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The Mormon church has a long history of institutionalized racism.

Racism in Mormon scriptures ^

Mormon scripture places an emphasis on skin color. White skin is considered delightsome and dark skin a curse from God.
Book of Mormon 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.
2 Nephi 5:21

And then shall they rejoice; for they shall know that it is a blessing unto them from the hand of God; and their scales of darkness shall begin to fall from their eyes; and many generations shall not pass away among them, save they shall be a *white and a delightsome people.
2 Nephi 30:6
*Note: "white" was changed to "pure" in 1981

O my brethren, I fear that unless ye shall repent of your sins that their skins will be whiter than yours, when ye shall be brought with them before the throne of God. Wherefore, a commandment I give unto you, which is the word of God, that ye revile no more against them because of the darkness of their skins; neither shall ye revile against them because of their filthiness; but ye shall remember your own filthiness, and remember that their filthiness came because of their fathers.
Jacob 3:8-9

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.
Alma 3:6

And their curse was taken from them, and their skin became white like unto the Nephites.
3 Nephi 2:15

And also that the seed of this people may more fully believe his gospel, which shall go forth unto them from the Gentiles; for this people shall be scattered, and shall become a dark, a filthy, and a loathsome people, beyond the description of that which ever hath been amongst us, yea, even that which hath been among the Lamanites, and this because of their unbelief and idolatry.
Mormon 5:15
Pearl of Great Price For behold, the Lord shall curse the land with much heat, and the barrenness thereof shall go forth forever; and there was a blackness came upon all the children of Canaan, that they were despised among all people.
Moses 7:8

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.
Moses 7:22

Blacks denied the Mormon priesthood ^

Mormons are taught that Cain's mark in Genesis 4:15 is the result of God cursing him with dark skin, making Cain the first black man.
  • Since Cain lived before Noah's flood, a Mormon authority explains how blacks survived it:

    Bruce R. McConkie As a result of his rebellion, Cain was cursed with a dark skin; he became the father of the Negroes, and those spirits who are not worthy to receive the priesthood are born through this lineage...

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

    Bruce R. McConkie - Mormon apostle
    Mormon Doctrine, p.102,477
    *Note: The Bible and Book of Mormon do not mention Egyptus.
    This explanation is derived from the Book of Abraham, which also denies the priesthood to the descendents of Ham:
    Pearl of Great Price 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.
    Abraham 1:21-24,27
  • Additional statements from general authorities:
    Joseph Smith In the evening debated with John C. Bennett and others to show that the Indians have greater cause to complain of the treatment of the whites, than the Negroes, or sons of Cain.

    Joseph Smith - Mormonism founder
    History of the Church 4:501
    Brigham Young You see some classes of the human family that are black, uncouth, un-comely, 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.

    Brigham Young - Mormon prophet
    Journal of Discourses 7:290
    Wilford Woodruff 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 descendants of Cain, through the lineage of Ham, in the world, and that mark of darkness still rests upon them.

    Wilford Woodruff - Mormon prophet
    Discourse delivered at the General Conference, April 7, 1889
    Millennial Star 51:339
    Erastus Snow ...the offspring of Ham inherited a curse, and it was because, as a revelation teaches, some of the blood of Cain became mingled with that of Ham's family, and hence they inherited that curse.

    Erastus Snow - Mormon apostle
    Journal of Discourses 21:370
    George F. Richards The negro is an unfortunate man. He has been given a black skin... But that is as nothing compared with that greater handicap that he is not permitted to receive the Priesthood and the ordinances of the temple, necessary to prepare men and women to enter into and enjoy a fulness of glory in the celestial kingdom.

    George F. Richards - Mormon apostle
    Conference Report, April 1939
    George Albert Smith From the days of the Prophet Joseph even until now, it has been the doctrine of the Church, never questioned by any of the Church leaders, that the Negros are not entitled to the full blessings of the Gospel.
    Joseph Fielding Smith Not only was Cain called upon to suffer, but because of his wickedness he became the father of an inferior race... (p.101)

    Ham, through Egyptus, continued the curse which was placed upon the seed of Cain. Because of that curse this dark race was separated and isolated from all the rest of Adam's posterity before the flood, and since that time the same condition has continued, and they have been 'despised among all people.' This doctrine did not originate with President Brigham Young but was taught by the Prophet Joseph Smith... we all know it is due to his teachings that the negro today is barred from the Priesthood. (p.110-111)

    Joseph Fielding Smith - Mormon prophet
    The Way to Perfection
  • For over 120 years the Mormon church denied blacks its priesthood.
  • On June 8, 1978, Spencer W. Kimball, the twelfth Mormon prophet, publically announced that he had received a "revelation" to lift the ban on blacks. While the announcement, Official Declaration 2, is now part of the LDS canon, the revelation itself has never been published.

Opposition to abolishing slavery ^

Statements from general authorities and official church publications:
Joseph Smith Q: 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.

Joseph Smith - Mormonism founder
History of the Church 3:29
Joseph Smith ...and rebellious niggers in the slave states.

Joseph Smith - Mormonism founder
Millennial Star 22:602
Brigham Young 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.

Brigham Young - Mormon prophet
Journal of Discourses 7:290
Joseph Smith 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 member of the Church.

