Kirkon rasismipolitiikka

Mitä v. 1978 tapahtui

Seuraavat otteet ss. 69-72 teoksesta The Mormon Corporate Empire Beacon Press, Boston, 1985 valaisevat tapahtumia v. 1978 käytännön muuttamisen ympärillä.
Kirjan ovat kirjoittaneet John Heinerman (kirkon jäsen), joka silloin oli Antropologisen Tutkimuskeskuksen johtaja (the Anthropological Research Center) Salt Lake Cityssä, ja Anson Shupe (ei jäsen), sosiologian professori Texas-Arlingtonin yliopistossa. He voivat dokumentoida sen, että mustien pappeuskiellon poistaminen todellakin oli suhdetoiminnan piiriin kuuluva päätös.

The church's concern for positive public opinion has taken numerous forms. The best example, perhaps, deals with its 1978 decision to admit blacks to the priesthood. For almost a century and a half people with any known trace of Negro blood had been denied access to the Temple, to the priesthood, and thus to full Mormon membership. During the 1960s and the civil rights movement, this prohibition became a thorn in the side of the church. Two sociologists note that because of the church's policy on nonwhites,

The late sixties found the Brigham Young University the focal point of militant protests, boycotts, disrupted games, mass demonstrations, and "riots." At one point the conflict among schools within the WAC became so intense that the conference almost disbanded. Administrators, already embroiled in student demonstrations over Vietnam, began to separate themselves from the Mormon school. Stanford University, for instance, severed all relations with Brigham Young University.

There has been a good deal of debate over the reasons that church president Kimball announed in 1978the most significant "revelation" made to modern Mormonism. Some observers cynically cite it as apolitical decision made in response to a cluster of outside pressures on the church: bad publicity from the media and civil rights organizations, hostility from the liberal white community, and the ongoing Mormon pursuit of respectability. In particular the tremendous potential for Third World Mormon growth could not be realized if the race prohibition stood. This was a point driven home to church leaders in 1975 after they announced the construction of a new temple in Sao Paulo, Brazil, the first to be built in South America. The cynical view holds that the "revelation" to admit blacks was conveniently timed: long enough after the "cooling down" of the civil rights movement so that it was not condemned as opportunistic but just ahead of the crest of significant Third World conversions that the church and other groups, such as the JWs, were making. Defenders of the church argue that there was little external pressure on Pres. Kimball for such a "revelation." The activist phase of the civil rights movement, for example, had largely subsided by the late 1970s. The defenders' view holds that the "revelation" cannot be explained away by circumstantial evidence or the conjecture of adverse public opinion. No specific "smoking guns" can be produced to link outside influences to the Prophet Kimball's announcement; hence it is assumed to have come literally through revelation from God Almighty. In fact, evidence exists that the church made its much-publicized decision to admit blacks to the Mormon priesthood after a deliberate, rational consideration of public opinion, future membership growth, and similar factors.

In 1971 the First Presidency acquired the services of one of America's largest general management and consulting firms, Cresup, McCormick and Paget (CMP) in NYC.......On the advice of Mormon corporate advisers, such as J. Willard Marriott and David Kennedy, LDS Pres Harold B. Lee requested that CMP study how the church's communications organization could commit resoureces more efficiently to improve internal communications as well as public relations. No mention was made in the CMP report of the church's racial policy, but church leaders seemed interested in applying modern management perspectives to their own goals and problems........ In 1975 one final CMP study was carried out for the LDS church. This effort produced the firm's longest report dealing with the role and organization of the Presiding Bishopric itself, policy positions and administrative procedures, and other internal matters.

Most important, among the recomendations made by the consulting firm were "a careful review" of certain potentially embarrassing "doctrinal policies" such as the Negro issue and "a serious reconsideration" of such policies in light of past public relations problems that they had caused. The report strongly urged that church leaders reassess the race issue and its "relevancy" for the future. The problem posed by building a new temple in Sao Paulo, with a population largely of mixed blood, was specifically mentioned in this report. Two additional consultants hired for the same purpose voiced similar concerns about the wisdom of continuing a restriction of the Mormon priesthood to whites....

Three years later, on June 9, 1978, church authorities announced the "revelation" rescinding the traditional ban on a black priesthood. The "revelation" had been preceded by a great deal of prayer, meditation, and meetings among President Kimball and the Council of the Twelve. Whether one wants to credit its inspiration to any divine agency is ultimately unimportant.

(Church leaders themselves admitted that the racial issue had been on their minds for a long time.) What is important is that not long before the church president's decision (conscious or subconscious) to announce a new racial policy based on divine "revelation", several professional consulting firms in which the church had previously demonstrated confidence suggested to church leaders that they reconsider the status of blacks in the Mormon church as part of a major overhaul of church policy..... No other religious group in American society has conducted such a sustained campaign to gain public respectability, nor has such respectability been so integral a part of any other group's sense of its own destiny.


 Etusivu > Artikkelit | Sivun alkuun


 2001-05-09 — 2003-09-18