What did you do in the pre-existence?

The circumstances under which a person is born into this world directly correlates to the individual’s behavior in the pre-existence. Or so Mormon General Authorities have freely taught. Born Black? You are cursed because of your behavior in the pre-existence. Born in China with “dark skin”? You were less obedient than you could have been in your first estate. Born among the “starving hordes of India”? Your lack of pre-mortal worthiness is to blame. In 1954 LDS Apostle Mark E. Petersen explained,

“These are rewards and punishments, fully in harmony with [God’s] established policy in dealing with sinners and saints, rewarding all according to their deeds….” (delivered to the Convention of Teachers of Religion on the College Level, Brigham Young University, August 27, 1954. For the sources of the other statements made above, see Alvin R. Dryer, “For What Purpose?”; Joseph Fielding Smith, Doctrines of Salvation, 1:61. Sources gleaned from the Faith Promoting Rumor blog)

“Old news,” some may say. “Outdated personal speculation.” Yet the doctrine continues to find life in Mormonism.

Chinese New YearOn March 11, 2008 Terry B. Ball, professor and Dean of Religious Education at BYU, presented a devotional address titled, “To Confirm and Inform: A Blessing of Higher Education.” Dr. Ball said,

“Have you ever wondered why you were born where and when you were born? Why you were not born 500 years ago in some primitive, aboriginal culture in some isolated corner of the world? Is the timing and placing of your birth capricious? For Latter-day Saints the answer is no. Fundamental to our faith is the understanding that before we came to this earth we lived in a pre-mortal existence with a loving heavenly father. We further understand that in that pre-mortal state we had agency. And that we grew and developed as we used that agency. Some, as Abraham learned, became noble and great ones.”

Unlike past LDS leaders, Dr. Ball did not suggest that a non-Caucasian earth birth is a curse or somehow reflects poor pre-mortal behavior. Instead, his comments are built around the idea that God chose the circumstances of each person’s birth based on growth needed to reach one’s full eternal potential. Nevertheless, the basic theme, from early Mormonism to today, is the belief that by a person’s behavior in the pre-existence, he merits the position and advantages he possesses during his mortal life. As past LDS Prophet David O. McKay is quoted in Doctrines of the Gospel Student Manual,

“From this revelation [Abraham 3:23], we may infer two things: first, that there were among those spirits [in premortal life] different degrees of intelligence, varying grades of achievement, retarded and advanced spiritual attainment; second, that there were no national distinctions among those spirits such as Americans, Europeans, Asiatics, Australians, etc. Such ‘bounds of habitation’ would have to be ‘determined’ when the spirits entered their earthly existence or second estate. . . .

“Now if none of these spirits were permitted to enter mortality until they all were good and great and had become leaders, then the diversity of conditions among the children of men as we see them today would certainly seem to indicate discrimination and injustice. . . .

“. . . Our place in this world would then be determined by our own advancement or condition in the pre-mortal state, just as our place in our future existence will be determined by what we do here in mortality.

“When, therefore, the Creator said to Abraham, and to others of his attainment, ‘You I will make my rulers,’ there could exist no feeling of envy or jealousy among the million other spirits, for those who were ‘good and great’ were but receiving their just reward.” (page 14 [chapter 6])

Mormonism is a relentlessly merit-based religion. Even when and where we are born (according to Mormonism) is directly tied to our worthiness (or lack thereof) as demonstrated by our choices in the pre-existence.

As in mortal birth, so too for eternal life. LDS Apostle Bruce R. McConkie taught,

“Jesus…makes a pronouncement of wondrous import: If thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments. This is the sum and substance of the whole matter. Salvation, eternal life, rewards in all degrees and varieties—all come by obedience to the laws and ordinances of the gospel. Salvation must be won; it is not a free gift… But what of grace? Grace is the love, mercy and condescension of God in making salvation available to all men. ‘It is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do.’ (2 Ne. 25:23) Eternal life is freely available; salvation is free in that all may drink of the waters of life; all may come and partake; but none gains so high a reward as eternal life until he is tried and tested and found worthy…” (The Mortal Messiah 3:302)

Salvation must be won; it is not a free gift. We are saved by grace after all we can do. Only those who prove themselves worthy gain eternal life. The Messiah never said such things. Instead, He said,

“But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved—and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works…” (Ephesians 2:4-9)

Thanks be to God for his inexpressible gift!

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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60 Responses to What did you do in the pre-existence?

  1. Mormonism is a relentlessly merit-based religion.

    What drove this home for me was learning about the LDS position on why infants who die go to the Celestial kingdom and have eternal life: because they sufficiently proved themselves worthy in the pre-mortal existence.

  2. Michael P says:

    Aaron– interesting. My question would be how would they know? Seems they are basing that assertion on wishful thinking…

  3. lillym says:

    Okay this is a new one for me. I didn’t know Mormons believed in reincarnation. (Or not exactly – they believe we lived lives in heaven before we came to earth – not prior earthly lives, right?)

    Why would we be able to live in heaven and sin there? And THEN get born on earth? Wow. I’m still digesting this. My family is Chinese, and now I’m wondering what sins we committed in heaven to warrant living in a communist dictatorship… 😉 (BTW, I love that pic of the girl – so cute!)

    I guess this partly explains why most Mormons don’t marry outside of their race/culture? I know this is offensive to some people, and I know there are Mormons in other countries now…but all of the ones I know are blond. It’s scary how overwhelmingly blond and fair they all seem to be. I know that there are exceptions…but.

  4. pould says:


  5. Berean says:

    Pould, that was a great video post. I have heard several parables given to show the difference between the Mormon view of grace and the Christian view of grace. This one that you gave was excellent. Powerful!

    What did I do in the pre-existence? By the reaction and treatment I got yesterday when I attended a local ward up the street from me to see what their service was like and possibly open up some witnessing opportunities by leaving my contact information yesterday one would think I was worse than the seed/curse of Cain. I am a white male with fair skin, blue eyes, red/blonde hair, freckles, etc., so I should have received the Mormon star treatment since it was obvious that I used my agency correctly in the pre-existence, born during this time period on earth and in the heart of Mormon country, right? Not hardly. I could write a book on what happened yesterday…unbelievable. What an experience that was. I’m looking forward to seeing what God does with the contacts that I made there yesterday.

  6. Ammon says:


    I think that you asked some great questions. I too wonder what the mormon doctrine says about people of every race. The history (non-mormon history) of the mormon church seems to quote those early leaders talking about people that are black. There is also the whole “lamanite” thing but I don’t know if that is the same. I would like to hear somebody explain what mormonism teaches about every race.

  7. Ammon says:

    Beautifully put Pould.

  8. falcon says:

    Well I’m waiting for the first Mormon poster to tell us that this isn’t what Mormons really believe i.e. preexistence qualifications. The deal on the Mormon concept of grace is just that, the Mormon concept of grace. Mormon grace is unique to their religious system and has nothing to do with Christianity. For us, the two things being discussed here are just examples of why Mormonism is a different religious system and isn’t even a distant cousin of orthodox Christianity. To agrue “grace” with Mormons is really a waste of time because they don’t subscribe to a basic Christian belief system. We need to continue to draw the distinction between Mormonism and Christianity.

  9. Rick B says:

    Aaron said

    What drove this home for me was learning about the LDS position on why infants who die go to the Celestial kingdom and have eternal life: because they sufficiently proved themselves worthy in the pre-mortal existence.

    Whats really sad is, many LDS go on a missions trip and then Die young by some type of accident or get killed, yet since they never made it into the temple they can never get into the 3rd heaven.

    yet unborn kids, or really young new born’s get a free pass, boy thats not fair, why bother becoming an LDS member then? Rick b

  10. Peter,

    wow… beautifully put. Amen.


    I’m not so sure Mormons would say that those less fortunate here on earth actually sinned in the pre-mortal existence, but there does still seem to be a concept of varying pre-mortal performances which affect our conditions here.


    I think all young Mormon missionaries have been to the temple, although they haven’t been married yet, of course. And for those Mormons who haven’t made it to the temple for circumstantial reasons,
    Mormonism gives plenty of opportunity for people to attend to the temple requirements during the millennium.

    My point with infants who have died in Mormonism is that, since their destination is partially based on the person’s pre-mortal obedience, it
    really isn’t a completely free pass. Eternal life is merit-based for all in Mormonism, even infants who die.

    Grace and peace,


  11. Ralph says:


    All missionaries have been through the temple before leaving on their missions (or do it in the training centre). But as Aaron has specified, and I have posted many times in answer to your comments like this, God is just and merciful and will not exclude someone from the Celestial Kingdom on the basis that they did not have a chance in this life to meet a requirement for reaching the Celestial Kingdom. We will all get a chance to fulfil God’s requirements, whether in this life or the next, In this life we can get many chances, but we will get at least ONE proper chance. If we reject it in this life we do not get another in the next. So in reality, if someone does not fill their ‘checklist’ while in this life because of some reason or other out of their control, they can still make it into the Celestial Kingdom becasue God is judging them on the thouthts of their hearts as well as their actions – So I wonder if this can be considered as ‘grace’ if the ‘works’ have not been completed?

    As for infants, you got it partially correct Aaron- that’s more for those who die around birth, not later infant years. The main reason for children who die under 8 yrs is because they are without sin. They have been given the promise that Satan cannot tempt them until they reach 8 yrs old. This gives them the chance to be taught the proper way to live in this life so they know good from evil before they become accountable for their decisions/actions. Yes they do the wrong thing, but all their wrong doings are covered by Jesus Christ’s atonement automatically. So they are perfect and able to go into Heavenly Father’s presence. After 8 yrs they are accountable because they have a basic knowledge/understanding of right and wrong. They may not know it all but they do have the basics.

  12. My WordWeb dictionary says that an “infant” is, “A very young child (birth to 1 year) who has not yet begun to walk or talk.”

  13. David says:

    I have long maintained that Mormonism has more in common with Dharmic faiths (Hinduisms, Buddhism, Sikhism) than historic monotheism. Everything that happens, or happened, to a person is the result of a (knoweable) reason/action. Chock a whole lot up to Karma. In this way, these faiths are anthrocentric to the max.

    First, it should be noted that it is arrogant, even dangerous, to access which stations of life are better than others.

    There is a radical difference in orientation between historic Christianity and Mormonism. It is one of the personal vs. the impersonal. In classical Mormon cosmology, the orientation is on fairness, merit, and consistency. Even the gods followed (and still do) the same eternal prinicples that Mormons follow today. As such the (impersonal) principles themselves could be considered “God”. This is much like the Dharmic faiths.

    In historic Christianity, (personal) God is the chief end of all of creation, including man. He is the center of the universe. As such, he can put his creation in any station of life He wishes (including heaven of hell) and it would most certainly be “fair”.

    With regards to merit, grace, fairness, principles, and (pre) existence consider this exchange between the Master and his disciples (John 9:2&3):

    And His disciples asked Him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he would be born blind? Jesus answered, “It was neither that this man sinned, nor his parents; but it was so that the works of God might be displayed in him.

