Skip to comments.Racist Remarks by popular BYU Religion Professor Spark Controversy
Posted on 02/29/2012 2:23:19 PM PST by Colofornian
Racist apologetics by a popular Brigham Young University religion professor are sparking controversy, as election-year scrutiny sheds a revealing light on the persistence of racist belief among LDS Church members.
On Tuesday, Randy Bott, a BYU professor of religion, told the Washington Post that the LDS Churchs historic prohibition on priesthood ordination for men of African descent was a blessing to blacks because they were not ready for priesthood authority.
God has always been discriminatory when it comes to whom he grants the authority of the priesthood, says Bott... Bott compares blacks with a young child prematurely asking for the keys to her fathers car, and explains that similarly until 1978, the Lord determined that blacks were not yet ready for the priesthood.
What is discrimination? Bott asks. I think that is keeping something from somebody that would be a benefit for them, right? But what if it wouldnt have been a benefit to them? Bott says that the denial of the priesthood to blacks on Earthalthough not in the afterlifeprotected them from the lowest rungs of hell reserved for people who abuse their priesthood powers. You couldnt fall off the top of the ladder, because you werent on the top of the ladder. So, in reality the blacks not having the priesthood was the greatest blessing God could give them.
Bott was the highest-rating professor in America in 2008, according to RateMyProfessor.com. He teaches large sections of required religion courses, including courses designed to prepare future missionaries, to as many as 3,000 students a year. This semester, more than 800 students are registered in Professor Botts classes. (Eleven are registered for BYUs African-American history course this semester.) Professors at BYU routinely find themselves having to address racist and sexist content taught in Botts classes, and many are outraged and embarrassed by his rogue remarks to the Washington Post, say sources at the university. Dr. Bott does not speak for BYU or the Church and his views are his own, one religion faculty member told me.
But Professor Bott is no outlier. Especially among older Mormons, racist rationale for the priesthood banlinking it to Old Testament pretexts, or to moral infirmity in a pre-earthly life by the souls of Africans and African-Americans, and other racist apologetic mental gymnastics exemplified in Botts statement to the Postpersist and circulate, generally unquestioned and unchallenged.
For its part, the LDS Church has never authoritatively addressed racist theologies developed in defense of the ban in the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Instead, it has attempted to step quietly beyond its racist past, as it has with many other thorny and troubling historical matters.
African-American men enjoyed full status (including priesthood ordination) in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints until the 1840s. Historians still debate the reasons why ordination of African-Americans generally halted (with a few exceptions) during the tenure of LDS Church President Brigham Young. By the early twentieth century, restriction of priesthood ordination from African-Americans was considered LDS Church policy, and a host of rationale grew up in its defensesome drawn from American folk theology linking racial blackness to the curse of Cain or Ham, and some particular to Mormon contexts.
LDS Church President Spencer W. Kimball declared the end of the priesthood ban in June 1978, an announcement later canonized as scripture, but he did not address its historic origins or theological rationale. A few months later, in August 1978, Elder Bruce R. McConkie, a member of the Churchs high-ranking Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, once a leading proponent of racist theological justifications of the ban, told a gathering of LDS educators:
Forget everything that I have said, or what President Brigham Young or President George Q. Cannon or whomsoever has said in days past that is contrary to the present revelation. We spoke with a limited understanding and without the light and knowledge that now has come into the world.
Still, McConkies own book, Mormon Doctrine, which propounded racist legitimations for the priesthood ban, remained for sale in LDS bookstores and on the shelves of LDS homes.
Throughout the 1980s and 1990s, when questioned about the ban in public, LDS Church leaders continued to sidestep its origins and rationale. Mormons hungry for a more direct approach welcomed LDS Church President Gordon B. Hinckleys 2006 address, The Need for Greater Kindness, as a long-awaited denunciation of racism:
Racial strife still lifts its ugly head. I am advised that even right here among us there is some of this. I cannot understand how it can be. It seemed to me that we all rejoiced in the 1978 revelation given President Kimball. I was there in the temple at the time that that happened. There was no doubt in my mind or in the minds of my associates that what was revealed was the mind and the will of the Lord. Now I am told that racial slurs and denigrating remarks are sometimes heard among us. I remind you that no man who makes disparaging remarks concerning those of another race can consider himself a true disciple of Christ.
