Curse of Dark Skin
The source of this uniquely Mormon doctrine has its roots in the Mormon scriptures. Some very good
insight can also be found
in an old book published way back in 1931 called "The Way To Perfection."
I will discuss "The Way to Perfection" near the end of the text, but for now let's turn to the Mormon
The first time we hear about the curse of dark, or black, skin in the Book of Mormon is 2
It is said that God cursed the Lamanites with black skin so they would not be
enticing unto the Nephites.
Even though Alma 17:14 describes the Lamanites as being a wild, ferocious, plundering,
murdering people, God felt the need to change their skin color to make them
not enticing to the Nephites ...
as if their immoral acts were not sufficient enough to
deter the Nephites into wanting to become like
them. It is also stated in 2 Nephi 5:23
that the Nephites would also be cursed with the dark skin if they
married with the Lamanites.
The Lamanite babies that were born to the dark-skinned Lamanites also had the sign
of this curse.
How black skin is not attractive to the white-skinned Nephite people is a discussion for
In Alma 3:6-7, it is recorded that 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. And their brethren sought to destroy
them, therefore they were cursed; and the Lord
God set a mark upon them, yea, upon Laman
and Lemuel, and also the sons of Ishmael, and
In the Bible, the Israelites who conquered the land of Canaan and later apostatized
were not cursed
with dark skin to separate themselves from those sons of Jacob who
remained faithful to God's
Even in the LDS teaching of the period of the Great Apostasy, white people did not turn
black and black people did not turn white.
So that is how things progressed in the Book of Mormon.
There is a case in Alma 23:18 where the curse was removed from the Lamanites and it did no
According to 3 Nephi chapters 11 through 30, Jesus is said to visit the Nephites somewhere
Americas sometime around 34 A.D.
According to 4 Nephi 1:6, twenty-five years had passed away since Jesus ascended back into
heaven, from there to visit all the other lost tribes of the house of Israel. In 4 Nephi
1:10, we learn
that all the people of Nephi had become "an exceedingly fair and
delightsome people". In other
words, they became white-skinned. See the footnote 10a.
It links to 1 Nephi 13:15, 2 Nephi 5:21,
and Mormon 9:6.
In 1 Nephi 13:15, the Gentiles who are said to have discovered America (aka Christopher
were physically white like the Nephites before they were slain at the great
battle with the Lamanites.
The spiritually-dark Nephites were slain because they had
slidden into apostasy.
Let's specifically look at Mormon 9:6. "O then ye unbelieving, turn ye unto the Lord;
cry mightily unto
the Father in the name of Jesus, that perhaps ye may be found spotless,
pure, fair, and white, having
been cleansed by the blood of the Lamb, at that great and
In Jacob 3:8, one also learns that the skin color of the Lamanites could be whiter than
those of the
Nephites when they would appear before God's throne.
According to 4 Nephi 1:14-17, 66 years had passed since the arrival of Christ to the
(100 years from the birth of Christ). This was time when the happiest people on
earth lived in the
'Americas.' Only righteous people existed. There were no Nephites, no
Lamanites, "nor any manner
From around 100 A.D. to 200 A.D., the period of righteousness reigned. In the 201st year,
began to creep into the church (4 Nephi 1:24). In the 110th year, a small group of
and took upon themselves the name of 'Lamanites' (4 Nephi 1:20). In the
231st year, the designation
of 'Nephites' had come back (4 Nephi 1:35). 3 other divisions
also came about (Jacobites, Josephites,
4 Nephi 1:45-46 records that the Nephites had become wicked like the Lamanites. There were
righteous except for only 3 disciples. Moroni 9:20 records that the Nephites even
wickedness of the Lamanites. The Nephites were said to have raped the
Lamanite women, torturing
them unto death, and then eating their flesh (Moroni 9:9-10).
And in none of this did their skin color
According to Mormon 1:13-14 (circa 322 A.D.), "wickedness did prevail upon the face
of the whole
land" and "there were no gifts from the Lord, and the Holy Ghost
did not come upon any, because
of their wickedness and unbelief."
This was a period of total apostasy.
The Mormon Jesus had failed to prevent Satan from destroying his church again like
believe Satan destroyed the first century church in Palestine.
In Mormon 2:14, we learn that the Nephites cursed God and wished they would die. The
on the other hand resorted to offering up the Nephite women and children
prisoners as human sacrifices
to their idols (Mormon 4:15). Mormon 4:12 even records that
these people were the most wicked of
any of the tribes of Israel (Mormon 4:12).
The Book of Mormon never describes the return of the curse of black skin
upon the Nephites and the
The Lamanites were not a white-skinned people when the LDS Church
says that the Lamanites are
the principle ancestors of the native American Indians.
The Nephites are said to be white however
when they are slain in the great
Lamanite-Nephite war story in the Book of Mormon.
