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Anti-Racist Mormon

Posted: 27 Feb 2023, 10:53
by Roy ... principles

The title of this piece might not be the most accurate. It says that a Mormon church leader is anti-racist. The body of the interview is with a church member.

James Jones is a black member of the church that was in discussions/negotiations with Deseret Book to create a digital course to help "church members understand the experience of black people."

That came to a screeching halt when Bro. James wrote a Facebook post in which he described as "satanic" a BYU speech given by a church leader and critical of LGBTQ+ students.

Re: Anti-Racist Mormon

Posted: 27 Feb 2023, 11:30
by Roy
My general observations.

1) Being anti-racist means activism. It is not enough to just not do racist things yourself. It means that you look for racism that might not affect you personally and confront it. I think that being an activist in the church is hard. The church is VERY slow to change on things.
2) I think that this is complicated by the church's history on race. Essentially, the church's current stance on the Priesthood and Temple Ban is that God commanded it and then God rescinded it without explanation. The church condemns racism broadly but is super not specific about exactly what past church actions would qualify as racism.
3) I think an anti-racist activist would want for an organization to identify past racist behaviors, apologize, and change that behavior. This doesn't really happen in the LDS church and that can mean that racist ideas linger in the minds and teachings of some of the older members for a long time.
4) In our church, I feel that perhaps the cardinal sin is to criticize the "brethren." Therefore, some relatively successful LDS activists tend to spin some narrative of cherry picking past quotes of church leaders to make it seem like church leaders had always been supportive of the advocated change and somehow the members were just too obstinate to get with the program.
5) Because Brother Jones publicly called a church leader's words "Satanic," I think his efforts to help move the needle on this or any other issues is pretty much dead. That one Facebook post will follow him forever. It would not surprise me if Bro. Jones were to leave the church in the future. I imagine that Bro. Jones will be treated as if the bigger problem is his faith and/or adherence to covenants (sustain the brethren). I do not think it is very sustainable for an activist that believes strongly in a cause and wants to create change in an organization to be told instead that they are in fact the problem.

I feel like I have seen this pattern happen over and over. It is not anyone's fault really but it still saddens me. We lose good people.