Criticism of Mormonism/Books/One Nation Under Gods/Chapter 16

Table of Contents

Response to claims made in "Chapter 16: Mormon Racism: Black Is Not Beautiful"

A FairMormon Analysis of: One Nation Under Gods, a work by author: Richard Abanes
Claim Evaluation
One Nation Under Gods
Chart one nation under gods chapter 16.jpg

Response to claims made in One Nation Under Gods, "Chapter 16: Mormon Racism: Black Is Not Beautiful"

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Response to claim: 355 epigraph, 597n1 - Joseph Smith said in History of the Church: "Had I anything to do with the negro, I would confine them by strict law to their own species..."

The author(s) of One Nation Under Gods make(s) the following claim:

Joseph Smith said in History of the Church: "Had I anything to do with the negro, I would confine them by strict law to their own species..."

Author's sources:
  1. History of the Church, vol. 5, 217-218.

FairMormon Response

Fact checking results: The author has stated erroneous information or misinterpreted their sources

The author quotes Joseph Smith as saying, ""Had I anything to do with the negro, I would confine them by strict law to their own species..." (History of the Church. Volume 5 link). He apparently wishes to make Joseph appear racist and backward. He does not, however, provide us with the other perspectives which Joseph offered on race issues:

Elder Hyde inquired the situation of the negro. I replied, they came into the world slaves, mentally and physically. Change their situation with the whites, and they would be like them. They have souls, and are subjects of salvation. Go into Cincinnati or any city, and find an educated negro, who rides in his carriage, and you will see a man who has risen by the powers of his own mind to his exalted state of respectability. The slaves in Washington are more refined than many in high places, and the black boys will take the shine off many of those they brush and wait on.

Elder Hyde remarked, "Put them on the level, and they will rise above me." I replied, if I raised you to be my equal, and then attempted to oppress you, would you not be indignant and try to rise above me, as did Oliver Cowdery, Peter Whitmer, and many others, who said I was a fallen Prophet, and they were capable of leading the people, although I never attempted to oppress them, but had always been lifting them up? Had I anything to do with the negro, I would confine them by strict law to their own species, and put them on a national equalization.

Fawn Brodie, from whom the author otherwise quotes liberally, noted that aside from the issue of intermarriage, Joseph was "in every other respect in favor of total equality. . .a stand which in 1844 was dangerously revolutionary." [1]

In materials besides that from which the author's fragment was taken, Joseph also said:

  • "Break off the shackles from the poor black man, and hire him to labor like other human beings, for 'an hour of virtuous liberty on earth is worth a whole eternity of bondage.'" (Nauvoo Neighbor (17 April 1844)).
  • Slaves owned by Mormons should, said Joseph in private, be brought "into a free country and set . . . free--Educate them and give them equal Rights." [2]

Response to claim: 356, 597n5 - "Mormonism and racism have for many years been synonymous terms to persons well acquainted with Latter-day Saint beliefs"

The author(s) of One Nation Under Gods make(s) the following claim:

 Author's quote: "Mormonism and racism have for many years been synonymous terms to persons well acquainted with Latter-day Saint beliefs."

FairMormon Response

Fact checking results: This claim contains propaganda - The author, or the author's source, is providing information or ideas in a slanted way in order to instill a particular attitude or response in the reader

The author's hostility and many errors on this and many other points of LDS belief demonstrate that he, at least, is not one of these persons so acquainted.

Response to claim: 356 - "the granting of the priesthood to blacks in 1978 failed to "eradicate the previous 148 years of Mormon racist/white supremacist teachings"

The author(s) of One Nation Under Gods make(s) the following claim:

The author claims that the granting of the priesthood to blacks in 1978 failed to "eradicate the previous 148 years of Mormon racist/white supremacist teachings," and that these teaching all related to the LDS doctrine of pre-existence.

FairMormon Response

Fact checking results: This claim contains propaganda - The author, or the author's source, is providing information or ideas in a slanted way in order to instill a particular attitude or response in the reader

p. 370 tells us that 'Mormons, by and large, were pleased that God had changed his mind at such a convenient time in history.' So, why were the Mormons happy about the revelation if their supposedly racist mindset could hardly be eradicated by the 1978 revelation?
And , the evidence shows that Mormons are no more or no less racist than others of the same background.

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  1. Author's statement.

