(left) Elijah Abel (1810-1884). Black Mormon. Elder. Missionary. Member of the 3rd Quorum of Seventy Apostles. Foster-Brother of the Prophet Joseph Smith Jr.
(right) Walker Lewis (1800-1856). Black Mormon. Elder. One of the founders of the Boston General Colored Assocation; a forerunner of the NAACP.
This article was written for people who have questions about about Blacks Folks (people of black African descent) and the the Mormon Faith (commonly known as "the Mormon Church"). Because of false 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" ( we prefer the Mormon Faith) is or was "racist". Common beliefs in these black communities are beliefs such as:
*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 or because Mormons want their money.
*The Ku Klux Klan was full of Mormons.
All of these rumors are FALSE! Yet, today they remain very popular in the African-American Community. This article was written to reveal the TRUTH about the Mormon Faith and Black Folks.
The Mormon Faith
The Mormon Faith is a religion with 12 million adherents worldwide. The Mormon Faith includes:
*A belief that Jesus Christ is the Lord, the Messiah, and the Son of God.
*A belief that Joseph Smith Jr. was a true Prophet of God.
*A belief that The Book of Mormon is a translation of ancient writings by Jewish prophets who lived in ancient America.
*A belief that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the Only True Church of Christ upon the face of the whole earth; the only Church that has all the doctrines, laws, and ordinances that can save us from Hell and exalt us in Heaven.
There ARE "Mormons", but there is NO "Mormon Church"! Mormons are "Latter-day Saints" and "Members" of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. That is the name of the Church. Mormons would prefer that you NOT refer to the Church as "the Mormon Church", but rather....
The Mormon Faith
Our Church is not the Church of Mormon (a Jewish prophet living in ancient America), but the Church of Jesus Christ.
Personal Opinion vs. Official Doctrine
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has never had any official doctrine that black folks are 'inferior' in any way, shape, or form to people of other races. In fact, The Book of Mormon says quite clearly:
"And he inviteth them all to come unto him and partake of his goodness, and he denieth none that come unto him, black or white, bond or free, male or female, and he remembereth the heathen; and all are alike unto God." (2 Nephi 26:33)
Have some Mormon apostles believed that "Negroes" were inferior?
Yes, absolutely! Most Mormon apostles held the same general beliefs about black folks as did the vast great majority of white Americans for their day. Brigham Young, the second President of the Church, held essentially the same beliefs about black folks as did Abraham Lincoln.
Mormons do not believe that their Presidents and Apostles are infallible, nor all-knowing. They were the children of their times. Just about all Mormon Presidents and Apostles held the same views of black folks as did the vast great majority of white Americans for their day and culture. Today, we might call that a "moderately racist" view; as did the vast great majority of other white Americans who were Catholics and Protestants and Jews.
The same is true for white Mormons in general. Yankee (New England) Mormons held essential the same view of black folks as most other Yankee Americans. Mormons from Southern states generally held the same view as other whites from the South, and so on.
Today (2005 A.D.), the vast great majority of white Mormons hold the same view of black folks as do the great majority of white Americans; that black folks should live where they want, work where they want, get educated where they want, marry whom they wish, and enjoy all the same priviledges and rights as any American.
The Prophet Joseph Smith~Advocate for the Black People!
The Prophet Joseph Smith did not believe in innate "Negro" inferiority; a common belief in his day among 99% of whites. He believed that if black folks be allowed to be educated, they would rise to the same heights of intelligence and accomplishment as educated whites.
The Prophet Joseph Smith 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 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 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 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 good, 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.
IN 1843 Joseph Smith, along with Sidney Rigdon, formed the Mormon Reform Party (not affiliated with the current "Reform Party") which was the very first political party in the United States to advocate the freedom, education, and granting of full civil-rights to blacks.
In June 1844, in Carthage Illinois, Joseph Smith was killed, along with his brother Hyrum, but a group of white men. One of the reasons he was assassinated may have been his advocacy for the freedom, education, and the granting of equal rights for black folks.
After the death of the Prophet Joseph Smith, his successor, Brigham Young, led the Mormons to the valley of the Great Salt Lake; then a harsh desert. The Mormons founded Salt Lake City, and hundreds of other cities and towns in the American West.
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 Church of Jesus Christ was extremely anti-Klan, and the KKK "Grand Wizard" of Wyoming considered the Church of Jesus Christ 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.***President McKay said in 1951:
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)
"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. Because black folks of African ancestry were considered by Mormon prophets to be "Canaanites" (descendants of Canaan son of Noah), and in The Book of Abraham (a volume of Mormon scripture) the Canaanite lineage (bloodline) is called "cursed as pertaining to the Priesthood" (Abraham 1:26).
Joseph Smith did ordain at least two black men to the Priesthood: Elijah Abel and Walker Lewis. After his death Brigham Young had control of the Church. He allowed another black man (William McCary) to receive the Priesthood, but McCary seduced some white Mormon women. Brigham Young then banned black men (and even white men with one Negro ancestor) from the Priesthood. He justified this action by claiming they were of the "seed of Cain" and Cain was cursed with a black skin, and Cain killed Abel, and the Cainites (descendants of Cain) could not hold the Priesthood until the Abelites first were given the opportunity; then the Cainites would receive it as well.
Joseph Smith did direct that black slaves not be ordained, but he did not have any ban on free blacks receiving the Priesthood. Joseph Smith was killed by a mob of Anti-Mormons in Carthage, Illinois, in June 1844.
The Beginnings of the Priesthood-ban
In 1845, in Nauvoo, Mormon apostle Orson Hyde made a presendation before the High Priest's Quorum in which he said that Canaanites (Negroes) had thought Lucifer had the right to rule (in the War in Heaven before the earth was formed, and that is why they were born in the lineage of Canaan.
In 1847, while Brigham Young was presided over of the Church as senior Apostle, another black man (half Indian and half-Black) was ordained; his name was William McCary. Brigham Young approved of McCary's ordination, but Parley P. Pratt, another Mormon Apostle, objected, stating to Brigham Young that McCary was "a black man who has got the blood of Ham in which lineage was cursed as regards to the Priesthood." (Brigham Young Papers, 15 April, 1847, Church Archives). Pratt had reference to the first chapter of The Book of Abraham wherein it said that anyone with Canaanite bloodline or lineage ("lin-edge") was "blessed with wisdom" but "cursed as pertaining to the Priesthood" (Abraham 1:26). Brigham Young responded to Pratt:
"It is not a question of blood. The Lord hath made of one blood all the nations of the earth. We have one of the best Elders an African in Lowell." (Brigham Young Papers, 26 March, 1847, Church Archives)Brigham Young was referring to Walker Lewis; a resident of Lowell, Massachusetts. He followed the Mormons to Utah, but soon returned to Lowell. Walker was prominent in the Abolitionist movement (a movement to free blacks from slavery).
Brigham Young apparently believed, in early 1847, that Negroes could become Priesthood-holders, and gave as an example what a great Elder they had in Walker Lewis. But that belief would soon change.
The Black Pete Affair
In late 1847 William McCary began to claim that he was the reincarnation of Adam and the Apostle Peter. Some Mormons started to call him "Black Pete". He convinced a number of Mormon women to become his new "Eve"; thereby seducing them. He converted a small group of Mormons; who believed he was an "Indian Prophet". His seductions created a scandal among the Mormons. He was cast out of the Church; along with those few white Mormons who still followed him. This is known today as "The Black Pete Affair".
By 1849, Brigham Young had re-established The First Presidency, and excommunicated at least one Mormon apostle (not Pratt). This left the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles with only 8 members. Four vacancies had to be filled. On the 12th of February, 1849, now Church President Brigham Young called four men to become Apostles. One of them, Lorenzo Snow, asked Young about the "redemption" of the African race. Young replied that "the Lord had cursed Cain's seed with blackness and prohibited them from the Priesthood." (Jounral History, 13 Feb. 1849). This is the first reference by Brigham Young pertaining to the Priesthood-ban.
White Hamites Also Banned
On January 16th, 1849, Mormon apostle Wilford Woodruff asked Brigham Young if "Coloreds" (mulattos) and white men with African blood were also banned from the Priesthood as were Negroes. Brigham Young replied:
"Any man having one drop of the seed of Cain in him cannot hold the Priesthood, and if no other Prophet ever spake it before I will say it now in the name of Jesus Christ." (Wilford Woodruff, Deseret News Press, 1909, p.351)Until June 8th, 1978, even white men with blonde hair and blue eyes were denied the Priesthood; if it was discovered they had at least one "Hamitic" (i.e. black African) ancestor. This rule was strictly enforced in North America. However, in South America, specifically Brazil, this rule was not as strictly enforced, and many white men with Negro ancestry (and even some mulatto men) were ordained to the Priesthood before "The 1978 Revelation" when the ban was lifted.
The Curse of Cain Doctrine
The Curse of Cain doctrine, that Negroes (black Africans) are the descendants of Cain, was believed by the Prophet Joseph Smith (History of the Church 4:501), but he did not ban free blacks from the Priesthood.
We can mark February, 1849, as the beginning of the Priesthood-ban policy.
The Curse of Cain doctrine (teaching/belief) and the Priesthood-ban policy (official practice) is collectively called "The Curse of Cain/Priesthood-ban Legacy".
In 1852, Church President Brigham Young first publicly taught the "Curse of Cain doctrine"; that Negroes were the descendants of Cain, and inherited his curse, and could not hold the Priesthood. He also said that "the time will come when they will have all we have the privilege of and more." (BY Papers, Feb. 5, 1852).
From 1849 until 1978 anyone with a Hamitic/Cainite lineage (all Negroes and anyone with a Negro ancestor) were "banned" from the Priesthood and the Higher Ordinances of LDS Temples (i.e. The Endowment Ceremony and Sealing ceremonies).
For reasons not clear to us today, the descendants of Elijah Abel were not under the Priesthood-ban, but continued to be ordained as Elders. Why exceptions were made for the Abels is anyone's guess. Brigham Young did ban Elijah Abel from the Salt Lake Temple, but did not revoke his priesthood nor was Abel ever removed from his position in the Third Quorum of Seventy. Why this contradiction? That too is anyone's guess.
