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|Joseph Freeman, Jr.
the first black to be ordained into the Mormon priesthood
Joseph Freeman, Jr., was born to Joseph and Rosa Lee Smith Freeman in Vanceboro, North Carolina, on July 24, 1952. He was baptized into the Holiness Church at age 10, and his childhood dream was to become a lay minister in the church. He converted to and was baptized into The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on September 30, 1973, while stationed in Hawaii with the U.S. Army.
Prior to his baptism, Freeman met Isapela Toe Leituala, a Samoan convert to the Church of six years. They were married on June 15, 1974. He left the military in 1975 and the couple subsequently moved to Salt Lake City, Utah.
On June 8, 1978, church leaders announced that President Spencer W. Kimball had received a revelation extending priesthood and temple blessings to all worthy male members of the Church regardless of race. Two days later, during a Stake Priesthood meeting, Freeman's name was presented and received unanimous approval for ordination to the Melchizedek Priesthood, and on July 11 he was ordained to the office of Elder in the Melchizedek priesthood by Bishop Karl H. Glover.
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This page was last updated on August 17, 2017.