Black Saints and the Priesthood (Brigham Young/Early Utah era)

469 Primary Sources

1200 BC - 600 BC

Hebrew text of Genesis 6–9 (story of Noah).

170 BC

James H. Charlesworth translates text regarding Cain as a "dark calf."

100 - 200 AD

Ambiguous Syriac text indicating "black" or "sad."

400 - 500 AD

Codex Vaticanus reference to Cain.

609 - 632 AD

Ali Ünal offers translation re: Cain.

700 - 1300

AAAL offers first-known account of Cain where identified as "black."


LCE scribe writes C as "casting down" his face.

1200 - 1300

HS and MS offer translation of Kabbalah text re: C's curse.


Thomas Peyton identifies Cain as "black."


Apocryphal account of Cain being killed by an arrow after being mistaken for an animal.


Elihu Coleman rejects that Cain and Canaan share a common lineage.

Oct 16, 1785

Paul Erdmann Iserts comments on alleged "Cain" origins for Africans.


Richard Allen recounts experience of church segregation in Philadelphia.


Printer's Manuscript of BOM.


1830 census lists Sarah Hofheintz as a free black woman.


David Walker criticizes use of Cain mythology to justify enslavement.

Apr 1830

Revelation manuscript for D&C 20.


David Walker criticizes use of Cain lore for black origins.

Jan 6, 1831

LMS letter to her family describing appearance of Moroni.

Jul 17, 1831

W. W. Phelps includes text of alleged revelation from Joseph.

Jun 1832 - Jul 1832

Joseph's 1832 history giving earliest firsthand account of the vision.

Jun 1832 - Jul 1832

Joseph describes his childhood education and his upbringing.

Dec 1832

JST manuscript for Psalm 14 which has similar verbiage to 1832 FV account.


Wheatley discusses the outcome of her enslavement and describes Africans in Cain-like terms.


David Child rejects the curse of Cain theory.

Dec 1834

OC letter to WWP describing JS First Vision.

Feb 1835

OC writes to WWP on JS First Vision.

Apr 1, 1835

JC describes hearing JS relate First Vision when a religious revivial occurred.

Jun 2, 1835

WWP letter to his wife saying he heard JS preach.

Nov 1835 - Feb 1836

RF remembers hearing about First Vision in 1835.

Nov 9, 1835

JS account of his First Vision from 1835.

Nov 14, 1835

JS First Vision summary.

Mar 31, 1836

Joseph signs ministerial certificate for Able attesting to status as elder.

Apr 1, 1836

Joseph sees Black people as subject to the curse of Canaan.

Apr 1836

Angelina Grimke criticizes use of Canaan myth to justify enslavement.

Apr 1836

Messenger and Advocate comments on scriptural support for priesthood and temple restrictions.

Nov 27, 1836

PPP recounts JS telling about his visions.

Apr 1837

Theodore Weld criticizes use of Canaan lore to justify slavery.


Weld criticizes use of Cain myth for African origins.

May 25, 1838

Wilford Woodruff serves with Joseph Ball on a mission.

May 25, 1838

Wilford Woodruff calls Joseph Ball an "Elder."

Jul 1838

Joseph Ball serves a mission in the East.

Nov 17, 1838

A writer to the Colored American criticizes the Cain myth.

Jun 1839

Joseph's 1838 canonical history.

Dec 12, 1839

Joseph Ball has difficulty with other elders, which were settled.

Dec 12, 1839

Wilford Woodruff refers to accusations against Ball.


Sarah Ann Mode Hofheintz listed as white in 1840 census.


Sarah Ann Mode Hofheintz listed as white in 1840 census.


Orson Pratt recounts JS's First Vision.


James W. C. Pennington criticizes use of Bible lore to describe African origins.

Apr 18, 1841

JM recounts meeting WS who retells JS First Vision.

May 5, 1841

William I. Appleby copies Abraham 1:26–27, describing priesthood restriction of Pharaoh, into his journal on May 5, 1841.

Jan 25, 1842

Willard Richards records in Joseph's journal that Joseph described Black people as "sons of Cain."

Feb 1842

Book of Abraham states Pharaoh was restricted from the priesthood because of lineage.

Mar 1, 1842

JS 1842 account of First Vision for JW.

Mar 15, 1842 - Apr 1, 1842

1842 publication of JS 1838 First Vision account.


OH recounting of JS First Vision.

Jan 2, 1843

Joseph favors laws to prevent mixed race marriages.

Jun 11, 1843

LR accounts of JS First Vision.

Jun 25, 1843

Elijah Able holds calling as a seventy in Cincinnati.

Jul 1843

Nott argues "probable extermination of the two races if the Whites and Blacks are allowed to intermarry."

Aug 16, 1843

J. C. Nott states that interracial marriage will produce infertile couples.

Aug 21, 1843

DNW interviews JS on the First Vision and JS details seeing two personages.


R. B. Lewis quotes Pompee Valentin-Vastey criticizing theorists who associate black people with Cain.

Feb 8, 1844

Joseph enforces anti-miscegenation law in Illinois.

May 24, 1844

AN 1844 account of JS First Vision.

Jun 1, 1844

Ball serves as chair of Joseph's Boston election committee.

Oct 9, 1844

Woodruff writes to Brigham about William Smith's mismanagement of the branch.


IDR prints JS' account of the First Vision, where he sees two personages who are exactly the same.


Lucy Mack Smith conflates First Vision and Moroni visit.

