Mormons May Disavow Old View on

Blacks and the Priesthood

OR

Aborted Attempt at

Disavowing Previous Mormon Bigotry

OR

20 years after June 6th 1978, is it too soon?



I have recently had a very forceful Epiphany, a major paradigm shift, yea even a change of heart! See Disclaimer.


(Salt Lake City) - Mormons say a news report that they'll disavow teachings linked to blacks is "in error."

The "Los Angeles Times" reports Mormon leaders are considering a plan to disavow church doctrines once used to support claims that blacks are inferior.

The teachings purport to link dark skin color to curses from God recounted in Hebrew and Mormon Scriptures.

The newspaper says the plan under review by the church's Committee on Public Affairs may result in a statement as early as next month.

Mormon church spokesman Don LeFevre says the "Times article is in error."

He says no statement is planned.

LeFevre declines to elaborate, but says additional details will be available later.

A news report from ABC-News that was posted on-line this afternoon.  Mon, 18 May 1998 20:01:01 -0700 (PDT)


What is there to Disavow?

[Some may be wondering what the hub bub is all about blacks and the priesthood?  Most members are unfamiliar with what we would now consider to be Mormon bigoted remarks from people that they regard as Prophets Seers and occasional Translators.   Read on to learn how much times have changed from then to now as far as how Mormons treated blacks.]


Lowell, Ed, and George attended only the last week of the final session under Berrett, described by Wilkinson's diary as an "open session" on August 24. According to Wilkinson, Apostle Mark E. Petersen delivered a "very fine" discourse of two hours and twenty minutes on "revelation."30 After this address, in response to a question Petersen defended the exclusion of black men from LDS priesthood ordination. He asked, "Is it not a reasonable belief that the Lord would select the choice spirits for the better grades of nations?" Asserting that he knew of "no scripture having to do [p.132] with the removal of the curse from the Negro," he advised the instructors not to "speculate" about it, acknowledged that Negroes should have the "highest education" available and "drive a Cadillac if they can afford it." But "'what God hath joined together, let not man put asunder' can be reversed to read, 'what God hath separated, let not man bring together again.'"31

Mary Lythgoe Bradford, Lowell L. Bennion, p.131
31 Mark E. Petersen, "Race Problems As They Affect the Church," address given 27 Aug. 1954, in Lester Bush, comp., "Compilation on the Negro in Mormonism," bound typescript, 1970, Appendix VII, 377, copy in Bradford's possession.


Tom Mathews writes on March 2, 1998 , I do not have a copy of the entire Elder Mark E Peterson speech given at BYU in 1954, but I did copy some of it down in the BYU library.

It was never published but is kept as a manuscript in the Special Collections.

God has commanded Israel not to intermarry. To go against this commandment of God would be in sin.

Those who willfully sin with their eyes open to this wrong will not be surprised to find that they will be separated from the presence of God in the world to come. This is spiritual death....

The reason that one would lose his blessings by marrying a Negro is due to the restriction placed upon them. "No person having the least particle of Negro blood can hold the Priesthood" (Brigham Young). It does not matter if they are one-sixth Negro or one-hundred and sixth, the curse of no Priesthood is the same. If an individual who is entitled to the Priesthood marries a Negro, the Lord has decreed that only spirits who are not eligible for the Priesthood will come to that marriage as children. To intermarry with a Negro is to forfeit a "Nation of Priesthood holders"....

The discussion on civil rights, especially over the last 20 years, has drawn some very sharp lines. It has blinded the thinking of some of our own people, I believe. They have allowed their political affiliations to color their thinking to some extent, and then, of course, they have been persuaded by some of the arguments that have been put forth....We who teach in the Church certainly must have our feet on the ground and not to be led astray by the philosophies of men on this subject....

I think I have read enough to give you an idea of what the Negro is after. He is not just seeking the opportunity of sitting down in a cafe where white people eat. He isn't just trying to ride on the same streetcar or the same Pullman car with white people. It isn't that he just desires to go the same theater as the white people. From this, and other interviews I have read, it appears that the Negro seeks absorption with the white race. He will not be satisfied until he achieves it by intermarriage. That is his objective and we must face it. We must not allow our feelings to carry us away, nor must we feel so sorry for Negroes that we will open our arms and embrace them with everything we have. Remember the little statement that we used to say about sin, "First we pity, then endure, then embrace"....

Now let's talk about segregation again for a few moments. Was segregation a wrong principle? when the Lord chose the nations to which the spirits were to come, determining that some would be Japanese and some would be Chinese and some Negroes and some Americans, He engaged in an act of segregation....

When he told Enoch not preach the gospel to the descendants of Cain who were black, the Lord engaged in segregation. When He cursed the descendants of Cain as to the Priesthood, He engaged in segregation....

Who placed the Negroes originally in darkest Africa? Was it some man, or was it God? And when He placed them there, He segregated them....

The Lord segregated the people both as to blood and place of residence. At least in the cases of the Lamanites and the Negro we have the definite word of the Lord Himself that he placed a dark skin upon them as a curse -- as a punishment and as a sign to all others. He forbade intermarriage with them under threat of extension of the curse. And He certainly segregated the descendants of Cain when He cursed the Negro as to the Priesthood, and drew an absolute line. You may even say He dropped an Iron curtain there....

Now we are generous with the Negro. We are willing that the Negro have the highest education. I would be willing to let every Negro drive a Cadillac if they could afford it. I would be willing that they have all the advantages they can get out of life in the world. But let them enjoy these things among themselves. I think the Lord segregated the Negro and who is man to change that segregation? It reminds me of the scripture on marriage, "what God hath joined together, let not man put asunder." Only here we have the reverse of the thing -- what God hath separated, let not man bring together again."

Think of the Negro, cursed as to the priesthood.... This Negro, who, in the pre-existence lived the type of life which justified the Lord in sending him to the earth in their lineage of Cain with a black skin, and possibly being born in darkest Africa--if that Negro is willing when he hears the gospel to accept it, he may have many of the blessings of the gospel. In spite of all he did in the pre-existent life, the Lord is willing, if the Negro accepts the gospel with real, sincere faith, and is really converted, to give him the blessings of baptism and the gift of the Holy Ghost. If that Negro is faithful all his days, he can and will enter the celestial kingdom. He will go there as a servant, but he will get celestial glory.

