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Prophetic Statements

Joseph Smith

“Thursday, 8–Held Mayor’s court and tried two negroes for attempting to marry two white women: fined one $25, and the other $5” (History of the Church  6:210).

Spencer W. Kimball

The interrace marriage problem is not one of inferiority or superiority. It may be that your son is better educated and may be superior in his culture, and yet it may be on the other hand that she is superior to him. It is a matter of backgrounds. The difficulties and hazards of marriage are greatly increased where backgrounds are different. . . .

When one considers marriage, it should be an unselfish thing, but there is not much selflessness when two people of different races plan marriage. They must be thinking selfishly of themselves. They certainly are not considering the problems that will beset each other and that will beset their children.

If your son thinks he loves this girl, he would not want to inflict upon her loneliness and unhappiness; and if he thinks that his affection for her will solve all her problems, he should do some more mature thinking.

We are unanimous, all of the Brethren, in feeling and recommending that Indians marry Indians, and Mexicans marry Mexicans; the Chinese marry Chinese and the Japanese marry Japanese; that the Caucasians marry the Caucasians, and the Arabs marry Arabs. (President Spencer W. Kimball, “The Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball,” p. 302-3)

Now, the brethren feel that it is not the wisest thing to cross racial lines in dating and marrying. There is no condemnation. We have had some of our fine young people who have crossed the lines. We hope they will be very happy, but experience of the brethren through a hundred years has proved to us that marriage is a very difficult thing under any circumstances and the difficulty increases in interrace marriages. (President Spencer W. Kimball, Brigham Young University devotional, 5 January 1965)

We are grateful that this one survey reveals that about 90 percent of the temple marriages hold fast. Because of this, we recommend that people marry those who are of the same racial background generally, and of somewhat the same economic and social and educational background (some of those are not an absolute necessity, but preferred), and above all, the same religious background, without question. (President Spencer W. Kimball, Marriage and Divorce, Sept 07, 1976, https://speeches.byu.edu/talks/spencer-w-kimball_marriage-divorce/)

Supporting Statements

Boyd K. Packer

It’s been the policy of the Church—and it’s been spoken on many occasions—that as the gathering of Israel is in Mexico for the Mexicans, in Tonga for the Tongans, in China for the Chinese, and so on, so has been our counsel as it relates to marriage.

We’ve always counseled in the Church for our Mexican members to marry Mexicans, our Japanese members to marry Japanese, our Caucasians to marry Caucasians, our Polynesian members to marry Polynesians. The counsel has been wise. You may say again, “Well, I know of exceptions.” I do, too, and they’ve been very successful marriages. I know some of them. You might even say, “I can show you local Church leaders or perhaps even general leaders who have married out of their race.” I say, “Yes—exceptions.” Then I would remind you of that Relief Society woman’s near-scriptural statement, “We’d like to follow the rule first, and then we’ll take care of the exceptions.” . . . For every exception we can show you tens and hundreds, and I suppose thousands, who were not happy. Plan, young people, to marry into your own race. This counsel is good, and I hope our branch presidents are listening and paying attention. The counsel is good. . . .

Things are not always easy when we receive counsel, whether the counsel is to return to serve among our own people or whether it is counsel to marry among our own culture and racial backgrounds. Always there is a decision. Always we can say, “We’re an exception.” But I say, in the words of that Relief Society sister, “As for me, I’m going to follow the rule first; and then, should there be an exception, perhaps that will be made known.” (President Boyd K. Packer, Follow the Rule, Jan 14, 1977)

President Russel M. Nelson

The commandment to love our neighbors without discrimination is certain. But it must not be misunderstood. It applies generally. Selection of a marriage partner, on the other hand, involves specific and not general criteria. After all, one person can only be married to one individual.
The probabilities of a successful marriage are known to be much greater if both the husband and wife are united in their religion, language, culture, and ethnic background. Thus, in choosing an eternal companion, wisdom is needed. It’s better not to fly in the face of constant head winds. Occasional squalls provide challenge enough. Once marriage vows are taken, absolute fidelity is essential—to the Lord and to one’s companion. (Footnote #38, Children of the Covenant, April 1995, https://www.lds.org/general-conference/1995/04/children-of-the-covenant)

Aaronic Priesthood Manual

“We recommend that people marry those who are of the same racial background generally, and of somewhat the same economic and social and educational background (some of those are not an absolute necessity, but preferred), and above all, the same religious background, without question” (“Marriage and Divorce,” in 1976 Devotional Speeches of the Year [Provo: Brigham Young University Press, 1977], p. 144).

One thought to “31) Should men and women marry outside of their race? What has been taught regarding interracial marriage?”

  • Eliza

    The subject of interracial marriage is a very important topic because it is often disregarded and tragic consequences usually occur. I appreciated the different criteria for marriage that were highlighted: religion, race, economic, and educational backgrounds should all be similar. This will provide for a happy and healthy marriage not only in this life, but in the life to come. An eternal companion is just that, your eternal companion. Marriage is of such importance that it should not be disregarded or taken lightly. The most mature and sure way to ensure tranquility and happiness within the bonds of marriage, is to marry within your race in addition to the other aforementioned similar criteria.

    Reply

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