Latest from Mormon Land: Revelation or racism? How members view the past priesthood/temple ban.

Also: The LDS Church’s status in Europe; helping flood victims in Brazil; worries arise about early morning seminary; LDS parents of LGBTQ kids recoil at the notion of a “sad heaven.”

Al Hartmann | The Salt Lake Tribune Singers in the Debra Bonner Unity Gospel Choir rehearse in 2016 at Genesis Group, a support organization for Black Latter-day Saints. A survey recently asked church members how they viewed the faith's now-discarded priesthood/temple ban.

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Heaven-sent or earthborn?

As we approach next month’s 46th anniversary of the 1978 end of the priesthood/temple ban against Black members, let’s look at how Latter-day Saints view that now-discarded policy.

Do they, for instance, see that nearly 130-year-long prohibition as rooted in revelation or racism?

For the answer, we turn to researchers Stephen Cranney and Josh Coates, whose survey results — reported in a recent Times and Seasons blog post — discovered an evenly split membership on the question:

• 36% either agree or strongly agree that the priesthood and temple restriction was uninspired, and implemented and maintained primarily by racism.

• 34% either disagree or strongly disagree with that statement.

• 30% couldn’t or wouldn’t say.

For the record, the church’s official 2013 essay on the priesthood/temple ban was silent on that issue.

Historian W. Paul Reeve, a first-rate Latter-day Saint scholar on the topic and the author of “Let’s Talk About Race and Priesthood,” has flatly stated that he doesn’t believe the prohibition was of “divine origin” but rather came into practice under Brigham Young, noting that Black men were ordained under church founder Joseph Smith.

(Trent Nelson | The Salt Lake Tribune) Church President Russell M. Nelson and Amos C. Brown embrace during the 2021 announcement of new joint initiatives with the NAACP.

President Russell Nelson and other church leaders have labored to move the faith and its followers beyond any racism, delivering major addresses against it and cementing an ongoing partnership with the NAACP, the nation’s oldest civil rights organization.

The latest ‘Mormon Land’ podcast: Continental drift?

(Michael Stack) Ralf Grünke is the Germany-based assistant communication director for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Central Europe.

In this special podcast from Germany, the church’s assistant communication director for Central Europe discusses how the faith is really faring in Europe. Turns out it’s not fading as much as it is changing.

Listen to the podcast.

Helping in Brazil

(Divulgação Azul via The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) Missionaries help load emergency supplies from an Azul airplane onto a truck at a military airport in Canoas, Brazil, after severe flooding in the Rio Grande do Sul state, Brazil, May 8, 2024.

Some 21 Latter-day Saint meetinghouses have been outfitted as makeshift shelters for evacuees after record rains swamped southern Brazil, according to a news release.

The church has sent thousands of food packages — along with mattresses, bedding, blankets, hygiene kits and drinking water — to assist the affected residents while mobilizing its missionaries to help distribute the relief supplies, earning a thanks from Brazil’s first lady, Rosângela Lula da Silva.

Women called

(The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) Kathleen F. Kelly, left, and Diane Wunderli have been called to the Primary General Advisory Council of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. They began serving in April 2024.

The Primary General Advisory Council, which assists the presidency of the global children’s organization, now boasts 11 women after Kathleen Kelly and Diane Wunderli were added to the panel last month.

From The Tribune

• The mother of pop star David Archuleta left the church after her son came out. Many Latter-day Saint parents with LGBTQ children stay in the fold, but more and more of them say they no longer believe in a “sad heaven” without their loved ones.

(Bethany Baker | The Salt Lake Tribune) Lupe Bartholomew, the mother of pop singer David Archuleta, at her home in South Jordan in April 2024.

• A Latter-day Saint tabernacle and choir hosted — and participated in — a Catholic Mass. Tribune guest columnist Michael Patrick O’Brien revisits this ecumenical celebration.

• It’s not just Latter-day Saint leaders, such as President Dallin Oaks and Relief Society General President Camille Johnson, who worry about declining birthrates. Pope Francis shares that fear.

• Memo from Tribune columnist Gordon Monson to Latter-day Saint men: Listen to what the church’s women are saying.

• Latter-day Saint parents worry about health risks associated with early morning seminary as research increasingly reveals the dangers of sleep deprivation for high schoolers.

(Illustration by Christopher Cherrington | The Salt Lake Tribune)