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Joseph Smith was a Pro-Slavery Essayist:
Political Perspective by Tim King Salem-News.com
The Hill Cumorah by C.C.A. Christensen. That's Joe Smith and God, the God who told him that people were Black because they committed iniquity. As his very best, Smith still opposed interracial marriage.
(SALEM) - I find it rather odd that Joseph Smith's name is not on the top 73 list of abolitionists. This was interesting to discover, as people of the LDS Church are writing in objection to my last article, claiming that I am calling an "abolitionist" a racist.
My article this week did expose the roots of the Mormon Church and they are tied to racism. Why Did the Mormon Founders Hate Black People?, touched a few raw nerves with the pro-Mitt Romney for President community.
A review of history shows us that Joseph Smith, who pulled the Book of Mormon out of a hat, was arrested many times in his life; accused of being a scam artist, and he favored really strange things, like not court-martialing military deserters, and never hanging people, though chopping their heads off or shooting them full of bullets were acceptable measures to Smith.
Was Joseph Smith a Godly man, or a fraud and false prophet? We know that Christ told mankind to turn the other cheek when slapped, and that Smith once made a promise to "establish our religion with the sword" if molested. The guy was really bent on morphing the Christian faith into something that worked for him; that is established with his polygamous lifestyle, but that doesn't make him a bad person, or does it? How about the fact that this so-called abolitionist, once authored a pro-slavery essay?
Waging the argument that Smith was an abolitionist, a comment from Just Another Racist Mormon claims that Smith actually "fought" for the freedom of slaves:
No surprise with that; the ugly insult is the pat approach of the news comment crowd that has fallen into utter defensive posturing, and spews the product of a very lousy argument.
According to the book of Mormon, people were turned Black because they committed iniquity and God wanted them to no longer be physically appealing. Of course to adopt this mindset, one has to conclude that God himself determined that being Black meant being ugly; the bare bones aspect of the philosophy equates to Blacks being literally incapable of good looks. I happen to know quite a number of people who would strongly disagree with that idea, to put it mildly.
One funny thought that comes to mind, is how Lewis and Clark; slave owning white men, only made it to the western U.S. because their Black slave York saved them time and time again. The Native Americans respected and admired the Black man. After returning to the east, York would be whipped for asking for his freedom, nice guys that pair. This early slave had an ironic connection to Joseph Smith; like the Mormon founder, York had a penchant for sleeping with a multitude of women.
But I digress.
Digging deeper into this shadowy past, we discover that the prejudice of this church was not only written but it made the cut in their book as an official part of their religious teachings.
If you believe the Mormon version, you allow yourself to think that before there were Black people, they:
But the Mormons believe they messed up by committing 'iniquity'...
Joseph Smith and Racism
Those battling to protect the man who founded the Mormon Church, Joseph Smith, believe this polygamist was not a racist. This, in spite of the fact that he published a pro-slavery essay in 1836:
Bushman (2005, pp. 289, 327–28) (the essay "exhibited the conventional prejudiced of his day in asserting that blacks were cursed with servitude by a 'decree of Jehovah.'"); Hill (1977, p. 381) (noting that Smith did not want to be identified as an abolitionist, even when he disfavored slavery).
It is true that Smith later strongly opposed slavery and this changing of his position preceded his political debut. Smith proposed abolishing slavery by 1850 during his presidential campaign, Wikipedia states that Smith did not believe blacks to be genetically inferior to whites; he welcomed both freemen and slaves into the church. But he opposed baptizing slaves without permission of their masters, and he opposed miscegenation.
The word miscegenation refers to interracial marriage and interracial sex. What happened to most Black men in the 1800's who were accused of having sex with white women? They were lynched.
So, to assert that Smith was not against Blacks, when he directly called for slavery at one point, and even after switching his position on slavery, maintained that Blacks should not be allowed to marry or have sex outside of their race, is just plain stupid.
These angry readers can say what they want, but it is a fact that changing the name of a religion does not change its function or reason for existence. Still, I assume the people telling me about Joseph Smith the abolitionist, must know something. It seemed logical to assume that there would be sufficient data Outside of the Mormon propaganda realm to back it up.
I just didn't think it would be hard to pin down the claims from these commenters about Mr. Smith's 'acclaimed' work as an abolitionist.
The Website Famous Abolitionists: biographies of famous Abolitionists lists what it considers to be, the top 73 most famous abolitionists in world history.
On the list of famous abolitionists that span the time from Henry the Proud in the 1100's, and Henry IV of France in the 1500's, to the well known abolitionists of the U.S. in the early to mid 1800's, like Sojourner Truth and John Brown, to people like Dennis Kucinich of U.S. politics today, I assumed we would find Joseph Smith's name listed prominently, at least among the top 73 abolitionists, but there is no mention of him at all.
Without giving up easily, I located the site Famous and Not So Famous Abolitionists - The Lifeline Expedition, thinking that he would at least make the cut for the 'not so famous' abolitionists, nope.
David in Colorado wrote:
My point is that there is only one way for an organization to heal from a deeply flawed philosophy, that is to reject it and admit that early leaders' claims were wrong. There is no other way, and defending and excusing it until you are blue in the face will not change it. It all quickly begins to sound too much like a snake oil sales pitch.
An even larger point, is that 'David' and his Mormon brethren who apparently were referred to by Smith as "Saints" (nothing flamboyant about that claim!) are hanging the responsibility for Mormon racism squarely on the shoulders of God, and that seems blasphemous.
Brigham Young was the one who really drove this new religion into the shadows of racism. Smith was just the one who kicked the ball into play. I know people tend to behave as sheep and there is sometimes little hope for changing a cultural problem, but the facts are the facts and their lame feeble excuses mean little.
These same readers, also took my article to task for citing Wikipedia as a source, and that is really funny, because if the page on Mormonism was hacked into and false information posted, it would remain online for all of thirty seconds. Actually, I am not sure if they can even upload blatantly flawed information, Wikipedia has a lot of people watching entries and checking for accuracy.
The LDS Church isn't going anywhere, and of course most of its members are not inherently prejudice; but they too many are living in denial and it is wrong. Most of those who are not living in denial over the facts cited in this article, are ex-LDS. Perhaps just s little acknowledgement that they follow a faith that was created under less than stellar circumstances is in order. Perhaps denouncing those early teachings would illuminate the path for these 14 million followers.
Tim King has more than twenty years of experience on the west coast as a television news producer, photojournalist, reporter and assignment editor. Tim is Salem-News.com's Executive News Editor. His background includes covering the war in Afghanistan in 2006 and 2007, and reporting from the Iraq war in 2008. Tim is a former U.S. Marine.
Tim holds awards for reporting, photography, writing and editing from The Associated Press the National Coalition of Motorcyclists, the Oregon Confederation of Motorcycle Clubs, Electronic Media Association and The Red Cross In a personal capacity, Tim has written 2,026 articles as of March 2012 for Salem-News.com since the new format designed by Matt Lintz was launched in December, 2005.
Serving readers with news from all over the globe, Tim's life is literally encircled by the endless news flow published by Salem-News.com, where more than 100 writers contribute stories from 20+ countries and regions.
Tim specializes in writing about political and military developments worldwide with an emphasis on Palestine and Sri Lanka, Iraq and Afghanistan, and the U.S. Marines. You can write to Tim at this address: firstname.lastname@example.org. Visit Tim's Facebook page (facebook.com/TimKing.Reporter)