Thursday, March 1, 2012

A Standing Ovation and an Amen

[Update]  In addition to Brad's BCC post, I'm also wanting to applaud a beautiful guest post by Paul Reeve at Juvenile Instructor: "Professor Bott, Elijah Abel, and a Plea from the Past", Jana Riess' "Flunking Sainthood" post: "How Far Will the LDS Church Go in Cracking Down on Racism?", and finally Gabriel Gomes Fidalgo's powerful and moving personal story.

From Brad's post: Pride, Gross Iniquity, And Suffering For One's Sins:

"The question we should be asking ourselves is not why the ban was right until 1978, but rather why God permitted us to persist in doing something so obviously wrong until 1978. Part of the answer is that we insisted on it. We demanded it and refused to consider otherwise. We were defensive and obstinate and self-assured and prideful and utterly unwilling to consider that we were wrong, that what we were doing was wrong. Some of us were willing, but their very marginalization only marks them as exceptions that prove the general rule of our being very and prolongedly guilty of the above forms of unrepentance...

...The Kingdom’s growth and, by extension, the people of the world are paying a price for our unwillingness to publicly confess our sin, which we instead hide under a cloak of un-Christian folklore and false-doctrine and proud insistence that it wasn’t our fault, it was really God’s. When you have committed a great evil, and when you persisted in committing it for an extended period and at incalculable human cost, anything short of fully acknowledging it for what it truly is, and of anguished, broken-hearted contrition for having done it is not full repentance. And without full repentance, full redemption is not possible, but instead one must continue to suffer for one’s iniquities."

5 comments:

NM said...

I don't buy it. But definitely good rhetoric...

Clean Cut said...

Just curious, NM, what exactly you're not "buying"? (After all, as an evangelical Christian it's not like you've bought Mormonism period).

ji said...

I believe we must not perpetuate incorrect rationalizations, but I do not believe "the Church" needs to apologize. This is based on my understanding of the Church. I do not see the Church as a monolithic corporation; rather, I see it as a gathering of individuals. The prophets and apostles who supported the ban are dead and buried, or "released" so to speak. All their statements were helps and teachings to fellow members. Every new apostle and prophet begins his ministry when he is called, and he is called to do the will of the Lord by offering helps and teachings to fellow members -- not to apologize for the statements of his predecessors.

A new bishop need not apologize for the error of his predecessor. Neither need a new President of the Church.

However, the current President of the Church could, if he so chooses, clarify that he believes all the rationalizations that exist for the ban are just that, rationalizations -- they are not truth. The official statement released by the spokesman was good, but it would be better perhaps if the President of the Church said it himself. Who knows what he really believes?

Clean Cut said...

It's a tricky subject, ji, because there are at least two groups of people in the Church. Those who see the whole ban and its effects as racist and not God inspired, and those who still believe the priesthood/temple ban was [somehow but in a way "we don't know"] God's will and who are recognizing that the lingering folklore is racist. If you're of the camp who still believes God was behind the ban in the first place, then you're stuck with the uncomfortable "We don't know why that was in place" position. If you're of the camp who believes the priesthood/temple ban was not God inspired, then it's not too hard to trace it back to its racist roots.

An official apology isn't as important as simply acknowledging wrong in the first place. As one who believes the whole thing was wrong, I agree with what Brad later stated, that only when we acknowledge the error of our ways does the transformative repentance process begin to heal us (individually and collectively):

"The grace of God and power of the Atonement are real and transformative and miraculous, but nowhere within the Gospel is there even the faintest suggestion that we can avail ourselves of that great redemptive power if we refuse to acknowledge why we need it."

Papa D said...

You know how I feel about the ban, CC. Part of me wishes desperately that things like what was said by Prof. Bott never made it into public light, but most of me sees this as a chance to take a firm stance against such stupidity (as the Church did) - and I'm glad they did so. There are NO excuses for this crap in the LDS Church now.

Personally, I choose to see the Church's statement as a condemnation of the ban itself, since I see the ban as racist in nature and the Church condemned "all racism" - past and present. I would like to see a more direct, explicit statement denouncing the ban itself, but, like you said, I understand why that would be hard to do.