My Apology for Racism–F&T Meeting June 3, 2018

Black and White

Last weekend I was in Portland for a Protect Every Child event.  It was marvelous.  About 50 child protection advocates climbed to Multnomah Falls and unfurled many banners.

While I was there, the topic of past racist policies of the Mormon Church came up.  It reminded me of a fast & testimony meeting from just a year ago.  I stood and read the words below.  Obviously, I thought it was a pretty good testimony.

However, a few tattle-tales in the congregation disagreed.  They ran to the local leaders to report me.  The stake president called me in and told me not to bring up any more issues in future testimonies.  He instructed me to only bear testimony of the Church, Joseph Smith, the current prophet, the Book of Mormon, etc.

Some context.  At the Fast & Testimony meeting one month before, I had born witness of my love for the teachings and example of Jesus Christ.  As soon as the meeting was over a prominent member of the congregation rushed over to me.  In a patronizing tone he scolded, “Without a full-throated witness of the restoration, your testimony was like tinkling brass.”

June 3, 2018 Testimony:

Last month I shared my testimony of the teachings and example of Jesus Christ. I took some flak for not having mentioned the restoration or the prophets.

Today, I’m going to correct that.

I want to give our current crop of apostles and prophets a strong shout out of support. Last Friday, the church held an event to officially celebrate the 40 year anniversary of the reversal of our church doctrine that forbid black men from receiving the priesthood and prohibited both black men and black women from entering the temple.

This ban on church privileges was lifted in 1978. I had the honor of sitting in a Houston chapel during general conference when Elder N. Eldon Tanner presented the lifting of the ban for a sustaining vote. My hand was proudly raised in support of changing our policy. This is a great example of the Law of Common Consent in action. All policies and major decisions are supposed to be presented to the membership for approval or disapproval. I love this empowering element of the restored gospel. So, there’s my full-throated endorsement of a glorious principle that came directly as a part of the restoration.

Now, I want to express my appreciation and respect for our current apostles and prophets. 4 years ago, the apostles did something very gutsy that no top leadership has ever done before. They published an essay on LDS.org entitled Race and the Priesthood. It condemns our past racism. It disavows our past racist doctrine, teachings and practices. That’s a disavowal and condemnation of what all the past prophets and apostles from Brigham Young on have taught regarding black people being cursed with a dark skin. Hallelujah!!!

Unfortunately, until 4 years ago when this essay was published, I completely believed our racist teachings that are now officially condemned.  I’m glad that the church celebrated the lifting of the ban.  However, I wish that there had also been an official full-throated apology for our past racism.

Today, I offer my apology and the apology of many, many of my friends.  We are sorry that we were gullible enough to believe that our white skin was a reflection of our righteousness in the pre-mortal life.  And that a black skin was a reflection of the opposite.

I’m sorry that these disavowed practices, which I fully supported, marginalized an entire race for 150 years within the church of Jesus Christ.

I offer this apology in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

Three months later, I was excommunicated.

Advertisements

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Racism

Black and White
Black and White

First, to my mom and dad:  Thank you for not teaching racism in our home.  I don’t remember any denigrating remarks, whatsoever, regarding other races.  Today, that means the world to me.  It’s one of the many reasons that I love you.  Unfortunately, I was schooled in racism by the LDS Church and its doctrines.  I embraced them fully for 62 years of my life.

Second, to my friends whose gorgeous skin color is not white:  I write this as a confession, in hopes that my mind can be reformed in the last decades of my life.  I hope to not offend any person, or any race.  With tears in my eyes, I know that I’m taking a risk.

Black People & LDS White Supremacy

Until four years ago, the church taught that black people were not valiant in the pre-earth life.  Punishment for their non-committal was the black skin they were born with.  It was a curse.  It was easy to see who was stalwart in the pre-existence.  White—valiant.  Black—nope, they were cursed.  I am a white man.  That meant I was better than black men….going all the way back before we were born.

In December 2013, the church published the essay entitled Race and the Priesthood.   For the first time, our past racist teachings, doctrines, and practices were officially disavowed and condemned!!!  Previous prophets were thrown under the bus.  As they should be.  Many of their words are super offensive.  Super racist.  I’m not going to repeat them here.  Fortunately, they have now been condemned.

But dammit, for 62 years I believed this crap.  I knew without a doubt that it was true.  After all, it had been spoken by the prophets who would never lead me astray.  How do you get your head free from 62 years of indoctrination?

Well…the official condemnation has helped.  Thank you very much.

But…..LDS Church…..you have not atoned for your racist sins, yet.  You are hiding the Race and the Priesthood essay.  Some will say that it is not hidden.  Of course it is.  The General Authority in charge of the church history department even admitted as much.  Most members don’t know it exists.   If one does know, it’s hard to find.  And…you have to know exactly where to look.

I will view my church as The Church of White Supremacy until it makes our condemnation and disavowal in public, where all the members can hear and understand.  That includes General Conference talks by apostles and study in our classes on Sunday.

On August 13, 2017, the Mormon Newsroom released this statement:  “White supremacist attitudes are morally wrong and sinful.”   How ironic that we taught white supremacy for at least 170 years.  Seventeen decades of morally wrong and sinful teachings and practices.  If we don’t start condemning our past from the pulpit, we are no better than the pharisees of whited-sepulcher infamy.  Christ called them hypocrites.  What would He be calling to us today?

Brown People and LDS White Supremacy

I can’t speak for anyone but myself.  I don’t purport to represent the feelings of any descendants of Native American peoples.  In my past life, I referred to them collectively as Lamanites.  I don’t do that anymore.

