African Americans and the Mormon Church: 10 Brief Points

A Senior Political News Analyst at MSNBC went on a rant on December 7th, 2007 during the taping of the McLaughlin Group report. What makes his rant so interesting? It was about Mormons. He was borderline hysterical at times, interrupting others and shouting. Even as he angrily accused Mormons of being racist, his pejorative treatment of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints was similar to the vehemence of racism itself.

The following points are made concerning the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints:

1. In 1832, just two years after the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints was organized, Elijah Abel became the first black man baptized as a member. He served in the Quorum of Seventy the third highest governing body.

2. Jane Manning James, a wonderful black woman, and her eight family members were baptized into the Church. They crossed the plains in 1843 as pioneers to join the Mormons in the Salt Lake Valley. She is quoted as saying, "I am Mormon and I will always be Mormon."

3. Blacks joined the Church across the world and were baptized as members. It is true they were not allowed to hold the Priesthood until the marvelous revelation given to Spencer W. Kimball and announced June 8, 1978, a day celebrated by Mormons.

4. While other religions had segregated congregations (one for whites and another for blacks), the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints has always had combined meetings for which they were condemned by other religions.

5. Black members of the Church have held callings since 1832 including Relief Society President, Sunday School President and Instructors, to name a few.

6. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints was driven out of Missouri partially because the population knew the Mormons were against slavery. In fact, many of their neighbors thought the Mormons were abolitionists intent on starting a slave revolt.

7. Joseph Smith, the founder of the Church, ran for President of the United States because the government failed to protect freedom of religion. Part of his presidential platform was against slavery, and for the freedom of blacks.

8. Unlike most churches who only allow a few select individuals to hold the priesthood, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, today, allows every worthy male member, 12 years old and older, to hold the priesthood. How many in your church do?

9. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints has always taught little children who die before the age of accountability are automatically saved by the grace of God and will live with him in heaven - race has nothing to do with it.

10. When Jesus came in the New Testament, he restricted his teaching, with some exceptions, to the Jews. It was not until Paul that the gospel was taught with authority to the gentiles. In Moses day as found in the Old Testament, the priesthood was restricted to the Levites and the High Priest was specifically a descendant of Aaron. I don't claim to know why the restrictions occurred, but just like every other religion in America the Mormons have had their struggle with race.

Interesting history, no matter how you look at it. Some claim blessings, others claim convenience - what else is new?
This is an interesting site.

1 comment:

appreciable said...

Dear Fleeting Thoughts,

This is a very good post and is full of wonderful information. I really like the point about the priesthood being available to every Male member in the LDS Church being compared with the availablility of church authority in other denominations. I have long believed that Mormons believe in the most generous and fair God out of any other Religion on earth.