The Mormon Faith & Black Folks

Blacks and the Priesthood Catechism

There is so much information in this book that many people, when trying to answer questions about the Priesthood ban, will have trouble putting it all into words. The purpose of this catechism is to help missionaries, members, and others, to easily answer the most commonly-asked questions regarding the LDS Church and black folks.

Q. Why did the Mormon Church deny the Priesthood to people of Hamitic lineage until 1978?

A. Because people of Hamitic lineage are the descendants of Cain, via Egyptus, the wife of Ham. They were banned from the Priesthood because of God’s curse on Cain; that his descendants would not receive the Priesthood until the descendants of Abel, whom Cain slew, received it first. To allow Cain’s seed to receive the Priesthood before Abel’s seed would have been an affront to the Justice of God. Since Cain cut-off Abel’s posterity, the LORD said that Cain’s posterity could not receive the Priesthood until Abel’s posterity had it first. The first shall be last, and the last shall be first. However, because of the exceeding faith of the Hamitic Saints around the world (especially in Brasil) President Spencer W. Kimball and the Twelve Apostles supplicated the LORD for weeks to remove the ban, and the LORD finally did on June 1st 1978.

Q. But isn’t the Gospel universal and for everyone?

A. The Gospel and the Priesthood are not the same thing. In Jesus’ day He told His disciples to go and teach all nations the Gospel, and baptize them, but He also told them not to give what is ‘holy’ unto swine and dogs. The Jews considered Gentiles to be ‘unclean’ so they called them ‘swine’, and they called the dark-skinned Canaanites ‘dogs’ meaning ‘servants’. The Gospel is for everyone, but the Priesthood is only for the Elect of God. The Elect of God exist among all nations, and there are many Elect who are black Africans or the descendants of black Africans who are now hold the Priesthood of God.

Q. Did the Abelites, or descendants of Cain, receive the Priesthood first as was believed?

A. That is not known. If Abel was resurrected with Christ, then he went to another world as an heir of exaltation. If so, he had children there. But the LORD can alter His previous curses and pronouncements. He pronounced that the Israelites would be destroyed in the wilderness of Sinai, but Moses pleaded and supplicated the LORD, and this pronouncement was changed (see Deuteronomy chapter 9, verses 12 through 26). President Spencer W. Kimball and the Apostles did this in the case with the Curse of Cain. They saw the faithfulness of the black and Mulatto Saints in Brazil and elsewhere, and this inspired them to supplicate and please to the LORD to remove the restriction, and this was done in 1978. Some feel that Abel may have been resurrected with Christ and had children on another planet. Others believe that Elijah Abel and his descendants became the surrogate “Abelites” because of his exceeding faith, and that by 1978 all of his male descendants had been given the Priesthood or at least been given the opportunity. All we know for sure is that President Kimball and the Apostles supplicated the LORD to end the Priesthood ban because of the exceeding faith of the Negro and Mulatto Mormons of Brazil, and the LORD heard their prayers and He lifted the ban.

Q. Isn’t the Curse of Cain doctrine a ‘racist’ belief?

A. No. Under no dictionary does it qualify as being ‘racist’. The term racism means to believe that one race is superior to another; usually in intelligence. The Curse of Cain doctrine never said that. Indeed, it said that the Cainites were the first to build cities, use metal, and use musical instruments; all signs of advanced wisdom.

Q. Didn’t Joseph Fielding Smith write that Cain became the father of an ‘inferior’ race?

A. Yes, and he later repented of that; which is proved by his statement in 1963 that Negroes were the equal, and in some cases the superior, to the white race. What Joseph Fielding Smith wrote in the early 1930s was ‘the wisdom of the world of the day’ and his own opinion. It was not published nor sanctioned by the Church at that time or at any other time. The personal beliefs of LDS apostles do not constitute official Church Doctrine.

Q. What is the Mormon belief on the origin of races?

A. There is no official doctrine in the LDS Church on the origin of the races other than we are all created in the image of God, and His literal children in the spirit. Many Mormons believe that Adam and Eve were white, and that blacks came from Cain who was transformed by the LORD from a white man into a Negro. Other Mormons believe that the Negroes are the oldest race, and were here long before Adam and Eve. They believe that the Cainites became black by intermarrying with black Africans, or that the brown-skinned native Africans became black by intermarrying with the black-skinned Caucasoid Cainites. Everything is mere speculation other than the Church doctrine that all Hamites (black Africans and the Ancient Egyptians and Canaanites) are the descendants of Cain through Ham’s wife Egyptus. The Church has issued no officially statement on the subjects of Evolution or Creationism, but the Church has issued official statements condemning Darwinism; the philosophy of man which states that life was created on this planet by mere chance and evolved over the ages by merely natural forces.

