The Genesis of a church’s stand on race

On Dec. 25, 1964, as Mitt Romney enjoyed his last Christmas break as a high school student in Michigan, two Mormon missionaries visited Darius Gray in Colorado Springs and asked him if he had any last questions before joining the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. He had one. A proud African American, Gray expressed wariness over a description in the Book of Mormon of a dark-skinned tribe being out of favor with God and asked, “How, in any way, does that relate to me?” The younger of the two missionaries stood off to the side as his senior companion explained, “‘Well, Brother Gray, the primary implication is that you won’t be able to hold the priesthood.’”

Stay in the loop!
Enter your email to receive updates on our LDS Living content