Salt Lake City, Utah
Salt Lake Temple
Official Declaration 2
June 1978
"Aware of the promises made by the prophets and presidents of the Church who have preceded us that at some time, in God's eternal plan, all of our brethren who are worthy may receive the priesthood, and witnessing the faithfulness of those from whom the priesthood has been withheld, we have pleaded long and earnestly in behalf of these, our faithful brethren, spending many hours in the Upper Room of the Temple supplicating the Lord for divine guidance. He has heard our prayers, and by revelation has confirmed that the long-promised day has come when every faithful, worthy man in the Church may receive the holy priesthood, with power to exercise its divine authority, and enjoy with his loved ones every blessing that flows therefrom, including the blessings of the temple. Accordingly, all worthy male members of the Church may be ordained to the priesthood without regard for race or color."
In June 1978, the First Presidency and Twelve Apostles were gathered in an upper room of the temple to discuss and pray about those entitled to receive the Priesthood. They had discussed and prayed about the subject for many months.
Official Declaration 2
Key Events
From the beginning of this dispensation, the Prophet Joseph Smith and all succeeding presidents of the Church taught that blacks were not yet to receive the priesthood, for reasons known only to God.
In the 1970s, twelfth Church President Spencer W. Kimball prayed long and earnestly for all who had been denied the blessings of the priesthood, that they would soon be able to receive them.
By way of answer to many prayers, a revelation on the subject was given to the First Presidency and Twelve Apostles (ten were present at the time) in June 1978.
Gordon B. Hinckley, who later became the fifteenth President of the Church, was present when this revelation was received.
Since the revelation was received, more than 500,000 people of African descent have joined the Church.
On this occasion, after several hours of heartfelt discussion, they united in prayer with President Spencer W. Kimball as voice. During the prayer, the revelation was given to all assembled.
Words of Joseph Smith
"The power, glory and blessings of the Priesthood could not continue with those who received ordination only as their righteousness continued; for Cain also being authorized to offer sacrifice, but not offering it in righteousness, was cursed. It signifies, then, that the ordinances must be kept in the very way God has appointed; otherwise their Priesthood will prove a cursing instead of a blessing. If Cain had fulfilled the law of righteousness as did Enoch, he could have walked with God all the days of his life, and never failed of a blessing." (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, 169)
Words of Spencer W. Kimball
"On the ninth of June [1978] a policy was changed that affects great numbers of people throughout the world. Millions and millions of people will be affected by the revelation which came. I remember very vividly that day after day I walked to the temple and ascended to the fourth floor where we have our solemn assemblies and where we have our meetings of the Twelve and the First Presidency. After everybody had gone out of the temple, I knelt and prayed. I prayed with much fervency. I knew that something was before us that was extremely important to many of the children of God. I knew that we could receive the revelations of the Lord only by being worthy and ready for them and ready to accept them and put them into place. Day after day I went alone and with great solemnity and seriousness in the upper rooms of the temple, and there I offered my soul and offered my efforts to go forward with the program. I wanted to do what he wanted. I talked about it to him and said, 'Lord, I want only what is right. We are not making any plans to be spectacularly moving. We want only the thing that thou dost want, and we want it when you want it and not until.' We met with the Council of the Twelve Apostles, time after time in the holy room where there is a picture of the Savior in many different moods and also pictures of all the Presidents of the Church. Finally we had the feeling and the impression from the Lord, who made it very clear to us, that this was the thing to do to make the gospel universal to all worthy people." (The Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball, 450-451)
"We had the glorious experience of having the Lord indicate clearly that the time had come when all worthy men and women everywhere can be fellow heirs and partakers of the full blessings of the gospel. I want you to know, as a special witness of the Savior how close I have felt to him and to our Heavenly Father as I have made numerous visits to the upper rooms in the temple, going on some days several times by myself. The Lord made it very clear to me what was to be done. We do not expect the people of the world to understand such things, for they will always be quick to assign their own reasons or to discount the divine process of revelation." (The Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball, 452)
The Salt Lake Temple stands as a monument to the worthiness and faith of millions who have been blessed by obedience to the ordinances of the House of the Lord.
Words of Gordon B. Hinckley
"There was a hallowed and sanctified atmosphere in the room. For me, it felt as if a conduit opened between the heavenly throne and the kneeling, pleading Prophet of God who was joined by his Brethren . . . Every man in that circle, by the power of the Holy Ghost, knew the same thing . . . Tremendous eternal consequences for millions over the earth are flowing from that manifestation." (Ensign, October 1988, 69-72)
Copyright 2005 Steve Mortensen. All rights reserved.