True Face of Mormon Religion Raises Eyebrows for Black Community

Mormons vary in clothing, race and color. Outside of Doak Campbell Stadium is the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Inside the church are Mormon members that transcend the common presumption. Black Mormons.

A black Mormon seems contradictory because of Mormon doctrine, but they have been around since 1832.

Black Mormons such as Green Flake served in Fort Union, Utah, which was a birthplace for black Mormons. Although The

Blacks have been accepted and considered equal in the Mormon faith.

Marcia Neely-Bey’ is a 49-year-old is a member of the Church of Latter Day Saints on Stadium Drive. She has been a Mormon for 21 years. Neely-Bey’ grew up Baptist in Birmingham, Ala.

But, after two Mormons showed up at her doorstep and answered her questions concerning faith, she became a Mormon.

“I have an extremely strong Baptist background,” said Neely-Bey’. “When my sister died and I took in her two youngest children, I needed the Lord’s help to raise them.”

“It was a little strange at first because I never heard anything about the Church of Latter Day Saints,” said Neely-Bey’. “Isn’t that a white church?”

The two Mormons laughed and shook their heads no. Neely-Bey’ expected her family to be the minorities in Church of Latter Day Saints, but her experience in Birmingham changed her outlook.

“In Birmingham, the Church of Latter Day Saints was 96 percent black,” said Neely-Bey’. “I felt at home, and very comfortable.”

Neely-Bey’ didn’t receive criticism inside the church, but she experienced opposition outside of the church.

“One co-worker told me that I was losing my blackness,” said Neely-Bey’. “People look at me strange, and they are always surprised because I’m an African American Mormon.”

Third-year music student, Patricia Battles is a Mormon, and a member of the Latter Day Saints’ Institute of Religion at FSU. Battles, from Orlando, cautiously invited two Mormon missionaries to her apartment.

“I would usually dismiss people if I was not interested, but they were really nice,” said Battles. “I had a ton of doubts, but they did some lessons with me.”

The two missionaries were white, but Battles felt accepted.

“I joined and met some really great friends,” said Battles. “They never looked at me differently because I was black.”

Alma chapter three verse six in The Book of Mormon states that black skin is a “curse of transgressions.” Battles was criticized because of her Mormon belief.

“They would say I was adopted by white people, and that there is no way you were born to black people being in this church,” said Battles.

The Salt Lake City Mormon Temple is the headquarters for the Church of Latter Day Saints. Sister Carter, a member of this temple, Mormons reach out to blacks, and do not discriminate.

“There were many pioneers in Africa who spread the Gospel,” said Carter. “We speak to everyone.”