MARK E. PETERSON, Race Problems -- As They Affect The Church, Convention of Teachers of Religion on the College Level, Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah, August 27, 1954.

[It should be noted that this address was to a group which follow all the words of their file leaders more than any group in the church, and this same group, has the solemn responsibility of teaching our children what it means to be a Mormon.]


You don't have to keep the confidence of those who are crooked, you don't have to keep the confidence of somebody who is telling you that which is false, and such people ought to be exposed, and exposed upon the house tops; they go around posing as superior to honest, straight-forward, upright people, branding the Church and the leaders of the Church with infamy by pretending we preach one thing in public and do another thing in private.

I do not care to say any more on this subject. I seldom, if ever, speak on it that it doesn't arouse almost every particle of anger in my nature. Some of them say the Lord has directed them to take more wives. Well, I think he directed them just like he directed the negro (not that I am saying this to reflect upon negroes), but there was a negro who prayed: "Oh Lawd, oh Lawd, oh Lawd; send dis heah niggah a turkey." He prayed for a whole week, and he didn't get any turkey, and at the end of a week he said: "Dis heah niggah don' know how to pray," so that night the negro prayed, "Oh Lawd, oh Lawd, oh Lawd, send dis heah niggah to a turkey," and he said, "Dis heah niggah had turkey dinner the next night.


The seed of Ham, which is the seed of Cain descending through Ham, will, according to the curse put upon him, serve his brethren, and be a "servant of servants" to his fellow-creatures, until God removes the curse; and no power can hinder it.  These are my views upon slavery.  I will here say a little more upon this point.  The conduct of the whites towards the slaves will, in many cases, send both slave and master to hell.  This statement comprises much in a few words.  The blacks should be used like servants, and not like brutes, but they must serve.  It is their privilege to live so as to enjoy many of the blessings which attend obedience to the first principles of the Gospel, though they are not entitled to the Priesthood.

Journal of Discourses, Vol.2, p.184, Brigham Young, February 18, 1855


There are many instances, from that time forward, of which the scriptures speak of this birthright continuing among the descendants of Seth, until it came to Noah and his sons, of which sons Shem received the blessings pertaining to the priesthood.  Abraham came through Shem, and the Savior came through this lineage; and through this blessing of Noah upon Shem, the Priesthood continued through his seed; while the offspring of Ham inherited a curse, and it was because, as a revelation teaches, some of the blood of Cain became mingled with that of Ham's family, and hence they inherited that curse.

Journal of Discourses, Vol.21, p.370, Erastus Snow, August 8, 1880



Heber J. Grant, Conference Report, October 1918, p.23

Brother Robbins also spoke of what they term the "nigger drivers and nigger worshippers," and observed how keen their feelings are upon their favourite topic slavery.  The State of New York used to be a slave State, but there slavery has for some time been abolished.  Under their law for abolishing slavery the then male slaves had to serve until they were 28 years old, and if my memory serves me correctly, the females until they were 25, before they could be free.  This was to avoid the loss of, what they called, property in the hands of individuals.  After that law was passed the people began to dispose of their blacks, and to let them buy themselves off.  They then passed a law that black children should be free, the same as white children, and so it remains to this day.

But at the time that slavery was tolerated in the northern and eastern States, if you touched that question it would fire a man quicker than any thing else in the world; there was something very peculiar about it, and it is so now.  Go into a slave State and speak to a man on the subject, even though he never owned a slave, and you fire up his feelings in defence of that institution; there is no other subject that will touch him as quickly.

They are very tenacious and sensitive on those points, and the North are becoming as sensitive as the South.  The North are slow and considerate; they have their peculiar customs; and are influenced by the force of education, climate, &c., in a manner which causes them to think twice before they act; and often they will think and speak many times before they act.  The spirit of the South is to think, speak, and act all at the same moment.  This is the difference between the two people.  Matters are coming to such a point, the feelings of both parties are aroused to that degree, that they would as soon fight as not.  But I do not wish to speak any longer in that strain, though, if you want to know what I think about the question, I think both parties are decidedly wrong.  It is not the prerogative of the President of the United States to meddle with this matter, and Congress is not allowed, according to the Constitution, to legislate upon it.  If Utah was admitted into the Union as a sovereign State, and we chose to introduce slavery here, it is not their business to meddle with it; and even if we treated our slaves in an oppressive manner, it is still none of their business and they ought not to meddle with it.

If we introduce the practice of polygamy it is not their prerogative to meddle with it; if we should all turn to be Roman Catholics to-day, if we all turned to the old Mother Church, it would not be their prerogative, it would not be their business, to meddle with us on that account.  If we are Mormons or Methodists, or worship the sun or a white dog, or if we worship a dumb idol, or all turn Shaking Quakers and have no wife, it is not their prerogative to meddle with these affairs, for in so doing they would violate the Constitution. Journal of Discourses, Vol.5, p.120, John Taylor, August 9, 1857 This Greeley is one of their popular characters in the East, and one that supports the stealing of niggers and the underground railroad.

I do not know that the editor of the Herald is any more honest; but, as a journalist, he tells more truth.  He publishes many things as they are, because it is creditable to do so.  But Greeley will not; he will tell what suits his clandestine plans, and leave the rest untold.  I speak of him, because he is one of the prominent newspaper editors in the Eastern country, and he is a poor, miserable curse.  We are moved by a higher law.  They talk sometimes about a higher law in the States.  Greeley is a great man to talk about a higher law, which means, with him, stealing niggers.  We do not care anything about that.  We want to do something better--something higher and more noble.  That is rather too low for us; consequently they need not be afraid of our stealing their niggers: we will let them have all the benefits of them as one of the grand institutions of Christians, together with the amalgamating process as another of the institutions of Christianity.  And another grand institution they have among them is prostitution.

Journal of Discourses, Vol.4, p.39, Brigham Young, August 31, 1856


You see some classes of the human family that are black, uncouth, uncomely, disagreeable and low in their habits, wild, and seemingly deprived of nearly all the blessings of the intelligence that is generally bestowed upon mankind. The first man that committed the odious crime of killing one of his brethren will be cursed the longest of any one of the children of Adam. Cain slew his brother. Cain might have been killed, and that would have put a termination to that line of human beings.

