Saturday, June 29, 2013

NOW I Know Why The World Is Round.... Cuz we keep going in circles..

I've come to the conclusion that the world goes round and figuratively, because we push it round and round.  I'm probably going to say a buncha stuff that people don't wanna here. Feel free to exit stage right at any moment, it truly won't hurt my feelings.

 This week in our nation has truly made me recognize, we haven't come as far as we thought regarding how to be good countrymen, citizens and neighbors. This week has been an incredibly eye opening and it feels, to me, as if we are taking steps backwards instead of forward while going in circles at the same time.

 I tell you one thing... I WANT OFF THIS CRAZY RIDE!!!

Just like in school, if we don't learn the needed things to move on with life, we keep repeating the same mistakes and it turns into a vicious cycle and eventually you learn  and progress or get dizzy and quit trying learning to be blissful in the ignorance.  Is our nation to the point of being blissful in the ignorance?
3d people- human character going in circles  3d render illustration Stock Photo - 14767501

 3 items of note have come to the forefront of the news.

Texas abortion Laws
Trayvon Martin Murder Case
Paula Deen, fallen from grace.

Sen. Wendy Davis of Texas attempted to stage a filibuster to block the vote on new Texas abortion law. The new law would ban abortions after 20 weeks and effectively close most abortion clinics in Texas by requiring tighter medical standards for the facilities.   I see at least two things minimally wrong with this. First let me state the I am wholeheartedly 100% PRO LIFE. I usually don't refer to my political preferences here but feel the need today.  I fully understand a women's right to want to abort a child because it's her body and her business. And I understand the desire to abort in cases medical necessity or rape or torture.  However it's our bodies not minding it's own business that gets us  pregnant.
  Anytime we women make the decision to have sex we know the risk of getting pregnant, even if we use birth control. Carelessness is not a justification for selfishness and selfishness is not a justification of carelessness. Neither are grounds to kill the potential of human life.  Yeah I said kill. If it's living regardless if it's inside or outside of your body (which in my mind is a technicality) it's murder.  Consider this freaky imagination I have.... if children could be conceived and incubated outside of the body would it not be murder to terminate it's life, regardless of the life's origins?  In my eyes, yup, it sure is.  So many families want and can't have children, why is adoption not a stronger option? Is it ego? Shame? Embarrassment of whats done in the dark coming to light?  some say it's not wanting to mess up their body. You'd think that there would be that kind of care taken in the beginning to protect the body if you didn't want to mess it up. 
   Again I fully Understand the desire when tragedy such as rape, incest or any other trauma may be concerned . There are medical measures to insure one doesn't get pregnant, give those a try. In the mean time expect it can happen when ever you lie down for sex.  This is a Fetus at 20 weeks old. It breaths. It moves. Being inside a sac of fluid inside another body doesn't make it less alive or less human. 

 The next thing i see wrong is....If you're the type to get an abortion... wouldn't you want to have it done in a facility with tighter medical standards? Seriously who wants to go to a substandard medical facility to have a procedure done? The tighter the better and healthier. I'm not sure what the problem is of raising health facilities to a tighter medical standards. It would scare me more that most places offering abortions would have to "step it up" to meet that standard and they should. Hopefully with that higher standard  their would be less chance of complications in the procedure and treatment.  It's almost as if those seeking to get abortions would rather go through some back door in an ally and have it taken care of as if it were a dirty little secret. Oh wait.... I guess in reality for some, it is like that.  Perhaps we should fight to have better education on how to not get pregnant. Or at least take responsibility for our actions for those who behave so selfishly..and then take it out on an innocent life by discarding that life.

I've been watching some of the Trayvon Martin hearing. 

Its been painful to watch the start witness take the stand. It's been painful to hear her speak and see her attitude knowing that it has confirmed what parts of the country believe about all black people: uneducated, mad as hell and justified in racial speech.

What some people aren't putting into perspective:  She is a young adult that's put under so much pressure right now. While this defense attorney is smirking and displaying her lack of articulation  experience and attitude about the situation, all while she is face to face with the man who killed her childhood/boyfriend. It doesn't appear she was properly prepped for court or her case and almost as if they picked her up from the local hang out spot and took her to court unprepared. 

