Periodicals; Mormons; Religious thought; Philosophy and religion
Independent national quarterly established to express Mormon culture and examine the relevance of religion to secular life. It is edited by Mormons who wish to bring their faith into dialogue with human experience as a whole and to foster artistic and scholarly achievement based on their cultural heritage. The journal encourages a variety of viewpoints; although every effort is made to insure accurate scholarship and responsible judgment, the views expressed are those of the individual authors and are not necessarily those of the Mormon Church or of the editors.
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Religious Accommodation in the Land of Racial Democracy
Religious Accommodation in the Land of Racial Democracy: Mormon Priesthood and Black Brazilians Mark L. Grover tanding before the Mormon congregation, the young man exhibited the excitement and appreciation for life most fourteen-year-old teenagers have. One could sense the willingness, even yearning, to confront the challenges which would be placed before him. He was ready to be made a deacon. The young Brazilian branch president standing beside him reviewed for the congregation the importance of the Aaronic priesthood and the impact such a responsibility should have on the life of a young man. He briefly described what he considered to be the exceptional courage and behavior of this boy. He had joined the Church without parental support and maintained activity despite unusual pressure and adversity. The branch president explained that during the worthiness interview held earlier, the young man had expressed depth and knowledge of the spiritual aspects of life, exceptional for someone just fourteen years old. There was no question in the mind of the branch president and most of the Brazilian congregation of his worthiness to receive the Mormon priesthood. The request for congregational approval by the raising of the right hand was to be little more than a mere formality. Events did not go as planned. When the obligatory request for negative votes was made, four in the congregation, all American missionaries, indicated opposition. The branch president, surprised and unsure of how to proceed, had the young man sit down and indicated that the problem would be cleared up after the meeting. The congregation was stunned, most having never seen a negative vote cast in church. The boy was confused and not quite sure what was happening. In a conference held after the sacrament meeting, the elders explained the problem. During visits with the boy's family they had noticed that two younger brothers exhibited some negroid physical features. Even though the young MARK L. GROVER lives in Pleasant Grove, Utah, and is a Ph.D. candidate in Latin American History from Indiana University at Bloomington. He presented a version of this paper at the Mormon History Association annual meeting, 8 May 1983, Omaha, Nebraska.