Against Racism


Excerpt from the September 2000 Ensign magazine article by Elder Alexander B. Morrison Of the Seventy, ‘No More Strangers’: 1

How grateful I am that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has from its beginnings stood strongly against racism in any of its malignant manifestations. President Spencer W. Kimball stated the Church’s position well: “We do wish that there would be no racial prejudice. … Racial prejudice is of the devil. … There is no place for it in the gospel of Jesus Christ” (The Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball, ed. Edward L. Kimball [1982], 236–37). The Prophet Joseph Smith, who experienced more than his share of intolerance and prejudice, understood the importance of caring for, respecting, and helping others, even those we don’t agree with. Speaking of the need to provide temporal assistance to others, the Prophet explained that a member of the Church “is to feed the hungry, to clothe the naked, to provide for the widow, to dry up the tear of the orphan, to comfort the afflicted, whether in this church, or in any other, or in no church at all, wherever he finds them” (Times and Seasons, 15 Mar. 1842, 732).

Letter from Joseph Smith to Oliver Cowdery on abolitionism, published in the ‘Latter Day Saints’ Messenger and Advocate’, Apr. 1836, pp. 289–291: 2

“After having expressed myself so freely upon this subject, I do not doubt but those who have been forward in raising their voice against the South, will cry out against me as being uncharitable, unfeeling and unkind—wholly unacquainted with the gospel of Christ. It is my privilege then, to name certain passages from the bible, and examine the teachings of the ancients upon this matter, as the fact is uncontrovertable, that the first mention we have of slavery is found in the holy bible, pronounced by a man who was perfect in his generation and walked with God. And so far from that prediction’s being averse from 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!”

A speech by Governor Brigham Young in Joint Session of the Legislature, January 23, 1852: 3

“I have this section in my hand, headed “An Act in Relation to African Slavery.” I have read it over and made a few alterations. I will remark with regard to slavery, inasmuch as we believe in the Bible, inasmuch as we believe in the ordinances of God, in the Priesthood and order and decrees of God, we must believe in slavery. This colored race have been subjected to severe curses, which they have in their families and their classes and in their various capacities brought upon themselves. And until the curse is removed by Him who placed it upon them, they must suffer under its consequences; I am not authorized to remove it. I am a firm believer in slavery.”

David O. McKay, in Llewelyn R. McKay, Home Memories of President David O. McKay (1956), p. 231: 4

“I emphasize Justice as an attribute of Deity, because it is the Lord who, though He “made of one blood all nations,” also “determined the bounds of their habitation.” In other words, the seeming discrimination by the Church toward the Negro is not something which originated with man, but goes back into the Beginning with God.”

Letter from the First Presidency to Dr. Lowry Nelson, July 17 1947: 5

“Your position seems to lose sight of the revelations of the Lord touching the preexistence of our spirits , the rebellion in heaven, and the doctrines that our birth into this life and the advantages under which we my be born, have a relationship in the life heretofore.

From the days of the Prophet Joseph even until now, it has been the doctrine of the Church, never questioned by any of the Church leaders, that the Negroes are not entitled to the full blessings of the Gospel.

Furthermore, your ideas, as we understand them, appear to contemplate the intermarriage of the Negro and White races, a concept which has heretofore been most repugnant to most normal-minded people from the ancient patriarchs till now God’s rule for Israel, His Chosen People, has been endogenous. Modern Israel has been similarly directed.

We are not unmindful of the fact that there is a growing tendency, particularly among some educators, as it manifests itself in this area, toward the breaking down of race barriers in the matter of intermarriage between whites and blacks, but it does not have the sanction of the Church and is contrary to Church doctrine.

Faithfully yours,


George Albert Smith

J. Reuben Clark, Jr.

David 0. McKay”


1 eptember 2000 Ensign magazine article by Elder Alexander B. Morrison Of the Seventy, ‘No More Strangers’ –
2 ‘Latter Day Saints’ Messenger and Advocate’, Apr. 1836, pp. 289–291, Joseph Smith Papers –
3 Speech by Governor Brigham Young in Joint Session of the Legislature, January 23, 1852 –
4 Letter from David O. McKay reprinted in ‘Mormonism and the Negro’, pp 22 –
5 Letter from the First Presidency to Dr. Lowry Nelson, July 17 1947 –