Subject: 25th Anniversary of Blacks Getting the Priesthood
Date: Jun 05 12:26 2003
Author: catholicgirl

If you were alive at the time (June 1978), where were you when you heard the news, and what was your reaction?

I was working at the Missionary Training Center (MTC) in Provo, Utah, at the time, and everyone there thought the sky was falling. . .

I still have the BYU Daily Universe (student newspaper) EXTRA! edition from that day.

Subject: Good question CG
Date: Jun 05 13:48
Author: Mr. Happy

I was 20 years old working in a grocery store in Bel Air (at the top of the hills north of UCLA). I usually arrived at work around 10:00am, and all of my co-workers knew I was a "Mormon boy". I had not heard the news and was puzzled when I got to work because my friends, the butchers, were waiting for me to arrive. As soon as I walked in the back door, they pounced on me. "So Mr. Happy, you finally let blacks go to your church with you".

I thought they were joking and kind of blew them off. It wasn't until later that I found out they were right. I was PISSED!!! Not that the church had given the blacks the priesthood, I was pissed that I was not informed before hand and instead was told by a non-member meat cutter!! I felt (and still feel) that something of that magnitude should have been announced to the membership at General Conference, or in the Stakes or Wards PRIOR to being released to the general public. It did get me thinking more and more about the motives of the church though.

I thought my mega-prejudice TBM parents were going to die. I'm sure they felt they would not see this in their lifetimes. There also seemed to be a funny feeling in the ward the next Sunday like we were going to be overrun by blacks coming to church. Haa haa. It wasn't long before someone made the comment that one day in the temple, at the veil, you'll knock three times and a black hand will appear with a voice asking "What dat?"

Subject: don't feel too bad.....
Date: Jun 05 14:25
Author: Pt Loma

>I was pissed that I was not informed before hand and instead was told by a non-member meat cutter!! I felt (and still feel) that something of that magnitude should have been announced to the membership at General Conference, or in the Stakes or Wards PRIOR to being released to the general public.

When the Newport Beach (CA) temple was announced, most of my LDS friends heard from me, not from their bishop or stake president. The people who learned it from me included a bishop and a second counselor in a bishopric.

All asked me how I got hold of this "sacred, not secret" information that their own members didn't know and, not having taken any temple penalty oaths, I readily revealed my "top secret" source: the front page of the local section of the Los Angeles Times. (there was similar coverage in the rival Orange County Register the same day)

What this episode told me was that virtually none of them read a local newspaper on a regular basis. This news wasn't buried on page five, it was on the front page of the local section of both papers.

Subject: I was working as a designer with a bunch of TBM's, me
Date: Jun 05 13:58
Author: StationaryTraveler

being one of them. There was a lot of wagging of tongues but in my brainwashed state of mind I figured that God can change his mind any time he wanted to.

I've been thinking of bestowing the "holy priesthood" on my parakeet. Priesthoods to me spell "Cult".

Subject: Re: Where Were You?
Date: Jun 05 14:08
Author: KJA

I was at a Saturday's Warrior rehearsal at the Bloomfield Hills (MI) Stake Center. I would have thought the woman who told us all was joking except that she had no sense of humor. It was shocking to everyone, but everyone seemed very happy about it. Myself included.

Subject: Hey! We have something in common.
Date: Jun 05 19:26
Author: Elaine

I was in a performance of "Saturday's Warrior", in the Fort Lauderdale Stake, that night. We had a black performer who was a member of the church, (all the performers were members). He was interviewed by the local papers afterward. We were all happy for him in particular and for the blacks as a whole. As a TBM, I didn't question the beloved prophet, Pres. Kimball. I wish I had had doubts then because maybe I could have saved my (now TBM) daughters.

Subject: where I was
Date: Jun 05 14:19
Author: Pt Loma

I saw the news in the San Diego County Edition of the Los Angeles Times while I was getting ready for work (summer job) about 7 am...while sipping some coffee!

I knew very little about the Morg at the time, but it was pretty well known among non-Mo's that Mormons didn't allow blacks to be full members; I didn't under stand the "priesthood" thing back then, but I knew blacks didn't have the same membership rights as white church members. Athletic boycotts of BYU by more enlightened schools (e.g., Stanford) were well-publicized in the 1970s.

