Official Declaration 2 has a new heading describing the circumstances of the revelation. That has been helpful in clarifying that we as members of the church don’t, shouldn’t, and/or shouldn’t have seen those of races other than white as any lesser in any way. That heading is very helpful as a clarification of history.
I reread the actual letter this morning. I don’t remember people talking about the content much, and especially the part below which I have put in bold:
Aware of the promises made by the prophets and presidents of the Church who have preceded us that at some time, in God’s eternal plan, all of our brethren who are worthy may receive the priesthood, and witnessing the faithfulness of those from whom the priesthood has been withheld, we have pleaded long and earnestly in behalf of these, our faithful brethren, spending many hours in the Upper Room of the Temple supplicating the Lord for divine guidance.
He has heard our prayers, and by revelation has confirmed that the long-promised day has come when every faithful, worthy man in the Church may receive the holy priesthood, with power to exercise its divine authority, and enjoy with his loved ones every blessing that flows therefrom, including the blessings of the temple.
I don’t remember people talking much about these promises, promises made to the prophets and presidents of the Church? Recent research seems to conclude that there may not have been any revelation starting the process to not ordain black men to the priesthood. But what then of these promises? Perhaps we could make sense of Joseph Smith ordaining some black men… perhaps he felt it was time for that promise to be fulfilled, but then the fulfillment was taken away for some reason, waiting again to be restored?? I am quite unclear on the matter. But I feel like there has been something overlooked in all the recent study of this official declaration, at least something that I have overlooked. Perhaps there has been research done and I need to just go look for it. 🙂
I did some looking around this morning, and there has been research done on this. The best resource I have found is by Ardis Parshall (whom I respect a lot). Here are her notes from a Sunday School lesson she gave on Official Declaration 2. They are well worth the time it would take to read them: