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Dear Gramps,
You have stated that the blacks were denied the Priesthood after 1835. Yet I find recorded at least two instances of ordination after that time. Can you find out why? I could not find an answer anywhere. On November 27, 1900, Enoch Abel, son of Elijah Abel, was ordained an Elder.
Enoch’s son, Elijah, was ordained a Priest on July 5, 1934, and an Elder on September 29, 1935.
Morris, from Bridgeport, Washington

Dear Morris,
To the best of my knowledge you may be a little off on the dates that you quote. It is true that there were one or two cases of the blacks being ordained to the priesthood in the very early days of the Church, but when it was discovered by the authorities the ordinations were annulled. Here is an account of the ordination of Elijah Abel given by President Harold B. Lee—

“Some are heralding the fact that there was one of colored blood, Elijah Abel, who was ordained a Seventy in the early days. They go to the Church chronology and find the date of this ordination, and hold that up as saying that we departed from what was started way back, but they forget that also in Church history is another interesting observation. President Joseph F. Smith is quoted in a statement under date of August 26, 1908, when he referred to Elijah Abel who was ordained a Seventy in the days of the Prophet and to whom was issued a Seventy’s certificate. This ordination, when found out, was declared null and void by the Prophet himself and so likewise by the next three presidents who succeeded the Prophet Joseph. Somehow because of a little lapse, or a little failure to do research properly, some people reach a conclusion that they had wanted to reach and to make it appear as though something had been done way back from which we had departed and which now ought to be set in order. The Prophet Joseph Smith said, “That person who rises up to condemn the Church, saying that the Church is out of the way while he himself is righteous, then know surely that the man is on the road to apostasy, and unless he will repent he will apostatize as surely as God lives”” (Harold B. Lee April 19, 1961, BYU Speeches of the Year, 1961, p.7).


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