The Mormon Faith & Black Folks
Question #28

Q. The Mormon Church says that black men, except for Elijah Abel and his descendants, couldn’t have the Priesthood until 1978. Yet the New Testament identifies a black man, Simeon called “Niger”, as a Prophet. How can you explain this?    

A. We did in previous questions.  God sometimes makes exceptions to His own rules (decrees); based upon exceeding faith. We saw that with Ruth (a Moabitess), and with Elijah Abel in this Dispensation. The book of Acts says:

“Now there were in the Church that was at Antioch certain prophets and teachers; as Barnabas, and Simeon that was called Niger,....” (Acts 13:1)

The name Niger (pronounced “Nie-jeer”) is Latin, and means “Black”. Simeon is a Jewish name. Simeon called Niger could have been a black man from African who converted to Judaism (or his parents did, and named him Simeon), or he would have been a dark-skinned Canaanite (Samaritan). In any case, he could have been the “Elijah Abel” of his day. The LORD  always makes exceptions to His own rules on account of exceeding faith of the individual.

Some believe that the Apostle Simon the Canaanite was black because he was called “the Canaanite”, but in fact the Greek doesn’t call him a “Canaanite” but a “Cananean”; a Zealot who belonged to a party of Zealots from the city of Cana, in Galilee.

But we should remind the Seeker that not all prophets have the Priesthood! Joseph Smith was a Prophet when he had his First Vision in 1820. He didn’t receive the Priesthood (from the hands of Angels) until 1829.

In the New Testament we read of “Anna the Prophetess” (Luke 2:36). She was a female prophet. She didn’t have the Priesthood, but she recognized baby Jesus as the Messiah.

Some of the early Mormon Apostles believed that Muhammad, the Prophet of Islam, was a true Prophet of God. But he did not have the Priesthood. 

G.A. Smith (Apostle) declared in 1855:

“About six hundred years after Christ a Prophet arose in Arabia, by the name of Muhammad.

Now this man descended from Abraham and was no doubt raised up by God to scourge the world for their idolatry.” (Journal of Discourses 3:30,32 )

*The Prophet Simon Kimbangu

There was a black man in Africa, in the first part of the 20th  century, name Simon Kimbangu (1889-1951).  He claimed to be a Prophet. He did not claim to have the Priesthood. He was persecuted, and died in prison.  He told his followers to remain clean and worthy, and one day messengers would bring them the Holy Priesthood. His church today has 8 million members in Africa. It is called The Church of Jesus Christ Through the Prophet Simon Kimbangu. They have no Priesthood.

*The Jaredites: Where They Black?

There is a growing number of Members of the Church, both scholars and lay people, who believe that the Jaredites, a people whose account is in The Book of Ether; one of the books in The Book of Mormon, were in fact a black-skinned Hamitic people.

The Book of Mormon contains 15 smaller “books”. One of these books is called The Book of Ether. It was written by a man named Ether; a prisoner and a Jaredite. The Jaredites were the descendants of Jared; a man who lived during the time of the Tower of Babel. The Book of Ether is an account or history of the Jaredites; from the time of Jared until they were destroyed in battle about 1000 years later.

According to The Book of Ether, Nimrod (a Cushite, and thus a Hamite) had settled in the Valley of Nimrod, and began to build a tower to heaven. The LORD saw this, and decided to confound (confuse) the language of the builders. Some believe that this confusion of languages happened in one day, in one moment. Others believe that this confusion of languages was a result of many generations. The LORD scattered the people at Babel because they were wicked.  Yet, there was a righteous remnant of people in the Valley of Nimrod that he did not confound. These were Jared, The Brother of Jared (whose name is not mentioned in The Book of Ether, but revealed later by Joseph Smith as Mahonri Moriancumer), their families, and friends. God chose them to be His Chosen People; long before Abraham, Isaac, or Jacob (Israel) were  born.

The LORD promised that He would lead the Jaredites across vast lands, and across vast oceans, into a Promised Land. The Brother of Jared was a Prophet. He was so good and righteous that He saw the finger of the LORD, and was commanded to built barges for the journey across the ocean. They did so, and the Jaredites became a great nation on the American continent.

