Thursday, April 25, 2013

Is the Mormon Church Racist?

Many in the media have used the softball approach when discussing Mitt Romeny's religion and the history of alleged racism. They tend to take statements made 100 years ago by what I consider obvious racists like Brigham Young.  To date not a single media outlet has take the "gloves off" and done real analysis on the what I consider to be the racist nature of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.

I'm not going to attempt to rehash all of the hateful statements made by Mormon leaders in their well documented history of overt racism. I point people to to get a full treatment of Mormonism's overt racist past. You'll find what I consider a pattern of dehumanizing the black race executed by "inspired" men.

I'm going to instead talk about the racism that continues to plague the Mormon church and incidents that show a clear pattern of racism.

The PR wing of the LDS church tends to highlight "the work" that's being performed in Africa. The Mormon church has built a membership totally more than 400,000 members in Africa. They also feature blacks in their most recent ad campaign.

Screen captures from (No affiliation with this blog)

The connotation is obvious. I believe that the Mormons know that they have a serious problem in regards to race. Their site, in my opinion, is a thinly veiled statement that screams, "See! We're not racists! Look!". It reminds me of the guy that says,"Hey I'm not a racist. Some of my best friends are black!".

The claim has been made on many sites that almost 10% of the members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints are black. It is possible that this statistic holds water if we consider that the church has over 400,000 members in Africa. After adding the claimed membership in Latin America, this statistic is believable.

What the PR wing of the LDS church may not realize is that the statistic they so desperately want people to know regarding black membership and the unambiguous highlighting of black members on their ad campaign is for naught when a casual observer takes a look at the "elite" leadership of the Mormon church.

General Authorites

The Mormon church is lead by a group of men that are known by the LDS membership as "General Authorities".  According to

"The General Authorities consist of the First Presidency, the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, the Presidency of the Seventy, the First and Second Quorums of the Seventy, and the Presiding Bishopric. (View General Authorities for more information on the roles of these leaders.)"
Additional information from informs us:

An Area President is typically a General Authority selected from the First or Second Quorum of the Seventy, while the counselors can be either General Authorities or Area Seventies selected from any Quorum of the Seventy.
These men are chosen from a global pool of members. You'll find men from all over the world in the First and Second Quorums of the Seventy.

What is glaringly obvious to me is the difference between what the church is saying verses what the church is actually doing. The site appears to be telling the world with their desperate attempt to highlight black membership that racism is a thing of the past. Yet a view of the current leadership, in my opinion, displays a clear pattern of institutional racism when the statistics on black membership are taken into account.

Finding a black man among the "elite" General Authorities reminds me of the "Where's Waldo" books that my children enjoy. The question that stands out to me is "Why?"

Recent events have forced the church to issue a press press release that states:

"The Church’s position is clear—we believe all people are God’s children and are equal in His eyes and in the Church. We do not tolerate racism in any form. "
If racism doesn't play a part in the selection of the current leadership, why is there such a disparity in the number of backs represented in today's leadership?

Are we to assume that there is only one qualified black man out of the 1,000,000+ black members?

As a Mormon, I was taught that General Authorities were called by God by inspiration.Are we to assume that God has deemed that only one black man should be called to lead the only true church on earth?

In my recollection , no black man or any person of color has never occupied the quorum of the 12 apostles or the first presidency.

The church continues to claim that more than half of the Mormon membership resides  outside of the United States. An online database of membership reports that there are more than 1,000,000 members in Brazil. The same online source estimates the membership in Mexico to also exceed 1,000,000 members. To my knowledge, not one man from either of these countries has been "called by God" to be in the Quorum of the 12 Apostles, First Presidency, or the Presiding Bishopric.

The only apologetic response that I've been given on the subject is that black members do not have the experience required to serve as "elite" leaders in the Mormon church. This apologetic claim is made by those that want you to believe that God called an uneducated fourteen year old to be His prophet.

Michael D Quinn wrote:
"Much as a corporate board of directors represents significant minority blocks of stockholders, the appointment of General Authorities to represent significant ethnic populations of the LDS Church has continued from the 1830s to the present. As the American-born Mormons were supplemented by tens of thousands of Latter-day Saints from Canada and Great Britain, twelve Canadian and British General Authorities served from 1837 to 1938, and five from 1960 to the present. . . .

