The Mormon Faith & Black Folks
Question #9

Q. Will the Mormon leaders ever just apologize for teaching that black folks were cursed?

A. Not likely. The doctrines came from Revelations of the LORD to the Prophet Joseph Smith. To apologize for them is to admit they are false revelations. To do that would be to admit that Joseph Smith and Brigham Young were false prophets. But Church leaders and members believe he was a true Prophet of God, and received revelation from Him.

*Not All Hamites Are Black Folks/Not All Black Folks Are Hamites

Also, the Curse of Cain applies to Hamites. Not all Hamites are black. Some of them are white-skinned. This applies to the Berbers of North Africa, to the Bedouins of Arabia, and to white people who have any Hamitic ancestors within 4 generations.  Not all black-skinned peoples are Hamites either. The Dravidians, Melanesians, Negritoes, and Aborigines are all black-skinned, but none of them are Negroes (black Africans).

Many people do not realize that before 1978 the Church not only banned black Negroes males from the Priesthood, but also banned all Hamites, whatever their skin-color, from the Priesthood and the Temples. Patriarch Eldred G. Smith remarked in 1964:

“I had a young lady who was blond and no sign or indications visibly of the Negro line at all, but yet she was deprived of the Temple.... We have these conditions by the thousands in the United States today and are getting more of them.” (Patriarchal Blessings, Jan. 17, 1964, p.8)

At the same time this statement was made, in 1964, the Church was allowing black-skinned men to hold the Priesthood, and black-skinned people into Mormon Temples. Melanesians (especially Fijians) resemble black Africans (Negroes) very much. They have black skin, large nostrils, thick lips, and black kinky hair. It is often difficult to tell a Fijian from a black African; unless of course if you are a Fijian or a black African. But Fijians, like all Melanesians, were never denied the Priesthood nor Temple-worship; because they are not Hamites. However, even if a man or woman had blond straight hair, blue eyes, and small nostrils, and thin lips, if they had Hamitic ancestors within a certain number of generations, they were denied the Priesthood and banned from the Higher Ordinances of the Mormon Temples.

This is because the Decree of God commanded it.

The First Presidency wrote in 1969:

"Were we the leaders of an enterprise created by ourselves and operated only according to earthly wisdom, it would be a simple thing to act according to popular will. But we believe that this work is directed by God and that the conferring of the priesthood must await His revelation. To do otherwise would be to deny the very premise on which the Church is established.” (Statement of The First Presidency on the Church’s Position on Blacks and Civil-Rights, Dec. 15, 1969)

In other words, for the Church to change the Priesthood ban policy simply because it was popular would be to violate the Church’s own belief that it is directed by Revelation, and that it must abide by the Will of the LORD instead of popular will or even the wills of its governing members. To do otherwise would be to violate that belief. To ‘apologize’ for the Priesthood ban would be to admit that the LORD never governed the Church in the first place, and to admit that is to deny the fundamental belief of the Church; that the LORD, and not men, governs it.

*Other Lineages Also Cursed

The Church does not teach that only Hamites  were cursed. The Israelites, the Ephraimites,  the Ammonites, the Moabites, the Nephites, all these white-skinned peoples were cursed by God as well! One of the Revelations of the LORD to Joseph Smith, The Book of Abraham, declares that black folks were “blessed with wisdom” (Abr. 1:26).

*Latter-day Saints Commanded To Accept Every Word Which Comes From the LORD

The Latter-day Saints are under a divine commandment to accept everything that the LORD has revealed to them through their prophets. The LORD has declared:

“And I now give unto you a commandment to beware concerning yourselves, to give diligent heed to the words of eternal life.

44 For you shall live by every word that proceedeth forth from the mouth of God.

45 For the world of the Lord is truth, and whatsoever is truth is light, and whatsoever is light is Spirit, even the Spirit of Jesus Christ.

46 And the Spirit giveth light to every man that cometh into the world; and the Spirit enlighteneth every man through the world, that hearkeneth to the voice of the Spirit.

