they demand, is your Christianity? How do you regard your brethren? How do you treat them at the Lord’s table? Where is your consistency in talking about the heathen, traversing the ocean to circulate the Bible everywhere, while you frown upon them at the door? These things meet us and weigh down our spirits….” (Prejudice against the colored man,” The American Reader (HarperCollins Publishers, 1991).

You say that I’m not looking at American history correctly, yet you ignore men like William Lloyd Harrison and Arthur Tappan, who founded the above Society, and who I’ve already mentioned. If men like these could have such an enlightened view, why didn’t Mormon “prophets” who claimed to be the only “authorized spokesman for God” on the planet?

William Lloyd Garrison (another charter member of the American Anti-Slavery Society) started a paper called The Liberator in 1831. Though change would come slowly, there were many who were aware of racism and segregation, and continued to keep these issues in the public eye, as this quote from an 1853 article attests,

“Rev. Theodore Parker administered, in a recent Sunday discourse, a well-deserved rebuke of the spirit of caste, which in the Puritan city [Boston] is exhibited towards that portion of God’s heritage whose skins are colored unlike the majority; and for an illustration, referred to the concerts of Monsier Julian, at Music Hall, from one of which respectable colored persons had been excluded.” (The Liberator, Dec 12, 1853)

Garrison also aptly said, “The success of any great moral enterprise does not depend upon numbers.” Wendell Phillips—Garrison’s close ally—testified in front of the Massachusetts legislature in 1841, on the issue of Railroad Desegregation (the abolitionists began a boycott campaign only after the State Government failed to act on the issue). This is a description of the event from his biography:

Privately owned railroads received “special privileges and franchises” from the state, he argued. The state, therefore had the right and the duty to make these enterprises treat all citizens as equals. “These corporations are public servants,” Phillips maintained,” and therefore bound to serve in accordance with the laws of the commonwealth,” which had been designed “to secure the rights of all the people.”…Since law, according to Phillips, must insure the public’s good above all else, legislators should override the private choices of the segregationists…. As Phillips had made clear during this contest, however, he now equated racial equality with the public’s good and insisted that positive law must prevent an individual’s discriminatory use of private property.” (Brewer p. 98-99)

And though the Boston Public School system was not desegregated until 1855, and Harvard did not graduate an African-American until 1870, I am aware that many churches, theaters, lecture-halls, and other public institutions remained segregated throughout the period. All true. But then, there were strides being made, battles being fought and won. Who was doing this? Not the Mormons, who claim again and again that they are “IN the world, but not OF the world.” You could have fooled me.

One great example is Theodore Dwight Weld. Delighted with obscurity, his involvement and achievements to end slavery and racism went largely un-noticed in the 19th century. In 1854, Weld established a school of the Raritan Bay Union at Eagleswood in Perth Amboy, New Jersey. The school accepted students of all races and sexes. In 1864, he moved to Hyde Park, Massachusetts, where he helped open another school in Lexington dedicated to the same principles as his first academy. Here, Weld had “charge of Conversation, Composition, and English Literature,” Among his pupils at this school for girls was Philadelphia poet, Florence Earle Coates–granddaughter of abolitionist Thomas Earle.

Mormons love to claim that the first black preacher in America was Elijah Abel, but this is another falsehood. There were some from the 18th Century who were ordained by whites and preached to mixed Congregations. Yes, change took time, and many of these men grew frustrated with setbacks.

You said:  It was only as God taught this lesson, line upon line, precept upon precept, that He was finally able to relieve the oppression against the Negro race and get the oppressors to realize the wrongs they had committed and to make amends.

If that is true, than what took the Mormons so long? Were they just too stupid to even “ask”? To see the inequality? You are acting like it was some hard thing that they had to learn a little at a time, that took until 1978! Again were Mormon “prophets” that stupid? It seems you are, for spouting such nonsense.

Even the ReOrganized Church was far ahead of the Salt Lake City suits in respect to racism. At the April 1868 General Conference, the Quorum of Twelve presented a motion, “Resolved that this conference would encourage the carrying out the provisions made for preaching the gospel to the negro race in the revelation of May 4, 1865.”( History of the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (Independence, Missouri: Herald House, 1896), Vol. III, p. 495 (hereafter History RLDS).

Seven years later, in the February 15, 1875 True L.D.S. Herald, President Smith wrote an editorial strongly condemning elders who were making racial distinctions:

We are pained to learn that some few Elders are making an unnecessary distinction between the white and colored races in regard to gospel ordinances and fellowship….

It is unjust to the Church for one, two or more Elders to teach, preach, or advise a distinction and exclusion from church fellowship and communion upon the ground of race or color; while the “articles and covenants of the Church” nowhere warrant such exclusion, and the practice of the Church has never sanctioned it….

We think it derogatory to the teaching of Jesus, as found in the New Testament, Book of Mormon, and Doctrine and Covenants to insist upon a separation of the races. “All One in Christ,” True L. D. Saints’ Herald, February 15, 1875, p. 112.

The following year, on April 3, 1866, the Council of Twelve discussed “whether Coloured Members should be organized by themselves into Branches or in connection with the White Brethren.” After discussion the Twelve passed the following: “Resolved that as the Author of Life and Salvation does not discriminate among His rational creatures on account of Colour neither does the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.” Council of Twelve Minutes. (Dialogue, Vol.12, No.2, p.39)

What is that argument you were advocating earlier? Oh yeah, “God knows better than either one of us how things were then, and He of course educated His children as quickly as they were able to understand. Racism, and the ignorance that drives it even among God’s chosen, is a deeply ingrained problem in the human psyche, and God knows that.”

Yes, the Mormons must have been inordinately ignorant and stupid, for it took them until 1978 to figure it out, a HUNDRED YEARS after the RLDS did. Your argument has fallen apart “Apologist”. _grindael January 19 at 1:16pm • Like • 4

Abolitionists as traitors: David Wilmot, William Lloyd Garrison, John C. Calhoun & Horace Greely with Benedict Arnold (1850)

Mormon Apologist: Grindael said: “This isn’t Seminary, and I’m not some duped member that you can fool with that garbage. You fail to take into account that MANY MANY MANY MANY men WERE NOT RACISTS!!!!!!!!!!”

And you fail to take into account how many that were. You named only ONE abolitionist in this entire thread, whereas I have mentioned abolitionists and slave revolt leaders, and ministers of color who were the subject of racism. You have not supported your side of the argument very well, and have in no way shown that I am a racist at heart. January 21 at 7:19am • Like

Mormon Apologist: I said: “I am merely putting them in historical perspective.” Then you said: “Try that with Hitler and the Jews and see how far it gets you.”

I see you have forgotten about the rise in anti-Semitism and a marked increase in racism in the post WW1 years, not to mention the failure of a number of governments because of WW1 and the rise of Fascism, which was the evil stepchild of the War to End All Wars.

Germany, thanks to the Versailles Treaty, which was notable for its vindictiveness, sank into a financial depression before the Great Depression hit the US and the rest of the world. Unfortunately, during times like those, hate groups tend to grow. The Weimar Republik was unfortunately weak, and even worse, at the time that Hitler and the Nazis began rising in power, Hindenburg was growing senile, and as such was in no condition to lead Germany the way it needed to be led.

On top of it all, because of the kinds of businesses which were common among Jews in Germany at that time, and because the Jews are notable for their thrift, the general Jewish population of Germany was better off financially. As Germany’s economy worsened, it was easy for some to blame the Jews for the rest of Germany’s financial straits. So, Fascism grew in Germany because of a weak government, and anti-Semitism grew because of the weak economy. WW2 started because Hitler wanted to reclaim real estate lost in WW1, and he attacked France because (1) they had some of that real estate and (2) because of the role they played in the Treaty of Versailles. In the meantime, Italy came under Mussolini and Fascism and Spain fought a civil war in which the Republic finally fell to the Falangistas led by Francisco Franco.

So yes, I CAN say that about Hitler and the Jews, because once one is familiar with what was going on in Europe at the time, one can better understand how the seeds of anti-Semitism and Fascism came to be planted and fertilized. By no means does it excuse what happens, but it helps to explain it. Hitler would have been nothing more than a rabble rouser in a strong Weimar Republic and a strong German economy.

Don’t forget that the United States was not immune to what was going on in Europe, because the KKK began growing rapidly after WW1 and reached its peak during the Great Depression. Even men like Henry Ford were guilty of anti-Semitism. January 21 at 3:11pm • Like

Mormon Apologist: grindael said: “Once again, you show how little you know of the situation. That is almost, but not quite the most laughable thing you’ve said. I guess all those things I posted about the escalating peer pressure, violence and the problems in Brazil just went right over your head. (I’m not surprised, defend at all costs and lie, lie, lie, like your leaders teach you to.)”

Funny…. I posted at least three remarks about Brazil, so I guess I can say much the same thing. I am quite aware of the pressure on the Church. I am also aware that it had largely eased up by 1978. January 21 at 3:13pm • Like

Mormon Apologist: You know, pressure can come from a variety of directions, and for a number of reasons. While you wish to give credit to forces outside of Mormonism for forcing change, you forget the forces WITHIN Mormonism. I have mentioned previously the explosive growth of Mormonism in Africa and the large number of people of color in Brazil. You do not acknowledge the rapid growth of the Church in Brazil in the years leading up to the building of the Sao Paulo Temple, which included a lot of people who were mixed race. You also do not acknowledge the fact that the First Presidency was aware of the situation.

In fact, at no time have you given any credit to people of color who were LDS even during the years of the Priesthood ban. You say nothing at all about the faith they had to have had to belong to a church that denied them a privilege. You do this, and then you accuse ME of racism.

I have already told you in previous posts, and possibly previous threads, that the situation in Africa and Brazil was creating concern back in Salt Lake. President Kimball reportedly put a lot of time in prayer concerning the matter, and the result was the 1978 Proclamation. January 21 at 3:48pm • Like

Mormon Apologist: You say: “Wrong again. All men who have a DIRECT line to God and live the commandments ARE NOT RACISTS.”

According to whom? You continue:

“All others will be judged on that, whether they are Catholics, Protestants or any others. Get over it.”

Indeed they will be. You continue:

“Why was the ONLY TRUE CHURCH (as they claim) wallowing in the mud with these people you are condemning?”

First, it has been my experience with Protestantism that Mormonism does not have an exclusive claim on being the one true church. Second, Mormons were “wallowing” in mud not of their creation in a society where WHAT WE NOW CONSIDER racist behavior was the societal norm. It was enough that there were abolitionists, but that was only one step toward erasing racism from society at large. For a very long time Christians had been using the Bible to justify racism, so it really should be no surprise to you that Mormons believed the same. However, most of the early Saints leaned toward abolitionism, which them them essentially pariahs in the South. It was the primary factor that led to the Mormon War in Missouri.

You don’t seem to understand that supporting abolition was one big, VERY controversial step on the road to erasing racism. You don’t take into account that for many, many years Christians believed the Bible supported not only slavery, but the idea that Negroes are inferior. Yes, it was wrong-headed thinking, but that was the social milieu of the time, like it or not. Likewise, it was the kind of wrong-headed thinking that it would take generations to erase.

Consider Moses and the Hebrews: Moses saved them from slavery in Egypt, but they ended up wandering in the wilderness for forty years. Why? Because the older generation had some ideas that needed to die. It was easier on Israel to grow in isolation for a generation in order for the wrong-headed thinking of those who remembered Egypt to die out, and their beliefs with them.

This was not possible in America, even with the Saints moving to Utah. It was a fairly short matter of years before the Pony Express, the telegraph, and then the railroad, and the faster communication with the “outside” world to arrive. This was good in many respects, but it also meant that Mormons were not isolated from crazy teachings like the curse of Cain. As a result, Mormons unlearned the teaching along with the rest of society, though there is good evidence they shook of racism a bit faster than others in the US.

Even Moses, one of the greatest Prophets, was unable to teach Israel everything they needed to know. Many simply would not have accepted it. You seem to think Latter-Day Prophets are more capable than Moses, and even less imperfect than Moses (remember, he was not allowed into the Holy Land either), and that not only the Prophets but the membership at large would readily and without question accept 21st century ideals of racial norms.

Interracial marriage is as good an indicator of racial beliefs. As late as the 1950s 90% of Americans opposed interracial marriage. This means that the general public, LDS or otherwise, would not have accepted revelation from God reversing centuries of racism. What happened, however, is that the general public began to pay attention to the contributions of people of color to American society. Many Blacks had their military records to show off, and to remind themselves they had fought for a nation that oppressed them. George Washington Carver’s work did not go unnoticed, largely because FDR respected his work so much. I have, in one of my books, a great story by Journalist Ernie Pyle about a visit by FDR to the Tuskegee Institute while Carver was still alive. By this time scads of American kids were enjoying Carver’s most popular invention, peanut butter.

By the 1950s people of color were doing things white America could no longer ignore, and as a result it became increasingly harder to downplay the intellectual capacity of the Negro race. Barriers began to fall. Old racist attitudes began to fade as their believers – like the Egyptian-born Hebrews – died out. It was only after this began happening that we as a people became ready for the Priesthood ban to be lifted. We had to unlearn centuries of racism, and FINALLY realize the Bible did not support it.

You continue:

“My argument makes perfect sense, it only doesn’t to you, because you can’t use anything against me. I believe in Jesus and the Bible, NOT A CHURCH, or a PASTOR.”

Which, of course, makes it MUCH easier to duck out of the racist past of Christianity in general so that you can point the finger at Mormonism. You have no tradition behind you.

You continue:

“That is the way Jesus intended it.”

That doctrine is primarily 20th century, and cannot be found outside of anything but a narrow slice of Protestantism. January 21 at 4:33pm • Like

Mormon & LDS Facts: I knew you would try and justify Hitler. Understanding WHY someone is a racist or a murderer, doesn’t change the fact that it was wrong, and if someone truly speaks for God, they would not practice it. (By their fruits you will know them). You ignore again and again the evidence that there were many that did not. Hitler knew that murdering people was wrong at some point in his life. He chose to turn from morality. And don’t say “WE” here, “Apologist”. It was your racist ‘leaders’ who were NOT READY:

It was only after this began happening that we as a people became ready for the Priesthood ban to be lifted. We had to unlearn centuries of racism, and FINALLY realize the Bible did not support it.

If a prophet in 1850, 1890, 1930, or 1950 would have proclaimed that ‘blacks can hold the priesthood’ or THE TRUTH CONTAINED IN THE NEW TESTAMENT THAT ALL MEN ARE EQUAL, then the people would have gotten ‘ready’ real quick wouldn’t they have?

You leaders are the ones who could not accept that black people were equal, who were NOT inferior, who were NOT the representatives of Satan on earth. Go back to your history and read. F. Smith claimed to have went to God with it, and said NOPE, blacks are still inferior and the ordination of Elijah Abel is null & void.

Gee, it wasn’t that hard for those who fought in the Civil War to ‘unlearn’ centuries of racism, but it was for Mormon leaders who are the spokesman for God on earth? Yeah, right.

Wrong again. All men who have a DIRECT line to God and live the commandments ARE NOT RACISTS.”

According to whom?

Jesus.

Wow. That comment just blew me away. What this all boils down to, is that you justify racism. You will do anything to defend those that promoted it, lived it, embraced it, and said it was a commandment from God.

And as for ducking, you are the one doing so. The Original Christians believed in Christ and the teachings of his Apostles. That is all. It is NOT 20th Century doctrine, it is straight from Jesus Christ. Racism is never ‘excused’ by God, for it is a sin, and God does not sin, promote sin, command his spiritual children to live in sin, believe in sin, or commit sin. That is what the Mormon Church did for years, and is still doing by not condemning all who taught it and commanded it.

Once again, it doesn’t take a scholar to FINALLY realize that racism is a sin, wrong and of the devil. That it took your ‘inspired’ prophets so long to do so (at the pressure of the world no less) is reprehensible, and so are you, for defending them in it. I rebuke you for it, and you will have to answer at the bar of God for the things you have said here Donald. May God have mercy on you then. _grindael, January 22 at 5:44am • Like

Mormon Apologist: Grindael, Why was the Priesthood reserved to only the Levites at first? January 22 at 11:00am • Like

Mormon & LDS Facts: The Old Law is gone “Apologist”, we are talking New Testament here, nice try though. I’m saying that MANY were ready. If they were, then Mormon Prophets who supposedly were to ‘lead the world’ and ‘speak for God’ should have been, but weren’t. They finished a dismal last place. It doesn’t matter how many people WERE or WERE NOT racist “Apologist”, the fact that it is wrong, and a sin, and MANY did KNOW, shows that they had the light and knowledge that Mormons and those others did not. But Mormons, being the ‘spokesman for God’ and ‘the only true church’ on earth (those poor protestants at least had an excuse – according to Mormons they were the church of the devil anyway) and who should have been teaching the things Christ did, were not. They were wallowing in the mud with those they claimed were of the church of the devil. _ grindael, January 24 at 9:06am • Like • 2

Mormon Apologist: Grindael said: “If a prophet in 1850, 1890, 1930, or 1950 would have proclaimed that ‘blacks can hold the priesthood’ or THE TRUTH CONTAINED IN THE NEW TESTAMENT THAT ALL MEN ARE EQUAL, then the people would have gotten ‘ready’ real quick wouldn’t they have?”

What makes you think so? Upon what do you base this assertion?

“Your leaders are the ones who could not accept that black people were equal, who were NOT inferior, who were NOT the representatives of Satan on earth. Go back to your history and read. F. Smith claimed the ordination of Elijah Abel is null & void.”

Really? Why, then, did Southern Baptist churches allow the KKK to openly sponsor them? Why, if LDS leaders are the only religious leaders guilty of thinking Negroes inferior, did the problem of racism against Negroes continue for so long outside LDS communities? Why does it continue to exist? Why is there still a “divide” in academic performance in our nation’s schools?

Don’t forget: We LDS are still a minority in this country, so we can hardly be held to blame for racism before Mormonism appeared on the scene and for its continued existence. History shows quite plainly that it was NOT just LDS leaders who have believed what you accuse us of.

You continue: “Gee, it wasn’t that hard for those who fought in the Civil War to ‘unlearn’ centuries of racism, but it was for Mormon leaders who are the spokesman for God on earth? Yeah, right.”

From what I have read about the Black soldiers who fought in the Civil War, it was EXTREMELY difficult for them to get any respect from their white commanders. Very little “unlearning” took place, but it was a step.

You said: “Wrong again. All men who have a DIRECT line to God and live the commandments ARE NOT RACISTS.”

And I said: “According to whom?”

And you replied: “Jesus. “Wow. That comment just blew me away. What this all boils down to, is that you justify racism.” You will do anything to defend those that promoted it, lived it, embraced it, and said it was a commandment from God.”

Funny. I don’t think I have ever seen any verse in the Bible where Jesus Christ spoke out against racism. I am not familiar with any place where He said that Prophets, by the very nature of their calling, cannot be racist. Even more important, I see nothing in the Bible account where Jesus or His Apostles actively worked against slavery and racism in His time on earth. Grindael, it is the Bible’s LACK of any anti-racist message that slavers used to justify slavery and the curse of Cain nonsense.

You continue: “And as for ducking, you are the one doing so. The Original Christians believed in Christ and the teachings of his Apostles. That is all. It is NOT 20th Century doctrine, it is straight from Jesus Christ.”

And yet slavery and even racism continued for centuries, in and out of the Church. How do you account for that?

You continue: “Racism is never ‘excused’ by God, for it is a sin, and God does not sin, promote sin, command his spiritual children to live in sin, believe in sin, or commit sin.”

I never said it was “excused” by God. However, more than a few think or have thought that the fact that God chose a particular people is effectively racist. That the taking of Canaan by Joshua was representative of racism and religious bigotry. That the Israelites were forbidden to marry outside of Israel was a racist ideal.

You continue: “That is what the Mormon Church did for years, and is still doing by not condemning all who taught it and commanded it.”

But you have yet to condemn any given Protestant religion and its ministers for the same. You insist, rather, to focus on one particular Christian group who were not as anti-racist as YOU think they should have been. You insist on ignoring how badly the Mormons were treated for what were in the 1830s very progressive views on race and slavery. Instead, you focus on the fact that such views are racist by our current standards.

If this subject really meant anything to you, you would not be focusing on the Mormons. Rather, you would be decrying racism which was endemic in American culture until our parents’ generation began to become old enough to speak out against it. You are merely using racism as a club with which to beat the Mormons, and in so doing you reveal your own form of bigotry.

You continue: “Once again, it doesn’t take a scholar to FINALLY realize that racism is a sin, wrong and of the devil.” No, because scholars generally do not deal with sin.

You continue: “That it took your ‘inspired’ prophets so long to do so (at the pressure of the world no less) is reprehensible, and so are you, for defending them in it.”

