Blacks in Mormonism: Cain, Able, and the Priesthood (Part 1)

Todd Noall

Todd Noall

Source Expert

Todd Noall is an author and religious scholar at Mormonism Explained with a focus on the history and theology of religion.

Fact Checked by Kevin Prince

We’re going to talk about Cain, Abel and the priesthood. It’s a question that often comes up and people want to know the answer regarding blacks in mormonism. And we’re going to talk about as we begin this, we’ll talk about these three sons and what’s going on. The three sons in scripture are the sons of men, the sons of God and the sons of perdition. And there’s a difference.

Those are the three sons that always show up in scripture who are the sons of God, who are the sons of men and who are the sons of perdition. Sons of God are always defined as those who know, who know the gospel. Those who know and understand the gospel. The sons of men are those who don’t. And the sons of perdition are those who do know and receive that power, are made aware of that power and are partakers of the power of God, and then altogether turneth therefrom and shall not receive forgiveness of sins in this world or the world come. Those are the sons of perdition. 

So these are the three sons spoken of in scripture, the sons of God. And Noah and his sons hearken unto the Lord and gave heed and they were called the sons of God. Once you hearken and give heed, you’re called the sons of God. “Verily verily I say unto you that as many receive me, to them I will give power to become the sons of God,” as it says in D&C 11.

And also the same in John chapter one, “Even to them that believe on my name, they become the sons of God.” That’s the definition of the sons of God. Those who know and understand the gospel. D&C 25 “hearken to the voice of the Lord your God while I speak unto you, Emma Smith, my daughter, for verily I say unto you all those who receive my gospel are the sons and daughters in my kingdom I’m Christ.”

It says in D&C 35 “the Son of God who was crucified for the sins of the world, even as many as will believe on my name that they may become the sons of God. Again, those who believe even one in me as I am one in the Father and the Father is one in me, that we may be one.” So that’s coming back. How do we become a son and daughter of God is believing in Christ? Now, the sons of men, knowing his sons, hearkened unto the Lord and gave heed, and they were called the sons of God.

And when these men began to multiply on the face of the earth, daughters were born into them, the sons of men. Now, these are those who don’t know or don’t accept the gospel. The sons of men saw that those daughters were fair and they took them as wives even as they chose. And the Lord said in the Noah, “The daughters of thy sons have sold themselves. Behold, my anger is kindled against the sons of men, for they will not hearken unto my voice.”

So that gives us a definition of who the sons of God are in relationship to who the sons of men are. In Moses, chapter five, we read “wherefore Lamech was despised and cast out, and came not among the sons of men, lest he should die. Now Lamech was cast out, he becomes Master Mayhan, and he couldn’t even go out among those that didn’t believe, because they might kill him, because he had revealed the secret of the secret oaths and combinations. And the works of darkness began to prevail among all the sons of men. And God cursed the earth with a sore curse and was angry with the wicked and with all the sons of men whom he had made. And they would not hearken to his voice, nor believe on his only begotten son.”

So there’s another definition of the sons of men and who they are with the son of perdition. People may think this falsely references blacks in mormonism. What you have to do and know to become a son of perdition, we learn in the Doctrine Covenants in section 76, and this is the best place for it. It says, “and thus saith the Lord concerning all those who know my power, and have been made partakers thereof. So you have become a son of God, you now know his power and been made partakers thereof.”

And many explain this as those who have received their calling, saith the Lord, “concerning all those who know my power and have been made partakers thereof, and suffered themselves through the power of the devil to be overcome and deny the truth and defy my power. And they are they who are the sons of perdition, whom I have said had been better for them never to have been born.” Those are the sons of perdition, “those who have accepted the Gospel, received the power of God, been made partakers of that power, and then altogether turneth therefrom”, as it says in section 84, “Shall not receive forgiveness of sins in this world or the world to come.” 76 goes on, “Concerning whom I have said that there is no forgiveness in this world or the world come having denied the Holy Spirit after having received it, having denied the only begotten Son of the Father having crucified themselves and put him to open shame.” These are they will go away into the lake of fire and brimstone with the devil and his angels on the only ones on who the second death shall have any power, ye verily the only ones who shall not be redeemed in the due time of the Lord after the suffering and death.” 

There comes a point where everyone but the sons of perdition, no matter what kingdom you’re in – you’re going to be totally happy and satisfied. I mean, we don’t like to say that because we like to think people going to the telestial kingdom are going to be in pain forever. But it doesn’t say that. The Doctrine and Covenants tell us, (this is the Lord speaking) I never said there wouldn’t be an end to this suffering or an end to this pain. He just said I called it endless / eternal because that’s my name but I never said there wouldn’t be an end. 

In the Alma, chapter 40, verses 14 and 22 (might be 15 / 21, it’s against my religion to memorize Scripture. So I just want to get close.) But it says there that those in paradise and those in prison, the pain in prison and the happiness in paradise will last until the day of redemption, till the resurrection, only until and we would think, well, if you can remember, you’re going to be in pain for eternity. But Isaiah says in chapter 65, he says “After that resurrection, he says this life will not be remembered nor come into mind.” Isn’t that great? That’s a great thought. To me, that’s a wonderful thing. This life will not be remembered or come into mind because it will be over. I don’t need to know what I did when I was two years old. 

Blacks in Mormonism: The Punishment of the Sons of Perdition 

Okay, well, going on in verse 43, who glorifies the Father and saves the world of his hands except those sons of perdition who deny the Son after the Father has revealed him to reign with the devil and his angels in eternity, where the worm dieth not. That means these are those who will not forget what they could have had, the worm dieth not. They will always remember and suffer for what they have done. That’s the sons of tradition. But everyone else who’s not a son of perdition – that’s their punishment. 

Everybody else will be totally happy and satisfied where they’re at. Heaven is where you belong and hell is where you don’t belong. And that’s what Mormon says there. And I think it’s chapter nine of Mormon about verses four through six there. It says that you would be more miserable to dwell with a just God with a bright recollection of yelp. You would be more miserable to dwell with a just God than you would with the damn souls in hell. Which means that heaven can be in the celestial kingdom. Hell would be in the celestial kingdom. If you’re not worthy to be there, hell is where you don’t belong, heaven is where you do. And that’s what Mormon is trying to teach there. So anyway, the worm die is not for the sons of perdition. They will not receive that time when they don’t know what they have done or be in a time. Well, Cain was told that he could become perdition. And when the Lord comes to Cain, he says if you don’t change your ways, you can be perditioned. And that tells you a lot about how far the Cain had accepted the Gospel.

Additional information on blacks in mormonism can be found at blacksinmormonism.com/

By Todd Noall, Source Expert

Todd Noall is an author and religious scholar at Mormonism Explained with a focus on the history and theology of religion.

Fact Checked by Mr. Kevin Prince, Source Expert

Kevin Prince is a religious scholar and host of the Gospel Learning Youtube channel. His channel has garnered over 41,000 subscribers and accumulated over 4.5 million views. Mr. Prince also created the Gospel Learning App, a reliable platform where individuals seeking truth can access trustworthy answers to religious questions from top educators worldwide.

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