Church’s first African-American general authority is an accounting professor, taught at BYU and played basketball for SUU

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  • Husker2 , 00
    April 9, 2019 3:04 p.m.

    There have been countless black bishops, cardinals, priests, and deacons in the 2,000+ year history of the Christian Church. It has always been a worldwide church so this diversity is not surprising.

  • sharrona layton, UT
    April 9, 2019 7:56 a.m.

    NoNamesAccepted. Full time clergy in the early Christian Church.

    The Gospel in Africa had, great early scholars like (African Bishop) Augustine. His mother, St Monica was a Berber, someone who is from North Africa. So, St. Monica would certainly not have white skin. Augustine was a major influence, on the Reformation theologians, they have the African church to thank for a great deal of their theology."

    Tertullian( A.D. 170-215) brown North African not Black sub-Saharan Africans. If these men had been Americans they would have been classified as Black."

    Athanasius,(A.D. 296-373)This black African was one of the most important people in the history of Christianity.

  • NoNamesAccepted St. George, UT
    April 8, 2019 8:08 p.m.

    @Gildas: "...we have such professions represented (probably the wrong word) in the general authorities today?"

    Probably not. Even 100 years ago, J. Golden Kimball said he often felt out of place as a "mule skinner" among so many bankers, businessmen, and other professionals.

    Why is this the case? I posit two reasons.

    1-The proportion of our population engaged in agricultural activities is dramatically lower than it was in the 19th century. in 1850, almost 70% of the US's population lived on farms. Today, fewer than 2% do. I expect a similar drop would be seen in fishing, ranching, and artisan work like wood working. Simple odds decrease.

    2-Without formal seminaries to train clergy, General Authorities within The restored Church of Jesus Christ get "on the job training" as they serve as Bishops, Stake Presidents, Mission Presidents, etc. These positions require a lot of time that those working 60+ hours a week to earn a living may not have available for church service.

    We may see more tradesmen in high church service as the churc expands in Africa and South America.

  • sharrona layton, UT
    April 8, 2019 10:19 a.m.

    Hbeckett” What is the big furor about where he is from our prophet choose him after revelation from our Savior.”True,

    “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations(G. Ethnos)baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost(Mt 28:19) .
    (Acts 13:1) ”.. prophets and teachers; as Barnabas, and Simeon that was called …(black G3526) and Lucius of Cyrene… and Saul.”

  • hbeckett Colfax, CA
    April 8, 2019 9:22 a.m.

    what is the btg furor about where he is from our prophet choose him after revelation from our Savior who happens to be in charge and control of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints which happens to bear his Name

  • RWIR Canada, 00
    April 7, 2019 11:27 p.m.

    To be really sure you would have to check the US immigration status of Martins, Dube and Sitati as at least some general Authority Seventies seem to find themselves headquartered in the US at least part of the time. (If being born in (South) America doesn’t in itself make one “American”).

  • RockOn1224 Spanish Fork, UT
    April 7, 2019 6:14 p.m.

    Good to also remember that Elder Elijah Abel was a member for the 3rd Quorum of Seventy in the 1840's.

    According to Margaret Young, "Elijah Abel, early convert to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS), was born on July 25, 1810 in Washington County, Maryland to Andrew and Delilah Abel, likely in bondage. There is some evidence that he used the Underground Railroad to escape slavery. He eventually found his way to the first settlement of the Latter-day Saints: Kirtland, Ohio. Church records indicate that he joined the Church. On March 3, 1836, he was ordained to the Melchizedek priesthood, and was subsequently ordained (April 4, 1841) into the Quorum of the Seventy, the first person of African ancestry to join that group. This was a missionary designation and signified some power within the Church."

  • Gildas LOGAN, UT
    April 7, 2019 5:52 p.m.

    For a Church started by a carpenter from a poor town, and restored by a poor farm boy, who received his authority via three fishermen, I sometimes wonder if we have such professions represented (probably the wrong word) in the general authorities today? All answers and / or explanations welcomed. Maybe it's all corporations and institutions these days. This is an honest inquiry and not meant to be a criticism.

  • chadpetty Raleigh, NC
    April 7, 2019 4:48 p.m.

    Elder Johnson was the presiding authority at our stake conference a couple of weeks ago, and he taught us powerfully and with the Spirit.

  • OneCougar FR, 00
    April 7, 2019 1:43 p.m.

    @ldsmama - Elder Sitati is from Kenya and Elder Dube is from Zimbabwe.

  • OC Fan Orange County, CA
    April 7, 2019 1:41 p.m.


    "First? What about Elders Sitati and Dube?"

    They are from Kenya and Zimbabwe, respectively.

    Just re-read the headline if the article is too long.

  • geekusprimus Little Elm, TX
    April 7, 2019 12:39 p.m.


    The clarification was "first African-American" general authority. Elders Sitati and Dube are from Kenye and Zimbabwe, respectively, not the United States.

  • ER in AF GT, 00
    April 7, 2019 11:42 a.m.


    He is from the United State. He is an African-American saint. Elder Sitati and Dube are African saints. Proudly, I am happy to have lived in the same stake in Harare, Zimbabwe with Elder Dube and his family.

