Quiet Misgivings About LDS Racism

February is Black History Month. In the United States, the observance is primarily a remembrance of the important people and events in African-American history.

On February 7 (2008) a Black History Month symposium lecturer at BYU suggested that the “Atonement is [the] Key to Quiet Misgivings” people may have about the Mormon Church’s previous ban on Blacks holding the LDS Priesthood. The ban was lifted in 1978, but, according to an article at the BYU News Net web site, speaker Ahmad S. Corbitt’s experience indicates that “the former priesthood restriction is the most referenced reason for discontinued activity in the church by African Americans.”

“The first step to building on the Atonement is recognition of each person’s true identity in relation to God, he said.

“‘Designations of our identities in relation to God are clearly first in rank and greatest in importance among all of our identifiers, because they most relate to our primary purpose in this life,’ Corbitt said. ‘Earthly cultural and societal designations, by contrast, are obviously secondary.’

“Corbitt cautioned students not to allow these secondary race-related concerns to violate primary principles that affect their relationship to God, not to ‘place the things of man higher than the things of God.’

“He also encouraged listeners to make the study of the Atonement a priority in their lives, and help others to do the same. Study must be balanced and mainly focused on subjects that are essential to salvation, Corbitt said.”

African BoyMr. Corbitt has overlooked some significant issues related to the former priesthood ban. He makes the point that one thing of great importance in quieting misgivings about the priesthood ban is understanding our true identities in relation to God. According to LDS President John Taylor, a man who allegedly spoke for God, the true identity of a person of African descent is as an earthly representative of the devil:

“And after the flood we are told that the curse that had been pronounced upon Cain [as evidenced by black skin] was continued through Ham’s wife, as he had married a wife of that seed. And why did it pass through the flood? Because it was necessary that the devil should have a representation upon the earth as well as God.” (Journal of Discourses 22:304)

As pertaining to priesthood/race restrictions in the LDS Church, it is impossible to classify the related teachings of LDS prophets and apostles throughout history as “secondary race-related concerns” of “earthly cultural and societal designations,” because they are 100% spiritual in nature. The Book of Mormon and the Pearl of Great Price both teach that dark skin is God’s way of marking people who are spiritually inferior (see 1 Nephi 12:23; 2 Nephi 5:21; 3 Nephi 2:14-16; Mormon 5:15; Moses 7:8, 22).

Furthermore, Mr. Corbitt suggests that as students make the study of the Atonement a priority and thereby quiet their misgivings, they should focus on subjects that are essential to salvation. Though people of African descent today have full access to things essential to their salvation as taught and required by the LDS Church, this has not always been so. The former priesthood ban denied Blacks the opportunity to receive essential temple ordinances –ordinances which were (and are) required for their attainment of the fullness of LDS salvation (exaltation). As LDS apostle Mark E. Petersen taught in 1954,

“If that Negro is faithful all his days, he can and will enter the celestial kingdom. He will go there as a servant, but he will get a celestial resurrection.” (Race Problems as they Affect the Church)

Though claiming spiritual authority and the right to receive special revelation from God, these LDS leaders certainly did not reflect the pronouncements of God as found in the Bible. There we learn of the spiritual equality of all people in Christ. Paul taught,

“…there is not Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free; but Christ is all, and in all.” (Colossians 3:11)

“There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to promise.” (Galatians 3:28-29)

God has never placed any restrictions on who may receive full and complete salvation. Through His true apostle He tells us,

“’The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart’ (that is, the word of faith that we proclaim); because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved. For the Scripture says, ‘Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame.’ For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, bestowing his riches on all who call on him. For ‘everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.‘” (Romans 10:8-13)

Teachings and practices contrary to the revealed Word of God, such as those taught by authoritative LDS leaders regarding the African race, should unsettle people to a much greater degree than to merely cause “quiet misgivings.”

May we be so deeply troubled by the teachings of false prophets and false apostles that we turn to the One who freely bestows His abundant riches, without racial distinction, to all who call upon His holy name.

For more information please see Black Skin and the Seed of Cain by Bill McKeever.

About Sharon Lindbloom

Sharon surrendered her life to the Lord Jesus Christ in 1979. Deeply passionate about Truth, Sharon loves serving as a full-time volunteer research associate with Mormonism Research Ministry. Sharon and her husband live in Minnesota.
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55 Responses to Quiet Misgivings About LDS Racism

  1. I know the Mormon Church dropped the priesthood ban in 1978, but they have never had the integrity to openly denounce the doctrine that once served as a foundation behind the ban. Let me say this openly and bluntly: Mormon leaders who still refuse to unequivocally renounce the “curse of cain” doctrine are cowards and lack the integrity that one should have if they are truly apostles and prophets of God. With the authority of the very word of God which teaches doctrines contradictory to the “curse of cain” I call upon you Mormon leaders to repent of your lack of courage and of having the inordinate desire to protect the image of your past leaders. Those Mormons who will not likewise call modern leaders to repentance for this—who acquiesce to what they are doing—share in the lack of integrity. It is that serious.

  2. pould says:


  3. falcon says:

    I wouldn’t think that changing these teachings would be that big a deal for Mormon leaders. Renouncing? We can’t go that far. Here’s what they can do. Come out with a new edition of these writings and either omit or change them. You know, new revelation, this was back then, the Mormon god has a different way of looking at things now. It served it’s purpose which has now expired. New day, new attitudes, new approach. The old dudes weren’t wrong, they were right in their time. But what can we assume from these original writings? They reflect the attitude of Joseph Smith. The writings must be viewed in the context of the attitudes of large numbers of people in 1830s America. So in the context of the “times”, these teachings were perfectly acceptable. But now they are not. So the old crowd can’t be denounced. I believe what I just expressed could be classified under moral relativism.

  4. amanda says:

    Yeah, mormons are so racist. (this is me rolling my eyes) : /

    Actually, history has proven the evangelical tradition to be the racist tradition – in fact- Evangelicals throughout early American history used the bible to justify enslaving other human beings. So if we’re going to discuss racism…let’s not throw stones in your proverbial glass houses. This fact in history is only illuminated more when one visits the south even to this day. Many evangelicals that I have met are still very racist- in my husbands family- and they use the bible to justify their beliefs, beliefs they were taught at church. I have never encountered a teaching or a trend in my LDS upbringing that was even remotely racist.