All I do is place their actions in the context of history. I do not defend it. However, I am also smart enough to realize God does things his way, not ours.

You continue:

“I rebuke you for it, and you will have to answer at the bar of God for the things you have said here “Apologist”. May God have mercy on you then.”

Self-righteousness is also a sin, grindael. As long as there is rebuking going on, I rebuke your own religious forebears for creating an environment in which racism could thrive, for creating the doctrine of the curse of Cain, and for going so far as to sponsor slavery and racist organizations like the KKK. Your own religious leaders, disparate as they may be, were also able to receive revelation. Such a gift is not kept merely to LDS Prophets, and if you paid attention to the Bible, you would know this.

I also rebuke you for using racism to promote your own religious bigotry. I say again, if racism actually meant something to you, you would not be focusing your attack on Mormonism. It is merely an excuse, not a genuine belief. February 2 at 4:27pm • Like

Mormon & LDS Facts: I said, “If a prophet in 1850, 1890, 1930, or 1950 would have proclaimed that ‘blacks can hold the priesthood’ or THE TRUTH CONTAINED IN THE NEW TESTAMENT THAT ALL MEN ARE EQUAL, then the people would have gotten ‘ready’ real quick wouldn’t they have?”

You said, What makes you think so? Upon what do you base this assertion?

Because they did it in Smith’s time. And then they all fell in line behind the racist “prophet” Brigham Young in 1848 when he reversed it. They did it again with polygamy. “When the prophet speaks, the thinking has been done.”

You said, “if racism actually meant something to you, you would not be focusing your attack on Mormonism.”

I am focusing on the Mormons HERE “Apologist”, because it is a page ABOUT MORMONISM. Your “mopologist” conclusions mean little, in the light that you support your leaders racism and try to justify it with your continued illogic. Mormons love to applaud the fact that they have living ‘spokesman’ for God, but then when their statements are put to the test, people like yourself then have to pull them from their self built pedestals and put them back in the world, arguing that their ‘light and knowledge’ is only to be judged NOW by what went on it the world and that they really had no clue as to what God was thinking and that they really didn’t speak for God, but only were men who had to ‘learn’ and that their worldly values shaped the course of the things they said came from God. Thank you very much for making my point so very well “Apologist”. You can ‘rebuke’ me all you like, but your ‘rebukes’ don’t change the facts of history, and that your Mormon Prophets and Authorities did not speak for God, they spoke out of their own wicked and evil hearts, instituting a system of racism in their Church that they only changed when social pressure and the panic of losing their image in the light of the world made them do so. It is self-evident, and your support of them makes you as culpable as they are.

“Your leaders are the ones who could not accept that black people were equal, who were NOT inferior, who were NOT the representatives of Satan on earth. Go back to your history and read. F. Smith claimed to have went to God with it, and said NOPE, blacks are still inferior and the ordination of Elijah Abel is null & void.”

I base this “assertion” on historical facts. Lester Bush writes,

“In 1908 the Council heard President [Joseph F.] Smith recount the story for at least the fourth time—but this time the story was different. Though Abel had been ordained a seventy, “this ordination was declared null and void by the Prophet himself.” With this statement the “problem” of Elijah Abel was finally put to rest. Why Joseph F. Smith should come forth with this information after testifying to the contrary for nearly thirty years remains a mystery. (Neither White nor Black by Lester E. Bush, Jr. and Armand L. Mauss, eds., page 79)

In 1912,

“Responding to the inquiry, “Is it a fact that a Negro cannot receive the priesthood, and if so, what is the reason?” The First Presidency wrote, “You are referred to the Pearl of Great Price, Book of Abraham, Chapter 1, verses 26 and 27, going to show that the seed of Ham was cursed as pertaining to the priesthood; and that by reason of this curse they have no right to it.” (Letter of 13 Jan. 1912, from Joseph F. Smith, Anthon H. Lund, and Charles W. Penrose, to Milton H. Knudson, op.cited above, page 81)

His son, Fielding Smith, doubled down on this in 1963:

“According to the doctrine of the church, the Negro, because of some condition of unfaithfulness in the spirit—or pre-existence, was not valiant and hence was not denied the mortal probation, but was denied the blessing of the Priesthood. In the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints he has the privilege of baptism, confirmation and membership along with everyone else, as far as this life is concerned.

“…It is true that elders of the church laid hands on a Negro and blessed him ‘apparently’ with the Priesthood, but they could not give that which the Lord had denied. It is true that Elijah Abel was so ‘ordained.’ This was however before the matter had been submitted to the Prophet Joseph Smith. …It was afterwards that the Prophet Joseph Smith declared that the Negro was not to be ordained.” (Letter from Joseph Fielding Smith to Joseph H. Henderson, April 10, 1963)

Why, then, did Southern Baptist churches allow the KKK to openly sponsor them? Why, if LDS leaders are the only religious leaders guilty of thinking Negroes inferior, did the problem of racism against Negroes continue for so long outside LDS communities? Why does it continue to exist? Why is there still a “divide” in academic performance in our nation’s schools?

Again, “Apologist” you miss the point. As I’ve said over and over, it was wrong no matter who did it. And I’ve never said, (and this must be how you justify the argument in your own mind – to make yourself feel better about your racism) that Mormon leaders “are the only religious leaders guilty of thinking Negroes inferior”. Haven’t you read ANYTHING I’ve written in the last month? Mormons claimed to be the only light in the darkness of the world, the one “true church”, and we even see the published in the Millennial Star in 1914 that “The slavery of Catholic Rome must be looked upon as ONE GREAT PROOF OF APOSTACY.” ( “Slavery and Apostacy,” Millennial Star, 76 (23 Apr. 1914): 269-71) But even the Catholic Church was well ahead of Mormonism, issuing a Bull in 1839, which cited other Papal pronouncements, such as the Bull of 1462 by Pius II (In part):

“Before this also, another Predecessor of ours still earlier than these-Pius II. on the Empire of the Portuguese being extended in his time to Guinea, a country of the blacks, gave on the 7th of Oct. 1462, a letter addressed to the Bishop of Rubi, who was about to set out for those parts, in which he not only bestowed upon that prelate full powers for exercising his sacred functions therein, with greater advantage, but, availing himself of this same opportunity, animadverted severely upon those Christians, who were accustomed to drag the Neophytes into slavery. (8) And even in our own times, Pius VII. influenced by the same spirit of religion, and love, as his predecessors, zealously interposed his official influence with those in power, that the traffic in blacks might at length entirely cease among Christians. Those decrees and anxious cares on the part of our predecessors have, with the blessing of God, proved of no little avail in protecting the Indians, and others above mentioned, from the cruelty of invaders and from the cupidity of Christian traders. Not to such an extent, however, that this Holy See can congratulate itself on the full success of its zealous efforts for the accomplishment of this end; seeing that the trade is still carried on by numerous Christians.

…“In the process of time, the fog of pagan superstition being more completely dissipated and the manners of barbarous people having been softened, thanks to Faith operating by Charity, it at last comes about that, since several centuries, there are no more slaves in the greater number of Christian nations. But – We say with profound sorrow – there were to be found afterwards among the Faithful men who, shamefully blinded by the desire of sordid gain, in lonely and distant countries, did not hesitate to reduce to slavery Indians, negroes and other wretched peoples, or else, by instituting or developing the trade in those who had been made slaves by others, to favour their unworthy practice. Certainly many Roman Pontiffs of glorious memory, Our Predecessors, did not fail, according to the duties of their charge, to blame severely this way of acting as dangerous for the spiritual welfare of those engaged in the traffic and a shame to the Christian name; they foresaw that as a result of this, the infidel peoples would be more and more strengthened in their hatred of the true Religion.”

…We reprove, then, by virtue of Our Apostolic Authority, all the practices abovementioned as absolutely unworthy of the Christian name. By the same Authority We prohibit and strictly forbid any Ecclesiastic or lay person from presuming to defend as permissible this traffic in Blacks under no matter what pretext or excuse, or from publishing or teaching in any manner whatsoever, in public or privately, opinions contrary to what We have set forth in this Apostolic Letter.

Ironically, this Bull is quoted in the Mormon publication, “Times and Seasons, Volume IV, page 381. Yes, even Catholic Popes swung back and forth on this issue, but to say that it was endemic in the world, that there were none who understood the scriptures plainly on this matter, is ludicrous.

And men have always been divided over sin. It’s human nature. Why do men still murder, steal, lie, and turn their backs on other commandments? Does the will of society, make any of it ok? Give us a reason to excuse, or justify it? Not in my mind, or any reasoning CHRISTIAN. Those that harbored the KKK were just as wrong as the Mormons were, for sealing Elizabeth Jane Manning to Joseph Smith as a slave for eternity, the great “blessing” given to her by the hapless Mormon “prophet”, Wilford Woodruff.

Don’t forget: We LDS are still a minority in this country, so we can hardly be held to blame for racism before Mormonism appeared on the scene and for its continued existence. History shows quite plainly that it was NOT just LDS leaders who have believed what you accuse us of.

Again, you are stuck in the same groove. Is it that you think if you repeat this enough, it will somehow be true? So Mormons can “hardly be blamed” for doing what others were doing wrong? What if it were murder, or genocide? Would that be ok too? Would you excuse that under the same grounds? Can you hear yourself, man? For the life of you, you can’t condemn these men as false prophets, you have to find ways to justify their anti-Christian “revelations”, and it makes you as culpable as they are.

From what I have read about the Black soldiers who fought in the Civil War, it was EXTREMELY difficult for them to get any respect from their white commanders. Very little “unlearning” took place, but it was a step.

Yes it was. But there were those who made blacks officers, who defied the order of the day, and saw them for who they were, noble men who were equals. Take this statement by the Governor of Massachusetts, John Albion Andrew, who commissioned blacks as officers in the Civil War:

“I know not what record of sin awaits me in the other world, but this I know, that I was never mean enough to despise any man because he was black.”

Don’t forget: We LDS are still a minority in this country, so we can hardly be held to blame for racism before Mormonism appeared on the scene and for its continued existence. History shows quite plainly that it was NOT just LDS leaders who have believed what you accuse us of.

You are missing the point, AGAIN. So what if others did it? Does that make it right? Does that allow you to EXCUSE your “prophets’? What are they even doing calling themselves prophets, if they can’t get this one basic thing right? You harp about me not claiming any “tradition” like it’s some ploy. Just like Luther disavowed Catholic tradition, I can do the same with all who SIN. I excuse NONE OF THEM. Believing in Jesus and the Bible alone frees me from the baggage you and others carry around with them. That is why I’m not a bigot, for if you call me one, you have to call GOD a bigot also. I don’t espouse to the fantasy that Mormon is “more good”. It’s not. Mormons have left the right path and taken a road that is full of petty rules and regulations, racism, bigotry, and hatred. They have tried to cover it up, disavow it, and call it “folklore”, but the historical record does not lie.

And I can go on and on with many others, besides Horace Greely, who fought racism and slavery. The Rev. Parker Pillsbury wrote, “I need not tell you that I have been compelled [by 20 Feb 1841] to excommunicate from my fellowship, most of the ministers of our land for the sin of conniving at American slavery; I do not regard them as Christians, nor Christian ministers.” (Acts of the Anti-Slavery Apostles by Rev. Parker Pillsbury, Concord, N.H., 1883)

“[N]othing . . . has done so much to tolerate and perpetuate the sin in our midst, as the practice [tradition] of the Church.”—Rev. John G. Fee, Anti-Slavery Manual (1851).

But we have “prophet” John Taylor teaching,

And after the flood we are told that the curse that had been pronounced upon Cain was continued through Ham’s wife, as he had married a wife of that seed. And why did it pass through the flood? Because it was necessary that the devil should have a representation upon the earth as well as God; and that man should be a free agent to act for himself, and that all men might have the opportunity of receiving or rejecting the truth, and be governed by it or not according to their wishes and abide the result; and that those who would be able to maintain correct principles under all circumstances, might be able to associate with the Gods in the eternal worlds. It is the same eternal program. God knew it and Adam knew it. (John Taylor, Journal of Discourses 22:304)

And during the height of the Civil War Brigham Young was teaching that slavery was a “divine Institution” and that the Civil War would not free the slaves. Preaching in October of 1863, nine months after the official signing of the Emancipation Proclamation, Young declared (as quoted above):

“Ham will continue to be the servant of servants, as the Lord decreed, until the curse is removed. Will the present struggle free the slave? No; but they are now wasting away the black race by thousands? Treat the slaves kindly and let them live, for Ham must be the servant of servants until the curse is removed. Can you destroy the decrees of the Almighty? You cannot. Yet our Christian brethren think that they are going to overthrow the sentence of the Almighty upon the seed of Ham. They cannot do that, though they may kill them by thousands and tens of thousands” (Millennial Star, vol. 25, p. 787; also Journal of Discourses, vol. 10, p. 250).

You said: “Wrong again. All men who have a DIRECT line to God and live the commandments ARE NOT RACISTS.”

And I said: “According to whom?”

According to the word of God. You should read it. Then you said,

Funny. I don’t think I have ever seen any verse in the Bible where Jesus Christ spoke out against racism. I am not familiar with any place where He said that Prophets, by the very nature of their calling, cannot be racist. Even more important, I see nothing in the Bible account where Jesus or His Apostles actively worked against slavery and racism in His time on earth. Grindael, it is the Bible’s LACK of any anti-racist message that slavers used to justify slavery and the curse of Cain nonsense.

All I can say is WOW. Just WOW. Matthew 28:19 is the greatest proof that you are totally out of touch with the word of God. And what was the story of the Good Samaritan all about? http://www.godandscience.org/apologetics/slavery_bible.html Here are a few,

“And you shall not oppress a stranger, since you yourselves know the feelings of a stranger, for you also were strangers in the land of Egypt. (Exodus 23:9)

“But if a stranger sojourns with you, and celebrates the Passover to the LORD, let all his males be circumcised, and then let him come near to celebrate it; and he shall be like a native of the land. (Exodus 12:48)

‘There shall be one standard for you; it shall be for the stranger as well as the native, for I am the LORD your God.'” (Leviticus 24:22)

And behold, a Canaanite woman came out from that region, and began to cry out, saying, “Have mercy on me, O Lord, Son of David; my daughter is cruelly demon-possessed.” …she came and began to bow down before Him, saying, “Lord, help me!” …Then Jesus answered and said to her, “O woman, your faith is great; be it done for you as you wish.” And her daughter was healed at once. (Matthew 15:22-28)

But He [Jesus] answered and said, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” (Matthew 15:24)

But after hearing of Him, a woman whose little daughter had an unclean spirit, immediately came and fell at His feet. Now the woman was a Gentile, of the Syrophoenician race. And she kept asking Him to cast the demon out of her daughter… And He said to her, “Because of this answer go your way; the demon has gone out of your daughter.” And going back to her home, she found the child lying on the bed, the demon having departed. (Mark 7:25-30)

And he [Peter] said to them, “You yourselves know how unlawful it is for a man who is a Jew to associate with a foreigner or to visit him; and yet God has shown me that I should not call any man unholy or unclean. (Acts 10:28) The word translated “foreigner” (Strong’s number G246) is allophulos, from Strong’s number G243 and phulon, which has the meaning “a stock, race, of another race or foreigner.”

“For the LORD your God is the God of gods and the Lord of lords, the great, the mighty, and the awesome God who does not show partiality, nor take a bribe. (Deuteronomy 10:17)

This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference. (Romans 3:22)

For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, abounding in riches for all who call upon Him; (Romans 10:12)

“Go therefore and make disciples of ALL THE NATIONS, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit,” (Matthew 28:19)

I can go on and on with these. Mormon “prophets” were wrong. They were not inspired by God, as they say, and they don’t offer anything that one can’t get from the Bible, the word of God. In fact, like the rest of the world, they have led men astray. They turned from God’s word, to their own doctrines, which were false, and that disqualifies them as “spokesman” for God.

I never said it was “excused” by God. However, more than a few think or have thought that the fact that God chose a particular people is effectively racist. That the taking of Canaan by Joshua was representative of racism and religious bigotry. That the Israelites were forbidden to marry outside of Israel was a racist ideal.

Huh? You really think this? Again, you don’t know your Bible. (See Exodus 12:48 above). Again, http://www.godandscience.org/apologetics/gods_chosen_people.html

And once again, you are taking the Old Covenant, and misapplying it to the New Covenant under Christ. I am not going to even attempt to school you on this, the history of Israel, and the reasons why God chose them as a people, and the law of Moses. That law was fulfilled in Christ. We live under the New Covenant, which Mormons were oblivious to, and it seems still don’t understand. Perhaps the link above will help you, but I doubt it.

All I do is place their actions in the context of history. I do not defend it. However, I am also smart enough to realize God does things his way, not ours.

But you ARE defending it, “Apologist” by saying “God does things his way, not ours”. You are, on the one hand, claiming that your “prophets” acted only within the framework of society, and then say that it is “God’s way”. Well, which is it? You want us to believe that God would tell us in the Bible that all are equal, then everyone went into “apostasy”, God “restored” his church, and restored it with bigoted racists, who ignored his very words he gave 2000 years previously? That it was “God’s way” to allow one race to be singled out as “inferior”, and as the “representative of Satan on earth” for a century or more, until the men he was supposedly inspiring, got over their bigotry and then changed what they told the world was a “direct commandment from God” to not do this anymore? THAT is “God’s way”? I’m not buying it, and neither is the rest of the world.

Self-righteousness is also a sin, Grindael. As long as there is rebuking going on, I rebuke your own religious forebears for creating an environment in which racism could thrive, for creating the doctrine of the curse of Cain, and for going so far as to sponsor slavery and racist organizations like the KKK. Your own religious leaders, disparate as they may be, were also able to receive revelation. Such a gift is not kept merely to LDS Prophets, and if you paid attention to the Bible, you would know this.

I also rebuke you for using racism to promote your own religious bigotry. I say again, if racism actually meant something to you, you would not be focusing your attack on Mormonism. It is merely an excuse, not a genuine belief.

Again (and you must be very slow not to have picked up on this), they are not MY religious leaders. I didn’t get my “religion” from them. I got it from the Bible, from Jesus and His Apostles. So your condemnation means nothing, for your trying to put their sins on me, is only a feeble attempt to make yourself feel good about defending the bigots of your own church. Your feeble, “I know black people”, “I am part Minority”, and “I read black poetry”, does little in the face of all the comments you have made to defend those who blatantly practiced racism and made it a COMMANDMENT FROM GOD. The reason I decry Mormon racism on a page about Mormonism, must be lost on you. And yes, those men who were guided by the Holy Spirit, weren’t racists. That is the whole point, one you have missed from the get-go. You began this with a poem, and I’ll end it with one. I leave you With Walt Whitman, circa 1855:

I am the poet of slaves
and of the masters of slaves
I am the poet of the body
And I am

I am the poet of the body
And I am the poet of the soul
I go with the slaves of the earth equally with the masters
And I will stand between
the masters and the slaves,
Entering into both
so that both shall understand
me alike._grindael February 3 at 9:06 am • Like

Walt Whitman Journal Entry

CONCLUSION

The defense of racism continues:

“An equally problematic part of Mormon history has been hammered by pundits like Christopher Hitchens, who has called my church “an officially racist organization.”

It’s true that, prior to 1978, blacks could not be ordained to the Mormon priesthood. But here, too, a more nuanced view is helpful. Joseph Smith is now known to have ordained African-American men in the 1830s and 1840s. The prohibition evolved in later decades, propped up by a series of racist folk doctrines. Mormons were relieved when those teachings were repudiated. (It adds context but little comfort to note that other major U.S. denominations had racist and segregationist dogma on their books until the 1970s as well.)” Ken Jennings, The NY Daily News, Tuesday, December 18, 2007 http://www.nydailynews.com/opinion/politicians-pundits-stop-slandering-mormon-faith-article-1.272933#ixzz1sBr7xSYf

They are still calling this “folk doctrine”, a blatant lie.

“Our speculations as to the reason(s) (for the priesthood ban) have been essentially worthless, and sometimes harmful,” Peterson wrote. “God has not seen fit to explain why he commanded or at least permitted the denial of priesthood to blacks.

“We certainly don’t know that God withheld the priesthood from blacks in order to protect them, or because they weren’t ‘ready’ for it, or because it ‘benefited’ them to be denied access to the temple or opportunities to serve missions, and the like,” he continued. “We just don’t know. And if we ever learn the reason, that knowledge will come through the Lord’s chosen prophets and apostles, not through BYU professors like me.” Daniel Peterson, Deseret News, Feb. 29, 2012. http://www.deseretnews.com/article/765555339/LDS-Church-condemns-past-racism-inside-and-outside-the-church.html?pg=3

Official Church Statement,

The positions attributed to BYU professor Randy Bott in a recent Washington Post article absolutely do not represent the teachings and doctrines of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. BYU faculty members do not speak for the Church. It is unfortunate that the Church was not given a chance to respond to what others said.

