Essays on Blacks and Women

RACE AND THE PRIESTHOOD – December 6, 2013.

This essay declares:

“…for much of its history—from the mid-1800s until 1978—the Church did not ordain men of black African descent to its priesthood or allow black men or women to participate in temple endowment or sealing ordinances…

“In 1852, President Brigham Young publicly announced that men of black African descent could no longer be ordained to the priesthood. …Following the death of Brigham Young, subsequent Church presidents restricted blacks from receiving the temple endowment or being married in the temple. Over time, Church leaders and members advanced many theories to explain the priesthood and temple restrictions. None of these explanations is accepted today as the official doctrine of the Church. …The justifications for this restriction echoed the widespread ideas about racial inferiority that had been used to argue for the legalization of black ‘servitude’ in the Territory of Utah. According to one view…blacks descended from the same lineage as the biblical Cain, who slew his brother Abel. Those who accepted this view believed that God’s ‘curse’ on Cain was the mark of a dark skin. …

“Today, the Church disavows the theories advanced in the past that black skin is a sign of divine disfavor or curse, or that it reflects unrighteous actions in a premortal life; that mixed-race marriages are a sin; or that blacks or people of any other race or ethnicity are inferior in any way to anyone else. Church leaders today unequivocally condemn all racism, past and present, in any form.”

Yet, the LDS Church still upholds the racist teachings in the Book of Mormon which claims in 2 Nephi 5:21 that the Laminates were cursed with dark skin because of their sin:

“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.”

Is this another example of a “carefully worded” statement from the LDS Church, denying its racist teachings that come straight out of their Scriptures?  In addition to this racist passage in the Book of Mormon, we’ve identified quite a few more racially motivated statements in the Book of Mormon,[1] as well as statements in another book that Mormons consider Scripture called “Pearl of Great Price.”  When we read these statements, we can easily see how prior Mormon leaders could have derived their teachings on racism from the following verses:

“…a blackness came upon all the children of Canaan… . For the seed of Cain were black and had not place among them. …king of Egypt [Pharaoh] was a descendant from the loins of Ham, and was a partaker of the blood of the Canaanites by birth. … Pharaoh being of that lineage by which he could not have the right of Priesthood.” (Moses 7:8, 22 and Abraham 1:21, 27 contained in the Pearl of Great Price)

Again, these statements are in the current editions of the Mormon Scriptures.  If the Mormon leaders of today truly condemn, “all racism, past and present, in any form,” will they be revising their Scriptures in accordance with this new declaration, or will we discover that these statements from the LDS Church are simply “carefully worded denials” to deceive the public on the Church’s true doctrines?



This essay acknowledges that in the past, the Mormon Church allowed women to administer the priesthood blessings of healing the sick that are now reserved for only the male “Melchizedek Priesthood holders” of the church. This essay claims,

“Joseph Smith taught that the gift of healing was a sign that would follow ‘all that believe whether male or female.’ During the 19th century, women frequently blessed the sick by the prayer of faith, and many women received priesthood blessings promising that they would have the gift of healing.  …Currently, the Church’s Handbook 2: Administering the Church directs that ‘only Melchizedek Priesthood holders may administer to the sick or afflicted.’ ”

[1] See our discussion of black skin given in chapter 2 of this book.

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