    ONE OF THE BIGGEST REASONS MORMONS WERE DRIVEN OUT OF NAUVOO AND MISSOURI by their evangelical counterparts and other slave-desiring inhabitants was because they opposed slavery and their vote threatened to swing Missouri to a non-slave state. GET A CLUE. Joseph Smith actually ordained a black man in the early church- to Aaronic priesthood (I believe).

    Broken record, bla bla bla.

  5. Daniel says:

    So Amanda, do you personally believe that blacks are black not because of the curse of cain and being an “earthly representative of the devil” but because of their African lineage? Honestly, sometimes I get really fed up with the “I don’t know that we teach that.”

    And the whole red herring of “evangelicals are racists too”…well, I for one am certainly comfortable enough denouncing the actions that some may have commited in the name of religion (in this instance, slavery). As Aaron challenged above, are you comfortable challenging the LDS church on this long-held (changed, but never denounced) position?

  6. Amanda, we’re quite free to renounce what wrongs have been committed in the evangelical tradition. Do you have the integrity and freedom to unequivocally denounce what your leaders have said in first presidency statement?

    August 17, 1949

    The attitude of the Church with reference to Negroes remains as it has always stood. It is not a matter of the declaration of a policy but of direct commandment from the Lord, on which is founded the doctrine of the Church from the days of its organization, to the effect that Negroes may become members of the Church but that they are not entitled to the priesthood at the present time. The prophets of the Lord have made several statements as to the operation of the principle. President Brigham Young said: “Why are so many of the inhabitants of the earth cursed with a skin of blackness? It comes in consequence of their fathers rejecting the power of the holy priesthood, and the law of God. They will go down to death. And when all the rest of the children have received their blessings in the holy priesthood, then that curse will be removed from the seed of Cain, and they will then come up and possess the priesthood, and receive all the blessings which we now are entitled to.”

    President Wilford Woodruff made the following statement: “The day will come when all that race will be redeemed and possess all the blessings which we now have.”

    The position of the Church regarding the Negro may be understood when another doctrine of the Church is kept in mind, namely, that the conduct of spirits in the premortal existence has some determining effect upon the conditions and circumstances under which these spirits take on mortality and that while the details of this principle have not been made known, the mortality is a privilege that is given to those who maintain their first estate; and that the worth of the privilege is so great that spirits are willing to come to earth and take on bodies no matter what the handicap may be as to the kind of bodies they are to secure; and that among the handicaps, failure of the right to enjoy in mortality the blessings of the priesthood is a handicap which spirits are willing to assume in order that they might come to earth. Under this principle there is no injustice whatsoever involved in this deprivation as to the holding of the priesthood by the Negroes.

    The First Presidency

  7. falcon says:

    I for one am very comfortable in denouncing racism and racists as it and they have or do now exist in the Ev. church denominations. I don’t know of any of the denominations, however, that had institutional doctrinal racism. What we’re dealing with in Mormonism is doctrinal racism and teaching regarding people of color. It was changed, I must remind all, when outside pressure was placed on the Mormon leadership. These boys didn’t come to it on their own nor was it revealed to them. Things just got too hot.

  8. Fletcher says:

    Just one more reason in a long long list that I would never be a Mormon. Again, as with most issues, Mormons have answers to this issue, but are they good answers, are they sufficient… or are they just being posited because Mormonism simply has to be true for TBM’s born into the faith?

    OR, is this an invented religion (evidenced repeatedly, including the black priesthood issue)that has nothing to do with the one true REAL loving God of the universe?

  9. Jacob5 says:

    There are statements in our literature by the early Brethren that we have interpreted to mean that the Negroes would not receive the priesthood in mortality. I have said the same things, and people write me letters and say, “You said such and such, and how is it now that we do such and such?” All I can say is that it is time disbelieving people repented and got in line and believed in a living, modern prophet. Forget everything that I have said, or what President Brigham Young or George Q. Cannon or whoever has said in days past that is contrary to the present revelation. We spoke with a limited understanding and without the light and knowledge that now has come into the world.

    It doesn’t make a particle of difference what anybody ever said about the Negro matter before the first day of June 1978. It is a new day and a new arrangement, and the Lord has now given the revelation that sheds light out into the world on this subject. As to any slivers of light or any particles of darkness of the past, we forget about them. We now do what meridian Israel did when the Lord said the gospel should go to the Gentiles. We forget all the statements that limited the gospel to the house of Israel, and we start going to the Gentiles.
    -Bruce R. McConkie

    Plainly said. Is this what you guys were looking for?
    Also know this, that all previous members of African descent can and will receive as many of the blessings as those of other races that have also proven worthy of all the blessings of God. the ban which existed for roughly 140 simodd years may seem a long time for finite creatures such as us, but in the eternities it will seem shorter than a fraction of an eyelid blinking.

  10. [riffly_video]903899AAD92211DCBBCFD0A456B4F508[/riffly_video]

    Jacob, of course not. That only addresses past leaders having said that those of African descent would never have the priesthood. It doesn’t even come close to an open, explicit repudiation and renunciation of the curse of Cain doctrine. It’s sad that you (seemingly?) think this kind of quote from McConkie is enough. As I said before, Mormons who acquiesce to the modern LDS leadership not openly denouncing the curse of Cain doctrine as taught by past LDS leaders share in the lack of integrity.

    And to make myself clear, I expect modern Mormon leadership to be willing to name names (of those who taught it) if they denounce the curse of Cain teaching. I would hope this would not be like the Adam-God debacle, where you have leaders like Bruce McConkie who publicly denounce the idea as a deadly, damning heresy, but only privately admit that Brigham Young actually taught it. Again, that just further reinforces the notion that the “priesthood authority” structure fosters a lack of integrity.

