Documenting the American South Logo
oral histories of the American South
Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Patience Dadzie, October 21, 2001. Interview R-0156. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

Thoughts on issues of race within the Mormon Church

Dadzie begins with a discussion of gender roles within the Mormon Church, emphasizing that only men can enter the priesthood, into a discussion of issues of race within the Church. When asked about her thoughts on the pre-1978 ban on African American men entering the priesthood, Dadzie explains that her awareness of issues of race in the Church were only piqued after her immigration to the United States in the early 1990s.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Patience Dadzie, October 21, 2001. Interview R-0156. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) in the Southern Oral History Program Collection, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Full Text of the Excerpt

BARBARA COPELAND:
That's interesting. Okay, what are some of the roles that the men play in the church in the Mormon church?
PATIENCE DADZIE:
I know they have the priesthood holder which allows them to baptize and also confirm a member of the church, pray and—
BARBARA COPELAND:
Do the women, are they ever able to do some of the same functions that the men do or no?
PATIENCE DADZIE:
The women don't have any priesthood in the church. The men have the priesthood. They have the authority to use their priesthood to baptize, confirm and pray when somebody is sick, your home teacher. like me for example my kids are sick if my husband has the priesthood just annoint and pray, but the women don't have the priesthood to do that.
BARBARA COPELAND:
So the women just only have callings.
PATIENCE DADZIE:
Callings. But they don't have the priesthood, yeah. Power and authority.
BARBARA COPELAND:
Did you know anything about the ban on African Americans or just people of color—
PATIENCE DADZIE:
Color.
BARBARA COPELAND:
Prior to the year 1978. Did you know anything of men going to the, being accepted into the priesthood? Did you know anything about that?
PATIENCE DADZIE:
I think I heard. I didn't know, but I heard about it. Since I came I heard about it. But they say it was a time ago they did not allow the black men to have the priesthood in the church or something, yeah. I saw in Brother Clayton came here and showed us a about it.
BARBARA COPELAND:
Brother Clayton.
PATIENCE DADZIE:
Clayton yeah. Later on when they had a revelation and—
BARBARA COPELAND:
So how did you feel about that when you heard that?
PATIENCE DADZIE:
I when I heard that, to me it wasn't a surprise to me. I'm not saying that because I'm an African. But when I first came to this country, I didn't know anything about like black and white. Like where I'm from there's not enough black and white. Everybody's black over there. If you see a white person, then he's from overseas and just come to . But since I've been in this country I've seen most blacks try to always get upset and trouble. Even though I'm African I also expect blacks to accept me more than the white, but unfortunately to me I think the white people here accept me more than the blacks here. I found I know black people always try to get upset and more trouble like the white.
BARBARA COPELAND:
Now is that just the black men or both black men and black women?
PATIENCE DADZIE:
I would say it's like both.
BARBARA COPELAND:
That they more or less try to get themselves in trouble most of the time.
PATIENCE DADZIE:
Yeah. To me it wasn't a—
BARBARA COPELAND:
So it didn't really bother you when you heard about it.
PATIENCE DADZIE:
Yeah, because my opinion when I'm going to church I'm worshiping, I'm not worshiping anybody in the church. I'm doing it for myself. I'm not there for the white person in the church or black person in the church. So whoever decided that the black, that's his opinion or whatever. When they . I'm not going to change because this person said black the church didn't allow blacks. So I'm just going to worship Heavenly Father. I'm not worshiping anybody in the church. So that's what I think.
BARBARA COPELAND:
Did you know about that in Ghana when you were in the Mormon church in Ghana?
PATIENCE DADZIE:
Yeah, I heard about that in Ghana too. But like I'm saying there was not a call like racism in Ghana until I came here.
BARBARA COPELAND:
So then the Mormon church in Ghana is predominantly is just all black members
PATIENCE DADZIE:
All black members. It's all black members.
BARBARA COPELAND:
So how did they respond to that notion that black people couldn't be gain, couldn't get entry into the priesthood prior to 1978? How did they respond to it in Ghana?
PATIENCE DADZIE:
I don't know. Like I'm saying there is, I don't think they really care about that because I didn't know anything about racism until I came to America, the difference between the black and white. So over there even though some people were saying that it wasn't something that they really thought about it when they joined the church.