The Mormon Church's Essay on Blacks and the Priesthood is Dishonest

steve benson Dec. 2013

The Mormon Church, on its official website, makes a grossly dishonest claim that the long-established official position of the Mormon Church banning Blacks from holding the priesthood was a policy and not a doctrine. In an essay entitled, “Race and the Priesthood,” the Mormon Church makes the following deliberately disingenuous and factually disprovable assertion:

. . . one which the Mormon Church is currently and desperately employing in an unsuccessful effort to cover the tracks of its attack on Blacks in terms of both its:

a) historically official doctrinal status; and

b) its historically acknowledged tie-in to Joseph Smith.

“In two speeches delivered before the Utah territorial legislature in January and February 1852, [Mormon Church president] Brigham Young announced a POLICY restricting men of black African descent from priesthood ordination . . .

“ . . . [G]iven the long history of withholding the priesthood from men of black African descent, Church leaders believed that a revelation from God was needed to alter the POLICY and they made ongoing efforts to understand what should be done.”

(emphasis added)

(“Race and the Priesthood,” at:

However, the highest authoritative decision-making body in the Mormon Church--the First Presidency (comprised of the Mormon Church president and his two counselors)--has directly and emphatically contradicted this latest lie from Latter-day Saint Central. The official position of the Mormon Church has historically, explicitly and unambiguously declared the Mormon Church anti-Black priesthood ban to be one of DOCTRINE, NOT POLICY.

Further, contrary to the ongoing false claims being made by the Mormon Church, there is documented evidence from the Mormon Church First Presidency itself that Joseph Smith was behind the DOCTRINAL Mormon anti-Black priesthood ban.

The proof:

--On 17 July 1947, the Mormon Church First Presidency wrote the following to Lowry Nelson, Mormon professor at Utah State Agricultural College regarding the status of Blacks in the eyes of the Mormon God:

"Dear Brother Nelson:

". . . The basic element of your ideas and concepts seems to be that all God's children stand in equal positions before Him in all things. 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.

"We are aware that some Higher Critics do not accept this, but the Church does. 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 s that our birth into this life and the advantages under which we may be born, have a relationship in the life heretofore. FROM THE DAYS OF THE PROPHET JOSEPH SMITH EVEN UNTIL NOW, IT HAS BEEN THE DOCTRINE OF THE CHURCH, NEVER QUESTIONED BY ANY OF THE CHURCH LEADERS, THAT THE NEGROES ARE NOT ENTITLED TO THE FULL BLESSINGS OF THE GOSPEL.

"Furthermore, your ideas, as we understand them, appear to contemplate the intermarriage of the Negro and White races, a concept which has heretofore been most repugnant to most normal-minded people from the ancient patriarchs till now. 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. We are not unmindful of the fact that there is a growing tendency, particularly among some educators, as it manifests itself in this are, toward the breaking down of race barriers in the matter of intermarriage between Whites and Blacks, but it does not have the sanction of the Church and is contrary to Church doctrine.

"Faithfully yours,

George Albert Smith
J. Reuben Clark, Jr.
David O. McKay"

(emphasis added)

Nelson responded on 8 October:

"The attitude of the Church in regard to the Negro makes me very sad. I do not believe God is a racist."

The First Presidency answered:

"We feel very sure that you are aware of THE DOCTRINES OF THE CHURCH. 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.

"You have too much of a potentiality for doing good and we therefore prayerfully hope that you can re-orient your thinking and bring it in line with the revealed Word of God."

(emphasis added)

--An official First Presidency statement, dated 17 August 1949, again noting that the Mormon Church's priesthood ban imposed against Blacks was a clear matter of DOCTRINE, NOT POLICY:

"THE ATTITUDE OF THE CHURCH WITH REFERENCE TO NEGROES REMAINS AS IT HAS ALWAYS STOOD. IT IS NOT A MATTER OF THE DECLARATION OF A POLICY BUT OF DIRECT COMMANDMENT FOM THE LORD, ON WHICH IS FOUNDED THE DOCTRINE OF THE CHURCH FROM THE DAYS OF ITS ORGANIZATION, to the effect that Negroes may become members of the Church BUT THEY ARE NOT ENTITLED TO THE PRIESTHOOD AT THE PRESENT TIME. THE PROPHETS OF THE LORD HAVE MADE SEVERAL STATEMENTS AS TO THE OPERATION OF THE PRINCIPLE. President Brigham Young said: 'Why are so many of the inhabitants of the earth cursed with a skin of blackness? It comes in consequence of their fathers rejecting the power of the holy priesthood, and the law of God. They will go down to death.'"

