The Early Histories of Joseph Smith, Part I: Ghosts & Angels

“The Moneydiggers” by John Quidor

by Johnny Stephenson

PART I: Of Ghosts & Angels

“[A] gold book discovered by … necromancy … & dug from the mines of atheism” or “the angel of the Lord has revealed to him …divine revelation”? ~Jesse Smith

Introduction

When the “Gold Bible” stories began being noised about in August 1829, an interesting story was being relayed by the principle players in the drama which was then unfolding about a mysterious record that some Jo from Palmyra, New York had reportedly unearthed. One of the first accounts about what they were calling The Book of Mormon appeared in the Palmyra Freeman:

In the fall of 1827, a person by the name of Joseph Smith, of Manchester, Ontario county, reported that he had been visited in a dream by the spirit of the Almighty, and informed that in a certain hill in that town, was deposited this Golden Bible, containing an ancient record of a divine nature and origin. After having been thrice thus visited, as he states, he proceeded to the spot, and after having penetrating “mother earth” a short distance, the Bible was found, together with a huge pair of spectacles! He had directed, however, not to let any mortal being examine them, “under no less penalty” than instant death! They were therefore nicely wrapped up, and excluded from the vulgar gaze of poor wicked mortals!” It was said that the leaves of the Bible were plates, of gold about eight inches long, six wide, and one eighth of an inch thick, on which were engraved characters or hieroglyphics. By placing the spectacles in a hat, and looking into it, Smith could (he said so, at least) interpret these characters. (The Palmyra Freeman, August 11, 1829).

This was the story as told by Martin Harris, Oliver Cowdery and others, throughout the early years of the new Mormonite religion (and they were totally serious about the “instant death” part). In November of 1830, the Ohio Observer & Telegraph published another detail that was also being told along with the story above:

These men [Oliver Cowdery & Co.] have brought with them copies of a Book, known in this region by the name of the “Golden Bible,” or, as it is learned on its title-page, “The Book of Mormon.” They solemnly affirm, that its contents were given by Divine inspiration; was written by prophets of the Most High from a period of 600 years before, to that of some hundred years after our blessed Saviour’s advent; was deposited by Divine command below the surface of the ground, in or near the township of Palmyra, Ontario Co., N. Y., that an Angel appeared to a certain Joseph Smith residing in that place, who, they say, was a poor, ignorant, illiterate man, and made no pretensions to religion of any kind; — … [section of text illegible] … of this sacred deposit, and directed him forthwith to dig up and bring to light this precious record and prophecy. They affirm that the said Smith obeyed the heavenly messenger, when lo! a new Revelation — the Golden Bible was discovered!

In this account we learn that before Joseph prayed and was answered by the angel, he “made no pretensions to religion of any kind.” This is a detail that the early missionaries were repeating, the same one that Lucy Smith, William Smith, Samuel H. Smith and others recalled: that Joseph was caught up in the religious excitement in Manchester/Palmyra in the fall of 1823 and prayed for an answer to the question of “which church is right” and was answered by an angel, who told him about a “record” -which Joseph failed to acquire because he had selfish thoughts. He then repents, and gets the record four years later, after reporting to the angel every year to receive instructions on how to “restore” God’s kingdom. In August, 1832 William McLellin wrote to relatives about the new religion:

Some time in July 1831, two men [Elders Samuel H. Smith and Reynolds Cahoon] … said that in September 1827 an angel appeared to Joseph Smith (in Ontario Co., New York) and showed to him the confusion on the earth respecting true religion. It also told him to go a few miles distant to a certain hill and there he should find some plates with engravings, which (if he was faithful) he should be enabled to translate. He went as directed and found plates (which had the appearance of fine gold) about 8 inches long, 5 or 6 wide and altogether about 6 inches thick; each one about as thick as thin pasteboard, fastened together and opened in the form of a book containing engravings of reformed Egyptian hieroglyphical characters which he was inspired to translate and the record was published in 1830 and is called the Book of Mormon. It is a record which was kept on this continent by the ancient inhabitants. Those men had this book with them and they told us about it, and also of the rise of the church (which is now called Mormonites from their faith in this book etc…. (William McLellin, Letter to Relatives, August 4, 1832, The Ensign of Liberty, of the Church of Christ . . . Kirtland, Lake County, Ohio 1 (January 1848):60-61)

Painting by Ramsey

Notice that McLellin refers to the unnamed angel as “it”, not “he”. William McLellin had met Joseph in October of 1831 and stayed with him for three weeks. His story didn’t change. If Joseph was telling a different story, McLellin surely would have known and informed his relatives. But this is the account they were giving then. Lyman E. Johnson and Orson Pratt told a similar story almost a year later:

In 1827 a young man called Joseph Smith of the state of New York, of no denomination, but under conviction, [guilt & sorrow leading to repentance] inquired of the Lord what he should do to be saved-he went to bed without any reply, but in the night was awakened by an angel, whiter and shining in greater splendour than the sun at noonday, who gave information where the plates were deposited… (Catholic Telegraph 1 (April 14, 1832):204-205).

In 1830 Peter Bauder had visited with Joseph Smith for a whole day and left this account:

… I was favored with in an interview with Joseph Smith, Jr. at the house of Peter Whitmer, in the town of Fayette, Seneca County, state of New York, in October, 1830. I called at P[eter]. Whitmer’s house, for the purpose of seeing Smith, and searching into the mystery of his system of religion, and had the privilege of conversing with him alone, several hours, and of investigating his writings, church records, &c. I improved near four and twenty hours in close application with Smith and his followers: he could give me no christian experience, but told me that an angel told him he must go to a certain place in the town of Manchester, Ontario County, where was a secret treasure concealed, which he must reveal to the human family. He went, and after the third or fourth time, which was repeated once a year, he obtained a parcel of plate resembling gold, on which were engraved what he did not understand, only by the aid of a glass which he also obtained with the plate, by which means he was enabled to translate the characters on the plate into English. (Dan Vogel, Early Mormon Documents, Vol. 1, p. 16-18).

“A secret treasure” is what he called it, and Joseph’s religious questions were answered by an unnamed angel, not by Jesus. Smith’s followers and family were testifying that Joseph did not make pretensions to religion of any kind, before encountering this angel in the mid 1820’s.

And what about those other stories, the ones also being told by Joseph and his family between 1823-1827? Was the account that Joseph would give later in 1832, that there was a Christian framework (not magical) surrounding his claimed visions the true one? That the only involvement that he had with money-digging was being hired for wages to literally dig for a silver mine? That his involvement with money-digging was only for “nearly a month”?

Why then, did Joseph’s family, neighbors and yes, some early Mormon “saints” claim that he was heavily involved with treasure digging and magical practices for many years, and that the story of the angel and the plates being told in 1828-29 was closely intertwined with those earlier experiences? Why are the plates referred to by those closest to Joseph as “treasure” over and over again? Were the stories about a ghost and buried treasure in the “Mormon Hill” and the Smith’s pursuit of it simply lies made up after the fact by those like Abner Cole, Willard Chase, Peter Ingersol, Martin Harris and dozens of others as some apologists claim?

And then we have the Mormon apologists who argue that one must agree with their view that Christianity and folk magic were inseparable or one cannot grasp what the evidence means and how Smith’s story developed. This is ridiculous for a number of reasons, which I will explore below, along with their other wild speculations about Folk Magic. What was normal or not normal during the Great Awakenings, was subjective and constantly changing and so trying to broad brush the folk magic aspect for all Americans and make the claim that treasure digging was simply an effort to restore primitive Christianity is disingenuous.

When one takes the time to analyze the evidence surrounding the claims made by Joseph of having those two visions (in 1820 & 1823), many problems arise, especially concerning the claimed 1820 “first vision”. I will address those problems below and in a follow up article address the apologist arguments that attempt to explain the inconsistencies, contradictions and conundrums of his first two written histories (1832 & 1834/5); but first let’s address the historical evidence surrounding those early years (1820-1830) and the historical narrative that can be pieced together from the evidence.

Camp Meetings & Revivals

In Joseph’s later narrative, he claims to have been prompted to seek an answer because of a great revival which had swept through the place where he lived in the spring of 1820. It is therefore extremely important to note something here. In 1967 Wesley Walters wrote,

“… the contemporary records [show] that the revival which Smith claimed occurred in 1820 did not really take place until the fall of 1824.” (pg. 61)

Strangely, the anonymously authored essay from 2013 published by the church references a camp-meeting which took place in mid-July of 1820, and they also don’t inform their readers that it was more than 25 miles from Palmyra. They reference the diary of Benajah Williams but don’t quote it:

The journals of an itinerant Methodist preacher document much religious excitement in Joseph’s geographic area in 1819 and 1820. They report that Reverend George Lane, a revivalist Methodist minister, was in that region in both years, speaking “on Gods method in bringing about Reformations.” This historical evidence is consistent with Joseph’s description.

No, the evidence is not consistent. “The place where we lived” is certainly not 25 miles away. Williams wrote:

“Sat. 15th Had a two Days meeting at Sq Bakers in Richmond. Br. Wright being gone to campmeeting on Ridgeway circuit I expected to find Br. J. Hayes at the Meeting & calculated to get him to take the lead of the meeting but when on my way to meeting met him going to conference & tried to get him to return but he thout[sic] not best as his horse was young, he said he could not ride through by conference by the time it commenced Then I thout what shall I do I shall have to take the lead at the meeting & do the p- (preaching) but the Lord prepaired him self a preacher it rained powerfully until 11 o’clock so that I was verry wet I called with some of the Brtheren at Br. Eldredges and took dinner then rode to the place appointed for meeting. & found Br. Lane a Presiding Elder from Susquehanna District with five more preachers. Br. Warner p. on Sat. Br. Griffing exhorted. We had a good prayer meeting at six in the evening.”

“Sab. 16th Our Lovefeast began at 9 & the Lord was present to bless & we had a shout in the camp. Br E Bibbins p- at 11 from…the lord attended the word & the people were satisfied with the Sermons. Br. Lane exhorted and spoke on Gods method in bringing about Reffermations [sic] his word was with as from the authority of God. & not as the Areons. After him Br. Griffin with life & energy & Br. Vose closed the Meeting after with some of the Brethren dined with Br. W. E….” (Diary of Benajah Williams, 15-16 July, 1820).

The story that Joseph told had a revival taking place “in his fifteenth year” in “the place where we lived”, before his claimed vision in the “early spring” and that the whole district of the country was affected also. And the Methodists were not the only ones affected, but the Presbyterians and Baptists were also. The Williams Camp Meeting was a 9 hour walk from the Smith farm. It was not a revival and it doesn’t fit the evidence at all. Here is the footnote from the anonymous essay:

  1. Benajah Williams diary, July 15, 1820, copy in Church History Library, Salt Lake City; spelling regularized.

What they don’t mention in the body of the essay is that this camp meeting took place in the middle of July not the “early Spring”. Mike Quinn, in a bizarre effort to question the character of Wesley Walters, wrote a paper in 2006 titled, “Joseph Smith’s Experience of a Methodist ‘Camp Meeting’ in 1820”, and for all the attacks on Walters had to admit, according to Dan Vogel that “the First Vision story contains elements from the 1824–25 Palmyra revival,” and so Walter’s “observation about the text and its relationship to verifiable historical facts remains essentially legitimate.”

Quinn calls what he is doing in his paper “conservative revisionism”, and this includes throwing out what Smith himself wrote, that his vision took place in the early spring of 1820. Quinn claims that this is wrong, that it took place in the early summer because of a cold spring… that Joseph essentially mistook the month of July for the month of March. This kind of tortured ad hoc “revisionism” is simply baffling. Quinn also touts this newspaper article as strong evidence that Walter’s was wrong:

Effects of Drunkenness. — DIED at the house of Mr. Robert M’Collum, in this town, on the 26th inst., James Couser, aged about forty years. The deceased, we are informed, arrived at Mr. M’Collum’s house the evening preceding, from a camp-meeting which was held in this vicinity, in a state of intoxication. He, with his companion who was also in the same debasing condition, called for supper, which was granted. Both stayed all night — called for breakfast next morning — when notified that it was ready, the deceased was found wrestling with his companion, whom he flung down with the greatest ease, — he suddenly sunk down upon a bench, — was taken with an epileptic fit, and immediately expired. — It is supposed he obtained his liquor, which was no doubt the cause of his death, at the Camp-ground, where, it is a notorious fact, the intemperate, the lewd and dissolute part of the community too frequently resort for no better objewct, than to gratify their base propensities. The deceased, who was an Irishman, we understand has left a family, living at Catskill, this state. (Palmyra Register, June 28, 1820)

Again, a camp-meeting months after the claimed “early Spring” vision. So where is the reference to the claimed 1819 “revival”? The anonymous authors don’t provide any. But there is another Methodist preacher the Apologists mention, Aurora Seager, who was in the area in 1818 and this is from his diary:

I received, on the 18th of June, a letter from Brother Hibbard, informing me that I had been received by the New York Conference, and, at my request, had been transferred to the Genesee Conference. On the 19th I attended a camp-meeting at Palmyra. The arrival of Bishop Roberts, who seems to be a man of God, and is apostolic in his appearance, gave a deeper interest to the meeting until it closed. On Monday the sacrament was administered, about twenty were baptized; forty united with the Church, and the meeting closed. I accompanied the Bishop to Brother Hawks, at Phelps, and on the 14th of July I set out with Brother Paddock for the Genesee conference, which was to hold its session at Lansing, N.Y. (Diary of Aurora Seager, 1818, The Three Brothers: Sketches of the Lives of Rev. Aurora Seager, Rev. Micah Seager, Rev. Schuyler Seager, D. D. (New York, 1880), pgs 21-22).

Mormon Apologists love to tout this as evidence of “an unusual excitement .. among all the sects … [with] great multitudes”, but this was two years before the claimed 1820 vision and only speaks of Methodists. There is no mention of George Lane either (this is important). Here is the story the way Smith later crafted it:

Some time in the second year after our removal to Manchester, [1820 according to Smith] there was in the place where we lived an unusual excitement on the subject of religion. It commenced with the Methodists, but soon became general among all the sects in that region of country. Indeed, the whole district of country seemed affected by it, and great multitudes united themselves to the different religious parties, which created no small stir and division amongst the people, some crying, a“Lo, here!” and others, “Lo, there!” Some were contending for the Methodist faith, some for the Presbyterian, and some for the Baptist. … I was at this time in my fifteenth year. My father’s family was proselyted to the Presbyterian faith, and four of them joined that church, namely, my mother, Lucy; my brothers Hyrum and Samuel Harrison; and my sister Sophronia. (Joseph Smith, History)

It commenced with the Methodists “in the place where we lived” then expanded (according to Smith) to “all the sects” in “that region of the country”. It wasn’t an isolated camp meeting 25 miles from the place where he lived (Palmyra). It wasn’t a camp meeting in the summer, or two years earlier, it was a great multitudes uniting themselves to the different religious parties, and this did not happen as Joseph describes until 1824. Walters was right, and still is.

The Manchester Mess

The Smith family’s Palmyra residences (approximate locations, top left, bottom left)

Joseph claimed the whole family moved to Manchester in 1820. But this isn’t true, they didn’t all move to Manchester until 1822 after they built a cabin which they completed before starting on a “frame house” the next year. The evidence for this is incontrovertible.

As Walters and Marquardt document in “Inventing Mormonism” the Smith’s moved to Palmyra in 1816-1817 and rented a house on West Main Street. (see map above top left) They lived there for about two years and then moved out to a small log cabin on some land that Samuel Jennings owned just at the southern edge of the Palmyra Township line. (see map above bottom left) This was not Manchester. Walters & Marquardt explain:

Joseph Sr. is first found in Palmyra on the road tax list for April 1817 as a resident on Main Street…. Joseph Sr.’s name occurs again at the same location in District 26 in 1818 and 1819. In April 1820 Alvin Smith’s name appears for the first time on the road tax list among the merchants on Main Street. Alvin had turned twenty-one in February 1819 and his absence from the 1819 road list may indicate he had been hired out. Residing on Main Street may represent the cake and beer shop the Smiths reportedly operated in town. However, Joseph Sr.’s name appears at the end of the list, showing he was now living outside the business district and near the Palmyra-Farmington town line, where the road district ended. The Smith family’s cabin would be mentioned two months later in the “Palmyra Town Book” as “Joseph Smiths dwelling house,” located about fifty feet north of the line dividing Palmyra from Farmington. It stood about two miles south of Main Street on property owned by Samuel Jennings, a merchant with whom the Smiths did business. When the road survey crew on 13 June 1820 laid out the extension of Stafford Road to join Main Street to the north, they used the cabin as a reference point. The survey reads: “Minutes of the survey of a public Highway beginning on the south line … in the town of Palmyra three rods fourteen links southeas[t] of Joseph Smiths dwelling house.” The Smith cabin location is further supported by Orsamus Turner, who in 1818 began work as a young apprentice printer at the office of the local Palmyra Register. He recalled that he first saw the Smith family in the winter of 1819-20 living “in a rude log house, with but a small spot underbrushed around it” near the town line. (pg. 3-4)

Location of Smith frame house & approximate location of log cabin

The fact that the Smith’s were still living in Palmyra in 1821 is supplemented by the birth of Lucy Smith in Palmyra: “Genealogy,” Manuscript History, A-1: 10 [separate section], reads, “Lucy Smith, born in Palmyra, Ontario Co. N.Y. July 18, 1821.” (Walters & Marquardt, pg. 12), and the road tax records.

The Smith’s did not article for the Manchester Farm until 1821, as Walters & Marquardt clearly show:

Lucy subsequently reported that the family contracted for 100 acres of “Everson” (Evertson) land held by the estate of Nicholas Evertson, an attorney in New York City who had acquired considerable land holdings in western New York before his death in 1807. It was June 1820 before Evertson’s executors conveyed to Caspar W. Eddy, a New York City physician, power of attorney to sell his holdings. Eddy traveled to Canandaigua, New York, the seat of Ontario County, and on 14 July 1820 transferred his power of attorney to his friend Zachariah Seymour. Seymour had long been a land agent in the area and was a close associate of Oliver Phelps, who with his partner Nathaniel Gorham had opened a land office in Canandaigua and had instituted the practice of “articling” for real estate. …Joseph Sr. and Alvin would have had to “article” for their land shortly after July 1820. Joseph Sr. is listed in the Farmington (Manchester) 1820 census (which was enrolled between 7 August 1820 and 5 February 1821), suggesting that the articling was completed no later than February 1821. The ages of the male family members were: under 10, 2 (William and Don Carlos); 16-26, 2 (Alvin and Hyrum); and over 45, 1 (Joseph Sr.). Female members were: under 10, 1 (Catherine); 16-26, 1 (Sophronia); and 26-45, 1 (Lucy Mack Smith). Both Joseph Jr. (age fourteen) and his younger brother Samuel Harrison (age twelve) were missing from the census. The new Smith farm encompassed approximately one hundred acres, one third of the original Lot No. 1 in that township. According to the assessment roll for 22 June 1820, the entire three hundred acres of Lot 1 were taxed to the heirs of Nicholas Evertson at that time. In the following year’s assessment (7 July 1821) only two hundred acres were taxed to the Evertson heirs, while the balance was assessed to Joseph Smith. …

Lucy mentions that “in one year’s time” after they contracted for the property, the land agent told them they should build a cabin on their land, which “we did.” However, it cannot be precisely determined from her account when this log house was built. That this refers to their Farmington farm and not the Palmyra property is clear from several key facts. First, the Smiths were living in the Palmyra cabin when the road supervisors mentioned it in June 1820 before the Smiths could have contracted for the Farmington land. In addition, William Smith, Joseph Jr.’s younger brother, declared concerning the Farmington/Manchester property, “The improvements made on this farm was first commenced by building a log house at no small expense, and at a later date a frame house at a cost of several hundred dollars.” William would hardly call a cabin built on Samuel Jennings’s land in Palmyra an improvement on their own farm across the line in Manchester. From the Palmyra road tax list it is clear that at least Joseph Sr. and Alvin were still living in Palmyra as late as April 1822. It is probable that the Smiths did not move to the Manchester farm until after the summer of 1822. It could not be earlier than July 1821 because Smith family genealogy mentions the birth of a daughter named Lucy, the youngest child of the family. The genealogy specifically states that Lucy was “born in Palmyra.” (pgs. 4-7)

There is even more evidence to show that the Smith’s did not move to Manchester until 1822, as Walters & Marquardt document:

When the one hundred acres first went on the assessment roll in July 1821, taxed to Joseph Sr., the parcel was valued at $700, $7 an acre. This was approximately what uncleared land in the area was selling for at the time. The remaining two hundred acres of Lot No. 1 were taxed to the Evertson heirs at a value of $1,400. The same value appeared in the 29 June 1822 assessment. However, by 24 July 1823 the value of the Smith property had jumped to $1,000. This is an increase of over 40 percent, yet the average property value for the whole township rose only 4 percent that year. This indicates that for the first time a cabin had been built and sufficient land had been cleared so that under New York law the assessed value had to be raised. (pg. 7)

So two years from the time they moved to Manchester would be 1824, when the great revival with George Lane took place. We know that Joseph Smith is conflating events, but is it due to memory problems as some suggest? That will be addressed in Pt. II.

Further evidence that Joseph’s timeline is wrong is that members of the Smith family did not join the Presbyterian Church until after the fall/winter of 1824 when George Lane was in the area:

With inexpressible gratitude to the great Head of the church, I am enabled to inform you that the work of the Lord is prospering gloriously on Ontario district…
From Catharine I went to Ontario circuit, where the Lord had already begun a gracious work in Palmyra. This is a pleasant village, situate on the great western canal, about twenty-two miles east of Rochester, and is now in a flourishing condition. In this place the work commenced in the spring, and progressed moderately until the time of the quarterly meeting, which was held on the 25th and 26th of September. About this time it appeared to break out afresh. Monday evening, after the quarterly meeting, there were four converted, and on the following evening, at a prayer meeting at Dr. [Clark] Chase’s, there were seven. Among these was a young woman by the name of Lucy Stoddard… [Was this the Smith’s also? They lived very close to the Chase family & Sophronia married Calvin Stoddard]
December 11th and 12th our quarterly meeting for Ontario circuit was held in Ontario. It was attended with showers of blessings, and we have reason to believe that much good was done. Here I found that the work, which had for some time been going on in Palmyra, had broken out from the village like a mighty flame, and was spreading in every direction. When I left the place, December 22d, there had, in the village and its vicinity, upward of one hundred and fifty joined the society, besides a number that had joined other churches, and many that had joined no church. (Letter of George Lane, The Methodist Magazine, “Revival of Religion on Ontario District”, pg 158-60).

The Smith family joined the Presbyterians during the tenure of Reverand Benjamin Stockton (who was the reason why Joseph Smith Sr. did not join, because of his comments about Alvin):

The installation of the Rev. BENJAMIN B. STOCKTON will take place this day at the Presbyterian Meeting-House in this village. — The exercises to commence at 11 o’clock A.M. (Wayne Sentinel, February 18, 1824).

The local papers proclaimed the revival and the large numbers of people who converted:

Religious.–An article in the Religious Advocate gives the pleasing fact that a revival of religion had taken place in the town of Palmyra, Macedon, Manchester, Phelps, Lyons and Ontario, and that more than 200 souls had become hopeful subjects of Divine Grace, &c. It may be added, that in Palmyra and Macedon, including Methodist, Presbyterian and Baptist Churches, more than 400 have already testified that the Lord is good. The work is still progressing. In the neighboring towns, the number is great and fast increasing. Glory be to God on high; and on earth, peace and good will to all men. (Wayne Sentinel, 2 March, 1825)

The large numbers of people converting and joining to the various sects became so commonplace after this that the Sentinel stopped reporting about them.  D. Michael Quinn writes,

…even though New York’s Methodist Magazine reported that “not less than ten thousand people” attended the Sunday session (11 June 1826) of Palmyra’s several  day camp-meeting, the village newspaper ignored this revival in its limited reporting of local events. Titled the Wayne Sentinel at that time, the newspaper’s co-editors Pomeroy Tucker and John H. Gilbert obviously saw no point in telling residents…(pg. 31)

Then, on September 25, 1824 we have this peculiar notice in the Wayne Sentinel by Joseph Smith Sr. (a few days after the Autumn Equinox) and the date Joseph Jr. was supposed to bring his brother Alvin to the hill at the bequest of the Angel/Ghost:

WHEREAS, reports have been industriously put in circulation, that my son Alvin had been removed from the place of his interment and dissected, which reports, every person possessed of human sensibility must know, are peculiarly calculated to harrow up the mind of a parent and deeply wound the feelings of relations — therefore, for the purpose of ascertaining the truth of such reports, I, with some of my neighbors, this morning, repaired to the grave, and removing the earth, found the body which had not been disturbed.

This method is taken for the purpose of satisfying the minds of those who may have heard the report, and of informing those who have put it in circulation, that it is earnestly requested they would desist therefrom; and that it is believed by some, that they have been stimulated more by a desire to injure [the] reputation of certain persons than a philanthropy for the peace and welfare of myself and friends. JOSEPH SMITH. Palmyra, Sept. 25th, 1824. (Wayne Sentinel, September 29, 1824)

Whose “reputations” would this injure? Why did this happen to the Smith family? There is no evidence that this happened to any other families in Palmyra.

I’ll explore that below. Joseph was “glass looking” in 1826, and there were no revivals in the Palmyra area as described by him in 1820, (with “great multitudes” of many different sects) and the major players in the Smith family narrative like Benjamin Stockton and George Lane were there in 1824, not before the Spring of 1820. Those like Mike Quinn and others want to claim conflation of events (1824 with 1820) but this isn’t reasonable for a number of reasons which will be discussed in Pt. II. Using that excuse is pretty much having your cake and eating it too, as is portraying Joseph as a pious magic using, money-digging prophet-in-training.

Having It Both Ways?

Mormon Apologist Larry E. Morris, in a forthcoming book informs us:

There are no substitutes for the primary documents, but in the case of the Book of Mormon, the “earliest sources” are not nearly as early as one would hope. … a host of crucial Book of Mormon events took place between September of 1823 and the end of 1827, but not a single document–no letter, diary entry, legal record, newspaper article, or anything else–mentioning the Book of Mormon has survived. Even for the crucial year of 1828, only two documents, neither the original, are extant. It is not until 1829 that contemporaneous documents are plentiful, with the June 26 Wayne Sentinel article having the distinction of sending out the first public notice of the Book of Mormon. (pg. 3)

Morris is right above, and yet, he (as others have before him) tries to make the argument that “treasure seeking was part of an attempt to recapture the simplicity and magical power associated with apostolic Christianity.” (pg. 10) This is simply ridiculous, people were treasure seeking because they thought they could get rich quick by doing so.

Morris calls magic and Christianity “inseparable and natural allies.” Morris quotes Alan Taylor over and over again, who claims that “treasure seekers were neither fools nor deceivers”, as if every single treasure seeker was an upstanding Christian who had pure motives for going after the treasure. But those who hired themselves out as “Peekers”, they were the deceivers, and why there were laws passed to stop them from doing so. It is certainly debatable that Joseph Smith Sr. and his namesake was foolish and a deceiver.

Morris also quotes Ronald Walker but leaves out that even Walker knows that the Smith’s were after treasure for their own personal greed and that in 1826 the Sr. Smith called it “filthy lucre”, and hoped that someday God would “illumine” the heart of his son Joseph! This was long after he supposedly had his two religious visions.

It is more like this “attempt” to “recapture … apostolic Christianity” was just an excuse to justify what they were doing, which even Jesse Smith (Joseph Jr’s uncle) scoffed at. And those court documents which accused Joseph of being a “glass looker” in 1826, are the earliest records that have to do with Joseph Smith, Jr. and his treasure digging ever found. These records predate any that mention of the Book of Mormon by at least two years.

The “record” or “gold plates” was called a “treasure” by Lucy Mack and Joseph Smith, Sr., Joseph Knight Sr., Martin Harris, Porter Rockwell, Brigham Young, and others. David Whitmer later claimed that the angel was “the guardian of the plates”. Joseph Jr., was said to have found the plates by looking in a “seeing” or peep-stone. (See Martin Harris interview with Joel Tiffany – “In this stone he could see many things to my certain knowledge. It was by means of this stone he first discovered these plates.”)

The Stone or the Angel?

Joseph’s first written history (the religious story) claimed that it was an unnamed angel (not Moroni) who told him about the plates – and where they were:

when I was seventeen years of age I called again upon the Lord and he shewed unto me a heavenly vision for behold

an angel of the Lord came and stood before me and it was by night

and he [the angel] called me by name

and he [the angel] said the Lord had forgiven me my sins

and he [the angel] revealed unto me that in the Town of Manchester Ontario County N.Y. there was plates of gold upon which there was engravings which was engraven by Maroni & his fathers the servants of the living God in ancient days and deposited by th[e] commandments of God and kept by the power thereof and that I should go and get them

and he [the angel] revealed unto me many things concerning the inhabitents of of the earth which since have been revealed in commandments & revelations and it was on the 22d day of Sept. AD 1822

and thus he [the angel] appeared unto me three times in one night and once on the next day and then I immediately went to the place and found where the plates was deposited as the angel of the Lord had commanded me and straightway made three attempts to get them and then being excedingly frightened I supposed it had been a dreem of Vision but when I considred I knew that it was not therefore I cried unto the Lord in the agony of my soul why can I not obtain them

behold the angel appeared unto me again and said unto me you have not kept the commandments of the Lord which I gave unto you therefore you cannot now obtain them for the time is not yet fulfilled therefore thou wast left unto temptation that thou mightest be made accquainted of with the power of the advisary therefore repent and call on the Lord thou shalt be forgiven and in his own due time thou shalt obtain them (pg. 4, paragraph breaks mine)

One thing stands out in this 1832 History that bears mentioning. In the earlier vision that he claimed to have in his 16th year, Smith doesn’t mention any “adversary” or Satan’s power. It is probably because in the later vision that he claimed to have in his 17th year he is told by the anonymous angel that he couldn’t get the plates because he needed to “be made accquainted of with the power of the advisary”. Later, Smith reverses this and has Satan appear prior to the appearance of the deity in the earlier vision.

Lest there be any doubt, six years later Smith wrote this:

I … went to the place where the messenger had told me the plates were deposited, and owing to the distinctness of the vision which I had had concerning it, I knew the place the instant that I arrived there. (pg. 7)

And yet Martin Harris had certain knowledge that Joseph found the gold plates using his peep-stone before the mention of any angel. This was the man who was with Joseph from the beginning of the venture, who helped him with the “translation”, gave him money and sold his farm to pay for the printing of the Book of Mormon. It is doubtful that Harris would get this detail wrong. So Joseph is not being truthful in the later versions of his history. And since magical folklore was so Christian according to Morris and other apologists, why would Joseph want to change his story and claim that an angel told him where the plates were? Why would it matter? Henry Harris recorded what Joseph Smith told him about how he discovered the gold plates:

The character of Joseph Smith, Jr. for truth and veracity was such, that I would not believe him under oath. I was once on a jury before a Justice’s Court and the Jury could not, and did not, believe his testimony to be true. After he pretended to have found the gold plates, I had a conversation with him, and asked him where he found them and how he come to know where they were. He said he had a revelation from God that told him they were hid in a certain hill and he looked in his stone and saw them in the place of deposit; that an angel appeared, and told him he could not get the plates until he was married, and that when he saw the woman that was to he his wife, he should know her; and she would know him. He then went to Pennsylvania, got his wife, and they both went together and got the gold plates… (Henry Harris, Mormonism Unvailed, 1833, 252.)

Having a “revelation”, and then looking in a peep-stone is not the same as having an angel show you where they were. Astoundingly, FAIRMORMON calls this (angel vs. stone)  a “false dichotomy” because,

Moroni could easily have told Joseph about the plates and interpreters. The vision to Joseph may well have then come through the seer stone, as some of the sections of the Doctrine and Covenants (e.g., Section X) would later be revealed. One account from Henry Harris in Eber D. Howe’s anti-Mormon book Mormonism Unvailed matches this theory well:

I had a conversation with [Joseph], and asked him where he found them [the plates] and how he come to know where they were. he said he had a revelation from God that told him they were hid in a certain hill and he looked in his [seer] stone and saw them in the place of deposit.

But Joseph later says that the information came from the angel, (not a “revelation”) and never mentions finding them with a peep-stone. FAIRMORMON has it backwards, and so doesn’t quote the full Harris statement where the angel only appears after Joseph looks in his stone. Harris doesn’t claim that the angel told him about the plates at all; Joseph was claiming that his peep-stones were like the “all seeing eye” of God, cloaking his magical practices in religious terminology as so many others did.  What is rather hilarious is that Harris says that he would not believe Smith under oath! But this still doesn’t give them pause in using him to bolster their erroneous claim.

And yet, in 1832, Samuel H. Smith & Orson Hyde answered the question this way:

Q.-By what means did he discover the golden plates and who was with him when he made the discovery.
A.-The golden plates were discovered through the ministration of an angel of the Lord, by Joseph Smith-no one else was with him at the time of the discovery. (Boston Investigator 2 (Aug. 10, 1832).

And in their 1834/35 History Cowdery & Smith wrote,

An Angel appeared before me; his hands and feet were, naked, pure and white; he stood betwen the floors of the room, clothed with purity inexpressible. He said unto me I am a Messenger sent from God, be faithful and keep his commandments in all things. He told me also of a sacred record which was written on plates of gold. I saw in the vision the place where they were deposited. He said to me the Indians were the literal decendants of Abraham.

And finally, in 1838 Joseph Smith himself answered this:

How, and where did you obtain the book of Mormon?…Moroni, the person who deposited the plates, from whence the book of Mormon was translated, in a hill in Manchester, Ontario County, New York, being dead, and raised again therefrom, appeared unto me and told me where they were and gave me directions how to obtain them. I obtained them and the Urim and Thummim with them, by the means of which I translated the plates and thus came the book of MormonJoseph Smith, Jr., Elders’ Journal 1:3 (July 1838): 42–43.)

It is perfectly clear that Smith was later claiming that the angel showed him “in the vision” where they were. Why? Because he was trying to hide the fact that he used a peep-stone and with it claimed to have found the plates and later used it to “translate” them.

So by 1832 Smith’s story had completely changed. This is important to note going forward: Smith’s constantly changing narrative to eliminate or downplay as many treasure-digging/folk magic elements from his later angel narrative as he could. Once again, it begs the question, Why? if folk magic and Christianity were so complimentary and intertwined as the apologists claim. Smith wasn’t “restoring” Christianity for who he deemed the corrupt elites, but for the “folk” who supposedly believed in all that magical stuff. So why would he run away from it? The apologist arguments can’t explain it.

It is also very important to note that Joseph locating the “gold plates” with his stone, is at its heart a treasure digging yarn, and those elements were still being related to Harris and others before he finally changed it to the wholly religious narrative we have today. (The angel told him – there was no peep-stone, only “interpreters’)

Having It Both Ways (Continued)

It seems that the apologists feel making the above argument (treasure seeking = Christianity) clears Joseph and his family of any shenanigans in relation to peep-stones, divining rods, money-digging, magic circles and parchments, incantations, rituals, necromancy and the like. It was all simply a part of their Christian folk lore beliefs and, of course, everybody else was doing it so how bad could it be? And way, way back in Old Testament days (thousands of years ago) they were using strange objects to do things with too! Problem solved!

They even claim that all these occult practices helped prepare the family to accept seeing angels sent from God, and accepting his message to young Joseph!

What it sounds like though, is simply whataboutism run amok: “What about this good Christian fellow/Preacher who used a divining rod” or “they prayed before they tried to contact the spirits of the dead”.. so all such practices were acceptable and promoted by Christians and hence were a normal part of apostolic Christianity! What about those ancient Old Testament Bible stories from thousands of years ago that mention divining cups and rods that turn into snakes, etc.? Problem solved! (They even had talking donkeys back then!)

In a paper Morris wrote, “I Should Have An Eye Single to the Glory of God”, which is critical of Ron Huggins’ Dialogue article, “From Captain Kidd’s Treasure Ghost to the Angel Moroni: Changing Dramatis Personae in Early Mormonism”, (which he expanded into his new book) Morris goes on and on about sources and then tells his audience that “…since we have no such sources, we have to do the best we can with what we have.” That’s exactly what Ron did. Still, Morris’s biggest criticism of Ron Huggins is that he did not answer point by point all the apologist offerings about folk magic. For example, Morris claims that,

Huggins should have drawn upon relevant scholarship, particularly Ronald W. Walker’s claim that “Mormonism was . . . born within an upstate New York matrix that combined New England folk culture with traditional religion.” And although Huggins is aware of this paper (pp. 27, 33), he fails to respond to Walker’s view that “magical treasure hunting was . . . part of the culture and religion of the folk . . . , a blend of humankind’s deep myths and Christian ideas.” Instead, Huggins narrows his discussion of treasure seeking to tales of Captain Kidd, introducing and concluding his article with mentions of the notorious pirate and his legendary plunder.

