Long Promised Day

This coming Saturday marks 35yrs that the priesthood was extended to all worthy men. As we reflect on the progression of things in our church, we are filled with love and gratitude toward our Brotha’s & Sista’s in this gospel. We have always been bombarded with questions regarding the priesthood from both members and non-members. Many want to know how the revelation impacted our lives (even though one of us was not yet born and the other wasn’t even in kindergarten yet) , we’ve tried to the best of our ability to answer the questions that have been thrown our way. Although it isn’t always easy to be put on the spot with questions such as these, it does give and has given us opportunities to consider our feelings about the priesthood revelation, as well as understand the relationship that we’d like to have with the organization. Having opportunities to speak to others regarding our thoughts about certain aspects of our church’s history has strengthened our testimonies. We realize that not everyone has been given the opportunity to have the discussion about the priesthood revelation in a safe environment. We would like to extend an opportunity to all of you to share your thoughts and feelings on the “Long Promised Day” the day that all worthy males (Black Men) were extended priesthood opportunities. Please share your thoughts on the revelation, and what it meant/means to you. Is it something that you think about? Do you think it has had an impact on your life? 

We look forward to hearing from you! Hallelujah, (we consider your response a) Holla-Back!

Blessed & Highly Favored,
Sista Beehive & Sista Laurel


  1. I remember hearing the announcement on the news and in a subsequent letter from Church headquarters. It has been a tremendous blessing for everyone in the church worldwide.

    While in the temple one day to participate in a sealing session for family members, I had the privilege of being across the altar from a worthy black man who is the husband of a dear friend. It made me smile the entire session to think of all those who have waited faithfully on both sides of the veil to have the full blessings of the priesthood granted to all.

  2. Sista Shelley, thank you for sharing! I love your comment:

    “It has been a tremendous blessing for everyone in the church worldwide.” I agree, the priesthood revelation has been a blessing to everyone in the church, worldwide! Again, thanks for sharing your thoughts and feelings.

  3. I was eight years old and remember the moment the announcement was made like it was yesterday. My grandmother called and my dad jumped to turn the radio up. Their reaction alone had such an impact on me.
    The interaction I have had with worthy black men in the Church has been phenomenal. Two of my favorite brethren have been stand-out priesthood leaders in Detroit and St. Louis. They both lived so close to the Spirit, I was in awe of their instruction. Great men! It struck me in each case that these men were so unique in their communities that they provide an example like no other to those around them. What a blessing to everyone, regardless of race!

  4. Sista Marshall, that is a very valid question. Yes, we have heard the conversation of an apology come up in discussion in some of the conversations that we’ve had with not only non-members but also with members. While an apology would go a long way in healing process of African American members and mending bridges for people like your friend. If it never happens it doesn’t stop the gospel from being true. The question for everyone to ask themselves is “As an organization are we above reproach when it comes to issuing an apology to our Brotha’s and Sista’s concerning the policy of the priesthood ban?” Others may need to consider “Is the priesthood a big enough issue for me to deny what I know to be true, or deny the spirit that I feel as I investigate this church?” Sometimes our heart knows what is right but because we can’t wrap our heads around that truth, it’s difficult for us to follow our heart. So, to answer your question, yes we’ve heard talk of an apology, however our relationship is with Christ and we look forward to our dealings with Him.

    P.S. In the mean time have you seen this article?


  5. Cathy Whitaker Marshall

    Thank you for your answer, Sistas. And thank you for referring that article to me; it was wonderful. If my intellectual friend stops being angry at me about this issue, I will pass it on to him. But you are right – it truly is about our relationship with Christ and someday we will know the whys and the wherefores. God bless you both.

  6. I don’t think it’s anything to be proud of or celebrate. 35 years, really????? I think it’s sad and it is something I often think of and reflect on. Has it made an impact on my life? Only everyday.

