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Sports Protests Against BYU (Part 4 of 7)

In the late 1960s & early 1970s, there were many protests by colleges over the racial ban on priesthood in the LDS Church.  Some schools, such as Stanford, refused to play BYU in athletic competitions over the issue.  In our next conversation with Dr. Matt Harris, we’ll find out that these protests were much more widespread than I knew!  We’ll also find out how Church leaders reacted to these protests.

Matt:  The first protest at UTEP,[1] the track team against BYU and then the said Civil Rights site visit that’s going to come in May of 68, a month later. So Wilkinson is just like freaking out.  He’s absolutely panicking. I should say that they’ve already started talk to build this beautiful new basketball arena that will eventually be called the Marriott Center. So, now they’re worried about this. They’re getting pushback from the Western Athletic Conference that they’re going to get kicked out of the conference, because they don’t recruit black kids. Wilkinson’s response was, “Look at our manuals.  We welcome all minorities. They just didn’t want to come here because it’s their choice.”

Matt:  I can tell you categorically that there were well over 100 protests from different universities.

GT:  Wow. I didn’t know it was that big.

Matt:  Yeah, me neither. We think of the big ones, football and basketball. They were protesting BYU band events, wrestling, you name it.

GT:  Wow.

Matt:  The reason why I know this is because I’ve seen some documents in Wilkinson’s papers and he drafts this lengthy memo cataloging all of the protests.

GT:  Really?

Matt:  Yeah, dozens and dozens and dozens. I was blown away. Some schools I never even heard of before. They just didn’t get the protest, or the publicity. So anyway, the ones that were the most salient, one would be the UTEP one because it’s the first one.  It sort of kick starts everything. I’d say the second one would be in October of 1969 with the Wyoming 14.

Matt:  Here’s the biggest point, I think, in this story is the Wyoming 14 we’re not just protesting the few blacks at BYU or racial discrimination at BYU, they made it abundantly clear they were protesting the Mormon Church’s views on race. This is much different than UTEP and San Jose and some others that were just really focused mostly on BYU and racism there. The Wyoming people are focusing more than just BYU, but the Mormon Church’s policies. So I think that’s a fundamental point.  Of all the protests going on, Wyoming, they were very laser focused on the church, not BYU. Ernest Wilkinson is probably the best person to quote on this. He said, “They’re the ones that gave us the most fits because of that.”

The other one, so this is October of 69. The Western Athletic Conference is scheduled to vote in November and the word on the street that they’re going to kick BYU out. Even the University of Utah has sent Wilkinson–the president of the U is a Latter-day Saint. So he’s an orthodox member of the church and he tells Wilkinson, “Yeah, the U is going to vote to kick you guys out.”

[1] UTEP stands for University of Texas at El Paso.  Previously the school was known as Texas Western, and was the first school to start 5 black basketball players.  They won the NCAA basketball championship in 1966 by beating heavily favored Kentucky, a team of all-white players.

Check out our conversation…

There were more than 100 protests against BYU & the LDS Church over racial policies in the 1960s & 1970s.

Don’t miss our other conversations with Dr. Harris.

349: Race & Religious Minorities at BYU

348: How Brazil Influenced Official Declaration 2

347: Did Nixon & Carter Pressure BYU Over Race?

 

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More Hofmann Techniques & Forged Sports Memorabilia (part 3)

Did you know that an estimated 70% of sports memorabilia is fake?  We’re continuing our conversation with George Throckmorton, and he tells that the majority of those “Authentic” jerseys, balls, and bats are forged.  How does he know?

George:  Over the years, I’ve done a lot of work on sports memorabilia. I had a Babe Ruth jersey that was selling for $750,000.

GT: Oh my goodness.

George: It had been authenticated. But it wasn’t [genuine.]  Because the ink that was used to sign it wasn’t made until–Babe Ruth died in 1948. And the ink wasn’t made until 1972, so if it had been genuine, he would’ve had to been resurrected and signed his name. {chuckles}

Of course, we spend the bulk of our time discussing the Hofmann forgeries.  How did Mark age them?  George describes aging techniques that Mark Hofmann used to make his forgeries appear older than they were.  But there was something wrong when George examined signatures.

George:  And as I put an ultraviolet light, there was some part that would reflect back and other parts that would not. And that really caused me some question. Why? If this document has been saved for over 100 years, why would you have some part that glowed and some part that did not, different inks, and so forth? And as I looked at it closer, I noticed the thing that made the document valuable was not the date itself, but the fact that it says, “obliged Joseph Smith.” And where it said, “obliged Joseph Smith” was where I saw different ink and I saw this white effect going around and I asked him that night, I asked him, I says, “Can you tell us where this came from?” Because before we started noticing some of these documents that have blue haze on the documents under ultraviolet light. Others did not.

George: And so we separated them into two piles. And as I looked at those under the microscope, I noticed there was a characteristic of the ink would crack on some of them, not others. And then I noticed the ones with that blue haze, we’re also the ones that had that had the blue there, the cracked ink. And so, I told Bill. “Bill,” I says, “I think we got something here.” And I handed him a stack of documents and I says, “You give them to me, mix them up, give them to me and I’ll tell you which one came through the hands of Hofmann.” And he gave it to me and I looked under the microscope and he says, “this one did.” He gave me another one. “This one did not,” and so forth until we were through. And all of them that had the cracked ink had Hofmann’s signature.

Don’t forget to check out how George became a document examiner, and how Mark’s toy chemistry set fooled the FBI.  Please support Gospel Tangents by any of these methods

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Check out our conversation…

An estimated 70% of sports memorabilia is forged. George Throckmorton describes how he found a $750,000 Babe Ruth jersey was forged.
An estimated 70% of sports memorabilia is forged. George Throckmorton describes how he found a $750,000 Babe Ruth jersey was forged.
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How LDS Basketball & Genealogy Found Synergy with Hitler

When Adolf Hitler came to power, one of the things he wanted to do was to find Jews and Jewish ancestry.  He did this through genealogy.  Of course the LDS Church is very interested in genealogical research and used LDS basketball and genealogy to their advantage to leverage a better relationship with Hitler.

David:  We both know why Mormons do genealogy and that’s to research and eventually baptize ancestors who have passed away so they can receive temple ordinances and they can receive eternal exaltation.

We all know why the Germans did genealogy.  They did genealogy to identify anybody with Jewish blood so that the Jews could eventually be eliminated from the face of the earth.

It was just one of these things where the desires and needs of the church coincided with the desires and needs of the Nazi government.  The Mormons were not afraid to shout from the rooftops and put articles in the Deseret News back home with how wonderful it has become for the church now that the genealogy archives, doors have swung open, “so that everyone can prove their grandmother was not a Jewess.”

Was it a good idea for the LDS Church to help Hitler find Jews?

We’ll also talk about the 1936 Olympics.  How did Mormon missionaries help out with the German Olympic effort?  The answer is very interesting and Dr. David Nelson will tell us more about it in our next conversation.

The only people that knew anything about basketball in Germany at the time were a few foreign university students from the United States and Canada, and guess who?  The Mormon missionaries!

Check it out!

Since it’s the end of the year I wanted to ask a special favor.  We’re going to do a year-end review of all the fun interviews we’ve done here at Gospel Tangents, and I’d like to hear what was your most favorite interview, as well as what were the most surprising things you learned over this past year on Gospel Tangents?  You can email me at Gospel Tangents at gmail dot com or you can also check out this link https://kwiksurveys.com/s/zK1fouUh that I’ve got for a special survey.  I would like to include any comments you have in our year-end special.  It will be coming next week.  Please include that as soon as you can either by email or you can fill out the survey!  Thanks a lot.  I’d really appreciate it.

Take part in our online Survey on the Best of 2017 at Gospel Tangents