The Office of the First Presidency
Somewhere on Temple Square
Salt Lake City, Utah
19 June 2015
To be read at Sacrament Meetings Worldwide:
On the 12th of August 2013 the Office of the First Presidency approved the publication of an essay ‘Race and the Priesthood’ to be included in the Gospel Topics section of the church’s official website LDS.org.
The intention of this essay was to provide an explanation for the church’s historical policy regarding the priesthood ban on Black men. As modern prophets, seers and revelators we would like to state emphatically that there is no historical, scriptural or theological justification for the idea that Black and Colored men did not receive the priesthood because God saw them as unworthy, or undeserving. The blame for the concomittant notions of white supremacy in the church can be firmly and categorically ascribed to a succession of Church Presidents and General Authorities who conflated their personal and political prejudices with their religious and spiritual duties. For this failing they will be answerable to God.
For those Black and Colored members of the church who have suffered as a result of any teachings that might cause them to doubt their worth to our heavenly Father and Mother based on their skin color, we give our emphatic and unreserved apology, and a commitment to ensure that no member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is ever justified in making pronouncements other than:
For none of these iniquities come of the Lord; for he doeth that which is good among the children of men; and he doeth nothing save it be plain unto the children of men; and he inviteth them all to come unto him and partake of his goodness; and he denieth none that come unto him, black and white, bond and free, male and female; and he remembereth the heathen; and all are alike unto God, both Jew and Gentile. (2 Nephi 26:33)
For white members of the church who hold to notions of white supremacy on the basis of historical church practice we issue a further apology for the role the church may have played in the development of unhealthy and ultimately unGodly ideas. We call upon you to seek the Lord’s assistance and humility in overcoming your racial prejudices. We urge wisdom as you seek understanding from scholars and intellectuals who are well qualified to advance this conversation; either in your own church congregations or in the community.
This being said, we would like to announce that commencing 1 October 2015 an additional Temple Recommend Question will been included for the Temple Recommend interview – as follows:
Do you or have you associated or sympathised with white supremacist groups? Do you hold to notions of white supremacy or do you hold to ideas that would suggest that the scriptures or our heavenly parents have ordered heaven and earth along racial lines?
Those who have not fully reformed should be lovingly supported by the local priesthood leaders in the repentance process.
Priesthood leaders will be required to undertake training in the interim and should apply themselves to an understanding of local racial issues and historical contexts so that they might use both wisdom and humility in cleansing the church of this unmitigated evil.
The First Presidency