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Posted by: steve benson ( )
Date: July 05, 2013 03:10PM

In another thread, RfM contributor "lulu" asks:

"Does anyone have some quick quotes and citations?

"A lot of internet posts from TBM's [are] about what an abolitionist J[oseph] S[mith] was.

"I don't think that's quite the way it was,

"He might have been anti-slavery when he ran for pres[ident], but didn't he own slave(s)--Jane Manning?

"Before he ran for pres[ident], wasn't he pro-slavery?

"Are TBMs on the net misrepresenting?

"Can anyone help with the big picture, I think we need to get the details out there."

("Joseph Smith and Slavery," posted by "lulu," on "Recovery from Mormonism" discussion board, 3 March 2012, at:,433528,433528#msg-433528

The evidence of official Mormon Church endorsement of anti-Black slavery and racism is clear and convincing on at least three basic levels.

Below is the historical proof.

--Exhibit A

Mormon Church President Joseph Smith's Offical LDS Endorsement of Southern Slavery

The Mormon Church's official, documented history of White supremacist racism includes its official, notorious endorsement of Southern-style slavery.

The Mormon Church's inventor, Joseph Smith, went on record defending slavery against the opposition of abolitionists, declaring it to be a true principle which found support in the Bible and in the teachings of Jesus.

*Smith, in fact, said that slavery was a divinely-decreed “curse” imposed on Blacks by the command of God and warned against attempts to interfere with its practice.

In the LDS Church publication, the “Messenger and Advocate" (vol. 2, pp. 289-301, April 1836), Smith asserted that slavery as practiced by the Southern states was ordained by God and in keeping with the “gospel of Christ”:

“After having expressed myself so freely upon this subject, I do not doubt but those who have been forward in raising their voice against the South will cry out against me as being uncharitable, unfeeling and unkind--wholly unacquainted with the gospel of Christ.

"'It is my privilege, then, to name certain passages from the Bible and examine the teachings of the ancients upon this matter, as the fact is incontrovertible that the first mention we have of slavery is found in the holy Bible, pronounced by a man who was perfect in his generation and walked with God. And so far from that prediction's being averse from the mind of God, it remains as a lasting monument of the decree of Jehovah, to the shame and confusion of all who have cried out against the South in consequence of their holding the sons of Ham in servitude!

“'And he said cursed be Canaan: a servant of servants shall he be unto this brethren. And he said, Blessed be the Lord God of Shem; and Canaan shall be his servant--God shall enlarge Japheth and he shall dwell in the tents of Shem; and Canaan shall be his servant.' (Gen. 8: 25-27)

“Trace the history of the world from this notable event down to this day and you will find the fulfillment of this singular prophecy. What could have been the design of the Almighty in this wonderful occurrence is not for me to say, but I can say that the curse is not yet taken off the sons of Canaan, neither will be until it is affected by a great power as caused it to come; and the people who interfere the least will come under the least condemnations before him and those who are determined to purse a course which shows an opposition and a feverish restlessness against the designs of the Lord will learn, when perhaps it is too late for their own good, that God can do his work without the aid of those who are not dictated by his counsel."

Smith then proceeded to counter claims that the Bible was not talking about Ham-lineaged, cursed Black slaves brought under control by the command of God to be used as forced labor:

"Some may urge that the names, 'man-servant' and 'maid-servant' only mean hired persons who were at liberty to leave their masters or employers at ant time. But we can easily settle this point by turning the history of Abraham's descendants, when governed by a law given from the mouth of the Lord himself.

"I know that when an Israelite had been brought into servitude in consequence of debt, or otherwise, at the seventh year he went from the task of this former master or employuer; but to no other people or nation was this granted in the law of Israel. And if, after a man had served six years, he did not wish to be free, then the master was to bring him unto the judges, bore his ear with an awl and that man was 'to serve him forever.'

"The conclusion I draw from this is that this people were led and governed by revelation and if such a law was wrong God only is to be blamed and abolitonists are not responsible."

