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Mormon race relations

Today's Daily Universe featured a letter to the editor complaining about racism at BYU. The writer referred to an incident she witnessed in an English class, in which a white student told a black student that, when she got to heaven, she would be white.

Fortunately, I think that most BYU students can detect the doctrinal fallacies of that student's statement. Most of us would probably be equally appalled to witness such an incident. But this does raise this question: how prevalent is racism in the Church?

I don't think it's inaccurate to say that the former policy that blacks not hold the priesthood was not and is not understood by many within the Church. To be perfectly honest, I don't fully understand it. But, we Mormons like our answers. We feel the need to come up with some kind of doctrinal or scriptural explanation to justify the priesthood restrictions. Elder McConkie offered some explanations, but they were never presented or accepted as doctrine. An official statement by the First Presidency that was issued during President McKay's time included this statement:

"From the beginning of this dispensation, Joseph Smith and all succeeding presidents of the church have taught that Negroes, while spirit children of a common Father, and the progeny fo our earthly parents Adam and Eve, were not yet to receive the priesthood, for reasons which we believe are known to God, but which He has not made fully known to man."

Even though there is no official explanation as to why the policy existed, Mormons have come up with a number of ideas to justify the practice. Most of these ideas are offensive to blacks, and rightfully so.

So, these are my questions?

1) To what extent does racism exist in the Church?
2) What explanations for the former ban on the priesthood exist? What are their origins?
3) Was the ban a matter of doctrine, or merely policy?
3) How can we do to dispel speculation and reassure black members that they were not lukewarm in the pre-existence, that they are not second-class members to whites, etc.?

1) To what extent does

1) To what extent does racism exist in the Church?

Most current-day members of the church are most likely not racists at heart, and, in my opinion, would only say something racist if they were quoting or paraphrasing a doctrinal point.

What explanations for the former ban on the priesthood exist? What are their origins?

Oddly enough, Joseph Smith ordained a black man, Elijah Abel, to the priesthood. (He later became a 70's) However, later leaders such as Brigham Young were full blown racists who thundered such elightened doctrines as:

"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, 10:110)

"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. 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. How long is that race to endure the dreadful curse that is upon them? That curse will remain upon them, [p.291] 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. When the residue of the family of Adam come up and receive their blessings, then the curse will be removed from the seed of Cain, and they will receive blessings in like proportion." (Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses 7:290-291 October 9, 1859)

"It is a great blessing to the seed of Adam to have the seed of Cain [the negro race] for servants." - Brigham Young Addresses, MS d 1234, Box 48, folder 3, LDS Church Historical Dept.

"If that Negro is faithful all his days, he can and will enter the celestial kingdom. He will go there as a servant, but he will get celestial glory." Mark E. Peterson, "Convention of Teachers of Religion at the College Level" address, Brigham Young University, 1954)

The official church "doctrine" prior to 1978 was blacks are an inherrently sinful, inferrior race unworthy of the priesthood and temple blessings. Full Stop. The "we don't know why it was that way" is revisionist spin. Church leaders were always explicit in the link between people of African descent and the sin of Cain. It's a very convenient loophole in church doctrine to claim that these statements were given as a mere personal opinion and not "doctrine." However, when the policy of the church reflected the "opinion" for over a hundred years and was enforced to the letter, it doesn't hold a lot of water to claim that these statements were given by Brigham Young et al. "the man" versus Brigham Young "The Prophet of the Lord."

The historical and political correctness revisionism is still ongiong such as the changes in the text of the Book of Mormon post 1981 of passages that stated that the Lamanites would become "white and delightsome" to the more PC "pure and delightsome". Apologists argue that the meaning remains the same since white is a color analogy for pure, but the motivation for the textual change is blatantly obvious: to rid the church and its texts of any traces of the racist doctrines of the past.

3) Was the ban a matter of doctrine, or merely policy?
Is there a difference when it comes to the "true church?" Why should the true church of God have policy that is not doctrinal and based on Truth? And as shown above, it was both doctrine AND policy.

3) How [sic] can we do to dispel speculation and reassure black members that they were not lukewarm in the pre-existence, that they are not second-class members to whites, etc.?

