Blacks. Before 1978, LDS leaders claimed that African Americans and others with dark skin could not hold the Mormon priesthood because they were cursed. The teaching came from Moses 7:22 in the Pearl of Great Price, which says, “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.” Joseph Smith plainly taught, “Had I anything to do with the negro, I would confine them by strict law to their own species, and put them on a national equalization” (History of the Church 5:217-218). Third President John Taylor declared, “And after the flood we are told that the curse that had been pronounced upon Cain was continued through Ham’s wife, as he had married a wife of that seed. And why did it pass through the flood? Because it was necessary that the devil should have a representation upon the earth as well as God” (August 28th, 1881, Journal of Discourses 22:304. See also Latter-day Prophets Speak: Selections from the Sermons and Writings of Church Presidents, 157, Daniel H. Ludlow, ed.).
For more information on this topic, see:
- “Black Skin and the Curse of Cain”
- “Authoritative LDS Teachings on Blacks and the Priesthood Designated ‘Folklore'”
- “Quiet Misgivings on LDS Racism”
- “Did the LDS Church ever discriminate against black people?”
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