The Mormon Church disavows their historical stance on denying the priesthood to blacks, essentially claiming it was cultural, and that, “Over time, Church leaders and members advanced many theories to explain the priesthood and temple restrictions. None of these explanations is accepted today as the official doctrine of the Church.”
“In two speeches delivered before the Utah territorial legislature in January and February 1852, Brigham Young announced a policy restricting men of black African descent from priesthood ordination. At the same time, President Young said that at some future day, black Church members would “have [all] the privilege and more” enjoyed by other members.”
"Cain slew his brother...and the Lord put a mark upon him, which is the flat nose and black skin.... How long is that race to endure the dreadful curse that is upon them? That curse will remain upon them, and they never can hold the Priesthood or share in it until all the other descendants of Adam have received the promises and enjoyed the blessings of the Priesthood and the keys thereof. Until the last ones of the residue of Adam's children are brought up to that favorable position, the children of Cain cannot receive the first ordinances of the Priesthood."
"When all other children of Adam have had the privilege of receiving the Priesthood, and of coming into the kingdom of God, and of being redeemed from the four quarters of the earth, and have received their resurrection from the dead, then it will be time enough to remove the curse from Cain and his posterity...he is the last to share the joys of the kingdom of God.”Journal of Discourses, vol 7. pp 290-291, vol. 2, p. 143
Looking at the front fly-leaf, we have the following describing the book: “A sermon published by request in explanation of the Latter-day Saints Church doctrine regarding the Negro and those of Negroid blood. As will perhaps be evident from reading this book the sermon was originally prepared and given in answer to criticisms and accusations made against the L.D.S. Church policy. While effectively presenting this defense, the author has contributed a beautiful discourse introducing Mormon philosophy and teachings pertaining to man’s destiny. Now, in addition to the original manuscript, a wealth of historical information on this subject is presented in a supplement by William E. Berrett, called THE CHURCH AND THE NEGROID PEOPLE. This serves as additional reference and further enlightenment to the reader.” (my emphasis)
On p.8 of Berrett’s supplement, he said, “...in a meeting, May 31, 1879, at the home of President A.O. Smoot, Provo, Utah, leaders of the Church reapproved that the Priesthood was not for the Negro....” Then on p.10, citing what took place at that meeting, there is a report of a discussion between Joseph Smith and two church members where Smith said, “...the spirit of the Lord saith the Negro has no right nor cannot hold the Priesthood.”
Berrett said, “The teachings of Joseph Smith that the Negro should not be given the Priesthood seem to have been well understood by those who stood closest to him in the councils of the Church. Brigham Young, second President of the Church, had no question whatever in the matter.” Berrett then cites Young’s teachings as noted above, and said that the same teaching was published in the Desert News on 3 April 1852.
After citing the Desert News, Berrett said, “President Wilford Woodruff taught the same doctrine in regard to the Negro.”
On pages 46-47 of Stewart’s sermon, he cites a letter from the first Presidency of the Mormon church, dated 17 July 1947, as saying, “From the days of the Prophet Joseph even until now, it has been the doctrine of the Church, never questioned by any of the church leaders, that the Negroes are not entitled to the full blessings of the gospel.” (my emphasis).
Bruce McConkie, in his book, “Mormon Doctrine,” even states unequivocally that, “Negroes in this life are denied the priesthood; under NO circumstances can they hold this delegation of authority from the Almighty. The gospel message of salvation is not carried affirmatively to them... Negroes are not equal with other races where the receipt of certain spiritual blessings are concerned...” (1958, p.477)