A reader writes:
A major problem with the LDS treatment of its black church members, a problem that persists even after the "revelation" of 1978, is that all the references to Mormon scripture you cited are still on the books. The formal position of the LDS church has changed, but the theology underlying it has not. The 1978 revelation, in other words, simply was dropped on top of a deeper theological structure that still is deeply racist.
Black Mormons still have to read those passages you referenced in your initial post on race, religion, and double standards. They have to read that they are cursed. They have to imbibe that their black skin is not a product of geography and evolution, but a curse from God.
I'm convinced this is why the video of Gordon Hinckley you featured shows him being so obtuse and lacking in explanations. If you scratch the theological surface of Mormonism, all the old racism still is there. However much we might be relieved that the LDS church changed its formal position on blacks and the priesthood in 1978, it was not a change, in my view, that possessed much theological coherence or integrity. It merely was a fiat, a decree, but it still requires black Mormons to read about their origins in a way that must be deeply hurtful.
I would go one step further than Tim Russert did, or even a step further than you are asking our journalists to go. I want a journalist to ask Romney, "Where do black people come from? Why are they black?" Or even better: "Is your opponent in this election a product of the curse of Cain? Did Obama fail in his pre-mortal existence, and thus end up with black skin?"
An excellent question, since Mormons of course deny evolution and the curse of Cain is designed to explain why all human beings aren't "white and delightsome". Another writes:
There is a difference between saying you will no longer discriminate against a particular group and saying you believe that are equal. Note the condescension and superiority built into this Hinckley quote:
We're working among these people, we're developing them . . . we respect them and are trying to help them.
Obviously, they're inferior, or they wouldn't need this help.