  7. Thank you for sharing your thoughts on this subject. Do you mind sharing how it has impacted your life? We know it’s personal and not always easy to share in an environment like this. It’s probably something that many of us reflect on more often then we’d care to admit. FYI. This Sunday’s show dedicated to talking about the priesthood, the 2nd half of the show is going to be about the African American Woman’s perspective of the priesthood revelation and what that meant for us. Hopefully you will listen in and call in to chat with us. Be Blessed Sista Val! Keeping you in our thoughts and prayers!

  8. Sista Marshall, give it to him while he is angry with you! It would be ashamed for the two of you to reconcile then have you upset him again by giving him the article. Hand it to him and say “since you are already angry, chew on this… LOL! Be Blessed Sista!

  9. Cathy Whitaker Marshall

    First of all, call me Sista Cathy. (Sista Marshall makes me sound as old as I am!) And thank you again – that is PERFECT advice. After all – at this point – what do I have to lose? :-)

  10. Sista Cathy, that’s how we look at it too. However you know his temperament don’t let us get you into hot water :).

  11. Margaret Blair Young

    I felt the restriction was wrong when I was fourteen and had a terribly racist seminary teacher. I was quite sure it was wrong when I read Lester Bush’s article in _Dialogue_ 1973. My research has persuaded me absolutely that it was a tremendous error, and one we pay for every time we lose a black member who “discovers” what awful things Mormons said to justify this policy. I am so eager for a repudiation of anything which keeps us from truly living like a Zion people, honoring the divine nature of every human being. I want to get far beyond the history and look into the future where we are caring for one another, regardless of which continent we live in, in the ways the Lord has instructed us to.

  12. Julie Albee Atkinson

    remember it VERY well! I had only been a member of the church for just
    over a year. I was home(to Michigan) from BYU for summer break. I was in
    my room when they actually announced it on the radio. I remember
    feeling SO excited! Tears came to my eyes when I realized that Pres
    Spencer W. Kimball had received direction from Heavenly Father to bestow
    the amazing blessing of the Priesthood to ALL worthy male members! I
    wrote about it in my journal because I never wanted to forget how I
    felt. I had a good friend on a mission in South Africa and I knew how
    much it would change his mission. It was a very exciting time:)

  13. Amen! Sista Margaret, very well said! Thanks for sharing with us, and don’t forget to listen in on Sunday 5-7. 2nd half of the show we will be speaking with a few women. People always think of the priesthood ban being an issue of Black men not holding the priesthood, we rarely think about the effect it had on Black women. Black women didn’t have access to the temple which stalled our growth in the kingdom as well. You don’t want to miss Sunday’s show. Please share this info with everyone you feel it would be appropriate to share with. Thank you!

  14. Julie, thank you so much for sharing on this site! We appreciate your boldness in sharing your story. Don’t forget to listen in on Sunday!

  15. I joined the Church in January 2000 just after my 25th birthday. Since joining, I have read about and pondered about the revelation on the Priesthood many times. I’m a convert, I’m “white,” and I’m a staunch supporter of civil rights…so my opinion on this issue is influenced by those things. Simply put, I do see things very different than most of the members I’ve met. I strongly believe that the Lord gives us as individuals time to grow and learn, but he only gives us so long to learn certain lessons before he tests us. I also strongly believe that the Lord gives the Church as a whole time to grow and learn before he moves us along, whether we are ready or not. I feel that the Lord gave the members of the Church time to change and to learn from the Civil Rights movement of the 60′s. He waited patiently for Church members to change their attitudes, and there came a point where it was time for the members to grow or go. It just makes sense to me that the withholding of the Priesthood had nothing to do with the worthiness of the men who could not receive it, but had everything to do with the Church members who were perhaps not prepared to change outdated and ignorant attitudes. I for one am glad that the Lord gives us time to learn…we all make mistakes, suffer from ignorance, harbor insensitive and hateful feelings about one person or another, and in general have faults and weaknesses. It can be so easy to not change because it is easy to find things that justify our mistakes, ignorance, etc… But, the Lord loves us so much that he will give us opportunities to learn and grow, to admit our mistakes, to learn love and compassion. I think there just might be a few things going on in society today that are opportunities for us as a people to learn love and compassion if we would only open our hearts and stop trying to justify our ignorance and hatefulness. We chose to come to Earth not only to gain a body, but we also have come here to learn and adopt the characteristics of our Savior Jesus Christ. While the Church as an organization has it’s faults (because we are all human–with human frailties), the Gospel of Jesus Christ is true and beautiful.