Black-skinned Indians (Dravidians and Tamils), Melanesians, Negritoes (Philippines) and Australian Aboriginese were also banned. However, in 1955, Church President David O. McKay declared that non-African blacks were not "Hamites" and therefore the ban did not apply to them.
The Curse of Cain/Priesthood-ban Legacy
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; although the vast great majority of Hamites are black-skinned. 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 Prophet Joseph Smith had free black men ordained to the Priesthood, but forbade coverted black slaves to be ordained. In 1852, Brigham Young, as President of the Church, expanded the Priesthood-ban to include all black males and even white men who had at least one Negro ancestor.
The Priesthood-ban was based upon several verses in a Mormon book of 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 Church of Jesus Christ. 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). The Book of Abraham was first cannonized (i.e. make part of the Stardard Works of Scripture of the Mormon Faith) in 1856.
Here are the relevant verses from The Book of Abraham:
21 And this king of Egypt was a descendant fro the loans of Ham, and was a partaker of the Canaanites by birth.Pharoah is called "the eldest son of Egyptus, daughter of Ham" (verse 25). He founded an Imitation Priesthood that had no divine authority, because, being a Canaanite, he had no "right" to the Priesthood. This probably refers to the priesthood of AMON; the Creator-god of the Ancient Egyptians.
22 From this descent sprang all the Egyptians and the blood of the Canaanite was preserved in the land.
26 Pharoah, being a righteous man, established his kingdom and judged his people wisely and justly all his days, seeking earnestly to imitate that order established by the fathers in the first generations, in the days of the first partriarchal reign, even in the reign of Adam, and also of Noah, his father, who blessed him with the blessings of the earth, and with the blessings of wisdom, but cursed him as pertaining to the Priesthood.
27 Now, Pharoah being of that lineage by which he could not have the right of Priesthood....(Abraham chapter 1)
Based upon these Verses in The Book of Abraham, the Prophets of the Church of Jesus Christ from Brigham Young (1849) until Spencer W. Kimball (1978) banned "Negroes" (whom they considered to be Canaanites) from the Priesthood and the Higher Ordinances of Mormon Temples.
The Seed of Cain were Black
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).
How did the Cainites become black? Where they black because Adam and Eve were black? The Book of Moses does not say. Some assume that Cain, a white man, was changed by God into a black man. Others believe that the first children of Cain intermarried with black people, and this is how the Cainites became black.
The Curse of Cain
Cain was the firstborn son of Adam and Eve. He was a tiller of the ground (farmer). Abel, another son of Adam and Eve, was a shephard. Abel offered blood offerings, but Cain offered the fruit of the ground. The Bible says that the LORD had respect for Abel's offering, but not for Cain's offering.
Cain was jealous of Abel; because the LORD accepted Abel's offering, but rejected Cain's offering. In rage, Cain killed his brother Abel. The LORD saw the blood of Abel on the ground, and cursed Cain:
11 And now art thou cursed from the earth, which hath opened her mouth to receive thy brother's blood from thy hand.The LORD cused Cain in that:
12 When thou tillest the ground, it shall not henceforth yield fruit unto thee her stength; a fugitive and a vagabond shalt thou be in the earth.
13 And Cain said unto the LORD, My punishment is greater than I can bear:
14 Behold, thou hast driven me out this day from the face of the earth; and from the thy face shall I be hid; and I shall be a vagabond in the earth; and it shall come to pass, that every one that findeth me shall slay me.
15 And the LORD said unto him, Therefore whosoever slayeth Cain, vengeance shall be taken on him sevenfold. And the LORD set a mark upon Cain lest any finding him should kill him. (Genesis chapter 4)
*The ground would not yield fruit for him (he could no longer farm)
*He would wander the earth without a home.
The "Mark of Cain" was not a curse at all, but rather a protection from the LORD. Cain believed that anyone who found him would kill him. The LORD said He would place a mark upon Cain, so that if anyone killed him he (Cain) would be avenged "seven-fold".
The Prophet Joseph Smith believed that Negroes were "the sons of Cain". Brigham Young accepted the common folklore of the day (believed by Jews, Muslims, Catholics, and Protestants alike at that time) that Negroes were Cainites, and that the "Mark of Cain" was a black skin and negroid features. This folklore came from ancient Jewish writings like the Talmud, the Midrash, etc.
The Bible itself does not say what the "Mark of Cain" was; only that it was a "mark" of protection; to warn those who would kill Cain that he would be avenged "seven-fold".
The Curse of Cain Doctrine/Priesthood-ban Policy Chronology
Official Statements Confirm Priesthood-ban
The Brazil Situation
The 1978 Revelation
President Spencer W. Kimball prayed for months in the Upper Room of the Salt Lake Temple; a special room wherein the Living Prophet communicates with the LORD Jesus Christ. President Kimball supplicated the LORD that that the Priesthood-ban be finally lifted. On June 1st, 1978, in the Upper Room 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. The first black Mormon ordained was Joseph Freeman of Salt Lake City.
Joseph Freeman and family (June 1978)
This Priesthood-ban has been refered to by Mormons as:
Many Members of the Church, both black and white, do not believe that the Curse of Cain was of God. They believe it was a mistake 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).
In 1847 another black man was ordained an Elder: William McCary. He was ordained by Orson Hyde; a Mormon apostle. McCary was nicknamed "Black Pete".
Mormons who do not wish to accept the Curse of Cain/Priesthood-ban Legacy usually give one of the following reasons:
1) "Blacks could not hold the Priesthood before 1978 becaue white Mormons were racist and not ready for blacks in the Church".
2) "The LORD was protecting the Church by not allowing blacks as Priesthood-holders. White America was racist, and would have persecuted the Church that much more had the Church allowed large numbers of black Members before modern times."
3) "We just don't know why blacks could not become Priesthood-holders before 1978. The LORD never explained to us the reason why. All who give "reasons" are simply speculating, and we shouldn't speculate."
4) "The Priesthood-ban was a mistake of Brigham Young. It was "folklore" he accepted as truth, but the folklore (that Negroes are Cainites and Hamites) is not true. That mistake was corrected in June of 1978."
5) "We are Cainites, but Jethro (father-in-law) of Moses was a Cainite, and he was called a 'priest of Median'. Moses was married to Zipporah; daughter of Jethro. Blacks are Cainites and Hamites, but the Priesthood-ban was a mistake of Brigham Young and other Church leaders. Why did Brigham Young do it? Probably because of the 'Black Pete' Affair; his reaction to it."
6) "Curse of Cain doctrine? Oh, this was never an approved doctrine of the Church. It was never voted upon by the general Membership! Some Church leaders may have taught it, but it was never official Church doctrine."
7) "Yeah, the Curse of Cain was official Church doctrine, for 150 years, but white Church leaders were the children of there day, and almost all white Americans in those days were at least moderately racist. So, yes, it was racist, and yes, it was Church doctrine. But, of course, Church prophets were wrong! God is NOT a racist, and never was!"
8) "The Curse of Cain and Priesthood-ban was not based upon a 'Thus saith the LORD' Revelation, and thus it cannot be considered official doctrine."
9) "The Prophet Joseph Smith was not a racist, and he wanted black men ordained. He did not consider blacks to be cursed nor Cainites."
10) "The past is totally irrelevant! We should not speak of the past. Let's move on. Let's forget the past and move on, and not speak, read, or think of this again!"
What is the TRUTH regarding these claims?
*The Curse of Cain doctrine was official Church doctrine for 150 years. That doctrine is no longer actively taught, but it has not been repudiated. Only the First Presidency can repudiate it.
*Jethro, the father-in-law of Moses, is called a "priest of Midian" and hewas indeed a Kenite (an English translation of KAYIN--the same word can be translated "Cain" or "Cainite"). The The Doctrine & Covenants section 84 (a book of scripture accepted by Mormons as divinely inspired) says:
6 And the sons of Moses, according to the Holy Priesthood which he received under the hand of his father-in-law Jethro. (D&C 84:6)So, yes, indeed, Mormon scripture says that Moses received his Priesthood from Jethro;who was a "KAYIN" (Cainite--descendant of Cain). The KAYIN were metalsmiths who inhabited the Arabah Valley south of the Dead Sea and north of the Gulf of Aqabah. The KAYIN (Cainites/Kenites) still exist today among the wandering Arab-speaking metalsmiths called the "SLEB". Each member of the Sleb tribe have a "mark" on their forehead in the form of a TAU ("T"). This is a protective tribal mark.
*Many official doctrines and policies (practices) in the Church are not based upon "Thus saith the LORD" revelation; such as Baptism for the Dead, Endowment Ceremony, Aaronic priesthood members being young unmarried men, wards, institutes, primary children's association, heavenly mother, etc. Brigham Young, while the "Living Prophet" said that no man having "one drop" of Cain's seed could hold the Priesthood, and he said this "in the name of Jesus Christ". The LORD has said:
38 What I the Lord have spoken, I have spoken, and I excuse not myself; and though the heavens and the earth pass away, my work shall not pass away, but shall all be fulfilled, whether by mine own voice or be the voice of my servants, it is the same. (D&C 1:38)*The Prophet Joseph Smith was a great advocate for the rights of black folks. But he DID consider Negroes to be the descendants of Cain, and "cursed" under the Curse of Noah. 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)
*The past is important! The Bible is about the "past". The Book of Mormon teaches us about the "past"; the rights and the wrongs. We should NOT forget the past, but learn from the past. Besides, thanks to the Internet, the Curse of Cain/Priesthood-ban Legacy will simply become better-known as time goes on. It should be explained honestly and openly; without cover-up, rewriting of history, lying, or denial.
Some "Mormons" will lie, and say: "No, the Church NEVER taught any such thing!" while they know that the Church did, for 150 years! Why do they lie? Because they don't wish others to think they are "racists". They may not be "racists", but they are "liars". And The Book of Mormon says:
34 Wo unto the liar, for he shall be thrust down to hell. (2 Nephi 9:34)Other Mormons will simply "avoid" speaking about it altogether. They say, "I have to go, I have a meeting to attend!" or some other thing as that. They ignorantly believe that "Blacks and the Priesthood Questions" ("BPQs") will simply "pass away" and be forgotten if they simply don't "deal" with it.
