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. The prophets of the Lord have made several statements as to the operation of the principle.
August 17, 1949
George Albert Smith
Reuben Clark, Jr.
David O. McKay
From ancient times, the Lord has given selected people certain authority, laws, ordinances, and commandments. This was the continuation of a great plan instituted in the pre-mortal world. Such authority was the Priesthood after the Order of the Son of God, later shortened to the Melchizedek Priesthood.
Great responsibility was given to certain people to carry this awesome burden throughout their generations. It represented a special privilege and assignment to some and a restriction to others. The Priesthood was not a man-delegated power, nor a civil or social right, nor an issue for public vote. Since Priesthood authority comes from God, it is He who dictates its execution and function. It involves a covenant with solemn promises: if obeyed, it brings blessings; if disobeyed, it brings curses. History and scripture have proved this to be so. Throughout the Bible, the responsibility of learning one’s genealogy was a vital part of his religion, and with anticipation and pride he determined the purity of his blood line. Another part of that responsibility, then, was to try to continue that lineage purity themselves.
In the present world of immorality and inter-racial marriages, the rights, powers, and restrictions of Priesthood have been challenged. The wicked oppose it, the weak compromise it, and the worldly ignore it. As in previous dispensations, pure lineage and true Priesthood holders have become relatively scarce. This publication is a brief account of how such a catastrophe has occurred, at the same time emphasizing the importance of a pure lineage as a Priesthood channel.
 Chapter 1
CALL FOR A CHANGE
Monday morning, May 18, 1998, the Salt Lake Tribune carried an article, quoting the Los Angeles Times, stating that the LDS Church was considering a proposal to “repudiate historic doctrines” concerning the black people and the Priesthood. It began by stating:
Twenty years after the Mormon church dropped its ban against blacks in the priesthood, key leaders are debating a proposal to repudiate historic church doctrines that were used to bolster claims of black inferiority.
The proposal to disavow the teachings, which purport to link black skin color to curses from God recounted in Hebrew and Mormon scriptures, is under review by the church’s Committee on Public Affairs, made up of members of the church’s highest governing circles, known as general authorities.
This interpretation, however, was denied publicly by the LDS First Presidency, as once again reported by the Tribune: “. . . the matter . . . has not been discussed by the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve.” (S.L. Tribune, May 19, 1998) However, many Church liberals were enthusiastic about such a possibility, in spite of Church denials.
Once again, this has renewed the controversy among both LDS members and non-members, invoking many comments and letters to the editor. The idea of “revoking the  doctrine” raised the query as to whether or not it had actually ever been a doctrine, and, if so, why wasn’t it changed 150 years ago. And if it were a doctrine, who has the right to make such a change? Then there remains the unanswered question, “Where is the revelation that changed it in 1978?”
Armand Mauss, a sociologist, called the restriction of priesthood to the blacks “a doctrinal folklore,” and a Mr. Dorius Gray who leads a support group for black Mormons said that “keeping blacks in the LDS Church is still a problem because of the attitudes of a small number of white members.” (S.L. Tribune, June 6, 1998)
Generally speaking, LDS Church leaders from Joseph Smith to Spencer Kimball refused to confer Priesthood, ordain to an office, or give temple ordinances to the black race. In 1978 that doctrine was changed, and apologists, compromisers, and the misinformed began to teach that these early leaders were wrong. Many works, such as Neither White nor Black by Lester Bush and Armand Mauss, relate how concentrated their efforts have been. Among their conclusions are the following points:
So far then, the following points have been made regarding Church doctrine on the subject: (1) neither the Lord nor the Church leaders have given us an adequate explanation for withholding the priesthood from the Negroes or from anyone else; we simply accept the policy on the basis of faith, a few partially relevant scriptures, and the position of the First Presidency; (2) apparent scriptural or historical precedents may help us feel a little less beleaguered on the issue, but they don’t really explain anything; (3) the “pre-existence explanation” may explain a little about how or when, and it suggests that Hamitic lineage is the result of ineligibility for the priesthood, not the cause; however, (4) this explanation tells us nothing about why, unless we mix in a dubious and speculative theory about the war in heaven. (Neither White Nor Black, p. 13)
 Regardless of the fact that all four points are inaccurate assumptions, such statements are the kind that most modern Mormons are glad to hear and accept. Such assertions entertain the idea that the first dozen Church presidents were blundering along without an understanding of what was right or wrong on this issue; but then finally President Kimball was able to straighten it all out.
An analysis of the above four points, however, will show that: (1) The Lord and Church leaders have given more than an “adequate explanation” for withholding Priesthood from the Negroes, and there are more than “a few partially relevant” scriptures to establish more than a “policy” on the subject. (2) The scriptures and historical precedents will give us more than a “beleaguered” understanding, and where they “don’t really explain anything,” in reality they explain many things. (3) The “pre-existence explanation” will explain the “cause” and more than “a little suggestion about how and when some were not to receive the Priesthood. (4) “This explanation” also tells us more than “nothing” about the reason why. It also gives us more than “dubious and speculative theory about the war in heaven.”
However, the controversy persists and has not been completely settled in the minds of interested people. Theories, speculations, arguments, scriptures, and non-scriptures continue to circulate regarding the blacks and the Priesthood. After 150 years of pro and con why can’t this matter be settled? The greatest problem seems to stem from personal and public opinions.
It has been a “mud-slinging” controversy with all the adjectives of “racist,” “mongrelizer,” “prejudiced,” “liberal extremist,” etc. The stigma, if it can be called that, of the  blacks not having the Priesthood was thought to have been erased by the LDS Church announcement in 1978, but it still continues to haunt many members. So perhaps this issue still needs more research and discussion.
In commemoration of the 20th anniversary of the LDS Church 1978 “black revelation,” this book presents additional information to be seriously considered in one’s search for resolution in this controversial Priesthood issue.
 Chapter 2
A GUIDING LIGHT IN A WORLD OF DARKNESS
Thou shalt take the things which thou hast received, which have been given unto thee in my scriptures for a law, to be my law to govern my church. (D & C 42:59)
The Creator, in His Divine wisdom, has not left mankind to wander in darkness, blundering and stumbling, without giving him certain rules and guidelines to help him avoid such trouble and confusion. God has often revealed His laws to a certain people, and if they would live them correctly, they would be a light to others. The people to whom God has given His commandments are the Israelites; and He said to them:
And it shall come to pass, if thou shalt hearken diligently unto the voice of the Lord thy God, to observe and to do all his commandments which I command thee this day, that the Lord thy God will set thee on high above all nations of the earth:
And all these blessings shall come on thee, and overtake thee, if thou shalt hearken unto the voice of the Lord thy God. (Deut. 28:1-2)
Then the Lord listed nearly three dozen blessings they would receive because of their obedience. But, on the other hand, He warned them that if they failed, curses would come upon them.
 But it shall come to pass, if thou wilt not hearken unto the voice of the Lord thy God, to observe to do all his commandments and his statutes which I command thee this day; that all these curses shall come upon thee, and overtake thee. (Deut. 28:15)
Then he listed over a hundred curses that would befall them for disobedience.
God then counsels and pleads with His children, the same as any kind and wise father would do to his children:
See, I have set before thee this day life and good, and death and evil;
In that I command thee this day to love the Lord thy God, to walk in his ways, and to keep his commandments and his statutes and his judgments, that thou mayest live and multiply: and the Lord thy God shall bless thee in the land whither thou goest to possess it.
But if thine heart turn away, so that thou wilt not hear, but shalt be drawn away, and worship other gods, and serve them;
I denounce unto you this day, that ye shall surely perish, and that ye shall not prolong your days upon the land, whither thou passest over Jordan to go to possess it.
I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live:
That thou mayest love the Lord thy God, and that thou mayest obey his voice, and that thou mayest cleave unto him: for he is thy life, and the length of thy days: that thou mayest dwell in the land which the Lord sware unto thy fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give them. (Deut. 30:15-20)
The Bible is a history–in reality, a family history. It contains a record of a God-fearing family that became a tribe,  then a people, and finally a nation. It also discusses the people who claimed strange gods and deities, worshipping the sun or mountains, even wooden and stone images. And then there are the modern Christians who believe in a god without form nor image, and who says nothing.
The Bible tells us that our god is the same God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and that He made sacred covenants with those good men with the instructions that they were to be passed down through all of their generations. They were told they would be blessed for their obedience and cursed for disobedience.
Today’s society has instigated its own customs, traditions and ideals, which are much different from God’s Priesthood laws. God admitted that when He said, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord.” (Isa. 55:8) We should not try to bend the laws of God to suit the ever-changing customs and fashions of society.
As we delve further into the scriptures, we will find that it is evident that God Himself is “racist” and very “biased” towards certain people. He talks about “His” people and a “chosen” people with specific rules and laws for certain “special” people. He has “blessed” some and “cursed” others.
We will also learn that God knows things we do not, but His ways are always the best ways. The scriptures try to teach us this simple lesson. Thus, the best source for truth is the scriptures, which God has given as a guidebook to help us in our journey through life.
Our progress has gone from the savagery of jungle arrows to the savagery of civilized nuclear weapons.  Unfortunately, we have progressed little in our moral and religious status simply because we have not heeded the code book of our Creator. Since He has promised blessings for obedience and curses for disobedience, we alone create our own heaven or hell.
 Chapter 3
IS THERE A CHOSEN PEOPLE?
Not only the Son of Man but Isaac, Jacob, Jeremiah, the Twelve Apostles, Peter, are specifically said to have been chosen and set apart in the pre-existence. (Old Testament and Related Studies, Hugh Nibley. p. 192)
“Racist! Racist! Racist!” That’s a summary of the arguments used against the mongrelizing of our races. They use the word as a dirty expletive–a terrible, sinful ideology. It is the main charge they can think of for those who are against the intermixing of races, and they push it into every possible avenue, i.e., movies, media, merchandising, etc.
But the term is actually a misnomer when applying it in a criminal or sinful way. For example, natural selection is found in all of God’s creations: fish, birds, and animals won’t interbreed. These creatures, when found in their natural habitat, will not break the genetic bounds of their creation. By dictionary definition–
Racialism: The assertion that one race is superior over another or others, and that seeks to maintain the supposed purity of a race or the races.
Racism: Same as racialism; any program of racial discrimination; segregation, etc., based on racialism.
 As is evident from these definitions, these terms should instead be applied in a more positive way–denoting “purity of a race”. But our present society has programmed us never to say that one people or race is superior or inferior to another. We have put on our rose-colored glasses so that there is neither black nor white–everything is just rosy. But such glasses and brainwashing cover up the truth and the real message of the four standard works–not to mention the early prophets of this dispensation.
The people who cry “racist” are probably the same ones who have paid a price for a select breed of cat or dog, or perhaps are dairymen who would file a lawsuit against anyone whose stray bull bred with some of his cows. Or maybe he paid an extremely high breeding fee for his special line of horses. How strange that people go to such effort and expense to maintain pure pedigree lines in their pets and livestock, but make little or no effort to maintain the same purity in their own human family!
Dr. Hugh Nibley discusses the effect of using both positive and negative labels in referring to people:
Every rhetorician knows that his most effective weapons by far are labels. He can demolish the opposition with simple and devastating labels such as communism, socialism, or atheism, popery, militarism, or Mormonism, or give his client’s worst crimes a religious glow with noble labels such as integrity, old-fashioned honesty, tough-mindedness, or free competitive enterprise. “You can get away with anything if you just wave the flag,” a business partner of my father once told me. He called that patriotism. (“What is Zion? A Distant View,” Hugh Nibley)
An evil society has mastered this trick, and we see it constantly used in the media. The Conservative patriots are  called “extremists,” “right wingers,” and “anti-governmentalists.” The truth is they have been the extremists destroying the government and its Constitution. Now we have another label being used which is “racist” and “racism,” which is another fabulous success story for those who manipulate the media. Within a few generations they will have integrated all the races for some peculiar purpose. The purity of the Abrahamic covenant race will have been destroyed by none other than Mr. Mahan, the devil.
Generally speaking, people take pride in their race, color, and nation. Many believe that they are a favored people, even a “chosen” people. Actually there may not be anything wrong with that philosophy, providing they don’t damage or hurt others at the same time.
The dictionary definition of “chosen” is “selected or marked for favor or special privilege.” (Webster’s New Encyl. Dic., p. 173) Based on that definition, it is hard to believe that God chose or picked Israel–but rather that He picked on them. Generally speaking, He didn’t give them great riches, continual happiness, daily peace and unlimited prosperity. Rather He loaded them down with persecution, work, missions, callings, and many obligations. Then He said if they didn’t accomplish them, they would be cursed above all other people! Most people would choose not to be a “chosen” Israelite.
In the Bible there are countless stories of God’s speaking to the Israelites–blessing them, cursing them, and sometimes scattering or killing them. God called His “chosen” servants to face mobs, be persecuted, tortured, and rejected. His “chosen” were commanded to sacrifice everything for the Lord’s sake–time, talent, wealth, and family. To be “chosen” was not easy nor was it fun. To carry the burden of being “chosen” was to carry a variety of crosses.
 The pertinent questions at present are: Does God have a chosen people? If so, does that mean He has some that are not so chosen? Starting with the Bible, and perhaps ending with it as well, the scriptures still hold to the doctrine that God favors some people over others. Why does He do that when so many seem to think otherwise? The Bible tells us that God had a favored and chosen people called Israel. Now then, if the Israelites want to make such a claim, does that mean they are “racists and extremists?” If God says they are chosen, who are we to say they are not?
Are they wrong to be proud of their race, their religion or their achievements? Furthermore, would God say they were a chosen people if they were not? And again, the issue comes down to what does it mean to be chosen?
We frequently hear statements such as, “We are all alike unto God,” we are “neither white nor black,” but in reality, we are not all alike, for certainly some are black and some white for a reason. We are all alike as children of God. We are all free to chose salvation, but it does not mean some cannot rise above others. Some may never rise above the status of savages in the jungles, while others are chosen to carry the burden of the gospel and priesthood to the nations. Salvation is for all; priesthood is reserved for a few. That is God’s selection and choosing, not man’s.
We believe these matters are so important that it is not just a social issue but one that reaches into the eternities. If these items are not judged properly, it could mean everlasting regret and condemnation.
The controversy lies mostly in two areas–social and religious. If it is religious, then it must involve God. If it is not  religious, then it is a social issue which can be settled by choice, by vote, or by legislation. Religious matters should be determined not by man, but rather by what God Himself has said.
Maybe we need to take a better look at the scriptures to learn who are considered a “chosen” people, for if someone is chosen of God, He must have said something about it.
When the children of Israel were captives in Egypt, they were no better nor worse than the Egyptians. In fact, they worshipped the same gods and followed the same rituals and customs. Shortly after Moses went up into Mt. Sinai, they made a “molten calf” to worship. The Pharaoh who acted as a god and who was, upon his death, to reign with other gods, was represented as a bull (See Approach to the Book of Mormon, Hugh Nibley, 325-333.), which picture is often seen throughout Egypt.
The sacred bull had long been an object of worship in Egypt. This bronze statuette from the Late Dynastic Period, discovered at Memphis, bears the traditional markings of the bull’s divinity–the eagle’s wings incised on its back and the solar disk between its horns. (The Pyramids and Sphinx, Desmond Stewart, p. 79)
 The Israelites eventually learned how false that “sacred” cow was, and even today false ideals are represented as a “sacred cow.” Such is the title of a book, Science Is a Sacred Cow, by Anthony Standen. Those sacred cows of the Egyptians still remain today in the beliefs of the Hindus of India. They will not kill them because they consider them to be a part of their deity.
God told Moses to tell the children of Israel that He was the God of their forefathers:
And God said moreover unto Moses, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, The Lord God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, hath sent me unto you: this is my name for ever, and this is my memorial unto all generations. (Exodus 3:15)
God continuously mentioned this identity, as though Israel might forget it. (See Ex. 3:6; 3:16; 4:5; 6:3; Lev. 26:42; Num. 32:11; Deut. 1:8; 6:10; 9:5; 29:13; 30:20; 34:4.) This is the God of the Bible, the Creator of the earth, the only True God, the God of the children of chosen Israel.
There was a distinct separation of the children of Israel: the southern kingdom became known as the house of Judah, and the northern kingdom was called the house of Israel. David was king over Judah for seven and one-half years, but he was king over all of Israel for 33 years. (2 Sam. 5:5) After his son Solomon died, the tribe of Judah with Levi and Benjamin became a separate kingdom. The kingdom of Judah remained in the vicinity of Jerusalem for over a century. The northern kingdom became broken up, and most of them were taken captive by the Assyrian kings. From that time on, they were not known as Jews and were not called Jews. However:
 Jews are Israelites, just as Californians are Americans. But most Israelites are not Jews, just as most Americans are not Californians. “The Jews are the House of Judah only, a part of the Israelites. “House of Israel” never means “Jews.” (The United States and British Commonwealth in Prophecy, Ambassador College, p. 89)
Around 500 B.C. nearly 50,000 people of Judah led by Ezra, Nehemiah and Zerubabel, returned to rebuild Jerusalem. This segment was called Jews.
The Lord said to Abraham, “In Isaac shall thy seed be called.” (Gen. 21:12); therefore, they became Isaac’s sons, later identified as Saxons. The Anglo-Saxon-Celtic people are descendants of that great patriarch, but are not Jews.
But the whole house of Israel did not do well. There are many passages in scripture to describe their sins and failures to keep God’s commandments, such as:
In the ninth year of Hoshea the king of Assyria took Samaria, and carried Israel away into Assyria, and placed them in Halah and in Habor by the river of Gozan, and in the cities of the Medes. For so it was, that the children of Israel had sinned against the Lord their God, which had brought them up out of the land of Egypt, from under the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt, and had feared other gods, and walked in the statutes of the heathen, . . . (II Kings 17:6-8)
Darkness descended upon the ten tribes of Israel, and they departed from the laws and commandments of God. They once had prophets, then judges, and then kings, after the manner of the gentiles. When they followed the laws of the wicked gentiles, they sank to the lowest ebb of their political and ecclesiastical kingdom. They intermarried with gentiles and were thus scattered and “lost” among the gentiles.
 For hundreds of years the Israelites were left in their fallen condition, without Priesthood, prophets or guidance from the Lord. This was a curse upon them, as Brigham Young stated:
In ancient days, old Israel was the chosen people in whom the Lord delighted, and whom he blessed and did so much for. Yet they transgressed every law that he gave them, changed every ordinance that he delivered to them, broke every covenant made with the fathers, and turned away entirely from his holy commandments, and the Lord cursed them. (JD 14:86)
The prophet Nehemiah also described some of their sins:
In those days also saw I Jews that had married wives of Ashdod, of Ammon, and of Moab: and their children spake half in the speech of Ashdod, and could not speak in the Jews’ language, but according to the language of each people. (Neh. 13:23-24)
Then after they had paid the price of their bondage and apostasy, Jesus was born and again gave them laws and commandments and wanted to be their King. He came to the house of Judah, but received no welcome.
The blood of other nations had integrated into the tribe of Judah, and it was this blood that was predominant in the Jews that rebelled against Christ. When Jesus failed to convert them, the gospel was carried out to the other tribes of Israel.
Andrew Jensen, Church historian and a devout Bible scholar, devoted much study to the house of Israel. He concluded one of his sermons by saying:
We are of Israel; there is no doubt of it, and we will find that when our genealogy is revealed in detail, it will lead us back from America to England, from  England to Scandinavia and Germany, and from there to the country lying between the Caspian and Black Sea, that part of Asia where the Ten Tribes were lost. . . . I rejoice that so many faithful men and women have believed and embraced the gospel, . . . (but) we have not had success among Latin or Oriental races. . . . (Conf. Rept., April 1913, pp. 80-81)
This particular idea did not begin with the Mormons. To trace its origin we must return to the very first book of the Bible, and then follow it through to the end of the Bible, and then find that it is also supported in the Apocryphal books of the Bible. It is taught in the Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants, and Pearl of Great Price, as well. Regardless of our personal beliefs and the modern views of our society, it is a doctrine taught throughout the scriptures.
One of the first arguments against blacks receiving the priesthood is the statement that the Lord does not have a “chosen” people, that He does not have favorites, or a special people. In response to this claim, consider the following scriptures showing that God indeed does have His “chosen” people and He often distinguishes them from others.
The order of this priesthood was confirmed to be handed down from father to son, and rightly belongs to the literal descendants of the chosen seed, to whom the promises were made. This order was instituted in the days of Adam, and came down by lineage in the following manner:
From Adam to Seth, who was ordained by Adam at the age of sixty-nine years, and was blessed by him three years previous to this (Adam’s) death, and received the promise of God by his father, that his posterity should be the chosen of the Lord, and that they should be preserved unto the end of the earth; . . . (D & C 107:40-42)
For thou art an holy people unto the Lord thy God: the Lord thy God hath chosen thee to be a  special people unto himself, above all people that are upon the face of the earth. (Deut. 7:6)
For thou art an holy people unto the Lord thy God, and the Lord hath chosen thee to be a peculiar people unto himself, above all the nations that are upon the earth. (Deut. 14:2)
And thy servant is in the midst of thy people which thou hast chosen, a great people, that cannot be numbered nor counted for multitude. (I Kings 3:8)
O ye seed of Israel his servant, ye children of Jacob, his chosen ones. (I Chron. 16:13)
Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord; and the people whom he hath chosen for his own inheritance. (Ps. 33:12)
Now therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people: for all the earth is mine. (Ex. 19:5)
O ye seed of Abraham his servant, ye children of Jacob his chosen. (Ps. 105:6)
And he brought forth his people with joy, and his chosen with gladness. (Ps. 105:43)
For the Lord hath chosen Jacob unto himself, and Israel for his peculiar treasure. (Ps. 135:4)
But thou, Israel, art my servant, Jacob whom I have chosen, the seed of Abraham my friend. (Isa. 41:8)
The beast of the field shall honour me, the dragons and the owls: because I give waters in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert, to give drink to my people, my chosen. (Isa. 43:20)
 And except that the Lord had shortened those days, no flesh should be saved: but for the elect’s sake, whom he hath chosen, he hath shortened the days. (Mark 13:30)
Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you. (John 15:16)
If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you. (John 15:19)
But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty. (I Cor. 1:27)
But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. (I Peter 2:9)
But behold, verily I say unto you, that there are many who have been ordained among you, whom I have called but few of them are chosen. They who are not chosen have sinned a very grievous sin, in that they are walking in darkness at noon-day. (D & C 95:5-6)
There has been a day of calling, but the time has come for a day of choosing; and let those be chosen that are worthy. And it shall be manifest unto my servant, by the voice of the Spirit, those that are chosen; and they shall be sanctified. (D & C 105:35-36)
Behold, there are many called, but few are chosen. And why are they not chosen? Because their  hearts are set so much upon the things of this world, and aspire to the honors of men, that they do not learn this one lesson–(D & C 121:34-35)
The Apostle Paul explains when these people were first chosen–it was in the pre-existence before the creation of this mortal world:
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ: According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love. (Eph. 1:3-4)
These shall make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb shall overcome them: for he is Lord of lords, and King of kings: and they that are with him are called, and chosen, and faithful. (Rev. 17:14)
The Israelite people themselves did not originate the idea that they were “chosen” or a “peculiar” people for the Lord; it was God who told them who they were. The sociologists and psychologists may think they picked those names for themselves because of “pride, security, identification, or a feeling of belonging.” But in reality they were chosen before they were born, and it had nothing to do with their status among the gentiles.
There are no favorites–chosen or elect–when it comes to salvation, as it is offered to “all mankind.” All are alike unto God when it comes to salvation, which include the following three essential factors:
* “Through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved.” (Acts 15:11; Eph. 2:8)
* It is necessary that we become “justified by the faith of (or in) Christ.” (Gal. 2:16 and 3:11, 24)
 We shall all be “judged every man according to their works.” (Rev. 20:13) and “the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.” (Rev. 20:12)
God loves all His children and gives them this universal gift of salvation. However, exaltation is another matter and is based on individual mortal conduct.
According to Abraham, “Pharaoh signifies king by royal blood.” (P of GP, Abraham 1:20) This indicates that certain blood lineage has the right of kingship, and also that if there is royal blood, then there must be another kind of blood that is not so royal. (Keep in mind here that all Pharaohs were not of the black race.) God promised Abraham that “kings shall come out of thee,” (Gen. 17:6) and the same promise was made to Jacob, his grandson. (See Gen. 35:11)
In our dispensation Brigham Young said that “Joseph Smith was a pure Ephraimite.” (JD 2:268) This indicates that the purity of a person’s blood lineage is important to their calling and mission in life. Joseph Fielding Smith explained:
President Young declares that Joseph Smith was a pure Ephraimite. This is true. Joseph Smith, father of the Prophet, received the birthright in Israel which he inherited through his fathers back to Ephraim and Joseph and Jacob to Abraham. For that reason the Patriarchal Priesthood was conferred upon him with the commandment that it should be handed down from father to son. (Doc. of Sal. 3:253-54)
The “God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob” had chosen them, and their descendants after them, for a special mission. That mission was to obey all the laws, ordinances and commandments pertaining to the Holy Priesthood.
 Chapter 4
GOD BLESSES SOME MORE THAN OTHERS
It is very evident that all men are not “created equal.” Why does God allow one man to be born in the hot, barren desert destined to forge a difficult and meager existence, while another is sent to some tropical island where all his food naturally grows all around him with no effort of his own? Another poor chap is sent to some freezing, miserable place where nothing grows and he struggles every day to find enough to keep alive, while some lucky guy is dropped into the lap of millionaires who provide everything for him all his life. Then how about comparing those born deaf, blind, or handicapped, with others (such as movie stars and business tycoons) who are good looking, extremely rich, hold positions of security, have great health and an excellent education, and are nationally respected! And why is it that some are born with the opportunity to hear the Gospel while others are not?