From childhood through adulthood, I was taught that the ancestors of the American Indians were wicked.  Since they were bad people, God turned their skin from white to a dark and loathsome color.  Not just dark, but loathsome!  When the brown people started being good, their skin turned white.  When they were bad again, their skin changed back to dark and loathsome.

When I was younger, the Prophet pronounced that believing ‘Lamanite’ children had already turned “several shades lighter” than their unbelieving parents and siblings.

This is all so damned racist.  It makes me cry at the effects that these horribly bigoted beliefs have had….on me.

For what I say next…I ask forgiveness in advance.  If you can’t forgive me, I completely understand.

This morning, I read a Facebook comment made by a friend.  Among other things she said that she had married a Mexican man.  The very….first….thought….that popped into my head was, “She settled for second best.”  Thinking that she had not married a white man.  The thought couldn’t have lasted more than a second.  Then I caught myself.  Then I cried and thought, “Hell, I’m not racist, am I?  I know that my white skin does not make me superior.  Brown skin, black skin, white skin are beautiful manifestations of the glory of God’s diversity.”  Nevertheless, the grotesque notion had crossed my mind.

All my life, I have lived with the Book of Mormon precept that brown skin was a curse from God.  Today, that’s laughable.  Except it’s not.  It’s still lodged in some distant & ugly corner of my brain.

This racist teaching has not been disavowed nor condemned by the Mormon Church….yet.  It should be.

So…today…I publicly disavow and condemn ALL the Mormon teachings regarding skin color being a curse.  Including those contained in the Book of Mormon.

I don’t know if this statement will finally sweep away my hideous cobwebs of racism.  Cobwebs that are mostly hidden even from myself.  Cobwebs that I’m now exposing to the light of day, in hopes that they will be totally burned away.

Bippity Bop…A Sin It’s Not

Bippity

Six thousand years ago, Adam and Eve were driven from paradise into mortal space.  Destined to be founders of the human race.  God and angels gave them counsel and commandments to embrace.  But, there was a glaring omission of something they were NOT told to stop.  Here, I’ll call it Bippity Bop.

Adam and Eve were warned, “Don’t eat that fruit.”  But, regarding Bippity Bop, the angels were mute.

Sixteen hundred years passed ’til the great flood doused the earth.  In Noah’s story there is no mirth.  Except for eight souls, all mankind became has beens….all because of plentiful sins.  But, not because of BB.  You see…from Adam to Noah, the big B-Bop was never forbidden by God.

The land dried out.  People began to sprout.  From Shem to Peleg.  Nimrod to Nehor.  Then Abraham, Isaac, & Jacob’s twelve more.  And what about Bippity Bop?  Nary a word from our Heavenly Pop.  He never commanded that it stop.

Three and a half millennia after Adam, Moses is rescued from the Egyptian river.  Finally, we’re at the most prolific law giver.  Ten signature commands on tablets were written.  You can see them all detailed from Exodus on.  Hundreds & hundreds of laws were spawned.  Ruling every aspect of those who hold deity in awe.  All bound together, they’re called the Mosaic Law.  But guess what got missed.  You got it.  Not even a hiss of Bippity Boppity ever being dissed.

Fifteen hundred more years pass.  The Babe is born in the lowest class.  The most marvelous of teachings the world would ever hear, are now cherished…held mighty and dear.  Did He utter the phrase, “No B-Bop?”  Nope.  The author of all commands, big and small,  never mentions the B’s.  Nope, not at all.

Finally, the year 1820 is here.  The restoration, just getting into full gear.  The famine of God’s word, ends with a seer.  Revelation upon revelation.  Certainly, there will be a call for Bippity Bop’s cessation.

Joseph Smith?  Nope.  He never called for Bippity Bop to stop.

The Book of Mormon?  Certainly filled with lots of good stuff.  But, it ignores the Bippity, strangely enough.

Doctrine & Covenants?  As far as a commandment, the Bop is completely absent.

Six thousand years!  He’s not a tyrant.  It’s time we pay attention to where God is silent.

From Whence Comes the Notion That Loads Bippity Bop with Such Emotion?

For 16 decades, the LDS church harbored racist teachings, doctrines and practices.  Where did they come from?  We have apostles.  Thanks to our current crop, we now know they were all just made up.  Simply plucked out of thin air…by men…who were prophets.  Not from heaven.  Not from revelation.  Not from God.  Rather, it was our former prophets who put racist words into God’s mouth.  It was never God who was racist.  It was the leaders of His church.

Fortunately, we now condemn and disavow our racist past.  At the thought of our former teachings, we are now aghast.

Into God’s mouth we’ve put lots of words, in our historical past.  The words men insert, simply won’t last.

If you still think Bippity Bop is a sin, please go read the most correct book again.

Bippity Bopptiy Boo is natural for kids to go through.  And adults?  It’s even normal for them, too.

Bippity Boppity, Bippity Boppity, Bippity Boppity……

Boo!

Is Sam Young Racist?

Black and White
Black and White

Am I racist if……

Thanks for helping me understand where I need improvement. I desire to eliminate all vestiges of racism that exist in my being.

**As of 11:00pm, CST, 58 survey responses.  61%:  Racist.  39% Not  Racist.  Dang.  I was hoping I was less racist  than that.

**As of 12:00am, CST 8/31/16:  167 responses.  65% Racist.  35% Not Racist.  Looks like I’m getting more racist as time goes on.