Blacks and the Priesthood
“And I believe that in 1978, God changed his mind about black people!”
The first presidency said that the reasons for the priesthood restriction “we believe are only known to God, and not to man.” To this day, we have not been told the reasons for the ban that lasted until 1978. Some Church leaders, including Bruce R. McConkie, speculated on the reasons, but McConkie later wrote,
“Forget everything I have said, or what… Brigham Young… or whomsoever has said… that is contrary to the present revelation. We spoke with a limited understanding and without the light and knowledge that now has come into the world.”
The official declaration released by the Church reads like this:
“As we have witnessed the expansion of the work of the Lord over the earth, we have been grateful that people of many nations have responded to the message of the restored gospel, and have joined the Church in ever-increasing numbers. This, in turn, has inspired us with a desire to extend to every worthy member of the Church all of the privileges and blessings which the gospel affords.
“Aware of the promises made by the prophets and presidents of the Church who have preceded us that at some time, in God’s eternal plan, all of our brethren who are worthy may receive the priesthood, and witnessing the faithfulness of those from whom the priesthood has been withheld, we have pleaded long and earnestly in behalf of these, our faithful brethren, spending many hours in the Upper Room of the Temple supplicating the Lord for divine guidance.
“He 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. Accordingly, all worthy male members of the Church may be ordained to the priesthood without regard for race or color. Priesthood leaders are instructed to follow the policy of carefully interviewing all candidates for ordination to either the Aaronic or the Melchizedek Priesthood to insure that they meet the established standards for worthiness.
“We declare with soberness that the Lord has now made known his will for the blessing of all his children throughout the earth who will hearken to the voice of his authorized servants, and prepare themselves to receive every blessing of the gospel.”
To read about professor Randy Bott and his February 2012 racist comments, read my post on Bottgate and lingering Mormon racism and folklore.