But neither Hinckley nor any other Church official used an authoritative Church setting or occasion to formally and specifically renounce racist teachings propounded by earlier Mormon leaders.
And without open renunciation of racist theologies by LDS Church leaders, Professor Randy Bott (who on his personal blog apologetically prevaricates on facts of Mormon history) and others have continued to espouse and communicate them to a new generation of Mormons.
As progressive BYU students prepare to protest Botts remarks, others await formal statements by Brigham Young University or the LDS Church, hopingperhaps, this time, in the scrutiny of this election yearthat someone will finally articulate the most credible and reasonable explanation for Mormonisms historic discrimination against black people: we were wrong.
The Mormon church has tried to now place Prof. Bott as if he was some "fringe" tucked-away prof...but as this Mormon writer, Joanna Brooks, says: Professor Bott is no outlier. Especially among older Mormons, racist rationale for the priesthood banlinking it to Old Testament pretexts, or to moral infirmity in a pre-earthly life by the souls of Africans and African-Americans, and other racist apologetic mental gymnastics exemplified in Botts statement to the Postpersist and circulate, generally unquestioned and unchallenged.
Brooks also pointed out that BYU mormon students made Bott THE most popular prof in America in 2008...showing that he represents mainstream Mormon thought.
Note #1: This blog of BYU prof Bott has now been pulled...yanked...as in the Mormon hierarchy yanking him around like a puppet on a string (what they will do to Romney if elected). One of the top 16 ranked hierarchists -- Marlin Jensen spoke rather openly about recent losses in the Mormon church...and was abruptly dumped.
Yup. Speak your mind...and duck.
Tis a cult indeed!
#2 Prevaricates is just a fancy word for "lying" -- something Mormons have long had a reputation for doing going back to protecting polygamists...going back to Joseph Smith lying to his original wife about all the additional ones!
Here we have a Mormon (Brooks) being forthright about a BYU popular prof lying on his blog...
Who has the original copy of the blog content?
Well, this goes further vs. what most Mormons would acknowledge...how about this articulation: Brigham Young, John Taylor, Joseph Fielding Smith, Bruce McConkie...they were ALL false prophets & apostles.
For another thread to see BYU Professor makes controversial statements about Blacks & LDS Church ...view, for example, post #15
Well, the Mormon church owned Deseret News decided they better put out a release on this today.
LDS Church spokesman Michael Purdy said "There was a time in the church there was a restriction on the priesthood for male members of African descent...It is not known precisely why, how or when this restriction began in the church but what is clear is that it ended decades ago."
#1...Even now, the Mormon church can't bring itself to call racism...racism. We dunno why our Mormon god was only skin deep on this one.
#2...Notice how the Mormon spokesman, Purdy, tries to half the number of people excluded by Mormons as only the males.
Gee. I didn't know that black women had temple access and could get married in the temple prior to 1978!
(Update: In an e-mail on Wednesday, Bott apologized for the way the comments appeared in the article and claims his views were not accurately reported and that in the past he has attempted to be careful not to perpetuate these myths. Bott reiterated that he does not know why blacks were not given the priesthood until 1978. However, Bott wrote a blog post in 2008 where he repeated essentially the same ideas as in the WaPo article, so it is unclear exactly how he claims he was misrepresented.)
BYU Professor Randy Botts Allegedly-Racist Statements; Students Plan Protest
IOW, Mormon BYU professors openly lie.
Oh...and Mormons who said this prof was THE most popular one on campus (& in fact America) in 2008...I assume then that you BYU students were reading Bott's blog in '08. If his comments are roughly the same, why no provocation then?
