BYU Professor Randy Bott’s Allegedly-Racist Statements; Students Plan Protest

After being quoted in a Washington Post article regarding the LDS Church’s evolving positions on race, popular BYU religion professor and LDS author Randy Bott has been accused of making racist remarks while defending the LDS Church’s historical ban on blacks from the church’s priesthood. On Tuesday the story began to go viral on social networking sites, leaving many BYU students deeply divided over whether Bott’s comments were appropriate.

After suggesting that the theological underpinning of the Church’s ban was that blacks were believed to be cursed descendants of Cain, the Washington Post reports Bott to have stated the following:

“God has always been discriminatory” when it comes to whom he grants the authority of the priesthood, argues Bott, the BYU theologian. … Bott compares blacks to a young child prematurely asking for the keys to her father’s car, and explains that similarly until 1978, the Lord determined that blacks were not yet ready for the priesthood. … Bott argues that the denial of the priesthood to blacks on Earth — although not in the afterlife — protected them from the lowest rungs of hell reserved for people who abuse their priesthood powers. “You couldn’t fall off the top of the ladder because you weren’t on the top of the ladder. So, in reality the blacks not having the priesthood was the greatest blessing God could give them.”

The comments shocked many BYU students when the story began to be shared on Facebook and Twitter, with many claiming in disbelief that Bott must have been misquoted. Other students, however, claim that Bott has taught similar ideas in his religion classes. Bott is one of BYU’s most popular professors and is the top-rated professor of any university on RateMyProfessor.com. (Update: In an e-mail on Wednesday, Bott apologized for the way the comments appeared in the article and claims his views were not “accurately reported” and that in the past he has attempted to be careful “not to perpetuate these myths.” Bott reiterated that he does not know why blacks were not given the priesthood until 1978. However, Bott wrote a blog post in 2008 where he repeated essentially the same ideas as in the WaPo article, so it is unclear exactly how he claims he was misrepresented. The blog was taken offline sometime today.)

Generally when BYU religion professors speak to the media they are required to have a summary of their statements approved by a religion department head. It is unclear whether Bott’s comments were pre-approved by the deans of the religion department or even whether this is official BYU policy.

Rumors were already swirling Tuesday that some students were planning to protest Bott’s statements, hoping to bring attention to the appropriateness of BYU professors teaching controversial or debated “doctrines” in university-required religion classes. Historically protests against the university have been met with deep disapproval by university leaders, and so it was unclear how a protest against an individual professor would be taken. (Update: I have now given details about planned student protests in a separate post. As the details change I will also post updates as I get them on my Twitter account. I would also clarify that I am simply reporting this and am not organizing or endorsing any planned student protest.)

Bott’s statements regarding the priesthood ban are not revolutionary in Mormon thought. The argument that discriminating against an entire race was for that race’s own benefit has been a popular apologetic defense since the priesthood ban was lifted by the LDS Church in 1978. Recently, however, this line of thought has become less popular as some claim it retains a racist mentality.

114 thoughts on “BYU Professor Randy Bott’s Allegedly-Racist Statements; Students Plan Protest

    • We shouldn’t be so hard on Prof. Bott. Everything he said was consistent with Mormon doctrines. Mormon prophets have claimed that withholding the priesthood was the result of a racial curse and no Prophet has ever renounced those teachings. Prophets have also offered justifications that were much harsher than those of Bro. Bott. If anything, he was being generous in his interpretation of God’s motives. Can anyone criticizing the professor truly claim to be a believing and faithful Mormon?

      • Insane. Absolutely insane. I pray and hope this is a troll. I cannot understand how someone allows themselves to think this way. I’ve heard so many “Bott-isms” throughout my years at BYU and I cringe every time I hear them. Wake up Mormons: Evolution is real. You can’t use DNA to support your delusion that all Native Americans are descendants of Lehi. Past leaders of the church have been too liberal in expressing their personal opinions. Many of their opinions were racists, sexists, and flat-out wrong. That’s okay. We can admit that and still be believing Mormons. I can’t believe anyone would defend Bott’s comments. Why would anyone even GO THERE in an interview with a national newspaper? I’m so tired of this “stand up for you religion and its doctrine” BS. It takes a stronger man to look at facts, admit that there’s intolerance and some dangerous opinions among some of the members of the church, and still say “I know my God, he loves all his children, and I believe the Book of Mormon has taught me more about his love. I am a believing Mormon and I pray everyday that all Mormons can expand their hearts and grow in love and tolerance for those that are not like us.”

        • You are correct in that members of Jesus Christ’s church have a long way to go…we are all human and imperfect.

          Might I just add that DNA does not prove nor disprove the Book of Mormon. Lehi was not the father of “all” Native Americans. The reasoning behind the DNA and BoM issues is shoddy at best.

          • The DNA alone might not disprove the Book of Mormon, but the lack of any archaeological evidence combined with the lack of DNA evidence connecting Native Americans to Middle Eastern people cannot be described as “shoddy”. The blind defense of the Book of Mormon is “shoddy”.

            Faith will only take you so far. Pretty soon it will come face to face with reason and scientific fact. That day is here. Accept the Book of Mormon as something that contains valuable life lessons and teachings of how to better love God and man. Stop pretending that it is an historical book written about real people.

          • That’s what I said. That “all” native Americans were the descendants of Lehi. That’s a pervasive belief within the church that needs to be extinguished. I think we have the same opinion on that topic. I’m not suggesting there’s no Israelite blood in early immigration to the Americas.

        • I think Bott’s explanation is rather clear and within the historical doctrines of the church. In any event you are a person that seems to have rather flexible convictions about your religious beliefs. Kind of like if it feels good believe it and if it’s inconvenient don’t bother. All the great religions are dying because of those convictions, once you can say that your prophets were not infallible about any doctoral message it then stands that everything they said was false and then the whole belief falls apart.

        • The book of mormon is a treatise on natural selection. One ethnic group had way more posterity and out competed the other.

      • I am a faithful and believing Mormon and do not believe any of the past statements along these lines about race.

      • GabrielUT is sadly misinformed about Mormon doctrines. The only official doctrine is what is published in the standard works, conferences(maybe not even all of that), and official church statements. All of the backwards theories and personal opinions of various people who held church offices over the years are not official church doctrine sorry to break it to you u-tard.

    • Sorry, but they asked for this . . .

      Welcome to the Church of That Was Then–This Is Now. We strongly condemn today things we held to be eternal truths yesterday. We do not know how, why, or when we came to believe these things. And in the future, please refrain from holding us accountable for any eternal truth we may be teaching today. Remember, our god is evolving, and so should you. Get over it.

    • BYU Prof Randy Bott told the truth about prior Mormon dogma here. I think it’s outrageous that when someone repeats what was once solid Mormon dogma, the Mormon Church and Mormons throw him or her under the bus. When the Mormon Church changes their dogma, they should alert Mormons to those changes and warn them that if they bring up the dogma prior to the changes, they will be attacked and disowned by the Mormon Church and it’s “I think whatever I’m told to think” members.

      • Bott was not being condemned for merely repeating “what Mormons USED to believe or teach.” He was being condemned because the WaPo article made it sound like these are things that he CURRENTLY believes and that leaders/teachers within the LDS Church CURRENTLY teach to explain the priresthood restriction even though it has now been lifted. People get upset because while the church ended the priesthood restriction, it did not directly address or specifically repudiate any of the folklore individuals (yes, leaders as well as members) crafted to explain the ban. This allows many to continue to believe — and teach — that Black people are the “cursed seed of Cain” or the “cursed seed of Ham” or were “fence-sitters in the war in heaven” and that we are now only permitted the priesthood because of the grace and mercy of God. These racist beliefs persist and continue to cause hurt and continue to result in discrimination. Mr. Bott should be free to discuss the theories that vaious people throughout history have postulated to explain the ban. If, however, in response to being asked why there was a priesthood restriction, Mr. Bott responds with any of the “justification folklore” (like those theories mentioned above or in the WaPo article), or if he asserts his personal belief in any of that folklore, he would deserve every iota of the heat he is now getting because he would just be perpetuating the racist mythos. No matter what individuals have hypothesized, the official position of the LDS church appears to have always been that they didn’t know why the restriction was imposed. This is what Mr. Bott should have made clear.