How can we say God is “fair” when he treats His children so “unfairly” and differently? We read that “God is no respecter of persons,” but that seems to apply to only a few. Regarding this, Apostle Mark E. Petersen correctly concluded:
Is there reason then why the type of birth we receive in this life is not a reflection of our worthiness or lack of it in the pre-existence life?
. . . Can we account in any other way for the birth of some of the children of God in darkest Africa, or in  flood-ridden China, or among the starving hordes of India, while some of the rest of us are born here in the United States? 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 as Americans, some as Latter-day Saints. These are rewards and punishments, fully in harmony with His established policy in dealing with sinners and saints, rewarding all according to their deeds. (“Race Problems–As They Effect the Church,” address to convention of teachers of religion at BYU, Mark E. Petersen, August 27, 1954)
Before we can completely understand ourselves or others, we must believe that we lived before we came to earth. This was revealed to many of the prophets, such as Jeremiah:
Then the word of the Lord came unto me, saying, Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou comest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations. (Jer. 1:4-5)
Thus, some were “chosen” to be prophets while others were not. A belief in man’s pre-mortal life is the only reasonable and justifiable explanation for such differences among men. If we cannot believe in a life before we came to earth, then we might as well stop right here and claim that God is unfair, biased, and is a “racist.” We talk about all men being “created equal,” but they certainly are not born equal. Indeed, every man is born differently from all others. His fingerprints, the composition of his eyes, his hair and his DNA all prove that he is entirely different from everyone else.
Continuing on with God’s promises to a certain people with special blessings, we read how Abraham’s grandson, Jacob, whose name was later changed to Israel, had 12 favored sons called Israelites. These sons were not only special to Jacob but also chosen by God.
 But thou, Israel, art my servant, Jacob whom I have chosen, the seed of Abraham, my friend. Thou whom I have taken from the ends of the earth, and called thee from the chief men thereof, and said unto thee, Thou art my servant; I have chosen thee, . . . (Isa. 41:8-9)
The Jews have claimed they were the “chosen” people of Israel, but they came from only one of the sons of Jacob. There were still eleven other sons and their descendants, called Israelites, who were also “chosen.”
The children of these 12 sons finally ended up in Egypt under the bondage of the Egyptians until Moses came. The Lord then spoke to Moses saying:
Thus shalt thou say to the house of Jacob, and tell the children of Israel; Ye have seen what I did unto the Egyptians, and how I bare you on eagles’ wings, and brought you unto myself. Now therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people: for all the earth is mine: And ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation. These are the words which thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel. (Exodus 19:3-6)
From this declaration it becomes clear what God was trying to do. He wanted to–
- Deliver Israel from slavery and bondage.
- Separate them from all other people.
- Protect them from enemies and evil influences.
- Institute His own laws among the people of Israel.
- Help Israel to abide in His covenants.
- Help them to be a “peculiar treasure” to Him.
- Consider them “above all people.”
- Have them become the Kingdom of God on earth.
- Create them into a holy and distinct nation.
- Help them be the priests of God to bear the Priesthood with its ordinances and laws.
The book of Deuteronomy is a “repeat” of the laws to the children of Israel, and in that book the Lord again says to the Israelites:
For thou art an holy people unto the Lord thy God: the Lord thy God hath chosen thee to be a special people unto himself above all people that are upon the face of the earth.
The Lord did not set his love upon you, nor choose you, because ye were more in number than any people; for ye were the fewest of all people:
But because the Lord loved you, and because he would keep the oath which he had sworn unto your fathers, hath the Lord brought you out with a mighty hand, and redeemed you out of the house of bondmen, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt. (Deut. 7:6-8)
The Lord so favored Israel over all the other nations that He said He would even destroy the others to preserve His chosen people:
When the Lord thy God shall bring thee into the land whither thou goest to possess it, and hath cast out many nations before thee, the Hittites, and the Girgashites, and the Amorites, and the Canaanites, and the Perizzites, and the Hivites, and the Jebusites, seven nations greater and mightier than thou;
And when the Lord thy God shall deliver them before thee; thou shalt smite them, and utterly destroy them; thou shalt make no covenant with them, nor shew mercy unto them: . . .
Then will the Lord drive out all these nations from before you, and ye shall possess greater nations and mightier than yourselves.
Every place whereon the soles of your feet shall tread shall be yours: from the wilderness and Lebanon,  from the river, the river Euphrates, even unto the uttermost sea shall your coast be.
There shall no man be able to stand before you: for the Lord your God shall lay the fear of you and the dread of you upon all the land that ye shall tread upon, as he hath said unto you. (Deut. 7:1-2; 11:23-25)
Thus, there can be no doubt, according to the scriptures, that God does favor some people over others. The reason for such favoritism is because He gave them certain promises and selections before they were born, based on their conduct there. Certain people were given responsibilities, ordinations and missions before they were born while others were not. The Prophet Joseph Smith said:
Every man who has a calling to minister to the inhabitants of the world was ordained to that very purpose in the Grand Council of heaven before this world was. (TPJS, p. 365)
Some men were chosen to be ministers of the Gospel and to bear the Priesthood, while others were not.
The Israelites were the focus of Christ’s ministry and Peter reiterated their special calling:
But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. (I Peter 2:9)
These “chosen” people were given the responsibility to be a guiding light to others. They received revelations, scriptures, and spiritual gifts above all other people and nations.
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. All His prophets and apostles belonged to the most handsome race on the face of the earth–Israel, who still, as represented in the scattered tribe of Judah, bear the impress of their former beauty. In this race was born His Son Jesus, who, we are told was very lovely, and “in the express image of his Father’s person,” and every angel who ever brought a message of God’s mercy to man was beautiful to look upon, clad in the purest white and with a countenance bright as the noonday sun. (Juvenile Instructor, 3:157)
In spite of all the grumblings, persecutions and opposition to the House of Israel, they remain a “chosen” people, unto whom God gave special favors, responsibilities, and covenants.
John the Beloved, the Revelator, and the one who was translated, “saw the Holy City,” “the Holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God,” and on the 12 gates of the city he saw the “names written thereon, which are the names of the twelve tribes of the children of Israel.” (Rev. 21:12) Simply said, the tribes of Israel were a “chosen” people before they were born and were assigned a special mission.
 Chapter 5
COVENANTS BETWEEN GOD AND MAN
The Ark of the Covenant was a symbol of the covenant between God and men. The Israelites carried this ark at the head of their processions. (The Bible Almanac, p. 386)
Starting with the first book of the Bible, the Lord made promises and covenants with a certain family lineage. For example, God made a covenant with Noah saying, “With thee will I establish my covenant.” (Gen. 6:18) Then God proceeded to destroy everyone else. The covenant extended further when:
God spake unto Noah, and to his sons with him, saying, And I, behold, I establish my covenant with you, and with your seed after you. (Gen. 9:8-9)
Then a little further along in that same lineage the Lord chose another person with whom to make a covenant:
And when Abram was ninety years old and nine, the Lord appeared to Abram, and said unto him, I am the Almighty God; walk before me, and be thou perfect. And I will make my covenant between me and thee, and will multiply thee exceedingly. (Gen. 17:1-2)
It is interesting to note that Abram’s second wife was about to have a child, and the Lord prophesied, “he will be a wild man; his hand will be against every man, and every man’s hand against him.” (Gen. 16:12) This man’s identity, life style  and character had already been determined before he was born. This surely indicates that the character of people was determined before mortal birth. Then to make things even more interesting, Abram was told he would have another child, by his first wife, and that “my covenant will I establish with Isaac, which Sarah shall bear unto thee at this set time in the next year.” (Gen. 17:21)
Isaac was to be a favored son, both by his father and by the Lord. He was pre-destined or fore-ordained before he was born with blessings that others would not have. Paul the Apostle said:
For whom [those who love God] he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the first-born among many brethren. Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified. (Romans 8:29-30)
God proceeded to make another covenant with Jacob, and through this series of covenants would rest the greatest blessings of anyone on earth. These covenants and opportunities for blessings would also fall upon their children, as it did upon the children of Jacob, or Israel.
And it came to pass in process of time, that the king of Egypt died: and the children of Israel sighed by reason of the bondage, and they cried, and their cry came up unto God by reason of the bondage.
And God heard their groaning, and God remembered his covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob.
And God looked upon the children of Israel, and God had respect unto them. (Ex. 2:23-25)
 Even though Abraham was a fine gentleman and did many wonderful things for the people, why would God bless all of his children and grandchildren for centuries later? And why should they be blessed more than anyone else’s children? On the other hand, why would God put the sins of the fathers on their children for generations afterwards? For it says:
The Lord is long-suffering, and of great mercy, forgiving iniquity and transgression, and by no means clearing the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation. (Num. 14:18)
This was not a mistranslation nor was it taken out of context because it reads the same in other parts of the Bible, i.e., Ex. 20:5; 34:7; Deut. 5:9, etc. If God is fair, then there must be some explanation for these blessings and cursings upon the various posterities of men.
The blessings given to Abraham were monumental and are listed in the 12th to the 49th chapters of Genesis. And these are also the blessings that are available to all of his posterity down to the very “last days:”
(1) a promised land; (2) a great nation; (3) a highly honored name; (4) to be greatly blessed; (5) to bless those who bless him and condemn those who curse him; (6) to bless all the families of the earth; (7) to have a numerous posterity; (8) to be the father of many nations; (9) his wives to be the mothers of many nations; (10) to hold the sceptre of kingly and priestly power; (11) to bring justice and judgment to mankind; (12) to possess the gate of the enemies; (13) to have unrestricted dominion in the earth; (14) to have an everlasting covenant with God; (15) to speak with God.
 All of these blessings, according to the covenant that God made with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, are to follow in their lineage.
The Bible mentions two classes of “chosen” people: (1) those who held a “sceptre”, the right to rule or to govern; and (2) those who had the “birthright,” the right to spiritual and Priesthood blessings. The latter was the greater of the two.
It is said that “Judah prevailed above his brethren, and of him came the chief ruler; but the birthright was Joseph’s.” (1 Chron. 5:2) Author James Anderson noted:
This birthright is that supreme spiritual calling for which Abraham had so earnestly sought, and of which, when he received it, he exclaimed (Abraham 1:2) “I became a rightful heir, a High Priest, holding the right belonging to the fathers!” This birthright was conferred upon Jacob’s son Joseph, to be entered upon when his lineage should qualify itself therefor in the latter days. Past centuries do not show the lineage of Joseph exercising generally the spiritual or priesthood powers of the birthright given to Abraham. (God’s Covenant Race, James Anderson, p. 14)
The sceptre of a kingly dynasty was vested in the house of Judah, but the birthright of spiritual callings belonged to Joseph and his posterity. Judah “prevailed above his brethren,” because he saved Joseph from death by suggesting that they sell him to the Ishmaelites instead of killing him.
This lineage was given special covenants and promises from the Lord, but if they should disobey, then they would be cursed in proportion to the greatness of their blessings.
For I earnestly protested unto your fathers in the day that I brought them up out of the land of Egypt,  even unto this day, rising early and protesting, saying, Obey my voice.
Yet they obeyed not, nor inclined their ear, but walked every one on the imagination of their evil heart: therefore I will bring upon them all the words of this covenant, which I commanded them to do; but they did them not. * * *
They are turned back to the iniquities of their forefathers, which refused to hear my words; and they went after other gods to serve them: the house of Israel and the house of Judah have broken my covenant which I made with their fathers. (Jer. 11:7-8, 10)
There are over 100 curses listed in Deuteronomy 28 for breaking this covenant. No one else in the world has been designated to receive such curses.
Elder B. H. Roberts has given an excellent summation of this obvious difference in races, individuals, and nations:
There are some men who are born in circumstances and of a race to whom there is no limit of privileges in the Gospel of Jesus Christ. They may repent of their sins, be baptized for the remission of them, have hands laid upon them for the reception of the Holy Ghost, receive the Priesthood, have access to the temples of God, receive washings, anointing, ordinations, and promises of exaltation and glory to which there is no limit. But you can turn your eyes to a race inhabiting Africa–the Negro race. While it is true they are blessed with the privileges of the Gospel, you find them curtailed in the rights of the Holy Priesthood–they cannot receive it. Let us say that these two cases mark the two extremes. Between these two extremes there is an endless variety of opportunities and privileges. Why is the Priesthood granted to one race and denied to another? Why is there in the one case no limit to progress and exaltation, and in the other case there are limits placed? Remember, we must keep in view the fact that God is just, and no respecter  of persons. Then how do you reconcile this fact I have pointed out with the justice of God? I reconcile it by the knowledge which comes to us through the doctrine of the pre-existence of man’s spirit, and I believe that conditions in this life are influenced and fixed by the degree of faithfulness, by the degree of development in the pre-existent state. Otherwise the diversified conditions in which men find themselves placed cannot be reconciled with the justice of God. (Collected Discourses, compiled by Brian Stuy, 4:236-37)
Man’s covenants with God seem to have been repetitious rather than continuous. God wanted to keep His end of the contract and so did man, but He is a God and we are mortals. Our good intentions usually lasted much longer than the unbroken covenants.
Undoubtedly all men made certain promises and covenants before they were born, but like most agreements, they are easily broken. But in mortality the god of this world tempts men to break those covenants because of lust, wealth, position, and power. The glitter and tinsel of Babylon blind the eyes, causing previous promises to temporarily escape the mind.
The covenants of God were to be “everlasting covenants,” indicating that God would never fail to keep His part of the agreement. The Old Testament is called the Old Covenant, and the New Testament is the New Covenant. There should not have been the necessity for a new covenant, but Israel broke their part of the contract so had to suffer the consequences.
 Chapter 6
DOES GOD FAVOR SEGREGATION?
I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, . . . (2 Cor. 6:16-17)
From the beginning the Lord determined that His Priesthood was to be an inheritance for those in a particular blood lineage, as explained by Abraham:
I became a rightful heir, a High Priest, holding the right belonging to the fathers.
It was conferred upon me from the fathers; it came down from the fathers, from the beginning of time, yea, even from the beginning, or before the foundation of the earth, down to the present time, even the right of the firstborn, or the first man, who is Adam, or first father, through the fathers unto me.
I sought for mine appointment unto the Priesthood according to the appointment of God unto the fathers concerning the seed. (Abraham 1:2-4)
Thus, Abraham received the Priesthood through proper lineage and according to the appointment of God. It was in the pre-mortal state that he and others were chosen to be ordained to the Priesthood in mortality.
Now the Lord had shown unto me, Abraham, the intelligences that were organized before the world was; and among all these there were many of the noble and great ones;
 And God saw these souls that they were good, and he stood in the midst of them, and he said: These I will make my rulers; for he stood among those that were spirits, and he saw that they were good; and he said unto me: Abraham, thou art one of them; thou wast chosen before thou wast born. (Abraham 3:22-23)
The Bible is not just a history, but more than that, it is the history of a family. That family gradually was divided into two general groups: Israel (they who “prevail with God”) and the Gentiles (“unbelievers”).
The gentiles are usually considered to be the more worldly and those who cannot accept the laws and commandments of God. They establish their own laws, customs, rules and gods. Their traditions have almost always run counter to and against those of the Israelitish people. Beginning with Cain and Abel, there have been two separate social, religious, and even blood lines.
God separated the nations by using boundaries and separated people by designating colors. He made some white, some black, yellow, brown, and red. Other separations are evident because of physical appearance, i.e., shape of nose and eyes, color or texture of hair, etc. Other distinguishing characteristics are intellects, talents, or physical abilities.
Remember the days of old, consider the years of many generations: ask thy father, and he will shew thee; thy elders, and they will tell thee.
When the Most High divided to the nations their inheritance, when he separated the sons of Adam, he set the bounds of the people according to the number of the children of Israel.
For the Lord’s portion is his people; Jacob is the lot of his inheritance. (Deut. 32:7-9)
 Further evidence of God’s use of segregation comes from the following:
Now let’s talk segregation again for a few moments. Was segregation a wrong principle? When the Lord chose the nations to which the spirits were to come, determining that some would be Japanese and some would be Chinese and some Negroes and some Americans, He engaged in an act of segregation. When He permitted the banishment of Hagar and Ishmael, again He indulged in segregation. In the case of Jacob and Esau, He engaged in segregation. When He preserved His people Israel in Egypt for 400 years, He engaged in an act of segregation, and when He brought them up out of Egypt and gave them their own land, He engaged in an act of segregation. We speak of the miracle of the preservation of the Jews as a separate people over all these years. It was nothing more or less than an act of segregation. I’m sure the Lord had His hand in it because the Jews still have a great mission to perform. In placing a curse on Laman and Lemuel, He engaged in segregation. When He placed the mark upon Cain, He engaged in segregation. When He told Enoch not to preach the Gospel to the descendants of Cain as to the Priesthood, He engaged in segregation. When He forbade intermarriages as He does in Deuteronomy 7th chapter, He established segregation.
Who placed the Negroes originally in darkest Africa? Was it some man, or was it God? And when He placed them there, He segregated them. Who placed the Chinese in China? The Lord did. It was an act of segregation. When He placed only some of His chosen people in the tribe of Judah, the royal tribe, wasn’t that an act of segregation? And when He gave the birthright only to Ephraim, wasn’t that an act of segregation? (“Race Problems, . . .” Mark E. Petersen, pp. 16-17)
And even further–
 God Almighty did not create all races to exist as one big happy family, and of course, this is not happening, no matter how supportive the federal government may be of multi-culturalism. People in general, no matter what race they may be, simply are not happy in this melting pot of multi-culturalism, and there will continue to be acts of violence, riots, and unrest in all nations that persist in unBiblical integration policies. (“America’s Promise,” Dave Barley, p. 3)
It has been written by scientists and various scholars, i.e., Comte Joseph-Arthur de Gobineau, that there is a distinct and inherent difference among races, such as physical make-up and structure, mental capacity, qualities of character, and sometimes intuitive or spiritual gifts. He said that it was the white race who was by nature superior to all the rest, and continued with–
History shows that all civilization derives from the white race, that none can exist without its help, and that a society is great and brilliant only so far as it preserves the blood of the noble group that created it. People degenerate only in consequence of the various mixtures of blood which they undergo. (Inequality of Human Races, Gobineau, p. 210)
Will and Ariel Durant gave another example:
Usually this comes through inter-marriage of the vigorous race with those whom it has conquered. Hence, the superiority of the whites in the United States and Canada (who did not inter-marry) to the whites in Latin America (who did). All strong characters and peoples are race conscious, and are instinctively averse to marriage outside their own racial group. (The Lessons of History, Durant, p. 26)
In the book, The Passing of the Great Race, (1916) Madison Grant described the superior races as being the  Scandinavians, Scythians, Baltic Germans, Englishmen, and Anglo-Saxon Americans.
The Durants noted that between 1700 and 1848, white Americans north of Florida were mainly Anglo-Saxon, but after that the doors were opened and a racial fusion took place, and it appears that “a new homogenous type is forming,” which they think will emerge with a new language, different music, arts, and literature. He noticed that “already these are visible.” (Ibid., p. 31)
The question now is whether we are progressing or retrogressing because of this mixture of races.
The mixing of blood may be a greater detriment to races than merely changing physical features or skin color. This probably applies more to the white race than any others because it usually changes the religion, customs, and morals. It was so with King Solomon and many of the Jews, as the prophet Nehemiah testified:
In those days also saw I Jews that had married wives of Ashdod, of Ammon, and of Moab: And their children spake half in the speech of Ashdod, and could not speak in the Jews’ language, but according to the language of each people.
And I contended with them, and cursed them, and smote certain of them, and plucked off their hair, and made them swear by God, saying, Ye shall not give your daughters unto their sons, nor take their daughters unto your sons, or for yourselves.
Did not Solomon king of Israel sin by these things? yet among many nations was there no king like him, who was beloved of his God, and God made him king over all Israel: nevertheless even him did out-landish women cause to sin.
Shall we then hearken unto you to do all this great evil, to transgress against our God in marrying strange wives?
 And one of the sons of Joiada, the son of Eliashib the high priest, was son in law to Sanballat the Horonite: therefore I chased him from me.
Remember them, O my God, because they have defiled the priesthood, and the covenant of the priesthood, and of the Levites. Thus cleansed I them from all strangers, and appointed the wards of the priests and the Levites, every one in his business; . . . (Nehemiah 13:23-30)
God frequently reiterated His law to the Israelites–not to mix with other nations, and warned them about the Hittites, Girgashittes, Amorites, Canaanites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites:
. . . thou shalt make no covenant with them, nor shew mercy unto them: Neither shalt thou make marriages with them; thy daughter thou shalt not give unto his son, nor his daughter shalt thou take unto thy son. For they will turn away thy son from following me, that they may serve other gods: so will the anger of the Lord be kindled against you, and destroy thee suddenly. (Deut. 7:2-4)
Mixed marriages between Israelites and Canaanites were a mark of apostasy. (See Isa. 2:1; Deut. 14:2; Gen. 27:46; I Kings 8:53; Ezra 9:5; Judges 3:5-8; 2 Cor. 6:14-18) And in our dispensation, George Q. Cannon explained:
This was a command that was given unto Israel with great force and emphasis. They were commanded from the beginning that they were not to marry with those who did not belong to their family, or did not belong to the Israel of God, or were not the covenant people of God. And it was not a new law; it was not a law that was given to Moses, and through him to the children of Israel for the first time. If you will read back to the days of Abraham, you will find that the same sentiment filled the heart of Abraham, the patriarch, concerning his posterity. When he  wanted a wife for his son Isaac, he took his eldest servant of his house and made him swear by the God of Heaven that he would not take a wife unto his son of the daughters of the Canaanites, a race with which he did not want his son to intermarry. And he sent his servant back to Mesopotamia, to his old country and his kindred, it being where his brother Nahor had lived, to find there for his son Isaac a wife that should be suitable to him. (JD 25:363)
At this point, we should discuss the controversy that appears in the story of Moses’ plural wife:
And Miriam and Aaron spake against Moses because of the Ethiopian woman whom he had married: for he had married an Ethiopian woman. (Numbers 12:1)
The Lord apparently did not consider this marriage of Moses to be a sin. Rather, he rebuked Aaron and Miriam by putting a curse upon Miriam so she “became leprous” and was “shut out from the camp seven days, and after that let her be received in again.” (Num. 12:14) On the surface, it has been thought that this Ethiopian woman was of the black race. However, this appears improbable because (1) God defended this marriage where He had previously commanded against marriages into the black race, and (2) Aaron later admitted to Moses that “we have done foolishly, and wherein we have sinned.” (12:11) Just because someone was from the countries of Ethiopia or Canaan, does not necessarily mean he or she is black. Those terms can also be used in a geographical sense.
Consider the place where this incident happened. They “abode at Hazeroth” which is a barren region opposite the Red Sea indicated as Arabah, which land was often traveled by Arabs. This is described in the Jewish Encyclopedia: “The home of these marauding bands is vaguely indicated by the phrase, `the Arabians that were near the Ethiopians.'” (Vol.  2:41; see II Chron. xxi. 16.) The Barns Biblical Commentary stated that the marriage “was not prohibited so long as she was not of the stock of Canaan. (See Ex. 34:11-16. Barns Notes 1:208) This infers that Moses did not marry into the lineage of the blacks because he knew the law against it. Of course, he was greater than most prophets because the Lord said, “My servant Moses. . . who is faithful in all mine house. And with him will I speak mouth to mouth.” (Num. 12:7-8) And this was after the incident with the Ethiopian woman who lived in or near Ethiopia.
The renowned Biblical scholar, Adam Clark, clarified this problem: “That woman, probably meaning Zipporah, who was an Arab born in the land of Midian–was the ostensible cause.” (Adam Clark’s Commentaries 1:657) Now it becomes more clear. There was a long-standing conflict between the Israelites and the Arabs. For Moses to marry an Arab was like marrying an enemy. (Similar to a Mormon marrying a Southern Baptist) The conflict between the Israelites and the Arabs goes back to Abraham’s wives, Sarah and Hagar, the Egyptian. (Gen. 25:12); and it still continues! There was nothing wrong with marriages between these two genealogical lines except for their intense dislike for each other.
The Apostle Orson Pratt also disregarded the theory that the Ethiopian woman was black. His interpretation was that the marriage was satisfactory with both Moses and the Lord, and that Miriam’s criticism was because of her jealousy over Moses’s plural marriage.
We read that, on a certain occasion the sister of Moses, Miriam, and certain others in the great congregation of Israel, got very jealous. What were they jealous about? About the Ethiopian woman that Moses had taken to wife, in addition to the daughter of Jethro, whom he had taken before in the land of  Midian. How dare the great law-giver, after having committed, according to the ideas of the present generation, a great crime, show his face on Mount Sinai when it was clothed with the glory of the God of Israel? But what did the Lord do in the case of Miriam, for finding fault with her brother Moses? Instead of saying, “You are right, Miriam, he has committed a great crime, and no matter how much you speak against him,” He smote her with a leprosy the very moment she began to complain, and she was considered unclean for a certain number of days. Here the Lord manifested by the display of a signal judgment, that He disapproved of any one speaking against His servants for taking more wives than one, because it may not happen to suit their notions of things.
I make these remarks and wish to apply them to fault-finders against plural marriages in our day. Are there any Miriams in our congregation today, any of those who, professing to belong to the Israel of the latter days, sometimes find fault with the man of God standing at their head, because he not only believes in but practices this divine institution of the ancients? If there be such in our midst, I say, remember Miriam the very next time you begin to talk with your neighboring women, or anybody else against this holy principle. Remember the awful curse and judgment that fell on the sister of Moses when she did the same thing, and then fear and tremble before God, lest He, in His wrath, may swear that you shall not enjoy the blessings ordained for those who inherit the highest degree of glory. (JD 13:189)
In many countries, white people are hated–which is nothing new. People living in nations surrounding the Israelites hated them and made war upon them whenever they got the chance. This conflict began between the children of Cain and the children of Seth, and it has continued up to the present time. But it is not necessarily the fault of the white man; it is a problem that can be traced back to Lucifer himself because he is opposed to the promised heritage that is  associated with the white race. Since God is responsible for this lineage problem, it is really God they hate.
Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me. (Ex. 20:5)
So why does the white man seem to arouse opposition so frequently? It is a natural, and even spiritual, conflict–created by the powers of darkness against the chosen lineage and the Holy Priesthood of God.
One of the reasons that Israel was told to separate themselves from other peoples and nations is because the laws of God were so strict and the punishments so severe that other races could not accept them. Even the Israelites had trouble obeying all God’s laws:
And they were to prove Israel by them, to know whether they would hearken unto the commandments of the Lord, which he commanded their fathers by the hand of Moses.
And the children of Israel dwelt among the Canaanites, Hittites, and Amorites, and Perizzites, and Hivites, and Jubusites: And they took their daughters to be their wives, and gave their daughters to their sons, and served their gods.
And the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the Lord, and forgat the Lord their God, and served Baalim and the groves.
Therefore the anger of the Lord was hot against Israel, and he sold them into the hand of Chushanrishathaim, king of Mesopotamia: and the children of Israel served Chushanrishathaim eight years. (Judges 3:4-8)
 In the days of Jeroboam, he and other leaders placed “the lowest of the people” as “priests of the high places,” and it was not even by any choice. It was “whosoever would, he consecrated him, and he became one of the priests of the high places.” (I Kings 13:33) They were placing people into priestly offices and giving the Priesthood to them without the consent of the Lord. Later they added sin to sin by mixing their blood with other nations. By then the Lord was totally disgusted with them and allowed them to be taken captive by these other nations.
In 721 B.C. the ten-tribed House of Israel in Samaria, fell to their enemies and they were taken, by the millions, into the regions of the Black and Caspian Seas.
The Lord removed Israel out of his sight, as he had said by all his servants the prophets. So was Israel carried away out of their own land to Assyria unto this day. (II Kings 17:23)
Those deported Israelites became known as “the lost sheep of the house of Israel,” or “the ten lost tribes.”
Rather than repeat their same blunders today, we need to obey the same laws they were told to obey, as was recommended by Mark E. Petersen:
I think the Lord segregated the Negro and who is man to change that segregation? It reminds me of the scripture on marriage: “What God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.” Only here we have the reverse of the thing–what God hath separated, let not man bring together again. (“Race Problems . . . ,” Petersen, p. 23)
 Israelites have been given at least five major laws that pertain to important doctrines of their Gospel:
- They are to gather together.
- They are to abandon all the customs, traditions, and laws that come from Babylon and are contrary to the Gospel.
- They are to carry the Gospel to the “elect” of Israel–those who are the strongest in doctrine and principle.
- They are not to marry unbelievers of the Gospel nor foreigners who have their own religious beliefs.
- They are not to marry Canaanites, or those with black blood lines.
To many, these are somewhat peculiar beliefs, but they dominate the revelations of the Lord, the teachings of the prophets, and the practices of the people called Israel. “Peculiar” is the word used by the Lord Himself to describe the Israelites, as the following scriptures show:
Now therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people. . . . (Ex. 19:5)
For thou art an holy people unto the Lord thy God, and the Lord hath chosen thee to be a peculiar people unto himself, above all the nations that are upon the earth. (Deut. 14:2)
And the Lord hath avouched thee this day to be his peculiar people, as he hath promised thee, and that thou shouldest keep all his commandments. (Deut. 26:18)
For the Lord hath chosen Jacob unto himself, and Israel for his peculiar treasure. (Psalms 135:4)
In other words, the rest of the world would not believe nor act like them. This would, of course, cause some friction and controversy–and even wars. It made them “peculiar.”
 One of the first miraculous things God did for the Israelites was to separate them from the Egyptians. He wanted to gather them together, away from other nations.
For wherein shall it be known here that I and thy people have found grace in thy sight? Is it not in that thou goest with us? So shall we be separated, I and thy people, from all the people that are upon the face of the earth. (Ex. 33:16)
This same doctrine of separation and segregation had been taught to the children of Adam and Eve, for Adam gave the following patriarchal instructions to his son, Seth:
But now, O Seth, my son, place thyself at the head of thy people; tend them and watch over them in the fear of God; and lead them in the good way. Command them to fast unto God; and make them understand they ought not to hearken to Satan, lest he destroy them. Then, again, sever thy children and thy children’s children from Cain’s children; do not let them ever mix with those nor come near them either in their words or in their deeds. (Adam and Eve, 8:14-15)
We can see in the life of Abraham that other nations and people, firm in their gentile beliefs, usually become opposed to those who do not compromise and join with them, often leading to war and death. Abraham was captured by such people and was to be killed:
Therefore they turned their hearts to the sacrifice of the heathen in offering up their children unto these dumb idols, and hearkened not unto my voice, but endeavored to take away my life by the hand of the priest of Elkenah. The priest of Elkenah was also the priest of Pharaoh.
Now, at this time it was the custom of the priest of Pharaoh, the king of Egypt, to offer up upon the altar  which was built in the land of Chaldea, for the offering unto these strange gods, men, women, and children. (Abraham 1:7-8)
But the voice of Jehovah spoke to Abraham and said:
Abraham, Abraham, behold my name is Jehovah, and I have heard thee, and have come down to deliver thee, and to take thee away from thy father’s house, and from all thy kins-folk, into a strange land which thou knowest not of;
And this because they have turned their hearts away from me; . . . therefore I have come down to visit them, and to destroy him who hath lifted up his hand against thee, Abraham, my son, to take away thy life.
Behold, I will lead thee by my hand, and I will take thee, to put upon thee my name, even the Priesthood of thy father, and my power shall be over thee. (Abraham 1:16-18)
Then God smashed the altar, killed the priest, and brought a famine in the land to make everyone suffer for consenting to Abraham’s death.
 And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse them that curse thee; and in thee (that is, in thy Priesthood) and in thy seed (that is, thy Priesthood), for I give unto thee a promise that this right shall continue in thee, and in thy seed after thee (that is to say, the literal seed, or the seed of the body) shall all the families of the earth be blessed, even with the blessings of the Gospel, which are the blessings of salvation, even of life eternal. (Abraham 2:11)
Such blessings to Abraham were to be handed down to his children, or “literal seed”, if they would obey the laws of God. He was called to separate his family from out of the Ur of Chaldees and keep them from mixing with other nations. God told him:
I will establish my covenant between me and thee and thy seed after thee in their generations for an everlasting covenant. . . . (Gen. 17:7)
The Holy Priesthood was the birthright of Abraham and of his posterity if they would honor it.
The covenant with Abraham and his generations was that–
This is my covenant, which ye shall keep, between me and you and thy seed after thee; Every man child among you shall be circumcised. (Gen. 17:10)
The most probable reason for this drastic action was to remind them that they were not to mix their seed with those of forbidden lineages. The Lord had demanded a pure lineage all through the Old Testament.
The scriptures tell us that “Noah was a just man and perfect in his generations, and Noah walked with God.” (Gen. 6:9) This is an indication that Noah was clean and moral,  which was different from the rest of the world, for it is said that “God looked upon the earth, and, behold, it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted his way upon the earth.” (Gen. 6:12) It was a common weakness for mortals to corrupt their flesh by whoredoms, adultery, and marrying strange wives.
Another more recent example of why God has always favored segregation is shown in the case of the infusion of black slave trade that came into Portugal:
By the middle of the 16th century Portugal had risen to a position analogous to that of the United States today. Portugal was the wealthiest, most powerful country in the world, with a large empire and colonies in Asia, Africa, and America. The Portuguese people were, like the Elizabethan, in England, poets and explorers–a race of highly civilized, imaginative, intelligent, and daring men. * * *
They showed great potential and had already made important contributions to the Renaissance. But, unlike England and other European countries, Portugal had a large and rapidly growing Negro population, and at the same time its white population was declining.
Portugal began the Negro slave trade after encountering Negroes in its explorations and forays into Africa. * * *
There was no taboo or injunction against sexual religions with Negroes, and the Negro blood soon became assimilated into the general population through miscegenation, so that today there are no Negroes, as such, in Portugal. * * *
The Encyclopedia Britannica, 11th ed., 1911, in its article on Portugal, states, “The Portuguese intermarried freely with their slaves, and this infusion of alien blood profoundly modified the character and physique of the nation. It may be said without exaggeration that the Portuguese of the `age of discoveries’ and the Portuguese of the 17th and later centuries were two different races.”
 The contribution of this new race to civilization in terms of literature, art, music, philosophy, sciences, etc., has been practically zero. Portugal today is the most backward country in Europe. The illiteracy rate is 38 per cent (in the U.S. 2.2%; Soviet Union, 1.5%; Japan, 1.0%). The infant mortality rate in Portugal is 59.2 per 1,000 births (in Sweden, 12.9; U.S., 20.7; France, 20.4; Soviet Union, 28).
Portugal is a forgotten land–bypassed by tourists and shunned by scholars. It is a sad country, known mainly for its plaintive, mournful fado music–nostalgic music that looks to the past and sees no future. (“The Black Man’s Gift to Portugal,” author unknown, orig. printed in 1971, taken from pp. 2-4)
Although Abraham Lincoln was considered a savior in his efforts to deliver the black man from slavery in the United States, it was nevertheless his intention to keep the blacks and whites separated. In an address to a group of black men on this subject, he once said:
You and we are different races. We have between us a broader difference than exists between almost any other two races. Whether it is right or wrong I need not discuss, but this physical difference is a great disadvantage to us both, as I think your race suffers very greatly, many of them by living among us, while ours suffers from your presence. In a word, we suffer on each side. If this is admitted, it affords a reason at least why we should be separated. (New York Daily Tribune, Aug. 15, 1862)
The “racist” ideology is a conviction within the various races. Each has a certain sense of pride in his own kind. Natives of such countries as Germany, Russia, Japan, China, Arabia, and America have all expressed their national pride and their wish to excel above the others.
 The decline and fall of Israel came about through the mixing of their seed with forbidden races, who influenced Israel to change their laws and customs, eventually to apostatize from their religion. We see the effects of this today.
 Chapter 7
PRIESTHOOD LINEAGE IN THE CHRISTIAN ERA
And verily they that are of the sons of Levi, who receive the office of the priesthood, have a commandment to take tithes of the people according to the law, that is, of their brethren, though they come out of the loins of Abraham. (Hebrews 7:5)
The Priesthood restrictions of the Old Testament were carried over to the New Testament. In fact, Jesus rebuked the Jewish leaders for not keeping those Old Testament laws and quoted 23 times from the law: “Did not Moses give you the law, and yet none of you keepeth the law?” (John 7:19) In all of His teachings, He declared that the law was to be delivered to the Israelites: “I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” (Matt. 15:24) The apostles were also preaching and writing exclusively to those sheep of the house of Israel just as James did when he said:
James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, to the twelve tribes, which are scattered abroad, greeting. (James 1:1)
The following instructions were given to the Twelve Apostles who were to go to the House of Israel:
These twelve Jesus sent forth, and commanded them, saying, Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not. But go  rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. And as ye go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand. (Matt. 10:5-7)
Preaching the Gospel is a doctrine of separation and segregation, clearly taught by the Apostles of Christ. It was the gospel of the New Testament, yet it had the ring of Old Testament teachings. In fact, similar laws were given to both Moses and Jesus, who admitted, “Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill.” And He then went on to say, “Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.” (Matt. 5:17-18)
The Apostle Peter recognized the identity of the house of Israel in his day. Standing before King Agrippa, he testified of the old promises of their forefathers that also applied to the Israelites living at that time. He said:
And now I stand and am judged for the hope of the promise made of God unto our fathers: Unto which promise our twelve tribes, instantly serving God day and night, hope to come. (Acts. 26:6-7)
Peter also bore testimony that the prophecies relating to the house of Israel were being fulfilled through the teachings of Christ:
The word which God sent unto the children of Israel, preaching peace by Jesus Christ: (he is the Lord of all:) That word, I say, ye know, which was published throughout all Judaea, and began from Galilee, after the baptism which John preached. (Acts 10:36-37)
It was not the observances and sacraments of the Jews which Jesus used for the foundation of the Christian religion, but rather the laws and ordinances of Abraham and Moses; so He said, “If ye were Abraham’s children, ye would do the works of Abraham.” (John 8:39)
 But more than any other identification of who the disciples of Christ really were, Peter recalls the old promise of God to His people:
But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvelous light: Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy. (I Peter 2:9-10)
The children of Israel were again being reminded of the laws, ordinances, and covenants that their fathers had been given, and they were being instructed with the same principles, promises, and restrictions.
Paul the Apostle spoke about the necessity for a separation:
Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel?
And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.
Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, and will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty. (II Cor. 6:14-18)
It is written that one of the Twelve Apostles was a Canaanite, i.e., “. . . and Simon the Canaanite.” (Mark 3:18) However, Parley P. Pratt said he did not believe that Simon had Canaanite blood in him.
 Were the Twelve Apostles which Christ ordained, Gentiles? Were any of them Ishmaelites, Edomites, Canaanites, Greeks, Egyptians, or Romans by descent? No, verily. One of the Twelve was called a “Canaanite,” but this could not have alluded to his lineage, but rather to the locality of his nativity, for Christ was not commissioned to minister in person to the Gentiles, much less to ordain any of them to the Priesthood, which pertained to the children of Abraham. I would risk my soul upon the fact that Simon the Apostle was not a Canaanite by blood. He was perhaps a Canaanite upon the same principle that Jesus was a Nazarite, which is expressive of the locality of his birth or sojourn. But no man can hold the keys of Priesthood or of Apostleship, to bless or administer salvation to the nations, unless he is a literal descendant of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Jesus Christ and his ancient Apostles of both hemispheres were of that lineage. (JD 1:261)
Bible dictionaries have also agreed with this same definition of the term Canaanite:
Canaanite: In the case of Matt. 10:4 and Mark 3:18, which refer to Simon, one of the Twelve, the word should be Cananaean rather than Canaanite; it has reference to his political attachments rather than his lineage or geographical point of origin. Simon is also called a Zelote in Luke 6:15 and Acts 1:13, Zelote probably having reference to the Zealots founded by Judas of Gamala, which sect was called the Cananaeans, and who openly opposed the census of Cyrenius. In other instances, Canaanite refers to land of origin or lineage through Canaan, son of Ham, as in Genesis 10:6. [See also Abraham 1:21-22.] (LDS Bible Dictionary)
As further evidence of this interpretation, Judas Iscariot indicates that he came from an area call Iscarioth.
 We should also have a clear understanding of the meaning of the word Gentile. The oft-heard expression “Jew and Gentile” can apply to true believers or those of special lineage in comparison to those who are not. When comparing Mormons and Gentiles, the Jews are usually classified with the Gentiles. Brigham Young said the word Gentile refers to those who are “unbelievers.” The dictionary speaks of it in a broad sense and says it can mean “heathen.” The word Gentile can also have a root in gentility, meaning “a good birth and family or the qualities and manners characteristic of a well-bred person.” (Webster’s New Dic. 1:419) It can even stem from the root word genealogy, which refers to ancestry and generally refers to blood lines–good or bad.
The descendants of Noah’s son, Japheth, were called Gentiles (see Gen. 10:1-5.). In Abraham’s time the term referred to those people who had not descended from Abraham. Later those who were not descendants of Jacob were Gentiles.
Later when the Ten Tribes, or the Kingdom of Israel, broke their covenants with God, they were led away as captives and mixed up with the Gentiles. The Kingdom of Judah designated all other people as Gentiles.
The United States has been referred to as a Gentile nation. (See I Nephi 13; 3 Nephi 21.) In fact, generally speaking, all nations were considered as Gentile nations.
The Book of Mormon plates were “sealed by the hand of Moroni, and hid up unto the Lord, to come forth in due time by way of the Gentile. . . .” (frontispiece) Joseph Smith was of the tribe of Ephraim, but he came out of the Gentile people and nation to translate those places, as a pure Ephraimite of the House of Israel.
 The strange patriarchal system of blood lines is often difficult to understand. Brigham Young said, “Ephraim has become mixed with all the nations of the earth, and it is Ephraim that is gathering together.” (JD 2:268) He thought that out of every 100 Elders only one might not be of Israel. Furthermore, in a family of ten children, maybe only one has the blood of Israel and the rest are Gentiles. If someone is a Gentile without any of the blood of Israel in them, they must have a complete changing in their system. Brigham continued:
Joseph said that the Gentile blood was actually cleansed out of their veins, and the blood of Jacob made to circulate in them; and the revolution and change in the system were so great that it caused the beholder to think they were going into fits.
If any of the Gentiles will believe, we will lay our hands upon them that they may receive the Holy Ghost, and the Lord will make them of the house of Israel. They will be broken off from the wild olive tree, and be grafted into the good and tame olive tree, and will partake of its sap and fatness. If you take a bud and inoculate it into another tree, it ceases to receive nourishment from its original stock; it must, however, receive nourishment, or it will die Where must it receive its nourishment from? From the tree into which it has been introduced; it is supported by it, and becomes incorporated with it.
It is so with the House of Israel and the Gentile nations; if the Gentiles are grafted into the good olive tree they will partake of its root and fatness. (JD 2:268)
So why can’t the Negro races do the same as the other Gentiles and receive that ingrafting into the House of Israel? From all that we have read on this subject, it appears that when a Gentile is grafted into a tree of Israel, the person becomes Israel, but when a Negro is grafted into an Israelite tree, then the tree instead becomes Canaanite. Those of the Black race can accept the Gospel and have the Holy Ghost  similar to a tree that can be planted in a garden to be watered, fed and cared for, but it should not be grafted into any of the other trees in the garden. Furthermore, if those tending the garden were to permit this, they would be condemned, not the Black person who was grafted into the tree of Israel.
These were the covenants and commandments given to the House of Israel. They had no other options or choices in the matter of Priesthood authority. To disregard or change them would be a betrayal, and seriously jeopardize their own Priesthood.
The Prophet Joseph further stated that Noah cursed Canaan [Ham], and–
He cursed him by the priesthood which he held, and the Lord had respect to his word, and the priesthood which he held, notwithstanding he was drunk, and the curse remains upon the posterity of Canaan until the present day. (DHC 4:445-46)
Later Joseph Smith stated that the Negroes were the “sons of Cain.” (DHC 4:501)
The majority of the Jews rejected their King and the Kingdom of God. Their nation was smitten with the judgments and cursings of God and they were sold as slaves at Rome, scattered all over the earth, and many were even killed. Once again both Judah and Israel suffered a curse and were smitten with a condemnation that would last for another 2000 years.
 Chapter 8
A RESTORATION OF ALL THINGS
And he shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you: Whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began. (Acts. 3:20-21)
About three years after Christ began teaching the laws and principles handed down from the ancients, they put Him to death; and within the next 60 years they killed all of His Apostles. By the end of the next 200 years no one publicly claimed to be a Christian. Diocletian, a Roman emperor, was born in 245 AD, and he seemed to believe it was the will of his god to stamp out Christianity. Monuments were raised to him, (one of which is in Spain) and were inscribed with such statements as “For having extinguished the name of Christians” and “For having everywhere abolished the superstition of Christ.” A medal was made with the inscription “The name of Christian being extinguished.” (See Church History by Milner 1:38)
But not all Christians had been killed. In 313 AD the Roman Emperor Constantine ushered in a new dawn for Christianity and attempted to make all Romans Christians. Christianity now had a new blood, a new religion, and a new church. The historian Mosheim recorded:
This change in the form of ecclesiastical government was soon followed by a train of vices,  which dishonored the character and authority of those to whom the administration of the Church was committed. (Ecclesiastical History, Century III, p. 3)
Romans, both citizens and soldiers, were baptized enmass, not because they wanted to be, but because it was the law. These Romans were still Romans–their lifestyle was the same, their hearts were the same, only their religious title had been changed.
This condition was also confirmed by the learned Rev. J.A. Wylie, who wrote:
From the fourth century the corruptions of the Christian Church continued to make marked and rapid progress. The Bible began to be hidden from the people. And in proportion as the light, which is the surest guarantee of liberty, was withdrawn, the clergy usurped authority over the members of the Church. The canons of councils were put in the room of the one infallible Rule of Faith; and thus the first stone was laid in the foundations of “Babylon, that great city, that made all nations to drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication.” The ministers of Christ began to affect titles of dignity, and to extend their authority and jurisdiction to temporal matters. (The History of Protestantism, 1:3)
It was a dark and dreary world through which the light of Christ had to reach the Israelites, but it did not fail completely, as Rev. Wylie expressed:
All through, from the fifth to the fifteenth century, the Lamp of Truth burned dimly in the sanctuary of Christendom. Its flame often sunk low, and appeared about to expire, yet never did it wholly go out. God remembered his covenant with the light, and set bounds to the darkness. (Ibid., p. 3)
 It seems that when religion fails, so does society; because morality and religion are the glue that prevents mankind from destroying itself. In the Dark Ages when religion was at its lowest ebb, society was little more than a dismal dungeon. That was when religion and politics were a poison instead of a cure.
The Church was manned with men, who often proved biased, venal, or extortionate. France grew in wealth and power, and made the papacy her political tool. Kings became strong enough to compel a pope to dissolve that Jesuit order which had so devotedly supported the popes. The Church stooped to fraud, as with pious legends, bogus relics, and dubious miracles; for centuries it profited from a mythical “Donation of Constantine” that had allegedly bequeathed Western Europe to Pope Sylvester I (r. 314-35), and from “False Decretals” (c. 842) that forged a series of documents to give a sacred antiquity to papal omnipotence. More and more the hierarchy spent its energies in promoting orthodoxy rather than morality, and the Inquisition almost fatally disgraced the Church. Even while preaching peace the Church fomented religious wars in sixteenth-century France and the Thirty Years’ War in seventeenth-century Germany. It played only a modest part in the outstanding advance of modern morality–the abolition of slavery. It allowed the philosophers to take the lead in the humanitarian movements that have alleviated the evils of our time. (The Lessons of History, Will & Ariel Durant, p. 45)
Faith and hope grew as a reformation began to break off the shackles that bound them to the superstitions of the church and pulled off the scales from their eyes so they could see more clearly. God heard their prayers and sent them a prophet.
It would be a new day with the old spiritual gifts and powers that once graced the Church of Christ. Indeed, it would be the old familiar call to the House of Israel.
 Some people believe that the children of Israel are extinct like the Jebusites, Amalekites, or Hittites. Not so, for they are scattered all over the earth, and the Gospel is here to gather them out of the nations so they can again become a united people, with God as their King and Leader. As the 10th Article of Faith declares:
We believe in the literal gathering of Israel and in the restoration of the Ten Tribes; that Zion (the New Jerusalem) will be built upon the American continent; that Christ will reign personally upon the earth; and, that the earth will be renewed and receive its paradisiacal glory.
With the restoration of the Gospel to the Prophet Joseph Smith, God again identified Himself and His Priesthood with the names of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. (See D & C 27:10.) He spoke of His law concerning war and battles as it was revealed to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. (See D & C 98:32.) He then said that “ye are the children of Israel, and the seed of Abraham, and must needs be led out of bondage by power….” (D & C 103:17) He then revealed the marriage law given to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. (See D & C 132.) Then as a last reminder to the Saints, He said:
Keep yourselves from evil to take the name of the Lord in vain, for I am the Lord your God, even the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham and of Isaac and of Jacob. I am he who led the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt; and my arm is stretched out in the last days, to save my people Israel. (D & C 136:21-22)
But as the ancient children of Israel adopted the traditions of the Egyptians, so we have taken up the customs and traditions of the Gentiles. As Israelites, we are forgetting the God of Israel.
 Once again God has given to Israel the same Priesthood laws and commandments, but they have been met with similar resistance and controversy. There are a few valiant defenders on the one hand and some apostates on the other. The times have changed and the language is different, but, like an old familiar song, the main theme returns again and again.
The first distinguishing right of an Israelite is their right to the Holy Priesthood, providing they are worthy, as Parley P. Pratt explained:
In the lineage of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, according to the flesh, was held the right of heirship to the keys of Priesthood for the blessings and for the salvation of all nations. From this lineage sprang the Prophets, John the Baptist, Jesus, and the Apostles; and from this lineage sprang the great Prophet and restorer in modern times, and the Apostles who hold the keys under his hand. It is true, that Melchizedek and the fathers before him held the same Priesthood, and that Abraham was ordained and blessed under his hand, but this was an older branch of the chosen seed. I am speaking more fully of those who have lived since the older branches passed away, and since the transfer of the keys to Abraham and his seed. No Ishmaelite, no Edomite, no Gentile, has since then been privileged to hold the presiding keys of Priesthood, or of the ministry of salvation. In this peculiar lineage, and in no other, should all the nations be blessed. From the days of Abraham until now, if the people of any country, age, or nation, have been blessed with the blessings peculiar to the everlasting covenant of the gospel, its sealing powers, Priesthood, and ordinances, it has been through the ministry of that lineage, and the keys of Priesthood held by the lawful heirs according to the flesh. (JD 1:261)
 Besides having the right to the Priesthood, the Israelites were commanded to build temples, gather together, and to be blessed by Israelite patriarchs.
It may not be amiss to give the readers of the Times and Seasons, a few ideas relative to the office of a patriarch. The sectarian world without a priesthood, are, of course, without a patriarch just as they are without the power to administer in spiritual blessing; but in all churches holding the keys of the everlasting priesthood, a patriarch is set apart to bless the people; and his descent, according to right of lineage, by blood and birthright, is from father to son. * * *
But in order to carry out the pattern of scripture, one of the chosen seed, and he the eldest, is set apart to bless all and such as have not a father living to do it. He is called the patriarch of the whole church: such was our father Adam; such was Abraham; such was Jacob; such was Joseph Smith, sen.; such was Hyrum Smith, and such is William Smith now–inheriting the right by lineage. (John Taylor, Times and Seasons 6:905)
The scriptures have also clearly identified the Israelite people as temple builders. When the temple at Jerusalem had been corrupted, the Lord allowed it to be destroyed. Then nearly 2000 years later, again the call came to build temples, the first of which was completed in 1836. Like the day of Pentecost, it was blessed with spiritual manifestations:
The veil was taken from our minds, and the eyes of our understanding were opened. We saw the Lord standing upon the breastwork of the pulpit, before us; and under his feet was a paved work of pure gold, in color like amber. His eyes were as a flame of fire; the hair of his head was white like the pure snow; his countenance shone above the brightness of the sun; and his voice was as the sound of the rushing of great waters, even the voice of Jehovah, saying:
 I am the first and the last; I am he who liveth, I am he who was slain; I am your advocate with the Father. Behold, your sins are forgiven you; you are clean before me; therefore, lift up your heads and rejoice. Let the hearts of your brethren rejoice, and let the hearts of all my people rejoice, who have, with their might, built this house to my name.
