Joe Biden on Slavery vs Brigham Young on Slavery

Wondered whether Biden’s ‘in chains’ remark that Romney camp land-heaved over– had any correspondence in Mormonism… re slaves and enslavement. Brigham Young took over as leader of Mormon church in mid and late 1800s.

This is part of Brigham Young’s 1852 speech (during immense struggle in US in which holding slaves had been turned down by Northern States. At the time Young lived in a northern state but held the idea… well, you see: about how Mormons ought see other ‘non-Mormons’, slavery, citizens, ‘mixing of the races,’ and so on. He begins by claiming that Eve was God’s first slave when she ate of the apple, and so became no longer free but a slave. Then Adam ate the apple, Young says, making him a slave too, and therefor slavery comes from God.

Brigham Young, leader, goes on to say:

We know there is a portion of inhabitants of the earth who dwell in Asia that are negroes, and said to be jews.

The blood of Judah has not only mingled almost with all nations, but also with the blood of Cain, and they have mingled there seeds together; These negro Jewes may keep up all the outer ordinenances of the jewish releigeon, they may have their sacrifices, and they may perform all the releigeous ceremonies any people on earth could perform, but let me tell you, that the day they consented to mingle their seed with Cannan, the preisthood was taken away from Judah, and that portion of Judahs seed will never get any rule, or blessings of the preisthood until Cain gets it.

Let this Church which is called the kingdom of God on the earth; we will sommons the first presidency, the twelve, the high counsel, the Bishoprick, and all the elders of Isreal, suppose we summons them to apear here, and here declare that it is right to mingle our seed, with the black race of Cain, that they shall come in with with us and be pertakers with us of all the blessings God has given to us. On that very day, and hour we should do so, the priesthood is taken from this Church and kingdom and God leaves us to our fate.

The moment we consent to mingle with the seed of Cain, the Church must go to desstruction–we should receive the curse which has been placed upon the seed of Cain, and never more be numbered with the children of Adam who are heirs to the preisthood untill that curse be removed.

Therefore I will not consent for one moment to have an african dictate [to] me or any Bren.[brethern] with regard to Church or State Government. I may vary in my veiwes from others, and they may think I am foolish in the things I have spoken, and think that they know more than I do, but I know I know more than they do.

If the Affricans cannot bear rule in the Church of God, what buisness have they to bear rule in the State and Government affairs of this Territory or any others?

In the Government affairs of States and Territorys and kingdoms by right, God should Govern.

He should rule over nations, and controle kings. If we suffer the Devil to rule over us we shall not accomplish any good. I want the Lord to rule, and be our Governor and and dictater, and we are the boys to execute, I shall not consent for a moment to give way to a Gentile Spirit of contention, which is the cause of angry…Difference to the alinations of every Good feeling.

It is for you and I to take a course, to bind our feelings together in an everlasting bond of union inasmuch as we love the Lord, which we ought to do more than selves.

Consequently I will not consent for a moment to have the Children of Cain rule me nor my Bren. No, it is not right.

But say some, is there any thing of this kind in the Constitution, the U.S. has given us? If you will allow me the privilege telling right out, it is none of their damned buisness what we do or say here. What we do it is for them to sanction, and then for us to say what we like about it. It is written right out in the constitution, “that every free white male inhabitant above the age of twenty one years” &c. My mind is the same to day as when we where poreing over that constitution; any light upon the subject is the same, my judgement is the same, only a little more so. Prahapes I have said enough upon this subject. I have given you the true principles and doctrine. No man can vote for me or my Bren. in this Territory who has not the privilege of acting in Church affairs.

Every man, and woman, and Child in this Territory are Citizens; to say the contrary is all nonsense to me. The indians are Citizens, the Africans are Citizens, and the jews than come from Asia, that are almost entirely of the blood of Cain.
It is our duty to take of them, and administer to them in all the acts of humanity, and kindness, they shall have the right of Citizenship, but shall not have the right to dictate in Church and State matters.
The abolishonists of the east, have cirest them them, and their whol argument are callculated to darken Counsel, as it was here yesterday.

As for our bills passing here, we may lay the foundation for what? for men to come here from Africa or else where; by hundreds of thousands.

When these men come here from the Islands, are they going to hold offices in Government No. It is for men who understand the knowlege of Government affairs to hold such offices, and on the other make provisions for them to plow, and to reap, and enjoy all that human beings can enjoy, and we protect them in it. Do we know how to amilerate the condition of these people? we do.

Supose that five thousands of them come from the pacific Islands, and ten or fifteen thousands from Japan , or from China, not one soul of them would know how to vote for a Government officer, they therefore ought not in the first thing have anything to do in Government afairs.

