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

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

SOUL 2 SOUL ! For the SOUL SISTAHS OUT THERE!

I'm excited to launch my first Tee-shirt design!  It's called "SOUL SISTAHS."
 http://www.booster.com/soulsistahs

SOUL SISTAHS  Women Supporting Women Fundraiser - unisex shirt design - front SOUL SISTAHS  Women Supporting Women Fundraiser - unisex shirt design - back
I designed this Tee in the spirit of  sisterly love and support.  We currently live in a world of  House wives, basketball wives and desperate Wife Behaving Badly for Ratings, Bad Girls Clubs, Baby Mamas and Cat fights.  As women we tend to be our own worse enemies.
     When I think of Relief Society and how as women, not just LDS Women but women in general we could be a powerful Sorority for Positive Decent Change! How different would the world and our lives be if decided to bind ourselves in this Sorority of Sisterhood and offer to uplift, magnify and support each other in love?  Soul Sistahs are those women who show up before you recognize you even need them. They're your confidants. They tell you thinks you need ot hear when you need to hear it, and then hang around to support you through whatever you're going through.  Soul Sistahs are your best friends. Your Mother, Your Aunt, cousins, neices.  It's your sisters. Your Visiting teachers. The Ladies you spend girls night out with every night.  You can go to your Soul Sistah in any condition and know you will be safe, supported and loved.

My Design is to unit women together in solidarity in the Beauty Intelligent, Strength and Confidence of being connected SOUL 2 SOUL!  

My tee ships directly to you for the cost of  $25. YES! This includes the cost of shipping! And for a limited time.  Promotion ends October 11, 2013.  Don't wait til the last minute!

  Consider for your besties, your bridal showers and bachelorette Parties. Your Women's and Young women's organizations.  Relief Society and Primary Presidencies. family reunions.  This would make great Gifts for the women in your family for the holidays.  Show your support for your sistahs and do it in SOUL: Spirit Of Unlimited Love! Thank you Soul Sistahs!
 Be sure to spread the word and Unite!

Sunday, September 15, 2013

National Come Back To Church Day

***A LITTLE BACK HISTORY***

I've talked a few times before about living with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder aka PTSD. It comes from living through a trauma  and various things can contribute to triggering your body and mine to feel as if it's going through the trauma all over again. In the military is used to known as SHELL SHOCK, however it happens to many people outside of the military as well. To make a long story short, I'll just speak in generalities.
       My trauma  came to a head June 20 2008. The next day I had the breakdown in a leadership meeting at one of the local ward houses. About month later the bishop who took me in, got me the help I needed, checked up to make sure I had access to the people, resources and tools I needed, took his own life behind our home ward building.  This added another layer to the disorder.  Because I'm necrophobic. I have a hard time dealing or seeing  the body of a person after their spirit had departed. A couple of months after that one of the women I visit taught had a family member committed suicide. Needless to say I lost a huge block of life between June 2008 and now.  The things that trigger and relapse me back into PTSD:  Older White Males (ESPECIALLY in Suites or business attire) The Month Of June, and Church Buildings.  

Some of  the physical effects of PTSD:



Nausea, blurred or foggy vision, sweats, rapid breathing & heart beat, over anxiousness, nervousness, body aches, forgetfulness, unclear thinking.  I go through the first 5 of these when I go to church.  The symptoms don't last just a few hours. They last for days at a time. Even writing and talking about it brings on the physical and emotional repercussions of the issue.

 However, telling your story helps to heal you and it helps to heal other people..


Now On with the Show!

   Today, Sunday September 15,2013 is National Come Back To Church Day!

 I've been on Hiatus Off and on for 5 years (Since  6/23/2008.) Sometimes I've been every week for several months in a row and  sometimes I've not been in over a year. Sometimes I got to different wards other than my own. I've moved 3 times. The last time I moved I purchased a Condo cuz I got sick of moving. My Sister moved in with me and she is currently the Primary President in our ward.
 Today was my first time in our ward.  I've been psyching myself up for WEEKS to make sure I'm in the state of mind to make it to church today. I was actually going to go last week because it was stake conference and I would be a little less "zoomed in on" and could disappear into the crowd. Well, I mean as much as a black member in a predominantly  white congregation can "blend."  I would probably make more of an attempt in the passed to make into the building but being black and LDS we are those rare Pearls of Great Price


and being "Incognegro" in Utah is a chore.