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Response to claim: 356, n6 - The author claims that Latter-day Saints traditionally believe that everyone's place in the world was determined by how they behaved in the pre-mortal world

The author(s) of One Nation Under Gods make(s) the following claim:

The author claims that Latter-day Saints traditionally believe that everyone's place in the world was determined by how they behaved in the pre-mortal world.

FairMormon Response

Fact checking results: This claim contains propaganda - The author, or the author's source, is providing information or ideas in a slanted way in order to instill a particular attitude or response in the reader

Note well the word traditional. Such teachings have been repudiated. Revelation has clarified false or incomplete former beliefs.
  • The author presumes the Saints believe in prophetic infallibility. They do not. Abraham 3:22 only says that God chose 'noble and great' spirits to be his spiritual leaders in the pre-mortal world. It says nothing about country, socio-economic status, etc.


Response to claim: 357, 597n7, 9-11 - "These admirable spirits served God well, followed his commands, and did the most with their talents before coming to earth. Consequently, they...are born as Mormons in America"

The author(s) of One Nation Under Gods make(s) the following claim:

Author's quote: These admirable spirits served God well, followed his commands, and did the most with their talents before coming to earth. Consequently, they are rewarded by being born into favorable circumstances. To be specific, they are born as Mormons in America, or at the very least, somewhere in a predominantly Caucasian country. More righteous spirits are born with more advantages. Less commendable spirits, however, are born with fewer advantages, into lives of greater or lesser quality depending on how poorly they performed in the pre-earth world. Moreover, they are born as non-whites. This is their punishment for not having been all they could have been during the pre-existence.
  • A quote from Apostle Mark E. Petersen is provided to support this assertion.

FairMormon Response

Fact checking results: This claim contains propaganda - The author, or the author's source, is providing information or ideas in a slanted way in order to instill a particular attitude or response in the reader

This is an absurd bit of propaganda.


Response to claim: 358, 597n13 - Were those who were "less valiant" born as blacks?

The author(s) of One Nation Under Gods make(s) the following claim:


  • Were those who "fought on Christ's side" in the pre-existence born as "privileged Mormon whites?"
  • Were those who were "less valiant" born as blacks?

    Author's sources:

  • B.H. Roberts, "To the Youth of Israel," The Contributor, vol. 6, 296-297.
  • Bruce McConkie, Mormon Doctrine, p. 527.

FairMormon Response

Fact checking results: The author has stated erroneous information or misinterpreted their sources

Such beliefs have bee repudiated.

Question: Was the idea that Blacks were neutral in the "war in heaven" ever official doctrine?

The "neutral in the war in heaven" argument was never doctrine. In fact, some Church leaders, starting with Brigham Young, explicitly repudiated the idea

This idea was repudiated well before the priesthood ban was rescinded. President Brigham Young rejected it in an account recorded by Wilford Woodruff in 1869:

Lorenzo Young asked if the Spirits of Negroes were Nutral in Heaven. He said someone said Joseph Smith said they were. President Young said No they were not. There was No Nutral spirits in Heaven at the time of the Rebelion. All took sides. He said if any one said that He Herd the Prophet Joseph Say that the spirits of the Blacks were Nutral in Heaven He would not Believe them for He herd Joseph Say to the Contrary. All spirits are pure that Come from the presence of God. The posterity of Cane are Black Because He Commit Murder. He killed Abel & God set a Mark upon his posterity But the spirits are pure that Enter their tabernacles & there will be a Chance for the redemption of all the Children of Adam Except the Sons of perdition. [3]

The First Presidency under Joseph F. Smith also rejected this idea

there is no revelation, ancient or modern, neither is there any authoritative statement by any of the authorities of the Church … [in support of the idea] that the negroes are those who were neutral in heaven at the time of the great conflict or war, which resulted in the casting out of Lucifer and those who were led by him. [4]

Joseph Smith never taught the idea that those born with black skin were "neutral" during the war in heaven

Brigham Young, when asked this question, repudiated the idea. Wilford Woodruff recorded the following in his journal:

