Blacks and the Priesthood


Are there racist doctrines in the Mormon church?


Reference Links

Racism in the Mormon Church Online Book

Video Transcript

In 1978, the Mormon church retracted a 130 year old law of God by declaring that all worthy people could now hold the priesthood and do temple work regardless of race.

According to Brigham Young and Joseph Fielding Smith, the black race began with the biblical figure of Cain, who committed the first murder. As punishment, Cain became the father of an inferior race cursed with a flat nose and black skin.

According to Apostle Bruce McKonkie, Cain’s descendent Egyptus married the biblical figure of Ham, one of Noah’s sons who survived the great flood. And the Book of Abraham explains that descendants of Ham cannot hold the priesthood.

Furthermore, Mormon leaders have taught that the curse of being black has its origins in the preexistence. During the battle in heaven, certain people “lent an influence to Satan“; these were doomed to a dishonorable black body on earth. In fact any non-white person in a third world country was born as such due to their poor performance in the preexistence.

Other teachings from church presidents and apostles include that a chosen white man mixing blood with a black should be killed on the spot, that the gospel cannot be given to blacks affirmatively, that slavery was a divine institution, that blacks represent the devil on earth, and that they can only enter the celestial kingdom as servants.

Another interesting teaching is that of dark people changing their skin color. The Book of Mormon tells about Lamanites being cursed with black skin, but turning white again after the curse was removed. LDS President Spencer W Kimball implied that this was literal when he commented that Mormon Indian children had become several shades lighter than their parents, in accordance with Book of Mormon teaching.

But intense pressure was being put on the church, including protests and boycotts at BYU sporting events, a discrimination suit against Mormon run Boy Scout troops, and missionaries being banned from Nigeria.

So the church presidency pleaded with God on behalf of the blacks, and the revelation finally came, just in time for the new temple opening in Brazil, a country with a large racially mixed population.
This all harkened back to when polygamy was also expediently banned by revelation under pressure.

Apostle Bruce McKonkie, who had previously questioned the character of anyone concerned with this issue, was now ordering Mormons to forget everything that he, Brigham Young, or anybody else had said that was contrary to the present revelation.

This is important because Brigham Young clearly taught that blacks would not receive the priesthood until the curse was lifted and everyone else had been resurrected from the dead, or else the church would lose the priesthood.

But while the church may have forgotten, the church has never denounced or changed any of the other racist teachings already mentioned, with the exception of the death penalty for interracial marriage. Check out our references at ldsvideo.org