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.

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.

Boyd K. Packer and 2 Timothy 3: Day 6

Church Today
Fat Mo here. I’m at church and typing from the pews on my iPhone. Today was great & one of the best openings to sacrament meeting in a long time: we had a convert confirmation. Last night, a teenager who lives in our ward boundaries got baptized & today, she was confirmed & welcomed as a new member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The ‘spirit‘ of today’s meeting is happy & quite joyous. I haven’t been to a convert confirmation sacrement meeting in a long time–since I lived in Korea. 

I love coming to church. I know others find church difficult. I often do, but I always find joy at church. 

This, I think is one of the reasons President Packer was so assertive/aggressive in his defense of the purity of the church: he honestly wanted church to be happy for everyone & recognized certain aspects of contemporary society makes church painful, guilt-inducing, rage-inducing, opposition-inspiring,  & occasionally awful for people living philosophies & lifestyles counter to the doctrine, ethos, & principles to LDS Gospel & the will of God as stated by modern LDS prophets. 

In my research this morning, I came across President Packer’s application of 2 Timothy 3:1-7:

1 This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come.

2 For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy,

3 Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good,

4 Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God;

5 Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.

6 For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts,

7 Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth. 

I have been guilty of some these in my life, but rarely directed at members of the church, mostly directed at people at school, work, and/or on the internet who insist on the stupidities of whatever orthodoxy they cling to instead of looking beyond their checklist world to seek the ‘truth‘. 

Progress: I’ve been adding speeches, sermons, & Ensign articles written by President Packer from 1971 to 1985 & extracting the reference material he uses. Even though I didn’t blog about it, I worked on this project on Friday & Saturday this week between activities with friends and family as well as this morning before church. 

My master document is getting huge & it’s only on my hard drive. I’m planning on breaking it up by year & saving it to Google Docs & Dropbox. I don’t have a working CD/DVD burner anymore, but I’m going to need one. Once I’m ready to, I’m going to be printing everything, but that won’t be for some time. 

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