What the Gentiles are doing we are consenting to do. What we are trying to do to day is to make the Negro equal with us in all our privilege. My voice shall be against all the day long. I shall not consent for one Moment I will will call them a counsel. I say I will not consent for one moment for you to lay a plan to bring a curse upon this people. It shall not be while I am here…

(Journal of Discourses)

While there were in the 1800s in the states, honest and dishonest, predatory and helpful, and greedy and generous people of Brigham’s time, the grasping to codify and rationalize one person owning another human being by ‘copying God’ (and it’s all a woman’s fault it is said) and the rampant making of other humans into less than human if they are jews or ‘affricans’ or of the ‘islands’ or ‘indians’… and claiming there are oh just so many of ‘them’ that they need to be controlled… by Mormons… reads as nothing God-like. Rather it reads like a greedy grasping magnate who wants to dominate rather than lift all others… the time period doesnt matter it seems.

However in 1808 Congress banned importation of slaves and the North where Mormons lived had moved against slave holding even as Young was making his statements about slave keeping by dint of God’s modeled behavior with Adam and Eve.

Joe Biden’s remarks about some in power wanting to metaphorically put black people back in chains, that is, look down on them, enslave them by not giving opportunity, parity, might have been closer truth in terms of long roots to the past of Brigham Young, than even Biden realized.

Brigham Young appears to have been most prominently responsible “for revoking the priesthood and temple blessings from black members of the LDS Church, who had been treated equally in this respect under Joseph Smith’s presidency.” (Journal of Discourses, vol. 10, p. 110) After settling in Utah in 1848, Brigham Young announced a priesthood ban which prohibited all men of black African descent from holding the priesthood. In connection, Mormons of African descent could not participate in Mormon temple rites such as the Endowment or “sealing.” These racist restrictions remained in place until 1978 [34 years ago,] when the policy was rescinded by President of the Church Spencer W. Kimball.” wikipedia on Brigham Young’s life

The rescinding of the Mormons’ racist policy and exclusion to worship with parity for African Americans, did not come after the passage of the Civil Rights Act, which proclaimed across the last there would be no quarter given to discrimination against others by race, et al.

The recision of the racist Mormon policy came belatedly, about thirteen years after the Civil Rights Act had already been in effect.

Author: DR. CLARISSA PINKOLA ESTÉS, Managing Editor of TMV, and Columnist

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  1. Here’s another thread comment, you can google it for more info

    Not all mormon men all gay bashers… but in my personal life, the only gay bashers I have ever met where all mormon. (sp)

  2. Not sure what to make of this one, the headline is:

    EYEpopper: Mormon Romney’s Veep Ryan is Catholic & Deep Admirer of Ayn Rand. Here’s Ayn Rand on Abortion…

    The article is about the conflict between Catholicism and Ayn Rand’s philosophy, so I’m not sure where “Mormon Romney” fits in.

  3. Ohio, there should be room at the Inn/TMV for all agreers, dissenters and insulters, as long as it is not personally directed at other TMVers. Call atheists idiots dolts and anything worse and I have no problem. Same with the political area. Too much agreeing leads to a nation of lemmings. Bring it on.
    Sorry if that sounded like a lecture, but I sorta miss the old wild west days around here.

  4. TO I didn’t say TMV was an anti-Mormon site, I just said anti-Mormon ugliness had been showing up. Actually going back through the comments today I was struck by how most people are very careful not to say things that could be construed as anti-Mormon. Still, I think my comment was accurate and I don’t see what purpose bringing up Brigham Young’s racism serves. Obviously it’s going to be viewed in the context of the current campaign.

  5. Ohio please do not attribute stuff to me that I didn’t say. You said you never saw any sign of any anti mormon statments and that I mentioned that I had and showed that it was by contributors not comentors. I more than proved my point and don’t feel any need to try and prove some other point that I never mentioned.

  6. I don’t know that I would say that anti-Mormon ugliness has been “frequent”. I know that it is sad that it has been here. The example I remember best from the past was the one that help promote the canard that Mormon were baptizing people form different religions posthumously (while ignoring or refusing to understand the view that these baptisms aren’t forced on the soul).

  7. dd

    I haven’t been here that long and wouldn’t want to participate in “Wild West” commentary, though it would be fun to read. :-) Luckily trolls are quickly eliminated here. I would like people to be more specific when charges are made, however. Apparently the word “frequent” has multiple meanings and some of them elude me.


    I agree with you that any discussion of Romney’s religion, or anyone else’s religion, other than how it would affect public policy should be discouraged. My only cavil with your original comment was with how frequently it was being introduced on this site. Comments about current Mormon church actions, as with any other church’s actions that affect public policy are perfectly valid, however, whether for or against a particular church. The fact that the Mormon church, among many others, contributes heavily to anti-same-sex marriage efforts, for instance, is true and does affect public policy and should be commented on.


    What can I say? You took umbrage with my statement that the only anti-Mormon statements I’d seen were by a fly-by troll who had been chastened by z and questioned how frequently that had occurred. You proved that that particular phrase “magic underwear” has only occurred in my response while castigating an author about what I considered a shameful reference in his article. I misunderstood when you included my question of frequency in your first comment. I thought you were trying to prove how frequently such articles and comments show up here which was the original complaint.

    As far as attributing stuff, I never said there were zero comments. I never said I saw no sign of any anti mormon statements. I said the only anti-Mormon statements I’d seen were made by a fly-by troll who had been chastened by z and questioned how frequently it occurred; the attribution game is difficult to play well since all our comments are right there to see.

  8. Dorian,

    I’ll have to pass on the follow-up comment that I suggested I’d give. Given the direction this thread has taken, I hope you’ll understand that I don’t feel this is the right forum to get deeply into such a deep theological topic. Not that I’m offended by the discussion going on, it’s just not the right context.

    Regarding whether or not anti-Mormon sentiment has been frequent on TMV, I’ll decline to comment since I’m obviously not a neutral observer. I guess I’m still here, so that says something, although I don’t take offense easily.

    But with regards to anti-Mormon sentiment in general, and in particular the “magic underwear” thing. I’ve been doing some thinking on what it says about our culture that we are so fascinated by it. Mormons point out that we are not the only ones who hold certain clothing to have special meaning, although most of the time it’s visible clothing and sometimes only ceremonial. But, I recently came across this:

    I do have to wonder if those belittling and poking fun at Mormons for this practice would also do it to Sikhs (on the other hand, aren’t they already?). I think probably not, which begs the question: why? My theory: Sikhism is viewed as perhaps an exotic religion. Much like you might look at a strange artifact in a museum, you would not make fun of its strangeness, but rather appreciate the cultural difference. But, Mormons are far too “normal” to have such unusual customs, it seems. They are supposed to participate in the “sillification” of our culture, where no object can be sacred, private, or even particularly meaningful, and especially not underwear, for goodness sake. I know that’s true because the ads I see tell me underwear is only for being silly or sexy, and thus it must be so.

  9. Very, very well said The_Ohioan.

    In re-reading ALL the comments in this thread it becomes apparent that the intent of the commenters you’ve replied to isn’t eliminating anti-Mormon comments at TMV, the lack of such comments in any quantity has already been shown.

    They are simply trying to make evil something that doesn’t exist. Pretending that we ‘lefties’ are wrong is a major platform in their out to lunch wing-nut agenda… All their other ‘planks’ are currently being laughed at and/or ridiculed by the majority of Americans.

    Q.E.D. There are several regular commenters here of the Mormon faith but those who have commented in this thread dropped out early on. Why? Maybe it’s because this whole attack on a non-existent problem is simply flapdoodle invented by the “I’m not a Mormon BUT” bunch and they see it.

    Welcome back and good timing adelinesdad. A question: Do you feel that TMV is infiltrated with commenters ridiculing your “magic underwear” or that it’s a Moderate Voice?

  10. To clarify, I don’t mean to suggest Sikhs and other “exotic” religions don’t face severe prejudice, but my point is that prejudice is condemned by those who profess tolerance, while Mormonism, and in particular some of its more unusual practices, are viewed by some as unworthy of such respect.

  11. SteveK,

    Like I said, I’ll pass on being the official referee.:)

    But, it’s a little ironic that we’re having this debate in the comment section of this post which many have agreed does cross the line. But I recognize that the argument has more to do with the trend or lack thereof. I’m giving Dr. E a bit of leeway here because I’ve sensed from previous writings that there is usually more than meets the eye in some of her writing, and I respect the fact that she recognizes, as I do, that truth is complex and sometimes concise, linear arguments don’t suffice. However, regardless of her intent, I stand by my statement that this sort of thing “is the kindling of bigotry and whisper campaigns.”

  12. You proved that that particular phrase “magic underwear” has only occurred in my response while castigating an author about what I considered a shameful reference in his article.

    I’m a bit dumbfounded that you and SK keep misrepresenting facts. You said you never saw any sign of bigotry, paraphrasing of course, I said there was and showed examples. of which you and your statments were never a part of.

    Mitt himself obvious has his underwear — special or otherwise — in a knot

    Real classy Mitt, but nobody ever asked Obama about his magic underwear, or all hell would break loose.

    These were comments recently in articles posted on this site. So unless you think using the word “special” instead of magic makes all the difference I don’t get your attitude.

  13. Pandora’s Box ain’t just a music web site.

  14. No problem, AD, and thanks for your earlier comment. I plan to write a little post on this subject — perhaps “casting a wider net” — a I would really like to hear the opinions of those who are more knowledgeable of religion, faith, theology, etc. than poor ole me.

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