A child’s curiosity and natural desire to learn are like a tiny flame, easily extinguished unless it’s protected and given fuel. This book will help you as a parent both protect that flame of curiosity and supply it with the fuel necessary to make it burn bright throughout your child’s life. Let’s ignite our children’s natural love of learning!
January 21st, 2008
What Martin Luther King, Jr. Did
photo credit: Gymkatat
Martin Luther King, Jr. is a man remembered for many things. Honored in our day for his non-violent opposition to injustice and his adamant dream of peace, King symbolizes the hope that many people share for a similar dream made real. Inspired by his activism and bold demands for equality under the law, unseen patriots march onwards today in a similar quest.
While many of the issues King advocated have been brought to resolution, threats to liberty still exist and continue to extend their roots, gaining a firm grip that will not easily relent. In a speech given over four decades ago, King discussed the hegemony he saw—the real threat to liberty in our day:
I have tried to offer [these desperate, rejected, and angry young men] my deepest compassion while maintaining my conviction that social change comes most meaningfully through nonviolent action. But they ask — and rightly so — what about Vietnam? They ask if our own nation wasn’t using massive doses of violence to solve its problems, to bring about the changes it wanted. Their questions hit home, and I knew that I could never again raise my voice against the violence of the oppressed in the ghettos without having first spoken clearly to the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today — my own government. For the sake of those boys, for the sake of this government, for the sake of the hundreds of thousands trembling under our violence, I cannot be silent. (Martin Luther King, Jr., via Quoty)
What Martin Luther King, Jr. did was to stand up and speak out—to raise a warning voice to one of the real and more menacing threats to liberty: the men in our own government, the so-called “leaders of the free world”. Arguing against the war in Vietnam, King spoke words that have never rang more true than they do in our day:
A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death. (Martin Luther King, Jr., via Quoty)
What King did raised the awareness of the common people to one of the true sources of our nation’s spiritual decay, loss of freedom, and oppressive policies. Echoing similar words spoken by Joseph Smith while he, like King, was imprisoned at the time, King stated:
We know through painful experience that freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor, it must be demanded by the oppressed. (Martin Luther King, Jr., via Quoty)
What King did was to start an ongoing revolution, one that continues in our day with another advocate of non-violent civil disobedience when faced with oppressive policies and programs.
The fanned flames of liberty continue to shine their light in a dark day of big government, decreasing civil liberties, and foreign aggression. What King did still trudges onward as a tribute to one of the great men who sued for peace and advocated individual liberty.
42 Responses to “What Martin Luther King, Jr. Did”
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Exploring the similarities between the Vietnam war and the one we’re currently fighting in Iraq, one blogger notes:
Lovers of liberty are frequently denounced and sidelined by those in power at the time (who often benefit from loose fiscal policies and foreign wars), but later honored for their stances. It’s as Ghandi said: “First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.”
And so it goes in our day. Those who oppose the present war are often labeled as unpatriotic, traitorous, or sympathetic to terrorism. It is only later in life that such people are vindicated and their words shown to be truthful despite the few that believed.
I received a NewsWithViews.com alert today with an article offered by Alan Stang entitled “UnCelebrate Martin Luther King Day.” While I am not in a position to refute his words, I was quite concerned that most of what he said is not typically found in the MSM. I personally was moved by the realization that this man has a public holiday all to himself while President Washington is generically remembered on Presidents Day.
I’m not a fan of forced celebrations. I believe that they encourage us to compartmentalize our thoughts and actions into instances rather than processes. Instead of honoring this nation’s founding on one day of the year, we should be honoring it every day of the year through word and deed. The same goes for Christ and Christmas, our spouse and Valentine’s Day, and any number of other holidays that are largely commercialized and trivialized.
I didn’t get the day off of work today, but I’m not too upset since I’m not a fan of the government mandating such things. Let me celebrate the holidays I wish, for the reasons I choose.
Most holidays are left up to the states to decide, though most tend to follow the lead of the federal government.
