Black Mormons & The Priesthood-ban

This is not a publication of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. This article is not copyrighted. Please make copies and give them to others! This article is about -20- printed pages.

Dear Inquirer,

This article was written for people who have questions about about Blacks (people of black African descent) and the Mormon Church (more correctly~the Mormon Faith). Because of rumor and misinformation, a large segment of the African-American Community (and to a smaller scale, Afro-Brasilians and black native Africans), believe to this day that the "Mormon Church" (Mormon Faith)is or was "racist". Common beliefs in these black communities are:

*Mormons are racist.
*Mormons hate black folks.
*Mormons believe black folks are the Devil's children.
*Mormons don't let blacks become Elders.
*The Mormon Church only recently let black folks become Mormons because of outside pressure.
*The Ku Klux Klan was full of Mormons.

This article, which you are free to print, copy, distribute, and publish, will prove that these and other such rumors are FALSE, and that the Mormon Faith has more to offer black folks than any other church or religion on earth! Please take about 15 to 20 minutes to read it. Print it out and read it later if you like, or read it online. It may change your life!

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, commonly known as 'The Mormon Church', or The LDS Church, has never taught that black folks are 'inferior' in any way, shape, or form to people of other races. In fact, a book of Mormon scripture called The Book of Abraham, says that the Hamites (black Africans) were "blessed with wisdom" from God along with being "cursed as pertaining to the Priesthood".(Abraham 1:26). The Prophet Joseph Smith, the prophet-founder of the Church, was a great advocate for the rights of black folks, and that at a time when it was very unpopular to have his views. He rejected the notion of the then widely accepted belief that Negroes were 'naturally inferior' to whites. He said that blacks in his day seemed ignorant only because they were kept so by the white man, and change the situation (educate blacks) and blacks would be the equal to the white man.

The Prophet Joseph Smith's attitude toward black folks can be summed up in an incident that occurred while he was Mayor of Nauvoo; a Mormon city in Illinois on the banks of the Mississippi River, in 1842; many years before slavery had ended in America. A woman named 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 freedom 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 Women's Journal, p.538)
The horse was Joseph's prized white stallion, and was worth about $500; a huge sum at the time. With the money from the sale, Anthony was able to purchase his child out of slavery.

The Prophet Joseph Smith tirelessly advocated the rights of black folks; in a time where it wasn't popular to do so; not even in the Northern States of the U.S. where slavery was illegal. As Mayor of Nauvoo, Illinois, a white man (a non-Mormon) had whipped a black man terribly for stealing some of his goods. The black man's name was Chism. Joseph asked Chism if he had stolen the goods, and Chism replied he had. He charged Chism a small fine, and had the white man arrested for whipping Chism! This OUTRAGED white men all over the state, and in the neighboring state of Missouri, which was pro-slavery. Not long afterwards, Joseph Smith was again arrested on trumpted-up charges, and soon assassinated, along with his brother Hyrum, in a jail in Carthage, Illinois.

The Prophet Joseph Smith was a great advocate for the black people! He died because he not only wanted to end slavery, but he wanted blacks educated and given equal rights. For this cause, and others, he was hated.

This is not an official statement from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. If you would like an official response from the LDS Church, then please write a letter to the address below:

Public Affairs
Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
50 North East Temple St.
Salt Lake City, UT 84150

(If you live outside of the U.S., make sure to add "U.S.A." at the bottom of the address)

Also if you live in the United States, you can call LDS Church Offices toll-free at 1-800-453-3860 during normal business hours, and ask for "Public Affairs". Ask them for an "official" statement regarding the "Curse of Cain".

What we offer here in this article, and in the artilcles linked below, are our own sincere opinions as Mormons, and should not be thought of as an official statement from the Church.

The Missionaries of the Church are (mainly) young men and women who have been called to serve from 18 months to 24 months, at their own expense of that of their families, to teach people the Message of the Restoration and the Gospel of Jesus Christ. They have not been trained to answer questions regarding the Church's past doctrines concerning people of black African descent. For this reason the below article and information is provided as a resource for them to give to investigators, new converts, and other inquirers who have questions in this area. This article is not copyrighted. It's duplication and distribution in any form by any one is encouraged.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. Are Mormons Racists?

A. For the vast great majority of them: No!
We cannot say that some white Mormons aren't racists (at least moderately so), but what we can say is that the overwhelming vast great majority of active Church Members are not in any way, shape, or form "racist".

Perhaps 40 to 50 years ago, when most white Americans were moderate racists (as was Abraham Lincoln), one could say that most white Mormons were "racists". This is because, until the last decade, most Mormons were white and most were Americans. Thus Mormons tended to reflect the racial attitudes of the majority of other white Americans; which was, decades ago, a moderate racist one. Most white Americans didn't hate black folks, but they did believe they were superior; because this is what they were taught in public schools. This is what American universities taught until perhaps the early or mid-1950s. There were no Mormons who were radical racists; like members of the Ku Klux Klan. In fact, in the 1920s, when the Klan had 5 million members in the United States (the equivalent of 15 million members today), the LDS Church was extremely anti-Klan, and the KKK "Grand Wizard" of Wyoming considered the LDS Church to be it's "greatest enemy".

Over the last few decades the attitudes of most white Mormons, as most white Americans, has changed. Today, especially for white Latter-day Saints under the age of 60, any racist beliefs are simply not tolerated. If any white Member of the Church today is racist (and some do of course exist) they keep this hidden from others (except of course from the ones they are discriminating against).

The Church also brings in hundreds of thousands of converts each and every year from all over the world. Some of them are whites who come from cultures which still teach and promote racist views. Although the Church has made declarations condemning racism and such views, some of these Members ignore such admonitions and cling to the views they were taught as children. When they express such views they are lovingly counseled to repent of them. Sometimes they do. Sometimes they don't. If they are found promoting such views in church, they may face disciplinary action. Most often, these people keep these views to themselves, and express them only when a black person is around them, and other white Members of the Church are not.

Here are a few selected statements from Presidents, Apostles, and other Church leaders regarding racism that have appeared over the years:

Joseph Smith (1st President of the Church) said in 1842:

"I have advised (slaveholders) 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 said in 1844:
"They [Negroes] came into the world slaves, mentally and physically. Change their situation with the whites, and they would be like them. They have souls and are subject to salvation. Go to Cincinnati or any city, and find an educated Negro, who rides in his carriage, and you will see a man who has risen by his own mind to his exalted state of respectability." (History of the Church 5:217)
He also said:
"The Declaration of Independence 'holds these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal: that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.', but, at the same time, some two or three millions of people are held as slaves for life, because the spirit in them is covered with a darker skin than ours...The Constitution of the United States of America meant just what it said without reference to color or condition, ad infinitum!" (Messages of The First Presidency 1:191-2)
He said in 1844:
"Break off the shackles of the poor black man and hire him to labor like other human beings." (History of the Church 5:209)
Parley P. Pratt (Apostle) said in 1855:
"I love a man without regard to his country, or where he was brought up, without reference to color or nation. I love a man that loves truth." (Journal of Discourses, 3:182)
Brigham Young (2nd President of the Church) said in 1860:
"Negroes should be treated like human beings, and not worse than dumb brutes [animals]. For their abuse of that race, the whites shall be cursed, unless they repent." (Journal Discourses 10:111)
He said in 1863:
"Men will be called to judgment for the way they have treated the Negro." (Journal of Discourses 10:250)
David O. McKay (9th President of the Church) said in 1935:
"What a different world this would be if men would accumulate wealth, for example, not as an end but as a means of blessing human beings and improving human relations. A Christian conception of the right and value of a human soul, even though his skin be dark, would have prevented the slaughter that at this moment is being perpetuated in Ethiopia [when Fascist Italian troops under Mussolini invaded that country]. (Conference Reports, Oct. 1935, p.101)
He said in 1944:
"America has the great opportunity to lead the world from political intrigue and cheap demogoguery, from national selfishness, from unrighteous usurpation of power, and from unholy aggrandizement. She must prove to the people of the world that she has no selfish ends to serve, no desire for conquest, nor of national or race superiority. When these ideals are established, America can blaze the trail and lead the world to peace." (Teachings of David O. McKay, pp.281-2)
John A. Widstoe (Apostle) wrote in 1946:
"The 'master race' claims are sheer poppycock, used by characterless men to further their own interestes. There has never been a monopoly of mastery in human achievement by any one nation. To claim so is simply to allow the lawless nationalism to run wild.***
The 'master race' doctrine of the late war was an ugly delusion, conceived by the powers of evil, whose prince is Satan, the devil." (Evidences and Reconciliations, pp.3-4)
President McKay said in 1951:
"George Washington Carver [famous African-American scientist] was one of the noblest souls that ever came to earth. He held in close kinship with his Heavenly Father, and rendered a service to his fellowman such as few have ever excelled. For every religious endeavor, for every noble impulse, for every good deed performed in his useful life, George Washington Carver will be rewarded, and so will every other man be he red, white, black, or yellow, for God is no respecter of persons." (Home Memories of David O. McKay, p.231)
Joseph Fielding Smith (10th President of the Church) said in 1962:
"The Latter-day Saints, commonly called 'Mormons', have no animosity toward the Negro. Neither have they described him as belonging to an 'INFERIOR' race. (Deseret News June 14, 1962, p.3)
He said in 1963:
The Mormon Church does not believe, nor does it teach, that the Negro is an inferior being. Mentally, and physically, the Negro is capable of great achievement, as great or in some cases greater than the potentiality of the white race." (LOOK magazine, Oct. 22, 1963, p.79)
Bruce R. McConkie (Apostle) wrote in 1966:
"Certainly the Negroes as children of God are entitled to equality before the law and to be treated with all the dignity and respect of any member of the human race. Many of them certainly live according to higher standards of decency and right in this life than do some of their brothers of other races; a situation that will cause judgment to be laid 'to the line, and righteousness to the plummet.' (Isa. 28:17) in the day of judgment." (Mormon Doctrine, 1966 edition, p.528)
President Spencer W. Kimball (12th President of the Church) said in 1972:
"Racial prejudice is of the devil. Racial prejudice is of ignorance. There is not a place for it in the Gospel of Jesus Christ." (Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball, p.237)
The Quorum of the Twelve Apostles issued this statement in 1986:
"We repudiate efforts to deny any person his or her inalienable dignity and rights on the abhorrent and tragic theory of the superiority of one race over another." (LDS Global Media Guide)
Elder John K. Carmack (Member of the First Quorum of Seventy) wrote in 1993:
"We do not believe that any nations, race, or culture is a lesser breed or inferior in God's eyes. Those who believe in or teach such doctrine have no authority from either the Lord or his authorized servants." (Tolerance, p.3)
Elder Alexander Morrison (Member of the First Quorum of Seventy) said in 1993:
"There is no place for racism in the Church. We abhor it." (Salt Lake Tribune, June 6, 1998)