Since I knew less about LDS then than most of you, my reaction was not "gee, that's amazing!" but rather "well it's about time...twenty years too late!" The big battles of the civil rights movement were fought in the 1950s and 1970s, and way way after it's all over, the Mormon Church decides finally to board the bandwagon.

Subject: This is what I tell the missionaries
Date: Jun 05 16:44
Author: Lilith

I realize blacks have held the priesthood all your lives, but it was 1978--way way too late. Your church, if it is the One True Church, should have been leading the civil rights movement not reluctantly bringing up the rear.

Subject: I was scared that it was the end of the world
Date: Jun 05 15:39
Author: Deb

I was in the terminal at Norton Air Force Base seeing hubby off on a deployment. The radio was on in the background and I remember hearing the words "Mormon Church" and "Spencer W. Kimball." I thought they were announcing that he had died, so I went to the car to try to find something more on the radio.

I remember shaking when I figured it out, thinking it meant that the millenium was going to come before I saw hubby again. Geez, now I know that would have been good news!

Subject: I was in my Osmond owned apartment,
Date: Jun 05 15:58
Author: tanstaafl
Mail Address:

and I heard it on tv or the radio, don't remember which. It was the first time a doubt broke thru the cognitive dissonance and gave me pause.

5 years later I finally figured it out -- the church was a fraud. I'm a slow learner.

Subject: It was a Sunday Morning......
Date: Jun 05 16:10
Author: Tee
Mail Address:

The news may have been broken to the ward earlier than just that day, but I remember it being discussed that morning at church. I lived in Utah, and was 11 years old. Everyone was in the halls in the ward house.......murmuring, "Oh My!"

Some seemed happy, while others were very tight lipped. However, I still remember just one single comment,

"Well, you still can't marry em!"

WTF? I still remember cringing upon hearing that.

Subject: Re: 25th Anniversary of Blacks Getting the Priesthood
Date: Jun 05 16:26
Author: Strange One
Mail Address:

I was on my mission in Chile. My junior companion at the time was from the south (sorry I don't remember exactly where - Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi) and declared that if it was true, he quit. Of course, many discussions with the mission Pres. followed and he eventually stayed on his mission.

It was my first experience with a truly bigoted person and I just couldn't understand what the big deal was. I had always been taught that the blacks (the term at the time), would receive the priesthood at an appropriate time - similar to sending your kids to college at different times.

Subject: The Sky is Falling...
Date: Jun 05 16:36
Author: Pericles
Mail Address:

I do recall the day...I was living at home at the time, finishing up 10th grade. Was living in the San Fernando Valley section of Southern California at the time, in a rental house since our new home we were moving to was not yet finished.

It was an afternoon, and I had just returned from running about 15 miles. I was thunderstruck...thought the end of the world was right around the corner, and wondered if the sky would start falling next. Still, I was happy and thought the decision to be a right one...and glad to hear that racist LDS members were leaving due to the decision. Good riddance, I thought.

Subject: Announced at church
Date: Jun 05 16:51
Author: AussieJohn
Mail Address:

Out in the nether parts of the world (Australia) it was announced in Sacrament meeting. For some reason we were a little late that day and were met in the foyer by my former ex-best friend who told us what the Bishop had just announced. Even though I was stunned, and my mind was racing faster than the speed of light remembering all the statements by former "prophets" about blacks and the priesthood, I blurted out, "Well, it's about bloody time" - please keep in mind that 'bloody' is a swear word in Australian English and a no no for mormons. My ex-wife burst into tears and said to us, "I've never mentioned this to anybody, not even you, John but this has been bothering me for months now and I've been praying that they could receive the priesthood. I've even had my own personal fast days about it."
This was never a big problem in the Australian church as our indigenous peoples are not negroid and were able to hold the priesthood - not that any did at the time.

Subject: Sitting in a lifeguard tower on a beach in the South Pacific...
Date: Jun 05 17:21
Author: Zoe
Mail Address:

working my high school job. I remember being pleasantly surprised. A few days later some Jewish friends of my parents angrily confronted them: they were unaware of the policy, until it changed, and shocked that my parents would belong to a religion that ever had such a policy. They were pretty outraged.

Subject: Don't tease, Zoe!
Date: Jun 05 17:30
Author: catholicgirl
Mail Address:

What beach??? Where???

