This is NOT a publication of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It was written by Darrick T. Evenson (1960~). No copyright. All are allowed to reprint and reproduce in any form.
This website is neither pro-Mormon nor anti-Mormon, but contains the most fair, balanced, accurate, complete, and comprehensive information about the Mormon Church and Black Folks that can be found anywhere.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, commonly known as "The Mormon Church" or "The LDS Church", has about 14 million Members all across the world. Today (2012) there are about 400,000 Black Mormons in the world; the great majority in Africa, but tens of thousands in Brazil, the Caribbean, and the United States. There have been Black Mormons since 1832, although their numbers have been very small until recent decades. Green Flake, a Black Mormon, led the first group of white and black Mormon pioneers into Salt Lake Valley in 1847. Fort Union Utah was originally a Black Mormon settlement. The first African-American police detective, Vernon Howell, was a Black Mormon. Black Mormon history was "forgotten" for over 100 years, but is now entering a new era of interest.
MISinformation About Mormons in the African-American Community
There is much MISinformation about Mormons and the Mormon Faith in the African-American Community. Many in that community believe Mormons are "racist" or "don't like black folks" etc. Here are some popular false rumors about Mormons in the African-American Community:
*Mormons are racists (false today, but most Mormons were moderately racist 50 to 100 years ago when most white Americans were also moderately racist)
*Mormons hate black folks (false...never true)
*Mormons filled the Ku Klux Klan (false..the Church openly opposed the KKK from its beginnings)
*Mormons believe that black folks are the children of Devil (false...the Church NEVER taught that, and has always taught that black people were the literal spirit-sons and spirit-daughters of God)
*Mormons believe that black people are under a curse of God called "the Curse of Cain" (true at one time, from 1848 to 1978, but not true today)
Because of the widespread misinformation about Mormons in the African-American Community, this article was written. This article is not copyrighted. Anyone may reproduce it in any form, edited or unedited.
Joseph Smith~Advocate for the Black People
Joseph Smith, founder of the Mormon Church, was very pro-black; especially in the 1840s. He never taught that "Negroes" were inferior, nor that they were cursed. He welcomed them into the Church. He did not ban them. He approved of them being ordained to the Priesthood. In 1843, Joseph Smith ran for the Presidency of the United States under the "Mormon Reform Party" ticket. He called for blacks to be freed, educated, and given equal rights.
Joseph Smith was killed by an anti-Mormon mob in Carthage, Illinois, in 1844.
After the death of Joseph Smith many claimed to be his successor. Most Mormons followed Brigham Young to Utah. Some eventually followed Joseph Smith III, the son of Joseph Smith, and founded the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (the "RLDS Church" now called "Community of Christ"). The RLDS Church ("Community of Christ") never banned blacks, nor did they teach the Curse of Cain Doctrine.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, also called "The Mormon Church" or "The LDS Church", headquartered in Salt Lake City, Utah, taught the Curse of Cain doctrine until 1978, and banned blacks from its priesthood and temples until 1978.
Mormons and "The Curse of Cain Doctrine"
Mormon leaders did at one time teach that black people were the descendants of Cain, through Ham, and that they inherited the "Curse of Cain" which included a 'mark' (black skin) and also a denial of the Holy Priesthood of God and a denial of the higher ordinances of Mormon Temples. This "Curse of Cain Doctrine" and "Priesthood-ban Policy" existed in the Church from 1848 until 1978 (130 years). Church leaders no longer teach the Curse of Cain Doctrine, and suggest that it was merely "folklore" or "speculation" by early Church leaders. Most Mormons (especially those under the age of 50) no longer believe in the Curse of Cain Doctrine and most believe that doctrine was not true, but was a "mistake" of past Church leaders. The Church has never claimed infallibility for its leaders past or present; although many Mormons have assumed their leaders are infallible, or at least the "Living Prophet" (President of the Church) is infallible when he speaks in General Conference. Since June 8th, 1978, Black Mormons have had complete equality in the Church.
Brief Summary of the Curse of Cain Doctrine
*All human spirits are the literal sons and daughters of Heavenly Father and Heavenly Mother; born to them on a planet near a star named Kolob, long before planet Earth was created
*The firstborn spirit is Jesus, and the second-born spirit is Lucifer
*Jesus offered a Plan of Salvation, and Lucifer offered an alternative plan, but Heavenly Father chose Jesus'
Plan, and this enraged Lucifer who rebelled and fought against Jesus.
*Two-thirds of the spirits sided with Jesus, and one-third sided with Lucifer
*There was a War in Heaven, and all spirits fought. Some followed Jesus and others followed Lucifer.
*Some spirits who followed Jesus were "less valiant" (lazy, unheroic, not very committed)
*Lucifer and the spirits who followed him were "cast out". They become demons on Earth
*Those spirits who fought on the side of Jesus become human beings.
*Those spirits who were "less valiant" than others become "Negroes"
*Cain is a white man, son of Adam and Eve, but he kills Abel, and the LORD turns him into the first Negro. The "Mark of Cain" is black skin, kinky hair, and "Negroid" features.
*Cain marries his white sister, but they somehow have all Negro children.
*Seth, the third son of Adam and Eve, have white children named "Sethites"
*Cain and his sister have children who are all-Negro called "Cainites".
*The Cainites and Sethites marry, in violation of the command of the LORD that they not marry or have children together.
*The LORD decides to send a Flood and wipe out humanity because the Sethites had children with the Cainites which was "an abomination" before the LORD.
*The LORD spares Noah and his family, who are pure Sethites (white) with no Cainite ("Negro") blood.
*Ham, a son of Noah, marries Egyptus, a Negro woman who is pregnant already with a full-Negro child.
*Ham "uncovers the nakedness" of Noah (tells his brothers their father is naked and to come see themselves) of when Noah is drunk; a disgrace and insult upon Noah.
*Enraged by Ham's disrespecting him, Noah curses not Ham, but curses Canaan (step-son of Ham and son of his Cainite wife Egyptus) and his descendants to become "a servant of servants" to the Shemites (Jews and Arabs) and the Japhetites (Europeans): the descendants of his two brothers. Noah was angry at Ham for marrying a Cainites (Negro) woman, and this final insult causes Noah to curse Canaan and his descendants with servitude.
*Ham and Egyptus settle Egypt after the flood, and Canaan settles Canaan (Palestine) and the sons of Canaan (Cush and Phut) settle what is now Black Africa. Canaan's other son Mizraim settles Egypt.
*The Egyptians and the Canaanites (Negroes) are banned from the priesthood, because they are of the blood of Egyptus, which means "Forbidden".
*The Negroes must serve white people and be banned from the priesthood and temples until the LORD removes the curse; both in this world and in the Spirit-World (the life between death and the resurrection of the dead)
*The LORD will not remove the Curse of Cain until Abel is resurrected, has children, and all of Abel's descendants first have the option of receiving the Priesthood; because Cain killed Abel
*The Negro will in the eternities, after the Resurrection of the Dead, after the Millennium, receive the priesthood and those Negroes who are faithful Members of the Church, either in this world or in the Spirit-World, will become Gods and Goddesses like other Mormons.
This Curse of Cain Doctrine was taught by top Mormon leaders as "a doctrine of the Church" from 1848 until 1978. Since 1978, the Mormon Church has not taught "The Curse of Cain Doctrine". Many Mormons over the age of 60 still believe it, because they were taught it as children. Few Mormons under the age of 60 or 70 believe in it today. But the Church is now trying very hard to distance itself from the Curse of Cain Doctrine by calling it "folklore" and "speculation" and "never a doctrine of the Church".
No Explanation for Yellow-skinned Races
The Church taught that red skin was a curse of God, and black skin was the mark of another curse, but the Church had no explanation for the Asian (yellow-skinned) races. Which son of Noah were they descended from? The Church never answered that question. Some early Mormon leaders believe in pre-Adamites; that the white race was "Adamic" and the non-white races were pre-Adamic. The Church printed a pamphlet in 1932 titled The Earth and Man by Mormon Apostle James E. Talmage which said that the Bible is not a history of the human race, but the Adamic Race, and that humans existed for hundreds of thousands of years before Adam. Yet, thanks to the writings of Joseph Fielding Smith (10th President of the Church and grandson Hyrum Smith--Joseph Smith's older brother) and his son-in-law Bruce R. McConkie, by the mid 1960s the Church was thoroughly anti-evolution and anti-pre-Adamite; teaching that Adam and Eve were the first humans, Eve was created literally from one of Adam's ribs, a talking snake tempted Eve with a fig, and so forth. The Church by then taught that Adam was made in the image of God (who was, of course, white), and that all other races are "degenrations" from the original first and perfect "white" human being.
Lamanites Cursed with a Skin of Blackness
American Indians, called "Lamanites" (lay-man-nights) in The Book of Mormon, were considered "cursed with a skin of blackness" (although their skin was red not black), because the LORD cursed them with such a skin in Book of Mormon times because the Lamanites (lay-man-nights) had become idol-worshippers and "filthy" and the LORD did not want the white-skinned Nephites (nee-fights) to intermarry with them. Lamanites (American Indians) were believed to turn white if they accepted the (Mormon) Gospel and remained faithful to the Church; either during mortal existence or certainly in the Resurrection.
The Priesthood-Ban Policy
The Priesthood-Ban Policy was an official Church policy from 1848 to 1978 "banning" all "Negroes" or anyone else with "one drop of Negro blood in their veins" from the Mormon Temples and Priesthood (which all Mormon men are supposed to hold). This Policy ended on June 8th, 1978, with "Official Declaration 2" otherwise known as "The 1978 Revelation".
The Curse of Cain Doctrine and Priesthood-ban Policy is collectively known as...
"The Curse of Cain Legacy"
The "Mormon Church" has not taught the Curse of Cain Doctrine openly since the late 1950s; except for one Apostle named Bruce R. McConkie who openly taught and advocated the Curse of Cain Doctrine in his very popular, yet unofficial, book Mormon Doctrine until June of 1978.
Why did the LDS Church End the Priesthood-Ban in 1978?
The Church banned Black Mormons from its priesthood and temples until June 8th, 1978, when the Ban was lifted by Mormon Church President Spencer W. Kimball. The reason why Kimball lifted the Ban are as follows:
*The Church in Brazil had mistakenly ordained white Brazilians to the Priesthood who had "Negro" ancestry; making upwards of 70% of white Brazilian Mormons fall under "the Curse of Cain" and thus ineligiable for the Priesthood and Temple rites of Sealing and Endowments. Revoking the Priesthood of these white and brown Brazilians would have crippled the Church in Brazil. This was called "The Brazil Situation". White Mormons in Brazil with "Negro" Blood.
**The Church was receiving very negative Press in North America which was hurting the missionary effort. Many of these articles contained exagerations or misinformation; putting the Church in a very bad light. Negative Press Hurting Missionary Work in North America
***Universities such as Stanford and others were refusing to play sports with Brigham Young University because Mormons were being perceived as "racist" and the Church a "racist institution". BYU sports teams shunned
****The Federal Government was threatening to withhold Federal Student Loans to BYU students as long as BYU practiced "discrimination". There is a rumor that the Federal Government also threatened to revoke the Church's tax-exempt status; making all LDS Church businesses, temples, chapels, and lands subject to being taxed. Threats by the Federal Government.
*****There were tens of thousands of black Africans who belonged to independent "Mormon Churches" such as the Mormon Church of Nigeria and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints of Ghana Inc. These quasi-Mormons were asking the LDS Church in Salt Lake City for missionaries, chapels, and prophetic guidance. Black quasi-Mormons in Africa wanting to become real Mormons.
Ending the 130 year old Priesthood-Ban Policy would solve all of these "problems" for the Church. On June 8th, 1978, Church President Spencer W. Kimball ended the Priesthood-ban; allowing Black Mormons full equality in the Church. Today (2012) there are over 400,000 Black Mormons in the world and their numbers in black Africa are growing rapidly.
Bruce R. McConkie and Mormon Doctrine
Joseph Smith never taught the Curse of Cain Doctrine. He ordained black Mormon men, and invited blacks to worship in the Mormon Temples in Kirkland Ohio, and Nauvoo Illinois. Brigham Young introduced the Curse of Cain Doctrine in 1848, and many, if not most, senior Church leaders taught the Curse of Cain Doctrine in General Conference or in Stake Conferences from the 1850s to the 1950s. After the 1950s, Church leaders no longer preach the Curse of Cain Doctrine, but most Mormons continue to believ it is true, because they were raised to believe it was true and even "part" of the Restored of Jesus Christ. By 1960, Mormon leaders cease preaching the Curse of Cain openly. However, one Mormon Apostle, Bruce R. McConkie, continued to teach it via his bestselling book Mormon Doctrine.
In 1958 McConkie published a book entitled Mormon Doctrine: A Compendium of the Gospel, which he described as "the first major attempt to digest, explain, and analyze all of the important doctrines of the kingdom" and "the first extensive compendium of the whole gospel—the first attempt to publish an encyclopedic commentary covering the whole field of revealed religion." He included a disclaimer that he alone was responsible for the doctrinal and scriptural interpretations, a practice unusual at the time. In writing the book, McConkie relied heavily upon the scriptures and recognized doctrinal authorities. Church leaders were surprised by its publication (since he had not asked permission and was not asked to develop such a work) and responded that while they applauded the attempt of the book to fill a need, it used a harsh tone and, in the words of [Mormon Apostle] Mark E. Petersen, was "full of errors and misstatements, and it is most unfortunate that it has received such wide circulation." Church president David O. McKay asked McConkie not to reprint Mormon Doctrine, but McKay later became senile and his directive that no further edition of the book should not be printd was simply ignored. Later editions were published.
In June of 1978, Elder Bruce R. McConkie, the only Mormon Apostle left who was still teaching the Curse of Cain Doctrine, issued this statement:
There are statements in our literature by the early Brethren that we have interpreted to mean that the Negroes would not receive the priesthood in mortality. I have said the same things, and people write me letters and say, "You said such and such, and how is it now that we do such and such?" All I can say is that it is time disbelieving people repented and got in line and believed in a living, modern prophet. Forget everything that I have said, or what President Brigham Young or George Q. Cannon or whoever has said in days past that is contrary to the present revelation. We spoke with a limited understanding and without the light and knowledge that now has come into the world. It doesn't make a particle of difference what anybody ever said about the Negro matter before the first day of June 1978. It is a new day and a new arrangement, and the Lord has now given the revelation that sheds light out into the world on this subject. As to any slivers of light or any particles of darkness of the past, we forget about them. We now do what meridian Israel did when the Lord said the gospel should go to the Gentiles. We forget all the statements that limited the gospel to the house of Israel, and we start going to the Gentiles." ("All Are Alike Unto God" Speech, Brigham Young University, 1978)
Even though Elder Bruce R. McConkie's Mormon Doctrine was "unofficial" and not even published by the Church (it was published privately by "Bookcraft" publishers of Salt Lake City), nevertheless, Mormon Doctrine was an overwhelming bestseller among Mormons. Just about every Mormon had the book on their shelf, and many quoted from it "as if" it was official Church doctrine (which it wasn't). The Church could have served itself a lot better had it issued some sort of official statement that the book Mormon Doctrine was not an "official" Church statement. Unfortunately, that did not happen. In 1999, Church leaders "counseled" (ordered) the publishing company "Bookcraft" to stop further editions of the book.
Mormon leaders had stopped openly teaching the Curse of Cain Doctrine in the 1950s, but Elder Bruce R. McConkie continued to teach the Curse of Cain Doctrine in his book Mormon Doctrine until 1978. Later editions of Mormon Doctrine, after June 8th, 1978, were "edited" to remove any racist content.