President Gordon B. Hinckley said in 1995:

"We must not be partisans of any doctrine of ethnic superiority. We live in a world of diversity. We can and must be respectful toward those with whose teachings we may not agree. We must be willing to defend the rights of others who may become the victims of bigotry." (Conference Report, April 1995)
Q. Why couldn't black men hold the Priesthood in the Mormon Church before 1978?

A. Some black men did hold the Mormon Priesthood before 1978! But except in the case of Elijah Abel and his descendants, and Walker Lewis, all men of Hamitic lineage (bloodline) were forbidden to hold the LDS Priesthood before 1978. However, black-skinned men of non-Hamitic lineages, like the Dravidians of India, the Aborigines of Australia, the Melansians of Fiji and Melanesia, and the Negritoes of the Philipines and Indonesia, all had a right to the Priesthood, and those who were worthy Members of the Church held it before 1978. They could hold the Priesthood since 1955 because they were considered to be non-Hamitic (not descendants of Ham); although they were black-skinned. Also, white-skinned Hamites (i.e. whites with at least one Negro ancestor) could not hold the Priesthood or partake of the higher ordinances of Mormon Temples until 1978.

Why? This is explained below.

The Priesthood~Ban

The "Priesthood-ban" was a "ban" on the Priesthood for all male Mormons who had "one drop" of Hamitic blood in their veins; whatever their skin color. True, the vast great majority of "Hamites" today belong to the "African" race; a race of brown-skinned and black-skinned people originating in sub-saharan Africa. However, white-skinned people (even with blond hair and blue eyes) who had Hamitic blood in them were also denied the Priesthood and the higher ordinances of Mormon Temples if it was determined they had "Hamitic" blood (i.e. if they had a lineage back to Ham, the son of Noah). The "Priesthood~ban", as it is called, wasn't really a question of skin-color but of lineage or bloodline. Anyone having one drop of Hamitic lineage was denied the Priesthood (if he was male--only men can hold the Mormon Priesthood), and whether male or female they were also denied the higher ordinances of Mormon Temples (endowments and sealings but not baptisms for the dead). That changed via a Revelation from the LORD in 1978. Since that time, men of Hamitic lineage have received the Priesthood, and all Hamites can receive all the ordinances, blessings, and offices in the Church that anyone else can.

The Priesthood-ban was based upon several verses in a book of Mormon Scripture called The Book of Abraham, which is in a volume of scripture known as The Pearl of Great Price; which, along with the Bible, The Book of Mormon, and The Doctrine & Covenants, is one of the four Standard Works of the LDS Church. The Prophet Joseph Smith claimed to have divinely translated The Book of Abraham from some ancient Egyptian papyrus he came accross in the late 1830s. The papyrus came from Thebes, and included some Egyptian funeral texts. Joseph Smith studied these, and received the revelation we know call The Book of Abraham. In the first chapter of that small book Abraham writes that Pharoah, the king of Egypt, was "a righteous man", but could not hold the Priesthood because he was a descendant of Ham, and the Hamitic lineage or bloodline was "blessed with wisdom" but "cursed as pertaining to the Priesthood" (Abraham 1:26). In another revelation of Joseph Smith, called The Book of Moses, also in The Pearl of Great Price, it says that the Cainites, the descendants of Cain, the son of Adam, were "black" (Moses 7:22).

From the time of Brigham Young onward, Mormon Church Presidents (whom Mormons believe to be Prophets, Seers, and Revelators of the LORD) have interpreted these verses as Negroes being of the Cainite/Hamitic bloodline, and would not be allowed to hold the Priesthood until the Abelites first had the opportunity.

Cain killing his brother Abel in an effort to restore his birthright blessings

A brief explanation of the Curse of Cain and a brief overview of its history in the LDS Church is as follows:

  1. Cain, the eldest son of Adam, had the birthright to the Holy Priesthood. He and his descendants (the Cainites) had the right to receive it first. But Cain offerred a sacrifice to the LORD in a state of unworthiness, or wickedness. The LORD did not accept this offerring, but rejected it. Because Abel's offerring was made in a state of worthiness, or righteousness, the LORD accepted Abel's offering, and Cain lost his birthright to Abel; his younger brother.

  2. Cain, being jealous and angry, decided to kill Abel; mistakenly thinking that the birthright to the Priesthood would revert back to him. After this was done, the LORD cursed Cain; made him a wandering upon the earth, and put a 'mark' upon him so that anyone recognizing him would not kill him. The 'mark' of Cain was a black skin. This was not the curse, but actually a mark of protection from the LORD. The ground would not yield fruit for him. He was to wander the earth. This is known as "The Curse of Cain".

  3. Instead of Cain's descendants receiving the birthright first, they would receive it last. The first shall be last, and the last shall be first. The Cainites would be banned from receiving the Priesthood until Abel was resurrected, had children, and all of Abel's children received it first. Then the curse would be removed from the descendants of Cain, and they would receive the Priesthood and all the blessings thereof.

  4. The Sethites (the descendants of Seth--the third son of Adam and Eve) and the Cainites (the descendants of Cain) were not allowed to intermarry. However, this did happen. The result was corruption, and the LORD decided to destroy the Adamites in a great flood. He chose Noah to save himself, his wife, and his sons, and their wives; along with two of every kind of useful animal in the Ark. According to Mormon teachings, the wife of Ham was Egyptus: a Cainite woman. Thus, the Cainite bloodline, or lineage, continued through the Flood. The descendants of Ham and his Cainite wife Egyptus were Mizraim, Cush, Put, and Canaan. The descendants of Mizraim, Cush, and Put settled in North Africa. Mizraim is the Hebrew name for "Egypt". Cush is the Hebrew name for Nubia (now Sudan), and Put is thought to have settled in what is now the Ethiopia region. Joseph Smith believed that Negroes were "the sons of Cain" (i.e. the descendants of Cain), and most Mormon Presidents and Apostles have had the same belief. That would mean that black Africans are Cainites (descendants of Cain through Egyptus, the wife of Ham), and Sethites (the descendants of Noah via Ham) as well as Hamites (the descendants of Ham). The Canaanites did not settle in North African, but in the land of Canaan; which is now called Israel, or Palestine.