This was not to be, and the Lord put a mark upon him, which is the flat nose and black skin. Trace mankind down to after the flood, and then another curse is pronounced upon the same race--that they should be the "servant of servants;" and they will be, until that curse is removed; and the Abolitionists cannot help it, nor in the least alter that decree. How long is that race to endure the dreadful curse that is upon them?

That curse will remain upon them, and they never can hold the Priesthood or share in it until all the other descendants of Adam have received the promises and enjoyed the blessings of the Priesthood and the keys thereof. Until the last ones of the residue of Adam's children are brought up to that favourable position, the children of Cain cannot receive the first ordinances of the Priesthood. They were the first that were cursed, and they will be the last from whom the curse will be removed. When the residue of the family of Adam come up and receive their blessings, then the curse will be removed from the seed of Cain, and they will receive blessings in like proportion.

Journal of Discourses, Vol.7, p.290 - p.291, Brigham Young, October 9, 1859


I believe it is better to have the nineteen dollars circulating around here. I heard Bishop Farrell some years ago. in the Assembly Hall tell a very good story on home manufacture. He said he believed in home manufacture because it benefited him as well as other people. He said that when he was coming down to conference he met at the depot a brother to whom he owed five dollars for making some shoes for his children. He gave this brother the five dollars.

and he turned around and handed the money to another brother whom he owed, and he handed it to another, and he handed it to another, and the fourth brother came up and handed it back to Brother Farrell, saying "I owe you six dollars, here is five of it," and Brother Farrell put the money back into his pocket.

That money paid five hundred per cent in debt there in just about the same length of time that it takes me to tell the story. But if the Bishop had bought the imported goods it would not have paid the five hundred per cent, because it would have gone out of the country. I went to a negro minstrel show once, and there were about ten or fifteen on the stage. One of them rushed in with his hat off and said. "which of these here niggers am lost two dollars?" holding up a two dollar bill. There hadn't any of them lost two dollars.

"Well," he said, "if none of you have lost it, I found these two dollars right by the door here and it is my money." They said all right, and he put it in his pocket. No sooner had he got it in his pocket than up jumped a nigger and said: "Look here, George Washington Jones, you owe me two dollars; pay your honest debts!" He handed the two dollars to him. Another nigger jumps up and says: "Look here, Julius C. Brown, you owes me two dollars; pay your debt." He got it, and in this way it went clear round. When the last man got it, up jumps George Washington Jones, and says: "Here, give me back the two dollars; you owes me two dollar." No sooner had he got it in his pocket than a fellow rushes in and said "which of you niggers has found two dollars?" George Washington Jones took it out of his pocket and said: "Here, take your money and go home; we've all paid our debts."

Heber J. Grant, Conference Report, October 1900, p.35


I want to speak, for a short thee, upon fakes and fakirs. I am led to speak on this line because of the fact that, not long ago, in one of the counties adjoining this, in a town inhabited almost entirely by Latter-day Saints, there came in the midst of the people--heralded by newspapers--a man claiming that he was the greatest doctor in the world. He was a phenomenon. He had such great wisdom that he could cure all the ills that mankind is heir to. He was well dressed and looked like a gentleman. One of the first things he did on arriving in the town was to hire the brass band, for the purpose of drawing a crowd and preceding his carriage to all meetings. He went to one of the business corners of the city, where a little stand was erected, and in order to hold the crowd until he could convince some of them that they had worms, or something worse, he had three or four niggers sing songs--by the way, I have been told that the niggers furnished the best part of the entertainment.

Reed Smoot, Conference Report, October 1907, p.56

[Reed Smoot, just years earlier had his seat challenged because as an Apostle it was thought that he might do as his fellow church leaders want him to say and do and not think for him self and do what is best for the citizens of the United States.]


Now, why is it that the seed of Ham was cursed as pertaining to the Priesthood? Why is it that his seed "could not have right to the Priesthood?  Ham's wife was named "Egyptus, which in the Chaldaic signifies Egypt, which signifies that which is forbidden; . . . and thus from Ham sprang that race which preserved the curse in the land." . . . Was the wife of Ham, as her name signifies, of a race which those who held the Priesthood were forbidden to intermarry? Was she a descendant of Cain, who was cursed for murdering his brother? And was it by Ham marrying her, and she being saved from the flood in the ark, that "the race which preserved the curse in the land" was perpetuated? If so, then I believe that race is the one through which it is ordained those spirits that were not valiant in the great rebellion in heaven should come; who through their indifference or lack of integrity to righteousness, rendered themselves unworthy of the Priesthood and its powers, and hence it is withheld from them to this day. 138

138 The Contributor, 6:296-7; Roberts' italics. Erastus Snow, in 1880, discussed the priesthood restriction on the descendants of Cain, and the passage of this curse through the Flood in a manner suggestive of the Pearl of Great Price account, but he does not present nearly so developed a case as Roberts. His explanation was attributed to revelation ("as revelation teaches"), which presumably referred to the Book of Abraham, as no other "revelation" has ever been cited on the subject (JD, 21:370).



 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.

Journal of Discourses, Vol.10, p.109, Brigham Young, March 8, 1863



Though he was a rebel and an associate of Lucifer in pre-existence and though he was a liar from the beginning whose name was perdition, Cain managed to attain the privilege of mortal birth. Under Adam's tutelage, he began in this life to serve God. He understood the gospel and the plan of salvation, was baptized, received the priesthood, had a perfect knowledge of the position and perfection of God, and talked personally with Deity. Then he came out in open rebellion, fought God, worshiped Lucifer, and slew Abel.

Cain's sacrifice was rejected because it was offered at Satan's command, not the Lord's; it was not and could not be offered in faith for "he could have no faith, or could not exercise faith contrary to the plan of heaven." (Teachings, pp 58-59.)

As a result of his rebellion, Cain was cursed and told that "the earth" would not thereafter yield him its abundance as previously. In addition he became the first mortal to be cursed as a son of perdition. As a result of his mortal birth he is assured of a tangible body of flesh and bones in eternity, a fact which will enable him to rule over Satan. The Lord placed on Cain a mark of a dark skin, and he became the ancestor of the black race. (Moses 5; Gen. 4; Teachings, p. 169.)

