According to LDS leaders, Mormon scriptures are “utterly reliable” and “pure truth.” The current prophet, President Monson, declared on the official church website lds.org (underline added):
“The words of truth and inspiration found in our four standard works are prized possessions to me…These holy words of truth and love give guidance to my life and point the way to eternal perfection.”
In 2011, Apostle Richard G. Scott taught,
“Because scriptures are generated from inspired communication through the Holy Ghost, they are pure truth. We need not be concerned about the validity of concepts contained in the standard works since the Holy Ghost has been the instrument which has motivated and inspired those individuals who have recorded the scriptures.”
And D. Todd Christofferson in 2010,
“The scriptures are the touchstone for measuring correctness and truth…Where scriptural truths are ignored or abandoned, the essential moral core of society disintegrates and decay is close behind.”
Apostle Robert D. Hales in 2006,
“So essential are these truths that Heavenly Father gave both Lehi and Nephi visions vividly representing the word of God as a rod of iron. Both father and son learned that holding to this strong, unbending, utterly reliable guide is the only way to stay on that strait and narrow path that leads to our Savior.”
These men, considered prophets, seers, and revelators, all describe Mormon scripture as words of truth and inspiration, strong, unbending, an utterly reliable guide, pure truth, and the touchstone for measuring correctness. If LDS scripture is reliable as pure truth from God yet the racist scriptures still exist, the only logical analysis is that the God of Mormonism was at the time the Book of Mormon was birthed and still is, according to the Merriam and Webster Dictionary—racist (i.e., he is biased against dark skin).
While at BYU teaching multiculturalism, I was LDS and needed to trust Mormon scriptures as “strong, unbending, utterly reliable,” but I could not wrap my head around scriptures that suggest God cursed a people in the Book of Mormon with a mark of dark skin for their transgression. Exchanging my students’ scripture-driven, dark-skin prejudices into impartial attitudes became my passion. I thought perhaps I could help fix the racism problem in the next generation of LDS students. But, how could I when the scriptures taught that black skin was a curse? Find the narrative of my experience with the issue of racism in Mormonism and at BYU in the book, Unveiling Grace: The Story of How We Found Our Way Out of the Mormon Church (Zondervan, 2013).
In opposition, the God of the Bible made His stance crystal clear. He created humans in beautiful variability and is in relationship with people from every nation, tongue, and skin color— all members of the same human race. Skin color is never, ever a determiner of value. He teaches not to judge by appearances (John 7:24). He is no respecter of persons (Acts 10:34-35). The biblical God instructs individuals to show no partiality, meaning not to pay special attention to or honor someone because of skin color, wealth, social standing, position, authority, popularity, looks, or influence. If we do, it is so serious it is considered sin (James 2:9). Believers are charged to love other people as God loves them and treat them how we want to be treated.
Although the Book of Mormon states, “all are alike unto God,” as long as racist scriptures still exist, are read, taught, believed, and made part of the culture, one may question the consistency of the Race and the Priesthood statement with the racist Mormon scriptures. The LDS Church is in a difficult position that is irrational, inconsistent, and illogical since the new Race and the Priesthood statement and its own “utterly reliable” and “pure truth” scriptures collide.
Find Part 1 of Lynn’s article here.