I always have so many things on my mind that I want to talk about but not sure where to begin. Last week I wrote a very long post about Patriarchy in LDS scripture. I had a great time analyzing some passages from the Doctrine and Covenants. I'm not sure why I needed to write that but I was totally obsessed until I got it all out. I don't think it's done either. LOL I might break it up into four parts? I don't know. I'm still thinking about it.
In the meantime my mind is dwelling on Forgiveness, the Atonement and a rebuttal to an article I was sent about LDS racist beliefs. That one is bugging me. Maybe I'll start there.
I don't want to link to the site because I'm kind of bothered by the whole thing. Maybe I'll be able to explain that as I move along.
The first thing I have to say is that the authors of the site claim that LDS faith is not based on fact.
Um. No der.
Faith should not be based on fact. By the very virtue of the term “faith” you are claiming belief in something that is neither tangible nor provable. My issue partly with that is that there is always “proof” if you look for it. However, if angels come down and talk to people it does no more for their faith than if they just read a book and ask for confirmation of its truthfulness. What you feel in your heart, your gut, is Faith.
I was born with basic beliefs. I don't know how they got there. I was not raised in a religious environment. My father was an atheist and my mother would not take us to church (any church) without his approval (and participation). As a result I got my own ideas about God and Jesus and whatever goes on outside this realm of “reality” based on things I picked up on TV, my Grandma's church and whoever else I might have listened to.
As a young child, about eight, I had a friend invite me to Primary at the LDS church. In those days it was held in the middle of the week after school. Wednesdays, I think. I remember going and loving it. I have no idea what the lesson or discussion in our classroom was about. What I do remember is asking the teacher where my mom had to go to “sign me up.” I was used to taking classes at the Y (YMCA) or tutoring and it all cost money. That was my second question, How much did it cost? The teacher kind of laughed (at me?) and said it was free, All were welcome!
I went a few times but that was it. I was never given a Book of Mormon or visited by missionaries.
Later that year I asked for a Bible for Christmas.
Yeah. I was weird.
So, I attempted to read the Bible. I prayed the way I felt to pray, and I prayed that we would start going to church. I, at least, believed in God and Jesus (even though I didn't understand what He was all about) even if my family did not.
Later LDS missionaries showed up and taught my family and that's another story. We were all eventually baptized.
The first time I read the Book of Mormon for myself was when I was a Senior in High School. I read it from cover to cover, then I asked God if it was true, as it suggests you do. I was told, Katrina, you've known all along it was true. What else do you need?
I tried it again years later when as a missionary we read the Book of Mormon in a day. I got the same answer. Why are you asking me something you already know?
That is the basis of my faith.
The second thing about this article is that it doesn't account for our basic belief in modern revelation. We believe in living prophets. We believe that a man receives revelation for the church as a whole and those messages become part of our basic beliefs.
Our Prophet Today
Does this mean basic principals change? No. Does this mean we don't believe in the Bible or other words of God.? No.
What it means is that at one time Mormons practiced polygamy. In 1890 we were told to stop. For the most part, we did. Those that were still in polygamous relationships remained in them because they were their responsibility, and there may have been other groups in outlying areas (i.e.; Mexico) that continued the practice for a time, but eventually it was completely removed as part of our culture.
It also means that for a time Mormons refused the Priesthood to the Blacks. In 1978 President Spencer W.Kimball, who was the living prophet at the time, received a revelation that they were no longer to be denied the Priesthood. What reason they were denied in the first place is under speculation. There are writings from previous prophets that allude to people of color being “less than,” but the reasons are particular and not solid.
That being said, it was a bad time in the history of the church and I understand anyone being turned off by the concepts.
It does not, however, change the fact that for me, the Book of Mormon is true. Therefore, Joseph Smith was who he said he was and he did the things he said he did and the Priesthood was restored as he said it was.
That's my basis. And it's pretty solid.
There is another point in the argument about the American aborigines being the people spoken of in the Book of Mormon and also “cursed” with “darkness.” There is an entirely other conversation to be had over “light” and “darkness” and what that has to do with knowledge and enlightenment.
The concept of a “mark” on a people is partly from their own doing but is discussed in several scriptural references including the Bible. We revere Native Americans and Aborigine peoples of all cultures. We do not see them as “less than” and anyone who does is suffering from severe pride, which is really the worst sin of all.
Please don't forget that most of this is my opinion but I try to back up my theories with scripture and other resources, FYI.