The Black Mormon Homepage

This is NOT an official publication of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints nor the Genesis Groups, but is a private publication that reflects the personal opinions of its author~Darrick Evenson. This article is --not-- copyrighted. Anyone is welcome to copy this article and distribute copies without permission. It is about --45-- printed pages.

Welcome to The Black Mormon Homepage!

What is a "Black Mormon"?

"Black Mormons" are Mormons of black African lineage of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints; commonly known as The Mormon Church (also called "The LDS Church" or The Mormon Faith). There have been Black Mormons since 1832; two years after the official founding of the Church in New York State in 1830. One of the first Seventies of the LDS Church was a Black Mormon by the name of Elijah Abel (1810-1884). Because of his great faith, he was ordained to the Priesthood and became a member of the Third Quorum of Seventy; a priesthood-office just under Apostle. He was a personal friend to the Prophet Joseph Smith, and helped to rescue him from mobs in Missouri bent upon taking his life. Elijah Abel's son Enoch and grandson Elijah were also ordained to various offices in the Priesthood. Elijah Abel died in Salt Lake City, Utah, at the age of 74; just after having served a mission for the Church in Canada and Cincinnati, Ohio.

A special stone memorial was erected over the grave of Elijah Abel in 2003:


Elijah Abel Memorial (City Cemetary, Salt Lake City, Utah)

Because of the Priesthood-ban (see below) the numbers of Black Mormons remained low until about the mid-1960s; when tens of thousands of black Africans began to form independent Book of Mormon-believing congregations in West Africa. A few of these men, like Joseph W.B. Johnson of Ghana, began to have visions of Jesus Christ or the Mormon Temple in Salt Lake City. They didn't know what these visions meant until they came across old pamphlets or articles which had pictures of the Salt Lake Temple on them, or had a story about the Mormons. These men found copies of The Book of Mormon left by travelers, and they would read them and then form their own congregations; sometimes in the thousands.

The Prophet Joseph Smith

The Mormon Faith was founded by Joseph Smith Jr. (1806-1844) ; whom Mormons consider to be a Prophet of God. He is considered a latter~day "John the Baptist". In the year 1820, he had a vision of the Father and the Son. Jesus Himself instructed Joseph Smith to restore His Church, and to gather the Elect of God in the last days.

Joseph Smith was a great advocate for the black people; in a time in which many of his fellow white countrymen owned black slaves, and in a time which almost all white Americans believed that "Negroes" were "inherently inferior" to white people. The Prophet Joseph Smith did not believe that Negroes were inherently "inferior" to whites. He said that they were the way they were only because the whites did not allow them to be educated. He said that if one "changed their situation" and educated them "they would be like" the whites. He advocated the freedom, education, and the granting of "equal rights" to blacks at a time when only a small minority of Abolitionists believed that blacks should be granted equal rights. When he was once asked what advice he would give to a man who came into the Church with 100 black slaves, the Prophet replied:

"I have advised them to bring their slaves into a free country and set them free~educate them~and give them equal rights." (Compilation on the Negro in Mormonism, p.40)
He also said:
"Break off the shackles of the poor black man and hire him to labor like other human beings." (History of The Church 5:209)

The Prophet Joseph Smith (1806-1844)

Joseph Smith was not just a Prophet and Seer! He was also the Mayor of Nauvoo, Illinois; at that time the largest city in that state. He was also the Lt.General of the Nauvoo Legion; the Mormon militia in Illinois.


Lt.Gen. Joseph Smith promising to protect Nauvoo from anti-Mormon mobs

In 1843 Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon founded the Mormon Reform Party (not in any way affiliated with the current "Reform Party" in the U.S.); the only political party at that time that advocated the freedom and the granting of equal rights to blacks! At that time, no other American political party wanted blacks to have equal rights (not even the Abolitionist Party which also sought to end slavery). The Mormon Reform Party publication Joseph Smith's Views on the Power and Policy of the Government of the United States called for the end of slavery and the education and granting of equal rights to black folks! This publication was widely read and disseminated; especially in Illinois. Joseph Smith called on Congress to sell the millions of acres of Federal public lands and use the money to purchase the slaves from their masters, to free them, educate them, and give them equal rights.


A Mormon Reform Party political poster (1844)

Some feel that this publication was read by Abraham Lincoln; a young Illinois lawyer and politician who lived not very far from Nauvoo in 1843 when Joseph Smith ran for the U.S Presidency. As candidate and later as President, Lincoln would call for the sale of Federal public lands to pay the Southern white slaveowners and free the slaves; just as Joseph Smith had advocated decades before. But Congress rejected that plan. Wealthy white railroad and mining barons wanted the public lands for themselves. Congress rejected the plan, and soon the Civil War started in 1860 in South Carolina; just as Joseph Smith had prophesied it would back in 1832:

"VERILY, thus saith the Lord concerning the wars that will shortly come to pass, beginning at the rebellion of South Carolina, which will eventually terminate in the death and misery of many souls,
2 And the time will come that war will be poured out upon all nationals, beginning at this place.
3 For behold, the Southern States shall be divided against the Northern States, and the southern States will call on other nations, even the nation of Great Britain, and they [Britain] shall call upon other nations, in order to defend themsevles against others nations [Germany, Austria-Hungary], and then war shall be poured out upon all nations.
4 And it shall come to pass, after many days, slaves shall rise up against their masters, who shall be marshaled and disciplined for war.
(Doctrine & Covenants section 87)
The Prophet Joseph Smith received that Revelation on December 25th, 1832, after reading a newspaper article about South Carolina threatening to secede from the Union over the slave issue. He inquired of the LORD, and received section 87. Twenty-eight years later, the Revelation began to be fulfilled. South Carolina finally seceded, and the Civil War began when Confederate troops fired on Fort Sumpter, a Union fort on a island in Charleston Bay, South Carolina. The Confederacy did call upon Great Britain for help, but it was eventually refused. "After many days" Great Britain did call upon "other nations" to defend itself against Germany and Austria-Hungary in World War I, and again against Germany in World War II; in which war was "poured out upon all nations". Over 300,000 freed black slaves were "marshaled and disciplined for war" by the Union during the Civil War; which ended in many hundreds of thousands of American dead on both sides.

During his 1843 Presidencial campaign, Joseph Smith's call to end black slavery and the granting of "equal rights" for blacks was becoming very popular with many people, but he was hated by white men in the South who wanted slavery to continue, and he was hated by some white men in the North who did not want equality for free blacks. In June of 1844, Joseph Smith was assassinated in Carthage, Illinois, by an anti-Mormon mob. Some of the mob were members of a secret society in Illinois called the Knights of the Golden Circle. They were very anti-Black. They existed in the North and the South. Southern Illinois (called "Egypt") was colonized by many Southern whites. After the Civil War, Congress made the KGC illegal. A few KGC members then formed a new organization called the Knights of the Ku Klux Klan (from the Greek Kuklos which means "circle" and the Scottish klan which means "family"). The KKK was just a rehashing of the Knights of the Golden Circle, but under a new name! The LDS Church, through the Deseret News (whose editorials back then were written by Mormon Apostles) strongly condemned the KKK and called upon the American government to immediately "root out and destroy" it (this was in 1868 when the Klan was first formed)! Unfortunately, America didn't listen.

During Joseph Smith's time as President of the Church, at least two black men were ordained to the Priesthood: Elijah Abel (who also became a Seventy) and Walker Lewis. Perhaps there are more, but there is no firm record of them. Elijah Abel was a carpenter and undertaker, and a personal friend of Joseph Smith. He was adopted by Joseph Smith Sr.; father of the Prophet, as a son (not formally). Thus, Elijah Abel was informally the adopted "brother" of Joseph Smith. When anti-Mormons had Joseph Smith jailed in Liberty, Missouri, on false charges, it was Elijah Abel and a few other brave Mormons who rescued him from certain death. Elijah Abel eventually went west to Utah with the Mormons led by Brigham Young. He was called to be a member of the 3rd Quorum of Seventy; the 5th highest council of the Church at that time. He served a mission to Canada at age 70, and died in Salt Lake City at age 74. His son Enoch and his grandson Elijah was also ordained to the Priesthood.

Once, as the Mayor of Nauvoo, Illinois (a Mormon city on the banks of the Mississippi) he was told of a black man in Nauvoo named Anthony who had sold liquor on Sunday; which was a violation of the Nauvoo City Code. Mormon writer Mary Frost Adams tells us what happened:

"While he was acting as mayor of the city, a colored man named Anthony was arrested for selling liquor on Sunday, contrary to law. He pleased that the reason he had done so was that he might raise the money to purchase the liberty of a dear child held as a slave in a Southern State. He had been able to purchase the liberty of himself and his wife and now wished to bring his little child to their new home. Joseph said, 'I am sorry, Anthony, but the law must be observed and we will have to impose a fine.' The next day Brother Joseph presented Anthony with a fine horse, directing him to sell it, and use the money obtained for the purchase of the child." (Young Woman's Journal, p.538)
In another incident, a black man living in Nauvoo named Chism had stolen some goods from a white Missourian (a NON-Mormon) who did business in the city, and the white man whipped Chism mercilessly. The white man took Chism to Joseph Smith (as mayor he was also Justice of the Peace) to have him arrested and jailed. Joseph Smith asked Chism if he had stolen the goods. Chism replied he had. He asked Chism who had whipped him. Chism replied the white Missourian had. So, he fined Chism for stealing the goods, and put the white Missourian in jail! This was UNHEARD OF in Joseph Smith's day! This ENRAGED many white men who heard it; both in Missouri and the state of Illinois.

