This is a first time release on YouTube, (previously on Apple Podcasts) of a conversation I had with Dr. Paul Reeve of the University of Utah last year. I asked if he had anything to do with writing the Gospel Topics Essay (race essay) titled Race and the Priesthood on LDS.org. He was very candid and I think you’ll enjoy listening to his answers on these and other topics.
GT: Now I want to ask you another question. I’m hoping you’ll answer. I’ve heard rumors, and that’s all they are is rumors that you played a role in compiling that essay [Race and the Priesthood]. Do you have any response to that?
Paul laughs: I did help with the essay. Yeah, Yeah.
GT: So was it, can you describe your role?
Paul: Well the Church History Department invited me to write an extended essay. It ended up being about 55 pages long with footnotes and everything like I would produce as an academic essay. Once they were satisfied with that it was sent up the line, several layers of approval process and then the Church History Department actually boiled down that longer essay to what got posted online so I had no say over what got posted online, what eventually appeared as Race and the Priesthood, but it was a condensed version of the longer piece that I produced for them.
I asked his opinions on how these race lessons of the past apply to today’s situations. It’s one of my favorite parts of the interview. I also asked if there were parallels between the black ban and the new gay ban.
Paul: Well I guess there are ways in which I could see them as similar and ways in which I think they’re distinct. The similarities could be that, is this simply the sort of cultural context, right? That is somehow seeping in, it would be hard to argue that the cultural context of America moving towards legalizing gay marriage didn’t impact Mormonism, right? So it’s Mormonism responding to its cultural context the same way that Mormonism seemed to respond to the racial context in the 19th century, so a parallel there, but I think also important distinctions.
I asked Paul how he felt about the Mormon Tabernacle Choir singing at Pres. Trump’s inauguration. Don’t forget to check out our previous conversations with Paul!
008: Dating the LDS Temple and Priesthood Ban (Reeve)
007: Becoming a Fanboy of Orson Pratt (Dr Reeve discusses the Apostle)
006: The Black Mormon Scandals – Reeve on events inspiring the LDS priesthood/temple ban
005: How did Joseph Smith Deal with Muslims? (and Chinese and Indians?)
004: How did Others Deal with Slavery? Dr. Paul Reeve tells why Mormons were persecuted
Check out our conversation….