December 25, 1869: I attended the School of the Prophets. Many questions were asked. President Young answered them. Lorenzo Young asked if the spirits of Negroes were neutral in heaven. He said someone said Joseph Smith said they were. President Young said no they were not. There were no neutral spirits in heaven at the time of the rebellion. All took sides. He said if anyone said that he heard the Prophet Joseph say that the spirits of the Blacks were neutral in heaven, he would not believe them, for he heard Joseph say to the contrary. All spirits are pure that come from the presence of God. The posterity of Cain are black because he commit[ted] murder. He killed Abel and God set a mark upon his posterity. But the spirits are pure that enter their tabernacles and there will be a chance for the redemption of all the children of Adam except the sons of perdition. [5]

The idea that anyone who came to earth was "neutral" in the premortal existence is not a doctrine of the Church. Early Church leaders had a variety of opinions regarding the status of blacks in the pre-existence, and some of these were expressed in an attempt to explain the priesthood ban. The scriptures, however, do not explicitly state that the status or family into which we were born on earth had anything to do with our "degree of valiance" in our pre-mortal life.

Other religions would not have had reason for such a teaching because they do not believe in the pre-existence or the "war in heaven."

The scriptures themselves do not state that anyone was neutral in the pre-existence.


Response to claim: 358, 597n14-15 - Brigham Young and Bruce R. McConkie claimed that blacks were of the lineage of Cain

The author(s) of One Nation Under Gods make(s) the following claim:

Brigham Young and Bruce R. McConkie claimed that blacks were of the lineage of Cain

Author's sources:

FairMormon Response

Fact checking results: The author has stated erroneous information or misinterpreted their sources

Such beliefs have been repudiated.

Question: What are the "curse of Cain" and the "curse of Ham"?

There is a distinction between the “curse” and the “mark” of Cain

The "curse of Cain" resulted in Cain being cut off from the presence of the Lord. The Genesis and Moses accounts both attest to this. The Book of Mormon teaches this principle in general when it speaks about those who keep the commandments will prosper in the land, while those who don't will be cut off from the presence off the Lord. This type of curse was applied to the Lamanites when they rejected the teachings of the prophets.

The exact nature of the "mark" of Cain, on the other hand, is unknown. The scriptures don't say specifically what it was, except that it was for Cain's protection, so that those finding him wouldn't slay him. Many people, both in an out of the Church, have assumed that the mark and the curse are the same thing.


Question: When did a biblical curse become associated with the "Hamites?"

The origin of the "curse of Ham" pre-dates the establishment of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints by hundreds of years

The basis used is Genesis 9:18-27:

18 And the sons of Noah, that went forth of the ark, were Shem, and Ham, and Japheth: and Ham is the father of Canaan.
19 These are the three sons of Noah: and of them was the whole earth overspread.
20 And Noah began to be an husbandman, and he planted a vineyard:
21 And he drank of the wine, and was drunken; and he was uncovered within his tent.
22 And Ham, the father of Canaan, saw the nakedness of his father, and told his two brethren without.
23 And Shem and Japheth took a garment, and laid it upon both their shoulders, and went backward, and covered the nakedness of their father; and their faces were backward, and they saw not their father’s nakedness.
24 And Noah awoke from his wine, and knew what his younger son had done unto him.
25 And he said, Cursed be Canaan; a servant of servants shall he be unto his brethren.
26 And he said, Blessed be the Lord God of Shem; and Canaan shall be his servant.
27 God shall enlarge Japheth, and he shall dwell in the tents of Shem; and Canaan shall be his servant.
Genesis 9:18-27 (emphasis added)

Although these verses clearly state that Canaan is cursed, it is not clear that the curse would be extended to his descendants. The use of Genesis 9 to associate a biblical curse with the descendants of Ham actually began in the third and fourth centuries A.D. [6] This "curse" became associated with the Canaanites. Origen, an early Christian scholar and theologian, makes reference to Ham's "discolored posterity" and the "ignobility of the race he fathered." [7] Likewise, Augustine and Ambrose of Milan speculated that the descendants of Ham carried a curse that was associated with a darkness of skin. This concept was shared among Jews, Muslims and Christians. The first "racial justification" for slavery appeared in the fifteenth century in Spain and Portugal. In the American colonies, the "curse of Ham" was being used in the late 1600's to justify the practice of slavery. [8] As author Stephen R. Haynes puts it, "Noah's curse had become a stock weapon in the arsenal of slavery's apologists, and references to Genesis 9 appeared prominently in their publications." [9]


Question: When did the "mark of Cain" become associated with black skin?

