Background information to this document:   (updated Apr. 2008 with info from other countries during the 1960's and 70's.)

Mormon missionaries in the 1970's used memorized "lessons" to teach potential converts about Mormonism.   They were accustomed to following a detailed format, which was to be followed literally.  Prior to 1978, Blacks were not allowed to hold the Mormon priesthood.   In Brazil, a large percentage of the population has some black ancestry.  Having a black grandfather or great grandfather or great grandmother or direct relatives even further back would preclude a man from holding the priesthood.  If a person discovered, by doing his genealogy, he had black ancestry, he could no longer perform priesthood functions in the Mormon church.  The priesthood was not taken from him in most cases.  He simply could no longer lead a congregation, bless the sacrament or hold any kind of position of authority.   His priesthood went dormant.   Here is the lesson the missionaries would give to potential converts in the early 1970s regarding this problem.  If a person was obviously black, the missionaries would not teach that individual.   This is a translation of the Portuguese original.

The Mormon church is trying to hide its racist past.

Remember, this is the official handout given to the Mormon missionaries in Brazil.  .  The "-Response-" is the potential convert responding to the information given to him by the Mormon missionaries.  Brother Nunes is a generic name that the missionary replaced with the actual name of the person receiving this lesson.


LINEAGE LESSON Brazil North Mission December, 1970 

After confirming the prior commitments with the investigator, continue on with the following dialogue. 

We have explained some marvelous teachings of the gospel and of the Church of Jesus Christ. One very important principle of the Church of Jesus Christ is that it is always guided by revelation. Lets read what Christ said about revelation in his church. Read Matthew 16:15-17. According to verse 17, how is it that Peter knew that Christ was the son of God?


Yes, Peter received revelation from God. Until that date men said that Christ was John the Baptist, or Jeremiah, or some other prophet. But what did Peter receive that gave him a certainty while others were wrong?


Exactly. Revelation is so important that Christ himself explained that his Church would be built on the principle of revelation. Do you want to read verse 18? Do you think that Christ would build His eternal church around a mortal man?


A church founded or dependent on Peter or any other man would be the church of Peter or the church of some other man. But whose is the church that Christ organized?


In this verse Christ is speaking about something eternal on which he built his church. And this is the same eternal principle mentioned in verse 17. What principle is this?


1. The Church of Jesus Christ is built on the rock of revelation. Exactly. Christ explained to his apostles that He built His Church on the rock of revelation. In your opinion, Brother Nunes, what is revelation?


We can say, then, that revelation is communication between God and his servants on the earth. And why is revelation so important?


Lets read Acts 13:2-3. How were Barnabas and Paul called to the ministry?


Lets look at another example of revelation in the primitive church. In the first days of the church the gospel was preached only to the Jews. However, Peter had a dream in which he was ordered to go and preach to the family of the gentiles. This caused some conflicts in the church, but when Peter explained that he had been ordered by God to preach to the gentiles, the Church accepted this new teaching. Why did they accept this teaching?


Then, on what principle was the Primitive Church founded and guided? 

-Response -

2. All that the Church does and teaches is by revelation. When the Church was restored, who was called by God to receive revelation for the Church?


But after the prophet Joseph Smith was martyred, could it be that the Church was to continue without divine guidance?


Since that time of Joseph Smith there have always been prophets on the earth. As God said in Amos 3:7, “Surely the Lord God will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets.” Thus, what does God do when he has something to reveal to the Church today?


3. Revelation from God for the Church comes through the prophet. I know that today we have a true prophet, and that he is guided by God. Now, in the scriptures we see that Barnabas and Paul were called by revelation to receive the priesthood. Brother Nunes, in your opinion, what is the priesthood?


Speaking about the priesthood, Paul said: “And no man taketh this honor unto himself, but he that is called of God, as was Aaron.” (Heb. 5:4) Lets return and see how Aaron was called. Here in Exodus 28:1 God was speaking about the prophet Moses. Read Exodus 28:1. According to this scripture, how was Aaron called?


And still today, Brother Nunes, why do all men have to be called by revelation to receive the priesthood?


4. A man must be called by God through revelation to receive the priesthood. As you already know, worth men in the Church after 12 years of age are called to receive the priesthood. And by what principle are they called?


