From Slaves to Saints
Slavery is not owned by Black Americans. Many suffer at the wicked dealing hands of oppression and slavery 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.
The Birth of American Slavery
In this nation, the USA, where only 12% of the people identify as Black, civilization paints a bleak picture of societal stability. Divisiveness increases to tribalism in the form of identities or ethnicities, not reassuring to think, after all, that racism still exists. Some of it is ignorance and some of it is the opportunity and some, a matter of willingness. Most Americans will only experience Black people on television or from a distance because there are not enough in number to go around for each White person to have a Black acquaintance. Most Americans identify as White people with colonial and/or pioneer heritage.
Understanding that the US is a nation of immigrants and refugees is not a concern for most, but it is also a nation of slaves. Slavery is antithetical to freedom, and the message does not compute to genuine members of a 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 progressive interpretations of colonial law and customs, which is one of the culprits.
- Religion became one of the culprits.
Court cases led to the creation of progressive interpretations of colonial law and customs.
Two cases come to mind, one less known and the other more well-known and exploited by historical revisionists to create 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. 
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 settle before freedom receives so much attention, especially when the political Right uses it disparagingly to justify slavery or blame the victims of slavery. Each time a conservative Right-leaning person uses this case as a way to equate chattel slavery to indentured servitude, they come away muted.
Mr. Johnson's case is the most infamous, and the second colonial court case. Anthony was a free Black man, African born--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 not 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 Caribbean is uniquely American. Slavery started because of women's rights violations at a time when women did not have recognizable rights outside of a marriage contract.
Convenience of Black Slavery
- Introduction of Lifelong indentured service.
- If the mother was a slave, so was the child.
- Religion misrepresented to support the existence of Black Slavery,
- Generations of supporting slavery.
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.
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's suffering that he or she could not know otherwise. 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 a Black person of African descent. His freedom was taken from Him because he did not fit into Jewish society because He was different. He knows what it's 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' 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 and the world.
Depiction of Good Samaritan
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:
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. 
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.
- The Curious History of Anthony Johnson: From Captive African to Right-wing Talking Point 
- Let God Prevail By President Russell M. Nelson 
Are you willing to let God prevail in your life? Are you willing to let God be the most important influence in your life?
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 Johnson