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Blacks of African Heritage and Curse of Cain: Curse Defined

Rodric's opinion of the Restored Gospel's doctrines change as more revelation comes. In the meantime, reasoning and perception rule the day.

People who enter The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints need to have a point of reference when the knowledge of the priesthood ban, and its connection with the Hamitic curse, is thrust upon them by some concerned relative or gloating rival. The curses pronounced on Canaan and Cain are not explicitly taught by the Church in its doctrines. The unofficial "doctrine" taught by prophets and apostles for generations suggests that Blacks of African heritage are the descendants of Cain via Cainan. The curse of Cain is a cancerous sore blighting the faith of many Saints' psychology due to misunderstandings and lack of spiritual insight. This blight must be slowly treated.


There was a curse pronounced upon Cain, but it was not that his skin was black. His mark was a blessing so that those who saw him and his kind would not slay them.

— Rodric Anthony Johnson

Written In the previous article "Black Skin Curse of Cain and Restored Church of Jesus Christ" is the origin of the teaching regarding the curse of Cain in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The Church was not the only mostly White religion that taught along the lines of a curse on Blacks of African ancestry due to being the descendants of Cain. It, however, was the only church claiming to be the Lord's Restored Church at the time. The implication is that such a teaching would be considered fact by practicing Latter-day Saints, especially if prophets and apostles taught it.

The purpose of this article is not to list the statements of past leaders of the Church regarding Blacks of African descent. Those statements appear very ugly and racist. One such statement made by the First Presidency, one of the three governing bodies of the Church, provides a policy perspective, but not a doctrinal surity.

President Joseph Fielding Smith gave the opinion that,

Not only was Cain called upon to suffer, but because of his wickedness he became the father of an inferior race. A curse was placed upon him and that curse has been continued through his lineage and must do so while time endures. Millions of souls have come into this world cursed with a black skin and have been denied the privilege of Priesthood and the fulness of the blessings of the Gospel. These are the descendants of Cain. Moreover, they have been made to feel their inferiority and have been separated from the rest of mankind from the beginning. Enoch saw the people of Canaan, descendants of Cain, and he says, “and there was a blackness came upon all the children of Canaan, that they were despised among all people." [1] (p. 101)

The Church asserts it is a restoration of The Church of Jesus Christ, but it continued to teach the unrevealed sentiments of the Christian world regarding Blacks of African descent as "inferior" and "descendants of Cain." There are a number of quotes of leaders who taught racist dogma regarding Blacks. Currently, the Church does not focus on the uninspired teachings of some of its leaders in the past, looking to move forward due to the June 1, 1978 revelation extending the scope of priesthood ordination to all worthy males.

Blacks in the Scriptures

Darius Gray and Marvin Perkins undertake a cultural approach to refute the centuries-old attitudes and myths relating to Blacks in the scriptures and unofficial Restored Church theological perspective. Latter-day Saints have standard works including the Bible, The Book of Mormon, The Pearl of Great Price, and the Doctrine and Covenants. Gray and Perkins use these records and their intellectual prowess in a collection of DVD's called Blacks in the Scriptures.

Darius Gray & Marvin Perkins

Darius Gray

Darius Gray

Marvin Perkins

Marvin Perkins

Scriptures about the Curse of Cain

What is the Curse?

The article "Adam & Eve: Hope in the Covenant Child" offers perspective on how Cain came to be the father of Satan's lies and cursed of the Lord. After the Great Deluge with Noah as the new Patriarch of the human race, the curse of Cain was perpetuated in a child of Ham, Canaan, who married one of the daughters of Ham's lineage, most likely a cousin.

There was a curse pronounced upon Cain, but it was not that his skin was black. His mark was a blessing so that those who saw him and his kind would not slay them. What was truly sinister about Cain is his worship of the devil. His children perpetuated it. There is no indication that his skin color or race became Black, but his soul and practices were definitely black.

Egyptus could have been no kin to Cain but preserved the curse in the land because she practiced the arts of Cain, devil worship, and taught them to her children after the Great Deluge. There does not have to be any blood relation for that to occur. Either way, Egyptus was cursed.

There was a curse upon the descendants of Ham through Canaan, who was Ham's fourth son, for uncovering the nakedness of his father Noah. Without further information, it makes no sense for Noah to curse one of his grandsons.

