The church quietly released a historian-written and published treatise on the official website — LDS.org — this week, which deals with the racial history, scriptures and teachings of the LDS church over the last 180+ years.
In a nutshell, Brigham Young is thrown under the proverbial bus (they protected Joseph Smith, the founder), along with essentially all of the leaders that followed him up until the present, with this pithy quote:
In 1852, President Brigham Young publicly announced that men of black African descent could no longer be ordained to the priesthood, though thereafter blacks continued to join the Church through baptism and receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost. Following the death of Brigham Young, subsequent Church presidents restricted blacks from receiving the temple endowment or being married in the temple. Over time, Church leaders and members advanced many theories to explain the priesthood and temple restrictions. None of these explanations is accepted today as the official doctrine of the Church.
They go on to explain that the whole country was racist at the time — and that that concept drove the decisions of members of the church to follow the prevailing attitudes of the day.
It does not explain how terms like “white and delightsome” and “cursed with a black skin” and other quotes from the LDS scriptures, came to be included in The Book of Mormon and the Doctrine and Covenants — both of which were purportedly received directly from god himself.
Further, the church acts as if stating a new official policy effectively erases what was considered inviolate doctrine for most of the church’s existence since 1830.
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 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.
There are a reported 13 of these “mea culpas” waiting in the wings to be released as the church tries to get in front of the damage caused by 20+ years of the Internet’s “further light and knowledge”, which is effectively decimating their membership and tithing receipts.
Good luck getting that genii back in the bottle.