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Author Topic: Elder Oaks, Polygamy, and Public Criticism  (Read 2438 times)

The Folk Prophet

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Re: Elder Oaks, Polygamy, and Public Criticism
« Reply #75 on: January 03, 2020, 02:26:49 pm »
Refusing to associate with a group of individuals based on their physical appearance is racism, pure and simple.

Also, and this point is a bit argumentative, but for clarity's sake. It's only "racism" if the physical appearance difference stems from race.

That should be obvious.

Perhaps you meant that refusing to associate with a group of individuals based on their physical appearance is bigotry, pure and simple.

I would generally agree with that. But I don't think that's on the Lord, as I've said, in that it would need to presume that the Lord did not want the Nephites to associate with the Lamanites, even if the Lamanites repented, didn't try to kill them, etc. I think that is plainly false.
 

Taalcon

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Re: Elder Oaks, Polygamy, and Public Criticism
« Reply #76 on: January 03, 2020, 02:30:27 pm »
Some points with the Book of Mormon narrative worth considering.

The Nephites voluntarily left and took the Temple Relics/Keys before any change was pronounced.

Jacob, who was alive during this period, so in the same generation, pronounced that there were key things the Lamanites are more righteous about than the Nephites.

Nephites, who would have participated in a communalized form of Temple sacrificial rites as did the Israelites, would have been pronounced ceremonially 'clean' as they observed the laws and rites of the Temple/Law. It is, in itself, a status of separation.

In Israel, the Canaanites and other local inhabitants did not have materially different physical appearances. It was participation in the covenant that ceremonially set them apart as bearers and protectors of the covenant.

There was no formal end to the 'Lamanite Restriction'. They were cut off because the Nephites left them and took the Temple, and restricted the rites as long as they were fighting against them. All Lamanites in the text who present themselves to the Nephites with a willingness to enter into covenant are accepted. The 'curse' is only active, "save they shall repent of their iniquities.". - a repentant Lamanite is by definition no longer cursed. They do not exhibit the behaviors that caused the Nephites to flee with the keys of the Temple and Covenant.

The action was fighting against God, rebelling, and desiring to kill and usurp the Nephite authority. The result was a curse - the keys and truths were removed from their midst. They were cut off from the presence of the Lord.

When given light and knowledge, the lack of such, when contrasted, can be considered darkness.
« Last Edit: January 03, 2020, 02:36:55 pm by Taalcon »
 

Roper

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Re: Elder Oaks, Polygamy, and Public Criticism
« Reply #77 on: January 03, 2020, 03:47:41 pm »
Honestly I'm not sure why we're debating this. I'm not going to be convinced.
That was two pages back. And here we are.

I'll include a part from our charter, not to stop the discussion, but as an encouragement to all of us participating on this thread to dial down the heat a bit:

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We respect the fact that members come from a variety of backgrounds and experiences and have differences in interpretation and opinion. We may prefer our own ideas and feel them to be well-supported by scripture and by latter-day prophets. At all times, we humbly admit that our own understanding may be limited, and that further light and knowledge will increase our understanding.

We avoid the spirit of contention. If we think that another’s ideas are contrary to the gospel, we do not strive to prevail in a debate or to argue that person into silence or submission. We set forth our own understanding with patience and kindness. As disciples of Christ, we are merciful to each other and assume that members speak and act with the best of motives.
All grown-ups were once children...but only few of them remember it. ― Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, "The Little Prince."
 
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Roper

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Re: Elder Oaks, Polygamy, and Public Criticism
« Reply #78 on: January 03, 2020, 03:59:45 pm »
I'm pretty sure that those here who have expressed a perspective different than yours once probably had the same assumptions as you did, and went through a process through time that allowed that perspective to be adjusted. Consider that this process wasn't just on a whim, or to seek praises of the world, or whatever.

On the flipside, some of us who held that perspective do not feel good about our earlier having had that perspective, and our frustration with ourselves might sometimes be taken out on those we see as reflective of our earlier selves.

That's a good summary of my own journey so far. Thank you, Taalcon. There are many areas in the restored Gospel where I have sought further light and knowledge, and my understanding has changed, because a different understanding was expressed in this forum or in the previous Nauvoo Forum.
All grown-ups were once children...but only few of them remember it. ― Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, "The Little Prince."
 
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Roper

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Re: Elder Oaks, Polygamy, and Public Criticism
« Reply #79 on: January 03, 2020, 04:19:42 pm »
Refusing to associate with a group of individuals based on their physical appearance is racism, pure and simple.

Also, and this point is a bit argumentative, but for clarity's sake. It's only "racism" if the physical appearance difference stems from race.


Some more clarification: "Race" is the word we use to describe a group of people as distinct based on their shared social qualities. It is a social construct. It may include physical similarities, but "race" is not a biological classification. We all are members of same biological species. We all are children of God.

When the Nephites and Lamanites separated, they became separate races. Each group established their own distinct social identities.

"Racism" is the belief that your race is superior to another. Racist behaviors include discrimination, prejudice, enforcing separation, treating another group as inferior, etc.

The Nephites and the Lamanites were both incredibly racist against each other. Even the language the Nephites use to describe the Lamanites make that clear. I'm not passing judgement, here. That's just the way their societies became. It defined their history of conflict.
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: Elder Oaks, Polygamy, and Public Criticism
« Reply #80 on: January 03, 2020, 04:33:31 pm »
Roper, your clarified my intent much better that I was about to.  Race, ethnicity, nationality, etc. are all artificial constructs that humans create to classify in and out groups, awhich is contrary to the gospel of Jesus Christ.
 
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The Folk Prophet

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Re: Elder Oaks, Polygamy, and Public Criticism
« Reply #81 on: January 03, 2020, 04:48:15 pm »
Refusing to associate with a group of individuals based on their physical appearance is racism, pure and simple.

Also, and this point is a bit argumentative, but for clarity's sake. It's only "racism" if the physical appearance difference stems from race.


Some more clarification: "Race" is the word we use to describe a group of people as distinct based on their shared social qualities. It is a social construct. It may include physical similarities, but "race" is not a biological classification. We all are members of same biological species. We all are children of God.

When the Nephites and Lamanites separated, they became separate races. Each group established their own distinct social identities.

"Racism" is the belief that your race is superior to another. Racist behaviors include discrimination, prejudice, enforcing separation, treating another group as inferior, etc.

The Nephites and the Lamanites were both incredibly racist against each other. Even the language the Nephites use to describe the Lamanites make that clear. I'm not passing judgement, here. That's just the way their societies became. It defined their history of conflict.

Assuming this concept of race is true (which is debatable, but there are different definitions of race...so I'll acquiesce) it's still invalid to claim racism for disliking a characteristic of a brother. If my brother has a large mole on his face and I find it distasteful it is not racist. If my sister is born with dark hair but I think blonde is more attractive it is not racist.

I agree (considering my acquiescence above) that the Nephites were racist against the Lamanites. But I don't agree that a general distaste for a physical characteristic is de facto racism...particularly where that taste is related primarily to mating interests.

I also think that using the terms racism and racist is EXTREMELY loaded and really ought to be used with more care even in cases where, perhaps (depending on the meaning), technically accurate.
 
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The Folk Prophet

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Re: Elder Oaks, Polygamy, and Public Criticism
« Reply #82 on: January 03, 2020, 04:55:24 pm »
Honestly I'm not sure why we're debating this. I'm not going to be convinced.
That was two pages back. And here we are.

I should clarify, since I wasn't clear before, I specifically meant debating the exact points with you in that reply, and that the specific points being made at the time were not going to convince either of us. I did not mean I had no interest in further discussion, and I did not mean I was unwilling to be convinced by any point made.
 
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Re: Elder Oaks, Polygamy, and Public Criticism
« Reply #83 on: January 03, 2020, 04:55:35 pm »
Quote
But I don't agree that a general distaste for a physical characteristic is de facto racism...particularly where that taste is related primarily to mating interests.

Agreed, based on individual taste. It becomes racism when a common characteristic is used to define an entire group as inferior, or to define an individual as inferior based on a common characteristic of her/his group.
All grown-ups were once children...but only few of them remember it. ― Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, "The Little Prince."
 

Taalcon

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Re: Elder Oaks, Polygamy, and Public Criticism
« Reply #84 on: January 03, 2020, 05:04:40 pm »
There's a similarity in racism and classism. They are informed by, "my group is inherently better than your group." - I think this is far more what we see going on in The Book of Mormon.

In the 19th Century, "Mormons" were seen by many as essentially a different race. There's a fascinating book on this that explores how early Latter-day Saints - who were essentially of white anglo-saxon stock - were seen and treated as 'Non White'. (see Religion of a Different Color: Race and the Mormon Struggle for Whiteness ), and described in physical terms that did not reflect reality.

Sometimes, good intentions to teach our Children our own standards can unintentionally lead children (who are not expressly told not to) to view those who do not follow our own unique codes of conduct as being "bad". Sometimes, within a culture, just pointing out someone as a "non-member" can put a proverbial 'skin of blackness' over someone in the mind of the person.

For many in the 19th and early 20th century, Mormons had a "skin of blackness" upon them, and it was an image the Church worked very hard to dismiss. (One might even suggest to he point of overcompensation)

Humans don't need physical differences to look down upon or disassociate with other groups, as long as they are labeled as "OTHER" or "NOT US". Physical differences, however, just make the justification all the easier, and make it FAR easier to make harmful and misleading judgments.

It's why I don't see at all a necessity in the Book of Mormon for a physical literal skin tone change for the narrative and the language to work, and I actually find it far more practical and consistent with how God works in the past AND present for this to be the scenario that played out, rather than a permanent mass generation-marking biological genetic "solution" that would directly lead to further harm and justification for mistreatment for what the narrative shows to be a very temporary problem.
« Last Edit: January 03, 2020, 05:06:43 pm by Taalcon »
 
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Taalcon

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Re: Elder Oaks, Polygamy, and Public Criticism
« Reply #85 on: January 18, 2020, 11:43:16 am »
Well, as I feared and what my writing to Church curriculum and reaching out to others was partly trying to avoid happening, this is now public.

But it did result in this from a Church spokesperson:
Quote
Church spokeswoman Irene Caso explained the problem this week.

“During the publication of the ‘Come, Follow Me’ manual for 2020, there was an error that resulted in the printing of material that doesn’t reflect the church’s current views on the topic,” she said in a statement. “To correct this, a decision was made to modify the content in the digital version of the lesson."

These days, Caso added, the church “disavows the theories advanced in the past that black skin is a sign of divine disfavor or curse, or that it reflects unrighteous actions in a premortal life; that mixed-race marriages are a sin; or that blacks or people of any other race or ethnicity are inferior in any way to anyone else. Church leaders today unequivocally condemn all racism, past and present, in any form."

Well, since it wasn't changed in the print edition, I'm glad it's getting publicized in some way so members know it is NOT the current position of the Church in that form.
« Last Edit: January 18, 2020, 12:06:46 pm by Taalcon »
 
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JLM

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Re: Elder Oaks, Polygamy, and Public Criticism
« Reply #86 on: January 19, 2020, 01:39:40 am »
What is fascinating is that the original version made it through the curriculum department in the first place.  Based on timing, it was probably approved when Callister was general SS president.
 
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Taalcon

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Re: Elder Oaks, Polygamy, and Public Criticism
« Reply #87 on: January 20, 2020, 08:44:49 pm »
Elder Stevenson addressed this today at a meeting of the NAACP. Here's a video (via Twitter) of him saying it, and here's an article with the quote:

Quote
Before Stevenson offered his prepared remarks, he described a recent problem with an Latter-day Saint Sunday school manual, laid out in Saturday’s Salt Lake Tribune.

The apostle acknowledged that the 2020 “Come, Follow Me” manual for use by everyone in the 16.3 million-member church for this year’s study of the Book of Mormon, “includes a paragraph with some outdated commentary on race.”

It was “mistakenly included in the printed version of the manual, which had been prepared for print nearly two years ago,” Stevenson said at the lunch. “When it was brought to the attention of church leaders late last year, they directed it be immediately removed in our annual online manual, which is used by the great majority of our members."

The church’s top officials also “have directed that any future printed manuals will reflect this change,” he said. “We are asking members to disregard the paragraph in the printed manual.”

Stevenson said he was “deeply saddened and hurt by this error, and for any pain that it may have caused our members or others.”

The church “condemns all racism past and present in any form,” the apostle said, “and we disavow any theory that advances that black skin or dark skin is the sign of a curse.”

 
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Re: Elder Oaks, Polygamy, and Public Criticism
« Reply #88 on: January 20, 2020, 11:26:50 pm »
  "The church “condemns all racism past and present in any form,” the apostle said, “and we disavow any theory that advances that black skin or dark skin is the sign of a curse.”

Hard to be more clear and direct that that.  I think it's important to note that the church condemns racism, not "racists". We condemn sinful behaviors, thoughts and practices, but not the persons who perpetrate them.  Rather, we call to repentance.  I believe one of the most important powers of the attonement is the power to attone for the blood and sins of each generation.  We don't excuse the behavior of someone for being a product of their time, but recognize that the Lord will be able to  properly judge their hearts.  Nevertheless, we learn from the mistakes of the past and work to do better.
« Last Edit: January 21, 2020, 08:07:07 am by JLM »
 
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Re: Elder Oaks, Polygamy, and Public Criticism
« Reply #89 on: January 21, 2020, 12:36:39 am »
We condemn sinful behaviors, thoughts and practices, but not the persons who perpetrate them.

That's been a hard lesson for me to learn regarding our own church history. Two thoughts have helped me along the way: 1) I hope that future generations will be merciful to us when they look back and see how unenlightened and narrow-minded we are on so many things. 2) From a dear friend who is a member of another faith: "Lord, help me be merciful to those who sin differently than I do." Kinda keeps things in perspective.
All grown-ups were once children...but only few of them remember it. ― Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, "The Little Prince."
 
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