Repudiate each and every racist saying and doctrine from inspired church leaders of the past? However, for the church to do such a thing would open up a whole 'nother can of worms. Hence the current church policy of refusing to say anything to acknowledge the explicit racisim of the past and simply plug the doctrine du jour "We aren't racists!". If you don't address the historical problems they doen't really exist. ;)

1) To what extent does

1) To what extent does racism exist in the Church?

it's very prevalent. racism does not have to be active hatred to be racist. passive neglect, intolerance, bias, etc. are all forms of racism. having an almostly completely white hierarchy implicitly supports whites over other races. no doctrinal basis for the black-priesthood ban creates a vaccuum for racist theories to justify the policy. other theories still loom heavily through the church because there has never been any formal denunciation of them (in 1998 elder. marlin k. jensen was heading a committee to create a denunciation of these by the first presidency, however one member of the committee was frustrated that things weren't going as quickly as he wanted, leaked it to the la times, and the whole thing was scrapped).

2) What explanations for the former ban on the priesthood exist? What are their origins?

there are no doctrinal or revelatory explanations. brigham young was a racist. (armand mauss does have a good theory about utah's need for statehood, having to be a slave state to achieve it, and the problems of having priesthood holding slaves...but i think there are too many problems with that). overall, it comes to b. young being racist (largely a product of his time). it wasn't restored until 1978 because there were too many racists in the hierarchy, such as JF Smith to do it without major problems in the quorums.

3) Was the ban a matter of doctrine, or merely policy?

policy, as stated by mckay.

3) How can we do to dispel speculation and reassure black members that they were not lukewarm in the pre-existence, that they are not second-class members to whites, etc.?

the only way is to admit that the church made a mistake in banning the priesthood and that the problem has since been corrected. merely denouncing the theories will just open up a vaccuum fore more racist theories.

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Weighing In

1) To what extent does racism exist in the Church?

I think, as a general rule, LDS church members get a bad rap for intolerance when in reality they are more tolerant than the general population as a result of their extensive international experience as missionaries. They learn to love people of all nationalities. White heirarchy is simply a function of population; if there were more minority members there would be more minority leaders. As a missionary in England, people we brought to church were often impressed by how diverse the congregations were, as compared to the local Catholic or Anglican churches.

2) What explanations for the former ban on the priesthood exist? What are their origins?

I think the best answer is that most people were too racist and weren't ready for it. Others have cited cultural reasons and quoted racist statements by early church leaders as evidence; but it wasn't just Brigham Young --you can find similar statements by former presidents of the United States. Even in 1978, I heard that 40% of the church membership in southern states left the church when blacks were allowed to get the priesthood. People just weren't ready for it.

Probably the only other reason I've heard that has merit is that God has always discrimminated in who he has given the priesthood to. In Moses time, a bunch of people came to the prophet complaining that only the Levite tribe were allowed the priesthood --one family out of twelve. In the end, fire from heaven came down and consumed them, while their houses and goods were sucked into the earth. It's in Numbers 16. Because of this scriptural example, I'm think God may have other reasons for the ban other than the racism of the people. Perhaps it is another trial of mortality.

3) Was the ban a matter of doctrine, or merely policy?

Policy. Policy can change, doctrine doesn't.

3) How can we do to dispel speculation and reassure black members that they were not lukewarm in the pre-existence, that they are not second-class members to whites, etc.?

While I can understand the reasoning behind those other theories (which are basically logical extensions of other doctrines --if God has a chosen lineage in the House of Israel, why not an un-chosen lineage?) I believe they are easily debunked by the exemplary lives of minorities in the church; Helvetico Martins, the pioneers of the church in Africa who waited so faithfully for the 1978 revelation, etc. God sends valiant spirits to all races.

What are the doctrinal fallacies

Steez909, I would like you to explain what the doctrinal fallacies of the student's statement are. I am not saying I do or don't believe what she said but I would like you to refute her comment with scriptures or spoken word from a prophet. No McConkie quotes allowed.

a good book on the subject

For anyone interested, a great book on this topic is "Black and Mormon" edited by Newell Bringhurst and Darron Smith. I've had the opportunity to talk with both of these guys about the subject. They picked some great essays to include in their book.

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McKay quote

I've heard the McKay quote on the ban being mere policy and not doctrine numerous times, but I've never seen the exact reference. If anyone has it, could they please provide it? Thanks.

Racism in Utah County

Just to put this whole discussion into context here is a quote from the Daily Herald's story about the execution of Tookie Williams out in California.

'Yeah, for some reason the government allows monkey's to carry guns in certain parts of L.A. Animals shouldn't own guns or be given alcohol!'