Could it just be that you BYU students of the past have been racist, too...only THEN with no apologies?
The above linked article also includes this "bold" statement: Rumors were already swirling Tuesday that some students were planning to protest Botts statements, hoping to bring attention to the appropriateness of BYU professors teaching controversial or debated doctrines in university-required religion classes. Historically protests against the university have been met with deep disapproval by university leaders, and so it was unclear how a protest against an individual professor would be taken. (Update: In lieu of a formal protest some students are planning to distribute fliers on campus that address racism in Mormon thought but will not specifically mention Bott. A student forum over the same issue is currently also in the works. As the details change I will post updates as I get them on my Twitter account. I would also clarify that I am simply reporting this and am not organizing or endorsing any planned student protest.)
Gee. God forbid that any BYU students actually take a public stance vs. racism and actually stand up to the racist-harboring hierarchy of BYU. Why, that might be "frowned upon." (And you don't want Lds, Inc. -- the cult crack-downers in charge -- to frown...right?)
This will be a funny conversation when Obama brings this up to Romney........
May as well argue that denying women and blacks the vote was for their own good - because they were not yet ready for it.
Apparently a BYU religion professor has had to read and memorize so much spurious ludicrous laughable racist reactionary bull excrement - that he cannot help but let some spill out.
Laminites ... The new code word bigots use.
I continued: "So up until June 8, 1978, only a white, Melchizedek Priesthood bearing male could be come a son of perdition. Now thanks be to the Lord, since 1978, you too can become a son of perdition." I thought he was turning pale white in front of me. He stammered a little and said: "I had never looked at it that way before!" I assured him that most people hadn't. Then I turned to the Sister Stake Missionary who had brought the Black investigator, and said to her: "Up until this very day, God is still discriminating against 50% of His children in not allowing them to hold the priesthood-- they are women. But (I continued), I vote that women can also hold the priesthood and they too can become sons of perdition!" By this time their entire demeanor had changed.
it certainly reads as though he was teaching 'God was protecting blacks before 1978 by not letting them hold the priesthood.'
He has also held some high positions in the church.
Well; it COULD be something like THIS...
"You see some classes of the human family that are black, uncouth, uncomely, disagreeable and low in their habits, wild, and seemingly deprived of nearly all the blessings of the intelligence that is generally bestowed upon mankind.
The first man that committed the odious crime of killing one of his brethren will be cursed the longest of any one of the children of Adam. Cain slew his brother. Cain might have been killed, and that would have put a termination to that line of human beings.
This was not to be, and the Lord put a mark upon him, which is the flat nose and black skin. Trace mankind down to after the flood, and then another curse is pronounced upon the same race--that they should be the 'servant of servants', and they will be, until that curse is removed."
Brigham Young-President and second 'Prophet' of the Mormon Church, 1844-1877- Extract from Journal of Discourses.
Here are two examples from their 'other testament', the Book of Mormon.
2 Nephi 5: 21 'And he had caused the cursing to come upon them, yea, even a sore cursing, because of their iniquity. For behold, they had hardened their hearts against him, that they had become like unto a flint; wherefore, as they were white, and exceedingly fair and delightsome, that they might not be enticing unto my people, the Lord God did cause a skin of blackness to come upon them.'
Alma 3: 6 'And the skins of the Lamanites were dark, according to the mark which was set upon their fathers, which was a curse upon them because of their transgression and their rebellion against their brethren, who consisted of Nephi, Jacob and Joseph, and Sam, who were just and holy men.'
August 27, 1954 in an address at Brigham Young University (BYU), Mormon Elder, Mark E Peterson, in speaking to a convention of teachers of religion at the college level, said:
(Rosa Parks would have probably told Petersen under which wheel of the bus he should go sit.)
1967, (then) Mormon President Ezra Taft Benson said,
"The Communist program for revolution in America has been in progress for many years and is far advanced. First of all, we must not place the blame upon Negroes. They are merely the unfortunate group that has been selected by professional Communist agitators to be used as the primary source of cannon fodder."