The biblical “mark of Cain” associated with black skin by Protestants to justify slavery

The idea that the “mark of Cain” and the "curse of Ham" was a black skin is something that was used by many Protestants as a way to morally and biblically justify slavery. This idea did not originate with Latter-day Saints, although the existence of the priesthood ban prior to 1978 tends to cause some people to assume that it was a Latter-day Saint concept.

Dr. Benjamin M. Palmer, pastor of the First Presbyterian Church in New Orleans from 1856 until 1902, was a "moving force" in the Southern Presbyterian church during that period. Palmer believed that the South's cause during the Civil War was supported by God. Palmer believed the Hebrew history supported the concept that God had intended for some people to be formed "apart from others" and placed in separate territories in order to "prevent admixture of races." [10] Palmer claimed that, "[t]he descendants of Ham, on the contrary, in whom the sensual and corporeal appetites predominate, are driven like an infected race beyond the deserts of Sahara, where under a glowing sky nature harmonized with their brutal and savage disposition." [11] Palmer declared:

Upon Ham was pronounced the doom of perpetual servitude—proclaimed with double emphasis, as it is twice repeated that he shall be the servant of Japheth and the servant of Shem. Accordingly, history records not a single example of any member of this group lifting itself, by any process of self-development, above the savage condition. From first to last their mental and moral characteristics, together with the guidance of Providence, have marked them for servitude; while their comparative advance in civilization and their participation in the blessings of salvation, have ever been suspended upon this decreed connexion [sic] with Japhet [sic] and with Shem. [12]

Unfortunately, among some, the Protestant concept that God has separated people by race has persisted even into modern times.

God has separated people for His own purpose. He has erected barriers between the nations, not only land and sea barriers, but also ethnic, cultural, and language barriers. God has made people different one from another and intends those differences to remain. (Letter to James Landrith from Bob Jones University, 1998) [13]


Question: How did the "curse of Ham" or "curse of Cain" become associated with Mormonism?

Early members of the Church brought this culturally-conditioned belief in the "curse of Ham" with them into Mormonism

Prior to 1978, the doctrinal folklore that blacks are the descendants of Cain and Ham and that they carry the “mark of Cain” was a belief among some members of the Church, and is occasionally heard even today. The dubious “folk doctrine” in question is no longer even relevant, since it was used to incorrectly explain and justify a Church policy that was reversed over thirty years ago. Prior to the 1978 revelation, however, the Saints used the “mark of Cain” to explain the policy of denying priesthood ordination to those of African descent—a policy for which no revelatory prophetic explanation was ever actually given.

Early members of the Church were, for the most part, converts from Protestant sects. It is understandable that they naturally brought this culturally-conditioned belief in the "curse of Ham" with them into Mormonism. Many modern members of the Church, for instance, are unaware that Joseph Smith ordained at least one African-American man to the priesthood: Elijah Abel.

At some point during Brigham Young's administration, the priesthood ban was initiated. No revelation, if there ever was one, was published, although many throughout the history of the Church have assumed that the reason for the ban must be that blacks were the cursed seed of Cain, and therefore not allowed the priesthood (usually stemming from a misreading of Abraham 1). The correct answer as to why the ban was put into place is: we don't know. For further information on the priesthood ban, see Blacks and the priesthood.

Bruce R. McConkie in 1978, after the revelation granting blacks the priesthood:

It is time disbelieving people repented and got in line and believed in a living, modern prophet. Forget everything that I have said, or what President Brigham Young…or whomsoever has said in days past that is contrary to the present revelation. We spoke with a limited understanding and without the light and knowledge that now has come into the world. We get our truth and our light line upon line and precept upon precept. We have now had added a new flood of intelligence and light on this particular subject, and it erases all the darkness and all the views and all the thoughts of the past. They don’t matter any more. It doesn’t make a particle of difference what anybody ever said about the Negro matter before the first day of June of this year. It is a new day and a new arrangement, and the Lord has now given the revelation that sheds light out into the world on this subject. [14]

Prior to this statement by Elder Bruce R. McConkie in 1978, the doctrinal folklore that blacks are the descendants of Cain and Ham and that they carry the “mark of Cain” was a belief among some members of the Church, and is occasionally heard even today. The dubious “folk doctrine” in question is no longer even relevant, since it was used to incorrectly explain and justify a Church policy that was reversed over thirty years ago. Prior to the 1978 revelation, however, the Saints used the “mark of Cain” to explain the policy of denying priesthood ordination to those of African descent—a policy for which no revelation or prophetic explanation was ever actually given.

