Two African-American Mormon women who’ve gained a following with a popular podcast, Sistas in Zion, are out with a new book about their experiences in the LDS church.
Tamu Smith and Zandra Vranes say their book Diary of Two Mad Black Mormons addresses spiritual topics as it bounces back and forth between uniquely Mormon culture and the urban dialect they grew up with. They say it’s helping them find a new audience.
Smith says she was shocked recently to meet a fan at a diner in the small town of Ephraim in Sanpete County.
She tells KUER, “And this lady came up to me, and she’s 86 years old and she sent her husband home to get her book and said she was really enjoying it.”
This week is the 36th anniversary of the change in policy by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints extending its priesthood to black men. Zandra Vranes says she and Smith are not among the Mormon women seeking ordination to the priesthood as well. She doesn’t see a parallel to the situation in the church prior to 1978.
She says, “It wasn’t just a men’s issue. Women were being restricted from going on missions. We were being restricted from doing certain things in the temple, and so I don’t find them to be comparable, because women’s ordination is not restricting women, myself, from doing anything that we find to be essential to our eternal salvation.”
Vranes, or Sister Laurel as she calls herself in the book, lives in Boise with her husband. Smith, or Sister Beehive, lives in Provo with her husband and six children.