  16. Sista Christy, if you were a rapper, you could just drop the mic and walk off stage as the crowd goes CRAZY! That was very powerful and your knowledge of the the gospel on this issue is refreshing to many, trust that. Thank you for keeping it real and sharing your “drop the mic” moment with us! Be blessed and keep up the good work!

  17. Thank you Sistas for talking about things that people often want to ignore or gloss over!

  18. This was and continues to be a subject I am very interested in. I was a missionary in the 1970′s before the revelation. I had a very tough time reconciling a loving Heavenly Father and at the same time there being a group of members who were not given the full blessings of membership.
    Information was very limited and hard to find. There was no internet back then, not that I think that would have helped. I had come to the conclusion that the only thing that was fact and that I could state with authority was that someday all worthy males would hold the priesthood. I had come to the conclusion that it would not happen until shortly before the second coming. There were lots of opinions about why the practice existed, but not much concrete evidence or fact. When I first heard the announcement my first thought was to repent because I thought the end was near. My second thought was Yeah! No more trying to explain something there was no explanation for.
    Note to the Sistas: I love your work, I know it is hard but please keep it up. You are doing a good service.

  19. Susan Anderson

    The revelation came as a great relief to me and all of my friends. It was a wonderful day, and I remember it well.


  20. Where is the revelation, or announcement of a revelation, that lifted the temple ban on black women? The 1978 announcement mentions all worthy males but makes no mention of black women being denied sealings to husbands or adoptive parents, baptisms for the dead, and temple work.

  21. Terrie Lynn Bittner

    I became a member in 1976 as a teenager. The priesthood issues for both women and black men were a complication for me. When I prayed about it, I was told that I did not need to worry about that just then. Sometimes people ask me why I’d get an answer like that. I think it was because what I needed to know first was whether or not the gospel was true. Then I could cope with these other issues by viewing them in that context.

    I still have a newspaper clipping of the announcement. I was so excited–because I still didn’t have any prayer answers on the issue of black men, although I did understand why women didn’t. I have opinions of course, but no answers. I know the church has tried to trace the history and I presume it is an issue of respect not to assume Brigham acted on his own until they are sure. I rather think he did just because of how things worked when Joseph was alive, but I don’t know, of course, any more than anyone else does for sure and I’m guessing he didn’t write it down or explain it to anyone else. I do know God is really good at Plan B.

    Soon after we had a speaker who was said to be the first black man to receive the priesthood in this era. I honestly do not remember who he was. I never knew who anyone was in those days–not even the General Authorities who came to speak. I don’t really remember what he said except that he made me understand the church was true whatever is behind it all. I’ve always presumed those who joined knowing they could not have the priesthood were going to receive huge blessings for that leap of faith.

  22. Cathy Whitaker Marshall

    So, my favorite Sistas, I shared the article with my friend and it opened up a dialogue that was positive and refreshing. Thank you for your suggestion.

    I would like to also follow up my original comments to say this: I am saddened and disappointed that the leadership of the Church has never apologized to African heritage people for the practice of racism that it perpetuated. From my understanding, there was never a Church policy that prevented Black men from receiving the priesthood. It began with Brigham Young and then became the unfortunate practice of the Church.

    My great-great-great grandfather joined the Church in England and then immigrated to the United States and joined up with Brigham Young and the Mormons in the East and moved West to what is now Utah. So I have been a member all my life and have been firmly entrenched in the ways of Mormondom.

    I was 24 years old when the news of the priesthood being extended to all worthy members was announced. I wish I had been more socially aware at that time and used my time and talents to help the cause, as it were. I feel I missed an opportunity to make my voice heard back then. But I was young and naive.

