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.


Civil Rights Era & Boyd K. Packer: Day Three

Fat Mo here. I just finished watching Mississippi Burning starring William deFoe & Gene Hackman. It’s an impactful movie for me. I saw it originally in the Camp Humphreys’ movie theater in 1989. I know it is a fictionalized account of what happened, but I didn’t know that then. Fast forward two decades & I met Henry “Hank” Miles, a retired state

Hank Miles Poet Novelist Scholar Hiker Retired State Department Employee Provo Utah
Henry “Hank” Miles

department employee who returned to Provo, Utah, climbed the ‘Y’ everyday, & took English Lit. & creative writing classes at UVSC (now UVU) for $5 a semester. During his youth, Hank was involved in the civil rights movement, going to marched & volunteering when he could.

The Civil Rights Era is an amazing time period for me. I missed it. Sure, I’m an Army Brat raised on Ft. Sill, OK, but in the 70s & 80s, the fire just wasn’t that hot anymore. Yes, I’ve witnessed racist acts & as I got older, I started acting against racism.

I want to know about President Packer’s experience & does it surface in his writings & sermons. I know his official biography deals with the Civil Rights Era & President Packer was a member of the Twelve when the revelation on the priesthood was received. What did he have to say about it?

I’ll let you know what I find.

Today: I am almost done with my document prep for all of President Packer’s sermons from 1970 to 1994 & I made some more progress on his book Teach Ye Diligently.

The progress is slow since I also get to watch two energetic & clever grandchildren as I research.

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