Darius Gray

Yesterday at UVSC I met Darius Gray (pronounced “duh-RYE-us”). I believe he was a co-founder of the Church auxiliary group, “Genesis”, for LDS African-Americans. I found him to be very energetic and youthful. And very approachable.

I told him I was reading his first book of the trilogy Standing on the Promises, a compilation of stories about Black Mormon Pioneers. There are great stories to be told about the early black Mormons, but you’ll hardly, if ever, hear about them in Church. People like Elijah Abel who recieved the Priesthood from Joseph Smith and many others like him (yes, you heard that right- Joseph Smith gave Elijah Abel the Priesthood and even sent him on a mission as a Seventy). Stories like this and other topics are what Darius speaks about at BYU and other venues to promote the real history of Blacks in the LDS Church.

More recently he spoke with John Dehlin on Mormon Stories podcast (click here to listen to mp3 or click here to listen and watch screencast). He gave me his business card with a picture of his books on one side. He told me that book two is his favorite of the trilogy. I asked him what he has been doing lately to to promote his message to more members and he said “that’s what I’ve been killing myself over lately, doing so many things”.

I think that what we can do as regular members to help promote his message is simply telling people what we know about the issue with Blacks & the Priesthood and dispelling the myths and folklore associated with this (see Dispelling the curse of Cain: or, How to Explain the Old Priesthood Ban Without Looking Ridiculous, by Armand Mauss).

To do my part, I’ve suggested the idea to watch the above-mentioned screencast with my parents and family. They’ve agreed to do it. My mom is even considering reading Standing on the Promises instead of her regular fictional The Work and the Glory (but I doubt she will). I told Darius, “man, we gotta get rid of all the folklore out that’s out there”, he said “Amen to that, brother!” and gave me a high five.

Let’s spread the message everyone!!

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~ by bonoboi on November 18, 2006.

13 Responses to “Darius Gray”

  1. As a Black Member and mother, researching Church History in regards to Blacks is not only interesting, but imperative for the generation of members I am raising. As Blacks, we have to teach our children how to navigate every day society to deal with racism and how it can effect them. To give our children “ammo” if you will against people who will try to tell them who they are or who they aren’t. It became clear to me that I would have to do the same with my faith. I have been confronted with racism in the church from non-members seeking to destroy my testimony, and everything that I have been learning has only strengthened me. Now because of you and others who actively work to expose the truth, I will have my own “ammo” and ammo for my kids when they are confronted as well. Thanks!

  2. Jada, much luck to you in your studies and in educating your children and those around you in your daily life!

  3. Darius’ books are phenomenal. He did not found the group – the 1st Presidency did, and he was called to it (as you’ll find in book 3). For me, book 2 is my favorite as well. The conversations/thought processes between characters in the books are such testimony builders, at least for me as a black female in the church.

    it is hard to dispel the myths because we’re part of a racist society that thrives on the importance of inequality… non-white vs white, non-christian vs christian, male vs female… we have a LOT of work as a country as well as a religion to do and I’m proud to see these books. I’m having Margaret Blair (and hopefully darius too!) come in February for Black History Month.

    the story needs to be told, and moreso than not, members need to embrace it. it’s so important.

  4. People, when they hear racism always identify it with Darkskinned people straight away. This is understandable because of racist history. But, it is the steriotypes attached to the “skin colour” (if you wish) that create racism. I am white and one of my hardest trials believe it or not people, was racism as i grew up. People always talk like if your white you dont get racist comments too. I had a rock thrown in my face by a group of girls because i walked past their mother who happened to be high as a kite and i looked at her *mind you i didnt stare or even comment* and they left my Samoan friend alone even though she was staring. English history of what they did to the darkskinned people of this world was undiscribably cruel and sickening. I cry when i watch and learn about what happen to all these different people and families because i imagine that was my friends and family or the extreme pain and sorrow. But just because im white does not mean that i should be punished for others actions. “WE BELIEVE THAT MEN WILL BE PUNISHED FOR THEIR OWN SINS…” So im tired of minorities of people ive NEVER met beforehand assuming that im a terrible person. You should not judge but if you must, do it by the actions and intentions of the person. Not what you assume and steriotype about them. A colour cannot determine who you are it is the associations you give that colour and deem truth that affects who you are. We can not change others or the world so teaching children protection from these dangers is essential but not teaching them that we are in groups example Blacks vs Whites. Cause through Gods eyes we all look the same! In my mind there is no equality. Every person is their own human but we should strive to treat others as equal as we can……. LOVE MEGGS! *Australia (A country of racist history and intollerance)

  5. Ive been thinking..
    I don’t think any one ‘Group’ is to blame for the way things are in this world.
    People are racist or discriminate because of the imperfections within themselves as an individual person. They are not wise enough, perhaps ignorant, to realize that their reasoning for hatred of a whole group of people is not justified, perhaps if it was one individual they disliked but an entire race can not be held accountable for the actions of someone else. Also the hatred can not be because of something such as colours of skin that is not justified. What if the person [consumed by hate] was blind? Would his anger dissolve? (Rhetorical Question everyone. Lol)
    Individuals in a collaborative effect are the reasoning for young children of all backgrounds learning that they fit in a certain group or ‘stereotype’. A name is nothing but a name, a colour is nothing but a colour. These things are not a basis for prejudice they are the ridiculous excuses individuals use to excuse their own unjustified hatred.
    Anyone thought perhaps we are all to blame…? Society as a whole, every individual person places labels and stereotypes on each other and creates ‘groups’ in society which for example are labeled female, white , black etc. In Australia there is even a government inforced program that devides the communities into groups (Census) When you show people their differences how can you not expect inequality eventually. It is human nature to be pack animals.. thats why we have ‘Clicks’ in high school and ‘Groups’ in society. We are constantly placing ourselves in groups and then finding loyalty to that group causing an underlying segregation.

    WE ARE THE REASON!

    A Person both will fight against these stereotypes and show they are not defined by their given status or they will turn and believe every word society has told them since birth. ‘You fit this stereotype. This is the limit of your potential and you cannot improve any further then your station. We have our own industrialized discrimination built into every person.

    IT IS OUR FAULT AS PEOPLE IN SOCIETY FOR SENDING THIS MESSAGE.

    Whether you believe you are Racist or not, you are contributing to this incorrect generalizing of the potential of a human being, this ‘Grouping’.
    All people despite nationality, colour, gender, age etc are people who think with a mind, a heart and have it in themselves to succeed.

  6. Megan in answer to your retorical question; ‘Also the hatred can not be because of something such as colours of skin that is not justified. What if the person [consumed by hate] was blind? Would his anger dissolve? (Rhetorical Question everyone. Lol)’
    It would depend what colour you told him your skin was, and what colour he thought he was. Safest when he asks what colour you are to just say ‘same as you’. The world does need some serious fixing, I do think Australia is better than a lot of places, we are pretty lucky, but also need to sometimes stand against things like raceism, asp with our piers.

  7. Blind man analogy~
    The whole point of the analogy is that the blind man DOESNT KNOW THE COLOUR OF SKIN (lol) so therefore he is forced to accept people for who they are, he can nolonger put his prejudices into action eg Racism in this example..

  8. Megan, I was being a little jovial, but at the same time making a point about human nature, in that even a blind man could easily be skin colour prejudiced, it would of coarse be illogical, but then it makes no sense for sighted people to be colour, race or group prejudiced either.
    Your statement is very powerful and true; ‘hatred can not be because of something such as colours of skin that is not justified’

  9. Thanks for the pointer to the book.

  10. … Thank You …

    … Peace … In The Spirit …

  11. Thanks so much for the book recommend … I know you wrote this in 2007 but it is still helping people today in 2009.

  12. I am a black LDS member and all these attempts to gloss over the shameful past of the church with regards to racism only makes the problem worse. After a thorough analysis of church history it baffles me that anyone would deny this history. Nobody is trying to take away from your testimony, it is important as a church to seek the truth about our history and not gloss or even in some cases outrightly lie about it; that is how testimonies get lost

  13. I am also a black member of the church, and have been since September 17, 1977. I certainly do appreciate reading your very interesting post. I have been studying the History of the church regarding people of color since my student days at Brigham Young University (1981-1987), and still learning more.

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