Tuesday, August 1, 1995

The Lives of African American Mormons and the Evolution of Church Policy


SENIOR PAPER SUBMITTED TO DR. ROBERT WESTOVER IN PARTIAL COMPLETION OF BACHELOR OF ARTS
DEPARTMENT OF HISTORY, BRIGHAM YOUNG UNIVERSITY
BY ERIN ELIZABETH HOWARTH
PROVO, UTAH, AUGUST 1995

African Americans have long suffered from racist laws and policies in this country.  Until 1978, the Mormon Church also maintained a policy of racial bias.  The policy in question is the restriction of priesthood ordination from men of African descent.  In spite of this restriction, many African Americans joined the Church and served as faithfully as they could for years, not in great numbers but enough to make people take notice and worry about the justice of priesthood restrictions.  Who were these African American Mormons?  What motivated them to sacrifice for the Church that offered them less than full membership privileges?  How did they feel about this restriction and the several theories as to its continuance?  How did they feel about the reversal of that policy?  The answers to these questions vary widely from individual to individual.  African American Mormons came from all walks of life.  Spiritual experiences which lead to their baptisms are as unique as the individuals themselves.  Feelings about priesthood restriction varied from person to person but also changed from decade to decade as national opinion toward race changed as well.  Even the policy itself changed almost as often as the presidents of the Church.

JOSEPH SMITH: ANTI-ABOLITIONIST

In the beginning, the Church didn't need a policy toward African Americans, but missionary work in Missouri soon brought the issue to the front line.  The mission to Missouri opened in 1831 with W.W. Phelps president.  The citizens of Missouri suspected that the mere presence of non-slave African Americans would incite rebellion, and so the state legislature enacted some very peculiar laws regarding colored immigration to the state.  To help members understand the laws, President Phelps published an article in the church press instructing African American saints who might wish to immigrate to Missouri.  The people of Missouri interpreted this as an invitation to all free men of color to come settle in Missouri and join the Mormon church.

In an attempt to correct the misunderstanding, Joseph Smith issued a number of statements over the next few years stating the Church's position against the abolitionist movement.  It was common during this period of time for clergy men to be opposed both to slavery and abolition.  The abolition movement was very radical and often encouraged lawlessness to accomplish its ends.  Joseph Smith preached the importance of upholding the law of the land, which included the institution of slavery.  Church policy prohibited missionaries from baptizing slaves without the permission of their master.  To support his arguments, Joseph Smith borrowed heavily from the southern fundamentalist rhetoric of his time.  Of these popular arguments, the curse of Ham endured the longest.  Ham, the son of Noah, was cursed to be a "servant of servants" as recorded in the following passage from the Bible:

And the sons of Noah, that went forth from the ark were Shem, and Ham, and Japeth: and Ham is the father of Canaan.  These are the three sons of Noah: and of them was the whole earth overspread.  And Noah began to be an husbandman, and he planted a vineyard: And he drank of the wine, and was drunken; and he was uncovered within his tent.  And Ham, the father of Canaan, saw the nakedness of his father, and told his two brethren without.  And Shem and Japeth took a garment, and laid it upon both their shoulders, and went backward, and covered the nakedness of their father, and their faces were backward, and they saw not their father's nakedness. And Noah awoke from his wine, and knew what his younger son had done unto him.  And he said, Cursed be Canaan; a servant of servants shall he be unto his brethren.  And he said, Blessed be the Lord God of Shem; and Canaan shall be his servant.  God shall enlarge Japeth, and he shall dwell in the tents of Shem; and Canaan shall be his servant. (1, emphasis added)

It had been popularly taught, at least since A.D. 200, by both Christian and Jewish scholars, that the descendants of Ham or Canaan form the present day African races.  Southern fundamentalists used this scripture to justify the enslavement of the African races, for God cursed them to perpetual servitude.

