The first testimony today was offered by Mary, our beautiful black sister from Cameroon, about whom I blogged once before. She said that she attended the weekend meetings of AIPAC, the American Israel lobby, which were held in Chicago. She’s not a member of AIPAC, but she had a lot of Jewish friends when she was in college, and she has a good friend (also from Cameroon), who is Jewish, who had invited her to come as his guest.
Over dinner someone in their group mentioned that Mitt Romney wasn’t selected by McCain as his running mate because he was Mormon. (At this point she leaned back and assured the bishop that she knew we weren’t supposed to talk about politics over the pulpit, which was very cute.) So she mentioned to the group that she was Mormon.
At this, jaws dropped, and there was a moment of silence. This was broken by her friend from West Africa, who said “Oh, Mary, that’s …”
At this point my brain was playing madlibs; what would the next word be? Insane? Bizarre? Crazy? Ridiculous?
But no. The next word he uttered was wonderful.
This man then proceeded to tell his table mates all about the wonderful things the Church is doing in Africa, where he is from.
Later, when they were away from the others, he told her he would be back in town in six weeks, and he wanted her to take him to church with her. “But you’re Jewish,” she protested. “That doesn’t matter,” he replied.
Mary said she was so happy, and so proud to be a member of the Church.
And I was so happy for her. How often is a black woman in a setting like that, announces she is Mormon, and actually receives not only a positive resonse, but an effusive one? She deserved this experience. And props to the Church for all of the wonderful things it has done around the world to make this kind of a reaction possible.