  5. Elijah Abel, a black man of African descent, and his male descendants, have always had the Holy Priesthood. This is explained because Elijah Abel was of such great faith, that the LORD made an exception in his case and with his descendants. There is a similar situation in the Bible in The Book of Ruth. Because the Moabites (a white-skinned people who were the descendants of Lot, the nephew of Abraham) did not give food or water to the Israelites when they came out of Egypt into the desert, the LORD cursed them; proclaiming that a Moabite would not enter the Congregation of the LORD until the 10th generation (Deut. 23:3). However, Ruth, a 1st generation Moabitess, showed such great faith that the LORD made an exception, and she became an Israelite. Jesus Himself was a descendant of Ruth and Obed. The descendants of Elijah Abel are all white; because Abel's sons and daughters married white Mormons back in the late 19th century.

  6. Hamites, of whatever skin-color, could not hold the Priesthood or partake of the Higher Ordinances of Mormon Temples; which include Endowments and Sealings. However, they could enter Mormon Temples to be baptized for the dead. They could be Members of the Church. But they could not serve as missionaries. From the 1840s to the early 1960s the Church never had more than 1000 black Members of African descent. However, in the mid-1960s some black Africans started to receive visions in which Jesus or an angel told them about the Church. Some of these black Africans began to find information about the Church, and to preach and form entire congregations, and sometimes theirown denominations with tens of thousands of black Africans as members. They called themselves 'Mormons' and 'Latter-day Saints'. The Church tried to encourage these people, but the men were not ordained to the Priesthood.

  7. In the mid-1960s to the mid-1970s the Church received much negative media attention because of the Priesthood-ban. The Church issued strong statements condemning racism, and encouraging its Members to stand for the civil-rights of all Americans; but they also declared that the Priesthood-ban was of the LORD, that it had nothing to do with the 'civil-rights' of Americans, and that only the LORD, the Author of the ban, could lift it.

  8. In 1978, the Church was building a Temple in Sao Paulo, Brasil. At that time there were tens of thousands of Mulatto Mormons in Brasil; people with both white and black ancestry. These people had great faith, and sacrificed much to build the Temple in Sao Paulo; the largest city in Brazil. Many of these people knew that they would be allowed in the Temple, but could not partake of the most important ordinances in them. Yet, they still sacrificed to build it. Seeing the exceeding faith of these Mulatto Saints, the General Authorities of the Chuch, who are called "The Brethren", prayed for months that the Priesthood-ban be finally lifted. On June 1st, 1978, in the Holy of Holies in the Salt Lake Temple, the LORD communicated to President Spencer W. Kimball that He would lift the Priesthood-ban from off the Hamitic lineage. The vast great majority of Mormons were overjoyed at the news. Only a few weeks later, the first black men of African lineage since Elijah Abel and his descendants were ordained to the Priesthood, and they and their families soon thereafter received the Higher Ordinances of the Temple.

This Priesthood-ban has been refered to by Mormons as:

  1. The Curse of Cain (the son of Adam)
  2. The Curse of Egyptus (the wife of Ham)
  3. The Curse of Pharoah (the righteous son of Ham and Egyptus and king of Egypt)
  4. The Priesthood-ban (i.e. Hamites being 'banned' from the Priesthood until 1978)
Some Members of the Church, both black and white, do not believe that the Curse of Cain was of God. They believe it was a misinterpretation by the Apostles and Presidents of the Church, and that it never should have happened. Some believe that Brigham Young misinterpreted Joseph Smith; when the Prophet instructed missionaries not to give the Priesthood to black slaves; since, in Joseph's day, at least two black freeman held the Priesthood (Elijah Abel and Walker Lewis). They assume that Joseph didn't want black slaves to hold the Priesthood only because they couldn't exercize it; not because they were cursed or the descendants of Cain, but because the Priesthood required that a man be free and able to use it. Others believe that the Church "never really taught" this doctrine, but that it was merely the opinion of some of the Members, or perhaps a few of the Apostles. Yet, a close examination of all the historical data reveals that the Priesthood-ban was based solely upon the Curse of Cain Doctrine, and that it was always presented by Church leaders as a "doctrine of the Church" from the days of Brigham Young. Joseph Smith did consider "Negroes" to be "the sons of Cain". At least two black men (Elijah Abel and Walker Lewis) were ordained to the Priesthood during his life. Some Mormons assume that Joseph Smith wanted all free blacks to have the Priesthood. Others believe that Elijah Abel and Walker Lewis were exceptions to a 'rule' that Joseph Smith made to the Priesthood-ban for black Africans. The debate continues.

But what is absolutely clear and beyond any educated debate is this: that from the days of Brigham Young to the ending of the ban in 1978, Church presidents and apostles as a whole declared that "Negroes" (black Africans) were the descendants of Cain, and that they were banned from the Priesthood because of their lineage (bloodline). In an Official statement made by The First Presidency in 1951 the Curse of Cain was called a "doctrine of the Church" (Statement of The First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on the Negro Question, August 17, 1951). At no time was it ever put forth as mere opinion or speculation.

Some in the Church believe that the Curse of Cain Doctrine was an invention of Brigham Young, the 2nd President of the Church, and not the Prophet Joseph Smith. Yet, the evidence shows that it probably originated with Joseph Smith. He was the translator of The Book of Abraham; where it says that Pharoah was of Hamitic lineage, which lineage was "blessed with wisdom" but "cursed as pertaining to the Priesthood" (Abraham 1:26). Also, in a debate he had with John C. Bennett, the first Mayor of Nauvoo, on who had the greater cause of complaint against the white man, Indians (native Americans) or Negroes, the Prophet said "that the Indians have greater cause to complain of the treatment of the whites, than the Negroes or sons of Cain." (History of the Church 4:501)

Some in the Church believe that Brigham Young and all the Presidents of the Church from his day until Spencer W. Kimball were simply "wrong". But the reader must understand that this is their own personal opinion. The only one who can speak for the Church officially is The First Presidency, and they have declared, in private and public letters, that the Curse of Cain doctrine was "a doctrine of the Church" and the Priesthood-ban was "a commandment of the LORD". They have not repudiated it, and, until it is repudiated by The First Presidency, the belief that Negroes (black Africans) are the descendants of Cain through Ham's wife remains an official "doctrine" of the Church; even if it is not actively taught. Until The First Presidency calls the Priesthood-ban a "mistake" then it is not a "mistake". There is no indication at this time (2001 A.D.) that The First Presidency has any intention of calling the Curse of Cain doctrine "false" or the Priesthood~ban a "mistake".

Some in the Church believe that the Curse of Cain legacy should simply be "forgotten"; that "the past is in the past...let's move on!" However, when sincere investigators and others ask about the Curse of Cain legacy (which is all-over the Internet) what are Latter-day Saints to tell them? Thousands upon thousands of black (and some white) investigators (people who are inquiring about the Church) and new converts ask about the Curse of Cain legacy each and every year. Often, missionaries don't know what to say. Often, their bishops (if they are new converts) tell them, "Don't worry about it! Just attend your meetings, pay your tithe, and you're be blessed!"

What should Latter-day Saints tell others who ask about the Curse of Cain and Priesthood-ban? Should they say, "That's all in the past, let's move on!"? Should they say, "Well, I don't agree with what the Church did!" Should they say, "Don't worry about it!"? Or, should they simply tell people the truth about the matter, and let the LORD take care of the rest?

Some Mormons are afraid to tell the truth; not wanting to be thought of as "racists". So, they avoid speaking about it. When the question is asked, they look at their watches and say, "Gosh, look at the time! I gotta run!" Still others, not knowing the true history, will say, "No, our Church never taught such things!" Then, when black investigators and new converts find out otherwise (and they always do~eventually) they are absolutely devastated; they almost always leave the Church or go totally inactive (not attending Church or participating in the Mormon Faith); NOT because of the Curse of Cain legacy, but because they feel they've been lied to.

Mormons who accept the Curse of Cain Doctrine, and the resulting Priesthood-ban, as from the LORD also believe that both are now irrelevant; since the Priesthood-ban was lifted in 1978 by the LORD's revelation to President Spencer W. Kimball. But they also believe that the past shouldn't be forgotten; just understood. Since 1978, worthy black males in the Church have been ordained to the Priesthood. One of them, Helvecio Martins of Brazil, who joined the Church before black men could be ordained to the Priesthood, became a General Authority (leaders) in the Church in 1990. He became a Member of the 2nd Quorum of Seventy; which is the 5th highest quorum (council) in the Church.

