I did not select this book as part of my blindfold challenge. I selected it, because I wanted to be better informed about blacks and the Mormon priesthood.
Marcus Martins, PhD. is the son of the first black General Authority in the leadership of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints or “Mormon” Church. He’s also the author of this short book about how the Mormon Church banned black members from holding the priesthood and being called or appointed to specific leadership roles within the Church until 1978. It discusses the history of the ban, of which we know relatively little, the lifting of the ban, the misconceptions regarding the whole situation, and how Martins believes we ought to move forward into the future of the Church.
He clears up a lot of rumors that are common in the Church. He makes it clear how rumors (like all blacks being descendants of Cain or Canaan, blacks being less valiant than whites in a premortal existence, blacks not being prepared to receive the priesthood of God until the summer of 1978, etc.) are nothing short of false doctrines. These false doctrines are spread intentionally by white supremacists and those who are good people who believe in misinterpretations of scriptures, and the false doctrines are spread unintentionally by those who are simply misinformed. Regardless, they are spread far and wide, despite their untruthfulness. He arms any reader with good historical sources that can debunk any “heard-it-at-a-church-activity” doctrines that the Mormon Church does not actually espouse.
Martins makes it clear that there was in fact a very real ban on blacks from receiving the priesthood in the Mormon Church, but that that does not affect his salvation nor his relationship with Christ in any way. He remarks that baptism is the gate, and that those who enter into the gate are going to be judged by Christ and His eternal laws, justice, and mercy. No mortal will ever keep any of us, black or white, from Christ’s power.
“Those who believe that Christ cannot exalt an individual who receives his ordinances and keeps his commandments—because of his or her race—believes, in a way, that Christ’s atonement was not infinite and eternal as the scriptures teach.”
Blacks & The Mormon Priesthood: Setting the Record Straight was an excellent read, one which has dispelled a lot of untrue things that have been hanging around in my mind for a long time. I readily, heartily recommend it to anyone who has had any questions about blacks and the Mormon priesthood, to anyone who thinks they have no questions about blacks and the Mormon priesthood, and to any blacks or people who hold the Mormon priesthood.
In short, everyone.