We Mormons (particularly LDS leaders) still haven’t admitted that it was Brigham Young’s (uninspired) prejudice that initiated the black priesthood/temple ban. And that it was subsequent (uninspired) presidents of the Church who continued the practice. How many times were we told that this discrimination was doctrine? Even after the ban was lifted in 1978, forty years ago, many Mormons continue to believe that the ban was from God. And Church leaders have yet to apologize for the more than a century of discrimination against the black community. Racism is man-made; we need to deal with it. So are other forms discrimination, like the Church’s current attitude toward the LGBTQ community. Yet we continue to throw God “under the bus.”
And to be perfectly frank, I’m more than worried about the Church’s upcoming celebration of the 1978 “revelation” lifting the priesthood ban. Who celebrates a major faux pas? Our discrimination was wrong. But if the Church chooses this moment to apologize, then my criticism is unfounded.
The latest example of throwing God “under the bus” is from aggressive Mormon apologist Daniel Peterson. He tries to explain why there are no scientists among the Church’s current leadership:
The most obvious and reliable answer to that question is that, for whatever reason, God hasn’t called them. But I speculate, too, that the current needs of the international Church call for particular skills that are perhaps less common among scientists than among others of other professional backgrounds.
Historically, scientists have been very important for the leadership. It was John A. Widtsoe who helped keep Joseph Fielding Smith in check. Smith was only able to publish his ridiculous Man, His Origin and Destiny after Widtsoe had passed away.
To say that scientists don’t generally have the requisite leadership skills to lead an international church is a ridiculous excuse. What and lawyers and doctors do? Continuing to load the top 15 with businessmen may make for a great corporation with “interesting” investment decisions, but it also severely handicaps leaders when it comes to understanding issues like the genetics of sexuality.
Another interesting question would be: Why aren’t there also more theologians, philosophers, and social scientist among the LDS Church’s top leadership? Wouldn’t it help with understanding Mormon history? Wouldn’t it help when dealing with ethical issues? Might it not help with understanding male/female dynamics?
LDS leaders need to take responsibility for their very human decisions. The mistakes of man shouldn’t be blamed on God.