This month marks the 36th anniversary of the lifting of the Priesthood-Temple Ban and in this, I wanted to revisit an anonymous informal survey that I sent out last year to women of black African descent who identify as members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. In this survey, participants were asked a series of questions about the Priesthood-Temple Ban and its effect (or lack thereof) on their experience in the Church. Going the through the responses was both an uplifting and at times, troubling experience for me. Many of the words that were written detailed some of the joy I’ve found through my faith and finding ways to move forward. Others, highlighted the double consciousness that can be manifested when one exists as a person of color in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. In both, these responses paint a picture of the legacy of the ban and offer some insight on where we are, 36 years later.


Original Post, October 16, 2013

In navigating the waters of young single adulthood, I’m finding that there is great power in Nommo, or in self-naming and self-definition. Naming what uplifts us. Naming what hurts us.

What are the life songs that make us shout with joy?

What are the weights that hold us back?

In this process, we find strength, both individually and collectively, even amongst the narratives that would hope to leave us in a place of great sadness and fear. It was in this that I became curious about the experiences of women of African descent within The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Some time ago, I conducted an anonymous informal survey that focused on these stories. In all, there were 43 responses. While the responses are not an all encompassing description of the experiences of women of African descent in the Church (nor a definitive overview of Latter-day Saints who are non-Persons of Color), the answers given do provide some context to the journey of women of African descent within the Mormon Church. Huge thank you to everyone who participated and helped with this survey.

Please note: An official statement from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints regarding its stance on race and racism within and outside the Church can be found here.

Update as of June 4th, 2014: The Church statement on Race and the Priesthood can be found here.


What is your age?

18-24 8 (19%)

25-34 16 (37%)

35-44 14 (33%)

45-54 3 (7%)

55-64 1 (2%)

65-74 1 (2%)

75+ 0

What is your marital status?

Single 20 (49%)

Married 18 (44%)

Widowed 1 (2%)

Divorced 2 (5%)

What is your racial identity?

African American


Black, Malaysian, Puerto-Rican

I am biracial, but call myself Black.







How would you identify your status in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints?

Active, Believing Member 33 (77%)

Inactive, Believing Member 4 (9%)

Inactive 0

Post-Mormon 0

Ex-Mormon 2 (5%)

Investigator 0

Other 4 (9%)

How long have you been a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints?

Born into the Church 11 (26%)

<1 year 5 (12%)

1 – 5 years 7 (16%)

6 – 10 years 0

11 – 15 years 7 (16%)

16 – 20 years 3 (7%)

21+ years 10 (23%)

I’m not a member, I’m investigating 0

If you are active, how do you remain active in the Church?

  • Attendance, calling, visiting teaching
  • Church attendance, prayer, scripture study, magnifying my callings, monthly temple attendance, family history work, building relationships with members and investigators, testimony of the restored gospel
  • It’s an essential part of my life, like bathing & brushing my teeth.
  • More cultural and that family is also LDS and its the only way I know of worshiping N/A
  • Personal relationship with God, scripture study/prayer, attending church meetings, fulfilling callings
  • Study, callings, and a great support system don’t have a calling but am eager to be assigned one through a calling and visitng teaching
  • VTeaching, calling, daily scripture study and prayer, FHE
  • By perpetually strengthening my testimony attending mtgs, callings
  • Going to church, VT, primary teacher Attending… firesides, FHE, callings, visiting teaching, personal study and meditation
  • Callings regular attendance
  • Callings Fellowshipping and callings
  • The basics and knowing im a daughter of God who makes mistakes but knows the ability to repent and just take one day at a time. As well as the comforts being a member of the church gives me.
  • sharing the book of Mormon, Relief Society supports I attend services and strive to live gospel principles.
  • Frequent church attendance,my calling, temple service,
  • Attending Church occasionally Visiting teaching, callings, opportunities to teach (even if they aren’t callings)
  • By going to church, activities, serving, attending the templeAttendance, VT, RS, Temple, Calling, Going out with missionaries I attend Sunday meetings
  • I go to church every Sunday. I have a testimony. I magnify my callings.
  • Through my testimony. Nothing else influences my decision to be active.