The speculation was that in the premortal existence, certain spirits were set aside to come to Earth through a lineage that was cursed and marked, first by Cain’s murder of his brother and covenant with Satan (Genesis 4:11–15; Moses 5:23–25, Moses 5:36–40), and then again later by Ham’s offense against his father Noah. The reasons why this lineage was set apart weren’t clear, but it was speculated they were somehow less valiant than their premortal brethren during the war in heaven. In this life, then, the holy priesthood was to be withheld from all who had had any trace of that lineage.

As neat and coherent as that scenario might seem, the scriptures typically cited in its support cannot logically be interpreted this way unless one starts with the priesthood ban itself and then works backward, looking for scriptures to support a predetermined belief.


Response to claim: 360, 598n23-26 - Bruce R. McConkie said..."The negroes are not equal with other races where the receipt of certain spiritual blessings are concerned"

The author(s) of One Nation Under Gods make(s) the following claim:

Bruce R. McConkie said in his 1966 edition of Mormon Doctrine: "The negroes are not equal with other races where the receipt of certain spiritual blessings are concerned...[B]ut this inequality is not of man's origin. It is the Lord's doing." Joseph Fielding Smith made a similar statement.

FairMormon Response

Fact checking results: The author has stated erroneous information or misinterpreted their sources

Such beliefs have been repudiated.


Response to claim: 361, 598n27 - "As a white Mormon, I proudly accepted the teaching that my fair skin and Mormon parentage signified that I had been one of God's most intelligent and obedient born-in-heaven spirit children"

The author(s) of One Nation Under Gods make(s) the following claim:

"Fourth generation Mormon" Thelma Geer said:

"As a white Mormon, I proudly accepted the teaching that my fair skin and Mormon parentage signified that I had been one of God's most intelligent and obedient born-in-heaven spirit children....As a reward for my superior attributes and attitudes, I had been singled out, trained, and qualified to be born a white Latter-day Saint, deserving of emulation, adulation, and eventual deification. All dark-skinned people, even darker-complexioned Caucasians...had been inferior spirits in heaven."

FairMormon Response

Fact checking results: This claim contains propaganda - The author, or the author's source, is providing information or ideas in a slanted way in order to instill a particular attitude or response in the reader

Thelma Geer appeared in the film The God Makers. She and the author do not disclose that these are 'folk beliefs.' Such teachings have been repudiated. Revelation has clarified false or incomplete former beliefs.
  • The author presumes the Saints believe in prophetic infallibility. They do not. This was true even when Geer wrote in 1980.

Response to claim: 361, 598n28, 31 - Interracial marriage was condemned by Brigham Young as "one of the most heinous of deeds"

The author(s) of One Nation Under Gods make(s) the following claim:

Interracial marriage was condemned by Brigham Young as "one of the most heinous of deeds"

FairMormon Response

Fact checking results: The author has stated erroneous information or misinterpreted their sources

Interracial marriage was illegal in Brigham Young's day. The relationships which he was discussing were not marriages, and he condemned the white person for exploiting the black.

Response to claim: 362, 598n29-30 - Mark E. Petersen said that segregation was acceptable, and that interracial marriage "posed a danger"

The author(s) of One Nation Under Gods make(s) the following claim:

Mark E. Petersen said that segregation was acceptable, and that interracial marriage "posed a danger."

Author's sources:
  1. Petersen, "Race Problems As They Affect The Church."

FairMormon Response

Fact checking results: The author has stated erroneous information or misinterpreted their sources

Such ideas have since been repudiated.

Question: Is interracial marriage prohibited or condemned within the Church?

Spencer Kimball prior to the lifting of the priesthood ban: "There is no condemnation," but rather concerns about "the difficulty…in interrace marriages."

