• California’s forgotten slave history

    by Sarah Barringer Gordon and Kevin Waite

    San Bernardino’s early success rested on a pair of seemingly incongruous forces: Mormonism and slavery.

  • Mormon church publishes photos in push toward transparency

    Mormons believe that 185 years ago, Smith found gold plates engraved with writing in ancient Egyptian in upstate New York. They say God helped him translate the text using the stone and other tools, and it became known as the Book of Mormon.

  • “Are there black Mormons?”

    by W. Paul Reeve

    Black Saints were among the first to arrive in the Salt Lake Valley in 1847 and have been a part of the Mormon experience from its beginnings.

  • Mormons acknowledge their black history

    Both Elijah Abel and Walker Lewis were black, which meant that they bore the “Mark of Cain” in Mormon theology. Both, however, also held the priesthood and all of its blessings that their descendants were later denied—Abel in 1836 and Lewis in 1843. A statement released last Friday, which includes what RD’s Joanna Brookscalls “the most significant changes made to Mormon scripture since 1981,” acknowledges the existence of these men and their place with respect to Church liturgical rites. The statement also furthered the idea that nobody knows why the ban on blacks existed in the first place, concluding that “Church records offer no clear insights into the origins of this practice.”