If you are an active, inactive or former member, please list any callings you’ve had or currently have.

  • Ward missionary, yw counselor, rs counselor, rs teaxher
  • Relief Society Teacher, Sunday School Teacher, Nursery Worker
  • Youth Sunday School Pres, 1st Counselor in YW, Secretary in Primary, Branch Chorister, Relief Society Teacher (4th Sun)
  • Rs second counselor ward choir director rs teacher primary chorister ward music chair primary teacher youth Sunday school teacher rs music coordinator
  • Primary teacher, RS teacher, Gospel Doctrine teacher, Stake RS First Counselor, Public Affairs Committee
  • Restoring Torah
  • Sunday School President, Sunday School Teacher, Elder’s Quorum Teacher, Executive Secretary, Temple Worker
  • Sunday school teacher, ward missionary, Young women 1st counsellor , primary 1st counsellor
  • Full-time missionary, RS presidency, YW presidency, gospel doctrine teacher, ward music, youth adviser/Sunday school, Primary chorister, family history consultant, temple ordinance worker
  • young single adult representative
  • Beehive advisor, Scout Committee Chair, Mia Maid Advisor, Girl’s camp Direector, YW President, Relief Society Preparedness Specialist, Enrichment Teacher, YW secretary, Actiivity Chair, Gospel Doctrine Teacher, Relief Society Teacher, Compassionate Service Specialist
  • RS Secretary, RS Counselor, CS Leader, SS Teacher, DC teacher, Beehive teacher, YW Counselor, YS Adult Teacher
  • Sunday school teacher, visiting teacher
  • Counselor in the relief society

Where were you born?

Africa 6 (14%)

Asia 0

Australia 0

Europe 1 (2%)

North America 33 (79%)

South America 2 (5%)

Sample of responses for area of residence (listed by every third response): California, Texas, Washington, South Carolina, Georgia, Maryland, New York, Utah, Canada, Kenya

If you are a convert, at one point converted to the Church or are currently investigating, how did you find the Church?

Though missionaries 19 (44%)

Through a friend or significant other 6 (14%)

Through a family member 4 (9%)

I’m not a convert/investigator 11 (26%)

Other 3 (7%)

If you are a convert, at one point converted to the Church or are currently investigating, were you or are you aware of the policies* that affected persons of African descent between the mid-1800′s and 1978?

Yes 26 (60%)

No 5 (12%)

I’m not a convert/investigator 12 (28%)

Other 0

If you don’t identify as a convert (in the literal sense), did not previously convert or are not investigating, when did you become aware of the policies* that affected persons of African descent between the mid 1800′s and 1978?

  • An employer bombarded me with questions and allegations about it when I was 16. In my teens.
  • When i was in HS as I had a better understanding of the church doctrine.
  • I’ve known about it as long as I can remember, but became more aware that the early church leaders instituted this ban due to personal biases. I discovered this a few years ago.
  • N/A
  • Before I joined
  • As a teen
  • When I was very young. My dad (who is from Africa and is Black) shared with us (my two younger siblings) about the policies and how they affected him and others when we were very young. My dad was angry because the missionaries didn’t tell him when he converted in Africa.
  • Early teens about age 14-15
  • When I was about 12-13
  • Being raised in the church I saw it as a policy that was changed right before I was born. I’ve never questioned it. I knew it was essential to our church and changed my life.
  • Between 10-12 years old
  • Book by Darius Gray
  • I’ve always known. My father, a black man, joined the church in 1972
  • Don’t recall, sorry.

Do you feel that the policies had an effect on your experience within The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints? If yes, how so? Stories are encouraged but not required.

4 respondents answered “No”

3 respondents answered “Yes”

  • Yes. People would always tell me is be white one day. Or talk about interracial dating as a son.
  • Yes, I have struggled to find out why these policies ever existed and why the church hierarchy has not taken responsibility for its racist history.
  • Through questions from other people asking me if the policies affected my experiences among other situations.
  • It did. I started attending when I was about 4 years old and I never knew about it until I was 18 or 19. I went innactive after that. I felt like I couldnt connect with other members because they lacked this experience andkind of brushed it off as if they wanted me to forget or ignore it. Now I know it, it isn’t doctrine now, and i just am hopeful for the fuure. I wasn’t able to live through it. And hopefully I won’t have to live through anything similr.
  • No! However, I realize, the Church is PERFECT – ALL humans are NOT!
  • Not really.
  • Yes it has. And those experiences are dismissed everyday. Think about what those policies did to white South Africans in the church. They had their spiritual leaders teach them they are superior to the subhuman black people, and their government also upheld these beliefs. While other South African churches fought against apartheid, LDS church conviniently used article of faith to stay away. Yet millions were used to fight prop 8 in california. Those things are glaring and have me questioning. The principles that converted me to this church teach that we have to stand with integrity at all times, no matter what. But when it comes to the worth of black people, that intergrity flies out the window. Where is God and inspiration at those times? It has me questioning how could a man who was “highly spiritual” and “close to God” like McConkie could sit and deeply ponder a way to explain away the inferioity of black people. And for stating this? I’ll be the one who is being blasphemous. Black children in the church are called animals by white kids in the 21st Century, because their parents continue to teach what mcconkie taught. I’ll never forget that experience. Again, who’s in the wrong here? The black person who takes offense. That’s how these instances are handled each time.
  • Yes, I believe that until the Church formally addresses this issue, that many will members white and black will be misinformed on the truth regarding color and the Scriptures. I believe the work that was done in Blacks and the Scriptures need to be made as mass teachings in the Church. I also feel deeply that some kind of memorial Priesthood needs to take place just as we baptise the dead.
  • Yes- the past is very troubling, but what is more troubling is the lack of appropriate handling of the situation/facts today. I.E.- let’s see some ownership and an apology from the Church.
  • Yes. I feel like it affected the way people explained to me 2 Nephi chapter 5 (“skins of blackness”) when I got to that point in the Book of Mormon and felt upset. People talked about curses and Cain and Ham, and I did not feel right about their explanations. Now I know there is a lot of misinformation about why the priesthood was not extended to everyone.
  • Our family Joined in the Early 70′s. We were very aware of the Priesthood Policies. Our ward was Phenominal, we were so loved and so well received and taken care of. My parents were given callings and we jumped right in. We were “loved into the church.” So sad that so many black members had the opposite experiences.
  • Yes, It’s rarely talked about at and too many misinformation behind the reason.
  • I’ve had a chance to do everything other memebers can. that is a huge blessing
  • Yes. I was disturbed that people didn’t ever question the policies of the Church or “revelatons” of the leaders
  • No. I believe that there are some things that won’t be explained in this life and I look forward to an answer to the question of why in the next.
  • Yes, some people w/in the church look at me as less than. Felt had to work harder to prove I was just as good
