Black People And Mormonism
From the mid-1800s until 1978, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church) had a policy against ordaining black men of African descent to the church's lay priesthood. This resulted in black members being unable to participate in some temple ordinances considered necessary for salvation. Though the church had an open membership policy for all races, relatively few black people who were aware of the racial policy joined the church, despite reassurance that the ban would one day be lifted when "all the other descendants of Adam have received the promises and enjoyed the blessings of the priesthood and the keys thereof".
Historically, Mormon attitudes about race were generally close to the national average. Accordingly, before the Civil rights movement, the LDS policy went largely unnoticed and unchallenged. Beginning in the 1960s, however, the church was criticized by civil rights advocates and religious groups, and in 1969 several church leaders voted to rescind the policy, but the vote was not unanimous so the policy stood. In 1978, church leaders led by Spencer W. Kimball declared they had received a revelation instructing them to reverse the racial restriction policy. The change seems to have been prompted at least in part by problems facing mixed race converts in Brazil. The church opposes racism in any form and today has no racial policy.
In 1997, there were approximately 500,000 black members of the LDS Church, accounting for about 5% of the total membership; most black members live in Africa, Brazil and the Caribbean. Since 1997, the black membership has grown substantially, especially in West Africa, where two temples have been built.
Read more about Black People And Mormonism: Before 1847, Racial Policy Under Brigham Young, Racial Restriction Policy, 1880–1950, 1951–1977, Racial Policy Ends in 1978, Interracial Marriages, 1985 To Present, Black Membership
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... Black people have been members of Mormon congregations since its foundation, but before 1978 its black membership was small ... in 1997, there were approximately 500,000 black members of the church (about 5% of the total membership), mostly in Africa, Brazil and the Caribbean ... Black membership has continued to grow substantially, especially in West Africa, where two temples have been built ...
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