For this reason, and others, the Prophet Joseph Smith was absolutely hated by many white men; who wanted to see him dead, and the Church destroyed. A group of white men in Nauvoo (which included thieves, counterfeiters, and several prominent Church leaders who wanted to take over the Church and put Joseph 'out of the way), formed a cabal and started a publication called The Nauvoo Expositor; which claimed that Joseph Smith was a "fallen prophet" and an evil licentious "tyrant" who needed to be overthrown. The paper contained many exaggerations and untruths. Joseph Smith and the Nauvoo City Council had the paper closed, and the type destroyed. In the 1840s it was not uncommon for a City Council to declare a local press "libelous" and shut it down. Back then, pornography and libel was not considered "free speech" as it is today. Using the destruction of the Nauvoo Expositor as the excuse they needed, anti-Mormon mobs and the state militia of Missouri threatened to invade Nauvoo, Illinois (the Mormon city), kill all the Mormon leaders (especially the Prophet), and destroy the city and scatter the Mormons. Joseph Smith immediately called-up the Nauvoo Legion (city militia) to defend the city. The governor of Illinois wanted to try to placate the Missourians, and anti-Mormon mobs in Illiniois, so he had Joseph Smith arrested for destroying the type of the Nauvoo Expositor. Discovering that was legal under the Nauvoo Charter, he then had Joseph Smith arrested for "treason"; for calling up the militia without the express written permission of the Governor of Illinois. The Prophet felt he had the right; since he was the Lt.Gen of the Nauvoo Legion, and he could not be sure if the Governor would protect Nauvoo. The Prophet was arrested and imprisoned in Carthage Jail, in Carthage, Illinois. Only a few days later, on June 24th 1844, a mob of white men (with faces pained black) stormed the jail and killed the Prophet, his brother Hyrum. They also seriously wounded John Taylor, a Mormon Apostle who would later become the 3rd President of the Church.


The Martyrdom of Joseph Smith (Carthage, Ill., 1844)

Despite what the governor of Illinois tried to do, the anti-Mormon mobs in Illinois attacked Nauvoo anyway. The Mormons and the mob fought many small battles. The Mormons even had to defend themselves against canon-fire! Finally, the anti-Mormon mob and the Mormons made an agreement to allow the Mormons to leave the city. Brigham Young led the Mormons from Nauvoo, Illinois, to the Great Salt Lake Basin in what is now the state of Utah. There, the Mormons founded Salt Lake City, and hundreds of other cities and towns in the Western United States.

Brigham Young, the 2nd President of the Church, held the same view of "Negroes" as did the great majority of white Americans in his day. He held the very same view as did Abraham Lincoln. He considered "Negroes" to be "inferior", but that they should be treated "like we treat our own children" and not like beasts of burden; as they were then treated as slaves in the South. Brigham Young once said:

"Negroes should be treated like human beings, and not worse than dumb brutes. For their abuse of that race, the whites shall be cursed, unless they repent." (Journal of Discourses 10:111)

Brigham Young (2nd President LDS Church)

Since the time of Brigham Young, black men (the Priesthood is open only to males) and any man of Hamitic lineage (even white men with blond hair and blue eyes who have at least one known black African ancestor) have not been ordained to the Priesthood. This is because Brigham Young taught that "Negroes" were the descendants of Cain through the wife of Ham, the son of Noah. Brigham Young (and other Presidents of the Church) taught that Negroes were the children of God, but they were also the descendants of Cain (the firstborn son of Adam and Eve), and because Cain was "cursed as pertaining to the Priesthood", his descendants (black Africans) could not hold the Priesthood in mortality, but that "one day" the curse was be lifted off that posterity, and that men of Hamitic lineage in the Church would hold the Priesthood like everyone else.

There is no clear and direct evidence that the Prophet Joseph Smith originated what is now referred to as "The Priesthood-ban". However, we DO know that he considered "Negroes" to be "the sons of Cain" (History of the Church 4:501). We also know he translated The Book of Abraham; a volume of Mormon scripture in which it says that the ancient Egyptians were the descendants of Ham, and that they were "blessed with wisdom" but "cursed as pertaining to the Priesthood" (Abraham 1:26). The ancient Egyptians were Hamites; the descendants of Ham, the son of Noah. They were also Cainites; the descendants of Ham's wife, a Cainite woman. Mormon presidents (including Joseph Smith) believed that black Africans were also Hamites; the descendants of Ham, the son of Noah. According to Mormon scripture, Ham married "Egyptus"; a Cainite woman (descendant of Cain). And thus, the Cainite lineage survived the great flood and passed to the ancient Egyptians, and from them to the Nubians, and from the Nubians into the native African population via the migrations over millenia of black Hamitic tribes which had Nubian blood (lineage).

Some Mormons believed that Cain was the first "Negro"; that God changed him from a white man (the son of Adam and Eve) into a Negro. Other Mormons believe that the black Africans inherited the Hamitic lineage (bloodline) because of the ancient Nubians; who had the blood of the ancient Egyptians in them. In other words, Ham, the son of Noah, married a Cainite woman. The Hamites were thus Cainites; because they were the descendants of Cain through Ham's wife. The ancient Egyptians were the descendants of Ham; thus Cainites. The ancient Nubians intermarried and intermingled with the ancient Egyptians; thus inheriting the lineage (bloodline) of Cain. The ancient Nubians migrated south and west and spread their bloodline throughout black Africa; via the Bantus, Dogons, Yarubans, and other Hamitic tribes. Thus, over thousands of years of migration and intermingling, all black African tribes eventually became the descendants of Cain through Ham's Cainite wife.

Still other Mormons do not believe that black Africans are the "children of Cain" at all. They believe that this was a "mistake" and "misinterpretation" by Brigham Young and other presidents of the Church. Some of these believe that the Church should publicly "repudiate" the "Curse of Cain" doctrine and call the Priesthood-ban a "mistake". But most of these Members simply believe that the "mistake" has now been "corrected", and that the legacy "is in the past" and that now we should "forget the past" and "move on". Some Mormons will say, "No, my Church never taught that!" knowing full well that it did!

Many younger Mormons are unaware of the older teachings of the Church, and are only barely aware that black Mormon men could not hold the Priesthood before 1978 (except for Elijah Abel, his descendants, and Walker Lewis). After you read this article, you'll know more than they do about the subject.

Even though many Mormons are confused about the Priesthood-ban, those who have researched its history thoroughly know that the Priesthood~ban was always presented (from the days of Brigham Young) as an official policy of the Church; a policy based upon the Curse of Cain Doctrine, which was itself presented as an official doctrine of the Church from the days of Brigham Young (2nd President of the Church/1850s) until the days of Spencer W. Kimball (12th President of the Church/1970s). Even though the Priesthood~ban was "lifted" from off the Hamitic lineage in 1978, the First Presidency of the Church has not (until this day) reputiated it. Even though the Curse of Cain doctrine is no longer actively "taught", it remains "on the books" as an official doctrine of the Church. It will remain so until, and if, it is officially repudiated by an official statement of The First Presidency. There are no current signals that The First Presidency (the President of the Church and his two Counsellors/Senior Apostles) will repudiate the Curse of Cain doctrine/Priesthood~ban legacy.

Even though there are no signs that the Curse of Cain doctrine or Priesthood~ban legacy will ever ben repudiated, the Quorum of the Twelve (Apostles) of the Church did repudiate "racism" (the belief that one race is "superior" to others~which the Curse of Cain doctrine never taught) in a statement in 1987:

"We repudiate efforts to deny to any person his or her inalienable rights on the abhorrent and tragic theory of the superiority of one race or color over another." (LDS Church Global Media Guide, 1987)
In 1989 the Church magazine for youth The New Era declared:
"At baptism we covenant to 'mourn with those that mourn; yea, and comfort thosue that stand in need of comfort.' (Mosiah 18:9). It is altogether appropriate that we should work to conquer all the unfair things that exist in this imperfect, unfair world: racism, illiteracy, povery, disease, and all the rest." (New Era, July 1989, Q&A section)
Elder Neal A. Maxwell, of the Quorum of the Twelve, wrote in 1995:
"God's second commandment, love thy neighbor, clearly leaves no room for racism." (Ensign, May 1995, p.66)
Some apostles and presidents of the Church did accept a moderate racist worldview; as did the vast great majority of white Americans of their day! These men simply accepted the consensus reality of the day (taught in universities and accepted by almost all educated and uneducated white Americans) that said that Negroes were "inherently inferior" to Caucasians. However, it should be noted, not even one Mormon apostle or president adhered to a radical racist worldview such as one held by Ku Klux Klan or other white-supremacist groups. Indeed, Mormon apostles always strongly condemned the KKK and other white-supremacist groups; via their editorials in the Deseret News.

