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Posted by: exblacksister ( )
Date: December 24, 2013 08:09PM

Hi ex mormons I have been drawn to this site as I too have recently come out of Mormonism. My exit story is not unique,but comes from a perspective of a black person brought up in the teachings of the mormon faith. I knew I had problems with the doctorine,but as later-day saint living in the UK I had no idea, what my journey into academic study would throw up form me.

Nearly two years ago I enrolled on a social work degree, where I had to start from the basics of Learning how to evaluate and critique academic work. This new way of thinking and learning has finally opened my eyes, in regards to church doctrine and literature. From my own research I can confidently say that the church can be described historically as a racist church and sadly in its present day.

It amazes me as to how many exit stories I have read where ex-missionaries, ex bishops, ex stake president, ex high priest disclose; not forgetting ex relief society ladies, ex young women leaders , ex primary presidents etc, confess some where in their journey in or out of Mormonism that they had problems with the teachings of the curse of black people from the mark of Cain, to the teaching of bigoted B.Young, who prophesied no black person will ever hold the mormon priesthood!
Can I just ask you the reader to consider these questions,looking back within your church leadership capacity did you personally do anything to make black members feel like they were on equal terms? Did you speak up and share you views on unfair treatment within your wards or stakes? Did you advocate on their behalf when you witnessed injustices within your leadership meetings,
to alleviate the blatant, and some times unwitting discrimination of black members? (blacks being defined as black African, black Americans, black British, Asians, Indians, American Indians, black caribeans, including those of mixed heritage.)or was this because you simply did not notice or took a colour blind approach believing that there is no differences in members and every one is treated the same. For those of you who don't know, being colour blind is a form of racism which prevents people from celebrating, valuing diversity and individualism.

Not surprisingly a large majority of ex white mormons attribute inequality as one the problems or reasons for leaving mormonism. Perhaps you are just following the status quo when mentioning it to make you feel justified. It appears to me that the race card is being used as a tolkenistic excuse by some folk, who have never had first-hand experience of being on the receiving end of racism within a supposed Christian environment in a western demographic area.
TBM's are quick to state that mormons are not racist because they have churches all over the world, blah blah blah."
Yes I am aware that the mormon church in Africa and other developing countries; and it Is supposedly thriving according to LDS statistics. I recognise that In these countries most leadership positions are filled by blacks.
But that does not explain what is happening in most wards or branches all over Europe and American in regards to black members.

I believe it has something to do with the teachings of Brigham Young who taught a much greater extreme of racism. In a sermon given on March 8, 1863, Young stated, "Shall I tell you the law of God in regard to the African race? If the white man who belongs to the chosen seed mixes his blood with the seed of Cain, the penalty, under the law of God, is death on the spot. This will always be so" (Journal of Discourses, 10:110). Which basically means any mixed race families which has a "white mans/or women's blood intermingled in it, will somehow face death on the spot! What he failed to explain was which spot, he probably meant a spot in heaven, as all the families including mine who are bi-racial should not even exist now according to that Buffoon.

How many of you can stand up and say that you questioned the injustices of black people whilst in the church?
How many of you can stand up and say that in your former mormon capacity that you went out of your way to welcome black members when they came to church?
how many of you questioned the tactics of missionaries who seemed to target blacks and and foreign nationals with immigration problems as easy pickings for investigators, with the excuse that they are more susceptive to the religious message?
How many of you were reluctant to call black people to leadership positions in your branch, ward or stake high councils?
how many of you invited black members to your homes?
How many of you choose black members to give talks, sunday school lessons or extended invitations for opening prayers in the sacrament meetings?
how many believed in your heart of hearts that black members were second class citizens to be looked down upon from your alleviated
White and delightsome Status?
How many of you cursed, moaned or queried when you had to offer your time and service to such people especially when they needed lifts to church or welfare assistance?
How many of you ditched black people as friends when they asked uncomfortable questions about blacks & the priesthood?
How many of you relief society sisters purposely choose not to sit next to black sisters in meetings?
How many of you never bothered to do or say anything much, because some of these types of people never stayed long in the church?

The reason why some ethnic minorities never stay engaged in the mormon religion was because of all the aforementioned treatment, that is a present and on-going experience for black members today. I envy those investigators that had a lucky escape, and did not have to part with a considerable part of their money in order to receive everlasting blessing, and Godly status.

