Thursday, October 2, 2014

AS SISTERS IN ZION....


“THE ERRAND OF ANGLES IS GIVEN TO WOMEN
AND THIS IS A GIFT, AS SISTERS, WE CLAIM
TO DO WHATSOEVER IS GENTLE AND HUMAN
TO CHEER AND TO BLESS IN HUMANITY’S NAME..”
In the history of Los Angeles is a list of diverse women
Last year I, along with a few of my other Black LDS Sister Bloggers, were asked to  express why we felt  the Struggle for being a Black Women in the church was not that of the same struggle as those who were looking to Ordain Women to the Priesthood or to petition to have more women in more visual leadership and speaking roles in the church.
  The Church has women of every kind from all walks of life, with different perspectives and working toward differing causes. However our Membership in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints should at least bring us to the common goal of  supporting, strengthening and cheering each other on in those appropriate times.   No matter what else we do or what differing perspectives we have, if we can understand our differing struggles and  Support and Celebrate each other through them,  then we, as Sisters In Zion, will always be unified  and solid.
   A mere six months ago Myself, as well as a few other  Black LDS Female Bloggers were asked to submit Statements on our Perspective of why  we felt The Struggles of the Mormon Feminist Housewives and Ordain Women were not united with the struggles of the black sisters. Why was their not more support from Black sisters of these two organizations and causes.

    Many of us felt those groups were more geared toward the  White sister of the church because so little mention, if any, of the  racial struggle in the church and how it effects the black sisters is a taboo issue.

   By now almost everyone knows the History of the Church concerning it’s black members, and how  certain blessing on Earth and in Eternity were said to be withheld from the African/African American Race. Finding the true reasoning behind it is even more of a taboo conversation that, thank goodness, more people are now willing to have.
 My black sisters and did our best to educate our bloggers, twitter followers and Facebook fans on things like Wearing Pants to Church and Speaking out about having a Women Pray in a more Popular Session of General Conference.   Even if we didn’t do it ourselves we spread the news, educated those around us. 
  When General Conference came around last Spring and a Sister gave one of the Prayers, Social media lit up with  excitement and praise! I mean my phone, lap top, Tablet and every other gadget I own  that allows social media buzzed and beeped and sang and rang for days regarding this monumental occasion!  PROGRESS, my sisters, and we all worked together!

5 days ago  on September  27th, 2014 our General Conference Season started, as it typically does with our General Women’s session.
For the most part it started as it typically does:
  Prelude Music , Announcement of show is conducting,  which Choir would be singing for that session and so on and so forth.
 Announcements are made The Agenda presented,  The opening hymn was sung and the announcement of the who would be opening up our World Wide General Conference. 
Unbeknownst to the majority of us was a Sister from South Africa who had taken her place in the Red Velvet seats reserved for those who  would have a part I that session of conference. 



Sister  Dorah Mkhabela a member of the LDS Young Women’s General Board, is THE FIRST BLACK Sister to ever pray in a session of General Conference. Not the first Sister Of Color, but the FIRST BLACK SISTER, African Descent. She is also the first black women to be on any General Board of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. 
 Given The History in this country and in the church. This is MOMENTOUS!  THIS IS AMAZING. THIS IS HUGE! And  THIS IS HISTORY!

I was reminded of a time in  1978 when I heard on the Radio that President Spencer W Kimball of the LDS Church announced that EVERY  Worthy Mail would be able to receive the priesthood! Because this meant that. 
 So that you can understand the magnitude of this let me explain a few things from my point of view:

Black families have been ripped apart since before they set foot on this land.  We have been torn away from our families in Africa and brought to this country. Then while I this country stolen away and sold from the family. And after slavery, taken away to travels hundreds of miles and states away to find work to provide for a family many would not have the luxury of living in the same home, if the family were to survive. Degraded, demeaned and belittled in a place where thought to be less than human, yet still drafted to fight for the very country that held it’s thumb on their neck while they, trying to survive. This very country partially built with the blood, sweat ,tears and flesh of so many people of color.
  When my family joined the church back in  1972… a church where black people “could never” excel to the point of the highest degree of Heaven, it was baffling.  Until “Could Never”  turned into… “in the Lord’s time.”      And while we waited for “The Lord’s” time, my family pressed on.  With the help and love of our ward family we pressed on in this church.     

