Blacks and the Priesthood

Posted on June 30, 2011 at 12:01 am

Church History

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I was asked the question of why didn’t all blacks get the priesthood. They said some did and referenced blacklds.org as their source. I reseached their site and yours as to verifiable sources. I found a talk by Marvin Perkins which references ordination dates and a ordination timeline for Elijah Able’s grandson in 1935. I saw where Pres. Lee references removal by Joseph Smith but has no reference sources. I have found nothing in the 1st 2 books of Joseph Smith translations to show where he made the ordinations null & void. Are there records, minutes of meetings, official procedings which can be produced? Mostly all I have found is opinions. Fairlds.org seems to comfirm the ordination of Blacks with no record of revoking the ordinance. I have found no teaching of the Prophet Joseph Smith stating that the black should not recieve the priesthood. Any source material would be appreciated.

Thanks

John

John,

You’re asking a very good question that many people have asked throughout the decades of the practice of withholding the priesthood and temple blessings from those who are Black.

mormon-priesthood2Let us start by acknowledging what we do know.

  • We know that there was never a revelation or justification for a restriction on Blacks from receiving the blessings of the priesthood or the temple. If there was, Joseph Smith would’ve restricted those blessings himself and there would have been a revelation printed within the Doctrine & Covenants. (If plural marriage was printed, surely this would have as well.)
  • We know that Joseph Smith did not restrict the blessings of the priesthood from those who were Black.
  • We know that the Lord called Joseph Smith at a very early age to become the Prophet of this dispensation. This allowed the Prophet to grow under the Lord’s teaching and guidance.
  • We know that the Lord is no respector of persons.
  • We know that the Lord called other men through the Prophet Joseph Smith to assist in helping to establish and grow the church.
  • We know that Prophets are men who are prone to make mistakes. No one but Jesus Christ was perfect. Prophets have made mistakes and errors. We can read all about them in the scriptures and the History of the Church.
  • The Lord does the best He can with what He’s got. “Think of the risk the Lord took when He called you.” - Gordon B. Hinckley Find the Lambs, Feed the Sheep – Ensign May 1999

However, today, you’re asking about records and sources to prove that these Black LDS pioneer men held the priesthood.

I’m going to answer your question with a question:

  • What would the existance of such records tell you?
  • What could be gained by having these records?
  • If these records existed, wouldn’t it “prove” that the priesthood ban wasn’t in line with what the Lord wanted?
  • Could your testimony withstand such knowledge?
  • Could the testimonies of the membership of the church withstand such knowledge?

I’m going to tell you that such records don’t matter. The past is in the past and these men can be revered and respected for the Black LDS pioneers that they were.

Seeing such records would do as much good for a Latter Day Saint as seeing the Golden Plates would do for a non-member of the church. Faith comes first.

Also, it would do nothing positive for the active members of the church. This isn’t information that is required for salvation. This would be background information into a practice that was established, for whatever reason.

It doesn’t change our history. It doesn’t change the Gospel. It doesn’t change the truthfulness and the joy that can be experienced by becoming a part of the Church.

“Forget everything that I have said, or what President Brigham Young or President George Q. Cannon or whomsoever has said in days past that is contrary to the present revelation. We spoke with a limited understanding and without the light and knowledge that now has come into the world.

We get our truth and our light line upon line and precept upon precept. We have now had added a new flood of intelligence and light on this particular subject, and it erases all the darkness and all the views and all the thoughts of the past. They don’t matter any more.” – Bruce R. McConkie “All Are Alike unto God” – Bruce R. McConkie

Here’s what’s interesting: The Official Declaration 2 was given June 1st, 1978. What edition of the scriptures are you using? If you look at the copywrite notice, it says 1981. Do you think there might be a reason why we received a new edition of the scriptures in 1981? Even recently, there were some changes to chapter headings and footnotes made on the LDS.org site for The Book of Mormon.

For additional information on this topic, I would encourage you to visit http://blacksinthescriptures.com/

-Gramps

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Blacks and the Priesthood - Ask Gramps - Q and A about Mormon Doctrine
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I was asked the question of why didn't all blacks get the priesthood. They said some did and referenced blacklds.org as their source. I reseached their site and yours as to verifiable sources.

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