I rejoice knowing that I am not alone in my exodus out of the church.
I stayed more than 35 years, because I was convinced the church was true, and that I and every other black person had the right to be there. I constantly fought against these subtle acts of discrimination which I witnessed over the years, making me feel very unpopular and an outsider. But I am a strong black women, and never once did I feel the need to leave because of it. That is until now when I found out the truth about JS.

My eyes have truly been opened with education and personal study. I have allowed myself to take a good look at whats out there on the Internet. I have finally allowed my mind to think logically and think for it's self. I have been truly set free from religious bondage. My exit from mormonism is the best thing that has happened to me and my family in a very long time. I am grateful that I have no family left in the church to offer me consistent guilt trips and teary testimonies. I am now in the process off shaking the mormon clingers who constantly besiege me with phone calls and face book messages. In my new transition I am developing a newer and better understanding of who Jesus is, and what I have to be grateful for. I realised that the Jesus and the faith that I held onto when times were rough within the mormon church for me as a black member is different to the Jesus I have in my life today. He is much more humanistic, kind and forgiving.
He loves me unconditional, and through his love and grace I am already saved, because I believe and trust in him alone.

Just for the record, I want you to know that I forgive those of you who were bigoted just like B.Young or deluding in your thinking like J. Smith. I wish you all good luck on the paths you are on, and hope that you will remember we are all equal, and that God is not a respecter of persons any religion teaches elitism, now or in the past is wrong.

truly out of mormonism, A Black British Woman.

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Posted by: exblacksister ( )
Date: December 24, 2013 08:10PM

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Posted by: newcomer ( )
Date: December 24, 2013 08:43PM

Maybe in the UK they weren't as bigoted since we have free speech ingrained here and the fact that there a big chasm between black Americans and LDS.

I'm curious on how you got started in the cult.

Can't wait for other responses.

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Posted by: thingsithink ( )
Date: December 24, 2013 09:06PM

"Not surprisingly a large majority of ex white mormons attribute inequality as one the problems or reasons for leaving mormonism. Perhaps you are just following the status quo when mentioning it to make you feel justified. It appears to me that the race card is being used as a tolkenistic excuse by some folk, who have never had first-hand experience of being on the receiving end of racism within a supposed Christian environment in a western demographic area."

For some reason, this part of your post jumps out at me. I think because there is no explanation - just an assertion that "it appears" to you. Why? Some ex-mormons say they left the mormon church because of its position on race. Why do you think the race card is a token excuse used by ex-mormons? Why don't you think ex-mormons who say they left in part because of the church's position on race are being genuine?

I don't have any personal reason to doubt the mormons who cite that as a reason. Do you I'm interested in your reasons for making such an assertion.

More importantly, congratulations for escaping a cult. As a non-mormon, I have been absolutely mystified as to how a black person could ever join the mormon church. Thank God you got out.

Edited 3 time(s). Last edit at 12/25/2013 12:09AM by thingsithink.

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Posted by: anon 21 ( )
Date: December 24, 2013 09:38PM

No, they were not advocating for black people. They were advocating for child sex offenders. That is the Mormons.

The issue with using the race card to leave Mormonism had nothing to do with black people. It had to do with the revelation that a loving and kind heavenly father would single out a group of people based on original sin "being black".
The IRS had more to do with giving black members full responsibilities in the church as any member had. It doesn't matter who you were, even the quorum of the 12, you were overridden because it was a revelation of God.

"Yes I am aware that the Mormon church in Africa and other developing countries; and it Is supposedly thriving according to LDS statistics. I recognise that In these countries most leadership positions are filled by blacks."

Have you ever talked to blacks in Africa who are members. Have you ever seen "The Book of Mormon" the play. More importantly, have you ever talked to a missionary who has come back from Africa.

Actually lets get down to the nitty gritty. I, as a Catholic, going to a Catholic school in 1969, SAW the conditions that blacks lived in, in Jackson Mississippi on a Christmas ever very much like this one in 1969. I doubt very much that any british black woman has any idea the conditions that blacks lived in America. I had many black friends in Mississippi. My BBF forever was black. I wanted to go get my hair cut with her. I couldn't understand the terror on her face. You get lynched for that.There were NO Mormons there. There were Lutheran, protestants and Methodists. I never saw a Mormon until we moved out of state. Was the Mormon restriction on priesthood responsible for that? No, the KKK was.

Go watch a copy of Mississippi Burning and understand America.
Black actors had to go to Europe to work.

