As a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, I enthusiastically applaud President Russell M. Nelson’s recent admonition to “abandon attitudes of prejudice.” Few Mormon prophets have taken such a bold stand against racism in a moment of such political urgency.
As recent events have dramatically shown us, however, it is all too easy to ask others to abandon their prejudices without seriously considering, reconsidering and abandoning our own.
After what can only be generously described as a checkered past with racial issues, the time has come for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to make good on its own admonition to abandon prejudice: Let the prophet cash with his actions the check that he writes with his mouth.
Here is a non-violent way the church could take a stand against racism: Remove the vile phrase which describes God’s curse as a “skin of blackness” in 2 Nephi 5:21 from all future editions of the Book of Mormon.
As a faithful Mormon, I have had to read this painfully and blatantly racist scripture my whole life, but I never want to read it again. My children have already had to read this, too, but is there any reason why my grandchildren should? Or their children and grandchildren? Why?
Mormons sustain Nelson as a prophet, seer and revelator, so it is entirely within his power to unreveal this deeply offensive phrase.
In Nelson’s own words: “Any of us who has prejudice toward another race needs to repent.” It is high time that the Book of Mormon itself repent. Otherwise, talk is cheap, even if it purports to be anti-racist.
This could be done tomorrow. Even today. And nobody would have to break any windows to do it.
Robert Bruce Bennett, Bozeman, Mont.