Feb 1845

William Clayton includes a summary of the events leading the Martyrdom in the Council of Fifty minutes.

Apr 1, 1845

John Taylor cites Genesis to assert the priesthood curse of Ham's descendants.

Apr 27, 1845

Hyde uses premortal explanation to give an opinion on origins of Black people.

Apr 27, 1845

Hyde uses premortal explanation to give an opinion on origins of Black people.

Jun 1, 1845

George Hales records evidence that Able still held the priesthood in 1845.

Dec 24, 1845

Heber C. Kimball's journal records Hofheintz couple as receiving their endowment in Nauvoo.


John Whittier sees Enoch Lewis preaching.

Jan 14, 1847

Revelation to Brigham Young describes reasons the Saints left Nauvoo for the West.

Mar 1, 1847

Robert Campbell comments on William McCary and Lucy Stanton as couple.

Mar 26, 1847

Brigham says he doesn't care about the blood or color of McCary.

Apr 25, 1847

Pratt briefly articulates a rationale for a priesthood ban.

May 19, 1847

William Appleby says ordination of Black people was contrary to the "order of the Church" and "Law of the Priesthood."

May 29, 1847

BY chides church members for dancing like black people.

Jun 2, 1847

Appleby notes the son of Lewis is married to a white woman.

Jun 2, 1847

William Appleby says that ordination of Black members could lead to intermarriage.

Jun 2, 1847

William Appleby gives details on Walker Lewis's life.

Jun 16, 1847

Appleby writes that he is ashamed to meet a white woman married to a Black man.

Dec 2, 1847

Brigham criticizes interracial marriage and mentions "if they were far away from the Gentiles they would all [h]av[e] to be killed."

Dec 2, 1847

William I. Appleby references the interracial marriage of Enoch Lewis.

Dec 2, 1847

Brigham criticizes interracial marriage and mentions "if they were far away from the Gentiles they would all [h]av[e] to be killed."

Feb 13, 1849

Brigham says that Africans are cursed descendants of Cain.

Feb 13, 1849

Brigham says that Africans are cursed descendants of Cain.

Jul 19, 1849

Brigham says that Utahans are averse to slavery.

Feb 1850

William Smith states that Orson Hyde ordained William McCary.

Mar 4, 1850

Wilford Woodruff records receipt of a letter from Quaku Walker Lewis.

Jun 25, 1850

JT recounts JS First Vision.

Dec 15, 1850

Orson Hyde explains Utah servitude laws.


William Crosby summarizes the Green Flake episode.

Jun 1, 1851

Wilford Woodruff records Brigham condemning slavery but maintaining that Black people must be servants.

Jun 1, 1851

Brigham states that the curse of Ham makes Black people servants and he forbids slavery.

Jan 1, 1852

Utah act allows indentured bondage in Utah.


Wilford Woodruff records reference to the curse of Cain and how that impacts blessings.


Wilford Woodruff's summary of a February 13, 1849 meeting in which Brigham Young states that black people are inelligible for the Priesthood because of the curse of Cain.


Frederick Douglass pokes fun at the idea of the Biblical curse of Ham.


Josiah Priest rejects Cain theory in favor of Ham theory.


Fletcher argues that Ham married descendant of Cain.


Brigham Young states that God has made some to be the "masters" and "superiors" of Black people.

Jan 5, 1852

Brigham explains slave law in Utah.

Jan 5, 1852

Brigham expresses his views on slavery in the margins of the document.

Jan 16, 1852

BY says Black Americans will have rights in Utah.

Jan 16, 1852

Wilford Woodruff reports that Brigham stated interracial marriage was worthy of death.

Jan 16, 1852

WW records BY explaining priesthood/temple restriction

Jan 23, 1852

Brigham explains his racial rationale for slavery.

Jan 23, 1852

Brigham expresses opposition to slave abuse and support for Black service.

Jan 23, 1852

Brigham gives reasons for Black "service" laws.

Jan 23, 1852

Brigham explains why he disapproves of American slavery but says life is better for them than others in Europe.

Feb 5, 1852

Brigham speaks on the need to treat "the seed of Cain" well as servants.

Feb 5, 1852

Brigham denounces interracial marriage and gives an explanation for the priesthood and temple restrictions.

Feb 5, 1852

Brigham denounces interracial marriage and gives an explanation for the priesthood and temple restrictions.

Feb 5, 1852

Brigham affirms the right of citizenship for Black people but denies the right of governance.

Feb 5, 1852

Brigham says that, as a prophet he knows, Black people are the children of Cain and "cannot bear rule in the priesthood."

Feb 5, 1852

LaJean Carruth transcribes of Brigham's speech instituting the priesthood and temple restrictions.

Feb 5, 1852

Brigham expresses belief in the curse of Cain.

Feb 5, 1852

Brigham says that, as a prophet he knows, Black people are the children of Cain and "cannot bear rule in the priesthood."

Feb 5, 1852

Brigham says only God can take the priesthood restriction off.

Apr 3, 1852

Deseret News uses Cain rationale for ban.

Aug 29, 1852

Orson Pratt holds Africans and other groups have a "degraded parentage" and valiant premortal spirits "kept in reserve" will not receive their bodies.

Aug 29, 1852

Orson Pratt gives first public discourse on polygamy, another example (besides the priesthood ban) of the Church taking a position without concern for popular opinion.

Nov 10, 1852

Quaku Walker Lewis returns from Utah and reopened his barber shop.

Dec 25, 1852

Brigham defends servitude in Utah and advocates for a type of segregation to create unity.

