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Racism as a Barrier to Becoming

Elder Wirthlin’s talk in General Conference hit me hard for multiple reasons, but one is not obvious to those who don’t know my family well.

My family is Wonder Bread in the bakery section of life. My wife, our six children and I are not just white; we have been called transparent. However, our family housed a black “son” for two years and a black family for four months. For almost three years, we were a mixed-race family in practical terms. Our black son is a baptized member of the Church (through the influence of his grandmother), but he is completely inactive (through the influence of his upbringing and culture prior to and during his time with his grandmother). Another factor in his inactivity is that he simply doesn’t “fit in” at Church.

Bruce R. McConkie speculated more than any other apostle about the racial issues of his day. After the revelation lifting the priesthood ban in 1978, (emphasis added) he said:

Forget everything that I have said, or what President Brigham Young or President George Q. Cannon or whomsoever has said in days past that is contrary to the present revelation. We spoke with a limited understanding and without the light and knowledge that now has come into the world.

We get our truth and our light line upon line and precept upon precept. We have now had added a new flood of intelligence and light on this particular subject, and it erases all the darkness and all the views and all the thoughts of the past. They don ?t matter any more.

(“All Are Alike unto God” – BYU devotional – August 18, 1978)

I interpret this to mean that without direct revelation on the subject, individual leaders relied on what they had been taught throughout their upbringing in the general Christian world of America, Canada and Europe subconsciously using the deeply entrenched racism of their time to form “reasons” for keeping Black members from “full fellowship” with the saints. This was not originally from holding the Priesthood (since Joesph Smith had ordained Black men to the Priesthood), but I believe it was from entering into mixed-race marriages in the temple. It is instructive to note that the hardcore opposition to Black men holding the Priesthood appears to have solidified with Brigham Young only when the ultimate taboo of 19th Century racial philosophy (mixed-race marriage) was threatened. Elder McConkie said we need to “forget about them” the reasons that had been constructed to justify the ban.

I write about this now, because a few months ago I heard skin color called a curse referring to Australian aborigines. Also, since I began blogging regularly on other Mormon-focused blogs, I have read some members’ comments explaining the former ban using many of the same justifications Elder McConkie repudiated in his statement. My heart sank each time. Using the Book of Mormon issue of skin color, I would like to address the continuing issue of racism in our day.

In the Book of Mormon, the Lamanites were called a “loathsome” people by the Nephites. The word loathsome ? is a culturally defined word. It means disgusting; revolting; repulsive. ? Therefore, loathsomeness ? is defined by the person or people calling someone else loathsome. That is critical to understanding racism. Based on everything I read in all of our scriptures, God does not view anyone as loathsome based on skin color. People ?s philosophies, creeds and actions can be labeled as loathsome to God, but not the people themselves. He might say, “That is loathsome,” but He would not say, “This entire people are loathsome” particularly when “this entire people” once included many good and righteous people who were baptized even though they could not enjoy the full blessings of the Gospel, as was the case prior to 1978. Their dedication and humility puts me to shame, and I can’t fathom God calling them loathsome. If they were worthy to be baptized, they simply could not be loathsome.

This leads me to look at the Nephites in the exact same way that I look at the early saints good people who needed a way to teach their children why they couldn’t mingle fully with those who were “different.” In the Book of Mormon, there were Nephites and Lamanites. They hated each other; their “nations” were political enemies; they also were family.

How do you distinguish between the good guys and the bad guys within the same family? How does a father justify the division to his children? If one group dressed more conservatively and stayed relatively light-skinned, and the other grew darker as they shed the clothing of “civilization,” skin pigmentation (“color”) could divide then relatively quickly.

(We also know nothing about Sariah’s lineage or if Lehi was married previously. Given Lehi’s fluency with Egyptian and his apparent ability to travel at a moment’s notice with his entire family, he easily could have been a traveling merchant (as Hugh Nibley believed) who married an Egyptian woman in his travels. We have no clue whatsoever, but it is easy to believe that there might have been real pigmentation differences within Lehi’s family prior to leaving Jerusalem. What sounds far-fetched initially might be quite simple when we see the big picture.)

I picture the following fictional conversation:

Father: Son, stay away from those wicked Lamanites.

Son: Why, Daddy?

Father: They don ?t believe in God.

Son: How do I know that and how do I tell who is whom?

Father (with disgust and revulsion): Just look at them. They are loathsome. The Lord cursed them with a darker skin than us.

Son: OK, Daddy.

I am a former history teacher. This same basic conversation has occurred throughout history I believe among perhaps all people. I heard it that clearly from devout, white Protestants when I was a teacher in Alabama less than 20 years ago. Why do we have to believe it is the way God sees us?

All of us, including our prophets, are human and subject to mortal limitations. We are not infallible. God won ?t force us to accept things we just can’t accept. He has wept over the mistakes of His children for thousands of years. Racism is a part of our heritage (the “incorrect traditions of our fathers”) as humans, as Americans and as Mormons. My plea is that we truly accept Elder McConkie’s assertion that everything that was said in the past to justify racist attitudes and practices was wrong stated in ignorance and a lack of full understanding. President Hinckley has condemned racism in the strongest terms possible, even saying that a man who holds to racist attitudes cannot exercise fully the power of the Priesthood he holds. In very real terms, someone who is racist in this day and age when prophets have condemned and continue to condemn it in the strongest terms possible cannot become fully righteous and Christ-like.

The most powerful visual experience I have had in my entire life was in the Atlanta temple years ago. Without getting explicit, when you see the hand of God extended to you – and it is black . . .

I will never forget that image, and I wish with all my heart every member of the Church could have that same experience. That’s good enough for me, and I pray that some day my black son will “fit in” among our congregation in every way including racially. If, one day, it is his hand reaching out to a fellow saint, I will die knowing all our efforts were not in vain.

{ 74 comments… add one }
  • Alison Moore Smith April 26, 2008, 10:48 am

    I have often wondered about racism. Honestly, I just can’t figure it out at all, it makes no sense.

    I was mistreated for years and called all sorts of names because I had red hair and freckles–like *I* had anything to do with that–and would have given the world to have “normal” brown hair and skin that would tan at least a bit. But I could never figure out why hair color or skin color or height could be the things of torment or exclusion. It just seems the most idiotic position.

    But, there is the problem for Mormons, I think. What seemed to be “the most idiotic position” WAS an official position in the church. There were people excluded from salvational ordinances BECAUSE of skin color. What???

    I was fortunate in that I was only 14 when the revelation came, so I never had to do much serious analysis (or justification) for it. But I can see why Mormons would really WANT to find a reason for the policy.

    My personal speculation is that due to the race issues in the culture at the time, the white Mormons weren’t able to remove from their culture ENOUGH to accept blacks equally. So the only way for the church to survive was to allow them to be even that imperfect. But if, as some speculate, polygamy was used as a way to isolate the saints to make the church strong in the beginning, I sure would have preferred that we had approved of mixed-races way back when instead. That would have isolated us in a way that I could swallow.

    Anyway, Ray, I’m glad I don’t come across the racism that you speak of. It’s one of those issues that (as I spoke of in the Standing for Nothing column), I simply could not shut up about. And I know I’d make a scene. It’s happened before in my life, but fortunately not at church.

    BTW, why do you capitalize “white” and “black”? Just wondering if it’s for emphasis or some other literary purpose.

    Oh, and let’s hear a cheer for the “transparent” ones! :swingin:

  • Alison Moore Smith April 26, 2008, 11:01 am

    Wanted to add one other thing. I’ve been thinking quite a bit lately about the affect culture plays on church policy and practice. I have no full stream of thought, but I suppose I now think it plays a much, MUCH bigger role than I had thought or been taught or imagined.

    Read an article the other day on the creation of the temple endowment, including changes to it, changes to garments, etc.

    FWIW, I tend to think that many of the gender positions in the church have similar influences.

    I think it’s interesting in our culture how race issues tend to precede gender ones in many areas. Blacks were able to vote after the 15th Amendment was passed in 1870 with this line:

    The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude.

    Unnerving–at least today–how the citizens of the US were still denied based on gender. Women couldn’t generally vote until the 19th Amendment was passed in 1920. It took women 50 years longer to be given a voice.

    Just as with racism, this makes no sense to me at all and, also, seems “an idiotic position.” And since the church still does have many positions that distinguish by gender, we are in the same position we USED to be with race, where we are trying to explain the reasons why.

  • Tinkerbell April 26, 2008, 11:04 am

    Thanks for this post, Ray. I was in a big discussion with someone else on another blog about this same issue. I basically had the same thoughts as you, I just couldn’t articulate them as well and didn’t have that AWESOME quote. I am going to direct them to here. Thanks!

  • Michelle D April 26, 2008, 11:13 am

    Great thought-provoking article, Ray. Alison, you have pretty well summed up how I feel about racism, Church position, and hair color!

    As a kid I hated my red hair and freckles, largely because it was an obvious difference that kids seemed to target. I celebrated as my hair became more and more auburn. (Now I just try not to throw a personal tantrum that it is going gray.) I appreciate the fact that my red-headed son does not have those hang-ups; he is proud of his red hair. I love his simple acceptance of who he is. His hair is just one physical attribute of the whole person he is. I wish I had come to that personal acceptance earlier than I did, but I have come to accept that part of who I was and why I struggled to like myself at that time in my life.

    We learned a lot with our “foster” kids, not the least of which was about racism, acceptance, and “incorrect traditions of their fathers.”

