- Cast a black Adam and Eve (or an interracial couple) in the film shown to faithful members in LDS temples.
- Use more African-American faces in church art and manuals and display more artwork depicting Christ as he would appear: as a Middle Eastern Jewish man.
- Pick more blacks for highly visible leadership positions — if not an apostle, at least in the general authority Seventy or in the general auxiliary presidencies.
- Repudiate and apologize for the faith's past priesthood/temple ban on blacks, which the church lifted in 1978.
- Show the documentary film "Nobody Knows: The Untold Story of Black Mormons" to every all-male priesthood quorum, women's Relief Society class and Young Men and Young Women groups.
- Quote from the church's Gospel Topics essay "Race and the Priesthood" regularly at LDS General Conference and translate it into all the languages that the church uses to communicate with its global membership.
- Direct that the essay be read from the pulpit in every Mormon congregation and mission in the world.
- Have the Book of Mormon scripture found in 2 Nephi 26:33 — "All are alike unto God" — be a yearlong Young Women or Primary theme and make it part of the curriculum to talk about the sin of racism.
- Bring more blacks to LDS Church-owned Brigham Young University as students and faculty, while providing sensitivity training for all students about racial issues and interactions with people of color.
- Teach children about the heroic black Mormon lives, such as LDS pioneers Jane Manning James and Elijah Abel.
- Invite the choir from the Genesis Group — a longtime Utah-based support organization for black Mormons and their families — to sing at General Conference.
- Use the Genesis Group to assist in improving relationships with the African-American community.
- Give the Genesis Group greater authority to exist in all states and to visit wards and assist lay bishoprics in how to avoid and overcome racism in their congregations.
- Create a church-sponsored Mormon and black website akin to the one found at mormonandgay.org.
- Treat the members of the Genesis Group's presidency as an auxiliary, seating them on the stand with other high-ranking authorities during General Conference — and invite at least one of them to speak during the sessions.
- Provide training on racial issues for newly called mission presidents.
- Include a mandatory class at Missionary Training Centers that teach the "Race and the Priesthood" essay so missionaries are better prepared when they go out to preach.
|Alex Boye, one of the most famous Black Mormons|
As far as the third suggestion, to repudiate and apologize for the ban, that would only be necessary if the Church admitted that the ban was wrong. Since the Church has not said in the 39 years since the ban that the policy was wrong, it is unclear how Church leaders feel about it. As of now, there is no evidence that the policy was inspired of God (and I personally believe it was not), but absence of evidence is not evidence of absence. This too may require a revelation in order to occur. But, if it was revealed that the policy was wrong, then an apology would be in order. While some non-black members will say that an apology would be meaningless, I would remind them that they were not the ones who suffered under the policy for so many years and still suffer today. It would matter to us, so they will simply have to get over it.
Most of the other suggestions would not require revelation, just Church authorization. Casting an Adam and Eve who were non-white or mixed raced Adam and Eve would be good, as it would be a visual reminder that we do not know what the couple looked like. Pictures of Jesus that depict him as a first century Jew are more than appropriate since Jesus clearly was not European.
The Church topics essays, of which many Church members are ignorant, should definitely all be read; how that should happen is open for debate. A website is unnecessary, the essay on this issue provides plenty of material in its footnotes that a person can research if they are interested. Since the Genesis Group is run by the Church, they can work on the suggestions together.
I am unaware what training mission presidents receive, but I am sure their awareness of this issue is sufficient that they would tell missionaries to present the Gospel Topics essay to investigators. Missionaries should definitely be taught about the Gospel Topics essays as part of their training since many of the questions they will encounter from investigators are represented in those essays.
When it comes to the priesthood issue, there is only an issue if a person believes that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has unique priesthood authority. If they do not, their restriction on blacks was sad but irrelevant because white members also did not have priesthood. If the Church does have priesthood, then we need to trust those with priesthood keys as we have covenanted to do.