New Series Intro: Mormonism, Racism, and Romney
Today, a new four part series I was putting together will go up. 4 kind-of short posts focusing on the LDS church, its history with racism, and the connection to Mitt Romney. The point of it all is to both make sure my brothers and sisters who will be casting a supporting vote for Mitt Romney next week are aware of the issue, and to challenge all of us, myself included, to take extra time and consideration of the issue of racism and how it thrives today.
But, first, I feel I need to lay a little ground work. I wanted to give a bit of background into my relationship with the LDS church and that may help you see why this is an extraordinary issue for me.
I don’t mention it much but I spent a good two to three years in deep study of the LDS church. Yes…it was because of a girl. Not to the extent you’re thinking, though. She and I worked together, and she peaked my interest in wanting to find out more about the LDS church. She gave me a Book of Mormon, and off I went. I got a hold of a Pearl of Great Price and Doctrine and Covenants, and got to work. I focused on reading their stuff, listening to their arguments, and seeing things from their perspective. I remember writing a 20+ page letter to her, and another coworker who was also Mormon, talking about what I read and my responses to them. I never gave them that letter. It was more an exercise for me. Instead I gave them each a short 1 page summary of where I was at, and we had a nice little discussion from there. We were good friends, then we all ultimately went different ways because of school, work, moving, etc.
That didn’t stop my thirst for reading about the LDS and having discussions when I could. I did take a break for a couple years while life changed. I married Kimbrah, we started a family, and moved again. That’s when my wife and I spent about a year and a half sharing dinner and conversation with LDS missionaries in our little San Diego area apartment. Some LDS girls helped my wife bring groceries in one day. Then, a week or so later, a couple of missionaries came knocking at the door, apparently thinking that we’d asked to watch a movie on eternal marriage in the LDS church. I kind of think that was a ruse on their part, but that’s alright. We were more than happy to have them over. They were some of the most wonderful kids. Each so different. Each with so much ahead of them. And they were obviously confused by us and the love we showed them. We never once tried to “evangelize” them, or “convert” them. We fed them and had great conversations. We listened and asked questions and listened some more. They listened and asked questions. We knew them by their first names, and this was before the rules started to loosen up on missionaries.
They felt safe and loved in our home. Sometimes they’d be over twice a week. That one tall boy could eat. I don’t think they ever ate so well during their two year missions. And they helped us move
But we love LDS folks enough to be honest with them, and expect them to be honest with us as well as their own history. I hope my fellow brothers and sisters can show them courtesy and respect, and recognize how seriously they take their faith.
So, keep an eye out for the upcoming posts. Read them over. Hopefully they’re not so jumbled it’s hard to understand.