The Mormon Faith & Black Folks
Question #49

Q. Why should black folks join the Mormon Church when white Evangelical churches have always accepted them?

A. Evangelical churches have NOT always accepted blacks!. It is remarkable how a few years can erase memory. Not one Christian church ever accepted blacks openly and without restriction. Let us take for example the following denominations which are particularly anti-Mormon and which denounce the Church for its “racist past”. They are:

*The Moody Bible Institute

The Moody Bible Institute of Chicago (founded by the famous 19th century Evangelist Dwight Moody) publishes The Changing World of Mormonism; which has a large chapter devoted to “Mormon Racism”. While the Moody Bible Institute claims to be interracial, this was not always so. In the 1920s the Moody Bible Institute promoted Billy Sunday; an ex-baseball player who became a Christian Evangelist as well as a promoter of the Ku Klux Klan. Billy Sunday died on November 6, `935, in Chicago, and his funeral was held at Moody Church (The Best of Billy Sunday, p.5).

In February 1970 several black Moody Bible Institute graduates held a protest against the Institute (which is also a large church). They threw their diplomas from the school in the trash, saying: “We do this to inform the black Christian community of the institutional racism at Moody.” (Christianity Today, Feb. 19, 1970, p.37)

*The Southern Baptist Convention

Perhaps the most aggressively anti-Mormon denomination has been the Southern Baptist

Convention; which authored an anti-Mormon video in the mid-1990s called The Mormon Puzzle. One claim in the video is that the Church is “racist” because of its denial of the Priesthood to blacks and because of anti-black statements by Brigham Young and Joseph Fielding Smith.

The Southern Baptist Convention began over the slavery issue. Baptists in Northern States were against slavery (but not for Negro equality or integration), but the Baptist of the Southern States were pro-slavery. The two sides could not agree on the issue, so a split came. The Northern Baptists became known as the American Baptists. The Southern pro-slavery Baptists formed their own Convention which became known as the Southern Baptist Convention.

In 1866 the SBC Colorado Association of Texas declared they were opposed to separate Nego Baptist conventions because Negroes possessed “insufficient intelligence to keep the doctrines and ordinances in God’s work pure and unmixed with human error, when unaided by the superior intelligence of whites.” (The Negro in Southern Baptist Thought, p.64)

In 1865 the Texas SBC declared:

“Negroes have ever been and must continue to be throughout time subject to the superior intellect of the white man, for the history of the race proves clearly his inferiority, and the more feeble the mind or intellect, the lower the sphere in society must he occupy.” (The Negro in Southern Baptist Thought, p.15)

In 1866 the SBC publication Religious Herald declared that African Negroes had “belonged to the lowest class of saveges-were ignorant, superstitious, and brutal-without clothing or the comforts of life,...and elevated in their intellectual and social nature very little above the Ourangutans of their native forests” (Religious Herald, Jan. 25, 1866). Apparently the white author of this article did not realize that Orangutans live in Borneo, not Africa.

In 1871 a SBC newspaper in Virginia wrote of Klan lynchings of Negroes in the South:

“The negroes that were hung, without judge or jury, were assassins. It is only when some monstrous outrage has occurred, or some bold or crafty criminal has succeeded in putting the law at defiance, that the Ku-Klux have appeared.” (The Negro in Southern Baptist Thought, p.182)

Indeed, the Ku Klux Klan in the South was full of Southern Baptists and Southern Methodists.

In 1879 the SBC “Cherokee Association of Texas” decalred:

“Among the well established principles of our religion none is more plain than the duty of the strong to the weak-the superior to the inferior race. Interest in the welfare of our common country demands that christianizing of the clored people in our midst.” (The Negro in Southern Baptist Thought, p.50)

In 1903 the SBC Baptist and Reflector said of the theory of Negro equality with whites:

“My God! What a Theory! Negro equality! Who in this Southland of ours would be found equalizing himself with a negro? Just such theories have caused our wives and daughters to be brutally outraged and encourages amalgamation throughout the land.” (Baptist and Reflector, Jan. 19, 1903)

In July 1904, the SBC newspaper in Dallas Texas declared:

“The fourth of July stands for a day when we [white Americans] did something for ourselves. The Negro has his days, but they stand for something that someone else did hor him. He is too much like a jellyfish~he is in great need of a backbone.” (Baptist Standard, July 7, 1904)

There were a number of incidents in the South where white Southern Baptists would gather at lynchings of blacks for picnics; even selling photographs of the black men hanging.