 When it came time for my siblings in I to be baptized at the age of 8 we each, in turned, chose a brother from within the ward to guide us into the waters of baptism, while our father sat and humbling watched another man bring his children into the Gospel. He must have felt some kind of way! If I know my father, he was simply just grateful to those ward brothers for accepting the invitation and providing a way for his children, since he could not. I’m sure he felt the same way when having to call upon those men to come to his aide in blessing his family in times of illness and other hardships the family faced.  We had to go outside of he, who should have been partnered in spiritual authority in his own home, to seek out someone else and bring them into our home to partake of those blessings of the priesthood.
    The Brethren in our ward and stake Did “whatsoever is gentle and human!”

   I ask you as a member today, how willing would YOU be to bypass your husband or father to bring another man in your home to bless you and your family? How willing would YOUR husband or father be to do that? You’d probably do it, but I tell you eventually you would begin to feel some kind of way.

In  1978 that long promised day arrived! My father and brothers would then receive the priesthood!    The phone rang off the hook FOR DAYS!! Those on the other line laughed and cried and shouted for joy. They blessed us and thanked Heavenly Father.  What did they care? They already had the gift of the Priesthood in their home!    These are the moments when you know you are loved. When you know you are heard. When you know you are supported because they  “cheered and blessed in humanity’s name!”  I still don’t think that in 36 years we fulfilled all of the dinner invitation we rec’d.
5 Days ago on Saturday September 27, 2014. THIRTY-SIX YEARS after the first black man had the priesthood restored to him, a black woman opened up our General Conference Season with Opening Prayer!  How exciting to share this with my other brothers and sisters of the church!  I expected much like the celebrations of the church membership back in  1978!  Oh, what a mistake that was!  Of course the my Black LDS Sisters would be rejoicing! It is the first time we’ve seen a representation of who we are in those red velvet seats.  What a POWERFUL IMAGE to see Sister Dorah take her place among the leadership.  She not only took her place… she essentially in doing so, RSVP’d a place for the rest of us.  And to those of who have been watching those red seat decade after decade fill with every face but your own, it was an overwhelming state of grace and redemption and Heavenly Father’s love.
But wait…. My gadgets weren’t  buzzing and ringing or beeping or Singing. I went to my black Mormon blogs and they were all afire.  I went to the Ordained Women and  Mormon Feminist Housewives blog, and the places that sought us out 5 months ago to help rally their cause and there was a “woot or two.”   I think quite a few of my Black Sisters were in awe at the lack of support.  After all we had worn pants to church. We had blogged about the push to have women pray in conference.  Some are active on the Ordain Women cause.  So excuse when I ask… WHERE THE HELL ARE OUR WHITE SISTERS????
**CRICKETS**
 Where is their Conversation and Dialogue? Where is their praise and excitement? Where is their sharing and educating of  Our Moment the way we shared and educated theirs? Where is the “CHEERING IN HUMANITY’S NAME?” 
 So we pumped the breaks on our celebration to ask them.. .HEY, where are you? Where is the “go tell it on the mountain” team that came to us six months ago and asked US to “go tell it on the mountain?”  You invited us to help you host this party. And then you bailed on us after your portion of the Grandstanding was finished.   In essence it feels like the we were invited to the big house, only to be left there alone after the main party moved on to another house on the plantation and forget about us.

Having to stop the celebration to educate others about it, turns less  into a celebration and more like the usual let me explain this so you’ll “get it.”   Did it dampen our  Respect for the situation?  Absolutely not! Did it stop OUR celebrating? No, not at all. What it DID do was show us why truly why the Sister in Zion will probably  not be standing together in solidarity for a long, long time. It let us know that if we aren’t in a position to be our own champions or stand up for ourselves we just do not know that we can count on our white sisters to stand up in our behalf.

  
  Until those sisters fighting for Equality in the church begin to SEE US and be included on our Turf, the way we took up their invitation our their turf and treat us as their equals and stand with us, the same way they stand with each other, we will have a difficult time seeing ourselves and benefactors for their cause.   

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Playing the Cards We Are Dealt...


I'm not normally an overprotective mom.  I'm a proud mom, but not over protective.

And now that my Daughter is in a more secure situation I can Unleash.



  Most of you know my daughter Graduated May of last year in early childhood education. She graduated from USU with honors. Some of you came to her Graduation Open house.    She was hired immediately by a school who was excited to have her. Their first black teacher in a school with a very diverse student body.   Her hard work has paid off. Her dreams were just beginning!
Soon after the school year began she  noticed that wasn't getting the support she needed by the very principle that hired her.

 She had a very difficult student who would throw chairs, desks, hit and spit at her and the other kindergartners. When she would follow protocol to call down to the office for help, the help would either never arrive or help would be delayed 20- 30 minutes. It got to the point where when this student was acting up, she would have to designate another student to lead the class out of the room to another location for their own safety, while she dealt with this child.  It was difficult for her to teach a class that is constantly being disrupted and where kids are in fear of being hurt. 

