Blacks In Mormonism Explained

Introduction to Blacks In Mormonism

From its inception in 1830, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, also known as the Mormon Church, allowed people of all races to be baptized into church membership. However, for more than 130 years, members of Black African descent were barred from ordination to the priesthood and from participating in certain temple rituals. It is important to understand that this issue is a very difficult and personal topic for many members of the faith.

First, the context in which these issues emerged in Mormonism is important. From the time that African slavery began in 1619 in the Americas, it was a polarizing issue. Many Christians sought to excuse their participation in slavery by citing justifications in the Bible. They often used the Biblical story of Cain for this purpose. As the story goes, Cain murdered his brother and was cursed by God to become a homeless wanderer.

When Cain complained to God that “everyone that findeth me shall slay me,” the Lord mercifully put a protective “mark” on Cain so that people wouldn’t kill him when they found him (Gen. 4:14-15). Over time this story was condensed and distorted by some Christians to convey the idea that God cursed Cain with black skin and that his posterity was, therefore, somehow deserving of enslavement. This narrative was strengthened further by similarly distorting the story of Noah when he cursed Ham’s son Canaan to be “a servant of servants” (Gen. 9:25). Over time Canaan somehow came to be understood as a key ancestor of the black African race, and his children were therefore understood to be divinely designated as servants. Even though these interpretations of the Cain and Canaan stories are gross perversions of the actual biblical text, they were consistently used by Christians as divine justifications for the enslavement of black Africans. 

From its inception in 1830, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, also known as the Mormon Church, allowed people of all races to be baptized into church membership. However, for more than 130 years, members of Black African descent were barred from ordination to the priesthood and from participating in certain temple rituals. It is important to understand that this issue is a very difficult and personal topic for many members of the faith.

First, the context in which these issues emerged in Mormonism is important. From the time that African slavery began in 1619 in the Americas, it was a polarizing issue. Many Christians sought to excuse their participation in slavery by citing justifications in the Bible. They often used the Biblical story of Cain for this purpose. As the story goes, Cain murdered his brother and was cursed by God to become a homeless wanderer.

When Cain complained to God that “everyone that findeth me shall slay me,” the Lord mercifully put a protective “mark” on Cain so that people wouldn’t kill him when they found him (Gen. 4:14-15). Over time this story was condensed and distorted by some Christians to convey the idea that God cursed Cain with black skin and that his posterity was, therefore, somehow deserving of enslavement. This narrative was strengthened further by similarly distorting the story of Noah when he cursed Ham’s son Canaan to be “a servant of servants” (Gen. 9:25). Over time Canaan somehow came to be understood as a key ancestor of the black African race, and his children were therefore understood to be divinely designated as servants. Even though these interpretations of the Cain and Canaan stories are gross perversions of the actual biblical text, they were consistently used by Christians as divine justifications for the enslavement of black Africans. 

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Critics View &
Factual Responses

What Is the Priesthood Ban? Why Did It Start? And When Did It End?

The Priesthood ban refers to a former policy in the Church that denied men of Black African descent from being ordained to the priesthood. It also prevented women and men of this ancestry from participating...
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If Mormons believe their prophets communicate with God, then why did it take so long for the mistake of the priesthood ban to be rectified?

Mormon leaders are reluctant to change policies made by previous prophets as their beliefs lead them to follow the doctrine and policies instituted prior.
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During Joseph Smith’s ministry, what restrictions did Black members of the Mormon Church have?

During Joseph Smith’s ministry, there was no Mormon priesthood ban. Black men and women were able to join the Church. It doesn’t appear that there were any restrictions on what Black...
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Prior to 1978, were Blacks able to be baptized in the church?

Yes. Black people could and did join the Church through baptism and confirmation. In 1835, one provision was added regarding slaves legally in servitude to masters.
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What did Joseph Smith teach about Black people’s roles and responsibilities in the church?

There is no record that Joseph Smith taught or instituted any policies regarding Black members of the Mormon Church. During the first two decades of the Mormon Church...
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Was Joseph Smith Racist?

Joseph Smith’s views on race were influenced by his culture and circumstances but they also evolved over his lifetime. Mormon views on Black people were as varied as the people who joined the church.
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Did Brigham Young approve of Black people having the priesthood before the ban in 1847?

Yes. It appears that Brigham Young knew that Black men had been given the priesthood...
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If the prophet of the Mormon Church as a prophet, seer, and revelator, knows God’s will, why did it take until 1978 for God to reveal his will on Blacks having the priesthood in His church?

It appears that Brigham Young’s views on Blacks and the priesthood had changed...
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God Loves all of His Children

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints affirms that God “denieth none that come unto him, black and white...
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Joseph Smith and Black Members of the Church

The founder of the Mormon Church was Joseph Smith (1805-1844). He welcomed Blacks...
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Brigham Young and the Priesthood Ban for Blacks in Mormonism

Brigham Young’s opinions and policies as president of the church changed...
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The Priesthood Ban Ends in 1978

The Mormon priesthood ban for Black Mormons ended when President Spencer W. Kimball received a revelation...
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Current Views on the Priesthood Ban

The challenge for those who are living today is: how to judge and interpret the actions of the past...
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Blacks In Mormonism Timeline

A factual and objective look at the history of Blacks in Mormonism and the alleged Mormon racism within the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Between 1852 and 1978, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints enforced a policy that restricted blacks in Mormonism from priesthood ordination, though the belief in a future lifting of the restriction persisted. The end of this policy came in 1978, under President Spencer W. Kimball, who received divine instruction on the matter. Today, the Church rejects racist ideas and aims for unity, welcoming all to embrace the gospel of Jesus Christ, disregarding racial limitations and actively addressing the consequences of racism worldwide. The church believes in the equality of all people, affirming that God accepts everyone regardless of race, gender, or social status. While historical slavery and racism affected the United States during the Church's founding, its founder, Joseph Smith, treated Black individuals fairly and even ordained some Black men to the priesthood.

Image Source

First Baptisms in West Africa

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Biographies

Joseph Smith 1805-1844
Joseph Smith Jr., born on December 23, 1805, in Sharon, Vermont, was the fifth child of Joseph Smith and Lucy Mack. He had significant spiritual experiences that led him to his prophetic calling, including a vision of God the Father and Jesus Christ in 1820. He translated and published the Book of Mormon and established The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on April 6, 1830. As the leader of the Church, he called Apostles and other leaders, defined doctrines, and guided the community's growth in Ohio, Missouri, and Illinois. Tragically, Joseph Smith was martyred on June 27, 1844, in Carthage, Illinois.
Source: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/study/history/topics/joseph-smith-jr?lang=eng
Spencer W. Kimball 1895-1985
Spencer W. Kimball was the 12th President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Kimball was born in 1895 and grew up in Thatcher, Arizona. He began his professional life as a bank clerk and moved into life insurance and real estate development. Church and community service throughout his life preceded his call to serve as an Apostle in 1943. While serving he was diagnosed with lung cancer and suffered numerous heart attacks for which he underwent major surgeries and came out with new power and vigor for life. On December 30th of 1973, Kimball became the President of the church. During his service, the number of missionaries increased by 50% and the number of operating temples doubled. One of the most significant changes was the extension of the Priesthood to all worthy male members. President Kimball passed in November of 1985.
Source: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
https://history.churchofjesuschrist.org/landing/prophets-of-the-restoration/spencer-w-kimball https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/study/manual/teachings-spencer-w-kimball/the-life-and-ministry-of-spencer-w-kimball

    2023

    June 19

    Following high-level personal meetings, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints donated $500,000 to the NAACP Memphis Branch to help renovate their headquarters. The renovation project is expected to be completed in September 2023. Once the project is completed, the NAACP Memphis Branch will be able to continue providing essential programs and services to its community in safe and modern office space.

    Image Source

    President Russell M. Nelson and Reverend Dr. Amos C. Brown at NAACP Conference

    The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Newsroom

      2023

      Church membership in Africa reaches 791,837, with 21 temples in operation, under construction, or announced, on the continent.

        2022

        A valuable analysis of the words in Abraham 1:24-27 shows that the lack of priesthood in ancient Egypt was not due to skin color or race.

        Image Source

        A Guide to the Book of Abraham

        BYU Studies

          2021

          16 Temples in Africa (5 operating, 3 under construction, 8 announced) Church membership reaches the following:
          Nigeria: 211,219
          Ghana: 96,508
          Democratic Republic of the Congo: 89,136
          South Africa: 69,438
          Cote d’Ivoire: 58,804

            2018

            June 1

            A musical evening of recognition of the deep personal sacrifices by faithful Blacks in Mormonism was shared, with wonderful performances by Black celebrities Gladys Knight and Alex Boye and other singers and speakers in the famous Salt Lake Tabernacle, before a worldwide audience.

              2018

              The exhibit featured 16 historical documents, including the record of Elijah Able’s priesthood ordination, the handwritten copy of Jane Manning James’ autobiography, personal stories and photographs of nineteenth-century pioneers and twentieth-century Latter-day Saints from the United States, Brazil, Ghana and Nigeria. A display of A Century of Black Latter-day Saints is available from the University of Utah Marriott Library.

              Biographies

              Jane Manning James 1822-1908
              Jane Elizabeth Manning was born in Connecticut in 1822 to a free African-American couple. In 1842 she and other members of her family joined the church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and desired to join the Saints in Nauvoo. Once Jane and her family arrived in New York they were denied boat passage and walked the remaining 800 miles to join the saints. Upon arrival in Nauvoo Jane became close friends with Joseph and Emma Smith, where she lived and worked in their home for years. Jane had a firm testimony of the Prophet Joseph Smith and his prophetic role. Jane married Isaac James, with whom she had six kids, and moved to the Salt Lake Valley with before their divorce in 1870. She was remarried to Frank Perkins for two years, before continuing single parenthood. After 20 years apart Isaac returned to Salt Lake, renewed his church membership, and rekindled his and Jane’s relationship before his death one year later. Because of her faith, she was authorized by Angus M. Cannon to perform baptisms for the dead and be sealed by proxy in the family of Joseph Smith despite Black saints not being allowed to participate in temple ordinances at the time. Jane passed on April 16, 1908.
              Source: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
              https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/study/history/topics/jane-elizabeth-manning-james?lang=eng
              Elijah Able (1808-1812)-1884
              Born sometime between 1808 and 1812, Elijah Able grew up in a radically divided United States. Despite the world's views the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints baptized Able in 1832. Able moved to Church headquarters in Kirkland where in 1836 he was ordained to the Melchizedek Priesthood and ordained a Seventy. In 1838 he went on a mission to New York and Canada and then joined the Saints in Nauvoo, Illinois. He married Mary Ann Adams in 1847 and together they had four children. In 1853 the family moved to Salt Lake City, Utah where Able worked on the temple and served another mission in Ohio. In 1852 Brigham Young announced a policy of withholding the priesthood from black males. Able retained his priesthood and standing but was denied twice when applying for permission to receive his temple endowment and to be sealed to Mary Ann. He remained faithful until his passing in December of 1884.
              Source: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
              https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/study/history/topics/elijah-able?lang=eng

                2007

                As the first Black to serve as a full-time and endowed missionary, Professor Marcus Martins sensitively offers institutional insights and personal experiences before and after the canonization of Official Declaration 2 in the scriptural book of Doctrine and Covenants.

                Biographies

                Marcus Martins 1959-present
                Born in 1959, Marcus H. Martins, a native of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, holds a bachelor’s in Business Management, masters in Organizational Behavior, and a Ph. D. I’m Sociology of Religion, Race, and Ethnic Relations. Martins joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in 1972 and was the first Saint with Black African ancestry to serve as a full-time missionary in the twentieth century in 1978. He is married to Mirian Abelin Barbosa and together they have four children and seven grandchildren. Martins moved to the United States in 1990. He has taught throughout the world, held many prestigious positions within the education system, wrote and published the book, "Setting the Record Straight: Blacks and the Mormon Priesthood", has held numerous church callings, and has even been a translator for the Book of Mormon.
                Source: BYU Hawaii
                https://about.byuh.edu/directory/marcus-martins

                  1990

                  March 31

                  Helvécio Martins, from Brazil, sustained as a General Authority Seventy at General Conference.

                  Biographies

                  Helvécio Martins 1930-2005
                  Born in 1930, Helvecio Martins’ story is one from rags to riches through hard work and determination. At the age of 12, he dropped out of school to help bring in money for the family, but never gave up on education, graduating high school at age 26 and later graduating from Rio de Janeiro State University. Martins met the missionaries in 1972 and he, his wife Ruda Touinho de Assis Martins, and their four children joined the church that same year. Along with many other callings Martins served as a mission president, and bishop before being called as a general authority in the Second Quorum of the Seventy in 1990 making him the first General Authority of African descent. He graduated from law school at the age of 74, a year before he passed in Sao Paulo, Brazil of heart problems in 2005.
                  Source: TheChurchNews.com
                  https://www.thechurchnews.com/2005/5/21/23236549/elder-helvecio-martins-dies-in-brazil-at-age-75

                    1988

                    May 15

                    The first stake in western Africa was created on May 15, 1988, in Aba, Nigeria, the first stake in which all priesthood leaders are black.

                      1987

                      Although Church membership records do not keep track of the race or nationality of its people, growth, and service in areas that are predominantly Black can be estimated. As of 1987, Church demographics notably included: 14,347 Church members in West and Central Africa, 18,614 Church members in the black areas of the Caribbean, and 250,000 Church members in Brazil, many of whom are black or mixed.

                        1978

                        October

                        Official Declaration 2 was unanimously adopted by the Church at the October General Conference, ending any further delay in ordaining Black African men to the priesthood. The reaction worldwide was overwhelmingly positive among Church members and people of all races. Many Latter-day Saints wept for joy at the news. Some reported feeling a collective weight lifted from their shoulders. The Church had begun priesthood ordinations for men of African descent almost immediately, and black men and women soon entered temples throughout the world.

                          1978

                          June

                          President Spencer W. Kimball receives a revelation, as did also each of the twelve apostles of the Church, that the time had come for priesthood and temple blessings to be extended to all worthy people regardless of race. This momentous and historic revelatory decision is documented by Edward L. Kimball in BYU Studies 47 no. 2: Spencer W. Kimball and the Revelation on Priesthood - BYU Studies.

                          Biographies

                          Spencer W. Kimball 1895-1985
                          Spencer W. Kimball was the 12th President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Kimball was born in 1895 and grew up in Thatcher, Arizona. He began his professional life as a bank clerk and moved into life insurance and real estate development. Church and community service throughout his life preceded his call to serve as an Apostle in 1943. While serving he was diagnosed with lung cancer and suffered numerous heart attacks for which he underwent major surgeries and came out with new power and vigor for life. On December 30th of 1973, Kimball became the President of the church. During his service, the number of missionaries increased by 50% and the number of operating temples doubled. One of the most significant changes was the extension of the Priesthood to all worthy male members. President Kimball passed in November of 1985.
                          Source: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
                          https://history.churchofjesuschrist.org/landing/prophets-of-the-restoration/spencer-w-kimball https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/study/manual/teachings-spencer-w-kimball/the-life-and-ministry-of-spencer-w-kimball

                            1978

                            Some of the early converts in Ghana had previously had dreams in which they saw white missionaries coming to teach them, and in 1978 when missionaries first arrived, those converts recognized them from their dreams.

