20140719

Evolution of Race Relations in Mormonism (satire)

In 1954 Mark Petersen, a Mormon apostle, supported racial segregation in America at the Convention of Teachers of Religion on the College Level.

He had been influenced by the racial superiority myth popular in America at the time, saying in a speech at the conference, "What is our advice with respect to intermarriage with Chinese, Japanese, Hawaiians and so on? I will tell you what advice I give personally. If a boy or girl comes to me claiming to be in love with a Chinese or Japanese or a Hawaiian or a person of any other dark race, I do my best to talk them out of it. I tell them that I think the Hawaiians should marry Hawaiians, the Japanese ought to marry the Japanese, and the Chinese ought to marry Chinese, and the Caucasians should marry Caucasians, just exactly as I tell them that Latter-day Saints ought to marry Latter-day Saints."

This kind of attitude made it hard on Mormon converts in Africa and Asia before the change that happened within the past 30 years.

Nobody in the Mormon church believes in this kind of racist rhetoric, especially have the civil rights movement of the 1960s.

Most of Petersen's writing are less obnoxious than this speech was, but those times are over. Since 1978, when the first black Mormon became a bishop, Mormonism has grown to endorse a meeting of minds with Buddhists, Hinduism, Islam and other faiths.

This makes it possible for my path to becoming a Buddhist Mormon, though I reject Petersen's words because they segregate humanity by race. It reminds me of the time when I sent away for information for a US dating club and received material that endorsed racial segregation in dating. In response, I demanded and received a refund from that dating club and vowed never to request such material from the US ever again.

I believe that the reason why the Mormon church chose to consecrate bishops of any race after 1978 because the racial superiority ideology was turning off visible minorities who were Mormons and slowing conversion efforts in Japan and in Asia.

As well, it was hard to sell Mormonism in Japan because of unscrupulous practises like allowing a Japanese convert pressure members into buying a cookware product offered by a company that was a multilevel marketing promoter of that cookware.

It was only until after 1978 that Mormons in Japan became more culturally sensitive to Asians and other races all thanks to the success of Martin Luther King Jr's civil rights movement in the 1960s.

Today, nobody endorses the racial superiority policy publicly in the Mormon church because it would be detrimental to gaining converts.

Reference:

The Untold History of Mormons in Japan: http://elderkikuchi.blogspot.ca/2010/05/heading-another-heading-row-1-cell-1.html

Mark E Petersen: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mark_E._Petersen

Black People and Mormonism: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_people_and_Mormonism

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