Sistas in Zion sounds off about fellow Mormon, singer Alex Boye, being voted off of America’s Got Talent.
This Sistas are self-proclaimed presidents of the Boye Tribe Fan Club, and they are not happy about the judges voting Alex Boye off of America’s Got Talent last week. So Zandra shares her thoughts on AGT, Howard Sterns hair, Nick Cannon’s shoes and the perks of being the only black Mormon at LDS girls camp.
Congrats for making it to AGT Alex! We look forward to seeing what you got coming next.
Hallelujah Holla Back,
Today is a difficult day for so many women. Some of us have children & feel that we are lacking or failing them in some way. Others of us long to have the sticky fingers of children smudge the mirror, wall and glass of our hollowed childless homes. While there are many who wish to hear the comforting words of a mother gone in body yet very much alive in our hearts and memories. Today I celebrate the women in the village that raised me. I was born to a 13yr old (woman) child. She gave me the only thing she had to give me, life! I realize that she could have made a different choice, she did not, she chose to give me life, for that I am grateful! She taught me that some of our biggest mistakes can become Gods greatest blessings to us! I celebrate my mom! I am also grateful for and celebrate my grandMAMA, who raised me and taught me to walk tall because I was a daughter of the only King! She taught me that all of Gods creatures held purpose & value. She also taught me that like the loaves of bread & fish that Jesus blessed, God would & could multiply the things I valued if I was willing to share my blessings! She willingly placed me in a position to be embraced by a village of women from different ethnic, and religious backgrounds. Women who loved me and taught me to value the good in others as well as life. I’ve added images of a few of these women in the collage. These women are just a few who have made & still make a significant difference in my life, and choices I make or don’t make. There are others, so many others! While my relationship with Mother’s Day is #COMPLICATED! I am grateful, I know that I am and have been blessed!
Holidays aren’t always happy, and hard work doesn’t mean you won’t have hard knocks.
Mother’s Day weekend marks the one year anniversary of our book, Diary of Two Mad Black Mormons. The book hustle has been one of the hardest hustles we’ve ever embarked on. We penned personal experiences from our lives and then put them out for public view. Talk about putting your business in the streets… ha! Getting it done required sacrifices, so we quit our jobs and dedicated ourselves to stop missing deadlines and deliver our publisher a manuscript worthy of going to print. The sacrifices were not only our own, husbands, children, family, and friends pitched in, picked up slack, and cheered us on. Yes, it took blood, sweat, tears and maybe even a couple of therapists, but we did it!
Now our full time gig, we set off to share with the world what we were inspired to write. One year later, we haven’t become New York times bestsellers, shoot, we’ve never even hit the Deseret Book best sellers list. We’ve watched other books come off the starting block much after us and zoom past us. No, late nights and hawking books out the back of your trunk sometimes doesn’t reflect in the sales report, and there’s a bit of a sting when you see how many books have been returned to the store.
Let’s keep it real, you don’t have to be mad, black or Mormon to know that sometimes things don’t come easy. Things don’t often turn out typically. For heaven’s sake we’ve got a book with chapters called, Finding Jesus in Jail and Dysfunctional Families are Forever, there ain’t nothing typical about that. There are some of y’all out there who aren’t going to have a “typical” Mother’s Day, not everyone’s mamas baked bread, and showered them with kisses. Some of us don’t know our mothers, or they have passed on, or don’t speak to them, or are afraid of them. Some of us have fractured relationships with our children, and some will spend the day wondering why God gave them the mother He did, ever made them a mother, or won’t make them a Mother though they desperately want to be one.
Here’s what we’ve learned: With God, every trial is capable of becoming a triumph! We shared some of our mother and motherhood experiences in the book, so y’all know, that we know, that it ain’t always hooray for Mother’s Day. Triumph has come in different ways for each of us, it’s not always making up, holding hands and skipping off into the sunset. Sometimes it’s an awkward conversation, sometimes it’s realizing that you didn’t cry this year as much as you did last year, but triumphant moments they are.
Our book hasn’t hit the mark we set…yet. So we are enjoying the journey until we reach our destination. The love and support that we continue to receive from friends, family and those we work with, gives us great joy. Through sharing the book we have met people we would never have had the opportunity to know, they have shared their personal stories, struggles and strengths with us, and complete strangers have treated us like sisters and friends. Our hope as authors is always to uplift and inspire, but it is you all that is constantly uplifting and inspiring us. Thank you!
Tomorrow as we celebrate the mothers in our lives, let’s be mindful of the women who might need a bit of uplift on that day. You may not be able to change her Mother’s Day destiny, but you might be able to give a moment of joy to her journey. To the many mamas out there we can’t promise you a happy Mother’s Day, but we can definitely wish you a BLESSED one! God’s blessings are promised, and when all else fails, on Him we can rely.
Hallelujah Holla Back,
Tamu Smith & Zandra Vranes
Left to right: (former Genesis president) Darius Gray, (first Genesis president) Ruffin Bridgeforth, (emeritus member of the quorum of the seventy) Helvécio Martins, (current Genesis president) Don Harwell
Toward the end of 2013 the LDS church begin releasing a series of essays on their “gospel topics pages”. These essays were to serve as a resource, as well as to shed more light into bothersome subjects of concerned members. While, some bishops and stake presidents have shied away from discussing the information found on the church’s website, that was not my experience. It’s probably not a surprise that the essay that I gravitated to the most was “Blacks and the Priesthood”! After reading it several times, then checking and rechecking the website to make sure it was on the LDS churches official website, I decided to copy, paste and email the essay and link to my bishop and stake president. Both responded in a very positive manner, which I must say was a relief, because I knew that some of my friends were experiencing push back from their leaders. Within a week of receiving my e-mail, my stake president arranged a time where I could share the information with the bishops as well as the priest in my stake. I’ve read the story in The Salt Lake Tribune about what the Dawson’s experience, it was heart breaking, especially considering that the majority of the black members of the LDS church know and have known about the dynamics of the priesthood ban. Once most of us discovered the information, we were armed and ready to go tell it on the mountain. However reaching the mountain, came in the form of resistance from our brothers and sisters in the gospel. That is why when the LDS church came out with the essays, on race, polygamy, and Joseph Smith, I was content. Having information like Race & the Priesthood meant I know longer had to prove that what I was saying was true or proving that where I got my information from was legitimate. I said all that to say this, that as the leaders of the Church of Jesus Christ feel moved to release information: I’m going to support it! It may not be everything I want when I want it, but I can certainly support their efforts. For the record that whole curse thang, I am not cursed, ain’t never been cursed, and ain’t never believed that I was cursed! And, err’body I know can run tell dat!
Are you familiar with the essays on the “gospel topics pages“? Do you have an experience worth sharing as it pertains to the sharing of info found in the essays?
In a recent exchange with my friend Wain Myers author of soon to be released “From Baptist Preacher to Mormon Teacher”, I was reminded of a comment made to Oprah Winfrey a few years ago by Joel Osteen – (Pastor of Lakewood Church in Houston, Texas). During their conversation not only did Pastor Osteen say that Peter, James, and John were outdated, he also said they were wrong and needed to be rebuked. For all you evangelicals clutching your pearls, hold up cause there is more. When Oprah asked if people who are openly practicing homosexuals are accepted into the Kingdom, Joel Osteen’s response was “Absolutely, anybody is.” If you missed it on Oprah, hopefully you you caught it when he repeated it on Piers Morgan, or one of the other media outlets that interviewed him. Pastor Osteen went on to quote John 7:16-18, which by the way, was an O.G. move. Had Joel Osteen been from “The streets to preach” program like a few pastors I know, he would have just dropped the mic, or since it was a televised interview he might’ve just rolled his eyes, thew up his hands, and hit Mr. Morgan wit a “com’on somebody!” Joel Osteen is respected because he preaches from a podium of inclusiveness.
Jesus taught that the gospel much like to atonement is for everyone. When the societal message to the woman with the issue of blood was, stay away, hide, you are unclean and we don’t want to see you and we certainly don’t want you near our Jesus. Jesus actions toward her testified that He wasn’t bout that life. Instead of shunning and shaming her, Jesus said “Daughter, be of good comfort: thy faith hath made thee whole; go in peace.” Jesus responded in a similar way to the Canaanite woman who cried after him to heal her daughter who was possessed with a devil. I don’t know how long this sista was following Jesus around, hollering and crying. However long it was, it was it was to long for the disciples. She must’ve been getting on their nerves ‘cause they wanted Jesus to send her away! Isn’t it interesting that with all the begging and crying she was doing, Jesus response came only after the disciples pushed him to get rid of her? Jesus told her that he wasn’t sent to her, he was sent to the “lost sheep of Israel“.
