This is one of a series of web pages I created between 2001and 2006. I was angry and frustrated at the LDS Church. Since then I have moved on and calmed down. So please remember, if you read these pages, that they reflect my past and not my present feelings. Thanks for your understanding!      -  Chris Tolworthy

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Mormon racism

All of these quotations are from my copy of the 'gospel infobase' CD-ROM, as used by many faithful Church members. (My copy is the LDS Historical Library, 1993 edition for MS-DOS.)

Summary

Mormon scripture: bad races are cursed with black skin

2 Nephi 5:21

21 And he 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.

3 Nephi 2:14-15

14 And it came to pass that those Lamanites who had united with the Nephites were numbered among the Nephites;
15 And their curse was taken from them, and their skin became white like unto the Nephites;

Moses 7:22

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

21 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.
22 From this descent sprang all the Egyptians, and thus the blood of the Canaanites was preserved in the land.
23 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;
24 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.
27 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;

Joseph Smith: God created slavery and we should not oppose it

History of the Church, Vol.2, Ch.30, Pg.438

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.

After having expressed myself so freely upon this subject, I do not doubt, but those who have been forward in raising their voices against the South, will cry out against me as being uncharitable, unfeeling, unkind, and 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 the matter as the fact is uncontrovertible 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 being averse to 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 his brethren." "Blessed be the Lord God of Shem; and Canaan shall be his servant" (Gen. ix: 25, 26).

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 singular occurrence is not for me to say; but I can say, the curse is not yet taken off from the sons of Canaan, neither will be until it is affected by as great a power as caused it to come; and the people who interfere the least with the purposes of God in this matter, will come under the least condemnation before Him; and those who are determined to pursue a course, which shows an opposition, and a feverish restlessness against the decrees of the Lord, will learn, when perhaps it is too late for their own good, that God can do His own work, without the aid of those who are not dictated by His counsel.

I must not pass ever a notice of the history of Abraham, of whom so much is spoken in the Scripture. If we can credit the account, God conversed with him from time to time, and directed him in the way he should walk, saying, I am the Almighty; walk before me, and be thou perfect." Paul says the Gospel was preached to this man. And it is further said, that he had sheep and oxen, men-servants and maid-servants, etc. From this I conclude, that if the principle had been an evil one, in the midst of the communications made to this holy man, he would have been instructed to that effect, and if he was instructed against holding man-servants and maid-servants, he never ceased to do it; consequently must have incurred the displeasure of the Lord, and thereby lost His blessings; which was not the fact.

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 any time. But we can easily settle this pint, by turning to the history of Abraham's descendants, when governed by a law from the mouth of Jehovah 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 his former master, or employer; 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 abolitionists are not responsible.

Now, before proceeding any farther, I wish to ask one or two questions: Were the Apostles men of God, and did they preach the Gospel? I have no doubt that those who believe the Bible, will admit that they were; and that they also knew the mind and will of God concerning what they wrote to the churches, which they were instrumental in building up. This being admitted, the matter can be put to rest without much argument, if we look at a few items in the New Testament. Paul says: "Servants be obedient to them that are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in singleness of your heart, as unto Christ; not with eyeservice as men-pleasers; but as the servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart; with good will doing service, as to the Lord, and not to men' knowing that whatsoever good thing any man doeth, the same shall be received of the Lord, whether he be bound or free. And, ye masters, do the same things unto them, forbearing threatening: knowing that your Master also is in heaven: neither is there respect of persons with him" (Eph. vi: 5, 6, 7, 8, 9). Here is a lesson which might be profitable for all to learn; and the principle upon which the Church was anciently governed, is so plainly set forth, that an eye of truth might see and understand. Here certainly, are represented the master, and servant; and so far from instructions to the servant to leave his master, he is commanded to be in obedience, as unto the Lord; the master in turn, is required to treat him with kindness before God; understanding, at the same time, that he is to give an account. The hand of fellowship is not withdrawn from him in consequence of his having servants.

