Matthew L. Harris

MATTHEW L. HARRIS {[email protected]} is a professor of history at Colorado State University-Pueblo, where he teaches and researches on race and religion, civil rights, and legal history. He is the author and/or editor of numerous books and articles, including Watchman on the Tower: Ezra Taft Benson and the Making of the Mormon Right (University of Utah Press, 2020) and The Mormon Church and Blacks: A Documentary History (University of Illinois Press, 2015). He is currently writing a book on Black people and Mormons since World War II in which he explores the backstory to how the priesthood and temple ban was lifted.

Joseph Fielding Smith’s Evolving Views on Race: The Odyssey of a Mormon Apostle-President

Articles/Essays – Volume 55, No. 3

Dialogue 53.3 (Fall 2021): 1–76
Given the inadequate tools to police racial boundaries, LDS Church leaders like Joseph Fielding Smith struggled to define precisely where Black and light-skinned Latter-day Saints fit into the Church’s conception of soteriology.

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Mormons & Lineage: The Complicated History of Blacks & Patriarchal Blessings, 1830–2018

Articles/Essays – Volume 51, No. 3

Dialogue 51.3 (Fall 2018): 83–129
The priesthood revelation of 1978 eased some of the tension when the apostles affirmed that Blacks could now be “adopted into the House of Israel” as full participants in Mormon liturgical rites. But this doctrinal shift did not resolve the vexing question of whether or not Black people derived from the “seed of Cain.”

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