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Quotes on Race by the Church

Book of Mormon Teachings

"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

"Behold the Lamanites your brethren, whom ye hate because of their filthiness and the cursing which hath come upon their skins" Jacob 3:5

"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 before the throne of God." Jacob 3:8

"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 were just and holy men . . . and the Lord God set a mark upon them, yea, upon Laman and Lemuel, and also the sons of Ishmael, and Ishmaelitish women." Alma 3:6

"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" Moroni 5:15

19th Century Teachings

"You may inquire of the intelligent of the world whether they can tell why the aborigines of this country are dark, loathsome, ignorant, and sunken into the depths of degradation; and they cannot tell. I can tell you in a few words: They are the seed of Joseph, and belong to the household of God; and he will afflict them in this world, and save every one of them hereafter, even though they previously go into hell. When the Lord has a people, he makes covenants with them and gives unto them promises: then, if they transgress his law, change his ordinances, and break the covenants he has made with them, he will put a mark upon them, as in the case of the Lamanites and other portions of the house of Israel; but by-and-by they will become a white and delightsome people" Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, Volume 7, p. 336

"Cain slew his brother . . . and the Lord put a mark upon him, which is the flat nose and black skin. . . . 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." Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, Volume 7, pp. 290-291

"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" Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, Volume 2, p. 143

"The Lamanites or Indians are just as much the children of our Father and God as we are. So also are the Africans. But we are also the children of adoption through obedience to the Gospel of his Son. Why are so many of the inhabitants of the earth cursed with a s[k]in 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" Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, Volume 11, p. 272

"[T]he curse remained upon them because Cain cut off the lives [sic] of Abel to prevent him and his posterity getting ascendancy over Cain and his generations, and to get the lead himself, his own offering not being accepted of God, while Abel's was. But the Lord cursed Cain's seed with blackness and prohibited them the priesthood, that Abel and his progeny might yet come forward, and have their dominion, place, and blessings in their proper relationship with Cain and his race in the world to come." Newell G. Bringhurst Elijah Abel and the Changing Status of Blacks Within Mormonism, Brigham Young quoted, Dialogue, Volume 12, Summer 1979, p. 26

"The Lord said I will not kill Cane But I will put a mark upon him and it is seen in the [face?] of every Negro on the Earth And it is the decree of God that that mark shall remain upon the seed of Cane & the Curse untill all the seed of Abel should be re[deem?]ed and Cane will not receive the priesthood until or salvation untill all the seed of Abel are Redeemed. Any man having one drop of the seed of Cain in him Cannot hold the priesthood & if no other Prophet ever spake it Before I will say it now in the name of Jesus Christ. . . .Let me consent to day to mingle my seed with the seed of Cane. It would Bring the same curse upon me . . . And if any man mingles his seed with the seed of Cane the ownly way he could get rid of it or have salvation would be to Come forward & have his head Cut off & spill his Blood upon the ground. It would also take the life of his Children. . . ." Address by Brigham Young, as recorded in Wilford Woodruff's Journal, 1833–1898

"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, Journal of Discourses, Volume 10, p. 110

"We will first inquire into the results of the approbation or displeasure of God upon a people, starting with the belief that a black skin is a mark of the curse of Heaven placed upon some portions of mankind. . . . We understand that when God made man in his own image and pronounced him very good, that he made him white. We have no record of any of God's favored servants being of a black race. . . .When God cursed Cain for murdering his brother Abel, He set a mark upon him that all meeting him might know him. . . . After the flood this curse fell upon the seed of Shem, through the sin of their father, and his descendants bear it to this day. . . ." Juvenile Instructor, October 15, 1868, p. 157

"Why is it, in fact, that we should have a devil? Why did not the Lord kill him long ago? . . . He needed the devil and great many of those who do his bidding just to keep . . . our dependence upon God, . . . When he destroyed the inhabitants of the antediluvian world, he suffered a descendant of Cain to come through the flood in order that he [the devil] might be properly represented upon the earth." John Taylor, Journal of Discourses, Volume 23, October 1882, p. 336

