Blacks in Mormonism: Race and the Priesthood with Marvin Perkins (Part 1)

Todd Noall

Todd Noall

Source Expert

Todd Noall is an author and religious scholar at Mormonism Explained with a focus on the history and theology of religion.

Fact Checked by Kevin Prince

I love this topic, and I’m really grateful to have my family here. I am really grateful to go after Sharon. And let me tell you what I think about women. I think women are the greatest thing on this earth, the greatest beings here. I am grateful that we get to share this planet with them. And what’s interesting is that all of us as embryos start off—I mean as women. We’re all female first and then we get pushed into. So women have an ultra-high place in my life, and I am constantly looking up to the women in my life, including my wife and my daughters, my mothers, my sisters, and my dear friends. So women, I love you all, right?

So let’s talk about our goals for our time together: to provide answers to some of the most pressing questions in the church, not only today but for the last 100 years. Most of the things that members believe they know on this subject is just actually not correct. But what you’ll find very interesting is the correct answers are all right there in your scriptures. And so I’m going to give you a little precursor, a little a little warning here: don’t believe a word that I have to say. Seriously, I mean, I love to help, and I want to be able to give you a perfect knowledge, but I can’t do that. A perfect knowledge can only come through the Holy Ghost. And so the best way for all of us to learn truth is to study what’s been given and then use the relationship you already have with God to pray and find out through the Holy Ghost what is true. That is the way to obtain truth.

And so also we want to help you to have a greater reliance upon the Scriptures and the Holy Ghost as well and become one. There are many walls that have divided the human family, and we’re going to help tear some of those down. We’re going to do this by shattering some of the long-standing paradigms you might have had in addition to providing some of the tools to help you to effectively help others into the church.

One of the questions was about can’t do much without a calling. We have an outreach program of 50 coordinators in the U.S., and we have several in other countries. We are part in helping to baptize several hundred people per year into the church, and this is has nothing to do with the calling; this has everything to do like with Scott and his passion for fair and and and those others that just do because they have a passion and desire and feel inspired by the Lord.

We’re also going to utilize the scientific, the social, basically to help you to have a better understanding of the Scriptures themselves. And one thing that you’re gonna find is that all things testify of Christ. All right, so with that in mind, let’s start with the plan of salvation, a very simple plan.

We started as spirit children, and our Father, loving father, he wanted us to have all that he has. So he designed this plan. And then this plan, if we chose to take part of it, we got bodies, got a chance to come here to earth, to be tested and to accept the testimony of Christ, and also then to get the ordinances of the priesthood through the temple. Those ordinances would allow us entrance into our father’s kingdom, all right?

And so the priesthood and temples are essential to the entire plan of salvation. So if you restrict the priesthood, in essence, you’ve restricted the entire plan of salvation. It is of none effect in the lives of the people who you restrict the priesthood from. So you have to understand the key, the importance, the essential nature of priesthood in the plan of salvation. It’s what it’s all about. You go down, get those ordinances, I’ll give to get you back into my presence where I can get you everything, all right?

So this is the most important building or a representation of all the temples in the world, but the most important building on the face of the planet in the plan of salvation because this is the building in which we get those ordinances that the whole plan of salvation was supported and surrounded, bust set up on.

Blacks in Mormonism: The Priesthood Ban 

Now for the first 22 years of the church, we gave priesthood to all men. And then in 1852, unfortunately on my birthday February 5th, 1852, so I always say I was born to do this work, we turned and we started doing something different, all right?

And so we created a policy. So what we did is we created a wall, a wall that blocked entrance, a wall that blocked the plan of salvation in the lives of people of color, and that’s when the prayers began. This is the only reason we’re here. And so that wall created that, the policy created a wall.

Now there were several people, not only people of color but other people within the church that were really kind of bothered by the change of why we have now doing just the opposite of what we did for the last 22, first 22 years of this church. And so there were teachings created to justify what was doing, what we were doing. Now that actually became the second wall and these walls, these teachings, as you can see popping up on the screen if anybody has done any research on this subject at all, has seen these teachings that were shared.

Now when you teach these things to a group of people over a long period of time, what happens to their attitudes toward the people that are on the other side of that wall? Well, those that created it created a third wall, actually. The people learned to hate the people of color. They learn to despise them, not teach to them. They learn to think that they were whatever was there are, they’re there, fate was their fault and their doing. And so those attitudes created a third wall.

And then what do you think people of color and others outside of the church would think about a church that teaches that has such a policy, that has such teachings, and has such attitudes? Well, that actually created a perception outside the church that we were racist, that we worship some other kind of God because the Bible says that God is no respecter of persons, and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is teaching that he is. And so that created these perceptions that just really put up a strong fortification.

So we have these four walls of restriction on priesthood. Now people think that only includes the men in that conversation, but you have to understand if you understand the basic plan of salvation, the priesthood essential to getting the ordinances that get us back into the presence of the Father. Then what that means is that the women and the children were also restricted from the whole purpose that they were down here because temple entrance was blocked, certain callings were blocked, they wouldn’t preach to people of color in many places. So women and children have to be included in this conversation when we started talking about restriction.

Changes to the Policy Regarding Blacks in Mormonism

So in 1978, we did some demolition, all right? So wall came down, rejoicing, rejoicing, everybody I talked to read, they remember where they were when this happened and so many Saints rejoice, rejoice, rejoice. So let’s go back and take a look at our temple and the walls. And so in 1978, that’s a hundred and thirty-six years, we’ve had these four walls in place. And then the Mormon priesthood ban policy, came down, but as soon as the policy came down, we stopped talking about it. We didn’t go back and we didn’t correct the teachings.

And so not only the teachings remained, but they even started to take a different shape while only the Levites had the priesthood in the Old Testament which wasn’t true and just just more of those things. So they actually fortified the walls of the teaching, which actually fortified the walls of the attitude. So yeah, we really even though we changed the policy, we had a right to have those attitudes, and it actually fortified the perceptions. People outside the church really became even more convinced of how wrong we were because of these things.

And so brothers and sisters, until we take down those other three walls, the restriction is actually still in place. And that’s part of why we’re here today. And this is part of why we teach this all out throughout the world is those teachings are actually found in your scriptures. And we’re going to, hopefully what you’re gonna do is study the things out that we share today, get your own testimony and then share it with everybody you know, social media, everywhere you go, by everybody.

Every place I go, I talk to somebody, especially if they’re a member and we cover this. And my family, they see missionaries, I have to change the way my family sees missionaries because right now they see a missionary, they’re like, “Oh, okay,” because they know I’m going to talk to them, they know I’m going to teach them and who God. Because we’ve got to change the teachings, because the attitudes won’t change until the teachings change and the perceptions won’t until the teachings and the attitude change.

By Todd Noall, Source Expert

Todd Noall is an author and religious scholar at Mormonism Explained with a focus on the history and theology of religion.

Fact Checked by Mr. Kevin Prince, Source Expert

Kevin Prince is a religious scholar and host of the Gospel Learning Youtube channel. His channel has garnered over 41,000 subscribers and accumulated over 4.5 million views. Mr. Prince also created the Gospel Learning App, a reliable platform where individuals seeking truth can access trustworthy answers to religious questions from top educators worldwide.

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