June 23, 2010

Remembering June 1978 - Darius Gray

The following is a transcript from the documentary "Nobody Knows: The Untold Story of Black Mormons" (beginning at 45:07). Darius describes how he learned that the priesthood restriction was lifted. My thanks to Darius Gray for allowing this brief reproduction.

A woman from the credit department, Dixie Baker, worked outside my office, she was a credit assistant. Dixie was very straightforward, not a shy, retiring type, and she stuck her head in my office and, "Hey, Darius, they're gonna give the Negroes the priesthood!"

And, it wasn't something to be joked about, and I thought it was in poor taste for her to say that. And I said "Get out of here, Dixie, that's not funny."

And she continued, "Oh, no, seriously, I think they're gonna give the priesthood to the negro, blah, blah, blah."

And this time I swore, "Dammit, Dixie, that's not funny, get the hell out."

And she told me that she had been on the phone to the Church Office Building. And that the rumor was going around, it hadn't become public, but the rumor was  going around that was going to occur. And so I turned on the radio and the television in my office, nothing was on the media, yet.

And so I did the only logical thing. I pick up the phone and call President Kimball. And he wasn't there but his secretary knew me and I identified myself and I was told, yes, it is true. And it was a marvelous day.

Darius Gray is an African-American Latter-day Saint speaker and writer. He has co-written a trilogy of historical fiction on blacks in the early LDS Church. He is a former counselor of the presidency of the Genesis Group, a dependent branch of the LDS Church created by the First Presidency in 1971 to serve the needs of African-American members. Darius and Margaret Blair Young discussed the documentary "Nobody Knows" here. It can be purchased at http://www.untoldstoryofblackmormons.com/.