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Author Topic: Brigham Young statue Vandalized  (Read 660 times)

Enochscion

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Re: Brigham Young statue Vandalized
« Reply #15 on: June 26, 2020, 02:02:37 am »
Perhaps some even more basic questions might be:

"Is it ever possible to be a genuinely good person, and hold racist or xenophobic beliefs?"

"Is it ever possible to be a genuinely good person, and own slaves?"
 

Roper

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Re: Brigham Young statue Vandalized
« Reply #16 on: June 26, 2020, 10:59:32 am »
I guess that will depend on the definition of "genuinely good."

I honestly try to follow Christ and treat others as my sisters and brothers. We are all, equally, God's children. However, I don't doubt that generations in the future will look back at this time when I am alive, and read the things I have written, and look at the photos I have made, and come to the conclusion that I am prejudiced in one way or another. I hope future generations will be merciful in their evaluation of how I lived my life, so I am willing to be merciful in my evaluation of those who came before. That doesn't mean I believe everything they did was okay. It's important to look at history with as much light and knowledge, and mercy, as we can.
All grown-ups were once children...but only few of them remember it. ― Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, "The Little Prince."
 

N3uroTypical

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Re: Brigham Young statue Vandalized
« Reply #17 on: June 26, 2020, 11:35:57 am »
Me, reading news on the Brigham Young statue vandalism: "I bet there's an argument on Nauvoo, and JLM and Taalcon are agreeing with the vandals and calling BY racist."

Thought I'd stop by and say hi.  Hope y'all are staying safe. 
What-about-ism is pointless. I like to think most people's responses to such arguments would be, "Yup. That person, who happened to wear the same political jersey I do/did, was totally wrong on that, too."
-Taalcon
 

Taalcon

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Re: Brigham Young statue Vandalized
« Reply #18 on: June 26, 2020, 02:04:02 pm »
Quote
"I bet there's an argument on Nauvoo, and JLM and Taalcon are agreeing with the vandals

I don't agree with vandalizing personal property, or the extra-legal removal of property, either, for the record. So, no, I do NOT endorse the action taken by the Vandals or agree with their actions, N3uro. I do not, and I have not.

And JLM also said,
Quote
The vandals were 100% in the wrong for vandalizing the Church's property, and if caught they should pay for the damage and maybe serve some probation time.

Just so we're clear.
« Last Edit: June 26, 2020, 02:58:22 pm by Taalcon »
 
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JLM

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Re: Brigham Young statue Vandalized
« Reply #19 on: June 26, 2020, 08:17:14 pm »
I don’t even get the appeal of sneaking around at night throwing paint on inanimate objects.  It’s much more fun to stand on a hot street corner handing out informative leaflets.
 
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dyany

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Re: Brigham Young statue Vandalized
« Reply #20 on: June 27, 2020, 12:12:09 am »
I have to say, and this might match some of the things that Taalcon was saying, but my brain has been mush all week since I'm detoxing from carbs, so I apologize if I'm just repeating stuff.