  • I actually learned of the policies two years after I was baptized. I was at work and had a CTR ring on. Two Black men who knew what m ring was and were strongly opinionated against the church for the policy against Blacks asked me what I knew of the church’s former policies against Blacks. I told them nothing. They then explained in their personal view what it meant and the racial undertones that affected all Blacks. This was an eye opener and I was forced to do some research of my own. This subject is extremely rare to be spoken of in church and never spoken of until my meeting with them.
  • Very little effect
  • I feel that it promoted racism and there are still members to this day that have held onto those teachings. I went to work at a government agency and my department was all Mormon, I wasnt converted yet but the hate they had towards me was soley based on my ethnic background. They were afraid that I would become their boss because of my background and education and did everything they could to show hate towards me and belittle me. During this time I met members who were not like that at all and fought hard to protect me. There was a lawsuit involved and it was settled but I am grateful to my “missionaries” because through that process I was able to see the true church even through the blinding hate.
  • Yes! the policies have made me more analytic of policies initiated by church leaders. It has to make sense to me, not violate morality before I can practice it. I need to somewhat obtain a personal revelation on any issue before participating in it. It has also unfortunately made be doubtful of some temple ordinances and its origins especially as I have studied more about other organizations with similar ordinances. The ban has affected how I have been treated in various LDS Wards in the church. There is still that element of racism. However, I have felt the Spirit in the church, and I know the Scriptures are true, so I still go to church, and strive to live and my Savior wants me to.
  • Yes, I do. There was a period of my life (9th and 10th grade) when the policies started to really change how I felt about the church. I stopped coming and I was just so angry. Even though the policies had been changed, it was the fact that they even existed that made me so angry. It also made me angry that it could have been me. I was angry at my dad a long time for staying in a church that had such racist policies. I don’t when I started coming back to church. My parents urged me–I still went to seminary, church was just spotty–and I felt a great connection to some of the younger girls in my ward. I don’t know if I can now say I’ve come to terms with the policies–they still make me angry–but I know in my heart that if Jesus would have been here, nothing like this would have happened. That’s what I cling to.
  • Yes, it had an effect on my experience within the Church. I often wondered growing up how to reconcile this part of Church history with my own personal testimony. I never received a direct answer from church leaders on why this happened. The answers that I would receive did not make sense. It seemed as though the church was trying to hide behind biblical stories. It was and is especially hard during sunday school lessons when that part of church history is addressed and the caucasian members pretend to have all the answers as to why it happened quoting Bruce R. McConkie. The hardest part was when a member asked why blacks were the only race that were not allowed to receive the priesthood and participate in temple ordinances. Although the Church has made efforts in recent years by releasing statements admitting they do not know why it happened, I wish the Church would outright say it was a mistake. The Church’s teachings are perfect but its members are not (even Church leaders).
  • yes. we arent important
  • Not myself necessarily but I believe my parents felt the affects of this being members in the church.
  • yes, although I have faith it is hard to explain it to other non members.
  • yes dont date out of your race, curse in mormon book

