United Brethren has retired.

Race in the eternities

I taught Gospel Doctrine in a branch when I was first married. There was always one member of my class (and I'm sure similar ones are everywhere), who would come out with the most ridiculous, and often prejudiced things. Our Stake President was also in the class, and this same individual would always direct questions to him - me being a woman, and a lot younger than him, obviously I wasn't qualified to answer the most basic questions! Thankfully, the Stake Pres. always deferred to me.

Anyway, this brother during one lesson, (I can't even remember the topic, but we were talking about people of colour - particularly black people), said "it's ok, because when they get resurrected they'll be perfected and be made white (skinned)."

Many LDS artists apparently agree, as most have resurrection/after-life scenes with only white-skinned, fair haired people - but LDS art is a whole other discussion I'd like to get into another time.

The issue of race is obviously still an issue for many church members today. (See Dave's Mormon Inquiry for an article on this.)

Maybe I'm wrong, but I'm not aware of any doctrine and I can't find any reference to us being one race or another post-resurrection. There's Justin's opinion at Mormon Wasp (look in the comments), but does anyone know of any actual doctrine talking about this?

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Anonymous Anonymous said ... (December 16, 2004 9:28 AM) 

For me such an idea hovers between absurd and despicable. Can you imagine a monochrome, bleached heaven? No, like the rainbow, God's children are and always will be of different colours.

But, here's the rub: your friend's statement (though tactless) isn't surprising. We have a notion (which as DMI shows has never been repudiated) that blackness is a curse. If there's a perfect resurrection then there must also be a removal of curses in that resurrection. Thus what was black will be made what it was before it was cursed viz., white. And if white is original, then so God must also be white.

That's the logic and it's difficult to argue with it.

But Mormon logic on this matter is based on a racist past. White is only a symbol of purity. The curse in the BoM as to dark skin is, *I* believe either allegorical or the BoM writers' own explanation for the product of Lamanite-indigenous peoples' intermarriage (but that's a whole other subject).

Anyway, let me on behalf of most Mormons I know repudiate such racist attitudes. They shame us and I'm sorry. 

Posted by Ronan


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (December 16, 2004 11:17 AM) 

The curse in the book of Mormon is not dark skin. The curse was being cut off from God. The dark skin was a sign of the curse.

FWIW, skin colour is an evolutionary byproduct, not a spiritual attribute. In all honesty, perhaps everyone will be dark-skinned in the post-mortal world. Wouldn't that be a hoot. 

Posted by Kim Siever


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (December 16, 2004 3:07 PM) 

I myself have my own feelings on this... I am not so sure that it was an actual skin color, but an "Aura" for lack of a better description.(Bear with me, I am not going to go into a bunch of New-Age rock worshipping stuff.) I know plenty of people, of varied skin color, that are just aweful to be around. They walk into a room, and it just sucks all your energy to be around them. They smack of ignorance and negativity.

These people often seperate themselves from others by themselves, and even manage to bring some along side them...

This is no more verifiable then the actual skin color. I just can't picture someone waking up in the morning, looking down and having dark skin. On the other hand, those that buried their weapons of war, then were light and delightsome people, if they truely were dark, did they one day wake up and become white?

This is a silly notion to me.. not to mention, that Ham, the son of Noah is supposed to be the father of the dark skinned races.

Christ was from the middle east, maybe he was darker then we give him credit for?

The Articles written attacking the church reference alot of old quotes and sources... they missed some of the more scathing ones.. I am disappointed. Lucky for us, they never interviewed some of the Church Members in the south....

I suppose they could call up Helvecio Martines in Brazil and ask him about the whole issue and his feelings on it...

I guess if all else fails, crying racism is always a good fallback.

It seems interesting that it was just in the 90's that the Southern Baptist Convention apologized for supporting the KKK for so long. But if you went to the South, you would be amazed at how many African-Americans are members of that sect.

If individuals in this church have in the past reflected an attitude of racism, it is a shame. But how do you answer when asked why? Why is it that dark skinned people were not allowed to hold the priesthood. What if there was a bi-racial child, could they hold half the priesthood? Was there some sort of difference between SOuth Americans and Africans? What about Egyptians as apposed to those in the south pacific?

My best explaination.... because the I believe the lord said it. More importantly, every worthy male can hold the priesthood now... that is all I care about.

What will be my reaction if women are allowed to hold the priesthood? I don't know, I will have to ask my wife... she is in charge. 

Posted by Jake


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (December 16, 2004 5:39 PM) 

Kim - I agree - dark skin is evolutionary, not a spiritual attribute.

Jake - 'light and delightsome people' to me was always metaphorical. I know God is able to work miracles - but isn't He also bound by His own laws? I can't imagine an overnight skin colour change - either way! As Ronan mentioned - white/light is a symbol of purity, and I don't think it's literal.

I really can't answer about the blacks and the priesthood question. I wish it was something the church would just come out and say it was a product of the time, and was wrong - I'd feel much happier.

As a wife - and probably quite a bossy one - the priesthood is just fine for me being male-only! 

Posted by Rebecca


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (December 16, 2004 5:49 PM) 


I do not necessarily think dark skin is evolutionary. Perhaps white skin is evolutionary. What I said was skin colour is evolutionary. ;) 

Posted by Kim Siever


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (December 16, 2004 7:29 PM) 

So, what do you all make of statements like 3rd Nephi 2:15?
For the record, I agree with Kim about the nature of the curse. See, for instance, Alma 23:18

Posted by John C.


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (December 17, 2004 11:42 AM) 

I make of it to mean that their skin became white, or probably more correct, as white as the Nephites' skin. It certainly doesn't say it happened over night. The fact that verse 14 talks about the Lamanites uniting with the Nephites probably implies that over time Nephite genes contributed to the lightening of the Lamanite skin.

For another scripture supporting the skin not as a curse theory, see http://scriptures.lds.org/2_ne/5/20-21,23-24 

Posted by Kim Siever


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Anonymous Anonymous said ... (December 20, 2004 9:14 AM) 

1844 account of German immigrant, Alexander Neibaur [May 24, 1844]

After Dinner...called at BR. J.S. met Mr. Bonnie. Br. Joseph tolt us the first call he had a Revival Meeting, his Mother, Br. and Sisters got Religion. He wanted to get Religion too, wanted to feel and shout like the rest but could feel nothing, opened his Bible of the first Passage that struck him was if any man lack wisdom let him ask of God who giveth to all men liberallity & upbraideth not. Went into the Wood to pray, kneels himself Down, his tongue was closet cleaveh to his roof--could utter not a word, felt easier after awhile--saw a fire toward heaven came near and nearer; saw a personage in the fire, light complexion, blue eyes, a piece of white cloth Drawn over his shoulders his right arm bear after a while a other person came to the side of the first.  

Posted by Ronan


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