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Until 2 Nephi This passage of Mormon scripture read:. However, in , the LDS Church decided to change "the most correct book on earth" and switched the word "white" with the word "pure.
This assumption is definitely not supported in the Book of Mormon since 2 Nephi 5: For behold, they had hardened their hearts against him, and 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. Furthermore, we find another reference to a change in skin color in 3 Nephi 2: Mormon author George D.
Smith notes that Joseph Smith was given a revelation which foretold of a day when intermarriage with the Lamanites would produce a white and delightsome posterity. George Smith wrote, "This unpublished 17 July revelation was described three decades later in an letter from W.
Phelps to Brigham Young quoting Joseph Smith: Second LDS President Brigham Young stated in , "You may inquire of the intelligent of the world whether they can tell why the aborigines of this country are dark, loathsome, ignorant, and sunken into the depths of degradation During the same message Kimball referred to a year-old Indian girl who was both LDS and "several shades lighter than her parents One white elder jokingly said that he and his companion were donating blood regularly to the hospital in the hope that the process might be accelerated.
Those Indians, at least as many as I have observed, were white and delightsome, as white and fair as any group of citizens of our country. I know of no prophecy, ancient or modern, that has had a more literal fulfillment" emphasis his.
It has also been taught in Mormonism that opposite repercussions could result when a white man abandoned his Mormon faith.
For instance, the Juvenile Instructor In , Brigham Young declared that apostates would "become gray-haired, wrinkled, and black, just like the Devil" Journal of Discourses 5: Despite the comments from past Mormon leaders, skin color has nothing to do with a person's spirituality. To say 2 Nephi It was a false prophecy, nothing more, nothing less. Although the Mormon Church will not make available the handwritten manuscript of the Book of Mormon, the RLDS Church has the handwritten printer's copy, which was given to the printer to set the type for the first printing.
It too, agrees with the Edition. So, someone originally wrote "white" and then someone changed it to "pure" and then back to "white" after and then finally to "pure" This is the "most correct book" on earth? This is the result of a "translation" process in which JS could not continue until he got it right? We know faithful apologists who have admitted that it was likely finally changed for good in to be 'politically correct'.
Some others argue that it should have always been PURE but was somehow translated incorrectly in Others say that this change seems to reflect the Prophet's concern that modern readers might misinterpret this passage as a reference to racial changes rather than to changes in righteousness. However in context of everything the prophets have said as well as official Church publications concerning the Lamanites actually changing their skin color when they converted it seems clear that the context is 'white' skin and not 'pure' hearts.
This also disproves the arguments by some LDS apologists that say the ban had to do with lineage and not skin color. Even the current children's book on the Book of Mormon states clearly "Laman and Lemuel's followers called themselves Lamanites. They became a dark-skinned people. God cursed them because of their wickedness. The Book of Abraham says 1: Until this was interpreted to ban anyone with even a single "drop" of Hamitic Negro blood. Most Mormons claim that they are descended from Ephraim or Manasseh, sons of Joseph, based on their individual patriarchal blessings.
Since the mother of those two sons was Asenath, the daughter of Potipherah, priest at On Genesis Although Brigham Young never intended that slavery flourish in Utah, he did accept the biblical explanations utilized by proslavery apologists to justify the enslavement of blacks. Slaves were bought and sold in Utah Territory with the approval of Brigham Young.
The majority were slaves living in Salt Lake, Davis, and Utah counties. If slaves are brought here by those who owned them in the states, we do not favor their escape from the service of those owners. Such a thing could not take place without corrupting all civil and wholesome society, of both the north and the south!
Let the BLACKS of the south be free, and our community is overrun with paupers, and a reckless mass of human beings, uncultivated, untaught and unaccustomed to provide for themselves the necessaries of life- endangering the chastity of every female who might by chance be found in our streets-our prisons filled with convicts, and the HANG-MAN WEARIED with executing the functions of his office! NO; but they are now wasting away the black race by thousands Can you destroy the decrees of the Almighty?
Yet our Christian brethren think that they are going to overthrow the sentence of the Almighty upon the seed of Ham. Millennial Star , Vol. The Church has maintained that the revelation giving blacks the priesthood was not due to any form of public pressure but was simply God's will that blacks should not be given the priesthood until A particular complication was the possibility that the Church Educational Institutions could lose their tax-exempt status due to discrimination.
