What can repair the church’s race relations?
I guess that is the ultimate question of today’s post.
On Mormon Matters, Mormon Heretic (the Mormon part’s the dominant side of that name, btw) wrote a post trying to discuss positive black history in the church. And I guess, stinker that I am, I just had to approach the issue with skeptical comments.
See, the way MH approached the article just seemed like something I experience often in my life which annoys me. I’m not saying that MH is doing this, but I’ve heard people say things like, “I’m not racist; I’ll let you know I have 3 black friends…”
…Right. You definitely just counted out the number of black friends as if that would alone absolve you of any ill will. (I don’t doubt that the people who say this indeed may have 3 black friends. But interestingly enough, I’ve also heard [from different people] this: “I just wish all black people could be like you.” Ergggh, with this kind of honesty, who needs lies?)
Anyway, I’m not saying that MH is doing this, but I can’t help but get that impression from the church. “See, the church isn’t really racist, because look at all of these instances of people who got ahead?”
This is a bit unfair though…if I reject six examples, then someone might ask me, “How many do you need?” And if I say something like, “There is no amount of examples to fix the history…” then I sound prejudiced instead!
So, I had to think…what would make me feel differently about the church’s race relations?
I guess I should caveat. Myself, I don’t particularly think the church is egregiously racist. MH argues that the Priesthood Ban was just the machination of a few imperfect people but which happened to get stuck in the church for longer than it should have. While I have problems with this, I can at least buy (on a good day) that racism is not essential to the Mormon church’s doctrine and was an unfortunate side effect of imperfect people. I don’t fool myself into believing the prophet is infallible.
My problem is this: regardless of the ideal of “pure Mormon truth,” the fact is that the church is also a factory of culture, of policy, of history. So, just saying, “Well, this policy was not a ‘thus saith the Lord'” doesn’t really fix the fact that it *did* get into the church and it is in the the history and there it remains.
And the fact is that even today, we’ve got members believing all sorts of crazy things (see the last few paragraphs of this comment). Now, I can accept that memberes will believe crazy, undoctrinal things. It’ll happen regardless of anything anyone can do. But the problem I see is…because the church has never fully confronted this issue…never laid out what *is* doctrine and who should be repudiated and denounced (the whole “we didn’t have full understanding” thing is a bit of a dodge — considering that Mormon Doctrine, even though we can infer that it’s NOT Mormon Doctrine, is still quoted and used and Bruce R. McConkie is still well regarded by some)…so people who think that people will all become white in the afterlife are just as justified as people who believe people will be as they are (will we have gays in heaven? etc.,).
And of course, I’m just being a typical DAMU by expecting and making demands of the church.
Why should the Church confront this? Do you seriously think that in the state of things as they are now that they would confront this?
I tire of DAMU types wanting the Church to do this that or the other. The church isnâ€™t going to do anything that it thinks is bad PR, and why should it? You should know that well enough now. There is no doctrine. there is only historical evidence and good logical conclusion from those evidences. You cant base what the church *should* do off what you think it should do. It will only do what *it* views as being in its own interest, and obviously what you want it to do is *not* what it is going to do, or it would have already done it.
And you know what? Commenter Aboz is right. We have repeated evidence that we just keep forgetting: even though the church hypes itself up as a True Church or a Righteous Church or whatever, we have to look past the fluff and realize that it is an organization that ultimately serves to reach whatever ends are most expedient to its sustenance. And expedience is not a virtue.