The curse of dark skin was not mentioned at all in the great
Jaredite civilization that was also said to
have come to a choice land above all other
When you compare the 1830 version of the Book of Mormon with today's version, you will
small editing change in 2 Nephi 30:6. The word "white" in the phrase
"they shall be a white and a
delightsome people" has been changed to
"pure.". The fact that white has been changed to pure
reflects the LDS belief
that white skin is symbolic of purity whereas black skin is symbolic of impurity.
The Way to Perfection
What has the Mormon Church taught in relation to the Negroes being denied the
It took some time to find this book published way back in 1931 by Joseph
Fielding Smith. For
obvious reasons, it is not published by the Mormon Church
As we have seen earlier from a Youtube video, the former President of the Mormon Church, Gordon
B. Hinckley, admitted that he did not
know why the Negroes were denied the Priesthood. The
1931 text makes it obviously clear. You would figure anyone
who is anyone of high importance in
the LDS Church would be very familiar with this book.
Let's examine some key passages in chapters 15 and 16.
Chapter 15 is entitled, "The Seed of Cain." Chapter 16 is entitled, "The Seed of Cain After the
"Not only was Cain called upon to suffer, but because of his wickedness he became the father
of an inferior race" (p. 101).
"Millions of souls have come into this world cursed with 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" (p. 101).
"Moreover, they have been made to feel their inferiority and have been separated from the rest of
mankind from the beginning"
"But what a contrast! The sons of Seth, Enoch and Noah honored by the blessings and rights of
Priesthood! And the sons of Cain,
denied the Priesthood" (p. 102).
"In the spirit of sympathy, mercy and faith, we will also hope that blessings may eventually be given to
our Negro brethren,
for they are our brethren - children of God - notwithstanding their black covering
emblematical of eternal darkness" (p. 102).
"The curse placed on Cain was continued in his posterity and that through the seed of Ham this curse
was brought through
the flood" (p. 103).
"Some of the brethren who were associated with the Prophet Joseph Smith declared that he taught
this doctrine" (p. 103).
"President Brigham Young, answering a question put to him by Elder Lorenzo D. Young in a meeting
held December 25, 1869, in
Salt Lake City, said that Joseph Smith had declared that the Negroes
were not neutral in heaven, for all the spirits took
sides, but the posterity of Cain are black because
he (Cain) committed murder" (p. 105).
"When all the other children of Adam have had the privilege of receiving the Priesthood, and of coming
into the Kingdom of
God, and of being redeemed from the four quarters of the earth, and have received
their resurrection from the dead, then it will
be time enough to remove the curse from Cain and his
posterity" (p. 106).
"He (Cain) sinned against the light ... moreover, he was cursed and his posterity after him because he
cut off Abel in his youth
without posterity" (p. 106).
"It was well understood by the early elders of the Church that the mark which was placed on Cain
and which his posterity inherited
was the black skin" (p. 107).
"The Book of Moses informs us that Cain and his descendants were black" (p. 107).
"President George A. Smith, speaking of the Negro race, in a discourse, September 23, 1855,
said: When Cain brought a curse
upon his own head and that of his household, his after generations
bear the same curse. The curse that came upon Canaan, the son of
Ham, was extended to a great
portion of the human race, and has continued to the present day" (p. 109).
"This doctrine did not originate with President Brigham Young but was taught by the Prophet
Joseph Smith" (p. 110).
"The Indians have greater cause to complain of the treatment of the whites, than the Negroes, or
sons of Cain - D.H.C., 4:501.
But we all know it is due to his teachings that the Negro today is
barred from the Priesthood" (p. 111).
Apparently all this information slipped the mind of former President Gordon B. Hinckley before
and during his interview.
"The Negro may be baptized and enter the Church; and some of these unfortunate people have
been baptized and have proved their
faithfulness and worthiness before the Lord, in this their
second estate" (p. 111).
Also see pages 184-188
of "Answers to Gospel Questions - volume 2" and pages 122-123
"Answers to Gospel Questions - volume 3".
I do not believe that the Negro race is an unfortunate people. But I do believe that it is unfortunate
that Latter-day Saints cannot
obtain these books more readily from their church.
It is almost as if the LDS Church is trying to remove part of its historical teachings. Maybe this
would account for the fact
that even a Mormon President is in the dark about some church history.
Now since he is in the dark, you can imagine the state of
the ordinary lay persons.
In Jacob 3:8, white skin will be a sign of one's spiritual purity as they appear before
for judgment. Or maybe this is just for the Lamanites/Native American
In the meantime, it appears that the curse of Cain still remains on the Negro
race even though the
Mormon Church extended the Priesthood to them in 1978.
According to the published declaration,
there is no mention of the curse being
removed - for their skin is still dark.