This could cost the Church tens of millions of dollars. The Church has always denied that financial considerations have played a role. However, in , the tax-exempt status of Bob Jones University was withdrawn revoked retroactively to because it did not allow blacks. In this case was heard before the U. Lee, a Mormon, asked to be excused from the case due to conflicts of interest. The reason he stated that he had assisted when they had the same problem as Bob Jones University Caplan , p You can find the statements and references in "Spencer W.
And we all heard the same voice, received the same message, and became personal witnesses that the word received was the mind and will and voice of the Lord. President Kimball's prayer was answered and our prayers were answered. He heard the voice and we heard the same voice" He reaffirms, "And when President Kimball finished his prayer, the Lord gave a revelation by the power of the Holy Ghost" However, some of these people may be taking liberties with the phrase "voice of God" as others like Gordon B.
Hinckley never claimed to have heard an actual voice. It was more of a feeling that they were doing something right by reversing the ban.
On this revelation, of the priesthood to the Negro, I've heard all kinds of stories: I've heard that Christ appeared to the apostles; I've heard that Joseph Smith appeared; and then I heard another story that Spencer Kimball had had a concern about this for some time, and simply shared it with the apostles, and they decided that this was the right time to move in that direction.
Are any of those stories true, or are they all? Well, the last one is pretty true, and I might tell you what provoked it in a way. Down in Brazil, there is so much Negro blood in the population there that it is hard to get leaders that don't have negro blood in them. We just built a temple down there. It's going to be dedicated in October. All those people with Negro blood in them have been raising money to build that temple.
If we don't change, then they can't even use it. Well, Brother Kimball worried about it, and he prayed a lot about it. He asked each one of us of the twelve if we would pray--and we did--that the Lord would give him the inspiration to know what the will of the Lord was. Then he invited each one of us in his office--individually, because you know when you are in a group, you can't always express everything that's in your heart. You're part of the group, see--so he interviewed each one of us, personally to see how we felt about it, and he asked us to pray about it.
Then he asked each one of us to hand in all the references we had, for, or against that proposal. See, he was thinking favorably toward giving the colored people the priesthood.
Then we had a meeting where we meet every week in the temple, and we discussed it as a group circle. And then the next Thursday--we meet every Thursday--the presidency came with this little document written out to make the announcement--to see how we'd feel about it--and present it in written form.
Well, some of the members of the Twelve suggested a few changes in the announcement, and then in our meeting there we all voted in favor of it--the Twelve and the first Presidency. One member of the Twelve, Mark Peterson, was down in South America, but Brother Benson, our president, had arranged to know where he could be reached by phone, and right while we were in that meeting in the temple, Brother Kimball talked with Brother Peterson, and read him the article, and he Peterson approved of it.
There wasn't a special document as a "revelation", that he had wrote down? We discussed it in our meeting. What else should we say besides that announcement? And we decided that that was sufficient; that no more needed to be said. Although we don't normally quote from sources who are unwilling to have their name published, we decided to add this account from someone we know who worked in the administrative staff at the MTC during the time of the announcement:.
We were told, by visiting General Authorities and others from the Church Office Building, that it was not a revelation, but a "negative revelation. It was later that I heard the word "revelation" actually used in conjunction with it. Walters supports this version of the events. It seems likely from President Spencer W. Kimball's statement printed in the church's own newspaper that he did not receive any word from God concerning the matter emphasis added:.
I asked the Twelve not to go home when the time came. I said, 'Now would you be willing to remain in the temple with us? I offered the final prayer and I told the Lord if it wasn't right, if He didn't want this change to come in the Church that I would be true to it all the rest of my life, and I'd fight the world against it if that's what He wanted.
I had a great deal to fight, of course, myself largely, because I had grown up with this thought that Negroes should not have the priesthood and I was prepared to go all the rest of my life till my death and fight for it and defend it as it was. But this revelation and assurance came to me so clearly that there was no question about it. It would appear then, that when President Kimball asked the Lord if He had any objections to his changing the doctrine, he received no answer from heaven.
Since God did not seem to contest the idea, Kimball felt he had the "assurance" that it must be the Lord's will. This, of course, seems like a very unusual way to obtain a "revelation. The description given by the Church is a simplified and romanticized version of the actual decision. As the son of former Church President Kimball, the process has been described , makes it more like a manager who wants change to implement, therefore seeks support in the organization and thinks about how the change should be communicated Kimball Church President Spencer W.
Kimball asks three Brethren to write about the implications of a possible lifting of restrictions memos. At a joint meeting of the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve decided that any waiver of the limitations as a revelation of the church president should be presented. Kimball has decided to lift the restrictions and submit it to his two counselors, who support the decision. They discuss the impact of the change and the timing of the necessary actions to be taken.