 When I got up this morning the Nausea wasn't so bad.  I made sure to eat something just in case.
   About an hour before church I started getting dressed.  I was talking to my sister about our puppy Jake Dude-Action not getting to the dog park enough so I'm sure she thought I was getting ready to take him to the park.   Being Primary Prez she took off before I was dressed.
   I got dressed, threw on some make up. I looked at my reflection in the mirror and took a deep breath. The nausea set in so quickly so I ran and found a piece of peppermint gum. (The times I do go to church I take mints. Most of the time it keeps my stomach soothed enough to keep e from vomiting at church.)
   I went back to the mirror and gave myself  "THE TALK:"
You are safe.  You have the knowledge to take charge of any situation. You have the tools to cope with whatever comes your way. No matter the outcome of your experience take pride in knowing you made the steps to break down another wall.  NOW GO, YOU"RE LATE!"
Photo: I was trying to be sneaky. Does it look like I'm up to something?

I put a smile on my face, grabbed my purse and scriptures and out the door I went.
  The Relief Society Presidency can to visit with my sister abt 7 months ago when she left the singles ward and started going to our family ward.  I spoke with them about my situation and they were very understanding and compassionate to my situation. I wondered how they would handle the situation  A couple of weeks after their visit I got a call from a Visiting Teaching companion I didn't know that I had. It was actually a bit too much not having stepped foot in the ward building or knowing anyone from the ward. I felt a little bit like Katniss at the reaping in hunger games just expected to do what I was told or called to do. This didn't work for me and I silently protested by not accepting the calling.

    The goal was to attend 1 hours of church. The reason I'm going with 1 hour for now is because when I go for more than that, which I have before, I get SO sick that it's that sick feeling that I'm stuck with each week. It's not how I want to remember each Sunday. When I do 1 hour I leave just as I being to feel ill but it doesn't over power the great things about being there for 1 hour.  Thank goodness our first hour is Relief Society.  A sorority of Sisters, THANK GOODNESS!!!
 
 I accomplished my goal. And it felt good. It's 6 hours later and I'm still nauseated, but it's not so overwhelming that I'm fixated over it. It should subside about Wednesday, just in time to start pumping myself up for next Sunday.
    It sounds bad, having to pump myself up for church.  Those looking for ways to bash our church, any church or organized religion in general will jump all over that. Meh, find something better and worth while to do. Because for a while I had to make the same kind of baby step goals just to get out of bed in the morning. In the early weeks of the breakdown I couldn't even step out of the house to get the mail.  I had goals that were just to get out of bed and eat. Then get out of bed,  shower and get dressed and eat. I freaked out on the Greeter at a Walmart 2 weeks after the initial break down.  So I've come a long way, baby!
       I know I've build up a safe little community with walls a mile thick. 5 years later only certain people are allowed into that community.  People have taken it upon themselves to "help"  break down my walls. Perhaps in other situations help is needed and welcome and expected.  PTSD is so delicate. Many of us don't need the attention or the focus on us. This is one wall I need to being to break down myself and if others try to do it, it leaves me exposed.  We need to talk about it when we're ready to talk about it and step back out into the world when we're ready to.  For some it's easy for others it's a prison.

  Part of the issue with me going to church is having to explain the issue. Telling the details of the story and triggers is sometimes a trigger itself.  I felt my Relief Society President and my Bishopric needed to know. They need to know why a male home teachers would probably not get into my home. Or if the Bishopric just shows up why they aren't getting in my home.

Telling the story causes your mind and body to go back through the actual events of the trauma. Even though it's a healthy thing and needed thing, you have to go through all the coping skills for days sometimes weeks to feel safe and secure again.  The more you do it the easier it gets  So I know the more I make these goals the better it will.  One truly never is healed from PTSD  our coping skills just strengthen.   In my situation the very people and place most turn to happens to make me sick.
    I have to laugh at the situation sometimes because in reality CHURCH MAKES ME SICK!!


