Mormons and accommodation
gedicksf at LAWGATE.BYU.EDU
Wed Jan 14 17:44:33 PST 1998
Until 1978 Mormons, as a matter of policy, denied male members of African descent the right to hold the Mormon priesthood which is generally available to males over the age of 12. Few in the church were sad to see the policy go, and even fewer are interested today in defending it. The historical origins of the policy are fairly complicated; I would be happy to discuss them with anyone off list.
>>> Anthony Paul Farley <farleya at BC.EDU> 01/13 5:57 PM >>>
> Marci writes:
> Others more knowledgable than I
> >should be able to explain the relationship between divine revelation and the
> >development of Mormon views on polygamy. I thought I remembered that the
> >change resulted from divine guidance. To the extent that any religion
> >incorporates a belief in ongoing divine revelation, adjustment to social
> >circumstances may not only be rational, but also theologically required.
On the topic of the notion of divine revelation and adjustment to
social circumstances, what is the current position of the Church of
Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints on the souls of black folk?
It is my understanding that until quite recently they believed that
black people were without souls.
I think that I recall reading that during the late 1960's a number of
black athletes at refused to play in sports matches against Brigham
Young University. Some may have even lost their scholarships as a
result. The black collegians were, I believe, protesting the fact that
the Mormon Church at that time held that black people did not have
immortal souls. Their athletic protests mirrored the events of the
Mexico City Olympics in 1968.
I really have two sets of questions. First, do I have my facts right?
Was it really the case that the Mormon Church held that blacks were
without souls and are their a passage in The Book of Mormon that makes
the argument? Was "divine revelation" held by them to be the
source of that belief?
Second, when the Mormon Church change its view of blacks and how was
the change made possible (assuming that they've changed since 1968).
Was divine guidance held to be the source of their turn of heart?
Does anyone have any information that would help me to answer these two
sets of questions?
Anthony Paul Farley
Boston College Law School
885 Centre Street
Newton, MA 02159
Tel: (617) 552-4397
Fax: (617) 552-2615
Net: farleya at bc.edu
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