The topic of the Mormon Church and race has been in the news again this summer. The June anniversary of the Church’s 1978 lifting of the priesthood ban passed mostly unnoticed, but a week and a half later, when the Church announced plans to index the records of 4 million freed slaves, people started talking.
Between these two events, on June 16th, Thinker of Thoughts (at the Thoughts on Things and Stuff blog) posted an article highlighting a 1967 letter written to President David O. McKay by a black LDS member (David Gillispie).
I have often thought of the Mormon priesthood ban in terms of the temple – black Mormons were barred from receiving the ordinances of salvation and thereby destined, according to Mormonism, to an endless life of servitude in Mormonism’s celestial kingdom (if righteous enough to achieve even that). But when I read the David Gillispie letter, I came to understand that I had pretty much missed the breadth and the depth of the anguish Mormons suffered due to the priesthood ban.
At Mormon Coffee we talk often about how LDS doctrine hurts people spiritually as it pushes them away from the one true God and their only hope that is offered in Christ. But Mormonism hurts people where they live as well. The burdens that Mormonism places on members are heavy; it is heartbreaking to see the Mormon people worn out from wrestling with the yoke they must wear.
Read David Gillispie’s letter, my friends, and weep for the people who are deceived by Mormonism. Jesus offers them rest – a light burden and an easy yoke (Matthew 11:28-30). Pray that they will set their burdens down and turn to Him.
June 4, 1967
Dear Beloved, President McKay:
I too, have been born of goodly parents and have been taught to love The Lord and to live as He wants us to. I Have spent many wonderful and happy hours attending Sunday School, Primary and other church activities with my friends. There we have been taught of the love of Christ for little Children and those who love The Lord. I remember what great joy and happiness filled me when I reached my eighth year and was taken into the waters of baptism. I remember talking with some of my friends, that day, as we waited for it to happen. Some of them expressed fear at the thought of being held under the water, yet I had no such feeling because, I could remember so strongly the teachings of my mother and sister Wilson, my Primary teacher. They had taught me that Jesus loved me and I knew that if Jesus loved me there was nothing to fear in this whole, wide, wonderful world as long as I loved Him in return.
After my baptism, I remember, I was so happy I thought I heard angels singing. Then, the even more wonderful feeling that came to me as I sat and felt Bishops Jensen’s hands on my head as he confirmed me a member of the church and promised me the gift of the Holy Ghost, if I would do what was right in the sight of God. The years that followed have been wonderful and happy ones as I have felt myself grow in the Gospel under the wise teaching of my parents and others.
As I now look back and recall how quick the time passed and I was twelve years old, this age is a mile stone in the life of most Mormon Boys. It is an age when a whole new life begins to open up. I soon passed my twelth year of life, I saw my friends receiving the Aaronic Priesthood and become active in their Deacon’s Quorum, but for some reason I was not there with these friends with whom I had enjoyed Primary so much. They were able to learn their new duties in the Church by passing the Sacrament, the emblems of Christ’s suffering on the Cross of Crucifixion for me, yet, I couldn’t join my friends in this. They were able to bring the Fast Offerings of the faithful members to the Bishop, this I could not do. They were having quorum parties with their advisor, but I couldn’t join with them. I could still go to Sunday School and MIA where I joined the Boy Scout Troop and there had the association of my friends.
I saw my friends advancing through the quorums of the Priesthood, learning more ways of service Although I was in Sunday School and advancing through the ranks of scouting, I often felt left out because they had the brotherhood of the Priesthood. As I grew older I sometimes sensed a feeling of distance on the part of these, my friends, who had been so dear to me in my earlier years.
As the years passed I found myself attending fewer Sunday Schools and MIA meetings . Soon I was nineteen and I saw my life long friends being prepared to receive the Melchizedek Priesthood as well as preparing to go an missions for the Church. I sensed disappointment as I realized I could not be a missionary and carry the wonderful knowledge of Christ to others who don’t know Him as I had learned to know Him in my childhood.
