SALT LAKE CITY — The Mormon church says it will celebrate the upcoming 40th anniversary of its reversal of a ban on blacks in the religion's lay priesthood.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints said Monday night that the celebration will take place June 1 in Salt Lake City.

The ban on men of African descent being allowed to participate in the religion's lay clergy ended in 1978 when the religion says its top leaders received a revelation from God after praying about it.

Black Mormons still account for only a small percentage of the church's 16 million members worldwide.

A 2013 church essay disavowed the ban and explained that it was put into place during an era of great racial divide that influenced early Mormon teachings.