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Radio Free Mormon: 120: How About an Apology for the Priesthood Ban?

Tonight we take a look at the church essay on race and the priesthood.

Radio Free Mormon style!


30 thoughts on “Radio Free Mormon: 120: How About an Apology for the Priesthood Ban?”

  1. I don’t have a problem with asking for an apology. They were wrong, plain and simple. I think it would help in the process of healing.

    If prophets are fallible, and can err, how much is too much? How much does God allow his servants to deviate from his will? At what point does he intervene? Do we know all the rules to this game? Is it a problem if we don’t? I look forward to your answers.

    1. From my own personal point of view, if God didn’t intervene in rectifying the priesthood ban for over a century, that is too much.

      Maybe God plays the game by different rules.

      But if so, I’m not interested in playing.

      1. So you are basically telling God how things should be. Certainly can’t see any flaw in that logic. You appear to have reached an unprecedented level of intelligence where you start instructing your creator. There are levels of arrogance, you appear to have maxed out. Deep down you know that you don’t know much. I’ll give you a simple test to prove how little you know. List for me all acceptable methods in which God could have a man translate a record such as the golden plates? And don’t act like you don’t want to play. You are obsessed with the game.

        1. Hypothetically, God might have an infinite number of ways to provide translation.
          Problem is, Joseph Smith never translated the gold plates or the book of abraham because neither ever existed.
          Check mate.
          Game over.

        2. Dear Stephen,

          I appreciate your listenership and your questions.

          You ask for a list of “acceptable methods in which God could have a man translate a record such as the golden plates.”

          Well, for starters, I would probably not have my prophet translate the gold plates in such a way as to make it obvious it is an early nineteenth century production.

          The method is not so problematic to me as the product.

          1. This is a good discussion and one that God himself is reading in order to finally understand how he should govern the universe he created. He told me to tell you thanks and that He is a big fan of your work.

            How many languages do you speak RFM? How many times have you translated either a written record or a live speech? How many ancient texts have you translated? I speak a couple and it makes perfect sense as to why he would use language familiar to his time. You can say things in different ways and have them convey the same meaning or message.

            So Joseph wrote the Book of Mormon? 60 days…… I’d give you 60 years and you’d struggle to write a chapter.

            Glad to hear you clarify that the product is more of a problem than the method. I think you’re smart enough to realize neither you, nor I, nor any man is in position to tell God what methods He can or cannot use to accomplish His will. Good move RFM. You’re still in the game.

          2. Let’s just say Joseph Smith failed to obtain the golden plates in 1823, and God was forced to wait for plan B. Maybe Plan B was 100 years later, or 300 years later, or 600 years later, or 1000 years later? Would you expect the translation that Joseph Smith could have done in 1823 to be exactly the same, using the exact same language as those that would follow 100, 300, 600, or 1000 years later? And if they didn’t use the exact same language (I.e. words) could they all convey the same meaning using different language?

          3. From the eye witness accounts, JS didn’t translate the BoM; rather, he read words from the seerstone. The plates were not around so he wasn’t studying or translating any hieroglyphics. As such, I find it interesting that god put words of the 1769 version of the KJ bible on the seerstone.

  2. Dear RFM,

    I just wanted to verify you’ll be at the Red Lion Hotel in St. George on Sunday, January 12th? I’m tempted to attend, but must make plans and arrange affairs to do so. Your Church and cultural memories fairly track mine. I, too, have had a number of powerful spiritual experiences that now seem starkly belied by real church history and by Joseph Smith history. So I’ve been puzzling whether my epistemology was off (as misdirected by the Church) or whether my spiritual experiences yielded correct and useful guidance for the time. But then, what about the dumpster-fire-history? I have some very tentative theories, but I look forward to hearing your explanations and reconciliations with great eagerness. — Will there be anything else on the agenda?


  3. Funny enough, the most powerful spiritual experiences I’ve had related to Mormonism came after getting out of the corporate cult as its “philosophies of men mingled with scripture” has chained down the good news of the gospel.

    1. I’m glad someone is seeing it! I’ve argued about the philosophies of man mingled in scripture thing for a while and the more I look into it the more I see it!

  4. Funny how LDS leaders talk about time. Joseph Fielding Smith insists that black men will only receive the priesthood “in the far distant future” — maybe on some other world even. It ended up happening six years after he died.

