Comments about ‘Ask Angela: Teaching about the priesthood revelation on MLK Jr.'s birthday’

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Published: Monday, Jan. 20 2014 11:35 a.m. MST

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Harwich, MA

"Lifting the ban was not based on political expediency or social pressure."
This is exactly why the ban was lifted. Can you imagine back in the 70's if the Church had lost it's tax exempt status with the federal government the tremendous economical loss it would have meant to the Church. It's staggering. This was a business decision by SWK and the Q12 and it was not unanimous. But it had to happen or "City Creek" many of the new temples and so on and so on would never have happened.

Jaime Lee Bonberger
Houston, TX

Angela's advice is dead on. If the basic principles of the restored gospel are not intriguing in the first place, no other gospel topic is really worth discussing at length. The first goals should to strengthen friendship, which can endure whether or not the family is interested in the gospel, and let them know what you believe and drives the way you live your life.

As for references to the topic of Blacks and the Priesthood, the Edward Kimball article mentioned by others is excellent.

I'd also recommend Elder Joseph Sitati's October 2009 General Conference talk entitled "Blessings of the Gospel Available to All". I've heard him address the topic in person and in more detail, but he repeated several times that the central points are in this conference talk.

layton, UT

RE: Semi-Strong, ‘Edward Kimball’, son of late LDS President Spencer W. Kimball., “We pay lip service to the prophet’s fallibility, But when you come down to specifics, we can’t think of any incidents where a prophet was wrong.”?

Jesus gave the commandment. “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations(ethnos=ethnicity), baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit/Ghost”(Mt 28:19);

“Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.”(Mark 16:15).

@1.96 Standard Deviations, “Jew and Gentile(Hellēn=a Greek) are the Same in this respect. …, For “Everyone’ who calls on the name of the LORD(YHWH) be saved.”(Romans 10:12-13 NLT)

Richard Ostling "What happened in 1978 was that this burden was lifted from Black Mormons. More importantly, a huge burden was lifted from Mormonism because it was rid of Theological Racism." i.e..,
(Genesis 7:22 JST) “all the seed of Adam save it were the seed of Cain; for the seed of Cain were black and had not a place among them.”

Louisville, KY


You are changing topics (again). The simple point is that Edward Kimball’s piece repudiates the political expediency argument, right?

As to prophets being fallible. Kimball is right. Yes, they are fallible but what we see as failure is not always so.

Think of Jonah (interestingly one of the few prophets cited by Christ). After preaching in Nineveh, he felt that he had been shown to be wrong. God then teaches him otherwise.

Paul talked to Peter when the latter would not eat with Gentiles. Paul himself was in a rather sharp contention with Barnabas.

From this I take it that even great men of God are fallible yet remain men of God.


As I and my family (we're all caucasian) moved from place to place around the country, I have asked several African-American members of the church why they joined the church. Everyone of them said the same thing: The Holy Spirit witnessed to them that it is true. That's the same reason that I joined the church when I was 23 back in 1983. There are many reasons why people investigate the church, but ultimately there is only one "good" reason to join: A witness by the Spirit.

As for the 1978 revelation, I understand the desire on the part of the Saints to find explanations. Yet I was pleased when the church offcially declared that it was never God's intent to withhold the priesthood from those with African blood. There is no authoritative declaration initiating the practice. It was wrong all along and it's been humbly and apologetically corrected. For any hurts that remains, the only way to obtain full healing is through Christ.

sandy, ut

Christopher B

To answer your quesion about the book:

Yes, it is called: MEANS OF PRESERVING HEALTH, AND PREVENTING DISEASES, Dr. Shadrach Ricketson. Printed by Collins, Perkins, and Co, New York, 1806.

I ordered a copy on amazon.com so I could see it for myself. It is the real deal. It is very interesting, especially since it was published in New York!

Provo, Utah

As LDS (senior) missionaries, my wife and I have had many opportunities to discuss many gospel topics with native Africans and people of African descent in the US and elsewhere.

