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Gospel Topics Chapter 10 Harris Part 1

Viewpoint on Mormonism / Bill McKeever
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June 6, 2021 9:29 pm

Gospel Topics Chapter 10 Harris Part 1

Viewpoint on Mormonism / Bill McKeever

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June 6, 2021 9:29 pm

This week Bill and Eric take a look at the chapter written by Matthew L. Harris titled “Whiteness Theology and the Evolution of Mormon Racial Teachings,” which deal with the Race and the Priesthood essay. This series along with links to the original articles can be found at


Is there not much of a difference between Mormonism and Christianity will actually despite what many may think there is and when it comes to this incident. Even highly charged issue that is eternal ramifications.

The Christian may not know where to turn. Just trying to understand moments police to be both confusing and frustrating. That's why Mormonism 101 was written a book resource by Mormonism research ministries Bill McKeever and Eric Johnson that contrasts vital documents, such as was God what is Scripture and how a person is able to go to heaven when the two religions are placed side-by-side differences are many. Mormonism 101 is a tool that will help you better understand the doctrines of your Latter Day Saints friend, family member or coworker even has witnessing tips available to help you in future conversations. Published by Baker books 101 is available in or ask for it at your favorite Christian bookstore. Always be prepared to give an viewpoint on Mormonism program and examines the teachings of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints from a biblical perspective viewpoint on Mormonism is sponsored by Mormonism research ministry since 1979 Mormonism research ministry has been dedicated to equipping the body of Christ with answers regarding the Christian faith in a manner that expresses gentleness and respect. And now, your host for today's viewpoint on Mormonism welcome to this addition of viewpoint on Mormonism on your host, Bill McKeever, founder and director Mormonism research ministry and with me today is Eric Johnson. My colleague at M. R.

M. The gospel topics series a scholarly engagement to.

There were two men that were really behind this project. One of them was Newell G. Bringhurst, who had a chapter in the book that we've already covered, but the other gentleman that was the person who really got this book published was Matthew L. Harris about Matthew L. Harris it says in his bio is a professor of history at Colorado State University Pueblo.

He holds a PhD in American history from the Maxwell school of citizenship and Public affairs at Syracuse University. He is the author and/or editor of several books including most recently the Mormon church and blocks a documentary history watchmen on the tower on Ezra Taft Benson and the making of the Mormon right and thunder on the right answer Taft Benson in Mormonism and politics so he does have an LDS background as far as we know he is still a Latter Day Saints. He went to Brigham Young University graduated from there and I would say that from the books that he has produced.

He certainly can effectively handle the topic in chapter 10 that is titled whiteness, theology, and the evolution of Mormon racial teachings dealing with the gospel topics essay that was titled race and the priesthood that before we get into his chapter. Eric you are reading to me as we were prepping for the show an interview that Mr. Harris was involved in where he's talking about the coming forth of this book and why he felt it was necessary and some of the reluctance that he noticed among the leaders in the LDS church in producing the essays which of course led to the production of this book. What were some of the things that he said about the reluctance of the leadership in coming forth with the gospel topics essay one of the things that he commended the church for is that they were actually down with historical issues that he felt were important for them to deal with, but he also showed that the LDS church leaders had some reluctance as to what how far they should go with this and this interview that you're referring to comes from the website from the and there were 10 questions that he was given in one of the questions I found to be the most interesting in this interview asked him why haven't the essays been more heavily marketed.

This is what he said the brethren didn't want to advertise the essays in general conference or the inside because they feared that if the essays had a wide circulation, it might cause a faith crisis for some Latter Day Saints who weren't familiar with the contents of the essays. In other words, the churches attempt to be more transparent could cause harm to some Latter Day Saints who were unaware or unfamiliar with challenging hotspots in the church history. A quick glance at Latter Day Saints blog sites demonstrates that the brethren had cause for concern.

Several essays in my book documents how rank-and-file members reacted to the essays, some positive, some negative, but I would agree with him, because we have talked to many Latter Day Saints who were struck by how honest they were and gave them information they didn't know they ended up leaving the church because of this information. I found an interest. I've never heard this before, that the church didn't want to do too much advertising because yes they wanted to be transparent but then to be too transparent. Was going to possibly cause many people not only to leave the church, but perhaps also not allow people to come in once they heard about these things and when we did our introduction to this book several weeks ago that introduction lists some of those examples that he just cited from that interview and I can understand why there could be some negative repercussions from bringing out this kind of information that I think were going to see it in this chapter as well that Mr. Harris wrote whiteness, theology, and the evolution of Mormon racial teachings. He is critiquing the race in the priesthood essay which came out December 6, 2013, so this would be one of the first essays that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints posted on their official website, and is now Church of Jesus, but he mentions that this essay is a 2000 word document which LDS church owned and operated desert retinues modestly described as quote and enhanced page on this admittedly quote hot topic without question. He continues the tersely written essay is the fullest, richest and most authoritative expression to date of Mormonism's evolving racial teachings. It repudiates what were once settled Mormon doctrine by rejecting the curse of King designation and by disavowing the quintessential LDS teaching that black people were less valiant in a pre-earth life. Nevertheless, the essay stops short of full disclosure, it neither acknowledges past LDS racial teachings is essential doctrine nor addresses problematic issues of race and LDS scripture. Consequently, Mormon whiteness teachings continue to pose significant challenges for black Latter Day Saints. Even as a church tries to distance itself from these teachings. Let's go back because two times in this paragraph that you read he uses the word doctrine or doctrines. He says it repudiates what were once settled Mormon doctrines and then later on it neither acknowledges past LDS Rachel teachings as essential doctrine that was a complaint that we have often had when discussing this topic with Latter Day Saints. Even prior to 1978 when the priesthood ban was lifted in those of African heritage would be allowed to hold this much coveted priesthood authority because it's absolutely essential if you hope as a Latter Day Saints mail to reach exultation. Many times when talking to people after 1978.