Many younger Mormons (and new converts) have never been taught the Curse of Cain doctrine. They don't know about it. So, when they deny it they aren't lying. They simply are unimformed. One of the purposes of Some Answered Questions is to inform them.
Q. But isn't the Curse of Cain doctrine 'racist'?
A. Not under the dictionary definition of "racism". 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, the Ancient Egyptians (who were Canaanites) founded civilization! They were SUPERIOR to others anciently. The blood of the Ancient Eygptians runs through the veins of the black African peoples.
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. 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!
Under the popular definition of "racism" (i.e. whatever a black person thinks is racist therefore is racist) then the Curse of Cain doctrine is racist. However, this would also make the Bible "racist"; since God chose one race (the Hebrew race) over others for special blessings.
It is a popular (although not official) Mormon belief that Anglo-Saxons are descendants of the ancient Israelites (Saxons or "Sakkai" meaning "Sons of Isaac") and pagan Germanic tribes (Anglos). It is another Mormon belief (taught as official doctrine for 150 years) that "Negroes" (i.e. those of black African descent) are descended from the ancient Canaanites; including the ancient Egyptians. Certainly, in ancient times, the Egyptians were "superior" to the Israelites in wisdom, but, nevertheless, the Israelites were "chosen" of God while the Egyptians were the descendants of Canaan whom Noah "cursed" in the Ark.
The Curse of Canaan
Why did Noah curse Canaan? Bible scholars don't know. There are many speculations in ancient Jewish writings, such as:
*Ham copulated with a dog on the Ark.
*Ham have intercourse with his mother in the Ark.
*Ham mocked Noah's naked body when Noah fell asleep; thus incuring his wrath.
Mormon scriptures don't say! It was a Mormon apostle, Parley P. Pratt, who first suggested that Ham married a Cainite woman and that Canaan (son of Ham and the Cainite woman) inherited the Curse of Cain; being a descendant of Cain.
The Book of Abraham, chapter one, from which the Priesthood-ban came to refer to black Africans, doesn't say that Ham married a Cainite woman. It merely says that Pharoah was a "righteous man" but could not hold the Priesthood because he was of Canaanite lineage; a lineage "blessed with the blessings of the earth and with wisdom but cursed as pertaining to the Priesthood". (Abraham 1:26).
It is only speculation (not Revelation) that says that black Africans are Cainites. But it is Revelation (Book of Abraham) that says that the Canaanite lineage (bloodline) is "cursed as pertaining to the Priesthood". The Ancient Egyptians were Canaanites.
Are black folks the descendants of the Ancient Egyptians?
If they are, then they too are Canaanites.
The Book of Moses
The Book of Moses, a book of scripture that Mormons believe Joseph Smith received from the LORD, says "the seed of Cain were black" (Moses 7:22).
Most 19th century and early 20th century Mormons believed that God changed Cain from a white man into a Negro in an instant, and changed his white wife also into a Negro, and their children as well.
21st century orthodox Mormons usually "haven't thought about it", but those who have believe that Cain, the son of Adam and Eve, refers to the KAYIN (Canites). The KAYIN turned black because Cain's children intermarried with a pre-Adamic black tribe.
21st century liberal Mormons (often called "Sunstone" Mormons) usually believe Adam and Eve never existed, that it is myth or parable, and that Cain the man never existed, but that "Cain" refers to the KAYIN; a Semitic tribe of wandering blacksmiths who were esentially Arabs, and had a tribal mark-of-protection on their foreheads called a "Tau". This mark told potential muggers and killers that if they killed one Kenite, they would have the entire tribe after them.
Some Mormons believe when the Book of Moses says "the seed of Cain were black" it does not refer to skin-color, but to a negative spiritual state, or perhaps they were "sunburned".
The Prophet Joseph Smith believed that "Negroes" were "the sons of Cain" (History of the Church 4:501). His successor Brigham Young taught that, as did his successor John Taylor, and every other President of the Church until and including Spencer W. Kimball (1980s). That teaching has never been repudiated. Only the First Presidency can repudiate it. Mormons today are not required to believe it. Many do not.
The Book of Abraham
The Book of Abraham, a translation by Joseph Smith of some ancient Egyptian papyrus (brought to him in 1839) says that "Pharoah was a righteous man" but could not hold the Priesthood; being a Canaanite, a lineage (bloodline) which was "blessed with wisdom" but "cursed as pertaining to the Priesthood (Abraham 1:26).
What race were the Ancient Egyptians?
They appear to have been part Caucasian (part Semitic) and part black African; a mixed race. When the Canaanites entered Egypt they intermingled with the native blacks already living on the Nile; a people now called the "Nubians". This combination of Canaanites and Nubians produced what we now refer to as the "Ancient Egyptians".
The Ancient Egyptians were a mixed race: descendants of the Canaanites and the Nubians. They were part white and part black. The Ancient Egyptians tended to be more "Negro" the farther south on the Nile one went.
Certainly, the Ancient Egyptians did not inherit the Curse of Cain. The LORD cursed the earth for Cain that crops not grow for him. The LORD set a "mark" of protection upon Cain, that if he is killed he would be avenged "seven-fold". The Ancient Egyptians had no such "mark" of protection. The LORD caused Cain to be a wanderer and vagabond. The Ancient Egyptians lived in one place for many thousands of years.
The Ancient Eygptians certainly were Canaanites (descendants of Canaan, son of Ham). But they were NOT "Cainites". They did not inherit the Curse of Cain.
Ancient Egyptians Enslave Israelites
About 1400 B.C., the brothers of Joseph, son of Jacob (called "ISRAEL"), sold Jacob into slavery. But Joseph arose to become the Vizier of Egypt, and he invited his brothers to join him. But, later, the Egyptians enslaved the Israelites, and that slavery lasted for 450 years.
The link between the Ancient Egyptians were a combination of Canaanite (a light-brown skinned Semitic people) and Nubian (a native African people). These two peoples became the Ancient Egyptians.
The Nubians: the Link Between the Ancient Eyptians and the Black African Tribes.
The Ancient Egyptians were part Caucasian (Semitic) and part black African. The black Egyptians were called "Nubians"; after Nubia (Land of Gold). The land of Nubia is now northern Sudan. In Arabic, "Sudan" means "Negroes".
The Nubians built hundreds of pyramids; many of which can still be seen today.
Over many thousands of years, the ancient Nubians migrated down the Nile into Central and West Africa, and from there to East and South Africa. The Dogons, the Bantos, the Tootsies, the Yorubans, and many other African tribes claim to be related to the ancient Nubians; who had the blood of the Ancient Egyptians in their veins.
The Bible Prophesies of the Black African Diaspora
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:
"And I shall scatter the Egyptians among the nations, and disperse them among the countries; and they shall know that I am the LORD". (Ezekiel 30:26)
"In that day shall messengers go forth from me in ships to make the careless Ethiopians [the original Hebrew says "Khooshiym" which means "Negroes"] afraid, and great pain shall come upon them, as in the day of Egypt [i.e. 450 years of slavery]; for, lo, it cometh." (Ezekiel 30:9)
In ancient times, the Egyptians were the civilized superiors and the Israelites their inferior uncivilized slaves. The LORD said that in the latter-day He would reverse that. AND HE DID! What goes around comes around.
The LORD dispersed the Ancient Egyptians first among the Nubians, and dispersed the Nubians throughout black Africa, and then allowed men in ships to come enslave the black Africans; most of whom who later became Christians or Muslims because of the slave trade. This dispersion is called the "Black African Diaspora" (diaspora is Greek for "dispersion").
A growing number of black scholars, who call themselves "Afrocentrists", believe that all black Africans have the blood of the Ancient Egyptians in them. In other words, the ancient Egyptians were "scattered" among the black African native tribes via thousands of years of migration. That would mean that every black African would have two lineages (bloodline); one native African and one Ancient Egyptian. It is the Ancient Egyptian bloodline (lineage) that was "blessed with wisdom" but "cursed as pertaining to the Priesthood" (Abraham 1:26).
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!
That is how the blood of the ancient Canaanites became dispersed throughout the black African race.
Q. But Jethro was a Cainite, and he gave Moses the Priesthood (D&C sec. 84:6). Doesn't this prove that black folks are not Cainites, and the Mark of Cain is not a black skin but a "TAU" on the forehead of Arabic Kenites?
A. Jethro was a Cainite, and a "priest of Midian" who gave Moses his daughter, and his Priesthood. The Curse of Cain included:
*A Mark of Protection (what the mark of Cain was is never defined in the Bible nor Mormon scriptures).
*The inability to bring forth fruit from the ground.
*Wandering through the Land of Nod.
The Bible presents the Tubal-Cain (grandson of Cain) as the first worker in metal (a smith).
Negroes (black Africans) have been farmers for many thousands of years, and have no trouble bring forth fruit.
Most black Africans are not "wanderers" on the earth, and have lived in or near their homelands for many thousands of years.
Metallurgy reached black African only in the last several thousand years. The great majority of black Africans have never been involved in smithing.
The Sleb tribe of Arabia have a "mark" of protection on their foreheads. They do not farm, but are smiths. They wander throughout Arabia and have no home or homeland. All of them are smiths (workers in metal). They claim a lineage from Jethro; father-in-law of Moses, who was a KAYIN (Kenite/Cainite).
Does this mean Brigham Young got it wrong?
Perhaps! But it could also mean that the Curse of Cain applied not to black Africans, but to the Kenites (now the Sleb of Arabia). But the restriction on the Priesthood applies to those of Canaanite lineage. The Book of Abraham does NOT say that the Cainite lineage was cursed as pertaining to the Priesthood, but the "Canaanite" lineage was "blessed with wisdom" but "cursed as pertaining to the Priesthood" (Abraham 1:26). This is in reference to the Ancient Egyptians; a SUPERIOR people to the Israelites! Do black folks have the blood of the Ancient Egyptians running through their veins?