In an address to Native American students at BYU in January 1965, then-Elder Spencer W. Kimball explained that there is no condemnation of interracial marriage:

Now, the brethren feel that it is not the wisest thing to cross racial lines in dating and marrying. There is no condemnation. We have had some of our fine young people who have crossed the [racial] lines. We hope they will be very happy, but experience of the brethren through a hundred years has proved to us that marriage is a very difficult thing under any circumstances and the difficulty increases in interrace marriages.[15]

Two years prior to the lifting of the priesthood ban, Spencer W. Kimball told a group of BYU students and faculty:

we recommend that people marry those who are of the same racial background generally, and of somewhat the same economic and social and educational background. Some of these are not an absolute necessity, but preferred; and above all, the same religious background, without question. In spite of the most favorable matings, the evil one still takes a monumental toll and is the cause for many broken homes and frustrated lives.[16]

Here inter-racial marriage is not recommended, but not as an absolute standard—it is grouped with other differences (such as socio-economic) which might make marriage harder, but not as absolutely necessary to success as sharing the same beliefs.

The Supreme Court declared anti-miscegenation laws in the 16 remaining states that still had them unconstitutional in 1967.

Church spokesman after the lifting of the priesthood ban: "So there is no ban on interracial marriage"

After the priesthood ban was lifted, church spokesman Don LeFevre stated:

So there is no ban on interracial marriage. If a black partner contemplating marriage is worthy of going to the Temple, nobody's going to stop him... if he's ready to go to the Temple, obviously he may go with the blessings of the church."[17]

The Church Handbook of Instructions say nothing concerning interracial marriages

On the LDS Church website, Dr. Robert Millet writes:

[T]he Church Handbook of Instructions... is the guide for all Church leaders on doctrine and practice. There is, in fact, no mention whatsoever in this handbook concerning interracial marriages. In addition, having served as a Church leader for almost 30 years, I can also certify that I have never received official verbal instructions condemning marriages between black and white members.[18]


Response to claim; 364, 599n40 - Wallace Turner claims that Latter-day Saints did not support the Civil Rights movement because they had "strong feelings of racial superiority infused into them by years of white supremacist teachings"

The author(s) of One Nation Under Gods make(s) the following claim:

Wallace Turner claims that Latter-day Saints did not support the Civil Rights movement because they had "strong feelings of racial superiority infused into them by years of white supremacist teachings."

FairMormon Response

Fact checking results: This claim contains propaganda - The author, or the author's source, is providing information or ideas in a slanted way in order to instill a particular attitude or response in the reader

Latter-day Saints were of more than one opinion about the Civil Rights movement. Even the leadership did not all agree; some supported the movement, and others worried that it was a front for interests hostile to American liberties. Unlike many Protestant denominations, however, Latter-day Saints did not have segregated congregations, or address racist groups like the Klu Klux Klan.


Response to claim: 366 - David O. McKay was "blocked" from granting Blacks the priesthood by Ezra Taft Benson, Harold B. Lee, and Joseph Fielding Smith

The author(s) of One Nation Under Gods make(s) the following claim:

David O. McKay was "blocked" from granting Blacks the priesthood by Ezra Taft Benson, Harold B. Lee, and Joseph Fielding Smith.

FairMormon Response

Fact checking results: The author has stated erroneous information or misinterpreted their sources

David O. McKay's recent biography includes the following accounts about the priesthood ban:
    • "McKay said, 'I have prayed and prayed and prayed, but there has been no answer.'"
    • "...he had inquired of the Lord several times on the matter, and ... the answer was, 'Not yet.'"
    • "I've inquired of the Lord repeatedly. The last time I did it was late last night. I was told, with no discussion, not to bring the subject up with the Lord again; that the time will come, but it will not be my time, and to leave the subject alone." [19]


Response to claim: 367 - When George Wallace asked President David O. McKay if Ezra Taft Benson could be his vice-presidential running mate, this request was denied

The author(s) of One Nation Under Gods make(s) the following claim:

When George Wallace asked President David O. McKay if Ezra Taft Benson could be his vice-presidential running mate, this request was denied. Did this, as the author asserts, "illustrate the serious in-fighting and strained relations between Benson and his supporters on one side, and more moderate high-ranking LDS authorities on McKay's side?"

Author's sources:
  1. No citation provided.

