Over the weekend I attended stake conference, which is a nice change in the usual church routine. I was happy to see that on Saturday evening one speaker was African-American, and on Sunday, in addition to our Japanese-American stake president, the mission president and his wife, who are also Japanese-American, spoke.
The lady who spoke on Saturday was especially touching because she talked of growing up as the daughter of civil rights activists, and how she initially resisted the Church, and then stayed away for a couple of years because of racist comments she had overheard, as well as the priesthood ban. She said that she learned to overcome these doubts by recognizing that Satan was preying on her weaknesses. The mission president and his wife, interestingly, both established their American credentials early in their talks. The MP then told a story about meeting one of the missionaries who said that he was glad he didn't have to learn Japanese to talk to his MP.
All well and good. The Church is a more diverse community then most (in and outside) would expect. I am living proof of that, and so is the ward I belong to. But I had hoped that one of these three speakers would say: "I pray that other members of the church will have their hearts softened and accept that we are all members of the church, and that we will all be sensitive to what we say and how we act toward others, regardless of their backgrounds."
That's really interesting that you sound surprised about the diversity. I living in a TINY Branch in Alberta (where admitedly there are more than a lot of white people) but we have a family from The Sudan and a family from Kenya and it's as normal as can be. I've lived in wards with people of all different colours and backgrounds (though it's true - closer to home we're generally white and of Mormon Pioneer stock) but it's never occured to me that they're any different from me - we're all the same in the gospel - and I've never thought I needed to have my heart softened. It would break my heart if people judged me on what colour I am. :(
I'm glad your conference was good though. It's always nice when you can leave a meeting and feel uplifted.
On January 26th, 2011 02:35 am (UTC), (Anonymous) commented:
I went to the Sacrament meeting two days ago with C as a friend's new daughter was being blessed. Granted it was just outside Atlanta, but I couldn't help but notice that there everyone was white save for one black couple and a few mixed-race couples, all Asian/Caucasian. I also couldn't help noticing the number of women with bows or flowers on the side of their heads.
Ironically, the speakers' theme was judgment and of course they reminded us not to judge. And there we were. Yeah...