As the population of the international church has accelerated since the 1960s, the newly expanded Quorum of Seventy has become the vehicle for representing diverse ethnic and foreign populations of Mormons, rather than the tight-knit Quorum of the Twelve Apostles which had non-American members from 1838 to 1975. Since that latter year, the following ethnic and non- American populations have become represented by appointments to the Quorum of Seventy: the Hawaiians with Adney Y. Komatsu, the French and Belgians with Charles A. Didier, the Navajos with George P. Lee, the Dutch with Jacob deJager, the Germans with F. Enzio Busche, the Japanese with Yoshihiko Kikuchi, the English with Derek A. Cuthbert, the Canadians with Ted E. Brewerton, and the Latin Americans with Angel Abrea ("From Sacred Grove to Sacred Power Structure," Dialogue, vol. 17, no. 2, Summer 1984, p. 23)."

Elite Leadership positions(Quorum of the 12/ Presiding Bishopric) appear to be reserved for those with family ties to the Mormon theocracy with very few exceptions. A popular Internet Podcast Mormon Matters produced an article highlighting the nepotism in the Mormon leadership structure.

Name Position Relationship to
Relative Position
Paul Bowen Pieper Miss Pres 2004 Son in Law A Theodore Tuttle 1st Quorum 70
Gordon B. Hinckley President Nephew Alonzo A Hinckley Quorum of 12
Francis M Lyman Quorum of 12 Son Amasa Lyman Quorum of 12
Antoine R Ivins 1st Council 70 Son Anthony W Ivins FP 1st Counselor
Susan W Tanner YW Gen Pres Daughter GG-Granddaughter Barbara W Winder John R Winder RS Gen Pres FP 1st Counselor
Benjamin Edwin Banks Miss Pres 2003 Son Ben B Banks Pres of 70
Brad B. Banks Miss Pres 2002 Son Ben B Banks Pres of 70
Allan Forrest Packer 1st Quorum of 70 Son Boyd K Packer Quorum of 12
Brigham Young Jr Quorum of 12 Son Brigham Young President
John Willard Young FP 1st Counselor Son Brigham Young President
Joseph A Young Apostle Son Brigham Young President
Joseph Young 1st Council 70 Brother Brigham Young President
Zina D. H. Young RS Gen Pres Wife Brigham Young President
Lorenzo Snow President Brother in Law Brother in Law Brigham Young Joseph Smith President President
Stephen Lowell McConkie Miss Pres 2008 Son Bruce R McConkie Quorum of 12
Anthony W Middleton Jr Miss Pres 2005 Brother in Law Cecil O Samuelson 1st Quorum 70
Merrill C Oaks 2nd Quorum 70 Brother Dallin H Oaks Quorum of 12
Emmeline B Wells RS Gen Pres Wife Daniel H Wells FP 2nd Counselor
Rulon S Wells 1st Council 70 Son Daniel H Wells FP 2nd Counselor
John Huntsman, Sr. Area Auth 70 Son in Law David B Haight Quorum of 12
Alan Conway Ashton Miss Pres 2004 Grandson David O McKay President
David Lawrence McKay Gen Super SS Son David O McKay President
George Richard Hill III 1st Quorum 70 Nephew David O McKay President
Ezra Taft Benson President G-Grandson Ezra T. Benson Quorum of 12
Richard R Lyman Quorum of 12 Son Francis M Lyman Quorum of 12
Franklin D Richards 1st Quorum 70 Grandson Franklin D Richards Quorum of 12
George F Richards Quorum of 12 Son Franklin D Richards Quorum of 12
Bathsheba W Smith RS Gen Pres Wife George A. Smith FP 1st Counselor
John Henry Smith FP 2nd Counselor Son George A. Smith FP 1st Counselor
LeGrand Richards Quorum of 12 Son George F Richards Quorum of 12
Abraham H Cannon Quorum of 12 Son George Q Cannon FP 1st Counselor
John Q Cannon 2nd Counselor PB Son George Q Cannon FP 1st Counselor
Sylvester Q Cannon Quorum of 12 Son George Q Cannon FP 1st Counselor
May Green Hinckley Pri GP Step-Mother Gordon B Hinckley President
Richard G Hinckley 1st Quorum 70 Son Gordon B Hinckley President
Virginia H. Pearce YW GP 1st C Daughter Gordon B Hinckley President
Dale Edwin Andersen Miss Pres 2005 Son H Verlan Andersen 1st Quorum 70
J Golden Kimball 1st Council 70 Son Heber C Kimball FP 1st Counselor
Quentin L Cook Quorum of 12 GG-Grandson Heber C Kimball FP 1st Counselor
Spencer W Kimball President Grandson Heber C Kimball FP 1st Counselor
Anthony W Ivins Quorum of 12 Cousin Heber J Grant President
