Disclaimer: The following post is rather lengthy, contains annoying material, rambling commentary, and just might not be right for you. Don't say I didn't warn you.
Right on, Cait. I agree with you alot, but, probably for different reasons. Hey, everybody---I'm not intentionally trying to start a Religious Ruckus or anything, but, I'd like to stick up for Al (sort of). Besides, I still wear my Al Sharpton for President T-shirt around immediately after he makes a stupid comment, just to see if anyone wants to talk about it. This ain't about that, though. Like Cait, I grew up with Mormons (although I was a non-believer then, too), and can attest to them being good folks, and, above all, dedicated to family and what they see as essential spiritual and family values, however, I oppose them as I do any others who mistakenly think their personal Religious values should become law, especially as it affects those who may think differently. This is not solely an LDS idea, but, is shared by many Religions, apparently. This of course excludes the obvious like not allowing murder, etc., which are to me Human values, not Religious. I even attended Mutual (youth group) on Tuesday nights with my LDS friends to meet Chicks, and, of course, to be allowed to keep playing 2nd Base for the local Stake (Parish?)---the LDS sports facilities were far superior to those provided publicly in Vegas at the time, and, I see it as an extension of dedication to youth, but I digress a bit. Hypocritical? Perhaps, but, I also played Basketball with friends for MYF (Methodist Youth Fellowship), and De Molay (love the Knights Templar). Anyway, it is comforting that people wish to become better humans through their beliefs, (and, I include all religions who do so). However, it is always amusing to me when Religious folks attack each other over who is more Religious, or who is disrespecting who. It's almost like the East/West Rap-Hip Hop feuds, or something. I think they're both correct, and, everyone should be free to believe whatever they wish. However, to me, it is a bit confusing, with so many Religions worldwide to choose from, and, they even make it more difficult by each claiming to have some superior knowledge in some way as to the "right" path. Sorry, I don't know who to believe, so, I'll just sit this one out, although I do kind of like the Rastafarians, who approve of burning weed. However, (again), it might be good to review why Al, who is old enough to remember, might still hold a grudge against LDS positions on Blacks from not that long ago. Like many religions, the LDS have had to modify their acceptance of previous scripture that was too radical for modern times, especially when things like racial equality for all (yes, even sexual equality------women and gays, and, even gay women and men are becoming problematic). It seems as if any dedicated Bible Jockey can find something in there to support or tear down just about anything folks can think of. This, of course, is not a free pass to Al, or other Christians, because, as everyone knows, or should know by now, mainstream Christianity's not so good record concerning similar ideas of who is suitable, is available for examination. What is especially appaling to me, is the problem Black Anglican Bishops are having with Gays. Do they not see how absurd their position is, as someone who's been oppressed and stereotyped themselves, and seen as less than worthy? Surely they have more vision than that. So, in my mind, followers of the LDS are no more whacked out than anyone else, and deserve as much respect as any other religion that folks might stumble upon purposely, or, by virtue of tradition, that suits their Spiritual needs. I kind of like what Rodney King said a few days after getting a serious racial beatdown by LA Cops: "Can't we all just get along?" Props to you, Rodney. So, check this out.
However, this is not to say that this is everyone's view at the time, as can be seen by the following post from an LDS supporter.
I thought you might be interested in the following statement by Hugh B. Brown (as quoted in "The Abundant Life," p. 235.) I thought it was especially interesting that he made this statement four years prior to Benson's comments that you quoted. Just some food for thought.
A Civil Rights Statement
"During recent months, both in Salt Lake City and across the nation, considerable interest has been expressed in the position of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on the matter of civil rights. We would like it to be known that there is in this Church no doctrine, belief, or practice that is intended to deny the enjoyment of full civil rights by any person regardless of race, color, or creed.
We say again, as we have said many times before, that we believe that all men are the children of the same God and that it is a moral evil for any person or group of persons to deny any human being the rights to gainful employment, to full educational opportunity, and to every privilege of citizenship, just as it is a moral evil to deny him the right to worship according to the dictates of his own conscience.
We have consistently and persistently upheld the Constitution of the United States, and as far as we are concerned this means upholding the constitutional rights of every citizen of the United States.
We call upon all men everywhere, both within and outside the Church, to commit themselves to the establishment of full civil equality for all of God's children. Anything less than this defeats our high ideal of the brotherhood of man." —General Conference, October 6, 1963
So, I hope that was of some assistance in some way. Later.