In other words, Ron should have presented all the Mormon apologist offerings in his paper, and downplayed any connection to Captain Kidd, the very subject that the paper was all about? Really? Write a Larry E. Morris approved article with sources he thinks are relevant? But hold on… Walker’s full quote reads:

Mormonism was also born within an Upstate New York matrix that combined New England folk culture with traditional religion. Joseph Smith’s family and many of his early New York converts were both treasure diggers and fervent religionists. But there is evidence that the Smiths were not always comfortable mixing the two. At young Joseph’s 1826 money digging trial his father was reported to have claimed that both he and his son “were mortified that this wonderful [seeric] power which God had so miraculously given to the boy should be used only in search of filthy lucre, or its equivalent in earthly treasures.” Joseph Smith Sr “trusted that the Son of Righteousness would some day illumine the heart of the boy and enable him to see his will concerning him.” (Page 450)

Notice that Walker separates the two, (treasure digging and religionists) and it is the Smith’s who combine them (as do others in that sub culture) and are conflicted about doing so! And if you read Morris’ quote, so full of ellipses, you would never know that Walker believes that even the Smith’s were not comfortable mixing them. So why would Ron Huggins even need to include any of Walker’s opinions in his paper? To support apologist speculations? Is that really relevant scholarship? Let’s see.

Walker quotes Joseph Smith, Sr. giving testimony at his sons 1826 Examination. This was six years after Joseph supposedly saw God and three years after he claimed the angel he later identified as Moroni/Nephi visited him. And then, of course there were the two visits in 1824 and 1825 at the Hill Cumorah. So when was the “Son of Righteousness” going to “illumine the heart of the boy”? And even after this, Joseph went back to looking for treasure! It was like those religious visions never really happened!

Morris wants to have it both ways as do all the apologists who try to justify the Smith’s practicing and believing in magic rituals and practices, the supernatural spirits that supposedly guarded buried treasure, and being able to locate such treasure using various instruments like dowsing rods and peep-stones as somehow being more than a subculture (even a widespread one at times) and therefore acceptable as legitimate Christian practices. (Christianity is not Old Testament Judaism). Didn’t Christ claim he had “fulfilled” the old laws and after the “gift of the Holy Spirit” none of that was necessary any more? That it would be a much simpler gospel, like love your neighbor as yourself?  But I digress. Another time perhaps.

Where is it listed in any of the many Church tenets of the Universalists, or Baptists, or Methodists, or Presbyterians, or other Christian churches of the day, the instructions about divining, or peeping with stones, or necromancy, or other “folk magic” practices?

Even though some individuals might practice such things, there is no evidence that any of the Christian Churches in America were promoting such things in a widespread manner as the apologists want you to believe. It was a subculture that was widespread among all Americans, both religious and non-religious, and as we shall see below, even the Mormons turned against it and claimed such things were ‘not of God’.

And if one wants to call “folk magic” a religion, well, there is the problem that God supposedly told Joseph in 1820 that all the different religions were false and to “go not after them”. And remember, after his claimed 1820 vision Joseph “…frequently fell into many foolish errors, and displayed the weakness of youth, and the foibles of human nature; which, I am sorry to say, led me into divers temptations, offensive in the sight of God.” He claims that stuff (the money-digging) was offensive in the sight of God. Ah, but having it both ways allows Joseph to do all this offensive stuff and still be a legitimate, bona fide occult dabbling prophet-in-training, right? Because he claimed to “repent” then continued to do it. And continued to do it. But now… the apologists are claiming there was nothing wrong with any of it because so many other Christians were doing their own dabbling.

In this tortured paragraph, Eric A. Eliason touts a folklorist to try and show how magic and religion are really just the same thing and that you can demystify it all by realizing that it’s all culture clashes:

Folklorist David Allred reminds scholars how folklorists helped de-exoticize the common magic/religion distinction by showing them to be functionally and structurally very similar concepts whose differences have more to do with culturally constructed notions emerging from relationships of group identity, prestige, and power than they do from any intrinsic qualities of magic or religion. (pg. 80)

But what was Joseph himself saying when he put these words in the mouth of God to him in 1820:

[God said] all their Creeds were an abomination in his sight, that those professors were all corrupt, that “they draw near to me to with their lips but their hearts are far from me, They teach for doctrines the commandments of men, having a form of Godliness but they deny the power thereof.” He again forbade me to join with any of them and many other thing[s] did he say unto me which I cannot write at this time. (p. 2)

Since magic and religion are not different from one another (according to the apologists), Joseph then continued to ignore the heavenly visitors he claimed he was continually seeing right up until he came to possess the gold plates in 1827. Surely this instruction from God includes Professors of Methodist/magic folklore or Universalist/magic folklore or Presbyterian/magic folklore, etc. Surely it includes practitioners of folk magic who were not affiliated with any of the sects of the day and all the magical “creeds”. If one wants to claim that Smith was commanded to “go not after” only organized religions, what is the reason why God would leave out folk religion/magic? And that begs the question why would God use the abominable “Christian” folk magic to train his prophet? Was the angel directing the young prophet-in-training to go out and peep for treasure? Does that somehow make one more prolific at “translating” ancient languages? Joseph never finds anything with his occult peep-stone but when it becomes a religious “seeing stone” he can “translate” whole books of scripture! Just call it urim and thuimmim and it’s all good. Just picture the angel: Joseph you’re too greedy, go out and work on the treasure hunting some more so you can hone those peep-stone skills and “translate” these gold plates that you won’t really need to have to do the “translating”. Really?

In the claimed vision though, Joseph’s God makes no distinctions. All were wrong according to Joseph though he only mentions three of the most “popular” denominations in his account.

It is certainly of interest to mention that in 1830, when Oliver Cowdery and a few others went to Ohio, Abner Cole published these statements they made to those they were trying to proselyte to the new Mormonite faith:

Our Painesville correspondent informs us, that about the first of Nov. last, Oliver Cowdery, (we shall notice this character in the course of our labors,) and three others arrived at that village with the “New Bible,” on a mission to the notorious Sidney Rigdon, who resides in the adjoining town. Rigdon received them graciously — took the book under advisement, and in a few days declared it to be of “Heavenly origin.” Rigdon, with about 20 of his flock, were dipt immediately. They then proclaimed that there had been no religion in the world for 1500 years, — that no one had been authorised to preach &c. for that period, — that Joe Smith had now received a commission from God for that purpose, and that all such as did not submit to his authority would speedily be destroyed. The world (except the New Jerusalem) would come to an end in two or three years. The state of New York would (probably) be sunk. Smith (they affirmed) had seen God frequently and personally — Cowdery and his friends had frequent interviews with angels, and had been directed to locate the site for the New Jerusalem, which they should know, the moment they should “step their feet” upon it. They pretend to heal the sick and work miracles, and had made a number of unsuccessful attempts to do so. The Indians were the ten lost tribes — some of them had already been dipt. From 1 to 200 (whites) had already been in the water, and showed great zeal in this new religion — many were converted before they saw the book. Smith was continually receiving new revelations, and it would probably take him 1000 years to complete them — commissions and papers were exhibited, said to be signed by Christ himself!!! Cowdery authorised three persons to preach, &c.  and descended the Ohio River. The converts are forming “common stock” families, as most pleasing in the sight of God. They pretend to give the “Holy Spirit” and under its operations they fall upon the floor — see visions, &c. Indians followed Cowdery daily, and finally saw him enter the promised land, where he placed a pole in the ground, with a light on its top, to designate the site of the New Jerusalem. (The Palmyra Reflector, February 14, 1831, See also issues of the Painesville Telegraph for this period).

Notice they were preaching that there was no religion on the earth for 1500 years. As we know, Joseph was to later declare that without the proper “authority” anything done in God’s name was invalid and an affront to him. But the Apologists would have you believe that there was an exception for their “Christian” folk magic and the shenanigans of Palmyra’s prophet-in-training.

Magic or Religion?

Joseph’s “official” story about seeing God and then an angel in 1820 and 1823 isn’t based on some magic subculture, because Joseph later denied that he was involved in it; (he was only a paid laborer) but since he was involved (as the evidence shows) he literally was ignoring the commands of both God and the angel according to his own “official” narrative. Three years after he first claimed to see an angel of God, Joseph Jr. testified in a court of law that,

…he had a certain stone, which he had occasionally looked at to determine where hidden treasures in the bowels of the earth were; that he professed to tell in this manner where gold-mines were a distance under ground, and had looked for Mr. Stowel several times, and informed him where he could find those treasures, and Mr. Stowel had been engaged in digging for them; that at Palmyra he pretended to tell, by looking at this stone, where coined money was buried in Pennsylvania, and while at Palmyra he had frequently ascertained in that way where lost property was, of various kinds; that he had occasionally been in the habit of looking through this stone to find lost property for three years, but of late had pretty much given it up on account its injuring his health, especially his eyes – made them sore; that he did not solicit business of this kind, and had always rather declined having any thing to do with this business.

According to this, Joseph is simply a reluctant Peeker who began his peeking right about the time he claimed that an angel visited him! His mother bragging about how her son “was in possession of certain means, by which he could discern things that could not be seen by the natural eye” was in relation to his use of a peep stone and perhaps a divining rod.

Joseph would later spend many months using that “means”, (his dark stone), to “translate” the Book of Mormon and continued to use it to receive “revelations”, which he claimed came from God — without complaining about it hurting his eyes. Joseph also told this to others (that the stone hurt his eyes):

McMaster sworn: says he went with Arad Stowel, and likewise came away disgusted. Prisoner pretended to him that he could discover objects at a distance by holding this white stone to the sun or candle; that prisoner rather declined looking into a hat at his dark coloured stone, as he said that it hurt his eyes.

He “rather declined looking into a hat” but then “translates” the entire Book of Mormon that way. It doesn’t make much sense that God would use a training method that hurt his eyes and then require him to “translate” that way does it? And then have the young Peeker turned Prophet continue to have to use the stone to get more revelations? Why wouldn’t God just send an angel with the messages? After all, they are messengers and God had to have a lot of those on hand, right? In one of the many versions of his claimed 1820 vision, Smith related that he saw “many angels” at that time. But when he needs one to help him, or protect him they can’t seem to be found.

Joseph also claimed that the “spectacles” or as they are described in the Book of Mormon “interpreters” were even harder to use than his peep-stone! This also confirms Joseph had two stones that he used for such purposes. Yet as Mormonism teaches, the Bible condemns such practices.

“There is no light in them”

In Isaiah we read,

And when they shall say unto you, Seek unto them that have familiar spirits, and unto wizards that peep, and that mutter: should not a people seek unto their God? for the living to the dead? To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.

I bring this up because the Mormon Church today (and in Joseph Smith’s day), separates them and condemns such magical practices, and uses the same verses to justify their condemnation:

This is not a revival of the spirituality characteristic of the ancient patriarchs and prophets of Israel, but is a type of magic and spiritualistic wizardry that the true prophets vigorously opposed. …It is clearly seen from the foregoing passages [in Isaiah] that belief in astrology, spirit mediums, etc., did not constitute the true religion taught by the prophets and patriarchs, but was characteristic of the false religions practiced by the surrounding nations that had departed from the Lord.

The above Bible verses contrast seeking out God with those who entertain “familiar spirits” the Peekers who “peep” and “mutter”.  Is using the name of God (in folk magic spells and incantations, etc.) an affirmation that something is approved by God? Basically, “it is because we said so”? Even Christ spoke of the difference when he said:

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… (Matthew 7:22-23)

How many times have you heard Mormons quoting that scripture in relation to “priesthood authority”? And the Mormons aren’t the only Christians who do so. One Bible scholar recommended by Mormon apologists (Cornelius Van Dam) claims that, “there is no convincing evidence that the Urim and Thummim were used after the time of David.” It seems that the prophets of ancient Israel had turned away from such objects and warning others that God no longer sanctioned those practices. (Some claim that it was in anticipation of the Messiah… those pesky other Christians, the “whore” and her “children”) I’ll have more of Van Dam and the “whore” below.

A Counterfeit Prophet?

As I mentioned, Joseph was told in 1820 and in 1823 to go not after them (any religion). Yet he continued to do so for years if, as the apologists inform us, folk magic is actually Christianity. And if it wasn’t, was that any better? As for Joseph’s use of “folk magic”, apostle/prophet Gordon B. Hinckley wrote,

I have no doubt there was folk magic practiced in those days. [of Joseph Smith] Without question there were superstitions and the superstitious. I suppose there was some of this in the days when the Savior walked the earth. There is even some in this age of so-called enlightenment. For instance, some hotels and business buildings skip the numbering of floor thirteen. Does this mean there is something wrong with the building? Of course not. Or with the builders? No.

Similarly, the fact that there were superstitions among the people in the days of Joseph Smith is no evidence whatever that the Church came of such superstition. (Gordon B. Hinckley, “Lord, Increase Our Faith,” Ensign, November 1987, 52-53).

Why do those who are said to have actual authority teach that such things were not of God, and that it is mistake to claim that they are? Apologists are actually going against what church “authorities” claim by promoting what they do about the Smith’s continued practice of magic. Here is how Richard Bushman describes how “magic” was instrumental in getting the Smith family to believe in the angel Moroni:

Traces of a treasure-seeking mentality still appeared in the family’s reactions to the angel. His parents admonished Joseph to be rigorously obedient to the messenger’s instructions, just as exact compliance with prescribed rituals was required for successful money-digging. …When he married Emma Hale in 1827, Joseph was on the eve of realizing himself as a prophet. He may still have been involved in magic, but he was sincere when he told Emma’s father that his treasure-seeking days were over.  Magic had served its purpose in his life. In a sense, it was a preparatory gospel … After 1828, Joseph could no longer see that magic might have prepared him to believe in a revelation of gold plates and translation with a stone. It did not occur to him that without magic his family might have scoffed at his story of Moroni, as did the minister who rejected the First Vision. Magic had played its part and now could be cast aside. Magic and religion melded in the Smith family culture. …It may have taken four years for Joseph to purge himself of his treasure-seeking greed. Joseph Jr. never repudiated the stones or denied their power to find treasure. Remnants of the magical culture stayed with him to the end. (Excerpts from Bushman, Richard L., Joseph Smith: Rough Stone Rolling. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2005, 51, 53-54, 69,)

Now it seems, the narrative is that folk magic prepared Joseph to become a Christian prophet. And it is important to note that Joseph did not identify the angel who supposedly told him about the gold plates as Moroni until about 1835, so he will be referred to as “the angel” when discussing any earlier accounts.

Larry Morris claims that “Joseph … acknowledges that implements used for supposedly “magical” purposes can also be used for what we call religious purposes—or perhaps it is the other way around.” (pg. 36) Yet, Apostle Dallin Oaks has stated:

Those who define folk magic to include any use of tangible objects to aid in obtaining spiritual guidance confound the real with the counterfeit. They mislead themselves and their readers. (Dallin H. Oaks, “Recent Events Involving Church History and Forged Documents,” Ensign (October 1987), 63.)

These church members do not agree with either Bushman or Morris in claiming that the Smith’s use of magic was in any way sanctioned by God, or that Joseph would have used such practices to “prepare” himself for his encounters with God and reject the notion that “treasure seeking was part of an attempt to recapture the simplicity and magical power associated with apostolic Christianity.” Yet, it seems that the Church is kind of? sanctioning such use of magic by bringing it in the back door, with the series of Essays that were written to counter the claims of the CES Letter in 2013. The Anonymous Authors write that,

As a young man during the 1820s, Joseph Smith, like others in his day, used a seer stone to look for lost objects and buried treasure. As Joseph grew to understand his prophetic calling, he learned that he could use this stone for the higher purpose of translating scripture. In a footnote, it says,

According to Martin Harris, an angel commanded Joseph Smith to stop these activities, which he did by 1826.

No, he didn’t stop by then. They get this wrong. Joseph claimed to speak with the angel every year for four years every September. Joseph was arrested in March, 1826. So when did the angel tell him to stop, in September, 1826 after he was arrested? If so, then why did Joseph Smith tell Samuel Lawrence there was a silver mine in Pennsylvania and entice him to go after it in the late fall/winter of 1826? Joseph returned to Palmyra, but soon returned to Pennsylvania and stayed at the farm of Joseph Knight, Sr. Dan Vogel writes,

While on the Knight farm, [November/December 1826]  Joseph participated in at least one extended treasure hunt. Emily Colburn Austin, sister of Newel Knight’s wife, Sally, reported seeing “places where they had dug for money” on the Knight farm. Austin was told that a dog had been sacrificed in the hope of breaking the charm that held “pots of money.” Joel K. Noble, the Colesville justice before whom Smith appeared in July 1830, said that “Jo. and others were digging for a chest of money in [the] night [but] could not obtain it. They procured one thing and another, together with [a] black bitch. The bitch was offered a … sacrifice, [blo]od sprinkled, prayer made at the time. [But] (no money obtained). The above sworn to on trial.” (pg. 89)

No money obtained. You will find that this is always the result of the Smith treasure hunts, except of course for the gold plates that mysteriously disappeared into the hands of an angel. If it was that easy, why didn’t God just have an angel get them from Moroni and then give them to Smith? Really! When Smith lost the Harris transcript an angel appeared and took the plates and “interpreters” from Smith. He then supposedly gave them back and then Smith gave them to him again after that.

It appears that if the angel did tell Joseph to quit money-digging, he didn’t listen. Even after marrying Emma in January, 1827 Joseph continued with his money-digging. Here is Dan Vogel once again describing the events as they transpired the year Joseph claims to have been worthy enough to get the plates:

Within days, [Josiah] Stowell transported the newlyweds to Manchester to board with Joseph’s parents in their frame house. How well Lucy and Emma got along is unknown, but the two undoubtedly shared some of the same attitudes toward their husbands’ drinking and money digging, both of which would become more prominent attributes of the Smith men during Emma’s brief stay in Manchester.

Joseph worked on his father’s farm and hired out as a laborer on other farms during the ensuing year. While he was working for William Stafford, he got into another drunken fight. Barton Stafford, son of William, remembered that on one occasion while working in his father’s field, Joseph “got quite drunk on a composition of cider, molasses and water.” In fact, Stafford said, he was so intoxicated he could barely stand and found it necessary to hold on to a nearby fence. After a while, “he fell to scuffling with one of the workmen, who tore his shirt nearly off from him.” Emma, who was in the house visiting, came out and “appeared very much grieved at his conduct, and to protect his back from the rays of the sun, and conceal his nakedness, threw her shawl over his shoulders and in that plight escorted the Prophet home.”

Gordon T. Smith, Lemuel Durfee’s adopted son, related a story about Joseph’s drinking while the latter was working for the senior Durfee. Joseph’s presence at the Durfee farm on at least two unspecified occasions in August 1827 is confirmed in the employer’s account book. When Durfee’s wife discovered that Joseph had been sneaking drinks from the whiskey bottle in her pantry each morning before work, she switched the bottle for one containing pepper-sauce, which caused Joseph considerable discomfort.20

There was no shortage of alcoholic drink at the Smith home during Joseph’s and Emma’s tenancy. One of Lemuel Durfee’s account books records the purchase of large quantities of “liquor cider” by the family during the spring and summer of 1827.

Alcohol elicited more than Joseph’s anger, for Stafford reported that “when intoxicated, he frequently made his religion the topic of conversation.” When inebriated, anything Joseph had tried to repress seemed to bellow up like steam rising from a doused fire.

By the fall of 1827, the Smith men had resumed their treasure-seeking activities in Manchester in company with like-minded neighbors. While little is known about these activities, both Martin Harris and Lorenzo Saunders said that Joseph Jr. directed a treasure-digging company until he received custody of the gold plates Joseph Capron, who lived on the farm immediately south of the Smiths, reported that in 1827 Joseph put a stone in his hat and located “a chest of gold watches … north west of my house.” After performing various magical ceremonies, a company of money diggers, including Samuel Lawrence, attempted to unearth a treasure, but the “evil spirit” guarding the chest succeeded in carrying it off.

These treasure hunts may have been financially supported by Abraham Fish, a neighbor with whom the Smiths had other financial dealings. In a letter dated January 1832, six leading citizens of Canandaigua, some of whom were familiar with Martin Harris, reported having heard that Joseph’s money-digging company in Manchester was “for a time … supported by a Mr. Fish” and that when the gentleman “turned them off,” this was when Joseph turned his attention to finding “a box … containing some gold plates.

Amid her husband’s drinking, fighting, and money digging, Emma may have begun to have second thoughts about their marriage. Lorenzo Saunders, whose sister had become close friends with Emma, said that Emma was “disappointed and used to come down to our house and sit down and cry. Said she was deceived and got into a hard place.” Perhaps Emma was beginning to fear that her parents’ assessment of Joseph had been correct. She may not have been happy having to live with her in-laws and worried that Joseph was doing little to remedy the situation. (ibid, 90-91)

Are these the actions of a person who is supposedly meeting with an angel every year to discuss how to run the kingdom of God? That’s debatable. The Anonymous Church Essay authors also write:

Joseph did not hide his well-known early involvement in treasure seeking. In 1838, he published responses to questions frequently asked of him. “Was not Jo Smith a money digger,” one question read. “Yes,” Joseph answered, “but it was never a very profitable job to him, as he only got fourteen dollars a month for it.” (Selections from Elders’ Journal, July 1838, 43).

Of course he hid it. These anonymous authors can’t get anything right. Joseph claimed (over and over again) that he was only hired to dig, (as he does in his official History) he never mentions using a peep-stone, necromancy and other occult practices to locate the treasure and lost items in any history he was involved with. Smith never admitted any of this except at his Examination under oath and perhaps privately to those who knew about his past when he was drinking.

The Church Essay on “translating” the Book of Mormon is filled with apologist speculations, including footnotes and references to their speculative articles. Is “Gee, I got 14 bucks a month employed as a shovel technician for a silver mine, therefore I was labeled as a money-digger” a real answer? Not by a long shot.

This is how the church is “officially” dealing with this issue. Where is their official declaration or instructions in the priesthood manuals about the use of seeing stones and divining rods (No one would know by simply reading D&C 7 that it was originally about using one) and how to practice necromancy to contact the dead in search of lost treasure? Instructions on how to keep the treasure from slipping back in to the earth after you locate it and “bind” the spirit that is guarding it? How many times do we have to hear that it was OK for Joseph, but for no one else? And yet, this is how it was. And of course there are those who found veins of gold and sliver in Utah and attributed it all to the “priesthood” and to God.

Those who knew Joseph best made the most excuses for his behavior:

I saw Joseph the Prophet do, and heard him say, things which I never expected to see and hear in a Prophet of God, yet I was always able to throw a mantle of charity over improper things. (Lorenzo Snow, Statement, January 29, 1891, as cited in Dennis B. Horne, An Apostle’s Record: The Journals of Abraham H. Cannon (Clearfield, UT: Gnolaum Books, 2004), 175).

But some did not. Ezra Booth wrote to Edward Partridge in 1831:

Some suppose his [Joseph’s] weakness, nay, his wickedness, can form no reasonable objection to his revelations; and ‘were he to get another man’s wife, and seek to kill her husband, it could be no reason why we should not believe revelations through him, for David did the same.’ So Sidney asserted, and many others concurred with him in sentiment. (Letter of Ezra Booth to Edward Partridge, September 20, 1831).

When is the next Elder, or Seventy, or High Priest going to get up in Sacrament Meeting and explain how to use divining rods and seeing stones and how to contact the dead to find lost items and buried treasure and see who you are going to marry? It was all “Apostolic Christianity” right?

The First Cowdery Conundrum

Early on, Joseph attempted to legitimize the divining rod of Oliver Cowdery by including something in a “revelation”, but it seems that didn’t go over very well. In 1829 Joseph penned this to Cowdery:

A Revelation to Oliver [Cowdery] he being desirous to know whether the Lord would grant him the gift of Revelation & th …Translation given in Harmony Susquehannah Pennsylvania now …this is not all for thou hast another gift which is the gift of working with the sprout Behold it hath told you things Behold there is no other power save God that can cause this thing of Nature to work in your hands for it is the work of God & therefore whatsoever ye shall ask to tell you by that means that will he grant unto you that ye shall know remember that without faith ye can do nothing trifle not with these things do not ask for that which ye had not ought ask that ye may know the mysteries of God & that ye may Translate all those ancient Records which have been hid up which are Sacred & according to your faith shall it be done unto you Behold it is I that have spoken it & I am the same which spake unto you from the begining amen

The Folk Magic Red Herring

At the Joseph Smith papers, they write:

This affirmation of Cowdery’s use of a “rod” as a divine gift illustrates the compatibility some early Americans perceived between biblical religion and popular supernaturalism. “From the outset,” according to historian Robert Fuller, “Americans have had a persistent interest in religious ideas that fall well outside the parameters of Bible-centered theology. . . . In order to meet their spiritual needs . . . [they] switched back and forth between magical and Christian beliefs without any sense of guilt or intellectual inconsistency.” (Robert C. Fuller, Spiritual, but Not Religious, Oxford University Press, 2001,15).

C. George Fitzgerald of Stanford made these comments about Fuller’s work:

The combination of individualism and rationality leads to a third component which is a common factor in each of the spirituality movements: the recurring rejection of established religion for being too doctrinaire and restrictive. His survey is quite comprehensive and includes just about every movement and its seminal founders… My appreciation for this fascinating chronicle of the development of spirituality within the US soured somewhat in the final chapter… Within every category, however, organized religion receives a lower score than spirituality. It felt like, mirabile dictu—Fuller the engrossing historian, morphed into an evangelist for spirituality. Even so, it is one of the best evangelical pamphlets (200 pages) I have seen on spirituality. 

The Joseph Smith Papers editors pretty much cherry picked Fuller because he’s an advocate of “folk magic”, or Spiritualism. The very thing that made Spiritualism appealing to Colonial Americans was that they were not confined by “organized religion” and its rules, but this is where Smith went with his own religion.

Whenever anyone used a peep-stone on their own, (as Hiram Page did) it was from “Satan” and not from God. Only Smith could tap into the divine for the church, all others were pushed aside or failed because they just weren’t Joseph Smith. He did not want to share power with anyone. He would delegate, but always had the final word. He claimed in Nauvoo that Hyrum would be the new “prophet” of the Church, but there is no evidence that Hyrum ever was, or that Smith was going to turn things over to him or anyone else. (See Council of Fifty Minutes of April 1844 where Smith bragged he was a “Committee of Myself“). Here is what Smith said on April 5th 1844:

 I dont want to be ranked with that committee I am a committee of myself, and cannot mingle with any committee in such matters. The station which I hold is an independant one and ought not to be mingled with any thing else. Let the Committee get all the droppings they can from the presence of God and bring it to me, and if it needs correction or enlargement I am ready to give it. The principles by which the world can be governed is the principle of two or three being united. Faith cannot exist without a concentration of two or three. The sun, moon and planets roll on that principle. If God the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost were to disagree, the worlds would clash together in an instant. He referred to brother Lot [Cornelius P. Lott] and his farming & said God would prosper him because he gets his mind right. When I get any thing from God I shall be alone. I understand the principles of liberty we want. I have had the instructions It is necessary that this council should abide by their instructions. From henceforth let it be understood that I shall not associate with any committee I want every man to get knowledge, search the laws of nations and get all the information they can. There can be no exceptions taken to any thing that any man can say in this council. I dont want any man ever to assent to any thing in this council and then find fault with it.

Fuller claims that, “most people saw magic and Christianity as distinct, but complimentary. Most were aware that Christian clergy urged them to stay clear of unbiblical beliefs about the supernatural. Yet in order to meet their spiritual needs the laity sometimes turned to magic and sometimes to Christian ritual.” (Why did the JSP edit this out of their quote?)

This was anathema in the church that Smith set up. And does this still go on even today? Sure, as we will explore below. But it is not as rampant as it was before the Second Great Awakening and the rise of the Age of Reason. (c. 1790) According to Fuller, this coincided with the decline of folk magic practices among the Christians. It is important to note that Smith hid and rejected his folk magic roots as he organized his church and developed his theology. The period of time between his two visions he characterized as a time of folly and mistakes, which he claimed to have repented of before the second vision of the angel.

And of course if you study what Fuller says, it is obvious that the Mormons are trying to create a red herring here. He writes:

Churched and unchurched religiosity have factored about equally in American’s understanding of the supernatural since the nation’s beginnings. The exact relationship between the two varied person by person. It seems that on the whole most people saw magic and Christianity as distinct, but complimentary.

This is footnoted by Fuller, and in the footnote he writes, “There is considerable scholarly debate about the exact relationship between the churched and unchurched elements of colonial religiosity.”

Of course there is considerable scholarly debate. So claiming that Ron Huggins didn’t use “relevant scholarship” was in the eye of the beholder, or simply Morris’ opinion and irrelevant to what Ron wrote. It would be including speculation that can never be tied to the Smith’s because no one knows exactly how Joseph himself viewed folk magic in relation to Christianity. But what we see in the evidence is that he continued to lie about his youthful involvement in it. And when he was a Methodist Exhorter, was he telling them all about his peep-stone, or when he tried to join the Methodists in Harmony, did he brag about his treasure digging past? – as it should not have been a problem according to Mormon apologists. According to the Lewis brothers, when confronted about his involvement in the occult, Smith walked away from the Methodists.

So really, what the Mormons need to say, (that they won’t say), is treasure digging was, perhaps, in the minds of some individuals (how many we will never know, but there is no evidence it was widespread) an effort to recapture the power of apostolic Christianity. And even this is debatable among historians. So is all this relevant to Smith’s treasure digging? No, because there is absolutely no evidence that the Smith’s connected the two in any meaningful way, and there is actual evidence that Smith rejected all religion (including folk magic) except what he would later “restore”. And precious little of what he was doing in the 1820’s became widespread approved practices in his church.

Treasure digging may have been a widespread subculture in early colonial America, but there is no way to know what the motivation of most individuals was except the obvious (to get rich), and there was so much fraud and conning going on in relation to it that laws were passed making what Smith was doing (“Juggling” or pretending to peep for treasure) illegal.

The Gift of What?

If there was any mixing of folk magic in Mormonism, it was systematically stamped out, changed and downplayed, like the “revelation” to Cowdery in 1829 who was initially told that:

“Shuredly as the Lord liveth which is your God & your Redeemer even so shure shall ye receive a knowledge of whatsoever things ye shall ask with an honest heart believeing that ye Shall receive, a knowledge concerning the engraveings of old Records which are ancient which contain those parts of my Scriptures of which hath been spoken by the manifestation of my Spirit yea Behold I will tell you in your mind & in your heart by the Holy Ghost which Shall come upon you & which shall dwell in your heart now Behold this is the spirit of Revelation … whatsoever ye shall ask to tell you by that means [the “sprout”] that will he grant unto you that ye shall know remember that without faith ye can do nothing…

Smith informs Cowdery that all he needs to do is ask with faith and God will “grant unto you”. Just ask, buddy. Just ask. Didn’t Jesus also say that? Smith divined to Cowdery that the “Holy Ghost” would come upon him and “dwell in his heart”. And yet, when Cowdery tried, he failed because he had “not understood”, he actually “supposed that I [God] would give it unto you, when you took no thought, save it was to ask me…”

And yet, that is what Joseph said God would do, he would give it to Cowdery if he simply asked in faith! This shell game by Smith was played with anyone who he deemed was a challenge to his authority or primacy. And we see here Joseph telling Cowdery that the Holy Ghost will come and “dwell in your heart”, but later, in Nauvoo, he contradicted this and said the opposite (correcting Orson Hyde) in 1843:

The Holy Ghost is a personage, and a person cannot have the personage of the Holy Ghost in his heart. A man receive the gifts of the H. G., and the H. G. may descend upon a man but not to tarry with him.

That is because Mormonism agreed with the doctrine of the Trinity in those early days. Today, the “revelation” to Cowdery reads like this:

Now this is not all thy gift for you have another gift, which is the gift of Aaron; behold, it has told you many things; Behold, there is no other power, save the power of God, that can cause this gift of Aaron to be with you. (Doctrine & Covenants, Section 8, 2013)

This is so obscured that no one would ever know what the original was all about. And when was this begun? First, in Missouri with the Book of Commandments:

Now this is not all, for you have another gift, which is the gift of working with the rod: behold it has told you things: behold there is no other power save God, that can cause this rod of nature, to work in your hands, for it is the work of God; and therefore whatsoever you shall ask me to tell you by that means, that will I grant unto you, that you shall know. (Book of Commandments, Chapter VII, 1833)

Then later, in Kirtland under Joseph Smith’s supervision it was radically changed:

Now this is not all thy gift; for you have another gift, which is the gift of Aaron: behold it has told you many things: behold there is no other power save the power of God that can cause this gift of Aaron to be with you; therefore, doubt not, for it is the gift of God, and you shall hold it in your hands, and do marvelous works; and no power shall be able to take it away out of your hands; for it is the work of God. And therefore, whatsoever you shall ask me to tell you by that means, that will I grant unto you and you shall have knowledge concerning it (1835 Doctrine and Covenants, Section XXXIV)

How does the “power of God” cause a sprout “to be with you”? Because that is not what it says in the original. (The “sprout” was already with him) It says that God was the only one who could make this “thing of Nature to work in your hands.” Calling it the “gift of Aaron” is ridiculous.

No one would have any idea what this “revelation” is now talking about. If they were so proud of folk magic and using the implements of it, why was this changed so soon after it was originally given? This is “restoring” Apostolic Christianity?

And today, they do not have the original “revelation” in the current Doctrine and Covenants, (only a note that Sidney Rigdon changed the word “sprout” to “rod”) but instead have a changed, obscure “revelation” in its place.

In no way do they give an adequate explanation for why this “revelation” was changed, (they tell you to go to Fuller’s Book and to Ashurst-Mcgee’s article!) and they have a link to an article that has some of the text of the original “revelation” and pretty much gives the same information that the JSP give (the changes to it, not the reason why it was changed).

The Stone or The Holy Ghost?

In June of 1829 Joseph was calling himself a prophet and giving revelations through his peep-stone. In a revelation given that month Smith wrote,

And I Jesus Christ, your Lord and your God, have spoken it. These words are not of men, nor of man, but of me: Wherefore you shall testify they are of me, and not of man; for it is my voice which speaketh them unto you: For they are given by my Spirit unto you: And by my power you can read them one to another; and save it were by my power, you could not have them: Wherefore you can testify that you have heard my voice, and know my words (Revelation, June 1829)

Remember though, that in April of 1829 Joseph wrote this revelation to Oliver Cowdery and received it through his stone:

Shuredly as the Lord liveth which is your God & your Redeemer even so shure shall ye receive a knowledge of whatsoever things ye shall ask with an honest heart believeing that ye Shall receive, a knowledge concerning the engraveings of old Records which are ancient which contain those parts of my Scriptures of which hath been spoken by the manifestation of my Spirit yea Behold I will tell you in your mind & in your heart by the Holy Ghost which Shall come upon you & which shall dwell in your heart now Behold this is the spirit of Revelation (Revelation Book 1, 11-12)

As David Whitmer explained,

The revelations in the Book of Commandments up to June, 1829, were given through the “stone,” through which the Book of Mormon was translated. …After the translation of the Book of Mormon was finished, early in the spring of 1830, before April 6th, Joseph gave the stone to Oliver Cowdery and told me as well as the rest that he was through with it, and he did not use the stone any more. (David Whitmer, Address, 32, 53).

This begs the question if Joseph/God was instructing others what the “spirit of Revelation” was, (which was being told “in your mind & in your heart by the Holy Ghost,”) then why was Joseph getting revelations by way of his seeing stone and why did he continue to do so and not follow his own instructions? It seems that as soon as someone else had “revelations” through a peep-stone that rivaled Smith’s, he decided that divining rods and peep-stones needn’t be the subject of any “revelations”.

Magic Is “Not of God”

That’s right, (according to Mormon “authorities”) and perhaps a few examples may be enlightening. First, here are Mormon apologists Terryl L. Givens & Phillip L. Barlow:

From a biblical perspective, determining whether Joseph Smith’s treasure seeking, seer-stone gazing, blessing of “magic” handkerchiefs and the like, were proper or not, should not be based on whether moderns see them as weird or similar to pagan practices, but whether or not Joseph Smith was an authorized prophet of God. Presumably, since Joseph Smith claimed to be God’s instrument for restoring biblical priesthood authority, he would have welcomed this basis for determination. …In … Mormondom, the seeming disappearance of “folk magic” either by abandonment or normalization into official practice is partly the result of Max Weber’s routinization of charisma process and partly the result of developing methods of exercising divine authority. What today might be regarded as mixing folk and official practices were seen in the past as an unproblematic unified whole. (The Oxford Handbook of Mormonism, by Terryl L. Givens & Phillip L. Barlow, p. 465)

In Mormonism folk magic and the priesthood was never “an umproblematic unified whole.” As for other so called Christians, I’ve seen those like Peter Popoff hawking his “Miracle Spring Water” which has the power to erase debt on television. So, I guess it doesn’t matter as long as Popoff is God’s spokesman, messenger, or prophet? Using objects to scam people is nothing new with Christians, it is still going on today, as John Oliver exposed a few years ago:

[John] Oliver and Last Week Tonight claimed to have corresponded with televangelist Robert Tilton’s Word of Faith Worldwide Church for seven months, first mailing him $20 in January along with a kindly-worded request to be added to his mailing list.“Within two weeks, he sent me a letter back thanking me for my donation, and claiming, ‘I believe that God has supernaturally brought us together.’” A couple of weeks after that, Oliver received an envelope with a $1 bill in it and a message that read, “Send it back to me with your best Prove God tithes or offering.”“That’s right,” Oliver said, “I had to send the $1 back with an additional recommended offering of $37, which I did. So at this point, we’re just two letters in and it’s like having a pen pal who’s in deep with some loan sharks.”Oliver claims that in March, he was sent three packets of colored oil that he was instructed to pour on letters and send back to Tilton by specific dates, accompanied with more money. He did it. Then in April, Oliver was sent a manila envelope with a check enclosed—only the check was for $5 from Oliver made out to Pastor Tilton’s church. Seven letters later, he received pieces of fabric and was told to mail them back to Tilton with more money, which he did. Oliver later received a letter with a single $1 bill inside, requesting that he place the bill in his Bible overnight, then send it back the next day with $49. In return, he’d receive a $1 bill that had been blessed. “That did not stop him,” Oliver said. “The letters kept coming. I received another oil packet, more prayer cloths, and even—and this is true—an outline of his foot which I was asked to trace my foot on and mail back to him with more money. So, as of tonight, I’ve sent him $319 and received 26 letters—that’s almost one a week. And again, this is all hilarious until you imagine these letters being sent to someone who cannot afford what he’s asking for.”

What was done about these occult practices in the Mormon church was all… arbitrary. If Joseph did it, it was all right. But let others practice “folk magic” and it was very problematic. We all know about Hiram Page, but what about the case of James Brewster, a young boy who claimed he was given a patriarchal blessing that he would be a “Seer, Revelator and Translator” by Joseph Smith, Sr., in the Kirtland Era?

He and his family were condemned by Joseph Smith for using a seeing stone and producing what Brewster called “An Abridgment of the Ninth Book of Esdras”, in the which he claims that the Church needed to remove to California to escape the judgments of God.

The Mormon side of the story was published in the Times and Seasons in December, 1842:

We have lately seen a pamphlet, written, and published by James C. Brewster; purporting to be one of the lost books of Esdras; and to be written by the gift and power of God. We consider it a perfect humbug, and should not have noticed it, had it not been assiduously circulated, in several branches of the church.

This said Brewster is a minor; but has professed for several years to have the gift of seeing and looking through or into a a stone; and has thought that he has discovered money hid in the ground in Kirtland, Ohio. His father and some of our weak brethren who perhaps have had some confidence in the ridiculous stories that are propagated concerning Joseph Smith, about money digging, have assisted him in his foolish plans, for which they were dealt with by the church. They were at that time suspended, and would have been cut off from the church if they had not promised to desist from their ridiculous and pernicious ways. Since which time the family removed to Springfield, in this state; and contrary to their engagement have been seeing, and writing, and prophecying, &c. for which they have been dealt with by the Springfield church. The father of the boy has very frequently requested an ordination; but has been as frequently denied the privilege, as not being considered a proper person to hold the priesthood.

We have written the above for the information of the brethren, and lest there should be any so weak minded as to believe in it, we insert the following from the Book of Doctrine and Covenants,

“But behold, verily, verily I say unto thee, no one shall be appointed to receive commandments and revelations in this church, excepting my servant Joseph Smith, Jr. for he receiveth them even as Moses and thou shalt be obedient unto the things which I shall give unto him., even as Aaron, to declare faithfully the commandments and the revelations, with power and authority unto the church.”

“And again, thou shalt take thy brother Hiram Page between him and thee alone, and tell him that those things which he hath written from that stone are not of me, and that satan deceiveth him: for behold these things have not been appointed unto any of this church contrary to the church covenants, for all things must be done in order and by common consent in the church, by the prayer of faith.”  (Times & Seasons, Dec 1, 1842, 32)

According to the Times & Seasons notice, the moneydigging stories in relation to Joseph Smith and his family were classed as “ridiculous”, and what the Brewesters were doing was “pernicious”. This is integrating folk magic practices into the church? Hardly. And once again, condemnation of “seeing stones”. And we know that Joseph had a number of stones and that it was claimed that he used one to “translate” the Book of Abraham. Where is the “common consent” in accepting that as a “revelation” from God? When did the church members in Nauvoo ever vote on the Book of Abraham? Why didn’t Joseph present the Book of Esdras to the Church for a vote? Instead, it was immediately dismissed by the prophet and the article in the Times & Seasons ridicules it in the worst way as something beneath notice while the Book of Abraham was touted as a bona fide revelation and printed in the Times & Seasons.

On March 20,1843, James Brewster published a second pamphlet which answered the charges of him getting “revelations” from a seeing stone, and what he reveals about events in Kirtland certainly is very interesting:

As the writer of this notice did not favor the public directly with his name, I shall not pretend to say who it was, although I have good reason to believe it was written by Joseph Smith, or at least by his direction.

Firstly. The writer says he considers it a perfect humbug; but before the pamphlet was printed the manuscript was taken to Joseph Smith; he had it in his possession six days; and, at that time, he stated that he enquired of the Lord concerning it and could not obtain an answer. Since then, he told certain individuals that he did receive an answer that it was not of God.

Secondly. He says Brewster is a minor, but has professed for several years to have the gift of seeing and looking through or into a stone. Now, as for my “seeing and looking through or into a stone,” it is a perfect falsehood, and Joseph Smith and many of the first presidents of the church know it to be false, and at the same time knowing that they could not bring any thing against our moral character have endeavored to injure us by publishing these falsehoods.

Thirdly. And he has thought that he has discovered money hid in the ground in Kirtland, his father and some of our weak brethren who perhaps have had some confidence in the ridiculous stories that are propagated concerning Joseph Smith about money digging, have assisted him in his foolish plans. This is a little nearer the truth than the second statement. The fact IS that my father ever regarded money diggers with the utmost contempt, but believing in the Gospel as preached by the Mormons, and, becoming a member of that church, removed to Kirtland, Ohio, While residing at that place Joseph Smith Sen’ the Prophet’s father, with others of high standing in the church, came to see us, and stated that they knew there was money hid in the earth, that it was our duty to assist in obtaining it, and if we did not the curse of God would rest upon us. We were foolish enough to believe them, not knowing at that time the weakness and folly of those men.

They also told us concerning their digging for money in the state of N. Y., and that the places where the treasures were deposited were discovered by means of the mineral rods and a seeing stone; likewise to prevent the Devil deceiving them they anointed the mineral rods and seeing stones with consecrated oil, and prayed over them in the house of the Lord in Kirtland, and then sent a man into the state of N. Y. to obtain the money that was supposed the mineral rods pointed out, but they found no treasure and returned empty.

Soon after this interview, I and my father were requested by J. Smith, Sen’r and Eld. Beaman to come to the house of the Lord. We went in and the door was locked; — after some conversation with J. Smith Sen’r, Beaman and Holeman.  Eld. Beaman called upon the Lord — they then proceeded to lay their hands upon my head and pronounced a blessing upon me, in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and sealed it up on me by the power of the Holy Priesthood, which they held, J. Smith Sen’r then acting as first President of the Church in Kirtland. The prophetic blessing was that I should be a Prophet, a Seer, a Revelator and Translator, and that I should have power given me of God to discover and obtain the treasures which are hid in the earth.

The men above mentioned, went with me and my father several times in pursuit of the money, but it was not obtained. Joseph Smith Sen’r and Beaman, being old and feeble, thought best to remain in the Temple, while the remainder of the party went to dig. John and Asel Smith joined with those who remained in the Temple to pray and continue their supplications until a very late hour; this was repeated several times, and at length afraid of being discovered in the Temple they retired to a barn in a remote part of the town, and continued there the most part of the night, still no treasure was obtained. By this time my father was convinced that we should not succeed, and then gave up the business entirely. All this was carried on privately, being understood only by those concerned. Soon after this my father and his family, Kid. Norris and his family, in company with several others, members of the church, who were knowing to what had transpired, were dealt with by the High Council and Church in Kirtland— Joseph Smith Sen’r then acting as First President of the Church, and his brother John Smith First President of the High Council in Kirtland.

The Brewsterites, as we were called by the Church, were all condemned, although many of the Counselors by whom they were condemned, had been engaged with us in the money digging business. The writer in the “Times and Seasons” now says that “my father was assisted” by some of ”our weak brethren.” This is true, but he must remember that the names of those weak brethren are as follows: — Joseph Smith sen’r, John and Asel Smith, Eldr Beaman, then President of the Elders’ Quorum, Joshua Holeman, and many others, of high standing in the Mormon Church whose names we can produce if occasion requires. He also says it was those who had “some confidence in the ridiculous stories that are propagated concerning Joseph Smith about money digging.” The following are the reasons we had for believing the stories. In Kirtland, Joseph Smith sen’r, the Prophet’s father, said in Council: I know more about money digging, than any man in this generation, for I have been in the business more than thirty years.” Father Smith, in private conversation with my father, told many particulars, which happened in N. Y. where the money digging business was carried on to a great extent by the Smith family. The writer of the article in the “Times and Seasons’- calls it a ridiculous and pernicious practice. I would ask him who was the author of this practice among the Mormons? If he has a good memory, he will remember the house that was Tented in the city of Boston, [Salem] with the expectation of find ing a ‘large sum of money buried in or near the cellar. If he has forgotten these things, I have not. And, if he is not satisfied with what I have written, he can have the remainder shortly.

Fourthly. The writer of the article says, that contrary to their engagements they have been seeing, writing, and prophecying, for which they have been dealt with by the Springfield  church. The father of the boy has frequently requested an ordination, but has as frequently been denied the privilege, as not being considered a proper person to hold the priest-hood. We were dealt with by the Springfield church. But the only thing found against us was that we had not joined that branch of the church, and supposed we had not acted wisely in all things. As for the ordination, my father has been ordained by the order of JOSEPH SMITH, without his requesting It, under the hands of J[ames]. Adams, High Priest and Patriarch; Elder Mariam, President — both of the Springfield church.

Fifthly. To close the notice the writer adds “we have written the above for the information of the brethren.'” I would only say that the information it contains is very incorrect, and I would advise the Editors of the “Times and Seasons” not to publish any more information concerning us except it is written by one who regards the truth.

I have written the above that the people may know who the ”weak brethren” are that assisted us in the money digging business. The Mormons may deny it, but every word it contains is true; and I might have written much more, but I think it unnecessary. But if the Mormons publish another line of falsehood concerning us, they shall have the history of the money diggers from the beginning.

Below will be found my father”s certificate, which goes to corroborate the statements I have given.

JAMES COLIN BREWSTER

T, Z. H. Brewster, do hereby certify, that the above account of the money digging business is true. In the year 1837, in the month of May or June, we commenced the money digging under the kind care and protection of Joseph Smith sen’r, then first President of the church of Latter Day Saints. and, according to my best recollection, the foregoing statements are strictly true. I also believe the Gospel that is attended with the power and gifts revealed in the New Testament, and Book of Mormon. I also believe that God works by whomsoever he will, and reveals himself to all who faithfully serve him. I have no reason to believe that Nauvoo is a place of safety, but have every reason to believe that California is. I also believe that the pure in heart, and those who are desirous to serve God, will soon leave Nauvoo, that God may destroy the wicked and ungodly inhabitants thereof. I believe that Joseph Smith was called and chosen of God to bring forth the Book of Mormon, and to establish the church of Latter Day Saints. But I do not believe that the spirit of God will remain with him since he has forsaken the ways of truth and righteousness, and is now preaching and practicing those things which he in the beginning taught to be the works and inventions and secret combinations of the Devil, (see Book of Mormon, 3rd Edition — pages 320 and 538.) I also believe that ail liars, adulterers, fornicators, and whore-mongers shall have their part in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone, which is the anger of the Lord.

Z. H. BREWSTER.

Now they are praying over the rods and stones and anointing them with oil and taking them to the temple to help make them work. This (of course) was common to many money-diggers: to claim that their “gifts” were sanctioned by God, and to use some kind of religious ritual or prayer in their incantations or peeping. I found it interesting that Joseph Smith (if he was the one that wrote about the Brewster’s in the Times & Seasons), assumes that James used a seeing stone to get “revelations” or locate treasure, but James denied that he did. It seems that Brewster got his “revelations” through the Holy Ghost.

A mark is a mark and there were many Christians who desired money or were in debt, as well as others. These kinds of “magical” and pseudo Christian practices are still going on even today. (See below about the lottery and the modern use of divining rods).

Treasure Obsession

In 1837, Joseph Smith Sr. gave Wilford Woodruff a patriarchal blessing which stated:

Thou shalt have access to the treasure hid in the sand to assist thy necessities. An angel of God shall show thee the treasures of the earth that thou mayest have riches to assist thee in gathering many orphan Children to Zion. Thou art one of the horns of Joseph to push the people together to the ends of the earth. No power shall stay thee. At thy word the winds shall be stayed. Thou shalt walk upon the waters. At thy command the waters shall be divided. Prisons, chains, and vaults shall not hold thee /for thou shalt rend them in twain. (Wilford Woodruff Journal, April 15, 1837)

It is obvious during the Kirtland Era that Smith Sr. was still thinking about treasures in the earth and even blessing people that they would have access to them! And in Nauvoo, Smith Jr. was urging the “saints” to scout out locations in the far west, (even California) to look for a new place to settle. (Just in case) Some of Smith Sr.’s blessings are quite fantastical, as was this promise of being able to teleport to William Harris in 1836:

…thou shalt have all power, even to translate thyself and change into a shadow; so that if any shall smite at thee they shall only hit thy shadow, and thou shalt be in another place (William Harris, 2 May 1836)

Sounds like an episode from the X-Files or Fringe. In a blessing given on December 9, 1834, Smith Sr. promised the recipient that they would be alive for the Second Coming of Jesus:

…thou shalt stand on Mount Zion when the tribes of Jacob come shouting from the north, and with thy brethren, the sons of Ephraim, crown them in the name of Jesus Christ: Thou shalt see thy Redeemer come in the clouds of heaven…

The “Saints” at the time were led to believe that these things would actually happen if they were “faithful” and that they were indeed within the realm of possibility. We all know that is was simply invention and false hope, as neither Smith Jr. nor Sr. were actual prophets, which is easily proven by their own pronouncements. (No one can turn into a shadow, or “translate” themselves to other planets and no Latter Day Saint who was promised they would live to see the Second Coming ever did. There are dozens of other examples of these failed prophecies and blessings.

There certainly is no crime in proclaiming to be a prophet or in spouting all the prophecies you can think up, nor in believing in those who claim to be.

A Farm for Revelations

But what about if you are commanded to give up your farm so that it can be given to the prophet’s father and his family? Lucy Smith writes that when they moved to Kirtland:

Mr. Morely gave me the use of a room which we occupied but 2 weeks when we moved onto a farm which was purchased by Joseph and the Church for the on this farm my family were all established…

 An unpublished “revelation” dated May 15, 1831 contains (according to Joseph Smith) Jesus instructions that the Smith family should take over the Williams farm:

let my Servent Joseph [Smith Sr.] & his family go into the House after thine advisary is gone & let my Servent Ezra board with him & let all the Brethren immediately assemble together & put up an house for my Servent Ezra & let my Servents Frederick [G. Williams]’s family remain & let the house be repaired & their wants be supplied & when my Servent Frederick returns from the west Behold he taketh his family to the west Let that which belongeth to my Servent Frederick be secured unto him by deed or bond & thus he willeth that the Brethren reap the good thereof let my Servent Joseph [Smith Sr.] govern the things of the farm & provide for the families & let him have help in as much as he standeth in need let my servent Ezra humble himself & at the conference meeting he shall be ordained unto power from on high & he shall go from thence (if he be obedient unto my commandments) & proclaim my Gospel unto the western regions with my Servents that must go forth even unto the borders of the Lamanit[e]s for Behold I have a great work for them to do & it shall be given unto you to know what ye shall do at the conferenc[e] meeting even so Amen——
What shall the Brethren do with their money——
Ye shall go forth & seek dilligently among the Brethren & obtain lands & save the money that it may be consecrated to purcchase lands in the west for an everlasting enheritance even So Amen

On September 11, 1831 Smith penned another “revelation” from Jesus:

…I say unto you that my servent Isaac [Morley] may not be tempted above that which he is able to bear & council wrongfully to your hurt I gave commandment that this farm should be sold I willeth not that my Servent Frederick should sell his farm for I the Lord willeth to retain a Strong hold in the Land of Kirtland for the space of five years in the which I will not overthrow the wicked that thereby I may save some & after that day I thee [the] Lord will not hold any Guilty that shall go with open hearts up to the Land of Zion for I the Lord requireth the hearts of the Children of men

This “revelation” commands Isaac Morley to sell his farm and turn over the money to the church. Joseph would set the date for the “Redemption of Zion” (according to the Spirit) as September 11, 1836 (after his “Saints” were driven out of Jackson County, Missouri), exactly five years after the 1831 “revelation” was given which claimed that was when time ran out for the “wicked”. Joseph would prophecy “by the authority of Jesus Christ” in 1833 that the only place that would be safe was Zion: which was in Jackson County, Missouri. He claimed that the letter was written by the commandment of God, and that “I declare unto you the warning which the lord has commanded me to declare unto this generation, rembring that the eyes of my maker are upon me and that to him I am accountabl for evry word I say …  imbrace 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.”

What Smith prophesied was that in “not many years” the “United States shall present such a scene of bloodshed as has not a parallel in the hystory of our nation pestalence hail famine and earthquake will sweep the wicked of this generation from off the face of this Land to open and prepare the way for the return of the lost tribes of Israel from the north country—” Of course, this never happened in Smith’s generation nor any generation since then. Zion was never redeemed and the Mormons blamed the people of Missouri, and also the United States Government.

So when a group of immigrants (who were thought to be from Missouri) were making their was through Utah Territory to California were ambushed at Mountain Meadows by Mormons and Indians, they picked September 11, 1857 to murder them.

In that same year 1833, Jesus speaks again about the Williams farm:

Behold I Say unto you my Servent Frederick G. Williams, Listen to the word of Jesu Chrit your Lord and your Redeemer thou hast desired of me to know which would be the most worth unto you, behold blessed art tho[u] for this thing. now I say unto you, my Servant Joseph is called to do a great work and hath need that he may do the work of translation for the salvation of souls— Verily verily I say unto you thou art calld to be a Councillor & scribe unto my servant Joseph Let thy farm be consecrated fr bringing forth of the revelations and tho shalt be blessed and lifted up at the last day even so Amen

The 144 acre farm was deeded over to Joseph Smith in 1834. Most of the “revelations” and “commandments” above were never canonized like a lot of other instructions and mundane items from the same period.

Official Practice?

Joseph Smith Jr. condemns the use of a seeing stone, something he was doing himself and showing to others in private. One must ask, why all the secrecy surrounding the use of such magical practices since they were supposedly absorbed into “official practice”? Why didn’t Joseph publish how he “translated” the Book of Abraham in 1842, and that he used a seeing stone (Urim and Thummim) as Wilford Woodruff claimed?

Truly the Lord has raised up Joseph the Seer of the Seed of Abraham out of the loins of ancient Joseph, & is now clothing him with mighty power & wisdom & knowledge which is more clearly manifest & felt in the midst of his intimate friends than any other class of mankind. The Lord is Blessing Joseph with Power to reveal the mysteries of the kingdom of God; to translate through the Urim and Thummim Ancient Records & Hyeroglyphics as old as Abraham or Adam. which causes our hearts to burn within us while we behold their glorious truths opened unto us. Joseph the Seer has presented us some of the Book of Abraham which was written by his own hand but hid from the knowledge of man for the last four thousand years but has now come to light through the mercy of God. Joseph has had these records in his possession for several years but has never presented them before the world in the english language untill now. But he is now about to publish it to the world or parts of it by publishing it in the Times & Seasons, for Joseph the Seer is not the Editor of that paper & Elder Taylor assists him in writing while it has fallen to my lot to take charge of the Business part of the establishment. I have had the privilege this day of assisting in setting the TIPE for printing the first peace of the BOOK OF ABRAHAM that is to be presented to the inhabitants of the EARTH in the LAST DAYS … (Wilford Woodruff’s Journal 2:155-6, 19 February,1842)

The “official” Urim and Thummim (the spectacles)  were supposedly given back to the angel. There are no accounts of Joseph teaching others to use the Urim and Thummim (the “interpreters”) or that it was a sanctioned practice in the church. No one but Smith ever claimed to have used the “interpreters” for anything, and it seems that for all of God’s elaborate preparations, Smith really didn’t need them. It”s almost as if they never existed at all, though he did continue to dabble with peep-stones, but only Joseph could use them to get “revelations” as we shall see even though he said everyone should have one.

We don’t see such practices absorbed into the Mormon Church of Joseph’s day, and when others “peeped” in the Utah Territory, they too, were discouraged, or ostracized or condemned by the “Priesthood”.

The Treasure Hunting Revelation

What are we to make of Joseph’s own treasure hunting side trip to Salem a year before he fled Kirtland, where he believed there was treasure to be found in the basement of a house there? Ebenezer Robinson wrote:

A brother in the Church, by the name of Burgess, had come to Kirtland and stated that a large amount of money had been secreted in the cellar of a certain house in Salem, Massachusetts, which had belonged to a widow, and he thought he was the only person now living, who had knowledge of it, or to the location of the house. We saw the brother Burgess, but Don Carlos Smith told us with regard to the hidden treasure. His statement was credited by the brethren, and steps were taken to try and secure the treasure… (Robinson, The Return, pg 106)

Joseph Smith, along with his brother Hyrum, Sidney Rigdon and Oliver Cowdery left for Salem on July 25, 1836. Joseph’s Manuscript History reads:

From New York we continued our journey to Providence on board a Steamer, from thence to Boston by steam <​At Salem.​> cars, and arrived in Salem, Massachusetts, early in August, where we hired a house and occupied the same during the month, teaching the people from house to house, and preaching publicly as opportunity presented, visiting occasionally, sections of the surrounding cities and Country, which are rich in the history of the Pilgrim Fathers of New England, in Indian warfare, Religious Superstition, Bigotry, Persecution, and learned ignorance. The early settlers of Boston, who had fled from their mother Country to avoid persecution and death, soon became so lost to principles of justice and religious liberty as to whip & hang the Baptist and the Quaker, who, like themselves, had fled from tyranny to a land of freedom; and the Fathers of Salem, from 1691 to 1693, whipped, imprisoned, tortured and hung many of their citizens for supposed witchcraft. and quite recently, while boasting of her light and knowledge, of her laws and religion, as surpassed by none on earth, has New England been guilty of burning a Catholic Convent, in the vicinity of Charleston, and of scattering the inmates to the four winds. Yes, in sight of the very spot where the fire of the American Independence was first kindled, where a monument is now erecting in Memory of the Battle of Bunkers Hill, and the fate of the immortal Warren, who bled, who died on those sacred heights to purchase religious liberty for his country, in sight of this very spot, have the religionists of the 19th. century demolished a noble brick edifice, and hurling its inhabitants forth upon a cold unfeeling world for protection and subsistence. Well did the Savior say concerning such “by their fruits you shall know them,” and if the wicked mob who destroyed the Charleston Convent, and the cool calculating, religious, lookers on, who inspired their hearts with deeds of infamy do not arise, and redress the wrong, and restore the injured four fold, they in turn will receive of the measure they have meted out, till the just indignation of a righteous God is satisfied. When will <​August 6​> man cease to war with man, and <​wrest​> from him his sacred right, of worshipping his God according as his conscience dictates? Holy Father, hasten the day… (Manuscript History Book B-1, pg. 749)

In the midst of all their sightseeing, Joseph pens this “revelation” about the treasure to be found in Salem:

I the Lord your God am not displeased with your coming this Journey, notwithstandig your follies. I have much treasure in this city for you, for the benefit of Zion; and many people in this city whom I will gather out in due time for the benefit of Zion, through your instrumentality: Therefore it is expedient that you should form acquaintance with men in this city, as you shall be lead, and as it shall be be given you. And it shall come to pass, in due time, that I will give this city into your hands, that you shall have power over it, insomuch that they shall not discover your secret parts; and its wealth, pertaining to gold and silver, shall be yours. Concern not yourselves about your debts, for I will give you power to pay them. Concern not yourselves about Zion, for I will deal merciful with her. Tarry in this place and in the regions round about, and the place where it is my will that you should tarry, for the main, shall be signalized unto you by the peace and power of the my Spirit, that shall flow unto you. This place you may obtain by hire, &c . . . And inquire diligently concerning the more ancient inhabitants and founders of this city, for there are more treasures than one for you, in this city: Therefore be ye as wise as serpents and yet without sin, and I will order all things for your good as fast as ye are able to receive them. Amen. (Revelation, August 6, 1836)

This claims that they are to be given “much treasure” and that there was more treasure than the one they anticipated retrieving from the basement of the house they claimed to have found. God claimed he was going to give them the wealth of the city, all the gold and silver. Robinson continues his narrative:

We were informed that Brother Burgess met them in Salem, evidently according to appointment, but time had wrought such a change that he could not for a certainty point out the house, and soon left. They however, found a house which they felt was the right one, and hired it. It is needless to say they failed to find that treasure, or the other gold and silver spoken of in the revelation.

On August 19, Joseph wrote these words to Emma:

...with regard to the graat [great] object of our mishion you will be anxtiou [anxious] to know, we have found the house since Brother Burjece left us, very luckily and providentialy, as we had one spell been most discouraged, but the house is ocupied and it will require much care and patience to rent or b[u]y it, we think we shall be able to effect it if not now within the course of a few months, we think we shall be at home about the midle of septtember (Letter to Emma Smith, August 19, 1836)

Burgess could not tell them what house it was, but they still found it? How did Joseph find the house? An interesting question. Some have speculated he used his peep-stone, which is possible. And they did rent a house (as Robinson reported) but they never did have the city given into their hands, or it’s wealth of gold and silver. And out of all the things he could have said to Emma about Salem, Joseph mentions to her the “great object of our mission” which was finding buried treasure.  And even if they did not rent the house they thought the treasure was in as Robinson thought, they never went back for the treasure. I mean, God promised them this treasure so why not return in a few months and obtain it? It almost sounds like another peep-stone adventure, with the promised treasure slip, slip, slipping away.

An apt bookend to the Salem venture, is a “Prospectus” about the trip written and published by Oliver Cowdery just a few months later in the Latter Day Saints Messenger and Advocate. (Where they glean some of the information written in the Manuscript History).

Cowdery begins by telling his readers that, “the end draws near, and that the time is not far distant when a breaking up of corrupt systems will commence, and discordant factions [of religions], at present so mysteriously interwoven, will be severed, preparatory to the universal deluge of misery which must envelop the wicked.”

Cowdery then writes about their journey through New York City (where they absolutely do not consult about their debts in Kirtland) and on to Providence and then Boston and Salem. He then copies and pastes long sections of the Salem Witch Trial accounts and gushes about their sightseeing trip about the town. Cowdery seemed especially perturbed by the ruins of a burned down Catholic Convent, and he laments that,

…our country has come to this, that the weak must be trodden down by the strong, and disorder, confusion and terror, must distract our land and sow the discordant seeds of party strife and party animosity in the hearts of ignorant men, led on by infatuated priests, to overwhelm the continent with blood, and spread destruction and devastation throughout our happy asylum, and expose us to the fire, the sword, the rack and to death! I confess I retired from this scene of mobbery with a heavier heart than from the far-famed Bunker hill, rendered doubly so, by the patriotism, virtue, integrity, connected with the righteousness of the cause in which our fathers died! (pg. 392)

But later in the “Prospectus” Cowdery published this: 

This man turns away from the only church upon earth which was founded upon and is governed by revelation (the rock upon which Christ said he would found it) and says he has no need of it. But perhaps he means that the church which is not founded upon that rock has no need of it, in which I concur. For the Mother of harlots [The Catholic Church] with all her daughters of harlotry, [The Protestant Churches] will never obtain revelations, though they will obtain power of the Devil to work miracles. (p. 398)

Lest there be any doubt about what they were talking about, here is Apostle John Taylor in 1845:

The present Christian world exists and continues by division. The MYSTERY of Babylon the great, is mother of harlots and abominations of the earth, and it needs no prophetic vision, to unravel such mysteries. The old church [Catholic] is the mother, and the protestants are the lewd daughters. Alas! alas! what doctrine, what principle, or what scheme, in all. What prayers, what devotion, or what faith, `since the fathers have fallen asleep,’ has opened the heavens; has brought men into the presence of God; and to the spirits of just men made perfect, and to an innumerable company of angels? The answer is, not any: `There is none in all christendom that doeth good; no, not one. (Times and Seasons, Vol.6, No.1, p.811)

“Party strife and party animosity” to be sure. I admit, the hypocrisy is truly stunning. And as for the great object of their mission to Salem that Smith spoke of to Emma? Cowdery doesn’t mention it at all. If this were all about other treasures besides gold and silver as the apologists claim, why not mention the “revelation”? And of course this important “revelation” about Salem and its treasures was never canonized.

Magic Is Still Not of God? Not Even A Little?

In 1859 Heber C. Kimball recounted a story about how when he returned from England in 1838 that Joseph and the presidency of the Seventies were fooling around with a seeing stone:

Following a meeting of the Quorum of the Twelve, at a quarter to 12 o’clock H. C. Kimball and D. H. Wells called. H. C. Kimball said this made me think of the time when I returned from England. [1838] Joseph was present and the presidency of the Seventies. They had met with a seer stone to see what they could see when I went in. Z. Pulsipher said, don’t be excited;  Brother Kimball is nothing but a man. They treated me very cooly and I went home and wept and the Twelve all rose up and shook hands with them and received them joyfully.

0. Hyde explained to Brother Kimball and Wells what we had done, and would like to hear from them. Brother Kimball said, I consider every ruling man in the Church that has the Holy Ghost as a prophet, seer and revelator, and he should have the spirit of that office.

February 23, 1859: Same meeting, Brother Kimball said Joseph nominated G. A. Smith to take the place of Thomas B. Marsh, and Lyman Sherman was appointed to take the place of Orson Hyde; but Brother Sherman was very sick and died shortly after. Brother G. A. Smith said when he heard of Brother Sherman’s death, he thought his time would soon come. Brother Kimball said it was not the will of God for a man to take Brother Hyde’s place. The Twelve can ordain men to the apostleship and give them all the power you have and you have all that we have got, but you cannot make a prophet only the natural way and a man cannot be a patriarch and not a prophet, for a man must have the spirit of a prophet before he can bless and prophesy. The gifts and callings of God are without repentance. There are thousands of prophets among the gentiles and spiritualists that have not repented or obeyed the gospel. There are natural gifts to man. If they would receive the gospel, their gifts would be made more manifest. G. A. Smith read some in the Doctrine and Covenants. H. C. Kimball said, “I always believed that Lyman Wight would be saved. I never had any but good feelings towards him.” (Wilford Woodruff Journal, February 23, 1859)

Of course they would believe that there were “natural” prophets, else how could Joseph Smith have found the treasure of Cumorah with his peep-stone? It appears that when they were trying to “see what they could see”, Kimball interrupted them and Zera Pulsipher had to proclaim that he was only a man, implying that they were trying to contact the dead through the stone. It appears that Kimball wasn’t too thrilled with this story as he told his audience that he considered “every ruling man in the Church that has the Holy Ghost a prophet, seer and revelator and he should have the spirit of that office.” Not a ringing endorsement of peep-stones and perhaps one reason why neither he nor Brigham Young used them.

A few years after the incident in Missouri, Woodruff writes that,

The Twelve or a part of them spent the day with Joseph the Seer and he unfolded unto them many glorious things of the kingdom of God, the privileges and blessings of the priesthood, etc. I had the privilege of seeing for the first time in my day the Urim and Thummim. (Wilford Woodruff Journal, Dec. 27, 1841)

This was nothing more than one of Joseph’s seeing stones, which he supposedly used to “translate” the Book of Abraham. Brigham Young described the above meeting in his Manuscript History:

I met with the Twelve at Brother Joseph’s. He conversed with us in a familiar manner on a variety of subjects, and explained to us the Urim and Thummim which he found with the plates, called in the Book of Mormon the Interpreters. He said that every man who lived on the earth was entitled to a seerstone, and should have one, but they are kept from them in consequence of their wickedness, and most of those who do find one make an evil use of it; he showed us his seerstone. (Brigham Young, Manuscript History of Brigham Young, 1801-1844, ed. Elden Jay Watson).

Yet, while Woodruff was in England, he called such practices “not of God”. This is from the journal of Alfred Rolland Cordon:

“Saturday Evening 27th Mar 1841 I attended A council Meeting Elders G. A. Smith and W. Woodruff and a good number of Officers. a charge was brought against bro W Mountford for using Magic, The case was as follows, This bro Mountford had in his posession several Glasses or Chrystals as he called them. they are about the size of a Gooses Egg made flat at each end. he also had a long list of prayers wrote down which he used. The prayer was unto certain Spirits which he said was in the Air which says he when I pray to them in the name of the Father, Son, Holy Ghost, any thing that I want will come into the Glass. for instance if A Young woman had a desire to know who she would have for an Husband, she came to him and made the case known, and he brought out his Chrystals and prayed unto a certain Spirit then she must peep into the Chrystal and in it she would see the Young man that would become her husband Elder Woodruff made some observations on the subject. when it was moved and Unanimously carried that no such Magic work be allowed in the Church.” (Journal of Alfred Rolland Cordon)

The next day,

Meeting was Opened by Prayer by the President. It was Unanimoulsy carried that no such thing as Magic, Fortunetelling, Witchcraft or any such devices should be allowed in the Church. And that fellowship would be withdrawn from any who used or caused to be used any of the aforesaid things. It was also moved and carried that a letter of recomendation be presented to Elders, W. Woodruff and G. A. Smith. (Sunday, March 28, 1841).

So, where are the guidelines in discerning which peep-stones are a “urim and thummim” and therefore sanctioned by God? Nowhere to be found. What Woodruff and the Council here condemned are the same practices of the Smith family in Palmyra, and which Joseph continued to use throughout his life. Woodruff wrote up the incident this way:

I walked with several Brethren to Hanley & Sat in Council with many of the Officers. Among other business that was brought up was the case of a Brother Mumford who was ingaged in the Magic or Blackart fortune telling &c which prevails to a great extent in this Country. [England] But as he persisted in his course after being laboured with the Council Withdrew fellowship from him. He was holding the office of a Priest & one thing is worthy of notice that while the Priesthood was upon him, he could not see his majic glasses as before untill after he ceased to fill the Priest office & rejected our council. (Wilford Woodruff’s Journal, Vol. 2, 1841–1845, p.74)

The President then brought up the case of a Br Moumford, who was holding the office of a Priest, from whome fellowship had been withdrawn by the council of officers in consequence of his practizing fortune Telling, Magic, Black art &c & called upon Elders Woodruff & Cordon to express their feelings upon the subject when Elder Woodruff arose, & spoke Briefly upon the subject, & informed the assembly that we had no such custom or practice in the Church, & that we should not fellowship any individual who Practiced Magic fortune Telling, Black art &c for it was not of God. When It was moved & carried by the whole church that fellowship be withdrawn from Br Moumford. (Wilford Woodruff’s Journal, Vol. 2, 1841–1845, p.75)

He calls what Monford did, “Black Art” which included fortune telling, finding lost things, treasure hunting, etc., He is basically saying that using the peepstone did not work when “the Priesthood was upon him.” Interesting he calls them “magic glasses”. Monford claimed that, “anything that I want will come into the glass.” 

Note that Joseph Smith had claimed, “…but he seamed to think more of the glasses or the urim a and thummem  then than he did of the plates for says he I CAN SEE ANYTHING they are Marvelus” (Joseph Knight Recollection)

What are we to make of this? Why is what Mountford did “the Black Art”? Is it the same as with “revelations’, they can only come through the leader of the church? Then why did Smith claim that everyone has a right to a seeing stone and to use one? Was Mountford claiming to speak for the church anywhere? I don’t see that.

So where are the church instructions on “seeing” or peep-stones? Nowhere to be found, although there is some mention of “white stones” that will be given to people after they are resurrected. (See D&C 130:10). But here on earth, the church made its position clear at a Conference in 1902, in an address by Apostle John W. Taylor:

I want to advise the young ladies, while upon this subject, not to follow after peep-stone women, fortune-tellers, or those claiming to have a familiar spirit, to get them to tell you the kind of a husband you will marry, or you young men the kind of a wife you will get. (Conference Report, Sunday, April 6, 1902).

