Blacks in Mormonism: Race and the Priesthood with Marvin Perkins (Part 6)

Todd Noall

Todd Noall

Source Expert

Todd Noall is an author and religious scholar at Mormonism Explained with a focus on the history and theology of religion.

Fact Checked by Kevin Prince

Here’s my thing: as long as you know who you are, no apology is necessary for the Mormon priesthood ban. There’s no apology that the church could ever make that’s gonna benefit me because I know who I am. If the church apologizes, that’s when I repent. When I repent, that repentance is for me, that’s for my benefit. And so, I know the church has a lot of things going on and I have to worry about not only my salvation and getting my sins right, but I have to worry about what I can do to help other people into the gospel so they can have everything that I have. So, I’ll let the church worry about the church, I’ll worry about myself. Wilford Woodruff stated that God would never allow the Prophet to lead the church astray.

How do you reconcile that with the priesthood banning policy? Well, someone said it earlier, I can’t remember who it is: everything the Prophet said was not true. I don’t believe that to be a true statement, but most of the members do. And so, they’ve gone on to a statement, and I’d like to start asking: Did you pray about that and get a spiritual confirmation that that was the truth? Everything the Prophet says is not true. And so, if they say something and it’s not true, when you base your whole testimony on it, that’s what the Lord Savior called the sandy foundation. So, I’ve never bought into that statement; it was true. You can ban the priesthood—a policy. Why do we have statements from prophets in the First Presidency calling it doctrine? Bruce R. McConkie said it really well in August of 1970 when he said, “Forget what I said or President Brigham Young or George Q. Cannon or whoever has said in the days past as contrary to today’s revelation. We spoke with limited understanding.” See, if we held ourselves to the same standards of perfection that we held the prophets to, I think we would better understand how they can make mistakes. I’m not chastising anybody for their sins simply because mine are so many, and my wife can tell you that; she can verify that.

 Okay, what would the Curse of Cain or Cain’s mark be? That’s the easy one: it was spiritual darkness. Temple blessings can be given in proxy, right? Yes, they can, all temple blessings. Yes, they can now, but they weren’t before. There were people, as a matter of fact, Elijah Abel was washed and anointed in the Kirtland temple, but when the endowment house was built, they refused to allow him to receive his endowment. So, here’s a man who held the priesthood, served two missions for the church, and they wouldn’t let him have his thing. How am I doing with my five minutes? Three minutes left. Okay, I’m trying to take the short questions here. What about the drawings of light and dark people coping? Yeah, I’m not sure I can understand that one, but it’s talking about light and dark people and drawings and so on and so forth. I can’t really speak to that. Well, you again, if you watch the first segment of blacks in the scriptures, blacks in the Bible…

You’re gonna find drawings of light and dark people as well. We’re just all different shades of brown, you gotta get that. In my family, my brother was called coffee-bean because he was so dark, and my parents are both African-American. But my brother was called coffee bean because he was so dark, and I was so light they called me mellow yellow. So within, there were six of us, and you had all different shades. Skin color just has never mattered. First Samuel 16:7, the Lord really points it out clearly that He was chastising the prophet Samuel saying, ‘Don’t do that, I don’t do that. I don’t look at the outward appearance.’ The outward appearance should not be. You should live by First Samuel 16:7. A lot of appearance has nothing to do with anything other than where your parents spent the most time.

I haven’t heard that Blacks, Africans didn’t get the priesthood because it was a special pass in heaven, who didn’t ordain priesthood in pre-existence, right? I hope I’m answering this when I say it was taught that people of African descent would not get the priesthood because of the lack of valiance in the pre-existence. We wouldn’t take a side. That was just one of those explanations that they came up with trying to justify what they had already done, and it went directly against the commandments that you read in the Doctrine and Covenants. Remember, if the Lord gives a command and everything else that goes against that is wrong, I mean, it’s really, really simple. It’s black and white, I’m sorry, alright?

I’ve got two more, do we have time? I don’t want to impose but thank you, they’re really long. Wow, this one’s two pages. Alright, when reading about skin in the scriptures, the Book of Mormon came, can we perhaps think of skin of the heart as the Scriptures talk about circumcision? Yeah, that’s exactly what they’re talking about. They’re talking again, your heart is going to determine. I’m trying to teach my gorgeous kids, you know, I can tell you what’s important to you. You don’t even have to say it. I can tell just by what you do, what you think about, what you say, how you carry yourselves, and they are tremendous and they get that and they understand that this circumcision of the heart, absolutely because where your heart is, it’s going to determine where your feet point, and where your feet point is going to determine how much of the Lord’s spirit you maintain.

Alright, the last one is President Kimball spoke of the skin of the Lamanites’ children in the home’s placement program being lighter than their brothers in the Restoration. Which is interesting considering the supposed Curse of Cain. Kimball believed this is evidence for the Book of Mormon. What are your thoughts on this? If the case was not really about skin, how come prophets taught it again? Church of continuing revelation, remember Elder McConkie said we spoke with a limited understanding, but they just didn’t know. I mean, we really, really have to give them a break. So, think about it in the context of yourselves. You’re here to learn, right? You’re here to learn. You don’t know everything, and you’ve been in the church for how long, probably a lot longer than the early leaders had the church. And so again, I think our best selves, our best selves are those who can go out and gather something and then bring it to the whole house so everybody can feed on it, on that knowledge. 

Let’s focus on, and most of these questions, most of these questions are member curiosity questions. I don’t really care that much about member curiosity questions. I care about the questions that are going to help our neighbors come into the church. They don’t care about that stuff. They care about our doctrine and what the doctrine says and what it means. And as long as we can explain that, that’s why I pray that I focus because if we can explain that, we can experience. I mean, our outreach team is part of several hundred baptisms per year just by teaching the scriptures. And we never even talk about church leaders and mistakes made, it just never comes up. That only comes up in a Q&A. We only talk about the scriptures. Thank you. I love being here with you guys.

By Todd Noall, Source Expert

Todd Noall is an author and religious scholar at Mormonism Explained with a focus on the history and theology of religion.

Fact Checked by Mr. Kevin Prince, Source Expert

Kevin Prince is a religious scholar and host of the Gospel Learning Youtube channel. His channel has garnered over 41,000 subscribers and accumulated over 4.5 million views. Mr. Prince also created the Gospel Learning App, a reliable platform where individuals seeking truth can access trustworthy answers to religious questions from top educators worldwide.

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