I agree completely. However, this article was more of a scathing expose’ of the character and actions of MLK which would indicate, to me at least, that he should likely be remembered in a more infamous light. If you have not read it or are not aware of these indictments leveled against him, I recommend you peruse the article.
I can’t give you specifics, but years ago, a man in my ward who was retired from the FBI told me that in his last ten years of service, his sole duty was to follow MLK and to tap his phones, bug his rooms, get everything on him that he could. He told me that he was not able to discuss anything specific about MLK, but that if I knew the kind of person he was, it would make the hairs stand up on the back of my neck. He went on to describe him and the most vile and lewd person he ever knew. I have no particular opinion on it, except that I knew this man well and he was an honorable and decent high priest in our ward and I doubt he would make those kinds of things up.
I’m just curious, but what did Ezra Taft Benson think about Martin Luther King Jr. If I recall correctly, he considered him a Communist, didn’t he?
I can already see some of your commentators have brought up some of the more acrid beliefs among rightists, the Ron Paul-John Birch Society types who were really frightened in giving blacks the same equal rights that whites got.
I’m just curious, but what did Ezra Taft Benson think about Martin Luther King Jr.
No, you’re not “just curious”. You know full well what you’re referring to, and what the implications of Benson’s statement are. No need to play coy. Doing so is akin to Huckabee feigning ignorance in the Jesus/Satan doctrinal issue.
I’m not endorsing King’s entire life, nor his various stances and campaigns. I’m only discussing here his activism for liberty. Whether he was a puppet, and pawn, or an agent unto himself, I cannot say.
Regarding the more “acrid” beliefs suggested here, I will have to do a bit more homework. If there’s anything I’ve learned, it’s that in order to obtain truth one must first unlearn everything previously taught as fact.
“Ron Paul-John Birch Society types who were really frightened in giving blacks the same equal rights that whites got.”
You aren’t serious, are you? ‘Cause if you are, your credibility is below ground zero.
It is not my intent to stir the waters of clarity by inviting commentary from those whose sole purpose in life seems to be intent upon doing otherwise. I also did not intend to illicit remarks which are ever so clearly, ignorant.
I do not believe anyone in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints who has a clear understanding of the mind of the Lord would have any doubt that neither the leadership nor the body of His Church collectively were “frightened” about blacks having equal rights with whites. We have all had equal rights since we peopled this prepared sphere. When the announcement was made concerning our black brethren holding the Sacred Priesthood, it was due to the Lord making the decision to reveal to His “Mouthpiece” who was Spencer W. Kimball that the time, the Lord’s time, was right. It had nothing to do with what anyone on earth wanted. Albeit, the prayers of many previous prophets and souls upon the earth likely moved the Lord compassionately to let it be so. I get absolutely repulsed at those who believe they, the blacks, had been denied the equality of blessings due to the decisions of the leadership and body of the church and we only recanted due to political pressures from outside of the church. Any member of the Church, in my opinion, who believes otherwise is quite deluded in their assumptions.
I, for one, am proud to be a “rightest” since that seems to be the only place one is able to discern the truth. I am also even more proud to find myself among those who have been given the moniker of “Ron Paul-John Birch Society types.” Of course you already know I would follow President Ezra Taft Benson anywhere since I know he is within the Lord’s inner circle at this very moment. As I look back, I cannot see anyone on the left having ever had a truthful and positive impact for the good of mankind. The Lord is on the right hand of Heavenly Father and I do not recall the Lord ever making any positive commentary about those on the left of His gospel plan.
Good post Connor. I consider this speech one of the greatest ever given. He also mixes in the Gospel of Love as a reason why we should be opposed the imperialist war we had in Vietnam. His comments showed that he was way before his time in his understanding of the secret combinations that led us into that war and continue to work today.
It really bugs me when our warmongering President uses MLK and says we should pay attention to his words so that people can get along together. Of course, all of our candidates had to get a piece of the MLK pie too. They actually couldn’t be further away from the teachings of that great man, but the hypocrisy continues without comment in our media.
