The candidacies of both Mitt Romney and Jon Huntsman have generated a lot of interest in Mormonism, its history, and its people. Just as with any religion or social group, Mormonism has its strengths and weaknesses as well as its historical high points and low points.
One of Mormonism’s historical low-points was its prohibition against ordaining men of African heritage to priesthood office between1852 and 1978. To this day, many consider Mormons to be racist due to this policy. Such claims attempt to simplify a complicated issue. Where did the priesthood ban — as it is commonly referred to — originate? Why did it persist for so long even after it became clear that Joseph Smith, Mormonism’s founder was an abolitionist and actually ordained men to high priesthood offices before his murder in 1844.
Lester Bush and Armand Mauss are the experts in this area of study and have, over the years, produced essays and articles to help both Mormons and non-Mormons understand the social, theological,and cultural dynamics at work during this period. Mauss covers this issue extremely well in his essay “The Fading of Pharoah’s Curse.”
In 2006, as part of my graduate studies, I decided to seek out my own answers to these questions and this paper is the result:
Everyone remembers where they were the morning of September 11, 2001 while we watched in horror as our country was attacked by cowardly men willing to sacrifice the lives of innocent men and women.
Although I lived in Provo, Utah at the time, on 9/11 I was traveling on business in the San Francisco Bay area. I remember getting dressed for an early meeting and watching news reports of the first plane striking the World Trade Center in New York City. Then, of course, the second plane hit and it became clear that this was a coordinated attack and not an accident.
Driving into the office with colleagues I listened to Tom Brokaw describe the Twin Towers collapse. Throughout the day we were glued to the television, along with millions across the world, trying to make sense of the day’s events. I will never forget that day and the weeks that followed. It still seems surreal.
Tomorrow will mark the 10 year anniversary of that horrific day and I, along with many most Americans, am reflecting on 9/11 10 years on.
Now that I live and work in New York and have both friends and colleagues who were in the city on 9/11 and somehow this had made the event all the more personal as I see how these attacks have impacted their lives. To this day, some cannot bring themselves to go downtown.
On the 10 year anniversary of 9/11 I want to say thank you to the brave men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice that day to save the lives of others. The men and women of NYPD, NYFD, and the passengers of United 93 should be remembered and revered.
I also want to thank the brave workers and volunteers in New York, Washington, and Pennsylvania who put themselves in harms way in the days that followed 9/11. Their bravery in the face of an incredible and unknown danger is humbling.
It is often said that the best revenge is living well and I believe that the the way to achieve lasting victory over those who seek to instill fear within us by threatening to kill and maim more innocent men, women and children is to continue on with courage; to live “normal” lives despite their threats.
My thoughts and prayers are with the families of 9/11 victims and with those who continue to suffer. Thank you for your courage and your sacrifice. You and your loved ones will never be forgotten.