  14. clarity67 says:


    Interesting take. However, I respectfully dispute your opinion stated in your video post with the following:

    14 ¶ For the kingdom of heaven is as a man travelling into a far country, who called his own servants, and delivered unto them his goods.

    15 And unto one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one; to every man according to his several ability; and straightway took his journey.

    16 Then he that had received the five talents went and traded with the same, and made them other five talents.

    17 And likewise he that had received two, he also gained other two.

    18 But he that had received one went and digged in the earth, and hid his lord’s money.

    19 After a long time the lord of those servants cometh, and reckoneth with them.

    20 And so he that had received five talents came and brought other five talents, saying, Lord, thou deliverdst unto me five talents: behold, I have gained beside them five talents more.

    21 His lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.

    22 He also that had received two talents came and said, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me two talents: behold, I have gained two other talents beside them.

    23 His lord said unto him, Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.

    24 Then he which had received the one talent came and said, Lord, I knew thee that thou art an hard man, reaping where thou hast not sown, and gathering where thou hast not strawed:

    25 And I was afraid, and went and hid thy talent in the earth: lo, there thou hast that is thine.

    26 His lord answered and said unto him, Thou wicked and slothful servant, thou knewest that I reap where I sowed not, and gather where I have not strawed:


  15. clarity67 says:

    27 Thou oughtest therefore to have put my money to the exchangers, and then at my coming I should have received mine own with usury.

    28 Take therefore the talent from him, and give it unto him which hath ten talents.

    29 For unto every one that hath shall be given, and he shall have abundance: but from him that hath not shall be taken away even that which he hath.

    30 And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

    Now I know I may be reaching here, (sarcasm added intentionally) but it sounded like the Lord was fairly pleased with the efforts his servants made, of their own accord, and by their own individual MERITS, seeking favor with their lord through obedience. IN fact, he said and I repeat, “Thou hast been faithful (through your meritorious conduct, I would add) over a few things, I shall make thee a ruler over many things. Would this likely be construed as a reward of not just faith but works as well? Further, is this not consistent with the recompense of a fair and just God? As well, was this not the expectation of the lord, that through the servants efforts they return more than they started with?


    20 And so he that had received five talents came and brought other five talents, saying, Lord, thou deliverdst unto me five talents: behold, I have gained beside them five talents more.

    21 His lord said unto him, What is this? Why did you think that I needed more talents? Are you trying to prove that you are greater than me? Your efforts are wasted for I need not your talents and they availeth you nothing. Indeed, what made you even think I would accept your talents? Depart from me hence for your works are sinful in my eyes.

    22 He also that had received two talents came and said, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me two talents: behold, I have gained two other talents beside them.


  16. clarity67 says:

    23 His lord said unto him, What is this? Why did you think that I needed more talents? Are you trying to prove that you are greater than me? Your efforts are wasted for I need not your talents and they availeth you nothing. Indeed, what made you even think I would accept your talents? Depart from me hence for your works are sinful in my eyes.

    24 Then he which had received the one talent came and said, Lord, I knew thee that thou art an hard man, reaping where thou hast not sown, and gathering where thou hast not strawed:

    25 And I was afraid, and went and hid thy talent in the earth: lo, there thou hast that is thine.

    26 His lord answered and said unto him, “My son, thou hast judged wisely for thou knewest that I alone can earn the talents.

    27 You recognized that you can offer nothing to your lord, not even the interest on the talent you had. Had you EARNED like your fellow servants and sought to MERIT my favor, I should have dismissed you likewise.

    28 Enter into thy rest and partake of my goodness.“ God forbid.

    Behold, the TRULY HERETICAL false teachings of grace.

  17. Just for Quix says:


    You have not looked to the Word, to be transformed by the free gift of Christ. It chagrins me to see your apparent anger at this merciful truth.

    First, the Parable of the Talents is not a parable about expanding human gifts. It seems a practical lesson about stewardship, particularly over the money the Lord entrusts to us. But most important the talent was a weight by which precious metals were measured. The hidden message to me is that the Lord puts His weight, His trust, in us according to our ability. Some will be entrusted more than others to glorify Him. While it is inspiring to think of it in terms of expanding our personal gifts with which God has entrusted us, isn’t it better to turn the focus toward His trust, rather than our merits? It is wresting the context to apply it liberally as support for a merits-based salvation. Please consider the lesson of the Parable of the Workers in the Field (Matt 13).

    Second, in your “Christian” version of the riddle, you do not understand Grace. Certainly, if a servant did works, and grew prideful on how well he pleased the Lord and merited salvation, the Lord would view this with disdain. What an unprofitable servant who did not become transformed in the service of his Lord. This is not what Grace teaches.

    Grace (see Romans, Galatians, Hebrews, etc.) teaches that our works do not merit salvation. The Lord would praise his wise steward something like this, I imagine: “Thank you for your faithful service. Thank you for trusting in Me. Did you find joy in the service of the Father? Did you recognize My hand in using you to bring Him glory? Did you grow and delight in opportunities to serve your fellow man? Did you embrace hardship and let Me carry your burden? In all of this have you come to know Me, to trust Me, and have faith on My name to save you? This is why I have drawn you unto Me, asked of you this task, so you may have faith in Me to save. The faithful servant will answer, “Yes, Lord, I Believe.”

  18. eric017 says:

    Well put, Just for Quix. As I see it, the servent with one talent was dismissed because he did not put his trust in the Lord and did not seek to glorify the lord. Rather, he was motivated by fear. The other two, however put thier trust in the lord, and returned with more than they initially had. They did this with no expectation of reward, only to glorify thier master.

    The common view that Mormons have of the beautiful teaching of grace, which Pould put so wonderfully, is that Christians don’t care about works. Clarity’s rewritten parable reiterates this. Christians do care about works, for “faith without works is dead.” As Christians we seek to do works to glorify God. In order to do God’s works, we seek to know His will concerning what we should do. But I ask, how can we know His will, and thus do His works, with our sinful and devious hearts? How can God speak to our hearts through the Word if we are inherently sinful? We must have our hearts changed (i.e. born of the spirit, or born again as Jesus told Nicodemus) and accept God’s offering of salvation before we are even capable of doing God’s work. Is it possible to fully remove sin from our lives in order to merit this saving grace? Looking at my own imperfection, I would say the answer is no.

    I think it is really interesting that so many of the comment sections of these post revert to this grace-works conundrom (sp?). Why is this? For me it is the fundimental difference between the Christian ‘Good news’ and Mormonism. For me, it is what makes the Mormon Gospel not Christian. Although most Mormons live very Christian-like lives and have many Christian tennents in thier teaching, they do not seem to be able to grasp this most fundimental definition of Christianity.

  19. Searcy says:

    This issue becomes quite simple for those who understand the scriptures. I watched the Blacks in the Scriptures DVDs by Darius Gray and Marvin Perkins http://www.blacksinthescriptures.com and what they’ve laid out in there blows away all of the theories and incorrect statements of the past.

    There’s one section in there where they use the scriptures to trace the genealogy of Christ. The scriptures are clear that Christ himself was part black. They go through 3 hours of LDS myth busting just using the scriptures. You have to see it, and then you’ll understand this.

  20. Searcy, you’ll have to be more specific about how they “blow away all of the theories and incorrect statements”, specifically with regard to the idea of pre-mortal merit determining one’s birth and ethnicity here. From from I understand of Mormonism, the opinions of people like Darius Gray and Marvin Perkins don’t trump First Presidency statements. Are you willing to unequivocally renounce this racist First Presidency statement? Are you in effect, on this issue, renouncing God’s prophetic counsel given through the priesthood authority of LDS leaders?

    Also, are you also willing to unequivocally renounce the related teaching of the BYU professor mentioned in the original post? Without clear affirmations, denials, and renunciations, a lot of us can’t take the damage control rhetoric very seriously. It seems to lack a lot of integrity.

  21. Searcy says:


    That’s actually the beauty of it. Gray and Perkins only use the scriptures, so you don’t have to use their words, thoughts or opiniions. And it’s actually been approved by the Church. It’s been a real awakening for me. And yes, though they only present this in a positive light, it definitely shows that what was taught, just about all, on the black issue, was simply wrong.

    In one of the presentations they go through the bible using the begats and ancient drawings and sculptures and trace those of the lineage of Ham. I was blown away at how many of the people we read about in the bible were black, like the mother of Ephraim and Manasseh, Melchezidek, Christ, the High Priest Phineas and many more. How Moses, Abraham, and many others had black wives, which would product black children.

    In another presentation they go through and show how the words black and white don’t refer to skin color except when they’r referring to leaprosy. One that stands out was the comparison of 2 nephi 26:33 and alma 11:44. This is just one of many.

    Also, they pointed out in the scriptures at least 12 times where the Lord commanded that all men be given the priesthood. See D&C 36:4&5.

    I’m telling you. I thought I knew this issue until I saw the DVDS. There was about 3 hours or things I didn’t know. That’s saying a lot. You just have to see it, then you’ll understand.

  22. Searcy says:

    And keep in mind, that much of the talk of earthly rewards for pre-existence behavior (excluding choose the Lord’s plan and get a body) originated as some leaders tried to explain denying priesthood to blacks and maintaing slaves.

  23. Lautensack says:

    I would love to see the scripture where you find any genological reference for Melchezidek. Also Ephraim and Manasseh were children of Joseph and Asenath, an Egyptian woman, not a black one. Also the “Curse of Ham” as it is called was not actually upon Ham but on Canaan, who lived and brought forth the peoples of Canaan geographically, culturally the Palistinians, Lebanese, etc., these people are not black. Actually the reason for the interpretation was to justify racial slavery/inferiority in the western world. Something deplorable. The same concept was deriven from the Curse of Cain. However if this curse were pasted to the descendents of Cain then no African could cultivate the land. (Genesis 4:10-15)


  24. Just for Quix says:


    It is very specious argument to extrapolate anything literal from the genealogies of Jesus Christ in Matthew or Luke. Neither genealogy matches. The Matthew genealogy is a “kingly” descendancy proof that arranged numerologically significant to the name of DVD (David: DVD=3 consonants add up to 14; 3 generational groupings of 14 are given in Matthew). Matthew certainly is telling a “bigger picture” in that the genealogy includes four women, all of whom are unclean or Gentile. Hardly a strict Jewish genealogical proof through patriarchal descendancy alone. The Lucan genealogy is a priestly descendancy back to Adam.

    While I agree that scriptural justifications in the past for slavery and racial prejudice are condemnable, neither is it useful to swing the pendulum far the other way and try to use scripture to prove some literal, historical descendancy of Blacks to Jesus. I agree that Matthew genealogy pains a beautiful, symbolic picture of Jesus, who is a man of all mankind — male and female, Jew and Gentile — as it were. But these genealogies should not be used as a literal proof for what you say Gray and Perkins present.

  25. Searcy says:

    Just for Quix,

    That all sounds very scholarly but you’ve missed a few points, well I guess that’s because you haven’t seen the work that Gray and Perkins have done. I will not be able to convince you of anything in the limited space of a blog, nor do I want to. You have to see it for yourself, just like I did. Then your comments could mean more. But for now, you sound as one doing a term paper on a book you’ve never read. Sorry, I don’t mean that in a harsh way.

