3 Mormons: Blacks and the Priesthood

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The LDS Church was restored during an era of intense racial discrimination. Christianity at large had all kinds of racial prejudices that would be deemed unacceptable today. Pastors advocated slavery, preachers would openly say, “black people will not be saved, “ etc. However, during the time of Christ, the Savior advocated the acceptance of all people. Needless to say, there was lots of hypocrisy among Christians in both eras.

Read more about Race and the Priesthood at LDS Topics.

We need to understand that we don’t have to agree with everything the prophet says in regards to his own opinions. There is a difference between doctrine and opinion. Ian jokes that if everyone were to take Mormon opinion as doctrine, every Mormon would subscribe to the Glenn Beck show.

Kwaku talks about the ban that Brigham Young put on black people. The ban disallowed black people to go to the temple or hold the priesthood. (This doesn’t mean they couldn’t be baptized.) The ban was lifted in 1978.

No matter how we justify the ban, Elder Holland has said, “All I can say is however well intentioned the explanations were, almost all of them were inadequate and/or wrong.”

Ian says that prophets of God are not infallible humans. He goes on to say that racism is unfortunate and wrong, so it’s a good thing society has become increasingly more accepting over the years.

Read more about Black Mormons.

Kwaku makes the argument that Mormons were much more progressive than other people were at the time. He said that Brigham Young advocated for mixed-race people. He invited the minorities to come live in the Mormon communities so they could be safe (while Kwaku says this fact in the video, it likely wasn’t Brigham Young but rather W.W. Phelps, who was also of the Mormon Faith).

He talks about a cartoon of Brigham Young where he is holding hands with young children of all different races, indicating that Mormons were a diverse group that was thus anti-American (as clarification, it may be that the cartoon isn’t necessarily depicting Brigham Young but another authority in the LDS religion). Ian agrees and says that Joseph Smith ran for president as an abolitionist.

As far as the Mormon priesthood ban goes, the Mormon Church has never said that it is doctrine. Sure, the priesthood ban may be strange, but it should be something that we explore with faith and seek further understanding.

Kwaku says that the Mormon Church is the best church for black people. It is the best church for all of God’s children because it is the restored church.

What do you think? Do you have further insights in regards to the the Mormon priesthood ban? We’d love to hear from you in the comments below!

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