For behold, I have accepted this house, and my name shall be here; and I will manifest myself to my people in mercy in this house. Yea, I will appear unto my servants, and speak unto them with mine own voice, if my people will keep my commandments, and do not pollute this holy house. * * *
After this vision closed, the heavens were again opened unto us; and Moses appeared before us, and committed unto us the keys of the gathering of Israel from the four parts of the earth, and the leading of the ten tribes from the land of the north. (D & C 110:1-8, 11)
With the coming of this final “restoration” came both the Church and the Kingdom–or as it had been known, the “sceptre” and the “birthright.” There is a difference between them, and the Lord has often referred to both “church and kingdom.” (D & C 84:34; 72:14; 90:16; 94:3; 104:59; 136:41) One was organized as the Church in 1830 (D & C 20:1) and the other as the Kingdom in 1844. Yet both of them were the responsibility of the House of Israel.
In these latter days the Lord has again revealed the rights and responsibilities of the Priesthood to be given only to those of the chosen Israelite lineage:
The order of this priesthood was confirmed to be handed down from father to son, and rightly belongs to the literal descendants of the chosen seed, to whom the promises were made. This order was instituted in the days of Adam, and came down by lineage. . . . (D & C 107:40-41)
 And again the Lord said:
But, by virtue of the decree concerning their right of the priesthood descending from father to son, they may claim their anointing if at any time they can prove their lineage, or do ascertain it by revelation from the Lord. . . . (D & C 68:21)
Therefore, thus saith the Lord unto you, with whom the priesthood hath continued through the lineage of your fathers–For ye are lawful heirs, according to the flesh, and have been hid from the world with Christ in God–
Therefore your life and the priesthood have remained, and must needs remain through you and your lineage until the restoration of all things spoken by the mouths of all the holy prophets since the world began. (D & C 86:8-10) (See also D & C 113:6; 84:14-15)
The Lord has reiterated His call that “my sheep know my voice.” His message to modern Israel is the same as anciently:
Thou shalt preach the fulness of my gospel, which I have sent forth in these last days, the covenant which I have sent forth to recover my people, which are of the house of Israel. Wherefore lay to with your might and call faithful laborers into my vineyard, that it may be pruned for the last time. And inasmuch as they do repent and receive the fulness of my gospel, and become sanctified, I will stay mine hand in judgment. (D & C 39:16-18)
I am the Lord your God, even the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham and of Isaac and of Jacob. I am he who led the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt; and my arm is stretched out in the last days, to save my people Israel. (D & C 136:21-22)
 But along with the restoration of the old Priesthood came the same old restrictions. Should we expect it to be otherwise?
 Chapter 9
WHAT IS THE MARK?
For the seed of Cain were black, and had not place among them. (Moses 7:22)
There must be a reason why God has caused that people from different nations have skins of various colors. It seems reasonable to assume that it was predicated upon something that took place before people were born into mortality. Otherwise, it could not be said that God “is no respecter of persons.”
The first mention of a distinguishing mark, such as a color, was mentioned in the first book of the Bible: “And the Lord set a mark upon Cain, lest any finding him should kill him.” (Gen. 4:15) This was not a mark he put on himself, nor a mark that someone else put upon him; this was a mark that God put upon him so he would be easily recognized. This same mark was transferred to his posterity.
Regarding the Lamanites, what was the mark? The Book of Mormon states that “the Lord God did cause a skin of blackness [darkness] to come upon them.” (2 Nephi 5:21) This mark must have referred to the color of their skin.
The dark skin of the Negroid races was described in Joseph Smith’s Inspired Translation of the Bible: “Canaan shall be his servant, and a veil of darkness shall cover him, that he shall be known among all men.” (Gen. 9:30) The darkness  over him which could easily be seen “among all men” would undoubtedly have been a dark skin.
The descendants of Cain thus received a dark skin, which was a distinguishing mark on those who “could not have the right of Priesthood.” (Abraham 1:27) Therefore, when those in that lineage are worthy to receive the Priesthood, wouldn’t that mark of distinction be taken away? This is what happened with the Lamanites (2 Nephi 30:6), and it should happen with the Black race when the right time comes for them to receive the Priesthood.
This mark of a dark skin must have been the consequence, at some point, of a lack of valiancy, a weakness, or even by their own choice so they would not have the responsibility of the Priesthood.
The Pearl of Great Price records other indications that the mark refers to the color of skin, i.e.:
And again the Lord said unto me: Look; and I looked towards the north, and I beheld the people of Canaan, which dwelt in tents.
And the Lord said unto me: Prophesy; and I prophesied, saying: Behold the people of Canaan, which are numerous, shall go forth in battle array against the people of Shum, and shall slay them that they shall utterly be destroyed; and the people of Canaan shall divide themselves in the land, and the land shall be barren and unfruitful, and none other people shall dwell there but the people of Canaan;
For behold, the Lord shall curse the land with much heat, and the barrenness thereof shall go forth forever; and there was a blackness came upon all the children of Canaan, that they were despised among all people. (Moses 7:6-8)
 As a reminder, both the Pearl of Great Price and the Doctrine and Covenants have been and continue to be accepted as scripture by LDS Church members since October 10, 1880. They were presented to the Church by Joseph F. Smith, second counselor to President Wilford Woodruff, and he said:
I move that we receive and accept the revelations contained in these books (The Book of Doctrine and Covenants and also the book, The Pearl of Great Price) as revelations from God to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and to all the world. (Conf. Rept, Oct. 10, 1880)
The members of the LDS Church voted unanimously to accept these two books as scripture.
The Pearl of Great Price is a very important record because it presents the words of the Lord to Enoch, Abraham and Moses. It is a more pure account than the Bible, which has been handed down for the past 2000 years through the hands of Catholics, Protestants and archeologist translators and transcribers, many of whom changed or deleted important parts. On the other hand, the Pearl of Great Price was translated by a prophet of God without anyone else tampering with it. However, in recent years, there have been both LDS members and leaders who have disputed, disregarded and denounced the value and the truths contained therein.
In the book of Moses, it records that Enoch was chosen of the Lord when but a young man and was referred to as “a seer.” He was called of God to teach the Gospel, and he taught the people by the spirit of prophecy and revelation. By his own testimony he said:
And it came to pass that I turned and went up on the mount; and as I stood upon the mount, I beheld the  heavens open, and I was clothed upon with glory; And I saw the Lord; and he stood before my face, and he talked with me, even as a man talketh one with another, face to face; . . . (Moses 7:3-4)
Enoch was shown in vision the people of Shum and the people of Canaan and the battle that ensued between them. The Canaanites utterly destroyed the people of Shum, and the Lord cursed them so “there was a blackness came upon all the children of Canaan, that they were despised among all people.” (Moses 7:8)
Then Enoch was sent out as a missionary to teach the Gospel, and “Enoch continued to call upon all the people, save it were the people of Canaan, to repent.” (Moses 7:12)
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. (Moses 7:22)
From this testimony, three major points are made very clear: (1) God had cursed the “seed of Cain” with a black skin; (2) Enoch had been forbidden to take the fullness of the Gospel to them; and (3) The Canaanites were not allowed to have a place among the people of Enoch.
Wilford Woodruff had the same explanation for the dark skin:
And the Lord set a mark upon Cain, lest any finding him should kill him. What was that mark? It was a mark of blackness. That mark rested upon Cain and descended upon his posterity from that time until the present. Today there are millions of the descendants of Cain, through the lineage of Ham, in the  world, and that mark of darkness still rests upon them. Though nearly six thousand years have passed and gone, this mark is visible to the whole human family. Yet the fool and the infidel say there is no God, and they ridicule the Bible.
The Lamanites, on this continent, suffered a similar experience. They went to war against the Nephites; they thirsted for blood, and they painted themselves red; and the Lord put a curse of redness upon them. Hundreds of years have passed since then, but wherever you meet the Lamanites today, you see that mark upon them. (Deseret Evening News, Apr. 13, 1889)
And from the Juvenile Instructor–
When God cursed Cain for murdering his brother Abel, He set a mark upon him that all meeting him might know him. No mark could be so plain to his fellow-men as a black skin. This was the mark God placed upon him, and which his children bore. After the flood this curse fell upon the seed of Ham, through the sin of their father, and his descendants bear it to this day. The Bible tells us but little of the races that sprung from Ham, but from that little, and from the traditions of various tribes, we are led to believe that from him came the Canaanites, the Philistines, the Egyptians and most of the earliest inhabitants of Africa. (no author given, Juve. Instr. 3:157-58)
Brigham Young explained the reason for the mark in the same way:
Cain did not obtain Abel’s birthright and blessing, though he killed him for that purpose; the blessings which belonged to Abel, descended to his posterity; and until the blessings of Abel’s birthright are fully received, secured, and realized, by his [Abel’s] descendants, Cain and his posterity must wear the mark which God put upon them; and his white  friends may wash the race of Cain with Fuller’s soap every day, they cannot wash away God’s mark: yet, the Canaanites may believe the Gospel, repent, and be baptized, and receive the Spirit of the Lord, and if he continues faithful until Abel’s race is satisfied with his blessings, then may the race of Cain receive a fullness of the Priesthood, and become satisfied with blessings, and the two of them become as one again, when Cain has paid the uttermost farthing. Des. News, Apr. 3, 1852)
The Lord explained that even His “chosen” people can be blessed or cursed. If Israel can be reduced by a curse to bondage, slavery, or prohibited from the rights of the Priesthood, then it stands to reason that this can happen to any other people also. If God can put a curse on men in mortality, He could have done it in the pre-existence (based on individual worthiness)–and He may do it in the future at His bar of judgment.
The Prophet Jeremiah asked a question which infers that the nature of men is not very changeable:
Can the Ethiopian change his skin, or the leopard his spots? Then may ye also do good, that are accustomed to do evil. (Jer. 13:23)
Brigham Young commented on this scriptural passage:
In ancient days old Israel was the chosen people in whom the Lord delighted, and whom he blessed and did so much for. Yet they transgressed every law that he gave them, changed every ordinance that he delivered to them, broke every covenant made with the fathers, and turned away entirely from his holy commandments, and the Lord cursed them. Cain was cursed for this, with this black skin that there is so much said about. Do you think that we could make laws to change the color of the skin of Cain’s descendants? If we can, we can change the leopard’s spots;  but we cannot do this, neither can we change their blood. (JD 14:86)
Brigham Young apparently felt very strongly about this:
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, 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. (JD 7:290-91)
And in 1966, Joseph Fielding Smith declared:
A Negro may have a patriarchal blessing, but it would declare him to be of the lineage of Cain or Canaan. (Ans. to Gospel Questions 5:168)
From all that we have read on this subject of a black skin, it appears that it is a mark–only a mark–meant to distinguish those who are entitled to hold Priesthood from those who are not.
 Chapter 10
THE BOOK OF MORMON ALSO TESTIFIES
And their curse was taken from them, and their skin became white like unto the Nephites. (3 Nephi 2:15)
The Book of Mormon is a second witness to the Bible, because its teachings, doctrines and history are closely paralleled to those of the Old and New Testaments. It shows how the people were blessed by the Lord when they were obedient to him and cursed when disobedient. One of the early accounts of some who turned against the commandments and laws of the Lord is that of the Lamanites. Saints in our day can certainly learn from the following account:
And he [the Lord] 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 exceeding 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.
And thus saith the Lord God: I will cause that they shall be loathsome unto thy people, save they shall repent of their iniquities.
And cursed shall be the seed of him that mixeth with their seed; for they shall be cursed even with the same cursing. And the Lord spake it, and it was done.
 And because of their cursing which was upon them they did become an idle people, full of mischief and subtlety, and did seek in the wilderness for beasts of prey.
And the Lord God said unto me [Nephi]: They shall be a scourge unto thy seed, to stir them up in remembrance of me; and inasmuch as they will not remember me, and hearken unto my words, they shall scourge them even unto destruction. (2 Nephi 5:21-25)
* * *
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 consisted of Nephi, Jacob, and Joseph, and Sam, who were just and holy men.
And their brethren sought to destroy them, therefore they were cursed; and the Lord God set a mark upon them, yea, upon Laman and Lemuel, and also the sons of Ishmael, and Ishmaelitish women.
And this was done that their seed might be distinguished from the seed of their brethren, that thereby the Lord God might preserve his people, that they might not mix and believe in incorrect traditions which would prove their destruction.
And it came to pass that whosoever did mingle his seed with that of the Lamanites did bring the same curse upon his seed.
Therefore, whosoever suffered himself to be led away by the Lamanites was called under that head, and there was a mark set upon him. (Alma 3:6-10; see also 3:14-15.)
Brigham Young referred to this Lamanite curse and compared it to the curse upon the Jews:
Here are the Lamanites, another example. Their wickedness was not so great as those who slew the  Son of God. Jesus revealed himself to them after he was slain, preached to them the Gospel. But in the fourth generation the Priesthood was driven from their midst, and after that, the laws, ordinances, and power of the Gospel ceased to be with them. Is their curse as great as that of those in Palestine? No, it is light, in comparison. They began to thirst for each other’s blood, and massacred each other, from generation to generation, until they sunk into wickedness, and evil principles the most degrading, and have become loathsome and vile. Still, the curse will be removed from them before it will be removed from the children of Judah; and they will become “a while and delightsome people.” (JD 2:143)
Jacob reminded his people that just because the Lamanites were dark-skinned, they should not revile against them:
Wherefore, a commandment I give unto you, which is the word of God, that ye revile no more against them because of the darkness of their skins; neither shall ye revile against them because of their filthiness; but ye shall remember your own filthiness, and remember that their filthiness came because of their fathers. (Jacob 3:9)
Jacob states that their situation was due to “their fathers”, which apparently refers to a pre-mortal choice of “fathers.” It is a doctrine that everyone chose his father in the pre-mortal state, which would put them in the lineage they come through here in mortality. Whatever good or bad works these “fathers” did in that pre-mortal world was a blessing or cursing that followed them in this mortal world.
Thus it is evident that, generally speaking, the white-skinned people were designated by the Lord as a more righteous people than the dark-skinned ones. It was the white Nephites to whom the white-skinned Jesus appeared.
 And when Jesus had spoken these words he came again unto his disciples; and behold they did pray steadfastly, without ceasing, unto him; and he did smile upon them again; and behold they were white, even as Jesus. (3 Nephi 19:30)
Throughout the Book of Mormon are accounts of God segregating the people, i.e., the Nephites and the Lamanites, and explaining why he caused a dark skin upon the Lamanites:
- The skin of “blackness” came upon them so that they “might not be enticing unto my people.”
- They were cursed “because of their iniquity” which they had committed.
- The people of the Lord were warned that “cursed shall be the seed of him that mixeth with their seed.”
- Then “because of their cursing . . . they did become an idle people, full of mischief and subtlety.”
- The people of the Lord who would sin would be scourged by them “to stir them up in remembrance of the Lord.”
- Then if they did not repent, they would be scourged to death by them.
- The Lamanites received skins of darkness “according to the mark which was set upon their fathers.”
- The mark was used so “their seed might be distinguished” from their brethren.
- The mark was to separate the two peoples so “the Lord God might preserve his people, that they might not mix.”
- They were to be separate so the people of the Lord “might not mix and believe in incorrect traditions which would prove their destruction.”
- The mark was to keep them from mixing with their seed and therefore “bring the same curse upon his seed.”
- Then if they did not receive these warnings, they would then be “called under that head,” meaning they would become one with that people under those curses.
 But the Lord also warned, “how much more cursed is he that knoweth the will of God and doeth it not” (Alma 32:19) than those who were cursed with the dark skin! Another curse mentioned in the Book of Mormon is that they were “cursed because of your riches,” and “because ye have set your hearts upon them, and have not hearkened unto the words of him who gave them to you.” (Helaman 13:21)
The prophet Moroni had one last appeal and promise: to be righteous and faithful so that in the last judgment, they would become white at the time of their last final blessing.
O then ye unbelieving, turn ye unto the Lord; cry mightily unto the Father in the name of Jesus, that perhaps ye may be found spotless, pure, fair, and white, having been cleansed by the blood of the Lamb, at that great and last day. (Mormon 9:6)
 Chapter 11
You will never see a man called to preside in the Priesthood of God on the earth who is not purely of the blood of Abraham. (Manuscript Hist. of B.Y., Eldon J. Watson, comp., 2:173)
The Priesthood has never been an item for bargaining. It cannot be bought, it is not up for vote, nor is it governed by the whims of men. Sometimes all the tribes of the House of Israel held it; and sometimes only one–or even none. After the Christian era, during the Apostasy of almost 2,000 years, no mortals held the Holy Priesthood. Comparatively speaking, only a few men have ever held it.
This Priesthood has always been restricted to the House of Israel (when they were worthy), and it has always been restricted from the dark-skinned Canaanite.
As discussed in the previous chapter, the scriptures explain that a black skin denotes a curse–a curse of not having the right to Priesthood. It has been stated that the only reason a man cannot hold Priesthood is because of wickedness or sin. Originally that may be true, but there are also varying degrees of restrictions placed upon the Lamanites, the Jews, the Canaanite, and even some of the choicest Israelites.
A clear understanding of the curse on the Canaanite can be found in the writings of Abraham. He tells this story:
 Now this king of Egypt [Pharaoh] 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.
The land of Egypt being first discovered by a woman, who was the daughter of Ham, and the daughter of Egyptus, which in the Chaldean signifies Egypt, which signifies that which is forbidden. When this woman discovered the land it was under water, who afterward settled her sons in it; and thus, from Ham, sprang that race which preserved the curse in the land.
Now the first government of Egypt was established by Pharaoh, the eldest son of Egyptus, the daughter of Ham, and it was after the manner of the government of Ham, which was patriarchal.
Pharaoh, being a righteous man, established his kingdom and judged his people wisely and justly all his days, seeking earnestly to imitate that order established by the fathers in the first generations, in the days of the first patriarchal reign, even in the reign of Adam, and also of Noah, his father, who blessed him with the blessings of the earth, and with the blessings of wisdom, but cursed him as pertaining to the Priesthood.
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; . . . (Abraham 1:21-27)
Important points to remember from this scriptural passage are–
- Pharaoh, the king of Egypt, came from Ham, through Egyptus, his daughter.
- Egyptus had the blood of the Canaanites.
- The Egyptians came from this line.
- This race was the object of a curse.
- Pharaoh, the eldest son of Egyptus, was a very righteous man and he received many blessings.
- He followed the patriarchal order of God.
- But he could not have the rights to the Priesthood because he was of that lineage which had been cursed or restricted from having Priesthood.
Simply said, there are some lineages that have a right to the Priesthood and some lineages that have no right to it. Some call it a curse; others might call it a blessing. In any case, there are relatively few people who even want it.
The most important point to gain from this scripture is that righteousness only does not regulate the receiving of Priesthood. This good king was about as righteous as possible. He established a good government; his system was patterned after the prophets and patriarchs; he judged people wisely; he was just and highly respected. So why couldn’t he have the Priesthood? Simply because of his lineage.
During the earlier part of his life, Cain was a good man. He was white; he knew the whole Gospel plan; he walked and talked with God; and he held the Priesthood and offered acceptable sacrifices. In the pre-mortal world many had accepted him as a leader and believed in what he said. However, on earth–and possibly even before his mortal life–he made a terrible mistake which cost him his Priesthood and his blessings. His followers, however, continued to come through his lineage, as explained by Erastus Snow:
Cain lost his privilege as first-born, and the blessing fell on one more worthy, and the rights of the priesthood passed to the next son of Adam, which according to Bible record was Seth, who magnified the Priesthood, honored his birthright, and held the blessing of the Priesthood, which was sealed upon him  by his father; and from him it descended upon the righteous of his posterity.
There are many instances, from that time forward, of which the scriptures speak of this birthright continuing among the descendants of Seth, until it came to Noah and his sons, of which sons Shem received the blessings pertaining to the priesthood. Abraham came through Shem, and the Savior came through this lineage;; and through this blessing of Noah upon Shem, the Priesthood continued through his seed; while the offspring of Ham inherited a curse, and it was because, as a revelation teaches, some of the blood of Cain became mingled with that of Ham’s family, and hence they inherited that curse. (JD 21:370)
Abraham had many sons, but we have record of only two of them–Ishmael and Isaac–and mainly the latter. Both Abraham and Isaac nearly lost their lives on altars, but because of their faithfulness, God gave them special blessings of the Priesthood.
And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse them that curse thee; and in thee (that is, in thy Priesthood) and in thy seed (that is, thy Priesthood), for I give unto thee a promise that this right shall continue in thee, and in thy seed after thee (that is to say, the literal seed, or the seed of the body) shall all the families of the earth be blessed, even with the blessings of the Gospel, which are the blessings of salvation, even of life eternal. (Abraham 2:11)
When it came time for Isaac to marry, once again the Priesthood issue of lineage was an important factor. It was Abraham’s patriarchal duty to see that Isaac was properly married so that the promises of God concerning Priesthood could continue through Isaac’s descendants. For this reason Abraham gave instructions to his oldest and most trusted servant and made him covenant “that thou shalt not take a  wife unto my son of the daughters of the Canaanites, among whom I dwell: but thou shalt go unto my country, and to my kindred, and take a wife unto my son Isaac.” (Gen. 24:3-4)
Why would Abraham insist that his servant swear not to find a daughter-in-law from among the Canaanites if it were not a sin to do so? Why was it so important that his servant travel so many miles into Mesopotamia to find a bride from Abraham’s kindred if lineage were not important? Why did that marriage require revelation if Priesthood rights were not connected to that blood lineage? When the servant found the proper girl, he declared, “the Lord led me to the house of my master’s brethren.” If such a restriction regarding inter-marriage with the Canaanites was in effect when Abraham was alive, would it not also be the law for his descendants as well?
The Biblical account of racial purity is clear in the accounts of Abraham’s second son (Isaac) and Isaac’s second son (Jacob).
And Rebekah said to Isaac, I am weary of my life because of the daughters of Heth: if Jacob take a wife of the daughters of Heth, such as these which are of the daughters of the land, what good shall my life do me?
And Isaac called Jacob, and blessed him, and charged him, and said unto him, Thou shalt not take a wife of the daughters of Canaan. (Gen. 27:46 & 28:1)
Heth was the second son of Canaan, from whom the Hittites sprang and who was of the lineage that could not have the Priesthood. This is what caused Rebekah to sorrow. She was saying that if Jacob married into the lineage of the Canaanites, her life would have been in vain.
Esau violated the rule of racial purity and thus forfeited his heirship. James Anderson, in his book God’s Covenant Race, discussed the importance of racial purity:
 Later came Esau, the firstborn of Isaac and Rebekah. Esau disregarded this lineage. He “despised his birthright.” He took a wife of the daughters of the Hittites, which was a “grief of mind unto Isaac and to Rebekah.” (Gen. 26:34, 35) Why this grief of mind? The Hittites were Canaanites with whom Isaac had been forbidden to marry. By this marriage of Esau, his children would be “partakers of the blood of the Canaanites by birth”–a lineage by which they could not then have right to the Priesthood. It was indeed a cause of “grief of mind” to his parents. By his own action in this marriage, Esau had forfeited the birthright as the firstborn. His lack of regard for the birthright was shown when he sold it to his brother Jacob to satisfy his hunger. He had lost the birthright through sin–through violation of the rule necessary to retain it in his children. He was not ignorant of that fact. Neither was Jacob, as the Bible record shows. The only other son to receive the birthright was Esau’s younger brother, Jacob, who must himself observe the necessary rule to retain it. (God’s Covenant Race, James Anderson, pp. 142-43)
Earlier in his book, Mr. Anderson had declared that racial purity is a part of the covenant race:
That is the Bible record. It establishes the first of three vital features hereinbefore named, i.e., racial purity. This racial purity became a fixed characteristic of the Covenant Race, for its divine mission. Racial purity is characteristic of the Anglo-Saxon race. In some Anglo-Saxon commonwealths, miscegenation is made the subject of criminal law. (Ibid., p. 93)
Isaac knew the importance of this principle and passed the guidelines to his son, Jacob.
And Isaac called Jacob, and blessed him, and charged him, and said unto him, Thou shalt not take a wife of the daughters of Canaan. (Gen. 28:1)
 Jacob obeyed the counsel of his father, but his brother Esau did not.
Now these are the generations of Esau, who is Edom. Esau took his wives of the daughters of Canaan; Adah the daughter of Elan the Hittite, and Aholibamah the daughter of Anah the daughter of Zibeon the Hivite; and Bashemath Ishmael’s daughter, sister of Nebajoth. (Gen. 36:1-3)
Nowhere among the descendants of Esau do we find that any were given the Priesthood.
