I am a white male. Well, I really have more of a ruddy complexion that looks red most of the time,
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Black History Month
Edition 4 2022

Inside this Edition:

  1. Message from Scott Gordon
  2. The CES Letter Rebuttal Series
  3. Come, Follow Me Resources
  4. Conversational Apologetics
  5. FAIR Bookstore
  6. Blog & Social Media
  7. Donate to FAIR & Info on Tax Receipts
  8. Today's quote
  9. Subscribe & Share!

A Few Questions for Black History Month

A few questions for Black History Month.
What year did the first black (African American) join the church?


The answer is 1830.

Did black members go on missions back then?


The answer is yes. Several black members went on missions and baptized many new members into the Church.

Were there blacks in Church leadership in the 1830’s?


The answer is yes. Elijah Abel, and Joseph Ball both had leadership roles. Q Walker Lewis was also an influential member of the Church and an Elder.

What year did blacks get the priesthood after the ban?


To read the surprising answer (It won’t be what you expect) just keep reading.

I am a white male. Well, I really have more of a ruddy complexion that looks red most of the time, but that still counts as “white.” I have found no one in my family history who owned slaves. One family line came from Scotland after the Civil war, and the other family line was simply too poor to be participating in anything like that. So why am I writing about black history? The Church is often criticized for having a “racist past” because of the priesthood ban, plus I think that we currently participate in a lot of unconscious racism and dismissive behavior that doesn’t help welcome our brothers and sisters into the Church.

So, lets step away from the political rhetoric, tightly held positions, and defensiveness just for a moment. Let’s agree that black lives matter (of course they do – we aren’t talking about the political group), and we aren’t going to talk about Critical Race Theory (CRT) in this article. Let’s breathe deeply and step into this.

Continue reading...

Scott Gordon
President, FAIR


Sarah Allen has been blogging responses to the CES Letter for a year now! We are so grateful she'd share her scholarship, insight and testimony with us here at FAIR! If you haven't taken the opportunity fo read her work, now is a great time! Follow the link to find a list of the posts we have published.

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You can find the entire series of articles here.


Please check the landing page, where you will find links to each lesson. Each lesson's page has a guest article (posted on the first day of study), a list of links to FAIR resources, Other Resources (to Come, Follow Me resources on trusted sites), as well as links to the Church resources.

One week out:

Lesson: Feb 21-27 Genesis 24–27 “The Covenant Is Renewed

What Are We to Make of Jacob’s Apparent Deceitfulness?

The "Garment of Joseph" and Parallels from the Ancient World

In the Bookstore:

Two weeks out:
Feb 28-Mar 6 Genesis 28–33 “Surely the Lord Is in This Place

Thoughts to Keep in Mind: The House of Israel

What Are We to Make of Jacob’s Apparent Deceitfulness?

Question: Why do the Latter-day Saints believe God has a body?

Question: What is the best way to understand servitude in the Old and New Testaments?

Three weeks out:

Mar 7-13 Genesis 37–41 “The Lord Was with Joseph

The Coat of Joseph

Why Are the Stories of Joseph and Judah Intertwined?

Faith and Reason 37: The Rent Garment II



Question: It appears racist of the Church to exclude Blacks from the priesthood. How can we justify that exclusion?

This is an important question on a very important topic. The Lord has repeatedly emphasized that He is no respecter of persons (Acts 10:34; 1 Nephi 17:35; Doctrine and Covenants 1:35). However, this does not mean the Lord does not impose restrictions on various groups or individuals or permit what we may now consider as wrong. Here are two examples:
The law which God gave to Moses explicitly allowed for slavery or involuntary servitude (see Exodus 21). That doesn't make slavery acceptable today, but it did make slavery acceptable during Moses' time.
During His earthly ministry, the Savior restricted His teaching and that of His disciples to the house of Israel (see Matthew 10:5–6; 15:24). That doesn't mean today we restrict our preaching to Israelites, but it did make the restriction acceptable during the Savior's earthly ministry.
We don't know why men of black African descent were restricted from receiving the priesthood. But we do know that when Brigham Young announced the restriction, he promised that one day black Church members would "have [all] the privilege and more" that were available to other Church members. That "long-promised day" came in June 1978.

