The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints
has some...umm... interesting views on race. One thing that automatically comes to mind is skin color
in the Book of Mormon
. Said book is the history of the people who populated the Americas. Lehi
, a Jew
, leaves with his family when commanded by God shortly before Jerusalem was destroyed by the Asyria
ns (or somebody). One of his sons, Nephi, is an all around goody two shoes
, whilst son Laman
is a bad, bad boy
. So the two brothers part ways and create the Nephite and Lamanite tribes respectively. After some time passes the Nephite's skin becomes light
and the Lamanite's becomes dark
. By the end of the book the Nephites, who have turned away from the Lord, have been wiped out by the Lamanites. Therefore, according to the Book of Mormon
the dark skinned Lamanites are the ancestors of the native people of North and South America when Colombus
gets here. Strangely enough though, missionary work
among Native people is going quite well.
Another fun belief that I think some other Christian religions subscribe to is that the mark of Cain is black skin. I'm not sure of an actual quote/scripture that supports this as Mormon Doctrine but it is a common belief.
In both cases, there is no actually belief that people with white skin are somehow better, or more holy, than people with darker skin. The Book of Mormon shows this when at one point when the Lamanites become more righteous than the Nephites. Also, while The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints has historically been an extremely white group, the demography of the Church is rapidly changing. In fact, there are currently more members outside of the US than inside. There is an especially rapid growth in South America.
I'm sure many of you are aware that until 1978 male black members were unable to recieve the Priesthood. This means that they couldn't bless the Sacrament, baptise, give blessings, etc. It should be noted that previous Prophets had stated that the priesthood would be extended to all members one day after the Lord instructed it to.
Just for context, you should consider that the Bible has similar "racist" ideas. From the Old Testament past Jesus's Resurrection everything was oriented to the Jew, and ignored the "Gentile". This persisted until Paul changed the policy after a vision and started teaching to everybody.
Strangely enough, the race related teachings of the Mormon Church have never been big ammo for anti-mormons for some reason. It seems especially potent in todays PC world. Maybe it has to do with their own beliefs.
After reading through some Church History I found out that missionaries were sent to Native American tribes when Joseph Smith was President. The Church was also against slavery. These two facts actually increased the persecution against the early Saints. President David O. McKay was a supporter of Civil Rights during the 60s, as well.