1. Racism is not all or nothing. It's a continuum, as many sins are. One can be racist with behaviors from simply holding your purse closer to you when you see a black man walk by, or reaching out without permission and touching a black person's hair, or denying that redlining should have an effect currently, all the way to burning crosses in people's yards and participating in lynching. All are racist acts, but are different degrees thereof. Like, a person might say"I follow the word of wisdom," and mean that they don't drink or smoke or do drugs or drink coffee or straight tea, but might not pay attention to tea products in other foods and pay zero attention whatsoever to the amount of meat they eat. But this earthly experience is about learning, and learning takes time and we understand more about things we have done all our lives if we keep our minds open and humble. So know better, do better. Keep trying. It's about the becoming, which is a process and a journey.
2. ALL our leaders have been flawed in one way or another. I think that's part of the purpose, honestly. Because God knows he has to work through flawed humans, but that's part of what makes faith necessary. It's part of the veil that makes the truth cloudy and is why we need the gift of the Holy Ghost (which we should always be learning to hear better) and rely on it heavily. And why we sustain. And why blind obedience needs to be rooted out of our culture. Not that regular rebellion should be a thing, but I believe there is this foggy area where the commands/way things are conveyed are not quite right, but close enough that God won't micromanage, and it will go for a while before we grow into making the necessary adjustments to be closer to Truth. Growing through learning and experience and making mistakes is more effective than just being told what to do. Which is the entire purpose of this life.
3. I do believe that Brigham Young was racist. I feel that someone of his beliefs wouldn't make it to a leadership position today, but it was less extreme in the culture of his day. Were his racist decisions and actions bad? Yes. But know better, do better. And he didn't have the same information back then that we have now. Israelites from Moses's day will not be held to the same standards from Christians in Peter's day will not be held to the same standards to the saints of Joseph Smith's day, etc. Line upon line. Where more is given, more is expected. So BY did the good he was supposed to do, and he was human, and a product of some strong cultural beliefs of his time. It's possible to do all of these. God will judge righteously based on what BY knew was right and what he knew was wrong. I'm glad I don't have to judge.
4. I don't agree with the vandalism. It's part of the modern trend I've seen building for years that if you feel something--an emotion, a reaction, an attraction, a desire--then you should follow it through. I've even seen arguments recently that "no one is allowed to judge or stop me for my reaction to something I've experienced, I feel it and you don't so that makes my behavior totally justified" which is just psychotic, but makes sense that people would start to feel this way after years of indoctrination. Our feelings are VALID, and it's important we try to understand them in ourselves and others--feelings, including sadness, anger, fear, etc., are NOT SINS. But our ACTIONS we can control more, and by our actions we feed or starve, encourage or discourage, those emotions and can become more who we are supposed to be--our best, eternal selves.  That being said, I am charged not to hate others for not knowing (and therefore doing) at the same level as me, or others who are even better.
« Last Edit: June 27, 2020, 07:03:26 pm by dyany »
 
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Roper

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Re: Brigham Young statue Vandalized
« Reply #21 on: June 27, 2020, 11:28:05 am »
Dyany, thank you for focusing on our accountability for actions. We don't know what is in other people's hearts. We can righteously judge actions, but we cannot pass final judgement on a person. That requires omniscience.

I keep coming back Christ's teachings of how we should treat each other, and to the many examples in Christ's life of how he treated others. Even when Christ rebuked His enemies and corrected His disciples, it was usually because of how they were treating others.

In all the upheaval and chaos, I find that asking those questions--how am I treating others and how are the people with whom I associate treating others--serves as a reliable guide for my thoughts, actions, and associations.



All grown-ups were once children...but only few of them remember it. ― Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, "The Little Prince."
 
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Iggy

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Re: Brigham Young statue Vandalized
« Reply #22 on: June 27, 2020, 05:25:50 pm »
Dyany, my dearest Sister in Zion ~ no way is your brain mush. I love every word you wrote.

As my youngest nephew at age six to eighteen would say after a profound statement was said to him and he agreed with it ~ "That. Is. All."
 
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pnr

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« Last Edit: June 28, 2020, 07:54:12 am by pnr »
Nauvoo 1270, Feb 2005
 
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Taalcon

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Re: Brigham Young statue Vandalized
« Reply #24 on: June 28, 2020, 09:37:54 am »
pnr, these are very useful resources.

It's the same when addressing all of these historical figures. And, frankly, it's part of why I am uncomfortable with statues of ANYone.

It DOES allow the extremes on both sides to come into place, and naturally, anyone pointing out an exteme to the exclusion of the other side will naturally frustrate and cause there to be counterbalance.

I think a lot of the frustration comes that from 99% of modern correlated history, the messy parts haven't even been addressed. Members only hear Brigham Young spoken of in official sources in glowing, wonderful terms. Modern day Moses. Noble leader. Key in keeping the Church together. And all of those things are true!

HOWEVER.

Especially from the perspective of Blacks who had experienced well over a century of ideas that institutionally and culturally regarded them as inherently and deservedly unworthy or unprepared or cursed and somewhat inherently distinct from the rest of humanity. Much of those ideas going to back explaining and justifying a policy instituted by Young which was INITIATED with explanations that were gross and harmful (the issues with the published JOD aside, Carruth's translation of the raw Watts shorthand for some of these have been published, and other contemporaries and other documents do make clear that this can't be handwaved).

