Interracial Marriage Discouraged by Church Leaders Today

The world seeks to bring us pitfalls by making us fear to tell the truth. Here we share inspired warnings and encouragement from latter-day prophets re a lesser known principle in preserving marriages.

In September 1976, President Spencer W. Kimball delivered a speech at a BYU devotional titled “Marriage and Divorce.” In his comments, he was talking about how prevalent divorce is and how marriage is not easy. He uses a survey from Salt Lake County to show some statistics that prove his point. He shows how about half of the marriages in one month resulted in divorce. Then, he shows how only 10 percent of the marriages that occurred in a temple ended in divorce. Next, he gives some advice on how to make and keep a lasting marriage.

“We are grateful that this one survey reveals that about 90 percent of the temple marriages hold fast. Because of this, we recommend that people marry those who are of the same racial background generally, and of somewhat the same economic and social and educational background (some of those are not an absolute necessity, but preferred), and above all, the same religious background, without question.” – President Spencer W. Kimball, BYU Devotional, “Marriage and Divorce,” 7 Sep 1976

Nay-sayers may point out how this was before 1978. While that is true, even after Official Declaration 2, nearly twenty years later in 1995, this quote can be found in lesson 31 of the Aaronic Priesthood manual (accessible on LDS.org here). The exact reference is “Choosing an Eternal Companion,” Aaronic Priesthood Manual 3 (1995), pg 128.

Then, for the third time, this was reiterated in the CES Eternal Marriage Student Manual, which is still being used and taught today (accessible on LDS.org here). The exact reference is “Marriage for Eternity,” Eternal Marriage Student Manual (2003), pg 169.

56 thoughts on “Interracial Marriage Discouraged by Church Leaders Today”

  1. The report that 90% of Temple Marriages stay good, what is that from. I had heard for years that Temple Marriages were increasingly failing. It sure seems to happen a lot, in the youngest generation around here.

    1. From internal records we assume. Perhaps because we are increasingly rejecting the words of our leaders, we are reaping the reward of increased divorces

    2. The church’s stats are grossly misleading. That 10% of temple divorces, is literally that; 10% is the percentage the “temple divorces” granted. You can be temple sealed to a former spouse and legally divorced, but to the church you are still married and they count your marriage as such.

      1. Perhaps this is because the Lord isn’t going to grant divorces lightly and therefore the separated spouses are still married and accountable as such by the Lord. Is it possible that the Lord doesn’t give a rip what the governments say about marriage but only what he says about it? Could temple married partners running around marrying others in their situation be committing adultery according to the standards the Lord has set? Since the Lord himself said that was case I am inclined to believe that is the case. Maybe the Lord doesnt recognize our selfish and petty cultural habits of toying with sacred things as we do and cant be expected to cowtow to our wicked whims and fancies.

        1. Good answer I like that, except if that is so, why does the church not teach that principle? Why do they tell themselves and the world that the church’s divorce rate is 10%? All of those divorced mormons have no idea they are sinning if they remarry. Is it not the role of prophets to warn people if they are sinning and show them a better way to Christ instead of “hiding” the commandment?

          1. The Savior plainly taught it is adultery to put your spouse away except for specific reasons. It’s in the scriptures, but no one teaches this anymore. There are lots of active members living in sin according to God, even though they are legally married in the worlds eyes.

    3. Before couple get divorced, they break some of the rules and temple recommend is taken away. That’s how you get a low divorce rate among temple recommend holders

  2. And he had caused the cursing to come upon them, yea, even a sore cursing, because of their iniquity. For behold, they had hardened their hearts against him, that they had become like unto a flint; wherefore, as they were white, and exceedingly fair and delightsome, that they might not be enticing unto my people the Lord God did cause a skin of blackness to come upon them.

    And thus saith the Lord God: I will cause that they shall be loathsome unto thy people, save they shall repent of their iniquities.

    And cursed shall be the seed of him that mixeth with their seed; for they shall be cursed even with the same cursing. And the Lord spake it, and it was done.

    1. Why can’t people understand that that verse was OBVIOUSLY speaking of gangrene? Gangrene is loathsome, and it causes the flesh to rot and turn black. Simply having brown skin is not particularly loathsome, nor is it a curse, aside perhaps in how other people TREAT you.

      1. I can’t even begin to imagine where you came up with this garbage. Being a prophet his position is not up for your personal interpretation. It is as it is.

    2. Not sure if this is satirical, or if you’re actually attracting alt-right folks to your post. Either way, this is white supremacist baloney.

      It’s one thing to point out that couples from widely different backgrounds may have a few additional obstacles to overcome, but it’s something different entirely to aid and abet folks who believe interracial marriage is a threat to the white race.

      1. Alt right? Nope. Just sharing marriage advice from church leaders. Only the most extreme partisan could claim it was “racist”. Your lie that anyone said anything about interracial marriage is a “threat to the white race” shows your dishonesty.