As these my friends left to serve The Lord as missionaries, I lost my last real ties with the Church and I began drifting away, I seemed to have the feeling that I had reached a spiritual ‘dead end’.
I continued my education in college, where I made many new friends. I tried to be active in Institute even as I had been in Seminary, but it all seemed so different. I guess it was because those childhood friends were no longer with me. I found myself associating more and more with young people who did not have the same ideals as my Mormon heritage had given to me. But, at least, there was no gulf between us because I didn’t hold the priesthood, since they didn’t either. As much as I seemed to enjoy these new found friends, life with them was lacking something. It just wasn’t like it used to be when I was active in church.
One day, quite by chance, I met Lisa, a wonderful girl and we seemed to have so much in common. As we got better acquainted we found that both of us had been taught much the same when it came to an understanding of the love of Christ and of His great sacrifice made to open the way whereby we can come back into his presence. The months passed and my heart filled with happiness and thanksgiving for having found such a wonderful girl as Lisa. We began to make plans for our marriage. Some of those old friends who had by now returned from their missions and completed a couple of quarters of college work, were also making plans for marriage . But, what different plans they were. Oh, to be sure, we had Bishop Thomas perform our ceremony, but my old friends were taking their brides to the Temple, were dressed in the robes of the Holy Priesthood they were sealed for all time and eternity, by the power and authority of God. Bishop Thomas, by the power invested in him under the laws of the State of Utah married us for ‘until death do you part’. Why the difference? I knew because I had been taught that the Temple Sealing is reserved for holders of the Melchizedek Priesthood, and that I did not have.
As my old friends continued to return, Lisa and I renewed old friendships and soon we attended church more frequently. I saw these old friends bearing their testimonies and relating the wonderful experiences of their missions. Their personalities glowed with fine qualities of leadership and I saw them being called to positions in the ward and the stake. On the other hand my spiritual progress seemed slow. At times I seemed to be at a stand still. Lacking the priesthood made it impossible for me to be called to serve in any responsibility of leadership in the Church. Because I was an Eagle Scout I did have an assignment with the Scouts in MIA which brought me great joy.
The day approached when my wonderful and faithful wife, Lisa, gave birth to our first child. After the birth of our son she became very ill. The Elders were called in. They administered to her, while all I could do was stand at the foot of the bed and watch and pray. Because of our faith, the mercy of God and the power of the priesthood, of these friends, exercised in her behalf, she was healed and soon took her place in our home again. She has been the type of mother to our children as mine was to me, teaching them to pray and trust in the Lord.
The day arrived when our first born son, David, was to receive his name and a father’s blessing. What a dark cloud seemed to hang over me as I realized I could not give him that blessing because, this too is reserved for the Priesthood holder. Our wonderful Ward Teacher, brother Drayton, carried our son to the front of the chapel. In the circle were friends holding my son, and a life long friend giving him a Father’s blessing by proxie. I was denied the privilege that some fathers have had since the dawn of creation, because I lacked the Holy Priesthood. I could sense, written upon my face, a feeling of sadness and yes, for the first time, some bitterness.
With the passing of time a second child, a beautiful girl, was given to us. She was a lovely child and because of her beauty and cheerful nature many were the friends who sought her companionship as she grew. Little did we realize the short life she was to share with us and others. At the age of six she was suddenly taken from us. A cold chill coursed down my spine as one day my wife said: “We will not be able to raise our little Jill in the here-after as will the Randall family who lost their daughter last year.” They were sealed in the Temple and their children were sealed to them. Since our marrige will disolve when we die, we’ll not have need for children and our family life.
Nearly eight years have elapsed since our son was born. He is now ready for baptism. He has been faithful in his attendance at Sunday School and Primary and I seem in him a reflection of my own happy childhood, I contemplate and wonder about his future, will it be like mine has been? I find myself praying that he will not lack the blessings of the Priesthood as I have. Again, as it has so many times in the past; my friends will substitute for me In the baptism and confirmation of my son, again I will stand on the outside.