    Hoping you’ll “see the light”,


  11. lillym says:

    you know before I knew all this about the Mormons, I wondered why they seemed like a white club. I mean, every single Mormon I knew was pale and blonde. (not that they are all the same, of course, it’s just that I really noticed this trend and wondered if it was a fluke or something.)

    My husband is asian so we go to a Christian church that has services in his language. I guess I’ve just always known so many Christians that were not white, and I couldn’t figure out why the Mormons didn’t have that kind of diversity.

    Is this the reason why? I mean, after reading more about them I discovered the Mormons have temples in other countries…but is this the main reason that historically they can’t seem to hang onto a lot of their non-white converts? (I think I read that here; something about the rate of converts in South America and the numbers of them that didn’t stick with the church)

  12. Jacob5 says:

    I fail to see the necessity for an formal statement outside of what was written in the Official Decleration. Just as Bruce R. McConkie had written, anything said before that revelation is null and void as it is obvious.
    It seems as if you want this only to placate your feeling of the situation.
    There was a point in the Isrealite history when only certain members could hold the priesthood. Should the Jewish people make a refudeation of that doctorine as well?
    Should we also apologize because we do not give the priesthood to women as well?
    The point is even if the exact statement you are looking for was made you would just move on to another point of complaint. Such a statement would not make the road any easier for a person to join our church then if we apologized for every single incident involving every single member or leader of our church that people would see fit to through our way. You know it and I know it.
    I can only see this is a possibly to be used as another form of attack as “the mormon prophets don’t even know what they are saying”. Of course that won’t be new.
    But if I do err in judgement, please tell me what you would say should our church leadership give you exactly what you ask for?

  13. Jacob5 says:

    For Lillym,
    As for our church’s ethnic make-up, you could use that same question as to the demographics of the United States. Only 12% are of African American descent. A vast majority of the immigrants came from Europe which explains why nearly 80% of our country is white.
    I am sorry to say that that would be a poor argument against our church which now has a greater population outside of the United States. I personally attend church each week with Korean members of my church (this is because I live in Korea). I love the people here. They are really nice.
    But anyway, had to comment on that.

  14. Jacob,

    First of all, Bruce McConkie wasn’t even speaking through the official arm of the church when he said the above quote. It is so hypocritical for Mormons to demand that, when engaging Mormonism, Christians limit their scope of material to that which is official (and for some Mormons today that means a form of sola scriptura). But Mormon leaders actually appealed to LDS scripture to support the pre-1978 priesthood ban:

    David O. McKay, Mormonism’s ninth president, said, “I know of no scriptural basis for denying the Priesthood to Negroes other than one verse in the Book of Abraham (1:26).” This LDS passage reads, “Pharaoh, being a righteous man, established his kingdom and judged his people wisely and justly all his days, seeking earnestly to imitate that order established by the fathers in the first generations, in the days of the first patriarchal reign, even in the reign of Adam, and also of Noah, his father, who blessed him with the blessings of the earth, and with the blessings of wisdom, but cursed him as pertaining to the Priesthood.” The obvious question is this: If LDS Scripture supports a curse upon the Seed of Cain, didn’t lifting the curse violate LDS Scripture? (>>)

    Secondly, in context McConkie is responding to the assertion that past leaders said “the Negroes would not [ever] receive the priesthood in mortality”. He is not plainly rescinding the curse of cain doctrine that once served as the doctrinal foundation of the priesthood ban.

    There is no easy way out of this, Jacob. You can’t simply fall back on a slight of hand toward past statements. When it comes to giant organizations and religious institutions, integrity and honest don’t work like that. Until your leaders are willing to use a more official avenue to explicitly, unequivocally, and openly renounce, refute, repudiate, and rescind the curse of Cain teaching, this notion will only continue to be reinforced:

    Mormonism is narcissistic and image-loving, and can’t bare the open and explicit denunciation of what past leaders have taught. Instead it opts for a kind of “quite abandonment“. It hopes a doctrine will die over a few generations without the next generation of LDS expositors reinforcing what was once taught. This approach smacks of organizational arrogance and a lack of humility before God. It in practice feigns a sort of infallibility while the Church only at times superficially, glibly admits a kind a fallibility.

    There was a point in the Isrealite history when only certain members could hold the priesthood. Should the Jewish people make a [refutation] of that doctorine as well?

    The limiting of the Aaronic priesthood was not to a skin color, but to the Levites, and that is Biblical. Mormonism assumes an Aaronic priesthood for its males that it is not even entitled to. Are you drawing a parallel to the pre-1978 ban by implying that it was directed to be such by the Almighty? If so, lay out your cards instead of hedging.

    Such a statement would not make the road any easier for a person to join our church then if we apologized for every single incident involving every single member or leader of our church that people would see fit to through our way.

    The world does not revolve around Mormonism. Ethical decisions should not pivot on whether an action will help more people join the Mormon church. Decisions should be made because they are right and just and honoring to God. So what if less people join the Mormon church as a result of doing the right thing? Do the right thing anyway. The honor of God is more important than a perpetuated false image of a religious institution. Until you realize that, your ethical system will be woefully inadequate for dealing with issues like Lying for the Lord.

    please tell me what you would say should our church leadership give you exactly what you ask for?

    I would say, “Praise God for this big step towards integrity and honesty and moral authenticity.”

    Hoping you’ll “see the light”,


  15. Lautensack says:

    Just a note on the Levitical priesthood of the bible. The priesthood was never required for salvation, Moses did not hold this priesthood, Joshua did not hold this priesthood, Samson did not hold this priesthood, David did not hold this priesthood, Solomon did not hold this priesthood, Daniel didn’t hold this priesthood, Peter didn’t hold this priesthood, Paul didn’t hold this priesthood, John didn’t hold this priesthood, James didn’t hold this priesthood, Jude didn’t hold this priesthood, Jesus didn’t hold this priesthood but holds a better one that is non-transferable. (Hebrews7:24)

    Unfortunately according to LDS teachings this priesthood is required for exaltation, thus none of these men can be god’s according to LDS teachings.