We are told that on June 8, 1978, it was 'revealed' to the then president, Spencer Kimball, that people of color could now gain entry into the priesthood.
According to the church, Kimball spent many long hours petitioning God, begging him to give worthy black people the priesthood. God finally relented.
Sometime before the 'revelation' came to chief 'Prophet' Spencer Kimball in June 1978, General Authority, Bruce R McConkie had said:
"The Blacks are denied the Priesthood; under no circumstances can they hold this delegation of authority from the Almighty.
The Negroes are not equal with other races where the receipt of certain blessings are concerned, particularly the priesthood and the temple blessings that flow there from, but this inequality is not of man's origin, it is the Lord's doings."
(Mormon Doctrine, pp. 526-527).
When Mormon 'Apostle' Mark E Petersen spoke on 'Race Problems- As they affect the Church' at the BYU campus in 1954, the following was also said:
"...if the negro accepts the gospel with real, sincere faith, and is really converted, to give him the blessings of baptism and the gift of the Holy Ghost, he can and will enter the celestial kingdom. He will go there as a servant, but he will get celestial glory."
When Mormon 'Prophet' and second President of the Church, Brigham Young, spoke in 1863 the following was also said:
"Shall I tell you the law of God in regard to the African race? If the white man who belongs to the chosen seed mixes his blood with the seed of Cain, the penalty, under the law of God is death on the spot. This will always be so."
(Journal of Discourses, Vo. 10, p. 110)
Yeah; Native Americans are althroughout the Book of MORMON; too.
I saw a striking contrast in the progress of the Indian people today ... they are fast becoming a white and delightsome people.... For years they have been growing delightsome, and they are now becoming white and delightsome, as they were promised.... The children in the home placement program in Utah are often lighter than their brothers and sisters in the hogans on the reservation.
At one meeting a father and mother and their sixteen-year-old daughter were present, the little member girl-sixteen-sitting between the dark father and mother, and it was evident she was several shades lighter than her parentson the same reservation, in the same hogan, subject to the same sun and wind and weather.... These young members of the Church are changing to whiteness and to delightsomeness.
One white elder jokingly said that he and his companion were donating blood regularly to the hospital in the hope that the process might be accelerated.
(Improvement Era, December 1960, pp.922-23). (p. 209)
Yeah; they put out a bunch of them...
*The following is a letter from Elder Lance B. Wickman, General Counsel of the Church to publishers of major newspapers, TV stations and magazines. It was sent out on Tuesday, June 24, 2008.
Recent events have focused the media spotlight on a polygamous sect near San Angelo, Texas, calling itself the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. As you probably know, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has absolutely no affiliation with this polygamous sect. Decades ago, the founders of that sect rejected the doctrines of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, were excommunicated, and then started their own religion. To the best of our knowledge, no one at the Texas compound has ever been a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Unfortunately, however, some of the media coverage of the recent events in Texas has caused members of the public to confuse the doctrines and members of that group and our church. We have received numerous inquiries from confused members of the public who, by listening to less than careful media reports, have come to a grave misunderstanding about our respective doctrines and faith. Based on these media reports many have erroneously concluded that there is some affiliation between the two or even worse, that they are one and the same.
Over the years, in a careful effort to distinguish itself, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has gone to significant lengths to protect its rights in the name of the church and related matters. Specifically, we have obtained registrations for the name The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Mormon, Book of Mormon and related trade and service marks from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and corresponding agencies in a significant number of foreign countries.
We are confident that you are committed to avoiding misleading statements that cause unwarranted confusion and that may disparage or infringe the intellectual property rights discussed above. Accordingly, we respectfully request the following:
Stated simply, we would like to be known and recognized for whom we are and what we believe, and not be inaccurately associated with beliefs and practices that we condemn in the strongest terms. We would be grateful if you could circulate or copy this letter to your editorial staff and to your legal counsel.
We thank you for your consideration of these important matters.
Lance B. Wickman