Monday, August 29, 2016


So I was at The Atlantic, and I found an article titled: Choosing to Stay in the Mormon Church Despite Its Racist Legacy. The subtitle read: "One black woman tries to reconcile her faith with the institution’s history of discrimination."

My first thought was "Are there any religious institutions in the United States that don't have a 'history of discrimination'?" Sure, I suppose there are some relative latecomers that simply aren't old enough to have been through the worst parts of American racial history, and depending on how you look at it, you could make the case that historically Black churches might not have that same history, but it seems to me that pretty much every Christian denomination that existed prior to the Civil War, or maybe even the Civil Rights Movement has a "history of discrimination" to contend with. Sure, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints went so far as to actually code a certain level of racial discrimination into its rules, and in doing so, may have gone farther than some other Christian denominations, but to the degree that it has a history of discrimination, it's because it's a home-grown religious sect in a nation that has a history of discrimination (to put it mildly).

The article itself was boring, a litany of Mormon racism that was new only in the details. And in this, it seemed unnecessary. Had the article actually been about the work that Ms. Graham-Russell needed to do to reconcile herself with a faith that has often been hostile to people like her (and me, for that matter), it would have been a worthwhile read. While I have no "yearning for a church home" and have never felt that "something was missing within me, spiritually," I do find the journeys that people find themselves on interesting, no matter where they lead. The absence in my life of deities, spirits or supreme beings does not prejudice me against the wisdom and serenity that other people find in such entities - even if I do look askance at the idea that its only in the submission to one's chosen divinity can wisdom and serenity be found.

Mormonism is burdened with a well-documented history of racism that most other faiths simply don't have to deal with. And this allows people to ignore those histories. And I suspect that the world wouldn't end if the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints received the same pass.

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