A dirty secret that can’t be covered up
Mormon theology teaches that that Cain and his descendants were placed under a curse, namely, black skin, a curse that prevented almost all of Cain’s descendants from being allowed entry into the Mormon priesthood. Not until 1978,in a declaration entitled “Official Declaration 2”, did the Mormon church finally relent, and allowed blacks into their priesthood.
Mormons believe the Cainites survived the Flood because Noah’s son Ham married a Cainite (allegedly). Those who are descended for this couple are Cainites and are under the “curse” of black skin, according to Mormon theology. This doctrine has been the basis of the racist exclusion of blacks from the Mormon priesthood until as late as 1978.
So how do Mormons try to get out of this racist charge?
Well, they sometimes claim a descendant of Ham could technically be any skin color, not just black. However, the reference to dark skin in the LDS scriptures and leaders’s speeches rules out this escape hatch. LDS apologists may also try to point to such ethnic groups as the aborigines of Australia, dark-skinned people who were never under the ban. However, this is simply irrelevant. Africans and African-Americans were considered inferior people up until 1978, and the Mormon church has to answer for it.
Now let’s look at some of the details.
Racism in the Book of Mormon
* 1 Nephi 12:23
“And I beheld, after they had dwindled in unbelief they became a dark and loathsome and a filthy people, full of idleness and all manner of abominations.”
* 1 Nephi 13:15
“. . . and I beheld that they were white, and exceedingly fair and beautiful . . .”
* 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.”
* 2 Nephi 30:6
“. . . a white and delightsome people.”
This is the reading of Joseph Smith’s original 1830 edition. Smith changed the wording “white” to “pure” in the 1840 printing, though until 1982 the word “white” was again in use.
* 3 Nephi 2:14-15
“And it came to pass that those Lamanites who had united with the Nephites were numbered among the Nephites; and their curse was taken from them, and their skin became white like unto the Nephites. And their young men and their daughters became exceeding fair..”
According to LDS theology, the Lamanites are the ancestors of the American Indians. In the verses above we see the unbelievable LDS teaching that the skin of the Lamanites would turn white upon conversion!
* Jacob 3:8-9
“O my brethren, I fear that unless ye shall repent of your sins that their skins will be whiter than yours, when ye shall be brought with them before the throne of God. Wherefore, a commandment I give unto you, which is the word of God, that ye revile no more against them because of the darkness of their skins ”
These racist verses persist to this day, though, as mentoned, the word “white” has been replaced with “pure”.
As recently as 1960, we read Spencer W. Kimball, later 12th President of the Mormon church, commenting on the Native American Indians as folows:
“I saw a striking contrast in the progress of the Indian people today as against that of only fifteen years ago. Truly the scales of darkness aref allign from their eyes, and they are fast becoming a white and delightsome people….For years they have been growing delightsome, and they are now becoming white and delightsome, as they were promised…”(Spencer W. Kimball, Improvement Era, Dec. 1960, pp.922-3)
Racism is Book of Abraman and Book of Moses
The books of Moses and Abraham provide the “scriptural” basis for Mormonism’s prohibition of the “priesthood” to blacks.
* Moses 6:8
“For behold, the Lord shall curse the land with much heat, and the barrenness thereof shall go forth forever; and there was a blackness came upon all the children of Canaan, that they were despised among all people.”
* Abraham 1:24
. . . from Ham, sprang that race which preserved the curse in the land.
* Abraham 1:26
. . . cursed him as pertaining to the Priesthood.” (referring to Pharaoh)
Racism in the writings of Brigham Young (second Mormon Pesident)
“Shall I tell you the law of God in regard to the African race? If the white man who belongs to the chosen seed mixes his blood with the seed of Cain, the penalty, under the law of God, is death on the spot. This will always be so.” (Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, 10:110)
Lest anyone think Young was here merely giving us his “personal opinion” as some LDS apologists would like to maintain, he also says:
“I am here to give this people, called Latter-day Saints, counsel to direct them in the path of life…If there is any elder here, or any member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, who can bring up the first idea, the first sentence that I have delivered to the people as counsel that is wrong, I really wish they would do it; but they cannot do it, for the simple reason that I have never given counsel that is wrong; this is the reason.” (Brigham Young -Journal of Discourses, 16:161).
Elswhere, Young wrote:
“I have never yet preached a sermon and sent it out to the children of men, that they may not call Scripture” (Journal of Discourses (vol 13, page 95),1870)
Again, in 1854 he writes:
“When all the other children of Adam have had the privilege of receiving the Priesthood, and of coming into the kingdom of God, and of being redeemed from the four quarters of the earth, and have received their resurrection from the dead, then it will be time enough to remove the curse from Cain and his posterity” (Journal of Discourses 2:143).
Bill McKeever cites on his “Mormon Research Ministries” website:
“Joseph Fielding Smith stated, “Not only was Cain called upon to suffer, but because of his wickedness he became the father of an inferior race” (The Way to Perfection, p.101).
“The negroes are not equal with other races where the receipt of certain spiritual blessings are concerned, particularly the priesthood and the temple blessings that flow therefrom…” (Mormon Doctrine, p.527, 1966 ed.)
The Climbdown of 1978
In June 1978 the First Presidency announced that President Spencer W. Kimball had received a revelation regarding the ordaining of all worthy men to the priesthood. This “revelation,” known as Official Declaration 2, can be found in printed form at the end of the Doctrine and Covenants.
In Declaration 2, Spencer Kimball stated that past prophets of the LDS Church had promised that at some time the ban would be lifted and that God, by revelation, had shown him that the day has come. The obvious question to sk is, how could the day have come if Brigham Young could say in (as well as others) Journal of Discourses 2:143 that the time would not come would not come until after the resurrection!
The history of racist doctrine in the Mormon religion continues to haunt this religion to this day. Racist texts in the “Book of Mormon” and other allegedly “sacred” works (Books of Abraham and Moses) continue to expose the racist beliefs of the early Mormon leaders.
The retraction of 1978, allowing colored people to the LDS “Priesthood,” leaves untouched the underlying racist theology in Mormon theology. Not only this, but the climbdown contradicts earlier dogmatic statements by LDS president Brigham Young (and others). In any case, it is clear that the racist doctrine of the LDS religion, a religion which presents itself to the world as the “restored gospel of Jesus Christ,” will continue to haunt the Mormon church for some time to come.
Copyright Â© Sean’s Faith Website 2004