From the records of the Jews comes this interesting history:
Among the various tribes of the Canaanites were the Girgashsites, who, on Joshua’s demand, subsequently left Palestine and emigrated to Africa. * * * Gebiha ben Pesisa, however, who appeared before the king in the interest of the Jews, showed that according to scripture, by which the Africans traced their ancestry to Canaan, that ancestor had been declared the slave of Shem and Japheth. The Jews, therefore, not only had the right to hold the land of their slaves, but the Africans had to indemnify the Jews for the long time during which they had performed no service for them. In consternation, the Africans then fled to their homes. (The Jewish Enc. 3:523-24)
Joseph Fielding Smith commented on the dangers of inter-racial marriages:
If Abraham, Joseph, and Moses had married Negro wives, their descendants would have been denied the Priesthood according to the word of the Lord to Abraham. Had such a thing happened, the Lord would not have called Israel as a chosen people, neither would he have chosen the Prophet Joseph Smith and given him the keys of authority for the Dispensation of  the Fulness of Times, as he was a descendant of Joseph and of Abraham. (Ans. to Gospel Questions, J. F. Smith, 1:169)
Around the turn of the century, it has been reported that a leading Church authority said that in the pre-mortal life those who would bear the “mark”, had learned what a burden the Priesthood would be in mortality, what persecution might come against it, what a constant sacrifice of time and effort would be required in its service, and what tremendous spiritual powers Satan would use in fighting against it. Thus, they chose not to carry such a great burden in mortality. There are many today who believe the same, and either compromise or apostatize rather than carry such a burden.
However, all the other Gospel principles are available to people of all colors and of all national origins. The Priesthood is different because it is not man’s to give. It is given by God’s authority and is to be governed by God. Elder Mark E. Petersen explained the blessings that can come to all people by obedience to the Gospel.
Think of the Negro, cursed as to the Priesthood. Are we prejudiced against him? Unjustly, sometimes we are accused of having such a prejudice. but what does the mercy of God have for him? This Negro, who, in the pre-existence lived the type of life which justified the Lord in sending him to the earth in the lineage of Cain with a black skin, and possibly being born in darkest Africa–if that Negro is willing when he hears the Gospel to accept it, he may have many of the blessings of the Gospel. In spite of all he did in the pre-existence life, the Lord is willing, if the Negro accepts the Gospel with real, sincere faith, and is really converted, to give him the blessings of baptism and the gift of the Holy Ghost. 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 a Celestial resurrection. He will get  a place in the Celestial glory. He will not go then with even the honorable men of the earth to the Terrestrial glory, nor with the ones spoken of as being without law. In the great mercy of God, He allows all men to rise above themselves. Isn’t this a great testimony to the principle of repentance, that if a man does the best he can to rise above conditions and if he is faithful and devoted, the Lord recognizes him and lifts him up? I think that is one of the great evidences of the mercy of God. (“Race Problems,” Mark E. Petersen, pp. 18-19)
Joseph Fielding Smith agreed:
Fortunately for the Negro, he is not denied entrance into the Church. He may be baptized for the remission of his sins and receive the gift of the Holy Ghost, and if true and faithful to the end, he may enter the celestial kingdom. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints holds out more for the Negro than any other religious denomination. (Ans. to Gospel Questions, J. F. Smith, 2:178)
It should be remembered that the Priesthood is not a restriction that will be forever placed on the blacks, the Jews, nor the Lamanites. That restriction will be lifted in God’s due time and order.
 Chapter 12
A PATRIARCHAL PRIESTHOOD
The Priesthood has descended in a regular line from father to son, through their succeeding generations. (TPJS, p. 173)
John Taylor explained that the patriarchal order of Priesthood was established even before Abraham:
We find that after the days of Noah an order was introduced called the patriarchal order, in which every man managed his own family affairs . . . in what is known among us as the Priesthood of the Son of God, or the Priesthood after the Order of Melchizedek.” (JD 17:207)
That Priesthood was to be continued down through his children and on to theirs, forever. The Priesthood is a patriarchal or father-son order which even God follows, for He presides over no one but His own children. Orson Pratt explained:
Who will be the subjects in the kingdom which they will rule who are exalted in the celestial kingdom of our God? Will they reign over their neighbors’ children? Oh no. Over whom then will they reign? Their own children, their own posterity will be the citizens of their kingdoms; in other words, the patriarchal order will prevail there to the endless ages of eternity, and the children of each patriarch will be his while eternal ages roll on. (JD 15:309)
Priesthood Lines Non-Priesthood Lines
| | |
Seth Abel Cain
Methuselah | |
Lamech Jabal Tubal-Cain
| | |
Shem Japheth Ham
| | | |
Arphaxad GomerJavin Canaan (cursed by Noah)
Salah Ashkenaz Elishah |________________
Eber Riphaath Tarshish | |
Peleg Togamah Kittim Seba Cush
Rev Dodanim Havilah Nimrod
| | | | |
Nahor Haran Abraham Sheba Dedan
The house or tribes of Israel (Jacob) — to carry on the Priesthood
Reuben Dan Gad Joseph Benjamin
Simeon Naphtali Asher ___|___
Levi Ephraim Manasseh
 This pattern of heaven was brought down and taught to the children of men so that the Priesthood of God would be established through a designated, or chosen, lineage on the earth. Certain people were selected in the pre-mortal life and selected again in mortality to be known as the children of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. These were to be part of a nation of priests, a kingdom of kings, the House of Israel–all bearing the Priesthood and passing it down through their generations.
The Lord re-established this patriarchal system with Moses and again under Christ, but the people failed to maintain the laws of that kingdom. It was again restored in the latter days to the Prophet Joseph who stated:
When Egypt was under the superintendence of Joseph it prospered, because he was taught of God; when they oppressed the Israelites, destruction came upon them. When the children of Israel were chosen with Moses at their head, they were to be a peculiar people, among whom God should place His name; their motto was: “The Lord is our lawgiver; the Lord is our Judge; the Lord is our King; and He shall reign over us.” While in this state they might truly say, “Happy is that people whose God is the Lord.” Their government was a theocracy; they had God to make their laws, and men chosen by Him to administer them; He was their God, and they were His people. Moses received the word of the Lord from God Himself; he was the mouth of God to Aaron, and Aaron taught the people, in both civil and ecclesiastical affairs; they were both one, there was no distinction; so will it be when the purposes of God shall be accomplished: when “the Lord shall be King over the whole earth” and “Jerusalem His throne.” “The law shall go forth from Zion, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.” (TPJS, p. 252)
The patriarchal system was established to be a heavenly order, but through the years in this latter dispensation it has also been changed. The political, social, and economic system  the Saints are now under is part of a gentile system–the same condition that existed among the Israelites when they were tamping bricks for the Egyptians. Instead of the Gentiles serving Israel as “hewers of wood and drawers of water” (Josh. 9:22), the Israelites have become servants to the Gentiles.
The Lord promised Abraham and Jacob that “kings” would be among their descendants. (See Gen. 17:2-7; 35:9-12) This did not refer to the kings of a worldly monarchy who ruled as tyrants and made the world slaves. These were Priesthood kings that would rule by the laws of God. These were men who would lead the people in the spiritual, patriarchal, economic, social and political laws of God. Indeed they would be sons of God in the sacred patriarchal order, for the Lord commanded:
And the man that will do presumptuously, and will not hearken unto the priest that standeth to minister there before the Lord thy God, or unto the judge, even that man shall die: and thou shalt put away the evil from Israel. And all the people shall hear, and fear, and do no more presumptuously.
When thou art come unto the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee, and shalt possess it, and shalt dwell therein, and shalt say, I will set a king over me, like as all the nations that are about me; Thou shalt in any wise set him king over thee, whom the Lord thy God shall choose: one from among thy brethren shalt thou set king over thee: thou mayest not set a stranger over thee, which is not thy brother. (Deut. 17:12-15)
Leviticus, the third book of the Bible, is interpreted as “the priests’ law” or “book of the priests.” It contains laws governing sacrifices, purification, blood, and the Day of Atonement. This book honors the name of Levi, the third son of Jacob and Leah and an ancestor of Jesus Christ. (See Luke 3:24) Phinehas, a grandson of Aaron, was also of the tribe of  Levi and a man of high moral integrity. It is written that “Israel abode in Shittim, and the people began to commit whoredom with the daughters of Moab.” One of the Israelites brought one of these women into camp, and when Phinehas–
. . . the son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron the priest, saw it, he rose up from among the congregation, and took a javelin in his hand; And he went after the man of Israel into the tent, and thrust both of them through. (Num. 25:7-8)
So the Lord made a covenant with him: “And he shall have it, and his seed after him, even the covenant of an everlasting priesthood; because he was zealous for his God, and made an atonement for the children of Israel.” (Num. 25:12-13) Moses was told to bring all the sons of Aaron in and “put upon Aaron the holy garments” and to clothe his sons and anoint them as priests, “for their anointing shall surely be an everlasting priesthood throughout their generations.” (Ex. 40:15) Under a gentile law Phineas would probably have been condemned to death or life in prison for his actions.
The Prophet Joseph commented on this:
Here is a little of law which must be fulfilled. The Levitical Priesthood is forever hereditary–fixed on the head of Aaron and his sons forever, and was in active operation down to Zacharias the father of John. (TPJS, p. 319)
At the time of the Restoration, this law was again put into effect according to revelation:
Nevertheless a bishop must be chosen from the High Priesthood, unless he is a literal descendant of Aaron; For unless he is a literal descendant of Aaron, he cannot hold the keys of that priesthood. Nevertheless, a high priest, that is, after the  order of Melchizedek, may be set apart unto the ministering of temporal things, having a knowledge of them by the Spirit of truth.
And also to be a judge in Israel, to do the business of the church, to sit in judgment upon transgressors upon testimony as it shall be laid before him according to the laws, by the assistance of his counselors, whom he has chosen or will choose among the elders of the church.
This is the duty of a bishop who is not a literal descendant of Aaron, but has been ordained to the High Priesthood after the order of Melchizedek.
Thus shall he be a judge, even a common judge among the inhabitants of Zion, or in a stake of Zion, or in any branch of the church where he shall be set apart unto this ministry, until the borders of Zion are enlarged and it becomes necessary to have other bishops or judges in Zion or elsewhere.
And inasmuch as there are other bishops appointed they shall act in the same office. But a literal descendant of Aaron has a legal right to the presidency of this priesthood, to the keys of this ministry, to act in the office of bishop independently, without counselors, except in a case where a President of the High Priesthood, after the order of Melchizedek, is tried, to sit as a judge in Israel. (D & C 107:69-76)
Here we see that a man can be a Bishop if he is not a literal descendant of Aaron, but he cannot hold the keys of that priesthood. Such a Bishop must have two counselors, but a literal descendant of Aaron can act independently, without counselors. So why are these men specially chosen? Because of a covenant God made with their ancestors and on down through their children as an everlasting inheritance.
The father-son relationship among the sons of God did not just pertain to their real estate, wealth or possessions@@it also included the High Priesthood, i.e., Jacob passed it on to this twelve sons, and within that family the priesthood was to  remain. But the descendants of Jacob, or Israel, were not always able to maintain such strict statutes and laws, and so in the latter days it was necessary for another try.
That restoration was not merely the return to the earth of the priesthood and its several keys, but the establishment of the patriarchal order on earth. This was to be accomplished through the ministry of those who had the legal right, by promise, to the priesthood in the last days, for this reason the revelation stated that the priesthood was to remain in and through the designated individuals and their descendants, who would bring about the restoration of all things. (Doctrines of the Kingdom, Hyrum Andrus, p. 533)
With the restoration of the Priesthood came also the ordinances, principles, covenants, and even restrictions. It was not a new order but the restoration of the old order.
 Chapter 13
JOSEPH SMITH’S STAND
God made Aaron to be the mouthpiece for the children of Israel, and He will make me be god to you in His stead, and the Elders to be mouth for me; and if you don’t like it, you must lump it. (Joseph Smith, DHC 6:319-320, April 8, 1844)
Many have argued that Joseph Smith did not oppose giving the Priesthood to the black race, but that it was started by Brigham Young. For this reason it is necessary that we look back to see what Joseph Smith really said about the Priesthood and the black race. The strongest arguments and controversy regarding this issue concern Joseph’s good friend, Elijah Abel.
The Case of Elijah Abel
In 1832 Elijah Abel, a Mulatto, joined the Church and soon became a wrestling friend of Joseph Smith and even lived in the Prophet’s home for a short time. On December 20, 1836, he was ordained to the Priesthood by Zebedee Coltrin. This has given rise to much speculation and controversy@@some Saints jumping to the conclusion that Joseph Smith had no objection to the black race receiving the Priesthood. But from some additional information, we learn that this was not the case.
John Taylor thought perhaps Abel had received the Priesthood before the word of the Lord had fully been received  on the subject. He even thought it had been one of the mistakes of early Church history. (See Minutes of the Council of Twelve, June 4, 1879)
Just four days prior to this, L. John Nuttall, secretary to President Taylor, wrote the following historical account of Joseph Smith’s statement:
After meeting Prest. Taylor invited me to accompany him to Bro. Smoot’s, where with others, the subject of the Negro being ordained to the Priesthood was considered, whereupon I wrote the following statements.
At the house of Pres. A. O. Smoot, Provo City, Utah County, Utah, 5 P.M., President John Taylor, Elders Brigham Young, A. O. Smoot, Zebedee Coltrin and L. John Nuttall met, and the subject of ordaining Negro’s (sic) to the Priesthood was presented. Prest. Taylor said, some parties have said to me that Zebedee Coltrin had talked to the Prophet Joseph Smith on this subject, and they said that he (Coltrin) thought it was not right for them to have the priesthood, whereupon Joseph Smith said to him that Peter on a certain occasion had him a vision wherein he “saw heaven opened, and a certain vessel descended unto him. As it had been a great sheet caught at the four corners, and let down to the earth. Wherein all manner of four-footed beasts of the earth, and wild beasts, and creeping things, and fowls of the air, and there came a voice to him. Rise, Peter! Kill and eat. But Peter said, Not so Lord; for I have never eaten anything that is common or unclean, and the voice spake unto him again the second time. What God hath cleansed, that call not thou common.” And that the Prophet Joseph then said to Bro. Coltrin, as the Angel said to Peter, “What God hath cleansed, that call not thou common” (speaking of the Gentiles).
Prest. Taylor asked Bro. Coltrin, Did the Prophet Joseph Smith ever made such a statement to you? Bro. C., No sir, he never said anything of the kind in his life to me.
 Pres. T., What did he say?
Bro. Co., The spring that we went up in Zion’s Camp in 1834 Bro. Joseph sent Bro. J. P. Green and me out south to gather up means to assist in gathering out the Saints from Jackson County, Mo. On our return home we got in a conversation about the Negro having a right to the Priesthood, and I took the side he had no right. Bro. Green argued that he had. The subject got so warm between us that he said he would report me to Bro. Joseph when we got home for preaching false doctrine. Which doctrine that I advocated was that the Negro could not hold the priesthood. All right, said I, I hope you will.
And when we got home to Kirtland, we both went in to Bro. Joseph’s office together to make our returns, and Bro. Green was as good as his word and reported to Bro. Joseph that I had said that the Negro could not hold the Priesthood. Bro. Joseph kind of dropped his head and rested it on his hand for a minute, and then said, Bro. Zebedee is right, for the spirit of the Lord saith the Negro has no right nor cannot hold the Priesthood. He made no reference to scripture at all, but such was his decision.
I don’t recollect ever having any conversation with him afterwards, but I have heard him say in public, that no person having the least particle of Negro blood can hold the Priesthood. Bro. Coltrin further said, Bro. Abel was ordained a Seventy, because he had labored on the temple (it must have been into the 2nd Quorum), and when the Prophet Joseph learned of his lineage, he was dropped from the quorum and another was put in his place.
Prest. A. O. Smoot said, W. W. Patten, Warren Parrish and Thomas B. Marsh were laboring in the Southern States in 1835 and 1836. There were Negro’s (sic) who made application for baptism, and the question arose with them whether Negro’s (sic) were entitled to hold the Priesthood, and by those brethren it was decided they would not confer the Priesthood until they had consulted the Prophet Joseph, and subsequently they communicated with him, and his decision, as I understood, was they were not entitled to the  Priesthood, nor yet to be baptized without the consent of their masters.
In after years, when I became acquainted with Joseph myself, in Far West, about the year 1838, I received from Joseph substantially the same instructions. It was on my application to him what should be done with the Negro in the South, as I was preaching to them? He said I could baptize them by the consent of their masters, but not to confer the Priesthood upon them. These two statements were duly signed by each of these brethren. (L. John Nuttall Diary, May 31, 1879, 1:290-293; see also Mormonism and the Negro, John Stewart, pp. 9-11)
It was not an easy problem for Joseph Smith to resolve. First, he had nothing personal against any righteous black holding the Priesthood; thus, it was against his own personal feelings to restrict them. Secondly, he had to revoke Priesthood from a personal friend which was embarrassing and painful for him. According to Thomas Shreeve, Elijah Abel himself related the experience to him:
The Prophet Joseph Smith was commanded by God to withdraw the priesthood from Elijah Able [sic], and revoke the ordination. There is no exception. The continued church’s policy over the years is an evident fact that Presidents Young, Taylor, Woodruff and Snow, as well as Heber C. Kimball, William Clayton, and other leaders of the time, all knew of this excluding doctrine and continued to abide by it. Although there is no official Church record as to the revocation, Elijah Able affirmed the fact to father, Thomas A. Shreeve, when both were living in the Salt Lake 10th Ward, during 1872-1877. At the time, Bro. Able told young Thomas, who baptized Able’s grandchildren, that the Prophet Joseph “came to him with tears in his eyes one day, and told him [Abel] that he had been commanded by the Lord to withdraw the holy priesthood from him.”
Patriarch Shreeve testified many times before his death in 1931 of the facts in the case, and of his close  relationship with Brother Able. As of this date there are still living three members of the Shreeve family, who know of the facts to which their father testified Elijah Able told him. (Caleb A. Shreeve, Sr., The Salt Lake Tribune, “Forum,” 26 Oct. 1970)
In the minutes of the Seventies Journal, under the date of December 20, 1836, it shows that Elijah Abel was ordained by Zebedee Coltrin, although he had been instructed two years prior to that not to give the Priesthood to a Negro. However, it is apparent that he did not know at the time that Elijah was black, because he had only about 1/8th of the blood of a black man. Later he was ordained a Seventy by Joseph Young.
In this connection President [Joseph F.] Smith referred to Elijah Abel, who was ordained a Seventy by Joseph Young, in the days of the Prophet Joseph, to whom Brother Young issued a Seventies certificate; but this ordination was declared null and void by the Prophet himself. Later Brother Abel appealed to President Young for the privilege of receiving his endowments and to have his wife and children sealed to him, a privilege President Young could not grant. Brother Abel renewed his application to President Taylor with the same result; and still the same appeal was made to President Woodruff afterwards, who of course upheld the position taken by Presidents Young and Taylor. . . . (Council Minutes, Aug. 26, 1908; Bennion [or G. A. Smith] papers)
Although Abel had the Priesthood revoked, he was still allowed to visit with the Elders and Seventies Quorums. He was highly respected and was honored with a call to teach the Gospel as a missionary to Canada and eastern United States. There is no record of any ordinance work done by him after his Priesthood was revoked. His mission was mainly to teach the gospel, similar to lady missionaries today.
Two weeks after his return he [Elijah Abel] died, December 15, 1884, of debility, consequent upon exposure while laboring in the ministry in Ohio. He died in full faith of the gospel. (LDS Biog. Enc., Jensen, 3:577)
Civil and Religious Rights
The Prophet Joseph Smith had no prejudice, animosity or bias toward Negroes as a people. In fact, he made several favorable comments in their behalf:
At five went to Mr. Sollars’ with Elders Hyde and Richards. Elder Hyde inquired the situation of the Negro. I replied, they came into the world slaves, mentally and physically. Change their situation with the whites, and they would be like them. They have souls, and are subjects of salvation. Go into Cincinnati or any city, and find an educated Negro, who rides in his carriage, and you will see a man who has risen by the powers of his own mind to his exalted state of respectability. The slaves in Washington are more refined than many in high places, and the black boys will take the shine off many of those they brush and wait on. (DHC 5:217)
And later Joseph remarked:
Are we now, indeed, in a land of liberty, of freedom, of equal rights? Would to God I could answer, Yes. But no, no, I cannot! They have robbed us, we are stripped of our possessions, many of our friends are slain, and our government says, “Your cause is just, but we can do nothing for you.” * * *
Here we speak with national pride of a Washington, a LaFayette, a Monroe and a Jefferson, who fought for their liberties, achieved one of the greatest victories ever won; and scarcely has one generation passed away before fifteen thousand citizens petition government for redress of their wrongs, and they turn a deaf ear to their cry. * * *
When I gaze upon this company of men, I see those who are actuated by patriotic and noble principles, who will stand up in defense of the oppressed, of whatever country, nation, color or clime. I see it in their countenances. It is planted by the Spirit of God. They have received it from the great Elohim, and all the power or influence of mobs, priestcraft or corrupt men cannot quench it. It will burn. It is comprehensive as the designs of God, and as expansive as the universe and reaches to all the world. No matter whether it was an Indian, a Negro, or any other man or set of men that are oppressed, you would stand forth in their defense.
I say unto you, continue to cherish those principles. Let them expand. (DHC 6:295)
He spoke these words two months before he was killed while under the protection of the Governor of Illinois, and not surprisingly, no one was ever convicted for his death.
The Prophet Joseph Smith wanted all people everywhere to enjoy the liberties and freedoms guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution, but ironically they were denied to him and his followers.
Along with civil rights there are also certain religious rights. It is upon these two important issues that “rights” should be clearly understood. Civil rights do not take away religious rights, and vice versa. Men have been murdered, people have been persecuted, cities have been burned, and wars have been fought over these “rights,” but they still seem to be misunderstood. People today are probably losing more rights than ever; and our Federal Government, instead of protecting them and making things better, is making them worse!
The Federal Government seems to create more problems for people than it solves@@at least it was so for the blacks,  Chinese, and Mormons. They should have all been granted their civil rights. However, when it comes to the keys and powers of the Priesthood, God has established bounds that cannot be overturned or neglected. The former restrictions by the Lord still apply in our time, as explained by the Prophet Joseph:
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. (TPJS, p. 270)
The South holds the balance of power. By annexing Texas, I can do away with this evil. As soon as Texas was annexed, I would liberate the slaves in two or three states, indemnifying their owners, and send the Negroes to Texas, and from Texas to Mexico, where all colors are alike. And if that was not sufficient, I would call upon Canada, and annex it. (TPJS, pp. 334-35)
What could have been the design of the Almighty in this singular occurrence is not for me to say; but I can say, the curse is not yet taken off from the sons of Canaan, neither will be until it is affected by as great a power as caused it to come; and the people who interfere the least with the purpose of God in this matter, will come under the least condemnation before Him; and those who are determined to pursue a course, which shows an opposition, and a feverish restlessness against the decrees of the Lord, will learn, when perhaps it is too late for their own good, that God can do His own work, without the aid of those who are not dictated by His counsel. (DHC 2:438)
Joseph was saying that–
- The Negroes should have national equalization or civil rights.
- They should be confined to their own race. (They would do better in Mexico.)
- When the curse is taken off the Negro, he will lose the blackness which had been put there as a curse.
- Those who interfere the most with those decrees of God will come under the greatest condemnation.
- These things should be established by strict law.
Joseph did not agree with the mixing of races, and in January 1844, as mayor of Nauvoo, he fined two Negroes “for attempting to marry white women.” (DHC 6:210)
This Doctrine Originated with Joseph Smith
The following three references definitely identify Joseph Smith as the originator of Priesthood restriction from the blacks in our dispensation:
This doctrine did not originate with President Brigham Young, but was taught by the Prophet Joseph Smith. At a meeting of the general authorities of the Church, held August 22, 1895, the question of the status of the Negro in relation to the Priesthood was asked and the minutes of that meeting say:
“President George Q. Cannon remarked that the Prophet taught this doctrine: That the seed of Cain could not receive the Priesthood nor act in any of the offices of the Priesthood until the seed of Abel should come forward and take precedence over Cain’s offspring.” (Way to Perfection, Joseph Fielding Smith, p. 110)
Brother A. O. Smoot said W. W. Patten, Warren Parrish and Thomas B. Marsh were laboring in the Southern States in 1835 and 1836. There were Negroes who made application for baptism. And the question arose with them whether Negroes were entitled to hold the Priesthood. And by those brethren it was decided  they would not confer the Priesthood until they had consulted the Prophet Joseph, and subsequently they communicated with him. His decision, as I understood, was they were not entitled to the Priesthood, nor yet to be baptized without the consent of their masters.
In after years when I became acquainted with Joseph myself in the Far West, about the year 1838, I received from Brother Joseph substantially the same instructions. It was on my application to him, what should be done with the Negro in the South, as I was preaching to them. He said, I could baptize them by consent of their masters, but not to confer the Priesthood upon them. (The Church and the Negroid People, as quoted in Mormonism and the Negro, Stewart, p. 11)
The question arises from time to time in regard to the Negro race and the Priesthood. . . . It is true that the Negro race is barred from holding the Priesthood, and this has always been the case. The Prophet Joseph Smith taught this doctrine. . . . (Joseph Fielding Smith, Imp. Era 27:564)
Matters concerning abolition, slavery, and mixing of blacks and whites were placed on the shoulders of Joseph by those fighting the Mormons. It even brought contention among Church members. Therefore, in 1836 the Prophet responded by writing an article, an excerpt of which follows:
I have learned by experience that the enemy of truth does not slumber, nor cease his exertions to bias the minds of communities against the servants of the Lord, by stirring up the indignation of men upon all matters of importance or interest. * * *
I am aware that many, who profess to preach the Gospel, complain against their brethren of the same faith, who reside in the South, and are ready to withdraw the hand of fellowship, because they will not renounce the principle of slavery, and raise their voice against everything of the kind. This must be a tender point, and one which should call forth the candid  reflections of all men, and more especially before they advance in an opposition calculated to lay waste the fair states of the South, and let loose upon the world a community of people, who might, peradventure, overrun our country, and violate the most sacred principles of human society, chastity and virtue. (DHC 2:437)
The policy of segregation has been a disturbing one for many people because of the difference in character rather than color. In 1833 the editor of Times and Seasons wrote the following statement:
We often lament the situation of our sister states in the south, and we fear, lest, as has been the case, the blacks should rise and spill innocent blood, for they are ignorant, and a little may lead them to disturb the peace of society. (T & S 1:379)
This did occur, and we are familiar with the riots, burnings, killings and civil disturbances that have continued ever since. Many claim even today that there are too many differences between the blacks and whites to mix races, and they use for proof such examples as this:
On any given day in America, an astonishing 1 in 3 black men in their 20’s is under criminal-justice supervision, either in prison or jail or on probation or parole, according to a study being released today. * * *
Percent of men age 20 to 29 in state and federal prisons, jail, probation, parole on any given day:
(S.L. Tribune, Oct. 5, 1995)
By the turn of the century it was well understood that Joseph Smith had admonished the same doctrine and commandment that Israelites refrain from marrying or giving  Priesthood to the black race. This was brought up in a Council meeting of the Twelve in 1900. President George Q. Cannon stated:
President Young held to the doctrine that no man tainted with Negro blood was eligible to have the priesthood; that President Taylor held to the same doctrine, claiming to have been taught it by the Prophet Joseph Smith. (Council Minutes, Aug. 22, 1900, Bennion Papers)
In those early days of the restoration, many black people were baptized into the LDS Church, but Joseph did not allow them to receive the Priesthood after the Elijah Abel incident. That policy was also continued in Brigham Young’s administration. If Joseph Smith would have taught it any differently, Brigham would have also.
