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STEFFANY - I was told that Joesph smith did give the priesthood to a black man, is this true?

JOEL - Yes that is true. In fact not only was the priesthood given to a black man named Elijah Able, after being ordained an Elder, he was also ordained a seventy, served in the third Quorum of the Seventy, and served a mission to Canada for the Church. It was Joseph Smith himself who translated the scripture that relates to the denial of priesthood to the blacks(Abraham 1:26-27), who allowed him to be ordained. But even though he knew this he was apparently inspired by God to allow an exception in the case of Elijah Abel, because of his faithfulness and because he had helped to build the Kirtland Temple. Further, it is clear from Elijah's patriarchal blessing that he was to be made (in the words of his Patriarchal Blessing) "equal to thy brethren." Apparently, also, Joseph Smith had told him that he was "entitled to the priesthood," according to Abel's recollection of the event. His Priesthood status is also verified by his Patriarchal Blessing, given by Joseph Smith, Sr., in 1836 (Joseph Smith's Patriarchal Blessing Record, p. 88, as cited in Council Meeting Minutes, 4 June 1879, Adam S. Bennion Papers, BYU, Provo, Utah).

It is clear that in some cases, when a person is especially chosen, God makes exceptions to His own rules. Such must have been the case with Elijah Abel when he received the priesthood.

There is a similar situation in the Bible in The Book of Ruth. Because the Moabites (a white-skinned people who were the descendants of Lot, the nephew of Abraham) did not give food or water to the Israelites when they came out of Egypt into the desert, the LORD cursed them; proclaiming that a Moabite would not enter the Congregation of the LORD until the 10th generation(Deut. 23:3). However, Ruth, a first generation Moabitess, showed such great faith that the LORD made an exception, and she became an Israelite(Ruth 4).
The following website address outlines the history of the blacks and the priesthood in the LDS church:


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