Restriction of Gospel Blessings in Every Dispensation

John J. Oirya, “Restriction of Gospel Blessings in Every Dispensation,” in Selections from the Religious Education Student Symposium, 2004 (Provo, UT: Religious Studies Center, Brigham Young University, 2004), 143–158.

Restriction of Gospel Blessings in Every Dispensation

John J. Oirya

Many people may wonder why a loving Father in Heaven withheld priesthood blessings from an entire race of His children for a long time, though the scriptures state that “all are alike unto God” (2 Nephi 26:33). Up until 1978, the people of African descent could not be ordained to the priesthood, participate in temple ordinances, or hold certain callings in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Also, the Church’s missionaries were “discouraged from teaching blacks.” [1] Furthermore, the Church’s historical policy was that when Negro ancestry was “discovered in a man who holds the Priesthood, he was suspended in the use of that Priesthood.” However, he maintained membership in the Church. [2] In the 1960s, “Presidents of the Church taught that denial of . . . the priesthood [to the blacks] was a current commandment of God,” [3] explaining that blacks “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.” [4]

Coincidentally, religious history reveals that God has been “the same yesterday, today, and forever” (2 Nephi 27:23; 29:9) in extending His gospel to His children. Throughout every dispensation, He also has withheld gospel blessings from some of His children. For example, in the dispensations of Moses and Jesus, the gospel was made available only to the Jews for some time (see Deuteronomy 4:1–8; Matthew 10:5–7) before it was later opened to the Gentiles (see Jonah 3:5; Acts 10). Thus, it is not by accident that gospel blessings were withheld from the people of African descent in the dispensation of the Prophet Joseph Smith. This paper reviews the parallels of the events surrounding the withholding of the gospel from the Gentiles in Christ’s times, in relation to the people of African descent in Joseph Smith’s times, which altogether testify of the consistent nature of God throughout times.

In both dispensations, the Church of Jesus Christ had a similar history of origin. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was rooted in the religious revivals of the early nineteenth century, when various denominations held camp meetings, sent out traveling ministers, and encouraged Americans to return to faith (see Joseph Smith—History 1:8). [5] These sects taught “for doctrines the commandments of men, having a form of godliness, but they deny the power thereof” (Joseph Smith—History 1:19). Similarly, the Church of Jesus Christ in the New Testament times started as a new kingdom amidst many religious sects (see Matthew 3:1–12; 13:24–52; 9:14–17; Mark 2:15–22; Luke 5:33–37), including the Sadducees, the Pharisees, and other forms of worship or belief such as sorcery (see Acts 8:9; 13:6).

As the Church expanded and grew in both dispensations, the mission policy on proselytizing had restrictions. Prior to 1978, latter-day missionaries “were instructed not to proselyte the blacks,” [6] and “General Authorities decided not to send missionaries to Africa, much of the Caribbean, or other regions inhabited by large populations of blacks.” [7] Hence, when Brigham Young sent missionaries to South Africa, for example, they proselytized among the white population only. [8] Also, “before World War II, only German-speaking missionaries were sent to Brazil, where they sought out German immigrants.” [9] Later, in 1961 Elder Joseph Fielding Smith told a mission president in South America to “avoid seeking out the Negro.” [10] Given this policy, “the few blacks who did join usually had to take the initiative.” [11] Interestingly, these members proved to have been among the most faithful in the Church. [12]

One of them was Elijah Abel. He was born in Maryland in 1810, baptized into the Church in September 1832, and ordained an elder in 1836. “Six months later, he became a seventy and received a patriarchal blessing from Joseph Smith, Sr.” He served a mission during the late 1830s in New York and Canada, in 1839, he performed baptisms for the dead in Nauvoo, Illinois. He moved to Utah in 1853, where “he continued to be an active member of the Third Quorum of Seventies.” [13] He remained faithful to the Church and served a mission to Canada and the United States in 1883. He died on December 25, 1884 (just two weeks after returning from his mission), “of debility, consequent upon exposure while laboring” in the mission field. Although he was denied being sealed to his wife and children in the temple, “he died in full faith of the gospel.” [14]

Another was Jane Manning James, “a free-born servant,” who was born around 1820 “and grew up in Connecticut during the 1820s.” She joined the Church with her other family members, including her husband, Isaac James. She moved to Nauvoo in 1843 and later to Utah with the rest of the Saints. She was “a member of the female Relief Society and donated to the St. George, Manti, and Logan temple funds. She repeatedly petitioned the First Presidency to be endowed and to have her [seven] children sealed to her. . . . Permission for all of these requests was denied.” [15] However, she still faithfully paid her tithes and offerings, kept the Word of Wisdom, was an example to others, and bore a testimony of the restored gospel to the end of her life in 1908. [16]

Others included Green Flake, Samuel D. Chambers, and Len Hope Sr. with his wife, Mary Lee Pugh Hope. Green was born in January 1825, in Anson County, North Carolina, as a slave of John Flake, and was baptized into the Church in the Mississippi River, before moving to Nauvoo, Illinois. [17] In 1847 he drove President Brigham Young’s wagon into the Salt Lake Valley. [18] Samuel was baptized in Mississippi in 1844 and later moved with his wife and his teenage son to Utah. Although he could not hold the priesthood, he joyfully and faithfully “assisted deacons in the Salt Lake City 8th Ward, attended meetings, prayed, and bore testimony in public meetings.” He remained faithful and loyal to the Church until he “died in 1929 at the age of 98.” [19] Len was born on October 10, 1892, in Magnolia, Alabama, and was baptized on June 22, 1919. His wife, Mary, was baptized on September 15, 1925. They later moved to Utah in 1947. Len faithfully paid his tithing until he died in September 1952. [20] Until she died in 1971, Mary continued to bear her testimony about the gospel and the Church, the Lord Jesus Christ, the Prophet Joseph Smith, and the authority of the priesthood. [21] A few more blacks joined the Church before the 1978 revelation. They “remained committed to their testimonies and Church activities even though during this period prior to 1978 black members could not hold the priesthood or participate in temple ordinances.” [22]

As for the New Testament period, the God of both Jews and Gentiles (see Romans 3:29) also withheld His gospel from the Gentiles for some time. During His earthly ministry, Christ sought out only the Jews, including those who were dispersed among the Gentiles (see John 7:35; Matthew 4:13–23). He even stated that He was sent only to the Jews (see Matthew 15:24). He called and ordained Jewish Apostles, whom He sent forth to preach, “and commanded them, saying, Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not: but go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel” (Matthew 10:5–6). He later emphasized that “the Gentiles should not at any time hear my voice—that I should not manifest myself unto them” (3 Nephi 15:23). After His ascension to heaven, His followers traveled all over the Gentile world, “preaching the word to none but unto the Jews only” (Acts 11:19).

Just as the blacks who received the gospel blessings were the ones who took the initiative, the Gentiles who received the gospel blessings in Christ’s dispensation were the ones who sought Him out. Their stories reveal that they were among the most faithful. For example, at Capernaum, a Gentile Roman centurion sought after Christ to heal his paralytic servant. He had such great faith to believe that the Savior could heal his servant from a distance. Before healing the servant, the Savior marveled and told His followers, “Verily I say unto you, I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel” (Matthew 8:10). The Savior added that the Gentiles will have priority over the Jews in God’s kingdom, stating that they “shall sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 8:11).

Later, in the region of Tyre and Sidon, a Gentile woman came to Jesus “and cried unto him, saying, Have mercy on me, O Lord, thou Son of David; my daughter is grievously vexed with a devil” (Matthew 15:22). Jesus said, “I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel” (Matthew 15:24), before responding to her in a metaphor that His mission at the time was to take the gospel and its blessings to the Jews only. However, with great faith, the woman insisted that the Gentiles could also receive some of the blessings that were meant for the Jews. The Lord answered her, saying, “O woman, great is thy faith: be it unto thee even as thou wilt” (Matthew 15:28; see also Mark 7:24–30). Her daughter was healed from that very hour.