Later in his life, living in Illinois and running for the presidency of the United States, Joseph Smith wrote a platform containing a plan to abolish slavery.  The tone of his rhetoric changed substantially after he left Missouri.  It is interesting to speculate how things may have been different if he had lived and continued in his anti-slavery sentiments; however, it is important to note that although Joseph Smith spoke on the issue of slavery, non of his statements ever mentioned African Americans and the Priesthood. (2)

ELIJAH ABEL: THE FIRST TO HOLD THE PRIESTHOOD

They say actions speak louder than words.  They also say the pen is mightier than the sword.  The latter must be the case because, although Joseph Smith never spoke or wrote about African Americans and the priesthood, he did ordain an African American to the office of elder.  Elijah Abel was born a free man (2a) and baptized in Maryland, in 1832, just two years after the organization of the Church.  He moved to Kirtland, Ohio to join the Saints and was there ordained to the office of elder in 1836.  Six months later he was called to serve in the third quorum of the seventy and received a patriarchal blessing from Joseph Smith, Sr. who seems to have been quite aware of Abel's unique status as an African American, for instead of declaring his lineage from one of the tribes of Israel, he was declared "an orphan," but promised equality with his brethren in the eternities.  Elder Abel served his first mission for the Church to New York and Canada.  In 1836, he moved from Kirtland to Nauvoo where he participated in the temple ordinance of baptism for the dead.  It is interesting to speculate as to whether or not he would have received his endowment if he had remained in Nauvoo.  In 1842, he moved again from Nauvoo to Cincinnati where he married Mary Ann Adams. (3)  In 1843, a traveling high council visited Cincinnati but refused to recognized Elder Abel for the sake of public appearance and called him to his second mission to the "coloured population" of Cincinnati, marking the first time an African American was restricted in his Church activities because of his color.

Elder Abel rejoined the Saints in Utah in 1853.  By then, President Young had greatly strengthened the church's policies towards African Americans.  Elder Abel petitioned President Young for his and his wife's temple endowment and sealing, but he was denied; however, no attempt was made to remove his priesthood or drop him from the third quorum of the seventies.  He remained active in the quorum until his death.  President Taylor also denied his petitions, but called him to serve his third mission to Ohio and Canada.  He returned very ill and died at the age of 83. (4) Elder Abel's life serves as an excellent example of how Church priesthood policy evolved from non-existence to strict denial of blessings.

BRIGHAM YOUNG: THE AUTHOR OF PRIESTHOOD RESTRICTION

Almost immediately after the death of Joseph Smith, Brigham Young returned to the old rhetoric concerning African Americans and the curse of Ham.  Brigham Young actually subscribed to another common, although less popular theory that the descendants of Ham were also the descendants of Cain, Ham having married a woman of that race.  The curse of Cain included a mark as recorded in the following passage from the Bible:

And the Lord said unto Cain, Where is Abel thy brother?  And he said, I know not: Am I my brother's keeper?  And he said, what hast thou done?  The voice of thy broker's blood crieth unto me from the ground.  And now art thou cursed form the earth, which hath opened her mouth to receive thy brother's blood from thy hand; When thou tillest the ground, it shall not henceforth yield unto thee her strength; a fugitive and a vagabond shalt thou be in the earth.  And Cain said unto the Lord, My punishment is greater than I can bear.  Behold, thou hast driven me out this day from the face of the earth; and from thy face shall I hide; and I shall be a fugitive and a vagabond in the earth; and it shall come to pass, that every one that findeth me shall slay me.  And the Lord said unto him, Therefore whosoever slayeth Cain, vengeance shall be taken on him seven fold, and the Lord put a mark upon Cain, lest any finding him should kill him.  (Emphasis added) (5)

Some scholars interpreted the mark placed upon Cain as the black skin of the African peoples.

President Young remained very strict in his interpretation.  He believed the curse included not only priesthood restriction but also black skin and perpetual servitude.  He believed the curse could only be removed by God and that the Civil War effort to free the slaves was in vain.  He believed that the Civil War would destroy the United States and spread to every nation, until the Saints could return to Missouri and build a temple in Jackson County.  The slaves could only be freed by a decree from God by revelation to the prophet accompanied by the removal of the mark of Cain.  It was not expected before the millennium.