                              1977-1988

                              1977 Trinidad
                              1978 Dominican Republic, Ghana, Nigeria, Surinam, Curacao
                              1979 Reunion
                              1980 Haiti, Belize, St. Vincent
                              1983 St. Lucia, Martinique
                              1984 St. Kitts and Nevis, Antigua, Barbudo, Guadeloupe
                              1985 Grenada, Cayman Islands
                              1986 Democratic Republic of the Congo
                              1987 Liberia, Eswatini, Aruba
                              1988 Guyana, Cape Verde, Ivory Coast, Sierra Leone

                                1977

                                136 Church members in West and Central Africa 836 Church members in the Caribbean, not counting Puerto Rico 51,000 Church members in Brazil

                                  1975

                                  Plans to construct the São Paulo Brazil Temple are announced on March 1, 1975. Ground was broken the following year on March 20.

                                    Between 1973 and 1977

                                    Several black members of the Church in the United States and Brazil receive patriarchal blessings promising them blessings associated with the priesthood and temple covenants.

                                      1973

                                      Spencer W. Kimball becomes President of the Church, stating that Church policy with respect to Blacks in Mormonism and the priesthood would change and that the matter was in the hands of the Lord. In 1972, Kimball declared: “[Blacks] who remain faithful to the end may expect that God may finally grant them all blessings they have merited through their righteousness. Such matters are in the Lord’s hands. It is for us to extend love to all.”

                                      Biographies

                                      Spencer W. Kimball 1895-1985
                                      Spencer W. Kimball was the 12th President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Kimball was born in 1895 and grew up in Thatcher, Arizona. He began his professional life as a bank clerk and moved into life insurance and real estate development. Church and community service throughout his life preceded his call to serve as an Apostle in 1943. While serving he was diagnosed with lung cancer and suffered numerous heart attacks for which he underwent major surgeries and came out with new power and vigor for life. On December 30th of 1973, Kimball became the President of the church. During his service, the number of missionaries increased by 50% and the number of operating temples doubled. One of the most significant changes was the extension of the Priesthood to all worthy male members. President Kimball passed in November of 1985.
                                      Source: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
                                      https://history.churchofjesuschrist.org/landing/prophets-of-the-restoration/spencer-w-kimball https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/study/manual/teachings-spencer-w-kimball/the-life-and-ministry-of-spencer-w-kimball

                                        1972

                                        Helvécio Martins, an executive for a national oil company and university professor, and his family are baptized into the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

                                        Biographies

                                        Helvécio Martins 1930-2005
                                        Born in 1930, Helvecio Martins’ story is one from rags to riches through hard work and determination. At the age of 12, he dropped out of school to help bring in money for the family, but never gave up on education, graduating high school at age 26 and later graduating from Rio de Janeiro State University. Martins met the missionaries in 1972 and he, his wife Ruda Touinho de Assis Martins, and their four children joined the church that same year. Along with many other callings Martins served as a mission president, and bishop before being called as a general authority in the Second Quorum of the Seventy in 1990 making him the first General Authority of African descent. He graduated from law school at the age of 74, a year before he passed in Sao Paulo, Brazil of heart problems in 2005.
                                        Source: TheChurchNews.com
                                        https://www.thechurchnews.com/2005/5/21/23236549/elder-helvecio-martins-dies-in-brazil-at-age-75

                                          1969

                                          December 15

                                          In the face of deep desires that reasons might be forthcoming, and at the time of Civil Rights struggles in the 1960’s, the 96-year-old, President David O. McKay declared that the priesthood restriction had existed for “reasons which we believe are known to God, but which he has not fully made known to man.”

                                          Biographies

                                          David O. McKay 1873-1970
                                          David O. McKay was born in Utah in 1873 and grew up active in the Church. While attending the University of Utah he met his wife Emma Ray Riggs. Before getting married in 1901 he left for the British Isles to serve a mission where he was then assigned to serve in Scotland. He was called as an Apostle in 1906 where he embarked on a worldwide tour and visited missions throughout the world. In April of 1951, he was sustained as the President of the Church. As the first Church President to travel by airplane he saw the ability to modernize the missionary program by utilizing travel by airplane to send missionaries to all parts of the globe. He passed in his home on January 18th, 1970.
                                          Source: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
                                          https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/study/history/topics/david-o-mckay?lang=eng

                                            1965

                                            Anthony Obinna, a man raised in a traditional African home, has several dreams and visions, including one where he sees a tall and majestic man who shows him a beautiful building. Later, he sees a picture of the same building in an old magazine article about the Church—it is the Salt Lake Temple.

                                            Biographies

                                            Anthony Obinna 1928-1995
                                            Anthony Obinna was born in Nigeria in 1928 where he married his wife Fidelia Obinna in 1950. Obinna was religious throughout his life and joined a Christian church when he was young. In 1965, he experienced a vision of Christ showing him a large building that he didn’t recognize. Six years later he saw an image of the building in a Reader’s Digest Magazine where he found out it was the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Salt Lake Temple. He sent a letter to the Church who responded that missionaries were not allowed in Nigeria so undiscouraged Obinna organized an informal congregation. In 1978 restrictions were lifted and Obinna was the first Nigerian to be baptized a member of the Church and later became a branch president. He passed away in 1995.
                                            Source: Claremont Graduate University
                                            https://research.cgu.edu/mormonism-migration-project/people/obinna/

                                              1964

                                              Joseph William Billy Johnson, a man living in Ghana, is converted to the Church after reading a pamphlet containing Joseph Smith’s testimony and the Book of Mormon. Early converts in Ghana then begin sharing the teachings of the Church with others and form unofficial congregations as they wait for missionaries and the opportunity to be baptized.

                                              Biographies

                                              Joseph Smith 1805-1844
                                              Joseph Smith Jr., born on December 23, 1805, in Sharon, Vermont, was the fifth child of Joseph Smith and Lucy Mack. He had significant spiritual experiences that led him to his prophetic calling, including a vision of God the Father and Jesus Christ in 1820. He translated and published the Book of Mormon and established The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on April 6, 1830. As the leader of the Church, he called Apostles and other leaders, defined doctrines, and guided the community's growth in Ohio, Missouri, and Illinois. Tragically, Joseph Smith was martyred on June 27, 1844, in Carthage, Illinois.
                                              Source: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
                                              https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/study/history/topics/joseph-smith-jr?lang=eng

                                                1964

                                                Elder Spencer W. Kimball promised a black brother, “blessings beyond his fondest imagination if he remained totally true to the Cause.”

                                                Biographies

                                                Spencer W. Kimball 1895-1985
                                                Spencer W. Kimball was the 12th President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Kimball was born in 1895 and grew up in Thatcher, Arizona. He began his professional life as a bank clerk and moved into life insurance and real estate development. Church and community service throughout his life preceded his call to serve as an Apostle in 1943. While serving he was diagnosed with lung cancer and suffered numerous heart attacks for which he underwent major surgeries and came out with new power and vigor for life. On December 30th of 1973, Kimball became the President of the church. During his service, the number of missionaries increased by 50% and the number of operating temples doubled. One of the most significant changes was the extension of the Priesthood to all worthy male members. President Kimball passed in November of 1985.
                                                Source: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
                                                https://history.churchofjesuschrist.org/landing/prophets-of-the-restoration/spencer-w-kimball https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/study/manual/teachings-spencer-w-kimball/the-life-and-ministry-of-spencer-w-kimball

                                                  1963

                                                  President Hugh B. Brown read a Civil Rights Statement at the October 1963 General Conference. The Statement was written by Sterling McMurrin at the request of President Brown and was approved by President David O. McKay. The statement was in accordance with NAACP to prevent picketers from protesting at Temple Square regarding Civil Rights in Utah. The statement was published as an official Chuch statement in the Desert News in 1964.

                                                  Biographies

                                                  David O. McKay 1873-1970
                                                  David O. McKay was born in Utah in 1873 and grew up active in the Church. While attending the University of Utah he met his wife Emma Ray Riggs. Before getting married in 1901 he left for the British Isles to serve a mission where he was then assigned to serve in Scotland. He was called as an Apostle in 1906 where he embarked on a worldwide tour and visited missions throughout the world. In April of 1951, he was sustained as the President of the Church. As the first Church President to travel by airplane he saw the ability to modernize the missionary program by utilizing travel by airplane to send missionaries to all parts of the globe. He passed in his home on January 18th, 1970.
                                                  Source: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
                                                  https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/study/history/topics/david-o-mckay?lang=eng

                                                    1961

                                                    On October 22, 1961, the first official church meeting in black Africa was held in a small mud hut in Opobo District, Nigeria.

                                                      1960

                                                      A man in Nigeria writes to the missionary department expressing his interest in the Church. He dreams of worshiping in the Salt Lake Temple and calls on the Church to come to Africa. Christians from Nigeria and Ghana send multiple letters to the Church headquarters requesting Church literature. The Church responded by sending church literature, including the Book of Mormon.

                                                        1953

                                                        Ruffin Bridgeforth, born in Melville, Louisiana, joined the church in 1953. Bridgeforth served as the President of the Genesis Group, a fellowship group for black Latter-day Saints for 25 years. He was called by the first presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and was set apart by Gordon B. Hinckley. Bridgeforth later became the first black male to be ordained a High Priest after the revelation regarding blacks in Mormonism in 1978.

                                                          1919-1925

                                                          Len Hope was introduced to the Church by a Latter-day Saint Elder who stopped by the cotton field where he worked. Len was baptized at Lamison, Alabama by Elder John M. Tolbert on June 22, 1919. In 1920, Len and Mary Lee Pugh were married. On September 15, 1925, Mary was baptized by Elder William O. Clouse, and confirmed by Elder Sterling W. Still.

                                                            1906

                                                            Mary Virgina Sargent, raised in Caroline County, Virginia, is baptized and confirmed as a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on August 19, 1906, at age 12, along with seven family members. They are baptized in a creek near Golansville, Virginia.

                                                            Image Source

                                                            Records of the Sargent Family

                                                            Image Source: The University of Utah J. Willard Marriott Library

                                                            Biographies

                                                            Mary Virgina Sargent 1893-1978
                                                            Mary Virgina Sargent (nicknamed Virginia) was born in rural Virginia in 1893. When she was twelve years old she was baptized a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. She later met the son of a local farmer, Junius Key, and they were married in 1913 and had twelve children. There was no organized congregation of Saints close to her home so she and many of her family practiced in private. She had a strong testimony and received Church news and manuals from her Aunt every couple of months. Sargent passed of cardiovascular disease in September of 1978.
                                                            Source: The University of Utah
                                                            https://exhibits.lib.utah.edu/s/century-of-black-mormons/page/key-mary-virginia-sargent#?c=&m=&s=&cv=&xywh=-99%2C-387%2C3346%2C2808

                                                              1894

                                                              October 16

                                                              In 1894, Jane Manning James is sealed by proxy into Joseph Smith’s family as a servant. Jane did not receive the temple endowment or family sealings during her lifetime, however, these ordinances were performed for her in 1979 after her passing in 1908.

                                                              Biographies

                                                              Joseph Smith 1805-1844
                                                              Joseph Smith Jr., born on December 23, 1805, in Sharon, Vermont, was the fifth child of Joseph Smith and Lucy Mack. He had significant spiritual experiences that led him to his prophetic calling, including a vision of God the Father and Jesus Christ in 1820. He translated and published the Book of Mormon and established The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on April 6, 1830. As the leader of the Church, he called Apostles and other leaders, defined doctrines, and guided the community's growth in Ohio, Missouri, and Illinois. Tragically, Joseph Smith was martyred on June 27, 1844, in Carthage, Illinois.
                                                              Source: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
                                                              https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/study/history/topics/joseph-smith-jr?lang=eng
                                                              Jane Manning James 1822-1908
                                                              Jane Elizabeth Manning was born in Connecticut in 1822 to a free African-American couple. In 1842 she and other members of her family joined the church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and desired to join the Saints in Nauvoo. Once Jane and her family arrived in New York they were denied boat passage and walked the remaining 800 miles to join the saints. Upon arrival in Nauvoo Jane became close friends with Joseph and Emma Smith, where she lived and worked in their home for years. Jane had a firm testimony of the Prophet Joseph Smith and his prophetic role. Jane married Isaac James, with whom she had six kids, and moved to the Salt Lake Valley with before their divorce in 1870. She was remarried to Frank Perkins for two years, before continuing single parenthood. After 20 years apart Isaac returned to Salt Lake, renewed his church membership, and rekindled his and Jane’s relationship before his death one year later. Because of her faith, she was authorized by Angus M. Cannon to perform baptisms for the dead and be sealed by proxy in the family of Joseph Smith despite Black saints not being allowed to participate in temple ordinances at the time. Jane passed on April 16, 1908.
                                                              Source: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
                                                              https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/study/history/topics/jane-elizabeth-manning-james?lang=eng

                                                                1879

                                                                Following the public announcement of the restriction of Black males and the priesthood, Elijah Able kept his priesthood office. Elijah is then denied permission to receive the temple endowment and to be sealed in the temple to his wife, Mary Ann by President Brigham Young. In 1879, Elijah requested permission from President John Taylor for the second time, but his request was denied.

                                                                Biographies

                                                                Elijah Able (1808-1812)-1884
                                                                Born sometime between 1808 and 1812, Elijah Able grew up in a radically divided United States. Despite the world's views the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints baptized Able in 1832. Able moved to Church headquarters in Kirkland where in 1836 he was ordained to the Melchizedek Priesthood and ordained a Seventy. In 1838 he went on a mission to New York and Canada and then joined the Saints in Nauvoo, Illinois. He married Mary Ann Adams in 1847 and together they had four children. In 1853 the family moved to Salt Lake City, Utah where Able worked on the temple and served another mission in Ohio. In 1852 Brigham Young announced a policy of withholding the priesthood from black males. Able retained his priesthood and standing but was denied twice when applying for permission to receive his temple endowment and to be sealed to Mary Ann. He remained faithful until his passing in December of 1884.
                                                                Source: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
                                                                https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/study/history/topics/elijah-able?lang=eng
                                                                Brigham Young 1801-1877
                                                                Born in 1801 in Vermont, Brigham Young married his first wife, Miriam Works, in New York in 1824. Both were baptized in the Church in 1832, but shortly after, Miriam passed away from tuberculosis, and Brigham remarried Mary Ann Angell. He served as an Apostle in the Quorum of the Twelve and assumed leadership of the Church after Joseph Smith's death, becoming its prophet in 1847. During his ministry, he orchestrated the westward migration of the Saints and also held the position of Utah's first governor. A strong advocate for the practice of plural marriage, Brigham Young was sealed to over 50 women during his lifetime, including Eliza R. Snow and Zina D. Huntington Jacobs. Together with 16 of his wives, they had a total of 56 children. His leadership continued until his passing on August 29, 1877.
                                                                Source: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
                                                                https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/study/history/topics/brigham-young?lang=eng https://in.churchofjesuschrist.org/gospel-topics/prophet-brigham-young

                                                                  1875

                                                                  September 3

                                                                  Black members of the church perform baptisms for the dead in the Endowment House in Salt Lake City, Utah.