  • Alison Moore Smith April 26, 2008, 11:35 am

    Michelle, I give you a hug. Didn’t know you had red hair, too. With such intelligence and wit, I should have guessed! 😉

    I hated my hair until late college. In pageants I was told (by judges!) that “red-heads are just more ‘attendant material.'” In dating I was told, “You’re really pretty…for a red head.” or “I never pictured myself with a red head.” (It’s like leprosy, apparently.)

    With the exception of getting the lead in Brigadoon (Fiona is Scottish), directors said, “red heads just don’t fit in the family” and the roles I usually got were the hooker, the bad girl, the “woman with the past,” the elite, snobby socialite. Oh, the mermaid (you know, the ones who try to seduce sailors).

    Once I got the lead role in a big, new LDS musical (The Gift). Great! Then, reading the script, I find that my character commits fornication and half the show is about my big repentance. I even had this big, emotional, cheesy repentance song. Ack!

    Oh, best story yet! When my parents filled out the adoption papers to apply to get me (1964), this is what is said:

    Would you consider adopting a child who:

    ( ) Is mentally handicapped?

    ( ) Is physically handicapped?

    ( ) Is of another race?

    ( ) Has red hair?

    I swear that is true. I would not joke about it! :shocked:

    Ray, sorry to threadjack. I need to write a column on Hairism or maybe it’s Hairophobia.

  • Michelle D April 26, 2008, 11:43 am

    Alison, I hadn’t realized you were adopted. Wow, red hair was actually listed on the adoption papers?! Maybe you really should post a new column on Hair and Other Hang-Ups! We could have a hey-day and not disrupt Ray’s wonderful thread!

  • kilpatrickclan April 26, 2008, 11:56 am

    Love this post. We had an awesome fireside by Brother Darius Gray recently. I blogged about it here at http://kilpatrick.wordpress.com/2008/02/25/matthew-2239/. Jesus is the savior of all, figuratively and literaly. Did you know he had two “black” relatives in his lineage. He is genetically made up of everyone. Isn’t that wonderful. I hope that we can put the racial thing to rest. Have your son visit the genesis group. They offer great support to black members of the church. One of the reasons why I love living in the Detroit area is the diversity. I love that my children go to church with members who are black, white, asian and polynesian. How awesome is that! One of the best experiences I ever had was when I went to the Washington DC temple and was sitting in the celestial room. I had about 10-12 different nationalities and many ethnicities in my midst. It was really as close to Heaven as I think I could have experienced.

  • Ray April 26, 2008, 12:01 pm

    I have deleted this comment and edited the original post to include it.

  • Ray April 26, 2008, 12:02 pm

    Thank you, kilpatrickclan, for reminding me of the experience that I added to the original post.

  • Alison Moore Smith April 26, 2008, 3:08 pm

    Posted By: kilpatrickclan One of the reasons why I love living in the Detroit area is the diversity. I love that my children go to church with members who are black, white, asian and polynesian. How awesome is that!

    Why is it awesome? Sincere question. Yes, I can think of a few viable answers, but I think it’s a questions seriously worth considering. If it’s “awesome” to have a mix of races–then race DOES matter. I think it’s good to ask ourselves why that is.

    Once in a college class a group of us were discussing racism. One girl said, “Oh, I LOOOOOOVE blacks.” What a dumb thing to say. I told her she was racist. She didn’t get it.

  • Alison Moore Smith April 26, 2008, 3:09 pm

    BTW, I also don’t think diversity is inherently a good thing. But that’s another threadjack entirely.

  • Naismith April 26, 2008, 3:52 pm

    Why is it awesome? Sincere question.

    Because it is just easier to raise kids when acceptance of other races is something they live daily, rather than hearing over a pulpit as adult.

  • Ray April 26, 2008, 4:05 pm

    I do not believe diversity is a “must” in all our associations, but I do believe that racism flourishes when people do not know any “good examples” (or, in some cases, any “bad examples”) of any particular group – and knowing those examples requires exposure to them somehow and somewhere. Therefore, “diversity” to some degree is necessary for understanding.

    A good example of this is the difficulty the full-time missionaries face whenever they encounter someone who is interested in learning about the Church but knows no members. If there is not at least a degree of diversity in their associations in this regard, it is much easier to believe the misinformation they are likely to hear once they tell their friends and fellow church members about their meetings with the missionaries. Conversely, when they know a member or two, they are much more likely to realize that the inaccurate hyperbole they hear about us simply isn’t true.

    One more point:

    If by “diversity” one simply means “exposure to people who are different”, I agree completely that such diversity is not necessarily a good thing. If my exposure to black people, for example, is to those who are not good examples of morality and responsibility, it can reinforce my previous perception and actually strengthen my racist beliefs. The key is realizing that being black, in and of itself, is not indicative of inferiority – that there are lots of black people who are just as “good” as I in every way imaginable. Exposure to them teaches me that lesson. Conversely, there are people who assume that all Asians (or at least all Japanese) are industrious and smart. Exposure to those who aren’t also can break down racism, by showing that skin color and nationality does not create one type of person. That type of diversity is beneficial.

  • Ray April 26, 2008, 4:07 pm

    Good answer, Naismith. My youngest children generally have no clue that some people think other races are inferior to their own – since they’ve seen both the good and bad in every race they’ve encountered.

  • Alison Moore Smith April 26, 2008, 7:42 pm

    Posted By: NaismithBecause it is just easier to raise kids when acceptance of other races is something they live daily, rather than hearing over a pulpit as adult.

    I was raised in Utah Valley. My entire ward and school was white as white can be. When Ella Mae Spencer (full Navajo) moved into my ward in fifth grade, we became instant best friends and stayed that way until she moved.

    It never occurred to me that American Indians were inferior. My parents never sat me down and had a race chat with me. But they also never indicated that skin color was significant and they made it clear that the “n” word would never be said in our family. That was about the full extent of my race education other than the constant example from my parents that people were people and skin made no difference whatsoever.

    My friend, Shelly, moved to Utah from Tennessee. She had been in an extremely multi-cultural area. She hated blacks–all blacks–with an absolute passion. We argued about it (as third graders) at fairly regular intervals.

    My step-cousin, Tammy, was half white and half Banak Indian. Grew up in Pasadena and identified herself more with the Indian crowd. She hated blacks and (as far as I could tell) every other ethnic group she associated with. They all fought each other constantly. I recall her telling me how the black kids at her school had razored her new leather coat, etc. (And, in spite of her different ethnicity, I thought she was the most beautiful teenager I had ever seen.)

    My ward in Florida was about 1/3 white, 1/3 Haitian, and 1/3 various Hispanic (mostly Brazilians). Rather than just a mingling of races, there was a constant division. Even to the point of some starting “Brazil Night” (at the church) for a while and then the bishop insisted that anyone could attend. In YW where I served there were ongoing tensions that we kept breaking up. (The alliances were interesting to watch in this group.)

    Ray, your KIDS might not think this, but apparently that isn’t true in your ward or area–even though it IS culturally diverse (if I understood your post). So maybe it’s the two of YOU, not the mutli-cultural nature responsible?

    Gosh, hang out in L.A. for a day or two. Extreme mutli-culturalism and extreme racial division.

    I haven’t seen living in diversity to be a particular catalyst for acceptance. I think it is much more about overt teaching and, probably more important, example and general attitude. I was raised in an almost exclusively white environment, but am appalled by racism. Many I know who were raised in very ethnically diverse areas are racist to the core.

    n other words BEING in a mixed-race environment isn’t something that–even today–shows “acceptance of other races is something they live daily.” Too often it’s the opposite that they live daily. I hope, Naismith, that our country becomes more like you say.

    When we were going to BYU, most of our neighbors and friends were–obviously–white. When Raffinae moved in–who happened to be the same age as Jessica–they became the best of friends. She was as black as Jessica was pasty white. (Raffinae’s mom and I joked that when they got in the sandbox, Raffinae turned white and Jessica turned black.) I had never talked to Jessica about race, but to her–particularly in the day of television, etc.,–there was no basis for her to think skin color was any different than hair color or eye color or height or weight. It was just different. No big deal.

    To me the only reason racial diversity is “good” is because those races might represent a variety of viewpoints and backgrounds. So, in SOME circumstances, having those diverse cultures and opinions and ideas might be very helpful and interesting and fun and eye-opening, etc.

    Otherwise it’s just SKIN COLOR. Who cares what color the SKIN is? If I’m in a room with 10 blacks, enjoying their company, I really don’t feel a NEED to “diversify” by calling some white friends, and a couple of Asian friends, and a handful of Mexicans. Why would that feel better?

    I have never seen a quota for red heads or people with webbed toes or amputees or longer middle toes or stick-straight hair. “Hey, our school isn’t diverse enough. We need more FAT people to encourage acceptance of the obese.”

    To me, appropriate acceptance is best taught to children by NOT showing prejudice against those things that SHOULD NOT MATTER (like skin color) and overtly addressing them when appropriate or needed.

    As for those who have been raised to hate other races, it’s a much more difficult issue.