My experience is that Angela's answer is right on target. What people really care about is what the gospel of Jesus Christ, and especially the restored gospel of Jesus Christ has to offer them and their families. Yes, the issue of priesthood will likely come up sooner or later, but it becomes of minor concern once a close relationship is established and they understand what the Savior really offers them. Evidence of this is the rate at which Africans are joining the Church, and the many who joined the Church years ago, knowing that they could not, at that time, receive the priesthood. They knew through the Spirit that the restored gospel of Jesus Christ was for them.

Hope this helps.

Bakersfield, CA

Lost, lost, lost. So sad to have to revisit this issue. Thoroughly unbiblical theology...

Alan Cherry (look up Black LDS Author) was my Sunday School teacher at Ricks, 1969-70. He was a beautiful, humble, articulate soul. But even then we all knew it was wrong, a travesty and an injustice.

Thank God many of us found the Truth in God's Word:
"For the word of God is living and powerful... Piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. And there is no creature that is hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to Whom we must give an account." Hebrews 4:12,13. And the rest of the book gives the Biblical priesthood for followers of the Biblical Christ.

Eldersburg, MD

Christopher B

You said, "Ok, and when 2 people get opposite answers as to the answer to a doctrinal question, which is the correct one?".

Humans believe and follow what aligns best with perceptions of "possiblility" or "truth". Experiences and exposure in life create according to what they might accept, integral with existing beliefs.

If humans believe what is most congruent with what they know, then wouldn't God who understands all things, give His truths and knowledge in a manner they are most willing to believe and accept?

Does this in any way negate God or that one person becomes more prepared by life experiences to receive a greater purity of truth then another person?

Would that make God a respecter of persons?

Could it be that your will was to uphold current beliefs, versus seek and follow the will of God, even if His purer answers stand contrary to personal conclusions and what you were willing to prove / accept?

God's truth is not frustrated by humanity, but we determine the portion He can share with us according to humility, teachability, and willingness to change for His word's sake. Hense, diverse interpretations of God exist.

layton, UT

RE: Semi-Strong, ‘His disciples continue to go to the temple? Jesus' own disciples, both before and after Pentecost, frequently didn't understand what the Master was doing. Although they had a perfect Teacher, they often failed to understand him correctly. Nevertheless, Jesus used them. This demonstrated that the disciples' success was a result of God's work, not human achievement.

Peter confirms Paul as an Apostle.(2Peter 3:16) The Apostles in agreement:

(1 Tim 6:16 NLT)… he(God) lives in light so brilliant that no human can approach him. No human eye has ever seen him, nor ever will.

(Heb 11:27)… he (Moses)endured, as seeing him who is invisible.

“(1 John 4:1).. test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world…..verse 12 No man hath seen God at any time.

RE: Twin lights: D. Michael Quinn, at "the cornerstone-laying ceremony for the Brazilian temple on 9 March 1977." states that "Kimball privately told Helvecio Martins, a faithful black member, to prepare himself to receive the priesthood" in the not too distant future (The Mormon Hierarchy: Extensions of Power, p. 16).

Christmas Carole

@Christopher B
I don't think your ? was answered(haven't had time to read all)...

Leaders of the church are everyday people...they express their personal thoughts like anyone else....ONLY when they are SPEAKING for God is it meant to be guidance for the church as a whole. Bruce R. and others were speaking for themselves(his Mormon Doctrine, for instance, was specifically stated to be PERSONAL opinion)...IF there is a statement made(specifying it is revelation for Church) in opposition to the 1978 revelation then I'm not aware of it...IF there is then my thoughts are that AGAIN...our leaders are but human striving like the rest of us...HOWEVER to date(since 1972)I have yet to see a leader express ANYTHING in opposition to Gospel Principles...

Twin Lights
Louisville, KY


So the apostles did not understand Christ but you do? Sorry, but I simply cannot believe that. To believe that they failed (in the end) to understand Christ would call into question everything they taught and wrote which means the entire NT becomes an unreliable record and we can call off any attempt at following Christ or being Christians.