Now, I feel developing within me a spirit of bitterness the likes of which I have never felt before. I find myself on my knees, again and again, asking God to free my soul of this canker. But it persists. I see others who have recently been baptized into the Church, and after a few short weeks receive the Priesthood. Now we have ‘Project Temple’ organized in our stake and I see men with whom I have worked and associated for years being given special lessons and consessions. Men who have been indifferent to the Church; men who have had their nasty little jokes about the Word of Wisdom, about Tithing and many of the things that have meant so much to me. Men who had received the Priesthood in their youth but who denied it’s power and through their own ignorance had damned themselves far more than I who had not received the Priesthood. Men, who though they held the Melchizedek Priesthood had thought so little of the women they loved that they denied them the blessings of a Temple Sealing. Yes, and some who had scoffed so much at the Church that they were married by a justice of the peace. Now, I see these men suddenly so swept up in a wave of religious revival that after twelve short weeks of special lessons are to be given the Holy Melchizedek Priesthood and take their wives and children to the Temple where they will be endowed and sealed. This, in spite of my faithfulness, I am denied.
I begin to wonder of the justice of such things and as I wonder the realization strikes me like ten thousand bolts of lightning. I see myself a man, a child of God, one who knows of the great love and mercy of God; one who knows of the great redemptive powers of Jesus Christ, one who knows of the tremendous power embodied in the Holy Priesthood of God. Yes, one who knows that without the Holy Priesthood there can be no Church, nor can man reach perfection, eternal life and Celestial Exaltation.
As these truths dawn on me, even as they have many times before, I find myself shocked out of this nightmarish day dream with the realization that it is not mearly a bad dream, but it is the truth. I realize more fully than ever before that as things stand now, I cannot receive the Holy Priesthood nor can my son for we are black, and the blood of Caine courses through and contaminates our mortal bodies. One question stands foremost in my mind, is this the will of God or the will of man?
Mormon leaders created quite the religious system , it is such a clever counterfeit that sincere people who joined it get caught up feeling it is Jesus’ church with His gospel of salvation . All the church activities , the importance of being moral , and the friendship garnered with others while in this system
apparently is enough to obscure the man made doctrines from the leaders that are disguised as the gospel of Jesus Christ which the leaders have introduced to members , and the black skin teaching introduced by Mormon leaders is a classic example of this . Rank and file LDS were / are fooled by men who are textbook latter days prophets not sent by Jesus — Matt 24 : 11 .
…………..and my guess there is absolutely no guilt felt by the LDS authorities for the sin they have committed in regards to these folks. The GAs simply stand there looking around, up and down and say that they really have no idea at all where such a teaching/doctrine of this came from. I’m not aware that the LDS church has ever apologized for their sin and asked for forgiveness.
Remember LDS readers, that you are to follow the leaders because they will never lead you astray. Remember also that once the leaders have spoke the thinking has been done.
Have you ever stopped to ask that if the LDS church, that perfect institution, could be wrong about this, if they could also be wrong about other things?
Was the lifting of the ban on blacks in the priesthood a result of “revelation”? The way revelation often works in the LDS church is when enough social pressure is placed on the leadership they get inspiration. It was that way with plural marriage also, although some would say that ended by “manifesto” and not “revelation”. Find the difference for me please.
And then there’s the doctrines of Blood Atonement and Adam god. They are no longer operational and I really don’t know when they got tubed. Sometime after BY died, I’m sure. So can the LDS people really trust their leaders/prophets when these doctrines are now denied and called “opinions”?
