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Nor can he consider himself to be in harmony with the teachings of the Church." Concerning Church history, an official LDS statement explains that reasons for the Church's previous position denying black men the priesthood remain unclear: "It is not known precisely why, how, or when this restriction began in the Church but what is clear is that it ended decades ago." Critics maintain that today's church leaders hedge and equivocate on the issue, at times making contradictory and misleading statements that belie Church history.

For example, historians have identified hundreds of blatantly racist statements made by past Church prophets and leaders, including Joseph Smith, Brigham Young, Wilford Woodruff, and John Taylor.

The Book of Mormon states, 'black and white, bond and free, male and female; … We do not tolerate racism in any form." In 2006, then Church president Gordon B.

Hinckley declared that, "no man who makes disparaging remarks concerning those of another race can consider himself a true disciple of Christ.

Trace mankind down to after the flood, and then another curse is pronounced upon the same race - that they should be the "servant of servants;" and they will be, until that curse is removed; and the Abolitionists cannot help it, nor in the least alter that decree.

How long is that race to endure the dreadful curse that is upon them?

In many cases, statements were grounded in scripture.

Taken together, critics maintain the historical record reveals a systematic, intentional, deeply entrenched policy of racial discrimination that was based in scripture and endorsed at the highest levels.

Upon what moral authority does our current prophet speak if revelations made by past prophets are no longer valid?The leaders say the 1978 proclamation took care of that.Some current members believe that the ban was wrongly instituted by Brigham Young and was not really God's will.If Utah was admitted into the Union as a sovereign State, and we chose to introduce slavery here, it is not their business to meddle with it; and even if we treated our slaves in an oppressive manner, it is still none of their business and they ought not to meddle with it.In our first settlement in Missouri, it was said by our enemies that we intended to tamper with the slaves, not that we had any idea of the kind, for such a thing never entered our minds. He needed the devil and a great many of those who do his bidding to keep men straight, that we may learn to place our dependence on God, and trust in Him, and to observe his laws and keep his commandments.

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