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Gramps,

It is widely known that black men could not receive the priesthood, and therefore, could not enter the temple. I don’t remember anything said about black women though. They have nothing to do with the priesthood -it not being a prerequisite for receiving temple blessings- so what was the official statement of the church for black women?

Thanks in advance,

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Kevin

 

Answer

 

Hello Kevin,

Thank you for your question. In the past certain restrictions were placed on both men and women of black African descent. While the priesthood restriction is typically more widely known, other limitations were in fact placed on the participation of both men and women. Some of these other limitations included the inability to serve a mission or participate in certain temple ordinances. A great source for further study comes from the church’s website under the Gospel Topic Essay of:

Race and the Priesthood

Here we read  the following:

Despite this modern reality, for much of its history—from the mid-1800s until 1978—the Church did not ordain men of black African descent to its priesthood or allow black men or women to participate in temple endowment or sealing ordinances.

While restrictions were placed on the endowment and sealing ordinances, we do see some baptisms for the dead being preformed. We read further down in the essay:

Jane Manning James, a faithful black member who crossed the plains and lived in Salt Lake City until her death in 1908, similarly asked to enter the temple; she was allowed to perform baptisms for the dead for her ancestors but was not allowed to participate in other ordinances

These restrictions remained in place for both men and women until 1978. The essay continues:

The revelation rescinded the restriction on priesthood ordination. It also extended the blessings of the temple to all worthy Latter-day Saints, menand women…

 

The Church began priesthood ordinations for men of African descent immediately, and black men and women entered temples throughout the world.

I hope this helps in your studies Kevin.

Warm Regards,

 

Gramps

 

 

 

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