Q. But isn't the Curse of Cain doctrine 'racist'?

A. Under the dictionary definition of 'racism' the Curse of Cain doctrine is not 'racist'. It did not declare that people of Hamitic lineage were 'inferior' to people of other races or lineages. Indeed, it actually said that the Cainites were the founders of the first cities, and the first to work in metal and use musical instruments (Genesis chap. 4). These are not the actions of an "inferior" people. The Curse of Cain Doctrine declared that the ancient Egyptians, who were 'blessed with wisdom' but 'cursed as pertaining to the Priesthood' were really the first to develope math, science, and architecture. Surely, these are not signs of "inferiority". If anything, the Curse of Cain Doctrine presents the descendants of Cain as SUPERIOR to other races and lineages; at least anciently. Black Africans (whether they are in America, Africa, or any other part of the world) are the descendants of the ancient Nubians; who had the blood of the ancient Egyptians in their veins. They were the descendants of Noah through Ham; as well as the descendants of Cain through Ham's Cainite wife Egyptus. The ancient Egyptians (and Nubians) were a very advanced and cultured people! They had civilization, math, a written language, and sciences, when the Europeans were still living in caves and wearing the skins of animals!

Yet, the Bible contains many prophecies, like in Ezekiel chapters 29 and 30, that the LORD would scatter the Egyptians among the inhabitants of Pathos (black Africa), and would divide them, and would make of them, in the latter days, slaves of other nations(Ezekiel chapter 29 and 30)Some blacks, including many Africans and African-Americans who are not Mormons, see these Biblical prophecies as being fulfilled. Others see these things are totally unrelated, and see any suggestion that they are of Cainite or Hamitic lineage as 'racist' in itself. Those blacks that reject the notion they are the descendants of the ancient Egyptians (via the Nubians) also usually reject the Bible and its prophecies; especially those of Ezekiel where it says that the LORD would "scatter" the Egyptians among the inhabitants of Pathros (black sub-saharan Africa) and He would make of them slaves of "other nations" in the last days. Why? Because their ancestor did not "hearken" (listen to and obey) the Voice of the LORD!

Jesus Himself considered Canaanites to be "dogs" (lowly servants) and under the "Curse of Canaan" instituted by Noah.

A Canaanite woman once came to Jesus and begged Him to heal her daughter:

"Then Jesus went thence, and departed into the coasts of Tyre and Sidon.
And, behold, a woman of Canaan came out of the same coasts, and cried unto him, saying, Have mercy on me, O Lord, thou Son of David; my daughter is greivously vexed with a devil.
But he answered he not a word. And his disciples came and besought him, saying, Send her away;f or she crieth after us.
He answered, I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel.
Then came she and worshipped him, saying, Lord, help me.
But he answered and said, It is not meet [proper] to take the children's bread, and to cast it to dogs.
And she said, Truth, Lord; yet the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from the master's table.
Then Jesus answered and said unto her, O woman, great is thy faith; be it unto thee even as thou wilt.
And her daughter was made whole from that very hour." (Matthew 15:20-26)
Jesus called the Canaanite woman a "dog"; which meant to the Jews a "lowly servant". She could have gotten angry, and prideful. She could have spit in his face and walked away. Instead, she said "Truth, Lord". Because of her great faith, Jesus healed her daughter.

If you were a Canaanite in the time of Jesus, when the Jews would call you "dogs" and considered you their servants, and Jesus referred to your people as "dogs" what would you do? Would you:

a) get angry and walk away
b) slap Him?
c) spit upon Him
d) say, "Truth, Lord!"

Unless you swallowed your pride, and said "Truth, Lord", then you would be unworthy of Him!

The Bible knows nothing of "racism". Nowhere does the Bible present one "race" as superior to others. But...

1) The Bible presents the Israelites as God's "Chosen" people. Not "superior", but "chosen".

2) The Bible presents the Levites as being God's priesthood in ancient times because they alone were "valiant" when Korah and his followers had rebelled against Moses at Mount Sinai. Only the Levites were "valiant" in their fight against the Korites. As a reward, they were granted the Priesthood. No other tribe of Israel could hold the Priesthood; because they were less valiant. The Levites were the chosen tribe of the chosen people.

3) The Canaanite were "cursed" by Noah, a Prophet of the LORD, to be the "servant of servants" of the Israelites. Jesus nowhere preached against this. In fact, Jesus referred to Canaanites as "dogs" the same as other Jews did. He even refused to heal the daughter of a Canaanite woman until she agreed and said "Truth, Lord".

Q. Wasn't the Priesthood-ban racist and a form of discrimination?

A. No, the Priesthood-ban was not "racist". But it was a form of discrimination!

The LORD can "discriminate" as He chooses. He chose one people over others to be His "chosen" people. That is "discrimination". To "discriminate" simply means "to chose one thing over others". We "discriminate" ever day when we choose what restaurant to eat at, what to wear, what to eat, what to watch, what to listen to, who to date, who to marry, what to pursue in school or as a career, etc. The LORD also has a "right to choose" over His creation and creatures. He chose only one tribe (the Levites) to be His priesthood anciently. He banned all other tribes; not to mention all other peoples and nations.

There is some evidence that the ancient Church did not ordain blacks to the Priesthood. We have Jesus telling his apostles:

"Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine: lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you." (Matthew 7:6)
The Jews in Jesus' day called Canaanites "dogs" (meaning "lowly servants") and they called Gentiles (all non-Jews) "swine" (meaning "unclean animals"). What did Jesus not want His apostles to give to Canaanites and Gentiles:

a) the Gospel

b) baptism

c) His Priesthood

The only correct answer there can be is "c". We know that the apostles preached to the Canaanites. They also preached to the Gentiles after Peter received a vision instructing him to (Acts 10:9-16).

The Church of Egypt, founded by St. Mark (author of the Gospel of St. Mark), did not ordain black men to the Priesthood, but had a special "sub-deacon" category for them; which did not include the blessing or the passing of the Sacrament. Only a few exceptions to this rule were made.

Q. How can you say that the ancient Christians denied the Priesthood to black men when one of Jesus' apostles was a Canaanite and one of the early "prophets" of the Church was a black man called Simeon called "Niger"?

A. Simon the Zealot was not a Canaanite, and Simeon of Cyrene was a Jew and not a black African.

Among the Disciples of Jesus is one "Simon the Canaanite" (Mark 3:18). But "Canaanite" is a mistranslation. The Greek says "Kananaios". The Aramaic says "Kanna'i". Both mean "Zealot" and not "Canaanite". The King James Version is a mistranslation. More modern translations have:

1) "Simon the Cananean" (Revised Standard Version)

2) "Simon the Zealot" (New International Version)

Simon was a former "Zealot"; a member of a faction of Jews that wanted to use violence to overthrow the Romans and establish a Jewish monarchy. He was a Jew, and not a Canaanite.

Among the "prophets and teachers" of the early Christian Church was one "Simeon that was called Niger ["nai-jeer"]. In Latin, "Niger" ["nai-jeer"] means "black". Was he a black man? This is possible. But his name "Simeon" is Jewish. He could have been called "black" because of hair color, or eye-color, or the clothes he wore, or for some other reason other than being a black man. Is it possible he was a black man who conveted to Judaism, and took a Jewish name. Or perhaps he was half-black; having a Jewish mother and a African father. This is not likely, but possible. Perhaps he was the "Elijah Abel" of his time. We don't know. What we do know is that the early Church that had contact with large numbers of black men (the Orthodox Coptic Church of Egypt) did not ordain these men, but gave them the non-priesthood calling of "sub-deacon".

Q. Did the Church end the Priesthood-ban because of outside pressure?

A. No! During the late 1960s and early 1970s many blacks and some whites protested the Church's denial of the Priesthood to black men; saying it was "discrimination" and "racist". The Church responded by asking them why they would want the Church to grant to black men a "Priesthood" they considered to be "false" in the first place! It would be like a white man saying, "I have the Power of God that He has delegated to me! Blacks cannot have this Power. He has decreed that, and not me." Then blacks and some whites confront him saying, "Oh, you are a RACIST! You are evil! You are LYING! You invented this tale of yours. You have no 'Power of God'! But, you MUST give blacks this Power you don't have, or we will beat you and harrass you until you do!"

If the Mormon Priesthood is not of God, and has no true power, then nobody should desire it; especially black men. However, if the Mormon Priesthood is true, and does have the Power of God, then black men, like all other men, should desire it only if they also recognize that the Prophets of God who hold it and delegate it on earth received it from God, and they speak for God, and they have declared that the Priesthood-ban was from God.

