Not-So-‘Called-Out’: The Paradox of Mormonism’s Racist Societal Conformity and Denominational Exclusivity

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints prides itself in being the only true church on the face of the earth. Doctrine and Covenants 1:30 explicitly states:

“And also those to whom these commandments were given, might have power to lay the foundation of this church, and to bring it forth out of obscurity and out of darkness, the only true and living church upon the face of the whole earth, with which I, the Lord, am well pleased, speaking unto the church collectively and not individually–“

The word “church” in the Koine Greek language is “ekklesia,” meaning: “called out ones” or “an assembly.” In ancient Greece, an Ekklesia was a public assembly where citizens came out to discuss legal matters.

Jesus Christ said that His followers are in this world, but not of this world. (See John 17) We physically live in this world alongside everyone else, but we do not follow the world’s ways. If the LDS Church claims to be the only true church, then why is it not a called-out Church, more specifically, in regards to race and racism?

Blacks in the LDS Church were not allowed to receive the priesthood until 1978. The LDS Church has written a very polished Gospel Topics Essay on lds.org called “Race and the Priesthood” In this article, it says the following: “Over time, Church leaders and members advanced many theories to explain the priesthood and temple restrictions. None of these explanations is accepted today as the official doctrine of the Church.”

How were these former Mormon explanations simply theories, when it is clearly documented that racism played a role in the ban? Also, it was taught that black skin is a curse from God, according to Mormonism. Mormon Apostle George F. Richards, spoke in General Conference and said the following:

“The negro is an unfortunate man. He has been given a black skin.

“But that is as nothing compared with that greater handicap that he is not permitted to receive the Priesthood and the ordinances of the temple, necessary to prepare men and women to enter into and enjoy a fulness of glory in the celestial kingdom.

“What is the reason for this condition, we ask, and I find it to my satisfaction to think that as spirit children of our Eternal Father they were not valiant in the fight. We are told that Michael and his angels fought, and we understand that we stood with Christ our Lord, on the platform, “Father, thy will be done, and the glory be thine forever.” I cannot conceive our Father consigning his children to a condition such as that of the negro race, if they had been valiant in the spirit world in that war in heaven. Neither could they have been a part of those who rebelled and were cast down, for the latter had not the privilege of tabernacling in the flesh. Somewhere along the line were these spirits, indifferent perhaps, and possibly neutral in the war. We have no definite knowledge concerning this. But I learn this lesson from it, brethren and sisters, and I believe we all should, that it does not pay in religious matters, matters that pertain to our eternal salvation, to be indifferent, neutral, or lukewarm.” (Conference Reports, April 1939, Second Day-Morning Meeting: Elder George F. Richards, pp. 58-59)

Joseph Smith, the founder of the LDS Church said the following:

“Having learned with extreme regret, that an article entitled, ‘Free People of Color,’ in the last number of the Star has been misunderstood, we feel in duty bound to state, in this Extra, that our intention was not only to stop free people of color from emigrating to this state, but to prevent them from being admitted as members of the Church.” (History of the Church, 1:378-79)

“Had I anything to do with the negro, I would confine them by strict law to their own species and put them on a national equalization.” (History of the Church, Vol. 5, pp. 218-19)

Brigham Young, the 2nd prophet of the LDS Church, said the following about people with black skin:

“You see some classes of the human family that are black, uncouth, un- comely, disagreeable and low in their habits, wild, and seemingly deprived of nearly all the blessings of the intelligence that is generally bestowed upon mankind. The first man that committed the odious crime of killing one of his brethren will be cursed the longest of any one of the children of Adam. Cain slew his brother. Cain might have been killed, and that would have put a termination to that line of human beings. This was not to be, and the Lord put a mark upon him, which is the flat nose and black skin. Trace mankind down to after the flood, and then another curse is pronounced upon the same race – that they should be the “servant of servants;” and they will be, until that curse is removed; and the Abolitionists cannot help it, nor in the least alter that decree. How long is that race to endure the dreadful curse that is upon them? That curse will remain upon them, [p.291] and they never can hold the Priesthood or share in it until all the other descendants of Adam have received the promises and enjoyed the blessings of the Priesthood and the keys thereof. Until the last ones of the residue of Adam’s children are brought up to that favourable position, the children of Cain cannot receive the first ordinances of the Priesthood. They were the first that were cursed, and they will be the last from whom the curse will be removed. When the residue of the family of Adam come up and receive their blessings, then the curse will be removed from the seed of Cain, and they will receive blessings in like proportion.” (Journal of Discourses 7:290-91, October 9, 1859)

These were not just theories. This belief in the curse of Cain was spoken in LDS General Conference addresses by prophets and apostles of ‘God.’ If times have changed, as most Mormons would argue, the living prophet trumps the dead prophet. Well, how convenient does this become? How solid is a religion when you have to explain away teachings of a prophet from one-hundred years ago? Could you imagine people in the prophet Malachi’s day (425 BC) saying, “Well, whatever Isaiah said a few hundred years ago in 685 BC was for then, and we have a new word today, so what Isaiah said was just his personal opinion.” It doesn’t work this way. Yes, the law and prophets were fulfilled in Christ, but that’s a different story. That has to do with switching dispensations (in example, the levitical priesthood was fulfilled in Christ; circumcision was fulfilled in Christ)

If we are in the last dispensation, according to Mormonism, then why are prophets disagreeing with each other within one particular dispensation of time? Since Joseph Smith supposedly ushered in this Final Dispensation of the Fulness of Times, then why are prophets within this dispensation changing their minds on key issues within their own dispensation? Why have the policies on blacks and the priesthood changed? As you can see in the quote above, Brigham Young taught that blacks could not receive the priesthood until all the family of Adam received the first ordinances of the Priesthood first! This hasn’t happened yet since all the residue of Adam has not received the Priesthood. Therefore, according to Brigham Young, blacks should not have received the priesthood in 1978 – they should have waited until the end of the age.

