I’ve just finished writing inscriptions of thanks into copies of the book, which I’m sending out to my many mentors, advisors, critics, cheerleaders, and readers. I hope that now I can also call them colleagues.
This exercise got me thinking about lineages. “Lineage,” more than the category of “race,” is the more accurate term for how Mormons understand “racial” origins. Lineage, unlike race, require narration. We tend to read “race” onto bodies, imputing them with all kinds of significance. But lineage requires storytelling. This storytelling is often mythical–that is, a myth as a story we tell ourselves about ourselves–about the “we” we see in the mirror and in our parents and children; and the “they” we see on the streets, in our offices buildings, in our classrooms, in our churches, and in our halls of government. The myth of this “we” and “they” is about how we came to be.
But there are many kinds of lineages beyond racial ones. And these lineages, I hope, will prove to be more meaningful.
Below is the scholarly lineage–the story I tell myself about how this book came to be.
Thank you, Michael, David, Marie, Marla, Laurel, Bob, David, and Martha.
And above all, thank you, Pete, Jane, Elijah, Arapeen, Wakara, Sally, Betsy, Antonga, and the thousands of Saints (as well as would-be Saints and those who bore the brunt of Latter-day Saint settler colonialism) whose names and lives have been lost to the failures of history, for your stories.