One popular false rumor is that American President Jimmy Carter told LDS President Spencer W. Kimball that if the Church did not end the Priesthood-ban then the U.S. Government would withdraw the Church's tax-exempt status. This is simply NOT true! Never happened. Another false rumor was that if the Church did not end the ban the Government would withdraw accredidation from Brigham Young University. Again, there is no truth to this.

If there was any "pressure" it was internal, and not external. The Church was building a Temple in Sao Paulo, Brazil. In Mormon Temples, Mormons do ordinances for the living and the dead. The ordinances include:

1) Endowments
2) Sealings
3) Baptisms for the Dead

People of Hamitic lineage (whatever their skin color) could only perform baptisms for the dean. They were not allowed the Higher Ordinances of Endowments and Sealings. In preparation for the Temple in Sao Paulo, many white Brazilian Mormons were doing their genealogy (so they could perform rites for their ancestors in the Temple) and discovering they had at least one Negro ancestor; as most white Brazilians do! More and more white Members in Brazil were discovering this. More and more white Members were being released from their Priesthood offices and callings, and told not to use their Priesthood (something every Mormon male is supposed to do). For a Mormon male not to be able to use his Priesthood is like extremely significant; because every male in the Church over the age of 12 is supposed to use their Priesthood to bless their families, to be missionaries, and to hold offices in the Church. Were this to continue, most white Mormon men in Brazil would not have the Priesthood. They would not be able to give "blessings" of comfort and healing to their loved ones. They would not be able to engage in the Higher Ordinances of the Temple. They would not be able to become full-time missionaries. They would not be able to hold Priesthood-offices. The majority of white Mormon men in Brazil have a Hamitic lineage (at least one Negro ancestor), and the Brethren finally came to realize this. Just about all of these white men had already been ordained to Priesthood offices.

The 1978 Revelation was in response to a "need". But, just about every revelation a Mormon Prophet has received has been in response to a "need" or question. In order to solve a "problem" (it was called "The Brazil Situation"), the President of the Church, and his counselors, and the Twelve Apostles, petitioned and supplicated the LORD; asked the LORD to remove the Priesthood-ban. The LORD did.

Q. Isn't believing that black folks are or were cursed by God a 'racist' belief?

A. No. That is not how 'racism' is defined. God alternatively blesses and curses all nations according to how they adhere or reject His Laws and Prophets. The Bible records many curses upon various peoples, for example:

  1. The LORD curses all women to bear children in great suffering because the Serpent (Satan) deceived Eve. (Genesis 3:16)
  2. The LORD curses all men to earn their bread by the sweat of their brow because Adam partook of the forbidden fruit. (Genesis 3:17-19)
  3. The LORD curses the Egyptians with plagues because Pharoah refused to let the Israelites go out of Egypt. (Exodus chapters 7-9)
  4. The LORD curses the Moabites and Ammonites because "unto the tenth generation) because they did not provide food and water to the Israelites in the desert wilderness. (Deuteronomy 23:3)
  5. The LORD promises to curse the ISRAELITES, His own chosen people, if they do not adhere to His commandments.(Deuteronomy chapter 28)

The LORD has a history of blessing and cursing nations and lineages according to how they obey or disobey His laws, and according to how they hearken to (listen and obey) or ignore His Voice (which is revealed through His Prophets). These blessings and cursings have absolutely nothing to do with "racism"!

The Jews (including Jesus) believed that the Canaanites were "cursed" to be servant-of-servants ("dogs"). What that "racist"? If so, then Jesus was a RACIST!

But, it was NOT "racism".

Racism is a "philosophy of man" that began in the early to mid-19th century that said that some "races" of human beings are "superior" to others. This philosophy was based upon Darwinism; from the belief that some species of animals (and humans) are "more evolved" (higher) than others. The Philophsophy of Racism was never a part of the Bible; nor was it ever a part of the Mormon Faith! What has always been a Bible-doctrine (and always a part of the Mormon Faith) is that God alternatively blesses and curses various nations, kindreds, tongues, and peoples, according to how they hearken to (listen to and obey) His Voice!

Israelites Blessed and Cursed!

Brigham Young, the 2nd President of the LDS Church, taught that that ancient Israelites were "cursed by God" as well as being blessed by Him. Young said:

"In ancient days of old Israel was the chosen people in whom the Lord delighted, and whom he blessed and did so much for. Yet, they transgressed every law that he gave them, changed every ordinance that he delivered to them, broke every covenant made with their fathers, and turned away entirely from His holy commandments, and the Lord cursed them." (Journal of Discourses 14:86)
The LORD said to His people Israel through the Prophet Moses:
"Behold, I set before you this day a blessing and a curse; a blessing, if ye obey the commandments of the LORD your God, which I command you this day:
And a curse, if you will not obey the commandments of the LORD thy God, but turn aside out of the way which I commanded you this day, to go after other gods, which ye have not known." (Deut. 11:26-28)

"And it shall come to pass, if thou shalt harken diligently unto the voice of the LORD thy God, to observe and to do all His commandments whi I command thee this day, that the LORD thy God will set thee on high above all nations of the earth;
And all these blessing shall come on thee, and overtake thee, if thou shalt hearken unto the voice of the LORD thy God."
"But it shall come to pass, if thou whilt not hearken unto the voice of the LORD thy God, to observe to do all His commandments and his statutes which I command thee this day; that all these curses shall come upon thee, and overtake thee." (Deut. 18:1-2,15)

When Israel obeyed the LORD, by harkening (obeying) His "Voice" (the Living Prophets), then the LORD blessed and protected them. But when they disobeyed, and "harkened not" (did not listen to nor obey) His "voice" (the Living Prophets), then the LORD "cursed" them. They enemies triumphed over them.

Q. I've heard that there were lots of Mormons in the Ku Klux Klan. Is this true?

A. No! It's absolutely totally false! This is another unfortunate false rumor that is circulated quite whidely in the African-American Community. There is no truth to it. In fact, the opposite is true. Historian Larry R.Gerlach, in his book Blazing Crosses in Zion, write that the KKK was unsuccessful in Utah because of the opposition of Mormons and the LDS Church hierarchy. The "voice" of the LDS Church at that time was the Church-owned Deseret News; whose editorials were written by Mormon apostles and approved by the Church's First Presidency (supreme council).

Beginning in 1920, thanks to the silent film Birth of a Nation (which glorified the KKK as galant white heroes and demonized blacks as ravenous and ignorant savages), the KKK experienced a resurrection among white Americans. Indeed, the original KKK had been a small secret order of ex-Confederate calvarymen who road around at night terrorizing blacks in the South. The new KKK was a massive political movement which controled state governments and included more than 5 million robed members (the equivalent of 20 million today). They were a powerful political and social force in every state of the Union; except the two "Mormon" states of Utah and Idaho. Why? Historian Larry Gerlach writes:

"Faced with the prospect of the Klan becoming an actuality instead of an apparition, the Deseret News launched a devastating attack upon the secret order. That the News would lead the initial opposition to the establishment of the Klan was as predictable as it was significant. The secular oracle of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the Deseret News, though its editorials passed on the opinions of the Mormon Church hierarchy on public affairs to the faithful; since Mormons constituted approximately 70 percent of Utahns, the position of the LDS Church officials obviously would have an important bearing on the future of the Klan in the state. Given the long-standing opposition of the Mormon Church to the Ku Klux Klan for both secular and sectarian [religious] reasons, it is not surprising that the Deseret News viewed the coming of the Klan to Utah with 'disapprobation and contempt'." (Blazing Crosses, p.24)

"The single greatest obstacke to the development of the Klan in the Beehive State [Utah] was the Mormon Church." (Blazing Crosses, p.36)

Here are just a few quotes from a few anti-KKK editiorials that appeared in the Mormon Millennial Star and Deseret News over the years. During all these decades, editorials in these papers were written by Mormon apostles, and were essentially "official" LDS Church statements:

1868: "The Ku Klux Klan, the Loyal League, the Grand Army of the Republic, all secret, oath-bound orders are spreading fear and dismay though North and South....secret orders are not 'new things under the Sun,' though they are called by new names. They have existed at intervals from the earliest ages, and originated with him who tempted Eve to sin [Satan]."
"If that nation will arise and shake off its wickedness and turn unto the Lord like Nineveh of old, He will turn His wrath away from the people, and give them power to search out and destroy these secret combinations, whose schemes and plots and hellish deeds, like an army of white ants, are eating their way into the roots of the national tree." (Millennial Star 31:244,348)

1870s-1890s: During this period the KKK spearheaded anti-Mormon meetings and attacks in the Southern United States. Half a dozen Mormon missionaries and Mormons were killed by Klansmen during this period; with many more being beaten, tarred-and-feathered, assaulted, chased out of town, or threatened with death. (Blazing Crosses, pp.11ff)

1908: The stage verion of Thomas Dixon's bestselling novel The Clansman, which portrayed blacks as ignoratn and ravenous brutes, and glorified the KKK as white heroes, had toured all over the United States. Finally, the tour came to Salt Lake City. The Gentile (non-mormon) newspaper in the city, The Salt Lake Tribune, praised both the play and its message. The Mormon paper, the Deseret News, said that while the play itself was "an excellent production" in technical terms, the Klan was not a heroic organization as the play portrayed, but "rode about the country at night killing or torturing negroes and their sympathizers" in a "reign of terror" and "became a band of idle, dissolute and vicious individuals who entered upon a career of brutality and violence that appalled the country."(Deseret News, Nov. 2, 1908).

