Yesterday, an LDS Church spokesman made a historic announcement. The Salt Lake Tribune reports that starting with next month’s General Conference, Mormon general authorities will be given the option to address the faithful in their own native languages.
Finally. For a long time the LDS Church has been calling itself a global religion — and the conversion numbers outside the United States certainly suggest that it is.
But you’d never guess that from watching our semiannual meetings, in which the talks and prayers are conducted in English and translated, if necessary, for non-English speakers.
The message has been that English — and, by extension, America — are normative for mainstream Mormonism, and everything else is foreign.
Now the tide is turning, and the general authorities and general officers of the women’s auxiliaries are being encouraged to showcase their diversity, not assimilate to an American standard.
Perhaps this new policy will not only highlight the beauty of the international diversity we already enjoy as a church, but spur us toward calling more leaders of color to important positions.
As was pointed out recently in the Tribune, we currently have no women of color represented at all, and the Quorum of the Twelve is entirely white and Euro-American.
In a global religion whose core membership has shifted to “the global south,” as sociologist Philip Jenkins would put it — with more members in Latin America, Africa, and Asia than in Europe and North America — that needs to change.
* (This GC lineup is all hypothetical; I don’t know which Seventies have been tapped to speak.)
Never miss a Flunking Sainthood blog post. Sign up at the top right under “subscribe” to receive email alerts for new content.