Mormon Quotes

Priesthood ban

Brigham Young
I am as much opposed to the principle of slavery as any man in the present acceptation or usage of the term, it is abused. I am opposed to abuseing [sic] 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.... Let this Church which is called the Kingdom of God on the earth; we will sommons [sic] the first presidency, the twelve, the high counsel, the Bishoprick [sic], and all the elders of Isreal [sic], suppose we summons them to apear [sic] 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 pertakers [sic] 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 the Kingdom of God leaves us to our fate.
Brigham Young, Brigham Young Addresses, Feb. 5, 1852
Brigham Young
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.
Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses 2:142
Brigham Young
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.
Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses 7:290
Brigham Young
Why are so many of the inhabitants of the earth cursed with a skin 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.
Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses 11:272
Joseph Smith
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. ... 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, Abraham 1:21‑24,27
David O. McKay
I know of no scriptural basis for denying the Priesthood to Negroes other than one verse in the Book of Abraham (1:26); however, I believe, as you suggest that the real reason dates back to our pre‑existent life.
David O. McKay, Mormonism and the Negro, Part 2, p. 19
Joseph Fielding Smith
It is not the authorities of the Church who have placed a restriction on him [the black man] regarding the holding of the Priesthood. It was not the Prophet Joseph Smith.... It was the Lord!
Joseph Fielding Smith, The Glory of Mormonism, 1963, p. 154
Spencer W. Kimball
It went on for some time as I was searching for this, because I wanted to be sure. We held a meeting of the Council of the Twelve [Apostles] in the temple on the regular day. We considered this very seriously and thoughtfully and prayerfully. I asked the Twelve not to go home when the time came. I said, 'Now would you be willing to remain in the temple with us?' And they were. I offered the final prayer and told the Lord if it wasn't right, if He didn't want this change to come in the Church that I would be true to it the rest of my life, and I'd fight the world against it if that's what He wanted. We had this special prayer circle, then I knew the time had come. I had a great deal to fight, of course, myself largely, because I had grown up with this thought that Negroes should not have the priesthood and I was prepared to go all the rest of my life till my death and fight for it and defend it as it was. But this revelation and assurance came to me so clearly that there was no question about it.
Spencer W. Kimball, Deseret News, Jan. 6, 1979
Gordon B. Hinckley
I don't see anything further that we need to do. I don't hear any complaint from our black brethren and sisters. I hear only appreciation and gratitude wherever I go.
Gordon B. Hinckley, "Mormon Leader Defends Race Relations," Los Angeles Times, September 12, 1998
Bruce R. McConkie
The Lord could have sent messengers from the other side to deliver it, but he did not. He gave the revelation by the power of the Holy Ghost.... I cannot describe in words what happened; I can only say that it happened and that it can be known and understood only by the feeling that can come into the heart of man. You cannot describe a testimony to someone.
Bruce R. McConkie, "All Are Alike Unto God," speech, p. 2‑3
Mark E. Petersen
No person having the least particle of Negro blood can hold the Priesthood.
Mark E. Petersen, Race Problems ‑ As They Affect The Church, Convention of Teachers of Religion on the College Level, Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah, August 27, 1954
Mark E. Petersen
We mustn't intermarry with the Negro. Why? If I were to marry a Negro woman and have children by her, my children would all be cursed as to the priesthood. Do I want my children cursed as to the priesthood? If there is one drop of Negro blood in my children, as I have read to you, they receive the curse. There isn't any argument, therefore, as to inter‑marriage with the Negro, is there?
Mark E. Petersen, "Race problems as they affect the church"
Mark E. Petersen
The Lord segregated the people both as to blood and place of residence. At least in the cases of the Lamanites and the Negro we have the definite word of the Lord Himself that he placed a dark skin upon them as a curse ‑‑ as a punishment and as a sign to all others. He forbade intermarriage with them under threat of extension of the curse. And He certainly segregated the descendants of Cain when He cursed the Negro as to the Priesthood, and drew an absolute line. You may even say He dropped an Iron curtain there.
Mark E. Petersen, Race Problems ‑ As They Affect The Church, Convention of Teachers of Religion on the College Level, Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah, August 27, 1954
Dallin H. Oaks
It's not the pattern of the Lord to give reasons. We can put reasons to commandments. When we do we're on our own. Some people put reasons to [the ban] and they turned out to be spectacularly wrong. There is a lesson in that.... The lesson I've drawn from that, I decided a long time ago that I had faith in the command and I had no faith in the reasons that had been suggested for it... I'm referring to reasons given by general authorities and reasons elaborated upon [those reasons] by others. The whole set of reasons seemed to me to be unnecessary risk taking... Let's [not] make the mistake that's been made in the past, here and in other areas, trying to put reasons to revelation. The reasons turn out to be man-made to a great extent. The revelations are what we sustain as the will of the Lord and that's where safety lies.
Dallin H. Oaks, Interview with Associated Press
First Presidency
The attitude of the Church with reference to 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.
First Presidency, The First Presidency on the Negro Question, 17 Aug. 1949
First Presidency
From the days of the Prophet Joseph Smith even until now, it has been the doctrine of the Church, never questioned by Church leaders, that the Negroes are not entitled to the full blessings of the Gospel.
First Presidency, Statement of The First Presidency on the Negro Question, July 17 1947, quoted in Mormonism and the Negro, pp.46‑7
First Presidency
The position of the Church regarding the Negro may be understood when another doctrine of the church is kept in mind, namely, that the conduct of spirits in the pre‑mortal existence has some determining effect upon the conditions and circumstances under which these spirits take on mortality, and that while the details of this principle have not been made known, the principle itself indicates that the coming to this earth and taking on mortality is a privilege that is given to those who maintained their first estate; and that the worth of the privilege is so great that spirits are willing to come to earth and take on bodies no matter what the handicap may be as to the kind of bodies they are to secure; and that among the handicaps, failure of the right to enjoy in mortality the blessings of the priesthood is a handicap which spirits are willing to assume in order that they might come to earth. Under this principle there is no injustice whatsoever involved in this deprivation as to the holding of the priesthood by the Negroes.... Man will be punished for his own sins and not for Adam's transgression. If this is carried further, it would imply that the Negro is punished or allotted to a certain position on this earth, not because of Cain's transgression, but came to earth through the loins of Cain because of his failure to achieve other stature in the spirit world.
First Presidency, Official Statement of First Presidency issued on August 17, 1951
Armand Mauss
My plea, then to the civil rights organizations and to all critics of the Mormon Church is: get off our backs! ... agitation over the 'Negro issue' by non‑Mormon groups, or even by Mormon liberals, is likely simply to increase the resistance to change.
Armand Mauss, Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought, Winter 1967, pp. 38‑39
Eugene England
This is a good time to remind ourselves that most Mormons are still in denial about the ban, unwilling to talk in Church settings about it, and that some Mormons still believe that Blacks were cursed by descent from Cain through Ham. Even more believe that Blacks, as well as other non-white people, come color-coded into the world, their lineage and even their class a direct indication of failures in a previous life.... I check occasionally in classes at BYU and find that still, twenty years after the revelation, a majority of bright, well-educated Mormon students say they believe that Blacks are descendants of Cain and Ham and thereby cursed and that skin color is an indication of righteousness in the pre-mortal life. They tell me these ideas came from their parents or Seminary and Sunday School teachers, and they have never questioned them. They seem largely untroubled by the implicit contradiction to basic gospel teachings.
Eugene England, Sunstone: 54–58
LeGrand Richards
Down in Brazil, there is so much Negro blood in the population there that it's hard to get leaders that don't have Negro blood in them. We just built a temple down there. It's going to be dedicated in October. All those people with Negro blood in them have been raising money to build that temple. If we don't change, then they can't even use it. Well, Brother Kimball worried about it, and he prayed a lot about it.
LeGrand Richards, Interview with Wesley P. Walters and Chris Vlachos, August 16, 1978
Joseph Smith III
It is expedient in me that you ordain priests unto me, of every race who receive the teachings of my law, and become heirs accourding to the promise.... Be not hasty in ordaining men of the Negro race...
Joseph Smith III, Revelation to the RLDS Church, May 4, 1865
N. Eldon Tanner
The Church has no intention of changing its doctrine on the Negro. Throughout the history of the original Christian church, the Negro never held the priesthood. There's really nothing we can do to change this. It's a law of God.
N. Eldon Tanner, Seattle Magazine, December 1967, page 60
John L. Lund
Brigham Young made a very strong statement on this matter when he said, '... 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.' God has commanded Israel not to intermarry. To go against this commandment of God would be to sin. Those who willfully sin with their eyes open to this wrong will not be surprised to find that they will be separated from the presence of God in the world to come. This is spiritual death.... It does not matter if they are one‑sixth Negro or one‑one hundred and sixth, the curse of no Priesthood is still the same.... To intermarry with a Negro is to forfeit a 'Nation of Priesthood holders.'"
John L. Lund, The Church and the Negro, pp. 54‑55, 1967
John L. Lund
First, [before the seed of Cain get the priesthood] all of Adam's children will have to resurrect and secondly, the seed of Abel must have an opportunity to possess the Priesthood. These events will not occur until sometime after the end of the millennium.
