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Mormonism, Race, and the Priesthood: A Select Bibliography

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Mormonism, Race, and the Priesthood: A Select Bibliography

Robert M. Bowman Jr.

This is a select list of online articles, periodical articles, and books on the subject of race and the priesthood in Mormonism. Items are listed because of their significance for serious study of the subject and reflect different points of view. Listing here implies no endorsement or agreement with the contents or viewpoint the item expresses.


Official LDS Statements and Resources

Race and the Priesthood.” Official website page, Dec. 2013.

Church Statement Regarding ‘Washington Post’ Article on Race and the Church.” Mormon Newsroom, official statement, 29 Feb. 2012.

Race and the Church: All Are Alike Unto God.” Mormon Newsroom, official statement, 29 Feb. 2012.

Members Speak About Diversity, Unity, and the Priesthood.” Official website page.

Elder Dallin H. Oaks’ Reaction to Priesthood Revelation.” Interview for the PBS documentary The Mormons, 20 July 2007.

1978 Official Declaration.” 30 Sept. 1978.




Newspaper Articles

Jordan, Mary. “The New Face of Global Mormonism: Tech-Savvy Missionary Church Thrives as Far Afield as Africa.” Washington Post, 19 Nov. 2007.

Stack, Peggy Fletcher. “Mormon church denounces folk beliefs about blacks and priesthood.” Salt Lake Tribune, 5 March 2012.

Stack, Peggy Fletcher. “35 years later, priesthood ban is gone, but some pain still lingers for black Mormons.” Salt Lake Tribune, 11 June 2013.

Stack, Peggy Fletcher. “Mormon Church Traces Black Priesthood Ban to Brigham Young.” Salt Lake Tribune, 9 Dec. 2013.

Walch, Tad. “LDS Church enhances web pages on its history, doctrine.” Deseret News, 11 Dec. 2013; updated 13 Dec. 2013.



Other Comments on Recent Statements

Baker, Lee B. “Blacks Ridiculed Again by the Mormon Church.” Salem News, 19 Dec. 2013.

Colvin, Gina. “Mormons, Mandela, and the Race and Priesthood Statement.” Patheos: KiwiMormon (blog), 8 Dec. 2013.

A Discussion of the New Race and the Priesthood Web Page.” Mormon Stories, 11 Dec. 2013. Doug Fabrizio, host.

McKeever, Bill, and Eric Johnson. “A Doctrine that Was To Always Be.” Mormonism Research Ministries, n.d. (Dec. 2013).

"Race and the Priesthood: Response to" MormonThink, 2014.


Rasmussen, Eden. “Footnotes to the Enhanced Gospel Topics.” 17 Dec. 2013.

Smith, Darron T. “The Mormon Church Disavows Its Racist Past But Still Offers No Apology.” Huffington Post (blog), 16 Dec. 2013. By an African-American Mormon scholar.



Books and Periodical Articles on Mormonism and Race

Berrett, William E. The Church and the Negroid People: Historical Information concerning the Doctrine of the Church toward the Negroid People. Provo, UT: Bookmark—Community Press Publishing Company, 1978. (Bound with Stewart, Mormonism and the Negro.)

Bringhurst, Newell G. Saints, Slaves, and Blacks: The Changing Place of Black People within Mormonism. Contributions to the Study of Religion 4. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1981.

Bringhurst, Newell G., and Darron T. Smith, eds. Black and Mormon. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2004.

Bush, Lester E. Jr. “Mormonism’s Negro Doctrine: An Historical Overview.” Dialogue 8, 1 (Spring 1973): 11-68. PDF document.

Bush, Lester E. Jr., and Armand L. Mauss, eds. Neither White nor Black: Mormon Scholars Confront the Race Issue in a Universal Church. Midvale, UT: Signature Books, 1984.

Embry, Jessie L. Black Saints in a White Church: Contemporary African American Mormons. Salt Lake City: Signature Books, 1994.

Freeman, Joseph. In the Lord’s Due Time; First Black to Receive the Priesthood Following the 1978 Revelation. Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1979.

Kimball, Edward L. “Spencer W. Kimball and the Revelation on Priesthood.” BYU Studies 47, 2 (2008): 3-78. PDF document.

Mauss, Armand L. All Abraham’s Children: Changing Mormon Conceptions of Race and Lineage. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2003.

Nelson, Lowry. Correspondence (1947). Special Collections and Archives, Merrill-Cazier Library, Utah State University.

Nelson, Lowry. In the Direction of His Dreams: Memoirs. New York: Philosophical Library, 1986.

Stevenson, Russell W. “‘A Negro Preacher’: The Worlds of Elijah Ables.” Journal of Mormon History 39 (2013): 165-254.

Stewart, John J. Mormonism and the Negro: An Explanation and Defense of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Regard to Negroes and Others of Negroid Blood. Provo, UT: Bookmark—Community Press Publishing Company, 1978.

Taggert, Stephen G. Mormonism’s Negro Policy: Social and Historical Origins. Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press, 1970.

Tanner, Jerald and Sandra. Curse of Cain? Racism in the Mormon Church. Salt Lake City: Utah Lighthouse Ministry, 2004.


Taylor, Samuel W. “The Ordeal of Lowry Nelson and the Mis-spoken Word.” Dialogue 26, 3 (1993): 91-99.