The Mormon Faith & Black Folks
Question #53

Q. How do black Mormons feel about the Curse of Cain doctrine and the Priesthood ban?

A. Each individual is different. Alan Cherry, during his Oral History Project, asked several hundred black Latter-day Saints what they thought of these things; specifically if they thought the Priesthood ban was of God or not. These are his findings:

Was the Will of God 63.5%

Was not the Will of God 7.1%

Unsure either way 29.4%

(Black Saints, p.70)

*Black Mormons respond to the Priesthood ban

Cherry recorded many of the responses he received from black Latter-day Saints in regards to the Priesthood ban. Most of them said they were shocked by it when they first heard it. Many of them became angry. Yet, they eventually joined the Church. Here are some of their responses:

Peter Tabani Gill (Ugandan):

“My personal understanding in that regard is in the first place the gospel was true for the Jews first. After the Jews the Gentiles. That’s what Jesus Christ himself said. Many people did not question that. But people question about the Mormon church.” ( p.72)

Burgess Owen (ex-NFL player):

“I realize that it is the Lord’s Wisdom, not mine, that counts.” (p.72)

Kenneth Bolton Sr.:

“The Priesthood had not always been available to everyone. During much of the Old Testament, only the tribe of Levi was eligible.” ( p.72)

James Henry Sinquefield:

“I never [had] a feeling that the priesthood was something that was withheld from my race of people because of discrimination or some of the negativeness that man has tried to make of it. I really believe it was of God, that it was His will to be that way.” ( p.72)

Not all black Mormons accepted the Priesthood ban as the Will of God so easily. Many would call it ‘racist’ when first hearing of it, and have nothing to do with the Church for years to come; only reading The Book of Mormon or listening to The Plan of Salvation (presenting by LDS missionaries) years later, receiving a testimony of their truthfulness, and then becoming Latter-day Saints.

As we said before, not all black Mormons accept the Priesthood ban as the Will of God. About 1 in 4 are unsure either way, and about 7%, or 1 in 14, believe that the Priesthood ban is absolutely not of God, but rather just the misinterpretations of past LDS prophets; based upon their own natural prejudices of the day.

One black Mormon convert named Hale wanted to serve a mission, but was told she could not because missionaries had to be endowed in the Temple and while Hamites could enter Temples to be baptized on behalf of the dead, they could not receive the higher ordinances of Endowments and Sealings. She became upset, and told her bishop that “the Church was prejudiced, and I didn’t want anything more to do with it.” (Black Saints, p.66).He then suggested that she pray about it. Hale relates what then happened:

“I went home that Sunday resolving not to pray. I didn’t for two or three days. It seemed like it was on a Wednesday when all of a sudden I found myself on my knees praying and saying, ‘Why can’t blacks hold the priesthood?’ A comforting feeling came over me saying, ‘I have not given a reason why, but eventually blacks will hold the priesthood with all the blessings.’...That calmed me down.” (Black Saints, p.66)

A few years later Sister Hale went to the Temple for her endowments, after the 1978 Revelation. She also later served a mission for the Church.

Many black Mormons will testify to feelings of comfort and peace after getting on their knees and asking the LORD about the Priesthood~ban. But those who refuse to sincerely pray about it do not receive such feelings of comfort and peace, but often leave the Church, or continue it it still angry and embittered; waiting for the day when--they hope-- The Brethren will ‘apologize’ for the Priesthood~ban.

*Jews and Canaanites/Mormons and Blacks

Before 1978, the relationship between Mormons and black folks was somewhat similar to those of Jews and Samaritans in the days of Jesus. Most of the Samaritans rejected Jesus as the Messiah because believed that the Jews were racists, and had discriminated against them by the Jewish teaching that Canaanites were under the Curse of Canaan, and by not allowing them to worship in the Temple at Jerusalem. Surely, they believed, God would never send the Messiah among the Jews. Only a few of them became Christians.

Most of the Samaritans were forced to convert to Islam in the 7th century; when Muslims took control of the Holy Land. A small group did not convert to Islam, and still exist to this day; patiently awaiting the coming of the ‘Messiah’ who will appear on Mt. Gezerim , in Samaria, and destroy the Jews and make them, the Samaritans, his princes and rulers.

Like the Samaritan and Canaanite women who recognized Jesus as the Messiah, and did not reject Him when He referred to their people as dogs (“servants”), but submitted their wills to the Will of God, black Mormons who accept the Priesthood ban as the Will of God do so not out of weakness, but out of a profound spiritual strength. It is easy to reject it because the World calls it “racist”. It is easy to agree with the World. It is hard to swallow one’s pride, and to submit to the LORD; once a person has gained a personal witness from the Holy Spirit that the Church is true. Ego and pride come from weakness. Humility and submissiveness to the Will of the LORD comes from inner-strength and exceeding faith.

Many black Mormons first thought of the idea of joining the Church as foolishness. Then they either read The Book of Mormon or listened to The Plan of Salvation (Missionary Discussions).