I don’t want to comment too much on Mr. McKee’s ignorance of history and of church history, but I do want to make one point:
This is absurd even for one deluded like Mr. McKee to try and spin. We have NOT all had equal rights since we peopled this prepared sphere. Blacks were denied the priesthood (for whatever reason). Did they have equal rights to whites before 1978? Nope. To hear Mr. McKee now say that we have always had equal rights since we “peopled this prepared sphere” is just absurd, delusional, and an example of how one who has previously accepted that inequality now must somehow cover his butt.
We have NOT all had equal rights since we peopled this prepared sphere.
Perhaps what Michael was trying to say is that God has granted us all individual liberty, but that liberty can be removed through the wickedness of those in charge.
But your contention regarding the priesthood is unfounded, as people throughout the history of this earth have not had the priesthood (e.g. only the tribe of Levi enjoying such “rights”), so to argue that the denial of the priesthood equates to the denial of “equal rights” implies that you think women are still held in a lower role and thus should be given the priesthood as well in order to be “equal”. God-granted authority does not equate to rights. We have no right to anything but that which God decides to give.
Some seem to imply that the priesthood is a right. I just don’t understand that concept. If the priesthood is the authority to act in God’s name, how can that be a “right”, even for the righteous? It seems more like it has to be a gift from God. No one has any “right” to act in my name or on my behalf, but I could give them that responsibility. It just seems arrogant to assume that any of us should have a claim to God’s authority without his consent.
Please share with us where the Lord stated that blacks could not get the priesthood. I would like to see a definitive statement like that of the 1978 revelation. I know Joseph Smith gave the Melchezidek Priesthood to several blacks, so it didn’t originate from him. Furthermore, this statement from the Lord (whenever it was pronounced) doesn’t share the same fanfare as the 1978 revelation. You’d think a revelation from the Lord would be fairly clear and well read. So please, share with me where the Lord declared that blacks could not receive the priesthood.
This debate has been hashed out endlessly elsewhere. There is no conclusive documentation showing why or when the initial ban took place.
Regardless of the historical implications of the priesthood ban, this does not equate to “rights”. This has more to do with an entitlement mentality (people thinking they deserve what only God can give) than it does with individual liberty that is granted to all (contingent upon the law under which they live at the time, and if said law restricts that God-given liberty through unrighteous dominion).
It is utterly amazing to me how some will proclaim, so enthusiastically, that all around them are ignorant save themselves. I am thankful to know that those poor souls will have no part to play in consigning me to my eternal reward.
That being said, I find it even more curious that some would proclaim that “Blacks were denied the priesthood (for whatever reason).” Considering their self proclaimed omnipotence, one would think they would know that the Lord does not necessarily explain why he chooses to withhold this eternal blessing from some of Heavenly Father’s children until such time as he sees appropriate. I am certain the wisdom utilized by the Lord contains no such delusions. One might also surmise that these all-knowing adherents to the misinformation they so gleefully absorbed while floundering in the waters of secular baptism known as “higher education” would realize that no man has the power to withhold that which he cannot give. While I realize profoundly that I am ignorant of many things, I am certainly not lacking in the ability to recognize the same deficiency in my detractors. I certainly hope I have covered the entirety of my anatomy with these words.
The importance of when this ban on blacks began is highly important, especially in light of how public and vast its repudiation came in 1978. Just where did it begin? Did it really begin with God? Or was it man who began the ban, who said blacks are not worthy of the priesthood? J. Stapley has an opportune post over on By Common Consent of the blessing Joseph Smith gave a black man named Brother Able upon receiving the priesthood.
You’re too focused on the word “rights,” when you shouldn’t be. You’re trying to distract from the real essence of my criticism, Connor. Leave the red herring behind, sir.