    Meanwhile, LDS leaders have insisted for nearly 200 years that Christ will return “soon”. Huh.

  5. The implication I take away from the statement you quoted saying that Abel’s descendants would have to have to get the priesthood before Cain’s could is this: that we would wait until the end of the world, resurrection, and judgment day, at which time Abel would be exalted. He would go on to have his own world, children, etc. And those people would have to receive the priesthood before any of the people who were black in this life on this world would be allowed to progress. Since Abel was killed before having children in this life, those children on his own world are the only posterity he could have.

  6. First…from a fellow Longhorn…hook ’em!!

    Second…I have read your stuff long before the podcasts as RFM. I love your style (it is similar to my own).

    Now to my point. We both know that an apology is unlikely. That would be an admission of wrong doing. Any such an admission would call into question their sacred (an all powerful) apostolic authority. If they admit that BY or JFS or HJG or HBL or DOM got it wrong on the Priesthood thing(because they are men)…then it begs to question what things the current Q15 are are currently so certain about (but may be wrong…LGVBTQ?) that will be walked back in 5, 10, 20 or 50 years as being just their misguided opinion.

    IF (and that is a BIG if) they attempted to apologize it would be some sort of half assed spin laden BS like the essays that could be taken either way because in the end the Brethern(TM) are cowards.

    1. I agree that church leaders have created a scenario in which their authority claims forbid them from acknowledging they do anything wrong.

      For them, it would be the same as admitting God did something wrong.

      Because they do only what God tells them.

      And how could God do something wrong?

      1. “For them, it would be the same as admitting God did something wrong.” And yet RFM we saw Nelson blame god for the failed LGBT policy.

  7. While listening to an earlier podcast on the Be One, all I could think is that a 40th anniversary celebration for a ‘revelation’ reversing racism that should never have been needed. In the Oaks clip in this podcast of that event he quotes “that the day will come when all would enjoy the blessings of priesthood and temple”. All except those in a same-sex marriage. So ‘all’ is not really all. Classic Oaks.

    We have donated through PayPal for two months, but have not received a podcast url. Any assistance you can provide RFM is appreciated.

  8. Great episode. My thought about Be One was that a celebration of racism and the reversal ‘revelation’ should have really just been an apology.

    We have donated via PayPal for two months but have not received the podcast feed url. Please help us RFM. You are our only hope.

    1. Thank you so much for your support, DRW!

      I am checking with the proprietor on why you have not yet received the podcast feed url.

      Your patience is appreciated!


    1. Hey, RFM. (waves hand wildly) Seriously, why not put a link to the essay you reference in the show notes? Is it available on here somewhere? Asking for a friend.

      1. You have gone to the trouble of asking this question twice, so I think I owe you a response.

        For personal reasons, I don’t want to provide links to the essays themselves, and hope that having them in audio format will suffice.

        Thanks for listening!

  9. One odd thing about the Gospel Topics essay on Race and Priesthood is how it disavows the various post-hoc rationales put forward to justify it even though these were put forward by the same authorities who launched the ban initially (prophet-level: BY through SWK) and preserved it, and did so in the same venues. In other words, prophets launched and preserved the ban in public statements AND supplied rationales for following it. (See 1949 First Presidency statement.) Apostles supported the ban and justified it post hoc, as well. (JFS, BRM, MEP.) And Seventies. (Read Alvin Dyer, if you can stomach it.) Now the essay disavows the prophetic, apostolic rationales as non-doctrinal (racist and mistaken) while steering around the ban itself–implicitly reendorsing the ban as doctrinal or inspired policy. YET the tone of the essay emphasizes racism was in the 19th century air, kind of casting a shadow on the ban. — The essay is incoherent to me. If God was behind the ban, that is known via public statements of the prophets and apostles whose OTHER public statements supplied the rationales. Why is one batch of statements more or less inspired than the other? It can’t be. It all stands or falls together. If the ban and supporting rationales were of God, the essay was a mistake and the GAs ought to have defended it all. If the ban and supporting rationales were not of God, then the essay didn’t go far enough and an apology is due–more than that… institutional and personal repentance. As well as a reexamination of the doctrines of preexistence, foreordination, and inspired genealogies. The oracles of God ought to be clear.

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