After an essay in the Washington Post by Jason Horowitz about the longstanding ban on African Americans becoming priests in the Mormon Church, which lasted until 1978, the Mormon Church has responded with a statement.
In Horowitz’s essay, he interviewed Randy Bott, a religion professor at the Mormon college, Brigham Young University, who said that due to the Biblical curse of Cain, African Americans where “blessed” to have not received the priesthood until their race was ready for it and that “’God has always been discriminatory.”
Yahoo News reports:
On the other hand, it did not explain why the priesthood ban was instituted or why it persisted until 1978, nor did it offer an apology for the ban. “It is not known precisely why, how, or when this restriction began,” the statement read, “but … it ended decades ago. Some have attempted to explain the reason for this restriction but these attempts should be viewed as speculation and opinion, not doctrine.”
Celebrated Mormon writer Joanna Brooks wrote in Religion Dispatches that “Professor Bott is no outlier. Especially among older Mormons, racist rationale for the priesthood ban-linking it to Old Testament pretexts, or to moral infirmity in a pre-earthly life by the souls of Africans and African-Americans, and other racist apologetic mental gymnastics exemplified in Bott’s statement to the Post -persist and circulate, generally unquestioned and unchallenged.”