“Let us begin with what we do know, based on the documented history of the Church.
The Prophet Joseph Smith advocated the ban, but did not prevent brother Elijah Abel from being ordained an elder and a seventy in Kirtland, in 1836. I should add that Brother Abel served three full-time missions for the Church.
Something more that we do know for sure is that on June 4, 1879, President John Taylor ratified the priesthood ban based largely on the testimony of brothers Zebedee Coltrin and Abraham Smoot.
On August 18, 1900, President Lorenzo Snow stated that he wasn’t sure whether the existing explanations for the ban had been personal opinions or actual revelations. This is very significant. Here we have one president of the Church saying that he didn’t know whether the ban had simply been the consequence of personal opinions.
We also know that in 1954 President David O. McKay asked a committee composed of members of the Quorum of the Twelve to study the issue, and the committee concluded that there was no doctrinal basis for the ban.
… This is all backed up by documentary evidence found in the Church archives and reliable witnesses.”