If a man was called by inspiration to receive the priesthood, should he accept this call?


If you are called by a servant of God to receive the priesthood, will you accept this responsibility and blessing?


5. If I am called I will accept the priesthood. Anciently, it was revealed who could receive the priesthood. We already read about Barnabas, Paul, and Aaron. It was also revealed who could not receive the priesthood. Would you like to read in the book of Abraham 1:26-27? [Mormon scripture - not in the Bible] What does verse 27 say about Pharaoh and the priesthood.


Exactly, Brother Nunes. Pharaoh was a descendant of people who could not receive the priesthood. Lets examine this lineage to learn its origin. Are you acquainted with the story of Abel and Cain?


Lets read this story in the Bible. Read Genesis 4:8-15. Cain and his descendants received a mark that distinguished them from all other peoples. This people, the descendants of Cain, for reasons not completely known to men, do not have the right to the priesthood. For example, it was revealed to Abraham that Pharaoh, being from this so called lineage of Cain, could not receive the priesthood. Brother Nunes, we have seen that Aaron, Barnabas, Paul, and others receive the priesthood because they were called by God by revelation. In the same manner, why have the prophets not given the priesthood to the lineage of Cain?


In order to understand the mark put on Cain and to understand how the prophets distinguish this lineage, lets read Moses 7:22.    "Moses 7:22 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."  How was this lineage distinguished from the others? 


And concerning the priesthood, why was this group or this lineage different?


6. God revealed anciently that the lineage of Cain could not receive the priesthood. In order to understand what God revealed about this people today, we need to go to the modern prophets. Do you want to read the underlined part of this pamphlet? Read the following part from the letter of the First Presidency published in the “Priesthood Bulletin.” Vol6. No. 1 - February 1970. “Since the beginning of this dispensation, Joseph Smith and all of the successive presidents of the Church have taught that the Negroes, while spiritual children of a common Father, and descendants of our earthly parents Adam and Eve, still cannot receive the Priesthood, for reasons that we believe are known to God, but which He has not made completely known to men.” What does this say there about the Negroes and the priesthood?


Exactly. Negroes that honestly seek the truth and desire to join the church can be baptized. However, why does the Church not confer the Priesthood on them?


7. God revealed that Negroes still cannot receive the priesthood. For this reason the priesthood is not actively preached to the lineage of Cain. The prophets have told us to preach the gospel to those that have the right to the priesthood. But lets read what god said about the Negroes in the future. Read the following paragraph from the letter of the First Presidency: “President McKay also said that ‘One day in the eternal plan of God, the Negro will be given the right to possess the Priesthood.’” What did the prophet say about the Negroes and the priesthood? -Response I know that this is true. And when that time comes, how will we know?


8. In the future when it is revealed by God, Negroes will receive the priesthood. Do you accept that teaching that God revealed his will concerning his priesthood to his prophets, Mr. Nunes?


Good, I know that this is the truth and that God really guides and directs the Church through modern revelation. Now, Mr. Nunes, do you know if any of your ancestors were Negro or descendants of Negroes?


If in the future you discover that one of your ancestors was Negro will you tell your Branch President?


If this happened do you think you would remain firm and faithful to the church and your covenants with God?


end of lesson

 A couple of comments from Mormon missionaries of that era:

Subject: I was in Brazil North until early 1969...
Date: Sep 04, 2007
Author: winter

so I missed this little gem of a lesson, though it sounds completely consistent with the instructions we gave investigators about to be baptized. We just didn't have a lesson to memorize.

And when we met potential investigators, we made chit-chat about where our family origins were, and and how Mormons are so interested in genealogy, and where are your ancestors from, and do you by any chance have pictures of your ancestors, and gosh, granny had pretty kinky hair, didn't she. Well gee, we've really enjoyed this chance to meet you wonderful people, and if you are interested in visiting our church sometime, you know where it is, and we thank you very much for your time, and good bye.

I had one companion who insisted that we end a brush-off like that with a word of prayer with the family. Even as totally brainwashed TBM mishies, I and most mishies I knew were not comfortable raising the hypocrisy to that level. Feigning interest in their families to find out if they had "the blood", "a lineage problem", or "a boon problem" (all three phrases were used by the [Mormon] missionaries) was manipulative and deceitful.

