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Nate Byrd discusses his experiences as a Black Mormon and how he navigated his identity in a church with a history of white supremacy. He talks about being the only Black family in his wards and the pressure to conform to white norms, including attending BYU and marrying a Black Mormon. He also shares his experiences with racism at BYU, both from white students and from the church’s teachings on race.

Byrd discusses his journey of self-discovery and how he channeled his anger into making things better for Black students at BYU, including starting a Black Student Union. He also talks about his TikTok channel, where he discusses the cringey and racist things he experienced at BYU, and his intentions to help others in similar situations. Byrd concludes by reflecting on the challenges of reconciling his faith with the church’s history of white supremacy and how he continues to grapple with these issues.

The Black Menaces

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  1. Timmy Tim February 20, 2023 at 10:00 pm - Reply

    There are definitely “explanations” (aka mental gymnastics) for Nathan’s patriarchal blessing lineage anomaly. When I got my patriarchal blessing, the patriarch included kind of a FAQ on the topic. One of the questions was something about lineages of siblings and/or parents/children not matching. And basically the explanation was, “Sometimes one lineage will be more dominant in one family member, but less dominant in other members of the same family.” In general, the lineage is believed to be literal, so maybe one faithful explanation would be:

    Mom is 67% ephraim, but 33% ham
    Dad is 67% ephraim, but 33% ham

    So both parents would have their lineage declared as ephraim, but their children could end up over 60% ham, and could be declared as ham.

    There’s always a plausible way to “gymnastics” your way out of a perceived problem.

  2. Sue Bernstein February 21, 2023 at 8:19 am - Reply

    Excellent discussion. Nate is such an interesting person. 👍
    Who is Chanelle (sp?). Did you introduce her?

  3. Chandra Smith February 21, 2023 at 12:09 pm - Reply

    I brought my 15 year old twins to the BYU group that he put together that allowed other kids in the community to come and gather together. My boys really enjoyed that!

  4. Ann M Heydt February 22, 2023 at 1:33 pm - Reply

    Brilliant. One of the best stories ever. Nate is inspiring and am hoping for great things for him.

  5. VFanRJ February 27, 2023 at 10:25 pm - Reply

    Nate was very articulate.

  6. Ember T February 28, 2023 at 7:00 pm - Reply

    Thank you Nate for your story.
    You are such an inspiration for so many, so keep being a Menace!

    Thank you for requesting the land acknowledgment. As a Native American and somebody who attended BYU I always felt so insignificant even as part of the laminate generation. I didn’t graduated from BYU because I just didn’t belong. I wasn’t Mormon enough, in their eyes.

    John, someday, please interview a Native person….and yes, I’ll keep asking until it happens. Give us a voice to add to people like Nate and Channel!

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