47 And every one that hearkeneth to the voice of the Spirit cometh unto God, even the Father.” (D&C 84: 43-7)

*Things of God Cannot Be Measured By Human Standards

The things of God cannot be measured by the rulers, scales,  and standards of men. They are independent of our likes, dislikes, fancies, desires, opinions, wants, theories, philosophies, and popular beliefs. The Decrees of God stand has far above the popular opinions and philosophies of men as do the stars in the heavens stand above the Earth. Man cannot judge the things of God, but he shall be judged by God.

President Spencer W. Kimball once said:

“The things of God cannot be understood by the spirit of men. It is impossible to always measure and weigh all spiritual things by man’s yardstick or scales.” (The Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball, p.448)

Many Feminists think that when the LORD cursed Eve and all women to bear children in great pain that it is a sexist part of the Bible, and should be removed. When Eve partook of the forbidden fruit, God placed a curse upon her and all of her female descendants:

“13 And the LORD God said unto the woman, What is this that thou hast done? And the woman said, The serpent beguiled [deceived] me, and I did eat.

16 Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and they conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and they desire shall be to they husband, and he shall rule over thee.” (Genesis 3:13,16)

Many women object to this; some saying it is “sexist”. Yet, that is what the Bible says! That is what the LORD has decreed! Simply because it is unpopular in modern society, or is classified by sinful human beings as “sexist”, doesn’t meant it isn’t true. What good would it do to remove these verses from the Bible? Would that alter the Word of the LORD? Would removing it from print alter His divine degrees?

God’s Eternal Truths are infinitely far removed and above our own thoughts, opinions, fancies, likes, dislikes, opinions, persuasions, and politically correct theories. The LORD said to the prophet Isaiah:

“8 For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD.

9 For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.” (Isaiah 55:8-9)

*Black Mormons Resist Apology Talk

At the 20th anniversary of the 1978 Revelation in June, 1998, a small group of liberal Mormons (often called “Sunstone” Mormons) met in Washington D.C., and in Salt Lake City, to discuss the Church repudiating the Curse of Cain doctrine. At the Washington D.C. meeting a number of black Mormons objected to this.

*Mormon Smorgasbordism

Besides Sunstone Mormons, there is a growing number of Orthodox Mormons who refuse to believe that the Curse of Cain doctrine is or was a doctrine of the Church. Of this number, those who know it was (and is still) a doctrine of the Church try various means to explain-it-away; to not believe it was from the LORD, but at the same time faithfully accepting every other doctrine of the Church. This is sometimes referred to as “Mormon Smorgasbordism”; where Members ‘pick and choose’ which doctrines they like, and are popular, while rejecting other doctrines they personally don’t like (as in a smorgasbord or buffet where people pick and choose which dishes they like and which they don’t like). Gay and Lesbian ‘Mormons’ often do this; claiming they are faithful Members of the Church, and all of it’s doctrines are ‘Gospel Truth’; except, of course, for the prohibition against homosexuality.

Members who are actively gay or lesbian (and not all are—there are homosexual Mormons who are celibate or get married to members of the opposite sex in order to obey these commandments) often sight the 1978 Revelation as evidence that the Church can change its doctrines; hoping for the day when the Prophet (President) of the Church will do the same and declare “same-sex love” as good as heterosexuality. Others point out that comparing blacks and homosexuals in the Church is like comparing apples and ants; there is NO comparison. The Priesthood ban was always expected to one day be removed. Mormon leaders have never said the same thing about homosexuality. The Priesthood ban had nothing to do with individual’s sins or personal worthiness. Homosexuality does. Still, some Members of the Church continue to say they accept all the truths of the Church except the ones they can’t accept. A few Members will actually go into denial, and tell themselves and others that the Church “never taught” that blacks were cursed or the descendants of Cain; even when they know full-well the Church did teach that, as official doctrine, for over 150 years.

*For the Praise of the World

A major reason that so many Orthodox Mormons are using ‘Mormon Smorgasbordism’ in regards to the Curse of Cain doctrine is because they do not wish to be thought of as ‘racists’ by their non-Mormon friends and neighbors; so they deny it, or attempt to explain-it-way as ‘personal opinion’ and ‘not a doctrine of the Church’. Some Orthodox Mormons who adhere to the belief that the Curse of Cain doctrine is true, believe that those others who practice ‘Mormon Smorgasbordism’ are seeking the ‘praise of the World’ instead of the Will of the LORD. In Mormonism, the ‘World’ (with a capital “W”) is considered evil, and ruled by Satan; while those who are pure-in-heart belong to Zion. The “World” (also called “Babylon”) and “Zion” are thus seen as two opposing enemy camps. Those who seek the ‘praise of the World’ are seen more or less as collaborators. The Scriptures speak of those who seek the praise of the World:

Mormon writer John J. Steward wrote:

“If we as members of the Church are going to pick and choose among the Prophet’s teachings, and say ‘this one is of God, we can accept it, but this one is of man, we will reject that,’ then we are undermining the whole structure of our faith, and for our own personal sake we cannot afford to do that.” (Mormonism and the Negro, p.19)

*Doctrine versus Theory and Opinion

The Curse of Cain was always a doctrine of the Church. It has never been repudiated, and can only be repudiated by an official statement from The First Presidency. To date (2000 A.D.) The First Presidency has issued no such statement.

The Less Valiant Theory is just that: a theory. It was never and is not now a ‘doctrine’ of the Church. Many Mormons think it is only because it is fundamentally presented as such in Mormon Doctrine; a work by Elder Bruce R. McConkie (who wrote in the preface that the book did not contain official Church doctrine but his own views and opinions only).

Several prominent Mormon leaders (George Reynolds in the 1850s and Joseph Fielding Smith in the 1930s) wrote or remarked by Negroes were “inferior” to the white race or other races. These were their opinions only, and such remarks cannot be found in the writings of Joseph Smith, nor in the Revelations of the Church. Such opinions were shared by most white Americans in their day. The American President Abraham Lincoln had this opinion too.  Joseph Fielding Smith later repented of this, calling his former comments “unfortunate”, and telling people in 1962 and 1963 that Negroes were NOT inferior to whites.

For the Church to apologize for the Priesthood ban, or to say that if was ‘an unfortunate mistake’ would mean that it wasn’t true, and Truth is eternal. Something true one day cannot be ‘false’ the next, and something false one day cannot be ‘true’ the next. Some Mormons believe that the Curse of Cain was ‘true’ at the time, but is not ‘true’ now. The Prophet Joseph Smith said:

“A Key: Every principle proceeding from God is eternal and any principle which is not eternal is of the devil.” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p.181)

If the Priesthood ban was a ‘mistake’ or ‘misinterpretation’ of previous Prophets of the Church, then once cannot be sure of any doctrine of the Church today. It may turn out to be ‘false’ tomorrow. Each doctrine and principle of the Gospel that is true today is true tomorrow. If it becomes false tomorrow, it only means that that principle or doctrine was not true to begin with. Mormons who claim that the Priesthood ban was a ‘mistake’, a ‘misinterpretation’, or was ‘true’ then but not ‘true’ now are merely lying to themselves, and do not speak for the Church. Only the Living Prophet speaks for the Church.

Will the Mormon Church apologize for the Priesthood ban? The LORD has said:

“What I the Lord have spoken, I have spoken, and I excuse not myself, and though the heavens and the earth pass away, my word shall not pass away, but shall all be fulfilled, whether by mine own voice or by my servants, it is the same.” (D&C 1:38)

”For God doth not walk in crooked paths, neither doth he turn to the right hand nor to the left, neither doth he vary from that which he hath said, therefore his paths are straight, and his course is one eternal round.” (D&C 3:2)

Please feel free to e-mail Darrick Evenson

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