RELIGIONLAW Digest - 12 Jan 1998 to 13 Jan 1998

Marvin & Jan Frandsen frandsen at MINDSPRING.COM
Wed Jan 14 21:19:19 PST 1998


If I can interject ...

The LDS Church has never maintained that black people do not have
souls.

Black people were barred from holding the Mormon priesthood on the
basis of LDS-specific scripture which maintained that the ancestor
of the black race was cursed via he and his (male as well as female)
descendents being barred from holding the priesthood.

At times it was quasi-doctrinal to hold that modern blacks were
less righteous in a pre-earth life and thus deserved their curse.
However that view fell out of (official at least) favor some years
prior to the 1978 lifting of the ban and is not held today.

In terms of "adjustment", scholars of Mormonism probably rightly
maintain that the lifting of the ban had little to do with adjustment
to the larger hostile society.  Rather, the stronger crisis of
conscience occurred because of faithful black Mormons within the fold,
especially outside of the United States, especially in Brazil,
where common interracial mixing caused keeping white and black
to be separated in responsibilities and opportunities became a
tremendous headache and heartache.

Note also that various "black" races were redefined out of the
banned lineage throughout the 20th century, until only the African
Negro was left.

I.e., the Mormon "adjustment" had more to do with learning conscience
from the larger white society and its own black members than from
disapproval from any source.  I think even believing Mormons would
see it this way, as having advanced to the point where the leaders
would ask God if the practice were right, and ready to receive
the inspiration that it was not.

-- Marv Frandsen
(I have a strong Mormon background, but am no longer a believer.)

>Hi Marci
>
>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?
>

>Thanks,
>Anthony


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