Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Anti-Mormons Decry Alleged "Racism" In The Aaronic Priesthood Manual 3, Which Appears To Caution Young Men Against Interracial Marriage

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has a dedicated section of its Gospel Library set apart for Aaronic Priesthood holders. Among the listed references is the official teaching manual for 2011, entitled "Aaronic Priesthood Manual 3". Weekly lessons for Aaronic Priesthood holders, to include Priests, Teachers and Deacons, will be drawn from this manual.

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:

Chalkboard discussion

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.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...


YOu should see how obvious it is that to say It should be quite obvious, that when Mormon leaders "recommend that people marry those who are of the same racial background generally" that they ARE engaging in the promotion of or indulgence in any type of racial bigotry within its ranks.

When a prophet speaks on matters of doctrine, the debate ceases forthwith because the thinking has been done.

That is why Mormonism is false. The thinking "has been done" and thus mistakes are made without challenging them. Blacks were never cursed, and your religion still teaches that Egyptians and black people SOMEWHERE were spawned as a race from CAIN. This bold faced lie is the nexus of a continuing psychological control over black people. A continuing legacy of maintaining psychological and social hegemony over them. It is atrocious.

What your president SHOULD have said is that "we recommend that every interracial romance, marriage, and so on be fully respected by all members of this church and that those who seek to generate difficulties receive counseling so that THEIR thinking can be changed, because the world is better off without it in the way."

THAT is what will make life easier. You are right " In contrast, racism is merely a philosophy"... merely damaging lives over centuries. Merely justifying sin against others. Merely being the first step and foundation of racial bigotry. Racism is a philosophy based on nothing. It's based on perceptions of skin color. It has no true value. And you err against God when you stand for it. Loser.