Black Lives Matter and MMM

During the last riots, I tried to explain Black Lives Matter. Having failed, with the new protests I’ll try another way.

1857. Parley P Pratt is murdered and federal troops are crossing the Plains to stop the evil polygamist Brigham Young from building a kingdom. Saints had been driven from place to place, women ravaged, leaders imprisoned. Hauns Mill. Joseph and Hyrum murdered and the temple destroyed by fire.

There was nowhere else to go.

Brigham took a strong and harsh stance. He made an agreement with the Utes to fight the military. He spoke of war.

The events and BY’S rhetoric led to the Mountain Meadowso Massacre. Good men, who had been driven and suffered, listening to the rhetoric from Salt Lake, took things into their own hands because no one listened.

It would take the Manifesto in 1890 to begin ending government and public thrashing of the Mormons.

Black people don’t have the option to sign a manifesto and have their problems go away. Whites still are scared when a black man jogs in their neighborhood. There are still bad cops protected by the system.

Whites don’t understand privilege nor little bigotry especially that stare in black people’s faces.

All lives matter And Black Lives Matter. All houses matter, but we need to focus on the house that is on fire right now.

I don’t condone riots or violence. I do condone the protests and hope we white folk can truly understand it this time.

Black Lives Matter

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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 ( 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.

21 thoughts on “Black Lives Matter and MMM

  1. Thank you for posting that. Historical perspective aids understanding.

  2. I agree entirely. Racism: IF YOU SEE SOMETHING, SAY SOMETHING. We need to hear outrage from our neighbors, friends and ourselves over this. Black Lives Matter is an organization seeking social justice, not retribution. While the rioting is harmful, the national spotlight on social injustice is not. Talk about this, people. Demand equal treatment in custody, equal sentencing etc, from our police and elected officials.

  3. I agree that no form of racism should ever be tolerated. I found this article written yesterday in the Wall Street Journal very thought-provoking. It is written by a Black man who has given his life to uplift youth in inner-city communities. He says that what the Left and the Social Justice Warriors are doing is devastating to the Black Community and is the opposite of what Martin Luther King would have wanted with its anti-American and victim mentality. I’ve copied it here to read.

    “Today the progressive left wants to ignore the achievements and pretend that blacks are perpetual victims of white racism. The New York Times’s “1619 Project” essay series is the latest salvo in this attack on America’s history and founding, claiming “anti-black racism runs in the very DNA of this country.” This statement is an abomination of everything Dr. King stood for. Further, the left’s disinterest in historical accuracy—as evidenced in the Times’s dismissal of corrections sought by prominent historians—and its frequent perversion of blacks’ story will have grave consequences not only for blacks but the nation as a whole.
    In sharp contrast to the claims of the “1619 Project”—which disparages the American Revolution and Declaration of Independence and insists America is hopelessly racist—Dr. King believed deeply in the need to remain true to the Founders’ vision, the “patriot dream that sees beyond the years.” To him, that was the only avenue toward fulfilling America’s promise. As he wrote in his 1963 “Letter From a Birmingham Jail”:
    “One day the South will know that when these disinherited children of God sat down at lunch counters, they were in reality standing up for what is best in the American dream and for the most sacred values in our Judaeo-Christian heritage, thereby bringing our nation back to those great wells of democracy which were dug deep by the founding fathers in their formulation of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence.
    “We will reach the goal of freedom in Birmingham and all over the nation,” he wrote, “because the goal of America is freedom. Abused and scorned though we may be, our destiny is tied up with America’s destiny.”
    Dr. King, who sought full participation in America, would never have indulged today’s grievance-based identity politics, whose social-justice warriors use race as a battering ram against the country. In fact, in “Letter From a Birmingham Jail” Dr. King explicitly warned against the type of groupthink that characterizes identity politics: “Individuals may see the moral light and voluntarily give up their unjust posture; but, as Reinhold Niebuhr has reminded us, groups tend to be more immoral than individuals.”
    Yesterday’s values prepared blacks to walk through the doors of opportunity opened to them through civil rights. Family, faith, character and moral behavior were all crucial to their victories. Today’s social-justice warriors trade on the currency of oppression, deriding the concept of personal responsibility and always blaming external forces. I can think of no better way to instill hopelessness and fear in a young person than to tell him he is a victim, powerless to change his circumstance.
    During the civil-rights movement blacks never permitted oppression to define who we were. Instead we cultivated moral competence, enterprise and thrift, and viewed oppression as a stumbling block, not an excuse.
    Dr. King would have refused to participate in today’s identity politics gamesmanship because it frames its grievances in opposition to the American principles of freedom and equality that he sought to redeem. He upheld the country’s founding principles and sought to destroy only what got in the way of delivering the promise of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, as well as the recognition that all men are created equal.
    Mr. Woodson is president and founder of the Woodson Cent
    Opinion | The Left Forgets What Martin Luther King Stood For

    Opinion | The Left Forgets What Martin Luther King Stood For

  4. This has got to be the worst thing you have ever written. “I hope white folk can understand it” …. so sick of being lectured to by my “woke” friends, neighbors about what they think is going on in my heart and mind because of *my* skin color. That’s just as bad as people judging others for their skin color.