(emphasis added)

--During the 1960s civil rights movement where the Mormon Church was coming under increasing fire for its bigoted anti-Black priesthood stsand, Mormon church leaders circled the wagons and again issued another official First Presidency statement, dated 15 December 1969, invoking the words of then-Mormon Church president, David O. McKay and laying the orgins of the ban at the feet of Mormonism's inventor, Joseph Smith:

"To General Authorities, Regional Representatives of the Twelve, Stake Presidents, Mission Presidents, and Bishops.

"Dear Brethren:

"In view of confusion that has arisen, it was decided at a meeting of the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve to restate THE POSITION OF THE CHURCH WITH REGARD TO THE NEGRO BOTH IN SOCIETY AND IN THE CHURCH.

"A word of explanation concerning THE POSITION OF THE CHURCH.

"FROM THE BEGINNING OF THIS DISPENSATION, JOSEPH SMITH AND ALL SUCCEEDING PRESIDENTS OF THE CHURCH HAVE TAUGHT THAT NEGROES, while spirit children of a common Father, and the progeny of our earthly parents Adam and Eve, WERE NOT YET TO RECEIVE THE PRIESTHOOD, for reasons which we believe are known to God, but which He has not made fully known to man.

"Our living prophet, President David O. McKay, has said, 'The seeming discrimination by the Church toward the Negro is not something which originated with man; but goes back into the beginning with God. . . . 'Revelation assures us that this plan antedates man's mortal existence, extending back to man's pre-existent state.' President McKay has also said, 'Sometime in God's eternal plan, the Negro will be given the right to hold the priesthood.'

"Faithfully your brethren,

"The First Presidency

" Hugh B. Brown
N. Eldon Tanner"

(emphasis added)

Finally, for the DOCTRINAL, NOT POLICY, status which clearly and historically attended the Mormon Church's anti-Black priesthood ban, see "Mormon Racism As doctrine, Not Merely Folklore or Tradition,"

Here's their daily Mormon scripture study guide on the racism of their Mormon God, as noted in the article, "Racism as Doctrine, Not Merely Folklore or Tradition":

--"Mormon Scripture: God Curses Bad Races with Black Skin

"2 Nephi 5:21: 'And the Lord had caused the cursing to come upon them, yea, even a sore cursing, because of their iniquity. For behold, they had hardened their hearts against him, that 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.'

"Alma 3: 6: 'And the skins of the Lamanites were dark, according to the mark which was set upon their fathers, which was a curse upon them because of their transgression and their rebellion against their brethren, who consisted of Nephi, Jacob, and Joseph, and Sam, who were just and holy men.'

"3 Nephi 2:14-1: 'And it came to pass that those Lamanites who had united with the Nephites were numbered among the Nephites; And their curse was taken from them, and their skin became white like unto the Nephites.'

"Moses 7:22: 'And Enoch also beheld the residue of the people which were the sons of Adam; and they were a mixture of all the seed of Adam save it was the seed of Cain, for the seed of Cain were black, and had not place among them.'

"Abraham 1:21-24,27: 'Now this king of Egypt was a descendant from the loins of Ham, and was a partaker of the blood of the Canaanites by birth. From this descent sprang all the Egyptians, and thus the blood of the Canaanites was preserved in the land.'

"The land of Egypt being first discovered by a woman, who was the daughter of Ham, and the daughter of Egyptus, which in the Chaldean signifies Egypt, which signifies that which is forbidden; When this woman discovered the land it was under water, who afterward settled her sons in it; and thus, from Ham, sprang that race which preserved the curse in the land."

"'Now, Pharaoh being of that lineage by which he could not have the right of Priesthood, notwithstanding the Pharaohs would fain claim it from Noah, through Ham, therefore my father was led away by their idolatry.'

--"Official LDS Church Publications Explain Racist LDS Scriptures

"'The Book of Abraham is rich both in doctrine and in historical incidents. Of the latter the fact of the large influence (if not identity) of Egyptian religious ideas in Chaldea in the days of Abraham is established; the descent of the black race, Negro, from Cain, the first murderer; the preservation of that race through the flood by the wife of Ham--"Egyptus," which in the Chaldean signifies "Egypt," "which signifies that which is forbidden"--the descendants of "Egyptus" were cursed as pertaining to the priesthood--that is, they were barred from holding that divine power; the origin also of the Egyptians--these things, together with the account of Abraham migrating from Chaldea to Egypt, constitute the chief historical items that are contained in the book./
(;Comprehensive History of the Church,' vol. 2, Ch .47, p. 128)