After quoting from Ephesians 6:5-9 and 1 Timothy 6:1-5 (which admonishes that "servants be obedient to them that are your masters" and that they "are under the yoke [of] masters worthy of all honor"), LDS Church president Joseph Smith concluded that "[t]he scripture stands for itself and I believe that these men were better qualified to teach the will of God than all the abolitionists in the world."

(cited in Lester E. Bush, Jr., complilation of notes on history of Blacks in the Mormon Church, pp. 18-19, copy in my possession)

In the same treatise, Smith warned that if Blacks were freed from slavery and the South was militarily defeated, Blacks might overrun the country and degrade societal morals:

“ . . . I am aware that many who profess to preach the gospel complain against their brethren of the same faith who reside in the South and are ready to withdraw the hand of fellowship because they will not renounce the principle of slavery and raise their voice against every thing of the kind.

“This must be a tender point and one which should call forth the candid reflection of all men and especially before they advance in an opposition calculated to lay waste the fall States of the South and set loose upon the world a community of people who might peradventure overrun our country and violate the most sacred principles of human society, chastity and virtue.”

Smith advocated that no one had the right to tell others not to engage in the business of human trafficking:

“I do not believe that the people of the North have any more right to say that the South shall not hold slaves, than the South have to say the North shall.”

Smith stated that slave owners should retain final say over the condition and future of their human property and that slaves, should unconditionally & meekly obey their masters:

“. . . [W]e have no right to interfere with slaves contrary to the mind & will of their masters. In fact, it would be much better & more prudent not to preach at all to slaves, until after their masters are converted: and then teach the master to use them with kindness, remembering that they are accountable to God and that servants are bound to serve their master with singleness of heart, without murmuring.”

Smith taught that slavery was condoned by scripture and that Mormons had no right to foment resistance to Southern slavery:

“I do most sincerely hope that no one who is authorized from this Church to preach the gospel will so far depart from the scripture as to be found stirring up strife and sedition against our brethren of the South.”

Smith said that freeing the slaves would only cause trouble for people not accustomed to seeing Blacks (the latter whom Smith labeled as inherently lazy, professionally unemployable and childish):

“. . . [W]hat benefit will it ever be to the slave for persons to run over the free states & excite indignation against their masters in the minds of thousands and tens of thousands who understand nothing relative to their circumstances or conditions? I mean particularly those who have never traveled in the South and scarcely seen a negro in all their life.

“How any community can ever be excited with the chatter of such persons-boys and others who are too indolent to obtain their living by honest industry & are incapable of pursuing any occupation of a professional nature, is unaccountable to me.”

(Joseph Smith, letter to Oliver Cowdery, published in “Latter-Day Saints Messenger & Advocate,” vol. 2. no. 7, Kirtland, Ohio, April 1836, pp. 289, 291)

Moreover, during the presidency of Joseph Smith, the Mormon Church desperately came out in favor of preventing the immigration of freed Black slaves into Missouri and against allowing Blacks to join the Mormon Church:

"In an attempt to defuse the explosive situation before another anti-Mormon meeting scheduled [by slave-holding Missourians] for July 20, 1833, could take place . . ., an 'Extra' edition of the [Mormon cnurch's] "the Evewning and Morning Star . . . frantically tried to explain:

"'Having learned with extreme regret, that an article entitled, 'Free People of Color,' in the last number of the 'Star,' has been misunderstood, we feel in duty bound to state, in this 'Extra,,' that our intention was not only to stop free people of color from emigrating to this state, but to prevent them from being admitted as members of the Church."

(authored by W.W. Phelps in behalf of the Mormon Church, published in "History of the Church," vol. 1, pp. 578-79; Phelps was an assistant president of the Mormon Church in Missouri, a scribe for Joseph Smith, and an LDS Church printer/editor; Phelps' "Star" editorial cited in Richard Abanes, "One Nation Under Gods: A History of the Mormon Church," Chapter 6, "No Rest for the Righteous" [New York/London: Four Walls Eight Windows, 2002], p. 114)

While some Utah historians continue their faithful efforts at minimizing the historical reality that the Mormon Church officially endorsed slavery and its legalized practice, it is an undeniable that the Mormon Church did exactly that.

