X-Message-Number: 19812
Date: Thu, 15 Aug 2002 17:05:26 -0700
From: "John Grigg" <>
Subject: The Mormon church and racism

Keith R. Dugu wrote:

I hope the future has much brighter prospects than the Mormon Church and others.

Actually, the LDS church with its focus on strong families, education, 
opportunities for personal growth by serving in various church callings, a 
welfare system aimed at getting the recipient on their feet, etc., is one of the
brighter prospects in this troubled world.

And when calamities strike, the church has been known for years to quickly give 
massive aid in the form of needed supplies, and members volunteering countless 

Without very much fanfare, retired couples doing full-time missionary service 
for the church help third world people by aiding them in a multitude of 
practical things to make their lives better.  This can range from medical care 
to agricultural service.

When you awake from cryonic suspension, you can expect an even more vibrant and 
powerful Mormon church to be there.  Count on it, in fact.  I hope to see a 
black president of the church at that point, or long before!  

you continue:
Let's not give future generations more reasons to look at us as 
barbaric and dangerous if revived.

Hopefully this world, and the many people and institutions within it, will 
continue to change for the better.  I expect those revived to be seen as 
refugees from a dark age.

you continue:
Many Mormons that I personally 
have met used the church as a vehicle to further their own diabolical 
and sinister racist beliefs and objectives!

Not "many" Mormons, but a few, yes.  The majority of church members are very 
good people and not hateful as you would paint us.  

During my mission in Louisiana, I served in a ward with a black bishop(like a 
head pastor).  When I first learned of him I was quite surprised, considering it
was the south!  Remember, white Mormons live in the same culture as everyone 
else, and yet in this ward I only saw the respect people had for this terrific 
man and his family.  

He was a local highschool principal, and had twin sons who were among some of 
the best people I ever met during my two years there.  They were getting ready 
to go on missions themselves.  

His thoughts on blacks and the priesthood was that God had answered the prayers 
of he and his wife, as to whether The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day 
Saints was where they should go, and so he was contented regarding the matter.  
We would have black investigators talk with him.  The words, "your local Mormon 
bishop is BLACK??", still ring in my ears.  I heard this from both white and 
black members of the local community, because not everyone was aware of who he 

I think the bishop was more at ease about the matter than I ever was! lol  I 
admit to wrestling with myself regarding the entire issue.  Know this about me, 
I am not a racist.                

The following websites I hope can help explain the Mormon view of things.  I 
really appreciated the candid approach of the author who I excerpted below.

I love my church, I love cryonics, and I love my friends(whatever their race).

best wishes,


The Black Mormon homepage:

Black Mormons and the Priesthood ban:

Taken from the above website:

In 1978, the Church was building a Temple in Sao Paulo, Brasil. At that time 
there were tens of thousands of Mulatto Mormons in Brasil; people with both 
white and black ancestry. These people had great faith, and sacrificed much to 
build the Temple in Sao Paulo; the largest city in Brazil. Many of these people 
knew that they would be allowed in the Temple, but could not partake of the most
important ordinances in them. Yet, they still sacrificed to build it. Seeing 
the exceeding faith of these Mulatto Saints, the General Authorities of the 
Chuch, who are called "The Brethren", prayed for months that the Priesthood-ban 
be finally lifted. On June 1st, 1978, in the Holy of Holies in the Salt Lake 
Temple, the LORD communicated to President Spencer W. Kimball that He would lift
the Priesthood-ban from off the Hamitic lineage. The vast great majority of 
Mormons were overjoyed at the news. Only a few weeks later, the first black men 
of African lineage since Elijah Abel and his descend

ants were ordained to the Priesthood, and they and their families soon 
thereafter received the Higher Ordinances of the Temple. 
This Priesthood-ban has been refered to by Mormons as: 

The Curse of Cain (the son of Adam) 
The Curse of Egyptus (the wife of Ham) 
The Curse of Pharoah (the righteous son of Ham and Egyptus and king of Egypt) 

The Priesthood-ban (i.e. Hamites being 'banned' from the Priesthood until 1978)

Some Members of the Church, both black and white, do not believe that the Curse 
of Cain was of God. They believe it was a misinterpretation by the Apostles and 
Presidents of the Church, and that it never should have happened. Some believe 
that Brigham Young misinterpreted Joseph Smith; when the Prophet instructed 
missionaries not to give the Priesthood to black slaves; since, in Joseph's day,
at least two black freeman held the Priesthood (Elijah Abel and Walker Lewis). 
They assume that Joseph didn't want black slaves to hold the Priesthood only 
because they couldn't exercize it; not because they were cursed or the 
descendants of Cain, but because the Priesthood required that a man be free and 
able to use it. Others believe that the Church "never really taught" this 
doctrine, but that it was merely the opinion of some of the Members, or perhaps 
a few of the Apostles. Yet, a close examination of all the historical data 
reveals that the Priesthood-ban was based solely upon the Cu

rse of Cain Doctrine, and that it was always presented by Church leaders as a 
"doctrine of the Church" from the days of Brigham Young. Joseph Smith did 
consider "Negroes" to be "the sons of Cain". At least two black men (Elijah Abel
and Walker Lewis) were ordained to the Priesthood during his life. Some Mormons
assume that Joseph Smith wanted all free blacks to have the Priesthood. Others 
believe that Elijah Abel and Walker Lewis were exceptions to a 'rule' that 
Joseph Smith made to the Priesthood-ban for black Africans. The debate 

