Today’s scenario touches on a meeting I recently had with Sister Nguessan, a 63 year old single sister, about going through the temple for her own endowments. Bishop Madden mentioned to me that her health was failing and that he couldn’t convince her to go, and asked that I meet with her. Sister Nguessan has lived the gospel faithfully since her baptism at age 10. She is quite unique in that she is the only black member in our stake, her father being from West Africa and her mother being Irish.
When we met I expressed my confidence in her being ready to go through the temple and she spoke to me of how in 1977 when she was just 29, she had literally begged her leaders to allow her to go to the temple to be sealed to Aaron Winters who was white, but in accordance with inspired Church policy was denied access. She explained that she couldn’t enter the temple because she was black and that months later Brother Winters married a sister that he could take to the temple, Hanh Wong, and that they were sealed for time and all eternity.
I explained to her that these events took place a long time ago and that our loving Saviour and Redeemer now allowed all sisters, even black ones, to enter the temple. She asked if she could see this in writing. I showed her the link on *lds.org where it explains that “In June 1978, President Spencer W. Kimball received a revelation extending priesthood ordination to all worthy males of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Official Declaration 2). Before that time only worthy male members who were not of black African descent were ordained to the priesthood.”
The article goes on to explain how this proves the Church is true because “Ever since biblical times, the Lord has designated through His prophets who could receive the priesthood and other blessings of the gospel. Among the tribes of
, for example, only men of the tribe of Levi were given the priesthood and allowed to officiate in certain ordinances. Likewise, during the Savior’s earthly ministry, gospel blessings were restricted to the Jews. Only after a revelation to the Apostle Peter were the gospel and priesthood extended to others (see Acts 10:1–33; 14:23; 15:6–8).” Israel
Sister Nguessan reminded me that she had asked where it states that black sisters could enter the temple not that black brothers could hold the priesthood.
We turned together to the **Official Declaration in the scriptures where it clearly states that a revelation had been received by President Spencer W. Kimball extending priesthood and temple blessings to all worthy male members of the Church. I explained to Sister Nguessan that this was an inspiring move by the Church and that I remembered as if it were yesterday this revelation coming forth.
“That’s all very interesting” said Sister Nguessan, “but where does it state in revelation that black sisters can now enter the temple?” Before I could respond she spoke on saying “I am not concerned with revelations that only mention black men. Are black Sisters just an afterthought to the Lord? Are we not worthy of mention?” She continued asking “Does God even care about how this temple restriction might have had a devastating impact on the lives of black women? All we ever talk about is the men and how it affected them and how wonderful it is that their restriction has been lifted.”
She went on to explain that since it took an actual revelation from the almighty God of heaven and earth to grant black men access to the temple she expected the same process to occur for women. And until such a revelation came forth and could be seen in writing from a prophet she would consider herself under the same curse of Cain that her leaders told her she was under in 1977 when at the age of 29 the love of her life left her because she couldn’t join him in the temple.
After she had fully vented I calmly confirmed to her as her Stake President that our loving father in heaven who is the same yesterday, today and forever no longer restricts people from entering temples of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints because of their skin colour. Sister Nguessan refused to take my word for it insisting once again that I show it to her in writing.
Exasperated I ended our meeting and thanked her for her time. Like I said at the beginning of this post - sometimes people are so stubborn that even one holding the sacred and holy position of a Stake President can’t get through to them.