Friday, February 25, 2011

The Vineyard Still Is Being Pruned

I personally believe the priesthood ban was unavoidable for the time and circumstances and, therefore, not "wrong" in that sense. I also know, however, that Joseph Smith ordained black men to the Melchizedek Priesthood - and I also am confident that Brigham Young (and most of the citizenry of the nation, Mormon or not) was racist, particularly (perhaps solely in Pres. Young's case) when it came to inter-racial marriage. I believe the ban was "wrong" in the sense that I don't think it was in harmony with what God would have preferred for his people in an ideal world (which I think is crystal clear in the Book of Mormon, ironically), and I know the justifications were horribly "wrong" according to the staunchest proponent of them (Bruce R. McConkie).

I believe it lasted as long as it did because the Church had to be ready to institute God's ideal before He would overturn it through revelation (that He was "slow to hear their cries" because of the hardness of their hearts and the incorrect traditions of their fathers - Alma 11:24). I might be wrong about most of that, but I am confident in saying that racism played a central role in how the ban evolved. I'm fine with that, since I simply think it was unavoidable - a trade-off, if you will, that was part of locating the Restoration in America at that time. 

In a nutshell, I believe the Restoration of the Gospel did NOT remove totally the "incorrect traditions of their fathers" from affecting the early Church leaders and members. They brought prejudices and biases into their membership (just as we still do), and they didn't have the luxury of over a hundred years of growth and clarification. The theology and doctrine were still new and overwhelming and evolving as they started to separate out the clinging false from the new true. I believe the Priesthood ban was perhaps the best (worst?) example of this pruning process - a literal fulfillment of the last pruning described in Jacob 5. 

I don't believe that pruning process is complete yet, and I don't know what other issues will be part of that process, but I do think I still see through my glass darkly enough that I'm not going to stake my testimony on anything remaining exactly as I understand it now. We've seen enough change over the last 180 years that I'm not convinced I know anything well enough to speak authoritatively about most things of eternity.

1 comment:

backandthen said...

What do you mean? That things are not as it is in Heaven and that they can change again?
I am being sarcastic here for those who will read your post and want to comment on what I wrote.

Same here. I don't know what future holds for the church but I know God is GOD and does what He wants and what seems fit for the church no matter what it is.

Imagine the face of BY had he been told that not only would blacks hold the priesthood but that many members in the church would marry people of a different color AND that polygamy would be banned.
You can? Well it is probably because like me you see the face of people when you say that we CANNOT say that things won't change and we cannot know for sure that things are here are they are meant to be until the end and the same as it is in heaven.
They either think I am not all there or that it is because of my time "out".
Well yes. It is because of my time out :P