Bruce R. McConkie, a Mormon Apostle, considered himself to have a special calling of the Lord to teach doctrine. In a letter to the liberal Mormon scholar Eugene England, McConkie wrote:
"It is my province to teach the Church doctrine. It is your province to echo what I have said or to remain silent." (Letter of Bruce R. McConkie to Eugene England, Feb. 19, 1981)
Elder McConkie considered himself to be called of God to teach the Church what was true doctrine and what was not. This contradicted official Church doctrine that the "Living Prophet" (the President of the Church) had that job! McConkie was a Mormon Apostle, but never the President of the Church. Yet, he sincerely believed he could discern what was true doctrine or false doctrine better than anyone else; including the President of the Church.
The racist quotes of McConkie in Mormon Doctrine can be found on the Internet, and such quotes are an on-going embarassment to current Mormon leaders and rank-and-file Mormons alike.
Bruce R. McConkie died of cancer on April 19, 1985. His book, Mormon Doctrine continued to be sold in LDS (Mormon) bookstores until about 1999. When I was a young Mormon (1980s) almost every Mormon I knew had a copy of the book. I saw it quoted from many times in Sunday School and also in Institute of Religion classes, and Priesthood meetings. Mormons considered it to be "official" and almost an equal to, if not an equal to, the Scriptures. No Mormon I knew considered it wrong, mistaken, but all whom I asked about it considered it to be "Church Doctrine" and "what the Church has to say" about any subject it covered.
Why didn't Mormon leaders stop Elder McConkie from teaching the Curse of Cain Doctrine until 1978? There is an "unwritten" Church Policy that one Church leader cannot openly criticize another Church leader. That rule still exists today. Also, at that time, some of the top Mormon leaders still agreed with the Curse of Cain Doctrine; while younger Apostles and other leaders did not. Most young Mormons today, under the age of 60, see the writings of McConkie and earlier Mormon leaders on "The Curse of Cain", as a malignant "ghost" that turns up to haunt them.
Not all Mormons agreed with the Curse of Cain Doctrine or Priesthood-ban Policy. "Liberal" Mormons never agreed with it, and they were often vocal in their disagreement. In the 1960s liberal Mormons founded Sunstone magazine. Today, Liberal Mormons are called "Sunstone" Mormons. About 5% to 10% of Mormons are "Sunstone" Mormons. Most Mormons are, of course, very conservative.
Aren't Mormon Prophets and Apostles Supposed to be Infallible?
The Mormon Church has never taught its Presidents or Apostles were "infallible". Yet, in the past, most Mormons have believed the "Living Prophet" (President of the Church) was infallible; at least when he spoke in General Conference. Today, fewer Mormons believe that. I was told that as a young Mormon convert in 1979 that when the Living Prophet spoke in General Conference it was "as if the Lord (Jesus) was speaking". Of course, that was never "official" Mormon doctrine. It was "folk" doctrine. All religions and churches have "folk" doctrines. But, the "Living Prophet" has never said that!
Within the Mormon Church, as all churches and religions, is much "folklore" and "commonly held beliefs" which are not official, but which its members "think" is official. The Curse of Cain Doctrine was "official Church doctrine" for 130 years. That is historical fact that cannot be honestly contradicted. But the Curse of Cain Doctrinehas been repudiated by Church leaders. Mormon Church President Gordon B. Hinckley repudiated it during General Conference (General priesthood meeting) in 2006. The First Presidency issued "The Bott Statement" in February 2012; which clearly repudiates the Curse of Cain Doctrine. More on that later.
The 1949 "Statement of the First Presiency on the Negro Question"
In 1949, the First Presidency, the three most senior Apostles of the Church who are called "Presidents", issued a statement which says:
"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." "The attitude of the Church with reference to Negroes remains as it has always stood. It is not a matter of the declaration of a policy but of direct commandment from the Lord, on which is founded the doctrine of the Church from the days of its organization, to the effect that Negroes may become members of the Church but that they are not entitled to the priesthood at the present time."
"The position of the Church regarding the Negro may be understood when another doctrine of the church is kept in mind, namely, that the conduct of spirits in the pre-mortal existence has some determining effect upon the conditions and circumstances under which these spirits take on mortality, and that while the details of this principle have not been made known, the principle itself indicates that the coming to this earth and taking on mortality is a privilege that is given to those who maintained their first estate; and that the worth of the privilege is so great that spirits are willing to come to earth and take on bodies no matter what the handicap may be as to the kind of bodies they are to secure; and that among the handicaps, failure of the right to enjoy in mortality the blessings of the priesthood is a handicap which spirits are willing to assume in order that they might come to earth. Under this principle there is no injustice whatsoever involved in this deprivation as to the holding of the priesthood by the Negroes.....
"Man will be punished for his own sins and not for Adam's transgression. If this is carried further, it would imply that the Negro is punished or allotted to a certain position on this earth, not because of Cain's transgression, but came to earth through the loins of Cain because of his failure to achieve other stature in the spirit world." (Statement of The First Presidency on the Negro Question, July 17 1949, quoted in Mormonism and the Negro, pp.46-7)
The author of this statement, one of more of the members of the First Presidency, the governing body of the Mormon Church, writes as if his audience is already very familiar with the Curse of Cain Doctrine; although this letter was written primarily for a non-mormon audience. Let me make a few comments:
"The conduct of spirits in the preexistence" refers to the War in Heaven where all human spirits fought againt Lucifer and his angels. Some spirits were "less valiant" (i.e. lazy, not as committed), so they were cursed with becoming "Negroes"; the descendants of Cain who was a white man until God changed him into the first Negro on earth 6,000 years ago, just outside of Jackson County, Missouri (which Mormons believe is the real location for the Garden of Eden).
"spirits are willing to come to earth and take on bodies no matter what the hadicap my be as to the kind of bodies they are to secure..." (i.e. a "Negro" body is a handicap-- COMMENT: tell that to the NBA and NFL!)
"Under this principle there is no injustice whatsoever involved in this deprivation as to the holding of the priesthood by the Negroes..... (i.e. the "Negro" is simply repeating the results of his own actions in the War in Heaven in which he indeed fought for Jesus against Lucifer but was not as valiant as other spirits who fought for Jesus against Lucifer).
"the Negro is alloted to a certain psition on this earth, not because of Cain's transgression, but came to earth through the loins of Cain because of his failture to achieve other statute in the spirit-world." (i.e. Negroes are not denied the priesthood and temple blessings because they are the descendants of Cain, which they of course are since Cain was the first Negro, but because they were less valiant in the War in Heaven)
The Mormon teachings that "Negroes" were the descendants of Cain is called "a doctrine of the Church" in the 1949 Statement, and the teachings that "Negroes" were "less valiant" in the War in Heaven is called "another doctrine of the Church" in that same official statement.
You just CANNOT get more OFFICIAL than a letter written and signed by the governing body of the Mormon Church! "The 1949 Statement" (i.e. Statement of the First Presidency on the Negro Question)
Cures of Cain Doctrine Never Called "Personal Opinion" or "Folklore" or "Speculation" until Recent Years
I have spent over 30 years researching the Mormon Church's Curse of Cain Legacy, reading absolutely everything on the subject including reading hundreds of General Conference talks by Mormon leaders where "Negroes" are mentioned, many letters by Mormon leaders and apostles, and in not one place have I found any Mormon leader saying or writing that the Curse of Cain Doctrine was merely their "personal opinion" or "speculation". In all cases, the Curse of Cain Doctrine was always presented as "a doctrine of the Church" from the time Brigham Young first preached it in 1848 until 1978; when references to it were removed from Bruce R. McConkie's (a Mormon Apostle) book Mormon Doctrine. At no time did Church leaders ever present the Curse of Cain Doctrine as "speculation" or "personal opinion".
Mormons over the age of 50 (in 2012), who were born and raised in the Mormon Church, all know that the Curse of Cain Doctrine was always presented to the by Mormon leaders, and by their local leaders, as part of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, as true as any other part of the Gospel; an eternal truth, a doctrine of the Church, and part of the Restored Gospel and as "true" as any other part. Mormons under the age of 50 usually were never taught it as children. Mormons under the age of 20 (2012) often have never heard of it!
Curse of Cain Doctrine No Longer Taught
The Curse of Cain Doctrine is no longer Mormon Church doctrine. In fact, Mormon Church leaders now teach the exact "opposite" of what the Church taught about blacks for 130 years! This is because the "Old Generation" of Mormon leaders has died out, and a "New Generation" of Mormon leaders has taken their places. The "New Generation" of Mormon leaders would never think of condemning or apologizing for past statements of "Old Generation" Mormon leaders; because they believe that would hurt the testimonies of many Members of the Church; who view the talks (sermons) of their Prophets and Apostles as "inspired of God" just like anything written in the Bible or Book of Mormon. Mormon leaders could issue a statement that said "We are not infallible and never claimed to be" but they have not. We can only speculate as to the reason "why" they have not. Perhaps it is because they fear that such a statement would diminish their power and influence they have over rank-and-file Members.
Racist Quotes from Long-Dead Mormon leaders
You'll find many "racist" quotes from Mormon leaders, from the 19th century on up to the late 1950s! I won't quote them here, but they are all over the Internet and very easy to find. Please remember when you read them, that these men were the children of their age and time. Their "views" on "Negroes" was shared by 99% of all white men in their day and time. They were NO MORE RACIST than the vast great majority of white people who lived at the same time they lived. Also remember when you read those quotes that these men are long dead! Current Mormon leaders are NOT racist in any way. White Mormons of "today" are NOT "racist" in any way. They accept Black Mormons as their brothers and sisters, and their equals.
The many anti-black "racist" statements by Mormon leaders from the 1850s to the 1950s are very painful to read, but you can read them by going to www.google.com and typing in "Mormon Racism".
Pro-Black Comments and Actions by Mormon Leaders
Some Mormon Presidents and Apostles have always said very pro-black things, but you'll never read that on any anti-Mormon website; which only contains the negative quotes. Mormons and Mormon leaders have said and done many "pro-black" things over the last 150 years as well. Joseph Smith was a great advocate for the rights of black people in his day. Brigham Young said whites would be "cursed" for the way they have treated blacks, unless they repented. Mormon Presidents David O. McKay (1950s-60s), Spencer W. Kimball (1970s-80s), and Gordon B. Hinckley (1990s-2008), all strongly condemned racism. The Mormon Church has sent hundreds of million of dollars in relief to many countries in black Africa; saving tens of thousands from starvation. The Church has sent thousands of "Welfare Missionaries" ("Mormon experts" in farming, medicine, and other fields), to black African nations; helping to improve the way-of-life of black Africans. The Church openly condemned the KKK from its founding in 1868 to the 1960s. Many people are familiar with the "racist" statements of former Mormon leaders, and the fact that the Mormon Church was "banned" blacks in some way, but few are familiar with the many pro-black statements and actions of Mormons and Mormon leaders.
"The Brethren" (top 15 Mormon leaders in 2012). Three Presidents (The First Presidency) to the left, and the Quorum of Twelve (apostles) to the right. They've never claimed to be "infallible". Yet, most rank-and-file Mormons believe they are; at least "the Living Prophet" (President of the Church) is while he speaks in General Conference. Brigham Young claimed that in 1864, but no other President of the Church has ever claimed infallibility; not even when speaking in General Conference.
Great Majority of White Mormons TODAY Not Racist In Any Way
White Mormons were never "more" racist than other white Americans. They held a "moderate" racist view as did the majority of other white Americans for the generation they lived in. The current generation of white Mormons are NOT racist, and are very welcoming of blacks and interracial couples in the Church.
The 2012 "Bott" Statement
In June of 1978, Mormon Church President Spencer W. Kimball ended the 130 year long Priesthood-ban Policy, but he did NOT repudiate the Curse of Cain Doctrine. The Church stopped teaching the Curse of Cain doctrine in the early 1970s (one apostle continued to teach it until 1978). Church leaders hoped this was enough. It wasn't. Church leaders issued word-only directives to bishops and teachers of Mormon youth to NOT discuss the Curse of Cain Legacy; not even in Church history classes. They hoped that by not discussing it, not even as a matter of history, the Curse of Cain Legacy would be forgotten by everyone. But, it wasn't.
In February of 2012, a Brigham Young University Religion Professor named Randy Bott was interviewed by the Washington Post (because of Mitt Romney's candidacy for President) about the Church's Curse of Cain Doctrine. Bott answered that blacks were denied the Priesthood because, in other words, they were not capable of using the Priesthood before 1978, and denying them the priesthood was in fact a blessing to blacks since if God gave them the Priesthood, not being ready for it, they would damage themselves spiritually with it (this spin by Bott was never part of official Church teachings). Bott also mentioned that blacks were "less valiant" in the War in Heaven in which all human spirits (not yet born) fought for Jesus against Lucifer and his angels. Some of these spirits who fought for Jesus against Lucifer were "less valiant" and thus punished with being born as Negroes; with a denial of the Priesthood during mortal life. This was official Church teaching at one time (1848-1978), but not so today. The Church taught, for 130 years, that some spirits who fought for Jesus and against Lucifer in the War in Heaven, a War between Jesus and Lucifer in which all human spirits took part, were "less valiant" than others. As punishment, these "less valiant" spirits would be born as "Negroes" into the lineage of Cain. But the Church always taught that in the Resurrection, any "Negro" man who was a good Mormon would be given the Priesthood, and become a God like all other faithful Mormon men. The black Mormon male could not hold the Priesthood during "mortality" only.
All Mormon males Hold the Mormon Priesthood
All Mormon males from the age of 12 and over are "Priesthood-Holders". For a Mormon male, one MUST "hold the Priesthood" in order to pass and bless the Sacrament, go on a mission, get married in the Temple, become a Church Officer (bishop, etc.), and, most of all, be married for all eternity and become a "God" in the Afterlife. Mormon women are exempt from such requirements. But they must be married in the temple to a worthy Mormon male "priesthood-holder" if they want Eternal Marriage, and if they wish to become a "Goddess" in the eternities. All Mormons men who do not "hold the Priesthood" and all those who are not "faithful to the end" (i.e. active in the LDS Church and morally worthy) will not be have Eternal Marriage, and they will not become "Gods" in the Afterlife, but "servants" of the Gods for all eternity; eternal eunuchs who serve the Gods and Goddesses. The Priesthood in the Mormon Church is NOT a vocation, or a "ministry". All males are expected to become Deacons at age 12, teachers at age 14, priests at age 16, Elders at age 18, and High Priests sometime between the ages of 40 and 60 (sometimes sooner than that). All Mormons who are not "Priesthood-holders" are considered "unfaithful" and only worthy to become "Servants of the Faithful in Heaven". Black Mormon men held the Priesthood in the early Mormon Church, but by the time Brigham Young took control of it (1846-1848) he began to "ban" all black Mormon men from "holding the Priesthood" and "ban" all black Mormons from the Mormon Temple; which is absolutely vital for a Mormon to become a God or Goddess in the eternities.
Without the Priesthood a Mormon male cannot become a God, and cannot be married in the Resurrection. Without the Temple Rites of "Sealings" and "Endowments" a Mormon cannot enter into the hightest heaven (the Celestial Kingdom) and receive the blessings of Exaltation (Godhood) and Eternal Marriage.