A Brief Summary of the Curse of Cain Legacy

The following is a brief summery of the Curse of Cain doctrine, the Priesthood-ban, and what led up to and after the 1978 Revelation which lifted the ban.

*The Church taught as doctrine that Adam and Eve were literal historic people. The Hebrew word for Adam is awdawm (aw="to show" + dawm="blood"); which means "to show blood (in the face)". Only one race can blush (show blood in the face).

*Their first child, Cain, offered a sacrifice to the LORD in a state of unworthiness; meaning he was not "worthy" to offer a sacrifice to the LORD, but he offered it anyway. The LORD rejected Cain's sacrifice, and Cain lost his birthright to the Priesthood. The birthright fell upon Abel, the second son of Adam and Eve.

*Enraged and angered, Cain kills his brother Abel; mistakenly thinking that the birthright to the Priesthood would automatically revert back to him once his brother Abel was dead.

*Instead of the birthright reverting back to Cain, the LORD curses Cain with a denial of the Priesthood for him and his posterity until Abel was resurrected, had children, and all the Abelites had the Priesthood (or at least were offered it) first. It was against the Justice of God to let the Cainites have the Priesthood before the Abelites first had the opportunity to receive it.

*The remaining son of Adam and Eve, Seth, was given the Priesthood, and he and his descendants had the Priesthood while the Cainites, the descendants of Cain, were denied it. They were banned from holding the Priesthood. The LORD commanded that the Sethites remain separate from the Cainites. The Cainites were the first to build cities, use musicial instruments, and work in metal. The Cainites were "civilized" city-dwellers, but the Sethites remained farmers and shepherds.

*The Sethites disobeyed the Law of the LORD, and intermarried with the Cainites. In response, the LORD sent the Great Flood upon the entire land (Heb: eretz); which killed all the Adamites except for Noah, his wife, his three sons, and their wives. All living things in that entire land died in the Flood; except for Noah, his wife, his three sons, their wives, and the animals on the Ark. According to Mormon scriptures, one of Noah's sons, named Ham, married a Cainite woman named "Egyptus"; thus preserving the Cainite lineage (and the curse) through the flood. This is why, when Noah became drunk from wine after the flood, he said, "Cursed be Canaan, a servant of servants unto his brethren" (Genesis 9:25). Canaan was the son of Ham and Egyptus, and inherited the Curse of Cain. The Jews, the descendants of Judah, the son of Jacob (Israel), who was a descendant of Shem, son of Noah, called Canaanites "dogs"; which mean "servants". Jesus too, a Jew, referred to Canaanites as "dogs" (Matt. 15:27).

*The Canaanites, the descendants of Canaan, son of Ham and Egyptus, settled in what is now Israel, Palestine, Lebanon, and Egypt. In Egypt they met native African peoples, and intermingled with them. The Ancient Egyptians were part white and part black, or a Mulatto race. They had the Hamitic blood from the Canaanites, and blood from the native African peoples of the Nile Valley (the Nubians).

*According to The Book of Abraham (a Mormon book of scripture) a "son" (descendant) of Ham and Egyptus was the first Pharoah of Egypt. He was a "righteous man" and desired to follow the ways of the LORD, but he was of that lineage (bloodline) which was "blessed with wisdom" and "the blessings of the earth" but "cursed as pertaining to the Priesthood" (Abraham 1:26). So, Pharoah started an imitation priesthood; to imitate the true Priesthood of God. Some believe this was the priesthood of Amon (also Amen,Ahman, Min or Amoun); the Egyptian Creator-God whose name means "Hidden" or "Unknown". Some believe that the name Mormon comes from the ancient Egyptian Mor-i-Amon ("Beloved of Amon").

*The Egyptians grew into a wise and mighty people. But their wealth and victory in battle made them prideful and arrogant. They enslaved the Israelites; the descendants of Jacob called "Israel" (Heb: "Prevailer with God"). The Egyptians enslaved the Israelites for 450 years.

*God rose up Moses as a prophet to free His people from the Egyptians. The common Egyptians suffered the plagues because their pharoah refused to let the Israelites go. Because of their pride, arrogance, materialism, and racism, the LORD promised that He would "scatter" the Egyptians among the inhabitants of Pathros (black Africa), and, in the "latter days" He would send men "in ships" to enslave the descendants of the Egyptians and scatter them among the nations (see Ezekiel chaps 29 and 30). The prophet Ezekiel wrote:

"In that day shall messengers go forth from me in ships to make the careless Ethiopians [Khooshim in Hebrew which means "Negroes"] afraid, and great pain shall come upon them, as in the days of Egypt [slavery]."(Ezekiel 30:9)

"And I will scatter the Egyptians among the nations [of black Africa], and will disperse them through the countries [via the slave-trade]; and they shall know that I am LORD." (Ezekiel 30:26)


The slavetrade dispersed black Africans to many countries

*The Egyptians enslaved the Israelites for 450 years. In response to this, the LORD decrees that He would scatter the Egyptians among the nations of black Africa, and then men in ships to scatter the "Ethiopians" (the original Hebrew doesn't say "Ethiopians" but says "Khooshiym" which means "Negroes" and refers to all black Africans) among many countries, and they would "know the LORD" (become converted to the worship of the Hebrew God). *Some see the Black African Disaspora (i.e. dispersion throughout the Americas and Europe because of slavery)as a literal fulfillment of these prophecies. African-American and African scholars who see the Black African Disaspora as a fulfillment of Bible prophecy are called "Bible Afro-Centrists".

*A thousand years after the Israelites left Egypt, the Greeks, then Persiansm and then Romans invaded Egypt, and conquered the Egyptians. Many of the Egyptians fled to Nubia, and intermarried with the black Nubian tribes (who were, by the way, civilized thousands of years before white Europeans were). The white immigrants from Persia, Greece, and Rome became known as "Copts". They did not intermarry with the native Eygptians or the Nubians, but remained to themselves. Over the next two thousand years, many Nubians (who now had an Egyptian lineage as well as a native African lineage) migrated into West and Central Africa. Over time they conquered and intermingled with native African tribes; one after another. Eventually, these intermingled tribes intermarried with other native African tribes, who migrated further east and south. Over millennia the ancient Egyptian bloodline was thus dispersed throughout the native African tribes.

*Beginning in the 1500s Portuguese (and later Spanish, French, and English) ships landed in Africa, and began to enslave many of the tribes-people there; a fulfillment of the LORD's word to Ezekiel and other prophets. Black Africans were enslaved for about 450 years. What goes around, comes around. Some (including many black historians and scholars) see this as a fulfillment of Bible prophecy, and a punishment upon the descendants of the ancient Egyptians (who mingled with the African tribes over millennia) for their enslaving the Israelites.

*In 1820 a young boy named Joseph Smith Jr. is a Seeker of Truth. He is confused by the claims of the conflicting churches. If God's Truth is One, then why many different churches and religions all claiming to be "The Truth". He goes to God in prayer. God the Father and Jesus Christ appear to Joseph Smith in a vision near Palmyra, New York, in 1820. Joseph is told to join no church, but to prepare himself for a great work. Many angels appear to Joseph Smith in the years to come, and confer upon him priesthood "keys" for the gathering of the Elect in the last days.

*Several black men are ordained in Joseph's day; Elijah Abel, Walker Lewis, and perhaps William McCary. Joseph tells his Elders not to ordain black slaves to the Priesthood. Several early Mormons who knew Joseph Smith later say that Joseph said that "Negroes" had "no right to the Priesthood". No revelation, sermon or written statement of Joseph Smith can be found to confirm this; leaving many historians to question whether the Prophet wanted all blacks to be banned, or only mere black slaves (i.e. because slaves could not travel freely and use the Priesthood). The debate continues today among Mormon historians and scholars as to who was the orginator of the Priesthood-ban; Joseph Smith, or Brigham Young. Frankly, we just don't know. All we do know is that the Curse of Cain doctrine was taught as official Church doctrine by Church leaders since 1852. Today, it is no longer actively taught, but it has never been repudiated. Only The First Presidency of the Church can repudiate it.

*In the early 1840s Joseph Smith becomes an Abolitionist; advocating freedom for black slaves. He also reveals that he does not believe in "inherent Negro inferiority"; a view shared by almost all white men (including Abolitionists) in his day. Joseph Smith goes even further; declaring that Negroes should not only be freed but "educated and given equal rights". Joseph Smith runs for President of the United States in the Mormon Reform Party ticket in 1843-44. He is arrested in May of 1844 on charges of treason (for calling up the Mormon militia to defend the Mormon city of Nauvoo against mobs who threaten the city, but neglects to ask the Governor of Illionis for permission to do this). He and his brother Hyrum are killed in Carthage Jail, Carthage Illinois, awaiting trial.

