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President Young's views were connected to his views on priesthood and sealings, they were affected by his own cultural upbringing, and they were affected by changes that happened in the late 1840s.Among these was the challenge of black men actually marrying white women in the Church, and the stir this caused among certain groups of Church membership.The change seems to have been prompted at least in part by problems facing mixed race converts in Brazil.Susan and Mitsuyuki Sakurai, an immigrant from Japan, have been married 30 years. Utah repealed its law against such marriages in 1963.Amram Musungu, a Mormon from Kenya, is a leader in Swahili Mormon ward in Salt Lake City but says the church still has lingering prejudice, even 35 years after it lifted the ban on blacks entering the priesthood.RNS photo courtesy Steve Griffin | The Salt Lake Tribune.While Church records for individual members do not indicate an individual’s race or ethnicity, the number of Church members of African descent is now in the hundreds of thousands.The Church proclaims that redemption through Jesus Christ is available to the entire human family on the conditions God has prescribed.
Though the church had an open membership policy for all races, they avoided opening missions in areas with large black populations and discouraged people with black ancestry from investigating the church.
After Joseph Smith's death, Brigham Young taught that black suffrage went against church doctrine, that God had taken away the rights for blacks to hold public office, and that God would curse whites who married blacks.
Young did teach that the ban on blacks would one day be lifted.
Although slavery was not a significant factor in Utah’s economy and was soon abolished, the restriction on priesthood ordinations remained.
The piece also goes on to explain how the policy was finally reversed, in 1978, and concludes with a condemnation of racism, but doesn’t contain an apology, or even an acknowledgement that the policy was wrong.
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The justifications for this restriction echoed the widespread ideas about racial inferiority that had been used to argue for the legalization of black “servitude” in the Territory of Utah.