Yes, the apostles were often (perhaps almost always) in agreement. My point was that they were imperfect and the record shows that.

Edward Kimball relates many stories of how there were precursors to the 1978 revelation – things that indicated change was coming but NOT due to political pressure but signs from the Holy Ghost.

BTW, Dr. Quinn has an axe to grind so I will be unmoved by most things he produces.

Bakersfield, CA

I guess you all missed the "inference", so I'll help you. Or read the book of Hebrews as it is clearly written.

No aspect of the LDS priesthood is Biblical, except for the meaning of the elements.
Biblical priests and the High Priest did temple sacrifices, period. No marriages or celestial endowments were ever practiced.
New Testament church leaders are all called as adult men. The only prohibitions are boys, women or polygamists.
Skin color or ethnicity has never been an issue of salvation, justification, exaltation or blessings in any way.

Hence all problems associated with Mormon priesthood are due to its unbiblical structure, from the purely evangelical/literal position. The Black prohibition is only one of many unbiblical additions. Christ didn't even say how often to partake of the Passover symbols.

Potsdam, 00

To OnlytheCross,

I admire your devotion for the Bible text and God's word.
However being among Mormons on side you should have studied more carefully how they came up with such as Priesthood and Sacrament and Saving Ordinances.

You will be surprised how many scriptures Israel had in times of Abraham and Joseph.
We lack these scriptures and because God said : (If any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book)

That is a clear indication that many have tried to do so, and many have succeeded in taking scriptures away. That is where the LDS church is founded on, on the teachings of Christ, which were lost and have been taken by evil men. Would you want to belong to the group of those that have done so ? Save yourself, save the truth.

John Pack Lambert of Michigan
Ypsilanti, MI

I would recommend reading Marvin Perkins statements and teachings about the issue.

If this family are African-Americans with long background in the US, avoiding the topic is not wise. I would say focus on Jesus and the Book of Mormon, but bring up the priesthood issue, best using actual statements of African-Americans like Perkins. The race and the priesthood section on the church website has some video connected to it that might also be helpful.

If they or there parents immigrated to the US from Ghana, Nigeria, Jamaica or Haiti, I would put off bringing up the issue. It is much less likely to be part of their preconceived notions on the Church.

Lastly I would emphasize that we only know that the Lord allowed the ban, not that he ever actively permitted it. We do not understand the Lord as much as we sometimes claim. His ways are not our ways.

John Pack Lambert of Michigan
Ypsilanti, MI

The "despite not holding callings" line is slightly misleading. There may have been African-American church members who did not hold callings. However, they could still and in some cases did hold callings. There were cases of African-Americans serving as Sunday School presidents.

On the other hand, it has been a long road since 1978, and we still have a lot further to travel. a quarter of my stakes high council is African-American, but I fear we will go down before we ever go above that level. At the same time, over 40% of the people who live in the boundaries of my stake are African-American.

Marvin Perkins and Darius Gray as well as others have done a great work in expanding thinking on this matter. However I fear too many white Latter-day Saints have not put forth the effort to really understand and be able to love African-Americans. Even less are they able to relate to them.

As a missionary in Las Vegas from 2000-2002 I saw that many Church members still held very racist attitudes. However I think the bigger problem was an unwillingness to understand the cultural background many African-Americans were coming from.


If their friends obtain a testimony of the Gospel itself, when blacks were finally allowed to be ordained to the Priesthood and go to the temple to receive their endowments and be sealed won't matter to them at all. If they don't gain a testimony, then they will get hung up on it. It's really that simple.

Also, considering that MLK was a Baptist, and that the priesthood revelation didn't really have anything to do with the civil rights movement, MLK's birthday may not have been as appropriate a day to discuss this issue as it seemed.

Open and honest
Manchester, 00

Tell them the truth, read them 'Race and the Priesthood' from lds.org

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