Mormons treat Brigham Young’s teachings as though he lived back in the days of when Leviticus and Deuteronomy were written. The common saying among liberal Christians is, “Well, we’re in a new day and age, and what God said in Leviticus doesn’t apply to us today.” In that line of thinking, Mormons: Brigham Young only lived a little over one-hundred years ago, and you’re throwing away his ‘prophetic utterances’ as old and just his mere opinions? Since when did General Conference sermons become an LDS prophet’s opinion? If his opinion is very wrong, how many of an LDS prophet’s false opinions that are preached to the church membership does it take for him to be considered a false prophet? Joseph Smith’s statement that “A prophet is only a prophet when he is acting as such” is such a cop-out. This gives Joseph Smith and Brigham Young a free pass to preach within or without the Spirit of God’s guidelines and still hold a prophetic office. This is not what Deuteronomy 13:1-5 states about a prophet:

“If a prophet or someone who has dreams arises among you and proclaims a sign or wonder to you, and that sign or wonder he has promised you comes about, but he says, ‘Let us follow other gods,’ which you have not known, ‘and let us worship them,’ do not listen to that prophet’s words or to that dreamer. For the Lord your God is testing you to know whether you love the Lord your God with all your heart and all your soul. You must follow the Lord your God and fear Him. You must keep His commands and listen to His voice; you must worship Him and remain faithful to Him. That prophet or dreamer must be put to death, because he has urged rebellion against the Lord your God who brought you out of the land of Egypt and redeemed you from the place of slavery, to turn you from the way the Lord your God has commanded you to walk. You must purge the evil from you.

Isn’t it interesting that Joseph Smith, not long before he was murdered on June 27, 1844 taught the plurality of gods in his King Follett Discourse sermon on April 7, 1844? This warning in the Bible says that a prophet who leads the people to a path of other gods will be put to death. Joseph Smith did not die a martyr, innocent as a lamb – he died because he blasphemed the Lord God. The Lord took him out before he could do more damage, commit more spiritual abuse, and practice more pedophilia. King Herod Agrippa was struck dead by the Lord for receiving praise as a god. (Acts 12) Joseph Smith was struck dead for blaspheming God.

Brigham Young says that slavery is a divine institution and predicted that the Civil War would not end slavery. He was wrong.

“Ham will continue to be servant of servants, as the Lord decreed, until the curse is removed. WILL THE PRESENT STRUGGLE FREE THE SLAVE? NO; but they are now wasting away the black race by thousands…. “Treat the slaves kindly and let them live, for HAM MUST BE THE SERVANT OF SERVANTS UNTIL THE CURSE IS REMOVED. Can you destroy the decrees of the Almighty? YOU CANNOT. Yet our Christian brethren think that they are going to overthrow the sentence of the Almighty upon the seed of Ham. THEY CANNOT DO THAT, though they may kill them by thousands and tens of thousands.” (Millennial Star, Vol. 25, page 787; also published in Journal of Discourses, Vol. 10, page 250)

White, Protestant American southerners who believed in slavery were also wrong. The LDS Church followed along with the culture of the time. Why was this the case, if they are the only true and living church upon the earth today? Through Joseph Smith, an open heaven was supposedly given. Why did he not declare slavery wrong and ordain blacks to the priesthood?

Mormonism gave in to the changing culture, as pressure was placed on the LDS Church. Conveniently, the Mormon Church came to a ‘revelation’ in 1978 that allowed blacks to obtain the priesthood. This happened with polygamy in the 19th century. Mormons proudly lived out the polygamous lifestyle, and then caved in to cultural pressure in 1890.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints do not represent the “called out ones” that the ekklesia of God is supposed to be. Had it been, God would have been the leading instrument in social change from within Mormonism since the establishment of the LDS Church in 1830. Instead, what we have is an amazingly contradictory Church that deals with obfuscation in its public relations, fills the coffers of its upper echelon, and funnels lies to its lay membership. These are the marks of not only a cult, but a dangerous theological institution that perpetuates Joseph Smith’s lies and elevates his heretical writings as sound scriptural canon.

All races were created by God, as God himself is not a racist. Mormons, please think through this. It’s okay to ask questions. It’s okay to check out sources. When you receive the revelation that Joseph Smith was a false prophet, please don’t give up on Jesus Christ. Jesus never sent Joseph. Jesus sent his Holy Spirit to bear witness of Him – He lives, He reigns, and He can save you by grace through your faith in Him. Read the New Testament as a child, and you will see Christian teachings through untainted lenses.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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