Ruffin Bridgeforth

Ruffin Bridgeforth; First African American Mormon High Priest (obituary from Los Angeles Times online)
April 11, 1997
Ruffin Bridgeforth, 74, the first African American to be ordained a high priest of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. For many years, Bridgeforth was the only black face in his congregation. Nevertheless, he was at peace with the church and went on to be ordained. He served as president of the Genesis Group, which was a support group for black Mormons. Bridgeforth was ordained in 1978 after then-President Spencer W. Kimball said a revelation led him to change the church policy that had banned African Americans from leadership. Bridgeforth was active in the Mormon Church for a quarter-century before he was made a high priest. A native of Louisiana, he moved to Utah in 1944, worked for the Army and later was a conductor on the Union Pacific Railroad. On March 23 in Sandy, Utah.
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1 thought on “Ruffin Bridgeforth”

  1. Judy Parkin Prince

    My mother, my husband and I knew Ruffin Bridgeforth and his family many years ago. We all lived in Swedetown, a small neighborhood located on the north end of Salt Lake City. We were members of the 23rd Ward of the Salt Lake Stake. Ruffin was a devout, humble, kind, and amazing member of the church who lived his life with absolute faith and integrity. He was an example to all of us. It was painful, even as a young woman, knowing that he did not hold the priesthood at that time. There was certainly no man any more worthy to be ordained. What a wonderful day it was when men like Brother Bridgeforth were finally given that blessing. I would love to have been there to see that sacred event!

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