    There are problems with our police forces all over the country — however, those are the exception rather than the rule. Let’s work within in the frame work of our laws, our government, using good policies and best practices to weed out corruption and the bad. Instead of throwing blame around, making excuses, and accusing each other of not practicing “right think, right speech and right thought”.

    For those of you that would like some actual information on the Mountain Meadows Massacre, the Church has an essay, which can be found here.

    As for lives that matter — Here is what our Savior has to say:

    Matthew 11:28 — “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”

    Isaiah 55: 1-3: “1 Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy, and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price. 2 Wherefore do ye spend money for that which is not bread? and your labour for that which satisfieth not? hearken diligently unto me, and eat ye that which is good, and let your soul delight itself in fatness. 3 Incline your ear, and come unto me: hear, and your soul shall live; and I will make an everlasting covenant with you, even the sure mercies of David.”

    From President Hinckely, “Let us be prayerful. Let us pray for righteousness. Let us pray for the forces of good. Let us reach out to help men and women of goodwill, whatever their religious persuasion and wherever they live. Let us stand firm against evil, both at home and abroad. Let us live worthy of the blessings of heaven, reforming our lives where necessary and looking to Him, the Father of us all. He has said, “Be still, and know that I am God” (Ps. 46:10). {“The Times In Which We Live” by Gordon B. Hinckley, October 2001, General Conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.}

  5. Rame, I am going to agree with some parts of your post and disagree with others. I have two daughters who are people of color, so I am exposed to their take on issues. In addition, I have been spending more time lately with other people of color in my personal life. One of the things I have noticed is that it really seems true anecdotally that people of color get harassed by police. I try to put myself in their shoes, and if I were stopped by the cops once a month just for driving around looking Hispanic (and this really does happen to several of my good friends), it would drive me crazy. It really would make me angry because of the basic unfairness of the situation. In the semi-rural area of northern Colorado where I live, I never get stopped by the police, but my Hispanic friends, who are basically good drivers, are stopped all of the time. That simply doesn’t seem fair. So, part of being a good Christian in my opinion is trying to have empathy for others who are suffering. In that sense, your post is trying to raise awareness for people who are suffering, and that is good.

    On the other hand, I kind of have to agree with Joyce’s comment. And I would add one other thing: the Brethren have spoken out a lot recently against racism, and this is not just racism by white people. This is ALL racism, including people of other races who hate white people. God loves all people of all skin colors. He is no respecter of persons. That might be worth remembering.

    One other point: I have relatives who lost land and houses in both Missouri and Illinois and who were driven from their property by force in the 1830s and 1840s. These people joined the exodus to Utah, and many died on the way. One of my relatives lost three of her children in Winter Quarters because of anti-Mormon bigotry. My wife’s family has Irish ancestors who were treated like trash when they came to the United States. There is a lot of historical suffering to go around. I wish we could all follow the prophets and concentrate on loving one another — regardless of skin color — rather than concentrating on skin color excessively, which is what woke people appear to want to do these days.

  6. Police brutality, aggression, overreach, arrogance, and of course, add racism, bigotry, predjudice or sexism to the mix, is a real thing.

    Black people endure a particularly acute form of it, because “they” have been “they” and otherized for a long time. “Mormons” understand this to a small degree as you point out because we have a decent amount of targeted history.

    But black people live it every day. And the reality is, the vast majority of the time someone is rude judgemental prideful jerk to them, it’s likely that person is not putting skin color first on the list of reasons why they are rude, judgmental, etc.

    But the kicker is there is nothing you can do to stop that impression from being given to the black person.

    However, all of that being said, there are many instances of black cops being rough on black victims (or alleged perpetrators). The reality is very complicated because our police officers are often put into no win situations. And like everyone else in this fallen world that imbibes more from media/culture than latter-day prophets, well, they keep getting layer upon layer of destruction distilled into their soul. They are missing the doctrines of the priesthood.

    This will all come to a head, racism or not. Being colorblind or color inclusive, or affirmative action woke, or any other solution just will not work.

