Was Mormonism Ever Pro-slavery?

Related Posts: Blacks and the Priesthood; Race issues in the Book of Mormon: Part I; Race issues in the Book of Mormon: Part II

Summary: On the McLaughlin Group Lawrence O’Donnell ranted against Mormonism. He said the LDS faith is racist and Joseph Smith was a criminal. He also accused the Church of being pro-slavery. His views are extremely biased–that will be obvious to anyone who watches the clip below.

So, was Mormonism ever pro-slavery?

The LDS faith was never pro-slavery. Neither were Joseph Smith and Brigham Young–the only LDS Presidents during the antebellum period. Joseph Smith wanted to free the slaves by purchasing their freedom. Brigham Young said, “I am neither an abolitionist nor a pro-slavery man.” He goes on to say if he had to choose he would be against the pro-slavery side.

Brigham Young wanted Utah to be a free state, but as a territory it permitted slavery. Though there were probably never more than 100 slaves in the entire territory.

Naturally, politics came into play. When the church was in Missouri it was accused of being abolitionist, which is something Joseph Smith had to deal with. Brigham Young was afraid if slavery were abolished polygamy would be next. So they both walked a political tightrope.

Their positions on slavery are not what we would like them to be. But I cannot conclude either of them were pro-slavery. Continue reading

The Mormon concept of Heaven(s)

Related Posts: What is Kolob?; Mormon Temple Worship

We believe that after the final judgment there are four places to which a person may be sent. They are the celestial kingdom, the terrestrial kingdom, the telestial kingdom, and outer darkness. The first three are referred to as the three degrees of glory, often compared to the sun, the moon, and the stars (D&C 76:70, 78, 98).

Three Degrees of Glory (1,2,3)

A representation of the tree degrees of glory and outer darkness.

The celestial, terrestrial, and telestial are kingdoms of glory. Outer darkness is not a kingdom of glory. Any person who inherits one of the top three kingdoms is technically saved; and they are saved through the power of the Atonement of Christ.

In common usage, the word “saved” typically refers to going to the celestial kingdom and “heaven” refers to the celestial kingdom.

So, what are these three heavens? And who goes where? Continue reading

Blacks and the Priesthood

Related Posts: Was Mormonism ever pro-slavery?; Race issues in the Book of Mormon: Part I; Race issues in the Book of Mormon: Part II; The Premortal Life

See also The Untold Story of Black Mormons

There has been some recent talk about the Church’s former policy of not ordaining black men to the priesthood. I am republishing this post from my other blog (Response to Damon Linker).

An article written by Jason Riley in the Wall Street Journal brought up some good points (“The Mormons still haven’t settled their race problem“). The only issue I had with the article was the comment, “Ultimately, the ban was a manifestation of a central belief that blacks are unfit to be full members of the church on Earth, or to exist alongside whites in heaven.”

There was never a doctrine of separate heavens for blacks and whites. Mormons did, and some still do, see blackness as the mark of a divine curse. But there was never a teaching that blacks could not eventually receive all the blessings that whites may receive. I know that doesn’t change the past or make it less offensive, nor should it. But because Mormonism’s past is checkered with practices and doctrines that many consider racist or strange, assessments of our beliefs easily tend toward exaggeration and/or distortion–sometimes a lot, and sometimes a little

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Who is Jesus?—to a Mormon

Related Posts: Are Satan and Jesus Brothers?; Whom do we Worship?; The Trinity; The Nature of Christ; Godhead: God or Gods?; The Premortal Life

Today in an article written by Frank Pastore on Townhall.com the following allegations about Mormon beliefs were given.

Second, when [Mitt Romeny] said, “I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and the Savior of mankind,” he did not also include that, according to Mormon theology, there are an infinite number of “sons of Gods,” that Jesus is a Son of God along with his brother Lucifer, and that Jesus is only the savior of this world, since Mormon males can become the God, Creator, and Savior of their own planet one day. (“Christian Angst Over a Romney Presidency”)

I would like to write about who the Mormons believe Jesus is. Continue reading

Are Satan and Jesus Brothers?

Related Posts: Who is Jesus?–to a Mormon; The Premortal Life; Angels

A recent comment published in the New York Times by presidential hopeful Mike Huckabee brought up the issue, are Jesus and Satan brothers? The interviewer writes:

I asked Huckabee, who describes himself as the only Republican candidate with a degree in theology, if he considered Mormonism a cult or a religion. ‘I think it’s a religion,’ he said. ‘I really don’t know much about it.’ I was about to jot down this piece of boilerplate when Huckabee surprised me with a question of his own: ‘Don’t Mormons,’ he asked in an innocent voice, ‘believe that Jesus and the devil are brothers?’ (“The Huckabee Factor“)

Huckabee’s not-so-innocent statement (not question) was intended to create animosity towards Mitt Romney’s religion—towards Mormonism. So what is the story behind the statement, “Don’t Mormons believe that Jesus and the devil are brothers?” Huckabee is not the first to mention it. I came across it a few times while serving my two years as an LDS missionary. Continue reading

Mormon Temple Garments (Mormon Underwear)

Related Posts: Mormon Temple Worship; Fall of Man Part I

See Also: “Garments” in Encyclopedia of Mormonism and Temple Garments at LDS Newsroom.