      2. I agree! I clearly believe that God made man and woman from his own image. That garbage about black people being the seeds of Cain is false as well, if you read the book of Genesis in the Old Testament, it clearly talks about the flood that destroyed many people and how God instructed Noah to build an arch. He then instructed Noah’s people to replenish the earth. So if Cain’s people were destroyed in the flood then how can black people be the seed of Cain. Not to mention it states in the Old Testament that we are not held accountable for others sins, then why should black people held accountable for his sins! We all come from the same God and race or skin color should have no merit on who we love!

        1. They came through Ham and his wife who was a descendant of Cain, according to the Prophet John Taylor.

          And saying that black people are the seed of Cain is wrong is saying that Joseph Smith is wrong since he said it.

        2. Genesis 9
          18 And the sons of Noah, that went forth of the ark, were Shem, and Ham, and Japheth: and Ham is the father of Canaan.
          19 These are the three sons of Noah: and of them was the whole earth overspread.
          20 And Noah began to be an husbandman, and he planted a vineyard:
          21 And he drank of the wine, and was drunken; and he was uncovered within his tent.
          22 And Ham, the father of Canaan, saw the nakedness of his father, and told his two brethren without.
          23 And Shem and Japheth took a garment, and laid it upon both their shoulders, and went backward, and covered the nakedness of their father; and their faces were backward, and they saw not their father’s nakedness.
          24 And Noah awoke from his wine, and knew what his younger son had done unto him.

        3. 25 And he said, Cursed be Canaan; a servant of servants shall he be unto his brethren.
          26 And he said, Blessed be the Lord God of Shem; and Canaan shall be his servant.
          27 God shall enlarge Japheth, and he shall dwell in the tents of Shem; and Canaan shall be his servant.
          28 And Noah lived after the flood three hundred and fifty years.
          29 And all the days of Noah were nine hundred and fifty years: and he died.

  3. Benjamin Nephi Shaffer

    This wording, almost exactly, is also found in CHI vol. I, instructing bishops to discourage miscegenation whenever possible. (But also instructing them that if a member commits interracial marriage, church discipline is not advised.)

  4. The Lord has always commanded against interracial marriage. We can go all the way back to Genesis and the Lord guiding Abraham in choosing a wife for his son Isaac (Gen. chapter 24).

    1. The Lord forbid interracial marriage thousands of years ago when the house of Israel was at constant risk of cultural contamination from surrounding corrupt societies. The key attribute was not race, but religion – i.e. don’t marry outside the covenant.

      1. Amen! I’m reading my scriptures now and I don’t see that either. That would contradict God’s love for his creation. I’m a product of mixed marriage and believe it’s my race or races should have no merit on my standing in the church especially when I live up to the standards of church.

    2. I believe the Lord commanded men of African descent to marry women of caucasoid descent in order to create greater peace and harmony amongst the children of God. The photo for the article is an excellent representation of this principle.

    1. they don’t actually contradict. However, if they did, they are BOTH on LDS.org (which we link to). One is in an official manual with the words of a prophet, the other…

          1. I never said the manual was unsanctioned. You implied that the essay was less official.

            I suppose I misspoke earlier with my original comment- the Church has taught this post-1978. I was taught this growing up (I was born post-1978). I just think it’s clear the Church no longer holds this position in 2018.

        1. The essay on the Race and the Priesthood was not written by the quorum of the twelve or first presidency. It was written by so called scholars who seem to be not so well versed on LDS theology. The essay on Race and the Priesthood contains false doctrine or philosophies of men that do not square with the standard works.

          1. Yet, they are approved by the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve and on LDS.org. Here’s what I think: many early church leaders were racist and it’s a shame we STILL can’t get past this issue. Best of luck to you all in the coming decades in the Church – the age of Fielding Smith, McConkie, and Ezra Taft Benson is over and has been for awhile. Don’t sleep through the Restoration, as President Uchtdorf would say.

          2. The essays, in my opinion, are written for the tares. They are carefully worded to allow them to jump to the conclusions they wish to using their agency. I can read it them using my agency, and knowing the words of the prophets shall not fail but shall be fulfilled in the voice of the Lord, and realize how they are not saying what the tares wish they were saying. Screw the unsigned, but sanctioned essays. Sanctioned to what end? For what purpose? They usually just cite some info and leave the reader to interpret that info without declaring any doctrine since they have not been voted on or accepted as doctrine in the church at all. Tares love to say caffeine is fine to drink even though the handbook says no to all harmful or addictive substances. Same principle

  5. Well personally I’ll take Brigham Youngs words over all the modern politically correct leaders of today. It is funny how we hang onto every single word of today’s leaders but pitch Brighams inspired words in the garbage. But then of course I think that supposed 1978 revelation was a lie… So I guess I am a racist…

  6. I was taught this quote in seminary and at BYU. It always struck me odd to reemphasize the borderline truism that background similarities decrease potential conflict, so it was hard to ignore the delineated recommendations above, especially race.
    I’m LDS and mixed-race. I have a happy temple marriage with my lovely, Caucasian wife. I’ve tried dating Mormons of my general race, but I chose the person I loved over seeking racial similarity. We have a great marriage- she was the direct answer to my prayers.
    I know many LDS interracial couples. Their diverse makeup has generated more strength than conflict. Christ-like attributes/behaviors should be the metric to predict success in a temple marriage- racial homogeneity not so much.