        • Brigham Young said: In 1863, Young reported that he said, “Shall I tell you the law of God in regard to the African race? If the white man who belongs to the chosen seed mixes his blood with the seed of Cain, the penalty, under the law of God, is death on the spot. This will always be so” (Journal of Discourses, vol. 10, p. 110)
           
          LDS.org today “We recommend that people marry those who are of the same racial background generally, and of somewhat the same economic and social and educational background (some of those are not an absolute necessity, but preferred), and above all, the same religious background, without question”

    • He was only communicating what has been taught for generations within the LDS Church, even by their Apostles. Here is a letter written by Delbert L Stapley, Member of the Quorum of Twelve, to Gov George Romney, about Romney’s stand on Civil Rights….Notice how threatening it is!

      http://www.boston.com/news/daily/24/delbert_stapley.pdf

      And remember Elijah Abel never received his endowment. So was he really fully accepted?

    • I don’t know if this has been harped on, but other than racist rhetoric about blacks because of a “curse”; the “descendants of Lehi”, or Native Americans, were also “cursed” because of their Lamanite wickedness, where their skin turned dark. This would imply that lighter skin is God’s preference to dark skin, and that God’s punishment for wickedness is dark skin. One of the many reasons I have parted with the church is the the not-so-covert racism in the doctrine, where I had to ask myself, “Is it really okay to think like this? Did God truly make ethnic groups more naturally-born righteous than others?” Needless to say, I do not consider myself a member anymore, and I would love to hear from any Native Americans how they feel about this Book of Mormon story.

      • Dan. My wife is native american and a practicing mormon. She has a very strong testimony. Her father was trained as medicine man on the reservation and told her that recognized many similarities between his ritualistic and oral traditions and he later learned within the temple. He joined the lamanite program( a church education program for natives) and was sent to high school with a mormon family and eventually served a mission back on the reservation. I personally think that even if there were some connection between extant native traditions and those of the gospel it is likely that any similarities are purely coincidental. Many religious themes are common in many cultures that developed independantly.

        I encourage you to keep an open mind and maybe give the gospel(mormon flavor) another chance. I have struggled with similar concerns to your own. I find it disturbing that Jehovah of the old testament commanded the israelites to slaughter other ethnic groups including women and children so they could inherit the promised land. This is according the bible as we have it now. Who knows what really happened and then hundreds or thousands of years later the stories/legends about it were finally written down how much it had changed. Think that game telephone x5,000. Additionally, Joseph Smith said that the book of mormon was the most correct book on the earth and that it would bring the reader closer to Christ. he never said it was 100% correct and free mistakes or exaggerations or bias. Dont you think that the whole dark skin curse thing could be an legend. A way for self righteous nephites to explain how their rival ethnic group had darker skin than them? Take the good parts try to improve yourself and ignore the unimportant parts.

        Don’t get too caught up with what some crusty old white guys said during a time when this style of racism was more or less ubiquitous in our country or what some of them are still saying apparently. Not everything that someone holding the office of president of the Church or Apostle is revelation. Also even if the majority of the membership belief in racist doctrines that doesnt make it true doctrine. This sounds like a classic case of mistaking church dogma for the official doctrine. Our church is one that is constantly changing for the better. In 2006 the introduction page to the book of mormon was updated. It used to say that the native americans were the primary descendants of lehi+gang. Now it just says they are AMONG the descendants. That is a step in the right direction especially because of overwhelming evidence that Native Americans have Asiatic roots. If you get caught up on whether or not the nephites really had swords or horses you are thinking too hard.

        Sincerely

        • “Dan. My wife is native american and a practicing mormon. She has a very strong testimony. Her father was trained as medicine man on the reservation and told her that recognized many similarities between his ritualistic and oral traditions and he later learned within the temple”
          – So your first point is that there are similarities between Native American tradition and Mormon practices, and this is based on the testimony of one person.

          ” He joined the lamanite program( a church education program for natives) and was sent to high school with a mormon family and eventually served a mission back on the reservation.”
          – In the Book of Mormon, the Lamanites were evil sinners. Therefore, a program for Lamanite descendants (Native Americans) titled “the Lamanite Program” is essentially a term of reprobation – to call someone a Lamanite is to indict them. (To call a program for German children “The Nazi Program” or for schools for Virginians “The Confederate Program” would be just as ridiculous and harmful, while simultaneously putting them in a place that they don’t belong in). In other words, the modern-day Lamanite program is a program for evil sinners. Those who join, as Lamanites, are already labeled as such, when they didn’t ask to be.

          “I personally think that even if there were some connection between extant native traditions and those of the gospel it is likely that any similarities are purely coincidental. Many religious themes are common in many cultures that developed independantly.”
          – Therefore if that is the case, why did you include the anecdote about your wife. This doesn’t strengthen your case. There was no reason to include this.

          “I encourage you to keep an open mind and maybe give the gospel(mormon flavor) another chance. I have struggled with similar concerns to your own. I find it disturbing that Jehovah of the old testament commanded the israelites to slaughter other ethnic groups including women and children so they could inherit the promised land. This is according the bible as we have it now. Who knows what really happened and then hundreds or thousands of years later the stories/legends about it were finally written down how much it had changed. Think that game telephone x5,000. Additionally, Joseph Smith said that the book of mormon was the most correct book on the earth and that it would bring the reader closer to Christ. he never said it was 100% correct and free mistakes or exaggerations or bias. Dont you think that the whole dark skin curse thing could be an legend. A way for self righteous nephites to explain how their rival ethnic group had darker skin than them? Take the good parts try to improve yourself and ignore the unimportant parts.”
          – So your argument is, “Ehhhh, it says THIS, but you don’t have to take it word for word.” I really don’t mean to sound combative and insulting, but I really want to understand what you mean. What SHOULD you take word for word? Just the parts that agree with you? With that logic, I don’t have to believe anything in the news or science books that I find with bad taste, regardless of them being true or not.

          “Don’t get too caught up with what some crusty old white guys said during a time when this style of racism was more or less ubiquitous in our country or what some of them are still saying apparently. Not everything that someone holding the office of president of the Church or Apostle is revelation. Also even if the majority of the membership belief in racist doctrines that doesnt make it true doctrine. This sounds like a classic case of mistaking church dogma for the official doctrine. Our church is one that is constantly changing for the better. In 2006 the introduction page to the book of mormon was updated. It used to say that the native americans were the primary descendants of lehi+gang. Now it just says they are AMONG the descendants. That is a step in the right direction especially because of overwhelming evidence that Native Americans have Asiatic roots. If you get caught up on whether or not the nephites really had swords or horses you are thinking too hard.”
          – I’m not really sure what your point is by all this, but it really sounds like you’re admitting to some serious flaws and saying you’re okay with them. When I was a faithful Mormon, I did not believe these flaws existed because I knew that if they did, then the entire integrity of the church’s foundation would be undermined. When I actually discovered these flaws, the church lost it’s credibility with me. I apologize for sounding attacking, but you still have not given me a good reason for returning back to this “faith” except that you’ve admitted that flaws exist and that I should accept them and forgive them as if they were an imperfect person that deserves forgiveness. The church is not a person. It’s a “faith” that made a promise, and that promise has, in a way, been broken. To me, it makes more sense for a Mormon to be in denial about these flaws than for a Mormon to openly admit to knowing about them but still telling people it’s okay and they should join. Isn’t that dishonesty?

  1. There is no getting around it- lds leaders today have no viable explanation for the exclusion of blacks from the priesthood until “78. nor will any of the PSR’s take it on directly-lv it to poor prof bott, DCP and others to take it in the shorts on this one.

    and btw if mitt wins the republican nomination, the lds church will experience an onslaught of slander mixed with just enough truth to blast mormonism unmercifully. be prepared!

    • The Prophets have had a very viable explanation as to the with-holding of the Priesthood till a latter date in the Churchs history. While there are many assumptions, the only for sure answer is that God said no for that time, and I know that he had a reason. The question is . . . Do we trust God?

      • I am afraid you have misplaced your trust. In this circumstance, you have put your trust in men that are claiming to speak for God. As a result, you believe your trust is in God.

        I encourage you to do a little research and find out what led to the lift of the ban. You will discover that it was a group of men that got together and decided it was time to give all men the priesthood. You will find out that there was never a “revelation” to lift the ban. The leaders of the church simply decided this is what needed to happen and when they asked God in prayer, they weren’t told to stop.

        It begs the question, would the ban have been lifted prior to 1978 if prior leaders had asked the same question?

        I am a faithful member of the church. However, I recognize that the racial attitude of some of the church’s previous leaders is what kept the ban in place.