Taylor continues by quoting the very passage in Isaiah that I quoted above, but adds a bit more:

“And they shall pass through it hardly bestead and hungry: and it shall come to pass, that, when they shall be hungry, they shall fret themselves and curse their king and their God, and look upward. And they shall look unto the earth; and behold trouble and darkness, dimness of anguish; and they shall be driven to darkness.” (Isaiah 8:21-22, KJV)

Practitioners of Folk Magic will be “driven to darkness”. Taylor then tells the “Saints”,

Now my brethren and sisters, this has been literally fulfilled upon the idolatrous nations of the earth. Let us not be deceived, my brethren and sisters, or lead astray by those who are muttering and seeking to give the people a little temporal satisfaction, for it will result in incurring the displeasure of God upon us. (ibid)

He calls it idolatry and claims that the “nations of the earth” were also “driven to darkness” by such occult practices. Taylor actually tells the “Saints” to go to their Patriarch to get such information, but when has a church patriarch ever told anyone which husband or wife they were going to marry? My own patriarchal blessing simply said that I would “leave seed in the earth”, but I never had any children, much to my relief. No wonder people sought out the Peekers. They probably made things much more interesting. But… here’s an interesting response from “Ask Gramps” about this very subject. As you might suspect, he’s not down with the idea that patriarchs do any such thing and advises the young woman who asked to “change your approach”.

And yet, the Apologists go on and on about how we modern folk are getting it all wrong by not accepting “the Black Art” (That evil fortune telling) as part of Christianity and perfectly fine with the “folk” of the 19th century. It seems that as soon as Joseph and his chosen apostles and others got a little power, they also threw magic under the bus. (Unless they were doing it themselves or trying to justify the Smith’s use of it). Their condemnations are as arbitrary as the Apologists wanting to lump it all as lost Christianity. More from the apologists:

Today’s notions of which practices seem magical and which don’t can confuse our understanding of the past more than clarify it. Nineteenth century American aspirants to socially respectable circles might have denigrated glass-looking for lost objects and treasure digging as uneducated superstition. But the same people might have regarded the medicinal balancing of the four humors through blood-letting or timing crop planting by auspicious astrological signs listed in a farmer’s almanac as commonsensical and scientific. Joseph himself, as he moved from being a canny country boy to a cultured urbanite, reported giving up treasure seeking as youthful folly unworthy of his religious calling. Indeed, in court in 1830 it was testified and judicially accepted that Joseph Smith “had not looked in the glass for two years to find money, &c. (Early Mormon Folk Magic, 81)

And did Joseph give up his treasure digging in New York because he felt it was more “cultured”, or because he kept getting hauled before courts of law for doing it? And notice that they also show that the Church Essay is wrong, he didn’t quit doing it in 1826, this has him quitting in 1828! But we know that he didn’t stop looking in his stone, (per multiple accounts) or looking for lost treasure ten years later as the Salem “revelation” shows.

Woodruff was all about using home remedies, which many were in his day, but he wasn’t down with peep-stones and fortune telling; (unless it was Joseph) and Mountford used Christian prayers in the name of the Christian God as he summoned the Spirits of the Almighty with his stones. This shows that the home remedies and other mundane practices some call folk magic were not considered so by Woodruff.

Still Woodruff claimed it was all “not of God”. I suppose poor Wilford was simply confused also and his authority as an Apostle meant nothing (even though he had the ultimate authority overseas). It’s kind of routine for Mormon Apologists to throw former authorities under the bus if they get in the way of their pet theories.

Ghosts and Angels (Continued)

Here is the story that Smith himself told to Nancy Towles in October, 1831 which she put to paper soon after:

A certain man by the name of Smith, trained in the state of New York; and now about twenty-eight years of age: — professes to have seen, and held communion with an Angel from God. That, about four years since, [1827] as he was lying upon his bed, — (having just been reclaimed from a backslidden state,) [after 1823 visit] the room, of a sudden became light as day. When a beautiful personage, was presented to his view, — who requested, That he (Smith) should go to such a place, — as he had something wonderful, he wished to reveal. He accordingly went; and was directed by the angel to a certain spot of ground, where was deposited a “Box:” — which box contained “Plates,” that resembled gold: also, a pair of “interpreters,” (as he called them,) that resembled spectacles: by looking into which, he could read a writing engraven upon the plates, though to himself, — in a tongue unknown. These were delivered to him, as he asserts, to publish to the world. And when the things were committed to paper, “The box, &c. were to be sealed up; and deposited in the earth, — from whence they were taken.”

Smith himself claims that he was visited by the angel and got the plates immediately afterwards in 1827. He was in a “backslidden state” until the visit of the angel in 1827 (four years prior to 1831). It seems that Joseph was condensing his story and obscuring the dual visits of the angel. It is even possible that Joseph was formulating the new story of seeing Jesus when he was sixteen.

Allusion or Confusion?

This accords with his account in the Articles & Covenants of the Church, where Smith claimed to have seen an angel, became “backslidden” and then, four years later receives “power” from the angel to “translate” the record. Notice the similarities:

After it was truly manifested unto this first elder that he had received a remission of his sins, [1823] he was entangled again in the vanities of the world; But after repenting, and humbling himself sincerely, through faith, God ministered unto him by an holy angel, [1827] whose countenance was as lightning, and whose garments were pure and white above all other whiteness; And gave unto him commandments which inspired him; And gave him power from on high, by the means which were before prepared, to translate the Book of Mormon…

This could not be an “allusion” to 1820 or be speaking of the angel’s visit in 1823, because in 1823 Joseph did not get the “power’ to “translate” the Book of Mormon (the interpreters): that happened in 1827, and at this time that was the focus of the story they were all telling, that an angel appeared to Joseph in 1827.

The early missionaries were teaching this same thing, that Smith had no religious experience prior to the first visit of the angel in 1823/24; and they were all conflating events that took place in 1827 with those of the earlier story of his asking for forgiveness in 1823/24. Here are Lyman E. Johnson and Orson Pratt:

Having repented of his sins, but not attached himself to any party of Christians, owing to the numerous divisions among them, and being in doubt what his duty was, he had recourse prayer. After retiring to bed one night, he was visited by an Angel and directed to proceed to a hill in the neighborhood where he would find a stone box containing a quantity of Gold plates.

Joseph is “convicted” and prays and is answered by an angel. There is no mention of four years going by, but instead they claim that,

The plates were six or eight inches square, and as many of them as would make them six or eight inches thick, each as thick as a pane of glass. They were filled with characters which the learned of that state were not able to translate. A Mr. Anthony, a professor of one of the colleges, found them to contain something like the Cyrian Chaldena or Hebrew characters. However, Smith with divine aid, was able to translate the plates, and from them we have the Mormon bible, or as they stated it, another Revelation to part of the house of Joseph.

This is not how Smith describes the events in later accounts which we will discuss in Part II. (He adds another, earlier vision and the “backsliding” then takes place between that vision and the one with the angel which is then firmly dated to September 22, 1823). But notice that Smith has every opportunity to relate the story of the claimed 1820 vision to Nancy Towles, but does not. And yet, a few months later (Feb. 1832), Joseph and Sidney Rigdon have a vision in which they claim to see “the glory of the Son” on the “right hand” of the Father. This vision was spoken of openly and published in July of 1832. Joseph continued to change his story, and would continue to do so even after it was published in the Times and Seasons.

“The Glass Looker”

Money-digging, as it was called, or scrying for lost treasure or objects by way of “glass looking” was a crime in New York State in Joseph’s day:

…all persons who go about from door to door, or place themselves in the streets, highways or passages, to beg in the cities or towns where they respectively dwell, and all jugglers and all persons who pretend to have skill in physiognomy, palmistry, or like crafty science, or pretending to tell fortunes, or to discover where lost goods may be found… shall be deemed and adjudged to be disorderly persons…(pg. 114)

There was a good reason for this, as it was overwhelmingly used to con people out of their money. It’s like anything else, you can believe in dowsing rods and even use them to search for water, or treasure or whatever you like. But when you cross the line and use it to dupe other people, even though you and they might believe in it, is is breaking the law. But Joseph wasn’t doing this to help other people, he was doing it for monetary gain (according to Bushman it was greed) as these articles of agreement from 1825 show:

ARTICLES OF AGREEMENT.

We, the undersigned, do firmly agree, & by these presents bind ourselves, to fulfill and abide by the hereafter specified articles:

First—That if anything of value should be obtained at a certain place in Pennsylvania near a Wm. Hale’s, supposed to be a valuable mine of either Gold or Silver and also to contain coined money and bars or ingots of Gold or Silver, and at which several hands have been at work during a considerable part of the past summer, we do agree to have it divided in the following manner, viz.: Josiah Stowell, Calvin Stowell and Wm. Hale to take two-thirds, and Charles Newton, Wm. I. Wiley, and the Widow Harper to take the other third. And we further agree that Joseph Smith, Sen. and Joseph Smith Jr. shall be considered as having two shares, two elevenths of all the property that may be obtained, the shares to be taken equally from each third.
Second—And we further agree, that in consideration of the expense and labor to which the following named persons have been at (John F. Shephard, Elihu Stowell and John Grant) to consider them as equal sharers in the mine after all the coined money and bars or ingots are obtained by the undersigned, their shares to be taken out from each share; and we further agree to remunerate all the three above named persons in a handsome manner for all their time, expense and labor which they have been or may be at, until the mine is opened, if anything should be obtained; otherwise they are to lose their time, expense and labor.
Third—And we further agree that all the expense which has or may accrue until the mine is opened, shall be equally borne by the proprietors of each third and that after the mine is opened the expense shall be equally borne by each of the sharers.
Township of Harmony, Pa., Nov. 1, 1825.
In presence of
Isaac Hale, Chas. A. Newton,
David Hale, Jos. Smith, Sen.,
P. Newton. Isaiah [Josiah] Stowell,
Calvin Stowell, Jos. Smith, Jr.,
Wm. I. Wiley.

Joseph signed this document about a month after he supposedly met with the angel at the hill Cumorah for the third time. Joseph was being paid by Stowell and it was to be borne by him and others as an “expense”. And if a treasure happened to be found, the Smith’s would benefit from that, as well. And he was looking for the treasure by means of scrying, which was illegal. This wasn’t religious, this was searching for “filthy lucre” as Joseph Smith Sr. confessed to a judge at the 1826 Examination. Every time that Joseph used his supposed “seeric” power to search for buried treasure or lost objects, he was breaking the law, and the law uses such language as “pretending” for good reason. This means if you went around and claimed to be able to discern things that could not be seen by the natural eye, you were disorderly and breaking the law.

I’ve read so many Mormon apologists argue that well, Josiah Stowell believed that Smith could actually see things in the earth, kind of like Superman with his X-Ray Vision, except he needed the help of a peep-stone. And so Joseph did nothing wrong, it was all Josiah Stowell’s idea. But that’s not how the law works. Stowell’s belief did not give the Smith’s a free pass to break the law.

How much treasure did Joseph ever recover for anyone with his crafty science of peeping in stones? None. As for the articles that he supposedly found for people, we find a good example of what Smith would tell others concerning his lack of success according to Josiah Stowell (who believed Joseph could really see things in his peep-stone):

…that [Joseph Smith] had looked through said stone for Deacon Attelon, for a mine – did not exactly find it, but got a piece of ore, which resembled gold, he thinks; that prisoner had told by means of this stone where a Mr. Bacon had buried money; that he and prisoner had been in search of it; that prisoner said that it was in a certain root of a stump five feet from surface of the earth, and with it would be found a tail-feather; that said Stowel and prisoner thereupon commenced digging, found a tail-feather, but money was gone; that he supposed that money moved down

This is the prophet-in-training who was yearly meeting with an angel of God to learn how to run his kingdom? And this idea that it makes any kind of difference whether Joseph was found guilty in 1826. It doesn’t matter because we know he did what they claimed he did, he pretended to be able to find buried treasure, silver mines, etc. with a peep-stone and was getting paid for it. Smith was breaking the law. Juggling. Claiming that well, everybody else was doing it, matters not at all.

Slipping Away from Reality into the Absurd

Does buried treasure really move through the earth? Is that what apologists are claiming? That angels and demons and ghosts move buried treasure through the earth at their leisure? These stories are absurd, yet, many superstitious people believed them and Joseph reinforced that belief by including it in his Book of Mormon:

And behold, the time cometh that he curseth your riches, that they become slippery, that ye cannot hold them; and in the days of your poverty ye cannot retain them. And in the days of your poverty ye shall cry unto the Lord; and in vain shall ye cry, for your desolation is already come upon you, and your destruction is made sure; and then shall ye weep and howl in that day, saith the Lord of Hosts. And then shall ye lament, and say: O that I had repented, and had not killed the prophets, and stoned them, and cast them out. Yea, in that day ye shall say: O that we had remembered the Lord our God in the day that he gave us our riches, and then they would not have become slippery that we should lose them; for behold, our riches are gone from us. Behold, we lay a tool here and on the morrow it is gone; and behold, our swords are taken from us in the day we have sought them for battle. Yea, we have hid up our treasures and they have slipped away from us, because of the curse of the land. O that we had repented in the day that the word of the Lord came unto us; for behold the land is cursed, and all things are become slippery, and we cannot hold them. Behold, we are surrounded by demons, yea, we are encircled about by the angels of him who hath sought to destroy our souls. (Helaman  13:31-37)

Is this not a treasure digging yarn written right into the Book of Mormon? It has all those exciting demonic elements of a treasure digging yarn: the disappearing swords and tools, and the slippery treasures that are swallowed up in the ground because of the curse of the land as the demons and angels close in to destroy their souls.

Was Joseph really seeing treasure chests of money that moved every time they dug for them? What an interesting way to solve that problem, if Joseph was confronted later about his money-digging he could simply explain that God had cursed the land and that was why he always failed when he tried. It’s right there on the gold plates! It’s scripture. And where did he learn about this, why from his father:

Joseph, Sen. told me that the best time for digging money, was, in the heat of summer, when the heat of the sun caused the chests of money to rise near the top of the ground. You notice, said he, the large stones on the top of the ground — we call them rocks, and they truly appear so, but they are, in fact, most of them chests of money raised by the heat of the sun.(Peter Ingersoll, Palmyra, Wayne Co. N. Y. Dec. 2d, 1833. )

Was Joseph’s clear practice of necromancy (during the time he was supposedly being taught by an angel of God every year) a restoration of ancient Christian beliefs? Not according to Christians of the day. Ronald Walker writes:

Probably the quality which most distinguished American treasure digger was his acceptance of the old cultural system that rapidly was passing into obsolescence almost from the founding of America’s first settlements, many community leaders rejected money digging. Seventeenth century puritan clerics such as Cotton Mather and John Hale called the wise men “devils’ priests and prophets” and their practices “witchcraft” Following European practice, the clergy’s long-standing opposition was given the force of law. A New York statute, for example, enjoined “all jugglers, and all persons pretending to have skill in physiognomy palmistry or like crafty science or pretending to tell fortunes or to discover where lost goods may be found while observed lightly or more often in the breach (Joseph Smith was tried at least once for his money digging but was apparently neither fined nor imprisoned), such laws and the clerical animosity that lay behind them created in the minds of many educated men and women a dark and unsavory image of money-digging that often became caricature.

American literature reinforced this tendency. …Whether in the poetry of John G. C. Brainard, the humorous sketches of Washington Irving, or the satires of Franklin and Forrest, the result was uniformly the same. Though money-digging, like any human endeavor, offered much to scorn and even to pity, the belles-lettres of the period conveyed the prevailing values of the intellectual elite by treating the money-diggers in overblown and often unjustified images. (op.cited above, pgs. 451-2)

Was the treatment of money-diggers really unjustified? It was all a scam. Every time! And they had good reason to pass those laws because unless one was digging for money for one’s own benefit or amusement, those who went around promoting such nonsense were perpetuating a fraud on their neighbors. It is like the holy relics of the Middle Ages. People were persuaded to buy things like the “milk of the Virgin Mary, the teeth, hair, and blood of Christ, pieces of the Cross, and samples of the linen Christ was wrapped in as an infant.

No one ever found any buried treasure by way of peep-stones and divining rods and went around digging and peeping without wanting to be compensated for it. But there is coincidence and a broken clock is correct twice a day, especially when the Three Nephites are on the prowl.

Spiritualism is not Mormonism

Walker goes on to say that “money-digging may have influenced two of the nineteenth century’s major social and religious movements, Mormonism and Spiritualism. Its touch on American society was not light.” (ibid)

And yet, is Spiritualism a restoration of Apostolic Christianity? Apparently not, but there was a Mormon Spiritualist Church, founded by William S. Godbe. Ronald Walker writes,

There was also a spiritual, or spiritualist, dimension to their [The Godbeites] dissent. In October 1868 Godbe and Harrison traveled to New York City, ostensibly for business and recreation. They apparently used the occasion to seek direction from a spiritualist medium, Charles Foster. Fifty seances followed, confirming their religious doubts and mandating a radical restructuring of Mormonism. “The whole superstructure of a grand system of theology was unfolded to our minds,” Harrison later wrote. The system included a devaluation of the Book of Mormon  and Doctrine and Covenants, and the rejection of a personal deity, the literal resurrection, and the doctrine of the atonement.

Spiritualism was almost a perfect solution for the Godbeite doubters. Its parallels with Mormonism eased the pain involved in their transfer of commitment. Both movements affirmed the eternal nature of the individual and taught the validity of spiritual experience. Each had an upstate New York genesis. Moreover, their new spiritualistic view allowed Godbe and Morrison to validate their previous religious experiences. These now seemed mere preliminaries to their new, higher revelation. There also was an additional advantage: nineteenth-century spiritualism had a liberal, intellectual content that fit the Godbeite mood.

Yet the new movement was condemned by Brigham Young who published in the Deseret News that their ideas would “drive the holy priesthood from the earth.” George A. Smith claimed that “A blacker spirit never reigned in the heart of mortals than reigns in those two men.” (Harrison & Godbe). When Godbe asked Young if they were going to get the typical charges of immorality leveled at them as they were excommunicated, Young said that there were none that they knew of, but that “they must have committed some secret crime, or they would not now be found … opposing the policies of the servants of God.” (pgs. 70-71)

And haven’t we come full circle here? Young opposing the spiritualism that Mormonism supposedly sprang from! This is what the Christians of the day (who Walker calls “elites”) were doing with the magic practices embraced by many in New York, including Joseph’s neighbors.

They didn’t accept that magical treasure digging and necromancy was from God, it was all superstition – a counter culture movement that began to decline soon after it began to flourish in places like New York’s burned over district. Yet, they still participated in it, as many do today with the lottery, or by way of prosperity gospels.

The Spiritualism that grew out of such folk beliefs, was rife with fraud, as Ron Huggins points out in his excellent article. And yet, those like Brigham Young, believed that there were actual evil spirits performing such stunts at seances:

Is there any revelation in the world? Yes, plenty of it. We are accused of being nothing more nor less than a people possessing what they term the higher order of Spiritualism. Whenever I see this in print, or hear it spoken, “You are right,” say I. “Yes, we belong to that higher order of Spiritualism; our revelations are from above, yours from beneath. This is the difference. We receive revelation from Heaven, you receive your revelations from every foul spirit that has departed this life, and gone out of the bodies of mobbers, murderers, highwaymen, drunkards, thieves, liars, and every kind of debauched character, whose spirits are floating around here, and searching and seeking whom they can destroy; for they are the servants of the devil, and they are permitted to come now to reveal to the people.” It was not so once, anciently or formerly, when there was no Priesthood on the earth, no revelations from Heaven. Then the Lord Almighty shut up this evidence, and all intercourse between men on the earth and the foul spirits, so that the latter could not deceive and destroy the former with their revelations. But God has spoken now, and so has the devil; Jesus has revealed his Priesthood, so has the devil revealed his, and there is quite a difference between the two. One forms a perfect chain, the links of which cannot be separated; one has perfect order, laws, rules, regulations, organization; it forms, fashions, makes, creates, produces, protects and holds in existence the inhabitants of the earth in a pure and holy form of government, preparatory to their entering the kingdom of Heaven. The other is a rope of sand; it is disjointed, jargon, confusion, discord, everybody receiving revelation to suit himself. If I were disposed to go into their rings I could make every table, every dot, every particle of their revelations prove that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God. I could lay my hands on the table with them, and if I would consent to have the spirits wrap, I would make them prove every time that Joseph Smith was a prophet; but let me go, and another man come along, a wicked man, and he would have all the evidence he desired that Joseph was not a prophet of God. I could make them say, every time, that this is the Church of Christ; while a wicked man might enter the circle and he would be told that this was not the Church of Christ; and this is their system—it is confusion and discord. It is like a rope of sand. There is no order, no organization; it cannot be reduced to a system, it is uncertainty. That is the difference between the two spiritual systems—yes, this is the higher order of spiritualism, to be led, governed and controlled by law, and that, too, the law of heaven that governs and controls the Gods and the angels. There is no being in heaven that could endure there, that could abide the heavens unless he is sanctified, purified and glorified by law, and lives by law. But take the other party, and it is without law. (Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses 13:281)

And it must be noted that Young’s point here, is that without the Mormon Priesthood, what was being practiced was counterfeit. Joseph supposedly did not receive the priesthood until 1829, and that is why God supposedly told Joseph to “go not after” them. And of course Young and Kimball had to invent the “natural prophet” who had power outside of the priesthood to account for what Smith was doing before he restored it.

And yet, those like Houdini proved it was all a hoax. Where was Young and others “gift of discernment’? What is very interesting is that when Houdini came up against the Medium Margery, who used all kinds of tricks to try and prove she was a real psychic, she failed when Houdini placed her in a fool proof box where she could not manipulate objects. But they found a way to sabotage Houdini’s precautions, and many people believed she was a true medium. If people want to believe, they will, even when they are proven frauds.

And why would Joseph doing those same things be any different? He didn’t have any priesthood in the 1820’s. He didn’t have any of those laws of God to guide him. And if he did, when he was supposedly talking to the angel every year for four years, he didn’t act like he did. Smith later claimed that the angel (later identified as Moroni) would reveal to him the priesthood, but all we see Smith doing during those four years is digging for buried treasure and getting arrested for doing it and then obfuscating these events in his later histories.

He was actually disobeying God, because he was going after things that he was told not to. Martin Harris later related that Joseph was told to “quit the company of the money-diggers”, but he just couldn’t seem to do so for a good seven years, even after a visit from God and an angel.

“the angels that tell where to find gold books…”

In fact, the very idea of associating buried treasure with angels of God was so repulsive to the Christian brother (Jesse) of Joseph Smith Sr., that he wrote to Hyrum on June 17, 1829:

Once as I thot my promising Nephew, You wrote to my Father long ago, that after struggling thro various scenes of adversity, you and your family, you had at last taught the very solutary lesson that the God that made the heavens and the earth w[o]uld at onc[e] give success to your endeavours, this if true, is very well, exactly as it should be—but alas what is man when left to his own way, he makes his own gods, if a golden calf, he falls down and worships before it, and says this is my god which brought me out of the land of Vermont—if it be a gold book discovered by the necromancy of infidelity, & dug from the mines of atheism, he writes that the angel of the Lord has revealed to him the hidden treasures of wisdom & knowledge, even divine revelation, which has lain in the bowels of the earth for thousands of years [and] is at last made known to him, he says he has eyes to see things that art not, and then has the audacity to say they are; and the angel of the Lord (Devil it should be) has put me in possession of great wealth, gold & silver and precious stones so that I shall have the dominion in all the land of Palmyra. 

He goes on to say that,

You say you have God for a witness— to prove the truth of what you write miserable creature, not to say perjured villain, how dare you thus trifle, in taking the name of God in vain, nay far worse than vain— that God with whom you thus trifle, is of purer eyes than to behold iniquity he cannot look on sin with any degree of approbation or complacency it is true he passeth by iniquity transgression and sin in his redeemed ones, he sees their shield, and for his sake recieves them to favour, but to such as make lead books, and declare to the world that they are of the most fine gold, calling on the great & dreadful name of the most High to witness the truth of their assertions, He says “depart from me ye that work iniquity,” and again “these shall go away into everlasting punishment, they shall be cast into everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels” these are the angels that tell where to find gold books.——

It is obvious that as a Christian, the idea of angels revealing where to find buried treasure or “gold books” was anathema to Jesse Smith, who concluded his letter with this warning:

Your father would not be implicated in this place, but for the message he sent by the hands of a fool to my brother Saml [Smith] this fellow says that you and your father are in this business very deep the fellow also believes all to be a fact, this to be sure, for no one unless predisposed to believe a lie would have heard a syllable from either of you on the subject, he says your father has a wand or rod like Jannes & Jambres who withstood Moses in Egypt— that he can tell the distance from India to Ethiopia or another fool story, many other things alike ridiculous. You state your Father cannot write by reason of a nervous affection this is a poor excuse, worse than none, he can dictate to others and they can write, he can If he knows not what to write, he can get your Brother’s spectacles he would then be as able to write dictate a letter, as Joe is to decypher hieroglyphics, if more should be wanting he can employ the same scoundrel of a scribe, and then not only the matter but manner and style would be correct… (Jesse Smith to Hyrum Smith, Dan Vogel, EMD 1: 551-52.)

Although there were many like Joseph Smith and members of his family who believed in the occult and that it was somehow sanctioned by God; there was a sharp divide among Christian believers and those that ascribed to folk magic practices – as the letter from Jesse Smith shows. There were also some Christians  who believed in such things as divining rods or treasure guardians, and sought to justify their use by claiming they were “of God”, but Jesse Smith wasn’t one of them. And you know what, people are still doing it today!

But … Everything’s Christian!

This idea that folk magic and Christianity were one and the same, and that Smith’s Latter Day Saints Church sprang out of his folk magic beliefs is an apologist fabrication. Christianity and the folk magic of the day were not the same. It would be like starting a church and claiming that the Christian God was really an alien, and later apologists could justify it because many Christians at the time believed in aliens. In other words Christianity and belief in aliens would basically be one unified whole, right? And isn’t it interesting that someone is teaching that very thing. Meet John Polk:

Hello, my name is Reverend John Polk. I am channeling “Yahweh”, the Judeo-Christian and Islamic creator-god-alien featured in the Bible, the Hebrew Bible and in the Quran. For thousands of years, up to this present day, he has been masquerading as the real God and is pulling a collective veil over the eyes of most of the world. Ancient alien astronaut theorists comprehend this reality, but most of humanity has no idea. Yahweh tells me the time draws near for full alien disclosure, so that we primitive Earthlings can be weaned off of the Mother Universe’s figurative bosom. He wants the world to know that he is an extraterrestrial, that he is not God and that all God-figures in all cultures are ET’s, not God. However, all creator-gods and Yahweh had wanted we humans to keep worshiping those creator-gods just like always. As collective humanity adapts to this knowledge, religion, culture and tradition need not change. For now, you may pray to the alien god you have worshiped all along but now, pray to the real God as well. The real God loves everyone regardless of their religion or belief system and therefore, he is the God for everyone.

Is this really any different than the apologists “folk magic restoration”? One could even say that this is the right time for Polk to come forth, because until the “Roswell Incident” people were just not attuned to aliens. The post Roswell Incident culture allowed more and more people to believe in aliens and for it to become more acceptable. This prepared the world for the prophet of the true God, Enlil, Reverend John Polk. At this website, they claim that,

…Reverend John Polk is a metaphysical minister who can communicate to angels, extraterrestrials, and even the alien-creator-God itself, Yahweh, who he refers to as Enlil (the Sumerian god of the air) and they form a pantheon of aliens, Annunaki, hybrids, and extradimensional entities than inhabit his multiverse. And according to the good Reverend, Jesus was an alien-human hybrid engineered by Yahweh. … And Reverend John Polk might be saying some unusual things, but if we’re going to take religious stories on faith – with burning bushes, water into wine, Joseph Smith’s golden plates, Mohammed and his flying horse, etc… well, then let’s listen to Polk’s message and see what he’s trying to communicate.

“He told so many stories…”

When Ron Huggins wrote his article on Joseph Smith and his fascination with Captain Kidd, he tried to produce a timeline, which is hard to do with Joseph Smith. Morris seizes on this and uses it to try and create a distraction about timelines. But the fact is, Joseph was simply telling different stories to different people. At times it was a religious yarn, and at times it involved a treasure ghost and magic. As Lorenzo Saunders remembered, “Jo. Smith told the story but he told so many stories, it was a hard thing to get the fact in any way or shape…” (Edmund L. Kelley interview with Lorenzo Saunders — read and signed by Lorenzo Saunders, 1884, EMD Vol. II, 159)  Yet Morris claims that,

The pattern is clear: the earliest witnesses emphasized the religious aspects of the story; accounts emphasizing “Captain Kidd” elements were later developments. This is the same pattern revealed with both newspapers and early letters and diaries. In every case, religious elements are included in the first accounts and are more common than the later magical elements. (pg. 33)

Actually, Morris doesn’t know what the “earliest witnesses emphasized”, because there are no extant accounts between 1823 and 1827 except the court documents that claimed Smith was a “glass looker”. So claiming that “the pattern is clear” that the earliest witnesses emphasized the religious aspects is disingenuous. Remember, Morris claims that what Ronald Walker wrote was extremely relevant:

At young Joseph’s 1826 money digging trial his father was reported to have claimed that both he and his son “were mortified that this wonderful [seeric] power which God had so miraculously given to the boy should be used only in search of filthy lucre, or its equivalent in earthly treasures.” Joseph Smith Sr “trusted that the Son of Righteousness would some day illumine the heart of the boy and enable him to see his will concerning him.”

The fact that there was a complaint made against Joseph in 1826 and he was “Examined” and found guilty of being a “glass looker” is significant. This is the only evidence from that period (1823-27), six years after he later claimed he saw God and three years after his religious angel story.

And yet a transcript that we have of the Examination, that Walker above quotes from, has Joseph’s father claiming that he hoped God would “some day illumine the heart of the boy and enable him to see his will.” But “the boy” later claimed to have seen God and later claimed he was seeing an angel every year at the hill by their home previous to this Examination. This indicates that the religious elements of the angel story weren’t really emphasized until 1827, and many later accounts bear this out. This evidence is the smoking gun that Joseph’s religious story was invented after 1826.

The corroborating evidence encompasses not only the Smith family neighbors, but close friends and future followers of Joseph’s “restored gospel”.

But what about Ron Huggins? He got things essentially right as we shall see. Morris claims that Huggins does not account for “the complex interweaving of faith and folk culture”, but that has little to do with what Huggins postulates because it is irrelevant. He claims that Huggins is the one “obscuring the timeline” and hiding “crucial details”.  No, this is what Joseph Smith did.

Morris wants to write Huggins paper for him, which I find amusing. He tells us what Huggins should have done, whose Mormon research he should have used. I’ve shown how Morris only quotes selected extracts of Walker’s research, doing the very thing he accuses Ronald Huggins of doing, hiding crucial details. He claims that Huggins focuses on Captiain Kidd and therefore skews the entire debate, but that is what Morris does by claiming that the first person accounts (the ones crafted by the Smith’s) take precedence over others. (I mean, look at the timeline in the beginning of his new book and you will see it is the “faithful history” timeline.) But here is what Morris writes and it’s important to note:

Since Huggins claims that Joseph’s account changed from one thing (a money-digger’s yarn) to another (the religious story of an angel), the best way to test his thesis is to discover when various people talked to Joseph and compare their reports.

And not only Joseph, but Lucy, William, Joseph Sr., etc. It is also important to note that it was Joseph and Oliver who were claiming it was always a religious story, that there were no magical elements to it. But we know this was a lie, hence the apologetic arguments that the “restoration” sprang out of both.

(To be Continued)

FARENHEIT LDS: Book Burning, Racism & the KKK?


Mormon_Doctrine-Burning

CONTENTS:

Part I. Bigotry in Ignorance?
Part II. The “Sensible” Klu Klux Klan
Part III. Nameless Oracles

Introduction

pingbackIn the diverse world of the Blog-o-sphere we are sometimes linked in ways that might be new to some. One of these links is called a “pingback”. This occurs when someone links to a Blog Article. Most of the time I don’t bother investigating them, I just approve them and go about my business. But I recently got a pingback on one of my articles and the title of the piece that it linked to was,

Blacks and the Priesthood: Burn McConkie Now!

With that title burned into my mind, I set about reading the article that had linked to one of mine, and it was so inaccurate and full of bigotry that I decided to take the time to respond to it. The Author, who goes by the moniker  “IrWhitney” or the “Phantom Saint”, starts off by telling everyone to burn any copies of Bruce R. McConkie’s book, Mormon Doctrine, and then asks his audience to throw another on the pile:  Answers to Gospel Questions, by  Joseph Fielding Smith.

The Phantom claims that the reason that people should burn these books is because they are “officially shameful and embarrassing”.  This line of reasoning advocates that anything written by Mormon “Authorities” that is deemed shameful and embarrassing to the Mormon Church should be burned.  Now that’ll solve any problems, won’t it? It worked for Nazi Germany, didn’t it? Well… maybe not.nazi_book_burning

What I do find shameful and embarrassing is that the Phantom would actually post a defense of Mormon racism on the day we celebrate Martin Luther King’s birthday; as if that would somehow assuage his conscience or bolster his fantastical claim that “’the Brethren’ in their more subdued fashion essentially agree with all my various arguments, officially, and in public.”

Since he speaks of Mormon “authorities” pulling doctrine out of their backsides… well, if the shoe fits…

Seriously though, far from setting the record straight about Mormon racism, the Phantom only makes it worse, because the arguments that he claims “the brethren” are down with, don’t really explain anything; and the Phantom’s are (for the most part) simply speculations he has gathered from the four corners of the internet, into which he mixes a strong dose of his own bigotry towards Christians.

I. Bigotry In Ignorance?

And those arguments? To put Mormon “authorities” institutional racism and bigotry “in perspective”.  This is nothing new of course. Isn’t that what the skinheads try to do with Adolf Hitler’s bigotry? Put it in perspective? After all, they still admire the guy, just like Mormons still admire Joseph Smith and Brigham Young and every other racist “prophet” that inherited the mantle of Smith. But Mormon “authorities” did one better than Adolf Hitler, they made God himself into a bigot:

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… (First Presidency Declaration, 1949)

Poor Phantom, don’t you know that “the Brethren” aren’t agreeing with anything that you say? If one goes to the link provided by the Phantom that accesses the article he referenced above one reads,

The Church acknowledges the contribution of scholars to the historical content presented in this article; their work is used with permission.

Their work. Nameless “scholars”. Have the very oracles of God been turned over to nameless scholars? It appears so, if one is to believe Phantom, since he thinks that these are “the brethren” (or Mormon General Authorities).

And when all else fails, put the blame on those horrible Christians as Phantom does with this rant:

For the anti-Mormons out there, and certainly the non-Mormons in general: I’m not defending the bigotry in early LDS leadership at all. Just putting it into perspective. Neither am I defending the racism apparent in the writings and sermonizing of many LDS leaders over the generations. I can only offer that it was always ever based upon ignorance rather than malice, and that it never even slightly attained the level of contempt and hatred, the outright damnation of the “Negro” race as openly practiced and professed by most of “historic” Christianity over the last 2014 years. Not even slightly. It wasn’t the Mormons who brought slavery to America. That was “historic” Christianity. It’s hard to take criticism from Christian sects who were the religious arm of the KKK for generations, or tolerate the tongue clucking of other Christian denominations like the now often very liberal Lutherans, who’s founder Martin Luther (the original)  clearly and openly denounced the Jews as a filthy, contemptable race that needed extermination. Or for that matter, compared to some pretty inane reasoning relative to the Curse of Cain over the years from various Mormon leaders, I feel no moral equivalence between that and a Holy Roman Empire that slaughtered “barbarians” and “savages” all over the globe, tortured generations of mankind through ruthless rule and Inquisition, and attempted to exterminate the Jews to “liberate” the Holy Land over the course of hundreds of years and a score of centuries. Brigham Young wasn’t invented in the hills of Utah. He came from respectable Quaker stock. He and his brethren brought the Curse of Cain and all its attendant racism and bigotry from “historic” Christianity–it was never an invention of Joseph Smith or his newly “restored” One True Church. (the Phantom)

slaveryGee, if the criticism is valid, (as Phantom seems to agree with, sorta) then why not take criticism from Christians? He can’t, because he is too bigoted to do so. What he needs to do is a little more research about the affects of the Great Awakening on the problem of slavery in the United States.

