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From Slaves to Saints

Updated on November 24, 2020
Rodric29 profile image

POLITICAL AND SOCIAL ISSUES are ever with us. Gain perspective by reading what Rodric has to say about it.

Slavery is not owned by Black Americans. Many suffer at the hands of oppression due to slavery even today. It is not the fact that slavery existed among the Americans alone, it is the impact that slavery has on the liberated people's descendants that counts. This article offers perspective on how the Restored Gospel can take the lives of people and turn them into Saints, specifically Black lives that also matter.

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The Birth of American Slavery

In this nation, the USA, where only 12% of the people identify as Black, it is not assuring to think that racism exists. Most Americans will only experience Black people on television or from a distance because there are not enough of them to go around for each White person to have a Black acquaintance.

Understanding that the US is a nation of immigrants and refugees is not a concern for most Americans, but it is also a nation of slaves. Slavery is antithetical to freedom and the message does not compute to genuine members of free society. It is part of the American cultural heritage that does not fit properly in the story we think of when remembering the land of the free. How could a free society ever condone human trafficking in any variation?

  • Court cases led to the creation of laws is one of the culprits.
  • Religion became one of the culprits.

Court cases led to the creation of laws is one of the culprits.

Two cases come to mind, one less known and the other more well-known and exploited by historical revisionists to createe doubt regarding the racial tie to slavery. The first case is mentioned by Tyler Parry.

The existing scholarship indicates that John Punch was the first man known to be perpetually enslaved on July 9, 1640, a punishment he received for attempting to flee his indenture. He absconded alongside two fellow servants, a “dutchman” named Victor and a “Scotchman called James Gregory.” Following their apprehension, his counterparts each received only one additional year upon their indenture, while Punch, listed as a “negro,” was enslaved “for the time of his natural Life.” Punch’s sentence documents an early framework for the growing attachment between Blackness and enslavement in North America, as the indentured white men did not receive similar punishment. Thus, Hugh Gwyn, the man who owned John Punch, would be the first recognized slaveholder, eliminating the spurious claim that a Black man innovated the North American system. Punch’s experience certainly foreshadowed legal maneuvers in the 18th century. As more African “servants” became permanently enslaved, their status was transmitted to their children. As historian Jennifer Morgan notes, it was this pairing of race, reproduction, and heritability that determined the racialization of chattel slavery in the Western Hemisphere. [1]

The court case of Anthony Johnson suing for the return of his servant who he claimed to be a lifelong possession instead of a human with debts to pay off before freedom is the most famous and second case. Anthony was a free Black man, African born, and set free after serving his term of indenture. His case and others like it set the tone for the racial disparity that would eventually lead to the dehumanizing of an entire race. Laws were passed to give the status of children the same status as their slave mothers creating a race of slaves.

Religion became one of the culprits.

Some Protestants misinterpreted the Bible, and without revelation from God, decided that it was agreeable to turn indentured servants of African heritage into lifetime servants, who then became slaves in America. It is important to remember that the first Black people who came to the United States were no slaves, but people with contracts to fulfill until freedom. The slavery that existed in one hundred years following the first group of 20 Africans transported to the Colonies from the Carribean is uniquely American. Slavery started because of women's rights violations at a time when women did not have recognizable rights.

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Convenience of Black Slavery

  1. Introduction of Lifelong indentured service.
  2. If the mother was a slave, so was the child.
  3. Religion misrepresented to support the existence of Black Slavery,
  4. Generations of supporting slavery.

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The Restored Gospel is one of Inclusion.

All people are invited and receive birthright in the House of Israel as the children of Abraham through Baptism. Confirmation. and other ordinances. The other sheep that Christ went searching for are found in the hearts of every person, every Black American person who seeks to follow Jesus Christ’s example of baptism. Now, notice that I excluded no one, but I specifically mention Black people.

The Lord specifically taught His Word to the Jews before it went to the rest of the people of the world. His word is for all, but He visited and made mention of one group. Now, this group of Blacks in America matter because it is their turn. Next, maybe it will be the peasants in China or the untouchables in India. The focus of this article is the Blacks in America.

Black Americans overwhelmingly come from slave ancestry—a lost, fallen and rejected people of the world. These slave people sought God, the very God that the White men preached to them to justify enslaving them. This group of people were lost to the human family and treated as if they were not human. Why am I mentioning this? Well, it had to start somewhere. Someone decided that Africans with a high melanin count and kinky hair did not have as much value as other people.