The Church’s position is clear—we believe all people are God’s children and are equal in His eyes and in the Church. We do not tolerate racism in any form.

For a time in the Church there was a restriction on the priesthood for male members of African descent. It is not known precisely why, how, or when this restriction began in the Church but what is clear is that it ended decades ago. Some have attempted to explain the reason for this restriction but these attempts should be viewed as speculation and opinion, not doctrine. The Church is not bound by speculation or opinions given with limited understanding.

We condemn racism, including any and all past racism by individuals both inside and outside the Church. Church Statement, February 29, 2012 http://www.mormonnewsroom.org/article/racial-remarks-in-washington-post-article

We do know what the teachings of the Church were, and are. And so does Peterson. This lie just won’t cut it. He says that the reason WILL come “through the Lord’s chosen prophets and apostles”, but that is who Randy Bott was quoting, who I have quoted extensively, and it is disingenuous in the extreme to claim their statements were “folklore”. I suppose that any statement made in the future must also be characterized as folklore too, because they will be given with a similar “limited understanding”. But don’t hold your breath waiting for one.

As Martin Luther King, Jr. said,

“At the center of the Christian faith is the affirmation that there is a God in the universe who is the ground and essence of all reality. A Being of infinite love and boundless power, God is the creator, sustainer, and conserver of values….In contrast to the ethical relativism of [totalitarianism], Christianity sets forth a system of absolute moral values and affirms that God has placed within the very structure of this universe certain moral principles that are fixed and immutable.”

Basically, the argument by Mormon apologists is to claim racism is wrong, but that in a historical perspective what their former “prophets” did, was excusable and just a product of the times they lived in. We get comments like “So they were racist, big freaking deal!”, or “They didn’t invent the Curse of Cain doctrine”. The prophetic credentials of these men are never questioned, and all of them, continue to be spoken of by most apologists and by the Mormon leadership as great men, who magnified their prophetic callings. Instead of addressing the problem directly, we get “folklore” and “no one knows why it was taught”. The historical evidence is ignored, obfuscated, and downplayed as being “all in the past”.

The damage done to those like Jane Manning, Elijah Abel and his descendants, has never been addressed by the Mormon Hierarchy, and no apologies have ever been forthcoming. When asked about the racist Book of Abraham in a recent interview, one of the Mormon “apostles”, Jeffrey R. Holland said,

“All I’m saying, all I’m saying is that what got translated, got translated into the word of God.  The vehicle for that I do not understand, I don’t claim to know, and know no Egyptian…” (BBC Television Show, “This World”, The Mormon Candidate, March, 2012).

These “prophets, seers, and revelators” don’t appear to know much of anything. In an interview given in 2006 Holland uses the same reasoning to justify calling ANY previous explanation for the racist Priesthood ban “folklore” and wrong. He also emphasizes that they will concentrate on burying any statements of past leaders in regard to it:

“One clear-cut position is that the folklore must never be perpetuated. … I have to concede to my earlier colleagues. … They, I’m sure, in their own way, were doing the best they knew to give shape to [the policy], to give context for it, to give even history to it. All I can say is however well intended the explanations were, I think almost all of them were inadequate and/or wrong. …

It probably would have been advantageous to say nothing, to say we just don’t know, and, [as] with many religious matters, whatever was being done was done on the basis of faith at that time. But some explanations were given and had been given for a lot of years. … At the very least, there should be no effort to perpetuate those efforts to explain why that doctrine existed. I think, to the extent that I know anything about it, as one of the newer and younger ones to come along, … we simply do not know why that practice, that policy, that doctrine was in place.” http://www.pbs.org/mormons/interviews/holland.html

So Holland is saying that the one and only true church on the earth, guided by Jesus himself, instituted a racist “folklore” and made it mandatory for 160 years, when they didn’t know where it came from, and didn’t know why it was put in place. And these modern “prophets” who claim to speak for and as God, still can’t figure out why it all happened. But one thing they do know and are certain of: there should be “no effort” at all to explain why that doctrine existed, and of course never apologize for it or condemn those that perpetuated it.

Jo Smith himself, is where the doctrine originated:

“In the evening debated with John C. Bennett and others to show that the Indians have greater cause to complain of the treatment of the whites, than the Negroes, or sons of Cain. (History of the Church, vol. 4, p. 501)

How convenient to claim to “not know” and that “no effort” will be made to explain it. I must say, on racial equality, Mormonism has had, to use Dr. King’s terminology, “no moral values” for most of its history, and the Church’s affirmation of its past racist leaders makes them as culpable today, and as morally bankrupt as they were in the past.

Playing F.A.I.R.

Really?

I often come across this scenario on Mormon Facebook Pages and other sites as I browse the internet:

Self-proclaimed Mormon “apologists” using material from F.A.I.R (Foundation for Apologetic  Information and Research) to “prove” that critics of Mormonism are dead wrong about issues (that the critics prove) the Church has manipulated or lied about in telling its history.

Case in point – This alleged “prophecy” recorded in the History of the Church they claim was given by Joseph Smith:

“I prophesied that the Saints would continue to suffer much affliction and would be driven to the Rocky Mountains, many would apostatize, others would be put to death by our persecutors or lose their lives in consequence of exposure or disease, and some of you will live to go and assist in making settlements and build cities and see the Saints become a mighty people in the midst of the Rocky Mountains.”[1]

I. CHALLENGING THOSE DAMN “ANTI-MORMONS”

On a Facebook Page titled “Challenging Anti-Mormon Apologetics”,[2]I came across the following post:

“LDS Honesty: Lying for the Lord (Link provided in the previous post) also says the following:

4. The famous Rocky Mountain Prophecy was a later addition to the official church history and not uttered by Joseph Smith as a prediction that the Mormons would inhabit the Salt Lake Valley. Despite the fact it is not authentic; the church presented it as such for more than a century. The ‘Rocky Mountain Prophecy’ was added after the Mormons arrived in Utah. (The Changing World of Mormonism, p. 406) The church had no intentions of giving this information to members, in order to make their history appear more faith promoting.

Contemporary documentation says otherwise. [3]

What is this “contemporary documentation” they speak of? If one pursues the F.A.I.R. link that the Facebook Page mentioned above provides, one comes upon the “Official Mormon Apologist” response to the above allegations: that Smith’s famous Rocky Mountain “prophecy” was inserted into the Manuscript History of the Church at a later date.

And what is this “contemporary documentation”? Let’s start with their conclusion and work our way back. F.A.I.R. states,

“To accept a “forgery” theory, we must accept that all of the people listed above who remembered Joseph speaking about the Rocky Mountains were lying or fabricating their experience. Furthermore, we must also accept that Joseph was sending explorers to the west with no real expectation of moving, and the discussion of heading west by both members and enemies was all idle talk.”[4]

This is a classic case of diverting the issue. Jerald and Sandra Tanner actually state in The Changing World of Mormonism,

“In our book Falsification of Joseph Smith’s History, page 10, we stated concerning this prophecy:

There is some evidence that Joseph Smith considered going west to build his kingdom, but since we now know that the Mormon Historians actually compiled Joseph Smith’s History after his death and that they drew from many sources, we cannot help being suspicious of the authorship of this prophecy.[5]

Jerald & Sandra Tanner

We see that the Tanners did indeed admit that “there is some evidence that Joseph Smith considered going west”, so why does F.A.I.R. state,

“But, to claim that the account of him discussing and even prophesying a move to the west rests on nothing but “forgery” is to distort and ignore too many sources, from too broad a time period, over what is essentially a peripheral issue.”

Notice F.A.I.R. trying to tie this specific “prophecy” to any discussion about the Rocky Mountains, and that any discussion of moving west by Smith must also be classed as spurious. Then, if they can show that Smith discussed it, this makes the Tanners deceptive.  F.A.I.R. is trying to set their own criteria here, but this is not what the Tanners claim at all, as I have shown above. Is the fact that someone discussed something likely to be made into an issue?

The Tanner’s claim was not that Smith ever discussed the Rocky Mountains, or moving the church west; it was that a false prophecy was fabricated by Mormon Historians (most likely based on exaggerations by contemporary Mormons well after the fact) and placed in the official History of the Church as an actual specific statement (prophecy) that Joseph Smith made.  The specific charge made by the Tanners was this,

“Important evidence concerning Joseph Smith’s prophecy that the Mormons would come to the Rocky Mountains has recently come to light. This prophecy was reported to have been given in 1842 in Illinois. Joseph Smith himself was supposed to have said:

“While the Deputy Grand-Master was engaged in giving the requisite instructions to the Master-elect, I had a conversation with a number of brethren in the shade of the building on the subject of our persecutions in Missouri and the constant annoyance which has followed us since we were driven from that state. I prophesied that the Saints would continue to suffer much affliction and would be driven to the Rocky Mountains, many would apostatize, others would be put to death by our persecutors or lose their lives in consequence of exposure or disease, and some of you will live to go and assist in making settlements and build cities and see the Saints become a mighty people in the midst of the Rocky Mountains” (History of the Church, vol. 5, p. 85) …

The situation, then, boils down to the following: we have two handwritten [history]manuscripts, books D-1 and D-2. Neither of these books were even started until after Joseph Smith’s death. In both cases the prophecy concerning the Mormons coming to the Rocky Mountains was interpolated in a smaller handwriting. From this evidence we can reach only one conclusion: the famous “Rocky Mountain Prophecy” is not authentic.” [6]

F.A.I.R singles out the book One Nation Under Gods, and Jerald and Sandra Tanner’s book The Changing World of Mormonism, (and since they imply that Richard Abanes probably got his information from the Tanners –  I will focus on the argument made in Changing World). F.A.I.R.  makes these points of criticism:

Jerald and Sandra Tanner claim that a prophecy from Joseph about the Saints’ move to the Rocky Mountains was forged after the fact and inserted into the History of the Church. They provide the following sources for this claim:

  • History of the Church 5:85.
  • Joseph Smith’s Manuscript History, Book D-1, page 1362
  • Brigham Young University Studies, Summer 1971, p.469
  • Davis Bitton, Joseph Smith in the Mormon Folk Memory, The John Whitmer address, delivered at the Second Annual Meeting of the John Whitmer Historical Association, Lamoni, Iowa, September 28, 1974, unpublished manuscript, p.16″ [This article is now available in “Joseph Smith in the Mormon Folk Memory,” in Restoration Studies, ed. Maurice L. Draper, vol. 1, (Independence, Missouri, 1980).]

And conclude, “This use of sources is dishonest and misleading.”[7]

II. FAIR OR UN-F.A.I.R.?

The Tanner’s sources are “dishonest” and “misleading”? Let’s take this point by point and see if they are.  F.A.I.R. states,

None of these sources support the argument:

  • The BYU Studies article from 1971 is Dean Jessee’s account of the authorship of the History of the Church. It says nothing about adding a “Rocky Mountain Prophecy,” and the Tanners neglect to provide the perspective on authorship practices in 19th century history that Jessee provides. They thus hide the material that answers their objection. Readers can fortunately access these ideas on the FAIR wiki.[8]

Dean C. Jessee

Can we point out that F.A.I.R. doesn’t acknowledge that the History of the Church also doesn’t acknowledge that Joseph Smith really didn’t “first-person” his own history either?  And they must have missed the Tanners when they explained,”since we now know that the Mormon Historians actually compiled Joseph Smith’s History after his death and that they drew from many sources..” Do all the Mormon “Authorities” who quote this “prophecy” bother to explain the background behind it? That this quote is used by the Church as a bona fide “prophecy” of Smith, and in using it this way they tout Smith’s prophetic powers?  But the real question that F.A.I.R. doesn’t address about this source is why the Tanner’s used it. Not only does F.A.I.R. does not explain this, they don’t even offer a link or internet address to the Book! They don’t even bother to quote what the Tanner’s said! Here is the Tanner’s explanation:

“We are now happy to announce that a photograph of the portion of the original handwritten manuscript containing this ‘prophecy’ has been located at the Visitor Center in Nauvoo, Illinois. Wesley P. Walters of Marissa, Illinois, has sent us a photograph of this page…. This photograph is taken from ‘Joseph Smith’s Manuscript History,’ Book D-1, page 1362.”

An examination of the photograph revealed that the part concerning the Mormons becoming “a mighty people in the midst of the Rocky Mountains” was crammed in between the lines of the text in a much smaller handwriting. This indicated that the famous prophecy had been added to the manuscript sometime after this page had originally been written. When we published an enlarged edition of Mormonism—Shadow or Reality? we stated that “Dean C. Jessee’s study proves that this prophecy could not have been written in ‘Joseph Smith’s Manuscript History’ until at least a year after Joseph Smith’s death. He shows that page 1362 of the Manuscript History—the page containing the prophecy—was not even written until July 4, 1845!”

We reasoned that if the page was not written until July 4, 1845, then it was likely that the interpolation containing the prophecy was not added until after the Mormons came to Utah. We have recently found new evidence which further undermines the authenticity of this prophecy. Fortunately, in 1845 Brigham Young had ordered the scribes to make a “duplicate handwritten copy of the History” (Brigham Young University Studies, Summer 1971, p. 469). We examined this second manuscript, Book D-2, p. 2, and found that the “Rocky Mountain Prophecy” was written in very small handwriting between the lines. In other words, it was obviously added at a later time to this manuscript.” [9]

So the reason that the Tanners quoted Jessee from his 1971 article, was to prove that Brigham Young had ordered a duplicate made of the Church History, and that the Manuscript History wasn’t written until after Smith died. They quoted Jessee to verify this, and found that the “prophecy” was inserted into Smith’s history well after the fact.  They also included a photo (in their on-line version of the book) of the page in question from the Manuscript History, which can be found here, and below. This source absolutely supports the argument.

F.A.I.R. is not playing fair, because they are not telling you why the Tanners used the source.  How many Mormons are going to go to the trouble of reading what the Tanner’s wrote? Especially when F.A.I.R. doesn’t quote them, has this disclaimer at the beginning of nearly every book they review that is critical to Mormonism:

“Those who do not wish to examine the claims contained in what some would consider an “anti-Mormon” work are advised to proceed no further.” [10]

F.A.I.R. then goes to the Davis Bitton source and states,

  • Davis Bitton’s article specifically rejects the Tanners’ claim:

Two errors have been made regarding this Rocky Mountains prophecy. The first is to reject it out of hand as a later invention of the Utah Mormons. There is enough discussion of possible westward moves during the later Nauvoo period to think that Joseph Smith, in one of his prophetic moods, might well have said something of the sort. The second error, even more serious, is to seize upon these fragments as the basis for concluding that Joseph knew exactly what the future held in store for the Saints down to every last detail. Like the constitution-by-a-thread prophecy, the Rocky Mountains prophecy probably had a basis in an actual statement. The two prophecies are alike, too, in the fact that they were extremely popular later on when they served the needs of the Saints for encouragement.[11]

First, the Tanners did not “reject it out of hand as a later invention”, they show credible evidence that it was.  Second, might and probably don’t make it so. A statement that one is thinking about moving west someday, or sending out exploration parties, is far different from prophesying that one will, with specific details about what happens before and after.  Thirdly, (and most important) it is the Mormons that are “seizing upon these fragments as the basis for concluding that Joseph knew exactly what the future held in store for the Saints down to  every last detail,” and that is why this is not a “peripheral issue”.  Here is a little more of Davis Bitton quoted by the Tanners,  that F.A.I.R. doesn’t quote,

“The situation, then, boils down to the following: we have two handwritten manuscripts, books D-1 and D-2. Neither of these books were even started until after Joseph Smith’s death. In both cases the prophecy concerning the Mormons coming to the Rocky Mountains was interpolated in a smaller handwriting. From this evidence we can reach only one conclusion: the famous “Rocky Mountain Prophecy” is not authentic. The church historical department has Joseph Smith’s diary for 1842-43, but the first entry does not appear until December 21—some four months after the prophecy was supposed to have been given. Mormon scholars have been unable to come up with anything to support the authenticity of this prophecy.

Davis Bitton, an assistant church historian, has written almost five pages concerning this matter. He frankly states that “there is no such prophecy in the handwriting of Joseph Smith or published during the Prophet’s lifetime, but it was referred to in general terms in 1846 during the trek west. After the arrival in the Salt Lake Valley the prophecy was frequently cited and became more specific as time went on” (“Joseph Smith in the Mormon Folk Memory,” The John Whitmer address, delivered at the Second Annual Meeting of the John Whitmer Historical Association, Lamoni, Iowa, September 28, 1974, unpublished manuscript, p. 16).

Davis Bitton goes on to state that “The manuscript history covering this period was written in 1845….” This is, of course, a year after Joseph Smith’s death. Mr. Bitton then admits that the prophecy is an “insertion” which was added into the manuscript as “an afterthought” (p. 18). Although Davis Bitton cannot find any real evidence that Joseph Smith made the famous “Rocky Mountain Prophecy,” he does feel that there was “a time when something like this might have been said by Joseph Smith with considerable plausibility. Anytime during the last four years of his life, … the Prophet had good reason to consider possibilities for relocation. It can be demonstrated that he considered the possibility of settling in Oregon (or on Vancouver Island). He was attempting to negotiate some kind of colonization venture in Texas …” (p. 17).

Mr. Bitton admits that other changes were made in Joseph Smith’s documents to support the idea that he knew the Mormons would come to the Rocky Mountains:

And in February 1844 the Prophet was organizing an exploring expedition to go to the West. There are some interesting changes in the way the description of this expedition was written by Willard Richards, secretary of Joseph Smith at the time, and the later revisions. The original, handwritten version reads: “Met with the Twelve in the assembly room concerning the Oregon Expedition.” This has been modified to read “the Oregon and California Exploring Expedition.” Continuing, the Richards manuscript reads, “I told them I wanted an exposition of all that country, “—which has been changed to “exploration of all that mountain country.” There are other such changes that make one suspect that the later compilers of the history, notably George A. Smith and his assistants in the 1850s, were determined to have Joseph Smith contemplating the precise location where the Saints had by then settled. Oregon would not do; Oregon and California as then defined at least included the Rocky Mountains. If the Prophet could be made to say “mountain country” instead of just “country,” it would appear that he clearly had in mind the future history of his followers (pp. 17-18).[12]

If we go by what F.A.I.R. states, we have Bitton refuting himself! They have to perpetuate an outright lie, to make their point (that Bitton’s article specifically rejects the Tanner’s argument). Bitton’s article in no way rejects the Tanner’s claim, that the specific prophecy, recorded in the History of the Church was an insertion after the fact. It was, and Bitton agrees that it was, stating that “there is no such prophecy in the handwriting of Joseph Smith or published during the Prophet’s lifetime”.  The Tanners also reveal Bitton’s speculation that the prophecy might be based on something Smith might have said. But the bottom line is Smith didn’t say it, and there is no proof that he did.  Is F.A.I.R.’s claim that the Tanner’s use of this source is “dishonest” fair? We see that it is not, and that the Tanner’s are more fair than F.A.I.R., admitting that Smith “considered going west to build his kingdom”.

III. EVIDENCE IS NO EVIDENCE

F.A.I.R. also attacks the Tanners for the use of the History of the Church source. They quote a footnote by B.H. Roberts, where he supports the authenticity of the “prophecy” with a quote by Anson Call. Their main objection is “The author[s] provide only the History of the Church reference, but provide no evidence of [their]claim.”

No evidence? Here is F.A.I.R.’s “evidence”. F.A.I.R writes,

The prophecy source is the biography of Anson Call, in August 1842. The relevant section reads as follows:

“A block schoolhouse had been prepared with shade in front, under which was a barrel of ice water. Judge Adams, the highest Masonic authority in the State of Illinois, had been sent there to organize this lodge. He, Hyrum Smith and J. C. Bennett, being high Masons, went into the house to perform some ceremonies which the others were not entitled to witness. These, including Joseph Smith, remained under the bowery. Joseph as he was tasting the cold water, warned the brethren not to be too free with it. With the tumbler still in his hand, he prophesied that the Saints would yet go to the Rocky Mountains, and said he, ‘This water tastes much like that of the crystal streams that are running from the snow-capped mountains. I had before seen him in a vision, and now saw, while he was talking, his countenance change to white, not the deadly white of a bloodless face, but a living, brilliant white. He seemed absorbed in gazing upon something at a great distance and said, “I am gazing upon the valleys of those mountains.”