Bruce R. McConkie, Mormon Doctrine, p.109 CAIN



"Noah's son Ham married Egyptus, a descendant of Cain, thus preserving the Negro lineage through the flood."

LDS "Apostle" Bruce McConkie, Mormon Doctrine, p. 527, 1966 edition.
[Removed from subsequent editions]



And after the flood we are told that the curse that had been pronounced upon Cain was continued through Ham's wife, as he had married a wife of that seed.  And why did it pass through the flood?  Because it was necessary that the devil should have a representation upon the earth as well as God; and that man should be a free agent to act for himself, and that all men might have the opportunity of receiving or rejecting the truth, and be governed by it or not according to their wishes and abide the result; and that those who would be able to maintain correct principles under all circumstances, might be able to associate with the Gods in the eternal worlds.  It is the same eternal programme.  God knew it and Adam knew it.

[Note: Taylor claimed that blacks were Satan's representatives on Earth.  If you adopted a black child, before 1978, how would you feel about having one of Satan's representatives in your very home?  If you had adapted a child with even the slightest amount of negro blood, and converted to Mormonism, and went to get married in the temple and have your children sealed to you, according to church doctrine  you would have to leave your adopted child outside, not to be sealed like the rest of the family for eternity.]

Journal of Discourses, Vol.22, p.305, John Taylor, August 28, 1881


"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."

LDS Pearl of Great Price, Moses 7:8.

"And it came to pass that Enoch continued to call upon all people, save it were the people of Cannan, to repent.

" LDS Pearl of Great Price, Moses 7:12.

[Note: Mormonism did not allow blacks to serve missions, even females that did not need to hold the priesthood.  Missionaries serving world wide and even the Chicago and the South were told to NOT teach Black families or individuals, just whites, unless black people would specifically ask the missionaries to teach them.  Conversely, they were prodded to vigorously proselytize people of any other race.  How could this be considered anything less than racism?]



 "The gospel message of salvation is not carried affirmatively to them [blacks]...."

LDS "Apostle" Bruce McConkie, Mormon Doctrine, p. 527, 1966 edition.



Not only was Cain called upon to suffer, but because of his wickedness he became the father of an inferior race. A curse was placed upon him and that curse has been continued through his lineage and must do so while time endures. Millions of souls have come into this world cursed with a black skin and have been denied the privilege of Priesthood and the fulness of the blessings of the Gospel. These are the descendants of Cain.

Moreover, they have been made to feel their inferiority and have been separated from the rest of mankind from the beginning. Enoch saw the people of Canaan, descendants of Cain, and he says, "and there was a blackness came upon all the children of Canaan, that they were despised among all people.

Joseph Fielding Smith Jr., The Way to Perfection, p.102



 They will go down to death.  And when all the rest of the children have received their blessings in the Holy Priesthood, then that curse will be removed from the seed of Cain, and they will then come up and possess the priesthood, and receive all the blessings which we now are entitled to.

Journal of Discourses, Vol.11, p.272, Brigham Young, August 19, 1866



How long is that race to endure the dreadful curse that is upon them?

That curse will remain upon them, and they never can hold the Priesthood or share in it until all the other descendants of Adam have received the promises and enjoyed the blessings of the Priesthood and the keys thereof.  Until the last ones of the residue of Adam's children are brought up to that favourable position, the children of Cain cannot receive the first ordinances of the Priesthood.  They were the first that were cursed, and they will be the last from whom the curse will be removed.  When the residue of the family of Adam come up and receive their blessings, then the curse will be removed from the seed of Cain, and they will receive blessings in like proportion.

Journal of Discourses, Vol.7, p.291, Brigham Young, October 9, 1859



"I tell you, this people that are commonly called negroes are the children of old Cain. I know they are, I know that they cannot bear rule in the priesthood, for the curse on them was to REMAIN upon them, until the resedue (sic) of the posterity of Michal (sic) and his wife receive the blessings...and hold the keys of the priesthood.... In the kingdom of God on the earth the Affricans (sic) cannot hold one partical (sic) of power in government [within the LDS church]."

LDS "Prophet" BrighamYoung, Brigham Young Addresses, Ms d 1234, Box 48, folder 3, Feb. 5, 1852, as quoted in Bob Witte's book entitled "Where Does It Say That?,"p. 2-9, .

"But let me tell you further. Let my seed mingle with the seed of Cain, that brings the curse upon me, and upon my generations.... On that very day, and hour we should do so, the priesthood is taken from this church and kingdom [,] and God leaves us to our fate.

" LDS "Prophet" Brigham Young, Brigham Young Addresses, Ms d 1234, Box 48, folder 3, Feb. 5, 1852, as quoted in Bob Witte's book entitled "Where Does It Say That?", p. 2-9.

[If anyone inside the LDS Church Archives could confirm the above 2  quotes for me I would appreciate it. plporter@pobox.com  No responce yet.  ;) ]



[Even though the Tanners are completely accurate 98% of the time, I prefer my quotes WITHOUT emphasis added, but this is my only source at this point in time, and a very telling quote.]

"Is there reason then why the type of birth we receive in this life is not A REFLECTION OF OUR WORTHINESS or LACK OF IT IN THE PRE-EXISTENT LIFE?

...[C]an we account in any other way for the birth of some of the children of God in DARKEST AFRICA, or in FLOOD-RIDDEN CHINA, or among the STARVING HORDES OF INDIA, while some of the rest of us are born here in the United States? We cannot escape the conclusion that BECAUSE OF PERFORMANCE IN OUR PRE-EXISTENCE some of us are born as CHINESE, some as JAPANESE, some as Latter-day Saints. ...A CHINESE, BORN IN CHINA WITH A DARK SKIN, and with all the HANDICAPS OF THAT RACE seems to have little opportunity. But think of the mercy of God to Chinese people who are willing to accept the gospel.

IN SPITE OF WHATEVER THEY MIGHT HAVE DONE IN THE PRE-EXISTENCE TO JUSTIFY BEING BORN OVER THERE AS CHINAMEN, if they now, in this life accept the gospel and live it the rest of their lives they can have the Priesthood, go to the temple and receive endowments and sealings, and that means they can have exaltation. Isn't the mercy of God marvelous?