        I sincerely hope you do this research and discover when the ban started. It didn’t start with Joseph Smith. He actually gave the priesthood to a black man. So did God decide that after Joseph’s death blacks were no longer worthy to hold the priesthood? No. It was the racial attitude of the early church leaders that started the ban. And it wasn’t until there was enough social pressure that the leaders changed it.

        To answer your question…yes, I do trust God. I just don’t blindly trust men, even if they are speaking for Him.

        • Where do you think this came from if not Joseph Smith???

          Book of Abraham 1:27

          Now, Pharaoh being of that LINEAGE by which he could NOT have the RIGHT of Priesthood, notwithstanding the Pharaohs would fain claim it from Noah, through Ham, therefore my father was led away by their idolatry;

          • There is no evidence that his lineage referes to whether or not he is black, but that he is not an israelite.

    • It is not slander if it is true. Mormons just deny the truth or the young Mormons just don’t know what the truth is because of the recent whitewash is the past years.

      Mormon leaders in the past have always had an explanation why they denied the priesthood to Blacks. It is only recently that they have clammed up and claimed that do not know why. It is in your scriptures. Bott is just promoting the doctrine that the cult has always had.

  2. Reminds me of what Brigham Young said,

    “Govornor B Youngs address Before the legislative assembly of the Territory of Utah upon slavery…

    The Lord said I will not kill Cane But I will put a mark upon him and it is seen in the face of every Negro on the Earth And it is the decree of God that that mark shall remain upon the seed of Cane & the Curse untill all the seed of Abel should be re[deem]ed and Cane will not receive the priesthood untill or salvation untill all the seed of Abel are Redeemed. Any man having one drop of the seed of Cane in him Cannot hold the priesthood & if no other Prophet ever spake it Before I will say it now in the name of Jesus Christ. I know it is true & they know it. The Negro cannot hold one particle of Government But the day will Come when all the seed of Cane will be Redeemed & have all the Blessings we have now & a great deal more. But the seed of Abel will be ahead of the seed of Cane to all Eternity.

    Let me consent to day to mingle my seed with the seed of Cane. It would Bring the same curse upon me And it would upon any man. And if any man mingles his seed with the seed of Cane the ownly way he Could get rid of it or have salvation would be to Come forward & have his head Cut off & spill his Blood upon the ground. It would also take the life of his Children…

    Their is not one of the seed of old Cane that is permitted to rule & reign over the seed of Abel And you nor I cannot Help it.

    Those that do bear rule should do it in righteousness. I am opposed to the present system of slavery. The Negro Should serve the seed of Abram but it should be done right. Dont abuse the Negro & treat him Cruel.

    It has been argued here that many of the Jews were Black. Whenever the seed of Judah mingled with the seed of Cane they lost their priesthood & all Blessings.

    As an Ensample let the Presidency, Twelve Seventies High Priest Bishops & all the Authorities say now we will all go & mingle with the seed of Cane and they may have all the privileges they want. We lift our hands to heaven in support of this. [At] That moment we loose the priesthood & all Blessings & we would not be redeemed untill Cane was. I will never admit of it for a moment.

    Some may think I dont know as much as they do But I know that I know more than they do. The Lord will watch us all the time. The Devil would like to rule part of the time But I am determin He shall not rule at all and Negros shall not rule us. I will not admit of the Devil ruling at all. I will not Consent for the seed of Cane to vote for me or my Brethren. If you want to know why we did not speak of it in the Constitution it was because it was none of their Business. Any man is a Citizens Black white or red and if the Jews Come here with a part of the [p.99] Canaanite Blood in them they are Citizens & shall have their rights but not to rule for me or my Brother. Those persons from the Islands & foreign Countries know nothing about Governing the people. The Canaanite cannot have wisdom to do things as the white man has. We must guard against all Evil. I am not going to let this people damn themselves as long as I can help it.” Wilford Woodruff’s Journal, Vol. 4, p.98, Sunday, January 4, 1852.

    If you use the logic of Professor Bott, you could take this a little further. You could just not preach the gospel to anyone on earth, let them live a good life, and they would never have the “responsibility” that goes along with it. That way they wouldn’t have to suffer the consequences in case they reject it in this life. Or even better, just go with Satan’s original plan, and skip it all, and make everyone a god.

    • Wilford Woodruff’s Journal, Vol. 4, p.98, Sunday, January 4, 1852 is not considered scripture. If Woodruff is quoting Brigham Young, it is still secondhand information. Just because it may have been said by a former prophet for the L.D.S. Church does not mean it is the Church’s official position on any subject and no one knows if Wilford was simply expressing his own opinion or even remembering things correctly. Sounds too dubious to me to be taken at it’s word.

      • Claiming that these views were not official does not change the fact that it was at one time doctrine that the seed of Cain could not hold the priesthood, and that explanations and theories of this nature were advanced to justify it. And that the doctrine remained in place unti 1978. You cannot brush away all the statements made to justify the doctrine by saying that they weren’t official – not when the policy the explanations were trying to explain certainly was official. Young was the second Prophet and President of the Church and Woodruff was the fourth. Stop pretending that anything inconvenient must’ve been misquoted or misrepresented. They really did hold these views back then.

      • They are important enough for the church to quote on their official website… http://www.lds.org/ldsorg/v/index.jsp?hideNav=1&locale=0&sourceId=4235be335dc20110VgnVCM100000176f620a____&vgnextoid=198bf4b13819d110VgnVCM1000003a94610aRCRD Also, no one said they were scripture, although parts of William Clayton’s diaries were used as scripture for the D&C when it was compiled. His journal is accurate, and gives an accurate representation of what was said. When newly ordained “apostles” were set apart Abraham H. Cannon records,

        “At 3 p.m. I attended a meeting of the Twelve at the Gardo House where Bros. Merrill, Lund and myself were set apart as Apostles in the order named. Pres. Woodruff set apart the first, Father the second, and Bro. Joseph F. myself. Our charge was first given us by Father at Pres. W’s instance. The importance of our callings was portrayed, and our privileges were named. Among these were the privileges of having the ministration of angels, and of seeing the Savior Himself; of hearing the voice of God as audibly as we hear a man’s voice; OF CONTINUALLY BEING UNDER THE DIRECTION OF THE HOLY GHOST; OF BEING PROPHETS AND REVELATORS; and of many other things of which I have a verbatim copy, as also of my blessing and ordination, in which I was promised everything my heart desired in righteousness if faithful.” (October 6, 1889)

        Woodruff himself said,

        “I have many reflections Concerning President Young. We find a great Difficulty in writing the History of Joseph esspecially During the last few days of his life as no one kept a Journal of the same except Dr Richards wrote some but Died before the History was written out. I have a great Desire to have President Youngs Daily History written so that all things may be plain to the future Historian.” (Wilford Woodruff’s Journal, Vol. 4, p.424, June 24, 1856, all original spelling & punctuation retained).

        And,

        “This year has brought to pass much of the fulfillment of the predictions of the Ancient and Modern Prophets of God. (See this Journal Jan 1st 1861). I there declaired as a Prophetic Historian that this year would be the most distressing year America Ever saw since they were an independant Nation. Time has proven it so.” (WWJ, Vol. 5, p. 615 December 31, 1861).

        As an ordained “apostle” of Jesus Christ, Wilford Woodruff, (and fellow members of his Quorum) were also ordained as “prophets, seers & revelators”. As a “Prophetic Historian”, Woodruff’s journals reflect the serious nature of his (and his fellow “apostles”) supposed claims to prophetic ability.

        Being skilled in shorthand, Woodruff took quick accurate notes. These he laboriously transcribed into his Journals. In a lecture attended by hundreds in the Seventies Hall on February 12, 1862 he exhorted every man to “keep a Journal & record Events as they pass before our Eyes day by day.” “This”, he explained,

        “will make a valuable legacy to our Children and a great Benefit to future generations by giving them a true History of the rise & progress of the Church & kingdom of God upon the Earth in this last dispensation instead of leaving it to our Enemies to write a fals History of the true Church of Christ.” (WWJ, Vol. 6, p.25)

        In the same lecture, he recounted Joseph Smith’s words to the first newly appointed “apostles” 27 years earlier,

        “When the Twelve Apostles were Chosen & ordained the Prophet Joseph gave them strict instruction to keep a record of there procedings. (See the History of the Church Feb 1835.)

