I've been doing a lot of research lately into the whole "Priesthood Issue" within the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, and I'm stunned to find that no one seems to actually understand the most obvious things about it.|
Let me start by making three very strong points:
1) Political correctness is nothing new.
2) It had less to do with us, the real victims, and more to do with others.
3) No one ... NO ONE ... should look to the 'change in policy' as an anchor on which to hang their hopes OR their arguments for the possibility of any other 'change in policy'.
Engrave those into your minds.
The early saints had already been driven from place to place even before the church was founded in 1830, which was already a tumultuous time in this nation's history. Not meaning to diminish these hardships in the slightest, it must be acknowledged, however, that the saints bore up under these trials with courage because they knew that Jackson County, Missouri was their ultimate destination, and this in spite of some rumors that the Rocky Mountains would most likely have to be resorted to for temporary relief from the mobs before eventually embarking for Zion. (And the Utah do seem to have shared a nearly universal beliefe that Utah was just a rallying-point from which to mount their imminent return to Zion.)
There was only one problem: Missouri was slave territory.
The Mormons had a prophet, and, apart from the already remarkable Book of Mormon, and through what was itself a series of miracles, that prophet gave them a translation of the ancient Egyptian variant of the Book of Abraham, which that prophet had described as a special reward to the Colesville saints for their faithfulness throughout those early trials. (Of course, the rest of us benefitted, too.)
But what was so special about it?
Well, frankly, that's a topic for an entire encyclopaedia, but, for our purposes here, I'll start with the very first points made right up front (which are probably the main reasons this scroll was found in Egypt) (because the descentants of Ham desperately wanted to believe that they inherited the priesthood, but were denied, and, so, a message like this one would certainly have been welcome there), and those are Abraham's aspirations for a particular priesthood that had been known to the patriarchs, the fathers, and God's promise to Abraham that a) that priesthood would follow his seed, and that b) "in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed". (And this is also the same patriarchal arrangement by which the sons of Aaron inherit their priesthood.)
And it was the latter which very probably lay behind Christ's rebuke of the Pharisees in Matthew 3:9, "And think not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you, that God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham." In other words, children of Abraham are now as common as rocks (and all that goes with that allegory), and very likely to be found among those with strong African ancestry, just as almost everyone of predominently African ancestry in the United States can, as professor Henry Louis Gates Jr. is so fond of pointing out, boast a significant European admixture.
See where I'm going with this?
While it was true, in Abraham's day, that Pharaoh was denied the priesthood because of his lineage, Pharaoh's descendants would eventually also be able 'to say within themselves, "We have Abraham to our father"', and, along with that, claim the same patriarchal priesthood that Abraham eventually obtained.
In other words, by 1830, any prohibition to anyone receiving the priesthood was long, long gone, as Christ himself, already as far removed, temporally, from Abraham as we are from Christ, told the Pharisees. Joseph Smith himself ordained at least one black man to the priesthood, and that man served faithfully as a Seventy for the rest of his life, and even served several missions back east.
But then it all stopped.
And people have been groping for understanding ever since. Many blacks themselves harbored deep resentment toward us over the issue, and the more modern, and more hypocritical liberals, have had a field-day trying to ensure no one ever forgets that past.
But they actually have, and that's the real problem.
And the past they've all forgotten, even those black members who've thoroughly educated themselves in the whole matter ... have forgotten one overwhelming fact that political correctness, even as far back as 1844, kept everyone from saying out loud. And because no one said it, no one wrote it. And because no one wrote it, no one remembers it. (Sound familiar?) And it all centers around the very same thing that would later cause the church to abandon polygamy.
Our government in those days didn't do such a great job of enforcing the freedoms the Constitution promised. Most Latter Day Saints are already very well versed in this. But, what they don't know is just how far it went.
By 1844, Mormons had been routed from New York, Pennsylvania, and Ohio in a series of traumatic, murderous, and plunderous crimes against them. But these would all pale in comparison to what awaited them in Missouri, site of the Haun's Mill Massacre and the infamous Extermination Edict, which, at the same time ordered them out of the state AND forbid them from leaving the state.
But, while many had already lost their lives to the mob, the coup de grace was the murder of the prophet himself, committed by a mob, under color of law.
But, wait, you say, the prophet was killed in Illinois.
Well, yes and no.
