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One Black Latter-day Saint’s reflections on Black history in the Church


Clareena Lindsay, a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Montreal, Quebec, recently reflected on a presentation at a Black History Month event held in the Montreal Quebec Mount Royal Stake of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in February 2020. 

“It’s great to focus on Black history in February,” Lindsay told the Church’s Canada Newsroom, “but Black history should be learned any time of the year.”

Clareena Lindsay, a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Montreal, Quebec, reflects on her Black History Month presentation given in the Montreal Quebec Mount Royal Stake in 2020.

Clareena Lindsay, a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Montreal, Quebec, reflects on her Black History Month presentation given in the Montreal Quebec Mount Royal Stake in 2020.

Credit: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

As she learned in Church meetings about pioneers, she felt that she could not fully relate to the stories of the mostly white pioneers and early Saints. “By researching Black pioneers, it helped me connect more,” she said. “What motivated me to research this topic was wanting to explain the circumstances at that time and share all the information in a way that would uplift. I wanted my presentation to be balanced and informative.” 

During her 2020 presentation, Lindsay addressed the Church’s policy from 1852 to 1978 that restricted Black people of African descent from holding the priesthood and participating in some of the ordinances offered to Church members. 

“I still do not fully understand why this ban was put in place and why it took so long for it to be lifted,” she said. “There are theories that some came up with, but none are accepted as official doctrine of the Church.”

Lindsay hopes that others will begin to speak more openly about Black Latter-day Saint history, share their own experiences and face the past together.

“Researching about Black members of the Church was a healing process for me. Although there is still more to learn, I felt peace and was able to come to terms with what had happened in the past regarding the priesthood ban. By sharing about Black history in the Church, I was able to have more conversations with those around me.”

Read more from the interview with Lindsay on Canada Newsroom.

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