BYU Professor Randy Bott, well known for his mission preparation classes, was quoted in the Washington Post Tuesday explaining blacks’ denial of Mormon priesthood until 1978 as an act of God’s discrimination and the blacks’ lack of preparedness.
The article says Bott then went on to compare blacks to a young child asking for the keys to the car.
BYU Spokeswoman Carri Jenkins said in an interview BYU was not aware Bott had spoken to any media.
“Professors are free to speak when it comes to their research and subject,” she said, “but we ask that they do not speak on behalf of the Church or BYU.”
Jenkins neither confirmed or denied rumors of Bott possibly being fired saying, “We are handling it internally.”
Many students were upset including Terrell Wyche, a black BYU graduate.
“I refuse to believe God is discriminatory to anyone,” Wyche stated in a Facebook message in the page of the Provo Peace Forum, “at least not the God I know and love.”
Camlyn Giddins, another a black student currently studying at BYU, said she found little to worry about in it.
“It’s just an opinion, so why should I get mad?” she said.
Of all these voices, however, the one that came down loudest and hardest was that of the leaders of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
In what may have been record time, the Church leaders issued a public response through the LDS/Mormon Newsroom clearly stating Bott’s views were his own.
In fact, when asked to explain his position on the situation, Bott emailed the Student Review with only a link to the press release and the statement: “I have been asked by the Church to forward their response and endorse it. In order to be obedient, that will be the extent of my comment.”
The document reads, “BYU faculty members do not speak for the Church. It is unfortunate that the Church was not given a chance to respond to what others said. The Church’s position is clear—we believe all people are God’s children and are equal in His eyes and in the Church. We do not tolerate racism in any form.”
It then went on to state that there is no officially known reason as to why the priesthood was withheld from blacks.