  16. lillym says:

    Full 20% of all Chinese immigrants to this country attend Christian churches. Once they escape communism and are allowed to freely pursue religion, extremely high numbers of Chinese and Korean immigrants become Christians.
    There are huge numbers of asian churches in the U.S.
    There are no Mormon temples in the U.S. that are racially or ethnically centered outside of the white community.

    So my question is, when the Mormons go overseas to spread their teachings, do they purposely omit all of this embarrassing race stuff? I’m assuming that Korean Mormons (in Korea) have no clue about any of this history.

  17. Ralph says:

    Here in Australia, most of the congregations are mixed with people from the Pacific Islands (eg Fiji, Samoa, etc) as well as Asians and Hispanic attending – depending on where you live. Some wards are majority from non-Caucasian backgrounds, but everyone mixes well, there is no segregation involved at all. There are a few ‘language’ wards which are there for people to attend just to teach them the church in their own language until they learn English better (usually for about a year). From my understanding the church has always been that way – members from all backgrounds were welcomed and integrated (not assimilated) – the ONLY segregation was the priesthood. This is recorded in our scriptures so it is there for all to read and learn about. No one denies it (unless they did not know about it). But looking at other churches, from what I see on TV and in movies (granted most are only fiction and could be falsely based but some are non-fiction documentaries) there are many churches in the US that have been, and still are racially prejudiced. They have all white or all black congregations and no one from the other colour is allowed to enter. So to that extreme, I do believe that the LDS church was and still is less racially prejudiced than other Christian churches. So excuse the pun, but look at the pot calling the kettle black, when people pull this teaching of our church out.

  18. Daniel says:

    I will say that my experience in the conservative US-midwest has been that, yes, there are churches that are predominantly “black” or “white” but it is due more to differences in style of worship and culture, not racial discrimination. I have been to a “black” church or two and by no means felt unwelcome, and have had several black friends at our church, who were by no means unwelcome. Different people like different things, and a person’s heritage and culture play into a large part of that background, which is why you have churches that are predominantly “black” or “white,” not necessarily due to prejudicial feelings or actions. And as I said above, I am certainly comfortable denouncing actions that some have committed in the name of religion (prejudice or slavery, in this instance), or even those who claim to follow Christ today and discriminate against those of a different race or ethnic heritage. As I asked Amanda above, do you personally believe that blacks are black not because of the curse of cain and being an “earthly representative of the devil” but because of their African lineage, and if so, are you comfortable denouncing it to Salt Lake City? That is what this is about, not just racial profiling and discriminating, but doing so by saying that God himself made blacks to be representative of the devil.

  19. Arthur Sido says:

    Lautensack, that is one of the best succinct refutations of that tired old excuse of equating the Levitcal priesthood, which called out and set aside certain people to serve as priests and mormon racism which excluded certain people based on their skin color. That argument is embarrassing and silly and you did a great job of quashing it.

    Ralph, the difference as pointed out by a number of commentators above is that as Christians we can recognize and apologize for the treatment of blacks by Christians as unwarranted and un-Biblical where it occurred. I have no issue, in fact I have an obligation, to stand up when Christian leaders are wrong. The mormon conundrum is that you cannot refute the inherent racism of the exclusion of blacks without also rejecting the dogmatic pronouncements of mormon “prophets” and once you pull one card out of that particular house the whole thing tumbles down. That puts many a conscientious mormon in the position of gritting their teeth and defending an indefensible practice to retain their solidarity around the office of prophet. If Smith and Young were wrong about blacks, if they were wrong about polygamy or any of the other doctrinal stances they took, wouldn’t it call into question their prophetic office in general?

  20. Rick B says:

    From what I read, Job was black,

    Job 30:30 My skin is black upon me, and my bones are burned with heat.</blockquote.

    Then I read that King Solomen’s wife was Black,

    Sgs 1:5 I [am] black, but comely, O ye daughters of Jerusalem, as the tents of Kedar, as the curtains of Solomon.
    Sgs 1:6 Look not upon me, because I [am] black, because the sun hath looked upon me: my mother’s children were angry with me; they made me the keeper of the vineyards; [but] mine own vineyard have I not kept.
    Sgs 5:11 His head [is as] the most fine gold, his locks [are] bushy, [and] black as a raven.

    I thought black skin was a curse? God was cursing these people, then allowing them to be married to kings or blessing them with great wealth.

    From what I can tell, Jesus was either Black, or really dark skinned. Seems strange, God said black skin was a curse, but then allowed these to be so blessed and even allow his own son to possible be black. Rick b

  21. Jacob5 says:

    Well, first of all, perhaps I am grossly inadequate for answering some of this, as I am a white guy. I had searched yesterday, and on the first of the google list was http://www.blacklds.com . This gives many opinions by black memebers of our church. So, for referrences on how black members of our church think about all that has been said, and done, please refer to that.
    Second “There are no Mormon temples in the U.S. that are racially or ethnically centered outside of the white community.” Lillym, do you mean to are there any temples that cater to specific races? If that is the question, then no, we don’t make racially specific temples, for all that enter are considered the same, despite what you may say to the contrary.
    How often do you read Hebrews?
    Heb. 3: 1
    1 Wherefore, holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High Priest of our profession, Christ Jesus;
    Heb. 4: 14
    14 Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession.
    Heb. 6: 20
    20 Whither the forerunner is for us entered, even Jesus, made an high priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec.
    Plainly said.
    Also, John the baptist was the son of a temple priest. That was where he received the priesthood in order to perform baptisms. (Note, this is not an argument about baptism, but that of priesthood authority.)
    Not all the ancient Israelites had the priesthood because they were not in a position to receive it. When Moses came down out of the mountain to give God’s teachings to them, they were worshiping a golden idol. They were not ready to receive such things. That is why they were given a whole set of laws of what they should and should not do. The punishment for breaking the laws were quite severe and dealt with quickly. Note all the punishments that were listed.

  22. falcon says:

    You know I don’t like to say it, but I just don’t get Mormon Biblical interpretation techniques. Would someone please enlighten me as to the principles used by Mormons to study and come to an understanding of the Bible. For example, I read above that John the Baptist was the son of a priest so he received the priesthood from his dad and was therfore authorized to perform baptisms. Where does that come from? And what a slaughtering of Hebrews. OK so Mormons start with a premise and then go out and try to find some verses to bolster their stance. That’s what I’m reading here. So please, someone give me the principles, rules, methods of Biblical interpretation used by Mormons. I understand that BYU doesn’t offer a theology degree. I’ll leave it at that.

  23. Ralph says:


    Like I said, I only see these things on TV, I have not experienced America personally except for 2 months training at Provo MTC.


    If I subscribe to black people being black because of their African lineage then I will be subscribing to evolution and science, not God. Personally I believe what the Bible teaches (at least the interpretation of the LDS church) about how the skin colouring came about. God put a mark on Cain to delineate him from others so no one would kill him in retaliation for his killing of Abel. This mark was a change of skin colour. How do Evangelicals explain the differences of race if the first progenitors were just Adam and Eve and there was no evolution? Were Adam and Eve Negroid? Asian? Caucasion? Australian Aboriginal? American Indian? There are at least 6 different ‘sub-races’ delineated in the human race which are genetically different. With Adam and Eve as progenitors we could only get 4 at the most. So either evolution occurred as science tells us or God changed the skin colour of some people for His own reasons. As far as I can see from my studies, science does not correspond with the Bible on this topic, so you cannot use it as an answer.


    If Joseph Smith or Brigham Young were wrong on things they were just human like all the other prophets in the Old Testament who made mistakes and incorrect prophecies. So no, I personally do not think that it invalidates their status as prophets.

  24. Arthur Sido says:

    What Christians do (or at least should do!) is exegesis, taking from the text what it says and building doctrine from that. What mormonism does is eisegesis, creating a doctrine and then seeking verses to support it. The perfect example is baptism for the dead, a doctrine with no Scriptural background except Paul speaking descriptively about it once in an obscure reference. It is easy to make up doctrines when you can feel free to cut and paste verses as you see fit, ignore others as “mistranslated” and make up stuff at the whim of a prophet.

  25. Arthur Sido says:


    “If Joseph Smith or Brigham Young were wrong on things they were just human like all the other prophets in the Old Testament who made mistakes and incorrect prophecies. So no, I personally do not think that it invalidates their status as prophets.”

    What prophesy did Moses make, did Daniel make, did Jeremiah make that proved false? We aren’t talking about sinful humans making mistakes, we are talking about men who say they are prophets saying “Thus sayeth the Lord” and being proven to be false. And what does the Bible say about false prophets? Deu 18:20-22 But the prophet who presumes to speak a word in my name that I have not commanded him to speak, or who speaks in the name of other gods, that same prophet shall die.’ And if you say in your heart, ‘How may we know the word that the LORD has not spoken?’– when a prophet speaks in the name of the LORD, if the word does not come to pass or come true, that is a word that the LORD has not spoken; the prophet has spoken it presumptuously. You need not be afraid of him. That doesn’t too vague. If a man claims to be a prophet and is proven to not be, then he is claiming to speak for the Lord when he does not and is to be ignored. God takes false prophets pretty seriously, just ask the false prophets of Baal.

  26. lillym says:

    Asian churches in the United States are needed for language reasons, and because if there are large numbers of Chinese who want to hear the bible in their language, they start their own church. Makes sense – has nothing to do with segregation. As I said, I’m white and I’m perfectly welcomed and loved at the Chinese church we go to.

    So I guess I’m still left wondering about this. Seems to me that all of the ethnic peoples who are brought into the temple likely have NO idea about this sort of doctrinal racism. (that conveniently disappeared when God changed His mind?) I mean, we’re talking about DOCTRINE that your supposed “direct mouthpiece of God” presidents were teaching.

    I’d love to know what black and asian people are taught when they are introduced to Mormonism. I’d bet money most of them don’t have a clue about this.

    I always thought the different races came from Noah’s sons. They are listed and it says they settled in different parts of the world…

  27. Jacob5 says:

    Okay Falcon, here is how it goes.
    1. Zakariah was a Levite. He was a descendant of Aaron from the line of Abijah. (Luke 1:5, CR 1 Chr. 24:10)
    2. His wife Elisabeth was a descendant of Aaron. (Luke 1:5)
    3. Zakariah performed the duties of a priest.
    (Luke 1:8-9)
    4. The Levites did not receive a plot of land like the rest of the tribes but were given the priesthood. (Josh. 18:7, Heb. 7:5)
    5. This priesthood was called the Levitical Priesthood (Heb. 7:11)
    So here is the outcome. Zakariah received the priesthood because he was a descendant of Levi. John was a son of Zakariah, and therefore would have received the Levitical priesthood.
    Any questions?
    And as for the “slaughtering of Hebrews” I made no premise as I felt the scriptures speak quite plainly since the statement was “Jesus didn’t hold this priesthood but holds a better one that is non-transferable.” As the scriptures clearly state “High Priest of our profession”

  28. lillym says:

    The Levitical priesthood was a shadow of what Christ would do – it was an earthly representation.

    If you know anything about the Tabernacle, you know that the priests were never allowed to sit down, as it symbolized that their work (of atonement) was never finished. And as sinful humans, it never could be!

    After Christ was crucified and ascended into heaven, he “SAT DOWN AT THE RIGHT HAND OF THE FATHER”. This symbolized that the work of the priesthood was finished, in HIM, for all time. He was the last priest.

    All of this priesthood stuff in the BoM makes absolutely no sense, and basically means that Mormons are rejecting the work that Christ did at Calvary.

    But isn’t this off-topic since we’re supposed to be discussing the race issue?

  29. Lautensack says:

    I am sorry for not specifying by John I meant John the disciple Jesus loved, not John the baptist. as for your quotations from the book of Hebrews perhaps you could explain the point you are trying to make rather than simply quoting scripture and assuming everyone interprets it the same way you do. I mean I agree that Jesus is a greater prophet than Moses, that Jesus was fully Human, and is our great High Priest.

    There is no evidence that the curse of Cain is blackness because anyone who killed a black man would be cursed. However this conversation is about the priesthood not about the “evolution,” as you put it, but about the priesthood, if you would like to discuss how every race could be made from two people in more detail feel free to email me at Lautensack[AT]gmail[DOT-NOSPAM]com

  30. Jacob5 says:

    Thank you for the clarity, with so many of the New Testament people with the same name, it may get confusing sometimes.
    However, I still hold that the priesthood still existed even after Christ left the earth.
    In 1 Peter 2, does it not speak of a royal priesthood?

  31. Lautensack says:

    1 Peter 2:4-6
    4 As you come to him, a living stone rejected by men but in the sight of God chosen and precious,
    5 you yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.
    6 For it stands in Scripture:
    “Behold, I am laying in Zion a stone, a cornerstone chosen and precious, and whoever believes in him will not be put to shame.”
    7 So the honor is for you who believe, but for those who do not believe,
    “The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone,”
    8 and
    “A stone of stumbling, and a rock of offense.”
    They stumble because they disobey the word, as they were destined to do.

    To this I say Amen, there is a holy priesthood, a universal priesthood of all believers as we are shaped into living stones being built into a spiritual house(Temple?) upon the Living Stone that is Christ Jesus, through which spiritual sacrifices can be made. There is so much good in this verse. Yet it offers nothing in the way of the Mormon priesthoods. We must remember that these verses are first about Jesus, to forget this is to forget the point of the entire bible, as it is all about Him. Only after that is this about our being conformed to Him, that is all believers. So yes 1 Peter 2 does speak of a Holy Priesthood that all members of the faith are a part of, my point was not that no priesthood exists, if that was how it was taken I am sorry. My point was that the Levitical priesthood, which is needed for Mormon exaltation, was not held by many of the men of God in the Bible.


  32. falcon says:

    I know we don’t want to turn this thread into a discussion of John the Baptist and the priesthood generally, however I combed through my sources here to try and find anything that would indicate that John’s “authority” to baptize was based on his being a decendant of a Levitical priest. I now know more than I need to about Jewish ceremonial cleansing and the beginning of baptismal society. Anyway, no connection was made regarding John’s lineage and his “authority” to baptize. Couldn’t find anything about John being a priest either.

  33. Rick B says:

    Falcon said

    Anyway, no connection was made regarding John’s lineage and his “authority” to baptize. Couldn’t find anything about John being a priest either.

    I believe the problem here is, were not LDS, God speaks to them even if it goes against the already written word. If it is not in Gods word, give it time, God will speak to any LDS and then it will be added. But then when we later bring it up, they will tell us, were not quoting offical LDS sources or that was the prophets mere opinion. Rick b

  34. falcon says:

    I get it! It doesn’t matter if we’re talking about skin color issues or whatever, there is a warehouse full of Mormon folk doctrine or apocryphal religious urban legends to support a Mormon premise. This John the Baptist priesthood thing, threw me for a loop. In the case of the dark skin color issue, I’m still waiting to find out if the god of the Mormons did this as a curse to a class of people. Mormons are basically stuck with this doctrine. They have to own it.

  35. Jacob5 says:

    And perhaps we do have a lot of urban legends in our church. We do have many people who try to come up with their own explanation on their own and it does end up getting spread. I think that is a fault of all mankind. Where do we get the three wisemen. And also, where do we get their names.
    I think that is one of the problems with the whole situation with those of African descent. There was no official scripture given as to why it was that way, yet people in general want to think of why it was that way. Joseph Smith had ordained black members to the priesthood, but why not every other prophet since until 1978? I honestly don’t know.
    After much studying the only thing I can say for sure is that it was the policy until then. We can read many ideas on why but many of them have been reproved since then.
    >>warning opinion ahead<< maybe it wasn’t as much as something about the black members of our church as much as the white members. There were obvious words being spoken that you could never survive saying in public in some parts of the world these days, and maybe these people simply had it wrong.
    But let us consider the situation of the early church. Did the early LDS church have segregation? Were there places in restaraunts or stores, or water fountains designated for blacks or whites? Were the black members treated with any disrespect? Were there a great number of slaves being held by members? Did the LDS members at large uphold slavery or were they against it? (Mind you I don’t know everything about that time period, so if you do have evidence about these issues please inform me, but please make sure it supports the actions of the general membership, not a certain few.)
    The real question is “Why, after Joseph Smith, were black male members not given the priesthood?”
    The answer I can give is, “I really don’t know.”

  36. Arthur Sido says:


    That is an honest answer, which is refreshing. My only quibble is your characterization that this was an issue with the attitudes of “white members”. These declarations and others are not merely the intemperate ramblings of white mormons as products of the times. These are dogmatic declarations of the will of God regarding the cursed status of those with black skin.

  37. Jacob5 says:

    First of all, I stated it was just an opinion. Do I believe that black skin is a cursing.
    Let us break it down here. If I assume too much, please correct me. We all believe in Adam and Eve being the first parents. Now, for some reason there was a changing from one race to many different races. There were different people with different skin tones, hair and eye colors. And all reaces eventually bred and grew in population. Now, does that skin tone connote a curse? No. It was the genetic material that was passed on from one generation to another. It was also further carried on through Ham who had married a woman with such genetic attributes. Now, we do not read that Noah kicked Ham and his wife off the boat fro doing this but she was saved along with the rest of them. Obviously God felt equal compassion for her as he did all the other seven souls that survived the great flood. Even from that the genetics for having black skin continued.
    When we read from the Book of Mormon that the Lamanite people at certain points became more righteous than the Nephites.
    Does the skin color designate the righteousness of the people? No, obviously not.
    For whatever reason, there are people of this world that have different features. There is no concrete evidence as to exactly why this is so, I don’t think anyone on this planet can say. But we do know that it has played a role in how humanity treats one other.
    I will also say this that God still loves all His children. I can also feel comfortable about saying that all those who follow His commandments and have faith in Christ are capable of receiving all His blessings. And even if there was a time period in which people could not receive all these things on this earth, that still will not stop them from receiving these things after this life. And those who do continue in this church even beyond confronting this certain issue, will be able to provide a great service for their ancestors.