Indeed, Mormons were led in their slave-owning beliefs and practices by the bad example of none other than Mormon Church president Brigham Young (who did so with LDS Church apostle support), In the historical context of LDS Church under the leadership of Young, Mormon settlers brought Black slaves to the Salt Lake Valley:

"24 July [1847]: [Brigham] Young enter[ed] Salt Lake Vally with the rest of the pioneer company, and officially decree[d] this as the new Mormon headquarters. Among these pioneers [were] three plural wives and three Black slaves. Young's attitudes toward African-Americans differ from the founding prophet's [*Note: This is not exactly accurate, as demonstrated by Smith's own words, quoted earlier], and UTAH WOULD BECOME THE ONLY WESTERN TERRITORY WHERE AFRICAN-AMERICAN SLAVERY AND SLAVE-SALES WERE PROTECTED BY TERRITORIAL STATUTE" [emphasis added].

(D. Michael Quinn, "The Mormon Hierarchy: Origins of Power," Appendix 7, "Selected Chronology of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1830-47" [Salt Lake City, Utah: Signature Books, in association with Smith Research Associates, 1994], p. 659)

It is noteworthy that the names of Mormon-owned Black slaves actually appear on a prominent downtown Salt Lake City monument honoring Mormon settlers of the area:

"Although the practice was never widespread, some Utah pioneers held African-American slaves until 1862 when Congress abolished slavery in the territories.

"Three slaves--Green Flake, Hark Lay and Oscar Crosby--came west with the first pioneer company in 1847 and their names appear on a plaque on the Brigham Young Monument in downtown Salt Lake City. The Census of 1850 reported 26 Negro slaves in Utah and the 1860 Census 29; some have questioned those figures.

"Slavery was legal in Utah as a result of the Compromise of 1850, which brought California into the Union as a free state while allowing Utah and New Mexico territor'es the option of deciding the issue by 'popular sovereignty.' Some Mormon pioneers from the South had brought African-American slaves with them when they migrated west. Some freed their slaves in Utah; others who went on to California had to emancipate them there.

"The Mormon Church had no official doctrine for or against slave-holding and leaders were ambivalent [*Note: This is not true. As documented above, Mormon Church founder Joseph Smith officially endorsed slavery as the law of God. Furthermore, Mormon Church president Brigham Young officially endorsed slavery in a 5 February 1852 address to the Utah territorial legislature].

"In 1836 Joseph Smith wrote that masters should treat slaves humanely and that slaves owed their owners obedience. During his presidential campaign in 1844, however, he came out for abolition.

"Brigham Young tacitly supported slave-holding, declaring that although Utah was not suited for slavery, the practice was ordained by God. In 1851 Apostle Orson Hyde said the Church would not interfere in relations between master and slave.

"The Legislature formally sanctioned slave-holding in 1852 [This came under Young's terriotiral governorship] but cautioned against inhumane treatment, and stipulated that slaves could be declared free if their masters abused them. Records document the sale of a number of slaves in Utah."

(Jeffrey D. Nichols, in "History Blazer," April 1995, cited on "Utah History to Go: Slavery in Utah," under "Pioneers and Cowboys," at:

Mormon Church president Brighm Young (immediate successor to Smith) openly endorsed slavery, as well as officially invoked the anti-Black doctrines, teachings and practices of the Mormon Church as laid down by Smith.

This fact is clearly evident in Young's 5 February 1852 speech to the Utah terrirtorial legislature. In that address, not only did Young support Smith's Bibically-sanctioned position in favor of Black slavery, he declared that Blacks should have no position in government telling White people what to do. (In the same speech, Young also officially endorsed blood atonement and anti-Semitism):

" . . . My remarks in the first place will be upon the cause of the introduction of slavery.

