Discrimination Like I’ve Ever Seen Before

Jamie TrwthAnti-Mormon, blacks, Discrimination, history, racism 32 Comments

In Little Rock, Ark on a relatively calm September day in 1957 the all-white Central High School tries to blocked nine African American students from entering the school. Governor Orval Faubus tries in vain to stop the students from attending the school even though 3 years earlier Brown v. Board of Education deemed segregation to be illegal in public schools. It took the actions of The President of the United States of America, Dwight D. Eisenhower, with the help of federal troops and the National Guard to persuade Governor Faubus to allow these nine students to enter the school. The Governor was persuaded by his own, or others, prejudice to take action against these nine students, the court system and the United States Government itself.

Growing up as an African American I have faced discrimination, and prejudice but nothing that hampered me from accomplishing the things I have done and wanted to do. I could not imagine the travesties these and others went through to just to live and breath and just be who God made them.

Fast forward 50 or so years after The Little Rock Nine and discrimination is still disallowing children into schools. No. It’s not about the color of skin this time. It’s about the Flavor of Religion. Namely Mormonism.

Just yesterday my wife and her sister went to an alternative school fair. We are looking into getting our son into another school that would broaden his academic horizons. My sister-in-law asked on of the persons manning the table for a local Christian school:

Is being a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints a problem.

The lady at the table stated:

We highly recommend not even putting in an application to our school.

My sister-in-law said thank you and went on her way.

This is discrimination like I’ve never seen before. I’ve had police officers tell me to spread eagle, like I’ve done it a million times before, when actually it was my first time. Needless to say the officer had to instruct me in the art of Spreading Eagle. I have been pulled over just because of the color of my skin (the last time I was pulled over I was rideing a bicycle). I’ve had parents not want me to date their Caucasian daughters but this action takes the cake. My LDS son whom I baptized and confirmed cannot attend some schools in the area because he is a member.

That wasn’t the only school that discriminates against Mormons here in Anchorage. In Elders Quorum an instructor stated that he was told not to submit an application to a Christian school because of his religious affiliation. I just think of what President Henckley said one General Conference:

I remind you that no man who makes disparaging remarks concerning those of another race can consider himself a true disciple of Christ, How can any man holding the Melchizedek Priesthood arrogantly assume that he is eligible for the priesthood whereas another who lives a righteous life but whose skin is of a different color, is ineligible?

If we broaden this statement to includes all followers of Christ and substitute the word race for religion and skin color to sect, I would come to the conclusion that of:

How can anyone call themselves Christians who practice such religious bigotry and hatred.

The answer is simple and plain . . . They Cannot. Not legitimately. My sister-in-law practiced Christ like virtues by turning the other cheek and walking away. I ask of you who was Christ like in this situation?

Comments 32

  1. And I hope more Mormons realize that Protestant religions are not our friends. They may shake our right hand with theirs, but with their left, they stab us in the back.

  2. Not all evangelicals are bad- we had some Baptist friends from Rob’s grad program that love Obama and talk regretfully about how the fundamentalists took over the SBC twenty years ago. They insist that there’s a big difference between evangelical and fundamentalist and they’re evangelical, darnit- all the other evangelicals are really fundamentalist and just don’t know it.

    I’d be tempted to call these guys a rarity (he did quit the ministry to get a PhD in history, which implies a little different outlook than the average Baptist minister) but most of the Baptists I’ve met are actually somewhat disenchanted with the hatin’ their ministers put out. I’ve decided mean ones are about a 30-40% minority even if they do 90% of the talking… don’t worry, there’s still hope. : )

  3. “here in Anchorage” — I never knew. We lived in the Anchorage 3rd Ward from ’64 to ’68. I lived at 1005 Chugach Drive, Spenard.

    View Larger Map

    I’ve got Jewish friends who used to ask how we were treated at schools in order to consider whether it was safe for them to apply to them, here in Texas.

  4. mellifera,

    You are right, not all evangelicals are bad. In fact most regular members are quite nice, friendly, and Christian. But their leaders are hypocrites. They fund anti-Mormon literature and when push comes to shove, would rather not have us around.

  5. Pingback: Adventures in Mormonism » Blog Archive » An LDS comic strip worth reading

  6. “The lady at the table stated: We highly recommend not even putting in an application to our school…In Elders Quorum an instructor stated that he was told not to submit an application to a Christian school because of his religious affiliation.”