*Brigham Young, the senior Apostle, wins a contest for the successorship of the Church after Joseph is killed. While giving a speech after the Prophet's death, hundreds in the crowd later claim that Brigham Young's face and voice transforms into that of the martyred Prophet. For them, it is a miracle and divine confirmation that Brigham Young, as Chief Apostle, should lead the Church. He proves an excellent organizer. In 1846 he leads the Mormons from Nauvoo through the American great plains to the valley of the Great Salt Lake; then a barren wilderness. In 1852 he begins to preach the Curse of Cain doctrine; that Negroes are the descendants of Cain, and cannot hold the Priesthood until Abel is resurrected, has children, and his children receive it first. But, he adds, the curse would one day be removed, and the "Canaanites" (as he often called blacks) would be given the Priesthood and all the blessings associated with it. During this time Elijah Abel, a black Mormon, continues as a member of the Third Quorum of Seventy; although he is denied the Higher Ordinances of the Temple. Elijah Abel, as a carpenter, continues to work on the Salt Lake Temple; which takes 40 years to build (1853-1893). On Jan. 3, 1854, Brigham Young invites Elijah Abel to a dance at Social Hall in Salt Lake City. He is sent on a mission to Canada and Cincinnati at age 69. Elijah's son Enoch is ordained to various offices in the Priesthood while Brigham Young is still alive. The descendants of Elijah and Enoch Abel marry Lamanites (Native Americans) and whites, and today, all of Elijah Abel's descendants are white.

*Other Mormon Presidents continue the "ban" on blacks receiving the Priesthood. Every mention of it by them reveals they believe it is from the LORD, and that the Prophet Joseph Smith taught it. Only a few hundred blacks are Members of the Church at any one time. Because of the Priesthood~ban, black converts are very few and far-between. Missionaries are told not to seek them out "affirmatively", but to teach and baptize them if they seek the missionaries out and are sincere. A small number of black converts are baptized each year.

*In 1948 Mormon Apostles want the Priesthood-ban to be recinded. They ask Church President George A. Smith to inquire of the LORD. President Smith reports back that he inquired of the LORD, and the LORD said "Not yet".

*In the early 1950s some black Africans get copies of The Book of Mormon and Church pamphlets by various means. They write to Salt Lake City and request more information. They are told to "wait".

*In the 1960s several black African seekers of Truth receive visions of Jesus Christ, or angels, or of the Salt Lake Temple; only to later come across a copy of The Book of Mormon or a Reader's Digest article on the Church showing a photo of the Salt Lake Temple. They see this as revelation, and contact the Church requesting missionaries. They are told to be patient. Several Mormon emissaries are sent, but little is done. Some of these black African men begin to form their own congregations, calling them "The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter~day Saints, Inc." They preach the Joseph Smith Story and The Book of Mormon and make thousands of converts; sometimes tens of thousands of converts. Some of them suffer terrible persecution.

*In the mid-1960s the American Civil-Rights movement is in the forefront of the media in a big way. The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., a Southern black minister and civil-rights leader, is becomming a hero of the Civil-Rights movement. Various black race-riots occur in major American cities. Americans are shown on television white policemen attacking peaceful black and white civil-rights protestors with police-dogs and fire-hoses. A number of civil-rights workers, both black and white, are killed or harassed in the South by white racists. At about this time, in 1965, TIME magazine does a story called "Black Saints of Nigeria"; about West Africans forming their own black Book-of-Mormon believing congregations. The TIME article includes a sub-story about the Church denying blacks the Priesthood. The African-American community, who had known little or nothing about Mormons by this time, takes notice.

*Anti-Mormons, and others, begin to use the Priesthood-ban as a way to make Mormons and the Church unpopular among many Americans; especially black Americans. Many magazines and newspapers, staffed by Liberal journalists, write articles on the Church's "denial of civil rights" (i.e. the Priesthood) to blacks. Many of these articles have inaccuracies or exaggerations. Many African-Americans read these articles, and begin to tell their friends and relatives that the Mormons are "racist" and "hate black folks". Rumors about the Church continue to spread and grow and get worse with the retelling. In less than a year or so the African-American community is convinced that "Mormons" are as "bad as the Klan"; if not worse.

*In the late 1960s and early 1970s the image of the "Mormon Church" is very negative in many areas; especially among blacks, hippies, and Liberal whites. Student groups in many universities protest the Church, and demand that universities refuse to let athletic events continue with Brigham Young University; the Church-owned school. Some universities, like Stanford University, refuse to allow their teams to play teams from BYU. At other events, BYU players are threatened, spit-upon, and harassed by some black and white students and protesters. Black organizations like the Black Panthers threaten to kill Mormon leaders and attack Mormon churches. Missionaries are spit-upon and threatened by some black and white Americans. African-American leaders, like the Rev. Jesse Jackson, demand that the Church allow blacks "their civil-rights as Americans" and end the ban on ordaining them. The Church chooses to mostly remain silent. When it speaks it merely emphasizes that "Negroes" are sons and daughters of God, and deserve all the civil-rights that every other American has. The Church says that the Priesthood is "not a civil-right" of Americans, but a divine priviledge. The Church declares that nobody who does not believe in the Church should desire a Priesthood which they (the protestors) believe is false! The Church reiterates that the Priesthood-ban is a "doctrine of the Church" and from the LORD, and that only He could remove the ban, and only when He thinks it is time to do so.

*In 1969, the 12 Apostles of the Church want the Priesthood-ban recinded. They ask President Harold B. Lee, but Lee says the ban must continue until the LORD Himself sees fit to recind it.

*On the 8th of June 1971 three active black Mormons (Ruffin Bridgeforth Jr., Darius Gray, and Eugene Orr) form an organization in Salt Lake City, Utah; called the Genesis Group. Their goal is to provide a fellowship group for black Members in the area as well as to try to activite other black Mormons who had gone inactive. In October of that year, they are made an official auxiliary organization of the Church.

*In the mid-1970s the Church has several hundred thousand Brazilian Members. The Church planned to build a Temple for them in Sao Paulo, Brazil. If a Brazilian did not outwardly "appear" to be Negro or part-Negro, they were given the Priesthood. However, when many of these white and brown-skinned Brazilian Mormons did their genealogy (all Mormons do genealogy so they can do Temple Work for their ancestors) it is discovered most of them have at least one black African ancestor (as most white and brown-skinned Brazilians do). A delema is created. All these men with Hamitic lineage have the Priesthood. Some are bishops and branch presidents. What to do? Should the brethren already ordained have their Priesthood revoked once it is discovered they have a Hamitic bloodline? Should the tens of thousands of Brazilians who sacrificed in order to help build the Temple in Sao Paulo then not be allowed to take part in its Higher Ordinances (endowments and sealings) once their Hamitic lineage is discovered? There were white men, with blond hair and blue eyes, in North America who had been denied the Priesthood when it was discovered they had a Hamitic lineage. But now, it was discovered that just about all Brazilian men had a Hamitic lineage; as least one black African ancestor! What could be done? There were discussions among the Twelve and the First Presidency. Options were discussed, but no firm final decision is made. When priesthood-officers in Brazil inquire of the First Presidency, they are told that no ordinations should be revoked. They are told, "Wait, wait" for further instuctions. Further instructions would not come until June, 1978.

*On the 8th of June 1978, President Spencer W. Kimball announces to an assembly of Priesthood-officers in the Salt Lake Temple that he has received a revelation from the LORD. The Priesthood-ban had been abrogated. All worthy males, or whatever color or race, would now be allowed to be ordained. Joseph Freeman, a former Holiness Church lay minister, who joined the Church years before, was the first black Mormon on record to be ordained after the 1978 Revelation.

*After the 1978 Revelation, the Church sends many emissaries to West Africa where black independent "Latter-day Saint" congregations and denominations were already formed. Most of these people are eventually baptized into the Church, and most of the Elders of these congregations are ordained to various offices of the Priesthood. By 2002 A.D., The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has hundreds of thousands of black Members in the U.S., South America, the Caribbean, and Africa.

A more detailed explanation of the Curse of Cain/Priesthood-ban can be found in the online article Black Mormons & The Priesthood-ban (30-pages--see link below).

Must Members of the Church believe that the Curse of Cain doctrine/Priesthood-ban was of God?

The short answer is: "No". To get baptized into the Church, candidates are not asked if they accept either. To receive a Temple Recommend (a must to receive the rites and blessings administered in LDS Temples) Members are not asked about the Curse of Cain/Priesthood-ban. All that Members of the Church must do to remain in good-standing in the Church is live morally, pay their tithe, attend Church meeting regularly, and sustain the current leaders of the Church and their policies. The Priesthood-ban is no longer a policy of the Church. The Curse of Cain doctrine is not longer actively "taught", but it has not been officially repudiated either. Members can, if they choose, believe that the priesthood-ban was a "mistake" of Brigham Young; as long as they do not pretend to speak "for the Church". They can hold such views, and express them to others, as their personal opinion.

