On Being a Latter-day Saint and a Black American: Whites Only?
Many Blacks hate Whites for history's sake. Anything a White person does to assist the Black communities can be twisted into a negative.
Excuse to Hate
In an article called "The Truth About Being Black in America" I wrote:
After many generations of slavery and second-class citizenship, the sociological impact on this group [Black Americans] created a people with no reason to glorify the past as other Americans, and little reason to love a country that did not guarantee them constitutional rights.
Black Americans have a history of oppression in the United States, though the nation has made progress in recent years in racial relations despite opinions to the contrary. The cultural baggage from years of abuse will take several generations to disappear—and that is with everything going well.
Many Black Americans who have known no slavery or discrimination directly live in fear because of occurrences around the nation of Black men being killed by officers of the law for one reason or the other. The fear of seeing White Americans gather to protest a historical site of Confederate origin's right to exist, though it represents oppression, is a reminder that the US has a history that excluded Black Americans as citizens of equal worth.
Black Americans protest and some riot. Few attack White Americans who are going about conducting business because these misguided people are taught to hate and hurt White people. When these White people fight back, both sides cry foul.
Many Blacks hate Whites for history's sake. Anything a White person does to assist the Black communities cynics twist into a negative. If a White person popularizes a traditionally African American concept in fashion or music, it is called appropriation. If a White person helps a Black person from an indigent circumstance, detractors accuse that person of having a "White Savior" complex.
As sad as it sounds, discriminatory Black Americans are celebrated in the media as comedic geniuses, as they use jocularity to come up with different ways to insult or demean Whites. This behavior affects the youth of both races causing hate on both sides. If a White comedian were to do the same as a Black comedian, regardless of European Cultural Preference, there would be a cry from many directions against that person.
Focusing on all the negativity of the Black American experience in America in an attempt to convince people that Blacks have experience disenfranchising abuses at the hands of White Americans has the psychological effect of creating frustrated and angry individuals.
Mormons (properly referred to as Latter-day Saints) are White, according to most people questioned about it.
How does European Cultural Preference Relate to Mormonism?
"Mormonism" in the United States is a microcosm of US culture--White-dominated US culture to the extreme and Black expressionism of equal passion to the extreme. Let me explain.
God restored the Church through Joseph Smith Jr. in the context of his European heritage. When the Church spread around the world, all of its adherents had to accept a form of European culture along with the doctrines of the Restored Gospel for the leadership to consider them faithful.
When the Gentile nations started joining the early Christian church, which was full of Jews, the Jewish members began to teach the Greeks that they had to be circumcised as the Jewish members were according to the law of Moses. It was Jewish culture! Christianity was not supposed to be a different religion than Judaism. It was a fulfillment of the Law of Moses.
An apostle had to inform the members and early leaders that such a policy was not of God. Peter received a revelation to teach Gentiles the gospel and Paul explained it was folly to subject the new people of Christ to become Jews for cultural reasons just to fit into the church.
The same was true of the Church in modern times for a time. White members expected the new converts to accept their culture additionally. The misplaced sentiment among the faithful Jewish Christians mirrored later by a similar attitude among the Latter-day Saints directly relates to the perceived supremacy of the prevailing cultural ideology. It was what it was, however.
Latter-day Saints (Mormons) Are White?
Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are White, according to most people questioned about it. In several polls taken of members regarding race and demographics chosen at random, the participants were all White and from the Intermountain West. When people think of members of the Church, White people come to mind in the US. The consensus among Americans is that Latter-Saints are White people from Utah. At one time, that was true, though it is not true anymore. Just like most "White" groups, White members of the church discriminated against other groups of people, specifically Blacks.
There is too much history to relate how White people in the United States of varying religious persuasions discriminated against Black Americans to include here. Members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are the largest and most well-known group of people called Mormons. Though the church teaches no racism tolerated now, its members did not and do not all practice racial harmony.
Percent of Religion is White Americans
Percent of Black Americans in Religion
86% Church of Jesus Christ
>1% Church of Jesus Christ
87% Orthodox Churches
>1% Orthodox Churches
91% Protestants Churches
71% Protestants Churches
65% Catholics Churches
5% Catholics Churches
Members of the Church tend to believe what the majority of people in a White-dominated nation think--believing in the supremacy of the majority culture and heritage. For years the members of the Church taught that as the people of other faiths accepted Mormonism, if their skins were dark, with righteousness, their skin complexion would become like European Whites. Mormonism relates to European Cultural Preference in that being White is righteous culturally and will result in more favorable standing with deity.
Some members of differing ethnicities still errantly teach and believe this way even though Church leaders have supported documents that state that dark skin does not equate to unrighteousness or disfavor with God. "Church leaders today unequivocally condemn all racism, past and present, in any form" (Race and the Priesthood last para).
Since the leadership of the Church has not explicitly (as of yet) stated that concepts taught in the past regarding the origins of Black Africans through Cain and Ham have never been right, some Latter-day Saints believe statements made by deceased leaders were once correct, at least. As a way to keep dissonance at bay, members of the Church used mental gymnastics to explain away incorrect statements by past leaders following Declaration 2 which extended priesthood and temple blessing to all worthy people regardless of race.
The apologetic method to reconcile the faith to give the illusion of doctrinal continuity--that there was nothing taught errantly by past leader--is another way of cultural supremacy by using past leaders' statements regarding Blacks as a way of separating the chosen from the not so chosen people. To speak about it was to show a lack of faith. Leaders encourage people to move on with no explanation.
In Part three, more will be mentioned about cognitive dissonance and how members find ways to have their faith and reconcile it too.
- On Being a Latter-day Saint and a Black American: Living With the Past
The leadership gets it. The rest of us Latter-day Saints still need to work on it. Being Black and a Latter-day Saint in America is volumes of books waiting to be written condensed into articles. This is part three.
- On Being a Latter-day Saint and a Black American
The leadership gets it. The rest of us Latter-day Saints still need to work on it. Being Black and a Latter-day Saint in America is volumes of books waiting to be written condensed into this article.
Questions & Answers
© 2018 Rodric Anthony