Please rate your dating experiences in the Church.

Excellent 4 (9%)

Average 5 (12%)

Good 5 (12%)

Poor 9 (21%)

Very Poor 22 (47%)

How often did you or do date persons of another race?

Always 7 (16%)

Often 16 (37%)

Rarely 12 (28%)

Never 3 (7%)

Other 5 (12%)

Do you think the Church policies that affected persons of African descent had any effect on your dating experiences within the Church? If yes, how so?

3 respondents answered “No”

2 respondents answered “Yes”

1 respondent answered “N/A”

  • Yes. Many people felt it was a sin to date me. Or they just wanted to experiment outside of their race.
  • Yes, its harder to find women willing to date outside of their race.
  • To be honest, I’m not sure. It’s quite possible.
  • I have said quite a handful above. I love how the white people will come to you and say, don’t date outside of your race because marriage is hard & you’ll make it harder by bringing in different cultures. And in other instances we are told we should be one culture, the LDS culture. And if you have an American marry a German, Italian or even an English marrying an Afrikaaner (white Dutch descent), that argument never crops up. Nowadays the black and white kid would have gone to the same school, come from same financial demographic, but , “NO, the cultures will be different, and your poor kids won’t know where they belong.” How about the LDS culture? A friend was told by a member of a stake presidency that his kind was not welcome at a YSA dance because his date was a white girl who happened to be his niece.
  • No, but the teachings that bi-racial marriage are not okay probably effected me.
  • The only way I think it affected it is that there weren’t any people of African descent to date, because so many did not join the church once they found out about the priesthood issue. But among the people I did date, I do not believe it was an issue.
  • Absolutely.We’re taught that dark skinned was cursed or abominated throughout the book of mormon. It may not be a conscious thing but it’s there Subconsciously. I’ve dated men who have said they’d consider marriage were I not black. And they would refer to scripture. Needless to say I ended those relationships rather quickly. At times if felt as if the church would rather I marry a black man outside of the temple instead of a white man in the temple. So I’ve chosen to stay single.. I don’t have it in me to date LDS men any more.
  • Yes, because white members still think my black skin will keep their white son for the celestial kingdom.
  • I struggled for a time being seen as just a friend not a potential date. I think being the only African-American held some anxiety for some young men
  • Hmm. No. My race definitely played a factor in and of itself, not not the church policies
  • possibly, limiting number of black men in church and prior belief that people should date their “own” race
  • Yes and no. I believe that some members still hold prejudices against Blacks as well as other ethnicities they do not belong to due to the lack of knowledge and familiarity with these cultures. I also know that most people do not want the stigma that accompanies dating or marrying out of their race and are not mentally strong enough to endure the lifelong trials they will encounter with its choice. But, I do recognize that church policy that existed for over a century will have a lasting effect on members of long-term familial membership, because if temple marriage is encourage why then would you choose to marry someone who once could not hold the priesthood or partake in temple ordinances. There are so many facets to this conversation.
  • Yes but indirectly, I think that many people of African descent are hesitant to convert to the church, which results in fewer african descent members, which results in perpetuated misunderstanding of cultural differences, which results in fewer dating experiences for African descent members.
  • Yes, I think that there is hesitation and just no interest at all because of the churches view.
  • Yes. Blacks are still considered somewhat lower, less attractive and maybe unworthy than other races (in certain areas, especially Utah). I am attracted to Black men, and I dis not limit myself to only LDS men, so I did not have this problem. I mostly dated any honest, educated hard working, respectful Black man. I eventually married a great man, who was not LDS. He joined the LDS church a year after our marriage and has a testimony of the gospel. He has been very helpful when I struggle with issues of the church history.
  • I don’t know if I can say the policies are directly correlated with the way I’ve been treated while dating, but I would assert that because of the policies, I feel there is a lot of racism that hasn’t really disappeared. (By hasn’t really I mean hasn’t at all). Most people think I’m a convert or that I don’t know things about the gospel. I remember one date I went on where the guy was explaining to me Church policy. I’ve read the handbook twice cover to cover and I was the RS president. He was shocked but just casually assumed that I wouldn’t know.
  • Yes because white LDS men don’t date black LDS women
  • I think the Church policies combined with being a minority in an area full of Caucasian members affected my dating experiences. I cannot say for a certainty that the Church policies had a direct impact but it had some impact. For example, during a date the topic of the origins of black people was discussed and I was stunned to find out that my date thought that black people were descendents of Cain. He stated that he had grown up his life hearing this from his family members and just did not question it. This experience made me wonder how many other guy members believed this and whether it impacted their choice to ask me out on a date. This combined with being a minority made it harder for guys to approach me at youth dances and to ask me out on dates. During high school, I would often invite my non-member Caucasion friend to attend the youth dances with me. Although she did not know anyone, I noticed that she was asked to dance and even asked out on dates more often than me. I attributed this to the fact that it was easier for guys to ask out a girl that looks like them and is from the same culture. But perhaps what they may have been told about Blacks may have subconsciously impacted their willingness to get out of their box and ask a Black girl to dance. I will caveat my experience by noting that not all men in the church think this way. In fact, my husband who is Caucasian never thought twice about dating me because of my skin color or the Church’s former policies even though he comes from a traditional Mormon upbringing.
  • Yes, Most people are very closed minded till this day
  • Yes but I dont know if it is a result of the polices that occurred but may be a direct relation. An example is that in dating i find its no big deal but when it becomes a matter of marriage. I dont resemble “mom” since im a different race and from this point forward if once introduced to the parents. This may be were disapproval then stems or begins.
  • it may have
  • yes, men least likely to ask me out even though i am hot

Do you believe the General Authorities of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints should address the policies that affected persons of African descent in the Church in more detail?

Yes 20 (47%)

No 11 (26%)

Not Sure 1 (2%)

Other 11 (26%)

If you are inactive or no longer a member of the Church, did the policies have an effect on your decision to leave the Church and/or stop attending ward meetings?

