EDITORS NOTE: This is an excerpt from Paul A Drockton M.A.'s soon to be released book: "Racism in Utah. Its Roots and Impact Today"
"Utah is a Beautiful State. There are a lot of Great people that live here. There are also some that are just plain bad. I will try to explain the history of black people in Utah and the Mormon Church. Understand, the Church itself has changed greatly and openly condemns racism. Yet, there are those that can’t let go of the past or their prejudices.
I grew up in Cleveland, Ohio and Served 4 years in the United States Air Force. Blacks and Whites in the military worked together, roomed together and recreated together without a though for one another’s skin color. I also worked in the inner city of Cleveland where I was always the small minority. Again, I was always treated with kindness and respect by people of color.
I served a mission for the Mormon Church when I was 21 Years old in South America. What I learned is that my skin color was neither a hindrance nor a benefit. I loved the people and, as a result, they loved me.
I was always an underdog and always loved to champion their side when they were correct. When someone is dead wrong, there is no amount of money or power that buys my loyalty."
Chapter 1: Understanding Mormon History
30 And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment.
31 And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these. (Jesus Christ)
Joseph Smith, the Founder of what the world calls Mormonism, was way ahead of his time when it came to race relations. In fact, he bestowed the Priesthood on Black Members of the Church and also gave them the Temple Ordinances. One such example:
“Elijah Abel was ordained an elder on March 3, 1836 in Kirtland, Ohio by Joseph Smith. In 1839, Abel was made a member of the Nauvoo Seventies Quorum. While living in Nauvoo, Illinois, he worked as a mortician at the request of Joseph Smith. In 1841, when Smith was arrested in Quincy, Illinois, Abel was among a group of seven elders who set out from Nauvoo to try to rescue him, although by the time they reached Quincy, Smith had been taken back to Nauvoo.” (LDS Freedom Forum, Wikipedia)
Joseph Smith Taught Racial Equality:
“The first known black Latter-day Saint was
"Black Pete", who joined the Church in Kirtland, Ohio, and there is
some evidence that he held the LDS priesthood. Besides those above, other
African Americans, including Joseph T. Ball in 1835 or 1836 (who also presided
over the Boston Branch from 1844–1845), Walker Lewis's son Enoch Lovejoy Lewis,
were ordained to the priesthood during Smith's lifetime. William McCary was
ordained in Nauvoo in 1846 by Apostle Orson Hyde. Two of the descendants of
Elijah Abel were also ordained Elders, and two other black men, Samuel Chambers
and Edward Leggroan, were ordained Deacons.
Early black members in the Church were admitted to the temple in Kirtland, Ohio, where Elijah Abel received the ritual of washing and anointing (see Journal of Zebedee Coltrin). Abel also participated in at least two baptisms for the dead in Nauvoo, Illinois, as did Elder Joseph T. Ball.
Joseph Smith was very outspoken about equality for blacks, and even included equality and abolition of slavery as part of his goals as he ran for president. I do not know of any sources showing that Joseph Smith felt the blacks should not hold the priesthood. The ban on blacks holding the priesthood did not come about until Brigham Young (who was very outspoken about Blacks and the Church) was president of the church.” (Ibid)