When another child was hurt because of it, she would then have to follow protocol and notify the wounded child's parents and have to deal with them being concerned about the safety of their child.  She would speak to the principle and vice principle every day about this student. She would speak to the student's parent  about their behavior.  Other teachers would speak to the Principle and VP  about the disruptions in her class. They spoke in her behalf to which admin still did nothing or "assumed" it was an over reaction of a first year teacher, OR feeling the importance of it was not properly communicated. I'm not sure how  " I have  student throwing chairs, spitting and hitting other students and myself" could be miscommunicated, but  then again, I don't know the kind of people she's dealing with.  My daughter, being who she is, documented everything. Every time she called for aide, how long it took the to respond, when they didn't respond, and their resolution when they did respond, if there was one.
It took administration from the district to come into her classroom on one of her observation days to jump into the behind of this principle to move her into action. They, were in shock at the constant disruption and the lack of support my daughter had in her classroom.

 She is good at what she does so she pushed through and the end of the year after having worked so hard on this child and his behavior it turned out he would listen and respond positively to only her.  She then requested to have him in her 1st grade class to created and continue on with his progress and to give him that same stability for a second year in a row. The principle decided to not allow him back to the school because of all the "issues" he caused.

She was inundated with communications from this principle and the other Kindergarten teacher that  were labeled as "misunderstandings" and "miscommunication" and so on and so fourth. The other Kindergarten teacher would be upset with my daughter when my daughter wouldn't take her advise or or teach the same schedule.  She would literally burst into tearful dramatics about it. My daughter was then requested and strongly suggested to take a personal interest in this other teacher. To "be her friend" and "have lunches together" and Spend time with her." Things that professionally shouldn't even be considered or asked of her.  To the point where my daughter was no longer comfortable meeting alone with the principle or the other teacher. She then wanted to start requesting for her mentor or a member of her union to attend each meetings .She finished the year with high scoring evaluations, and comments to which the districts and her mentors  were highly impressed with her. To which her principle would respond... 'you did pretty good for being a first year teacher.'  By the time summer came she was stressed and exhausted. But she finished. She decided to take the 1st grade spot that opened up in her school for this next year so as not to have conflict with the other Kindergarten teacher who tried to push demands on her.

 At the end of the school year was also told by the principle if she didn't take a certain class over the summer she wouldn't have a job next school year.  Being a first year teacher she didn't know any different so she took that class over the summer. Typically she has 3-5 years to take this particular class.
Turns out that was a lie. She had time to take that class(she had the typical time line for taking it) and her job was never dependent of her taking it  this summer.  
 
 Last month she returned to the same school as a first grade teacher.   On day one when she went in to set up her class room the principle let her know that her student numbers were low.  And just about every day after that the principle let her know that their numbers were low. She wasn't too worried about it because she had 1 year seniority over the other 2 teachers who were just hired and she was a k-3rd grade teacher.  While having lunch with the other teachers she mentioned about the numbers being low.  None of the other teachers knew anything about it. Which apparently when this kind of thing happens the faculty as a whole should be notified and then they come together to discuss that solutions and then vote on it as a faculty.   In My daughter's case, this didn't happen at all. She was being singled out and was encouraged to contact her teachers union. The numbers cannot be helped, that, she knew. But she actually had seniority over the 2 new teachers who just started. So she didn't really pay too much attention to the numbers.


The 2nd week of school during a faculty meeting as the principle was addressing an issue and asked for questions or suggestions from the teachers.  My daughter raised her hand and offered a suggestion to which the Principle  angrily spouted back "YOU can do that if YOU want to...."  or something to that effect. There was an audible gasp in the room from her coworkers and the teachers who had their hands raised to offer other suggestions, quickly put them down.
  When she privatley confronted the principle about afterwards, the principle was "shocked and horrified"  that she came across that way to her.  However the staff was receiving "a clue."

                                                       Discrimination IS NOT DUCKY!!!

  It was after that faculty meeting that the rest of the staff "got the picture" which then became so OBVIOUS to them.  No less than 4 teachers came to my daughter afterwards and remarked  on how  looking back at the last year and how the Principle has treated her and has been treating her they believe my daughter to discriminated against and the principle and the only reason that made sense was because she was "brown". They began to tell her about little comments and disapproving looks "Daggers" they've heard and seen come from the principle within the last year regarding my daughter. One of them being "we have a  brown teacher to go with all of little brown kids at this school don't we?"