3 respondents answered “No”

2 respondents answered  “N/A”

  • I think I might be on my way there, and its these policies, that were not “policies” when i first joined by revelation from God, Look at the recent talk by Elder Dickson, he also states, it was God’s time table. Yet another thing to show that if I state that the policy is racist, a “faithful” white member will whip out that talk as its our most “recent scripture” and show unbelieving me that it was God’s plan for black people to be discriminated against. At times I ask, “Does God hate us black peolpe so much, that He continues to have these things taught?” Because obviously, I’m the one who is lacking in faith and cannot accept Brigham Young, McConkie, Peterson’s teachings. I don’t blame black people who no longer come because you are constantly defending your basic worth, it is emotionally draining.
  • yes me and my mom

Please identify any positive experiences as a member or investigator of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

  • Going through the temple for the first time
  • The gospel has put stability in my life. It’s teachings and standards have kept me safe.
  • I had them more when I was a teen and just converted, I read everythng I could get my hands on and believed that this was the way for me to return to Heavenly Father’s presence. The questions I had asked my Anglican vicar about what I needed to do to return to God were answered because of the Plan of Salvation. Early morning seminary also solidified my faith. There were many spiritual moments. I LOVED IT! I LIVED IT! I BELIEVED IT! I also felt a deep connection to God when I received my patriachal blessing. And living outside of South Africa as an LDS was also wonderful. I loved it, and had plenty of spiritual experiences. My journal is full of beautiful recorded sabbaths I enjoyed at church, for the whole 3 hours. We are still close to the couples that taught us the Gospel. I love the fact that they represent people that have been refined and purified by living the principles of Jesus Christ, they came here and they for real, truly loved the people and created bonds that cannot be broken by the distance of continents and ocean. They do not mislead, but live by the faith they have forged throughout their lives. They are the kind of people I would like to be when I am old.
  • I had and have many posititive experiences in the Church. My most memorable was the Bishop’s wife being so dear to me when I first arrived and visiting me at my home.
  • Feeling the Holy Ghost. The church is true
  • I have had too many positive experiences as a member of the church to name them all. I have a testimony that this is the church of Jesus Christ restored on the earth. That has led me to be baptized, attend the temple, serve a mission, and be married in the temple. These are some of the most positive experiences of my entire life, not just as a member of the Church.
  • I cannot think of one experience in The Church where I have felt dishonored or disrespected by members because of my race. I am truly blessed that way. However I have seen and heard experiences from family friends.
  • Every time I hear mention to the 1978 revelation I am strengthened in knowing that the Lord cares about us. He impresses the minds of his servants to mention this in General Conference, as Elder John B. Dickson, Of the Seventy, spoke about it in his talk, “The Gospel to All the World”. Each time someone mentions it no matter how in depth they go, it is testimony that we must acknowledge and confront our past as a church in order to continue to make strides in baptizing more new converts of African descent
  • Some people may try to reach when they see a Black member of the church. I do not consider this positive. I don’t want special treatment. I just want equal treatment for all members of the church.
  • One day, I felt like I was falling apart. It was a hard time for my family and I, and I had been in the hospital three times. I was sick, and I didn’t know what to do. I remember just crying and praying. I’m not the most faithful at remembering to say my prayers, but I begged to be listened to. I have never felt such peace and such love from my parents and brother on High. It was then that I knew I could never dispute that They were there and that They loved me.
  • Despite these struggles, I have had many positive spiritual experiences that have confirmed that the Gospel is pure and true. People are not perfect but the teachings of Jesus Christ are. My parents are converts and I notice the good and blessings that we have received from having the Gospel in our lives. I will not let a past mistake or error pull me away from enjoying the peace that comes from knowing I am a daughter of God.
  • I married the first white mormon guy I dated :o)
  • I was able to grow a great deal in the church and had very meaningful spiritual experiences, especially in hardship.

