Joseph Smith Founder of LDS Racist Scriptures and Teachings: Part 1

[In honor of Black History Month 2014, each Monday in February Mormon Coffee’s blog post will address a topic related to racism in Mormon history. Today guest blogger Lynn Wilder kicks off the series.]

Delbert L. Stapley

Delbert L. Stapley

In January of 1964, LDS apostle Delbert L. Stapley wrote to LDS Michigan Governor George Romney urging him not to support the Civil Rights Act; it would bring the integration of blacks. Of course, the apostle pointed out that he did not speak for the church. Stapley wrote that three U. S. Presidents and a friend who had disagreed with the Lord’s voice on this matter met an untimely demise.  He justified his counsel to Romney with the words of Joseph Smith from two sources. Here’s a sampling:

“Had I anything to do with the negro, I would confine them by strict law to their own species, and put them on a national equalization.” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 270)

“…the curse is not yet taken off from the sons of Canaan, neither will it be until it is affected by as great a power as caused it to come…” (History of the Church, vol. 2, p. 438)

According to these passages, Joseph supported equalization but not integration. He wrote that the sons of Canaan (descendants of Cain) were cursed. It would take an act of God to remove that curse. The implication is it was an act of God that placed the curse in the first place.

In February of 1964, Congress passed the Civil Rights Act prohibiting discrimination according to race, religion, or sex. Four years later, Dr. Martin Luther King—pastor and Nobel Peace prize winner–was martyred for his role as a leader in the movement. After his death, black preachers continued to call for full integration of blacks into white restrooms, buses, schools, jobs, and neighborhoods. A full ten years passed after King’s death until the Mormon priesthood, eternal marriage, and temple endowments were offered to the few black church members. Prior to 1978, blacks could only hope to be servants to the more righteous in the hereafter.

Roots from Joseph Smith

Brigham and JosephTo imply, as the recent LDS Race and Priesthood statement  on does, that racial bias began in the Mormon Church with second prophet Brigham Young is inaccurate. Although the priesthood ban for blacks was not in force during the founding prophet’s lifetime, the seeds of its justification were planted by Joseph. The Book of Mormon (1830) teaches that dark skin is the result of a curse for sin. The Book of Moses (1832-33) teaches that blacks descended from Cain. In the 1835 Book of Commandments, Joseph Smith added a statement (now D&C 134:12) that the Saints pledged not to “interfere with bond-servants…such interference we believe to be unlawful and unjust…”

Later in the Book of Abraham (1842), Joseph introduced the idea of “the right of Priesthood.”  In other words, some could have it; some were restricted. Pharaoh was said to come from the cursed Canaanite lineage that could not have the priesthood.

Abraham 1:21 “…king of Egypt [Pharaoh] was a descendant from the loins of Ham, and was a partaker of the blood of the Canaanites by birth.”

Abraham 1:27 “…Pharaoh being of that lineage by which he could not have the right of Priesthood…”

It was Joseph Smith who taught that dark skin was a curse from God for iniquity. He was the one whose Book of Abraham taught that certain blood lines were denied the priesthood power of God.  It was Joseph who supported segregation and did not want men to interfere with slavery. The 1842 Book of Abraham and the Southern converts to the church were the final nails in the coffin for any abolitionist teachings from Joseph.

Joseph Smith Founder of LDS Racist Scriptures and Teachings: Part 2
If the Foundation is Rotten, All that Joseph Smith Built Tumbles (aka Part 3)

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55 Responses to Joseph Smith Founder of LDS Racist Scriptures and Teachings: Part 1

  1. falcon says:

    ………………….and another thing. Mormonism isn’t designed to be “understood”. Mormonism is designed to be “felt”. That’s why you’re struggling to get it. You have to get a good feeling about it and then whatever you’re thinking about can be interpreted as being true. It’s the way the Mormon god communicates with his believers. If you ever go on any tours at Mormon sites, they’re always trying to move you emotionally. If you sit through the missionary lessons, it’s the same thing. The goal is to get the prospect feeling something.
    Joseph Smith was a product of an era where there was a lot of spiritual entrepreneurial types. It was also the era of one of the enlightenment phases with Methodist camp meetings with a major amount of emotionalism. There were countless people going off into the woods to have an encounter with God. Smith’s story, as ever changing as it was, was not in any way unique. It was part of the SOP of the era.
    It’s very interesting to note all of the religious movements that came out of the 19th century. The Shakers, for example, were one. These folks were all having visions, dreams and prophecy.
    The last thing these speculators and wild-catters wanted was to rely on solid Biblical interpretation. It takes all of the fun out of the game.

  2. Rick B says:

    So FoF,
    Let me ask again, Did you lie about us, and are you lying? You said we provide quotes from dishonest sources? But all those sources are from your prophets and church. So either your a dishonest lair, or you can provide us with the quotes that you claim we got from dishonest sources.

    LURKERS, be aware, FoF pulls these stunts all the time and does not care about truth, only pushing his agenda of proping up his false prophet.

  3. grindael says:

    Here we see FOF’s M.O. at work again. Put out a lot of objections without backing them up with any facts, denigrate everyone as stupid when it comes to understanding Mormonism, then leave without answering the real objections brought up by critics. This is a vicious cycle (sick cycle carousel) that FOF plays on every time he visits here. Notice that FOF has no response to my last post about him, where I proved that he was lying. He never called (anywhere on this blog at any time) the Priesthood Ban DOCTRINE. He called it a “policy” multiple times, which his own “prophets” said it was not. So who are we to believe? NOT FOF. Not for a minute. On the other hand, All of my quotes are within context, not misrepresented, and factual. You decide LURKERS. You decide.

  4. Pingback: Joseph Smith Founder of LDS Racist Scriptures and Teachings: Part 2 | Mormon Coffee

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