Brigham Young and the Priesthood Ban for Blacks in Mormonism

Brigham Young’s opinions and policies as president of the church appear to have changed over time. In Winter Quarters Young praised Q. Walker Lewis’s (a Black elder in the church) exemplary character as a priesthood holder. However, in 1852, Brigham Young stated that men of Black African descent should be banned from being ordained to the priesthood because of the curse of Cain or Canaan. He also assured that the restriction would eventually be lifted. 

Despite cultural prejudices and insensitivity in speculating the reasons for the Mormon priesthood ban, many Black individuals still joined the Mormon Church. These individuals received the Holy Ghost and were promised eventual access to all priesthood rights and temple blessings through patriarchal blessings.

Recently, Elder Quentin L. Cook, a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles in the Mormon Church, has said “We are not under the illusion that in the past all relationships were perfect, all conduct was Christlike, or all decisions were just.” Despite the past,