Mormon Racism

by Rocky Hulse of Mormon Outreach

(Updated from the Midwest Expositor Newsletters of January, April, July and October 2004 written by Rocky Hulse)
January 3, 2013

This article is written about the Mormon Doctrine concerning Africans. This article will cover the history, doctrine, contradictions and the denial by the Mormon Church about its racist doctrine concerning those of African descent.

I am going to say right up front that there are parts of this information that are quite inflammatory, and downright derogatory towards anyone who is not white. I will use the term “negro,” often during this newsletter. I’m not using it to offend anyone, it is simply the term used in the majority of the quotes, as it was the vernacular of the day.

Please don’t get mad at the messenger, me. I will simply do what our ministry always does, in all facets of research: accurately and truthfully document all that we present. This information will undoubtedly offend both Mormons and non-Mormons alike; however, the truth needs to be told. We don’t skirt the hard issues; we research them and give the information to you, because you have a right to know what Mormonism is really about. Why does this ministry exist?  Simply because the Mormon Church will never show you the information I will present in this article. Modern Mormonism is all about hiding or rewriting the past, to hide the embarrassing truth!

I have spent upwards of 200 hours of research on this topic, and all the while one thing has rung loud and clear: Of all the subjects of Mormonism that I have studied to date, and I have studied many, no single Doctrine of Mormonism more clearly shows that Mormon leaders are mere men, with no “higher calling” placed upon them, as Mormonism claims, than this “racist doctrine.”


History shows us that on June 8, 1978, the First Presidency of the Mormon Church issued a letter allowing blacks full eligibility to all benefits of Mormonism, which up until that time were withheld from them.  Let’s look at that letter:

"Dear Brethren:
As we have witnessed the expansion of the work of the Lord over the earth, we have been grateful that people of many nations have responded to the message of the restored gospel, and have joined the Church in ever-increasing numbers.  This, in turn, has inspired us with a desire to extend to every worthy member of the Church all of the privileges and blessings which the gospel affords.

Aware of the promises made by the prophets and presidents of the Church who have preceded us that at some time, in God's eternal plan, all of our brethren who are worthy may receive the priesthood, and witnessing the faithfulness of those from whom the priesthood has been withheld, we have pleaded long and earnestly in behalf of these, our faithful brethren, spending many hours in the Upper Room of the Temple supplicating the Lord for divine guidance.

He has heard our prayers, and by revelation has confirmed that the long-promised day has come when every faithful, worthy man in the Church may receive the holy priesthood, with power to exercise its divine authority, and enjoy with his loved ones every blessing that flows therefrom, including the blessings of the temple.  Accordingly, all worthy male members of the Church may be ordained to the priesthood without regard for race or color. Priesthood leaders are instructed to follow the policy of carefully interviewing all candidates for ordination to either the Aaronic or the Melchizedek Priesthood to insure that they meet the established standards for worthiness.
We declare with soberness that the Lord has now made known his will for the blessing of all his children throughout the earth who will hearken to the voice of his authorized servants, and prepare themselves to receive every blessing of the gospel.

Sincerely yours,
The First Presidency
(Sunstone July 78, pg 12)


Why was there a need for a “Revelation” to allow all worthy brethren to receive the Mormon Priesthood? Another letter from the First Presidency, the highest level of the Mormon Church:

“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 Negroes are not entitled to the full blessings of the Gospel.”  (Letter of LDS First Presidency to Dr. Lowery Nelson, July 17, 1947, quoted in Mormonism and the Negro, pages 42 and 43)


As you can see, the Mormon Church believed that blacks were not entitled to ‘the full blessings of the gospel’ (in Mormon vocabulary, “gospel” means Mormonism).  Twice I’ve quoted the First Presidency of the Mormon Church, 31 years apart, contradicting each other.  Who is the “First Presidency?”  The ‘First Presidency’ of the Mormon Church is the absolute top of the leadership pyramid.  The ultimate and highest leaders of the Mormon Church are the First Presidency:

                        THE PROPHET
                     (OR PRESIDENT)
                   /                             \

Directly under the First Presidency is the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles; often referred to as the Council of the Twelve.  These fifteen men, the three men of the First Presidency and the Twelve Apostles, are revered by Mormons as the “Oracles of God” on earth.