Anson Call

I had before seen him [Joseph Smith] in a vision [i.e., while seeing or reporting a divine vision or revelation], and now saw while he was talking his countenance change to white; not the deadly white of a bloodless face, but a living brilliant white. He seemed absorbed in gazing at something at a great distance, and said: “I am gazing upon the valleys of those mountains.” This was followed by a vivid description of the scenery of these mountains, as I have since become acquainted with it. Pointing to Shadrach Roundy and others, he said: “There are some men here who shall do a great work in that land.” Pointing to me, he said, “There is Anson, he shall go and shall assist in building up cities from one end of the country to the other, and you, rather extending the idea to all those he had spoken of, shall perform as great a work as has been done by man, so that the nations of the earth shall be astonished, and many of them will be gathered in that land and assist in building cities and temples, and Israel shall be made to rejoice.”

It is impossible to represent in words this scene which is still vivid in my mind, of the grandeur of Joseph’s appearance, his beautiful descriptions of this land, and his wonderful prophetic utterances as they emanated from the glorious inspirations that overshadowed him. There was a force and power in his exclamations of which the following is but a faint echo: “Oh the beauty of those snow-capped mountains! The cool refreshing streams that are running down through those mountain gorges!” Then gazing in another direction, as if there was a change in locality: “Oh the scenes that this people will pass through! The dead that will lay between here and there.” Then turning in another direction as if the scene had again changed: “Oh the apostasy that will take place before my brethren reach that land! But,” he continued, “The priesthood shall prevail over its enemies, triumph over the devil and be established upon the earth, never more to be thrown down!” He then charged us with great force and power, to be faithful to those things that had been and should be committed to our charge, with the promise of all the blessings that the Priesthood could bestow. “Remember these things and treasure them up. Amen.” (Tullidge’s Histories, Vol I. History of Northern Utah, and Southern Idaho.–Biographical Supplement, p. 271

 Thus, the accusation must be not only that the Church decided to “forge” a prophecy by Joseph, but that Anson Call did as well. Can we assess how likely these claims are?[13]

We sure can assess them, because F.A.I.R. is not really being fair here either. The first thing they want you to believe is that the source is from the biography of Anson Call is “in August 1842”. There are all kinds of problems with this, which B.H. Roberts mentions in that Church History footnote that F.A.I.R. quotes.  Here are some of the problems that Roberts encountered,

“It is thought important that the following statement from a biography of Anson Call, by Edward Tullidge, should be made part of the history of this prophetic incident, as doubtless the testimony of Brother Call relates to the same incident as that described in the Prophet’s text of the History, notwithstanding some confusion of dates that exists in the Call testimony. It will be seen that the Prophet fixes the date of his prophecy on Saturday, the 6th of August, 1842. In Whitney’s History of Utah, Vol. IV.—(Biographical section of the history, p. 143), the date on which Call heard the prophecy, is given as the 8th of August, 1842. While in Tullidge’s biography of Call the date is given as the 14th of July, 1843, evidently an error. There is no entry in the Prophet’s journal for the 8th of August, 1842, and the entries for the 8th of August, 1843, and the 14th of July, 1843, relate to matters of quite a different character. Tullidge, in relating Anson Call’s recollection of the incident also says that J. C. Bennett was present on the occasion, which must also be an error, as the rupture between Bennett and the Church and its authorities occurred and he had left Nauvoo previous to the 6th of August, 1842. In the Call statement as published by Tullidge, the name of Mr. Adams, the Deputy Grand Master Mason in charge of the ceremonies, is given as George, it should be James.”[14]

B. H. Roberts

Tullidge’s biography of Call was written in 1889. So when did Call actually first write down the prophecy he claimed that Smith made? Certainly not when it happened (August 1842), since he is wrong about so many details.  Notice that even in his notes, Roberts tries to make it seem as if Smith wrote the prophecy and put it in his history himself.

It seems that Anson Call kept a journal, but the prophecy is not found there. He wrote an autobiography taken from his journals that ended at the year 1839. He later wrote what he called a “Life Sketch”.

The following is taken from Anson Call: Excerpts from his Autobiography:

“Almost the last journal entry that Anson makes shows his love and his respect for Joseph Smith by as indicated by the following:

About the middle of May I was one day traveling to Warsaw when to my great surprise I met Brothers Joseph and Hyrum. I asked him when and how he had made his escape from Missouri. He said, ‘I am in a great hurry, for my enemies are pursuing me…I will say in short to you, the prayers of the brethren brought me her” He then inquired of me where I lived. He said, ‘in about a week I will be at your house; then I will relate the whole matter to you.’ He passed on in great haste. I was filled with great joy to see our prophet after more than six months. Suffering by chains and dungeons once more in the enjoyment of liberty.

He came to my house about the appointed time, had his dinner and spent the principle part of the afternoon in conversation. Hyrum, Sidney Rigdon, and Vincent Knight were with him. He related to some of the circumstances of his escape from Missouri. He also stated that he had purchased a tract of land in Commerce. A place for the saints to gather to, now called Nauvoo. In the course of the summer my wife had a very severe sickness, chills and fever from which she would probably have died had it not been for her being healed by the laying on of hands. Worked for the Carthaginians and supported our families. I preached to them a few times in the court house but they were not very religious and did not wish to inquire much about Mormonism. (Call, pp. 18 & 19.)

Anson moved West with the rest of the saints. He was assigned by Brigham Young to settle Bountiful. He settled down on a 300 acre farm and raised 18 children with the help of four wife’s. He was the bishop of the Bountiful Ward. He built the Bountiful First Ward by order of Brigham Young.

One of the most lasting contributions that Anson made, other than his prodigious posterity, are a few tibbits of  historical information that he recorded. One of which is the prophecy that Joseph Smith made of the saints moving west.

Joseph Smith by Sutcliffe Maudsley

The “Life Sketch” has the same text as the “Autobiography”, but it is written in 2nd person, with the exception of this quote.)

On the 14th of July, 1843, with quite a number of his (Joseph Smith brethren, he (Joe) crossed the Mississippi River to the town of Montrose to be present at the installment of the Masonic lodge of the ‘rising sun, A block school house had

J.C. Bennett

been prepared with shade in front, under which a barrel of ice water. Judge George Adams was the highest Masonic author in the state of Illinois and had been sent there to organize this lodge He (Joe), Hyrum Smith and J.C. Bennett, being high masons, went into the house to perform some ceremonies which the others were not entitled to witness. These, including Joseph Smith remained under the bowery. Jose] as he was tasting of the cold water, warned the brethren not to be fret with it. With the tumbler still in his hand he prophesied that the Saint would yet go to the Rocky Mountains; and, said he, ‘this water tastes much like that of the crystal streams that are running from the snow capped mountains’ we will 1st Mr. Call describe (sic) this prophetic scene: I had before seen him in a vision and now saw while he was talking his countenance changed to white: not the deadly white of a bloodless face, but a living brilliant white. He

seemed absorbed in gazing at something at a great distance and said, ‘I am gazing upon the valleys of those mountains’. This was followed by a vivid description of the scenery of these mountains as I have since become acquainted with it. Pointing to Shadrach Roundy and others, he said, ‘There are some men here who shall do a great work in that land.’ Pointing to me he said, ‘There is Anson, he shall go and shall assist in building cities from one end of that country to the other, and you’ rather extending the idea to all those he had spoken of, ‘shall perform as great a work as has been done by man, so that the nation of the earth shall be astonished and many of them will be gathered in that land and assist in building cities and temples, and Israel shall he made to rejoiced’.

S. Roundy

“It is impossible to represent in words this scene which is still vivid in my mind, of the grandeur of Joseph’s appearance, his beautiful descriptions of this land and his wonderful prophetic utterances as they emanated from the glorious inspirations that over shadowed him. There was a force and power in his exclamations of which the following is but a faint echo. ‘Oh the beauty of those snow capped mountains. The cool refreshing streams that are running down through theose (sic ?) mountains gorges’ Then gazing in another direction, as if there was a change and locality; ‘oh the scenes that this people will pass through’ The dead that will lay between here and there.’ Then turning in another direction as if the scene had again changed: ‘Oh the apostasy that will take place before my brethren reach that land’. But he continued, ‘the Priesthood shall prevail over all it’s enemies, triumph over the devil and be established upon the earth never more to be thrown down.’ He then charged us with great force and power, to be faithful in these things that had been and …???

[Written at bottom of page “THIS CONCLUDES ALL WE HAVE OF THIS COPY”, Alice Maud Call Burton Afton, Wyo.] (Life Sketch of Anson Call 1810-1890, Pioneer in the building of the west.)”[15]

The “prophecy” that Call records here, is obviously written well after the fact, because of the problems with the historical data that B.H. Roberts notes in his History of the Church. Also, the “almost the last journal entry” was when Smith escaped from Liberty Jail in 1839! The “prophecy” was obviously written later, and appears to be unfinished in the copy that Alice Burton had in her possession because it breaks off mid sentence near the end.

F.A.I.R.’s sarcastic comment that Call “forged” his “prophecy”, is the most realistic conclusion, because the historical details don’t line up with the facts.

Since F.A.I.R. has no evidence that there was an actual specific Rocky Mountain prophecy uttered by Smith in his lifetime, they choose to befuddle the issue with a series of quotes that they claim bolster the premise that there was probably a prophecy, therefore there must have been some kind of a prophecy. Most of these are remembrances of Mormon authorities long after the fact – which prove nothing at all.

One interesting quote they use, is from Wilford Woodruff’s Journal. On November 24, 1878 Woodruff wrote on the” Inside Front Cover Fly Sheet” of one of his Journals some “true sayings” of the “Prophet Joseph” that he says he copied from Philo Dibble’s “record”. These “true sayings” are supposedly Dibble’s recollection of Smith’s last address before the Nauvoo Legion. It is obvious from a quick reading that these are not journal entries from the period, or even written on those dates or shortly after the events because like Call’s account, they are so full of inaccuracies.

Philo Dibble

Dibble first gives the date of the 22 of June and says that Smith “called us [The Nauvoo Legion] out in order and to my astonishment Counselled us to give up our arms” and then prophesied to them that they would “gather many people into the fastness of the Rocky Mountains as a centre for the Gathering of the people.” He then thanked them, dismissed them and told them to “take care of your wives, Children and homes.” But the Legion did not give up their arms until June 24, six days after Smith’s last address to the Nauvoo Legion.

Dibble then gives a date for the next day, and has Smith giving his last speech to the Nauvoo Legion. If he had dismissed them the day before, (as Dibble attests)and said his obvious farewell (take care of your wives, children and homes) why would he give them a “last speech” the next day? Also,  Dibble’s date for the “last speech” of Smith before the Nauvoo Legion as the 23 of June, 1844 is incorrect. The actual date of that event was on the 18 of June, and it is well documented. Dibble uses parts of Smith’s speech as recorded by those who were there and later published in the History of the Church, and then has Smith repeating his prophecy about the Rocky Mountains that he supposedly told them the day before.

F.A.I.R. concludes with,

“It could be, of course, that Anson Call forged his account, and all the Church leaders and members lied about remembering Joseph speak about the matter. But why then appeal to “many of you” remembering Joseph speaking about it? Why not claim it was a private, secret teaching given to the apostles—for, they certainly also reported these. If the claim was fraudulent, why risk exposure?

Or, the story could have started after the Saints reached the valley, and simply grown in the telling with members “remembering” the story as it was retold to them. But, the contemporary evidence would seem to argue against this, and witnesses often mentioned how struck they were by Joseph’s remarks. They also described him discussing this idea in a variety of setting, which argues against an accumulated “folklore.”[16]

F.A.I.R. thinks it “strange to see critics argue that Joseph would not prophesy about this,” because they claim that critics say he “was always larding his ideas with prophetic pronouncement,” and I agree. He did.  I have furnished some of that “larding” below in the next section.  I will also show that the accumulated “folklore” argument fits the evidence perfectly.

Again we see F.A.I.R. combining two different issues and tying them together; implying if the prophecy itself was fraudulent that Smith’s discussing the matter must also be based on something “fraudlent”. The Tanners do not say that Smith never spoke about it, they admit that he did. The Tanner’s “evidence” is legitimate though, while F.A.I.R.’s evidence doesn’t appear to be any evidence at all.

Also, Call’s appeal to “many of you” was made because Smith did in fact make vague statements about the west.  This obviously grew into a full blown “folklore” “prophecy” as did the story about Brigham Young transforming into Joseph Smith while he was making the case for claiming leadership of the Church.

I do agree with one point that F.A.I.R. makes: that Smith “discussed moving to the west several times, and likely prophesied about it.” Given the Mormons history of being driven out of every place they settled in, it sure wouldn’t be bad odds to do so and get that right.  But it wasn’t this particular “prophecy” given in those words on that date; the details are completely different, and he made other “prophecies” about the west and Nauvoo that were completely false. This makes Smith a good guesser, but a bad prophet.

IV. ROCKY MOUNTAIN ZION?

“But the Colorado Rocky Mountain high
I’ve seen it raining fire in the sky,
You can talk to God and listen to the casual reply:
Rocky Mountain high” [17]

***

“Men profess to prophecy. I will prophesy that the signs of the coming of the Son of Man are already commenced, one pestilence will desolate after another, we shall soon have war & bloodshed. The Moon will be turned to blood. [Matt. 24]I testify of these things, & that the coming of the Son of Man is nigh even at your doors.–If our Souls & our bodies are not looking forth for the coming of the Son of Man, & after we are dead if we are not looking forth, &c we shall be among those who are calling for the rocks to fall upon us &c– There will be here & there a stake &c. for the gathering of the Saints Some may have cried peace, but the Saints & the world will have little peace from henceforth. Let this not hinder us from going to the Stakes, for God has told us to flee not dallying, or we shall be scattered, one here, another there. There your children shall be blessed & you in the midst of friends where you may be blessed. &c  …

The Gospel net gathers of every kind. I prophecy that the man who tarries after he has an opportunity of going will be afflicted by the Devil. Wars are at hand we must not delay, but we are [are we] not required to Sacrifice.[?] We ought to have the building up of Zion as our greatest object.–when wars come we shall have to flee to Zion, the cry is to make haste.

The last revelation says ye shall not have time to have gone over the Earth until these things come. It will come as did the cholera, war, & fires burning earthquake, one pestilence after another &c  the Ancient of Days [will] come then judgment will be given to the Saints.

 Whatsoever you may hear about me or Kirtland, take no notice of, for if it be a place of refuge the Devil will use his greatest efforts to trap the Saints. You must make yourselves acquainted with those men, who, like Daniel pray three times a day to the house of the Lord. –Look to the Presidency &c & receive instruction. Every man who is afraid, covetous &c will be taken in a snare.–The time is soon coming when no man will have any peace but in Zion & her Stakes. I saw men hunting the lives of their own sons, & brother murdering brother, women killing their own daughters & daughters seeking the lives of their mothers. I saw armies arrayed against armies I saw blood, desolations, & fires &c,–The Son of Man has said that the mother, shall be against the daughter, & the daughter against the mother &c, &c–these things are at our doors. They will follow the Saints of God from City to City—

goya-yson-tan-fiera

Satan will rage & The Spirit of the Devil is now enraged, &c I know not how soon these things will take place, and with a view of them shall I cry peace? No! I will lift up my voice & testify of them. How long you will have good crops, & the famine be kept off. I do not know. When the fig tree leaves, know then that the summer is nigh at hand. we may look for Angels &c. & receive their ministering but we are to try the spirits & prove them. for it is often the case that men make a mistake in regard to these things.”~Joseph Smith, July, 1839[18]

This “prophecy” was given a few months after Smith escaped from jail in Missouri, when he was well aware that the possibility of returning was dismal. Here, he mentions “stakes” of Zion that would be the only safe havens for the “saints”. These “stakes” would be an important part of Smith’s plans for a westward expansion of the church.

Let’s consider some of the accounts that speak of “the Rocky Mountains”, including some of those mentioned in the F.A.I.R. article’s “Other Evidence From Joseph’s Lifetime” section.   In an article titled “The Far West”, which appeared in the Evening and Morning Star in October of 1832, we are told about the lands from the Mississippi River to the Rockies in the far west:

“The far west, as the section of country from the Mississippi to the Rocky Mountains may justly be styled, is not only distant from the Atlantic States, but different. Its principle river, running rapidly from the 48th to the 39th degree of north latitude, is always rily, always wearing away its banks and always making new channels: It is rightly named Missouri; for in plain English, it looks like the waters of misery,-or troubled water:-even as the sea which the prophet said, Casts up mire and dirt…”[19]

United States 1832

In 1821 the Missouri Territory stretched all the way from the Mississippi River to the Rocky Mountains. After 1821 and Missouri statehood, it was renamed the Arkansaw Territory and the northern part went unnamed.  In 1834 during the “Zion’s Camp” march, Smith claimed to see a vision of a white Lamanite named Zelph who he described as a great general under one “Onandagus”, known from “Cumorah to the Rocky Mountains”.  As the article in the Star explains,

“this beautiful region of country is now mostly, excepting Arkansas and Missouri, the land of Joseph or the Indians,” and though “the world will never value the land of Desolation, as it is called in the book of Mormon, for any thing more than hunting ground, for want of timber and mill-seats: The Lord to the contrary notwithstanding, declares it to be the land of Zion which is the land of Joseph, blessed by him, for the precious things of heaven, for the dew, and for the deep that coucheth beneath, and for the precious fruits brought forth by the sun, and for the precious things put forth by the moon, and for the chief things of the ancient mountains, and for the precious things of the lasting hills, and for the precious things of the earth and fulness [fullness] thereof…”[20]

But 1832 would be a bad year for Mormonism in Missouri, for Smith would underestimate the old settlers there, along with their patience in dealing with a large group of what they deemed religious fanatics who thought they were justified in “consecrating the riches of the Gentiles”[21] to themselves as their God given due.  Of course the Mormons thought that the backlash was only religious persecution as Francis Bishop wrote in 1839, who blamed it all on,

“a rumor [which] was likewise raised and carried abroad through the papers, that the church in Missouri, who had purchased lands there and were peaceably settled on them, were intending to drive the inhabitants out of the State, upon the ground that they claimed the country as a promised land.”[22]

It would be hard to read the above “revelation” about consecrating the riches of the Gentiles and not get that impression. Smith would later change that verse in the 1835 expanded edition of the Book of Commandments, renamed the Doctrine and Covenants. Returning for a moment to B. H. Roberts and  New Witnesses for God, we find Roberts mentioning another “prophecy” (as he calls it) in connection with the alleged 1842 “prophecy” that is a part of Doctrine and Covenants, Section  49. It reads,

“But before the great day of the Lord shall come, Jacob shall flourish in the wilderness, and the Lamanites [the American Indians] shall blossom as the rose. Zion shall flourish upon the hills and rejoice upon the mountains, and shall be assembled together unto the place which I have appointed.”[23]

The problems with tying this “prophecy” to the 1842 Rocky Mountain prophecy should be obvious, for the place that was “appointed” (to gather) was not in the Rocky Mountains, but in the state of Missouri:

“Hearken, O ye elders of my church, saith the Lord your God, who have assembled yourselves together, according to my commandments, in this land, which is the land of Missouri, which is the land which I have appointed and consecrated for the gathering of the saints. Wherefore, this is the land of promise, and the place for the city of Zion.”[24]

1838 United States (click to enlarge)

But you may say, the land of Missouri stretched all the way to the Rocky Mountains! Perhaps if the old settlers had known about Smith’s plans for the Rocky Mountains they would have been less recalcitrant. Then again, they probably read the next verse of this “revelation” penned by Smith:

“And thus saith the Lord your God, if you will receive wisdom here is wisdom. Behold, the place which is now called Independence is the center place; and a spot for the temple is lying westward, upon a lot which is not far from the courthouse.”[25]

By 1832 the State of Missouri was the little boot of the former Missouri Territory. The Mormons were coming in droves, and as we read in the rest of that Star article on the Far West,

“When we consider that the land of Missouri is the land where the saints of the living God are to be gathered together and sanctified for the second coming of the Lord Jesus, we cannot help exclaiming with the prophet, O land be glad! and O earth, earth, earth, hear the word of the Lord: For Zion’s sake will I not hold my peace, and for Jerusalem’s sake I will not rest, until the righteousness thereof go forth as brightness, and the salvation thereof as a lamp that burneth. And the Gentiles shall see thy righteousness, and all kings thy glory: and thou shalt be called by a new name, which the mouth of the Lord shall name. Thou shalt also be a crown of glory in the hand of the Lord, and a royal diadem in the hand of thy God. Thou [Jerusalem] shalt no more be termed Forsaken; neither shall thy land [Zion] any more be termed Desolate… “[26]

Driven out of Jackson County into neighboring counties, the Mormons for a time lived in peace with the Missourians.  But “the gathering” and visions of destruction were still Smith’s primary focus. In 1833, Smith says he is inspired “by God” to write to N.C. Saxton,

“The Book of Mormon is a record of the forefathers of our western tribes of Indians; having been found through the ministration of an holy angel, and translated into our own language by the gift and power of God, after having been hid up in the earth for the last fourteen hundred years, containing the word of God which was delivered unto them. By it we learn that our western tribes of Indians are descendants from that Joseph which was sold into Egypt, and that the land of America is a promised land unto them, and unto it all the tribes of Israel will come with as many of the Gentiles as shall comply with the requisitions of the new covenant. But the tribe of Judah will return to old Jerusalem. The city of Zion spoken of by David, in the one hundred and second Psalm, will be built upon the land of America, “And the ransomed of the Lord shall return, and come to Zion with songs and everlasting joy upon their heads” (Isaiah xxxv: 10); and then they will be delivered from the overflowing scourge that shall pass through the land. But Judah shall obtain deliverance at Jerusalem. … These are testimonies that the Good Shepherd will put forth His own sheep, and lead them out from all nations where they have been scattered in a cloudy and dark day, to Zion and to Jerusalem, besides many more testimonies which might be brought.

