Since I started writing this blog in April of 2009 I have resisted discussing religion or my viewpoint or belief in Christianity...I would like to make it clear that I do believe in separation of Church and State. This quote referring to the philosopher John Locke helps to clarify where I stand:
"Locke argued that the government lacked authority in the realm of individual conscience, as this was something rational people could not cede to the government for it or others to control. For Locke, this created a natural right in the liberty of conscience, which he argued must therefore remain protected from any government authority."
Old Benjamin Franklin also had an opinion on this matter:
"Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between Man & his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legitimate powers of government reach actions only, & not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should "make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof," thus building a wall of separation between Church & State"
That being said...I believe the Constitution and Declaration of Independence are great documents and the basis of what makes our country great. They were written by enlightened gentlemen who were Christians, yet in their wisdom, saw no need to make any future citizen forcibly recognize or accept Christianity as their personal religion through forced allegiance or taxation. So in America, you can worship however you choose..whether you become a Catholic, Orthodox Jew, Buddhist, Mormon whatever... Also consider that our modern law system and the Constitution were inspired by Judeo-Christian beliefs/literature.
Which leads me to what I wanted to discuss...At the last couple of meetings we discussed Mormonism and how their beliefs differ from traditional Christianity. Without getting into a huge rant or tirade tirelessly pointing out every nuance of the Mormon Faith I would encourage you to propose a few questions to the 16 year old "Elders"who come to your door in their Sunday best to share the "true gospel"..
What is the planet Kolob and is that where Jesus lives? Who is this space Jesus and do you all believe that you too will become Gods and have your own planet and race to rule? Why were black people not allowed to fully participate in all of the Mormon Church rituals and why were they referred to as Being Cain's people (as in Cain and Abel)..
*From 1848 until 1978 black Mormons were banned from the priesthood and temples of the LDS Church. This being known as "The Priesthood-Ban". The reason for this policy was the "Curse of Cain Doctrine". The Curse of Cain Doctrine and the Priesthood-ban Policy were both "official" and taught by Mormon Church leaders from the top-down. It was never presented as "personal opinion". It was never called by Church leaders "folklore". They called it "a doctrine of the Church" and "the LORD's policy".
*The Brazil Situation, and the letters from leaders of the independent African Mormon congregations, led Mormon Church President Spencer W. Kimball to supplicate the LORD for many months, in the Upper Room of the Salt Lake Temple, asking Him to end the 130 year old Priesthood/Temple-Ban Policy. A "Revelation" was received on June 1st, 1978, and announced publicly on June 8th, 1978, called "The 1978 Revelation" which ended the 130 year old "priesthood-ban" policy on those of black African ancestry. The 1978 Revelation (as it is called) did NOT repudiate the Curse of Cain Doctrine, but was silent on the issue as to whether Negroes were "less valiant" in the War in Heaven (Less Valiant Doctrine) or the children of Cain who had the 'mark' of Cain (Curse of Cain Doctrine)."
Here's another quote concerning Blacks and their history of discrimination by the Mormon Church from a Mormon explanatory website...
In February, 1848, Brigham Young preached, for the first time, that Negroes were "the children of Cain" and "cursed". By "cursed" he meant:
1. They were Canaanites and were to be servants of the descendants of Shem and Japheth (Whites and Semites) until the curse was removed by the LORD.
2. They were banned from the Mormon priesthood and Mormon temples until the curse was removed by the LORD.
3. They were the children of Cain, and Cain was the first Negro; the black skin was the "mark" of Cain.
On January 6th, 1848, he declared:
"The Lord said I will not kill Cain, but I will put a mark upon him and it is seen in the face of every Negro on earth. And it is the degree of God that that mark shall remain upon the seed of Cain and the Curse until all the seed of Abel should be redeemed and Cain will not hold the priesthood until all the seed of Abel are redeemed. Any man having one drop of the seed of Cain in him cannot hold the Priesthood and if no other Prophet spake it before I will say it now in the name of Jesus Christ." (Journal of Wilford Woodruff 4:97)From 1848 until 1978 (130 years) black Mormons could not partake of the Higher Ordinances of Mormon Temples (Endowments and Sealings) nor could black Mormon men be ordained to any office in the priesthood (there were only two exceptions to this rule, the son and grandson of Elijah Abel); which every single Mormon male is supposed to hold after the age of 12.
The Negro/Cainite "folklore" first invented by the Catholic mystic Paracelsus in the 16th century, became official Mormon Church doctrine once it was accepted and preached by Brigham Young and other Mormon Presidents and Apostles during General Conference, and in letters by the First Presidency; signed by all three Members of that quorum.
I bother to write this today to first of all exercise my right to free speech and express my opinion of the truth...I also introduced this article with my perspective of the separation of Church and State in order to clarify that I do not think you have to be a Christian or have the same ideals that I have in order to be a patriotic citizen or contribute to the current Information Revolution. Take Glenn Beck..He is a Mormon and I enjoy his show daily...I personally disagree with his spiritual beliefs but he is spot on when it comes to where our country came from and where it is going..I guess I have been a journey to find the truth since I was born..and it has lead me down many paths..most recently my newfound interests in American History, politics, and the Constitution..I just would hope that everyone would take time to research and study a subject before buying into it..( another example: Obama's stimulus plan being rushed through Congress under the guise that if it wouldn't pass the American Economy would disintergrate..)
I also would like to say publicly that the "health and wealth" gospel is laughable at best. Does it not seem like a talent show or a beauty contest when you put on your suit and tie or your best conservative long dress or try to scrub that ink stamp off your hand from the club last night? God doesn't care if you wear rags or a potato sack to Church or to worship Him..I mean.. come on.. Has anyone ever read the book of Job?
I spoke with a fellow Christian last week who was explaining to me about how important his Pastor was and how his Pastor owned his own personal Jet. Jesus Christ had no place to lay his head. Jesus sat with the poor and healed the sick and saved an adulterous woman from being stoned. I doubt his robes were pressed and gleaming white or had shampoo clean hair like he is depicted in popular Biblical Art. The pressures from going to Church, to tithe 10%,to attend this meeting and dress this way, and avoid this food, is what destroys the true gospel...the true message of Jesus...
And it is what makes the non-believer cynical and write off Christians as hypocrites...God doesn't need your money...He could care less if you give two cents or $800o Dollars to church every week. God desires your heart...He wants a sincere and repentant heart..He longs for you to dare to have a little faith and attempt to commune with Him, whether it is through prayer, or formal church, or outside in the woods, or while being mindful of Him while you work...God meets you just as you are, not as you should be..because you will never be as you should be! God does not withhold His love until you get your life together...Just as I would never withhold a hug from my grubby cranky son if he ran to me with open arms...
If anyone is interested I gained my perspective and beliefs in Jesus Christ through a variety of sources, situations, and life experiences. I consider myself a nondenominational Christian or a Protestant. I attended a private Catholic College as a young man and it greatly enriched my understanding of the Gospel and the History of the Church through the Ages.I have read many books about grace and love by Brennan Manning. I also have read and enjoyed various books about Zen philosophy which has in turn has enriched my understanding and ability to love and forgive others...
http://www.angelfire.com/mo2/blackmormon/homepage.html (formerly the blackmormon homepage)
http://www.brennanmanning.com/ (check out the Ragamuffin Gospel or Abba's Child)