First, to my mom and dad: Thank you for not teaching racism in our home. I don’t remember any denigrating remarks, whatsoever, regarding other races. Today, that means the world to me. It’s one of the many reasons that I love you. Unfortunately, I was schooled in racism by the LDS Church and its doctrines. I embraced them fully for 62 years of my life.
Second, to my friends whose gorgeous skin color is not white: I write this as a confession, in hopes that my mind can be reformed in the last decades of my life. I hope to not offend any person, or any race. With tears in my eyes, I know that I’m taking a risk.
Black People & LDS White Supremacy
Until four years ago, the church taught that black people were not valiant in the pre-earth life. Punishment for their non-committal was the black skin they were born with. It was a curse. It was easy to see who was stalwart in the pre-existence. White—valiant. Black—nope, they were cursed. I am a white man. That meant I was better than black men….going all the way back before we were born.
In December 2013, the church published the essay entitled Race and the Priesthood. For the first time, our past racist teachings, doctrines, and practices were officially disavowed and condemned!!! Previous prophets were thrown under the bus. As they should be. Many of their words are super offensive. Super racist. I’m not going to repeat them here. Fortunately, they have now been condemned.
But dammit, for 62 years I believed this crap. I knew without a doubt that it was true. After all, it had been spoken by the prophets who would never lead me astray. How do you get your head free from 62 years of indoctrination?
Well…the official condemnation has helped. Thank you very much.
But…..LDS Church…..you have not atoned for your racist sins, yet. You are hiding the Race and the Priesthood essay. Some will say that it is not hidden. Of course it is. The General Authority in charge of the church history department even admitted as much. Most members don’t know it exists. If one does know, it’s hard to find. And…you have to know exactly where to look.
I will view my church as The Church of White Supremacy until it makes our condemnation and disavowal in public, where all the members can hear and understand. That includes General Conference talks by apostles and study in our classes on Sunday.
On August 13, 2017, the Mormon Newsroom released this statement: “White supremacist attitudes are morally wrong and sinful.” How ironic that we taught white supremacy for at least 170 years. Seventeen decades of morally wrong and sinful teachings and practices. If we don’t start condemning our past from the pulpit, we are no better than the pharisees of whited-sepulcher infamy. Christ called them hypocrites. What would He be calling to us today?
Brown People and LDS White Supremacy
I can’t speak for anyone but myself. I don’t purport to represent the feelings of any descendants of Native American peoples. In my past life, I referred to them collectively as Lamanites. I don’t do that anymore.
From childhood through adulthood, I was taught that the ancestors of the American Indians were wicked. Since they were bad people, God turned their skin from white to a dark and loathsome color. Not just dark, but loathsome! When the brown people started being good, their skin turned white. When they were bad again, their skin changed back to dark and loathsome.
When I was younger, the Prophet pronounced that believing ‘Lamanite’ children had already turned “several shades lighter” than their unbelieving parents and siblings.
This is all so damned racist. It makes me cry at the effects that these horribly bigoted beliefs have had….on me.
For what I say next…I ask forgiveness in advance. If you can’t forgive me, I completely understand.
This morning, I read a Facebook comment made by a friend. Among other things she said that she had married a Mexican man. The very….first….thought….that popped into my head was, “She settled for second best.” Thinking that she had not married a white man. The thought couldn’t have lasted more than a second. Then I caught myself. Then I cried and thought, “Hell, I’m not racist, am I? I know that my white skin does not make me superior. Brown skin, black skin, white skin are beautiful manifestations of the glory of God’s diversity.” Nevertheless, the grotesque notion had crossed my mind.
All my life, I have lived with the Book of Mormon precept that brown skin was a curse from God. Today, that’s laughable. Except it’s not. It’s still lodged in some distant & ugly corner of my brain.
This racist teaching has not been disavowed nor condemned by the Mormon Church….yet. It should be.
So…today…I publicly disavow and condemn ALL the Mormon teachings regarding skin color being a curse. Including those contained in the Book of Mormon.
I don’t know if this statement will finally sweep away my hideous cobwebs of racism. Cobwebs that are mostly hidden even from myself. Cobwebs that I’m now exposing to the light of day, in hopes that they will be totally burned away.