        In the Minutes of that same Council Meeting in Kirtland, Smith also said,

        “Now in consequence of a neglect to write these things when God reveals them not esteeming them of sufficient worth the spirit may withdraw and God may be angry, and here is a fountain of intelligence or knowledge of infinite importance which is lost.” (Minutes, Kirtland, Ohio, 21 Feb. 1835; handwriting of Warren Cowdery; in Minute Book 1, p. 2, emphasis mine).

        In 1949 the First Presidency thought it important enough to quote Brigham Young in an official statement about the Priesthood Ban,

        August 17, 1949
        The attitude of the Church with reference to Negroes remains as it has always stood. It is NOT a matter of the declaration of a POLICY but of DIRECT COMMANDMENT FROM THE LORD, on which is FOUNDED THE DOCTRINE of the Church from the days of its organization, to the effect that Negroes may become members of the Church but that they are not entitled to the priesthood at the present time. The prophets of the Lord have made several statements as to the operation of the principle. President Brigham Young said: “Why are so many of the inhabitants of the earth cursed with a SKIN OF BLACKNESS? It comes in consequence of their fathers rejecting the power of the holy priesthood, and the law of God. They will go down to death. And when all the rest of the children have received their blessings in the holy priesthood, then that curse will be removed from the seed of Cain, and they will then come up and possess the priesthood, and receive all the blessings which we now are entitled to.”

        Believe what you will, it doesn’t change the facts.

      • If your Prophet is untrue in anything he says he can also be lying on anything else he says. A Prophets word who is not infallible is like the shoe maker or the baker, just someone who is talking.

  3. As a member of the church, let me just make one suggestion to Mr. Bott: Perhaps Heavenly Father wasn’t saying that blacks weren’t prepared for the priesthood prior to 1978, but non-blacks weren’t prepared for blacks holding the priesthood… As I ponder about it, that makes much more sense to me.

    • Amen, brother, amen. Whites had not evolved in consciousness past racist beliefs to honor the equal royalty of Blacks. THIS, I speculate within my own individual surmising, was more the ban out of compassion and that Whites,like “young racists prematurely asking for the keys of royalty to their Father’s car,” which Heavenly Father was not going to give them before the White males were worthy. Let’s reflect on the power and light that has been added to the Kingdom when Black males finally did get the priesthood. The timing for Whites not to screw this up was finally right!! Just 10 years past the civil rights bill. Whites had to learn to honor that priesthood equally in Black males and not alienate our powerful brothers.

      White, Southern LDS Woman :-)

        • Elise, Thanks for your response. I was Catholic before I was Mormon. There was rampant racism in the Catholic church as well. It was Catholics in our neighborhood who put the burning cross in our front yard because my mother was involved in civil rights. That Catholic school in my hometown had two brothers as the only Blacks in the school for 20 years. Unless it was in Africa, I don’t think there were black bishops pre 1978. Can you cite a specific example of Black leadership in the Catholic church pre 1978? Even Desmond Tutu, Anglican Bishop of Cape Town South African did not have this calling until 1986.

          Also, the “priesthood” in the Mormon church is different from the “priesthood” in the Catholic church. The Priesthood in Catholicism is more esoteric and you have to go through years of training to evolve to such a status (I know because my cousin is a Jesuit Priest). The priesthood in the Mormon Church is potentially given to all men. 1 or 5 Blacks in leadership in the Catholic church is very different from granting the priesthood to ALL Black men pre 1978 in the Mormon Church. It had stronger repercussions of “sharing power…spiritual power. Where whites ready for that yet?

          Another difference: We don’t “share power” with Catholic priests; they are technically our intercessors/advisers sermon givers. We don’t marry them. But, we do marry Mormon priesthood holders. As a woman, my personal revelation is equal to the personal spiritual leadership of a worthy priesthood holder husband. Thus, you can see that Black men having the priesthood also had repercussions for inter racial marriage as acknowledging Black men could be equally yoked with White woman, which of course they can! But, pre 1978, I think we were still waiting for society to tone down on their violent reactions to this.

          I am speaking from my personal life trajectory and revelation through my own seeking. I do not speak for the Mormon Church. I do not teach religion. I seek to see all things through the greatest gift: Charity, which is the pure love of Christ. My 2 cents.

    • Daren,
      I beleive your right, just as any other churches, organizations businesses etc… weren’t open armed. People stand quick to judge the LDS Church, when in the same time period the Whole U.S. was struggling with inequality.

    • Exactly! President Kimball knew the Lords will long before the “revelation”, but the lord had to prepare the non-blacks including some of the apostles before it could be recieved.

    • Yes, the Student Review has given him that chance. Bott’s response to their inquiry:

      “I have been asked by the Church to forward their response and endorse it. In order to be obedient, that will be the extent of my comment.”

      That is to say, the church is now doing damage control and if he values his job and his standing in the church, he will say and do whatever they tell him. When he said he was misquoted or misunderstood, and when he deleted his blog post with essentially the same ideas as the interview piece, it’s because the church is now pulling the strings.

      http://thestudentreview.org/2012/02/29/byu-professor-randy-bott-lambasted-for-interview-with-the-washignton-post/

  4. Pingback: Partial Posts » The Pre-1978 Priesthood Ban and a BYU Professor’s Misguided Comments

  5. I am a student of Brigham Young University and take a class from Brother Bott and I know that these words were not his. This reporter has skewed the words of this man to stab at the church and it is very wrong. It is true that there are student protests, but not a single one of the students who are protesting have asked Brother Bott if those words were true. Just another example that you cannot believe everything you read in today’s world. Brother Bott told us today in class that church officials are currently working on a solution to resolve this mix-up.

    • I am a student of Brigham Young University and take a class from Brother Bott and I know that these words were not his. This reporter has skewed the words of this man to stab at the church and it is very wrong.

      Whether he was misquoted or not we cannot know right away, but his comments as quoted accurately reflect his views as publicly disseminated on his own blog:

      Know Your Religion: Blacks and the Priesthood

      • That blog post has been deleted. I’m guessing the church made him delete it, and they are making him lie about being misquoted as well. They are in serious damage control mode right now, and Bott is completely rolling over for them because he values his job.

        • Or he is going through his own learning process, being chatised and made to see his flaws. I don’t like Bott’s analytical sweep of power unto himself, but I am confident he is also going through the purifying fire of chastisement and I respectfully feel for him. Pride goeth before a fall.

    • Yeah. He definitely has views like that. He also has anti-evolutionary views and plenty of other non-doctrinal related opinions that he brings up in classes from time to time. I understand that you agree with him and can’t see how those views can be considered “controversial.” But when you get out of Utah and start talking to other people not of our faith, you might start to realize how offensive some of those opinions can be. And someone in his position should have enough common sense to know how offensive those opinions are to the rest of the world. And he should have the common sense to know the church doesn’t want him expressing those views. I honestly think he should be fired. He has way too much influence on the student body as it is (everyone tries to get in his classes) and I think he’s the last person at BYU who should be influencing the naive minds of 18 year old pre-missionaries who are about to become official representatives long enough. There is a new generation of youth in the church and we honestly need to get people with out-dated opinions (like Bro. Bott) out of leadership and teaching positions.

      • The Man did something no one has ever done. He said the truth about the issue regarding blacks and the Priesthood. Why will he say such if that was not in the church history? You need to go research. People needs to know the truth! man. My God does not discriminate. BYU should not even consider to fire this professor for stating exactly the root of that Blacks and the priesthood decision. Are you saying that, he should hide the Truth because of what people will think or respond. Come on dude. Do you worship the church or God? Think well before you use the word “common sense”.

    • I have taken Bott’s class too, and this is what he teaches! His comments in the Post reflect the views he “taught” to us! Look, I know Bott is a good man, but stop defending him. Those words are his and he, and the church, must account for those words.

  6. The reporter who interviewed Randy Bott went against what the school and Professor Bott asked- they were supposed to clear the article with him before publishing it to assure that he was not misquoted or misrepresenting the school and church. Because of his dishonest actions (he told Bott that he would indeed get it cleared first, but instead did NOT and published it anyway) there has been much misrepresentation. Of course it is a delicate topic that is very often misunderstood, and very controversial, but this reporters blatant attack and misrepresentation of his interview is terrible.It’s one thing to report on something you disagree with, another to be very dishonest in your reporting. Sad that we can’t trust people anymore.

    • If the reporter made promises he failed to keep, that is regrettable. However, that in no way exonerates Bott. As I linked above, he has made his views on the matter publicly available and they are accurately represented in the article. Therefore, it would appear that he is still guilty of advocating such nonsense to our impressionable youth. That’s a greater sin, in my opinion.

    • Yeah. Seriously. Is he really that naive? The media will publish what they want. He shouldn’t have even been having that conversation. And I am fairly confident there wouldn’t be much different about his sentiments even if he was quoted word for word.

  7. Joseph,
    Sister Grayson here. I read your post on Prof Bott the other day. It perplexed me to read it. I have attended Education Week class by him, and that article surprised me. I knew there had to be something, taken out of context.
    I read the “Know Your Religion” article. That is one of the finest set of thoughts on the priesthood question I have read. Bravo! Bro Bott, I support you. As an african- american and a woman, this topic has been a part of my life for the last 30 years. I can only have faith in the Lord that He knows best, it just is not important to have that answer now. I will get receive it when He is ready. People get a grip, and read the article and catch a little understanding.

      • I’m a Southern female convert of 20 years who grew up with burning crosses in her front yard because of my parents’ involvement in civil rights work and I sincerely don’t feel the Spirit of the Lord in this cached explanation of Brother Bott’s blog. It was that sweet spirit I could feel in righteous priesthood holders that first differentiated men in the Gospel from other men. Instead, Bott has a goading, self important and combatitive tone with the young Black investigator that is self aggrandizing and not of the pure love of Christ, especially in his becoming offended with the Black Investigator coming to his home, passionate and full of queries. When you feel the power of the Gospel first touch you, you think: this is either evil or it is of God because of the depth of sentiment the Gospel stimulates in your visceral being when you first hear it. So, there is a fervor and questioning that bubbles up out of you to make sure it is of God. This is not arrogance but careful, tip-toeing jubilation that wants to explode with joy but for more facts…. to be sure.

        Also, I never thought of myself as desiring to ever be a son of perdition but rather was a daughter of righteousness and of precious value that men needed the priesthood to be equally yoked with. :-) I’m a PhD now too and I understand the analytical mind and the curious fervor to try to guess the mind of God. I am not in the roll of teaching of religion, so this requires more consistently conscious discretionary thinking. The bottom line is the love of God should come through us first, before any explanation, even a well thought-through analysis that feels right on a personal level; it may be completely wrong on a macro level. What got me to overcome the Blacks in the priesthood issue over 20 years ago (as well as women not getting the priesthood–which I do not want because I already have so much Goddess responsibility on my plate I actually want men to share some of this with me!) was the overwhelming love, charity, compassion and sincere brotherly love I saw in missionaries (who were not born in racist times), ward members who treated Blacks as equals, and having personal conversations with Black converts who clearly KNEW they were beloved of our Heavenly Father. Further light and knowledge is always coming to us. This is a living Church and so many people live that living Spirit of God that to stop an analyze is to get behind in living with the Spirit. I hope I am never a product of my times, e.g. the limitations of my current society and culture but can live with the Spirit of God that transcends all that is temporal and keeps a celestial vision. This is my hope.

        • Wow, thanks Sis. Ghrin! Well said! I joined the Church in 1976 thankfully as a 15 year old teenager and did not have to defend the Church’s stand on Blacks not receiving the priesthood. And I am so glad. Born and raised in Michigan helped me see all people not by the color of their skin but by who they were. I still try to do this today and to hear your comments did bring the Spirit strongly to my being this morning. Many hours ago I could not sleep. Now I know why.

  8. Pingback: ClobberBlog » BYU Students Prepare to Nail their Theses to the Wrong Door

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  10. it was never doctrine. it was policy after Joesph smith. look up the story of elijah abel. a black man with the priesthood under joesph smith. never doctrine. all the prophets called it a policy.

    • Wrong. OFFICIAL FIRST PRESIDENCY STATEMENT:

      August 17, 1949
      The attitude of the Church with reference to Negroes remains as it has always stood. It is NOT a matter of the declaration of a POLICY but of DIRECT COMMANDMENT FROM THE LORD, on which is FOUNDED THE DOCTRINE of the Church from the days of its organization, to the effect that Negroes may become members of the Church but that they are not entitled to the priesthood at the present time. The prophets of the Lord have made several statements as to the operation of the principle. President Brigham Young said: “Why are so many of the inhabitants of the earth cursed with a SKIN OF BLACKNESS? It comes in consequence of their fathers rejecting the power of the holy priesthood, and the law of God. They will go down to death. And when all the rest of the children have received their blessings in the holy priesthood, then that curse will be removed from the seed of Cain, and they will then come up and possess the priesthood, and receive all the blessings which we now are entitled to.”
      President Wilford Woodruff made the following statement: “The day will come when all that race will be redeemed and possess all the blessings which we now have.”
      The position of the Church regarding the Negro may be understood when another doctrine of the Church is kept in mind, namely, that THE CONDUCT OF SPIRITS IN THE PREMORTAL EXISTENCE has some determining effect upon the conditions and circumstances under which these spirits take on mortality and that while the details of this principle have not been made known, the mortality is a privilege that is given to those who maintain their first estate; and that the worth of the privilege is so great that spirits are willing to come to earth and take on bodies no matter what the handicap may be as to the kind of bodies they are to secure; and that among the handicaps, failure of the right to enjoy in mortality the blessings of the priesthood is a handicap which spirits are willing to assume in order that they might come to earth. Under this principle there is no injustice whatsoever involved in this deprivation as to the holding of the priesthood by the Negroes.

      George Albert Smith
      J. Reuben Clark
      David. O. McKay

      • What? No comments from all the apologists out there? This was OFFICIAL doctrine per the post above. So why berate a professor who is only recollecting official Church Doctrine before 1978. I am embarrassed with the official Church Statement released yesterday. ” It is not known precisely why, how, or when this restriction began in the Church…”, are you kidding me?

        Look at the above post Bretheren, and refresh your memories. You know exactly where it started and how; and the statement released is a blatant lie as far as I am concerned, and insulting of our intelligence. Yes, my memory goes back more than 34 years. Long enough to know this was the official teaching, as directed by the First Presidency.

      • I think the doctrine was ridiculous then , just as I do now. How about the Bretheren come clean, and call it what it was….a terribly misguided, officially sanctioned doctrine, that never have been. But, then we can throw out infallibility of the leaders at that point, can’t we? Now I see why their memory is so bad….

    • Though Brigham Young reaffirmed his stand on priesthood denial to the Negro on many occasions, by far the most striking of the known statements of his position was included in an address to the territorial legislature, 16 January, 1852, recorded in Wilford Woodruff s journal of that date. In this gubernatorial address, Young appears to both confirm himself as the instigator of the priesthood policy, and to bear testimony to its inspired origin: “Any man having one drop of the seed of [Cain] … in him cannot hold the priesthood and if no other Prophet ever spake it before I will say it now in the name of Jesus Christ I know it is true and others know it.”

      Though it is now popular among Mormons to argue that the basis for the priesthood denial to Negroes is unknown, no uncertainty was evident in the discourses of Brigham Young. From the initial remark in 1849 throughout his presidency, every known discussion of this subject by Young (or any other leading Mormon) invoked the connection with Cain as the justification for denying the priesthood to blacks.

      The full article is pretty much the official source on the history. Part I deals with Joseph Smith’s time, and the rest covers up until the article was published, 1973.

  11. Pingback: BYU Professor Randy Bott Considers Himself a “Sacrificial Lamb”; Deseret News Has Their Own Spin « Joseph Trevor Antley

  12. Well written and informative article – I think it is important to raise awareness of archetypes and biases we all might subconsciously hold on to. Nicely done, Trevor.

  13. I sincerely hope we can get Bro. Bott to speak on the subject of Joseph Smith and polygamy. In the meantime, I will go pop some popcorn . . . .

  14. BY was a RAGING RACIST! said that Blacks are “Lowly & uncooth”, should be MURDERED if they entered into inter-racial marriages!

    Utah was Admitted as a SLAVE TERRITORY, REFUSED to fight in the U.S. Civil War….

    ‘Even a dead fish can go downstream’

  15. I have just been reading the article and opinions of others on professor Bots case. I am from Africa,zimbabwe.

    From what I gather, it is possible that the professor may not ne out right racist in personality or maybe he hides it, but his comments are certainly racist. With his high profile status he should have been more careful and kept such comments to himself. However these comments are his own and not the churches. I am a black Mormon and had I heard such comments before joining the church I would most probably have been influenced to not joining.

    The lds church has members who are racist true but the current standing of the church officially is not racist.

    The protests must go forth. no to racism. It is so unfair and hurtful. I am black. I had no power whatsoever to determine my skin coloir when I was born. Then a whiteman says I am cursed and should serve the whiteman. I mean what is this? Yet you preach charity and then discriminate me on skin colour. Christ offered no racial comments on blacks. Its time you treat us equally as souls created by one God. The air I breath and my life is not in given by anyone but God.

    Oppose racism at all times whether from blacks or whites. Thenprofessors comments are unacceptable. All who support his views must change. The previous church leaders when they commented I personally believe they were their own opinions not revelation because God loves blacks.

    • Thank you Don! You’re right. To many have leaned to their own understanding and I think over the years many have had opinions or speculations they have heard that they have hung onto and thought of as the truth or Doctrine. Only God knows. Earlier tonight a friend posted this in response to a female students response on Professor Botts teachings. “In the New Testament, Christ tells his apostles not to preach the gospel to the Gentiles because they were not ready yet and later in Acts, Peter gets a revelation to reveal the gospel to the Gentiles.”

      Say what???

      Where in the NT did Christ say “the Gentiles were not ready yet”?
      “These twelve Jesus sent forth, and commanded them, saying, Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not: But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” (Jn1-:5-6)
      But nothing about *why* not to go to the Gentiles.

      Fancy dancing about Peter’s revelation. Jesus told the apostles face-to-face after his resurrection, “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature”. They didn’t. THEN Peter had his vision.
      http://www.lds.org/scriptures/nt/mark/16.14-15?lang=eng#12
      http://www.lds.org/scriptures/nt/acts/11.4-18?lang=eng#2

    • Don, Don’t worry. You have a gadzillion White brothers and sisters in the faith who love and embrace you as an equal and even perhaps as more righteous! Thanks for your sharp parsing of the issues. Some others are still growing in their full “pure love of Christ” viewing others; but the Church official stand is we are all equal in the sight of God. Peace

    • Don,

      You put your thoughts down very well said and I am so glad that you took the time to express them. I joined the Church in 1976 as a 15 year old. I was born and raised in Michigan and taught as a young man to view all by the content of who they are, not by what they looked like. Looking back, I am so glad that I received a spiritual manifestation that what the missionaries were teaching me was true for I too probably would not have chosen to be baptized in the Church knowing now what I know about the Church’s stand on Blacks and the priesthood back then.

      Living up here in the United States in the mission field outside of Utah and having never resided in Utah except to attend the Provo MTC for the first two months of my mission back in 1981, I can safely tell you that there is very little racism amongst Church members here and those I have heard utter racist comments over the years have come from where? You said it, Utah.

      Even though I have never met you I just want you to know that my heart is full of love for you and your bravery and faith and desire to go ahead with your baptism. There is a wonderful article in the Church News this week about Elder Jeffery Holland’s visit to Africa. What an amazing bunch of members are coming into the Church in Africa!! I can only imagine you are one of them. Your post here, from 1000’s of miles away, only supports that thought!!

    • The Mormon God has cursed you Don. Do you feel inferior with the curse of Cain? Do you feel it was right to reject having your borthers who lived from 1840-1978 rejected from holding the priesthood from the Mormon God acceptable? Do you feel the doctrine of Joseph Smith, who stated “white” and delightsome was better than “dark” and loathsome God’s will? Do you feel Brigham Young was correct in stating the penalty for mixing a white man’s seed with a woman who was cursed by Cain as death on the spot acceptable?

      • Key: God is pushing, unfolding, and expanding His light and consciousness on Earth. He does this for his reasons of timing we all can guess at and even get pretty close while others’ guesses are far away from the Truth. Christ’s coming cancelled out the law of Moses, e.g. no more eye for an eye mentality. God’s consciousness is continually expanding on Earth as everyone is able to abide my it. Instead of looking at the Church’s changing light and consciousness; see it as unfolding light and consciousness being grounded on the Earth as we humans become able to honor God’s mind. If you are honest about all institutions at that time, many besides just the LDS Church were practicing “racism” as even temporal law and order was racist. And someone else already made the point about countenances being light and dark, I know many White people whose countenances were once dark and have lightened as they have grown in spiritual light. Humans have trigger words from a temporal view and God does have those trigger words.

        Personally, I probably would have been prone to take a temporal view too if I had been presented with joining the church before 1978 because I would not have wanted to join a racist church either; that would have been my simplistic “black skin” analysis which would have completely missed the greater light and understand of Christ as he has been able to push greater light and consciousness in my own spirit.

        And by the way, my sister is married to an African American. My neices and nephews are so full of bright light in their countenances even with their father’s dominant physical genes.

    • But the argument makes everything the church has taught about revelation from a Prophet of God false so why bother with the church when it has become some form of a social club.

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  17. The LDS church has never supported the comments that Professor Bott made. Different prophets of the church have had their personal opinions that may have been taken as dogma or doctrine but God has NEVER clearly revealed to the world the reasons that the Priesthood was withheld from the Black community. For Professor Bott to interview with the Washington Post and give his opinions about this nation to the world is an abomination. The man is a fool. He misrepresented the LDS church, he misrepresented BYU, and he misrepresented all BYU students and members of the LDS church – including myself. I know that Randy Bott is a good man and a great teacher but he crossed the line – end of story.

    • Did you not read the official statement released by the First Presidency on August 17, 1949? Or do you ignore all of their official Statements? Just wondering.

      • Key: God is pushing, unfolding, and expanding His light and consciousness on Earth. He does this for his reasons of timing we all can guess at and even get pretty close while others’ guesses are far away from the Truth. Christ’s coming cancelled out the law of Moses, e.g. no more eye for an eye mentality. God’s consciousness is continually expanding on Earth as everyone is able to abide my it. Instead of looking at the Church’s changing light and consciousness; see it as unfolding light and consciousness being grounded on the Earth as we humans become able to honor God’s mind. If you are honest about all institutions at that time, many besides just the LDS Church were practicing “racism” as even temporal law and order was racist. And someone else already made the point about countenances being light and dark, I know many White people whose countenances were once dark and have lightened as they have grown in spiritual light. Humans have trigger words from a temporal view and God does have those trigger words.

        Personally, I probably would have been prone to take a temporal view too if I had been presented with joining the church before 1978 because I would not have wanted to join a racist church either; that would have been my simplistic “black skin” analysis which would have completely missed the greater light and understand of Christ as he has been able to push greater light and consciousness in my own spirit.

        And by the way, my sister is married to an African American. My neices and nephews are so full of bright light in their countances even with their father’s dominant physical genes.

    • YOU LIVE A LIE if you think that the LDS Church did NOT teach as DOCTRINE for 130 years that “Negroes” were the cursed and inferior children of Cain, and “less valiant” in the War in Heaven. That was taught as doctrine by the Church for 130 years!!!! At NO TIME was it ever called “personal opinion”. It was always referred to as “a doctrine of the Church”. Randy Bott tied his own “spin” on it, but even that was not true. The Church said ONE THING for 130 years: Negroes are the cursed children of Cain, less valiant in the War in Heaven.
      http://www.angelfire.com/o2/blackmormon/homepage.html

  18. The worst part is not Professor Bott’s racist comparison of African Americans to children. That is truly a racist line and even if it was misquoted, that is not the point.

    The worst part is he has not read the Book of Abraham with an eye to understanding. I will quote “Now this king of Egypt was a descendant from the loins of Ham, and was a partaker of the blood of the Canaanites by birth”. Who are the Canaanites? Let me give you a clue, they have no connection with Cain. They relate to Canaan, a son of Ham. That was Abraham 1:21. Abraham 1:22 “The land of Egypt being first discovered by a woman, who was the daughter of Ham, and the daughter of Egyptus”. Some say this means “she is the daughter of Ham and Egyptus”. Yet in 1:25 we read “Now the first government of Egypt was established by Pharoah, the eledest son of Egyptus, the daughter of Ham.” Some argue that this means that Ham’s wife and daughter were both named Egyptus.

    It gets more complexed though, the end of Abraham 1:23 told us “Egpytus [picking up with the last word from the previous quote], which in the Chaldean signifies Egypt, which signifies that which is forbidden;” Hmm, maybe there are multiple readings here. Maybe if Jesus can speak to his contemporaries of “Sarah she that bare you”, and if in many semitic languages the word for “son of” and “descendant of” are the same, the book of Ether clearly uses them interchangeably, since they are switched in describing some relationships, things are more complexed.

    Maybe a woman being the daughter of Ham and Egyptus means that she descends from both of them, but is not literally the child of either. Those who have sung the Mesiah know “he shall purify the sons of Levi” and know that these are men many generations after Aaron, who was a great-grandson of Levi at a minimum.

    On the other hand, maybe the lady being a “daughter of that which is forbidden” means she was conceived out of wedlock. Maybe either Ham or whoever later on was her actual father was not married to her mother. Maybe that is why it was fobidden. Or maybe the forbidden thing was incest, we do know that the ancient Egyptian pharoahs often married their sisters.

    I do not know, but what I do know is that there is no way to link this to those of African descent. Whether or not Brother Perkins is right that “black” in the scriptures never refers to liter skin color (I agree with him, and think it refers to a “lack of light”, that is a lack of the spritual light of God, thus we have light opposed by dark, not in gradations of skin color but the light of God against the darkness of the devil) but under most interpretations the flood wiped out all ante-deluvians save for Noah and his immediate family.

    Lastly there is more Biblical evidence that Jesus Christ descended from Ham than that Captain Cuffe or any other person of African descent anywhere did.

  19. The catch here is that historically protests have been of the type of those in the early-1990s with students trying to protect professors who taught false doctrine, such as urging prayers be addressed to other than Heavenly Father.

    It is a whole different issue when we are dealing with a professor who suggests that anyone alive since the flood is a descendant of Cain. That is built on a wilful misreading of the Book of Abraham. “the blood of the Canaanites” means the descendants of Canaan, the son of Ham. It is people not understanding the root of words who think that it in some way links to Cain. Just because Canaan and Cain sound similar does not make them so. There is also Cainan, who was Enoch’s 4th great-grandfather. Professor Bott does not know the scriptures, I see no reason why we should let him pretend to teach them.

  20. Pingback: BYU Students Plan Protest after Uproar over Professor’s Remarks, « Joseph Trevor Antley

  21. The problem is not “racism in Mormon thought” but the lack of thought on the part of Professor Bott. The protests will be much more successful if they focus on the failure of Professor Bott to pay any attention to Elder Bruce R. mcConkie’s bold 1978 statement telling people to forget avout the false notions taught in the pre-1978 darkness.

    Making this into an attack on “racism in Mormon thought” is the stupidest plan possible. Bott’s primary sin is not racism, but failure to follow the counsel of the living prophets. He failed to internalize President Hinckley’s full message in 2006. Who is bought to have the arrogance to claim he had a right to have the priesthood and those who did not have it were equivalent to children demanding what they were not prepared for?

    Bott is guilty of the grosse racism that President Hinckley denounced in 2006 and has a need to go home and repent.

    However, BYU has a need to preserve scholarship and integrity. It has a need to remove lazy professors who mistake zeal for knowledge. It has a need to remove people who teach false doctines, like the notion that infidelity before marriage should not be discussed with a potential spouse if it has been fully repented of. The requirement to forgive all men is a requirement on each of us. When we have sinned against another they must forgive us, but they must forgive us. There is not full repentance for breaking the law of chastity until it has been fully confessed, and that means confessing such actions to your spouse. It does not matter if you were married at the time, breaking the law of chastity is an action against the santity of your marriage, and must be confessed to those offended to be fully repented of, and that includes your future spouse.

    If people want any progress they need to problematize Professor Bott and his efforts to develop his own following. The problem in Professor Bott’s statements is that he has failed to heed the direct counsel of one of the 12 apostles. While some people were not there listening in 1978 as Elder McConkie instucted the CES teachers, Professor Bott was and his failure to heed this counsel, especially when he has had 34 years to incorporate and heed the counsel but he insists on not learning and progressing, should be grounds to remove him from the staff at Brigham Young University.

    It is BYU’s policies that emphasize the right of the school to maintain true doctrine that are on the side of those who are outraged at Professor Bott. Let me say this again. The Protestors will be wise to point this out. What is at fault is professor Bott. What is in line with good procedures is BYU’s policies. The very fact that BYU did not give into the “academic freedom” crowd in the early 1990s, and instead removed professors over protest, is on the side of those who are outraged at Professor Bott’s statements. Make sure to remember that. The university’s failure to grant tenure is your frined. The fact that professors need to sustain the Prophet of the Church is your friend.

    • Dude, you seemed like a smart dude, and i really admire your comment. The only part that seemed odd is the confession to spouse and those you had sex with before you can be fully forgiven. You were born LDS, probably served a mission, and living in Utah. Consider someone, who doesnt fall into any of these three attribute. Rather, he or she lived in a community on the other side of the GOSPEL and sex is part of his or her growing up. Are you telling me that, if such a person confesses all his sins and happens to join the church in the future, get baptised, and get married 10 years latter. Does he needs to go back in time and confess to all those he or she slept with and ask for forgiveness, in addition to his or her spouse before God will forgive such person? Past mistakes are burried in the waters of baptism. No need to rebirth old mistakes. Its a choice.

  22. I’m really surprised that this strain of thinking still exists in the BYU religion dept, especially with all the research and knowledge around this issue now. When will we stop feeling like we need to explain the past and acknowledge that the priesthood ban was simply a product of its time and location, one that we now regret and wish would have been reversed even earlier than 1978.

    I don’t think Bott needs to hang for his comments, but there needs to be a wake-up call in the religion department and in High Priest groups in the church at large around this issue. The recent statement by the church is the closest they’ve ever come to acknowledging that there is no theological/doctrinal basis for the policy.

    • Bott told the truth. Why wouldn’t the church come forward and admit that their decision to deny the blacks from the Priesthood was based on Politics and racism not on revelation. That’s the truth. People deserve to know the truth so stop attacking Bott. Members of the church have the notion that all black people were cursed and denied from having the Priesthood. That’s a FALSE statement. If the church don’t want to come forward and admit and rectify that mentality amongst its members, this issue will never go away for good. Unless the leaders don’t believe in bringing the past into light. Then, in that case why do the church preaches about repentance since it’s a past actions. We can move forward for a brighter future if our past mistakes don’t matter.
      Did you know that, Joseph Smith gave blacks the Priesthood? Why will God suddenly asked them to stop. On what fact? Joseph Smith was a Prophet long after Cain so don’t tell me that the dark skin and the priesthood issue was because of Cain Curse. Believe what you want to believe, but don’t be Naive because Bott said the truth. Some individuals in Utah and in the Church are so entrapped in their own world. Wake up and learn the truth. Admit that we are all humans and even church leaders makes mistakes and not every word or decision they make is a revelation from God!
      The prophet made a mistake that have affected lives for so long. The man “Bott” is intelligent and he knows what he is talking about. The truth is the church at that time was “RACIST”, but not NOW.

      • The ONLY reason the “Members” believed that “Negroes” were the cursed children of Cain, inferior, and a black skin was the Mark of Cain, is because that is what Mormon leaders at the very TOP taught them for 130 years! And the Mormon leaders NEVER said “In our upinion….”. They said, “The Lord put a mark upon Cain, a black skin, flat now, and kinky hair, and that mark can still be seen on his children today” etc. Don’t blame the Members for what Mormon “prophets” taught them for 130 years. BLAME THE LEADERS….!!!

  23. Pingback: The Bott Gaffe: A Chronology | Times & Seasons

  24. “God has always been discriminatory” when it comes to whom he grants the authority of the priesthood, argues Bott, the BYU theologian”

    That is a true statement backed up by official LDS doctrine here:

    http://www.lds.org/study/topics/priesthood-ordination-before-1978?lang=eng

    However the rest is not doctrine and I have to agree with Antley when he says:

    “Bott’s statements regarding the priesthood ban are not revolutionary in Mormon thought. The argument that discriminating against an entire race was for that race’s own benefit has been a popular apologetic defense since the priesthood ban was lifted by the LDS Church in 1978. Recently, however, this line of thought has become less popular as some claim it retains a racist mentality.”

  25. I first of all repeat what I have stated in two other posts here this morning: I joined the Church in November of 1976 as a 15 1/2 year old in Michigan. I am so grateful in retrospect that I had a very powerful personal spiritual manifestation the Church was true and hence I was baptized. Honestly, if I would have know then what I know now about the Church’s stand then on Blacks and the priesthood, I probably would have not been able to go through with my baptism.

    Having said all of this, the best personal opinion (and that is what it is) I can muster on this subject is that before June of 1978 there were brethren leading the Church who were racist. They were raised as such. This morning I found this letter online from Elder Delbert Stapley, a member of the Quorum of the 12 from 1950 to August of 1978 (at the time of his death he was 3rd in line to be the prophet): http://www.boston.com/news/daily/24/delbert_stapley.pdf This letter was written to Bro. George Romney when he was Michigan’s governor in 1964, sharing his personal thoughts on the Civil Rights movement of the time and Elder Stapley’s personal suggestion that he not get involved. Fortunately Gov. Romney’s did not take Elder Stapley’s advise. (On a personal note, my mom worked in Bro. Romney’s office long before we joined the Church in 1976 and my mom always talked about the bravery of Bro. Romney’s positions, especially on Civil Rights, long before it was popular.) But I had this thought come to my mind as I was reading Elder Stapley’s letter: can you imagine how it must feel to be in the Spirit World right now and one of your legacy’s left here on Earth many years after your death is this letter? It best demonstrates the mindset of those who were receiving and setting the doctrine of the Church at the time in question.

    I remember as I was reading President Kimball’s biography many years ago how frustrated he was in the 40’s and 50’s and 60’s regarding the lack of support he received from the Church’s leadership Brethren he had to work with at that time as he worked tirelessly to improve the lot of the Native Americans and the Church’s programs directed towards them at the time. He met and overcame many roadblocks and obstacles that these leadership Brethren put up, many who were still alive in 1978. Along this same train of thought, I think all of this prepared President Kimball to be the one who finally questioned the whole idea of who was supposed to have the priesthood. He had been prepared to take the heat, so to speak, from those leadership Brethren of the time who thought otherwise.

    But again, these are all my personal and private musings. But I think Elder McConkie said it best on August 18, 1978: “There are statements in our literature by the early Brethren which we have interpreted to mean that the Negroes would not receive the priesthood in mortality. I have said the same things, and people write me letters and say, “You said such and such, and how is it now that we do such and such?” And all I can say to that is that it is time disbelieving people repented and got in line and believed in a living, modern prophet. Forget everything that I have said, or what President Brigham Young or President George Q. Cannon or whomsoever has said in days past that is contrary to the present revelation.

    Bottom line, thanks Trevor for this medium!

  26. Odd that coming out of Brigham Young University this opinion is considered over the top. Let’s look at what Brigham Young himself had to say:

    “Shall I tell you the law of God in regard to the African race? If the white man who belongs to the chosen seed mixes his blood with the seed of Cain, the penalty, under the law of God, is death on the spot. This will always be so.” (Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, Volume 10, page 110.)

    You see some classes of the human family that are black, uncouth, un- comely, disagreeable and low in their habits, wild, and seemingly deprived of nearly all the blessings of the intelligence that is generally bestowed upon mankind. The first man that committed the odious crime of killing one of his brethren will be cursed the longest of any one of the children of Adam. Cain slew his brother. Cain might have been killed, and that would have put a termination to that line of human beings. This was not to be, and the Lord put a mark upon him, which is the flat nose and black skin. Trace mankind down to after the flood, and then another curse is pronounced upon the same race – that they should be the “servant of servants;” and they will be, until that curse is removed; and the Abolitionists cannot help it, nor in the least alter that decree. How long is that race to endure the dreadful curse that is upon them? That curse will remain upon them, [p.291] and they never can hold the Priesthood or share in it until all the other descendants of Adam have received the promises and enjoyed the blessings of the Priesthood and the keys thereof. Until the last ones of the residue of Adam’s children are brought up to that favourable position, the children of Cain cannot receive the first ordinances of the Priesthood. They were the first that were cursed, and they will be the last from whom the curse will be removed. When the residue of the family of Adam come up and receive their blessings, then the curse will be removed from the seed of Cain, and they will receive blessings in like proportion. – (Journal of Discourses 7:290-291, October 9, 1859)

    Let’s face it, “White and delightsome” was in the Book of Mormon until 1981, and most current Mormons are not aware of this. “White and delightsome” is how “the most perfect book ever written” was translated by Joseph Smith. Missionaries were taught to shy away from people of color based on the color lines of their palms. Mormons can plead ignorance to these facts and hide behind “we just don’t know” answers, and it’s sad they really don’t know the truth about their racist doctrine that had to change.

  27. President Hinckley had a way of pointing the saints to how they should think for now and the future, while putting past perspectives out of mind:

    From this link: How can any man holding the Melchizedek Priesthood arrogantly assume that he is eligible for the priesthood whereas another who lives a righteous life but whose skin is of a different color is ineligible?

    What a way to blast the perspectives of past church leaders without explicitly doing so. I wish we had his voice today.

  28. Well now…..after reading all the diversity of thought and reactions inside the LDS Church to brother Bott’s statements…who can ever accuse Mormon members of not being fully granted their individuality and free agency to continue to choose their direction all along the journey. We are DIVERSE! We can be wrong! We can be humbled and we can still GROW after we see the error of our ways. The Gospel is true but we are at different points of progression towards the Greatest Light: Jesus Christ and trying understand his over arching thinking. Mistakes are made but we are never stuck.

    Also, I don’t think the outside world fully understands the difference between the prophets and the called brethren and everyone else, BYU professors included. The latter does not receive revelation for the entire Church direction. And the prophet of today override levels of consciousness of past prophets. And someday, perhaps before I die, there will be a revelation from another prophet, when God deems it time, to override a prophet of today on some point. Until then, we sustain the current living prophet who has a whisper from God’s ear on what is possible to ground on Earth today.

    On a personal level, I have never been discriminatory against any other culture. I even know I have Arab brothers and sisters who are also God’s children. But, I don’t lead the entire Church. And I do a lot of things in the world today, I know a lot of others have not the unfolded consciousness yet to understand. So, the Church does not hold me back from living out the personal revelation I get from God. I’m glad I’m not in charge of the COLLECTIVE church; this is hard and I respect those in charge of the Collective.

  29. Where is the love of Christ, everyone? Do we hate our neighbors or enemies? No. I would invite all of you to pray about your words and ask Heavenly Father if he loves this Professor. He does. Just remember that. Don’t do or say anything that you will regret- the Love of Christ is so wonderful. Let’s act like God’s children and find some charity and have the spirit to be with us in all we do.

  30. I think love goes all ways. Correcting what was put out to the public is not against Bott but it is compassionately protective of others who could and have been hurt by his translations. Also, others may be resistant to the Gospel’s message after hearing Bott’s comments. Hence, it is a responsibility to correct false perceptions that could leave long lasting hurt.

    I’m sure Bott is going through his own repentance process and I humbly respect that. No one is saying he should be condemned and he is a choice son with lots of righteousness and wisdom in him. It is the falsehood that is being over-turned and rejected not Bott. The rest of us have a responsibility and a right to show compassion and clarification to the public on the ground the church actually stands on.

  31. When the prophet speaks, the thinking has been done. However, I still think of what I was taught at BYU: exactly the same things Randy Bott taught. In my heart, I could never imagine that God would discriminate.
    When the announcement by Pres. Kimball came over the radio, I was repairing a telephone in Pleasant Grove. The lady of the house, who was in the Relief Society, stopped in her tracks and said: This is political. Well, just because the blacks can have the priesthood does not mean we have to sit next to them. Racism, anyone?

    • For every person you give an example of in the Church who says expresses racist consciousness, I can give you 10x more examples of people higher in their progression towards Christ who don’t. When I was in the South recently, I heard some atrocious, backward and unevolved comments from Church members. You might as well ask, “Law of Moses, anyone?” and you will indeed find people who step up to the mike and say “Sure!” I once met a Temple President who wanted all African immigrants to get out of Germany. The process of evolution is sometimes painful to witness in the moment. Having Christ inside of you to guide your heart towards love is the answer, inside or outside the Church. And I’d rather ask, “Love, anyone?” Or “would you like some catch-up on those lies?”

  32. Pingback: Prominent Florida Pastor Demands Romney Renounce His “Racist Mormon Religion” « TrevorAntley.com

  33. Pingback: Popular BYU professor Randy Bott makes allegedly racist… « NewsWave (Provo)

  34. The Washington Post reporter made this up about what Professor Bott said. The reporter did not follow the procedure by going through the Dean first, and did not allow Bott to review the article as they are supposed to with BYU professors (we now see why). Students in Bott’s class know that he has never said that or does not have those views because it has been discussed in his classes.

    The WP reported LIED! BS on that reporter and the reporter was dishonest.

  35. Pingback: For Mormonism’s Public Image, 2012 will be a Purifying Fire « TrevorAntley.com

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