Mormon Church Explains Past Ban on Black Priests

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Mormon scholars over the years have written much of what is in the posting, but it is noteworthy coming from church headquarters in Salt Lake City, he said. He and other scholars were interviewed several months ago by staff from LDS Public Affairs in preparation for the new article, Mauss said, adding that it reflects a “new Church commitment to greater transparency about its history, doctrines, and policies.”

Don Harwell, a black Mormon, called the article a great moment.

“History and changes all happen due to time. This is way past due,” said Harwell, 67, of Cottonwood Heights, who converted to Mormonism in 1983. “These are the statements they should have made in 1978, but better late than never.”

Harwell is the president of Utah’s Genesis Group, a support organization founded in 1971 for black Mormons. While he noted that he doesn’t speak for the church, he said he believes the next step is getting more black Mormons into church leadership positions. He serves as counselor to the bishop in his local congregation and can see how that is helping young church members change their perceptions.

Margaret Blair Young, an adjunct professor at Brigham Young University who made a documentary about the untold stories of black Mormons, called the new article a miracle.

“I’m thrilled,” Young said. “It went so much further than anything before has done.”

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