So whatever you think about racism in or out of the LDS church, comments like the one above are the awful reality. Sucks huh? Even better that the Herald approved this comment...tells you something about them too perhaps.

my closing remarks

I guess I'll add, as my last remarks on this topic (for now, anyway), that I think the main failing is people feeling that their religion justifies them in refusing to confront and overcome prejudices. If they can base their prejudice on some scripture or the words of a leader, then they feel content ignoring all the teachings of love, respect, and tolerance.

As might be expected, this same failing is not restricted to matters of race. I've noticed that a lot of Mormons refuse to budge when it comes to political views, because they feel that their thoughts are backed up by their God.

Well,

that's why I'm a democrat, actually.

David O. McKay, in 1963,

David O. McKay, in 1963, said that the priesthood ban "is a practice, not a doctrine, and the practice will some day be changed." According to David O. McKay and the Rise of Modern Mormonism, this wasn't a very popular view among the brethren, and he kept this view silent until near the end of his life.

As a believing member, I don't find it impossible to believe that it was racism that lead to this ban in the church. This leads me to see the '78 decision as more of a political move than a revelation.

I know this makes me seem "heretical", but its easier for me to believe that some older gentlemen had backwards views on people of different races than it is for me to believe that God was punishing them for actions of one man 4000 years ago.

After all, I don't know about you guys, but my grandparents are pretty racist. Good people otherwise, but racist.

Doctrinal fallacies

I was referring to the student who told an African-American student that she would be white when she got to heaven.

There's no doctrinal backing for this statement. The idea that all races of people are going to be white in the resurrection is an unjustified extrapolation. Regardless of whether or not Brigham or McConkie held such a belief, the idea isn't doctrinal. It's just racist.

I think the best answer is

I think the best answer is that most people were too racist and weren't ready for it...Even in 1978, I heard that 40% of the church membership in southern states left the church when blacks were allowed to get the priesthood. People just weren't ready for it.

So should white people's racism be an acceptable justification for witholding the blessings of priesthood, the temple, etc., from an entire race in mortality?

My next question would be if early Church leaders had not made blatantly racist statements or instituted a race-based ban on the priesthood and temple, how would 20th- and 21st-century Latter-day Saints' perceptions of race be different?

I don't think it's unreasonable to say that racism among white Mormons may have been less prevalent had the ban not existed in the first place. You say that white members weren't "ready" for the priesthood to be given to blacks, but you're presupposing that the ban did not contribute to their racism in the first place. And I don't think we should discount the possibility that the ban contributed to white Mormon racism, at least in part.

Had the ban not existed in the first place, then leaders or members would not have felt the need to come up with some "doctrinal" justification for blacks' "curse" (e.g. McConkie's idea that Africans were born with dark skin as a punishment for not being valiant in the pre-existence). I would guess that these explanations ultimately contributed to Mormon racism. What was just a policy was given a supposed doctrinal footing. Rather than overcoming racism, members could feel content knowing that blacks themselves were responsible for the "curse," due to their pre-existent fence-sitting.

if there were more minority

if there were more minority members there would be more minority leaders.

Um, if there were MORE minorities they would be the majority. But you aren't using the term minority in that sense are you? Since there are more Mormons outside the US than in, I think it is safe to assume that the "minorities" are the majority or, at the very least, 50% of church membership. In fact, the "minority" i.e. non-Utah/Idaho upper-class white male memebership is not represented proportionally in the general leadership of the church. It's still, for all intents and purposes, a white-boys club. And if you say that the leadership is appointed by divine inspiration and not out of some sort of cultural favoritism, well, then it stands to reason that caucasions have a near monopoly on righteousness and divine favor. But I don't think that explanation will fly too well with the "minorities." Of course, the fact that you use "minority" as an interchangeable term for "non-white" speaks volumes to begin with.

doctrine doesn't [change].


Lies. The "the gospel never changes" line makes no sense for people living in reality. I mean, it sounds nice to say, but it just simply isn't true. Even if you confine the discussion to "safe" topics (not the "scary" ones involving the myriad of changes to the Book of Mormon, D&C and temple ceremonies) how do you explain the differences between the Mosaic Law, the New Covenant as introduced at the time of Christ and then the New and Everlasting Covenant as revealed by Jospeh Smith? The doctrine of the Mosaic law is a million light years from the doctrine of the LDS church. The arguement can be made that the underlying principles are the same (which I wouldn't agree with) but the doctrine of each is totally different.

but it wasn't just Brigham Young --you can find similar statements by former presidents of the United States.

So what you are saying is that it is okay for the Prophet of God to follow the cultural and social norms of the day? Hmmmm, somehow I think that undermines the Church's claim to moral superiority because they are directed by the Almighty instead of the "doctrines of men."

I believe it's from an

I believe it's from an interview with Sterling McMurrin, but it might also be elsewhere

project mayhem

howdy vegor. project mayhem

howdy vegor.

project mayhem

i dont think the real issue

i dont think the real issue is if it is true or not. The real issue is that the student was an insensitive clod and actually let the words escape their lips.

no...no...the real issue is that I dont give a damn.

Yeah, the kid who said that

Yeah, the kid who said that is a bonehead. When people asked me on my mission what color we'd be in heaven, I always said we'd be the color "lightning" (Matt. 28:3).

So should white people's

So should white people's racism be an acceptable justification for witholding the blessings of priesthood, the temple, etc., from an entire race in mortality?

CAVEAT: While I think racism is probably the easiest answer, I also think the situation is much more complicated than that (see my Numbers 16 comment above). Keep in mind the following is all speculation:

If going about it the other way would have destroyed the church, then I would have to say yes. What if the church had embraced abolitionist ideals early on, say, during the Missouri-era? People had plenty of reasons to hate us already without adding that to the list. And then, that hearsay I quoted earlier, that in 1978 about 40% of the church membership in the south was lost because of the new revelation could've put more strain than the financially-strapped, fledgling church could bear if it happened in the 1920s or 30s, and maybe by then the racism was too entrenched. Who knows. We do know that sometimes the church bows to external pressures for the survival of the kingdom, as it did when it abolished polygamy in the 1890s.

I don't think it's unreasonable to say that it contributed to racism within the church either, but I have to believe the effect was miniscule compared to societal pressures of the day. Even if McConkie's erroneous opinions were discussed every Sunday, there's six other days of the week outside of church where members could observe separate drinking fountains, segregated schools and restaurants, buses, etc. that will serve to reinforce their racist tendencies.

the fact that you use

the fact that you use "minority" as an interchangeable term for "non-white" speaks volumes to begin with

What the F? Open up a newspaper --I didn't come up with it myself, so don't read too many "volumes" into it.

I think it is safe to assume that the "minorities" are the majority or, at the very least, 50% of church membership.

True, but membership is different from active membership, which is a different thing altogether from leadership. Temples are probably a good barometer of regional church strength, and although half the membership is outside North America, half the temples are not. Where is the greatest concentration of temples? Utah-Idaho. Hence the concentration of leadership.

Lies.

Haven't been to church in awhile, eh? You ask some of the most elementary questions ("Why does the Bible say "An eye for an eye" and then say "Turn the other cheek?" Contradiction!) Doctrine does not mean ordinances, commandments, or specific wording or punctuation in the Book of Mormon. Doctrine refers to those underlying principles you mentioned, at least in the way I was using it.

...it is okay for the Prophet of God to follow the cultural and social norms of the day?

Insofar as they do not interfere with matters pertaining to salvation, yes. While the priesthood ban may have been the result of racism (I cannot emphasize enough that I do not think the answer is that simple) the eternal salvation of our black brothers and sisters was never in jeopardy. Anything you would've done if you could've done, you will do (D&C 137).

"Lies. The "the gospel never

"Lies. The "the gospel never changes" line makes no sense for people living in reality. I mean, it sounds nice to say, but it just simply isn't true. Even if you confine the discussion to "safe" topics (not the "scary" ones involving the myriad of changes to the Book of Mormon, D&C and temple ceremonies) how do you explain the differences between the Mosaic Law, the New Covenant as introduced at the time of Christ and then the New and Everlasting Covenant as revealed by Jospeh Smith? The doctrine of the Mosaic law is a million light years from the doctrine of the LDS church. The arguement can be made that the underlying principles are the same (which I wouldn't agree with) but the doctrine of each is totally different."

I disagree with much of this only because i believe there is little that is actually LDS doctrine (I'll argue that the only definite doctrine is the fallibility of prophets). However, this view is based more on the open and changing specifics of Mormon doctrines...which i think is great. however, most common LDSaints would disagree that it occurs.