See, and this is important. If the ban on blacks receiving the priesthood did come from men, then it is a matter of equal rights. Because men took it upon themselves to deny blacks the same rights they themselves have. If the ban on blacks receiving the priesthood indeed came from God, then your point is correct. The point is about rights, but not like you think, Connor. The point is about the rights to receive the gift of the priesthood.
So again, show me where the Lord explicitly told his prophet (and the rest of the world) that blacks could not hold the priesthood.
The importance of when this ban on blacks began is highly important, especially in light of how public and vast its repudiation came in 1978
It’s always interesting to see which posts bring you back after saying you’ve signed off for good.
I read Stapley’s post this morning. I know about Elijah, and about other black members that received the priesthood prior to the ban. But what does this have to do with Martin Luther King, Jr.?
In order to rebut your assertion, you are asking me to prove something that no historian has successfully and conclusively proven himself. You show me where the prophet issued the ruling on blacks not receiving priesthood, saying that it was not from the Lord, and then I’ll let you win this match. Until that time, this is a moot point that will lead nowhere.
It began with Brigham Young, though the issue of racism cannot be placed solely at his feet. Many members of the church near the beginning were quite racist (heck, nearly all of America was back then!). The most definitive statement from Brigham Young on blacks and the priesthood doesn’t come from a general conference, but from an address to the territorial legislature in 1852, where he said:
It is very important to note where this statement was given. To a political gathering, his gubernatorial address.
I feel for you Connor:
You try to be honest, sincere and respectful, and the authoritarians whom you break bread with just can’t understand why you spoke favorably of Dr. King. Martin LUther King jr. was a far greater man than Ezra Taft Benson ever was, but Mr. McKee uses ETB as a weapon against King’s legacy.
In the words of my mentor, “how embarrassing.”
…Dr. King. Martin LUther King jr. was a far greater man than Ezra Taft Benson ever was…
Not sure if I’ll agree with you on that one.
I don’t think Connor is trying to defend every aspect of King’s life and character here by simply pointing out the positive aspects of what he stood for. Equal rights and equal treatment of all men is a good cause, even if championed by someone believed to be less than noble. I don’t think anyone here has disagreed with that.
You are absolutely correct in your analysis. I, too, believe MLK made statements which were admirable and worthy of consideration notwithstanding his deplorable moral deficiencies and his repulsive plagiarism. Unfortunately the vast majority of the American people were not made aware of his less than sterling character and I believe the American people have a sacred duty to demand that truth prevail when they are considering the leadership potential of any public figure. One of the most insidious and problematic areas of ignorance in our nation lies in the fact that the populous accepts the lies perpetrated by those in government and the media who are rapidly bringing this nation to a state of moral acceptance the likes of which is mete for destruction.
The comment by Obi wan liberali is a prime example of my point and it shows an absolute disconnect from reality and truth. “By their fruits…….
The moral allegations against MLK are not much more than urban legend. I suppose some people somehow feel empowered by pulling down someone who has accomplished so much.
Deplorable moral character? Wow I thought he had a holiday named after him. I also thought he was a respected member of the Christian community. I thought he was an anti-war crusader.
If you’re referring to the accusations by the FBI, you might read up on how the tapes were made, who asked for them, and why. You might read memoirs from a close friend who reported that he was quite the womanizer, but never knew about any sex scandals.
What the FBI found was “midnight talk”. A bunch of guys talking late at night about women. Bad? Yeah, probably. Does this somehow shatter a lifetime of accomplishment?
And do you really know what he plagiarized? One third of part of a paper. A third. He still got his degree. Some argue it was a stylistic choice anyway. Does that mean we start negating things like Nobel Peace prizes and *leading* the civil rights movement?
One of the most insidious and problematic areas of ignorance in our nation lies in the fact that the populous accepts the lies perpetrated by those in government and the media who are rapidly bringing this nation to a state of moral acceptance the likes of which is mete for destruction.
One reason they’re skeptics is because so many fall prey to conspiracy theory (omg he was a communist), urban legend (he copied stuff for his Dream speech), and trite rumor (did you know he was a sexual predator?).
