In the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints there is a lot of misinformation, speculation, and misunderstanding about the Church’s policy to ban black members from holding the Priesthood.
Let me just clear something up.
The ban on black Mormons holding the priesthood was NEVER doctrine of the Church, nor was it based on any doctrine of the Church. (see the Church’s official statement)
Although no one is 100% sure when or why the ban began (although it can be pretty closely traced to comments from Brigham Young in 1852 when Utah was applying for statehood) it was NEVER based on official LDS doctrine. It was purely based one someone’s (Brigham Young) personal opinion and personal comments – not speaking prophetically.
After the racist comments from Brigham Young University professor (the irony of that is not lost on me…), Randy Bott, were quoted in a Washington Post article, the Church actually released an official statement clarifying that Bro. Bott does not speak for the Church, neither do his comments reflect the actual position of the Church. (read that statement here)
I read a comment by Armand Mauss over at By Common Consent in response to the Washington Post article, at the bottom of which was a link to an article by him over at BlackLDS.org about the ban on the priesthood. It was a very well thought out and very well informed article about the climate at the time and the revelatory process of the Church leadership.
If you have ever had questions, or known someone who has had questions, about the Church and blacks and the priesthood, I recommend you read it.