The same writer, in his first epistle to Timothy, the sixth chapter, and the first five verses, says,--"Let as many servants as are under the yoke count their own masters worthy of all honor, that the name of God and His doctrine be not blasphemed. And they that have believing masters, let them not despise them, because they are brethren: but rather do them service, because they are faithful and beloved, partakers of the benefit. These things teach and exhort. If any man teach otherwise, and consent not to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which is according to godliness; he is proud, knowing nothing, but doting about questions and strifes of words, whereof cometh envy, strife, railings, evil surmisings, Perverse disputing of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness' from such withdraw thyself." This is so perfectly plain, that I see no need of comment. The 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.

Before closing this communication, I beg leave to drop a word to the traveling Elders. You know, brethren, that great responsibility rests upon you; and that you are accountable to God, for all you teach the world. In my opinion, you will do well to search the Book of Covenants, in which you will see the belief of the Church, concerning masters and servants. All men are to be taught to repent; but we have no right to interfere with slaves, contrary to the mind and will of their masters. In fact it would be much better, and more prudent, not to preach at all to slaves, until after their masters are converted, and then teach the masters to use them with kindness: remembering that they are accountable to God, and the servants are bound to serve their masters with singleness of heart, without murmuring.

I do most sincerely hope that no one who is authorized from this Church to preach the Gospel, will so far depart from the Scriptures, as to be found stirring up strife and sedition against our brethren of the South. Having spoken frankly and freely, I leave all in the hands of God, who will direct all things for His glory, and the accomplishment of His work. Praying that God may spare you to do much good in this life, I subscribe myself your brother in the Lord, JOSEPH SMITH, JUN.

Mormons were expressly against the anti-slavery movement, and supported apartheid

History of the Church, Vol.3, Ch.3, Pg.29

Thirteenth--"Are the Mormons abolitionists?"

No, unless delivering the people from priestcraft, and the priests from the power of Satan, should be considered abolition. But we do not believe in setting the negroes free.

History of the Church, Vol.5, Ch.12, Pg.217

Elder Hyde inquired the situation of the negro. I replied, they came into the world slave tally and physically. Change their situation with the whites, and they would be like them. They have souls, and are subjects of salvation. Go into Cincinnati or any city, and find an educated negro, who rides in his carriage, and you will see a man who has risen by the powers of his own mind to his exalted state of respectability. The slaves in Washington are more refined than many in high places, and the black boys will take the shine of many of those they brush and wait on.

Had I anything to do with the negro, I would confine them by strict law to their own species, and put them on a national equalization.

A summary of Mormon scriptural teachings

Comprehensive History of the Church, Vol.2, Ch.47, Pg.128

SUBJECT MATTER OF THE BOOK OF ABRAHAM

This work 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.

Messenger and Advocate (Mar 1835) William Phelps "Letter No. 5," Pg.82

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?

Oliver Cowdery condemns the abolitionists

Messenger and Advocate (Apr 1836) Oliver Cowdery ed "Abolitionists," Pg.299

If those who run through the free states, exciting their indignation against our brothers of the South, feel so much sympathy and kindness towards the blacks, were to go to the souther states, where the alleged evil exists, and warn those who are guilty of these enormous crimes, to repent and turn from their wickedness, or would purchase the slaves and then set them at liberty, we should have no objections to this provided they would place them upon some other continent than ours. Then we should begin to believe they were acting honestly; but till something of this is manifested, we shall think otherwise.

Oliver Cowdery is disgusted at the idea of negroes mixing with white people

Messenger and Advocate (Apr 1836) Oliver Cowdery ed "Abolitionists," Pg.300

Where can be the common sense of any wishing to see the slaves of the south set at liberty, is past our comprehension. Such a thing could not take place without corrupting all civil and wholesome society, of both the north and the south! Let the blacks of the south be free, and our community is overrun with paupers, and a reckless mass of human beings, uncultivated, untaught and unaccustomed to provide for themselves the necessaries of life endangering the chastity of every female who might be chance be found in our streets -- our prisons filled with convicts, and the hang-man wearied with executing the functions of his office! This must unavoidably be the case, every rational man must admit, who have ever travelled in the slave states, or we must open our houses, unfold our arms, and bid these degraded and degrading sons of Canaan, a hearty welcome and a free admittance to all we possess! A society of this nature, to us, is so intolerably degrading, that the bare reflection causes our feelings to recoil, and our hearts to revolt.
...

