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Reviewing Religion of a Different Color

I finally finished Paul Reeve’s book Religion of a Different Color.  Paul highlights the strange evolution of Mormons, once seen as not white enough, now seen as too white. From page 270,

…as late as 2012 the perception persisted in some corners that Mormons were racist and that there were few or no black Mormons.  It was a new racial problem for Mormonism, which was the opposite dilemma it faced almost two centuries previously.  In the 1830s reports of the integrated and charismatic nature of Mormon worship services in Kirtland, Ohio, made news in New York and Pennsylvania within months of Black Pete’s conversion to the new faith.  In Missouri, the perception that Mormons invited freed blacks to move to that state in order to incite a slave rebellion and violate white women only fueled interracial rumors.

I found it interesting that Reeve noted (page 269)

In the United States, the Pew survey noted that 86% of Mormons were white, an indication that US Mormonism is more racially diverse than mainline Protestant churches (91% white), Jews (95% white), and Orthodox Christians (87% white).

Yet nobody seems to make this fact known about mainline Protestants.  (I have a feeling that many of these mainline Protestants are Donald Trump supporters…..)

What I loved most about the book was the highlight of Orson Pratt.  Of course many (including myself) have long condemned the racial ban, the more I learned about Orson Pratt’s defense of black rights, the more proud I was of him.  I think Orson is one of my new Mormon heroes.  Continue Reading »

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War on Christmas? Blame Christians

Starbucks got a lot of flack because they used plain red cups this year instead of ones decorated with snowflakes as in years past.  Steven Colbert had a funny bit about it.

But did you know that from a historical perspective, it was Christians who don’t like to celebrate Christmas? Continue Reading »

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Interfaith for Mormons

The past few years, my stake has put on a Christmas Interfaith Celebration.  The problem is this:  it is not really interfaith at all because only Mormons come.  Sure, I live in Utah County, home of the highest concentration of Mormons anywhere, and frankly, the few non-Mormon churches that are here meet in strip malls.  In my ward of 2 subdivisions, only 1 family is not Mormon.  (I’m not kidding.)  We have our share of inactives, but it is really a Mormon monopoly.  This year, they decided to drop the “Interfaith” and call it just simply a Mormon Christmas celebration.  We had a few tents outside the stake center with nativity scenes from all over the world.  We even had a real, live camel!  I’ve often complained about the poor Christmas services Mormon generally have, but it was nice that our stake put some effort into it.  We had an orchestra, French horns, choirs, and lots of musical numbers.  Have you had, or are you planning some better Christmas services this year?

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The Idolatry of Following the Brethren

I sometimes feel LDS church members are guilty of idolatry.  Perhaps it is not completely the members fault; We have been told so much to “follow the brethren” that we have built them up as idols, and fail to “study it out in our minds, and ask God if it be right.”  Early church leaders were also concerned about blindly following, and here are some quotes. Continue Reading »

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The Saddest Funeral

All funerals are sad, but I attended a memorable funeral a few weeks ago.   Almost six years ago, I expressed my discomfort in home teaching a mentally ill man.  When I first met him, he told me he was a paranoid schizophrenic, he heard voices, and he didn’t want Obama to take away his gun.  I swear he was trying to scare me away.  I received some good advice in that post to just be his friend.  That’s what I tried to do. Continue Reading »

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Blacks and Gays

I am still appalled by the new church policy banning baptisms for children of gays and polygamists until age 18. A distant relative of mine was just released as stake president, and I told him that I feel this new church policy has set the church back 100 years.  That was an understatement; it’s more like 150 years.

I’ve blogged considerably about the priesthood and temple ban. The purpose of this ban was to stop acceptance of interracial marriages occurring in Mormonism. Two interracial marriages were discovered in 1846-47. Massachusetts had legalized interracial marriages in the 1840s, and black church member Enoch Lewis married white church member Matilda Webster. When mission president William Appleby discovered their mixed race child, he wrote Brigham Young asking whether such marriages were authorized. Continue Reading »

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Suffer little children, and forbid them not

Matthew 19:13-14

13 Then were there brought unto him little children, that he should put his hands on them, and pray: and the disciples rebuked them.

14 But Jesus said, Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven.

History is repeating itself.  The LDS Church surreptitiously released some changes to the Church Handbook of Instructions Book 1 in clear violation of scripture.  I do think that church leaders, just as in the days of Jesus, are acting in good faith, just as in the days of Jesus, they have committed a grave error.  “Suffer little children, and forbid them not” Jesus said.  Yet Elder Christofferson, just as the unnamed disciples in scripture, are preventing children from being blessed by Jesus.  This policy must change!  It is unscriptural, and clearly rebuked by Jesus.

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