Recalling those days makes me feel like I was only a couple levels above "concentration camp guard" in the moral pecking order of the universe. I can only hope that "I was young, stupid, and brainwashed, and under a lot of peer pressure" qualifies as an adequate excuse.

When I hear GBH [Mormon prophet Gordon B. Hinckley] flick the racist past of Mormonism away in a interview with "that's all in the past" like it was a piece of stray lint on his lapel, with no attempt at an explanation, and no apology, I want to choke him, and I want to cry. In places like pre-1978 northern Brazil, what TSCC [This so called church] did to Brazilians, and to the missionary TSCC foot soldiers, was simply shameful.


Subject: It was much the same in the Brazil Sao Paulo Mission in 1968
Date: Sep 08, 2007
Author: Floridian

Teaching and baptizing those with "obvious physical signs" or known black ancestry was not forbidden, but we were encouraged to not seek them out.

Since we were told to seek out families and men who could become leaders in the church, and since we were praised when we baptized such converts, there was a stigma attached to the missionaries who baptized people of black ancestry.

In 1968 we were asked to teach an informal lesson about the church's doctrine regarding blacks and the priesthood and to ask questions about the investigator's ancestry.

I had a friend in Goiania who was forbidden by church doctrine from having the priesthood. Gelio agonized over what he believed to be his impaired and weak soul, and that God loved him less.

Two weeks after my transfer back to Sao Paulo, the Mission President called me into his office to tell me that Gelio had shot himself.


Subject: ATTN: Former Mormon Missionaries Of ALL Ages...Were Any Of You Specifically Told NOT To Further Teach Black Families...
Date: Apr 14, 2008
Author: BeenThereDunnThatExMo

that you had tracted out?

I've heard this to be the case in certain geographical Mission areas prior to Spence's "all worthy male members can now receive the PenisHood" revelation.

It was just a little prior to my own 2 years as a snake-oil salesman for LDS Inc.

Just wondering to which Missions of the world that this "inspired" edict of NOT continuing to teach Black people (should you come across them in tracting) applied to.

Many thanks...


Subject: rule in Oakland, CA prior to the 1978 "revelation" ...
Date: Apr 14 15:08
Author: weeder

... any african-american investigator had to be driven up the hill to the mission home (across from the temple) and be personally taught by the mission president himself. Needless to say this just never really did happen, for the most part Oaklandites KNEW full well two things: "That was real gold on the spires" (of the temple) and that "blacks weren't allowed in". Those remained the abiding perception of most residents throughout my mission. My companion and I were the first missionaries (along with two other sets of missionaries) to actually track Oakland after the big insight occurring to the old guys in Salt Lake.

BTW, it use to be "real gold on them spires", for about 2 years and then California smog completely messed it up and it looked awful, so the church took it all off and put ordinary gold paint in its place, but that was a long time before I got there.


Subject: It was standard operating procedure in Brazil
Date: Apr 14 15:13
Author: winter

Black families could be taught if they came to us and basically insisted. Hey, it happened.

They also had to be interviewed by the MP before they could be baptized. This could take weeks or months to set up and MP apointment, since the mission at that time was roughly the size of the US east of the Mississippi.



Subject: Coming from the white supremist area of Washington State...
Date: Apr 14 15:58
Author: ExScriptureChaser

I heard Mormons say "they may have the priesthood now but they will never lay their hands on my head" or "No family member of mine will ever be BLESSED by THEM". A man had to be disciplined when he refused to accept the black hand through the veil in the Mormon Temple in the Northwest (that is to say symbolic of Gods hand - rejected because it was black".

If the church wants to get over this issue, they need to remove false and supremest statements that are still in Mormon scripture: II Nephi 5:20-23 still says that to God black skin of flint is a loathsome curse and white skin is delightsome - a blessing (read it yourself.

I love watching Mormonism dig their next grave by doing the same thing by mistreating homosexuals, the deeper they dig, the harder it is to crawl out.


Subject: No, but I did have a ward member say ... (warning: offensive)
Date: Apr 14 16:30
Author: Squid

..."Elder Squid, why do you keep bringing all those niggers to church?"

I was speechless.


