Timeline: Ban on Blacks for Priesthood and Temple Ordinances

LDS Quotes on the Ban on Blacks for the Priesthood/Temple Ordinances

One point I want to make ahead of the quotes is to note that while the church often remarks that comments made by church prophets are 'of men' when they contradict current doctrine, their own teachings tell us to "Follow the Prophet." Prophet Benson released a statement in 1981 to make it clear that "the prophet does not have to say “Thus saith the Lord” to give us scripture." This is very important moving forward, as every prophet from Brigham Young until the ban was lifted made comments on "Negroes" that surely seem to be against the idea that we are all children of God, and as Brigham Young himself said: “I have never yet preached a sermon and sent it out to the children of men, that they may not call Scripture." ((Journal of Discourses , vol. 13, 95)

“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. The nations of the earth have transgressed every law that God has given, they have changed the ordinances and broken every covenant made with the fathers, and they are like a hungry man that dreameth that he eateth, and he awaketh and behold he is empty.” (Prophet Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses)

"I will remark with regard to slavery, inasmuch as we believe in the Bible, inasmuch as we believe in the ordinances of God, in the Priesthood and order and decrees of God, we must believe in slavery. This colored race have been subjected to severe curses, which they have in their families and their classes and in their various capacities brought upon themselves. And until the curse is removed by Him who placed it upon them, they must suffer under its consequences; I am not authorized to remove it. I am a firm believer in slavery." (Prophet Brigham Young in the Joint Session of the Legislature, January 1852)

"Now I tell you what I know; when the mark was put upon Cain, Abel's children was in all probability young; the Lord told Cain that he should not receive the blessings of the preisthood nor his see, until the last of the posterity of Able had received the preisthood, until the redemption of the earth." (Prophet Brigham Young in the Joint Session of the Legislature, February 1852)

“From the days of the Prophet Joseph even until now, it has been the doctrine of the Church, never questioned by any of the Church leaders, that the Negroes are not entitled to the full blessings of the Gospel. Furthermore, your ideas, as we understand them, appear to contemplate the intermarriage of the Negro and White races, a concept which has heretofore been most repugnant to most normal-minded people from the ancient patriarchs till now. God’s rule for Israel, His Chosen People, has been endogamous. Modern Israel has been similarly directed. We are not unmindful of the fact that there is growing tendency, particularly among some educators, as it manifests itself in this area, toward the breaking down of race barriers in the matter of intermarriage between whites and blacks, but it does not have the sanction of the Church and is contrary to Church doctrine.” (LDS First Presidency (George Albert Smith), letter to Virgil H. Sponberg (critic of the anti-black ban), May 5, 1947)

“I would not want you to believe that we bear any animosity toward the Negro. ‘Darkies’ are a wonderful people, and they have their place in our church.” (Joseph Fielding Smith interview in Look Magazine, 1963)

"There is no doubt that the so-called civil rights movement as it exists today is used as a Communist program for revolution in America just as agrarian reform was used by the Communists to take over China and Cuba. This shocking statement can be confirmed by an objective study of Communist literature and activities and by knowledgeable Negroes and others who have worked within the Communist movement." (Elder Ezra Taft Benson Of the Council of the Twelve Apostles, 1967)

“The privilege of obtaining a mortal body on this earth is seemingly so priceless that those in the spirit world, even though unfaithful or not valiant, were undoubtedly permitted to take mortal bodies although under penalty of racial or physical or nationalistic limitations.” (Prophet Harold. B. Lee in his book, Decisions for Successful Living)

"Negroes in this life are denied the Priesthood; under no circumstances can they hold this delegation of authority from the Almighty. (Abraham 1:20-27.) The gospel message of salvation is not carried affirmatively to them... negroes are not equal with other races where the receipt of certain spiritual blessings are concerned, particularly the priesthood and the temple blessings that flow therefrom, but this inequality is not of man’s origin. It is the Lord’s doing, is based an his eternal laws of justice, and grows out of the lack of Spiritual valiance of those concerned in their first estate." (Bruce R. McConkie, Mormon Doctrine)

“That the negro is markedly inferior to the Caucasian is proved both craniologically and by six thousand years of planet-wide experimentation ; and that the commingling of inferior with superior must lower the higher is just as certain as that the half-sum of two and six is only four” (BH Roberts, the Seventy’s Course in Theology)

“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” (Apostle Mark E. Petersen, “Race Problems – as they affect the church")

“I suppose, and you may often have heard missionaries say it, or have asked the question: “Why is a Negro a Negro?” And you have heard this answer: “They were neither hot nor cold, so the Lord made them Negroes.” This of course, is not true. The reason that spirits are born into Negro bodies is that those spirits rejected the Priesthood of God in the pre-existence. This is the reason why you have Negroes upon the earth.” (Apostle Alvin R. Dyer, "For What Purpose," 1962 at Oslo Mission Conference)

‘In 1953, a First Presidency secretary also informed a white Mormon about the less-obvious extent of Utah’s racial segregation: “The L.D.S. Hospital here in Salt Lake City has a blood bank which does not contain any colored blood.” According to presidency counselor J. Reuben Clark, this policy of segregating African-American blood from the blood donated by so-called “white people” was intended “to protect the purity of the blood streams of the people of this Church.”’ (Church historian Michael Quinn’s article on ‘Utah Mormon discrimination against the Blacks’)