Blacks & The Mormon Priesthood

Blacks Mormon Priesthood - Mormon Doctrine Studies - Posted: 20th Aug, 2003 - 3:05pm

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Best of  Blacks & Mormon Priesthood Controversial Mormon Issue.
Post Date: 18th Aug, 2003 - 10:31am / Post ID: #


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Blacks & The Mormon Priesthood

The Church has not given much on the reasons behind the blacks not being able to hold the Priesthood before Pres. Kimball bothered the Lord for authorization to announce that all worthy men can have the Priesthood. Here are some points to consider:

-- From ancient times the Priesthood was held only by the Prophet (Melichezedek Priesthood)
-- Even Aaronic (Levitical Priesthood) could only be held by a Levite thus not all Jews could have it
-- In Christ's time he only gave the power to his Jewish disciples
-- Black men did have the Priesthood in the time of Joseph, or at least some of them
-- How did it stop? Who stopped it?

What are your thoughts and feelings on the subject?

Attached Image QUOTE
My name is Darrick Evenson. I was a Mormon from 1979 until 1996, when I resigned from the Church. I am currently a Daheshist, a follower of Doctor Dahesh (1909~1984), the miracle-working Prophet of Lebanon. I am neither pro-Mormon, nor am I anti-Mormon. I sacrificed many years of my life, as a believing Mormon, in researching the Church's teachings and policies regarding people of black African descent. These past teachings and policies are known collectively as "The Curse of Cain Legacy". I am not black. I am mostly of Northern European descent, with some Cherokee (American Indian) ancestry. I did this research in my attempt, as a True Believing Mormon (TBM), to defend the Church, and to answer all anti-Mormon claims. I published a book defending the Church, called The Gainsayers, in 1989. That book sold in LDS bookstores for over a decade, and was a faviorte of many Mormon missionaries serving in the U.S, and Canada in the 1990s. If you want to know why I resigned from the Church, and why I became a Daheshist, then you can find my story in a link at the bottom of this page. This website is neither pro-Mormon nor anti-Mormon, but contains the most fair, balanced, and accurate information about the Mormon Church and Black Folks that can be found anywhere.
THE CHURCH OF JESUS CHRIST OF LATTER~DAY SAINTS, commonly known as "The Mormon Church" Or "The LDS Church", has about 14 million Members all across the world. Today (2012) there are about 400,000 Black Mormons in the world; the great majority in Africa, but tens of thousands in Brazil, the Caribbean, and the United States. There have been Black Mormons since 1832, although their numbers have been very small until recent decades. Green Flake, a Black Mormon, led the first group of white and black Mormon pioneers into Salt Lake Valley in 1847. Fort Union Utah was originally a Black Mormon settlement. The first African-American police detective, Vernon Howell, was a Black Mormon. Black Mormon history was "Forgotten" For over 100 years, but is now entering a new era of interest. There are now (2013) about 400,000 black Mormons in the world, and they have stories to tell. The stories of faithful black Mormons of the past, such as Elijah Abels, Green Flake, and others, are beginning to be published.
MISinformation About Mormons in the African-American Community
There is much MISinformation about Mormons and the Mormon Faith in the African-American Community. Many in that community believe Mormons are "Racist" Or "Don't like black folks" Etc. Here are some popular false rumors about Mormons in the African-American Community:
*Mormons are racists (False today, but most Mormons were moderately racist 50 to 100 years ago when most white Americans were also moderately racist)
*Mormons hate black folks (False...never true)
*Mormons filled the Ku Klux Klan (False..the Church openly opposed the KKK from its beginnings)
*Mormons believe that black folks are the children of Devil (False...the Church NEVER taught that, and has always taught that black people were the literal spirit-sons and spirit-daughters of God)
*Mormons believe that black people are under a curse of God called "The Curse of Cain" (True at one time, from 1848 to 1978, but not true today)
Because of the widespread misinformation about Mormons in the African-American Community, this article was written. This article is not copyrighted. Anyone may reproduce it in any form, edited or unedited.
Joseph Smith~Advocate for the Black People
Joseph Smith, founder of the Mormon Church, was very pro-black; especially in the 1840s. He never taught that "Negroes" Were inferior, nor that they were cursed. He welcomed them into the Church. He did not ban them. He approved of them being ordained to the Priesthood. In 1843, Joseph Smith ran for the Presidency of the United States under the "Mormon Reform Party" Ticket. He called for blacks to be freed, educated, and given equal rights. Joseph Smith was killed by an anti-Mormon mob in Carthage, Illinois, in 1844.
After the death of Joseph Smith many claimed to be his successor. Most Mormons followed Brigham Young to Utah. Some eventually followed Joseph Smith III, the son of Joseph Smith, and founded the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (The "RLDS Church" Now called "Community of Christ"). The RLDS Church ("Community of Christ") never banned blacks, nor did they teach the Curse of Cain Doctrine. "Community of Christ" Is now a Liberal denomination which has ordained women to its Priesthood, and also allows non-celibate homosexuals as members and Church leaders.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, also called "The Mormon Church" Or "The LDS Church", headquartered in Salt Lake City, Utah, taught the Curse of Cain doctrine until 1978, and banned blacks from its priesthood and temples until 1978.