 Chapter 14
BRIGHAM YOUNG’S STAND
I know just as well what to teach this people and just what to say to them and what to do in order to bring them in to the Celestial Kingdom, as I know the road to my office. It is just as plain and easy. (Brigham Young, Des. News, Jan. 29, 1870)
Brigham Young was the prophet, seer, and revelator for the LDS Church longer than any other President. He gained his knowledge and understanding of the Gospel from the Prophet Joseph Smith. He had a seer stone, urim and thummim, and received visions and revelations for his guidance. If any Church president, other than Joseph Smith, knew what correct doctrine was, it was Brigham Young.
The format of this chapter will be question and answer–with Brigham Young himself answering the following four often-asked questions:
- What race, or lineage, of people cannot hold the Priesthood?
- When will the Canaanite [black] people be able to hold the Priesthood?
- What happens when an Israelite mixes his seed with the blacks?
- What happens if we try to give the Priesthood to the Canaanites [blacks]?
- What race, or lineage, of people cannot hold the Priesthood?
“The Lord had cursed Cain’s seed with blackness and prohibited them the Priesthood.” (Journal History, Feb. 13, 1849)
“The blacks should be used like servants, and not like brutes, but they must serve. It is their privilege to live so as to enjoy many of the blessings which attend obedience to the first principles of the Gospel, though they are not entitled to the Priesthood.” (JD 2:184)
“If there never was a Prophet or Apostle of Jesus Christ that spoke it before, I tell you, this people that are commonly called Negroes are the children of old Cain. I know they are. I know that they cannot bear rule in the Priesthood, for the curse on them was to remain upon them, until the residue of the posterity of Michael and his wife receive the blessings [which] the seed of Cain would have received had they not been cursed; . . .
. . . a man who has the African blood in him cannot hold one jot nor tittle of priesthood. Why? Because they are the true eternal principles the Lord Almighty has ordained, and who can help it? Men cannot, the angels cannot, and all the powers of Earth and Hell cannot take it off.” (Tchgs. of B.Y., Collier, 3:43)
[Quoting B.Y.] “Any man having one drop of the seed of Cain in him cannot receive the priesthood.” (Wilford Woodruff, M. Cowley, p. 351)
“Now, says the Grandfather, I will not destroy the seed of Michael and his wife, and Cain I will not kill you, nor suffer  anyone else to kill you, but I will put a mark upon you. What is that mark? You will see it on the countenance of every African you ever did see upon the face of the Earth, or ever will see. Now I tell you what I know: when the mark was put upon Cain, Abel’s children were in all probability young. The Lord told Cain that he should not receive the blessings of the Priesthood nor his seed, until the last of the posterity of Abel had received the Priesthood, until the redemption of the Earth.” (Tchgs. of B.Y., 3:42)
“The Lord said I will not kill Cain, 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 Cain (and the curse) until all the seed of Abel should be redeemed; and Cain will not receive the Priesthood or Salvation until all the seed of Abel are redeemed.
Any man having one drop of the seed of Cain in him cannot hold the Priesthood, and if no other Prophet ever spake it before, I will say it now–in the name of Jesus Christ, I know it is true and others know it!” (Tchgs. of B.Y., 3:48)
- When will the Canaanite [black] people be able to hold the priesthood?
“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.” (JD 2:143)
 “They [the seed of Cain] 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.” (JD 7:290)
“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. . . .” (JD 7:291)
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.” (JD 11:272)
“I know that they [Negroes] cannot bear rule in the Priesthood, for the curse on them was to remain upon them, until the residue of the posterity of Michael and his wife receive the blessings [which] the seed of Cain would have received had they not been cursed; and [for this reason the Negro race cannot] hold the Keys of the Priesthood until the times of the restitution shall come, and the curse be wiped off from the Earth, and from Michael’s seed. Then Cain’s seed will be had in remembrance and the time come when that curse should be wiped off.” (Tchgs. of B.Y., p. 43)
“And if he [a Canaanite] continues faithful until Abel’s race is satisfied with his blessings, then may the race of Cain receive a fullness of the priesthood. . . .” (Des. News, Apr. 3, 1852)
- What happens when an Israelite mixes his seed with the blacks?
“But let me tell you further. Let my seed mingle with the seed of Cain [and] that brings the curse upon me, and upon my generations–we will reap the same rewards with Cain. * * *
 Were the children of God to mingle their seed with the seed of Cain, it would not only bring the curse of being deprived of the power of the Priesthood upon themselves, but they entail it upon their children after them, and they cannot get rid of it. . . .” (Tchgs. of B.Y., 3:44, Feb. 5, 1852)
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.” (JD 10:110)
“Let me consent today to mingle my seed with the seed of Cain–it would bring the same curse upon me and it would upon any man. And if any man mingle his seed with the seed of Cain, the only way he could get rid of it or have Salvation would be to come forward and have his head cut off and spill his blood upon the ground–it would also take the life of his children. (Tchgs. of B.Y., 3:48-49)
- What happens if we try to give the Priesthood to the Canaanites [blacks]?
“What the Gentiles are doing we are consenting to do. What we are trying to do today is to make the Negro equal with us in all our privileges. My voice shall be against it all the day long. I shall not consent for one moment. I will call them a counsel. I say I will not consent for one moment for you to lay a plan to bring a curse upon this people. It shall not be while I am here.” (“B.Y. Addresses”, Ms d 1234, Box 48, folder 3, dated Feb. 5, 1852, located in the LDS Church Historical Dept., SLC, Utah)
 (Special Note: A cousin of the author’s related the following incident that happened when he was on his mission in the southern states. One morning at the breakfast table in the mission home, an elder asked the mission president, “President Callis, since we are here in the south where a lot of people are of mixed blood, if we should accidentally give the Priesthood to someone who is part black, what would happen?” President Callis paused for a moment, looked out the window, and pointed to a fence post and said, “How much Priesthood would that fence post receive if you conferred Priesthood on it?” He then explained that Priesthood is not effective where it is not authorized. A man who is black has been restricted from receiving Priesthood, even if it is conferred upon him.)
* * *
The fate of our Priesthood and perhaps even our own salvation rests upon this information from Brigham Young. It doesn’t make any difference if he is alive or dead–or whether any prophet is alive or dead. If he is a true prophet, he speaks the truth–eternal truth. Raising our hands to sustain or not sustain does not affect or change the truth, but our vote does affect us, as B. H. Roberts once said:
But suppose a law is promulgated before the Latter-day Saints, and the Church, in the exercise of the liberty which God has conferred upon them, rejects it, the question is then asked, what remains? The truth remains. The action of the Church has not affected it in the least. The truth remains just as true as if the Church had accepted it. Its action simply determines the relationship of the members to that truth; and if they reject it, the truth still remains; and it is my opinion that they would not make further progress until they accepted the rejected truth. . . . (Imp. Era, 8:363)
 The house of Israel has been instructed in the Book of Mormon to study and obey the words of dead prophets, especially Isaiah. Nephi advised:
Wherefore, hearken, O my people, which are of the house of Israel, and give ear unto my words; for because the words of Isaiah are not plain unto you, nevertheless they are plain unto all those that are filled with the spirit of prophecy. (2 Nephi 25:4)
And now, behold, I say unto you, that ye ought to search these things. Yea, a commandment I give unto you that ye search these things diligently; for great are the words of Isaiah. (3 Nephi 23:1)
Our individual salvation does not depend on whether a prophet is alive or dead, true or false. It depends on our acceptance of the truths that they speak and the eternal revelations of God–no matter when they are revealed.
Let’s consider a situation in which a man with the Priesthood knowingly attempts to give it to a black man. The black man’s status does not change at all, but the white man loses his Priesthood, he receives a curse worse than the black man, and forfeits all the blessings he had previously acquired. Why? Because he had received a commandment, a law, and a covenant to honor the restrictions of that Priesthood–and he failed. Since the black man does not receive it now but will have that chance later, who then received the greater curse?
As an ensample–let the Presidency, Twelve, Seventies, High Priests, Bishops, and all the Authorities say now, “We will all go and mingle with the seed of Cain and they may have all the privileges they want”–we lift our hands to heaven in support of this–that moment we lose the Priesthood and all blessings and we would not be redeemed until Cain was. (Tchgs. of B.Y., 3:49)
 It is obvious that we have a very serious problem here. If we accept Brigham Young as a prophet, seer, and revelator (we are taught that the Prophet of the Church cannot lead us astray), then we must look very seriously at this statement. First, we are being told today that we can give the Priesthood to the Negro race and they will suddenly become adopted into the tribe of Ephraim and receive all the blessings promised to that tribe. However, the Prophet Brigham Young said that the reverse happens. Instead of the blacks receiving the blessings of Ephraim, those Ephraimites will lose their priesthood and be “adopted” into the house of Cain and receive the blessings of the Cainaanites!
Brigham Young spoke several times on this subject as if he knew exactly what the mind and will of the Lord was. He didn’t have to go, as did Spencer W. Kimball, “pleading long and earnestly, spending many hours in the upper room of the Temple many times supplicating the Lord for divine guidance.” He knew by revelation, by the scriptures, and by what he learned from Joseph Smith.
 Chapter 15
SPENCER W. KIMBALL’S STAND
We have a responsibility to the youth of Zion that they be not deceived by those who would call bad good, and black white. (Spencer W. Kimball, Ensign, Nov. 1980, p. 7)
President Spencer Woolley Kimball spent a lifetime of service to the LDS Church and gained an admirable reputation for years of work with the Lamanite people. It was in his nature to be kind and considerate to the underdog–any less fortunate people. It was probably this benevolent feature in his character that caused him to feel a special interest in the black people.
During the mid-1970’s the Federal Government pushed very hard for all “civil rights” issues. At that time this author was employed by the U.S. Government and was continually made aware of these new legal policies. One day the supervisor said that he could get in more serious trouble over violating these new civil rights laws than he could over security violations. These new laws affected all organizations–public, business and even religious, including the LDS Church.
With two lawsuits pending against the LDS Church and one against himself, President Kimball felt tremendous pressure to find a way to give the Priesthood to the blacks–thus avoiding legal disputes in the courts. Bruce R. McConkie described what happened next. He said that all of the Twelve  Apostles and the First Presidency were gathered in the upper room of the Salt Lake Temple, and–
When we were alone by ourselves in that sacred place where we meet weekly to wait upon the Lord, to seek guidance from his Spirit, and to transact the affairs of his earthly kingdom, President Kimball brought up the matter of the possible conferral of the priesthood upon those of all races. This was a subject that the group of us had discussed at length on numerous occasions in the preceding weeks and months. The President restated the problem involved, reminded us of our prior discussions, and said he had spent many days alone in this upper room pleading with the Lord for an answer to our prayers. (“The New Revelation on Priesthood,” Bruce R. McConkie, Priesthood, p. 127)
President Kimball prayed and asked “that we might receive the Lord’s word.” It appears that President Kimball had been praying for weeks and even months for an answer but did not get one; so now he came to all the other authorities so “we might receive the Lord’s word.” “He expressed the hope that we might receive a clear answer one way or the other so the matter might be laid to rest.” (Ibid., p. 127)
It is not the duty of the Twelve Apostles to get revelation for the guidance of the Church; only the President is to receive that. (See D & C 43:2-3.) Therefore, the “community” sort of “revelation” they said happened was, in the first place, doctrinally incorrect and out of the order of the Church.
It is difficult to get a clear picture of what kind of “revelation” they claimed to have received. Elder McConkie admitted, “There is no way to describe in language what is involved. This cannot be done.” (Ibid., p. 135) If this is the case, then this 1978 “revelation” is one of the strangest ever recorded. It can’t even be described or explained. Thus many  contradictory accounts began to circulate, all of which were dismissed by Bruce McConkie.
There have been revelations given in various ways on other occasions. The Father and the Son appeared in the Sacred Grove. Moroni, an angel from heaven, came relative to the Book of Mormon and the plates and relative to instructing the Prophet in the affairs that were destined to occur in this dispensation. There have been visions, notably the vision of the degrees of glory. There may be an infinite number of ways that God can ordain that revelations come. (Ibid., p. 133)
Latter-day Saints have a complex: many of them desire to magnify and build upon what has occurred, and they delight to think of miraculous things. And maybe some of them would like to believe that the Lord himself was there, or that the Prophet Joseph Smith came to deliver the revelation, which was one of the possibilities. Well, these things did not happen. (Ibid., p. 135)
Elder McConkie gave us a description of many ways that revelation can come to prophets and apostles, but admitted that none of them occurred on this occasion. Rather, it was in the form of a letter dated June 8, 1978, and was written “To All General and Local Priesthood Officers of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Throughout the World,” over the signatures of Spencer W. Kimball, N. Eldon Tanner, and Marion G. Romney. One of the four paragraphs of this letter read as follows:
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. (First Presidency Letter, June 8, 1978)
On June 9, 1978, the First Presidency of the LDS Church made a public statement to the news media. Even though this was just a public announcement, Church leaders began to act upon it before it had been presented to Church members for vote or approval. This procedure was against the law and order of common consent in the Church, which stated that any revelation, any program, and any person nominated for offices in the Church must have the vote and approval of its members. (See D & C 20:65-66; 26:2; 28:13; 38:34; 104:21; 104:64, 71-72; 124:144.)
This was no insignificant event or simple change in administrative policy. It would change the doctrine and laws of the Holy Priesthood that had been in effect since the events in Genesis in the Bible. “The world totally changed for Mormons, and it would never be the same again,” said Dorius Gray, who led a support group for black Mormons and was an organizer of the “Genesis Group.” It was a “shock” to most Mormons!
The world has always looked at the religion of the Israelites as a pariah people–a low class, inferior and hated group that does not conform or fit into the world’s standards. On the other hand, the Mormons look at the world as Babylon the Great, the anti-Christ, and the domain of the devil. There has always been this clash between the two. The world has persecuted, driven and killed prophets, apostles, and saints of God in every age.
 However, on June 9, 1978, a phenomenal thing happened–their attitude toward each other changed; for on that date the last major difference between Mormonism and the world was eliminated. Mormonism could now secure respectability and recognition from the rest of the world because their major social, economic, and religious ideals were similar to those of other religions, and we could now be considered as compatible brothers.
Friendship with the world and with the other apostate religions of Christianity had been a concern to Joseph Smith and Brigham Young, as well as to the early Christian Apostles. James wrote, “Know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? Whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.” (James 4:4) The Prophet Joseph Smith said that, “The world always mistook false prophets for true ones, and those that were sent of God, they considered to be false prophets, and hence they killed, stoned, punished and imprisoned the true prophets.” (TPJS, p. 206) And Brigham Young said:
There is nothing that would so soon weaken my hope and discourage me as to see this people in full fellowship with the world, and receive no more persecution from them because they are one with them. In such an event, we might bid farewell to the Holy Priesthood with all its blessings, privileges, and aids to exaltations, principalities and powers in the eternities of the Gods. (JD 10:32)
In an effort to reconcile these two different positions regarding blacks and the Priesthood, Bruce R. McConkie explained that Church members must forget all past restrictions and laws–and even the scriptures:
Forget everything that I have said, or what President Brigham Young or President George Q.  Cannon or whosoever has said in days past that is contrary to the present revelation. We spoke with a limited understanding and without the light and knowledge that now has come into the world.
We get our truth and our light line upon line and precept upon precept. We have now had added a new flood of intelligence and light on this particular subject, and it erases all the darkness and all the views and all the thoughts of the past. They don’t matter any more.
It doesn’t make a particle of difference what anybody ever said about the Negro matter before the first day of June 1978. It is a new day and a new arrangement, and the Lord has now given the revelation that sheds light out into the world on this subject. As to any slivers of light or any particles of darkness of the past, we forget about them. We now do what meridian Israel did when the Lord said the gospel should go to the gentiles. We forget all the statements that limited the gospel to the house of Israel, and we start going to the gentiles. (Bruce R. McConkie, Priesthood, p. 132)
This was a very large order for the Saints–to forget everything in the scriptures or what the prophets had previously said about Priesthood and lineage.
Elder Bruce R. McConkie also said that–
. . . it was a revelation of such tremendous significance and import; one that would reverse the whole direction of the Church, procedurally and administratively; one that would affect the living and the dead; one that would affect the total relationship that we have with the world. . . . (Ibid., p. 134)
Two major factors in this statement need to be seriously considered:
- If it reversed the “whole direction of the Church,” it makes us wonder if the Church had previously been  going in the wrong direction. Or had it been going in the right direction and now it is going in the wrong?
- It would “affect the total relationship that we have with the world,” which would mean that the Gospel restored through the Prophet Joseph had been opposed by the world but now it would be unopposed by them. Either the world has changed or else we have.
This year was the 20th anniversary of this 1978 announcement; and on June 8, 1998, the Salt Lake Tribune reported that 100 people “packed the Assembly Hall on Temple Square” to celebrate the 20th anniversary of lifting a “126-year-old ban on black men receiving the priesthood.” Elder Alexander B. Morrison, of the First Quorum of the Seventy said it proves that–
. . . God does not care about race or ethnicity–only righteousness. Those things have no meaning to him. He plays no favorites with his offspring. How could he if he is the true God.”
This implies that the God of the Old and New Testaments, the Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants and Pearl of Great Price is a different God from the one that is worshipped by the Church now. Since the beginning of this world, God has had selected families to carry on His Priesthood. God had a “chosen” people then, but apparently now He does not. Has God changed, or have we?
 Chapter 16
REVELATION: FROM WHAT SOURCE?
But if any revelations are given of God, they are universally opposed by the priests and Christendom at large; . . . (TPJS, p. 217)
What Is Revelation?
To better understand the “Official Declaration” of 1978, let’s briefly consider the principle and process of revelation from God. To begin with, it is the life-blood of the true Church of Christ; and without it, the Church would be conducted the same as any other Christian church. Revelations of the “spirit” are received through impressions, feelings, inspirations, and visions, but there is always the question as to the source of these manifestations.
The Prophet Joseph explained the principles of revelation: “There are three independent principles: the Spirit of God, the spirit of man, and the spirit of the devil.” (TPJS, p. 189) The difficulty is in discerning the spirits because as Joseph Smith warned, “nothing is a greater injury to the children of men than to be under the influence of a false spirit when they think they have the Spirit of God.” (TPJS, p. 205)
Thus, there are three sources for “revelation,” and nearly everyone who has had such an experience first assumes that it has come from God. Seldom has anyone thought their  revelation came from the devil or of himself. So let’s discuss further these three sources of revelation:
- Revelations from God. There are many such manifestations used for the conveyance of some message or intelligence, i.e., dreams, visions, speaking in tongues, seer stones, audible voices, the appearance of angels, or even a personal visitation.
- Revelations from the devil. The devil simply tries to duplicate the revelations from God. He has seer stones, can speak in tongues, presents dreams, or can even appear as an angel of light. Whenever the Lord gives a revelation, the devil is usually nearby to present one of his own.
- Revelations from man himself. These manufactured revelations are created by human desire, whim, and vain imagination. When men can’t get a revelation from God, they sometimes imagine or embellish an experience, and soon it appears to be a reality. This kind of revelation is probably the most common, and has prompted men into priestcraft and unrighteous dominion.
There are a multitude of manifestations ranging in intensity from a silent impression to an actual visitation of the Father and the Son. The most common deception comes from the “impression” or “feeling” that a person thinks has come from the Holy Spirit.
What is the reason for such spiritual manifestations? Generally speaking, the type of manifestation depends on the importance of the message; the greater the manifestation, the greater its importance. We can assume that the greater the manifestation, the less chance of misjudging its source, even  though the devil has appeared as an angel of light. With over a thousand Christian churches claiming to be “inspired,” it is proof of the great number of deceptions that merely resemble the truth. Small “impressions,” “feelings,” and “inspirations” are a poor method for the Lord to use in establishing or changing any laws of the Holy Priesthood.
Guiding and operating the LDS Church today is different from what it was originally. We formerly believed that leaders of the Church must be directed by God through prophecy and revelation. But President Hugh B. Brown, counselor in the First Presidency for many years, explained how their revelation was different from a “thus saith the Lord” revelation of the past:
Hugh B. Brown, a high-ranking member of the Mormon hierarchy for 22 years up to his death in 1975, says in just-published memoirs that many Church decisions called “revelations” were actually decisions first “thrashed out” thoroughly by the top authorities. * * *
“[An idea] is submitted to the First Presidency and Twelve, thrashed out, discussed and rediscussed until it seems right. Then, kneeling together in a circle in the temple, they seek divine guidance and the president says, `I feel to say this is the will of the Lord.’ That becomes a revelation. It is usually not thought necessary to publish or proclaim it as such, but this is the way it happens.” * * *
Most Mormons are unaware of such a complex procedure, said Mormon historian Michael Quinn in an interview. Or, if they are aware of it, they are uncomfortable with the notion in light of the appearance of unanimity and divine inspiration when decisions are announced. (S.L. Tribune, Dec. 4, 1988)
Ancient prophets never had to “thrash out, discuss, and rediscuss” an idea “until it seems right,” and then the decision  would “become a revelation.” President Brown correctly stated that these “revelations were actually decisions.”
The “revelation” referred to in 1978 was a “thrashed out” decision rather than a “Thus saith the Lord” revelation. Furthermore, it is properly included in the Doctrine and Covenants as an “Official Declaration–2.” (See D & C, p. 203.)
President Kimball himself admitted in a public statement that this was not a sudden type of “Thus saith the Lord” revelation, but rather “a gradual and general development of the whole program.” (Time, Aug. 7, 1978, p. 55) There were no visions, manifestations, or audible words. Elder Bruce R. McConkie admitted that “In their [Nephite disciples] day the Lord came personally to answer their petition; in our day he sent his Spirit to deliver the message.” (Priesthood, p. 126) And he continued:
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. (Ibid., p. 136)
Since this was such an important change in doctrine, why did the Lord send “His Spirit” instead of appearing personally, saying, “Thus saith the Lord”? And, can and should we operate the Lord’s Church on just “feelings”?
“Thus Saith the King”
The Prophet Joseph Smith gave an analogy of the word of the Lord to his people–comparing the laws of God to the laws of an earthly king. He began:
When these royal laws were issued, and promulgated throughout the vast dominion, every subject,  when interrogated whether he believed them to be from his sovereign or not, answered, Yes; I know they are, I am acquainted with the signature, for it is as usual. Thus saith the King! (TPJS, p. 52)
From a spiritual comparison, it’s the same as saying, “Thus saith the Lord,” for we are “acquainted with the signature” (or source). The Prophet then gives an example of some of the king’s subjects who did not obey all the royal laws:
This admitted, the subject is bound by every consideration of honor to his country, his king, and his own personal character, to observe in the strictest sense every requisition in the royal edict. Should any escape the search of the ambassadors of the king, and never hear these last laws, giving his subjects such exalted privileges, an excuse might be urged in their behalf, and they escape the censure of the king. But for those who had heard, who had admitted, and who had promised obedience to these just laws no excuse could be urged, and when brought into the presence of the king certainly, justice would require that they should suffer a penalty. Could that king be just in admitting these rebellious individuals into the full enjoyment and privileges with his son and those who had been obedient to his commandments? Certainly not. Because they disregarded the voice of their lawful king; they had no regard for his virtuous laws, for his dignity, nor for the honor of his name; neither for the honor of their country, nor their private virtue. They regarded not his authority enough to obey him, neither did they regard the immediate advantages and blessings arising from these laws if kept, so destitute were they of virtue and goodness; and above all, they regarded so little the joy and satisfaction of a legal seat in the presence of the king’s only son. (TPJS, pp. 52-53)
“Thus Saith the Lord”
The revelations and commandments of the Lord in the early days of the LDS Church were attended with the same expression as were those of the Bible: “Thus saith the Lord.” And it should not be otherwise. Joseph Smith explained:
If anything should have been suggested by us, or any names mentioned, except by commandment, or thus saith the Lord, we do not consider it binding; . . . (TPJS, p. 136)
The expression, “Thus saith the Lord,” is the mark of divine authorship. It removes the ambiguity of “feelings” and guesswork in a communication from God. “Thus saith the Lord” denotes the fingerprint or true identity of the Master, the King of Israel.
