So a friend and I showed the documentary _Nobody Knows: The Untold Story of Black Mormons_ at the American Academy of Religion in Chicago this past weekend, and then showed it again at the University of Chicago on Sunday, for a predominantly Mormon audience.
A few things: This friend of mine is rather ill, and was in what he called “a-fib.” Now, I have no medical background, so he explained that the upper chambers of his heart were fluttering, while the lower chambers were pounding fine. He had been to the doctor’s, and brought a pulse monitor with him on the trip. But there were a couple of times we thought he might need to go to the hospital. This particular friend is the sort of person who gives and gives and gives–and is spending his life serving his God. So what happens if I suggest that he request a priesthood blessing? “I wouldn’t want to impose” is his answer. Excuse me?
Do you brethren feel it an imposition to “impose” your hands (Spanish-izing the phrase) on somebody’s head? Do you yourselves feel blessings as you bless others? Are you hesitant to request a blessing? If you are, WHY?
Other than the health issues, our trip was wonderful. One woman saw the film and embraced my nameless friend afterwards. She saw him the next day and embraced him again. She said, “I really want to know about your church. I am not satisfied with mine, and I was so moved by your film. Can I find out more?” Another, from the Universal Unitarian Church told us that there were countless parallels with her religion. She was eager to get a copy of the DVD (we’re close) for her university.
My daughter was already in Chicago, so I spent some time not attending sessions but looking at beautiful art at the Art Institute with her. The only other session I attended was great: Brian Birch, Quincy Newell, Alan Cherry, Ahmad Corbett (a good and courageous stake president in New Jersey–African American) and two other panelists whose names escape me.
It was a delightful weekend. As I understand it, this is the first time Mormosn have played a significant role at AAR. Several sessions were devoted to us, and we got to speak for ourselves in most of them.
For those interested, we do have a upcoming screenings of the doc at the Red Rock Film Festival (St. George) on Nov. 14 and 15th. You can find out about that at http://www.ophilia.com
I am much more interested in the first questions I posed in this post, however, not in talking about the film.