  7. In 1985 when my fiance and I went to our bishop to announce our upcoming marriage. He told us we couldn’t get married and told us that we would be cursed by God. He didn’t say why, but I later found it was because I was the wrong color (Cuban-American of Spanish descend) We lived in that ward for 4 years and not once did we get a Home Teacher or a visiting teacher. We both became inactive, so did my mother, my brother and none of our kids are active or will ever be again. I used to think that Bishop’s behavior was based on his own bigotry, but as I learned later, it was based on church doctrine (sad).

  8. “Cultural differences pose dangers for marriage. When I said you must teach your people to overcome their prejudices and accept the Indians, I did not mean that you would encourage intermarriage. I mean that they should be brothers, to worship together and to work together and to play together; but we must discourage intermarriage, not because it is sin. I would like to make this very emphatic. A couple has not committed sin if an Indian boy and a white girl are married, or vice versa. It isn’t a transgression like the transgressions of which many are guilty. But it is not expedient. Marriage statistics and our general experience convince us that marriage is not easy.” -Spencer W. Kimball

    They are saying this for cultural reason, not any other.

    1. Thank you for that well thought out and articulated argument. It really helped us see the error of our ways and clearly showed us where the truth actually is. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you

  9. I know this may not sound “politically correct” in today’s contemporary society, but I feel that there’s nothing wrong with preferring that members of your family or community marry within the same race/ethnicity. Not only do couples of the same ethnicity share similar cultural values, morals, and virtues, but their children are not going to have identity issues that are the result of being mixed race. No one should be shamed for wanting to preserve your genetic heritage and it’s a shame that one can be called “racist” simply because they don’t have a favorable view of miscegenation.

    I will be honest that the picture used in this post is particularly infuriating. The woman is absolutely gorgeous with beautiful blonde hair and blue eyes. These are becoming increasingly rare traits nowadays due to the rise of miscegenation and her mixing with a black man will result in offspring that will not have the physical features of the mother. Statistics also show that marriages between white women and black men have the highest rate of divorce by far. Broken families will inevitably result in the children growing up under conditions that are not ideal. This is not a “racist” statement, but rather a matter of fact and biology.

    1. Well this is exactly why mormons get called racist conservative bigots and you are doing everything to prove it . Guess what is the lowest divorce rate in america white man black woman. And in the UK and other European half of black men and over a quarter of black women are married to white people . Its absoluetely possible to be with somebody with the same culture but a diffrent background ,Why the divorce rate is high in America ? Its because of racist American bigots like mormons . What about mixed race who will they date ? They cant stick with their own . This is exactly why mormons are tagged as racist bigots . Your employer needs to know your beliefs or if you are employed by is mormon you may get a raise for your beliefs . BTW That man with the white girl would curb stomp you . Kevin you are vile and despicable . They will have kids superior to you .

    2. How long have people been in mixed relations? Since the beginning of time? How then could someone’s features be diluted by mixing with other ethnicities? Blue eyes are a dominant feature. There are Africans with blue eyes. Perhaps you need more knowledge before stating these “facts”.

  10. I know someone from Africa. I have asked about him. From the answers I get, I’m supposed to be with him. He has deceased relatives who appear to him and have told him that we have children waiting to be born.

  11. Peter Johnson a Black General Authority is married to a White woman. Verity Gong of Asian descent is married to someone of European ancestry. A member of the Youn Men’s General Presidency who is Black is married to a awaits person.

    Larry Echohawk half Lamanite is married to someone ofEuropean ancestry and is a General Authority. Mosses married an Ethiopian woman.

    The church is not against interracial marriage. Just concerned about culture of
    People who enter those marriages.

  12. I have no idea how I ended up getting a notice on this site or thread. At first I was thinking this was satire since some many of the comments are just so far bad that I couldn’t comprehend LDS making them. Reading through this it is clear there is a subset of Saints that are living in intellectual and spiritual lala land. The misstatements of policy and doctrine are just soooo far wrong. There is literally not a single GA, member of the Q12, 1P, 70 or A70 that would teach the nonsense on this thread.

    God loves his children of all races. There is zero prohibition of mixed race marriage. There is no prohibition for serving in the church based solely on the status formerly divorced. There are GA’s, MPs that have been divorced.

    Stop judging people by labels you invent.

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