By contrast, Elder Bruce R. McConkie testified that there were no manifestations at the meeting in which it was decided to give the Priesthood to the blacks:
Well, once again a revelation was given that affects this sphere of activity and the sphere that is to come. And so it has tremendous significance; the eternal import was such that it came in the way it did. 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. Latter-day Saints have a complex: many of them desire to magnify and build upon what has occurred, and they delight to think of miraculous things. And maybe some of them would like to believe that the Lord himself was there, or that the Prophet Joseph Smith came to deliver the revelation, which was one of the possibilities. Well, these things did not happen. The stories that go around to the contrary are not factual or realistic or true, and you as teachers in the Church Educational System will be in a position to explain and to tell your students that  this thing came by the power of the Holy Ghost, and that all the Brethren involved, the thirteen who were present, are independent personal witnesses of the truth and divinity of what occurred. (Priesthood, p. 135)
In my judgment this was done by the Lord in this way because it was a revelation of such tremendous significance and import; one that would reverse the whole direction of the Church, procedurally and administratively; one that would affect the living and the dead; one that would affect the total relationship that we have with the world; one, I say, of such significance that the Lord wanted independent witnesses who could bear record that the thing had happened. (Ibid., p. 134)
Elder McConkie’s statement is a testament that the Priesthood and its powers today are not the same as they were in olden days; neither are the laws, ordinances, and covenants the same. This “revelation,” according to him, would complete the change-over as it “would reverse the whole direction of the Church.”
It has often been stated that the President of the Church could not lead the Church astray, nor could he receive a revelation from the wrong source. However, history and scripture have shown that all men, even prophets, make mistakes and have received revelations, even personal visits, from the wrong source. No one, not even a prophet or a pope, is infallible!
One true prophet should not contradict another, nor should God contradict Himself. Thus, the “revelation” of 1978 has been called into question for the following reasons:
- There was no written revelation. Church leaders claimed to have sought the Lord for a revelation on this subject for many years, but such a revelation was never received nor published.
- The announcement was published under the title of an “Official Declaration,” meaning that it can be classified as a Church policy, program, bulletin, arrangement, procedure, schedule, or itinerary–but not as a revelation.
- The Church archives have no record of such a revelation. A revelation from the Lord, to be binding upon the Church, should be written and recorded, presented to the Church membership for vote, and canonized.
- It was an announcement. That announcement stated that the Priesthood would now be given to “all worthy males” but did that really change anything from the way it was previously? Worthiness and a restriction by lineage are two different things. A good carrot and a good banana do not qualify them both for the same soup. The first Pharaoh of ancient Egypt “being a righteous man, established his kingdom and judged his people wisely and justly all his days,” but his righteousness did not qualify him for the priesthood because “of that lineage by which he could not have the right of Priesthood.” (See Abraham 1:27.)
- It was a public proclamation. It was not written as a revelation, yet it was printed in the Doctrine and Covenants as though it were a revelation. Actually it was merely a public announcement or press release given to the press (very similar to the 1890 Manifesto). This occurred even before it was presented to the members of the Church.
- The voting was incorrect. Church membership did not vote on a revelation; they voted for a public announcement. And Church leadership had already acted  upon this and had conferred blacks with Priesthood before the membership could vote for or against it.
The “revelation” is in the form of a letter beginning with the words, “Dear Brethren” and ending with the signatures of the First Presidency–very unusual for a revelation from the Lord. Then the first paragraph states:
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.
The terms we and us do not seem to reflect a communication coming from the Lord.
According to the reading, it is saying that “the expansion of the work . . . has inspired us with a desire to extend to every worthy member . . . the privileges and blessings” of the gospel. They are hereby identifying the real source of their inspiration as being “the expansion of the work”–which is hardly sufficient reason or the proper source for changing the Lord’s covenants and laws.
There are many reasons why revelation might come from a wrong source, one of which is because of neglecting, changing, or rejecting existing true revelations. Brigham Young explained:
. . . I told the people that if they would not believe the revelations that God had given, He would suffer the devil to give revelations that they–priests and people–would follow after. Have I seen this fulfilled? I have. I told the people that as true as God  lived, if they would not have truth, they would have error set unto them and they would believe it. (Des. News, June 8, 1873)
Since this “revelation” of 1978 is of such tremendous significance, why was it received at such an insignificant level of revelation? In establishing the Gospel in ancient times as well as in the early days of the LDS Church, the Lord frequently made personal visitations to His people and His Apostles to give them instruction. Why would that change now? Have we not qualified for such visitations or revelations?
When the Apostles were first organized, they were told that “it is necessary that you receive a testimony from heaven for yourselves . . . and that you have seen the face of God.” “We require as much to qualify us as did those who have gone before us; God is the same.” (DHC 2:195-96)
It was not just members of the Quorum of Twelve who were entitled to receive such revelations and manifestations; others experienced them, too. For instance, in one of the meetings of the School of the Prophets, we have this testimony from Zebedee Coltrin, who gives the following account of a meeting held January 23, 1833, with 16 members in attendance:
. . . while engaged in silent prayer, kneeling, with our hands uplifted, each one praying in silence, no one whispered above his breath, a personage walked through the room from East to West, and Joseph asked if we saw him. I saw him and supposed the others did, and Joseph answered that is Jesus, the Son of God, our elder brother. Afterward Joseph told us to resume our former position in prayer, which we did. Another person came through; He was surrounded as with a flame of fire. I experienced a sensation that it might destroy the tabernacle as it was of consuming fire of great brightness. The Prophet Joseph said this was the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. I saw Him.
* Note: When asked about the kind of clothing the Father had on, Bro. Coltrin said: I did not discover His clothing for He was surrounded as with a flame of fire, which was so brilliant that I could not discover anything else but His person. I saw His hands, His legs, His feet, His eyes, nose, mouth, head and body in the shape and form of a perfect man. He sat in a chair as a man would sit in a chair, but this appearance was so grand and overwhelming that it seemed I should melt down in His presence, and the sensation was so powerful that it thrilled through my whole system and I felt it in the marrow of my bones. The Prophet Joseph said: Brethren, now you are prepared to be the apostles of Jesus Christ, for you have seen both the Father and the Son, and know that They exist and that They are two separate Personages. (S.L. School of the Prophets, 1883 Minute Book, pp. 54-55)
Thus, it is evident that there are two different belief systems regarding the issue of Priesthood lineage and the blacks. We have latter-day leaders that are clashing in their statements and revelations with those of former leaders and prophets. President Brigham Young warned about this in his day, and we should certainly heed that warning today:
Do you know why some men give counsel different one from another? Because they undertake to give counsel without the Spirit of the Lord to dictate them. But when the Spirit dictates, then each one knows what to do, and their counsel will be the same. Adam, Seth, Enoch, Noah, all the Patriarchs and Prophets, Jesus and the Apostles, and every man that has ever written the word of the Lord, have written the same doctrine upon the same subject; and you never can find that prophets and apostles clashed in their doctrines in ancient days; neither will they now, if all would at all times be led by the Spirit. . . . (JD 5:329)
 Because of these contradictions in statements and “revelations”, we as LDS have to choose one position or the other, because they both cannot be correct!
 Chapter 17
BLESSINGS OR CURSINGS
They [the children of disobedience] shall not have right to the priesthood, nor their posterity after them from generation to generation. (D & C 121:21)
God has granted each of us freedom to choose our vocations and hobbies. He wants us to be happy and to be free to enjoy music, travel, sports, education, etc. But He also knew that mortality would be filled with temptations, sorrow and confusion. But these things would give us experience, and God is willing to forgive most mistakes and sins. However, He has little tolerance for covenant breakers, traitors, and apostates.
God does not randomly bless or curse anyone; such actions have to be deserved. There is little blessing nor cursing for being neutral, as in such a condition neither God nor the devil wants that person because salt that has lost its savor is neutralized and is “thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men.” (Matt. 5:13)
When the early Christians began to change the doctrines, covenants and ordinances of the gospel, they were not intentionally doing something wrong, but were trying to create a more acceptable gospel. They thought that by streamlining the principles, they would gain more converts and establish better friendships with the world. They even thought they were doing right because they would conform more to the laws of  the land. (Does this sound familiar?) Without realizing it, however, they were apostatizing from the Gospel and proving traitors to the laws of God. When did an apostate ever think he was apostatizing? The Prophet Joseph said, “I testify again, as the Lord lives, God never will acknowledge any traitors or apostates.” (TPJS, p. 60)
So how do people know when they are apostatizing or are doing wrong? Don’t most Christians think they are doing right? Don’t they believe they have received correct “impressions” or “revelations”? The devil doesn’t suddenly push someone into apostasy; he leads him carefully along. The Prophet Joseph comes to the rescue with an important warning:
. . . if any man preach any other Gospel than that which I have preached, he shall be cursed; and some of you who now hear me shall see it, and know that I testify the truth concerning them. (TPJS, pp. 366-67)
It should be quite easy to know if you are teaching the true Gospel or some other gospel? Again Joseph Smith gave a valuable clue:
The gifts of God are all useful in their place, but when they are applied to that which God does not intend, they prove an injury, a snare and a curse instead of a blessing. (TPJS, p. 248)
God promised great blessings to his obedient children and great cursings for the disobedient. The degree of blessing or cursing is based upon the severity of the deed, as correctly stated by Bruce R. McConkie:
Cursings are the opposite of blessings, and the greater the opportunity given a people to earn blessings, the more severe will be the cursings heaped upon  them, if they do not measure up and gain the proffered rewards. (Mormon Doctrine, p. 175)
Even by remaining neutral can bring down the wrath of God, for He said:
I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.” (Rev. 3:15-16)
Standing in the middle of the road makes it possible to be hit by cars coming from both directions. No one ever received a medal of honor by remaining neutral in a battle. The greatest of all curses comes to those who have once held the Holy Priesthood and then have abused it. No black man, Buddhist, or Hindu can receive such a serious curse. No Protestant or Catholic can receive a curse as terrible as can come to a Mormon. Only a man who has held the Priesthood can ever qualify as a son of Perdition.
Possessing the Priesthood for the Lord is not an easy assignment, nor is it a profitable, worldly honor. Along with responsibilities, it brings trouble, heartaches and contention with the rest of the world, among society, and even with family members. Dr. Hugh Nibley aptly stated:
What does one have to do to be chosen?
First, one may not set one’s heart upon the things of this world (121:35)–so much for the priesthood as something to show off; then, one may not aspire to the honors of men–so much for the priesthood as something for prestige. One cannot exercise any power of the priesthood in any degree of unrighteousness–this in full recognition of the fact that “it is the nature of almost all men” to do that very thing as soon as they think they have power and authority.
This leaves a few humble, unpretentious, and unworldly people as the sole holders of a valid priesthood. * * *
Is not the priesthood everything? Not on this earth. On this earth it is nothing, and as soon as we try to use it for any kind of status, power, rule, or authority, it automatically cancels out. * * *
To repeat, as we are prone to do for lack of wit, for those who hold the priesthood on this earth, it is, the Prophet Joseph said, “an onerous burden,” not a prize. One cannot give orders to another by the priesthood. One cannot use it to acquire prestige, fame or wealth. Far from impressing one’s fellow men, it is held in derision by them. The moment one tries to make honor or glory or exercise dominion by the priesthood, “amen to the priesthood of that man”–it automatically becomes null and void. * * *
What, then is the priesthood on this earth? It is what Brigham Young and the Twelve wrote in the Times and Seasons in 1839; they called the priesthood an “onerous duty,” a load to be borne. Very few men on earth, including those in the Church are really qualified. In terms of prestige, status, power, influence, pleasure, privilege, “power, and authority, and riches” (3 Nephi 6:15), the priesthood has absolutely nothing to offer. The world laughs at it, the Latter-day Saints abuse or ignore it, those who take it seriously do so in “fear and trembling.” (“Priesthood”, Hugh Nibley, Sunstone, Dec. 1990, p. 10)
The Prophet Joseph explained the oppressions, persecutions, and murders that the Saints had to endure for the Gospel’s sake and said that–
It is an iron yoke, it is a strong band; they are the very handcuffs, and chains, and shackles, and fetters of hell. Therefore it is an imperative duty that we owe, not only to our own wives and children, but to the widows and fatherless, whose husbands and fathers have been murdered under its iron hand; Which dark and blackening deeds are enough to make hell itself  shudder, and to stand aghast and pale, and the hands of the very devil to tremble and palsy. * * *
Therefore, that we should waste and wear out our lives in bringing to light all the hidden things of darkness, wherein we know them; and they are truly manifest from heaven–These should then be attended to with great earnestness. Let no man count them as small things; . . . (D & C 123:8-10, 13-15)
Bearing the Priesthood requires bearing the accompanying burdens. If we are not willing, we are not worthy. Compromise is deadly.
The whole black race can suffer only one major curse (that of not getting the Priesthood), but the white man with Priesthood can be the recipient of many curses. Consider the following ways he can be cursed as to the Priesthood:
- Using the Priesthood for evil.
- Rejecting or changing the laws of the Priesthood.
- Receiving the Priesthood and then fighting against others who hold it.
- Conferring the Priesthood on those who are not entitled to it.
- Teaching laws and principles that are opposed to the laws and principles of the Priesthood.
So what does all this mean? How does it fit into the subject at hand? It really takes us back to the pre-existence and the decisions and struggles that existed there. Everyone had certain conditions set before him, and each one chose the kind of life he preferred. Relatively few chose to take up the burden of the Priesthood. Consider the following incident in Church history as recorded by John M. Whitaker:
On one occasion when Brother Joseph [Smith] was cutting wood, there came to him some brethren  and I was among them. We said, “Brother Joseph, we have some questions to ask, and we will cut your wood while you answer them.” Joseph placed his arms across his knees, bent over as if in meditation, and then said, “Now for your questions.”
We said to him: “What about the creation of the world, how was it inhabited?” Joseph answered and said: “I will tell you how it was. You and I were in the spirit world at the grand council, and there we were spirits together. We saw and heard that council and heard them talk of the formation of the world, and we were among those when the morning stars sang together and when the sons of God shouted for joy. We were among those who had more courage than others and therefore we came down here and took bodies. Some who did not have the courage said: `Father, we have fought Satan face to face here in the spirit world and helped to cast him down there and now to go down and fight him again face to face, we are afraid we shall never return to Thy presence and would prefer a less degree of glory and go to some other of your creations where we are sure of returning.’ Yes, you and I had more courage and came down here of our own agency and choice. (See 12th chap. Revelations, from 7th to 10th verses.)
“Now, after we had proved ourselves worthy before God that we were willing to go through temporal sufferings, privations and trials that we did spiritually, we were chosen or selected, and we merited our prize or reward according to the work we did in the spirit world; but, were not chosen or selected until we had shown by our works to our Heavenly Father that we were willing to go through what He might permit us to, and we were not deprived of our agency.
“In the grand Council in heaven there were some spirits that did not take part in the great rebellion at all. They were called neutral spirits, * * * they were on the fence, and when Cain killed his brother Abel, God placed a skin of blackness upon him as the first of Adam’s race and through the posterity of Ham this seed was propagated through the flood. And the neutral spirits in heaven possess the black bodies. And  after the flood no doubt Noah must have found him doing some little low trick for he said: `Cursed, Cainan, a servant of servants shalt thou be to thy brethren.’ And those neutral spirits in heaven preferred to take the body of a Negro rather than have no body at all.” (Box 27, Folder 11, of the John M. Whitaker papers)
So those making the commitment in the pre-existence to hold the Priesthood, also committed to a life of service. For God is not content with a few hours on Sunday, nor a tithe of time or money from a true Priesthood holder; he expects the consecration of his life, as Brigham Young advised:
You are the men that God has called to spread forth his kingdom. He has committed the care of souls to your charge, and when you received this priesthood, you became the legate of heaven, and the Great God demands it of you, that you should be faithful; and inasmuch as you are not, you will not be chosen; but it will be said unto you, stand by, and let a more honorable man than thou art take thy place, and receive thy crown; be careful that you teach not for the Word of God, the commandments of men, nor the doctrines of men, nor the ordinances of men, inasmuch as you are God’s messengers; study the Word of God and preach it, and not your opinions, for no man’s opinion is worth a straw; advance no principle but what you can prove, for one scriptural proof is worth ten thousand opinions. . . . (Man. Hist. of B.Y., comp. by Collier, pp. 45-46)
No one should blame someone else for where they are or what they are. It was not in the nature of some to stand forth as an Abraham, Moses or a Joseph Smith. There were as many varieties of character and personality in the pre-existence as there are here in mortality. There had to be because they are the same people. Some chose, for whatever reason, to come down with physical deformities, a short life-span, or mental problems. They were not that way before, nor will they be  hereafter. The black man, it has been said, asked not to have the priesthood for fear that he would abuse it, lose it, or fail to use it properly, and thereby receive a terrible curse that is only possible for those who hold it. He should not be criticized for his decision, as it was probably a wise one for him.
Out of all the people in the world, how many have had a chance to receive the priesthood? And out of those, how many have failed to use it properly? How many have actually obeyed all the eternal Priesthood laws and ordinances? Actually the Priesthood has probably been a curse to more people than it has been a blessing.
The Lord called Israel His special and chosen people, and their lineage was regarded as a pure heritage. In Biblical days, a man could not even become a priest unless he could prove his blood line through that lineage. The Lord warned them if they did not obey all those laws, covenants, and commandments, then He would bring a multitude of cursings upon them. (See Deut. 28.)
From the early years of Christianity we can learn some valuable lessons in apostasy. For instance, let’s consider the history of baptism. In the third century the anointing of oil was added. Then in the fourth century a little salt was added to the mouth of the new member as a sign of purification. During these years baptism by immersion was lost and the symbolism went with it. Cyprian, the learned bishop of Carthage, established sprinkling in cases of sickness, weakness, or lack of water.
An example of when this change took place was in the re-instatement of a former priest named Novatis. He apostatized from the Church in the third century because he saw many errors in the church; however, when he became extremely sick,  the priests flocked to his bedside to persuade him “not to die out of the Holy Church.” Due to his illness and because so little water was available, it was considered appropriate for him to be sprinkled for re-entrance into the church to save his soul. So “he fell into a severe sickness; and as he seemed about to die, he received baptism by affusion, on the bed where he lay.” (Church History, Eusebius, p. 289)
Another innovation occurred when it was decided that little babies should be baptized, but a sprinkling baptism would be more appropriate than immersion. Then another little ceremony was introduced from the Roman Empire into the church rituals. When the Roman soldiers were baptized, they were baptized and confirmed as “soldiers for Christ.”
Baptism in the early Christian church is just one of the principles that they “thrashed out,” “discussed,” and had the “feeling” that such changes were the word and mind of the Lord, especially when they had received a unanimous vote.
Regardless of how “inspired” men might feel, can any changes be made in eternal gospel principles and ordinances? Perhaps changes in church programs, functions, and policies are necessary, but not alterations in the laws, commandments, and covenants of the Lord.
Now let’s look at the issue of racial inter-marriage. Before 1978, Elder Mark E. Petersen had explained:
Now what is our policy in regard to inter-marriage? As to the Negro, of course, there is only one possible answer. We must not 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 intermarriage with the Negro, is there? There are 50 million Negroes in the United States. If they were to achieve complete absorption with the white race, think what that would do. With 50 million Negroes intermarried with us, where would the Priesthood be? Who could hold it in all America? Think of what that would do to the work of the Church! (“Race Problems,” p. 22)
Suppose Elder Petersen’s statements were correct. If all Priesthood holders were to intermarry with the Negro race, eventually all the Priesthood would be lost. All the work of the Millennium would be in vain. The Lord could not even make another restoration of the Priesthood because there would be no pure Israelite blood to whom it could be restored.
Strangely, back in the early 1960’s, this author saw a Communist document stating that when their World Order program was instituted, they would force the white race to mix with the black race, resulting in a grey race–the very catastrophe Elder Petersen was warning us about. We can be sure that those in the devil’s New World Order intend to destroy the Priesthood of God in one way or another.
Most of the white race is generally accepted as being from the tribes of the House of Israel; but the pure white race is fast becoming an endangered species. With the continual mixing with the blacks and other races, the pure white man is drawing near extinction. In a few years it could be said that they have gone the way of the Amorites, Hittites, Amalekites, Jebusites, Midianites, and many others.
The Melchizedek Priesthood comes with a very rigid oath and covenant, part of which is to obey the laws pertaining to the Abrahamic covenant of racial purity. If this “oath and covenant” is broken, there are very serious consequences.
Therefore, all those who receive the priesthood, receive this oath and covenant of my Father, which he cannot break, neither can it be moved. But whoso breaketh this covenant after he hath received it, and altogether turneth therefrom, shall not have forgiveness of sins in this world nor in the world to come. (D & C 84:40-41)
When a man makes a Priesthood covenant with God, it involves tremendous and everlasting promises and blessings for him if he keeps the conditions of that contract. If he should trade or gamble with the Priesthood, he could lose not only his Priesthood, but also his birthright and eternal life.
Thus, above all other people, Israelites have the greatest obligation to obey the Lord, because they have the greatest promises and the greatest curses. Whatever curse God can impose on a people, the Latter-day Saints serve to suffer the most, for the Lord said:
Hearken and hear, O ye my people, saith the Lord and your God, ye whom I delight to bless with the greatest of all blessings, ye that hear me; and ye that hear me not will I curse, that have professed my name, with the heaviest of all cursings. (D & C 41:1)
 Chapter 18
THE GRADUAL SLIP INTO APOSTASY
Woe unto them! for they have gone in the way of Cain, and ran greedily after the error of Balaam for reward, . . .” (Jude 11)
They exceeded the bounds of their Priesthood, and in doing so they committed sin. (George Q. Cannon, JD 24:274)
Is the importance of maintaining a pure Priesthood lineage merely the idea of Joseph Smith and Brigham Young, or is it substantiated in the Bible? Could this be just a “racist” and “bigot” ideal of some fringe group? No, it is much more than that, for the outcome could be so serious that a man’s place in the Celestial Kingdom could be jeopardized. So important are these issues that we should take another serious look at what was possibly the most vital decision made by LDS Church leaders and members in this century.
In order to understand apostatizing from the Priesthood, we should first understand what this Priesthood really is. Probably no one explained it better than the Prophet Joseph himself who said that the Melchizedek Priesthood–
. . . is the channel through which all knowledge, doctrine, the plan of salvation and every important matter is revealed from heaven.
Its institution was prior to “the foundation of this earth, or the morning stars sang together, or the Sons of God shouted for joy,” and is the highest and holiest  Priesthood, and is after the order of the Son of God, and all other Priesthoods are only parts, ramifications, powers and blessings belonging to the same, and are held controlled, and directed by it. It is the channel through which the Almighty commenced revealing His glory at the beginning of the creation of this earth, and through which He has continued to reveal Himself to the children of men to the present time, and through which He will make known His purposes to the end of time. (TPJS, pp. 166-67)
Thus, the High and Holy Priesthood of God is the most powerful force in the universe; conversely it is one of the most delicate and difficult to handle. It is a rare and valuable gift of God to man. No one can be baptized and receive the gift of the Holy Ghost without it. No one can get into the Celestial Kingdom or stand in the presence of God without it. However, probably more men have lost it through unworthiness than those who will receive exaltation with it.
The Melchizedek Priesthood itself is greater than any office in that Priesthood or in the Church, because it provides the power that creates all church offices, and all the “authorities or offices in the church are appendages to this priesthood.” (D & C 107:5) But it is not the church organization itself that has the Priesthood–it is individual worthy men who hold this power. Whether a man keeps or loses this Priesthood depends on him. And how can he lose it? In 1839, Joseph Smith received the answer to this question:
That the rights of the priesthood are inseparably connected with the powers of heaven, and that the powers of heaven cannot be controlled nor handled only upon the principles of righteousness.
That they may be conferred upon us, it is true; but when we undertake  to cover our sins, or  to gratify our pride, our vain ambition, or  to exercise control or dominion or compulsion upon the souls of the  children of men, in any degree of unrighteousness, behold, the heavens withdraw themselves; the Spirit of the Lord is grieved; and when it is withdrawn, Amen to the priesthood or the authority of that man. (D & C 121:36-37)
“Honoring and keeping” versus “dishonoring and losing” the Priesthood is the most important decision of a Priesthood holder. Walking that “straight and narrow” path to eternal life is similar to walking a tightrope, with adverse influences, misjudgments, and even apostasy ever present.
Apostasy is an ugly word, but unfortunately a fairly common occurrence. In both religion and government, a mess of pottage is not worth sacrificing a birthright. Very few people really want to be considered an apostate from anything, and usually no one realizes when he is one, as an apostate thinks everyone else is wrong. The expression, “he fell into apostasy,” indicates the downward direction of an apostate; you don’t ever hear it said, “he climbed up into apostasy.”
Regarding how one becomes an apostate, the Book of Mormon says that the devil will–
- “stir them up to anger against that which is good.”
- “pacify, and lull them away into carnal security.”
- “leadeth them away carefully down to hell.”
- “flattereth away and telleth them there is no hell.”
- “whispereth in their ears, until he grasps them with his awful chains.”
- make them “hearkeneth unto the precepts of men.”
- make them say “we have received, and we need no more.”
- make them “angry because of the truth of God.”
- make them “putteth his trust in man, or maketh flesh his arm.” (See 2 Nephi 28:20-31.)
 Years ago a Priesthood manual stated that apostasy was altering, changing, or opposing the doctrines of God. Thus, a man’s Priesthood depends on his maintaining God’s eternal principles and doctrines–unchanged.
