Struggling with the History of Race and the Priesthood | His Grace – powered by Happy Scribe
One of the challenges that a lot of people of African descent have as members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latterday Saints is this struggle with the history of the Church in regards to race and the priesthood. I joined the Church at a fairly young age. I was 21. I listened carefully to the missionaries as they continued to teach me and everything. I was like, this is great.
In fact, I heard a lot of new stuff that I think is exactly right. That makes total sense. And I described it to my friend. Later I said, it was kind of like there was this thing whispering to me the whole time. This is what you’ve been looking for.
And of course, later on, I heard about the whole still small voice thing and that sort of stuff like, oh, I guess that’s what was happening while I was taking those discussions. But then you start hearing these sort of rumors almost of, like, black not holding the priesthood. So from 1852 to 1978, people of African descent, we’re not allowed to hold the priesthood in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints. When I heard that, I was kind of like, wow, as a shocker. And I had to kind of think about it in my mind because I felt like there has to be some reason for that.
I didn’t think that I have to just throw away the whole thing, right. What good is that gonna do me at this point in time? The other thing I think that you have to do is understand more about it. There’s a lot of details that you can learn about once you really get into the history of that. I kind of was praying, and I was like, having fun.
Really? Like, why won’t you let me hear your voice? Like, I keep hearing this. I keep studying about it. It’s all this stuff.
I’ve been baptized, confirmed, et cetera. Like, am I not good enough? You know? And he’s so amazing. I did hear his voice.
And he said, very simple. Hear me. That’s it. And it’s the most beautiful, soft, amazing thing. And I thought, okay, is that my imagination, or was that really it?
I said, Every father, is it really that really. And he said, yes, my son.
And I don’t care what you think about the priesthood. I don’t care what you think about dark skin. I know I’m a son of God, and I know he loves me more than I can stand more than anybody else can stand. So I don’t need justification for the past. Because, again, all I want is a personal relationship.
And everything else is built around that when your life experiences such an event that you wonder, will I ever be the same? Yes. That’s when you truly come to know that when you truly come to know what matters in life.
Danor acknowledges certain challenges of race and priesthood that young Black men face when joining the Church. In a private and personal way, he learned that not all past issues need justification if you know the reality of God.
One day early in his investigation into the Church, he told a friend that what the missionaries were teaching felt right to him. He felt something whispering to him that this was what he was looking for. He later learned about the Holy Ghost and was baptized and confirmed.
He soon heard criticisms over past priesthood issues and was shocked. Wondering about the reasoning, he prayed to understand. Seeking the Lord’s voice, he wondered, “Am I not good enough [to hear]?”
In time, “I did hear His voice,” he said. “It was the most beautiful, soft, amazing thing.” To verify what he heard, he asked again. “Yes, my son,” he heard in response.
“I know I’m a son of God, and I know He loves me more than I can stand,” he said. “I don’t need justification for the past. … All I want is a personal relationship [with God].”