Zebedee Coltrin and Abraham Smoot defend priesthood ban.

May 31, 1879
Meeting Minutes / Notes
Zebedee Coltrin
Scribed Verbatim

L. John Nuttall Diary, May 31, 1879, HBLL

L. John Nuttall
L. John Nuttall, John Portineus Greene, Elijah Able, Brigham Young, Jr., John Taylor, Zebedee Coltrin, Abraham O. Smoot

Saturday May 31, 1879 at the house of Prest A.O. Smoot Provo City, Utah County, 5 P.M. President John Taylor Elders Brigham Young, A.O. Smoot, Zebedee Coltrin, and L. John Nuttall met and the subject of ordaining the Negroes to the priesthood now presented-Prest. Taylor said some parties have to me that Zebedee Coltrin had talked to the Prophet Joseph Smith on this subject and they said that he (Coltrin) thought it was not right for them to have the priesthood whereupon Joseph Smith said to him that Peter on a certain occasion had a vision wherein he saw heaven opened and a certain vessel descended onto him, as if had been a great sheet knit at the four corners and let down to the earth: Wherein all manner of four footed beasts of the earth and wild beasts, and creeping things and fowls of the air. And there came a voice to him, Rise, Peter! Kill and eat. But Peter said, not so, Lord; for I have never eaten any thing that is common or unclean and the voice spake unto him again the second time. What God hath cleansed that call not thou common. And that the Prophet Joseph then said to Bro. Coltrin as the angel said to Peter, "What God hath cleansaed, that call <not> thou common (speaking of the Gentiles). Prest Taylor asked Bro. Coltrin-Did the Prophet Joseph ever make such a statement to you? Bro. C. No sir, he never said anything of the kind in his lifetime Pres. T-What did he say? Bro Coltrin: 'The spring that we went up in Zion's camp in 1834, Bro Joseph sent Bro J. P. Green and me out south to gather up means to assist in gathering out the Saints from Jackson County, Missouri. On our return home we got in conversation about the Negro having a right to the Priesthood - and I took the side he had no right - Bro Green argued that he had. The subject got so warm between us that he said he would report me to Bro Joseph when we got home for preaching false doctrine, which doctrine that I advocated was that the Negro could not hold the Priesthood. "All right," said I, "I hope you will." And when we got home to Kirtland we both went into Bro Joseph's office together to make our returns and Bro. Green was as good as his word and reported to Bro Joseph that I had said that the Negro could not hold the Priesthood - Bro Joseph Kind of dropt [sic] his head and rested it on his hand for a minute. and then said Bro Zebedee is right, for the Spirit of the Lord saith the Negro has no right nor cannot hold the Priesthood. He made no reference to scripture at all - but such was his decision - I don't recollect ever having any conversation with him afterwards, but I have heard him say in public, that no person having the least particle of Negro blood can hold the Priesthood.' Bro Coltrin further said: Bro Abel was ordained a Seventy. [sic] because he had labored on the Temple. (it must have been into the 2nd Quorum) and when the Prophet Joseph learned of his lineage, he was dropped from the quorum and another was put in his place. I was one of the first Seven Presidents of the Quorum of the Seventy at the time he was dropped.' President Taylor: 'Bro Zebedee, you are not one of the Seven Presidents now. What have you been doing?' Bro Coltrin: 'I was acting then as one of the First Seven Presidents of Seventy and was ordered back into the Quorum of High Priests. I can tell you how that thing first started. Bro Winchester and Bro Jared Carter while on the Brick Yard at Kirtland (Bro Winchester a Seventy and Bro Jared a High Priest) got to contending which held the highest office. Carter was rebuking him on account of his folly, which he said he had no right to do, as he held a higher Priesthood than he did. Jared contended he didn't because he was a High Priest. This thing came to the ears of Uncle Joseph Smith, and then they went to the Prophet Joseph with it. The Prophet then inquired of the Lord, and he afterwards directed that we be put back with the Quorum of High Priests, and other men (five) were then ordained to the Presidency of Seventies, and three out of that five apostatized. Brothers Joseph Young and Levi Hancock were retained and the other five filled the number. In the washing and Anointing of Bro Abel at Kirtland I anointed him and while I had my hands upon his head, I never had such unpleasant feelings in my life - and I said I would never again Anoint another person who had Negro blood in him. [sic] unless I was commanded by the Prophet to do so.' ZEBEDEE COLTRIN Attest: L. John Nuttall Brother A. O. Smoot said 'W. W. Patten, Warren Parish and Thomas B. Marsh were laboring in the Southern States in 1835 and 1836. There were Negroes who made application for baptism. And the question arose with them whether Negroes were entitled to hold the Priesthood. And by those brethren it was decided they would not confer the Priesthood until they had consulted the Prophet Joseph, and subsequently they communicated with him. His decision, as I understood was, they were not entitled to the Priesthood, nor yet to be baptized without the consent of their Masters. In after years when I became acquainted with Joseph myself in the Far West, about the year 1838, I received from Bro Joseph substantially the same instructions. It was on my application to him, what should be done with the Negro in the South, as I was preaching to them. He said I could baptize them by consent of their masters, but not to confer the Priesthood upon them. These two statements were duly signed by each of these brethren

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