Check your facts, please.
From whence come your FACTS?
Re: sexual stuff:
And The Walls Came Tumbling Down, Ralph Abernathy (close associate of MLKs)
NYT Review of the book
(Includes text on ruling from Boston University – note they didn’t think his degree should be revoked since the paper was still an intellectual contribution)
Oh, and please don’t quote me anything from Drue Lackey (biased policeman), or the FBI (who was on a biased goose-chase for a communist), or spam emails. 🙂
“… when I was awakened, he was coming out of the room with this lady and maybe, I don’t know what they did, he never told me…”
Urban legend? Maybe, but your evidence doesn’t prove it didn’t happen. All known copies of the FBI tapes on MLK are sealed in the National Archives until 2027, right? I’m not trying to say either way because I don’t know, just saying… case not closed like you seem to imply.
Read the review, where he clarifies that statement.
Urban legend? Maybe, but your evidence doesn’t prove it didn’t happen. All known copies of the FBI tapes on MLK are sealed in the National Archives until 2027, right? I’m not trying to say either way because I don’t know, just saying… case not closed like you seem to imply.
In my country you’re innocent until proven guilty. I’m not saying he’s perfect. I’m saying you’re making too much out of nothing. I’m saying you’re focusing on something that *might* be bad, and forgetting about the mountains of good this man did.
I do not believe, in a court of law, that we could attach credibility to your sources without questioning motive. Notwithstanding, your evidence would certainly be dismissed as “hearsay.”
Yes, I already read the entire review, and the point I was trying to make was that he said he didn’t know conclusively one way or the other.
Hello? The original post is all about the good he did, which we all acknowledge. Who’s forgetting that?
Now that makes more sense.
You’re welcome to your own opinion. It must be opinion, because you offer no reasons for your view.
It should go without saying, that I disagree with you completely. First-hand accounts from a life long friend thrown out as hearsay?
The ruling from the board at Boston University isn’t hearsay. You can find it. It’s documented, so I don’t understand what you’re talking about.
I’ve justified my sources. They’re only a person removed from Dr. King himself. If you can’t find reason in that, our discussion is probably over.
I apologize – I was on the defensive and I realize I read you wrong. There are some in this thread that seem to want to think this great person should be discredited for what I would categorize as the follies of man.
To be clear, though, whatever follies he did or didn’t have shouldn’t discredit the ideas of freedom and equality he stood up for. They may discredit his reputation and perhaps that is what you are trying to prevent. I guess I am neutral with regards to how his character is portrayed. The truth is known by the One who is fit to judge, so I won’t make it my concern. Should I find evidence that he is less noble than he is upheld to be, it wouldn’t change the worthiness of the cause he fought for.
Well said, Carissa. Nice, balanced view of the situation.
You and Mr. McKee who apparently would rather focus on these unproven allegations (which also would be dismissed as hearsay in a court of law) against a good man who did much good in this nation. Don’t hold him to the standard of your church if he did not get an opportunity or did not accept the standards of your church.
I have learned very well over time that it is a formidable task to successfully disagree with those who are prone to myopic opinionated belief systems. However one might try, it is a virtual impossibility to engage them in meaningful and substantive conversation due to their inability to hear anything that tends to be counter productive to their self imposed worldview which they received from listening to those who are of the same stripe. The only accomplishments one might realize is that they are masterful at confusion and rhetorical hyperbole. There are certainly scriptural warnings against following after these souls due to their consistent methodology at deceiving even the very elect among us. Their skills are finely honed and polished due to the nature of the spirit with which they associate their dominant thoughts. One can only hope that they will awaken themselves from the stupor of thought which leads them toward the point of no return.