But what is absolutely clear and beyond any educated debate is this: that from 
the days of Brigham Young to the ending of the ban in 1978, Church presidents 
and apostles as a whole declared that "Negroes" (black Africans) were the 
descendants of Cain, and that they were banned from the Priesthood because of 
their lineage (bloodline). In an Official statement made by The First Presidency
in 1951 the Curse of Cain was called a "doctrine of the Church" (Statement of 
The First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on the 
Negro Question, August 17, 1951). At no time was it ever put forth as mere 
opinion or speculation.

Some in the Church believe that the Curse of Cain Doctrine was an invention of 
Brigham Young, the 2nd President of the Church, and not the Prophet Joseph 
Smith. Yet, the evidence shows that it probably originated with Joseph Smith. He
was the translator of The Book of Abraham; where it says that Pharoah was of 
Hamitic lineage, which lineage was "blessed with wisdom" but "cursed as 
pertaining to the Priesthood" (Abraham 1:26). Also, in a debate he had with John
C. Bennett, the first Mayor of Nauvoo, on who had the greater cause of 
complaint against the white man, Indians (native Americans) or Negroes, the 
Prophet said "that the Indians have greater cause to complain of the treatment 
of the whites, than the Negroes or sons of Cain." (History of the Church 4:501)

Some in the Church believe that Brigham Young and all the Presidents of the 
Church from his day until Spencer W. Kimball were simply "wrong". But the reader
must understand that this is their own personal opinion. The only one who can 
speak for the Church officially is The First Presidency, and they have declared,
in private and public letters, that the Curse of Cain doctrine was "a doctrine 
of the Church" and the Priesthood-ban was "a commandment of the LORD". They have
not repudiated it, and, until it is repudiated by The First Presidency, the 
belief that Negroes (black Africans) are the descendants of Cain through Ham's 
wife remains an official "doctrine" of the Church; even if it is not actively 
taught. Until The First Presidency calls the Priesthood-ban a "mistake" then it 
is not a "mistake". There is no indication at this time (2001 A.D.) that The 
First Presidency has any intention of calling the Curse of Cain doctrine "false"
or the Priesthood~ban a "mistake".

Some in the Church believe that the Curse of Cain legacy should simply be 
"forgotten"; that "the past is in the past...let's move on!" However, when 
sincere investigators and others ask about the Curse of Cain legacy (which is 
all-over the Internet) what are Latter-day Saints to tell them? Thousands upon 
thousands of black (and some white) investigators (people who are inquiring 
about the Church) and new converts ask about the Curse of Cain legacy each and 
every year. Often, missionaries don't know what to say. Often, their bishops (if
they are new converts) tell them, "Don't worry about it! Just attend your 
meetings, pay your tithe, and you're be blessed!" What should Latter-day Saints 
tell others who ask about the Curse of Cain and Priesthood-ban? Should they say,
"That's all in the past, let's move on!"? Should they say, "Well, I don't agree
with what the Church did!" Should they say, "Don't worry about it!"? Or, should
they simply tell people the truth about the matter, and
 let the LORD take care of the rest?

Some Mormons are afraid to tell the truth; not wanting to be thought of as 
"racists". So, they avoid speaking about it. When the question is asked, they 
look at their watches and say, "Gosh, look at the time! I gotta run!" Still 
others, not knowing the true history, will say, "No, our Church never taught 
such things!" Then, when black investigators and new converts find out otherwise
(and they always do~eventually) they are absolutely devastated; they almost 
always leave the Church or go totally inactive (not attending Church or 
participating in the Mormon Faith); NOT because of the Curse of Cain legacy, but
because they feel they've been lied to.

Mormons who accept the Curse of Cain Doctrine, and the resulting Priesthood-ban,
as from the LORD also believe that both are now irrelevant; since the 
Priesthood-ban was lifted in 1978 by the LORD's revelation to President Spencer 
W. Kimball. But they also believe that the past shouldn't be forgotten; just 
understood. Since 1978, worthy black males in the Church have been ordained to 
the Priesthood. One of them, Helvecio Martins of Brazil, who joined the Church 
before black men could be ordained to the Priesthood, became a General Authority
(leaders) in the Church in 1990. He became a Member of the 2nd Quorum of 
Seventy; which is the 5th highest quorum (council) in the Church.

