I recently came across this article that looks at the way several churches are examining white privilege and trying to address racism within their congregations. I have personally attended meetings like this, and I am inspired by these congregations.
Although I am inspired by the progress I see in so many other religions and churches around race and racism, I can’t help but feel saddened by the lack of positive contribution on the subject in Mormonism. Why is racism not a Mormon issue? Is it because we are afraid to admit our own contributions to the current racial climate? Is it because our religion is tightly interwoven with American conservative ideals? Is it an ingrained preference for avoidance?
I want the common retort “They were influenced by the teachings of their time” to no longer be seen as a justifiable excuse for the policies and doctrines implemented by past and present leaders. I want to walk into church and stand confidently knowing that everyone else believes that we are all created equal and have been since the beginning of time. I want us to talk and walk with one another growing stronger and kinder in our understandings of each individual and their personal background and journey.
I pray that we as a church community, like these other churches mentioned in the article, will someday be able to look sincerely and honestly at our history of racial discrimination and acknowledge the harm that it caused and still causes. By examining the racism and privilege that divides our congregations, we will be able to mend the wounds of our past and move forward in unity.
In between the inspiration in this article and the sadness at the lack of Mormon participation, I still find hope and faith in the core principals of our teachings. We are all striving to love one another and to do so, we must start by seeing each and every person and honoring their path–that means seeing race and acknowledging race.