JFS rejects premortal explanation, affirms Cain explanation.

Jan 31, 1907
Joseph Fielding Smith

Joseph Fielding Smith, Letter to Alfred Nelson, January 31, 1907, MS 14591, CHL

Alfred Nelson, Cain, Joseph Smith, Jr., Abel, Joseph Fielding Smith
Alfred Nelson

There is nothing in our standard works, nor any authoritative statement to the effect that one third of the hosts of heaven remained neutral in the great conflict and that the colored races are of that neutral class. The statement has been put forth at various times until ^the belief^ it has become quite general that the Negro race has been cursed for taking a neutral position in that great contest. But this is not the official position of the Church, merely the opinion of men. In the Pearl of Great Price we learn that the children of Ham were cursed as pertaining to the Priesthood, but no reason is there expressed. Tradition states that the Prophet Joseph Smith declared that the reason why the children of Cain cannot receive the Priesthood is that Cain cut his brother Abel off from the earth before he had seed, and therefore the Lord declared that Cain’s posterity cannot hold the Priesthood until Such time and place as Abel shall have posterity, which of course will not be in this mortal life. Whether this is true or not, – and I believe it is – the fact remains that the children of Cain cannot hold the Priesthood, but this does not debar other colored races.

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