Saints, Slaves, and Blacks: The Changing Place of Black People within Mormonism

Saints, Slaves, and Blacks: The Changing Place of Black People within Mormonism
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Saints, Slaves, and Blacks: The Changing Place of Black People within Mormonism
Author Newell G. Bringhurst
Salt Lake City: Greg Kofford Books, 2018

Saints, Slaves, and Blacks: The Changing Place of Black People within Mormonism

Reviewer Alison Palmer

Saints, Slaves, and Blacks draws on historical and scriptural sources to examine the history of Latter-day Saint thought regarding blacks. Author Newell Bringhurst notes that when the first edition of the book was published in 1981, “it attracted limited notice both within and outside the Mormon community.” Bringhust chalks the oversight up to bad timing—it was published just three years after the 1978 revelation lifting the priesthood ban, when “Mormons of all stripes” were “anxious to move on, focused on embracing their black brethren and sisters as ecclesiastical equals while ignoring the Church’s recently abandoned practice of black priesthood denial and prohibition on African-American entry into the temple” (xvi). Because of the book’s relatively limited circulation, this second edition is intended to make Bringhurst’s groundbreaking work available to wider audiences and introduce it to a new generation of readers.

...Saints, Slaves, and Blacks “is a book to mind and to mine” (ix), and it will be of value to any person interested in such broad topics as American religious history and the history of race in America and in religious thought. But the book will be of most interest to Latter-day Saints who wish for a deep dive into the changing status of blacks in the Church and the culture surrounding the religion.