Brother Selected For The “I’m A Mormon” Campaign


A couple months ago, the Mormon church decided to profile my brother for their Im A Mormon campaign. A camera crew came to his house for an interview; now his profile and testimony are listed on the website. My brother was thrilled about the opportunity — he saw the honor as a mark of respect for his status as a member. I find myself feeling very uneasy about the matter.

At this point, I need to clarify. My brother is black. He was born in 1978, the same year that the Mormon church lifted its ban on blacks holding the priesthood. He joined our family when he was two years old. He grew up in a white family, in a predominantly white community, and was indoctrinated into a religion that has an uneasy racial history.

I love my brother. And he is, in every sense of the word, my brother. To give my parents their due, I never heard any indication, any hint that my brother was anything other than a full-fledged member of our family. We grew up together; I was a little girl tagging after her older brother with hero-worship shining in her eyes. Most of my family is very introverted and shy. In contrast, my brother was the life of the party, the person that lit up the room. A Will Smith look-a-like, he was charismatic, with the gift of putting people at ease.

In church, every time I learned about black people being descendants of Cain or being fence-sitters during the War in Heaven, my mind would always turn to my brother. These teachings left me confused and uncertain about the compassion of the religion I had been raised in. But even my perspective, infused by the love I had for my brother, was only a second-hand perspective. I can never truly understand the road my brother has had to travel in order to fit the teachings of the Church into his view of the world at large and his place within that world.

My brother never hinted that the teachings or attitudes at church hurt him; I suspect that he was trying to shield his little sister. But over the years I have watched him change from someone who was charismatic and out-going into someone who is obsessed with image and status. He is very much invested in the Mormon Church; he served a mission, married in the temple, and pressured his wife, a very talented biologist, into staying at home to raise their children. He has an over-whelming desire to be seen as the ultimate Mormon.

I hope that this opportunity helps bring my brother the affirmation that he wants. But every-time that I go to the website or watch the commercials, I dont see the church that I grew up in. I dont see any hint of the over-whelming pressure to conform or the ugly white-centric doctrine that I was taught, that is still being taught today. All I see is a church trying to cover up their issues with a slick ad campaign.

Note: This was originally posted on “A POST-MORMON LIFE”

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7 Responses

  1. chanson says:

    I know what you mean. I assume you saw this W&T post

    Is your brother in any of the commercials or billboards?

  2. I did see the Wheat and Tares post; it was heart-breaking. My brother isn’t in any of the commercials or billboards, they just chose to profile him.

  3. Donna Banta says:

    Great post postmormongirl. Thank you for sharing this personal story. So many Mormons are caught up in appearances. The ad campaign is a classic example.

  4. I hate standing by watching the people I love get hurt by the Church. Sometimes I think writing about all of this stuff is the only thing that keeps me sane.

  5. leftofcentre says:

    I know exactly what you mean. The problem is that most of the active members wouldn’t know that they, themselves, were being hurt. The passive-aggressive tactic of viewing wronged others as ones who ‘choose’ to be offended keeps the bulk of the congregation in a state of anxiety, but likely coupled with a feeling of being ‘chosen’, and all for being able to toe the line of accepting dodgy doctrines. Anyone who feels differently will usually keep shtum to avoid feeling the odd-one-out. This could be doubly problematic for your brother, postmormongirl, since the only family he’s known will be a family in which he was already viewed as ‘other’…

  6. LDS Products says:

    Hey There Latterdaymainstreet,
    On a similar note,, Maureen backed different kinds of cookie and put them in a cookie jar. The jar contains 4 peanut butter, 6 chocolate, 3 oatmeal, and 7 sugar cokkies. assuming the cookis are randomly distributed in the cookie jar,find each probability.

    a. Suppose maureen’s brother selects 3 cookies from the jar. Whazt is the probability taht he will select a chocolate chip cookie, then a sugar cookie, and then another chocolate chip??? Please explain

    b.Create your own probability qeustion from the information given. It can be an independent event or a dependent event qeustion. Write a qeustion and also provide the answer to that qeustion along with and explination.

    Sorry for it being so long. I’am answering the other 3 though :)))…But please help me..those are the only ones im stuck on and cant answer.
    Well Thank You! 🙂

  7. chanson says:

    @6 I have deleted your URL links because it looks like your remarks are largely motivated by a desire to advertise your website.

    In accordance with our usual policy on deletions (that we only delete under extreme circumstances) I have not deleted your comment. However, I would ask that you read (and stick to) our commenting policy.

    To everyone else, the usual friendly service announcement not to feed the trolls. 😉

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