Interracial Marriage and the Beginning of the Priesthood and Temple Ban on Black Africans The priesthood and temple ban on black members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-‐day Saints existed for more than a century before the ban was repealed via revelation in 1978. Many members of the church have tried to find reasons for the previous ban. BYU Professor Randy Bott tried to explain why priesthood and temple ordinances were banned for black church members prior to 1978 in an interview with Washington Post reporter Jason Horowitz published on February 28.Jason Horowitz summarized his interview with Randy Bott. In his office, religion professor Randy Bott explains a possible theological underpinning of the ban. According to Mormon scriptures, the descendants of Cain, who killed his brother, Abel, “were black.” One of Cain’s descendants was Egyptus, a woman Mormons believe was the namesake of Egypt. She married Ham, whose descendants were themselves cursed and, in the view of many Mormons, barred from the priesthood by his father, Noah. Bott points to the Mormon holy text the Book of Abraham as suggesting that all of the descendants of Ham and Egyptus were thus black and barred from the priesthood.1 Bott had described the traditional understanding of the ban, but the very next day, the church strenuously tried to distance itself from Bott’s remarks by issuing an official statement. “For a time in the Church there was a restriction on the priesthood for male members of African descent. It is not known precisely why, how, or when this restriction began in the Church but what is clear is that it ended decades ago.”2 The statement that “It is not known precisely why, how, or when this restriction began” was in line with an official church statement from 1969 stating blacks did not receive the priesthood “for reasons which we believe are known to God, but which He has not made fully known to man.”3 However, both the 2012 and 1969 statements are a departure of past teachings on the topic of the priesthood and temple restrictions. Early church leaders have given various reasons for the ban: early church apostle Parley P. Pratt was the first to claim that the Curse of Ham prevented blacks from holding the priesthood in 1847. 1
http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/the-‐genesis-‐of-‐a-‐churchs-‐stand-‐on-‐race/2012/02/22/gIQAQZXyfR_story_2.html retrieved 4/13/2012. Jason Horowitz paraphrased BYU Psychology Associate Professor Randy Bott as saying that blacks couldn’t receive the priesthood because God “protected them from the lowest rungs of hell reserved for people who abuse their priesthood powers. [Bott said] You couldn’t fall off the top of the ladder, because you weren’t on the top of the ladder. So, in reality the blacks not having the priesthood was the greatest blessing God could give them.” Also found at the Provo Daily Herald link http://www.heraldextra.com/news/local/lds-‐church-‐condemns-‐racism-‐after-‐byu-‐prof-‐s-‐ statements/article_87bbb4c8-‐1f93-‐56ae-‐91b3-‐ea0d4b897625.html?oCampaign=hottopics retrieved 3/3/2012. 2 http://www.mormonnewsroom.org/article/racial-‐remarks-‐in-‐washington-‐post-‐article retrieved on 3/3/2012. The press release was a response to a Washington Post article from Feb 28. 3 Official Church Statement dated December 15, 1969 addressed to General Authorities, Regional Representatives of the Twelve, Stake Presidents, Mission Presidents, and Bishops.
Tanner 7/24/12 12:22 AM Comment : Via gives an informal tone. Consider choosing another word.
Tanner 7/24/12 12:22 AM Comment : Chicago 8.97. I know the church style guide capitalizes the general term church, but Chicago specifically says not to. Make sure to consult who the paper is intended for and what version of church they would prefer.
Tanner 7/24/12 12:22 AM Comment : Disconnect between these two sentences.
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Apostle Orson Hyde claimed that the ban was a result of decisions made in our pre-‐mortal life, while Brigham Young disputed this assertion. In his 1958 book titled Mormon Doctrine, Bruce R. McConkie agreed with Hyde’s conclusion that blacks were not as valiant in the pre-‐mortal life. Mormon Doctrine has been very popular over the years despite the fact that it was known to contain many errors.4 LDS Church-‐owned Deseret Book announced in May 2010 that it had decided that the book would no longer be reprinted.5 This essay will examine historical records, concerning temple and priesthood restrictions for blacks, to uncover information that will help determine more “precisely why, how, or when this restriction began in the Church.” A point of clarification needs to be made here. Many have viewed the temple/priesthood ban as a racial ban, but church leaders have always viewed it as lineage-‐based. The official Church statement refers to members of “African descent”, though white Africans prevalent in South Africa have never been excluded from temple or priesthood ordinances. It should also be noted that blacks in North/South America, Cuba, Haiti, and other places away from Africa were generally believed to have been brought to the North and South American continent as slaves descended from Africa, and, therefore, ineligible for priesthood or temple ordinances. However, blacks determined to be non-‐African were not restricted from priesthood or temple ordinances. For example, in 1948, during the George Albert Smith administration, missionaries in the Philippines did not know how to handle natives of a group called “Negritos,” who had black skin but no known African ancestry. The First Presidency authorized ordination, saying descent from black Africans was the disqualifying factor, not skin color or other racial characteristics. 6 With that caveat, the overwhelming majority of black Mormons have been excluded from the temple and priesthood for more than one hundred years. It is clear from the historical record that there was no ban in the 1830s. Black Pete, Walker Lewis, Elijah Abel, and Joseph Ball are four black men believed to have received the Priesthood in the early period of church history. Other black men received the priesthood in the early 1840s period as well. There has been some debate as to precisely when the ban occurred. Lester Bush has put forth several essays on this particular subject.7 He noted that there had 4
Greg Prince, David O McKay: The Rise of Modern Mormonism, 49-‐52. President McKay asked apostles Marion G. Romney and Mark E. Peterson to review McConkie’s book. Mark E. Peterson documented more than 1000 errors in Mormon Doctrine. 5 Salt Lake Tribune reported in May 2010, see http://www.sltrib.com/news/ci_15137409 retrieved 4/1/2012. 6 Edward Kimball, Lengthen Your Stride, 200. The Kimball footnote states, “While in the Philippines to dedicate the land for proselytizing, Joseph Fielding Smith observed native peoples who appeared to be negroid. Despite this, he said in the dedicatory prayer, ‘I bless the native inhabitants both black and white with the blessings of the gospel and the priesthood— Amen.’ When asked about this, he responded upset, ‘That is what the Lord required me to do.’ He confirmed several years later that the event occurred and said, ‘I would not want it to be supposed that I gave the priesthood to negroes.’” (emphasis in original.) 7 Bush published several essays in the magazine Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought. His first essay in Dialogue was published in 1969 and was titled “A Commentary on Stephen G. Taggart’s Mormonism’s Negro Policy: Social and Historical Origins” and is available at http://www.dialoguejournal.com/wp-‐content/uploads/sbi/articles/Dialogue_V04N04_88.pdf retrieved 3/11/2012. His most ground-‐breaking paper was published in the spring of 1973, “Mormonism’s Negro Doctrine: A Historical Overview” and is available at https://www.dialoguejournal.com/wp-‐ content/uploads/sbi/articles/Dialogue_V08N01_13.pdf retrieved 3/11/2012. Dialogue devoted an entire issue in 1979 to the subject of the priesthood ban, and Lester Bush wrote the introduction. It is available at https://www.dialoguejournal.com/wp-‐ content/uploads/sbi/issues/V12N02.pdf retrieved 3/11/2012. In 1984, Bush wrote “Whence the Negro Doctrine? A Review of
Tanner 7/11/12 10:19 AM Deleted: although
Tanner 7/24/12 12:22 AM Comment : Do you need a footnote showing the validity of each of these references?
Tanner 7/24/12 12:22 AM Comment : Chicago 6.31
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Tanner 7/24/12 12:22 AM Comment : Was that supposed to be a direct quote?
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Tanner 7/24/12 12:22 AM Comment : For clarity, I might still put a footnote here and just say in footnote see note 2 above)
Kaylee Herrick 7/24/12 12:22 AM Comment : This seemed like a jump from the last paragraph. Make a stronger transition from though to though in these paragraphs.
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Kaylee Herrick 7/24/12 12:22 AM Comment : Is this part of the quote?
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been no contemporary statements concerning the ban until 1847.8 Ronald Esplin wrote an essay in 1981 disputing Bush’s timing of the ban. Bush and Esplin agree that Parley P. Pratt had made a statement on April 25, 1847, declaring that William McCary had “the blood of Ham in him which line[a]ge was cursed as regard [to] the priesthood.” 9 However, Esplin feels that Pratt must have made the statement due to something declared by Joseph Smith. Esplin reaso, Unless Brigham Young taught the principle to Parley P. Pratt between 8 and 14 April 1847 the origin for the teaching is pushed back to at least mid-‐1846 before Elder Pratt left for England. Given the exigencies of 1846 that strongly suggests a Nauvoo origin a possibility historians have failed to embrace. I feel that two related misconceptions help explain why that alternative has not been pursued more vigorously. The first has to do with the nature of Brigham Young’s leadership, the second with Joseph Smith’s teachings.10 Esplin states that not all of Joseph’s words were recorded and speculates that perhaps there were “secret temple teachings” not documented that resulted in the ban. He believes the ban originated with Joseph Smith in Nauvoo in 1843, shortly before the founding prophet’s death. Bush notes a lack of contemporary evidence to back up Esplin’s claim. Bush states, In particular Esplin has focused attention on the new temple rituals, introduced and expanded in Nauvoo in the 1840s. While there may well be merit in linking black policies with temple development, it is still difficult to believe—given the apparent chronology of the actual practice—that a concrete policy of priesthood denial to blacks dated much before spring 1847.11 While many endorse Bush’s work on the subject, some still believe that Esplin’s essay has merit. As recently as 2009, historian Mark Staker noted that Esplin’s article from 1981 made “a strong case for a ban on priesthood for black men” originating with Joseph Smith,12 although he also praised Bush’s Ten Years of Answers” found in Neither Black Nor White, edited by Newell Bringhurst. In 1998, Bush wrote, “Writing ‘Mormonism’s Negro Doctrine: An Historical Overview’ (1973): Context and Reflections, 1998,” Journal of Mormon History 25(1):229-‐271 (Spring 1999). It is available at http://digitalcommons.usu.edu/mormonhistory/vol25/iss1/ retrieved 6/2/2012. 8 There are two possible statements about a ban in 1847. In Lester Bush, “Whence the Negro Doctrine? A Review of Ten Years of Answers” Bush accepts that Parley P. Pratt made a statement about Negro denial in 1847. Bush makes a footnote in Neither Black Nor White page 70 that William Appleby may have recorded a ban in 1847, though that is questionable. Appleby was upset on meeting a mixed-‐race couple and their child in 1847. When recording the event later, Appleby made a note about blacks being denied, but that wasn’t recorded until later when reviewing the events of his notes from that date. 9 Newell G. Bringhurst, “‘A Servant of Servants … Cursed as Pertaining to the Priesthood’: Mormon Attitudes toward Slavery and the Black Man 1830-‐1880,” Ph.D. dis., University of California-‐Davis, 1975, p. 121, and “An Ambiguous Decision: The Implementation of Mormon Priesthood Denial for the Black Man—A Re-‐examination,” Utah Historical Quarterly 46 (Winter 1978): 47, 62-‐63; Ronald K. Esplin, “Brigham Young and Priesthood Denial to the Blacks: An Alternate View,” BYU Studies19:394-‐ 402. The Pratt quotation is from minutes, 15 Apr. 1847, Brigham Young Papers, Historical Department Archives, hereafter cited as LDS Church Archives Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-‐day Saints. 10 Ronald Esplin, “Brigham Young and Priesthood Denial to the Blacks: An Alternate View”, BYU Studies, Vol 19:3, 396 11 Bush, Whence the Negro Doctrine, a Review of Ten Years of Answers. 12 Mark Lyman Staker, Hearken O Ye People: The Historical Setting of Joseph Smith’s Ohio Revelations, Greg Kofford Books, 2009, 70
Kaylee Herrick 7/24/12 12:22 AM Comment : You switch from present to past with Bush and Esplin agree to Esplin felt. Are you working in historical present when referring to the articles or still referring to them in past tense? Make sure to pick one for and stick with it. You can refer to when it was written in past tense, but if it is ongoing conversation many scholars choose to discuss it in historical present as if the debate is still going on.
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Kaylee Herrick 7/24/12 12:22 AM Comment : Tense change again.
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Kaylee Herrick 7/24/12 12:22 AM Comment : Change in tense again. I am editing in historical present, but you can do either one as long as you are consistent. Feel free to ignore my changes if you want to do it the other way.
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scholarship on the issue. This paper will examine additional evidence not available to Bush or Esplin that shed light on the role that interracial marriage played in regards to the priesthood and temple ban. Before the Ban 13
In June of 1831, Joseph Smith stated that blacks were “descendants of Ham,” although such a statement did not restrict blacks to the priesthood. Here is a brief chronology of some of the major events during the decade.14 1830 Black Pete A freed slave, named Black Pete, living in Kirtland, Ohio, is the earliest known black to have joined the church in December 1830 when missionaries Parley P. Pratt, Ziba Peterson, Peter Whitmer, and Oliver Cowdery visited Kirtland, Ohio. In the first year of the organization of the cvhurch, male members were typically ordained immediately after their baptism. It seems likely that Black Pete was baptized and ordained in December 1830. Historian Mark Staker has noted that
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Tanner 7/24/12 12:22 AM Comment : Feels fragmented from paragraph before and after. A stronger connection between paragraphs will help the flow of the paper.
Tanner 7/24/12 12:22 AM Comment : Makes it sound like he was Mormon before he joined the church.
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Short lists of those who were ordained and commissioned to preach after their baptism never included Black Pete. However, the men who wrote about their baptisms note they were also ordained and commissioned as part of their conversion process, and many of the early converts were not included in lists of commissioned preachers, leaving Black Pete’s authority to preach and baptize uncertain. As part of Kirtland’s ecstatic religious experiences, a number of men received “letters” that fell from heaven which were copied onto paper before the original letter disappeared. Black Pete was among those who received one of these letters, his delivered by a black angel. Because these letters were apparently divine commissions to travel the countryside preaching and baptizing and because Black Pete was among those who went about the country preaching, it is likely he also performed baptisms during January of 1831.15 1831
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Staker goes on to show that Pete was a recognized leader in the early Mormon movement.16 Within a few months of his baptism, Black Pete was serving a mission for the church. In early February , Black Pete and his group found themselves in Ashtabula County on the shores of Lake Erie about halfway between Kirtland and Erie, Pennsylvania. It was probably their activities that influenced the publication of an article that appeared on February 5 in the 13
Smith, History of the Church, 1:75. The earliest published version of the account (Times and Seasons 5 : 448) deletes this expression; however, it is present in the original handwritten entry of the Manuscript History of the Church, 19 June 1831, LDS Church Archives. 14 Bush’s 1973 article, “The Negro Doctrine: An Historical Overview” contains many other details. 15 Mark Lyman Staker, Hearken O Ye People: The Historical Setting of Joseph Smith’s Ohio Revelations, 64-‐65 16 Mark Lyman Staker, Hearken O Ye People: The Historical Setting of Joseph Smith’s Ohio Revelations, 95.
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Ashtabula Journal. It identified Black Pete as a leader in this new religion, suggesting that the group of young men recognized him as their chief source of influence. 17 After hearing news of the new converts in Kirtland, Joseph Smith made arrangements to travel to Kirtland, arriving in February 1831.18 Two church members19 in Kirtland even acknowledged that Black Pete claimed to have received a revelation to marry a white young woman named Lovina Williams, Frederick G. Williams’ youngest daughter. Staker notes that church member Henry Carroll claimed that Black Pete sought a revelation from Joseph Smith after his arrival in Kirtland “And wanted to marry a white woman. Jo Smith said he could get no revelations for him to. Pete claimed he [Black Pete] did.20 Three years later, Lovina married Burr Riggs, one of Black Pete’s closest associates, on November 18, 1834. 21 Black Pete’s attempts to marry a white woman bring up some interesting points regarding interracial marriage during that time. Americans in the 1830s held differing views on whether marriage between whites and non-‐whites was acceptable. Mormons encouraged marriage with Indians, and at that time may have been ambivalent about black-‐white intermarriage. Historian Lawrence Foster has noted that Joseph Smith received a revelation concerning interracial marriage on July 17, 1831 which said,
Tanner 7/24/12 12:22 AM Comment : Make a stronger connection why this sentence is here because it seems out of place until you read the quote of why it is important he came to visit the saints.
