Let’s Talk About Race and Priesthood


Few topics related to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are as complex and painful to understand as the policy that for 130 years restricted members of Black African descent from priesthood ordination and receiving temple ordinances. The impact of this policy has been deeply felt by generations of faithful members of the Church. Through the lens of modern scholarship and a trust in revelation, historian W. Paul Reeve offers vital historical context and insight on the origins of the restrictions, race relations both within and outside of the Church, the effects of implementing and eventually removing the policy, and other questions surrounding this sensitive topic. Reeve explores three phases of racial priesthood and temple restrictions in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints: first, when there were no racial barriers to receiving the priesthood and temple ordinances; second, the 130-year period when there were racial restrictions; and third, a return to “the original universalism.”


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From the Back Cover

“The journey you undertake when reading this book will be fraught with eye-opening a-ha moments, often followed by feelings of disbelief and maybe a few tears. Trust me–it will all be for your good.”
–Darius A. Gray, Genesis Group counselor, 1971-97; president, 1997-2003″Church leaders have spoken boldly, unequivocally condemning racism. But some members still cling to false traditions of the past. In this slender volume, historian W. Paul Reeve shows how these traditions developed and why they should be thoroughly abandoned.”
–Richard E. Turley Jr., former Assistant Church Historian and Recorder

About the Author

W. Paul Reeve is the Simmons Chair of Mormon Studies in the History Department at the University of Utah, where he teaches courses on Utah history, Mormon history, and the history of the U.S. West. His book Religion of a different Color: Race and the Mormon Struggle for Whiteness (Oxford, 2015) has received multiple awards. He is general editor of a digital database, Century of Black Mormons, designed to identify all known people of Black African descent baptized into the faith between 1830 and 1930.

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Weight 1 lbs


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