A friend just forwarded to me this letter written by LDS Apostle Delbert Stapley to then Michigan Governor George Romney dealing with Negroes, race, the LDS Church, Joseph Smith, civil rights, etc.
I know that Delbert Stapley was a very good man — so I’m not interested in piling on (now that we all have the benefit of hindsight). My questions are the following:
- Do you find it interesting that so much importance was placed on exact obedience to the teachings of Joseph Smith by Apostle Stapley? It seems like today we’re much more willing to discount a past teaching from Joseph Smith if it doesn’t meet our modern social standards — but check out how serious he was about following Joseph’s teachings to the letter — even teaching that death follows those who dare deviate from Joseph’s teachings.
- I also find it interesting that he quotes Joseph Fielding Smith’s book almost as if it were scripture (as we used to do with Bruce R.’s Mormon Doctrine). Again — it seems like we have come so far since then. Nowadays — if it’s not in the scriptures, or a very fundamental Mormon/Christian doctrine — we are much more liberated to believe as we wish. The church really has come a LONG way in this regard, I feel
- George Romney is one of my new Mormon heroes, I think. That man was clearly ahead of his time, and courageous. I wonder if he ever caught heat from the brethren for his progressive stances.
- Most importantly — if the church can be so incredibly wrong about a social/political/doctrinal teaching as they were regarding blacks/race/segregation, etc…..what modern church teachings are we perpetuating that we will look back in 50 years and also feel embarrassed by? Or are those days behind us?
This PDF is offered courtesy of the Boston Globe.