Skip to main content
×
×
Home

“A More Powerful Effect upon the Body”: Early Mormonism's Theory of Racial Redemption and American Religious Theories of Race

  • Joseph R. Stuart
Abstract

This paper examines Joseph Smith's construction of a racialized theology, which drew upon conceptions of Abrahamic lineage and the possibility of “racial redemption” for peoples of African descent through conversion to Mormonism. This ran against the grain of his Protestant and Catholic contemporaries’ religious understandings of race. He expanded upon earlier iterations of his ideas with the introduction of new rituals and liturgy related to LDS temples. Smith's wife may have invited a person of African descent to participate in this new liturgy before his murder in June 1844. The views he expressed about peoples of African descent before his death are inchoate, although high-ranking Mormons related to Smith seemed to have agreed with the possibility of racial redemption. After Smith's death, Brigham Young and other Mormon leaders framed the LDS temple and priesthood restriction in terms of Smith's liturgy rather than any of Smith's varied teachings on race. This paper also argues that Mormonism's racial restriction arose from its roots in the sealing ritual rather than ecclesiological power structures. Mormonism's racial doctrine has often been described as a “priesthood ban,” referring to ecclesiastical authority. However, this discounts the religious contexts in which it arose and excludes the experiences of women and children, who were not allowed to participate in the endowment or sealing ordinances. This paper places Mormonism's temple liturgy at the front and center of the LDS Church's priesthood and temple restriction.

  • View HTML
    • Send article to Kindle

      To send this article to your Kindle, first ensure no-reply@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about sending to your Kindle. Find out more about sending to your Kindle.

      Note you can select to send to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be sent to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

      Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

      “A More Powerful Effect upon the Body”: Early Mormonism's Theory of Racial Redemption and American Religious Theories of Race
      Available formats
      ×
      Send article to Dropbox

      To send this article to your Dropbox account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your <service> account. Find out more about sending content to Dropbox.

      “A More Powerful Effect upon the Body”: Early Mormonism's Theory of Racial Redemption and American Religious Theories of Race
      Available formats
      ×
      Send article to Google Drive

      To send this article to your Google Drive account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your <service> account. Find out more about sending content to Google Drive.

      “A More Powerful Effect upon the Body”: Early Mormonism's Theory of Racial Redemption and American Religious Theories of Race
      Available formats
      ×
Copyright
Footnotes
Hide All

The author is grateful for the comments and suggestions of Audrey Bastian, Matthew Bowman, Amanda Hendrix-Komoto, Laurie Maffly-Kipp, Paul Reeve, Saskia Tielens, the Mormon Studies Publication Workshop, and the journal's anonymous reviewers in the creation of the manuscript.

Footnotes
References
Hide All

1 “History, 1838–1856, volume C–1 (2 November 1838–31 July 1842),” The Joseph Smith Papers, accessed June 10, 2017, http://www.josephsmithpapers.org/paper-summary/history-1838-1856-volume-c-1-2-november-1838-31-july-1842/543. The second Comforter was a visitation of Jesus Christ.

2 Mauss, Armand, “In Search of Ephraim: Traditional Mormon Conceptions of Lineage and Race,” Journal of Mormon History 25, no. 1 (Spring 1999): 156.

3 See O'Donovan, Connell, “The Mormon Priesthood Ban and Elder Q. Walker Lewis: An Example for his More Whiter Brethren to Follow,” The John Whitmer Historical Association Journal 26 (2006): 4799; Mauss, Armand, All Abraham's Children: Changing Mormon Conceptions of Race and Lineage (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2003); Bringhurst, Newell G., Saints, Slaves and Blacks (Westport, Conn: Greenwood, 1981); Bush, Lester E. and Mauss, Armand L., eds., Neither White nor Black (Salt Lake City: Signature, 1984); Bush, Lester E., “Mormonism's Negro Doctrine: An Historical Overview,” Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought 8 (Spring 1973): 1168; and Stevenson, Russell W., “‘A Negro Preacher’: The Worlds of Elijah Ables,” Journal of Mormon History 58, no. 2 (2013): 165254. Paul Reeve's work connects Mormonism's racial beliefs and racialization by white Americans but is more attuned to arguments surrounding race and whiteness rather than religious belief. See Reeve, W. Paul, Religion of a Different Color: Race and the Mormon Struggle for Whiteness (New York: Oxford University Press, 2015). In addition, Max Perry Mueller's work promises to start new conversations on Mormonism and race. See Mueller, Max Perry, Race and the Making of the Mormon People (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2017).