A few more Gentiles showed faith in God during the time the gospel was withheld from them. For example, a Roman centurion named Cornelius, who lived in Caesarea, worshiped God with his household by giving alms to people and praying regularly (see Acts 10:1–2). The Lord acknowledged his faith in Him: “Thy prayers and thine alms are come up for a memorial before God” (Acts 10:4). He and his household were privileged to be the first Gentiles to receive the fullness of the gospel in the dispensation of Christ and His Apostles (see Acts 10:5–48). Also, earlier on, the Lord had extended His salvation to the Gentiles during the Old Testament period. He sent the prophet Jonah to Nineveh, the capital of Assyria, to preach repentance unto them (see Jonah 1:2; 3:2–7), and “the people of Nineveh believed God, and proclaimed a fast, and put on sackcloth, from the greatest of them even to the least of them” (Jonah 3:5).

During the time of withholding gospel blessings, God’s prophets promised that the Gentiles and the people of African descent would receive those blessings at some time in God’s plan. In the latter days, prophets and Presidents of the Church promised that at some time, in God’s eternal plan, all Church members will “receive the holy priesthood . . . including the blessings of the temple . . . [and] every blessing of the gospel” (Official Declaration 2). For example, President Brigham Young said that “they [Negroes] will then come up and possess the priesthood, and receive all the blessings which we now are entitled to.” [23] Later, President David O. McKay expressed, “Sometime in God’s eternal plan, the Negro will be given the right to hold the Priesthood. . . . They will possess all the blessings to which they are entitled in the eternal plan of Salvation and Exaltation.” [24] And, “increasingly in the 1960s, Presidents of the Church taught that denial of entry to the priesthood was a current commandment of God, but would not prevent blacks from eventually possessing all eternal blessings.” [25] These promises were fulfilled on June 8, 1978. President Spencer W. Kimball received the revelation to “extend to every worthy member of the Church all of the privileges and blessings which the gospel affords” (Official Declaration 2). Full gospel blessings, including the priesthood and active proselytizing, were subsequently extended to the people of African descent.

As for Christ’s dispensation, Old Testament prophets promised that the Lord would extend His gospel blessings to the Gentiles in the New Testament times. Isaiah prophesied that the Gentiles shall seek after Christ and be blessed as well, “And in that day there shall be a root of Jesse, which shall stand for an ensign of the people; to it shall the Gentiles seek” (Isaiah 11:10; see also Romans 15:8–12). He added that through the Jews, Christ shall extend His salvation to the Gentiles: “I will also give thee for a light to the Gentiles, that thou mayest be my salvation unto the end of the earth” (Isaiah 49:6; 42:6; 56:7; 66:19). Hosea prophesied that the Lord will covenant with the Gentiles so they could also worship Him (see Hosea 2:23). During Christ’s earthly ministry, while He instructed His Apostles to teach only the Jews (see Matthew 10:5–7), He told them that they would later serve as witnesses to the Gentiles (see Matthew 10:18). After His Resurrection, He commanded them to preach to everyone (see Matthew 28:19; Acts 1:8). All these promises were fulfilled when Christ was born into the world to be “a light to lighten the Gentiles” (Luke 2:32), when the Lord sent Peter to take His gospel to the Gentiles (see Acts 10), and when He called missionaries “not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles” (Romans 9:24; see also Acts 9:15; 18:6; 22:21).

In both dispensations, the Lord set apart a group of His people and established His gospel among them so He could later send them to take it to the rest of the world. Regarding the latter days, the prophet Nephi foresaw the time when many European Gentiles would escape bondage and persecution in Europe to come to America, a free land reserved for a righteous people (see 1 Nephi 13:10–42). [26] They would humble themselves before the Lord, and He would restore His gospel in fullness among them: “I will bring forth unto them, in mine own power, much of my gospel, which shall be plain and precious, saith the Lamb” (1 Nephi 13:34). The Savior would then take His gospel to the Jews and the rest of the earth through these Gentiles (see 1 Nephi 13:42; 15:13; 22:7; Matthew 19:30). God chose these Gentiles for service only after the Jews failed to do their duty (see Acts 13:44–48; Romans 9:30–31). They were chosen to be “a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people” (1 Peter 2:9). Thus, in the latter days, the gospel grew among the Gentiles of European origin and of other nations, while being withheld from the people of African descent until 1978, when President Spencer W. Kimball received the revelation to take it to them (see Official Declaration 2).

Similarly, the Jews escaped bondage and persecution in Egypt and came to the promised land that was reserved for them by God, so they could worship Him (see Exodus 20:2–23). God set apart the Jews as His nation (see Leviticus 20:24–26) so they could be His witnesses to the entire world, and through them He would bless all His children (see Genesis 18:18; 22:18; Deuteronomy 4:6). When other nations witnessed or heard about God’s wonders to Israel, they would believe in Him. For this reason, God performed miracles in Egypt and during the Exodus (see Exodus 9:16; Joshua 4:23–24), which caused other nations to revere Him (see Joshua 2:8–11; Psalm 96:3, 10). The Jews were chosen to be “a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation” (Exodus 19:6) so that through them, God would bless “all families of the earth” (Genesis 12:3). They were chosen for service, not because God wanted to save only them. Accordingly, the Savior gave them His gospel first, so He could later send them to take it to the Gentiles. “It was necessary that the word of God should first have been spoken to you. . . . I have set thee to be a light of the Gentiles” (Acts 13:46–47; Romans 1:16). The gospel grew among the Jews while being withheld from the Gentiles until after Christ’s ascension to heaven, when Peter received the revelation to take it to them (see Acts 10).

In both times, the gospel went to the Gentiles and the people of African descent through devout worshipers who called for missionaries. Since at least 1946, blacks in Nigeria had been asking for missionaries to come to that country and had organized churches using the Book of Mormon. They were eager to accept the Church, despite the priesthood restriction. [27] In Nigeria and Ghana, devout African Christians who “had gained a testimony of the gospel from the Book of Mormon and other Church literature . . . sent hundreds of letters to Church headquarters requesting literature and baptism.” [28] Dale LeBaron reports, “Thousands of converts were waiting and pleading for Church membership for up to fourteen years, but they had been told that they must wait.” [29] While waiting they shared their testimonies of the gospel with others and formed congregations. In the 1960s over sixty congregations in Nigeria and Ghana existed composed of more than sixteen thousand participants, all unbaptized. [30] “Those who waited many years to join the Church, however, were wonderfully patient and faithful.” [31]

On June 8, 1978, President Spencer W. Kimball received the revelation to extend the gospel and its blessings to all worthy males, regardless of race. He presented it to his counselors, the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, and all other General Authorities, who accepted and unanimously approved it (see Official Declaration 2). According to Elder Bruce R. McConkie, one of the Apostles at the time, “We all heard the same voice, received the same message, and became personal witnesses that the word received was the mind and will and voice of the Lord.” [32] Proselytizing was then expanded to include the people of African descent all over the world.

As for the Gentiles, a Roman centurion in Caesarea named Cornelius called for missionaries to bring the gospel to him and other Gentiles. He was a “devout man, and one that feared God with all his house, which gave much alms to the people, and prayed to God alway” (Acts 10:2). The Lord commanded Cornelius to send his servants to Joppa to call for Peter so that he could bring the gospel to his household. Peter came with certain Jewish brethren from Joppa, taught, and baptized Cornelius and his household (see Acts 10). After Peter, the leader of the Church at the time, received the revelation to take the gospel to the Gentiles (see Acts 10:9–20), he rehearsed it to the Apostles and brethren at Jerusalem, who unanimously approved it to be the mind and will of God. “When they heard these things, they held their peace, and glorified God, saying, Then hath God also to the Gentiles granted repentance unto life” (Acts 11:18). Consequently, proselytizing was expanded to include the Gentiles in all regions.

In the modern Church, after the gospel was opened to all males, an enormous growth occurred. “The revelation on the priesthood . . . opened the door for the gospel to go to the entire African continent.” [33] After 125 years of missionary work in Africa, membership (which was predominantly white) reached just over 7,000. In the next twenty years, it rose to more than 120,000. “In just twenty years from the time the first missionaries arrived in Nigeria in 1978, membership there grew to over thirty-seven thousand with nine stakes and three missions.” [34] In about ten years after the revelation, Church-wide “membership grew from 3,969,000 to 6,440,000, an increase of 62 percent.” “In the Caribbean, excepting Puerto Rico, membership grew from 836 to 18,614 and in Brazil from 51,000 to 250,000.” In Africa, black “membership grew from 136 in 1977 to 14,347 in 1988.” [35] In the United States, some missionaries had their greatest success in the black community. [36] “Today, 25 years later, the Church continues to grow at a miraculous pace as it spreads to all nations, kindreds, tongues, and peoples. Almost 70 percent of the current Church membership has been added since the 1978 revelation.” [37]

Brother LeBaron notes that “Church growth in Africa since 1978 has been much higher in percentage than in the rest of the world.” [38] The average number of baptisms per year is more than ninety times what it was prior to the revelation. There is also a similar increase in the number of missions and stakes. [39] “The faithfulness of the African Saints is also reflected in their [higher percentages of] church attendance and service in spite of the challenges imposed by poverty, [including] the great distances many had to travel” to attend church. [40] Embry states that blacks “are also slowly emerging in ward- and stake-level leadership positions, a further reflection of their devotion.” [41]

Similarly, in Christ’s dispensation, membership in the Church dramatically increased soon after the gospel was opened to the Gentiles. Although Church growth was high in the early days, it was primarily among the Jews. For example, around the time of Christ’s ascension to heaven, nearly five hundred members belonged to the Church (see 1 Corinthians 15:6). On the day of Pentecost, about three thousand converts were added to the Church (see Acts 2:41). By the time immense persecution of the Church from the Sadducees started, “the number of the men was about five thousand” (Acts 4:4). Nevertheless, the Church continued to grow as “believers were the more added to the Lord, multitudes both of men and women” (Acts 5:14). While thousands of Jews continued to join the Church (see Acts 21:20), flourishing membership growth was noted after proselytizing was expanded to include the Gentiles. As the Apostles traveled around preaching the gospel, “a great multitude . . . of the Greeks believed” (Acts 14:1, 27). In Antioch, almost the whole city, including the Gentiles, came “together to hear the word of God. . . . And the word of the Lord was published throughout all the region” (Acts 13:44, 49). Soon after, there emerged congregations or “churches of the Gentiles” (Romans 16:4) in the entire Gentile region and beyond. The Church greatly spread and flourished in the Gentile world, as evidenced by Pauline epistles to various congregations of Gentile Saints. Also, many Gentile Saints served in local leadership positions of their congregations (see Philippians 1:1; Colossians 1:2).

Prior to the official revelations being received, some ideas emerged in the Church in both dispensations that apparently reflected a misunderstanding of God’s purposes in withholding the gospel and its blessings from certain peoples. These ideas were contrary to the later revelations of taking the gospel to all of God’s children. Nonetheless, Church leaders offered clarifications that helped eliminate subsequent confusion in the Church. For example, before 1978, Church leaders such as President Brigham Young and Apostles Abraham O. Smoot, George Q. Cannon, and Bruce R. McConkie had taught that blacks will never receive the priesthood in mortality. [42] More notably, Brigham Young revealed that the Negroes would not receive the priesthood until a great while after the second advent of Jesus Christ, whose coming will usher in a millennium of peace. [43] Later, in Mormon Doctrine, Elder McConkie asserted that “Negroes in this life are denied the priesthood; under no circumstances can they hold this delegation of authority from the Almighty.” [44]

The 1978 priesthood revelation caused confusion among some Saints, especially those that were familiar with these leaders’ views. In fact, some Church members wrote to Elder McConkie, “You said such and such, and how is it now that we do such and such?” [45] In response, he clarified this matter by declaring: “There are statements in our literature by the early brethren which we have interpreted to mean that the Negroes would not receive the priesthood in mortality. I have said the same things. . . . All I can say to that is . . . forget everything that I have said, or what President Brigham Young or President George Q. Cannon or whomsoever has said in days past 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. . . . We have now had added a new flood of intelligence and light on this particular subject, and it erases all the darkness and all the views and all the thoughts of the past.” [46]

As for Christ’s dispensation, prior to the revelation to Peter, the Jewish Christian converts did not associate with the Gentiles (see Acts 10:28). They referred to them as “common,” “unclean” or “uncircumcised” (see Acts 11:2–3). After Peter returned to Jerusalem from taking the gospel to the Gentiles, the Apostles and brethren “that were of the circumcision contended with him, saying, Thou wentest in to men uncircumcised, and didst eat with them” (Acts 11:2–3). This sentiment ended after Peter clarified to them that it was the Lord who sent him to take the gospel to the Gentiles (see Acts 11:4–18). Even a little while later, after the revelation had been received by Peter, some disciples from Judaea went among the Gentile Saints at Antioch and taught them, “Except ye be circumcised after the manner of Moses, ye cannot be saved” (Acts 15:1). This teaching caused great dissension and disputation in the Church. However, the Apostles at Jerusalem ended this confusion by clarifying that salvation came only through faith in Jesus Christ, His grace, and living His gospel, not by circumcision or keeping the law of Moses (see Acts 15:7–35).

Of course, it may be harder to imagine how the Lord, who invites all “to come unto him and partake of his goodness, . . . black and white, . . . Jew and Gentile” (2 Nephi 26:33), withheld His gospel and its blessings from some people for some time. However, considering that the Lord freely extends His arm to “all people who will repent and believe on his name” (Alma 19:36) and that He is a God of all people (see Psalms 47:8–9; 99:2) who reveals Himself to all nations (see Psalms 98:2; 67), it is then reasonable to recognize how the parallels of the events in the dispensations of Christ and His Apostles, and Joseph Smith truly testify how God is “the same yesterday, today, and forever” (2 Nephi 27:23; 29:9). He extends His gospel to a few of His children, whom He later calls to take it to the rest of His children, which further confirms that “there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven” (Ecclesiastes 3:1). Because of “a revelation that allows the gospel in its fulness to be taken literally to every nation, kindred, tongue, and people,” [47] true disciples of Christ, those who love and accept their brothers and sisters of all races, understand that “race is a calling, not a curse.” [48] They are also those who shall enjoy the blessings of the celestial kingdom.

Notes

[1] Jessie L. Embry, Black Saints in a White Church: Contemporary African-American Mormons (Salt Lake City: Signature Books, 1994), xii, 22.

[2] John Lewis Lund, The Church and the Negro: A Discussion of Mormons, Negroes and the Priesthood (Salt Lake City: Paramount, 1967), 78.

[3] Alan Cherry and Jessie L. Embry, “Blacks,” in Encyclopedia of Mormonism, ed. Daniel H. Ludlow (New York: Macmillan, 1992), 1:126.

[4] The First Presidency, “Policy Statement of Presidency,” Church News, January 10, 1970, 12.

[5] See Leonard J. Arrington and Davis Bitton, The Mormon Experience: A History of the Latter-day Saints (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1979), 3, 7.

[6] Embry, Black Saints, 57.

[7] Cherry and Embry, “Blacks,” 1:126.

[8] See E. Dale LeBaron, “The Church in Africa,” in Out of Obscurity: The LDS Church in the Twentieth Century (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 2000), 177.

[9] Cherry and Embry, “Blacks,” 1:126.

[10] Embry, Black Saints, 58.

[11] Embry, Black Saints, 58.

[12] See Lund, The Church and the Negro, 72–73.

[13] Embry, Black Saints, 39.

[14] Andrew Jenson, “Abel, Elijah,” Latter-day Saint Biographical Encyclopedia (Salt Lake City: Publisher’s Press, 1920), 3:577.

[15] Embry, Black Saints, 40.

[16] Linda King Newell and Valeen Tippetts Avery, “Jane Manning James: Black Saint, 1847 Pioneer,” Ensign, August 1979, 29.

[17] See Lund, The Church and the Negro, 76.

[18] Embry, Black Saints, 42.

[19] Embry, Black Saints, 41; see also William G. Hartley, “Samuel D. Chambers,” New Era, June 1974, 47–50.

[20] Embry, Black Saints, 44–46.

[21] Embry, Black Saints, 47.

[22] Cherry and Embry, “Blacks,” 1:125.

[23] Brigham Young, in Journal of Discourses (London: Latter-day Saints’ Book Depot, 1854–86), 11:272.

[24] William E. Berrett, The Church and the Negroid People, historical supplement to John J. Steward, Mormonism and the Negro, 3rd ed. (Orem, UT: Community Press, 1960), 23.

[25] Cherry and Embry, “Blacks,” 1:126.

[26] See Embry, Black Saints, 18.

[27] See James B. Allen, “Would-Be Saints: West Africa Before the 1978 Priesthood Revelation,” Journal of Mormon History 17 (1991): 207.

[28] LeBaron, “The Church in Africa,” 179.

[29] LeBaron, “The Church in Africa,” 178.

[30] See LeBaron, “The Church in Africa,” 180.

[31] LeBaron, “The Church in Africa,” 182.

[32] Bruce R. McConkie, “The New Revelation on Priesthood,” Priesthood (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1981), 128.

[33] LeBaron, “The Church in Africa,” 178.

[34] LeBaron, “The Church in Africa,” 183.

[35] Cherry and Embry, “Blacks,” 1:126.

[36] See Embry, Black Saints, 59.

[37] Lisa Ann Jackson, “Fireside Commemorates 1978 Priesthood Revelation,” Ensign, September 2003, 79.

[38] E. Dale LeBaron, “Africa, the Church in,” in Ludlow, Encyclopedia of Mormonism, 1:24.

[39] See Church Almanac 1999–2000 (Salt Lake City: Deseret News, 1998), 437–38, 374, 364–65.

[40] LeBaron, “The Church in Africa,” 184.

[41] Embry, Black Saints, 118.

[42] See Berrett, The Church and the Negroid People, 10; Embry, Black Saints, 24.

[43] See Brigham Young, in Journal of Discourses, 2:143.

[44] Bruce R. McConkie, Mormon Doctrine (Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1966), 527.

[45] Bruce R. McConkie, “All Are Alike unto God,” in Book of Mormon Symposium (Salt Lake City: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1979), 3.

[46] McConkie, “All Are Alike unto God,” 3–4.

[47] Merrill J. Bateman, quoted in Jackson, “Fireside,” 78.

[48] Darius Gray, quoted in Elisa Anderson, “Prominent Speaker Discusses Blacks and Priesthood,” BYU Newsnet, http://newsnet.byu.edu/story.cfm/42641, accessed April 14, 2004.