Return to About Mormons home
Blacks Are Not Satan's Representatives
by W. John Walsh
Do Mormons believe that Blacks are the representatives of Satan? LDS 'prophet' John Taylor said "And after the flood we are told that the curse that had been pronounced upon Cain was continued through Ham's wife, as he had married a wife of that seed. And why did it pass through the flood? Because it was necessary that the devil should have a representation upon the earth as well as God." (JoD Vol. 22 page 304 (1881, for racial context...)
First, the Journal of Discourses is not a source for official Church doctrine (See The Seer and Journal of Discourses). Second, prejudice against Blacks, or anyone else for that matter, is strictly against the teachings of the LDS Church. (See Are Mormons Prejudiced Against Blacks?)
Third, you have misquoted President Taylor. The actual quote comes from a very long discourse which adds context to your partial reference. In addition, you altered the last sentence you quoted. You put a period after the word God making it appear that President Taylor implied that the descendants of Cain (i.e., Blacks) were the Devil's representatives. However, the actual statement does not end upon the word God. The Journal of Discourses actually states:
"And after the flood we are told that the curse that had been pronounced upon Cain was continued through Ham's wife, as he had married a wife of that seed. And why did it pass through the flood? Because it was necessary that the devil should have a representation upon the earth as well as God; and that man should be a free agent to act for himself, and that all men might have the opportunity of receiving or rejecting the truth, and be governed by it or not according to their wishes and abide the result; and that those who would be able to maintain correct principles under all circumstances, might be able to associate with the Gods in the eternal worlds.
The full sentence gives a very different meaning than the one you gave to it. Why was the seed of Cain preserved through the flood? Under the doctrine of agency, we all have the right to choose between good and evil for ourselves, with accountability to God for those choices.
The Book of Mormon teaches that Satan's representation, or presence, upon the earth is a necessary ingredient in the Plan of Salvation.:
"Wherefore, the Lord God gave unto man that he should act for himself. Wherefore, man could not act for himself save it should be that he was enticed by the one or the other." (2 Nephi 2:16)
Satan tries to persuade us to choose evil and we may do so if that is what we desire. (See Temptation) However, we will be held accountable for that choice at the Final Judgment. The Book of Mormon teaches:
"For behold, the Spirit of Christ is given to every man, that he may know good from evil; wherefore, I show unto you the way to judge; for every thing which inviteth to do good, and to persuade to believe in Christ, is sent forth by the power and gift of Christ; wherefore ye may know with a perfect knowledge it is of God.
But whatsoever thing persuadeth men to do evil, and believe not in Christ, and deny him, and serve not God, then ye may know with a perfect knowledge it is of the devil; for after this manner doth the devil work, for he persuadeth no man to do good, no, not one; neither do his angels; neither do they who subject themselves unto him.
And now, my brethren, seeing that ye know the light by which ye may judge, which light is the light of Christ, see that ye do not judge wrongfully; for with that same judgment which ye judge ye shall also be judged.
Wherefore, I beseech of you, brethren, that ye should search diligently in the light of Christ that ye may know good from evil; and if ye will lay hold upon every good thing, and condemn it not, ye certainly will be a child of Christ." (Moroni 7:16-19)
Almost every human soul perished in the flood, including the daughters of Noah and their families. Only those few who hearkened to the Lord's prophet were saved. (See Following the Prophets home page) A descendent of Cain, using her agency, chose to listen to the Spirit of Christ and obey God and was therefore saved from the flood.
As a final comment, President Taylor teaches that "all men might have the opportunity of receiving or rejecting the truth" for themselves, and if faithful, "associate with the Gods in the eternal worlds". He does not say all men, except for for Blacks. He says all men--without qualification. In this case, it specifically included a woman descended from Cain.
(See Are Mormons Prejudiced?; Blacks and the Priesthood; Civil Rights; Blacks home page; Response to Criticism home page; Accusatory Questions home page)
All About Mormons