Washington Post Article on racist history of the Mormon Church

by caedmon Feb 2012

The LDS church has neither formally apologized for the black priesthood ban nor publicly repudiated many of the theories used to justify it for more than 125 years.


steve benson
I posted the following response . . .
Historian D. Michael Quinn on LDS church racism:

“[A]s both church president & governor, [Brigham Young] . . . instructed the Utah legislature to legalize the slavery of African-Americans.” "Even after federal emancipation of America's slaves . . . , [he] referred to African-American slavery as a religious necessity.”

“[T]he 1st Presidency wrote that 'the intermarriage of the Negro & White races, [is] a concept which has heretofore been most repugnant to most normal-minded people from the ancient patriarchs til now.'”

"[It] repeatedly affirmed that no African-American could stay at the LDS church-owned Hotel Utah. . . . America's beloved contralto . . . Marian Anderson 'was allowed to stay . . . on condition that she use the freight elevator.' . . . Nobel Peace Prize recipient Ralph Bunche was allowed to stay . . . only after [he] agreed to use the freight elevator, 'have his meals in his room & not come to the dining room.'”

"[W]hile criticizing the legislative efforts in AZ to 'guarantee rights of Negroes,' LDS presidency counselor David O. McKay said, 'The South knows how to handle them & they do not have any trouble & the colored people are better off down there--in CA they are becoming very progressive & insolent in many cases.'”

"[A] 1st Presidency secretary informed a white Mormon that 'The LDS Hospital here in Salt Lake City has a blood bank which does not contain any colored blood.' According to [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.'”

"[T]he . . . 1st Presidency did what it could to block nat'l efforts for the civil rights of African-Americans. . . . [Referring] to the desegregation controversy in Little Rock, AR, . . . [v.p. of the Nat'l Council of Women] Belle Smith Spafford [was told by Clark] 'that she should do what she could to keep [it] from going on record in favor of what in the last analysis would be regarded as Negro equality.'”

“. . . Apostle Joseph Fielding Smith told 'Look' magazine, "Darkies" are wonderful people & they have their place in our Church.'”

“. . . Apostle Ezra Taft Benson stated . . . that 'the so-called civil rights movement as it exists today is a Communist program for revolution in America.' . . . [As] the Mormon hierarchy's strident voice against the national crusade for African-American civil rights . . . [his] Negrophobic rhetoric intensified after the federal Civil Rights Act . . . drastically changed Utah's patterns of racial discrimination. . . . [He] approved the use of one of his talks as the forward to the overtly racist book 'Black Hammer' . . . . Subtitled 'White Alternatives,' [it] warned about the 'well-defined plans for the establishment of a Negro Soviet dictatorship in the South'. . . . [He] instructed BYU students about 'black Marxists' & 'the Communists & their Black Power fanatics.'"

It does not take a genius to read between the lines.
"But Romney also said that he had been 'anxious to see a change in my church' and recalled weeping when he heard that the ban had been lifted.
"Pressed by Russert, Romney refused to say his church was wrong to restrict blacks from full participation."

That is because Romney was not weeping out of joy and relief, he was weeping because it was the end of a glorious era of White and Delightsomeness.

Re: WaPo Article on racist history of the TSCC [this so called church]
The TBMs are in full-assault mode who want to excuse away TSCC's racist history.

Come on over and hold TSCC's feet to fire.

What a great article. They even get to the part where LDS leaders
who claim to speak for and with God are to blame - or else God is.

This issue of a lack of moral leadership from prophets and God is one of the most deadly for the church. Instead of ethical leadership, Mormons got polygamy and racism. Nice touch, God. And good writing, WaPo.

Re: WaPo Article on racist history of the TSCC
WaPo has a lot of material to play with. They can go all the way to current day policies of excluding women and downright condemnation of gays. The Prop 8 situation should be examined in great detail (oh no we don't use church money for political purposes!)...

No doubt some members are "crying persecution"...

TBM wiggling-out-of-it kills me!

A commentor used the ol' God restricted the priesthood and the gospel in the bible didn't He? Levites, Gentiles...

And this one kills me...The Rev who said the BoM says African skin is cursed, TBMs rebutted him saying ah-ha gotcha, the BoM doesn't say that! It's talking about Native Americans...OK, and how in teh HELL is that any better? ESPECIALLY since the BoM informs us that God sent Columbus to get the culling started...by the tens of millions. But it's disingenuous anyway because the Books of Moses and Abraham DO single out Africans after all...Cain, then wife of Ham,...then Egyptus. Egyptus? Really?