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“For it is my will, that in time, ye should take unto you wives of the Lamanites and Nephites that their posterity may become white[,] delightsome[,] and just, for even now their females are more virtuous than the gentiles.”22
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Interracial marriage proves to be an important point to consider as one looks at the timing and justifications for the ban. Mormons, as well as Americans in general were wrestling with interracial marriage, and held many views on the subject. For example, The Last of the Mohicans was published in 1826 by James Fenimore Cooper,23 the most popular book of the 1820s. The plot portrays the marriage between Indians and white women among events taking place during the French and Indian War. Elise Lemire in her 2002 book, Miscegenation: Making of Race in America, talks about various waves of thought regarding interracial marriage in America. Lemire states that “Cooper is clear that marriages are shunned in the novel for racial reasons and in large part out of fear for the interracial alliances that would result.”24 However, Lemire states that not everyone held Cooper’s view. In 1803 Thomas 17
Mark Lyman Staker, Hearken O Ye People: The Historical Setting of Joseph Smith’s Ohio Revelations, 95. Staker cites “The Golden Bible or the Book of Mormon,” Ashtabula Journal, 3, no. 10 (February 5, 1831): 3. 18 Mark Staker, footnote 23 on page 117, Hearken O Ye People. Joseph Smith left the Morley farm on June 19; 19 Mark Lyman Staker, Hearken O Ye People: The Historical Setting of Joseph Smith’s Ohio Revelations, 105. W.R. Hine and Henry Carroll claimed that Black Pete sought a revelation from Joseph Smith about marrying Lovina Williams. 20 Staker cites Henry Carroll, “Statement,” 3. 21 Mark Lyman Staker, Hearken O Ye People: The Historical Setting of Joseph Smith’s Ohio Revelations, 105. 22 W.W. Phelps, Letter to Brigham Young, August 12, 1861, quoted in Lawrence Foster, Religion and Sexuality: The Shakers, the Mormons, and the Oneida Community, 134-‐35. 23 Elise Lemire, Miscegenation: Making of Race in America, 35. 24 Elise Lemire, Miscegenation: Making of Race in America, 46-‐47.
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Jefferson argued that “inter-‐marriage would solve the problem of what to do with the Indians.” Intermarriage with them might help solve land disputes. Lemire writes that “state governments considered rewarding those citizens who would intermarry with the Indians.” However, “no such suggestions were ever made by the government regarding blacks.” Lemire notes that sixteen of twenty-‐ three states prohibited black-‐white intermarriage, but just seven states prohibited white-‐Indian marriage in the 1820s. 25 Black Pete disappeared from the historical record “sometime between 1831 and 1834.”26 While there isn’t clear evidence that Black Pete held the priesthood, the evidence seems quite compelling that he did serve a mission and was an early church leader in Ohio. It seems highly probable that Black Pete held the priesthood, and probably performed baptisms.27 Evidence for other black members holding the priesthood prior to 1840 is even stronger.
Tanner 7/24/12 12:22 AM Comment : This would make a nice connection and fit into what you were already saying with Americans had differing views in the 1830s in the paragraph above. Making a nice transition between Americans general view and narrowing it down to Mormons view on the subject.
1832 Joseph Ball was born in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Ball was the child of mixed-‐race parents. His father (also named Joseph) was from Jamaica; his Anglo-‐Breton mother was named Mary Montgomery Drew.28 He was baptized in the summer of 1832 by either Brigham Young or his brother Joseph Young in Boston. It is not known if the Youngs were aware of Ball’s mixed-‐race heritage.
Tanner 7/24/12 12:22 AM Comment : Creates parallelism with the phrase before.
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Elise Lemire, Miscegenation: Making of Race in America, 47. She writes, ‘In some instances where Indians were still in the vicinity, state governments considered rewarding those citizens who would intermarry with the Indians. In Georgia, for another example, Secretary of War William Harris Crawford recommended in 1816 that those Indians who did not choose to migrate beyond the Mississippi should inter-‐marry with the whites. In contrast, no such suggestions were ever made by the government regarding blacks. While many of the colonies and then states in the United States legislated against fornication and marriage between whites and blacks, there was far less legislation concerning mixture between whites and Indians. By the 1820s, out of the twenty-‐three states in existence, only New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, New Hampshire, Vermont, and Pennsylvania did not prohibit black-‐white marriage. In the same period, only seven states prohibited marriage between Indians and whites: Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Maine. And importantly, these latter three states, all in the Northeast legislated against Indian/white marriage solely out of the belief that the remaining Indians had intermarried with blacks. As Winthrop Jordan asserts of the period from 1550 to 1812, “the entire interracial complex did not pertain to Indians.’ 26 Mark Lyman Staker, Hearken O Ye People: The Historical Setting of Joseph Smith’s Ohio Revelations, 188. However, Newell Bringhurst speculates Pete may have been cut off in relation to D&C 43. Bringhurst says in Saints, Slaves, and Blacks, page 37, “The Mormon Prophet proclaimed that only authorized individuals could ‘receive revelations.’ As a result Black Pete was apparently ‘tried for [his] fellowship’ and ‘cut off’ from the church.” In footnote 27 Bringhurst states his reasons for believing Black Pete was cut off. “This according to a later recollection in the Times and Seasons, 1 Apr. 1842. However, it is unclear whether ‘Black Pete’ was among those ‘cut off.’” No documentary evidence has been found to support Bringhurst’s speculation. 27 Mark Lyman Staker, Hearken O Ye People: The Historical Setting of Joseph Smith’s Ohio Revelations, 64-‐65. Staker states, “Black Pete was among those who received one of these letters, his delivered by a black angel. Because these letters were apparently divine commissions to travel the countryside preaching and baptizing and because Black Pete was among those who went about the country preaching, it is likely he also performed baptisms during January 1831.” 28 Newell Bringhurst and Craig Foster, The Persistence of Polygamy, Vol 2, 2012. Connell O’Donovan wrote a chapter discussing Ball in the book, titled “Polygamy and African American Mormons: Race, Schism, and the Beginnings of Priesthood and Temple Denial in 1847” and reference to Ball’s parents is found on page 2 of this chapter.
That same year, Elijah Abel was baptized in Maryland by Ezekiel Roberts.29 Both of these converts playedimportant roles in the 1840s. Abel would go on to serve three missions for the church. He is probably the best known black member to have received the priesthood. Census records30 from the period have indicated that he was black and/or mulatto. Some have claimed that he was so fair-‐skinned that some could not tell he was black, although Margaret Young and Darius Gray dispute this assertion.31 Abel’s mother Delilah was a slave. 1833
Tanner 7/24/12 12:22 AM Comment : Seems just like an extra fact.
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Figure 1 -‐ Elijah Abel
Ball moved to Kirtland in September 1833, becoming acquainted with Joseph Smith. He may have been ordained as early as 1833, or as late as 1837; he served a mission with Wilford Woodruff in 1837 in New England and New Jersey.32 In Missouri, W.W. Phelps noted that there were no current restrictions on black members. As editor of the church’s newspaper Evening and Morning Star, he wrote in July 1833, “… So long as we have no special rule in the Church, as to people of color, let prudence guide, and while they, as well as we, are in the hands of a merciful God, we say: Shun every appearance of evil.” The article ignited a firestorm of controversy in Missouri, a slave state, because many felt the Mormons were encouraging free blacks to come to the state. The printing press was destroyed on July 20 and Mormons were expelled from Jackson County, Missouri, in November and December of that year. Mormons would encounter many difficulties while living in Missouri, finally being expelled from the state in 1838 when Governor Boggs issued the Extermination Order.
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Tanner 7/24/12 12:22 AM Comment : So we are positive he received the priesthood? That would seem like good evidence to include of how we know that for certain.
Tanner 7/24/12 12:22 AM Comment : Both feel like extra facts. Even though it is stated in the footnote. It might help the flow of the paper to make a stronger assertion of why they disputed this idea in your paper and the importance of why he is a slave if it isn’t just extra information, but important to the point of you paper.
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Comment : Is this to a Mormon audience, a general religious audience? If to a Mormon audience this feels like extra information that is not developing your thesis. Unless you are saying you think it is connected to the racial tensions in Missouri.
Andrew Jenson, Latter-‐day Saint Biographical Encyclopedia (Salt Lake City: A. Jenson History Co., 1901-‐1936), 3:577. Census records in 1870 list him as black, and subsequent census records show that he was mulatto. 31 Margaret Young and Darius Gray, One More River to Cross. On page 26 they note that “According to Margery Taylor’s research, Elijah Abel reported his mother as “[D]Elilah Williams [Abel]” (she is listed as “Delilah Abel” in baptisms for the dead records, as noted in chapter 1) and his father as “Andrew Abel” in missionary registry (microfilm 025664—Missionary record books, A-‐C, 1860-‐1906). The fact that he named his father seems to contradict the once popular idea that Elijah Abel was an unusually fair skinned mulatto, the son of a white man—possibly his master. (Elijah’s father, for whatever reason, did not remain with his family, for Elijah’s patriarchal blessing mentions that his father “[had] not done his duty” towards him.) Though we do not know the exact racial mixture of Elijah Abel’s lineage (slavery brought a very common—though hidden— interracial relations), it is vital to dispel the folklore about Elijah, which has sometimes cast him as so white that his race was not discernible and that (as Zebedee Coltrin falsely claimed) when Joseph Smith learned of Abel’s black lineage “[Abel] was dropped from the quorum and another was put in his place” (Bringhurst, “Elijah Abel,” 139)…There is even more persuasive evidence that Elijah Abel was indisputably black and recognized as black during his lifetime: Census takers, who were to identify a person’s race by appearance only, identified Abel as black. (The choices the census taker was given were W [White], B [Black], and M [Mulatto]. Margery Taylor’s research shows that the 1850 census in Cincinnati, Hamilton County, Ohio tenth ward, page 89, lists Elijah as B [Black]. Though a Salt Lake City census lists him as “M,” the census taker could have so identified him without noting African characteristics. 32 Connell O’Donovan’s cites Joseph Smith to “Viana Jaquish” [Vienna Jacques], September 4, 1833, Joseph Smith Papers; Kirtland High Council Minute Book, March 17, 1836, p. 146; Jonathan Oldham Duke, Personal History, pp. 5-‐6, Vault MSS 227, L. Tom Perry Special Collections, Harold B. Lee Library, Brigham Young University; Conference Minutes, August 9, 1839, Times and Seasons, vol. 1 no. 3, p. 4; Wilford Woodruff journal, December 12, 1839; John Carlin’s autobiographical entry in Nauvoo Seventies Record, p. 12; Inez Smith Davis, The Story of the Church, Chapter 51 “Welding the Fragments,” n. p.; Times and Seasons, vol. 2 no. 4, pp. 253-‐254, December 15, 1840; “Revival in Maine,” Vermont Chronicle (Bellow Falls, VT), August 9, 1843; and “S. Brannan” to Wilford Woodruff, reprinted in Times and Seasons, January 1, 1844, vol. 5 no. 1. p. 388.
1835 Meanwhile, in what later proved to be an important event, Michael Chandler visited Kirtland, Ohio, as part of a traveling exhibit of Egyptian mummies. Having heard that Joseph Smith might be able to translate some of the papyrus, Chandler sold some scrolls and Egyptian mummies to the church in 1835 for $2400.33 Joseph Smith claimed that some of these writings contained a record of Abraham. Though the papyrus wasn’t translated until 1837, the Book of Abraham would be an important justification for the priesthood ban for some, and was cited by Randy Bott in his justification for the priesthood/temple ban. Despite the troubles in Missouri, in November 1835 Smith said that the gospel should be preached to everyone including slaves if they received permission from their masters. Smith sent a letter to missionaries abroad stating that “if permission was denied by the masters, ‘the responsibility be upon the head of the master of that house, and the consequence thereof …’”34 1836 However, it appears that Smith softened his stance just a few months later. In April, Smith recommended that masters should be converted before missionaries taught slaves.35 Black Mormons continued to be ordained to the priesthood in 1836. Having been a member for four years, Elijah Abel was ordained an Eeder on March 3, 1836,36 confirmed in his patriarchal blessing. Patriarch Joseph Smith Sr. confirmed that Abel was “ordained an Elder.” In an unusual move, rather than proclaiming that Abel was of the House of Israel, Smith declared that Abel was “an orphan.”37 Abel received his washing and anointing in the Kirtland Temple in the 1836,38 and he helped build the Kirtland, Nauvoo,
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Gee, John (2000), A Guide to the Joseph Smith Papyri, Provo, Utah: Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies, 3. 34 Lester Bush, 1969, A Commentary on Stephen G. Taggart’s Mormonism’s Negro Policy: Social and Historical Origins. In summarizing Smith’s position, Bush says “Joseph Smith in a letter to the “elders abroad,” in which Smith made it clear that the obligation to teach slaves the gospel had not been removed. The elders were simply instructed to consult the masters first. He footnotes Messenger and Advocate l (Sept. 1835): 180, 2 (Nov. 1835): 210-‐11 stating that “If permission was denied by the masters, ‘the responsibility be upon the head of the master of that house, and the consequence thereof …’” as well as Joseph Smith, Jr., History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-‐day Saints, B. H. Roberts. 35 Lester Bush, 1973, Mormonism’s Negro Doctrine: An Historical Overview. Bush cites Messenger and Advocate 2 (April 1836), 289-‐301. 36 Date of ordination from Andrew Jenson, Biographical Encyclopedia, 3:577. The patriarchal blessing is found in Joseph Smith’s Patriarchal Blessing Record, p. 88, without date, and is headed, “A blessing under the hands of Joseph Smith, Sen., upon Elijah Abel, who was born in Frederick County, Maryland, July 25, 1808.” No lineage was assigned. It is clear that the blessing was given after Abel’s ordination, for the Patriarch states, “Thou has been ordained an Elder.” An 1891 letter from Eunice Kinney to Brother Watson in Bay Springs, Michigan, claims that Abel was ordained by Joseph Smith. Kinney was converted by Abel in 1838. 37 “Joseph Smith’s Patriarchal Blessing Record,” 88, as cited in Lester E. Bush, “Compilation on the Negro in Mormonism,” 16-‐ 17. 38 Zebedee Coltrin claimed in 1879 that he personally washed and anointed Elijah Abel in the Kirtland Temple (around 1836). However, Abel disputed this claim. Abel said that Coltrin ordained him a Seventy. From the record, it appears that Abel was washed and anointed in the Kirtland Temple, meaning there was no restriction on blacks at that time. History of the Church 2:269 states the inclusive nature of the Kirtland Temple. “No man shall be interrupted who is appointed to speak by the presidency of the church…from old or young, rich or poor, male or female, bond or free, black or white, believer or unbeliever. It is important to note that the Kirtland Temple was open to the public on occasion. For example, the Egyptian Mummies
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and Salt Lake Temples. Later that year, Abel was ordained a seventy by Zebedee Coltrin on December 20, 1836,39 in preparation for Abel to serve the first of three missions for the church to Ohio, New York, and Canada.40 In 1895, Apostle (and future President) Joseph F. Smith claimed that Abel was ordained a high priest.41 An editorial most likely written by Oliver Cowdery appeared in the Latter Day Saint Messenger and Advocate showed disgust for interracial marriage, stating that “low indeed must be the mind, that would consent for a moment, to see his fair daughter, his sister, or perhaps, his bosom companion in the embrace of a NEGRO!”42 1837 It is significant to note that the Book of Abraham was translated in 1837. As mentioned earlier, the Book of Abraham played a role in justifications for the priesthood ban, although, it did not have an immediate impact. The beginning of the Book of Abraham states that “the first government of Egypt was established by Pharaoh, the eldest son of Egyptus, the daughter of Ham (Abr. 1:25).” Verse 26 explains that the righteous Pharaoh was “cursed as to the priesthood” because Pharaoh was “of that lineage by which he could not have the right of Priesthood, notwithstanding the Pharaohs would fain claim it from Noah, through Ham.” Despite this translation, no priesthood restrictions came about directly as a result of the translation of the book. Future justifications for priesthood denial would hinge on blacks being cursed because they were descendants of Cain or Ham. Since the patriarchal blessing of Elijah Abel declared that he was “an orphan,” it is conceivable that he would not have been considered to be under the curse of Ham or Cain. However, Joseph Ball was of the “tribe of Canaan,” yet held the priesthood at this early date. There may have been an informal ban against slaves receiving the priesthood as early as 1837. Lester Bush states that
purchased from Michael Chandler were on display in the temple. The public was charged admission to see the mummies. Bush cites Adam S. Bennion Papers, Lee Library, Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah. 39 Minutes of the Seventies Journal, kept by Hazen Aldrich, 20 Dec. 1836. Abel was one of several ordained by Zebedee Coltrin to the Third Quorum of Seventy. Aldrich and John Young, who with Coltrin were presidents of the seventies, also ordained several seventies that evening. This journal is found in the Historical Department of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-‐day Saints, Salt Lake City; hereafter cited as LDS Church Archives. In 1895, Joseph F. Smith also claimed that Joseph Smith had ordained Elijah Abel, and stated Elijah was a ordained a High Priest. However, he reversed himself in 1908 and claimed that Joseph Smith had declared Abel’s ordination “null and void.” 40 Elijah Abel’s obituary from the Deseret News. A copy of the obituary is found in the University of Utah library. Digital image found at http://udn.lib.utah.edu/cgi-‐bin/showfile.exe?CISOROOT=/deseretnews3&CISOPTR=2224509&filename=2224510.pdf accessed 3/10/2012. 41 Minutes of the Seventies Journal, kept by Hazen Aldrich, 20 Dec. 1836. Abel was one of several ordained by Zebedee Coltrin to the Third Quorum of Seventy. Aldrich and John Young, who with Coltrin were presidents of the seventies, also ordained several seventies that evening. This journal is found in the Historical Department of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-‐day Saints, Salt Lake City; hereafter cited as LDS Church Archives. In 1895, Joseph F. Smith also claimed that Joseph Smith had ordained Elijah Abel, and stated Elijah was a ordained a High Priest. However, he reversed himself in 1908 and claimed that Joseph Smith had declared Abel’s ordination “null and void.” Margaret Young mentioned this in a Mormon Stories interview with John Dehlin, “In 1895, Joseph F Smith claims Elijah Abel was ordained a High Priest.”— a transcript of the conversation is available at http://www.mormonheretic.org/2008/09/14/was-‐priesthood-‐ban-‐inspired/) 42 Quinn, Origins of Power, 625.
