Panel. Twentieth-Century Mormon Leaders’ Views of Race and the LDS Priesthood Ban

SL03091, This year marks the fortieth anniversary of the March on Washington, at which Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his famous “I Have a Dream” speech, and the thirty-fifth anniversary of Dr. King’s assassination. It also marks the twenty-fifth anniversary of the revelation reversing The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ policy of denying priesthood and temple blessings to its members of black African descent. Dr. King envisioned a “beloved community” as a realistic, achievable goal in which there is no poverty, hunger, homelessness, nor racism, for in this community, all forms of discrimination, bigotry, and prejudice are replaced by an all-inclusive spirit of sisterhood and brotherhood. Latter-day Saints speak of the achievable goal of Zion in which all are “of one heart and one mind, . . . [with] no poor among them” and where all, regardless of race or social status, are understood as “alike unto God.” How are we as Americans and world citizens doing in achieving the dream of the beloved community? as Latter-day Saints in the pursuit of building Zion? What might we learn as we bring together the energies and focused reflection created by landmark anniversaries to move forward with renewed faith and enthusiasm to build such societies?

Devery S. Anderson, D. Michael Quinn, Gregory A. Prince, Edward L. Kimball