Proclamation 1949

Race

Statement of the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, August 17, 1949, Archives, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Salt Lake City. Note: The image above is designed to resemble the family proclamation.

August 17, 1949

The attitude of the Church with reference to Negroes remains as it has always stood. It is not a matter of the declaration of a policy but of direct commandment from the Lord, on which is founded the doctrine of the Church from the days of its organization, to the effect that Negroes may become members of the Church but that they are not entitled to the priesthood at the present time. The prophets of the Lord have made several statements as to the operation of the principle. President Brigham Young said: “Why are so many of the inhabitants of the earth cursed with a skin of blackness? It comes in consequence of their fathers rejecting the power of the holy priesthood, and the law of God. They will go down to death. And when all the rest of the children have received their blessings in the holy priesthood, then that curse will be removed from the seed of Cain, and they will then come up and possess the priesthood, and receive all the blessings which we now are entitled to.”

President Wilford Woodruff made the following statement: “The day will come when all that race will be redeemed and possess all the blessings which we now have.”

The position of the Church regarding the Negro may be understood when another doctrine of the Church is kept in mind, namely, that the conduct of spirits in the premortal existence has some determining effect upon the conditions and circumstances under which these spirits take on mortality and that while the details of this principle have not been made known, the mortality is a privilege that is given to those who maintain their first estate; and that the worth of the privilege is so great that spirits are willing to come to earth and take on bodies no matter what the handicap may be as to the kind of bodies they are to secure; and that among the handicaps, failure of the right to enjoy in mortality the blessings of the priesthood is a handicap which spirits are willing to assume in order that they might come to earth. Under this principle there is no injustice whatsoever involved in this deprivation as to the holding of the priesthood by the Negroes.

The First Presidency

 

References

Statements made by Church leaders regarding the priesthood ban, Fair Mormon – https://www.fairmormon.org/answers/Mormonism_and_racial_issues/Blacks_and_the_priesthood/Statements

Mormonism And The Negro – https://archive.org/details/MormonismAndTheNegro

Letter from the First Presidency to Stewart Udall – https://archive.org/stream/StewartUdallConscienceOfAJackMormon/StuartUdall-OpenLetterOnRaceAndConsequencesOfConscience#page/n14/mode/1up

 

Download

1949 letter (PDF) – https://missedinsunday.wpengine.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/Proclamation_1949.pdf

1969 letter (PDF) – https://missedinsunday.wpengine.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/Proclamation_1969.pdf

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