Saturday, June 9, 2018

40 years ago: "Revelation" prompts Mormons to reverse long-standing policy and admit Negroes to the priesthood

On June 9, 1978, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, popularly known as the Mormon Church, opened its priesthood--normally entered by all white Mormon males at age 12--to "all worthy men," ending a 148-year-old policy of excluding Negro men. Spencer W. Kimball, the church's "Prophet, Seer and Revelator," announced in Salt Lake City that the decision had been based on a revelation that had come to church leaders. He said, "The long-promised day has come when every faithful, worthy man in the Church may receive the holy priesthood." The change was expected to facilitate the church's active missionary program. Women were still not considered worthy for the priesthood.

As was the case with the Latter-day Saints' ban on polygamy in 1890--at a time when Utah was being denied statehood because of the practice of polygamy--the "revelation" concerning the priesthood conveniently came at a time when the church was under social pressure and criticism of its racial attitudes and policies. The occurrence of such "revelations" may seem strange for a church that claims to be restoring the true faith that was supposedly lost centuries earlier, but the "revelations" of the present "Prophet, Seer and Revelator" take precedence over those of any Mormon Presidents.

In contrast to the Mormon priesthood, the priesthood of the true church of the Lord Jesus Christ includes all members of the body of Christ:

Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ...
..But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light;
I Peter 2:5,9

For more on the 40th anniversary of the "revelation" concerning the Mormon priesthood, see Priesthood Revelation 40 Year Anniversary by Bill McKeever at the blog Mormon Coffee (June 8, 2018).

Click on the links to see the following articles from the Salt Lake Tribune:

This week in Mormon Land: the lives of black Latter-day Saints past and present — and whose idea was the priesthood and temple ban in the first place? (May 31, 2018, updated June 1, 2018)

Tears, disbelief, shock, joy — How Mormons reacted when they heard the priesthood ban was lifted (June 3, 2018, updated June 4, 2018)

One Sunday, they received the sacrament; the next, they blessed it — how life changed for black Mormons after the priesthood ban (June 3, 2018, updated June 5, 2018)

‘Mormon Land’: Brigham Young, fearing interracial marriage, started the priesthood/temple ban on blacks, but there’s more to the story, says Utah historian (June 6, 2018, updated June 7, 2018)

See also my posts:

40 years ago: Mormons uphold exclusion of Negroes from the priesthood (January 8, 2010)

Mormon Church and NAACP reach historic agreement (May 19, 2018)

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