In the 25th Dialogue podcast, Russell Stevenson looks at Nigeria and the Africanization of Mormon Identity. From the Miller Eccles website:
The Nigerian Mormon story enjoys a fascinating cachet in Mormon thought. Often cast as “a people prepared” and “Saints without baptism,” standard Mormon narratives cast Nigerian Mormonism as an expression of racial dispensationalism in the grand arc of the Church in the latter days. But when understood on its own terms, Nigerian Mormonism defies such easy categorizations. Contrary to the narratives of racial dispensationalism, Nigerian Mormonism enjoys legitimacy independent of its attachment to the institutional Mormon community.
Russell’s presentation reveals the ethnic, political, and religious origins undergirding the Nigerian Mormon experience and explores Nigerian Mormonism as a complex expression of postcolonial and neo-colonial Nigerian religiosity. Additionally, he explains the origins of American Mormons’ embrace of African over African-American identities, as found in the writings of Alexander Morrison and E. Dale LeBaron. The story of Nigerian Mormonism reveals the power that African Mormonism has enjoyed in reshaping Mormonism’s cultural contours in the postcolonial world.
THE SPEAKER: Russell Stevenson is author of For the Cause of Righteousness: A Global History of Blacks and Mormonism, 1830-2014, winner of the 2014 Mormon History Association Best Book Award, as well as Black Mormon: The Story of Elijah Ables. He has authored articles for Dialogue and Journal of Mormon History on masculinity and the history of Mormonism in Africa. He serves as a booster for, and contributor to, the efforts of Operation: Underground Railroad to free children in bondage worldwide.
Russell Stevenson was born and raised in rural Western Wyoming. He earned his undergraduate degree at Brigham Young University and master’s degree from the University of Kentucky in history. He has taught history and religion classes at Brigham Young University and Salt Lake Community College. Russell resides in East Lansing, Michigan where he is pursuing a Ph.D. in African history at Michigan State University.
Russell has a large family, with 20 nieces and nephews to keep family functions lively. He currently serves in his ward’s Young Men’s presidency. His pastimes include rock climbing, kayaking, and seeking out the country’s best chicken tikka masala.