June 14, 2010

Remembering June 1978 - Ron Romig

Formerly the archivist for the Community of Christ, Ron Romig is the current president of the Mormon History Association and site director for the Kirtland Temple. 

During the 1970s, as a white member of the RLDS Church in the mid-west U.S., I perceived the church’s mission as closely linked with social activism. I was not yet in the priesthood, but along with other young adults, I helped found an outreach ministry in the neighborhood surrounding our RLDS church building in Barberton, Ohio. Responding to perceived neighborhood needs, we organized a day-long Community Festival featuring entertainment, games, and booths staffed by representatives of local community service agencies. In the second year, June 1973, we attempted to expand the event to two days. We invited a local black neighborhood church choir to sing during the Sunday’s planned worship activity. The invitation was accepted and publicity for the event was distributed. The day before the choir was to sing, I received a call from the director asking if we were LDS. I could not convince him of the difference between RLDS and LDS policies regarding Black males and that indeed Black males were ordained to the priesthood in the RLDS Church. In the end, the choir declined to participate.

Because policies of the LDS Church continued to impact members of the RLDS Church, one may appreciate that I was both greatly pleased and personally relieved when I heard that the LDS Church had lifted the restriction on the ordination of individuals of African American origin in June 1978. My appreciation of this expanded opportunity for ministerial service within the movement was further augmented by my own ordination to the RLDS priesthood around this same time.


Joseph Smidt said...

That's interesting. I never considered that the LDS' church stance on the priesthood would effect the RLDS church. I'm sure this would have been a happy day (the day the ban was lifted) for the RLDS faith.

KHodges said...

This is quite an interesting perspective. How sad Ron must have been at not having been able to persuade the invited choir that his church held no such restriction. How did you get in contact with him?

BHodges said...


Benjamin McLean said...

Even though us RLDS people were in Iowa, Ohio and Missouri when the anti-Mormons maintain most of the villainies of the Brighamites in Utah were supposed to have taken place, still we are accused of having been a part of them to this day. Typically anti-Mormons and Latter Day Saint apologists alike fail to recognize that other factions of the Restoration movement of Joseph Smith Jr. even exist, unless they are compelled to by absolute necessity. This has been true whether our numbers have expanded or contracted, regardless of whether we number in the hundreds and in the hundreds of thousands.

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