And now I am prepared to say by the authority of Jesus Christ, that not many years shall pass away before the United States shall present such a scene of bloodshed as has not a parallel in the history of our nation; pestilence, hail, famine, and earthquake will sweep the wicked of this generation from off the face of the land, to open and prepare the way for the return of the lost tribes of Israel from the north country. The people of the Lord, those who have complied with the requirements of the new covenant, have already commenced gathering together to Zion, which is in the state of Missouri, therefore I declare unto you the warning which the Lord has commanded to declare unto this generation, remembering that the eyes of my Maker are upon me and that to him I am accountable for every word I say wishing nothing worse to my fellow-men than their eternal salvation; therefore, “Fear God, and give glory to Him, for the hour of His judgment is come.” Repent ye, repent ye, and embrace the everlasting covenant, and flee to Zion, before the overflowing scourge overtake you, for there are those now living upon the earth whose eyes shall not be closed in death until they see all these things, which I have spoken, fulfilled. Remember these things; call upon the Lord while He is near, and seek Him while He may be found, is the exhortation of your unworthy servant.” [Signed] JOSEPH SMITH, JUN.[27]

Smith was telling everyone to flee to Missouri! And he was apparently soon to bring the lost Tribes with him. Smith declares here that “the city of Zion … will be built upon the land of America” and that “there are those whose eyes shall not be closed in death until they see all these things, including the city of Zion being built, fulfilled. By mid 1834 Smith had gathered up a group of Mormon menfolk and they made their way to Missouri to take back their lands in Jackson County.

But before leaving to “redeem” Zion in May 1834, Smith gave a “revelation” in response to Parley Pratt and Lyman Wight’s arrival in Kirtland with questions on what they should do about their lands in Jackson County. Smith’s reply was that if they “hearken from this very hour” to the counsel they are given from Smith, they would “begin to prevail against” their “enemies from this very hour.”[28]

Hearken they did, answering Smith’s call to arms with enthusiasm.  How could they not be excited when they had received this promise supposedly by God himself,

“Behold, this is the blessing which I have promised after your tribulations, and the tribulations of your brethren–your redemption, and the redemption of your brethren, even their restoration to the land of Zion, to be established, no more to be thrown down. Nevertheless, if they pollute their inheritances they shall be thrown down; for I will not spare them if they pollute their inheritances. Behold, I say unto you, the redemption of Zion must needs come by power; Therefore, I will raise up unto my people a man, who shall lead them like as Moses led the children of Israel. For ye are the children of Israel, and of the seed of Abraham, and ye must needs be led out of bondage by power, and with a stretched-out arm. And as your fathers were led at the first, even so shall the redemption of Zion be. Therefore, let not your hearts faint, for I say not unto you as I said unto your fathers: Mine angel shall go up before you, but not my presence. But I say unto you: Mine angels shall go up before you, and also my presence, and in time ye shall possess the goodly land.[29]

Arriving in Missouri with much bickering and squabbling among them on the way,

“A possibly decisive battle with the “Jackson Countians” was aborted 19 June by a devastating thunder-and-hail storm which the Mormons ascribed to divine intervention. Three days later, near Liberty, Joseph Smith issued the “Fishing River Revelation,” chastising the Saints for disobedience and disbanding the camp, thereby postponing indefinitely the eventual Mormon reclamation of Jackson County. Zion’s Camp never officially fired a shot upon its enemies. The few deaths reported among the Missourians came mainly by drowning, and those among the Mormons from cholera.”[30]

Did the Mormons “pollute their inheritances”? With Zion’s Camp having been decimated by cholera, and Smith himself being struck with it while claiming he could “heal the sick”, all of his previous violent rhetoric from his February “revelation” was tossed aside, like these promises made in that very “revelation”,

“Verily, verily I say unto you, that my servant Joseph Smith, Jun., is the man to whom I likened the servant to whom the Lord of the vineyard spake in the parable which I have given unto you. Therefore let my servant Joseph Smith, Jun., say unto the strength of my house, my young men and the middle aged—Gather yourselves together unto the land of Zion, upon the land which I have bought with money that has been consecrated unto me. And let all the churches send up wise men with their moneys, and purchase lands even as I have commanded them. And inasmuch as mine enemies come against you to drive you from my goodly land, which I have consecrated to be the land of Zion, even from your own lands after these testimonies, which ye have brought before me against them, ye shall curse them; And whomsoever ye curse, I will curse, and ye shall avenge me of mine enemies. And my presence shall be with you even in avenging me of mine enemies, unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me. Let no man be afraid to lay down his life for my sake; for whoso layeth down his life for my sake shall find it again. And whoso is not willing to lay down his life for my sake is not my disciple.”[31]

Smith instead, gave his Fishing River Revelation, where he blames his own failure on the church,

“were it not for the transgressions of my people, speaking concerning the church and not individuals, they might have been redeemed even now.”[32]

Yet, Smith was supposed to be “the man like unto Moses” and lead them “with power” and “a stretched out arm”. And as the followers of Moses were led, “so shall the redemption of Zion be”.  Did Moses have those in his camp who griped? Yes. But did that stop Moses from destroying the Egyptians? Not at all. Remember, Smith doesn’t liken the redemption of Zion to the possessing of the promised land of Israel, he likens it to when Israel was leaving Egypt, “and as your fathers were led at the first, even so shall the redemption of Zion be.” This included all the gripers, backbiters, and those who had committed “transgressions”.  These were individuals, not the entire church.  Smith had been so confident in his power that he wrote another earlier revelation which stated,

“And, behold, there is none other place appointed than that which I have appointed; neither shall there be any other place appointed than that which I have appointed, for the work of the gathering of my saintsUntil the day cometh when there is found no more room for them; and then I have other places which I will appoint unto them, and they shall be called stakes, for the curtains or the strength of Zion.”[33]

This pretty much states that it’s Missouri or nothing. “Zion shall not be moved out of her place,” says Smith, even though “her children are scattered”.[34] Smith tells us that God “reveals” to him that there is “none other place appointed” and that “neither shall there be until the day” comes that “there is found no more room for them” and then, only then, will there be “other places” which would be called “stakes”.

Smith knew what he had written, and so after blaming this failure on others, decides to set the date for the “redemption of Zion” and try again. On August 16, 1834 he writes to the leaders of the Church in Clay County, Missouri,

“use every effort  to prevail on the churches to gather to those regions  and situate themselves to be in readiness to move  into Jackson Co. in two years from the Eleventh of  September next which is the appointed time for the  redemption of Zion.[35]

This would set the date for the “redemption of Zion” at September 11, 1836. A diary entry by Joseph Smith that was made on September 25, 1835 shows that he was still intent on fulfilling this, and that it was indeed “the voice of the spirit of the Lord, that those “driven out”  should be set back on their lands by the spring of 1836:

September 24th 1835 This day the High Council met at my house to take into consid[e]ration the redeem[p]tion of Zion. It was the voice of the spirit of the Lord that we petition to the Governer [of Missouri]. That is those who have been driven out /should/ to do so to be set back on their Lands next spring. We go next season to live or dy [die] to this end so the dy is cast  in Jackson County.

We truly had a good time and Covena[n]ted to strug[g]le for this thing u[n]till death shall desolve [dissolve] this union. And if one falls that the rest be not discouraged but pe[r]sue this object until it is a[c]omplished. Which may God grant u[n]to us in the name of Christ our Lord.

September 24th 1835 This day drew up an Arti/c/le of [p.35] inrollment for the redem[p]tion of Zion that we may obtain volunteers to go next spring /to M[iss]o[uri]/. I ask God in the name of Jesus that we may obtain Eight hundred men /or one thousand/ well armed [men] and that they may ac[c]omplish this great work. Even so. Amen.[36]

But the Mormons couldn’t even hold on to their lands in Clay County, and were expelled by the citizens there and were forced to regroup in Ray (Caldwell) County.  John Corrill writes that

“Friendship began to be restored between them and their neighbors, the old prejudices were fast dying away, and they were doing well, until the summer of 1838.”[37]

What happened was Joseph Smith. Having made a mess of things in Kirtland with the failure of the Kirtland Safety Society,[38]Smith was forced to flee Kirtland in the middle of the night in January of 1838 and arrived in Far West, Missouri in the spring of that year. He subsequently ex-communicated all of the leaders of the Church there, and as John Corrill writes, told the “saints” that,

“in order to get protection and favor from God, they must become one, and be perfectly united in all things; cleanse themselves from every kind of pollution, and keep the whole law of God; and, if they would do this, God would strengthen them against their enemies, his arm should be their arm, and the time was not far distant when, if they purified themselves properly, one should be able to choose his thousand, and to put their ten thousand to flight.[39]  

This was the same rhetoric used in the journal entries of 1835. It again amounted to nothing. In Caldwell County tensions mounted, and a secret band of Mormon “enforcers” [40] was formed called the Danites, which Smith described in his diary:

“We have a company of Danites in these times, to put to right physically that which is not right, and to cleanse the Church of very great evils which hath hitherto existed among us inasmuch as they cannot be put to right by teachings & persuasions.[41]

Open war soon erupted between the Missourians and the Mormons, with Smith promising to those that fought with him that,

“he would yet tread down his enemies, and walk over their dead bodies; and if he was not let alone, he would be a second Mohammed to this generation, and that he would make it one gore of blood from the Rocky mountains to the Atlantic ocean; that like Mohammed, whose motto in treating for peace was, ‘the Alcoran or the Sword.’ So should it be eventually with us, ‘Joseph Smith or the Sword.’”[42]

Ordering the Mormon apostle David W. Patten to attack State Militia, Smith outraged the Governor, who issued an Extermination Order against the Mormons. Patten was killed in the Battle of Crooked River, and Smith was captured and charged with treason and murder.  Sent to Richmond and then Liberty Jail, Smith bribed his guards and left the state, and soon thereafter made Commerce Illinois the new gathering place for the “saints”.[43] It is here, that we have some more mention of the Rocky Mountains.

About a year after his “leg bail” from the Missourians, Smith sent Jonathan Dunham on a mission to New York to proselyte the Indians there. Smith had suspended his plans to intermarry with the “Lamanites” in Missouri because govern­ment regulations enforced by Indian agents forbade dwelling among the Indian Tribes, and the Missourians were suspicious very early on of supposed Mormon interaction with them. It seems that the conversion of an Indian and his family, who was “an Interpreter of six tribes” generated excitement among the Mormons to renew their efforts in fulfilling Smith’s prophecy that the “Lamanites” would “blossom as the rose”.[44]

On July 19, 1840 Smith would embellish his concept of Zion once more, claiming that “When all this comes true–and it surely will–then they will know that a prophet has been among them,”[45] before he launched into a “prophetic” speech that would set the stage for the coming “Lamanite” uprising. Howard and Martha Corey reported that Smith,

“read the parable of the 12 olive trees  and said speaking of the Land of Zion that It consists of all N. & S America but that any place where the Saints gather is Zion which every righteous man will build up for a place of safety for his children that The olive trees are 12 stakes which are yet to be built not the Temple in Jackson [County, Missouri] as some suppose for while the 12 olive stakes are being built we will be at peace but the Nations of the Earth will be at war”[46]

Having failed twice at Zion’s redemption, Smith was now claiming that twelve “stakes” must be built up first, but in 1837 told something quite different to some in his inner circle like Mary Fielding, who mentions them in a letter to her sister written in 1837:

“Some important things were shown to Brother Joseph in vision previous to his going off relative to the enlargement of our borders which has indeed become indispensably necessary for the inhabitants of Zion both here [Ohio] and in the west [Missouri]are crying the cities are too strait for us give place that we may dwell. The people are crowding in from all parts and as President Rigdon said in his last discourse here they will gather and earth and hell combined cannot hinder them for gather they will. Hence the necessity of planting new stakes which they received a command to do before they left and it is expected that after they have set in order the Church in the west they will fix upon 11 new stakes before they return but this is not spoken of in public for reasons you will be aware of. If this were generally known it would probably make there way much more difficult.”[47]

Forced out of Missouri without redeeming Zion, Smith reverses himself, and claims,

“The redemption of Zion is the redemption of all N & S America and those 12 stake must be built up before the redemption of Zion can take place and those who refuse to gather and build when they are commanded to do so cease to be Saviours of men and are henceforth good for nothing but shall be cast out and trodden underfeet of men for their transgression…”[48]

We then have Smith claiming that the Mormons would save the Constitution after the desolation that the “Gentiles” would suffer (for rejecting the Book of Mormon)[49]and Smith gives a timeframe for when all this happens, and does it by way of a “prophecy”,

“We shall build the Zion of the Lord in peace untill the servants of that Lord shall begin to lay the foundation of a great and high watch Tower and then shall they begin to say within themselves what need hath my Lord of this tower seeing this is a time of peace & Then the Enemy shall brak come as a thief in the night and scatter the servants abroad when the seed of these 12 Olive trees are scattered abroad they will wake up the Nations of the whole Earth Even this Nation will be on the very verge of crumbling to peices and tumbling to the ground and when the constitution is upon the brink of ruin this people will be the Staff up which the Nation shall lean and they shall bear away the constitution away from the very verge of destruction Then shall the Lord say go tell all my servants who are the strength of mine house my young men and middle aged &c come to the Land of my vineyard and fight the battle of the Lord Then the Kings & Queens shall come then the rulers of the Earth shall come then shall ail saints come yea the Foreign saints shall come to fight for the Land of my vineyard for in this thing shall be their safety and they will have no power to choose but will come as a man fleeth from a sudden destruction But before this the time shall be when these who are now my friends shall become my enemies and shall seek to take my life

But brethren come ye yea come all of you who can come and go to with your mights and build up the cities of the Lord and whosoever will let him come and partake of the poverty of Nauvoo freely for those who partake of her poverty shall also shall also partake of her prosperity. And it is now wisdom in God that we should enter into as compact a city as posible for Zion and Jerusalem and must both be built up before the coming of Christ How long will it take to do this 10 years Yes more than 40 years will pass before this work will be accomplished and when these cities are built then shall the coming of the Son of man be”[50]

It would be hard indeed, to imagine Smith prophecying (and really believing) that the saints would be “driven” from Nauvoo, in 1842 when he “prophesied” in 1840 that it would become the greatest city in the world,

And I prophecy in the name of the Lord that the state of Illinois shall become a great mountain and mighty mountain as city set upon a hill that cannot be hid and a great that giveth light to the world and The city of Nauvoo als[o] shall become the greatest city in the whole world. Now from this hour bring every thing you can bring and build a Temple unto the Lord a house into the mighty God of Jacob. We will build upon the top of this Temple a great observatory a great and high watch tower and in the top thereof we will Suspend a tremendous bell  that when it is rung shall rouse the inhabitants of Madison wake up the people of Warsaw and sound in the ears of men [in] Carthage Then comes the ancient records yea all of them dig them yea bring them forth speedily

Then shall the poor be fed by the curious who shall come from all parts of the world to see this wonderful temple Yea I prophecy that pleasure parties shall come from England to see the Mamoth and like the Queen of Sheba shall say the half never was told them. School houses shall be built here and High schools shall be established and the great men of the [earth] shall send their sons here to board while they are receiving their education among us And even Noblemen shall crave the priviledge of educating their children with us and these poor saints shall chink in their pockets the money of these proud men received from such as come and dwell with us”[51]

Not finished, Smith again gives a “ prophesy” that “these saints” will return to Missouri,

“Now brethren I obligate myself to build as great a temple as ever solomon did if the church will back me up. Moreover it shall not impoverish any man but enrich thousands I prophecy that the time shall be when these saints shall ride proudly over the mountains of Missouri and no Gentile dog nor Missouri dog shall dare lift a tongue against them but will lick up the dust from beneath their feet and I pray the father that many here may realize this and see it with their eyes. And if it should be (Stretching his hand towards the place and in a melancholly tone that made all hearts tremble) will of God that I might live to behold that temple completed and finished from the foundation to the top stone I will say Oh Lord it is enough Lord let thy servant depart in peace, which is my ernest prayer in the name of the L[ord] Jesus Amen.”[52]

We now return to Jonathan Dunham and his mission to the “Lamanites”, who left Fort Leavenworth where he was residing, and wrote a letter to Hiram Kellogg in Kirtland to ask for assistance, signing it “Jonathan Dunham, Lamanite”. After he arrived in Kirtland, one of the leaders there, Thomas Burdick wrote a letter to Joseph Smith, quoting some of Dunham’s letter and asking about his “mission”, which they thought odd in the light of Dunham’s subsequent explanations upon his arrival there. Dunham initially wrote Kellogg,

“Dear brother in the gospel and new Covenant, I feel it a duty to inform you that I am on  my way and mission to the State of New York, I have  just returned from the Far West! by way of Commerce  Nauvoo, Springfield &c. I started in company with three other Elders who have all got sick & I have been obliged to leave them, two of whom have gone back &  the other I left in Covington K.Y. opposite Cincinatti.  My mission is urgent indeed. I am now left alone”  I did want you to select out if possible three or four Lam anite preachers and have them ready when I arrive to  go to Catteraugus Buffalo Tonawanda, Tuscaroras  Alleganys Onendagas and Oneidas:— I want the  bretheren if possible to assist me in getting to the Onida  Castle by water for I am in haste to return to Nauvoo  at Oct. Conference, & then to my station in the Terri tory of Missouri 9 miles from the Garrison (Leving worth), from whence, I have just come. A new  scene of things are about to transpire in the west, in fulfilment of prophecy, &c I want your prayers & also  the prayers of the bretheren that I may have my health to  accomplish my mission. I am not sent to the Gentiles  neither to the Cities of the Sameritans, but to the promised  people of the house of Jacob, who if they go through &c”[53]

While in Kirtland, Burdick reports that Dunham preached in public that,

“This nation is about  to be destroyed” and suggests to the bretheren that there is a place of safety preparing for them away towards  the Rockey mountains they may have a long and croo ked Road to go to get there” and says but few will  be preserved to arrive there, he suggests that twelve  stakes may be built up & again thrown down—  That the ten tribes are somewhere on a Planet taken  from this Plannet which when it comes back will cause  this earth to reil to and fro like two Boats meeting—  that Adam had 15 or 16 sons before Cain &c.”[54]

Dunham had obviously heard Smith’s “prophetic” speech in July, or reports of it. His “towards the Rocky Mountains”, could mean anywhere between the western boundary of Missouri and the Rockies, and as we shall see, there was never any specific destination Mormon “prophets” had in mind, only vague references to the Rocky Mountains, as this was.  In 1841, the “saints” were told,

“all places of gathering are discontinued, excepting Hancock county, Illinois, and Zarahemla, in Lee county, Iowa territory, opposite Nauvoo…”[55]

Regardless, this was in direct contradiction to a “revelation” that Smith wrote in 1830 where he states,

“And ye are called to bring to pass the gathering of mine elect; for mine elect hear my voice and harden not their hearts; Wherefore the decree hath gone forth from the Father that they shall be gathered in unto one place upon the face of this land, to prepare their hearts and be prepared in all things against the day when tribulation and desolation are sent forth upon the wicked. For the hour is nigh and the day soon at hand when the earth is ripe; and all the proud and they that do wickedly shall be as stubble; and I will burn them up, saith the Lord of Hosts, that wickedness shall not be upon the earth; For the hour is nigh, and that which was spoken by mine apostles must be fulfilled; for as they spoke so shall it come to pass; For I will reveal myself from heaven with power and great glory, with all the hosts thereof, and dwell in righteousness with men on earth a thousand years, and the wicked shall not stand.”[56]

And in 1831,

“Hearken, O ye elders of my church, saith the Lord your God, who have assembled yourselves together, according to my commandments, in this land, which is the land of Missouri, which is the land which I have appointed and consecrated for the gathering of the saints. Wherefore, this is the land of promise, and the place for the city of Zion.”[57]

Smith’s modus operandi was to entrench himself in a place, until driven out when his dishonest dealings were exposed. In 1842 he came close to leaving Nauvoo over the defection of John C. Bennett and his revelations about Smith’s spiritual wifeism, and so the Rocky Mountains and the “stakes” were again discussed. This was mentioned by Oliver Olney, a convert from the Kirtland days who had weathered the Missouri storm, but had recently apostatized.