    However, I am no longer either young or naive. And, while I love the Gospel of Jesus Christ and my membership in the Church, I have found my voice.

    There are two major issues I have struggled with in regards to the Church over the years: Polygamy and Black men not being allowed to hold the priesthood. Polygamy I kind of ‘get’ since it goes back to Biblical times. But I have never understood withholding something so precious from a particular group of worthy males. It was wrong when it was instituted and it was wrong every day since then until the announcement in 1978.

    As I reflect on this momentous occasion 35 years ago, I think of the missed opportunities the Church has had to close the wounds it created many years ago and then continued to foster for many more.

    The Gospel of Jesus Christ as restored by Joseph Smith is true. The
    Church is a marvelous vehicle to promote the Gospel. But, as a Church,
    we are human beings and we make mistakes. God has given us a way to make
    amends for our mistakes. And Christ gave his life to atone for our mistakes. As a people, Latter-Day Saints are taught from infancy the lessons of repentance. We would do well as a Church to heed those principles and recognize the wrongs that the Church promoted. Once we recognize them for what they are (sins against our brothers and sisters), we can continue the process of feeling remorse, making restitution, resolving to never sin in that way again, etc.

    Perpetuating this sin of withholding the priesthood over so many years was possibly a sin of ignorance (for I believe racism is ignorance mixed with fear), as opposed to a sin of weakness or a sin of willful disobedience. But, nevertheless, it was a sin.

    My prayers, as I contemplate the good that could come from such an act of sincere repentance, will continue to be that our blessed leadership will consider making a strong and sincere apology on behalf of the Church to our Black members and to non-members. Such an apology would go far in healing the profound hurt this policy created.

    For my part in remaining silent all these years, I apologize and ask for the forgiveness of my Black brothers and sisters. I pledge to do what I can to amend for my inaction.

    It would be lovely if other voices joined in with mine. Voices of all races, colors and ethnicities. LDS voices. Human voices.
    * * * *
    Okay. I will now carefully climb down from my soapbox so I don’t break a hip or create a cardiac event. I hope this answers your question as to whether I think about the announcement and whether it has affected me. :-)

    Thanks again for the advice. It got me to thinking. Again. Gotta love it when that happens!

    Your sista in Christ, Cathy
    (Sorry this missive is so long!)

  23. In 1972 I was 17 years old, brought up by a member mother and an non-member father. That year I read the Book of Mormon and received a witness of the truth of my very own.

    The next year that testimony would be tested. My mother’s best friend was a beautiful African-American woman who lived next door. Her spirituality was such that Mom found it easy to share the gospel with her. I was there when she learned about the priesthood ban. I will never forget the agony on her face. I remember telling the Lord, “You had better have a good reason for this.” If I hadn’t had a testimony of the gospel, I might have dropped out.

    Five years later, in 1978, the revelation came, but no explanations. There had been protests against the Church and boycotts of BYU sports teams, and we were grateful that it was “all over.” My mom was so excited about the revelation that she called all her LDS friends on the phone to tell them about it. It was still too late for my mom’s friend. It was “too little, too late.”

    I saw a few African-Americans join the Church, but it was always just a trickle. When my niece married an African-American non-member, that is when I realized that the Church still had a bad reputation with the African-American community. Even though the Baptists didn’t desegregate until 1969, even though a lot of churches in America had similar racial issues, we were seen as a holdout and racist. No wonder my new nephew thought the Church was evil.

    We welcomed him warmly into the family, and now he doesn’t think that the Church is necessarily evil. He still prefers to watch football on Sundays, so there won’t be any baptism any time soon. My niece became active again, and I sent him a letter of appreciation for his support of her church activity because it’s a hard thing when a spouse changes. My dad went through that when my mom became active, so I knew it was a sacrifice. He appreciated that support. Now they have a daughter and another baby on the way. I hope that their children will grow up strong in the faith, able to forgive our history, and look toward a bright future in the kingdom of God.