Subject: Emon beach, Kwajalein, Marshall Islands....
Date: Jun 05 17:59
Author: Zoe
Mail Address:

It's a former U.S. Trust Territory, now restored to independent status (even have their own flag). My family moved there in 1974 and stayed until 1980. I was there from '74 - '76, and '77 - '79 (got sent away for a year for a little attitude adjustment!) and graduated from Kwajalein Jr./Sr. High School 1979 (class size either 32 or 36, can't remember).

Subject: I was only 5 at the time and do think my TBM family even mentioned this at the time
Date: Jun 05 17:47
Author: aaron
Mail Address:

I did not find out about this until several years latter when I was browsing though the D& C and came up the section made especially for this so called "revlation".

Subject: Urban myth?
Date: Jun 05 18:47
Author: Mythter
Mail Address:

I think this might be true, but I will not reveal who told me this, lest I be detected.

Okay, the unnamed person told me the next morning after the announcement was made, his neighbor was very angry. His neighbor (this is in Sandy, Utah) nailed his 1-piece garments to his garage door! They looked like a pelt, drying in the sun, fresh after the kill.

Subject: Re: Urban myth?
Date: Jun 05 19:57
Author: Wag

I know my wife's uncle, who had joined the church specifically because it did NOT allow blacks to have the ph, but the minute he heard about this 'revelation' he quit. On the spot.


Subject: How the time does fly...
Date: Jun 05 21:56
Author: missinglink
Mail Address:

25 years ago I was working at Reams' grocery store in South Salt Lake City. There was a man who was a meat cutter that was married to a black woman and was a member of the JWs. I recall him making some comments about this event but do not recall the details. The one thing I do remember him saying was relative to general conference weekends: "When the Mormons meet, the heavens weep!" I know some study has been done on whether or not it rains more often on GC weekends but also do not recall the results - seems like the answer was no...

CG: Thanks for bringing the occasion to our attention!

Subject: You're welcome, missinglink. . .
Date: Jun 05 21:58
Author: catholicgirl
Mail Address:

. . .and thanks for continuing to post.

My opinion of you has gone up significantly since your heartfelt apology of late, and I am happy to see you are still here.

Subject: I remember this being announced on DC television...
Date: Jun 05 22:12
Author: Shakjula

It was one of those things that the networks threw into the evening news as almost an after-thought, and then on Sunday morning the journalists were discussing the issue more in-depth.

I didn't understand what the big deal was about since all the churches around me were already racially integrated for the most part, and I thought it was really strange that Mormons wouldn't allow blacks to fully participate.

Subject: A more accurate comparison, Shak. . .
Date: Jun 05 22:43
Author: catholicgirl
Mail Address:

. . .might be to the Catholic Church announcing that they were going to ordain women.

It was about that startling, and earth shattering, and definitely unexpected.

It was a "hell hath frozen over" moment. . .

But there was no doubt that it was in response to political pressures on a number of fronts (not the least of which was the building of a temple in Brazil).

Subject: Temple in Brazil...
Date: Jun 06 00:28
Author: missinglink
Mail Address:

Yes, according to Elder LeGrande Richards, that was *the* primary motivation for the change.

BTW, thanks CG for giving me a 2nd chance - I'm really not such a bad sort, for one who is driven by logic. :-)

Subject: I was living in Lubbock,Tx
Date: Jun 05 22:54
Author: Phoebs
Mail Address:

The first thing that came to mind was the phrase about it not happening until the sons of Levi offering something in righteousness. That was my first lightbulb moment. If only I would have questioned leaders until they wee blue in the face, I could have saved myself 23 more years in the morg.

Subject: It happened soon after....
Date: Jun 06 01:18
Author: spud
Mail Address:

I got home from my mission. Could have used that "revelation" before my mission.

Subject: I remember it like it was yesterday. And I was at the MTC too...
Date: Jun 06 04:28
Author: Perry Noid
Mail Address:

I was a missionary at the time and, believe me, I was thankin' Jesus, because I was so relieved that I wouldn't have to spend the next two years trying to explain why the Mormon Church wouldn't let black people hold the priesthood.

Those were the Max Pinegar days at the MTC, which was still partly under construction, if I remember correctly.

