Du Bois, Mormonism, LDS, Race, Double Consciousness
The work of W.E.B. Du Bois highlights the significance of Christian religion in Black American life. According to Du Bois, the Black Church serves as a site of self-formation and affirmation, and the White Church as a source of racist beliefs and justifications for inequality. In this paper, we expand Du Bois’ inquiry about the influence of religion with a study of Black Americans who belong to a predominantly White religion. For those whose religious experience is almost wholly within the “white world,” what role does religion play in their lives? We analyze a set of 52 public accounts by Black Americans discussing their experiences as members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS). We find that for many Black LDS, membership in the LDS Church is characterized by contrast and contradiction, yielding spiritual conviction, joy, and meaningful communion on one hand, and racism and isolation on the other. We also find that Black LDS respond to these contradictions in a variety of ways. We classify these agentic responses into five types and examine the sociological significance of the observed variation. We conclude with a discussion of implications for scholarship on race and religion.
Original Publication Citation
Wood, Michael, Grace Soelberg, and Jacob S. Rugh. 2023. "Making Space Behind the Veil: Black Agency within a Predominantly White Religion." Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/jssr.12854
BYU ScholarsArchive Citation
Wood, Michael; Soelberg, Grace Ann; and Rugh, Jacob, "Making Space Behind the Veil: Black Agency within a Predominantly White Religion" (2023). Faculty Publications. 6901.
The Society for the Scientific Study of Religion
Family, Home, and Social Sciences
© The Society for the Scientific Study of Religion This is the author's submitted pre-print version of this article. The definitive version can be found at https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/journal/14685906
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