BTW, the BoM has 3,900 changes and the temple rituals have also been changed. So here we have the most perfect book (BoM) and it’s been changed. We have these ancient temple rituals and they’ve been changed. We have doctrines that the LDS church no longer recognizes and yet the LDS tell us that their church is perfect and the faithful are suppose to follow the leaders. Man this is a low bar. Perhaps I should start my own religion. Looks to me like it’s a pretty lucrative business especially if you can convince enough people they can become gods if they follow you.
Wow. Thank you for sharing this. I have tears in my eyes and pains in my heart over this and everything it means, then and now.
This really won’t have much of an impact on your average, run-of-the-mill LDS member. It’s all about the testimony. That is, the BoM is true, the LDS church is the one true church, JS was a prophet and the current prophet too is a prophet. The priesthood has been restored and gives the Joe Doakes Mormon the feeling that he has spiritual power. They are going to be gods. They feel all of this very strongly and it is their confirmation that it is all true.
So this letter won’t even make a dent in a true believers testimony. There has to be an explanation that will rescue the equity that the LDS member has in the system.
It’s all really sad, I think.
This letter underscores the plight of the Mormon people in how they have been fooled into staying in a false prophet led religious organization . David Gillispie felt the claims of Mormonism were true because he was reared in a godly home and taught how to love people . He was raised to be a nice person , and Mormon leaders constantly put emphasis on LDS being morally clean persons . In working hard at striving to maintain a righteous life Mormons seem to busy to examine what their
leaders have taught about other things like who God or Jesus is etc . Thus , as is evident from a study of Mormon history, some very egregious teachings have been introduced by Mormon leaders and accepted by their flock . They’ve been told that they can trust these men to never teach them false doctrine , and so trust them they do . Sadly, this has caused the Mormon people to be numbered among those who have succumbed to following latter days false prophets , as Jesus Himself pre warned long ago — Matt 24:11 . The Mormon doctrine of black skin being a sign of a Divine curse is one example of how Mormon leaders drifted from Jesus’ true gospel , because they are not who they have claimed to be .
David Gillispie closes his letter with a question : ” is this the will of God , or the will of man ?”
The answer is obvious , but sadly he may not have figured that out because so diverted from thinking about it fully was his attention on being a nice person because of Mormon teaching therefore what ever his leaders taught must also be true . That mentality fooled David and it continues to fool LDS even today because they should know that even non LDS can live as morally clean as any LDS — yet they are considered to be in apostate churches ! So obviously if Mormons are nice people that is not enough to validate the claims of Mormonism . Fact of the matter is that the Jesus of Mormonism is not the Jesus who after empowering His apostles sent them out to preach the gospel of salvation — Rom 1:16 ; Col 1: 20-23. That gospel is color blind . All races are able to receive the fullness of salvation , something that Mormon leaders cleverly convinced David Gillispie into thinking otherwise .
Mormonism is not the answer .
I can hear the voice of a faithful LDS echoing in my ears with the refrain, “Yes but that doesn’t mean the church isn’t true”.
Well I think it makes a sizable dent in the claim that “the church is perfect, but the people aren’t” and “follow the leaders they’ll never lead you astray”. In order for an LDS to buy-into the Mormonism claims their has to be some serious re-working of the slogans in order to make the whole thing fit. It all has to fit within the burning in the bosom experience that is suppose to confirm everything that flows from Mormonism as “true”. In fact the word or concept of truth has to be qualified and often redefined. A big stumbling block is the feeling the LDS gets not only from the BoM but other experiences brought to them by the church.
I wonder if these folks ever stop to consider that people in all types of religions get these confirming feelings. I had an LDS report that it all started to crumble when he was honest enough to admit that the same feelings were coming his way through a variety of experiences having nothing to do with Mormonism or the LDS church.
Let’s pose this question. How do you think the man who wrote the above letter was “feeling”. It’s obvious he was feeling pretty bad. So using our feelings equal truth barometer, what should be concluded by his emotions? Again, an LDS will have an answer that will help them prop up their faith but is the answer honest. One thing that former Mormons report is that eventually their own personal integrity was too strong to accept the nonsense explanations put forth to rescue their equity in the religion.