                                                                    1873

                                                                    May 1

                                                                    Samuel Chambers was asked to assist the deacons by church leaders in the Salt Lake City Eighth Ward for the next four years. However, he was never ordained to the Priesthood. Samuel’s wife, Amanda Leggroan, was called as a “deaconess” in the Relief Society.

                                                                    Biographies

                                                                    Samuel Chambers 1831-1929
                                                                    Samuel Chambers was born a slave in 1831, growing up an orphan after his mother was sold by slave traders. In 1844 missionaries for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints came into the area proselyting. 13-year-old Samuel attended their meetings on the street and was converted. After being baptized he would not have contact with the church for another 26 years, but he never lost his faith. After the Civil War, Samuel and his wife Amanda were now free and desired to emigrate to Utah. Once there he dedicated his life to service and gave away a Book of Mormon to anyone who visited their home. Samuel passed away on November 9th, 1929.
                                                                    Source: History of the Saints
                                                                    https://historyofthesaints.org/samuel-and-amanda-chambers/ https://www.sltrib.com/religion/2020/07/21/utah-city-renames-street/

                                                                      1870

                                                                      With the completion of the transcontinental railroad and emancipation following the Civil War, some blacks in Mormonism move to Utah, where the population, though largely international, was almost entirely White.

                                                                        1861

                                                                        October

                                                                        In 1857, Moroni Able, son of Mary Ann Adams and Elijah Able was baptized and confirmed a member of the Church of Jesus Christ at the age of eight by Elihu Hiatt in the Salt Lake Valley. He remained a faithful member until his passing in October 1871. A few days prior to his death, priesthood leaders gave Moroni a blessing for his illness and ordained him an Elder, for which Moroni expressed his gratitude.

                                                                        Biographies

                                                                        Elijah Able (1808-1812)-1884
                                                                        Born sometime between 1808 and 1812, Elijah Able grew up in a radically divided United States. Despite the world's views the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints baptized Able in 1832. Able moved to Church headquarters in Kirkland where in 1836 he was ordained to the Melchizedek Priesthood and ordained a Seventy. In 1838 he went on a mission to New York and Canada and then joined the Saints in Nauvoo, Illinois. He married Mary Ann Adams in 1847 and together they had four children. In 1853 the family moved to Salt Lake City, Utah where Able worked on the temple and served another mission in Ohio. In 1852 Brigham Young announced a policy of withholding the priesthood from black males. Able retained his priesthood and standing but was denied twice when applying for permission to receive his temple endowment and to be sealed to Mary Ann. He remained faithful until his passing in December of 1884.
                                                                        Source: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
                                                                        https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/study/history/topics/elijah-able?lang=eng
                                                                        Moroni Able 1848-1871
                                                                        Born in April 1848, Moroni Able was born to Elijah Able the most well-documented black priesthood holder in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He was baptized at the age of eight in 1857. Moroni became the second member of his family to be ordained an Elder just days before he passed away from bleeding of the lungs in October 1871. He passed at the young age of twenty-three years old.
                                                                        Source: The University of Utah
                                                                        https://exhibits.lib.utah.edu/s/century-of-black-mormons/page/able-moroni#?c=&m=&s=&cv=&xywh=-374%2C-551%2C7473%2C6271

                                                                          1852

                                                                          Eight years after the death of Joseph Smith, President Brigham Young publicly announces that men of black African descent were not to be ordained to the Priesthood at that time. Individuals of black descent continued to be baptized and given the Gift of the Holy Ghost. Brigham Young states that in the future, Blacks in Mormonism will have all the privileges and more than they can imagine, anticipating a time when they would receive the priesthood and temple blessings.

                                                                          Biographies

                                                                          Joseph Smith 1805-1844
                                                                          Joseph Smith Jr., born on December 23, 1805, in Sharon, Vermont, was the fifth child of Joseph Smith and Lucy Mack. He had significant spiritual experiences that led him to his prophetic calling, including a vision of God the Father and Jesus Christ in 1820. He translated and published the Book of Mormon and established The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on April 6, 1830. As the leader of the Church, he called Apostles and other leaders, defined doctrines, and guided the community's growth in Ohio, Missouri, and Illinois. Tragically, Joseph Smith was martyred on June 27, 1844, in Carthage, Illinois.
                                                                          Source: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
                                                                          https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/study/history/topics/joseph-smith-jr?lang=eng
                                                                          Brigham Young 1801-1877
                                                                          Born in 1801 in Vermont, Brigham Young married his first wife, Miriam Works, in New York in 1824. Both were baptized in the Church in 1832, but shortly after, Miriam passed away from tuberculosis, and Brigham remarried Mary Ann Angell. He served as an Apostle in the Quorum of the Twelve and assumed leadership of the Church after Joseph Smith's death, becoming its prophet in 1847. During his ministry, he orchestrated the westward migration of the Saints and also held the position of Utah's first governor. A strong advocate for the practice of plural marriage, Brigham Young was sealed to over 50 women during his lifetime, including Eliza R. Snow and Zina D. Huntington Jacobs. Together with 16 of his wives, they had a total of 56 children. His leadership continued until his passing on August 29, 1877.
                                                                          Source: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
                                                                          https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/study/history/topics/brigham-young?lang=eng https://in.churchofjesuschrist.org/gospel-topics/prophet-brigham-young

                                                                            1852

                                                                            February

                                                                            Brigham Young accepts the commonly held view in ante-bellum United States that Black people are the under the curse of Cain and are denied the priesthood, but he grants them several legal and civil protections. He states that only God can remove the priesthood limitation in due time, in spite of an objection raised by Apostle Orson Pratt.

                                                                            Biographies

                                                                            Brigham Young 1801-1877
                                                                            Born in 1801 in Vermont, Brigham Young married his first wife, Miriam Works, in New York in 1824. Both were baptized in the Church in 1832, but shortly after, Miriam passed away from tuberculosis, and Brigham remarried Mary Ann Angell. He served as an Apostle in the Quorum of the Twelve and assumed leadership of the Church after Joseph Smith's death, becoming its prophet in 1847. During his ministry, he orchestrated the westward migration of the Saints and also held the position of Utah's first governor. A strong advocate for the practice of plural marriage, Brigham Young was sealed to over 50 women during his lifetime, including Eliza R. Snow and Zina D. Huntington Jacobs. Together with 16 of his wives, they had a total of 56 children. His leadership continued until his passing on August 29, 1877.
                                                                            Source: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
                                                                            https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/study/history/topics/brigham-young?lang=eng https://in.churchofjesuschrist.org/gospel-topics/prophet-brigham-young

                                                                              1845

                                                                              December 24

                                                                              Sarah Ann Mode Hofheintz, a bi-racial Saint, received her Washing and Anointing, and Endowment in the Nauvoo, Illinois Temple along with her husband Peter Hofheintz.

                                                                                1844

                                                                                Joseph Smith runs for President of the United States. As part of his campaign, Joseph Smith proposes using the proceeds from the sale of public lands to buy slave’s freedom.

                                                                                Biographies

                                                                                Joseph Smith 1805-1844
                                                                                Joseph Smith Jr., born on December 23, 1805, in Sharon, Vermont, was the fifth child of Joseph Smith and Lucy Mack. He had significant spiritual experiences that led him to his prophetic calling, including a vision of God the Father and Jesus Christ in 1820. He translated and published the Book of Mormon and established The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on April 6, 1830. As the leader of the Church, he called Apostles and other leaders, defined doctrines, and guided the community's growth in Ohio, Missouri, and Illinois. Tragically, Joseph Smith was martyred on June 27, 1844, in Carthage, Illinois.
                                                                                Source: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
                                                                                https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/study/history/topics/joseph-smith-jr?lang=eng

                                                                                  1844

                                                                                  Samuel D. Chambers, a thirteen-year-old slave, is baptized and confirmed a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints after engaging in missionary street meeting discussions in Mississippi.

                                                                                    1841-1844

                                                                                    While Jane resided with the Smith family in Nauvoo, Emma Hale Smith extended an offer to her to be "officially embraced as their own child." While she declined this offer, perhaps being unfamiliar with this new adoptive practice, Jane firmly believed in Joseph’s prophetic role: “I did know the Prophet Joseph,” she later testified. “He was the finest man I ever saw on earth. … I was certain he was a prophet because I knew it.”

                                                                                    Biographies

                                                                                    Emma Hale Smith 1804-1879
                                                                                    Emma Hale Smith, born on July 10, 1804, in Harmony, Pennsylvania, married Joseph Smith in 1827 and played significant roles in the early Church as a scribe during the translations of the Book of Mormon and the Bible. Baptized into The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in 1830, she moved to Kirtland, Ohio, with the Saints. In 1835, Emma edited the first hymnbook of the Church. After enduring persecution in Missouri, she settled in Nauvoo, Illinois, and became the inaugural president of the Female Relief Society of Nauvoo. Following Joseph Smith's death, Emma remained in Nauvoo, marrying Lewis C. Bidamon and affiliating with the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, led by her son Joseph Smith III. Emma Smith passed away in Nauvoo on April 30, 1879.
                                                                                    Source: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
                                                                                    https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/study/history/topics/emma-hale-smith?lang=eng

                                                                                      Mid-1840s

                                                                                      Not long after his baptism, Quack Walker Lewis is ordained as an Elder by William Smith, a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.

                                                                                      Biographies

                                                                                      Quack Walker Lewis 1798-1856
                                                                                      Quack Walker Lewis was born in Worchester County, Massachusetts on August 3, 1798. On May 25, 1825 he married Elizabeth Lovejoy. Although he spent his life as a barber, Lewis was a founding members of the Massachusetts General Colored Association and served as President of the African Humane Society. In 1843 he was baptized by Parley P. Pratt and not long after his baptism, LDS apostle and brother of Joseph Smith, William Smith, ordained Lewis an elder. Lewis was one of at least three men of Black-African descent ordained to the Latter-day Saint priesthood during the lifetime of Joseph Smith. Throughout the turmoil that polygamy and the priesthood ban prompted, Lewis stayed true to his beliefs and faith-driven lifestyle. His righteous contributions were known across the Church and noted by several LDS apostles of the time. On October 26, 1856, at the age of 58, Lewis died of “consumption” in Lowell, Massachusetts.
                                                                                      Source: The University of Utah
                                                                                      https://exhibits.lib.utah.edu/s/century-of-black-mormons/page/lewis-quack-walker#?c=&m=&s=&cv=&xywh=-34%2C-34%2C664%2C557

                                                                                        1842

                                                                                        March

                                                                                        Joseph Smith publishes his rendition of the Book of Abraham, which at one point asserts that Pharaoh, a descendant of Noah’s son Ham through one of his daughters, had preserved a curse “upon the land” of Egypt (1:21-24). The idea of being “cursed” can simply mean being “disinherited” of property or governing rights due to covenant-breaking. Skin color is not mentioned in this text, and this passage appears to have nothing to do with race.

                                                                                        Biographies

                                                                                        Joseph Smith 1805-1844
                                                                                        Joseph Smith Jr., born on December 23, 1805, in Sharon, Vermont, was the fifth child of Joseph Smith and Lucy Mack. He had significant spiritual experiences that led him to his prophetic calling, including a vision of God the Father and Jesus Christ in 1820. He translated and published the Book of Mormon and established The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on April 6, 1830. As the leader of the Church, he called Apostles and other leaders, defined doctrines, and guided the community's growth in Ohio, Missouri, and Illinois. Tragically, Joseph Smith was martyred on June 27, 1844, in Carthage, Illinois.
                                                                                        Source: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
                                                                                        https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/study/history/topics/joseph-smith-jr?lang=eng

                                                                                          1840

                                                                                          October 4

                                                                                          The First Presidency gives a report at General Conference, stating, “Persons of all languages, and of every tongue, and every color, who shall wish us worship the Lord of Hosts in his holy temple, and offer up their orisons in his sanctuary.”

                                                                                            1836

                                                                                            July 18

                                                                                            In a letter to William W. Phelps, Missouri Governor, Daniel Dunklin writes, "Your neighbors accuse your people, of holding illicit communications with the Indians, and of being opposed to slavery. You deny. Whether the charge, or the denial, is true, I cannot tell. The fact exists, and your neighbors seem to believe it true; and, whether true or false, the consequences will be the same (if your opponents are not merely gasconading) unless you can by your conduct and arguments, convince them of your innocence. If you cannot do this, all I can say to you, is, that in this Republic, the vox populi is the vox Dei.”

                                                                                            Biographies

                                                                                            William W. Phelps 1792–1872
                                                                                            William W. Phelps, born on February 17, 1792, in Hanover Township, New Jersey, was a significant figure in the early history of the Church. Phelps served on the Kirtland Temple dedication committee, and served as the editor of the Church's first periodical, "The Evening and the Morning Star”, and “Upper Missouri Advertiser.” He played a pivotal role in preparing the Church's first hymnal, contributing thirty-five of the ninety hymns. In Missouri, he held positions as assistant president to David Whitmer and experienced periods of excommunication and readmission between 1838 and 1840. Later, he migrated to Utah Territory in 1848.
                                                                                            Source: BYU Religious Studies Center and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
                                                                                            https://rsc.byu.edu/foundations-restoration/william-w-phelps https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/study/history/doctrine-and-covenants-historical-resources/people/bio-william-w-phelps?lang=eng

                                                                                              1836

                                                                                              April

                                                                                              Joseph Smith publishes a letter to the editor in the Church newspaper, the Messenger and Advocate. He advises missionaries to give priority to the scriptures–including the Book of Mormon, the Bible, and the newly printed Doctrine and Covenants–and to be led and governed by revelation, for if a principle or law found there turns out to be “wrong, God only is to be blamed.” He pointed to passages in Genesis, Deuteronomy, Ephesians, and 1 Timothy as the better way to know “the will of God” than by listening to the extreme abolitionists.

                                                                                              Biographies

                                                                                              Joseph Smith 1805-1844
                                                                                              Joseph Smith Jr., born on December 23, 1805, in Sharon, Vermont, was the fifth child of Joseph Smith and Lucy Mack. He had significant spiritual experiences that led him to his prophetic calling, including a vision of God the Father and Jesus Christ in 1820. He translated and published the Book of Mormon and established The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on April 6, 1830. As the leader of the Church, he called Apostles and other leaders, defined doctrines, and guided the community's growth in Ohio, Missouri, and Illinois. Tragically, Joseph Smith was martyred on June 27, 1844, in Carthage, Illinois.
                                                                                              Source: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
                                                                                              https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/study/history/topics/joseph-smith-jr?lang=eng

                                                                                                1836

                                                                                                March

                                                                                                Elijah Able, an early African-American member of the Church is ordained to the Melchizedek Priesthood. The ordination was by Ambrose Palmer, and recorded by Frederick G. Williams, Second Counselor in the First Presidency, 31 March 1836.