  24. I was baptized as a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints in 1995, at the age of 14 in Baker, Louisiana (a suburb of Baton Rouge). In the ward I went to, I was surrounded by several black families who were firm in the church. I saw the men in those families serve with all their hearts as worthy priesthood holders in church. Their families were sealed in the temple… They were exemplary, in that they had all of the opportunities and took advantage of all the great gifts taught in this church…

    Growing up in Louisiana I saw blatant and institutionalized racism on a daily basis, but it stuck out in my mind how I didn’t see it in the church. I actually remember saying to myself that this must be the Lord’s church because all men were treated equally in it. It wasn’t until a few years later I learned that this wasn’t always the case. I remember being distraught upon learning about this. Shortly afterwards, I learned about Elijah Abel. It brought me great comfort to learn that when the Lord restored this church through, Joseph Smith, he restored it in a way that allowed all men, including black men, to be given the priesthood, to serve in the same capacities as others, and to take advantage of all the opportunities that were available to them at that time.

  25. Being a black member of this church brought me pride to know that I stood for something wholesome and good, but this particular “topic” brought me shame and the outrage of my family. How can I say yes I believe in all the teachings past and present when they were telling me that I am less than and not worthy.
    I have an issue with the church saying yes you are welcome here, but you are not worthy enough to partake of all blessings the church has to impart.That is so NOT in God’s teachings; that was all man. It was racist and ugly and I have never gotten over it.

  26. I can remember exactly where I was and what I was doing when I received the telephone call from a friend informing me of this wonderful revelation.
    I feel very connected to it because my Father in law worked under President Hinckley in the missionary department. He did most of the communicating with those in West Africa. He a was the first presiding Elder in Nigeria set apart for this calling by President David O. McKay in the early 60′s. He went over there but couldn’t stay long because of the political environment and maintaining a visa.
    Someday I hope that we can publish his journal of experiences. He and his wife later served an 18 month mission in Nigeria and Ghana.
    He also was involved in the beginnings of the Genesis Group.
    We were all so excited when the Priesthood was given to all worthy males.
    Blessings and hugs to you both for the great work you do.

  27. John Pack Lambert

    In many ways this was just a beginning. Our high council speaker today was an African-American man, he is a true stalwart, his son was the first person endowed in the Detroit Temple. Yet he was only at a remove influenced by the 1978 revelation since he was not baptized until 1994. Another one of our high council speakers lately was African American, I don’t think he joined the Church until a bit after 1978, but since he was born in about 1974, he could not have received the priesthood that soon anyway.
    1978 was a great day, but we need to reach out with love, caring, compassion and across lines of division to make it truly effective.

  28. John Pack Lambert

    One of the more interesting sacrament talks I ever heard was one given by Spencer Nugent, who was named after Spencer W. Kimball. His parent were the first Jamaicans to join the Church, back in 1974, and he told the story of their conversion. What he did not tell is for times between then and 1978 they had to live without access to the sacrament because the foreigners who had run the branch in Jamaica all moved away and they had no priesthood holders to bless the sacrament.

  29. John Pack Lambert

    Still my favorite Long Promised Day related fact, Haiti has had a mission president who was only loosely affected by this revalation. Here is a link http://www.ldschurchnews.com/articles/56689/New-mission-presidents.html to the Church News article on Kerving Joseph’s call. He was either born in 1979 or 1980, so after the revelation. The Joseph’s look more like two missionaries than most mission presidents and wife. Here http://www.ldschurchnews.com/articles/58468/Glimmers-of-light-and-hope-shine-forth-from-earthquake-ravaged-country.html is a Church News article from just afterh the earthquake, go to that second picture and before looking at the caption, tell me if that is two missionaries, and if not which one isn’t a regular missionary.