God went seeking after them, but first He had to set them free. Because those people, an entire race matters, God softened the hearts of the White men who fought for their liberty. He then softened the hearts of the White people so that over time they would treat them with more dignity as the years progressed. He then empowered them, Blacks, to stand upon their own feet to claim their freedom.

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Each time the Lord blesses Black people, Satan comes up with a plan to drag them down using racism as either a tool of oppression or a crutch for failure. Some fall into the trap. Others avoid it. Blacks were NEVER meant to be slaves in America. It was supposed to be a land of freedom for all. As with any bad thing, enterprising people took advantage of a situation. Why not keep the African slaves for life. Unlike the White slaves and Native slaves, these Africans had no language or connections in America as did the other slaves.

Moroni tells Black people “I would exhort you that ye would come unto Christ, and lay hold upon every good gift, and touch not the evil gift, nor the unclean thing,” Moroni 10:30. Every soul that suffers persecution or discrimination at the hands of others has an insight into Christ that those who do not suffer from those things will not have. Christ understands it all!

Alma, as he spoke to the people of the city of Gideon before Jesus’s birth, foretold that Christ “will take upon him death, that he may loose the bands of death which bind his people; and he will take upon him their infirmities, that his bowels may be filled with mercy, according to the flesh, that he may know according to the flesh how to succor his people according to their infirmities,” Alma 7:12.

Christ knows what life is like to be Black. His freedom was taken from Him because he did not fit into Jewish society because He was different. He knows what its like to have the peering eyes of oppression upon Him because through His atonement, He felt all the pains of each African Slave snatched away by traitors and sold into bondage. He felt each cry an African daughter made at being ravaged by cruel masters. He knows what it feels like to be a Black man because he suffered it in Gethsemane and from the hands of Romans and the leaders of His own people--betrayed like the Africans's betrayal by those that should not have sold them to the Europeans. He KNOWS how to succor, relieve, bind up, assure, and heal Black America--the world.

Depiction of Good Samaritan

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Samaritans and Jews go equally before God

White people used religion to justify slavery for decades. Even in The Restored Gospel the spurious charges of racial decadence found an inroad during a good portion of the history of the Church. God, in wisdom, revealed to a prophet in 1978 that race should not be a standard by which worthiness is judged for the blessing of Abraham. He further revealed through Russell M. Nelson in 2020 that

Brothers and sisters, please listen carefully to what I am about to say. God does not love one race more than another. His doctrine on this matter is clear. He invites all to come unto Him, “black and white, bond and free, male and female.”

I assure you that your standing before God is not determined by the color of your skin. Favor or disfavor with God is dependent upon your devotion to God and His commandments and not the color of your skin.

I grieve that our Black brothers and sisters the world over are enduring the pains of racism and prejudice. Today I call upon our members everywhere to lead out in abandoning attitudes and actions of prejudice. I plead with you to promote respect for all of God’s children. [2]

White people used racism in the past to deny Black people blessings. By the same White people today, God extends fellowship Black have a birthright to and deserve as saints. It is unfortunate that it took over 100 years for the Restored Church of Christ to learn that lesson, but it learned. The people of the Church learned and are learning. Why did it take that long? That is a question for another article.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2018 Rodric Anthony

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    • Rodric29 profile imageAUTHOR

      Rodric Anthony 

      20 months ago from Surprise, Arizona

      Mark, thanks for reading. Thanks for reading so many of my articles and offering comments. I am glad you liked my perspective on this article.

    • Mark O Richardson profile image

      Mark Richardson 

      20 months ago from Utah

      Interesting article and I like your perspective.

    • Rodric29 profile imageAUTHOR

      Rodric Anthony 

      2 years ago from Surprise, Arizona

      Thanks for checking this out Bill. I do not think that it is prevalent so much as it is just talked about by a bunch of loud people. There are too few Blacks in America for there to be as big of a mess as there is, but I like to think that most Black people have a similar experience to me. Media makes racism and prejudice seem more prevalent in my mind than it is. I can count on one hand the number of times I recall feeling singled out because of my skin color and race in a negative way. Most of my experiences have been positive regarding race.

      Now, online is a different story. It can be vicious online. I don't count those experiences. I know I am writing a lot about BLM and Black American perspective. It is the writer itch that wants to come out and be scratched. I just hope that I can present details in a way that makes sense, edifies and entertains.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      For the life of me, I just don't understand how this can still be an issue in 2018. We can chalk it up to greed and ignorance 200 years ago, but today? We still have this problem? How is that possible? How can this type of ignorance still be so prevalent today? It saddens me!

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