 These teachers, so disgusted with the principle, started calling in to the district and their union in her behalf. My daughter was encouraged to call her Union by the other teachers, which she did immediately. Her union stepped in right away she described to them the situation and they recognized it to be discrimination. The Union rep flat out said.. "Oh, no, this is discrimination...."  Interesting enough, the principle called that same day...a few hours after my daughter.  Which the district agreed was suspect and suspicious.
. In the end, my daughter could continue on at that same school in a different capacity that would be less than favorable for any teacher, not to mention a 2nd year teacher Or she could put her name in the district pool  and be sent to another school while they determine what course of action to take with this principle.  She only had about 24 hours to decide.  Staying and battling and putting up with  this principle who is now being looked at and reviewed by the district.

 I told her THIS is why we stayed in Utah, to be pioneers and to help pave the way for those who could come behind us and to help fight discrimination (race, gender, religious... whatever form it takes) even if just by being a presence to be seen.   
She volunteered as tribute to leave and  will be moving to another school.

Timeline: Last Monday was when she first called the Union. By Tuesday she had to make her decision. Last Thursday it was announced in their faculty meeting she would be leaving.  She said everyone was in tears at the announcement and it felt like she was going to the Hunger Games.
 Even the principle pretended to cry. (Several teachers commented to her about the lack of sincerity in the principle.) Friday she was wondering what her next move would be. They spoke of sending her to Magna.  However Magna has it's own issues with race. So she will not be going to Magna.
    She did finally receive knowledge of where she will be teaching, however, there is no classroom for her. She will be teaching in a portable. Which she has no problem with. Actually will welcome the isolation.  The only issue is that her "RELO" (relocated classroom)will not arrive to her new school for another week.   She starts teaching at her new school tomorrow..

3 days ago She had to tell her First grade students she was leaving them. They were scared and some cried.  Yesterday she spent the day reassuring that change can be good. And she has to go be a teacher for some kids that don't have a teacher. And that it's ok to be scared about the change but they will be taken care of by their new teachers. Then at the end of the day she packed up her student and took them to their new classrooms. They were scared and confused as she dropped each one off and left them. 

   I took the day off work today so I could help her pack her class room. Her  former students would stop and peek in her door with sad faces and wave to her through the window of the class room door. 
 It was really one of the saddest things I've seen.

  Several teachers came in upset and  teary eyed with their desires for her to stay.  They let me know how much of an asset she is and how she will be missed. They also let me know how they were about the situation.  I assured them she was not happy either and as a mother I would rather have her leave then continue to be abused and mistreated.  They all agreed.  I'm also finding out that parents are ringing the phones upset about her leaving and the district is continuing to get calls and complaints regarding this principle.

   I have been silent waiting for her to be located to  a different school so as not to make it more difficult for her.

 But now that she is off the clock today  leaving that place I don't mind saying I AM MAD AS HELL!

  Why did this woman hire my daughter just to mess her around, make her experience as a first year teacher hell, full of  frustration, tears, stress and discrimination?  THIS is not what I wanted for her. THIS is not what she wanted for herself. THIS is not what anyone who knows and loves her wanted for her.     People like that can only hide who they truly are for so long because truth speaks loudly in actions and in expressions. Truth will manifest itself always. ALWAYS.

We are told that in life to play the cards we're dealt. Except, when it comes to that Race card.  It automatically makes you a victim, dramatic, one who antagonizes and is a hater. They say that black people are ALWAYS looking for a time to play the race card.  MY daughter not once mentioned her race in all of this.  She refuse to play all the cards she was dealt. People would have expected her to play it.     However those who know her and the kind of person she was and the amazing teacher she is, they grabbed her hand and played that card for her.  THEY recognized it. THEY  saw it and THEY played it in my daughter's behalf. And it meant something to the district. It meant something to her as well.

 I remember when she experienced something like this in high school and was so upset I got a call from the school to come right over. A student had singled my child out for bullying that day. And she stood up to this bully, but ended up in the office.  Her Counselor asked if she was hurt or harmed. She wasn't.   After speaking with  her and her counselor for about an hour her counselor asked her what she felt was the worse part of this experience.
My daughter said, "I don't care about the person who was trying to bully me. But, it was watching my friends sit back and do nothing at all, they didn't stand beside me, come to my defense or my aide. They just watched and did nothing." 
Her counselor asked her is she wanted to have her friends called down and have a discussion about that.   Props to the counselor for allowing her to have that conversation with her and providing a teaching moment.