4 Born Jane Elizabeth Manning, she did not meet her husband, Isaac James, until after Joseph Smith's death.  I follow the convention of referring to her by her marital name even when speaking of her earlier life.

5 Alma 10:3.

6 For studies of the symbolic nature of “blackness,” see Tvedtnes, John A., “The Charge of ‘Racism’ in the Book of Mormon,” Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies [FARMS] Review 15, no. 2 (2003): 183197; Campbell, Douglas, “‘White’ or ‘Pure’: Five Vignettes,” Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought 29, no. 4 (Winter 1996): 119135; Gardner, Brant A., Second Witness: Analytical and Contextual Commentary on the Book of Mormon, vol. 4 (Salt Lake City: Greg Kofford, 2007), 696697; and Nibley, Hugh, Lehi in the Desert and The World of the Jaredites (Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1952), 8485.

7 Mueller, Race and the Making of the Mormon People, 34.

8 3 Nephi 2:15.

9 2 Nephi 26:33.

10 For an overview of British Israelitism in the Mormon context, see Mauss, All Abraham's Children, 17–40.

11 Bingham, Ryan Stuart, “Curses and Marks: Racial Dispensations and Dispensations of race in Joseph Smith's Bible Revision and the Book of Abraham,” Journal of Mormon History 41, no. 3 (July 2015): 57. Bingham argues that Smith drew upon the racial milieu in which he lived but emphasized a belief in prevenient grace to make racial redemption a possibility in the scriptural texts that he produced.

12 Matthew 3:9 (King James Version).

13 Silver, Peter, Our Savage Neighbors: How Indian War Transformed Early America (New York: W. W. Norton, 2009), 114; and see also 106–124.

14 Black evangelists were required to work under the close supervision of whites. See Irons, Charles F., The Origins of Proslavery Christianity: White and Black Evangelicals in Colonial and Antebellum Virginia (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2008), 4650. Some slaveholders also actively discouraged the evangelization of slaves, especially after Nat Turner's revolt.

15 White privilege has often been referred to as a “visible” privilege. Because whiteness can be seen, others recognize the individual's color and reinforce the privilege. Whiteness, as the norm, is also a form of “invisible privilege,” because white is assumed to be the standard to which all else is compared. See Garner, Steve, Whiteness: An Introduction (New York: Routledge, 2007), 3947.

16 Blackness and the Curse of Ham/Cain were often associated with Africans. See Goldenberg, David M., The Curse of Ham: Race and Slavery in Early Judaism, Christianity, and Islam (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2003), 4178; and Haynes, Stephen R., Noah's Curse: The Biblical Justification of American Slavery (New York: Oxford University Press, 2002), 323 (especially 4–8), 26, 71–76, 80, 98, 106, 172, 181.

17 Joseph Smith taught that God denied “none that come unto him, black and white, bond and free, male and female; and he remembereth the heathen; and all are alike unto God, both Jew and Gentile,” and he believed that Abrahamic lineage could be subsumed in the personal choice to convert to Mormonism. 2 Nephi 26:33.

18 “Believing blood” was coined by Mormons in the 1850s but clearly conveys what Joseph believed in the 1830s. See Mauss, All Abraham's Children, 22–23.

19 See Kidd, Colin, The Forging of Races: Race and Scripture in the Protestant Atlantic World, 1600–2000 (Cambridge: University of Cambridge Press, 2006), 121167; Goetz, Rebecca Anne, The Baptism of Early Virginia: How Christianity Created Race (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2012); Bailey, Richard A., Race and Redemption in Puritan New England (New York: Oxford University Press, 2011); and Irons, The Origins of Proslavery Christianity, 169–210. Christine Heyrman has also shown that white Southern evangelicals erected barriers to prevent interracial worship—they were not interested in making blacks equal, even in worship, with whites. See Heyrman, Christine Leigh, Southern Cross: The Beginnings of the Bible Belt (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1998), 6769.

20 Silver, Our Savage Neighbors, 118.

21 See Heyrman, Southern Cross, 206–252.

22 See Sensbach, Jon F., Rebecca's Revival: Creating Black Christianity in the Atlantic World (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 2005), 197199.

