How would John Taylor vote in tomorrow’s election?

Last Friday, in honor of John Taylor’s 200th birthday, Mormon Coffee published several quotes from Mormonism’s 3rd prophet and president. Today, the day before an important and historic election in America, we offer more, with a question.

To set the greater context for understanding President Taylor’s comments, the first quote below is from Times and Seasons, an official LDS newspaper with John Taylor as editor. Based on his worldview as expressed by his following statements, how do you think he would vote in tomorrow’s election if he were given the opportunity?

“The descendants of Ham, besides a black skin which has ever been a curse that has followed an apostate of the holy priesthood, as well as a black heart, have been servants to both Shem and Jepheth, and the abolitionists are trying to make void the curse of God, but it will require more power than man possesses to counteract the decrees of eternal wisdom.” (Times and Seasons, April 1, 1845, 6:857)

“And after the flood we are told that the curse that had been pronounced upon Cain 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…” (August 28, 1881, Journal of Discourses, 22:304)

“Why is it, in fact, that we should have a devil? Why did not the Lord kill him long ago? Because He could not do without him. He needed the devil and great many of those who do his bidding just to keep men straight, that we may learn to place our dependence upon God, . . . When he destroyed the inhabitants of the antediluvian world, he suffered a descendant of Cain to come through the flood in order that he [the devil] might be properly represented upon the earth.” (October 29, 1882, Journal of Discourses, 23:336)

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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10 Responses to How would John Taylor vote in tomorrow’s election?

  1. johnnyboy says:

    How would anyone from 1845 vote? It’s a pretty good guess, not for Obama. Singling out ol’ JT is too easy.

    The “Mormon Church is racist” controversy is old. Seriously, at least the LDS didn’t segregate blacks from their congregations like alot of church’s did back then.

  2. Racism is never too “old” to talk about when an institution’s historic racism was institutionally fostered and never apologized for with the same degree of authoritativeness. See more on this here.

    There is no question in my mind over whether the seeds of Mormonism’s institutional racism were planted by Protestants. Racism is only the beginning of the list of the embarrassing sins of my religious ancestors. There are worse skeletons than racism in our closet. Furthermore, you and I both come from the same rotten mom and dad, Adam and Eve. The nice thing about sola scriptura (a belief some Mormons seem to retreat to when forced to deal with things like Adam-God) is that I can discard the teachings of historic Jews and Christians when they don’t reflect (explicitly or by inference) a historical-grammatical reading of the Old or New Testament. My leaders have no more access to God than I do, and I am not bound to any one religious hierarchy. God has promised that his people are securely in his hand, but he has not promised that religious leaders who are professing Christians will never lead people astray.

    Mormons, on the other hand, have been given the promise that their leaders will never lead others astray. When Mormonism touts what it calls “continuing revelation”, living prophets, living apostles, and a modern stream of prophetic counsel, it ups the ante. I can, and I do right now, unequivocally denounce and condemn what Luther said about the Jews. But Mormonism’s leaders haven’t demonstrated a willingness to stand up and unequivocally and explicitly denounce and condemn what it (”it” being the institution with various institutional channels of communication and control) has promoted, perpetuated, enforced, and acquiesced to.

  3. johnnyboy says:


    Again, this is a lame and old argument. I think that the “institutional” racism that you believe to be embedded in the LDS church has expelled itself in a very short time span without the need for an official “apology” from the Church. My personal history and ancestory is a mix of Native American (slaughtered by the US) and Armenian (slaughtered by the Turks) and on top of that, I am MORMON (expelled and murdered from numerous states). If anyone deserves an apology, it’s me! (Not that I am asking for one)

    Particularly on the eve of this election you really have a hang up on something that most people have been able to move on from. Most people our age (20-35) are pretty color blind and are willing to forget (and forgive) our ancestors beliefs. We could argue about “sola scriptura” and prophets conflicting with prophets all day long, but it’s just another topic that has been exhausted before on this blog.

    But when you compare past LDS leaders views on blacks with Martin Luthers views on Jews, that’s when I have to really cry foul. I would hope you would denounce what Martin Luther said… mainly because it’s not only blatantly hateful, but also dangerous and scary! Anything that the LDS leaders have insinuated about the black race doesn’t even come close to what Martin has said about Jews. I would even go further and state that much of what the LDS church proclaimed wasn’t necessarily “racist” as we define it or see it today. That is a whole other discussion that we could have for another day.

    [snipped personal comment]

    It’s a casual observation that could be attributed to your writing style, which I think is well thought out in it’s wording and presentation. I don’t have a problem with how heartfelt you are in your beliefs, but are you really waiting for an “official” apology from the churh? If so you’re gonna be waiting a very long long time.