Q. But isn't the Curse of Cain doctrine 'racist'?

A. Under the dictionary definition of 'racism' the Curse of Cain doctrine is not
'racist'. It did not declare that people of Hamitic lineage were 'inferior' to 
people of other races or lineages. Indeed, it actually said that the Cainites 
were the founders of the first cities, and the first to work in metal and use 
musical instruments (Genesis chap. 4). These are not the actions of an 
"inferior" people. The Curse of Cain Doctrine declared that the ancient 
Egyptians, who were 'blessed with wisdom' but 'cursed as pertaining to the 
Priesthood' were really the first to develope math, science, and architecture. 
Surely, these are not signs of "inferiority". If anything, the Curse of Cain 
Doctrine presents the descendants of Cain as SUPERIOR to other races and 
lineages; at least anciently. Black Africans (whether they are in America, 
Africa, or any other part of the world) are the descendants of the ancient 
Nubians; who had the blood of the ancient Egyptians in their veins. They were t

he descendants of Noah through Ham; as well as the descendants of Cain through 
Ham's Cainite wife Egyptus. The ancient Egyptians (and Nubians) were a very 
advanced and cultured people! They had civilization, math, a written language, 
and sciences, when the Europeans were still living in caves and wearing the 
skins of animals!

Yet, the Bible contains many prophecies, like in Ezekiel chapters 29 and 30, 
that the LORD would scatter the Egyptians among the inhabitants of Pathos (black
Africa), and would divide them, and would make of them, in the latter days, 
slaves of other nations(Ezekiel chap. 30)Some blacks, including many Africans 
and African-Americans who are not Mormons, see these Biblical prophecies as 
being fulfilled. Others see these things are totally unrelated, and see any 
suggestion that they are of Cainite or Hamitic lineage as 'racist' in itself. 
Those blacks that reject the notion they are the descendants of the ancient 
Egyptians (via the Nubians) also usually reject the Bible and its prophecies; 
especially those of Ezekiel where it says that the LORD would "scatter" the 
Egyptians among the inhabitants of Pathos (black sub-saharan Africa) and He 
would make of them slaves of "other nations" in the last days. Why? Because 
their ancestor did not "hearken" (listen to and obey) the Voice of t
he LORD!

But wasn't the Priesthood-ban a form of discrimination?

A. The Priesthood-ban was a form of discrimination! To 'discriminate' means to 
choose one thing over others. The LORD chose Israel, among all nations, to be 
His people. His chose one tribe of 13 Israelite tribes, the Levites, to be His 
Priests anciently. Many people don't realize that in ancient times, only the 
Levites, or the descendants of Levi, the son of Israel, could be Priests. All 
other tribes were banned from Priesthood service; including the tribe of Judah, 
from which came Jesus. This is definitely discrimination, but it was 
discrimination from the LORD. He has a right to discriminate as He sees fit. We 
do not. If the Priesthood-ban was from the LORD, then it was His discrimination.
We are not to discriminate, but the LORD can discriminate as He sees fit. He 
very often has.

Q. Isn't believing that black folks are or were cursed by God a 'racist' belief?

No. That is not how 'racism' is defined. God alternatively blesses and curses 
all nations according to how they adhere or reject His Laws and Prophets. The 
Bible records many curses upon various peoples, for example:

The LORD curses all women to bear children in great suffering because the 
Serpent (Satan) deceived Eve. (Genesis 3:16) 

The LORD curses all men to earn their bread by the sweat of their brow because 
Adam partook of the forbidden fruit. (Genesis 3:17-19) 

The LORD curses the Egyptians with plagues because Pharoah refused to let the 
Israelites go out of Egypt. (Exodus chapters 7-9) 

The LORD curses the Moabites and Ammonites because "unto the tenth generation) 
because they did not provide food and water to the Israelites in the desert 
wilderness. (Deuteronomy 23:3) 

The LORD promises to curse the ISRAELITES, His own chosen people, if they do not
adhere to His commandments.(Deuteronomy chapter 28) 

The LORD has a history of blessing and cursing nations and lineages according to
how they obey or disobey His laws, and according to how they hearken to (listen
and obey) or ignore His Voice (which is revealed through His Prophets). These 
blessings and cursings have absolutely nothing to do with "racism"!

Racism is a "philosophy of man" that began in the early to mid-19th century that
said that some "races" of human beings are "superior" to others. This 
philosophy was based upon Darwinism; from the belief that some species of 
animals (and humans) are "more evolved" (higher) than others. The Philophsophy 
of Racism was never a part of the Bible; nor was it ever a part of the Mormon 
Faith! What has always been a Bible-doctrine (and always a part of the Mormon 
Faith) is that God alternatively blesses and curses various nations, kindreds, 
tongues, and peoples, according to how they hearken to (listen to and obey) His 

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