                                                                                                Biographies

                                                                                                Elijah Able (1808-1812)-1884
                                                                                                Born sometime between 1808 and 1812, Elijah Able grew up in a radically divided United States. Despite the world's views the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints baptized Able in 1832. Able moved to Church headquarters in Kirkland where in 1836 he was ordained to the Melchizedek Priesthood and ordained a Seventy. In 1838 he went on a mission to New York and Canada and then joined the Saints in Nauvoo, Illinois. He married Mary Ann Adams in 1847 and together they had four children. In 1853 the family moved to Salt Lake City, Utah where Able worked on the temple and served another mission in Ohio. In 1852 Brigham Young announced a policy of withholding the priesthood from black males. Able retained his priesthood and standing but was denied twice when applying for permission to receive his temple endowment and to be sealed to Mary Ann. He remained faithful until his passing in December of 1884.
                                                                                                Source: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
                                                                                                https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/study/history/topics/elijah-able?lang=eng

                                                                                                  1833

                                                                                                  July 1

                                                                                                  In the ‘Evening and Morning Star’, editor, William W. Phelps clarifies that there is no specific policy in the Church as to the inclusion of Blacks in Mormonism as members of the Church in Missouri. It reads, “To prevent any misunderstanding among the churches abroad, respecting free people of color, who may think of coming to the western boundaries of Missouri as members of the church.”

                                                                                                  Biographies

                                                                                                  William W. Phelps 1792–1872
                                                                                                  William W. Phelps, born on February 17, 1792, in Hanover Township, New Jersey, was a significant figure in the early history of the Church. Phelps served on the Kirtland Temple dedication committee, and served as the editor of the Church's first periodical, "The Evening and the Morning Star”, and “Upper Missouri Advertiser.” He played a pivotal role in preparing the Church's first hymnal, contributing thirty-five of the ninety hymns. In Missouri, he held positions as assistant president to David Whitmer and experienced periods of excommunication and readmission between 1838 and 1840. Later, he migrated to Utah Territory in 1848.
                                                                                                  Source: BYU Religious Studies Center and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
                                                                                                  https://rsc.byu.edu/foundations-restoration/william-w-phelps https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/study/history/doctrine-and-covenants-historical-resources/people/bio-william-w-phelps?lang=eng

                                                                                                    1831

                                                                                                    Between February and March

                                                                                                    In the Old Testament, Joseph Smith's translation of the Book of Genesis refers to Noah's curse on Canaan, stating that the purpose of dark skin was to distinguish Canaanites from his people.

                                                                                                    Biographies

                                                                                                    Joseph Smith 1805-1844
                                                                                                    Joseph Smith Jr., born on December 23, 1805, in Sharon, Vermont, was the fifth child of Joseph Smith and Lucy Mack. He had significant spiritual experiences that led him to his prophetic calling, including a vision of God the Father and Jesus Christ in 1820. He translated and published the Book of Mormon and established The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on April 6, 1830. As the leader of the Church, he called Apostles and other leaders, defined doctrines, and guided the community's growth in Ohio, Missouri, and Illinois. Tragically, Joseph Smith was martyred on June 27, 1844, in Carthage, Illinois.
                                                                                                    Source: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
                                                                                                    https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/study/history/topics/joseph-smith-jr?lang=eng

                                                                                                      Late 1830 - Early 1831

                                                                                                      Peter Kerr, known as "Black Pete," participates in worship with members of the church in Kirtland, Ohio, and is considered a member of their company. There is no known record of his baptism in the church.

                                                                                                        Blacks in Mormonism - Mormon views on black peopleBlacks in Mormonism - Blacks and MormonsBlacks in Mormonism - Black MormonsBlack Mormons - Mormons and Blacks - LDS priesthood banBlacks in Mormonism - Black Mormons - Mormons and BlacksBlacks in Mormonism Jane Manning JamesBlacks in Mormonism - Mormons RacistMormons and Blacks - Mormons RacistBlacks in Mormonism - Blacks and the priesthoodMormon priesthood ban - LDS priesthood banBlacks in Mormonism - Mormons and Blacks - Blacks and the priesthoodBlacks in Mormonism Curse of CainBlacks and Mormons Curse of CainMormons and Blacks - Mormons Views on Black PeopleBlakcs and the Priesthood - Mormon priesthood banMormon priesthood ban - blacks in mormonism - LDS priesthood ban - Anthony ObinnaMormons racist - Blacks and the PresithoodMormons and Blacks Mormon views on black peopleBacks and the PriesthoodMormon Views on Black PeopleBlack Mormons Len and Mary HopeBlacks and the priesthoodMormon priesthood banLDS priesthood banBlacks and Mormons - LDS priesthood banBlack Mormons Samuel D. Chambers and Amanda Leggroan Chambers Mormons Racist - Blacks and Mormons Blacks in Mormonism - Black Mormons Elijah AbleBlacks in Mormonism - Mormon views on Black People Brigham Young Blacks and Mormons - Brigham Young - Mormom Views on Black PeopleMormon Presithood ban - blacks in mormonism curse of cain - mormons priesthood ban - blacks in mormonismMormon views on black people - William Smith - Blacks in Mormonism Mormons racist - The Book of Abraham - Mormon Priesthood BanMormon Priesthood Ban - Mormon Views on Black PeopleMormon Priesthood Ban - Mormon Views on Black People - Black Mormons Elijah AbleLDS priesthood ban - Black Mormons - Curse of CainMormons and Blacks - Blacks and the priesthood Joseph SmithBlack Mormons Peter Kerr - Blacks in Mormonism - Blacks and Mormons
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                                                                                                        • Late 1830 - Early 1831

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                                                                                                        Blacks in Mormonism

                                                                                                        Historical Context

                                                                                                        What Critics Are Saying

                                                                                                        Response to Critics View

                                                                                                        A factual and objective look at the history of Blacks in Mormonism and the alleged Mormon racism within the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Between 1852 and 1978, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints enforced a policy that restricted blacks in Mormonism from priesthood ordination, though the belief in a future lifting of the restriction persisted. The end of this policy came in 1978, under President Spencer W. Kimball Spencer W. Kimball cancel 1895-1985 Spencer W. Kimball was the 12th President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Kimball was born in 1895 and grew up in Thatcher, Arizona. He began his professional life as a bank clerk and moved into life insurance and real estate development. Church and community service throughout his life preceded his call to serve as an Apostle in 1943. While serving he was diagnosed with lung cancer and suffered numerous heart attacks for which he underwent major surgeries and came out with new power and vigor for life. On December 30th of 1973, Kimball became the President of the church. During his service, the number of missionaries increased by 50% and the number of operating temples doubled. One of the most significant changes was the extension of the Priesthood to all worthy male members. President Kimball passed in November of 1985.

                                                                                                        Source: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
                                                                                                        https://history.churchofjesuschrist.org/landing/prophets-of-the-restoration/spencer-w-kimball https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/study/manual/teachings-spencer-w-kimball/the-life-and-ministry-of-spencer-w-kimball
                                                                                                        , who received divine instruction on the matter. Today, the Church rejects racist ideas and aims for unity, welcoming all to embrace the gospel of Jesus Christ, disregarding racial limitations and actively addressing the consequences of racism worldwide. The church believes in the equality of all people, affirming that God accepts everyone regardless of race, gender, or social status. While historical slavery and racism affected the United States during the Church's founding, its founder, Joseph Smith Joseph Smith cancel 1805-1844 Joseph Smith Jr., born on December 23, 1805, in Sharon, Vermont, was the fifth child of Joseph Smith and Lucy Mack. He had significant spiritual experiences that led him to his prophetic calling, including a vision of God the Father and Jesus Christ in 1820. He translated and published the Book of Mormon and established The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on April 6, 1830. As the leader of the Church, he called Apostles and other leaders, defined doctrines, and guided the community's growth in Ohio, Missouri, and Illinois. Tragically, Joseph Smith was martyred on June 27, 1844, in Carthage, Illinois.

                                                                                                        Source: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
                                                                                                        https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/study/history/topics/joseph-smith-jr?lang=eng
                                                                                                        , treated Black individuals fairly and even ordained some Black men to the priesthood. info Image Source: cancel First Baptisms in West Africa The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

                                                                                                          2023

                                                                                                          The Church Donates $500,000 to the NAACP

                                                                                                          Historical Context

                                                                                                          What Critics Are Saying

                                                                                                          Response to Critics View

                                                                                                          Following high-level personal meetings, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints donated $500,000 to the NAACP Memphis Branch to help renovate their headquarters. The renovation project is expected to be completed in September 2023. Once the project is completed, the NAACP Memphis Branch will be able to continue providing essential programs and services to its community in safe and modern office space. info Information Sources: cancel https://newsroom.churchofjesuschrist.org/article/juneteenth-naacp-church-of-jesus-christ-2023 Image Source: President Russell M. Nelson and Reverend Dr. Amos C. Brown at NAACP Conference The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Newsroom

                                                                                                            2023

                                                                                                            Church Membership and Temple Construction in Africa Continues to Grow

                                                                                                            Historical Context

                                                                                                            What Critics Are Saying

                                                                                                            Response to Critics View

                                                                                                            Church membership in Africa reaches 791,837, with 21 temples in operation, under construction, or announced, on the continent. info Information Sources: cancel https://churchofjesuschristtemples.org/maps/africa/ https://newsroom.churchofjesuschrist.org/facts-and-statistics

                                                                                                              2022

                                                                                                              BYU Studies Publishes New Scholarship on Priesthood and Book of Abraham

                                                                                                              Historical Context

                                                                                                              What Critics Are Saying

                                                                                                              Response to Critics View

                                                                                                              A valuable analysis of the words in Abraham 1:24-27 shows that the lack of priesthood in ancient Egypt was not due to skin color or race. info Information Sources: cancel https://byustudies.byu.edu/article/the-priesthood-ban-and-the-book-of-abraham/ Image Source: A Guide to the Book of Abraham BYU Studies

                                                                                                                2021

                                                                                                                Number of Temples in Africa Reaches 16, with Thousands of Blacks in Mormonism Serving as High-ranking Church Leaders

                                                                                                                Historical Context

                                                                                                                What Critics Are Saying

                                                                                                                Response to Critics View

                                                                                                                16 Temples in Africa (5 operating, 3 under construction, 8 announced) Church membership reaches the following:
                                                                                                                Nigeria: 211,219
                                                                                                                Ghana: 96,508
                                                                                                                Democratic Republic of the Congo: 89,136
                                                                                                                South Africa: 69,438
                                                                                                                Cote d’Ivoire: 58,804 info Information Sources: cancel https://newsroom.churchofjesuschrist.org/facts-and-statistics Image Source: Aba Nigeria Temple The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

                                                                                                                  2018

                                                                                                                  40th Anniversary of the 1978 End of the Priesthood Ban is Celebrated

                                                                                                                  Historical Context

                                                                                                                  What Critics Are Saying

                                                                                                                  Response to Critics View

                                                                                                                  A musical evening of recognition of the deep personal sacrifices by faithful Blacks in Mormonism was shared, with wonderful performances by Black celebrities Gladys Knight and Alex Boye and other singers and speakers in the famous Salt Lake Tabernacle, before a worldwide audience. info Information Sources: cancel https://newsroom.churchofjesuschrist.org/article/be-one-celebration-optimism-overcoming-prejudice https://www.ksl.com/article/46312996/lds-church-to-welcome-gladys-knight-alex-boy-for-celebration-of-blacks-and-the-priesthood Image Source: "Be One" Celebration The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Newsroom

                                                                                                                    2018

                                                                                                                    Display at Church History Library Honors Early Black Latter-day Saints

                                                                                                                    Historical Context

                                                                                                                    What Critics Are Saying

                                                                                                                    Response to Critics View

                                                                                                                    The exhibit featured 16 historical documents, including the record of Elijah Able Elijah Able cancel (1808-1812)-1884 Born sometime between 1808 and 1812, Elijah Able grew up in a radically divided United States. Despite the world's views the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints baptized Able in 1832. Able moved to Church headquarters in Kirkland where in 1836 he was ordained to the Melchizedek Priesthood and ordained a Seventy. In 1838 he went on a mission to New York and Canada and then joined the Saints in Nauvoo, Illinois. He married Mary Ann Adams in 1847 and together they had four children. In 1853 the family moved to Salt Lake City, Utah where Able worked on the temple and served another mission in Ohio. In 1852 Brigham Young Brigham Young cancel 1801-1877 Born in 1801 in Vermont, Brigham Young married his first wife, Miriam Works, in New York in 1824. Both were baptized in the Church in 1832, but shortly after, Miriam passed away from tuberculosis, and Brigham remarried Mary Ann Angell. He served as an Apostle in the Quorum of the Twelve and assumed leadership of the Church after Joseph Smith's death, becoming its prophet in 1847. During his ministry, he orchestrated the westward migration of the Saints and also held the position of Utah's first governor. A strong advocate for the practice of plural marriage, Brigham Young was sealed to over 50 women during his lifetime, including Eliza R. Snow and Zina D. Huntington Jacobs. Together with 16 of his wives, they had a total of 56 children. His leadership continued until his passing on August 29, 1877.

                                                                                                                    Source: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
                                                                                                                    https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/study/history/topics/brigham-young?lang=eng https://in.churchofjesuschrist.org/gospel-topics/prophet-brigham-young
                                                                                                                    announced a policy of withholding the priesthood from black males. Able retained his priesthood and standing but was denied twice when applying for permission to receive his temple endowment and to be sealed to Mary Ann. He remained faithful until his passing in December of 1884.


                                                                                                                    Source: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
                                                                                                                    https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/study/history/topics/elijah-able?lang=eng
                                                                                                                    ’s priesthood ordination, the handwritten copy of Jane Manning James Jane Manning James cancel 1822-1908 Jane Elizabeth Manning was born in Connecticut in 1822 to a free African-American couple. In 1842 she and other members of her family joined the church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and desired to join the Saints in Nauvoo. Once Jane and her family arrived in New York they were denied boat passage and walked the remaining 800 miles to join the saints. Upon arrival in Nauvoo Jane became close friends with Joseph and Emma Smith, where she lived and worked in their home for years. Jane had a firm testimony of the Prophet Joseph Smith and his prophetic role. Jane married Isaac James, with whom she had six kids, and moved to the Salt Lake Valley with before their divorce in 1870. She was remarried to Frank Perkins for two years, before continuing single parenthood. After 20 years apart Isaac returned to Salt Lake, renewed his church membership, and rekindled his and Jane’s relationship before his death one year later. Because of her faith, she was authorized by Angus M. Cannon to perform baptisms for the dead and be sealed by proxy in the family of Joseph Smith despite Black saints not being allowed to participate in temple ordinances at the time. Jane passed on April 16, 1908.

                                                                                                                    Source: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
                                                                                                                    https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/study/history/topics/jane-elizabeth-manning-james?lang=eng
                                                                                                                    ’ autobiography, personal stories and photographs of nineteenth-century pioneers and twentieth-century Latter-day Saints from the United States, Brazil, Ghana and Nigeria. A display of A Century of Black Latter-day Saints is available from the University of Utah Marriott Library. info Information Sources: cancel https://www.thechurchnews.com/2018/5/21/23221541/black-latter-day-saint-history-on-display-in-the-church-history-library https://exhibits.lib.utah.edu/s/century-of-black-mormons/page/who Image Source: Jane Manning James The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

                                                                                                                      2007

                                                                                                                      First Black Latter-day Saint Missionary Publishes Book on the History of Blacks in Mormonism

                                                                                                                      Historical Context

                                                                                                                      What Critics Are Saying

                                                                                                                      Response to Critics View

                                                                                                                      As the first Black to serve as a full-time and endowed missionary, Professor Marcus Martins Marcus Martins cancel 1959-present Born in 1959, Marcus H. Martins, a native of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, holds a bachelor’s in Business Management, masters in Organizational Behavior, and a Ph. D. I’m Sociology of Religion, Race, and Ethnic Relations. Martins joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in 1972 and was the first Saint with Black African ancestry to serve as a full-time missionary in the twentieth century in 1978. He is married to Mirian Abelin Barbosa and together they have four children and seven grandchildren. Martins moved to the United States in 1990. He has taught throughout the world, held many prestigious positions within the education system, wrote and published the book, "Setting the Record Straight: Blacks and the Mormon Priesthood", has held numerous church callings, and has even been a translator for the Book of Mormon.

