Thirty-seven years ago Monday, President Kimball, then prophet of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, said that black men of African descent who were members of the church would be allowed to be ordained to the priesthood and black men and women of African descent would be allowed to participate in ordinances in LDS temples.
For most of LDS Church history, this hadn't been the case.
"(The Lord) has heard our prayers, and by revelation has confirmed that the long-promised day has come when every faithful, worthy man in the Church may receive the holy priesthood, with power to exercise its divine authority, and enjoy with his loved ones every blessing that flows therefrom, including the blessings of the temple," President Spencer W. Kimball, then prophet of the church, said in a letter read aloud in a general conference broadcast on Sept. 30, 1978.
To commemorate the 37th anniversary, Twitter chat #BlkLDS37 was hosted by @jananamirah. Participants discussed possible origins of the restriction, whether or not members still justify the earlier ban and whether denying priesthood ordination to black members of African descent was the result of policy or doctrine, among other topics.
In honor of the anniversary, here are other resources surrounding the topic:
Deseret News 35th anniversary profile series:
On the 35th anniversary of the announcement, the Deseret News wrote a series of profiled on black church members:
- "Modern pioneer will always be linked to the 1978 revelation"
- "Stake president has no room in life for prejudice"
- "Ex-Black Panther finds strength in gospel path"
- "Family's mission: Help Saints come together"
- "Having priesthood 'is my better means to serve'"
In addition, religion specialist Carole Mikita also gave an overview of what has happened in the LDS Church since the restriction was lifted, including insights from Mormon historian Darius Gray and another black member of the LDS Church. Watch the KSL story or read about it here.
LDS Church essay
More recently, in December 2013, the church released a series of essays on LDS.org, including one titled, "Race and the Priesthood."