They conclude that there is no rush and that they want to look at the Quorum of the Twelve support. They are asking the Church History Department to look at previous statements on the subject.
Kimball asks apostles Packer, McConkie and Hinckley to each register for the announcement of the change text. Francis Gibbons, the secretary of Kimball, has prepared a proposal for the final text of the declaration on the basis of the three proposals Packer, McConkie and Hinckley. The First Presidency refine the text further on. The statement shall be presented to the Quorum of the Twelve, who still imagine a few textual changes. Some wanted to wait until the general conference in October but Apostle McConkie insisted on immediate publication.
He feared that the change would otherwise leak out prematurely and that the church would not have control over it. The statement was presented that afternoon to the Quorum of the Seventy, and the press was informed. The cause of much of the strife and conflict in the world, racism is an offense against God and a tool in the devil's hands. In common with other Christians, members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints regret the actions and statements of individuals who have been insensitive to the pain suffered by the victims of racism and ask God's forgiveness for those guilty of this grievous sin.
The sin of racism will be eliminated only when every human being treats all others with the dignity and respect each deserves as a beloved child of our Heavenly Father. Now I am told that racial slurs and denigrating remarks are sometimes heard among us. I remind you that no man who makes disparaging remarks concerning those of another race can consider himself a true disciple of Christ. Nor can he consider himself to be in harmony with the teachings of the Church of Christ.
How can any man holding the Melchizedek Priesthood arrogantly assume that he is eligible for the priesthood whereas another who lives a righteous life but whose skin is of a different color is ineligible? Isn't what GBH saying is wrong exactly what the Church did? The Church assumed blacks were not eligible for the priesthood regardless of how righteous they were and they did this for years.
It has been taught from the pulpit at general conference. It is in official church manuals. Earlier in , the church released a press statement that read: We condemn racism, including any and all past racism by individuals both inside and outside the Church.
This statement is very profound. It tacitly admits that the previous statement, that the Lord won't allow a prophet to lead the members astray, is false. For nearly years the prophets have led the people astray with racist policies and the current prophet administration does not know why this happened, they just know firmly, racism is wrong.
That repudiation of the former policy, of hundreds of statements made by Brigham Young, Wilford Woodruff, John Taylor, Bruce McConkie, and many more effectively opens the gate to an understanding that the current administrating prophets could be absolutely dead wrong on policies they have in place currently such as on gays, on apostates, on non-tithers, temple marriage and more.
The issue of the blacks and the priesthood has become a pivotal issue about the integrity of past and current leaders. In , then Church president Gordon B.
Hinckley declared that "no man who makes disparaging remarks concerning those of another race can consider himself a true disciple of Christ. Let us all recognize that each of us is a son or daughter of our Father in Heaven, who loves all of His children. By this standard any prophet that taught that a skin of blackness or descent from Africa is a curse would not be considered "true disciples of Christ". Hinckley who have all taught dark skin as a curse. The Church stated in their Dec essay ' Race and the Priesthood' the following:.
It is probably technically true that there has never been a Churchwide policy of segregated congregations, but there certainly was tacit approval of racial segregation from the days of Joseph Smith until relatively recently. Here are some examples emphasis added: Thus, although the "national equalization" was quite a progressive attitude at the time, Joseph clearly showed himself to be a strict segregationist.
First Presidency to Pres. Through the General Board of the Relief Society, who reported to the Presiding Bishopric, and they to us, it comes to us that you have in the Capitol Ward in Washington two colored sisters who apparently are faithful members of the Church.
The report comes to us that prior to a meeting which was to be held between the Relief Societies of the Washington Ward and the Capitol Ward, Bishop Brossard of the Washington Ward called up the President of the Relief Society of the Capitol Ward and told her that these two colored sisters should not be permitted to attend because the President of the Capitol Ward Relief Society failed to carry out the request made of her by the Bishop of the other ward.
We can appreciate that the situation may present a problem in Washington, but President Clark recalls that in the Catholic churches in Washington at the time he lived there, colored and white communicants used the same church at the same time. He never entered the church to see how the matter was carried out, but he knew that the facts were as stated. From this fact we are assuming that there is not in Washington any such feeling as exists in the South where the colored people are apparently not permitted by their white brethren and sisters to come into the meeting houses and worship with them.