Jews gave lives to bring forward their right to go to their OWN churches without being hung. The FBI lead by Catholics, bought and bribed their way into the KKK for black people. In the 1970's affirmative action had to be brought about so that blacks could enter universities and schools. Why in God's name do you think we have made a holiday of Martin Luther King.
So did you, as an enlightened ex-Mormon black woman, tell my sister muslims that it was OK for them to practice their religion in London? Any issues perhaps with religion over there and people of different ethnicities? Maybe like muslims?

I'll be damned if you are going to play the whole "Mormons are racists and need to apologize" here and getting out of religious bondage. You go after the other religions. You go after the culture. The ones that never put it on paper but would surely put a rope around your neck in 1960's. You surely need to research a few things.
In 1912 a motion picture was made called" Birth of a Nation" At the beginning of the movie, you have the endorsement from a US President saying "Yep this is EXACTLY what was happening" 50 years after Brigham Young made his pronouncement. Watch that movie. You will see the black faces are actually white men and women.
No one in this whole culture has ever apologized for being racist. Have you ever read anything by Ida B. Welles? We had the British on their antilynching tours for America. Our cultures and the culture of the Mormon church were the same. Only the Mormons wrote it down.
DId you realize that the Mormons are the foundation of black genealogists in America, where all they can find is slave, slave, slave on their indexes? Do you realize that you were most likely the progeny of African slaves in London? Do you realize that in America, many blacks are still living that lifestyle? That unemployment with blacks is so high that you are better off selling drugs than trying to get a job? It is OUR CULTURE. The Mormons just wrote it down.
Do you realize that Catholics used to beat the crap out of blacks because they were afraid they would get the jobs? It didn't matter what faith they were. Its the culture.
How great it is that you have an education. Most blacks here have reading issues. That is why black scholarships are thrown out time and time again because they were never taught to read in the public schools. THAT IS THE CULTURE.
You, who have never seen a slum, who have never brought food for blacks or blankets or anything, want to blame this on a religion because they put it down on paper????
Come, come to America and help us educate black students.

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Posted by: anon 21 ( )
Date: December 24, 2013 09:41PM

NOW I need a drink, not only to warm me but to get the frozen fleas off my body. I did not need to go from that to this.

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Posted by: thingsithink ( )
Date: December 24, 2013 09:46PM

There is a lot in your post. Did you mention that mormon leaders were racist or that mormon leaders had nothing to do with civil rights or making Martin Luther King's birthday a holiday?

The mormon cult contributed to racism in America and did nothing to alleviate the problem of racism until, at best, 1978. So, the mormon cult did write down and document its racism because that is all it had to document. Like it or not, the mormon religion is saddled with racism from its inception. The latest essay shows the cult won't take any blame, but it was a part of racism in America.

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Posted by: baura ( )
Date: December 26, 2013 09:41PM

I turned 17 in 1964 when the Civil Rights bill was signed by
President Johnson.

At that time Ezra Taft Benson was saying the Civil Rights
movement was a communist controlled conspiracy. A decade
before, Apostle Mark E. Petersen gave a talk to institute
teachers and BYU religion teachers about the Church's position
on race relations. The Lord's position, according to Elder
Petersen, was segregation.

There were all kinds of white Christians who were part of the
Civil Rights Movement. But in Mormonism such participation was
officially discouraged. I never heard anything good said about
Martin Luther King by a Mormon while he was alive.

The problem with Mormonism and racism is that racism was
officially part of Mormonism. It wasn't just that SOME Mormons
were racist, racism was required as part of your membership.
In 1976 Bruce R. McConkie gave a talk in General Conference
pointing out that those who are disturbed by the priesthood ban
are not "valiant."

That same year Douglas Wallace, a Bishop, ordained a black man
to the priesthood. He did it as a protest against the Church's
racist policy. His reward was that he was excommunicated.

Mormonism is a top-down organization. We are not allowed to
choose our leaders. The "sustaining of the brethren" is not an
election but a pledge the members make to "sustain" the
leaders. The racism in Mormonism would have vanished overnight
if the LEADERS had gotten rid of it. If they would have THEN
talked as they do NOW it would have vanished.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 12/26/2013 09:43PM by baura.

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Posted by: forgiveness fairy ( )
Date: December 24, 2013 10:39PM

The forgiveness fairy hopes you saved a little of that forgiveness for yourself for being part of a religion that discriminates against blacks and other minorities. Before you break your wrist pointing a finger at others, what did you do to stand up for your black brothers and sisters? Did you take a stand? Did you condemn the racism during testimony meeting or in a talk or lesson?

The fem forgiveness fairies want you to know that they forgive you for knowingly participating in and giving money to a church that treats women as second class citizens. Did you ever speak up on behalf of your sisters of all skin colors?

The gay forgiveness fairies grant you forgiveness for voluntarily participating in a religion that considers them broken sinners who have to deny who they are to be considered worthy of Mormon membership. Did you take a stand for your gay brothers and sisters?

We can all learn from your exemplary behavior if you would be so kind as to share stories of your crusades.

The forgiveness fairies wish you peace and happiness.

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Posted by: Tupperwhere ( )
Date: December 25, 2013 06:31AM

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 12/25/2013 06:55AM by Tupperwhere.

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Posted by: offradar ( )
Date: December 24, 2013 11:25PM

I am completely mystified that ANY black person would want to join or remain in the Mormon church, once they have read its racist scriptures. A young relative married a black boy recently. He is studying to be a lawyer. He is also a RM. I know he has read the offending scriptures and it beggars belief that he is knowingly serving and supporting a organisation that has actively vilified and victimised his own race for over 130 years. He should, in my opinion, hang his head in utter shame for bringing dishonour on his black brothers and sisters. He is supporting and contributing to the very people who were responsible for their misery and persecution over such a long period of time. It seems that the power and authority the cult gives him is more important and appealing.

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Posted by: anon 21 ( )
Date: December 25, 2013 12:03AM

The Mormon cult is an outgrowth of American culture of the 1850's. It did not start racism, it did not end racism. It is an extremely minor note in the whole culture of racism in America.
It apologizes for its racism. But its racism was extremely minor. Like the church. All they did was write it down.
"The number one source of knowledge for the Ku Klux Klan is the Holy Bible. Members of the Klan believe in the literal truth of the Bible. One KKK member once wrote, “the Klansmen pins his faith to the Bible as the revealed will of GOD.” In fact many active Klansmen were ordained ministers. In addition, the majority of the members belong to some Protestant church." Baptists aren't apologizing. The majority of Blacks are...tahdah...Baptists. Why would blacks continue with religions that set up massive organizations for the separation of whites and blacks? WHY?
Organized religion has always claimed that the Christian God is racist. Somebody has always got to be the scapegoat.. cananites or blacks, doesn't matter. Mormons just wrote it down. I refuse to give more power to a religion that apologizes for a minor racism like picking one's nose. "Oh, we won't let you have the priesthood because if we did, they'd be lynching us also".

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Posted by: Aenon E. Moss ( )
Date: December 26, 2013 03:28PM

The Southern Baptist Convention HAS apologized for its pro-slavery and pro-segregationist stance it held until recent times. The Mormon Church was never as "racist" as many white liberals and African-Americans believe, still was moderately racist. My big problem with the Race and Priesthood Statement is that it "disavows" the equation of black skin with a divine curse, yet this is what The Book of Mormon teaches! The Brethren are trying again to have their cake and eat it too.

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Posted by: anon 21 ( )
Date: December 25, 2013 12:23AM

Let me put it another way. Ma'am in your complaints against the church, I have not heard one that has not been repeatedly complained about by white ( put in any other ethnicity) people in the church. Put in "single woman". Put in "Divorced single mother" put in "tattooed arm" how about "beard".
And here she is jumping into Christianity with all its catch phrases, ignoring words like "lynching" and "set on fire" and "bombed church".

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Posted by: Itzpapalotl ( )
Date: December 25, 2013 05:18AM

Hi exblacksister. I understand your outrage. I'm a racially mixed "Lamanite" descendent, BIC.

The teachings of the Curse of Cain doctrine pissed me off as a child. I was taught we weren't held responsible for the sins of Adam, so I thought why should anyone be held responsible for what Cain did?

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Posted by: Kendal Mint Cake ( )
Date: December 25, 2013 06:23AM

When I was growing up in the church, the black males were in the same position as white males - both keeping the women down and seemingly happy about it. I didn't like any Mormon males much because I was taught they all shouted in delight when The Plan of Salvation(which included polygamy) was presented to them in the pre-existence. I thought they were a bunch of dirty-minded losers.

Black men were involved in Mormon earthly polygamy as well.

It's all a load of rubbish, thank goodness, but I was never taught to be racist at church. Sexist against women, but not racist.

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Posted by: oldklunker ( )
Date: December 25, 2013 06:46AM

blacks being defined as black African, black Americans, black British, Asians, Indians, American Indians, black caribeans, including those of mixed heritage.)or was this because you simply did not notice or took a colour blind approach believing that there is no differences in members and every one is treated the same. For those of you who don't know, being colour blind is a form of racism which prevents people from celebrating, valuing diversity and individualism.

