I was wondering, since I've heard this a lot and I've done some research about it. I'd like to know what Mormons, at least contemporary Mormons, have to say about this.

Keeping in mind documents like these which I will quote to avoid needless opposition :

"Cain was cursed with dark skin; he became the father of the Negroes, and those spirits wh are not worthy to receive the priesthood are born through his lineage." (Mormon Doctrine, pp. 102)

"Negroes in this life are denied the priesthood; under no circumstances can they hold this delegation of authority from the Almighty" (Mormon Doctrine, 10th printing, pages 527-528)

"The gospel message of salvation is not carried affirmatively to them... Negros are not equal with other races where the receipt of certain spiritual blessings are concerned."(Bruce R. McConkie: Highlights From His Life & Teachings. Horn, Denis B.(2000))

I will now UPDATE the preface because the previous quotes were seemingly not enough to avoid needless opposition. I am not doing this to simply mock, I am doing this to get a satisfactory answer meaning truth.

Quotes from MORMON PROPHETS that are considered to be infallible teachings of the LDS, or supposedly so, we shall see.

Because of [Cain's] wickedness he became the father of an inferior race...the mark which was placed on Cain and which his posterity inherited was the black skin. (Prophet Joseph Fielding Smith, the way of perfection p. 101, 107)

Some classes of the human family...are black, uncouth, uncomely, disagreable and low in their habits, wild and seemingly deprived of nearly all the blessings of the intelligence that is generally bestowed upon mankinnd. The first man who committed the odious crime of killing one of his bretheren will be cursed... the Lord put a mark upon Cain which is the flat nose and black skin.

Shall I tell you the law of God in regards 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 shall always be so.

(2nd Prophet of the LDS Church, Brigham Young, "Journal of Discourses," Vol. 7, Pages 290 & 291)

The intermarriage of the Negro and white races, a concept which has heretofore been most repugnant to most normal minded people... There is a growing tendency...toward the breaking down of the 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. (8th Prophet of the LDS Church, George Albert Smith, letter to Virgil H. Sponberg (critic of the anti-black ban), May 5, 1947, quoted in Lester E. Bush, Mormonism's Negro Doctrine: An Historical Overview, p. 42)

Here are some links :





Please, if somehow the LDS's official Church teaching has changed, explain in your answer the difference between the old theology and the new theology, that is a prerequisit to get your answer validated, thank you in advance.

  • 5
    I will work on an answer but before I do please note that 'Mormon Doctrine' is not in fact Mormon doctrine
    – depperm
    Commented May 2, 2018 at 13:15
  • 3
    considered to be infallible No LDS prophet is believed to be infallible (source).
    – JBH
    Commented May 2, 2018 at 18:16
  • 2
    How can black people be descended from Cain when Cain's lineage was wiped out in the Great Flood? All current living people are descended from Noah.
    – mbomb007
    Commented May 2, 2018 at 20:26
  • 2
    Is that second quote block not actually a quote (particularly the first sentence, which really needs a citation)? If it's not a quote, please don't use quotation markdown. It's super confusing using quote formatting for non-quotes.
    – Cornstalks
    Commented May 2, 2018 at 21:16
  • 1
    Citations are needed for the Brigham Young and George Albert Smith quotes. Commented May 2, 2018 at 21:17

2 Answers 2


I will restate that the book Mormon Doctrine, written by Bruce R. McConkie, is not Mormon doctrine, nor ever has been.

We [the First Presidency of the church] decided that Bruce R. McConkie’s book, 'Mormon Doctrine' recently published by Bookcraft Company, must not be re-published, as it is full of errors and misstatements, and it is most unfortunate that it has received such wide circulation. It is reported to us that Brother McConkie has made corrections to his book, and is now preparing another edition. We decided this morning that we do not want him to publish another edition1

Mormon doctrine on blacks and the priesthood can be found in Official Declaration 2, which in summary says:

The Book of Mormon teaches that “all are alike unto God,” including “black and white, bond and free, male and female” (2 Nephi 26:33). Throughout the history of the Church, people of every race and ethnicity in many countries have been baptized and have lived as faithful members of the Church. During Joseph Smith’s lifetime, a few black male members of the Church were ordained to the priesthood. Early in its history, Church leaders stopped conferring the priesthood on black males of African descent. Church records offer no clear insights into the origins of this practice. Church leaders believed that a revelation from God was needed to alter this practice and prayerfully sought guidance. The revelation came to Church President Spencer W. Kimball and was affirmed to other Church leaders in the Salt Lake Temple on June 1, 1978. The revelation removed all restrictions with regard to race that once applied to the priesthood.

See also this article on Race and the Priesthood

On Mormon doctrine, mormonnewsroom says:

  • Not every statement made by a Church leader, past or present, necessarily constitutes doctrine. A single statement made by a single leader on a single occasion often represents a personal, though well-considered, opinion, but is not meant to be officially binding for the whole Church. With divine inspiration, the First Presidency (the prophet and his two counselors) and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles (the second-highest governing body of the Church) counsel together to establish doctrine that is consistently proclaimed in official Church publications. This doctrine resides in the four “standard works” of scripture (the Holy Bible, the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants and the Pearl of Great Price), official declarations and proclamations, and the Articles of Faith. Isolated statements are often taken out of context, leaving their original meaning distorted.