1916: The Salt Lake Tribune, Utah's Gentile (non-mormon) and Anti-Mormon newspaper (which almost daily contained anti-Mormon articles) wrote a critique of the silent movie Birth of a Nation; which was a film verion of the play The Clansmen. The Tribune wrote that "Mob violence and outlawry [by blacks] are depicted, followed by spectacular vies of the Ku Klux Klansmen who organized secretly to control the negroes through their superstitious fears. The Klansmen were fearless night-riders and they wore white shrouds. Acts of vengeance were perpetrated [upon blacks] under the cover of darkness, and the pictures show clearly why such extreme measures were necessary for the continuance of law and order." (Salt Lake Tribune, April 2, 1916)

1920: The KKK was "an insult and a menace to orderly government" which would lead "to riot and bloodshed". (Deseret News, 23 Dec., 1920)

1920s: The Salt Lake Tribune accepted KKK advertising and notices. The Deseret News refused to carry any KKK advertisements or notices, and only mentioned the KKK in editorials to condemn it.

1921: "So far as its operations are known--its secrecy, its mummery, its terrorism, its lawlessnewss--it is condemned as inimical to the peace, order, and dignity of the commonwealth. These mountain communities of ours have no place whatever for it in their social scheme of things. It should be spurned and scorned, and any individual presenting himself as authorized or qualified to establish branches, domains, camps, or Klans should be made emphatically to understand that his local endeavors will be worse than wasted, and his objects [goals] are detested, and his [absense] is preferred to his company. The people of Utah have no taste or patience for such criminal nonsense, and there should be all plainness in making that fact known." (Deseret News, July 23, 1921)

1923: At the 1923 Imperial Klanvocation (convention) in Atlanta, Georgia, the Grand Dragon of Wyoming declared to the assembled Klan officers who their Number One "enemy" was:

"In the Realm of Utah and scattered over the West in general, we have another enemy, which is more subtle and far more cunning [than other anti-KKK groups] in carrying its efforsts against this organization [KKK]...the Latter-day Saints Religion!" (Papers Read at the Meetings of Grand Dragons, Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, 1923, pp.112-3)
1924: Thanks to the blockbuster silent film Birth of a Nation, and to the efforts of a Southern Methodist minister named William J. Simmons, the KKK grew to 5 million members and controlled the Democratic Party in the states of Maine, Indiana, and Colorado. The KKK was as powerful in the North and Mid-west as the South; if not more so. Many Baptist and Methodist ministers are also Klan officers. The KKK is strong and active in all states except Utah and Idaho; two states with large Mormon populations. The New York Times takes notice of this, and writes:
"In Utah and Idaho the masked order [KKK] is without any foothold worthy of the name. It is said that there are a few Klan units in isolated spots, but they are negligiable in number and in influence." (New York Times, Oct. 19, 1924)
1926: Thousands of Klansmen hold a gathering and parade in Washington D.C.:

1928: The KKK Women's Auxilary holds its own march in Washington D.C.:

1946: The Deseret News called the KKK "American Storm Troopers" (i.e. after the German SA which got Hitler and the Nazis into power), and that the KKK was "a sad event for America." (July 17, 1946)

1948: The Deseret News called "the Ku Klux Klan plague" contains "the virus which whill sap the liberty and freedom of all Americans." (July 19, 1948)

1960s: The Deseret News referred to the KKK as "Bullies in Bedsheets" and decalred "it is time for the United States of America to stamp out such organized conspiracy and lawlessness." (Jan 1., 1966)

1970s-Today: The KKK started a sharp decline during the mid-1960s when Klansmen killed three civil-rights workers (two of them white) in Mississippi. Most KKK members quit the order or went inactive after this period. Today (2003) the KKK has small sporatic memberships in divergent goups thoughout the U.S., but they serve more as social clubs than vigilante organizations. A few KKK members still receive national attention by occassional acts of anti-black or anti-Jewish terrorism. The KKK is effectively powerless today.

The Mormon Church wrote in 1868, only months after the Ku Klux Klan was formed, that it would prove a "curse" upon America. The Deseret News called upon America to "root out and destroy" the Klan and other such organizations. America didn't listen.

Q. I've heard that Joseph Smith taught that black folks had no souls. Is this true?

A. No! Yet another false rumor. Joseph Smith said: "They have souls, and are subject to salvation." (History of the Church 5:217)

There have been Black Mormons since 1832; a fact in itself which refutes this false rumor.

Will the Mormon Church ever just apologize to black folks for teaching that they are the descendants of Cain and under his curse?

A. Not likely. To call the Curse of Cain doctrine and Priesthood-ban policy a "mistake" would be saying that Mormon leaders from Brigham Young (1850s-1870s) to Spencer W. Kimball (1970s-1980s) were not inspired of God! It would be saying that Church Presidents, considered to be "Living Prophets" by Mormons, cannot be trusted in their doctrines or policies.

The LORD has said:

"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." (Doctrine & Covenants 1:38)
Some Members of the Church believe the Priesthood-ban was a "mistake" and not of God. They don't believe that blacks are the descendants of Cain. Some of these believe that the Church should publicly "repudiate" the Curse of Cain legacy. Others believe that merely by not discussing it, not talking about it, the Curse of Cain legacy will slowly "fade away" and be forgotten.

Some Members don't believe that the Church ever taught that blacks were the descendants of Cain or cursed at all! These Members are either very misinformed, or self-deluded. Some of them will go into "denial" and literally lie to themselves and others. Why? Because they don't want others to perceive them as "racist".

A few Members will think of excuses why blacks were denied the Priesthood; other than the reasons given by Mormon Prophets. They will say things like, "Well, the white Members were racist and they weren't ready for black Priesthood-officers!" or "Well, we really don't KNOW why blacks did not receive the Priesthood! God has not revealed why!"

These are their "personal opinions" and "spins". Mormon Church leaders have--since the early 1850s until the 1978 Revelation--been consistent as to telling "why" Negroes could not hold the Priesthood. The reason "why" they gave was:

1) Negroes were considered to be the descendants of Cain via Ham's Cainite wife. They inherited the "Curse of Cain"; which was a denial of the Priesthood in mortal life. All of this was based upon their interpretation of Abraham 1:26 in the Book of Abraham in the Pearl of Great Price (a volume of Mormon scripture) which said that Pharaoh was "a righteous man" and "blessed with wisdom" but "cursed as pertaining to the Priesthood" because he had the blood of the Canaanites; being a descendant of Ham through Canaan.

2) Negroes "may" have been "less valiant" in the War in Heaven in the Pre-Existence (i.e. they followed Jehovah against Lucifer but were not "valiant" in the War). As punishment, these spirits were born into the Cainite lineage (bloodline).

3) One day the "curse will be removed" and Negroes will "have all the blessings we now enjoy" and more.

Some Mormons think they know more than do Mormon Prophets, and conclude that Abraham 1:26 refers to the Patriachal Priesthood (i.e. there should be no black Patriarchs) but not to the Melchizedek or Aaronic orders.

Other Mormons simply believe that the Curse of Cain doctrine and Priesthood-ban policy was based upon the "racism" of Brigham Young, and should never have happened.

Some Mormons believe or will tell you that the Curse of Cain was merely the "personal opinions" of early Church leaders, and "never a doctrine of the Church".