Think of the Negro, cursed as to the priesthood.... THIS NEGRO, WHO, IN THE PRE-EXISTENCE LIVED THE TYPE OF LIFE WHICH JUSTIFIED THE LORD IN SENDING HIM TO EARTH IN THE LINEAGE OF CAIN WITH A BLACK SKIN, AND POSSIBLY BEING BORN IN DARKEST AFRICA.... IN SPITE OF ALL HE DID IN THE PRE-EXISTENT LIFE, the Lord is willing, if the Negro accepts the gospel with real, sincere faith, and is really converted, to give him the blessings of baptism and the gift of the Holy Ghost. IF THAT NEGRO IS FAITHFUL ALL HIS DAYS, he can and will enter the celestial kingdom. HE WILL GO THERE AS A SERVANT, but he will get celestial glory."

LDS "Apostle" Mark E. Petersen, "Race Problems - As They Affect the Church," Address delivered at Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah, August 27, 1954, as quoted in Jerald and Sandra Tanner's book entitled "The Changing World of Mormonism," p. 294.

Note: Allegedly, even "if that Negro is faithful all his days," he will never achieve equality with his "white and delightsome" Mormon brethren. Instead he allegedly will go to the celestial kingdom "AS A SERVANT!"

[Even though the Tanners are completely accurate 98% of the time, I prefer my quotes WITHOUT emphasis added, but this is my only source at this point in time.  If anyone has can verify this  quote, please e-mail me, plporter@pobox.com]


----------------------LA Times------------------

The full AP story of Monday, May 18, 1998, Mormons May Disavow Old View on Blacks By LARRY B. STAMMER, Times Religion Writer, is long and included at the bottom.


-----------------trib article---------------

Salt Lake Tribune, Monday, May 18, 1998

CALL FOR CHANGE: LDS Church  Mulls Revoking Doctrine On Black

'Curse' BY LARRY B. STAMMER LOS ANGELES TIMES Twenty years after the Mormon church dropped its ban against blacks in the priesthood, key leaders are debating a proposal to repudiate historic church doctrines that were used to bolster claims of black inferiority.

The proposal to disavow the teachings, which purport to link black skin color to curses from God recounted in Hebrew and Mormon Scriptures, is under review by the church's Committee on Public Affairs, made up of members of the church's highest governing circles, known as general authorities.

Sources close to the sensitive and still-secret deliberations hope that a statement will be issued as early as next month, the 20th anniversary of the landmark 1978 decision by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to admit all worthy men to the priesthood, regardless of their race or color.

Although the church's leaders now proclaim racial equality as a "fundamental teaching,'' the process of repudiating old doctrines remains difficult.  "They feel like a lot of people may not believe the church is true because a lot of these things were said by previous prophets, and a true prophet of God shouldn't make mistakes,'' said David Jackson, a black Mormon who is among those calling for change.

The call for change comes at a time when the 10 million-member church is enjoying unprecedented growth in Africa and other developing countries. Several months ago the church's president and prophet, Gordon B. Hinckley, wrapped up a five-nation tour of Africa, where the church reports an estimated 110,000 converts as of the end of 1997.  But black members of the church in the United States as well as some Mormon scholars warn that the "racist legacy'' contained in various Mormon documents and authoritative statements risks undermining its mission unless they are disavowed. "In the absence of any official corrections, these speculative and pejorative ideas will continue to be perpetuated in the church indefinitely,'' Armand Mauss, president of the Mormon History Association, wrote recently.

"What [the 1978 revelation on blacks and the priesthood] doesn't say is we're no longer of the lineage of Cain, that we no longer did these things in pre-existence. It does not say we are not cursed with black skin,'' Jackson said.

Although church officials would not comment directly on what Hinckley and his counselors or the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles may have considered, they confirmed that discussion of the issue is moving forward.

William S. Evans, a public affairs committee staffer, confirmed that the committee members have discussed the matter. But only the church's highest authorities -- not the committee -- could make such a statement.

An opening for the church could come as early as next week when Mauss delivers what is described as a major paper on the subject during the Mormon History Association meeting in Washington.

Jan Shipps, professor emeritus of history and religious studies at Indiana University-Purdue University at Indianapolis, said the paper makes the point that the church's racist legacy developed only after the death of its founder and prophet, Joseph Smith.

"So the church itself could pull back from it as a matter of reinterpretation without having to lay itself open to the charge of changing doctrine,'' she said.

In the past, Mormons as well as other churches believed that Africans were descendants of the biblical personages Cain and Ham, who, according to the Bible, displeased God and were cursed.

For that reason, the 1978 revelation admitting blacks to the priesthood shocked the Mormon world, and was widely celebrated as a new time and a new dispensation bringing blacks into full fellowship in the church.

Copyright 1998, The Salt Lake Tribune


-------------------AP story---------------

APWire online.  MAY 18, 06:20 EDT

Mormon Leaders May Change Teachings LOS ANGELES (AP)

-- Mormon leaders are secretly considering a plan to disavow church doctrines once used to support claims that blacks are inferior, the Los Angeles Times reported today.

The teachings purport to link black skin color to curses from God recounted in Hebrew and Mormon Scriptures.

The plan under review by the church's Committee on Public Affairs may result in a statement as early as next month, the Times reported.

In 1978, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints decided to admit all worthy men to the priesthood, regardless of race or color, and church leaders now proclaim racial equality as a "fundamental teaching.''

But the officials are seeking a way to retract certain statements without undermining the faith of believers or the credibility of church figures revered as prophets and whose pronouncements Mormons believe were inspired by God.

The 10 million-member church is growing in Africa and other developing countries. Church president and prophet Gordon Hinckley recently wrapped up a five-nation tour of Africa. But black members and some Mormon scholars warn that the "racist legacy'' contained in Mormon documents and authoritative statements may undermine the church's mission unless they are disavowed, the Times reported.

Mormons and other churches have believed that Africans were descendants of the biblical personages Cain and Ham. According to the Bible, both displeased God and were cursed.

