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.
Thank you for your great example of faith and for sharing it here with us.
I’ve had questions over the years about doctrine as well. I’ve found that through faith, study and prayer answers have come to me that were extremely spiritually satisfying. The answers weren’t always what I expected, but I came out of each situation knowing 1. God answers prayers 2. He knows me personally and 3. Loves all His children equally.
Thank you for sharing this great example of how to spiritually survive a faith challenging experience.
I enjoyed reading your blog. You are a great example to me.
Thank you Kristen for your personal testimony of the Doctrine of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Father knows each of our needs and what is required for us to move closer to him and understand this madness in which we live in. Patience, Hope, Charity, Faith, Focus and Prayer are key components to this all. My Father in Heaven continue to bless your walk in Christ.
Beautiful post! I love hearing the testimonies of faithful members of the church. Prayer is such a personal and powerful tool and I thank you for sharing another testimony of it. Many will be blessed by your opening up about such a tender subject.
Amen! Your positive attitude is such an example to me of the moldability that enduring strength requires.
So what was the answer you received? What is your understanding of the issue? (I have bi-racial grandchildren who will one day ask this same question. Please help)
I appreciate your desire to help your grandchildren understand this issue. It has taken me several years of scripture study and prayer to come to a place where this is not an issue for me anymore. It is an experience that I wouldn’t want to take away from another person. I could give you scriptural references and quotes from different Church leaders over time, but it would still be a matter of obtaining personal revelation and understanding. That has been my experience. There is no Church statement about the “Why” of this issue, and sometimes speculation or even personal opinion can lead people in the wrong direction. So that’s why my short answer is that God loves all of His children and is the same yesterday, today, and forever. If this comes up as an issue for your grandchildren, you can lead them to the scriptures and to prayer, and help them rely on their testimony of the gospel to come to an understanding – or a “putting it on the shelf” – for themselves.
Thank you Kristen for sharing your testimony and great faith. As we know faith cometh by hearing the word of God and some are blessed with the gift to know for themselves and for others to believe the testimony of others. Thank you for your important testimony.