With national attention on the LDS role in the passage of Proposition 8, it is noteworthy that the LDS Church has set a fascinating precedent with its 130-year theological and legal battle to prevent blacks from marrying whites. This prohibition abruptly ended in 1978 with the termination of the priesthood and temple ban against those of African descent. This paper traces public and private anti-miscegenation statements made by early Church leaders, including Joseph Smith–from expressions of disgust and horror bolstered by scriptural proof-texting and prophetic language to shore up its theological foundations, to 20th Century political accusations of a joint “negro” and Communist conspiracy to bring societal and moral upheaval to the United states.

Connell O’Donovan