Hebrew Scripture says Cain killed his brother, Abel. Ham, the second son of Noah, broke a taboo by looking at his father's nude body after Noah passed out from drinking too much wine.

Over time, the curses on both became associated with black skin and were used to justify slavery and as a rationale for denying priesthood to blacks. Copyright 1998 Associated Press. All rights reserved.  This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Send comments and questions about The WIRE to feedback@thewire.ap.org.


LDS DOCTRINE (())

KSL TV Channel 5 online, Salt Lake City

http://www.ksl.com/TV/newslocb.htm

The Los Angeles Times is reporting today the LDS Church is poised to disavow church doctrines and statements once used to support claims that blacks are inferior. The newspaper reports that church officials are seeking a way to retract statements and doctrines made by some former leaders. A Church spokesman says the article is totally erroneous, and the Church will issue a statement later today.


From mormon-news: Forwarding permitted with footer included

May 18, 1998

Los Angeles Times Story on Blacks and the Priesthood First Presidency "We have read the story which appeared in the May 18, 1998, Los Angeles Times, and are surprised at its contents.  The matter it speaks of has not been discussed by the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve.

Since the 1978 revelation granting the priesthood to all worthy males, millions of people of all races have embraced the restored gospel of Jesus Christ and are enjoying full blessings of membership in the Church.

 The 1978 official declaration continues to speak for itself."

From mormon-news: Mormon News and Events Send join and remove commands to: majordomo@Mailing-List.net Put appropriate commands in body of the message:To join: subscribe mormon-news Digest: subscribe mormon-news-digest.


LA Times online, Tuesday, May 19, 1998

Mormons Deny Black Doctrine Report By MIKE CARTER, Associated Press Writer SALT LAKE CITY--

Mormon leaders deny reports that the church plans to disavow more than a century of doctrine that denied blacks the priesthood because of a curse for their ancestors' actions.  The matter has not been discussed by church leaders, said the First Presidency, the final decision-making body of the 10 million-member church. The Los Angeles Times reported Monday that officials of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are debating a proposal to publicly repudiate some historic doctrines and statements linking skin color to the biblical curse of Cain, and Mormon doctrine involving righteousness in heaven.

But President Gordon Hinckley and his two counselors said in a statement they were surprised by the report.  "Since the 1978 revelation granting the priesthood to all worthy males, millions of people of all races have embraced the restored gospel of Jesus Christ.... The 1978 official declaration continues to speak for itself," the statement said.

The report comes as church membership is blossoming in Africa and other developing nations. In February, Hinckley completed a five-country tour of Africa, where the church boasts more than 110,000 converts.   More recently, Hinckley addressed a regional conference of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People -a first for a Mormon leader.  D. Michael Quinn, a Mormon historian and author of seminal works on early Mormon leaders, said for the church to disavow the teaching would be surprising "but it might be easier than you think." That's because church founder Joseph Smith was a non-racist who in the 1840s ordained a black man. Smith insisted that blacks were not inferior, despite the contrary and overwhelming opinions of the times.  Smith's egalitarian view of the races, for the most part, died with him when he was murdered in 1844.  Brigham Young, the church's second president and famed pioneer leader, in 1852 said blacks were inferior and that slavery was a divine necessity.

Copyright Los Angeles Times


LDS Leaders Haven't Discussed Racial Disavowal

by peggy fletcher stack the salt lake tribune

Many Mormons and others in Utah were tantalized by a report Monday in The Salt Lake Tribune that LDS leaders are considering repudiating some early church statements that black skin is the biblical "mark of Cain.'' Arcane Mormon theology and the possibility of rejecting it was the talk of morning radio shows and the topic of Internet messages flying between Los Angeles, the East Coast and Salt Lake City, all fueled by the Los Angeles Times story.  But the LDS Church's governing First Presidency, led by President Gordon B. Hinckley, quashed the suggestion later Monday, saying "the matter . . .has not been discussed by the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve.'' The leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints simply reiterated that since the 1978 announcement granting its priesthood to all "worthy'' males, "millions of people of all races have embraced the restored gospel of Jesus Christ and are enjoying full blessings of membership in the church.''

Indeed, any perceived racism has not seemed to slow the Mormon Church's growth in Africa, where 110,000 people have joined since 1978, or in other developing countries.  The Times report, however, said only that the proposal to disavow these teachings, which link black skin color to curses from God recounted in Hebrew and Mormon Scriptures and to behavior in a pre-mortal existence, was "under review by the church's Committee on Public Affairs,'' made up of LDS general authorities.

Such a repudiation is necessary, the Times quoted Mormon sociologist Armand Mauss as saying, because in the absence of "any official corrections, these speculative and pejorative ideas will continue to be perpetuated in the church indefinitely.'' Such ideas can be found in several important books that are "not only still in print but remain in considerable demand among the Saints,'' Mauss will say in his address to the Mormon History Association in Washington, D.C., this weekend. His subject: "In Search of Ephraim: Traditional Mormon Conceptions of Lineage and Race.''

Brigham Young University English Professor Eugene England seconds Mauss' concerns about continuing racist beliefs among LDS folk.

In a March speech in Los Angeles, England said he periodically surveys his BYU classes and finds that "a majority of bright, well-educated Mormon students'' continue to believe the blacks-are-cursed theories.   "They tell me these ideas came from their parents or seminary and Sunday school teachers, and they have never questioned them,'' he said.

"They seem largely untroubled by the implicit contradiction to basic gospel teachings.''

Church founder Joseph Smith, in fact, ordained a black man into the church's all-male priesthood in the 1840s and insisted that blacks were not inferior to whites.

However, under Brigham Young, the church's second president, blacks were denied the Mormon priesthood and could not participate in sacred temple ceremonies. Although there is no specific reference in Mormon scripture as to why, Young and other Mormon officials -- along with many other church leaders at the time -- publicly theorized it had to do with the biblical curse of Cain, Adam and Eve's son, who murdered his brother Abel.  Mormon theology includes another reason: Blacks on Earth were cursed with a dark skin for having failed in a heavenly pre-existence to fight with God in a battle with the devil.  While that changed in 1978, when President Spencer Kimball announced his revelation opening the priesthood to all worthy males, "It is the linkage to Cain that so distresses Mormon African-Americans today,'' the Times quoted a paper written by Irvine, Calif., attorney Dennis Gladwell.  But in April, Hinckley became the first LDS Church president to speak to a meeting of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, and assured participants that the Mormon faith embraces people of all races.