Subject: Yes, those were definitely the Max Pinegar days. . .
Date: Jun 06 06:30
Author: catholicgirl
Mail Address:

I was in staff/prayer meeting with him every morning.

What group were you in?

Subject: Working
Date: Jun 09 16:47
Author: Saganite
Mail Address:

I was working outside (construction). My boss came up and said, “Did you hear that the Blacks can have the Priesthood”? I was waiting for the punch line. Then he told me it was true, they just made the announcement. I thought, cool, a new revelation, getting closer to the second coming. I took it hook, line and sinker.

Subject: missionary in Fukuoka Japan mission (southern Japan)
Date: Jun 09 17:14
Author: Mr X
Mail Address:

They called around to announce the new Black policy. Some missionaries thought the 2nd coming must be right around the corner.

I was in a small branch in southern Japan.

We discussed the new Black policy with some members. It seems like most of them had never even heard of the policy at all. Some had never seen a Black person except on TV. I wouldn't be surprised if many of them never even knew that polygamy was a major feature of the church for over 60 years.

Since it seemed like most Japanese members didn't really know much about it, the mission president told missionaries and leaders to not bother announcing the new policy in Sunday meetings.

Mr X
formerly "servant of God" laboring in the Japanese vineyard
currently "apostate" dealing with ultra-TBM wife and 3 TBM boys

Subject: Yo, senkyoshi-san!
Date: Jun 09 17:23
Author: steve benson

I was in Japan-Fukuoka from 73 to 75: Naha, Oroku, Miyazaki, Sasebo and Hiroshima.

Not wanting to hijack the thread, but couldn't resist.

Now, back to our regularly scheduled programming.

Subject: sitting at Dee's Hamburgers, in downtown SLC on lunchbreak . . .
Date: Jun 09 17:21
Author: steve benson

I remember it like I did the day Kennedy was shot.

Subject: Same here, Steve. . .
Date: Jun 09 17:27
Author: catholicgirl
Mail Address:

Will absolutely never forget it.

I only kept two copies of the BYU Daily Universe from my time there.

One was the EXTRA! issue from the day blacks got the priesthood, and the other was the one from the day Nixon resigned.

A lot of people who've come into the Church, or been born, subsequently, I don't really think have a good perspective on what a shockingly unexpected development it was, and how much fallout resulted from it.

Subject: I was a missionary in France
Date: Jun 09 17:43
Author: gallo801
Mail Address:

I had 2 weeks to go on the mission. We were tracting in a nice neighborhood with detached houses with yards (maisonettes particuliares) and we noticed a black family on route. I remember thinking, "well, no need to bother them." The next day, we got word of the REVELATION!!!!! We decided to go back and knock on their door. I also remember thinking, "Hi there black folks. You know that thing you couldn't have yesterday? WEll, guess what! Today you can have it!" And then the thought crossed my mind, "Why would ANY black person EVER want to join a church where they were called the cursed seed of Cain one day, then white and delightsome er, I mean PURE and delightsome the next day." We actually went back and knocked on their door. "Cela ne m'interesse pas." OK, it was worth a shot. And I guess they've had their chance now, right?

Subject: Re: Where were you when blacks got the priesthood? (continuation of previous thread) (edited)
Date: Jun 09 19:11
Author: Victor LeNettoyeur

Dear Catholic Girl (and everyone else),

I was just a tiny kid 25 years ago, so perhaps some of
you older folks could fill in a few of the details
about this matter.

I'm curious as to your opinions concerning the motivation
for this convenient "revelation" Kimball had in 1978.

I started a related thread on usenet recently, in which
the topic was discussed at length. One of my Mormon
friends, Harry Lime, is of the opinion that there were
some tax problems and Kimball was motivated by a desire
to keep his church's 501(c)(3) status intact.

You can read that thread here, by the way...

Those of us who were around then probably owe it to
history to record such tomfoolery for posterity, before
it gets thoroughly whitewashed.

Thanks in advance for any insights.


Subject: Re: Where were you when blacks got the priesthood? (continuation of previous thread) (edited)
Date: Jun 09 19:21
Author: Petunia
Mail Address:

I was fifteen years old driving down Sunset Ave in IF on my way to a church activity. I remember thinking, "Well, it's about time!"

Subject: BLACKS did not receive the priesthood . . .
Date: Jun 09 19:29
Author: I beg to differ
Mail Address:

Black MEN received the priesthood.

