185 years ago today - Mar 3, 1836

Joseph Smith authorizes the ordination of African-American Elijah Abel to the office of elder. On Dec. 20 Abel is ordained to the office of Seventy. A skilled carpenter, Abel worked on the Salt Lake Temple but was never allowed to receive his endowments or have his family sealed together because of his race.


  1. You need to place a reference for this statement. I've searched a long time. And never seen anything to suggest that Joseph even knew about this until long after it was done.
    Elijah did say later at his grandsons baptism that Joseph Smith came to him and tearfully notified elijah was a mistake and negros cannot hold the priesthood. Unless bro abel was lying about that.

    Please add source to lend credibility.

    1. A quick reply -- here is a biographical summary by Joseph F. Smith of Elijah Able -- including Joseph Smith licensing Able after receiving the priesthood (a strong indication he approved of his ordination).


      Here is a brief bio that might be helpful.



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