I mentioned the other day that I had responded to an online article in Newsweek entitled “Black Mormon told they can’t marry white members because “seed is cursed.”” Almost immediately, a clutch of vocal anti-Mormons showed up to target me, personally. I wasn’t surprised. It’s happened many times before. So, basically, I backed out of the “discussion,” realizing that no real discussion was ever actually going to occur. Today, though, somebody calling himself “Clarence” appeared, responding to me with a claim of purported fact. He’s referring to the claim of the person interviewed in the article that Latter-day Saint leaders today believe that the Black “race” is “cursed” and that mixed-“race” marriages deserve condemnation:
It is likely true. What we ALL know as fact that Mormons in general believe that and certainly the leaders of the Church believe that. there is no debating that fact.
Seeing his comment, I felt that I needed to contradict it for the sake of the public record. I responded as follows:
Actually, there is. And I deny it.
If you have actual evidence to demonstrate that contemporary Latter-day Saints in general and current Church leaders in particular believe that mixed-race marriages are “cursed,” I hope that you’ll share it.
As it is, I suspect that Elder Gerrit Gong, an ethnically Chinese member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles who is married to a Caucasian woman, DOESN’T believe that mixed-race marriages are cursed.
Nor, I suspect, does Elder Peter Johnson, a Black member of the Seventy who is married to a White woman.
Nor, probably, does Brother Ahmad Corbitt, a Black man married to a White woman. Brother Corbitt has served as a stake president and as a mission president and he now serves in the Young Men’s general presidency of the Church.
Nor, I’m guessing, does Sister Tracy Browning, who is both a counselor in the Primary general presidency of the Church and a Black woman married to a White man.
Nor, presumably, do the Church leaders through whom their appointments came.
Nor, probably, does Brother Alex Boyé, a popular English-born Latter-day Saint performing artist (formerly a member of the Tabernacle Choir) of Nigerian background who is married to a White woman.
I could go on, but those, I think, are sufficient grounds for dissent from your declaration that “there is no debating” your claim.
But my reply never appeared. Instead, I received this message from the anonymous Newsweek editor:
Your comment on “Black Mormon told they can’t marry white members because “seed is cursed”” violates the community guidelines and has been rejected.
I’m puzzled. I can’t seem to see how or why my response was inappropriate. I thought it quite irenic and to the point, and I still do. Of course, I’m also puzzled by the fact that the folks on the Peterson Obsession Board seem to believe that the comments posted after the Newsweek article make me look bad.
But then, life is weird: This afternoon, for instance, I was cruising northward on Orem Main Street — which isn’t a very main Main Street — at just slightly over the speed limit when a car pulled out in front of me so suddenly and unexpectedly that I was obliged to slam on my brakes in order to avoid a collision. I didn’t honk my horn, though, or otherwise react. However, since there was nobody behind me I was more than a little bit puzzled as to why the driver felt such an urgent need to pull into the street just when he did. And then, only about two hundred yards further along Main Street, he abruptly pulled off into a shallow parking lot to the right and stopped parallel to the road. Out of curiosity, I looked over to see for myself who this marvelous creature might be. And he flipped me off. He flipped me off. As I say, life is weird.
Back to Newsweek, though: An interesting side product of this little episode was the appearance of one “Lance Hemmert” in the Newsweek exchanges. I’ve seen him before, in other online “discussions” of the Church. I agree with the assessment given by a participant in one of those earlier encounters that he seems to be both unpleasant and rather obsessive. This time, though, he posted as his own and essentially verbatim an entire paragraph that had previously been posted over at the Peterson Obsession Board by the character that I call my “Malevolent Stalker.” (The Stalker has been after me anonymously, day in and day out, for something on the order of fifteen years now.) Either he stole the Stalker’s words without attribution — a whole paragraph, remember, basically verbatim — or he is the Stalker. If he’s not the Stalker, he may be another anonymous character whose online moniker appears to refer to Cameron, North Carolina (“CamNC”).
Another item from the Tales-of-the-Weird Department: It’s being confidently asserted over on the Peterson Obsession Board that I’ve banned this blog’s most consistent multi-year atheist commenter, who goes — or, anyway, went — under the moniker of “gemli.” In the dispassionate judgment of at least some of those on the POB, his was the only voice here that was worth reading.
But I haven’t banned him.
It’s true that he hasn’t commented here for several weeks. And I’ve been aware of his absence. However, for all I know, perhaps he’s given up, having realized that we here are too perverse and too devoid of intellectual integrity ever to be persuaded by his invincible logic, by the powerful evidence that he marshals, and by his open-minded but honest truth-seeking skepticism. Maybe he’s taking the missionary lessons. Perhaps, for all I know, he’s passed through the veil into the next world and has reconsidered all of his major assumptions. (I had once deduced his real-life name, but I’ve long since forgotten it. So I can’t do a search for him.)
I hope that he’s well. However, assuming that he is, he’s entirely free to comment here . . . or not to comment here.
But I’ll give it a shot: Gemli, if you’re still out there please let us know that you’re okay.