Technically, the location of Illinois was part of the smoke-screen designed to conceal the real motives for his murder, and it was only just across the Mississippi river from Missouri. And, Illinois was gravitating toward slavery itself. This was, in fact, one of the factors contributing to the Civil War. Supporters of slavery were trying to combat what they saw as a threat to their lives and livelihoods in the form of the expanding anti-slave territory being acquired by the country at the time. This, in turn, provoked even stronger counter-measures from the north (and all funded and/or otherwise promoted by, primarily, England). Frictions rose. And, into the middle of this comes a new religion in numbers great enough to shift the outcomes of elections, along with its abolitionist leader who then even runs for the Presidency of the United States ...
... From inside slave territory.
... At least Lincoln, originally from the deep south, ran for the Presidency from (almost northern) Illinois.
The fuse was lit.
Parties on both sides made their cases in varying types and degrees of civility and legality. Unable to win broad support through their arguments, the mob, the prior settlers, knowing that coming right out and saying that they wanted to remain slave-holders, and, thus, didn't want any more abolitionists among them, and sure as shootin' NO NORTHERN ABOLITIONISTS among them, resorted to the only means left to enforce their agenda: Lies and, ultimately, Bloodshed.
The lies took on the form of their argument that it was the Mormons' polygamy that was so enraging the Missourians. Nothing could be further from the truth. Look it up yourselves. Although they, too, tended to lie low, there was at least one other Christian polygamist group that had been gaining membership in those days. Some even argue that Joseph got it from them rather than from the Lord. But no one really seems to have bothered any of these other polygamists, so the outrage against the few and subdued Mormon polygamists seems somewhat disingenuous, a plausible excuse, a token offered outsiders to convince them that whatever rumors of injustices they might hear were perpetrated against Mormons were certainly well deserved. They had it coming.
And the federal government let them get away with it.
Look up the murderers, though. Every one of them was either from Missouri, connected with Missouri, or would retire to Missouri. This was all about Missouri and its role as a border slave state.
Ironically, many of those murderers would later try to 'carpetbag' as Republicans, partially, and clearly, because Missouri, perhaps as a result of the Mormon influence there, however brief, would actually switch sides, leaving the Confederation, and joining the Union, sending about 4 times as many soldiers to the north as they did to the south.
But Illinois, 'land of Lincoln' (but not really) (look it up), was almost neck-and-neck with Missouri. Slave support ran high there. Anti-Mormonism even higher. The church was caught in the jaws of the alligator, and, so, decades before they would have to abandon polygamy under similar circumstances, they were forced for their own survival to abandon the blacks.
And they've taken the blame ever since, largely because everyone forgot. And they forgot because neither side dared utter the truth. The slavers didn't dare utter their true motives because doing so would have guaranteed widespread northern sympathy toward the Mormons, and against the Missourians. And the Mormons didn't dare utter a peep because they were literally being held hostage at gun-point, and already had plenty of other issues to worry about, like protecting the temples.
A generation later, no one really remembered clearly at all, so everyone assumed that it was really all about just what the mob had been claiming: Polygamy.
But all you have to do is read, and connect the all-too-obvious dots (the very definition of wisdom).
Exclusion of blacks from the priesthood had nothing to do with Mormons or the church or God. It was nothing more than the very-necessary-at-the-time capitulation to a bunch of self-righteous, murderous thugs determined to side-step the legal institutions of this nation.
And even the Rocky Mountains didn't provide relief for long. Within Brigham Young's lifetime, more of the same sort that murdered Joseph and Hyrum eventually caught up with us at Mountain Meadow.
Those killings were perhaps over-reaction. They were perhaps unjustified. But those travelers were also certainly in a foreign country, Mexico, where the saints had fled their murderers, and where the US had even less authority to interfere than they did in Missouri. And they certainly did nothing in that case.
Everyone around them tries, even today, to pressure them into being and doing what they want Mormons to do and be. Today, that group even includes an awful lot of members. And they invariably point to the fact that the blacks now hold the priesthood as they begin campaining for gay marriage, the official sanctioning of homosexuality, women holding the priesthood, and the suppression of numerous 'uncomfortable' doctrines.
It may happen. It may. They may apply enough pressure to force the prophet to, oh, I don't know, maybe spin off an 'LDS Light' for them, much as the church leaders already have by keeping the United Order only to themselves, leaving us 'light' of the same blessings. But those members will be wrong. They have no doctrinal case. They will have joined the mob. And they will be held accountable.
And there is always going to be an Abinadi, Daniel, Elijah, some member of the church who will stand and defend the church, the prophet, the Lord.
And pay with their lives.
But just their temporal lives.
The others will pay with their eternal lives.
And then again, there will always be a Captain Moroni, Porter Rockwell, ...