George I Cannon 1st Quorum 70 Grandson Heber J Grant President
Lucy Grant Cannon YW Gen Pres Daughter Heber J Grant President
Henry Johnson Eyring Miss Pres 2003 Son Henry B Eyring FP 1st Counselor
Eldred G Smith Patriarch Son Hyrum G Smith Patriarch
Joseph Fielding Smith Patriarch Son Hyrum Mack Smith Quorum of 12
John Smith Patriarch Son Hyrum Smith Asst President
Joseph F. Smith President Son Hyrum Smith Asst President
Heber J Grant President Son Jedidiah M. Grant FP 2nd Counselor
Peter F. Evans Miss Pres 2002 Son in Law Joe J Christensen Pres of 70
Spencer Kohler Christensen Miss P res 2000 Son Joe J Christensen Pres of 70
Joseph Holbrook Groberg MTC Pres Brother John H. Groberg 1st Quorum 70
George Albert Smith President Son John Henry Smith FP 2nd Counselor
Nicholas G Smith Asst to 12 Son John Henry Smith FP 2nd Counselor
Hyrum G Smith Patriarch Grandson John Smith Patriarch
John Whitaker Taylor Quorum of 12 Son John Taylor President
William W Taylor 1st Council 70 Son John Taylor President
Keith A. Anderson Miss Pres 2002 Son Joseph A Anderson 1st Quorum 70
David B. Wirthlin MTC Pres 2000 Brother Joseph B Wirthlin Quorum of 12
Kent Walker Farnsworth Miss Pres 2004 Son in Law Joseph B Wirthlin Quorum of 12
David A Smith 1st Counselor PB Son Joseph F Smith President
Florence Smith Jacobsen YW Gen Pres Granddaughter Granddaughter Joseph F Smith Heber J Grant President President
Hyrum Mack Smith Quorum of 12 Son Joseph F. Smith President
Joseph Fielding Smith President Son Joseph F. Smith President
Bruce R McConkie Quorum of 12 Son in Law Joseph Fielding Smith President
Joseph B Wirthlin Quorum of 12 Son Joseph L Wirthlin Presiding Bishop
Richard B Wirthlin 2nd Quorum 70 Son Joseph L Wirthlin Presiding Bishop
Emma Smith RS Gen Pres Wife Joseph Smith President
George A Smith FP 1st Counselor 1st Cousin Joseph Smith President
Hyrum Smith Asst President Brother Joseph Smith President
John Smith FP Asst Counselor Uncle Joseph Smith President
Joseph Smith Sr Patriarch Father Joseph Smith President
William B Smith Quorum of 12 Brother Joseph Smith President
Lee Tom Perry Miss Pres 2005 Son L. Tom Perry Quorum of 12
LeGrand R. Curtis Jr Area Auth 70 Son LeGrand Curtis 2nd Quorum 70
Robert Karl Merrell Miss Pres 2003 Son in Law LeGrand Curtis 2nd Quorum 70
Eliza Roxcy Snow RS Gen Pres Sister Lorenzo Snow President
Peter Huntsman Area Auth 70 Son in Law M Russell Ballard Quorum of 12
John Knapp Baird Miss Pres 2001 Son in Law Marion D Hanks Pres of 70
Joseph F Merrill Quorum of 12 Son Marriner W Merrill Quorum of 12
Stephen Kent Ashton Miss Pres 2004 Son Marvin J Ashton Quorum of 12
Marvin J Ashton Quorum of 12 Son Marvin O Ashton 1st Counselor PB
Matthew Cowley Quorum of 12 Son Matthias Cowley Quorum of 12
M Russell Ballard Quorum of 12 Grandson Melvin J Ballard Quorum of 12
Elizabeth Ann Whitney RS Gen Pres Wife Newell K Whitney Presiding Bishop
Orson F Whitney Quorum of 12 Grandson Grandson Newell K Whitney Heber C Kimball Presiding Bishop FP 1st Counselor
Kevin Rex Pinegar Miss Pres 2004 Son Rex D Pinegar Pres of 70
Amy Brown Lyman RS Gen Pres Wife Richard R Lyman Quorum of 12
Ralph Joseph Marsh Miss Pres 2004 Son in Law Robert L Backman Pres of 70
H. David Burton Presiding Bishop Grandson Robert T. Burton 1st C PB
David Reed Webster Sr Miss Pres 2004 Son in Law Russell M Nelson Quorum of 12
Michael Tally Ringwood Miss Pres 2004 Son in law Russell M Nelson Quorum of 12
Clifford E Young Asst to 12 Son Seymour B Young 1st Council 70
Levi E Young 1st Council 70 Son Seymour B Young 1st Council 70
S Dilworth Young 1st Quorum 70 Grandson G-Grandson Seymour B Young Brigham Young 1st Council 70 President
Margaret D. Nadauld YW Gen Pres Wife Stephen D Nadauld 2nd Quorum 70
Stayner Richards Asst to 12 Brother Grandson Stephen L Richards Willard Richards Quorum of 12
Elaine A. Cannon YW Gen Pres Daughter in Law Sylvester Q Cannon Quorum of 12
Ann Dibb YW GP 1st C Daughter Thomas S Monson President
Abraham O Woodruff Quorum of 12 Son Wilford Woodruff President
Julie B Beck RS Gen Pres Daughter Wm Grant Bangerter Pres of 70

It seems obvious that the current Mormon leadership is formed through nepotism and does not represent the worldwide membership. To suggest that God only calls those with family ties to Mormon leadership and generations of membership in the Mormon church denies the legitimacy of Joseph Smith.

If I am to believe that these callings are divinely inspired, my only assumption can be that God, to some degree,  supports the the sentiments of Brigham Young and the curse talked about in the Book of Mormon.

Going by the numbers, I feel I should see at least:
  • 1 black apostle
  • 3-5 Latin apostles
  • 1 Asian apostle
The "curse of Cain" and the concept that skin color is a punishment by God for wickedness may be doctrines that  the LDS church wishes to bury, but the lasting effects of these beliefs appear to have influenced the selection of the current Mormon hierarchy.


  1. This probably won't convince you, but simple mathematical logic would explain why the LDS leadership is disproportionately white. It's not a conspiracy.

    The GAs have been part of the LDS church, on average, for several decades. Many were previously stake presidents, bishops, missionaries, etc. It makes sense that leaders of the LDS church would be those most familiar and most experienced with the religion. Alternatively, while general membership in Africa and South America is high, they are mostly recent converts. If you compare the demographics of today's leadership with general LDS demographics from 20 or 30 years ago, there's not much to be surprised about.

    1. How old was Joseph Smith when he received his prophetic calling?

  2. This is a good article. Thanks for raising these points. Many that leave the church sincerely look for a reason to stay before they depart. Unfortunately, those around them may not have sufficient oil in their lamps to help or help direct the sincere seeker and we thus lose them. One big issue that fits this scenario is the erred teachings on race. You'll want to visit the Blacks in the Scriptures page for real answers that show the errors through teaching the scriptural truths. This demonstrates that even though they were wrong, that doesn't effect the truthfulness of the restored gospel and the scriptures. If our focus is on Christ, the errors of men become a lesser weight. Thanks for your efforts.