Yes throw the race card at those trying to right wrongs from past actions. Being color blind is a first response, opening your mouth after that determines future interaction.

You ask whom of us stood in defends of the injustice in behalf of your race of people. I would ask of you if you have been vocal in the repression of 1.3 billion Chinese people that are beaten, jailed and even shot in the back of their head in public for following a religion?

Humans have the capacity of love and hate in extreme thought and action. The world would be elevated more perfectly if love and compassion was as easy as hate and bigotry.

Also, you have a myopic view of culture and individualism which is more encompassing and diverse than the color of ones skin.

I know you are hurting from the mormon suppression you have experienced, but I think you have to widen your view of the human experience before you start feeling sorry for yourself.

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Posted by: thematrix ( )
Date: December 25, 2013 10:04AM

Here is another issue. Many of us live in Utah where there just isnt that much diversity. In my stake their is one black family that i know of, he is a high councilman.

The problem i have with race and the church is that i was taught and raised to beleive that the curae of cain was upon the entire race. That never sat well with me but at the same time i never once noticed or heard of anyone treating someone differently because of their skin color. But to another posters comments i donlt believe that if God does exist tjat he would favor a race over another. When i found the BY quotes and others throughout our history and really dug into it it was something i simply coupd no longer beleive

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Posted by: Aenon E. Moss ( )
Date: December 25, 2013 06:25PM

I was the victim of violent racism growing up in Los Angeles, and it was directed at me, a white person, by blacks and Hispanics. I did nothing to provoke this. This was in the early to mid 1970s, and many minorities were angered at whites because of slavery, racism, exploitation, which 98% of whites, including myself, had absolutely NOTHING to do with. But, as to your questions...

*I recommended to the First Presidency, as far back as 1978, that blacks in North america be allowed their own branches and wards, so that they would have their own black priethood leaders, and could feel more comfortable. Many African-Americans don't feel comfortable in mostly white branches and wards. This was rejected, because the Brethren fear the Media charging them with segregation.

*I recommended to the First Presidency, very long ago, That they hire and train black men to become "Pastors" (a new paid position in the Church) to lead black branches, and train local black priesthood leaders. As soon as the branch was large enough, and strong enough, the black Pastor would leave and work in another area to build up a new branch. This was rejected, again, because the Brethren feared negative press.

*I recommended to the First Presidency, long ago, that they issue a Public Apology for the Curse of Cain. The new "Race and Priesthood" Statement is a disavowal, not an apology.

*Begin to teach that the Jaredites were black (i.e. because they did not mention priesthood, and the Jaredites were descendants of Cain according to the Book of Ether...yes, its there). Again, the Brethren rejected this, because they were raised to believe that God would have NEVER communicated to descendants of Cain for any purpose.

*Begin to place articles in the ENSIGN about Elijah Abels and the other early faithful black Mormons. Again, this was not done, mainly because the Brethren did not want Members thinking about the Curse of Cain or priesthood-ban history. The Brethren wanted the Members to FORGET these things, not talk about them.

*Missionaries will always target those most likely to be baptized. The pressure for them to baptize is incredible! As a young English-speaking missionary in California, in the early 1980s, I was told to "baptize people of means--such as doctors, lawyers, engineers--educated people" because these were the people most likely to pay a faithful tithe, and most UNlikely to use Church Welfare. Well, of course, the doctors and lawyers nad engineers and business owners were FAT AND HAPPY and did NOT want to join the Church. If they were religious at all, they already had a religion. Most were agnostics, and couldn't believe that an angel brought gold plates to a young boy. You might as well have told them that a Spaceship from Venus broght it! The only English-speaking people who had ANY desire to join the Church were two types:

1) Those very poor and down on their luck who WOULD use Church Welfare services and...

2) Men who wanted to marry Mormon women, but the women insisted they would only marry a good Mormon man.

That was __________________IT________________! Nobody else, and I mean NOBODY ELSE, had any interest in the Mormon Church, in my mission, during the early 1980s, unless they were Spanish speaking, and were illegal immigrants. These folks would join any "American" church. If the JWs got to them first, they became JWs. If the Mormons got to them first, they became Mormons. Simple as that. The only folks in my mission who could believe in angels and plates and Adam and Eve being the first humans, were Evangelical Christians, ALL of whom believed Mormonism was an evil cult, or poor immigrants from Africa, or poor illiterate illegal alients form Mexico or Central America. That's it.

