Blacks in Mormonism: Cain, Able, and the Priesthood (Part 2)

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

Blacks in Mormonism: Who Was Cain?

Who was Cain and how does he relate to blacks in Mormonism?

Cain is the first born in the Gospel. He’s the first one born after they get the Gospel. He’s the first one in the Gospel and he should be the patriarch. He should become the patriarch to Adam. But there are certain things that the patriarch has to do and Cain didn’t fit that standard. And Adam and Eve blessed the name of God and they made all things known unto their sons and daughters. Satan came among them saying, don’t believe it, I’m also a son of God. And they believed it not and Satan and they love Satan more than God. And then Cain is born, she conceived and bear. Cain said, I have gotten a man child from the Lord wherefore he will not reject his words, hoping that he’s now going to be worthy to become the patriarch so that that can go on. Cain, holding the Priesthood in the in, in the position to become the first patriarch, was not righteous in his priesthood activity and priesthood responsibility of serving others. Who is the Lord that I should know him? The first purpose of the Priesthood is to serve other people.

Cain’s question was, “am I my brother’s keeper?” So he even though he held the priesthood and offered sacrifice. And Joseph Smith tells us that Cain and Abel held the priesthood and they probably had received that calling election because the endowment was real. They were washed and anointed to be not to become anciently. We do that on our day, but anciently, that was not the case. You proved yourself true and faithful. And then he rejected God even after having received it, and says, who is the Lord that I should know him? Am I my brother’s keeper? Which is not congruent with becoming the patriarch, which is responsible for the spiritual and temporal welfare of all his father’s posterity to be his brother’s keeper. And so he has not that character to do that, especially when he says am I my brother’s keeper? And Abel, he brought the firstlings of the flock and the fat thereof, and the Lord had respect unto Abel’s offering, but in the Cain and his offering he had not respect. And Satan knew this and it pleased Satan. And Cain was wroth and his countenance fell. And Lord said unto Cain, why art thou wroth and why is thy countenance fallen?

So they are both functioning in the Priesthood. In their right, Cain should be the patriarch, but his priesthood activity is not such that it makes him unworthy to be that patriarch. And the Lord’s giving him a chance why are you worrying about that? What’s going on? The Lord knows what’s going on, but he’s giving him a chance to make that choice. The Lord speaks to Cain about the priesthood covenants he had made and says if thou doest well, thou shalt be accepted. And if thou DOST not well, sin lie at the door. So it’s what he’s saying. If you’re true and faithful to the covenants you’ve made, it’s going to be good, it’s going to be well with you. But if you don’t, Satan desires to have thee. You’ll be delivered over unto the buffetings of Satan. And that’s what he’s telling Cain if thou DOST well, thou shalt be accepted, and if thou DOST not well, sin life it’s good. Satan desires to have thee and accept. Thou shalt be hearkening unto my commandments. I will deliver thee up and it shall be unto thee according to Satan’s desire. But thou shalt rule over him because you will have a body as it goes on.

If you’re not true to the covenants you have made, you will be in Satan’s power. And it shall be said in time to come. The Lord continues that these abominations were had from Cain for he rejected the greater counsel which was had from God. And this is a cursing which I will put upon thee except thou repent. So the Lord’s giving Cain a chance to change his character, but he doesn’t. 

Now Satan speaks to Cain about the benefits of following him and introduces secret oaths and combinations based on Cain’s endowment of power he received from his father. This is one of the reasons, you know, that had Cain had received that endowment of power, one is that he’s offering sacrifices. And the gospel Satan already Joseph Smith said satan sets up his kingdom at the very same time that the Lord sets up his. As soon as Adam introduces the gospel of Jesus Christ, Satan is there saying, I am also a son of God. As soon as the endowment of covenants, oath and covenants is introduced to Cain and Abel, then Satan is there introducing secret oaths and combinations at the very same time.

And you do it at the same time that it’s set up and with somebody who has that background. And that’s what Satan is doing. Remember, if you’ve got any questions, ask. 

