Excellent piece by Daniel Burke in the Washington Post about the Mormon church’s recent racist past, and the fact that the Mormons refuse to this day to fully repudiate their past racism. Even Mitt Romney refuses to criticize it:
Until 1978, the LDS church banned men of African descent from its priesthood, a position open to nearly all Mormon males and the gateway to sacramental and leadership roles. The church had also barred black men and women from temple ceremonies that promised access in the afterlife to the highest heaven.
As he explored joining the church in 1988, Perkins said he asked Mormons near his Los Angeles home about the racial doctrines. They gently explained that blacks were the cursed descendants of Cain, the biblical murderer, he recalls.
The LDS church has neither formally apologized for the priesthood ban nor publicly repudiated many of the theories used to justify it for more than 125 years.
[A]nother Mormon scripture, The Pearl of Great Price, says, “blackness came upon” Cain’s descendants, who were “despised among all people.”
Pressed by Russert, Romney refused to say his church was wrong to restrict blacks from full participation.
Even under intense pressure from black Mormons, the church has refused to formally repudiate past interpretations of doctrine or scripture that tie spiritual worthiness to race.
I knew about the racism. And keep in mind that the Mormons didn’t change until they faced a boycott. I did not know, however, that the Mormons to this day – Romney included – refuse to fully expunge themselves of their racist past. As the article notes, this is an issue that’s going to dog Romney for the campaign, at the very least with the black community, but really anyone who has an issue with racism. (Of course, the Mormons are extremely homophobic as well.)