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Smith allegedly gave the same advice … directed at Negroes “in the Southern States.” Most, if not all, of the Negroes involved in these accounts were slaves. It may be, notwithstanding the lack of contemporary documentation, that a policy was in effect denying the priesthood to slaves or isolated free southern Negroes. No slaves are known to have held the priesthood although Bush cites a lack of contemporary documentation to fully support this view.43 Newell Bringhurst shows a table of thirteen black men and nine black women known to be living in Nauvoo between 1839 and 1846. As you can see in the table below, no black slaves are known to have received the priesthood infrom the Nauvoo period. But free blacks Walker Lewis and Warner McCary are known to have received the priesthood, in addition to the free blacks mentioned earlier that received the priesthood in the 1830 period. Table 1 Names of Blacks (Slave and Free) Living in Nauvoo, Illinois during the Mormon Sojourn, 1839-‐1846 Knew Years in Migrate Male/ Known Free/ Joseph Name of Black Nauvoo West? Female Priesthood Slave Smith Elijah Abel 1839-‐1842 Yes, 1853 M Yes Free Yes Luke Redd 1840-‐1846 Yes, 1850 M Slave Sammy Jolley 1840-‐1846 Yes, 1850 M Slave "Black Jack" 1840s No M Green Flake 1840s Yes, 1847 M Slave Yes Sylvester James 1843-‐1846 Yes, 1847 M Free Isaac James 1843-‐1846 Yes, 1847 M Free Yes Isaac Lewis Manning 1843-‐1846 No M Free Peter Manning 1843-‐1846 No M Free Anthony Stebbings 1843-‐1846 No M Free Chism 1843 No M Cato Mead 1840s No M Free Cato Treadwell 1843-‐1845 No M Free Escaped Slave/ Warner "William" 1846 No M Yes No living as McCary* free man 43
Lester Bush, 1973, Mormonism’s Negro Doctrine: An Historical Overview. Bush states “a second-‐hand account related by Smoot in which Smith allegedly gave the same advice was also directed at Negroes ‘in the Southern States.’” Most, if not all, of the Negroes involved in these accounts were slaves. It may be, notwithstanding the lack of contemporary documentation, that a policy was in effect denying the priesthood to slaves or isolated free southern Negroes. Bush cites L. John Nuttall Journal, 31 May 1879, typescript at Harold B. Lee Library, Brigham Young University, vol. 1, (1876-‐84), pp. 290-‐93; a copy is also included in the Council Meeting minutes for 4 June 1879 (Bennion papers). Smoot attributed the second-‐hand accounts to W. W. Patten, Warren Parrish, and Thomas B. Marsh.
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Women Venus Redd Chaney Redd Amy Redd Marinda Redd Liz Flake Rowan Jane M. James Eliza Manning Lucinda Manning Angeline Manning Sarah Ann Stebbings
1840-‐1846 1840-‐1846 1840-‐1846 1840-‐1846 1840s 1843-‐1846 1843-‐1846 1843-‐1846 1843-‐1846 1843-‐1846
Yes, 1850 Yes, 1850 Yes, 1850 Yes, 1850 Yes, 1848 Yes, 1847 Yes, 1847 No No No
F F F F F F F F F F
Years in Boston
Joseph T. Ball
Evelyn Wilber Teague
1842-‐1845 At least 1842-‐1845 1842-‐1851
Name of Black
Enoch Lewis Walker Lewis Warner "William" McCary* (also in Nauvoo)
Slave Slave Slave Slave Slave Free Free Free Free Free
Knew Joseph Smith Yes
Free Escaped Slave/ living as free man
*Note Warner McCary lived in both places, so he is highlighted in yellow The 1840s At the beginning of the decade, no priesthood restrictions were planned for the Nauvoo Temple; during general conference in 1840 it was stated that, we may soon expect to see flocking to this place, people from every land and from every nation, the polished European, the degraded Hottentot [native people of southwestern Africa, closely related to the Bushmen],44 and the shivering Laplander [of the Arctic Circle in Northern
The Khoikhoi are native people of southwestern Africa, closely related to the Bushmen. They lived in southern Africa since the 5th century AD. European immigrants colonized the area in 1652 and labeled them Hottentots, in imitation of the sound of the Khoekhoe language, but this term is today considered derogatory.
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Europe].45 Persons of all languages, and of every tongue, and of every color; who shall with us worship the Lord of Hosts in his holy temple, and offer up their orisons in his sanctuary.”46 In order to arbitrate between Bush and Esplin concerning the timing of the ban, the decade of 1840 becomes very important. Public opinion against blacks became more antagonistic in the 1840s within the U.S. Though Illinois was a free state, they did not want to welcome blacks into the state. Newell Bringhurst said In fact, antiblack discrimination ‘intensified’ during the late 1840s and 1850s [throughout the U.S]. Illinois, just after the Mormon exodus from Nauvoo, approved a statute that absolutely prohibited black migration into the state. Therefore, Nauvoo antiblack statutes conformed with those of the larger American society that routinely discriminated against blacks in the political realm.47
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1841 Because the temple in Nauvoo had not yet been completed, Elijah Abel participated in baptisms for the dead in Nauvoo in 1841 in the Mississippi River. Abel was baptized on behalf of his mother and his daughter, both named Delilah, as well as his friend, John F. Lancaster.48 Over time, black Mormons were discouraged, though not prohibited from participating in baptisms for the dead.49 1842 The Book of Abraham was first published serially in 1842 in the Times and Seasons newspaper. Following the publication of the Book of Abraham, Latter-‐day Saints could have referred to the passage that the lineage of the pharaoh was “cursed as to the priesthood”.50 Yet, the scripture was not utilized at this early date. There were still no restrictions placed on free black men, or upon white members who married blacks during the year of 1842. The branch of Lowell, Massachusetts, would have a presence of black Mormons in this early period of church history. Connell O’Donovan put together brief genealogies of all the known members in this 45
The name Lapland refers to land inhabited by the Sami people, formerly called Lapp people, who are the minority indigenous people of the region. Lapland is a region in northern Europe, largely within the Arctic Circle stretching across Norway, Sweden, Finland and Russia. On the North it is bounded by the Barents Sea, on the West by the Norwegian Sea and on the East by the White Sea. 46 “Report of the Presidency” at General Conference, 3-‐5 Oct. 1840, in Times & Seasons, 1:188, or History of the Church, 4:213. 47 Bringhurst, Saints, Slaves, and Blacks: The Changing Place of Black Mormons p. 90. 48 In Newell Bringhurst’s essay Elijah Abel and the Changing Status of Blacks Within Mormonism, Bringhurst cites “Elijah Abel bapt for John F. Lancaster a friend,” as contained in Nauvoo Temple Records Book A100, LDS Church Archives. Also see two other entries in this same record: “Delila Abel bapt in the instance of Elisha [sic] Abel. Rel son. Bapt 1840, Book A page l”and “Delila Abel Bapt. in the instance of Elijah Abel 1841, Rel. Dau. Book A page 5.” 49 David O. McKay diary of Feb 14, 1964, approved changes to the Book of Decisions for Temple Presidents that Hugh B. Brown and N. Eldon Tanner of the First Presidency recommended. “It was suggested that the ordinance of baptism for members of the Negro race be performed by others than negroes if this can be accomplished without offense. Entry is recorded in The Development of LDS Temple Worship 1846-‐2000 edited by Devery S. Anderson, page 342. 50 Randy Bott referred to this passage in his remarks to the Washington Post.
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period. Of the 353 Mormons in the Boston area, five were black, and some participated in race-‐mixing. Black men exercised their priesthood without restriction. For example, Joseph Ball utilized his priesthood when he baptized William Willard Hutchings on May 2, 1842.51 Irishman John R. Teague Sr. joined the church in 1842 with his black wife, Eveline Wilbur. (They had been previously married in 1839 in Boston.) Eveline had a light complexion, and could pass as a white woman.52 Under the hands of Apostle Willard Richards and Elder Erastus Snow, John was ordained a priest in 1842. If it was known that Eveline was black, future regulations would have prevented her husband from obtaining the priesthood. (The Teagues later joined the Strangite Church in 1848.53) Restrictions implemented in the 1850s prohibited the priesthood from anyone that “mixed seed” with blacks, but such a policy did not exist in Joseph’s lifetime. 1843 The year of 1843 would prove to have many events concerning blacks and the priesthood. In Nauvoo, Smith encouraged white members to marry American Indians polygamously,54 but stated that he was against whites and blacks marrying (also referred to as miscegenation or amalgamation) stating on January 2, 1843, “Had I anything to do with the negro, I would confine them by strict law to their own species.”55 In April 1843, the Kinderhook Plates were discovered in an indian mound in Kinderhook, Illinois. Conspirators Bridge Whitten and Robert Wiley planted the bell-‐shaped plates with strange writing and 51
Connell O’Donovan wrote a chapter in the book by Newell G. Bringhurst and Craig L. Foster, Persistence of Polygamy: Post-‐ Joseph Smith Mormon Polygamy from 1844 to 1890 Volume II, p 3 of O’Donovan’s chapter. 52 Connell O’Donovan, Boston_MormonsJ-‐Z.pdf, 230. Copy in my possession. 53 Times & Seasons, vol. 4, no 2, pp. 31-‐32; Gospel Herald, vol. 4, no. 39, December 13, 1849, p. 216. Connell O’ Donovan states in his article The Mormon Priesthood Ban and Elder Q. Walker Lewis: “An example for his more whiter brethren to follow”: Had John and Eveline Teague joined the church after the priesthood and temple ban was instigated in 1847, John, although white, would not have been allowed to receive the priesthood – in fact he and all their mixed-‐race children would have been potential victims of blood atonement. Brigham Young informed the all-‐LDS territorial legislature on or around January 6, 1852: And if any man mingles his seed with the seed of Cane the ownly way he Could get rid of it or have salvation would be to Come forward & have his head Cut off & spill his Blood upon the ground. It would also take the life of his Children. Young then added that should all church priesthood leaders say “we will all go & mingle with the seed of Cane…That moment we loose [sic] the priesthood & all Blessings.” (Wilford Woodruff Journal, undated entry between January 4, 1852, and February 8, 1852, pages 97-‐99.) Young again affirmed blood atonement for white-‐black sexual relations on March 8, 1863 – in the midst of the Civil War. “Shall I tell you the law of God in regard to the African race?,” rhetorically queried Young. “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 will always be so.” (Journal of Discourses, Vol. 1, p. 110.) 54 Eugene Campbell in “Establishing Zion,” page 114 states James Brown was called on a mission to the Indians in Utah. According to Brown, the purpose of the mission was to “build an outpost from which to operate as peacemakers among the Indians, to teach civilization to them, to try to teach them to cultivate the soil, to instruct them in the arts and sciences if possible, and by that means prevent trouble for the frontier settlements and the immigrant companies. We were to identify our interest with theirs and even to marrying among them if we would be permitted to take the young women of the chiefs and leading men and have them dress like civilized people and educated. it was thought that by forming that kind of alliance we would have more power to do them good and to keep peace among the adjacent tribes and also with our own people.” 55 Michael Quinn, Mormon Hierarchy: Origins of Power, (Salt Lake City: Signature Books, 1994), 636.
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then dug them up with great fanfare. William Clayton recorded in his journal that the Prophet Joseph Smith “has translated a portion and says they contain the history of the person with whom they were found and he was a descendant of Ham through the loins of Pharaoh king of Egypt, and that he received 56 his kingdom from the ruler of heaven and earth.” Apostle Parley P. Pratt indicated that the Jaredites
may have been descendants of Ham. If Hamitic descendants held the priesthood, once again, this would indicate that Hamitic lineage would not have precluded blacks from holding the priesthood. Pratt wrote in a letter on May 1:
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Six plates having the appearance of Brass have lately been dug out of a mound by a gentleman in Pike Co. Illinois. They are small and filled with engravings in Egyptian language and contain the genealogy of one of the ancient Jaredites back to Ham the son of Noah. His bones were found in the same vase (made of Cement). Part of the bones were 15 ft. underground...57 The Kinderhook Plates were part of a hoax intended to trap Joseph Smith. Whitten and Wiley attempted to get Joseph Smith to translate the plates; the two men were testing the claims of translation of Joseph Smith, and hoped to prove that he did not have a prophetic gift of translation. Smith never translated the plates; he died just a year later. Jane Manning James58 Jane Manning was baptized in 1841 in Connecticut.59 She traveled by foot with brothers, sisters, and in-‐ laws in 1843 to Nauvoo to join the saints, living for a time with Emma and Joseph Smith. Once there, she married a black Mormon man named Isaac James in 1844. Isaac worked for Brigham Young, and they married in Young’s home in Nauvoo shortly after Joseph Smith’s death in 1844.60 She and Isaac later divorced, and she was denied permission to be sealed to another black man later. Elijah Abel The only limits on blacks that can be traced specifically to the time period of Joseph Smith concerns Elijah Abel, but the restriction wasn’t made by Joseph Smith. Minutes from the meeting dated June 25, 1843, show that a travelling high council consisting of John E. Page, Orson Pratt, and Heber C. Kimball visited the Cincinnati branch to resolve issues of dissension and “bad management.” Some members of the congregation were upset that a black man was preaching. Abel was directed that he was to preach
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Tanner, Jerald; Tanner, Sandra. "The Kinderhook Plates: Excerpt from Answering Mormon Scholars Vol 2". Retrieved 5/25/2012. The History of the Church Vol. 5, p. 372 contains a similar phrasing as the Clayton journal, though Joseph Smith is speaking in first person. Diane Wirth, writing in Review of Books on the Book of Mormon (4:210), states: "A first-‐person narrative was apparently a common practice of this time period when a biographical work was being compiled. Since such words were never penned by the Prophet, they cannot be uncritically accepted as his words or his opinion." 57 Stanley Kimbal, "Kinderhook Plates Brought to Joseph Smith Appear to Be a Nineteenth-‐Century Hoax, Ensign, Aug 1981. 58 For an excellent description of Jane E. Manning James’ life and activities see Wolfinger “Test of Faith,” pp. 126-‐147. Also see her autobiographical “Life Sketch of Jane Elizabeth Manning James,” LDS Church Archives, and printed in Wolfinger, pp. 151-‐56. Also see Mormon Enigma, page 338. 59 According to grave marker in Salt Lake City Cemetery. 60 The Deseret News recorded a life sketch written by Jane published originally on April 16, 1908. It is available at http://www.blacklds.org/manning accessed 5/26/2012.
