EP 483 – Racism in the Church: A Conversation with Historian Russell Stevenson

Noted Latter-day Saint historian Russell Stevenson sits down to talk Brigham Young and racism, modern-day LDS racism, and what we can do to be better.

We have covered social unrest in the United States due to systemic racism and police brutality quite a bit in recent podcasts. It’s been difficult to avoid and has caused Latter-day Saints to reckon with our own history of racism within our ranks, including all the way up to former Church leaders.

Enter Latter-day Saint historian Russell Stevenson. Russell has spent his academic and professional career studying racial issues within the Church. He is the author of two books on race and the Latter-day Saint, Black Mormon: The Story of Elijah Ables and For the Cause of Righteousness: A Global History of Blacks and Mormonism, 1830-2013, and the recipient of the Mormon History Association best book award.

During our discussion, we discuss topics such as:

  • Was Brigham Young truly a racist?
  • What drove beliefs such as interracial marriage being “inadvisable” or sinful?
  • Why don’t we receive an apology for the priesthood ban?
  • How do we “otherize” black identities in Church and how can we normalize them?
  • How is racism manifest today among Latter-day Saints?
  • What can we do to combat racism within our ranks?
  • Should statues or monuments of individuals with some component of racism in their past be allowed to stand?

We’re very grateful to Russell for joining us again (as he has in the past) for a discussion on these issues. Please consider picking up his books!

Hey, we’d love some support on Patreon!

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