Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Why the LDS church is not true for me. - Ban on Blacks and the priesthood

Have you ever wondered why black men could not hold the priesthood until 1978? I was 7 years old in 1978 when the Official Declaration #2 was released, so I did not know much about it or even remember the huge change in the church. My entire life, I have been a good church going member up until the end of 2008. The ban on blacks holding the priesthood was always one of those weird things from the church’s history that I knew little about.

For the past couple of years, I have researched the history of the church and the ban on blacks holding the priesthood is very troubling to me. My #1 issue with the church is polygamy; the priesthood ban for the blacks is my #2 issue.

Many members will refer to the Book of Abraham as one of the scriptural reasons for the priesthood ban on black men. The Book of Abraham has some significant issues since some of the Egyptian scrolls that Joseph Smith used to “translate” into the Book of Abraham were recovered in 1967 and presented to the church. Modern Egyptologists have had the opportunity to translate the scrolls and they have all agreed that the scrolls have nothing to do with the words written in the Book of Abraham. So, is the Book of Abraham a legitimate reason to place the priesthood ban on the blacks?

Amazingly enough, a black man by the name of Elijah Abel was ordained into the priesthood while Joseph Smith was still the “prophet” of the church. Joseph Smith actually was very accepting of black people into the church. The trouble starts with Bloody Brigham, oh I mean Brigham Young.

After Joseph Smith was killed, Brigham Young did not allow Elijah Abel, who had already been ordained into the priesthood, to receive his endowment in the Nauvoo Temple. The statements that Brigham Young said about black people are just appalling. Here is an example.

"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." (Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, Volume 10, page 110.)

This quote from Brigham Young just sickens me! This was his response when he was asked about interracial marriage. Now I ask you, have you ever witnessed a white man die when he marries a black woman and has mixed race children? There is a family in my neighborhood that is a mixed race family. They are both very faithful members and are doing just fine.

In 1848, after the Mormons came to Utah, Brigham Young released the official declaration that prohibited all black men from holding the priesthood. This also included prohibiting any black members of the church from entering the temples. This is where the problem truly started; Brigham Young was a racist.

Since Brigham Young, various “prophets” and church leaders gave their explanations for the priesthood ban on blacks. One of the explanations that really bothers me is the idea that black people were less valiant in the preexistence and because of this, they were born black. How do you tell a young black boy or girl that they are black because they were not as good in the preexistence as the white boy or girl down the street? How does a person actually control what family or race they are born into?

Here are a couple of other gems from two “prophets” after Brigham Young.

John Taylor, 3rd President of the Church
"And after the flood we are told that the curse that had been pronounced upon Cain was continued through Ham's wife, as he had married a wife of that seed. And why did it pass through the flood? because it was necessary that the devil should have a representation upon the earth as well as God;..." Journal of Discourses, Vol. 22, page 304

Wilford Woodruff, 4th President of the Church
"And if any man mingle his seed with the seed of Cain the only way he could get rid of it or have Salvation would be to come forward and have his head cut off and spill his blood upon the ground- it would also take the life of his children."
(Wilford Woodruff Journal)

Thanks to MormonThink for this great information.

There is so much more I could say, but then this post would even be longer than it already is. The Book of Mormon is a whole other story about people having their skin turned dark because of unrighteousness. The modern leaders of the church should have known better. Regardless of the general view of black people throughout the 1800s and the 1900s, the church and its leaders should have been above all this since they are receiving the inspirations and counsels from God. Today, the church says that everything is good and that we should not focus on the past. The problem is that the history of the church is an embarrassment when issues like this come up. As much as the church wants to whitewash history and make everything look rosy, these problematic issues will not go away.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Public Image Ltd. (PiL)


Last night, Blondie and I went to see Public Image Ltd. aka PiL. Let’s talk a little about who this band is. Remember that punk band way back in the 70s called The Sex Pistols? The lead singer of that band was Johnny Rotten. Johnny Rotten’s real name is John Lydon and when The Sex Pistols imploded in 1977, John Lydon formed his new band Public Image Ltd. in 1978. PiL was popular in the New Wave/Alternative music of the 80s.

PiL stopped performing back in the early 90s. Well, after an 18-year hiatus, they have decided to start touring again. Since I have never seen them live, I really wanted to go. It was a fun show, John Lydon is 57, but he still puts on a fun show. We had a great time watching them; Blondie and I had some drinks and fun was had by all.

I use the moniker of That guy with the hair, but John Lydon is definitely that guy. My hairstyle is similar, but his hair is what I would do if the corporate world would allow it.


My favorite song from them is Rise. Here is a link to their music video from the 80s.