Subject: Baton Rouge Louisanna, 1975, my brother's mission.....
Date: Apr 14 17:16
Author: danboyle

they were told specifically when a black person answers the door to say "we are out in the neighborhood encouraging people of all faiths to attend the church of their choice."

They were told NOT to teach the discussions to black people, that it only lead to problems when they found out about the priesthood ban.


Subject: Twelve years later, same mission. . .
Date: Apr 15 01:02
Author: JoAnn

Mishies were teaching blacks, but were told to look very closely for signs that the investigators were more interested in church welfare than church doctrine. Apparently this was fairly serious in EBR and Livingston Parishes.

I heard this from the mishies who taught and baptized me there.


Subject: In Brazil -- in the early 1970's...
Date: Apr 14 17:50
Author: anon-b

missionaries were told that persons with any African ancestry -- and in Brazil this would include many people who were not "black" -- could be baptized only with the advance approval of the mission president. We were instructed to teach such persons only if they demanded to be taught -- were were supposed to discourage them from being taught missionary lessons.

When tracting our first task was to determine if we should even try to interest the person we were talking to in learning more about the church. If it was obvious that the person (or other members of the family) were of African descent we usually said that we were doing a poll or survey and asked them a question about religion. We would then thank them and move on. If African ancestry was not obvious, we would make some sort of missionary approach. If they were interested in hearing more, we would then have to do more checking into their ancestry before we could actually begin the teaching process.

It sometimes seemed that we spent more time actively discouraging people from being taught than we spent teaching the missionary discussions.


Subject: It was standard operating procedure in...
Date: Apr 14 17:57
Author: CraigC

Uruguay, 1976-78.

And some of the missionaries used racist slang to refer to people of African decent - "wuddya bet that guy is juiced?"


Subject: Paris, 1969, Marion G. Romney: "If you have a callback with one of them, forget their address."  Mormon Apostle


Subject: Yes... (minor swearage)
Date: Apr 14 18:56
Author: S2 in Chandler

In the Illinois Chicago Mission in '75 and '76 and in the Missouri St Louis Mission in 1977 we were instructed, if invited into a black household, to teach a Family Home Evening, leave a pamphlet, and not to return.

Pompous rat bastards...

Sterling Skouson


Subject: Absolutely true in Venezuela...
Date: Apr 14 22:29
Author: stc

There were many mixed racial people with varying degrees of European, Indian, and African ancestry. It was not always obvious what the background of an individual was so we were required to teach the "black doctrine" discussion to all investigators before baptism.. essentially telling them that if they had african heritage, they could not be ordained to the priesthood and, therefore could not participate in many of the most important aspects of the gospel. That was clearly NOT the "good news" they were seeking!! This was somewhat confusing to us missionaries, but we took it in stride for the most part, truly not realizing the implications of it all.


Subject: And this history of institutionalized racism is precisely why . . .
Date: Apr 14 23:43
Author: JackMormon'sWife

I did not have my black child (adopted) blessed into the church as a baby. I couldn't bring myself to do that to him. We left when he was two-years-old.



Subject: That was the practice in Peru
Date: Apr 15 02:27
Author: 1972-74

the problem was telling who had African ancestors and who didn't.

If we suspected someone of having "the blood" (later changed to "the linage") in mission lingo, we had a special discussion to give them in order to get them talking about their ancestors. If it was confirmed that they had an African ancestor, we did not teach them.

In this special discussion, we never said up front that we were trying to figure out if they were black because then they could not be taught. It was just a rouse so the missionaries could make a decision about whether they thought the investigator was black.

If it could not be confirmed, but they looked "too black," we did not teach them.

If, based on personal appearance, we suspected black ancestors but this could not be confirmed, they we treated as white people, taught, baptised and ordained if male.

I'm still embarrassed that I did not leave the church at that point.


Subject: Pretty much the same in Peru in '65-'67. If we knocked on a door...
Date: Apr 15 03:25
Author: Ted M

and an apparent black person answered, we were to invite them to church, bid them farewell, and not offer anything else unless they appeared at the chapel. Then we had a special negro lesson for them and if that didn't scare them away, we were to go ahead and teach them. I never saw any show up though! And yet we had a special message for the "Lamanites"- you know the story - we have their history and they are to become a great and mighty people and turn white in the process! Give me a break!!!!

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