You mention Mormon prophets are infallible but James E Faust puts what mormonnewsroom (above) said clearer:

We make no claim of infallibility or perfection in the prophets, seers, and revelators

Also, a bit of the history, of blacks and the priesthood, is found in the introductory paragraph of Official Declaration above (now in bold). I have heard this referred to as cultural doctrine. Because of racism during early church history, some of that bled into church practice and teachings but without any doctrinal foundation (remember church leaders are not infallible). Official Declaration 2 is the LDS church's official stance on blacks and the priesthood and was meant as a clarification for the church that had gone astray in this teaching.

1 https://books.google.com/books?id=xAm4qGyN2OYC&pg=PA179&lpg=PA179&hl=en#v=onepage&q&f=false

  • It was my understanding that these teachings were given by "prophets" of the LDS, and they supposedly speak for God and are therefore infallible on teaching. I know very well that the LDS now rejects this officially, yet there seems to be a discontinuity here. Maybe the priesthood was not specifically denied by a prophet speaking to teach, but there certainly is a curse on black people and that you must give an answer for. I will update the question by quoting a prophet or two, who do mention this curse, and I would like to know its implications. Commented May 2, 2018 at 15:33
  • 1
    Bruce R McConkie was an apostle, so technically was a prophet, but he was never the president of the LDS church. Here is an additional article (lds.org/general-conference/1989/10/…) that re-states what the mormonnewsroom article said in that 'We make no claim of infallibility or perfection in the prophets, seers, and revelators'
    – depperm
    Commented May 2, 2018 at 15:40
  • @DestynationY maybe instead of updating your question with a new question ask a new question
    – depperm
    Commented May 2, 2018 at 15:41
  • It is the same question, read it carefully. I asked for if there were curses and if so what are they. Commented May 2, 2018 at 16:05
  • Also see this answer about what constitutes doctrine in the LDS church: christianity.stackexchange.com/questions/8551/… -- prophets are allowed to have opinions and even speak them. It's still up to each individual to use the Spirit to know what is doctrine (although these days the Church does mostly a good job of preaching only doctrine over the pulpit in general conferences.)
    – Matt
    Commented May 2, 2018 at 16:38

Quotes from MORMON PROPHETS that are considered to be infallible teachings of the LDS

Bruce McConkie (the author of your first three quotes) himself states:

[N]ot every statement made by a Church leader, past or present, necessarily constitutes doctrine. It is commonly understood in the Church that a statement made by one leader on a single occasion often represents a personal, though well-considered, opinion, not meant to be official or binding for the whole Church.

The Doctrine of Christ, Ensign, May 2012

McConkie was a prolific writer and speaker and in the course of his life stated many "personal, though well-considered opinions."

Ultimately, McConkie's Mormon Doctrine is as relevant to LDS beliefs as Thomas Aquinas's Summa Theologica is relevant to Catholic beliefs.

Mormons do believe Apostles/Prophets speak for God as in ages past, but there is no more claim for their infallibility than there is claims for the infallibility of Jesus's original Apostles (including one Judas Iscariot).

The strongest guarantee for the correctness of the leaders of the Church was stated by Wilford Woodruff, and has since been canonized as scripture:

The Lord will never permit me or any other man who stands as President of this Church to lead you astray. It is not in the programme. It is not in the mind of God. If I were to attempt that, the Lord would remove me out of my place

Official Declaration 1, Doctrine and Covenants

In LDS canonized scripture, the essentially comprehensive list of statements which may be related to curses and skin color:

  • Cain received a curse, and a "mark". (Genesis 4)
  • Enoch was shown in a vision that the seed of Cain was "black" and separated from the remainder of Adam's descendants (Moses 7).
  • Enoch was shown in a vision that a "blackness" came upon the children of Canaan. (Moses 7)
  • Ham's son Canaan was cursed. (Genesis 9)
  • The Pharaoh of Egypt was a Canaanite and descendant of Ham and part of a lineage without the Priesthood. (Abraham 1)
  • The Lamanites were cursed because of their sins, and in order "that they might not be enticing unto my people" God also gave them "a skin of blackness" (2 Nephi 5).
  • The "skins of the Laminates were dark" because of the mark and curse of their fathers in rebelling against God. (Alma 3)
  • Modern day revelation confirms that prophesied and awaited time has come where the Priesthood may be had "without regard for race or color" (Doctrine and Covenants, Official Declaration 2).

There are actually only a few statements by Apostles or Presiding Apostles on the doctrinal relevance of race. (Many of which you quoted.)

In regards to the Lamanities, Joseph Fielding Smith Jr. said

The dark skin was placed upon the Lamanites so that they could be distinguished from the Nephites and to keep the two peoples from mixing. The dark skin was the sign of the curse [not the curse itself]. The curse was the withdrawal of the Spirit of the Lord...The dark skin of those who have come into the Church is no longer to be considered a sign of the curse...These converts are delightsome and have the Spirit of the Lord

3:122–23, Answers to Gospel Questions

As for intermarriage, this is familiar Biblical territory

Neither shalt thou make marriages with them; thy daughter thou shalt not give unto his son, nor his daughter shalt thou take unto thy son.

For they will turn away thy son from following me, that they may serve other gods: so will the anger of the LORD be kindled against you, and destroy thee suddenly.

Deuteronomy 7:3-4

In conclusion,

  1. At various times peoples and their descendants have been cursed with the lack of the knowledge and presence of God due to their sin.
  2. Dark skin is a intergenerational sign of the curse.
  3. God discourages marrying non-believers.
  4. Dark skin is no longer a sign of any curse.

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