This question is a bit related to this other question, which is asking about the curse of Cain.

One of the answers in this other question refers to the "Book of Moses" (part of Book of Mormon), chapter 7, verse 22 which states:

And Enoch also beheld the residue of the people which were the sons of Adam; and they were a mixture of all the seed of Adam save it was the seed of Cain, for the seed of Cain were black, and had not place among them.

I can also see that the same chapter in "Book of Moses", verse 8, says about Canaanites:

For behold, the Lord shall curse the land with much heat, and the barrenness thereof shall go forth forever; and there was a blackness came upon all the children of Canaan, that they were despised among all people.

And in 2 Nephi chapter 5, verse 21 it says:

And he had caused the cursing to come upon them, yea, even a sore cursing, because of their iniquity. For behold, they had hardened their hearts against him, that they had become like unto a flint; wherefore, as they were white, and exceedingly fair and delightsome, that they might not be enticing unto my people the Lord God did cause a skin of blackness to come upon them.

Based on these statements, I wanted to ask:

  1. Is it a belief of the Mormon church that a curse from God is the initial origin of all dark skin among humankind today?
  2. Did God choose black skin in order to make the cursed people unappealing (as it seems to say in 2 Nephi 5:21)?
  • 1
    There's no officially recognized Mormon doctrine or explanation on these things. What the Church leaders usually say on these matters is to take Nephi's counsel to "liken the scriptures to yourself" meaning, if something is important to you, pray and ponder on it and invite revelation into your life to seek the answer as it applies to you.
    – Matt
    Commented Jun 18, 2017 at 20:43
  • Thank you @Matt, would you mind putting that as an answer? I will accept it if you write it as an answer.
    – x457812
    Commented Jun 19, 2017 at 3:07
  • Thanks, but I don't really have any sources at this time; I'm not sure that comment alone would satisfy the requirements for an answer...
    – Matt
    Commented Jun 19, 2017 at 15:17

2 Answers 2


To answer question 1, "Is it a belief of the Mormon church that a curse from God is the initial origin of all dark skin among humankind today?", we have, from lds.org:

Today, the Church disavows the theories advanced in the past that black skin is a sign of divine disfavor or curse, or that it reflects unrighteous actions in a premortal life; that mixed-race marriages are a sin; or that blacks or people of any other race or ethnicity are inferior in any way to anyone else. Church leaders today unequivocally condemn all racism, past and present, in any form.

Or, more concisely, no, that is not an accepted belief of the LDS Church.

Question 2 seems to be based on a "yes" to question 1, so I don't have a good answer; it does appear that a "skin of blackness" was placed on the cursed Lamanites to make them less appealing, as you quote from the Book of Mormon, but that was a localized instance, rather than something generalizable to all people with darker skin.

  • 2
    If they do condemn all racism, even in the past, and in any form, and if they take these to be actual accounts, then would they believe that the people who were doing the despising because of the blackness of the skin in those passages should be condemned because of their despising? If so, would their god have been provoking the people to do that which later should be condemned?
    – DKing
    Commented Jun 19, 2017 at 16:35
  • @DKing I don't have a great answer for you, but I did find christianity.stackexchange.com/a/4875/32054, which might be somewhat useful.
    – BLT
    Commented Jun 19, 2017 at 16:54
  • that is an interesting question, @DKing.
    – user100487
    Commented Jun 19, 2017 at 18:22
  • Actually I would have been interested of knowing more about the association between dark skin and not being appealing but more because it to me smacks more of 1800's racism than something coming from God.
    – user100487
    Commented Jun 19, 2017 at 18:27
  • 2
    @DKing. It should be "no" because the purpose of the mark was not to create a racial separation, but a spiritual separation. When both Lam. and Nep. were righteous, they freely associated. To that end, the interpretation of the mark as racist is one of our modern era, and not one of the Book of Mormon past where all these people were actually related. An excellent article on the matter is Rodney Turner's "The Lamanite Mark." rsc.byu.edu/archived/…
    – JBH
    Commented Jun 29, 2017 at 20:54

Is it a belief of the Mormon church that a curse from God is the initial origin of all dark skin among humankind today?

Some believe this, but it is not a teaching of our scriptures. The Curse is the separation from God due to sin.

Blackness is a Hebrew idiom for gloom/sinful.

White is a symbol of purity and salvation.

The skin is the covering of the body. So just like a hard heart, or blind eyes or a "stiff neck" are easy idioms to understand, so should "black skin;" it just means sinful person, so sinful that they are covered in sin.

No person on earth is literally black or white. Everyone is a shade of brown from the lightest shades in Norway, to the darkest shades of brown in Africa and Asia.

Did God choose black skin in order to make the cursed people unappealing (as it seems to say in 2 Nephi 5:21)?

No. None of them changed colors or were given a literal dark skin color by God. In fact later it explains the Mark. The Mark was in Alma 3 - It says they placed Red on their foreheads like the Lamanites, and that they didn't shorn their hair like the Lamanites though.

There was zero color changing in the Book of Mormon.

Curses are by choice of leaving God and his Church. Marks are self applied to separate and differentiate what culture you adopted e.g. Nephite or Lamanite.

All references to Skin color are metaphor, unless specifically referring to skins worn as a Loin cloth by Lamanties / Gadianton Robbers.

  • In Alma 3:6 (just a few verses below the one you mention), it says: "And the skins of the Lamanites were dark, according to the mark which was set upon their fathers, which was a curse upon them because of their transgression and their rebellion against their brethren, who consisted of Nephi, Jacob, and Joseph, and Sam, who were just and holy men." The next verses go on about how this mark distinguished them so that the Nephites & Lamanites wouldn't mix. And it says that whoever did breed with the Lamanites, the same mark fell upon their children. Dark skin very much sounds like the mark...
    – GDP2
    Commented Aug 22, 2018 at 22:25
  • ... and the red "mark" sounds more like a war tattoo which was probably customary for the Lamanites.
    – GDP2
    Commented Aug 22, 2018 at 22:26
  • Welcome to Christianity SE! I hope you'll take the tour if you haven't already done so. Your answer, while perhaps on target, would be more useful if you cited official LDS teaching to back it up. You might consider reviewing how your answer can be supported. Thanks! Commented Aug 24, 2018 at 14:15

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