Darius Gray and I showed our film Nobody Knows: The Untold Story of Black Mormons this weekend in Boise, Idaho. We had a good crowd and were quite well-received. But some of the information I got afterwards was interesting. Several talked about inviting friends who had asked, “Is it sponsored by the Church?” The underlying question in their particular cases was, “Is it going to be uplifting?” The mother of one potential audience member was quite nervous about him going to see it. I have no idea how many people did NOT come because of the “fear factor.” One person told us, “If you had shown it twice, the second crowd would have filled the theater, because the first crowd would have reassured them.” (The film is ultimately uplifting, I think, though it sugar-coats nothing.)
Our objective has always been bridge building, but we do understand how nervous our subject makes people. I don’t know that we can change that. We do succeed in opening a space for civil conversation.
But here’s where I make a confession: Through our wonderful webmaster at the Genesis Group’s website, I have posted the BCC comments about the priesthood revelation. I chose NOT to put any up which had a negative cast. Though I told my husband about one of the posts, which recounted the poster’s experience of watching a newly ordained Black deacon pass the sacrament to white members who refused to accept it from him, I deleted that portion from the post. Call me a hypocrite, but readers of our newsletter know prejudice first hand and don’t need reminders. (Now, we wouldn’t mind a repudiation of past folklore…) I wanted the tone to be celebratory—especially for this issue of our Genesis newsletter.
Please don’t feel bad if we didn’t choose your post, BCCers. And now I feel free to tell a bit more about what will happen on June 8th, 2008. It’s all on the Genesis website. We know who is likely to preside, but will hold off on announcing that. Plans can change. Music will be provided by the Genesis choir, the Divine Heritage choir, the Respecting Our Culture choir, and the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.