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only to black people in 1843 and “Instructions were then given him concerning his mission.”61 Abel appears to have affiliated briefly with excommunicated William Smith’s LDS Church in Cincinnati, Ohio, and Covington, Kentucky, in the early 1850s but then returned to the mainstream LDS Church,62 and his priesthood was never revoked, despite allegations to the contrary. He produced certificates of ordination in 1841 and 1879.
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Quacko Walker Lewis Quacko Walker Lewis and his wife Elizabeth Lovejoy Lewis joined the church in 1843. Walker was a leading abolitionist in Massachusetts, a master mason in Freemasonry, and helped to free many southern slaves as part of the Underground Railroad. His wife Elizabeth was the daughter of an interracial couple (her father was black). She was so light-‐skinned, that she was recorded as white on the 1850 Census. It is believed that Lewis was baptized by Parley P. Pratt.63 Lewis was ordained an elder by William Smith in the summer of 1843.64 Missionaries Brigham Young, William Smith, Wilford Woodruff, Ezra Taft Benson, and Parley P. Pratt all served missions in Boston and were well acquainted with Lewis. Mission president William Appleby would later write in his journal that Lewis was “an example for his more whiter brethren to follow.”65 1844 Early in the year of 1844, James J. Strang would travel from Wisconsin in February to learn more of Mormonism and to meet with Joseph Smith. The prophet would baptize James Strang into the church and would ordain him an elder a few days later.66 With Nauvoo becoming more volatile, Joseph sent Strang on a mission “to return to Wisconsin and make more full examinations of the country with direct reference to the advantages it might offer to the Saints.”67 In a few months, Strang would claim he believed he was going to be the next leader of the Mormon Church. 61
“Minutes of a conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-‐day Saints held in Cincinnati, June 25, 1843,” LDS Church Archives. 62
The 1850 Census of Cincinnati shows William Smith’s apostle, Henry Nisonger, residing with the Abel family – and William Smith sought refuge at the home of the Abels-‐Nisongers in September 1850, when an angry husband of a woman Smith had seduced came looking to kill him. 63
Connell O’ Donovan, The Mormon Priesthood Ban and Elder Q. Walker Lewis: “An example for his more whiter brethren to follow”. He references a letter between Jane Elizabeth Manning James to Joseph F. Smith, February 7, 1890, LDS Church Archives, transcript in Connell O’ Donovan’s possession. 64 Newell G. Bringhurst and Craig L. Foster, Persistence of Polygamy: Post-‐Joseph Smith Mormon Polygamy from 1844 to 1890 Volume II, p 2. Another reference is found at Calvin P. Rudd, William Smith: Brother of the Prophet Joseph Smith, Master’s thesis, Brigham Young University, LDS Church Archives, p. 86. It should also be noted that Jane Manning James wrote a letter to Apostle Joseph F. Smith stating that “parley P Pratt ordained Him [Walker Lewis] an Elder.” 65 Connell O’Donovan, The Mormon Priesthood Ban and Elder Q. Walker Lewis: “An example for his more whiter brethren to follow,” 83. 66 For a fuller treatment of Strangism, refer to Robin Jensen’s chapter “Mormons seeking Mormonism” in Newell Bringhurst and John Hamer’s book, Scattering of the Saints. This information is found on page 116. Vickie Speek has also written a book on Strangism, God Has Made Us a Kingdom: James Strang And the Midwest Mormons”. 67 Jensen quotes Chronicles of Voree, 8.
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Nauvoo had a law enacted sometime prior to 1844 outlawing sexual relations between blacks and whites.68 In 1844, as mayor of Nauvoo, Joseph Smith fined two African American men $25 and $5 respectively for “trying to marry white women.”69 1844 would prove to be an extremely tumultuous year for the prophet. Earlier in that year, he announced his candidacy for president of the United States because he was dissatisfied with the presidential contenders. In addition to asking for redress for the problems Mormons experienced in Missouri, Smith announced plans to resolve the burning question of the day: slavery. Mormons had adopted both an anti-‐abolitionist and anti-‐slavery position. As part of his candidacy, Joseph Smith was perhaps the first politician to propose a compensated emancipation plan. He proposed freeing the slaves, compensating slave-‐owners through the sale of public lands, and sending freed slaves to Texas (which he proposed to annex from Mexico).70 His candidacy did not last long; he was killed by a mob on June 27, 1844, in Carthage, Illinois, leading to a succession crisis, with several men vying for the leadership of the Church, most notably Brigham Young, Sidney Rigdon, and James Strang, as well as several other men. James Strang announced that he had an angelic visitation on the day of Joseph Smith’s death, and the angel had ordained him as prophet of the church. Strang also claimed that Joseph Smith had written a letter proclaiming Strang as the new prophet. 71 Many questioned the authenticity of the letter at the time.Even though Strang’s auothority was under examination, he would still gain a large following which included prominent members such as William Smith, William’s mother Lucy Smith, and Martin Harris. Strang’s group would rival the Brigham Young-‐led group in size, and be a major rival for Mormon converts. In the aftermath of Smith’s death, charges of apostasy and resulting excommunications occuredwould occur. Brigham Young excommunicated Strang on August 26, 1844, after hearing about Strang’s personal missionary tour.72 Sidney Rigdon was excommunicated next on September 8, 1844, and would return to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, to lead a rival Mormon group there. Both men would vie for new converts and be a major source of schism for the rest of the decade. Rigdon and Strang would send emissaries to other Mormon congregations to persuade these congregations to follow them. As has been demonstrated, there are no known priesthood or temple restrictions in place prior to Joseph Smith’s death on June 27, 1844, and other ordinations of black men would continue to happen after his death. Following the founding prophet’s death, a black man preached a funeral sermon on Joseph Smith along with an unnamed apostle in Lowell, Massachusetts. It is believed that Enoch Lovejoy
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In Jan. 1844, Mayor Joseph Smith fined two Negroes “for attempting to marry white women” (History of the Church, 6:210). Quinn, Origins of Power, 636 and 660; Nauvoo Municipal Court minutes, as quoted in Quinn, Origins of Power, 642 and Quinn, “Quotes in Origins.” 70 Michael Quinn, “The Mormon Hierarchy: Origins of Power,” 119. 71 The letter was declared a forgery by Brigham Young. While the postmark appears to be genuine, the letter was written in block letters, written on a different kind of paper, and Dale Morgan said it appears to be a forgery. The actual text of the letter is vague, and it could be argued that even if the letter was legitimate, Joseph Smith was simply asking Strang to be a stake president in Voree, Wisconson. The text of the letter can be found at http://churchofjesuschristoflatterdaysaintsstrangite.com/pdf/thediamond.pdf retrieved 3/11/2012. A digital image of one page of the 3 page letter is found at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Strang1.jpg retrieved 3/11/2012. 72 Scattering of the Saints, 118-‐119. 69
Lewis, the son of Walker Lewis, was the black man preaching about the prophet’s death in 1844.73 William Appleby noted that Enoch was an elder in 1847, and it is likely that he had already been ordained an elder when preaching at this funeral sermon of Joseph Smith. Just four months after Smith’s death, Joseph Ball was ordained a leader of the Lowell branch in October 1844. Ball became a leader amidst a storm of controversy. The previous branch president John Hardy had served from February 1843 to October 7, 1844. Under Hardy’s leadership, the branch had grown and thrived. However, Hardy became upset when he discovered that William Smith had secretly introduced polygamy to the congregation and Hardy resigned in protest. 74 This was not the first time that William had been accused of sexual impropriety. In 1842, the Nauvoo High Council investigated William (along with John C. Bennett) about sexual improprieties.75 The allegations against William prompted many of the men to resign their priesthood in protest, leaving the branch with a dearth of leadership in 1844. William Smith accepted Hardy’s resignation, and installed Ball as branch president.76 Tainted by the polygamy scandal, Ball was not sustained unanimously. Wilford Woodruff recorded that Jacob Phelps opposed the ordination of Ball as branch president,77 and Woodruff, while not voicing public opposition, wrote his concerns to Brigham Young on October 9, 1844:
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Elder Ball has taught as well as Wm Smith the Lowell girls that is not wrong to have intercourse with the men what they please & Elder Ball tries to sleep with them when he can They have tried to remove a good presiding Elder [Hardy] in Lowell & put in Bro Robins who is in their company, But they would not have this the Lowell Church is shaking. It is not known if Walker Lewis was aware of polygamy allegations in the branch, but with the turmoil in the branch, it seems likely that Lewis knew; he did support local branch leaders as noted in passing by visiting Apostle Wilford Woodruff in November 1844. Additionally, John Teague was ordained an elder in 1844 in the branch, despite the fact that his wife Evelyn was black. Ball served as branch president for just six months from October 1844 toMarch 1845. 1845 Apostle Parley P. Pratt arrived in the Lowell Branch on March 1 and directed William Smith, Joseph Ball and others to go to Nauvoo “prepared to spend the summer there in working on” the temple. Ball went 73
Newell G. Bringhurst and Craig L. Foster, Persistence of Polygamy: Post-‐Joseph Smith Mormon Polygamy from 1844 to 1890 Volume II, 13. 74 John Hardy, History of the Trials of Elder John Hardy Before the Church of Latter Day Saints in Boston (Boston: Conway & Company, 1844), page 5 and throughout; also Wilford Woodruff Journal, October 7, 9, and 12, 1844. 75 Quinn, Origins of Power, pp. 220 and 429, nn. 183 and 184. 76 Hardy was later excommunicated on charges of slander. See Connell O’Donovan The Mormon Priesthood Ban and Elder Q. Walker Lewis: “An example for his more whiter brethren to follow.” 77 O’Donovan, Polygamy and African American Mormons:Race, Schism, and the Beginnings of Priesthood and Temple Denial in 1847, 6 cites Wilford Woodruff journal, October 7, 1844: “the first business that was done after I arived was Elder John Hardy resigned his office as presiding Elder, And Joseph Ball appointed in his stead. The appointment of Elder Ball was opposed by Elder Jacob Phelps, but Phelps was soon bourn down by Sam Brannan and Wm. Smith. I saw things were wrong sumwhare.”
Tanner 7/24/12 12:22 AM Comment : You have not mentioned him for a long time. I would try to make more of a connection between how he fits into all this and the previous sentence.
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to Nauvoo with the understanding that he was to “receiv[e] instruction preparatory to the great endowment which is promised to them who keep the commandments of God.”78 This is significant because it appears that there was no temple restriction in 1845, and casts doubt on the claim by Esplin that Joseph Smith must have made some “secret temple teachings” prohibiting blacks from priesthood and temple ordinances as early as 1843. At this point, the groundwork was being laid for the priesthood/temple ban. In Nauvoo, the Latter-‐day Saint newspaper Times and Seasons published an article, “A Short Chapter on a Long Subject,” stating that “the descendants of Ham” had “a black skin which has ever been a curse that has followed an apostate of the holy priesthood, as well as a black heart.” In commenting about the slavery issue, the article justified that descendants of Ham “have been servants to both Shem and Japheth, and the abolitionists are trying to make void the curse of God, but it will require more power than man possesses to counteract the decrees of eternal wisdom.” The article stated that “Ham had dishonored the holy priesthood,” and justified blacks being servants of whites. 80 A few weeks later, Apostle Orson Hyde addressed the High Priest’s group on April 25, 1845. Hyde’s main purpose of speaking was to denounce Sidney Rigdon, and to warn everyone to stay away from his group. In denouncing Rigdon, Hyde compared Rigdon to the deceptive Lucifer who deceived those in the pre-‐ mortal life. Hyde was the first to make the claim that blacks were not valiant in this pre-‐mortal war in heaven. According to Hyde, “those spirits in heaven that … did not take a very active part any way, were required to come into the world and take bodies in the accursed lineage of Canaan; and hence the negro or African race.”81 The Times and Seasons published Hyde’s remarks shortly thereafter. William Smith and Joseph Ball arrived in Nauvoo on May 10, 1845. It is likely that William was aware of the article, and may have influenced his comments later that year. Arriving in Nauvoo, William Smith denied the rumors that he had participated in polygamy in Massachusetts, and was ordained Church Patriarch just two weeks later on May 24, 1845. One of his first acts was to give a patriarchal blessing to Joseph Ball. In the blessing Smith revealed that Ball had been ordained a high priest when he was set apart as leader of the branch in Lowell, Massachusetts.82 Smith also proclaimed that Ball was from the Tribe of Joseph. With Ball a descendant of the cherished Tribe of Joseph, rather than the cursed Tribe of Canaan, Ball would not have been under the curse mentioned by Orson Hyde and his priesthood ordination would still have been considered legitimate.
Tanner 7/24/12 12:22 AM Comment : Was he told this personally? Telling some more information of why he understood this statement applied to him will strengthen your argument.
Tanner 7/24/12 12:22 AM Comment : So he never received the endowment? Make more of a connection between what makes this significant. It sounds like it was because before he got there he planned on getting the endowment, but then he never did. Make sure that is clear.
Tanner 7/24/12 12:22 AM Comment : Doesn’t seem to further your argument.
Tanner 7/23/12 12:02 PM Deleted: Apostle Ezra T. Benson took over 79 leadership of the Lowell branch.
Tanner 7/24/12 12:22 AM Comment : It seems explicit that the temple/ priesthood ban is for the blacks so I feel you don’
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Tanner 7/24/12 12:22 AM Comment : I am not sure if this should be possessive. The Priests have a group, but they don’t necessarily own the group. It sounds more like you are trying to make it plural that it is a group of High Priests. I’ll let you decide what you mean in the context of the sentence. I just wanted to make you aware.
Tanner 7/24/12 12:22 AM Comment : Did he say that during this specific speech? That connection is a little unclear
Tanner 7/24/12 12:22 AM Comment : The church patriarch or a church patriarch?
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“Notice to the Elders,” The Prophet, March 1, 1845, p. 3; and Ezra Taft Benson autobiography online at http://www.boap.org/LDS/Early-‐Saints/ETBenson.html. 80 The article is unsigned, but John Taylor was the editor of the paper at that time. A digital copy of the article is available at http://contentdm.lib.byu.edu/cdm/compoundobject/collection/NCMP1820-‐1846/id/9684 retrieved 4/28/2012. 81 Orson Hyde, “Speech Given Before the High Priests Quorum in Nauvoo,” April 25, 1845 (Liverpool, England, 1845), p. 30, quoted in Newell G. Bringhurst, “Servant of Servants…Cursed as Pertaining to the Priesthood”: Mormon Attitudes Toward Slavery and the Black Man, 1830-‐1880, University of California-‐Davis, Ph.D. dissertation, 1975, pp. 121-‐122. Also found at http://www.sidneyrigdon.com/Hyd1845A.htm retrieved 4/25/2012. 82 Joseph T. Ball Patriarchal Blessing, July 14, 1845, H. Michael Marquardt (editor), Early Patriarchal Blessings of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-‐Day Saints (Salt Lake City: Smith-‐Pettit Foundation, 2007), 320.
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However, the stain of polygamy would haunt both Smith and Ball. A month after the patriarchal blessing, Parley P. Pratt wrote a letter dated June 30, 1845, questioning Ball’s integrity and accusing him of adultery and fornication.83 Orson Hyde wrote another letter saying Ball is “very corrupt” and said the Lowell branch was free of “Ballism.”84 A few months later, William Smith was excommunicated on October 18, 1845,85 after publicly announcing his belief and practice of polygamy. Within a month of his excommunication, Smith began criticizing the Church publicly. He gave an interview to the New York Herald, criticizing Spiritual Wifery (among other things) and said that the church was “receiving no negroes into their church”86 perhaps because of the Orson Hyde speech and the Times and Seasons article. It is not known if Ball was excommunicated or if he resigned his membership at this time, but it appears that he left Nauvoo with William Smith. Ball is known to have joined the Strangite movement by 1849, and may have joined with Smith in 1846. In 1849, Joseph Ball co-‐signed a letter about the missionary efforts of Strangism in Boston. 87 Ball died September 20, 1861, in Boston. But contrary to William Smith’s statement that the church was “receiving no negroes into their church,” one more black man would be ordained shortly thereafter. Warner “Wiliam” McCary 83
O’Donovan in “Polygamy and African American Mormons: Race, Schism, and the Beginnings of Priesthood and Temple Denial in 1847” cites Parley P. Pratt to Brigham Young, June 30, 1845, Brigham Young Papers, LDS Archives, Box 69, Folder 2; transcription provided by John Turner. The actual letter states, I write this to Inform you that I have no Confidence whatever in the virtue, honesty and integrity of Elder Ball, who lately Started for the west. I have become fully Convinced from the Most positive testimony, and feel also assured by the Spirit that he is a very Corrupt Man, and guilty of Adultery, fornication, or attempts at seduction and Crime of the gravest kind. And all this by pretended revelation, something like Olneys, Gladen Bishops, and Sidney Rigdons. There is no public fuss about it, nor have I acted upon it publicly, or in a formal manner. But if he were here I should immediately disfellowship him and call him to account. But as it is I…inform you of the facts and there is abundance of evidence. Nor have Br B[enson]. and myself any Confidence in any promises he may make to do better, as we have both charged him in the most faithful manner, here to fore and got fair promises, but I fear, no repentance or real reformation.” 84 O’Donovan in “Polygamy and African American Mormons” cites Orson Hyde to Newel K. Whitney, August 24, 1845, Vault MSS th th 76; Newel Kimball Whitney Papers; 19 & 20 Century Western & Mormon Americana; L. Tom Perry Special Collections, Harold B. Lee Library, Brigham Young University. The letter states, By accounts, Bro. Joseph Ball is any thing but a pure hearted man. He is represented as very corrupt, like [George J.] Adams.– He is gone to Nauvoo. You will no doubt have an eye to him..... Prospects very good. The [Boston] church is nearly free from the effects of Rigdonism, and nearly free from a worse malady – Adamsism and Ballism.” 85 Quinn, Origins of Power, pp. 222-‐223. 86 “Growth and Prosperity of the City,” New York Herald, November 16, 1845, p. 2. 87 Newell G. Bringhurst and Craig L. Foster, Persistence of Polygamy: Post-‐Joseph Smith Mormon Polygamy from 1844 to 1890 Volume II, 12. O’Donovan “Polygamy and African American Mormons” states, “As for Joseph T. Ball, after he left Nauvoo with William Smith in the fall of 1845, there is no record of him again until 1849 when Charles Greenwood, a Strangite Mormon living in Boston, wrote to James J. Strang at Voree, Wisconsin in July that year to report on the state of Strangism in Boston. ‘Joseph Ball’ co-‐signed the letter with Greenwood, so from this we know that Ball had left Brighamite Mormonism and had joined the ranks of the Strangite schism.”
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Warner McCary arrived in Nauvoo in 1845 and claimed to be part Choctaw Indian even though this was not true. He was an escaped slave from Mississippi, and has been hard to trace because of the multiple aliases he used.88 1846 McCary is quite a colorful character. Ironically, he was baptized and ordained an elder89 in 1846 by Apostle Orson Hyde.90 With McCary claiming to be part Indian, he would have held both the cherished status of a repentant Lamanite, as well as the cursed lineage of Ham. He often dressed as an Indian and claimed to be a new Lamanite prophet. The same year that McCary was ordained, Enoch Lewis, a black man in Massachusetts, would marry Mary Matilda Webster in Boston on September 18, 1846.91 Massachusetts had recently legalized interracial marriage in 1843 due to abolitionist influences. Lewis and Webster took advantage of the 88
Connell wrote a biography on Warner McCary included in Newell G. Bringhurst and Craig L. Foster, Persistence of Polygamy: Post-‐Joseph Smith Mormon Polygamy from 1844 to 1890 Volume II. McCary’s father James was the product of a mixed-‐race marriage. In a strange act, the Last will and testament of McCary’s father James stipulated that Warner was to remain the slave to his older brother Robert, older sister Kitty, and mother. Warner grew up learning many musical instruments, and escaped from his family at age 20. McCary hid his past from others, claiming to be an Indian. Connell O’Donovan and UCLA folklorist Patrick Polk have documented at least fourteen aliases used by McCary and his strange life. 1. Julius Cary/Carey 2. William Cary/Carey 3. William Chubbee 4. War-‐ne-‐wis ke-‐ho-‐ke Chubbee 5. Chief Wah Bah Goosh 6. William Chubbee King 7. Julius McCary 8. William McCary 9. William McChubby 10. Dr. Okah (and Dr. O.K.) 11. Choc-‐Chu-‐Tub-‐Bee 12. Okah Tubbee 13. James Warner 14. Amosholi-‐T-‐ubi or Moshulatubbe.
True LDS Herald, March 1861 and Wilford Woodruff, February 26, 1847, 3:139. Connell O’Donovan reports that “The Strangites also heard a similar rumor, only they heard McCary was only Native American, and not part African as well. In October 1846, the Strangite newspaper, the Voree Herald, reported, “We are informed that Orson Hyde, before leaving the camp near Council Bluffs…has made a tool of an Indian whom he has baptized and ordained to go out among the churches, and call himself a Lamanite prophet.” The “Indian” was no Indian at all, but Warner McCary, using his nephew William’s name as an alias. (Warner’s nephew, the real William McCary, would become a prominent African American in Natchez, Mississippi during the Reconstruction.) 90 Newell G. Bringhurst and Craig L. Foster, Persistence of Polygamy: Post-‐Joseph Smith Mormon Polygamy from 1844 to 1890 Volume II, 15. 91 Massachusetts Marriages, 1695-‐1910, indexing project (batch) number: M01905-‐3, system origin: Massachusetts-‐EASy, source film number:772614, reference number:p.137, no.55. Available https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/FHHJ-‐D9M retrieved 3/5/2012
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law, and soon after would have a baby. This mixed-‐race child would become important to later developments towards the priesthood ban. As mentioned earlier, William Smith officially sustained James Strang as the new prophet of the Mormon movement and joined the Strangite movement. He was quickly ordained Apostle and Patriarch sometime between April and August 1846.92 Strang would send missionaries to various Mormon congregations to try to persuade them to ally with his group. Church units away from Nauvoo were still trying to decide whether to align with Rigdon, Strang, or Young, and it appears that some members in Cincinnati had at least been talking with leaders of the Strangite movement. Coincidentally, McCary had moved to Cincinnati by October 1846. McCary met with Charles B. Thompson, a Strangite leader in Cincinnati. Thompson had been upset that he had been passed over as an apostle in the Strangite church. McCary, sensing an opportunity, conferred upon Thompson the title of apostle and the two began a new variation of Mormonism with Thompson claiming to be “Preaching under a Pretended Lam[an]ite Prophet, or Jesus Christ”. McCary, at times claimed to be Jesus Christ reincarnated utilizing the scars from his days in slavery to prove the point.93 A Strangite newspaper claimed that “We also learned by the Cincinnati Commercial that the little company who followed this colored leader abolished marriage and practiced many evils.”94 The congregation soon fizzled, and by February 1847 McCary returned to Illinois.
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Kaylee Herrick 7/24/12 12:22 AM Comment : Is the Mormon movement those who branched away from the original LDS church? That is what I assume from how it is stated here.
Kaylee Herrick 7/24/12 12:22 AM Comment : William Smith or James Strang? Make sure it is clear.
Kaylee Herrick 7/24/12 12:22 AM Comment : This seems to constitute church units away from Nauvoo so make it clear if there is a reason you emphasized it since it fits in the category of church units away from Nauvoo as well.
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1847 The year of 1847 would prove to be a pivotal year for blacks and the priesthood. Soon after his return to Nauvoo, McCary courted and married Lucile Celestia Stanton. Lucy was the white daughter of Quincy, Illinois, Stake President Daniel Stanton. She had previously been married to a man by the name of Oliver Bassett; they divorced in 1842 or 1843. (It is worthy to note that the Stantons and the Bassetts had been enamored with Black Pete in Kirtland back in 1831.) As mentioned earlier, Mormons were encouraged to inter-‐marry with Indians, but it is unlikely that anyone in Nauvoo would have been aware of McCary’s activities in Cincinnati. Once again, it was apostle Orson Hyde that performed the wedding. At this time, there was a concern about men with the sealing power performing unauthorized sealings or engaging in unapproved polygamous relationships. Wilford Woodruff records in his journal from February 16, 1847, that some were claiming that “there is no harm for them to sleep together before they are sealed.” He was concerned that these men were manipulating “innocent, ignorant females”. Woodruff then says that these men would “go to some doe-‐head of an elder and get him to say the ceremony, all done without the knowledge of the authority of this Church. This is not right, and will not
Short biography of William Smith in Strangism is found at http://www.strangite.org/Famous.htm, retrieved 3/11/2012. Connell wrote a biography on Warner McCary included in Newell G. Bringhurst and Craig L. Foster, Persistence of Polygamy: Post-‐Joseph Smith Mormon Polygamy from 1844 to 1890 Volume II. 94 “Charles B. Thompson,” Gospel Herald, (Voree, Wisconsin) vol. 3 no. 29, October 25, 1848, 140. 93
Kaylee Herrick 7/24/12 12:22 AM Comment : McCary?
Kaylee Herrick 7/24/12 12:22 AM Comment : Seems like unnecessary information. Show the reader why this is essential to your point if you feel it shows something that you haven’t already stated.
Kaylee Herrick 7/24/12 12:22 AM Comment : Make a connection between paragraphs
be suffered.” 95 With his experiences in Lowell, Woodruff could have been referring to William Smith or John C. Bennett who both engaged in unauthorized polygamy. Ten days later, Woodruff records that on February 26, McCary played the flute at a meeting among the Saints preparing to move west. And we received a visit from A man from New orleans formally. He professed to be an Indian. Most of persons believed him to be a descendant of Ham. Br Hyde baptized him in Nauvoo. He was an eccentric character. He was the most perfect natural musician I ever saw on a flute or fife, sauce pan, ratler, whistle &c. He was invited into the Council spent a few moments & returned to Br Youngs. He married Br Stantons daughter for a wife. He went to Br Bensons to spend the night. We want to hear him make some music but he was some disappointed angry & sullen & would not make any music. His name was Wm Carey.96 McCary may have been offended by racial remarks by members of the church upon his arrival with comments such as “there go the old nigger & his White Wife.” He also said that “the bishops have councilled the p[eo]pl[e] not to suffer such a In[dian] as me in their Wig wams.” He stated these concerns when he met with eight of the apostles in a four-‐hour meeting on March 26, 1847. Connell O’Donovan relates the meeting. At the beginning of the meeting, “William” McCary introduced himself and paid obeisance to Young “as my bro. & my leader.” While McCary was satisfied with how Young had treated him, in other places, by other people, McCary felt “hypocritically abused.” In particular, “the bishops have councilled the ppl not to suffer such a In[dian] as me in their Wig wams.” Others say “there go the old nigger & his White Wife.” McCary reported that on that very day a Mormon woman had said to him (and several others heard her), “that is the man that bro Brigham tells his family to treat with dis respect.” He asked Young if he was dissatisfied and promised to “walk right.” If he was not walking right, he begged Young to tell him so. He then brought up race and color: first McCary claimed “I 95
As mentioned earlier, McCary went by several names including William. Wilford Woodruff Journal, December 3, 1847. The full quote is “But those who suffer fears and jealousies to arise in their bosom either back right out or get to be mighty righteous and for fear that they are sleeping with other men's wives-‐-‐they kick up a dust or broil at home and perhaps abuse their own companion through jealousy then go off to some woman that does not under-‐stand what is right or wrong and tell her that she cannot be saved without a man and he has almighty power and can exalt and save her and likely tell that there is no harm for them to sleep together before they are sealed; then go to some doe-‐head of an elder and get him to say the ceremony, all done without the knowledge of the authority of this Church. This is not right, and will not be suffered. The God I serve will reward every man openly without his being under the necessity of going secretly and privately palming himself on the credulity of innocent, ignorant females. Such jealousies do exist, and were I to say to the elders, you now have the liberty to build up your kingdoms, one half of them would lie, swear, steal, and fight like the very devil, to get men and women sealed to them. They would even try to pass right by me and go to Joseph thinking to get between him and the Twelve. Some have already tried to use an influence against me, but such jealousies and selfishness shall be stopped and if the brethren don't stop it, I will blow it to the four winds by making them all come and be sealed to me and I to my father and he and all this Church to Joseph. When I go astray and give wrong counsel and lead this people astray then is time enough to pull me down and then God will remove me as he has done all others who have turned from the faith. 96 Wilford Woodruff journal, February 26, 1847, vol. 3, p. 139.
Kaylee Herrick 7/24/12 12:22 AM Comment : ?
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came in as a red man & want to go out as a red man” but then stated “we were all white once” and queried “why [h]av[e] I the stain now” referring to the Mormon doctrine of dark skin being a curse from God for unrighteous behavior. However, three times during this meeting, Young emphasized to McCary that one’s skin color or body was irrelevant to spiritual worthiness. After McCary informed the council that some people referred to him as Adam and “some Old Nigger,” and he wanted to know what the difference was, Young interestingly replied, “your body is not what is your mission.” Still not having fully developed the “curse of Cain” doctrine prohibiting blacks from holding priesthood or participating in temple rituals, Young then told McCary about the faithful black Elder, Q. Walker Lewis, back in Lowell, Massachusetts: “Its nothing to do with the blood for [from] one blood has God made all flesh, we have to repent [to] regain what we [h]av[e] lost – we [h]av[e] one of the best Elders an African in Lowell.”97 Interestingly, Young here paraphrased Paul’s statement to the people of Athens in Acts 17:26, “And [God] hath made of one blood all nations of men,” which, in its full context, could have been used as a clear scriptural basis for not having a race-‐based priesthood ban. However, church leaders may have not wanted to point out this particular passage, since Paul also said in the same speech that God, the “Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made of hands” (verse 23). Later on, McCary stated that he was no president, nor a leader of the people but a common brother, “because I am a little shade darker.” And again, Young emphasized, “we dont care about the color.” McCary, needing further assurance, asked the entire council, “do I hear that from all?” to which he received a unanimous “Aye.” This seems to have been a specially important moment, for Heber C. Kimball chimed in, “dont you feel a good spirit here bro William?” McCary replied, “Yes – thank God.” The meeting continued on for quite some time. Warner then claimed to be Adam, and asked those present to see if he was missing a rib. Those present indicated that nothing seemed to be out of the ordinary, and then McCary pointed at his wife Lucy and said she was his missing rib. McCary indicated his desire to go west, but had no money. Brigham Young suggested that he put on a concert for the saints to raise money for himself and Lucy. Four days later on March 30 McCary played a concert and earned some money. What happened next with McCary is not exactly clear, but it is clear that Parley P. Pratt soon had a poor impression of McCary. Pratt returned from a mission to England around April 7, and one week later Brigham headed west with a group on April 14-‐15 leaving Pratt to lead the group that was left behind.
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Brigham Young Papers, March 26, 1847, LDS Church Archives; the same is also found in the Manuscript History of the Church, under the same date.