Randy Bott Belonged to the Older Generation of Mormons
The American Media is well aware of the Church's past "racist" teachings and practices. When Governor Mitt Romney, former governor of Massachusetts and lifelong Mormon, ran for the U.S. Presidency in 2012, the Media wanted to get information on the Church's past teachings regarding blacks. No doubt, they received little or no information from LDS Church Offices in Salt Lake City, Utah. So, they went to Provo Utah, where the Church's university is located (BYU), and asked Randy Bott; a religion professor whose taught Church History and Doctrine for 25 years. Bott was of the older generation of Mormons who were taught the Curse of Cain Doctrine from the time they were born until the Church stopped teaching it in June of 1978.
Bott's "opinions" were based upon what he was taught as a young Mormon growing up in the Church. Bott was in his mid-60's during this interview. He would have been taught all his life as a Mormon, before 1978, that "Negroes" were the children of God, BUT they were "less valiant" (lazy or semi-committed) in the War in Heaven, and, as punishment, were born into the lineage (bloodline) of Cain as "Negroes". Bott did not reveal the complete Curse of Cain Doctrine in his Washington Post interview, but he revealed enough of it to upset Mormon leaders in Salt Lake City who want to distance themselves from the racism of Old Generation Mormon leaders who have now passed away.
The 2012 "Bott" Statement
The top leaders of the Mormon Church are called "The Brethren" which include three Presidents and 12 Apostles. The three Presidents are most senior, and called "The First Presidency". Any mention of the Curse of Cain Legacy, especially in the Media, upsets them. The Church then issued an official Statement saying:
"For a time in the Church there was a restriction on the priesthood for male members of African descent. It is not known precisely why, how, or when this restriction began in the Church but what is clear is that it ended decades ago. Some have attempted to explain the reason for this restriction but these attempts should be viewed as speculation and opinion, not doctrine. The Church is not bound by speculation or opinions given with limited understanding.
We condemn racism, including any and all past racism by individuals both inside and outside the Church."
(Church Statement Regarding the 'Washington Post' Article on Race and the Church issued Feb. 26, 2012)
The line which reads "these attempts should be viewed as speculation and opinion, not doctrine" is simply not true. The Curse of Cain Doctrine was always called "a doctrine of the Church" (Statement of the First Presidency on the Negro Question, 17 August 1949). At no time did any Church leader say "this is my opinion" when they taught the Curse of Cain Doctrine. It was taught by the top Church leaders in General Conference, and in Stake Conferences and Mission Conferences, from 1948 to the late 1950s at least, and, in the case of Elder McCconkie (an Apostle) all the way up to June 8th, 1978 via his book Mormon Doctrine. It was always presented as "a doctrine of the Church" and called such in "The 1949 Statement" (Statement of the First Presidency on the Negro Question).
The only reason that rank-and-file Mormons believed in and accepted the Curse of Cain Doctrine as "gospel truth" and "a doctrine of the Church" is because the top leaders of the Mormon Church taught it to them; not as "opinion" or "speculation" but as part of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Why No Clear Apology From Mormon Leaders?
The Curse of Cain Legacy is highly embarassing to current Mormon leaders. That is why they issued "The Bott Statement"; not because Prof. Randy Bott wrote it (he didn't), but because the Church issued it in reply to what Bott told The Washington Post. This "Bott Statement" was an "official" statement by the Church; approved and issued by the First Presidency. Any "Church Statement" must be approved by the First Presidency; the highest governing body of the Church worldwide. Thus, this "2012 Statement" is "official". It will go down in history as "The Bott Statement"; not that Randy Bott wrote it, but that it was issued to "counter" what Bott had told The Washington Post. This Statement is probably the closest the Church will ever get to "a public apology and repudiation of the Curse of Cain Legacy".
Randy Bott soon retired from Brigham Young University, and intends on going on a Mission for the Church. Had not Bott taught a "little" of the Curse of Cain doctrine in his 2012 interview, then the Church would not have issued it's statement which repudiates the Curse of Cain Doctrine!
The Brethren (top Mormon leaders) will most likely never issue a Public Apology; to do so would violate their own Golden Rule that Mormon leaders are not to be criticized, past or present, even if the criticism is true.
Divine Authority and the Curse of Cain Denials
Some older Mormons today still believe in the Curse of Cain Doctrine. Some have been horribly upset with the Church issueing statements that the Curse of Cain was "folklore" and "never a doctrine of the Church". Mormons over the age of 60 (in 2012) know otherwise. They were raised from birth to believe in the Curse of Cain Doctrine; that it was of God and part of the Gospel of Jesus Christ as any other part. To deny that the Curse of Cain Doctrine was a doctrine of the Church would be like the U.S. Government declaring that the United States never approved of slavery but "some Americans" at one time did, or if the German government issueing a statement declaring that Germany never persecuted the Jews but that "some Germans" once did. Some older Mormons are not bothered by "the Curse of Cain Denials" issued by LDS Public Affairs; because they believe that the President of the Church has "the Divine Authority" to tell LDS Public Affairs to say anything that would protect the Church from persecution even if those statements were not the truth.
In Mormonism "Divine Authority" is extremely important; because it gives the "Living Prophet" (the President of the Church) the "authority" from God to do things that are forbidden for all others.
The New Generation of Mormon Church Leaders
The leaders of the Mormon Church are of the "New Generation" of Mormon Church leaders. These men are not racist, and perhaps always disagreed with the Curse of Cain Doctrine and Priesthood-ban Policy. Yet, they remained faithful in the Church. They perhaps feel "they" are not responsible for issuing a Public Apology for a doctrine they never agreed with in the first place. In the Mormon Church, you can "disagree strongly" with a particular doctrine or practice, but you keep it to yourself. You don't talk about it. You hope it will change, but if you openly criticize or disagree with Church leaders, you can be excommunicated. So, you keep it in. You keep it to youself, and hope God changes things. The 2012 "Bott Statement" issued by the leaders of the Church indirectly called the Curse of Cain Doctrine a mistake and error by those with "limited understanding". They don't name names, because Church policy forbids anyone to criticize Church leaders; current or long since dead. The "New Generation" of Mormon leaders are not racist, don't wish to apologize for a doctrine they never agreed with, and the "Bott Statement" is the closest thing to an official repudiation of the Curse of Cain Legacy that Mormon Church leaders will probably ever make.
Where the Presidents of the Mormon Church Racist?
The Presidents of the Mormon Church have been:
Joseph Smith Jr. (Non-racist and great advocate for the black people of his day)
Brigham Young (moderate racist)
John Taylor (moderate racist)
Wilford Woodruff (unknown)
Lorenzo Snow (unknown)
Heber W. Grant (unknown)
George W. Smith (unknown)
David O. McKay (non-racist)
Joseph Fielding Smith (moderate racist until the 1960s when he apparently changed his views)
Harold B. Lee (unknown)
Spencer W. Kimball (non-racist)
Ezra Taft Benson (a moderate racist at least prior to his Church Presidency in the late 1980s)
Howard K. Hunter (unknown)
Gordon B. Hinckley (non-racist)
Thomas B. Monson (in his official biography Thomas B. Monson writes when he noticed non-white children
trick-or-treating on Holloween at his home in Salt Lake City, in the early 1950s, he moved his family
to an all-white section of the city, but there is no documented evidence he ever taught the Curse of Cain Doctrine)
The current (2012) President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is Thomas B. Monson.
Besides the Presidents of the Church, there has been about 100 Mormon Apostles since the days of Joseph Smith (1830s-1840s). I've found evidence that at least a dozen of them taught the Curse of Cain Doctrine in General Conference. No dought others taught it elsewhere, such as in Stake Conferences, but I can't find any evidence since very very few Stake (local) Conferences were recorded and published.
Some Mormon Apostles Rejected the Curse of Cain Doctrine
In 1996, a Mormon Apostle, David B. Haight, told me he never agreed with the Curse of Cain Doctrine nor
the Priesthood-ban Policy. Had Elder Haight lived just a little longer, he would have become the President
of the Mormon Church. Not all Mormon Apostles were racist, not all agreed with the Curse of Cain Doctrine
nor the Priesthood-Ban Policy, but they believed the men who taught it were called of God, and these men
had to be obeyed; if not always agreed with.
Joseph Smith Was Anti-Racist
Joseph Smith, the founder of the Mormon Church, was a non-racist, and, indeed, one of the most anti-racist
men of his day (1840s). He invited "free men of color" to join the Church, and worship in Mormon temples. He ordained or approved the ordination of black Mormon elders. He considered Elijah Abel, a Mulatto Mormon, to be his "brother" and appointed him to the Third Quorum of Seventy Apostles in 1843. It was Brigham Young who made the Curse of Cain Doctrine a "doctrine of the Church", and that "Curse of Cain Legacy" lasted from 1848 until June 8th, 1978.
The Children of Their Day and Culture
One must also understand that most (95%) of white Americans were "moderately racist" before about the 1950s. Mormon Church Presidents born in those same generations of Americans, had the same view of "negroes" as did most white Americans; a "moderate" racist view". The Church has always condemned the KKK and other radical racist organizations, via editorials in the Church owned newspaper Deseret News.
Ih other words, most of the leaders of the Mormon Church from the 1840s to the 1970s had the "same" view and attitute of black folks as did the great majority of other white Americans during those same generations. Some Mormon leaders, just as Joseph Smith, David O. McKay, Gordon B. Hinckley, and others, had a more "enlighted" view, a clearly anti-racist and pro-black view.
Rank-and-file Mormons from the 1840s to the 1960s had a "paternalistic" view toward "Negros". Most white Mormons saw blacks as childlike, less intelligent, cursed under the Curse of Cain, yet the literal sons and daughters of God and Heavenly Mother; blessed with "limited wisdom", cursed as pertaining to the Priesthood in mortality, but who will ultimately get the same eternal blessings as all faithful Mormons will "if" they accept the Restored Gospel (i.e. Mormonism) in this life or the Spirit-world and remain faithful to it to the Resurrection of Dead. In the 1960s this "paternalistic" view began to change; largly due to the changing attitudes of most white Americans.
Mormons Today Not Racist
Mormon leaders today (2012), as well as rank-and-file Mormons, are not racist, are anti-racist, are pro-black, and the great majority of white Mormons are totally accepting of Black Mormons and see them as equals and their brothers and sisters.
The Changing of the Guard
I will liken what has happened to the Mormon Church, as to what happened to the Democratic Party. The Democratic Party was "racist" for most of its existence. The KKK controlled the Democratic Party in the 1920s in 16 states; mostly in the North. Yet, beginning in the mid-1960s, a "new generation" of Democratic leaders arose, who repudiated racism, and began to fight for the rights of black Americans. Today, almost all African-Americans are Democrats. Now, the Mormon Church was NEVER "radically racist" as the KKK! The Mormon Church was "moderately" racist; as were most white American churches until the 1960s. The Mormon Church fought the Klan in Utah and Idaho in the 1920s and 30s. However, my point is this: that a New Generation of Mormon leaders has arisen since the 1970s; men who are anti-racist, pro-black, and want everyone to "forget" about the Mormon Church's moderately racist past. When a "new generation" arises in any organization, and fundamentally changes it, this is called "The Changing of the Guard". The Old "racist" Mormon Guard (leaders) have died out, and a new NON-racist Mormon leadership is now steering the Mormon Church in a new direction. The Old "Racist" Mormon Guard (leadership) has been replaced with the New "NON-racist Mormon Guard (leadership). It's as simple as that.
The Curse of Cain Legacy to be "Forgotten"
The new Mormon leaders want the "past to be forgotten". Why? They don't want Mormons believing in it anymore! They feel that if the Curse of Cain Legacy is even "discussed" at Church, it will cause some Members to believe it, which they don't want. Also, the Curse of Cain Legacy is very embarrassing to current Mormon leaders as well as to rank-and-file Mormons. They just want it "gone" completely. Unfortunately, the Internet prevents any complete "forgetting". Current Mormon Church Policy is to NOT talk about the Curse of Cain Doctrine. It is not discussed in Church history, nor in Sunday School; nor among Religion Professors at Brigham Young University. It is a "taboo" subject in the Mormon Church today. Generations of young Mormons have grown up never hearing of it. This is because the New Mormon leadership is highly embarrassed about this aspect of the Church's past. Most white Mormons who know about it (and most younger Mormons don't) are also highly embarrassed, and don't like talking about it.
Because there are so many distortions and exaggerations, both pro and con, about the Mormon church and black people, and so many false rumors in the African-American Community (Mormons hate black folks, et.), I have written this website. It is neither Pro-Mormon, or Anti-Mormon. It simple tells the Truth, the whole Truth, and nothing but the Truth. It is the most balanced account of "The Mormon Church and Blacks" you'll find anywhere.
Blacks and Official Mormon Doctrine
*From 1830 to 1848: "Negroes" are equal to others in the Church in every way. God has made of one blood all the nations of the Earth.
**From 1848 to 1978: "Negroes" are not equal to others in the Church, but are the children of Cain, less valiant in the War n Heaven, banned from the temples and priesthood for mortal life but may receive such blessings in the Eternities. The Priesthood-ban will one day be removed by the Lord. Negroes are denied the Priesthood and Temple Rites because they are the cursed children of Cain. A black skin, kinky hair, and flat nose, is the "Mark of Cain". The Curse of Cain Doctrine is "a doctrine of the Church" and part of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
***From 1978 to 2012 and Beyond: "Blacks" are equal to others in the Church in every way. They were not less valiant in the War in Heaven, and are not the descendants of Cain. The Church never taught that blacks were cursed or the children of Cain, but some Members may have believed this folklore at one time. Racism is wrong whether inside or outside of the Church. We (the Church) do not know the reason why former Church Presidents banned blacks from the Priesthood and Temples before June 8th, 1978. The "folklore" is best forgotten.
Mormons NOT "Racist" Today
Mormons under the age of 70 (and many over the age of 70) are NOT "racist" in any way. "Racist" Mormons have mostly died of old age. In another 10 years (from 2012) there won't be any left. Their children, and their children's children, and the children of their children's children, are NOT "racist" in any way, and accept Black Mormons as completely spiritual and natural equals as themselves. Please do not PUNISH Mormons of Today for the "sins" and "racism" of Mormons of Previous Generations who are long dead! Mormons of "Today" are NOT racist, and do NOT believe in the Curse of Cain Doctrine. Most younger Mormons have never even "heard" of the Curse of Cain Doctrine! The Church no longer teaches it, and no longer defends it. In fact, the Church has "repudiatd" the Curse of Cain Doctrine in the 2012 "Bott Statement" calling it "folklore" and "speculation by those with limited understanding".
Brigham Young at first rejected the Curse of Cain Doctrine, saying:
"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, LDS Church Archives)
Brigham Young was referring to Walker Lewis (right), a black Mormon Elder in Lowell, Massachusetts, as "one of the best Elders" in the Church. But less than a year later, after a half-black Mormon Elder named William McCary had seduced a number of white Mormon women in Winter's Quarter, Nebraska (a Mormon settlement), Brigham Young reversed himself and began to teach the Curse of Cain Doctrine and he instituted the Priesthood-ban Policy of denying the Priesthood to black Mormon men and denying the all-important Temple Rites (Sealings and Endowments) to anyone with "one drop of Negro blood in their veins". Mormon leaders continued to openly teach the Curse of Cain Doctrine until the late 1950s, and, in the case of Elder Bruce R. McConkie, until June 8th, 1978.
That's right! The Curse of Cain Doctrine became and official doctrine of the Church, and Priesthood-ban Policy became an official policy of the Church, because a Mulatto (half-black and half-white) Mormon Elder named William McCary (right) who seduced a number of Mormon women and girls in late 1847, in Winter's Quarters Nebraska; a place where Mormon immigrants from England and the Eastern U.S. awaited the Spring when they could travel to Utah. This so enraged Brigham Young, that he banned all black men from the priesthood and all black Mormons from the Temples; which are central to the Mormon belief of Exaltation (becoming Gods and Goddesses) and Eternal Marriage. The Curse of Cain Legacy was the result of the actions of one man (William McCary)! For his "sins" all Black Mormons were punished until June 8th, 1978.
McCary claimed to be a "Lamanite [Indian] Prophet" and the son of a Choctaw Indian chief (patently untrue). He called himself by various aliases including "William Chubbee" and various Indian names. He claimed to be the reincarnation of Adam and Thomas the Apostle. He did 'convert' several dozen white Mormons, including a number of white Mormon women who became his polygamous wives. One account says he met his death in 1854 when he jumped over a cliff; claiming he could fly. The bizaar actions of William McCary inspired Brigham Young into accepting the Curse of Cain Doctrine and implementing the Priesthood-ban Policy in 1848; a policy that remained in effect until June 8th, 1978.
LDS Church Public Affairs Dept. and the Curse of Cain Denials
The First Presidency of the LDS Church has not yet (2012) issued a formal apology for the Curse of Cain Legacy. The 2012 "Bott Statement" repudiates racism, but it does not admit that Church leaders were responsible for this "folklore". Statements from the LDS Public Affairs Department refer to "folklore" in the Church that "some Members believed in"; thus blaming some nameless and faceless "Members" for the doctrine and not Church leaders. The truth of the matter is that upwards of 90% of all Mormons accepted the Curse of Cain Doctrine when it was openly taught by the Presidents and Apostles of the Church (i.e. from the late 1840s to the late 1950s). If Mormon leaders had not called it "a doctrine of the Church" then Members would not have accepted it as such. The complete blame for the Curse of Cain Legacy falls upon the shoulders of the top Church leaders; the Presidents and Apostles.
On June 8th, 2008, a reporter for the Salt Lake Tribune (Peggy Stack) asked Mark Tuttle, LDS Church Spokesman, if the Church still believed that blacks were the children of Cain, and had been "less valiant" in the War in Heaven. Mr. Tuttle replied:
"This folklore is not part of and never was taught as doctrine by the church." (Salt Lake Tribune, June 8, 2008, page 1)
On June 8th, 2008, about 5,000 black and white Mormons gathered in the Tabernacle in Salt Lake City to celebrate the "1978 Revelation" granding the priesthood and temple-blessings to black Mormons. One of the speakers during this special conference was Elder Sheldon F. Childs, who told the audience:
Elder Sheldon F. Childs (2008):
"When you think about it, that's just what it is — folklore. It's never really been official doctrine. I know there have been some misconceptions and some statements made by people in the past, but as Elder (Bruce R.) McConkie said, we've received new and additional light and knowledge through revelation, and even the folklore is obsolete now because of the fact that we have the revelation. "We have to keep in mind that it's folklore and not doctrine. It's never been recorded as such. Many opinions, personal opinions, were spoken. I'm just so grateful for this revelation." (LDS Marking 30-year Milestone, Deseret News, June 6, 2008)
Yet, the Curse of Cain Doctrine, including the "less valiant" doctrine, was taught by top Mormon leaders for over 100 years, and called "a doctrine of the Church" in the 1949 statement issued by the First Presidency titled "First Presidency Statement on the Negro Question". You can't get more "official" than a signed statement by the First Presidency!
Elder Childs was appointed by the First Presidency as its representative to the Genesis Group (black Mormon organization).
There is no question that statements from LDS Church Public Affairs from at least 1996 to date (2012) regarding the subject of the Curse of Cain have been at bestambigious and at worst deceptive and misleading. The "Curse of Cain Denials" by LDS Public Affairs inspired Sunstone magazine to publish the following cartoon:
"See! I just click and drag the Curse of Cain to that little trash can in the corner and "POOF"! What Curse of Cain? Get it? Hehehe! It never happened!"
It is inconceivable that top LDS leaders ("The Brethren") don't know what LDS Church Public Affairs is doing or saying, or that LDS Public Affairs is acting independant of and against the wishes of Mormon leaders ("The Brethren").
Although the First Presidency of the Church does not say "We are infallible!" they do say things such as this:
•"Listen to the general conference with an ear willing to hear the voice of God given through His latter-day prophets." --Dieter F. Uchtdorf, ENSIGN, March 2012, p. 5
Most Mormons believe that when the President of the Church, the "Living Prophet", speaks in General Conference, it is the Voice of God speaking through him. Is not the Voice of God "infallible"? When I was a TBM (True Believing Mormon) from 1979 to 1989, I was told many many times that anytime the "Living Prophet" spoke in General Conference, that was if the LORD Himself (Jesus) was speaking. Every active Mormon I asked about this question agreed with that! The Curse of Cain Doctrine was taught, by Presidents of the Church, in General Conference, from 1848 until the late 1950s, and some Mormon apostles continued to teach it in Stake Conferences, Mission Conferences, and in books they wrote such as Bruce R. McConkie's Mormon Doctrine which includeded the Curse of Cain Doctrine until the 1979 edition.
The Curse of Cain Cover-Up
The Brethren (top 15 leaders of the Mormon Church) could issue a Public Apology regarding the Curse of Cain Doctrine and Priesthood-ban Policy. However, that would "lessen" the power they have over rank-and-file Mormons; who are told from birth, or conversion to the Church, that "The Brethren" are Prophets, Seers, Revelators, and that the "Livign Prophet" (the President of the Church) is God's Mouthpiece and Living Oracle on Earth; what he writes, or says (especially when speaking in General Conference) is as if the LORD (Jesus) was speaking Himself. His words are considered "divinely inspired". His policies are also considered straight from God! Therefore, for Mormon leaders to say "WE were wrong!" is to lessen how Members (rank-and-file Mormons are called "Members") view them, and cause many Members to ask "If the Brethren could be wrong about the Curse of Cain Doctrine and Priesthood-ban Policy for 130 years, what are the Brethren wrong about TODAY?" The Brethren (top 15 Mormon leaders) simply don't want that. Although they don't claim infalibility, many Members "think" that the Brethren are infallible. The Brethren of course know this, and say nothing; leaving most Members to continue to believe that they ("The Brethren") can do no wrong; their doctrines are all inspired, as are their policies. Instead of saying "We were wrong about the Curse of Cain!" Church leaders have decided to take a different course which is...
1. To remain completely silent themselves on the subject of the Curse of Cain and Priesthood-ban.
2. Direct LDS Public Affairs to deny that the Church ever taught the Curse of Cain Doctrine, and blame some nameless/faceless "Members" on it; calling it "speculation" and "personal opinion".
Yes, Mormon leaders have decided that simply denying that the Church ever taught the Curse of Cain Doctrine is the best way for the Church to avoid apologizing for it and the best way to keep Members from thinking they (Church leaders) can make mistakes like other mortals.
Since at least 1996, when Mormon Apostle M. Russell Ballard (right) was appointed to supervise LDS Public Affairs, the LDS Church Public Affairs Department has been on a campaign of misinformation regarding the Curse of Cain Legacy. They have used equivocation, half-truth, evasion, and outright lies to try to cover-up the Mormon Church's racist past. This is called "The Curse of Cain Cover-Up". To date (October, 2012) there is no sign that LDS Public Affairs will stop its campaign of misinformation; nor is there any sign that the First Presidency (governing body) of the Mormon Church will ever offer a clear, unequivocal, public apology for the Curse of Cain Doctrine and Priesthood-ban Policy.
Forgetting the Curse of Cain Legacy
Clearly, the Mormon Church TODAY (2012) is NOT a "racist" Church! All colors and cultures are accepted, interracial couples and their children are accepted, and Black Mormons have full rights and equality in the Church.
However, the Church has been trying to cover-up its racist past; instead of openly acknowledging it and issueing public apology for it. This "Curse of Cain Cover-up" continues to this day (last edit: Oct. 2012).
Some Mormons believe that the Curse of Cain Legacy should be forgotten, hushed up, and never talked about; not even in academic circles. I believe that is impossible; especially in the Internet Age. I believe that the Curse of Cain Legacy should be discussed NOT in Church (where only spiritual matters should be discussed), but in places where people inquire about it; such as the Internet. I believe people should be given sincere and truthful answers about the Curse of Cain Legacy. That is why I wrote this website. I believe in telling people the Truth, the whole Truth, and nothing but the Truth, and then letting God handle the rest.
You've just been given a "Reader's Digest" (super-abridged) version of the Mormon Church and the Curse of Cain Legacy. That may be enough for you. However, if you want more detailed information, then read below.
The following information will give a brief history of blacks in the Church, the reasons why Brigham Young instituted the Priesthood-ban policy in 1848, and the reasons why the Ban was lifted in 1978.
Black Mormons Since 1832
There have been Black Mormons since 1832; two years after the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was founded. One of the first Seventies of the LDS Church
was a Black Mormon by the name of Elijah Abel (1810-1884). Elijah Abel was half-black and half-white. 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.
Photograph of Elijah Abel and Darïus (der-rai-us) Gray (past President of the Genesis Group of Black Latter-day Saints) at the Elijah Abel Memorial (City Cemetery, Salt Lake City, Utah)
The number of Black Mormons has always been very small, less than 1000 at any one time (and most of them inactive). However, after June 8th, 1978, the number of Black Mormons has climbed astronomically; to about 400,000 in 2012. The LDS Church is one of the fastest growing religions in black Africa.
Black African Mormons
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, a Black African Seer, 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 old Reader's Digest 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.
Today (2012) there are over 300,000 Black Mormons in Africa, and about 30,000 in North America and about 70,000 black and Mulatto Mormons in Latin America. Black Mormons today have full equality with other races in the Church, and the Church has many interracial couples and interracial children.
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.
In 1820, confused about religion, he asked God in fervent prayer which church was true; for they all claimed to have the "truth" but they contradicted each other. God the Father and Jesus Christ appeared to Joseph in a vision, and told him not to join any church, but to remain worthy and a great work would come to pass by his hand in the last days.
The First Vision of Joseph Smith (1820)
Later, the Angel Moroni (an ancient Jewish prophet who lived in America) revealed to Joseph tablets of gold, written by Moroni and his father Mormon; another ancient Jewish prophet who lived in America. Joseph Smith was given the gold plates, and the power to translate them into English; into The Book of Mormon.
Joseph receives the plates from Moroni (c.1826)
The LORD commands Joseph Smith to establish restore His Church to it's original purity in the last days. It is eventually called The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It was formally established in 1830, near Palmyra, New York State. In 1830, the United States had millions of black Africans; the great majority of them were slaves living in the Southern States. Free blacks existed, but they were second-class citizens at best. The vast great majority of white men in the days of Joseph Smith (North and South) believed that "Negroes" were "naturally inferior" to whites.
The Black Mormons of Africa
Leaders of "The Mormon Church of Nigeria" (1965 photo)
*About 1963 the Church sends emissaries to West Africa where independent Book of Mormon-believing congegations have formed. Church leaders ("The Brethren") consider inviting these congregations into the Church, and using rotating senior missionaries (i.e. older--usually retired--men on 1 to 3-year missions) as priesthood-holders and priesthood-leaders in black "Mormon" congregations so that the Sacrament can be blessed and passed and so that official baptisms can take place. Several emissaries are sent to West Africa to seek out black "Mormon" congregations. Often, when the black "Elders" of these congregations hear that they would not be able to bless the Sacrament, pass it, or baptize, they are very hesitant about asking their congregations to join the Church or allow senior missionaries to officiate in their congregations. A few black "Elders" and "Pastors" of these independent congregations demand paid-positions before they will allow LDS emissaries to speak to their congregations. Others demand to know why they can't be Elders in their own congregations they themselves created! LDS emissaries reply that the Church has no "paid" local officers, and attempts are made (often quite lamely) to explain the Priesthood-ban. Often, they are simply told, "Because that is Church policy". Only a few dozen black congregations (mostly in eastern Nigeria) express any real interest in joining the Church at this time. Lamar Williams, one Mormon emissary, returns to Salt Lake from Nigeria with the names of 15,000 "Mormon" Nigerians who want to be baptized into the Church. The LDS emissaries report back to "The Brethren" (the 3 Presidents and 12 Apostles who lead the Church), who then discuss plans to build schools and clinics for Ghanaian and Nigerian "Mormon" congregations, and use white Senior Missionaries (i.e. retired older men on full-time missions) to baptize and administer the Sacrament while allowing local black leaders are allowed to continue to preach in their own congregations in non-priesthood offices called "Pastors". However, the Nigerian civil-war breaks-out about this time and halts these plans. The Nigerian government refuses all new visas to LDS emissaries. The government of Ghana would soon do the same.
*In 1963, a rank-and-file Mormon named John Stewart writes and self-publishes a small booklet titled "Mormonism and the Negro" to try to explain why "Negroes" were banned from the priesthood and temple in the Mormon Church. Only about 5,000 copies were printed. Some of these copies were picked up by university libraries; since it was the only book ever published, to date, dealing with the issue. One copy made it to the library of California State University San Louis Obispo. In 1965, TIME magazine did an article about the Mormons, and included a sub-article about black Mormons being "children of Cain" and under the Curse of Cain. This article inspired one Nigerian student in California to seek more information. One day, in 1965, a young Nigerian student was searching through the library books at Cal State San Louis Obispo, about Mormonism, and came across Stewart's book. He became enraged, and immediately wrote to the governments of Liberia and Nigeria; telling them to stop the racist Mormons in their countries. He also authored several articles for major Nigerian newspapers; one titled "Evil Saints".
*The Nigerian student reads and article, and becomes enraged! The Nigerian student attends a very Liberal university in California where discussion about "Mormon racism" is current and popular. The student writes an article for an English-language Nigerian newspaper. The article is titled "Evil Saints"; saying the Church is "racist" and has evil conspiratorial plans for Nigeria and other West African countries. He sends Anti-Mormon literature to the embassies of Ghana and Nigeria; where black "Mormon" congregations had already formed. The Anti-Mormon literature eventually reaches back to black officials back in Africa. The black African officials then read quotes by Brigham Young and other Church leaders that blacks are "children of Cain" and "cursed" (they are never told the whole story), and believe the Mormon Church is "racist". Secretly, the black African officials demand huge bribes from the Church, or threaten to deny Mormon emissaries visas into their countries. The Church arranges a large payment of money to a bank in London, but, for reasons unclear, the bribes, demanded by the governments of Ghana and Nigeria, is never accepted.
*In the early 1960s, a young Nigerian living in Ghana prays to God to know which of the churches are true. He has a vision of a book. Later, he sees this book on the table of a friend: The Book of Mormon. He reads it, and prays to Jesus about it. Later, he has a vision of Jesus and many angels. Jesus tells him to take the book and tell the people of Ghana about it. Over 14 years, he coverts thousands. His name was Joseph W.B. Johnson (read more about him in "Notable Black Mormons" in the links below. Many times he is asked, "How can you promote a Church that is racist?" Johnson replies: "What can I do? The Lord Himself told me it was true!?" Johnson and most of his converts are baptized into the Mormon Church after June 8th, 1978.
