Mormonism and Black Skin
See also, The Mormons and Black Skin: The Racists past of the LDS Church - Recorded live at a weekly apologetic class.
“But let them apostatize, and they will become gray-haired, wrinkled, and black, just like the Devil" (Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, vol. 5, p. 332
When Mormon missionaries come to the door of literally thousands of potential converts they will assure the unsuspecting that they represent "Jesus Christ" and are preaching His Gospel. However, that is not the case on many accounts. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS) cannot escape their racist past. For nearly 150 years, the Mormon Church had taught that ALL blacks were cursed. Hence, a black Mormon male could not hold the highly regarded LDS Priesthood1 because of his dark skin. And since he could not hold this Priesthood, he could not enter the Mormon Temple.
This doctrine in no way, shape, or form can be substantiated in Scripture. Only in the LDS scriptures does this racist doctrine exist.
To determine official LDS doctrine from unofficial speculation let us read the statements that were made by the General Authorities of the LDS Church as well as citations from the LDS "standard works." So then, official LDS teaching cannot be evaded or denied as many Mormons (especially uninformed missionaries) often do.
Cursed in Pre-existence
But, before we read what LDS leaders have taught concerning the "cursed line," we will need to go back and discover as to why dark skinned people are cursed. Then we will have a better understanding of Mormon thought on this issue. Mormons teach that when the "council of the Gods" were planning how to redeemed mankind Jesus desired to save man by giving them their free choice, however Lucifer objected and wanted to force men to serve God.
LDS scholar Bruce R. McConkie tells us:
When the plan of salvation presented . . . and when the need for a Redeemer was explained, Satan offered to come into the world as the Son of God and be the Redeemer. "Behold here am I, send me," he said. . . . But then, as always, he was in opposition to the full plan of the Father, and so he sought to amend and change the terms of salvation; he sought to deny men their agency and to dethrone God (Bruce R. McConkie, Mormon Doctrine, 193).
Therefore, the Gods rejected Lucifer's plan, which resulted in a war between the good spirit children, and the spirit children that sided with Lucifer (a third of them). But there was a group of spirits that were less valiant in this war. Hence, God (the head God) was very displeased with them so He turned their skin black. Tenth President Joseph Fielding Smith explains:
There is a reason why one man is born black and with other disadvantages, while another is born white with great advantages. The reason is that we once had an estate before we came here, and were obedient; more or less, to the laws that were given us there. Those who were faithful in all things there [pre-existence] received greater blessings here, and those who were not faithful received less. . . . There were no neutrals in the war in Heaven. All took sides either with Christ or with Satan. Every man had his agency there, and men receive rewards here based upon their actions there, just as they will receive rewards hereafter for deeds done in the body. The Negro, evidently, is receiving the reward he merits (Joseph Fielding Smith, Doctrines of Salvation, 1:61, 65-66; emphasis added).
LDS Apostle Bruce R. McConkie furthers this teaching:
Those who were less valiant in pre-existence and who thereby had certain spiritual restrictions impose on them during mortality are known to us as the negroes. Such spirits are sent to earth through the lineage of Cain, the mark put upon him for his rebellion against God, and his murder of Able being a black skin. . . . Noah's son married Egyptus, a descendant of Cain, thus preserving the negro lineage through the flood. . . . the negro are not equal with other races where the receipt of certain spiritual blessings are concern. . . . " (Mormon Doctrine, 527-28; 1966 orig. ed., changed in the current ed.; emphasis added).
Now, we can have more of a clearer perspective as to why the LDS would teach such blatant racism that Scripture never condones. Now we will read what LDS General Authorities had taught concerning the, what they termed, "cursed lineage," that is, dark skinned people (particularly Negroes).
Joseph Smith first president, prophet, and founder of the Mormon Church:
Had I anything to do with the negro, I would confine them by strict law to their own species, and put them on a national equalization" (Joseph Fielding Smith, Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, 270; History of the Church, 5: 218; emphasis added).