                                                                                                                      Source: BYU Hawaii
                                                                                                                      https://about.byuh.edu/directory/marcus-martins
                                                                                                                      sensitively offers institutional insights and personal experiences before and after the canonization of Official Declaration 2 in the scriptural book of Doctrine and Covenants. info Information Sources: cancel https://www.mrm.org/review-blacks-priesthood https://news.byuh.edu/religion-professor-publishes-introspective-on-blacks-priesthood Image Source: President Marcus Martins and Sister Mirian Martins The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

                                                                                                                        1990

                                                                                                                        The First General Authority of Black African Descent is Sustained

                                                                                                                        Historical Context

                                                                                                                        What Critics Are Saying

                                                                                                                        Response to Critics View

                                                                                                                        Helvécio Martins Helvécio Martins cancel 1930-2005 Born in 1930, Helvecio Martins’ story is one from rags to riches through hard work and determination. At the age of 12, he dropped out of school to help bring in money for the family, but never gave up on education, graduating high school at age 26 and later graduating from Rio de Janeiro State University. Martins met the missionaries in 1972 and he, his wife Ruda Touinho de Assis Martins, and their four children joined the church that same year. Along with many other callings Martins served as a mission president, and bishop before being called as a general authority in the Second Quorum of the Seventy in 1990 making him the first General Authority of African descent. He graduated from law school at the age of 74, a year before he passed in Sao Paulo, Brazil of heart problems in 2005.

                                                                                                                        Source: TheChurchNews.com
                                                                                                                        https://www.thechurchnews.com/2005/5/21/23236549/elder-helvecio-martins-dies-in-brazil-at-age-75
                                                                                                                        , from Brazil, sustained as a General Authority Seventy at General Conference. info Information Sources: cancel https://site.churchofjesuschrist.org/study/ensign/1990/05/the-sustaining-of-church-officers?lang=eng https://site.churchofjesuschrist.org/study/ensign/1990/05/news-of-the-church/elder-helvecio-martins-of-the-seventy?lang=eng Image Source: Helvécio Martins The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

                                                                                                                          1988

                                                                                                                          First entirely Black African Stake Organized

                                                                                                                          Historical Context

                                                                                                                          What Critics Are Saying

                                                                                                                          Response to Critics View

                                                                                                                          The first stake in western Africa was created on May 15, 1988, in Aba, Nigeria, the first stake in which all priesthood leaders are black. info Information Sources: cancel https://www.thechurchnews.com/1988/5/21/23263972/new-first-for-western-africa-stake-is-formed-in-aba-nigeria Image Source: Congregation in Africa The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

                                                                                                                            1987

                                                                                                                            Black Members Serve and are Served in Africa, the Caribbean, and Brazil and Beyond

                                                                                                                            Historical Context

                                                                                                                            What Critics Are Saying

                                                                                                                            Response to Critics View

                                                                                                                            Although Church membership records do not keep track of the race or nationality of its people, growth, and service in areas that are predominantly Black can be estimated. As of 1987, Church demographics notably included: 14,347 Church members in West and Central Africa, 18,614 Church members in the black areas of the Caribbean, and 250,000 Church members in Brazil, many of whom are black or mixed. info Information Sources: cancel https://www.deseret.com/1988/6/8/18768042/1978-lds-revelation-on-priesthood-called-vital-to-church-growth Image Source: Members of the Church in Africa The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

                                                                                                                              1978

                                                                                                                              Priesthood Ordination of Black African Men is Officially Announced at General Conference

                                                                                                                              Historical Context

                                                                                                                              What Critics Are Saying

                                                                                                                              Response to Critics View

                                                                                                                              Official Declaration 2 was unanimously adopted by the Church at the October General Conference, ending any further delay in ordaining Black African men to the priesthood. The reaction worldwide was overwhelmingly positive among Church members and people of all races. Many Latter-day Saints wept for joy at the news. Some reported feeling a collective weight lifted from their shoulders. The Church had begun priesthood ordinations for men of African descent almost immediately, and black men and women soon entered temples throughout the world. info Information Sources: cancel https://site.churchofjesuschrist.org/study/manual/gospel-topics-essays/race-and-the-priesthood Image Source: General Conference The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

                                                                                                                                1978

                                                                                                                                The Church’s Living Prophets Receive Revelation to Extend Temple and Priesthood Blessing to All Worthy Men and Women Regardless of Race

                                                                                                                                Historical Context

                                                                                                                                What Critics Are Saying

                                                                                                                                Response to Critics View

                                                                                                                                President Spencer W. Kimball Spencer W. Kimball cancel 1895-1985 Spencer W. Kimball was the 12th President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Kimball was born in 1895 and grew up in Thatcher, Arizona. He began his professional life as a bank clerk and moved into life insurance and real estate development. Church and community service throughout his life preceded his call to serve as an Apostle in 1943. While serving he was diagnosed with lung cancer and suffered numerous heart attacks for which he underwent major surgeries and came out with new power and vigor for life. On December 30th of 1973, Kimball became the President of the church. During his service, the number of missionaries increased by 50% and the number of operating temples doubled. One of the most significant changes was the extension of the Priesthood to all worthy male members. President Kimball passed in November of 1985.

                                                                                                                                Source: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
                                                                                                                                https://history.churchofjesuschrist.org/landing/prophets-of-the-restoration/spencer-w-kimball https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/study/manual/teachings-spencer-w-kimball/the-life-and-ministry-of-spencer-w-kimball
                                                                                                                                receives a revelation, as did also each of the twelve apostles of the Church, that the time had come for priesthood and temple blessings to be extended to all worthy people regardless of race. This momentous and historic revelatory decision is documented by Edward L. Kimball in BYU Studies 47 no. 2: Spencer W. Kimball and the Revelation on Priesthood - BYU Studies. info Information Sources: cancel https://byustudies.byu.edu/article/spencer-w-kimball-and-the-revelation-on-priesthood/

                                                                                                                                  1978

                                                                                                                                  Faithful Investigators in Africa See Missionaries in Dreams

                                                                                                                                  Historical Context

                                                                                                                                  What Critics Are Saying

                                                                                                                                  Response to Critics View

                                                                                                                                  Some of the early converts in Ghana had previously had dreams in which they saw white missionaries coming to teach them, and in 1978 when missionaries first arrived, those converts recognized them from their dreams. info Information Sources: cancel https://rsc.byu.edu/eye-faith/visions-faith-early-church-pioneers-ghana

                                                                                                                                    1977-1988

                                                                                                                                    The Church Openes 27 New Missions in Populous Black Nations

                                                                                                                                    Historical Context

                                                                                                                                    What Critics Are Saying

                                                                                                                                    Response to Critics View

                                                                                                                                    1977 Trinidad
                                                                                                                                    1978 Dominican Republic, Ghana, Nigeria, Surinam, Curacao
                                                                                                                                    1979 Reunion
                                                                                                                                    1980 Haiti, Belize, St. Vincent
                                                                                                                                    1983 St. Lucia, Martinique
                                                                                                                                    1984 St. Kitts and Nevis, Antigua, Barbudo, Guadeloupe
                                                                                                                                    1985 Grenada, Cayman Islands
                                                                                                                                    1986 Democratic Republic of the Congo
                                                                                                                                    1987 Liberia, Eswatini, Aruba
                                                                                                                                    1988 Guyana, Cape Verde, Ivory Coast, Sierra Leone info Information Sources: cancel https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Mormon_missionary_entries_by_country

                                                                                                                                      1977

                                                                                                                                      Small Church Membership at This Time in Africa, the Caribbean, and Brazil

                                                                                                                                      Historical Context

                                                                                                                                      What Critics Are Saying

                                                                                                                                      Response to Critics View

                                                                                                                                      136 Church members in West and Central Africa 836 Church members in the Caribbean, not counting Puerto Rico 51,000 Church members in Brazil info Information Sources: cancel https://www.deseret.com/1988/6/8/18768042/1978-lds-revelation-on-priesthood-called-vital-to-church-growth Image Source: Map of Africa The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

                                                                                                                                        1975

                                                                                                                                        Plans to Build a Temple in São Paulo, Brazil, Are Announced by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

                                                                                                                                        Historical Context

                                                                                                                                        What Critics Are Saying

                                                                                                                                        Response to Critics View

                                                                                                                                        Plans to construct the São Paulo Brazil Temple are announced on March 1, 1975. Ground was broken the following year on March 20. info Information Sources: cancel https://newsroom.churchofjesuschrist.org/article/s%C3%A3o-paulo-brazil-temple Image Source: São Paulo Brazil Temple The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Newsroom

                                                                                                                                          Between 1973 and 1977

                                                                                                                                          Patriarchal Blessings are Given to Black Members of the Church

                                                                                                                                          Historical Context

                                                                                                                                          What Critics Are Saying

                                                                                                                                          Response to Critics View

                                                                                                                                          Several black members of the Church in the United States and Brazil receive patriarchal blessings promising them blessings associated with the priesthood and temple covenants. info Information Sources: cancel https://byustudies.byu.edu/article/spencer-w-kimball-and-the-revelation-on-priesthood/

                                                                                                                                            1973

                                                                                                                                            The Prophet States the Policy with Respect to Black Member Would Change

                                                                                                                                            Historical Context

                                                                                                                                            What Critics Are Saying

                                                                                                                                            Response to Critics View

                                                                                                                                            Spencer W. Kimball Spencer W. Kimball cancel 1895-1985 Spencer W. Kimball was the 12th President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Kimball was born in 1895 and grew up in Thatcher, Arizona. He began his professional life as a bank clerk and moved into life insurance and real estate development. Church and community service throughout his life preceded his call to serve as an Apostle in 1943. While serving he was diagnosed with lung cancer and suffered numerous heart attacks for which he underwent major surgeries and came out with new power and vigor for life. On December 30th of 1973, Kimball became the President of the church. During his service, the number of missionaries increased by 50% and the number of operating temples doubled. One of the most significant changes was the extension of the Priesthood to all worthy male members. President Kimball passed in November of 1985.

                                                                                                                                            Source: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
                                                                                                                                            https://history.churchofjesuschrist.org/landing/prophets-of-the-restoration/spencer-w-kimball https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/study/manual/teachings-spencer-w-kimball/the-life-and-ministry-of-spencer-w-kimball
                                                                                                                                            becomes President of the Church, stating that Church policy with respect to Blacks in Mormonism and the priesthood would change and that the matter was in the hands of the Lord. In 1972, Kimball declared: “[Blacks] who remain faithful to the end may expect that God may finally grant them all blessings they have merited through their righteousness. Such matters are in the Lord’s hands. It is for us to extend love to all.” info Information Sources: cancel https://history.churchofjesuschrist.org/landing/prophets-of-the-restoration/spencer-w-kimball https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/study/manual/teachings-spencer-w-kimball

                                                                                                                                              1972

                                                                                                                                              Helvécio Martins, an Accomplished Black Businessman, Joins the Church in Brazil

                                                                                                                                              Historical Context

                                                                                                                                              What Critics Are Saying

                                                                                                                                              Response to Critics View

                                                                                                                                              Helvécio Martins Helvécio Martins cancel 1930-2005 Born in 1930, Helvecio Martins’ story is one from rags to riches through hard work and determination. At the age of 12, he dropped out of school to help bring in money for the family, but never gave up on education, graduating high school at age 26 and later graduating from Rio de Janeiro State University. Martins met the missionaries in 1972 and he, his wife Ruda Touinho de Assis Martins, and their four children joined the church that same year. Along with many other callings Martins served as a mission president, and bishop before being called as a general authority in the Second Quorum of the Seventy in 1990 making him the first General Authority of African descent. He graduated from law school at the age of 74, a year before he passed in Sao Paulo, Brazil of heart problems in 2005.

                                                                                                                                              Source: TheChurchNews.com
                                                                                                                                              https://www.thechurchnews.com/2005/5/21/23236549/elder-helvecio-martins-dies-in-brazil-at-age-75
                                                                                                                                              , an executive for a national oil company and university professor, and his family are baptized into the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. info Information Sources: cancel https://www.deseret.com/2008/5/1/20085374/modern-pioneer-will-always-be-linked-to-1978-revelation Image Source: Helvécio Martins and his wife, Rudá Martins, and their family. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

                                                                                                                                                1969

                                                                                                                                                The First Presidency of the Church Releases a Letter to Clarify the Church’s Position on Blacks in Mormonism

                                                                                                                                                Historical Context

                                                                                                                                                What Critics Are Saying

                                                                                                                                                Response to Critics View

                                                                                                                                                In the face of deep desires that reasons might be forthcoming, and at the time of Civil Rights struggles in the 1960’s, the 96-year-old, President David O. McKay David O. McKay cancel 1873-1970 David O. McKay was born in Utah in 1873 and grew up active in the Church. While attending the University of Utah he met his wife Emma Ray Riggs. Before getting married in 1901 he left for the British Isles to serve a mission where he was then assigned to serve in Scotland. He was called as an Apostle in 1906 where he embarked on a worldwide tour and visited missions throughout the world. In April of 1951, he was sustained as the President of the Church. As the first Church President to travel by airplane he saw the ability to modernize the missionary program by utilizing travel by airplane to send missionaries to all parts of the globe. He passed in his home on January 18th, 1970.

                                                                                                                                                Source: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
                                                                                                                                                https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/study/history/topics/david-o-mckay?lang=eng
                                                                                                                                                declared that the priesthood restriction had existed for “reasons which we believe are known to God, but which he has not fully made known to man.” info Information Sources: cancel http://exhibits.usu.edu/items/show/17831 https://www.mrm.org/review-blacks-priesthood https://archive.org/details/improvementera7302unse Image Source: President David O. McKay The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

                                                                                                                                                  1965

                                                                                                                                                  A Nigerian Man Has Visions of the Salt Lake Temple

                                                                                                                                                  Historical Context

                                                                                                                                                  What Critics Are Saying

                                                                                                                                                  Response to Critics View

                                                                                                                                                  Anthony Obinna Anthony Obinna cancel 1928-1995 Anthony Obinna was born in Nigeria in 1928 where he married his wife Fidelia Obinna in 1950. Obinna was religious throughout his life and joined a Christian church when he was young. In 1965, he experienced a vision of Christ showing him a large building that he didn’t recognize. Six years later he saw an image of the building in a Reader’s Digest Magazine where he found out it was the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Salt Lake Temple. He sent a letter to the Church who responded that missionaries were not allowed in Nigeria so undiscouraged Obinna organized an informal congregation. In 1978 restrictions were lifted and Obinna was the first Nigerian to be baptized a member of the Church and later became a branch president. He passed away in 1995.