    One of the most priceless things about today was the look on my sister's face when she  happen to look out in the foyer and saw me standing there waiving at her and making funny faces. SURPRISE!!  She came out and greeted me and walked me too Relief Society. She didn't need to. I didn't particularly want her to but I got the feeling that she needed to do it more than i needed her to.

The Relief Society President was pleasantly surprised and she did come and speak with me after.  She address the Visiting Teaching situation and apologized for assuming I was willing and ready to be a visiting teaching with where I'm at. She was gracious and apologetic. Everything she should have been and that will help a great deal in my comfort level of being IN the building.  

 For the most part I'm feeling accomplished.
 I'm grateful for having access to all the learning materials and lessons online. The church is brilliant that way for those of us who can't or are unwilling to get to an actual building and deal with the members, because lets be honest, there are times when we love the church and hate the members in it and some days it's the opposite. One thing I've learned from this is you can never judge a person as to why they do or do not attend church meetings. If our goal is Zion, Zion has to be born internally in our hearts and minds before it can be achieved externally.  Be kind to those who come back to church. Don't be over bearing. A smile and a hand shake is just enough. Some people need to be zero'd in on and others just need space to get used to the atmosphere and marinate for a while to get comfortable.  Take ques from them and don't be afraid to offer what you think may be needed. Always offer. .What they do with that offering is up to them. Some will use it, some will not. If you offer be genuine and you better make time and effort to fulfill your offering.  Things I mostly don't like are when people are so quick with their mouths to offer time, talent and service and then 95% of the time have some excuse or crisis as to why they can't fulfill their own offer. If you don't mean it don't say it.  Don't let your mouth write checks that the rest of you aren't willing to cash.

I'm thankful for National Come back to Church day. It game me more of a goal and a kick start to something I wanted to do but wasn't quite sure of doing.   I hope that next year those who are looking for a way to go back to church, Whichever church that may be, that they take the opportunity to use National Come Back To Church as a guiding tool if you need to. 

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Not Just Remembering 9/11. Remembering Our Country As A Whole.


September 11, 2001, my daughter comes running into my bedroom, “MOM! The news said a plane hit one of the big sky scrapers in New York!”  I sort of just rolled over and said…”oh, that’s messed up.    I kind of just rolled over and went back into a slight Doze.    I’m not sure how long it was but she came back into my room “Mom another plain just crashed into the other sky scraper.  The news things it’s an attack on America!”  
 I jumped up and went to the T.V watching the towers burn. "Hmm…” 





 I didn’t really say too much after that.  What was there to say?
This should have been a frightening experience.  Was I in shock?  Was I numb?  Was I de sensitized? I don’t know what I was.  But I know what I wasn't.

wasn't too shocked. I was a little worried at how shocked and surprised I wasn't   I got dressed and went to work but there was very little work goin on.  I can remember with each phone call it was so little about business but more bout how we, as Americans need to pull together and unify.  That whole work week was more of a reassurance that hey, I may be across the country from you, but I’m here I share the same pain and sorrow and let’s love and respect our   country and support our countrymen.
For week, we as Americans, begin to see things differently. Tolerated violence less in hour homes, hour neighborhoods’ and even in our entertainment.  Do you remember there were certain scenes cut out of Movies and T.V shows because it was too close to the situation of  9/11?  I can remember saying to some of my friends… “I think it’s funny that we as Americans were ok with TV. And Movies that showed war and terrorism in other countries, but since it’s happened on this soil we’re suddenly cautious and sensitive to it?  
It’s the same Production but different stage. In reality it shouldn't be the stage that matters it should be the production itself.