But this really isn’t about taking criticism from Christians because he’s really not “defending the bigotry in early LDS writings at all”, he’s just telling us all that it was bigotry in ignorance, (an oxymoron if there ever was one) bigotry without malice, (ditto) and that it was just all those crazy Christians who are really to blame for Mormon racism (which he can’t seem to make up his mind about), not the Mormons themselves who picked up that evil doctrine and ran with it, and then had the audacity to tell everyone that it all came from God himself. Funny, how doctrines like this are classed as “carry overs”, and statements like this one from Joseph Smith are subsequently ignored,

As Paul said, “The world by wisdom know not God;” so the world by speculation are destitute of revelation; and as God in His superior wisdom has always given His Saints, wherever he had any on the earth, the same spirit, and that spirit, as John says, is the true spirit of prophecy, which is the testimony of Jesus. I may safely say that the word “Mormon” stands independent of the wisdom and learning of this generation. (Joseph Smith, History of the Church, Vol. 5, p.400)

Or this,

Joseph Smith, Kirtland Ohio, 1836 by grindael

Joseph Smith circa 1836

It is in the order of heavenly things that God should always send a new dispensation into the world when men have apostatized from the truth and lost the priesthood; but when men come out and build upon other men’s foundations, they do it on their own responsibility, without: authority from God; and when the floods come and the winds blow, their foundations will be found to be sand, and their whole fabric will crumble to dust.

Did I build on any other man’s foundation? I have got all the truth which the Christian world possessed, and an independent revelation in the bargain, and God will bear me off triumphant.  (Joseph Smith, History of the Church, Vol. 6, p.479)

I don’t think anyone would consider the Curse of Cain doctrine one of those “truths” by any stretch of the imagination. So Joseph got it from God. So he says. Brigham Young echoed this in 1855:

Brigham-Young

Brigham Young, circa 1860

The American Government is second to none in the world in influence and power, and far before all others in liberal and free institutions. Under its benign influence the poor, down trodden masses of the old world can find an asylum where they can enjoy the blessings of peace and freedom, no matter to what caste or religious sect they belong, or are disposed to favor, or whether they are disposed to favor any or none at all. It was in this government, formed by men inspired of God, although at the time they knew it not, after it was firmly established in the seat of power and influence, where liberty of conscience, and the free exercise of religious worship were a fundamental principle guaranteed in the Constitution, and interwoven with all the feelings, traditions, and sympathies of the people, that the Lord sent forth His angel to reveal the truths of heaven as in times past, even as in ancient days. This should have been hailed as the greatest blessing which could have been bestowed upon any nation, kindred, tongue, or people. It should have been received with hearts of gratitude and gladness, praise and thanksgiving.

But as it was in the days of our Savior, so was it in the advent of this new dispensation. It was not in accordance with the notions, traditions, and pre-conceived ideas of the American people. The messenger did not come to an eminent divine of any of the so-called orthodoxy, he did not adopt their interpretation of the Holy Scriptures. The Lord did not come with the armies of heaven, in power and great glory, nor send His messengers panoplied with aught else than the truth of heaven, to communicate to the meek, the lowly, the youth of humble origin, the sincere enquirer after the knowlege of God. But He did send His angel to this same obscure person, Joseph Smith jun., who afterwards became a Prophet, Seer, and Revelator, and informed him that he should not join any of the religious sects of the day, for they were all wrong; that they were following the precepts of men instead of the Lord Jesus; that He had a work for him to perform, inasmuch as he should prove faithful before Him.

No sooner was this made known, and published abroad, and people began to listen and obey the heavenly summons, than opposition began to rage, and the people, even in this favored land, began to persecute their neighbors and friends for entertaining religious opinions differing from their own. (Journal of Discourses, Vol. 2, p.171, Feb. 8, 1855)

So much for “folklore” being carried into the Mormon Church from the Christians, Mormon “prophets” deny it. As for malice, one striking example is that of John Taylor, who left us with this rant about Horace Greely:

The majority of the people think you [The Mormons] 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.

John-Taylor

“Apostle” John Taylor

That is what is called a virtuous kind of an abomination, used under a 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 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. 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. (Journal of Discourses, Volume 5, pp. 118-119)

Not only does Taylor’s malice show in this rant towards the blacks as well as Greely, Taylor has to be dishonest to make his point. Instead of speaking to the man, he claims superiority over such a “contemptable cur”. If he had spoken to him, he might have realized that Greely didn’t advocate “free love”. Or maybe Taylor did speak to him. He lied about polygamy, didn’t he? This arrogance on the part of Taylor spilled over into his religious beliefs, too. Abraham H. Cannon recorded that,

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… (Diary of Abraham H. Cannon, Thursday, Dec. 18th, 1890)

Horace_Greely

Horace Greely

Greely didn’t support the “Free Love” movement at all, he in fact destested it as this letter to M.A. Townsend in 1860 shows:

When we were publishing Judge Edmond’s series of articles commending and extolling Spiritualism, I never heard complaints from you or other Spiritualists that we did not comment on and dissent from their inculcations. I do not see why we should do so when it proves to be your bull that is gored and not t’other fellow’s ox. Your letter is arrogant in its tone and sheds no light on the subject; so I have thrown it aside. I do not take ground for or against what is called Spiritualism, but it is my definite judgment that the abominable sophistry and lechery termed “Free Love” has received decided aid and comfort from Spiritualism. That I don’t like; and it is my sorrowful conviction that there are more adulterers and libertines, harlots and false wives in the country today than there was before or would have been but for the advent of Spiritualism. If there be any truth in Spiritualism, I am afraid the spirits who visit us mainly tenanted bad bodies while on earth and have not improved since. (Horace Greely to M. A. Townsend, March 1, 1860)

Even Brigham Young had more tact when speaking of the blacks, he knew that the word “nigger” was a slur:

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, p.250)

And,

Brother Taylor says that language cannot express the conduct, the feelings, and the spirit that are upon the people in the States. Well, suppose you take up a labour and swear about them, what are the worst words that can be spoken? ‘Nigger stealing,’ Mobs or Vigilance Committees, and Rotten-hearted Administrators of a Government are three of the meanest and wickedest words that can be spoken. I expect that somebody will write that back to the States, as being treasonable, because spoken by a Latter-day Saint. (Journal of Discourses, vol. 5, p.127, August 9, 1857)

They knew. In spite of all that Brigham and his apostles said, overthrowing the sentence of the Almighty upon the supposed seed of Ham is exactly what the Federal Government did. And yes, thousands upon thousands died to make that happen. Even Wilford Woodruff showed that he was not not above demeaning the blacks:

We had a Great Celebration of the 4 to day as the 4 Came on Sunday. We had a great display of all the Mechanics Artizens tradesmen & Farmers school Children &c & A Long windy speech from Judge [Cyrus M.] Hawley on the Nigger Question & severall Edifying speeches from others.(Wilford Woodruff’s Journal, Vol. 6, p.485, July 5, 1869)

Cyrus Hawley was a Federal Judge appointed by President Grant. Of course what he advocated about the blacks would stick in the craw of the racist Mormons. Still, Mormons (according to the Phantom) are bigots only in ignorance, simply because they didn’t invent what they chose to believe (written into scripture by their founding “prophet”); and because the Christians are definitely the ones to blame for every racist and evil act since the time of Christ.

Case in point:

While many LDS detractors try to claim that anti-Negro racism is an essential doctrine of LDS theology, and that the basis for this prejudice is found in the uniquely Mormon, Book of Abraham, in the canonical “Pearl of Great Price,” the truth is that Christianity had been condemning Negroes to hell as the irredeemable, inherently damned seed of Cain for some 1820 years before Joseph Smith was ever in a position to give it a thought. Likewise, in Smith’s time, many of the most fundamentalist and adamant progenitors of today’s Christian critics of Mormonism’s “racism,” were eagerly buying and selling Cain’s children, forcing them into a lifetime of starvation and crippling hard labor, raping slave women for sport and breeding them for profit. Even more ironically, while the parents of the German commentator who accused Gordon B[.] Hinckley of “racism” were learning how to spot non-Aryans in the Hitler Youth, and his grandparents were burning Jews in ovens and excusing the Third Reich’s humiliating defeat in 1932 to black Olympic champion Jesse Owens by claiming it was an unfair match between God-created man and a half-evolved ape, Mormonism had by way of comparison, merely interpreted its own available canonical evidence to mean that blacks were to barred from the priesthood, at least in this lifetime. (The Phantom)Scenes in Memhis, Tennessee, April 30, 1866-001

How could it be “their own” canonical evidence if it came from the Christians? The bigotry in this paragraph is simply stunning. So all Germans were burning Jews in ovens? All Christians before the time of Joseph Smith were condemning Negroes to hell, and advocated the Curse of Cain doctrine? The hatred here of Christians by Phantom is palpable. But you can’t blame this only on the Christians. According to Historian David M. Goldenberg,

“The notion that all humanity is color coded is expressed in Jewish, Christian, and Muslim biblical interpretations that see Noah’s sons as representing the three human skin colors of the world’s population. “ (David M. Goldenberg, The Curse of Ham: Race and Slavery in Early Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, pp. 184-185)

He quotes Jewish and Islamic writings that show this, and then says

“in the third century story it was Ham who was darkened and became the ancestor of all dark-skinned people, by the eight to ninth century in Islamic sources and the ninth to eleventh century in Jewish sources it was understood that it was really Kush, one of Ham’s four sons, who was darkened and became the ancestor of dark-skinned people. In the Islamic version we can actually see how the Kush interpretation is grafted onto the earlier story mentioning only Ham: “When Noah awoke … he said to God, “Allah, blacken his face and the face of his descendants of the one who disobeyed. [i.e., Ham] and had intercourse with his wife.” So Ham’s wife had a black son and he named him Kusha (Ibn Hisham). Noah curses Ham and his descendants but the result is a blackening of Kush alone.  (pp. 186-7)

And,

This new Arabic-Islamic way of looking at the world’s population was then incorporated into the thinking and literature of others in the Near East, whether they be Jewish, such as the authors of Tanhuma and Pirqei R. Eliezer, or Christian, such as Bar Hebraeus. (p. 193)

Seems like just about everybody picked on the poor dark skinned Africans. Although the issue of slavery through the ages was complicated, (especially in the Catholic Church) there were Papal decrees against it, and in 1839 Pope Gregory XVI issued In Supremo, which cited earlier Bulls against slavery and added,

gregory xvi

Pope Gregory XVI

“The slave trade, although it has been somewhat diminished, is still carried on by numerous Christians. Therefore, desiring to remove such a great shame from all Christian peoples … and walking in the footsteps of Our Predecessors, We, by apostolic authority, warn and strongly exhort in the Lord faithful Christians of every condition that no one in the future dare to bother unjustly, despoil of their possessions, or reduce to slavery (<in servitutem redigere>) Indians, Blacks or other such peoples. Nor are they to lend aid and favor to those who give themselves up to these practices, or exercise that inhuman traffic by which the Blacks, as if they were not humans but rather mere animals, having been brought into slavery in no matter what way, are, without any distinction and contrary to the rights of justice and humanity, bought, sold and sometimes given over to the hardest labor.”

But the Mormons are ok, they only had racist attitudes towards the blacks in this life, and unlike those he mentions like Johanna Southcott, their “interpretations” aren’t done in malice, but hers certainly must be, because she was a Christian. Funny that.

It’s obvious that the Phantom didn’t really comprehend the article that he linked to his article that explains all about this. Hint: yes some Christians had problems with accepting the Curse of Cain doctrine and used it to justify slavery, but many did not and worked hard to change it. Funny how the Mormons would defy the Federal Government’s laws when it came to polygamy, but would not when it came to slavery. (see quote from the 1835 D&C below).

And… actually, it was not just in this life that the blacks were to be second class citizens. Brigham Young taught,

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 ever 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.

Let me consent to day to mingle my seed with the seed of Cane. It would Bring the same curse upon me And it would upon any man. And if any man mingles his seed with the seed of Cane the ownly way he Could get rid of it or have salvation would be to Come forward & have his head Cut off & spill his Blood upon the ground. It would also take the life of his Children.

It is said if a man kills another that he takes that that He cannot give. If a mans head is cut off [p.98] his life is not destroyed or his spirit that lives. His tabernacle is destroyed But I can make as good tabernacles as I can destroy. If you do not believe it look at my Children. Much blood was shed in ancient days both of man & Beast. The firstlings & best of the flock was sacrafized on the Altar & in some instances many men & almost whole Nations were sacraficed or put to death because of their sins & wickedness. This was the ownly way they could be saved at all. If Jesus Christ had not had his Blood shed the Blood that He received from his Mother Mary the world would not have been saved.

There is not one of the seed of old Cane that is permitted to rule & reign over the seed of Abel And you nor I cannot Help it.

Brigham Young 1851

Brigham Young Circa 1850

Those that do bear rule should do it in righteousness. I am opposed to the present system of slavery. The Negro Should serve the seed of Abram but it should be done right. Don’t abuse the Negro & treat him Cruel.

It has been argued here that many of the Jews were Black. Whenever the seed of Judah mingled with the seed of Cane they lost their priesthood & all Blessings.

As an Ensample let the Presidency, Twelve Seventies High Priest Bishops & all the Authorities say now we will all go & mingle with the seed of Cane and they may have all the privileges they want. We lift our hands to heaven in support of this. That moment we loose the priesthood & all Blessings & we would not be redeemed until Cane was. I will never admit of it for a moment.

Some may think I I know as much as they do But I know that I know more than they do. The Lord will watch us all the time. The Devil would like to rule part of the time But I am determin He shall not rule at all and Negros shall not rule us. I will not admit of the Devil ruling at all. I will not Consent for the seed of Cane to vote for me or my Brethren. If you want to know why we did not speak of it in the Constitution it was because it was none of their Business. Any man is a Citizens Black white or red and if the Jews Come here with a part of the [p.99] Canaanite Blood in them they are Citizens & shall have their rights but not to rule for me or my Brother. Those persons from the Islands & foreign Countries know nothing about Governing the people. The Canaanite cannot have wisdom to do things as the white man has. We must guard against all Evil. I am not going to let this people damn themselves as long as I can help it. (Wilford Woodruff’s Journal, Vol. 4, p.97-99, February 4, 1852)

The Negroes could not hold the Priesthood because according to Young they would never rule over the seed of Abel (the whites), and that would be for “all eternity”. The whites would always “be ahead” of the Negroes “for all eternity”. But according to those like the Phantom, Brigham only spoke in ignorance, there was no malice at all to what he said above. Tell that to Jane Manning and Elijah Abel and thousands of others who were denied the blessings reserved only for white people. Imagine going through this interview with then “prophet” Wilford Woodruff:

We had Meeting with several individuals among the rest Black Jane 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 untill 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, October 16, 1894).

Not policy, but the law of God. What was stopping Woodruff from getting his own revelation? He had no problem doing it with polygamy. I guess the plight of the black man wasn’t very high up on his “to-do”list. Even with Jane Manning knocking on his door.

For a great read about how racism is justified by ignorance and stupidity, enjoy the exploits of one Petroleum V. Nasby in “Swingin Round the Crinkle”. President Lincoln loved his exploits, and used to quote him often.

"...in their enthoosiasm five nigger families were cleaned out"

“…in their enthoosiasm five nigger families were cleaned out”

I guess the Phantom must think that getting your head cut off for “mingling seed” is an act of love. At least that’s how Brigham Young described it once. Really. (See, Journal of Discourses, Vol. 4, p.220)Go to the Top

II.  The “Sensible” Ku Klux Klan

The Phantom then tries to enlighten us with another rant, this time against the “lefty’s” or all who advocate Civil Rights and dare to call racism what it truly is:

It’s easy for the ignorant and self-interested to paint Mormonism with the Lefty’s favorite tar brush of common racism. In fact, since the Civil Rights Movement set upon the mission of bringing down the LDS church, it is even held that Mormons are close friends with the KKK, the favorite bugaboo of the “enlightened” Left. These slanders, when repeated widely, naturally become the assumptions of rational, fair-minded people as well. Frankly, Mormonism has given even the most forgiving investigator cause for suspicion. But Mormonism and its attitude toward the Negro, isn’t really a Right-Left, racist/colorblind debate in the usual Christian American sense. (The Phantom Saint)

Ku Klux Klan circa 1870

Ku Klux Klan circa 1870

So, what kind of racism did the Mormons practice, uncommon racism? To Phantom, racism just isn’t really racism if Mormon leaders are involved. Why? Because those damn Christians did it first. (It’s all Joanna Southcott’s fault) He then gives us this whopper:

Many of the members of the anti-Mormon mob that murder the first President of the Church, Joseph Smith, are members of a secret racist society called the “Knights of the Golden Circle.” After the Civil War the organization is outlawed. A few members of the Knights of the Golden Circle found a new organization called the Knights of the Ku Klux Klan.—1844 (See BlackMormon)

I’ll get to the Ku Klux Klan below. But the Knights of the Golden Circle didn’t even come into existence until 1854, ten years after Joseph Smith’s death. I don’t know where BlackMormon got their information from, but they are wrong about this, and many other things. For more information on the Golden Circle, see this article by the Texas State Historical Association.

I just have to sigh when I read this next bit of information that Phantom unloads on the unsuspecting public, that the Church outright rejected the KKK, from the beginning (1868). They later actually lauded what they called “Another Ku Klux Klan”, which was what they deemed the original Ku-Klux Klan, said by them to be full of “sincere men” who “saw no other way of remedying the existing evils that threatened moral and financial ruin.” This sounds just like Joseph Smith’s Danites, who he wrote about in his diary, which said:

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. (Scott Faulring, An American Prophet’s Record, p. 198).

This describes the KKK to a tee. But before I go into that, let’s see some of the Phantom’s quotes that are supposed to enlighten us about how Mormon racism “isn’t really a Right-Left, racist/colorblind debate”:

Soon after its formation, an LDS apostle writes that the KKK will prove a “curse” upon America.—1868  (See BlackMormon)

There is absolutely no documentation to back up this quote.  In fact, in 1868 Mormon “Apostle” George Q. Cannon claimed that the Klan was less dangerous than other secret societies. (see below)

The KKK holds anti-Mormon meetings and, in the south, kills and in some cases tortures Mormon missionaries.—1870s-1890s (See Blazing Crosses, pp.11ff)

From the Silent Film, "Birth of A Nation"

From the Silent Film, “Birth of A Nation”

This is just ill-informed. And if you pick up the book Blazing Crosses in Zion: The Ku Klux Clan in Utah,  by Larry R. Gerlach,  you might want to keep in mind that he was denied access to the Church archives, which makes it a very flawed work, according to this review by John R. Sillito, who writes,

Not only does Gerlach’s study suffer because he was denied access to these important documents, but as long as key materials are denied to scholars, efforts to chronicle Utah history and the history of the LDS church will be seriously hindered. A final irony is that if these documents were unavailable for fear they might be used to discredit the church, Gerlach’s study, and the efforts of most scholars, suggest the opposite result. (Dialogue, Vol.17, No.1, p.166, Spring 1984)

As Historian Patrick Mason writes,

“Strictly speaking, it is anachronistic to speak of Mormons being attacked by the Ku Klux Klan in the late 1870’s or 1880’s, as federal legislation and military enforcement had outlawed and effectively disbanded the paramilitary organization in the early 1870’s. Vigilante violence persisted throughout the South, or course, often led by former Klan members, and the Klan became something of a generic brand for all southern vigilantism.” (The Mormon Menace: Violence and Anti-Mormonism in the Postbellum South, page 147).

As Mason also points out, the Klan did leave a legacy of violence that many in the South perpetuated against blacks, Mormons and other minority groups. But there was no official Ku Klux Klan during this period.  Though two Mormon Missionaries were murdered in 1884 at Cane Creek—by men wearing “masks and colorful disguises, this was a vigilante killing that had nothing to do with an official Klan, even though the Mormons later blamed it on them. Still, there is nothing here to show that the Mormons were in the least bit concerned about the Klan’s racism.

The Phantom then gives a series of quotes from the Deseret News about the resurgent Klan of the early 20th Century and how it was “rejected” by them (remember, this is all about racism now):

When a nation-wide tour of the stage version of “The Clansman,” a story that insults blacks and glorifies the KKK as white heroes, arrives in Utah, the anti-Mormon “Salt Lake Tribune” praises the production. The Church-owned “Deseret News,” however, while recognizing that the play is well done in technical terms, states that the Klan is not to be praised, for it “rode about the country at night killing or torturing negroes and their sympathizers…[and] became a band of idle, dissolute and vicious individuals who entered upon a career of brutality and violence that appalled the country.”—1908  (See Deseret News, Nov. 2, 1908)

This is a very interesting quote, mostly because it is excised out of a larger article to make it appear that the Church (or the Deseret News which is the Church according to BlackMormon) had always come out against the Klan. Perhaps a full reproduction of the article is in order:

Deseret News Another Klan

Deseret News, Nov. 1908

ANOTHER KU KLUX KLAN.

“The Ku Klux Klan movement which has been so forcibly represented to the public at the Salt Lake Theater in the excellent performance of “The Clansman,” began in 1868, for the purpose of breaking up negro suffrage in the South. In many states negroes were members of the legislatures, and in some they were in the majority. Most of the negroes were ignorant and they were controlled by “scalawags,” and “carpet baggers,” that is to say, by white politicians who used the negro vote for the furtherance of their own personal ends. The result was that taxes were increased, public debts ran up, and the extravagance and corruption of legislatures were almost beyond belief. The state debt of Alabama increased from $8,000,000 to $25,000,000, in six years, and the legislature of South Carolina spent $350,000 in one session, for “supplies, sundries and incidentals,” alone. Such fearful exactions came after the exhaustive war and the taxpayers became exasperated.

Then the Ku Klux Klan was formed. The people undertook to break up negro suffrage. Young men, masked and disguised, rode about the country at night, killing, or torturing negroes, and their sympathizers. The “carpet baggers”—Northern adventurers who had gone to the South in order to make a living out of politics—were often caught and driven out by violent means.

There is no doubt that the Klan was at first formed by sincere men who saw no other way of remedying the existing evils that threatened moral and financial ruin. It was founded by men who believed they had a patriotic purpose in view. But when the reign of terror was over, honest men with-drew from the Klan, content with the development of society under a regime of law and order. The Klan minus its respectable, peace-loving members became a band of idle, dissolute and vicious individuals who entered upon a career of brutality and violence that appalled the country.

The so-called night riders that now infest some of the Southern states may be considered as the successors of the terrorists of thirty years ago. In fact the ghastly procession of night riders in Georgia a short time ago exceeded in malignant wickedness the most lurid orgies of reconstruction. And laxity in dealing with these outlaws who claim to act under the authority of a “higher law” is having its dire effects.

Quentin_Rankin&R_Z_TaylorThe atrocious murdering of Capt. Rankin at Walnut Log, Tenn., and the narrow escape from a similar fate of Col. Taylor, both noted attorneys in the section, may be traced directly to the indifference which the authorities manifest toward this latest form of terrorism.

The night riders began by burning the warehouses of tobacco growers who persisted in selling their product at a price below that dictated by them. When the firebugs first showed their hands some effort was made by state officials to the end of running them down. But soon the interest of the law waned and the spirit of wantonness blazed up more fiercely than before. Murders were committed with impunity and the campaign of fright by gun and firebrand resulted in dozens of growers abandoning their properties or obeying the commands of the night riders in fear of their lives.

The decent citizens of the south will have to put down this lawlessness, by the application of law. If they do not do so without delay, the evil will grow beyond their control. (Deseret News, 11-2-1908, page 6)

La Clansman Play asked to be supressed

LA Herald, October 16, 1908.

Notice that the News states that the play is an “excellent performance”, and goes on to laud the Klan that was set up to destroy Negro Suffrage.  An article from the Los Angeles Herald reported that some in the country had a different take on the play:

The fact that “The Clansman” is to be produced at one of the local theaters has aroused the indignation of a large number of the best negro citizens, and they yesterday sent a petition to the mayor to have the play suppressed. . . . they say “The Clansman” . . . deals with features of the negro national life in such a way as to reopen wounds that have cost the life blood of the nation in their healing. They claim it excites race prejudice by portraying one of the most brutal of crimes [rape] and the triumph of mob law. The petitioners feel race prejudice should not be excited, in view of the friendly relations which exist between the races in Los Angeles. Other cities have suppressed the play, they declare, and they ask that the mayor do likewise. Mayor Harper will investigate before acting on the petition. (Los Angeles Herald, October 16, 1908)

The Deseret News was hardly denouncing the play, or what they deem as the original Ku Klux Klan, which they praise, saying that “There is no doubt that the Klan was at first formed by sincere men who saw no other way of remedying the existing evils that threatened moral and financial ruin.”

What they are denouncing in the article are the “successors of the terrorists of thirty years ago,” who they say have become “a band of idle, dissolute and vicious individuals who entered upon a career of brutality and violence that appalled the country.”The Clansman 1905 Title Page

Why? Because it was a movement that stank of vigilantism, which soon turned on the Mormons and anyone else the vigilantes didn’t like. But it was ok when it was used to stop the Negroes from gaining political power in the South or to better themselves through equal rights.  The Phantom then once again shows off his bigotry against Christians with this gem:

The Salt Lake Tribune and the Deseret News are fascinatingly blatant records of Mormon-v-anti-Mormon, meaning Christian populations of the State of Utah:

1908: The stage version of Thomas Dixon’s bestselling novel The Clansman, which portrayed blacks as ignorant and ravenous brutes, and glorified the KKK as white heroes, had toured all over the United States. Finally, the tour came to Salt Lake City. The Gentile (non-mormon) newspaper in the city, The Salt Lake Tribune, praised both the play and its message. The Mormon paper, the Deseret News, said that while the play itself was “an excellent production” in technical terms, the Klan was not a heroic organization as the play portrayed, but “rode about the country at night killing or torturing negroes and their sympathizers” in a “reign of terror” and “became a band of idle, dissolute and vicious individuals who entered upon a career of brutality and violence that appalled the country.”(Deseret News, Nov. 2, 1908).Clansman Troupe

1916: The Salt Lake Tribune, Utah’s Gentile (non-mormon) and Anti-Mormon newspaper (which almost daily contained anti-Mormon articles) wrote a critique of the silent movie Birth of a Nation; which was a film version of the play The Clansmen. The Tribune wrote that “Mob violence and outlawry [by blacks] are depicted, followed by spectacular vies of the Ku Klux Klansmen who organized secretly to control the negroes through their superstitious fears. The Klansmen were fearless night-riders and they wore white shrouds. Acts of vengeance were perpetrated [upon blacks] under the cover of darkness, and the pictures show clearly why such extreme measures were necessary for the continuance of law and order.” (Salt Lake Tribune, April 2, 1916)

SL Tribune Apr 2, 1916 Header

Salt Lake Tribune Section Banner

Actually, the Tribune Review appeared in the News and Gossip of the Stage section of the Newspaper, and was simply a review of the movie. Not exactly front page news. It describes the movie exactly, and how the Klan was depicted in the movie and states that the movie “shows clearly why such extreme measures were necessary…”

But Phantom has to bigotize the whole of this, not realizing that the Deseret News also published a favorable review about The Birth of a Nation:

“The Birth of a Nation” is a thrilling and awe-inspiring revisitation of war—war in all its cruelties; we behold not only the tragedy on the field of battle, where fall the dead and dying, but in the home where wait the aged parents and little brother and sister, or daughter or son, for the message that too often comes telling that the dear one has died for the flag—the Stars and Stripes, or the banner of the blue with the single star. There is a great 30 piece orchestra to aid in the interpreting this photo-drama. Suffice to say, about this organization that it is one of the best musical organizations that has ever visited Salt Lake City. There are only three more performances, tonight and two on Saturday. Those who miss it will always have something to regret.  (Deseret News, April 17, 1916).

Deseret News, April 7, 1916 with favorable review of "Birth of a Nation"

Deseret News, April 7, 1916 with favorable review of “Birth of a Nation”

Don’t miss Birth of a Nation! It’s thrilling and awe-inspiring! If there were any objections to the Ku Klux Klan by the Deseret News, they are not in this article, which says that anyone who doesn’t get to see the film would regret it.  It was a favorable review of the picture, just like the Tribune’s. Funny that. The Birth of a Nation was spectacular and groundbreaking, and many people bought into it’s message, including (say it ain’t so!) many Mormons, just like (yup) many Christians.

The whole point of the movie was to promote the Klan, which it did very effectively. As for The Clansman,  we have already debunked that part of the Phantom’s argument. So much for Mormon vs. Critics in this instance, eh Phantom?

Perhaps The Phantom (or BlackMormon) are also unaware of an interesting article from the Deseret News written by George Q. Cannon from 1868 about the Ku-Klux Klan. It seems that there is more to the story than just the rejection of the Klan by Mormon “Authorities”.

DN, Apr 23, 1868 George Cannon, KKKCannon mentions the murder of George. W. Ashburn, who was assassinated by the Klan on March 30, 1868, who was the first murder victim of the Klan in Georgia.

At the end of the Civil War, Ashburn was appointed a judge by the military Governor of the state, George G. Meade, and was instrumental in authoring provisions in the new Constitution that assured civil rights for blacks. He even lived among the blacks, which infuriated the Klan. After his murder, he was vilified by his enemies, who even accused him of living with a black woman in a house of prostitution.  As Historian David Rose writes,

Historical events do not become flashpoints of contested memory without good reasons. One of the explanations for the posthumous vilification of G. W. Ashburn is the political struggle of which his murder formed a significant part: the largely successful terrorist campaign to limit or remove the rights of Georgia’s African-Americans. This “required” their most important white Columbus advocate to be demonized, and at the same time to be seen as having acted over many years against their real interests. In Telfair’s phrase, the purpose of Ashburn’s assassination was “merely to remove a public menace.” Generations after his death, the guardians of white Southern memory found that the bleakest assessments of his life and character still fitted with their overall view of Reconstruction as a time of Northern cruelty and injustice. (The Big Eddy Club: The Stocking Stranglings and Southern Justice, by David Rose, pages 69-70)

George Q. Cannon (then Managing Editor of the Deseret News) writes that,

The conclusion in many quarters seems to be that the action in the case of Ashburn [against the Klan] has been deliberate and concerted, and it is thought that it may and will be repeated, more or less generally, throughout the Southern States. Those who thus think say the motive of the act is not confined to that locality, nor to the individuals who perpetuated this particular crime. It extends, they say, throughout the Southern States, and influences to a greater or less extent the mass of the white population. Of course there are many who differ from this view, and who assert that there are other organizations in the South, which are more dangerous than the Ku-Klux Klan. There are “Loyal Leagues” and other secret organizations among both whites and blacks—organizations armed and oath-bound all over the country, which have for their object, they state, the elevation of the negro and the subjugation and abasement of the whites.Murder_Of_George_W._Ashburn-001

The condition of the affairs in the South is deplorable. Nearly all concur with this opinion. Thinking men in the North fear that the murder of Ashburn, and the other acts of the Ku-Klux Klan, are but precursors of the “war of races” in the Southern States, of which so much had been said during the last two or three years. Many of the opponents of the reconstruction measures of Congress appear to be of the opinion also that a war of races is inevitable. They expect to see internecine conflicts, and a harvest of blood and rapine follow the policy pursued at present in the South. The organizations of these secret associations are very suggestive at the present time.  (Deseret News, April 23, 1868)

According to Cannon, the Loyal Leagues, (also known as the Union League) were more dangerous than the KKK. And what was the Union League? According to wiki,

Freedman's_bureau

Anti-Black Propaganda 1869

The Union Leagues were a group of mens clubs established during the American Civil War to promote loyalty to the Union, the Republican Party, and the policies of Abraham Lincoln. They were also known as Loyal Leagues. They were composed of upper middle class members who provided financial support for organizations such as the United States Sanitary Commission, which provided medical supplies to treat wounded soldiers after battle. The Clubs supported the Republican Party, with funding, organizational support, and political activism.

During Reconstruction, Union Leagues were formed across the South after 1867 as working auxiliaries of the Republican Party. They mobilized freedmen to register to vote and to vote Republican. They discussed political issues, promoted civic projects, and mobilized workers opposed to certain employers. Most branches were segregated but there were a few that were racially integrated. The leaders of the all-black units were mostly urban blacks from the North, who had never been slaves. Foner (p 283) says “virtually every Black voter in the South had enrolled.”

The Union or Loyal League

The Union or Loyal League had a dual agenda that caused problems

The activities of the Union League in the defeated South during the early Reconstruction years did not meet with much favor among local whites. There, the Union League was dominated by Radical Republicans intent on controlling the black vote and disenfranchising white Democrats, in particular former Confederate soldiers whom they characterized as traitors. Historian Walter Lynwood Fleming asserts that the Union/Loyal League was successful in driving a wedge between blacks and Southern whites where little animus had existed, and used methods of political and violent intimidation—similar to those later used by the first Ku Klux Klan—to destroy the influence of Southern whites in politics and with blacks.

Interesting that Cannon would say that the organization that supported “the elevation of the negro” or civil rights for blacks, (and was not accused of being behind any murders) was more dangerous than the one that did not.

Also interesting, is that the Church thought it important enough to publish a “manifesto” devoted to rationalizing the Ku-Klux Klan in The Millennial Star a month after Cannon’s article appeared in the Deseret News.  This article claims that,

Millennial Star, May 15, 1868

Millennial Star, May 15, 1868

While citizens of the United States can only become members of the Ku Klux Klan, radicals, infidels, and negroes cannot become members of the Ku Klux Klan; for the meaning of the term is a Circle of Friends, the sole object of which is the perpetuity of constitutional liberty. The organization of the Ku Klux Klan originated from a necessity—the result of radical legislation and the formation of the secret political orders of the “Loyal League” and the “Grand Army of the Republic;” consequently the Ku Klux Klan is the effect of radical despotism and injustice. … The Ku Klux Klan is, therefore, a secret political organization, the result of necessity, the sole object of which is to thwart radicalism, arrest negro domination in the South, negro equality in the North, perpetuate the Federal Union, and preserve the constitution as the fathers made it. And whoever asserts to the contrary utters falsehood. That the Ku Klux Klan have secrets unknown to the uninitiated is not denied; so have the ancient orders of Free Masonry, Odd-Fellowship, and other secret orders and societies; but like Free Masonry and Odd-Fellowship the objects of the Ku Klux Klan have thus far been for the first time promulgated. The incredulous and guilty may carp and misrepresent; but the wicked, the ungodly, and perjured, will soon feel the keen edge of the sickle and the invisible boring of the white ant. (Millennial Star, Vol. 30, No. pp. 342-343, May 15, 1868).

Harper's Weekly, November, 1869

Harper’s Weekly, November, 1869

On May 30th, the Star published another article on Secret Societies in which they mention the Ku Klux Klan, along with the proclaimed enemies of the Klan, The Grand Army of the Republic and the Loyal League.  The Grand Army of the Republic was a fraternal organization that was composed of Civil War Veterans, (hardly a secret society) and was never linked to any violence, though it did back the Republican Party.

Though the intentions of the Union League were good, the movement in the South was mostly dominated by radical Republicans, who used some of the same tactics as the Klan (such as violent intimidation), but it died out as a political organization by 1870. It is simply illogical to say though, that this organization was involved in “subjugation and abasement of the whites, since that would go against their own interests. In fact, the term “scalawag” or “carpetbagger” meant someone who was only out for their own interests (mostly northerners) and they were for the most part, white men. Obviously, to Cannon, racial equality meant that the whites would be subjugated and abased.

Chapters of the Union League in the United States continue to exist, and have been instrumental in promoting charity work and projects like the Metropolitan Museum of Art, funding the Statue of Liberty pedestal, and Grant’s Tomb.Freedman's_Bureau_Rations

The existence of these organizations according to the Star article was a “sure sign, among others, of the speedy downfall of that once prosperous and mighty Republic “(the United States). “The Ku Klux Klan, the Loyal League and the Grand Army of the Republic” the article claims, “all secret, oath-bound orders, are spreading fear and dismay through the North and South” and “the overthrow of any nation where they are allowed to exist is only a matter of time.”

The article then mentions the murder of Mr. Ashburn, who was killed by armed and masked men “supposed to be members of the Ku Klux Klan.” It then states that “The Grand Army of the Republic and the Loyal League appear to be in the interest of the Radical party [Republicans], and we shall doubtless soon hear of dark deeds and bloody reprisals on their part.” The article tells “the Saints of God to keep free from all secret combinations and political associations” and that if the United States only repents the Lord will “give them power to search out and destroy those secret combinations.”

This article also states that God “permitted” Satan to work among the Nephites and Jaredites with his “secret and wicked suggestions and deceptions by which such bands as Gadiantons were organized, and the same measure which a guilty people had meted out to God’s Prophets, was measured to them again pressed down and running over.”

Freedmen's Bureau_whites&blacks

A Race War seemed inevitable, but never happened in spite of Mormon prophecy

The article also states that “the United States is guilty of shedding the innocent blood of the Prophet Joseph Smith and many of the Latter-day Saints, and of striving to accomplish the destruction of the people of God,” and that “the Lord is now bestowing upon them the reward of their wickedness.” They predict that if the United States continues “in their present course, their present troubles will increase, secret combinations will multiply among them, their leaders will fall by the hand of treachery, party feuds and a war of races will waste them away.”

The article also links these secret societies to Cain, claiming that “the oaths and covenants of the secret order which was established among the Jaredites, and afterwards among the Nephites and Lamanites, were the same that were had in the days of Cain, who received them from the Father of Evil.”

“It is interesting”, claims this article “to watch the progress of events in the United States, the great nation of the Gentiles, so frequently referred to in the Book [of Mormon] and to see in the gradual fulfilment of its predictions, a repetition of the same incidents and occurrences which it describes. The old secret combinations of the Gadiantons are revived, and an era of bloodshed and terror is re-inaugurated. The Chief Magistrate of the nation was smitten down in the midst of his friends in the very hour of his triumph, like Pahoran upon the judgement seat, and secret, oath-bound orders, like that which planned his death, are now bringing about similar destruction to that which overtook the Jaredite and Nephite nations upon the same land.”

Assassination of Lincoln, Currier & Ives

Assassination of Lincoln, Currier & Ives

So what is this article decrying then? So called secret societies that “lead to the shedding of blood”; certainly not racism. Joseph Smith had himself predicted that “slaves shall rise up against their masters” which would be part of a war that would be “poured out upon all nations” (D&C 76). It seems that they would help sweep the “wicked Gentiles” off the American Continent, until there were non left but the Mormons and the Indians. Parley P. Pratt was so certain that this would happen by the date Joseph Smith gave for the return of Jesus Christ that he gave a prophecy about it, declaring that if it did not come true, the Book of Mormon was false:

Concerning prophecy, he [LaRoy Sunderland – Zion’s Watchman] remarks that “it cannot be proved, that one prediction in that book, which is not taken from the bible, was written before the event, said to be described.” Again he says, “there are no predictions, peculiar to this book, yet to be fulfilled, no names of persons or places, or periods of time, are referred to, by which anything definite can be known, as to what is meant by the jargon of Mormon Prophets.” Now, Mr. La Roy Sunderland, we will prove to the world that this in one of the most barefaced falsehoods ever uttered by man. 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_Predicts_End_Of_The_World

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. (Parley P. Pratt, Mormonism Unveiled, 1838, p.14 – p.16)

There never was any interest in rebutting the admitted aim of the Ku Klux Klan, which their manifesto stated was to oppose “negro equality and negro domination”, and to promote “white men, and white men alone [who] are the comprehensive exponents of constitutional liberty, and must and will exclusively rule and govern the American republic.” This is exactly in line with what Brigham Young stated when he said that,

There is not one of the seed of old Cane that is permitted to rule & reign over the seed of Abel And you nor I cannot Help it. … The Devil would like to rule part of the time But I am determin He shall not rule at all and Negros shall not rule us. I will not admit of the Devil ruling at all. I will not Consent for the seed of Cane to vote for me or my Brethren. If you want to know why we did not speak of it in the Constitution it was because it was none of their Business. Any man is a Citizens Black white or red and if the Jews Come here with a part of the [p.99] Canaanite Blood in them they are Citizens & shall have their rights but not to rule for me or my Brother.  … The Canaanite cannot have wisdom to do things as the white man has. We must guard against all Evil. I am not going to let this people damn themselves as long as I can help it.

This was the reason for the Priesthood ban, which went hand in hand with the doctrine that Joseph Smith was teaching from the Bible since 1836:

“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

"let loose upon the world"

“let loose upon the world a community of people who might… overrun our country and violate…chastity and virtue…”

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 Gospelcomplain 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.” (Letter from Joseph Smith to Oliver Cowdery, April 9, 1836, for the Messenger and Advocate, Vol. 2, No. 7, pp. 289-291. See also, History of the Church, by Joseph Smith, Vol. 2, pages 436-438)

The Phantom blames the whole Priesthood Ban on events that involved William McCary, but if that is so, then how did this article appear in the Times and Seasons only 8 months after Joseph Smith’s death:

After the flood and after Ham had dishonored the holy priesthood, Noah awoke from his wine and knew what his younger son Ham, had done unto him. And, as the priesthood descended from father to son, he delivered the following curse and blessing, as translated by King James’ wise men and recorded in Genesis:

“And he said, cursed be Canaan; a servant of servants shall he be unto his brethren.”

“And he said, blessed be the Lord God of Shem; and Canaan shall be his servant.”

“God shall enlarge Japheth, and he shall dwell in the tents of Shem; and Canaan shall be his servant.”

History and common observation show that these predictions have been fulfilled to the letter. The descendants of Ham, besides a BLACK SKIN which has ever been a curse that has followed an apostate of the holy priesthood, as well as A BLACK HEART, have been servants to both Shem and Japheth, and the abolitionists are trying to make void the curse of God, but it will require more power than man possesses to counteract the decrees of eternal wisdom.

Again Shem or his descendants were blessed with receiving the revelations, prophets, and Savior:-A blessing truly which even the most sagacious infidel has not been able to explain away.

Again, Japheth has dwelt in Shem’s tent, both in the land of Canaan and in America; for “tents” is a figurative expression which in Hebrew, would signify the residence or abode.

noahs-sonsNow our short chapter will soon end, for the Savior said Jerusalem should be trodden down till the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled, and the very movement of every nation shows the eternal truth of the above quoted passage of scripture. It frustrates the designs of sectarians; it chokes the deists; astonishes the world, and delights the saints-Amen. (Times and Seasons, April 1, 1845, Vol. 6 No. 6, pg. 857)

At that time John Taylor was the editor of the Times and Seasons. The Phantom then tries to enlighten us with a little history lesson:

Well, that was then and this is now. Except the LDS church has never authoritatively justified, apologized for, or retracted the many boldly racist theories and observations its leadership at least in singular cases has made over the generations. Was it racism in the dictionary sense? Yes, in many cases it was, but not because of the priesthood restriction itself so much, as Mormon leadership’s clearly human and bigoted attempts to rationalize this vaguely canonical restriction by inventing supplemental folk-doctrine and applying faulty and biased “scientific” or “empirical” evidence to prove the Negro race deserving of the ban. They did this, because otherwise, the[y] knew either they or God would look petty and unfair.

The curse of Cain is however, still stuck solid in the Christian canon. Christians interpreted the curse to be a black skin and being a perpetual slave. It’s clarified to mean only a restriction from the priesthood in Mormon canon. But you’re stuck with a scriptural curse on Cain and his descendants either way. If none of the Mormon canon existed you’d still have an accursed Cain. God’s curse was indeed Biblically argued as justification for institutionalizing American slavery–but not by Joseph Smith or the Mormons. That was Christian America who did that. Until they killed him for it, Ol’ Joe Smith was in fact running for US president on an Abolitionist platform.

DetailPortRoyalSouthCarolinaSlaveQuartersLOCLC-DIG-cwpb-00806sliderpanelActually, I just proved that Joseph Smith taught the Curse of Cain from the scriptures in 1836, and was against Abolitionism. And isn’t the curse of the black skin still in the Book of Mormon, and the curse of Cain doctrine still in the Book of Abraham? In fact, Smith would repeat his views against Abolitionism in 1838:

“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 in setting the negroes free (History of the Church, vol. 3, p. 29).

And this view was even canonized in 1835:

12. We believe it just to preach the gospel to the nations of the earth, and warn the righteous to save themselves from the corruption of the world; but we do not believe it right to interfere with bond-servants, neither preach the gospel to, nor baptize them, contrary to the will and wish of their masters, nor to meddle with, or influence them in the least to cause them to be dissatisfied with their situations in this life, thereby jeopardizing the lives of men: interference we believe to be unlawful and unjust, and dangerous to the peace of every Government allowing human beings to be held in servitude. (1835 Doctrine and Covenants, Section CII. Of Governments and Laws in General.)

sustain the prophetAs for his presidential platform, that too is a myth. Smith actually opposed Abolitionism, even then:

“On the annexation of Texas, some object. The anti-Mormons are good fellows. I say it in anticipation they will repent. {page 23} Object to Texas on account of slavery. Tis the very reason why she should be received.

“Houston says, ‘Gentleman, if you refuse to receive us we must go to the British’ and the first thing they will do will be to set the negroes and indians [against us] and they will use us up. British officers running all over Texas to pick a quarrel with us — more honorable for us to receive them [Texas]and set the negroes free and use the negro and indians against our foes.

“Don’t let Texas go lest our Mother and the daughters of the land will laugh us {page 24} in the teeth. If these things are not so God never spoke by any prophet since the world began. I have been [several lines left blank] ] south held the balance of power &c. by annexing Texas, I can do away this evil liberate 2 or 3 states and if that was not sufficient, call in Canada.

Send the negroes to Texas [and] from Texas to Mexico where all colors are alike. Notice was given for the Relief Society to meet Saturday 2 P.M. to adopt “the voice of Innocence from Nauvoo” (Joseph Smith Diary, Feb. 8, 1844, Scott H. Faulring, An American Prophet’s Record, p.456-7)

negro-soldiers-fort-wagner“Use the negro and indians against our foes”. Make them equal, but separate. Of course this would not really be equal if they were forced from American Society and restricted to a country of their own, would it? He even disses the Hispanics. This is ample proof that Joseph’s views about equalization were simply politics.

Texas came into the Union as a Slave State. Smith was all for it. Smith claimed that some “objected” to Texas being admitted to the union on account of slavery, but said that “THIS WAS THE VERY REASON WHY SHE SHOULD BE RECEIVED”, and was for freeing the slaves ONLY to use against a British Invasion. And how would Smith use the negroes and Indians against our foes if they did not want to fight? Make it a condition of freedom? How is that not slavery? But he was still against intermarriage, so he was still a racist:

Thursday, Feb[ruary] 8[th] 1844 [several lines left blank] Court trial on 2 negroes trying to marry white women. Fined 1, $25.00 and 1, $5.00. Evening had a political Meeting in the assembly room and Br[other] Phelps publicly read my views of the Gen[eral] Government for the first time. Elders Hyde and Taylor made a speech and myself also.(An American Prophet’s Record)

A 19th Century interracial familyHad anything changed by 1920? No, the Church was still against any political organizations that used violence to promote their agendas, not because of racism, but because they were linked to the political secret societies mentioned in the Book of Mormon, which were supposedly all “of the devil”.  We then have the Phantom giving us a few snips from a Deseret News article from 1920. Will it condemn racism? Or will it only condemn methods? Here is what Phantom writes,

The Church owned “Deseret News” calls the KKK “an insult and a menace to orderly government” that would lead “to riot and bloodshed.”—1920s  (See Deseret News, 23 Dec., 1920)

The article states that,

“The organization is being worked out along somewhat different lines than was its predecessor of the same name years ago, but its object is avowedly the same—to maintain white supremacy. What means may be taken to attain this object will depend upon circumstances.”

The article then goes on to describe the methods of the “new” Klan, which they say “keep the superstitious negroes trembling with fear.”

The article then states that “In Virginia, for example it is pointed out that the negroes are for the most part well behaved and peaceable. Revival of the Ku Klux Klan will stir up far more trouble than it will cure—trouble that may speedily develop into riot and bloodshed.”Killing Blacks Antebellum South-001

Nowhere does the article state that the Deseret News condemns the racism of the Klan or their white supremacy views, only their methods, and even adds that the Klansmen “should realize they are proceeding in a wrong way to attain these ideals and that the method they seem to have adopted, following the same lines as the organization of years ago, is an insult and a menace to orderly government.” Again, method was at the heart of the objections to the Klan.

By 1921, the Klan had made inroads into Utah, and so Church “Authorities” spoke up. The Klan was not rejected by the Mormon people outright. As Kerry William Bate writes,

The Ku Klux Klan first organized in Utah in 1921, and after some initial struggles, false starts, and internal feuding, chapters sprung up statewide. There were fiery evidences of its success; crosses were burned in Ogden and on Salt Lake’s Ensign Peak, as well as in little hamlets and burgs throughout the state: Eureka, Tooele, Dividend, Centerville, Magna, Brigham City, Bingham, West, Jordan, Helper, Spring Glen, Richfield. The movie Birth of a Nation perpetuated the Klan’s mystique: the “problems” facing native Utahns in the 1920s gave it an immediate and practical impetus.

One of the first causes of Klan activity was hatred of southern European immigrants who were seen as Catholic, heavy drinking, whoring unionists who, if allowed to run lose, would bring Bolshevism or worse upon the state. Consequently, the KKK was most successful in areas where mining had attracted immigrants. Working closely with Masonic orders, the Klan had such a high profile that Cedar City’s college debated it as a timely issue of the day.

Once organized, the Ku Klux Klan began a campaign to gain political power in the state. On the surface, it might have seemed an easy thing, for besides the xenophobia of the local culture, racism was so acceptable that social clubs held “Nigger Night” in LDS wardhouses, and it was commonly believed that Anglo-Saxons were morally, mentally, and socially superior. The emergence of a successful immigrant entrepreneurial class further fueled resentment and seemed to guarantee Klan success in the Beehive state.

In some ways it was successful. Plenty of cross burnings indicated to immigrants that life in Utah meant they should be quiet, submissive, and fearful. Blacks were terrorized. Catholics intimidated, and in Price it was demanded that only “American” be spoken. (Perhaps English was too difficult for Utah natives.)kkk-cross-burning

Politically, the Klan made some impressive inroads. They helped defeat an Ogden mayor and were credited with a sweep of their candidates in Salt Lake City. They controlled Helper’s government, infiltrated the Salt Lake County Republican Party (pro-Klan editorials appeared in one Republican newspaper), and there were Klan sympathizers or members in several different law enforcement agencies.

These frightening successes mobilized anti-Klan sentiment. The objects of Klan hatred responded with outrage. A rally in Ogden was disrupted: despite secrecy and masks, many Klan members were identified and their businesses boycotted; the Klan’s concrete platform in Carbon County was dynamited; and Catholics burned circles in contempt for the blazing crosses.

Newspapers joined in the castigation of KKK activities. The unrelenting hostility of the Ogden Standard-Examiner practically destroyed it in that community. The Logan Journal classified the Klan with “anarchists and Bolshevists. Other papers ran letters from missionaries serving in the South, who pointed out that the Klan in that region was still harassing Mormons.

Ogden, Salt Lake City, and Logan passed anti-mask ordinances which were more successful in interrupting Halloween and de-bearding Santa Claus than they were in unmasking the KKK. but which resulted in giving the Klan the unenviable reputation as the organization that banned Santa.

One is tempted to believe the Klan was laughed out of existence, but it was not that simple. Another, stronger power structure took on the Utah Klan and overpowered it. That power structure was Mormonism. (Sunstone, Volume 7, September-October 1982, p. 66)birth-of-nation-movie-poster-big

But what exactly did they object to? The Klan’s racist ideology? Here is Charles Nibley at the October General Conference of 1921:

There are great problems also before our nation, which demand solution; they are burning, pressing questions which must be solved, and which can only be solved on the principles of righteousness. These principles will help to adjust the jarring, warring, contentious problems which selfishness very largely produces, and which can only be solved through the principles that the Lord has revealed. It is not in man that walks, to guide his steps aright. It is not in man of his own power to solve these problems, nor can any man do it of himself alone. It is only by the help of the Spirit of the Almighty that will bring us to the point where justice and righteousness can at least approximately be approached. We have had contentions in our own nation during the recent months of railroad strikes, coal strikes, and other contentions that have threatened the very existence of our government; and also there have grown up in our nation, secret organizations, combinations of men, no doubt desiring to protect their own selfish interests, even though those interests should conflict with the strict principles of justice. Some of these organizations like the Ku Klux Klan have undertaken to administer what they call justice, independent of Constitutional law, and the rights of men, and they have taken the law into their own hands and have dealt with certain people in a way which can only result in disorder, turmoil, strife, and in the breaking down of Constitutional law. For these Secret organizations undertake to administer punishment upon men and women, irrespective of the laws of the land.negroes-discussing-political-rights

It has been the counsel of the leaders of this Church from the beginning, to observe the Constitutional law of the land, and it is stated in the revelations that whatsoever is more than this or less than this, cometh of evil. We do not need anything outside of this strict letter of the law, for if we do go beyond it, or come tardy of it, we are liable to make a mistake. The agency that the Lord has given to his sons and daughters was given to all — the free agency to choose between right and wrong, and that agency makes us free, for the Lord has said, “If ye abide in my truth, then are ye free indeed.” Now, whenever any man enters any organization, secret or otherwise, that takes from him a certain degree of that free agency to choose between right and wrong, and makes of him a servant, to do as he is told in certain matters, quite irrespective of the righteousness or justice of the case, or of the right or wrong of the case, then that man surrenders that much of his free agency which he ought not under any circumstances to surrender. (Charles W. Nibley, Conference Report, October 1922, p.37)

Nibley does not mention anything about the Klan’s racist agenda. He only mentions that they take the law into their own hands, and therefore this is what results in “disorder, turmoil, strife and the breaking down of Constitutional Law. The Phantom then give us this quote by the Deseret News from 1921:

“So far as its operations are known–its secrecy, its mummery, its terrorism, its lawlessness–it is condemned…These mountain communities of ours have no place whatever for it in their social scheme of things…[he who tries to establish it among us] should be made emphatically to understand that his local endeavors will be worse than wasted, and his objects [goals] are detested, and his [absence] is preferred to his company. The people of Utah have no taste or patience for such criminal nonsense…”—1921 (See Deseret News, July 23, 1921)

Lots of ellipses in this quote. Seems to be a trend with the Phantom. The relevant section of the article without the ellipsis reads,

So far as its operations are known—its secrecy, its mummery, its terrorism, its lawlessness- it is to be condemned as inimical to the peace, order and dignity of the commonwealth.

Nothing here about racism. Again, this addresses the Klan’s methods, (as Charles Nibley did in Conference) not their racism. We are then told, according to the Phantom:

Because of the Church’s condemnation of the KKK, the KKK “Grand Wizard” of Wyoming considers the Church it’s “greatest enemy.” “In the Realm of Utah and scattered over the West in general, we have another enemy, which is more subtle and far more cunning [than other anti-KKK groups] in carrying its efforts against this organization…the Latter-day Saint Religion!”—1923 (See Papers Read at the Meetings of Grand Dragons, Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, 1923, pp.112-3)Papers Read at the Meeting of Grand Dragons Knights of the Ku Klux Klan at Their First Annual Meeting Held at Asheville, North Carolina, July 1923, pages 112-113.

Here we have another case of misquoting. If one reads what is actually written in the Book cited, there is no way that the Klan considered the Mormon Church to be its “greatest enemy”, and the Grand Wizard says nothing at all about the Church’s “condemnation” of the Klan:

In addition to the Roman Catholicism, in the Realm of Utah and scattered over the west in general, we have another enemy, which is more subtile and far more cunning in carrying out his efforts against this organization.

They have excellent schools, well conducted but build their church in the same yard with the school and where this is not possible use the schoolhouse itself for religious purpose, teaching the Latter Day Saints religion constantly in the class room, ever keeping in mind the power that is exerted on American youths, yet avoiding all external appearance of being un-American.

The Mormons are unlike the Catholics in marriage, seeking rather than avoiding, the inter-marriage of their women with Protestant men, thereby hoping for conversions and the concentration of capital into their strongholds. Let us study this situation and make a decision just what is the best method to pursue.

The history of Mormon political activity has always been along the line of showing favors where something was to be obtained for their personal benefit. The first marked recorded instance of this action occurred at Nauvoo, Ill., back in 1841 when the Prophet Joseph Smith and Dr. Bennett a smooth politician, secured the Charter for the city of Nauvoo and the Nauvoo Legion, giving them military control greater than in any part of the state as though they were a separate part of the state of Illinois.

They set at naught the laws of the land when the same conflict with their teachings even going so far as to practice polygamy and other things that are equally distasteful to the majority of American citizens. Claiming they have a right to do so because the head of their church, according to their belief, is in direct communication with God.

A case is now on trial in the state of Utah to test the law with regard to whether a candidate who has been elected to office through ecclesiastical influence can hold the office to which he has been elected. Through intrigue it now looks as though the law has a good chance to be set aside in order to carry out the wishes of the heads of the Mormon church.

Instead of including the entire paragraph, Phantom (and whoever originally put this quote together) just uses ellipses to make the KKK say what he wants them to say. Some would call this dishonest.Go to the TopBirth_of_a_Nation_poster_2

III. Nameless Oracles?

In 1870, Brigham Young preached a sermon to the assembled Latter-day Saints in the newly constructed Salt Lake Tabernacle, and said:

“I will make a statement here that has been brought against me as a crime, perhaps, or as a fault in my life. Not here, I do not allude to anything of the kind in this place, but in the councils of the nations—that Brigham Young has said “when he sends forth his discourses to the world they may call them Scripture.” I say now, when they are copied and approved by me they are as good Scripture as is couched in this Bible, and if you want to read revelation read the sayings of him who knows the mind of God…” (Brigham Young, October 6, 1870. Journal of Discourses, Vol. 13, p. 264)

As far as the Tabernacle (this place) is concerned, in 1952 Stephen L. Richard, then First Councilor to David O. Mckay, stated:

“In the providence of the Lord, this pulpit has never been any one man’s forum. Rather it has been the oracle of a divine dispensation where the cause has overshadowed the man, where humility has higher rating than self-assurance, where worship is measured in deeds rather than protestations.

Ponder for a moment, my brethren and sisters, and all who listen, the glorious and vital truths which have been proclaimed in this building — the nature and composition of the Godhead, the organization of the universe, the history and placement of man in the earth, his purpose in living, and the divine destiny set for him, the laws governing his conduct and his eligibility for exaltation in the celestial presence the true concept of family life in the eternal progression of the race, the truth about liberty and the place of governments in the earth, the correct concept of property, its acquisition and distribution, the sure foundations for peace, brotherhood, and universal justice. All these elemental things, and many others incident thereto, have been the burden of the message of truth which has come from this building through the generations.

…What confidence and assurance it brings to us to know that our men and women of today, surrounded by an environment radically different from that of our forebears who brought this great building into existence, proclaim the same doctrine as did they. How upsetting it would be if we had to choose between the principles and doctrines of their time and ours. We in this Tabernacle hear the same message as did the people in Kirtland and Nauvoo.Salt Lake Tabernacle

It is true that methods and practices change. They have done in the past, and they may be expected to in the future. It is within the province of a receptive priesthood, obedient to the inspiration of our Father, to adopt and adjust methods, looking toward the advancement of his kingdom. It is also within the province of his chosen servants to interpret and apply the law, but they will never change it, for the law of God is eternal.

… In all humility I bear witness that here is the seat of the government of the kingdom of God, here is the place where the authorized servants of our Lord are sustained and confirmed by the voice of the people. Here in this venerated Tabernacle has every President of the Church, save only one been upheld as prophet, seer, and revelator, and President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. From here has gone forth the law out of Zion, and the blessings, the love and compassion of the servants of the Lord for his children.

Every portion of the building was dedicated that it might fulfill its sacred purpose. Listen to the words regarding this historic rostrum, where my associates of the General Authorities of the Church now sit in your presence: “And we dedicate and consecrate that portion of this house where our president and thy servants now are, to be a holy and sacred place wherein thy servants may stand forth to declare thy words and minister unto thy people in the name of thy Son forever….

“May thy holy angels and ministering spirits be in and round about this habitation, that when thy servants are called upon to stand in these sacred places, to minister unto thy people, the visions of eternity may be open to their view, and they may be filled with the spirit and inspiration of the Holy Ghost and the gift and power of God; and let all thy people who hearken to the words of thy servants drink freely at the fountain of the waters of life that they may become wise unto salvation, and thereby overcome the world and be prepared for an everlasting inheritance in the celestial kingdom of our God….

“We pray thee to bless the Twelve Apostles; fill them with the spirit of their office and calling, clothe them with the intelligence of heaven, the light of revelation, and the gift and power of God.”  (President Stephen L. Richard, Conference Report, April 1952, p.43-49).

As for the changing nature of Mormon Doctrine mentioned by Richard, see Salt Lake City Messenger, Joseph Smith’s Changing Scriptures, no. 116 (May 2011).

This claim to know the mind of God and that his discourses were “good as scripture”, was not an idle boast by Brigham Young, who made this claim on more than one occasion.

In an earlier address, Young said:

Well, brethren and sisters, try and be Saints. I will try; I have tried many years to live according to the law which the Lord reveals unto me. I know just as well what to teach this people and just what to say to them and what to do in order to bring them into the celestial kingdom, as I know the road to my office. It is just as plain and easy. The Lord is in our midst. He teaches the people continually. I have never yet preached a sermon and sent it out to the children of men, that they may not call Scripture. Let me have the privilege of correcting a sermon, and it is as good Scripture as they deserve. The people have the oracles of God continually. In the days of Joseph, revelation was given and written, and the people were driven from city to city and place to place, until we were led into these mountains. Let this go to the people with “Thus saith the Lord,” and if they do not obey it, you will see the chastening hand of the Lord upon them. But if they are plead with, and led along like children, we may come to understand the will of the Lord and He may preserve us as we desire. (Journal of Discourses Vol. 13,  p.139, January 2, 1870).

But do the collected sermons of Brigham Young and other Mormon ‘General Authorities’, compiled in the Journal of Discourses and other publications qualify as Mormon doctrine? As with many other aspects of the Mormon Church, this view has changed over time. In recent years, the Mormon Church has made official declarations concerning the Journal of Discourses, (one of the greatest collection of early sermons in print) the most recent of which can be found on the Church’s official website:

“The Journal of Discourses is not an official publication of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It is a compilation of sermons and other materials from the early years of the Church, which were transcribed and then published. It included some doctrinal instruction but also practical teaching, some of which is speculative in nature and some of which is only of historical interest.” ( This quote can be found here).

But this has not always been the case, as we shall see below. Most Mormons today have a view of the Journal of Discourses as untrustworthy, error-filled, second-hand speeches that are of little consequence except perhaps for their historical value. In comparing them to recent General Conference Addresses, a poster on an LDS Social Network Forum put it this way:

The JOD are not necessarily the same as conference talks. They were written by second hand witnesses, and not by the speaker. Nor were they approved or edited by the apostles, and they were never sustained or approved by the body of the church. So, they are useful from a historic standpoint, but are in no way considered declarations of truth, as the Ensign transcripts are.(This quote can be found here).

Mormons seem to have convinced themselves that the Journal of Discourses are no longer a “vehicle of doctrine”, as Brigham Young Jr. attested they were in 1867. He said,

Brigham Young, Jr.

Brigham Young, Jr.

Each successive year the power of God is manifestly increasing upon his people, and more especially upon His ministers in the Holy Priesthood, whose duty it is to build up and instruct the Church in His most holy will. The “Journal of Discourses” is a vehicle of doctrine, counsel, and instruction to all people, but especially to the Saints. It follows, then, that each successive volume is more and more valuable as the Church increases in numbers and importance in the earth, and its doctrines become more abundantly developed and are brought into practical exercise by His peculiar people. Every step of its advancement is fraught with the greatest possible importance to the human family. No Saint can afford to do without these precious precepts until they are able to exemplify them in their daily lives and conversation.(Journal of Discourses, Vol. 11, p. iii (1867)

But a thorough study of their historical background, and the statements of Mormon Authorities will show that this (that they are not doctrine) is not the case.

On January 2, 1870 Brigham Young said that “the Lord is in our midst”, and that ‘the people have the oracles of God continually.”

Just what are the “oracles of God,” and what is the significance of this expression? The Apostle Paul, in the Book of Romans explains:

“What advantage then hath the Jew? or what profit is there of circumcision? Much every way: chiefly, because that unto them were committed the oracles of God. For what if some did not believe? shall their unbelief make the faith of God without effect?” (Romans 3:1-3 (KJV)

The New International Version of the Bible translates verse 2 as “the words of God”. So Brigham Young is telling the Saints that they have the words of God continually. Paul’s words in verse three become very important, because it goes to the heart of how the early Mormons viewed their prophets and apostles. Paul tells us, “for what if some did not believe, shall their unbelief make the faith of God without effect?”

In the above quote about the Journal of Discourses by our Mormon friend, we read:

“Nor were they approved or edited by the apostles, and they were never sustained or approved by the body of the church. So, they are useful from a historic standpoint, but are in no way considered declarations of truth, as the Ensign transcripts are.”

We shall find that the first part of this statement is untrue (they were approved and edited as attested to by George D. Watt, See Chapter 6 of The Mormon Passage of George D. Watt), but it is the second part of the statement I wish to focus on.

Does the fact that they were “never sustained or approved by the body of the church” make them any less “declarations of truth”? Are the Conference addresses printed in the Ensign any different in this regard? Paul answers this question with his declaration that “shall their unbelief” (or lack of a church vote) “make the faith of God” (or the statements of His ‘oracles’) “without effect”? Not according to the early Mormon Authorities.

On March 8, 1833 Joseph Smith recorded a “revelation” that has become Section 90 of the Doctrine and Covenants. Here, Smith writes that he has the ‘keys to the kingdom’ and the ‘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.  See also, D&C 21:1, 2, 4-6, 5:10, 1:4-5).

Daniel H. Well, Apostle and Second Counselor to Brigham Young explains that Church Authorities are ‘living oracles’:

Daniel Hamner Wells

Daniel Hamner Wells

“We are blessed in having the living oracles in our midst, and in having a standard erected around which we can rally. The Bible is good, and we believe in it more than any other people. The Book of Mormon and the Book of Doctrine and Covenants are the word of God, and they contain many precious gems; every line is full of knowledge, intelligence, and truth, and is calculated to be a benefit to us; but yet, above and far beyond all, we have the living oracles in our midst to tell us what to do to-day. A great portion of the Scripture we have was the living oracles to the people in the day in which it was given, and it has become Scripture because it was given by the inspiration of the Almighty. It was applicable to the day in which it was given. We have the living oracles in our midst to give us that which is applicable to our day. Let us make our ways correspond to the Lord’s, for we read that “as high as the heavens are above the earth so are His ways higher than our ways, and His thoughts than our thoughts.” We are blessed in having His ways made known to us, because He knows best. He has more knowledge and understanding and greater ability, and can perform and accomplish more than any other power that exists; and that people only may be said to be blessed who walk in His ways and do His bidding.” (Daniel H. Wells, Journal of Discourses Vol. 13, pages 28-29).

This is not a light claim. The “living” words of God. Marion G. Romney would make perfectly clear what this meant:

“What we get out of general conference is a build-up of our spirits as we listen to those particular principles and practices of the gospel which the Lord inspires the present leadership of the Church to bring to our attention at the time. He knows why he inspired Brother Joseph F. Merrill to give the talk he just gave. He knows why he inspired the other brethren who have talked in this conference to say what they have said. It is our high privilege to hear, through these men, what the Lord would say if he were hereIf we do not agree with what they say, it is because we are out of harmony with the Spirit of the Lord.” (Marion G. Romney, Conference Report, October 1950, p.126)

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).

Taylor would also expound on the other ‘General Authorities’ of the Church, and their responsibility:

“And then come the general authorities, who preside over and minister in the affairs of the Church in all the earth. These general quorums are not local, are not limited to any particular Stake or quorum. Their business is to see that the Gospel is preached to the whole world; to impart counsel by the spirit of revelation according to the spirit of their apostleship and calling, as special witnesses and messengers to the world of mankind. These are the First Presidency, and the Twelve Apostles and the Seventies, whose calling and duty is to labor under the direction of the Twelve and bear the gospel to all nations and to regulate the affairs of the Church in all the world. These general authorities are therefore brought before the general conference assembled, for their approval and for them to uphold and sustain by their faith and prayers; and in like manner are they presented at the several Stake conferences so as to reach the masses of the people, to insure the confidence and prayers of the whole people, for whom they minister, and whose eyes are upon them, who are criticising their teachings, their walk and conversation before God and man.

For God proposes to deal with His Church as a whole, and as a whole to hold them responsible to work the works of righteousness and to defend the faith of the everlasting gospel committed to them, and to purify and sanctify the whole Church and see that evil is put away from our midst, whether it be in the family circle or private walks of life, or in its high officials and those who minister in public capacites; in like manner he requires of them to see that all our organizations and municipalities are in a wholesome condition, and are administered with integrity and uprightness before God and the people.

And as mouthpieces of the Almighty and as watchmen upon the walls of Zion, God requires of us his servants, the Apostles, the Elders, the Presidents of Stakes, and the Bishops everywhere, not only to minister in their several callings in a church capacity, but also to instruct officers of every kind intrusted with the municipal affairs of life, that they may be found faithful in magnifying the law and discharging the trust reposed in them in secular affairs as well as ecclesiastical; for civil organizations and powers of civil government are also appointed and ordained of heaven for the welfare of mankind, for the protection of all flesh. (Journal of Discourses, Vol. 20, p. 183-4, Apr. 7, 1879).

Wilford Woodruff circa 1880

Wilford Woodruff circa 1880

Wilford Woodruff, would take this thought to the entire Church in 1880:

The Lord, in a revelation given to Orson Hyde and William McClellan in the early days of the Church, in sending them out to preach the Gospel, told them that when they preached they should speak as they were moved upon by the Holy Ghost; and that if they did not have the Holy Spirit to direct them, they were told not to teach. “And,” said the Lord, “when you do speak as you are moved upon by the Holy Ghost, your words are the words of God, they are scripture, and they are the mind of the Lord to the people.” (Sec. 68.) Many have an idea that it is something very strange for men now-a-days to have revelation, and that nobody should have revelation excepting Brother Taylor.

Here, my brethren and sisters, you are upholding the quorum of the Twelve twice a year in General Conference, besides doing so at your quarterly conference, as prophets, seers and revelators, and you pray for them twice a day, and perhaps oftener, and should it be anything very strange if they should receive a revelation? How strange, indeed! There are in this Church some six thousand seventies, and four thousand high priests, and for thousand elders, who hold the Melchisedec priesthood, which is after the order of the Son of God, besides many thousands of priests holding the Aaronic priesthood, and I would like to ask, if it was wrong to desire revelation? What business have we with this priesthood, if we have not power to receive revelation? What is the priesthood given for? If we do not have revelation, it is because we do not live as we should live, because we do not magnify our priesthood as we ought to; if we did we would not be without revelation, none would be barren or unfruitful.

We have one man who holds the keys of the kingdom of God upon the earth, and it is his business to give the word of the Lord for the guidance of the Church. But here we have apostles and men of God, holding the holy priesthood, acting in behalf of the Church in different parts of this Territory, and also in different parts of the earth; and we have men, say, acting as Church agents in Europe, part of whose business it is to charter ships for the transit across the ocean of tens of thousands of the people of God; is it the right of such men to have revelation from the Lord to guide them in their operations? Yes, it is; and no man should undertake to act in positions affecting the interests of Zion, unless he lives so as to be guided and directed by revelations of God.

And every man who presides over a temple should live day by day in the revelations of Jesus Christ. And every seventy, and every high priest, and every man bearing the holy priesthood should live in that way to get revelation to guide and direct him in his labors. This idea that no man has any right to call upon God and receive revelation is wrong, and it has been wrong wherever it has existed in any age of the world. As was said of old, when a complaint was made concerning certain of the elders prophesying in the Camp of Israel, so say I: “I would to God that all were prophets;” because the spirit of prophecy is the testimony of Jesus.” (Wilford Woodruff, Journal of Discourses, Vol. 21, p. 297-98, August 1, 1880).

There is no room in this equation for “folklore”. None. Unless these men are not what they claim to be. Doctrine & Covenants, Section 68, verses 1-5 read:

My servant, Orson Hyde, was called by his ordination to proclaim the everlasting gospel, by the Spirit of the living God, from people to people, and from land to land, in the congregations of the wicked, in their synagogues, reasoning with and expounding all scriptures unto them. And, behold, and lo, this is an ensample unto all those who were ordained unto this priesthood, whose mission is appointed unto them to go forth—And this is the ensample unto them, that they shall speak as they are moved upon by the Holy Ghost. And whatsoever they shall speak when moved upon by the Holy Ghost shall be scripture, shall be the will of the Lord, shall be the mind of the Lord, shall be the word of the Lord, shall be the voice of the Lord, and the power of God unto salvation. Behold, this is the promise of the Lord unto you, O ye my servants.