Subject: Same day I graduated from high school
Date: Jun 09 19:41
Author: Kim
Mail Address:

June 8, 1978 was a Thursday, and it was the same day I graduated from high school. I woke up on Friday morning June 9th to hear the announcement on the radio. I assumed that God must have been visiting the Salt Lake temple the same day as my high school graduation...maybe he even popped in the Special Events Center for the convocation exercises after visiting Kimball in the temple...after all, he was in town.

Or, perhaps it wasn't as dramatic as all that. Maybe it was just a policy change to clean up the church's image and to avoid the upcoming problems of members with black blood in their ancestry using the soon to be completed temple in Brazil. But, a BIG change it was, so it had to come from God.

Subject: Re: Where were you when blacks got the priesthood? (continuation of previous thread) (edited)
Date: Jun 09 19:51
Author: boxingguy
Mail Address:

I was watching the Larry Holmes vs. Ken Norton fight for the WBC championship....

Subject: Re: Where were you when blacks got the priesthood? (continuation of previous thread) (edited)
Date: Jun 09 19:56
Author: Eldernomore
Mail Address:

Wow, I havn't thought of that in years. I was an 18 year old working in a warehouse as an after school job. The older guys were giving me all kinds of sh*t. They knew I was a mormon. They were all ex-vam vets and I was a punk high school kid.
I felt really uncomfortable cause I really didn't care except that my father was not so pleased about it.
Anyone who grow up before the ninties understands politically incorrect parents, especially those who lived through the depression and WWII.

Subject: On a mission.
Date: Jun 09 20:06
Author: Segue
Mail Address:

I was knocking on doors in Norfolk Virginia. I remember this virtually tripling the size of our area that we could actively proselyte. The members in this area were not happy about this. Lots of comments about a fallen prophet.

Subject: Mormonism and the Negro
Date: Jun 19 02:02
Author: catholicgirl
Mail Address:

"It is the Mormon belief that in our pre-mortal state there were a large number of individuals who, due to some act or behavior of their own in the pre-existence, forfeited the right to hold the Priesthood during their mortal lives...the Negro is thus denied the Priesthood because of his own behavior in the pre-existence."
The Church and the Negro, pages 42-43.

"As a result of his rebellion, Cain was cursed and told that "the earth" would not thereafter yield him its abundance as previously. In addition he became the first mortal to be cursed as a son of perdition...The Lord placed on Cain a mark of a dark skin, and he became the ancestor of the black race.
(Moses 5; Gen. 4; Teachings, p. 169)." Mormon Doctrine by Bruce McConkie, page 109.

"The very fact that God would allow those spirits who were less worthy in the spirit world to partake of a mortal body at all is further evidence of his mercy."
Mormonism and the Negro, part I, pages 48-50.

"At the time the devil was cast out of heaven, there were some spirits that did not know who had authority, whether God or the devil. They consequently did not take a very active part on either side, but rather thought the devil had been abused, and considered he had rather the best claim to the government. These spirits were not considered bad enough to be cast down to hell, and never have bodies; neither were they considered worthy of an honorable body on this earth."
A speech by Elder Orson Hyde, delivered before the High Priests' Quorum,, in Nauvoo, April 27th, 1845, printed in Liverpool, page 30.

"Shall I tell you the law of God in regard to the African race? If the white man who belongs to the chosen seed mixes his blood with the seed of Cain, the penalty, under the law of God, is death on the spot. This will always be so."
Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, Vol. 10, page 110.
The reader should be reminded that Brigham Young, the second prophet of the Mormon church said that whatever he preached was as good as scripture -- J. D. Vol. 13, page 95, 264.

"...the church went to court on several occasions to block Negroes from moving into the San Francisco neighborhood in which the headquarters was located."
The Christian Century, Sept. 29, 1965, page 1184.

On Oct. 28, 1865, the Mormon Church paper Millennial Star printed an article which stated that "Mormonism is that kind of religion the entire divinity of which is invalidated, and its truth utterly rejected, the moment that any one of its leading principles I acknowledged to be false..."

The Mormon write John J. Stewart stated: "If we as members of the Church are going to pick and choose among the Prophet's teachings, and say ‘this one is of God, we can accept it, but this one is of man, we will reject that,' then we are undermining the whole structure of our faith..."
Mormonism and the Negro, page 19.