The first statement linking priesthood denial with the curse of Cain was given by Brigham Young in response to the question, "What chance is there for the redemption of the Negro?"  Young responded, "The Lord had cursed Cain's seed with blackness and prohibited them the Priesthood." (6)

President Young never cited Joseph Smith for the source of his doctrine but stated it in his own authority as a prophet, even in the name of Jesus Christ on a least one occasion.  In 1852, while addressing the state legislature, Young stated: "Any man having one drop of the seed of [Cain]...in him cannot hold the priesthood and if no other Prophet ever spoke it before I will say it now in the name of Jesus Christ I know it is true and others know it." (7)  He did not say that it was revealed to him but that it was known.  He may have meant the same thing, or he may have been relying on his own feelings.  The concept of equality among the races had not yet been born in the United States, but it soon would be.

JANE MANNING JAMES: PIONEER WOMAN

Elijah Abel was not the only African American friend of the Prophet Joseph Smith.  Jane Manning James had been born free and worked as a housekeeper in Joseph Smith's home.  When she requested the temple ordinances, President Taylor took her petition to the quorum of the Twelve, but precedence prevailed.  When Wilford Woodruff became president of the Church, he comprised and allowed Sister James to be sealed to the family of Joseph Smith as a servant. (8)  This was unsatisfying to Sister James as it did not include the saving ordinance of the endowment, and she repeated her petitions.  She died in 1908, true to the faith, bearing testimony of the true fulness of the restored gospel.  President Joseph F. Smith honored her by speaking at her funeral. (9)  The unusual concession granted to Sister James illustrates the discomfort leaders felt about priesthood restriction.

SAMUEL D. CHAMBERS: ENSLAVED SAINT

Samuel D. Chambers was another early African American pioneer.  He was baptized secretly at the age of thirteen when he was still a slave in Mississippi.  He was unable to join the main body of the church and lost track of them until after the Civil War.  He was thirty-eight when he had saved enough money for him to immigrate to Utah with his wife and son.  Although he did not hold the priesthood, he participated actively in his ward by assisting the deacons, offering public prayers, and bearing his testimony.  He was grateful to the Lord for having lead him from bondage to live among the saints in Zion. (10)  Brother Chambers found joy and peace in his membership with the Church in spite of his restricted participation.

JOSEPH F. SMITH: UNCERTAINTY

President Joseph F. Smith dominated the African American issue during the first quarter of the twentieth century.  The death of President Young and the presidency of John Taylor brought many questions to the issue of African Americans.  Although Young left no doubt that they should not receive the priesthood, he left other issues unresolved.  The most important developments of this period are the change of authorship for the policy of priesthood restriction from Brigham Young to Joseph Smith and the use of the Pearl of Great Price in the justification of this policy.

First, as the author of the restoration, Joseph Smith has always been held in high regard, and all church doctrines have been traced back to him.  Brigham Young relied on his own charisma and prophetic authority.  He never attempted to cite Joseph Smith as the author of this policy.  President Taylor and his successors apparently felt less sure of themselves, for there arose a great desire to attribute the policy of priesthood denial to Joseph Smith.  Attempts to shift authorship of the policy from Brigham Young to Joseph Smith were thwarted more by Elijah Abel than any other thing.  Brother Abel was living, breathing proof that an African American was ordained to the priesthood in the days of Joseph Smith.  The issue came up repeatedly in quorum meetings as Elder Abel continually petitioned for his temple endowment.  Joseph F. Smith stood up for Elijah Abel testifying of his rightful claim to the priesthood while others said that he had been dropped from the quorum.  Eventually, even Joseph F. Smith began telling the story that way, suddenly remembering that his priesthood had been declared null and void by the Prophet Joseph Smith himself.  Never mind that Joseph F. Smith also taught that the priesthood could not be removed from any man without removing that man from the church.  From this point on Joseph Smith was easily and repeatedly referred to as the author of many statements, which had actually been made by Brigham Young, on the subject of priesthood restriction. (11)

Second, the Church leadership began using the newly canonized Pearl of Great Price to justify the priesthood restriction.  Before 1900, leaders needed only to cite the cursed lineage as reason to deny the priesthood, but near the turn of the century scientists dismissed the reality of a universal flood and identified the descendants of Ham to be Semites, modern Jews and Arabs.  Popular opinion shifted as well.  People no longer accepted the traditional African genealogies linking them with Ham and Cain.  Church leaders needed something else to justify priesthood restriction.  The following verse is what they found.

Pharaoh, being a righteous man, established his kingdom and judged his people wisely and justly all his days, seeking earnestly to imitate that order established by the fathers in the first generations, in the days of the first patriarchal reign, even in the reign of Adam, and also of Noah, his father, who blessed him with the blessing of the earth, and with the blessing of wisdom, but cursed him as pertaining the priesthood.  Now, Pharaoh being of that lineage by which he could not have the right of the priesthood, notwithstanding the Pharaohs would fain claim it from Noah, through Ham, therefore my father was lead away by their idolatry.  (Emphasis added.) (12)

Although this verse makes it clear that the descendants of Ham were denied the priesthood, it does not link them with modern Africans.

MARY LUCILLE BANKHEAD: BORN IN THE CHURCH

Most African Americans joined the church after much soul searching or a powerful spiritual experiences.  Their children seldom shared their faith.  Sister Bankhead is an exception to that scenario.  Sister Bankhead comes from a proud pioneer heritage, descended on her mother's side from both Jane Manning James and Green Flake, who drove Brigham Young's wagon in the Salt Lake Valley.  She was baptized at the age of eight and remained faithful to the church all her life.

When asked about her feelings concerning the priesthood restriction, she commented that she knew the restriction would someday be lifted, but when the announcement was actually made, she was astonished.  Although she was very happy about the change, she also recognized that lifting the priesthood restriction would not cure racism and that many members were heading for difficult times if they would someday have to accept an African American bishop.

Sister Bankhead's unique lifetime experience in the Church speaks to the great diversity to be found among African American Mormons.

JOSEPH FIELDING SMITH: THEOLOGICAL SOLUTION

The most influential man of the second quarter of the twentieth century was Joseph Fielding Smith.  Joseph Fielding Smith finally solved the theological problem faced by the policy of priesthood restriction when he published a book titled, The Way to Perfection.  Here was the first extensive explanation of this peculiar church policy.  In addition to describing the ancient genealogies and the curses of Ham and Cain he also explained at great length a theory which had grown in popularity among the grass roots of the church since 1885 but had never received official endorsement from church leaders.  This theory was that African Americans were denied the priesthood in this life because they had been less than valiant in the premortal life. (14)  It was argued that during the war in heaven they had been sympathetic to Lucifer's cause yet unwilling to rebel against the Father.  This theory had great appeal among the member so the church because it made things fair.  Church policy was not arbitrarily racist but African Americans actually deserved this negative status as a result of their lack of faithfulness before birth.  This theory had been condemned by Brigham Young who saw no need to go beyond the cursed genealogies, but as mentioned before the theories concerning the genealogy of Africans had been losing popularity due to new scientific evidence to the contrary.  Soon after the publication of this book, church leaders began referring to the war in heaven for justification of the African American policy.

Joseph Fielding Smith had solved the theological problem concerning the African American policy, but he had done nothing for the practical problem of determining who should be allowed to receive the priesthood.

In the United States, priesthood eligibility was determined by appearance unless it was known that a man had an African ancestor.  In the nation of South Africa, British and Dutch settlers were required to trace their genealogy back to Europe.  But, in Brazil it was an all together different matter.  The people of Brazil are of such mixed race that there is no way to know if an individual has African ancestry and in the Pacific Islands there were non-African people of even darker color that Africans. (15)

DAVID O. MCKAY: POLICY MODIFICATIONS

President McKay did more than any other man to begin eliminating this policy without actually eliminating it.  He presided over the church at a time when the entire country was on fire about civil rights.  Official church statements of this time supported the civil rights movement, but it should be noted that holding the priesthood is not a "civil" right.

During this time, the church came under severe attacks from those promoting civil rights. Temple Square and the church office building were picketed and many universities boycotted BYU sport competitions.

The advances made by President McKay went mostly unnoticed. He approved a petition from a white man with known African ancestry to receive the priesthood after his patriarchal blessing assigned him to a non-cursed lineage. He also approved the petition of an Anglo couple who had adopted two African American children to be sealed to them in the temple. More significantly he shifted the responsibility of genealogical research from the members to the local leadership and later to a committee in Salt Lake City to determine the eligibility of individuals in places like South Africa. And finally, President McKay declared all peoples of the Pacific Islands eligible to receive the priesthood regardless of their color, for they were descended of the Lamanites rather than the Africans.

Had his presidency lasted longer perhaps he would have done even more.(16) He himself, felt that the policy was just a policy and would require no special revelation to reverse it, but he also expressed some sadness in not having felt pressed upon by the spirit to make that change.(17) The most significant statement made by President McKay on this issue is contained in a First Presidency message explaining the policy.

From the beginning of this dispensation, Joseph Smith and all succeeding presidents of the church have taught that Negroes, while spirit children of a common Father, and the progeny of our earthly parents Adam and Eve, were not yet to receive the priesthood, for reasons which we believe are known to God, but which He has not made fully known to man. (Emphasis added, 18)

No where did it mention the curse of Cain or the war in Heaven. With that statement, President McKay stripped a controversial church policy of all justification. It could not stand long.(19)

WYNETTA WILLIS MARTIN: BYU'S FIRST

Sister Martin gained the distinction of being the first African American member of the BYU faculty in 1970.  She was born in Los Angeles, California and grew up in a very racist environment.  She had been greatly dissatisfied with her religious upbringing and always sought spiritual fulfillment.  Her family participated in a rich musical tradition and she developed quite a talent with her voice.  Some time after her first marriage failed, she met a Mormon mother in the hospital after having a minor surgery on her legs.  She requested that the missionaries visit her, and she prepared for baptism.  She had many wonderful spiritual experiences while investigating the church and had this to say about the priesthood restriction:

These two things, baptism and the Holy Ghost are the only requirement, contrary to popular belief, for entering the celestial kingdom and being with God for eternity if one is worthy.  Therefore, the Priesthood covenants of the Temple which we are not allowed at this point are not really so crucial as popular belief dictates. (Emphasis her own, 20)

This, of course, is an incorrect statement of Church doctrine.  The ordinances of the temple, including marriage, are required in order to attain the highest degree of the celestial kingdom.

After being baptized, her greatest desire was to sing with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, so she moved with her two daughters to Salt Lake City and auditioned.  She is thought by many to be the first African American to sing in the choir, but no one knows for sure.  She greatly enjoyed her role as one of the first.  She accepted it as her personal mission to prove to the world that there were in fact African American Mormons and that the Mormons were not racist.  She toured with the choir for two years before accepting her appointment on the faculty at BYU.  She was employed in the training of nurses and tried to help them become more culturally aware. (21)

SPENCER W. KIMBALL: THE END OF AN ERA

President Kimball was an old man when he became president of the church.  No one expected anything radical to take place in his presidency.  National attention had turned from the civil rights movement to the equal rights amendment.  President Kimball was especially interested in the international aspect of Church growth.  He took General Conference on the road, holding area and regional conferences all over the world.  He also announced many new temples to be built both in the United States and abroad.  If there was a point of no return concerning the demise of the Church's African American policy, it was the announcement of the temple in Sao Paulo, Brazil.  The problem of determining priesthood eligibility in Brazil was nearly impossible due to the mixing of the races in that country.  When the temple was announced, Church leaders realized the impossibility of restricting temple attendance from persons of African descent.

However, President Kimball was painfully aware of the discord a change of this policy would create, even among his own quorum of the Twelve. Elder Bruce R. McConkie had published in his Mormon Doctrine that African Americans would not receive the priesthood until the millennium.  President Kimball reportedly worried about revealing the change in policy to the point in which his wife Camilla actually worried about his health.  Finally, on June 8, 1978, the First Presidency released to the press an official declaration, now a part of the standard works of the Church, which contained the following statement:

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 follows there from, 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. (Emphasis added, 22)

Reactions to the declaration were mixed.  Most were elated; some were confused; a few were outraged.  African Americans who joined the Church after 1978 were seldom taught about the previous policy concerning them, indicating a general discomfort with it among the membership.  When they did learn of it, it was sometimes difficult to come to terms with, but not always. When Cleolivia Lyons was interviewed in 1988, she had this to say on the subject,

I never did give that too much thought because I figured the Church was being organized.  When people are being organized, there' a lot they don't understand.  It's a lot of what I call 'brain washed.'  A lot of whites have been brainwashed to think that Heavenly Father doesn't want a certain race of people to do a certain thing." (23)

HELVECIO MARTINS: THE FULL CIRCLE

Elder Martins was the first African American to be called to serve in the quorum of the seventy since Elijah Abel more that 150 years previous.  Elder Martin was born in Brazil to parents descended from African slaves.  He had found success in his professional life but felt unfulfilled with the religious life he was pursuing.  The missionaries visited his home in 1972 while he was going through a difficult spiritual crisis.  The missionaries visited his home late one night and were worried about how to teach an African since the church had not yet reversed its polity.  Indeed, Elder Martins first question upon inviting the missionaries into his home concerned the Church's attitude toward race.  The spiritual experiences that the Martins family had while investigating the Church superseded their concerns for the racial policy of priesthood restriction, and they were baptized.  They experienced much resistance from members of their extended family and former church friends, but eventually found peace with them.  Elder Martins served in his ward as a Sunday school teacher.  He was not troubled by the priesthood restriction, but others were.  Often, members of the ward would ask him how he could remain a member of the Church without the priesthood.  It was never an issue for him .  He had resolved the issue in his own mind and never expected to receive the priesthood.

When the announcement came, he describes his reaction and that of his wife as unbelieving.  It was something for which they had not dared to hope.  Elder Martins then served as a member of the stake presidency, bishop, mission president, and finally second quorum of the seventy.  His son was one the first three Africans to serve a full time mission for the church in nearly one hundred years. (24)

With the calling of Elder Martins to the quorum, the Church had, in a sense, gone full circle on this issue.  The African American policy evolved in a peculiar way, from exclusion, which was the status quo of the time, to equality, which is the ideal for the future.  During its evolution it was justified in many ways, the curse of Ham, the curse of Cain, the Pearl of Great Price, and the war in heaven. This policy has affected people very differently, as it is sure to continue to affect those who investigate the Church.

SOURCES CONSULTED

Primary Sources
  • Bankhead, Mary Lucille, "Oral History," interviewed by Alan Cherry, 1985, LDS Afto-American Oral History Project, Charles Redd Center for Western Studies, Harold B. Lee Library, Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah.
  • Chapel, Gilmore H. "Oral History," interviewed by Alan Cherry, 1986, LDS Afro-American Oral History Project, Charles Redd Center for Western Studies, Harold B. Lee Library, Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah.
  • Cherry, Alan Gerald, It's You and Me, Lord!, Trilogy Arts Publications: Provo, Utah, 1970.
  • Doctrine and Covenants, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1989.
  • Holy Bible, King James Version, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1989.
  • Lyons, Cleolivia, "Oral History," interviewed by Alan Cherry, 1988, LDS Afro-American Oral History Project, Charles Redd Center for Wester Studies, Harold B. Lee Library, Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah.
  • Martin, Wynetta Willis, Black Mormon Tells Her Story, Hawks Publications, Salt Lake City, Utah, 1972.
  • Martins, Helvecio with Mark Grover, The Autobiography of Elder Helvecio Martins, Aspen Books; Salt Lake City, Utah, 1994.
  • Pearl of Great Price, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1989.
Secondary Sources
  • Bringhurst, Newel G., Saints, Slaves, and Blacks, Greenwood Press: Westport, Connecticut, 1981.
  • Bush, Lester E. Jr. and Armand L. Mauss, editors, Neither White nor Black, Signature Books: Midvale, Utah, 1984.
  • Hawkins, Chester L. "Report on Elijah Abel and his Priesthood," unpublished manuscript, Special Collections, Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah, 1985.
  • Embry, Jessie, Black Saints in a White Church, Signature Books: Salt Lake City, Utah, 1994.

FOOTNOTES

  1. Genesis 9:18-27. Use your browser's [back] button to return.
  2. Lester E. Bush, Jr. and Armand L. mauss, editors, Neither White nor Black, Signature Books: Midvale, Utah, 1984, pp. 54-65. Use your browser's [back] button to return.
    1. This was a mistake on my part. Elijah Abel was not born a free man. He was born a slave but came to earn his freedom before he was baptized. (-eh 16 Apr 2005) Use your browser's [back] button to return.
  3. Marry Ann Adams was also an African American. Use your browser's [back] button to return.
  4. Chester L. Hawkin, "Report on Elijah Abel and his Priesthood," unpublished manuscript, special collections, Brigham Young University, 1985. Use your browser's [back] button to return.
  5. Genesis 4: 9-15. Use your browser's [back] button to return.
  6. Quoted by Lester E. Bush, Jr. in "Mormonism's Negro Doctrine: An Historical Overview" published in Neither White nor Black, Lester E. Bush, Jr. and Armand L. Mauss, editors, Signature Books, Midvale, Utah, 1984. Use your browser's [back] button to return.
  7. Quoted by Lester E. Bush, Jr. in "Mormonism's Negro Doctrine" published in Neither White nor Black, Lester E. Bush, Jr. and Armand L. Mauss, editors, Signature Books, Midvale, Utah, 1982, p. 70. Use your browser's [back] button to return.
  8. It is customary, in the LDS Church to seal children to parents, and spouses to each other, but this seems to have been an exceedingly exceptional case.  No one else, to the author's knowledge, has ever been sealed to anyone as a servant. Use your browser's [back] button to return.
  9. Jessie L. Embry, Black Saints in a White Church, Signature Books: Salt Lake City, Utah, 1994, pp. 40-41. Use your browser's [back] button to return.
  10. Jessie L. Embry, Black Saints in a White Church, Signature Books: Salt Lake City, Utah, 1994, pp. 40-41. Use your browser's [back] button to return.
  11. Lester E. Bush, Jr. and Armand L. Mauss, editors, Neither White nor Black, Signature Books: Midvale, Utah, 1984, pp. 76-86. Use your browser's [back] button to return.
  12. Abraham 1:26-27. Use your browser's [back] button to return.
  13. Mary Lucille Bankhead Oral History, interviewed by Alan Cherry, 1985, LDS Afro-American Oral History Project, Charles Redd Center for Western Studies, Harold B. Lee Library, Brigham Young University. Use your browser's [back] button to return.
  14. This theory may have attained the status of doctrine, for it was quoted in First Presidency statements, but it is unclear, for it was never canonized and no longer appears in Church publications. Use your browser's [back] button to return.
  15. Lester E. Bush, Jr. and Armand L. Mauss, editors, Neither White nor Black, Signature Books: Midvale, Utah, 1982, pp. 86-91. Use your browser's [back] button to return.
  16. Not to say that President McKay had a personal agenda, but that the Lord cannot reveal anything to those unwilling to receive it. Use your browser's [back] button to return.
  17. President Kimball felt that the policy was too much ingrained in the minds of the membership, and pressed the Lord for a revelation to reverse the policy of priesthood restriction. Use your browser's [back] button to return.
  18. Reprinted by Newel G. Bringhurst, Saints, Slaves, and Blacks, Greenwood Press: Westport, Connecticut, 1981, pp. 223. Use your browser's [back] button to return.
  19. Lester E. Bush, Jr. and Armand L. Mauss, editors, Neither White nor Black, Signature Books: Midvale, Utah, 1982, pp. 92-96. Use your browser's [back] button to return.
  20. Wynetta Willis Martin, Black Mormon Tells Her Story, Hawks Publications: Salt Lake City, Utah, 1972, pp. 56. Use your browser's [back] button to return.
  21. Wynetta Willis Martin, Black Mormon Tells Her Story, Hawks Publications: Salt Lake City, Utah, 1972. Use your browser's [back] button to return.
  22. Doctrine and Covenants: Official Declaration 2. Use your browser's [back] button to return.
  23. Cleolivia Lyons Oral History, interviewed by Alan Cherry, 1988, LDS Afro-American Oral History Project, Charles Redd Center for Wester Studies, Harold B. Lee Library, Brigham Young University, pp.16. Use your browser's [back] button to return.
  24. Helvecio Martins with Mark Grover, The Autobiography of Helvecio Martins, Aspen Books: Salt Lake City, Utah, 1994. Use your browser's [back] button to return.
Paper written August 1995. Web page published to http://www.geocities.com/solmes.geo Aug 1998, updated 17 Apr 2005, all links checked 17 Apr 2005.

Web page published to blogger.com 03 July 2009


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