Please identify any negative experiences you’ve had as a member or investigator of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

  • There are NO Blacks to date in this area.
  • I am naturally a happy person, and that’s what most people who know me at work and outside of church identify me as. At church I feel like the battle canons must be ever ready because you never know where nonsensical ideas or comments will come from. Like in the 21st Century people still stating black people are of the seed of cain. we have a temple president that is a certified racist who made his black missionaries feel like crap. the things he says and does. but bring those things up? you’re stirring contention, and a person like that will rise and be a GA, and we’re supposed to raise our hands to the square to sustain someone who things we are subhumans. As mentioned above, children born in the late 90′s and early 2000 calling black children animals. Who is teaching them these things? The defense for these people will be, “I never hear any of this. Sister/Bro So and So is so nice,” “Not all the people are like this or hold these beliefs.” We are very much aware that bro/sis so and so is only nice and friendly to their people. And we are aware that not all white LDS are like this, but a significant number is chasing people away, because we’ll hear talks about lobola (dowry) being a false tradition that black people should discard, and not all black people in the church keep the tradition of lobola. But racist tradition? Very few people speak out. If you do? You’ll be labeled a black person with a chip on your shoulder who’s trying to create contention. It is wrong.
  • My negative experience came from one woman at another location than my home ward. Well it was not a racial issue because she was black too but she was poorly trained as a support person in the children’s classes.
  • An institute teacher taught in a class I was attending that YSA should not date out of their race/culture
  • Pertaining to the subject, I have only had a negative experience when a member of my family was meeting with the missionaries and asked about the priesthood issue. They would not address her concern. She was very upset and has since fought against the church. I wish there were more training for missionaries in how to address this concern.
  • being pre-judge by members of a diffrent race
  • On the few dates that I went on as a BYU student, It was common place to hear things to the effect of “I’ve always wanted to go out with a black girl.” As if I was I was something to be crossed off of a bucket list. Beyond annoying. I am much more than my skin color. If a guy wants to take me out it should be about much more than that.
  • As a member, I’ll always experience the looks when I go on vacation and attend other wards and some will take notice just because I am Black in a Mormon church. They will wander do I know where I am? Am I an investigator, possibly a member? Others will just watch me close to see if I know what to do when ordinances began and figure it out, but I know that other non-Blacks do not experience this much scrutiny. But, I’ll continue to take it with the stride knowing that God has not given me any trial that I cannot bear. He knows my strength, so I must discover it and own it.
  • I’ve had people not sit on the same pew as me in church. Someone actually left the pew when my sister sat on it in a ward in Provo, UT. I must add that we are well dressed, beautiful and educated African women; so it’s not like we were looking like homeless people or smelling of cigarette, alcohol or what have you. This was just racism. I see people get uncomfortable when I walk into a Ward for the first time. Out here in New York, it’s a lot better since there is more diversity, but I would NEVER live in Utah again.
  • Bishop told my parents I wasn’t allowed to wear heels to church because I walked like a stripper, YW leaders took bets on whether I would get into BYU, usually just general assumptions about my grades/goals in life (I will work at McDonalds, etc), called ugly by church leaders, basically anything rude that you can think of that shouldn’t happen at church has probably happened to me.
  • Some times it seems other races are understood more except when it comes to African Americans I get asked the weirdest questions . I have noticed they don’t ask the Latina or Asian people those types of questions ” like what do you cut your hair with?” Have you ever been in a fight? That was a turn off but I remembered why I joined this church the gospel not all of the people love in my heart .
  • You can speak to some members and they purposely turn their heads.
  • None
  • lots of racist peeps. my mom who used to travel by bus for 2 hours for church is now inactive due to racism

Do you have anything else you would like to share that you believe would be beneficial to this study?