"The prophets have declared that there are at least two major stipulations that have to be met before the Negroes will be allowed to possess the Priesthood. The first requirement relates to time. The Negroes will not be allowed to hold the Priesthood during mortality, in fact, not until after the resurrection of all of Adam's children. The other stipulation requires that Abel's seed receive the first opportunity of having the priesthood....the last of Adam's children will not be resurrected until the end of the millennium. Therefore, the Negroes will not receive the Priesthood until after that time... this will not happen until after the thousand years of Christ's reign on earth."
The Church and the Negro, 1967, pages 45-48.

Albert B. Fritz, NAACP branch president, said at a civil rights meeting Friday night that his organization promised not to picket the 133rd Semi-Annual General Conference of the Church on Temple Square. He added, however, that the NAACP will picket Temple Square, next Saturday if the Church does not present an ‘acceptable' statement on civil rights before that day."
Deseret News, Oct. 5, 1963.

"Some 3,000 students, led by the BSU, paraded peacefully on the school's campus in Seattle Monday over the issue of alleged racism at BYU."
Deseret News, March 10, 1970.

"The demonstration was the latest in a series of protests against The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon) because the church bars Negroes from its priesthood."
Deseret News, Jan. 10, 1970.

"What the Gentiles are doing we are consenting to do. What we are trying to do to day is to make the Negro equal with us in all our privilege. My voice shall be against all the day long. I shall not consent for one moment I will will call them a counsel. I say I will not consent for one moment for you to lay a plan to bring a curse upon this people. I shall not be while I am here."
Brigham Young's Speech on: Slavery, Blacks, and the Priesthood
(Brigham Young Addresses, Ms d 1234, Box 48, folder 3, dated Feb. 5, 1852, located in the LDS Church Historical Department, Salt Lake City, Utah)

The tenth president of the Church, Joseph Fielding Smith, taught that the blacks would never hold the priesthood as long as "time endures,"
(The Way to Perfection, p.101).

N. Eldon Tanner a member of the First Presidency stated, "The Church has no intention of changing its doctrine on the negro. Through the history of the original Christian Church, the negro never held the priesthood. There's really nothing we can do to change this. It's a law of God,"
(Seattle Magazine, Dec. 1967, p. 60).

More at:

Subject: And then without any reasonable explanation whatsoever, Spencer W. Kimball
Date: Jun 19 02:30
Author: Perry Noid
Mail Address:

had a "revelation" that changed everything. The Church has been trying to stuff more than a century of history down the memory hole ever since.

Thanks for the excellent compilation CG. That's powerful stuff!

I think I told you before that I was in Max Pinegar's LTM (now MTC) when Spencer got the "revelation". I was mostly just relieved that I would have one less embarrassment to have to explain for two years as a missionary.

But in the back of my mind it always seemed odd--in a Twilight Zone kind of way--that a whole set of beliefs held by faithful TBMs for generations (and encouraged by their leaders for that whole time) was completely invalidated by a short announcement from Spencer Kimbal--with not even an attempt to explain why God changed his mind.

And the weirdest thing was that virtually the entire membership of the Church just wheeled around and fell into line like a precision military drill team and in unison suddenly commenced pretending that the previous 100 years and more of institutionalized bigotry was nothing more than a trivial gospel mystery that merited no further attention.


Subject: Elder Le Grand Richards On How Blacks Received the Priesthood (Negative Revelation)
Date: Jun 19 02:44
Author: catholicgirl
Mail Address:

Elder Le Grand Richards, from an interview by Wesley Walters and Chris Vlachos on August 16, 1978, Church Office Building, Salt Lake City:

Walters: On this revelation, of the priesthood to the Negro, I've heard all kinds of stories: I've heard that Christ appeared to the apostles; I've heard that Joseph Smith appeared; and then I heard another story that Spencer Kimball had had a concern about this for some time, and simply shared it with the apostles, and they decided that this was the right time to move in that direction. Are any of those stories true, or are they all?

Richards: Well, the last one is pretty true, and I might tell you what provoked it in a way. Down in Brazil, there is so much Negro blood in the population there that it is hard to get leaders that don't have negro blood in them. We just built a temple down there. It's going to be dedicated in October. All those people with Negro blood in them have been raising money to build that temple. If we don't change, then they can't even use it. Well, Brother Kimball worried about it, and he prayed a lot about it. He asked each one of us of the twelve if we would pray--and we did--that the Lord would give him the inspiration to know what the will of the Lord was. Then he invited each one of us in his office--individually, because you know when you are in a group, you can't always express everything that's in your heart. You're part of the group, see--so he interviewed each one of us, personally. to see how we felt about it, and he asked us to pray about it. Then he asked each one of us to hand in all the references we had, for, or against that proposal. See, he was thinking favorably toward giving the colored people the priesthood. Then we had a meeting where we meet every week in the temple, and we discussed it as a group circle. and then held another prayer circle after the close of that meeting, and he (President Kimball) lead in the prayer; praying that the Lord would give us the inspiration that we needed to do the thing that would be pleasing to Him and for the blessing of His children.

And then the next Thursday--we meet every Thursday--the presidency came with this little document written out to make the announcement--to see how we'd feel about it--and present it in written form. Well, some of the members of the Twelve suggested a few changes in the announcement, and then in our meeting there we all voted in favor of it--the Twelve and the first Presidency. One member of the Twelve, Mark Peterson, was down in South America, but Brother Benson, our president, had arranged to know where he could be reached by phone, and right while we were in that meeting in the temple, Brother Kimball talked with Brother Peterson, and read him the article, and he (Peterson) approved of it.

Walters: There wasn't a special document as a "revelation", that he had wrote down?

Richards: We discussed it in our meeting. What else should we say besides that announcement? And we decided that that was sufficient; that no more needed to be said.
(excerpted, emphasis mine)

A0070 Legrande Richards

One A-cass of an interview of Richards by W.P. Walters
and Chris Vlachos concerning the Church of Jesus Christ
of Latter Saints revelation on Blacks Receiving the

Subject: LOL!!! So it was really more of an "announcement" than a revelation....
Date: Jun 19 03:07
Author: Perry Noid
Mail Address:

Where would the Church be without living prophets who can receive continuing announcements, er, revelations? ;o)

Subject: I worked at the MTC at the time of the June 1978 announcement. . .
Date: Jun 19 03:25
Author: catholicgirl
Mail Address:

I think I mentioned this before, Perry Noid, when you said you were there at the time, while Max Pinegar was President of the MTC.

I was on administrative staff at the time.

We were told, by visiting General Authorities and others from the Church Office Building, that it was not a revelation, but a "negative revelation."

That is, the First Presidency and the Twelve decided to tell the Lord that they were going to change the policy regarding blacks and the LDS priesthood "unless He gave them a sign to the contrary."

In the absence of any sign, they changed the policy.

No one officially coming over from SLC to the MTC at the time denied this story.

It was later that I heard the word "revelation" actually used in conjunction with it.

But Elder Le Grand Richard's statements in his interview with Chris Vlachos and Wesley P. Walters supports this version of the events.

Subject: Wow! Very interesting! I'm pretty sure they knew in advance
Date: Jun 19 03:37
Author: Perry Noid
Mail Address:

that they weren't going to get any "signs". And I think that this indicates that they really don't believe in signs and don't really believe that God is taking any interest in guiding the affairs of the Church.

I really think they know at some level that they're just making things up as they go and that makes them culpable for knowingly misleading the members of their Church.

Subject: BTW, do you remember the electrocution incident that happened about that time?
Date: Jun 19 03:41
Author: Perry Noid
Mail Address:

There was a guy working on the power lines out in front of the MTC, who got electrocuted. It caused quite a commotion. I hope the guy survived, but I never heard how that turned out.

Speaking of signs, though, I wonder what kind of sign would have been accepted by the Brethren. My guess is that they were looking at signs coming from the Federal government and signs coming from a potential Church meltdown in Brazil more than they cared about any signs from God.

Subject: really interesting Catholic Girl, thanx :)
Date: Jun 19 02:54
Author: Sandyslc
Mail Address:

Perry, I like your comment about the ease and precision in which the mormon populace wheeled right around in their whole belief structure regarding the black communities and the priesthood. I agree, very bizarre.
I was pretty young when this happened and assumed that it was some (supposed) grand heavenly visitation type of deal that brought this decision forward.


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