"Long ago Mama Eve, our good old mother Eve, partook of the forbiden fruit and this made a slave of her. Adam hated very much to have her taken out of the Garden of Eden and now our Old Daddy says I believe I will eat of the fruit and become a slave, too. This was the first introduction of slavery upon this earth; and there has been not a son or daughter of Adam from that day to this but what where slaves in the true sense of the word.

"That slavery will continue, until there is a people raised up upon the face of the earth who will contend for righteous principles, who will not only believe in but operate with every power and faculty given to them to help to establish the Kingdom of God, to overcome the Devil and drive him from the earth, then will this curse be removed. This was the starting point of slavery.

"Again after Adam and Eve had partook of the curse, we find they had two sons. Cain and Abel, but which was the oldest I cannot positively say; but this I know--Cain was given more to evil practices than Abel but whether he was the oldest or not matters not to me. Adam was commanded to sacrifice and offer up his offerings to God, that placed him into the garden of Eden. Through the faith and obedience of Abel to his Heavenly Father, Cain became jealous of him and he laid a plan to obtain all his flocks; for through his perfect obedience to Father he obtained more blessings than Cain; consequently he took it into his heart to put able able of this mortal existance. after the deed was done, the Lord inquired to Abel and made Cain own what he had done with him.

"Now, says the Grand Father, I will not destroy the seed of Michael and his wife; and Cain I will not kill you, nor suffer any one to kill you but I will put a mark upon you.

"What is the mark? You will see it on the countenance of every African you ever did see upon the face of the earth or ever will see. Now I tell you what I know; when the mark was put upon Cain, Abel's children w[ere] in all probablility young; the Lord told Cain that he should not receive the blessings of the priesthood, nor his seed, until the last of the posterity of Abel had received the priesthood, until the redemption of the earth.

"If there never was a prophet or apostle of Jesus Christ spoke it before, 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 residue of the posterity of Michael and his wife receive the blessings the seed of Cain would have received had they not been cursed; and hold the keys of the priesthood, until the times of the restitution shall come and the curse be wiped off from the earth, and from Michael's seed. Then Cain's seed will be had in remembrance and the time come when that curse should be wiped off.

"Now then, in the Kingdom of God on the earth, a man who has has the African blood in him cannot hold one jot nor tittle of priesthood. Why? Because they are the true eternal principles the Lord Almighty has ordained; and who can help it? Men cannot, the angels cannot and all the powers of earth and hell cannot take it off; but thus saith the Eternal I Am, What I Am: 'I take it off at my pleasure,' and not one particle of power can that posterity of Cain have, until the time comes th[at] says he will have it taken away. That time will come when they will have the privilege of all we have the privilege of and more.

"In the Kingdom of God on the earth, the Africans cannot hold one particle of power in Government. The subjects, the rightful servants of the residue of the children of Adam and the residue of the childre--through the benign influence of the Spirit of the Lord--have the privilege of seeing to the posterity of Cain; inasmuch as it is the Lord's will they should receive the spirit of God by baptism; and that is the end of their privilege; and there is not power on earth to give them any more power.

"You talk of the dark skin, I never saw a White man on earth. I have seen persons whose hair came pretty nigh being white,but to talk about white skins, it is something entirely unknown-- though some skins are fairer than others. Look at the black eye and the jet black hair we often see upon men and women who are called white; there is no such things as White folks. We are the children of Adam who receive the blessings and that is enough for us if we are not quite White.

"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 -we will reap the same rewards with Cain.

"In the priesthood I will tell you what it will do. Were the children of God to mingle their seed with the seed of Cain. it would not only bring the curse of being deprived of the power of the priesthood upon themselves, but they entail it upon their children after them and they cannot get rid of it.

"If a man in an unguarded moment should commit such a transgression--if he would walk up and say cut off my head and kill man. woman and child--it would do a great deal towards atoning for the sin.

"Would this be to curse them? No. It would be a blessing to them; it would do them good that they might be saved with their brethren. A man would shudder should they here us take about killing folk but it is one of the greatest blessings to some to kill them, although the true principles of it are not understood.