23 Rebecca Goetz uses the phrase “hereditary heathens” to describe seventeenth-century Protestant views of religio-racial curses, but the ideas remained popular in American history. See Goetz, Baptism of Early Virginia, 1–12, 112–137.

24 “Fanaticism,” Rochester Observer, June 9, 1831; and “Mormonites,” The Sun, August 18, 1831.

25 For an explanation of the Book of Moses, see Bushman, Richard Lyman, Joseph Smith: Rough Stone Rolling (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2005), 131142. Another explanation can be found in MacKay, Michael Hubbard, Dirkmaat, Gerrit J., Underwood, Grant, Woodford, Robert J., and Hartley, William G., eds., Documents, Volume 1: July 1828–June 1831 (Salt Lake City: Church Historian's Press, 2013), 151152.

26 Goldenberg, The Curse of Ham, 41–79, 178–182; and Goetz, Baptism of Early Virginia, 86–112. The historian Stephen R. Haynes argues that in America Joseph Smith popularized the notion that blackness was Cain's mark—although it had been around in the Protestant Atlantic world for more than a century before. See Haynes, Noah's Curse, 15.

27 Genesis 4:8–15 (King James Version).

28 “Old Testament Revision 1,” The Joseph Smith Papers, accessed June 13, 2017, http://www.josephsmithpapers.org/paper-summary/old-testament-revision-1/11.

29 See “Old Testament Revision 1,” The Joseph Smith Papers, accessed May 10, 2017, http://www.josephsmithpapers.org/paperSummary/old-testament-revision-1?p=18&.

30 “Old Testament Revision 1,” The Joseph Smith Papers, accessed May 10, 2017, http://www.josephsmithpapers.org/paperSummary/old-testament-revision-1?p=11&.

31 See Revelation, 27–28 December 1832 [D&C 88:1–126],” in Documents, Volume 2: July 1831–January 1833, ed. Godfrey, Matthew C., Ashurst-McGee, Mark, Underwood, Grant, Woodford, Robert J., and Hartley, William G., The Joseph Smith Papers (Salt Lake City: Church Historian's Press, 2013), 337.

32 The Swedish mystic Emanuel Swedenborg had suggested a link between the physical body and immortal spirit but not to the degree that Smith did with his revelation. See “Revelation, 27–28 December 1832 [D&C 88:1–126],” 337n264.

33 “Discourse, between circa 26 June and circa 2 July 1839, as Reported by Willard Richards,” The Joseph Smith Papers, accessed August 10, 2018, https://www.josephsmithpapers.org/paper-summary/discourse-between-circa-26-june-and-circa-2-july-1839-as-reported-by-willard-richards/1, 15.

34 W. W. Phelps, “The Gospel No. V,” Latter Day Saints’ Messenger & Advocate, February 1835, 73.

35 For a complete description of the term “Seventy” in LDS parlance, see Alan K. Parrish, “Seventy,” Encyclopedia of Mormonism, accessed June 7, 2017, http://eom.byu.edu/index.php/Seventy.

36 Stevenson, “‘A Negro Preacher’: The Worlds of Elijah Ables,” 169, 171, 176, 204. Stevenson uses the name “Ables,” but the man is identified in most publications as “Abel.” For more on the temple ordinances/liturgy at Kirtland, see Bushman, Rough Stone Rolling, 310–316. Smith called these liturgical rites washings and anointings. See Hedges, Andrew H., Smith, Alex D., and Rogers, Brent M., eds., Journals, Volume 3: May 1843–June 1844, The Joseph Smith Papers (Salt Lake City: Church Historian's Press, 2015), xixxxii.

37 Stevenson, “‘A Negro Preacher’: The Worlds of Elijah Ables,” 191–196, 203–209.

38 Ibid., 211. See also Irons, The Origins of Pro-Slavery Christianity, 46–50. Irons further argues that there was an increased emphasis on oversight of black evangelicals by white evangelicals after the Nat Turner Rebellion. See Irons, The Origins of Pro-Slavery Christianity, 169–210.