Get past the “feelings” test of truth and the emotional buzz received and the whole cookie crumbles.
Back in 2011 when i left in Sep the weeks before i found the Stapley letter, Elijah Abel , and on , drawn sword , BY and his many quotes , errors in the BOM, multiple versions of the 1st vision. Could not defend it anymore . I was mad , but and bitter, now iam better for the journey in and out of the Mormon church . Like being in Shawshank prison and then being free after 36 years. Its great .
Very timely post. I was thinking about the movement out of the LDS church and Mormonism and the stages a member goes through. My observation is that sometimes there’s a single event or piece of information that comes their way that they might put on the “shelf”. Then when the shelf gets too heavy and collapses, the testimony and feelings can’t clean-up the mess.
I think sometimes LDS believe that to follow blindly and ignore the obvious is a sign of great faith. The LDS church/culture has baked into their cake several things that are suppose to keep members from leaving. They like to repeat that those who leave did so because they were offended by someone or have fallen into or desire to sin. The companion to the latter is that those who leave fall into serious sin within a year of leaving. The reason can never be that the came to see that the LDS religion isn’t true.
John Dehlin tried, with his “Mormon Stories” podcasts, to dispel the myths told about those who leave. I believe his original plan was to try and limit the damage done to those who leave. It was interesting to observe John’s evolution as he did his interviews and research. The last I heard I think he was facing some sort of “court of love” within the LDS system.
To an LDS who may be reading this. You can separate God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ from the LDS religion. But you’re going to have to come to the conclusion at some point that perhaps the LDS church doesn’t hold your eternal destiny in its hands. Once you come to that point and have it confirmed by the NT, which you are going to have to learn to trust, you will be free and on the pathway to eternal life.
So here’s another one; “That was a long time ago. We don’t do that any more.”
That’s a line that is used to shut down discussion and infer that because it happened a long time ago it goes into the “doesn’t count” column. It is sort of like the, “I knew that a long time ago and it doesn’t effect my testimony one bit.” So with this one, the LDS doesn’t have to be ashamed of how the church treated blacks. After all it was a long time ago.
But here’s the thing. How does the ban on the priesthood effect the basic narrative and doctrine of the LDS church? Is the pre-existence null and void? Supposedly, blacks couldn’t receive the priesthood because they weren’t valiant enough in the PE. So if the LDS church was wrong about this, what else is the church wrong about?
That’s the question I keep floating here. The other question has to do with the feelings the LDS depend on to help them confirm the truth. Think of all of the LDS who accepted these explanations from the leadership and felt good about it. Then switcho change-o, doesn’t count. Did the member get a good feeling about the change. And can you really count on the Mormon god if he’s changing his mind all of the time?
So here’s what the LDS member needs to do. First of all quit putting all of your hopes, dreams and aspirations in the LDS church and the leadership. Secondly, challenge the premise that with the death of the apostles the gospel disappeared from the earth. Finally, trust in God’s Word, the final revelation to mankind concerning His nature and salvation.
I did a quick google search and found this paragraph:
“The Church disavows the theories advanced in the past that black skin is a sign of divine disfavor or curse, or that it reflects actions in a premortal life; that mixed-race marriages are a sin; or that blacks or people of any other race or ethnicity are inferior in any way to anyone else,” the statement read. “Church leaders today unequivocally condemn all racism, past and present, in any form.”
Well that’s pretty good but I’ve seen some pretty inflammatory statements by past Mormon leaders regarding blacks. So, were those leaders wrong? What about the people who bought into the notion that the leaders couldn’t be wrong and that following them would keep a member on the straight path?
To repeat myself, if they were wrong about this and it’s being condemned strongly and without equivocation, what else might modern day leaders condemn. We know they condemn many teachings by Brigham Young that were accepted without question by the early church.