  • facethemusic April 26, 2008, 7:59 pm

    Agree with practically everything discussed, but having lived in an area highly concentrated with blacks, it seems to me that where racism by whites USED to be the problem with “becoming”, now it’s an entirely different problem. The problem now is the culture that they’ve created in their community.
    I think I discussed this here once before– can’t find it in the archives.
    A few years back, we had several black girls in our Young Women program. Four of them
    were sisters, but they had 3 different fathers between them (two of the girls were
    a set a twins.) There were two other sisters from another family, they also had two different fathers, and they weren’t living with their mother, but rather were living with their grandmother, who also had custody of 5 other grandchildren from her other children. There was also one other black girl, I’ll call her “Darla” who lived with both her parents.
    I don’t remember all the details anymore- but we were talking about the temple and temple marriage, being a family forever, They’d heard the doctrine over and over, through primary and now in young women, but maybe their age and maturity had finally grown enough that they finally realized the concept and idea of a marriage lasting forever.
    One of the girls said something like “Yeah, but that doesn’t happen for black people”
    I said, “What do you mean?”
    We ended up completely diverging from the lesson, but I could tell they were really struggling and had sincere questions and concerns, so I went ahead and allowed the conversation to deviate from the lesson. I thought this was too important to gloss over.
    One of the girls said “Temple marriage is for white people” and when I questioned her, she went on to talk about how black men are never faithful, they all abandon their families, etc.
    Now, remember, this is a black girl saying all this.
    I told her that all black men are NOT like that, and she said she didn’t know ONE black man who’d ever been faithful or stayed with his wife. There I was, with 7 black girls, (also a few white girls and a set of 4 sisters who were Dominican.) I questioned them, and told them to think about all the people they know, their friends families, their own extended families – and not one of them knew a black couple that had been married and stayed married. None of them lived with their fathers, none of them even KNEW anyone who lived with their own fathers, though some of them had CONTACT with their fathers.
    I pointed out that “Darla” was black, that her parents were black, and that not only were they still married, but that they were married in the temple. You know what they said?
    They said something to the effect of “They don’t count, they’re not American black. They’re from Africa, and they’re all educated and stuff. American black men don’t act like that.”
    Then they went off on how black men yell and cuss, beat their wives, beat their children, and sleep around, drink, do drugs, etc, etc. I kept telling them that not ALL black men are like that, but they insisted. It was all they’d seen. One girl talked about how even the pastor at her old church slept around with the women in his congregation and that was what had prompted her family to leave that church.
    “Darla” talked about how they were all going to have to marry white men if they wanted to go to the temple. She said there were no good, black young men in the Stake, (and they were right– we had a few black young men, but they were all in trouble, were inactive, not worthy to hold the priesthood, etc, and in fact, that specific girl DID later marry one of the white young men in our ward. But they ran off and eloped, no temple marriage until a year later.)
    What was really frustrating, is that we have GOOD black men in our ward, but NONE of them are married!! They WERE, but all their marriages had broken up before they joined the church. So even at church, the girls didn’t have any examples of good, strong in the faith black men with succesful marriages.
    It was so disheartening– and for the first time I realized how incredibly out of place they must have felt at church. To them, temple marriage, the idea of happy families, priesthood in the home, father’s blessings, father’s baptizing their children, blessing their babies and eternal families was something for “white people”. To them, there was no such thing as a faithful black man, or happy black families.
    Our presidency prayed and prayed about this– how could we, three white women help these girls? They were wrong, but they’d come to those conclusions based on what they’d experienced themselves, and what they’d seen everyday in their environment. For them, in their lives, it WAS true.
    I discussed this with my mother, and she hooked me up with one of her friends from work.
    She and her husband were black, married in the temple, (second marriage for both of them) and had both been born and raised in the poor, inner city of Atlanta. They’d risen above the muck, gone to college, had failed marriages, but later joined the church and found each other, married and had children together. (And the wife was a therapist at the residential treatment center for teenagers where my mother is head nurse– so not only did she know and understand the lives our girls were living, but she was a therapist and a member of the church.)
    They were driving out to Atlanta to visit family in a month or so, and after my mother told her about our situation in Young Women, this sister got ahold of me and said that she and her husband would LOVE to stop in Kansas City and talk to our youth. So we had a special fireside, and they gave great talks, got the kids involved, and really gave them great counsel about their concerns, dealing with the struggles of the inner city, how to stay above it all, etc.
    The whole thing was a real blessing for us.
    Sadly though, we lost the 4 sisters when their family moved– and they didn’t continue going to church there. (They never came on their own in our ward either, you always had to go and get them, and half the time they changed their mind once you got there. THe mother hardly ever came, just the kids.) The two sisters who were living with their grandmother were taken out of the home for a little over a year and put in foster care, along with all their brothers and cousins– there were accusations of abuse– questionable uncles living in the house, etc. One of the sisters went back after a year or so, the other one became pregnant while in foster care, ended up being sent to a girl’s home and heaven knows where she is now. That was a few years ago. 3 of their cousins (boys) who’d also been living with them have all been in and out of juvenile detention several times. Drugs, shoplifting– you name it.
    We lost all of them, except for the one who married the boy in our ward. But SHE’S the one who had parents who’d married in the temple and kept things together, despite some problems. (And according to the girls, the only reason their marriage was successful was because they were actually from Africa, weren’t American blacks, and spoke French. Go figure..)
    And a couple years ago– the couple that came to speak to our youth at the fireside, got divorced. Of course, all the youth that were here when they spoke are gone. But still–
    it just makes me sad to think about that group of young women. I’ve tried to find them here and there with no real luck. I just hope and pray that they find their way back someday.

  • Alison Moore Smith April 26, 2008, 8:18 pm

    Wow, Tracy, that is so very sad. I think you all were amazing in your attempt to SHOW them that their idea of black men was wrong.

    Was it markedly different among the non-black kids in your ward? Sometimes this seems to be more of a regional cultural issue than a race one. I just wish these kids could SEE that the infidelity has nothing to do with being BLACK and everything to do with being immoral. It’s a choice, not a genetic trait!

    One day when I was sitting in Young Women in Boca–just as you, teaching about temple marriage–it occurred to me that of the entire class (about 12-14 girls at the time), only TWO lived with both her mom and dad who were sealed to each other. One sixth or less of the kids. I know that’s not the worst stat ever, but it just broke my heart. Made it SO much more important to stress the importance of temple marriage to these wonderful girls.

  • facethemusic April 26, 2008, 8:32 pm

    Was it markedly different among the non-black kids in your ward?

    Yes and no. The two white girls had parents married in the temple, but one was a second marriage. Her mother had been inactive, married a non-member, and he later joined the church, and only 4 years later was serving in the Bishopric. Very happy, successful family (and homeschooling– just thought I’d stick that in there for you 🙂 Their oldest just left for her mission. WONDERFUL girl.
    The girls with the Dominican mother were also from a temple marriage, but their parents have since split up- the mother was sleeping around.) Another girl was from a white mother and a Peruvian father– married in the temple. In fact, her mother is our current YW president now and her father is the Bishop.
    Even though it wasn’t TOO different marriage wise with their parents, the difference WAS markedly different within the ward. I’d say that 85% of the couples in the ward were married in the temple- but they were mostly white, some hispanic.

    Now, we have two black girls in our Young Women. One is an aboslute sweetheart.
    The kind of girl who you learn about, see how precious and sweet she is, how responsible, how in tune with the spirit, and you wonder how in the world she came from THOSE parents??
    Both her parents (who ARE still married) are alcoholics. Her father’s been in and out of jail.
    He almost got himself killed owing money to drug dealers. They almost lost their son too, when bullets shot through their living room window, missing the little boy by just a few inches while he sat on the sofa.
    The other girl “T”, just got baptized. Sweet girl but rough around the edges. Her mother was killed in a car accident a year ago last January, and she had to go and live with her grandmother, because her parents had been split up for years, and her father is serving a 9 year jail sentence. The grandmother takes her to her friends’ home, where the guys are all in the back smoking pot.
    One of her friends has been coming to church with her off and on. She wanted to take the discussions but her mother’s live-in boyfriend said no. This girl spends every weekend at “T’s” house– the WHOLE weekend. She can’t stand her mother’s boyfriend who’s constantly drunk and hits her mother.
    And the cycle continues….

  • Tinkerbell April 26, 2008, 8:34 pm

    Wow, Tracy.

  • facethemusic April 26, 2008, 9:25 pm

    I let myself get caught up in the sad stuff!! I just realized something!!! Today was our ward’s youth temple trip. It was “T’s” very first trip to a temple, and first time doing baptisms. The Young Women president helped her get all her mother’s information sent in so she could be baptized for her mother, and I just realized that was today!! :swingin:
    I’m so thankful that the spirit brought that to my recollection! I was feeling pretty bummed after writing about all the heartache of some of our girls!!

  • Tinkerbell April 26, 2008, 9:30 pm


  • davidson April 27, 2008, 1:16 am

    Tracy, will you check your back? I think there must be wings there somewhere. I’m so glad those girls have you. I am glad you are the good and strong and warm person you are. They need you.

  • Ray April 27, 2008, 6:51 am

    So, Tracy, one of the problems those young women faced was a lack of diversity in their upbringing – only seeing one type of black man.

    I agree, Alison, it’s much more about upbringing than simple diversity, but I stand by my statement that, for many (if not most “natural (wo)men”, knowing a good example is worth a thousand words.

  • Michelle D April 27, 2008, 2:14 pm

    Housing our foster son and his friend’s family, even for such a relatively short time, was an eye-opening experience. Yet even what we saw and experienced with them is just a glimpse, the tip of the iceberg, compared to what Tracy talks about in her ward. Wow. It certainly helps me understand why it is so difficult for so many to leave behind “the traditions of their fathers” when they join the church, or even when they are only trying to improve their temporal situation in life.

    Tracy, how wonderful that “T” was able to go to the temple and do the work for her mother! There are blessings and miracles in the midst of the heartache.

  • kilpatrickclan April 27, 2008, 2:35 pm

    A question was asked, so I will answer it.

    “Why is it awesome? Sincere question. Yes, I can think of a few viable answers, but I think it’s a questions seriously worth considering. If it’s “awesome” to have a mix of races–then race DOES matter. I think it’s good to ask ourselves why that is.”