*In 1965 the Nigerian civil-war begins. During and after the Nigerian civil-war the Church tries to get food and medicine to black independent "Mormon" congregations in eastern Nigeria. The Nigerian government refuses to allow this because the congregations is in areas where the rebels are fighting the Nigerian government, and the government wants no relief efforts there. Almost all of the black "Mormon" congregations in Nigeria belong to the Ibo and Efik tribe; the leaders of which (none of them "Mormons") seek to form an independent nation of "Biafra" out of sections of eastern Nigeria. The Nigerian government considers all Ibos and Efiks to be rebels or potential rebels. Over a million Nigerians (mostly Ibos and Efiks) die from hunger and disease during the cvil-war; many of them children. Visas would not be granted again until after the 1978 Revelation.
*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 becoming 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. Many exaggerations and false rumors about Mormons and the Mormon Faith still exist in the African-American Community to this day.
*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 privilege. 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.
*On the 8th of June 1971 three active black Mormons in Utah (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 activate 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 dilema is created. All these men with Hamitic lineage have the Priesthood. Some are bishops and branch presidents or even Stake 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. However, men who discover they have a Hamitic lineage are told not to exercise their priesthood, and many are released as priesthood-offices once their Hamitic lineage is discovered. They are told, "Wait, wait" for further instructions. Further instructions would not come until June, 1978.
*On the 8th of June 1978 (7 years to the day from the formation of the Genesis Group), 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. The news is carried by all major newsmedia in the United States. Active black Members are usually "stunned"; having been told many times before that they would never hold the Priesthood in mortal life. Most white Mormons are overjoyed. Some white racist Mormons leave the Church and join polygamist groups. 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 back 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 2004 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.
Why did the Mormon Church begin to BAN Black People from its priesthood and temples?
First: In 1847, in Winter's Quarters, Nebraska, a Mormon way-station, a half-black and half-Indian Mormon Elder named William McCary, proclaimed he was a Prophet, Adam reincarnated, and started to sexually seduce a number of white Mormon women and girls. He started his own quasi-Mormon "church" with several dozen ex-Mormon followers. Brigham Young was ENRAGED! Soon after "The McCary Incident", Brigham Young began to BAN all black Mormons from the priesthood and temples. The prophetic career of William McCary ended when he tried to "fly" by jumping off a high cliff. The man was obviously "mental". The actions of this one Mulatto man, caused Brigham Young to ban all blacks in the Church
Secondly: Joseph Smith sent Mormon Apostles to England in the 1840s. These Apostles converted many thousands of people to the Church. Most of these converts were followers of the "sacred writings" of Joanna Southcott; a British woman who claimed to be a Prophetess, who died in 1812 without naming a successor. In her "Revelations" there are references to "Negroes" having been angels in Heaven who "fell" to earth because of pride. The Mormon Apostles arrived in Boston, from England, just as Joseph Smith was assassinated. They began to teach other Mormons what they learned from their Southcott-ite converts. In 1852, back in England, Mormon Apostle Orson Pratt first taught that less-valiant doctrine; that Negroes "may have been" less-valiant (non-heroic) in the War in Heaven. This was a "spin" on the teachings of Joanna Southcott.
Thirdly: Mormon scripture seemed to confirm Southcott doctrine when it says "And the seed of Cain were black" (Moses 5:22) and "a darkness came upon the children of Canaan" and in The Book of Abraham where it says that the Canaanites were "blessed with wisdom but cursed as pertaining to the Priesthood" (Abraham 1:26). NOTE: Mormon leaders were unaware than in ancient Hebrew idiom "blackness" refers to "evil heart" and not to skin color. But, Mormon leaders were "the children of their day" and took "black" and "blackness" as referring to skin color.
Exaltation (Godhood) and Eternal Marriage
To enter the highest heaven, the Celestial Kingdom, a Mormon male must hold the Melchizedek Priesthood, and be "endowed" (a Masonic-like secret ritual) in a Mormon Temple, and "sealed" to a faithful Mormon woman by a "Sealer" who is a Mormon High Priest who has been delegated by the "Living Prophet" (President of the Church) to "bind" men and women into Eternal Marriages. Mormon females have the same requirements except they do not hold any Priesthood office.
Mormons believe that all those who enter the Celestial Kingdom shall become Gods and Goddesses, beget children for all eternity, create planets, and rule over those planets.
Banning "Negroes" from the Priesthood and Temple was essentially preventing them from Godhood and Eternal Marriage; the two major goals of every Mormon. Mormon Apostle Mark E. Peterson said in 1956 that faithful Black Mormons would enter the Celestial Kingdom, but "they will go there as servants", to serve faithful Mormons of other races, but not as Gods (speech by Elder Mark E. Peterson, i>Race Problems--As They Affect the Church, Brigham Young University conference of teachers of religion at the college level, Aug. 17, 1954, p.16).
Mormons believe that only faithful Mormons will become Gods and Goddesses in the eternities; Mormons who are not faithful, or who do not hold the Priesthood, or who are morally unworthy, will go to the Celestial Kingdom as eternal servant-eunuchs of the Gods and Goddesses; unmarried, not capable of sexual love, not able to have children or to create planets, but only allowed to "serve" the Faithful. People of all other religions, who are "good" will go to the Terrestial Kingdom (a lower kingdom), and people who are "bad" will go to the "Telestial Kingdom" (yet lower kingdom). Those called "Sons of Perdition" go to Outer Darkness to wail and cry and gnash their teeth for all eternity. The LDS Church has never clearly defined who the "Sons of Perdition" are but most Mormons believe them to be Apostates (ex-Mormons who "break" their Temple covenants and now fight against the Church).
Must Members of the Church believe that the Curse of Cain doctrine/Priesthood-ban was of God?
No. The Church no longer teaches it, and now considers it to be "folklore" and "speculation by those of limited understanding". Those of "limited understanding" were Brigham Young and most other Mormon Presidents and Apostles until 1978.
Most white and 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. Most Mormons today (in 2012) under the age of 60 believe it was a "mistake" of the past. Most Mormons over 60 (in 2012) still still accept it as true, and many are upset that the Church is now claiming it was never a doctrine. Mormons under 30 (in 2012) usually have never been taught it, know little or nothing about it, never "think" about it, and often think you are lying to them if you tell them about it.
Joanna Southcott: Originator of the Curse of Cain Doctrine
In the late 1780s there arose in England a British woman named Joanna Southcott. She claimed to receive many revelations from God. Among them was a doctrine that "Negroes" were fallen angels (fallen because of pride), and that they were the children of Cain, and that God turned Cain (a white man) black because he killed Abel. In other words, Cain became cursed. This was called "The Curse of Cain". Her "revelations" were a series of long poems. In one she wrote:
"For pride I cast the angels down.
No fellowship with them was found.
Till War in Heaven began at last.
And down the rebels all were cast.
They were depised by man and ME (Jesus)
And born to be Negroes here." (Book 30: secton 130, written in 1797)
In her book The Continuation of Prophecies (page 41) she states that Cain was the first Negro, and that he married one of his sisters, and this is the origin of the Negro race. Joanna Southcott was not a Mormon. There were no Mormons in 1797. She was a member of the Church of England. She did not found a "Church" but believed that the Church of England would eventually accept her "revelations" as from God. In 1814 she claimed to be pregnant with the Second Coming of Christ ("Shiloh"). She died, and an autopsy showed she was not pregnant. Her followers concluded that it was a "spiritual pregnancy" and that Christ had returned via her, but He was "hidden". Hundreds of thousands of people in England, and thousands in America, believed she was a true prophetess.
Joseph Smith sent his Mormon Apostles to England in the mid 1840s, and they made many converts from the Southcottites, who then had no leaders (Joanna Southcott died in 1812 without naming a prophetic successor). It was natural that Southcottites would embrace Mormonism; since they already accepted the concept of latter-day Prophets and modern Revelation, because they believed in the "Revelations" of Joanna Southcott. These converts to the Church taught the Curse of Cain to the Mormon apostles. The Mormon Apostles Orson Hyde, and Orson Pratt, accepted this "Curse of Cain Doctrine" and began to teach it to other Members of the Church. This is how this folklore entered into the LDS Church. The LDS ("Mormon") Church has never recognized Joanna Southcott as a true prophetess of God. Yet, for 130 years, the Church accepted and preached a version of her "Curse of Cain Doctrine".
Joanna Southcott was never a Mormon. She died in 1814, but her writings remained popular in England until the 1860s and beyond. In the 1840s, many of her former followers (believers in her published revelations) joined the LDS Church in England, and many of them sailed to America and finally made their way to Utah. They brought some of their old "Southcottite" beliefs with them into the LDS ("Mormon") Church.
Orson Hyde and the Nauvoo High Priests Quorum
In 1847, Orson Hyde introduced this new "Curse of Cain Doctrine" to a council of Mormon High Priests in Nauvoo, Illinois, a Mormon city at that time. In 1852, while back in England, Orson Pratt, a Mormon Apostle, published a periodical called The Seer in which he said "it may be" that some spirits were "less valiant" in the War in Heaven, and that these less-valiant spirits were punished by being born as Negroes in the lineage (bloodline) of Cain (The Seer, 1852, pp.52-54). This was his own "spin" on Joanna Southcott's own "Curse of Cain Doctrine" that she wrote about in her "Revelations" in the 1780s. What started out as speculation ("it may be") by Orson Pratt did, over time, harden into doctrine. The Revelations of the LORD to the Prophet Joseph Smith does NOT say that some spirits were "less valiant" nor that Negroes were the children of Cain. Can't be found. But, there is a verse in The Book of Moses (a Revelation to Joseph Smith) that says "the seed of Cain were black" (Moses 5:22). This seemed to confirm Southcott's "Curse of Cain" Doctrine. Modern Mormon apologists would disagree; stating that the term "the seed of Cain were black" probably means they were included to evil, and had no reference to their skin color, since, in ancient Hebrew, "white" meant good and "black" meant evil; with no reference to skin color. But, the early Mormons interpreted "the seed [descendants] of Cain were black" to be mean that "Negroes" were the descendants of Cain. Early Mormons were unaware that this planet contain many black-skinned races; such as the Bantoos of Africa, the Dravidians of India, the natives of Shri Lanka, the Melanesians, the Negritoes of the Philippines, and the Aboriginals of India. The early Mormons were familiar with only one black-skinned race: the black Africans they called "Negroes".
"The Seer" Destroyed
Brigham Young actually directed that all bound copies of The Seer be destroyed in 1865; because he did not like Orson Pratt's many "speculations". Brigham Young did teach the Curse of Cain Doctrine, but he seems to have rejected the Less Valiant Theory of Orson Pratt. Nevertheless, the Less Valiant Theory became accepted in the Church by the early 20th century, and is called "another doctrine of the Church" in the 1949 "Statement of the First Presidency on the Negro Question".
Early Mormon Apostles Orson Hyde and Orson Pratt: formulators of the 'Mormon' Curse of Cain Doctrine; a spin of Joanna Southcott's doctrine they were taught by some of their British converts.
Speculation form the pulpit was very popular among Mormon Presidents and Apostles in the 19th and early 20th century, and onward until perhaps the 1940s. Today (2012) speculation by Mormon Apostles is basically forbidden; because 19th century speculations by Mormon Apostles have embarassed the Church in the 20th and 21st centuries, and is still embarassing Mormons and Mormon leaders today thanks to the Internet and quotes in anti-Mormon books and pamphlets.
Brigham Young and the Curse of Cain Doctrine
Brigham Young at first rejected the Curse of Cain Doctrine, but, after the William McCary Incident in Winter's Quarters, Nebraska, he embraced it. Not only that, but he began to "ban" all black males from the Mormon Priesthood (which every male from the age of 12 is supposed to hold), and to "ban" all black Mormons from the Mormon Temples. Every Mormon must go to a Mormon Temple to receive "Endowments" and "Sealings" in order to reach the highest heaven which is called "The Celestial Kingdom" and be married for all eternity and to beget children for all eternity.
Brigham Young was a "moderate racist" like most white men of his day and culture. He did not hate blacks, but he considered them to be inferiors; as was the general and scientific belief of his day. While he considered blacks to be the descendants of Cain, and under the Curse of Cain, he also said the following:
"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)
"The Lamanites or Indians are just as much the children of our Father and God as we are. So also are the Africans." (Journal of Discourses 11:272)
"Men will be called to Judgment for the way they have treated the Negro." (J.D. 10:250)
Brigham Young (2nd President LDS Church)
Did Brigham Young want inter-racial couples executed?
Another false rumor about Brigham Young is that he wanted interracial-couples executed. This is not true. In 1860, white Southerners, coverts to the Church, came to Utah with their black slaves; male and female. Brigham Young knew that many white masters would have sex with their black female slaves. Brigham Young issued a warning to these white slaveowners who had recently come to Utah, saying:
"Shall I tell you the law of God in regard to the African race? If the white man who belongs to the chosen seed mixes his blood with the seed of Cain, the penalty, under the law of God, is death on the spot. This will always be so." (Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, Volume 10, page 110.)
Notice that the "threat of death" is upon the "white man of the chosen seed" (i.e. the white Mormon male) and not upon the black female (seed of Cain). Brigham Young was essentially saying in 1860: "You white slave owners who have come to Utah...DO NOT MESS with your black slave women, or else!"
Brigham Young was a "moderate" racist; as was Abraham Lincoln and as were just about all white Americans in the 19th century. White Mormons were "moderate" racists in the 19th and early 20th centuries; as were 95% of all white Americans during those same generations. Today (2012) the vast great majority of white Mormons who go to Church on Sunday are NOT "racist" in any way, shape, or form.
Since early Mormon leaders were racist, does it follow that Mormons today are also racist?
Many African-Americans assume that if early Mormon leaders were racist, then white Mormons today must also be racist. That is absurd! That is like saying that since the Democratic Party in the 19th and early 20th century was racist (and it was), then all white Democrats today must also be racist! ABSURD! White Mormons today are NOT "racist" in any way if they are under the age of 70, and most Mormons over 70 are either not racist or hold "moderate" racist views; as did 95% of white Americans of their generation. 96% OF MORMONS TODAY UNDER THE AGE OF 70 ARE ___________NOT_________ RACIST IN ANY WAY.
Mormons have not been taught the Curse of Cain doctrine since 1978. Most Mormons under the age of 50 are totally unware of the Curse of Cain doctrine and are only vaguely aware of the priesthood-ban policy. If they ask (and most don't), they are told that the LORD banned blacks because white Members would not accept them until 1978. While that statment is true (white Mormons would not have fully accepted blacks until the mid-1970s), that is NOT the reason Church leaders gave for the Priesthood-ban. Church leaders said blacks were banned because they were less valiant in the War in Heaven, and were the descendants of Cain, but one day the Ban would be removed.
Has the Curse of Cain Doctrine been officially repudiated by Church leaders?
Again, what is "official" in the LDS Church has never been clearly defined, but President Gordon B. Hinckley seemed to repudiate the doctrine on April 1st, 2006, when he declared:
“I remind you that no man who makes disparaging remarks concerning those of another race can consider himself a true disciple of Christ. How can any man holding the Melchizedek Priesthood arrogantly assume that he is eligible for the priesthood whereas another who lives a righteous life but whose skin is of a different color, is ineligible?” (General Priesthood Session, General Conference, 1 April 2006)
Gordon B. Hinckley
This is called "The 2006 Repudiation". Whatever the "Living Prophet" (Church President) says in General Conference is "official"; although it is not considered to be "infallible". Gordon B. Hinckley was President of the Church and thus "The Living Prophet" when he made this statement. That fact makes this statement "official".
Mormon intellectuals are perplexed by Hinckley's use of the phrase "no man who makes disparaging remarks conerning those of another race can consider himself a true disciple of Christ". Just about all Mormon leaders (Presidents and Apostles) from the 1840s to the 1950s made "disparaging remarks" against blacks. Nevertheless, Hinckley clearly repudiated the Curse of Cain Doctrine and called into question (indirectly) the Priesthood-ban Policy.
The Church also issued a statement, called "Church Statement Regarding the Washington Post Article on Race and the Church", nicknamed "The Bott Statement", in February of 2012 which reads:
"For a time in the Church there was a restriction on the priesthood for male members of African descent. It is not known precisely why, how, or when this restriction began in the Church but what is clear is that it ended decades ago. Some have attempted to explain the reason for this restriction but these attempts should be viewed as speculation and opinion, not doctrine. The Church is not bound by speculation or opinions given with limited understanding. We condemn racism, including any and all past racism by individuals both inside and outside the Church." (Church Statement Regarding the 'Washington Post' Article on Race and the Church issued Feb. 26, 2012)
This statement is nicknamed "The Bott Statement" because it was written in response to what Randy Bott, a BYU religion professor, had told The Washington Post in early 2012. It is an official statement of the Church, and seems to repudiate the Curse of Cain Doctrine without admitting it was a doctrine and without blaming Church leaders for it. The Curse of Cain Doctrine has been officially repudiated by...
*The April of 2006 Statement by President Hinckley in General Conference sometimes referred to as "The Hinckley Repudiation".
**The February of 2012 statement issued by the Church in response to a Washington Post article that quoted BYU religion professor Randy Bott; nicknamed "The Bott Statement".
A Formal Public Apology by the Church Not Likely
Most liberal Mormons, and some conservative Mormons, want the Church to go farther, and issue a formal "Apology" for the Curse of Cain Doctrine and the Priesthood-Ban Policy. This is highly unlikely, because for current Church leaders to admit that former Church leaders were "wrong" and that former leaders did in fact teach the Curse of Cain doctrine as "a doctrine of the Church" (which they did) would be detrimental to current leaders, who teach rank-and-file Mormons that they are never to criticize Mormon leaders; not even when the criticism is accurate and true.
Although Mormon leaders ("The Brethren") do not openly claim "infallibility" most Mormons believe they are, or at least the President of the Church ("The Living Prophet") is infallible; at least when speaking in General Conference. For Church leaders to admit former Church leaders were "wrong" would, in their eyes, diminish their own authority and "aura of infallibility" they have enjoyed and now enjoy. In other words, it would lessen their power and control over rank-and-file Mormons. This is why a formal, uneqivocal, and unambigious apology by the First Presidency is not likely to occur in the future. It is also very evident that the Hinckley Repudiation in 2006 and the Bott Statement in 2012 have clearly repudiated the Curse of Cain Doctrine; declaring it "speculation" by those with "limited understanding". The Brethren do not feel they need to go further with this.
Not All Black People Are Hamites
From 1852 to 1955 the Curse of Cain was applied to all black-skinned people everywhere. After 1955, it was interpreted to apply only to black Africans and not to black-skinned people of India or Australia or New Guinea or Figi or Melanesia; since it was then believed that only Black Africans were "Hamites" (descendants of Ham and his Cainite wife). Black-skinned peoples in India, Indonesia, Phillipines (Negritos) and Melanesia and Fiji were no longer considered to be Hamites by Mormon prophets after 1955, and they were ordained to the Priesthood and allowed in Mormon Temples.
Polynesians such as native Hawaiians, Tongans, and Samoans, Tahitians, even though they are part-black (being the descandants of black-skinned Fijians and yellow-skinned Japanese islanders) were considered to be decendants of Hagoth, a Lamanite sailor, who took some Lamanites to the "isles of the sea" in the Book of Mormon. They were never banned from the Priesthood or Temples; although their skin is brown.
Lamanites Cursed With a Dark Skin
Native Americans ("Indians") and Asians were never banned from the Temple or Priesthood; although The Book of Mormon says that their ancestors were "cursed with a skin of blackness" so that they were "not enticing" to the white-skinned Nephites; so the Nephites would not intermarry with them and thus become "filthy and idle" like the Lamanites ("lay-man-nights"). It should be noted, that The Book of Mormon also teaches that the dark-skinned Lamanites eventually become "more righteous" than the white-skinned Nephites who become "prideful" because of their white skins, worship Mammon (riches), and practice "whoredoms" including polygamy (yes...The Book of Mormon teaches that polygamy is a "whoredom" and "an abomination" before the LORD) and concubinage; which is why God allowed the Lamanites to utterly destroy the Nephites (nee-fights) in the Battle of the Hill Cumorah purported to take place about 400 A.D. near what is now Palmyra, New York.
The Curse of Cain NOT of Mormon Origin
In the early 19th century, all Bible-believing Americans believed the "Negroes" were the descendants of Ham, the son of Noah. Some also believed that Negroes were the descendants of Cain, and that the "Mark of Cain" was a "black skin". The 18th century African-American poetess Phillis Wheatley (born in Senegal in 1753) wrote:
"'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,--1770)
Phillis Wheatley (c.1770)
Phillis Wheatley was not a Mormon! There were no "Mormons" in her day! The Mormon Faith did not begin until 1830. Wheatley wrote that whites believed in her day that "Negroes" were "as black as Cain". That was the general belief among white Europeans and white Americans (both Catholic and Protestant) in her day, and in the days of Joseph Smith and Brigham Young.
Origin of the Negro/Cainite Folklore
The ancient tradition that the "Mark of Cain" was a black face, or a black skin, comes from ancient Jewish writings; like the Babylonian Talmud, the Midrash, etc., written by Jewish scribes in the 6th century A.D., in their attempt to explain the origin of the African race. Such a tradition existed in Catholic Europe during the Middle-Ages and afterwards, but it was never accepted as doctrine by the Catholic Church. Joanna Southcott accepted this folklore, and incorporated it into her "Revelations". When early Mormon apostles were in England in the mid-1840s, they converted thousands of her followers to the Church, and her followers taught the Mormon apostles the Curse of Cain Doctrine, and then some of the Mormon apostles began to teach this doctrine when they returned to America. Brigham Young at first rejected it, but, after the William McCary Incident in Winter's Quarters in 1847, he embraced the doctrine and "banned" all blacks from the Mormon priesthood and Temples.
The Seed of Cain Were Black
Joseph Smith's "translation" of Genesis (The Book of Moses in The Pearl of Great Price--a volume of Mormon scripture) seems to confirm the ancient tradition, saying that "the seed of Cain were black" (Moses 5:22).
According to The Book of Abraham (also in The Pearl of Great Price), the Ancient Egyptians were Canaanites by blood; meaning descendant of Canaan, the son of Ham and a woman named "Egyptus" who was a descendant of Cain.
In other words, while many Bible-believers believed that all the Cainites drowned in the Great Flood, Mormons were taught that the Cainite lineage survived the flood, and that Ham, the son of Noah, married a Cainite ("Negro") woman; thus preserving the Cainite lineage. The Canaanites settled what is now Israel/Palestine, and also Egypt and Sudan.
It was a common belief in the 19th century that "Negroes" were the descendants of Ham and Canaan. However, the truth is known today that the Canaanites were white-skinned Caucasians. The Canaanites still exist today as the Lebanese, the Palestinians, and the Berbers of North Africa; all "Caucasian" peoples.
The term "the seed of Cain were black" in Hebrew means they were "inclined to evil" with no reference to skin color. However, to white Americans and British in the 19th century, with no knowledge of ancient Hebrew idiom, they would have naturally assumed "black" referred to skin color. In ancient Hebrew "white" means pure or holy or good and "black" means impure, unholy, and bad; with no reference to skin color. But, early Mormons were unaware of ancient Hebrew idioms.
Do Mormons believe that Cain was the first "Negro"?
Mormons born after about 1960 do not believe that, but, at one time, many years ago, many decades ago, most Mormons did believe that. Most Americans once believed the Moon was inhabited. Today, none do. In like manner, just because Mormons "once" (long ago) believed that Cain was the first Negro, it does NOT follow that Mormons "today" believe that. They don't, if they are under the age of 70.
Younger Mormons Unaware of the Curse of Cain Doctrine
Many younger Mormons (born after 1978) are
unaware of the Curse of Cain doctrine and some of the older teachings of the Church, and are often only barely aware that black Mormon men could not hold
the Priesthood before 1978 (except for Elijah Abel, his
descendants, and Walker Lewis). If they say, "We never knew that!" they are not lying! They simply have never been taught about this aspect of Mormon history. After you read this article, you'll know more than they do about the subject.
Not All Mormon Leaders Accepted the Curse of Cain Doctrine or the Priesthood-Ban Policy
The Curse of Cain Doctrine: "Negroes" were less valient in the War in Heaven, alghough they fought on the side of Jesus, but were "less valiant"; so they were punished by being born into the lineage (bloodline) of Cain. Cain was a white son of Adam and Eve until he killed Abel, then the LORD cursed him and put upon him a black skin and "Negro" features. He married his sister, and had all-Negro children who became known as the "Cainites". Ham married a Cainite woman already pregnant with a full-Cainite child, and they settled Egypt and then Pathros (black Africa).
The Priesthood-ban Policy: Negro men are not to receive the priesthood in this life, but may receive it in the Resurrection. Negro males and females banned from the Mormon Temples. They cannot get "sealed" in Eternal marriages or Eternal Families. They cannot be "Endowed". They cannot go on missions. They cannot serve in any Priesthood capacity, until the LORD Himself removes the Curse of Cain from them.
Not all Apostles accepted the doctrine of policy. Spencer W. Kimball, an Apostle in 1963, believed it was a "possible error". He said in 1963:
"The doctrine or policy has not varied in my memory. I know it could. I know the LORD could change his policy and forgive the possible error which brought about the deprivation [of the priesthood and temple rites to blacks]." (The Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball, pp.448-9)
Spencer W. Kimball, a Mormon Apostle in 1963 when this interview took place, believed that the Priesthood-ban Policy, instituted first in 1848 by Brigham Young after "The McCary Incident", was "a possible error". This shows that even Mormon Apostles had doubts about the doctrine being of God or merely an "error" by Brigham Young.
David O. McKay served as President of the LDS Church from 1950 until 1969. In the latter part of his presidency over the Church, he told numerous people that the Curse of Cain was "not a doctrine of the Church". He was asked to end the priesthood-ban. He is purported to have said (second-hand): "I asked the Lord, and He said not yet".
In 1993, outside the food court on South Temple Street, across from the Church Administrative Building, Elder David B. Haight, a Mormon Apostle, told me he never believed in the Curse of Cain Doctrine and "disagreed with the Brethren" on it. Had Elder Haight lived abit longer, he would have been the President of the Church.
On April 1st, 2006, President Gordon B. Hinckley, the President of the Church, in the General Priesthood Session of General Conference, seemed to repudiate the Curse of Cain Doctrine by saying that any man who would deny the priesthood based upon skin color was "not a true disciple of Christ".
The Brethren (top Church leaders) today (2012) believe that the Curse of Cain Doctrine and Priesthood-ban Policy should be forgotten by everyone. It is an embarassment to them. They refuse to comment upon it. They let the Church's public affairs department (LDS Church Public Affairs) "handle" all "Blacks and the Priesthood Questions". LDS Church Public Affairs has said since 1996:
*The Church renounces racism whether inside or outside the Church.
**The Church has "never taught" that blacks were cursed by God or the children of Cain or less valiant in the War in Heaven.
***"Some Members" may have believed this "folklore" at one time, but it was never Church doctrine.
*****"This folklore" is based upon speculation and opinion by "some members".
******We (the Church) "don't know the reason why" we banned blacks from the priesthood until June 8th, 1978.
Here are the FACTS:
*The Curse of Cain Doctrine was "a doctrine of the Church" and taught openly by Church leaders from 1848 to the 1950s. One Mormon Apostle, Bruce R. McConkie, taught it openly in his book Mormon Doctrine until June 8th, 1978.
**It was called "a doctrine of the Church" in Statement of the First Presidency on the Negro Question that was released in 1949 and re-released in 1951. You can't get any more "official" than that.
***The Church claimed it "knew the reason why" it was banning blacks; because "the Negro was less valiant in the pre-existence" (i.e. wasn not valiant in the War in Heaven when all human spirits fought for Jesus against Lucifer and his angels).
****At least 90% of active Mormons believed in the Curse of Cain Doctrine when it was openly taught (1850s to 1950s); not "some Members may have" as LDS Church Public Affairs Dept. has claimed since 1996 (when Elder M. Russell Ballard, a Mormon Apostle, was appointed overseer of LDS Pubic Affairs)
*****The only reason rank-and-file Mormons accepted the Curse of Cain Doctrine as part of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, is because that is how their leaders, the Prophets and Apostles of the Church, presented it to them for over 100 years!
******Mormon leaders before 1996 never referred to the Curse of Cain Doctrine as "folklore" or "in my opinion"; nor did they ever present it as speculation. They always referred to as "a doctrine of the Church".
The 1978 Revelation
The Church banned blacks (i.e. Negroes) from its Priesthood and Temple from 1848 to June 8th, 1978; when the Priesthood-ban was lifted. This was called "The 1978 Revelation". The 1978 Revelation came about because of the following factors:
The Brazil Situation
In 1976 the Church build a Temple in Sao Paulo, Brazil. To enter a Mormon Temple, a Mormon male must hold the priesthood. Black Mormons were still banned from the priesthood and temples. Church leaders discovered that many of the white Brazilian men already ordained to the Priesthood had at least one "Negro" ancestor; making them fall under the Curse of Cain and Priesthood-ban. This is called "The Brazil Situation"
The Brazil Situation was a MAJOR problem for the Church in the mid-1970s. Church leaders in Utah simply did not know that most white Brazilians have some "Negro" ancestry. They only discovered this about 1975; when Brazilian Mormons began to do genealogy in preparation to go to the new Sao Paulo Temple.
The Church had three choices in regards to the Brazil Situation:
a) Ignore it
b) Revoke the Priesthood on 70 per cent of Brazilian Mormon men because they had at least one "Negro" ancestor.
c) End the Priesthood-ban worldwide.
Revoking the priesthood of a majority of Brazlian Mormons would almost destroy the Church in Brazil and make the Temple in Sao Paulo practically useless. Mormons believe that they must be "Endowed" and "Sealed" in a Mormon Temple in order to become Gods or Goddesses (Exalation), and in order to be married forever (Eternal Marriage), and have their children in Heaven, and have more children in Heaven (Eternal Increase). The very purpose of the LDS Church is to gather the Elect so they can be Endowed and Sealed in a Mormon Temple. The Brazil Situation was making that impossible for the majority of Mormons in Brazil; because these white and brown Mormons had at least one "Negro" ancestor.
Church leaders chose "A"; to ignore the problem at first. The Church finally chose "C"; to end the Priesthood-ban worldwide.
Negative Press and Negative Events in the U.S.
Univerity sports teams were refusing to play Brigham Young University teams. Mormons were called "racists" and "anti-black" in many newspapers. False and exaggerated rumors and newspaper articles claimed that "Mormons hate black folks" and "Mormons believe black folks are the children of Devil" became popular in the African-American Community. The Church was facing increasing criticism from the Media, and Mormon missionaries were finding it difficult to proselyte (make converts) in North America, because of all the negative press and negative rumors. The missionary work was beginning to "fail" in North America because of the bad press. Mormon missionaries were also being threatened by the Black Panthers (a radical black organization) and other groups.