For those struggling to understand the significance of the message being sent here, that’s like Jesus being a white dude with big blue eyes and long blonde hair, telling all the brown people that he ain’t checking for them, he is only checking for his people, white people. Folks would be HOT!!! However, that comment didn’t even phase this sista, she begin to worship him pleading with him to help her. When Jesus told her, “It is not meet to take the children’s bread, and to cast it to dogs.” For the majority of us, the story would have ended right there! You ain’t got to admit it, but you know I ain’t lying, right? Some of us would still be all caught up in our feelings and mad at white Jesus. Let’s not even pretend like the majority of us (yep, I’m talking about myself too) wouldn’t have flipped the script on Jesus. We would have been so mad, we would have bounced and snatched his bucket of fish, then pushed Peter, James, and John on our way back to Canaan. Let’s be real, only a few of us would have been humble enough, focused enough to leave with the blessing that we went seeking. Yet, instead, of arguing (like some of
y’all us would have been) she agreed with Jesus saying “#Truth, Lord: yet the dogs eat of the crumbs which fall from their masters’ table.” It was then that Jesus said “O woman, great is thy faith: be it unto thee even as thou wilt. And her daughter was made whole from that very hour.”
I know that some of y’all are saying “What does the woman with an issue of blood, the crying Canaanite, and ol’ smiling Joel have to do with whether or not Mormons are Christian?” My response is: absolutely nothing, and everything! World renowned Pastor T.D. Jakes (founder of The Potters House ) commented “Christians will never agree on every theological issue any more than the colors of our skin will all suddenly match. Finite minds cannot wrap around an infinite God, or the limitless revelation of his wisdom and beauty. But we can all agree on whom we worship: He is the Great I AM.” Amen, Bishop T.D. Jakes, Amen! The name of our congregations, other books we call scriptures, and the amount of people willing to validate our walk with Christ, none of that matters. The core of Christianity shouldn’t be how we worship, but who we worship. Our end goal should always be eternal life with our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Jesus was constantly reminding the disciples to stay in their lane! When the disciples told him to send the woman with the issue of blood away, Jesus blessed her! When they told him to send the 5000 away because there wasn’t enough food for them, Jesus fed them. The disciples broke bread with Jesus, they thought they knew him, yet he had to continually correct them and their way of thinking, what would his message be to those willing to abandon me because I don’t praise in a manner that makes them feel comfortable?
While I don’t look to Joel Osteen, or T.D. Jakes, n’em to validate my walk with the Savior, I will admit, it does feel good to know that there are at least two fellow Christians willing to work along side me to help build up the kingdom without getting caught up in the integrity of my personal convictions. When Jesus began to feed the multitude of people, he didn’t just feed those who got there on time, even those who show’d up after the food was blessed got to eat until their bellies were full. My parents and my upbringing in the Pentecostal and Mormon church have propelled my belief in a God who provides more then enough! He also sees my humble offerings as enough. My upbringing in worship was so diverse that there isn’t a man or woman who stands in front of or behind a pulpit that can tell me that I am not His! I’m sure that some “Christians” will likely read this and want to quarrel with me about why I can’t be a Christian, I’m not interested in that conversation. Their thinking is already to shallow for me because they don’t understand the grace God pours out on all his children. Besides, the great I AM, has already claimed me, and “I am” His! And, it’s because I’m His, that I will always set the record straight.
The scriptures say “by their fruit they shall be known. I’m not only here to let folks know that I’m a Christian, I’m also here to remind my “Christian” brothas and sistas that when they place boundaries on God, Jesus, the Holy Ghost, even the Kingdom, it only confines them. Why are some Christians so threatened by those of us who believe that the Book of Mormon is yet another testament of Jesus Christ? Is their knowledge of discipleship so limited to the infinite power of the atonement and Christ ability to save all that they can only consider themselves a Christian, if I am not? The self-made boarders placed on what it means to be a Christian, only imprisons those who profess to be the gate keepers. Which reveals a lack of faith on their part, as believers we claim to believe in a living God, correct? Yet, by taking on the responsibility to be the gate keeper of Christianity we miss opportunities to see God’s love fully shine in our lives.