As far as Old vs New covenant goes, though it's often taught from the pulpit (and somewhat in the BoM) that Christ did away with the OT laws by 'fulfilling' them, most Biblical scholars today argue that Christ was merely restoring them by removing the Talmudic fence around the torah (something similar to LDS bans on R-rated movies, multiple earrings, any amount of alchohol, etc.)

project mayhem

Yes, it is. McMurrin

Yes, it is. McMurrin recorded it in a March 6, 1979 affidavit. That's all I got.

you don't give a damn that

you don't give a damn that racist policies, myths, and theories contribute to prevalent racism in the church today?

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Joseph Smith

As Joseph Smith was the one that instituted
(or at least had the most initial control over) the ban, I think it might be good to consider what he was like. Everything that I have read about Joseph Smith and blacks has been very positive. Extremely positive in fact, given the time period and location. There are a few cases (poorly documented, as are many things from the time) of blacks receiving the priesthood, and no steps being taken to have their priesthood "removed." So, chances are that he didn't have anything against blacks, per se. And I would venture to say that he wasn't looking to deny them of anything.

There also doesn't appear to be any official statement, or revelation at the time, so it doesn't look like this was necessarily a God instituted doctrine when it first happened. I'm thinking this was probably instituted by man.

So, here is my take on it.

  1. Joseph Smith is cool with blacks.
  2. Joseph Smith encounters a lot of racists running around, both in the church and out, pressuring him against allowing blacks whatever rights. (As mentioned below, I doubt anyone would have given the priesthood to slaves.)
  3. Joseph Smith either decides on his own, or prays and feels that it is best to allow denying the priesthood to blacks. I think this would be akin to the many times during history that blessings and doctrines have been denied people due to their own, or others, unrighteousness.
  4. After X amount of time, it is to ingrained into the church to allow it to be immediately let go, and it made official policy. Again, things being denied due to the unrighteousness of the people.
  5. Eventually people are prepared and righteous enough to allow the ban to be lifted.
  6. About leadership in the church being mostly white, there are relatively few non-whites in Utah, where most of the leadership is pulled from. While living in SLC, I noticed that other than South Americans (not Mexicans) and Polynesians, most of the non-whites and foriegners were not mormons. Here in Austin Texas, I've noticed that of the 4 blacks that have been baptized into the singles ward, none have been from the US, despite the fact that 95%+ of the blacks are from the US. This tells me that there is likely something unrelated to racism causing low numbers of minorities to join.

    (I aplogize for the complete lack of references to back up any of my historical claims. If anyone cares, go visit a library where you will find ample documentation.)

"If going about it the other

"If going about it the other way would have destroyed the church, then I would have to say yes"

what is "the church" and how would have eliminating racism detroy "the church"?

project mayhem

What the F? Open up a

What the F? Open up a newspaper --I didn't come up with it myself, so don't read too many "volumes" into it.

"Minority" is a quantative word dealing only in terms of numbers in demographics and has no inherent relationship to skin color. The fact that the word in general has become synonomous with non-white doesn't make it right. In fact, I find it downright odious and is a sign of cultural laziness and arrogance. I don't care what the "F" the newspapers say. Just because some journalist (or you for that matter) uses the term carelessly and casually doesn't mean its right.

Haven't been to church in awhile, eh? You ask some of the most elementary questions ("Why does the Bible say "An eye for an eye" and then say "Turn the other cheek?" Contradiction!)

Haven't used your brain in a while, eh? I ask these questions not because I am ignorant to the facts or official church doctrine/practices/beliefs (as should be painfully obvious from reading what I write), but because either A) I think the official church explanations for the myriad of doctrinal problems are totally bogus and designed to placate the intellectually lazy and/or B) I hope to cause intelligent people to rationally consider and logically explain their own beliefs rather than simply give the safe Sunday School answers that every one always gives or simply quoting some General Authority and acting like the catchy saying of one person somehow settles the matter. However, as is apparent from your knee-jerk response and obvious spiritual superiority complex in regards to "non-believers", I might be fighting a losing battle.

Insofar as they do not interfere with matters pertaining to salvation, yes. ... the eternal salvation of our black brothers and sisters was never in jeopardy.

Nice try, but guess again. No priesthood = No temple. No temple = No celestial marriage. No celestial marriage = No highest degree of the celestial kingdom. Thus the true meaning of Mark E Petersons quote from above.

"If that Negro is faithful all his days, he can and will enter the celestial kingdom. He will go there as a servant, but he will get celestial glory."

