Fans of Mormon stories will be familiar with Channel Achenbach, who has been a guest on LDS Discussions’ Race & Mormon Scripture Part 1, Gender Discrimination in the Mormon Church with John Larsen and Mormon Leader Ahmad Corbitt Condemns Activism Towards the LDS Church or they may know her from her tiktok channel, @Bettenoir4. This will be a 3-part series of Channel’s story.


1712: Joining the Mormon Church as a Black Teenager – Channel Achenbach Pt. 1

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In Part 1 we get some background on Channel’s family growing up, how black families and black culture differ substantially from Mormon white culture, what led Channel to seek God and how that led to her joining the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Channel tells us the good, bad & ugly of how she was treated as a black teenage convert, when she learned of the Church’s racism, and ways that she accepted, excused, and eventually internalized it to see herself as “less” than her white counterparts.

This became most apparent in dating and marriage. While white men in the church may find her exotic and are willing to date her, Channel finds that they are unwilling to marry her as “mixing seed” would pass her “curse” [black skin] to children that could otherwise have two white parents. As Channel loses herself and what makes her unique to the cultural expectations of the Church she marries another black member of the church at the counsel of her Bishop against her better judgment.


1713: Surviving as a Black Woman in the Mormon Church – Channel Achenbach Pt. 2

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Channel is back for Part 2 continuing her story from her marriage, an embarrassing disciplinary council where she is judged for her “sins” by a group entirely of white men, and dealing with the fall-out of a marriage that was ill-suited from the beginning and facing the stigma of divorce within the LDS church as a woman of color. Channel marries again, this time to a non-member of the church and has two children. Despite her husband’s encouragement to leave, Channel continues to seek acceptance and approval from her religion despite her skin color. As she becomes disillusioned over time, Channel manages to stay in because of the influence of a few good friends, especially when her second marriage dissolves, and she finds herself needing more help.

We learn more about race issues in general such as the difference between racism and white supremacy and how both show up in the Church’s doctrines, practices, and members, including being constantly talked down to and told what to do with her life and what to think even by friends over a decade younger than she.


1714: Leaving Mormonism Because of Racism – Channel Achenbach Pt. 3

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We’re back for a wrap-up of Channel’s story. Starting from where Part 2 left off, Channel, Margi and John discuss racism in general in the United States, and racism experienced in Utah by Channel and her children in Utah based on their skin color, with even her lighter-skinned children getting treated better than those with darker skin.

Channel finally starts finding her own voice and speaking out about her experiences and observations in the church but with continued pushback from leaders, Channel decides to resign and starts her platform on Tiktok. 

We learn where and how Channel is doing now that she’s left the Church and found her voice and is finding herself again after all this time. 


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  1. DAVID January 4, 2023 at 3:21 pm - Reply

    I started to listen to this episode but I gave up after Channel admitted she never believed the Book of Mormon was true and was even angry that she didn’t receive the “promised” witness after praying about the truthfulness of the B of M. And yet she still joined. I’m sure she is a lovely person and I’m sorry for the discrimination she suffered while a member of the church but this just rang a little hollow. She mentioned she was drawn to the “culture” of the church and the friendly members so I guess in a way she was fortunate to have never developed a dogmatic testimony that the mormon church and its convoluted doctrine were true.

    • Sam January 23, 2023 at 4:39 am - Reply

      A great many people never receive “witness” that the BoM is true. I’m one of them. When I prayed about the BoM it was like crickets. But I trusted the people around me that seemed so spiritual and connected to God that I had to believe it was true even though I wasn’t sure for myself if it was. I don’t want to put words in Channel’s mouth, but I believe this is what she was getting at.

      You missed out on a great series for something extremely trivial. She didn’t Mormon right so she’s not worth listening to? Please.

  2. Debbie January 8, 2023 at 8:26 am - Reply

    This was a difficult series to listen to because of the horror of the abuse Channel suffered at the hands of Mormons — people she called her brothers and sisters. She is correct that the LDS religion maintains a mythology that is racist. It has taught its members to be racist for almost 200 years(!), and it reinforces racist beliefs through regular teachings and “othering” in its congregations. Add on the misogyny and it’s a wonder that Channel eventually landed on her feet with any modicum of self-love and self-esteem.

