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LDS. What was the catalyst for changing the rules about blacks in the priesthood?

I have heard a couple different reasons. 1. A responder in here said there was a very outspoken black member who made enough noise that the leadership finally took notice and changed the rules. 2. I was shown a transcription of a recorded interview with one of the quorum of 12, [i think] that states that the change was a direct result of a temple being built in Brazil. It may be one of these reasons or something else entirely. The two possible reasons I listed were both explained by current members but I dont know which one is right. Maybe Both? I would also appreciate any links to related information found on approved LDS sites if at all possible. Thank You.


Payer and revelation is what actually DID it....[has it been cannonized yet?] but something MADE leadership stop and re-think it to begin with and thats what I want to know about THIS issue.The issue of polygamy came up when mans criminal law made it illegal. Before that time it was considered "the norm". That happened [I Think] because it was ALREADY a mormon rule that breaking mans laws was not tolerated by the church either. That means the new criminal law was catalyst for the change in the mormon rules. There is always some kind of catalyst when major change occurs and thats just the way it is.

Update 2:

[[ They do not cave to political, social or internal pressures ]]...... With all due respect, if that were true wouldn't the LDS men still have multiple wives just like the FLDS?

Update 3:

First of all, I am now awake after reading your answers and the provided link information until well past 3 AM this morning. It is FASCINATING and VERY informative in SOOOO many ways! I think every black member and all other members who care about church history and/or have black friends need to look at this information. I still have a ways to go to get through alot of this DOCUMENTED and VERIFIED information, but it is important beyond measure.Starting with first link given, and looking at the "in line" links as you go, should hook a true inquiring mormon mind/heart rather quickly. Im not even a Mormon, and my current bloodshot eyes speak for themselves.I got "lost" in this stuff before I posted the usual reminder for a star if people found this QUESTION interesting enough to share.Please forget the QUESTION 'norm' on this one and explore the ANSWERS as I hope you will find them as fascinating and informative as I have.If you were interested enough to answer yourself,LOOK at ANSWERS!

13 Answers

  • 1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    As a young couple in the 1960s, my wife and I attended a meeting in one of the University (of Utah) wards while visiting in Salt Lake City and were shocked at the discussion of supporting the blacks in Africa. To us, being from the pacific northwest, where blacks are/were a very small minority (especially compared to Asians and native Americans), we were completely unaware of the situation. The discussion centered on sending books and other materials to various people in Africa and the prayers that someday, they would hold the Priesthood.

    Obviously, and from the answers given, this has been foremost in the minds of LDS leaders and members for a long time.

    It should be pointed out that one of the reasons the LDS were "sent packing" fom Missouri was because the LDS were against slavery. So the statement about the LDS being bigoted against the blacks is something of a straw man that history refutes rather soundly.

    As to "caving in under pressure," there is Biblical precedence for man being able to sway the Lord - Abraham argued with the Lord over the matter of sparing Sodom (Genesis 18:16-33). Likewise, Moses argued with God over the matter of speaking to Israel and so God appointed Aaron to be Moses' spokesperson. And so it was on two important matters - the matter of God's command regarding plural marriage and the matter of the Priesthood being made available to all worthy males, that God relented and provided the guidance in the matter to resolve the issue.

    Another matter is worth mentioning - as another response related in this matter (one of the great stories of the church in the 20th century), the leadership wasn't even aware of established branches in Africa. In the early days of the church under Jesus and even under Peter, the Gospel was taken only to the Israelites - it was not preached to the gentiles (the non-Jews). When a centurion approached Peter and related a dream (vision) he had, Peter observed that God was no respecter of persons, and so the gospel was then sent to the gentiles, as well as the Jews. So precedence has been set in at least three instances in the Bible for the Lord making changes in practices / policies. The destruction of Sodom averted (momentarily); the spokesperson for Moses; and permitting the Gospel to go to the gentiles.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    From what I have read on the nonmormon site, it was that a temple was being built in a hispanic country and no one there would be able to e temple workers as none were preisthood holders, (even Asians, indians and all other dark skin people could not hold th e preisthood at the time) so the temple would just sit there, no one would get baptized for th edead ect. So Spencer W Kimble asked the brothern to fast and pray about it, and the ordiance was finally changed. FYI I would say it is the Brazile temple they were talking about, it was dedicated in 1979, one year after 1978 when blacks could have the priesthood.


    Announcement: 1 March 1975

    Groundbreaking and Site Dedication: 20 March 1976 by James E. Faust

    Public Open House: September 1978

    Dedication: 30 October–2 November 1978 by Spencer W. Kimball

    Public Open House: 17 January–14 February 2004

    Rededication: 22 February 2004 by Gordon B. Hinckley

    Source(s): The Mormon Church views temples as profit centers. When a temple is built, they have an identifiable increase in all revenue from the area, and specifically tithing.
  • 1 decade ago

    First for everyone. Blacks could be members of the church before the the change, they were baptized and received the Holy spirit just as any other member. I don't want to make a huge post there is a lot to the answer to much to post so I will refer you to a website that I hope will answer you questions satifactorily. It helped me when I had the same questions.

    I'd also look at the revelation that was recieved about blacks and the priesthood.

    I will say that the only way the LDS church would make a change is by direct revelation from the Lord. They do not cave to political, social or internal pressures.

