Dear Cheeky: I am 25 years old and started dating this guy a little over 10 months now and he recently proposed. I said yes because he makes me the happiest woman in the world!
However, when I broke the news to my family, they were immediately against it because he is African-American and I am white. My parents say they aren’t racist but they throw quotes from past leaders that indicates that interracial marriage is wrong. Are they right? Please help!
Stacy in California.
Dear Stacy: First of all, congratulations! Wishing you all the happiness. Now, for the rest of your post yes, there were things said by past Church leaders with regards to interracial marriages or relationships that could now be considered to be of a racist nature. From Brigham Young to Spencer W. Kimball, the Church frowned upon interracial marriages:
“Shall I tell you the law of God in regard to the African race? If the white man who belongs to the chosen seed mixes his blood with the seed of Cain, the penalty, under the law of God, is death on the spot. This will always be so. The nations of the earth have transgressed every law that God has given, they have changed the ordinances and broken every covenant made with the fathers, and they are like a hungry man that dreameth that he eateth, and he awaketh and behold he is empty.” (Brigham Young)
“Your ideas, as we understand them, appear to contemplate the intermarriage of the Negro and white races, a concept which has heretofore been most repugnant to most normal-minded people from the ancient patriarchs until now…. There is a growing tendency, particularly among some educators, as it manifests itself in this area, toward the breaking down of race barriers in the matter of intermarriage between whites and blacks, but it does not have the sanction of the Church and is contrary to Church doctrine.” (George Albert Smith)
“”However, in a broad general sense, caste systems have their root and origin in the gospel itself, and when they operate according to the divine decree, the resultant restrictions and segregation are right and proper and have the approval of the Lord. To illustrate: Cain, Ham, and the whole negro race have been cursed with a black skin, the mark of Cain, so they can be identified as a caste apart, a people with whom the other descendants of Adam should not intermarry.” (Bruce R. Mc Conkie)
And then we “Evolved” To the idea of intermarriage NOT because it is a sin or we could lose our exaltation but because it could be a cause of problems in a marriage:
“Now, the brethren feel that it is not the wisest thing to cross racial lines in dating and marrying. There is no condemnation. We have had some of our fine young people who have crossed the lines. We hope they will be very happy, but experience of the brethren through a hundred years has proved to us that marriage is a very difficult thing under any circumstances and the difficulty increases in interrace marriages” (Spencer W. Kimball)
“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. It is difficult when all factors are favorable. The divorces increase constantly, even where the spouses have the same general background of race, religion, finances, education, and otherwise. “ (Spencer W. Kimball)
In the present time, the Church has no official position on the issue. The modern-day Church focus on the kind of man or woman we should marry with regards to standards and morals rather than race or skin color (Thank goodness!).
If there are individuals who are using their Church position to discourage interracial marriage, be assured that it is only their personal opinion. The Church “Evolved” In many aspects, but we have a long way to go still.
I suggest that you follow both your heart and mind, marriage in the LDS Church is an eternal covenant and shouldn’t be taking lightly. All the best!