The religion that has the most Pro-Black teachings form the start, that I know of, is the Baha'i Faith. You should check into it. Take care.

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Posted by: Senoritalamanita ( )
Date: December 26, 2013 08:32PM

I looked into the Faith seriously. At first I thought the faith was extremely benign and open minded.

However after I found out that women are banned from holding positions in its top tier (the Universal House of Justice) and the fact that Bahais strictly hold that a Bahai Marriage can only be between a man and a women ... I changed my view.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 12/26/2013 08:32PM by Senoritalamanita.

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Posted by: fluhist ( )
Date: December 26, 2013 01:57AM

Thank you for your perspective and thoughts. You have a right to your anger, racism is ALWAYS wrong, no matter what package it is put it - and you were a victim of it.

Congratulations on finding your way out of tscc which has brought you pain and for your new found happiness.

All the best!!

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Posted by: hapeheretic ( )
Date: December 26, 2013 08:07AM

I don't blame you a bit for feeling the way you do. The ban on the priesthood for those of African descent was all based on BY's bigotry. No inspiration there, just prejudice. Even when the ban was lifted in 1978, I suspected that the reason the church gave for not letting blacks hold the priesthood was not because "they were not ready", as has always been said. It was because those holding the priesthood weren't ready or willing to accept them into full fellowship in the church.

If I was in your position, you bet I'd be furious. And I'd get away from TSSC as soon as possibly could.

I'm sorry for all the bigotry and cruel behavior you had to endure for so long.

I wish you peace and happiness.

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Posted by: onlinemoniker ( )
Date: December 26, 2013 09:15AM

exblacksister = 2 posts--all in this thread

Why do people feel it's ok to show up, vomit their accusatory vitriol over everyone and then just disappear?

It's so ill-mannered.

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Posted by: amos2 ( )
Date: December 26, 2013 11:00AM

I think that's an excellent point, and one that served as personal apologia to me as a TBM.
I think most of us can describe a phase of "mental gymnastics" where we stretched our credulity to reconcile gospel paradoxes.
Polygamy (and sexism and misogyny in general) and racism were two of my top problems long before I would have been able to define them as such.
I do recall finally asking myself as a TBM (after missing MANY clues up until then), "are you racist"?
My history of becoming aware: Growing up in Utah I had a poor view of the church's past racism or any racism. Utah in the 1970's was all the whiter than now. Church folklore was that Mormon pioneers had been persecuted primarily for being abolitionists (which was kind of a handy cover for polygamy, which was hush hush then and is discussed far more now). Utah seemed like a refuge for blacks (ironically because of its few blacks), and there were just enough blacks in Utah to anecdotally observe this. There were too few blacks to observe a contiguous black community. Mostly I saw, to borrow from the movie Amos and Andrew, blacks that acted practically white. I had never observed firsthand the conditions of black communities in the South or in the inner cities of the North and West Coast. In fact, there were so few blacks in Utah that I rarely ever heard the euphemisms "black" or "white" at all. I didn't think of myself as "white" because everyone was white. Racism seemed non-existent if only because racial contrast was non-existent. This is from a child's perspective.
In high school I was a little more aware that there was some diversity, which in Utah was largely Latin Americans and Pacific Islanders. African Americans were still too few to form a community. Actually, black kids in school were practically assumed to be adopted.
I joined the army right out of high school and jumped into the deep end of American race without even knowing it. At first I wasn't even capable of conceiving how wide and deep it was. I made trite comments to black peers in the army and they just raised an eyebrow, or in one case asked me to shut up. I didn't even know what I was saying. I only remember one comment, which was that a black guy looked cool in black sportswear, like a ninja. I thought it was a compliment.

I was still completely naïve about race in the LDS context. I had never heard about the "curse of Cain", I had never read the Book of Mormon and I knew nothing about the black-skinned Lamanite "curse". They had never been brought up at church. I thought the church was, well, a church. I thought church's were all about equality, charity, and goodwill. I thought church's protected the persecuted and that's why church's were persecuted. I had no hint that the LDS church had a racist history, policies, scriptures, or even "folklore".

A few years later I decided to go back to church and serve a mission. Knowing little, my dad for one seemed to be aware of pitfalls and tried to inoculate me I think. By then I was a aware of polygamy but had been pacified by the usual basic covers for it. Dad knew I was naïve and needed a subtle warning of what was coming my way on a mission. However, his approach was basically that it was impertinent to peek up this skirt (of the church's very few "issues"), and that the necessary approach was to avert the eyes. He volunteered the first hint of racism I ever heard about the church, which was that my grandparents would have withdrawn their hand if a black hand had appeared through the temple veil, but that he was used to it now. I didn't even know what he meant. He was referring to 1978 of course. I don't remember first learning about 1978, but it was 1990 when I did. Barely 12 years afterwards it was practically unspoken in the church, in keeping with its tradition of avoiding the "impertinent". The few times I did consider the 1978 change, I largely assumed the gospel hadn't really reached many blacks before then, that the change came easily to the progressive church, that it was the Lord who had made blacks wait (wait for it...because of their performance in the preexistence), and that since any blacks at all joined the church...all blacks should understand.

Early in my mission we followed-up on a young black woman's BoM reading. She'd gotten the book the previous week. She asked us to explain 2Ne9:21...the "sore cursing" verse. My companion explained that this verse didn't even apply to her because it's about American Indians not Africans. Her jaw drops. Then comp explains it's all OK anyway because later in the book the their skin is turned white again when they she's showing us the door. I just didn't understand why she didn't understand. It was so plain to me. She must have been "antied" by a minister I figured.

After that I just resorted to LDS la-la land about race. I saw a number of LDS blacks which in itself pacified me that the isolated apparently racist concepts in the church had good explanations. That lasted 15 years.

Race rarely ever came up in my active-LDS life. It wasn't discussed at church. In Institute one day an instructor refuted the folklore that blacks were less valiant in the preexistence. This was something like 1999 or 2000, and I wondered why he even felt the need to address it. It seemed like a vestige to me that didn't even need answering. He said the proof of the goodness of the spirits of blacks was that so many black babies die in Africa and we know babies who die go to the Celestial Kingdom. It barely made me go hmmm, but I do remember thinking there's a bit of a paradox there about god.

I don't know what nudged me, but one day in 2007(I think after my daily BoM reading crossed 2Ne9:21 for the 28th time) I asked myself if I was a racist. I became aware that the curse of Cain and the Lamanite curse were racist in themselves, and that I had hidden for years behind a curtain of "impertinence". But then I asked myself, who does more for blacks than God and the LDS church? I thought, what favor are you doing for any black person by peeling back impertinent layers? What are you going to do...leave? Also I remembered that at least some of it was folklore and I thought "you're responsible for what you believe". So, indeed, I had looked at race as an excuse to leave the church, but decided that it wasn't any favor to blacks to do so. So I didn't, yet.

Admittedly, I didn't leave the church until an issue affected me personally, which ended up being its preoccupation with sexual "sin".

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Posted by: MCR ( )
Date: December 26, 2013 12:28PM

This is the most cogent explanation of how ignorance perpetuates evil, while in absolutely good faith and with the very best of intentions, that I've ever read in my life.

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Posted by: Aenon E. Moss ( )
Date: December 26, 2013 03:22PM

The Baha'i Faith has taught equality and non-racism from its very beginnings in the 1860s. You should check them out.

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Posted by: anybody ( )
Date: December 26, 2013 11:45AM

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Posted by: The exmo formerly known as Br. ( )
Date: December 26, 2013 07:15PM

because I grew up in Utah Valley and didn't know any black people. I did have Lamanite friends. And I did ask my bish and other leaders about them. As I was a kid they just patted my head and sent me on my way but the doubts stuck HARD. My Native American friends weren't bad people and I knew it. Why were they cursed? It wasn't until I met a few black people that it hit me. They weren't bad either. Why are they cursed? Stupid, stupid, stupid, stupid.......

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Posted by: drilldoc ( )
Date: December 26, 2013 09:23PM

I didn't stand up for blacks because there weren't any in the wards I attended. Anyway, if there were, I probably wouldn't have stood up for them as I had enough on my plate with everything else. I just left. Anyway, I felt the racism of the past was pretty much acceptable in society at the time. Obviously in retrospect we can look back and wag our finger at it and say how racist it was. My parents were pretty racist if I think about it, so it's been a cognitive effort on my part to not be that way. However, I will not be condescending in my behavior toward blacks either. I will call it as I see it and refuse to acquiesce if someone tries to put me on the ropes so to speak with some racist name calling BS. The racism of the LDS church was just another nail for me.