Sourcel
Site about Black Mormons

Image from Dorne public domain.



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Post Date: 18th Aug, 2003 - 3:57pm / Post ID: #


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Priesthood Mormon and Blacks

I found this interesting information in a web site about LDS history:

QUOTE
"After Joseph Smith's death a policy developed which prevented black men from holding certain church positions open to men of all other races.  Black men and women were also excluded from receiving temple ordinances.

Like most Northerners, early Latter-day Saints opposed slavery.  At least two black men Elijah Abel and Walker Lewis were ordained during Joseph Smith's lifetime.

Religious discrimination can nonetheless be traced to Smith's early statements.  In 1841 he said that biblical Ham had been cursed with a dark skin by his father Noah and that this curse continued to the "posterity of Canaan." The next year he identified "negroes" as "sons of Cain." In May 1844 just before his death, he declared, "Africa, from the curse of God has lost the use of her limbs."23 Such rhetoric was not unique to Mormons.  Southerners also linked blacks with Ham and Canaan as did Northerners who argued against abolition.

After Smith's death in 1844, Mormon opinions about blacks became more prejudiced.  A church newspaper, the Times and Seasons, reiterated Smith's statement in 1845 that blacks were "the descendants of Ham." Apostle Orson Hyde subsequently wrote that blacks "did not take an active part on either side" in a pre-earth life conflict between Satan and a pre-mortal Jesus.

Anglo spirits, according to Hyde, supported Jesus, while those who sided with Satan were denied an earth existence.  By the time Mormons had reached Winter Quarters, Nebraska, on their way west, Apostle Parley P.  Pratt could declare that William McCary, a self-proclaimed prophet, had "the blood of Ham in him which linege [sic] was cursed as regard [to] the priesthood."

These 1840s statements shaped Mormon views.  No blacks were ordained after that period although previous ordinations were not rescinded.  Although Elijah Abel was a faithful member the rest of his life, he was not allowed to receive temple blessings. 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.

In 1887 Apostle George Q.  Cannon asserted that "the Prophet Joseph Smith taught this doctrine: That the seed of Cain could not receive the priesthood nor act in any of the offices of the priesthood." In 1904 Joseph F.  Smith, then church president, assumed the policy had come from Joseph Smith and, four years later, claimed that Abel's priesthood "ordination was declared null and void by the Prophet himself' because of his "blackness."28 In fact, Abel had participated in the Third Quorum of Seventies up until 1883.  Joseph F.  Smith himself had even ordained Abel to go on a mission in 1884, a mission Abel was unable to complete because of illness.

The First Presidency did not issue an official public statement of priesthood denial until 1949: "The attitude of the church with reference to the 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."


