Mormon Church Confronts Racist Past

A statement issued by the church renounces previous beliefs that blacks were inferior.

Posted:
 
1386695463

Thinkstock

The Mormon Church is setting the record straight on past wrongs, issuing what the Associated Press calls its "most comprehensive explanation" about excluding black people from priesthood and other controversial practices.

"The Church disavows the theories advanced in the past that black skin is a sign of divine disfavor or curse, or that it reflects actions in a pre-mortal life; that mixed-race marriages are a sin; or that blacks or people of any other race or ethnicity are inferior in any way to anyone else," the statement said. "Church leaders today unequivocally condemn all racism, past and present, in any form."

In the 1800s, while the faith was still new, the church banned all men of African descent from the lay clergy. It wasn’t until 1978 that church leaders had a "revelation." However, as the AP reports, in the three decades since the launch of the movement to include black members, the church has never once addressed the reasons for the ban or why blacks were thought to be spiritually inferior.

Now that has changed with the almost 2,000-word statement.

"History and changes all happen due to time. This is way past due," said Don Harwell, 67, a black Mormon who converted in 1983. "These are the statements they should have made in 1978, but better late than never."

Read more at The Guardian.

Like The Root on Facebook. Follow us on Twitter.