I couldn't do it.  However the most painful thing, to me is the lack of support and overwhelming criticism of her by the black community, the very community who should be surrounding her lifting her up and carrying this burden with her.   

But we did the same thing with Olympic Gold Medalist Gabby Douglas didn't we:

 The child was out of the country winning gold medals under enormous pressure and competition...and all black folks did was talk about how badly her hair was did.   

This girl!.... Yeah... THIS GIRL RIGHT HERE... Who can do this move..

And and the move below:
can wear her hair however she want. Yeeuuh.. Im pretty sure she was working all day...and  all year while we sat on our butts hoping she would do her best no matter what she looked like.

 Only to pull this kind of Crap:.

 To which Little Sister Gabby Said: "I AM NOT MY HAIR!!"  Amen to that. But what you truly are is a Two time Gold medal Olympian. And I hope one day you get the chance to slap all the haters with that gold!


...and hear me good:

 WE CAN'T EXPECT WHITE PEOPLE TO RESPECT US  IF WE DON'T EVEN RESPECT OURSELVES!. We can't expect them to live to a higher standard of respect when we aren't even willing to step up to that higher standard either.  It will NEVER happen if we don't get there ourselves. When we show the world we don't like each other, why should they have a reason to like us?   All things begin within. 

 Non black people already see us as having a double standard racially assuming "we can say  what we want about other races but nobody better not EVUH, EVUH say anything about a black person.  Don't even Say the word black when mentioning my name."

 We cant even discuss racial matters without someone assuming the race card is being played in a victimizing way. If I hear ONE MORE TIME..."Why is it ok for Rappers to Say Nigga in their songs but white people cant say it...AT ALL?"
 The Lead witness in the trial didn't feel the word "Creepy Ass Cracker" was a racially motivated phrase or slur. I feel she's brought up in a place t where this kind of speech is so common and tolerated that the ignorance of it all is lost on her.  
 Point number 1:  America, not all black people Appreciate Rappers singing it or other black folks saying it.  When i hear young people say it I let them know HEY... if you say it then white folks thinks it's ok to day it.  And it's not ok for them OR you to be throwing it around. 

Point Number 2; If my mama calls me chubbs cuz I was a chubby baby... I know it comes from a place of endearment. She's cared for me, she know my struggle, she loves me on conditionally and I hear it from  the place it was intended.  Same with the rest of the family.    Outside of the family, if you call me chubby, it's going to be a problem. I don't know you, you don't know me. you don't know my struggle and I don't know your intention or the place from which if comes.  There's a difference in "the family" using an endearment and a stranger just Seeing a difference and throwing it out there. 

Point Number 3.Although some words are the same they have distinct meanings.  I know it's an oxymoron and probably didn't make let me try to explain with a few examples
  Naked:: you don't have clothes on.  
  Nekkid: you don't have clothes on and you're up to something. 
Gay: Happy
Gay: Same sex orientation.
Gay: Lame or stale.
Bitch: Hey girlfriend!
Bitch: Female Dog
Bitch: Evil woman i just cant stand.
Negro: Uh oh, black man in trouble with a family member usually wife, mama or grandmama
Nigga: My Brotha!
Nigger: Ignorant under class/privileged black person needing to put in their under classed place or hung like back in the day.. (racial slur. themz fightin words)
Fag: Cigarette butt
Fag: a Drudge, someone less privileged in british culture *but we ain't in Great Britain, are we?*
Fag: Freak who has sex with the same gender. (homophobic slur, themz fighting words too)
White trash: Good ole' down to earth white folks living the simple easy life
White trash: Same definition as Nigger except with white folks.(for me these would be fighting words)
 Personally Im good eliminating all of the above from my vocabulary. I'd like to think Im intelligent enough to express how I feel without the  passive aggressive invitation to figure out what I mean by saying any one of those phrases.   Yet, on the other hand, people say they're just words, which is true. However we used words to bring across particular meaning. So they aren't just words. Words have meaning and evoke intention and action.  If someone can't read your meaning or intention, THAT'S A PROBLEM!
The U.S.A has a history of races struggling when discovered or brought to this country Starting with the colonial times. We hear all the time about "well American had white indentured servants who acted as slaves for time."    There is a HUGE difference in putting yourself into a life of servitude knowing that in a few years you'd be free and being captured and born in captivity with a nothing but a life ahead of you of servitude and you having no say or other options, except to try and escape and likely be injured for life or killed doing so. The word Nigger serves a a reminder of actual family members who endured that life. When white people use it, It makes us think you'd put us back to lifestyle in a hot second if you had the chance.