This is simply NOT true! In 1947 the First Presidency (supreme council) of the Church issued an Official Statement saying:

"From the days of the Prophet Joseph Smith even until now, it has been the doctrine of the Church, never questioned by Church leaders, that the Negroes are not entitled to the full blessings of the Gospel." (Statement of The First Presidency on the Negro Question, July 17 1947, quoted in Mormonism and the Negro, pp.46-7)
By "full blessings of the Gospel" they meant:

1) The Priesthood

2) The Higher Ordinances (sealings and endowments) in Mormon Temples.

Only The First Presidency can speak for the Church. They did not repudiate the Curse of Cain doctrine nor the Priesthood-ban in 1978. They simply "lifted" the Priesthood-ban (or rather the LORD did through them). There are no current signs the First Presidency will ever repudiate the Curse of Cain legacy. Members who tell themselves and others that the Curse of Cain doctrine was a "mistake" or "personal opinion" or "never taught" are saying they know the Will of the LORD more than did Church Presidents; which they claim to believe in and sustain as "Living Prophets".

Q. Isn't calling African-Americans "Negroes" an insult?"

A. The term "Negro" was a respectful term at the time when used by Mormon apostles and writers. Even now it is not a disrespectful term; just one not commonly used today.

Q. I've heard that it was Brigham Young who originated the Curse of Cain doctrine and Priesthood-ban. Is this true?

A. Perhaps. Some Mormons believe that Brigham Young, and not Joseph Smith, originated the Curse of Cain doctrine and Priesthood-ban based upon the following facts:

1) There was no "revelation" received by any Church President where the LORD says "Thou shalt not ordain Negroes to the Priesthood".

2) During the presidency of Joseph Smith, at least three black men (Elijah Abel,Walker Lewis,and William McCary) were ordained and became Elders (Abel also became a Seventy).

3) Brigham Young once said, "We have one of the best Elders an African in Lowell [Massachusetts]" (12 March 1947). This is a reference to Walker Lewis.

4) Joseph Smith once is purported to have said not to ordain "black slaves" to the Priesthood, but no such prohibition is mentioned for free blacks.

Those who hold the view that Brigham Young originated the Curse of Cain doctrine cite these facts. They also theorize that Brigham Young "invented" the Curse of Cain and Priesthood-ban in retaliation for the "Black Pete" incident in 1847. A Mulatto (half black and half Native American) named "Black Pete" joins the Church, but soon calls himself the reincarnation of Adam. He approaches numerous white Mormon women, and convinces some of them to become his "Eve". He seduces a number of them. Black Pete is excommunicated. Enraged, Brigham Young invents the Curse of Cain doctrine in 1852 as "retaliation" against all Negroes for the improprieties of "Black Pete".

These are the facts:

1) Joseph Smith considered Negroes to be "the sons of Cain" (History of the Church 4:502)

2) Joseph Smith was the translator of the Book of Abraham; which says that the lineage of Ham and Egyptus (Ham's Cainite wife) was "blessed with wisdom" but "cursed as pertaining to the Priesthood" (Abraham 1:26)

3) Joseph Smith was the translator of the Book of Moses, which says that "the seed of Cain were black" (Moses 7:22)

4) At least 7 different men (apostles, seventies, and an elder) claim that Joseph Smith told them that "Negroes had no right to the Priesthood"; although there is no confirmation of this outside their recollections.

5) Living Prophets since Brigham Young until Spencer W. Kimball have declared that Negroes were the descendant of Cain and Ham, and that the Priesthood-ban was "of the LORD" and not themselves. The First Presidency has always confirmed this and never repudiated it.

Still today some Mormons believe they know more than the Prophets of the Church, and they will find theories and explanations and explain-aways which pleases them and satifies their need to be perceived as "politically-correct" and popular with the World; instead of accepting what the Prophets have consistently declared.

Q. Why did Joseph Smith allow at least three black men to receive the Priesthood if in fact they were under the Curse of Cain?

A. We don't know. Perhaps one of these reasons:

a) They were considered exceptions to the rule because of their great faith.

b) Joseph Smith didn't interpret the Curse of Cain as being applicable to blacks after Jesus' atonement (i.e. Jesus' blood cancels-out all old curses).

c) The three black men were ordained before the Book of Abraham was translated and the Curse of Cain understood.

d) The Curse of Cain was not understood until the presidency of Brigham Young. The LORD reveals "line upon line and precept upon precept".

e) Brigham Young's interpretation of Abraham 1:26 was not Joseph Smith's interpretation.

f) None of the above.

Mormon historians and scholars will argue and debate about who originated the Curse of Cain doctrine and Priesthood-ban; Joseph Smith or Brigham Young. Some Mormons will continue to deny the Church taught it, or invent theories and explain-aways to distance themselves from it. However, the TRUTH is that the First Presidency taught it as official doctrine since 1852, and has never repudiated by the Church. Members of the Church who don't wish to believe it was from God don't need to, but they should qualify that by saying "In my opinion". They don't speak for the Church.

Q. Is it true that the Mormon Church taught that black folks were the children of the Devil?

A. No! Absolutley FALSE! This is a popular false rumor in the African-American community. There is no truth to it. The Church has always taught that black people are the literal sons and daughters of God.

Q. Did the Mormon Church teach that black folks followed Lucifer in the War in Heaven, or were 'fence sitters', or were 'less valiant' in that War?

A. No! The Church never taught that black folks followed Lucifer!. But some Mormon apostles did teach that Negroes were "neutral" or "less valiant" in the War in Heaven.

Apostle Orson Hyde once gave a sermon before some high priests in 1847; saying that Negroes were "neutral" in the War in Heaven, but this was never official Church doctrine, and this was repudiated by Brigham Young and others. Mormon apostles are not "infallible" in their teachings.

The "Less Valiant Theory" is a theory that originated with Mormon apostle Orson Pratt in his publication The Seer in 1852. The theory goes like this:

1) In the War in Heaven all spirits either followed Jesus or Lucifer.

2) Two-thirds of spirits followed Jesus, and cast out the one-third who followed Lucifer. The one-third who followed Lucifer became the Devil and his demons. The Two-thirds who followed Jesus became human beings.

3) Some of the spirits that followed Jesus was not "valiant" in the War. As a punishment they were born into the Cainite linage (bloodline); which meant a denial of the Priesthood in mortality.

Orson Pratt based his theory upon his reading of the Book of Doctrine & Covenants where it says that those who "are not valiant in their testimony of Jesus" in this life will "obtain not the crown over the kingdom of our God." (D&C 76:79). Pratt reasoned that God would not punish Negroes unfairly, so they "must have" done something in the Pre-Existence for them to be punished at birth; to be born into the Cainite lineage. So, he said "it may be" that they were less valiant in the War in Heaven.

Of course, The Seer was never an official Church publication. In fact, the First Presidency (under Brigham Young) condemned The Seer and instructed Mormons to destroy their copies. Why? Because Orson Pratt had given many personal speculations. Pratt believed that human reason could "fill-in-the-blanks" of Revelation.

Brigham Young never taught the Less Valiant Theory. Some Mormon Presidents accepted it. President David O. McKay (1940s-1960s) called it "a reasonable supposition". A "supposition" means a speculation.

The Less Valiant Theory is just that; a theory. It is not a Revelation! It has never been an official doctrine of the Church. The Curse of Cain doctrine has been presented as an official doctrine of the Church.

Q. Doesn't the Book of Mormon identify a "skin of blacksness" as a sign of a curse?

A. Yes. But does this mean that the white-skinned Nephites were "superior" or "more righteous" than the dark-skinned Lamanites? The answer is: NO!

The Israelites were the children of Israel; a man born with the name of Jacob. He was the twin-brother of Esau, which means "Red". The Bible says that Esau was "red" and "hairy like a garment" (Genesis 25:25-6). Only one race of men have red hair and hairy bodies; the Keltic race. Jacob (Israel) was not "hairy" but was the "twin" brother of Esau. Therefore, Jacob must have been of the same race as Esau. The ancient Israelites were not a "black" skinned people, but a very fair-skinned people; many of them with red hair and hairy bodies. The Queen of Sheba says of Solomon, the King of Israel and son of David, "My beloved is white and ruddy, the chiefest among ten thousand." (Song of Solomon 5:10)

The very name "Adam" in Hebrew is aw-dawm; which means "to show blood (in the face); i.e. to flush or turn rosy" (Strong's Hebrew Words #119). It means "to blush". Only one race of men on earth can "blush". The Adamic Race is only 6,000 years old. But there are much older races of men.

