Racism in the church
With the recent events in Charlottesville, a church member brought up the issue that racism is still present in the church.
I remember being shocked when I learned as a teenager that blacks didn’t receive the priesthood until 1978. That was only 10 years before I was born! And then, a few years ago, when I read the new essay on Race and the Priesthood that the church published, I learned that blacks couldn’t even receive temple ordinances until 1978. That seemed so wrong and absurd to me. After all, we put so much focus on the temple at church.
When I was young, an adult member of the church once told me that whites and black should not intermarry. He even used scriptures to back up his claims. This made me feel uncomfortable. I thought, “Why should whites and blacks not marry?” I had a good friend who was black, and her mother was black and had married a white man. I didn’t see anything wrong with that.
As a child, I once acquired a board game that taught about famous black people in history. I was super excited to play this game! I asked a church member to play the game with me. He looked at it and said, “But I don’t want to learn about black people. I want to learn about white people.” I felt so confused. I already knew so much about white people, and so I wanted to learn about black people, since I didn’t hear as much about them in my school history classes.
Some of my favorite people I learned about in history at school, were black people. In fact, I would often choose black people for my school assignments. I once did a report on Harriet Tubman. Another time I did a report on Martin Luther King, Jr. I love these people and there’s no reason why we shouldn’t learn about them. One of my favorite things to learn about in school was the Civil Rights Movement.
Some whites may lament that they are persecuted for being white, but when they do this, they downplay the persecutions that blacks face. This is wrong to do. Racism has always been directed at blacks, not whites. Whites don’t experience racism and cannot completely understand what blacks go through. They should stand with blacks and promote equality.
I wanted to end by saying that, as Zandra Vranes said in her video, members of the church should speak up when they hear something racist at church. Racism has been disavowed by the church and goes against today’s Church teachings. I highly recommend watching Zandra’s video. She talks about her experiences with racism in the church. We have so much work to do, but if we work together, we can put an end to racism once and for all.