Some people believe that the Jaredites were the ancient Olmecs of Mesoamerica. The giant Olmec heads and other ancient remains have led some to conclude that the Olmecs were Negroes. Some speculate that the Olmecs were the descendants of ancient shipwrecked African sailors. The Olmec civilization died out about the very same time that The Book of Ether says the Jaredite civilization became extinct.

Parley P. Pratt, an early Apostle and close friend of the Prophet Joseph Smith, believed that the Jaredites were in fact Hamites; that the Kinderhood Plates, some brass plates supposedly found in a mound near Kinderhook, Illinois, contained, according to Pratt, “a genealogy of one of the Jaredites back to Ham.” (Saints, Slaves, and Blacks, p.104n.47)

It says in The Book of Ether that the Jaredites had secret combinations and oaths which were “handed down” from Cain:

“And Akish did administer unto them the oaths which were given by them of old who also sought power, which had been handed down even from Cain.” (Ether 8:13-15)

This “handing down” suggests a lineal descent from Cain; from one person to the other.

The Jaredite language was not confounded, and they came from the Valley of Nimrod; a Cushite (black man). All historians and scholars agree that the Tower of Babel was located near the site of the city of Babylon, which was in the land of Sumer or Chaldea ( now Southern Iraq). Many believe that the ancient Sumerians were in fact black-skinned people. Historian George Rawlinson writes:

”Suffice it to observe that, though possessed of not many natural advantages [in Chaldea], the Chaldean people exhibited a fertility of invention, a genius, and the energy which place them high in the scale of nations, and more especially in the list of those descended from the Hamitic stock. For the last three thousand years the world has been mainly indebted for its advancement to the Semitic and Indo-European races; but it was otherwise in the first ages. Egypt and Babylon–Mizraim and Nimrod–both descendants of Ham–led the way, and acted as the pioneers of mankind in the various untrodden fields of art, literature, and science. Alphabetic writing, astronomy, history, chronology, architecture, art, sculpture, navigation, agriculture, textile industry, seem, all of them, to have had their origin in one or other of these two [Hamitic] countries.” (Seven Great Monarchies 1:40-41)

Christian scholar and archaeologist William F. Albright wrote:

“The Sumerians created the oldest urban society with an advanced higher culture during the fourth millennium B.C.” (Science, Aug. 16, 1963, p.623)

All or most of the Jaredite names in The Book of Ether are Hamitic. No Priesthood ordinances are mentioned in The Book of Ether; unlike the rest of The Book of Mormon.

The name Ether means “prisoner” in Egyptian; a Hamitic  language. The Jaredite name Moron (pronounced “More-rone”--rhymes with ‘more stone’ and not ‘more-on’) is from ancient Hamitic. (The World of the Jaredites, p.244)

All of this is called The Black-Jaredite Theory. It is not a doctrine of the LDS Church. It is just a theory. But if it is true, it would mean that God’s First Chosen People, chosen 1000 years before He chose the Israelites, were a black-skinned Hamitic people called the Jaredites. Because of their exceeding faith and righteousness, the LORD promised to make them a great nation in the New World, and said to the Prophet, the Brother of Jared:

“And there will I bless thee and thy seed, and raise up unto me of thy seed, and of the seed of thy brother, and they who shall go with thee, a great nation. And there shall be none greater than the nation which I will raise up unto me of thy seed, upon all the face of the earth.” (Ether 1:43)

The State of Utah was first called the State of Deseret; a Jaredite name meaning “Honeybee”. Indeed, the Church’s official newspaper is called Deseret News, and the Church’s first university was called “The University of Deseret”. The Church’s ranch in Florida is called Deseret Ranch. And the Church’s thrift stores and canneries are called Desert Industries; all Jaredite names. The official symbol of the State of Utah is an Eagle and the Deseret (beehive). The symbol of Brigham Young University and the University of Utah is also a beehive; representing Deseret.

The very name Mormon comes from the prophet Mormon in The Book of Mormon. He was  a Jew, but the Nephites often used Egyptian (Hamitic) names. They wrote in Reformed Egyptian. Scholars speculate that Lehi was a merchant in Egypt at one time. Mormon scholar Hugh Nibley wrote that the name Mormon comes from the ancient Egyptian MRMN (“Mer-i-Amon” or “Mor-i-Amon”) and means “Beloved of God”. The very name “Mormon” is Hamitic!

Please feel free to e-mail Darrick Evenson

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