Blacks in Mormonism: Combinations and Covenants 

And Satan said unto Cain, “Swear unto me by thy throat and if thou tell it, thou shalt die and swear thy brother and by their heads and by the living God that they tell it not. For if they tell it, they shall surely die. And this that thy father may not know it in this day I’ll deliver thy brother able in thy hands.” And Satan swore unto Cain that he would do according to his commands and all these things were done in secret. So you have oaths and covenants and then you have secret oaths and combinations. An oath is always a symbol or form of death or sacrifice. That’s what oath means in Hebrew. That’s what it always means to cut a covenant. And an oath is always a symbol of death. And that’s what he’s saying. Swear to me by thy throat and swear thy brother and by their heads that they tell it not. We make a covenant. A righteous covenant is between an individual and God.

When we go to the temple, it’s as though nobody else is there but us and God. We do it collectively for the sake of time. But when we participate in the temple covenants, it’s as though there’s nobody else there. We are making a covenant with God. A combination and an oath is a symbol or form of death or sacrifice. A combination. An oath and combination is this symbol of death. Swearing to me by thy throat, thy brethren, by their heads that they tell a knot. A combination is making a covenant, an oath covenant between me and a group of people. An oath and covenant is between me and God. An oath and combination is between me and a group of people. That, okay, we’re going to do this and I’m going to be secret about this. And if I don’t do it, then you, any of you, have the right to kill me. That’s a combination, an oath and a covenant is sacred. It’s I would rather die than break the covenant. I make it not that you can kill me, but this is so sacred to me. This oath and covenant is so sacred to me.

I’d rather die before I break this covenant. I’d rather do that. I’d rather die before the covenant. I break the covenant where an oath and combination is you can kill me if I don’t keep the secret. You see the difference? There’s a difference there. So anyway, so secret oath and combinations are set up by Cain patterned after oaths and covenant. We see the same thing in the Book of Mormon and Ether. Akish gathered to the house of Jared, all his Inkin Folk and said will you swear unto me that you’ll be faithful anything which I desire? And they all swear unto him, see, that’s the combination. It’s between people. They swear to him by the God of heaven and by the heavens and also by the earth and by their heads that whoso should vary from the assistance which Akish desired should lose his head and whoso should divulge whatsoever thing Akish had made known unto them the same should lose his life. When it came to pass, they did agree with Akish and Akish did administer unto them the oaths which were given of them of old also sought power and who also sought power which had been handed down even from Cain, who was a murderer from the beginning.

So we see these oath and combinations being set up there. An oath is always a symbol or form. And death, it’s a symbol of sacrifice or death. Now, we have, as kids, have participated in oaths for a long time, even as children. Children even today still participate in this oath formulary. If you remember when somebody says, well, hey, did you hear this? What so and so did? And you say, well, no, I didn’t, tell me what it did. And he says, well, it’s a secret. And then the person says, Tell me. I cross my heart and hope to die. Remember that? We all did that. That comes from this. That is the old oath formulary. It’s not crossing your heart of Catholicism or the crucifix, it’s the dividing asunder it’s the cutting in two. Cross my heart and hope to die. If I don’t keep the secret, that’s where that comes from. Cain went in the field, cain talked with Abel, ends up killing him. And Cain glory in that which he had done, saying, I am free. Surely the flocks of my brother fall into Ham. He’s free from his priesthood leader. Remember, Abel’s sacrifice is chosen.

Blacks in Mormonism: Who was Abel? 

Abel now becomes the patriarch. Cain should have been the patriarch, but his priesthood activity was not. His priesthood character was not such. So Abel’s sacrifice is offered, abel becomes his patriarch. The younger son, which always is a problem with siblings. The younger son becomes the patriarch. And Cain says and Cain kills him and says, now I am free from my priesthood leader, my brother, my younger brother, and everything he has is now mine, he believes. And the Lord said unto Cain, where’s Abel, thy brother? And he said, I know not. Am I my brother’s keeper? And the Lord said, what has thou done? The voice of thy brother’s blood cries to me from the ground. Now, the blood in the Targums, which is the oldest Old Testament manuscripts, in the Targums, blood is in the duel. You have singular, dual and plural in Hebrew, and blood is in the duel, which means it’s not talking about blood, liquid blood, it’s talking about bloods, which are genetic, it’s talking about descendants. Thy brother’s descendants are crying from the ground. That’s what it means. Now, remember, Joseph Smith said, all of those patriarchs and prophets that have a responsibility on earth, they were set apart in the councils of Heaven.