Orson F. Whitney

Orson F. Whitney

In 1916 Apostle Orson F. Whitney would explain “the great distinguishing feature that differentiates God’s Church [Mormonism] from all other churches under the sun”, and that, he says, is “that while they are founded upon books and traditions and the precepts of men, this Church is built upon the rock of Christ, upon the principle of immediate and continuous revelation.” He then concludes:

“The Latter-day Saints do not do things because they happen to be printed in a book. They do not do things because God told the Jews to do them; nor do they do or leave undone anything because of instructions that Christ gave to the Nephites. Whatever is done by this Church is because God, speaking from heaven in our day, has commanded this Church to do it. No book presides over this Church and no book lies at its foundation. You cannot pile up books enough to take the place of God’s priesthood, inspired by the power of the Holy Ghost. That is the constitution of the Church of Christ.” (Orson F. Whitney, Conference Report, October 1916, p.56)

Whitney would go on to say,

In saying this, I speak with all due reverence of the written word of God, that which is printed in the books part of which may be obsolete, having fulfilled its purpose and been laid upon the shelf, while the other part is virile, full of life, and applicable to our present state–our present degree of development. But even this part must be interpreted aright. No man ought to contend for what is in the books, in the face of God’s mouthpiece, who speaks for him and interprets his word. To so contend is to defer to the dead letter in preference to the living oracle, which is always a false position. What the Lord said to the Jews and Nephites, two thousand years ago, or what he said to the Latter-day Saints fifty or sixty years ago, has no force whatever at this time, unless it agrees with present-day revelation, with the Lord’s most recent instructions to his people through his chosen or appointed servants or servant; and they who ignore this fact are liable to get into trouble. It is the latest word from God that must be heeded, in preference to any former revelation, however true. The same God who says do thus and so today, can repeal that commandment tomorrow, without being changeable or inconsistent. The legislature, meeting every two years, repeals old laws, or such of its former enactments as have served their purpose; but no one thinks of charging the law makers with inconsistency or self-contradiction. How then can God be considered inconsistent if he says one thing today, and changes it tomorrow, or next month, or next year, in order to suit altered circumstances? He commanded Abraham to slay his son, and Abraham was about to do so, when the same God said: “Lay not thy hand upon the lad.” Abraham was under obligation to carry out the first command, until the second one was given, and then he was under obligation to obey the second command instead of the first; and he would have been a transgressor had he failed.” (ibid, p.57).

This of course is a false dichotomy, because how can you repeal “truth”? This idea of “folklore” simply dismisses the whole reason the church was supposedly set up with “prophets” and “apostles”, and that living “prophets” can repeal truths given by dead “prophets”. This idea has been denied by those very “apostles” and “prophets”. Take this example, given by George Q. Cannon:

When I think of the mighty men that have stood in our midst, filled with the power of God—Prophets and Apostles, whom God chose and whom He honored, and upon whom He bestowed His gifts and graces; and how many of them have worn themselves out preaching to this people, entreating them in the most eloquent

George Q. Cannon

George Q. Cannon

manner, adducing the greatest and strongest reasons that could appeal to our human natures, and revealing to us the mind and will of God, it does seem to me that a terrible responsibility rests upon us if we depart from the path which God has marked out. We can never say we have not been taught, that we have not had opportunities. We can never blame our Father for not imparting to us, in the utmost plainness, and through the demonstration of His Holy Spirit, His word and His counsel. President Young, while he lived, labored indefatigably to the utmost of his ability; never sparing himself, but constantly teaching the people, teaching them with his counsels, and giving them suggestions that are unequalled. I do not know such a record anywhere to be found as even the record of his discourses to this people; and then, think of President Taylor, and the others associated with President Young, and the effect their labors have had in teaching this people.

Now we are brought face to face with this question, shall we take these counsels to heart, shall we listen to the voice of God through his servants which we have heard now these 42 years in these valleys, and follow the direction which they have given concerning the people of Zion, or shall we make a new departure? Shall we throw aside all that we have heretofore been taught as the correct course and policy to be adopted in building up the kingdom of God, shall we throw it aside, cast it behind us and adopt some new principles, some new policy and practice concerning the Zion of our God in the earth? This is a question that is forcing itself upon us. I have seen things already which I never believed I would see; I have witnessed conduct I never believed I would witness. I had hoped better things. I have observed a disposition to disregard the counsels of the servants of God, to turn aside from the path that God has marked out, to spurn that authority which He has said shall reign. I have seen a disposition to bend and bow to the wishes of the world, to take to heart and to partly believe as true the accusations and the misrepresentations and the charges that have been made by the enemies of the Kingdom of God against the [p.349] Kingdom of God and its policy, and against the men whom God has chosen. And today in our midst there is a great amount of falsehood in circulation concerning the truth, concerning the work of God, and concerning the servants of God; and a disposition to believe evil and to misconstrue conduct and counsel and various things of this character.

If this spirit should prevail among the Latter-day Saints it will certainly prove disastrous to those who receive it and afford it a lodgment in their hearts.

I do not think that those who are present today are the ones who are susceptible to this influence—at least very few, if any. Many of those that are absent I am afraid are the ones who ought to be talked to and reasoned with upon this point. The men and women who attend meetings regularly, and who think it important to come here to receive instructions are not the ones, as a rule, who require censuring or reproof; as a general thing they are found in the path of duty and are walking in the ways of the Lord.

One of the speakers at our meeting last evening called your attention to and spoke upon the subject of union. Whenever the Latter-day Saints become divided; whenever you see one Latter-day Saint arrayed against another, you may know that one or both are in the wrong. When they become divided in their interest, when they seek their own aggrandizement, careless about the rights of their fellowmen; whenever you see this spirit prevail, then it betokens trouble among ourselves and we shall lose power. Let me ask you what is it that gives us strength? Are we numerous? Why, we are but a small handful of people; our opponents outnumber us by millions. Are we wealthy? Our wealth is not to be mentioned in comparison with the wealth that is opposed to us. Are we learned? We do not compare in worldly learning with those who are arrayed against us. In what then does our strength consist? It consists in the union of the people, and their faithfulness in keeping the commandments of God; it consists in our obedience to the counsels of God’s servants. Whenever this people shall fellowship a spirit to disregard the counsels of the Priesthood, seeking to accomplish ends by methods that are popular in the world, then they become like other people, and their strength leaves them. Samson, after he disregarded certain commandments to him personally by shaving his head and divulging the secret of his wonderful strength, easily fell a prey to the Philistines. This will be the case with us if we take the course advocated by many so-called Latter-day Saints, and which they think it right to take. I will tell you, and risk my reputation as a prophet upon it, although I don’t often talk about being a prophet; I say, I am willing to risk my reputation as a prophet upon this, that the man who takes this course, the family or the community that takes it will become as weak as water, and eventually become part of the world for departing from the way that God, through his servants, has pointed out. Our strength consists not of being part of Babylon, but the very opposite of that. Our strength consists in God; and the fact that this is so has made us a peculiar people. Divest ourselves of this peculiarity and we then become like the rest of the world, no better, no stronger than they are; and we will be overcome by them, for their forces are stronger and greater than ours. Can you not see this? To me, it is as clear as the light that shines. If we are strong at [p.350] all, we are strong because we are Latter-day Saints. That is the cause of our strength—the strength which God has given unto us through His Gospel. Whenever we depart from that policy we become weak like other men. It is time we understood this; it is time we looked at it in its true light. We are going arm and arm with the world, are we? We are going to be like them? Whoever has that spirit will apostatize as sure as God lives, unless he repents. I do not mean by this to say there is any antagonism between us and the world. We have no warfare to wage, none whatever. All we have to do is to be true to our principles. If our enemies conspire against us, let us be true to our God, true to Zion, true to the methods that God has revealed unto us for the building up of His Kingdom, and take the course that will be right and pleasing in the sight of God. I do not mean by this that I wish to put myself in opposition to the laws, or to that which is now the counsel concerning matters. I want to define my position so you will understand it, that no advantage be taken of it.

God has established His Zion, and He is building it up in the way He has revealed and that He communicates to His servants from time to time. (Brian Stuy, Collected Discourses Vol. 1, p. 348-50, Salt Lake City, Monday Afternoon, September 2nd, 1889).

What Cannon describes above is what we see now with the Curse of Cain and Priesthood Ban doctrine, Mormons pitted against Mormons. So according to Cannon both are wrong. This presents quite the dilemma, as it does with other issues.

Brigham Young taught that the father was Adam, and said it was true by revelation. How does one repeal a revelation on the nature of God and then supplant it with another (that renders the previous false) that is also the truth? Of course this statement came at a time when the church was re-inventing the Godhead, claiming that Jesus was now Jehovah, and backpedaling from Brigham Young’s “revelations” about Adam. This quote is very instructive though, because it gives us the modern Mormon stance on why they no longer accept some of the doctrinal statements of previous “prophets”.

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,

Alonzo Hinckley

Alonzo Hinckley

“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).

These are the very men who made the First Presidency Statement about the Negro Doctrine that banned them from the Priesthood, and agreed with Young that they would not be able to have it until all the seed of Abel did first. Apostle George F. Richard made it clear that,

If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God. When a man speaks by the power and authority of the Priesthood of the Son of God and under the inspiration of the Holy Ghost, what he speaks will be scripture; it will be the mind of the Lord, the will of the Lord, the word of the Lord, and the power of God unto salvation. (George F. Richard, Conference Report, October 1939, p.107).

Milton R. Hunter

Milton R. Hunter

In 1948, Milton R. Hunter of the First Council of Seventy declared,

“I wish to emphasize the fact that this revelation [D&C 68] is not limited to Joseph Smith and the other great prophets who preceded him. We have standing at the head of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints today living oracles through whom God reveals his will. Certainly the words of this revelation apply to President George Albert Smith, to his Counselors, to the Twelve Apostles, and to me Patriarch to the Church just as much as they did to Joseph Smith, or to Isaiah, Jeremiah, Moses, Nephi, Alma, Peter, Paul, or to all of the other ancient prophets of God.” (Milton R. Hunter, Conference Report, April 1948, p.31).

He would add,

The greatest job that a prophet has to accomplish is to be teacher of the divine truths revealed to him from on high. He is God’s mouthpiece here on earth–God’s spokesman, the revelator of the plan of salvation. Through the keys and power of the priesthood which he holds, the kingdom of God is established upon earth and all the ordinances requisite for the salvation and exaltation of the human family are performed. It is in their capacity of teacher and dispenser of the mind and will of God  that the holy prophets in all ages have made their greatest contributions.” (ibid, page 32).

On January 27, 1860, Orson Pratt met with the First Presidency and most of the Authorities of the Church to discuss certain of Pratt’s teachings, especially some found in his periodical, The Seer. The meeting did not go well, because Pratt could not agree with two of Brigham Young’s doctrines, that God was Adam, and was still progressing in knowledge. But a few days later, Pratt had come around, and made this statement to the assembled Church:

“This I consider is a very important item—Behold, “I say unto you, Be one; and if ye are not one, ye are not mine.” This is very pointed, plain, and definite language, that no man can misunderstand. Upon what principle are we to he one? It is by hearkening in all things to that eternal and everlasting Priesthood which has been conferred upon mortal man upon the earth. When I say that Priesthood, I mean the individual who holds the keys thereof. He is the standard—the living oracle to the Church.

“But,” says one, “suppose that we hearken to the word of God in the Old and New Testament—suppose that we hearken to the word of God in the Book of Doctrine and Covenants—suppose we hearken to the word of God in the Book of Mormon, and at the same time we feel disposed in our hearts to lay aside the living oracles, what then? I would answer, in the first place, that the premises are false. Why? The very moment that we set aside the living oracles we set aside the revelations of God. Why? Because the revelations of God command us plainly that we shall hearken to the living oracles. Hence, if we undertake to follow the written word and at the same time do not give heed to the living oracles of God, the written word will condemn us: it shows that we do not follow it according to our profession. This is what I wish to bring home to myself as an individual; and if the same thing will suit any other person in the congregation, I hope that he will take it home to himself.

Orson Pratt

Orson Pratt

“But,” inquires one, “how is it that you are going to apply this to yourself?” I will tell you. But first let me quote from another revelation contained in the Book of Doctrine and Covenants. [Section 21:1-5] Perhaps I had better read the passage which I wish now to bring to your understanding:—”Behold, there shall be a record kept among you; and in it thou shalt be called a Seer, a Translator, a Prophet, an Apostle of Jesus Christ, an Elder of the church, through the will of God the Father and the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, being inspired of the Holy Ghost to lay the foundation thereof, and to build it up unto the most holy faith; which Church was organized and established in the year of our Lord, eighteen hundred and thirty, in the fourth month, and in the sixth day of the month which is called April. Wherefore (meaning the Church,) thou shalt give heed unto his words and commandments, which he shall give unto you as he receiveth them, walking in all holiness before me; for his word shall ye receive as if from mine own mouth, in all patience and faith.”

Here, then, we perceive what is binding upon the Church of the living God, what was binding upon them thirty years ago, and what has been binding upon them ever since, from the day that it was given, until the day the Prophet was martyred, down until the year 1860, and until the present moment of time. All this time there have been a kingdom and Church of the living God on the earth, and a man placed at the head of that Church to govern, direct, counsel, preach, exhort, testify, and speak the truth to the people, and counsel them in the things pertaining to their duties and pertaining to the kingdom of God.”  (Orson Pratt, Journal of Discourses, Vol. 7, p.372-73 January 29, 1860).

How did an apostle of Jesus Christ, directed by his prophet Brigham Young to teach doctrine in a publication go so wrong? Funny that it was Pratt’s views about Adam and God not progressing, that were later taken up by the Church, not “the living prophet” Brigham Young. A few months later, Apostle Heber C. Kimball would declare,

Heber C. Kimball

Heber C. Kimball

“This is the religion of Jesus Christ as taught in these books—the Bible and the Book of Mormon, and it is in accordance with that which is in my breast and which is a better book, for it is life in Christ; and that living being that receives light and intelligence from the heavens through the revelations of the Holy Ghost is a living oracle. It is the living Oracle that is within us that will guide us in the way of life.

Now, you require brother Brigham to live in that manner that he can hold the oracles of God and be to you a living oracle—the mouthpiece of the Almighty, to communicate line upon line, and precept upon precept and have the word of truth constantly on hand. Now, why should you require more of the head than of the other members? The Lord has said that upon those members that you consider the least honourable he has conferred the most honour; and he will confer upon every man and woman that honours the Priesthood, the Presidency, the Bishops, and all the members of the body. We cannot honour God except we honour his authority: there is no possible way of honouring the kingdom of God only by honouring its authorities. (Heber C. Kimball, Journal of Discourses, Vol. 8,  p. 86, June 3, 1860).

As early as 1843 Brigham Young emphasized that the Quorum of the Twelve should follow their superiors without asking questions:

In the evening I met with the Quorum; Bro. Joseph was not present. B. Young was called to the chair who addressed the meeting in a very feeling manner and interesting to our minds. He reasoned clearly that we should follow our file leaders and our Savior in all His laws and commandments without asking any questions why they were so. (Wilford Woodruff Journals, Vol. 2, 1841–1845, p.331, December 10, 1843)

With this in mind, now read the Phantom’s take on how this all works:

What Joseph Smith actually restored was the “Church,” a system of mortal government, through which allows man to regulate man’s own participation in God’s Kingdom. God doesn’t need the Church. Man needs the Church. The Church is a mortal institution run by and for mortals. The difference between Mormonism and any other “Christian” church, is authority. Mormonism, if you care to buy it, claims to have direct authority from Jesus Christ to administer to His believers in His name. That’s authority mind you. Along with authority comes power and inspiration, and there’s where it gets a bit sticky. The Mormon hierarchy holds the “keys,” which means the token authority to talk directly to God, to commune with angels, the Holy Spirit, or see visions, heal the sick, raise the dead, any of all that miraculous stuff. I fully believe that the current LDS president for example, could talk to Jesus personally. I take that on faith. But I don’t have to believe that he doesn’t do that however, because he has said he doesn’t. I therefore know he doesn’t talk to God and Angels. That is not faith based. So what I know for a fact is, that Jesus doesn’t sit in the Salt Lake Temple and directly administer HIs church. And more to the point, Jesus isn’t up in the Church Office Building passing on daily lessons to the Brethren about bigger and bigger doctrinal concepts just for entertainment purposes. The Church is about salvation. It’s about serving Christ and feeding His sheep. You just don’t need to know that much to accomplish this mission. Jesus doesn’t need to come down and micromanage the operation. And sure, by the time you read this some LDS “Prophet” may say he’s had a face-to-face with Jesus, and I’ll gladly accept this as the truth if and when it happens. It simply hasn’t happened since Joseph Smith to date. (The Phantom)

It is so easy to rationalize anything, isn’t it? So easy. What the Phantom does here is say that God gave the “keys” to His kingdom on earth and “authority” to act in his name to a bunch of liars who don’t really talk to Him at all. They just kind of make up things as they go along, and that is all right, because they have supposedly been given the “authority” to save people by a guy who doesn’t have a track record any better than his successors.

They could talk to Jesus if they really want to, but yet “it simply hasn’t happened since Joseph Smith”. This is the kind of convoluted thinking that one has to go through to try and give “perspective” to the men that claim that Jesus gave them authority to act in his name. Kind of boggles the mind, doesn’t it?

And then it comes back to those hateful “Christians”:

The problem we have with Mormonism in the area of ongoing prophecy, is that starting with Joseph Smith, you do now in fact have a highly structured bureaucracy leading a permanently constituted organizational “Church” structure. Its president takes upon himself the title of “Prophet, Seer, and Revelator,” and then uncomfortably waits for the next church-related job God feels a need to personally take an interest in. It’s like the Book of Mormon system only it happens in real-time. You end up with caretakers making perfunctory notes for posterity just to say they did something, as did Omni and Jarom and Enos, just handing down the book generation after generation, sometimes adding a note about how nothing much was happening so they’re just passing down the records like they were told to do. This, honestly speaking, is exactly what the “Restored” Church of Jesus Christ (of Latter-day Saints) has become since the martyrdom of Joseph Smith. This is not necessarily a reflection upon LDS leadership. Joseph Smith was shot all to hell by Christian mobs to shut him up and kill the movement, and perhaps that was part of God’s plan, but it is mostly a good indication that God generally calls any given “major” prophet to do a specific job and then whatever happens to him afterward just happens, because the job is done. In Smith’s case the claimed job was “Restoration,” and having “Restored” the structure and key doctrines necessary, we can assume that not only was Joseph Smith done with the assignment, but God was fairly happy with the wisdom and knowledge He’d revealed in the process, and therefore Smith’s successors could expect not a whole lot of additional conversation with Deity until conditions according to God’s timetable and desires warranted it. (The Phantom)

Just throw everybody after Joseph Smith under the bus. They don’t matter. A bunch of monkeys could run the church (and probably do it better) because they don’t talk. They wouldn’t be able to embarrass the church with what comes out of their mouths. And they don’t know much, either. A perfect solution to the Phantom’s problem.

Christians killed Joseph Smith. Great job at broad brushing that incident. But I’m not surprised that the Phantom thinks so; they’re so obviously to blame for every thing else, aren’t they? Well folks, I’m about done here. I think you have enough to go on, to realize that the Phantom is the one who is really pulling things “out of his backside”.

Perhaps the Phantom can benefit from the words of James E. Faust,

I do not believe members of this church can be in full harmony with the Savior without sustaining his living prophet on the earth, the President of the Church. If we do not sustain the living prophet, whoever he may be, we die spiritually. Ironically, some have died spiritually by exclusively following prophets who have long been dead. Others equivocate in their support of living prophets, trying to lift themselves up by putting down the living prophets, however subtly. In our lifetime we have been favored with ongoing communication from the heavens, which have been open to the prophets of our time. (James E. Faust, Continuous Revelation, Conference Report, October 2013)

As Phantom says folks, don’t expect a lot. As James E. Faust says, Phantom is dead spiritually. This is the dilemma of Mormonism. Thankfully, I leave that to those who are still members of the Church to try and figure out. And whether to start burning books. I’ll be keeping mine, and encouraging every one I know to read them.

Joseph Fielding Smith & Bruce R. McConkie

Joseph Fielding Smith & Bruce R. McConkie

Go to the Top

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.

Mormon Secrets & Perjuring Prophets

INTRODUCTION

It was the bi-centennial year of the birth of Joseph Smith.  In December of that year (2005) Mormon “prophet” and President Gordon B. Hinckley gave an interview to the Associated Press. In that interview, Hinckley stated,

“Understanding and appreciation come of knowledge. The more people come to know us, the better they will understand us.”[1]

The Associated Press then asked Hinckley,

“The church seems to have difficulty distancing itself from its history of polygamy. You’ve said there are no fundamentalist Mormons, but these groups still practice polygamy and still claim Joseph Smith as their own. How do you resolve that dilemma?”[2]

Who answered,

“Well, let me just say this, the doctrine came of revelation and was discontinued by revelation. We believe in honoring, obeying and sustaining the law. And so, we have very little sympathy with those who disobey the law in this manner.”[3]

Hinckley was then asked,

“Some scholars say historical records point to discrepancies with the official church history. How do you reconcile the differences? And what is the church’s position on historical scholarship?”[4]

Hinckley’s answer was clear and concise:

“Well, we have nothing to hide. Our history is an open book. They may find what they are looking for, but the fact is the history of the church is clear and open and leads to faith and strength and virtues.”[5]

Does the Mormon Church have anything to hide? Is their official history an “open book”? Does the real history of the church lead to “faith and strength and virtues”? If the Church has “very little sympathy” for those who “disobey the law”, how should members feel when they learn that church leaders  bribed Supreme Court judges, influenced elections, committed perjury, and put a gag order over its own members to keep them from recording in their diaries the minutes of Church Council meetings? Why is the church silent about such aspects of its history?

I.  UNDER “AFFIRMATION”

per·ju·ry   [pur-juh-ree]  noun, plural -ries. Law . the willful giving of false testimony under oath or affirmation, before a competent tribunal, upon a point material to a legal inquiry.

In 1902 (with the permission of the Mormon “prophet” Joseph Fielding Smith) a Mormon “apostle” named Reed Smoot was elected Senator to the newly formed State of Utah.  His election sparked an intense four-year battle about whether Smoot was eligible or should be allowed to serve, due to his position as a Mormon “apostle”. Many in the U.S. Government were convinced that his association with the church disqualified him from serving in the United States Senate. Only a few years earlier, another prominent Utah Mormon, B.H. Roberts, had been elected to the House of Representatives but was denied his seat because he practiced polygamy. Smoot was not a polygamist, but the Salt Lake Tribune had reported that church leaders continued to secretly approve of new, post-Manifesto plural marriages, and as a result, the Senate began an investigation into Smoot’s eligibility.

Mormon “prophet” Joseph F. Smith was called to testify before Congress, and his testimony is fascinating for what it reveals and doesn’t reveal. When Smith is called to testify, he will not be “sworn in”, rather he states, “I prefer to affirm, if you please.”[6] To “affirm” rather than be “sworn in” (or take an oath to tell the truth) became an option in court proceedings because of Jesus’ admonition to “not swear an oath at all: either by heaven, for it is God’s throne; or by the earth, for it is his footstool; or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the Great King. And do not swear by your head, for you cannot make even one hair white or black. All you need to say is simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’; anything beyond this comes from the evil one.”[7]

Joseph Fielding Smith

This is curious, because Smith obviously had no problems swearing many oaths in the Mormon Temple Ceremony, including an “oath of vengeance” against the murderers of his uncle and father.[8] Smith also seemed concerned about being known as a “spotter” or a paid informant.  He would continually evade questions and deny knowledge about events and claim he was not a “spotter”, as he did here:

“I do it very reluctantly, simply because I am required to do so by this honorable committee. I regret it very much, and I wish to say that much to the committee, because my statements and     testimony here are going to the world, and I do not want it understood, being compelled, as I have been, to give information and to make statements of opinion in relation to my friends, that I am in any sense a spotter or an informer. If there is anything, gentlemen, that I despise it is an infamous spotter and informer, and I am not one of those. I wish to state that in order that it may go down on record.”[9]

Asked about which “apostles” might have had children by their polygamous wives, Smith claims no knowledge, and once again, that he is not a “spotter”:

Senator Overman.  You say six [apostles] are polygamists.  Now, are those or any one of them disobeying the law of the land in regard to polygamous cohabitation?
Mr. Smith.  I do not know anything about their unlawful cohabitation relations.  I only referred in my answer to the question yesterday to the fact that they were in the status of polygamists; that is, they had more wives than one.
Senator Overman.  You do not know whether they have had children born to them since the manifesto or not?
Mr. Smith.  I am happy to say that I am not a paid spotter or informer.
Senator Overman.  You might know without being a spotter.
Mr. Smith.  I do not know.

Senator Overman.  You do not know whether they have children or not?
Mr. Smith.  No, sir.
Senator Overman.  You might have answered without saying you were not a spotter.
Mr. Smith.  Excuse me; I beg pardon.[10]

Smith then commits outright perjury,

“It has been the continuous and conscientious practice and rule of the church ever since the manifesto to observe that manifesto with regard to plural marriages; and from that time till to-day there has never been, to my knowledge, a plural marriage performed in accordance with the understanding, instruction, connivance, counsel, or permission of the presiding authorities of the church, or of the church, in any shape or form; and I know whereof I speak, gentlemen, in relation to that matter.”[11]

But this wasn’t true as D. Michael Quinn explains,

“Yet for nearly two years, President Woodruff did not encourage new plural marriages and permitted only three United States residents and one local resident to marry plural wives in Mexico and Canada. That changed in 1894. At the meeting of the Presidency and Twelve in the Salt Lake Temple on 5 April 1894, President Cannon expressed regrets that there were no provisions for polygamous marriages, to which President Woodruff replied: “The day is near when there will be no difficulty in the way of good men securing noble wives.” A month later, President Woodruff wrote a letter of instruction to Apostles Brigham Young, Jr., and John Henry Smith concerning their second trip to Mexico in five months, authorizing them “in adjusting all matters that properly comes [sic] under your calling.” Whether President Woodruff added verbal clarifications, Apostle Young, who had told the Mexican Saints in February that it was impossible for any man to marry a plural wife anywhere in the world and to cancel any polygamous engagements, performed at least five plural marriages there when he returned in May-June 1894. Among these plural marriages was one for Franklin S. Bramwell, then a stake high councilman, who later wrote, “When I took my second wife I had a letter signed by President Woodruff himself and went to Mexico with a personal letter from Prest. George Q. Cannon.” President Woodruff may or may not have known that George Q. Cannon signed a recommend on his behalf at this same time for a plural marriage to be performed in the Logan Temple, but there can be no question that in October 1894 President Woodruff personally authorized Apostle Abraham H. Cannon to marry a new plural wife: “Father [George Q. Cannon] also spoke to me about taking some good girl and raising up seed by her for my brother David…. Such a ceremony as this could be performed in Mexico, so Pres. Woodruff has said.” Six months later, Wilford Woodruff gave a newspaper interview: “I hurl defiance at the world,” said President Woodruff, “to prove that the manifesto forbidding plural marriages has not been observed.”[12]

Wilford Woodruff

Smith is then asked about one of Abraham H. Canon’s marriages to Lillian Hamblin:

Mr. Tayler.  Do you know her?
Mr. Smith.  Yes; I know here now.
Mr. Tayler.  Was she his wife?
Mr. Smith.  That is my understanding, that she was his wife.
Mr. Tayler.  Do you know when he married her?
Mr. Smith.  No, sir; I do not.
Mr. Tayler.  Did you marry them?
Mr. Smith.  No, sir; I did not.

Mr. Tayler.  You did not see her in California about that time [June of 1896]?
Mr. Smith.  I did, most distinctly.
Mr. Tayler.  Where?
Mr. Smith.  In Los Angeles.
Mr. Tayler.  With whom was she there?
Mr. Smith.  She was with Abraham Cannon.
Mr. Tayler.  Was she married to him then?
Mr. Smith.  That is my understanding, sir.
Mr. Tayler.  Was she married to him when you saw her shortly before that?
Mr. Smith.  That is my belief.  That is, I do not know anything about it, but that is my belief, that she was his wife.

Mr. Tayler.
  When did you first learn that Lillian Hamlin was his wife?

Mr. Smith.  The first that I suspected anything of the kind was on that trip, [a previous trip they took together to the Provo Mines during the same month] because I never knew the lady before.[13]

That Smith knew Canon well and that they spent many hours together (outside of Quorum Meetings), is attested to by Cannon’s diary entry:

“In the afternoon I went to the races, and took John Q. [Cannon] with me in my buggy. Presidents [Wilford] Woodruff and [Joseph F.] Smith were there, and I sat in their carriage a good part of the afternoon.”[14]

These men socialized together and many were in business together.  But Smith doubles down, and reinforces his perjury:

Abraham H. Cannon

Mr. SMITH. … I should like to draw a distinction between

unlawful cohabitation and polygamy. There is a law prohibiting polygamy, plural marriages.

Senator HOAR. You mean now a law of the State of Utah ?

Mr. SMITH. I mean the law of the State, and  I mean that this is in the constitution of our State. It is required by the enabling act. That law, gentlemen, has been complied with by the church; that law has been kept by the church; and there never has been a plural marriage by the consent or sanction or knowledge or approval of the church since the manifesto.[15]

These outright lies offended many people, including Abraham’s brother Frank J. Cannon, who painfully recalled these instances of Smith’s perjury:

“Late in July, 1896, when I was in New York on business for the Presidency, I received a telegram announcing the death of my brother, Apostle Abraham H. Cannon. We had been companions all our lives; he had been the nearest to me of our family, the dearest of my friends—but even in the first shock of my grief I realized that my father would have a greater stroke of sorrow to bear than I; and in hurrying back to Salt Lake City I nerved myself with the hope that I might console him.

I found him and Joseph F. Smith in the office of the Presidency, sitting at their desks. My father turned as I entered, and his face was unusually pale in spite of its composure; but the moment he recognized me, his expression changed to a look of pain that alarmed me. He rose and put his hand on my shoulder with a tenderness that it was his habit to conceal. “I know how you feel his loss,” he said hoarsely, “but when I think what he would have had to pass through if he had lived—I cannot regret his death.”

The almost agonized expression of his face, as much as the terrible implication of his words, startled me with I cannot say what horrible fear about my brother. I asked, “Why! Why—what has happened?”

With a sweep of his hand toward Smith at his desk—a gesture and a look the most unkind I ever saw him use—he answered: “A few weeks ago, Abraham took a plural wife, Lillian Hamlin. It became known. He would have had to face a prosecution in Court. His death has saved us from a calamity that would have been dreadful for the Church—and for the state.”

“Father!” I cried. “Has this thing come back again! And the ink hardly dry on the bill that restored your church property on the pledge of honor that there would never be another case—”I had caught the look on Smith’s face, and it was a look of sullen defiance. “How did it happen?” My father replied: “I know—it’s awful. I would have prevented it if I could. I was asked for my consent, and I refused it. President Smith obtained the acquiescence of President Woodruff, on the plea that it wasn’t an ordinary case of polygamy but merely a fulfilment of the biblical instruction that a man should take his dead brother’s wife. Lillian was betrothed to David, and had been sealed to him in eternity after his death. I understand that President Woodruff told Abraham he would leave the matter with them if he wished to take the responsibility—and President Smith performed the ceremony.”

Smith could hear every word that was said. My father had included him in the conversation, and he was listening. He not only did not deny his guilt; he accepted it in silence, with an expression of sulky disrespect.

He did not deny it later, when the whole community had learned of it. He went with Apostle John Henry Smith to see Mr. P. H. Lannan, proprietor of the Salt Lake Tribune, to ask him not to attack the Church for this new and shocking violation of its covenant. Mr. Lannan had been intimately friendly with my brother, and he was distressed between his regard for his dead friend and his obligation to do his public duty. I do not know all that the Smiths said to him; but I KNOW that the conversation assumed that Joseph F. Smith had performed the marriage ceremony; I know that neither of the Smiths made any attempt to deny the assumption; and I know that Joseph F. Smith sought to placate Mr. Lannan by promising “it shall not occur again.” And this interview was sought by the Smiths, palpably because wherever the marriage of Abraham H. Cannon and Lillian Hamlin was talked of, Joseph F. Smith was named as the priest who had solemnized the offending relation. If it had not been for Smith’s consciousness of his own guilt and his knowledge that the whole community was aware of that guilt, he would never have gone to the Tribune office to make such a promise to Mr. Lannan.

Frank J. Cannon

All of which did not prevent Joseph F. Smith from testifying—in the Smoot investigation at Washington in 1904—that he did not marry Abraham Cannon and Lillian Hamlin, that he did not have any conversation with my father about the marriage, that he did not know Lillian Hamlin had been betrothed to Abraham’s dead brother, that the first time he heard of the charge that he had married them was when he saw it printed in the newspapers!*

If this first polygamous marriage had been the last—if it were an isolated and peculiar incident as the Smiths then claimed it was and promised it should be—it might be forgiven as generously now as Mr. Lannan then forgave it. But, about the same time there became public another case—that of Apostle Teasdale—and as this narrative shall prove, here was the beginning of a policy of treachery which the present Church leaders, under Joseph F. Smith, have since consistently practised, in defiance of the laws of the state and the “revelation of God,” with lies and evasions, with perjury and its subornation, in violation of the most solemn pledges to the country, and through the agency of a political tyranny that makes serious prosecution impossible and immunity a public boast.  [16]

D. Michael Quinn reveals the extent of Smith’s perjury,

“Wilford Woodruff had approved Abraham H. Cannon’s entry into a proxy polygamous marriage on behalf of his brother. When Lillian Hamlin was endowed in the Salt Lake Temple on 17 June 1896, she was sealed by proxy to the deceased David H. Cannon. Abraham H. Cannon was the proxy, and Joseph F. Smith performed the sealing. The next day, the Smiths and Cannons left Salt Lake City for California. Therefore, Joseph F. Smith actually performed his only post-Manifesto polygamous marriage as a proxy ceremony in the Salt Lake Temple for Abraham H. Cannon but could legally claim that he simply officiated in a sealing on behalf of the deceased brother.”[17]

The use of aliases was common among the Mormon Hierarchy during this period. In his diary entry of July 21, 1887, Abraham Cannon writes that John Taylor used “diff. names for the brethren (disguised) Bro. Williams for C. W. Penrose & Col. Mack for J.F.S. [Joseph Fielding Smith]”[18]

It appears that Joseph F. Smith was more concerned with being labeled an “informer” or “spotter” than he was of telling the truth under oath (or affirmation), or living by his own words of counsel,

G.Q.Cannon, W.Woodruff, J.F.Smith

“Now, in the Gospel of Jesus Christ are taught principles of truth. The word of God is truth. There is no word that God hath spoken to the children of men for their guidance that is not true. And it is the business of men and women, especially those in this Church, to learn what is the word and will of God. When they have learned it, it is their duty to accept it in their hearts, incorporate it in their lives, and abide by it. Then they become the disciples of Christ in very deed. Then they shall know the truth. They shall not merely believe the truth because it is stated by one in whom they have confidence; but they shall know the truth, and the truth shall make them free. It is only the truth that can make men free.”[19]

And chose to ignore the Doctrine and Covenants:

“Thou shalt not lie; he that lieth and will not repent shall be cast out.”[20]

I’m not aware of any public confession by Joseph F. Smith for lying at the Reed Smoot Hearings.  Instead of repenting, Smith publically affirmed his perjury in the April 1904 General Conference of the Church:

“They charge us with being dishonest and untrue to our word. They charge the Church with having violated a “compact,” and all this sort of nonsense. I want to see today whether the Latter-day Saints representing the Church in this solemn assembly will not seal these charges as false by their vote… In seconding the resolution that has just been read–which I most heartily do–I desire to state at least one reason for doing it. As remarked by the president, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has been accused of being covenant-breakers with this nation. Of course, there never was, and could not be, any compact between the Church and the general government of the United States. But there could be a compact between the State of Utah and the United States, and there was such a compact made in the Constitution of our state, by and through the Constitutional Convention. And now I am pleased with the opportunity of the Church saying in its official capacity that the Latter-day Saints not only now are, but have been, true to the compact between the State of Utah and the United States, and that they are true to the Constitution of the state, which, by express provision, forever prohibited plural or polygamous marriages, and made that irrevocable, without the consent of the United States. The adoption by the Church of this resolution should put to silence those who have accused us of being covenant-breakers.[21]

1904 Political Cartoon – “The Real Objection To Smoot”

Smith would later compound his perjury, by writing to the Senate Committee in Washington nine days after the Mormon Conference:

The president of the church writes me, explanatory of this, as follows:

OFFICE OF THE FIRST PRESIDENCY OF THE CHURCH OF JESUS CHRIST OF LATTER-DAY SAINTS,

Salt Lake City, Utah, April 15, 1904,

Hon. JULIUS C. BURROWS,

Chairman Committee on Privileges and Elections, United States Senate, Washington, D. C.

SIR:

It is with regret that I inform you of my inability to procure the attendance of Messrs. John Henry Smith, George Teasdale, Marriner W. Merrill, John W. Taylor, and Matthias F. Cowley before the Senate Committee on Privileges and Elections.

Hon. John Henry Smith is still quite ill, but has signified his willingness to appear before the committee, if desired, as soon as his health will permit.

I am informed that Mr. Marriner.W. Merrill is still in such poor health that he is unable to leave his home.

My latest reports from Mr. Teasdale are to the effect that his health is still poor, but improving.

