Racism: I Hope for an Upcoming Discussion within the LDS Church and the larger Mormon Culture

Bagley Fascist quotient

Pat Bagley is one of my favorite cartoonists and loves to poke at Utah, Mormon, National, and International issues. His cartoon above is pretty good. It deals with racism and fascism. Here is the link to the above cartoon so you can read the comments section if you’d like.

Racism is an issue for Mormonism. Honestly, its an issue for every religion and for every religious person, but it is an issue that has taken a long time to find a voice here in Utah and in the church. In 2010, then President Gordon B. Hinkley said:

Now I am told that racial slurs and denigrating remarks are sometimes heard among us. I remind you that no man who makes disparaging remarks concerning those of another race can consider himself a true disciple of Christ. Nor can he consider himself to be in harmony with the teachings of the Church of Christ.

President Hinckley is stating racism is wrong. This comment also appears in this years Sunday School manual. I hope it is talked about at conference this fall.

The church has made two official statements and I have read three great articles about Black Experience in the church, listed below:

When I was a kid (freshly moved from Oklahoma City where my neighbor proudly proclaimed her membership in the KKK with a large placardKKK-seal-1918-300x287 on her porch similar to the image on the right), I did not experience overt racism like I did in Oklahoma. Later, after I married a woman from Seoul, South Korea, blatant, direct racism was everywhere. Even at church. To avoid this, we started attending the BYU Asian Ward where most people were Korean, Japanese, Chinese, Thai, and Polynesian. I worked for the most part, but I did end up getting into two fistfights with bigots (one in the Provo, Smiths and the other at BYU). We were discriminated against by landlords, employers, and a few small businesses. After my then wife deserted us and I moved temporarily in with my parents, I heard racism against “mud-people” from my dad’s neighbor, a member of the bishopric, and his wife, the ward librarian. She would never let my kids check out materials for their classes during church.

At first I was shocked. I never shied away from confronting racism directly, but I was always alone. Now that my kids have moved out, I don’t hear it anymore.

During the 2016 Republican caucuses were I was my precinct’s vice chair, I spoke long against Donald Trump. I was a strong supporter of Gov. Kasich. My precinct went heavy for Ted Cruz during the caucus, but during the election, our precinct went for Evan McMullan who I voted for. After Trump won, I resigned from my precinct position and reregistered as an independent. Trump’s racism, and many other -isms, upset me greatly. There is no way I can support a bigot.

It is long since time for all forms of racism to disappear.

I oppose racism. I recognize my privilege as a white man. I am committed to working against racism (and other -isms). This doesn’t mean I reject my Scots and Jewish ancestry, but it does mean I will do everything I can to oppose the notion, my heritage makes me superior to anyone else.

We as Latter-day Saints need to work long and hard on this issue and I look forward to the discussions that will be happening within the church about it.

School at Utah Valley University Starts Monday.

I registered for classes & I’ve been fighting with financial aid at Utah Valley University. School starts Monday. I’m pretty excited a just a little scared. I haven’t been in class for quite some time & from what I’ve been told, the classroom dialectic has changed.

The free & open exchange of ideas is no longer an option. Some speech by some students is not welcome.

I’ve decided if my voice is not welcome in a particular discussion, then I’ll keep it under my hate & dialogue with the teacher through email. I don’t want to cause a fuss & I also don’t want some younger students to feel like I’m the enemy.

Regarding my Boyd K. Packer research, I’m still working a bit every day. I’m slowly proceeding, but eventually, I’ll be able to start publishing papers.

Related to this, I’m going to be doing a load of volunteer hours working for a new on campus religious studies journal that’s yet to be named & I’m going to start working directly with Boyd Peterson, an editor on Dialogue, a Mormon Studies literary journal. I’m pretty stoked.

Moving: Nothing Screws Up Research & Life Like Moving

Fat Mo here and no I haven’t stopped doing research on Boyd K. Packer, but everything has slowed down quite a bit. Moving does that. I’m not moving far, just from one floor to another, but I have so much going on, getting work done is hard.