This is why Mormons need to think for themselves and ask questions regarding the fundamental doctrines of the LDS church.
The LDS church depends on people who will believe the narrative, the slogans and ignore the evidence thinking it’s a test of faith and a scheme of the devil.
Arthur Sido reports that when he went down on his knees he was a Mormon and when he got up he was a Christian. Jim Spencer says that when he entered the big “S” curve on the Sugar City, Idaho road he was a Mormon. When he came out the other side, he was a Christian. I was in that area one time and was so impressed, having read Jim’s account in his book “Beyond Mormonism”, that I went looking for that “S” curve. It took a little doing because they’ve built a four lane highway there and that stretch of road is no longer the main road. After asking some questions at the post office and persistence I found it and took a picture. I stopped and prayed thanking God for what He had done in Jim’s life.
God does act to bring people to a saving knowledge of the grace that leads to repentance and faith in His Son Jesus Christ. While this article about the hurt the man felt is important, the most important thing that a Mormon can learn is that there is a difference between the God of the LDS religion and the God revealed in the Bible. The same can be said of the LDS Jesus.
Find out who God the Father is and who Jesus is and find life in Him.
I would guess that for most LDS the topic of the article is pretty much “ho-hum”. First of all people don’t remember what happened six weeks ago much less several years ago. Young people have no memory of any of this. As far as LDS are concerned, the church is perfect and the leadership is flawless. It’s a requirement of the sect that total devotion be paid to both the leaders and the institution.
There’s a lot of “god talk” within the sect or enough to allow the members to get a devout and spiritual feeling. Throw in some talk of the “Savior”, the priesthood and temple rituals and they feel they have something very unique and special. My point is, a lot can be masked by surface level veneer; a good cover.
So why even consider the evidence that perhaps the LDS church isn’t the “one true church” and the leadership isn’t and hasn’t been all that stellar? This is especially the case if the member is getting good feelings about it all. Why be a buzz kill? What happens, as Ironman pointed out in his post, is that eventually there is just so much that the good feeling and the spiritual veneer can cover for the obvious. What to do?
There are some within the LDS church that just keep plugging along knowing that it isn’t true. They have too much to lose and the consequences of leaving are too great. Who wants to risk losing their family, their friends and perhaps even their job? Besides, the church does a lot of good, right?
I remember the days when things were blowing-up over the LDS church ban on blacks in the priesthood. If I remember right, black college football players were threatening to boycott their team’s game against BYU. A whole lot of bad pub rained down on the LDS church. Worth the read to remember.
One thing that is very useful that this letter reveals is that it’s very important to get beyond the public advertisements the Mormon church creates , and look into what their leaders have taught . The claims of Mormonism are : the Mormon church is the exact same church which Jesus established through His apostles 2,000 years ago ; the Mormon gospel is the same one that Paul preached with the same authority and Mormon leaders are sent out to preach by the same Jesus . Those are the claims .
Yet when a person gets beyond the smiling faces of the Mormon Missionaries and professional quality advertising produced by the church , then a more objective examination of Mormonism can take place . This letter sheds some light into what is found by such a examination . Mormons talk about “the gospel ” a lot , however by reading David Gillispie’s letter of his life as a black man having been taught the Mormon gospel , we can see just how removed the “restored” gospel of Mormonism is from the true gospel that Jesus’ apostles taught 2,000 years ago .
When we look at what Mormon leaders like Brigham Young who championed the erroneous teachings about black skin , but also what he /they taught about important spiritual truths ( God , Jesus , receiving eternal life etc ) we get a good look at a track record that reveals men who can’t seem to get their “gospel doctrine ” straight , and in doing so they succumbed to the same thing that they were accusing non Mormon religious leaders of , namely , being vacillating , creating unstable teachings which their flocks were accepting as a correct understanding of the scriptures or as coming directly from God . The verdict of all this is clear : Mormon leaders are some of the prophets who Jesus warned were coming in the latter days — Mark 13:22-23 .