There has been some talk of Mormon temple garments, what some people call Mormon underwear. So I thought I would say a few things about them. The Church discourages its members from engaging in casual conversation about temple garments so I will be brief;)

After a Mormon has gone through the temple he or she is expected to wear what is called “the garment,” or temple garment. In form it is usually a two piece undergarment consisting of what looks like a t-shirt and an extended leg brief. The pictures below are ordinary undergarments which can be purchased at any department store, but they look almost exactly like Mormon garments. In fact if you were in a locker room you probably wouldn’t notice the difference. The Mormon garment is about 1 to 2 inches longer in the leg.

Picture of Mormon garments look alike.

Pictures of what Mormon garments look like.

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The Afterlife, i.e. the Spirit World

Related posts: Angels; Premortal Life

According to Mormon beliefs, at death the spirit is separated from the body and enters what we call the spirit world–a place where disembodied spirits await the resurrection and God’s final judgment. The Book of Mormon prophet Alma explains,

Now, concerning the state of the soul between death and the resurrection–Behold, it has been made known unto me by an angel, that the spirits of all men, as soon as they are departed from this mortal body, yea, the spirits of all men, whether they be good or evil, are taken home to that God who gave them life. And then shall it come to pass, that the spirits of those who are righteous are received into a state of happiness, which is called paradise, a state of rest, a state of peace, where they shall rest from all their troubles and from all care, and sorrow. And then shall it come to pass, that the spirits of the wicked, yea, who are…these shall be cast out into outer darkness; there shall be weeping, and wailing, and gnashing of teeth… thus they remain in this state, as well as the righteous in paradise, until the time of their resurrection. (Alma 40:11-14).

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Opposition in all things

Related Posts: Problem of Evil; Fall of Man: The Doctrine; Fall of Man: Defense of the Doctrine; The Premortal Life; Doctrine of Agency

The concept of opposition in Mormonism is an important one. “For it must needs be, that there is an opposition in all things” (2 Nephi 2:11), wrote the Book of Mormon prophet Lehi. This post explores the concept of opposition and the role it plays within Mormon beliefs.

2 Nephi 11

The idea is almost entirely based on a passage from 2 Nephi.

11 For it must needs be, that there is an opposition in all things. If not so…righteousness could not be brought to pass, neither wickedness, neither holiness nor misery, neither good nor bad. Wherefore, all things must needs be a compound in one; wherefore, if it should be one body it must needs remain as dead, having no life neither death, nor corruption nor incorruption, happiness nor misery, neither sense nor insensibility.[1] 12 Wherefore, it must needs have been created for a thing of naught; wherefore there would have been no purpose in the end of its creation. Wherefore, this thing must needs destroy the wisdom of God and his eternal purposes, and also the power, and the mercy, and the justice of God. 13 And if ye shall say there is no law, ye shall also say there is no sin. If ye shall say there is no sin, ye shall also say there is no righteousness. And if there be no righteousness there be no happiness. And if there be no righteousness nor happiness there be no punishment nor misery. And if these things are not there is no God. And if there is no God we are not, neither the earth; for there could have been no creation of things, neither to act nor to be acted upon; wherefore, all things must have vanished away. (2 Nephi 2:11-13)

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Whom do we worship?

Related Posts: Who is Jesus?—to a Mormon; The Nature of Christ; The Trinity; Godhead: God or Gods?

See also “Worship” in Encyclopedia of Mormonism

In the mind of most Mormons the objects of worship are God the Father and His Son Jesus Christ.[1] The Holy Ghost is necessary for the true worship of the Father and the Son; it is through the Holy Ghost that we worship in spirit and in truth, for “the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost” (Rom. 5:5).

The concept of worship in Mormonism is not strictly defined. Those in heaven “sing ceaseless praises with the choirs above, unto the Father, and unto the Son, and unto the Holy Ghost” (Mormon 7:7); the ordinance of baptism is performed “in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost” (D&C 20:73); our prayers are directed to God the Father and are done in the name of Jesus Christ; and the first words every newly confirmed church member hears are, “Receive the Holy Ghost” (D&C 49:13-14). Continue reading

Growth of the Church

Related Posts: Is LDS (Mormon) Church Growth Decelerating? (2014)

One point of interest among Mormons and non-Mormons is the growth rate of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Many Mormons are confidant in the “fact” that the church is the fastest growing church in the United States and expect to see enormous increases in membership. This notion is fed by predictions from a few sociologists. Rodney Stark made the following observation in 1984:

If growth during the next century is like that of the past, the Mormons will become a major world faith. If, for example, we assume they will grow by 30 percent per decade, then in 2080 there will be more than 60 million Mormons. But, since World War II, the Mormon growth rate has been far higher than 30 percent per decade. If we set the rate at 50 percent, then in 2080 there will be 250 million Mormons. (Rodney Stark, “The Rise of a New World Faith,” Review of Religious Research, Vol. 26, No. 1, pp. 18-27)

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