I may choose to ignore anonymous comments. I consider this type of anonymity dishonest. Also, I don't post regularly. I post when I have something worth writing and something worth reading. I explain all this in: Don't Let Telling Tales Trip Up Your Truthfulness.
Wednesday, August 11, 2010
Black Women, Marriage and Church: A Mormon Perspective
A recent CNN article examined a piece by Deborah Cooper, a single black female who writes for The San Francisco Examiner. She makes a number of claims concerning why black women are largely unmarried. She largely blames the Church and its pastors. A PEW study she references, establishes that church is more important to black women than black men. Dr. Boyce Watkins wrote a compelling answer to Cooper so I won't bother doing so. I want to extend the dialog by examining the same issues in Mormondom.
- Active women limit their dating pool by refusing to consider men who aren't active as potential marriage partners.
- Church is based on principles that tend to subjugate women to men.
Since I can say, with confidence, that these issues exist in Mormondom I don't think the issues addressed in the pieces above can be limited to race. Undoubtedly the religion gap is larger between black women and black men but it is also huge between Mormon women and non-Mormon men.
We all know that single, available Mormon women vastly outnumber single, available, Mormon men. Sheri L. Dew epitomizes this. Non religious people often do not grasp the full significance of how important religion can be in someone's life and what an important compatibility issue it can be in a marriage partner.
For example, if one partner in a relationship wants to have children and the other partner steadfastly doesn't no expert, or anyone for that matter, would tell them it is a surmountable relationship issue and find ways around it. Fundamental incompatibility cannot be surmounted. Religion is such an issue. The non-religious do not seem to fully grasp this and I do not think Cooper does.
In Mormondom, a black women would be more compatible with a non-black Mormon partner than she would be with a non-Mormon black partner. Tamu Smith is an example. She has a white husband and nine children -- both adopted and biological. I think Gladys Knight's husband is Mormon but I'm not certain of his race. She is a more recent convert than Tamu, I think.
Since the Church does not record race on membership records, it is impossible to know how many blacks are in the Church. The statistic is unknown and unknowable, by anyone.
There are efforts to document their experiences as black Mormons, the mostly notable being Nobody Knows: The Untold Story of Black Mormons as well as books such as Why I Believe. Their unique needs are also addressed by The Genesis Group.
Outsiders often accuse the Mormon belief structure as subjugating women to men. I like to point out that I am a lifetime Mormon woman with a Ph.D. in management. If anyone ought to be ticked off it is me. I'm not, because it does not, but the details are material for future posts. . .
So, if an intellectual life-time white Mormon woman can feel comfortable in the Church, how about an intellectual converted black woman? Catherine M. Stokes is the perfect example. My husband attended Church with her in Chicago. (See picture at this link). Her conversion and story are compelling. If this gallant women does not find a husband in this life, she certainly will in the next, which is a comfort to all single Mormon women.