John L. Lund, The Church and the Negro, pp. 109‑110
John L. Lund
Those who believe that the Church 'gave in' on the polygamy issue and subsequently should give in on the Negro question are not only misinformed about Church History, but are apparently unaware of Church doctrine.... Therefore, those who hope that pressure will bring about a revelation need to take a closer look at Mormon history and the order of heaven.
John L. Lund, The Church and the Negro, pp. 104‑105, 1967
John L. Lund
Those who would try to pressure the Prophet to give the Negroes the Priesthood do not understand the plan of God nor the order of heaven. Revelation is the expressed will of God to man. Revelation is not man's will expressed to God. All the social, political, and governmental pressure in the world is not going to change what God has decreed to be.
John L. Lund, The Church and the Negro, p. 109
Arthur M. Richardson
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter‑day Saints has no call to carry the Gospel to the Negro, and it does not do so.
Arthur M. Richardson, That Ye May Not Be Desired, p. 13
Arthur M. Richardson
Also, the gospel was not carried to this segregated black group... the Negroes tread the earth with black dishonorable bodies as a judgment of God because at the time of decision in the pre‑existence they were faint‑hearted and exhibited an infirmity of purpose — they were not valiant in the cause of the Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, they were entitled to no better earthly lineage than that of the first early murderer, Cain. They were to be the 'servant of servants.' They were to be segregated. No effort was made to carry the gospel to them as a people.
Arthur M. Richardson, That Ye May Not Be Deceived, pp. 9‑10
Wallace Turner
A different thing is going on in South America where Mormon missionaries are pushing ahead full throttle. There the former careful selection to keep out "white Negroes" has been allowed to slide a little.... "There is no question but that in Brazil they have been ordaining priests who are part Negro," said one careful observer.
Wallace Turner, The Mormon Establishment, p. 261, 1966
Wallace Turner
The Negro Mormon can hold no office whatsoever in a church which offers some office to every one of its male members at some time in his life. A gray‑haired Negro Mormon who may have spent his adult life in careful practice of all the complicated and demanding rules set down by the LDS church stands disenfranchised before the altar where a youth whose beard is just beginning to fuzz may preside.
Wallace Turner, The Mormon Establishment, pp. 243‑244
Grant Syphers
In all humility I must say that God has not inspired me to feel good about the Church's practices regarding Negroes.... when my wife and I went to San Francisco Ward's bishop to renew our temple recommends, he told us that anyone who could not accept the Church's stand on Negroes as a divine doctrine was not supporting the General Authorities and could not go to the temple. Later, in an interview with the stake president we were told the same thing: if you express doubts about the divinity of this 'doctrine' you cannot go to the temple.
Grant Syphers, Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought, Winter 1967, p. 6
Donald Ira French
The revelation that the church is talking about with respect to the Negro and the priesthood should have been sought 50 years ago — not now when we are forced into looking for one. Even if a revelation should come now, we have compromised our position because it looks as if we have been forced into seeking it, which will be true.
Donald Ira French, Time Magazine, Nov. 1, 1963
John J. Stewart
When God allows a spirit to take on a Negroid body, do you suppose He is unaware of the fact that he will suffer a social stigma? Therefore, if you say this Church is unjust in not allowing the Negro to bear the Priesthood, you must, to be consistent, likewise say that God is even more unjust in giving him a black skin.
John J. Stewart, John J. Stewart, The Glory of Mormonism, 1963, p. 154
David Olson
Spencer W. Kimball for his incorrect press release concerning the police involvement combined with the LDS church's efforts to restrict Douglas A. Wallace from the temple grounds, specifically the Tabernacle, on April 3, 1977. His denial of these actions is wrong. Any man who can take such actions and still call himself a prophet deserves more than I to be confined to this wheelchair.
David Olson, Salt Lake Tribune, Jan. 18, 1978
Eugene Wagner
Was this change of doctrine really a revelation from the Lord, or did the church leaders act on their own? Why don't they publish that revelation and let the Lord speak in his own words? All we saw was a statement of the First Presidency, and that is not how a revelation looks. "When God speaks the revelation starts with the words: 'Thus sayeth the Lord....' It seems when the Lord decides to change a doctrine of such great importance he will talk himself to the people of his church. If such a revelation cannot be presented to the members it is obvious that the First Presidency acted on its own, most likely under fear of public pressure to avoid problems of serious consequences and to maintain peace and popularity with the world.
Eugene Wagner, Salt Lake Tribune, June 24, 1978, Letter to Editor
Jessie L. Embry
Most black Americans who have joined the LDS church experience genuine and heartfelt acceptance; at the same time they have concerns over the past priesthood exclusion and latent forms of racism and prejudice exhibited by some white members.
Jessie L. Embry, Black Saints, p. 234
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