It is obvious that whenever the Lord gives revelation, the adversary will be there to oppose it. The early Christian Church had its share of opposition, both from within and without. While the outside persecution destroyed many members, it was really the work of the semi-apostates within the church that gradually destroyed it. This condition began to take place while Jesus and the Apostles were still alive. We have read about it, but probably have not noticed how obvious it was. This author previously wrote in another publication:
The Apostle Paul recognized the seeds of apostasy which were already infiltrating into the Church. He gave many warnings to the members. To the Saints at Ephesus he declared, “For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them.” (Acts 20:29-30) Then in a letter to the Saints in Thessalonia he wrote: “Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first * * * For the mystery of iniquity doth already work…. ” (2 Thes. 2:3, 7) But to the Saints living in Galatia, apostasy had already set in, for Paul wrote: “I marvel that ye are so soon removed from Him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ.” (Gal. 1:6-7)
Then, in a letter to Timothy, Paul spoke of the future when many “shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils.” (I Tim. 4:1) But by the time he wrote his second letter to Timothy he reported that “. . . all they which are in Asia be turned away from me.” (II Tim. 1:15)  Apparently this was only the beginning of an apostasy which would continue to increase, for he said, “But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived.” (II Tim. 3:13) By then Paul recognized how far the Church would depart from the truth because he wrote that “. . . the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; and they shall be turned unto fables.” (II Tim. 4:3-4)
Peter also warned the members of the church by saying: “But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies.” (II Peter 2:1)
Towards the end of the first century of the Christian era, the Church became saturated with false prophets and false apostles. John the Revelator was told by the Lord that some of the leaders “are apostles, and are not,” because the Lord had “found them liars.” (Rev. 2:2) (95 Theses, Kraut, p. 142)
This apostasy of the church continued for 2,000 years, as men compromised eternal principles, changed saving ordinances, and abandoned gospel laws. Scholars and historians have given us ample evidence of these changes that marked the apostasy of the early Christian church. For example–
. . . when the sacred choir of apostles became extinct, and the generation of those that had been privileged to hear their inspired wisdom had passed away, then also the combinations of impious errors arose by the fraud and delusions of false teachers. These also, as there were none of the apostles left, henceforth attempted without shame, to preach their false doctrine against the gospel of truth. (Ecclesiastical History, Eusebius, bk. iii, ch. xxxii)
Not long after the Savior’s ascension, various histories of his life and doctrines, full of impositions and fables, were composed by persons of no bad inten-tions, perhaps, but who were superstitious, simple, and piously fraudulent. (Mosheim’s Institutes, vol. I, bk. i, cent. i, part ii, ch. ii, Murdock’s translation)
A phenomenon, singular in its kind, is the striking difference between the writings of the apostles and the writings of the apostolic fathers, who were so nearly their contemporaries. In other cases, transitions were wont to be gradual, but in this instance we observe a sudden change. (History of the Christian Religion and Church, Neander, vol. 1:656)
Continual changes in Christian doctrines were indications of the first fruits of apostasy, but they were claimed to be justified because:
- The Christians gradually submitted to the laws of the land to avoid persecution.
- The new converts brought in their own interpretations and religious beliefs.
- Professors and scholars applied their own writings, philosophies and revisions of the Christian doctrines.
Today, when we do the same things, it is called “inspired leadership” or “modern revelation.”
Regarding the apostasy from the early Christian church, B. H. Roberts commented:
Some few noted Christian writers more candid than their fellows, have freely admitted the apostasy of Christendom. We will introduce their testimony. John Wesley in his 94th sermon, says: “The reason why the extraordinary gifts of the Holy Ghost are no longer in the church, `is because the love of many waxed cold, and the Christians had turned heathens again, and had only a dead form left.'”
The following quotation is taken from page 163 of Smith’s Dictionary of the Bible. This work is  endorsed by the names of 63 divines of both Europe and America, all noted for their scholarship. They say: “We must not expect to see the Church of Holy Scripture actually existing in its perfection upon the earth. It is not to be found thus perfect, either in the collected fragments of Christendom, or still less in any one of those fragments.”
This is a frank acknowledgment of all that we claim as to the apostasy of the primitive church. (JD 25:133)
The problem continues today–what should be changed and what should be left alone? Many changes are good and progressive, improving upon the old methods, especially in the fields of science and invention. But when people try to change unchangeable and eternal religious principles and doctrines, they are soon led into apostasy.
Below are excerpts from an anonymous editorial printed in the Church News section of the Deseret News over 30 years ago. Under the title of “Our Unchangeable Deity,” it is a classic warning and invitation for both modern Christians and Latter-day Saints alike to take a closer look at their religion to see if its teachings have remained unchanged.
One of the most important things we may learn about our religion is that God is unchangeable, the same yesterday, today and forever.
By this we may know that the principles of salvation will always remain the same, and that we need not be disturbed by “new ideas” or “modern innovations” in the Gospel which may come our way.* * *
To say that the Gospel may be changed is to say that either God has changed, or that human nature is no longer human nature.
It is obvious therefore that no one can change the Gospel, and that if they attempt to do so, they only set up a man-made system which is not the gospel, but is merely a reflection of their own views. And since only  God can save, only His Gospel can save, and if we substitute “any other gospel,” there is no salvation in it. * * *
Are the doctrines and rituals of the Church in harmony with the Bible, or are they creations of men who–though well meaning–have gone off on a tangent?
If the principles by which any of us attempt to save ourselves are contrary to the Bible, we may know they are man’s teachings, not God’s, for the Lord and His Gospel remain the same–always. (Church News, June 5, 1965, p. 16)
Paul, the Apostle warned:
But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed. (Gal. 1:8-9)
And in more recent times, Joseph Smith used the same words of warning:
Oh, I beseech you to go forward, go forward and make your calling and election sure; and if any man preach any other Gospel than that which I have preached, he shall be cursed; and some of you who now hear me shall see it, and know that I testify the truth concerning them. (Historical Record 7:548)
This shows that the Gospel was to remain the same in both the early and latter-day Christian church. The question now is–“Is the gospel taught in the LDS Church today the same as it was in the days of Joseph Smith?” Believing and declaring that Joseph was and is a prophet is one thing, but believing and obeying his teachings is another!
 Charles Penrose aptly explained what the results were for the Christian church when they made those changes:
And thus the apostasy went on until darkness covered the minds of the people, and paganism was introduced into the Christian church. And the time came when that wicked power spoken of in the Revelation overcame the saints. The Spirit of God left the polluted church. The body became dead. Just as when the spirit of man leaves his body, the carcass begins to crumble; every particle seems desirous to get away from every other particle. So it was after the time that the Apostles fell. The Holy Ghost left the church. The spirit of revelation departed from the body and dissolution set in. Darkness ensued. Apostasy prevailed. In one of the homilies of the church of England it is declared that: “Clergy and laity, men, women and children, of all ages, sects and degrees of whole Christendom (a most horrible and dreadful thing to think) have at once been buried in the most abominable idolatry, and that for the space of 800 years or more.” This was because there had been no Holy Ghost in the church, no revelation from heaven, no real communion with the powers on high. Instead of true worship there was idolatry. People had gone into darkness, and it had covered the earth–all nations and sects and parties, “clergy and laity, men, women and children of whole Christendom.” From that time to the present, sect has multiplied upon sect, and creed upon creed, but there has been no uniting power. The Holy Ghost not being in the church, the body has been segregated, every part separating from other parts, like the toes which Daniel saw composed part of iron and part of clay, the one refusing to mingle with the other. (JD 24:211-212)
In Section 46 of the Doctrine and Covenants the Lord listed over a dozen spiritual gifts with which He would bless the members of the Church if they were faithful. Strangely, we have but few instances of them left in the Church. Is this not a strong indication of apostasy?
 Most Mormons are unaware that we have arrived at a critical juncture in our theological faith. We must now determine the fate of even our right to possess the Holy Priesthood, which involves not only the Priesthood but also our future destiny.
Interestingly, this critical decision rests upon two contradictory statements of two Church presidents–Brigham Young and Spencer W. Kimball. The first said the Canaanite cannot have the Priesthood until after all the other races have had that chance, and “have received their resurrection from the dead, then it will be time enough to remove the curse from Cain and his posterity.” (JD 2:143) The other President said that that time had already come. Simply said, both can’t be right! If the doctrinal sermons by Joseph Smith and Brigham Young are wrong, then it is certainly possible that any president since that time can also be led astray. If Spencer W. Kimball is wrong, then we must recognize that the Church has committed a horrible sin against God and His Priesthood. In such a situation, we have lost the authority and power of the Priesthood, and all our ordinances are invalid without it.
 Chapter 19
THE INTERNAL CONFLICT
The principles of the gospel are perfect, but are the Apostles who teach it perfect? No, they are not. * * * but it is enough to say this, that through the weaknesses in the lives of the Apostles, many were caused to err. (JD 12:66)
Right after the `78 announcement, when President Spencer W. Kimball was in Honolulu, he stated that his “revelation came at this time because conditions and people have changed. It’s a different world than it was 20 or 25 years ago. The world is ready for it.” (Des. News, June 13, 1978) It is indeed a different world, and is becoming worse and worse! It has been described by all the prophets as being about the worst of all other times, even comparable to the days of Noah; so the Priesthood seems to be more ripe for destruction than for extension and growth.
Where in the Bible does it say the Canaanite [or blacks] can have the Priesthood? Where in the Doctrine and Covenants does it say so? Or where did Joseph Smith say he had a revelation telling us that the sons of Cain, or the black race, could have the Priesthood? The Lord has never given a scripture or a written revelation stating that a person of the black race could possess the Priesthood. Certainly no such revelation was ever given to any Church President, including Spencer Kimball. Shouldn’t this arouse suspicion in a person who believed that the Church must be guided by revelation?  Shouldn’t a man with basic common sense think twice about these things if he knew that one of the former LDS presidents said he could lose his own Priesthood by consenting to it?
We need to remember that this is not merely a “racist” or “political” doctrine dealing with social issues. It is a Priesthood issue. The LDS Church is not a man-made religion where man can try to change doctrines to satisfy some civil rights program. Instead, it is God’s Priesthood, and He alone governs its use and function and power.
What is the answer? It is simple–just do what we were supposed to do 6000 years ago and obey the commandments of the Lord without bending or changing them to comply with worldly society and traditions. The world’s tempting aroma smells sweet, but like a bad whiskey, it numbs the brain until we don’t have the sense to get away from it, nor even want to. The Jews, who had control of the temple at the time of Christ, knew who He was, but they wouldn’t admit it because they didn’t want to jeopardize their authoritative and wealthy positions. They could not sacrifice their worldly titles and wealth in order to defend Gospel principles. Likewise, we have many today who will not defend or even admit to the truths of the Gospel because of the sacrifice they may be required to make.
The fact that leaders might be guilty of bestowing the Priesthood where it has been forbidden is part of what Isaiah prophesied when he said, “The priest and the prophet have erred . . . in vision, they stumble in judgment,” and have “made a covenant with death and with hell are we at agreement.” (Isa. 28:7, 15) Very strong words, but the reason is because “they have transgressed the laws, changed the ordinance, broken the everlasting covenant.” (24:5) Ancient Israel did it; the early Christians did it; and Isaiah and Moroni said we would do it,  too. The children of Israel did not want to live the higher laws so they suffered the consequences. The Lord then said:
. . . for I will take away the priesthood out of their midst; therefore my holy order, and the ordinances thereof, shall not go before them; for my presence shall not go up in their midst, . . . (Ex. 34:1, Insp. Ver.)
Like the ancient Israelites, we have given up the higher laws and must suffer similar consequences. For example, consider what the Doctrine and Covenants says when the laws of plural marriage, united order, and gathering are disobeyed:
We have given up the law of plural marriage, but “all those who have this law revealed unto them must obey the same.” (D & C 132:3) And God warned that “if ye abide not that covenant, then are ye damned; for no one can reject this covenant and be permitted to enter into my glory.” (v. 4)
We have given up the law of united order to “appoint unto this people their portions, every man equal according to his family, according to his circumstances and his wants and needs.” (D & C 51:3) The Lord said that “it must needs be that they be organized according to my laws; if otherwise, they will be cut off.” (v. 2)
We have disobeyed the law of gathering. The Lord said, “a commandment I give unto all the churches, that they shall continue to gather together. . . .” (D & C 101:67), because it is the Lord “who will gather his people even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, even as many as will hearken to my voice. . . .” (D & C 29:2) All those who disobey this commandment will be with the tares and will be burned with “unquenchable fire.” (D & C 101:66)
We know that many such changes were made in the early Christian church, as James E. Talmage wrote about in his book  The Great Apostasy. He summarized that apostasy into three main categories:
. . . the Church was undergoing internal deterioration, and was in a state of increasing perversion. Among the more detailed or specific cause of this ever widening departure from the spirit of the gospel of Christ, this rapidly growing apostasy, the following may be considered as important examples:
(1) The corrupting of the simple principles of the gospel by the admixture of the so-called philosophic systems of the times.
(2) Unauthorized additions to the ceremonies of the Church, and the introduction of vital changes in essential ordinances.
(3) Unauthorized changes in Church organization and government. (The Great Apostasy, Talmage, p. 90)
It is apparent that these same signposts are evident in our own time and among our own people:
(1) The corrupting of the principles of the Gospel by the modern-day systems and surrendering them in order to comply with the laws of the land, i.e., giving up plural marriage, the united order, gathering, etc.
(2) Making unauthorized additions or deletions to the temple ceremony (1990) and other Priesthood ordinances, i.e., conferral of Priesthood, rebaptism, etc.
(3) Making unauthorized changes in Church organization and government, i.e., casting out the Church Patriarch and eliminating all stake and ward Seventies.
The Saints have been told over and over again how important it is to maintain correct principles and ordinances and not to change them. Joseph Smith was very emphatic on this point:
Ordinances instituted in the heavens before the foundation of the world, in the priesthood, for the salvation of men, are not to be altered or changed. All must be saved on the same principles. (TPJS, p. 308)
He set the ordinances to be the same forever and ever, and set Adam to watch over them, to reveal them from heaven to man, or to send angels to reveal them. (TPJS, p. 168)
We all admit that the Gospel has ordinances, and if so, had it not always ordinances, and were not its ordinances always the same? (TPJS, p. 59)
. . . the Melchizedek High Priesthood was no other than the Priesthood of the Son of God; that there are certain ordinances which belong to the Priesthood, from which flow certain results; . . . (TPJS, p. 111)
Cain also being authorized to offer sacrifice, but not offering it in righteousness, was cursed. It signifies, then, that the ordinances must be kept in the very way God has appointed; otherwise their Priesthood will prove a cursing instead of a blessing. (TPJS, p. 169)
The Prophet Joseph also made a very significant statement when he said, “If there is no change of ordinances, there is no change of Priesthood.” (TPJS, p. 158) Conversely, this would mean that “if there is a change of ordinances, there is a change in Priesthood.” When ordinances are changed, their validity is lost, and the brethren risk losing their own Priesthood.
What are the consequences, then, of changing the age-old doctrine regarding blacks and the Priesthood?
(1) We have transgressed a law given to ancient Israel, and thus have lost the Priesthood, the same as they did.
(2) About ten million Mormons have been deceived and their ordinance work may be jeopardized.
(3) The consequences of all this will effect one’s exaltation and perhaps assist in determining which kingdom he will inherit.
The next question is–how many doctrines can we discard, how many ordinances can we change, how many principles can we substitute, and how many laws can we reject, before it becomes apostasy? If we change the laws, ordinances, and covenants from the way they were established by the Lord, can we still expect to receive the same blessings? Apparently some must think so.
When the early Christians lost the Priesthood, most of them didn’t even know it was lost, except for the noticeable absence of spiritual manifestations. Since they still thought they had the Priesthood, they continued to change religious laws and ordinances, trying to improve the Gospel. Parley P. Pratt explained about those who were left without Priesthood and said that from that day to this they have–
. . . been manufacturing priests, without any particular regard to lineage. But what have they accomplished? They have manufactured something, and called it Priesthood, and the world has been cursed with it up to this time. (JD 1:261)
 Chapter 20
CONCLUSION: PURE LINEAGE FOR PRIESTHOOD
For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse: for it is written, Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them. (Gal. 3:10)
Born as a non-Mormon and raised in a little town in northern Montana, the author was not acquainted in his early life with any black people. He did not witness the prejudice and racist beliefs and actions until going into the U.S. Army, where at that time the Government completely separated the black and white troops. There was still an attitude of individual contention between them, including Jews and other minorities as well. It was amazing to see how many still seemed to be fighting over Civil War issues!
He also followed with interest the August 1965 race riots that began in the Watts area of Los Angeles, where 6000 rioters burned out 20 square miles, and firemen battled fires for five days. They soon spread to Detroit where there were over one billion dollars in damage and many people shot and killed. The riots extended to Cleveland, New York, Washington D.C., and other cities where beating, robbing, raping, looting and killing caused nationwide panic. These were outward expressions of intense inward feelings between blacks and whites; and in spite of all that has been done to remedy the situation, the problem still exists at some level.
 However, the Mormon dilemma had nothing to do with social, political or civil rights issues, and pertained only to Priesthood. In reality, these beliefs did not originate with the Mormons at all, but are the beliefs and doctrines contained in the Bible itself.
Government should not try to force or change anyone’s religion, whether Buddhist, Mohammedan, Catholic, or Mormon; but they have done so anyway. Pressures from Government entities were instrumental in the reversing of LDS Church policy and the subsequent announcement in 1978. But giving the Priesthood to the Canaanite is a serious tragedy–not necessarily for the Canaanite but certainly for an Israelite.
This was not a matter of simply changing some policy, program or structural procedure in the Church. It had a most profound impact on the Priesthood itself and on those who held it. Incidentally, it did not change the status of the Negro either for better or worse, but it certainly affected the status of the Priesthood bearer himself.
The Holy Priesthood can be lost by trying to bestow it too soon or too late where it is forbidden, which is one of the messages of this book. Priesthood can be lost quicker and easier than when it was received. These Priesthood issues are of such vital importance that they may affect man’s eternal salvation or damnation.
Priesthood is not a “civil right,” nor a “government sponsored program,” nor simply to be used as a “tax deduction” or a “public” issue. Priesthood is a function between God and man, not between man and man. It does not belong to society as a whole. It is not sold like hot dogs and soda pop at a ball game to please the crowd. If God does not control the Priesthood, then it is no longer His Priesthood. The Jewish  nation did not understand Jesus and His Priesthood, and they wanted to force Him to comply to their authority. Thus they lost the Priesthood and suffered the consequences. Neither does this nation understand Priesthood, and they will eventually suffer similar consequences.
Mortality is an ongoing test. Not just “thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee” (Gen. 3:18), but pain, anguish, sacrifice and losses of every kind. If the devil can’t find enough ways to test you, then God will, for He made this promise to us:
I have decreed in my heart, saith the Lord, that I will prove you in all things, whether you will abide in my covenant, even unto death, that you may be found worthy. For if ye will not abide in my covenant, ye are not worthy of me. (D & C 98:14-15)
The modern Mormon apologists and liberals have coddled the ways of the world and have made successful efforts to rid Mormonism of the Biblical doctrine of racial purity. Their effort to mongrelize the races is found throughout their books, movies, lectures, and the media. We now hear the expressions that “Lineage is doctrinally irrelevant,” that we are “all of common origin,” “we are all one blood,” “we are all spirit children,” “we are more spiritual than biological,” “all are alike unto God,” that there is more to “theological importance than to the blood of Israel.” All of the specific doctrines for Israelites are now considered “moot” matters and are “out of vogue.” There has been an increasing tendency towards “Christian inclusiveness” and “Christian legitimacy before the world,” that we should be “universalizing” and becoming a “world-wide church.”
We are changing our position from that of a “peculiar people” to becoming a “popular people,” and one with the rest  of the world. However, becoming a world-recognized church, has been at the expense of much time, effort, money, compromise and sacrifice , but the world now respects the Mormons, and they are doing increased business together. Instead of persecuting, driving, and killing the Mormons, former enemies have become our good friends. Mormons receive continual attention from the news media, talk shows and the political world. But the sacrifice to obtain that friendship has been an expensive one–perhaps much greater than the Saints realize. The early leaders of the Church, and the Apostle James, have all warned us that “whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.” (James 4:4)
There are still many blessings that can be obtained by being just a member of the Church of Jesus Christ even without holding the Priesthood–many more than can be obtained in any other church. President Brigham Young explained:
The African enjoys the right of receiving the first principles of the Gospel, this liberty is held out to all these servants, they enjoy the liberty of being baptized for the remission of sins, and of receiving the Holy Ghost by the laying on of hands; they enjoy the privilege of living humble before the Lord their great master, so as to enjoy the spirit of the Lord continually; in short, as far as the common comforts of life, salvation, light, truth, enjoyment, and understanding is [sic] concerned, the black African has precisely the same privilege as the white man. But they cannot hold the Priesthood, . . . (Teachings of B.Y., Collier, 3:27)
So there is very little besides the Priesthood that they cannot enjoy, and those things will be offered at a later date, as Brigham Young explained:
The Lord put a mark on him; and there are some of his children in this room. 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. (JD 2:143)
The Canaanite has been deprived of the Priesthood, but only for a time. However, if an Israelite tries to give him that Priesthood before the appointed time, it cannot be restored to him until the Canaanites get it–if then. This happened to the Jewish people, according to Brigham Young:
The blood of Judah has not only mingled almost with all nations, but also with the blood of Cain, and they have mingled their seed together; these Negro Jews may keep up all the outer ordinances of the Jewish religion, they may have their sacrifices, and they may perform all the religious ceremonies any people on Earth could perform, but let me tell you, that the day they consented to mingle their seed with Canaan, the Priesthood was taken away from Judah, and that portion of Judah’s seed will never get any rule, or blessings of the Priesthood until Cain gets it. (Tchgs. of B.Y., 3:45-46)
As if he were making sure that he was completely understood, Brigham Young repeated:
It has been urged here that many of the Jews were black. Wherever the seed of Judah mingled with the seed of Cain they lost their Priesthood and all blessings. (Ibid., 3:49)
In case there is anyone who is still wondering whether or not such a thing could happen to the Latter-day Saints today, listen again to Brigham Young:
Let this Church which is called the Kingdom of God on Earth; we will summons the First Presidency,  the Twelve, the High Council, the Bishopric, and all the Elders of Israel, suppose we summons them to appear 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 partakers 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 Kingdom and God leaves us to our fate. The moment we consent to mingle with the seed of Cain, the Church must go to destruction–we should receive the curse which has been placed upon the seed of Cain, and never more be numbered with the children of Adam who are heirs to the Priesthood until that curse be removed. (Ibid., 3:46)
In reality, it doesn’t matter what Joseph Smith, Brigham Young, or Spencer W. Kimball have said about the blacks and the Priesthood. All that really matters is what the Lord has said, which is outlined in the scriptures and is summarized below:
- The Lord has selected a blood line to bear the Priesthood.
- That line of authority started in the beginning with Adam.
- There was also a blood line prohibited from having the Priesthood.
- That restricted blood line also began at the time of Adam.
- That line of authority finally came through the 12 sons of Jacob.
- Those 12 sons and their children were the only ones to receive that Priesthood.
- These restrictions regarding Priesthood were made by the Lord, not by Israel.
- If anyone married a Canaanite [black], he would lose his Priesthood.
- If he tried to confer that Priesthood on a Canaanite, he would lose it himself.
- That covenant was to be in effect until the end of mortality on earth.
 Whenever the children of Israel broke this covenant, they were cursed, which curse affected them not only in this world, but in the next. All modern-day scriptures and true prophets have sustained these same laws and covenants and have warned of the consequences that would result by breaking them.
Heber C. Kimball warned us against disobedience and mentioned a consequence thereof:
The Spirit of disobedience is the spirit of apostasy; and if you do not look out, it will upset you, and you will go overboard before you are aware of it. Every branch should be interested for the root from whence it springs; for if the root perishes, the branch must perish also. (JD 6:124)
Zechariah prophesied of the time when the Lord would return to the Mount of Olives and “shall be king over all the earth” (Zech. 14:9), and “all the nations” shall “worship the King, the Lord of hosts.” (v. 16) In other words, he was talking about the millennial reign of Christ on the earth. Then he went on to say:
In that day shall there be upon the bells of the horses, Holiness unto the Lord; and the pots in the Lord’s house shall be like the bowls before the altar.
Yea, every pot in Jerusalem and in Judah shall be holiness unto the Lord of hosts; and all they that sacrifice shall come and take of them, and seethe therein; and in that day there shall be no more the Canaanite in the house of the Lord of hosts. (Zech. 14:20-21)
The question remains, if the Canaanites are not allowed in the temples during the millennium, why should they be allowed to go in them now?
 Elder Bruce R. McConkie truly stated, “Where the Melchizedek Priesthood is, there is the kingdom, the Church, and the fulness of the gospel.” (Mormon Doctrine, p. 480) Conversely, it would then be correct to say that, “Where the Melchizedek Priesthood is not, there is no kingdom, nor church of God, and no fulness of the gospel.” Such a church would be like all the other churches in the world.
In summary, we may conclude with the thought presented by Elder Alexander B. Morrison, a member of the First Quorum of Seventy, at the 20th anniversary celebration of President Kimball’s 1978 announcement. According to a local Salt Lake newspaper–
He [Morrison] compared the 1978 revelation to the assassination of President Kennedy, D-Day in Europe, and the explosion of the Challenger space shuttle. “This ranks with life’s most memorable moments,” he said. (S.L. Tribune, June 8, 1998)
It is interesting to note that Brother Morrison compared giving the Priesthood to the blacks with three major catastrophes! And rightly so. These “most memorable moments” may well be considered as among the worst in our generation! And why is this such a terrible catastrophe?
We will all go and mingle with the seed of Cain and they may have all the privileges they want–we lift our hands to heaven in support of this–that moment we lose the Priesthood and all blessings, and we would not be redeemed until Cain was. (Brigham Young, Teachings of B.Y., 3:49)
Thus, the catastrophe is–
- We lose the Holy Melchizedek Priesthood.
- We lose all the Priesthood blessings we had acquired.
- We cannot be resurrected until Cain and his seed are.
- Instead of dwelling forever with the lineage of Ephraim, we must dwell with the Cainanites.
The Priesthood has always followed the chosen lineage of Abraham, to whom wonderful blessings were promised. These blessings were predicated upon obedience to certain laws and pertained only to him and his seed. These were bound by a covenant with God. Although the Church has tried to change an everlasting covenant, in reality, can an everlasting covenant actually be changed?
History contains a record of the multitudes who have failed to keep this covenant, and the Saints in this dispensation have not done well in keeping it either.
But there is a small glimmer of hope–all is not lost! There are about 25 prophecies that tell of a time when God will select a people out of the midst of this people who would remain faithful to the Priesthood and all of its laws. Our hope rests with them.