02 March 2012

It's Not Just about the Priesthood

There have been plenty of good posts recently about Randy Bott's deplorable statements in The Washington Post and racism and the LDS Church in general in the last few days. I don't know there's much more to say about that in general, but there is something I wanted to highlight that I haven't seen mentioned too much.

I wish we understood better that we not only barred black men from holding the priesthood, but we denied all blacks all temple ordinances.  The only saving ordinances available to blacks were baptism and confirmation.  Of course, we know that, but we focus so much on the denial of the priesthood ordinance that we often seem to overlook the other saving ordinances that were unavailable to many members of the Church. 

Even more than the priesthood ban, that denial is unconscionable to me.  There can be no justification in my mind for it, especially the insulting argument that these ordinances were kept from anyone for their protection.  Of course there are significant covenants and obligations attached to all ordinances, and we don't let every single person who asks to take part in those ordinances, but it is inexcusable to argue that an entire group of righteous adults is not worthy or ready to take on those obligations.

I believe that the Church has an obligation to all baptized and confirmed members to make further priesthood ordinances available in any way possible.  There are, of course, limited circumstances where ordinances cannot be provided for some members (believe me, I know this), but those are exceptions and should never be accepted as normal.  Keeping any worthy member from ordinances, even non-saving ordinances like the sacrament, should never, ever happen.  And that is why I cannot believe the policy was ever from God. 

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