Priesthood Ordination before 1978
In June 1978, President Spencer W. Kimball received a revelation extending priesthood ordination to all worthy males of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Official Declaration 2). Before that time only worthy male members who were not of black African descent were ordained to the priesthood.
Ever since biblical times, the Lord has designated through His prophets who could receive the priesthood and other blessings of the gospel. Among the tribes of Israel, for example, only men of the tribe of Levi were given the priesthood and allowed to officiate in certain ordinances. Likewise, during the Savior’s earthly ministry, gospel blessings were restricted to the Jews. Only after a revelation to the Apostle Peter were the gospel and priesthood extended to others (see Acts 10:1–33; 14:23; 15:6–8).
With the revelation to President Kimball in 1978, the priesthood is now available to all worthy male members regardless of race or ethnicity (see Official Declaration 2). Each candidate for ordination is interviewed by priesthood leaders to ensure that he understands and agrees to live by established principles of righteousness (see Doctrine and Covenants 84:33–44; 121:34–46).
Gordon B. Hinckley, Ensign, Oct. 1988, 69
President Hinckley describes the temple meeting in which the 1978 revelation was received and discusses the significance of the revelation.