A Brief History of Blacks, Marriage and Hypocrisy in the LDS


Black Mormons came to exist within two years of the founding of the Mormon Church by Joseph Smith in 1832. Elijah Able was the first black elder and Seventy Apostle or “traveling minister”. As a carpenter he contributed to the construction of the Temple in Utah, however he was denied his own Endowment in the temple a few years later. He died as a priesthood-holder, and his son and grandson were also ordained Elders. A few other black men were also ordained before 1848. He, was one of only two to ever become a Seventy Apostle.

One of the few ideals that makes this religion so interesting was its immediate acceptance of blacks, even former slaves, into the church and it’s rank and file very early on. Joseph Smith was an early advocate for the rights of black people. That would soon change with the adoption of doctrines and a changing of the guard so to speak.

Today there are about 400,000 black Mormons and counting. However, most do not know that from 1848 until 1978 black Mormons were banned from the priesthood and temples of the LDS Church. The same temple that one of the earliest black Elders helped to build. This is known as the Priesthood Ban and the reason for this was the result of a policy know as the “Curse of Cain Doctrine”. These policies were official and taught by the Mormon Church and its leaders.

Despite this, church membership has grown steadily among black Americans as well as black Africans since 1978 when the “Legacy of Cain” Doctrine’s ban was put to rest. It was never repudiated, it was ended. Many will argue that the result of this ban was due more so to social and religious unrest and not because the Church suddenly experienced a moral epiphany. Black Mormons currently have all the rights and blessings that white Mormons “enjoy”. However, there has only been one Black Mormon Seventy since Elijah Abel and that individual hailed from Brazil. His name is Helvecio Martins.

I can’t leave this topic without touching a little on the subject of polygamy among traditional and fundamental Mormons. Let’s start with the founder.

Joseph Smith was married to many women and at least 10 of them were already married to other husbands. Many of his wives were young girls still in their teens and at least two are known to have been 14 years of age. His marriages to those women formerly married with husbands were deemed celestial meaning they were eternal and he was sealed to these women in life and in death. Their marriages to the other men were considered civil only.

The church was prominently for Proposition 8 and even went so far as to donate millions of dollars for their cause, to deny gays and lesbians the right to marry. A church with roots in POLYGAMY and “indirect” and often times concealed RACISM has now jumped into the spotlight as proponents of BIGOTRY against law abiding gays and lesbians.

Quite the stance to take from a church that only abandoned polygamy for legal and financial reasons: the federal government was threatening to seize church property and their tax exempt status threatened. Traditional Mormons who long for plural marriage should be happy to know that despite the Church’s stance, the doctrine is still in place.

Unfortunately, in their case against same-sex marriage, the church is willing to deny to all human beings equal protection under the law through hypocrisy and transference, taking the spotlight off their own marred history and speaking out against an institution that they themselves had to be forced to revamp, respect, and even then it is still widely and secretly practiced today.

The vast majority of Mormon faiths practice polygamy, and the LDS is a rare exception. I do realize with painful insight that most religions employ hypocrisy as a means to reach their goal whether it be through growth in numbers or spreading a popular or unpopular message, but for a church who considers itself the true word, consider spreading messages of love and acceptance instead of veiled bigotry.

“The Mormon The Mormon

Where women are treated like doormen

And men are taught to make many babies

They some whore men

They marry for eternity but they still be gettin’ divorced and

For decades claimed the Mark of Cain was X’d across my forehead

Yet still blacks kneel while praying to a God who thought them abhorrent”




19 Responses to “A Brief History of Blacks, Marriage and Hypocrisy in the LDS”
  1. tmboy says:

    I understand what you're saying but using the same logic women should not be part of any monotheistic religion because the all state that woman in less than man. Most polytheistic religion venerate women as powerful bringers of life. And on the subject of race… I hate to say it but Black people fall for anything. (yes i'm black)… Maybe i shouldn't say black people… but the level that it happens is disconcerting…

    • Knowledge says:

      Yes, I have used that same logic on just about all other religions except Mormonism. Women are slowly but surely finding their foot hold in the realm of some aspects of traditional religion and mostly in its less conservative offshoots. For the most part they have been subjugated throughout history and especially as it relates to religion on the whole. Women are often praised for their child rearing and raising abilities in one breath and discouraged from reading and gaining an understanding of that which they hold the highest faith in and that which has been freely afforded to a husband or even a son, and its sad. Most people fall for anything… after all, religion is the most powerful force the world throughout on top of being the most non-discriminatory by its very nature. It's men that translate words and phrases to suit their needs.

  2. Nina says:

    wow, this is a nice addition to what I've already read about the history of LDS. It bugged me out to know that they were teaching followers that the Negro race came about after a dispute between "Jesus" and his brother "Lucifer". Basically – the Pro-Lucifer spirits followed their new leader to earth without human bodies. Those that chose to follow Jesus were born into white human families, and those that preferred to stay neutral were cursed and born to black skin. I was like "What???"

  3. reciprocity81 says:

    Wow. This was a really informative read. I've been interested in finding out more about this religion since I became a fan of Big Love on HBO, and noticed the lack of brown faces. Now I know art really does imitate life. Congrats on the site BTW, this is my first visit, and I'll definitely be back.

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