The Church has acknowledged and disavowed the rhetoric used. Whether you are still holding out that that Brigham Young was righteously and correctly inspired to begin keeping all Black men and women from Priesthood and Temple participation, it is clear that the reasons and rhetoric he gave were wrong, disgusting, and harmful (and's Watts' paraphrases aren't by far the only sources for that). It's stunning that it took until later in this decade for the Church to publish so clear and specific a disavowwal of those ideas, which had been quietly allowed to be perpetuated for decades, even after the restriction had been lifted. (Essentially, "No, these descriptions don't apply to Modern Blacks, but it's okay to think they may have applied to all Blacks until 1978").

So much work has been done with Joseph Smith, and nuancing his life, and so much of that has begun to work itself into the curriculum. Being able to appreciate Joseph Smith's contribution and prophetic calling hasn't suffered. For me, it makes the story of the Restoration more real. It teaches how God can work among messy people, and messy situations.

Official Church History material has barely begun working on BY. I think it's in part because while a popular book like Rough Stone Rolling was written by someone with such a massive faithful LDS cred (Richard Bushman) and was more easier to grasp in the LDS consciousness before it began working itself into the curriculum.

The BY equivalent, 'Pioneer Prophet', while written by a scholar very friendly and sympathetic to Mormonism (John Turner), his not being a Latter-day Saint makes it easy to dismiss, or not even consider.

Something Latter-day Saint historians pointed out in relations to women's history, is that in the last few years, you've seen a lot of women-focused history because so much has been left out. It has been created to be SUPPLEMENTARY to the existing record. But the hope is that going forward, women's history will simply be part of Latter-day Saint History, and separate volumes will be less and less necessary. SAINTS has been doing an excellent job in showing the fruit of that.

The Joseph Smith material has taken a similar bent. For a while, you saw a lot of material 'debunking' or 'adding' to the sanitized record, which made that material really stand out.

But now, it's becoming simply part of the story. It makes those other difficult parts less sensationalized, but more meaningful, and able to be discussed and worked through.

I look forward to seeing more de-mythologization of Brigham Young in the future. But history shows that until the messy part of the story gets integrated into the traditional story (In a way both of those articles/podcasts attempted to do!), people will feel the need to overemphasize one 'version' of BY over the other 'version'.

Until it's generally understood that everyone in the Church is getting the same nuanced story of BY, you're certain to have "BY was a racist" met with "NO, because he Did Good Things And Was A Prophet", and likewise, "BY was amazing!" met with, "NO, because he was a racist."

Both of those ideas need to be able to be in dialogue with each other in a real way for any progress to be made.

« Last Edit: June 28, 2020, 09:39:32 am by Taalcon »
 
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Roper

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Re: Brigham Young statue Vandalized
« Reply #25 on: June 28, 2020, 10:21:06 am »
We, as individuals, hate to be pigeonholed. We hate to be categorized because we understand that we are infinitely complex, and that one facet of our public life does not define who we are as children of God. It's saddening that when we look at other people, in history and in our modern society, we often engage in "all or nothing" thinking. We do the very thing to them which we reject for ourselves.
All grown-ups were once children...but only few of them remember it. ― Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, "The Little Prince."
 
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JLM

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Re: Brigham Young statue Vandalized
« Reply #26 on: June 28, 2020, 01:37:37 pm »
Agreed.  As saints we need to come to grips with the fact that someone can be a prophet or apostle and still be a deeply flawed person that believed and taught some incorrect principles.  It’s really not that big a deal.
 

pnr

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Re: Brigham Young statue Vandalized
« Reply #27 on: June 28, 2020, 04:12:54 pm »
Quote
Until it's generally understood that everyone in the Church is getting the same nuanced story of BY, you're certain to have "BY was a racist" met with "NO, because he Did Good Things And Was A Prophet", and likewise, "BY was amazing!" met with, "NO, because he was a racist."

I wrote:  "I don't think it is clear at all that BY was racist."   And you responded:  "What you arguing in reality is actually not that Racism is Evil, but that there is some racism that must not BE evil."   

I was doing no such thing.

