From 1849 to 1978, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church) had a policy which prohibited black men from being ordained to the priesthood, black men and women from taking part in ceremonies in LDS temples and black men and women from serving in certain church callings.During this time, church leaders gave several different race-based explanations for the ban.For example, Elijah Abel served a mission and was called to be a seventy.Through the years, some exceptions were made to allow black members to serve without the priesthood.In 1945, Abner and Martha Howell were called to serve a mission to establish segregated congregations in the southern states.Howell was given a letter signed by Le Grand Richards that allowed him to speak even though blacks were not permitted to attend services there.In Brazil, which had a high proportion of people with mixed ancestry, LDS officials advised missionaries in the 1920s to avoid teaching people who appeared to have black ancestry, advising them to look for relatives of the investigators if they were not sure about their racial heritage.Despite the precautions, by the 1940s and 1950s some people with African ancestry had unwittingly been given the priesthood, which prompted an emphasis on missionaries scrutinizing people's appearances for hints of black ancestry and an order to avoid teaching those who did not meet the "one-drop rule" criteria.
In the 1960s, church president David O Mc Kay began considering opening up a mission in Nigeria.
This limited the ability of black members to serve in various callings.
When the priesthood was given to the blacks under Joseph Smith, they were also able to serve in a variety of callings.
For example, Samuel Chamber was appointed to be an assistant deacon in 1873.
He had the same duties as a deacon, but without being given the priesthood.