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Black Saints in a White Church: Contemporary African American Mormons

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    Available in PDF - DJVU Format | Black Saints in a White Church: Contemporary African American Mormons.pdf | Language: ENGLISH
    Jessie L. Embry(Author)

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Until very recently, black Latter-day Saints were excluded from priesthood office in the church. In this revealing study, Embry culls answers from both oral history interviews and mailed surveys to determine how the age-old stereotypes and differences are disappearing as African-Americans are being assimilated into the church.

In June 1978 the Mormon Church lifted a barrier to blacks from holding full membership. While this announcement is regarded as one of the most important revelations in the history of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, many non-Mormons were surprised to hear that overt discrimination had been practiced until that time. They were equally surprised to learn that there had been black Mormons from the very founding of the church in the 1830s. Embry (history, Brigham Young Univ.) has based this balanced work on the oral histories and follow-up surveys of over 200 black Latter-day Saints. The result is a comprehensive history of blacks in the Mormon Church, with a heavy emphasis on life in the church since the 1978 revelation. While scholarly in nature, this readable and important study is the first on the topic in the 1990s. It should be in all libraries with an interest in Mormon and African American studies.Diane H. Albosta, Episcopal H.S. Lib., Alexandria, Va.Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Book details

  • PDF | 288 pages
  • Jessie L. Embry(Author)
  • Signature Books (April 1, 1994)
  • English
  • 3
  • Christian Books & Bibles

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Review Text

  • By lordhoot on October 29, 2008

    I agreed with one of the previous reviewers who stated that the author failed to asked the deeper questions about the black experience in LDS Church. I also found that the author soft-pedaled the entire cause and effect of ban on blacks for priesthood issue. First she made sure to tell her readers that every other Christian faiths in United States during the 19th century were doing it too so that made it appears that what the Mormons doing to their own black members were okay. Second, she failed to give an exact reasons for this ban, who authorized it and fail to explain why even after 1978, the basic concept of the ban remains as a doctrine of the church although the policy has changed.The black members that she interviewed who were members of the LDS Church prior to 1978 appears grossly misrepresented. From what is printed, these black members tolerated and accepted their inferior position within their own church, even believing that the ban is some sort of Lord's Will - conceding to the fact the God is a racist Himself as the Church they belonged to. That is pretty sad state of mind. The book don't reflects well on Mormon missionaries who avoid this subject like a plague to their possible black converts until the very end prior to 1978. That sound plain dishonest in their approach. Temple and priesthood ceremonies are the key cornerstone of the Mormon faith. Without it, why would any black person want to join this church prior to 1978? This question was never asked in this book.The author also failed to show how the removal of the ban affected the white Mormons regarding their black breathens who have previously been in an inferior position. I am sure while many whites were joyous over the removal, same amount must have been resentful. The book also failed to see how the lifting of the ban have affected the gain of blacks in leadership positions in the church during the 1980s and the prior to the publication date of 1994 in stakes and wards where there are both black and white members in it. How many white converts were baptized by a black elders during that time??? This book doesn't say.The book reflects a nice and safe portrayal of LDS Church over this issue and failed to address some of the major grievances many black members may have by refusing to get to the heart of the matter. What is the heart of this matter? Its the Mormon's general perception that white is good and dark is bad as stated in the Book of Mormon and every other standard books of the faith. How can they get around that outside of ignoring it completely.Its hard to recommend this book since the approach to the subject matter appears to be very patronizing and soft. It works better as a public relation work then a true study of black members of LDS Church prior and after 1978. This author definitely didn't want to rock the boat with her church. (No doubt, this review will NOT get many positive votes from the members of LDS Church. Oh well....)

  • By [email protected] on October 3, 1997

    Black Saints in a White Church is an extremley interesting book which brings to light the plight of many African American's who affiliated to the LDS Church despite it exclusionary policy of denying them ordination to Mormon lay priesthood. However, I believe that Embry failed to ask some important questions and that she failed to seek out those that rejected the church because of this policy. I am aware however, that this may not have been her mandate. My own research into this phenomenon has revealed some very interesting findings. Anthony M. Aduhene (PhD Candidate at the University of Nottingham, England)

  • By A customer on October 15, 1999

    Being a black member of the church for twenty years, I felt that the book didn't probe deep enough into its subjects. I have interviewed many blacks that left the church due to discrimination and lack of empathy for the plight of the black memeber in the church. I found myself wondering if the questions were tailered to not grasp the deep emotional feelings of its interviewee. More could have been asked that would have brought about a true insight to the delima of blacks in in the church and demographics could have have been widen to get a clearer picture.


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