FairMormon Response

Fact checking results: The author has stated erroneous information or misinterpreted their sources

Despite being a staunch anti-Communist, David O. McKay persistently denied Ezra Taft Benson's desire to join the leadership of the John Birch Society. He did, however, allow Elder Benson to consider a run as a presidential candidate. [20]
  • President McKay refused, however, to grant permission for Elder Benson to be Wallace's running mate, based on some or all of:
    • "his already expressed aversion to a third political party" (which Wallace was running on)
    • "his personal feelings toward Wallace"
    • "his unwillingness to have an apostle square off against announced Mormon candidate George Romney"
    • his "growing weariness with Benson's political activities," which centered around problems with the John Birch Society. [21]


Response to claim: 368 - By the time Spencer W. Kimball took over as Church president "the church had been enduring non-stop pressure to conform with America's realization that racial inequality had to end"

The author(s) of One Nation Under Gods make(s) the following claim:

By the time Spencer W. Kimball took over as Church president "the church had been enduring non-stop pressure to conform with America's realization that racial inequality had to end."

Author's sources:
  1. No citation provided.

FairMormon Response

Fact checking results: The author has stated erroneous information or misinterpreted their sources

Social pressure was actually on the decline after the Civil Rights movement and coordinated protests at BYU athletic events ceased in 1971.


Question: Was the priesthood ban lifted as the result of social or government pressure?

Social pressure was actually on the decline after the Civil Rights movement and coordinated protests at BYU athletic events ceased in 1971

Jan Shipps, a Methodist scholar and celebrated scholar of Mormon history and culture, considers it factual that "this revelation came in the context of worldwide evangelism rather than domestic politics or American social and cultural circumstances." She wrote:

A revelation in Mormondom rarely comes as a bolt from the blue; the process involves asking questions and getting answers. The occasion of questioning has to be considered, and it must be recalled that while questions about priesthood and the black man may have been asked, an answer was not forthcoming in the ‘60s when the church was under pressure about the matter from without, nor in the early ‘70s when liberal Latter-day Saints agitated the issue from within. The inspiration which led President Kimball and his counselors to spend many hours in the Upper Room of the Temple pleading long and earnestly for divine guidance did not stem from a messy situation with blacks picketing the church’s annual conference in Salt Lake City, but was "the expansion of the work of the Lord over the earth." [22]


Response to claim: 369, 599n57 - President Kimball was forced to change the priesthood restriction because of the new temple in Brazil

The author(s) of One Nation Under Gods make(s) the following claim:

President Kimball was forced to change the priesthood restriction because of the new temple in Brazil.

Author's sources:
  1. Gottlieb and Wiley, 184.

FairMormon Response

Fact checking results: The author has stated erroneous information or misinterpreted their sources

The construction of the temple was a factor, but President Kimball was not "forced" to change anything.


Gospel Topics: "Church authorities encountered faithful black and mixed-ancestry Mormons who had contributed financially and in other ways to the building of the São Paulo temple, a sanctuary they realized they would not be allowed to enter once it was completed"

"Race and the Priesthood," Gospel Topics (2013):

Brazil in particular presented many challenges. Unlike the United States and South Africa where legal and de facto racism led to deeply segregated societies, Brazil prided itself on its open, integrated, and mixed racial heritage. In 1975, the Church announced that a temple would be built in São Paulo, Brazil. As the temple construction proceeded, Church authorities encountered faithful black and mixed-ancestry Mormons who had contributed financially and in other ways to the building of the São Paulo temple, a sanctuary they realized they would not be allowed to enter once it was completed. Their sacrifices, as well as the conversions of thousands of Nigerians and Ghanaians in the 1960s and early 1970s, moved Church leaders.[23]—(Click here to continue)


Response to claim: 370 - "Mormons, by and large, were pleased that God had changed his mind at such a convenient time in history"

The author(s) of One Nation Under Gods make(s) the following claim:

 Author's quote: "Mormons, by and large, were pleased that God had changed his mind at such a convenient time in history."

FairMormon Response

Fact checking results: The author has stated erroneous information or misinterpreted their sources

On p. 356, we are told the 1978 revelation "could hardly eradicate the previous 148 years of Mormon racist/white supremacist teachings." See also p. 353 where LDS beliefs are called "white supremacist." So, why were most Mormons "pleased" if they were still suffering from the burden of racist attitudes and white supremacist beliefs? Why would racists be happy about the change?