The project of emancipation is destructive to our government, and the notion of amalgamation is devilish! And insensible to feeling must be the heart, and low indeed must be the mind, that would consent for a moment, to see his fair daughter, his sister, or perhaps, his bosom companion, in the embrace of a negro!

Brigham Young: negroes will not have the priesthood until after the resurrection

Journal of Discourses (JD), Vol.2, Pg.142 - Pg.143, Brigham Young, Dec., 3, 1854

We have this illustrated in the account of Cain and Abel. Cain conversed with his God every day, and knew all about the plan of creating this earth, for his father told him. But, for the want of humility, and through jealousy, and an anxiety to possess the kingdom, and to have the whole of it under his own control, and not allow any body else the right to say one word, what did he do? He killed his brother. The Lord put a mark on him; and there are some of his children in this room. When all the other children of Adam have had the privilege of receiving the Priesthood, and of coming into the kingdom of God, and of being redeemed from the four quarters of the earth, and have received their resurrection from the dead, then it will be time enough to remove the curse from Cain and his posterity. He deprived his brother of the privilege of pursuing his journey through life, and of extending his kingdom by multiplying upon the earth; and because he did this, he is the last to share the joys of the kingdom of God.

JD, Vol.2, Pg.184, Brigham Young, February 18, 1855

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.

JD, Vol.11, Pg.272, Brigham Young, August 19, 1866

Why are so many of the inhabitants of the earth cursed with a sin 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. 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. The volition of the creature is free; this is a law of their existence, and the Lord cannot violate his own law; were he to do that, he would cease to be God. He has placed life and death before his children, and it is for them to choose. If they choose life, they receive the blessings of life; if they chose death, they must abide the penalty. This is a law which has always existed from all eternity, and will continue to exist throughout all the eternities to come.

Apostle (later president) George Albert Smith condemns those who try to free the slaves

JD, Vol.3, Pg.30, George Albert Smith, September 23, 1855

For the last hundred years, philanthropists, who were ignorant of the order of God--of the irrevocable decrees of the Almighty--have exerted themselves vigorously to thwart the purposes of the Almighty, in trying to remove the curse of servitude from the descendants of Canaan; but their endeavors are vain and useless; it is labor lost, and answers no end, only so far as it serves to multiply the difficulties and perplexities which are rising in this generation, to bring about the great destruction of corruption and wickedness from the earth; in this way it all indirectly has designed they shall hold that position, it is worse than useless for any man or set of men, to undertake to put them in a position to rule.

The Lord conferred portions of the Priesthood upon certain races of men, and through promises made to their fathers they were entitled to the rights, and blessings, and privileges of that Priesthood. Other races, in consequence of their corruptions, their murders, their wickedness, or the wickedness of their fathers, had the Priesthood taken from them, and the curse that was upon them was decreed should descend upon their posterity after them, it was decreed that they should not bear rule.

In looking abroad on the earth and seeing the effects produced upon different races of men, it will be plainly discovered that there are races who have never been permitted to bear rule to any great extent.

Apostle Amasa M. Lyman: "the negro baboon"

JD, Vol.3, Pg.173, Amasa M. Lyman, December 9, 1855

Men here stick up their noses, and complain because they are required to be subject to counsel. Says one, "I know enough to attend to my own business; I don't wish any man to manage for me, I cannot endure it; I am too independent." Now you poor independent soul: you that are too independent to learn the truth; to be taught your duty; what independence have you got?
...

Still he says, he is independent. If he is, let him live alone; and when he has lived alone six months, he will be apt to come to his senses, if he has bread enough to keep him until then.
...