  • There should be a dating site for the black members since black men are scarce in Georgia.
  • My most fervent prayer right now is for me to be closer to God, to hear Him and know what I need to do as His child to return to Him. To fight to get rid of the feeling I have that the church tolerates us as a people. If black people were truly loved and appreciated by the leadership of the church, they would have stood up for us at the cost of incurring the wrath of other racists. Prop 8 in California, they stood firmly for LDS values. Huck Finn, as a child who grew like a weed in Missouri questioned what he grew up believing to be true, that the black man is a slave. He could not reconcile that teaching with his conscience, and he believed he was evil for following his conscience to be Jim’s friend. We have the GIFT of the Holy Ghost, and am I to believe that He stands idly by as other human beings are dehumanized by these teachings? When you join the church you are taught the steps of repentance, one of the is acknowledge and make restitution for the wrong you have done. Why is it not applicable in this instance? It is more confirmation of what is thought of black people. The majority of black people are a forgiving lot. People would accept this history much better if we were just straight with each other. There’s no subtlety when talking about false african traditions, but when we deal with this issue, its either brushed under the carpet or just glaze over it, and our racists proudly march on nursing those beliefs close to their hearts. It wasn’t God’s inspiration to relegate others to lesser human beings, admit it. And you’ll be absolutely amazed at how this will go away because we are more than wiling to accept each of us are walking the road that leads to eternal life, and it is hard for each of us mortals. It is an evil and has no place in church with so much that is good. And I am grateful for Pres. Uchdorf because he seems to understand. When he talks about African saints, I don’t have the sense he is talking about people he sees lesser than he is. I can see him talking to God. I can feel the love projected through him.
  • I strongly recommend that members ask the Church to formally address the Priesthood Ban and make reparations for it. I lbelieve giving those dead men the Priesthood symbolicly via a special service would be most healing for so many Black members, more than they even realize and healing for the Church as well.
  • My spouse is not from African descent.
  • I do believe that there is a cultural gap in some ways between members of African descent and other members of the church, at least in the US. I think it is reflective of our country’s history, but I do feel like if these issues were brought up on a larger scale and reached the larger church membership, there could be a greater spirit of unity and love between members of different racial and ethnic backgrounds.
  • I have lived in Idaho, California, Michigan ,New York and New Jersey. The more challenges I’ve had being a Black LDS Woman has been in Utah… How sad it is that the state where my church head quarters is , is the state where I get the most negative reactions to being a Latter Day Saint. Much easier to be a strong member outside of Utah. I discourage black LDS members from Moving here.
  • I am a beautiful, educated, virtuous daughter of my Heavenly Father. If a guy can’t see beyond my race to appreciate those qualities he is not worth my time. I love me way too much to settle.
  • Black women of the church persevere in the gospel, not its people. Do not let the vain teachings or feelings of men come between you and your salvation. Continue to develop your relationship with the God-head and you will be able to endure to the end. And then He will be able to say to you at the end, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant.”
  • Church leaders need to actively address the issues associated with the ban, noting that it was due to human errors, flaws and biases. The youth and primary children should be actively taught to avoid racism. The greatest commandment is Love! They should be taught to love all regardless of demographic factors. Lastly, the church should FORMALLY apologize, realizing that this ban has driven so many of the Lord’s children away from the fold.
  • No.
  • The church should apologize to black members for ignorantly following the prevailing notions of the day and for not seeking the revelation sooner, like in 1860. Any right minded member who studies the history of this issue doesn’t really believe in that doctrine or that it even needed a revelation to be repealed. If the prophets, seers and revelators were actually prophecying, seeing and revealing, women would already hold the same standing in priesthood as men and gay members would already be accepted into the temple and kingdom of god as he made them. Lets be honest.
  • Thank you for conducting this survey. Please post on facebook when and where we can see the results of this study. It would be great to relate to others experiences.
  • No black prophets and mention of blacks.

Janan Graham-Russell is a writer based in Evanston, Illinois. In 2016, she graduated from the Howard University School of Divinity with a Master of Arts in Religious Studies. Her writing focuses on culture, history, religion and theology through Black feminist and womanist lenses. Her work has been featured in The Atlantic as well as Mormon Feminism: Essential Writings (2015) and A Book of Mormons (2015). When she's not writing or doing research, she enjoys dancing to Beyonce, watching films, and spending time with her husband and infant son.

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