 THE SADDEST PART ABOUT RACISM & DISCRIMINATION IS WHEN YOU ARE GOING THROUGH IT AND YOUR FRIENDS AND FAMILY STAND BEHIND AND WATCH INSTEAD OF STEPPING UP AND HOLDING YOU FIRM AS YOU GO THROUGH IT. Those in bondage can never free themselves, it takes those who are free to come in and assist.

                                                            OH  AND SERIOUSLY:

  *drops mic, exits stage left*

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Black Pearls Of Great Price


As far back as I can remember I've been taught that man is fallible, therefor making our prophets and church leaders fallible. Since the beginning of time  God has allowed man the opportunity and the blessing of leading his church and his people. Since the beginning of time man has found a way to misinterpret, mislead, misrepresent, misjudge and mistake their own will to be that of the will of the Lord. Some succumb to weak moments, temptations and social pressures. There was never a time when men, leaders, disciples of the Lord haven't made mistakes. They've never been perfect.

 HISTORY LESSON TIME:

Abraham succumb to adultery.

 With King David it was adultery, murder, lying, polygamy

Elijah was selfish, lacking faith and confidence in God

 Jonah directly disobeyed and hung out in a whale for some time.

Moses Murdered a man and ran from justice, Then disobeyed God in anger.

Noah was intoxicated and physically exposed

Paul  had some adult language going on wishing people would "castrate themselves" and calling his troubles "dung" (aka Sh*t) 

Peter Denied Jesus. Discriminated against the Gentiles

The brother of  Jared Chastise for not speaking/praying to the Lord  for years WHILE being prophet.

The stories of Alma the younger and sons of Mosiah.

Joseph Smith had his many fallibility as well.  
As did prophets after Joseph Smith.

None of this means it's ok to follow likewise. If a prophet makes a mistake he doesn't justify it making it ok for us to make it.

We claim these men as fallible yet justify their failings as some sort of inspiration to be held for a period of time and then lifted at another appointed time. 

Last week a statement shows up on the church website basically reciting the history of how black people were viewed in the eyes of the Church and it's doctrine. The article is on the church website www.lds.org. Thank goodness for the search option, because it's buried. Being the helpful sort of sistah I am I'll help you out.  You can find it right here!

Many of my white brothers and sisters were excited about the newly publicised history lesson on the church's past doctrines about black members being disfavored in the eyes of the Lord as well as the rest of the world and the denouncing of such teachings.  I should be jumping for joy and singing the hallelujah chorus, right?  Well, that's at least how I'm hearing I'm supposed to feel. We're not to look a gift horse in the mouth. We're to be thankful and grateful for steps moving forward into progress.  And trust me I am.

 I'm so very grateful that the Church has acknowledged to the world  that they have looked up and taught for centuries that black people were considered less than valiant, less than valuable in the eyes of the Lord and in their eyes as well.  Because if we are to be Christlike and become as the Lord is, then that would surely mean if the Lord values black people less, then they, too should strive to be like him.
 Much like a married should be happy to know the truth about a cheating spouse. Overjoyed!

  OH, wait, I bet that doesn't sound right, does it? A little bitter to the taste?
 The information that came forth regarding the black members and the Church is not new revelation. It's not presented as a proclamation.  For me, it was a history lesson, one we've been hearing through the years.   It may be said a little differently but for me, it's a rerun. A review with a footnote included this time: Oh,  by the way we don't teach that stuff anymore so all is well.   Now back to your regularly scheduled program.

Throughout the years we've read in the scriptures about 'white and delight some people and dark and loathsome people knowing these words will be ingrained into every member of the church. Subconsciously how will this play into finding an eternal companion for myself and my children. Would the church rather I marry someone outside of it to my own race, or does race matter. I will indeed matter to those who believe whats been ingrained through our gospel teaching.

  Today I find myself in between my black brother and sisters. There is an Old school set of black Mormons with old school patiences, tolerance and wisdom. With a calmness and an atmosphere that we are to be grateful for  acknowledgments and blessings we've been given compared to those of say, Sister Jane James and  Elder Elijah Able. They have adjusted and adapted and accepted old protocol. Protocol that may need to be replaced by a different strategy.

The New School set of Black Mormon  are younger, louder, more energetic, willing and able to move full speed ahead but are losing soldiers along the way due to spiritual supplies being withheld or lacking to hasten the work.

I feel at the cusp of both teams.  And am struggling myself with recognizing the balance between the two. Both sides are much needed in this spiritual battlefield.
      When people ask me why black members aren't accepting and satisfied with all the church has said and done about acknowledging the Priesthood ban and the devaluing of black members through out the history of the church, I take them on a quick trip.