39 Stevenson, “‘A Negro Preacher’: The Worlds of Elijah Ables,” 223.

40 Phelps, “The Gospel No. V,” 73.

41 For a basic overview of patriarchal blessings, see William James Mortimer, “Patriarchal Blessings,” The Encyclopedia of Mormonism, accessed May 10, 2017, http://eom.byu.edu/index.php/Patriarchal_Blessings.

42 See Brown, Samuel M., “Early Mormon Adoption Theology and the Mechanics of Salvation,” Journal of Mormon History 37, no. 3 (Summer 2011): 6, 22.

43 Bates, Irene M. and Smith, E. Gary, “Appendix A,” in Lost Legacy: The Mormon Office of Presiding Patriarch, ed. Bates, Irene M. and Smith, E. Gary (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2002), 233.

44 About one-third of the patriarchal blessings bestowed by Joseph Smith Sr. do not declare Israelite lineage. However, Abel's conversion to Mormonism would have included him in the Abrahamic covenant—and thus in the house of Israel. See Mauss, “In Search of Ephraim,” 145.

45 Marquardt, H. Michael, Early Patriarchal Blessings of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Salt Lake City: Smith-Pettit Foundation, 2007), 99.

46 See Brown, “Early Mormon Adoption Theology and the Mechanics of Salvation,” 29.

47 John Landers's Patriarchal Blessing, quoted in Mueller, Race and the Making of the Mormon People, 108.

48 See “Revelation, 22–23 September 1832 [D&C 84],” in Documents, Volume 2, 297. Because less than one-third of early Mormon patriarchal blessings declare an Israelite lineage, it is possible that Joseph Smith or his followers did not view all whites as heirs of the Abrahamic covenant. I believe that Landers is white because census records identity a John Launders living near Nauvoo, Hancock County, Illinois, as white. That name is the closest match to Landers and, given irregular spelling, is likely to be the same man. United States 1860 Census, Nauvoo, Hancock County.

49 Tyler, John, “Virginia Colonization Society,” American Colonization Society, The African Repository and Colonial Journal 14, no. 4 (1838): 119.

50 William W. Phelps, “Free People of Color,” Evening and the Morning Star, July 1833, 109–111.

51 See Journal, December 1841–December 1842,” Journals, Volume 2: December 1841–April 1843, ed. Hedges, Andrew H., Smith, Alex D., and Anderson, Richard Lloyd, The Joseph Smith Papers (Salt Lake City: Church Historian's Press, 2011), 52. Fear of slaves rising up against whites had been a local and national concern in the United States for some time. Alan Taylor has written that Virginians (and logically extended to other slaveholding societies) “imagined a dreaded ‘internal enemy’ who might, at any moment, rebel in a midnight massacre to butcher white men, women, and children in their beds.” See Taylor, Alan, The Internal Enemy: Slavery and War in Virginia, 1772–1832 (New York: W. W. Norton, 2013), 78.

52 For a thorough treatment of the importance of the Missouri Compromise in relation to its impact on sectional crisis and the importance of slavery in the early American republic, see Forbes, Robert Pierce, The Missouri Compromise and Its Aftermath: Slavery and the Meaning of America (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2009). For the Jeffersonian view on the Missouri Compromise, including the hope that the expansion of slavery would lead to its demise, see Onuf, Peter S., Jefferson's Empire: The Language of American Nationhood (Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2000), 109146.

53 For more on the religious culture surrounding Nat Turner's Rebellion, see Allmendinger, David F. Jr., Nat Turner and the Rising in Southampton County (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2014); and Irons, The Origins of Pro-Slavery Christianity, 133–168.

54 “Extra,” The Evening and Morning Star, July 16, 1833.

55 Letter from Joseph Smith to Oliver Cowdery, published in Messenger & Advocate, April 1836, 290. For more on the connection between the Curse of Ham and slavery, see Harvey, Paul, “‘A Servant of Servants Shall He Be’: The Construction of Race in American Religious Mythologies,” in Religion and the Creation of Ethnicity: An Introduction, ed. Prentiss, Craig (New York: New York University Press, 2003), 1327. Other church groups required a master's permission for baptism as well. See James, Larry M., “Biracial Fellowship in Antebellum Baptist Churches,” in Masters & Slaves In the House of the Lord: Race and Religion in the American South, 1740–1870, ed. Boles, John B. (Lexington: University of Kentucky Press, 1988), 4748; Hall, Robert L., “Black and White Christians in Florida, 1822–1861,” in Masters & Slaves In the House of the Lord, ed. Boles, John B. (Lexington: University of Kentucky Press, 1988), 8688; and Miller, Randall M., “Slaves and Southern Catholicism,” in Masters & Slaves In the House of the Lord, ed. Boles, John B. (Lexington: University of Kentucky Press, 1988), 135.

56 Specifically, Smith favored compensating slave owners for enslaved persons. Funds would be raised for compensation by selling the western lands of the United States. Smith, Joseph, General Smith's Views of the powers and policy of the government of the United States; General Smith's views of the powers and policy of the government of the United States (Nauvoo, Ill.: John Taylor, 1844), 9.

57 “The Ancient Order of Things,” Latter Day Saints Messenger & Advocate, September 1835.

58 “Journal, December 1842–June 1844; Book 1, 21 December 1842–10 March 1843,” The Joseph Smith Papers, accessed August 10, 2018, http://www.josephsmithpapers.org/paper-summary/journal-december-1842-june-1844-book-1-21-december-1842-10-march-1843/49?, 43; and Smith, General Smith's Views of the powers and policy of the government of the United States.

59 “‘A History, of the Persecution, of the Church of Jesus Christ, of Latter Day Saints in Missouri,’ December 1839–October 1840,” The Joseph Smith Papers, accessed May 10, 2017, http://josephsmithpapers.org/paperSummary/a-history-of-the-persecution-of-the-church-of-jesus-christ-of-latter-day-saints-in-missouri-december-1839-october-1840?p=23&.

60 Rigdon, Sidney, An Appeal to the American People: Being an Account of the Persecutions of the Church of Latter Day Saints (Cincinnati: Shepard and Stearns, 1840), 9. For more on the Mormon expulsion from Missouri, see LeSueur, Stephen C., The 1838 Mormon War in Missouri (Columbia: University of Missouri Press, 1987); Baugh, Alex L., A Call to Arms: The 1838 Mormon Defense of Northern Missouri (Provo, Utah: Brigham Young University Studies Press, 2000); and Bushman, Rough Stone Rolling, 342–372.

61 Pratt, Parley P., Late Persecution of the Church of Jesus Christ, of Latter-day Saints; Ten Thousand American Citizens Robbed, Plundered, and Banished; Others Imprisoned, and Others Martyred for their Religion. With a Sketch of Their Rise, Progress and Doctrine (New York: J. W. Harrison, 1840), 28.

62 Reeve, Religion of a Different Color, 20–23.

63 Matthew 28:18 (King James Version).

64 Smith preached that sealing “secure[d] their posterity so that they cannot be lost but will be saved by virtue of the covenant of their father.” “History, 1838–1856, volume E-1 [1 July 1843–30 April 1844], The Joseph Smith Papers, accessed August 9, 2016, http://www.josephsmithpapers.org/paperSummary/history-1838-1856-volume-e-1-1-july-1843-30-april-1844?p=62.”

65 See Brown, Samuel Morris, In Heaven as It Is on Earth: Joseph Smith and the Early Mormon Conquest of Death (New York: Oxford University Press, 2012), 203247.

66 See Prince, Gregory A., Power from on High: The Development of Mormon Priesthood (Salt Lake City: Signature, 1995); and “Priesthood,” The Joseph Smith Papers, accessed May 10, 2017, http://www.josephsmithpapers.org/topic/priesthood.

67 See Hedges, Smith, and Rogers, Journals, Volume 3: May 1843–June 1844, xix–xxii.

68 Flake, Kathleen, The Emotional and Priestly Logic of Plural Marriage, Leonard J. Arrington Mormon History Lecture Series 15 (Logan: Utah State University Press, 2010), 1011.

69 Woodruff, Wilford, “March 10, 1844,” Wilford Woodruff Journal, 1833–1898, ed. by Kenney, Scott G. (Midvale, Utah: Signature, 1983–1985), 2:364.

70 Flake, The Emotional and Priestly Logic of Plural Marriage, 11.

71 “Revelation, 12 July 1843 [D&C 132],” The Joseph Smith Papers, accessed May 10, 2017, http://www.josephsmithpapers.org/paperSummary/revelation-12-july-1843-dc-132.

72 Stapley, Jonathan A., “Women and Mormon Authority,” in Women and the LDS Church in Historical and Contemporary Perspective, ed. Bowman, Matthew B. and Holbrook, Kate (Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press, 2016), 104.

73 The number of spiritual dependents correspondingly offered greater power, honor, and prestige to the head of the household. This is similar to the ways that white Americans viewed the constructions of their own households, especially slave households. See McCurry, Stephanie, Masters of Small Worlds: Yeoman Households, Gender Relations, and the Political Culture of the Antebellum South (New York: Oxford University Press, 1997), 5859. Muncy, Raymond Lee, Sex and Marriage in Utopian Communities (Bloomington: University of Indiana Press, 1973), 133.

74 Brown, In Heaven as It Is on Earth, 203–247, especially 208.

75 Hedges, Smith, and Rogers, “September 11, 1842,” Journals, Volume 2: December 1841–April 1843, 148.

76 Jane Manning James autobiography, circa 1902, MS 4425, Church History Library, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Salt Lake City, Utah. For an annotated account of James's autobiography, see Newell, Quincy D., “The Autobiography and Interview of Jane Elizabeth Manning James,” Journal of Africana Religions 1, no. 2 (2013): 251291.

77 See Mueller, Max Perry, “Playing Jane: Re-presenting Black Mormon Memory through Reenacting the Black Mormon Past,” Journal of Africana Religions 1, no. 4 (2013): 528529.

78 “James Autobiography,” 19. Smith himself never used the term “wife.”

79 Ibid., 20.

80 See Stapley, Jonathan A., “Adoptive Sealing Ritual in Mormonism,” Journal of Mormon History 37, no. 3 (Summer 2011): 6974. John Bernhisel was sealed to Joseph Smith after his death—the only incident of a man being sealed into Joseph Smith's eternal household in Nauvoo.

81 “James Autobiography,” 17.

82 Emma Smith gave and withdrew her permission for her husband to engage in the sealing ritual in 1842 and eventually left Mormonism in part because of the sexual relationships that her husband entered into because of the sealing ordinance. See Newell, Linda King and Avery, Valeen Tippetts, Mormon Enigma: Emma Hale Smith (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1994), 130156.

83 See “History, 1838–1856, volume E-1 [1 July 1843–30 April 1844], The Joseph Smith Papers, accessed August 9, 2016, http://www.josephsmithpapers.org/paperSummary/history-1838-1856-volume-e-1-1-july-1843-30-april-1844?p=62.”

84 Jane Manning James's Patriarchal Blessing, quoted in Mueller, Race and the Making of the Mormon People, 148.

85 Marquardt, Early Patriarchal Blessings, 99.

86 Mueller's chapter on Jane Manning James is the best treatment of how James's autobiography and patriarchal blessing created racial meaning in early Mormonism. Mueller, Race and the Making of the Mormon People, 119–152.

87 Quinn, D. Michael, “The Mormon Succession Crisis of 1844,” BYU Studies 16 (Winter 1976): 187233.

88 Letter from Orson Hyde to Brigham Young, 26 September 1844, Brigham Young Incoming Correspondence, Brigham Young Office Files, 1832–1878, Church History Library, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Salt Lake City, Utah.

89 August 8, 1844, PM minutes in unknown scribe's hand (General Minutes Collection), cited in Van Wagoner, Richard S., “The Making of a Mormon Myth: The 1844 Transfiguration of Brigham Young,” Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought 28, no. 4 (Winter 1995): 11nn42–43. See also Andrew F. Ehat, “Joseph Smith's Introduction of Temple Ordinances and the 1844 Mormon Succession Question” (master's thesis, Brigham Young University, 1982).

90 Carruth, LaJean P. and Jensen, Robin S., “Sidney Rigdon's Plea to the Saints: Transcription of Thomas Bullock's Shorthand Notes from the August 8, 1844, Morning Meeting,” BYU Studies 53, no. 2 (2014): 135136.

91 See Orson Hyde, Speech of Elder Orson Hyde delivered before the High Priests quorum in Nauvoo, April 27th, 1845 upon the course and conduct of Mr. Sidney Rigdon, and upon the merits of his claims to the presidency of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Liverpool: James and Woodburn, 1845), 10–11.

92 Ibid., 1.

93 Ibid., 31.

94 John Taylor, “A Short Chapter on a Long Subject,” Times and Seasons, April 1, 1845, 857. The Curses of Ham and Cain were used interchangeably in antebellum America. See Goldenberg, The Curse of Ham; and Haynes, Noah's Curse.

95 The question probably arose due to Hyde's fear that an earlier defection from Mormonism brought upon him the Curse of Cain. See Bringhurst, Saints, Slaves, and Blacks, 106.

96 Hedges, Smith, and Rogers, “January 2, 1843,” Journals, Volume 2: December 1841–April 1843, 212.

97 Smith's notion of confining blacks harmonized with many contemporary plans to fix the “slave problem” by returning slaves to Africa. Colonization was a “liberal” plan to eradicate slavery during the first half of the nineteenth century. See Claude Andrew Clegg III, The Price of Liberty: African Americans and the Making of Liberia (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2004).

98 Matthew L. Harris and Newell G. Bringhurst are the most recent historians to declare Ball to be “African American.” See Harris, Matthew L. and Bringhurst, Newell G., The Mormon Church and Blacks: A Documentary History (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2015), 19, 30.

99 Marquardt, Early Patriarchal Blessings, 320.

100 This idea can be traced to Joseph Smith's belief that one's name being written on the records of the tithing payers of the church (later, those deemed worthy to enter the temple), called “The Book of the Law of the Lord” by the 1840s. I thank David Grua and Robin Scott Jensen for bringing this connection to my attention. “Letter to William W. Phelps, 27 November 1832,” The Joseph Smith Papers, accessed June 13, 2017, http://www.josephsmithpapers.org/paper-summary/letter-to-william-w-phelps-27-november-1832/1#full-13382596199283123831.

101 For more on McCary's life and how it sheds light on race, religion, and gender in nineteenth-century America, see Hudson, Angela Pulley, Real Native Genius: How an Ex-Slave and a White Mormon became Famous Indians (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2015).

102 Reeve, Religion of a Different Color, 129–133. Young believed the president of the LDS Church was the only person who could authorize plural marriages or additional sealings. See Letter from Brigham Young to William Smith, August 9, 1845, Brigham Young Office Files, Church History Library, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Salt Lake City, Utah; and Murphy, Larry G., Melton, J. Gordon, and Ward, Gary L., eds., Encyclopedia of African American Religions (New York: Routledge, 2001), 170.

103 General Minutes, Church Historian's Office, General Church Minutes, 1839–1877, April 25, 1847 Church History Library, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Salt Lake City, Utah.

104 O'Donovan, “The Mormon Priesthood Ban and Elder Q. Walker Lewis,” 84–86.

105 LaJean Purcell Carruth, “‘To bind the African because he is different from us in color enough to cause the angels in heaven to blush’: Orson Pratt's Opposition to Slavery in the 1852 Territorial Legislature” (presentation, 49th Mormon History Association, San Antonio, Tex., June 7, 2014).

106 Brigham Young Speech, February 5, 1852, Papers of George D. Watt, MS 4534 box 1 folder 3, Church History Library, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Salt Lake City, Utah; transcribed by LaJean Purcell Carruth, corrected February 26, 2014.

107 Brigham Young and other Mormon leaders abhorred interracial marriage because people of African descent could not take part in the sealing ordinance or temple priesthood.  This meant that white partners were not permitted to receive the same blessings Mormons associated with sealings. See Turner, John G., Brigham Young: Pioneer Prophet (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 2012), 223.

108 See Stapley, “Women and Mormon Authority,” 104–107.

109 Brigham Young Speech, February 5, 1852.

110 See Davidson, Karen Lynn, Whittaker, David J., Jensen, Richard L., and Ashurst-McGee, Mark, eds., Histories, Volume 1: Joseph Smith Histories, 1832–1844, The Joseph Smith Papers (Salt Lake City: Church Historian's Press, 2012), 500.

111 Reeve, Religion of a Different Color, 140–170.

The author is grateful for the comments and suggestions of Audrey Bastian, Matthew Bowman, Amanda Hendrix-Komoto, Laurie Maffly-Kipp, Paul Reeve, Saskia Tielens, the Mormon Studies Publication Workshop, and the journal's anonymous reviewers in the creation of the manuscript.

Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Church History
  • ISSN: 0009-6407
  • EISSN: 1755-2613
  • URL: /core/journals/church-history
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *
×

Metrics

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed