Brigham Young's statute at BYURacism Taking a Toll
on the LDS Church
Last month, the Prophet of the LDS Church, Russell M. Nelson, met with the NAACP. They put out a collective statement in part that reads, “We likewise call on government, business, and educational leaders at every level to review processes, laws, and organizational attitudes regarding racism and root them out once and for all.” Seven years ago, the Church put out an essay called “Race and the Priesthood” in their Gospel Topics. The essay concludes: “Today, the Church disavows the theories advanced in the past that black skin is a sign of divine disfavor or curse, or that it reflects unrighteous actions in a premortal life; that mixed-race marriages are a sin; or that blacks or people of any other race or ethnicity are inferior in any way to anyone else. Church leaders today unequivocally condemn all racism, past and present, in any form.”
One who doesn’t know any better would simply think all the racial problems going on with Mormonism last month are a result of Cancel Culture not wanting any statues or buildings named after racists. The LDS Church, like most other historical institutions, of course had racial problems in its past.
Because of this fact, Brigham’s statue at BYU was sprayed with red paint and had the word “RACIST” written on the base of it. (By the way, with all the riots we’ve had in downtown Salt Lake City, I'm a little surprised his statue there hasn't been tampered with yet... especially with the listing of "colored servants" that came with the pioneers to populate Utah!) The Abraham O. Smoot Administration Building sign at BYU also received a red X on it. Smoot was a slave owner who came out with the early pioneers, and later became the mayor of Provo. I’m actually surprised more BYU buildings weren’t vandalized given all the racism associated with these names.
A week earlier from the vandalism, The Salt Lake Trib published an opinion piece by a former BYU alum called, “Tasi Young: Time to change the name of BYU.” This was interesting, since earlier in the month, the LDS Church changed the name of one of their buildings at their Southern Virginia University that was named after Robert Lee Durham, former president of the school and a noted white supremacist. The Church kept that name in place when they purchased the school in 1996. Changing the name of a building named after a Methodist racist is one thing. Changing the name of the Lord’s university named after the second president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is quite another thing!
On top of all this, San Diego State Mormon scholar Joanna Brooks has been making a lot of waves in the Mormon community last month. She came out with a new book on racism and Mormonism and it was published by none other than Oxford University Press! It’s called Mormonism and White Supremacy: American Religion and The Problem of Racial Innocence. I haven’t been able to read it yet, but I have listened to an interview she had on RadioWest (KUER) last month and have watched an informative video she also did last month called “White on Purpose.” In the latter link, she made quite a provocative and revealing statement that I hope has other Mormons questioning their faith. She said at the 5:22 mark, "Mormonism was white on purpose. I wonder the extent to which we can be profoundly racist and be profoundly inspired at the same time. I wonder; I don't know." The video tells, among other things, how the various named buildings on BYU and the statue of Young downtown are steeped in racism. The video posts some of her tweets in documenting the exact problems of some of her church’s historical leaders.
Video Intros for My Email Class
I have begun to put video intros up for each of my Mormonism vs. Christianity email class. Last month, I introduced the first video to you. Since then, I have added three more videos. You may watch all of them HERE. I still have three more videos to go for the class. Information on signing up for this free six-week class may be found on the homepage of either MormonInfo.org or MeetTheExMormons.org.
Feast and Testimony Meetings
Last month, we had our friend Landy Nikole come share her dramatic story of leaving Mormonism, struggling with an abortion, and finding Jesus. You can watch her story and see the pictures on our MeetTheExMormons.org.
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President, Courageous Christians United
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I hope this email finds you well. My name is Mark... We haven't met before, but in my interest in witnessing to Mormons I have become familiar with your MormonInfo YouTube channel and website.
I myself have never been a member of the Mormon Church, though I did come close to joining at one point. Since then, I discovered what Christianity is and became born again in 2017 and baptised in 2018.
I remain in contact with friends from a local Mormon Ward, and continue to make acquaintances with people who are members of that church.
Recently God prompted me to get in contact with someone who is a recent convert to the Mormon Church. I noticed him when watching a recent online 'Why I Believe' devotional/ fireside (these events have moved online due to the Coronavirus situation).
I am at a very early stage of this particular conversation. I'm hoping to invite this person to take part in a Bible study. I was wondering if you know of any books or online studies which have been written to appeal to/ to be easily understood by a Mormon audience, that a Christian can lead the Mormon person through.
I know such things exist for such people who have become Christian from a Muslim background - I have been using this one for a Bible study with a friend of mine who's from a Muslim country: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/0244928096/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_apa_i_.tq6EbP234JWJ
If you have any thoughts or suggestions I would be grateful to hear from you.
Kind regards and God bless,
[I replied:] Try these out...
Thanks for writing and may God use you to bring many to Himself!
Also of interest... http://whc.faith/watch/fresh-start/
I don't have time to read about Ravi. I was listening to him in the SLC Tabernacle when he added to his prayer a message about blessing Joseph Smith since it was his birthday. I nearly threw up just being IN there. But the prayer? They are lucky I didn't throw up. I also attended the one on WSU campus. To me he is not what I would call a Christian leader. I'll read your message later if I have time.
[I replied:] I think you are confusing Ravi with Richard Mouw. "Mouw noted the 200th anniversary of Joseph Smith's birthday next December and several scholarly events planned to celebrate during the coming year. 'I hope many in the evangelical community will take part in those events,' he said."
Thanks for sharing my exact thoughts about Ravi Zacharias.
Everyone went away happy.
The missionaries used him and that visit as proof they were Christians for quite a while afterwards.
Keep up the great work
Thanks keeping up the good fight in these perilous times! Your posts are always super encouraging to me.
honestly i see why so many people hate you.