Journal of Discourses 4:- (Aug 31, 1856). (PDF file)
8 O my brethren, I fear that unless ye shall repent of your sins that their skins will be whiter than yours, when ye shall be brought with them before the throne of God.
Journal of Discourses, . (PDF file)
However, some of these people may be taking liberties with the phrase "voice of God" as others like Gordon B. Hinckley never claimed to have heard an actual voice. It was more of a feeling that they were doing something right by reversing the ban.
This isn't necessarily Biblical. According to the Bible, the mark was put on Cain to protect him. The mark was not explained - it could be anything, no necessarily 'black skin'. The Mark of Cain was to be a protection. That it was seven times worse to kill Cain or one of his descendents than it was to kill another. But also it was a mark so that racial/tribal/religions wouldn't inter marry. God was very specific in the Old Testament on what kind of person and race people could marry or have sex with.
The Way to Perfection, pages 110-111.
Born into slavery in Maryland in 1810, a black man named Elijah Abel escaped a life of slavery through the Underground Railroad and entered Canada. Shortly thereafter, in 1832, Elijah was baptized into the LDS Church by Ezekiel Roberts.
Mormon Doctrine, 1966, pp. 527-528.
If the ban preventing blacks from having the priesthood was instituted by Joseph Smith, then that would give the ban more legitimacy as Joseph was the first and by far the most doctrinal of the . However, if the ban was made by the prophets after Joseph then perhaps they were in error as Brigham Young was in error regarding the Adam-God sermons.
The negro is an unfortunate man. He has been given a black skin.
Abel was the first black person to be baptized in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He was also the first black man to receive the priesthood, ordained an elder in 1836 under the hands of the prophet Joseph Smith. Abel's journey was one of pain, suffering, liberation and spiritual redemption. A few years after receiving the priesthood, Abel was ordained as a seventy-a high position of leadership in the LDS faith. Abel served missions for the LDS Church in Ohio, New York and Canada.
COMPASS: What was the reason for that?
One apologist (a personal good friend of mine) told me in confidence that he personally thought that blacks were 'fence-sitters' in the pre-existence and were indeed cursed from Cain and that the prophets were correct about the doctrine and the reasons for it. They don't talk about it for the obvious public image problems that it would cause for the church in modern times. Perhaps that's true - we'll never really know. But this is further evidence that the church needs to make a more official statement on the reasons for the ban.
HINCKLEY: I don't know what the reason was.
Abel changed the lives and softened the hearts of countless people. Shortly after his second mission, Abel was ordained into the Nauvoo Seventies Quorum, and when Joseph Smith was arrested in Quincy, Ill., in 1841, Abel was among a group of seven elders who set out from Nauvoo to try to rescue him. While living in Nauvoo, Illinois, he worked as a mortician at the request of Joseph Smith.
HINCKLEY: No, I don't think so. I don't see that anymore.
In public interviews, Gordon B. Hinckley has said that he doesn't know the reasons for the ban. He seems understandably uncomfortable answering the question. It is strange that until the ban, the reasons were plainly taught to the members but now no one wants to say what the reasons are anymore or confirm whether what was taught in the past is true or not.