Many people were disturbed by the remarks of Brad Wilcox, a member of the Young Men General Presidency, given at a recent tri-stake fireside in Alpine, Utah. In addition to denigrating other religions, whom he characterized as “playing church,” his remarks on the history of denying the priesthood to Black members shocked many listeners. Brigham Young University quickly condemned his comments and Wilcox issued a public apology.
While it is admirable to see church institutions and officials take responsibility and face issues like this head-on, the incident itself points to persistent issues in the Church that deserve our attention in our ongoing efforts to create Zion.
We invited Mauli Bonner to our podcast studio this week to address this timely topic, and also to tell us about his remarkable new film His Name is Green Flake. We felt like Mauli showed how to confront difficult issues like race with realism, but also with an abundance of faith, hope and charity. His honest and moving response to this recent incident shows the way to create a path forward toward Zion.
Mauli has had a long and successful career in the entertainment industry, and is the writer, director, and producer of this extraordinary film. The movie tells the story of an enslaved Black man, Green Flake, who was also a member of the Church and immigrated from Nauvoo to Utah as part of the vanguard group that prepared the trail to Salt Lake for other Saints. His Name Is Green Flake has been awarded Best Film in ten different festivals, including the Venice Film Awards, the London Independent Film Awards, and most recently, the LA Film Awards.
Mauli lives in Southern California where he serves in a ward bishopric. He is a member of the well-known Bonner family of musicians.