The First Presidency Letter:
Lineage Lesson - English Translation:
Brazil North Mission
After confirming the prior commitments with the investigator, continue on with the following dialogue.
We have explained some marvelous teachings of the gospel and of the Church of Jesus Christ. One very important principle of the Church of Jesus Christ is that it is always guided by revelation. Let’s read what Christ said about revelation in his church. Read Matthew 16:15-17.
According to verse 17, how is it that Peter knew that Christ was the son of God?
Yes, Peter received revelation from God. Until that date men said that Christ was John the Baptist, or Jeremiah, or some other prophet. But what did Peter receive that gave him a certainty while others were wrong?
Exactly. Revelation is so important that Christ himself explained that his Church would be built on the principle of
revelation. Do you want to read verse 18? Do you think that Christ would build His eternal church around a mortal
A church founded or dependent on Peter or any other man would be the church of Peter or the church of some other
man. But whose is the church that Christ organized?
In this verse Christ is speaking about something eternal on which he built his church. And this is the same eternal
principle mentioned in verse 17. What principle is this?
1. The Church of Jesus Christ is built on the rock of revelation.
Exactly. Christ explained to his apostles that He built His Church on the rock of revelation. In your opinion,
Brother Nunes, what is revelation?
We can say, then, that revelation is communication between God and his servants on the earth. And why is
revelation so important?
Lets read Acts 13:2-3. How were Barnabas and Paul called to the ministry?
Lets look at another example of revelation in the primitive church. In the first days of the church the gospel was
preached only to the Jews. However, Peter had a dream in which he was ordered to go and preach to the family of
the gentiles. This caused some conflicts in the church, but when Peter explained that he had been ordered by God to
preach to the gentiles, the Church accepted this new teaching. Why did they accept this teaching?
Then, on what principle was the Primitive Church founded and guided?
by what principle was the Primitive Church founded and guided?
2. All that the Church does and teaches is by revelation.
When the Church was restored, who was called by God to receive revelation for the Church?
But after the prophet Joseph Smith was martyred, could it be that the Church was to continue without divine
Since that time of Joseph Smith there have always been prophets on the earth. As God said in Amos 3:7, “Surely the
Lord God will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets.” Thus, what does God do when
he has something to reveal to the Church today?
3. Revelation from God for the Church comes through the prophet.
I know that today we have a true prophet, and that he is guided by God. Now, in the scriptures we see that Barnabas
and Paul were called by revelation to receive the priesthood. Brother Nunes, in your opinion, what is the
Speaking about the priesthood, Paul said: “And no man taketh this honor unto himself, but he that is called of God,
as was Aaron.” (Heb. 5:4) Lets return and see how Aaron was called. Here in Exodus 28:1 God was speaking
about the prophet Moses. Read Exodus 28:1. According to this scripture, how was Aaron called?
And still today, Brother Nunes, why do all men have to be called by revelation to receive the priesthood?
4. A man must be called by God through revelation to receive the priesthood.
As you already know, worth men in the Church after 12 years of age are called to receive the priesthood. And by
what principle are they called?
If a man was called by inspiration to receive the priesthood, should he accept this call?
If you are called by a servant of God to receive the priesthood, will you accept this responsibility and blessing?
5. If I am called I will accept the priesthood.
Anciently, it was revealed who could receive the priesthood. We already read about Barnabas, Paul, and Aaron. It
was also revealed who could not receive the priesthood. Would you like to read in the book of Abraham 1:26-27?
What does verse 27 say about Pharaoh and the priesthood.
Exactly, Brother Nunes. Pharaoh was a descendant of people who could not receive the priesthood. Lets examine
this lineage to learn its origin. Are you acquainted with the story of Abel and Cain?
Lets read this story in the Bible. Read Genesis 4:8-15. Cain and his descendants received a mark that distinguished
them from all other peoples. This people, the descendants of Cain, for reasons not completely known to men, do not
have the right to the priesthood. For example, it was revealed to Abraham that Pharaoh, being from this so called
lineage of Cain, could not receive the priesthood. Brother Nunes, we have seen that Aaron, Barnabas, Paul, and
others receive the priesthood because they were called by God by revelation. In the same manner, why have the
prophets not given the priesthood to the lineage of Cain?
In order to understand the mark put on Cain and to understand how the prophets distinguish this lineage, lets read
Moses 7:22. Read Moses 7:22. How was this lineage distinguished from the others?
And concerning the priesthood, why was this group or this lineage different?
6. God revealed anciently that the lineage of Cain could not receive the priesthood.
In order to understand what God revealed about this people today, we need to go to the modern prophets. Do you
want to read the underlined part of this pamphlet?