Newell Bringhurst says that “Following this March 1847 meeting, Church leaders expelled McCary from the Mormon camp at Winter Quarters. “ Perhaps Pratt had been tipped off to McCary’s activities in Cincinnati with Strangite leaders there. Perhaps McCary had engaged in strange practices in Boston which Pratt would have discovered. Perhaps Pratt was uncomfortable with McCary’s antics. Whatever the reason, on April 25, Parley Pratt warned against Strangism, as well as those who “want to follow this Black man who has got the blood of Ham in him which line[a]ge was cursed as regards [to] the Priesthood.”98 Even Orson Hyde, the man who baptized and ordained McCary, began to preach against him. 99
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Since the apostles were needed to supervise the trek west, the first non-‐apostle to serve over the Boston area was called William Appleby. On May 19, 1847, Appleby recorded in his journal that Walker Lewis had been ordained. He echoed Pratt’s words in his journal. Left this Afternoon, for Lowell, where I arrived in about one hour and a half, distance 25. miles. Here I found a branch of the Church of about 20 members in tolerable good standing. Elder [Darius] Longee presiding. In this Branch there is a Coloured Brother, (An Elder ordained by Elder Wm. Smith while he was a member of the Church, contrary though to the order of the Church or the Law of the Priesthood, as the Descendants of Ham are not entitled to that privilege) by the name of Walker Lewis. He appears to be a meek humble man, and an example for his more whiter brethren to follow.100 Newell Bringhurst cautions against reading too much into this journal entry. He says that Appleby wrote the journal entry in the 1850s based on notes that Appleby kept previously. In the 1850s, the Curse of Ham doctrine was probably more developed than it was in 1847.101 (Appleby also had copied the relevant extract from the Book of Abraham into his journal.) Just twelve days after this journal entry, Appleby didn’t seem as adamant that a black holding the priesthood was contrary to the “laws of God.” 98
Newell G. Bringhurst, Saints, Slaves and Blacks: The Changing Place of Black People Within Mormonism (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1981), 86. (quote found in LDS Church Archives.) Newell G. Bringhurst, “‘A Servant of Servants … Cursed as Pertaining to the Priesthood’: Mormon Attitudes toward Slavery and the Black Man 1830-‐1880,” Ph.D. dis., University of California, Davis, 1975, p. 121, and “An Ambiguous Decision: The Implementation of Mormon Priesthood Denial for the Black Man—A Re-‐examination,” Utah Historical Quarterly 46 (Winter 1978): 47, 62-‐63; Ronald K. Esplin, “Brigham Young and Priesthood Denial to the Blacks: An Alternate View,” BYU Studies 19:394-‐402. The Pratt quotation is from minutes, 15 Apr. 1847, Brigham Young Papers, Historical Department Archives. 99 Bringhurst Neither Black Nor White, “Elijah Abel and the Changing Place of Blacks Within Mormonism” cites Lorenzo Brown, Journal, 27 Apr. 1847, LDS Church archives; Lee, Journal, 25 Apr. 1847. Lorenzo Brown journal, April 25, 1847, vol. 2, L. Tom Perry Special Collections, Harold B. Lee Library, Brigham Young University. General Minutes, April 25, 1847, LDS Church Archives, as quoted in Bringhurst, Saints, Slaves, pp. 86 and 101, note 10; Newell G. Bringhurst and Darron T. Smith, editors, Black and Mormon, (Chicago: University of Illinois Press, 2004), 20-‐21. 100
William L. Appleby to Brigham Young, 2 June 1847, William L. Appleby Papers, LDS Church Archives. Also see Appleby’s journal, 19 May May 1847. Bringhurst notes in footnote 103 of his book Saints, Slaves, and Blacks, “In his journal, Appleby acknowledges that the ordination of Lewis was “contrary though to the order of the Church on the Law of the Priesthood as the descendants of Ham are not entitled to that privilege.” There are indications, however, that this entry, along with most of his so-‐called journal, was not written until the mid-‐1850s, by which time black priesthood denial was well known by people both within and outside of Mormonism.” 101
Connell O’Donovan, The Mormon Priesthood Ban and Elder Q. Walker Lewis: “An example for his more whiter brethren to follow,” 83.
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He noted that Walker Lewis had been ordained a few years earlier by William Smith, and Walker’s son, Enoch, had married a white woman, Matilda Webster. His May 31 letter to Brigham Young states, At Lowell…I found a coloured brother by name of ‘Lewis’ a barber, an Elder in the Church, ordained some years ago by William Smith. This Lewis I was informed has also a son who is married to a white girl [Enoch Lovejoy Lewis and Mary Matilda Webster Lewis] and both members of the Church there. Now dear Br. I wish to know if this is the order of God or tolerated in this Church ie to ordain Negroes to the Priesthood and allow amalgamation. If it is I desire to Know, as I have Yet got to learn it.102
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It seems that within the next two weeks, Appleby finally met the Lewis family and their mixed-‐race infant girl.103 His June 16, 1847, journal shows Appleby’s dismay at meeting them. He records that he Visited some of the Brethren and viewed some of the improvements of the city, the factories, canals, etc. In looking for a Br[other] in the Church, I called at a House, a colored man resided there. I set myself down for a few moments presently[;] in came quite a good looking “white woman, about 22 years old I should think with blushing cheeks and was introduced to me as the negro’s wife, an infant in a cradle nearby the evidence of the fact. Oh! Woman, thought I, where is thy shame[?] For indeed I felt ashamed and not only ashamed, but disgusted when I was informed they were both members of Church! Respect for thy family, thyself, for the offspring and above all the law of God.104
Figure 2 -‐ Courtesy Connell O' Donovan
Another troubling relationship soon followed. After leaving the Mormon camp in Winter Quarters, Nebraska, Warner McCary travelled to Springville, Iowa, and started having white women sealed to him 102
William I. Appleby to Brigham Young, May 31, 1847, LDS Church Archives. The child died at just 15 months of age. See Connell O’Donovan, The Mormon Priesthood Ban and Elder Q. Walker Lewis: “An example for his more whiter brethren to follow,” 87. 104 Found at http://connellodonovan.com/black_white_marriage.html retrieved 4/29/2012 103
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through a special sealing ceremony. The ceremony included sexual intercourse witnessed by his white wife Lucy. Nelson Wheeler Whipple recorded,
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When I arrived in this branch, it was in rather a curious fix. A man had been there by the name of McCarry. He was said to be a mulatto or quarterrun [quadroon] who professed to be some great one, and had converted a good many to his kind of religion … He had a number of women sealed to him in his way which was as follows: He had a house in which this ordinance was performed. His wife, Lucy Stanton, was in the room at the time of the performance, no others were admitted. The form of sealing was for the women to bed with him, in the daytime as I was informed three different times by which they were sealed to the fullest extent…. 105 As Mormons learned of McCary’s sealings to white women, many were upset and some threatened to shoot McCary.106 Because of this, he made a “fast trot” to Missouri in mid-‐July 1847.107 After staying in Missouri for a short time, the McCarys then left for Washington, DC, to begin a life as a travelling show. O’Donovan says that McCary, the half-‐white half-‐black escaped slave, finally abandoned his family name altogether and recreated himself as a full-‐blooded Choctaw named Okah Tubbee, the lost son of an important historical chief named Amosholi-‐T-‐ubi or Moshulatubbe. Lucy, the Anglo-‐Saxon Mormon woman, turned herself into a Delaware “Indian Princess” named Laah Ceil Manatoi Elaah Tubbee.108 This was the same time that Mormon settlers entered the Salt Lake Valley for the first time. On the trek, Brigham Young was beginning to broach the idea of becoming the next prophet. Perhaps he was influenced by the Strang and Rigdon movements, as well as being isolated from Nauvoo. Wilford Woodruff recorded that Brigham began to prepare others for the idea that he had the ability to receive revelation. On August 15, 1847, “Some have had fears that we had not power to get revelations since the death of Joseph. But I want this subject from this time forth to be forever set at rest. I want this Church to understand from this day henceforth and forever that an apostle is the highest office of authority that there is in the Church and kingdom of God on the earth. From whom did Joseph receive his authority? Just such men as sit around me here (pointing to the Twelve Apostles that sat with him). Peter, James and John were apostles and there was no noise about their being seers and revelators though those gifts were among them. Joseph Smith gave unto me and to my brethren, the Twelve, all the priesthood keys, powers, and authority which he had and those are powers 105
Copy of the History of Nelson Wheeler Whipple 1818-‐1887, by Anor Whipple (His son) http://www.clegg-‐ webb.com/Histories/Nelson%20Wheeler%20Whipple%20History.html 106 Bringhurst, Saints, Slaves, pp. 84-‐87. 107 Bringhurst Neither Black Nor White, “Elijah Abel and the Changing Place of Blacks Within Mormonism” cites Whipple, Journal, 14 Oct. 1847. 108 Connell wrote a biography on Warner McCary included in Newell G. Bringhurst and Craig L. Foster, Persistence of Polygamy: Post-‐Joseph Smith Mormon Polygamy from 1844 to 1890 Volume II.
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which belong to the apostleship. In Joseph's day we had to ordain patriarchs. Could we ordain men to authority greater than we hold ourselves? No. But it is necessary to have patriarchs to bless the people that they may have blessings by the spirit of prophecy and revelation sealed upon their heads and their posterity and know what awaits their posterity. Father Smith was the senior patriarch in the Church and first patriarch in our day and afterwards Hyrum was the senior patriarch for his father sealed it upon his head, but was their power and authority any different from all patriarchs in the Church? No. They were all alike in their authority and blessings.”109 Then Woodruff notes on October 12, 1847: En route to Winter Quarters from SLC, I had a question put to me by President Young-‐-‐what my opinion was concerning one of the Twelve Apostles being appointed as the President of the Church with his two counselors. I answered that a quorum like the Twelve who has seen appointed by revelation, confirmed by revelation, from time to time, I thought it would require a revelation to change the order of that quorum. Anne Wilde typed up a manuscript of the journal and noted that “An added phrase at the end of the entry, possibly added at a subsequent time, reads: ‘Whatever the Lord inspires you to do in this matter I am with you.’”110 Brigham Young returned to Winter Quarters on October 31. By that time, Appleby also was there and “gave an account of the state of the churches in the east.”111 Young met with several apostles in a private meeting where they discussed the problem of William McCary as well their disdain for black and whites intermarrying. Young stated that Enoch and Matilda Lewis should be killed.112 Minutes from the December meeting were recorded by scribe Thomas Bullock: bro Appleby relates... W[ilia]m Smith ordained a black man Elder at Lowell113 & he has married a white girl & they have a child Pres[iden]t. Young If they were far away from the Gentiles they wo[ul]d all on to be killed -‐ when they mingle seed it is death to all. 109
Wilford Woodruff Journal, August 15, 1847 Wilford Woodruff Journal, Pioneer Press, typography by Anne Wilde, October 12, 1847 111 Wilford Woodruff Journal, December 3, 1847. 112 Minutes of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, December 3, 1847, 6, Miscellaneous Minutes, Brigham Young papers, LDS archives, as quoted in Quinn, Origins of Power, p. 478 and Quinn, The Mormon Hierarchy: Extensions of Power, p. 247 and 532, note 145. 113 William Smith is known to have ordained Walker Lewis to LDS priesthood and he may have also ordained Walker’s son, Enoch Lovejoy Lewis. 110
If a black man & white woman come to you & demand baptism can you deny them? the law is their seed shall not be amalgamated Mulattoes r like mules they cant have children,114 but if they will be Eunuchs for the Kingdom of God Heaven's sake they may have a place in the Temple115 B[righam] Y[oung] The Lamanites r purely of the house of Israel & it is a curse that is to be removed when the fulness of the Gospel comes – O[rson] H[yde] Has taught that if girls marry the half breeds they r throwing themselves away & becoming as one of them B. Y. It is wrong for them to do so. B. Y. The Pottawatamies will not own a man who has the negro blood in him – that is the reason why the Indians disown the negro prophet [Warner McCary].116 As Young was preparing to become the next president of the church, it seems he became more comfortable with the proposal “that blacks in general were ineligible to participate in certain temple ordinances.”117 Young would reorganize the first presidency and be set apart as prophet on December 27, 1847. 1848 Following this October meeting where Young expressed outrage over the Lewis mixed-‐race child, there does not seem to be much attention given to the ban among other members of the leadership. Elder Albert P. Rockwood, a member of both the First Quorum of Seventy and the Council of Fifty, arrived in Boston for a regional Conference in September 1848. He read a letter from the Quorum of Twelve Apostles to the saints encouraging them to move west. 118 Moving on to the congregation in Lowell in December, he did not note anything out of the ordinary despite the fact that the meeting was held in 114
O’Donovan notes that “This idea that black and white mixed children are sterile and cannot reproduce, just as mules cannot, was also brought up later in Utah. The Juvenile Instructor said in 1868, ‘In fact we believe it to be a great sin in the eyes of our Heavenly Father for a white person to marry a black one. And further, that it is a proof of the mercy of God that no such race appear able to continue for many generations.’” See Juvenile Instructor, (1868) vol. 3, 165. 115 This is taken from Matthew 19:12, in a discussion about marriage and divorce, which is apparently about the castrated, and celibates as eunuchs: “For there are some eunuchs, which were so born from their mother's womb: and there are some eunuchs, which were made eunuchs of men: and there be eunuchs, which have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven's sake. He that is able to receive it, let him receive it.” 116 Connell O’ Donovan cites Quorum of the Twelve Minutes, December 3, 1847, pp. 6-‐7, electronic scan of original in his possession. 117 Lester Bush says that Appleby “later alluded rather harshly to blacks in an article he published on the book of Abraham. While Elijah Abel had been allowed in the Kirtland temple for the ordinance of washing and anointing in 1836, blacks who applied for temple ordinances after arrival in Utah were uniformly refused. On the evolution of Mormon thinking on these ordinances, see David John Buerger. “‘The Fulness of the Priesthood’: The Second Anointing in Latter-‐day Saint Theology and Practice,” Dialogue 16 (Spring 1983): 10-‐44. 118 Note that with the death of Joseph Smith, the Quorum of Twelve took over leadership of the church. The letter was called General Epistle from the Council of the Twelve Apostles.
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the home of Walker Lewis on Christmas Eve. Rockwood “preached to the Saints at the house of Br Lewis had a verry attentive audiance.” Lewis made a donation to Rockwood that he noted in his journal, as well as Lewis’ hospitality. “Br W Lewis the coulerd Br gave 1oo [donation] he lent me a raesor and brusch so I can shave with a raesor that is borrowed in stid of one that is pierced [or pitted?] as the Anas_____[????] will be.”119 1849 At this time Brigham Young felt the need to fill vacancies in the Quorum of Twelve Apostles, filling four new positions on February 12, 1849. Four new apostles were called; one of them, Apostle Lorenzo Snow asked if there was a “chance of redemption … for the Africans.” Young answered the blacks were ineligible because of the Curse of Cain. At this point, it seems that Young expanded on Parley Pratt’s previous statement that blacks were cursed from the priesthood because of their lineage through Canaan’s seed. The curse remained upon them because Cain cut off the lives [sic] of Abel, to prevent him and his posterity getting ascendency over Cain and his generations, and to get the lead himself, his own offering was not being accepted of God, while Abel’s was. But the Lord cursed Cain’s seed with blackness and prohibited them the priesthood, that Abel and his progeny might yet come forward, and have their dominion, place, and blessings in their proper relationship with Cain and his race in the world to come.120 1851 Wilford Woodruff received a letter from Walker Lewis on March 4, 1850.121 It appears that Lewis may have made his intentions to move west because he filed his Last Will and Testament a year later (March 26, 1851), giving his home and possessions to his wife Elizabeth Lovejoy Lewis.122 It is likely that Walker Lewis left Massachusetts in April. Cross country travel took about six months at that time and several wagon trains were reported to have arrived in September of 1851.123 By now John Smith, uncle of the prophet Joseph, was named the new Church Patriarch. Smith gave a patriarchal blessing to Walker Lewis on October 4, 1851. Smith declared that Lewis was from the “tribe of Cana[a]n,”124 in spite of the fact that Lewis had already been ordained an elder in the Melchizedek 119
Connell O’Donovan, The Mormon Priesthood Ban and Elder Q. Walker Lewis: “An example for his more whiter brethren to follow,” 88. 120 Manuscript History of the Church, 13 Feb. 1849, LDS Church Archives. 121 Wilford Woodruff Journal, March 4, 1850. 122 Last Will and Testament of Walker Lewis, dated March 26, 1851, entered into probate on December 2, 1856, Middlesex County, Massachusetts probate records, Book 4, p. 358, no. 36420. 123 Journal History of the Church, September 1, 12, 14, 24, 38, 29, and October 1, 1841. 124 Patriarchal Blessing Book, vol. 11, p. 326, LDS Church archives. Connell O’Donovan notes “The typewritten index to the early patriarchal blessings indicates the tribe of “Cainan” (a rather Freudian conflation of Cain and Canaan), but when I was given the opportunity to actually view Lewis’ blessing, I noted that John Smith had actually spelled it “Canan.” As I am not a descendant of Lewis, I was not allowed to copy the blessing, and unfortunately I do not recall anything more of the details of its contents.”