   Imagine you are part of a struggling group, not of your own doing, but born into what is perceived to be an undesirable circumstance. You and your group leave all you know in search of  a Paradise you've heard of  where you well be nourished 100 percent body and soul, loved, accepted and flourish amongst all who are there, regardless of your "undesirably circumstances."  So you all set out on this journey in search of  Paradise. The trek is hard. It's grueling. Some have died an never reach paradise. It's a heartbreaking. And it's going to take years to get to the final destination.  You soldering on for a few year and you scavenge and forage for whatever supplies you need. You have shelter and clothing and the essentials to be alive but you'll have to find a way to gain all you need to make it safely to the final destination.  When you come to as Place where you are able to Rest, Eat, Drink, Mend and Restore and you praise the Lord and find joy in it and believe you've found your destination so you prepare to make your home.   After a while you recognize this is not your final destination.  You've been brought to this place and most of what you need to dwell here an make this your home But some of it is tainted and needing repair. The people are tolerant, some even loving. Others are aware of your  "unfavorable" circumstances by birth and they hold it against you. They accept  you being here, but not because they want to or believe you have a right to be since they're still being taught that you're still of less value which somehow taints this location.  You and your group knows it's time to continue on.
 You've traveled many years in the elements and putting up with whatever comes your way and in the far distance you see a land with plush greens and blue waters so you hasten your travels and your body and soul are replenished with praise and energy knowing that soon the journey will be over. As you finally reach this paradise, you realise it's just a facade that you've been promised.  You're tired. You're hungry, you're dehydrated in need of major rest and uplifting. You are welcomed to the facade and given a small piece of bread and a sacrament cup of water and sent on your way.   Are you confused? Are you Grateful? Are you deflated? Are you nourished? Can you sustain your life on the respite and refreshment you've just received?  And if so, for how long?  You continue on your journey another few years and again see in the far distance a land that appears to be what has been described as the place of promise. Again your heart and spirits soar! This MUST be it you're finally arriving!  Only got get closer and find another facade. Crust of bread, shot glass of water, and you're back on the journey. "

  The group is a group of Mormons.
 The Undesirable Circumstance is the Black skin (according to previous teaching)
The trek is waiting for the priesthood.
The first place mistaken to be Paradise is the Priesthood ban being lifted.
The intolerance and tainted supplies are teaching materials of how black people are perceived in our scriptures and church history.

Those who hold the intolerable circumstances against you are the generations of people tainted by those teachings. Because no one has educated them other wise.  In Paradise the people will have a strong and unwavering knowledge that those teachings were incorrect and not to be indoctrinated again.

The Facades along the journey are statements from the people in charge of paradise. They share little new information, some  headway to announcing a strong unwavering knowledge but never strong and unwavering. This is your crust of bread and sacrament cup of water through out your journey.

The land of Paradise will be when the People in charge of Paradise decide to just say.  We devalued this people because of their undesirable circumstances. We should have never done that. We've taught that because of it they were less valuable in the eyes of God and in our Eyes. That was wrong as well. We no longer believe this. We no longer teach this and we need to do whatever we can to correct it and make sure everyone knows it.

  It really is that simple  So we're waiting for people to die of from being in charge of the capital and new people to be called in charge of the capital so we can reach paradise with the other Mormons.
We're not only battling forces outside of the church we're battling forces inside the church along with some others.  But our battle is different, I feel.

 There was a time these teachings, talks and discussions were buried in the bowel of the churches historical archives where they could be silenced and put to rest.  Perhaps if the church can stop talking about it and just focus on the here and now we, as a people can pretend it didn't happen and move forward.  Direct questions to Official Declaration 2 in our continuing revelation set of scripture, The Doctrine and Covenant and keep it rolling.  But you can't Silence Sister Internet Explorer and Brother "I'm Feeling Lucky" Google.   Because they have access to and a willingly share all of their knowledge for those who seek to partake of it. 

As a Gospel Doctrine Teacher in my Ricks College Ward, now known as BYU-Idaho I remember when it came time to teach the "Blacks in the Priesthood" lesson. I threw out the book. Walked into the class room and announced..."Today's lesson is, ask me all your questions about me and my family being black members of the church. We're going to have a discussion, no books, no manuals telling me what I'm supposed to say and how you're supposed to answer."     I'm not one to be uncomfortable in silence because that's where real conversations with the Lord happen and I couldn't find anything I should be uncomfortable about.   But they looked like hell, scared to open their mouths. Hesitant in what they should say and how they should say it.     Finally some one raised their hand, and I nodded to them.
  He said cheerfully and so happy for me and my family..."How did it feel when the church revealed that black people in the church were worthy enough to have the priesthood."
 Oh he was so happy for me and mine that we could finally enjoy the blessings of eternity.
     I laughed out loud and said... "IS THAT WHAT YOU'VE BEEN TAUGHT?? Because I heard it differently."   I told them I've never heard of someone not being worthy of the priesthood to even be invited to be baptised. Why baptise someone unworthy of its priesthood, isn't that are requirement of baptism?  My father wasn't being held accountable for Adam's Eve's or even Cain's transgression according to Article of Faith #two.
As a primary child I knew and in hindsight understood some of these things. And it wasn't lost on me that if
 "We believe man should be punished for his own sins and not Adam's transgressions."  
                           Then my father, being punish for something Cain, or Ham or any other mans transgression didn't jive right with what "We Believe..."

 So the only thing I could really say...
  "See, I heard my father couldn't have the priesthood because your mother and father weren't worthy enough to let him have it. So we had to wait on church leaders and y'all. And what Y'all were waiting for... I don't know."

   Keep in mind this was mid 1980's in Idaho. I was the first real black person many of them had seen outside of a TV set.

  In our church the literature and doctrine has been so peppered with this teaching that simple lifting the ban is not going to flip the switch in the minds of those who are indoctrinated.
         Years and years, books and books, talks and talks over generations and generations have been impregnated into the minds of the members.  And the members need books and books, talks and talks over generations and generations to repair the damage it has brought forth.
  In a short news cast the church divulged why they released the statement. You can find it here.

Some of the younger generations is finding the "pocked" history of the church, questioning it, feeling deceived and leaving the church because of it.   Others will say, if they truly believed in modern day revelation, they would not be struggling and leaving.  I cry B.S. It's not a matter of Modern Day Revelation.
 It is a matter of  believing that we preach that our prophets are fallible, but when it comes to their fallibility we justify it as new revelations and the field being ripe for the harvest..
 The Priesthood ban and views on black people were not in accordance to the Gospel of Jesus Christ that we've been teaching  and learning about.  Even as a kid in primary I knew that.  And once you know something you can't "unknown" it.

   The news cast is very telling to me. It tells me that maybe families should be  teaching  in the home about diversity. Acceptance of it and tolerance of others.

Gay members are surely speaking about how the church relates to them. But are they discussion on racism effects other members of the church and how we should be against it?

Feminist are surely speaking about wearing pants and ordaining women in the home, but are they speaking about racism and homophobia.

I know many black families that are teaching all of the above in their family. Some even go so far to say as I'd rather have a gay kid then a kid who committed suicide because of it.  Sadly  this is actually what's happening to our gay and black youth in the church.  I've yet to hear about feminist suicides.

Oddly enough the church has powerful, straight forward, stances on issues of feminist rights and gay rights.  They have been addressed many times in our general sessions strongly, powerfully, forcefully. There is no misunderstanding  past and present views on these issues.

Blacks in the church is still a gray area. How fitting (black and white does create the color grey doesn't it?)
  We hear things like...' The theory of why the ban was put in place was wrong"  or " Policy upheld due to it just not being the proper time."
   Amongst my white brothers and sisters in the church I hear,  "But that's over now,  we need to forget about all that." Why do you choose to focus on the past and revisit old spiritual wounds?"    From some of my black brothers and sisters I hear.. "I don't choose to focus on that past history, I choose to move forward."
     To my fellow black members:  You must know your passed so it doesn't repeat and become your future.

To my white brothers and sisters:  Yes, it's over now. Until your cousin approaches my daughter, niece or nephew and call them a nigger. Or tell them they were playing basket ball in the pre-existance, Or tells them  "I can't date you because you're black, and my family wouldn't understand or support it."
  Happens quite often for black members.

 How can WE forget about it when your generations are finding ways to remind us?  Black youth are becoming inactive before some of them are out of primary. Even more so for black youth with white parents.
 At one point I had stewardship of 100+ LDS youth  at one time, 90% of them black or biracial. All are now reaching their mid twenties most finding fault with church beliefs being in aligned with church teachings. I can count on 1-1/2 hands how many of them are still active. (I try and keep and touch, they know I love them no matter what they determine their truth is.)

As many come to understand the newly disavowed teachings and beliefs they're finding what mom and dad are saying about the church not believing this anymore isn't reflect outwardly or publically.
 Scriptures are starting to be changed to reflect it.  Church media, art and local leadership doesn't reflect it. We don't hear it on a consistent basis in Sacrament talks, Stake Conference, Primary lessons, General Conference, like we hear other things. Why?

 We don't "choose" to relive passed wounds. Passed wounds continue to fester because they haven't been properly cared for.

