GQC cites reports from BY and JS justifying priesthood ban.

Aug 18, 1900
Personal Journal / Diary
George Q. Cannon

George Q. Cannon, Journal, August 18, 1900, accessed May 17, 2021

Church Historian's Press
Ben E. Rich, Brigham Young, Cain, Lorenzo Snow, George Q. Cannon, John Taylor, Abraham, Enoch, Joseph Smith, Jr.

To-day in conversation the question concerning the negro race came up, because of a letter which had been received from Brother Ben E. Rich, the President of the Southern States Mission, in which it was stated that some people of this race had been baptized into the Church and some of them had been ordained to the priesthood. He sent us a copy of his answer to those who made inquiry of him concerning the propriety of this, and it was to the effect that the negro race were not entitled to the priesthood. This led to some conversation between the First Presidency respecting the negro race. President Snow proposed that we should bring it up in the Council on Thursday next. This struck me as being scarcely the thing to do, for it would lead to discussion without any profitable result, I feared. I asked President Snow if the question was not already decided, and he spoke as though it was not. I remarked that I had heard President Young express himself very positively on this question a number of times, as well as President Taylor. President Taylor had repeated to me a conversation he had had with the Prophet Joseph on this question, and one of the points of the conversation was that the negro could not hold the priesthood. There was one all-powerful reason why he should not be entitled to it, and that is: Mankind who obey the Gospel and receive the priesthood have the right to exercise their powers and privileges for the redemption of their ancestors, and if a man had a negro ancestor, however far back that ancestor might be, he might attempt, if he held the priesthood, to have ordinances performed for him, although he belonged to the accursed race. President Young had stated positively that no negro had a right to hold the priesthood. I then read from the record of Abraham, in which Abraham speaks with the utmost plainness upon this point. I also read from the record concerning Enoch; that he had preached to all except the descendants of Cain, showing that they were excepted from the privileges and blessings that the white race were entitled to. I think our conversation will result in good. It strengthened me in the view which I have always entertained since early days, that however white a man may be and though every trace of negro blood be lost in his appearance, still if he were a descendant of that race in any degree he could not legally hold the priesthood. President Taylor explained to me in my boyhood that God had decreed that no descendant of Cain could obtain unto these blessings until the seed of Abel should come forward and receive the priesthood and exercise it. If it were not so, the murderer and his posterity would precede the murdered.

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