"I will ha[ve] one thing more: It is not in the power of a man on the face of the earth to take more life than he can give; that is a proper son of Adam. How many times I have heard it said, and how many times has it been reiterated in my ears and in yours, that to take a life is to take what you cannot give? This is perfect nonsense; what do I do by taking a man's head off after he is condemned by the Law? I put an end to the existence of the mortal tabernacle but the life still remains. The body and the spirit is only separated; this is all that can be done by any mortal man upon the face of the earth.

"Can I give that life? I can. I can make as good tabernacles as any other man; if you do not believe it, go and look at my children; therefore, that saying is nonsense. We form the tabernacle for the eternal spirit or life that comes from God. We can only put an end to the existence of that tabernacle; and this is the principle of sacrifice.

"What was the cause of the Ancients drawing up hundreds and thousands of bullocks and heifers and lambs and doves and almost every other creature around them, of which they took the best and the fattest and offered them up as sacrifices unto the Lord? Was it not for the remission of the sins of the people?

"We read also in the New Testament that a man was sacrificed for the sins of the people. If he had not shed that blood which was given to him in the organization of his body or tabernacle, you and I could have had no remission of sins. It is the greatest blessing that could come to some men to shed their blood on the ground and let it come up before the Lord as an atonement. You nor I cannot take any more life than we can give.

"Again to the subject before us, as to the men bearing rule: Not one of the children of old Cain have one particle of right to bear rule in Government affairs from first to last> They have no business there. This privilege was taken from them by there own transgressions and I cannot help it; and should you or I bear rule we ought to do it with dignity and honor before God.

"I am as much opposed to the principle of slavery as any man in the present acceptation or usage of the term, [if] it is abused. I am opposed to abusing that which God has decreed, to take a blessing, and make a curse of it.

"It is a great blessing to the seed of Adam to have the seed of Cain for servants; but those they serve should use them with all the heart and feeling, as they would use their own children, and their compassion should reach over them, and round about them, and treat them as kindly and with that humane feeling necessary to be shown to mortal beings of the human species. Under these circumstances there blessings in life are greater in proportion than those who have to provide the bread and dinner for them.

"We know there is a portion of inhabitants of the earth who dwell in Asia that are Negroes and said to be Jews. The blood of Judah has not only mingled almost with all nations but also with the blood of Cain and they have mingled their seeds together. These Negro Jews may keep up all the outer ordinnances of the Jewish religion; they may have their sacrifices and they may perform all the religious ceremonies any people on earth could perform; but let me tell you that the day they consented to mingle their seed with Canaan, the priesthood was taken away from Judah and that portion of Judah's seed will never get any rule, or blessings of the priesthood until Cain gets it.

"Let this [Mormon] Church which is called the Kingdom of God on the earth. We will summon the First Presidency, the Twelve, the High Council, the Bishopric and all the Elders of Israel. Suppose we summon them to appear here and here declare that it is right to mingle our seed with the Black race of Cain--that they shall come in with us and be partakers with us of all the blessings God has given to us.

"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. The moment we consent to mingle with the seed of Cain the [Mormonm] Church must go to destruction--we should receive the curse which has been placed upon the seed of Cain and never more be numbered with the children of Adam who are heirs to the priesthood until that curse be removed.

"Therefore, I will not consent for one moment to have an African dictate [to] me or any Brethren, with regard to [Mormon] Church or State Government. I may vary in my viewes from others and they may think I am foolish in the things I have spoken and think that they know more than I do, but I know I know more than they do.

"If the Africans cannot bear rule in the [Mormon] Church of God, what business have they to bear rule in the State and Government affairs of this Territory or any others?

"I[n] the Government affairs of States and Territories and Kingdoms, by right God should govern. He should rule over nations and control kings. If we suffer the Devil to rule over us, we shall not accomplish any good. I want the Lord to rule and be our Governor and and Dictator--and we are the boys to execute.