Most black Members will have "problems" with the Curse of Cain doctrine. It is resolved either by them going inactive, leaving the Church, ignoring it, accepting it as a "mistake" of the past, or accepting it (often after fervent prayer) as the Will of the Lord.

Was the Curse of Cain/Priesthood-ban "racist"?

Under the formal dictionary definition, "No"! The term "racism" refers to the belief that one race or nation or ethnic group is "superior" to others. The Curse of Cain doctrine never said that. Indeed, the Cainites were "civilized" before the Sethites ever were. The ancient Egyptians were a "Cainite" people, but cannot be called an "inferior" people. Indeed, the Ancient Egyptians were civilized many thousands of years before white Europeans! They were "blessed with wisdom" but "cursed as pertaining to the Priesthood" (Abraham 1:26). Under the "popular" definition of "racism" (i.e. whatever blacks wish to consider to be "racist" therefore is "racist") then yes, it was "racist". Of course, under this second definition, God is a racist because He chose one race (the Israelites) over others for special blessings. Noah cursed the Canaanites (Gen. 9:25), which was "racist" under the "popular" definition. Moses cursed the Moabites and Ammonites, that they not be allowed to become Israelites. Even Jesus called Canaanites "dogs"; which means He must be considered a "racist" under the popular definition. The LORD, through Moses, only allowed one tribe, the Levites (Moses was a Levite), the Priesthood! In ancient Israel, only the Levites could be priests. Was this "racist"? Perhaps, some may think so. But, under the dictionary definition of "racism", the Curse of Cain/Priesthood-ban was NOT "racist"; because it never put-forth the Cainite/Hamite lineage as "inferior" to other lineages. Under the Priesthood-ban a black-skinned Negroid Melanesian could hold the Priesthood, and receive the Higher Ordinances of the Temple, but a white man with blond hair and blue eyes, if he had a Hamitic lineage (at least one black African ancestor) was banned from holding the Priesthood or from receiving the Higher Ordinances of the Temple!

What the LORD decrees is His business, and not ours to judge. The Bible itself could be called "racist" under the popular definition; since the LORD chooses one race among others for special blessings, and others for curses. Indeed, the LORD "cursed" the Israelites as much as He blessed them! Was this "racist"?

Latter-day Saints, of whatever color, should not be concerned with what the "World" (Babylon) thinks is "racist" or not. They should only be concerned with obeying the Will of the LORD in all things, and accepting His Wisdom and not the "wisdom" of men or the popular philosophy or fades of the day.

Racism or white-supremacism actually comes from Social-Darwinists, who did not believe in God. They taught that the white race was "superior" or more evolved as some species of animals are more evolved than others. This was very popular in European and American universities up until World War II. Almost all white Americans--especially educated ones--accepted it. But this popular Philosophy of Man has nothing to do with the Word of the LORD.

In conclusion, the Curse of Cain/Priesthood-ban cannot be defined as "racist". Many blacks will consider the Curse of Cain/Priesthood-ban be to "racist". Why? Because they don't "like" (fancy) it. They don't fancy the thought of their lineage being "cursed". All we can say is that the Cainite lineage was also "blessed"! They were "blessed with wisdom" but "cursed as pertaining to the Priesthood" (Abraham 1:26). Indeed, the LORD alternatively blesses and curses all lineages, bloodlines, and nations; according to how they obey Him, or rebel against Him. The Israelites were "cursed" as many times as they were "blessed"! But they were still His Chosen People. African-Americans and others who wish to believe it was "racist" must also believe the Bible is "racist"; to be consistent in their thinking. Yet, many won't be consistent. For those who think the Curse of Cain/Priesthood-ban was "racist", we suggest you read Black Mormons & The Priesthood-ban (see link below).

Some "Mormons" try to distance themselves from the Curse of Cain legacy by saying, "Well, that was just personal opinion!" or saying, "Well, early Church leaders were wrong!" or saying, "The Church never taught that!" Some Mormons, fearing ridicule or embarassment, will lie and deny the Church ever taught it! Why? Because they are embarassed, and they don't wish to lose face and be thought of as "racist". They don't want their neighbors or their fellow students or their co-workers to look down upon them. They seek the praise of men and of the World more than the Will of God! In truth, the Church did teach it, as official Church doctrine, for over 150 years. That cannot be denied! True Latter-day Saints should not be concerned with what foolish and sinful little men and women think, but with what the LORD thinks! The LORD once said:

"For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neighter are your ways my ways, saith the LORD.
For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts." (Isaiah 55:8)
The Genesis Group

On June 8th, 1971, Ruffin Bridgeforth Jr. (a black convert from Louisiana), and several other black Members of the Church formed the "Genesis Group"; a fellowship organization of black Mormons. The Genesis Group continues to this day as an official auxilary organization of the Church for black Members (and their family members of other races) in North America. Black Mormons are in no way required to join the Genesis Group. Their are no "segregated" congregations in the Church! The Genesis Group is simply a "fellowship" organization for those black Members (and their family members of other races) who want to fellowship with each other. Genesis Groups exist in some major metropolitan areas; each Group is independent of each other Group, and answers only to their Area Presidency.

There is a link below titled How To Start A Genesis Group In Your Area for those who wish to start a Genesis Group where they live; if one does not exist where they live. The Church does not establish Genesis Groups. Black Members must establish such Groups themselves in their own metropolitan areas; using their own time and means to do so. The link below shows how this can be done.

The 1978 Revelation

In June of 1978, Church President Spencer W. Kimball, the 12th President of the Church, declared to the Church, and then the world, that the ban was lifted and "all worthy males" regardless of race or color could be ordained to the offices of the Priesthood. At no time did President Kimball or The First Presidency declare that the ban had been a "mistake" or that the Curse of Cain doctrine was repudiated. The First Presidency presented the Revelation as the fulfillment of the promise that Negroes would one day receive the Priesthood. At that time, 1978, there were probably no more than 1000 black Mormons in the Church. This is known today as "The 1978 Revelation" (Official Declaration 2 in Doctrine and Covenants). It should be noted that Official Declaration 2 is not the "Revelation" itself, but only a "declaration" that the Revelation was received. The 1978 Revelation was not a verbal revelation, but a divine confirmation from the LORD of the decision by President Kimball to end the Priesthood-ban upon the Hamitic lineage. Divine confirmations are a form of divine revelation.


Spencer W. Kimball (12th President LDS Church)

It is said that President Kimball supplicated and petitioned the LORD for "many months" ~in the room called "The Holy of Holies" of Salt Lake Temple~asking Him to lift the Priesthood-ban from off of "our black brethren". It is said he did this because of the exceeding faith of the black Members of the Genesis Group, and of the Mulatto (white-skinned and dark-skinned Brazilians with mixed European and African ancestry) Mormons of Brazil; who had sacrificed so much to build a temple in Sao Paulo. Seeing this great faith and sacrifice, President Kimball, and The Brethren as a whole, were moved to supplicate and petition the LORD for an lifting of the Priesthood~ban from off the Hamitic lineage. Most Mormons thought the lifting of the ban would not occur until after the Millennium, but the LORD had other plans.


The Holy of Holies room (Salt Lake Temple)

The LORD heard the prayers of His servants, and the Priesthood-ban was lifted on June 1, 1978. The First Presidency made an announcement one week later in a Solumn Assembly in the Salt Lake Temple before Church leaders; exactly 7 years to the day that the Genesis Group was formed. The statement was released to the Media the next day. Major American media outlets covered the story; sometimes on the front page! The vast great majority of white Mormons were overjoyed at the news; as were the few hundred active black Mormons in North America, and the thousands of faithful black African "Mormons" who had not been baptized into the Church, but were members of independent 'Book of Mormon' believing congregations in Africa. Most of these independent congregations would eventually join the Church.

One of the first black Africans who received the Priesthood after the 1978 Revelation was Joseph W.B. Johnson of Ghana; a man who had a "vision" of Jesus and many angels in 1964; telling him teach The Book of Mormon and the Joseph Smith Story to his countrymen. By 1978, after much trial, tribulation, and persecution, Joseph W.B. Johnson had converted over 14,000 people to The Book of Mormon. The great majority of these people were eventually baptized into the Church.

The first black man of Hamitic lineage to be ordained since Enoch Abel (Elijah Abel's grandson) was Joseph Freeman of Salt Lake City; a black convert to the Church who had once studied to become a black Holiness church minister. Soon afterwards an Afro-Brazilian named Helvecio Martins was ordained. He is a full-blooded Negro who had joined the Church in Brasil when black men (of Hamitic lineage) were still banned from the Priesthood. Brother Martins eventually became a mission president, and later a General Authority; a member of the 2nd Quorum of Seventy (the first black Seventy since Elijah Abel).