    As long as the people of this nation reject the greater light that is offered to them via latter-day prophets of the restoration, and turn directly to the never-ending debasement of culture and humanity that is spewed out 24-7, then nothing will solve the problem.

    More contention is what we’ll get. We have weaponized social relations. We’ve weaponized what used to be called public service. Our police force is in a no win situation (unless they repent and humble themselves and turn to God,).

    Our inner city folk, and angry young adults, etc. are in the same situation.

    This all still gets worse before getting better. Thanks for the post. As much as counter points or “ya but” claims can be made, the reality is we are getting the government we deserve and the police force comes with that. There are more great cops than bad ones, for sure. But the default position for nearly every encounter, whether it be the talking heads on TV, politics, the person at the DMV, town council, or corporate customer service counter, is almost always to arrogantly defend your position with everything you have and concede nothing that prevents you from winning the argument.

    It just so happens that arguments with police can escalate really quickly. But in every walk of life, social media or whatever, people are itching for a confrontation. And people on both sides feel they have the moral high ground.

    The Savior didn’t come to the Romans and tell them how wrong they were and that they need to withdraw and pay reparations, etc. That’s still our shining example. To the extent that we ignore it or we co-opt his message and shoehorn it into our preconceived notions of what’s best, we will again continue further down this path of destruction before it gets better.

  7. President Hinckley condemned racism, and even apologizedo for the Church. I in contact with many black members who feel bigotry in their wards today. I’m not asking anyone to be woke. I’m just asking that we recognising that our understanding may not be theirs, and that their position is a valid one, without us trying to justify ourselves or our prejudices.

  8. President Russell M. Nelson posted the following statement on his Facebook page on

    Monday, June 1:
    “We join with many throughout this nation and around the world who are deeply saddened at recent evidences of racism and a blatant disregard for human life. We abhor the reality that some would deny others respect and the most basic of freedoms because of the color of his or her skin. We are also saddened when these assaults on human dignity lead to escalating violence and unrest.

    “The Creator of us all calls on each of us to abandon attitudes of prejudice against any group of God’s children. Any of us who has prejudice toward another race needs to repent!

    “During the Savior’s earthly mission, He constantly ministered to those who were excluded, marginalized, judged, overlooked, abused, and discounted. As His followers, can we do anything less? The answer is no! We believe in freedom, kindness, and fairness for all of God’s children!

    “Let us be clear. We are brothers and sisters, each of us the child of a loving Father in Heaven. His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, invites all to come unto Him—“black and white, bond and free, male and female.” It behooves each of us to do whatever we can in our spheres of influence to preserve the dignity and respect every son and daughter of God deserves.

    “Any nation can only be as great as its people. That requires citizens to cultivate a moral compass that helps them distinguish between right and wrong.

    “Illegal acts such as looting, defacing, or destroying public or private property cannot be tolerated. Never has one wrong been corrected by a second wrong. Evil has never been resolved by more evil.

    “We need to foster our faith in the Fatherhood of God and the brotherhood of man.

    “We need to foster a fundamental respect for the human dignity of every human soul, regardless of their color, creed, or cause.

    “And we need to work tirelessly to build bridges of understanding rather than creating walls of segregation.

    “I plead with us to work together for peace, for mutual respect, and for an outpouring of love for all of God’s children.”

  9. I agree that “all lives matter” — but really, that is sort of an empty slogan.

    “Black lives matter” actually means something. It is a better slogan. It serves a useful purpose.

    Speaking generally, an honest white man has less reason to fear during a routine traffic stop than an honest black man. Speaking generally, the parent of an honest white teenager or young adult has less reason to worry about an unexpected phone call than the parent of an honest black teenager or young adult.

  10. Hard to understand exactly what is being protested this time around. The three police persons were immediately fired, the one who was kneeling on the victim was charged with third-degree murder and an investigation is underway as to whether the other two should be charged. No one connected with the incident is condoning or excusing what happened. What else is expected to happen in these types of situations?

  11. If this were an isolated incident, then everything would have been covered. But in many ways, it is often a systemic problem. Arresting this bad cop doesn’t stop other bad cops. This bad cop had been found to be aggressive before, but nothing done to him.
    The knee on the neck was an approved control technique, used in Minneapolis over 300 times since 2017.
    Think of the IRS. About once a decade they do something very onerous. Congress chews them out and they tiptoe around for a year, then go back to their old form. Nothing is really fixed.
    Same here. We keep returning to the problem of bad cops abusing black people until one is murdered. Then we tiptoe around for a while.
    Most cops are good. Cop unions, like teachers unions, tend to protect bad cops. It’s hard to charge them, or even fire them.
    Protests across America, because the systemic problems cross the country.

