No one will pretend to say that the people of the free states are as capable of knowing the evils of slavery, as those who hold slaves. And besides, are not those who hold slaves, persons of ability, discernment and candor? I do not believe that the people of the North have any more right to say that the South shall not hold slaves, than the South to say the North shall.
How any community can ever be excited with the chatter of such persons, boys and others, who are too indolent to obtain their living by honest industry, and are incapable of pursuing any occupation of a professional nature, is unaccountable to me; when I see persons in the free states, signing documents against slavery , it is no less, in my mind, than an army of influence, and a declaration of hostilities , against the people of the South.
What course could sooner divide our union? After having expressed myself so freely upon the subject, I do not doubt, but those who have been forward in raising their voices against the South will cry out against me as being uncharitable, unfeeling, unkind, and wholly unacquainted with the Gospel of Christ. And so far from that prediction being averse to the mind of God, it remains as a lasting monument of the decree of Jehovah, to the shame and confusion of all who have cried out against the South in consequence of their holding the sons of Ham in servitude.
I can say, the curse is not yet. In , Joseph Smith answered some questions that were frequently asked regarding the church. Question number thirteen was concerning slavery:. Thirteenth— "Are the Mormons abolitionists? But we do not believe in setting the negroes free History of the Church , vol. Toward the end of his life Joseph Smith seemed to change his mind somewhat concerning slavery. Under the date of January 2, , Joseph Smith wrote:. In Joseph Smith purchased a collection of mummies and papyri from Michael Chandler, who was traveling through Ohio.
He started working on a translation of one of the rolls of Egyptian papyri but did not publish his manuscript until This new work, canonized in , reflected Smith's growing racist attitude towards blacks and priesthood:. Now this king of Egypt was a descendant from the loins of Ham , and was a partaker of the blood of the Canaanites by birth. From this descent sprang all the Egyptians, and thus the blood of the Canaanites was preserved in the land. The land of Egypt being first discovered by a woman, who was the daughter of Ham , and the daughter of Egyptus, which in the Chaldean signifies Egypt, which signifies that which is forbidden ;.
When this woman discovered the land it was under water, who afterward settled her sons in it; and thus, from Ham , sprang that race which preserved the curse in the land. Now the first government of Egypt was established by Pharaoh, the eldest son of Egyptus, the daughter of Ham , and it was after the manner of the government of Ham , which was patriarchal.
Pharaoh, being a righteous man, established his kingdom and judged his people wisely and justly all his days, seeking earnestly to imitate that order established by the fathers in the first generations, in the days of the first patriarchal reign, even in the reign of Adam, and also of Noah, his father, who blessed him with the blessings of the earth, and with the blessings of wisdom, but cursed him as pertaining to the Priesthood.
Now, Pharaoh being of that lineage by which he could not have the right of Priesthood , notwithstanding the Pharaohs would fain claim it from Noah, through Ham , therefore my father was led away by their idolatry Pearl of Great Price , Book of Abraham, McKay in about the basis for the policy of restricting blacks from priesthood, "he replied that it rested solely on the Book of Abraham. McKay and Blacks," by Gregory A. Prince, Dialogue , Spring , p.
Curse of Cain?
With the publication of The Book of Abraham all of the elements for the Church's policy of denying the priesthood to Negroes were present. The curse of Canaan motif borrowed from Southern fundamentalism was being supported with the Church by a foundation of proslavery statements and attitudes which had emerged during the years of crisis in Missouri. Taggart, University of Utah Press, , pp. The heading on the Book of Abraham states that it is "translated from the papyrus, by Joseph Smith.
When the Mormons moved west this collection stayed behind with Joseph's widow, Emma, and were thought to have been destroyed in the Great Chicago fire in Interestingly, in the original papyrus from which Joseph Smith claimed to "translate" the Book of Abraham was rediscovered in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. These artifacts were presented to the LDS Church. Photos of the eleven papyrus fragments, including the original of Facsimile No. Below is a photo of part of the Egyptian papyri owned by Joseph Smith. Egyptologists found that the papyrus was in reality a copy of the Egyptian Book of Breathings, a pagan text that had absolutely nothing to do with Abraham or his religion.
Robert K. Egyptologists John A. Wilson and Richard A. Parker identified fragments within this collection as sections of a late mortuary text known as a " Book of Breathings ," copied for a Theban priest named Hor. Like the "Book of the Dead," the sole purpose of the later texts is to ensure the blessed afterlife of the deceased individual,. The text is a formal document or "permit" created by Isis [an Egyptian deity] and copied by Thoth [another Egyptian deity] to assure that the deified Hor regains the ability to breathe and function after death, with full mobility, access to offerings and all other privileges of the immortal gods.
Since the Book of Abraham is obviously not a translation of the papyrus, why does the LDS Church keep it and its racist teachings as part of their canon of scripture? To better understand the Mormon attitude concerning blacks, a person must first be aware of the doctrine of pre-existence or pre-mortal life.
Joseph Smith taught that man is the same species as God and his direct offspring, born as a spirit child in an earlier existence, then raised to maturity prior to being sent to earth as an infant. Preaching at the funeral of an early Mormon, Joseph Smith stated:. First, God himself, who sits enthroned in yonder heavens, is a man like unto one of yourselves , that is the great secret. I am going to tell you how God came to be God.
We have imagined that God was God from all eternity. God himself; the Father of us all dwelt on an earth the same as Jesus Christ himself did. I have another subject to dwell upon. All men say God created it in the beginning. The very idea lessens man in my estimation ; I do not believe the doctrine.
The mind of man is as immortal as God himself. I know that my testimony is true, hence when I talk to these mourners; what have they lost, they are only separated from their bodies for a short season; their spirits existed co-equal with God. God never did have power to create the spirit of man at all Times and Seasons , vol. He and his wife were faithful on that earth, died, were resurrected and eventually advanced to godhood. Their spirit children, who were literally born to them in that state, were later sent to an earth to obtain a mortal body and possibly advance as their heavenly parents did before them.
The doctrine of pre-existence pours wonderful flood of light upon the otherwise mysterious problem of man's origin. It shows that man , as a spirit, was begotten and born of heavenly parents [God and His Wife], and reared to maturity in the eternal mansions of the Father, prior to coming upon the earth in a temporal body to undergo an experience in mortality. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, basing its belief on divine revelation, ancient and modern, proclaims man to be the direct and lineal offspring of Deity.
By his Almighty power God organized the earth, and all that it contains, from spirit and element, which exist co-eternally with himself. Man is the child of God , formed in the divine image and endowed with divine attributes , and even as the infant son of an earthly father and mother is capable in due time of becoming a man, so that undeveloped offspring of celestial parentage is capable, by experience through ages and aeons, of evolving into a God "The Origin of Man," LDS First Presidency, Encyclopedia of Mormonism , vol.
Ludlow, Macmillan Publishing Co. Joseph Smith's doctrine of man's pre-mortal existence brought about the idea that some of God's children were more noble than others in that prior life and thus earned the right to be born on earth into a Mormon family. I have already told you that the spirits of men and women, all had a previous existence, thousands of years ago, in the heavens, in the presence of God; and I have already told you that among them are many spirits that are more noble , more intelligent than others, that were called the great and mighty ones, reserved until the dispensation of the fulness of times, to come forth upon the face of the earth, through a noble parentage.
Criticism of Mormonism/Books/Passing the Heavenly Gift - FairMormon
Do you believe, says one, that they are reserved until the last dispensation, for such a noble purpose? Yes; and among the Saints is the most likely place for these spirits to take their tabernacles, through a just and righteous parentage. This is the reason why the Lord is sending them here, brethren and sisters; they are appointed to come and take their bodies here,.
The Lord has not kept them in store for five or six thousand years past, and kept them waiting for their bodies all this time to send them among the Hottentots , the African negroes , the idolatrous Hindoos, or any other of the fallen nations that dwell upon the face of this earth. They are not kept in reserve in order to come forth to receive such a degraded parentage upon the earth;.
Journal of Discourses , vol. The Book of Abraham explains that those who were "noble" in the pre-existence man's first estate were to be the "rulers" on earth man's second estate. Pearl of Great Price , Book of Abraham Thus those less valiant were born black, and sent through the lineage of Cain, while the righteous were born white. And those most worthy were born into Mormon families. Heber C. I tell you there is not a purer set of women on God's earth than there is here; and they shall live and bear the souls of men, and bear tabernacles for those righteous spirits that are kept back for the last time , for the winding up scenery Journal of Discourses , vol.
To avoid the idea that Cain's descendants were punished for his transgression, the Mormon leaders have taught that those born black were "indifferent in their support of the righteous cause" in the pre-existence. At the time the devil was cast out of heaven, there were some spirits that did not know who had authority, whether God or the devil. They consequently did not take a very active part on either side, but rather thought the devil had been [p.
These spirits were not considered bad enough to be cast down to hell, and never have bodies; neither were they considered worthy of an honourable body on this earth:. But those spirits in heaven that rather lent an influence to the devil , thinking he had a little the best right to govern, but did not take a very active part any way were required to come into the world and take bodies in the accursed lineage of Canaan ; and hence the Negro or African race "Speech of Elder Orson Hyde, delivered before the High Priests' Quorum, in Nauvoo," April 27, , printed by John Taylor, p.
In B. Roberts, famous LDS author and member of the Council of Seventy, explained the Mormon doctrine of the war in heaven between God's spirit children:. The contest was a severe one, and during its progress all degrees of integrity were manifest. Those who stood with Christ and the plan He favored for the salvation of man, formed one extreme, while those who stood with Lucifer and for the plan of salvation devised by him, which was destructive of man's agency, formed the other extreme; between these two extremes every shade of faith, fulness and indifference was exhibited.
Only those, however, who wickedly rebelled against God were adjudged to deserve banishment from heaven, and become the devil and his angels. Others there were, who may not have rebelled against God, and yet were so indifferent in their support of the righteous cause of our Redeemer, that they forfeited certain privileges and powers granted to those who were more valiant for God and correct principles.
We have, I think, a demonstration of this in the seed of Ham. I believe that race is the one through which it is ordained those spirits that were not valiant in the great rebellion in heaven should come; who through their indifference or lack of integrity to righteousness , rendered themselves unworthy of the Priesthood and its powers, and hence it is withheld from them to this day The Contributor , vol.
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This doctrine is not without logical difficulties, however. Considering the Latter-day Saint dictum that "man is punished for his own sins" the curse on Cain is understandable and consistent with Mormon philosophy, since the Mormon scripture insists that he sinned knowingly and willfully. But how is one to account for the penalty on all his alleged descendants? An arbitrary God who would permit millions of people to be deprived of the priesthood, and hence its concomitant blessings, by accident of birth simply does not fit into the Mormon theology.
As would be expected, this problem has led to the formulation of several theses. One of the most popular was framed by B. Roberts from a suggestion by Orson Hyde, early Apostle. Roberts suggested that since all spirits before living in the flesh had an opportunity to prove their fidelity to God and His laws during the "war in heaven" some of them might have been neutral, or proved less valiant than others, and thus lost the right of priesthood during their earthly sojourn "Moral and Religious Aspects of the Negro in Utah," by Gaylon L.
Related Passing Up The Heavenly Gift (Part One of Two) (Interpreter: A Journal of Mormon Scripture Book 7)
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