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Gospel Topics Chapter 10 Harris Part 2

Viewpoint on Mormonism / Bill McKeever
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June 7, 2021 9:35 pm

Gospel Topics Chapter 10 Harris Part 2

Viewpoint on Mormonism / Bill McKeever

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June 7, 2021 9:35 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


Sharing the good news with Mormons edited by Sean McDowell monitors research ministries. Johnson offers practical witnessing strategies by a number of Christian missionaries and scholars and pastors sharing the good news with Mormons is published by harvest House and is available at your favorite online bookstore or order it directly from If you're looking for practical strategies for getting the conversation started. Be sure to check out sharing the good news with Mormons viewpoint on Mormonism program that 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 culture influence the ban on those of African heritage from holding the priesthood in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Welcome to this addition to viewpoint on Mormonism on your host, Bill McKeever, founder and director of Mormonism research ministry and with me today is Eric Johnson. My colleague at MRM this week we look at chapter 10.

In the book the LDS gospel topics series a scholarly engagement. Chapter 10 is titled whiteness, theology, and the evolution of Mormon racial teachings written by Matthew L. Harris, who happens to be one of the two editors of this book, the other being Newell G. Bringhurst, I think we should mention again. Eric why we feel that this is so important as we said in past broadcasts. We have always looked at the gospel topics essays that were produced by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints between the end of 2013 and the end of 2015 has having a lot of importance because the admissions that are made in these essays can be very good tools when talking with our LDS acquaintances.

As we mentioned before, and as the book brings out as well. A lot of the things that these essays admit to were things that many members were led to believe were lattes being told by enemies of the church and you can imagine the shock committee members had when they realized that those things that they thought were allies were now being admitted by the church, so there is a lot of good information in these essays we have use the word transparency quite a bit in this series.

However, a lot of that transparency could've been much more clearer. There were a lot of things that they did not bring out were going to talk about some of those things in today show, but in yesterday's program. We ended with a paragraph by Mr. Harris where he talks about how culture influence the decision to not allow those of African heritage to hold the priesthood. And of course in Mormonism the priesthood is a very important doctrine and those who are of African heritage were not allowed to hold the priesthood up until 1978 when Spencer W.

Kimball was president.

The phrase that is used in this paragraph that we cited yesterday says that this 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 where in Brigham Young implemented the priesthood and temple ban aimed specifically at Blacks of African heritage. Now why should that not concern a member of the LDS church. We are always being told by members of the church that they have leaders that are guided by the quote" Holy Ghost that they are in tune with what God wants for his people being, of course, members of the LDS church and that God will never allow the prophet of the church to lead the church astray. So to have the church admit in this essay, which by the way, is an anonymous essay. None of these essays have any names attributed to them. One thing we do know none of these essays were written by a general authority in the church there written primarily by scholars, but when it admits that the racial discrimination of the day led to Brigham Young banning those of African heritage from holding the priesthood should cause a huge?

Why is Brigham Young who Mormons are led to believe as a prophet of God getting his information from God being influenced by a horrible cultural norm at that particular time. Should that happen, and I would say insurance because you take a look at the Old Testament, for instance Daniel was his take Daniel for an example, and the culture was saying you need to worship the emperor you need to bow down Daniel and his friends did not.

Well, I paid a price eventually getting thrown into a lion's den, and yet God protected them, but I think if you look through all the different prophets throughout the Old Testament, they had to deal with this culture they did not give in to the wicked kings in the north of Israel or the southern kingdom of Judah and the prophets always stood for what was right. I would hope that if a prophet were living in the in the body of Brigham Young that he would have done the right thing. As it turns out, nobody thinks that he did the right thing will in that paragraph. Mr. Harris also says most significantly, the essay admits that the ban resulted from human error, rather than divine will. If that's true, and I do believe it is, what does that say for that expression. We've often heard Latter Day Saints tell us that God is not going to allow the prophet of the church to lead the church astray. And it actually goes on to say, even more than that. It says that if that was to happen, the Lord would take him out, but think about this bill. Brigham Young didn't just teach on the issue of Blacks.