    And this is why we have seperation of church and state. Imagine if these type of people were allowed to run the country as they run their schools. Mormons certainly would not be welcome and people like me could be summarily deported, imprisoned, or worse for our lack of belief.

  7. Interesting story. But was it a public school? Where discrimination is not permitted, or was it a private school where they can deny entry to jews, muslims, mormons and jehovahs witnesses?

    If it was a private school then there isn’t discrimination really, just as there isn’t discrimination when BYU asks for bishops recommendation or better when they demand a temple recommend for staff. (then they’ll invite a non-member for PR reasons off course)

    We mormons also need to remember that we aren’t considered Christians by these evangelicals and nothing we do will make it different. It’s up to them to invite us into their version of Christianity. We can say ‘Jesus, Jesus’ all we like but it won’t make things different.

  8. I commend your Sister-in-law for turning the other cheek. It is hard to resist the urge to “educate” or “share”, two verbs that comes natural with a church and gospel that we love. Walking away is a “pride-swallowing” experience requiring containment of that unspoken correction.

  9. Jaime, welcome aboard Mormon Matters. We’re glad to have you. Pretty unbelievable the account you relate here. Reminds me that the most fundamental part of being a Christian is to love everyone, even our “enemies.”

  10. Note that BYU also discriminates on the basis of religion. Mormon professors are given preferences in hiring, and Mormon students pay lower tuition. If a Mormon student decides she wants to stop being a Mormon and be a Baptist instead, she would be kicked out of school. BYU has the right to do all this, because it’s a private school that seeks to promote a specific world view.

  11. Yes, Jamie, That was some story. Thanks for being here and sharing.

    Now, taking this situation to the most illogical extreme, there is so-called discrimination in every phase of life. If those criticizing BYU, for example, look at just about every higher education institution in the nation, they have requirements to entry. If you don’t meet those requirements, you are not allow to enter. is that discrimination?

    In Jamie’s story, I assume the child met every requirement for entry, but would have been denied entry simply for being a Mormon. BYU does not do that.

  12. BYU only discriminates with regard to one’s current or former status with regard to Mormonism. If it were discovered that a Baptist student seeking admission had once been Mormon, she would be denied admission on the basis of resigning her membership, for example.

    My mom inquired about enrolling me in a Christian school when I was 5 and we had moved to a new town. It degenerated into a conversation about when my mom could pinpoint having accepted Jesus into her life. Needless to say, I was from then on the product of the public school system until I attended BYU for my undergrad degree. Nice post, Jamie, and welcome aboard!

  13. There’s an interesting fellow I’ve met that shows why discrimination has occurred at all.
    Check out Jeff Edwards wonderful article on http://www.military.com called “Quiet Hero”. He tells the story of a man, Lanier Phillips who left the south in 1942 to get away from the discrimination he and his fellow blacks had become accustom to.

    He joined the navy and was given the duty as a “stewards mate” meaning he could work in the kitchen. On the night of February 17th, 1942 his ship the USS Truxton had been on convoy duty in the north Atlantic and in it ran aground in a terrible storm. He thought he was on his way to Iceland. With the ship broken in half, it began sinking, he and other members of his crew decided to abandon ship and ended up making their way to a distant land mass which he later discovered was St. Lawrence, Newfoundland.

    Two of the crew made it to the little mining town and were able to get help. Only 51 of the crew of 156 actually survived the catastrophe, Lanier was the only black man to live.

    The real story though began as Lanier reached the shore, everyone was covered in oil, so all of the sailors looked black. He says that when he made it to the shore, he was surprised that white men were trying to get him up and walking. He passed out and finally wakes up, naked on a table with 4 white women trying to wash the oil from his body. They were scrubbing and scrubbing. One women, he recounts said, “This poor boy, the oil has gotten right down into his pores…I can’t get it off.”

    He finally worked up the courage to tell them that this was the colour of his skin. They had never seen a negro before.

    And what did they do? They fed him. They clothed him. They let him sleep in their beds. He shared how the one woman held his head like you would a sick child and fed him warm soup. They massaged his body to get the blood moving. They treated him as they would any other human being, because they didn’t know not to.

    Lanier says, they didn’t just save his life, they saved his soul with their kindness. In the morning of Feb 17th he hated white people. By the next morning he had a different perspective.

    Racism is taught and perpetuated from generation to generation. In and out of the Church, it still exists to some degree and it is unfortunate when it happens.
    To ignore the progress is counterproductive. The cross race support for the likes of Oprah and Barrack shows that dramatic change has occurred.