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Priesthood which seemingly contradictedPratt’s statement. With general conference occurring on Oct 5-‐6, it seems likely that Lewis attended those meetings. Some forty years later, Jane Manning James wrote a letter stating that Lewis stayed in Utah for approximately six months.125 Lewis returned to Lowell, Massachusetts, and died of tuberculosis October 26, 1856. This 1890 letter from Sister Manning is very important. Jane had been married to Isaac James, but they divorced and he left the family in 1869. He later returned, and Jane cared for him until his death in 1891. The letter implies that there may have been some sort of proposal between Walker Lewis and Jane James because she petitions church leaders to be sealed to Walker Lewis. Dear Brother -‐ -‐ Please excuse me taking the Liberty of Writing to you -‐ but be a Brother…by answering my questions -‐ There by satisfying my mind -‐ -‐ First, as Brother James [her husband Isaac] has Left me 21 years -‐ And a Coloured Brother, Brother Lewis wished me to be sealed to Him, He has been dead 35 or 36 years -‐ can i be sealed to him -‐ parley P Pratt ordained Him an Elder. When or how[?] can i ever be sealed to Him.126 It should be noted that Pratt baptized Lewis, but William Smith most likely ordained Lewis an elder. Also in 1851, Warner McCary’s traveling show became known nationally. McCary married another white wife Sarah Marlett at Niagara Falls in August 1851. Sarah later sued Warner for bigamy, and it became a national story. The McCarys moved to Canada to get away from their troubles, but trouble followed them there. Willard Richards was editor of the Deseret News, which published McCary’s polygamy story, and a veiled reference to McCary’s “missing rib” from the 1847 meeting in Nebraska. O’Donovan describes the News of Warner and Lucy McCary’s charade as Indians reached Utah and Willard Richards, via the Deseret News, humorously published but a brief summary in December: Okah Tubbee has been called in question by the Canadian courts, Toronto, for having added Sarah Madlette [Malette?], to his broken ribs, while his old wife was living.127 The Mormons, who had just recently admitted publicly that they were practicing polygamy in August, obviously took delight in noting that “Okah Tubbee” was practicing plural marriage.128 Willard Richards, editor of the Deseret News from 1850 to 1854, obviously knew that Okah
Connell O’Donovan, The Mormon Priesthood Ban and Elder Q. Walker Lewis: “An example for his more whiter brethren to follow”,91. The footnote to this reference states that O’Donovan received an email from Margaret Blair Young, “With My Comments,” 6 June 2006, personal email (June 6, 2006). 126 Connell O’Donovan, The Mormon Priesthood Ban and Elder Q. Walker Lewis: “An example for his more whiter brethren to follow”, 91. The footnote to the letter states Jane Elizabeth Manning James to Joseph Fielding Smith, February 7, 1890, LDS Church Archives, transcript in his possession. 127 “Gleanings and Sayings,” Deseret News, December 11, 1852, p. 3. 128 Orson Pratt, August 29, 1852, Journal of Discourses, vol. 1, p. 58.
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Tubbee was in fact Warner McCary, for he obscurely referred to the scene at Winter Quarters when McCary tried to demonstrate that his missing “odd rib” had been found in his wife Lucy.129 In June, Wilford Woodruff quotes Brigham Young expounding upon the Curse of Cain doctrine. Their has been a great stir to exhalt the Negro & make him equal to the white man but there is a curse upon the seed of Cain & all Hell cannot wipe it out & it cannot be taken off untill God takes it off. When A person unlawfully seeks for power & exhaltation by taking the blessings which belongs to Another He will sink far below the other. As Lucipher the son of the morning sought Abels Blessing & took the life of his brother. The consequence was Cain was cursed & his seed & this curse will remain untill Abels posterity will get all the Blessing their is for him. Then the curse may be taken from Cain or his posterity but his posterity will be below Abels. All are slaves. Polititions are the worst slaves And if we dont do right we shall ketch the lash. We are the freest people on Earth. Queen Victoria is A slave. Had to Ask the liberty to Marry prince Albert. But we are free. We have the right God & kingdom.130 1852 On January 15, 1852, Wilford Woodruff recorded that Brigham Young addressed the legislature saying, The Lord said I will not kill Cane But I will put a mark upon him and it is seen in the [face?] of every Negro on the Earth And it is the decree of God that that mark shall remain upon the seed of Cane & the Curse until all the seed of Abel should be re[deem?]ed and Cane will not receive the priesthooduntill or salvation untill all the seed of Abel are Redeemed. Any man having one drop of the seed of Cane in him Cannot hold the priesthood & if no other Prophet ever spake it Before I will say it now in the name of Jesus Christ. I know it is true & they know it. The Negro cannot hold one particle of Government But the day will Come when all the seed of Cane will be Redeemed & have all the Blessings we have now & a great deal more. But the seed of Abel will be ahead of the seed of Cane to all Eternity. Let me consent to day to mingle my seed with the seed of Cane[,] It would Bring the same curse upon me And it would upon any man. And if any man mingles his seed with the seed of Cane the ownly way he Could get rid of it or have salvation would be to Come forward & have his head Cut off & spill his Blood upon the ground. It would also take the life of his Children.... Their is not one of the seed of old Cane that is permitted to rule & reign over the seed of Abel And you nor I cannot Help it. Those that do bear rule should do it in righteousness. I am opposed to the present system of slavery. The Negro Should serve the seed of Abram but it should be done right. Dont abuse the Negro & treat him cruel.... 129
Connell wrote a biography on Warner McCary included in Newell G. Bringhurst and Craig L. Foster, Persistence of Polygamy: Post-‐Joseph Smith Mormon Polygamy from 1844 to 1890 Volume II., 32 130 Wilford Woodruff Journal, June 29, 1851.
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As an Ensample let the Presidency, Twelve Seventies High Priests Bishops & all the Authorities say ["]now we will go & mingle with the seed of Cane and they may have all the privileges they want. We lift our hands to heaven in support of this.["] That moment we loose the priesthood & all Blessings & we would not be redeemed untill Cane was. I will never admit it for a moment.... The Devil would like to rule part of the time But I am determin[ed] He shall not rule at all and Negros shall not rule us. I will not admit of the Devil ruling at all. I will not Consent for the seed of Cane to vote for me or my Brethren....Come here with a part of the Canaanite [i.e. African] Blood in them they are Citizens & shall have their rights but not to rule for me or my Brother....The Canaanite cannot have wisdom to do things as the white man has. We must guard against Evil. I am not going to let this people damn themselves as long as I can help it.131 The speech is interesting because it may explain the rationale on why interracial marriage was accepted prior to this time. It seems that some members did try to marry blacks so “they may have all the privileges they want. We lift our hands to heaven in support of this.” It is hard to know if this was a widely or narrow-‐held view among members of the church. It could have been a view shared by just a few individuals. However, Young now claims “That moment we loose the priesthood & all Blessings & we would not be redeemed untill Cane was. I will never admit it for a moment” and previously said, “if any man mingles his seed with the seed of Cane the ownly way he Could get rid of it or have salvation would be to Come forward & have his head Cut off & spill his Blood upon the ground. It would also take the life of his Children.” This mixing of seed now became a capital crime, whereas prior justifications were to allow the seed of Cain to have all the same privileges as whites. Obviously, this statement changes the relationships between the church and black members quite considerably from the previous position on blacks. It also seems to confirm that Young was the author of the ban: “if no other Prophet ever spake it before I will say it now in the name of Jesus Christ I know it is true and others know it.” It seems that Young admits that “no other Prophet ever spake it before.” While Lewis was in Utah, an Act in Relation to Service was passed on February 4, 1852, by the territorial legislature in Utah. The law allowed black and Indian slavery to be legal in Utah.132 With the passage of the Missouri Compromise in 1820, slavery and anti-‐slavery advocates wanted to keep the balance of power in slavery and anti-‐slavery states. The Compromise of 1850 allowed California to enter the Union as a free territory. New Mexico and Utah were allowed the option to choose whether to enter the Union as a free or slave territory. Brigham Young felt that it would be politically advantageous for Utah to try to enter the Union as a slave territory in order to keep the balance of power of slave states in 131
Wilford Woodruff's Journal 1833-‐1898 Typescript, Scott G. Kenney, editor, (Midvale UT: Signature Books, 1983), vol. 4, undated entry between 4 January and 8 February 1852, 97-‐99. Connell O’Donovan first published The Mormon Priesthood Ban & Elder Q. Walker Lewis: "An example for his more whiter brethren to follow" in the 2006 issue of the John Whitmer Historical Association Journal. He has published an updated version of the paper at http://people.ucsc.edu/~odonovan/elder_walker_lewis.html#_ftn145 accessed 5/26/2012 which contains the Woodruff speech. 132
It should be noted that Indians and blacks were treated differently. The act required that Indians were to be educated, but no such regulation existed for black slaves. Indian slavery was not to exceed a maximum of twenty years, but black slavery had no statutory end date.
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Congress. On January 23, Young said that “we must believe in slavery.”133 The move would also have appeased the few slaveholding apostles, such as Charles Rich and Abraham Smoot,134 that slavery would be legalized in Utah. However, it was not in line with Joseph Smith’s presidential platform that all slaves should be educated and freed.135 In addition to black slavery, Indian slavery was also legalized. The church originally opposed slavery. Prior to the Mexican-‐American War of 1847-‐48, Indians were selling Indian slaves to Mexicans of the area. When Brigham Young brought the saints to the Great Basin, Indians tried to sell captured Indian slaves to the Mormons. At first Mormons refused, stating that slavery was no longer legal now that the area belonged to the United States rather than Mexico. Eugene Campbell recounted: Stopping the slave trade embittered some Indians. Some of them attempted to sell their children to the Mormons. Jones related one graphic incident. Arrapine, [Ute chief, of the Timpanogot Band, Chief] Walker’s brother, insisted that because the Mormons had stopped the Mexicans from buying these children, the Mormons were obligated to purchase them. Jones wrote, “Several of us were present when he took one of the children by the heels and dashed his brains out on the hard ground, after which he threw the body toward us telling us we had no hearts or we would have saved its life.” Incidents such as this led the Legislative Assembly of the Territory of Utah on 7 March 1852 to pass an act legalizing Indian slavery. The purpose was to induce Mormons to buy Indian children who otherwise would have been abandoned or killed. It provided that Indian children under the 133
Quinn, Extensions of Power, p. 749. Carter, The Negro Pioneer, p. 24; also, C. Elliot Berlin, “Abraham Owen Smoot, Pioneer Mormon Leader” (M.A. thesis, Brigham Young University, 1955), for Smoot’s family background. 135 In his 1973 article on Mormonism’s Negro Problem: A Historical Overview, Lester Bush notes that “Even in private conversation, the Prophet advised that slaves owned by Mormons be brought “into a free country and set … free—Educate them and give them equal Rights.” Bush cites Joseph Smith’s Journal, kept by Willard Richards dated 30 Dec. 1842; copy at LDS Church Archives. He recorded a similar sentiment in his history: “Had I anything to do with the negro, I would … put them on a national equalization.” Bush cites 2 Jan. 1843, History of the Church, 5:217. 134
Many similar expressions are to be found in 1843 and 1844, though his greatest attention to slavery was evident during his 1844 presidential campaign. Joseph Smith’s “Views on the Government and Policy of the U.S.,” prepared in February as a campaign platform, included a plan for the elimination of slavery within six years through federal compensation of slaveholders. Bush cites several sources for this. “Gen. Smith’s Views on the Government and Policy of the U.S.” See Times & Seasons, 5:528-‐33. He subsequently spoke against slavery on 7 Mar. 1844 (History of the Church, 6:243); 14 Apr. 1844 (Times & Seasons 5:508-‐510); and 13 May 1844 (letter published 4 June 1844 in Times & Seasons,5:545). Another indication of his interest in this subject were entries in his history in Feb. 1843, on a John Quincey Adams petition against slavery (History of the Church, 5:283), and in May 1843, on the abolition of slavery in the “British dominions in India” (History of the Church, 5:379); in November of that year the Times & Seasons carried the full text of a Papal Bull “Relative to Refraining from Traffic in Blacks” (Times & Seasons, 4:381-‐2). He later added that this might be accomplished a few states at a time or with a provision that slave children be freed after a “fixed period.” Bush says this idea was expressed 7 Mar. 1844. See History of the Church 6:243, and Matthias Cowley,Wilford Woodruff (Salt Lake City: Deseret News Press, 1909), p. 203. There is some uncertainty as to what the Prophet planned to do with the freed slaves. At times he spoke of national equalization or equal rights; on this occasion he stated, “As soon as Texas was annexed, I would liberate the slaves in two or three States, indemnifying their owners, and send the negroes to Texas, and from Texas to Mexico, where all colors are alike.”
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proper conditions could be legally bound over to suitable guardians for a term of indenture not exceeding twenty years. The master was required to send Indian children between the ages of seven and sixteen years to school for a period of three months each year and was answerable to the probate judge for the treatment of these apprentices. As a result of this act, many Mormon families took small Indian children into their homes to protect them from slavery or from being left destitute. John D. Lee, for example, wrote in his journal about a group of Indians who “brought me two more girls for which I gave them two horses. I named the girls Annette and Elnora.”136 Section Four of the act also prohibited sexual relations between whites and blacks: “if any white person shall be guilty of sexual intercourse with any of the African race, they shall be subject, on conviction thereof to a fine of not exceeding one thousand dollars, nor less than five hundred, to the use of the Territory, and imprisonment, not exceeding three years.” In discussing the law, Young said that interracial sexual relations required blood atonement (offspring included) for salvation.137 Following up on the January speech recorded by Woodruff, Brigham Young stated more clearly that God was the source of this position, and confirmed that anyone who mixed seed with Cain would lose priesthood blessings as well. Addressing a joint session of the territorial legislature on February 5, 1852, Young declared, Now then in the kingdom of God on the earth, a man who has the African blood in him cannot hold one jot nor tittle of priesthood; Why? because they are the true eternal principals the Lord Almighty has ordained, and who can help it, men cannot. the angels cannot, and all the powers of earth and hell cannot take it off, but thus saith the Eternal I am, what I am, I take it off at my pleasure, and not one partical of power can that posterity of Cain have, until the time comes the says he will have it taken away. That time will come when they will have the privilege of all we have the privelege of and more. In the kingdom of God on the earth the Affricans cannot hold one partical of power in Government. The the subjects, the rightfull servants of the resedue of the children of Adam, and the resedue of the children through the benign influence of the Spirit of the Lord have the privilege of seeing to the posterity of Cain; inasmuch as it is the Lords will they should receive the spirit of God by Baptisam; and that is the end of their privilege; and there is not power on earth to give them any more power. You talke of the dark skin, I never saw a white man on earth. I have seen persons whoes hair came pretty nigh being white, but to talk about white skins it is something intirely unknown, though some skins are fairer than others; look at the black eye and the jet black hair, we often see upon men and women who are called white, there is no such things as white folkes. We are the children of Adam, who receive the blessings, and that is enough for us if we are not quite white. But let me tell you further. Let my seed mingle with the seed of Cain, that brings the curse upon me, and upon my generations, -‐-‐ we will reap the same rewards with Cain. 136
Eugene Campbell, Establishing Zion, 107-‐108. Lester Bush, Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought, Spring 1973, 26.
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In the priesthood I will tell you what it will do. Where the children of God to mingle there seed with the seed of Cain it would not only bring the curse of being deprived of the power of the priesthood upon themselves but they entail it upon their children after them, and they cannot get rid of it. If a man in an ungaurded moment should commit such a transgression, if he would walk up and say cut off my head, and kill man woman and child it would do a great deal towards atoneing for the sin. Would this be to curse them? no it would be a blessing to them. -‐-‐ it would do them good that they might be saved with their Bren. A man would shuder should they here us take about killing folk, but it is one of the greatest blessings to some to kill them, allthough the true principles of it are not understood.138 Walker Lewis was a prominent member of the Underground Railroad, his son Enoch had married a white woman, and his wife was the product of a mixed-‐race marriage. Passage of this act, and talk of interracial marriage as worthy of death must have been very disconcerting to him. He left Utah in the Spring of 1852. His son Enoch had been jailed back in Massachusetts for stealing clothes139and he may have returned to take care of the situation. He died of tuberculosis in 1856.
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1853-‐4 Brigham Young went on to declare that the ban would end “When all the other children of Adam have had the privilege of receiving the Priesthood…. it will be time enough to remove the curse from Cain and his posterity.”140 In 1853, Abel migrated to Utah and had at least 3 children by the time they migrated to Utah. 141 When Abel asked to participate in the Nauvoo version of the endowment in the Endowment House in Salt Lake City, Brigham Young denied the ordinance.142 After Young’s death in 1877, Abel applied again with Church President John Taylor but was denied again.143 Conclusion
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Here is a summary of early blacks who received the priesthood prior to 1847.