    The genealogy actually concludes in Matthew and begins in the Old Testament. And Asenath was a black Egyptian and not a Hyksos.

  26. Searcy, you did not address my question over whether you were willing to unequivally denounce the linked First Presidency statement. Again, this all smacks of a lack of integrity. Until you are willing to forthrightly denounce the past racist teachings of such official LDS sources, I have to assume your heart has not been renewed by the Holy Spirit over these issues.

    Your own leaders have made it clear that LDS scripture should be interpreted through the lens of the official teachings of the highest of priesthood authority leadership. Not once has the LDS institution ever formally denounced the Curse of Cain teaching, and not once have they formally repudiated the previous interpretations of scriptures used to justify the Curse of Cain teaching. If Darius shows up at LDS General Conference as a newly appointed apostle and then issues an official, public condemnation of what past LDS leaders taught, then I’ll listen more closely. Otherwise, it just seems like you are letting people like Darius Gray (who have no more priesthood authority then a layman and perhaps a bishop) function as your apostle or prophet.

  27. Searcy says:


    I don’t know if you’re trying to miss the point, or if I’m doing a poor job communicating it. They were wrong. It’s not the words of Gray or Perkins, but the scriptures. You have to see it for yourself. Until then, you too will remaain in ignorance. I’m not sure how to make it more clear than that. There’s no way to communicate to you in a blog what Gray and Perkins did through the scriptures in over 3 hours. Once you see it you will know that the scriptures are true and ALL who commented contrary to what’s in the scriptures were wrong. Note this statement from Bruce R McConkie in the DVDs given by Perkins:

    “Forget everything that I have said, or what President Brigham Young or President 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”

    This was given in August of 1978. So a church leader has put it in writing. And I think you also missed the point that the DVDs are approved by the Church. So don’t make this about Gray and Perkins. This is about something that has never before been taught in the LDS church and it’s coming straight from the scriptures. I’ll say that I was shocked that these things had been in the scriptures all the time the false statements were being made and taught.

    And please judge your own heart and ask why you continue to showcase your ignorance in speaking against something that you haven’t seen. You must be smarter than that. I made the effort to see what they had done and am more impressed with it that most things I’ve seen in the church. And obviously the church is pretty impressed with it as well to have approved it. So what do they all know that you don’t?

  28. Michael P says:

    Searcy, forgive my ignorant question, but why is this important? Seems to me that Jesus whiteness/blackness is a non-issue. That he was a Jew is important, and not what percentage of caucasian or black African genes.

    If anything at all, it would seem to hurt the churches cause if he were black, or in large degree black, given the curse of Cain and all. Jesus, if black and under the cuse, couldn’t have been ver “pure” to use the most modern language.

    So, again, why is this important?


  29. Lautensack says:

    First the issue of Asenath heritage is really a non-issue she could have been blue for all I care. Also another question like unto Aarons is do you renounce the Book of Mormon because of statements like 2 Nephi 5:21 And he had caused the cursing to come upon them, yea, even a sore cursing, because of their iniquity. For behold, they had hardened their hearts against him, that they had become like unto a flint; wherefore, as they were white, and exceedingly fair and delightsome, that they might not be enticing unto my people the Lord God did cause a skin of blackness to come upon them.” or Mormon 5:15 “And also that the seed of this people may more fully believe his gospel, which shall go forth unto them from the Gentiles; for this people shall be scattered, and shall become a dark, a filthy, and a loathsome people, beyond the description of that which ever hath been amongst us, yea, even that which hath been among the Lamanites, and this because of their unbelief and idolatry.” (All emphasis mine)


  30. Explicitly admitting they were wrong is a good step in the right direction. The next step is denouncing the LDS authority structure altogether. That would be the next step in demonstrating integrity.

    When McConkie said, “Forget everything that I have said, or what President Brigham Young or President George Q. Cannon or whoever has said in days past that is contrary to the present revelation”, he did not say, “…that is contrary to the present counsel of lay members like Darius Gray or unsanctioned interpretation of scriptures.”

    You seem to assume that the 1978 “revelation” denounced the Curse of Cain teaching. It did no such thing.

    Also, maybe I’ve missed something, but you haven’t specified how the DVDs you mention are “approved by the Church”. The LDS institution approves all sorts of things in different ways and in different degrees, but they have made it clear that the only real “official” interpretation of scriptures comes from the top. You need to demonstrate that the DVD’s content—specifically any content that would condemn the curse of cain teaching— is the official position of the church, and that the LDS Church has exercised the integrity to publicly and unequivocally denounce the past teachings concerning the Curse of Cain (which, again, weren’t condemned in the 1978 “revelation”).

    It’s ironic that you appeal to a DVD that isn’t freely available online for viewing, and that hasn’t been published by the LDS institution. If this is so ground-breaking, why doesn’t the LDS institution make a public proclamation promoting a condemnation of the Curse of Cain teaching? Again, a lack of integrity.

    If the LDS institution loved Jesus, and loved truth, it would issue a public proclamation ripping into the past teachings of leaders on the Curse of Cain, and it would go much further than the 1978 revelation. So far it has chosen to remain ambiguous, and let non-official organizations and people without any higher LDS priesthood authority do the dirty work.

    The Mormon hierarchy is devoid of integrity on these matters, but full of cowardice and desires for self-preservation. Members who acquiesce to this and who pretend the institution has officially spoken on these issues when it hasn’t are in complicity and are in danger of eternal judgment if they never repent. God Almighty, creator of heaven and earth and all people of all colors, was offended and dishonored by the Curse of Cain teaching, and until the LDS institution openly confesses its sin and renounces the teaching, it remains in sin and is on its way into everlasting torment.