    To be fair, I asked that same question before I put a little thought to it and understood, and I lived in Africa for 5 years!

  • momof10kids Mapleton, UT
    April 7, 2019 11:06 a.m.

    Nice article about him & his daughters. Is he married & if so what are her accomplishments?

  • Common-Tator Saint Paul, MN
    April 7, 2019 10:20 a.m.

    His sports history is nice ... but I'd be much more interested in reading about his spiritual development, church position held, etc. As inspiring as his sports history may be, I'd suggest his spiritual history would be decidedly more so.

  • truthwillprevail Cedar City, UT
    April 7, 2019 10:19 a.m.

    I taught him at SUU in the early 1990s. He was always a special spirit, very popular and driven. I'm not surprised that he has gone this far.

  • Brave Sir Robin San Diego, CA
    April 7, 2019 10:10 a.m.


    Elders Sitati and Dube are African, not African American.

  • NeilT Harrisville, UT
    April 7, 2019 9:58 a.m.

    ldsmama. I suspect you did what I did and misunderstood. He is the first African American General Authority not the first General Authority of African descent. Easy to misunderstand.

  • John Wilson Idaho Falls, 00
    April 7, 2019 9:48 a.m.

    In response to "ldsmamma"s question.

    Elders Joseph Sitati from Kenya and Edward Dube of Zimbabwe are of Black African ancestry, but being from the continent of Africa are not African American. Not mentioned was Elder HelvÉcio Martins, the first General Authority of Black African ancestry, but he was from Brazil and therefore also not African American. Elder Peter Johnson is from America and is also of Black African Ancestry and therefore properly referred to as the first African American General Authority.

  • CougarCat Tucson, AZ
    April 7, 2019 9:28 a.m.

    I was about to echo / second ldsmama's comment....but then I realized Elders Sitate and Dube are African. Elder Johnson must be from the USA with African ancestry - which I presume on closer inspection is the point of this article.

    Elder Sitate came to our stake's conference back in 2011 - a wonderful man. When he spoke the time just flew by and we didn't want him to stop at either of the general sessions. Thank heaven for people like him!

  • JPL South Jordan, UT
    April 7, 2019 9:23 a.m.

    They left out that he also played for Dixie for two years. He was a stand out guy, always something special about him on and off the court.

  • Never Mind Provo, UT
    April 7, 2019 9:20 a.m.

    It should be noted that there have been black Seventies for almost 30 years now. The first one, if I recall correctly, was Helvecio Martins from Brazil.

  • ldsironrodder Mt Vernon, OH
    April 7, 2019 9:09 a.m.

    Let us hope he is the first of many. Fortunately, the Lord Jesus Christ is the Living Head of His Church, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Fortunately, President Russell Marion Nelson is His Living Prophet upon the earth at this time. Fortunately, the Holy Ghost is the Third Member of the God-head. I believe I have made my observation clear enough.

    Elders Sitati and Dube are, in the true sense of the word, African. Conversely, Elder Johnson is, in the true sense of the word, American.

  • Maximus Meridius Salt Lake City, UT
    April 7, 2019 7:44 a.m.

    I believe he is not the first black GA but the first who is an American.

  • StevePhilly Philadelphia, PA
    April 7, 2019 6:47 a.m.

    There have been other General Authorities of African descent who lived in Brazil at the time of their call. But this article is referring to the fact that he is the first General Authority of African descent who was born and raised in the United States.

  • nsteph Providence, UT
    April 7, 2019 6:46 a.m.

    Elder Johnson is a great man! I was a student in his accounting class at BYU and he was one of my favorite professors.

  • Herbert Gravy Salinas, CA
    April 7, 2019 5:59 a.m.

    @LDS Mama

    I made the same mistake. The two you mention are not African-AMERICAN. Elder Johnson was born in the United States.

    Elders Dube and Sitati were born in Africa.

  • ChiMed South Jordan, UT
    April 7, 2019 4:01 a.m.

    Elders Sitati and Dube are African (from Kenya and Zimbabwe). Elder Johnson is from New York, making him the first AMERICAN general authority of African descent. This is an exciting development!

  • ClarkHippo Tooele, UT
    April 7, 2019 2:29 a.m.


    Elder Sitati and Elder Dube are not from the United States. Elder Sitati is from Kenya and Elder Dube is from Zimbabwe. The late Helvecio Martins, the first black general authority, was from Brazil.

    Elder Johnson was born and raised in the U.S. That is the difference here.

    I hope this helps answer your question.

  • portalYguy Manti, UT
    April 7, 2019 1:13 a.m.

    @ldsmamma.... I believe that Elders Sitati and Dube are both African born... versus "African-AMERICAN".... therefore the distinction.

  • bishopcox Highland, UT
    April 7, 2019 12:14 a.m.

    @ldsmama Elders Sitati and Dube are African while Elder Johnson is African-American, from Alabama.

  • rubbergoose Bountiful, UT
    April 7, 2019 12:14 a.m.

    Elders Sitati and Dube are Africans and not African American.

  • Elwood P. Suggins Beaverton, OR
    April 6, 2019 9:42 p.m.

    Great news.

  • ldsmama Boise, ID
    April 6, 2019 8:35 p.m.

    First? What about Elders Sitati and Dube?