My spirit was broken by the shapes I tried to bend into. The shapes of righteousness and perfection always seemed impossible to achieve. I needed more than anything to not just feel worthy, but to truly be worthy. Worthy of being good enough to be in God’s presence. However, the color of my skin already proved I was “less” worthy than others at church.
So many people are surprised by my “Lamanite” issues since leaving the church. Many current members are surprised, as well as exMormons. Some active members argue with me and tell me I am wrong. Perhaps it would help for them to know what Mormon leaders have been taught. Here is a lesson given by Elder Mark E. Peterson in Provo, Utah at The Convention of Teachers of Religion On The College Level. The record of this address is titled, Race Problems – As They Effect The Church. (Just wanted to point out that this address was given to teachers of religion. I can’t even imagine how many hundreds and hundreds of students were taught this Mormon doctrine in the following years.)
“We must accept the fact of pre-existence, and that in our pre-existence we had free agency. We could be lazy there or we could be industrious. We could be obedient or careless. We could choose to follow Christ or to follow Lucifer.”
“He (God) shows mercy to those who love him and keep His commandments, but visits the iniquity of the father’s up on the children of them “that hate me”.
“…is there any reason why the Lord’s method of dealing with sinners and saints in the pre-existence should be different from his method of dealing with them here?
“For sins we commit here, we will be given places in the eternal world… all based on our performance here in this life.”
“Is there any reason then why the type of birth we receive in this life is not a reflection of our worthiness or lack of it in the pre-existent life? We must accept the justice of God. He is fair to all. He is not a respecter of persons. He will meet us according to what we deserve.”
“We cannot escape the conclusion that because of performance in our pre-existence some of us are born as Chinese, some as Japanese, some as Indians, some as Negroes, some as Americans, some as Latter-Day Saints. There are rewards and punishments fully in harmony with His established policy in dealing with sinners and saints, regarding all according to their deeds.”
“The Lord segregated the people both as to blood and place of residence, at least in the bases of the Lamanties and the Negroes we have the definite word of the Lord himself that He placed a dark skin upon them as a curse – as a sign to all others. He forbade intermarriage with them under threat of extension of the curse.”
To put the time frame of this address into perspective, and the influence these teachings had on the modern church, the current prophet Thomas S. Monson had just turned 27 a few days before this was given. These were teachings that current leadership was raised on.
I often blamed myself for over-reacting and was often told all of this was no big deal. God would work it out in the end was used regularly if I questioned. Since leaving I have been told I misunderstood. I can confidently say I did not misunderstand anything. If anything I was too passionate about understanding God in the Mormon church.
Today I woke up and decided to accomplish. Though that is usually my choice I don’t always succeed. The thing is, living, it is a choice. Each day that same choice needs to be made. How will I live? I am free now, no longer contorting myself to fit in a small ugly box. Though I’ve been hit a few times today with the familiar ache of loneliness, wondering at the pain religious betrayal leaves in its wake. I acknowledge the pain and let it go, it will not own me today. Today I stand in the mirror and see an eagle staring back at me. I am Tsimshian and Tlingit of the First Nations. I am of the Eagle Clan.
Anyone that wants to read the address I took the quotes from – I will leave the website link under sources.
A few announcements: I am eight weeks away from earning my second degree and then no more school! Ridiculously excited. With that bit of freedom there will be a few changes coming to the blog. I will keep everyone posted as those changes are made!
Hope everyone checks in this coming Sunday to support the next Guest Blogger!
Peterson, Mark E., Race Problems – As They Effect The Church, Utah at The Convention of Teachers of Religion On The College Level. Web. 1 November, 2017
Location of the address record: http://www.mormonismi.net/mep1954/00.html
It can also be found on archive.org and can be downloaded.