Source 9

I found a quote from Pres. Joseph Fielding Smith, you can express your thoughts about it too:

QUOTE
"There is a reason why one man is born black and with other disadvantages, while another is born white with great advantage. The reason is that we once had an estate before we came here, and were obedient, more or less, to the laws that were given us there. Those who were faithful in all things there received greater blessings here, and those who were not faithful received less.... There were no neutrals in the war in heaven. All took sides either with Christ or with Satan. Every man had his agency there, and men receive rewards here based upon their actions there, just as they will receive rewards hereafter for deeds done in the body. The Negro, evidently, is receiving the reward he merits." -Joseph Fielding Smith, Doctrines of Salvation, Vol.1, pages 66-67 "



Post Date: 19th Aug, 2003 - 12:52am / Post ID: #


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Blacks & The Mormon Priesthood Studies Doctrine Mormon

When I was in my early teens I wrote the First Presidency about this. They replied with a referrence to Abraham 3:27 and said that they did not know why the Lord had done so. This substantiates:

QUOTE
Religious discrimination can nonetheless be traced to Smith's early statements.  In 1841 he said that biblical Ham had been cursed with a dark skin by his father Noah and that this curse continued to the "posterity of Canaan."


Another question to ask is this race specific or skin specific? In other words would a worthy male of Asian or Indian or Hispanic descent have been able to hold the priesthood before Pres. Kimball's revelation?



Post Date: 20th Aug, 2003 - 1:50am / Post ID: #

Melodilynn
Blacks & The Mormon Priesthood
A Friend

Priesthood Mormon and Blacks


QUOTE
Another question to ask is this race specific or skin specific? In other words would a worthy male of Asian or Indian or Hispanic descent have been able to hold the priesthood before Pres. Kimball's revelation?


I tend to think it was race specific, but I don't know what race it was limited to.  I do know that Asians, Indians and Hispanics all were allowed to hold the priesthood before Pres. Kimball's revelation because I can remember it.

I was 18 when Pres. Kimball had his revelation.  I remember before that being taught that mostly it was the black race, meaning the blacks from Africa, that could not hold the priesthood.  However, I haven't been exposed to very many people of other races who have black skin such as Jamaicans, so I couldn't say if they were allowed to or not.

I just did a quick search on my Gospel Link CD and came up with the following from Danial H. Ludlow in the book Encyclopedia of Mormonism P. 789

"No event in the twentieth-century Church matched the excitement attending President Kimball's announcement of receiving a revelation on priesthood in 1978, ending more than a century of limitation on admission of Church members of black African ancestry (see -->Blacks) to priesthood office and temple ordinances. "

Also from Daniel H. Ludlow in the book Encyclopedia of Mormonism p. 22:

"The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has been a presence in Africa since 1853, but for the first 125 years it was established only in southern Africa. Applications by the Church for admittance into central Africa in the 1960s were denied, but those in 1978 were approved, and growth of the Church there has been impressive.From 1853 until 1978 most of the work of the Church in Africa was with European immigrants and their descendants in South Africa and in Northern and Southern Rhodesia (now Zambia and Zimbabwe, respectively). In June 1978, when the First Presidency announced the revelation extending the priesthood to all worthy male members of the Church, the way was opened for the Church to extend its full program to all the nations of Africa "

From these two sources it seems to be strongly suggested that the restrictions were placed on blacks of African descent.  While I don't know that for sure, that sure does seem to be what is being suggested in what I've found so far.

I do remember when the priesthood was extended to all worthy males.  I was single at the time and dating.  One of my first questions was... Is it now ok to date black boys since now they can take me to the temple?  I was told that it was still not advisable because of the problems of mixed raced marriages.  Of course, this was back in 1978 and things are different now.  I wonder what they are advising the young women now?