One of the first things that came to my mind during 9/11 and the weeks after was… WHY IS EVERYONE SO SHOCKED AND SURPRISED?    As I watched the T.V as the events unfolded I remember a time years ago where my mother gathered me and my sister together each week and we read the book of Revelations. I’m not sure why she felt compelled to do it. I thought it was odd at the time. 
 Being the artistic child in the family when I read things they would play out in my mind very animated and full of color and drama! So for me, it was like a page out Revelations being scene on TV.   And then I thought… THE WORLD AIN'T SEEN NOTHING YET! This is going to be tame compared to what else is to come in our lifetime.  I don’t recall being fearful.  I grew up in Michigan. The state of Michigan has the highest concentration of Muslims out side of Muslim countries. Detroit has the country's largest concentration of Arabs (mostly Lebanese, Iraqis, Palestinians, and Yemenis), a legacy of the days when Henry Ford employed Lebanese laborers. They were my co-workers, school mates and friends.  I remember in the days after on the new they showed where 3 business men were asked to leave a flight because the other passengers weren't comfortable with them being on it.

  How sad it was to have such “justified” paranoia toward the stereotype.

  I experience PTSD Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.  Now those in the Military will recognize it and most people will recognize is as the term “SHELL SHOCK.”  
It comes from traumas that we encounter. When we don’t deal with the trauma properly, any situation that shows up in our lives resembling that trauma will cause the mind and body to think the trauma is happening all over again causing you to go into an irrational Fight or Flight mode. The tricky thing is that anything can trigger this reaction: A smell, a phrase, a song on the radio, a T.V Show or movie,  the way someone looks or acts, an article of clothing….   If you don’t know the proper steps to take when the triggers happen then your reactions can be more damaging to you and those around you. I haven't even mentioned the PHYSICAL effects it has, headache, nausea, blurred vision... 

                


I have come to determine that our Nation suffers from PTSD Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and we suffer on all levels: Religiously, Politically, Financially, Racially Civilly and Socially.
We Are A Wounded Nation.
We are a wounded nation and it effects us all on a personal level. How do you heal a nation? It begins on a personal level. It begins with our own issues. It begins with us recognizing our own truth and owning it.  It begins when we decide to live in our truth or change it because we don’t like it and then doing the work to create a better truth. We will never begin to truly live our lives as long as we expect others to do the work to repair it.
 My generation will either be the generation that makes it better or makes it worse and begins with something as simple as teaching our children and grandchildren within the home. We are a nation who doesn't mind lying down and doing what it takes to bring children into the world. But somewhere along the way we've stopped parenting and teaching them. 

We've put them in front of TVs, Computers and iPads and allowed for those things to take our place in their education.
 I can remember being in Kindergarten, knowing my ABC’s and how to count to 50 and knowing how to spell my name and yes…. Reading. Small simple books. I address my teachers and my parent’s friends as Mrs., Miss or Mister, not by their first name, because we were not contemporaries. We were taught to look people in the face when we spoke to them and speak loudly and clearly and with confidence. These were some of the things that would make us successful in life.

 The home is our first school of learning: table manners, common courtesies how to get along. If two or more of us wanted to watch different shows at the same time there was no 2nd or 3rd TV we had to learn how to compromise and negotiate with each other. Sometimes the negotiation was to digress and give in.  Other times it was to strike a deal and go after what was worth it to you. All skills you need to learn to have a successful life. We had to pick our battles. If I get mad and hit my brother, how will he retaliate, will I be strong enough to deal with it? Will whatever happens after be worth the shot I took?  We had to think things through and live with consequences and be accountable for our actions. If we stole something we were marched right back into the store and had to confess what we did to the people we did it to.   There’s very little accountability for choices these days.  Bad behavior and disrespect is excused because it’s funny or because it’s done in truth or because it’s none of our business.  As a child even if we were brutally honest as children are we were schooled on the appropriateness, attitude and disrespect we presented that truth.  We learned when truth should be brutally honest, when it should set you free, and when it came with gentle correction and strong love.  


 Lack of these things add to the PTSD of our Nation.
Failing to take advantage of our education and knowing the importance of it adds to the PTSD of Nation. For some of it, it was our only way out of breaking a cycle of poverty and negative environment. School is where we learned to be part of a team, cheering and encouraging other and being a part of a group (instead of a gang) that set goals and accomplished them.  Almost most every kid was in cub scouts, boy scouts, Brownies or Campfire girls.  Boy and girls clubs flourished with positive activities for community and person growth. Weekends were spent at the YMCA or the Rec Centers with friends and we played basket ball, Volleyball, Softball, Baseball, hockey and learned to swim. And when it was nice outside we rode bikes and skate boards, made jumps and forts and go-carts or played baseball in the vacant fields.  Our Asses were healthier and smaller because we moved them and didn't need them for a cushion all night and day.
Things were rarely just given to us frivolously. We had to earn money through cutting grass, raking leaves, shoveling snow, helping the neighbor do chores if we wanted a new bike, roller blades, skateboards, action figures, radios or walkie talkies. Feel free to replace that with Scooters, cars, clothes, cell phones, ipods/pad or xbox’s.
                             
We weren't afraid to Say Grace or reference scriptures or any other book that might lay some kind of moral foundation. It was cool to hang out with parents and grandparents and they knew our friends and their family members for a couple of Generations.
 People weren't  offended when you corrected their children for doing the wrong thing. As a matter of fact they called you and thanked you for setting them straight and looking out for them in the absence of their parent. And the parents had the courage to be embarrassed by the actions of the offending child and reinforced that correction.   We lived in the village and tolerate the village fool and the village idiot because even they have a value, even if it was to be an example of what not to do and how to be better.  
It was ok for our sons to play with girls and our daughters to play with boys because they were appropriate, we taught them how to be.
       
 We didn’t separated them until the age of 16 and then expect them to automatically know how to deal with each other. We grew them up together, watched them fight as kids and learn how to settle it without parents getting too involved to the rescue. We sent them on activities together with our families and their families so if they could date at the right age they had a foundation of friendship and familiarity. They curiosity of each other didn’t get the best of them and carry them away to unknown and pent up curiosity.
We are in a day and age of exceptions. Everyone man woman and child I know and their situation is the exception to some kind of rule making us all JUST AS SPECIAL AND IMPORTANT as everyone else. The agenda of some is to push the exception to be the rule.  Putting the needs of the one above the needs of the most or not accepting that which is “just as good as” the rule.

We’ve turned into a nation of selfish untrusting control freaks. We want power and control over people and thing but aren’t willing to do the work to accomplish those things. We tell folks what we want and expect everyone else to do the work to accomplish it.  And become upset when they don’t do it right or how we want it done. Not recognizing it just may not be what they want.
We've come from a nation of loving Shirley Temple to Loving Honey Boo Boo.
     
                                            
 From loving the Mickey Mouse Club to Loving the Bad Girl’s Club and from watching the Honey Moon game to watching the Bachelor and Bachelorette.  In a diverse nation it takes all kinds to strengthen and weaken it.
 Our country is wounded, our pride is wounded and we are becoming weaker each year, not recognizing that the strength of the Nation is dependent on the strength of the home and family.  It thrives off the working man doing the manual labor to make things happen, more than the man up in the office on the phone. It thrives on the teachers who educate our kids, the police and firefighter who put the lives on the line each time they go into work, not the pro athlete, the actress or the rap artists making a million and using it for multiple cars, houses and jewelry.
 It thrives on the Mothers and Fathers who support each other and their children, not the playa’s and the baby mama’s  who can’t afford to live by themselves, let alone take care of someone they’ve brought into the world. In the Animal world, A baby penguin will die if both parents don't work together.

        We’ve jump to become offended first instead of allowing common sense, or even the Holy Spirit of God to discern if offense was intended.  We fight and disagree trying to see eye to eye instead of understanding that it’s more important to see heart to heart. 
 The state of the Nation is in some way no better or worse off then the state of our homes and family.  We’ve lost focus.  It is us who heals and strengthens the Nations. The Nation doesn’t heal and strengthen us.



   Let us take this opportunity to look back at 9/11 and remember and in that remembrance let us remember how we used to be as a country and Let us also take this opportunity to begin to heal our Nation on a more personal level. We can’t control our Government or our neighbors. But we can go back into our homes as parents and families and begin to heal within the safety of it’s walls, How knows maybe the generation behind us will become the generations that brings it all back together.  God Bless you. God Bless the USA.

Friday, September 6, 2013

When The Flowers Have Wilted and The Leaves Have Dried....



