Modern Mormons are only slightly embarrassed about their founder Joseph Smith’s belief in polygamy, but they are definitely freaked out by the very public ban on Black people in their “church.” What do to? Rewrite their “scriptures” of course! NPR reports:
…The two biggest additions to the new edition of Mormon scripture can be found in the book of Doctrine and Covenants, says Givens, a professor of literature and religion at the University of Richmond, and they deal specifically with the church’s original ban on black priesthood ordination and polygamy.
Givens says Joseph Smith himself ordained black members of the church to the priesthood. But after Smith’s death, beginning in the late 1840s, Brigham Young apparently charted a new direction in terms, and began what became known as “the ban,” under which people of African-American ancestry were not permitted to hold the priesthood or to participate in temple ordinances.
“That was a policy that remained in place until 1978. It’s really the albatross around the neck of the church, and it was for many, many years,” says Givens, co-author of The God Who Weeps: How Mormonism Makes Sense of Life.
“I think that this new introduction to the revelation ending the priesthood ban is a major step forward in many ways because it acknowledges that the practice may have originated — it seems to me, this is how I’m reading it anyhow — as a matter of error or cultural and historical conditioning rather than as the will of God,” he says. “And that’s a fairly significant statement for the Church to make.”
The changes also deal with polygamy. A new introduction included in Doctrine and Covenants, Givens says, declares that “monogamy is God’s standard for marriage unless he declares otherwise.”…
[read the full story at NPR]