“You’ve read the title, and now you’re scratching your head, wondering if this book is for real, right?
“It is. Yes, the authors are bona fide Mormons. And hilarious, too! They call themselves Sistas in Zion.
“Did we mention they’ve got enough faith to move mountains? Well, they haven’t moved any mountains just yet, but that’s not stopping them from keeping right on praying and believing and knowing that the gospel of Jesus Christ is worth it.”
How you can you NOT be interested in reading a book with that introduction? I started reading Diary of Two Mad Black Mormons at the dinner table and was laughing on page two. Of course, my family had to hear what I was laughing about so they got to hear the whole first chapter as they ate their dinner.
Zandra Vranes and Tamu Smith (the sistas) share personal stories, some humorous, many moving, about how they have learned to live the gospel of Jesus Christ. They are real and sincere and bring their own unique style.
Reading their book felt like home to me.
You see, I lived in Georgia during my tween and teen years. We met as a branch (it’s smaller than a ward or normal sized congregation for those not familiar with that Mormon term) at first in a rented house and then, when the branch grew with more members, a small meetinghouse was built. We had many members who were black. I loved hearing the ‘amens’ and ‘say it brother!’ and ‘hallelujahs’ that would burst out during a song or lesson or someone’s Sacrament meeting talk. I loved trying out the fried catfish or collard greens or okra that were brought for potluck dinners. I especially loved the singing. You have never fully lived until you’ve sung hymns or spirituals with people who feel the music. I miss it and talk of that time fondly to my children. My husband appreciates it right along with me as he served his mission to Georgia. Uh huh that’s when we first met. 🙂
With chapters like “Finding Jesus in Jail” and “Check Yo’self Before you Wreck Yo’self” and “Ain’t Nobody Drinking That Kool-Aid” you know you are in for a hot mess of fun, especially when they end a lot of their messages with “Hallelujah, Holla Back!” a sentiment used quite often in black churches.
Here’s a little snippet of Sista wisdom:
When people start thinking of standards, they automatically start naming all the things that somebody else is telling them they can’t do. Christina values often come under fire for being too confining and old-fashioned. People have asked us, “Don’t you want to live your life in freedom?” That question always shocks us. Simply put, Christina vlaues are the teachings of Jesus. Our question back to them is, “How has following Jesus ever imprisoned anyone?” Except fo Daniel, okay, well, and mayb a few other people, but who’s getting thrown in to a lion’s den these days?
We’ve never felt restricted by following the Savior. Quite the opposite. For us there is freedomm in maintaining positive values. The Ten Commandments are often thought of as a list of don’ts, but we see them as a list of freedoms. “Thou shalt not steal” (even a pair of fuzzy pink slippers) means we are free to remain on the right side of jail bars. We are fre to earn the respect of our peers because we respect their property. “Thou shalt not commit adultery” means that we are free to foster happy, healthy, and loving marriages. “Thou shalt not bear false witness” means that we can let the truth set us free.
All of us have values that affect the standards we put in place in our lives. For us, the teachings of Christ have played a tremendous part in developing ours.
Hallelujah Holla Back,
Sista Beehive and Sista Laurel
There is a great story behind those fuzzy pink slippers…..but you’ll have to read the book to find out.
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Disclaimer: Deseret Book sent me a copy of Diary of Two Mad Black Mormons to review. All opinions are my own.