What we DO know about the 1978 “Revelation”

In 1969 Hugh B. Brown actively lobbied to allow blacks to receive the priesthood.  This was supported by a majority of the apostles.  They formed a “special committee was to report on the Negro situation”.  The change was approved while Harold B. Lee was absent.  Upon his return he rejected the decision and persuaded the quorum to rescind the vote.  The reaffirmation of the restriction was a collaborative effort of Neal A. Maxwell, Gordon B. Hinkley and G. Homer Durham. (Michael D. Quinn – Mormon Hierarchy Extensions of Power p. 14)

For decades Spencer W. Kimball had been troubled about this race restriction. (ibid p. 15) .  At the cornerstone-laying ceremony for the Brazilian temple 9 March 1977, Kimball privately told Helvecio Martins to prepare himself to receive the priesthood. He pointedly asked if Martins “understood the implications of what President Kimball had said”.(ibid p.16)

On March 23, 1978 he began discussing the matter with his counselors.  Kimball met privately with individual apostles who expressed their “individual thoughts” about his suggested end to the priesthood ban. (ibid)

After discussing this in several temple meetings and private discussions, Kimball wrote a statement…. And presented it to his counselors on 30 May.  He then asked his counselors and apostles to “fast and pray”……at their temple meeting on 1 June.  At the temple council that day “the feeling was unanimous”…. (ibid)

On 7 June 1978 Kimball informed his counselors that “through inspiration he had decided to lift the restrictions on priesthood.”  In the meantime he had asked three apostles (including Boyd K Packer) to prepare “suggested wording for the public announcement of the decision. (ibid)

A letter written to LeGrand Richards on September 11, 1978 corroborates this reason.   Chris Vlachos wrote to LeGrand Richards confirming the content of  explanations he had been given concerning the revelation.  LeGrand Richards acknowledged the letter and in part said “It wouldn’t please me if you were using the information I gave you when you were here in my office for public purposes.  I gave it to you for  your own information, and that is where I would like to see it remain.”

Here is an excerpt from the letter LeGrand Richards was confirming:

One of the most interesting items which you mentioned was that the whole situation was basically provoked by the Brazilian temple—that is, the Mormon Church has had a great difficulty obtaining Priesthood leadership among the South American membership; and now with this new temple, a large proportion of those who have contributed money and work to build it would not be able to use it unless the Church changed its stand with regard to giving the Priesthood to Blacks.

I believe that you also mentioned President Kimball as having called each of the Twelve Apostles individually into his office to hear their personal feelings with regard to this issue.  While President Kimball was basically in favor of giving the Priesthood to Blacks, didn’t he ask each of you to prepare some references for and against the proposal as found in the scriptures? (quotes taken from photostatic copies of the letters found in SI Banister – For Any Latter-day Saint)

The decision was monetary without a doubt.  It was also very political.  The Mormon Church could easily lose face.  The Mormon Church had spent over 50 Million on a complex in what was one of the countries producing the most baptisms.  It was the new South American distribution center for all materials.  It was also the new regional church offices. 

The Mormon Church views temples as profit centers.  When a temple is built, they have an identifiable increase in all revenue from the area, and specifically tithing. (Ostling – Mormon America)            

There were not enough people with verified ancestry to run the temple, let alone be patrons.   Even with the change, missionaries were taken from the field and trained as temple officiators and veil workers to man the temple for the first month it was open.

As far as dates, the revelation was made June 1978 and the temple dedication was October 1978.  Initial training of workers was held in September.  Very tight time frames by Morg standards.

Then there is the issue of the tax exempt status.  First you must understand that educational nonprofits are treated differently than religious nonprofits.  Here is an explanation of how religious nonprofits are treated.


In the U.S., the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) grants non-profit status to churches, synagogues, temples, mosques and other religious organizations. This is of tremendous financial benefit. Meanwhile, clergy and other employees are guaranteed free speech under the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. They are free to voice their opinions and beliefs, and advocate changes to legislation. They can attack women's freedom to obtain an abortion. They can advocate that special rights be reserved for heterosexuals, and not extended to gays and lesbians, including the right to marry. Christian Identity, neo-Nazi groups, and everyone else are free to engage in hate speech against women, racial minorities, sexual minorities, immigrants, and other groups. A pastor in Texas recently called on the U.S. Army to round up and execute area Wiccans with napalm. The tax exempt status of his church was not threatened. Religious groups can promote a stand on other similar "hot" religious topics, from spanking children to the death penalty and physician assisted suicide. They are even allowed by the IRS to contribute small amounts of money and resources to the fight for changes in legislation. In the words of the IRS regulations: "no substantial part of (church) activities (may consist of) carrying on propaganda, or otherwise attempting to influence legislation." Unfortunately, the term "substantial" is not defined precisely in the service's regulations.

The IRS was putting pressure on private schools to stop discrimination with the US vs. Bob Jones University.  This ruling would directly affect BYU, Ricks, CCH and other US Mormon owned schools.  These schools are organized under separate nonprofit corporations which are owned by the Corporation of the President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.  As you can see from the following excerpts from case documents the Bob Jones University case was directed at educational nonprofits.  This would have affected the Morg, but not the core corporation.

On January 12, 1970, a three-judge District Court for the District of Columbia issued a preliminary injunction prohibiting the IRS from according tax-exempt status to private schools in Mississippi that discriminated as to admissions on the basis of race. Green v. Kennedy, 309 F. Supp. 1127, appeal dism'd sub nom. Cannon v. Green, 398 U.S. 956 (1970). Thereafter, in July 1970, the IRS concluded that it could "no longer legally justify allowing tax-exempt status [under 501(c)(3)] to private schools which practice racial discrimination." IRS News Release, July 7, 1970, reprinted in App. in No. 81-3, p. A235. At the same time, the IRS announced that it could not "treat gifts to such schools as charitable deductions for income tax purposes [under 170]." Ibid. By letter dated November 30, 1970, the IRS formally notified private schools, including those involved in this litigation, of this change in policy, "applicable to all private schools in the United States at all levels of education. (emphasis added) " See id., at A232.

BYU, Ricks and CCH probably received this letter.

On June 30, 1971, the three-judge District Court issued its opinion on the merits of the Mississippi challenge. Green v. Connally, 330 F. Supp. 1150, summarily aff'd sub nom. Coit v. Green, 404 U.S. 997 (1971). That court approved the IRS's amended construction of the Tax Code. The court also held that racially discriminatory private schools were not entitled to exemption under 501(c)(3) and that donors were not entitled to deductions for contributions to such schools under 170. The court permanently enjoined the Commissioner of [461 U.S. 574, 579] Internal Revenue from approving tax-exempt status for any school in Mississippi that did not publicly maintain a policy of nondiscrimination.

The IRS's 1970 interpretation of 501(c)(3) was correct. It would be wholly incompatible with the concepts underlying tax exemption to grant tax-exempt status to racially discriminatory private educational entities. Whatever may be the rationale for such private schools' policies, racial discrimination in education is contrary to public policy. Racially discriminatory educational institutions cannot be viewed as conferring a public benefit within the above "charitable" concept or within the congressional intent underlying 501(c)(3). Pp. 592-596.

The Government's fundamental, overriding interest in eradicating racial discrimination in education substantially outweighs whatever burden denial of tax benefits places on petitioners' exercise of their religious beliefs. Petitioners' asserted interests cannot be accommodated with that compelling governmental interest, and no less restrictive means are available to achieve the governmental interest. Pp. 602-604.


Rex Lee recused himself from the case.  It has been stated that he did this because he had been previously involved in a discrimination case involving the Mormon Church.  I have looked for further information about this, but have not been able to find any.  If anyone has information about original source information, please let me know.  He had been the dean of the BYU Law School which was one of the schools that would have been affected by the Bob Jones decision. That also would have been a reason to recuse himself. In 1986-87 Rex Lee did argue the CORPORATION OF PRESIDING BISHOP v. AMOS, 483 U.S. 327 (1987) case and did not feel it was a conflict.

Corporate Sole is the safest organization for a racist 501(c)(3) Here are a couple of groups that are registered Corporate Soles in the state of Washington and recieving federal tax exempt status. The Corporation of the President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints is a Corporate Sole.

Harrie A. Schmidt Jr., state chairman of the Populist Party, which is run nationally by Ku Klux Klan leader Kim Badynski.

Glen Stoll, a Populist Party member who also is involved in the Embassy of Heaven, an anti-government religious organization based in Sublimity, Ore. Stoll was the leader of the Liaison Group, which called for militia members across the Northwest to assist Whatcom County constitutionalist Donald Ellwanger in a 1995 standoff with the IRS.

Doyal Gudgel, also active in the Liaison Group, but best known for organizing events in Seattle for David Irving, a British man who denies the Holocaust happened.

Despite huge holes in the secretary of state's database, Lunsford was able to spot about 50 corporation soles associated with white supremacists, militiamen, constitutionalists or people who deny the Holocaust. He discovered some supporters of the Christian Identity, anti-government group Posse Comitatus had set up "soles" as early as 1979.


These are nonprofits registered for religious purposes:

The Creativity Movement (TCM) is a non-Christian, non-profit, religious organization, with their head office in Illinois. Creativity, based on the eternal laws of nature. Their prime objective is: "The survival, expansion and advancement of the white race."
They regard themselves as being motivated by a love for the white race. This implies extreme hatred of non-white races. They are overwhelmingly hate-filled towards Jews, African-Americans, and other non-whites. They hate homosexual behavior. However their concern in this area appears to be muted in comparison to other white-supremacist organizations.

The Heritage Preservation Association (HPA) is a nonprofit membership group whose purpose is to "fight political correctness and cultural bigotry against the South." To that end, the HPA declared "Total War" last January on those who allegedly attack Southern heritage, focusing especially on the NAACP and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference because of those groups’ opposition to the Confederate battle flag in South Carolina. Over the last three years, the HPA has worked closely with the white supremacist League of the South to stage pro-Confederate flag rallies and similar events, and in 1999 HPA President P. Charles Lunsford joined the League.

The NAAWP, like David Duke, has tried to hide its hate, but its racist and anti-Semitic views, like those of its founder, are evident. NAAWP News, the group's newsletter, has regularly published articles with titles like "Anti-Semitism is normal for people seeking to control their own destiny"; "Jewish control of the media is the single most dangerous threat to Christianity," and "Why most Negroes are criminals."

From what I have found the quote you gave was consistent with the Morg's use of half truth.  The statement by LDS spokesman Bruce L. Olsen only addressed the Church as a religious organization.  He was not addressing the related issue of the Mormon owned schools.


”It's one thing to distort history, quite another to invent it. Kathy Erickson . . . claims that the federal government threatened the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints with its tax-exempt status in 1978 because of the Church's position regarding Blacks and the priesthood.


“We state categorically that the federal government made no such threat in 1978 or at any other time. The decision to extend the blessings of the priesthood to all worthy males had nothing to do with federal tax policy or any other secular law.


The Morg was not threatened directly, however their wholly owned schools were threatened.  The financial ramifications in conjunction with the possible political embarrassment made an untenable situation.  I wonder if it was engineered it part by SWK.  He was a supporter of the change in 1969.  Building the temple in Brazil may have been his way of forcing the issue.