“Men who receive revelations or oracles for the people are themselves called oracles.  (2 Sam. 16:23.)  Members of the First Presidency, [and] Council of the Twelve … – because they are appointed and sustained as prophets, seers, and revelators to the Church – are known as the living oracles.”  (Teachings of the Living Prophets, Student Manual Religion 333, p. 6)

These fifteen men, according to Mormonism, have a special spiritual endowment in connection with teaching people:

“Although the Church has many men who serve as “General Authorities,” only the First Presidency and the members of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles are sustained as prophets, seers, and revelators.” (Teachings of the Living Prophets, Student Manual Religion 333, p. 8)

“It should be in mind that some of the General Authorities have had assigned to them a special calling; they possess a special gift; they are sustained as prophets, seers, and revelators, which gives them a special spiritual endowment in connection with their teaching the people.  They have the right, the power, and authority to declare the mind and will of God to his people…” (Teachings of the Living Prophets, Student Manual Religion 333, p. 9)
I wanted to lay out here the belief of Mormonism about these fifteen men, because I’m going to be quoting men who held these offices.  As noted in the two quotes from the First Presidency, the historical Mormon stance was that blacks were not entitled to the “full blessings of the gospel”. 


Mormon Apostle Bruce R. McConkie, in his Mormon foundational work, Mormon Doctrine, said:
“Negroes in this life are denied the priesthood; under no circumstances can they hold this delegation of authority from the Almighty. (Abra. 1:20-27.)  The gospel message of salvation is not carried affirmatively to them (Moses 7:8, 12, 22) although sometimes negroes search out the truth, join the Church, and become by righteous living heirs of the celestial kingdom of heaven.  President Brigham Young and others have taught that in the future eternity worthy and qualified negroes will receive the priesthood and every gospel blessing available to any man. (Way to Perfection, pp. 97-111.) … 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 and grows out of the lack of spiritual valiance of those concerned in their first estate.” (Mormon Doctrine, pp 527-528)

What we clearly see here from this Mormon Apostle, who has “special authority,” and is an oracle of God on earth (and of note he is quoting two former Mormon Prophets) are four primary Mormon points:

  1. Negroes are denied the priesthood in this life, and under no circumstances can they hold it;
  2. That the gospel message (Mormonism) is not ‘carried affirmatively to them’;
  3.  That they are not equal with other races where the receipt of certain spiritual blessings are concerned;   
  4. These prejudices are based on Eternal Law and grow out of the lack of spiritual valiance of those concerned in their ‘first estate’ (‘first estate’ in the Mormon vocabulary refers to the unique Mormon Doctrine of ‘Pre-existence’ – that man pre-existed on a Spirit World prior to coming to earth, his ‘second estate’).


Let’s recap what we just covered: Blacks are denied the Mormon Priesthood; Mormonism was not to be preached to them; they were not equal to other races as far as Mormon blessings were concerned; and, this is all due to their lack of spiritual valiance in their pre-earth life (‘first estate’).
Mormonism teaches that the races of people here on earth began in a pre-existent, pre-earth life.  Christianity does not teach or believe this, because it is not taught in the Bible.  The premise for these beliefs comes entirely from Mormon unique scriptures.


Mormonism teaches that blacks, because of their lack of valiancy in the ‘pre-existence’ were cursed with a dark skin, and in order to come to this earth had to come through the lineage of Cain. Mormonism teaches Cain was cursed with a black skin for killing his brother Abel.  In the “History of the Church” under the date of January 25, 1842, in Nauvoo, Illinois, Joseph Smith taught that Negroes were the “sons of Cain”:

“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.” (History of the Church, Vol 4, p. 501)


The 10th Mormon Prophet, Joseph Fielding Smith, in his book “The Way to Perfection,” taught that not only were Negroes the sons of Cain, but that they were an inferior race:

“Not only was Cain called upon to suffer, but because of his wickedness he became the father of an inferior race.”  (The Way to Perfection, p. 101)


Mormonism teaches that Noah’s son Ham carried the Negro blood through the flood:

“Noah’s son Ham married Egyptus, a descendant of Cain, thus preserving the negro lineage through the flood. (Abra. 1:20-27)”  (Mormon Doctrine, p. 527)


According to Mormonism, what qualified a person to be considered a Negro?  A single drop of Negro blood.  Mormon Apostle Mark E. Peterson gave an address at the Convention of Teachers of Religion on the College Level at Brigham Young University,