Post Date: 20th Aug, 2003 - 1:57am / Post ID: #


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Priesthood Mormon and Blacks

QUOTE
I do remember when the priesthood was extended to all worthy males.  I was single at the time and dating.  One of my first questions was... Is it now ok to date black boys since now they can take me to the temple?  I was told that it was still not advisable because of the problems of mixed raced marriages.  Of course, this was back in 1978 and things are different now.

Thanks for your research. What you bring up there is interesting since this restriction before Kimball's revelation would have been a 'stop' on a 'white' or non-African Sister in the Church from marrying a person of African decent because she would not have the blessing of being sealed in the temple. I wonder how African men felt at that time?

QUOTE
I wonder what they are advising the young women now?

Advising them about? You mean marrying into various races or specifically African? I do know their are many quotes about staying within own race and culture so there are no added 'burdens' in marriage, but of course this is not any rule or law, just counsel.



Post Date: 20th Aug, 2003 - 2:24am / Post ID: #

Melodilynn
Blacks & The Mormon Priesthood
A Friend

Blacks & The Mormon Priesthood


QUOTE

I wonder how African men felt at that time?


I can't speak for African men, but I can speak for attitudes of the time.  Things were different then.  Racism was still fairly prevelant though that was starting to go away thanks to the efforts of many.  Still, most of society, not just the LDS church, frowned on interracial marriages.  It was quite a novelty back then.   We are talking about a time when equality among the races was still a fairly new idea and it didn't catch on very quickly.  

All that said, I would guess that most African men at the time weren't interested in becoming involved with Caucasian women, and most Caucasian women weren't interested in becoming involved with men of African descent.  Of course, there were exceptions, but generally this was the case.  Times sure have changed, haven't they? :)

QUOTE

Advising them about? You mean marrying into various races or specifically African? I do know their are many quotes about staying within own race and culture so there are no added 'burdens' in marriage, but of course this is not any rule or law, just counsel.


Yes, I mean interracial marriages.  I had a friend when I was 14 who was interested in a boy who was Hispanic.  Her father, who was the bishop, discouraged her from pursuing the relationship telling her that it wasn't a good idea for a while girl to get involved with a Hispanic... so I guess the counsel didn't only involve white girls marrying black men, but was for all interracial marriages.

Sounds like the counsel is still the same now, though I have a good friend who white and is married to a black man.  Both are active members of the church.   Nothing has been said to her about the situation, so while it may be advised to avoid interracial marriages, nothing is done once it happens.  But then, in our ward alone we have marriages between white women and hispanic, tongan and asian men.  That's another reason why I wondered if the counsel against interracial marriage had changed a bit.  All of these couples are quite a bit younger than me, so they may have been taught differently while going through YW.

Post Date: 20th Aug, 2003 - 2:47am / Post ID: #


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Blacks & Mormon Priesthood

Thanks for sharing that. It would be good to have a person of African origin to express how it felt during that period before Kimball's revelation.

Now going back to the meat of the subject:

QUOTE
The First Presidency did not issue an official public statement of priesthood denial until 1949: "The attitude of the church with reference to the 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."

Further study will now need to focus into what need there would be to curse an entire race for such a length of time, but really we cannot study it because the Brethren have already told us that no explanation has been given. However we can review what the Lord has done to others for generations. For instance in many cases in the Old Testament the Lord cursed a people until a fourth generation. In the Book of Mormon he cursed the Lamanites that the Nephites would not follow after them. So this light darkened skin is somehow supposed to be unappealing? Something that just came to mind... what if a person was mixed before the revelation? What if they had blue eyes, blonde hair and white skin, but the person's grandmother was African, would they have been denied the Priesthood? The reason I ask is to know how strict this was enforced.



Post Date: 20th Aug, 2003 - 3:05pm / Post ID: #


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Blacks & Mormon Priesthood

That's a tough question to answer JB. I don't have idea how tough or strict it was...because I know many black males who are very fair skin and even have green eyes and you will not think they're 'blacks' but their parents are...so I really don't know what to say...I will research more and see what can I find. :)



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