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Brigham Young on Race: Later Comments

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Brigham Young on Race: Later Comments

NOTE: The following are excerpts from several sermons by Brigham Young commenting on matters of race.


Brigham Young: Blacks Should be Used Like Servants (18 February 1855)

President Brigham Young, Delivered in the Tabernacle, Great Salt Lake City, Feb. 18, 1855.
Journal of Discourses
2:179-91 (184)

Formerly the rumor was that “they were agoing to tamper with the slaves,” when we had never thought of such a thing. The seed of Ham, which is the seed of Cain descending through Ham, will, according to the curse put upon him, serve his brethren, and be a “servant of servants” to his fellow creatures, until God removes the curse; and no power can hinder it. These are my views upon slavery. I will here say a little more upon this point. The conduct of the whites towards the slaves will, in many cases, send both slave and master to hell. This statement comprises much in a few words. The blacks should be used like servants, and not like brutes, but they must serve. It is their privilege to live so as to enjoy many of the blessings which attend obedience to the first principles of the Gospel, though they are not entitled to the Priesthood.


Brigham Young: Blacks Will Be the Last to Be Freed from the Curse, 9 October 1859

President Brigham Young, Delivered in the Tabernacle, Great Salt Lake City, October 9, 1859.
Journal of Discourses
7:282-91 (290-91)

Do all the good you can to your fellow creatures. You are flesh of my flesh and bone of my bone. God has created of one blood all the nations and kingdoms of men that dwell upon all the face of the earth: black, white, copper-colored, or whatever their color, customs, or religion, they have all sprung from the same origin; the blood of all is from the same element. Adam and Eve are the parents of all pertaining to the flesh, and I would not say that they are not also the parents of our spirits.

You see some classes of the human family that are black, uncouth, uncomely, disagreeable and low in their habits, wild, and seemingly deprived of nearly all the blessings of the intelligence that is generally bestowed upon mankind. The first man that committed the odious crime of killing one of his brethren will be cursed the longest of anyone of the children of Adam. Cain slew his brother. Cain might have been killed, and that would have put a termination to that line of human beings. This was not to be, and the Lord put a mark upon him, which is the flat nose and black skin. Trace mankind down to after the flood, and then another curse is pronounced upon the same race—that they should be the “servant of servants;” and they will be, until that curse is removed; and the Abolitionists cannot help it, nor in the least alter that decree. How long is that race to endure the dreadful curse that is upon them? That curse will remain upon them, and they never can hold the Priesthood or share in it until all the other descendants of Adam have received the promises and enjoyed the blessings of the Priesthood and the keys thereof. Until the last ones of the residue of Adam’s children are brought up to that favorable position, the children of Cain cannot receive the first ordinances of the Priesthood. They were the first that were cursed, and they will be the last from whom the curse will be removed. When the residue of the family of Adam come up and receive their blessings, then the curse will be removed from the seed of Cain, and they will receive blessings in like proportion.


Brigham Young: The Lamanites Will Eventually Become White (8 October 1859)

President Brigham Young, Delivered in the Tabernacle, Great Salt Lake City, October 8, 1859.
Journal of Discourses
7:335-38 (336)

You may inquire of the intelligent of the world whether they can tell why the aborigines of this country are dark, loathsome, ignorant, and sunken into the depths of degradation; and they cannot tell. I can tell you in a few words: They are the seed of Joseph, and belong to the household of God; and he will afflict them in this world, and save every one of them hereafter, even though they previously go into hell. When the Lord has a people, he makes covenants with them and gives unto them promises: then, if they transgress his law, change his ordinances, and break the covenants he has made with them, he will put a mark upon them, as in the case of the Lamanites and other portions of the house of Israel; but by-and-by they will become a white and delightsome people.


Brigham Young: Laws of God Relative to the African Race (8 March 1863)

President Brigham Young, made in the Tabernacle, Great Salt Lake City, March 8, 1863.
Journal of Discourses
10:104-111 (110-11)

The rank, rabid abolitionists, whom I call black-hearted Republicans, have set the whole national fabric on fire. Do you know this, Democrats? They have kindled the fire that is raging now from the north to the south, and from the south to the north. I am no abolitionist, neither am I a proslavery man; I hate some of their principles and especially some of their conduct, as I do the gates of hell. The Southerners make the negroes, and the Northerners worship them; this is all the difference between slaveholders and abolitionists. I would like the President of the United States and all the world to hear this.

Shall I tell you the law of God in regard to the African race? 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. The nations of the earth have transgressed every law that God has given, they have changed the ordinances and broken every covenant made with the fathers, and they are like a hungry man that dreameth that he eateth, and he awaketh and behold he is empty.…

If the Government of the United States, in Congress assembled, had the right to pass an anti-polygamy bill, they had also the right to pass a law that slaves should not be abused as they have been; they had also a right to make a law that negroes should be used like human beings, and not worse than dumb brutes. For their abuse of that race, the whites will be cursed, unless they repent.

I am neither an abolitionist nor a pro-slavery man. If I could have been influenced by private injury to choose one side in preference to the other, I should certainly be against the pro-slavery side of the question, for it was pro-slavery men that pointed the bayonet at me and my brethren in Missouri, and said, “Damn you we will kill you.” I have not much love for them, only in the Gospel. I would cause them to repent, if I could, and make them good men and a good community. I have no fellowship for their avarice, blindness, and ungodly actions. To be great, is to be good before the Heavens and before all good men. I will not fellowship the wicked in their sins, so help me God.


Brigham Young: Final Redemption of Cain (19 August 1866)

President Brigham Young, in the Bowery, G.S.L. City, August 19, 1866.
Journal of Discourses
11:266-72 (272)

I have endeavored to give you a few items relating to the celestial kingdom of God and to the other kingdoms which the Lord has prepared for his children. The Lamanites or Indians are just as much the children of our Father and God as we are. So also are the Africans. But we are also the children of adoption through obedience to the Gospel of his Son. Why are so many of the inhabitants of the earth cursed with a sin of blackness? It comes in consequence of their fathers rejecting the power of the Holy Priesthood, and the law of God. They will go down to death. And when all the rest of the children have received their blessings in the Holy Priesthood, then that curse will be removed from the seed of Cain, and they will then come up and possess the priesthood, and receive all the blessings which we now are entitled to. The volition of the creature is free; this is a law of their existence, and the Lord cannot violate his own law; were he to do that, he would cease to be God. He has placed life and death before his children, and it is for them to choose. If they choose life, they receive the blessings of life; if they chose death, they must abide the penalty. This is a law which has always existed from all eternity, and will continue to exist throughout all the eternities to come. Every intelligent being must have the power of choice, and God brings forth the results of the acts of his creatures to promote his kingdom and subserve his purposes in the salvation and exaltation of his children. If the Lord could have his own way, he would have all the human family to enter into his church and kingdom, receive the Holy Priesthood and come into the celestial kingdom of our Father and God, by the power of their own choice.


Brigham Young: Curses on Blacks and Indians (9 April 1871)

Brigham Young, delivered in the New Tabernacle, Salt Lake City, April 9, 1871.
Journal of Discourses
14:78-91 (86-87)

We are here as a human family. Bless your hearts, there is not one of us but what is a son or daughter of Adam and Eve, not any but what are just as much brothers and sisters as we should be if born of the same parents, right in the same family, with only ten children in the family. It is the same blood precisely. I do not care where we come from, we are all of this family, and the blood has not been changed. It is true that a curse came upon certain portions of the human family—those who turned away from the holy commandments of the Lord our God. What did they do? In ancient days old Israel was the chosen people in whom the Lord delighted, and whom he blessed and did so much for. Yet they transgressed every law that he gave them, changed every ordinance that he delivered to them, broke every covenant made with the fathers, and turned away entirely from his holy commandments, and the Lord cursed them. Cain was cursed for this, with this black skin that there is so much said about. Do you think that we could make laws to change the color of the skin of Cain’s descendants? If we can, we can change the leopard’s spots; but we cannot do this, neither can we change their blood.

There is a curse on these aborigines of our country who roam the plains, and are so wild that you cannot tame them. They are of the house of Israel; they once had the Gospel delivered to them, they had the oracles of truth; Jesus came and administered to them after his resurrection, and they received and delighted in the Gospel until the fourth generation, when they turned away and became so wicked that God cursed them with this dark and benighted and loathsome condition; and they want to sit on the ground in the dirt, and to live by hunting, and they cannot be civilized. And right upon this, I will say to our government if they could hear me, “You need never fight the Indians, but if you want to get rid of them try to civilize them.” How many were here when we came? At the Warm Springs, at this little grove where they would pitch their tents, we found perhaps three hundred Indians; but I do not suppose that there are three of that band left alive now. There was another band a little south, another north, another further east; but I do not suppose there is one in ten, perhaps not one in a hundred, now alive of those who were here when we came. Did we kill them? No, we fed them. They would say, “We want just as fine flour as you have.” To Walker, the chief, whom all California and New Mexico dreaded, I said, “It will just as sure kill as the world, if you live as we live.” Said he, “I want as good as Brigham, I want to eat as he does.” Said I, “Eat then, but it will kill you.” I told the same to Arapeen, Walker’s brother; but they must eat and drink as the whites did, and I do not suppose that one in a hundred of those bands are alive. We brought their children into our families, and nursed and did everything for them it was possible to do for human beings, but die they would. Do not fight them, but treat them kindly. There will then be no stain on the Government, and it will get rid of them much quicker than by fighting them. They have got to be civilized, and there will be a remnant of them saved. I have said enough on this subject.