"Thursday, 8--Held Mayor's court and tried two negroes for attempting to marry two white women: fined one $25, and the other $5" (ibid., 6: 210).
and the rebellious niggers in the slave states. . . " (Millennial Star, 22:602; emphasis added).
When Mormon Historians reprinted this in the History of the Church, they change it to read:
"and the rebellious negroes in the slave states. . . " (History of the Church, 6:158; emphasis added).
Brigham Young second President and Prophet:
You see some classes of the human family that are black, uncouth, uncomely, disagreeable and low in their habits, wild and seemingly deprived of nearly all the blessings of the intelligence that is generally bestowed upon mankind. . . . Cain slew his brother. Cain might have been killed, and that would put a termination to that line of human beings. This was not to be, and the Lord put a mark upon him, which was the flat nose and black skin. Trace mankind down to after the flood, and then another cursed is pronounced upon the same race--that they should be the "servants of servants;" and they will be until that curse is removed; and the Abolitionists cannot help it, nor in the least alter that decree (Journal of Discourses, 7:290; emphasis added)
Shall I tell you the law of God in regard to the African race? If the white man who belongs to the chosen seed mixes his blood with the seed of Cain, the penalty, under the law of God, is death on the spot. This will always be (ibid., 10:110; emphasis added)
Brigham Young stated that his sermons (as cited above) are Scripture:
I have never yet preached a sermon and sent it out to the children of man, that they may not call Scripture (ibid., 13:95).
John Taylor, third President and Prophet.
after the flood we are told that the curse that had been pronounced upon Cain was continued through Ham's wife, as he had married a wife of that seed. And why did it pass through the flood? Because it was necessary that the devil should have a representation upon the earth as well as God. . . . (ibid., 23:304; emphasis added).
That the "curse lineage" (dark skin) is Satan's representation on earth, was taught clearly by the third President and Prophet of the Mormon Church, John Taylor. Taylor goes on to teach:
When he [Satan] destroyed the inhabitants of the antediluvian worlds, he suffered a descendant of Cain to come through the flood in order that he might be properly represented upon the earth (ibid., 23:336; emphasis added).
Wilford Woodruff, who became the fourth President and Prophet of the LDS Church:
What was that mark? It was a mark of blackness. That mark rested upon Cain, and descended upon his posterity from that time until the present. To day there are millions of the descendants of Cain, through the lineage of Ham, in the world, and that mark of darkness still rest upon them (Millennial Star, 51:339; emphasis added).
Joseph Fielding Smith, tenth President and Prophet.
In 1963, Look magazine interviewed, at that time, the leader of the LDS Church; Joseph Fielding Smith. Concerning negroes, Smith stated:
I would not want you to believe that we bear any animosity toward the Negro. 'Darkies' are wonderful people, and they have their place in our church (Look magazine, October 22, 1963, 79; emphasis added).
Smith also taught that "Negroes" were inferior to other races:
Not only was Cain called upon to suffer, but because of his wickedness he became the father of an inferior race. A curse was place upon him and that curse has been continued through his lineage and must do so while time endures. Millions of souls have come into this world cursed with black skin and have been denied the privilege of Priesthood and the fullness of the blessings of the Gospel. These are the descendants of Cain. Moreover, they have been made to feel their inferiority and have been separated from the rest of mankind from the beginning… we will also hope that blessings may eventually be given to our Negro brethren, for they are our brethren--children of God---notwithstanding their black covering emblematical of eternal darkness (The Way to Perfection, 101-02; emphasis added).
And, as previously quoted, Smith stated that
There is a reason why one man is born black and with other disadvantages, while another is born white with great advantages... The Negro, evidently, is receiving the reward he merits (Doctrines of Salvation, 1:61, 66; emphasis added).
