Elijah Abel and the Mormon Church Treatment of Minorities
For many years individuals that were black were never allowed to hold any type of priesthood in the Mormon church. In 1978 this changed under the direction of Spencer Kimball. It is believed that when it came to the first man that was black to being accepted into the priesthood that he was ordained by Joseph Smith himself although there is no direct evidence to prove this. Elijah Abel was one such individual that had a different outlook on the treatment of minorities.
It was known that the Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter Day Saints were racist and their doctrines and practices supported this. The book of Mormon was not anymore supportive for minorities either however a change in it did take place after 1980. It has to be remembered that the blacks are considered to be from the evil group of Lamanites .Going back to historical times these were descendents of the Israelites and the reason that there are black was because of the evil that was within them. There have been some subtle changes made in the book of Mormon to replace the somewhat racist writings that were originally found. They are referring to the whites which have now been changed to to a pure and delightsome person.
For the anti-Mormons there is very little that anyone have anything good to say about Joseph Smith. He has been reported as being the world’s greatest con artist and nothing but a charlatan. However when it comes to his viewpoint looking back at the time span in which he lived he was really quite liberal. His thoughts however did not have any bearing on the policy of not allowing blacks and priesthood. That change took place when Brigham Young came into the picture. The Mormons will tell you that they stand on this doctrine because of what can be found in the writings of the Pearl of great Price and this is the reason that they have this viewpoint. If one is interested in seeing a book that is really controversial then they would be interested in reading the Church and the Negro This of course is a book that is not published anymore and if one finds a copy it can actually be worth quite a bit of money.
The whole concept of this particular book according to someone that actually have had the opportunity to read it was simply that the revelation that took place in 1978 stated that the time was just not right. The concept of the Mormon religion was that they had more to offer than other faiths because of being able to offer the celestial kingdom.
Almost all religions have modernized and changed somewhat to keep up the tmes. The Mormons are often criticized for their outlook because they are very conservative and they are not ones to make quick changes. It is believed those changes are slowly beginning to take place such as the place of the black individual being able to be part of the priesthood. Although this took many years to come in fact they are striving to keep their congregation together and to keep their religion alive and this may be one of the reasons why they are starting to making more changes than what they would like. Albeit as we mentioned they are very small and it is most difficult for the leaders of the church to remain conservative and yet keep their gathering happy.