Read the following part from the letter of the First Presidency published in the “Priesthood Bulletin.” Vol6. No. 1 -
“Since the beginning of this dispensation, Joseph Smith and all of the successive presidents of the Church have
taught that the Negroes, while spiritual children of a common Father, and descendants of our earthly parents Adam
and Eve, still cannot receive the Priesthood, for reasons that we believe are known to God, but which He has not
made completely known to men.”
What does this say there about the Negroes and the priesthood?
Exactly. Negroes that honestly seek the truth and desire to join the church can be baptized. However, why does the
Church not confer the Priesthood on them?
7. God revealed that Negroes still cannot receive the priesthood.
For this reason the priesthood is not actively preached to the lineage of Cain. The prophets have told us to preach
the gospel to those that have the right to the priesthood. But lets read what god said about the Negroes in the future.
Read the following paragraph from the letter of the First Presidency: “President McKay also said that ‘One day in
the eternal plan of God, the Negro will be given the right to possess the Priesthood.’”
What did the prophet say about the Negroes and the priesthood?
I know that this is true. And when that time comes, how will we know?
8. In the future when it is revealed by God, Negroes will receive the priesthood.
Doe you accept that teaching that God revealed his will concerning his priesthood to his prophets, Mr. Nunes?
Good, I know that this is the truth and that God really guides and directs the Church through modern revelation.
Now, Mr. Nunes, do you know if any of your ancestors were Negro or descendants of Negroes?
If in the future you discover that one of your ancestors was Negro will you tell your Branch President?
If this happened do you think you would remain firm and faithful to the church and your covenants with God?
First Presidency Letter
From The First Presidency, February, 1970
A word of explanation with respect to the position of the Church:
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has as its origin, existence and hope for the future, the principle of continuing revelation. “We believe in all that God has revealed, in all that He now reveals, and we believe the He will yet reveal many great and important things pertaining to the Kingdom of God.”
Since the beginning of this dispensation, Joseph Smith and all of the succeeding presidents of the Church have taught that the Negroes, while spirit children of a common Father, and descendants of our earthly parents, Adam and Eve, still cannot receive the Priesthood, for reasons that we believe are known to God, but that He has not made fully known to mankind.
President David O. McKay, always repeated that “The apparent discrimination of the Church against the Negro is not something that originated with man; but has it’s origin with God…
“The revelation assures us that this plan existed before the mortal existence of men, extending their state from the pre-existence.”
Until God reveals His will on this subject, to him to who we support as a prophet, we are subjected to His very will. The Priesthood, when conferred on any man, it is received as a blessing from God, not from men.
Our feelings are exclusively those of love, compassion, and a more profound appreciation for the rich talents, endowments and the fervent efforts of our Negro brothers. We are anxious to share with men of all races the blessings of the Gospel. We do not have congregations that are racially segregated. If we were leaders of an undertaking created by ourselves and operated only according to our earthly wisdom, it would be a very simple thing to act according to the desires of the people. However, we believe that this work is guided by God and that the giving of the Priesthood should wait his revelation. To act in any other fashion would be to negate the very premise upon which the Church is established.
NOTE: I am greatly indebted to another former Mission Accountant to President Camargo who graciously sent me the scanned originals of the Lineage Lesson as well as the English translation that I have presented above. Here are his thoughts about the lesson and his translation:
“The following is my translation of the lineage lesson missionaries in the Brazil Rio de
Janeiro Mission taught from at least the time I arrived in Brazil in September of 1977 until the time
of the announcement on the priesthood. The instruction I recall Mission President Helio de Rocha
Camargo giving me was that we were not to baptize anyone unless we first taught this lesson. It was
my understanding that the other Brazilian Missions had this lesson (there were four missions at the
time), but only taught it as they perceived the need. My companions and I taught it to every person
we baptized. Although I did not have any negative responses from those I baptized, I did talk to
missionaries whose investigators rejected baptism because of this lesson.
“A copy of the original Portuguese version the Mission Staff gave me when I arrived in Brazil
is attached. I added the handwritten portions and interlineation during my mission. I have also
attached my Portuguese copy of the First Presidency letter referred to in the lesson. I do not know
who wrote this lesson, although I had previously assumed the President Camargo was involved. I
have since been told that this lesson was also taught in other locations (Puerto Rico, for example).
My “original” copy has the following written on the top of the first page.
Brazil North Mission
“From this, I assume that this lesson was taught in the Brazil North Mission (from which the Rio de
Janeiro mission was formed) at least from the date mentioned. In September of 1977, the Brazil Rio
De Janeiro Mission included that portion of Brazil from Rio de Janeiro to the northern most
boundary of the country.”