Is that so hard to understand?

Last but not least... need I say it?

The Queen of Butter is having a melt down.   You know this whole Paula Deen issues didn't even really start out about Race. The media grabbed that part of her deposition and ran with it.  Paula Deen is an old southern white woman who has used the word Nigger in the passed. What old southern white woman hasn't?  Not excusing it. Not condoning it. And sure don't feel like it's Justified. I'm not surprised by it either.
 Hell, at least she's honest and you know where you stand with her. But this is where Paula got herself into trouble:
Here is a summation of her court deposition.  The link gives you the source. Below are the "low"lights of the summation.

1. She refused to have her empire destroyed by “a piece of pussy.” (Also, she uses that word!)
Former employee Lisa Jackson said that she was hired to replace a general manager at the restaurant Uncle Bubba’s who was fired for having sexual relationships with underage servers. While demanding the manager be fired, Jackson says that Deen told her brother, “If you think I have worked this hard to lose everything because of a piece of pussy, you better think again.” Asked in her deposition whether she actually said it, Deen responded with an abso-friggin-lutely: “I said that day and I would say it again today if it applied.” She then repeated the sentence, making not being in that room a regret we’ll all have to live with for the rest of our lives.

2. She really wanted to stage that Southern plantation-style wedding. But she didn’t because the media wouldn’t understand.
Jackson said she was put in charge of arrangements for Bubba’s wedding, which Deen apparently said she wanted to have a “true Southern plantation-style theme.” What, pray tell, does that mean? “Well what I would really like is a bunch of little n----rs to wear long-sleeve white shirts, black shorts, and black bow-ties, you know in the Shirley Temple days, they used to tap dance around,” Deen reportedly elaborated. Alas, the wedding Deen envisioned never came to be. “We can’t do that because the media would be on me about that,” she reportedly told Jackson. In her testimony, Deen said that she actually was referencing the “beautiful white jackets with a black bow-tie” she saw the wait staff of “middle-aged black men” wearing at a restaurant she visited “in Tennessee or North Carolina or somewhere.”
3. She did not use the N-word to describe the waiters.
Deen objected to the accusation that she used the N-word to describe the waiters. Asked whether there was any possibility that she may have slipped and use the word, she said, “No, because that’s not what these men were. They were professional black men doing a fabulous job.” Still, when asked why nicely dressed black men would be a part of a “Southern plantation wedding,” she said it reminded her of southern America “before the Civil War.” After being reminded that black men serving people in the South before the Civil War were slaves, she agreed, but said she “did not mean anything derogatory” by her comments.
4. She doesn't think that watching porn or being racist at work makes you a bad boss.
In her deposition, Deen was asked whether the fact that her brother admitted to watching pornography and using the N-word at their restaurant caused her to have concerns about him running their business. She responded, “just because he’s got a sense of humor does not make him a bad person or incapable of running a business.” Questioned as to whether jokes of a sexual or racist nature are in poor taste at a place of work, she responded, “We have all told off-color jokes … Every man I’ve ever come in contact with has one.”
5. But she does use the N-word!
Deen admitted to using the N-word in her life, after a “black man” put a gun to her head at a bank where she was working. She said she used it because she “didn’t feel real favorable towards him.” She also said she’s sure she’s used the word since, “but it’s been a very long time” and guessed that she probably used it when quoting “a conversation between blacks.”
6. She doesn’t think the N-word is bad, as long as it’s used in a joke. 
Deen said that she and her husband taught her children not to use the N-word in a mean way. Asked when exactly that word be used in a not-mean way, she said either when repeating what you may hear “black people” say in the kitchen or when used in a joke.
7. She sees nothing wrong with watching a little porn at work. A major point in the suit is that Deen’s brother, Bubba, was accused of looking at pornography at work and showing it to employees. Asked whether she has any problem with such practices, Deen said, “If somebody sent him something and he pulled it up and looked at it, no, I would not persecute him for that.”
Paula Deen is mostly guilty of Bad People Management in her business. Knowing these things went on in her place of business and omitting to do anything about she has put herself in a position of concern. She has put her self in a position to be sued for sexual, racial, religious and gender harrassment.  She is therefore a liability to those who have invested in her, her brand and her business practices. Were I a business partner, I would drop her on her butter too. So, to some extent, it's about race and her desire to play out some twisted good ole boys pre civil war plantation wedding. But for the most part. Her business practices in regards to her working staff cannot be trusted. And her sponsors are saying 'Aint nobody got time for that."  Now the "Deenies" are coming out of the woodwork to those who are dropping her and protesting. But I ask you.would you want an impressionable young adult child of yours, say age 20-21 work in that kind of  environment?  And do you want to be subject to that in your place of employment? Some of you actually would, but I bet the majority of her sponsor would not.  
I was reading an article inTime Entertainment Online Magazine that put race portion of the it so well....
"Deen made a pile of money off a certain idea of old-school southern culture. In return, she had an obligation to that culture–an obligation not to embody its worst, most shameful history and attitudes. Instead, in one swoop, fairly or not, she single-handedly affirmed people’s worst suspicions of people who talk and eat like her–along with glibly insulting minorities, she slurred many of the very fans who made her successful.
Paula, Much Like the star witness in the Trayvon Martin trial are both Products of their Environment and surroundings.  Are they racist, the old white woman from the south and the young black woman from the hood?  Possibly. Is there a difference in Using the word Nigger as long as it's in a joke, or not recognizing that Creepy ass Cracker is just as much of a slur?  Quite possibly.  While being a product of your environment is typically not your own doing, but how you hold yourself and serve in that community is the difference. The affect you have on others and the example you become when you're a Popular Star or on  a platform where the world can see you. How you uphold or betray the trusts and efforts of those who put you in the place and path of success, makes a world of difference in how the world will see you when you make mistakes. I feel for Ms Deen, I really do. I've never been a real fan. Never made one of her recipes, used her cookware (which I understand you can get a great deal on while supplies last) and never read a book of hers.) I know she's been paid millions for it all. And now, unfortunately she's paying the price of her actions (or lack of them.)