PiL Rise

Here are the lyrics. I find them very meaningful. “I could be wrong, I could be right. I could be black, I could be white.” Then the perfect chant at the end of the song, “Anger is an energy!”

I could be wrong I could be right
I could be wrong I could be right
I could be wrong I could be right
I could be black I could be white
I could be black I could be white
I could be white I could be black

Your time has come your second skin
The cost so high the gain so low
Walk through the valley
The written word is a lie

May the road rise with you
May the road rise with you
May the road rise with you

I could be wrong I could be right
I could be wrong I could be right
I could be black I could be white
I could be right I could be wrong
I could be black I could be white

They put a hot wire to my head
Cos of the things I did and said
And made these feelings go away
Model citizen in every way

Anger is an energy
Anger is an energy
Anger is an energy
Anger is an energy
Anger is an energy
Anger is an energy

I could be wrong I could be right
I could be wrong I could be right
I could be wrong I could be right
I could be black I could be white
I could be right I could be wrong
I could be black I could be white

Your time has come your second skin
Cost so high the gain so low
Walk through the valley
The written word is a lie

I could be wrong I could be right
Could be wrong -
They put a hot wire to my head
Cos of the things I did and said
A model citizen in every way
Your time has come your second skin
Cost so high the gain so low

Anger is an energy
Anger is an energy
Anger is an energy
Anger is an energy
Anger is an energy
Anger is an energy
Anger is an energy
Anger is an energy

I could be wrong I could be right
I could be wrong I could be right
I could be wrong I could be right
I could be black I could be white
I could be right I could be wrong
I could be black I could be white

Your time has come your second skin
Cost so high the gain so low
Walk through the valley
The written word is a lie

I could be wrong I could be right
Could be wrong -
The put a hot wire to my head
Cos of the things I did and said
A model citizen in every way
Your time has come your second skin
Cost so high the gain so low

Anger is an energy
Anger is an energy!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Tattoo update

So here is a tattoo update. This Saturday, my wife (I will now call her Blondie) and I are going for a tattoo consultation. We are going to Painted Temple Tattoo in Provo, Utah. Isn't that a great name? A freaking tattoo shop in Provo, Utah called Painted Temple. I wonder if it is in the shadow of the Provo Temple, that would be fucking cool.

So anyway. We are going there this Saturday to consult with the tattoo artists on what we want to get. I have decided on a yin yang tribal design and Blondie wants a butterfly. We will most likely need to schedule for a future date to actually get the ink done. I am excited and nervous at the same time; I have never had a tattoo done. I know that it will hurt, but I am excited for the outcome. More tattoo updates to come.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Time to get a tattoo

I have been thinking about getting a tattoo lately. Since I was raised in the church, getting a tattoo has always been frowned upon and very discouraged. Now that I am not following the counsels of the church, I have decided to get a tattoo.

At first, I was thinking big, but now I have decided on something smaller. I would like to do circular type design with my kids' and wife's names around it. It will look nice.

As for the bigger tattoo, I want to do a Phoenix, the mythological firebird that rises from the ashes. It is meaningful to me because it represents a reawakening or rebirth in my life. I have certainly had my eyes opened in regard to religion and life in general.

Here are some examples of tattoos that I have been looking at.





The tattoo on that guy's back is huge. I don't want to do one quite that big although I do like the design. I think my favorite is the first bluish shoulder one. I like the design of the bird and how it looks on his shoulder. I am planning on doing something similar to that.

What do you think?

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Why do I remain anonymous?

I have found that using the name of That guy with the hair is a cumbersome name for others to refer to me. I am a David Bowie fan, I have used his lyrics on my blog, so I have decided to use the nickname of Bowie. aka That guy with the hair.

So who am I? Well unfortunately, I do not feel comfortable in sharing my true identity on my blog. Call me a wuss if you want. Let me explain why.

I live in the Salt Lake City, Utah area. I have lived most of my life there. I was raised as a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, the Mormons. My parents are very strong members and I have been a true believer all my life. I went on a mission to Massachusetts and also married my wife in the Salt Lake Temple.

My wife and I have been dedicated to the Church all our lives. Only recently have we found information that has become very troubling to us. We have found our blogs very therapeutic in expressing our feelings about the changes in our lives.

Do I like the idea that the church I believed in my entire life has turned out not to be everything that I thought it was? No, not really. Instead of having truths easily delivered to me without having to think much about it, I now have to figure things out for myself. There are pros and cons to this, but I prefer choosing for myself how to live my life instead of having it dictated to me.

Since the Church prohibits any member from making negative comments about its leaders or condemning any Church practices in a public forum, I prefer to remain anonymous in order to avoid the repercussions. Recently, I have been a little tough on the Church. I think I'll lighten up a little for now, but sometimes it seems too easy to get upset about various things that happen in the Church.

My new friend Maureen from Australia has had a tough time for the last little while. Maureen, I just want to let you know that you are not alone. There are many members of the Church going through the same thing that you are going through. I am happy that I found your blog and can now offer support. I feel like we have common objections to Church history and policy. You have gone a step further than I by having your name removed; something very difficult to do. I have still felt hesitant to do this since many emotions and family members would be affected. Stay strong; my wife and I are here as your friends.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Malcolm McLaren R.I.P. 4/8/10

Let's talk about music today. Last week Malcolm McLaren died from cancer. Now you may ask, "Who the hell is Malcolm McLaren?"

Well, Malcolm McLaren is one of the pioneers of the punk rock movement as a band manager. He formed and managed the Sex Pistols in 1976 and brought them into notoriety with all of their antics. McLaren forced the rest of the world to deal with punk rock and its message whether the world was ready for it or not.

Here is example of his work. This is the Sex Pistols performing Anarchy in the UK and God Save the Queen. Because of McLaren, the Sex Pistols became one of the most notorious bands in rock an roll history.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JQkActP-isE

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MeP220xx7Bs&feature=PlayList&p=0189022BE77C5451&playnext_from=PL&playnext=1&index=2

Another artist that McLaren managed was Adam and the Ants; a punk rock type of band that approached music with a unique flair.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xT27A6Sa10k&feature=related

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VPgHbt0ODr4&feature=related

Another band also managed by McLaren was Bow Wow Wow.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aMICD3aMZpw

Because of Malcolm McLaren's influence on music, the music industry changed and became what it is today. From these early punk and new wave bands, we now have bands today like Green Day, Muse, Blue October, and Blink 182.

Thank you Malcolm for your influence and such memorable bands, I love this music.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

The Nauvoo and Carthage Experience

Okay, I'll just get this out of the way at the beginning. Holy Crap, this is some fucked up shit! Okay, now I feel better. lol. This is a very long post, sorry.

Alright, today I went to Carthage Jail and Nauvoo, Illinois. These are holy places for Mormons. Joseph Smith created a Zion town with Nauvoo and the temple. He was also shot to death in Carthage Jail. Every Mormon knows about these places. Since I had the opportunity, I needed to see them again. I saw them when I was a kid, but that is not quite the same.

I first went to Carthage Jail. I took the tour just like anyone else would. They showed a 20 minute video that portrayed all of the great things that Joseph Smith did. I then had a missionary guide walk me through the jail. I was lucky in that I was the only one in his tour. It was nice to have a one on one tour session. After he finished with his presentation in the room that Joseph Smith was killed in, I took some pictures and also had him take a picture of me. Good stuff. I then decided to ask him a direct question about the events that happened in the jail room before Joseph was shot. I asked, "I think I read somewhere that Joseph Smith had some wine brought up to them and they drank it because they were feeling down and out. Did this happen?" He replied with a disturbed look on his face, "No, that did not happen. The Word of Wisdom was in effect and Joseph did not drink at that time."

Okay, now first off, that is complete bullshit. I have the full seven volume set of The History of the Church with Joseph Smith as the author and B.H. Roberts as the compiler. If you have this set, go look at volume 6 page 616. “Before the jailor came in, his boy brought in some water, and said the guard wanted some wine. Joseph gave Dr. Richards two dollars to give the guard; but the guard said one was enough, and would take no more. “The guard immediately sent for a bottle of wine, pipes, and two small papers of tobacco; and one of the guards brought them into the jail soon after the jailor went out. Dr. Richards uncorked the bottle, and presented a glass to Joseph, who tasted, as brother and the Doctor, and the bottle was then given to the guard, who turned to go out.” (History of the Church, Vol. 6, page 616)


Here is another from volume 7 page 101. "Sometime after dinner we sent for some wine. It has been reported by some that this was taken as a sacrament. It was no such thing,; our spirits were generally dull and heavy, and it was sent for to revive us.... I believe we all drank of the wine, and gave some to one or two of the prison guards." (John Taylor, in History of the Church, Vol. 7, page 101)


I have some pretty strong empirical proof from the Church's own official history that Joseph Smith did drink wine before getting shot. Either this missionary was lying to me or he is ignorant of his own church's history.
 
Well, after that disappointment, I went to Nauvoo; a very interesting place. You can drive through the historic city and walk through the various buildings. The missionaries there are all dressed up like early Mormon pioneers with their pioneer dresses and such. I went through various buildings and then I went through the Brigham Young house; I asked the sister missionary if Brigham Young practiced polygamy. She said that she thought that he did. I also asked about Joseph Smith. She wasn't sure, but she thought that he did too. I found this answer to be quite common. All the missionaries wanted to downplay polygamy and they did not seem to know much about it.
 
I went to the visitor's center and actually sat down a senior missionary with some questions. I pretended to be a non-member because I wanted to see how he would answer. He told me about Joseph Smith, the BoM, and the Saints in Nauvoo. I asked him about how the BoM was translated. I asked, "I think I read somewhere that Joseph Smith translated the BoM by putting stones into his hat then placing his face in the hat to read the stones. Did he do it like that?" He answered, "I have never heard about him translating the BoM like that. He did not do it that way. He used the breastplate and Urimm and Thummim."
 
Once again, complete bullshit. We can turn to the Church's own website for this one. http://lds.org/ldsorg/lds_servlet/EmailArticleProcess?action=view&cmlId=662691&locale=0&emId=977329583
 
Take a look at the statement by David Whitmer. I also have the book, Joseph Smith Rough Stone Rolling written by Richard Lyman Bushman that gives Joseph Knight as a witness of Joseph Smith translating with his head in a hat on page 72. This is a book that you can buy at Deseret Book, very much a Mormon approved book.
 
This missionary also told me that the Nauvoo Council destroyed the Nauvoo Expositor printing press because it was printing lies and false claims about the Church and Joseph Smith. Well, if you get the opportunity to read the one and only issue before destruction, it is William Law telling the world that Joseph Smith was practicing polygamy. Joseph Smith didn't like that too much and decided that the press needed to be destroyed. Ever heard of freedom of the press?
 
Well, after meeting with such disappointment from the Mormon missionaries, I went to the section of Nauvoo owned by the Community of Christ. This is the church that used to be called the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. They own all of the Joseph Smith properties since Emma Smith did not follow Brigham Young and the Mormons. She stayed in Nauvoo and lived there until she died.
 
Let me say how refreshing it was to talk to these people! They were open and honest. They openly admitted that Joseph Smith practiced polygamy. They don't agree with it and also think that he may have wanted to stop practicing polygamy. They did not shoot me down for asking uncomfortable questions. They realize that Joseph Smith has some issues. They also openly admitted that both Joseph and Emma drank coffee and tea. I enjoyed visiting with them so much more than with the Mormons. I did not feel like they were covering things up and white washing history.
 
Before I left, I went up to the new Nauvoo Temple. I walked around it and took some pictures. There was a young couple up there doing wedding photos. Standard stuff for young Mormon couples.
 
From my experience today, I came away very troubled with the Church. They are white washing and covering up history. They romanticize the history of the Church and Joseph Smith with their rose colored glasses. Joseph Smith could do no wrong; he was the innocent martyr. Polygamy? What polygamy? We don't really know about that. Head in a hat, what?
 
How can this church do this and still claim to be the one and only true church on the earth? Historical accuracy is not their strong point.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Headed to Nauvoo and Carthage

This week, I am in a region of Illinois that is within driving distance of Nauvoo and Carthage. This Saturday after I am finished with work, I plan to drive over there and check everything out. I guess you could consider this Mecca for a Mormon. I expect that this will be a very interesting experience. I have heard from family members about the endless testimony bearing and asking for names of people that might be interested. Sounds pretty desperate to me.

I am planning on asking some questions to the various missionary hosts. I want to see what they will say or how they will react. Where did all of those plural wives of Joseph Smith stay after they married him in Nauvoo? Did Joseph Smith really drink a bottle of wine in Carthage Jail before getting shot to death? I'll be curious to see what they say.

This past conference weekend, my wife and I decided to go down to Temple Square and watch all the activities. I knew the wacky anti-Mormons would be there and I wanted to see what they would do. Unfortunately, they were a disappointment. The signs they had displayed really did not make any sense. As the members came out of the Conference Center, they read the signs and just chuckled. Obviously, the signs were not very effective. Instead of having stupid signs with weird claims of the Mormon church supporting abortion, why not have something that addresses real things such as polygamy and the denial of blacks in the priesthood? Oh well.

As we stood around and watched, my wife and I noticed how the members were looking at me. My non-church friendly hair style and spikey earrings did not go over too well. The members would look at me and then have a look of distrust or caution after viewing my appearance. It was the same for me as we walked into the Church Library. Distrusting looks and negative reactions. I am definitely not one of them and I like it that way. I will have fun seeing what reactions I get in Nauvoo and Carthage.