“Also twelve Stakes of Zion on its borders that was to be reared by the Latter Day Saints, in the due time of the Lord, as the way opened it for them to perform.”[58]

Marvin S. Hill in “Quest For Refuge” explains,

“For a time, in response to the criticism in local and national press due to Bennett’s allegations, Smith entertained the idea of finding refuge further west. Oliver Olney learned of this and wrote him a letter dated 20 July 1842 from Quincy. He inquired, “They say with your numerous wifes and maidens you are about to start west as far as the Rocky Mountains where you will raise up a Righteous Branch without being molested by the Laws of the Land.” Olney later noted that the Saints “are fast a fixing to go West where they can live in peace without being molested By the laws of the land. They say soon to start If what I hear is correct as far West as Origen Territory and establish a stake of Zion.” But Willard Richards indicated in a letter to James Arlington Bennett of New York, written in November, that the Saints desired to go no further west unless compelled, so that by the latter date they felt reasonably certain that they had weathered the storm stirred by Bennett.”[59]

1846 Texas Territory

Since Missouri was now off limits to the Mormons, the Territory beyond Missouri – which was Texas and encompassed part of the Rockies – would be considered by Smith and others as an additional refuge for the “saints”.  This fits in with Smith’s plans to proselyte the “Lamanites” and set up the twelve “stakes”  (or cities) in the Texas Territory, as recorded by William Clayton:

[January 1, 1845. Wednesday.]…The organization of the Kingdom of God on 11th March last is one important event. This organization was called the Council of Fifty or Kingdom of God, and was titled by revelation as follows. “Verily thus saith the Lord, this is the name by which you shall be called, the Kingdom of God and his Laws, with the Keys and power thereof, and judgment in the hands of his servants, Ahman Christ.” In this Council [p.154] was the plan arranged for supporting President Joseph Smith as a candidate for the presidency of the U.S. President Joseph was the standing chairman of the Council and myself the Clerk. In this Council was also devised the plan of establishing an emigration to Texas, and plans laid for the exaltation of a standard and ensign of truth for the nations of the earth. In this Council was the plan devised to restore the Ancients to the Knowledge of the truth and the restoration of Union and peace amongst ourselves.  In this Council was President Joseph chosen our Prophet, Priest and King by Hosannas. In this Council was the principles of eternal truth rolled forth to the heavens without reserve and the hearts of the servants of God made to rejoice exceedingly. I was admitted a member of the first quorum and a member of the council of fifty. I have received two companions, received two children and buried one.”[60]

A month later, Wilford Woodruff mentions California as a place to set up “a city”,

“I met with the Quorum of the Twelve at Joseph’s Store and according to Joseph’s counsel, we selected a company to go on an exploring expedition to California and pitch upon a spot to build a city. The following persons were named: Jonathan Dunham, David Fulmer, Phineas Young, Alphonzo Young, Yearsley and Emmet.”[61]

Wilford Woodruff

What is interesting, is that Smith’s Presidential Platform included the annexation of Texas, and he still had plans for the territory.  In the History of the Church Smith’s plans were revealed,

7 Mar 1844 – At a meeting at the Nauvoo Temple, William W. Phelps read Smith’s presidential platform and he was “unanimously, with one exception” nominated as a candidate for President of the United States.   Explaining his views on slavery and westward expansion, Smith said that he would free the slaves from a few states, compensate their owners, annex Texas, and settle the freed slaves in Texas, where they would act as a buffer of human flesh against the British, who were also attempting to gain control of Texas:

British officers are now running all over Texas to establish British influence in that country…. It will be more honorable for us to receive Texas and set the negroes free, and use the negroes and Indians against our foes….How much better it is for the nation to bear a little expense than to have the Indians and British upon us and destroy us all…. The South holds the balance of power. By annexing Texas, I can do away with this evil. As soon as Texas was annexed, I would liberate the slaves in two or three States, indemnifying [i.e. compensating] their owners, and send the negroes to Texas, and from Texas to Mexico, where all colors are alike. And if that was not sufficient, I would call upon Canada, and annex it.”[62]

Aside from the racism here, Smith’s plans to use the “negroes and Indians against our foes” as “a buffer of human flesh” is reprehensible for one claiming to follow Jesus. A year later, after Smith’s death, Clayton mentions Lewis Dana, an Indian (Lamanite) who they had admitted to the Council of Fifty, and the Council’s plans to use him to help them find a place to settle in the “west”,

[March 1, 1845. Saturday.] At 10 A.M. met at the Seventies Hall in the Council of Fifty. The following brethren were taken into fill up the Quorum viz; Joseph Young, John E. Page, David Fullmer, Theodore Turley, Albert P. Rockwood, Jonathan Dunham, and Lucien R. Foster. They subscribed to the laws of the Council and covenanted before God with uplifted hands to maintain all things inviolate agreeable to the order of the Council. Brothers Daniel Spencer, Isaac Morley, and Shadrack Roundy were selected to make up the number of 50 but they were absent and sick. Brother John Pack was admitted to sit in the place of Wilford Woodruff, John D. Lee in the place of Ezra Thayer, and Lewis Dana in place of Amos Fielding they being absent on business. Lewis Dana is a Lamanite of the Oneida nation and the First Lamanite who has been admitted a member of any Quorum of the Church.

The object of the Council was to decide whether we shall send out a company of men with Brother Dana to fill Josephs measures originally adopted in this Council by going West to seek out a location and a home where the Saints can dwell in peace and health and where they can erect the ensign and standard of liberty for the nations, and live by the laws of God without being oppressed and mobbed under a tyrannical government, without protection from the laws. Many able speeches were made on the subject and the Council finally agreed to send out a company with Brother Dana to accomplish this important object.”[63]

Just as Smith dreamed of being the head of God’s political kingdom on earth, so did Brigham Young, who left the United States and to start an independent nation, which he named Deseret.[64]The plans for this political kingdom was to befriend the Indians, who the Mormons expected to “rise up” against the people of the United States and help them destroy themselves.[65]

Some months before the his diary entries of September 1835 which outlined the plan to redeem Zion by 1836, Smith called  a special conference of those who had been members of Zion’s Camp, and told them that “God had commanded it and it was made known to him by vision and by the Holy Spirit” that “it was The Will of God that they should be ordained to the ministry and go forth to prune the vineyard for the last times, or the coming of the Lord which was nigh, even fifty six years, should wind up the scene.”[66]

This timeframe would figure prominently in a tract that Parley P. Pratt would publish in a rebuttal of claims made by LaRoy Sunderland who had denounced Mormonism in his publication, Zion’s Watchman. In his tract, called Mormonism Unveiled, Pratt stated that the Book of Mormon prophesied this very scenario, (involving the “Lamanites”) and Pratt also “prophesied” that it would happen in less than 50 years from that date (or the Book of Mormon was false), which was also the same timeframe that Smith would repeat in July of 1840,

LaRoy Sunderland

The Book of Mormon contains many prophecies, yet future, with names, places, and dates, so definite, that a child may understand; indeed, it is one of the peculiar characteristics of the Book of Mormon, that its predictions are plain, simple, definite, literal, positive and very express, as to the time of their fulfilment. Notice a prediction of Nephi, page 125, second edition. “For after the book of which I have spoken, shall come forth, and be written unto the Gentiles, and sealed up again unto the Lord, there shall be many, which shall believe the words which are written, and they shall carry them forth, unto the remnant of our seed, (the Indians) and then shall the remnant of our seed know concerning us; how that we came on from Jerusalem; and that they are the descendants of the Jews; and the gospel of Jesus Christ, shall be declared among them; wherefore they shall be restored unto the knowledge of their fathers; and also to the knowledge of Jesus Christ, which was had among their fathers; and then shall they rejoice for they shall know, that it is a blessing unto them from the hand of God. 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. And it shall come to pass that the Jews which are scattered also shall begin to believe in Christ; and they shall begin to gather in upon the face of the land; and as many as shall believe in Christ, shall also be a delightsome people; and it shall come to pass, that the Lord God shall commence his work among all nations, kindreds, tongues, and people, to bring about the restoration of his people upon the earth. * * * For the time speedily cometh, that the Lord God shall cause a great division among the people, and the wicked will he destroy, and he will spare his people.”

Also page 121, 2d edition. “Behold that great and abominable church, the whore of all the earth, must tumble to the earth, and great must be the fall thereof: for the kingdom of the devil must shake; and they which belong to it must needs be stirred up unto repentance. or the devil will grasp them with his everlasting chains, and they be stirred up to anger and perish; for behold at that day shall he rage in the hearts of the children of men, and stir them up to anger against that which is good.”

Also, page 122 2nd edition. “Woe unto all those who tremble and are angry, because of the truth of God; for behold he that is built upon the rock, receiveth it with gladness; and he that is built upon a sandy foundation trembleth, lest he shall fall.” Also. page 123 2nd edition. “Woe be unto the Gentiles, says the Lord God of Hosts; for notwithstanding I shall lengthen out my arm unto them from day to day, they will deny me.” See also, page 514, and read the fate of our nation, and the fate of the Indians of America; in the day that the Gentiles should reject the fullness of the gospel.–(The Book of Mormon.) See also, page 526, where a sign is given, and the time clearly set for the restoration and gathering of Israel from their long dispersion, namely, the coming forth the Book of Mormon, should be the sign; and in the day this work should come forth, should this great event commence among all nations. Also, p. 527, where all who will not hearken to the Book of Mormon, shall be cut off from among the people; and that too, in the day it comes forth to the Gentiles and is rejected by them. And not only does this page set the time for the overthrow of our government and all other Gentile governments on the American continent, but the way and means of this utter destruction are clearly foretold; namely, the remnant of Jacob will go through among the Gentiles and tear them in pieces. like a lion among the flocks of sheep. Their hand shall be lifted up upon their adversaries, and all their enemies shall be cut off. This destruction includes an utter overthrow, and desolation of all our Cities, Forts, and Strong Folds–an entire annihilation of our race, except such as embrace the Covenant, and are numbered with Israel.

Parley P. Pratt

Now, Mr. Sunderland, you have something definite and tangible, the time, the manner, the means, the names, the dates; and I will state as a prophecy, that there will not be an unbelieving Gentile upon this continent 50 years hence; and if they are not greatly scourged, and in a great measure overthrown, within five or ten years from this date, then the Book of Mormon will have proved itself false. And furthermore, as Mr. LaRoy Sunderland has lied concerning the truth of Heaven, the fulness of the Gospel; and has blasphemed against the word of God, except he speedily repent, and acknowledge his lying and wickedness, and obey the message of eternal truth, which God has sent for the salvation of his people. God will smite him dumb, that he can no longer speak great swelling words against the Lord; and a trembling shall seize his nerves, that he shall not be able to write; and Zion’s Watchman shall cease to be published abroad, and its lies shall no longer deceive the public; and he will wander a vagabond on the earth, until sudden destruction shall overtake him; and if Mr. La Roy Sunderland enquires, when shall these things be? I reply, it is nigh thee–even at thy doors; and I say this in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

I hope Mr. Sunderland, will no more complain of the jargon of the Mormon Prophets being unintelligible or indefinite.”[67]

Brigham Young elaborated on those plans for the Lamanites in July of 1847 as WIlford Woodruff records in his Journal,

“all the governors–and presidents of the U.S.A. had rejected all our petitions from first to last, that when the Saints were driven from Illinois and perished as it were on the prairies, then President Polk sends for a draft of 500 men to go into the Army. What for? That they might be wasted entirely wasted away as a people. If the brethren had not gone, they would have made war upon us and the Governor of Missouri would have been ordered not to have let us cross the Missouri and the raising of the battalion was our temporal salvation at the time and said Polk would be damned for this act and that he with many of the government men had a hand in the death of Joseph and Hyrum and that they should be damned for these things and if they ever sent any men to interfere with us here, they shall have their throats cut and sent to hell, and with uplifted hands to Heaven swore by the Gods of Eternity that He would never cease His exhortation while he lived to make every preparation and avenge blood of the Prophets and Saints, that he intended to have every hole and corner from the Bay of Francisco to Hudson Bay known to us and that our people would be connected with every tribe of Indians throughout America and that our people would yet take their squaws, wash and dress them up, teach them our language and teach them to labor and teach them the gospel of their forefathers and raise up children by them and teach the children and not many generations hence they will become a white and delightsome people and in no other way will it be done and that the time was nigh at hand when the gospel must go to that people.”[68]

In his book Establishing Zion, Eugene E. Campbell writes,

“When the Mormons began their emigration from Nauvoo, Illinois, in 1846, their destination was California. The Great Basin, which was part of the Mexican province of Upper California, was to be the site of the first colony, but as Apostle Parley P. Pratt wrote in September 1846, “I expect we shall stop near the Rocky Mountains about 800 miles nearer than the coast … and there make a stand until we are able to enlarge and extend to the coast.”[69]

This didn’t happen, not because of prophetic vision, but because they did not have the means. Campbell again explains,

“Young had also notified Brannan as late as 6 June 1847 that “the main [camp] will not go to the west coast, or to your place at present, as they do not have the means.” This implied that Young’s contingent would have followed Brannan’s example, if they had had the means. Young continued in the same letter, “Any among you who may choose to come over into the basin, or meet the camp, are at liberty to do so, and if they are doing well where they are, and choose to stay, it is quite all right.” However, after church authorities established the Great Salt Lake Valley as the headquarters of the church, the policy emerged of requiring that all loyal church members gather to that region, help to build it up, and secure it for the church.[70]

There is ample evidence to show that neither Joseph Smith nor Brigham Young had any specific places in mind when it came to setting up “stakes” or cities in the west, hence there was no “vision” or “prophecy” that described anything in detail, as Anson Call would claim years after the Mormons built up the Salt Lake Valley.  Having been driven out of every place they had previously settled, and with tensions rising in Nauvoo in 1842, it is quite plausible that Smith mentioned the Rocky Mountains as his next place to escape to.  His plans for the Presidency of the United States only go to show that Smith intended to stay in Nauvoo, and keep it intact as one of the “stakes” of Zion, along with establishing other “stakes” in the “far west”.  But his timeline changed with every new move and every new city he built up, all the while “prophesying “ “greatness” for those cities, none of which ever came to pass[71]

Addendum:

I found this recently posted by rare document and book collector Rick Grunder  on his website where he lists some “past treasures” he has sold, and one of them was a broadside that was published by the Church in 1845. Grunder writes,

The first printing of news that the entire Church will go West, published at Nauvoo in October, 1845.  A spectacular Mormon broadside (Flake 1339; Crawley 284; Byrd 945), of which only five examples are recorded. This sixth example appears to be the only copy in private hands.

Our houses, our farms, this Temple and all we leave will be a monument to those who may visit the place of our industry, diligence and virtue. . . .  Wake up, wake up dear brethren . . . to the present glorious emergency . . . The exodus of the . . . only true Israel from these U. S. to a far distant region of the West . . .  Let all wagons that are hereafter built be constructed to the track of five feet width from centre to centre. . . . There are said to be many good locations for settlements on the Pacific, especially at Vancouver’s Island, near the mouth of Columbia.  BRIGHAM YOUNG, Pres’t.  WILLARD RICHARDS, Clerk.

The Huntington Family copy, with notarized provenance. Sold to a private collector.

V. THE REAL ISSUE

What is the real issue that the Tanners and Richard Abanes and others are getting at here? It is this:

That there were changes made in Joseph Smith’s history after the fact and written in as his actual words, without any documents to authenticate them.  As B.H. Roberts writes in New Witnesses,

“At that date, August 6th, 1842, the Rocky Mountains seemed like a country afar off to the people of Illinois. The Missouri River was the extreme frontiers of the United States. All beyond that was well nigh an unexplored wilderness filled with savages. The church was fairly settled at Nauvoo, the state authorities were apparently very friendly, the future of the Saints in Illinois seemed propitious. Yet in the midst of all these favorable circumstances the Prophet predicted much affliction for some of the Saints, death from persecution for others, apostasy for many, and for the great body of the church an exodus to the Rocky Mountains, where some of those present who were listening to the prediction, should live to assist in making settlements and building cities in the Rocky Mountains where they would see the Saints become a mighty people.

There can be no question as to the reality of these two predictions, the one of March, 1831, and the other of August, 1842, or of their being of a character to test the divine inspiration of him who uttered them. That they were proclaimed some years before the events predicted in them began to be fulfilled, or even there was any thought or prospect of such events taking place, is well known; that the latter prophecy has been fulfilled to the uttermost, the whole history of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints from August, 1842, until now witnesses. The Saints suffered many afflictions in Illinois. Their homes, fields, stacks of grain, stock and other property were destroyed; their prophets and a number of others were killed outright by mob violence; many more perished from exposure and disease occasioned by being driven from their homes at an inclement season of the year. In those trying times, following the martyrdom of the Prophet and the expulsion from Nauvoo, many turned away from the faith, and it is too generally known to need comment, that the great body of the church made its way to the Rocky Mountains, where cities, towns and villages have been founded, the wilderness subdued, and the Saints are fast becoming a mighty people.”[72]

Even knowing the problems with Call’s recollection of Smith’s “prophecy”, Roberts still insists that “the latter prophecy has been fulfilled to the uttermost”, and touts it as a test of “the divine inspiration of him who uttered them.”  In 1891 Assistant Church Historian Andrew Jensen repeats the “prophecy” to a group of students,

“I need spend no time to prove the fulfilment of this remarkable prophecy. All of you who are present in this hall tonight can testify to its literal fulfilment. The Latter-day Saints have indeed become a mighty people in these mountains, numbering as they do now about two hundred thousand souls, organized into thirty-two stakes of Zion, or nearly five hundred wards and branches; and this does not include the Saints in Mexico and Canada. It is also a matter of history that the Saints, for years after the prediction was uttered, continued to suffer persecution and affliction from their enemies; that many apostatized, while others, who proved faithful and true to their covenants, were put to death for conscience’ sake, and the remainder were driven by a ruthless mob from the beautiful city of Nauvoo into the western wilderness in the year 1846.”[73]

Apostle Erastus Snow would add to the folklore in 1916:

“Joseph Smith, when he uttered this prophecy, when he beheld this vision, was standing upon the banks of the Mississippi River, fifteen hundred miles from where we now are. Yet he saw the Rocky Mountains, and the crystal streams flowing from yonder canyons, and I doubt not that if he had led his people to this land, as he once purposed doing, he would have recognized it as a familiar scene, having beheld it in vision, by the seeric gift, before he saw it with the natural eye. But the Prophet was not destined to fulfill his own prediction; his martyrdom prevented; and the Lord raised up another mighty man to carry out the project, to become the founder of Utah, and the redeemer of the Great American Desert.”[74]

On the Churches official site, under “Teachings of the Presidents of the Church” they are still pedaling the folklore,

“The Prophet was well aware that he and all of the Saints living in Nauvoo were in an increasingly dangerous situation. As Nauvoo grew larger, some of the people who lived in the area began to fear the growing political and economic power of the Saints, and mobs began again to harass them. The Prophet was in particular danger, for authorities from Missouri made repeated efforts to capture him, and apostates from the Church became increasingly hostile in their efforts to destroy him. On August 6, 1842, the Prophet declared that the time would come when Church members would be forced to leave Nauvoo:

“I prophesied that the Saints would continue to suffer much affliction and would be driven to the Rocky Mountains, many would apostatize, others would be put to death by our persecutors or lose their lives in consequence of exposure or disease, and some of you will live to go and assist in making settlements and build cities and see the Saints become a mighty people in the midst of the Rocky Mountains.”[75]

The footnote they give for the quote references the same interpolated manuscript that the Tanners expose as having been doctored after the fact:

History of the Church, 5:85; from “History of the Church” (manuscript), book D-1, p. 1362, Church Archives, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Salt Lake City, Utah. [76]

In July of 1997, M. Russell Ballard once again references the same spurious prophecy in a New Era article,

“The pioneer exodus from Nauvoo, Illinois, began on February 4, 1846. Nearly four years earlier, in August of 1842, the Prophet Joseph Smith shared his foreknowledge of the trek west: “I prophesied that the Saints would continue to suffer much affliction and would be driven to the Rocky Mountains, many would apostatize, others would be put to death by our persecutors or lose their lives in consequence of exposure or disease, and some [would live to] build cities and see the Saints become a mighty people in the midst of the Rocky Mountains” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, sel. Joseph Fielding Smith, 1976, 255).[77]

“Apostle” M. Russell Ballard

The impression the Church today gives is not that this “prophecy” is a conglomeration of various and sundry statements by Smith, or even an amalgamation of them crafted into a coherent “prophecy”, but a valid, specific statement uttered by Smith on a particular day and inserted by Smith himself into his own history.  What the evidence shows is that this is not only an interpolation, but it is an insertion of something that there is no evidence that Smith ever said in those precise words, and was in fact a contradiction of previous prophecies that were recorded! The Tanners are absolutely correct in their use of sources to prove this, and their conclusion that this “prophecy” is “not authentic”.

