Excerpt from 1st Presidency statement in 1949:

August 17, 1949“The attitude of the Church with reference to Negroes remains as it has always stood. It is not a matter of the declaration of a policy but of direct commandment from the Lord, on which is founded the doctrine of the Church from the days of its organization, to the effect that Negroes may become members of the Church but that they are not entitled to the priesthood at the present time.”

(Emphasis mine. The bolded phrase shows that leaders thought the ban started in Joseph’s founding of the Church. The reality was that Black members enjoyed the priesthood for 20 years before the ban was instituted.)

 

The belief that the ban began “in the days of Joseph” was also conveyed in personal letters and correspondence of multiple prophets.