Question: Did Brigham Young say that race mixing was punishable by death?

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Question: Did Brigham Young say that race mixing was punishable by death?

Brigham Young said that race mixing was punishable by death

Yes, Brigham Young did makes statements to this effect. One of the most well known is this one from March 8, 1863:

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. The nations of the earth have transgressed every law that God has given, they have changed the ordinances and broken every covenant made with the fathers, and they are like a hungry man that dreameth that he eateth, and he awaketh and behold he is empty. [1]

It was a complex issues (after all, laws against interracial marriage still existed in a number of states until June of 1967 (Utah was not one of them), when the Supreme Court finally argued that they were unconstitutional - a hundred years after some of Brigham Young's comments). President Young's views were connected to his views on priesthood and sealings, they were affected by his own cultural upbringing, and they were affected by changes that happened in the late 1840s. Among these was the challenge of black men actually marrying white women in the Church, and the stir this caused among certain groups of Church membership. While there were a couple of instances where violence actually happened (and several cases of interracial marriage),

Brigham Young didn't ever actually try to have someone killed for doing this, and this was typical of Young's over the top rhetoric that he used from time to time at the pulpit

Brigham Young didn't ever actually try to have someone killed for doing this, and we assume that some of this (although based in racist attitudes that were prevalent in American society and held by Brigham Young) was typical of Young's over the top rhetoric that he used from time to time at the pulpit for effect.

Notes

  1. ↑ Brigham Young, (March 8, 1863.) Journal of Discourses 10:110.