Why does the First Presidency frown upon bi-racial marriages? Isn’t everyone is equal and children of God? Does it have to do with the Book of Mormon and the idea of the color of the lamanite’s skin changing? Why doesn’t that happen today?
You are asking a great question and I think that you’ll learn quite a bit about church history and in researching the answers in the scriptures.
First, let’s look at your reference to the Book of Mormon and the idea of ‘changing skin color’. Let’s look in your scriptures at 2 Nephi 5. I’m typing the Chapter Heading from my printed scriptures.
The Nephites separate themselves from the Lamanites, keep the law of Moses, and build a temple – Because of their unbelief, the Lamanites are cursed, receive a skin of blackness, and become a scourge unto the Nephites.
Let’s now look at what is on lds.org for 2 Nephi 5:
2 Nephi 5*
The Nephites separate themselves from the Lamanites, keep the law of Moses, and build a temple—Because of their unbelief, the Lamanites are cut off from the presence of the Lord, are cursed, and become a scourge unto the Nephites. About 588–559 B.C.
It is different! It has been updated. Why? Why would the online and new printed scriptures change the chapter headings? Chapter headings, footnotes, indexes and other study aids are just that – study aids. They are not part of the literal scriptures, but help us in our understanding of the scriptures.
But why would this be updated? Let’s look at verse 21.
21 And he had caused the cursing to come upon them, yea, even a sore cursing, because of their iniquity. For behold, they had hardened their hearts against him, that they had become like unto a flint; wherefore, as they were white, and exceedingly fair and delightsome, that they might not be enticing unto my people the Lord God did cause a skin of blackness to come upon them.
Now, for this answer, you might not notice any hyperlinks to the topical guide or other footnotes, but the following words have footnotes: cursing, delightsome, enticing, skin & blackness.
The link for cursing is: “TG Cursing” which references many scriptures where those who are not following the Lord’s laws and commandments are ‘cut off from the presence of God’. That makes sense, right?
The link for skin is: 2 Nephi 30:6
6 And then shall they rejoice; for they shall know that it is a blessing unto them from the hand of God; and their scales of darkness shall begin to fall from their eyes; and many generations shall not pass away among them, save they shall be a pure and a delightsome people.
Scales of darkness? It is linked to TG Darkness, Spiritual; Spiritual Blindness. So, as we follow the Lord, our eyes are opened and we are no longer in spiritual darkness or blindness.
Now, just to completely finalize our discussion on the subject of skin color, let’s look at Alma 55:4-8
4 And now it came to pass that when Moroni had said these words, he caused that a search should be made among his men, that perhaps he might find a man who was a descendant of Laman among them.
5 And it came to pass that they found one, whose name was Laman; and he was one of the servants of the king who was murdered by Amalickiah.
6 Now Moroni caused that Laman and a small number of his men should go forth unto the guards who were over the Nephites.
7 Now the Nephites were guarded in the city of Gid; therefore Moroni appointed Laman and caused that a small number of men should go with him.
8 And when it was evening Laman went to the guards who were over the Nephites, and behold, they saw him coming and they hailed him; but he saith unto them: Fear not; behold, I am a Lamanite. Behold, we have escaped from the Nephites, and they sleep; and behold we have taken of their wine and brought with us.
Now, I don’t know about your congregation, but if a person of darker skin color was present, it wouldn’t take long to do a ‘search’. Nor would it be possible to pass that person off as a person who is ‘white’.
I did all this to help provide a scriptural background for the answer I’m going to provide for you. The reason that interracial marriages may have been discouraged was because of the practice of restricting the priesthood from those who were black.
If you are a parent, wouldn’t you want eternal blessings for your children? If so, then you would encourage them to marry someone that would take them to the temple. Before 1978, blacks couldn’t attend the temple. Because of the 1978 revelation, a flood of new information on the subject has been added and continues to be added to our new 1981 edition of the scriptures.
Now, that addresses interracial marriages. But there’s still one more verse to think about:
8 And this was done that their seed might be distinguished from the seed of their brethren, that thereby the Lord God might preserve his people, that they might not mix and believe in incorrect traditions which would prove their destruction.
The word ‘mix’ has a footnote. It references “TG Marriage, Interfaith; Separation”. You can imagine that if two people are married from different faiths, that there would be a difference in how their children will be raised.
While this is a long answer, I hope it helps!