Black Pioneers–for my brothers and sisters in Africa

isaac james

Here are the photos of Jane Manning James and her husband, Isaac. Though the two were divorced, Jane welcomed Isaac back into her home during the last year of his life and cared for him until he died. His funeral was held at her home.I am told that today, November 23, 2014, President Dieter Uchtdorf spoke of Jane Manning James in a conference which was broadcast to church memberrs in Africa. Some have asked that I share a few more stories about Black LDS pioneers. I am happy to comply. … [Read more...]

Jane Elizabeth Manning James

Jane james monument with Darius Gray, Margaret Young, and Louis Duffy

We draped a sheet across a metal trellis and called it a covered wagon. We used the sacrament table for Jane James’s bed. We let Elijah Able use the podium, and we put the choir in the cushioned seats by the piano and organ.This was our Genesis meeting on Sunday, March 5th, 2000. We debuted my play I Am Jane to a diverse audience that included LDS apostle David B. Haight, whose ancestor had been in Jane’s 1847 pioneer company, Elder Alexander B. Morrison, who had written about the LDS Chu … [Read more...]

Dayenu! (It would have been enough!)

Susie Mae Young Thomas and Me

(During some Passover celebrations, Jews drop bits of wine on a napkin, citing each plague which G-d caused to come upon the Egyptians and saying, "Dayenu!", or "it would have been enough with only that!")In 1998, when I was beginning to learn about black pioneers, Susie Mae Thomas started coming to my ward, though she didn't live in my boundaries. In retrospect, her presence was a miracle for me. Though she couldn't speak because of a stroke, she was my first guide into the race issues … [Read more...]

BYU Graduation and Malaria

Thursday, April 25: Today is graduation day at BYU.  Black-robed grads will stand in front of the campus entryway while their parents click photos.  On one side of the road into BYU-World is the pronouncement carved into cement: “The World is Our Campus.”  On the other: “Enter to Learn; Go Forth to Serve.”Some of these young people have proven themselves beautifully in their classes.  They’ve calculated, diagrammed, structured essays around a thesis, and taken all of the required religion cla … [Read more...]

For My Friend, Who’s Going through the Temple for the First Time

Lake_District_Liverpool_181 - Copy

Dear Ms. C:I received this in an email from a Congolese friend, Aime Mbuyi, two years ago: Long before I went into the Ghana temple as a missionary, I knew that it was the House of God. Two years earlier, my cousin had come to me and told me that he had had a discussion with some people who had just been in the USA. He said that these people had told him bad things about the Church and its temples. He told me many things against the Church and especially the temple. I was troubled. My … [Read more...]

Len Hope–in his own words

Len, mary and Duff

This is the story of Len and Mary Hope, black converts to Mormonism. Len was baptized just before WWI near Magnolia, Alabama, and Mary later on in Cincinnati. When they first attended church, they were asked not to return. Their response was, "Can we still pay our tithing?" Len and Mary became dear friends with Elder Marion D. Hanks, one of the missionaries who went to their home monthly and served them the sacrament. After the sacrament the Hope family and the missionaries would sing and … [Read more...]

White Lady Speaks to the Genesis Group

The Genesis group is established, Oct. 19, 1971

Preliminary explanation, because inevitably somebody doesn't get it: This is one of those risky posts--a satire.  Think Stephen Colbert.  The subtext is real, however (like Colbert's).  The truth is, Mormons in Utah (particularly older ones) are often uncomfortable with Blacks and overly eager to prove that they're not.  The question "What should I call you?" pops up over and over again, and the conflation with African nationals and African Americans is common.The LDS Genesis group, organ … [Read more...]


CLOSE | X

HIDE | X