He taught on other things such as Adam God and that God was actually Adam and he also talked about blood atonement that it would be okay to kill somebody, and have their own blood spell that would atone for their own sense of these were false teachings and Mormonism has not believe that for many years, but he did teach these things. And Harris is going to bring that aspect up later on in the chapter but let's go on on page 248 where it says in another important admission.

The essay disavows past Mormon teachings about mixed race marriages and the inferiority of black skin. He continues specifically a disavows quote the theories advanced in the past that the black skin is a sign of divine disfavor or curse," and declares that leaders today unequivocally condemn all racism, past and present in any form. I think it's great that the essay does unequivocally condemn all racism, past and present in any form, but why was this a part of the earlier years of Mormonism. Why did it take until 1978 for this to be corrected. If you will.

I think that question needs to have a good answer and I don't think the gospel topics essay dealing with reason. Priesthood effectively addresses that especially when it talks about David O.

McKay at the bottom of page 248. He writes in one of its most instructive sections.

The essay explains that only persons of African descent were denied the priesthood following World War II, as questions of race and ethnicity arose as a church process wise and biracial nations then church Pres. David O. McKay implemented a policy that limited the ban only to men of black African descent. This new policy allowed black tragedians. Australian aborigines and other dark skinned peoples to receive the priesthood and received temple blessings. Why is David O.

McKay's name so important here, it's because David O.

McKay was known to make the statement and this is found in a book titled the church and the Negro on page 91 were David O.

McKay is cited as saying I know of no scriptural basis for denying the priesthood to Negroes other than one verse in the book of Abraham, and that verse in Abraham's section 1 verse 26 now admittedly this whole doctrine is pretty complicated and we don't have time to go through all of the verses in the first section of Abraham that would hopefully explain it better. But let's just cut to the chase and get to what David O.

McKay is referring to. He's referring to verse 26 where it talks about Pharaoh and earlier. It establishes that Pharaoh was the eldest son of a gyp this, who was the daughter of ham. This all goes back to him. According to Mormon teaching and as a result of Pharaoh being the son of a gyp to this. It says in verse 26 that he was cursed pertaining to the priesthood of verse 27 says now Pharaoh being of that lineage by which he could not have the right of priesthood. Notwithstanding the pharaohs would feign claimant from Noah through hand. Therefore my father was led away by their idolatry. Why is it in this essay Abraham 126 is never brought up David O. McKay's comment regarding Abraham, 126 is never brought up, don't you think that's up important when it comes to this subject because that was not only a part of Mormon scripture at the time the band was in place, it's still a part of Mormon scripture today. So what do Mormon commentators do with this passage if it isn't to give it a completely new interpretation because we don't give it a new interpretation, it would seem like you're ignoring what it's saying in the first place, but they did include a verse of Scripture. In this essay, and it was second Nephi 2633 and as you were describing yesterday, Bill and talking about that all are alike. On to God that this verse all of a sudden becomes important, but that verse was also in place back before 1978 and it wasn't being read reference until now because that seems to make it look better for having gotten rid of this discrimination against those with black skin is funny because second Nephi 2633 is cited at the beginning of the essay, and it's also cited at the end of the essay. So everything in between is supposed to go either from that passage, or to that passage, you're right, Eric. If that passage was always there, why did they ignore it for so many years so I have one more question here is as far as David O. McKay implementing a policy that limited the ban, only a man of black African descent and then allowed others who had black skin from the islands the Samoans the tongue is and others to be able to hold the priesthood and received temple blessings will what gave him the right to be able to do that. Did he have a revelation. It doesn't really explain that in the essay. It doesn't explain it here in the book, but I mean, here you have this ban against those with black skin all of a sudden now is just for those with black skin with African heritage. How did that come about.

I guess that would be there whole explanation to this and that would probably be in their minds why those other groups were excluded and were allowed to have the priesthood, but it is kind of complicated. There's no doubt about that. And as I mentioned were knocking to be able to explain clearly just from a couple of verses in the book of Abraham which the book of Abraham folks is spurious to begin with. We already talked about that no scholar goes along with Joseph Smith translation of the Egyptian papyrus that later became the book of Abraham tomorrow were going to continue looking at this chapter whiteness theology in the evolution of Mormon racial teachings.

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