"Now I want to prophecy a little. . . . I want to prophecy that all men and women who oppose the revelation which God has given in relation to polygamy will find themselves in darkness; . . .Now, if you want to get into darkness, brethren and sisters, begin to oppose this revelation. Sisters, you begin to say before your husbands, or husbands you begin to say before your wives, "I do not believe in the principle of polygamy, and I intend to instruct my children against it." Oppose it in this way, and teach your children to do the same, and if you do not become as dark as midnight there is no truth in Mormonism" Orson Pratt, Journal of Discourses, Volume 17, p. 225

20th Century Teachings (pre-1978)

"I may say it is the universal opinion that the native American race is doomed to extinction; and, in fact, that it is now on the high way to that finality. Against such general opinion, however, the Book of Mormon utters the surprising declaration not only that the American race shall not become extinct, but that fallen as its fortunes are, and degraded as it is, yet shall it become, and that before many generations pass away, "a white and delightsome people!" Than this declaration I can think of nothing more boldly prophetic, nor of any inspired utterance which so squarely sets itself against all that is accepted as the probabilities in the case. But with complete confidence we await the time of the fulfillment of God's decree; of its signal triumph over the opinions of men." B.H Roberts, New Witnesses for God, Desert News, 1909, Volume 3, p. 291

The negroes are not equal with other races where the receipt of certain spiritual blessings are concerned, particularly the priesthood and the temple blessings that flow therefrom, but this inequality is not of man's origin. it is the Lord's doing, is based on his eternal laws [528] of justice, and grows out of the lack of spiritual valiance of those concerned in their first estate." Bruce R. McConkie, Mormon Doctrine, 2nd edition, pp. 527-528.

"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." Statement of the first presidency of the Church, August 17, 1949

"I saw a striking contrast in the progress of the Indian people . . . they are fast becoming a white and delightsome people. . . . For years they have been growing delightsome, and they are now becoming white and delightsome, as they were promised . . . The children in the home placement program in Utah are often lighter than their brothers and sisters in the hogans on the reservation." Spencer W. Kimball, Improvement Era, December 1960, pp. 922-23

"We cannot escape the conclusion that because of performance in our pre-existence some of us are born as Chinese, some as Japanese, some as Indians, some as Negroes, some Americans, some as Latter-day Saints. These are rewards and punishments . . . Is it not reasonable to believe that less worthy spirits would come through less favored lineage? . . ." Mark E. Peterson, Convention of Teachers of Religion at Brigham Young University, 1954

"There is a reason why one man is born black and with other disadvantages, while another is born white with great advantages. 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" Doctrines of Salvation: Sermons and Writings of Joseph Fielding Smith, compiled by Bruce R. McConkie, Volume 1, 1954, p. 61

"There is no doubt that the so-called civil rights movement as it exists today is used as a Communist program for revolution in America." Ezra Taft Benson, Conference Report, October 1967, pp. 34-39

Modern Teachings (post-1978)

"In about 1956 we recognized that our neighborhood was deteriorating. We observed this one Halloween by the nature of the people who came in the guise of 'Trick or Treat.' The minority elements were moving into the area where we lived, and many of the old-time families had long since moved away. Seeking counsel, I visited with Mark E. Petersen, who for many years had been the General Manager of the Deseret News. O. Preston Robinson, my former professor of marketing at the University of Utah, had succeeded Brother Petersen as the General Manager at the News. As I mentioned to Mark my dilemma, wondering if it would be unfair for me to move, he said simply, 'Your obligation to that area is concluded. Why don't you build a house in my ward?'" Thomas S. Monson, On the Lord's Errand: Memoirs of Thomas S. Monson, 1985, p. 184

"Now I am told that racial slurs and denigrating remarks are sometimes heard among us. I remind you that no man who makes disparaging remarks concerning those of another race can consider himself a true disciple of Christ. Nor can he consider himself to be in harmony with the teachings of the Church of Christ." Gordon B. Hinckley, The Need for Greater Kindness, General Conference, April 2006