The Cainites were never cursed to servitude. The Canaanites were! The Canaanites were the descendants of Ham (son of Noah). Noah cursed "Canaan" to be a "servant of servants". Why? The Bible does not say. Mormon scripture does not say. Mormon apostle Parley P. Pratt speculated that Noah cursed Ham because he married a Cainite woman. The LORD wanted the Cainites and Sethites to remain separate. Ham violated that covenant with the LORD, and Canaan was "cursed" to servitude because of it.
The following seams clear:
1) The Cainites (Sleb) still exist today. They are the Sleb tribe of Arabia; a tribe of wandering metal-smiths who cannot farm, have a tribal protection mark on their foreheads, and wander in the deseret without a homeland or permanant dwelling. The Sleb are Arabs of the Caucasian race.
2) Negroes(black Africans) never inherited the Curse of Cain. They were always successful farmers. They did not wander without a homeland. Very few of them were smiths. A black skin was no "sign" of protection in black Africa.
3) Negroes (black Africans) probably do have the blood of Ham (and Canaan) in their veins; because they are related to the Ancient Egyptians, and the Ancient Egyptians were "blessed with wisdom and the blessings of the earth, but cursed as pertaining to the Priesthood" (Abraham 1:26).
The descendants of Cain were "cursed" to wander, to fail at farming, to remain separate from others, and they would be known by a "mark" of protection.
The descendants of Canaan (son of Ham and Egyptus) were "blessed with wisdom" and "the blessings of the earth" (this means farming), but "cursed as pertaining to the Priesthood". The Ancient Egyptians were not wanderers, had no "mark" of protection, and were the best farmers of the ancient world.
Where is the blood of the Ancient Egyptians today? In the Arabs or Copts of Egypt? Probably not. The blood of the Ancient Egyptians was scattered throughout black African via the ancient Nubians.
The blood of the Ancient Egyptians exists in the veins of the "Negroes"; the black African peoples.
So, in conclusion, Brigham Young was probably "wrong" when he said that the Mark of Cain was a black skin and negroid features. But he was probably "right" when he called Negroes "Canaanites".
The Book of Abraham does not say that Negroes are Cainites, nor does it say that Ham married a Cainite woman. It merely says that the Canaanite lineage was "blessed with wisdom" and "blessed with the blessings of the earth" but "cursed as pertaining to the Priesthood". (Abraham 1:26)
If black Africans are the descendants of the Ancient Egyptians (who were Canaanites) then they have inherited the blessings and the curses of the Ancient Egyptians.
Q. Why would any black African wish to become a Mormon when Mormons said that blacks were "cursed"?
A. Because they want Eternal Life; which for Mormons is not simply living forever in a Heavenly Choir singing one song or praise after another for all eternity. For Mormons, "Eternal Life" means "The Life of an Eternal"; it means to live the life of The Eternal One (GOD).
Only the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has all the ordinances to EXALT us in the Celestial Kingdom. This means that faithful Latter-day Saints will become Adams and Eves on other worlds, and eventually rule those worlds as gods and goddesses. No other church or religion in the world can offer that.
Mormons also say that the Ancient Israelites were "cursed"; yet white Mormons (Anglo-Saxons) believe they are the literal descendants of the Ancient Israelites!
If you were a Canaanite in Jesus' day, and He called you a "dog" (lowly servant) would YOU get offended? Or would you say, "Truth, Lord?"
What would you do?
The Jews considered the Canaanites to be under the Curse of Noah.
Noah one day got drunk on wine and feel asleep naked. Ham saw him and told his brothers (Shem and Japheth). Noah awoke and heard what Ham had done, and cursed not Ham but Canaan; the son of Ham, saying "Cursed be Canaan, a servant of servants!" and said that Canaan would become the servant of his brothers Shem and Japheth.
Why did Noah curse Canaan for something Ham did?
What did Ham do? We don't know. The ancient Jews speculated. Mormon apostles have speculated, but we don't know. All we DO KNOW is that Canaan was "cursed" and this curse was passed on to his descendants.
Most Bible-believers view "Shem" as the father of the Semites (Jews and Arabs) and "Japheth" as the father of Europeans. Most Bible-believers in the 19th and early 20th century viewed "Canaan" as the father of the black race.
For 450 years, blacks served the Semites (Arabs and Jews) and Japhethites (Europeans) as slaves.
The Jews referred to Canaanites as "dogs"; a term meaning "lowly servant".
Jesus Calls Canaanites "dogs"
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! And, make no mistake, Jesus was a Jew. And like the Jews He referred to Gentiles (Europeans) as "swine" (pigs) and to Canaanites (Cainites) as "dogs". The LORD has the right to call His creatures by whatever terms He wishes.
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 and a form of discrimination?
A. YES! 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
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).
In ancient times, of all the tribes of Israel, only the Tribe of Levi, the Levites, could hold the Priesthood! Was this "discrimination"? YES! It was the LORD's discrimination! He can do with His Priesthood whatever He want to do!
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.
Q. But didn't Mormon leaders invent the notion that black folks were the descendants of Cain and Ham as a way to discriminate against them?
A. No! The belief that "Negroes" (i.e. black Africans) were the descendants of Cain is very old, and can be found in ancient Jewish literature and among Catholics and Protestants up until the mid-19th century. The Mormons did not "invent" it!
In the early 19th century (1800s) almost all Christians (Catholic and Protestant) believed that "Negroes" were the descendants of Ham, and many believed they were also the descendants of Cain. The famous African-American poetess, Phillis Wheatley (born in Senegal in 1753 but captured as a slave and brought to Massachusetts) wrote in 1770:
"Twas mercy brought me from my pagan land.
Taught my beknighted soul to understand.
That there's a God, that there's a Savior too.
Once I redemption neither sought nor knew.
Some view our sable race with scornful eye:
'Their color is a diabolic dye.'
Remember Christians, Negroes black as Cain
May be refined and join the angelic train."
(On Being Brought From Africa to America,vv.1-8)
By "Christians" Phillis was referring to the white Catholics and Protestants of Massachusetts. She wrote this poem in 1770. The Mormon Faith was not founded until 1830. She was referring to white Catholics and Protestants; not to white Mormons.
The Mormons did not originate the belief that black folks are the descendants of Cain and Ham. Such beliefs can be found in ancient Jewish writings (Babylonian Talmud, Midrash, etc.), and among both Catholics and Protestants during the Middle-Ages and onward until the beginning of the 20th century.
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 ("nai-jeer")?
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 Church of Egypt) did not ordain these men, but gave them the non-priesthood calling of "sub-deacon". The Church of Egypt (no affiliation with the Mormon Faith) was founded by John Mark; author of the Gospel According to Mark.
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!"
How "ridiculous" it was to complain that the Church did not ordain black men when those complaining believed the Church, and its Priesthood, was FALSE! ABSURD! Yet, this is what they did.
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.
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:
3) Baptisms for the Dead
People of Hamitic lineage (whatever their skin color) could only perform baptisms for the dead. 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" to fix a "problem" (i.e. The Brazilian Situation). 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:
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 Church of Jesus Christ, 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: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.
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)
Q. Do Mormons believe that Cain was the first Negro?
A. In the 19th century and early 20th century most Mormons believed that Cain, the eldest son of Adam and Eve, was a white man that God changed into the first Negro ("black African"). But that was not "official". There is no "official" doctrine in the Church on the origin of the various races of mankind. Some Mormon Apostles in the Church believed that Adam and Eve were the first humans on earth. Other Mormon Apostles believed that Adam and Eve were the first of a "new race" of mankind; the Adamic Race. In 1920, the Church printed a talk by Mormon Apostle, Elder James Talmage, called The Earth and Man in which he said that Adam and Eve were the founders of the Adamic Race; which is 6,000 years old, but other races lived long before the Adamic Race.
The belief that Black Folks were Hamites was believed by all Jews, Catholics, and Protestants, in the days of Joseph Smith and Brigham Young, and is still generally believed today by Bible-believers.
According to the Book of Abraham (in a volume of Mormon Scripture called The Pearl of Great Price, Ham married a Cainite woman, and the lineage of Canaan (the son of Ham and Egyptus--the Cainite woman) was "blessed with wisdom" but "cursed as pertaining to the Priesthood" (Abraham 1:26). The Ancient Egyptians were not "Negroes"; but they did have Negro blood in them.
The Ancient Egyptians were thus "blessed with wisdom" but "cursed as pertaining to the Priesthood" (Abraham 1:26). But they were not "black". They were reddish in color. How then did black Africans inherit the Cainite/Canaanite bloodline?
Scholars tell us that the Ancient Egyptians were driven south by migrations from Rome, Greece, Persia, and Arabia. The original Egyptians migrated south and intermarried with the Nubians; a black African people that lived on the Nile south of Egypt. Over millennia (thousands of years), the Nubians migrated south and west, and eventually spread their bloodline throughout black Africa. This is why today black Africans have the blood of the Ancient Egyptians in their veins; because of the migrating Nubians; who were part Egyptian and part native African.
In other words, the Ancient Egyptians were "blessed with wisdom" but "cursed as pertaining to the Priesthood" (Abraham 1:26). They were cursed as to the priesthood because they were the descendants of Ham (son of Noah) and Egyptus (a descandant of Cain), and Cain and his posterity were cursed with a denial of the Priesthood until the Abelites first had the opporunity to hold it. Why? According to Brigham Young, it would be against the justice of God to grant to the Cainites the Priesthood before the Abelites first had the opportunity to receive it!
How are the Abelites? We don't know. Brigham Young believed that Abel had children before he was killed by Cain; so the Abelites still exist.
Black Folks today are a combination of: ANCIENT EGYPTIANS + NUBIANS
Q. I've heard that the Mormons let black folks into their Church because they wanted their money. Is this true?
A. NO! The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has spent many HUNDREDS OF MILLIONS in building chapels and temples and providing millions of tons of food, medicine, clothing, and help to Mormons and non-mormons in black Africa. Members of the Church in Africa pay tithe (10% of their income) to the Church like Mormons everywhere, but Africans only make a few dollars a month. The Church has spent far FAR more in Africa than it will ever gain back, and it will continue to do so.
