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Review of It's You and Me, Lord!: My Experience as a Black Mormon by Alan Gerald Cherry
Published by Triology Arts (Provo, UT, 1970), 64 pages
Alan Cherry's book is quite reminiscent of Wain Myers' 2015 book From Baptist Preacher to Mormon Teacher, albeit much shorter, so I don't need to say much about Cherry's book. (If interested, here's my review of Myers' book.) As with Myers, reason had nothing to do with Cherry joining the LDS Church back in 1969. He had an experience, and everything else was damned. He knew Mormonism was true notwithstanding not being able to make sense of the racist priesthood ban at the time. (That ban was done away with by Spencer W. Kimball's revelation in June of 1978.) Cherry even accused an anti-Mormon author of a particular pamphlet on the Book of Mormon about not applying Moroni 10:4 within the Book of Mormon (read and study the Book of Mormon and ask God if it is not true, and God promises to reveal it by the power of the Holy Ghost) and said that this critic's "judgments were based purely on his own reasoning powers." (53)
Though Cherry began with a commendable search for truth at all costs, he eventually simply begged the question that he could be as full of truth as God is. On the traditional Christian view, God is the only omniscient (i.e., the power of knowing all true propositions). Jesus is the truth (Jn. 14:6). Though in His human nature He used truth to grow in understanding, in His divine nature, being the only begotten God, He was always full of truth (Jn. 1:14). As such, He never had to use truth outside Himself in order to become a God as Joseph Smith taught God had to do (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, 345-7). Christians recognize that we will continue to progress in our knowledge, but we will never reach a state of being omniscient. However, for Cherry, he determined that "the most important thing of all was the thing I set out to do in the first place--seek the truth, seek it at my optimum vibrance, until I became part of it, until I became full of truth. Then I would really be able to see things as they are, and as they will be. Now I saw that all this seeking and becoming the truth is to become as God is. I realized that it was not up to me at all to say when I would finally reach this goal, but that even now in mortality I could begin." (61)
One of the nice things to read in this book was that despite the priesthood ban, some LDS people were genuinely loving toward Cherry. For example, they visited him in a military prison, he became the first Black president of a Deseret Club in the Church, and a number of them did a lot to help him get into BYU. So even though LDS at that time used to teach that Blacks were segregated in the afterlife and barred from exaltation, many LDS were genuinely kind to Cherry and wanted the best that could be given to him.
Has anyone else read this book? If so, what did you think?
President, Courageous Christians United
February 25, 2022