Mormon Church in Controversy over Sunday School Teacher Dismissal
- By Alison Lesley --
- 11 May 2015 --
The LDS Church fired a school teacher for using the Church’s own materials in Sunday school lesson.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is amid controversy, as a Mormon bishop dismissed a Sunday school teacher for using a Mormon race essay in his class.
According to the Salt Lake Tribune, the controversy began with teacher Brian Dawson answering to a race-related question by one of his students. Dawson referred to the Utah-based faith’s own materials, including its own groundbreaking 2013 essay “Race and the Priesthood.”
The essay states that “God created the many diverse races and ethnicities and esteems all equally” and that “the structure and organization of the Church encourage racial integration.”
According to the essay, “the Church’s lay ministry also tends to facilitate integration: a black bishop may preside over a mostly white congregation; a Hispanic woman may be paired with an Asian woman to visit the homes of a racially diverse membership. Church members of different races and ethnicities regularly minister in one another’s homes and serve alongside one another as teachers, as youth leaders, and in myriad other assignments in their local congregations.”
The essay stresses that “such practices make The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS) a thoroughly integrated faith.”
However, Dawson’s quoting of the Mormon essay didn’t please his local lay leaders. They removed him from his teaching, even though the essay has been approved by top Mormon leaders and is even published on the church’s website.
The LDS Church has declined to comment on the incident. Salt Lake Tribune has interviewed Tamu Smith, co-author of “Diary of Two Mad Black Mormons,” who said that the essay on race “is not all that familiar to the LDS faithful and, often, with their congregational leaders.” According to Smith, the majority of the Mormon Church doesn’t know about the essay.