Thursday, 19 December 2013

Official Statment: Blacks and the Priesthood

This week the LDS Mormon church based out of Utah in the United States made a statement concerning blacks and the Priesthood and tried in vain it would seem to re-write their past history of hatred and bigotry. With this in mind we thought that it would be important to let the world know that not all Mormons are like this and that the Mormon faith established by the Prophet Joseph Smith did not take the decision to exclude blacks but rather it was a decision based on the actions of one Brigham Young and the church led by him.

Many people have asked the question ‘Why did the Mormon church not ordain black men to the Priesthood’ to answer that question we have to look at the original church under the Prophet Joseph Smith. It is an established fact the Prophet Joseph Smith never denied membership in to the church based on race or colour and indeed several black men were made members and also ordained to the Priesthood during Joseph Smiths lifetime.

The first known black member of the early church was ‘Black Pete’, who joined the church in Kirtland Ohio. At least two African Americas, Elijah Abel in 1836 and Walker Lewis in 1844 were ordained to the priesthood during Joseph Smiths lifetime. Two decedents of Elijah Abel were also ordained Elders, and two other black men, Samuel Chambers and Edward Leggroan were ordained Deacons. Early black members in the church were also allowed admittance in to the temple at Kirtland Ohio. It is here at Kirtland that Elijah Abel received the ordinance and ritual of washing and anointing.

By 1839 there were about a dozen black members in the church. Later at Nauvoo it was reported that at least twenty two black members were registered including free slaves. Indeed we see that from their very own LDS archives that in 1836 the rules established by the church for governing assemblies in the Kirtland temple include attendees who were ‘bond or free, black or white’ (History of the church, Vol.2, Ch.26, p.368.

So it is an established fact that there have been black members of the Mormon faith and holders of the Priesthood since 1832. Elijah Abel was a personal friend of the Prophet Joseph Smith, and helped rescue him from mobs in Missouri bent on taking the life of the Prophet. Elijah Abel however died in the Salt Lake Valley out of favour with the church due to his being black. So what do we know? Joseph did ordain black men, but not black slaves.

Brigham young however was no Joseph Smith and in 1852 widened that ban to all black men free or bond and he did so using a much disputed set of scriptures known as the pearl of great price used and printed for the first time in 1852, and used Abraham 1:26 to justify his ban. Brigham young then initiated the Priesthood ban excluding all people of Hamitic lineage from the Priesthood and higher ordinances of the temple all this was done in 1852. The reason he gave was that ‘Negroes’ were the descendants of Cain, and Cain killed Abel, it would be against the justice of God to extend the Priesthood to the descendants of Cain. This seems very strange that God would allow one Prophet to ordain black men and then tell another not too, is God not the same yesterday today and forever? Surely if God knew it was wrong he would have instructed Joseph to stop it. The fact is it had nothing to do with God and more to do with hatred and bigotry on the part of Brigham Young.

The LDS priesthood ban was rescinded but never repudiated on June 8th 1978 by President Spencer W Kimble, just in time for a temple to be built and dedicated in Brazil a country with a very dense black population.  It would seem to some that the 1978 proclamations has never been answered until now, it certainly has never been discussed by the LDS Church in a manner that would invite discussion. Now we see that they claim that Brigham was acting as a man and he made an error based upon the thinking of the day, but it did not stop the Lord working through him as a Prophet. We find this very interesting. What are they saying? That the Lord works through evil men and men who make constant mistakes? This also is against the scriptures and also against Gods actions when a Prophet rejects God he is removed from his Position. Would it not be better to say that since Joseph Smith we the LDS church have not had a Prophet chosen by God but rather chosen by the will of the people a point that Brigham was keen to proclaim many times in his life “I do not profess to be a Prophet. I never called myself so; but I actually believe I am, because people are all the time telling me that I am.” Journal of Discourses, 5:177

 In conclusion The Latter Day Church of Jesus Christ would never allow a man's colour or race to be a marker as to his worthiness. This is self evident in the early church under the Prophet Joseph Smith. The Lord is no respecter of persons; as long as a man is worthy morally then the joys of service are open to him even if he is black. For us to assume otherwise is a sin. Brother Joseph understood this and so do we, all are welcome in the Latter Day Church of Jesus Christ no matter their skin colour or race.

Saturday, 14 December 2013

Our Right to Educate Our Children Our Way

In The Latter Day Church of Jesus Christ and as the Prophet of the church I have always encouraged the church and its members to seek prayerfully to support parents no matter the type of education they choose for their children, including state education, independent secular education, independent Christian schools, and homeschooling.

          It will be of concern to many to read of the report on “Elective Home Education,” compiled on behalf of the Department for Children, Schools and Families (DCSF) by Graham Badman here in the United Kingdom. The areas of specific concern to Christians and indeed Latter Day Mormons (and many non-Christians) will be the proposed compulsory annual registration of their children and inspection visits by representatives of the Local Education Authority (LEA).

          In many cases, it is precisely because of the poor standard of LEA provision that parents have chosen to educate their children at home. There will also be concern that these proposed inspection visits should involve conversations between LEA representatives and the child alone—without the parents present. This latter point is an abuse of parental responsibility and rights and as we know the Lord puts great store in the rights of parents in the scriptures both old and new.

Elective home education: the deliverance (in elective home education) or delegation (to schools) by parents of any and all compulsory educational provision is a legal duty, not a legal right. It is our legal duty to ensure our children’s education is suitable and efficient. The education acts confers this duty on parents, because parents know their children best and are therefore in a position to ensure the provision is suitable for them. Mr Badman seems not to have grasped this idea at all; indeed he seems to think that they, the parents have no clue.

          The famous quote from successive education bills—repeated in the Education Act 1996, Section 7—does indeed refer to duty:

Duty of Parents to Secure Education of Children of Compulsory School Age

The parent of every child of compulsory school age shall cause him to receive efficient full-time education suitable—

(a) To his age, ability and aptitude, and

(b) To any special educational needs he may have,

Either by regular attendance at school or otherwise.

           This is in line with the biblical position:

You shall teach them [God’s laws] diligently to your children. (Deuteronomy 6:7) Train up a child in the way he should go, And when he is old he will not depart from it. (Proverbs 22:6)

And you, fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord.(Ephesians 6:4)

          Whichever form of education we choose for our children, the parents and specifically as indicated in Scripture, the fathers are responsible, and we will answer to God for the choices we make.

          Please let us be firm when we say that as far as the church is concerned the educational needs of children are first and foremost the duty of the parent rather than the state. Parents may delegate this educational responsibility to those whom they trust, but this delegation in no wise removes their responsibility for the education of their children. Latter Day Mormon and indeed Christian parents should think long and hard about whether the teachers at their children’s school are bringing them up according to the values that the parents want, and if not, then it should be considered a mistake to send our children into such an environment.

Many Christians and indeed many believers, whatever their denomination in the UK, have chosen to home school their children for precisely this reason. In the past, there has been no reason for parents to need to justify this decision to the state. The Bible makes no requirement to justify this position and supports those who take it. In an atmosphere where increasing numbers of Christians feel that they suffer discrimination for their faith, this report could open up one more avenue for such discrimination.

As the prophet of the church it is my wish to see many of the children involved now with the church or those that will latter be involved with the church to be either educated by the church in its very own school or to be home schooled, so that we can indeed educate our children in a way pleasing unto the Lord and so that we may stand blameless before God when asked what we did for those placed in our care by the Father.

(Source for Sermon taken from Answers in Genesis)

Saturday, 7 December 2013

A Sure Knowledge of God

Its is a great blessing that we have in the Latter Day Church to know that God does indeed live, that he is alive and that Christ is his only begotten Son not only in spirit but also in flesh and that he is the Saviour of the world. However we must all of us remember that we have not learned all that there is to know about him or the Father, neither is it possible for all of us to learn all we need to in this mortal life, it is impossible for us all to know everything about them or to fully comprehend their being. For many of us it is enough to know that Jesus is the Christ and that he took upon himself all the sins of this world and that the Father is our Father in spirit and that he rules in his place. For many of us when we enter in to the presence of God the Father and his Son many of us will be crowned with exhalation and the glory and promise and the sure knowledge that comes with it. However until we do enter into their most perfect presence and receive this most wonderful of blessings for many of we will not fully know the only true God and Jesus Christ in their entirety.

For Latter Day Mormons the scriptures give us a guiding light however in to some aspects of the God head and the nature of the beings that make up this most glories leadership. The scriptures show us the personality of God, for example the Saviour said in John ‘My Father is greater than I’ (John 14:28) and in Luke he invited the disciples to touch him after the resurrection and to handle him and se what had transpired ‘A spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have’ (Luke 24:39). It is understood by us all that Man was created in the image of God and that this was to be taken in the literal sense not just as a mystical utterance but as a real and indeed personal statement by the creator and as Latter Day Mormons we know that we are created in the image of God and that as we are create din his image much of his personality is indeed in us.

Much of the personality of God is questioned today, it is questioned that he even lives at all and to us as followers of God the Father and his Son it can seem very absurd that such as thing is questioned, however it must be remembered that man does not have all wisdom and knowledge and that many men believe that they have and try to explain away things that they do not understand, however we know that God has all wisdom and knowledge and that he stands supreme above all. To all who are doubting let me ask you this do we believe that God has all wisdom? If so then he is absolute. If there is something he does not know then he is not absolute in wisdom and to think such a thing is absurd and lacks faith.  The nest question we need to ask is doe she have all power? If so then there is nothing in which he lacks. If he is lacking in wisdom and power then he is not supreme and there must be something greater than he, and this is again absurd and lacing in faith. Our scriptures give us the answer to this question without question. In the book of Mormon for example Nephi the Prophet says ‘O how great the holiness of our God! For he knoweth all things, and there is nothing save he knows it’ and the same again in the D&C when the Lord himself speaks and says ‘The Spirit of truth is of God. I am the spirit of truth, and John bore record of me, saying he received a fullness of truth, yea, even of all truth’ (D&C 93:21-26) and finally the Prophet Alma said of God ‘Great is our Lord, and of great power his understanding in infinite’

For us it is a Joy to know who the Father is and who our Christ is and he is everlasting and they together form an everlasting truth that will never be extinguished. No matter if we keep the truth and guard it or it is passed to other to guard the sacred flame it will go on forever and ever. However we have been given the task of guarding that flame and it is up to us to learn as much as we can in this life so that we may stand before them at the judgment in full knowledge of who they are and why they are so that we may be able to stand as them at same future time and place.

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