We feel that we cannot refuse baptism to a colored person who is otherwise worthy, and we feel that we cannot refuse to permit these people to come into our meeting houses and worship once we baptize them. It seems to us that it ought to be possible to work this situation out without causing any feelings on the part of anybody.
If the white sisters feel that they may not sit with them or near them, we feel very sure that if the colored sisters were discreetly approached, they would be happy to sit at one side in the rear or somewhere where they would not wound the sensibilities of the complaining sisters.
We will rely upon your tact and discretion to work this out so as not to hurt the feelings on the part of anyone. Of course, probably each one of the sisters who can afford it, has a colored maid in her house to do the work and to do the cooking for her, and it would seem that under these circumstances they should be willing to let them sit in Church and worship with them.
Faithfully your brethren, [signed] Heber J. Michael Quinn, Elder Statesman: A Biography of J. Reuben Clark , p. Smith the latter an Assistant to the Quorum of the Twelve, and brother of George "about the use of [LDS] meeting houses to prevent Negroes from becoming neighbors " — the outcome of this meeting is unknown, but Nicholas Smith described the meeting in his journal as " race hatred. Quinn, Elder Statesman , p.
In , when famous black singer Marian Anderson came to Salt Lake City to give a recital, she was denied at every Salt Lake City hotel and had to stay at the home of one of the concert's promoters. When she returned in to give a concert in the Mormon Tabernacle, she was allowed to stay at the Hotel Utah but on the condition that she only use the freight elevator, not the main entrance or lobby.
Salt Lake Tribune , articles published on 9 April p. A-3 and 19 April p. B-1 ; Quinn, Elder Statesman , p. Similarly, in , when black Nobel Peace Prize recipient Dr. Bunche was eventually admitted after pressure was brought to bear, but only when he agreed to take his meals in his room and not come to the dining room. Now we are generous with the Negro, We are willing that the Negro have the highest education. Later in the same speech, Petersen gave this example of tacitly-approved segregation of LDS members:.
Some years ago, back in to be exact, I became acquainted with a negro family in Cincinnati, Ohio. I was back there for three months in connection with a newspaper assignment. I went to Church there and became acquainted with the family of a negro man named Ben Hope … [, who] lived down in Mississippi. I say "tacit approval" because Elder Petersen did NOT in any way condemn the blatant segregation he witnessed in this Cincinnati branch.
He explained his reason in his diary:. I had no objection to the editorial's being printed as it now stands with the exception of the reference to segregation in the school room. I said that there is a different problem attached to this subject; for instance there may be a district where the negro is in the majority; that there might be three or four white children.
Inasmuch as the negro child is two or three grades below the white child of the same age, it would not be fair to force the few white children to attend — furthermore, the negro really prefers to attend a school of the colored people. I therefore instructed Dr. Rueben Clark instructed Belle Spafford, then general president of the Relief Society, "that she should do what she could to keep the National Council [of Women] from going on record in favor of what in the last analysis would be regarded as negro equality.
I wish we could take him on our faculty, but the danger in doing so is that students and others take license from this, and assume that there is nothing improper about mingling with the other races.
Since the Lord, himself, created the different races and urged in the Old Testament and other places that they [ i.
McKay, wrote in his diary of Henry D. Moyle counselor in FP encouraging an initiative to persuade the U. Department of Defense not to deploy troops to an army base in Toole, Utah, because "there will be two to three hundred Negro families in the contingent.
Kennedy to attend a White House meeting of religious leaders to discuss JFK's proposed civil rights legislation. A few days later Pres. McKay met with James E. Faust had received an invitation to a related meeting in Washington, D. McKay recorded his response in his journal:. I told Brother Faust that he should go and find out what President Kennedy is trying to do. I said that I did not like to see a law passed which will make the Hotel men violators of the law if they refuse to provide accommodations for a negro when their hotels are filled with white people, or restaurant men made violators when they decline to serve colored people.
I said that businessmen ought to be free to run their own businesses, and not become law breakers if they choose to employ certain people; that if we have such a law as that, then it is unfair to the majority of the citizens of this country.
Stapley wrote a letter to Michigan Governor George Romney, expressing his displeasure "after listening to your talk on Civil Rights. I cannot, in my own feelings, accept the idea of public accommodations; the taking from the Whites their wishes to satisfy the Negroes. I do not have any objection to recognizing the Negro in his place and giving him every opportunity for education, for employment, for whatever contribution he can make to the society of men and the protection and blessings of Government.