You can read more in:
·         Gospel Topics essay "Race and the Priesthood"
            ·          FairMormon page "The priesthood ban"

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FAIR Bookstore

If there’s a book you’re looking for and can’t find, if you have trouble logging into your account, have a question or problem with your order or have any other questions about the FAIR bookstore, please write to us at !

Here are some titles in recognition of Black History Month:


Black Pioneers: Images of the Black Experience on the North American Frontier
More than three hundred photographs and other images; also sections on black entertainers and ranchers, a chapter on the dating of historic photographs and their genealogical significance, as well as an expanded bibliography. All aid understanding of the black frontier experience.
Your Sister in the Gospel
Quincy D. Newell chronicles the life of this remarkable yet largely unknown figure and reveals why James’s story changes our understanding of American history.

Black Mormon: The Story of Elijah Ables
Ables has become the most important man in the history of the priesthood restriction.  Stevenson’s book is a must-read for LDS scholars and for American historians.

For the Cause of Righteousness
This book broaches one of the most sensitive topics in the history of Mormonism: the story of the LDS community’s turbulent relationship with the black population.

Slave Religion
Raboteau’s recognition of the different responses of different groups of slaves to bondage is an important corrective to the recent tendency to lump all black experience together, and his comparative approach, extended to include evangelical and non-evangelical Christian denominations in the South, is fresh and instructive.

His Name Is Green Flake (DVD)
Inspired by the true story of enslaved pioneer and Latter-day Saint Green Flake. His courageous cross-country journey to prepare the way for the Saints was integral to the Mormon Migration and the settlement of Utah. Awarded Best Film in 10 different festivals, including the Venice Film Awards, the London Independent Film Awards, and most recently, the LA Film Awards. A beautiful story full of faith, family, and freedom.

You can see all of the new titles here.

All purchases in the FAIR Bookstore go directly to support FAIR -- thanks for helping us in this way!


Shaken Faith Spotlight

It is indisputable that Brigham Young and other early LDS leaders through the years have made comments that either supported slavery or sound racist to twenty-first century Americans. The Chapter 5 discussion on presentism should restrain us from judging past generations by the enlightenment of our day. Nevertheless, members and non-members may be pressed to ask why the prophets and Church leaders didn’t know better. LDS sociologist Armand Mauss discussed the topic of race in the Church and posed a number of hypothetical questions and answers. Why, for example, would early LDS leaders such as Brigham Young make seemingly racist comments?

Because he was a nineteenth-century American, and hardly any white people of that time, North or South, believed in equality for blacks. Slavery was still an unsettled issue throughout the nation, with some even in the South opposed to it, and many even in the North who were willing to tolerate it. Brigham Young’s ideas were really right in the mainstream of American thinking at that time. They were very close to the ideas of other prominent Americans from Thomas Jefferson to Abraham Lincoln, who himself did not even free all slaves with his Emancipation Proclamation.

Q: But don’t Mormons believe that their Church is led by prophets of God? How could prophets have permitted racist ideas and practices to become part of their religion?
A: Prophets are not perfect and don’t claim to be; nor do they always act as prophets in what they say and do. People in all ages, including those who become prophets, grow up without questioning much that is assumed by everyone else in their respective cultures, unless some experience motivates them to seek revelation on a given matter.
Q: Well, maybe so, but racism is such an obvious evil that I would think authentic prophets would have been more sensitive to it.
A: Why? It seems obvious to all of us now, but not to people who believed in Manifest Destiny, the White Man’s Burden, and “the only good Indian is a dead Indian.” Even the original apostles of Jesus assumed that non-Jews could not become Christians unless they first accepted Judaism and circumcision. The apostle Paul disputed that, but the idea persisted.

As repeatedly pointed out in this book, prophets are not perfect and do not claim to be. They, like all of God’s children, learn line upon line. Until new revelation is given, mistaken assumptions are part of the trials of humanity."
Mike Ash, Shaken Faith Syndrome, pp 301-302


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Donation & Tax Receipt Information

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Today's Quote...

"We must love one another and be less judgmental—especially when our expectations are not immediately met. We should help our children and youth feel the love of Jesus Christ in their lives, even when they struggle to personally feel love for themselves.”
— Elder Erich W. Kopischke of the Seventy
Addressing Mental Health

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