Evolving Efforts to Address Racial Issues in Mormonism


Evolving Efforts to Address Racial Issues in Mormonism

Evolving Efforts to Address Racial Issues in Mormonism 1

Evolving Efforts to Address Racial Issues in Mormonism 2

The History of Racial Discrimination in Mormonism

Mormonism, also known as The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, has a complicated history when it comes to race. For many years, the church held the belief that people of African descent were unworthy to hold the priesthood or participate in certain temple ordinances. This policy, which was known as the “Priesthood Ban,” was in place until 1978 when it was officially lifted by the church leadership.

The Priesthood Ban and other racially discriminatory practices have had a lasting impact on Mormonism’s reputation and membership. In recent years, however, the church has made significant efforts to address and rectify these past racial issues.

Apologies and Official Statements

In 2006, the church released an official statement titled “Race and the Priesthood,” which disavowed the theories and explanations that had been used to justify the Priesthood Ban. This statement was a significant step forward in acknowledging and recognizing the racist policies of the past.

Additionally, in 2013, the church released another statement titled “Race and the Church: All Are Alike Unto God.” This official statement expressed the church’s commitment to promoting racial equality and inclusivity. It emphasized the importance of treating all individuals with respect and dignity, regardless of their race or ethnicity.

These apologies and official statements have been instrumental in initiating conversations about race within the Mormon community and fostering greater understanding and empathy among its members.

Representation and Leadership

Another important aspect of addressing racial issues in Mormonism is increasing representation and diversity within church leadership. In recent years, the church has made efforts to invite individuals from diverse backgrounds to serve in leadership positions and to contribute to the decision-making process.

In 2018, the church appointed the first African-American general authority, Elder Peter M. Johnson, who had previously served as a mission president in Africa. This appointment was seen as a significant milestone and a step towards creating a more racially inclusive leadership structure within the church.

Furthermore, the church has also started including more diverse representation in its teaching materials and media productions. These efforts aim to provide Mormon followers with role models and examples from a variety of racial backgrounds, helping to challenge stereotypes and foster greater acceptance and understanding.

Racial Education and Dialogue

Recognizing the importance of education and open dialogue in addressing racial issues, the church has implemented various programs and initiatives to promote understanding and inclusivity.

For example, the church has developed a series of educational resources and materials that provide historical context and address racial issues within Mormonism. These resources are designed to facilitate discussions and promote empathy and understanding among church members. Additionally, the church has organized workshops and conferences focused on racial equality and unity.

Moreover, local congregations and individual members are encouraged to engage in dialogue and create spaces for conversations about race and racial equality. These efforts aim to foster a sense of community and understanding while addressing racial issues within the context of the Mormon faith.

Challenges and Future Opportunities

While the church has made significant strides in addressing racial issues, there is still work to be done to ensure a more inclusive and equitable community for all members.

One challenge is overcoming deep-seated attitudes and biases that may still persist within some individuals or communities. The process of changing hearts and minds takes time and requires ongoing efforts to promote education and empathy.

Another challenge is encouraging more diverse voices and perspectives to be represented within church leadership and decision-making processes. Continued efforts to invite individuals from a variety of racial backgrounds to assume leadership roles can help ensure that all voices are heard and valued.

Looking ahead, there are tremendous opportunities for the Mormon Church to continue evolving and addressing racial issues within its community. By fostering open dialogue, expanding educational resources, and promoting diverse representation, the church can create a more inclusive and racially equitable environment for its members.


Efforts to address racial issues in Mormonism have come a long way, with the church taking significant steps to confront its own complex history of discrimination. Through apologies, official statements, increasing representation and leadership, promoting racial education and dialogue, the Mormon Church is actively working towards a more inclusive and racially equitable community. While challenges remain, the commitment to positive change provides hope for a future where racial issues are fully addressed within the context of the Mormon faith. Interested in learning more about the topic discussed? Link URL, where you’ll find extra information and interesting perspectives to further enhance your learning experience.

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