Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Bruce R. McConkie Was a Descendant of Cain

There Is an End to Race - Brad (By Common Consent)

20 comments:

R. Gary said...

I read your link, including all of the comments.

McConkie was a giant. He died 24 years ago. Some of this controversy over Mormon Doctrine conjures up in my mind the image of a yappy little dog growling over the body of a dead lion.

Papa D said...

R. Gary, I agree that Elder McConkie was a great man, an apostle and a wonderful historian. I am amazed by and thankful for much of what he wrote in Mormon Doctrine, even as I would have no problem if it went out of print. I also believe he was dead wrong in his ideas about race, as his own statement indicated after the ban was lifted. I don't see any problem with those three statements being believed by the same person - and Brad said over and over again in the post and in his follow-up comments that the post was not about Elder McConkie himself or a denegration of the man.

I don't want this thread to be that either. Elder McConkie truly was a great man and a great apostle. I like the lion description, as I like it for Brigham Young. I just think Brad's post makes an excellent point about our cultural assumptions of race over time and how the Priesthood can unite MUCH better than race has been used incorrectly to divide.

Michaela Stephens said...

Umm, it seems like your title is... ummmm... a bit ..ummmm.. inflammatory..

Why?

Papa D said...

As many know, this is a topic that is near and dear to my heart. I want people to read Brad's post - and in his first follow-up comment he said he had almost titled his post this way.

Michael said...

The choice of title reminds me of Mike Huckabee's smearing of Mitt Romney regarding LDS belief in the pre-existence & Jesus being Lucifer's brother; technically defensible as literal truth, but designed to shock/incite/inflame in the way it is couched/framed.

Ben said...

I share the same general feelings as the first commenter. I read the article, thought it had some good things to say, but was marred by its potshots at BRM.

There is a difference between critiquing his statements on the basis of new understanding and holding up for ridicule, as this post headline does. Its meant to get a rise out of folks who take seriously the covenant to avoid "evil speaking of the Lord's anointed." (which includes the imperfect ones, too)

Sam said...

Man, that's the perfect blog post title.

Papa D said...

*sigh*

I have never spoken evil of the Lord's annointed in my life, and I never will.

I have said in many places, including here, how much I admire and love Elder McConkie. It's really sad when anyone - on EITHER side of ANY issue - jumps to conclusions about something without reading slowly and carefully.

Let me re-state something in a way that can't be misunderstood:

The post to which I linked does NOT malign nor revile Elder McConkie. It makes a VERY powerful point, imo, about how race has been used incorrectly throughout time to separate people who simply are not biologically distinguishable from one another in the way that they have been classified by race.

I am open to thoughtful criticism and disagreement, but pot-shots based solely on a title that actually has deep and profound and IMPORTANT theological ramifications is just . . . frustrating.

Not one person who has dismissed the original post has done so in ANY way that addresses the actual post in a substantive manner. Literally, not one person has done so. Brad said over and over and over again (and I also have said repeatedly) that I admire and respect and love Elder McConkie as an apostle. However:

Genetically, he and I both are descendants of Cain in the exact same way that everyone else who reads this post is - and that's the central message. ***We simply MUST stop perpetuating the race-based justifications that were used in the past and realize that every one of us is an equal son of God AND Adam.***

and, btw, every Prophet and apostle who has spoken since the ban was lifted in 1978 has said exactly that. Are THEY guilty of "evil speaking of the Lord's annointed"?

I think not.

Papa D said...

and to make this crystal clear, this is a soapbox issue for me for one simple reason:

I have heard the former race-based justifications over and over and over again, and we simply have to accept what Elder McConkie HIMSELF and other apostles and prophets have said since 1978. We simply MUST stop viewing race the way it has been viewed for so long.

Frankly, those who insist on continuing to see race in the old way are more guilty of "evil speaking of the Lord's annointed" than I am - since the Lord's annointed are teaching what this post says unanimously at this time.

Ardis E. Parshall said...

I wonder how many of your complaining commenters, Ray, bothered to read past the title? Did any of them read to the very last line, which is the whole point?

The power of the Priesthood to bind us together as families and across generations, through time and eternity gives it a meaning and significance that genes could never impart, worlds without end.

I don't think they did. I think they read the title, filled in the blanks with their own assumptions about what the post must say and mean ...

... and proceeded to make fools of themselves.

Thanks for this reminder of Brad's thought-provoking and faith-inspiring post.

Ben said...

I should probably just leave it alone, but unlike some of the other commenters think, I did read the article and nearly all the comments.

I did think the article had a great deal of good to say, I just think it the line used as a title for this post was unfortunate and probably used to rile up some people, which it did.

The problem I have with it is it descends from a discussion of the issues into a purposeful mocking of the one being critiqued (ad hominem) that distracts from the lager point being made.

Papa D said...

Ben, that is a fair criticism of some of the comments - and I really do appreciate the clarification. My main desire is that people read the post, since it makes a VERY important point.

It's almost impossible to contain fully the way that individual commenters try to steer a discussion in a group setting, but Brad did a valiant job of trying to defend Elder McConkie and keep the discussion on track. Just as you said so well, I also don't like ad hominem criticism of others - and that is what happens FAR too often when this type of topic is addressed. It is what happened to Brad (and myself) here, and that type of reaction really bothers me - especially when it is exactly what is being criticized unfairly by those using it.

Again, thanks for the clarification. I truly do appreciate it.

Howard said...

Ray,
Thank you for linking to Brad’s powerful, well written post. The McConkie title summarizes Brad’s points in an attention getting way.

R. Gary said...

Ray, I have a question. It is one question that comes in three parts.

Part one. Half a century ago, I was taught that race was (to use Brad's words) a "marker of lineage." Now, I'm being told that it isn't possible for any one group to be descendants of Cain because, if Cain has any descendants alive today, then everyone on the face of the earth is a descendant of Cain. This, of course, argues strongly in favor of your statement at the end of your first comment that "race has been used incorrectly to divide."

Part two. Some have reasoned that doctrine comes from God but policy is established by man, concluding that, if the pre-1978 priesthood restriction was policy, it was established by man. This, again argues strongly in favor of your statement at the end of your first comment that "race has been used incorrectly to divide."

Part three. "Blacks and the priesthood: I am not sure that there will be a change, although there could be. We are under the dictates of our Heavenly Father, and this is not my policy or the Church's policy. It is the policy of the Lord who has established it, and I know of no change, although we are subject to revelations of the Lord in case he should ever wish to make a change." (Spencer W. Kimball, Ensign Feb. 1974, p.2.) "This restriction has been imposed by the Lord." (Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball, p.237.)

Question. What do you suggest I do with these words of President Kimball?

Papa D said...

R. Gary, I accept what Elder McConkie himself said after the ban was lifted and what the current apostles now are saying.

I've never thought that the apostles and even Prophets are correct in everything they say - that they are infallible in any way, so I am OK with accepting "further light and knowledge" that changes former practices - even radically.

Fwiw, that is exactly what "The Family: A Proclamation to the World" did to LOTS of things that were said by Pres. Benson and others about the role of men and women in marriage. I'm fine with that.

R. Gary said...

When President Kimball spoke those words in 1973, I was listening. What I heard was a true prophet. And yes, in 1978 things changed. But I haven't seen any "further light and knowledge" that says—and current leaders are NOT saying—Kimball was wrong in 1973.

And for what it is worth, click here to read why I don't believe the Family Proclamation changed gender roles.

Papa D said...

R. Gary,

The following is a compilation of quotes by propets and apostles since 1978:

http://thingsofmysoul.blogspot.com/2009/04/repudiating-racist-justifications-once.html

These quotes lay out my own view very well.

R. Gary said...

Thanks, Ray. Seriously. Your linked post is great. I guess Kimball's 1973 paragraph stands.

Papa D said...

You're welcome, R. Gary. It is brutally hard to discuss this issue without the advantage of being able to talk at LENGTH and in great detail. In most cases, assumptions color how something is read - meaning most of the time is spent clarifying and filling in cracks and, too often, talking past each other.

I do believe Pres. Kimball was inspired as a prophet and as the Prophet. You and I might not see eye to eye on what "imposed by the Lord" means precisely or on WHY it lasted as long as it did, but I think we do agree at least that Pres. McKay and Pres. Kimball sought inspiration and were not ordered to lift it until 1978.

Again, my primary concern is that we not perpetuate the previous reasons that were used to justify the ban - especially when that sentiment has been expressed repeatedly since 1978. That is the heart of Brad's post and the main reason I think it is profound.

NoSurfGirl said...

LOVE this.