Blacks and priesthood and genealogy

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2bizE
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Blacks and priesthood and genealogy

Post by 2bizE » Fri Feb 07, 2020 8:53 am

One of the primary reasons behind genealogy was to identify anyone’s black heritage and prevent them from receiving the priesthood.
Is anyone aware of instances where a priesthood holder discovered black ancestry in the family tree? What was done at that point? Was the priesthood withdrawn from them or were they allowed to continue with it?
~2bizE

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Corsair
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Re: Blacks and priesthood and genealogy

Post by Corsair » Fri Feb 07, 2020 10:01 am

It depends on the situation. My father served a mission in the American south during the 1960s. He and his fellow missionaries instinctively knew to not proselyte to people of African descent. I don't know how widely this was pronounced by leadership, but every missionary knew that it was complicated to try an preach to black families in that era.

I had other friends in Brazil in the 1970s and that was more awkward. Knowing who was "black" was simply not an easy question. Some missionaries tried to casually inquire about the parents and grandparents of investigators based on the apparent color of their skin. There were cases where men were baptized and received the Melchizedek priesthood and then later innocently admitted that their great-grandmother was black. They had been somewhat unaware of that crazy policy. This was a new level of difficult interaction where some men were passively allowed to retain the priesthood and others were privately told to stop using it.

This is not a new problem. I own a copy of "The Church and the Negro" by John L. Lund, published in 1967. I liberated it from an older family member some years ago who would have been embarrassed to have discovered it on her bookshelf in this century. It has the unintentionally funny story of Elijah Abel in a Utah priesthood meeting in the 1860s. He was "lighter skinned" than other men of African descent and someone "noticed that he was black" in the meeting. It's as if no one noticed that Samel L. Jackson appeared in "The Phantom Menace" until recently.

I will need to review "The Church and the Negro" again and make a longer post about it. I honestly suspect that if any of my believing family saw it on my shelf they might casually liberate it from me like I liberated it from someone in a previous generation.

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wtfluff
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Re: Blacks and priesthood and genealogy

Post by wtfluff » Fri Feb 07, 2020 12:03 pm

Corsair wrote:
Fri Feb 07, 2020 10:01 am
It depends on the situation. My father served a mission in the American south during the 1960s. He and his fellow missionaries instinctively knew to not proselyte to people of African descent. I don't know how widely this was pronounced by leadership, but every missionary knew that it was complicated to try an preach to black families in that era.
A former friend/co-worker of mine served in New-Orleans. I remember him telling the story quite often of knocking on doors and when a black person answered, they would simply encourage that person to "attend the church of their choice."


I personally don't know of any stories of someone being being forbidden from receiving the priesthood because of genealogy, but I do have a personal story that is related: Pre-1978 in small-town central Utah, there were "rumors" that there was a priesthood holder in town who did have black ancestry. It was a big enough deal that CEO Spencer Kimball actually visited what must have been a Steak Conference, and CEO Kimball got up and gave a speech, letting everyone know that the rumors were untrue, and everyone needed to sit down and shut up. :mrgreen: I was personally in attendance at the meeting. I was young enough that I don't remember a whole lot. I do remember the hoopla in town because the CEO was visiting, and I remember everyone standing up when the CEO entered and exited - which pissed me off because I was too short to see anything.

Funny... Science has now revealed that ALL homo sapiens have black ancestry. Elohim and his chosen mouth-pieces on earth sure got that one right, didn't they? [/SARCASM]
Faith does not give you the answers, it just stops you asking the questions. -Frater Ravus

Keep the company of those who seek the truth - run from those who have found it -Václav Havel

We are secrets to each other

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