These are not new experiences and situations we're having where we don't know how to act toward's our brothers, sisters, neighbors, community and countrymen. I feel like we took steps backwards this week and truly haven't come as far as I thought we have. Why are we not learning from these situations so we have to keep on peddling in circles like some crazy carnival ride that just wont stop.   I don't know about y'all but.. I'm tired and tired of it.   It's time to stop the madness and get out of the circle that is doing nothing but making us Sick...and dizzy.

Peace out....

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Will Your Perceptions of Perfection Mess With Your Salvation?

 Many folks of the world are under the impression that men of God are perfect, their teachings are perfect, their knowledge is perfect, their execution of it all is perfect and they are beyond mistakes.  Forgetting that A man of God is only a man of God when they are acting and speaking that which is of  God and that as a mortal man he is subject to his own thinking, thoughts and agenda's as part of his temptation.   Were men of God always perfect there would be no need to have faith in God, we could just have faith in those "perfect" men. (I was going to post a pic of the perfect woman but doesn't exist, not even in cookie form.)

 Prophets have been making mistakes since the Old Testament right through to our current times.  And they will continue to do so.  But that's when a certain beauty of it all comes into play.  When our faith and knowledge is questioned we have an obligation to get our booty's into prayer with Heavenly Father and seek that personal revelation and practice our faith.

 I had a conversation with a friend of mine. Actually a sister. Cuz now she's considered family.  She's not a member of our church but has spent time with church members. She, like myself, is secure in her faith and is therefore not timid or afraid to venture out and learn, study and enjoy other churches.  She could get behind many of our teachings, however one of her biggest issues is that we, as LDS are not of one accord.  I had to bite my tongue and listen...and I mean REALLY HEAR what she was saying.  And when I finished listening to her and her experiences... I determined she was absolutely right We LDS ARE NOT OF ONE ACCORD in our teachings and even living the Gospel.

  For example....   Seven Day Adventist, all of them that I know don't celebrate holidays.  While we, LDS some of us don't shop on Sundays, don't drink caffeine, believe the woman should be given the priesthood, believe priesthood ban on blacks was Policy, others stick to it being doctrine and on and on and on. Sometimes if does feel like a crap shoot or a gamble depending on who one might ask about the Gospel & the Church. (I separated the two because they are different and also not always of one accord.)

,  When she asked members in Idaho why the singles had their own ward, she was told it was because there was so much adultery going on that the church removed the single adults so as not to be a temptation to to those who are married.  When the missionaries came to her mother's house, her mother was ignored and treated like a 2nd class citizen in her own home and the missionaries only address the male friend she had invited over.  And SHE was the actual investigator. (well not anymore) When her male friend asked the missionaries if he could one day qualify a Bishop in the LDS church as a black man, the missionaries said... "we don't know how to answer that."  WHAT THE HELL?  If my younger brother, who currently IS a bishop has the potential, than any righteous LDS man can "qualify" to be a bishop."    I had heard enough.
 I must have looked at her like she had two heads. Then I started laughing. The singles explanation was a trip. I'd never heard it before.

And then the question of if a black member could ever be a Bishop, in the church, well I know primary kids who can answer THAT question.   I had to let her know, I thought she was right, we aren't of one accord how we should be.  I got to thinking... What the hell are they doing up the in Idaho, trying to run black folks away from the church cuz this is some new doctrine I've never heard.  Nor had my sister or daughter who live with me.  I liked the perspective it gave me on another way we are perceived by others.  We LDS need to get our crap together. Sometimes we get so busy trying to prove each other wrong with links and quotes and scriptures that can and cannot be taken out of context that we forget to nourish each other in the things we do believe.  One of the Saddest things about being LDS is seeing how the saint tear each other down.  Like some misguided  dysfunctional sibling rivalry on crack. We get so caught up in trying to be right that we fail to remember the importance of WHAT is right instead of who is right.
 There were PLENTY O MISTAKES made by Prophets in the scriptures: Abraham, Balaam, David,  There was a reason Jonah was swallowed by a whale,

even in the end he sat on a hill waiting for the destruction of Nineveh even after the people repented.

 Moses didn't even make it to the Promised Land  and not because his GPS ran out of juice.

  The brother Of Jared was called up into a cloud and chastised for not praying or talking to the Lord for 5 years.  Can you imagine a Prophet not seeking guidance of the Lords people for 5 years?  Yet he worked it out and ended up seeing the finger of God.

  I could go on but I think you get it:  Men of God screw up just like regular people.  Oh, wait...they have some regular in them too.   I don't say these things to justify those mistakes I say them so as not to be disillusioned when it happens because it will happen.
  God made one perfect man, Jesus Christ. And as long as the rest of us have agency there will be mess ups, even in the Church. And Every church has them.    Well then if every church has them, why stick with the LDS church? That's for you to figure out. I'm not in the business of convincing anyone that my Church is the church to belong to.  I leave that to The Lord and his Holy Spirit of promise.
 Even member from time to time need to take a time out to come to the conclusion of what they really believe and stand for. I've had non active members come up to me and say "Because the blacks couldn't have the priesthood I left the church."  Um... Ok.  or "I'm leaving the church until.....(fill in the blanks)"    Alrighty... see ya.   Just as there is a difference of being in the world and not of the world, there is a difference of being In the church and not of the church.  Or even of being in the church and not in the church building.
Confession: Lately I have been on to be in the church but not in the building. Some consider me less active and that's fine. Because my membership is in my testimony not the pew.  And when I do make it to the building  it's my own desire and thirst that gives me the strength and desire to want to be back in the building. Sometimes when I do go I'm sick to stomach, and popping mints and anxious. And other times I'm fine.  Right now it's a crap shoot, but it's MY crap shoot and I can't succeed if I don't try.
  For those of us who are conditional members I say this:

Part of being a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is Sticking with the Gospel 
and the Church Through it's growing pains, struggles, weaknesses and awakenings and strengthening and Joyful times. If we believe this is truly The Lord's Church, then we truly believe that He is going to make the needed corrections and adjustments when we, the people of the church are ready to abide. If we don't believe it's truly the Lord's church, then personally, i think it best to leave, then to wait for it to be 100% correct because it will never happen as long as man lives to make mistakes. But that's also part of our Faith and Testimony... Hang around until we get it right. I'm reminded of  our parenting. We can't just throw away and turn our back our children as they learn and grow only to reconnect with them years later down the road when they have come to proper light and knowledge. The reason we're asked to ENDURE is because it can and will get tough and ugly before it is blessed with the full perfection of the Lord. * and yea it sucks. But so does life sometimes and many of us aren't trying to opt of of life... so get a helmet*

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Restoration of the Priesthood to the Black Men of the Church; 35 years Later.

                                                                               My family and I are members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Yes, we are Mormons and Yes we are black. 
As long as I could remember my mother read to 
us from the bible. She would gather us around bedtime and read bible stories from her big heavy white HOLY BIBLE. You know, the kind your grandma has with all the family names in them. 
 Some of the first stories I ever heard were about Noah and Moses and Daniel in the Lion's den.  And of course the Christmas Story and the Easter story, all at the knee of my mother. 
  My earliest memory of going to church was being outside playing one Sunday morning and seeing all of our friends in the neighborhood get on a bus and be singing songs while being whisked away as my siblings and I would be playing out side.  The bus would come back through the neighborhood a couple of hours later and the kids would get off the bus and then join us at playing about the neighborhood. 
   One day my siblings and I decided to jump on the bus with them. We never really told our parents. Back in those days kids would disappear in the early morning and play all day.  Occasionally we would wander home in the middle of the day for a peanut butter and jelly sandwich but for the most part we were out all day long  and then be home by the time the street light came on.

My father said these days they'd have been in jail to let their kids jump on some random bus and disappear for hours at a time.
 He and my mother recognized that us kids were singing bible songs and songs about that Jesus loves us, yes we know, cuz the bible tells us so....

and  songs about letting lights of ours shining. LET IS SHINE! LET IT SHINE! LET IT SHINE!

My father said eventually he followed the little Sunday bus and found out we were HOLY ROLLIN' with the Pentecostals!!!  I don't think he had that much of a problem with it until they required the congregations to burn their TVs, Radios, Certain books, reading materials and such.   He felt is was time for to pull us out and to really research how he wanted his family to grow and learn about the Lord.

 My parents were into a well known MLM these days and spent a lot of time in meetings where they drew a lot of circles on a chalk board.  One circle would have arms like a spider that would attach to others circles with arms of a spider connecting a whole spider community. (well in my little 4-5 yr old mind they were drawing spiders on a chalk board)
   I can still picture the circles being drawn on the chalkboard to this day.   Some of my parent's business partners invited them to hear a message about their church and my parents agreed.  My dad speaks of the weird preacher boys with the same first name of Elder. My p parents took the discussions provided by the church. And were baptized February 1973 by Elder Baniah and Elder Clausen.  My parents were the first black LDS members in a huge radius. The church was packed, even the Mission President attended. It was a huge deal. The mission at the time covered a 3 state Radius and we would be members of the Battle Creek Ward in the Lansing, Michigan Stake.  I remember having dinner at the Mission home with the Stake President, President Hansen and his family. That was 40 years ago this year.

 Being Black members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is a rare thing.  Being Black Members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints before 1978 is a Pearl of Great Price! We have been dubbed pioneers which I didn't recognize or appreciate until years later. But that's another story for another blog.

  I'm often regarded as the poor little black girl that grew up Mormon and doesn't know anything else. I shall beg to differ:  My mother grew up in the A.M.E church. Very much of what her father taught her as a child was familiar and comfortable for her while joining the LDS church. Much of what was taught to her by the missionaries she said felt "familiar" to her, although she'd never heard it before. For those not familiar A.M.E stands for African Methodist Episcopal Church.  And were mostly All black congregation. The history of the A.M.E Church goes back well into slavery and was formed out of how badly treated and restrictions placed on black members or members of African descent. Feel free to study more on the History of the A.M.E Church.

