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The Mormon Church has long been known as a place that wasn’t exactly friendly to black people. The church held a ban on black priests that lasted up until 1978, claiming that a revelation that is now in their scriptures says that only “worthy male members” of the church can be ordained to become priests. This led to a ban on black people either holding the priesthood or being sealed for eternity to their spouses in Mormon temples.
Randy Bott, a religion professor at the heavily Mormon Brigham Young University said that black men are blessed by God in not receiving the priesthood until their race was ready for that kind of responsibility.
Thankfully, the church has condemned Bott’s comments, as well as”any and all past racism by individuals both inside and outside the Church.”
But while the church condemned the professor’s comments, it has not given an explanation or an apology for the ban that lasted up until 1978.
“but … it ended decades ago,” said the church’s statement. “Some have attempted to explain the reason for this restriction but these attempts should be viewed as speculation and opinion, not doctrine.”
Mormon writer Joanna Brooks said that thinking like Professor Bott is not uncommon in the church.
“Professor Bott is no outlier,” she says. “Especially among older Mormons, racist rationale for the priesthood ban-linking it to Old Testament pretexts, or to moral infirmity in a pre-earthly life by the souls of Africans and African-Americans, and other racist apologetic mental gymnastics exemplified in Bott’s statement to the Post -persist and circulate, generally unquestioned and unchallenged.”