The issue of race has already been raised during the presidential campaign of Mormon Mitt Romney.
It is a touchy topic these days, given that the LDS Church barred blacks from its all-male priesthood until 1978. Before that date, Mormon leaders and members routinely offered various theological reasons that could explain the ban.
Now LDS social scientist Darron Smith has launched an online survey of attitudes by and about black Mormons.
The survey, admittedly not scientific, is titled "Mormon Beliefs About People of African Descent." It asks respondents of all racial backgrounds nearly 50 probing questions about the LDS Church, its history of racial exclusion, whether racism in the Utah-based faith has risen or declined since the ban ended. It also asks demographic information – age, residence, income, sex and activity in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints – in order to divide the responses along multiple variables.
"The study is a pilot project to assess where members of the LDS faith are in respects to their feelings about race," Smith writes in an email. "The survey should in no way be construed as an 'official LDS Church' endorsed initiative. Instead it was intended as a fun project to see how we are doing in respect to race in the faith."
Currently, more white Mormons than blacks have taken the survey.
"I need larger numbers especially of more conservative members," says Smith, assistant professor at Wichita State in Kansas and co-author of Black and Mormon, "and members of color."
You can do the survey.
Peggy Fletcher Stack
|1.||Paul Rolly: Blogger fired from language school over ‘homophonia’|
|2.||For selling risky mortgages, Bank of America fined $1.3B|
|3.||Annual liquor sales in Utah up $20 million|
|4.||Swallow, Shurtleff make historic court appearances, vow to beat charges|
|5.||Take off your clothes to make it in reality TV|
|6.||Chefs share tips for home cooks to waste not, want not|
|7.||Owner of dog shot by Utah police turns down $10,000 offer|
|8.||Restaurant review: Flavor and style — for a Park City price — at Burgers and Bourbon|
|9.||Photos: Santana works its musical magic at Red Butte Garden|
|10.||Witnesses: Cameras were monitoring Oklahoma City federal building|