CONCLUSION

The shoddy and deceptive “apologetics” of F.A.I.R. are demonstrated here for what they are. If one were to systematically go through each of their reviews, one can come to the same conclusion for the majority of their efforts. Their vilification of the Tanners as “dishonest” is especially disturbing, for as we see by the evidence from this one instance, the Tanners are vindicated by the facts, and it is F.A.I.R. who is shown to be dishonest and misleading.

F.A.I.R.’s disclaimer at the bottom of each of its articles is a fascinating puzzle in and of itself. They claim,

“The Foundation for Apologetic Information & Research (FAIR) is not … affiliated with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. All research and opinions provided on this site … should not be interpreted as official statements of LDS doctrine, belief, or practice.”

How can an organization that consists of members of the Mormon Church not be affiliated with it? Affiliated means to be formally or informally associated.  Are we to believe that “faithful members” of a church are not affiliated with it? In a press release to promote their newly published book Shaken- Faith Syndrome (distributed by the Church owned Deseret Book) in 2008, F.A.I.R. describes itself as,

“a  tax-exempt 501 (C) 3 Corporation staffed by faithful members of the Church of Jesus  Christ of Latter-day Saints who seek to defend the Mormon Church, its leaders,  teachings, and practices….”[78]

Good for them. But they don’t play fair.

NOTES

[1] History of the Church , Vol.5, Ch.4, p.85.

[2] Challenging Anti-Mormon Apologetics is a Facebook Page that describes itself as “A group where the members discuss issues brought up by critics of Mormonism on Face Book”.  Their Rules of the Page include,

3. Personal attacks (a.k.a. ad hominem attacks) will not be tolerated. Friendly jabs, however, are allowed.

4. Hostility toward any given religious group is forbidden. Disagreements are to be expected, but this is no excuse for hostility.

In a post made on February 6, 2012 we read,

“Lion Leviticus – your end will be near if you continue to disrespect and post your Anti-Mormon Rhetoric here. Consider this your fair warning from this Admin – Timothy. If you disagree then you can go somewhere else and post your poisonous bigotry elsewhere. One more post from you that disrespects, condemns, state we are going to hell or are children of a False Prophet then you will be banned and you will no longer enjoy the privileges of posting on this page. Consider this fair warning you lying serpent of the Devil and False prophet who possesses a contentious spirit.”

And in a follow up,

“Any other apostates, ex-mormons, athiests, or Anti-Mormons do not like this decision, you all can go to other places on the web where you are more than welcome to gnash, rant, rail, and deceive one another. Your days are numbered, and you will be called out. I am tired of your evil rantings and your destruction of testimonies and slandering of the Prophets and the Apostles. I will start calling you out by name and calling you out and expose you for who you are. Want to discuss my faith, you will discuss it with due respect and disagree honorably. If you act like a child and want to through mud, use slander, call us names then you will be called a child of Satan, children of lies, deceiving and lying spirits who are bent on one thing and one thing only. YOU DO NOT HAVE THE AUTHORITY TO CONDEMN US AND OUR TESTIMONY STANDS AS A WITNESS TO YOUR LIES AND DECEPTIONS AND YOUR ANGER TOWARD THE TRUTH, RIGHTEOUSNESS AND LIBERTY WE HAVE IN CHRIST AND IT WILL LEAD YOU TO BONDAGE AND THERE YOU WILL BECOME A SERVANT OF YOUR FATHER!” ~~Timothy [Berman] (Page Administrator, emphasis all his).

I think that will suffice as to how well they “challenge” anything on that Page, and the top-notch scholarly approach they use there. Still, the story surrounding the Rocky Mountain “prophecy” is interesting, which prompted this article. Note: This post was subsequently removed from the page, but here is a screenshot of the post as it appeared:

[3] Fair Article: Criticism of Mormonism Books One Nation Under Gods, use of sources, forged Rocky Mountain prophecy, hereafter, Criticism.

[4] ibid.

[5] The Changing World of Mormonism by Jerald and Sandra Tanner, page 405, emphasis mine, hereafter Changing World.

[6] ibid, pages 404-05, emphasis mine.

[7] Fair Wiki Article: Joseph Smith prophecies, Forged Rocky Mountain prophecy, Tanners use of sources, hereafter, Tanner’s sources.

[8] ibid.

[9] Changing World, pages 405-406, emphasis mine.

[10] The full warning reads,

“This is a review of claims and/or responses to misrepresentations of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints found in this work. The inclusion of an author’s work here does not imply that he or she is “anti-Mormon,” or that none of his or her work(s) have value. Those who do not wish to examine the claims contained in what some would consider an “anti-Mormon” work are advised to proceed no further.”

Almost all of their “reviews” of books critical of Mormonism, contain this “Note”, and it is even applied to authors that are members of the Church. I guess if you are critical of Mormonism in any way, even if you are a member, you are an “anti-Mormon”. That must be fair, since it’s coming from F.A.I.R., right?

[11] Fair Article Criticism of Mormonism Books One Nation Under Gods, use of sources, forged Rocky Mountain prophecy, op. cited, hereafter, Criticism.

[12] Changing World, pages 405-406, emphasis mine.

[13] F.A.I.R. Article, Criticism, op. cited.

[14] History of the Church vol. 3, page 85, emphasis mine.

[15] http://user.xmission.com/~plporter/lds/ansoncall.htm

[16] Fair Article, Criticism, op. cited.

[17] John Denver, lyrics from the album Rocky Mountain High, RCA, 1972.

[18] Joseph Smith, August 8, 1839, Willard Richards Pocket Companion, emphasis mine (probably copied in part from notes of John Taylor & given sometime in July). Smith would later claim that the “whole of America” is Zion, but if it is, then where do you flee to? He mentions “stakes” that will provide some protection. But Smith had already revealed that Zion was a specific place, and the only place that fits his end of the world scenario is Jackson County Missouri. Salt Lake City would be a “stake” of Zion, and would not fit this scenario in the timeframe that Smith gave over and over, that the end would come in fifty years from the time of this statement. This has been borne out by historical events.

[19] The Evening and the Morning Star, Vol. 1 No. 2 October 1832, page 37, hereafter Star.

[20] ibid. Wilford Woodruff wrote an account of the “Zelph vision” that warrants inclusion here,

“While on our travels we visited many of the mounds which were flung up by the ancient inhabitants of this continent probably by the Nephites & Lamanites. We visited one of those Mounds and several of the brethren dug into it and took from it the bones of a man.

[Interlinearly after “We visited one of those Mounds”:] considerd to be 300 feet above the level of the Illinois river. Three persons dug into the mound & found a body. Elder Milton Holmes took the arrow out of the back bones that killed Zelph & brought it with some of the bones in to the camp. I visited the same mound with Jesse J Smith. Who the other persons were that dug in to the mound & found the body I am undecided.

Brother Joseph had a vission respecting the person. He said he was a white Lamanite. The curs was taken from him or at least in part. He was killed in battle with an arrow. The arrow was found among his ribs. One of his thigh bones was broken. This was done by a stone flung from a sling in battle years before his death. His name was Zelph. Some of his bones were brought into the Camp and the thigh bone which was broken was put into my waggon and I carried it to Missouri. Zelph was a large thick set man and a man of God. He was a warrior under the great prophet /Onandagus/ that was known from the hill Camorah /or east sea/ to the Rocky mountains. The above knowledge Joseph receieved in a vision.” (Wilford Woodruff’s Journal, Vol. 1, 1833–1840, p.10)

[21] Book of Commandments, 44:32 reads,

“For it shall come to pass, that which I spake by the mouths of my prophets shall be fulfilled; for I will consecrate the riches of the Gentiles, unto my people which are of the house of Israel.”

Smith would change this in 1835 to read,

“For it shall come to pass, that which I spake by the mouths of my prophets shall be fulfilled; for I will consecrate of the riches of those who embrace my gospel among the Gentiles unto the poor of my people who are of the house of Israel.”

While there have been a few Mormon writers who have been willing to admit that Joseph Smith’s revelations have been changed, many have not been that honest. Mormon Apostle John A. Widtsoe said that the revelations “have remained unchanged. There has been no tampering with God’s word” (Joseph Smith—Seeker After Truth, p. 119).

Joseph Fielding Smith, tenth president, said that “there was no need for eliminating, changing, or adjusting any part to make it fit; but each new revelation on doctrine and priesthood fitted in its place perfectly to complete the whole structure, as it had been prepared by the Master Builder” (Doctrines of Salvation, vol. 1, p. 170).

For an indepth study of all the changes made in the Book of Commandments,  go here.

[22] A Brief History of The Church of Jesus Christ, of Latter Day Saints, by Francis K. Bishop, 1839 page 1.  A good article on some of the reasons behind the Mormon War can be found here.

[23] B. H. Roberts, New Witnesses for God, Vol.1, Ch.22, p.300, bracketed words are in the original. For more on the “Lamanites” see note 65.

[24]  Doctrine and Covenants of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Section 57:1-2, hereafter D&C, emphasis mine.

[25] ibid, verse 3.

[26] Star, page 37, emphasis mine.

[27] JS, letter, Kirtland, OH to N. C. Saxton, Rochester, NY, 4 Jan. 1833; handwriting of Frederick G. Williams, with insertion in handwriting of William W. Phelps; in JS Letterbook 1, pp. 14–18; JS Collection, CHL.. See also, History of the Church, vol. 3:311-15.  My question when reading why Smith wrote this letter is – why is this not canonized? Smith wrote a follow up letter to N.C. Saxton, the editor of the American Revivalist, and Rochester Observer where only part of the letter had been published and claimed,

“The letter which I  wrote you for publication I wrote by the commandment of God, and I am quite anxious  to have it all laid before the public for it is of importance to them …” (JS, letter, Kirtland, OH, to N. C. Saxton, Rochester, NY, 12 Feb. 1833; handwriting of Frederick G. Williams; in JS Letterbook 1, pp. 27–28; JS Collection, CHL., emphasis mine)

[28] D&C 103:6-7.

[29] ibid, 13-20.

[30] Dialogue, A Journal of Mormon Thought, Vol.19, No.4, p.196, hereafter Dialogue, emphasis mine.

[31] D&C 103 21:28, emphasis mine

[32] History of the Church, vol. 2:108-11. Also, D&C 105:2.

[33] D&C 101: 20-21.(16 December 1833)

[34] ibid, verse 17.

[35] Joseph Smith Jr. (Kirtland, OH), to Lyman Wight, Edward Partridge, John Corrill, Isaac Morley, and others, Clay County, MO, 16 Aug. 1834; handwriting of Frederick G. Williams; in JS Letterbook 1, pp. 84–87; JS Collection, CHL.

[36] Scott H. Faulring, An American Prophet’s Record, p.34-35, emphasis mine.

[37] John Corrill, A Brief History of the Church, page 26.

[38] http://mormonthink.com/glossary/anti-banking.htm

[39] ibid, page 29, emphasis mine.

[40] Corrill, p. 46.

[41] Joseph Smith diary, Missouri Journal, 1838, March to September, under July 27, 1838; Scott Faulring, An American Prophet’s Record, p. 198, emphasis mine.

[42] History of the Church 3:167

[43] Reed Peck was a follower of Joseph Smith from the time of the Church’s organization until the summer of 1838 when he became “opposed to the wicked transactions in Davies and the oppressive influence by which the church is led”. He directly tied Smith to the Danites by eyewitness testimony. Reed Peck left the Mormons and returned to South Bainbridge, (Afton, New York) farmed, and was a Justice of the Peace. In 1839 Reed Peck wrote an account of the events of the Mormon War, which has become known as the Reed Peck Manuscript,or History. Concerning the Danites he writes,

“A few individuals of us [p. 36] were ever after this opposed to the rule of the presidency perceiving that all spiritual and temporal affairs were under their control and no monarch on earth ever had supreme power over his subjects more than they over the inhabitants of Caldwell County only they durst not exercise it to so great a degree Their word was law in religious civil and military matters, but the secret springs of their power and influence we did not yet understand…

[p. 38] Some time previous to this Secret meetings had been held in F West that excited much curiousity among those that had not been permitted to attend as it was easily discovered that something more than ordinary was in progress among the male members of the church Ignorant of the nature of these meetings I attend one about the last of June, and heared a full disclosure of its object=Jared Carter Geo W. Robinson, and Sampson Avard, under the instructions of their presidency, had formed a secret military Society, called the “daughter of Zion” and [p. 39] were holding meetings to initiate members The principles taught by Sampson Aard as spokesman, were that “as the Lord had raised up a prophet in these last days like unto Moses it Shall be the duty of this band to obey him in all things, and whatever he requires you shall perform being ready to give up life and property for the advancement of the Cause When any thing is to be performed no member Shall have the privilege of judging whether it would be right or wrong but Shall engage in its accomplishment and trust God for the result [p. 40] It is not our business or place to know what is required by God, but he will inform us by means of the prophet and we must perform If any one of you see a member of the band in difficulty in the surrounding country contending for instance with an enemy, you shall extricate him even if in the wrong if you have to do with his adversary as Moses did with the Egyptian put him under the Sand and both pack off to Far West and we will take care of the matter ourselves. No person shall be suffered to speak evil or disrespectfully of the presidency The secret signs [p. 41] and purposes of this society are not to be revealed on pain of death” &c &c About 50 persons were initiated into the Society at the time I was introduced and to sam time the oath was administered to all the novices at once of which I took advantage by remaining silent and accordingly avoided taking it

I was appointed Adjutant of the band in consequence I suppose of my holding that office in the 59th Reg Missouri Militia I did not think it policy to regect the appointment though I declared to my society friends that I would never act in [p. 42] the office — All the principles of the Society tended to give the presidency unlimited power over the property, persons and I might say with propriety lives of the memebrs of the church as physical force was to be resorted to if necessary to accomplish their designs The blood of my best best friend must flow by my own hands if I would be a faithful Danite should the prophet command it Said A McRae in my hearing “If Joseph should tell me to kill Vanburen in his presidential chain I would im [p. 43] mediately start and do my best to assassinate him let the consequences be as they would–Having been taught to believe themselves invincible in the defence of their cause though the combined power of the world were in array against them, and the purposes of God were to be accomplished through their instrumentality, the wicked destroyed, by force of arms the “nations subdued,” and the Kingdom of Christ established on the Earth, they consider themselves accountable only at the bar of God for their conduct, and consequently [p. 44] acknowlegded no law superior to the “word of the Lord through the prophet” Do you suppose said a Zealous Danite at a time when the Sheriff of Daviess county held a State’s warrant against Joseph Smith that the prophet will condescend to be tried before a judge? I answered that Smith would in all probability submit Knowing that in case resistence was made the officers would call in the strength of other counties to enforce the law “What, said he, do we care for other counties or for the state or whole United States.” [p. 45] The independence of the church was to be supported it laws and the behests of the presidency enforced by means of this layal band of Danites, under command of Jared Carter, the terrible brother of Gideon became the additional title of “Captain Genl of the Lords hosts” His subalterns were Maj Genl Sampson Avard Brigd Genl C. P. [-] Coln Geo W. Robinson also a Lieut Coln Maj. Secretary of War an Adjutant, Captains of fifties & captains of tens and all these officers with the privates were to be under the administration of [p. 46] the presidency of the church and wholly subject to their control

At a meeting for the organisation of the Danites Sampson Avard presented the society to the presidency who blessed them and accepted their Services as though they were soon to be enployed in executing some great design They also made speeches to the Society in which great military glory and conquest were represented as awaiting them, victories in which one should chase a thousand and two put ten thousand to flight, were portrayed in the most lively manner, the assistance of [p. 47] Angels promised and in fine every thing was said to inspire them with Zeal and courage and to make them believe that God was soon to “bring to pass his act, his strange act” or by them as instruments to perform a marvelous work on the Earth In the fore part of July the “brother of Gideon” or Jared Carter Capt Genl of the Danites having complained to Joseph Smith of some observations made by Sidney Rigdon in a Sermon, was tried for finding fault with one of the presidency and deprived of his station and Elias Higbee was appointed in his stead

[p. 48] Carter’s punishment according to the principles of the Danites Should have been death In the evening after the trial I was in company with Maj Genl Sampson Avard Dimick B Huntington Capt of the Guard, Elias Higbee the new capt Genl and David W. Patten one of the twelve apostles and member of the high counsel of the church all of whom had sat with the presidency on the trial. D. B. Huntington stated that Joseph declared during the examination that he should have cut Carters throat on the spot if he had been alone when he made the complaint [p. 49] Huntington also Said that on his trial Carter came within a fingers point of losing his head Sampson Avard related at the same time the arrangements that had been made by the presidency and officers present at the trial respecting the dissenters.–Said he, “All the head officers are to be furnished by the presidency with a list of dissenters both in Ohio and Missouri and if for example I meet with one of them or who is damning and cursing the presidency, I can curse them too and if he will drink I can get him a bowl for brandy and after a while [p. 50] take him by the arm and get him one Side in the brush when I will into his guts in a minute and put him under the Sod. When an officer had disposed of a dissenter in this way he shall inform the presidency, and them only with whom it shall remain an inviolable Secret In July the law of consecration took effect which required every person to give up to the bishop all surplus property of every description, not necessary for their present support Sampson Avard the most busy actor and sharpest tool of [p. 51] the presidency informed John Corrill and My self that “all persons who attempted to deceive and return property that should be given up would meet with the fate of Ananias and Saphira who were Killed by Peter”” 

[44] See Wilford Woodruff’s Journal, Vol. 1, 1833–1840, p.484, July 13, 1840.

[45] Ezekiel 33:33

[46] Coray Notebook

[47] Mary Fielding to Mercy Rachel Fielding Thompson,  October 7, 1837, LDS Archives, Kenneth W. and Audrey M. Godfrey, Jill Mulvay Derr, Women’s Voices (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1982), pp. 60-68.

[48] Howard and Martha Coray Notebook, July 19, 1840. Dean C. Jessee, gives the background here.

[49] See Note 65.

[50] Coray Notebook. On April 6, 1843 Smith gave a sermon and promised,

If I had not actually got into this work, & been called of God, I would back out. but I cannot back out. I have no doubt of the truth. were I going to prophecy I would prophecy the end will not come in 1844 or 5 or 6. or 40 years more there are those of the rising generation who shall not taste death til christ comes. I was once praying earnestly upon this subject. and a voice said unto me. My son, if thou livest til thou art 85 years of age, thou shalt see the face of the son of man.–I was left to draw my own conclusions concerning this & I took the liberty to conclude that if I did live til that time Jesus he would make his appearance.–but I do not say whether he will make his appearance or I shall go where he is.-

I prophecy in the name of the Lord God.–& let it be written. that the Son of Man will not come in the heavens till I am 85 years old 48 years hence or about 1890.–the Read 14 Rev. 6 verse another angel fly in the midst of heaven; for the hour of his judgment is come. to extermination–from commencement. commence when angel commences preaching this gospel 1 day–1000 years. 1000 years as 1 day.–41 yrs 8 months.– only 6 years from the voice, saying. if thou live till thou art 85. years old. Hosea 6th chapter after 2 days &c 2520 years which bring it to 1890.–the Son of man never will be, never can be till the judgments spoken of for this hour are poured out, which judments are commenced. (Smith diary)

[51] ibid.

[52] ibid.

[53] Thomas Burdick, letter, (Kirtland, OH), to JS, Nauvoo, IL, 28 Aug. 1840; handwriting of Howard Coray; in JS Letterbook 2, pp. 174–176; JS Collection, CHL.

[54] ibid, page 174-75. See note 65 for more on the Ten Tribes.

[55] History of the Church, Vol. 4, p.410.