In accordance with the suggestion of Mr. Robert W. Tayler, I communicated to Messrs. John W. Taylor and M. F. Cowley my earnest desire that they should appear and testify before the committee, and

am in receipt of letters from them stating, in substance, that they are unwilling, voluntarily, to testify in the Smoot investigation. As this is a political matter, and not a religious duty devolving upon them or

me, I am powerless to exert more than moral suasion in the premises.

With reference to the others named the facts are as above stated.

Again expressing my sincere regret that I am unable to procure the attendance of these gentlemen, I am,

Very respectfully,

JOSEPH F. SMITH.[22]

As B. Carmon Hardy writes,

George Teasdale

“President Smith’s “sincere regret” is questionable, and his efforts to have Teasdale, Cowley, and Taylor testify were quite pretended. Teasdale, who celebrated his seventy-third birthday in 1904, may have been in declining health. He seems always to have been fragile. Yet, in the spring of 1904, at the time President Smith told the committee Teasdale was too frail to make the trip to Washington, the apostle was directed to hasten south into Mexico—an ordeal involving at least as much, and probably more, physical strain than a rail journey east. In the late summer Teasdale was healthy enough to travel north and attend three stake conferences in Arizona. In the letter containing these assignments, the apostle was instructed to see that no reports of his presence in Arizona were released to newspapers. Neither was he to let it be known what his intended course of travels was. Secretary to the First Presidency George F. Gibbs, who had a penchant for injecting his own style into official communications, wrote Teasdale that the First Presidency wished him to return to Mexico “without unnecessarily offending the righteous sensibilities of the righteous people of this the greatest nation on the top of the earth.”

Mattias F. Cowley

In a subsequent letter Teasdale, who was still in Mexico, was advised that his so-called medical advisers in Salt Lake City felt the weather yet inappropriate for his return to Utah. These same advisers had determined that if he desired a change of scenery, he could travel to Canada for a few months. Why Canada, as far from Utah as Mexico, was acceptable was undoubtedly clear to Teasdale. The communication closed by reminding the apostle that he had previously indicated that he wished to be only where the Lord wanted him to be. And that, he was being told, was to stay out of the way. Teasdale was an apostle known to have married plurally since the Manifesto, and the fact that in his testimony in Washington, D. C. , President Smith had provided a dubious scenario concerning Teasdale’s domestic affairs, more than anything associated with his health, accounted for the time the apostle spent south of the border.

Regarding apostles Taylor and Cowley, it is true both men asked to be excused from attending the hearings. Cowley, for example, wrote Smith that he wished to avoid the humiliation of exposing his family affairs to the nation’s eyes. Moreover, he said that whatever he could add to the record would but confirm what President Smith had already said in his testimony. At the same time, Cowley’s letter stated that, while he would not volunteer, he would go to Washington if subpoenaed. This was clearly a less defiant posture than that represented by President Smith to Senator Burrows.

John W. Taylor

Taylor, in his reply to the president, was more pointed, saying he felt “positive disinclinations” about going. Because of his residence in Canada at the time, he undoubtedly felt greater safety from the committee’s summons.  After receiving the letters of both men from President Smith, Smoot cut out “the whitened sepulchers” from Taylor’s letter and read them to members of the committee. The senators agreed, after hearing them, that Taylor and Cowley were both beyond President Smith’s control and that he could not force them to testify in Washington.

From the beginning there was an unmistakable note of equivocation in President Smith’s attitude about the prudence of having Taylor and Cowley testify. In the presence of Senator Smoot and his secretary, Carl A. Badger, he remarked that he felt he could persuade them to appear in Washington, provided they were not guilty of involvement in post-Manifesto marriages.90 That Smith, in making such a comment, was hedging against the discovery of what he knew to be fact was not lost on Senator Smoot. Badger recorded in his journal that Smoot volunteered, if President Smith thought best, to resign his senatorial office rather than bring sorrow on the church. Anthon H. Lund, President Smith’s counselor, said less than a month later that the First Presidency took concern when it was rumored that someone was likely to be subpoenaed who could testify to the certainty of Taylor’s post-Manifesto marriages.91 It was also said that Taylor even agreed to testify in Washington but stated that he would not compromise the truth in what he said. Supposedly, he was actually departing for Washington, D. C. , when recalled by Apostle Francis M. Lyman, who, on the authority of a warning dream, told him to stay in Canada. As much as two years later, Smoot wrote President Smith that it yet seemed best for Taylor and Cowley to remain out of reach of Congress until the investigating committee finished its work and the opportunity for successfully serving them with subpoenas had passed.[23]

This video shows Smith’s testimony about all the Corporations that he owned as Trustee in Trust for the Church. Pay attention to his testimony about the Deseret News. He claims that he doesn’t know who owned it so he could tell his questioner positively. Smith perjured himself, he did know exactly who owned it and who the officers of the company were. Here is Rudger Clawson from about a year before the Smoot Hearings:

The question was discussed. Pres. Smith thought it unfair to [p.558] advance the money without interest or any consideration. It would be only proper, he thought, for the News to share the profits of handling this publication with the church—inasmuch as they supplied the means. Some of the brethren took the view that it made but little difference, AS THE DESERET NEWS BUSINESS BELONGED TO THE CHURCH, and whatever profits there were would eventually come to the trustee-in-trust. Pres. Smith, however, did not quite endorse this view, and the matter was referred to Elder Clawson of the auditing committee to investigate and get more favorable terms. Pres. Smith at this juncture expressed some dissatisfaction with the manner in which the News is conducted, and rather spoke as if he felt that his wishes in regard to its policy were disregarded. The headlines in the News sometimes gave it the appearance of a gentile paper. As, for instance, referring to our people constantly as the “Mormons” or the great “Mormon” conference, and alluding to Senator Smoot, as Smoot. To say the least, this was disrespectful and unbecoming. Presidents Winder and Lund were appointed to have a talk with Elders [Charles W.] Penrose, [Horace G.] Whitney, and [John E.] Hansen in regard to some of these things. It was decided that all copyrights of the church publications should be assigned to the trustee-in-trust rather than to the Deseret News. (Larson, Diaries of Rudger Clawson, p.558, 19 March, 1903).

The Reed Smoot Hearings took place a year later. There is no way that F. Smith didn’t know, he was in charge of all the monies that came from and went to that business. Here is another entry from a financial report that was discussed with Joseph Fielding Smith:

[April 2, 1903]In the meeting of the Presidency and Twelve today, in behalf of the church auditing committee, I submitted the following report from the Presiding Bishop showing the receipts and disbursements of tithes for the year 1902. Also, a report from the books of the trustee-in-trust incorporating the final results as shown by the Presiding Bishop’s report and a statement of the silent assets of the church. (This report should have been included in the foregoing minutes.)

Presiding Bishop’s Office,
March 1st, 1903
GENERAL STATEMENT OF RECEIPTS AND DISBURSEMENTS
OF TITHES FOR THE YEAR 1902
Receipts
Tithes on hand, Jan. 1, 1902
P.B.O. 36,805.09 [p.575]
Stakes 355,554.70
Missions 12,787.70 405,147.49
Tithes received:
Stakes 1,363,544.66
Missions 57,506.53 1,421,051.19
Profits in handling, P.B.O. 424.00
Receipts from other sources
P.B.O. 1,013.09
Stakes 3,588.50
Missions 12,082.18 16,683.77
Total receipts 1,843,306.45
Disbursements
Losses
P.B.O. 16,871.52
Stakes 25,177.50 42,049.02
Bishops’ percentage
P.B.O. 7,928.00
Stakes 123,148.41 131,076.41
Improvements
P.B.O. 114.60
Stakes 40,169.23 40,283.83
General expenses
P.B.O. 7,917.92 [7918.16]
Stakes 14,138.00
Missions 106.00 22,162.16
Mission Maintenance 23,077.88
Paid trustee-in-trust
Cash 902,631.86
Orders 285,528.63 1,188,160.49
Balance on hand, Dec. 31, 1902:
P.B.O. 46,475.88
Stakes 339,804.00
Missions 10,216.78 396,496.66
Total 1,843,306.45
Audited Mch. 27, 1902, and submitted April 2, 1903.
(Signed) Rudger Clawson,
Reed Smoot,
Auditing Committee.

GENERAL REPORT
Surplus
Net surplus at the office of trust-in-trust 2,001,659.21
Tithes on hand in stakes of Zion, Jan. 1, 1903 396,496.66
Total 2,398,155.87
Silent Assets of the Church
Real estate:
Coal lands &c. 180,914.78
Tithing properties in stakes 325,801.12 506,805.90
B. Y. Academy, Provo, loan 100,262.41
Josepa Agricultural Co., owe on acct. 50,000.00
Total 666,068.31
Recapitulation
Surplus and tithes on hand, Jan. 1, 1903 2,398,155.87
Silent assets of the church 666,068.31
Total 3,064,224.18
Submitted,
(signed) Rudger Clawson,
Reed Smoot.
Data taken from Presiding Bishop’s general reports.
Net increase in tithing in 1902 over 1901 10,662.34
Net increase of cash tithing in 1902 over 1901 31,733.03

Total tithing paid in stakes 1,363,544.66; of this amount $1,049,541.73 was forwarded to the Presiding Bishop’s office, and $342,721 was disbursed locally. Total loss in handling tithes was 2.1%. Amt. paid to bishops for handling tithes was $123,148.41 or 9% of the total tithing received. The trustee-in-trust received 99.1[%] of the cash tithing of 1902. All the local expenses in the Stakes were paid or could have been paid from the profits in exchanges. Amount paid to the worthy poor—$95,713.92; of this amount the trustee-in-trust paid 36%, the fast offerings covered 40%, and Relief Society and sundry offerings covered 24%.

Number of tithe-payers in the church in 1901 were 74,625 [p.577]
Number of tithe-payers in the church in 1902 were 74,764
Net increase 139
Number of non-tithe-payers in 1901 10,859
Number. of non-tithe-payers in 1902 12,412
Increase 1,553

Number of non-tithe-payers, showing priesthood: 243 high priests; 656 seventies; 3396 elders; 584 priests; 600 teachers; 1966 deacons; 7445 total priesthood; 4967 members; 12,412 total.

Brother Clawson explained that if the foregoing Presiding Bishop’s report were approved, it would be copied into the trustee-in-trust’s record of assets and liabilities of the church, and the net results, namely, the tithes on hand, Jan. 1, 1903, would be carried into the trustee-in-trust’s general ledger. The said ledger would then show the exact financial status of the church with the exception of the Deseret News business, which the committee would report upon at an early day. Upon motion of Elder Jno. H. Smith the report was received, approved, and placed on file. (Larson, Diaries of Rudger Clawson, p.574-577)

 

II. LESSONS LEARNED FROM PERJURY?

In the wake of his testimony at the Reed Smoot Hearings, as Joseph F. Smith continued his lying in front of the entire Mormon Church, he probably began to wonder how he was going to keep the truth from getting out.  The case of Abraham H. Cannon was of particular concern to him, and Smith brought it up at a Council Meeting in October, 1904:

“Pres. [Joseph F.] Smith said that he wanted to refer to a matter that had given him much concern—namely, the private journals of the brethren of the council. Many things were written in them which, if they were to fall into the hands of the enemy, might bring trouble upon the church. After the death of the brethren, you cannot tell what may become of their journals, and even now the brethren felt an anxiety in relation to Pres. Geo. Q. Cannon’s journal, who made a pretty full account of everything that transpired in the councils of the brethren; the same with Abram Cannon and others. Elder Jno. H. Smith said that he was very much concerned about this matter and had been for a long time and felt ‘that some action should be taken in the premises. Pres. Winder said that it was very unsafe and risky for the brethren to write down that which occurred in these meetings. This duty belonged to the clerk of the council and nobody else. Pres. Winder moved that it be the sense and feeling of the council that the brethren should not write in their journals that which took place in the council meetings. Carried by unanimous vote. Meeting adjourned. Benediction by Elder Jno. H. Smith.”[24]

John R. Winder, Joseph F. Smith, Anthon H. Lund

CONCLUSION

Ironically, the diaries of Abraham H. Cannon were recently published (all except the last year, which is lost), and what they reveal about the church is that it has not been “clear and open” and that they in fact had much to hide. How strange that one “prophet” would claim that “the history of the church is clear and open and leads to faith and strength and virtues” and another that it “might bring trouble upon the church”, and that the “apostles” of said church would feel “anxiety” over “pretty full account[s] of everything that transpired in the councils of the brethren” and that it would be “unsafe and risky” for them to “write down that which occurred in these meetings”, or have them made known to the public.

There is much about Mormon history that is left out of the “official” accounts.  One would hope that Mormons, (As Joseph Fielding Smith taught) “shall not merely believe the truth because it is stated by one in whom they have confidence”; hopefully they will investigate and really know the truth, because  “it is only the truth that can make men free.”

ABRAHAM H. CANNON DIARY EXCERPTS

April 6th, 1884–Last day of Gen. Conf. “At a Priesthood meeting held in the evening (after the Hall was cleared of all those who were not worthy of being present by arranging the brethren according to wards and stakes) the strongest language in regard to Plural Marriage was used that I ever heard, and among other things it was stated that all men in positions who would not observe and fulfill that law should be removed from their places. The Spirit of the Lord rested powerfully upon the First Presidency each of whom addressed the meeting. All present felt the force of the remarks made.”

June 9, 1884–He called on Sis. Eliza R. Snow Smith Young: “. . . and in the course of our conversation she said she heard the Prophet Joseph once remark, `when the ten tribes were taken away, the earth was divided, so that they occupy a separate planet from this.’ This was news to me.”

May 10, 1885: Went out to “the Penn” to visit “our imprisoned brethren.” “They are all feeling quite well and as happy as possible under the circumstances. They have a few priveleges not granted to other prisoners, such as having their own beds, receiving milk, etc.”

May 18, 1885: At a mtg. in President’s office about the present crusade. “It seems that some so-called Saints in various parts of the country are beginning to weaken and talk of compromise [concerning polygamy]. Some of the leading men in Idaho are even in this frame of mind. Such talk is an evidence to me of utter lack of faith in God and His promises.”

June 30, 1885: Attended court part of the day where Bro. F. A. Brown’s case was called. The forenoon was occupied in getting a jury, and in the afternoon at his own request he was sworn as a witness. He was then permitted to read a paper in which he gave a short review of his past life, admitting his marriage with two women and saying that he would rather have his head severed from his body than to deny his religion and his God. After his testimony the case went to the jury who brought in a verdict of guilty with a recommendation for mercy. . . . As I was returning home I went to the Co-op store where a large crowd had gathered. By suggestion of some of our leaders the flags over which the “Mormons” had control were mostly placed at half mast in mourning for the sad persecution now going on in our midst. The flags at the city hall and court house had already been raised to the masthead at the command of a few anti-Mormons, and now, at 5 p.m. they had assembled at ZCMI with threats of using force in hoisting the flag. The police were there in numbers, however, and no attempt at violence was made. Finally Wm. Jennings and Thos. G. Webber came and had the stars and stripes raised, to the utter disgust of the many staunch Saints. Threats were then made to raise the flags on the Gardo House, Presidents Office, Tithing and Des. News offices, the Temple and Tabernacle, but they continued to wave in their half-mast positions until dark. In the evening a number of friends assembled at my home and we had an exhibition of fireworks until quite a late hour. At the celebration in Ogden today Apostle Moses Thatcher threw a bomb- shell into the camp of the Liberals by reciting some of Utah’s sufferings because of religious bigotry. His statements were too true to rest easy on the minds of the anti-Mormons and he was reprimanded by Judge Powers, the orator of the day. Gentiles are really beginning to think that the Saints are in rebellion.

Nov. 10, 1885: “A notice was published in tonight’s News signed by all of the Apostles except Geo. Teasdale who is absent, stating that [Apostle] Albert Carrington had been cut off from the Church for lewd and lascivious cohabitation and adultery. These acts are said to have been mostly of recent occurrence. This action caused everyone to be surprised.”

March, 1888: In the afternoon Apostle F. D. Richards spoke on the duties of the Saints, and I also spoke for about 25 minutes in a confused way. I fear that I counted too much on my own wisdom in arising to speak, and I felt very much chagrined when I resumed my seat. I hope the lesson will not be lost on me. As we drove home Father [George Q. Cannon] told me that all his success in life was due to his zeal for the work of God. Men gave him credit for much more ability than he possessed, but whatever talents he did possess he had tried to use to the glory of God. In his speaking he had never desired to be sensational but to be sound in doctrine. He asked me what I understood concerning Mary conceiving the Savior; and as I found no answer, he asked what was to prevent Father Adam from visiting and overshadowing the mother of Jesus. “Then,” said I, “He must have been a resurrected Being.” “Yes,” said he, “and though Christ is said to have been the first fruits of them that slept, yet the Savior said he did nothing but what He had seen His Father do, for He had power to lay down His life and take it up again. Adam, though made of dust, was made, as Pres. Young said, of the dust of another planet than this.” I was very much instructed by the conversation and this day’s services.

April 7, 1889: . . .Apostles Moses Thatcher and Heber J. Grant in the presence of Bros. Gates and Morgan ordained two High Priests who were going on missions to be Seventies. This is an innovation, for while I believe that a Seventy holds the higher office, there are some, even among the Twelve, who think a High Priest is higher. This settles the matter as far as these two missionaries are concerned.

June 23, 1889–Geo. Q. Cannon is teaching the gospel to A.H. He taught: (1) “That all men, even the sons of perdition, will be resurrected.” (2) “That Jesus Christ is Jehovah”. (3) “That Adam is His Father and our God”. (4) That under certain unknown conditions the benefits of the Savior’s atonement extend to our solar system.”

October 7, 1889: October: . . .At 3 p.m. I attended a meeting of the Twelve at the Gardo House where Bros. Merrill, Lund and myself were set apart as Apostles in the order named. Pres. Woodruff set apart the first, Father [George Q. Cannon] the second, and Bro. Joseph F. [Smith] myself. Our charge was first given us by Father at Pres. W’s instance. The importance of our callings was portrayed, and our privileges were named. Among these were the privileges of having the ministration of angels, and of seeing the Savior Himself; of hearing the voice of God as audibly as we hear a man’s voice; of continually being under the direction of the Holy Ghost; of being prophets and revelators; and of many other things of which I have a verbatim copy, as also of my blessing and ordination, in which I was promised everything my heart desired in righteousness if faithful.

Oct. 7, 1889: About 1 p.m. all were excused from the room except the pres[idents] of stakes, their counselors and the leading authorities, when political matters were discussed. Our danger of losing the election in this city was mentioned and it was proposed that those stakes who could spare young men to come to this city and acquire residence so as to be able to vote, do so, and that we here provide employment and pay for such. Our enemies intend to run in miners, railroad graders, and every available man to win the election, and it will require all our efforts to foil their plans.

Oct. 21, 1889: About 5 p.m. Bro. Jorgason of Sevier Co[unty] desired my counsel as to what course he should take. He was arrested two weeks since on a bench warrant on a charge of polygamy. His first wife died 18 months ago and he has since married his plural wife before a justice of the peace. I advised him to keep his wife out of the way until after his trial, and when his case came up, he should prove the death of his first wife and subsequent marriage to his second. The date of his union with the latter, however, in the house of the Lord, he should not reveal, as it has occurred within three years.

Nov. 27, 1889 (at Fillmore)–Two young unmarried people have committed fornication. “Bro. Kelly (1st Counselor in stake pres.) was told that on asking forgiveness they should be permitted to receive re-baptism and not be cut off; but where persons thus sin who have received their endowments, they must be excommunicated.”

Dec. 6, 1889: . . . In speaking of the recent examination before Judge Anderson, Father said that he understood when he had his endowments in Nauvoo that he took an oath against the murderers of the Prophet Joseph as well as other prophets, and if he had ever met any of those who had taken a hand in that massacre he would undoubtedly have attempted to avenge the blood of the martyrs. The Prophet charged Stephen Markham to avenge his blood should he be slain; after the Prophet’s death, Bro. Markham attempted to tell this to an assembly of the Saints, but Willard Richards pulled him down from the stand, as he feared the effect on the enraged people. Bro. Joseph F. Smith was traveling some years ago near Carthage, when he met a man who said he had just arrived five minutes too late to see the Smiths killed. Instantly a dark cloud seemed to overshadow Bro. Smith and he asked how this man looked upon the deed. Bro. S. was oppressed by a most horrible feeling as he waited for a reply. After a brief pause the man answered, “Just as I have always looked upon it–that it was a d. . .d cold- blooded murder.” The cloud immediately lifted from Bro. Smith and he found that he had his open pocket knife grasped in his hand in his pocket, and he believes that had this man given his approval to that murder of the prophets, he would have immediately struck him to the heart.

Dec. 8, 1889: Father briefly mentioned two cases with which he was familiar where men were killed in a violent way for the reason, as he believed, that they took the name of God in vain and were very profane.

Dec. 19, 1889: During our meeting a revelation was read which Pres. Woodruff received Sunday evening, Nov. 24th. Propositions had been made for the Church to make some concessions to the Courts in regard to its principles. Both of Pres. Woodruff’s counselors refused to advise him as to the course he should pursue, and he therefore laid the matter before the Lord. The answer came quick and strong. The word of the Lord was for us not to yield one particle of that which He had revealed and established. He had done and would continue to care for His work and those of the Saints who were faithful, and we need have no fear of our enemies when we were in the line of our duty. We are promised redemption and deliverance if we will trust in God and not in the arm of flesh. We were admonished to read and study the Word of God, and to pray often. The whole revelation was filled with words of the greatest encouragement and comfort, and my heart was filled with joy and peace during the entire reading. It sets all doubts at rest concerning the course to pursue.

Feb. 28, 1890: After a bitter cold night we had a very cold day. From 7 till 10:30 a.m. I was busy at the office reading proofs preparing copy, etc. At the latter hour I went by invitation to the Gardo House. There, where we usually hold our prayer circle, the following brethren met: Presidents Woodruff, Cannon and Smith, Bros. John R. Winder, B. Y. Hampton, F. Armstrong, J. W. Fox, Jr., N. V. Jones, Geo. Reynolds, Arthur Winter and myself. Before the business of the meeting commenced we were all placed under obligation to keep the matter entirely secret. Pres. Woodruff then stated that his mind had been considerably exercised of late in regard to the prospect of our people being taxed under “Liberal” rule to such an extent as to ruin them. After thought and prayer on the subject he felt impressed that we should carefully begin to sell our surplus property at the exorbitant figures now being paid by outsiders for real estate, and reinvest our money on good security, thus shifting the burden of taxation from our shoulders to those of our enemies. All the brethren expressed their approval in general of the plan, and Father expressed the idea that he believed the Lord was, for some good purpose, turning the tide of Gentile wealth in our direction, and he felt that we should take advantage of the event. The necessity of perfect secrecy and the utmost care in this movement was apparent to all for should it once be known among the Saints that it would not meet with disapproval to sell their property to speculators a great panic would immediately ensue. Bros. Winder, Armstrong, Hampton, Fox and Jones and I were appointed a committee to take this matter in hand and work it up.

Apr. 23, 1890: I listened this forenoon to a narration by Bp. Timothy Winters of Rexburg [Idaho] of the course of [Stake] Pres. Thos. E. Ricks of the Bannock Stake. Bro. Winters has received notice to prepare for a mission to New Zealand in August next, and he believes that Pres. R. has been instrumental in having him called through spite because their views have not been alike. I learned through Bp. Winters, whom I am at liberty to quote as authority, that Pres. R. is very arbitrary in his way thus creating a feeling against him among the people. He also drinks and has been seen more than once in a drunken condition. About five weeks ago as he was returning from Salt Lake he joined some of the Home Missionaries who had been laboring in Eagle Rock and Pocatello and rode with them to Market Lake. At the latter place as they were waiting for a team to convey them to Rexburg, he invited these brethren and some strangers who were present to step up to the bar and drink with him and then play cards. The brethren refused to drink, but indulged in card-playing. He, however, drank until he was intoxicated and also played cards. These matters are talked about in the stake and are sure to injure his standing. … The city council, in last evening’s session, granted a franchise on the State Road to the Rapid Transit Street R[ail] R[oad] Company of which I own some stock. They also gave the Liberal band permission to hold sacred concerts on Sunday evenings in the [Salt Lake] Theatre or Opera House. This they did notwithstanding the protest of the various ministers in this city, and the feelings of the great majority who oppose it. The sacred stillness of our Sabbath is thus to be broken by creatures who have no respect for the Lord or His laws.

July 24, 1890: Andrew J. Burt called to report some of his negotiations with three “Liberal” leaders—McCallum, Morris and an unknown—for the prevention of illegal voting, which, if successful, means the election of the People’s Ticket. The price they want is between twenty and thirty thousand dollars. Father called a council of the Apostles, and we all felt that Bro. Burt should continue his negotiations, but on the plan of giving only $1,00000 down and the remainder payable on the election of our ticket throughout this County. We all felt that this means would be well spent if it brought triumph to our side. Thus the proposition is made to pay men to be honest or to prevent fraud.

July 28, 1890: The country through which we today passed is rapidly building up, and a few years, I think, will see it thickly populated. I asked Pres. Parkinson to give me a chance to purchase a building lot in Preston near the academy when the land is plotted. This will be a good place for “undergrounders.”

Sept. 26, 1890: There is considerable comment and fault-finding among some of the Saints because of a manifesto which Pres. Woodruff issued on the 24th inst., in reply to a statement made by the Utah Commission that plural marriages were still authorized and celebrated, and that within the past year some 40 or more had been performed. Pres. W. denied this allegation, and said that such marriages were forbidden by the Church in this Territory, and he called upon the Saints to submit to the law of the land in this particular. In his declaration, however, there is no renunciation of principle nor abandonment of families recommended, as some fault-finders try to make it appear.

Oct. 17, 1890: Uncle David [Cannon] came in about noon and told me that he had just had a conversation with Lindsey Sprague, a deputy marshal, who told him that there were papers out for my arrest, but it was not the intention to serve them until my family were located and where they could be captured. I got Chas. H. Wilcken to investigate the matter for me and he learned that it was indeed a fact that a warrant was issued and in Doyle’s hands for my arrest. I therefore kept in my room all the afternoon.

Oct. 18, 1890: I … spent some time at my room until Bro. Wilcken came and informed me that he had bought Doyle off and had got his promise that I should not be molested, nor should any other person without sufficient notice being given for them to escape, and to get witnesses out of the way. He gave Bro. Wilcken the names of some 51 persons whose arrest he intended to try and effect on a trip he and another deputy intend to undertake today, through Utah and Emery counties. A messenger was therefore despatched to give these people warning. Thus with a little money a channel of communication is kept open between the government offices and the suffering and persecuted Church members.

Nov. 2, 1890: In relation to S[amuel] F. Ball who desires to go to Mexico and get a fourth wife, Father said it could not be done, as such things had ceased to occur even there. One young man who recently had this privilege, came back and allowed the knowledge of it to go out, and thus put the Church in danger. Father feels, as I do, that it is best to entirely cease the performance of such marriages for the present and thus make the brethren more appreciative of present blessings. …

Nov. 18, 1890: A saloon has been opened in Deseret by one of the brethren—Hawley. He has built a nice brick structure, and had a dance there last night and another tonight for opening. Nearly all the Saints attended[,] a notice of the parties having been given in Sunday meeting, and the proprietor of the saloon having been called to dismiss the meeting.

Dec. 18, 1890: . . .Father 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; but this is rather a questionable proceeding. Before separating we administered to Pres. Woodruff for his severe cold. Father was mouth.

Jan. 26, 1891: Quite a large number of plural wives are now living in Franklin [Idaho], as it is considered safe for them to do so[,] there being no law of the state yet enacted against the practice of the Saints. Besides it is doubtful if a man could be punished if he has his wife in different States or Territories

January 30, 1891: After some little discussion it was decided that it will be best for Z.C.M.I. and other corporations to cease paying tithing on their earnings but leave the stockholders to pay from their dividends. The custom, however, of deducting the tithing from the wages of employees was not discontinued. It was thought proper in some instances to induce eastern Gentiles of respectability to take stock with us in some of our large corporations. They would thus feel interested in protecting us in case of attack on our institutions. It was reported that there are many thieves working in Z.C.M.I. whose thefts have been discovered. Whether to make public examples of them or merely discharge them, was referred to the Board of Directors.

Apr. 9, 1891:  Went to the Gardo House at 2 o’clock and spent about 2 hrs. there. We did not hold our prayer circle, as there was so much business demanding immediate attention. The polygamist [Hans] Jespersen, who is now in prison, and was married in the Endowment House just before it was demolished, threatens to tell who performed the ceremony unless something is done for him immediately. The person [Franklin D. Richards] is liable, if discovered, to two years’ imprisonment and a $1,00000 fine, for officiating in a plural marriage. It was decided that F[rancis] M. Lyman and James Jack visit him and others of the 18 brethren now imprisoned, tomorrow, and assure them that no pains shall be spared to effect their release. They will be advised to sign a dispatch to the U.S. Att[orne]y. Gen[era]’l in Washington [D.C.], promising hereafter to obey the law. Jespersen is to be counseled to telegraph to Utah Pros[ecuting] Att[orne]y [Charles S.] Varian, who is now in Washington, making a similar promise. Thus the effort will be made to immediately relieve these brethren, who are now confined in their cells for 22 out of 24 hrs., and are not by themselves, but mixed up with the “toughs.” Warden [Oscar] Vandercook will be asked to authenticate the prisoners’ messages.

June 29, 1891: We had considerable talk over the conditions existing here, and felt that everything is moving along satisfactorily. The change in sentiment towards our people is exhibited in the fact that ex-Marshal F[rank] H. Dyer called Heber J. Grant out of a [Salt Lake] Herald Directors’ meeting a few days ago, and told him that one of his plural wives had been located in this city by the deputies, and said, “For G–d’s sake, get her away, Grant, for we can’t afford to have the Vice-President of this company arrested for violating the law.” Heber did get her away.

Feb. 9, 1892: In the afternoon spent a short time at the [Church] President’s office where the advisability of dividing the Summit Stake in two, and making a new Stake in Wyoming was considered. The object of doing so was to prevent [Stake] Pres. W[illiam] W. Cluff, who is an ardent Democrat, from using his influence with the people of his Stake in Wyoming to make them Democrats, instead of leaving them as they now are, Republicans. The division would make the Stake in Wyoming number but 646 souls, and would also make the Summit Stake, which is now very small, still smaller. It was decided to call Pres. Cluff to an interview, and if he will promise to use his influence to keep the Saints as far as possible in the Republican party, to not divide the Stake. Geo. F. Gibbs and Robt. Campbell were selected to go quietly to Logan and work to make the Republican ticket successful in the approaching city election, which takes place on the 1st of March. The registration lists now show that the Republicans outnumber the Democrats, but there is quite a number of neutral voters whom it is desired to convert to Republicanism so as to make the party abundantly strong.

Mar. 16, 1892: In the afternoon I was at the President’s office to hear the complaints of the Territorial Central Committee of the Democratic Party concerning the alleged Church influence which was used to make the recent election in Logan a Republican instead of a Democratic victory. There were present Presidents [Wilford] Woodruff and [Joseph F.] Smith, F[ranklin] D. Richards, Moses Thatcher, John H. Smith, myself, Geo. F. Gibbs, Sam. Merritt, Jos. L. Rawlins, W[aldemar] Van Cott, F[rank] H. Dyer, F[ranklin] S. Richards, LeGrand Young, R[ichard] W. Young, J[ames] H[enry] Moyle, Robt. Sloan, G[eorge] W. Thatcher, and Jos. Kimball. Mr. Merritt opened the interview by saying there was evidence on hand in the form of affidavits to show that Geo. F. Gibbs and other members of the Church had stated that the Presidency had sent them privately to Logan to influence voters to cast their ballots for the Republican ticket. He (Merritt) did not believe this had been done by the authorities, but he felt that it was due to the Democrats as well as to themselves [and] that the Presidency of the Church should make public announcement that they did not empower Mr. Gibbs or any other person to use their names to influence voters. A mass of affidavits were then read to prove that ecclesiastical influence had been used for this purpose, and then remarks were made by all of the Democratic committee present, and some of these remarks were not mild. All denounced the using of Church influence in political matters, and the dangers of so doing were portrayed in bright colors. When these men had finished Pres. Woodruff thanked them for coming to him with the matter, and said he had used no influence whatever, and no person had his authority for using his name in this connection. G. F. Gibbs disclaimed any right to use the names of the Presidency, and said he had not done so in the way the affidavits claimed. Pres. Smith also denied having authorized the use of his name. I then spoke a few words in defense of Father, and told them that he was for a division in all sincerity, and he did not play with such matters. It was about 5 o’clock when the interview ended, we having been together about three and a half hours

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.

We continued our meeting. Pres. Snow said he felt that when any question came up among us on which the majority were clear, should there be one who did not see as the others, that one should be willing to yield his views to those of the majority, and leave the responsibility of the course pursued with them. –John W. Taylor spoke in relation to the Manifesto: “I do not know that that thing was right, though I voted to sustain it, and will assist to maintain it; but among my father’s papers I found a revelation given him of the Lord, and which is now in my possession, in which the Lord told him that the principle of plural marriage would never be overcome. Pres. Taylor desired to have it suspended, but the Lord would not permit it to be done. At the close of John W.’s remarks our meeting adjourned till tomorrow at 10 o’clock. I closed with prayer.

May 26, 1892: At two o’clock I was at my Quorum meeting where were present all the Presidency and myself, as also Bro. [Francis M.] Lyman; Geo. Gibbs, clerk. Bro. Jos. F. Smith was mouth in prayer. Thereafter some conversation followed as to whether Adam is our God or not. There are some in the Church who do not accept of the statement of Pres. [Brigham] Young that such is the case, but to me it seems reasonable to think that Adam has at least much to do with our present condition, and will control greatly our future destiny.

Dec. 17, 1892: At my Quorum meeting on Thursday the brethren were told that our success in the Church suits was in a great measure due to the fact that we have a partner of Justice [Stephen J.] Field of the Supreme Court of the United States in our employ, who is to receive a percentage of the money if the suits go in our favor, and the property is returned to us. It was decided at this meeting that we would dispense with the services of the Church attorneys at the end of the year. Those now employed are F[ranklin] S. Richards and Le Grand Young. The former receives $5,000 per year, and the latter $3,000. The latter has felt some reluctance at accepting his pay for the work now being done, but the former has felt it was his due.

July 19, 1893: Three more Denver banks went to the wall today because of the runs made on them. By request of the Salt Lake bankers we [Deseret News] suppressed the exciting news from Denver, so that the people here might not become needlessly alarmed at the situation. Our bank statements published today show a very healthy condition.

October 10, 1893: “He [George Q.Cannon] believes the time will come when marriages will occur in our temples under the Aaronic Priesthood, instead of giving to young and inexperienced men all the blessings belonging to the Higher Priesthood. It is frequently the case now that unworthy persons go into the temples on recommends, which they should not receive, but it cannot well be prohibited them to enter, because of their family connections. He hoped this change would occur soon. The brethren should pay their tithes and offerings promptly and fully, and thus aid the Church in its difficultly. Men should not sell their honor, their wife’s virtue or their inheritances. We should hold all of these sacred. Pres. Woodruff and Jos. F. Smith approved of all that had been said, and the latter spoke at some length on the false doctrines which are now being circulated.

Nov. 9 1893: . . . Pres. Woodruff told of himself and David Patten being in Tennessee on a mission. While there Bro. Patten had a journey of 40 miles to make one day, but when he went out to get the mule he had procured for this labor, he was on the ground nearly dead with the colic. Bro. Patten said: “See here, old fellow, this won’t do! You have got to carry me 40 miles today, and with these words he stepped up to the animal, laid his hands on the animal, and blessed him. The mule immediately arose, and made the journey. Pres. Woodruff said that was the only time in his life when his faith had been tried, but he thought it strange for an Elder to administer to a mule, and thus do what seemed sacrilege in his mind at that time. –Bro. Joseph F. Smith told of his mother having one of her oxen become sick when she was coming to the valley with her family. The captain of the company said the animal would die, but she got out a bottle of consecrated oil, and got two of the brethren to administer to the ox, and it recovered. Father also had one of his cattle healed by the laying on of hands by himself. The animal accidentally got its leg badly hurt, and it looked as though it could no more travel, but Father slipped out after dark and administered to it, and it recovered and made the journey home. — 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.

March 25, 1894 . . .Bro. Roskelly of the Logan temple is having a considerable number of persons who are dead sealed and adopted to him. This is right where people request it, but he should not try to induce them to take this course through their surviving relatives, or in their own cases, if alive. Pres. Woodruff will write him to not try to get people to be thus sealed to him, but where they ask it of their own free will it will be proper.

March 28, 1894: . . . I [Pres. Woodruff] was sealed to my father, and then had him sealed to the Prophet Joseph. Erastus Snow was sealed to his father though the latter was not baptized after having heard the Gos