I am a convert to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and I am mixed. My father is black and my mother is white. Sometimes I get questions like, “Why on earth would you be a member of this church?” because I’m a woman. But I also get such questions because of my racial background.
When I was 19 years old, I read the Book of Mormon, prayed about it, and gained an answer through the Holy Ghost that it is in fact scripture, to be used alongside the Bible. It wasn’t until after I was baptized that I found out that there had been issues with blacks receiving the priesthood, and I was MAD. Some of the explanations given for this from people around me included the assertion that blacks were somehow cursed as a race. I didn’t want anyone telling me I was cursed. I already had to deal with the fact that for years it was practically unforgivable (not to mention illegal) for my parents to get married – now I have to deal with curses?
I didn’t want to read the Book of Mormon anymore. I sought answers from some of my friends who were seemingly knowledgeable about the gospel, but none of their answers were satisfying.
I decided that I had to take the issue back to the Lord.
For days, I asked God to help me to understand the issue, to have answers. No answers came. But I knew with my whole heart that God answers prayers, so I spent time pondering on what I needed to know.
It came down to this: I know, by the power of the Holy Ghost, that the Book of Mormon is true, and that Joseph Smith is a prophet. If those things are true, then at some point I felt God would help me to understand the priesthood issues. I had to let them go temporarily so it wouldn’t be a stumbling block in my spiritual growth.
Every now and then I took the issue “off the shelf” to study and pray about it. In the end, God answered my prayers with knowledge and understanding that resolved this issue for me permanently. Like Peter, I can say that “of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons: But in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him” (Acts 10:34-35). God truly does not love any group of His children more than another.
I do not regret one moment of the 10 years I have spent as a member of this Church, and I feel no shame in it. As a woman of color I feel blessed every day to have the deep understanding of my worth and value in the sight of God that has come as a result of my membership in the Church. I wish everyone could come to where I worship and see the American, Haitian, Jamaican, Dominican, Canadian, Polynesian, and Brazilian (to name a few) brothers and sisters working together in love, all unified by a testimony of the gospel of Jesus Christ and the priesthood power that is now available to all people. Priesthood power that is now available to all people.