Since the 1978 Revelation (granting all worthy males the Priesthood) the numbers of Black Mormons have risen dramatically. Today (2001 A.D.) the number of Black Mormons worldwide number anywhere from 350,000 to perhaps 500,000 (this would include "Mulattoes"; or people of part-black and part-white descent). About 150,000 Black Mormons live in Africa, about 150,000 (or more) in Brazil, about 20,000 in the Caribbean, anywhere from 20,000 to 50,000 in the U.S., and the rest in other countries.

Little Known FACTS About Black Mormons

Black Mormons were among the first to travel to Utah with Brigham Young and the early Mormon pioneers. The man that actually led the Mormons into Salt Lake Valley (at that time a hostile desert) was Green Flake; a slave of a Southerner who converted to the Church. Brigham Young had Flake freed in 1854. Flake died a faithful Mormon. Fort Union, Utah, was originally a Black Mormon community 20 miles south of Salt Lake City.

Green Flake

Samuel D. Chambers (1831-1929) was a Black Mormon from Mississippi who converted to the Church in 1844, and in 1870 he moved to Salt Lake City. He was one of the largest land-owners and wealthiest men in Salt Lake Valley.

Samuel D. Chambers and his wife Amanda (c. 1910)

Dan Bankhead Freeman was another early African-American Mormon who worked as a blacksmith in Corinne, Utah:

Dan Bankhead Freeman

Jane Manning James was one of the most faithful Mormons in Utah. President Joseph F. Smith spoke at her funeral:


Jane and Isaac James


Jane can be seen in the very center of the photo of Mormons at General Conference about the year 1897. Can you find the other black Mormon in this photo?

Mary Ann Perkins was a black Mormon pioneer who settled in Bountiful, Utah:


Mary Ann Perkins (c. 1910)

John Brown accompanied Brigham Young on his entrance to the Salt Lake Valley in 1847. He was among the first Mormons to enter what is now the state of Utah. In 1848 he travelled back to his home state of Mississippi in order to lead the Mississippi Mormons (both black and white) to the Salt Lake Valley. In the spring of 1848 57 white and 37 black Mormons left Mississippi in 11 wagons. John Brown later said:

"Every man, woman and child, both white and black, gazed at us with astonishment as we passed their habitations." [i.e. both black and whites in Mississippi couldn't believe that a black man was leading 11 wagons of almost 100 souls~both black and whites together] (from Black Latter-day Saints Pioneers online)

John Brown: Leader of the Mississippi Mormon immigration to Utah

There were only a few hundred Black Mormons in Utah at any given time before the 1960s. Here is a portait of three members of one early Black Mormon family:


Lucinda Flake (sitting) with her two granddaughters (Fort Union, Utah, c.1880s)

The First African-American Police Detective

The very FIRST African-American police detective in the United States was Paul Cephas Howell, a black Mormon who moved from the South to Salt Lake City in 1874. Mormon Church President Wilford Woodruff arranged for his employment as a police officer with the Salt Lake City Police Department; a department overwhelmingly Mormon. Officer Howell became a Detective with that department in 1884; the first African-American police detective.

Officer Paul Cephas Howell, Salt Lake City P.D., 1886

From Black Panther to Black Mormon

LeRoy Eldridge Cleaver, the Minister of Information in the early Black Panther Party, and the author of the international bestseller Soul on Ice (1968)--once considered the "Manifesto" of Black Nationalists and even white Radicals.

Cleaver was the most well-known American Black Nationalist and Radical in the 1960s. He was the most well-known Black Panther in the 1960s; the Party being a combination of Black Nationalism and Marxism. After fleeing the U.S. to avoid a manslaughter charge (he was with other Panthers in a shootout with Oakland California Police in 1969) he exiled himself to Algeria and later Cuba. He soon became disillusioned with Communism and Socialism when he saw that socialist countries were no "paradises of the workers" as he had been led to believe. He had a "born-again" experience in Cuba, and became a born-again Christian. He returned to the U.S. in 1975 and was given many years of probation (he was not the shooter). Being a famous figure for years, Cleaver was "wined and dined" by prominent Evangelicals and was offered multimillion dollar contracts to start his own Christian television ministry. He declined this, perferring to work (at a low salary) with young black men in a prison ministry. He concern was not becoming wealthy, but to work with young black men in prisons; to convert them to Christ as the way to free them from crime and gangs. By 1982 he had become disillusioned with the commercialism and showmanshipism of Evangelical Christianity, and he started looking into alternative religions. Also in 1982 he met Cleon Skousen, founder of the Freeman Institute (now called the National Center for Constitutional Studies). Cleaver gave talks for the Freeman Institute, and Skousen (a well-known Mormon author and former FBI agent) introduced Cleaver and his wife to the Mormon Faith. In 1984 he was baptized into the LDS Church. He remained a Member of it (although later not always active) until his death in 1998, at age 62, of diabetes.


Cleaver in 1968 as the Presidential Candidate of the Peace and Freedom Party


Cleaver speaking at a Mormon ward (c. 1994)

Other Prominent Black Mormon Converts

In 1981 Modibo Diarra, the president of the National Teacher's Union of Mali, became a Mormon after much prayer and study of various religions and churches. Converting to a "Christian" church in Mali is very dangerous! But Br. Diarra remains faithful.


Modibo Diarra

In 1989 Jesse Thomas Jr., a former Baptist preacher, joined the Church, and now serves in local priesthood-leadership positions. He is also starting a Genesis Group in the Denver area.


Jesse Thomas Jr. in front of the Denver Temple

In 1990 Elder Helvecio Martins (a prominent Afro-Brazilian business leader) became a Member of the Second Quorum of Seventy; the fifth highest council in the Church.

In 1995 Lee Radcliff, a black Baptist minister who served as a pastor in Chicago and Mississippi for decades, joined the Church. He is only one of many current or former black ministers who join the Church after 1978.


Lee Radcliff

Late '60s and early '70s R&B singer Gladys Knight became a Mormon in 1998 after her son Jimmy and his family did. Gladys Knight was the singer in the R&B group Gladys Knight and the Pips. Today (2001 A.D.) she writes and performs Mormon Gospel music.

Gladys Knight

A number of African-American athletes have become Mormons; including the famous college and NFL football great Burgess Owens, and the NBA All-Star player Thurl Bailey (who now composes Mormon music).


Burgess Owens

Prominent Black African Mormons

In recent years several prominent black Africans have joined the Church, including Abigail Grimsel (model/singer), Julia Nompi Mavimbela (black South African woman's leader and founder of the National Council of African Women), and Justice Yohannes Chane; formerly of the Ethiopian Supreme Court. But most Black Mormons are just average folks from all walks of life.

A group of Mormon Primary Children in Ghana

A typical Mormon Chapel in Ghana

A Mormon Bishop with his wife and daughter

A group of Mormon missionaries in Ghana (those are NOT gang signs by the way)


An Elder's Quorum meeting in the Atlanta Branch (2003)

Elder Helvecio Martins

The leaders of the LDS Church are called "General Authorities". These include the First Presidency, the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, and the Quorums of Seventies (at present there are 5 Quorums of Seventy). Elijah Abel was a member of the Third Quorum back in the 1840s. The next Black Seventy was Elder Helvacio Martins (an Afro-Brasilian) who became a member of the Second Quorum of Seventy in 1990. Elder Martins became a Member of the Church before black African men were ordained to the Priesthood.

Elder Helvacio Martins, 1990

There are today (2001 A.D.) many black Mission Presidents, Stake Presidents, Bishops, and Elders in the LDS Church.

Are Mormons Racist?

There is a LOT of misinformation in the African-American Community (and some in black Africa) regarding the subject of Mormons, the LDS Church, and the Mormon attitude toward black folks. A 30-page online article (in two sections) has been written to answer commonly-asked questions concerning the Church and people of black African descent: it is called:

Black Mormons & The Priesthood-ban

The link to that article is below. Please read it. It doesn't take longer than 15 or 20 minutes to read. If you want to print it out, but don't have a printer, then just write down the URL (http://www.angelfire.com/mo2/blackmormon/index.html)
and take it to any public library and anywhere there is a computer with Internet and a printer. Public libraries in the U.S. or Canada will print it out for you at a cost of 5 or 10 cents per page.

What Led Up To The 1978 Revelation?

In brief, the Mormon Faith has NEVER taught that black folks were "inferior" to other races. A few Mormon presidents and apostles have held this as their personal views (as was the view of almost all white Americans in their day), but this was never put forth as "official" Church doctrine (i.e. in official letters of The First Presidency or official statements). There have been Black Mormons since the early days of the Church. The Prophet Joseph Smith was a great advocate for black people; calling for the end of slavery and that blacks be educated and given "equal rights". Mormon scriptures DOES say that the Ancient Egyptians were both "blessed with wisdom" but "cursed as pertaining to the Priesthood". Black Africans are the descendants of the Ancient Egyptians via the Nubians, and thus would INHERIT the curses and blessings of God upon their ancestors. With only a FEW exceptions, the LDS Church did not ordain black men (only men hold the Priesthood) to the Priesthood before 1978. In the year 1978, Mormon Church President Spencer W. Kimball supplicated the LORD and asked Him to remove the Priesthood-ban, and the LORD heard his prayers and this was done. Today, Black men are ordained to the Priesthood just like men of every other race in the Church. All offices and blessings are open to Black Mormons as with any white Member or any other Member of any other race or nationality.

