Religious cults are known for misconstruing God, but the problem doesn’t stop with theology; it extends to ethics, and racism is often the byproduct. Those who miss the Lord are open to all sorts of absurd prejudice, as in the following:
1. Mormons. Mormon “scripture” grows as new revelation comes their way. A new “word from God” appeared conveniently on June 9, 1978, in the wake of the U.S. civil rights movement (just as a helpful revelation against polygamy fell from heaven when their Utah territory was seeking U.S. statehood).
Henceforth, blacks would enjoy “all the privileges and blessings which the gospel affords.”1 Before that time, blacks were excluded from temple ceremonies and from the “priesthood,” that is, full membership and hope of the highest heaven. The reason for their century-and-a-half exclusion was clear; the original Mormon documents were explicitly racist. Believing in the pre-existence of souls, the founding fathers taught that those with dark skin on earth were being punished or sidelined for past sin. Brigham Young wrote that “the flat nose and black skin” were the mark of Cain.2 In the Pearl of Great Price (Book of Moses 7:8), Joseph Smith said that blackness was a curse on the Canaanites, and in his Book of Mormon (at Alma 3:6), he applied the curse to the dark-skinned American Indians.3 Brigham Young even prescribed death for whites marrying blacks.4
2. Falun Gong. The name means “Cultivation of Capabilities according to the Law Wheel.” The founder, Li Hongzhi (“Master Li”), combined qigong (energy working) with traditional Buddhism and Taoism.5 With tens of millions of adherents in China, it rivals the Communist Party for status as the largest voluntary association, and the government is frightened.
Master Li has taught that people have corresponding, benevolent, divine bodies in another dimension, unless they are the product of “cross-breeding.” By his account, Spain is the source of “mongrel races” in Central and South America and Southeast Asia. According to his system, “for yellow people, there are yellow people above, for white people, there are white people above.” But a person of mixed race “has lost this thread.”6
3. Nation of Islam. This group, led by Louis Farrakhan, is neither a nation nor Islam. It teaches that, in the beginning, all were black, and thus noble, but a wicked boy named Yacub would change that. He discovered a mixture of dominant blackness and recessive brownness in men, and he set about to eliminate the blackness. The ruler of Mecca caught wind of his rebellion, so he shipped Yacub and about 60,000 of his followers to Patmos. There, they would kill their black offspring and interbreed their lighter babies, eventually producing the devil race of white people. According to Farrakhan, these godless people are the “skunk of the planet earth.”7 His movement’s founder, Fard Muhammad, taught his followers to say, “The original man is the Asiatic black Man, the maker, the owner, the cream of the planet earth, God of the universe.”8
Of course, many Christians have been racists. Some have even twisted Scripture to justify their sin.9 But the words of the New Testament will not permit this error. Whether through the parable of the Good Samaritan or the Lord’s instructions to Peter regarding Cornelius, God has shown His regard for all people. When the Christian stands for racial equality, he stands solidly on Holy Scripture, the gift of Christ. Unfortunately, many stand on the words of Joseph Smith, Brigham Young, Li Hongzhi, Louis Farrakhan, and Fard Muhammad, and so they find themselves ill-equipped to treat their fellow human beings with respect and decency.
1 Jerald and Sandra Tanner, The Changing World of Mormonism: A Behind-the-Scenes Look at Changes in Mormon Doctrine and Practice (Chicago: Moody Press, 1980), 291.
2 Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, vol. 7, 270, reproduced in Tanner, 294-95.
3 Tanner, 294-295.
4 Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, vol. 10, p.110, cited in Tanner, 297.
5 Jaime A. Florcruz, “The Man with the Qi,” Time, May 10, 1999, 74.
6 Marian Hsia Chang, Falun Gong: The End of Days (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2004), 71-72.
7 Mattias Gardell, In the Name of Elijah Muhammad: Louis Farrakhan and the Nation of Islam (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 1996), 147-148. Gardell also notes similarities between the Nation of Islam and another “blackosophic” cult, the Rastafarians of Jamaica. They too see “the black race as a community of gods; the black aboriginal culture as the cradle of civilization; blacks as the principal actors of the Bible, including being the people of the covenant and the descendants of the tribe of Shebah; the white man as evil by nature; the Western world as Babylon,” Gardell, 183-184.
8 Vibert L. White, Jr., Inside the Nation of Islam: A Historical and Personal Testimony by a Black Muslim, (Gainesville, FL: University Press of Florida), 187.
9 See, for example Josiah Priest, Bible Defence of Slavery (Louisville: J.F. Brennan, 1851). And a more contemporary example is provided by the Nederduitse Gereformeerde Kerk (NGK) of South Africa, which sustained the policy of apartheid, see “Afrikaner Christianity: The Dutch Reformed Churches in South Africa,” Bethel University: African Christianity Website, http://www.bethel.edu/~letnie/AfricanChristianity/SAAfrikanerChurches.html (accessed June 14, 2006).from Kairos JournalThe First Baptist Church of Perryville is located on Route 40 in Cecil County, Maryland, 1 1/2 mies east of Route 222 across from the Principio Medical Clinic.
(Perryville.org, 25 July 2008)
Original text from: http://www.perryville.org/?p=552