Blacks and the Priesthood A new "Light and Knowledge"
Quoting from an address by Elder Bruce R. McConkie titled "All are Alike unto God."
Forget everything that I have said, or what President Brigham Young or President George Q. Cannon or whomsoever has said in days past that is contrary to the present revelation. We spoke with a limited understanding and without the light and knowledge that now has come into the world.We have a short 30 years ago, entered into a new light and understanding on this issue. Yet many members are not certain how to harmonize the statements of Prophet's and Apostles of old regarding this issue and other issues. Studying church history, the actions of the Saints and the Prophets that we're called by god to lead them, is a subject that we can grow in understanding from. We have the ability to look at Prophets like Joseph Smith Jr., Brigham Young and John Taylor through a microscope in a way that we do not have the ability to do with the ancient prophets.
We get our truth and our light line upon line and precept upon precept. We have now had added a new flood of intelligence and light on this particular subject, and it erases all the darkness and all the views and all the thoughts of the past. They don’t matter any more.It doesn’t make a particle of difference what anybody ever said about the Negro matter before the first day of June of this year, 1978. It is a new day and a new arrangement, and the Lord has now given the revelation that sheds light out into the world on this subject. As to any slivers of light or any particles of darkness of the past, we forget about them.
This is a blessing and a curse in many facets. Many can not differentiate the study of history from the study of scripture. The living Prophet speaks scripture for Heavenly Father's children. We also have a canonized multi-volume library known commonly as "The Standard works" we believe this canon is open and flexible. Any thing god reveals through his prophets that is scripture and pertinent to the salvation of man will be introduced as canon formally. If we are looking for guidance of the Prophetic nature we only need look as far as the scriptures or the living Prophet.
We believe the restoration is gradual as is our conversion. It is not fair to the living Prophet whom the Lord has called and we have sustained, to compare his teachings which are current with the Lord to a Prophet of old. To do so is to deny the power and authority present on the earth today.
We all held the power and authority of the Priesthood in its fullness before we came to this earth. Thus, when a man receives the Priesthood in this life we are having it restored beyond the veil. In many cases we have been offered preparatory route to follow. In days of old the Levitical order of Priesthood was practiced as a shadow of things to come yet prophets were called to receive the Melchizedek Priesthood.
The restoration of the Priesthood as with the restoration of Jesus Christ's church is gradual and on going and it will be so until he whom we serve comes in glory to restore this priesthood by hand to the head of every worthy recipient. "Every Nation, Kindred, Tongue and People."
Moving in this direction, I want to take a moment to address the curse God put on the Lamanites. It is even common among Latter-day Saints to apologize this issue by sighting 2 Nephi 5:21 as where God changed the skin color of the Lamanites to black to be as a sign of their wickedness. I hope to clarify the misconception on this issue.
2 Nephi 5:21 And he had caused the acursing to come upon them, yea, even a sore cursing, because of their iniquity. For behold, they had hardened their hearts against him, that they had become like unto a flint; wherefore, as they were white, and exceedingly fair and bdelightsome, that they might not be centicing unto my people the Lord God did cause a dskin of eblackness to come upon them.
I'd like to call attention to footnote D. on the word "skin" which points us to 2 Nephi 30:6. It reads:
2 Nephi 30:6 And then shall they rejoice; for they shall aknow that it is a blessing unto them from the hand of God; and their bscales of darkness shall begin to fall from their eyes; and many generations shall not pass away among them, save they shall be a pure and a cdelightsome people.We can than look at the footnote B. on the word "scales" which points us to the topical guide. TG Darkness, Spiritual. It is my conclusion that the curse that was implied as dark skin was their visage the face, countenance, or appearance of a person.The word countenance could be used to replace the word skin in this passage.
The word "pure" in this scripture was changed from the original manuscript of the Book of Mormon. The word originally read "White" The change dates to 1837. The change was made by Joseph Smith in the 1837 edition of the Book of Mormon, though it was not carried through in some other editions, which mistakenly followed the 1830 instead of Joseph’s change. It was restored in the 1981 edition, but that was nearly 150 years after the change was made by Joseph. The reason the change was made because Joseph feared people would misinterpret the intended meaning.
This pattern of understanding must be applied when dealing with the issue of race in the scripture.