                                                                                                                                                  Source: Claremont Graduate University
                                                                                                                                                  https://research.cgu.edu/mormonism-migration-project/people/obinna/
                                                                                                                                                  , a man raised in a traditional African home, has several dreams and visions, including one where he sees a tall and majestic man who shows him a beautiful building. Later, he sees a picture of the same building in an old magazine article about the Church—it is the Salt Lake Temple. info Information Sources: cancel https://africasouth.churchofjesuschrist.org/beautiful-building-in-his-dream Image Source: Anthony Obinna The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

                                                                                                                                                    1964

                                                                                                                                                    Men in Ghana Encounter the Book of Mormon and Literature About the Church

                                                                                                                                                    Historical Context

                                                                                                                                                    What Critics Are Saying

                                                                                                                                                    Response to Critics View

                                                                                                                                                    Joseph William Billy Johnson, a man living in Ghana, is converted to the Church after reading a pamphlet containing Joseph Smith Joseph Smith cancel 1805-1844 Joseph Smith Jr., born on December 23, 1805, in Sharon, Vermont, was the fifth child of Joseph Smith and Lucy Mack. He had significant spiritual experiences that led him to his prophetic calling, including a vision of God the Father and Jesus Christ in 1820. He translated and published the Book of Mormon and established The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on April 6, 1830. As the leader of the Church, he called Apostles and other leaders, defined doctrines, and guided the community's growth in Ohio, Missouri, and Illinois. Tragically, Joseph Smith was martyred on June 27, 1844, in Carthage, Illinois.

                                                                                                                                                    Source: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
                                                                                                                                                    https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/study/history/topics/joseph-smith-jr?lang=eng
                                                                                                                                                    ’s testimony and the Book of Mormon. Early converts in Ghana then begin sharing the teachings of the Church with others and form unofficial congregations as they wait for missionaries and the opportunity to be baptized. info Information Sources: cancel https://africawest.churchofjesuschrist.org/our-heritage-a-people-prepared-joseph-w-billy-johnson Image Source: R. A. F. Mensah and J. W. B. Johnson in a congregation in Ghana. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

                                                                                                                                                      1964

                                                                                                                                                      Elder Spencer W. Kimball Promises Black Saint Blessings Based on Their Faithfulness

                                                                                                                                                      Historical Context

                                                                                                                                                      What Critics Are Saying

                                                                                                                                                      Response to Critics View

                                                                                                                                                      Elder Spencer W. Kimball Spencer W. Kimball cancel 1895-1985 Spencer W. Kimball was the 12th President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Kimball was born in 1895 and grew up in Thatcher, Arizona. He began his professional life as a bank clerk and moved into life insurance and real estate development. Church and community service throughout his life preceded his call to serve as an Apostle in 1943. While serving he was diagnosed with lung cancer and suffered numerous heart attacks for which he underwent major surgeries and came out with new power and vigor for life. On December 30th of 1973, Kimball became the President of the church. During his service, the number of missionaries increased by 50% and the number of operating temples doubled. One of the most significant changes was the extension of the Priesthood to all worthy male members. President Kimball passed in November of 1985.

                                                                                                                                                      Source: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
                                                                                                                                                      https://history.churchofjesuschrist.org/landing/prophets-of-the-restoration/spencer-w-kimball https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/study/manual/teachings-spencer-w-kimball/the-life-and-ministry-of-spencer-w-kimball
                                                                                                                                                      promised a black brother, “blessings beyond his fondest imagination if he remained totally true to the Cause.” info Information Sources: cancel https://byustudies.byu.edu/article/spencer-w-kimball-and-the-revelation-on-priesthood/#:~:text=%E2%80%9CI%20felt%20impressed%20to%20promise,but%20still%20sweet%20and%20unembittered.%E2%80%9D https://catalog.churchofjesuschrist.org/assets/10465db5-6c08-4b97-babf-9608c86a9669/0/322

                                                                                                                                                        1963

                                                                                                                                                        Official Statement of Full Civil Rights for All Citizens is Read in October General Conference

                                                                                                                                                        Historical Context

                                                                                                                                                        What Critics Are Saying

                                                                                                                                                        Response to Critics View

                                                                                                                                                        President Hugh B. Brown read a Civil Rights Statement at the October 1963 General Conference. The Statement was written by Sterling McMurrin at the request of President Brown and was approved by President David O. McKay David O. McKay cancel 1873-1970 David O. McKay was born in Utah in 1873 and grew up active in the Church. While attending the University of Utah he met his wife Emma Ray Riggs. Before getting married in 1901 he left for the British Isles to serve a mission where he was then assigned to serve in Scotland. He was called as an Apostle in 1906 where he embarked on a worldwide tour and visited missions throughout the world. In April of 1951, he was sustained as the President of the Church. As the first Church President to travel by airplane he saw the ability to modernize the missionary program by utilizing travel by airplane to send missionaries to all parts of the globe. He passed in his home on January 18th, 1970.

                                                                                                                                                        Source: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
                                                                                                                                                        https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/study/history/topics/david-o-mckay?lang=eng
                                                                                                                                                        . The statement was in accordance with NAACP to prevent picketers from protesting at Temple Square regarding Civil Rights in Utah. The statement was published as an official Chuch statement in the Desert News in 1964. info Information Sources: cancel https://prophetsseersandrevelators.wordpress.com/2022/01/12/church-statement-on-civil-rights/ Image Source: To All Worthy Male Members, by Emma Allebes The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

                                                                                                                                                          1961

                                                                                                                                                          The First Official Church Meeting in Black Africa is Held

                                                                                                                                                          Historical Context

                                                                                                                                                          What Critics Are Saying

                                                                                                                                                          Response to Critics View

                                                                                                                                                          On October 22, 1961, the first official church meeting in black Africa was held in a small mud hut in Opobo District, Nigeria. info Information Sources: cancel https://www2.byui.edu/Presentations/Transcripts/Devotionals/2001_04_03_LeBaron.htm Image Source: Members of the Church in Africa The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

                                                                                                                                                            1960

                                                                                                                                                            Individuals in Africa Write to the Church Requesting Literature

                                                                                                                                                            Historical Context

                                                                                                                                                            What Critics Are Saying

                                                                                                                                                            Response to Critics View

                                                                                                                                                            A man in Nigeria writes to the missionary department expressing his interest in the Church. He dreams of worshiping in the Salt Lake Temple and calls on the Church to come to Africa. Christians from Nigeria and Ghana send multiple letters to the Church headquarters requesting Church literature. The Church responded by sending church literature, including the Book of Mormon. info Information Sources: cancel https://www2.byui.edu/Presentations/Transcripts/Devotionals/2001_04_03_LeBaron.htm Image Source: Salt Lake City, Utah Temple The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

                                                                                                                                                              1953

                                                                                                                                                              Ruffin Bridgeforth, a Black Railroad Worker, Joined the Church in Utah, Will Become the First President of the Genesis Group

                                                                                                                                                              Historical Context

                                                                                                                                                              What Critics Are Saying

                                                                                                                                                              Response to Critics View

                                                                                                                                                              Ruffin Bridgeforth, born in Melville, Louisiana, joined the church in 1953. Bridgeforth served as the President of the Genesis Group, a fellowship group for black Latter-day Saints for 25 years. He was called by the first presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and was set apart by Gordon B. Hinckley. Bridgeforth later became the first black male to be ordained a High Priest after the revelation regarding blacks in Mormonism in 1978. info Information Sources: cancel https://www.deseret.com/1997/3/23/19302251/death-ruffin-bridgeforth https://www.blackpast.org/african-american-history/people-african-american-history/bridgeforth-ruffin-1923-1997/ Image Source: Darius Gray, Ruffin Bridgeforth (seated), Helvico Martins, and Don Hartwell Image Source: BlackPast.org

                                                                                                                                                                1919-1925

                                                                                                                                                                Len and Mary Hope, a Black Couple, Join the Church in Alabama

                                                                                                                                                                Historical Context

                                                                                                                                                                What Critics Are Saying

                                                                                                                                                                Response to Critics View

                                                                                                                                                                Len Hope was introduced to the Church by a Latter-day Saint Elder who stopped by the cotton field where he worked. Len was baptized at Lamison, Alabama by Elder John M. Tolbert on June 22, 1919. In 1920, Len and Mary Lee Pugh were married. On September 15, 1925, Mary was baptized by Elder William O. Clouse, and confirmed by Elder Sterling W. Still. info Information Sources: cancel https://exhibits.lib.utah.edu/s/century-of-black-mormons/page/hope-len https://exhibits.lib.utah.edu/s/century-of-black-mormons/page/hope-mary-lee-pugh Image Source: Len and Mary Hope: Black Converts in the American South Image Source: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

                                                                                                                                                                  1906

                                                                                                                                                                  The Sargent Family Joins the Church in Virginia

                                                                                                                                                                  Historical Context

                                                                                                                                                                  What Critics Are Saying

                                                                                                                                                                  Response to Critics View

                                                                                                                                                                  Mary Virgina Sargent Mary Virgina Sargent cancel 1893-1978 Mary Virgina Sargent (nicknamed Virginia) was born in rural Virginia in 1893. When she was twelve years old she was baptized a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. She later met the son of a local farmer, Junius Key, and they were married in 1913 and had twelve children. There was no organized congregation of Saints close to her home so she and many of her family practiced in private. She had a strong testimony and received Church news and manuals from her Aunt every couple of months. Sargent passed of cardiovascular disease in September of 1978.

                                                                                                                                                                  Source: The University of Utah
                                                                                                                                                                  https://exhibits.lib.utah.edu/s/century-of-black-mormons/page/key-mary-virginia-sargent#?c=&m=&s=&cv=&xywh=-99%2C-387%2C3346%2C2808
                                                                                                                                                                  , raised in Caroline County, Virginia, is baptized and confirmed as a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on August 19, 1906, at age 12, along with seven family members. They are baptized in a creek near Golansville, Virginia. info Information Sources: cancel https://exhibits.lib.utah.edu/s/century-of-black-mormons/page/key-mary-virginia-sargent https://exhibits.lib.utah.edu/s/century-of-black-mormons/page/clory-nellie-gray-patron-sargent https://exhibits.lib.utah.edu/s/century-of-black-mormons/page/derricott-annie-marie-sargent https://exhibits.lib.utah.edu/s/century-of-black-mormons/page/johnson-clara-sargent https://exhibits.lib.utah.edu/s/century-of-black-mormons/page/kidd-arthur-samuel-sargent https://exhibits.lib.utah.edu/s/century-of-black-mormons/page/morris-gracie-sanford-sargent https://exhibits.lib.utah.edu/s/century-of-black-mormons/page/pendleton-eva-lena-sargent https://exhibits.lib.utah.edu/s/century-of-black-mormons/page/gibson-novella-frances-sargent Image Source: Records of the Sargent Family Image Source: The University of Utah J. Willard Marriott Library

                                                                                                                                                                    1894

                                                                                                                                                                    Jane Manning James is Sealed Into the Smith Family

                                                                                                                                                                    Historical Context

                                                                                                                                                                    What Critics Are Saying

                                                                                                                                                                    Response to Critics View

                                                                                                                                                                    In 1894, Jane Manning James Jane Manning James cancel 1822-1908 Jane Elizabeth Manning was born in Connecticut in 1822 to a free African-American couple. In 1842 she and other members of her family joined the church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and desired to join the Saints in Nauvoo. Once Jane and her family arrived in New York they were denied boat passage and walked the remaining 800 miles to join the saints. Upon arrival in Nauvoo Jane became close friends with Joseph and Emma Smith, where she lived and worked in their home for years. Jane had a firm testimony of the Prophet Joseph Smith and his prophetic role. Jane married Isaac James, with whom she had six kids, and moved to the Salt Lake Valley with before their divorce in 1870. She was remarried to Frank Perkins for two years, before continuing single parenthood. After 20 years apart Isaac returned to Salt Lake, renewed his church membership, and rekindled his and Jane’s relationship before his death one year later. Because of her faith, she was authorized by Angus M. Cannon to perform baptisms for the dead and be sealed by proxy in the family of Joseph Smith despite Black saints not being allowed to participate in temple ordinances at the time. Jane passed on April 16, 1908.

                                                                                                                                                                    Source: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
                                                                                                                                                                    https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/study/history/topics/jane-elizabeth-manning-james?lang=eng
                                                                                                                                                                    is sealed by proxy into Joseph Smith Joseph Smith cancel 1805-1844 Joseph Smith Jr., born on December 23, 1805, in Sharon, Vermont, was the fifth child of Joseph Smith and Lucy Mack. He had significant spiritual experiences that led him to his prophetic calling, including a vision of God the Father and Jesus Christ in 1820. He translated and published the Book of Mormon and established The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on April 6, 1830. As the leader of the Church, he called Apostles and other leaders, defined doctrines, and guided the community's growth in Ohio, Missouri, and Illinois. Tragically, Joseph Smith was martyred on June 27, 1844, in Carthage, Illinois.

                                                                                                                                                                    Source: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
                                                                                                                                                                    https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/study/history/topics/joseph-smith-jr?lang=eng
                                                                                                                                                                    ’s family as a servant. Jane did not receive the temple endowment or family sealings during her lifetime, however, these ordinances were performed for her in 1979 after her passing in 1908. info Information Sources: cancel https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/study/history/topics/jane-elizabeth-manning-james?lang=eng https://site.churchofjesuschrist.org/study/history/topics/jane-elizabeth-manning-james Image Source: Nauvoo Illinois Temple Image Source: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

                                                                                                                                                                      1879

                                                                                                                                                                      Elijah Able Asks Brigham Young to Receive Temple Endowment and Sealing

                                                                                                                                                                      Historical Context

                                                                                                                                                                      What Critics Are Saying

                                                                                                                                                                      Response to Critics View

                                                                                                                                                                      Following the public announcement of the restriction of Black males and the priesthood, Elijah Able Elijah Able cancel (1808-1812)-1884 Born sometime between 1808 and 1812, Elijah Able grew up in a radically divided United States. Despite the world's views the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints baptized Able in 1832. Able moved to Church headquarters in Kirkland where in 1836 he was ordained to the Melchizedek Priesthood and ordained a Seventy. In 1838 he went on a mission to New York and Canada and then joined the Saints in Nauvoo, Illinois. He married Mary Ann Adams in 1847 and together they had four children. In 1853 the family moved to Salt Lake City, Utah where Able worked on the temple and served another mission in Ohio. In 1852 Brigham Young Brigham Young cancel 1801-1877 Born in 1801 in Vermont, Brigham Young married his first wife, Miriam Works, in New York in 1824. Both were baptized in the Church in 1832, but shortly after, Miriam passed away from tuberculosis, and Brigham remarried Mary Ann Angell. He served as an Apostle in the Quorum of the Twelve and assumed leadership of the Church after Joseph Smith's death, becoming its prophet in 1847. During his ministry, he orchestrated the westward migration of the Saints and also held the position of Utah's first governor. A strong advocate for the practice of plural marriage, Brigham Young was sealed to over 50 women during his lifetime, including Eliza R. Snow and Zina D. Huntington Jacobs. Together with 16 of his wives, they had a total of 56 children. His leadership continued until his passing on August 29, 1877.

