Diary of Two Mad Black Mormons

Finding the Lord’s Lessons in Everyday Life

Book Notice

Diary of Two Mad Black Mormons: Finding the Lord’s Lessons in Everyday Life, by Zandra Vranes and Tamu Smith (Salt Lake City: Ensign Peak, 2014).

Zandra Vranes and Tamu Smith met through Genesis, a support group for black Mormons. As they moved to separate states, they created their blog Sistas in Zion to keep in touch, but it soon grew in popularity and they’ve been “chattin’ about church ever since” (xiii). Vranes and Smith, the sistas in Zion, have become very well known on the Mormon blogging scene and now co-host Sistas in Zion Radio. The Diary of Two Mad Black Mormons is their first book. Together they have sought to document their experiences of faith and humor as members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

This book contains entries from their blog that deal with themes of faith, courage, family, and service. They do not write specifically about race, although their life experiences come out in their writing. Especially poignant is a story in which one sista learned that letting go is not a sign of weakness as she finally forgave a boy who had assaulted her years before. As she changed her thought process from seeking revenge to seeking the Lord, she realized that forgiveness is not about winning or losing, but that “letting go means living in God’s promise” (141). Their writing style is highly personal and revealing, and their entries include entertaining childhood experiences, heart-wrenching essays, and uplifting gospel musings.

Though not explicitly connected, Diary of Two Mad Black Mormons follows closely the approach of the Church’s “I’m a Mormon” campaign, which might be seen as an answer to a recent trend: audiences today are often more open to the voices of ordinary people than to institutional messaging. This book specifically provides personal insights from an LDS minority group regarding how their faith applies to and influences everyday life. This collection of memoirs, published by a nationally focused imprint of Deseret Book, is well suited to any audience seeking to be equally entertained and uplifted.

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