Who needs to quote past prophets? It's still in black-and-white print in their scriptures!

Re: WaPo Article on racist history of the TSCC
From the article:

“Right now is a great opportunity for the church to say, ‘Let’s clear the air once and for all,’” said Darron Smith, co-editor of the book “Black and Mormon” and a sociologist at Wichita State University.

Mr. Smith, exactly how would the church do that? Do you not realize the church's past in this regard is only explainable as rampant racism, totally devoid of intelligent thought?

And it's not just blacks, what about the labeling of native Americans as Lamanites...look into the Lamanite placement program of a few decades ago and try to explain that in a positive way?

Re: WaPo Article on racist history of the TSCC
This article has been picked up by the trib:


Re: WaPo Article on racist history of the TSCC
This reminded of a time in the late 80's when I was over at friends who was living with his grandparents while attendig a year of BYU before going on a mission. We were watching television with his grandfather, an ex-stake president, who was flipping through the channels with a remote. After landing on an airing of "The Cosby Show" my friends grandfather scoffed "A show about darkies, who'd want to watch that?" That was memorable.
TBMs are taking over the discussion
The WaPost comments are now practically entirely taken over by TBMs. Folks need to get in there and contradict their ridiculous statements. I'm now moving over to the Trib side after a few comments on WaPo.

steve benson
I posted this, as well . . .
Further examples from historian D. Michael Quinn on Mormon Church racism as practiced, permitted, allowed, encouraged and/or condoned by the LDS Church's First Presidency, in regard to both Utah and other states:

” . . . [T]he FIrst Presidency authorized local LDS leaders to join 'as individuals a civic organization whose purpose is to restrict & control negro settlement' in Salt Lake City. . . . LDS president George Albert Smith wrote: 'Talked to Pres Clark & Nicholas [G. Smith, an Assistant to the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles] about the use of [LDS] meeting houses for meetings to prevent Negroes from becoming neighbors.' The church president's diary did not indicate whether he endorsed or opposed this activity, but his brother Nicholas G. Smith described it as 'race hatred.'”

"President Smith's counselors soon extended their support of racial segregation to states beyond Utah. . . . [W]hen discussing the site of the future Los Angeles temple, Counselor Clark asked the LDS church's attorney in that area 'to purchase as much of that property as we can in order to control the colored situation.' . . . [D]uring [a] meeting of the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles in the Salt Lake Temple, 'President Clark called attention to the sentiment among many people in this country to the point that we should break down all racial lines, [and] as a result of which sentiment negro people have acquired an assertiveness that they never before possessed & in some cases have become impudent.'”

"During this era of Utah's racial segregation, the First Presidency also repeatedly affirmed that no African-American could stay at the LDS church-owned Hotel Utah (which had maintained this exclusion since its opening in 1911). The LDS president was president of the hotel, and his counselors were its senior vice-presidents. The First Presidency explained this racial exclusion as simply 'the practice of the hotel.'”

“As Hotel Utah's senior vice-president, J. Reuben Clark explained: 'Since they are not entitled to the Priesthood, the Church discourages social intercourse with the negro race... ." Therefore, African-Americans were denied equal access to the LDS church's hotel in order "to preserve the purity of the race that is entitled to hold the Priesthood.'”

Uncomfortable LDS history for Mormon apologists, to be sure, but history, nonetheless.

steve benson
And this, too . . .
As to the claim by Mormon apologists that the First Presidency has not officially endorsed or directed acts of racial discrimination against targeted minoriities, the historical record shows that to be demonstrably untrue.

In a letter to “President Ezra T. Benson, Washington [D.C.] Stake,” dated 23 June 1942, the Mormon Church First Presidency issued him a directive to racially segregate Blacks from Whites during Mormon congregational class time:

“Dear President Benson:

“Through the General Board of the Relief Society, who reported to the Presiding Bishopric, and they to us, it comes to us that you have in the Capitol Reef Ward in Washington two colored sisters who apparently are faithful members of the Church.

“The report comes to us that prior to a meeting which was to be held between the Relief Societies of the Washington Ward and the Capitol Ward, Bishop Brossard of the Washington Ward called up the President of the Relief Society of the Capitol Ward and told her that these two colored sisters should [not] be permitted to attend because the President of the Capitol Ward Relief Society failed to carry out the request made of her by the Bishop of the other ward.

“We can appreciate that the situation may present a problem in Washington, but President Clark recalls that in the Catholic churches in Washington at the time he lived there, colored and white communicants used the same church at the same time. He never entered the church to see how the matter was carried out, but he knew that the facts were as stated.