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Posted by: munchybotaz ( )
Date: December 26, 2013 10:00PM

but the other 11 questions are kind of beside the point, living in SLC as I did from 1960-73. I never even met a black person until I was in the 8th grade, and that kid was from the same family that my mom went to school with in the forties and fifties.

Unless I count the kid that chased me out of Sherwood Park in about 1969, but I didn't actually meet him. He didn't really chase me, either. I was on the swings, and he was on the merry-go-round with some other black kids. He sang me a song that went like this:

I see your fanny
All black and shiny
If you don't hide it
I'm gonna bite it!

I was all, "What? My fanny's not black!" and ran back across the street to my grandma's house.

I doubt he was Mormon, and the kid in 8th grade wasn't, either, and there were no black members or investigators in any Mormon church I ever went to.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 12/27/2013 12:37AM by munchybotaz.

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Posted by: armtothetriangle ( )
Date: December 26, 2013 10:36PM

Some of the arguments here are shocking-- Mormons weren't as bad as the KKK, everyone else (society) was racist at the time so what's the big deal? Minorities have discriminated against me or made me uncomfortable-- these are the excuses one expects from a child who when confronted with something wrong he's done, points a finger at another child and says 'yeah, but he did it more than me!' I understand it's very difficult for white Americans to understand racism completely, or to acknowledge it still exists.

A colleague of mine with a doctorate, well respected, ethical, moral, great family man, sharp witted, eloquent, can walk down a city street and see a white woman step off the sidewalk into the street to put distance between them, another clutched her purse and averted her eyes. A gay friend in south Mississippi let a friend of his, a black woman, spend the night on his couch. The next night he answered a knock at his door to find three 'guys' in white sheets standing on his porch. He said they told him things about himself he didn't think anyone else knew, then said "we know you're gay and that's okay, but under no circumstances is a black woman ever to spend the night in this neighborhood again."

More than any other motive, the Klan couldn't and can't bear the idea of equality with former slaves and their descendents. Mormonism though took it a step further- high melanin in the skins of people were a sign of God's curse, ie, they were born bad, punished from pre-mortal existance or for killing off nephites. But, if they became good mormons, maybe that skin would lighten up, and maybe those features would anglicize and eventually maybe, maybe one day they could pass for "white and delightsome."

The original poster has the right to rant, and to quit tscc asking the questions she posed.

So now let me say here what I thought when I read the first "essay"- it's as piss poor a piece of work ever generated by a mormon apologist, and baby, they come up with some doozies. I don't give a damn who or what committee wrote it. Anyone inside of tscc, or outside, who's pacified by that POS needs to pull his or her head out and come up for a breath of clean air.

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Posted by: newcomer ( )
Date: December 26, 2013 10:42PM

Finally someone said it. For white, straight men like me that feel threatened by a minority complaint about racism, let me tell you how foolish these feelings are: there are men on my university's campus complaining about women joining together to fight discrimination. How foolish is that? What women have their boots to our throats? We can't take criticism? Geesh.

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Posted by: munchybotaz ( )
Date: December 27, 2013 02:07AM

Because I was really only trying to make the point that there were no black Mormons for me to do anything to, way back when I was involved with the church. I told the story about the kid in Sherwood Park because I had said I never met a black person until 8th grade, and then I remembered that. Really I just thought it was a funny thing. But yeah, he made me uncomfortable—not because he was black but because he was someone I didn't know, trying to bother me. It wasn’t my neighborhood. I was by myself, and he was not. I didn't want to find out what else he might do. I would have been just as uncomfortable and gone back to Grandma's if he had been white.

I didn't intend to suggest that anything in Mormon or American culture was OK because of that experience, or even because I never met any black Mormons. I'm aware that I have the perspective of a person who was born in white, Mormon America. The Denver suburb where I went to high school was whiter than Salt Lake, and the town I live in now is even whiter than that. There are so few black people where I live now, I catch myself noticing them. I've met lots of black people, working in Denver and Salt Lake and traveling around the country on business, but I can't say I've really known many black people or spent much time with them.

I’m all for apologizing and even reparations for slavery, but I can’t help where I was born or what faith my parents foisted upon me. I’m a white, white woman--one with little respect for Mormons. I didn't want to be a Mormon, and I don't feel very sorry for anyone, white or black, who ever did want to be one. I'll admit the OP's post annoyed me. I also thought the forgiveness fairy made some good points.

But is it OK that the OP felt excluded or experienced discrimination as a Mormon? No. Does she have a right to rant? Sure. But I don't feel the least bit responsible for her experiences in the Mormon church.

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