*Pride prevents guidance from the Holy Spirit

Of course, not all black folks who run into LDS missionaries join the Church. Many do not. Many refuse to open their doors or their hearts. They refuse because of pride. The Priesthood ban, or often false rumors they’ve been told about the Church, causes their prides to be hurt. When this happens, they get angry or upset and refuse to read The Book of Mormon, or even to listen to The Plan of Salvation. In some cases they’ve already done one or the other, and received a spiritual witness of the truth. Yet, because their pride is wounded, they reject the Church.

The self, or ego, is the natural man in us all. The Book of Mormon calls the natural man is “an enemy to God” (Mosiah 3:19). The natural man does not listen to the Spirit of God. Rather, the natural man listens to man; to the popular Philosophies of Man of his day. The Apostle Paul wrote:

“But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness to him: neither can they know them, because they are spiritually discerned.” (1 Corinthians 2:14)

The spirit in us, our soul, is the spiritual man in us all. Our spirits, or souls, are divine! They are the literal sons and daughters of God. They are literally parts or sparks of God in us. Our souls do not listen to prideful egos, but to the Spirit of God.

Black folks who reject our Missionaries or who reject the Church do so because of pride. They feel they deserve to feel that way; being the victims of discrimination and racial prejudice for centuries. And perhaps they do.

But, nevertheless, if they let their pride prevent them from joining the Church and becoming sealed in the Temple and becoming the Manifest Sons of God by adoption, and becoming heirs of God and joint-heirs of Jesus Christ, and inheriting Exaltation or Eternal Life, the greatest of all of God’s gifts, they will in fact make the same mistake as Lucifer and his hosts, as Pharaoh of the time of Moses, as the Jaredites in The Book of Ether, as the Samaritans in the days of Jesus, and as the white Nephites in The Book of Mormon.

But those who swallow their prides, who listen to the Spirit with their spirit, and who become the least in the Kingdom of God, shall become the greatest.

*A Spiritual-Witness must come first

Nobody expects such humility and submission until one has a spiritual witness, and this comes only in two ways: either by reading The Book of Mormon, and asking God if it is true or not, or by listening to The Plan of Salvation as presented by the Mormon missionaries; who refer to as these 6 or 7 presentations as “The Discussions”.

Jesus said that “He who is least in the Kingdom of God shall become the greatest”. He or she who swallow their pride, and submit to the LORD and His Wisdom, whether they are black, white, yellow, brown, or red, will reap Eternal Life; life in Gardens of Eden for all eternity. Those who cannot, because of the tests they will face, or because of the condemnation of the World, or what their friends or family will ‘think’ of them, will not be receive the same reward. Servants of the LORD shall be gods in the eternities; while rebels in this life, refusing to submit to His Will, refusing to shallow their own prides and humble themselves before His Throne, shall become servants for all eternity: worlds without end.

The mission of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is not to convert every soul on earth (even though some Mormon apostles and missionaries would like to). Rather, it is to gather the Elect from the four corners of the Earth. Not all people are the Elect of God. Who are the Elect? Those who are the Pure in Heart. Those who are pure in heart are not boastful, arrogant, or prideful. They are not angry and spiteful over past wrongs done to their race. Rather, they endeavor to show love and forgiveness to all men. They are not wounded in their prides by the fact that the LDS Church denied their lineage the Priesthood. Rather, they accept it as the Will of the LORD, and endeavor to glorify His name and His Kingdom.

*The Sin of Pride Prevents us from receiving Eternal Life

The Elect of God are not pridefulpride is the sin that caused Lucifer and his angels to fall from Heaven. Pride is the sin which caused Cain to slay Abel; when all he had to do was repent and he and his lineage would have been the first instead of the last to receive the Priesthood. Pride is the sin which caused God to curse His own people Israel, and make them the slaves of the Assyrians and the Babylonians. Pride is the sin which caused the white-skinned Nephites to be utterly destroyed by the dark-skinned Lamanites. Pride is the sin which caused the Fundamentalist Mormons to leave or be expelled from the Church, and lose all their eternal inheritances, in 1978; because they could not accept Negroes in the Priesthood. Pride is the sin which prevents many black folks from reading The Book of Mormon, or hearing The Plan of Salvation, or joining the Church or remaining active in the Church.

The Prophet Alma, in The Book of Mormon, wrote:

“Have ye walked, keeping yourselves blameless before God? Could ye say, if ye were called to die at this time, within yourselves, that ye have been sufficiently humble? That your garments have been cleansed and made white through the blood of Christ, who will come to redeem his people from their sins?

28 Behold, are ye stripped of pride? I say unto you, if you are not ye are not prepared to meet God. Behold, ye must prepare quickly, for the kingdom of heaven is soon at hand, and such an one hath not eternal life.” (Alma 5:27-8)

Please feel free to e-mail Darrick Evenson

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