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The Evening and the Morning Star was the name given to an early publication of the Latter Day Saints religion in 1832. The first editions of the paper, which was founded in Independence, Missouri by William W. Phelps, ran for one year before moving to Kirtland, Ohio.

On July 20, 1833, the printing press for the religious publication ran an article called “Free People of Color,” targeting the laws of the state that protected slavery and its unfair attitude toward African-Americans, and mixed-raced Americans. As a result, an angry mob burned down the printing press of the publication, along with unfinished copies of the Book of Commandments.

That same year, the printing press resumed in Kirtland, Ohio with the help of Frederick Williams. It only ran until September of the following year. Shortly thereafter, it was reprinted as the Messenger and Advocate.

Various articles have been written about the interpretation of the article “Free People of Color.” One such publication that has beein commonly recited is from the book History of the Church: Volume 1. An excerpt was included from The July edition of the Evening and the Morning Star and the article in question:

“To prevent any misunderstanding among the churches abroad, respecting free people of color, who may think of coming to the western boundaries of Missouri, as members of the Church, we quote the following clauses from the laws of Missouri:

"Section 4.— Be it further enacted, that hereafter no free negro or mulatto, other than a citizen of someone of the United States, shall come into or settle in this state under any pretext whatever; and upon complaint made to any justice of the peace, that such person is in his county, contrary to the provisions of this section, if it shall appear that such person is a free negro or mulatto, and that he hath come into this state after the passage of this act, and such person shall not produce a certificate, attested by the seal of some court of record in someone of the United States, evidencing that he is a citizen of such state, the justice shall command him forthwith to depart from this state; and in case such negro or mulatto shall not depart from the state within thirty days after being commanded so to do as aforesaid, any justice of the peace, upon complaint thereof to him made may cause such person to be brought before him and may commit him to the common goal of the county in which he may be found, until the next term of the circuit court to be held in such county…..”

Slaves are real estate in this and other states, and wisdom would dictate great care among the branches of the Church of Christ on this subject. So long as we have no special rule in the Church, as to people of color, let prudence guide, and while they, as well as we, are in the hands of a merciful God, we say: Shun every appearance of evil.”


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