In the wake of the successful nationwide broadcast of Nobody Knows: The Untold Story of Black Mormons on the Documentary Channel, the political website The Daily Beast interviewed the film’s co-producer (and director and star, etc.) Darius Gray to highlight the documentary and the place of blacks in the church. Here are a few snippits:
“I was still a relative newbie in the church at this point,” recalled Gray in an interview with The Daily Beast, his quiet baritone voice eerily prophetic. “Frankly, I kind of feel like God conspired for my return.” Gray interacted with senior leaders of the church while working at the radio station and became a respected voice in the community. In 1971, he voiced his concerns about the revolving door of African-American Mormons to the president of the church, explaining that converts were renouncing their faith because they felt unwelcome in the community.
It didn’t help that many of them were accustomed to a hand-clapping, feet-stomping Baptist congregation. “If you go into any black Baptist church, you’re going to get a warm, fuzzy vocation,” says Paul Gill, a musician interviewed by Gray in the film. The Mormon church atmosphere was different, to say the least; one convert in the film compares his first service to a funeral.
“We are still struggling, just as this nation is still struggling with matters of race,” Gray explained to The Daily Beast. “They say that the gospel of Christ is for all people, yet its implementation relies on all people, and not everyone is there yet.”
Take a look at the whole article. Here are two links to past posts by Margaret Young, the film’s other co-producer, on the documentary: