Wednesday, June 25, 2014

David O. McKay

A friend of mine posted a story about David O. Mckay on facebook this morning, and I wanted to say that I like David O. McKay a lot. I wish I could have heard him speak when he was alive.

In 1965, When 15-20,000 Nigerians had converted to the BOM on their own and were begging the church to send missionaries to baptize them, McKay actually floated the idea in a meeting of the fifteen of ordaining their men to the Aaronic Priesthood so that they could baptize converts and preside over their own meetings. This would have predated the lift of the ban by 13 years.

This was at the time of a lot of political unrest in Africa. Harold B. Lee opposed the idea on the grounds of that political unrest, opposed sending missionaries, and he was backed up by Mark E. Petersen, Ezra Taft Benson, and Gordon B. Hinkley. Over the course of several meetings, McKay pressed the issue of the importance of not abandoning the Nigerian converts and finding some way to establish a branch of the Church in their country, and he met resistance from members of the Twelve and from members of his own presidency. The only member of the Twelve that was supportive of the idea was Hugh B. Brown.

Eventually, the Biafran war broke out in 1967, and McKay had to put plans to enter Nigeria on hold indefinitely. All of this history can be read in Gregory Prince's biography of McKay.

Men like McKay, who was not a perfect man but a very tolerant and deliberate leader, make me extremely fond of the Church. He was -><- this close to lifting the Priesthood ban more than a decade before Kimball finally did. But the Church is also rife with men like Harold B. Lee, who opposed ordination for blacks, opposed proselyting to black Africans, swore to his family that no black student would ever walk across BYU campus while he was president of the church, and took the Relief Society out of the hands of its female presidency and placed it under the direction of a male committee led by a member of the Twelve in 1969.

Such things suggest to me that I should be very careful with where I place my faith. It is my opinion that faith should be placed upon Christ alone, and not in imperfect, temporary institutions. The scriptures declare this also. The Church is only "true" when it happens to align with the Gospel, and this is simply not always the case.

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