LDS General Authorities
Orson Pratt, LDS Apostle:
Among the Saints [Mormons] is the most likely place for these [pre-existent] spirits to take their tabernacles, through a just and righteous parentage [white parentage]. They are sent to that people that are the most righteous of any other people upon the earth. . . . The Lord has not kept them in store for five or six thousand years past, and kept them waiting for their bodies all this time to send them among the Hottentots, the African negroes, the idolatrous Hindoos, or any other of the fallen nations of the earth. They are not kept in reserve in order to come forth to receive such a degraded parentage [African negroes] upon the earth; no, the Lord is not such a being (Journal of Discourses, 1:63; emphasis added)
Mark E. Peterson, LDS Apostle:
President Woodruff added, 'The Lord said, 'I will not kill Cain, but I will put a mark upon him, and that mark will be seen upon every face of every Negro, upon the face of the earth. And it is the decree of God that [the] mark should remain upon the seed of Cain, until the seed of Able shall be redeemed, and Cain shall not receive the Priesthood until the time of that redemption. Any man having one drop of the blood of Cain in him cannot receive the Priesthood' (Race Problems-- As They Affect the Church, address given by Mark E. Peterson at BYU; emphasis added)
In the same address, Peterson goes on to say:
Who placed the Negroes originally in darkest Africa? Was it some man or was it God?. . . The Lord segregated the people both as to blood and place of residence. At least in the cases of the Lamanites and the negroes we have the definite word of the Lord Himself that He placed a dark skin upon them as a curse--as a punishment and as a sign to all others. He forbade intermarriage with them under threat of extension of the curse. . . . And He certainly segregated the descendants of Cain when He cursed the Negro as to the Priesthood, and drew an absolute line. Think of the Negro, cursed as to the Priesthood. Are we prejudiced against him? Unjustly, sometimes we are accursed of having such a prejudice. . . .
This Negro, who, in the pre-existence lived the type of life which justified the Lord in sending him to the earth in the lineage of Cain with black skin, and possibly being born in darkest Africa--if that negro is willing when he hears the gospel to accept it, they may have many of the blessings of the gospel. In spite of all he did in the pre-existent life, the Lord is willing if the Negro accepts the gospel with real, sincere faith, and is really converted, to give him the blessings of baptism and the gift of the Holy Ghost. . . .
If I were to marry a Negro woman and have children by her, my children would be cursed as to the Priesthood. Do I want my children cursed as to the Priesthood? If there is one drop of negro blood in my children, as I have read to you, they receive the curse. . . . There are 50 million Negroes in the United States. If they were to achieve complete absorption with the white race, think what that would do. With 50 million Negroes inter-married with us, where would the priesthood be? Who could hold it, in all America? Think what that would do to the work of the Church! . . . Now we are generous with the Negro.
We are willing that the Negro have the highest kind of education. I would be willing to let every Negro drive a Cadillac if they could afford it. I would be willing that that they have all the advantages as they can get out of life in the world. But let them enjoy these among themselves. I think the Lord segregated the Negro and who is man to change it?" (ibid.; emphasis added)
LDS Apostle George A. Smith:
There is not a man, from the President of the United States to the Editors of their sanctorums, clear down to the low-bred letter-writers in this Territory, but would rob the coppers from a dead nigger's eyes, if they had a good opportunity (Journal of Discourses, 5:110; emphasis added).
LDS Apostle and prolific writer Bruce R. McConkie:
Negroes in this life are denied the Priesthood; under no circumstances can they hold this delegation of authority from the Almighty… The gospel message of salvation is not carried affirmatively to them. Negroes are not equal with other races where the receipt of certain spiritual blessings are concerned. . . . (Mormon Doctrine, 477, 527-28; 1966 orig. ed., changed in the current).
Cain was cursed with a dark skin; he became the father of the negroes, and those spirits who are not worthy to receive the priesthood are born through that lineage (ibid.,109; 1966 org. ed., changed in the current ed.; emphasis added).
