This week I called the Sunday school teacher and politely let him know that my wife and I were very uncomfortable with what was said in class the week before (i.e. blacks seed of Cain/Ham) by some of the class members. It was then that he told me he also was uncomfortable with the comment, but didn’t know what to say. I began to tell him about Elijah Abel, David O. McKay’s statement and other points about the history of the issue. He asked me if I would use 5-10 mins. of class time to let others in the class know the information. I of course agreed.
I decided to share three statements. President Hinckley’s most recent, Bruce R. McConkie’s (1978), David O. Mckay’s (as quoted in Greg Prince’s book) and perhaps share that there were black members that held the priesthood before and during the priesthood ban.
Sunday morning I received a call from the Sunday school teacher. Asking me to limit what I shared to just a few quotes and then he would tell anyone that had further comments or questions to go talk to the Bishop, at which point he would start the current lesson. I said that would be fine. I could tell he was having second thoughts about allowing me to share this information. After an hour passed I called him back to share with him exactly what I would say. I wanted him to know I wasn’t going to go overboard with it. He assured me that he was not afraid of what I might say and that everything was fine. Relieved, I went to church with my family.
When Sacrament was over, I went into the Sunday school class and sat down waiting for my opportunity to read the statements of past leaders. I decided to use only two; Bruce R. McConkie’s and David O. Mckay’s quote from Greg Prince’s book because I didn’t want to take up too much of class time and I thought these would be sufficient. Just as everyone was getting settled in, the Sunday school teacher came up to me visibly nervous. He placed his hand on my shoulder as I sat. I could feel a slight tremble as he told me that the bishopric did not want anything said further on the subject. He was very apologetic that I would not be able to share what I had with the class. I was saddened that I would not be given the chance to correct false doctrine that was shared before and didn’t understand why the bishopric would have a problem with it.
During the lesson my daughter began to cry, so I took her out into the hallway. It was there that I ran into a member of the bishopric. He said he had been looking for me because he wanted to extend a calling. We went into an empty room where he extended a calling to me. After I accepted, I asked him about why I was not allowed to share information that would have corrected the statements of the preceeding week. He said that the bishopric felt that it would just stir up more problems and they essentially decided to let “sleeping dogs lie”. I told him I was afraid that because those that said the comments were so emphatic about it being doctrine and that they had tried to prove their statements using the standard works, that some members may have walk away thinking that their views were in fact doctrine of the Church.
He then asked me if I knew anyone that was offended by the statements. I felt that if anyone wasn’t offended that would be more of a problem than if someone was. The only other people that I knew of were my wife and the teacher, but that was because I had spoken with them. He then asked me who said the comments. I told him that I didn’t know. It was at least two and possibly three people that made separate comments (my wife wouldn’t tell me who it was). We left the room with him saying that he’d talk about it with the bishopric again. I let him know that I didn’t have to be the one that corrected the problem. I would be perfectly happy if it was one of them or the teacher that addressed the issue, but that I felt someone should say something. I left not feeling very confident that anything else would be done to correct the problem.
It mystifies me why these comments would be left alone. I’m caught in the middle of doing what I feel is right and obeying my leaders. By letting it go the bishop is by default saying it’s ok to repeat false doctrine. I wonder if I started declaring doctrine that was false in church meetings if they would do anything about it. It is possible that they will say something next week about it, but I’m not holding my breath. If nothing is done I may go to the Stake President.