Jan 16, 1853

Brigham highlights how all peoples, including "dark-skinned savages," are seeking salvation.

Apr 1853

Orson Pratt offers premortal explanation of race and ban.

May 8, 1853

Brigham expresses views on indigenous peoples.

Jul 21, 1854

Amasa Lyman, writing for Agnes Flake, asks for Green Flake to be returned.

Aug 19, 1854

Brigham comments on Green Flake's health.

Dec 3, 1854

Brigham maintains that honesty matters more than one's ethnic origin.

Feb 18, 1855

BY says Lord sent his angel to JS in First Vision.

Dec 9, 1855

Amasa Lyman uses the term "negro baboon."


George A. Smith expresses priesthood ban rationale.

Feb 5, 1856 - Mar 16, 1856

Samuel Woolley provides an account of disciplinary action for interracial marriage.

Mar 23, 1856

Brigham says to "keep blacks out."

Mar 23, 1856

Brigham considers "children of Ham" to be destined for "perpetual slavery."

Nov 3, 1856

Lowell Daily Citizen and News reports that Quaku Walker Lewis died of dropsy.

Aug 9, 1857

John Taylor disparages abolitionists and underground railroad.

Aug 9, 1857

Brigham includes "n---er stealing" among the "treasonous" actions of which other Americans could be accused.

Aug 23, 1857

John Taylor disparages abolitionism and "n---er stealing."

Jan 24, 1858

Ezra T. Benson holds that the Saints will not involve themselves in freeing Black people from enslavement.

Aug 23, 1858

Abraham Lincoln rejects black equality with white Americans.

Sep 21, 1858

Abraham Lincoln stated that he found white people superior to Black people.


Nelson Winch Green reports Smith's recollections of the existence of enslavement of indigenous peoples in Utah.

Oct 9, 1859

Brigham says that Black people cannot hold priesthood office because of the curse of Cain.


Pro-slavery advocate Nathan Lord argues that the curse of Cain was perpetuated through intermarriage with Ham's line.

Jan 3, 1860

Brigham offers to buy enslaved Black man in order to free him.

Feb 19, 1860

John Taylor chides Latter-day Saints for dishonesty that he believes is typical to Black people.

Jun 11, 1860

The 1880 U.S. Census lists Rebecca Bentley (Meads) as a person of mixed-race.

Oct 8, 1860

Brigham says "we are all the children of one Father, whether we be … black or white."

Dec 1860

Horace Greeley records Brigham's comments on slavery connected to the curse of Ham.

Dec 26, 1860

Brigham criticizes the effect of slavery on soil.

Dec 31, 1860

Brigham tells Horace Greeley that slavery is "of divine institution" and will persist until the curse of Ham is removed.

Jan 1, 1861

N. B. Johnson inquires whether mixed-race ancestry makes him ineligible for priesthood.

Mar 3, 1861

BY mentions First Vision; gives JS age at 14.

Jul 28, 1861

Brigham rejects abolitionists in the North and the Southern slaveholders alike.

Sep 25, 1861

Brigham Young says he would confer any blessing possible on Isaac Manning.

Feb 19, 1862

Brigham seeks to "view everybody and everything as it is before God."

Mar 8, 1863

Brigham says "whites will be cursed" for their "abuse" of Black people "unless they repent."

Mar 8, 1863

Brigham says that interracial marriage warrants death.

Aug 9, 1863

Harvard Professor Louis Agassiz gives opinion on the morality of "half-breeds."

Oct 6, 1863

Brigham attributes civil war to those who "wish to raise their negroes" while others "wish to. . . almost worship them."

Jan 18, 1865

John Taylor leaves the question of liberation of Black people due to a "higher law" to other parties.

Jun 1, 1865

RLDS release revelation authorizing ordination of black people.

Oct 8, 1865

George A. Smith notes that some wrongly think the Civil War was caused by "the almighty negro."

Aug 19, 1866

Brigham explains priesthood ban doctrine.


Paul de Lagarde offers reprint of MS Leiden regarding Ephrem's view of Ham's blackness.

Sep 18, 1867

Deseret News reports on minstrel scene as part of a performance.

Apr 8, 1868

Erastus Snow supports citizenship and full privileges for Black people in America.

May 1868

1868 Relief Society instructions outline duties of "deaconesses."


Catherine Waite cites Brigham's quote against abolitionism.

Sep 25, 1869

RWH cites BY's quote to Greeley about black people.

Dec 19, 1869

OP retells First Vision.

Dec 25, 1869

Brigham teaches Lorenzo Young that nobody was neutral in the war of heaven and teaches the curse of Cain.

Mar 19, 1870

Mobile Weekly Tribune reports on three Black Latter-day Saints in Mobile.

Apr 9, 1871

Brigham teaches that Cain was cursed with black skin.

Jul 26, 1871

Deseret News editorial refers to Black people as "little better than savages."

Oct 25, 1871

The Ogden Junction reported that Moroni Able was ordained to the priesthood.


T. B. H. Stenhouse says he heard W. W. Phelps say that Joseph Smith first learned about polygamy translating the BOA papyri.

Jan 12, 1873

George Q. Cannon states that God loves all, including Africans.

May 1, 1873

Eighth Ward Minutes record that Samuel Chambers is appointed assistant deacon.

Aug 5, 1873 - Mar 10, 1874

Smith, Picknell, Lindsey, and Leach describe duties of deacons.


Brown rejects Cain origin for peoples of African ancestry.

