Saturday, April 14, 2007

Mission calls and miscellany

Today (Yesterday, actually. That's the mistake I make when I stay up past midnight) I received my mission call. I will be serving in the Czech Prague mission, speaking the Czech language. My mission covers both the Czech Republic and Slovakia. I ship out to the MTC on the 18th of July, and I very much look foward to it. And that's about all I can think to say about that.

Now, onto the miscellany!

I will be adding several links to my blog, pages of particular note. The first is, a search engine created using Google co-op. It only searches a list of handpicked websites that are only pro-LDS. Translation: no anti-Mormon garbage to wade through. We currently have about 150 pages on the list of things to be searched, and we are adding more and more as we go. If you would like to help, do so through the "Volunteer to Contribute" link on the main search page.

The second is, a web-site run by my Hebrew professor. It includes all kinds of resources and links for those interested in ancient near eastern languages, and has the occasional tidbit directly relating to Mormonism.

Those are the only links I'll add for now, but when I add any new ones I will give a description, unless they are rather self-explanitory.

The last item of business: I am still working on transcribing my great-great-great-great grandfather Reuben McBride's 1834 Zion's Camp journal. I'm working off of a copy from a microfilm, so it has been somewhat difficult. Even when I finish it, it will be somewhat incomplete due to a portion that has been cut off due to a breaking and mending of the microfilm. Perhaps someday I'll head up to the archives in Salt Lake and see an original copy.

That's all for now. Good night.

-William McBride

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

An update

Tonight I met with the Stake President and submitted my mission papers. That means that pretty soon I'll be off serving the Lord for two years. Which also means this blog won't have much going on for two years. But, before I go, I hope to transcribe what I have of my great great great great grandfather Reuben McBride's journals. that is, provided they aren't online already. Wouldn't want to waste time redoing work that has already done. Anyhow, the two journals I have are his 1834 journal from Zion's Camp (notable for its mention of Zelph, the white Lamanite) and a journal from a later mission to England. It'll probably be at least a week before I have a chance to transcribe them, however. I have several papers I need to work on (and should be working on even as I type this).

Goodbye for now.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Since some people wanted the full text sans download...

Sunday, June 5, 1988, The Provo Daily Herald, Provo, Utah, page 21

Apostles talk about reasons for lifting ban

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) – Here is a partial transcript of an Associated Press interview with Elders Neal A. Maxwell and Dallin H. Oaks of the Mormon Church’s Council of the Twelve Apostles regarding the faith’s policy banning blacks from its priesthood, and the reasons the ban was lifted 10 years ago:

[TN: Bolding in original]
AP: Was the ban on ordaining blacks to the priesthood a matter of policy or doctrine?

MAXWELL: Well, I don’t know. It certainly was church policy and, obviously, with some considerable commentary from early church leaders about it. It’s difficult for me to go beyond that.

OAKS: I don’t know that it’s possible to distinguish between policy and doctrine in a church that believes in continuing revelation and sustains its leader as a prophet…. I’m not sure I could justify the difference in doctrine and policy in the fact that before 1978 a person could not hold the priesthood and after 1978 they could hold the priesthood.

AP: Did you feel differently about the issue before the revelation was given?

OAKS: I decided a long time ago, 1961 or 2, that there’s no way to talk about it in terms of doctrine, or policy, practice, procedure. All of those words just led you to reaffirm your prejudice, whichever it was. The only fair, just way to think about it is to reaffirm your faith in the prophet, and he says you don’t do it now, so you don’t do it now. And if he says tomorrow that you do it, then you do it.

MAXWELL: Mine was similar, with the sense of expectation that the direction would some [TN: sic] from heaven at some time…. As we went to the upper room, we sang a song. I regard myself as a pretty good reader of what is going on (but) I had no inkling of what was going on. And as we knelt down to pray, the spirit told me what it was going to be… and after that prayer, President Kimball began the description. I began to weep.

AP: It appears that prior to 1978, there was a lack of unanimity among the brethren regarding the origin and efficacy of the policy. We understand 10 of the Council of the Twelve voted in 1969 to lift the ban as an administrative procedure, but the plan was overturned by Harold B. Lee.

MAXWELL: These are things about which I wouldn’t have any knowledge.

OAKS: That’s a new one to me, too.

AP: To follow up, just for the sake of argument, in your deliberations on any issue, is unanimity required for a decision?

MAXWELL: The scripture does lay a requirement of unanimity upon us, and I think that is adhered to, not in a nitpicky way, but it is substantial.

