The Mormon Faith & Black Folks
Question #4

Q. Isn’t the teaching that black people are “cursed” and the denial of the Priesthood to blacks racist?

A. No, it isn’t! The term racist and racism have very specific meanings, and refers to the belief that one race is superior to others. If anything, LDS Scriptures teach that black people were ‘superior’ to others in wisdom; since God blessed them with wisdom (Abraham 1:26), and they became the founders of civilization; with all its arts and sciences. But LDS Scriptures also says they were cursed as pertaining to the Priesthood because they were of the lineage of Cain through Egyptus; the wife of Ham.

The term racism under the meanings which are given in the dictionaries cannot be applied to the Mormon belief that Hamites were cursed as pertaining to the Priesthood; for the following reasons:

1. There are white-skinned Hamites as well as black-skinned ones. Hamites include both Caucasians and Negroes, and thus are not confined to any one race.

2. LDS Scripture identifies Cainites and Hamites as the founders of civilization, and “blessed with wisdom” (Abraham 1:26). Racism must include a belief that Hamites are inferior in intelligence; not superior.

3. For the term racism or racist to be appropriately applied, there must be a belief that one race is superior to another. Mormon belief does not include such a belief, and is thus not a ‘racist’ belief. Mormon theology does include a belief that the Israelites were a chosen people, and that white Mormons of Anglo-Saxon or Scandinavian descent are Ephraimites, and thus Israelites, but if this is ‘racist’ then the Bible itself would be racist; since it too identifies the Israelites as God’s Chosen People. But being chosen in no way says that Israelites are superior in intelligence, nor wisdom, nor athletic ability than other peoples and races. Nor does the Bible present the Israelites as exceeding in righteousness over other nations. Indeed, the Bible presents the Israelites as a “stiff-necked” people; constantly being warned and punished by the LORD through His Prophets.

*The True  Origin of Racism

Racism comes not from the Bible, but from Gnosticism and Humanism. Gnosticism taught that the Aryans were closer to Heaven because of their light hair, eyes, and skin. Other races had more evil dark matter in them, as typified by their dark complexions, and thus were more the children of the evil Demiurge (semi-creator). Humanism taught that the white race, especially the Nordic white race, was the most highly evolved of the races of humankind, and that all other races were not so highly evolved; they were closer to apes than Nordics. It is no coincidence that Nordic racists claimed Aryan lineage. They believed they were superior to all other races; including other white races. The connection between Gnosticism and Humanism is like the connection between Master and Pupil.

*Racism NOT Contained in Bible NOR LDS Revelation

Such racist doctrines cannot be found in the Bible; nor in LDS Revelation (The Book of Mormon, The Pearl of Great Price, and The Doctrine & Covenants).

However, the Bible does contain curses and blessings upon various lineages (bloodlines), tribes,  nations,  and peoples; in accordance to how their fathers obeyed or disobeyed God’s commands, and how they accepted or rejected His Prophets. The Book of Mormon and The Pearl of Great Price (LDS Revelation) also contain similar curses and blessings upon bloodlines (lineages); one such being the blessing of wisdom and the curse pertaining to the Priesthood upon the Hamitic lineage (Abraham chap. 1 in The Pearl of Great Price). This lineage includes all black Africans (with the exception of brown Africans–the Hottentots), and white Hamites such as the Berbers, Bedouins, and Mulattoes. This lineage does not include non-Hamitic black-skinned races such as the Dravidians, the Negritoes, the Melanesians, and the Aborigines.

*Ephraimites Also Cursed

The LDS Church has taught that the ancestors of white Mormons, the Ephraimites, were cursed by God as well (although not pertaining to the Priesthood):

“It shall also be carried unto Assyria for a present to King Jareb: Ephraim shall receive shame, and Israel shall be ashamed of his own counsel.” (Hosea 10:6)

“The people of Samaria [Ephraimites] must bear their guilt, because they have rebelled against their God. They will fall by the sword: their little ones will be dashed to the ground, their pregnant women ripped open.” (Hosea 13:9)

Because the Ephraimites (the Northern Tribes of Israel) had rebelled against the LORD, He would curse them by allowing the Assyrians to come and kill them and conquer then and take them away as their slaves. LDS Prophets have taught that white Mormons of Anglo-Saxon lineage are the literal descendants of the Ephraimites.

Brigham Young (Apostle and 2nd President of the Church):

“In ancient days of old Israel was the chosen people in whom the Lord delighted, and whom he blessed and did so much for. Yet they transgressed every law that he gave them, changed every ordinance that he delivered to them, broke every covenant made with the fathers, and turned away entirely from His holy commandments, and the Lord cursed them.” (J.D. 14:86)

This quote is significant; since most white Mormons believe that they are the literal descendants of Israel through the Ephraimites via the Anglo-Saxons.

The LDS Church teaches that God curses and blesses all kindreds, nations, tongues, and peoples; according to how they adhere to or reject His Law and Prophets. The Church has taught that God both cursed and blessed His own people Israel. Moses said:

“Behold, I set before you this day a blessing and a curse; a blessing, if ye obey the commandments of the LORD your God, which I command you this day:

And a curse, if ye will not obey the commandments of the LORD thy God, but turn aside out of the way which I commanded you this day, to go after other gods, which ye have not known.” (Deut. 11:26-28)

“And it shall come to pass, if thou shalt hearken diligently unto the voice of the LORD thy God, to observe and to do all his commandments which I command thee this day, that the LORD thy God will set thee on high above all nations of the earth:

And all these blessings shall come on thee, and overtake thee, if thou shalt hearken unto the voice of the LORD thy God.


But it shall come to pass, if thou whilt not hearken unto the voice of the LORD thy God, to observe to do all his commandments and his statutes which I command thee this day; that all these curses shall come upon thee, and overtake thee.” (Deut. 28:1-2,15)

*Priesthood ban Came Via Revelation NOT Discussion!

LDS leaders didn’t one day get together, have a discussion, and decide they weren’t going to let Hamites have the Priesthood! That’s just not how it happened. It occurred because Joseph Smith translated The Book of Abraham, which says that Pharaoh was a Hamite (descendant of Ham and Egyptus), and that lineage could not hold the Priesthood.

The Priesthood was denied to people of Ancient Egyptian (i.e. Hamitic) lineage whatever their skin color! Black-skinned people of non-Hamitic lineage always had the Priesthood. It wasn’t a policy based upon skin-color, but upon lineage. The term “racism” comes from the theory that one race is superior to others, and some races are “inferior” to others. The LDS Church has never held such a view! Indeed, LDS Scripture reveals that the descendants of Ham were “blessed with wisdom”, and in fact invented civilization with all of it’s arts and sciences. Yet, they were also “cursed” as pertaining to the Priesthood.

*Hamites Superior in Intelligence

In 1904, when the vast great majority of white Americans believed that black folks were “naturally inferior” to white folks, Nels L. Nelson, a professor at Brigham Young University, published a book titled Scientific Aspects of Mormonism. In the book he claimed that the descendants of Cain (black folks) were superior to white folks:

“Has it occurred to believers in the Mosaic [Moses’] account [in Genesis] that the descendants of Cain the murderer, were perhaps incomparably superior to the descendants of Seth, in point of material civilization?” (Scientific Aspects of Mormonism, p.94)

Nelson based his conclusion on the accounts in Genesis (chap. 4) that say that the Cainites were the first to built cities, work in metal, and use musical instruments; all signs of advanced intelligence. The Book of Abraham, in The Pearl of Great Price, says that the Hamites were “blessed with wisdom” as well as being “cursed as pertaining to the Priesthood” (Abraham 1:26).

Historian J.P. Widney writes:

“Back in the ages which are barely historic, where history renders only faint hintings, are evidence of a broad ancient civilization, raw, unripe, flashy, barbaric, yet all at the same period, controlled the world from its headquarters of power in the Euphrates, the valley of the Ganges, and the Nile, and it was the Negro race! The Babylonians and Egyptians seem to have been Negroes who built empinent empires long before the Semites, Mongols, or Aryans.” (Race Life of the Aryans 2:238-39)

*All Nations Cursed And Blessed

God alternatively curses and blessed all nations; in accordance with how they keep His Laws. But these curses and blessings have nothing to do with whether one race is superior than another; at least not in the manner of intelligence! Indeed, if Mormon Scriptures teach anything, it is that God blessed the Cainites with wisdom, and in that way, they were superior to the Sethites; at least as far as wisdom goes. The Cainites were the founders of the first cities, and the first to work in metal and use musical instruments; according to the Scriptures. These are not signs of an "inferior" race.

Please feel free to e-mail Darrick Evenson

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