Joseph Smith - Mormonism founder
History of the Church, 1:378-379
The descendents 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 periodical, Times and Seasons 6:857

  • Horace Greeley
    Horace Greeley was an abolitionist, a Republican, and the editor of the New York Tribune. During a visit to Salt Lake City in 1859, he interviewed Brigham Young, the president of the LDS church. The following is an excerpt from the interview and comments related to Greeley's visit.
    Brigham Young Greeley: What is the position of your church with respect to slavery?

    Young: We consider it a divine institution, and not be abolished until the curse pronounced on Ham shall have been removed from his descendents.

    Greeley: Are any slaves now held in this [Utah] territory?

    Young: There are.

    Greeley: Do your territorial laws uphold slavery?

    Young: Those laws are printed—you can read for yourself. If slaves are brought here by those who owned them in the states, we do not favor their escape from the service of those owners.
    B. H. Roberts Mr. Greeley was disappointed in the lack of abolition sentiment in Salt Lake City.

    B.H. Roberts - Mormon apostle and LDS church historian
    Comprehensive History of the Church 4:533
    John Taylor This Greeley is one of their popular characters in the East, and one that supports the stealing of Niggers...

    John Taylor - Mormon prophet
    Journal of Discourses 5:119
    Brigham Young The rank, rabid abolitionists, whom I call black-hearted Republicans, have set the whole national fabric on fire.

    Brigham Young - Mormon prophet
    Journal of Discourses 10:110

Opposition to the Civil Rights Movement ^

Statements from general authorities.
Mark E. Petersen The discussion on civil rights, especially over the last twenty years has drawn some very sharp lines. It has blinded the thinking of some of our own people, I believe. They have allowed their political affiliations to color their thinking to some extent, and then, of course, they have been persuaded, by some of the arguments that have been put forth...

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

I think the Lord segregated the Negro and who is man to change that segregation? It reminds me of the scripture on marriage, "what God hath joined together, let no man put asunder." Only here we have the reverse of the thing—what God hath separated, let no man bring together again.

Mark E. Petersen - Mormon apostle
Race Problems - As They Affect The Church [PDF]
Ezra Benson What are we doing to fight it? Before I left for Europe I warned how the communists were using the civil rights movement to promote revolution and eventual takeover of this country. When are we going to wake up? What do you know about the dangerous civil rights agitation in Mississippi! do you fear the destruction of all vestiges of state government?

Now brethren, the Lord never promised there would not be traitors in the Church. We have the ignorant, the sleepy and the deceived who provide temptations and avenues of apostasy for the unwary and the unfaithful, but we have a prophet at our head and he has spoken. Now what are we going to do about it?

Do Homework

Brethren, if we had done our homework and were faithful we could step forward at this time and help save this country.

Ezra Taft Benson - Mormon prophet
135th Annual Conference
Note: the words in red were omitted from this speech when reprinted in the Improvement Era, June 1965, p.539

Opposition to Interracial Marriage ^

Statements from general authorities.
Brigham Young 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.

Brigham Young - Mormon prophet
Journal of Discourses 10:110
Wilford Woodruff And if any man mingle his seed with the seed of Cain the only way he could get rid of it or have Salvation would be to come forward and have his head cut off and spill his blood upon the ground—it would also take the life of his children

Wilford Woodruff - Mormon prophet
Personal diary 4:97
Mark E. Petersen From this and other interviews I have read, it appears that the Negro seeks absorption with the white race. He will not be satisfied until he achieves it by intermarriage. This is his objective and we must face it...

...the Negroes we have the definite word of the Lord himself that He placed a dark skin upon them: as a curse—as a sign to all others. He forbade inter-marriage with them under threat of extension of the curse...

Now what is our policy in regard to intermarriage? As to the Negro, of course, there is only one possible answer. We must not intermarry with the Negro...

What is our advice with respect to intermarriage with Chinese, Japanese, Hawaiians and so on? I will tell you what advice I give personally. If a boy or girl comes to me claiming to be in love with a Chinese or Japanese or a Hawaiian or a person of any other dark race, I do my best to talk them out of it... I teach against inter-marriage of all kinds.

Mark E. Petersen - Mormon apostle
Race Problems - As They Affect The Church [PDF]

Christianity ^

  • God instructed the Apostle Peter to regard no man as unclean and that He is not a respecter of persons:
    Holy Bible And he said unto them, Ye know how that it is an unlawful thing for a man that is a Jew to keep company, or come unto one of another nation; but God hath shewed me that I should not call any man common or unclean.
    — Acts 10:28

    Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons.
    — Acts 10:34
  • Niger, a likely African, was a recognized prophet/teacher:
    Holy Bible Now there were in the church that was at Antioch certain prophets and teachers; as Barnabas, and Simeon that was called Niger, and Lucius of Cyrene, and Manaen, which had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch, and Saul.
    — Acts 13:1
  • Philip baptizes an Ethiopian:
    Holy Bible And the angel of the Lord spake unto Philip, saying, Arise, and go toward the south unto the way that goeth down from Jerusalem unto Gaza, which is desert. And he arose and went: and, behold, a man of Ethiopia, an eunuch of great authority under Candace queen of the Ethiopians, who had the charge of all her treasure, and had come to Jerusalem for to worship, And as they went on their way, they came unto a certain water: and the eunuch said, See, here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized? And he commanded the chariot to stand still: and they went down both into the water, both Philip and the eunuch; and he baptized him.
    — Acts 8:26-38