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 Church of Jesus Christ hierarchy. The "voice" of the Church of Jesus Christ 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 Church of Jesus Christ 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)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" Church of Jesus Christ statements:
"The single greatest obstacke to the development of the Klan in the Beehive State [Utah] was the Mormon Church." (Blazing Crosses, p.36)
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.:
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.
A Mormon apostle (via an editorial) 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 in Utah there was a lot of discrimination against black folks. Is this true?
A. No. No more, and probably somewhat less, than in the rest of the United States for the same time periods. Utah never had "Jim Crow" laws like in the Southern States. There were no separate schools, or drinking fountains, restrooms, etc. Blacks did not have to sit at the back of buses or street cars. They had the right to vote since 1860. City ordinances allowed them the right to live wherever they wished. However, Utah did have laws against interracial marriage. Some hotels, restaurants, and taverns did not allow black patrons (Mormons did not go to taverns). The Masonic Lodges did not allow blacks or Mormons as members. Amuzement parks did not allow interracial dancing.
Utah is 70% Mormon, but half of all "Mormons" do not go to Church or follow Mormon laws or leaders (they are called "Jack Mormons"). Mormon in Utah refer to themselves as "Members" or "LDS" (for Latter-day Saints) instead of "Mormons" because they don't wish to be confused with inactive members who often call themselves "Mormons" but who do not believe in the Mormon Faith or follower Church laws nor obey Church leaders. These are people born into the Church, but fall away from it and do not join another religion. They often will still call themselves "Mormon" even though they don't read or believe in The Book of Mormon, and do not attend Church meetings and do not obey Church Laws and do not follow Church leaders. Faithful Members call such people "Inactives" or "Jack Mormons".
Studies show that the great majority of anti-black discrimination in Utah came from "Gentile" (non-mormon) and "Jack Mormon" sources; not from faithful Members of the Church (Latter-day Saints).
A number of reports commissioned by the NAACP found that discrimination in Utah was not a major factor. You can read about discrimination and race-relations in Utah history online at:
About 1% of Utahns are of black African ancestry. About 3% of all Members of the Church worldwide are of black African ancestry, and that percentage is growing rapidly.
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. There are many false rumors about Mormons and the Mormon Faith in the African-American community which are, for the most part, accepted as fact!
Q. 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. Also, there is no "Mormon Church". We belong to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. We refer to it simply as "The Church" or "The Church of Jesus Christ". You may refer to it as that, or as "The Mormon Faith". But please do not refer to it as "The Mormon Church". Mormon was an ancient Jewish prophet living in America. But we don't follow him. We are followers of Jesus Christ.
It is highly unlikely that The First Presidency will ever "apologize" for the Curse of Cain doctrine and/or the Priesthood-ban policy. 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". Church of Jesus Christ leaders have--since the early 1850s until the 1978 Revelation--been consistent as to telling "why" Hamites could not hold the Priesthood. The reason "why" they gave was:
1) Hamites (black Africans and anyone with at least one black African ancestor) 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) Hamites "may" (always "may" or "might have") 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. Is the Church segregated?
A. No. There are no segregated congregations (wards) nor segregation witin wards (large congregations) or branches (small congregations). The Church does has a fellowship organization for black Members called the "Genesis Group". This is a fellowship and service organization for black Mormons and their immediate family Members of other races. The Genesis Group is not separate from the Church, nor segregated from white Members, but is there to help black Members feel more comfortable by providing "fellowship" opportunities (picnics, dinners, service-projects, missionary assistance, sports, camping, singles, etc.) for black Members in the larger metropolitan areas. Black Mormons are not required to belong to the Genesis Group. There are predominantly black wards and branches in places like Washington D.C., south Chicago, South Los Angeles, Atlanta, Detroit, and Harlem (New York City).
Some Answered Questions is NOT a publication of the Genesis Group of Black Latter-day Saints! If you would like to contact them you can go to their website at:
Q. Do Black Mormons believe that they are the descendants of Cain, and that the Priesthood-ban was from the LORD?
A. Some do and some don't. Some believe they are Hamites but not Cainites. Others believe they are Hamites and Cainites but that the Priesthood-ban was a "mistake" of Brigham Young. These usually believe that Brigham Young simply accepted common "folklore" of the day that Negroes were under a curse (a common belief among all Catholics and Protestants in the days of Brigham Young). But, they point-out that the Cainites were never cursed according to the Priesthood. They point-out that that Jethro, Moses' father-in-law, was a "kenite" (Cainite) yet the Bible calls him a "priest of the Most High" (Exodus 18:12).
Some believe they are neither Hamites nor Cainites. Others believe that Negroes are not Cainites and never were, and that the Cainites ("KAYIN" in Hebrew) were a Semitic Caucasian people, a tribe of blacksmiths, who had a tribal mark on their foreheads, and that the "Mark of Cain" has nothing to do with skin-color, but a Semitic tribal mark.
Some Black Mormons believe they are Hamites and Cainites, and that the Priesthood-ban was the Will of the LORD; usually after they have struggled greatly with it, and prayed to the LORD about it.
About 98% of black African Mormons have never heard of the Curse of Cain nor the Priesthood-ban.
Other Black Mormons think we should simply "forget the folklore" and "forget the past" and "move on"; to simply stop thinking about it, and it will all eventually fade-away.
The Church no longer teaches the Curse of Cain doctrine. But has not been repudiated. It is simply no longer actively taught. Members are not required to believe in it. But the Church has not repudiated it either. Only the First Presidency (the three Senior Apostles who comprise the the President of the Church and his First and Second Counsellor) can repudiate the Curse of Cain doctrine and the Priesthood-ban legacy.
Q. Do white Mormons believe in the Curse of Cain doctrine?
A. I would guess that today most do not. This is because of the following factors:
*Most younger Mormons were small children or born after 1978, and have never been taught the Curse of Cain doctrine. It has never been explained to them.
*Many Mormons who were raised being taught the Curse of Cain doctrine do not believe it, or never believed in it. This is especially true of more liberal Mormons. The more liberal the Mormon, the less likely they believe in the Curse of Cain doctrine.
I would guess that no more than 15% of white Mormons today believe in the Curse of Cain doctrine. Many of the younger ones simply don't know about it, and most liberal Mormons don't accept it.
Q. As a Mormon must I believe that black folks are cursed?
A. No. The Bible says that the LORD cursed all women to bear children in increased pain because Eve partook of the forbidden fruit. Yet, this too is not a required belief. The requirements today for being a Latter-day Saint is:
1. To believe Jesus is our Lord and Savior.
2. To accept Joseph Smith as a true Prophet of God.
3. To believe that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the Only True Church on the face of the earth.
4. To believe that the Church is directed by a Living Prophet of God (the current President of the Church)
5. To accept current Church doctrines and obey Church leaders.
Those are the only requirements today for being a Member of the Church.
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. Is it true that the Mormon Faith 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 Faith 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. Isn't the Curse of Cain doctrine a white-supramacist belief?
A. No. White-supremacists do NOT believe that black folks are the descendants of Cain. White-supremacists believe that Cain was not the son of Adam and Eve, but Satan and Eve; the Jews being his descendants. White-supremacists believe that black folks are souless sub-humans called "beasts of the field"; created only to serve whites. The Mormon Faith, on the other hand, has always taught that black folks were the literal sons and daughters of God.
Q. Where the ancient Israelites a black people?
A. No. In some quarters of the African-American Community, it is becoming popular to say that the Israelites were a black Negro people. This is simply not so. 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 have men in it who have red hair and hairy bodies; the Caucasian 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 Israelites were the descendants of Israel (Jacob) the twin-brother of Esau! He must have been of the same race as Esau! Some blacks with Caucasian blood do have red hair, but not hairy bodies. Native Africans do not have any body hair at all! The ancient Israelites were not a "black" skinned people, but a very fair-skinned people; many of them with red hair and hairy bodies. One in fifty Caucasians are born with red hair, and only Caucasians have hairy bodies. The Queen of Sheba says of Solomon, the King of Israel and son of David, "My beloved is white [skinned] and ruddy [red-haired], 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.
Q. Does the Book of Mormon describe "a skin of blackness" as a curse?
A. Yes, but that is a "qualified" yes.
The Book of Mormon was written by a colony of ancient Jews who lived in America called the Nephites ("nee-fights"). As ancient Jews, they thought like ancient Jews. The ancient Jews were the descendants of Israel (Jacob); a white man whose twin brother (Esau) had red-hair and a hairy body. The ancient Jews were white-skinned. They were commanded by the LORD to "be ye separate" from all other peoples. A "sign" that this covenant was broken would be a dark skin. For an ancient Jew to have a dark skin was a "sign" that one of his ancestors had broken the covenant of the LORD to remain separate from all other peoples. And whenever a covenant of the LORD is broken, the LORD sends curses instead of blessings. The Lamanites ("lay-man-ites") are presented as having a skin of blackness. That means that they intermarried with other peoples; disobeying the LORD that they should be separated from other peoples. Thus, to an ancient Jew (and the Nephites were ancient Jews), a "skin of blackness" on an Israelite (and the Lamanites were Israelites) was a "curse".
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...Nephite Prophets in The Book of Mormon warned that racial pride should prove the utter destruction of the white-skinned Nephites:
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)
"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)The white-skinned Nephites were utterly destroyed by the dark-skinned Lamanites. Why? Proverbs says:
"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 not unto you again if I go not out soon against the Lamanites. Behold, the pride of this nation, or the people of the Nephites, hath proven their destruction except they repent." (Moroni 8:27)
"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)One must remember that The Book of Mormon was written by ancient Jewish prophets that lived in America, and contains views of how they interpreted the world around them.
Q. I've been told that Adam and Eve were black folks, and that the ancient Israelites were black too! Could this be true?
A. It could be, but probably not. Only God knows for sure. However, the very name "Adam" in Hebrew means "to blush". Only one race can "blush" (show blood in the face), and this is because that race has very little melanin in their skin; thus a white face turns "red" at blushing because of the extra blood that rushes to the face, and this can be "seen" because the face has very little melanin (dark pigmentation) in it.
