55 years ago today - Dec 19, 1962

David O. McKay privately tells LaMar Williams, the church's representative to self-converted Nigerian Mormons, to baptize the Nigerian polygamists "and admit them to the Church. They could keep the wives and families that they had at the time of baptism, but they were not to engage further in this practice." Although this is a typical example of McKay's pattern of privately reversing First Presidency decisions, circumstances prevent its implementation. A delay in getting visas and the subsequent Nigerian civil war prevent Williams and other LDS missionaries from actually being able to perform the baptisms until 1978 when the official decision of the McKay Presidency is enforced prohibiting the baptism of polygamists. Black African husbands, wives, and children have to renounce polygamous marriages in order to receive LDS baptism or to receive the priesthood. In tribal cultures a divorced wife is an outcast and her children suddenly become illegitimate. This refusal to recognize the legitimacy of black African polygamy contradicts the March 1897 letter of the First Presidency regarding marriages in non-western cultures. This seems to be a race-based policy contrary to the First Presidency's recent recognition of polygamy among Arabs ("children of Abraham") and the LDS church policy since 1959 to ignore the illegality and "technical adultery" of LDS converted Latin Americans ("blood of Israel") who are living in long-term relationships without legal marriage and without divorce from previous spouse(s).

[Source: The Mormon Hierarchy - Extensions of Power by D. Michael Quinn, [New Mormon History database ( http://bit.ly/NMHdatabase )]]

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