They would act like, well, it was never a doctrine but yet if you asked some of the same Latter Day Saints will did you believe it, they would usually all say yes some of the might of been uncomfortable with it, but they certainly believed that they never voice their opposition to this kind of the teaching so here's what you have.

You have this game being played. Yet even though I believe it to be truth from God himself on the chemical had a doctrine and I think most people listening to that are probably not going to have a whole lot of respect for the individual that uses that kind of reasoning so I think he makes a point here because in the essay itself.

They still try to play that game even though it can be demonstrated that it was referred to as a doctrine bill, we have to ask the question how many Latter Day Saints today who are alive, who were Latter Day Saints back in 1978. I mean, that happened over 40 years ago. Think about how many new Latter Day Saints who never knew life with this doctrine, even if they had been born. By 1978 they would remember it, you probably would have to have been born. By 1970, so I think for a lot of Latter Day Saints to hear about this doctrine. Maybe they don't think it's as serious of a doctrine as it really wise. I mean, I'm looking at two quotes by 10th Pres. Joseph Fielding Smith. This is what he said two different times. This is in the way to perfection. Page 110 Joseph Fielding Smith said this doctrine did not originate with Pres. Brigham Young but was taught by the prophet Joseph Smith.

Then, in the improvement Era from April 1924, page 565.

He said it is true that the Negro race is barred from holding the priesthood and this has always been the case, the prophet Joseph Smith taught this doctrine and it was made known to him, although we know of no such statement in any revelation, the doctrine and covenants book of Mormon or the Bible, which is interesting is not found in the standard works but according to Joseph Fielding Smith that had been taught by Joseph Smith by Brigham Young and we go down the line all the way to even David O. McKay talks about this and even though that is absolutely correct. I have to be quite honest with you though. Eric II can't recall seeing a firsthand account of Joseph Smith teaching anything like this.

Even though Joseph Fielding Smith credits him for this teaching. If it was not a doctrine, then why did they not allow those with black skin to become priesthood holders that allow them to be able to go the temple. I mean, that was a rule that was a doctrine you can call it official doctrine and so I think that's something that the point needs to be made. What he says here on page 247 Matthew Harris uses the word doctrine and doctrines and I think he's accurate, then under the section overview on page 247. He says the race in priesthood essay opens by quoting second Nephi 2633 affirming quote unquote that all are alike on the God. This popular book of Mormon Scripture sets the tone for the remainder of the document for the essay's primary purpose is to remind readers that the church welcomes all races, colors and creeds. When Bruce McConkey Mormon apostle gave one of his talks that title all or alike unto God. And as this page points out by citing second Nephi 2633 where that comes from wait a second here Mr. McConkey that's always been in the book of Mormon that's been there since the very beginning, getting your church.

It's not like second Nephi 2633 all of a sudden is inserted later.

It was always there, which is very puzzling because they're acting as if he what were doing just goes along with our Scripture will if that's true then what you were doing before doesn't go along with your Scripture that doesn't seem to be acknowledged on the top of page 248.

He writes the race in priesthood writers assert that the church emerged quote amidst a highly contentious racial culture in which whites were afforded great privilege" the essay affirms that the church was restored in 1830 when slavery was legal and racial discrimination permeated American culture. This in turn influence the formation of LDS racial policies wherein Brigham Young implemented the priesthood and temple ban aimed specifically at Blacks of African heritage. Most significantly, the essay admits that the ban resulted from human air rather than divine. Well, it further explains that young reflected the prejudices of his 19 century environment when quote many people of African descent lived in slavery and racial distinctions and prejudice were not just common but customary among white Americans."

Now there is a lot to discuss in that paragraph alone in working to take up this subject in tomorrow's show when we continue looking at the gospel topic series, a scholarly engagement chapter written by Matthew L. Harris, titled whiteness, theology, and the evolution of Mormon racial teachings.

Thank you for listening.

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