Why not all the children of Ham?

Cush, Mizraim, and Phut are also the children of Ham, and there is no curse pronounced upon them. Also, the curse is not a skin color or race. It was to be servants to the children of Shem, the blessed of the Lord.

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To uphold the racially charged position of the Church due to President Brigham Young's speech to the legislative body in the territory of Utah and subsequent policy generations ago, theories abound about the origin of Blacks of African ancestry. A culture of slavery among Christians and Islamists gave birth to the practice of identifying Blacks of African heritage cursed to justify their religions and cultural positions. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints allowed a policy of racial exclusion based on no revelation, but a cultural practice.

The Church has oversight to prevent one person's opinion to lead the Church's policies by having both The Quorum of the First Presidency and The Quorum of the Twelve Apostles agree unanimously on all policies and doctrines. All doctrines go before the Church membership for a vote before they are added to the scriptures, making them binding on the Church. The curse was not black skin. No evidence suggests Joseph Smith or Brigham Young received revelation to institute a policy of exclusion based on race. Evidence does exist God never intended race in determining who could exercise His authority or receive other sacred blessings.

Chad Nielsen, a writer for the Times and offers, based on a statement printed in a publication supported by the Church and also called Times & Seasons,

The First Presidency released a statement in 1840 that predicted that “people from every land and from every nation” would flock to Nauvoo and “worship the Lord of Hosts in his holy temple, and offer up their orisons (prayers) in his sanctuary,” including “the degraded Hottentot” (an offensive term for the native Khoikhoi peoples of southwest Africa) and “persons … of every color.” [2]

Speculation and Keys of Leadership

Was the curse possibly an acknowledgment to Ham that his descendants would not be able to hold priesthood keys? Priesthood keys are the authority to govern how the priesthood is used by those who hold it in regard to ordinances of salvation.

The prophet, under the direction of Jesus, gives keys to people to officiate in specific areas, Bishoping and such. The prophet also removes keys when the service is completed.

Ham had many sons, but only one of them specifically was told that he did not have the keys of presidency, authority to preside. That does not necessarily mean that none of his descendants through Canaan would be able to be ordained to the priesthood of God. It means that they could not officiate as leaders as Pharaoh apparently did claim that right through Ham as recorded in Abraham, the first pharaoh.

This is one theory, though, Abraham 1:26-27 specifically states that despite Pharoah being righteous, he was of the lineage that had no rights to the priesthood. One of the qualifications of having rights to the priesthood is righteousness. something else prevented him as Noah states in the curse on his grandson.

Was it only Pharoah whose seed could not hold the priesthood? Who is the seed of Pharoah? Is it all those of African descent, making all those with that heritage royalty? It has not yet been revealed.

It has been revealed that all racist teachings advanced in the past to explain Brigham Young's ban on Africans from the priesthood the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints does not acknowledge or take responsibility for--heretofore disavowed. In so doing, however, the Church does not say that the teachings are all false, just no longer acknowledged.

The essay written with leadership approval on behalf of the Church states as its concluding portion

Today, the Church disavows (It does not acknowledge or take responsibility for] or [rejects as true or just) 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.

There is a spectrum here in this statement. Disavow can mean anything from disassociating (distancing from something) to repudiating, (acknowledging the falsehood of something). It was shortsighted, a least, to ban Blacks from the priesthood based on obscure scripture and no revelation or a true revelation that we have no documentation of, at most. Either way, a prophet of God instituted the policy and a revelation from God ended it.

What Comes Next

No soul sat idly by in the war commenced in heaven. All of God's children participated including Cain, the cursed.


  • The Way to Perfection [1]
    Short discourses on gospel themes; dedicated to all who are interested in the redemption of the living and the dead.
  • Reconsidering the Curse of Ham | Times & Seasons [2]
    In a candid moment in January 1858, an early Church leader named Zerah Pulsipher told his family that: “Most of you are young therefore you have the advantage of me because [yo]u have less Gentile Traditions to over com[e].”[1] This…Read more →
  • Race and the Priesthood [3]
    In theology and practice, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints embraces the universal human family. Latter-day Saint scripture and teachings affirm that God loves all of His children and makes salvation available to all. God created the ma

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2018 Rodric Anthony

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