Religious Educator: Perspectives on the Restored Gospel


race, Priesthood

Document Type



Wayment: Paul, tell us a little bit about your background on race and Mormonism. What brings you to this discussion?

Reeve: I started research for the book Religion of a Different Color: Race and the Mormon Struggle for Whiteness (New York: Oxford University Press, 2015) in 2007. I was familiar with some of the existing historiography in the field of whiteness studies. The whiteness historiography has largely revolved around immigration and labor history. There have been studies of Irish immigrants who were racialized as not white or not white enough. The histories of Irish immigrants trace the ways in which the Irish attempted to claim whiteness for themselves and thereby become fully Americanized or assimilated. The same thing was true for Italian immigrants at the turn of the century and other immigrant groups coming into America. I was familiar with some preliminary evidence that suggested that the same thing was happening to Mormons. I wanted to do some research to see if that was true.