This month’s Gospel Doctrine course of study includes lesson 42: “Continuing Revelation to Latter-day Saint Prophets.” The most significant continuing revelation in the last one hundred years–the only one canonized as scripture–is Official Declaration 2, which ended the ban on priesthood ordination and temple endowments and sealings for Black LDS people.
W. Paul Reeve, a Professor of Mormon History at the University of Utah and author of Religion of a Different Color: Race and the Mormon Struggle for Whiteness (Oxford, 2015), has compiled a resource guide from LDS Church-published sources to help teachers and ward members prepare for this lesson and discussion, which is available here. Please share it!
Discussing Official Declaration 2 provides an opportunity to educate ourselves on the history behind the priesthood and temple ban, the 1978 revelation, and to review contemporary LDS Church statements on racism and perspectives by members on the impact of the policy. Additionally, Reeve notes:
Now that the Church has officially disavowed old teachings on race, new myths justifying the segregation of the priesthood have begun to circulate among LDS people. It is imperative that we do not invent new justifications. It may be helpful for teachers to familiarize themselves with these new justifications and understand why they are incorrect in case a class member raises them during Gospel Doctrine. None of these justifications have been approved by LDS Church leaders.
The resource Reeve has developed addresses these new justifications that may surface as your friends and family participate in Gospel Doctrine study. Please support informed discussion and reflection on this critical subject by sharing this resource widely.
This project is supported by Shoulder to the Wheel, an effort by Latter-day Saints to end racism in our communities in honor of the upcoming 40th anniversary of Official Declaration 2. Please encourage your friends and family to pledge to put your shoulder to the wheel. For more information visit shouldertothewheel.org.