    The reason why I think it is awesome is because they will not grow up in the wards of the past. We are all God’s children. That is everyone’s common denominator. I think it is Satan’s biggest tool to make us feel that we are superior because of race, gender…whatever. I am strengthened by the members that I know and/or have met who accepted the gospel BEFORE the ’78 decision. What a testimony they must have and what I can learn from it! I think the church is transforming out of the mold of American White Church, into the worldwide gospel.

    My husband served his mission in Ukraine and he said one of the frustrating things about using church materials is they were patterned after a culture that was foreign to the saints in Ukraine. How can Brother Oleg relate to the story of Bob and his lawnmower problems when Oleg is trying to keep the government happy, food on his table and heat to his home. There was a lot of interpretation that went on. I guess what I am saying is that I embrace all who have come into the church and can’t wait to see how it changes things in a positive way. Anyway, I hope this is making sense. It is Sunday and after three hours of church, auxilliary meetings and everything else, my brain is a bit stretched.

    I actually was pretty lucky growing up and my household did not use racist terms or the like. The worst stuff I heard was while I was going to Ricks College. Actually, some of the worst things I ever SAW was at Ricks…but that is another story for another time.

  • jendoop April 27, 2008, 8:12 pm

    Tracy, Wow your tales sound all too familiar. We were a new YW presidency in an inner city branch having our first temple lesson when one of the YW piped up with, “Why would you want to be married to the same man FOREVER?” Almost everyone else chimed in, “ya, why?” They argued the same your’s did, why stay with a man who is beating you and sleeping around because they all do eventually. Its good for the first few years after marriage, but then it all falls apart and you move on to the next man. These girls are mostly Latino. So I don’t know if that is specifically race, more an outcome of their surroundings. (yes we were stunned)

    One of those same YW (Dominican) was once telling me how her cousin is considered the prettiest in the family because her skin is the lightest. I clarified what I thought I heard and she candidly told me that even within a family there is favoritism by skin color. That throughout their own culture there is racism. It was news to me, and made me so sad. Although they are proud of their heritage, its a strange thing to try and understand.

    IMO- having diversity is a good thing not just because of skin color but because of sharing life experience. There is a likelihood that someone with a different skin color than you, somewhere in their past and upbringing has had a different life than you. There is a wealth of understanding to be gained there. I think there will be alot of people surprised at the skin colors and cultural differences there will be in the Celestial Kingdom. (I assume skin color will be a part of our resurrected bodies, because it is beautiful, not something to be ‘healed’ of).

  • jennycherie April 27, 2008, 8:52 pm

    Posted By: jendoopOne of those same YW (Dominican) was once telling me how her cousin is considered the prettiest in the family because her skin is the lightest.

    you know, one of my first experiences (at age 22) of dealing with blatant racism was while I was in Spain and it was of a similar nature. The dorm I was staying in had several groups of exchange students living there. Some were college students and some were college professors–not just as chaperones but professors who came to study in a particular program. They were from all over the world. One of them was from the Dominican Republic and he was very friendly to me and to my friend Carla. While I was in Spain, I spent my time mostly with three other young women–Mio, Janet and Carla. Mio was Japanese and Janet was Black. While this man was very friendly and easy with Carla and I, he would not even acknowledge Mio and Janet. Would not say hi, would not look at them or acknowledge their presence. The strange thing was, to my American eyes, he looked like a light skinned black man. His skin was tan but his features were very African. He was very light-skinned but I assumed he was probably bi-racial. But he called himself white and so I assume that in the Dominican Republic, he was considered white. He explained that race was very important in his country and that lighter skin was always superior. I was horrified. I tried so hard to avoid him because it was so uncomfortable to be around this man who treated my friends so rudely. It was so blunt, so blatant, so silly. People are considered superior for a lighter toned skin? But I can remember reading about certain cultures (can’t remember the country) where pure, ebony skin is the most valued. A different standard, but the same silly notion that such a thing represents superiority.

  • davidson April 27, 2008, 10:15 pm

    And here in America, everybody runs to tanning booths. Go figure.

    I still like best the song I learned as a child. “Red and yellow, black and white, they are precious in His sight. Jesus loves the little children of the world.”

  • facethemusic April 28, 2008, 2:30 pm

    And here in America, everybody runs to tanning booths. Go figure.

    HA!! Ain’t it the truth!!!

  • Alison Moore Smith April 28, 2008, 3:19 pm

    Posted By: RayI agree, Alison, it’s much more about upbringing than simple diversity, but I stand by my statement that, for many (if not most “natural (wo)men”, knowing a good example is worth a thousand words.

    But “knowing a good example” isn’t DIVERSITY–UNLESS you’re surrounded by BAD examples. Wouldn’t it, for example, be better to have EVERYONE be a good example?

    Do you want a “diversity” of pedophiles and non-pedophiles in your neighborhood? Or would you just prefer the latter? Honest neighbors and thieves? Smokey the Bears and arsonists?

    My problem with pushing “diversity” is that we aren’t allowed (in the politically correct universe) to specify that there is good and bad. I don’t WANT a “diversity” of good and bad. I just want GOOD whenever possible.

    And my “problem” with PUSHING ethnic diversity is that it MEANS that having some quota or particular balance of skin colors makes something better–which means that skin color MATTERS. Does it or doesn’t it?

    Sincerely, I hope that we can just be PEOPLE. If I have something in common with someone and we get to know each other and like each other, why does skin color matter? Should I say, “Sorry, I already have 33% Asian friends, I’m looking for Hispanic associates this week. DIVERSITY is so important.”?

    Part of my discomfort with the idea that DIVERSITY OF SKIN COLOR = GOOD is that is forces us NOT to be color blind, which in many ways defeats the purpose of just being PEOPLE of the same HUMAN race instead of rather arbitrary divisions.

    I have a number of black friends, but they aren’t my friends BECAUSE they are black. They are my friends because: we both homeschool, we both sing, we both have home businesses, we both have a bunch of kids, we both are Mormon, we both write, we both directed our ward’s road shows, we both lived in the same neighborhood, we both served together in church. I didn’t go out LOOKING for black friends. But I’m open to being friends with anyone who I have something in common with or who I get along with or… Skin color just isn’t an issue and, IMO, it shouldn’t be for the most part.

    It would be very odd to me if I got asked to a party or to join a board because they needed more redheads or more Irish-Americans or something. What???

  • Tinkerbell April 28, 2008, 3:22 pm

    My son’s best friend is black. Their new thing is to make up raps during recess. My son comes home and performs for me while I try to keep a straight face. I don’t think I’ll let him know that he raps (and dances) like a “white boy” yet.

  • Alison Moore Smith April 28, 2008, 3:30 pm

    Posted By: jendoopOne of those same YW (Dominican) was once telling me how her cousin is considered the prettiest in the family because her skin is the lightest.

    I honestly don’t know if we need to make a huge deal of that or think it’s some kind of self-loathing as we often hear. I think it’s OK to have ideas of what we think is attractive.

    Honestly, if I were to pick my ideal, perfect, dream body it sure wouldn’t be pasty white, freckled, no hint of melanin. And I don’t hate myself. I kind of like my red hair now, but I’d LOVE to have skin that was something like people who have Polynesian/Caucasian or Black/Caucasian ethnicities mixed (or all three?). To me that is just stunning. And I think it’s OK that I think it’s stunning.

    Probably the most beautiful woman I personally know is half Japanese and half Brazilian. She is just gorgeous and exotic. She married a man who is full black and they have very cute kids.

    Maybe it’s the fact that humans tend to shy away from extremes. Really dark skin or really light skin might not be as generally appealing as something more in the middle. Just like really tall and really short are not as desirable as something more moderate. (Unless you play basketball or want to play a child on TV when you are 28.)

    Anyway, enough on this today. Gotta run.

  • Ray April 28, 2008, 6:58 pm

    Great insights, everyone.

    Fwiw, I think “there must needs be opposition in all things” is more universally true than most people realize. We normally define “opposition” as “antagonism or hostility,” but it also means “something placed in contrast with another.” If our environments don’t reflect contrast, it’s very easy to stereotype and assume all (fill in the blank) are (fill in the blank). It’s one thing to learn that in a book (which certainly can happen) or be taught it by parents (which certainly should happen), but it’s much more powerful if it’s embedded in our actual experiences.

    For example, the common “white men can’t jump” is believable if you don’t know any (or of any) white men who can jump; “Latinos all have great rhythm” can be accepted as fact unless you know some you don’t; “Mormons are good, sincere people” might sound totally true until you have one rip you off in a business partnership; etc. Stereotypes are based off of someone’s general observation and can be correct as a generalization when narrowly defined (a counter-intuitive combination), but without knowledge of the narrow definition, it is easy to extrapolate a specific stereotype into a hardcore fact about all outside the initial definition. That can be very dangerous for the Church, for example, since seeing members who don’t fit an assumed stereotype can destroy one’s faith in the Church and members as a whole – simply because one’s perception was founded on an incorrect stereotype.

    Finally, If I believe a stereotype, someone must prove me wrong or face my unfounded beliefs about them – and I don’t like it when that is applied to me. “Innocent until proven guilty” is a standard by which I try very hard to live, and real diversity helps this be possible. (Btw, this can be taken to a logical extreme, like insisting on a neighborhood that includes unrepentant pedophiles, but there is a point at which it simply becomes ludicrous. Also, of course, it would be better to have an Enoch city where there simply are no bad examples.)

    I would rather try to avoid stereotypes as a rule and evaluate people individually in all things. My main point is that such application generally is much easier if you know or know of good examples of all various peoples, particularly if you are in a culture or environment that teaches/reinforces stereotypes.

