75 years ago today - May 5, 1947

We have received the following letter: 'Kind Sirs: Would you kindly let me know as soon as possible the stand the Church takes in regard to the colored people. Here in California we have such a lot of Negroes and are we as Latter-day Saints required to associate with them or talk the Gospel to them? What about the ones who want to join the Church? I realize they cannot hold the priesthood but have the idea they can hold it during or after the Millennium. Am I right or wrong? Please put this information in a letter form to be read in Relief Society as that is where the question has arise with one of the sisters who lives in one of the housing projects where there are colored people on all sides of her. Hoping this will not be too much trouble. I thank you. Sincerely, ...[']

To this letter we are replying through our secretary, Brother Joseph Anderson, as follows: 'Your undated letter has been received, in which you raise certain questions regarding affiliation with colored people. I am directed by the Brethren to suggest that you take this matter up with your bishop, who, if he needs assistance in advising you, will take it up with the president of the Stake.' You doubtless are fully acquainted with the attitude of the Church regarding colored people. As you know, the Church has already drawn the line against the mixture of the colored with the white race in marriage. The colored people cannot hold the priesthood, and, as you may know, President Brigham Young said: 'When all the other children of Adam have had the privilege of receiving the Priesthood, and of coming into the kingdom of God, and of being redeemed from the four quarters of the earth, and have received their resurrection from the dead, ten it will be time enough to remove the curse from his (Cain's) posterity. He deprived his brother of the privilege of pursuing his journey through life, and of extending his kingdom of multiplying upon the earth; and because he did this, he is the last to share the joys of the kingdom of God.' J.D. 2:142-143. No special effort has ever been made to proselyte among the Negro race, and social intercourse between the Whites and the Negroes should certainly not be encouraged because of leading to intermarriage, which the Lord has forbidden. This move which has now received some popular approval of trying to break down social barriers between the Whites and the Blacks is one that should not be encouraged because inevitably it means the mixing of the races if carried to its logical conclusion.

[First Presidency, Letter to Virgil H. Sponberg, as quoted in Minutes of the Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1835-1951, Electronic Edition, 2015]

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