In the story of the prodigal son, you have two brothers, the older brother that stayed home, and the younger brother, who asked his father for his bounty and bounced! After wondering the world and losing everything the prodigal son returned home. His father was so happy to see him that he threw a grand celebration in honor of his returned son. The older brother could not wrap his mind around the boundless love his father had for his wayward brother. He was so caught up thinking about what he thought his brother returned to pursue (more inheritance). That he missed out on the grand celebration. He willingly forfeited something that was wayyy more precious then gold and silver, joyfully being in the presence of his father.
Like every Christian, I too desire to joyfully be in the presence of my Father! In my mind’s eye, there will be Christians from every denomination and multiple congregations at our Fathers grand celebration. I thoroughly enjoy visiting my brothers and sisters of other Christian denominations. I enjoy sharing my light with them and partaking of theirs. As a Christian, I feel it’s important to search for commonalities I can bear witness too, not look for evidence that makes my worship right and theirs wrong. I hope this article brings peace to the minds of those content enough in their own faith that they can support me in mine. Cause I’m not interested in wasting my time in the presence of bitter brothers and sisters who are not for me! To those who sincerely question “are Mormons Christians too?” Yes, we are!
Blessed & Favored!
Listen live here! SiZ Radio, Sundays 5pm – 7pm Mountain Time.
It’s a new year and the Sistas are all about making Goals with God! Tune in as they chat about how we can kick off the New Year with Christ. Plus, they’ll let you in on what they’re already grateful for in 2015, including getting to see the new movie Selma with Latter-day Saints and Civil Rights activist Joan Mulholland!
FREE 2015 Christian New Year’s Resolution Planner to help you achieve your Goals with God!
Please provide your name and email address for your free download.
Happy New Year y’all! It’s that time of year for making goals and resolutions, and for some of us it seems like we make em’ and then turn around and break em’.
What it is:
This year we Sistas are all about making Goals with God, so we’ve created the 2015 Christian New Year’s Resolution Planner!
It’s all about progress not perfection, because nobody but Jesus is perfect, but through Christ we can do all things.
Complete the simple tasks which incorporate prayer and scripture, and you’ll be amazed how specific and direct your resolutions will be when you rely on the Lord to not only help you create goals, but help you accomplish them along the way.
Oh yeah, did we mention…it’s FREE!
So if you’re ready to kick off your New Year with Christ keep reading!
Simple weekly worksheet to keep your goals fresh, and your personal 2015 theme to keep you inspired, plus more!
Print ‘n get poppin’:
After downloading, we printed using our home printer. We printed the cover on it’s own single sheet and the remaining pages were printed double-sided.
We used light-weight cardstock (65lb) so that the ink wouldn’t bleed through and to make the planner more durable.
Finally, take your printed sheets to your local office supply store and have them spiral bind it. We added a clear front cover and black back cover and got it all for under $4.
That’s it folks! So how do you stay inspired to keep your goals throughout the year?
Hallelujah Holla Back,
Sista Beehive & Sista Laurel
Listen live here! SiZ Radio, Sundays 5pm – 7pm Mountain Time.
Tune in as the Sistas chat with Tekulve Vann, a Latter-day Saint who has been through many storms in his life, including the loss of a child. He recently spoke to the LDS Genesis group about how Christians can rely on their faith to weather life’s storms, even the hurricanes! Tekulve stops by Sistas in Zion Radio to continue the discussion.
Listen live here! SiZ Radio, Sundays 5pm – 7pm Mountain Time.
Tune in as the Sistas discuss how friends of faith can have healthy dialogue about social issues. This week social media was flooded with content and conversations about recent events in Ferguson, Missouri and New York where grand jury verdicts came in that police officers would not be tried for the deaths of two unarmed black men, Michael Brown and Eric Garner. Folks have found being privy to the opinions of their peers in the pew difficult waters to navigate. How do we have open conversation about difficult topics with our friends of faith?