George F. Richards attributes blackness to premortal unworthiness.

Apr 7, 1939
Speech / Court Transcript
George F. Richards

George F. Richards, Conference Report (April 1939): 58-59

Conference Report
George F. Richards
Latter-day Saints

The negro is an unfortunate man. He has been given a black skin. But that is as nothing compared with that greater handicap that he is not permitted to receive the Priesthood and the ordinances of the temple, necessary to prepare men and women to enter into and enjoy a fulness of glory in the celestial kingdom. What is the reason for this condition, we ask, and I find it to my satisfaction to think that as spirit children of our Eternal Father they were not valiant in the fight. We are told that Michael and his angels fought, and we understand that we stood with Christ our Lord, on the platform, "Father, thy will be done, and the glory be thine forever." I cannot conceive our Father consigning his children to a condition such as that of the negro race, if they had been valiant in the spirit world in that war in heaven. Neither could they have been a part of those who rebelled and were cast down, for the latter had not the privilege of tabernacling in the flesh. Somewhere along the line were these spirits, indifferent perhaps, and possibly neutral in the war. We have no definite knowledge concerning this. But I learn this lesson from it, brethren and sisters, and I believe we all should, that it does not pay in religious matters, matters that pertain to our eternal salvation, to be indifferent, neutral, or lukewarm. The Lord, through one of his servants, addressing the angel of the church of the Laodiceans, said: I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot; I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth. To members of the Church I would ask, are any of us of that class today — lukewarm, indifferent and neutral — a lesson to be learned from the experiences of others who have gone before. I firmly believe that God had something to do with the recording of these events, and having them preserved and handed down to us from generation to generation, that we might read, and reading, profit thereby. We are under direct command of the Lord to search the scriptures, where these things are contained. We have been admonished in this conference so to do.

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