Alabama gets its first black Mormon stake president


Published: February 1, 2013 05:54PM
Updated: February 1, 2013 05:54PM

Peter M. Johnson has been named president of the Bessemer, Ala., LDS Stake, becoming the first black Mormon stake president in the state, according to The Birmingham News.

Johnson served a Mormon mission to Birmingham from 1987 to 1989, the newspaper reported, and had recently moved back to Alabama from Utah.

He is an Ernst and Young Fellow and assistant professor of accounting at the Culverhouse School of Accountancy at the University of Alabama.

Although Johnson is the first African-American to serve as a Mormon stake president in Alabama, he told the paper “there are many minority leaders in the 14 million-member Latter-day Saints Church ... serving throughout the church locally, nationally and worldwide.”

Johnson’s stake — like a diocese — includes, the paper said, “12 congregations, larger ones called wards and smaller ones called branches, that have a combined membership of 3,716.”

Currently, the Utah-based church has one black top leader, Elder Joseph W. Sitati of Kenya, who is a member of the First Quorum of the Seventy. The faith banned blacks from its all-male priesthood until 1978.

Peggy Fletcher Stack