[56] D&C 29:7-11

[57] D&C 57:1. The introduction to Section 97 Reads, “Revelation given through Joseph Smith the Prophet, at Kirtland, Ohio, 2 August 1833 (see History of the Church, 1:400–402). This revelation deals particularly with the affairs of the Saints in Zion, Jackson County, Missouri, in response to the Prophet’s inquiry of the Lord for information.” Smith at that time wrote,

“Verily I say unto you, that it is my will that a house (temple) should be built unto me in the land of Zion, like unto the pattern which I have given you. Yea, let it be built speedily, by the tithing of my people…And now, behold, if Zion do these things she shall prosper, and spread herself and become very glorious, very great, and very terrible, and the nations of the earth shall honor her, and shall say: Surely Zion is the city of our God, and surely Zion cannot fall, neither be moved out of her place, for God is there, and the hand of the Lord is there; and he hath sworn by the power of his might to be her salvation and her high tower” (Verses 10-11, 18-20).

Smith though, was in Kirtland Ohio when he wrote this, and had no idea that just ten days previous to making an “inquiry of the Lord for information”, that the “saints” had agreed to leave Jackson County Missouri. Certainly God must have known this, but he obviously didn’t relate it to Smith. In the History of the Church, they record the incident this way,

“Early in the morning of the 23rd of July, the mob again as­sembled, armed with weapons of war and bearing a red flag; whereupon the Elders, led by the Spirit of God, and in order to save time, and stop the effusion of blood, entered into a treaty with the mob, to leave the county within a certain time” (History of the Church, vol. I, p. 394).

[58] The Absurdities Mormonism Displayed, by Oliver Olney, 1843, pg. 4.

[59] Marvin S. Hill, Quest For Refuge, page 120.

[60] George D. Smith, An Intimate Chronicle; The Journals of William Clayton, p.153-4, emphasis mine.

[61] Wilford Woodruff’s Journal, February 21, 1844

[62] History of the Church, Vol. 6, p. 244

[63] An Intimate Chronicle, p.158-9, emphasis mine.

[64] Wilford Woodruff gives a succinct account of “Deseret” and what they wished to accomplish in doing so, in his Journal entry of October 13, 1849:

“I wrote two letters to day one to Allexander Badlam at San Francisco & one to Orson Pratt of Liverpool. I sent A Copy of the New York Herraid Weekly of Oct 13 to Orson Pratt, Orson Hyde, Allexander Badlam, & Joseph Russell. This Paper Contained An account of the Saints organizing themselves into An Independent Sovreign State called the state of Deseret And appointing their Govornor & other officers. Brigham Young was Elected Governor. This is certainly an important erie in the History of the Church & kingdom of God.

There has been more written in the New York Herrald, Tribune, Sun, Boston papers & many papers in the United States in favor of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints than has been written before for many years. The Editors of papers begin to see that the saints will prosper, rise up & build Zion, nowithstanding all there Efforts to crush us & destroy us from off the Earth, when they now find us organized into a State Government holding in our hands the Key of the North American Continant And that we will not die but live & rise up in the midst of all our oppressions they begin to speak in our favor & the world marvel at our prosperity. And One remarkable fact is that thousands of men who had A hand expelling us from the United States & drove us into the wilderness have this season while on there way to the gold digings have had to come bending unto the saints & have had to look to them to save them from starvation & death” (Wilford Woodruff’s Journal, Vol. 3, p. 490, emphasis mine.)

[65] “…We know the Gospel has to be offered to the Gentiles first, we have offered it to them for the space of twenty five years, that we may be prepared to go to the house of Israel,” announced Wilford Woodruff in a Conference address in 1857,

“The Gentiles in a great measure, have rejected it; we have borne a faithful testimony to the nations of the earth, and they prefer to take their own course, and act on their own agency; they would rather build themselves up than the kingdom of God. The consequence is, it will soon be taken from the Gentile nations, and it will not be long before the judgments of God are abroad among them, and those bitter branches will be taken off the tree.

Now there is no personage, or subject, or work upon the face of the whole earth, but what is more popular than the Lord, and His Gospel, and kingdom; His name is dishonored and blasphemed, with impunity by nearly all the inhabitants of the earth and in the midst of every nation under heaven, but the day is nigh at hand when He will make bare His arm of power, and show the world that there is a God in Israel, who will no longer bear the blasphemies of the wicked without bringing them to judgment, but He will send forth those angels, those messengers who dwell in the presence of God, who are waiting with their sharp sickles in their hands to reap down the earth; but this will not be until the Gospel has been fully offered to the Gentiles; then the bitter branches will be broken off.

This kingdom will go forward, for the Lord God has decreed it, and Zion will arise and be adorned with beauty and power, and true refinement, in light and knowledge, and in every good gift that will prepare the minds of men for the Society of their Heavenly Father and of celestial beings. These lessons have got to be given, and we have got to learn them, and we have got to bring ourselves to the celestial law of God; we have to be quickened by the Spirit and power of the kingdom of God and its righteousness, that we may be prepared to carry out the purposes of the Lord; then this kingdom will be borne to the house of Israel, and they will receive it.

The door has already been unlocked to the Lamanites in these mountains, and they will begin to embrace the Gospel and the records of their fathers, and their chiefs will be filled with the Spirit and power of God, and they will rise up in their strength, and a nation will be born in a day, because they are of the seed of Abraham, and God has promised to bless the descendants of Abraham, and they will be saved with the house of Israel, for the Lord has spoken it, and made those promises unto them through their fathers.

Again, here are the ten tribes of Israel, we know nothing about them only what the Lord has said by His Prophets. There are Prophets among them, and by and by they will come along, and they will smite the rocks, and the mountains of ice will flow down at their presence, and a high way will be cast up before them, and they will come to Zion, receive their endowments, and be crowned under the hands of the children of Ephraim, and there are persons before me in this assembly today, who will assist to give them their endowments. They will receive their blessings and endowments, from under the children of Ephraim, who are the firstfruits of the kingdom of God in this dispensation, and the men will have to be ordained and receive their Priesthood and endowments in the land of Zion, according to the revelations of God.”(Journal of Discourses, 4:231-32)

Woodruff also noted that “President Young said he herd Joseph Smith say that the Ten Tribes of Israel were on a Portion of Land separated from this Earth.” (Wilford Woodruff’s Journal, Vol. 6, p.363, September 8, 1867).

Orson Hyde declared that the gospel had been preached to the world, and that the “saints” were being gathered to Utah, to escape it:

“These missionaries and labourers are now called home. The Lord says, ‘It is enough.’ ‘Come out of her, my people,’ is now the voice of God to his servants in every land and nation. The vials of his wrath cannot be poured out until you, like Lot, flee from the countries doomed to feel the vengeance of God. To you, my faithful brethren abroad, the Spirit of Christ has often whispered, during the last six months, ‘Go home—go home.’ Your guardian angels have said it to you in dreams and in visions, and we expect to see you come. Scores have already arrived. God bless them and you too, if you listen to the whisperings of that voice that speaks truth to the heart.

“What now remains to be done? Your testimony is borne—your words have gone into all the earth. Read in the Book of Covenants, page 102, and you will find the answer in part—‘After your testimony cometh wrath and indignation upon the people; for after your testimony cometh the testimony of earthquakes, that shall cause groanings in the midst of her; and men shall fall upon the ground and shall not be able to stand. And also cometh the testimony of the voice of thunderings, and the voice of lightnings, and the voice of tempests, and the voice of the waves of the sea heaving themselves beyond their bounds; and all things shall be in commotion; and surely men’s hearts shall fail them, for fear shall come upon all. people,’&c.

“Again, the sign gives in the Book of Mormon, showing when the times of the Gentiles shall be fulfilled and they abandoned to the judgments and wrath of Almighty God, and showing also when the covenants of the Father with the house of Israel shall be fulfilled, is this important declaration—‘I will take the fulness of my Gospel from among the Gentiles,’&c. It might be considered treason to quote further. With our Elders and missionaries comes the fulness of the Gospel from among the Gentiles, who, like the leaky ship, are abandoned to the mercy of the winds and the waves.” (Journal of Discourses, Vol. 6, p.16)

Why does Orson Hyde speak of treason? Because they believed that the United States was to be broken up and Brigham Young would be installed as President (Journal of Discourses, Vol. 5, p.219). In 1857, Wilford Woodruff records Brigham Young saying about then President Buchanan, “I should not wonder if we heard he was dead soon” (Wilford Woodruff Journal,Vol. 5, p. 72).

By the end of 1857, Brigham Young and the Mormons could “foresee” only the sure and swift destruction of the United States. In an address to the Legislative Council Young declares,

“When Our Fathers set in solumn Convention upon the subject of our Declaration of Independance they knew well that their Cause was just. Yet it required the strongest talent and argumet and language was exherted to bring that august body of senators to agree as a unit in putting their names to that Sacred instrumet. The speech of Sir Patrick Henry was a masterly Effort of talent & oritory upon that solumn occasion.

It does not require any argumet with this body of men to Convince them what Course to persue. What Causes this difference? They were inspired by the Lord to step forth to esstablish an Independant Government in America, but this body of Men [the Mormons] are far more inspired by the same God to esstablish the Kingdom of God upon the Earth and lay a foundation for the Liberty and salvation of our Children and to lift up a Standard for the oppressed of all nations. Our path is marked out as plain to our view as is our broad street or the missippi River to the natural Eye.

The Same God who inspired our Fathers to Esstablish a Free government said through the prophet Joseph Smith that if ever the Constitution of the United States or its principles were ever preserved it would have to be done by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints even the servants of God Holding the Holy priesthood. That day has now Come & the day is dawning when we are Called to act. The Same God who has destroyed two Nations who have dwelt upon this Continent because of their iniquity, has also said that all other Nations who should occupy this Continent when they were ripened in iniquity should in like manner be Cut off from the earth and not left to pollute the Land of Joseph or the Land of Zion. I do not know what Els our Nation can do in order to fill up their Cup of iniquity than what they have done and are doing. I do not know of any other key [p.142] the United States Can turn to seal fast their Condemnation than the Exertions which they are makeing to destroy the Saints of God for their religion. I am in For the measure because it is right.” (Wilford Woodruff’s Journal, Vol. 5, p. 141-142, emphasis mine).

Wilford Woodruff referred to himself as a “Prophetic Historian”(Journal, Vol. 5:615), and at the end of 1857 declares,

“Eighteen hundred and fifty Seven has past and gone to return no more forever. It has borne its report to heaven of all men and Nations. It has been an important year to Zion and the world. 1857 will be the year on histories page which will be dated the Commencement of the downfall of the United States For it is during this year that they have entered the field as the open Enemies & persecuters of the saints of the Most High god and have sent an Armey of 2,500 men 1,000 miles for the purpose of laying a foundation for the destruction of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints called Mormons who have setled in the great Bason of North America Called Utah Territory of the State of Deserett. Here is esstablished the kingdom of God as Daniel saw it by vision, and the people of the United States are Determined to destroy the kingdom of God from off the Earth. For these things the Judgments of God will now begin to rest more fully upon that Nation and will be increased upon them year by year untill they are broaken up and wasted away from under Heaven and Cease to become a Nation. And this Calamity will begin to Come spedily [speedily] upon them. And they will be visited with thunder, lightning, storm, whirl winds Earthquakes floods, pestilence plagues, war and Devouring fire and the wicked will slay the wicked untill the Nation is wasted away and broaken up.” (Wilford Woodruff’s Journal, Vol. 5, p. 145, emphasis mine).

Such were the sentiments of Mormon “prophets” about the Nation of America. In his first entry for 1858 Woodruff writes “that they know not the thoughts of the Lord neither understand they his ways” and pens this prophecy,

“…Prepare yourself O Land of America for the judgments of the God of Heaven await you and are nigh even at your doors. For the Lord hath looked down from his Holy habitation and hath beheld all your wickedness and abomination and all the Evil designs of your hearts and all your secrets plans for the destruction of the Saints of the Most High. For all these things God will bring you into Judgment and He will require the stewardship at the Hands of the President of the United States and at the Hands of the Senators, and Representatives, and Govornors, and Judges, and all the Rulers of the Land will all be held responsible for the use they make of the liberties & blessings put into their hands and the whole people of the Land who Elect the officers of Government will be held responsible for the conduct of those officers as well as their own Conduct in their dealings with the Church and kingdom of God upon the Earth.Let us watch the signs of the times of 1858 and we shall find that the Lord will soon Come out of his hiding place and in his fury he will vex the Nation and in his hot displeasure he will begin to Cut off the wicked and unjust stewards and appoint them their portion with hypocrites and unbelievers. Let the Saints of God prepare for that which is to come”. (Wilford Woodruff’s Journal, Vol. 5, p. 151, January 1, 1858, emphasis mine).

[66] Remarks delivered on February 14, 1835, Kirtland Council Minute Book, LDS Archives.

[67] Parley P. Pratt, Mormonism Unveiled, pages 14-16.

[68] Wilford Woodruff’s Journal, July 28, 1847.

[69] Establishing Zion, by Eugene E. Campbell, page 42.

[70] ibid.

[71] An example of this is Smith’s comments about the Kirtland Safety Society and the city of Kirtland, Ohio:

“I also herd President Joseph Smith jr. declare in the presence of F Williams, D. Whitmer, S. Smith, W. Parrish, & others in the Deposit Office that he had receieved that morning the Word of the Lord upon the Subject of the Kirtland Safety Society. He was alone in a room by himself & he had not ownly the voice of the Spirit upon the Subject but even an audable voice. He did not tell us at that time what the LORD said upon the subject but remarked that if we would give heed to the Commandments the Lord had given this morning all would be well. May the Lord bless Brother Joseph with all the Saints & support the above named institution & Protect it so that every weapen formed against it may be broaken & come to nought while the Kirtland Safety Society shall become the greatest of all institutions on EARTH.”(Wilford Woodruff’s Journal, Vol. 1, 1833–1840, p.120, January 6, 1837)

“But by January 23, the Safety Society stopped redeeming its notes for specie, or hard-money. During its brief operation,

“Brigham [Young] was reported to have deposited marked script in the bank and was shocked several days later to receive one of his marked notes as part of a commercial transaction. He apparently thought that banks simply stored deposits and that because [his] notes were circulating, something dishonest was going on in the bank.” (Chartering the Kirtland Bank, by Dale W. Adams, BYU Studies, Vol. 23, No. 4, 1983).

There obviously was, and regardless of who was to blame, bad judgement on Smith’s part, led to the Kirtland Safety Society’s demise:

“The founders of the bank must have known they were skating on very thin legal ice when they began to issue script without either a state bank charter or at least a corporate charter that might be loosely interpreted as authorizing circulation of company debt notes.” (ibid, page 477)

By April, Smith was still hoping for an positive outcome, according to Woodruff, and made this boast,

“President Hiram Smith followed Joseph with many useful remarks. He also was Clothed with much of the spirit of God. Joseph desired us to give heed to his words & teaching this once & be wise that Zion & her stakes might spedily be redeemed. He instructed us to be sure & ask those that enter the Kingdom to send up their wise men to Kirtland with there money to counsel with the presidency & purchase an interitance before they move their families or bring the poor to the places of gathering for to suffer. Also that we must keep in view the institution of the Kirtland Safety Society & if the Elders of Israel would be faithful & do what was in their power this once Kirtland should spedily be redeemed & become a strong hold not be thrown down.” (Wilford Woodruff’s Journal, Vol. 1, 1833–1840, p.134, April 6, 1837)

But just three days later, Smith was obviously angered by the “saints” lack of faith in his bad decision. But this only strengthened Woodruff’s belief in Smith’s prophetic abilities,

“Sidney Closed and Joseph arose & like the lion of the tribe of JUDAH he poured out his Soul in the midst of the Congregation of the Saints. But who can find languague to write his words & teachings as with an iron pen in a rock that they may stand for future generation to look upon? A fountain of knowledge rolled from his mouth to the people which was the word of God. Yea in the name of God he proclaimed that Severe Judgment awaited those Characters that professed to be his friends & friends to humanity & the Kirtland Safety Society But had turned tritors & opposed the Currency & its friends which has given power into the hands of the enemy & oppressed the poor Saints. Such have become Covenant Breakers for which they will feel the wrath of God as true as Joseph is a prophet.

“Joseph uttered the feelings of his Soul in pain while viewing the poverty & afflictions of Ephraim or the Saints in Kirtland at least that fals brethren should be whited walls & bring perrils upon the Saints. Joseph is as a father to Ephraim & to all Israel in these last days. He mourns because of unbelief & the negligence manifest with many who have receieved the gospel in obeying the commands of God. He fears lest but few be left to receieve an  inheritance. There is not a greater man than Joseph [p.139] standing in this generation. The gentiles look upon him & he is to them like bed of Gold conceled from human view. They know not his principle, his spirit, his wisdom, virtue, phylanthropy, nor his calling. His mind like Enochs swells wide as eternity. Nothing short of a God can comprehend his Soul.”(Wilford Woodruff’s Journal, Vol. 1, 1833–1840, p.138 April 9, 1837)

Another interesting “prophecy” by Smith, but unrelated to Kirtland, had to do with the Relief Society and Nauvoo. Again, if Smith had seen the demise of Nauvoo in August 1842, why did he ‘prophecy’ this just a few months before that?

“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 it.” (A Record of the Organization, and Proceedings of the Female Relief Society of Nauvoo, Illinois, 1842-44, April 28, 1842)

For more folklore about Mormon Prophets and the Salt Lake Valley, see: Post Mortal Appearances of Joseph Smith, by Sharon Lindbloom.

Brigham Young’s “vision” of Ensign Peak has been claimed to have been a “secret” that Young didn’t let on about (one of those scenarios that F.A.I.R. mentions). In his excellent article, A Banner is Unfurled, by Ronald W. Walker, he explains,

“As the pioneer party traveled into the Great Plains, led by Young and the other main leaders, members were anxious about where they were going. Where was the gospel flag to be lifted? While leaders had bandied about such places as Oregon, California, Texas, and Vancouver Island, by 1846 they had fixed their eyes on the Great Basin interior, most specifically the Bear River, Salt Lake, or Utah Lake valleys. Each of these valleys answered the requirements of Young’s earlier statements about settling in the West’s “beautiful” but “barren” hills or his still more revealing passage of placing the gospel flag above a “perfect Sea of water.” But during the final stage of the trip, Young had still not named the precise place. As he told his brother, Lorenzo, who was worried by Brigham’s poor health and his failure to declare a destination: “Brother Lorenzo, when we reach the end of our journey I shall know it; AND I DON’T KNOW IT.”

Several of the pioneers thought Young’s indecision lay with his inner or spiritual seeking. “Brigham Young did not tell us whither he was leading us,” said one. “Perhaps he did not know it himself. He confined himself to telling us that God, in a vision, had caused him to see the spot where we were to stop.” Churchman Erastus Snow, also along on the pioneer trip, gave the same report. “Said the Prophet Brigham [to the camp]–`I have seen it [the promised location], I have seen it, in vision, and when my natural eyes behold it, I shall know it.'”

Young was looking for Ensign Peak, or at least this is what Mormon believers would later claim. After visiting Utah in 1866 and interviewing Brigham Young, British author and critic William Hepworth Dixon said that this was the report he had heard from the prophet himself. “Brigham Young tells me,” he wrote, that when coming over the mountains, in search of a new home for his people, he saw in a vision of the night, an angel standing on a conical hill, pointing to a spot of ground on which the new Temple must be built. Coming down into this basin of Salt Lake, he first sought for the cone which he had seen in his dream; and when he had found it, he noticed a stream of fresh hill-water flowing at its base, which he called the City Creek.

If Young failed to record such a “vision of the night” in his own records, there is evidence of his spiritual groping about where to settle. By early July 1847, perhaps as the result of their interview with mountaineer Jim Bridger, Young and the Mormon leadership increasingly looked on the Salt Lake Valley as the place for their settlement. But Young wanted confirmation. His own diary tells of his first view of the valley from Big Mountain. Turning the carriage in which he was riding to see the vista to the west, he felt “the spirit of light” resting on him and hovering “over the valley.” “I felt that there the Saints would find protection and safety.” (Dialogue, Vol.26, No.4, p.78, Winter 1993, emphasis mine).

Though we have no contemporary evidence of a “vision”, or Smith or an angel appearing to Brigham Young, Wilford Woodruff mentions Young’s “vision” of Ensign Peak on “Pioneer Day” in 1888, found in:  Brian Stuy, Collected DiscoursesVol. 1, p. 165. Also, George Albert Smith mentions it in 1927, found in: Conference Report, April 1927, p.86.

[72] B. H. Roberts, New Witnesses for God, Vol.1, Ch.22, p. 303

[73] A Lecture Delivered by Elder Andrew Jenson before the Students’ Society, in the Social Hall, Salt Lake City, Friday Evening, January 16, 1891. Brian Stuy, Collected Discourses Vol.2, p. 161.

[74] Conference Report, April 1916, p.66

[75] Teachings of the Presidents of the Church: Joseph Smith.

[76] ibid.

[77] Faith in Every Footstep by Elder Russell M. Ballard, New Era, July 1997.

[78] http://shakenfaithsyndrome.com/press.pdf