"I shall not consent for a moment to give way to a Gentile Spirit of contention, which is the cause of ang[er]--difference to the alienations of every good feeling. It is for you and I to take a course, to bind our feelings together in an everlasting bond of union inasmuch as we love the Lord, which we ought to do more than selves.

"Consequently I will not consent for a moment to have the children of Cain rule me nor my Brethren. No, it is not right.

"But say some, is there any thing of this kind in the Constitution, the U.S. has given us? If you will allow me the privilege telling right out, it is none of their damned business what we do or say here. What we do . . . is for them to sanction and then for us to say what we like about it. It is written right out in the Constitution, 'that every free White male inhabitant above the age of 21 years,' etc.

"My mind is the same to day as when we where poring over that Constitution; any light upon the subject is the same; my judgement is the same, only a little more so.

"Perhaps I have said enough upon this subject. I have given you the true principles and doctrine. No man can vote for me or my Brethren in this Territory who has not the privilege of acting in [Mormon] Church affairs. Every man and woman and child in this Territory are citizens; to say the contrary is all nonsense to me.

"The Indians are citizens, the Africans are citizens and the Jews tha[t] come from Asia that are almost entirely of the blood of Cain. It is our duty to take care of them and administer to them in all the acts of humanity and kindness; they shall have the right of citizenship, but shall not have the right to dictate in [Mormon] Church and State matters.

"The abolitionists of the East have cirest them [?] and their whole argument [is] calculated to darken counsel, as it was here yesterday. As for our bills passing here, we may lay the foundation for what? For men to come here from Africa or elsewhere by hundreds of thousands? When these men come here from the Islands, are they going to hold offices in Government? No. It is for men who understand the knowlege of Government affairs to hold such offices and on the other make provisions for them to plow and to reap and enjoy all that human beings can enjoy and we protect them in it.

"Do we know how to ameliorate the condition of these people? We do. Supose that five thousands of them come from the Pacific Islands, and 10 or 15 thousands from Japan or from China. Not one soul of them would know how to vote for a Government officer. They therefore ought no in the first thing have anything to do in Government affairs.

"What the Gentiles are doing, we are consenting [for them] to do. What we are trying to do today is to make the Negro equal with us in all our privilege.

"My voice shall be against all the day long. I shall not consent for one moment. I will call them a council. I say I will not consent for one moment for you to lay a plan to bring a curse upon this people. I[t] shall not be while I am here."

("Curse of Cain? Racism in the Mormon Church," Appendix A: Speech by Gov. Young in Joint Session of the Legislature, [Territory of Utah] . . . Giving His Views on Slavery," 5 February 1852, in "Brigham Young Addresses," Ms d 1234, Box 48, folder 3, LDS Church Historical Department, Salt Lake City, Utah, typescript by H. Michael Marquardt, corrected here for spelling, grammar and punctuation, original uncorrected version at:

The spinning and downplaying by LDS apologists of Mormon Church-sanctioned and -practiced slavery (along with its politically-calculated and conveniently-timed flip-flopping on the matter) is concisely countered by RfM poster "oddcouplet":

"[Joseph] Smith and the early [Mormon] Church waffled quite a bit on slavery. Generally, they were against it when they were headquartered in a free state such as Ohio and Illinois, and supportive of it when they were in a slave state such as Missouri. The generally pro-slavery Missourians were very sensitive about this and the suspicion that the Mormons were predominantly abolitionist was probably one of the factors that contributed to the friction in Missouri.

"Utah was a different story. The Kansas-Nebraska Act permitted each territory to decide whether or not it wanted slavery. UTAH WAS THE ONLY TERRITORY THAT VOTED TO BECOME A SLAVE TERRITORY [emphasis added].

"At any one time during the period from slavery's adoption by the [Utah] territorial legislature in 1852 until its abolition by federal order in 1862, there were about 30 African-American slaves in Utah. There were many more enslaved Indians, though there's no way to be sure of the exact number."

("Re: 'Joseph Smith and Slavery,'" by "oddcouplet," on "Recovery from Mormonism" discussion board, 5 March 2012, at:,433528,434315#msg-434315)

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