                                                                                                                                                                      Source: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
                                                                                                                                                                      https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/study/history/topics/brigham-young?lang=eng https://in.churchofjesuschrist.org/gospel-topics/prophet-brigham-young
                                                                                                                                                                      announced a policy of withholding the priesthood from black males. Able retained his priesthood and standing but was denied twice when applying for permission to receive his temple endowment and to be sealed to Mary Ann. He remained faithful until his passing in December of 1884.


                                                                                                                                                                      Source: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
                                                                                                                                                                      https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/study/history/topics/elijah-able?lang=eng
                                                                                                                                                                      kept his priesthood office. Elijah is then denied permission to receive the temple endowment and to be sealed in the temple to his wife, Mary Ann by President Brigham Young. In 1879, Elijah requested permission from President John Taylor for the second time, but his request was denied. info Information Sources: cancel https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/study/history/topics/elijah-able?lang=eng Image Source: Painting of Nauvoo, Illinois Image Source: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

                                                                                                                                                                        1875

                                                                                                                                                                        Black Members of the Church Assist in Baptisms and Confirmations for Ancestors

                                                                                                                                                                        Historical Context

                                                                                                                                                                        What Critics Are Saying

                                                                                                                                                                        Response to Critics View

                                                                                                                                                                        Black members of the church perform baptisms for the dead in the Endowment House in Salt Lake City, Utah. info Information Sources: cancel https://www.familysearch.org/search/catalog/3392?availability=Family%20History%20Library Image Source: Salt Lake Endowment House Image Source: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

                                                                                                                                                                          1873

                                                                                                                                                                          Amanda and Samuel Chambers Recieve Church Callings

                                                                                                                                                                          Historical Context

                                                                                                                                                                          What Critics Are Saying

                                                                                                                                                                          Response to Critics View

                                                                                                                                                                          Samuel Chambers Samuel Chambers cancel 1831-1929 Samuel Chambers was born a slave in 1831, growing up an orphan after his mother was sold by slave traders. In 1844 missionaries for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints came into the area proselyting. 13-year-old Samuel attended their meetings on the street and was converted. After being baptized he would not have contact with the church for another 26 years, but he never lost his faith. After the Civil War, Samuel and his wife Amanda were now free and desired to emigrate to Utah. Once there he dedicated his life to service and gave away a Book of Mormon to anyone who visited their home. Samuel passed away on November 9th, 1929.

                                                                                                                                                                          Source: History of the Saints
                                                                                                                                                                          https://historyofthesaints.org/samuel-and-amanda-chambers/ https://www.sltrib.com/religion/2020/07/21/utah-city-renames-street/
                                                                                                                                                                          was asked to assist the deacons by church leaders in the Salt Lake City Eighth Ward for the next four years. However, he was never ordained to the Priesthood. Samuel’s wife, Amanda Leggroan, was called as a “deaconess” in the Relief Society. info Information Sources: cancel https://history.churchofjesuschrist.org/training/black-members-of-the-church/section-2/united-states https://site.churchofjesuschrist.org/study/new-era/1974/06/samuel-d-chambers?lang=eng&adobe_mc_ref Image Source: Samuel D. Chambers and Amanda Leggroan Chambers Image Source: The Salt Lake Tribune

                                                                                                                                                                            1870

                                                                                                                                                                            Post Civil War, Blacks Migrate to Utah

                                                                                                                                                                            Historical Context

                                                                                                                                                                            What Critics Are Saying

                                                                                                                                                                            Response to Critics View

                                                                                                                                                                            With the completion of the transcontinental railroad and emancipation following the Civil War, some blacks in Mormonism move to Utah, where the population, though largely international, was almost entirely White. info Information Sources: cancel https://eom.byu.edu/index.php/Blacks Image Source: Image of Utah Image Source: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

                                                                                                                                                                              1861

                                                                                                                                                                              Moroni Able is Ordained to the Priesthood at the Age of 23 On His Deathbed

                                                                                                                                                                              Historical Context

                                                                                                                                                                              What Critics Are Saying

                                                                                                                                                                              Response to Critics View

                                                                                                                                                                              In 1857, Moroni Able Moroni Able cancel 1848-1871 Born in April 1848, Moroni Able was born to Elijah Able the most well-documented black priesthood holder in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He was baptized at the age of eight in 1857. Moroni became the second member of his family to be ordained an Elder just days before he passed away from bleeding of the lungs in October 1871. He passed at the young age of twenty-three years old.

                                                                                                                                                                              Source: The University of Utah
                                                                                                                                                                              https://exhibits.lib.utah.edu/s/century-of-black-mormons/page/able-moroni#?c=&m=&s=&cv=&xywh=-374%2C-551%2C7473%2C6271
                                                                                                                                                                              , son of Mary Ann Adams and Elijah Able Elijah Able cancel (1808-1812)-1884 Born sometime between 1808 and 1812, Elijah Able grew up in a radically divided United States. Despite the world's views the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints baptized Able in 1832. Able moved to Church headquarters in Kirkland where in 1836 he was ordained to the Melchizedek Priesthood and ordained a Seventy. In 1838 he went on a mission to New York and Canada and then joined the Saints in Nauvoo, Illinois. He married Mary Ann Adams in 1847 and together they had four children. In 1853 the family moved to Salt Lake City, Utah where Able worked on the temple and served another mission in Ohio. In 1852 Brigham Young Brigham Young cancel 1801-1877 Born in 1801 in Vermont, Brigham Young married his first wife, Miriam Works, in New York in 1824. Both were baptized in the Church in 1832, but shortly after, Miriam passed away from tuberculosis, and Brigham remarried Mary Ann Angell. He served as an Apostle in the Quorum of the Twelve and assumed leadership of the Church after Joseph Smith's death, becoming its prophet in 1847. During his ministry, he orchestrated the westward migration of the Saints and also held the position of Utah's first governor. A strong advocate for the practice of plural marriage, Brigham Young was sealed to over 50 women during his lifetime, including Eliza R. Snow and Zina D. Huntington Jacobs. Together with 16 of his wives, they had a total of 56 children. His leadership continued until his passing on August 29, 1877.

                                                                                                                                                                              Source: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
                                                                                                                                                                              https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/study/history/topics/brigham-young?lang=eng https://in.churchofjesuschrist.org/gospel-topics/prophet-brigham-young
                                                                                                                                                                              announced a policy of withholding the priesthood from black males. Able retained his priesthood and standing but was denied twice when applying for permission to receive his temple endowment and to be sealed to Mary Ann. He remained faithful until his passing in December of 1884.


                                                                                                                                                                              Source: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
                                                                                                                                                                              https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/study/history/topics/elijah-able?lang=eng
                                                                                                                                                                              was baptized and confirmed a member of the Church of Jesus Christ at the age of eight by Elihu Hiatt in the Salt Lake Valley. He remained a faithful member until his passing in October 1871. A few days prior to his death, priesthood leaders gave Moroni a blessing for his illness and ordained him an Elder, for which Moroni expressed his gratitude. info Information Sources: cancel https://exhibits.lib.utah.edu/s/century-of-black-mormons/page/able-moroni Image Source: Elijah Able Image Source: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

                                                                                                                                                                                1852

                                                                                                                                                                                Brigham Young Announces Men of Black African Descent Are Not to be Ordained to the Priesthood

                                                                                                                                                                                Historical Context

                                                                                                                                                                                What Critics Are Saying

                                                                                                                                                                                Response to Critics View

                                                                                                                                                                                Eight years after the death of Joseph Smith Joseph Smith cancel 1805-1844 Joseph Smith Jr., born on December 23, 1805, in Sharon, Vermont, was the fifth child of Joseph Smith and Lucy Mack. He had significant spiritual experiences that led him to his prophetic calling, including a vision of God the Father and Jesus Christ in 1820. He translated and published the Book of Mormon and established The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on April 6, 1830. As the leader of the Church, he called Apostles and other leaders, defined doctrines, and guided the community's growth in Ohio, Missouri, and Illinois. Tragically, Joseph Smith was martyred on June 27, 1844, in Carthage, Illinois.

                                                                                                                                                                                Source: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
                                                                                                                                                                                https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/study/history/topics/joseph-smith-jr?lang=eng
                                                                                                                                                                                , President Brigham Young Brigham Young cancel 1801-1877 Born in 1801 in Vermont, Brigham Young married his first wife, Miriam Works, in New York in 1824. Both were baptized in the Church in 1832, but shortly after, Miriam passed away from tuberculosis, and Brigham remarried Mary Ann Angell. He served as an Apostle in the Quorum of the Twelve and assumed leadership of the Church after Joseph Smith's death, becoming its prophet in 1847. During his ministry, he orchestrated the westward migration of the Saints and also held the position of Utah's first governor. A strong advocate for the practice of plural marriage, Brigham Young was sealed to over 50 women during his lifetime, including Eliza R. Snow and Zina D. Huntington Jacobs. Together with 16 of his wives, they had a total of 56 children. His leadership continued until his passing on August 29, 1877.

                                                                                                                                                                                Source: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
                                                                                                                                                                                https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/study/history/topics/brigham-young?lang=eng https://in.churchofjesuschrist.org/gospel-topics/prophet-brigham-young
                                                                                                                                                                                publicly announces that men of black African descent were not to be ordained to the Priesthood at that time. Individuals of black descent continued to be baptized and given the Gift of the Holy Ghost. Brigham Young states that in the future, Blacks in Mormonism will have all the privileges and more than they can imagine, anticipating a time when they would receive the priesthood and temple blessings. info Information Sources: cancel https://site.churchofjesuschrist.org/study/manual/gospel-topics-essays/race-and-the-priesthood?lang=eng https://eom.byu.edu/index.php/Blacks Image Source: Brigham Young Image Source: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

                                                                                                                                                                                  1852

                                                                                                                                                                                  Brigham Young States that Only God Can and Will Remove the Limitation on Blacks and the Priesthood

                                                                                                                                                                                  Historical Context

                                                                                                                                                                                  What Critics Are Saying

                                                                                                                                                                                  Response to Critics View

                                                                                                                                                                                  Brigham Young Brigham Young cancel 1801-1877 Born in 1801 in Vermont, Brigham Young married his first wife, Miriam Works, in New York in 1824. Both were baptized in the Church in 1832, but shortly after, Miriam passed away from tuberculosis, and Brigham remarried Mary Ann Angell. He served as an Apostle in the Quorum of the Twelve and assumed leadership of the Church after Joseph Smith's death, becoming its prophet in 1847. During his ministry, he orchestrated the westward migration of the Saints and also held the position of Utah's first governor. A strong advocate for the practice of plural marriage, Brigham Young was sealed to over 50 women during his lifetime, including Eliza R. Snow and Zina D. Huntington Jacobs. Together with 16 of his wives, they had a total of 56 children. His leadership continued until his passing on August 29, 1877.

                                                                                                                                                                                  Source: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
                                                                                                                                                                                  https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/study/history/topics/brigham-young?lang=eng https://in.churchofjesuschrist.org/gospel-topics/prophet-brigham-young
                                                                                                                                                                                  accepts the commonly held view in ante-bellum United States that Black people are the under the curse of Cain and are denied the priesthood, but he grants them several legal and civil protections. He states that only God can remove the priesthood limitation in due time, in spite of an objection raised by Apostle Orson Pratt. info Information Sources: cancel https://catalog.churchofjesuschrist.org/assets/c87f81ec-019c-4962-b395-d7c1c925fa61/0/0 Image Source: Brigham Young Image Source: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

                                                                                                                                                                                    1845

                                                                                                                                                                                    A Mixed-race Saint Receives Temple Endowment in Nauvoo

                                                                                                                                                                                    Historical Context

                                                                                                                                                                                    What Critics Are Saying

                                                                                                                                                                                    Response to Critics View

                                                                                                                                                                                    Sarah Ann Mode Hofheintz, a bi-racial Saint, received her Washing and Anointing, and Endowment in the Nauvoo, Illinois Temple along with her husband Peter Hofheintz. info Information Sources: cancel https://exhibits.lib.utah.edu/s/century-of-black-mormons/page/hofheintz-sarah-ann-mode Image Source: The Original Nauvoo Temple Image Source: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

                                                                                                                                                                                      1844

                                                                                                                                                                                      Joseph Smith’s Runs for President of the United States and Advocates for Emancipation of Slaves

                                                                                                                                                                                      Historical Context

                                                                                                                                                                                      What Critics Are Saying

                                                                                                                                                                                      Response to Critics View

                                                                                                                                                                                      Joseph Smith Joseph Smith cancel 1805-1844 Joseph Smith Jr., born on December 23, 1805, in Sharon, Vermont, was the fifth child of Joseph Smith and Lucy Mack. He had significant spiritual experiences that led him to his prophetic calling, including a vision of God the Father and Jesus Christ in 1820. He translated and published the Book of Mormon and established The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on April 6, 1830. As the leader of the Church, he called Apostles and other leaders, defined doctrines, and guided the community's growth in Ohio, Missouri, and Illinois. Tragically, Joseph Smith was martyred on June 27, 1844, in Carthage, Illinois.

                                                                                                                                                                                      Source: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
                                                                                                                                                                                      https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/study/history/topics/joseph-smith-jr?lang=eng
                                                                                                                                                                                      runs for President of the United States. As part of his campaign, Joseph Smith proposes using the proceeds from the sale of public lands to buy slave’s freedom. info Information Sources: cancel https://archive.bookofmormoncentral.org/content/general-smiths-views-powers-and-policy-government-united-states Image Source: Joseph Smith Image Source: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Newsroom

                                                                                                                                                                                        1844

                                                                                                                                                                                        Samuel D. Chambers (1831-1929) Converted in Mississippi

                                                                                                                                                                                        Historical Context

                                                                                                                                                                                        What Critics Are Saying

                                                                                                                                                                                        Response to Critics View

                                                                                                                                                                                        Samuel D. Chambers, a thirteen-year-old slave, is baptized and confirmed a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints after engaging in missionary street meeting discussions in Mississippi. info Information Sources: cancel https://site.churchofjesuschrist.org/study/new-era/1974/06/samuel-d-chambers?lang=eng

                                                                                                                                                                                          1841-1844

                                                                                                                                                                                          Jane Manning James is invited by Joseph and Emma Smith to be Adopted as their Child in a Priesthood Sealing

                                                                                                                                                                                          Historical Context

                                                                                                                                                                                          What Critics Are Saying

                                                                                                                                                                                          Response to Critics View

                                                                                                                                                                                          While Jane resided with the Smith family in Nauvoo, Emma Hale Smith Emma Hale Smith cancel 1804-1879 Emma Hale Smith, born on July 10, 1804, in Harmony, Pennsylvania, married Joseph Smith in 1827 and played significant roles in the early Church as a scribe during the translations of the Book of Mormon and the Bible. Baptized into The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in 1830, she moved to Kirtland, Ohio, with the Saints. In 1835, Emma edited the first hymnbook of the Church. After enduring persecution in Missouri, she settled in Nauvoo, Illinois, and became the inaugural president of the Female Relief Society of Nauvoo. Following Joseph Smith's death, Emma remained in Nauvoo, marrying Lewis C. Bidamon and affiliating with the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, led by her son Joseph Smith III. Emma Smith passed away in Nauvoo on April 30, 1879.