Angels are the servants of the celestial kingdom and are angels and not Gods because they were not married in the New and Everlasting Covenant. Therfore, according to church doctrine, the descendants of cain could never achieve the same level of exaltation as a white person no matter how you try to dice it. I think someone needs to crack open his church doctrine books again. Maybe you should do that next time you are at church, smarty.

"Insofar as they do not

"Insofar as they do not interfere with matters pertaining to salvation, yes. While the priesthood ban may have been the result of racism (I cannot emphasize enough that I do not think the answer is that simple) the eternal salvation of our black brothers and sisters was never in jeopardy. Anything you would've done if you could've done, you will do (D&C 137)."

this is why marx called religion the opiate of the masses. Joseph Smith once said that a religion that cannot meet their peoples temporal needs has no place to try to meet their eschatological needs (different words, same point). the black-priesthood ban left black mormons as depressed outcasts. for the most part, promises of the highest celestial glory to pre-1978 blacks were not made until after the racist ban was lifted. whether or not they could get all of their celestial blessings some day in the very distant future, their current temporal state of happiness was left to rot. the church failed them big time. for the majority of pre-1978 black mormons, their records showed that they were often publically humiliated in their meetings because of the ban, were often excluded from non-priesthood functions, were depressed, and usually left the church in frustration. accoring to j smith's standards, mormonism failed them big time. j. smith would have been infuriated if he saw what happened (as with much of the church today).

all the time we here stories of (white) members jumping up and down, crying with joy, dancing in the streets, and hugging when it was announced that the ban was lifted. this should have been enough of a sign that something was very very wrong in the church...and everyone knew it.

project mayhem

"As Joseph Smith was the one

"As Joseph Smith was the one that instituted (or at least had the most initial control over) the ban"

There is no evidence whatsoever that Joseph Smith initiated the ban. On the contrary, Smith gave the priesthood (and called on missions) at least two black Mormons).

project mayhem

More mindless speculation

By church I meant the organization of LDS founded by Joseph Smith. Let's say the church lost 40% of its membership in 1890 because blacks are given the priesthood and racist members lose their testimony and leave. The church is in debt, now with significantly fewer tithe-payers, the banks forclose and seize the temples. They can no longer carry out temple work, frustrating the work of God. Also, the church cannot afford to send out missionaries anymore, not that any of the racist population would listen to them. Though attracting a small number of abolitionists at first, over the next 50 years until the Civil Rights movement happens the membership shrinks even more until the church dries up and blows away.

But I recognize all that to be speculation.

Haven't used your brain in a

Haven't used your brain in a while, eh?...., smarty.

Wait, who has the superiority complex?

I answered the way I did because I wasn't going to be sidetracked answering a question which I've only previously heard asked by people who've never read the Bible or don't understand it, a category that does not include you. And now by your own admission, you weren't asking the question because you didn't know the answer, but because you don't believe the answer and want to educate us. I think you deserve the response you got. (If anyone is not sure about the answer, spend 10 seconds on Google and the website of any Christian denomination should tell you what you need to know about it).

the descendants of cain could never achieve the same level of exaltation as a white person no matter how you try to dice it.

Did you even read the scripture I cited? Anyways, I decided to "crack open my church doctrine books again," and I found this:

"This revelation had long been hoped for by faithful people throughout the world. One of the first black persons to accept the gospel in Africa was William Paul Daniels, who learned of the Church as early as 1913. He traveled to Utah, where he received a special blessing from President Joseph F. Smith. President Smith promised him that if he remained faithful, he would hold the priesthood in this life or the next. Brother Daniels died in 1936, still a faithful member of the Church, and his daughter had the temple ordinances performed for her father soon after the 1978 revelation on the priesthood" (E. Dale LeBaron, “Black Africa,” Mormon Heritage, Mar./Apr. 1994, 20).

Mark E. Peterson's opinion notwithstanding, at least one other early leaders taught otherwise. I found this but I was actually looking for a story about President McKay who was sending a 70 to Africa, and gave him instructions to tell the people there that whether in this life or the next, they'll have the priesthood and all the blessings of exaltation.

As I Said

There is no evidence whatsoever that Joseph Smith initiated the ban. On the contrary, Smith gave the priesthood (and called on missions) at least two black Mormons).

As I said, Joseph Smith at the least "had the most initial control over the ban". When the policies were originally practiced, Joseph Smith was the one "in charge". So, "initiated" or not, he was in charge and had control over whether or not the ban took place.