The Southern Baptists did not believe that blacks were the descendants of Cain; because they believed that all the Cainites died in the flood. However, they did believe that blacks were the descendants of Ham through Canaan, and thus “cursed to servitude” by the “Curse of Canaan” that was pronounced by Noah.

John W. Storey, in his dissertation The Negro in Southern Baptist Thought, writes:

“Although the story of Genesis said nothing about Negroes being the descendants of either Ham or Canaan, Baptists assumed that they were, asserting that black skin was ineradicable evidence of the curse. This was not original with Southern Baptists. The belief that the curse of Canaan was responsible for the origin of the Negro race goes back to at least the sixth century.” (The Negro in Southern Baptist Thought, p.26)

In 1872 the SBC periodical in Tennesee wrote that “the curse pronounced upon the Hamitic race reduced them to inferiority and servitude.” (The Baptist, Sept. 14, 1872)

*The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod

The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod is another Evangelical denomination that has spent time and money promoting Anti-Mormonism, and condemning the Mormon Church for its’ “racism’. The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod, like the Southern Baptists, had its origin during a time when Luterhans were debating the issue of slavery. Those Lutherans who were pro-slavery formed the Luthern Church-Missouri Synod (“synod” means “conference” or “council”).

In 1935 the president of a Luthern Church-Missouri Synod seminary (H.A. Klein_ placed his ‘stamp of approval’ on a book by Lutheran Anna Hope whidh defended Negro slavery. Hope wrote:

“Niggers are hopelessly inferior, both dispositon and lack of intellect. To retain the respect of a Negro you must always avoid placing yourself on the same level with him. Negroes are not fit for self-government. For their own benefit they must be controlled by others. In slaveholding days flogging was unavoidable if lazy Negroes were to be disciplined. Their natural order is repellent.” (Christian Conscience and Negro Emancipation, p.93)

*The Assemblies of God

The Assemblies of God have held more Anti-Mormon film-showing, Anti-Mormon lectures, and Anti-Mormon rallies than any other Evangelical denomination. The Assemblies of God has, by the year 2001 A.D., about 20 to 30 million members worldwide. It is one of the fastest growing churches in the world; growing much faster than the Mormon Church.

The Assemblies of God began with the preaching of Charles Fox Parham; an Evangelical preacher who openned the Topeka Bible School in 1900; claiming that a number of his students began to speak in “tongues” on January 1, 1900; which Parham interpreted to mean the beginning of the “Latter-Rain”; the fulfillment of a prophecy of Joel (in the Old Testament) that in the latter-days the Spirit of God would be poured out upon all men; sons and daughters would prophesy, old men would see visions, and young men would “dream dreams”. On January 1, 1901, Parham claimed that one of his students, Agnez Osman, started to speak Chinese; a language she never studied. This was “the beginning of the modern Pentecostal movement in America.” (The Holiness-Pentecostal Movement, pp.101-2).

Parham believed that for a person to truly be a Christian they must be “born-again”, and the outward sign of being born-again (Baptized with the Holy Spirit) was speaking in tongues; which Paul lists as one of the 9 “Gifts of the Spirit”. Parham claimed that his students at Topeka Bible School could speak French, German, Swedish, Bohemian, Chinese, Russian, Italisn, Spanish, and Norwegian without studying those languages. He declared that missionaries need not study foreign languages. Such claims were later disproven, and it was shown that some of his students could speak other languages because they were born in foreign countries.

Few members of the Assemblies of God know today that Charles Fox Parham was a “great supporter of the Ku Klux Klan” who lauded thier “high ideals about the betterment of mankind” and later wrote for the white racist periodical of Gerald B. Winrod (An Analysis of Ethical Issues in the History of the Assemblies of God, p.48). In a speech to the Klan in 1927, Parham said:

“I am making a general call to all members of the Invisible Empire of the Ku Klux the restoration of the old-time religion.” (The Apostolic Faith, March 1927, p.5)

Parham believed and taught and Noah’s Flood occurred because God was punishing mankind for interracial marriage. (A Voice Crying in the Wilderness, Charles Fox Parham and the Assemblies of God p.83)

Notewithstanding his racism,one of Parham’s students at Topeka Bible School was a black man named Seymour; who later began a Pentecostal church on Azusa Street in Los Angeles; which was interracial. The new “Spirit-filled” teachings of Parham (via his disciple Seymour) spread through American Evangelical Christian churches like wildfire, and soon resulted in a number of ministers becoming Pentecostal. Parham himself described the Azusa Street meetings thusly:

“In the Azusa mission in Los Angeles , where all this counterfeit Pentecost power was born, in the Upper Room, men and women, whites and blacks, knelt together or fell across one another frequently. A white woman, perhaps of wealth and culture, could be seen thrown back in the arms of a big Buck Nigger, and held tightly thus as she shivered and shook in freak imitation of Pentecost. Horrible awful shame!” (Apostolic Faith, December 1912, pp.4-5)

Soon, they wanted to form their own denomination which would emphasize the speaking in tongues as the outward “sign” of being born-again. In 1914 a number of these preachers met in Springfield Missouri and formed what became known as “The Assemblies of God”.

Today, the Assemblies of God still emphasize the “Gifts of the Spirit”; including speaking in tongues. But Pentecostals do not see “tongues” as modern foreign languages that foreign missionaries can use, but unknown “angel languages” that usually sound like gibberish and are usually unknown to everyone including the one using it.

One of the leaders of the Aseemblies of God in the U.S., A.B. Cox, was also a member and leader of the Ku Klux Klan. A.B. Cox was a member of the General Council of the Assemblies of God from its beginning to his death. One Assemblies of God historian calls Cox “a giant of faith”. (An Analysis of Ethical Issues in the History of the Assemblies of God, p.78)

In 1926 the official Assemblies of God periodical, The Pentecostal Evangel, wrote:

“The shadow of a war-cloud in the East is falling darkly upon the hitherto sunny world-supremacy of the white race....The white man’s presige will disappear when the savage, barbaric millions from Africa and Asian can defy the white man.” (The Pentecostal Evangel, 21 July 1926, p.7)

In 1961 the editor of The Pentecostal Evangel asked in his editorial “Are They [Blacks] descendants of Cain? Of Ham?” and answered that while blacks were certainly Hamites they couldn’t be Cainites because all the Cainites were drowned in Noah’s Flood. (The Pentecostal Evangel, 26 March 1961, p.19).

Today, the Assemblies of God is interracial almost everywhere, and its pastors and members claim the interracial Azusa Street revivals as their beginning. But this is not so. The Assemblies of God was a “whites only” denomination from its beginning in 1914 to about the late 1960s (and not until the mid-1970s in the Southern States). Before the late 1960s when blacks came to Assemblies of God churches they were told to go to the black Pentecostal denomination: the Church of God in Christ. Historian Ossie Stuart writes that the black Pentecostal Church of God in Christ began “because of the racist policies of the white American Assemblies of God movement.” (A New Handbook of Living Religions, p.722)

Today, the American Pentecostal churches such as the Assemblies of God, Calvary Chapel, the Vineyard, Apostolic Faith, the Potter’s House, etc., are welcome locales for Anti-Mormon meetings and gatherings. Pentecostals are told, and they believe, that their churches have always been interracial, and that the Mormon Church is “racist”. But all of them can be traced back to one man; at one Bible School. The biographer of Charles Fox Parham wrote:

“So the salvation of the Lord flows like a stream and who-so-ever will may come. Few men have lived to see the fruition of their life’s work as has Mr. Parham, all Apostolic missions, Pentecostal missions and Assemblies of God, have their beginning (directly or indirectly) from Parham’s Bible School at Topeka, Kansas.” (The Life of Charles Fox Parham, p.317)

In reality none of the Christian Churches (Roman Catholic, Lutheran, Methodist, Baptist, Quaker, Pentecostal, Congregational, Unitarian, etc.) accepted blacks with open arms and as equals. But people are forgetting. This author has met scores of people who sincerely believe that the only two organizations which ever taught “racist” doctrines were the Ku Klux Klan and the Mormon Church! In truth, all white churches have a “racist” past, but thanks to Anti-Mormon lies and exaggerations, and the white and black Christians who believe them, only the Mormon Church is still remembered and condemned for that past.

Please feel free to e-mail Darrick Evenson

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