AP: Does a policy such as this, the priesthood prohibition, require a revelation to change, or can it be done through discourse among the brethren?

MAXWELL: I think anything as major and significant as this would have required the spiritual endorsement and sanction that was obviously there.

AP: As much as any doctrine the church has espoused, or controversy the church has been embroiled in, this one seems to stand out. Church members seemed to have less to go on to get a grasp of the issue. Can you address why this was the case, and what can be learned from it?

OAKS: If you read the scriptures with this question in mind, ‘Why did the Lord command this or why did he command that,’ you find that in less than one in a hundred commands was any reason given. It’s not the pattern of the Lord to give reasons. We can put reason to revelation. We can put reason to commandments. When we do we’re on our own. Some people put reasons to the one we’re talking about here, and they turned out to be spectacularly wrong. There is a lesson in that. The lesson I’ve drawn from that, I decided a long time ago that I had faith in the command and I had no faith in the reasons that had been suggested for it. I decided that 25 years ago, so it was very easy for me when it changed.

AP: Are you referring to reasons given even by general authorities?

OAKS: Sure, I’m referring to reasons given by general authorities and reasons elaborated upon that reason by others. The whole set of reasons seemed to me to be unnecessary risk taking. My experience with this was to say, I don’t know whether this is commanded in the Pearl of Great Price. I’m not positive about that commandment in relation to this. I put my faith on the president of the Church whom I sustain as the prophet. When he tells me that this is what the church does, then I’ll go with that…. Let’s don’t make the mistake that’s been made in the past, here and in other areas, trying to put reasons to revelation. The reasons turn out to be man-made to a great extent. The revelations are what we will sustain as the will of the Lord and that’s where safety lies.

AP: Do you think President Kimball had a better understanding of the reasons?

OAKS: I don’t personally. I talked to him about it. He asked me what I thought were the reasons. He talked to dozens of people, maybe hundreds of people. He talked to me about why, why do we have this. I said, ‘I don’t know, president.’ [TN: end of article]

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

1988 interview with Dallin H. Oaks and Neal A. Maxell on the priesthood ban.

EDIT: I have made what I hope will be a permanent link to a folder that will house any files I post up here. Just click the link, and find the file in the directory that it leads you to. I have updated the hyperlink below. If you have any trouble accessing it, let me know. Apparently, you need to sign up for AOL's free XDrive service to download it. Sorry for the inconvenience, but I'm not paying for webhosting and the like.

Well, here it is:

Apostles talk about reasons for lifting ban

A few things to keep in mind:

1) This link for the download will only last 7 days. Once I figure out a better way to upload it, I'll make a permanent link, and edit this post to change it.

2) I proof read my transcription once, but there may still be errors. I have put any of my notes in []'s and began the bracket note with TN: which is merely an abbreviated way of saying "transcriber's note." If you find anything you think is an error, feel free to email me about it.

3) This is an interview. In many places the grammar is awkward, so some of the sentences sound wrong. If you send me an email about what seems to be a grammatical error and I neither fix it nor respond to you, it is because it is correct.

4) This is, unfortunately, not a complete interview. It is, however, still far more than you can find elsewhere on the web. I am trying to find a full copy of the AP's transcript of the interview, and any help on that would be appreciated.
Hello! My name is William. I just happen to be a Mormon with an insatiable interest in all things Mormon-related, so I thought creating a blog would be a good way to pontificate about my faith, and also to upload various documents and other oddities relating to Mormonism in order to make them generally available. But first, a few things about me:

1) I hate blogs and blogging, but this is about the only economically feasible way for me to accomplish what I want to do(Translation: I'm too cheap to buy a domain name, and too lazy to code the web page. And my HTML is pretty rusty to begin with).

2) I am more than glad to look at controversial issues in Mormonism. If you are a Mormon who is struggling, feel free to drop me a line. If you are a critic looking for a debate, I'm game. Just send me an e-mail here, or send it to, and I'll respond when I have the chance.

3) Can't think of much more to say about myself right now. I'll make another post when something comes to mind.

This evening I intend to (but don't you dare count on it!) transcribe and upload an interview the Associated Press had with Dallin H. Oaks and Neal A. Maxwell in 1988 about the lifting of the Priesthood ban 10 years earlier. I have not been able to find this interview in its entirety anywhere on the internet, so I guess I'm finally contributing to society by making it available. More details once I get around to transcribing it.