The Israelites were commanded by the LORD to remain separate from other peoples. The Israelites were surrounded by darkner-skinned peoples than they. They were commaned not to intermarry with them. Thus, a "dark skin" among Israelites was a "sign" that their parents had disobeyed the LORD, and disobedience to the LORD brings "curses". So, in that sense, for Israelites, a "dark skin" is a "sign" of a curse.

The Book of Mormon is mainly the story about two peoples: the Nephites ("nee-fights") and the Lamanites ("layman-nights"). The Nephites were a light-skinned people, and the Lamanites were a dark-skinned people. The Nephite prophets believed that the LORD had "cursed" the Lamanites with a dark skin. This is consistent with ancient Jewish thought. Anciently, the Jews saw dark skin as a "mark" of Cain, and of Ham; a sign of a curse. Mormons did not invent that. You can find that in the Talmud of the Jews, and other ancient Jewish writings. That the Nephites (a colony of ancient Jews in America) would consider a dark skin a "curse" is consistent with how ancient Jews thought. The ancient Jews did not consider themselves "superior" to other peoples. They just considered themselives to be a "chosen" (Elect) people. Was that "racist"? If so, the Bible itself is "racist".

Some Mormons believe that the Lamanites were changed from white-skinned to dark-skinned people in an "instant" by the LORD. Other Mormons believe that Laman and Lemuel and their families intermarried with dark-skinned peoples that also inhabited ancient America, and after this all non-Nephites were called "Lamanites".

The white-skinned Nephites were utterly destroyed by the dark-skinned Lamanites. Why? A Nephite prophet named Jacob warned the Nephites against their racial pride:

"Behold, the Lamanites your brethren, whom ye hate because of their filthiness and the cursing which hath come upon their skins, are more righteous than you...
O my brethren, I fear that unless you repent of your sins that their skins will be whiter than yours, when ye shall be brought with them before the throne of God." (Jacob 3:5,8)
Nephite Prophets in The Book of Mormon warned that racial pride should prove the utter destruction of the white-skinned Nephites:
"And when these things have passed away a speedy destruction cometh unto my people; for, nothwithstanding the pains of my soul, I have seen it; wherefore, I know that it shall come to pass; and they sell themselves for naught; for, for the reward of pride and foolishness they shall reap destruction;" (2 Nephi 26:10)

"And it came to pass in the eighty and fifth year they did wax stronger and stronger in their pride, and in their wickedness; and thus they were ripening again from destruction." (Helaman 11:37)

"Behold, my son, I will write unot you again if I go not out soon against the Lamanites. Behold, the pride of tis nation, or the people of the Nephites, hath proven their destruction except they repent." (Moroni 8:27)

The white-skinned Nephites were utterly destroyed by the dark-skinned Lamanites. Proverbs says:
"Pride goeth before destruction, and a haughty spirit before the fall." (Proverbs 16:18)
The Prophet Alma, in The Book of Mormon said:
"Behold, are you stripped of pride? I say unto you, if you are not yet are not prepared to meet God. Behold, ye must prepare quickly: for the kingdom of Heaven is at hand, and such an one hath not eternal life" (Alma 5:28)
The Book of Mormon is essentially a history of a white-skinned people who were destroyed by the LORD because of their wickedness and racial pride.

Q. Were the Jaradites a black people?

A. Perhaps. Included in The Book of Mormon is a smaller book called "The Book of Ether". It was written by a man named "Ether" ("prisoner" in Egyptian) who was a Jaredite (a descendant of Jared). It tells of a people called the "Jaredites" who were "a righteous people" at the time of the Tower of Babel. They came from the Tower of Babel, in the Land of Nimrod, to the New World at many centuries before the time of Abraham. Some Mormon scholars think they may have been a black Hamitic race of people; because the Jaredite names are Hamitic. Also, they had "oaths handed down from Cain" (Ether 8:15). Many Mormon scholars believe that the Olmecs of Mesoamerica were Jaredites. Some non-mormon scholars believe that the Olmecs were "Negroes"; because of the giant Olmec heads which appear to be negroid:

A typical Olmec head
If the Jaredites were a black Hamitic people, this would mean that the LORD had a righteous "chosen people" who were black at least 1000 years before He chose the white-skinned Israelites.

Q. How many Black Mormons are there today?

A. Today (2004 A.D.) there are about 500,000 Mormons of black African ancestry; about 200,000 in Africa. They can hold any Priesthood office that any other male Mormon can hold. Mormon women do not hold the Priesthood, but they can "minister" in Mormon Temples, and they share the blessings of the Priesthood with their husbands who hold it. The organization for women in the Church is called the "Relief Society".

Q. Are there segregated Mormon congregations?

A. No. There are no segregated wards (congregations) in the LDS Church. However, there is a fellowship organization for black Mormons in North America called "The Genesis Groups". These are basically social~clubs for black Mormons and their families who live in metropolitan areas in North America.

Q. Why would black folks wish to become Mormons?

A. Because they believe it is the Truth. And because only The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints can offer them Eternal Marriage. Only the LDS Church has the sealing power that Jesus gave to Peter when He said:

"And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven;: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven." (Matt. 16:19 and Matt. 18:18)
What does this "binding" and "loosening" refer to?

a) bound and loosed demons in heaven?

b) saved or unsaved people in heaven?

c) bound or loosed Christians in heaven?

It "c" is correct, then what does the "binding" and "loosening" refer to? In Greek "bound" is DUO and "loosened" or "loosed" is LEO.

The Apostle Paul wrote:

"Art thou bound [DEO] to a wife? seek not to be loosed [LUO]." (1 Corinthians 7:27)

"For the woman which hath a husband is bound [DEO] by the law of her husband so long as he liveth; but if the husband is dead, she is loosed [LUO] from the law of her husband." (Romans 7:2)

Jesus gave to Peter a sealing power so that Peter could "bind" [DEO] on earth what shall be "bound" [DEO] in heaven, and "loose" [LUO] on earth what shall be "loosed" [LUO] in heaven. (Matt. 18:18). This "binding" and "loosening" refers to marriage.

Under the Law of Moses a woman was "bound" to her husband as long as he lived (or they were divorced). But when he died she was "loosed". This is why, when the Sadducees (who kept the Law of Moses) asked Jesus who would claim as wife in the Resurrection a Sadducee woman with 8 husbands, Jesus replied that "the Children of This World" would not be married in heaven, but would be like the angels. (Luke 20:34-36)

But Jesus never referred to His own disciples as "The Children of This World" but as "The Children of Light". If a Sadducee woman and her many Sadducee husbands became angels in Heaven, would not Christians have a better inheritance?

Jesus' words in Matthew 18:18 refers to marriage in Heaven for those Peter has "sealed". In 1829, Peter, James, and John, as angels, appeared to Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery and transferred this "sealing power" to them. Today, the President of the Church has this power, but delegates deputies called "Sealers" to "seal" faithful men to faithful women in Mormon Temples. If they remain faithful, and "worthy" until the end of their lives, these couples will become Adams and Eves on other worlds, and eventually receive the title of "gods". They will be higher than the angels in Heaven, but they will always be servants and worshippers of God.


The purpose of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is to "gather the Elect" from the four corners of the earth so they can be "sealed" in Mormon Temples; as husbands and wives and families. Jesus said about the latter-days:

"And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other." (Matthew 24:31)
The LORD said to the Prophet Joseph Smith:
"And even so will I gather mine elect, from the four corners of the earth, even as many as will believe in me, and harken unto my voice." (D&C 33:6)
On the top of most Mormon Temples you will see an angel blowing a trumpet. This is symbolic of the gathering of the Elect of God in the last days. The Elect of God shall gather to His Temples,a nd receive the ordinances therein.

"And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet,a nd they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to another." (Matthew 24:31)

The Church is not commanded to "gather" the non-elect. The non-elect will not accept the Curse of Cain doctrine. They won't accept the Priesthood-ban. They won't believe. They will harden their hearts like stone, and won't believe. But that's ok! The Church is not for them! The Church is for the Elect.

Who are the Elect of God?

The LORD said to His Church:

"And ye are called to bring to pass the gathering of mine elect; for mine elect hear my voice and harden not their hearts" (D&C 29:7)
It doesn't really matter that the World (Babylon) accepts the Curse of Cain doctrine or Priesthood-ban. It doesn't really matter that many black folks and white folks won't accept it. It's not for them. But the Elect will believe, and that's all that really matters!


Darrick Evenson


The Black Mormon Homepage

54 pages online. Fully illustrated with many photos. An overview of Black Mormon history plux information for an about black Latter-day Saints.

Missionaries: please print this out and make copies and give them to other missionaries and to your Ward Mission Leaders.

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