I have previously given a very positive review of the recent book Black and Mormon, edited by Newell G. Bringhurst and Darron T. Smith (Urbana, Illinois: University of Illinois Press, 2004, 172 pages). This morning I was pleased to find that Darron Smith now has his own Website, DarronSmith.com.
Darron is a black convert who served a mission in the Church and, according to information in the book, was a lecturer at Utah Valley State College and an adjunct faculty member at BYU. Now, according to his Website, he teaches at Westminster College in Salt Lake City while completing his Ph.D. in education at the University of Utah (he also has a M.Ed. in Higher Education from Brigham Young University — see his curriculum vita).
I consider Darron among the more interesting famous Mormons in the Church, and after reading of his challenges in dealing with a mostly white church, respect him greatly for maintaining his faith in spite of the racial tensions he has experienced. I hope his book will continue to help the rest of us be aware of the pains that our black brothers and sisters have felt so that we all may better shed our blinders and hidden bigotries. Many people trying their best to fully live the Gospel may unconsciously have racist attitudes, and books like Black and Mormon can do much to open our eyes and help us see more fairly. I suspect that nearly all of us have plenty of room for improvement, especially when it comes to the subtle issues that we just can’t see without help from the outside.
Update: Apparently there has been some recent controversy with Darron, as a commenter notes. I’m sorry about that. As I’ve noted before, I think Darron has gone too far on some points. I think we all need to give each other a lot of slack and not be too quick to condemn, or too quick to find fault, whether it’s with individuals or the Church.