Yesterday was the 42nd anniversary of when President Spencer W. Kimball received the revelation that it was time for the Lord’s Church (the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints) to allow Black men to have the Priesthood of God. This meant a disbursement of current-day power because only priesthood holders can be leaders in the church. However, the consequences also stretch into eternity.
Mormons believe in order to return to God, you need to be endowed with certain powers through a ceremony in their temples, as well as married through a sealing in the temple. You cannot be in God’s presence in heaven unless you complete these rituals. The rituals were off-limits to all Black families until June 8, 1978.
The reasons for this are varied and this isn’t the place for WHY this happened. It just is what happened.
What also happened yesterday, on that fateful anniversary day, is that the current LDS prophet, President Russel M. Nelson, did a press conference with leaders of the NAACP denouncing hate crimes, violence, etc. Interestingly, after the press release was published an official representative of the NAACP referenced the few projects the two organizations have done together saying they were “minor efforts” and “do not befit the stature and magnitude of what the LDS Church can do and should do.”
Which prompted an outcry from both believers and observers, what exactly is it that the LDS Church should do?
Two days ago Senator Mitt Romney tweeted comments and photos from a Black Lives Matter protest. This sent shock waves through the conservative internet. Many claimed “performative allyship”, others hailed it as a progressive step for all conservatives. Is marching what should be done?
Then we have accomplished LDS writer Meg Conley, whose recent essay on Blacks and the Mormon Church went viral. Some members have called for her ex-communication for criticizing the prophets, an action that has actually caused the ex-communication of hundreds of Mormons. Again, others have lauded her words as a huge step in the right direction. A stay at home mom, and a professed bisexual, is publically calling for reform within her own conservative faith which she is proud to be a part of. Is public criticism from within, what should be done? At the risk of ex-communication?
I propose that the articles, the marching, and the press release are actually all optical allyship. What should be done, what the world needs, is for all of us to own our mistakes. Can you believe the organization leading the charge in this level of emotional maturity is the National Football League?!
The Mormon Church made a mistake. But they literally can’t admit it because it was framed as revelation and God can’t be wrong. During an interview last week, I was asked “Did they simply misinterpret the revelation? Because now they could say that they realized their misinterpretation and can fix it. They could make amends.”
That’s the crux of it, isn’t it? We can’t actually change ANYTHING until we can admit a mistake is made. If nothing is broken, it can’t be fixed.
I want things to be better, so does every single Mormon and I bet every single American. So the very first thing that should be done, is an apology. An admission of a mistake. The NFL did it. Why can’t the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints?