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Race, the Priesthood, and Temples

Author: W. Paul Reeve

For about 125 years, members of African descent were not allowed to receive priesthood ordinances, including those bestowed in LDS temples. During those years, a variety of justifications were given by Church leaders for the ban.

On June 8, 1978, the First Presidency announced that the Lord had revealed that this restriction was to be lifted. Though Apostle Bruce R. McConkie renounced his own statements about the ban and urged an LDS audience at Brigham Young University to forget everything said by past leaders regarding the reasons for the ban, many members have held onto prior teachings. 

For this reason and others, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints released an essay that officially renounced prior teachings and justifications for the ban and explained some of the history leading to it's institution. 

The persistence of the priesthood ban for so many years has led many members to grapple with how to balance the fallabity of prophets with a belief that our leaders are in a position to receive revelation to guide and direct the Church. 

This chapter reviews the origin of the ban, its prolongued history, and how it affects us as members of the Church. 

Learn more about this topic in A Reason for Faith: Navigating LDS Doctrine and Church History