Yet, all these things, in my judgment, should accord with the expressions of the Prophet Joseph Smith.
It is not right to force any class or race of people upon those of a different social order or race classification. People are happier when placed in the environment and association of like interests, racial instincts, habits, and natural groupings. We must understand and recognize their status and then, accordingly, provide for them. I just don't think we can get around the Lord's position in relation to the Negro without punishment for our acts; going contrary to that which He has revealed.
The Lord will not permit His purposes to be frustrated by man. Stapley to Governor George Romney. Lee was "protesting vigorously over our having given a scholarship at the B. Brother Lee holds the traditional belief as revealed in the Old Testament that the races ought to be kept together and that there is danger in trying to integrate them on the B.
Michael Quinn, The Mormon Hierarchy: Extensions of Power , p. We think it is very clear from the above examples that there was a widespread attitude of segregation in the Church , even if no "official policy.
Many religions in the s believed that the curse put upon Cain in Genesis was black skin. It wasn't just the Mormons. The Catholics did not believe this though. However, the other non-LDS churches did not teach that blacks were less valiant before they came to earth - that was a unique LDS belief. The LDS apostles taught for generations that blacks were the "cursed seed of Cain". This isn't necessarily Biblical. According to the Bible, the mark was put on Cain to protect him.
The mark was not explained - it could be anything, no necessarily 'black skin'. The Mark of Cain was to be a protection. That it was seven times worse to kill Cain or one of his descendents than it was to kill another. God was very specific in the Old Testament on what kind of person and race people could marry or have sex with. In early 19th century America, the Western World accepted the Bible as historically accurate.
It was generally understood that Adam and Eve were white-skinned. Their descendents should logically also have white skin. But many ethnic groups had dark skin.
How did this happen? The Book of Genesis provided an answer. The first murderer was Cain, and according to the Bible, Cain was cursed with a mark. To the 19th century mind, it seemed reasonable that dark skin was the mark, and that it was passed on to one of Noah's descendents after the Great Flood. This presumably occurred via the wife and children of Ham, the son of Noah, of whom Genesis 9: And the sons of Noah that went forth from the ark were Shem, and Ham, and Japeth: These are the three sons of Noah: And Noah began to be an husbandman, and he planted a vineyard: And he drank of the wine, and was drunken; and he was uncovered within his tent.
And Ham, the father of Canaan, saw the nakedness of his father, and told his two brethren without. And Shem and Japeth took a garment, and laid it upon both their shoulders, and went backward, and covered the nakedness of their father, and their faces were backward, and they saw not their father's nakedness.
And Noah awoke from his wine, and knew what his younger son had done unto him. And he said, Cursed be Canaan; a servant of servants shall he be unto his brethren. God shall enlarge Japheth, and he shall dwell in the tents of Shem; and Canaan shall be his servant.
Southern fundamentalists used this scripture to justify the enslavement of the African race, "for God cursed them to perpetual servitude". The greatest blasphemy of the whole ugly process was that the white man ended up making God his partner in the exploitation of the Negro. No one really knows for sure what the curse put upon Cain was assuming the story of Cain and Abel isn't merely a myth which is what most scientific scholars believe.
Of course scientific research shows that skin color is a product of living in various climates, and that the first humans, who emerged in deep dark Africa, were Negroid, and that as humans moved northward into Europe, their skins turned lighter over hundreds of thousands of years. If you accept scientific reasoning then all of Mormonism's teachings about race and skin are complete nonsense.
Kimball's book The Miracle of Forgiveness. Some members refer to this as the Bigfoot reference. As I was riding along the road on my mule I suddenly noticed a very strange personage walking beside me His head was about even with my shoulders as I sat in my saddle. He wore no clothing, but was covered with hair. His skin was very dark. I asked him where he dwelt and he replied that he had no home, that he was a wanderer in the earth and traveled to and fro. He said he was a very miserable creature, that he had earnestly sought death during his sojourn upon the earth, but that he could not die, and his mission was to destroy the souls of men.
About the time he expressed himself thus, I rebuked him in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by virtue of the Holy Priesthood, and commanded him to go hence, and he immediately departed out of my sight Wilson, Life of David W. Patten [Salt Lake City: Deseret News, ], p. Some members question whether the ban was actual doctrine or just Church policy. The First Presidency issued the following official statements signed by all three members. Under this principle there is no injustice whatsoever involved in this deprivation as to the holding of the priesthood by the Negroes If this is carried further, it would imply that the Negro is punished or allotted to a certain position on this earth, not because of Cain's transgression, but came to earth through the loins of Cain because of his failure to achieve other stature in the spirit world.
