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Backroads

How can I be a good neighbor to a racist?

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I grew up with this girl I shall call Sally. She was always very nice, if a bit of an odd duck. Very sweet, very generous. We both returned to the same area as adults and run into each other on occasion. She lives around the corner from me, attends my relative's ward. 

Our interactions have been kind of odd, but years ago I decided she and her family were just far more conservative in the faith than myself. She didn't let her kids see "The Little Mermaid" play over at the high school because she wasn't comfortable with the costumes (tank tops, no bellies shown), being one example of her standards. She and her husband decide he will never work with customers at his job (stay in the back to avoid immodestly clad women). Games that involve tricks (aka two truths and a lie) are sinful). Okay, to each their own, I don't know their standards and challenges.

Well, at her ward the family caused some... Issues. Their young kids, during activities band services, were holding the doors closed to Black kids, actually saying they weren't allowed at church.

And Sally and her husband are backing the kids up.

I'm not their bishop, obviously, but while I don't see myself as a SJW, I really and truly hate racism. 

I no longer see Sally as a sweet if quirky neighbor. To get to the point, how do I feel Christ-like love for her at this point? I've never felt like this toward someone as close as a neighbor I actually interact with.

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21 minutes ago, Carborendum said:

This is something that SHOULD be brought up to their bishop.

Agreed- their Bishop should 100% be told about this and swiftly deal with this totally inappropriate actions. 

As to what you can do with Sally... it sounds like you two aren’t friends, or interact with any regularity.  So I would deal with this the same as any other major sin: love the sinner.  If when your paths cross this some how comes up directly, then deal with it directly. 

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16 minutes ago, Carborendum said:

This is something that SHOULD be brought up to their bishop.

My understanding is he knows and that's to whom Sally and husband backed up their daughter.

I'd have loved to be a fly on the wall because that bishop is also the neighborhood gun-toting progressive liberal.

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6 minutes ago, Backroads said:

My understanding is he knows and that's to whom Sally and husband backed up their daughter.

I'd have loved to be a fly on the wall because that bishop is also the neighborhood gun-toting progressive liberal.

This is a cancer you have to stop before it grows. First and foremost, it’s morally abhorrent. 
 

And even if you (generic) don’t care about that part, if this story would go viral it would seriously damage the image of the church. 

Edited by LDSGator

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2 minutes ago, LDSGator said:

This is a cancer you have to stop before it grows. First and foremost, it’s morally abhorrent. 
 

And even if you (generic) don’t care about that part, if this story would go viral it would seriously damage the image of the church. 

My sister said the family might honestly be happier in one of those Mormon offshoot cults.

Thinking about some of her odd behavior back in high school and now, I'm wondering if there's not some mental illness involved. Not that such excuses that kind of behavior.

I just see red whenever I think about it.

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1 hour ago, Jane_Doe said:

Agreed- their Bishop should 100% be told about this and swiftly deal with this totally inappropriate actions. 

As to what you can do with Sally... it sounds like you two aren’t friends, or interact with any regularity.  So I would deal with this the same as any other major sin: love the sinner.  If when your paths cross this some how comes up directly, then deal with it directly. 

On the other hand . . . assuming that their souls are precious (as we would say for—say—an LGBTQ member) and that the Lord wants them reclaimed . . .

How does one minister to a racist with an eye to helping them avoid their sinful behavior?  And if they won’t immediately stop their sinful behavior, are they still welcome to attend church?  

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8 minutes ago, Just_A_Guy said:

How does one minister to a racist with an eye to helping them avoid their sinful behavior? 

It’s a great question. Hopefully the behavior of this woman is rooted in the “misunderstanding” of LDS teaching and not just outright hate. 
 

Like everyone here, I think the teachings of Christ can open up and soften the hearts of all of us, even people lost in bigotry.
 

I’m unsure as to how to help this woman though. One thing I know as fact is that you acquire the traits of those you associate with. So anyone ministering to her must walk a tough line. Is this woman an unrepentant bigot or is there hope? 

Edited by LDSGator

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4 hours ago, Backroads said:

To get to the point, how do I feel Christ-like love for her at this point?

Whenever I am challenged with loving someone who has behaved badly, all I have to do is take an inventory of the bad things I've done, and think about the folks who have loved me anyway.  Makes it pretty easy.

 

Quote

I've never felt like this toward someone as close as a neighbor I actually interact with.

So, what interactions do you have?  Sit and talk in church?  Your kids and their kids play?  Go to social events or whatever with each other?

It's always ok to be civil.  Civility is a behavior, not a feeling or an internal state.  If you act civil, you are civil.

But on top of that, if I were in your shoes, I'd try hard to see if that neighbor wants to be friends with me, and my 'horrified by racism' ways.  Next time the topic of her kids come up, I'd say something like "Oh man - I heard your kids were having a bit of immature racist fun and managed to trigger all the good people.  [Retell some story where my kid behaved totally inappropriately, and what I had to do to redirect them away from the path of the hideous monster.]  So how did you knock the racism out of them without killing them?"  If there's any awkwardness, ask why there is awkwardness.  If there's justification of racism, ask them how they get around scriptural truth and the church's efforts to preach how the color of someone's skin has squat to do with their value in the eyes of God. 

If she's ok with remaining friends with me, then maybe some of what I have to offer might rub off on her.

 

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1 hour ago, Just_A_Guy said:

On the other hand . . . assuming that their souls are precious (as we would say for—say—an LGBTQ member) and that the Lord wants them reclaimed . . .

How does one minister to a racist with an eye to helping them avoid their sinful behavior?  And if they won’t immediately stop their sinful behavior, are they still welcome to attend church?  

I see it the same as any other major sin: you need to express love while also being clear on what you believe is correct. 

Going up to someone you barely know, recounting what you heard, and demanding that they repent for their actions is only going to harden hearts. 

Obviously I don’t envy the bishop’s position here, as he does have jurisdiction and obligation step up to stop this. I see lots of prayer for him, and counseling with the sake president and/or other guiding people. 

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2 minutes ago, Jane_Doe said:
1 hour ago, Just_A_Guy said:

 

I see it the same as any other major sin: you need to express love while also being clear on what you believe is correct. 

Going up to someone you barely know, recounting what you heard, and demanding that they repent for their actions is only going to harden hearts. 

@Jane_Doe, this is really, really well said.

It also goes to show that relationships matter. Like Jane perfectly said, you are more likely to take correction from a friend than a stranger, even if you share religious beliefs. 

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Maybe it's time to recirculate this beaut of an article*

Quote

And we need more people of color.  No, that’s too generic.  Many U.S. congregations have oodles of Hispanic and Asian people, and you can’t throw a rock in this church without hitting a Tongan.  (And when you do, he’ll smile at you like he didn’t feel a thing.  Love those people.)  No, what we need more of in U.S. congregations is black people.  This isn’t a diversity thing.  It’s a failure-to-spread-the-gospel thing.

Missionary work among African Americans can be challenging (I served part of my mission on the South Side of Chicago), and some of that is due to our history with respect to priesthood restrictions.  But it  is also a symptom of our failure to communicate well the glorious message of the gospel and make sure that everyone who walks through our doors is welcome.  In some places we are doing better with this than in others, but there is a lot of work remaining to ensure that we are doing our best to share our message effectively with everyone.

And bring on the bigots.  We need more alt-right choosing the right.  It’s a difficult sell for the Church because "all are alike unto God", and much of the white supremacist community resents what they believe to be mixed messages at best.  But that isn’t everyone, and my experience is that there are more than a few racist folks that feel a great affinity for the Church and would like to participate in a more meaningful way.  Yet I still hear members make comments like, “Why would a hater want to be a Mormon?”  I don’t know, but probably for the same reason that a self-righteous snoot wants to be a Mormon.  We don’t get to decide who “belongs” in God’s kingdom.  God does. 

Our own attitudes, however, can create a huge stumbling block for white supremacist members and visitors, and that simply is inexcusable.  Racist people have the right to be treated like essential and needed members of the body of Christ instead of like cancers on that body. We would do well to get over our prejudices and be willing to invite, fellowship, love, and serve at the side of bigotted members and investigators.

 

*I may have accidentally edited two of the paragraphs

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Will a member of the general relief society presidency do a joint seminar with an avowed racist who proclaims that “being racist is how God made me, and of course I won’t act on it [yet], but I’m not going to change either because the Holy Spirit has revealed that God likes me this way”?

Inquiring minds want to know!!!

Edited by Just_A_Guy

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16 minutes ago, Just_A_Guy said:

Will a member of the general relief society presidency do a joint seminar with an avowed racist who proclaims that “being racist is how God made me, and of course I won’t act on it [yet], but I’m not going to change either because the Holy Spirit has revealed that God likes me this way”?

Inquiring minds want to know!!!

Zing-a-roo.

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Do you know for a fact that the events described really happened the way it was told?  Do you know the reasoning as to why the parents backed their daughter?  Is it possible that, while the doors were closed, and the kids trying to enter happened to be black, it was not racially motivated?  Could there have been a misunderstanding?

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On 7/18/2021 at 12:38 PM, Jedi_Nephite said:

Do you know for a fact that the events described really happened the way it was told?  Do you know the reasoning as to why the parents backed their daughter?  Is it possible that, while the doors were closed, and the kids trying to enter happened to be black, it was not racially motivated?  Could there have been a misunderstanding?

It's second-hand, so I suppose anything is possible.

 

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