Q. Why didn’t the 1978 Revelation come as a ‘Thus saith the LORD’ revelation?

A. We don’t know, but some Revelations to Joseph Smith was not ‘Thus saith the LORD’ revelations. His revelation on Baptism for the Dead is not a ‘Thus saith the LORD’ revelation, but still one of the most important he ever received. The 1978 Revelation is equally as important. The Priesthood ban was not a ‘Thus Saith the LORD’ revelation; so a ‘Thus Saith the LORD’ revelation was not needed to end the practice.

Q. Wasn’t the Priesthood ban a form of discrimination?

A. Yes. Divine-discrimination; like when the LORD chose the Israelites over all other people, or when He chose the Levites to be His priests over the other tribes of Israel. The LORD has the right to discriminate as He sees fit. We do not. This is because while we are sinners and imperfect, He is sinless and perfect.

Q. Shouldn’t black folks join the Reorganized Church, which had black priests since the 1860s?

A. They can if they want to, but of what benefit would it be? The RLDS Church (now named “Community of Christ”) has no sealing power. They do not believe in Eternal Marriage of Exaltation. Only the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints claims to the have the sealing power that Jesus gave to Peter in Matthew 16:19 and 18:18. No other church or religion even claims to have it. If black folks do not wish to be married for all eternity, or if they do not wish to become Adams and Eves on other worlds, then there is no reason for them to join the LDS Church. If they will be content to be Ministering Angels for all eternity (like eternal monks and nuns) then there is absolutely no reason for them to wish to become Mormons and endure in faithfulness to the end of their lives.

Q. But wasn’t the Curse of Cain teaching just the personal opinions of some early Church leaders and not actually official Church doctrine?

A. No. The Curse of Cain doctrine was always presented as official Church doctrine; nothing less. The Priesthood ban was always presented by The First Presidency of the Church as from the LORD. Only an official statement from The First Presidency can repudiate this doctrine, and none has yet been issued. It is doubtful that any such repudiation of the Curse of Cain will ever be issued; since it would mean admitting the Church was wrong in its doctrines for over 150 years. The Priesthood ban is a policy based upon the Curse of Cain doctrine. The Priesthood ban was lifted in 1978, but the Curse of Cain doctrine remains and will remain a doctrine of the Church until and if The First Presidency states otherwise.

Q. Didn’t Brigham Young say that interracial couples should be killed ‘on the spot’?

A. No. Brigham Young was speaking of white masters who raped their female Negro slaves, that these white men should be killed on the spot. He believed that capital punishment should be applied to rape. The rape of female black slaves was an all-too-common event in the South during American slavery, and is a large factor as to why all African-Americans have white blood in them.

Q. Will the Mormon Church ever apologize for the Curse of Cain and Priesthood ban?

A. Not likely. They claim it was from the LORD, and the LORD has said He will not excuse Himself. The LORD also cursed all women to bear children in great suffering because of Eve being deceived. He also cursed His own people Israel when they disobeyed Him. Some feel the 1978 Revelation is itself an ‘apology’. Others see it as a fulfillment of prophecy.

Q. Didn’t Mormon President John Taylor once say that Negroes were the representatives of Satan?

A. No. He did once say that the Cainite bloodline was allowed to pass through the Flood so that “all men” (i.e. all men and women of whatever race, skin-color, or lineage) may have the opportunity to choose between good and evil. Lucifer did establish his own priesthood via the Cainite lineage, but good and evil men exist in all races and lineages. The righteous Jaredites may have been of the Cainite lineage. They were the first Chosen People of God. Some Mormons believe that the Cainites were Caucasians, and that the Negroes were a pure and undefiled pre-Adamic race of humans (i.e. the Hamites mixed with black Africans over the course of thousands of years via the migrations of the ancient Nubians, Yorubans, Bantus, and other tribes which had Ancient Egyptian blood in them).

The Book of Moses, in the Pearl of Great Price, reveals that Cain make a covenant with Satan (who is Lucifer), and that they swore oaths together that Cain may murder in order to “get gain”. Secret societies exist today for that purpose, and it is believed by many that they originated with Cain and that this covenant was brought through the Flood by Egyptus; the wife of Ham and descendant of Cain. The Ancient Egyptians, and their black African descendants, had a Luciferian ‘priesthood’ which still exists and operates all over the earth today under various names. Some believe this Luciferian priesthood could be referred to under the general term of Voodoo. These ancient oath-bound secret societies still exist in Africa, Brazil, the Carribean, and some parts of the United States. Lucifer is still worshipped, under the name of “Damballah” and “King Exu” (among others). Satan is “represented” by such priesthoods. Why did the LORD allow such powers and priesthoods to continue after the Flood? Just as President Taylor said, so that “all men” (he means ALL men and women or whatever race) could have a choice between the two.

Q. Doesn’t The Book of Mormon teach that a dark skin is a ‘curse’ of God?

A. Yes, but only in certain circumstances. Dark skin among the descendants of Israel is a “sign” of a curse; because it means that the Decree of the LORD not to intermarry with other peoples was violated, and anytime there is a violation of the Law of God there is a curse. The Book of Mormon nowhere teaches that all dark skin is a curse of God, but that for Adamites or Israelites to become dark-skinned is a curse; because they were commanded to remain separated from other peoples. It teaches that the Lamanites, an Israelitish people, were cursed with a dark skin; so that they could be distinguished from the white-skinned Nephites so they would not intermarry. The Book of Mormon also teaches that the white-skinned Nephites become so proud of their skins that the LORD utterly destroyed them; using the Lamanites, who became more righteous than the Nephites, to do it. For an Israelite to have a “dark skin” is a “curse” because it is a violation of the LORD’s decree to remain separate, and we know that the man Israel (Jacob) was “fair” and a twin to Esau who was red-headed and hairy all over “like a garment”.

Q. Isn’t the Mormon Church anti-evolution?

A. No. It is anti-Darwinist. There is a huge difference between ‘Darwinism’ and ‘evolution’. Darwinism is a false philosophy of man which denies that God created life, and proclaims that life occurred on this planet from random events. Evolution is a widely accepted theory that says that life evolved on this planet from one-celled creatures. The details of evolution are themselves evolving, but more and more evolutionists are coming to believe that some sort of intelligence and design is behind evolution; which is the opposite of what Darwin believed. There are generally two schools of thought in the Church regarding the origin of life on earth: the Smith-McConkie School, which is Creationist, and the Talmage-Widstoe School, which favors a divinely-guided evolution. Neither school represents official Church doctrine; which is neutral on the subject.

Q. One Mormon told me that the Church never taught that blacks were cursed, and another told me that these things were just opinions and not official Church doctrine. Are these people lying?

A. Probably not. The Curse of Cain doctrine is still a doctrine of the Church. It has never been repudiated. Yet, it is not actively taught either. Many Members of the Church-especially younger ones-have never been informed about it, and many older Members are embarrassed by it and thus refuse to discuss it. Unfortunately, this situation breeds much misinformation and wishful-thinking. But Members need not be ashamed of it once they fully understand it and realize that it has nothing to do with the philosophy of man called “racism”. Indeed, racism ultimately comes from Gnosticism; the avowed enemy of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Q. Why should black folks become Mormons instead of joining religions like the Muslims, the Jehovah’s Witnesses, the Baha’is, or the black Christian churches?

A. Black folks are free to join any of these religions or churches. But it is the divine mandate of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to gather the Elect of God out of all religions and churches and gather them together so they can enjoy the blessings of the Priesthood of God and the blessings of the Temple so that they can be exalted in the resurrection of the just and become sealed together into eternal marriages and eternal families in the Eternal Worlds of God.

Q. Must I, as a Latter-day Saint, believe that the Curse of Cain was of God? Can’t I believe it was not of God?

A. Some Members of the Church believe that they can “pick and choose” which doctrines are of God, and which are not. Some Members are active in the Church, but await the day that the Church will “see the light” and grant women the Priesthood, or say homosexuality is not a sin, or do some other thing which they desire. Members are in fact allowed to have personal beliefs and interpretations as long as they don’t try to undermine the authority of The Brethren or teach openly false doctrine. So, the answer is Yes, you can believe that the Curse of Cain was not of God and be an active Member of this Church; as long as you don’t go around being critical of The Brethren or trying to demand that others believe as you do.

Q. Can’t we just move on and forget the past? Can’t we just forget that the Church ever taught the Curse of Cain doctrine or banned some men from the Priesthood? Wouldn’t that be better for all involved if we just forgot the past and moved on?

A. The past cannot be forgotten. All over the Internet (World Wide Web) are articles about the Curse of Cain and the Priesthood ban legacy; mostly from anti-Mormon websites. There are hundreds of them! What shall be done? Deny it? Ignore it? Try to rewrite history? Shun those who sincerely inquire about it? Or, shall we simply just answer and explain it; tactually but truthfully? If the Curse of Cain was a “mistake” then The First Presidency would have said so, or will say so. Until then the Curse of Cain remains a doctrine of the Church. The Priesthood ban has been removed, but we cannot rewrite history. Some Feminists want the curse of Eve removed from the Bible. Some others want the fact that the LORD commanded the genocide of the Canaanites removed from the Bible. But, you just can’t “change” sacred history! It remains, and always shall remain. Instead of trying to chide the LORD for His decrees or ignore, rewrite, or explain-away, we should humble ourselves and try to understand that He is trying to teach us something with His curses as well as with his blessings. Mortal life is a time of probation; to experience pain as well as pleasure, darkness as well as light, bitter as well as sweet, evil as well as good. Earth life is a place and time to learn, and be tried and tested. The LORD is trying to find our what we are made of so He can appoint some of us Kings and Queens, Priests and Priestesses, in the eternal worlds. Oftentimes the lessons and tests are painful. But that is the way it is. It is the Way of the LORD, and once we understand that, and accept it humbly, we will learn from it and reap the Eternal rewards that He has in store for those who truly love Him.

Please feel free to e-mail Darrick Evenson

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