As we approach the portion of the Come Follow Me curriculum that addresses Official Declaration 2, we thought we might share a classic episode of the Faith Matters podcast that many of our newer listeners may not have heard — a conversation between Terryl Givens and Paul Reeve that explores the history of the Church’s priesthood-temple ban that ended in 1978. If you’re looking for a good way to approach this topic in family or church study, this is an enlightening resource.
Dr. Reeve was a principal contributor to the church’s official Gospel Topics Essay on this subject. In this fascinating podcast, Reeve and Givens go both wide and deep on the issue.
For example: Among other historical details, they discuss how in its early decades the church was broadly criticized as being too inclusive—many critics actually claiming that it wasn’t “white” enough. This seems to have been a factor in Brigham Young’s 1852 decision to ban Black people from the priesthood and temple.
They also explore some of the explanations that developed in the church to justify the ban during its 126 year duration—and how each of these explanations has since been rejected and disavowed by the church.
Paul Reeve is the Simmons Professor of Mormon Studies at the University of Utah. His award-winning book, Religion of a Different Color: Race and the Mormon Struggle for Whiteness, is considered by many the best book written to date on the subject.
Dr. Reeve has also written a fantastic essay which you can find here that addresses how to make sense of our history of denying priesthood and temple blessings to our Black brothers and sisters. It’s a fascinating read—and you really shouldn’t miss it.
We think this is an incredibly important and insightful episode. We suspect you’ll enjoy it.