And that’s what it’s saying here. The descendants of Abel are crying from the ground because of what they have been set apart to do, okay? That’s what that means in the Targums. And then he tells Cain, thou shalt be cursed from the earth, which has opened her mouth to receive thy brother’s blood from thy hand. Targum says, the voice of thy brother’s bloods in the duel cries from the ground. This means the voice of thy brother’s descendants cry from the ground. Those who have been fore ordained to be the patriarchal line of Abel, he was chosen to be the patriarch, and that line was chosen in the councils of Heaven, the ascendants of abel were set apart as the patriarchs in the Council of Heaven. Joseph Smith said, every man who has a calling to minister to the habits of the world was ordained to that very purpose at the Grand Council of Heaven before this world was. I suppose I was ordained to this very office in that Grand Council also. Well, Cain’s livelihood, remember, was a tiller of the ground. And a tiller of ground has a specific lifestyle. And that lifestyle is sedentary because he has to stay there, because you have to plant, you have to weed, you have to harvest, you have to prepare the ground.

So the livelihood as a farmer is being a tiller of the ground. That’s the livelihood which creates a lifestyle, and that lifestyle is sedentary. The livelihood is tiller the ground and the Lord says, when thou tilleth the ground, it shall not henceforth yield thee her strength. So his livelihood is going to change and his lifestyle is sedentary. And the Lord says, a fugitive and a vagabond, thou shalt be in all the earth. So his livelihood and his lifestyle is now going to be completely different than it was before because of what he had done and killing his priesthood leader. And that’s really the issue so far as the priesthood goes. He should have been the birthright son, but he lost that right by murdering his priesthood leader who was able, and God, we read in the Book of Abraham that he was cursed pertaining to the priesthood, pharaoh being of that lineage, Cain’s lineage, by which he could not have the right of the priesthood. And that’s a quote from the Book of Abraham cursed are all those this is in D&C 121, which comes back into connection with what Cain did. Curse are all those that shall lift up the heel against mine anointed.

Abel or others, or Joseph Smith, saith the Lord, they are the servants of sin and are the children of disobedience themselves. Woe unto them because they have offended my little ones. They shall be severed from the ordinances of mine house. They shall not have the right to the priesthood, nor their posterity after them from generation to generation. That’s what it says in Doctrine and Covenants 121, that if you murder the priesthood leaders, you and your posterity can be cut off from the rights of the priesthood in the temple from generation upon generation there in D&C 121. Cain murdered his priesthood leader, Abel, believing that he and his posterity would now have the birthright authority to rule over mankind for the rest of world history. And that’s what he says, that the mayhem principle is to murder and get gain. The gain in this context would be that patriarchal right to rule over all humanity, all of Adam’s posterity from the beginning of time to the end of time, and that’s what he lost. Abel now murdered. A new patriarch is needed as the other children of Adam and Eve have rejected the Gospel. Remember? They all rejected it.

Abel is the one that didn’t. Cain rejected it, Abel didn’t. And then the others. And now that Abel’s there, they need another patriarch because Cain is unworthy. And so we read in Moses six, and Adam knew his wife again. She bear a son and called his name Seth. And Adam gloryed in the name of God. For he said, god hath pointed me another seed instead of Abel, whom Cain slew. And that’s what Seth means, is replacement. That’s what Seth means as replacement. And God revealed himself to Seth and rebelled not, but offered an acceptable sacrifice like unto his brother Abel, and unto him was born his son, and he called his name Enos. So Seth becomes the new patriarch. And that’s why the patriarchal line always goes. Adam Seth, Enos, Canaan, Malil, Jared Enoch, Mathus, Lemmek, Noah Shamarfax. Right on down. So Seth becomes the substitute for Abel, and that’s what his name means. He becomes the substitute for Abel. And that’s what Adam says. God is appointed me another seed instead, or as a substitute of Abel, who Cain slew. This is connected to the Leverite law. Cain says, once the curse or the burden takes place.

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.

About Mormonism Explained

Mormonism Explained is a resource that was designed to provide objective and factual information about Mormonism, its history, doctrines, and policies. Our team of researchers consults experts and primary sources to present factual information on a variety of topics relevant to the Mormon Church.