The "Israelites" were named after "Israel"; whose birth-name was "Jacob". He was the son of Isaac, and the grandson of Abraham. The twin-brother of Jacob was Esau who was "red" and "hairy all over like a garment". Only one race has red hair and hairy bodies.
Scientists say that the black African or "Negro" race is the oldest in the world; from which all other races descended. The Adamic Race is not older than 6,000 years.
Some Mormons believe that Adam and Eve were the first human beings on earth, and that from them all the races sprang: white, black, brown, yellow, and red. Other Mormons believe that Adam and Eve were the first "Adamites", and that some of their descendants became "black" (or red, or brown, or yellow) because they intermarried with pre-Adamic peoples. Mormon prophets have held both views, and the Church has no one "official" view other than the belief that Adam and Eve truly existed, and that they and we are the literally spirit-children of God.
Q. If Adam and Eve were white folks then how did the Cainites, their descendants, become black as Mormons believe?
A. We don't know. Many Mormons used to believe that God changed Cain from a white man into a "Negro" in one instant! Some Mormons today believe that the man "Cain" never became a "Negro", but that the people called "Cain" (the "KAYIN" in Hebrew) gradually became black-skinned by intermarrying with pre-Adamic black-skinned peoples. Mormon scripture says "the seed of Cain were black" (Moses 7:22) but it does not say how this came to be.
Please also understand this: that believing in the Curse of Cain doctrine is NOT today a requirement for being a good Mormon. Members can hold differing views on this as long as they don't create strife or contention on the issue. Many faithful Mormons do not believe in the Curse of Cain doctrine, and they interpret verses such as "the seed of Cain were black" as a metaphor only. They believe that Abraham 1:26 refers to the ancient Egyptians, who were a white or Mulatto people (not a black-skinned people), and that the Curse of Cain has no reference at all to black Africans.
Other faithful Mormons believe that the LORD said to the ancient Egyptians "I will scatter you among the nations [of black Africa], and will disperse them through the countries; and they shall know that I am LORD." (Ezekiel 30:26). They believe this was fulfilled by first scattering the ancient Egyptians among the Nubians, and by the Nubians scattering their bloodline among the native African tribes; speading the Cainite bloodline throughout black Africa.
Still other faithful Mormons have no view on the subject one way or the other! Many younger Mormons have never been taught the Curse of Cain doctrine and have only the most vague recollections of the Priesthood-ban. They can't tell you why it was or much about it at all.
Q. I have a Mormon friend who told me that the Church never taught that black folks were the descendants of Cain, or that this was just personal opinion and never doctrine. Is this true?
A. No. Mormons have varying degrees of knowledge regarding the Curse of Cain doctrine and the Priesthood-ban policy. That Cain is the father of the black African peoples is a doctrine of the Church; first taught by Brigham Young in 1852. That doctrine has never been repudiated by The First Presidency (the three senior Apostles who oversee the Church). The Priesthood-ban was a an official policy of the Church to not ordain men who had at least one Hamitic (i.e. black African) ancestor; this included all black men of African descent and even white men who had at least one Hamitic ancestor. The Priesthood-ban policy was based entirely upon the Curse of Cain doctrine. The policy ended in 1978, but The First Presidency has never repudiated it nor have they called it a "mistake". Members can have personal opinions, but only The First Presidency can speak for the LORD and say what is and what is not official Church doctrine and policy.
Many white Mormons are embarassed by the Curse of Cain/Priesthood-ban Legacy, and some will deny it ever happened; knowing full-well it did. Others will change the subject. Still others will equivocate. Some will lie. Many younger Mormons, or those who converted to the Church after 1978, simply don't know about it. They've never been taught this aspect of Mormon history.
Q. Has there ever been any black Mormon prophets?
For Latter-day Saints, the term "Prophet" usually refers to the President of the Church. He is considered the "Living Prophet"; the Living Oracle of the LORD to His Church: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
The term "Prophet" can also be applied to the 14 other Apostles of the Church. They are sustained yearly as "Prophets/Seers/Revelators". All have the right to prophecy, visions, and revelations.
The word "Prophet" comes from the Greek word "Prophetes", and means "One who speaks on behalf of another". In that sense, a "Prophet" is a "Spokesman" for God.
The Prophet Joseph Smith had his first vision in 1820; long before he had the Priesthood of God. He had visions of God the Father, Jesus Christ, and many angels; long before he received either the Aaronic or Melchizedek priesthoods. He was often called "Joseph the Seer" by the early Latter-day Saints. A "Seer" is a man or woman who receives divine visions.
There has never been any black Apostles in the Church; even though Elijah Abel was a "Seventy" Apostle, but Seventies were never sustained as "Prophets/Seers/Revelators". However, it is certain that "one day" there will be a black Apostles in the Church, and perhaps one day a black President ("Living Prophet").
Joseph W.B. Johnson of Ghana
The LORD was preparing the way in black Africa long before the 1978 Revelation!
ONe of the first black Africans to receive the Priesthood after the 1978 Revelation was Joseph W.B. Johnson of Ghana. In 1964 a black physician gave him a copy of The Book of Mormon. Johnson was a Seeker of Truth, and studied all religions in his search for truth. He later described what happened after he had read and prayed about The Book of Mormon:
"One early morning about 5:30 am, while about to prepare for my daily work, I saw the heavens open and angels with trumpets singing songs of praise unto God...In that course of this I heard my name mentioned thrice, 'Johnson, Johnson, Johnson. If you will take up my work as I command you, I will bless you and your land.' Trembling and in tears, I replied, 'Lord, with Thy help I will do whatever you will command me.' From that day onward, I was constrained by that Spirit to go from street to street...to deliver the message which we read from The Book of Mormon...I did exactly as the Lord commanded me...and immediately our persecution started." (Joseph W.B. Johnson: Ghana's Face of Light, p.3)
From that time until 1978 Joseph W.B. Johnson preached from street to street and from door to door from The Book of Mormon, without purse or script, and he coverted over 14,000 Ghanaians; often suffering great opposition and persecution. He was asked many times by black Ghananians, "How can you belong to a Church that thinks black Africans are cursed?" Joseph would reply simply, "What can I do? I KNOW the Church is true, for the LORD Himself has told me so!?!"
In 2004 Joseph W.B. Johnson became a Patriarch in the Church; a man who bestows prophetic blessings upon Members by the voice of prophecy.
Mormons would not call Joseph W.B. Johnson a "Prophet" because that title is reserved for the President of the Church. However, he might be called a "Seer". And Patriarchs certainly use the Spirit of Prophecy to bless Members! Joseph Smith was called "Joseph the Seer" before he received the priesthood in 1829 and before the Church was founded in 1830.
Where the Jaredites Black?
Within The Book of Mormon there is a smaller book called "The Book of Ether". It is about a group of righteous people who existed at the time of the Tower of Babel. Because they were righteous the LORD did not "confound" their language, and he commanded a righteous Prophet among them named Mahonrï Morancümer ("mah-hon-rAI more-ree-an-KOO-mir"). He is known as "The Brother of Jared". He was commanded by the LORD to build barges and sail to the New World. The Brother of Jared was so righteous, and had so much faith, that he saw the finger and body of the LORD. The Brother of Jared is considered to be a "Prophet". The descendants of Jared and his brother (The Prophet Mahonrai Moriancümr) were called the "Jaredites". A few Mormon scholars believe they must have been a black Hamitic people because:
*All the Jaredite names are Hamitic.
*They came from the Valley of Nimrod; who was a Hamite, and their language was not confounded.
*There are no Priesthood ordinances mentioned in the book.
*Parley P. Pratt, one of the original Mormon Apostles, wrote that the genealogy of the Jaredites go "back to Ham the son of Noah" (Pratt to Van Cott, Church Archives)
*The Jaredites had oaths "handed down even from Cain." (Ether 8:16)
*According to Carlos de Siguenza y Gonorra (1645-1700) therer were ancient Mayan records that claimed that the original settlers of Mexico came sailed there from the Tower of Babel (The Jaredites Were Black by David Grant Stewart, 1978, p.22)
*The Jaredites were probably the Olmecs of Mesoamerica, and the Olmecs appear to have been black Africans (according to studies of Olmec skulls and the ancient giant Olmec stone heads)
(a.) a Nubian warrior (b.) an Olmec stone head
If all this is true, then the Chosen People of God a thousand years before Abraham were a black-skinned Hamitic people! However, this is not official Church doctrine. It is only speculation. Members can believe it or not believe it as personal opinion.
In The Book of Ether ("ee-ther"), in The Book of Mormon, there is a man called "The Brother of Jared" (Mahonrai Moriancümr) who is presented as one of the greatest Prophet of God ever; so great was he that he beheld the pre-incarnate body of Jesus. He may have been black!
Q. How many black Mormons are there?
A. The Church does not keep records as to the race of Members, but guestimates would be that there are about 200,000 black Latter-day Saints throughout the world in 2004 A.D. That number is growing rapidly. In 2004 A.D. there were about 11 million Mormons worldwide.
Q. If I join the Mormon Faith will I, as a black person, be welcomed in a white Church?
A. Yes, you will be welcomed! But whether you feel comfortable is another matter. That depends on you. The Church is now about 50% "people of color". However, in North America, the Church is still mostly a "white folks" Church; although this is changing rapidly. Some black folks in the Church in North America say they are dearly loved and feel very comfortable. Others say they do not feel comfortable. Much depends upon whether you would feel comfortable in white American culture or not. Some black folks feel very comfortable in white culture. Others do not. The Church only has a few wards and branches in North America which are predominantly black (Detroit, Atlanta, Harlem, South Los Angeles, South Chicago, Washington D.C.). If you don't feel comfortable in white culture, and you don't live in these areas, then you may not feel comfortable in the Church. However, with time you can "get accostomed" to white Mormon culture. Others have. This depends on how much patience you have, and how much time and effort you are willing to give it. Are you the Elect? You family members may shun you if you join the Church. You may be shunned by good friends because you joined a "white folks" Church many of them believe is or was "racist". How much are you willing to sacrifice for the Lord? How much are you willing to give-up to be one of His Latter-day Saints? Only you can answer that.
