Monday, January 31, 2011

Are Mormons Racist? A Scriptural Analysis

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is often accused of being racist.  I would like to personally address this issue lest anyone should be confused. 

Firstly we should consider ourselves very blessed to have the scriptures which provide us great insight into the origin of the different races. 

When God created Adam and Eve we know that they were white skinned.  In Moses 5 we learn that Cain, a son of Adam and Eve loved Satan more than God.  Cain slew his brother Abel and a mark (and we will later learn that this was a mark of a blackness of the skin) was put upon him and his posterity.

All of Cain’s posterity was wiped out during the flood of Noah; all except one woman named Egyptus (which means forbidden).  Noah’s son Ham had taken her to wife (probably against the wishes of his father), and thus (according to Ab 1:24) from Ham, sprang that race which preserved the curse in the land.

And what was the curse? You may be tempted to think that the curse was that their skin color was black, but in fact the curse was related to the ability (or inability in this case) with regards to holding the priesthood.  In Abraham we learn of a righteous Pharaoh who was blessed with the blessings of the Earth and with wisdom, but was cursed with regards to the priesthood because he was a descendant of Ham.  Skin color was the method chosen of the Lord to clearly distinguish between Cain’s descendants who could not hold the priesthood and Adams other descendants that could.  This was the mark that the Lord was referring to in Moses 5.  So let's be very clear here.  Descendants of Cain could be righteous, wise and blessed of the Lord in every way, but they simply could not hold the priesthood.  This is not ‘The Church’ being racist; these are the revelations from The Lord.    

One thing that is very important to note here is that even at the time of the Israelites only the Levite tribe could hold the priesthood.  The other tribes could not, even though they were also white skinned and in many cases righteous men.   

Now let's turn to The Book of Mormon for more information on the subject of races.  The Americas were inhabited and populated from a group of people who journeyed there from Jerusalem.  Shortly after their arrival to the Promised Land this group split into two groups who throughout the history of the Americas (from 600 B.C. to 400 AD) continually fought.  One group (the Nephites) generally followed the Lord and the others (the Lamanites) turned against the Lord.  Again the Lord saw fit to distinguish the two peoples by causing a similar curse as Cain’s to come upon the Lamanites.  In 2 Nephi 5:21 we learn that The Lord caused a sore cursing, because of their iniquity to come upon them. Whereas they used to be white, fair and delightsome God caused a skin of blackness to come upon them. 
And why did God do this? That their women might not be enticing unto the Nephites.  Interracial marriage was strongly discouraged; just as Cain’s seed was 'forbidden' so were the Lamanites. In verse 23 we read "And cursed shall be the seed of him that mixeth with their seed; for they shall be cursed even with the same cursing". 

Eventually the Nephites became wicked and were wiped out by the Lamanites, who were found by Christopher Columbus.

Now I should clarify that this time the curse upon the Lamanites did not include limitations on their ability to hold the priesthood. 

So far we have learned the origin of the white and two dark skinned races on the Earth.  Scientists would do well to take note; Man started out white and through unrighteousness became darker skinned.   

The Book of Mormon prophesied that the Lamanites would accept the gospel and become a white and delightsome people again.  Leaders in the restored church have worked hard to bring to pass this prophecy.  Apostle Elder Kimball reported the following during General Conference in 1960:
"The day of the Lamanites is nigh. For years they have been growing delightsome, and they are now becoming white and delightsome, as they were promised. In this picture of the twenty Lamanite missionaries, fifteen of the twenty were as light as Anglos; five were darker but equally delightsome. The children in the home placement program in Utah are often lighter than their brothers and sisters in the hogans on the reservation. At one meeting a father and mother and their sixteen-year-old daughter were present, the little member girl--sixteen--sitting between the dark father and mother, and it was evident she was several shades lighter than her parents--on the same reservation, in the same hogan, subject to the same sun and wind and weather....These young members of the Church are changing to whiteness and to delightsomeness."

I think it is wonderful to see these prophecies come to pass right before our eyes! It truly is a testament to the truthfulness of the restored gospel.

When the church was restored to the Earth in 1830 the curse upon Cain’s seed with regards to the priesthood was still in effect, but in 1978 this very same Apostle Elder Spencer W. Kimball, now president of the church received a revelation from the Lord that extended priesthood blessings to all worthy male members of the Church. 
With the curse of Cain lifted the Lords kingdom could now be established amongst every nation, tongue and people.

With regards to racism President Spencer W. Kimball stated the Church’s position well: “We do wish that there would be no racial prejudice. … Racial prejudice is of the devil. … There is no place for it in the gospel of Jesus Christ” (The Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball, ed. Edward L. Kimball [1982], 236–37). 

My feelings are summed up perfectly by my friend and fellow servant Alexander B. Morrison of the seventy who wrote in the Sept 2000 Ensign "How grateful I am that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has from its beginnings stood strongly against racism in any of its malignant manifestations"

Monday, January 24, 2011

Endless Meetings

Lately I have heard several complaints about the so called 'endless meetings' that members are required to attend.  One sister complained that her husband (who is an EQ President) is overworked and not at home enough.  I disagree. 

As members we have covenanted to give of our time and talents and even our lives if necessary to establish the Lords Kingdom upon the Earth.  Let's compare that covenant with the actual hours spent doing church service.

As an Elders Quorum President on Sundays he will attend PEC for an hour and will then be present like the rest of his family for the 3 hour block. 

He will most likely stay after church to conduct personal priesthood interviews and home teaching interviews.  He will have his own Presidency meeting (which I encourage to be weekly).  He will often spend his evening’s home teaching or attending training and other priesthood meetings.  With the new policy in place he will get to clean the chapel regularly with his family.  
While I understand that he will often be away from his family his wife needs to understand that she and her children will be blessed as they sustain him in his office.  There should never ever be any hint of a complaint from her.
Wives have the primary responsibility to nurture the children in the home and need to be supportive in every way. 

At the last stake priesthood meeting I counseled the brethren that wives that complain need to be reproved betimes with sharpness as moved upon by the Holy Ghost (as per the Doctrine & Covenants), lest the children should see the church in a negative light and a spirit of contention should enter the home. 

One way to do this is during family or couple prayers.  This is one of the most effective means the Lord has given us as priesthood holders to correct and uplift our wives.  During prayers they remain silent and cannot talk or interrupt.  This is a unique opportunity.  A prayer may include many corrective steps that wives need to take, whether it be with regards to her living the Word of Wisdom more faithfully (to help her perhaps lose a little weight so she can feel better about herself) or to ask her to stop repeating the same things over and over again (I have learned to not use the word nagging during such prayers). 

I told the brethren that this was the most correct way to reprove your wives and that a man would get closer to her through this means than by any other.

Monday, January 17, 2011

The Purpose of Natural Disasters

Yesterday in church a good brother was talking about the natural disasters that are occurring throughout the world.  These events of course have all been prophesied by ancient and modern prophets and are a direct result of our rejection of the Lord and his teachings.  It occurred to me that the areas of the world with higher populations of church members have not been affected by these natural disasters and I think there is a lesson to be learned here.

Think of the current flood situation in Australia and consider this: When was the last time that Utah was flooded in like manner? And what about other areas with high Mormon populations such as Idaho Falls, Cardston (Alberta) and Gilbert (AZ)? I am seeing a strong pattern here.  The Lord is sending his missionaries throughout the world and they are increasingly being rejected.  The result of this is clearly spelled out in the Doctrine & Covenants "then cometh the testimony of the voice of thunderings, and the voice of lightnings, and the voice of tempests, and the voice of the waves of the sea heaving themselves beyond their bounds"

These disasters enable the true followers of Christ to assist through our Humanitarian aid program, and thus we see that doors that were previously closed become open and people who once rejected us, gladly receive of our help.  This reminds me of the scripture in Alma "And now, because ye are compelled to be humble blessed are ye; for a man sometimes, if he is compelled to be humble, seeketh repentance; and now surely, whosoever repenteth shall find mercy; and he that findeth mercy and endureth to the end the same shall be saved".

And thus we see that the way the Lord works is predictable and has the purpose of bringing souls back to him.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Temple Reccomend Experiences

One of the great blessings of being in my position is that I get to meet with individual members and find out how they are doing in their relationship with the Lord.  It is a great blessing to be able to do temple reccomend interviews to determine if they are worthy to enter the Lords house. 
Usually these go by quite quickly but occasionally there are things that come up that need to be corrected before I can feel comfortable allowing them into the temple.  Here are just three of the experiences that have strengthened my faith:

A sister wanted to attend her daughters temple wedding, but her reccomend had recently expired.  At first I thought this would be a quick renewal interview, but when it came to the question of The Word of Wisdom she asked if it was OK to drink green tea.  I said absolutely not and explained to her that the tea leaves are the same as that of regular tea, but are simply picked earlier.  She was quite distraught and admitted to partaking recently and said she had read somewhere that it was a healthy drink.  She had actually stopped drinking coke and had replaced it with a drink that officially is against the will of our Lord!  She did not feel at all worthy to enter the Lords house at that time so I felt my hands were tied.  She didn't get to attend her daughters wedding ceremony in person, but was able to be a great support to her daughter all the same on that special day.  I am pleased to report that she has since repented and is now a card carrying member again. 

I had overheard part of a conversation that a brother was having who happened to be one of my faithful high councillors.  I thought I heard him make some positive comments with regards to evolution which greatly surprised me given Joseph Fielding Smiths (and others) teaching on the subject.  When it came time to renew his reccomend during the question "Do you sympathize with or agree with any group or individual who's teachings are contrary to or oppose those accepted by the church" I asked him about his thoughts on evolution.  He confessed to believing that scientists had made a very good case for it.  I assigned him to prayerfully read the current Old Testament institute manual along with some other articles and asked him to return in two weeks.  Thankfully he felt the spirit as he read the words of our modern day prophets and I was able to sign his reccomend and allow him to continue to serve on the high council.  It just goes to show that the world is ever learning but never coming to a knowledge of the truth. 

I have access to home teaching reports and when a particular brother came to see me to get his reccomend renewed I knew him to be a faithful man in all things except in his priesthood home teaching duties.  Usually I would not deny someone a reccomend for not fulfilling this duty but I felt strongly that I should ask him whether he felt that he was sustaining his leaders when he had not been home teaching for the past 5 months.  He paused and said he would do better and felt guilty about this.  Although his business takes him all over the world he felt that he could do better (given that he did get a few days at home with his family each month).  I asked him to return in 2 months and report and sure enough he was able to relate to me some of his wonderful experiences.  I know that the Lord guides me as I try to follow his promptings during these interviews.    

Tuesday, January 11, 2011


I'm a stake president for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.  In the church congregations are called Wards (or Branches).  Each ward has a Bishop who is assisted by two counselors.  As a stake president I preside over several wards.  I'm very busy with my employment, family and church responsibilities, but I thought I might start a blog in order to record some of my experiences.  Feel free to make comments and ask questions.  I do not speak for the Church, but would be happy to share my thoughts from time to time.