    You can tell that I take this very seriously. Again, let me make it crystal clear: The LDS hierarchy have made it clear that only the top leadership can give official interpretations of scripture. If you keep pretending that they have given this official interpretation when they haven’t, and if you keep acquiescing to the hierarchy’s refusal to issue a public proclamation explicitly condemning the curse of cain teaching of past leaders, you are under God’s judgment. Repent.

    If you live another day to read this, God has been very patient with you. Today your life may be required of you by God. His patience is meant to lead you to repentance.



  31. amanda says:

    Maybe when this big zit on my face goes away, I’ll post a video response.

    I stopped posting on this site because it just started to give me a headache. This post is a good example of a headache.

    In all of my years around the gospel, I have never experienced or felt the sentiments that are routinely expressed on this site, so predictably. It’s like the 1% of negative that can be perceived is taken by the authors of this site and exploited. Forget exploitation because even that word is too mild to express the interpretations used. It’s actually ridiculous. But to many who are ignorant to the fruit the gospel brings, they buy into these messages and start to become even more ignorant about the gospel then they were before.

    This dynamic will give any sensible person a headache.

  32. Amanda, if you can find a public proclamation from the LDS hierarchy explicitly condemning the Curse of Cain teaching, I’ll listen. Until then, it seems like you are trying to silence your conscience.

  33. Searcy says:


    You need help. I’ll pray for you.


    I can appreciate your question and will share things that I learned from the DVDS. The curse of Cain was his separation from God. They lay it out pretty clearly in the scriptures that most Christian religions have misunderstood what is meant by curse in the scriptures.

    It matter if Jesus was part black. Because if he was, then all the LDS church taught about blacks was wrong. Also, then the curse of Cain weight is taken off of the backs of blacks that was incorrectly placed there. This is significant to blacks, Mormon or not. So it’s quite significant.


    Again, things I didn’t know before … the LDS church put out a updated version of the scriptures after the 1978 revelation that clarify the passages you listed. New footnotes in 2 Nephi 5:21 on the word skin take you to 2 Nephi 30:6 to clarify what is meant by skin. They even spell out the meaning for people like Aaron at the bottom of that page for scales of darkness over the eyes as spiritual darkness. So no fancy interpretations needed. It’s the church giving it to us in the scriptures. Even the other passage you mention has new footnotes leading back to these 2 passages.

    So we know that there was prejudice in the LDS church. But with this clarification being made in the scriptures by the church, it actually helps to show that the Book of Mormon was never racist, just misunderstood. I’m telling you, this is significant.


    I appreciate your words and can see the Christian attributes in them.


  34. Lautensack says:

    So Searcy,
    Are you willing to denounce people like Brigham Young as a false prophet since a true prophet of God cannot lead a member of the Church astray? As Wilford Woodruff said, “I say to Israel, the Lord will never permit me or any other man who stands as president of this Church to lead you astray. It is not in the program. It is not in the mind of God. If I were to attempt that the Lord would remove me out of my place, and so He will any other man who attempts to lead the children of men astray from the oracles of God and from their duty.” (The Discourses of Wilford Woodruff, sel. G. Homer Durham, 1946)


  35. Searcy, that your church changed its own canon footnotes doesn’t cut it. Where did the church explain that, by doing so, it was officially condemning the Curse of Cain teaching? I know plenty of Mormons who don’t think the teaching has been officially repudiated. If the institution has done so, it has a responsibility to make that public, explicit, clear, and unmistakable.

    Again, where has the LDS institution officially condemned the Curse of Cain teaching? If you can find it, I’ll listen, but until then it just seem like you’re trying to silence your conscience.

  36. Searcy says:


    I still can’t understand the fascination with “denouncing”. We in the LDS church are not in the mindset of denouncing. There are prophets in the old and new testaments who erred, that doesn’t mean you throw out all the good that they taught. That’s the same with the LDS leaders. We know that they are going to make errors. Even the Lord knew it. Read D&C 1:24-25. And if this is your forum for truly understanding Gospel issues, then I’m afraid you’ll never understand them sufficiently.

    Now again, my point was to direct those who truly wanted to know the truths of these things to a new resource that does better than anything thing else I’ve ever seen, heard or read on these issues. Not interested in a debate or denouncing. Defend your positions if you like until Christ comes. Or you can simply look, and live. The best of everything to you and Aaron.


  37. Michael P says:

    Searcy, perhaps you come to a distinction between your faith and ours. The idea of denouncing and calling out. You say that past leaders have erred. Have they erred through revelation? Are you willing to specifically call them out on those errors in revelation?

    More than one Mormon has been terrified to suggest Joseph Smith ever did anything specific wrong, let alone lead anyone astray. This goes down the line for your leaders.

    Let me explain our position: when a Christian goes astray, we will work to correct them, and a huge part of that is to call them out on it. So, we are very willing to denounce our leaders when they are wrong. There are enough examples of this through time, a good example is Pat Robertson– a good Christian who seems often more concerned about the headline than Christ.

    As to the significance of this DVD, you’re right, on a level. Sounds like, though, you’ve got some revisionist history on your hands, unless you are willingt to say past leaders were wrong about their views, or denouncing them.

    And some thoughts about your explanations above: they are scant on details and high on rhetoric. They changed the footnote, the LDS church did, and we are supposed to accept that?

    And I particularly like this line: “So no fancy interpretations needed. It’s the church giving it to us in the scriptures.”