Lester Bush, a Maryland physician, wrote the definitive history of the LDS Church's black policies and doctrine in 1973. At the Mormon History Association meeting, Bush will revisit the experience of writing the history.

"Can we not now acknowledge what the old genealogical assumptions actually were -- concepts imported into mainstream Mormon thought from 19th- century science and contemporary Protestant theology,'' Bush wrote in a paper to be delivered in Washington.

"It is past time to quietly admit this, and get the assertion out of ostensibly authoritative doctrinal texts,'' Bush wrote. Mormon leaders have "thrown out the baby but kept the bath water. We don't need this water anymore.''



The AP version, already widely distributed on e-mail lists, appears to mew to be spun from this longer version from the front page of today's LA Times' written by Larry Stammer, Religion Editor, a man with, lots of inside sources, shall we say.

So this is the full report from which the AP article was drawn.

Los Angeles Times

Monday, May 18, 1998

Mormons May Disavow Old View on Blacks

By LARRY B. STAMMER, Times Religion Writer

Twenty years after the Mormon church dropped its ban against African Americans in the priesthood, key leaders are debating a proposal to repudiate historic church doctrines that were used to bolster claims of black inferiority.

The proposal to disavow the teachings, which purport to link African American skin color to curses from God recounted in Hebrew and Mormon Scriptures, is under review by the church's Committee on Public Affairs, made up of members of the church's highest governing circles, known as general authorities.

Sources close to the sensitive and still secret deliberations hope that a statement will be issued as early as next month, the 20th anniversary of the landmark 1978 decision by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to admit all worthy men to the priesthood, regardless of their race or color.

Although the church's leaders now proclaim racial equality as a "fundamental teaching," the process of repudiating old doctrines remains difficult. Those involved in the internal discussions say church leaders are searching for a formula that will allow them to retract earlier statements without undermining the faith of believers or the credibility of previous church figures whom the Mormons revere as prophets whose pronouncements were inspired by God.

"They feel like a lot of people may not believe the church is true because a lot of these things were said by previous prophets, and a true prophet of God shouldn't make mistakes," said David Jackson, an African American Mormon who is among those calling for change.

Continued Growth in Africa

The call for change comes at a time when the 10-million-member church is enjoying unprecedented growth in Africa and other developing countries. Several months ago the church's president and prophet, Gordon B. Hinckley, wrapped up a five-nation tour of Africa, where the church reports about 110,000 converts as of the end of 1997, the latest figures available.

But black members of the church in the United States as well as some Mormon scholars warn that the "racist legacy" contained in various Mormon documents and authoritative statements risks undermining its mission unless they are disavowed.

"In the absence of any official corrections, these speculative and pejorative ideas will continue to be perpetuated in the church indefinitely," Mormon scholar Armand L. Mauss wrote in one internal paper prepared for church officials. Mauss is president of the Mormon History Assn. and a professor of sociology and religious studies at Washington State University in Pullman, Wash.

For most white members, the place of blacks in the church was resolved once and for all by the church's landmark 1978 decision on the priesthood.

For many blacks, however, the decision did not go far enough.

"What [the 1978 revelation] doesn't say is we're no longer of the lineage of Cain, that we no longer did these things in preexistence.

It does not say we are not cursed with black skin," Jackson said.

Irvine attorney Dennis Gladwell, who has been working with Mauss and Jackson, made a similar point in a paper presented in October 1996 to Elder Marlin K. Jensen, a high-ranking official of the church and a public affairs committee member.

"It is the linkage to Cain that so distresses Mormon African Americans today," Gladwell wrote. "It places their spiritual lineage in shambles, since they are alleged descendants of a man who has come to symbolize evil on the same level as Lucifer himself."

Although church officials would not comment directly on what the First Presidency, composed of Hinckley and his two counselors, or the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, may have considered, they confirmed that discussion of the issue is moving forward. The First Presidency and the Twelve Apostles are the principal policy making and administrative officers of the church. The Quorum of the Seventy, of which Jensen is a member, ranks just below and carries out their policies.

"There appears to be general enthusiasm for moving ahead to clarify anything that would have previously hurt African Americans," one source close to developments in the public affairs committee said.

William S. Evans, a public affairs committee staffer, confirmed that the committee members have discussed the matter. But he cautioned that only the church's highest authorities--not the committee--could make such a statement.

An opening for the church could come as early as next week when Mauss delivers what is described as a major paper on the subject in Washington, D.C.

Among those who have read the paper is Jan Shipps, professor emeritus of history and religious studies at Indiana University-Purdue University at Indianapolis. She said the paper makes the point that the church's racist legacy developed only after the death of its founder and prophet, Joseph Smith.

"So the church itself could pull back from it as a matter of reinterpretation without having to lay itself open to the charge of changing doctrine," Shipps said.

Mormon Theology, Hebrew Scripture

In the past, Mormons as well as other churches believed that Africans were descendants of the biblical personages Cain and Ham, who, according to the Bible, displeased God and were cursed.

Hebrew Scripture says that Cain was the son of Adam and Eve and killed his brother, Abel. Ham was the second son of Noah, who built the Ark before the great flood recounted in the Bible. Ham broke a taboo by looking at his father's nude body after Noah passed out from drinking too much wine.

Ham is also known in the Bible as the father of Canaan, whom Noah, after awaking from his stupor, condemned to servitude.

Over time, the curses on Ham and Cain came to be associated with black skin and were used as a justification for slavery--and, in the case of the Mormon church, one rationale for denying its priesthood to blacks.

Mormon theology has added another explanation: Blacks on Earth were among those spirit children of God in what Mormon theology refers to as "preexistence"--the time before God's spirit children took human form on Earth--who failed to fight valiantly enough for God during a heavenly war with the devil. Nonetheless, they were permitted to take on human form--along with the spirit children who did fight valiantly for God--but had to take on black bodies.

For that reason, the 1978 revelation admitting blacks to the priesthood shocked the Mormon world, and was widely celebrated as a new time and a new dispensation bringing blacks into full fellowship.