The Mormon people have been short changed , they’ve been detoured by religious men into accepting a church , a gospel , an authority , and a Jesus which are good counterfeits of the true we find in God’s Word . Being busy with church activities and striving to be nice people simply cannot make up for that type of error .
May the Mormon people ask God to lead them out of Mormonism , and truly into Christ .
People need to go a little bit deeper especially when they find themselves on the LDS prospect list. One good thing is if the prospects take some time to access information via the internet. My sister-in-law had a friend that was about half way through the missionary lessons. She asked me if I had anything that she could give her friend to read. I gave her Jim Spencer’s book “Beyond Mormonism”. She got half way through the book and cancelled the rest of the lessons. She said that Jim’s book described perfectly what she was going through with the missionaries.
A little information goes a long way in providing a reality check.
Here’s a good example of a person who was on the verge of joining the LDS church when God intervened.
You shared a quote earlier where an official excuse was given for some of the behavior by Mormon leaders relative to the Negro being denied the gift of eternal life . That quote sought to excuse Mormon leaders errors by saying these were only “theories ” , thereby implying those teachings were not doctrine / scripturally correct etc . That was a clever way of rescuing Mormon leadership from being teachers who facilitated the acceptance of erroneous beliefs by their flock , and which were then passed down to future generations of LDS and being condoned by their leaders all that time .
Fact of the matter is that Mormon leaders sought to defend a important doctrine of their “restored”
gospel , namely , the denial of required ordinances necessary to receive eternal life from God . One way they accomplished this defense was to repeatedly teach that certain spirits were ” not valiant ” in the pre mortal world , those spirits thus were penalized when they came to earth to be born in a cursed lineage , a sign of which was a black skin — i.e. Negroes etc . This teaching was serious and repeated over and over , and LDS accepted it as a proper defense of their “restored” gospel .
To now call this teaching merely a “theory ” or “folklore ” ( which was another excuse ) is simply ridiculous . Mormon leaders are embarrassed they allowed this teaching to find a home in their flock
for such a long time , and instead of official apology using explicit words such as : “yes this was false doctrine taught by our former leaders ” , instead today’s leaders use excuses designed to soften the severity of past leaders behavior about this issue and thus no apology will be given . Clever .
This issue is another example of why we pray for the Mormon people to be free from their latter days false prophets and to seek Jesus and truly follow Him .
The black people in the past who were detoured into joining the Mormon church needed to know that a right relationship with God unto eternal life was available outside of Mormonism . People in the Mormon church today still need to hear of that good news .
The first sentence of the second paragraph in my last post should have read :
” Fact of the matter is that Mormon leaders sought to defend a important doctrine of their “restored”
gospel , namely, the denial of required ordinances necessary to receive eternal life from God , to Negroes .
While the LDS church is known to have a first rate PR department, the crew at the top often don’t appear to be ready for prime time. Take for example the recent “essays” that have been published answering questions that seem to be reaching maximum impact. The impression is that these essays are less than adequate in answering the questions that will trouble LDS members. The fact is that the LDS church is hemorrhaging members. They were sitting with two-thirds on the rolls of the church being active as it was.
There comes a point were a Mormon simply has enough and walks away either formally resigning or just disappearing. There will always be that hardcore group who love the LDS church and all of the trappings and can’t give it up.
OOPS!!!!! That should read that two-thirds on the rolls are “inactive” not “active”. Sorry about that.
Same gospel ?
Numerous Mormon Authorities have claimed that the gospel of salvation they preach was the same one which apostles like Paul had taught 1800 years earlier :
In 1954 Elder Bruce McConkie stated that the Mormon church had all the doctrines that were taught in the New Testament times .[ General Conference April 1954 ]
In 1885 Bishop Orson F. Whitney stated ” …. we preach the same gospel that was preached in the days of Paul …” [ Sermon in the Tabernacle, see JofD v26 p. 269 ] .