Labels aren't helpful in these discussions.  Specially these discussions.  And it is paramount that we stop attributing bad motives or changing what people who think differently say to fit our own ideas on the subject, if we are ever to have the thoughtful and intense personal discussion that finally pushes through the hurt that Black people feel, and white people do not much understand. 

(For those who want to get to a better understanding of the issues, I'd suggested "Stamped: Racism, Anti-racism and You.")

Nauvoo 1270, Feb 2005
 

Taalcon

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Re: Brigham Young statue Vandalized
« Reply #28 on: June 28, 2020, 06:07:07 pm »

I wrote:  "I don't think it is clear at all that BY was racist."   And you responded:  "What you arguing in reality is actually not that Racism is Evil, but that there is some racism that must not BE evil."   

I was doing no such thing.

Labels aren't helpful in these discussions.  ...

(For those who want to get to a better understanding of the issues, I'd suggested "Stamped: Racism, Anti-racism and You.")

We do need to agree on definitions, though. And I'm confused. You recommend Kendi's book to understand the issues. His definition is the one I was using.

Racism and racist ideas don't have to have malicious motivations to be what they are, and to be incorrect and harmful. That's a big part of Kendi's writing (especially in his full-length version of his history Stamped From The Beginning).

Brigham Young promoted and believed ideas which are by very definition racist ideas.

Even the article you shared, which does a very good job of expressing the nuance, is very clear to say: "The first thing we must acknowledge is a simple fact: Brigham Young was a racist. There are enough recorded statements from him from diverse enough sources that establish that he was a racist."

This is important. People who lived and died may have been a thing, and we can't changed how they were when they died in the historical record. We, who are alive, who may be a thing, can yet to learn about and grow out of that thing. A racist today can still grow into an anti-racist. We can learn from the racists of the past who never were able to to so (in mortality).

I grew up with some actions and behaviors and beliefs in my youth that were racist. I wasn't at all a KKK supporting person who was a fan of slavery who thought African Blacks should either go back to slavery or be deported. Those are EXTREME forms of racism. They were never a part of me. But they do not define racism.

I think it is extraordinarily clear that by all reasonable standards, BY was a racist. What Douglas notes in that post you linked that can be unclear is the "quality and intensity of his racism".

You also said
Quote
But if the priesthood ban was from God, as he surely must have believed it was (whether or not that was accurate), then how does following God's instruction make him a racist?

Which is which caught me as redefining racism to say, as I understand, "If he believed God commanded it, it must not be a racist act"

I'd appreciate if you could help me understand what I've misunderstood from your position so we can better communicate.

« Last Edit: June 28, 2020, 06:12:42 pm by Taalcon »
 
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AndrewR

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Re: Brigham Young statue Vandalized
« Reply #29 on: June 29, 2020, 09:53:21 am »
Labeling someone a racist, and their idea and understanding of being a racist, and the outsider view of a racist are all different.

What constitutes a racist is, like beauty, in the eye of the beholder.

I listened to a black lady on the radio a few weeks ago tell all white people that we are racist - simply because we are white, and our white privilege makes racist. We can't get away from it, because it is just there.

There is no argument for that, she has her mind made up, and nothing will change it.

Society labels those from the past by the standards of today and calls them racist. They were racist, and they said it openly, because their understanding was not as enlightened as it is today.

The whole thing is a mess. We have two major roads in the UK that go for hundreds of miles. The A5 (Watling Road) and the Fosse Way. Both were originally laid by Roman slaves. Should I never drive on either again because buried along its route are those that died making the road? If I can't then I need to change my route to work because I drive on a part of Watling Street every single working day.

But I don't know if I am a descendent of the slave, or the roman who whipped him. So I don't even know what side I am on.

It's different in the case of African Americans - although there are descendents of Black slaves who are whiter than me, and don't know their heritage at all.

I watched Suits before Megan was famous for other reasons. I did not know of her at all. Until her on screen father showed up I didn't know she was an African American playing an African American. She looked pretty darn white to me, still does. And I can't imagine that Archie is going to be any darker skinned.

I find the whole thing to be just another way of causing strife between people - Satan's work.
Don't ask me, I only live here.
Nauvoodle since March 2005 #1412
 
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