My father was a Jr Pastor in High School. Back in the day they actually had school clubs like that involving church. They did quite a bit of service in the community and lived a certain standard as Jr pastors.   His Grandfather, Henry Flowers was a Reverend for St Mark's Colored Methodist Episcopal Church in Battle Creek, Michigan. This is the site and what's left of the church.  Churches

After my Grandfather married my Grandmother, the preacher's daughter, My grandfather then became a deacon in my Great-Grandfather's Church.    Later, after my Great-grandfather passed on and my grandparent's moved from Michigan go Arizona, my Grandparent then became Baptist.  As it is I'm very familiar with other religions and have been to several churches other than my own.  Much of the changes our family experienced were enhancements. The parent's stopped smoking and drinking.  From my point of view that's what changed the most, not seeing my father with a pipe.  We spent more time together at a family including family night once a week and daily family prayers.   At night before bedtime the family prayers would take some time because we would break out in giggle fits.  I don't know what it was about family prayer that would throw us kids into laughing fits, but i know there were times we were on our knees till they hurt trying to get out a family prayer. They were fun times of laughter and family togetherness.

Family nights were usually a lesson from the scriptures, a family activity and then family treats. It was fun. I can remember my father telling stories from the scriptures and embellishing them. He's quite the master story teller and I, for one, was always captivated. I recall stories about Moses ditching the people and they "throwing all their golden jewelry in the fire and suddenly a calf came up" cuz they needed to see some sort of God to believe in God so they made a gold cow.   And then there was the story of 3 dudes in a fire named Shadrak, Meeshak and To-bed-we-go."   My father was and still in BIG into community service so it was easy to be our brother's keeper and to help those around us. LDS Church believes in God and Jesus First and Family next. Family is always the priority after The Lord and our Savior Jesus Christ

    Being so young when the family joined the church I didn't really understand what it meant when my father didn't have the priesthood.  The only thing I recognized was that he and my older brother didn't bless or pass the Sacrament and that was actually an after thought.  Our ward never treated us any different than any of the other members.  Our family gave talks and sung with the choir. My father and mom had ward callings and did home and visiting teaching. They got their Patriarchal Blessings and worked and served like the rest of the ward members. When it became time for us kids to be baptized we were told we could pick anyone we wanted in the ward to do it. I picked the father of my best friend in the ward. Brother Donald R. Leslie  We were never told our father couldn't do it so i didn't occur to me that he wasn't able to. We, as a family were never lacking for what we needed spiritually. We believed as long as we lived the Gospel the Lord would not     leave us hanging in any way shape or form. We believe that Jesus Christ compensated for all that mortal man lacked in our behalf and no blessing would be with held.   This is the building where we were baptized and went to church growing up. This is the building where my father and brother received the priesthood.

I remember mid morning of  June 8,1978  We had an intercom system in the house and you could play the radio on it as well.  I remember the radio being on and I heard something about "President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints President Spencer W. Kimball announced  all worthy male members of the Church may be ordained to the priesthood without regard for race or color"
  Within minutes our phone started ringing off the hook: Sister Morse Called inviting us to dinner that Sunday. Sister Barnes called sobbing, asking to speak to my mom. Brother Johnson called  wanting so speak to my father.... the phone was going BIZURK!  I remember when my parents got home I told them what I heard on the radio and gave them the phone messages and left to go out an play .  When I  returned home my father wasn't there.  He heard the news and left the house. None of us knew where he went..  Later we found out he went to the church parking lot and just sat there for hours, marinating in it all. 

   I'm often asked most what changed in our family after my father was ordained to the priesthood. For the most part, he and my brothers were able to pass and bless the sacrament.  And he was able to give us blessings and we were working towards going to the temple to be sealed. Unfortunately we never made it to the temple. My parent would divorce a few years later. I am proud of them for being fully active in the church because I've since learned that for many LDS divorced couples fall away and become inactive. Strange to me. I'm grateful they clung to the things that gave them the strength and faith to be strong and carry on. When i think of the foundation they laid for us to have the option of growing strong in the gospel I'm grateful for their efforts.  Unlike many our ward was PHENOMINAL, loving and inclusive. In the times my parents divorced no one felt they needed or had to choose sides, both parents were loved and supported equally, not one against the other. When our ward split in half my father was in the 1st ward, my mother and us were in the 2nd ward. My parents ended up being the Singles rep in each of their wards and working together on the singles level.  *God has a sense of humor, y'all know it!*