The other thing going on is I’m getting ready to finally go back to school in the fall. The goal is push through to a masters at the very least. I’ve been fighting with financial aid all summer. I always freak out when I have to deal with them. Maybe it’s not the case, but it feels like they are the guys whose job it is to chase away the people modern universities don’t want attending college. People like me: middle aged fat guys who should’ve gotten things taken care of years ago.

Hang in there, I’ll be able to give you some updates about the research soon.

Boyd K. Packer; Marriage & the Atonement: Day 22

Provo City Center Temple Utah Marriage LDS MormonsFat Mo here and sorry for not posting what day I’m on in my WordPress posting history and the title definitely does not mean this is my twenty-second post, just that I’ve now been blogging and researching Boyd K. Packer (BKP) for twenty-two days simultaneously. Slight clarification.

I’ve been focusing on BKP’s last year speaking and publishing articles. I only have three examples: a General Conference talk and two Ensign Magazine articles. BKP’s talk and one of the articles are similar. Both examples discuss the Atonement and marriage. One of BKP’s statements at conference caught my eye:

“The end of all activity in the Church is to see that a man and a woman with their children are happy at home, sealed together for time and all eternity” (Packer. pg 26).

BKP says the church’s program’s purpose is establishing strong families under LDS parameters. The sermon gives a little biographical information about the Packers and then delves into the nitty-gritties of LDS courtship, marriage, children, exceptions to doctrine, trials & tribulations, sin & transgression, and the Atonement of Jesus Christ and the Atonement’s role in all marriages (LDS or not).

This is BKP’s last talk before he dies that summer.

It is a great talk. Better to read, then listen to, because BKP was quite old and ill and gave his talk from his seat. His voice is rough and course sounding and lacking a lot of the strength of his past addresses. I highly recommend reading it (here).

I’ve completed the physical examination and a tight reading of the text and I’m working over the data now and tomorrow, I’ll create the content index. Next, I am going to combine the three text samples and then look for parallels in the texts.

Boyd K. Packer. Ensign; May 2015 Conference Addresses. “The Plan of Happiness.” R. Val Johnson, ed. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints; Salt Lake City, Utah, USA, 2015

Boyd K. Packer & the Atonement

Fat Mo here & I’m at church. Early. For the last three days I’ve been working through an article in April 2015’s Ensign called, “The Savior’s Selfless and Sacred Sacrifice”. The article is based on Boyd K. Packer’s (BKP) understanding of the Atonement. The article is long, approximately 2400 words and I focused on 1137 of those words as most of the others were words of no special mark (for now).

The pattern I’ve noticed the most is the article, in part, reads like a list poem. Obviously, BKP loves the Atonement & what it does for all humanity. I am examining his last conference talk before his death this week also. It isn’t nearly as long, but has much the same feel to it where BKP focuses on what he considers is the most important aspect of the church’s entire program: marriage in the temple and the miracle of the Atonement as it applies to married people.

 

Still Reading

Fat Mo here late Friday night & I'm about to hit the hay. I got a lot done today. I finished indexing the first chapter of Teach Ye Diligently. & I read an Ensign article from April 2015 about the atonement & forgiveness.
Boyd K. Packer's message is typically quite uplifting. This notion of his controversial nature requires a lot of attention. This notion is at the heart of audience analysis & Nephi's idea of the wicked taking to truth to be harsh judgement. Those who love the church will have no problems with what he is saying, but those who find themselves with the church, hate Packer because of his direct message.
Within the general culture of Mormonism, regardless of membership, Packer is a bit of a lightning rod. Binary thinkers opposing the church took most of Packer's sermons personally & so an article about the atonement, would still raise their hackles.

Progress: I sorted a few more talks & articles for my master document. I updated the 'books' page on this blog. I worked on chapter one of Teach Ye Diligently. I read & analyzed an article from April 2015's Ensign.

New Book

This is way short. I drove all over the place today, but while at Deseret Industries today, I bought a new Boyd K. Packer book, The Holy Temple.
I haven't started reading it yet, but I did read & itemized another chapter in BKP's Teach Ye Diligently & worked some more in The Things of the Soul.