  12. Understand what you are saying about previous incidents but in this case something was done quickly. And they were all fired and one was charged so at least initially their union couldn’t or wouldn’t protect them. That would seem to be at least a half step in the right direction of doing what needs to be done to fix the problem on an ongoing basis. I would think that the point of a protest is to have the right response from police forces when these types of incidents occur so as to make other police officers think twice before engaging in these types of actions. However if this is the reaction that comes when you do the right thing in response to a specific incident it hardly seems motivating to continue having the right thing done. Whether the right thing Is done or not there are still going to be debilitating protests with no acknowledgement that this incident was different.

  13. Thank you for your thoughtful and insightful post. It was very well put.

    When I was on my mission in the southern US almost two decades ago we had the misfortune of tracting into man who proceeded to tell at us and tell us in rather strong how “any sensible government would kick all the Mormons and Muslims out of the country”. He was particularly upset about a woman in a hijab he had seen at a Wal Mart earlier that day and seeing us just set him off.

    Well, I’ve thought about that a lot, and one thing that keeps coming back to my mind is that when I was done it with my mission and the name tag came off, people like him wouldn’t have any idea I was a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I would blend into the crowd unless he was observant enough to notice me wearing garments. But that woman he was telling about, she didn’t have that luxury, she is would always stand out.

    Too often I take for granted the ability to blend back on I th crowd and feel safe.

  14. Some things I agree, but for others, history tells a different story. It is a mistake to think that the violence and protests have much to do with the BLM issues. It’s just another good crisis that certain folks won’t let go to waste.

    Ezra Taft Benson foretold the riots, exactly as we are seeing them now, but as being purposefully done to further communist goals. It may be different for today’s round of riots, I don’t know, but the purposes are similar. Read the conference talk starting on pg 34:

    Also, your cause-and-effect on the manifest is backwards:

  15. There are two separate issues. Do African Americans and other minorities have legitimate concerns re: the police? Yes. Reforms are necessary.

    Have left-wing anarchist/communist groups hijacked some of the legitimate protests to cause chaos in many cities? Yes. These types of riots are specifically condemned by Pres. Nelson. You can be in favor of police reforms (which I am) while at the same time being against looting and the destruction of property (which I also am). I would add that the mostly white left-wing rioters are hurting the cause of the mostly black legitimate protesters, and this is shameful.

  16. I was glad to hear that protests this past evening were largely peaceful. I think both sides (police, protesters) realized that violence didn’t serve their cause as much as they might have thought two days ago.

  17. First. A confession. My first kiss in Kindergarten was a little neighbor black girl. I know, I know, virtue signalling at its worst right? We were living in Fort Lewis Washington, on the base, while my father was deployed to Viet Nam. According to my older siblings we were told we couldn’t play with any of the white trash down the street but we could play with the Wilson children next door, so little Pat Wilson and I were apparently fast friends.
    These formative instructions seem to have made some impact on my world view. Though they grew up in Kansas City and Independence during the “white flight” from those areas and spoke about the decline of neighborhoods with some sadness, that didn’t seem to affect their relationship with the Wilsons, which came later because I saw Christmas cards from the Wilson family until I left home.
    Since my childhood I have known few black people but barring a general dislike of most rap, I can’t say I have any other issue. I tell my children to take their white privilege and run with it, since I grew up in hand-me-down clothes, bikes, regifted Cristmas presents drinking powdered milk and delivering newspapers for twenty years with my father after his return from Viet Nam wounded.
    I do recall an older brother making racial slurs about black people, (you know the names). I also recall feeling yucky about it and never ever said or used such myself.
    I suspect it will take a couple of more generations in both white and black people to work these things our of our consciousness. I am on board and have tried to speak to my children frankly about these things.
    That said, barring the American flag, I’m not much for flag waving, whether it be the colors of the rainbow or a Black Lives Matter bumber sticker. Shoot, even the American flag has been co-opted by all sorts of people on both sides I don’t agree with.
    I agree that it will take much more effort and generations to erase the damage and scars left on future generations by the effects of slavery and oppression experienced by decendents slavery. I mean consider the devastation slavery had on the family unit by hundreds of years of forced separation. We of all people should see the hand of the devil in that. Perforce there must be an impact “unto third and fourth generation” or longer.
    Of course, I don’t know how to solve that on a national level, but I know just railing against “Black Lives Matter” won’t help either. I will try to voice my support in my own way. It takes longer, but at least I know it is just my voice unladen by views I cannot espouse.
    Thanks for the OP and the vigorous dialogue.

  18. Black lives matter of course, but the organization Black Lives Matter is a fraud. May I suggest this Church Militant “BLM is anti-catholic” video as proof?

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