Q. Why would black folks wish to become Mormons?
A. Because they believe it is the true Church of Christ on earth today. And because only The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints can offer them Eternal Marriage. Only the Church of Jesus Christ 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)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.
"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)
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.
Points to Ponder
*The Mormons did not enslave black folks. Catholics, Protestants, Jews, and Muslims did that; for centuries.
*The Mormons did not invent or introduce the belief that Negroes were descendants of Ham and Cain. That teaching came from ancient Jewish writings such as the Talmud and Midrash, and was the general belief among Catholics, Protestants, Jews, and Muslims for many centuries before Joseph Smith or Brigham Young were ever born.
*The Mormons did not invent the Philosophy of Racism (that the white race is superior to all other races including the black or Negro race). Racism can't be found in the Bible nor Mormons scriptures. It was invented by men who believed in Social Darwinism; that God does not exist, but Nature has evolved some races further along than others. At one time, 98% of white Americans accepted Racism as true. It was taught in every university, every high school, every college in America and Europe for many decades. Some Mormons did accept it. Others did not. A few Mormon apostles accepted it. Other Mormon apostles preached against it. Mormons are commanded NOT to accept the Philosophies of Men "mingled with Scripture". Some Mormons ignore this.
*The Mormons did not introduce "Jim Crow" (anti-black segregationist) laws in the South. White Protestants (mostly Baptists and Methodists) did that.
*The Mormons did not lynch black men in the South; mostly white Baptists did that. Mormon missionaries in the South were also threatened and abused by the Klan on thousands of different occassions.
*The Mormons did not organize nor promote the KKK; whose Members were mostly Baptists, Methodists, and Episcopalians. In the 1920s the KKK was powerful in all U.S. States (with 15 million members--the equivolent of 35 million today) except the two "Mormon" states of Utah and Idaho. The Church was always strongly and openly opposed to the Klan via editorials in the Deseret News.
*The Mormons in Utah are not responsible for discrimination in Utah. There was no segregation in Utah schools, buses, street-cars, or housing. What discrimination there was came from the Masonic Lodge (which also did not allow Mormons as members), taverns (Mormons did not own or operate taverns), some restaurants, amusement parks, and individuals. The Chuch-owned and operated Deseret News was pro-black rights. The Gentile (non-mormon) owned Salt Lake Tribune was a RACIST and ANTI-mormon publication up until the early 1950s!
*The majority of Mormons, including Church leaders, did not like the Priesthood-ban, and petitioned the LORD on many occassions to have it lifted (1879, 1948, 1969, etc.) but the LORD's answer always was, "Not yet!". In 1978, the time had come.
*There is NO "Mormon CHURCH".
*Mormons are members of "The Church of JESUS CHRIST of Latter-day Saints".
*Our Church should be referred to only as "The Church" or "The Church of Jesus Christ".
*Our religion is called "THE MORMON FAITH".
*There have been black Mormons since 1832.
*The Prophet Joseph Smith was a great advocate for black folks; calling for their freedom, education, and equalization.
*In 1835 Joseph Smith receives a revelation called The Book of Moses in which it says that "the seed of Cain were black" (Moses 7:22). Joseph Smith interpreted that to mean that Negroes were "the sons of Cain" (History of Church 4:501)
*During the 1843 U.S. Presidential Campaign, the Mormon Reform Party (headed by Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon) was the first political party in America to call for the freeing and granting of equal rights for black slaves.
*Elijah Abel, a black Mormon, was an Elder and a S eventy Apostle. His son Enoch and grandson Elijah II were also ordained Elders.
*In 1843, the Mormon periodical publishes a translation by Joseph Smith of some Egyptian papyrus called "The Book of Abraham". In chapter one of the book it says that Pharoah was a righteous man, and wanted the Priesthood, but he could not hold it because he was of the lineage (bloodline) of Canaan (son of Ham); a lineage "blessed with wisdom" but "cursed as pertaining to the Priesthood" (Abraham 1:26). The Book of Abraham is cannonized (becomes Scripture) in 1856; it becomes one of the books in the Pearl of Great Price (a collection of Mormon scriptures that include The Book of Moses)
*At least 2 black men were Priesthood-holders during the days of the Prophet Joseph Smith. He banned black slaves from receiving the Priesthood, but not free blacks.
*In June, 1844, Joseph Smith is killed by a mob of Anti-Mormons in Carthage, Illinois. Brigham Young, as senior Apostle, then leads the Church.
*At least 1 black man (William McCary) was ordained while Brigham Young ruled the Church. He created scandal by claiming he was Adam reincarnated, and seduced a number of white Mormon women (telling them all--individually--that they were "Eve" reincarnated). McCary is excommunicated. Mormon Apostle Parley P. Pratt belittles those Mormons who followed McCary, declaring that McCary, as a black man, could not hold the Priesthood. This is the first mention of the Priesthood-ban by anyone.
*In 1849, in response to a question by new Mormon Apostle Lorenzo Snow, Brigham Young says that Negroes are banned from the Priesthood because they are the posterity of Cain.
*In 1852 Brigham Young gives his first public sermon on the Curse of Cain Doctrine (i.e. Negroes are Cainites and banned from the Priesthood in mortality until one day the curse is removed)
*In 1955 David O. McKay allowed non-Hamitic black men (Aboriginals, Melanesias, Fijians, Dravidians, Tamils, Negritoes) the Priesthood.
*In 1964, a Ghananian named Joseph W.B. Johnson gets a copy of The Book of Mormon and some Church pamphlets from a Ghanaian physician who had received them while visiting London, England. Johnson read them and prays fervently to the Lord to know to know if the Mormon Faith is true or a lie. One morning Johnson has a startling vision of the Lord coming on the clouds with many angels blowing trumpets. Jesus calls his name three times, and commands him to preach The Book of Mormon and the Joseph Smith Story to his countrymen. In the next 14 years Johnson makes over 14,000 converts; most of whom join the Church after 1978.
*During the 1960s and early 1970s the Church is strongly condemened for not allowing Negro priests or elders. The Church receives much negative press, and many threats are made against the Church and Church leaders by the Black Panthers, the Wheatherman Underground, and others. Eldridge Cleaver, the Minister of Information for the Black Panther Party at that time (1968-1971), becomes a Mormon in 1984.
*On June 8th, 1971, three Black Mormons in Utah (Ruffin Bridgeforth Jr., Darius Gray, and Eugene Orr) form the "Genesis Group"; a fellowship organization for black Mormons. There are only a few hundred active black Mormons at this time.
*In 1975 the Church announces it will build a Temple in Sao Paulo Brasil, but genealogical research by white Brazilian Mormons reveals that most of them have at least one Negro ancestor. This creates a huge problem for the Church. This problem is called "The Brazil Situation". Allowed to continue indefinitely, the Brazil Situation would mean only a small percentage of white Brazilians (perhaps 15%) could hold the Priesthood or could have been Endowed and Sealed in the Temple.
*On June 8th, 1978, Church President Spencer W. Kimball declared that the LORD had removed (not repudiated) the Priesthood-ban.
*The Less-Valiant Theory, that some spirits were "less valiant" in the War in Heaven against Lucifer and this is why they were born into the Canaanite lineage, first proposed by Orson Pratt in 1852 in his publication "The Seer" as "it may be", is NOT and never was official Church doctrine. It is a theological speculation only.
*That "Negroes" are the descendants of Cain and Ham comes from ancient Jewish writings, and was believed by Catholics and Protestants (and even Muslims) for many centuries. The Mormons did not invent this belief.
*The father-in-law of Moses, Jethro, who gave Moses his Priesthood, was a Cainite, and the modern Cainites still exist today as the Sleb tribe of Syria and Arabia; a tribe of wandering blacksmiths who have a tribal protection "mark" on there foreheads.
*The Canaanites were "blessed with wisdom" but "cursed as pertaining to the Priesthood" (Abraham 1:26). The Ancient Egyptians, including the Nubians, were of this bloodline (lineage) of Canaan. Most or all black Africans today probably also have this lineage via the migrations of the ancient Nubians throughout black Africa over many thousands of years.
*The Curse of Cain doctrine IS an official doctrine of the Church, and has never been repudiated. Only The First Presidency can repudiate it. They have not done so.
*The Curse of Cain doctrine is NOT "racist" because it never presented Cainites (or Canaanites) as "inferior" people. It is based upon Abraham 1:26 in the Pearl of Great Price.
*The Curse of Cain doctrine is NOT "white-supremacist"; who believe Cain was the son of Satan and Eve, and that the Jews are Cainites and black Africans are soul-less "beasts of the field" created to serve Whites.
*The Priesthood-ban was indeed "Divine discrimination". The LORD can "discriminate" with His Priesthood as He sees fit. Those who believe that the Church and it's Priesthood are "false" should not desire to belong to a false Church or hold a false Priesthood.
*The Book of Abraham does not say that the Cainite lineage was cursed as pertaining to the Priesthood, but the Canaanite lineage was cursed as pertaining to the Priesthood.
*Black folks (i.e. "Negroes") probably do have the blood of the Ancient Eygyptians (who were Canaanites) running through there veins; based upon Afro-centrist research which shows connections between Ancient Egyptian language, ritual, religion, and those of modern black African tribes.
*Most liberal Mormons believe that the Priesthood-ban was a mistake of Brigham Young; that he accepted a popular but non-biblical "folklore" (i.e. that Negroes were the descendants of Cain) and mistkenly accepted it as truth.
*Most younger Mormons have never heard of the Curse of Cain doctrine. It has never been taught to them.
*Some Mormons who know this aspect of Church history (the Curse of Cain/Priesthood-ban Legacy) will lie and say, "No, the Church never taught that!" or "That was just personal opinion, never Church doctrine!" They lie in order to "save face"; because they don't wish others to think they are racists because they are Mormons.
*The Priesthood-ban (banning Hamites from the Priesthood and Higher Ordinances of LDS Temples) was an official Church policy based upon the Curse of Cain doctrine. Had there been no official doctrine then there would have been no policy. The policy ended with the 1978 Revelation.
