Lucy, Mary, and Thomas’ stories are not unique. Brigham Young encouraged Mormon families to purchase or barter for native children believing they would be better off in Mormon households. Native Americans, called Lamanites, could lighten their skin, becoming white and delightsome through conversion to the Mormon church. The saints saw bringing native children into their homes as an opportunity to save them while increasing the church roster.
Tag Archives: racism in mormon church
Chapter 15- Peninah
Peninah was said to have been proud of her race. What did that look like in her daily life? What parts of her native culture did she pass on to her children? The family who wrote of her consistently referred to her native roots as “her race” rather than “our race.” She was also called a “true Christian colonizer.” Having native racial pride and the heart of a colonizer seem at odds with one another. Did native identity and pride continue with her lineage or end with her?
Chapter 14 – People Of The Land
“Pioneer’s ownership was made possible by our participation in the genocide and forced removal of the indigenous tribes.
Before Brigham Young’s claim that God wanted us here, these tribes had lived on and stewarded the mountains and valleys. They used bows and arrows to hunt for birds, bison, and mammoths and fished in lakes and rivers.”
Chapter 13 – This Is The Place
“Mormon pioneers believed God led them to this spot. God’s blessing meant they could claim the land as their divine birthright. In exchange, they were to build a righteous kingdom on earth.”
Chapter 12 – Mother Mary
“Mary Snyder Wood was more than the words ascribed to her, including faithful, beloved, devoted to her husband, mild, and modest with a sincere disposition.
Although Daniel called her Mrs. Wood or Aunt Mary, I call her Mother Mary. I hear Paul McCartney’s “Let It Be” song lyrics in my head each time I think of her.
“When I find myself in times of trouble Mother Mary comes to me.
Whisper words of wisdom. Let it be.”
I yearn for Mary’s whispers to fill the spaces around her so I can see the authentic, complete, and complicated woman she was.”
Chapter 11 – Good Dirt
“Daniel planted our family in the soil of the Mormon church. He watered us with his loyalty to them. His faith in the gospel’s truthfulness was the warm sun, inviting us to sprout and bloom, taking hold of the church dogma with blind trust.
As adept as he was in finding good dirt for corn and wheat seeds, he did not spot the church’s tainted soil, which allowed racists like me to grow. Or maybe, the less tasteful truth is he did see it and planted us there anyway.”
Chapter 10 – Hiding Wagons
“While my grandfather helped a wagon escape because his outrage moved him to take action, others were taking action to end the greed-fueled brutality of enslaved men, women, and children, living their entire lives as someone else’s property.”
Chapter 9 – The Company You Keep
“A group of pioneers who traveled together was called a company. Companies took their name from the man responsible for leading them. Some companies established rules to follow while traveling together. There were practical rules, like returning lost property to the Captains for safekeeping, tying dogs to wagons at night, and bringing horses and mules into camp before sundown. Other rules of not leaving camp without permission and pledging implicit obedience to the leaders were attempts to keep order in place.”
Chapter 8 – Journey To Utah
“Assassinating a leader is a powerful way to send a message.
The message sent with Prophet Joseph Smith’s murder was, “Mormons are not welcome here.”
Chapter 7- Buying Cows
“I have come to believe
that racism gets into all of us.
On that day,
some of Daniel’s came out.”