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Steps the Mormon church could take to enhance race relations within the faith

Published June 9, 2017 9:49 am
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2017, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Here are some suggestions that have been raised, mostly by black Mormons, for how The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints could improve race relations among its members.

• Cast a black Adam and Eve (or an interracial couple) in the film shown to faithful members in LDS temples.

• Use more African-American faces in church art and manuals and display more artwork depicting Christ as he would appear: as a Middle Eastern Jewish man.



• Pick more blacks for highly visible leadership positions — if not an apostle, at least in the general authority Seventy or in the general auxiliary presidencies.

• Repudiate and apologize for the faith's past priesthood/temple ban on blacks, which the church lifted in 1978.

• Show the documentary film "Nobody Knows: The Untold Story of Black Mormons" to every all-male priesthood quorum, women's Relief Society class and Young Men and Young Women groups.

• Quote from the church's Gospel Topics essay "Race and the Priesthood" regularly at LDS General Conference and translate it into all the languages that the church uses to communicate with its global membership.

• Direct that the essay be read from the pulpit in every Mormon congregation and mission in the world.

• Have the Book of Mormon scripture found in 2 Nephi 26:33 — "All are alike unto God" — be a yearlong Young Women or Primary theme and make it part of the curriculum to talk about the sin of racism.

• Bring more blacks to LDS Church-owned Brigham Young University as students and faculty, while providing sensitivity training for all students about racial issues and interactions with people of color.

• Teach children about the heroic black Mormon lives, such as LDS pioneers Jane Manning James and Elijah Abel.

• Expand the LDS hymnbook to include more diverse songs and styles.

• Enlist more people of color in the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.

• Invite the choir from the Genesis Group — a longtime Utah-based support organization for black Mormons and their families — to sing at General Conference.

• Use the Genesis Group to assist in improving relationships with the African-American community.

• Give the Genesis Group greater authority to exist in all states and to visit wards and assist lay bishoprics in how to avoid and overcome racism in their congregations.

• Create a church-sponsored Mormon and black website akin to the one found at mormonandgay.org.

• Treat the members of the Genesis Group's presidency as an auxiliary, seating them on the stand with other high-ranking authorities during General Conference — and invite at least one of them to speak during the sessions.

• Provide training on racial issues for newly called mission presidents.

• Include a mandatory class at Missionary Training Centers that teach the "Race and the Priesthood" essay so missionaries are better prepared when they go out to preach.

 

 

 

 

 

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