I appreciate the time my parents took to share and study  church history with us.  Within a couple of years of our family joining the church we traveled with the ward to the Washington D.C open house:

Spire - DC The Sacred Grove:

  And the Hill Cumorah Pageant:

That same trip we visited the Nation's capital and the many historical treasures there.
 Although I was young at the time and didn't understand too much, These images stayed with me.  What I remembered of the Pageant was a bunch of colorful costumes beating the crap out of each other and then it  going totally dark. Suddenly a bright white image was dropping from the sky with a booming voice all around us.   It was in my Rick's College Book of Mormon class as my professor was reading the passages of the 3 days of darkness after the Crucifixion that the image mentioned above came to mind and joined a bond in my mind to seal a testimony on me of the Book Of Mormon. He was narrating from the Scripture that scene I watched in my mind for years.

I'm grateful for what my mother sacrificed to allow us to go on youth conferences to Carthage Jail:

Emma And Joseph Smith In Monument To Women Statue Garden Nauvoo, Illinois. Best LDS History & Historical Travels & Tours Pictures, Photos, Information, Images, & Reviews.

These are the things that give us strength in our testimony and endurance in our resolve as members of the Church.

We were laid with a foundation of the History of the Church and with the knowledge that no blessing would be withheld from us as long as we lived righteously in the Gospel.  My family was fortunate enough to be seen and treated with respect and love from not just our Ward but our Stake as well.  We were appreciated, valued and love as Children of God and siblings of equality.  I do recall. discussing it as a family to which my mother said.. "it's not that the blacks were unworthy to hold the Priesthood. Perhaps is the majority of the white members weren't worthy enough to accept us as equals." The folks are a product of their time, environment and social mediums. Men of God have gotten it wrong before:  Moses, Daniel. Even the Brother of Jared was called up and chastised for being the Prophet and not communicating with the Lord for a number of years. He has righted them before and will continue to do so as needed.

  I don't feel the need for an apology from the church regarding the Priesthood Policy toward the blacks. I know it was an unjust policy and more of a Tradition. One of my favorite Bible stories is the story of Abigail. If you've never read "The Peacegivers" find it and read it.

It gave me such a stronger testimony of the ATONEMENT and less of a desire of feeling offended and needing people to be accountable to me for trespasses against me.  I need no apology from the church because just as Jesus Christ died on the cross for me, my short coming and failings he also did the same for those who upheld the policy and tradition. They are accountable for how they did or did not work to resolve the situation. And just as I feel no need to stand up in General Conference and apologize for my short comings and misconceptions I feel I don't need that from them because THE LORD HAS IT TAKEN CARE OF!  I need to be more about my father's business than chasing a ghost of an apology that may hinder my desire  and responsibility to built up the kingdom.    I have taken it upon myself to own my Testimony and how it is strengthened or weakened. I and I alone am responsible for maintaining my relationship with God and what I allow to effect it.

I don't think it was a Coincidence that President Kimball was called to be the Prophet the same year my Parents Joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. We was like the Abraham Lincoln of the  LDS Church. He had a desire to seek out the truth bring it forth and defend it. It took him 2 years of fasting and prayer, much to the determent of his own health. A majority of it was fasting and praying for the brethren he worked with to open their hearts and minds and petition the Lord for the light and knowledge he had come to know.

Just like other churches The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints has growing pains, failings and short comings. Some churches resolved their issues sooner than others. Just like  the people of  the Earth.    As black members of the church it is time for us stand up and prepare to pave the way. And move forward with a greater understanding and resolve to be a powerhouse in the Gospel

"Let us rise up tonight with a greater readiness. Let us stand with a greater determination. And let us move on in these powerful days, these days of challenge, to make America [and the church] what it ought to be.
We have an opportunity to make America  a better nation.... 
I want you to know tonight that we, as a people, will get to the promised land!"

*Below are a couple of various writings on the Blacks and the Priesthood ban.

Big Brother, Little Sister Moments

Big Brother, Little Sister Moments
Hand in Hand


I earned some temporary wings!