  • Tinkerbell April 28, 2008, 7:02 pm

    True, Ray. I still maintain that my son can’t rap or dance – not like his friend, and not at all. But, I love him anyway. 🙂

  • Ray April 28, 2008, 8:50 pm

    Yep, Tink – and neither can my black son.

  • Tinkerbell April 28, 2008, 9:36 pm


  • Tinkerbell April 28, 2008, 10:05 pm

    To be honest, discussing racial issues makes me uncomfortable because it seems people are so quick to label other people as “racist” and take things out of context. I hesitate to share my thoughts because I don’t want someone to misunderstand. But, I’ve been thinking about this all day. So, here I go.

    In elementary school, I had a good friend who was black. I don’t remember at what point we drifted into different crowds, but by the time we graduated from HS, she hung out with two other girls who were also black. They were the only 3 African Americans in my class (we didn’t have a very diverse school). It makes me wonder if they chose to all be friends because of their race, or because they felt rejected or shunned by other races, or if race was completely irrelevant. We did have a large hispanic population at my HS, but we were very segregated – almost like we went to two different schools.

    My children have a fairly diverse school, and they have friends with various ethnicities. My 7 year old (who can’t dance) has been in the same class as his best friend for 3 years. I didn’t know his friend was black until I saw him this year (when I said I don’t get up to the school much, I wasn’t kidding. Plus, they didn’t become *best* friends until this year). It doesn’t occur to my kids to describe their friends by race. I think that’s a good thing.

    I look at my kids playing with friends of several different ethnicities and not noticing race, and I think about my friend and I when we were in elementary school, and then I look at the high school in our town where kids are definitely self-segregated into groups by race, and I think back to my high school where kids self-segregated. At what point does that occur? Where does it come from? It doesn’t seem to come from the kids, who play happily together, not even noticing the color of one another’s skin. I assume it doesn’t come from the parents like me, who know that there are racial tensions that exist in society but don’t bring it into our own homes or associations. So, where does it come from? Society? The media? At what point do kids decide that they should start hanging out with other kids who have the same color of skin?

  • Ray April 28, 2008, 10:10 pm

    Excellent, Tink. I’m heading to bed, but thanks for sharing that.

  • davidson April 29, 2008, 9:25 am

    Good, good points, Tink. I can tell you’re a people-watcher, too.

    Where does it come from? I think people segregate into groups who are united in a perception, even if it is a false one. We have an interesting culture in little old southeastern Idaho. There are Caucasians and Hispanics here, mostly. Occasionally we see a person with black skin, and most of us are apt to stare, just because it is something different. We’d stare if the grass in one particular yard were purple, too. In our ward there are no Hispanic people; they are all white. We have one sister who came from Holland, and one sister who came from Thailand. The Dutch woman speaks English very well, but with a thick Dutch accent. The Thai woman really struggles to speak English. She still brings her Thai hymn book to Church and sings the hymns in Thai, and she’s been here sixteen years.

    This is going to be blunt. The Dutch woman has an obnoxious personality, and the Thai woman is very shy. They have a tendency to be left out of most social interactions in the ward, the Dutch woman because she sees nothing wrong with loudly calling people in the ward to repentance, and the Thai woman because she is so quiet. If there were two white American sisters in the ward who loudly called people to repentance or were too shy to speak to people, they would most likely be left out of social interactions in the ward, too. But these two sisters have the PERCEPTION that they are being left out because of their ethnicity, so they band together. They couldn’t be more different, really have nothing in common, but they spend time with each other because they perceive the ward excludes them because of their nationalities.


    Lots of prejudices, and not all of them white, and none of them correct. I try to ignore the Dutch woman’s loud calls to repentance and just love her, be friendly to her anyway, and I make it a point to speak to and hug the shy Thai woman. Heaven knows, they put up with my idiocies. We are all works in progress.

  • quitiaray April 29, 2008, 1:58 pm

    As a black member of the church, this topic speaks to me. I have heard stories from members from the west who feel alienated and unwanted. I have been a member for 11 years, my husband who is also black has been a member for 16 years. We were married in the DC Temple. My husband is also a temple worker so you may come across his hand one day. We have four young children. We are the only members on both sides of our families.
    From my perspective, there is an issue with the church in the black community. Our ward is in a city that is predominantly black, we get very few new members from the community and many do not stay active. Most active members of our ward our white, but it is a military area so we have members of all ethnic groups, like the Detroit ward mentioned.
    In my opinion, from hearing stories of black members from different areas, the issue seems to be that black members are not feeling loved by the white members. It’s like being invited to a party and you only know one person there and those you don’t know seem like they’re not that interested in getting to know you. People come to church for fellowship, to feel lifted up by other members and when you don’t feel that as an investigator or member, you feel alone and are less likely to come back. I think that’s for any person white, black, hispanic or otherwise.
    I would say that it’s a strictly cultural thing, and that is partially true for those who’ve had very little dealings with whites, but I think there are various factors. It’s the church history of withholding the priesthood, giving it a racist stigma. It’s the traditions of their “fathers”, most blacks are Baptist born and bred. It’s not feeling welcomed by members. And most of all it’s not having a strong testimony of the gospel.
    I once heard a story in the church about a member from an island branch who developed some sort of skin disease. No one knew what it was, why he caught it, or if it was contagious. The members didn’t want anything to do with him or his family. Even the branch president told him not to come back to church. This man was hurt and angry at the way the members were treating him. Instead of not going back to church, and he had good reason not to, he continued to go. I think one of his children or wife asked why and he answered, “Because this is not the branch president’s church, this is the Church of Jesus Christ, and he wants us to go to church and so we will. ”
    The first three reasons, can cause blacks to point the finger at others, but the last one points the finger directly back at the person in mirror. Eventhough, I have been a member for a long time the previous factors can cause me to doubt my membership, but then I remember it wasn’t the people who told me this church was true it was the Lord.
    Members I think need to learn to be more sensitive to people of all races and not ignore them like they don’t exist. I think there needs to be a reiterating of the incorrect principles that have been taught in the past, because from what I understand there are still people teaching these “principles”. This is a worldwide church. And members from different ethnic groups are not just “over there” in far off lands, they are right here and they need to be welcomed with opened arms. And most importantly, those who’ve accepted the gospel, must gain a testimony and hold fast to it and endure to the end even in the midst of persecution (even the persecution from those of our own faith).

  • Tinkerbell April 29, 2008, 2:59 pm

    Thank you, quitiaray.

  • Ray April 29, 2008, 3:00 pm

    quitiaray (I have to admit at first I thought was a play on “quit it ray.”) 🙂

    Thanks SO much for your perspective. I have no time right now, but I am grateful you commented.

  • davidson April 29, 2008, 4:25 pm

    I am, too, Quitaray, and you are so welcome here. It’s good to have another point of view. Hugs to you.

  • Alison Moore Smith April 29, 2008, 4:25 pm

    Posted By: RayMy main point is that such application generally is much easier if you know or know of good examples of all various peoples, particularly if you are in a culture or environment that teaches/reinforces stereotypes.

    …If our environments don’t reflect contrast, it’s very easy to stereotype and assume all (fill in the blank) are (fill in the blank).

    I switched your two comments around, Ray. My problem is that, while I agree with your first statement, I don’t necessarily believe that IN OUR CULTURE (for whatever reason) that the diversity you speak of actually leads to the desired conclusion–at least lots of time it doesn’t, as per my examples above.

    I just returned a few minutes ago from the local middle school. As I walked in with my daughter for an audition, I looked up from herding the little boys to see a large group of kids outside the front doors. Every single one was Hispanic. Was that a coincidence?

    As Tinkerbell said, I find this question uncomfortable but interesting. I don’t know if it should be sad or disturbing or not, but there sure was obvious race segregation (self-imposed) among these kids. As far as I know, there aren’t racial tensions or anger–and I don’t even know if they kids are terribly conscious of it.

    Same think happened in our ward in Boca, not just in YW but among the adults, too. (I told you about the Brazil Night.) One day as I stood outside the YW door welcoming the girls as they came in, I peeked around the corner to see this large group (upwards of 20 by then) utterly separated by race. Black, brown, white. I was horrified and turned to Amber, the other Laurel leader, and expressed my dismay. I started planning out the big Tolerance lesson in my my mind, but Amber just walked in and said, “Hey! What is THIS? Black, brown, white?! We don’t do that here. Now mix it up!”

    And they did. Very interesting.

    Tinkerbell, when I’ve thought about the issue you discuss I HOPE that the reason is NOT based on SKIN COLOR, but on CULTURE. There is nothing wrong with having friends that share common interests, backgrounds, etc. So, as with the kids at Willowcreek, I hope they are hanging together because they have cultural or neighborhood or other commonalities they share–and the skin color is just coincidence. But that may be just naive.

    quitiaray, welcome to MM and thank you so much for your input. We hope you to see you here often!

    Speaking about the “traditions of their fathers” you brought up, I have a distant relative who adopted a whole bunch of hard-to-place kids–mostly older kids, many with physical disabilities, etc., and a variety of ethnicities. A number of her kids were black and they lived in a small, rural community. After the priesthood revelation, three of her teen boys dressed the nines, proudly passed the sacrament. Two men refused to take the sacrament from them.

    When the mom told me about this (about 20 years ago) my head nearly exploded. I think the bishop should have marched down to the congregation and escorted the refusers right out the door. Lucky I wasn’t there.

  • Tinkerbell April 29, 2008, 6:05 pm

    That would make my head explode, too.