“'From this it is very clear that the mark which was set upon the descendants of Cain was a skin of blackness, and there can be no doubt that this was the mark that Cain himself received; in fact, it has been noticed in our day that men who have lost the spirit of the Lord, and from whom His blessings have been withdrawn, have turned dark to such an extent as to excite the comments of all who have known them.'
(Official LDS Church manual, 'The Juvenile Instructor,' vol. 26, p. 635)

"'We will first inquire into the results of the approbation or displeasure of God upon a people, starting with the belief that a black skin is a mark of the curse of heaven placed upon some portions of mankind. Some, however, will argue that a black skin is not a curse, nor a white skin a blessing. In fact, some have been so foolish as to believe and say that a black skin is a blessing, and that the negro is the finest type of a perfect man that exists on the earth; but to us such teachings are foolishness. We understand that when God made man in his own image and pronounced him very good, that he made him white. We have no record of any of God's favored servants being of a black race. . . . [E]very angel who ever brought a message of God's mercy to man was beautiful to look upon, clad in the purest white and with a countenance bright as the noonday sun.” (Official LDS Church manual, 'The Juvenile Instructor,' vol. 3, p. 157)

“'For instance, the descendants of Cain cannot cast off their skin of blackness, at once, and immediately, although every soul of them should repent,... Cain and his posterity must wear the mark which God put upon them; and his white friends may wash the race of Cain with fuller's soap every day, they cannot wash away God's mark;. . . . ' (LDS Publication, 'The Millennial Star, ' vol. 14, p. 418)

"Their skin is quite black, their hair woolly and black, their intelligence stunted, and they appear never to have arisen from the most savage state of barbarism.” (Official LDS Church manual, 'The Juvenile Instructor,'vol. 3, p. 157)

"'Is or is it not apparent from reason and analogy as drawn from a careful reading of the Scriptures, that God causes the saints, or people that fall away from his church to be cursed in time, with a black skin? Was or was not Cain, being marked, obliged to inherit the curse, he and his children, forever? And if so, as Ham, like other sons of God, might break the rule of God, by marrying out of the church, did or did he not, have a Canaanite wife, whereby some of the black seed was preserved through the flood, and his son, Canaan, after he laughed at his grandfather's nakedness, heired three curses: one from Cain for killing Abel; one from Ham for marrying a black wife, and one from Noah for ridiculing what God had respect for? Are or are not the Indians a sample of marking with blackness for rebellion against God's holy word and holy order? And can or can we not observe in the countenances of almost all nations, except the Gentile, a dark, sallow hue, which tells the sons of God, without a line of history, that they have fallen or changed from the original beauty and grace of father Adam?'(Official LDS Publication, 'The Messenger and Advocate' (March 1835), p. 82)

"'History and common observation show that these predictions have been fulfilled to the letter. The descendants of Ham, besides a black skin which has ever been a curse that has followed an apostate of the holy priesthood, as well as a black heart, have been servants to both Shem and Japheth, and the abolitionists are trying to make void the curse of God, but it will require more power than man possesses to counteract the decrees of eternal wisdom." (Official LDS Publication, 'The Times and Seasons,' vol. 6, p. 857)

"The LDS Church's racism isn't just from some isolated quote from one or two Church leaders. The racist teaching from the Mormon pulpit is prolific and consistent over time. If God didn't agree with his prophets teaching these things in His Church, then why did they continue over generations? There's a big difference between folklore and Mormon scripture. When the president and prophet of the church stands at the pulpit and teaches the laws of God, that isn't folklore. . . . .

"Some Church members make the mistake of dismissing the racist statements of 19th-century Mormon leaders as 'their own opinion,' 'not official doctrine,' 'products of their times,' etc.

"Those same Church members assert that the only 'official doctrine' is the Standard Works and official statements of the First Presidency, and that if some leaders said something that didn't come from those sources, it isn't 'binding on the membership,' and it isn't "canon" or "official doctrine."

"However, an official statement of the LDS Church First Presidency issued on August 17, 1951, reads:

"'The position of the LDS Church regarding the Negro may be understood when another doctrine of the church is kept in mind, namely, that the conduct of spirits in the pre-mortal existence has some determining effect upon the conditions and circumstances under which these spirits take on mortality, and that while the details of this principle have not been made known, the principle itself indicates that the coming to this earth and taking on mortality is a privilege that is given to those who maintained their first estate; and that the worth of the privilege is so great that spirits are willing to come to earth and take on bodies no matter what the handicap may be as to the kind of bodies they are to secure; and that among the handicaps, failure of the right to enjoy in mortality the blessings of the priesthood is a handicap which spirits are willing to assume in order that they might come to earth. Under this principle there is no injustice whatsoever involved in this deprivation as to the holding of the priesthood by the Negroes.. . . . '

"'Man will be punished for his own sins and not for Adam's transgression. If this is carried further, it would imply that the Negro is punished or alloted 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." (William E. Berrett's 'The Church and the Negroid People,' pp. 16-17)

"Since it's obvious from this official First Presidency statement that Church leaders taught and believed that people are born as Negroes because of their behavior in the pre-existence---

---"as well as being from the lineage of the 'accursed' Cain---

---"and the 'sign' of Cain's curse was the black skin and flat nose, according to Church leaders---

---"then the fact that Negroes are still being born by the tens of thousands every day tells us that the God of Mormonism has never lifted the 'curse of Cain,' despite having the priesthood ban rescinded.

"Church members are terribly mistaken when they say that the 'curse of Cain' teachings were 'folklore' and 'not official doctrine.'

"If the people of Jamaica can recognize the LDS Church's racism, why can't church members?: 'The Embarrassing Truth about Mormonism, by Mark Wignall, "The Jamaca Observer," 25 September 2005, at:; source for first article: at:


Today's Mormon Church seems to have an official policy of lying about its official doctrines.

Fetal Deity
Steve, thanks for all your posts regarding the Mormon, anti-Black doctine.
I have one edit to recommend. The excerpt you quoted from the 17 August 1949 First Presidency letter is missing the important portion which declares the anti-Black priesthood ban as doctrine. The quotation as found on the Signature Books site is copied below; the words missing from your post are in all caps:

"The attitude of the Church with reference to Negroes remains as it has always stood. It is not a matter of the declaration of a policy but of direct commandment FROM THE LORD, ON WHICH IS FOUNDED THE DOCTRINE of the Church from the days of its organization, to the effect that Negroes may become members of the Church but that they are not entitled to the priesthood at the present time. The prophets of the Lord have made several statements as to the operation of the principle. President Brigham Young said: 'Why are so many of the inhabitants of the earth cursed with a skin of blackness? It comes in consequence of their fathers rejecting the power of the holy priesthood, and the law of God. They will go down to death.'"

Re: The Mormon Church's Essay on Blacks and the Priesthood is a Lie . . .
What I am finding shocking about their "Essay" is that it is consigned to the nethermost reaches of the Morg's web page. I had quite a job trying to find it.
This is a major admission of institutionalized guilt by the LDS church over a period of 130 years and it is being deliberately and totally diminished and down played by these vile bas---ds in SL.
They should be getting a mauling and hauled over the coals for this by all the major media in the USA and beyond for admitting to this.
They are basically stating that all the prophets and other leaders from BY onwards to SWK were wrong on a major and pivotal issue of policy and doctrine affecting a whole race of people.
And then they insult them and all the rest of the members by consigning and hiding it away in some obscure part of their web page.
I find it utterly insulting and abhorent that these masters of deceit in SL, these whited sepulchre devils are conspiring to such an extent and squirreling away this bad news concerning the vile and vicious behaviour of church leaders and doing it it as if it was NOT important.
They should be getting publicly shamed and being forced to answer for their crimes on an international scale for this. Utterly sickening in the extreme.

Re: The Mormon Church's Essay on Blacks and the Priesthood is a Lie . . .
I actually think the publication of this essay has made the situation (for the Church) worse rather than better.

1. As Steve points out, it contains claims that are demonstrably untrue.
2. It confirms that the Priesthood Ban was an act of racism rather than an act of revelation or doctrine.
3. It confirms that Brigham Young and every Prophet up to SWK were uninspired men whom God didn't instruct to end the ban. Worse, it states that God has remained silent on the matter, even when specifically asked by his Prophet.
4. It confirms that the Prophet CAN lead the Church astray.

It is bad enough that the world thinks you may be a dishonest, uninspired, discriminatory organisation, but the Church has now spoken and removed all doubt.

Re: The Mormon Church's Essay on Blacks and the Priesthood is a Lie . . .
I find it utterly insulting and abhorent that these masters of deceit in SL, these whited sepulchre devils are conspiring to such an extent and squirreling away this bad news concerning the vile and vicious behaviour of church leaders and doing it it as if it was NOT important.
They should be getting publicly shamed and being forced to answer for their crimes on an international scale for this. Utterly sickening in the extreme.
THANKS OFFRADAR for this.....I agree 100%. Why is nothing being noticed? Does TSCC [this so called church] really have some magic power that keeps the media from hurting them or even being interested in them? I thought when Mittens was running for pres., more crap would come out than TSCC wanted to even think about but nobody seemed to care. WTF?
How can TSCC just sit this this in their laps without tons of scrutiny? It is mind boggling....!!

"Recovery from Mormonism -"