  30. John Pack Lambert

    I had an African-American friend who did the baptisms for the dead for his father in the Provo Temple in about 1975, although from how he explained it, I think his bishop and stake president may have gotten flack for having given him a temple recommend against the guideline that males should hold the Aaronic priesthood to do baptisms for the dead, but his action was still recorded and accepted by the church.
    Since the Church does not publicly share the specific rules about going to the temple, I can see why this was not made public. It is also worth noting that the policy did not just affect women of African descent. Marcus Martins’ wife, who is totally white, initially postponed their wedding because until the policies were changed under President Benson, a woman whose husband was not temple worthy was not able to go to the temple was not able to go to the temple, and she wanted to be sealed to her parents in the Sao Paulo Temple. She changed her mind and decided that marrying Marcus should be made a higher priority, and moved the wedding closer to that time, moving it from the original May to July. This was good since if they had been married in May Marcus would not have been able to serve a mission, as it was he was one of the first three missionaries of African descent called.

  31. John Pack Lambert

    It was not just black women, but women who were married to black men of any race. For example, the first sealing performed involving someone of African Ancestry (which was performed by President Monson), involved a black man and his Samoan wife. Due to the fact that at that time married women could not be endowed if their husbands could not be, she had not yet been endowed.

  32. John Pack Lambert

    The restriction was not based on people not being worthy, but on a restriction being in place for reasons that we do not understand. No teaching of the Church imply that the restriction was because those so restricted were not worthy. I would also question whether current teachings of the Church imply that the restriction was right, and would point out the new introduction to Official Declaration 2 avoids saying in any way the restriction was right, it only says that people in the 1970s felt a revelation was needed to overturn the restriction, while avoiding making any claim about the origins of the restriction itself.

  33. John Pack Lambert

    I would suggest showing your friend “Nobody Knows: The Untold Story of Black Mormons”. In their President Hinckley extends an apology for past specific actions of church members, it does not quite amount to an apology for the policy, but it is an apology for actions that were probably in many ways more disturbing than the policy itself. I would also recommend the writings of Marvin Perkins. Actually, I think if you could find a faithful Afircan-American male to address this persons issues directly it would help. Marcus Martins book “Black and The Mormon Priesthood” might also be a good read for that man.

  34. Cathy Whitaker Marshall

    Thank you, Jack. I will pass on this information to my friend and see if he will read what you suggest.


  35. John Pack Lambert

    I just have to say that is the best advice I have ever read.

  36. John Pack Lambert

    I have to admit that I was not born until after this revelation. Among my earliest memories is standing in line to go into primary sharing time with my primary class which included an African-American boy whose father was one of the priesthood holders in our ward.

  37. Interesting stories but by main question was where is the revelation lifting the ban on black women?

  38. Brother John- Can we move pass the “African-American” title? I know most people of color don’t mind ‘that’ color reference or why not find someway to express without the noting of race. What I am trying to say is… he is an American.
    PS: I’m not picking on you but reply with respect.

  39. It happened the same day the priesthood ban was lifted. Once all worthy males could receive all the blessings the church had to offer, all the worthy women could as well.

  40. The priesthood ban has always been a sticking point with me when it comes to sharing the gospel with my black friends and co-workers. I use to not ask my friends to church because of it. But now that I’m older and slightly wiser I do invite them to church, but secretly hope that they decline at least until I know how to talk to them about it. Awefull I know,.But the funny thing is that I have many Black friends in the Church who are still a little weary about the ban, but go on in faith. From this I know that being a black member of the church and knowing about the priesthood ban doesn’t mean doom and gloom, Anway, the reason I’m commenting is because I have coworker who I have been asking to church every couple of months, but he usuallty skirts the subject, at least until the other day. He actually brought up going to church with me and told me that he prayed that he would get a Sunday off so he could go! I gave him the BOM today. Now my fear of him bring up the priesthood ban is rearing its ugly head again. His brother is in the Nation of Islam and I’m halfway expecting him to tell my coworker about our church’s past when it comes to black members. I’m praying that I will know what to do. I feel like I should be straight forward and just tell him, but if I do, when do I?? After he goes to church??? After the starting of the meetings with the missionaries?? If you have any advice please let me know!!

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