Not all Black Mormons accept the Priesthood-ban as from God. Some believe that it was only the personal opinions of early Church leaders. However, The First Presidency of the Church issued an official statement "On the Negro Question" in 1947 which stated:

"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 [i.e. the Priesthood]." ( Statement of The First Presidency on the Negro Question, July 17, 1947, quoted in Mormonism and the Negro, pp.46-7)
Statements such as that must always been kept in mind with other statements, such as this one from President Spencer W. Kimball 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)

Spencer W. Kimball (1895-1985) was a banker in Stafford, Arizona. He was also at one time the President of Rotary International; one of the largest philanthropic organizations in the world. In 1968 he founded Ayuda; an American-based organization of physicians and dentists who offer their services for free to the poor (mostly Indians) in Central America. Spencer W. Kimball was known also as a friend and advocate for Native Americans (American Indians). He often admonished white Mormons not to think they were "superior" to Native Americans simply because they had more education or were born in better circumstances. As an apostle, he was known for his wit, humor, and, again, his condemnation for those white Mormons who justified their racist views towards blacks because of the Curse of Cain doctrine. In 1948 he was called by President David O. McKay to become an Apostle. In 1972 (6 years before the 1978 Revelation) he told Mormons at a General Conference the following:

"Intolerance by Church members is despicable. A special problem now exists with respect to blacks because they may not now [1972] receive the Priesthood. Some members of the Church would justify their own un-Christian discrimination against blacks because of that rule with respect to the Priesthood, but while this restriction has been imposed by the Lord, it is not for us to add burdens upon the shoulders of our black brethren. They who have received Christ in faith through authoritative baptism are heirs to the Celestial Kingdom along with men of all other races. And those who remain faithful to theend may expect that God may finally grant them all blessings they ahve merited through their righteousness. Such matters are in the Lord's hands. It is for us to extend our love to all." (The Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball, p.237)
In 1973, he became the 12th President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Notwithstanding his Liberal views on racism, President Kimball was a staunch supporter of the Priesthood~ban; saying that it was "the will of the LORD" and that he would defend it even if it meant his own death. Yet, because of the exceeding faith of the Genesis Group Members, and the Mulattos and those few full-Negro Mormons in Brazil, President Spencer W. Kimball petitioned and supplicated the LORD in the Salt Lake Temple for many months, and the Priesthood~ban was lifted.

For a complete explanation of the Priesthood-ban see Black Mormons & The Priesthood-ban below.

Black Mormons & The Priesthood~ban

Black Mormons & The Priesthood~ban as a book is available via Sam Weller's Books of Salt Lake City. 120 pages softcover. Fully illustrated. $8.96 plus shipping and handling. Telephone orders accepted. Call 1-800-333-7269.

Sam Weller's Books is a huge bookstore that includes all types of books on every subject imaginable; including an impressive LDS section. The bookstore is located in Salt Lake City, on Main street, just two blocks south of South Temple Street. Parking is available at Crossroads Mall (West Temple Street and South Temple Street) or at ZCMI Mall (State Street and South Temple Street).

Bible Legacy of the Black Race

To understand the connection between black Africans today (this includes black folks born in Africa as well as Americans and others of black African descent) and the Ancient Egyptians, we highly suggest the book Bible Legacy of the Black Race by Joyce Andrews. Mrs. Andrews is NOT a Mormon, but a black Baptist woman. She has found many interesting connections between the Bible prophecies concerning the Ancient Egyptians and their fulfillment upon their living descendants; the black African peoples of the world. Bible Legacy of the Black Race can be ordered from any large bookstore chain such as Borders, B.Dalton, Waldenbooks, Barnes & Noble, etc. It cannot be obtained via LDS bookstores. It must be ordered from large bookstores chains, or perhaps from African-American bookstores. It could also be avaiable from Amazon Books online.

No Apology Necessary (Just Respect)

Another excellent book we highly recommend is a book by a black Church of God in Christ minister named Dr. Earl Carter. Most of his life he was convinced that whites must apologize for enslaving blacks. Then someone gave him a copy of Bible Legacy of the Black Race. After reading that and studying all the Bible prophecies concerning the Ancient Egyptians, Rev. Carter came to the conclusion that slavery and the Black Diaspora (dispersion from Africa to America and Europe) was in fact a fulfillment of Bible prophecies, and a punishment (and a blessing) to the descendants of Ham. This knowledge finally gave him peace-of-mind. No Apology Necessary (Just Respect) can be purchased from any Christian bookstore, or ordered from any large bookstore chain (not available via LDS bookstores).

Rev. Carter is not a Mormon, and our endorcement of his excellent book should not be construed as any endorcement by him of the LDS Church or this website.

Return to Glory

Another excellent book, by another non-mormon, writing of the black African/Ancient Egyptian connection is Return to Glory by Joel A. Freeman, Ph.D. This book is available via any major secular bookstore (not available in LDS bookstores). Return to Glory is highly endorced by such African-American celebrities as Julius Erving ("Dr. J") and Bill Cosby.

The Clegg Series

Another place to understand the Ancient Egyptian ancestry of black Africans (or "Afrikans") is via the Clegg Series on the Internet. It offers videos as well as online articles. The Clegg Series is also not a Mormon publication. Their link is below.

Where the Jaredites Black?

The Book of Mormon is about a small group of Jews who fled Jerusalmen in 600 B.C. and sailed to America. However, there is an older book within The Book of Mormon called The Book of Ether. It tells about a group of people who fled the Tower of Babel at least 3000 years before Christ who were called the "Jaredites". A prophet led them. His name was Mahonri Moriancumr; otherwise known as "The Brother of Jared".

The Jaredites lived in the "Valley of Nimrod" at the time of the Tower of Babel. Because they were a righteous people the LORD did not confound their language as He did the other peopels.

There are a number of reasons to believe that the Jaredites were Hamites:

1. All of the Jaredite names are Hamitic, and the descendants of Ham were black. The Jaredite name "Aha" is Hamitic, and was the name of several Egyptian pharaohs. The Jaredite names Aaron and Levi are also Hamitic; these are Canaanite names. The Hamitic term for "prisoner" is "Ether"; which is the name of the man who wrote The Book of Ether; who was a prisoner.

2. Most Mormon scholars believe that the Jaredites were the ancient Olmecs; the first civilization on the American continent. The Olmecs lived in Southern Mexico and Central America long ago. Many scholars are convinced that the Olmecs (Jaredites?) were in fact "Negroes" because of the many giant Olmec heads which have been found over the last 50 years.

A Typical Olmec Head


(a) A Nubian warrior. (b) An Olmec head.

3. The Jaredites were from the Valley of Nimrod, who was a Hamite. The language of the Jaredites was not confounded; which strongly suggests they spoke the language of Nimrod.

4. Parley P. Pratt (an original Mormon apostle) wrote a letter to a John Van Cott that the Kinderhook Plates (a set of 6 copper plates allegedly found in a mound in Kinderhook, Illinois) "contain a genealogy of one of the Jaredites back to Ham the son of Noah." (Pratt to Van Cott, LDS Church Archives).

5. The Jaredites had oaths "handed down even from Cain." (Ether 8:16)

6. There is an ancient tradition, claimed by Carlos de Siguenza y Gongorra (1645-1700), that in some ancient Aztec records (later destroyed) there was a statement that the original settlers of Mexico were descended from Mizraim, the son of Ham, and came to Mexico shortly after the confusion of tongues (The Jaredites Were Black, by David Grant Stewart, 1978, p.22)

The Jaredites are considered the LORD's first "Chosen People"; long before Abraham lived or his descendants the Israelites existed. The Jaredites were His first righteous people. They may well have been black!

Requesting the Missionaries

If you would like to speak with the missionaries then all you need to do is order a FREE copy of The Book of Mormon. To do that (if you live in the U.S. or Canada) you need only call this number:

1-800-528-2225

Just call and say you want them to send you a free copy of The Book of Mormon. Missionaries will come deliver it to you. If you're not in the U.S. or Canada, then just look for "The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints" in the telephone directory. The missionaries will be sent to you.

You can only go to the following website to request the missionaries:
www.mormons.org

Eternal Marriage: Adams and Eves on other Worlds

If you would like to know why people become Mormons, the answer is that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the ONLY Church on earth which claims to have the "sealing power" of Jesus Christ; to bind on earth what shall be bound in Heaven:

"Verily I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven." (Matthew 18:18)
What does this refer to? Latter~day Saints believe it refers to Marriage in Heaven. We believe that Jesus gave Peter the sealing power which allowed him to "bind" men and women together on earth who would be "bound" (married) in Heaven, and to "loose" those same marriages if there was divorce.