  4. germit says:

    JohnnY: I’m assuming you’ve found racial tolerance, or even acceptance, within the LDS church, and that’s great, and maybe you can just forgive and forget (I like the ‘forgive’ part), but I don’t think institutional sin goes away that easy.
    The particularly odious element, and certainly NOT limited in ANY way to LDS or even to cults in general, is the foundation of “GOD said so, therefore I can treat blacks like….” same rationale that kept slavery going for so long. I’m glad that this is an area that your church has seen some growth in, but a close look at the HIGHEST levels of your leadership reveals a gaggle of old white american geezers. Hmmmmmm. Guess GOD likes white american geezers……. I am easily convinced that MANY groups, christian and not, have fallen into this racist ditch. But just because others have been foolish and sinful doesn’t merit you guys any kind of free pass. And since you are THE restored gospel, you should set the standard…. or not.
    There is NOTHING preventing your church from getting yet another new revelation and reversing your field on the 1978 decision, especially since that decision did NOT decry the WRONG direction of racist policy from 1830 till then, but just said “we’ve been given new light on this, it’s now time to…..etc”
    And yeah, I know about the literal handful of blacks that got in to membership and even fewer still (1 to 3) to priesthood. Ridiculous. You would (as a church) have been more consistent to say NOBODY of dark skin is getting in. I would have respected that kind of consistency more, but that’s me.
    I’m not holding my breath for any kind of apology, it’s likely to happen when you apologize for SOME kind of influence on those who committed the Mountain Meadows tragedy. Doubtful that this will happen. And it’s easier to point to how you’ve been wronged (and you certainly have) and say “you first….”. Not the path I’d recommend.
    Welcome to MC, want to add anything to the other thread on BofM

  5. but are you really waiting for an “official” apology from the church? If so you’re gonna be waiting a very long long time.

    The Mormon Church apologized over its missionaries desecrating a Catholic shrine. Remember that? Why that and not for past institutional theological racism? Because they want to protect the precious image of the religious hierarchy.

    The LDS Church institutionally promoted its racist theology of pre-mortality in a First Presidency statement. The LDS Church has done nothing with that degree of officiality to explicitly repudiate the theology which the Church historically used to justify the priesthood ban. Unofficial statements don’t count. I have talked to black Mormons and they are quite aware of this problem.

    Instead of dealing with the problem with institutional integrity, the Church simply depends on the next generation being so ahistorical as to forget about the problem. Why? Because explicitly repudiating the teachings of past leaders calls into question the high expectations that the Church fosters over its own leaders.

    Even Adam-God was dealt with somewhat more integritously (I wish that was a real word), as Adam-God was explicitly and formally repudiated, but leaders have never had the integrity to—with the same degree of publicity and formality—admit that Young actually taught what they are condemning.

    Mormon leaders get a free pass for just about everything and that is just wrong.

    Grace and peace,


  6. mantis mutu says:

    Germit, you should be ashamed of and concerned about your own ethnic bigotry. Do you not see the absolute hypocrisy of parading it like you have in your post??? (Your “old, white geezers” comment is even blatantly racist.)

    First of all, the racism of John Taylor pointed out in this blog represents something more essential than “institutional racism;” it represents the personal racism of President Taylor–which was a reflection of the “popular racism” of the time. Even the Mormons’ traditional theological justification for racism against blacks was hardly original.

    The only reason why Mormons keep hearing these silly accusations is (1) their enemies find endless solace in trumping all their foibles; (2) their respect for the prophetic mantle leads to their stubborn conservation of past leadership stances (particularly those further justified by a scriptural warrant). While Conservative Protestant Americans should be one of the last groups accusing Mormons of religious racism (as they are historically guilty of far greater of the same), they are about the only ones who can’t leave the issue alone. 1978’s been in the rear-view for some time; as has been 1968 for all us Americans.

    As for the Arkansas group slaughtered in an act of deception at Mountains Meadows–sadly, they perished in large measure for their own arrogance and sins against humanity. They should next thank the US government and its “manifest” design against the Mormons–certainly before pinning their annihilation on the Mormons & Native Americans they foolishly felt themselves strong enough to threaten and kill–in addition to monopolizing precious grazing lands and spoiling precious desert water supplies.

    Hey, I know their lot sucked–to find their expected desert suitors unwilling to part with supplies. But that’s the rub of wartimes. Their frustration should have led to humble retreat; not arrogant abuse. Personally, “I’m sorry” they were so foolish. It led to a truly terrible day for all.