  38. Rick B says:

    Jacob said

    Now, for some reason there was a changing from one race to many different races.

    Read the account of the tower of Babel, it explains it.

    then you said

    There were different people with different skin tones, hair and eye colors. And all reaces eventually bred and grew in population. Now, does that skin tone connote a curse? No.

    When you said NO. Does this mean you do not agree with the BoM or your church leaders who taught otherwise? Rick b

  39. Jacob5 says:

    I am saying that at one point in time there was a dividing of the races. Now, if Cain received a “mark”, some would say that the skin of blackness was that mark. I think many may make a grave error to designate that those with the skin of blackness maintain that sam curse that Cain received.
    Since one of our articles of faith says:
    “We believe that men will be punished for their own sins, and not for Adam’s transgression.” I believe that this can be extended to those of the descent of Cain. He did have children but those children have no more to answer for Cain’s sins than Adam’s transgression.
    As I do believe in continued revelation, I would obviously have to say I disagree with any past members of my church who made all incompassing statements about the eternal position of those of African descent. If their early ancestor was given such a mark it was then past down over the years. It is meer fact that black skin is often a dominant trait. Does this mean that those with black skin are cursed forever? No, since now they can receive all the blessings that are given to all mankind.
    As I said before, for some reason there was a withholding of this in the past, and there are those who, instead of saying they did not know why, sought to rationalize this situation.
    Also the statement of the skin of blackness of the Book of Mormon is given after the cursing was pronounced so as to maintain a division between the two groups.
    I fail to see what you mean by your last question, that the Book of Mormon teachings is somehow different than my church’s leaders. Please be more exact with your question.

  40. Arthur Sido says:

    I believe Rick is referring to the myriad explicit declarations by prophets of the mormon church that black skin is the curse of Cain. For example…

    Cain slew his brother . . . and the Lord put a mark upon him, which is the flat nose and black skin. . . . How long is that race [blacks] to endure the dreadful curse that is upon them? That curse will remain upon them, and they never can hold the Priesthood or share in it until all the other descendants of Adam have received the promises and enjoyed the blessings of the Priesthood and the keys thereof. Until the last ones of the residue of Adam’s children are brought up to that favourable position, the children of Cain cannot receive the first ordinances of the Priesthood. They were the first that were cursed, and they will be the last from whom the curse will be removed (Journal of Discourses, vol. 7, p. 290).

    The point being that if you believe, quite rightly, that the idea of black skin being the curse of Cain is absolutely wrong, then you “disagree with any past members of my church who made all incompassing statements about the eternal position of those of African descent.”. If they are wrong about black skin, and they are, then what else were they wrong about? Kind of opens a Pandora’s Box for mormonism, which is why it gets covered up and explained away.

  41. Jacob5 says:

    Well, then that is where it comes down to faith. There are many things in the scriptures (all of them) that seem very off with my personal observations of the world we live in, but is still does not make me disbelieve my faith. An ancestor of mine said (and I may be paraphrasing) that “I have seen contradictions in my church, but I also see many contradictions in science as well, but I don’t give up on it.”
    I am sure you want to have me say, oh that “prophet” said something wrong, or he made a mistake to give you ammunition for you claims. But remember that I also recognize the humanity and falability of every man save one who has walked upon this earth. If then Christ being the only flawless man what is every other mans flaw.
    Simply because a man may be a prophet does not make him infalable. So, you may ask how I were to know what is right or wrong. Well, first of all there are certain key items to notice. One, is it an official church publication? 2, Does it have the official stamp of approval of the prophet acting as prophet of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints? And then finally, if that doesn’t fit, ask of God. So, how do I know? Ultimately God tells me, when He answers my prayers through the Holy Ghost.
    I know there are many here who do use the Journal of Discourses to make many of your claims but it is not a church endorsed book. It was published in a way as to give us knowledge of sermons and such given by early members of our church, but it is not set as a standard work to study for learning all the exact doctrines of our church.
    I see no Pandora’s Box. As the 1978 revelation is given, anything that was previously said or writen before it that is not in accordance with it is obviously wrong.
    I give the same example of the name of our church. There were the two names given but the name we have now is the one that was given by direct revelation.
    I will keep a list of questions to ask when I am dead, and that’s one of them

  42. falcon says:

    You’re explanation comes down to the fact that you want to believe in Mormonism. Sorry, but that’s my conclusion. Desire coupled with strong emotion wins out over facts every time. It doesn’t matter if we’re talking about the lack of DNA, archeological, lingustic, or just plain historical evidence regarding the BOM, you’ll find an escape hatch. It doesn’t matter that Joseph Smith was a practioner of folk magic (arts) and founded a religion that is diametrically in opposition of the doctrine of the nature of God, you received a feeling and that proves JS theology true. We are in a spiritual battle and deception is the main tactic. You get confirmation feelings that are interpreted as spiritual in nature. Go out and read Arthur Sido’s testimony. Once the deception is lifted a true life of freedom in Christ is realized.

  43. Arthur Sido says:

    Jacob, We aren’t talking here about a simple human failing. You cannot look at it that way because of how mormonism is structured. There must be absolute faith in what the prophet declares. I can’t tell you how many times I have heard people give the testimony on fast and testimonial Sunday and it sounded something like this: “I’d like to bear my testimony that I know this church is true, Joseph Smith was a prophet, Gordon B. Hinckley is a prophet…” etc. Even small children are taught to parrot that back in front of the church with their parents whispering it into their ears. Songs are sung about how great Joseph Smith was and his status as a prophet of the restoration. Everything in mormonism hinges on the truth of Joseph Smith’s claims to be a prophet. If he was wrong about issues that he declared to be inspired truth (and the language he and Brigham Young used when making declarations about blacks certainly qualifies as being authoritative declarations), then that casts his status as a prophet in doubt and if his status as a prophet is in doubt, everything he said is in doubt including and especially his claims about the book of Mormon.

    That is why the evidence that he didn’t really translate the Egyptian documents that became the book of Abraham are so damning. It reveals a man who claimed to be able to translate Egyptian, so when presented with Egyptian documents that were untranslatable prior to the discovery of the Rosetta stone he felt free to make it up and that has been shown unequivocally to be a fabrication. Please ponder this. The idea that these are questions you can ask after your death is a deadly one. If you are wrong, there will not be a second chance to review the evidence. If non-mormons don’t buy into mormonism in this life, according to mormon dogma they will have a chance after death. In the Bible there is not second chance for those who deny Christ as God and Savior to do so after death. You cannot be wrong on this.

  44. falcon says:

    You seem willing to dump the Journal of Discourses as some ramblings by eary Mormon church leaders. It has no authority or effect? I bet the individuals who spoke the words which appear there didn’t think that what they were saying was mere speculation. And by the way, are you willing to dump the Book of Abraham also since it’s been proven to be bogus? As with the “scriptures” dealing with dark skinned people, everything can be explained away and put under the heading of “it doesn’t count”. This is what happens when people trust in their feelings as being from God and ignore the obvious.

  45. mikeb says:

    The reason why true Christians do not believe Joseph Smith was a prophet of God is because he failed the biblical test of a true prophet put forth in the Bible.
    “But the prophet who shall speak a word presumptuously in My name which I have not commanded him to speak, or which he shall speak in the name of other gods, that prophet shall die.’ 21 “And you may say in your heart, ‘How shall we know the word which the Lord has not spoken?’ 22 “When a prophet speaks in the name of the Lord, if the thing does not come about or come true, that is the thing which the Lord has not spoken. The prophet has spoken it presumptuously; you shall not be afraid of him,” (Deut. 18:20-22).
    Here a list of some of Joseph Smith prophecies that didn’t come true.
    1) Prophecy about Jesus return within 56 years
    2) Prophecy that the temple would be built in Missouri within Smith’s Generation
    3) All Nations would be involved in the American Civil War
    4) Prophesy that the earth will tremble and the sun be hidden in “not many days”
    5) Prophecy that Isaiah 11 was about to be fulfilled
    We’re not talking about the character of the person (prophet) but whether or not their prophecies were true. The great prophets of the Bible pass the test. Trust the Bible!
    2 Timothy 3:16 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness,

  46. woenigma says:

    Hmm.. many harsh comments to the Mormons. Let’s look at the Black race. Unwed mothers (children having children), fatherless homes, education is not valued (inner city schools are failing), supposed leaders like Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton incite racism rather then champion individuals to be successful, many black men are in prison, the father in the home has been replaced with welfare, the hope of a black youth is to become a rap star or a basketball player.
    What of Africa, all the blood shed and disease that continues to happen on that continent, it’s heart breaking. Who should be in charge of bringing order to Africa? These are some of the things being the “PC” people we have become that we are not allowed to talk about in public. Why is that? If you had a choice of being born in the US or being born in Africa where would you pick? Would you say the Black race is blessed?

  47. Lautensack says:

    I’m not sure if this is just a rant where you are actually accepting and justifying the racism in your church or an actual argument. I would say that to single out the black race specifically is to be rather foolish instead we should look to the depravity of all men who have not been drawn by the Father and regenerated by the washing and renewing of the Holy Spirit to be made into new creatures. We must remember many if not most of the vilest men ever to walk the face of the earth were not of African descent but Caucasian. Now I am not trying to justify the evil of any man but I am saying that to single a specific race out because you deem them to be less good than you is simply a form of self deception. Them Bible is clear when it says that all men are sinners and all men sin, it also says that all sin is equal in the eyes of the Lord. Let us not forget that is it middle class white Americans who supply most of the funds for the pornography business. As for why there is disease and blood shed all over Africa I again appeal to the depravity of man, and Caucasians are no better as just 70 years ago Caucasians committed acts as gruesome if not worse (in the eyes of man). As to the question of the Black race being blessed, I would have to say yes, for every good and perfect gift, life included, come down from the Father of lights whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.


  48. woenigma says:

    It’s nothing to do with racism or an argument, it’s fact. How you answer is exactly my point. We can’t talk about the real issues we have to point out look at this bad guy and look at that bad guy and what about porn. What? Just ask yourself why the Black race has had such a struggle no matter where they live. (Africa as a whole-a country on that continent is always at war, killing each other in horrific ways, not to mention what they do to women. And in America with every advantage black students drop out twice as much as white students, quotes are instituted at colleges and yet only 40% graduate). When Bill Cosby tries to point some of these things out he is told to keep his mouth shut. White people can’t say anything because we are racists if we do. So we keep throwing money at the problem and keep praying it goes away. EV can’t think that God would put people in a terrible living situation because EV God is all loving. Millions in Africa die EVERY year! How do you explain that your God would let people be born unequal in Africa? Looking in it sure looks like America has many advantages compared to Africa. Why did the EV God created it like that? Your pie in the sky answer never explained how the Black race has been blessed.

  49. Lautensack says:

    In order for me to answer this question I must understand what you mean by blessed, because if we have different concepts of what Blessed means then clearly we will not see eye to eye on what it means to be blessed.


  50. Arthur Sido says:

    Woenignma, first that is about the ugliest, most ignorant rant I have seen online in a long time. And that is saying something.

    Second, prosperity in this life is not the equivalent of God’s blessing. There have been many wicked men and women, of all races, who have been materially prosperous. There have been vast numbers of faithful Christians, white and black, asian, etc who have lived in sickness and poverty. Christians have been martyred, abused, mocked through the centuries. You seem to be espousing some sort of weird mix between Joseph Smith and Joel Osteen. God doesn’t promise that the Christian life will be trouble free, or one of wealth or happiness. In fact just the opposite.

    Who would you rather be, Lazarus or the rich man? I know who I would choose. I choose salvation and eternal life with the Lord over material prosperity in this life and an eternity in hell. There are many people with black skin who will spend eternity in glory with Christ while Joseph Smith and Brigham Young toil for eternity in hell, white skin or not.

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