Freeman, Joseph, Jr.
- John G. Turner
was born in Vanceboro, North Carolina to Joseph Freeman, Sr., who built the family’s farmhouse, and Rosa Lee Smith Freeman. He was raised in a Holiness Church, but as a teenager began investigating other religions. At the age of nineteen he enlisted in the U.S. Army and was stationed in Hawaii, a state with a large Mormon population.
At that time the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints banned men of African descent from holding its otherwise broadly held priesthood, thus excluding them from positions of leadership and excluding all individuals of African descent from its most sacred temple ordinances. Despite such open discrimination, Freeman found himself drawn to the religion because of what he described as a deeply personal conversion. With full knowledge of the discriminatory policies, Freeman was baptized into the church in September 1973.
In 1974 Freeman married a Samoan convert to Mormonism Toe ...