When you're in the midst of a tragedy do you ever feel betrayed that the world doesn't recognize? Even if it's just for 5 minutes. Do you sometimes wish you could flip a switch and stop the world with it's hustle an bustle so it can  surround you in your sorrow or heartbreak or whatever it may be?
  It's times like these as Christians we rally around each other because it's the CHRISTIAN thing to do. Our Christian Duty.  Hopefully we also do it because it's the HUMANE thing to do.

During those immediate times  we gather together for support and strength. Bringing meals, sending cards and donations and flowers.  We rally around for a week or two with "If there's anything I can do or if you need me call me."  as our theme. 
  After a week or two we get back to our own lives and allow them to try and get back into theirs. 
  Getting back to a routine helps to bring back the normality.   Getting dressed, going to work, socializing with co-workers keeps our minds and bodies busy as we slowly heal.  We find ways to fill our days so we can feel again. We appreciate and depend on those who surround us. 

What happens in the weeks and months to come.  Do you often feel yourself 2 or 3 months down the road into a relapse saying to yourself 
 "where is everyone? I still need your strength and support..." 
 Only to find that the world is now over it, and why aren't you?
You look around and find yourself alone, lonely and wondering if you'll ever stop hurting. And try and focus back on the time when you were surrounded by people and cards and Tupperware after Tupperware of Lasagna and chicken and rice casseroles.   You look on the shelf and notice the beautiful bright cheery flowers have wilted and the leaves have dried and fallen off the stem.
    You can see the beauty of them and their previous existence. The memory of what they used to be pales in comparison to the realty of what they have become. You could create something beautiful with it but the truth is your inventory of time, energy and creativity is in short supply and you can't find your reserves. 

When those we care about have an immediate need we often rush to their side and bombard them with support.  We make the time to care and comfort. 6 months later where are we in our caring? Do we visit often? Make a phone call or extend and invitation to get away from it all? Or as we wondering if we'll ever get that favorite piece of Tupperware back? Are we avoiding those calls that turn into 2 hour depressing conversation where you basically want to tell someone to "get over it and get on with life?" Because you have things to do and places to go and people to see?

  
 As we all go through this life together I think it would be fitting for us to not just remember those who are going through hard times but to reach out to them...after the flowers have wilted and the leaves have dried. How often to we think of others but never let them know? Only to find out they've been struggling and could have used some support. How often have you been on the other end of recognizing you could fulfill a need, hand you only taken the time to recognize there was a need to be filled.   Are their times when you've marketed the burden or pawned and pimped it off on someone else because you've been too busy or unwilling to help carry it? 
   I'm often reminded of a church meeting from long ago where a sister stood up and mentioned how she prays everyday for the homeless people in the park w/o food or shelter.  Sometimes all we can do is pray. 
 I recall saying, 
"Prayer is great. It's a beautiful thing. But there are times when it just may not be enough.  Sometimes we have to be the answer to the prayer we're offering up."   

  We need to be the blessing in the lives of others.   When I say be a blessing i don't mean that in arrogance. I mean there are things people in the community need and in some ways I can provide that need.  Because I have been given much, I too, must give.  I believe these days it's called "Paying it Forward."    Often times we use Prayer as a crutch or an alternative to service. Imagine how the World could be if , with each prayer, there was an intent to somehow act upon it? 

I hope we will often consider using these hands:

   


like these hands.


A good friend walks in when others walk out.   A good friends arrives when others have left and their need to feel important has gone with them. 


   I leave you with one of my favorite quotes
Marjorie Pay HinckleyI don't want to drive up to the pearly gates in a shiny sports car, wearing beautifully, tailored clothes, my hair expertly coiffed, and with long, perfectly manicured fingernails.

I want to drive up in a station wagon that has mud on the wheels from taking kids to scout camp.
I want to be there with a smudge of peanut butter on my shirt from making sandwiches for a sick neighbors children.
I want to be there with a little dirt under my fingernails from helping to weed someone's garden.
I want to be there with children's sticky kisses on my cheeks and the tears of a friend on my shoulder.
I want the Lord to know I was really here and that I really lived.”

― Marjorie Pay Hinckley

Be the one to show up after the flowers have wilted and the leave have dried.