    In spite of knowing its teachings have irrevocably damaged thousands of lives, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints enthusiastically spreads this harmful mythology around the globe to people they are taught to consider their inferiors. “Trusted” missionaries and church leaders teach people they are bad, then offer the solution. It’s a racket that members pay for… dearly.

    Sixty some years ago my grandfather left his Catholic wife and children to marry a Mormon woman 23 years his junior. He converted, and when his youngest child, a son, was 12, the son came to live with them and was brought up as a faithful Mormon. I loved my step-grandmother, my grandfather and my uncle. Because she couldn’t conceive she took me to primary and later on my uncle took me to stake dances and other events. I loved it all!! My eyes were opened in the early 70’s, however, when I traveled to Europe one summer with my French teacher who was Mormon, and I met a black man at one temple who could not hold the priesthood. Then, my uncle brought home two girlfriends from BYU who each confided they were conflicted about the pressure to be a homemaker. They wanted to follow their dreams, but their path had already been determined … by men and their religion. It opened my eyes and started me on a path to serve the discriminated and marginalized. Always opposed to racism, I actually started giving time to causes to combat it.

    To all those who want to blame Channel for making a life-altering decision to join the church when she was young, then spent years trying to make it work, take a look at your own sisters and mothers. What degradations have they “happily” endured to please and obey fathers, husbands, church leaders, even god!

    Channel held up a mirror to me and my ancestors today, so I got another good look at the people who have benefitted from white supremacy and keeping our knee on the necks of black people. It’s disgusting. And it’s still happening. You may not have been responsible for what you did not know, but now that Channel has exposed the racist mistreatment by the church and its members, in ways you personally could NEVER experience, we have a responsibility to do something about it.

  3. Michelle January 9, 2023 at 2:33 pm - Reply

    Thank you for sharing your story. It is so powerful. You are a beautiful, strong, funny, eloquent woman. I’m so sorry you were treated so horribly by Mormon Utahns. I was born & raised in a Mormon family. My Paternal Grandpa was a Bishop, Stake Pres, & Patriarch. I stopped going to church at 14, but the majority of my Dad’s family is still active. I stopped going after I felt guilty for making out with a boy so I wanted to talk to the Bishop. My Uncle was the Bishop. I was so uncomfortable talking to him about stuff that was none of his or anyone else’s business. It was then that I decided there was no reason for anyone to have to be a go between me & God. I’m ashamed of the racism in the church and in Utah. I’m so glad you are free of the stress of being in the church, sharing your story, and advocating for apologies and change. You are amazing.

  4. Emma January 12, 2023 at 8:41 am - Reply

    Channel you are amazing I can’t believe there’s not 100 comments on here

    You were abused and used mistreated controlled manipulated put down–It is horrible how you have been treated

    What they did is promise you the highest form of happiness by living the Mormon life and at the same time created a life of misery for you

    The Mormon culture especially in Utah has been terrible for you

    I keep wondering how different your life could’ve been if you had remained with your family and followed your own path not the path Mormon church told you to go

    Also I’m wondering if there’s anyway that you could leave Utah and start a new life with family members or friends nearby and a culture that accepts you and values you

    It just seems no matter how many people leave the church in Utah there’s still a toxic culture attitude toward blacks

    Is there a chance you could go to another place another state where you might find true love and acceptance and the freedom to be who you are

    A place where your children could grow up and feel that they are just as good as everyone else and not be judged

    Life can be very different outside of Utah.

    My heart breaks for you❤️

  5. Emma January 15, 2023 at 10:05 am - Reply

    Hi Chanel

    Here again!! I just listened to your last interview

    I’m deeply impacted by it

    You’re an amazing woman and you’re going to do great and important things

    Please do not get rid of your journals
    I believe they’ll be a time when you’ll be able to publish them and open up the eyes of Thousands!

    it makes me think of the movie ‘The Help’ That so perfectly illustrated racism

    You have a story to tell that’s very powerful and true and can change peoples lives

    If a book like yours was available maybe less Black people would join the church and more members would see the truth–and cause less damage in peoples lives

    It’s true we all need to be educated and perhaps that’s one good thing that can come from your suffering –is to shine the light on the truth

    You were a trusting faithful young girl who has been deeply hurt for 30 years

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