About rameumptom

Gerald (Rameumptom) Smith is a student of the gospel. Joining the Church of Jesus Christ when he was 16, he served a mission in Santa Cruz Bolivia (1978=1980). He is married to Ramona, has 3 stepchildren and 7 grandchildren. Retired Air Force (Aim High!). He has been on the Internet since 1986 when only colleges and military were online. Gerald has defended the gospel since the 1980s, and was on the first Latter-Day Saint email lists, including the late Bill Hamblin's Morm-Ant. Gerald has worked with FairMormon, More Good Foundation, LDS.Net and other pro-LDS online groups. He has blogged on the scriptures for over a decade at his site: Joel's Monastery (joelsmonastery.blogspot.com). He has the following degrees: AAS Computer Management, BS Resource Mgmt, MA Teaching/History. Gerald was the leader for the Tuskegee Alabama group, prior to it becoming a branch. He opened the door for missionary work to African Americans in Montgomery Alabama in the 1980s. He's served in two bishoprics, stake clerk, high council, HP group leader and several other callings over the years. While on his mission, he served as a counselor in a branch Relief Society presidency.

Bad History

In celebrating Juneteenth, I studied some of the history of slavery and “freedom” in America for African-Americans. This includes the period of Reconstruction, where black people were allowed to vote, run for office, etc.

Then, at the end of the 19th century, Republicans quit protecting the rights of black people. Suddenly, states and towns enacted laws that restricted many rights. Eventually, these would become known as Jim Crow Laws.

Under Woodrow Wilson, a staunch racist, the Ku Klux Klan grew to 100,000 members. The military was re-segregated. Lyunchings and racism grew exponentially.

1919 was known as the “red summer,” because of the number of atrocities that occurred against black people. As they boarded trains to go to the war in Europe, black men hung signs out of the trains asking white people not to lynch their families while they were away. They were ignored.

Over 3 dozen white mob assaults on black people happened that year. In a couple incidents, hundreds of blacks were killed. In some places, the back side of houses were set on fire, so as the black families ran out of the front to escape, they were shot. One of those places of white on black violence happened here in Indianapolis, in a section called Garfield Park. Chicago and other northern places also had problems, so it wasn’t just a southern issue.

According to white papers at the time, the rioting and killings were always blamed on black people, who were supposedly embracing Soviet socialism. I looked at the headlines on many papers of the time, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Times, etc., and they all blamed the troubles on black people rioting to replace the Constitution with a Soviet style socialism. We would hear the same claims against Martin Luther King jr’s peace marches 40 years later, as an excuse to not give African Americans their god given rights of freedom.

A century ago, in 1921, occurred the Tulsa Massacre. A section of Tulsa, named the Greenwood District. After WW1, with so many soldiers returning home from war, the country wasn’t prepared for the influx of workers. This caused tensions as African Americans were laid off, so white soldiers could get the jobs. Poverty and unemployment increased for many African American families. However, the Greenwood District was different. It was an affluent African American community.

A young black man, Dick Rowland, was arrested for riding in an elevator with a white woman. African Americans peacefully protested the arrest. Meanwhile, white mobs gathered around the courthouse, wanting to lynch the boy, as the rumors grew as to what happened. A skirmish occurred at the courthouse. This quickly moved to Greenwood, where white mobs burned down 35 city blocks, injured 800 people and killed as many as 250 African Americans. The governor called out the National Guard, which arrested 6000 people, almost all were African Americans attempting to protect their own property and lives.

The newspapers at the time were deathly silent about the murders and destruction. Until recently, it was called the Tulsa Riot, and blamed on black people. Now it is appropriately named the Tulsa Massacre.

In these events, we see that history was manipulated to fit a certain story. Just as Confederate statues were erected during this time period by the KKK to celebrate their racist past and rewrite their history, so too, the lynchings and attacks on African Americans was rewritten to fit a narrative.

Such narratives are always attempted by those who seek to enslave or abuse the weaker groups. As we see in D&C 87, ours is a history of slavery, and slaves seeking to overthrow their masters.

History is sloppy, as everyone seeks to put their own spin on it. But when the full facts are laid out, each individual can see where history really is. It is full of triumphs and disasters. We don’t like to see our own ancestors as the bad guys (imagine how Germans feel when hearing about Hitler and the Nazis). But if we want to progress as a people toward true freedom and brotherhood of all, then we must meet our history head on, warts, lynchings and all.

Why do we need Juneteenth as a new holiday? Because it is OUR history. It belongs to African Americans. It belongs to white Americans. It belongs to everyone who loves freedom, and who seek to end tyranny in all its forms.

To understand Juneteenth is to understand our own struggles today. We can see people of color today, who are seeking freedom from oppression. They seek the American dream, which was denied their parents and grandparents, and sometimes they themselves.