“From this fact we are assuming that there is not in Washington any such feeling as exists in the South where the colored people are apparently not permitted by their white brethren and sisters to come into the meeting houses and worship with them. We feel that we cannot refuse baptism to a colored person who is otherwise worthy, and we feel that we cannot refuses to permit these people to come into our meeting houses and worship once we baptize them.

“It seems to us that it ought to be possible to work this situation out without causing any feelings on the part of anybody. If the white sisters feel that they may not sit with them or near them, we fell very sure that if the colored sisters were discreetly approached, they would be happy to sit at one side in the rear or somewhere where they would not wound the sensibilities of the complaining sisters. We will rely upon your tact and discretion to work this out so as not to hurt the feelings on the part of anyone.

“Of course, probably each one of the sisters who can afford it, has a colored maid in her house to do the work and to do the cooking for her, and it would seem that under these circumstances they should be willing to let them sit in Church and worship with them.

“Faithfully your brethren,


“Heber J. Grant
J. Reuben Clark, Jr.
David O. McKay”

Emma's Flaming Sword
So pathetic
Made me cringe to read that.

Thanks for posting it. I had never seen that before.

Re: WaPo Article on racist history of the TSCC
For those that may be fooled by mormon propaganda into thinking that the LDS Church is not racist, send them this link:


That's a poster of the General Authorities. A picture worth a thousand normal words, and a picture worth a sh*t ton of mormon propaganda.

Re: Doesn't anyone remember how racist the entire country was before 1950? n/t

if god's one true church isn't any better than anywhere else then, what's the point?

shouldn't it be at the cutting edge of social justice?

shouldn't the true church (by definition) have a higher standard than everyone else?

Re: Doesn't anyone remember how racist the entire country was before 1950? n/t
But the entire country wasn't racist. Sure there was racism institutionalized into the laws of the land but there were many people who were morally and ethically opposed to the segregation of the races and the institutional and personal mistreatment of African Americans.

You could say that everyone in Nazi Germany supported Hitler's policies of death because theye were the law of the land but it wouldn't be true. Either way...if a policy or law is generally supported by the populace, it doesn't make that law any less immoral or wrong.

Re: WaPo Article on racist history of the TSCC
The story has just been posted on USA Today:


steve benson
Plus, posted this . . .
Brigham Young, officially speaking as the Mormon Church president, declared:

"You see some classes of the human family that are black, uncouth, uncomely, 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." (“Journal of Discourses,” vol. 7, p. 290).

Church president Young also declared:

"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." ("Journal of Discourses," vol. 10, p. 110).

Mormon Apostle Bruce R . McConkie, explaining the extant racist position of the Mormon Church at the time, wrote:

"The Blacks are denied the Priesthood; under no circumstances can they hold this delegation of authority from the Almighty.

“The Negroes are not equal with other races where the receipt of certain blessings are concerned, particularly the priesthood and the temple blessings that flow there from, but this inequality is not of man's origin, it is the Lord's doings." (“Mormon Doctrine,” pp. 526-27).

Mormon Apostle LeGrand Richards, explaining why the Mormon Church eventually agreed to give Black men LDS priesthood authority (which had been previously reserved for White males) said in a recorded interview:

Q: “On this revelation, of the priesthood to the Negro, I've heard all kinds of stories: I've heard that Joseph Smith appeared; and then I heard another story that Spencer Kimball had had a concern about this for some time, and simply shared it with the apostles, and they decided that this was the right time to move in that direction. Are any of those stories true, or are they all?”

A (Richards): “Well, the last one is pretty true, and I might tell you what provoked it in a way. Down in Brazil, there is so much Negro blood in the population there that it's hard to get leaders that don't have Negro blood in them. We just built a temple down there. It's going to be dedicated in October.”

“All those people with Negro blood in them have been raising the money to build that temple. If we don't change, then they can't even use it. Well, Brother Kimball worried about it, and he prayed a lot about it.” (interview of LeGrand Richards by Wesley Walters, LDS Church Office Building, Salt Lake City, Utah, 16 August 1978)

Re: WaPo Article on racist history of the TSCC
The article is now on USA Today:


steve benson
My response on the site to TBMs storming said site in their attempt to side-step Mormonism's history of officially-endorsed racism . . .
I have simply provided evidence of the historically-documentable racist views and actions of top Mormon leaders, as they articulated and engaged in them, and as they did so by utilizing their church authority in speaking/acting for and in behalf of their Mormon God.

