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Faith > Frustration



Born in Maryland around 1810 (exact year unknown), Elijah Abel grew up in a time when slavery was still legal in many parts of the United States. Despite facing discrimination and hardship, he found solace in religion and was drawn to the teachings of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Elijah Abel’s conversion to the Church was a significant turning point in his life. He was introduced to the Church by Samuel H. Smith, the younger brother of the Church’s founder, Joseph Smith. Elijah Abel was baptized in 1832 and quickly became an active member of the Church, serving as a missionary for many years.

Perhaps Elijah Abel’s greatest achievement was becoming one of the first Black men to hold the priesthood in the Church. In 1836, he was ordained an elder, and in 1841, he was ordained a Seventy, a position of authority within the Church. This was a remarkable achievement given the racial climate of the time, where Black men were not allowed to hold the priesthood in many other churches.

Elijah Abel was known for his eloquence and sincerity, and many people were drawn to the message he shared. He served as a missionary for the Church for many years, preaching the gospel to people across the United States and Canada. Elijah Abel’s family was also an important part of his life, and he worked hard to provide for them.

Today, Elijah Abel’s legacy is still felt within the Church. He was a trailblazer and an inspiration to many other Black men who have since joined the Church and served as leaders.

The Church is committed to honoring his legacy and working to build a more inclusive and diverse community. In 1978, a revelation was received by the prophet that removed the earlier restrictions, and today, all worthy members of the Church have access to the blessings of the priesthood and the temple.

Elijah Abel’s life is a testament to the power of faith, perseverance, and determination. He overcame tremendous obstacles to become a leader in the Church and a beacon of hope for people of all races and backgrounds. His legacy serves as a reminder that no matter the challenges we face, we can always strive to be our best selves and make a difference in the world.


You can read even more about Elijah’s life here.

BYU Studies also has more information.

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