A recent study, “Race and the Priesthood,” found that the LDS Church’s former policy on banning black men from its priesthood began under Brigham Young’s presidency and not Mormon founder Joseph Smith, who opposed slavery and ordained several blacks. The results of the study was posted on LDS.org.
“There is no evidence that any black men were denied the priesthood during Joseph Smith’s lifetime,” the document says.
“In 1852, President Brigham Young [Smith’s immediate successor] publicly announced that men of black African descent could no longer be ordained to the priesthood,” it notes, “though thereafter blacks continued to join the church.”
More than a century later, in 1978, the Utah-based faith, under then-President Spencer W. Kimball, lifted the ban, but some Mormons have continued to promote theoriesused to defend the former exclusion — “that black skin is a sign of divine disfavor or curse, or that it reflects actions in a premortal life; that mixed-race marriages are a sin; or that blacks or people of any other race or ethnicity are inferior in any way to anyone else.”
The new statement says the Utah-based faith “disavows the theories advanced in the past … [and that ] church leaders today unequivocally condemn all racism, past and present, in any form.” Source: Salt Lake Tribune