A recent controversy comparing Mormon hardships to Black hardships went viral. I honestly wonder if some Latter-day Saints might be unaware of the real suffering (the foundation of the BLM movement) which is part of our global history and of Mormon history.
The comparison is not new. The First Presidency issued a justification for the race-based priesthood restriction in 1969, which included these words:
We know something of the sufferings of those who are discriminated against in a denial of their civil rights and Constitutional privileges. Our early history as a church is a tragic story of persecution and oppression. Our people repeatedly were denied the protection of the law. They were driven and plundered, robbed and murdered by mobs, who in many instances were aided and abetted by those sworn to uphold the law. We as a people have experienced the bitter fruits of civil discrimination and mob violence.
The writer of the most recent comparison glorified early Mormons and their heroic comeback with a list of horrors they suffered. I will copy the list and make a second list of A FEW hardships which Blacks have suffered specifically in America and pre-America:
1) They were murdered. (Yes. 17 died at Haun’s Mill and 1 in the Crooked River Battle.)
2) They were raped. (Yes. That happened to a few.)
3) They had their homes burnt down. (Yes. The expulsion from Missouri was dispicable.)
4) Our prophet was murdered. Yes.
5) Our beautiful temple was burnt down. (Ultimately destroyed, but the history is more complicated.)
6) They were denied help by the U.S. government for protection.
7) We were against slavery even before the civil war began. (No. Complicated.)
8) Their children were not allowed to play with other children who were not the same religion.
9) They had and have falsehoods told about them
10) They were denied justice in a court of law
11) They were hunted by mobs and militias like animals
12) They were chased from state to state
13) They were stripped naked and had hot tar and feathers poured on their bodies.
14) They were hung up in trees
1) They were kidnapped, imprisoned, and shipped away from their homelands. 2 million died in the Middle Passage. Millions more were murdered after slavery.
2) Part of their bondage included a SYSTEM permitting rape.
3) Their businesses were burned down and entire cities destroyed .
4) Black leaders and spokespeople were murdered. MLK, Malcolm X, Medgar Evers, etc. See this film.
5) Business communities were burned down. See Tulsa
6) Laws encouraged segregation and targeting. See Charles Hamilton Houston and Plessy V. Ferguson.
7) Several Mormon pioneers owned slaves and Utah was a slave territory. Slaves were sold to raise money to for buildings in SLC—before the Civil War. See this site.
8) Their children were not only separated from other children but murdered when perceived as breaking the color line (Emmett Till).
9) Lied about? Jim Crow laws were founded in the lies totalizing blacks.
10) Denied justice? Lynchings became CELEBRATIONS, which some whites attended with picnic lunches.
11) Hunted? See Fugitive Slave Acts.
12) SOLD from state to state, or taken with their masters.
130 Stripped naked? See slave auction.
14) Hung up in trees? See “Strange Fruit”
THERE IS NO COMPARISON. There is only an open invitation to heal the breach.
And they that shall be of thee shall build the old waste places: thou shalt raise up the foundations of many generations; and thou shalt be called, The repairer of the breach, The restorer of paths to dwell in. (Isaiah 58:12)