Here's some more on the Mormons correcting their inerrant doctrine. Can a sane person accomodate the concept of correcting allegedly god-revealed inerrant doctrine?


Mormons Deny Black Doctrine Report

.c The Associated Press

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) - Leaders of the Mormon Church denied a report in Monday's Los Angeles Times that said they're preparing to disavow racist statements and doctrines promulgated by past church leaders.

For more than 100 years, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints denied black men the right to be priests. That changed in 1978 when church leaders claimed a revelation from God granted that right to men of all races.

The Times reported Monday that with the anniversary of that event approaching and with church membership growing in Africa, the church's Committee on Public Affairs was reviewing a plan to disavow past doctrine that was interpreted as saying blacks were inferior and their skin color was the biblical mark of Cain.

A statement could be forthcoming as early as next month, the newspaper said.

But church officials Monday called the report ``erroneous,'' adding that ``church leaders have no plans to issue a statement'' to mark the 20th anniversary of the revelation.

Later, the First Presidency - consisting of church President Gordon B. Hinckley and his two counselors - issued a statement saying they were ``surprised'' by the article's contents, and that neither they nor the ruling Quorum of Twelve Apostles had discussed the issue.

``Since the 1978 revelation granting the priesthood to all worthy males, millions of people of all races have embraced the restored gospel of Jesus Christ,'' the statement said. ``The 1978 official declaration continues to speak for itself.''

The reported debate comes at a time when church membership is blossoming in Africa and other developing nations. In February, Hinckley completed a five- country tour of Africa, where the church boasts more than 110,000 converts.

More recently, Hinckley addressed a regional conference of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People - a first for leaders of the 10-million member church.

But the Times reported that black members of the church in the United States and Mormon scholars have warned that the ``racist legacy'' contained in various Mormon documents and authoritative statements risks undermining its mission.

``In the absence of any official corrections, these speculative and pejorative ideas will continue to be perpetuated in the church indefinitely,'' Mormon scholar Armand L. Mauss wrote in one internal paper prepared for church officials, the Times said.

Mauss, president of the Mormon History Association and a professor of sociology and religious studies at Washington State University in Pullman, Wash., did not immediately return calls to his home or office Monday.

D. Michael Quinn, a Mormon historian and author of seminal works on early Mormon leaders, said for the church to disavow the teaching would be a surprising move, ``but it might be easier than you think.''

That's because the church founder, Joseph Smith, was a non-racist who in the 1840s had ordained a black man into the church. Smith insisted that blacks were not inferior, despite the contrary and overwhelming opinions of the times.

The church also has successfully distanced itself from other controversial statements once deemed doctrine - polygamy in particular, Quinn said.

Smith's egalitarian view of the races, for the most part, died with him when he was murdered in 1844 and the church's history on the issue has been spotty since.

It was Brigham Young, the church's second president and famed pioneer leader, who in 1852 said blacks were inferior and that slavery was a divine necessity.

The problem for church officials who want to distance themselves from past racist statements is how to do so when they were made by people considered prophets and whose statements are weighed as the word of God.

``The challenge isn't about racism,'' said Elbert Peck, editor of Sunstone, a scholarly journal of Mormon thought. ``The problem becomes making the brethren look too human.''

AP-NY-05-18-98 1856EDT

Copyright 1998 The Associated Press. The information contained in the AP news report may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or otherwise distributed without the prior written authority of The Associated Press. All active hyperlinks have been inserted by AOL.


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