The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is often accused of being racist. I would like to personally address this issue lest anyone should be confused.
Firstly we should consider ourselves very blessed to have the scriptures which provide us great insight into the origin of the different races.
When God created Adam and Eve we know that they were white skinned. In Moses 5 we learn that Cain, a son of Adam and Eve loved Satan more than God. Cain slew his brother Abel and a mark (and we will later learn that this was a mark of a blackness of the skin) was put upon him and his posterity.
All of Cain’s posterity was wiped out during the flood of Noah; all except one woman named Egyptus (which means forbidden). Noah’s son Ham had taken her to wife (probably against the wishes of his father), and thus (according to Ab 1:24) from Ham, sprang that race which preserved the curse in the land.
And what was the curse? You may be tempted to think that the curse was that their skin color was black, but in fact the curse was related to the ability (or inability in this case) with regards to holding the priesthood. In Abraham we learn of a righteous Pharaoh who was blessed with the blessings of the Earth and with wisdom, but was cursed with regards to the priesthood because he was a descendant of Ham. Skin color was the method chosen of the Lord to clearly distinguish between Cain’s descendants who could not hold the priesthood and Adams other descendants that could. This was the mark that the Lord was referring to in Moses 5. So let's be very clear here. Descendants of Cain could be righteous, wise and blessed of the Lord in every way, but they simply could not hold the priesthood. This is not ‘The Church’ being racist; these are the revelations from The Lord.
One thing that is very important to note here is that even at the time of the Israelites only the Levite tribe could hold the priesthood. The other tribes could not, even though they were also white skinned and in many cases righteous men.
Now let's turn to The Book of Mormon for more information on the subject of races. The
Americas were inhabited and populated from a group of people who journeyed there from . Shortly after their arrival to the Promised Land this group split into two groups who throughout the history of the Jerusalem (from 600 B.C. to 400 AD) continually fought. One group (the Nephites) generally followed the Lord and the others (the Lamanites) turned against the Lord. Again the Lord saw fit to distinguish the two peoples by causing a similar curse as Cain’s to come upon the Lamanites. In 2 Nephi 5:21 we learn that The Lord caused a sore cursing, because of their iniquity to come upon them. Whereas they used to be white, fair and delightsome God caused a skin of blackness to come upon them. Americas
And why did God do this? That their women might not be enticing unto the Nephites. Interracial marriage was strongly discouraged; just as Cain’s seed was 'forbidden' so were the Lamanites. In verse 23 we read "And cursed shall be the seed of him that mixeth with their seed; for they shall be cursed even with the same cursing".
Eventually the Nephites became wicked and were wiped out by the Lamanites, who were found by Christopher Columbus.
Now I should clarify that this time the curse upon the Lamanites did not include limitations on their ability to hold the priesthood.
So far we have learned the origin of the white and two dark skinned races on the Earth. Scientists would do well to take note; Man started out white and through unrighteousness became darker skinned.
The Book of Mormon prophesied that the Lamanites would accept the gospel and become a white and delightsome people again. Leaders in the restored church have worked hard to bring to pass this prophecy. Apostle Elder Kimball reported the following during General Conference in 1960:
"The day of the Lamanites is nigh. For years they have been growing delightsome, and they are now becoming white and delightsome, as they were promised. In this picture of the twenty Lamanite missionaries, fifteen of the twenty were as light as Anglos; five were darker but equally delightsome. The children in the home placement program in
are often lighter than their brothers and sisters in the hogans on the reservation. At one meeting a father and mother and their sixteen-year-old daughter were present, the little member girl--sixteen--sitting between the dark father and mother, and it was evident she was several shades lighter than her parents--on the same reservation, in the same hogan, subject to the same sun and wind and weather....These young members of the Church are changing to whiteness and to delightsomeness." Utah
I think it is wonderful to see these prophecies come to pass right before our eyes! It truly is a testament to the truthfulness of the restored gospel.
When the church was restored to the Earth in 1830 the curse upon Cain’s seed with regards to the priesthood was still in effect, but in 1978 this very same Apostle Elder Spencer W. Kimball, now president of the church received a revelation from the Lord that extended priesthood blessings to all worthy male members of the Church.
With the curse of Cain lifted the Lords kingdom could now be established amongst every nation, tongue and people.
With regards to racism 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 , 236–37).
My feelings are summed up perfectly by my friend and fellow servant Alexander B. Morrison of the seventy who wrote in the Sept 2000 Ensign "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"