    I grew up in Canada and didn’t see a real black person until I was in high school.

    Later when I served a mission in Iowa, we were teaching a few black families and I was told specifically by my mission president (from Idaho) “that there really wasn’t much point to teaching them since they couldn’t hold the Priesthood.” I didn’t know any better since I was young and still new to the Church and I was taught that this man was my leader.

    Later I learned that Ezra Taft Benson was a member of the John Birch Society….can you say “white supremacy”?

    From an outsiders perspective, the Church while none violent looks like an offshoot of the KKK…goofy robes…secret handshakes and rituals…racist…predominately white…believing that their leaders are all knowing and all seeing.

    From the world’s perspective, the idea of excluding the blacks from the priesthood was nothing more than institutional racism which I tend to agree with. It’s really pretty silly to think that a loving God would exclude a certain group of people from anything because of the colour of their skin.

  14. As the creator of the 35,000 user Catholic app on Facebook, 20,000 user LDS app on Facebook, Baptist and other apps, as well as a Tech blogger myself and author of soon to be 2 books, I guarantee you don’ t want to have this turn into a PR nightmare. I will be posting this to all 35,000 Catholics on Facebook who I know will support it, as well as all LDS applications and groups. It’ s already been Twittered- I know I’ m not the only one that tracks,“ Mormon” on Twitter. I will blog it, and about 300 people a…

  15. Interesting that you quoted Hinkley’s comment on the priesthood for every worthy man regardless of skin color, considering that the Church withheld priesthood to all blacks up to 1978.
    If you like to discuss discrimination go no further than church history – look up Journal of Discourses and pretty much any reference to blacks by any prophet. Now, that takes the cake my friend. Please do not say I am using ‘anti-mormom’ material. This is all church literature, taught and preached in schools, pulpits, books. Books such as the Journal of Discourses cannot even be found anymore, if you are an old member or come from a family that has been in church for generations, you will be lucky to have it. The church cannot now discount this, as either the ‘line of prophets’ has been direct since Joseph Smith, or it is broken and the church is in an apostate state like they claim all others are. Your story was interesting, but to say it ‘takes the cake on discrimination’, well, you have not gone very far in studying the church’s own history have you? Here they are:

    “Now WE ARE GENEROUS WITH THE NEGRO. WE ARE WILLING that the Negro have the highest kind of education. I WOULD BE WILLING to LET every Negro DRIVE A CADILLAC IF THEY COULD AFFORD IT. I WOULD BE WILLING that they have all the advantages they can get out of life in the world. BUT LET THEM ENJOY THESE THINGS AMONG THEMSELVES.” LDS “Apostle” Mark E. Petersen, “Race Problems – As They Affect The Church,” Address delivered at Brigham Young University, August 27, 1954 (I am so glad they are ‘willing to let you’ do all this – imagine what would happen if they were not willing to let you)

    “Though he was a rebel and an ASSOCIATE OF LUCIFER IN PRE-EXISTENCE, …Cain managed to attain the privilege of mortal birth…. [H]e came out in open rebellion, fought God, worshiped Lucifer, and slew Abel…. AS A RESULT OF HIS REBELLION, CAIN WAS CURSED WITH A DARK SKIN; HE BECAME THE FATHER OF THE NEGROES, and THOSE SPIRITS WHO ARE NOT WORTHY to receive the priesthood are born through his lineage.” LDS “Apostle” Bruce McConkie, Mormon Doctrine, pp. 108-109, 1966 edition

    “Shall I tell you the LAW OF GOD in regard to the AFRICAN race? If the WHITE MAN who belongs to the CHOSEN SEED mixes his blood with the seed of Cain, the penalty, under the law of God, is DEATH ON THE SPOT. This will ALWAYS be so.” LDS “Prophet” Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, Vol. 10, p.110, 1863

    All those fathers that would not let you date their white daughters, does that make sense now? I knew a very nice, sucessful, educated black man who was my friend, his biggest complain was not one girl would date him. I would have dated him had he shown interest. Not saying everyone is racist, but there remains that state of mind from years of being mostly a white church in LDS, and most parents would not allow their daughters to intermarry in the church. The new parents have a different view, but people like my fathers age (in their 60s) do not (or mostly do not).

  16. Hammering our past, or pointing a finger at our past and saying “Neener Neener Neener” isn’t very productive. But neither is burying it under the carpet. We can learn from our past, but we have to remember to keep it in context. For example, I’m not so sure the statements by Brigham above are all that different from the prevailing wisdom of much of the country at the time.