 I can cut my hand deeply on a rusty piece of metal run some water over it and put a bandage on it.  I may wince a little as it heals.  It may even scab over and heal on the surface and feel better. But every couple weeks or so it festers up again and I have to keep bandaging it.  Because I've put a bandage on something that needs stitches. And if I don't properly take care of it, reopen the wound, properly clean out the infection and bacteria that's living in the wound, medicate it stitch it, back together and THEN bandage it, it will create a permanent seal that will heal.

The teachings of the church and it's views on black members is a rusty nail that has pierced the black membership of the church. It is a wound that we go to our Church leaders and white brothers and sisters for healing. All they can offer to us is a bandage to cover the wound and maybe some soothing words to take away the immediate sting. But the main pain and infection remains. Because the church has not come out and given them the tools needed to properly clean the wound and medicate it so true healing can begin.


   As a member of the church when I do something that jeopardizes my standing in the church. I am asked to ponder and pray, take responsibility, confess and repent, seek council and make amends to get back in good standing.   I've been taught all my life that this process is a divine principle. I believe it is. So where is the accountability? Not just for those who lead but for those who allowed themselves to be lead these now disavowed teachings.

 I was listening to Sistas In Zion radio show last week when mentioned maybe the church needs to apologize for being misleading.

 The serpent beguiled Eve and she did eat, but Adam partook of his own free will. There's accountability on both sides of the fruit.

 Prophets, leaders and disciple's of the Lord have, do and will make mistakes. To ignore that is even a bigger mistake.  Even those who feel they've been mislead need to take accountability for not seeking out their own personal revelation and petitioning to The Father to confirm unto them the truthfulness of what we are taught and what we hear from our leaders. That personal revelation is the point of what fast and testamony meetings are all about.

  We are promised that if we  petition the Lord for the truthfulness of what the leaders present to us that we have a right to receive that personal revelation.
 
And if something is out of line then we petition to the Lord for direction.

 I've heard recent interactions with my feminist sisters who parallel the church race issue with inability for women to have the priesthood as well.  I applaud any group of people who stand up for whatever they believe.

  I don't see the connection. A white woman, feminist or not was not being denied entrance into the temple, her endowments, and a temple marriage to her husband solely on the merits of a feminist.  She, like us have access to the priestood blessings They were never with held from her.  A woman can change her mind, her thoughts her view to be or not be a feminist.   I can stand next to a white sister of the church with either of us not saying a word.  She could keep her mouth shut and not choose to divulge she is a feminist. When I keep my mouth shut, you still know I'm black.     If a sniper was going to come into relief society and shoot black sisters and feminist and wasn't told which sisters were feminist.  Well we know I'm getting shot. How many feminist would survive and why?    Even with Ordained Women and the priesthood they aren't going without the blessings of it.
 The Blacks in the church have very little to do with the feminist of the church. I can think of one of my feminist sisters who has invited me to see what they are about so that I could have a greater understanding of where she comes from.  I've yet to have others come to me in conversation try and understand my struggle and share it with their others.

 For some reason black women realize and are empower by the priesthood even with not having a man in the home.  Many are too strong and have done so much along we LONG for a man to come in and take over. WE ARE TIRED!!!!

 I dare anyone to tell a black woman she can't call down the power of the Lord because she's a woman. We've been doing it for years. This is what makes us Black Pearls of Great Price

 I've never thought that I COULDN'T  pull down the power of heaven and ask a special blessing upon my sick child and not have it happen because a man wasn't around to do it. I've never felt that I COULDN'T petition directly to the Lord for anything and have it withheld because i didn't go through a member of the priesthood.  I've always known I've had a direct line to the Lord.  And isn't it he who gives his power to those worthy of it to go forth and bless others?  Don't get me wrong I would LOVE to have a husband who can handle those things for me, cuz I'm a busy woman. But  I know that I will never be withheld the blessings of the priesthood because I don't have certain anatomical body parts.  That, to me is a little frightening and I'm not sure why other women don't know it either.
 What I do know is that my truth is not in wearing pants or baring myself to the public. We have generation of leaders who need to have a strong foundation of knowledge and not one full of "pocked" marks and cracks from an unresolved and unhealed past.
 Until then we still remain strong, faithful Black Pearls of Great Price In the Mormon Church.  


To read more  on *Being Black in the Mormon Church* follow the links below.
Janan Graham: Addressing the Black Elephant in the Room

Big Brother, Little Sister Moments

Big Brother, Little Sister Moments
Hand in Hand

*sigh*

*sigh*
I earned some temporary wings!