I will offer this final opinion from someone other than myself and the many other sources available to seek out and find the truth. I do so in complete agreement with the author:
As every reasonable observer has commented, neither King’s sexual wanderings nor his scholarly misdeeds detract from his core achievement. By continually publicizing black grievances while putting a palatable, nonviolent face on resistance to jim crow, King paved the way for the landmark civil rights legislation of the 1960s and a major turnaround in public attitudes about race. But there’s no getting around the fact that he was a complex and deeply flawed man. Was he a great American? No argument here. Was he a fraud and a hypocrite? He was that, too.
Dan, if you think Carissa is focusing on Dr. King’s personal life, you may not be reading her posts very carefully. She responded to one person talking about an “urban legend”, but other than that has focused on the point of this post, which is the good he did.
Right back at you, sir.
Why is it that you’re so antagonistic? Why is it that I’m accused of focusing on the bad and ignoring the good simply by not giving the man saint status? Can great things not be accomplished by less than great men? I don’t understand this preservation of reputation… if he is shown to be of less than savory character someday, what do you stand to lose? I really am not trying to say either way, I just don’t get this. I have a feeling that what it comes down to for you is President Benson vs your opinion though, again. Correct me if I’m wrong. If MLK’s reputation and honor can be upheld, it’s one more arrow in your quiver against Benson’s words and his politics, no?
Know what’s even harder than working with someone who’s married to their views? Working with someone who spews opinion as fact, offering no basis for their views. You leave me no room to critique your logic, because you have none.
Michael, I’ve offered sources and reasons for believing in those sources. You’ve only refuted those sources and reasons with complaints about how myopic or close-minded I am…. yet in doing so you offer *no* premises, *no* counter sources, *no* argument in return.
I’ve justified my position, yet you continue to sling baseless accusations from the sidelines, devoid of any argument on your own.
This’ll be my last reply to you on this thread, as this sort of irrational name calling behavior has a tendency to antagonize, rather than to explore the topic at hand.
I’ll place Cecil Adams’ opinion on the same shelf as yours until you provide me a reason for giving them any weight. His opine doesn’t even make sense. I wouldn’t consider someone who was a fraud and a hypocrite also to be a great American. Makes no sense at all.
Are we all frauds and hypocrites at some level? Yes. Why are great leaders in America exempt from the same forgiveness we allow each other every day? And how in the world does this somehow tarnish this man’s record?
If anyone is going to be accused of myopia, it would be those that are so short-sighted on MLK’s average human faults that they somehow miss his monumental advances in other areas of his life.
I for one am very glad that most states in this nation (is it all of ’em now? I know Arizona and Utah [where I’ve lived] adopted them rather late) celebrate a holiday named specifically for Martin Luther King, Jr.
I find King’s speeches, writings, and causes to be incredibly moving and I am grateful that he gave them, that he wrote them, and that he got involved with such inspirational action – whatever his personal vices may or may not turn out to be in the final accounting.
I also echo Connor when he notes that many of the causes that King championed are still ongoing struggles and I hope that more people can turn their limited time and efforts to helping in those struggles rather than casting stones (at King or one another lol).
In re-reading through Pres. Hinckley’s Standing For Something I came across this quote which I found applicable to the subject at hand:
Now, I am aware that this post has been closed for nearly two years… but I can’t pass up this opportunity to share some of the truth that I have.
Martin Luther King Jr. was not a man of principle. He was a liar, and a communist. In the words of Ezra Taft Benson:
“The man who is generally recognized as the leader of the so-called civil rights movement today in America is a man who has lectured at a communist training school, who has solicited funds through communist sources, who hired a communist as a top-level aide, who has affiliated with communist fronts, who is often praised in the communist press and who unquestionably parallels the communist line. This same man advocates the breaking of the law and has been described by J. Edgar Hoover as “the most notorious liar in the country””
What I the Lord have spoken, I have spoken, and I excuse not myself; and though the heavens and the earth pass away, my word shall not pass away, but shall all be fulfilled, whether by mine own voice or by the voice of my servants, it is the same.
End of story. End of discussion, goodbye and goodnight, nothing more needs to be said.