Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Blacks and the Priesthood

The LDS Church published a history on Blacks and the Priesthood recently. The write-up is linked below. It's an interesting read because it almost puts it matter-of-factly: in 1852 as the territory of Utah was being created, Brigham Young publicly stated that Blacks would not be allowed to hold the Priesthood or enter the temple. That belief was perpetuated for over 100 years until 1978 (best year, ever!). Why? Did Brigham act in the best interest of the state (ensuring more political stability and likelihood of eventual statehood)? Or did he use his own judgement and prejudices? Is this a case of "imperfect people leading the church" or was there a wise, divine purpose for this all?

It's interesting to read this timeline of events, of sorts. Take a gander, leave a comment here with any impressions.



LanceandNance said...

It is an interesting read. It doesn't apologize for past restrictions, nor does it explain really why the restrictions were placed. It almost felt like how polygamy is often explained: It is something that used to be done and now it is not.(simplified here, of course)

I'm not sure how I feel about the whole thing. I think the factors you mentioned in the post, like political stability, etc. are likely factors but every time I try and rationalize these ideas it doesn't feel right. I like to think that because there was no apology, there were divine reasons behind the restrictions that aren't fully explained, but I don't know.

The Duke said...

One of the most interesting articles I've ever read in my life was stated as a resource at the end of this article. https://byustudies.byu.edu/showtitle.aspx?title=7885

It is Edward Kimball's perspective and it is very detailed with lengthy footnotes which are a must read along with the article. I read this a couple of months ago and couldn't put it down. It is all about events leading up to the revelation from Pres. Kimball. (Edward is Spencer's son.) Add that article and you will have a little better feeling about the struggles, the need to understand, the searching the brethren did to come to a unanimous decision. It is one awesome study!! I haven't read the entire article Jess put on here today but will read it tomorrow night when I am home and will have time.
I agree with Lance's statement - the article from BYU Studies leaves no doubt that the searching and answer were divinely authored for whatever reason God saw fit. Please read it along with this one for the spiritual side of the event.

Jess Clark said...

I'm not questioning the divine nature that went into the rescinding of the ban on blacks in the priesthood. It's not clear from the church-authored link I put up whether it was divinely appointed to begin with!

Seth and Natalie said...

I agree with you Jess. Plus I liked showing it to Steve who has a very firm stance on why the priesthood wasn't available to everyone, and this article flat out states that was wrong. The impression I got was what I've always thought: prophets are people and people make their own judgments. Just kind of strange this statement came out now, and not in 1978. (which was a pretty great year, by the way :)

Mike and Adrianne said...

I don't know what I feel about this. I've thought about it a lot in the past. Actually, I have similar thoughts about the whole gay thing--which I know Dad would hugely disagree with me on. But, I am not sure I've come to a conclusion on what I think so I don't think I'll share my opinions here.

But I will maybe just say something else that probably people will not like either. I have actually never really agreed with a whole lot of Brigham Young's thoughts. His thoughts as a prophet directly speaking for God, I believe but Brigham Young as an individual, I'm not so sure. His personality is not one that I think I would have cared for much. I guess that's not entirely true. There is much about his personality that I think is pretty amazing and worthy of trying to be like. But some of his other personality traits, I don't care for. He reminds me of Captain Moroni instead of Pahoran. That is totally beside the point of the original post and I won't go into more than that because probably a bunch of you will think I'm wicked for saying I don't totally care for the personality of one of our prophets. Though, maybe not. Maybe you would understand that and not think I'm wicked. Ha, ha.

Jess Clark said...

Adrianne, I feel this way about women and the priesthood, not necessarily about gay marriage. That seems like a moral issue, not a "policy" issue. I'm using those phrases loosely. I have not been able to align my mind with the gay marriage principle yet. They seem like different problems (priesthood inclusion and gay marriage).

BTW, glad to hear Mike's deployment is being delayed until at least after Christmas! Hope he gets his proper per diem, though!

Mike and Adrianne said...

Well, I think I look at the gay issue differently than you do and I would be happy to share my feelings on it but think it would be better through an email, if you are interested in hearing.

I hope he doesn't get per diem because I don't want him to go and his boss said if they don't give him the proper per diem he will write a letter and say they won't let him go. But, I'm sure they will figure it out and he will still go, but pay him what he ought to be paid.

The Duke said...

In referring to the "gay issue" I'm not sure if you mean the feelings and tendencies towards being gay or gay marriage. The Proclamation on Marriage clearly states that marriage is between a man and a woman and is central to the core plan of God. This is not policy. It is an eternal truth.
I think that might be the difference between this issue and the blacks and the priesthood. The church and scholars are trying to sort out where it came from and, not being really successful in finding any official doctrinal statement by Joseph Smith, they have backed off preconceived ideas and attitudes.
The Proclamation on the Family also states clearly that gender matters. There are separate roles for men and women. It does not state that men are the only ones to hold the priesthood in those words, but it does make it clear that roles are different. I'd be very careful if I were a woman and went after the priesthood. I think that's shaky ground.