Mormons believe that Peter, as an Angel of the LORD, appeared to Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery in 1829, and gave them the "sealing power" that Jesus had given him. With this sealing power, faithful Mormons will--if they are sealed in the Temple--become literal Adams and Eves on other worlds in the Cosmos. All other Christians will become Ministering Angels.

Eternal Marriage is only for the Elect! Those who are not the Elect (whom Jesus called "The Children of This World") shall become like the angels in Heaven; who marry not nor are given in marriage. Jesus referred to His elect disciples as "The Children of Light" and said: "Ye are NOT of the World" (John 15:19 ).

Those who deny the possibility of Eternal Marriage quote Jesus' response to the question the Sadducees put to him, that a Sadducee woman had 8 husbands, so whose wife would she be in the Resurrection? Jesus replaced that "the Children of this world" are not married in Heaven, but are as the angels in Heaven. They quote this to prove that there is no Marriage in Heaven.

But wait....

The Sadducees were not asking Jesus the fate of HIS disciples in the Resurrection, but the fate of a Sadducee woman and her eight Sadducee husbands! In LDS doctrine, they will become like the angels in heaven (this is what Jesus said), but in Catholic and Protestant doctrine the woman and her seven husbands will burn in Hell-fire for all eternity because they were not Christians.

Only the "Mormon" interpretation can be true! Otherwise, Jesus lied to the Sadducees (by telling them the woman and her seven husbands would go to Heaven and be angels there).

What does the "binding and loosening" in Matthew 16:19 and 18:18 refer to?

a. Demons bound or loosed in Heaven or on earth?
b. Christians being saved or unsaved in heaven or on earth?
c. Angels being chained or unchained in heaven or on earth?
d. Saints (Elect Christians) bound or loosed in heaven or on earth?

What does "bound" and "loosed" mean? In the Greek it says DEO (bound) and LUO (loosed). It must refer to Christians being "bound" or "loosed". Paul wrote, "For the woman that hath a husband is bound [DEO] by Law to the husband." (Romans 7:2). He wrote, "Art thou bound [DEO] to a wife? seek not to be loosed [LUO]. Art thou loosed[LUO] from a wife? seek not a wife." (1 Corinthians 7:27)

Jesus tells Peter:

"And I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind [DEO] on earth shall be bound [DEO] in heaven and whatsoever thou shalt loose [LUO] on earth shall be loosed [LUO] in heaven. (Matthew 16:19)
What does DEO and LUO refer to?

Does it refer to demons being bound and loosed on earth and in heaven? Does it refer to angels being bound or loosed on earth or in heaven? Does it refer to the Pope saving or damning those on earth who shall be saved or damned IN HEAVEN? What does the "binding" and "loosening" refer to?

Jesus' words in Matthew 16:19 and Matthew 18:18 refers to marriage in Heaven. It cannot refer to anything else. It cannot refer to "loosening" demons on earth or in heaven, or "binding" angels on earth or in heaven! It refers to marriage, and nothing else.

This "sealing power" was given to Peter by Jesus, and Peter (as an Angel) gave this sealing power to Joseph Smith.


Peter, James, and John, as angels, confirm the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven upon Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery in 1829 near Harmony, Penn.

The Restoration of All Things in the Last Days includes the restoring of the sealing power of Jesus, that He gave to Peter, who in turns restores this power to the Prophet Joseph Smith. Currently, the President of the LDS Church has this power, and he ordains deputies (called "Sealers") who perform eternal marriage ceremonies in Sealing Rooms in Mormon Temples throughout the world. If a couple remains faithful and worthy "to the end" then they shall not be angels in Heaven, but become Adams and Eves on other worlds. They shall eventually--over eons--receive the title of "gods". They shall rule over many worlds just as God rules over them and over all universes.


A typical Sealing Room in a Mormon Temple

The purpose of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is to gather all the Elect Christians from among the other Churches, and indeed all the Elect souls from all other religions, into the Church so that they can enjoy the blessings of the Sealing Power of the Temple, and be united as husband and wives--and as eternal families--for all eternity.


Faithful Mormons become literal Adams and Eves on New Worlds

Anciently, the Levites were the Priesthood of the LORD. His priests. The "Elect" of the LORD. They were called Qadoshiym; which in Hebrew means "separated out for a special purpose". It means "elect" or "chosen" or "special" or even "elite". In Latin, the word for Qadoshiym is "Santos", or, in English: "Saints". Mormons are the Saints of the Latter-days, or Latter~day Saints. We are the Priesthood of God in the Latter-days.

Those who do not hearken unto the Voice of the LORD in the latter-days, and who do not receive the Higher Ordinances of the Temple (endowments and sealings), and who do not "endure to the end" in faithfulness, will become as the angels of Heaven; single and alone for all eternity.

Brigham Young said that "Adam and Eve were the names of the first man and woman on every earth that is ever organized." (Joseph Lee Robinson Journal, 6-8 Oct., 1854, LDS Archives). He said:

"After men have got their exaltations and their crowns--have become Gods, even the sons of GOD--are made King of kings and Lord of lords, they have the power then of propagating their species in spirit; and that is the first of their operations with regard to organizing a world. Power is then given to them to organize the elements, and then commence the organization of tabernacles [bodies]. How can they do it? Have they to go to that earth? Yes, and Adam will have to go there, and he cannot do without an Eve; he must have an Eve to commence the work of generation, and they will go into the Garden, and continue to eat and drink of the fruits of the corporeal world, until this grosser matter is diffused sufficiently through their celestial bodies to enable them, according to established laws, to produce mortal tabernacles for their spiritual children." (Journal of Discourses 6:275)
Brigham Young once looked out upon the many sisters (Mormon women) at a Church General Conference in the Mormon Tabernacle in Salt Lake City, and said:
"Before me I see a house full of Eves. What a crowd of reflections the word 'Eve' is calculated to bring up! Eve was a name or title conferred upon our first mother, because she was actually to be the mother of all the human beings who should live upon this earth. I am looking upon a congregation designed to be just such beings." (Millennial Star 31:267)
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is NOT just another Christian church. Rather, it is the One True Church of the Elect of God. Accepting Jesus as your "Lord" can save you, but only His Priesthood can exalt you and your family. And that Priesthood exists only in the Mormon Faith. The purpose of the Mormon Faith is to gather His Elect from the four corners of the earth so they can be sealed in the Temple to their spouses and children. The missionaries will explain this further to you.

We recognize that many people of Hamitic descent (and others) won't accept the Mormon Faith, and will continue to view the Mormon Faith as "racist". That's ok! The Mormon Faith is not for you! The Mormon Faith is not for everyone. It is for the Elect of God. It is not for the prideful, but for the humble, the sincere Seeker of Truth, the true lowly Servant of God, the Chosen, the Elect, the Pure-in-Heart.

At the top of most LDS Temples is the statue of an angel blowing a trumpet. This is a symbol of the gathering together of the Elect of God from the four corners of the earth.

Jesus said:
"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 another." (Matthew 24:31)

It is ONLY in Mormon Temples that husbands can be sealed to wives and children to parents for time and all eternity. We invite you to discover more. Contact the missionaries today! You have nothing to lose, and only Eternal Life to gain!

Call for the missionaries today!

The Oakland California Temple, one of over 100 LDS Temples in the World Today

This publication is _not_ copyrighted. You are encouraged to make copies of this without the permission of the author. MISSIONARIES are encouraged to print-out copies of this article, place them in black three-hole binders, and have them available to loan to sincere Investigators who have 'Blacks and the Priesthood' Questions ("BPQs").

The Mormon Faith & Black Folks is now online! Over 300 pages divided into 62 chapters! The most complete work on the Church and blacks ever written. Just click on the link below!

Missionaries and Institute and Seminary Teachers are welcomed to print-out and use this article and the 30-page Black Mormons & The Priesthood~ban to give to their sincere Investigators and students. Just click on the link below!

Some Things to Remember...

Links to other websites

BLACK MORMONS & THE PRIESTHOOD~BAN http://www.angelfire.com/mo2/blackmormon/index.html
HALLELUJAH! The 25th Anniversary of the 1978 Revelation!
About the Genesis Group
African Converts Without Baptism (short but inspiring story of the first black Mormons in Africa)
How To Start A Genesis Group in Your Area
Black LDS Yahoo Board
The Clegg Series (articles and videos about Black/Ancient Egyptian connection)
Introduction to Afro-centrism (Ancient Egypt/Black African Connection)
Interview with Darius Gray (President of the Genesis Group)
OFFICIAL MORMON WEBSITE FOR INQUIRERS www.mormons.org
THE MORMON FAITH & BLACK FOLKS(300+ page online book)

darrickevenson@yahoo.com

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