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Response to claim: 370 - The author claims that the lifting of the priesthood ban caused "millions of dollars" to begin "flowing into the church's coffers"

The author(s) of One Nation Under Gods make(s) the following claim:

The author claims that the lifting of the priesthood ban caused "millions of dollars" to begin "flowing into the church's coffers"

FairMormon Response

Fact checking results: This claim contains propaganda - The author, or the author's source, is providing information or ideas in a slanted way in order to instill a particular attitude or response in the reader

The claim is absurd.

Response to claim: 370, 599n59 - Brigham Young said that Blacks would not receive the priesthood until after the resurrection of the dead

The author(s) of One Nation Under Gods make(s) the following claim:

Brigham Young said that Blacks would not receive the priesthood until after the resurrection of the dead.

FairMormon Response

Fact checking results: This claim is based upon correct information - The author is providing knowledge concerning some particular fact, subject, or event

The author presumes that Latter-day Saints believe in prophetic infallibility. They do not.


Response to claim: 371, 600n63 - Is the idea that the words of a living prophet are more important than the teachings of a dead prophet a "illogical belief"?

The author(s) of One Nation Under Gods make(s) the following claim:

Is the idea that the words of a living prophet are more important than the teachings of a dead prophet a "illogical belief"?

FairMormon Response

Fact checking results: This claim contains propaganda - The author, or the author's source, is providing information or ideas in a slanted way in order to instill a particular attitude or response in the reader

What would be the point of a living prophet if their words were not more important than dead prophets? This is what the early Christians thought too—Jesus and the apostles superseded dead prophets like Moses.



Notes

  1. [citation needed]
  2. December 30, 1842, in Joseph Smith's Journal, kept by Willard Richards; copy at Church Historical Department; cited by Lester E. Bush, Dialogue 8/1 (Spring 1973): 18-19.
  3. Wilford Woodruff, Wilford Woodruff’s Journal, 9 vols., ed., Scott G. Kenny (Salt Lake City: Signature Books, 1985), 6:511 (journal entry dated 25 December 1869). ISBN 0941214133.
  4. First Presidency letter from Joseph F. Smith, Anthon H. Lund, and Charles W. Penrose, to M. Knudson, 13 Jan. 1912.
  5. Wilford Woodruff's Journal, entry dated Dec. 25, 1869.
  6. Stephen R. Haynes, Noah's Curse: The Biblical Justification of American Slavery (New York: Oxford University Press, 2002)
  7. Origen, "Genesis Homily XVI," in Homilies on Genesis and Exodus, translated by Ronald E. Heine (Washington: Catholic University of America Press, 1982), p. 215, referenced in Haynes.
  8. Haynes, p. 7-8.
  9. Haynes, p. 8.
  10. Haynes, Noah's Curse: The Biblical Justification of American Slavery, p. 127-8 citing Palmer, "The Import of Hebrew History," Southern Presbyterian Review 9 (April 1856) 591
  11. Haynes, p. 129, citing Palmer, Our Historic Mission, An Address Delivered before the Eunomian and PhiMu Societies of La Grange Synodical College, July 7 1858 (New Orleans: True Witness Office, 1859), 4-5.
  12. Haynes, p. 132, citing Cherry, God's New Israel, 179-180 who in turn is citing one of Palmer's sermons.
  13. Haynes, p. 161.
  14. Bruce R. McConkie, “All Are Alike unto God,” address in the Second Annual CES Symposium, Salt Lake City, August 1978.
  15. "Interracial Marriage Discouraged," Church News, 17 June 1978, italics added; off-site.
  16. Spencer W. Kimball, Marriage and Divorce: An Address [adapted from an address to BYU students and faculty, Fall 1976] (Salt Lake City, Deseret Book, 1976), 10. GospeLink (requires subscrip.)
  17. Don LeFevre, Salt Lake Tribune, 14 June 1978.
  18. Robert L. Millet, "Church Response to Jon Krakauer's Under the Banner of Heaven," 27 June 2003 off-site
  19. Gregory A. Prince and Wm. Robert Wright, David O. McKay and the Rise of Modern Mormonism (Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press, 2005), 103-104. ISBN 0874808227.
  20. Prince and Wright, 286, 289, 317-318.
  21. Prince and Wright, 319.
  22. Jan Shipps, "The Mormons: Looking Forward and Outward" Christian Century (Aug. 16-23, 1978), 761–766 off-site
  23. "Race and the Priesthood," Gospel Topics (2013)