Of perhaps greater concern is the reason for the doctrine. Are the commonly referred to beliefs of the ban dealing with the curse of Cain and being less valiant in the pre-existence actual doctrine or merely Mormon folklore? The earliest reference may be from Orson Hyde in when he said that the reason blacks are black was due to their actions in the pre-existence.
Every prophet since Brigham Young until Spencer W. Kimball has preached the same belief as doctrine. By listening to the Church's official spokesmen for years it seems clear that the reason for the ban had to do with blacks being cursed by God because they were less valiant in the pre-existence and were therefore born under the curse of Cain, who was the first Negro.
To say otherwise, and go against scores of teachings and sermons and even First Presidency messages by the highest leaders of the Church, would put into serious question whether these men are really inspired men that receive revelation from God. We were all clearly taught this in Church for decades before the ban was lifted. How is the LDS church more true than the hundreds of protestant churches that did not teach, up through , that blacks are black because they were cursed from God for being less valiant before they came to earth?
In public interviews, Gordon B. Hinckley has said that he doesn't know the reasons for the ban. He seems understandably uncomfortable answering the question. It is strange that until the ban, the reasons were plainly taught to the members but now no one wants to say what the reasons are anymore or confirm whether what was taught in the past is true or not. One apologist a personal good friend of mine told me in confidence that he personally thought that blacks were 'fence-sitters' in the pre-existence and were indeed cursed from Cain and that the prophets were correct about the doctrine and the reasons for it.
They don't talk about it for the obvious public image problems that it would cause for the church in modern times. Perhaps that's true - we'll never really know. But this is further evidence that the church needs to make a more official statement on the reasons for the ban.
If the ban preventing blacks from having the priesthood was instituted by Joseph Smith, then that would give the ban more legitimacy as Joseph was the first and by far the most doctrinal of the Latter-day prophets.
However, if the ban was made by the prophets after Joseph then perhaps they were in error as Brigham Young was in error regarding the Adam-God sermons. Born into slavery in Maryland in , a black man named Elijah Abel escaped a life of slavery through the Underground Railroad and entered Canada. Elijah Abel was only one-eighth black and had a rather plain appearance.
See photo reported to be of him. Some speculate that it wasn't readily apparent that he was black. He was also the first black man to receive the priesthood, ordained an elder in under the hands of the prophet Joseph Smith. Abel's journey was one of pain, suffering, liberation and spiritual redemption.
A few years after receiving the priesthood, Abel was ordained as a seventy-a high position of leadership in the LDS faith. Abel changed the lives and softened the hearts of countless people. While living in Nauvoo, Illinois, he worked as a mortician at the request of Joseph Smith. At a conference in June , apostles John E.
Page, Orson Pratt, and Heber C. Kimball's brought up for discussion Elijah Abel's unique status as the only black priesthood holder of the Church. It was then decided that he was not allowed to perform publicly Bringhurst Thus, the case of Elijah Abel appears to be a mistake rather than policy.
In Elijah asked to receive his endowment and was denied by Brigham Young. In he was still on Church records as a Seventy. In Elijah was sent on another mission. He returned home and died in December of Another black man, Walker Lewis also received the priesthood during Joseph's leadership. He is believed to have been baptized by Parley P. Walker's first-born son, Enoch Lovejoy Lewis, also joined the Church. After settling in Utah in , Young announced a ban that prohibited all men of black African descent from holding the priesthood.
In addition, he prohibited Mormons of African descent from participating in LDS temple rites, such as the Endowment or sealing. He asked Jane Elizabeth Manning James, a black Mormon from Connecticut, to marry him as his polygamous wife, but she declined.
Lewis was ignored by his fellow Mormons. The missionaries and Apostles with whom he developed relationships with and worked closely in Massachusetts refused to acknowledge his presence once he was in Salt Lake City. This new territorial law made slavery legal in the territory of Utah, and Section Four of the statute provided punishment for "any white person The anti-miscegenation law was not repealed in Utah until the s, although enforcement had ceased well before that.
Walker Lewis left after six months the following spring, returning to Lowell, Massachusetts. Joseph Smith does not appear to have been that racist, although there are a couple of racist comments attributed to him see above and he also upheld the laws of slavery and only spoke out against it towards the end of his life.
