Elijah Abel

Elijah Able was born in Maryland and is believed to have used the underground railway to escape slavery by traveling to Canada. His parents were Delilah and Andrew Able. Elijah was baptized in September 1832 by Ezekiel Roberts. He was married to Mary Ann Adams.

In March 1836 he was ordained an Elder in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. From the evidence we have we believe he was ordained by Joseph Smith. In December of the same year he is ordained a Seventy and becomes a “duly licensed minister of the Gospel” for missionary work in Ohio. He also serves missions in New York and Canada. The ordination was performed by Zebedee Coltrin.

In 1839 Elijah Abel is made a member of the Nauvoo Seventies Quorum. At the request of Joseph Smith, he works as a mortician in Nauvoo. In 1843 he served another mission for the Church.

In 1847 Elijah Abel arrives in Utah. A carpenter by trade, he works on building the Salt Lake Temple. He and his wife Mary Ann manage the Farnham Hotel. Mary Ann Abel was Negro according to the 1850 Hamilton County, Ohio, census and the 1860 Utah census.

In 1853 Elijah asked to receive his endowment and was denied by Brigham Young. In 1883 he is still on Church records as a Seventy. In 1884 Elijah was sent on another mission. He returned home and died in December of 1884.

On November 27, 1900, Enoch Abel, son of Elijah Abel, was ordained an Elder. Enoch’s son, Elijah, was ordained a Priest on July 5, 1934, and an Elder on September 29, 1935.

8 thoughts on “Elijah Abel”

  1. ¿por que Brigham Young le negó su investidura a ELIJAH ABEL si ya tenia el sacerdocio y era digno de ser un setenta?

  2. We will have to ask Brigham Young why he did not approve Elijah Abel going to the temple for his endowments. Family Search shows that his endowment was done for him on Oct 15, 1930 in the Manti Temple.

  3. To answer your question the first temple to be dedicated in Utah was the Manti Temple which was dedicated in May 1888. Bro. Abel died 4 years before that. He had been through the Kirkland temple and the Nauvoo temple check out the history section. Why he was denied his endowment I dont believe it had anything to do with race. Especially the stance President Young got Green Flake freed from slavery in 1854 and what he said In 1869. In 1856 Robert Smith was excommunicate dealing with slavery. President Young as far as I have researched and other early church leaders where in support for equal rights.

  4. My understanding is that several temple places were used before Manti to perform endowments – Nauvoo, Ensign Peak, Endowment House in SLC and St George.

    Elijah Abel was a wonderful, faithful priesthood holder who served three missions for the church. While loved and respected by the church, my understanding is that racial views did play a factor in him not being allowed to receive his endowments in his lifetime. He did receive the washing and anointing ordinance and the endowment ordinance was performed for him after he passed on.

    I am glad that Brigham Young helped Green Flake and others to be freed. I am sure they are now reconciled in the spirit world to overcome the racial discrimination that did persist in this world.

  5. I’m a recent converted African American black women into the LDS church. My love for the church and in knowing the history of other men and women of my same race intrigued me to do research. This site has helped me a great deal and after reading what took place in 1861 my plans are to start focusing more on my family history. The gospel structure is the only way forward for men and women to learn discipline and become what we have been purposed for in this life. The plan of salvation and redemption has been put in place long ago for all people who are believers.

  6. Under the concept that Brigham Young took ordinances away from Elijah Able but still gave the Priesthood and since the Priesthood was eventually taken away from the Black race And the fact that the “Prophet Joseph told him he was entitled to the priesthood.” ( Council Meeting, 4 June 1879, Lester E. Bush papers, Special Collections, J. Williard Marriott Library, University of Utah) then there is a very BIG mistake when we say that the prophet can never lead us astray. My thoughts are that Christ is the ONLY one that we should follow and ALL men in the church including ALL leaders can lead you astray therefore Christ is my ONLY leader and He is the ONLY one i will follow…

  7. The article refers to Brigham Young not approving Elijah Able’s request for the endowment ordinance. As far as I know, there was no taking away of an ordinance previously completed. Elijah Able received the ordinances of baptism, confirmation, priesthood, washing and anointing in the temple, and many callings including 3 missions. His endowment and sealing ordinances were performed after his death as early as 1930 in the Manti Temple. My sense is that Brigham Young celebrated with him in the Spirit World.

    Although Elijah Able’s particular situation is unique, the Church has always had leaders making decisions on whether a person is ready to receive an ordinance. These leaders are humans and are fallible. The Apostle Peter denied taking the Gospel to Gentiles until he received a vision and greater understanding. I agree that Christ will be the final judge and I find that these fallible leaders have helped me and millions more to come closer to Christ despite their weaknesses and failings.

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