Cain, Ham, and the whole negro race have been cursed with a black skin, the mark of Cain, so they can be identified as a caste apart, a people with whom the other descendants of Adam should not intermarry (ibid., 114; current ed.; emphasis added)
Is this Christian? Did Jesus or the Apostles teach prejudice on the basis of skin color? These racist teachings, which were clearly taught by the leaders of the Mormon Church, echo those of the Skinhead, K.K.K. and other destructive groups. This, is not Christianity:
Then Peter open his mouth, and said, "Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons: but in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him" (Acts 10:34; emphasis added)
God hath showed me that I should not call any man common or unclean (ibid., 10:28)
Let us conclude by examining the LDS scriptures, which indicates plainly that dark skin was a sign of Gods curse:
Book of Mormon
1 Nephi 11:13 (Mary) "she was exceedingly fair and white."
1 Nephi 12:23 (prophecy of the Lamanites) " became a dark, and loathsome, and a filthy people, full of idleness and all manner of abominations."
1 Nephi 13:15 (Gentiles) "they were white, and exceedingly fair and beautiful, like unto my people [Nephites] before they were slain."
2 Nephi 5:21 "a sore cursing . . . as they were white, and exceedingly fair and delightsome, that they might not be enticing unto my people the Lord God did cause a skin of blackness to come upon them."
2 Nephi 30:6 (prophecy to the Lamanites if they repented) "scales of darkness shall begin to fall. . . . they shall be a white and delightsome people" ("white and delightsome" was changed to "pure and delightsome" in 1981).
Jacob 3:5 (Lamanites cursed) "whom ye hate because of their filthiness and the cursing which hath come upon their skins. . . ."
Jacob 3:8-9 "their skins will be whiter than yours... revile no more against them because of the darkness of their skins. . . ."
Alma 3:6 "And the skins of the Lamanites were dark, according to the mark which was set upon their fathers, which was a curse upon them because of their transgression and their rebellion."
Alma 3:9 "whosoever did mingle his seed with that of the Lamanites did bring the same curse upon his seed."
Alma 3:14 (Lamanites cursed) "set a mark on them that they and their seed may be separated from thee and thy seed. . . ."
Alma 23:18 "[Lamanites] did open a correspondence with them [Nephites] and the curse of God did no more follow them."
3 Nephi 2:14-16 "Lamanites who had united with the Nephites were numbered among the Nephites; And their curse was taken from them, and their skin became white like unto the Nephites and . . . became exceedingly fair. . . . "
3 Nephi 19:25, 30 (Disciples) "they were as white as the countenance and also the garments of Jesus; and behold the whiteness thereof did exceed all the whiteness. . . . nothing upon earth so white as the whiteness thereof… and behold they were white, even as Jesus."
Mormon 5:15 (prophecy about the Lamanites) "for this people shall be scattered, and shall become a dark, a filthy, and a loathsome people, beyond the description of that which ever hath been amongst us. . . ."
Pearl of Great Price
Moses 7:8 "a blackness came upon all the children of Canaan. . . ."
Moses 7:12 "Enoch continued to call upon all the people, save it were [i.e., except] the people of Canaan, to repent. . . ."
Moses 7:22 ".for the seed of Cain were black and had not place among them."
Abraham 1:21 " king of Egypt [Pharaoh] was a descendant from the loins of Ham, and was a partaker of the blood of the Canaanites by birth."
Abraham 1:27 "Pharaoh being of that lineage by which he could not have the right of Priesthood. . . ." (emphasis added to above citations).
The truth is: Mormonism does not represent Jesus Christ or His Church. The LDS teachings of the "Negro" are not consistent with, as well as, contradict Scripture.
In 1978, the LDS god changes his Mind
Because of this racist teaching, the LDS Church was under enormous political pressure. Hence, June 8, 1978, LDS President, Spencer W. Kimball, after spending many hours in the "Upper Room" of the LDS Temple, claimed that God had removed the curse. All worthy black men could now receive the Priesthood.
This, was a major doctrinal change. Mormons will usually argue: "But it was said that eventually the curse would be removed." However, this assertion cannot be found before 1978. Therefore, we will again, appeal to the official teachings of the LDS General Authorities. What the LDS General Authorities did teach was that the curse would not be removed in this life. LDS Prophet Brigham Young explains, under, so-called, divine revelation:2
How long is that race to endure the dreadful curse that is upon them? That curse will remain upon them, and they never can hold the Priesthood or share in it until all the other descendants of Adam have received the promises and enjoyed the blessings of the Priesthood and the keys thereof. Until the last ones of the residue of Adam's children are brought up to that favorable position, the children of Cain cannot receive the first ordinances of the Priesthood. They were the first that were cursed, and they will be the last from whom the curse will be removed. When the residue of the family of Adam come up and receive their blessings, then the curse will be removed from the seed of Cain, and they will receive blessings in like proportion (Journal of Discourses, 7:290-91; emphasis added).
Young was clear: "they [blacks] never can hold the Priesthood . . . until all the other descendants of Adam have received the promises and enjoyed the blessings of the Priesthood and the keys thereof." The time when the descendants of Adam (white men) are redeemed is at the resurrection, not in this life. According to Mormonism that has not happen yet. Keep in mind, Young declared:
I have never yet preached a sermon and sent it out to the children of man, that they may not call Scripture (ibid., 13:95).
LDS Apostle Mark E. Peterson agrees:
And it is the decree of God that [the] mark should remain upon the seed of Cain, until the seed of Able shall be redeemed, and Cain shall not receive the Priesthood until the time of that redemption (Race Problems-- As They Affect the Church, address by Mark E. Peterson at BYU; emphasis added; see above).
LDS Apostle Bruce R. McConkie comments as to the duration of the curse:
Negroes in this life are denied the Priesthood; under no circumstances can they hold this delegation of authority from the Almighty… The gospel message of salvation is not carried affirmatively to them…. (Mormon Doctrine, 477, 527-28; 1966 org. ed., changed in the current; see above).
As observed, and with most non-Christian cults, the god of Mormonism is a changing god. It changes its mind. The God of the Bible does not change:
"For I am the LORD, I change not. . . ." (Mal. 3:6).
Of old hast thou laid the foundation of the earth: and the heavens are the work of thy hands. They shall perish, but thou shalt endure: yea, all of them shall wax old like a garment; as a vesture shalt thou change them, and they shall be changed: But thou are the same, and thy years shall have no end (Ps. 102:25-27).
Even the Book of Mormon agrees with this point:
Now, the decrees of God are unalterable. . . . (Alma 41:8).3
Mormonism teaches: "The gospel message of salvation is not carried affirmatively to them. Negroes are not equal with other races where the receipt of certain spiritual blessings are concerned. . . . " (McConkie, see above).
In the end, Mormons reject the words of the Lord Jesus Christ: Preach the Gospel to all nations (cf. Matt. 28:19-20), thus "all nations" certainly includes Africa.
1, In the Mormon religion there are two priesthoods: Aaronic and the Melchizedek. The Aaronic is the lesser of the two. To have eternal life (i.e., exaltation to Godhood) the "worthy" (and married) Mormon male must be ordained to this higher Priesthood (Melchizedek). This Priesthood is excluded from all females. Thus for nearly 150 years, the Mormon Church taught that dark skinned people (particularly, Africans) could not gain true salvation, eternal life (i.e., Godhood in the highest heaven: the celestial kingdom).
2, Just as Isaiah, Ezekiel, Peter, and Paul were actual prophets and apostles, in LDS theology the titles, "Prophet" and "Apostle" are literal. Thus, Mormons say that when they are giving sermons they are in fact, speaking for God.