You can, of course, attempt to change the subject (and I can understand why you might want to, since the evidence is damning as to the history of Mormon church racism at its highest levels) but the historical record remains as it [is], despite your efforts to divert eyes away from it.

LDS Hospital wouldn't use Red Cross Blood because it might be contaminated with "negro blood"
The Morg's racism makes my blood boil, so I feel inspired today that I need to share a message about blood.

The LDS Hospital wouldn't use Red Cross Blood until the late 1990's. This all started because it might be contaminated with black blood. Yes, it is true!

Since Brigham said that one drop of blood from the seed of Cain was enough to disqualify a man from the priesthood, this drastic step was absolutely necessary.

Up until at least the late 1950's LDS Hospital openly marketed themselves in Utah has having a blood suply free of negro blood. They drew blood from local donors who would attest that their family tree was free of the cursed blood. Many Utah Mormons would go only to LDS Hospital because of this.

The LDS Hospital became privatized in the early 1970's, and from then on had no "official" connection to the church. The Morg removed themselves legally by bank-rolling a not-for-profit company (IHC) to take things over so they wouldn’t get sued in medical malpractice cases.

The men who were "called" to make this privatization happen were exactly that, "called". It was a church calling with no compensation. The man called of God to spearhead this effort was a good-hearted millionaire. He is now is in his early 80's and is a sealer in the Bountiful temple. By the time he left, he and others had built up IHC to include 34 hospitals and its own health insurance company. The health insurance part of the business made it possible to just transfer money from one had to the other. Interestingly, these new corporations were incorporated in the Cayman Islands for tax reasons.

Note: IHC delivers quality health care in a cost-effective manor, and I don't intend this post to imply otherwise.

Although the reason was no longer openly stated, IHC continued to collect their own blood until 1995, This changed happened only because they had no choice. The IHC blood supply operation was investigated by the FDA and told that they had to stop all of their blood collection. IHC had not been complying with all of the required protocols to test blood for HIV. After all, they didn't need to, right? It was coming from righteous people. (I'm just saying.)

I was working/training in the laboratory at LDS hospital when this happened. The head of the blood program was my professor, and I know he caught hell when this happened. They had to start getting blood from the Red Cross. They kept this whole embarrassing thing as quiet as possible, but it was reported in the local newspapers.

In closing, I just want to bear my testimony to all of you who have had the experience of not receiving an answer to a priesthood blessing: Instead of your lack of faith, it might have been because there was some cursed blood of Cain running through those hands on your head...perhaps even from a blood transfusion.

By the way, negros weren't allowed into the temple for the "open houses" at some of the temples before they were dedicated. (For never-mo's, this is when a temple is open to the public for a while.) Just imagine that Charles Manson would have been allowed in, but your favorite black friend wouldn't have been. Yes, the church has a mind-blowing history of racism.

steve benson
I think it would be very helpful if you would consider posting your experience in the reader comment forum of the Washington Post article . . .
Registering is easy and what you have to say is devastating.

Re: WaPo Article on racist history of the TSCC
This bit really got me:

“Blacks are not going to vote for anyone of the Mormon faith,” the Rev. O’Neal Dozier told The Palm Beach Post on Jan. 22. “The Book of Mormon says the Negro skin is cursed.”

The Book of Mormon says no such thing. But another Mormon scripture, The Pearl of Great Price, says, “blackness came upon” Cain’s descendants, who were “despised among all people.”

This guy must have missed the whole Nephite-Lamanite thing!

steve benson
The Book of Mormon actually says such thing
Read it and bleep:

"And he had caused the acursing 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 exceedingly fair and bdelightsome, that they might not be centicing unto my people the Lord God did cause a dskin of eblackness to come upon them." (2 Nephi 5:21)

If Mormon apologists want to claim that's just not true, well, it's quoted verbatim on the official Mormon Church website:


Re: WaPo Article on racist history of the TSCC
Ha! Must be awkward being the token black guy.

Kudos to Steve for his great work on the WaPo reader's board...
It feels damn good to see the longstanding issue of Mormon racism finally come to see the light of day. Steve's inciteful comments are helping to keep the conversation going (in the right direction)

By the way, there's a firestorm whipping up on the Salt Lake Tribune, since the editors decided to syndicate the WaPo article for their own readers. So far there are about 170 reader comments.

Ya'll might want to weigh in yourselves...here's the link:

Mormonism’s racial history may hurt Romney

"Recovery from Mormonism - www.exmormon.org"