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Why this editor says a new compilation of Black Latter-day Saint testimonies is a gift for everyone


Alice Faulkner Burch is the general editor of My Lord, He Calls Me, a compilation of testimonies from Latter-day Saints whose ancestors were brought to the US and enslaved. We recently asked Alice about her life, her faith, and why this book is a gift for Black Americans and all Latter-day Saints.

You enjoy cooking. What is one of your favorite dishes to make?

Definitely black-eyed peas. It holds such sentimental memories of my mother.

What challenges did you encounter during the creation of My Lord, He Calls Me?

I think my biggest challenge was my own fear and self-doubts. I didn’t conquer them; I kept walking forward in spite of them because of the support I received from my husband, Robert, as well as some friends, and especially from God. In all honesty, if it hadn’t been for all the revelation I received from God about the book, I would not have continued forward. I would not have known how. He knew what He wanted the book to be, so I just needed to follow His lead.

Why can all Church members be excited about reading My Lord, He Calls Me?

To have so many beautiful testimonies in one place where the individuals have shared intimately is more than enriching and beautiful—it is powerful. I know personally that God’s hand has been upon this book and that the Holy Spirit is in every testimony and story ready to witness to each person who reads it. To receive such a gift that God has kept His hand upon is a privilege.

What need do you hope the book fulfills among Church members?

Two needs: First, that it helps members to better understand the importance and meaning of the analogy that Jesus gave about the Church being the body of Christ and that every member of the body—foot, hand, finger, head—is crucial both in the Church and in this world. That includes Black American members.

Second, that it helps members to see differently the deep spiritual need of what President Nelson stated in May 2021: “The Creator of us all calls on each of us to abandon attitudes of prejudice against any group of God’s children.”

What do you hope members of the Church understand about Black History Month?

We have many months that are designated something…. If we use the months to learn about that topic, then we are enriched individually and we are strengthened collectively. February is designated Black History Month. Use it to learn about Black American history. It is a wonderful tool given to fight the falsehoods that the adversary tells about my people…. If we consider why falsehoods are told about a group of people we will see clearly it is to prevent unity among us. Only one being wants that: the adversary. If he wins, we all lose because … if we are not united, Christ will not—cannot—claim us as His own (see Doctrine and Covenants 38:27).

What does it mean to you to overcome the world and find rest in Jesus Christ?

I talk to Him throughout the day every day. I share my joys and tears and questions with Him. When I hear of something that has happened to someone, I pray for them and ask for blessings to be sent upon them. By doing this I have received a haven from the world and a place to reside with Jesus Christ. The world’s events still touch me, but they don’t crush or smother me.

My Lord, He Calls Me

Though Black members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints have only had full access to the priesthood and the ordinances of the temple since 1978, there have been faithful Black members of the Church since the beginning. Both early and contemporary members have been faithful in the face of criticism from both inside and outside the Church. My Lord, He Calls Me is a new essay compilation by active Black American Latter-day Saints whose ancestors were brought to the United States from Africa and enslaved. They share their conversion stories, what life was like during the priesthood restriction, and why they remain in the Church. Though all will benefit from it, this book was created especially by and for Black members as support and encouragement. Readers will be inspired by the faith, testimony, endurance, wisdom, and spiritual strength of these faithful Saints.

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