Jul 4, 1874

Brigham expresses that it is "the lot" of Black people to be servants.

Dec 8, 1874

Thomas C. Jones records Samuel Chambers' testimony.

Sep 3, 1875

Eight Black Saints perform baptisms for the dead in the Salt Lake Temple in 1875.

Sep 3, 1875

Eight Black Saints perform baptisms for the dead in the Salt Lake Temple in 1875.

Dec 31, 1876

JT recounts JS First Vision, indicating that God revealed "events that are to transpire on this continent."

Mar 2, 1879

JT declares purpose of First Vision in discussion of priesthood, missionary work, and enlightenment.

May 6, 1879

Smith reports on Able's mixed-race heritage.

May 31, 1879

Zebedee Coltrin and Abraham Smoot defend priesthood ban.

May 31, 1879

Zebedee Coltrin and Abraham Smoot claim Joseph said Black members could not hold the priesthood.

Jun 4, 1879

First Presidency meeting minutes record John Taylor's conclusion that Elijah Able was ordained before the "word of the Lord was fully understood."

Jun 4, 1879

John Taylor states that he thought Abel's ordination was a mistake.

Jun 1, 1880

The U.S. Census reports that Harriet Church was listed as white and married to Thomas Church with eight children in Utah in 1880.

Nov 15, 1880

John Taylor comments on importance of submitting decisions to body of Church.


EBS justifies priesthood ban in poem using premortal unworthiness explanation.


FS recites conventional thought re: premortal justification of restriction.

Nov 20, 1881

George Q. Cannon articulates the priesthood restriction.


Taylor attributes priesthood restriction to Cain's descendance through Ham's wife.

Apr 13, 1882

Los Angeles Herald says that there are Black Saints and "The Prophet made no distinction as to race, color or previous condition of servitude.

Apr 30, 1882

Omaha Daily Bee mentions Latter-day Saint racial attitudes toward Black people and the baptism of slaves.

Oct 1883

Missouri Supreme Court cites infertility as reason to ban interracial marriage.

Oct 25, 1883

H. M. Turner comments on mixed-race marriage in 19th-century Utah.

Oct 25, 1883

H. M. Turner references Brigham explaining the priesthood and temple restrictions.

Dec 13, 1883

Jackson County Banner reports on Elijah Able's missionary visit to Indiana.

Dec 20, 1883

Emporia Republican disparages Black Mormons and claims they join for polygamy.


William Smith recounts Joseph Smith's First Vision account.

Nov 14, 1884

Chattanooga Daily Times profiles the lives of Black Saints moving to Utah.

Dec 13, 1884

George Q. Cannon expresses vision of kingdom of God, assuming blacks will not be members.

Dec 27, 1884

Jane Manning James was offered to be adopted by Joseph and Emma Smith.

Dec 27, 1884

Jane Manning James indicates that her race was through Ham.

Dec 27, 1884

James requests Taylor to perform an adoption for her to Joseph and Emma.

Dec 27, 1884

Jane Manning James requests endowment and adoption to Smith family.

Dec 31, 1884

Deseret News reports death of Elijah Able.

Feb 4, 1885

JSR comments on hesitance for black baptism and black membership prohibition.

Jun 3, 1885

Deseret News commenter theorizes on descendants of Cain.

Jun 16, 1888

Jane Manning James receives letter from Angus Cannon with a recommend to do baptisms for the dead.

Dec 12, 1889

Manifesto (Official Declaration 1) declares an end to polygamy.

Feb 7, 1890

Jane Manning James writes to Joseph F. Smith about receiving the endowment, about adoption, and about being sealed to Walker Lewis.

Oct 1, 1890

Abraham H. Cannon recalls that Brigham told Lorenzo Snow that blacks couldn't hold priesthood through premortal actions.

Oct 1, 1890

Heber J. Grant records that Lorenzo Snow was glad that revelation could bring a change to the priesthood ban.

Nov 14, 1891

Wilford Woodruff describes in his speech how government threats catalyzed revelation for the Manifesto.

Nov 15, 1892

In a Church periodical, George Q. Cannon states that priesthood ordinations "have been done by Elders when they thought children were likely to die."

Feb 2, 1893

CW says JA says he heard JS say God touched his eyes in the vision.

Mar 25, 1893

George Q. Cannon notes the lack of interracial marriage in Utah.


ES late reminiscence of hearing First Vision.

Jan 15, 1894

Zina D. H. Young alludes to James's request to receive sealing/endowment.

Feb 14, 1894

Dennis Lythgoe transcribes letter from William Flake.

Apr 14, 1894

George Q. Cannon articulates premortal designation for lineage.

May 18, 1894

Jane Manning James is attached as a "Servitor for eternity to the Prophet Joseph Smith."

Jun 1, 1894

Lydia Alder records Jane Manning James's patriarchal blessing being read during a May 1894 Women's Meeting.

Jul 15, 1894

Juvenile Instructor rejects knowledge of neutrality in premortality.

Jul 15, 1894

ES reminiscence of hearing of FV, with God the Father Pointing to JC who was in his likeness.

Oct 16, 1894

Woodruff attributes priesthood restriction to Cain's murder of Abel.

Aug 22, 1895

Cannon states that Joseph taught that the seed of Cain could not receive the priesthood.

Dec 19, 1895

Le Roy Snow offers premortal explanation for certain classes.

Mar 14, 1896

Broad Ax newspaper cites Republican operative who supports Samuel Chambers being in legislature.