                                                                                                                                                                                          Source: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
                                                                                                                                                                                          https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/study/history/topics/emma-hale-smith?lang=eng
                                                                                                                                                                                          extended an offer to her to be "officially embraced as their own child." While she declined this offer, perhaps being unfamiliar with this new adoptive practice, Jane firmly believed in Joseph’s prophetic role: “I did know the Prophet Joseph,” she later testified. “He was the finest man I ever saw on earth. … I was certain he was a prophet because I knew it.” info Information Sources: cancel https://site.churchofjesuschrist.org/study/history/topics/jane-elizabeth-manning-james?lang=eng&adobe_mc_ref=https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/study/history/topics/jane-elizabeth-manning-james

                                                                                                                                                                                            Mid-1840s

                                                                                                                                                                                            William Smith Confers the Priesthood Upon Quack Walker Lewis in Massachusetts

                                                                                                                                                                                            Historical Context

                                                                                                                                                                                            What Critics Are Saying

                                                                                                                                                                                            Response to Critics View

                                                                                                                                                                                            Not long after his baptism, Quack Walker Lewis Quack Walker Lewis cancel 1798-1856 Quack Walker Lewis was born in Worchester County, Massachusetts on August 3, 1798. On May 25, 1825 he married Elizabeth Lovejoy. Although he spent his life as a barber, Lewis was a founding members of the Massachusetts General Colored Association and served as President of the African Humane Society. In 1843 he was baptized by Parley P. Pratt and not long after his baptism, LDS apostle and brother of Joseph Smith, William Smith, ordained Lewis an elder. Lewis was one of at least three men of Black-African descent ordained to the Latter-day Saint priesthood during the lifetime of Joseph Smith. Throughout the turmoil that polygamy and the priesthood ban prompted, Lewis stayed true to his beliefs and faith-driven lifestyle. His righteous contributions were known across the Church and noted by several LDS apostles of the time. On October 26, 1856, at the age of 58, Lewis died of “consumption” in Lowell, Massachusetts.

                                                                                                                                                                                            Source: The University of Utah
                                                                                                                                                                                            https://exhibits.lib.utah.edu/s/century-of-black-mormons/page/lewis-quack-walker#?c=&m=&s=&cv=&xywh=-34%2C-34%2C664%2C557
                                                                                                                                                                                            is ordained as an Elder by William Smith, a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. info Information Sources: cancel https://exhibits.lib.utah.edu/s/century-of-black-mormons/page/lewis-quack-walker https://history.churchofjesuschrist.org/chd/individual/walker-lewis-1798?lang=eng Image Source: William Smith Photograph Image Source: Joseph Smith Papers

                                                                                                                                                                                              1842

                                                                                                                                                                                              Joseph Smith Publishes His Interpretation of the Book of Abraham

                                                                                                                                                                                              Historical Context

                                                                                                                                                                                              What Critics Are Saying

                                                                                                                                                                                              Response to Critics View

                                                                                                                                                                                              Joseph Smith Joseph Smith cancel 1805-1844 Joseph Smith Jr., born on December 23, 1805, in Sharon, Vermont, was the fifth child of Joseph Smith and Lucy Mack. He had significant spiritual experiences that led him to his prophetic calling, including a vision of God the Father and Jesus Christ in 1820. He translated and published the Book of Mormon and established The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on April 6, 1830. As the leader of the Church, he called Apostles and other leaders, defined doctrines, and guided the community's growth in Ohio, Missouri, and Illinois. Tragically, Joseph Smith was martyred on June 27, 1844, in Carthage, Illinois.

                                                                                                                                                                                              Source: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
                                                                                                                                                                                              https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/study/history/topics/joseph-smith-jr?lang=eng
                                                                                                                                                                                              publishes his rendition of the Book of Abraham, which at one point asserts that Pharaoh, a descendant of Noah’s son Ham through one of his daughters, had preserved a curse “upon the land” of Egypt (1:21-24). The idea of being “cursed” can simply mean being “disinherited” of property or governing rights due to covenant-breaking. Skin color is not mentioned in this text, and this passage appears to have nothing to do with race. info Information Sources: cancel https://journal.interpreterfoundation.org/being-of-that-lineage-generational-curses-and-inheritance-in-the-book-of-abraham/ https://site.churchofjesuschrist.org/study/manual/gospel-topics-essays/translation-and-historicity-of-the-book-of-abraham?lang=eng Image Source: The Book of Abraham Image Source: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Newsroom

                                                                                                                                                                                                1840

                                                                                                                                                                                                The First Presidency Extends an Invitation to All to Worship

                                                                                                                                                                                                Historical Context

                                                                                                                                                                                                What Critics Are Saying

                                                                                                                                                                                                Response to Critics View

                                                                                                                                                                                                The First Presidency gives a report at General Conference, stating, “Persons of all languages, and of every tongue, and every color, who shall wish us worship the Lord of Hosts in his holy temple, and offer up their orisons in his sanctuary.” info Information Sources: cancel https://www.josephsmithpapers.org/paper-summary/report-of-the-first-presidency-4-october-1840/2 Image Source: Kirtland, Ohio Photograph Image Source: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Newsroom

                                                                                                                                                                                                  1836

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Governor, Daniel Dunklin Cautions Church Members to Dispel Any Extreme Abolitionist Sentiments

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Historical Context

                                                                                                                                                                                                  What Critics Are Saying

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Response to Critics View

                                                                                                                                                                                                  In a letter to William W. Phelps William W. Phelps cancel 1792–1872 William W. Phelps, born on February 17, 1792, in Hanover Township, New Jersey, was a significant figure in the early history of the Church. Phelps served on the Kirtland Temple dedication committee, and served as the editor of the Church's first periodical, "The Evening and the Morning Star”, and “Upper Missouri Advertiser.” He played a pivotal role in preparing the Church's first hymnal, contributing thirty-five of the ninety hymns. In Missouri, he held positions as assistant president to David Whitmer and experienced periods of excommunication and readmission between 1838 and 1840. Later, he migrated to Utah Territory in 1848.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Source: BYU Religious Studies Center and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
                                                                                                                                                                                                  https://rsc.byu.edu/foundations-restoration/william-w-phelps https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/study/history/doctrine-and-covenants-historical-resources/people/bio-william-w-phelps?lang=eng
                                                                                                                                                                                                  , Missouri Governor, Daniel Dunklin writes, "Your neighbors accuse your people, of holding illicit communications with the Indians, and of being opposed to slavery. You deny. Whether the charge, or the denial, is true, I cannot tell. The fact exists, and your neighbors seem to believe it true; and, whether true or false, the consequences will be the same (if your opponents are not merely gasconading) unless you can by your conduct and arguments, convince them of your innocence. If you cannot do this, all I can say to you, is, that in this Republic, the vox populi is the vox Dei.” info Information Sources: cancel https://www.josephsmithpapers.org/paper-summary/history-1838-1856-volume-b-1-1-september-1834-2-november-1838/202 https://www.josephsmithpapers.org/person/daniel-dunklin Image Source: Elijah Able Image Source: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Newsroom

                                                                                                                                                                                                    1836

                                                                                                                                                                                                    Joseph Smith Publishes a Letter Emphasizing Equality and Kindness in Relation to Blacks in Mormonism

                                                                                                                                                                                                    Historical Context

                                                                                                                                                                                                    What Critics Are Saying

                                                                                                                                                                                                    Response to Critics View

                                                                                                                                                                                                    Joseph Smith Joseph Smith cancel 1805-1844 Joseph Smith Jr., born on December 23, 1805, in Sharon, Vermont, was the fifth child of Joseph Smith and Lucy Mack. He had significant spiritual experiences that led him to his prophetic calling, including a vision of God the Father and Jesus Christ in 1820. He translated and published the Book of Mormon and established The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on April 6, 1830. As the leader of the Church, he called Apostles and other leaders, defined doctrines, and guided the community's growth in Ohio, Missouri, and Illinois. Tragically, Joseph Smith was martyred on June 27, 1844, in Carthage, Illinois.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    Source: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
                                                                                                                                                                                                    https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/study/history/topics/joseph-smith-jr?lang=eng
                                                                                                                                                                                                    publishes a letter to the editor in the Church newspaper, the Messenger and Advocate. He advises missionaries to give priority to the scriptures–including the Book of Mormon, the Bible, and the newly printed Doctrine and Covenants–and to be led and governed by revelation, for if a principle or law found there turns out to be “wrong, God only is to be blamed.” He pointed to passages in Genesis, Deuteronomy, Ephesians, and 1 Timothy as the better way to know “the will of God” than by listening to the extreme abolitionists. info Information Sources: cancel http://centerplace.org/history/ma/v2n07.htm

                                                                                                                                                                                                      1836

                                                                                                                                                                                                      One of the First Known Black Members of the Church is Ordained the Priesthood

                                                                                                                                                                                                      Historical Context

                                                                                                                                                                                                      What Critics Are Saying

                                                                                                                                                                                                      Response to Critics View

                                                                                                                                                                                                      Elijah Able Elijah Able cancel (1808-1812)-1884 Born sometime between 1808 and 1812, Elijah Able grew up in a radically divided United States. Despite the world's views the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints baptized Able in 1832. Able moved to Church headquarters in Kirkland where in 1836 he was ordained to the Melchizedek Priesthood and ordained a Seventy. In 1838 he went on a mission to New York and Canada and then joined the Saints in Nauvoo, Illinois. He married Mary Ann Adams in 1847 and together they had four children. In 1853 the family moved to Salt Lake City, Utah where Able worked on the temple and served another mission in Ohio. In 1852 Brigham Young Brigham Young cancel 1801-1877 Born in 1801 in Vermont, Brigham Young married his first wife, Miriam Works, in New York in 1824. Both were baptized in the Church in 1832, but shortly after, Miriam passed away from tuberculosis, and Brigham remarried Mary Ann Angell. He served as an Apostle in the Quorum of the Twelve and assumed leadership of the Church after Joseph Smith's death, becoming its prophet in 1847. During his ministry, he orchestrated the westward migration of the Saints and also held the position of Utah's first governor. A strong advocate for the practice of plural marriage, Brigham Young was sealed to over 50 women during his lifetime, including Eliza R. Snow and Zina D. Huntington Jacobs. Together with 16 of his wives, they had a total of 56 children. His leadership continued until his passing on August 29, 1877.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      Source: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
                                                                                                                                                                                                      https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/study/history/topics/brigham-young?lang=eng https://in.churchofjesuschrist.org/gospel-topics/prophet-brigham-young
                                                                                                                                                                                                      announced a policy of withholding the priesthood from black males. Able retained his priesthood and standing but was denied twice when applying for permission to receive his temple endowment and to be sealed to Mary Ann. He remained faithful until his passing in December of 1884.


                                                                                                                                                                                                      Source: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
                                                                                                                                                                                                      https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/study/history/topics/elijah-able?lang=eng
                                                                                                                                                                                                      , an early African-American member of the Church is ordained to the Melchizedek Priesthood. The ordination was by Ambrose Palmer, and recorded by Frederick G. Williams, Second Counselor in the First Presidency, 31 March 1836. info Information Sources: cancel https://catalog.churchofjesuschrist.org/assets/96f4f1f1-d62d-460a-a317-13098bc0279b/0/82 https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/study/history/topics/elijah-able?lang=eng

                                                                                                                                                                                                        1833

                                                                                                                                                                                                        Church Newspaper States There is No Church Policy Regarding Blacks in Mormonism

                                                                                                                                                                                                        Historical Context

                                                                                                                                                                                                        What Critics Are Saying

                                                                                                                                                                                                        Response to Critics View

                                                                                                                                                                                                        In the ‘Evening and Morning Star’, editor, William W. Phelps William W. Phelps cancel 1792–1872 William W. Phelps, born on February 17, 1792, in Hanover Township, New Jersey, was a significant figure in the early history of the Church. Phelps served on the Kirtland Temple dedication committee, and served as the editor of the Church's first periodical, "The Evening and the Morning Star”, and “Upper Missouri Advertiser.” He played a pivotal role in preparing the Church's first hymnal, contributing thirty-five of the ninety hymns. In Missouri, he held positions as assistant president to David Whitmer and experienced periods of excommunication and readmission between 1838 and 1840. Later, he migrated to Utah Territory in 1848.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        Source: BYU Religious Studies Center and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
                                                                                                                                                                                                        https://rsc.byu.edu/foundations-restoration/william-w-phelps https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/study/history/doctrine-and-covenants-historical-resources/people/bio-william-w-phelps?lang=eng
                                                                                                                                                                                                        clarifies that there is no specific policy in the Church as to the inclusion of Blacks in Mormonism as members of the Church in Missouri. It reads, “To prevent any misunderstanding among the churches abroad, respecting free people of color, who may think of coming to the western boundaries of Missouri as members of the church.” info Information Sources: cancel https://contentdm.lib.byu.edu/digital/collection/NCMP1820-1846/id/28024 https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/study/history/doctrine-and-covenants-historical-resources/people/bio-william-w-phelps?lang=eng Image Source: Missouri Pioneer Home Engraving Image Source: Joseph Smith Papers

                                                                                                                                                                                                          1831

                                                                                                                                                                                                          Joseph Smith’s Bible Translation Notes Noah’s Curse on Canaan Skin

                                                                                                                                                                                                          Historical Context

                                                                                                                                                                                                          What Critics Are Saying

                                                                                                                                                                                                          Response to Critics View

                                                                                                                                                                                                          In the Old Testament, Joseph Smith Joseph Smith cancel 1805-1844 Joseph Smith Jr., born on December 23, 1805, in Sharon, Vermont, was the fifth child of Joseph Smith and Lucy Mack. He had significant spiritual experiences that led him to his prophetic calling, including a vision of God the Father and Jesus Christ in 1820. He translated and published the Book of Mormon and established The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on April 6, 1830. As the leader of the Church, he called Apostles and other leaders, defined doctrines, and guided the community's growth in Ohio, Missouri, and Illinois. Tragically, Joseph Smith was martyred on June 27, 1844, in Carthage, Illinois.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          Source: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
                                                                                                                                                                                                          https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/study/history/topics/joseph-smith-jr?lang=eng
                                                                                                                                                                                                          's translation of the Book of Genesis refers to Noah's curse on Canaan, stating that the purpose of dark skin was to distinguish Canaanites from his people. info Information Sources: cancel https://www.josephsmithpapers.org/paper-summary/old-testament-revision-1/28 Image Source: Joseph Smith Translation of the Bible Image Source: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Newsroom

                                                                                                                                                                                                            Late 1830 - Early 1831

                                                                                                                                                                                                            One of the First Known Black Individuals Participates in Latter-day Saint Worship

                                                                                                                                                                                                            Historical Context

                                                                                                                                                                                                            What Critics Are Saying

                                                                                                                                                                                                            Response to Critics View

                                                                                                                                                                                                            Peter Kerr, known as "Black Pete," participates in worship with members of the church in Kirtland, Ohio, and is considered a member of their company. There is no known record of his baptism in the church. info Information Sources: cancel https://exhibits.lib.utah.edu/s/century-of-black-mormons/page/peter#?%23_ftn1&xywh=-1845%2C-230%2C6885%2C4596&c=&m=&s=&cv= Image Source: Peter Kerr, United States Census Image Source: J. Willard Marriott Library, The University of Utah

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