Last Laborer by Keith Hamilton


“Last Laborer: Thoughts and Reflections of a Black Mormon” by Keith N. Hamilton, © 2011. For more information visit: or This book is the remarkable personal story of Keith Hamilton, who joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (the Mormon Church) in 1980 while attending NCSU. Keith served a full-time LDS mission to Puerto Rico and Barbados and was the first black student to earn a law degree from J. Reuben Clark Law School at Brigham Young University. Keith has served as an LDS bishop, as the chair of the Utah Board of Pardons and Paroles (thus becoming Utah’s first black cabinet member), and co-chair of the Utah Commission on Racial and Ethnic Fairness in the Criminal and Juvenile Justice System. He has also served on active duty as a judge advocate with the United States Navy in San Francisco, CA.

In addition to telling his own story of growing up in the Jim Crow south of the late 1950s and 1960s, where his grandfather was a Southern Baptist preacher, to his conversion to the LDS Church, to his life in state and church service, Keith also adds his thoughts on the history of the LDS Church’s policies toward blacks and the watershed revelation on priesthood in June, 1978 that extended the priesthood to all worthy males. If you have ever had questions about the Mormon Church’s doctrinal history regarding blacks or have wondered what an African-American convert’s experience in the Church may be like, then “Last Laborer” is a “must read” for you. This book will stimulate your mind, arouse your soul, and challenge your thoughts about blacks as a people and your beliefs about the Mormon Church as an institution with respect to God’s eternal plan for all His children.”

3 thoughts on “Last Laborer by Keith Hamilton”

  1. Brother Hamilton,

    I just finished watching your conversation on KUED. I am inspired by your views and thoughts. I grew up in Compton, California in the 60’s. Your ideas about the blacks and the Priesthood really made sense to me. I am also in agreement with you on the plight of the encarcerated in America. There are too many, it is certainly racially unbalanced and driven by revenge or punishment rather than safety or change.

    Besides all that…I like you, you are someone I would feel honored to call a friend. You seem smart but humble, savvy and compasionate. Good luck on your new job! And I pray for God’s blessings to be with you. I look forward to reading your book.


  2. Brother Hamilton,

    I too am a Negro and converted in July of 1984 and I have never had a doubt or regret. I had actually hoped to leave a comment on the Deseret News site which is where I saw your book mentioned first,but had difficulty signing in. The missionaries who introduced me to the restored gospel of Jesus Christ were old enough to be my grandparents and shared with love quite a bit of information with me about the history and culture of this church. Infact even as I and the late Elder John Franklin Adams changed into thw white baptismal garments on the day of my baptism ,Elder Adams was still gently reminded me of the fact that I may from time to time hear almost anything,but to not be put off and to hold on steadfastly to my testimony. I heard and remember everything that I was told,but what resonates with me most is this, the Adamses told me to always remember that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints belongs to Jesus Christ not to its membership. That advice has not always been easy to cleave to,but I have done my best. But it really put alot of the other stuff to rest in my mind.
    At the end of the day how much weight should I give to the words of another person. As an active member of this religion I know that Joseph Smith’s vision of God and Of Jesus Christ was the beginning of this Dispensation and that Joseph Smith is a Prophet of God.I also know that The Book of Mormon is the word of God.
    As for the priesthood not being available to all worthy male members until the 1970’s. Has it occurred to you at all that God’s thoughts and time are his and His only. God chose each of us,created the heavens and the earth and still had time to take a day off. all matters as they compute for mortals are insignificant in God’s conception.Just as Joseph smith was a Prophet,Seer and Revelator,so has been every Church President since his martyrdom. These callings did not make those indivuals infallible in human terms.Everone is so quick to quote Brigham Young and out of context.Imagine what his life was and what he witnessed during it.Mormon men women and children were murdered with impunity for espousing what Joseph Smith revealed to the world.

  3. I’ve only got a few chapter left to read in Last Laborer. I’ve been so inpsired by Mr. Hamilton’s testimony, faithfulness, doctrinal research and commentary. I was one of those who welcomed the priesthood restrictions being lifted on the blacks but struggled with how a loving Father in Heaven would restrict the preisthood going to every worthy male in fhe first place. Mr. Hamilton’s research and thoughts have helped to settle this question in my heart. The same principles also apply to polygamy, which I’ve felt the same way about (i.e. glad it was lifted, struggled on why it was insitituted). He links the idea that the principles that apply to blacks in the LDS church, really apply to all of God’s commands that we don’t understand. Thank you for a thoughtful, insightful, book that teaches about peace and how to accept God’s will.


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