Oct 5, 1896

Richards says that Joseph taught that the "seed of Cain" would not receive their "final redemption" until after the "seed of Abel . . . should all have their opportunity."

May 31, 1897

Salt Lake Tribune identifies Green Flake as a "slave."

Jul 20, 1897

Salt Lake Tribune gives a description of Green Flake, "the only colored survivor of the band of '47," as a "vigorous, broad-shouldered, good-natured, bright old gentleman."

Dec 16, 1897

Cannon states that he was told by John Taylor in Nauvoo about Joseph Smith's priesthood ban teachings.

Dec 31, 1897

Edward Stevenson writes a late recollection of the First Vision of Joseph Smith.

Mar 25, 1899

Broad Ax reports on Alex Bankhead and Miranda Redd's faithfulness to Mormonism.

May 9, 1899

Missionaries tell Broad Ax of kind treatment by Black Americans in South.

Oct 2, 1899

Salt Lake Herald-Republican describes some of Jane Manning James's life in the Church.

Dec 30, 1899

Deseret Evening News debates on what ordinances black people can receive based on Brigham's language.


Thomas W. Young relays premortal explanation that Church leaders use to justify restriction.

Mar 1, 1900

Cannon cites what John Taylor told him in Nauvoo about his conversation with Joseph about the priesthood ban.

Aug 18, 1900

GQC cites reports from BY and JS justifying priesthood ban.

Oct 6, 1900

Grant tells a morality story using a minstrel show and n-word.


Jane Manning James records that Emma Smith offered to adopt her.


James recorded she performed baptisms for the dead for her ancestors.

Jan 2, 1902

Jane Manning James mentioned not being satisfied with adoption to Joseph Smith as a servant, and she requested sealing blessings again.

Jan 2, 1902

Smith expresses "one drop" rule on temple/priesthood access for Black people as an opinion.

Jan 2, 1902

John H. Smith thinks that those who have dominant white ancestry should be allowed to go to the temple.

Jan 2, 1902

Brigham denied Elijah Ables endowment.

Aug 31, 1903

Jane Manning James asks J. F. Smith for her endowment.

Nov 1, 1903

Salt Lake Tribune references Able's relationship with Joseph.

Nov 28, 1903

DN repudiates SLT report on EB's funeral.

Dec 17, 1903

Deseret News explains black people's place in heaven.

Apr 7, 1905

Salt Lake Telegram notes attendance of Jane Manning James and her brother Isaac at April 1905 General Conference.

Apr 9, 1905

JFS uses story of GW to show black people should not outdo white people in courtesy.

Apr 7, 1906

J. Golden Kimball says same persecutors of LDS are also lynchers.

Jan 31, 1907

JFS rejects premortal explanation, affirms Cain explanation.


Reprint of Wentworth Letter, including 1842 FV account, in History of the Church series.

Apr 16, 1908

Deseret Evening News obituary celebrates Jane Manning James for her faithfulness and friendships.

Apr 21, 1908

Deseret News reports funeral of Jane Manning James.

Aug 26, 1908

Able and James were denied temple blessings by Brigham, Taylor, Woodruff, and Joseph F. Smith.

Aug 26, 1908

Joseph F. Smith states that all ordinations of Black people must be rendered null and void.

Aug 26, 1908

Joseph Fielding Smith states that Joseph declared Able's ordination "null and void."

Oct 4, 1909

David O. McKay uses "negro" to describe those who reject importance of labor.

Dec 1, 1909

Nelson Ritchie tells John Whitaker that his children had been sealed.

Dec 1, 1909

John Whitaker cites "one drop" rule in justifying restricting Nelson Ritchie from receiving sealing.

Dec 1, 1909

John Whitaker cites "one drop" rule in justifying restricting Nelson Ritchie from receiving sealing.

Apr 1910

MIHH late recollection of JS First Vision where "the Prophet's countenance lightened up."

Aug 31, 1910

Richard Barry comments on LDS views on black people in 20th-century.

Jan 1, 1912

James E. Talmage writes that ordinances are performed by proxy for the dead.

Apr 4, 1915

MJB argues for race as a product of premortal designation.

Apr 7, 1916

Rey Pratt hopes for eradication of "racial feelings."

Oct 8, 1916

Walter P. Monson uses "descendants of Cain" to chide those who fail to warn their neighbor.

Oct 4, 1918

HJG uses story to mock black people, uses n-word.


Jenson gives date for Able's ordination as an Elder and a Seventy.

Apr 1921

Joseph Fielding Smith is sustained as Church historian/recorder at the April 1921 General Conference.

Jan 25, 1922

JET invokes Cain to explain priesthood ban origins.

Oct 6, 1922

Charles Penrose suggests that capacity to recognize truth is rooted in race.

May 10, 1924

Deseret News describes Samuel and Amanda Chambers as being a worthy, generous couple.

Apr 4, 1925

Charles Nibley celebrates emancipation of slavery and overthrow of part of Constitution.

May 3, 1926

Pageant depicts Mormons in same light as "negroes."


BHR recounts First Vision, reproduces and cites material from 1838 and 1842 FV accounts.


Joseph Fielding Smith attributes priesthood ban to Joseph Smith's teachings.

Apr 7, 1939

George F. Richards attributes blackness to premortal unworthiness.

Jan 25, 1940

J. Reuben Clark proposes that the Twelve review past statements and make a ruling on whether "one drop" of blood disqualifies someone from receiving the priesthood.

Sep 1941

JCM writes to JJM advising segregation of blood in blood banks.

Jun 23, 1942

FP tells ETB to make accommodations for white Church members' discomfort with Blacks.

Jun 30, 1944

John A. Widstoe cites premortal unworthiness that black skin could be a mark.

Aug 31, 1945

JAW rejects notions of "master race."

Apr 6, 1946

Harold B. Lee celebrates teaching against racism at time of WWII.

Apr 6, 1946

CEY uses allegations of miscegenation advocacy as example of "motive questioning."


1949 First Presidency provides a statement on the priesthood and temple restriction for Black Saints to an anonymous correspondent.

May 5, 1947

First Presidency tells Spongberg that the Church makes no effort to proselytize black people.

Jun 26, 1947

Lowry Nelson replies to Heber Meeks and references past instances of racism, didn't realize was a policy.

Jun 26, 1947

Lowry Nelson references the premortal life as one of the reasons for the priesthood ban.

Jul 17, 1947

The First Presidency explains rationale for priesthood ban.

Jul 23, 1947

Heber Meeks mentions priesthood ban/adjacent teachings as potential reasons to stay out of Cuba.

Sep 30, 1947

Negro Digest criticizes Church for priesthood ban.

Oct 4, 1947

GFR uses black people as cautionary tale on valiance.

Oct 8, 1947

LN criticizes traditions of ban.

Nov 12, 1947

The First Presidency warns Lowry Nelson to "re-orient your thinking."

Apr 12, 1948

J. Reuben Clark advocates segregation in blood banks "to protect the purity of the blood streams of the people of this Church."

Aug 12, 1948

HJ and RB reject notions that "white blood" differs from "black blood."

Aug 17, 1949

LEB produces typescript of 1949 FP statement.

Apr 6, 1950

David O. McKay notes that individual freedom is undermined through racial animus.

Nov 20, 1950

Chicago Daily Tribune announces that the American National Red Cross will not segregate blood.

Jul 31, 1951

DrWB dismisses racial identification with blood.

Aug 17, 1951

William E. Berrett provides expanded version of LB 1949 First Presidency statement dated August 17, 1951.

Aug 17, 1951

Berrett (1951) includes more extensive version of 1949 statement in John J. Stewart text.

Apr 4, 1952

Eldred G. Smith notes that descendants of Cain are not eligible to receive priesthood.


Masters' account of white pastor leading newly formed congregation of Black Christians.


Masters concluded that ordination of Black Baptist clergy in Kentucky began in the 1820s.

Apr 1953

WRB notes that LDS Hospital segregates black and white blood banks.

Jan 17, 1954

LD notes DOM lifting "black until proven white."

Mar 10, 1954

David O. McKay alludes to lifting the "black til proven white" restriction in South Africa.

May 17, 1954

WB inquires about ban study committee.

Aug 27, 1954

Elder Mark E. Peterson condemns the civil rights movement and defends Latter-day Saint theology and practices related to priesthood and temple restrictions for Black Saints.

Apr 6, 1955

Clifford E. Young celebrates lack of racial animosity in congregation in Hawaii.


McConkie defends priesthood ban based on scriptural interpretation.


BRM says prophets have own opinions and prejudices.

Apr 19, 1961

Lee contests legitimacy of Able's ordination.

Feb 1962

Preston Nibley republishes JS 1842 Wentworth Letter in IE, including First Vision account, in full.


JFS tells EE that no revelation exists on premortal explanation for ban.

Apr 10, 1963

Joseph Fielding Smith reports that Joseph instituted priesthood and temple restriction.

Jun 7, 1963

Wallace Turner reports on early 1960s efforts to lift restriction.

Oct 5, 1963

Hugh B. Brown says "load him with bitter racial prejudice and you have a Disraeli."


David O. McKay approves the policy that baptisms for the dead for Black people be performed with whites as proxies "if this can be accomplished without offense."


PRC MA thesis including first published version of 1832 FV account.

May 18, 1965

LA suggests Church isn't racist for its support to other ethnic minorities.

Aug 17, 1965

AD holds that Christ supersedes all racial "cursing."


James B. Allen cites evidence supporting that the First Vision had relevance in the lifetime of Joseph.

Sep 1966

ALM finds that Mormons are slightly more racist than other some other Christians.

Nov 22, 1966

Jim Todd offers analysis of ramifications of priesthood ban being lifted.

Sep 29, 1967

Ezra T. Benson says God only knows why no priesthood for "seed of Cain."

Oct 9, 1967

Bruce R. McConkie associates black people with spiritual inferiority.


TGM mentions institutional support behind project to catalogue known First Vision accounts.


BYU Studies full issue of Spring 1969 devoted to First Vision accounts.

Oct 30, 1969

South Idaho Press writes about legal support for University of Wyoming Black football players.

Nov 29, 1969

Ernest Wilkinson maintains BYU is equitable to black students.

Dec 25, 1969

LK quotes HBB's prediction re: lifting the ban.

Jan 10, 1970

N. Eldon Tanner and Hugh B. Brown sign a statement under the name of the First Presidency saying that the origins of ban are not known.

Jan 21, 1970

SCOTUS rules that schools that segregate aren't tax-exempt.

Feb 14, 1970

"Church Section" of Deseret News reports on release of Joseph Fielding Smith as Church historian/recorder in February 1970; notes he was called March 17, 1921.

Apr 1970

JBA provides chart harmonizing First Vision accounts.

Apr 1970

James B. Allen discusses First Vision accounts in an official Church periodical.

Jun 21, 1970

NYT reports on conservative/liberal discussion on priesthood restriction.

Dec 31, 1970

The Church uses Cain justification in black ordinations in Brazil.

Mar 25, 1971

Berry was endowed and sealed after her death.

May 12, 1972

Wallace Turner cites statistics regarding percentage of Mormons/non-Mormons who think blacks want to destroy Church.

Jan 1973

Lester Bush offers source on how John Taylor felt Joseph was wrong on Elijah Able's ordination.


Hugh W. Nibley concludes that the Priesthood restriction has its origin with God.

Apr 1973

LEB writes seminal article offering critical origin analysis of priesthood/temple restriction.

May 15, 1974

SCOTUS finds that Bob Jones University violates tax-exempt laws.

Jul 24, 1974

The Miami News write about perceived legal pressure to change church policy.

Dec 1974

GML illustrates how the standardization of Sunday School was an ongoing process from the 1800s into the early 1900s.


MG discusses his efforts to test his celibacy with young women.

Jun 1977

BRM tells SWK that there is no scriptural barrier to lifting the ban.


LeGrand Richards discusses the role of Brazil in Official Declaration 2.

Apr 1978

Newell Bringhurst argues that the origins of the priesthood ban are unclear.

Jul 23, 1978

Concerned Latter-day Saints and Joseph LeMoine Jensen criticize the Church for lifting priesthood/temple restrictions.

Aug 22, 1978

TGM writes that JS saw both angels and God during the First Vision.

Sep 30, 1978

NET issues statement from the FP re: lifting the priesthood/temple restrictions.


Ronald K. Esplin states his view that Brigham's views on priesthood ban were rooted in revelation.


Esplin concludes that Brigham's views on priesthood ban were rooted in revelation.


Hartley writes that the main work of deacons in the late 19th century was to care for the meetinghouses.


Hartley writes that Amanda Chambers served as a "deaconess."


Joseph Freeman reports that unauthorized ordination of a Black Saint sowed division in the Genesis Group.


William Wilson and Richard Paulsen offer history of Mormon use of Cain account.

Apr 6, 1980

BRM celebrates "seed of Cain" receiving the priesthood.

Dec 31, 1980

AO writes letters asking for the gospel to come to Nigeria.


Bruce R. McConkie gives an account of the powerful confirming experience of the Twelve following Spencer W. Kimball's priesthood revelation, and its implications.


Bush cites statements of Lorenzo Snow on marriage and priesthood restrictions.

Jan 1985

MVB Jr. publishes article in Ensign on the different First Vision accounts.

Jan 1986

MVB Jr. follow-up article to Jan 1985 piece on the First Vision; details more known accounts of FV and provides additional historical context.


Ralph Abernathy explains why Martin Luther King, Jr. engaged in extramarital affairs.

May 18, 1989

MDH comments on racial attitudes during mission to Cincinnati (esp. re: L/MH).


Stephen Ochs provides account of reaction to Father Tolton as a Black priest.


Helvécio Martins describes experiences leading up to his call as a Seventy.


Francis M. Gibbons recounts the aftermath of a meeting of the First Presidency and the Twelve where LeGrand Richards saw Wilford Woodruff.

Apr 1996

RLA publishes article in Ensign talking about First Vision accounts; answers common criticisms, provides historical context.


Johannes Glenthøj gives an analysis of possible Cain deaths.


LJA reports ASB committee finds no scriptural support for restriction.


EBF, HBB's grandson, recounts HBB's efforts to lift the restriction.


L. Petersen recalls his discussion with L.E. Young about a "strange account" of the First Vision.

May 18, 1998

Larry Stammer provides report on initial efforts to repudiate the ban.

May 19, 1998

FP/Q12 deny existence of proposal for repudiating ban.


Christopher Beckham cites Frank Masters' statement that ordination of Black Baptist clergy in Kentucky began in the 1820s.


Christopher Beckham cites Frank Masters' account of a white pastor leading a newly formed congregation for Black Christians.

Oct 19, 1999

In 1999, RJ recalls DOM saying Lord told him not to inquire about ban further.


Harvey notes that self-governance for separate Black Baptist congregations took root in the South after 1865.


History of the Cain-as-cursed-wanderer motif.


HALOT entry for ʾāreṣ.


Hebrew and Aramaic Lexicon of the Old Testament entry for kōl giving its various definitions.


CES teacher's manual that recommends scholarship on First Vision.


Susan and Harvey Black discuss how Able participated in baptisms for the dead in Nauvoo.


Stephen Haynes argues that associating Biblical curse language with Black people was common in the mid-nineteenth-century.


Hayes describes widespread explanation for black skin and slavery in the 1830's based on Noah's curse of Canaan.


Joseph highlights Lemuel Hayne's criticism of Canaan myth.


Chpt 3 in CES manual references 1832 and 1838 First Vision accounts.


JS summarizes LH's work as a Congregationalist minister.


Non-LDS scholar SP discusses First Vision.


Edward L. Kimball recounts Spencer W. Kimball's prayers in the temple and consultation with the First Presidency and the Twelve in the months prior to the announcement of the revelation on the priesthood.


RDD, SKB, and MDR identify "seed of Cain" with "skin pigmentation."

2006 - 2014

Donald Mayne reports on a First Presidency discussion to determine whether the son of Harriet Church could receive the priesthood.


Connell O'Donovan writes regarding Q. Walker Lewis's passing.


Mark E. Peterson notes an article that traces Priesthood ban to Brigham Young rather than Joseph Smith.


Richard Newman's biography highlights RA's experience with integrated Methodist revivals.


Richard S. Newman describes RA's departure from St. George's Church.


Matthew Bowman writes on Bigfoot/Cain connection.

Mar 28, 2009

O'Donovan reports that Joseph Taylor writes to John Taylor about Laura Berry passing as white.

Mar 28, 2009

Connell O'Donovan summarizes interracial marriage incident involving Laura Jane Berry.

Mar 28, 2009

Connell O'Donovan provides account of interracial marriage in the 19th-century Church.


J. Reuben Clark told that transfused blood disintegrates rapidly.


J. Reuben Clark told by doctors that LDS Hospital segregated blood and that blood changes after a certain amount of time.

Jun 2010

TG explains when ARC desegregated blood.

Jun 2010

TG summarizes GCR statement on ARC refusing blood plasma from Black donors.


Joseph Smith Papers Editors explain the document history of the 1832 First Vision account.


Genesis 10:15–20 (KJV) outlines the lineage of Ham and Canaan.


Official Declaration 2 describes the events that marked the official end to the priesthood ban.


Noah was ordained to the priesthood by Methuselah.


Gospel of Matthew records Jesus mentioning Noah (Noe) and the Flood; likens it to 2nd Coming.


Genesis 6 (KJV), narrating prelude to the Flood.


Genesis 7 (KJV), narrating account of the Flood.


Genesis 8 (KJV), narrating the Flood.


Moses 8:8–30, the PoGP account of the life of Noah.


2 Peter 2:4–5 (KJV), mentions Noah as preacher of righteousness, and the flood upon the world.


1 Peter 3:18–21 (KJV) makes reference to Noah and eight others being save from the Flood, which is likened unto baptism.


Jesus mentions condition of the earth at the time of Noah (Noe).


Moses 7:42–46, account in the PoGP records Enoch seeing the Flood and Noah in vision.


Genesis 5:28–32 (KJV), narrating birth and life of Noah.


Genesis 9 (KJV), narrating the post-Flood life and death of Noah.


Hebrews 11:6–7 (KJV), mentions Noah being warned by God of the Flood.


L. Petersen recounts L.E. Young's examination of a "strange account" of the First Vision.

Feb 1, 2013 - Feb 28, 2013

Connell O'Donovan writes that Hyrum Barton was excommunicated for his illicit marriage to Laura Jane Berry.

Feb 21, 2013

Armand Mauss discusses efforts to campaign church leadership to repudiate ban.

Feb 21, 2013

Armand L. Mauss provides background leading to ban repudiation campaign.

Dec 1, 2013

In the Gospel Topics Essay, the Church denounces past theories and racism.


S. Larson argues that J.F. Smith hid the 1832 First Vision account.


Reeve discusses historical reasons for the priesthood ban.


Thomas S. Monson recalls the organization and early days of the Genesis Group.


ROB explains lack of documentation for JS's early visions, discusses reasons for that.


Reiter states that eight Black Saints participated in baptisms for the dead in 1875.


Jane Manning James is "attached as a Servitor for eternity to the Prophet Joseph Smith" in the Salt Lake Temple.


Jane Manning James receives a patriarchal blessing from John Smith in 1889.


Jane Manning James receives a patriarchal blessing from Hyrum Smith in 1844.


Jane Manning James performs baptisms for the dead in 1888 and 1894.


Tonya Reiter describes how Samuel and Amanda Chambers arrange for a Norwegian temple worker to serve as proxies in baptisms for the dead for their friends and relatives.


Tonya S. Reiter describes register of white proxies and Black Saint requestors for baptisms for the dead.

Jan 2019

"Mormon Stories" article argues that the evidences supports Joseph Fielding Smith, or someone under his charge in the Church Historian's Office, tearing out the 3 pages of Letterbook 1.

Jun 2019

David J. Garrow summarizes allegations against Martin Luther King re: alleged rape.

Aug 5, 2019

Church historian Snow comments on writing of race/priesthood essay.


Jane Elizabeth Manning James performs baptisms for family members in the Logan and Salt Lake temples.


Jane Elizabeth Manning James performs baptisms for family members in the Logan and Salt Lake temples.

Jan 5, 2020

RJ and SM discuss JS writing and record-keeping habits.

Apr 18, 2020

Robert M. Bowman Jr., argues that Joseph Fielding Smith knew about the 1832 First Vision account and he wanted "to be made public quietly under the most favorable possible circumstances."


Church History Library policy generally prohibits release of sacred, private, and/or confidential information.


JSPP editors on JS needing to use scribes.


RSJ explores possible reasons why JS was reluctant to record visionary experiences, or at least why he hesitated to record them.

Jan 15, 2021

The 1880 U.S. Census lists Rebecca Meads as white.

Jan 19, 2022

Family Search records show that Rebecca Meads was endowed and sealed in 1863.

Jan 19, 2022

Nelson Ritchie endowed and sealed after his death.

Jan 19, 2022

Family Search records show that Johanna Provis was endowed and sealed.

Jan 19, 2022

Family Search records that Harriet Church was baptized in 1876; endowed and sealed in 1903.

Jan 19, 2022

1850 U.S. Census lists Harriet Church as an enslaved seven-year-old.

Jan 20, 2022

Family Search records that Sarah Hofheintz was endowed and sealed to spouse in 1845 and 1855.

Jun 23, 2022

William Knopp was sealed to his parents and his first wife, Jane Vale on April 29, 1845.