  7. germit says:

    Mantis: well that’s an interestin post !! Your comments on the MMM, which I admittedly started, are begging for commentary, but we’d be wandering away from the topic of the thread, and I’m trying to get better at staying on topic.

    Suffice it to say I wish you had been around to post the above when we did a MMM thread about 2 months ago: your comments and views would have added heat, and perhaps light. “I’m sorry they were so foolish”…….so foolish they get shot in the head (while unarmed) at point blank range…….
    As for the bigotry: I’m ALWAYS concerned about my own bigotry, and should be, RACISM is a little like carbon monoxide, it can sneak up in small abounts as well as big ones, so thanks for the heads up….I stand by the ‘old white geezer’ comment, because not only is your hierarchy racist, it’s also a ‘good ole boys club’, with bonus points given to old geezers for outliving other old geezers. This of course sounds anti-age-and-wisdom, but I’ll stand by my comment. I’m 52, and am well aware that older is NOT always better, neither is younger and newer better. The age thing might be hard to discern as an indicator of a hierarchy flaw, but the preponderance of whites in the highest places: talk is cheap, I think it speaks volumes about what you guys (and MANY OTHERS who have this imbalance) REALLY think about race AS AN INSTITUTION. As individuals, I’d be shocked if FoF and Ralph and perhaps you shared these racist ideas: but you are dragging around the dead dog of racist ideas and practices yet, like Marley’s chains. Have I ranted long enough ??
    I do appreciate your willingness to be straightforward in your views: no hidden agendas with M & M. For which I’m grateful. GERMIT

  8. As for the Arkansas group slaughtered in an act of deception at Mountains Meadows–sadly, they perished in large measure for their own arrogance and sins against humanity. They should next thank the US government and its “manifest” design against the Mormons–certainly before pinning their annihilation on the Mormons & Native Americans they foolishly felt themselves strong enough to threaten and kill–in addition to monopolizing precious grazing lands and spoiling precious desert water supplies.

    This comment is so beneath anything good or right it makes me sick. I welcome any Mormons to come in and put Mantis in his place on this issue. This “they had it coming” attitude over the victims at Mountain Meadows comes from nothing less than the a murderous heart that Jesus warned about in Matthew 5:21-22. Please, Mantis, come to your senses.

  9. mantis mutu says:

    My post has nothing of “they had it coming” at all to it. And anyone with sense enough to look at the whole history of the situation–and sense enough to see John Lee and his fellow Mormons as something more than cold-blooded murderers–can see that I intended nothing of the sort as well.

    To correct Germit, the Arkansas group did not fully represent “unarmed” people. In large measure, they represented “de-armed” people. They had surrendered in a wilderness war that they were very much guilty of fomenting. They thought they were strong enough to bully the natives of the wilderness country–Mormons & Indians both–and they found themselves in an all out war that they realized they were doomed to lose big time. However, what they probably knew very little about (but should’ve been wise enough to deduce if they could’ve seen past their own arrogance and bigotry) was why the Mormon-Indian (disguised as a full Indian) contingent which at first sought to simply drive them out with fairly limited casualties

  10. mantis mutu says:

    (continued after an accidental hit of the Submit button)

    …quickly turned into a full-scale Mormon attack. It was the same reason why they didn’t see the bullet coming in the back of their heads following surrender. Hey, I don’t fully condone John Lee’s actions, and if you read my post carefully, I don’t fully exonerate the Mormons in the deaths of the Arkansas group, either. But I understand why these people were murdered, and I don’t think it should rightly be understood as “in cold blood.” But we’re all fully aware that that’s just how this whole ordeal’s been portrayed in many a movie, and many a “history” book. And by many an Evangelical Crusader. That is, our group of poor, Bible-belt Christians were brutally killed on the high, forbidden desert of Utah—by Mormons seeking “blood-atonement” for Joseph Smith’s murder. What an absolute farce!
    That Arkansas group weren’t annihilated for the “they have it coming” rationale, but for the “it’s either us or them” rationale. And John Lee and his fellow Mormons had every reason in the world for believing that’s just what the consequence of this small-scale war was going to be if the Union army found out of a Mormon attack on an American caravan. As John Lee explained, when he realized he had been identified helping the Indians in their attempt to drive out the group, he knew the consequences to his people could likely be total. And I have no doubt they very well could have been.
    In sum, this Arkansas caravan were hardly innocent victims. Were they worthy of being shot in the back of the head after surrendering? Absolutely not! But were the Mormon’s (or Natives, for that matter) worthy of having a large caravan posting itself on the fat of their wilderness country, compromising essential resources, and bullying the inhabitants? And were they worthy of having a substantial contingent of the US army within striking distance of seizing all their property, and threatening to kill all that resisted them? Absolute not.

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