Black Pete • • • •
Baptized in 1830 by one of four missionaries in Kirtland (Parley P. Pratt, Ziba Peterson, Peter Whitmer, or Oliver Cowdery),. Served a mission in Ashtabula County, Ohio, in 1831. Wanted to marry a white woman named Lovina Williams. Left the Church sometime between 1831 and 1834.
A version of the speech is found at http://www.utlm.org/onlineresources/sermons_talks_interviews/brigham1852feb5_priesthoodandblacks.htm 139 Lowell Advertiser, May 6, 1851, and Middlesex County Probate Records, February 17, 1857, Book 38, p. 32. 140 Journal of Discourses, 2:142-‐43, 3 Dec. 1854. 141 Bringhurst, Saints, Slaves, and Blacks: The Changing Place of Black People Within Mormonism, Table 7, p. 222. 142 Bringhurst cites Council Meeting Minutes, 2 Jan. 1902, George A. Smith Papers, University of Utah library, Salt Lake City; Council Meeting Minutes, 12 Aug. 1908, Adam S. Bennion Papers, Harold B. Lee Library, Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah. 143 In Newell Bringhurst’s essay Elijah Abel and the Changing Status of Blacks Within Mormonism, he cites Council Meeting Minutes, 2 Jan. 1902, Bennion Papers.
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William T. Ball • • • • • • • •
Baptized in 1832 by either Brigham or Joseph Young. Served a mission with Wilford Woodruff in 1837. Baptized William Willard Hutchings on May 2, 1842. Ordained a high priest and set apart as branch president in Lowell, Massachusetts, by William Smith in 1845. Introduced to polygamy by William Smith in 1845, and had sexual relations with white women in the branch. Traveled to Nauvoo in 1845 to receive patriarchal blessing by William Smith. Blessing states Ball’s lineage was the Tribe of Joseph. He was supposed to receive the endowment but left Nauvoo before temple was completed. Joined Strangism sometime between 1845 and 1849
Elijah Abel • • • • • • • • • •
Baptized in 1832 in Maryland by Ezekiel Roberts. Ordained an Elder on March 3, 1836. Patriarchal blessing states Abel was “an orphan.” Received his washing and anointing in the Kirtland Temple in 1836. Helped build the Kirtland, Nauvoo, and Salt Lake Temples. Ordained a seventy by Zebedee Coltrin on December 20, 1836. Participated in baptisms for the dead in Nauvoo, in 1841, in the Mississippi River. Served three missions for the Church to Ohio, New York, and Canada. Died Christmas Day in 1885. In 1895, Apostle (and future President) Joseph F. Smith claimed that Abel was ordained a High Priest. Smith later claimed that Abel’s priesthood had been cut off, but it is unknown why Smith claimed this.
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Jane Manning James • • • •
Baptized in 1841 in Connecticut. Married a black Mormon man named Isaac James (later divorced) in 1844 in Brigham Young’s home in Nauvoo. Was denied permission to be sealed to Walker Lewis. Even though living, she was sealed vicariously to Joseph Smith as a servant (because she was not allowed into the temple).
Eveline Wilbur Teague • • •
Joined the church in 1842 with husband, Irishman John R. Teague Sr. John was ordained a priest in 1842 by Apostle Willard Richards and Elder Erastus Snow. John Teague was ordained an elder in 1844.
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Left for Strangism in 1848.
Q. Walker Lewis • • • • • • • •
It is believed that Lewis was baptized by Parley P. Pratt in 1843. Leading abolitionist in Massachusetts, a master mason in Freemasonry, and helped to free many southern slaves as part of the Underground Railroad. His wife Elizabeth was the daughter of an interracial couple (her father was black). Missionaries Brigham Young, William Smith, Wilford Woodruff, Ezra Taft Benson, and Parley P. Pratt all served missions in Boston and were well acquainted with Lewis. Mission president William Appleby wrote that Lewis was “an example for his more whiter brethren to follow.” William Smith most likely ordained Lewis around 1844 to1845. Traveled to Utah in 1851 for patriarchal blessing that states he was of the “Tribe of Canaan.” Died in 1856 in Massachusetts.
Enoch Lewis • • • • •
Son of Walker Lewis. Believed to preach funeral sermon with Apostle Orson Hyde in 1844. Married a white woman named Mary Matilda Webster in Boston on September 18, 1846. Mixed-‐race child—the subject of scorn in meetings of church leaders. William Appleby records that Enoch was ordained an elder probably around 1844 or45 by William Smith
Warner McCary • • • • • •
Escaped slave from Mississippi whofalsely claimed to be Indian. Baptized and ordained an elder in 1846 by Apostle Orson Hyde. Possibly served a mission in Cincinnati. Married a white woman, Lucy Stanton, marriage was performed by Orson Hyde in 1847. Engaged in polygamous sexual relations with white women in 1847. Left Church on a “fast trot.” Married another white woman, Sarah Marlett, at Niagara Falls in August 1851. Sarah later sued Warner for bigamy.
Bush’s landmark 1973 paper, “Mormonism’s Negro Doctrine: A Historical Overview” gives a good background on events following the 1852 pronouncement that blacks were no longer to receive the priesthood and whites and blacks should no longer mix races. Blacks that currently held the priesthood at the time of Young’s teachings in 1852 continued to serve in the priesthood, and Elijah Abel served another mission just before his death on Christmas Day, 1885. No black men were allowed to receive
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the priesthood after Warner McCary’s ordination in 1846 for more than 50 years144 and all blacks were summarily denied temple access until the 1978 revelation, with the exception that blacks could participate in baptism for the dead. Modern church leaders have continued to discourage mixing of races. On July 17, 1947, the first presidency sent a letter to Lowry Nelson, a Utah State University professor stating “your ideas, as we understand them, appear to contemplate the intermarriage of the Negro and White races, a concept which has heretofore been most repugnant to most normal-‐minded people from the ancient patriarchs till now.” The letter was signed by President George Albert Smith and future president, David O. McKay.145 McKay expressed discomfort in his diary with interracial marriage and was concerned with students at church-‐owned BYU thinking “that there is nothing improper about mingling with other races.”146 Future church President Harold B. Lee scolded BYU President Ernest L. Wilkinson in 1960, “If a grand-‐daughter of mine should ever get to the BYU and become engaged to a colored boy there, I would hold you responsible.147
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Apostle Boyd K. Packer expressed his opinion to Lester Bush in 1973, “there was something about ‘that lineage’—referring to the traditional biblical genealogy—which would bar temple marriages with blacks even if they received the priesthood.”148 President Kimball cautioned against interracial marriages as an apostle, saying “[T]here is one thing that I must mention & that is interracial marriages. When I said you must teach your young people to overcome their prejudices & accept the Indians, I did not mean that you would encourage intermarriage."149 Even after the 1978 revelation lifting the temple and priesthood ban on black men and women, President Spencer W. Kimball continued this theme, “We recommend that people marry those who are of the same racial background generally & of somewhat the same economic & social & educational background (some of those are not an absolute necessity, but preferred), & above all, the same religious background, without question.”150 This statement has been reprinted in the 2011 Aaronic Priesthood manual.151 Lay members continue to wrestle and have some discomfort with interracial families. Because of statements church leaders have made about intermarriage, Keith Smith, a white man married to a black 144
Elijah Abel’s son, Enoch was ordained an Elder on November 27, 1900 and Elijah’s grandson, also with the name of Elijah was ordained an Elder on September 29, 1934. A handful of other exceptions have taken place between 1846 and 1978. Information is available at http://www.blacklds.org/abel. 145 The letter is available at http://exmormon.org/d6/drupal/Mormon-‐Church-‐Blacks-‐The-‐First-‐Presidency-‐Officially-‐Stated-‐ Position 146 Greg Prince and Robert Wright, David O. McKay and the Rise of Modern Mormonism, p 65. 147 Greg Prince and Robert Wright, David O. McKay and the Rise of Modern Mormonism, p 64. 148 In 1998, Bush wrote, “Writing ‘Mormonism’s Negro Doctrine: An Historical Overview’ (1973): Context and Reflections, 1998,” Journal of Mormon History 25(1):229-‐271 (Spring 1999). It is available at http://digitalcommons.usu.edu/mormonhistory/vol25/iss1/ retrieved 6/2/2012. Bush is paraphrasing a personal meeting he had with Elder Packer in which Packer stated this, as well as his discomfort with Bush’s upcoming paper in the 1973 issue of Dialogue. 149 Deseret News, June 17, 1978. 150 Kimball, "Marriage and Divorce," BYU devotional, 1976, reprinted in "Devotional Speeches of the Year," 1977 151 Electronic version of the 2011 manual is found at http://www.lds.org/ldsorg/v/index.jsp?hideNav=1&locale=0&sourceId=1f4fa41f6cc20110VgnVCM100000176f620a____&vgnex toid=198bf4b13819d110VgnVCM1000003a94610aRCRD
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woman, expressed that what “is frustrating for me, or difficult for me is based on the prior teachings of the past prophets, and how unholy I am for having gone into this marriage, I wonder if they still feel that way, if I’ve violated the covenants.” His wife Tamu has worked as an actress/model in various church films and commercials. She recounts an awkward situation:
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Tamu, “Well they would ask me to bring my—you know is your husband going to be available because we kind of need a guy for this shot also? I would bring Keith, and it was an embarrassing situation for everybody involved I think. I think for me, I was embarrassed, I was more upset, but for the people there, I am sure that it was embarrassing because then they would have to explain why they couldn’t use my husband and why I was with—you know, well we’re going to use you with this guy because your outfit matches better, [Tamu interjects what she felt they were thinking] and your skin is more pigmented like his. [Tamu chuckles] They never said that, but they wanted to.” Keith expressed that “we can be bound for eternity in the temple, but the Church isn’t willing to represent that today in the world.”152 Caution needs to be exercised with referring to “the Church.” It is not a monolithic institution, and opinions among members can vary on many topics. However, such questions about the propriety of interracial marriages seem likely when official church publications such as the recent Aaronic Priesthood Manual continue to publish statements from President Kimball discouraging interracial marriage. Clarity on interracial marriage or disavowal of Kimball’s statement would make the matter better understood by lay members. Precision on the history of the priesthood and temple ban on black members is also needed. The church continues to affirm that “It is not known precisely why, how, or when this restriction began” 153 or the ban happened “for reasons which we believe are known to God, but which He has not made fully known to man.”154 Such statements leave church members to look back at past statements by Bruce R. McConkie, Brigham Young, or other church leaders to try to seek clarification on the issue. Bush’s 1973 statement still seems appropriate. Though it is now popular among Mormons to argue that the basis for the priesthood denial to Negroes is unknown, no uncertainty was evident in the discourses of Brigham Young. From the initial remark in 1849 throughout his presidency, every known discussion of this subject by Young (or any other leading Mormon) invoked the connection with Cain as the justification for denying the priesthood to blacks. “Any man having one drop of the seed of Cain in him cannot receive the priesthood.” (1852)155
The Special Features of a 2008 DVD titled Nobody Knows: The Untold Story of Black Mormons. http://www.mormonnewsroom.org/article/racial-‐remarks-‐in-‐washington-‐post-‐article retrieved on 3/3/2012. The press release was a response to a Washington Post article from Feb 28. 154 Official Church Statement dated December 15, 1969 addressed to General Authorities, Regional Representatives of the Twelve, Stake Presidents, Mission Presidents, and Bishops. 155 Matthias Cowley, Wilford Woodruff (Salt Lake City, The Deseret News Press, 1909), p. 351. 153
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Further transparity on the issue would be very helpful in refuting errant opinions like those expressed by Bott. Richard Bushman has stated the need to strive for accuracy when discussing church history, and that it is important that we do not downplay, ignore, or try to hide uncomfortable facts about church history. Bushman says, The problem is if you’re not accurate, then down the line you put your own credibility in jeopardy, and I just think all of our young people should feel they are really getting the straight story on Joseph Smith or they’re going to go through the experience you’ve had: disillusionment, anger. It’s a very sad thing and it’s unnecessary. We do need to avoid that.156 Marguerite Driessen, a member of the Genesis Group,157 felt the official church statement from February 29 was a leap forward. In a panel discussion, Driessen stated that the 2012 church statement was “the closest one to actual repudiation of the past folklore”158, and felt that it would be wise for the Church to clarify the position further. There are many active Mormons that will not accept why or how the ban originated unless it is stated by a Mormon prophet, and these members do not like to look for naturalistic answers to explain the ban. However, it is important to remember that the church teaches that the spiritual and temporal are connected. Orson Hyde said, “When we descend to the matter of dollars and cents, it is also spiritual.”159 Brigham Young stated,
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2007 interview between John Dehlin and Richard Bushman is available at http://mormonstories.org/mormon-‐stories-‐047-‐ richard-‐bushman-‐and-‐rough-‐stone-‐rolling-‐part-‐1-‐experiences-‐as-‐a-‐mormon-‐historian/. A transcript is available at http://www.mormonheretic.org/2012/06/05/acknowledging-‐tough-‐church-‐history/ accessed 6/5/2012. 157 The Genesis Group was created by President Joseph Fielding Smith on June 8, 1971, to discuss how the Church might better support its members of African descent. It was initially led by apostles Gordon B. Hinckley, Thomas S. Monson, and Boyd K. Packer. The group still meets today with Elder LeGrand R. Curtis, Jr, an Area Authority Seventy as the presiding authority. 158 Audio of the interview is found at http://mormonmatters.org/2012/03/09/79-‐80-‐how-‐can-‐we-‐truly-‐confront-‐racism-‐within-‐ mormon-‐thought-‐and-‐culture/ accessed 5/26/2012. A transcript has been provided at http://www.mormonheretic.org/2012/05/02/confronting-‐racism-‐with-‐the-‐church/ accessed 5/26/2012. Her full comment was “I’ve been hanging out with Genesis folks who by and large are black people, family, friends of black people and they are reflecting upon another leap forward. In that the statement the church made at least has been their strongest one to date¸ and Eliminating the ban was one thing, and now President Hinckley in the priesthood session a few years ago condemned racism but he’s speaking presently, and speaking in terms of future conduct and how we should interact right now. This time what the Genesis folks were rejoicing about is that the statement from the Church clearly condemned racism past and present and specifically inside the Church as well as out. They didn’t get specific. They didn’t tie names to it but they specifically condemned past racism inside the Church,
acknowledging thereby, that there was racism inside the Church which is not something that had come officially from the Church before. So the Genesis folks were celebrating that and there were people who said ‘yes this is a big step; wish it would have gone a little further,’ there was some of that. There were people, the black people especially weren’t necessarily surprised about the comments that Professor Bott made, because we hear that all the time. It was about this is another step forward, and we’re looking forward to the day when they make that next step.”” 159
Sermon on September 24, 1853, Journal of Discourses, II, 118.
We cannot talk about spiritual things without connecting with them temporal things, neither can we talk about temporal things without connecting spiritual things with them. They are inseparably connected.160 There are many temporal events that invite revelation. Mormons know well that Emma Smith’s disgust for cleaning up tobacco spit after meetings inspired the revelation on the Word of Wisdom, and it is even included in the preface of the section.161 The same reasoning should apply to this issue as well. It seems that Brigham Young and William Appleby’s contempt for interracial sexual relations of Warner McCary, Enoch Lewis, and Joseph Ball played a significant role in discussions about the appropriateness of whether blacks should be allowed to continue to hold the priesthood in the period between 1845-‐ 1847. If these three black men had not engaged in interracial sexual relations, the ban may never have happened.162 It seems reasonable to conclude that fear of interracial marriage sparked and fueled the process that evolved the policy of priesthood and temple denial to blacks as a means of discouraging such marriages. Such discussions seem to have played a role in Brigham Young’s thought process on this topic. It is my hope the church will no longer discourage such relationships and more fully acknowledge the events that led to the priesthood and temple ban.
Sermon on June 22, 1864, Journal of Discourses, X, 329. Preface to D&C 89 states, “Revelation given through Joseph Smith the Prophet, at Kirtland, Ohio, 27 February 1833 (see History of the Church, 1:327–29). As a consequence of the early brethren using tobacco in their meetings, the Prophet was led to ponder upon the matter; consequently, he inquired of the Lord concerning it. This revelation, known as the Word of Wisdom, was the result. The first three verses were originally written as an inspired introduction and description by the Prophet.” 161
It is important to note that there was no ban in other Mormons groups, such as Strang’s group, Rigdon’s group, th the RLDS group, Hedrickites or other Mormon schismatic groups that date to the 19 century.
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