Friday, August 23, 2013

Is "All Are Alike Unto God" A Facade??



As long as I've been reading the Book of Mormon I, just as you, have read about being cursed with skins of blackness as well as dark and loathsome, filthy people etc.  Recently, thank the Lord; the contexts of these scriptures have been changed to the true meaning, speaking of demeanor and attitude.  Ironically enough, a YW leader in my ward in Michigan way back in 1982 made sure she taught us, it wasn't  truly skin color, but the dark and heavy nature of being without the light of Christ, not the color of our skin.  And I believed and trusted her judgment….and ran with it.  It seemed obvious that what she veered away and taught was more conducive
 to the gospel than the separation of white skin good, dark skin bad.

They say in the Gospel of Jesus Christ all you need is love. To love one another.

Part of love is communication. If you truly love, then you will communicate.
  I"ve heard many people accuse the LDS Church of preaching "All Are  Alike, Unto God" and then practicing elitism. Calling our church a Facade. Asking me if I agree.   I don't agree.  I believe that for the most part we Brothers and Sisters of the church truly believe everyone is the same in the eyes of the Lord.  I do think we need to be more outspoken, direct, and vocal  about interracial relationships withing the Gospel. Sometimes actions don't match the preaching.  
I wonder how many LDS families have communications/discussions regarding these things.  We used to have them all the time.   I'm finding that among my friends not too many families, other than those of colors, have these discussions. We teach our children that “All are alike unto God.”  And that everyone should be treated equal regardless of skin color, culture etc.  But just chanting these mantras   a couple of times during the elementary school years and Jr. High school years aren't quite enough.    Just like tithing, prayers, faith, scripture reading, I believe accepting of the races and diverse cultures needs to be a regular part of teaching our children the gospel  ESPECIALLY because of some of the previous wording of our scriptures. No matter what the new changes are and how they come about, there have been generations ingrained and indoctrinated with the “white skin good, dark skin bad" theory.  I'm sure it's confusing.   

Teaching this new generation a different perception of it may be easy because of the changes, however I can see it being like Moses in the wilderness for 40 years waiting for the old to die off because they couldn't learn, comprehend or grasp the new thinking of what to them, has always been. 
  Like the old dogs and new tricks  

 We need to speak of these things more in our congregations and home.  Not just during that annual “priesthoods being restored to the Black Brothers’ Sunday.   We need to be vocal about these things and speak with our families forcefully, honestly and upfront about where we stand. My growing up and dating in the 80 my LDS friends were saying I love very one . The Lord doesn't see color, my parents taught me to love everyone equal.  But the minute I became the person their son was dating, their son wasn't so sure about where their parents stood either.   These are conversations we as family members and saints need to have.  We need to have them as congregations, ward members, neighbors and children of a most high Heavenly Father



  Does your family truly know your stance on possible interracial relationships? Or do we assume they already know?  Will you be caught in an awkward situation if a white boy shows up in you house, or a black girl comes to dinner?  Many of my friends have been caught off guard. Some have had to really dig deep and recognize how they truly feel about the situation. Others without any doubts are business as usual.  If we aren't teaching our families these things then who is? And if you don’t know who is, then you truly don’t know exactly what is being taught.   I try and take the opportunity when applicable in reminds others that these types of subjects are not sort of hit and miss type of subjects. It should be like teaching the law of morality and our stance on premarital sex.  Parents assume kids know the standards and the teachings and how they feel about the situation. But when asking the kids, they refer to a couple of sentences from an FHE lesson from years ago or a Sunday school lesson where the teacher was so embarrassed and afraid to truly teach.  If we don't teach our children these things. The world will do it in a manor that may not be conducive to your beliefs.

 In order for thought processes, changes and true brother and sisterhood to come about in the gospel, we need to have these real conversations with ourselves, family and friends. It doesn't have to be long. It doesn't have to be difficult. It doesn't have to be drama. But it, indeed, has to be.

*get to talkin! Say it loud and proud*

Big Brother, Little Sister Moments

Big Brother, Little Sister Moments
Hand in Hand

*sigh*

*sigh*
I earned some temporary wings!