The Prophet Joseph Smith~Advocate for the Black People
The Mormon Faith was founded by Joseph Smith Jr. (1806-1844) ; whom Mormons consider to be a Prophet of God. He is considered a latter~day "John the Baptist". In the year 1820, he had a vision of the Father and the Son. Jesus Himself instructed Joseph Smith to restore His Church, and to gather the Elect of God in the last days.
In 1820, confused about religion, he asked God in fervent prayer which church was true; for they all claimed to have the "truth" but they contradicted each other. God the Father and Jesus Christ appeared to Joseph in a vision, and told him not to join any church, but to remain worthy and a great work would come to pass by his hand in the last days.
The First Vision of Joseph Smith (1820)
Later, the Angel Moroni (an ancient Jewish prophet who lived in America) revealed to Joseph tablets of gold, written by Moroni and his father Mormon; another ancient Jewish prophet who lived in America. Joseph Smith was given the gold plates, and the power to translate them into English; into The Book of Mormon.
Joseph receives the plates from Moroni (c.1826)
The LORD commands Joseph Smith to establish restore His Church to it's original purity in the last days. It is eventually called The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It was formally established in 1830, near Palmyra, New York State. In 1830, the United States had millions of black Africans; the great majority of them were slaves living in the Southern States. Free blacks existed, but they were second-class citizens at best. The vast great majority of white men in the days of Joseph Smith (North and South) believed that "Negroes" were "naturally inferior" to whites.
Joseph Smith~Advocate for the Black People
Joseph Smith was a great advocate for the black people; in a time in which many of his fellow white countrymen owned black slaves, and in a time which almost all white Americans believed that "Negroes" were "inherently inferior" to white people. The Prophet Joseph Smith did not believe that Negroes were inherently "inferior" to whites. He said that they were the way they were only because the whites did not allow them to be educated. He said that if one "changed their situation" and educated them "they would be like" the whites. He advocated the freedom, education, and the granting of "equal rights" to blacks at a time when only a small minority of Abolitionists believed that blacks should be granted equal rights. When he was once asked what advice he would give to a man who came into the Church with 100 black slaves, the Prophet replied:"I have advised them to bring their slaves into a free country and set them free~educate them~and give them equal rights." (Compilation on the Negro in Mormonism, p.40)He also said:"Break off the shackles of the poor black man and hire him to labor like other human beings." (History of The Church 5:209)
The Prophet Joseph Smith (1806-1844)
Joseph Smith was not just a Prophet and Seer! He was also the Mayor of Nauvoo, Illinois; at that time the largest city in that state. He was also the Lt.General of the Nauvoo Legion; the Mormon militia in Illinois.
Lt.Gen. Joseph Smith promising to protect Nauvoo from anti-Mormon mobs
In 1843 Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon founded the Mormon Reform Party (not in any way affiliated with the current "Reform Party" in the U.S.); the only political party at that time that advocated the freedom and the granting of equal rights to blacks! At that time, no other American political party wanted blacks to have equal rights (not even the Abolitionist Party which also sought to end slavery). The Mormon Reform Party publication Joseph Smith's Views on the Power and Policy of the Government of the United States called for the end of slavery and the education and granting of equal rights to black folks! This publication was widely read and disseminated; especially in Illinois. Joseph Smith called on Congress to sell the millions of acres of Federal public lands and use the money to purchase the slaves from their masters, to free them, educate them, and give them equal rights.
A Mormon Reform Party political poster (1844)
Some feel that this publication was read by Abraham Lincoln; a young Illinois lawyer and politician who lived not very far from Nauvoo in 1843 when Joseph Smith ran for the U.S Presidency. As candidate and later as President, Lincoln would call for the sale of Federal public lands to pay the Southern white slaveowners and free the slaves; just as Joseph Smith had advocated decades before. But Congress rejected that plan. Wealthy white railroad and mining barons wanted the public lands for themselves. Congress rejected the plan, and soon the Civil War started in 1860 in South Carolina; just as Joseph Smith had prophesied it would back in 1832:"VERILY, thus saith the Lord concerning the wars that will shortly come to pass, beginning at the rebellion of South Carolina, which will eventually terminate in the death and misery of many souls,The Prophet Joseph Smith received that Revelation on December 25th, 1832, after reading a newspaper article about South Carolina threatening to secede from the Union over the slave issue. He inquired of the LORD, and received section 87. Twenty-eight years later, the Revelation began to be fulfilled. South Carolina finally seceded, and the Civil War began when Confederate troops fired on Fort Sumpter, a Union fort on a island in Charleston Bay, South Carolina. The Confederacy did call upon Great Britain for help, but it was eventually refused. "After many days" Great Britain did call upon "other nations" to defend itself against Germany and Austria-Hungary in World War I, and again against Germany in World War II; in which war was "poured out upon all nations". Over 300,000 freed black slaves were "marshaled and disciplined for war" by the Union during the Civil War; which ended in many hundreds of thousands of American dead on both sides.
2 And the time will come that war will be poured out upon all nations, beginning at this place.
3 For behold, the Southern States shall be divided against the Northern States, and the southern States will call on other nations, even the nation of Great Britain, and they [Britain] shall call upon other nations, in order to defend themsevles against others nations [Germany, Austria-Hungary], and then war shall be poured out upon all nations.
4 And it shall come to pass, after many days, slaves shall rise up against their masters, who shall be marshaled and disciplined for war.