    I’d say the same about my past mistakes. Why beat me up for stupid things I did as a teen? There was a context, of course, different from my adult context. I don’t want to forget necessarily, but remember and learn.

  17. this has nothing to do with bringing out the past, but either a prophet is a prophet and what he says is the word of God, or it is not, and the ‘direct link’ has been severed. What a prophet says should stand. Either that or God is a joker and constantly changes his mind (which I do not believe so as I believe in God). Brigham Young was not speaking for the times, he was the mouthpiece of God was he not? I personally believe he was deranged, even for the times. Also, I have taken my name of the church roles so I am no longer a member, but in discussions as to why I left, I have encountered new members and young missionaries that call out blasphemy or tell me that I am a liar when these things are brought up. I am not a liar, these are recorded history and I wish that the church would not whitewash the truth (and there is a post about white washing here). Do not make books disappear, do not make inquiring members/non-members into liars when they are not. If facing what past prophets have said is too difficult for you or counter productive, then go on your merry productive way. But never say they (prophets) said nothing contrary to the views of the times. Prophets are the mouthpiece of God and He is timeless (or would you say the teachings of the Bible no longer applies? How about the Book of Mormom? Supposedly, that little story happened way before Brigham Young, or Joseph Smith). You cannot pick and choose what you will expose. Certainly, you cannot claim discrimination by the world, and sweep under the carpet discrimination by the Church. My content applies here because we are talking discrimination.

  18. Rhonda – you are making a very black and white assessment of what a prophet is. Under your definition above, everything a prophet says is prophecy, the word of God, the will of God. That is not the church’s definition. Prophets are fallible and do not always speak for God, which doesn’t mean that the “direct link” has been severed. All revelation is subject to interpretation, even by the one who is receiving it for the church. I don’t believe God is racist, but BY clearly was. Many OT prophets were equally or more fallible. You’ll also note that the Bible never speaks out against other human atrocities like slavery and even genocide. So, does that mean God is pro-slavery/pro-genocide or that OT prophets are fallible like BY and other modern ones?

  19. Rhonda, shotguns aren’t a good weapon when dove hunting.

    Personal suggestion only:

    Use a rifle to hit a specific issue. Don’t obliterate any chance of discussion by dropping a bomb on two dozen topics only related tangentially to the original post.

    Your comment would be appropriate for threads dealing directly with racism. That’s not this thread.

  20. The one thing I got from the post is this: The woman at the table didn’t show Christ in her words. Anyone should be allowed to apply to a private (Christian) school regardless of the child’s religion. What she could have said is this: While we do not teach LDS doctrine, we would be more than happy for your child to apply. Here’s what the school teaches. If you feel it will not go against your beliefs as a mormon, then please feel free to apply. With it being a christian school, I assume it was a private school. I’m not sure what the laws are for private schools, but I do know that federal law prohibits being discriminated against due to one’s religious background.

  21. I joined the LDS church as a teenager. I did not know that african-americans were not allowed to receive the priesthood in the church until I was a young lady. I was shocked and my faith was put to test. After much thought, search, and prayer…I found that perhaps the world was not ready to receive the news that anyone may enter the priesthood of the LDS church for quite some time. Heavenly Father loves us and wants us to prosper and get the message out that this is the true gospel. I believe the ability for all members to attain the priesthood was opened when the world was more able to recieve the news without major persecution and I know our Father in Heaven knew this all along. I am grateful any worthy male may obtain such an important calling in life today. I am at ease with this thought and I believe it was personal revelation.

    May God bless you all and thank you for this story. Yes, harsh judgement is made by many in regards to so many major and minor differences between two people. Yes, whoever stated LDS need not apply has a tinge of hatred and misguided understandings about our faith. I have more concern for the people who disregard me for my religion than I do for my own hurt in pride. I am grateful to read such a wonderful example of turning the other cheek. I need more good news about keeping peace and love in our life like this. I love this example.

  22. The LDS
    church teaches that every Christian church is in apostasy and corrupted by Satan
    and then you are surprised that the same people you say are evil question
    letting you into their school. It is a private Christian school and so of course
    they will question letting in people from groups that believe there church is
    in apostasy and evil. That is nothing like racism speaking of that . . . so you
    were less valiant in the war of heaven good thing the government stepped in or
    the non-racist church would have never let blacks have the priesthood.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *