I will be dealing here with some views among Mormons which have changed over time. As I will mention, past doctrines on race have since been repudiated. In no way can anything here be said to represent the personal views of any current Mormon.
In the beginnings of the history of “The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints,” commonly called simply “Mormons,” both founder Joseph Smith and his immediate successor Brigham Young claimed that black skin is the biblical Curse of Cain (see Genesis 4:15) or the Curse of Ham (Genesis 9:22, 25). Smith and Young did not originate this teaching; it was common during that time, and was used to justify chattel slavery of Africans. This doctrine, while it continues among the fundamentalist LDS breakaway groups, was repudiated by church President Spencer Kimball in 1978.
When asked about the doctrine, Mormons will generally respond that it wasn’t official teaching since it was not part of the LDS scriptures. Of course, the rational response is how it was not official teaching when it was taught by the founding Prophet of their church. If he was mistaken, as Kimball asserted, then how was he a prophet?
Furthermore, there are troublesome references in the LDS Scriptures. Doesn’t that make them official doctrine?
In III Nephi 2:14-16, we read this: “It came to pass that those Lamanites who had united with the Nephites were numbered among the Nephites. And their curse was taken from them, and their skin became white like unto the Nephites; and their young men and their daughters became exceedingly fair and they were numbered among the Nephites, and were called Nephites.”
So, we have some members of the Lamanites, the ‘bad guys” in the Book of Mormon, who were converted, and joined the Nephites, the “good guys.” We are told that the curse of the dark skin of the Lamanites is taken away, so that they become white, like the other Nephites. Now, this is a division between two groups of people descended from Israelites, not Africans. Yet, it still bases a curse on skin color. So, does it not teach, officially, the same detestable doctrine that was repudiated by Kimball? How can Mormons deny that they follow a racist religion when such remarks can be found in their Scriptures?