    In light of that statement, I urge you to check out 1 John 4:1, 1 Cor 3:13, 1 Thess 5:21, and Acts 17:11.

  38. Anything less than a full, official, public denunciation of the Curse of Cain teaching from the Mormon hierarchy is an evidence of a deep lack of integrity.

    For a religion that teaches that confession is a necessary and integral part of genuine repentance, why does the LDS institution get a free pass?

  39. Lautensack says:

    Why is it so hard to admit some of the “prophets” of the LDS Church in the past have been false prophets? Also as for the Bruce McConkie, does His statement not self refute as it defies previous prophetic statements about scripture in the LDS Church. (JoD 13:264) Also are the prophets prophetic utterances not scripture?
    As for this video you are pushing has it been officially sanctioned by the LDS First Presidency or not because I can find nothing about it on any LDS Official Church Website save deseretnews.com


  40. amanda says:

    Aaron, and others who sympathize with his point of view.

    Silencing my conscience? How poetic.

    Listen, this post is like the zit on my face…seriously. If you all were to zero in on the zit on my face instead of the whole picture…the zit would look pretty disgusting, and most would dismiss it as just a disgusting blemish. But if you look at the whole picture, you’d see a beautiful face (wink wink) that is simply trying to cleanse itself from bacteria that entered in through one of its’ pours. Don’t read into this metaphor too much- because the only parallel I’m trying to make is the fact that folks like Aaron would have everyone focus on the wrong picture/perspective. And when one considers only one small perspective, they miss the big picture.

    As it relates to the mark of Cain? Look, I personally do not know or have any clarifications in my own experience what the curse of Cain means LITERALLY…I think there are more important spiritual implications, perhaps. Do I think black people are cursed? No. Have I ever been taught that dark people are cursed as individuals? No. As a race? No. I have only been taught to love my neighbor, and I learned that from reading the Book of Mormon (as well as the bible)

    I think Aaron and others are trying to make pee out of lemons.

  41. Michael P says:

    Amanda, the trouble with your analogy is that this more than just a zit; this is your salvation. The zits pointed out are more like poison, creating death rather than just a blemish. Second, the trouble with your second paragraph is that you may not have been taught it, but there is strong evidence it was taught in your faith’s past, and has never been fully repudiated. Its as if your leadership is sweeping it under the rug, hoping it will go away. That you don’t wish to find out begs the question of why not.

  42. traveler says:

    Greetings !

    I’m not a christian – so please don’t take this remark to be derisive or facicious – but I’d like to ask about this paradox.

    Hypothetically, if Prophet X revealed that G*d hates Strawberry ice cream and that all people who like this dessert are SINFULL. Then, after Prophets X’s demise, Prophet Zed revealed that G*d likes Chocolate ice cream best – but will tolerate Strawberry ice cream -in G*d’s mercy…yet no phophet has yet refuted the revealed core evils to be found in consuming Strawberry ice cream – then is it still an issue?

    To me, this seems to be the paradox at the core of the silly “Curse of Cain” issue. Bear in mind that I’ve willfully chosen the most ludicrous and pointless comparison (ice cream) so as to avoid accidentally stepping one anyone’s toes – so to speak.



  43. Michael P says:

    Traveler, if said strawberry ice cream were to be in the midst of a civil rights movement when said revelation was made, then questions would still be raised. When strawberry ice cream had been discriminated against and held out at the ice cream parlor only because they were strawberry and not because of any other reason, and the rest of the world had just begun to allow, yes, questions would still arise.

  44. traveler says:



    Then the issue is related to the fact that Strawberries were repressed by society, and that Strawberry ice cream was considered to be second class desserts, or was it that G*d’s prophets received a revelation that Strawberries and Stawberry ice cream were actually EVIL?

    Or could it be that the prophets were fallible and were swayed by the values and prejudices in their environment?

    Power to the Strawberries!

  45. Lautensack says:

    Traveler wrote,

    “Or could it be that the prophets were fallible and were swayed by the values and prejudices in their environment?”

    The problem with this is that “no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.” – 2 Peter 1:21 Thus if it truly was a prophecy and the man was truly a prophet speaking for the Lord, then the words are not from men swayed by values and prejudices but from God. This is the catch-22 of Mormonism, while they claim to have a living prophet, older prophets were only speaking for God when it lines up with the current prophet’s revelations, even if the older said he too was speaking for God, as if God changed His mind. Therefore anytime something old does not stack up against modern PC language or ideas you can throw it out, thanks to the finely run Church PR machine. Juxtaposed to this is biblical prophecy, the new prophets being subject to the older prophets, and new scripture subject to older scripture.


  46. amanda says:


    That would be YOUR choice of metaphor, not mine.

    I could be the only one who knows the status of my “salvation”, not you- with all due respect 🙂 I have a personal relationship with Christ. And the details of that relationship are only known to Him and I. I don’t think it suits evangelicals to try to take on the role of our Redeemer. Leave all that to him, just bear YOUR testimony, don’t worry about telling me how I should bear mine or why mine is flawed. You just sound ignorant- and easy to set aside. Your testimony of things YOU KNOW to be true is your only ally in bringing those you believe to be going to hell, to Christ.

    I’d like to address another conspiracy theory you expressed:
    “Its as if your leadership is sweeping it under the rug, hoping it will go away.”