  • Jacob
    Lv 5
    1 decade ago

    As I understand it, it went a lot like the revelations to Joseph Smith- something prompted a question, the answer came and the change was made.

    The temple was being built in brazil- under revelation from God. This led the president to ask God when Blacks would receive the priesthood or why build one there since many members there have african blood. It was then revealed that it was now time for them to be restored full priesthood authority.

  • 1 decade ago

    The story about the temple in Brazil goes that many of the people of Brazil who worked on that temple were black or partially so, and so could not hold the priesthood; but still they were quite excited abouthaving a temple.

    Also, there were large groups (hundreds) of people in western Africa (all black) who had read the Book of Mormon, and would meet regularly as they could to discuss the Bible, B of M, etc. and begged Salt Lake to start the church there.

    It was during this period of so many blacks wanting to join the church that prompted God to make sure that all General Authorities knew that it was now time that all worthy male members received thepriesthood.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    President Kimball said that every prophet prayed about this issue. As far as I know, it was the only indication of a catalyst. Everything else is speculation.

    I was serving a mission in Peru when I and my companion received word about the new revelation. The spirit immediately testified to me that it was true. Later, we were visiting the apartment of a young man, who was a member of the church. He told us about how his girlfriend had some black ancestry, and how he had made it a matter for prayer. He wanted to be married in the temple with her, but that was against common practice, as the temple ordinances involve the confering of priesthood. He showed us his personal journal where he recorded the answer to his prayer - several months previously - the Lord told him not to worry, that soon the priesthood would be given to Blacks. Apparently the Lord knew before the prophet knew, and revealed it to this young man who asked in faith.

  • 1 decade ago

    Actually, some LDS missionaries were in Africa and founded a church there, and there were several people interested in joining, but they could not, because they were black. The missionaries there saw this as an area where the church could really expand if only the church would lift the ban on blacks. Upper leadership finally came around to the idea.

    Source(s): Read this in a couple of books and saw it in a documentary on PBS.
  • Isolde
    Lv 7
    1 decade ago

    From what I understand the Church did support Civil Rights legislation in the 1963. The issue of giving the priesthood to blacks came up in 1968. The Quorum of the Twelve voted to endorse the idea. One member was not present. When he returned he rejected it because it was not something to change by a vote unless it came by revelation. So the mindset of the leadership was to do it. It required faith and patience to receive a confirmation. The seed was already in their hearts to do it.

  • 1 decade ago

    "One of the most significant changes that came about during the presidency of Spencer W. Kimball was the revelation on the priesthood (see Official Declaration 2 in the Doctrine and Covenants).

    On June 1, 1978, President Kimball, with other members of the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, met in an upper room in the Salt Lake Temple. President Gordon B. Hinckley, who was present on that occasion as a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, later reported:

    “The question of extending the blessings of the priesthood to blacks had been on the minds of many of the Brethren over a period of years. It had repeatedly been brought up by Presidents of the Church. It had become a matter of particular concern to President Spencer W. Kimball.

    “Over a considerable period of time he had prayed concerning this serious and difficult question. He had spent many hours in that upper room in the temple by himself in prayer and meditation.

    “On this occasion he raised the question before his Brethren—his Counselors and the Apostles. Following this discussion we joined in prayer in the most sacred of circumstances. President Kimball himself was voice in that prayer. … The Spirit of God was there. And by the power of the Holy Ghost there came to that prophet an assurance that the thing for which he prayed was right, that the time had come, and that now the wondrous blessings of the priesthood should be extended to worthy men everywhere regardless of lineage.

    “Every man in that circle, by the power of the Holy Ghost, knew the same thing.

    “It was a quiet and sublime occasion. …

    “… Not one of us who was present on that occasion was ever quite the same after that. Nor has the Church been quite the same.”32

    Announcement of the revelation took the form of a letter dated June 8, 1978, to all general and local priesthood officers in the Church: “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” (D&C, Official Declaration 2).

    President Hinckley recalled: “The letter was released to the Church and to the world. I need not tell you of the electric effect that was felt both within the Church and without. There was much weeping, with tears of gratitude not only on the part of those who previously had been denied the priesthood and who became the immediate beneficiaries of this announcement, but also by men and women of the Church across the world who had felt as we had felt concerning this matter.”33

    About three months later, President Kimball stated, referring to the revelation: “One of the Brethren said yesterday that now has come one of the greatest changes and blessings that has ever been known. … Outside of a few people who always want to be contrary, the people of the world have accepted this change with their gratitude. … So we are very, very happy about this, especially for those who had been deprived of these blessings before.”"

  • 1 decade ago

    the polygamy thing was definitely caving into preasue. the U.s. governmet sent 1500 troops to Utah to kill Brigham young and the leadership of the church and Utah was not allowed to become a state until it was quashed.

    the black thingie was preasure too. Society had long changed their view on blacks..but the real deal is that the federal govt. threatened to stop federal funding of the church owned BYU; several months later god gave the prophet a revelation; go figure.

    Source(s): ex mormon. many mormon family members, one who was in Byu leadership in 1977 and told me the real deal. my dad served a mission in Brazil in 1968-71. He had a hard time explaining to the blacks that they were just not "worthy". he said it was a terrible experience. the truth is, the mormon church is one of the most racist white supremecy groups in the history of the world. I served a mission on an indian reservation in south dakota...try explaining to them that they were cursed by god for being wicked...somehow every missionary I knew kinda glossed over that part of the discusions.
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