1978 Revelation Celebration: What Should the Church Leaders Say?
(Elijah Abel, first black man ordained to the priesthood under Joseph Smith)This Sunday, for the first time ever, the Church will celebrate the anniversary of the 1978 priesthood revelation. The festivities will include music, a talk by Elder Child, and a video of black Mormons sharing some of their experiences. Monson and Packer were originally on the program, but no longer are.
Some of my friends and I are waiting with baited breath. Could this finally be the moment when a Church leader specifically and clearly repudiates the racist folk doctrines that originated to justify the priesthood exclusion? Could we finally put to rest those ideas about blacks as pre-existence fence sitters, and all the other ridiculousness about marks, curses, and tainted lineage? Dare we hope that the Church might officially apologize for its past?
I believe that for the Church to move forward, we must at least see a specific public repudiation of those old folk doctrines. While the English speaking world has access to a lot of newer doctrinal books that do not perpetuate racist folk doctrines, I understand that the non-English speaking world clings to the few books that have been translated – books like McConkie’s Mormon Doctrine. IMO, it’s time for that infamous entry on race to be buried once and for all.
What about you? Do you hope for a direct repudiation of those folk doctrines? Do you think it’s enough that the priesthood has been extended and that Church leaders now emphasize the equality of the races? Why?