Threats from the Federal Government
The Church stopped the practice of Plural Marriage (Polygamy) in 1890, because the United States Federal government threatened to confescate all Church properties including the Temples. The Church then issued "Official Declaration 1" (called "The Manifesto") which ended the practice in the Church.
According to rumor, the Federal Government was threatening to revoke the Church's tax-exempt status if it did not end the Priesthood-ban. Again...this is rumor only. Without tax-exempt status, the Church's tax-exempt businesses would be taxed, as would all Church properties.
President Kimball Issues Official Declaration 2
The Church President at that time was Spencer W. Kimball, a man who frequently condemned white Mormons for their prejudism against Native Americans. President Kimball decided to supplicate the LORD in prayer, asking Him to remove the Priesthood-ban. On June 8th, 1978, the Church announced that the priesthood-ban was removed. Just about all white Mormons (95%) were overjoyed by this announcement.
From the Brigham Young University student newspaper
Had President Kimball not done this, then the Church in Brazil would have essentially been destroyed, and the missionary work in North America would have suffered terribly and continued to decline.
In 1978, President Spencer W. Kimball issued "Official Declaration 2" which allowed "all worthy males" the Priesthood without reference to race or color. Today (2004 A.D.) all Temple ordinances are open to black Mormons. All Priesthood-offices are also open to male Mormons of Hamitic lineage.
Official Declaration 2 did not mention the Curse of Cain Doctrine, nor repudiate it. It simply said that "the long awaited day had come" that all males regardless of race of color could hold the Priesthood.
Official Declaration 2 (a.k.a "The 1978 Revelation")
"The 1978 Revelation" which lifted the Priesthood-ban is officially called "Official Declaration 2". It reads as follows:
June 8 1978
To all general and local priesthood officers of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints throughout the world:
As we have witnessed the expansion of the work of the Lord over the earth, we have been grateful that people of many nations have responded to the message of the restored gospel, and have joined the Church in ever-increasing numbers. This, in turn, has inspired us with a desire to extend to every worthy member of the Church all the privileges and blessings which the gospel affords.
Aware of the promises made by the prophets and presidents of the Church who have preceded us that at some time, in God's eternal plan, all of our brethren who are worthy may receive the priesthood, and witnessing the faithfulness of those from whom the priesthood has been withheld, we have pleaded long and earnestly in behalf of these, our faithful brethren, spending many hours in the Upper Room of the Temple supplicating the Lord for divine guidance.
He has heard our prayers, and by revelation has confirmed that the long-promised day has come when every faithful, worthy man in the Church may receive the holy priesthood, with power to exercise its divine authority, and enjoy with his loved ones every blessing that flows therefrom, including the blessings of the temple. Accordingly, all worthy male members of the Church may be ordained to the priesthod without regard for race and color. Priesthood leaders are instructed to follow the policy of carefully interviewing all candidates for ordination to either the Aaronic or the Melchizedek Priesthood to insure that they meet the established standards for worthiness.
We declare with soberness that the Lord has now made known his will for the blessing of all his children throughout the earth who will hearken to the voice of his authorized servznts, and prepare themselves to receive every blessing of the gospel.
Sincerely yours, SPENCER W. KIMBALL
N. ELDON TANNER
MARION G. ROMNEY The First Presidency
June 8th, 1978, is sometimes referred to by Mormons as "The Promised Day".
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 Upper Room" 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.
Many Mormons believe that Brigham Young predicted the lifting on the Ban in 1866 when he said:
"And when all the rest of the children of Adam have received their blessings in the Holy Priesthood, then that curse shall be removed from the seed of Cain, and they will come up and receive all the blessings which we now are entitled to." (Journal of Discourses 11:272)
The Salt Lake Temple (Salt Lake City, Utah)
The Upper Room (Salt Lake Temple)
The Upper Room (also called the "Holy of Holies") is where the President of the Church, who is considered a "Living Prophet", communicates with the LORD Jesus Christ and receives divine Revelation from Him.
The Curse of Cain doctrine today
The Curse of Cain doctrine (i.e. that black Africans are the descendants of Cain and inherit his curse as pertaining to the Priesthood) is not actively taught in the Mormon Faith today. It has not been actively taught since the late 1950s; except for Bruce R. McConkie teaching it in his book Mormon Doctrine. This has left many Mormons confused about it. Some think it was Church doctrine, and some think it wasn't. Some younger Mormons are totally unware of it!
Even though there are no signs that the Curse of Cain doctrine or Priesthood~ban legacy will ever be 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)
Were some Mormon presidents and apostles "racist"?
Early (pre-1960s) 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. Mormon apostles generally held the same views on race as did most white Americans of their day. They were the children of their times.
White-Supremacy and Mormonism
The Mormon Church has never been "white supremacist". Native Americans, Polynesians, Asians, Hispanics, have always had full equality in the LDS Church; with no segregation. Only those of black African lineage were "banned" from the Mormon priesthood and temples. Had the Mormon Church been "white-supremacist" it would have denied all non-whites membership. That never happened. Indeed, "Negroes" have been Mormons since 1832; although, because of the Curse of Cain Doctrine and Pristhood-ban Policy, their numbers were very small until after June 8th, 1978.
Are Black Mormons Segregated?
No, there is no segregation in the LDS Church today. However, Black Mormons in North America have a "service and fellowship" organization called the Genesis Group. You can also go to the Genesis Group (of Black Latter-day Saints) Website at:
Genesis groups currently exist in Utah, Greater Los Angeles and Oakland California, and Atlanta Georgia.
The Genesis Group
On June 8th, 1971, Ruffin Bridgeforth Jr. (a black convert from Louisiana), and several other black Members of the Church, Darius Gray and Eugene Orr, formed the "Genesis Group"; a fellowship organization of black Mormons. The Genesis Groups 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 Group branches exist in some major metropolitan areas. These are not Church unites like Wards or Branches. They are fellowship and service organizations.
The "1978 Revelation" is announced to the world on June 8th, 1978, seven years to the day after the Genesis Group was founded by three black Members in Salt Lake City.
There are no segregated black congregations in the Church. Some wards and branches (large and small congregations) are black or predominantly black in North America merely because the neighborhood they live in is black or predominantly black.
Do Black Mormons accept the Curse of Cain doctrine and Priesthood-ban as having come from God?
A. The great majority do not, and believe it was a mistake of Brigham Young. The Church has never claimed that its Presidents or Apostles were infallible. About 90% of white Mormons today either believe the Curse of Cain Doctrine is false, or they're too young to remember it being taught.
Was the Curse of Cain Doctrine official?
Yes. In 1949 the First Presidency of the Church issued this statement:
"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, August 17 1949, 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)
Most Black Mormons (97%) and most white Mormons today under the age of 60, believe that the Curse of Cain Doctrine was "folklore" that entered into the Church via the back door. It cannot be found in the Revelations of the LORD to the Prophet Joseph Smith. They believe that Brigham Young made a "mistake" in accepting it (after the McCary Incident) and promulgating it, and that the Curse of Cain Doctrine was repudiated by Church President Gordon B. Hinckley in 2006.
David O. McKay
Another Church President that commented on racism was David O. McKay (1873-1970); the 9th President of the Church.
David O. McKay was known to condemn racism and intolerance as well, but he too was a staunch supporter of the Priesthood-ban. He once said in 1944:
"America has the great opportunity to lead the world from political intrigue and cheap demogoguery, from national seflishness, 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)
David O. McKay (9th President of the LDS Church)
It was President McKay who issued a policy-change in 1955 which allowed non-Hamitic black-skinned peoples the Priesthood and Higher Ordinances of Mormon Temples.
LDS Books and Videos
Today (2003) there are a few books and one video in the LDS market that deal with Afro-Mormon subjects:
*Standing On The Promises is a trilogy of "faction" (fiction based upon historical facts and people) novels by Darius Gray and Margaret Blair Young. The novels begin with Elijah Abel and continue until the 1978 Revelation and beyond. Available via Deseret Book and most LDS bookstores. Ask the clerk to show you where they are.
Standing on the Promises trilogy
*Safejourney by Glenn L. Pace; formerly of the Presiding Bishopric. Elder Pace tells of his three years in Africa; as an emissary, missionary, and as an agent of LDS Charities in Africa.
*Pioneers of Africa is a video-documentary about the first black Mormons in Africa. Includes many personal interviews. See link below to order.
*There are some out-of-print books that you cannot find in LDS bookstores such as In the Lord's Due Time by Joseph Freeman, It's You And Me Lord by Alan Cherry, and Neither Black nor White by Jessie Embry, and A Soul So Rebellious by Mary Francis Sturlaugson. You can find copies of these in the BYU Library and some of the larger LDS Insitutes of Religion (next to large univerities and colleges in the Western U.S.), and you can usually get them via interlibrary loan if you live in the U.S.
7) More books and films are expected in the future; including one documentary film titled "Nobody Knows: The Untold Story of the Black Mormons". This is a faith-promoting documentary by black Mormon film producers Wayne L. Lee and Robert J. Foster. To purchase Black Mormon books and DVDs you need to go to your local "Deseret Bookstore". Look in the Yellow Pages under "books" then look for "Deseret Books" or "LDS Books" or "LDS Bookseller". If you live West of the Rockies you'll have no problem finding a "Deseret Bookstore" in every metropolitan area. If you live East of the Rockies, there are few Deseret Bookstores; most being close to a Mormon Temple such as in New York City, Washington D.C., Atlanta, Nauvoo Illinois, Chicago, Littleton Colorado (near Denver), and Houston Texas.
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:
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, request a free copy of The Book of Mormon, or chat with missionaries online at:
I do not believe in the Curse of Cain Doctrine as it was taught for 130 years: that Cain was changed from a white man into the first "Negro". I believe Cain existed, and his descendants, the Qayin of Syria and Saudi Arabia, still exist today. They are a tribe of wandering blacksmiths. They have a mark "X" on their foreheads; if anyone kills a Qayin, seven Qayin will avenge his death. They do not farm, because the ground is "cursed" under them. They wander with their goats and sheep, and work as minstrils and blacksmiths. They are not black Africans, but ruddy-skinned Arabs, as their Arab neighbors. The very word "Cain" is an Anglicized version of the Hebrew (and Arabic) word QAYIN; a group of wandering Arabian blacksmiths who still exist to this day.
Photograph (1920) of seven Sleb (Qayin) men ande one Sleb woman. They have an mark "X" on their forehead, a warning to those who kill a sleb, that seven sleb will avenge his death. The Sleb (Qayin) are Arabs, not black Africans. Their skin (when not tanned by the Sun) is white.
I believe that Curse of Cain doctrine originated with Joanna Southcott, and brought into the Church by followers of her writings who converted to the Church in England in the 1840s. Most of them later came to Utah. I do not believe she was inspired of God.
Again, I believe that the real "Curse of Cain" refers to the Sleb ("Qayin") of Syria and Arabia; not to black Africans. The very word in English Bibles translated as "Cain" comes from the Hebrew and Arabic word "Qayin" (khai-yeen); the tribal name for the Sleb who still exist to this day as a wandering tribe of musicians and blacksmiths, who do not farm (because the ground is cursed to them), and have a "mark" of protection (a tatoo) on their foreheads that warns everyone that is one Sleb is killed, seven Sleb will avenge his death. The Sleb is a nickname and means "mark" because of the mark on their foreheads. Their tribal name is Qayin ("Khayeen"), the very name for Cain in Hebrew Bibles, which is translated as "Cain" in English Bibles.
Mormons Of Yesterday Were Wrong!
19th century Mormons were the "children of their day" and culture. They held beliefs that have been proven wrong. They were wrong to believe the Sun and Moon were inhabited as the earth. They were wrong to believe that a black skin was a mark of Cain; black skin is a protection from the harsh rays of the Sun. Black races evolved near the Equator where the rays of the Sun are harshest. Black skin protects the skin from skin cancer and the UV radiation which can cause problems in people with light skin who live in tropical climates. They were wrong to believe that "Negroes" were Canaanites (who are the modern Lebanese, Palestinians, and Berbers--all Caucasians with white skin). They were wrong to believe the "Negroes" were less intelligent than whites. They were wrong to believe that the Lost Tribes lived at the North Pole. They were wrong to believe that "the seed of Cain were black" (Moses 5:22) referred to skin color. They were wrong. Their information was very limited. Today, we have better sources of information. Don't judge them by our standards today; because they had only very limited information to go on. They held many superstitions, because they didn't know any better.
Mormon Leaders and Infallibility
Joseph Smith never claimed infallibility. Brigham Young once did say that his sermons were as good as Scripture. But no President of the Church has claimed infalliblity since Brigham Young. Elder Bruce R. McConkie, a Mormon Apostle from the 1960s to his death in 1985, believed he was infallible, at least until June 8th 1978, and believe he had a special calling to "teach doctrine to the Church" that not even the President of the Church had. He occassionally told others of this belief in private conversation or in letters,, although he was wise enough never to mention it widely nor in official Church gatherings.
The Presidents and Apostles of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are not infallible. They can be mistaken. What the Church taught was "Gospel Truth" one decade, may be considered "false doctrine" later in time. This is a fact that cannot be denied. No Mormon leader since Brigham Young has openly claimed infallibility, but, as a young Mormon in the 1980s, I was constantly told they were never wrong, could not lead the Saints (Mormons) astray, and so forth. Certainly today, "The Brethren" (top 15 Mormon leaders) never claim infallibility. But, unfortunatley, they seldom if ever tell the rank-and-file Members they are NOT infallible. This leads to false assumptions. Many or most Mormons "perceive" them to be infallible guides; even though Mormon leaders do not openly claim that and would probably deny it if direclty asked, but rank-and-file Mormons are not allowed to ask.
Mormon Prophets and Apostles have often contradicted each other. Some believed that the story of Eve being taken from a rib of Adam was literal, others believed in was figurative. Some believed that that "Negroes" were naturally inferior to whites, but Joseph Smith and a few others did not. Some believed in pre-Adamites, and others believed Adam and Eve were the first humans on this planet. Some believed this, and others believed that. An early Mormon Apostle, George Q. Cannon, saw the contradictions, and said:
"Do not, brethren, put your trust in man though he be a bishop, an apostle, or a president. If you do, they will fail you at some time or place; they will do wrong or seem to, and your support be gone;" - Apostle George Q. Cannon (Millennial Star 53:658-59, quoted in Gospel Truth, 1:319)
As as young Mormon in the early 1980s, I was told constantly to "follow the Brethren" and put my full faith and trust in them, because they would "never lead you astray". Yet, for 130 years (1848-1978) Mormon leaders led rank-and-file Mormons to believe in the Curse of Cain Doctrine which the Church now says was "never a doctrine of the Church", but "folklore" and "personal opinion" and "speculation" by those with "limited understanding".
The Mormons did not invent black African slavery. That was invented first by Arab Muslims, and then by Catholic and then Protestant Europeans. The Mormons did not invent "racism". That was invented by men who did not believe in God. The Mormons did not create the KKK or other anti-black organizations; those were created by a few misguided "Protestants". The Mormons did not segregate blacks or create "Jim Crow" laws in the South. Again, those were created by Protestants (mostly Baptists and Methodists) in the South.
Joseph Smith was NOT racist in any way. Early Mormon leaders after Joseph Smith were "moderately racist" as were 95% of white Americans in their same generation. They were children of their times. Very, very few white Mormons today hold any racist beliefs.
The Prophet Joseph Smith was a great advocate for the rights of black people! He was far ahead of his time. Today, Mormons in Utah and elsewhere have some of the most pro-Black attitudes that can be found anywhere.