At the end of that time he would be wishing for the society of the negro baboon, or anything at all like the human form. He would hunger and thirst for an association with his fellow being; he would find himself wretched without it, and he would exclaim like Nebuchadnezzar in the bitterness of his soul, "God is great and good."

Apostle Ezra T. Benson: don't try to free the negroes, let God do it

JD, Vol.6, Pg.180, Ezra T. Benson, January 24, 1858

"Well," said he, "do not you believe in freeing the negroes?"

I answered, "No; the Lord will do that."

"Ah," said he, "the Mormons do believe in slavery; for they permit men to bring their slaves into their Territory."

I them went on to show him our views upon the subject; but I could see my remarks did not satisfy the people.

Brigham Young: low races are cursed with black skin and flat nose

JD, Vol.7, Pg.290 - Pg.291, Brigham Young, October 9, 1859

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.

Brigham Young: the penalty for mixing blood with the black race is death on the spot, and will always be so.

JD, Vol.10, Pg.109, Brigham Young, March 8, 1863

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. The nations of the earth have transgressed every law that God has given, they have changed the ordinances and broken every covenant made with the fathers, and they are like a hungry man that dreameth that he eateth, and he awaketh and behold he is empty.

Brigham Young: God has decreed that black should be the servants of whites, so the Civil War will not free the slaves

JD, Vol.10, Pg.250, Brigham Young, October 6, 1863 [during the Civil War]

Ham will continue to be the servant of servants, as the Lord has decreed, until the curse is removed. Will the present struggle free the slave? No; but they are now wasting away the black race by thousands. Many of the blacks are treated worse than we treat our dumb brutes; and men will be called to judgment for the way they have treated the negro, and they will receive the condemnation of a guilty conscience, by the just Judge whose attributes are justice and truth.

Treat the slaves kindly and let them live, for Ham must be the servant of servants until the curse is removed. Can you destroy the decrees of the Almighty? You cannot. Yet our Christian brethren think that they are going to overthrow the sentence of the Almighty upon the seed of Ham. They cannot do that, though they may kill them by thousands and tens of thousands.

A summary from the church newspaper: black skin and black heart prove the prophecies are fulfilled, and abolitonists won't be able to change it

Times and Seasons, Vol.6, Pg.857

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.

John Taylor (third President of the Church): a black man survived Noah's flood so that Satan would always have representatives on earth

JD, Vol.22, Pg.304, John Taylor, August 28, 1881

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.

JD, Vol.23, Pg.336, John Taylor, October 29th, 1882

He needed the devil and a great many of those who do his bidding just to keep men straight, that we may learn to place our dependence upon God, and trust in Him, and to observe his laws and keep his commandments. When he destroyed the inhabitants of the antediluvian world, he suffered a descendant of Cain to come through the flood in order that he might be properly represented upon the earth.

Wilford Woodruff (fourth President of the Church): the curse of Cain is visible to the whole human family

Collected Discourses (CD), Vol.1, Wilford Woodruff, April 7, 1889

What was that mark? It was a mark of blackness. That mark rested upon Cain and descended upon his posterity from that time until the present. Today there are millions of the descendants of Cain, through the linage of Ham, in the world, and that mark of darkness still rests upon them. Though nearly six thousand years have passed and gone, this mark is visible to the whole human family. Yet the fool and the infidel say there is no God, and they ridicule the Bible.
...

The Lamanites, on this continent, suffered a similar experience. They went to war against the Nephites; they thirsted for blood, and they painted themselves red; and the Lord put a curse of redness upon them. Hundreds of years have passed since then, but wherever you meet the Lamanites today, you see that mark upon them.

Conclusion

The early church was racist, and Mormon scripture is still racist (saying that bad races are cursed with black skins). We cannot simply say "those were the normal beliefs of the time" because the church actively opposed those who tried to stop slavery. The church was not neutral. It was pulling in the wrong direction.

 

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