    And there is a HUGE cover-up right? I mean, it’s not like I can acquire these teachings/verses online, or read about it in the book of mormon that is so widely available now (due to demand and interest)…And they are sweeping it how exactly? I’m sorry, that one makes me laugh out loud. And what is there to sweep? I think many evangelicals on this website want LDS to apologize for revealed scripture. I didn’t write the Book of Mormon, I can’t even explain everything that’s in it…neither can evangelicals explain everything (from their ideological perspective) in the bible. But we know its scripture because of the fruit it has born in our own lives. So taking one instance that is confusing to many people and making it the foundation of what we believe, is absolutely deceitful and cunning. So if anyone is attempting to deceive, that would be those who propagate the message that LDS are racist or have racist doctrine, because that is absolutely false, and many who spew that filth are completely aware of that- making their attempts even more deplorable.

  47. amanda says:

    And it’s absolutely ridiculous for a bunch of white baptists to get all up in arms about what is being inflicted on people of color, considering your COLORFUL history of justifying enslaving them with the BIBLE. By the way, the reason LDS were driven out of Missouri was because white baptists/methodists didn’t like the fact that they were going to vote Missouri to be a non-slave state- BASED ON DOCTRINE TAUGHT IN THE BOOK OF MORMON- oh the irony- and eventually a white baptist preacher was actually responsible for murdering the prophet Joseph Smith- pot calling the kettle black (pun intended).

    I mean, I guess if you wanted to take what the Book of Mormon says about the mark of Cain, and say, “therefore blacks are bad, and must be enslaved to farm rice for my family”…then we’d have a problem. Again, the hypocrisy of this post is so glaring.

    The largest growing nation of LDS is South America, where as many of you may know, is full of dark-skinned people. The church is growing rapidly in Africa. If this is so offensive, I believe those of color will address this issue in their own lives and make the choice they know to be right. After all, as Michael pointed out, it’s right there under the rug- so we all know where to find it now.

  48. amanda says:

    Aaron, regarding the first post

    Evangelical doctrine lacks very important considerations for all of God’s children…

    what drove this home for me was the fact that you believe little children could be going to hell if they die–

    I mean, how offensive is this? You’d rather believe in a doctrine that sends children to hell rather than give them exaltation or salvation? And you want to split hairs about Cain?

    Note: the difference between exaltation and salvation…this difference is commonly misunderstood among evangelicals and LDS. Salvation is free to all mankind- no matter what they do in this life (with the exception of sons of perdition). That is what we believe…It is the SAVIOR who set aside the plan for EXALTATION- which is a gift HE gives based on our desire to follow HIS plan. That is the part missing in YOUR perception of what He teaches.

    I mean, what kind of a teacher and Father would He be, if he never held us accountable for our mistakes and required us to be humble? And what of Repentance? Repentance is so relevant because it allows us to forget our past and continue to move forward, PROGRESS. Progression is also a gift from Him. Merit? I guess merit isn’t a virtue-Aaron?? It’s a sin to merit blessings from our Father in Heaven?? It’s still Christ who gives the gift. I am still powerless after all I do to give myself exaltation. It is still His choice to give exaltation. But since we know Christ isn’t a liar, we know that if we do all that He has asked of us, we will have eternal life (exaltation)…

    The real difference in our doctrines is WHAT we believe the Savior has asked of us, not WHO is the only one capable of giving Exaltation- we are in violent agreement on that point- even though you continue to be in denial about it.

    Evangelicals rely solely on what they find in the bible, and LDS have a much broader source to draw upon that guides their understanding of Christs’ teachings.

  49. Lautensack says:

    I am not a baptist nor a methodist and I surly am not from the southern United States. Also I can see the history of the issue of slavery in America and Britain and absolutely with out a doubt say that it was utterly sinful. I can say this because I am bound solely by Scripture, and not the statements of men, who I cannot say were wrong because to do so is to dismiss the very foundation of my faith. As for doing all that God asks, have you kept the Perfect Law of the Lord (Psalm 19:7) Perfectly, for to break the law at one point is to be accountable to the whole of it and thusly are wicked and not righteous. (James 2:10) We must remember that God is angry with the wicked every day.(Psalm 7:11)

    Now I know you believe salvation is universal, and exaltation dependent upon our works, our own righteousness, but if righteousness came by works of the law then for what reason did Christ die? None whatsoever. (Gal 2:21 paraphrase mind)

    The problem of course is Mormons don’t understand how utterly sinful mankind is, themselves included. They also do not understand how holy God truly is, that He is too righteous to accept your works and you are too sinful to earn salvation. This is the message of Paul in Romans 10. If we are too sinful to earn even salvation then how will someone that utterly sinful earn exaltation?

    You said Christ’s gospel is offensive. I agree, it should be. To remove the judgment of God against sinners who love their sin and will be actively sinning against God for all eternity empties the cross of its power and seeks to convert people through flattery and fine speech. As for the difference in our soteriology, it is both who and what that differ. In ours Christ is the one Who does the What, that is create in us a new heart that we might walk in righteousness. (Psalm 51:10; Ezek 36:26) In yours, you are the Who that must do the What of walking in righteousness before Christ will glorify you, contrary to scripture. (Romans 8:30)


  50. Jacob5 says:

    You know, a lot of this reminds me of the Allegory of the Cave. For those who may not know about this, here is how it goes.
    Several men are in a cave and chained down so they can only sit and look at one direction. From that view point images are placed in front of them and they are constantly told what they are. Image 1, here is a bird. Image 2, here is a dog. Etc.
    Then, one person is unchained and taken out of the cave and shown what is in the real world. He sees what things really are and is given time to learn as much as he wants. Then, he is taken back to the cave and chained down again. Then as his eyes have been opened he tries to explain to the others that what they are seeing aren’t true and then tries to explain what they really are. He is met with ridicule over the obsurdity of how his knowledge contradicts what the others have been taught their whole lives.
    Perhaps you don’t need to be a prophet to see the reality of things.

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