He was friends with a black convert Elijah Abel whom he allowed to be ordained to the higher priesthood. However, it seems more likely that this was the exception, rather than the rule. Joseph likely did Elijah Abel a favor because of his friendship with the man. If only 2 or perhaps 3 black men received the priesthood in the early days of the Church, then it seems much more likely these were either favors or mistakes. Undoubtedly there were more than 2 or 3 black men in the Church that wanted to be sealed to their families or have the priesthood in the first decades the church existed.
Brigham Young refused Elijah Abel whom Joseph allowed to be ordained to the higher priesthood from being endowed in the Nauvoo temple with the rest of the Saints. Perhaps the racism came from Brigham moving forward because we've seen little evidence that Joseph felt that way except for a few comments and we could find no official church policy on blacks written during Joseph's life. He was out to win over all men regardless of race, nationality or color.
When Joseph ran for president of the United States he made ending slavery a key issue of his campaign. If the prophets after Joseph Smith were responsible for the ban on blacks from receiving the priesthood and if indeed this was a false doctrine then how could any of those men possibly be prophets?
For men of God to deny an entire race the benefit of the priesthood for years is inexcusable. The Church would have been much better off to have been governed by a group of men that did not claim divine authority and therefore could have been responsive to the will of the members.
If Brigham Young instituted the priesthood ban on blacks without being directed to from God, then this is just too serious to ignore. And if all the prophets since Brigham Young until Spencer W. Kimball let it go unchallenged, then how can anyone say these men are truly prophets of God? It's ironic that all the other Christian churches, that do not claim to have prophets, allowed blacks the same rights as whites long before the prophet-led LDS church did. If the LDS prophets made this big of an error then why should they be believed on other matters?
Smith recounted the situation of a devout LDS African-American woman who was sealed to Joseph Smith--not as one of Joseph's many plural wives--but, rather, as Smith's servant. Her struggle for equal rights is summarized below:. The Mannings set out on foot and, after experiencing illness, threatened imprisonment, and extreme cold, finally arrived in Nauvoo where Joseph Smith welcomed them into his home. James, a native of New Jersey, had converted to Mormonism in at the age of nineteen and immigrated to Nauvoo.
The couple had six more children in Utah. In Isaac left the family, selling his property to Jane. He returned to Salt Lake City approximately twenty-one years later just before he passed away.
When he died in , Jane held his funeral in her home. George, Manti, and Logan temple funds. She reconsidered that decision and asked to be sealed to the Smiths.
I pay my tithes and offerings, keep the word of wisdom, I go to bed early and rise early, I try in my feeble way to set a good example to all. Smith spoke at her funeral.
Clawson Concerning some of our Affairs in Calafornia. We had Meeting with several individuals among the rest Black Jane wanted to know if I would not let her have her Endowments in the Temple.
This I could not do as it was against the Law of God. As Cain killed Abel All the seed of Cain would have to wait for Redemption untill all the seed that Abel would have had that may Come through other men Can be redeemed. In after years when President Joseph F. Smith preached the funeral sermon of this same faithful woman he declared that she would in the resurrection attain the longings of her soul and become a white and beautiful person.
This LDS belief that even faithful blacks were destined to be just servants in the next life was also taught openly at least through the mid s. LDS apostle Mark E.
Petersen declared in in a sermon to BYU students that baptized LDS Blacks would receive only qualified acceptance into Mormonism's highest degree of glory emphasis added:. The LDS Church does not teach this now, but for the Church to be wrong about such an important topic for so many years is troubling.
Will the Mormon Church ever just apologize to black folks for teaching that they are the descendants of Cain and under his curse? To call the Curse of Cain doctrine and Priesthood-ban policy a "mistake" would be saying that Mormon leaders from Brigham Young ss to Spencer W.
Kimball ss were not inspired of God! It would be saying that Church Presidents, considered to be "Living Prophets" by Mormons, cannot be trusted in their doctrines or policies. Some Members of the Church believe the Priesthood-ban was a "mistake" and not of God. They don't believe that blacks are the descendants of Cain. Some of these believe that the Church should publicly "repudiate" the Curse of Cain legacy. Others believe that merely by not discussing it, not talking about it, the Curse of Cain legacy will slowly "fade away" and be forgotten.
Some Members don't believe that the Church ever taught that blacks were the descendants of Cain or cursed at all! These Members are either very misinformed, or self-deluded. Some of them will go into "denial" and literally lie to themselves and others. Because they don't want others to perceive them as "racist".
