[John Nuttle Diary]
At the house of Prest A. O. Smoot. Provo City. Utah County Utah - 5 P.M.- President John Taylor Elders Brigham Young. A. O. Smoot. Zedbedee Coltrin and L. John Nuttall Met. and the subject of Ordaining Negro's to the Priesthood was presented - Prest Taylor said. Some parties have said to me that Zebedee Coltrin had talked to the Prophet Joseph Smith on this subject, and they said that he (Coltrin) through it was not right for them to have the Priesthood. whereupon Joseph Smith said to him that Peter on a certain occasion had a vision wherein he "saw heaven opened. and a certain vessel descended unto him. .... What God hath cleansed, that call not thou common" And that the Prophet Joseph then said to Bro Coltrin as the Angel said to Peter "What God hath cleansed, that call not thou not (sic) common" (speaking of the Gantiles).
Prest Taylor asked Bro Coltrin - Did the Prophet Joseph Smith ever make such a statement to you?
Bro C. No sir, he never said anything of the Kind in his life to me.
Pres T. - What did he say?
Bro C. - The spring that we went up in Zion's camp in 1834 Bro Joseph sent Bro J. P. Green and me out south to gather up means to assist in gathering out the Saints from Jackson County Mo - On our return home we got in conversation about the Negro having a right to the Priesthood - and I took the side he had no right - Bro Green argued that he had. the subject got so warm between us that he said he would report me to Bro Joseph when we got home for preaching false doctrine. which doctrine that I advocated was. that the Negro could not hold the Priesthood - All right said I - I hope you will. and when we got home to Kirtland we both went in to Bro Joseph's office together to make our returns and Bro Green was as good as his word and reported to Bro Joseph that I had said that the Negro could not hold the Priesthood- Bro Joseph Kind of dropt his head and rested it on his hand for a minute. and then said Bro Zebedee is right, for the Spirit of the Lord saith the Negro has no right nor cannot hold the Priesthood. He made no reference to scripture at all - but such was his decision - I dont recollect ever having any conversation with him afterwards, but I have heard him say in public, that no person having the least particle of Negro blood can hold the Priesthood
Bro Coltrin further said - Bro Abel was ordained a Seventy. because he had labored on the Temple. (it must have been into the 2nd Quorum) and when the Prophet Joseph learned of his lineage. he was dropped from the quorum and another was put in his place - I was one of the first seven Presidents of the Quorum of Seventies at the time he was dropped -
Prest. Taylor.- Bro Zebedee you are not one of the seven Presidents now. what have you been doing?
Bro C. - I was acting then as one of the 1st seven Presidents of Seventies and was ordered back into the quorum of High Preists - I can tell you how that thing first started.
Bro Winchester and Bro Jared Carter while on the Brick yard at Kirtland - Bro W. A Seventy and Bro Jared a High Priest got to contending which held the highest office. Carter was rebuking him on account of his folly. which he said he had not right to do. as he held a higher Priesthood than he did. and Jared contended he didnt because was a High Priest - thing came to the ears of Uncle Joseph Smith. & then they went to the Prophet Joseph with it. The Prophet then enquired of the Lord. and he afterwards directed that we be put back into the Quorum of High Priests and other Men (five) were then ordained to the Presidency of the Seventies and three out of that five apostatized - Bro Joseph Young & Levi Hancock were retained and the other five filled the number - In the washing and Anointing of Bro Abel at Kirtland I anointed him. and while I had my hands upon his head. I never had such unpleasant feelings in my life- and I said I never would again Anoint another person who had Negro blood in him. unless I was commanded by the Prophet to do so.
Prest A. O Smoot said. W. W. Patten Warren Parish and Thomas B. Marsh were laboring in the Southern States in 1835 & 1836 - there were Negro's who made made (sic) Application for Baptizm. and the question arose with them. whether Negro's were entitled to hold the Priesthood - and by those brethren it was decided they would not confer the Priesthood until they had consulted the Prophet Joseph - and subsequently they communicated with him and his decision as I understood, was they were not entitled to the Priesthood, nor yet to be baptized without the consent of their Masters. In after years when I became acquinted with Joseph Myself in Far West about the year 1838. I received from Joseph substantialy the same instructions. It was on my application to him what should be ...
as I was preaching to them? He said I could baptize them by the consent of their Masters. but not to confer the Priesthood upon them -
These two statements were duly signed by each of these brethren ...
[Diary Excerpts of L. John Nuttall, formatting added, http://amzn.to/newmormonstudies]