Why must we feel our freedom threatened by others also wishing to have freedom? We should open our arms to peoples of all colors, who are dealing with government and societal abuse. If they lose their freedom, or never gain the freedoms we enjoy, then we risk losing our freedoms if and when our group is considered a risk.

Today, I ponder the atrocities done a century ago against our African American brothers and sisters. I hope that a century from now, schoolkids will read how we overcame that racist past and as Americans rebuilt our society on the premise of freedom and brotherhood/sisterhood for all.

Come Follow Me: D&C 67-70

My blog post on Come Follow Me: D&C 67-70

Excerpt:The Church was organized in April 1830. Nineteen months later, the Lord had given so many revelations that it was time to prepare many of them for publishing, so the members would have access to them. These revelations included issues regarding the translation of the Book of Mormon (such as the lost 116 pages), the Three Witnesses, sending missionaries to the West, establishing two church centers (Kirtland and Independence), laws and priesthood organization, the location for the city of Zion, etc.

“Your eyes have been upon my servant Joseph Smith, Jun., and his language you have known, and his imperfections you have known; and you have sought in your hearts knowledge that you might express beyond his language; this you also know.” (vs 5)

Several of the leaders were uncertain about witnessing to the revelations. They knew that Joseph Smith was rather uneducated and the wording in some of the revelations was not as polished as they would like. They wanted to rewrite the revelations to look and sound more educated.

Instead, the Lord recognized Joseph’s weaknesses, and then gave the brethren a test: take the smartest among you and write a revelation that was as powerful as the smallest of the revelations Joseph had received. They tried and failed.


Come Follow Me: D&C 64-66

My blog post on Come Follow Me: D&C 64-66
Excerpt:The Lord sent Joseph Smith to Independence, Missouri where the Lord would reveal the center city of Zion and the site for its temple complex. Many were excited, including Sidney Rigdon and Oliver Cowdery. Others, like Ezra Booth was dissatisfied with the land, insisting the saints move to more favorable farm land about 30 miles away. Joseph insisted on establishing Zion exactly where God had told him to do so.

The Colesville saints, who had moved from New York to Kirtland, where lands owned by Leman Copley were consecrated to them long enough for them to make major improvements, only to have them taken away by Copley, as he decided to leave the church and keep his farm. Again homeless, the Lord told them to accompany Joseph to Missouri, as the first saints to settle in Zion.

While there, Joseph laid a stone for the temple and they dedicated the site. The return trip in August 1831 was difficult. In moving down the Missouri River, rapids and debris became difficult. Many of the men were grumbling about Joseph’s lack of leadership and vision. Finally, Joseph ordered everyone off the river and to go on foot back to Kirtland.
In Kirtland, the complaining and arguing continued. Finally, Joseph invited all to a meeting, where he apologized along with most in the meeting. Ezra Booth, refused to attend, and began to become one of Joseph’s biggest critics in Kirtland.

Under these troubling conditions, the Lord gave Joseph these three revelations.


New Church initiative with NAACP

Today, the Church and NAACP announced a new initiative. After again denouncing racism, Pres Nelson said the relationship with the NAACP was built upon the two great commandments: Love God and Love your neighbor.

Included in the initiative are:

  1. Humanitarian efforts. The Church has pledged a $2 million per year for the next three years “to encourage service and help to those in need” and promote self-reliance.
  2. Scholarships for Black students. Latter-day Saints have committed to fund a $1 million scholarship donation per year for three years, overseen by the United Negro College Fund.
  3. A fellowship to send up to 50 students to Ghana to learn about history. The Church will donate $250,000 to create the Amos C. Brown Student Fellowship to Ghana — allowing selected students from the United States an opportunity to learn more about their heritage.

This is awesome. African Americans need help to overcome the continuing struggles from Jim Crow, poverty and, yes, slavery.

These efforts will be on top of ongoing self reliance courses and other initiatives.

The soul of the SBC

For decades, the Southern Baptist Convention has been very conservative. Think Jerry Falwell.

Since bonding with Donald Trump, the SBC has lost not only moderately conservative members, but entire congregations, mostly consisting of both white and people of color congregants.

They will be electing a new president this summer, who will determine whether the SBC stays politically pro Trump, or leave behind politics and focus on bringing people’s of all colors and cultures into Christ.

The article discusses both sides. Some insisting Christ wasn’t woke, while the other side confirms hearing racial epithets.

The battle is big and ugly. It will likely lead to a bigger schism.

Contrast this to the Latter-day Saints. No elections. There are no big divisions among the leadership. They stay politically neutral. They warn about abortion and sexual ain, but also insist that “black lives matter is an eternal principle.” Pres Oaks and others teach that a person can prayerfully belong to almost any political party and be in good standing. IOW, abortion is an important issue, but not the only issue.

While the entire SBC is possibly on the verge of secession, our leadership is united, Yes, we have many hyperpolitical members who judge those who vote for/against Trump/immigration/abortion, etc. Hopefully most of our members watch the living prophets and emulate them.