But a certain section of this manual has come under attack on the Recovery From Mormonism board. The phraseology in question occurs in Chapter 31, entitled "Choosing An Eternal Companion". To assure a proper perspective, I present the phrase below, in bold and italics, within surrounding context:
Explain that choosing a companion for eternity is an extremely important decision but is sometimes based on a very narrow understanding of love. A person who responds only to infatuation or romantic love might overlook many important qualities when choosing someone with whom to spend eternity.
* What characteristics of young women are socially and spiritually appealing to you?
Write the young men’s answers on the chalkboard, such as
1. Is unselfish.
2. Shows respect for me.
3. Has initiative.
4. Is considerate of others.
5. Shows patience in stressful situations.
6. Is an active Church member.
7. Has a testimony of the gospel and obeys the commandments.
8. Maintains a healthy outlook toward life.
9. Possesses values and goals similar to mine.
Ask each young man to select what he thinks are the three most important attributes on the chalkboard. Take a vote to determine which areas the young men consider most important. Discuss why they voted the way they did.
Quotation and discussion
Compare the results of the vote with the following statement by President Spencer W. Kimball. Have a young man read it.
“We recommend that people marry those who are of the same racial background generally, and of somewhat the same economic and social and educational background (some of those are not an absolute necessity, but preferred), and above all, the same religious background, without question” (“Marriage and Divorce,” in 1976 Devotional Speeches of the Year [Provo: Brigham Young University Press, 1977], p. 144).
* Why is it so important for a couple to be worthy members of the Church? Ensure that the following points are discussed:
1. Exaltation cannot be attained without celestial marriage.
2. Religious values are powerful, and conflicting values can cause continual stress.
3. President Kimball quoted a survey showing that “only about one out of seven non-member spouses would be converted and baptized into the Church” (“Marriage and Divorce,” p. 152).
4. When one spouse is not converted to the gospel, the children are caught between the differing values of the parents.
* Why is it important for a couple to have a similar economic, educational, and cultural background?
Naturally, some of the posters on the RFM thread are seizing upon the racial statement as an indication that, despite the revelation of 1978 and the change of the Book of Mormon phrase "white and delightsome" to "pure and delightsome", the elephant is supposedly still in the room.
But that leads to a logical question. Why should people not take race into consideration when considering a marriage partner? If it's O.K. to consider exonomics, education, culture, and religion, what's so different about race? There's no bigotry expressed here; no one is implying that one race is better than another. Racial bigotry is when someone abuses or mistreats someone of a different race. In contrast, racism is merely a philosophy; because the term has been so grossly overused, it's effectively lost its meaning in our contemporary society.
On the other hand, the difference between races when both sides are of a similar economic and educational background tend to be anecdotal. Under those circumstances, there is minimal risk involved in an interracial marriage. The real conflict would be cultural rather than racial. Furthermore, interracial marriage is gaining wider acceptance in American society.
Nevertheless, just in case LDS members didn't completely get the message in 1978, the late President Gordon B. Hinckley decided to drive the message home a little further. During the Saturday evening Priesthood Session of the April 2006 General Conference, President Hinckley had this to say:
Racial strife still lifts its ugly head. I am advised that even right here among us there is some of this. I cannot understand how it can be. It seemed to me that we all rejoiced in the 1978 revelation given President Kimball. I was there in the temple at the time that that happened. There was no doubt in my mind or in the minds of my associates that what was revealed was the mind and the will of the Lord.
Now I am told that racial slurs and denigrating remarks are sometimes heard among us. I remind you that no man who makes disparaging remarks concerning those of another race can consider himself a true disciple of Christ. Nor can he consider himself to be in harmony with the teachings of the Church of Christ. How can any man holding the Melchizedek Priesthood arrogantly assume that he is eligible for the priesthood whereas another who lives a righteous life but whose skin is of a different color is ineligible?
Throughout my service as a member of the First Presidency, I have recognized and spoken a number of times on the diversity we see in our society. It is all about us, and we must make an effort to accommodate that diversity.
Let us all recognize that each of us is a son or daughter of our Father in Heaven, who loves all of His children.
Brethren, there is no basis for racial hatred among the priesthood of this Church. If any within the sound of my voice is inclined to indulge in this, then let him go before the Lord and ask for forgiveness and be no more involved in such.
It should be quite obvious by President Hinckley's remarks that the Church will not allow its members to use the phrase "We recommend that people marry those who are of the same racial background generally" as an excuse for the promotion of or indulgence in any type of racial hatred or bigotry within its ranks. When a prophet speaks on matters of doctrine, the debate ceases forthwith because the thinking has been done.