  • Lewis_Family April 29, 2008, 8:11 pm

    Posted By: Alison Moore Smith

    I just returned a few minutes ago from the local middle school. As I walked in with my daughter for an audition, I looked up from herding the little boys to see a large group of kids outside the front doors. Every single one was Hispanic. Was that a coincidence?

    Was it Willow creek? If so not it is not a coincidence. The “mexicans” stick together at that school. My sister just got jumped by a group of them a few weeks ago, all because when they were walking down the hall pushing people out of their way, my sister told her friend not to let them push her around and apparently the girls heard so came back and got in her face and pushed her and then asked if she wanted to do something about it. My sister said no and she and her friends walked away. By the time the got to the end of the 7th grade hall the other girls had gathered their mexican friends and circled her and started to push her around, and still she kept saying I don’t want to fight, there is nothing to fight about, and a girl grabbed her by her hair from behind and took her down and another jumped on her to help beat up my sister. A teacher finally came out of their classroom and broke up the fight and only got a hold of my sister and the two girls, everyone in the circle scattered. As they are being escorted to the principal’s office the one breaks free and attacked my sister again. She ended up with goose eggs all over her heard and a third degree concussion ( they went to the hospital afterwards and the cat scan revealed this ) Here is the pertinance to the story, when asked why they were fighting the one girl stated We hispanics have to stick together, get each other’s backs Can you believe that? These 9th grade girls felt it was ok to beat up a 7th grade girl because they felt she disrespected them as hispanics?

    It is seeping into our schools and into our children the racial segregation and it is a sad sad thing.

    Stupid part is, my mom is half hispanic, thus making me and my siblings like a quarter or something, so they were beating up one of their “own” persay. Plus it is not a good thing to mess with a Richter ( my maiden name ) we don’t back down well. My mom has had the one girl charged with two accounts of assault since she attacked my sister the second time, the other girl with one account for the original fight and has gotten almost everyone in the circle that surrounded her charged with accesory. She is looking to upgrade it to a hate crime due to the fact that they blatantly stated it was a “hispanic” thing to beat up the “white” girl and sat their in the office proud to have down it. They learn it from their parents, the hispanic moms where in there freaking out about why the white girl and her mom weren’t in there while the cop was administering charges… again making it a racial thing. Yeah they shut up right quick when my mom walked in with my sister, my mom is the darkest in her family, so you can tell she is part hispanic 🙂

    It is a sad world. So I figured you might be at Willow Creek because apparently there is a gang there that is made up of hispanics, and yes they know they what they are doing congregating together.

  • Tinkerbell April 29, 2008, 9:45 pm

    That is sad, sad, sad. And what is even more sad is that this school is probably not the only one.

    We have a few hispanic YW. One comes from a wealthy family and transferred from a private school to the public school this year. She immediately started having problems. It seemed that a lot of hispanic girls started picking on her and saying stuff while she walked by. She brought it up in YW one day, and my heart nearly broke. I don’t know for sure, but I suspect the reason they picked on her is that she didn’t join the “group”. I am assuming a lot, and I hope that is not it, but I do suspect it is. Like they thought she was better than them because she didn’t choose to be friends with them.

  • Ray April 29, 2008, 10:49 pm

    Let me be crystal clear about something: Racism is NOT a White thing. It is a human thing. I am going to post some excerpts from a comment I made quite a while ago on T&S – one of the first threads I mentioned in my post here. It gives some more insight into why racism is such a core issue for me.

    “You ask if I have implored God and received a personal witness. Yes, I have. One of the strongest spiritual impressions of my life (and I have had some very strong ones), came as I served in a Stake Mission Presidency in the Deep South **after the revelation lifting the ban** – as I struggled with how to reach into the black community and was allowed to see the continuing effects of racism on the Church where I lived (both within a small minority of members and a much larger percent of non-members, black and white). I will never forget that impression and the lessons it taught me. I will never forget how that vision changed dramatically how I perceived this issue.

    My mother was a secretary in David O. McKay ?s office. That has given me a few insights into the workings of the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles that are somewhat rare. Most importantly for this comment, it made it clear to me that much of the internal dissent and debate on this topic was not expressed publicly, since there was a deep and abiding belief among the brethren that airing their disagreements publicly simply was not to occur. BRM was a renegade in this regard, as were a few more who shared his view on the ban. Those who were the most vocal tended to be those who supported the ban, since the ban was the policy of the time.

    I tend to accept the words of current prophets over the words of former prophets. I also have read enough of modern and ancient scripture to understand that God has allowed prophets and apostles to make horrible mistakes all throughout time. He sometimes steps in and announces an ideal in very clear ways, but even then He steps back and lets His prophets and other leaders live it or reject it. Therefore, the ban has no fundamental impact on my testimony – my spiritual witness of BY and JT and WW and all other prophets who upheld the ban – even as I believe is was not God ?s will.

    This is not an intellectual understanding for me. It is deeply spiritual one – forged over multiple decades of observing and studying the roots and continuing traces of bigotry in this country and, unfortunately, the Church.

    At the most basic level, I return to my first paragraph. Due to my calling at the time, I believe I was given a perspective that is somewhat unique. It was burned into my soul in a way that I can neither forget nor deny. I cannot say I saw the Father crying for the hardness of the hearts of His children, but I can say that I understand that image in a way that would have been impossible without that experience. It has shaped the way I see many things over the years, and I would not trade it for the world.”

  • davidson April 30, 2008, 12:16 pm

    Wow, Ray. Thank you for telling us, and thanks to you, too, Lewis. Please give your sister a big, big hug from us. I can’t imagine how difficult it must be for her to return to school.

    My deep belief is that God loves all of His children. ALL. Spirit children are created in the same way that mortal children are created. There was a time when our Heavenly Father and a Heavenly Mother were expecting each of our spirits. (I can’t discount the idea that God may have more than one wife in the eternities, since it was required of some of His most valiant followers here.) How could a Father and Mother hate one of their own? One they created? One they waited and prepared for and looked forward to, just as we wait and prepare during our pregnancies? And yet I was reading in the Book of Mormon just this morning:

    “. . .for this people shall be scattered, and shall become a dark, a filthy, and a loathsome people, beyond the description of that which ever hath been amongst us, yea, even that which hath been among the Lamanites, and this because of their unbelief and idolatry. . . .they were once a delightsome people, and they had Christ for their sheperd; yea, they were led even by God the Father.” Mormon 5: 15, 17

    I have avoided this topic all of my life because it is so difficult. I’m not sure I want to wrestle with it now, because it goes against everything in my heart. Here I am, thinking out loud, trying to understand. Maybe I shouldn’t be trying to understand. I have so many questions. Maybe there are questions that won’t be answered fully here on earth, and we are wrong to wrestle with them now. On the other hand, maybe we are meant to wrestle with it and understand the mind of God as clearly as we can. Again let me say, I believe that our Heavenly Father deeply loves His children of every color in the rainbow; I just feel it. We have General Authorities who have dark skins. If dark skins were unacceptable to Him, why would He call people with dark skins to serve as His leaders? And if these men are pleasing to the Lord, (they are pleasing to ME!), why didn’t the Lord lighten their skin, as he did for groups of people in the Book of Mormon? The Book of Mormon and the Bible specifically speak of groups of people with light skin who were cursed to have their skin become dark. The Book of Mormon specifically speaks of a group of dark-skinned people who became righteous and their skin became light. I want to say “NOOOOooooooo!!!” Why did he decide the curse would be dark skin? Why not six toes? Why not a wart on the left cheek? Why did He decide the removal of the curse would be evidenced by lightened skin? There is definitely something going on in the scriptures about skin color. We fight against segregation, even self-segregation, but our Heavenly Father definitely segregated groups of people. And will continue to. I read in the Book of Mormon just this week about how the gospel came first to the Jews, and then to the Gentiles. In the last days (and almost every prophet speaks of it), the gospel will be taken from the Gentiles because of their unrighteousness and given to the Jews, and the descendants of the Jews. We are going to see this. If Brigham Young and John Taylor and Wilford Woodruff and Bruce R. McConkie had misunderstandings about God’s feelings concerning dark skin, they were scripturally-based. OUCH. I went to my stake conference just this weekend and heard Dieter F. Uchtdorf say that the Book of Mormon is the ONLY BOOK which the Savior testified to be true. Are we saying, then, that the Book of Mormon and the Bible are incorrect in recording that dark skins were given to people THAT THEY MIGHT BE LOATHSOME TO OTHERS? Even if it is not true now, it certainly was true then, with those specific groups of people. In every other respect, we are expected to take the scriptures as truth and follow them. I am so confused.

    I REJOICED when I learned that the priesthood was to be given to every worthy male. That felt right, and I was so glad. But we can’t discount the fact that in ancient days, it was THE LORD HIMSELF who made the declaration against dark skin. I can see why some, maybe especially those who study scriptures, could be confused about the issue of skin color. Boy, it’s a mess.

    Maybe it’s like this. When I went to talk to the doctor about why I make so many kidney stones, he said I had inherited a genetic mutation. I asked him why a gene mutates. He said there are two reasons: environmental and chemical. He said a gene mutates to help a person adapt to his environment, or a gene mutates because of deliberate chemical changes made to the body. I wondered why a gene would mutate to cause a person to make kidney stones. Certainly it wouldn’t be to help him adapt to his environment–of what benefit could the making of kidney stones be, in ANY environment? Deliberate chemical changes, then? My kidney stones are made through the incorrect metabolism of Vitamin C and calcium, a genetic defect. I keep searching for answers. My inheritance of kidney stones came through my Italian ancestors. My drunken Italian ancestors. I cannot discount the thought that perhaps my Italian ancestors drank so much (it is legendary in our family) that they caused permanent chemical mutations in their bodies, which they then passed on to future generations. It is certainly true of some people who take recreational drugs. Even though I don’t drink, perhaps I inherited the genetic mutation that came from my forbears drinking too much. I have wondered about the scripture that speaks of “visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the heads of the children, even to the third and fourth generation of them that hate me.” (Deuteronomy 5:9) I wonder about the wording. The word “generation” can mean a lot of things, not just the moving from grandparents to parents to children. It can also mean a period of one hundred years. It can also mean an entire dispensation. And it’s not just an incorrectly translated Old Testament statement. The doctrine of visiting the iniquities of the fathers upon the heads of the children is also found in Doctrine and Covenants 124:50, which says, “And the iniquity and transgression of my holy laws and commandments I will visit upon the heads of those who hindered my work, unto the third and fourth generation, so long as they repent not, and hate me, saith the Lord God.”

    Perhaps there were people in Old Testament times and Book of Mormon times who incurred the wrath of God and were cursed with dark skin because of their iniquity. Their genetic makeup was changed. That does not mean that future generations (maybe even dispensations) who inherited their dark skin were also wicked or deserving of the loathing; it means we live in an imperfect world where the rules of biology are maintained, and genetic mutations are passed on to innocent children. Is it fair that innocent children should have to suffer for the sins of their fathers? Well, no. But is it fair that innocent people inherit mutated genes from their fathers which give them cancer or diabetes or twisted limbs? Well, no. And who on earth said it would be FAIR? We came here to be TESTED. Surely some of the testing is going to be through having inherited genetic mutations.

    I refuse to believe that all people with dark skin have dark skin because of something they did wrong in the premortal life. I know how that feels. I’ve been told that I came to earth to a family which didn’t have the priesthood because I wasn’t righteous enough in the premortal life. That was hard to swallow. They can say that all they want to; my patriarchal blessing tells me differently. I almost hate to say this, because it could be so misunderstood, but my patriarchal blessing told me I was valiant in the premortal life and that I came here blessed in spirit and faith to save my family. If that is true of me, it is true of others. Maybe some spirits were sent to families where they would inherit dark skins PRECISELY BECAUSE they were valiant spirits who could save future generations in that family. I have read of so many good, righteous people who inherited bodies with dark skin. (More righteous than I have ever been, or maybe ever could be!) Carlfred Broderick, in his talk entitled The Uses of Adversity (which, I noticed, is now being sold in LDS bookstores in book form) tells of a girl who came to a family where she was a victim of incest, abused in every way humanly possible. People also told her that she must have received that condemnation because she wasn’t valiant in the premortal life. Carlfred Broderick laid hands on her head and was inspired to tell her that “she was a valiant Christlike spirit who volunteered to come to earth and suffer innocently to purify a lineage. She volunteered to absorb the poisoning of sin, anger, anguish, and violence, to take it into herself and not to pass it on; to purify a lineage so that downstream from her it ran pure and clean, full of love and the Spirit of the Lord and self-worth. I believed truly that her calling was to be a savior on Mount Zion: that is to be Savior-like, like the Savior to suffer innocently that others might not suffer. She voluntarily took such a task with promise she would not be left alone and abandoned.”

    And here we have Quitiaray, a beautiful example of a dark-skinned woman with a light-filled soul.
    My heart aches for you, Quitiaray, for the misunderstanding that has been such a big part of your life. I wish I could apologize sufficiently for people everywhere who have made your life, and the lives of our beautiful, other-colored brothers and sisters, difficult. Stand tall. We love you here.

  • Ray April 30, 2008, 1:49 pm


    I will share just a little more of what I came to understand in Alabama. I can’t share it all, but perhaps a little more will help.

    1) Nobody is infallible – not even prophets.

    2) Perhaps the single most deeply embedded aspect of the “natural man” is the classifications of people into categories based on differences.

    3) The most obvious differences are gender, race and other “physical” differences.

    4) Therefore, assumptions:

    A) Since I am a White man, God is a White man.

    B) Therefore, those who are not White men are not as God-like as I am.

    C) God is just, so being non-God-like has to be the result of something – a punishment for something.

    The problem with this is that it is almost EXACTLY how Brigham Young and George Q. Cannon and Bruce R. McConkie justified the priesthood ban. They misinterpreted scriptures in the Bible and Book of Mormon to explain the ban and completely ignored other scriptures in both that contradicted it. The following is perhaps the best example:

    2 Nephi 26:33 (emphasis added)- “For none of these iniquities come of the Lord; for he doeth that which is good among the children of men; and he doeth nothing save it be plain unto the children of men; and he inviteth them all to come unto him and partake of his goodness; and he denieth none that come unto him, black and white, bond and free, male and female; and he remembereth the heathen; and all are alike unto God, both Jew and Gentile.”

    This is the broad picture of what I understood years ago in my calling. There is MUCH more than that, but suffice it to say that I came to understand what Elder McConkie meant when he said that all of the speculation was wrong.

    As plainly as I can put this, I believe deeply that God has NEVER “cursed” anyone with a dark skin. Fallible people misinterpreted the OT and BofM passages in order to justify their natural man beliefs. It’s that simple, and Elder McConkie was right when he said that we need to abandon everything that was said in the past to justify what was seen as a curse. It wasn’t a curse – plain and simple.

    More in a different comment.

  • Ray April 30, 2008, 2:01 pm

    Think about the following:

    1) Mary AND Lehi’s family were not “white” as we Caucasians generally understand it. They were Arab. Therefore, the reference to Mary being “fair” in 1 Nephi 11:15 and the Nephites being “white and exceedingly fair” in 2 Nephi 5:21 do NOT refer to skin color, as many automatically read it.

    2) When you look at the usage of “dark”, “white”, “light”, “fair”, “black”, etc. throughout our scriptures in their entirety (not just those that are obviously relative to race), it is fascinating that nearly all cases that don’t deal obviously with “physical color” are used to denote “clarity” or “sinfulness” or some other symbolic application of color. The use of the word “blackness” is particularly instructive.

    Job 3:5 – “Let darkness and the shadow of death stain it; let a cloud dwell upon it; let the blackness of the day terrify it.”

    Joel 2:6 – “Before their face the people shall be much pained: all faces shall gather blackness.”

    Now, with that foundation, look at the verse from the Book of Mormon:

    2 Nephi 5:21 – “And he had caused the cursing to come upon them, yea, even a sore cursing, because of their iniquity. For behold, they had hardened their hearts against him, that they had become like unto a flint; wherefore, as they were white, and exceedingly fair and delightsome, that they might not be enticing unto my people the Lord God did cause a skin of blackness to come upon them.”

    Now, this one from the D&C:

    D&C 93:36 – “The glory of God is intelligence, or, in other words, light and truth.”

    “Blackness” in our scriptures means “absence of light” – or “extreme darkness”. I have seen people who have lost all light. They look hard, dull, “dark” – in a very real way. A “skin of darkness” describes them perfectly; a “skin of blackness” would be appropriate, as well – assuming it was meant symbolically. It only has to be taken literally if there is a need to take it literally – if there is a policy that needs to be justified.

    God really does weep for the hardness of the hearts of his children. That’s what I came to understand in Alabama.

  • davidson April 30, 2008, 2:18 pm

    Thank you, Ray. I was betting that you had researched this topic very carefully, and I’m grateful you commented. I can tell I still have very much studying to do. I want to understand.

  • Ray April 30, 2008, 2:38 pm

    I know you do, davidson, and I love your openness to learning. Seriously.

  • kiar April 30, 2008, 4:46 pm

    hmm, I have seen people like you describe, dark and scary, not in coloring, but in spirit. I have also seen a black skinned man with the brightest spirit I had ever seen! I think perhaps youar right, Ray, and it is the spirit that is dark, not the skin.

  • jennycherie April 30, 2008, 10:02 pm

    quoting quitiaray, “It’s like being invited to a party and you only know one person there and those you don’t know seem like they’re not that interested in getting to know you. People come to church for fellowship, to feel lifted up by other members and when you don’t feel that as an investigator or member, you feel alone and are less likely to come back.”

    I think it is so important for any of us who have been members for some time (or for lifetime) to remember how important this is. It is *so* uncomfortable to be the new person and to not have anyone to stand around and chit chat with before/between/after meetings. I can remember how *very* hard it was to walk into church once “my” missionaries had been transferred and I could no longer sit with the missionaries (because the new pair of missionaries were elders). It was so hard to walk in alone and so often, I would find a spot and ask if it was taken only to find out that it was being saved for someone. It’s silly, but I really fretted over where to sit during sacrament meeting! The building we met in (and especially the room that served as a chapel) was so small and sometimes I had to ask several times before finally finding a place to sit. I can also remember moving to our first family ward and feeling *so* out of place. It took a solid year before I felt at all comfortable in that ward. Everyone seemed to have their friends and though they were polite, there seemed to be no friendliness and no interest in welcoming. Finally, when we moved here, I knew I was not waiting a year to feel comfortable at church so I made it a point to look for another family with noisy kids and we invited them over right away!

    ” I think that’s for any person white, black, hispanic or otherwise.”

    Absolutely! I think that we all feel like we stick out sometimes, especially in a new setting. We often attribute it to one particular characteristic or another (be it race, culture, language, hair color, clothes, whatever) simply because that is what we are self-conscious about or what we expect others to disapprove of. One example: we had a family in our ward briefly who had just come to our ward from Mexico. They were a *very* sweet family. If I remember correctly, it was a father and two adult (or older teenage) children. Their mother was still in Mexico because she was sick. I think they were hoping to earn more money here to pay for her care. It’s been a couple of years so the details are fuzzy! Anyway, the family did not speak English but they seemed anxious to be involved in church. I chatted with them and may have even tried to translate on an occasion or two. I remember the last time I saw them, the son told me they would be going back to Mexico right away because things were not working out here in the US. When I pressed for more info, he said they had to leave because the people here were so racist–even at church. I was flabbergasted! I knew firsthand how hard the ward leaders had been working to make sure they had translators available and how they had been trying to make the family feel welcome. I never got to hear any specific experience he had that led him to believe that the people here were so racist, but it occurred to me that because of the language barrier, he might have assumed that any time people were rude to him, it was because he was Mexican (thus making them a racist). . . He might just have run into some rotten, rude people but without understanding the language, how could he tell between someone who was rude to him for no reason as opposed to someone who was rude because he was Mexican? I share this just to illustrate that we have to be aware of our own sensitivities and not be too quick to assume the motivations of others.

    “I would say that it’s a strictly cultural thing, and that is partially true for those who’ve had very little dealings with whites, but I think there are various factors. It’s the church history of withholding the priesthood, giving it a racist stigma. It’s the traditions of their “fathers”, most blacks are Baptist born and bred. It’s not feeling welcomed by members. And most of all it’s not having a strong testimony of the gospel.”

    beautifully said, quitiaray.

  • davidson April 30, 2008, 10:43 pm

    I think you are right on track about being self-conscious and sensitive about what we perceive others might criticize in us. It all goes back to whether or not ANYONE is really capable of an objective statement of the facts in situations that involve race, religion, or political affiliation. Our emotions are too involved.

  • Ray May 1, 2008, 8:47 am

    I edited slightly my comment above that describes the scriptural symbolism of “blackness” – to include the Nephites and Lamanites more directly in my first point. [1) Mary AND Lehi’s family …]

  • Alison Moore Smith May 2, 2008, 1:25 am

    Lewis, yes, it’s Willowcreek. I had no idea that stuff was going on there. (That’s what you get when you pick and choose your classes.)

    Today (before reading this thread again) I asked Alana about the seeming segregation. She has some Hispanic friends at school, but she said that THIS group (the one outside) chooses to hang out together. She said that nobody shunned them that she ever saw, but in her experience they are “just so mean,” always shoving people and cursing and calling people things.

    This isn’t a race issue–but I sure wish these bullies could get a clue about how this DOES reflect on their culture to these other kids when they are a group of racially-segregated thugs.

    This is what I’m talking about. The diversity in that school combined with this group and lack of action by administrators is CREATING the perfect setup for real racial division in the future. The principal needs to get off his cushy office chair and address it NOW, before it becomes a systemic problem.

    Oh, but the principal is heading off to the new high school in Saratoga Springs. Here’s hoping the gang follows him and forces him to nip it himself–rather than leaving it to the new principle.

  • Ray May 2, 2008, 8:43 am

    “This isn’t a race issue–but I sure wish these bullies could get a clue about how this DOES reflect on their culture to these other kids when they are a group of racially-segregated thugs.”

    I have made this point to my son – and many of his friends – often. It was hard for him to understand, but I think he finally started to get it toward the end of his time with us. I’m not sure he still gets it, since he’s no longer with us and hearing it regularly.

    There is a deeper point in there that is applicable to us. It is easy to be blind to how our own actions (and words) are perceived by others – both those who are different and those who appear to be the same. Just look at some of the verbal interaction here lately, and I think you’ll see what I mean.

  • Lewis_Family May 2, 2008, 9:03 am

    Posted By: Alison Moore SmithLewis, yes, it’s Willowcreek. I had no idea that stuff was going on there. (That’s what you get when you pick and choose your classes.)

    Today (before reading this thread again) I asked Alana about the seeming segregation. She has some Hispanic friends at school, but she said that THIS group (the one outside) chooses to hang out together. She said that nobody shunned them that she ever saw, but in her experience they are “just so mean,” always shoving people and cursing and calling people things.

    This isn’t a race issue–but I sure wish these bullies could get a clue about how this DOES reflect on their culture to these other kids when they are a group of racially-segregated thugs.

    This is what I’m talking about. The diversity in that school combined with this group and lack of action by administrators is CREATING the perfect setup for real racial division in the future. The principal needs to get off his cushy office chair and address it NOW, before it becomes a systemic problem.

    Oh, but the principal is heading off to the new high school in Saratoga Springs. Here’s hoping the gang follows him and forces him to nip it himself–rather than leaving it to the new principle.

    My mom says she has been very impressed by the principal. It is the school district that has his hands tied. He does all the he can, sad thing is it is not much. My mom went in incredibly frustrated and ready to blow steam at him, but he explained everything to her and told her what steps needed to be taken by the parents at the district level in order for him to be allowed to do more. Sorry not many facts to help aid my voice, but that was the gist of what went on and so my mom is in the process of appealing alpine school board and getting things changed.

  • Alison Moore Smith May 2, 2008, 3:48 pm

    I hope your mom is successful.

  • Lewis_Family May 2, 2008, 3:53 pm

    For sure, successful on changing policy and in getting everyone charged to the fullest extent that is possible 🙂

  • Alison Moore Smith May 2, 2008, 5:46 pm

    Lewis, I just asked Alana about your sister. She had heard all about it from Ms. Morrey–the drama teacher. I guess your sister is also in one of her drama classes. Does she know Alana?

    I asked her about the hall bashing. She said she didn’t notice if first term, but it’s been going on for months. They will link arms and span the hallway slamming into whomever they see.

    Sorry, but I think Openshaw (or any principal) is passing the buck with this rhetoric. If he’s got this kind of crap going on, he should be marching the halls. Instead of the idiotic programs like “advisory period” he should be using resources to make the school SAFE. And *HE* should be parking his backside on the district’s doorstep with pictures and descriptions and medical reports–with the parents by his side–to untie his hands so that the school is safe. It’s not your mom’s job. It’s HIS job.

  • Ray May 2, 2008, 6:44 pm

    I thought I should link the following thread that was posted today:

    May 3, 1963

  • Alison Moore Smith May 2, 2008, 7:19 pm

    While confined here in the Birmingham City Jail, I came across your recent statement calling our present activities unwise and untimely ? . . . . Frankly I have never yet engaged in a direct action movement that was well timed, ? according to the timetable of those who have not suffered unduly from the disease of segregation.

    Do you love that quote, or what?

    The freedom riders of all races are some of my heroes. I don’t think most of us can imagine how terrifying that gang mentality coming from the mob must have been.

  • facethemusic May 2, 2008, 7:33 pm

    I’m curious Ray, how did our “religion” look upon King with suspicion and explicit criticism?

  • Lewis_Family May 2, 2008, 10:04 pm

    I’ll ask her, it is Alana Smith right? My sister is Kirsten Richter. Yeah, they do it before school, when apparently you are not allowed to go to your rooms and wait for school to begin, they are all locked with the teachers inside until five minutes before, even though the buses drop the kids off way more than five minutes before school starts. There are a lot of policy changes that need to occur. Like he couldn’t expel the gangbangers because of a cretain policy, so we had to wait until after their one court appearance were they were placed on probation and for them to break probation then he was able to expel the two girls, one of which we are told is one of the ring leaders so that is a plus. But Kirsten says that she still comes around, so that needs to be enforced that if you are expelled you cannot be on the grounds. I have no opinion on Openshaw, my family had has both good and bad interactions with him, my mom just mentioned that this last time what he was doing impressed her, so maybe he is changing? But yes, I will ask my sister if she knows your daughter 🙂 Also I still have tickets if you guys wanted to go to the expo tomorrow.

  • Ray May 2, 2008, 10:39 pm

    There was talk that King was a Communist sympathizer, and Elder Benson (before he became President) was a very vocal critic of Communism. In that focus, King did not escape the attention of some of the Church leaders who were opposed to Communism, but some of it was addressed as open opposition to the entire Civil Rights Movement. For a people who had practiced “civil disobedience” so ardently when it came to polygamy, such a stance was . . . curious, imo.

    Btw, my summary is a pretty generous one. We are past it, and I believe Elder McConkie’s statement about forgetting about everything that was said in the past includes those things that were said in opposition to the King and the Civil Rights Movement, as well. It is instructive that Pres. Benson never uttered a single statement, to my knowledge, that reiterated what he has said as Elder Benson prior to the ban being lifted.

  • Ray May 2, 2008, 10:40 pm

    Should read “opposition to King” not “opposition to the King”. I’m pretty sure the Brethren opposed Elvis, but that’s an entirely different discussion. :devil:

  • Alison Moore Smith May 3, 2008, 11:08 am

    Wah hah!

    Anyway, Benson became radically soft-spoken on political issues (relatively speaking) once he became the prophet. I found that to be rather instructive.

  • Ray May 3, 2008, 11:37 am


  • marlygf May 17, 2008, 11:44 pm

    Ray, I was brought here by a friend because we have been discussing race and the whole polygamy thing. We thought your quote by Elder McConkie fit well with both discussions. I was wondering where exactly that quote is. I’d really like to keep that because so many people forget that there is a reason we have a prophet, for current revelations.

  • Alison Moore Smith May 18, 2008, 11:29 pm

    marlygf, welcome to Mormon Momma. We hope to hear from you again!

  • Ray May 18, 2008, 8:52 pm


    I should have cited the speech in the original post. I will edit it and do so.

    It is from a talk at a BYU devotional given August 18, 1978. It can be found at the following web site:

    All Are Alike unto God

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