However , when we look into Mormonism we find that during the very time that these men made these claims they were in fact preaching a gospel different than Paul preached because according to the Mormon gospel men of black skin could not receive the gift of eternal life like white skinned males could . Concerning Mormon missionary activity during this time various Mormons have said
” …. no direct efforts have been made to proseltye among them .” [ William E. Berrett ,former Vice Pres. of BYU , in ” Mormonism and the Negroe p.5 ) . And
” The gospel message of salvation is not carried affirmatively to them …” [ Mormon Doctrine , ,p.477 by Bruce McConkie ] . And
” …. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints has no call to carry the gospel to the Negro ,a and it does not do so .” [ Mormon author , Arthur Richardson , in ” That Ye May Not Be Deceived ”
p. 13 ] — [ these last three quotes cited in ” Mormonism Shadow or Reality ” p 274 ]
No call to carry the gospel to the Negro ? But that call went forth centuries ago and we can read of it in the New Testament missionary activity of Jesus’ apostles when they were sent out preach after Pentecost ( example Acts 13:32-49 ) .
When we take the testimony of the Mormons quoted at the beginning of this post where they claimed that they preached the same gospel as Paul did and compare gospels we see two different gospels .
The severity of that false claim can not be easily dismissed — see Gal 1:8 .
Despite the fact that Mormon leadership finally was forced to change their erroneous doctrine of excluding Negroes from receiving individual salvation ( eternal life ) , there still remains the fact of no official apology has been given by the Mormon hierarchy for teaching this egregious doctrine for such a very long time as the gospel of Jesus Christ . That suggests that these men STILL are those who should not be trusted as spiritual authorities or guides .
We pray for the Mormon people to learn from this that their leaders may not be who they have claimed to be , and ask themselves if Mormonism the answer about receiving a right relationship with God today . This is a very serious issue .
Very good. I’ve often wondered how these LDS could claim these things without producing any evidence that what they teach, preach and practice was actually apart of the first century Christian church. There is no evidence, zero, zip not one shred. So how do you build a religion based on a totally false premise? It’s easy, sell it on emotion and call it revelation. That’s why those of us laboring in this field of Christian apologetics to Mormons face such a big challenge. I use to think that all I had to do was show them from the Bible, Church history and the history of their own sect and they’d get that “BONK” moment. That’s not the way it works because they’ve bought the narrative emotionally and now they are stuck trying to justify it rationally. The problem is that their explanations and attempts at logic, reason and rational thought go through the LDS sausage making process and the end product is spoiled before it hits the shelf.
Sharon, thank you for sharing David’s letter. Reading it, I felt surprise, dismay, and sorrow. David’s letter really places the reader in his shoes. It is as if David had leprosy. It is obvious he was wounded by these odd (and false) ideas about an earlier existence and skin color and curses; the behavior they inspired.
A friend of mine taught high school around the time of David’s letter. His classes included some black students. Sometimes he would share his LDS faith with students outside of class. His bishop was happy for the missionary referrals he produced. But something bothered him: it was understood that missionary referrals for blacks was a no-no. Yet he cared a lot for his black students. It hurt him to see them sometimes not getting the support they needed from home. He thought if anyone needed the structure and guidance provided by the LDS church, it was his black students. He wrote to LDS headquarters a series of letters, hoping to better understand. He was not satisfied with the responses he got back. He delved into the Bible, making a careful study of it for a year. He concluded that the LDS leaders were undermining the teachings of the Bible (and not just in regards to blacks, but in general). After announcing his intent to leave the organization, he was put on a sort of trial by his stake’s leaders. But in his mind, they were the ones on trial. They confidently repeated various historical teachings about black people and Cain, and seemed astonished that my friend would even consider leaving.
I would meet him years later, and he is perhaps the finest Christian I have ever known.