Thursday, October 2, 2014


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Alice said...

Thank you for this. It's hard to read about how we at feminist Mormon housewives dropped the ball, I think some of it was out of caution, not wanting to take over a celebration that was not ours to celebrate- but that's where we missed the mark. It was ours to celebrate, if we want to be united as sisters. For that, I'm sorry. Missed opportunity in deed. :(

Black Mormon Girl :) said...

Thank you Alice! In the 13th article of faith we claim "if there be anything virtuous, lovely and of good report and praiseworthy we seek these things!" There are no clauses or provisos or cautions mentioned in it. Education moments are a divine opportunity for us all to check ourselves. This also helps me to recognize how I want to be aware of issues outside of my own and how I want to be supportive to those. It may take some time, but WE will get there.

Alice said...

I hope so! We just have to keep trying, even when we feel so dumb for messing up.

Esther said...

I'm so sorry for being one of those who so badly missed the mark. And thank you for calling it, us, me, out.

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