*The 1978 Revelation was not a "Thus Saith the LORD" Revelation, but a Divine Confirmation of Spencer W. Kimball's decision to end the Priesthood-ban. A Divine Confirmation is a feeling of utter peace and assurance that one gets after praying about a decision one has made.
*The 1978 Revelation did NOT repudiate the Curse of Cain doctrine; that Negroes are the descendants of Cain and Canaan. It did not say that the Priesthood-ban was a "mistake". It said that the "promised day had come" when the ban would be removed. Brigham Young said in 1852 that "the day would come" when the Curse would be removed, and Negroes would receive the Priesthood and "all the blessings we now enjoy and more".
*The 1978 Revelation was in response to a "need" (The Brazil Situation). The Revelation was not verbal, but was a Divine Confirmation that President Kimball, his two Counsellors, and the 12 Apostles received after much prayer. The lifting of the Priesthood-ban on those of Hamitic lineage was announced on June 8th, 1978; exactly 7 years (to the day) that the Genesis Group was founded.
*The Genesis Group is the official Church fellowship organization for black Members in North America.
*Black Mormons in North America are not required to become members of the Genesis Group. The Group does not exist in countries where blacks form a majority.
*There are no segregated congregations in the Church. Mormons of all races worship together in "branches" (small congregations under 200) and "wards" (large congregations over 200) which are not segregated according to race, but according to location.
*There are predominantly black branches (small congregations) and black wards (large congregations) in New York City (Harlem), Chicago (southside), Los Angeles (Inglewood), Washington D.C., Detroit, and Atlanta.
*The Church of Jesus Christ today has thousands of black Priesthood-officers and perhaps over 100,000 black Priesthood-holders.
*Every active and worthy Mormon male over the age of 12 is required to be a Priesthood-holder in order to go to the Temple, go on a mission, and hold Church priesthood offices. Mormon women are exempt from this requirement.
*Mormons today are not required to believe in the Curse of Cain doctrine (that Negroes are the descendants of Cain).
*The Curse of Cain doctrine is no longer an active teaching in the Church, but it has not been repudiated either. Only The First Presidency can repudiate the Curse of Cain doctrine.
*The Church always allowed black Members.
*The Church NEVER taught that black folks "had no souls". This is yet another false rumor in the African-American Community
*The Church NEVER taught that black folks "were the children of the Devil". It always taught that black folks are the literal spirit-sons and spirit-daughters of God.
*The Church always openly opposed the Ku Klux Klan via editorials (written by Apostles) in the Deseret News.
*Anti-black discrimination in Utah was minimal and usually from Gentile (non-Mormon) sources. What discrimination what did exist in Utah was common all over the United States in the same time periods.
*Mormon presidents and apostles had the same general belief about black folks as did the vast great majority of white Americans in their day.
*The Prophet Joseph Smith may have been killed in 1844 because, as Presidential candidate under the Mormon Reform Party in 1843, he called for Negro emancipation (freedom), education, and equalization; a platform that enraged not only Southern whites but many Northerner whites as well.
*Brigham Young declared that the "whites would be cursed" for their treatment of blacks; unless they repented.
*There are about 200,000 black Mormons throughout the world (2005) and that number is growing rapidly.
*Rumors about Mormons and "The Mormon Church" in the African-American Community are almost always FALSE or at least exaggerated and distorted.
*The Jaredites, a righteous and "Chosen" people of God a thousand years before the Israelites, may have been black. They were probably the Olmecs of central America.
*The Brother of Jared (Mahonrai Moriancümr), one of the great Prophets of God of all time, was a Jaredite and therefore may have been a black man.
*Adam and Eve were probably white; based upon the Hebrew name "Adam"--which means "to show blood in the face". Only Caucasians can "blush"; because they have the least amount of melanin in their skin.
*Some Mormons believe in Creationism, that Adam and Eve were the first humans on earth. Other Mormons believe in Divinely-guided Evolution, and that Adam and Eve were the first "man" and first "woman" of a new race (the Adamic Race). A small minority of Mormons believe that Adam and Eve never existed, but is myth or a parable representing "Man" and "Woman". The official teaching of the Church is that Adam and Eve are historical characters. The Church has no "official" teaching as to pre-Adamites or regarding Creationism or Evolution other than to say the Philosophy of Darwinism (i.e. that life appeared and evolved solely by chance) is false.
*The ancient Israelites were not black, but were Caucasians; based upon the fact that Esau (twin-brother of Israel) had red hair all over his body, and, in the Song of Solomon, the Queen of Sheba calls Solomon (son of David and King of Israel) "white" and ruddy (red-haired).
*Some black folks become Mormons because they are the Elect of God, and feel in their hearts that it is true. They "hearken" (listen to and obey)to the "Voice of the LORD" in the last days. The Voice of the LORD in the last days are His Living Prophets: the Presidents of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
*The Higher Ordinances of Mormon Temples include the Endowment Ceremony (a Masonic-like ceremony that reveals to Mormons the "keys" to returning to the presence of God the Father after death) and the Sealing Ceremonies which "seal" faithful Mormon spouses into eternal marriages and faithful Mormon parents to their children as eternal families.
*Faithful Mormons who are "sealed" in Mormon Temples can be married and remain a family unit for all eternity. Faithful Latter-day Saints will become "Adams" and "Eves" on other worlds. All other Christians (including lukewarm Mormons) will become like the Angels in Heaven; eternal monks and nuns.
Today, there are hundreds of thousands of Black Mormons throughout the world, and their numbers are increasing daily. Black Latter-day Saints can hold any office any other Member of the Church can. They can partake of any Ordinance or Blessing any other Mormon can.
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 hearken unto my voice." (D&C 33:6)The Living Prophets (Joseph Smith and his successors) are the "Voice of the LORD" in the latter-days!
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, and receive the ordinances therein.
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)The Mormon Faith is not for all Black Folks! It is for only those who wish to be Exalted; to be sealed as Eternal Families in Mormon Temples via the Sealing Power of the Living Prophet (via his appointed deputies called "Sealers"). Becoming a Black Mormon takes commitment, humility, dedication, and sacrifice. It takes a person praying on their knees: "Thy Will O Lord, not mine!" It takes the spiritual strength of the Canaanite woman whose daughter Jesus healed, who, after Jesus called her people "dogs" (i.e. "lowly servants"), said:
"Truth, Lord: yet the dogs eat of the crumbs which fall from their master's table." (Matthew 15:27)To be a Black Mormon means you would rather be a servant in the House of the LORD than a king upon a throne! The glories of kings shall fade, and their kingdoms turn to dust, but the glory that the LORD shall bestow upon His humble servants shall last forever!
To be a Black Latter-day Saint takes the faith of Ruth the Moabitess (the Jews considered the Moabites to be "cursed"), who said to her mother-in-law, Naomi the Jewess:
"For whither thou goest I will go, and where thou lodgest, I will lodge. Thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God." (Ruth 1:16)Most Black Folks will never become Latter-day Saints; nor wish to. And that is fine! It is not for them! It's not for most people! It's not for everyone; just a chosen few. It's for the ELECT. For the Elect will believe, and hearken unto the Voice of the LORD, and, in the end, that's all that really matters.
From an old drawing of Elijah Abel
Green Flake. The Black Mormon who lead the first Mormon pioneers into Salt Lake Valley.
Samuel D. Chambers (1831-1829) and his wife. One of the wealthiest couples in Salt Lake Valley.
Jane James and Isaac Manning
Mary Ann Perkins was a Mormon pioneer who settled Bountiful, Utah
Jim Brown. He led a migration of Mormons (black and white) from Mississippi to Utah
Lucinda Flake with two granddaughters
Paul Cephas Howell of the Salt Lake P.D. (1886). The first African-American police detective.
Len Hope and his wife with a Mormon official
Darius Gray with Frederick Douglas IV. Gray was was of the founders of the Genesis Group in 1971. Gray helped author Alex Haley write "ROOTS". In 2003 he was awarded the NAACP Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Civil-Rights Award.
Joseph W.B. Johnson. His vision of Jesus in 1964 commanded him to preach The Book of Mormon and The Joseph Smith Story to his fellow Ghananians. He converted over 14,000 by 1978. He is now a Patriarch in the Port Harcourt Stake, Ghana.
Elder Helvecio Martíns of the Second Quorum of Seventy (c. 1990)
Marcus Martíns, Ph.D. Chair of Religion Instruction, BYU-Hawaii
Eldridge Cleaver was one of the leaders of the original Black Panther Party. He later became a Christian, and became a Mormon in 1984.
Penny and Joe Jordan (who had been a Nation of Islam minister before joining the Church)
Jesse Thomas Jr. was a Baptist minister before joining the Church
Lee Radcliff was a retired National Baptist minister before joining the Church.
Gladys Knight. A famous R&B singer
NFL great Burgess Owens
NBA star Thurl Bailey
But most Black Mormons are just average folks:
A group of Mormons in Ghana
A group of Mormon children in Ghana
A typical Mormon chapel in Ghana
The Ghana LDS (Mormon) Temple in Accra
A Mormon bishop in Ghana with wife and daughter
Two Stake Presidents in Ghana
A group of Mormon missionaries in Ghana
An Elder's Quorum meeting at the Atlanta Ward
Robert Foster. Black Mormon filmmaker. Former Student Body President of Brigham Young University (c.2001)
President Harwell of the Genesis Group (c. 2004)
The Genesis Group Presidency (c.2004)
You can contact the Genesis Group by going to their official website:
You can contact The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints at:
SOME ANSWERED QUESTIONS Regarding the Mormon Faith & Black Folks is NOT a publication of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints nor any of its officials. It is a private publication that contains the personal views of its author. This articles is NOT copyrighted! You are encouraged to make copies and distribute them freely to others.
Black Mormons & The Priesthood-ban, is a faith-promoting and testimony-building book on Black Mormon history. It is now available via Benchmark Books of Salt Lake City. 120 pages. Soft-cover. Many photos. Telephone Orders are welcome: