Statements By Leaders

NEW STATEMENT BY LDS CHURCH DISAVOWING PAST TEACHINGS ON RACE & PRIESTHOOD RESTRICTION – December 6, 2013

I have wondered why there is so much hatred in the world. We are involved in terrible wars with lives lost and many crippling wounds. Coming closer to home, there is so much of jealousy, pride, arrogance, and carping criticism; fathers who rise in anger over small, inconsequential things and make wives weep and children fear.

Racial strife still lifts its ugly head. I am advised that even right here among us there is some of this. I cannot understand how it can be. It seemed to me that we all rejoiced in the 1978 revelation given President Kimball. I was there in the temple at the time that that happened. There was no doubt in my mind or in the minds of my associates that what was revealed was the mind and the will of the Lord.

Now I am told that racial slurs and denigrating remarks are sometimes heard among us. I remind you that no man who makes disparaging remarks concerning those of another race can consider himself a true disciple of Christ. Nor can he consider himself to be in harmony with the teachings of the Church of Christ. 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?

Throughout my service as a member of the First Presidency, I have recognized and spoken a number of times on the diversity we see in our society. It is all about us, and we must make an effort to accommodate that diversity.

Let us all recognize that each of us is a son or daughter of our Father in Heaven, who loves all of His children.

Brethren, there is no basis for racial hatred among the priesthood of this Church. If any within the sound of my voice is inclined to indulge in this, then let him go before the Lord and ask for forgiveness and be no more involved in such.

… Why do any of us have to be so mean and unkind to others? Why can’t all of us reach out in friendship to everyone about us? Why is there so much bitterness and animosity? It is not a part of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Gordon B. Hinckley, April 1, 2006, General Conference Priesthood

“I make no claim of infallibility.”

Spencer W. Kimball, Improvement Era, June 1970, p. 93

“We make no claim of infallibility or perfection in the prophets, seers, and revelators.”

James E. Faust, Ensign, November 1989, p. 11

“The First Presidency cannot claim, individually or collectively, infallibility.”

George Q. Cannon Gospel Truth: Discourses and Writings of President George Q. Cannon, 1957, 1:206

“We respect and venerate” (the prophet), but “we do not believe that his personal views or utterances are revelations from God.”

Elder Charles W. Penrose, Millennial Star, 54:191

“Even the President of the Church has not always spoken under the direction of the Holy Ghost.”

Elder J. Reuben Clark, quoted in Faithful History: Essays on Writing Mormon History, p. 82

“…if He (God) should suffer him (Joseph Smith) to lead the people astray, it would be because they ought to be led astray…it would be because they deserved it…”

Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, 4:297-298

“The First Presidency have of right a great influence over this people; and if we should get out of the way and lead this people to destruction, what a pity it would be! How can you know whether we lead you correctly, or not? Can you know by any other power than that of the Holy Ghost? I have uniformly exhorted the people to obtain this living witness each for themselves; then no man on earth can lead them astray.”

Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, 6:100

“I am more afraid that this people have so much confidence in their leaders that they will not inquire for themselves of God whether they are led by him. I am fearful they settle down in a state of blind self-security, trusting their eternal destiny in the hands of their leaders with a reckless confidence that in itself would thwart the purposes of God in their salvation…Let every man and woman know, by the whispering of the Spirit of God to themselves, whether their leaders are walking in the path the Lord dictates, or not.”

Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, 14:205

“Individual members are encouraged to independently strive to receive their own spiritual confirmation of the truthfulness of Church doctrine. Moreover, the Church exhorts all people to approach the gospel not only intellectually but with the intellect and the spirit, a process in which reason and faith work together.”

Official Church web site www.LDS.org

“The Lord uses imperfect people…He often allows their errors to stand uncorrected. He may have a purpose in doing so, such as to teach us that religious truth comes forth “line upon line, precept upon precept” in a process of sifting and winnowing similar to the one I know so well in science.”

Henry Eyring, Reflections of a Scientist, p. 47

“There are exceptions to some rules. For example, we believe the commandment is not violated by killing pursuant to a lawful order in an armed conflict. But don’t ask me to give an opinion on your exception. I only teach general rules. Whether an exception applies to you is your responsibility. You must work that out individually between you and the Lord.”

Elder Dallin H. Oaks, Ensign, June 2006, p. 16

“I teach the people correct principles, and they govern themselves.”

Joseph Smith, Journal of Discourses, 10: 57-58

“We are all liable to error; are subject, more or less, to the errors incident to the human family. We would be pleased to get along without these errors, and many may think that a man in my standing ought to be perfect; no such thing.”

Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, 10:212

“Sometimes traditions, customs, social practices, and personal preferences of individual Church members may, through repeated or common usage be misconstrued as Church procedures or policies. Occasionally, such traditions, customs and practices may even be regarded by some as eternal principles.”

Elder Ronald Poelman, 1984 General Conference

“Forget everything I have said, or what…Brigham Young…or whomsoever has said… that is contrary to the present revelation. We spoke with a limited understanding and without the light and knowledge that now has come into the world.”

Elder Bruce R. McConkie, CES Conference, August 1978

“We set up assumptions, based on our best knowledge, but can go no further. We should remember that when inspired writers deal with historical incidents they relate that which they have seen or that which may have been told them, unless indeed the past is opened to them by revelation.”

Elder John A. Widtsoe, Evidences and Reconciliations, p. 127

“I have tried for a number of years to get the minds of the Saints prepared to receive the things of God; but we frequently see some of them, after suffering all they have for the work of God, will fly to pieces like glass as soon as anything comes that is contrary to their traditions.”

Joseph Smith, Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 331

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