Brigham Young was a moderate racist, like most white men of his day, but even he said that the "whites shall be cursed for the way they have treated the Negro, unless they (the whites) repent".
Today (2012), in the African-American Community, there still exists many false and exaggerated rumors about Mormons that are, for the most part, believed! African-Americans, who were for centuries the victims of prejudice ("to pre-judge~to judge something without knowing the facts") should be the first people NOT to pre-judge Mormons, and the first to NOT believe false rumors. Unfortunately, for the most part, this is not the case. There are still today many false rumors about Mormons in the African-American Community. Many African-Americans have hardened their hearts against the Church, and against Mormons in general, because of the false rumors, and also because of the fact of the Curse of Cain and the priesthood-ban. But the Church is growing by leaps and bounds in Black Africa. The Africans have not hardened their hearts. By 2030, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints will be the largest, or one of the largest, Christian churches in Africa. By 2030, there will be more Black Mormons than White Mormons. Brigham Young must be rolling in his grave! ;~)
"And ye are called to bring to pass the gathering of Mine elect; for Mine elect hear My Voiceand harden not their hearts." (D&C 29:7)
If you are black, and don't like the past racism of the Mormon Church, then don't join it. But please don't blame or punish Mormons of Today for the mistakes of past Mormon leaders. Don't blame or punish young Mormon missionaires for being "racist" because they are NOT racists! Their white ancestors probably were, but they are not! There are many black Mormon missionaries around today too, and many more in the future.
Black Mormon Missionaries in Ghana, West Africa (2005)
There are tens of thousands of Black people who have joined the Mormon Church knowing full-well of its "racist" past. Why did they become Mormons? Ask them. America itself has a "racist" past, but that doesn't meant all or most white Americans "today" are racist. Most African-Americans are patriots, and love their country, even with its "racist" past. The same is true for Black Mormons and their Church.
The Mormon Church is the only Church that can "seal" men to women in Eternal Marriages, and "seal" parents to children; so that the Family Unit may continue for eternity and not be lost forever at death. You can be with your loved ones for all eternity, but only if you are "sealed" in a Mormon Temple. Only faithful Mormons may enter Mormon Temples.
Please don't punish Mormons of today for the sins of past Mormon leaders who have been dead for decades or even a century or more! The Mormon Church "today" (and tomorrow) is NOT "racist" in any way! Don't punish innocent people for the mistakes of men who have been long dead! Long-dead Mormons are "racist". Living Mormons today ARE NOT and never were! Black Mormons are 100% accepted in the LDS Church today!
The Curse of Cain Legacy came about because of three things:
1. The Southcottites. Many followers of Joana Southcott (d. 1814) joined the Mormon Church in England. In her "revelations" there are references to "fallen angels" (fallen because of pride) becoming "Negroes" on earth. She is NOT accepted as a true prophetess by the LDS Church. Yet, her "revelation" on Negroes inspired two Mormon apostles, Orson Hyde and Orson Pratt, to develope "the Curse of Cain doctrine" which became official LDS doctrine when Brigham Young began to preach it in General Conference, and elsewhere, in 1848.
2. The McCary Incident in 1847 where a Mulatto Mormon Elder seduces a number of white Mormon women. This enrages Brigham Young, who then "bans" all black Mormons from being ordained. For some reason, the son and grandson of Elijah Abel were ordained after 1847. Elijah Abel was 1/4th black. He married a woman who could pass for white. The son (Enoch Able) and grandson (Eliah Abel II) could pass for white; which is probably why they were ordained to the Priesthood; although their ordination contradicted official Mormon policy of banning anyone "with one drop of Negro blood" in them from the Priesthood and Temples.
3. The "Black Verses" in Mormon Scripture. Some Mormon revelations, such as the Book of Moses, said that "the seed of Cain were black" (Moses 5:22). In Hebrew idiom, this refers NOT to skin color, but to a people being "inclined to evil". Early Mormons assumed it meant black skin because were unfamiliar with ancient Hebrew idioms. Mormons in the 19th century were composed of ignorant farmers who knew nothing of science nor of ancient Hebrew idioms (ways of speaking).
The Priesthood-ban Policy was reversed on June 8th, 1978, for the following reasons:
1. The Brazil Situation. Many "white" Brazilian men with "Negro" ancestry had already been ordained! About 70 per cent of "white" Brazilian Mormons had "Negro" ancestry. To include them under the Priesthoode-ban would have destroyed the Church in Brazil, and made the new "Sao Paolo Temple" almost useless.
2. Negative Press. All the negative press in North America was hurting the Church's image and damaging the missionary efforts in North America.
3. Threats from the U.S. Government. According to numerous rumors, the Jimmy Carter Administration was making threats against the Church, possibly (and this is RUMOR ONLY) threating to revoke the Church's tax-exempt status if the Church did not end the Priesthood-Ban. Had the Church's tax-exempt status been revoked by the U.S. Government, it would have financially crippled the Church. I have written to Jimmy Carter many times, starting in the mid-1980s, asking if this rumor was true or not. I have yet to receive any reply.
I spent about 30 years of my life researching Black Mormon history. I am not black, and never claimed to be. I'm a convert to the Church (Dec. 1978). I knew nothing about the "Curse of Cain" before my baptism. I was SHOCKED by it. I left the Church for 17 months, but returned; because I had a testimony that it was true. I served a mission to San Jose and San Francisco California in 1983-85. I wrote "The Gainsayers" (1989) which was a help to many missionaries in North America in the 1990s. My greatest wish was to refute the arguments of the Anti-Mormons, and to try to show to the African-American community that Mormons "today" are not racist in any way, and should not be blamed for the racism of early Mormon leaders who died many decades ago. Because of ongoing mental illness, I left the Church for many years. I apologize to all whom I have offended because I have said and done things contrary to the Holy Spirit over the years, when I was very ill. I hope and pray that you'll forgive me for my mistakes.
Advice to Mormon Missionaries
If you have Investigators with "BPQs" ("Blacks and the Priesthood Questions") then write down the URL of this website and give it to those Investigators, but only if they have BPQs. Tell them: "We were born long after the Priesthood-ban ended. We don't know much about it." Don't try to answer all their BPQs yourself. But also tell them:
*There have been Black Mormon since 1832.
*There are hundreds of thousands of Black Mormons in the Church today.
*Black Mormons have had full equality in the LDS Church since 1978.
*Mormons a century ago were moderately racist, but Mormons today, and Mormon today, are not.
*The Church has repudiated racism both inside and outside of the Church.
*Black folks join the Church because they desire Eternal Families.
Don't try to explain the Curse of Cain Legacy yourself! If an investigator is "golden" but has a major problem with this subject, write down the URL (email address) of this website and give it to them. Don't argue with people about it, that is a time-waster. Move on. Never refer to black folks as "You People" or even "Black People". You may refer to them as "blacks" or "people of African lineage" or even "Black Folks". If someone asks "Why would a black person want to join your Church?" say "Because they desire an Eternal Family". Then explain the concept of Eternal Marriage and Eternal Families.
Advice to Journalists
If you want to interview Black Mormons then contact the Genesis Group. Their website is below. The Brethren (top 15 leaders of the Church) rarely if ever give interviews to the Media. Contact "LDS Church Public Affairs" in Salt Lake City if you want a statement regarding blacks and the Church.
Mormons did not start slavery, they did not start the KKK (the Church was officially opposed to it), they did not pass "Jim Crow" (segregationist) laws in the South, and they did not invent the doctrine that a black skin was the Mark of Cain.
There have been Black Mormmons since 1832. Ford Union Utah (now part of Midvale Utah) was originally a Black Mormon settlement. Their numbers have always been very low until after "The 1978 Revelation" on June 8th, 1978.
The Prophet Joseph Smith a great advocate for the black people; calling for their freedom, education, and the granting of equal rights. He had free black men ordained to both orders of Priesthood; including Elijah Abel who was a Seventy Apostle. He never taught the Curse of Cain Doctrine.
The Curse of Cain Doctrine began with Joanna Southcott in the 1797. She was never a Mormon, but many of her followers converted to the Church, and taught this doctrine to the Mormons, and Mormon Apostles Orson Hyde and Orson Pratt champtioned the doctrine in the Church years after Joseph Smith was assassinatd in 1844.
Brigham Young did not accept the Curse of Cain doctrine at first and referred to Walker Lewis as "one of the best Elders" in the Church. But, after the William McCary Incident in 1847, he embraced it, and then banned all blacks Mormons from the priesthood and temples. He did say the curse would one day be removed.
Brigham Young also said that whites would be cursed for the way they have treated the Negro, unless they repented, and once threatened with death any "white man of the chosen seed" who mixed his seed (i.e. had sex) with a Cainite ("Negro") woman; probably a threat to white Mormon slaveowners from the South who migrated to Utah during the 1850s and 1860s and brought their male and female slaves with them.
The Priesthood-Ban ended on June 8th, 1978, because of the Brazil Situation and because of negative press that was hurting the Church's missionary efforts in North America. To date (Oct. 2012) I can find no confirmation to the rumor that the Church's tax-exempt status was being threatened by the U.S. Government.
Since 1996, when Mormon Apostle M. Russell Ballard took charge of LDS Public Affairs, LDS Church Public Affairs Department has issued statements which deny the Church ever taught that blacks were cursed or the children of Cain, that "some Members" may have believed this "folklore" and they further declare that the Church "does not know the reason why" it banned blacks from its Priesthood and Temples for 130 years (1848-1978). These statements by LDS Church Public Affairs are unfactual, misleading, and deceptive.
Church President Gordon B. Hinckley repudiated the Curse of Cain Doctrine on April 1st, 2006, in the General Priesthood Meeting of General Conference, and the First Presidency repudiated it again in February 2012 with "The Bott Statement".
Some Mormon teachers who work for the Church, such as Seminary Teachers (who teach Mormon highschoolers) or Institute Instructors (who teach Mormon university students), claim they were instructed not to teach their students about the Curse of Cain Legacy, or even mention it, or they will face being demoted, or fired, or possible excommunication.
Many Seminary Teachers put their own "spin" on why the Church didn't allow blacks the priesthood before 1978; saying things like "The Brethren knew that many members held racist beliefs and wanted to protect blacks from this, and waited until white Members would be accepting of them". Nice spin, but totally NOT the reason why the Church banned blacks until 1978.
Church President Gordon B. Hinckley repudiated the Curse of Cain Doctrine in General Conference (General Priesthood Session) in April of 2006 and the First Presidency again repudiated it in "The Bott Statement" issued by the Church in February of 2012.
It is highly unlikely that the Church will issue a Public Apology; a direct and unambigious statement that takes the blame for and apologizing for for the Curse of Cain Legacy. That would embarass Church leaders, and lessen their aura of Divine Authority and "perceived infallibility" in the eyes of rank-and-file Mormons.
Younger Mormons (under 50) know little to nothing about the Curse of Cain Doctrine, and many have told me that I was a "liar" after I told them about the Curse of Cain Legacy.
No references to the Curse of Cain doctrine can be found in any Church manuals or histories published by the Church after 1978. The Brethren (top 15 Mormon leaders) want it "forgotten" and have literally "whited-out" the Curse of Cain Legacy from official Mormon history. It has become "verbotten" (forbidden) even to discuss the Curse of Cain Legacy anywhere in the Mormon Church today. Even Mormon historians are not supposed to discuss it or even write about it, and may face being fired or facing other sanctions if they do speak or write about it.
The Brethren want the Curse of Cain Legacy to be completely forgotten; never discussed, never written about, not even in Church history books. But, in the Age of the Internet, it is literally impossible to "forget" the Curse of Cain Legacy. It will always be there like a skeleton in the closet. It should be dealt with openly and honestly, letting God handle the consequences.
The Curse of Cain Doctrine was an official "doctrine of the Church" for 130 years, and anyone who says differently is either lying or have been lied to and believed the lies they were told.
The "True" Curse of Cain doctrine refers to the Qayin ("Sleb") of Arabia; a wandering tribe of blacksmiths who do not farm and have a 'mark' (X) of protection tatooed on their foreheads. They are Caucasian-Arabs with white skin (when untanned).
Most Mormons under 30 (in 2012) know little or nothing about the Curse of Cain Doctrine, and are only vaguely aware of the Priesthood-ban Policy before 1978.
Mormon missionaries to date (October 2012) are not given one minute of instruction on how to answer BPQs (blacks and the priesthood questions) in the Missionary Training Centers, but are left to their own devices to deal with the issue in the missions.
White Mormons today, under the age of 60 or 70 (in 2012), are NOT "racist" in any way, but consider blacks to be equals, and black Mormons to be their brothers and sisters.
There are hundreds of thousands of Black Mormons in the world today, and they have full equality in the Church, and the LDS Church is one of the fastest growing religions in black Africa.
Remember, please...DO NOT PUNISH Mormon missionaries for the racism of Mormon leaders who are long dead! Mormon missionaries are sincere men and women who seek to do the Lord's will according to how they understand it. They are NOT "racists". If you are angry at the racism of past Mormon leaders then dig up their graves and defile their corpses, but don't punish or blame Mormons of Today for the racism and errors of long-dead Mormon leaders of Yesterday. Would you punish a non-racist white man, who treats blacks as his equals and his brothers and sisters, because his father and grandfather were racists? You wouldn't, or at least you shouldn't. Neither should you accuse Mormons of Today of being "racist" because Mormons 50 to 150 years ago were racist!
"John Doe" was a Mormon who as raised in the 1930s. He believed the Curse of Cain, because the Church then taught it was true and of God. He believed "Negroes" were inferior to whites, because several Mormon leaders had said that or wrote that. He believes that intermarriage between blacks and whites is an abomination, because that is what Mormon leaders then taught. He believes at best Negroes will be his servants in the Celestial Kingdom.
His son, "John Doe Jr." grew up in the 1950s. He too was taught the Curse of Cain Doctrine by his leaders. He believes it, because he is told that the "Living Prophet" would never lead the Church astray, and that when the Living Prophet speaks in General Conference, it is as the Lord Himself were speaking (a common but unofficial Mormon belief). But, he had doubts. He hoped one day the priesthood-ban would end. He is embarassed by it. He is overjoyed on June 8th, 1978, when the priesthood-ban ends.
His son, "John Doe III", grew up in the 1970s, and was only 8 when the priesthood-ban ended. He believes that the priesthood-ban was a "mistake" and never true. He believes that blacks are equal to whites, and Black Mormons are his brother and sisters in the Lord. He has no problem with interracial marriage. The Church teaches him that the Curse of Cain was never a doctrine, but folklore and speculation by those with "limited understanding".
Would you call John Doe III a "racist", and spit upon him, or hurt him physically, or shun him, or be rude to him, because his grandfather, John Doe, was a "racist"? Most likely, you would not. However, many African-Americans consider Mormons "today" to be "racist" because Mormons many decades ago were racist. Don't punish John Doe III, who is NOT a racist, for the "racism" of his grandfather John Doe! Don't blame Mormons of Today for the sins and racism of Mormons of Yesterday!
The Future of the Black Mormons
Black Mormons in Ghana, West Africa
The Mormon Church of today is not "racist" in any way. Black Mormons are accepted as equals to whites and all others in the Church. The Mormon Church is one of the fastest growing religions in Africa. By 2030, there will be more Black Mormons than White Mormons! There will no doubt be Black Mormon apostles in the future, and it is quite possible that one day the President of the Church ("The Living Prophet") will be of black African heritage.
Thank you for your time and God bless.
Sincerely, Darrick Evenson firstname.lastname@example.org
Last edit: October, 2012