Typical of the remarks at the time were those of the late Apostle Bruce R. McConkie, who earlier had been a staunch defender of keeping blacks out of the priesthood as the will of God.

"Forget everything that I have said, or what President Brigham Young or President George Q. Cannon or whosoever has said in days past that is contrary to the present revelation," McConkie said. "We spoke with a limited understanding and without the light and knowledge that now has come into the world."

Despite such pronouncements, Mauss notes, pre-1978 statements continue to be circulated in conversations and classes at the grass-roots level as well as reprinted in current authoritative books published by the church.

Mauss warned that as these doctrines come to light there will be confusion and pain among blacks both in and out of the church.

Some black members are likely to dismiss the former statements as quaint notions from the past and continue in the church, he wrote.

"Many other black members, however, find these doctrines not only unnecessary and obsolete, but demeaning and particularly difficult to explain to their children, who sometimes even encounter them during discussions in seminary classes," Mauss wrote.

"Investigators and potential investigators learning of these doctrines are put off by them. Black converts are sometimes ridiculed by their friends and family members for joining a church in which such doctrines still circulate. These doctrines, therefore, retain a potential for undermining the mission of the church as it strives to strengthen the saints and proclaim the Gospel. They also constitute a potentially serious public relations problem, and an entirely unnecessary one," he wrote.

The early historical Mormon record is uneven, punctuated by contradictory statements and actions. For example, scholars note that a black man, Elijah Abel, was given the priesthood in the 1840s, and that church's highest authority, the First Presidency, wrote in 1840 that "persons of all languages, and of every tongue, and of every color" would worship in the temple.

But there is general agreement that after Smith's death, the church's views and practice changed under Brigham Young.

As late as 1949, the church's First Presidency, the highest ruling authority that includes the president and prophet and his two counselors, officially reaffirmed the ban on blacks in the priesthood by quoting Young as saying that those who were "cursed with a skin of blackness" were so marked because their fathers rejected the power of the holy priesthood and the law of God.

The 1949 statement also reaffirmed the theological assertion that those spirits in the preexistence who did not valiantly fight for God took on black bodies when they came to Earth.

Jackson and Gladwell, who describe themselves as devoted to the church, said they take heart in what they see as the church's forward movement. Now, they said, the time has come to take the next step.

"The doctrinal framework once used to justify the earlier priesthood restriction is still with us," Mauss wrote in a paper presented last July to Jensen. "Presumably little can be done about ideas from the past that continue to appear in books that are published and republished. Much can be done, however, to neutralize the continuing spread of these doctrines through explicit initiatives on the part of the First Presidency and/or the Quorum of the Twelve."

Copyright Los Angeles Times

[The AP version, already widely distributed on e-mail lists, appears to mew to be spun from this longer version from the front page of today's LA Times' written by Larry Stammer, Religion Editor, a man with, lots of inside sources, shall we say.  So this is the full report from which the AP article was drawn.]
 
 


MORMON PLAN TO DISAVOW RACIST TEACHINGS JEOPARDIZED BY PUBLICITY

BY LARRY B. STAMMER, TIMES RELIGION WRITER

Los Angeles Times May 24, 1998 Copyright 1998 Times Mirror Company

The president of the Mormon History Assn.  said Saturday that it is less likely that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints will disavow 19th century teachings that linked African American skin color to Biblical curses because of publicity about that possibility.

Armand L.  Mauss said he believes the top leadership of the 10-million member church may worry that they would be seen as bowing to public pressure if they made such a disavowal in the wake of news stories about secret deliberations on the issue.  Mauss, who is among those who for several years have been privately seeking such a disavowal, said an article in The Times last week that reported on the efforts may thwart them.

Mauss said the church's Committee on Public Affairs, which is considering the issue, was going to make a recommendation to top church officials, known as the First Presidency.

Sources close to the sensitive deliberations told The Times that a statement would be issued as early as next month, the 20th anniversary of the landmark 1978 decision by the church to admit all worthy men to the priesthood, regardless of their race or color.

Mauss, who has written papers for church officials outlining the history of the teachings and offering a rationale for repudiating them while still upholding basic Mormon doctrine, said he would not have done so unless he was encouraged by church leaders.

A source told The Times that although the publicity had momentarily put discussions on hold, it was possible they would resume.

Keith Atkinson, a spokesman for the church in Los Angeles, said Saturday he could not comment on what the church may or may not do.

But he said he believed the church had already disavowed the teachings when it admitted men with black African ancestry to the priesthood in 1978.

Also Saturday, two more Mormon historians joined Mauss in calling on the church to disavow its legacy of racism.

They noted that although blacks are now admitted to the priesthood, the underlying theology--particularly discourses and statements by past Mormon leaders on the curses that helped justify the former ban--continues to be widely circulated within the church.

The latest to issue such a call were Mormon historians Lester E.  Bush Jr.

and Newell G.  Bringhurst, who on Friday was elected president of the association.

"Church leaders simply were mistaken in accepting and teaching the notion that blacks had any known relationship to Cain, Ham, Egyptus or any other biblical figure," Bush wrote in a paper delivered here Saturday before the historical association.


The LDS Church and African Americans THE PRIESTHOOD BAN

From Jessie L.  Embry, Black Saints in a White Church: Contemporary African American Mormons.  Salt Lake City: Signature Books, 1994. Chapter 2


CAUSES OF THE REVELATION  -- ATTITUDES TOWARD EQUALITY -- SUMMARY

Jessie L. Embry, Black Saints in a White Church


Jane Manning James

[Jane Manning James, a black woman who joined the church, moved to Nauvoo, and then traveled to Utah, also petitioned leaders to receive her temple endowment but was denied based on the doctrine of blacks and the priesthood.]

Jessie L. Embry, Black Saints in a White Church, p.40



Black Mormons Resist Apology Talk

By Bill Broadway Washington Post Staff Writer Saturday, May 30, 1998; Page B09

[What these people did NOT address was .....]


See also: Brigham Young's 1852 Speech on Slavery. This site contains the full text of Brigham
Young's 1852 Speech on Slavery to the Joint Session of the Legislature in Salt Lake City, on Thursday, February 5, 1852.
 


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