(Doctrine & Covenants section 87)
During his 1843 Presidencial campaign, Joseph Smith's call to end black slavery and the granting of "equal rights" for blacks was becoming very popular with many people, but he was hated by white men in the South who wanted slavery to continue, and he was hated by some white men in the North who did not want equality for free blacks. In June of 1844, Joseph Smith was assassinated in Carthage, Illinois, by an anti-Mormon mob. Some of the mob were later members of a secret society in Illinois called the Knights of the Golden Circle. They were very anti-Black. They existed in the North and the South. Southern Illinois (called "Egypt") was colonized by many Southern whites. After the Civil War, Congress made the KGC illegal. A few KGC members then formed a new organization called the Knights of the Ku Klux Klan (from the Greek Kuklos which means "circle" and the Scottish klan which means "family"). The KKK was just a rehashing of the Knights of the Golden Circle, but under a new name! The LDS Church, through the Deseret News (whose editorials back then were written by Mormon Apostles) strongly condemned the KKK and called upon the American government to immediately "root out and destroy" it (this was in 1868 when the Klan was first formed)! Unfortunately, America didn't listen.
During Joseph Smith's time as President of the Church, at least two black men were ordained to the Priesthood: Elijah Abel (who also became a Seventy) and Walker Lewis. Perhaps there are more, but there is no firm record of them. Elijah Abel was a carpenter and undertaker, and a personal friend of Joseph Smith. He was adopted by Joseph Smith Sr.; father of the Prophet, as a son (not formally). Thus, Elijah Abel was informally the adopted "brother" of Joseph Smith. When anti-Mormons had Joseph Smith jailed in Liberty, Missouri, on false charges, it was Elijah Abel and a few other brave Mormons who rescued him from certain death. Elijah Abel eventually went west to Utah with the Mormons led by Brigham Young. He was called to be a member of the 3rd Quorum of Seventy; the 5th highest council of the Church at that time. He served a mission to Canada at age 70, and died in Salt Lake City at age 74. His son Enoch and his grandson Elijah was also ordained to the Priesthood.
Once, as the Mayor of Nauvoo, Illinois (a Mormon city on the banks of the Mississippi) he was told of a black man in Nauvoo named Anthony who had sold liquor on Sunday; which was a violation of the Nauvoo City Code. Mormon writer Mary Frost Adams tells us what happened:"While he was acting as mayor of the city, a colored man named Anthony was arrested for selling liquor on Sunday, contrary to law. He pleaded that the reason he had done so was that he might raise the money to purchase the liberty of a dear child held as a slave in a Southern State. He had been able to purchase the liberty of himself and his wife and now wished to bring his little child to their new home. Joseph said, 'I am sorry, Anthony, but the law must be observed and we will have to impose a fine.' The next day Brother Joseph presented Anthony with a fine horse, directing him to sell it, and use the money obtained for the purchase of the child." (Young Woman's Journal, p.538)In another incident, a black man living in Nauvoo named Chism had stolen some goods from a white Missourian (a NON-Mormon) who did business in the city, and the white man whipped Chism mercilessly. The white man took Chism to Joseph Smith (as mayor he was also Justice of the Peace) to have him arrested and jailed. Joseph Smith asked Chism if he had stolen the goods. Chism replied he had. He asked Chism who had whipped him. Chism replied the white Missourian had. So, he fined Chism for stealing the goods, and put the white Missourian in jail! This was UNHEARD OF in Joseph Smith's day! This ENRAGED many white men who heard it; both in Missouri and the state of Illinois.
For this reason, and others, the Prophet Joseph Smith was absolutely hated by many white men; who wanted to see him dead, and the Church destroyed. A group of white men in Nauvoo (which included thieves, counterfeiters, and several prominent Church leaders who wanted to take over the Church and put Joseph 'out of the way), formed a cabal and started a publication called The Nauvoo Expositor; which claimed that Joseph Smith was a "fallen prophet" and an evil licentious "tyrant" who needed to be overthrown. The paper contained many exaggerations and untruths. Joseph Smith and the Nauvoo City Council had the paper closed, and the type destroyed. In the 1840s it was not uncommon for a City Council to declare a local press "libelous" and shut it down. Back then, pornography and libel was not considered "free speech" as it is today. Using the destruction of the Nauvoo Expositor as the excuse they needed, anti-Mormon mobs and the state militia of Missouri threatened to invade Nauvoo, Illinois (the Mormon city), kill all the Mormon leaders (especially the Prophet), and destroy the city and scatter the Mormons. Joseph Smith immediately called-up the Nauvoo Legion (city militia) to defend the city. The governor of Illinois wanted to try to placate the Missourians, and anti-Mormon mobs in Illiniois, so he had Joseph Smith arrested for destroying the type of the Nauvoo Expositor. Discovering that was legal under the Nauvoo Charter, he then had Joseph Smith arrested for "treason"; for calling up the militia without the express written permission of the Governor of Illinois. The Prophet felt he had the right; since he was the Lt.Gen of the Nauvoo Legion, and he could not be sure if the Governor would protect Nauvoo. The Prophet was arrested and imprisoned in Carthage Jail, in Carthage, Illinois. Only a few days later, on June 24th 1844, a mob of white men (with faces pained black) stormed the jail and killed the Prophet, his brother Hyrum. They also seriously wounded John Taylor, a Mormon Apostle who would later become the 3rd President of the Church.
The Martyrdom of Joseph Smith (Carthage, Ill., 1844)
The Black Mormon Homepage (3)
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