A few Members will think of excuses why blacks were denied the Priesthood; other than the reasons given by Mormon Prophets. They will say things like, "Well, the white Members were racist and they weren't ready for black Priesthood-officers! God has not revealed why! These are their "personal opinions" and "spins". Church of Jesus Christ leaders have--since the early s until the Revelation--been consistent as to telling "why" Hamites could not hold the Priesthood.
The reason "why" they gave was:. Some Mormons think they know more than do Mormon Prophets, and conclude that Abraham 1: Other Mormons simply believe that the Curse of Cain doctrine and Priesthood-ban policy was based upon the "racism" of Brigham Young, and should never have happened.
Some Mormons believe or will tell you that the Curse of Cain was merely the "personal opinions" of early Church leaders, and "never a doctrine of the Church". This is simply NOT true! Only The First Presidency can speak for the Church. They did not repudiate the Curse of Cain doctrine nor the Priesthood-ban in There are no current signs the First Presidency will ever repudiate the Curse of Cain legacy. Members who tell themselves and others that the Curse of Cain doctrine was a "mistake" or "personal opinion" or "never taught" are saying they know the Will of the LORD more than did Church Presidents; which they claim to believe in and sustain as "Living Prophets".
The Church leaders say that the announcement negated the necessity of an apology. It's interesting that the announcement doesn't even mention the word 'black' or 'negro'. It was worded in such a way as to downplay the fact that blacks were denied the priesthood.
We agree that the Church will not likely apologize to blacks. If it did then it would be admitting that the Church made a serious mistake and their prophets are not really prophets.
People would say if they were wrong about that, what else might they be wrong about? Perhaps the Church should at least clarify the reasons for the ban. Many people in the Church believe that blacks are cursed from God as the earlier leaders taught. This puts an awful burden on black members. Many feel that they have to defend themselves against white brothers who still believe this. That is unfair to our black brothers.
In writing his letter of protest, Lowry was no insignificant malcontent but, rather, a Mormon who came to the table with impeccable credentials:. He spent the next two decades working mainly in Utah. He served as the County Agricultural agent in Sanpete County, Utah in , he became the field agriculturist for the People's Sugar Company in and edited the Utah Farmer from He was associated with Brigham Young University from During the Depression he worked for the Utah Relief Administration in , he was regional advisor to the Federal Emergency Relief Administration, and in became director of the Resettlement Administration.
In he received a position at the University of Minnesota in the Sociology Department Nelson's works include several monographs and a multitude of articles and papers ranging from rural life in Latin America, the United States and Canada as well as studies on various Mormon Villages in Utah. Nelson died in Provo, Utah in Scans of the letter exchanges between Dr.
Nelson and the First Presidency. It was from this distinguished professional career track and deep Mormon background that on 16 June , Lowry wrote the First Presidency, taking issue with the Mormon Church's anti-Black doctrine. Your knowledge of the Gospel will indicate to you that this is contrary to the very fundamentals of God's dealings with Israel dating from the time of His promise to Abraham regarding Abraham's seed and their position vis-a-vis God Himself.
Indeed, some of God's children were assigned to superior positions before the world was formed. Your position seems to lose sight of the revelations of the Lord touching the pre-existence of our spirits, the rebellion in heaven, and the doctrines that our birth into this life and the advantages under which we may be born, have a relationship in the life heretofore.
God's rule for Israel, His Chosen People, has been endogamous [meaning 'marriage within a specific tribe or similar social unit']. Modern Israel has been similarly directed. Stewart, Mormonism and the Negro ," [Orem, Utah: Community Press, ], pp.
Lowry followed up with another letter to the First Presidency, dated 8 October , in which he expressed his disappointment with the Mormon Church's officially, blatantly racist position, expressing his conclusions as follows:. They are either true or not true. Our testimony is that they are true. Under these circumstances we may not permit ourselves to be too much impressed by the reasonings of men, however well founded they may seem to be.
We should like to say this to you in all sincerity, that you are too fine a man to permit yourself to be led off from the principles of the Gospel by worldly learning. The book, Mormonism and the Negro , was written by John J.
Stewart and published in The book can be read online here. Although it was not officially produced by the church, it was the definitive work work of the time to counter the growing Civil Rights Movement. It was important enough that the December issue of "The Improvement Era: There is nothing in the doctrines of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints about which any member need feel any shame, apology or embarrassment.
Perhaps in the individual failings and weaknesses of some who profess to be members, there may be cause, but not in the Gospel itself. As the Apostle Paul said, " For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ-, for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth One of these is its doctrine regarding the Negro.
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