Elijah Abel – Black Pioneer
Provo Daily Herald, UT – Elijah Abel has earned historical fame for being a test case for blacks and the priesthood, said Margaret Young, a black pioneer historian.
Abel joined The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as the first black member in 1832 and was then ordained as an elder in the Mormon priesthood in March 1836, documents show.
Most records show that Abel was a free man, but some indicate he way have used the underground railroad to get that freedom, Young said. His position as an elder and a member of the church’s Quorum of the Seventy later become the topic of much official church discussion after blacks were banned from holding the priesthood.
Abel lived with the Mormons in Nauvoo, Ill., for a time and worked as a carpenter. He was later called by LDS Church prophet Joseph Smith to serve as the town’s undertaker, a position most often held by carpenters…(Follow the link above to read the entire article.)