Embodied Mormonism : Performance, Vodou and the LDS Faith in Haiti
Dialogue : A Journal of Mormon Thought
Basquiat attended Church meetings and activities with members of the Church in Haiti as part of her dissertation research. Due to a national literacy rate of 50% there are members of the Church who cannot read the scriptures. But they do know the scripture stories. They relate to Joseph Smith because he was a poor farmer, and they view people in the scriptures as 'ancestors to be proud of and ancestors to emulate.' The scriptures became living, oral history to these members. Many members of the Church in Haiti joined on their own, with no family support. Therefore, they find community and family with other members of the Church. This community is found in fast and testimony meetings, ward family night, and general conference (which actually allows them to feel part of a global family). Members of the Church in Haiti also still practice Vodou. Basquiat says that Vodou has mistakenly been labeled as Satanic. The policy of the missionaries in regard to the members still adhering to some Vodou practices is 'don't ask, don't tell.' In fact, because Vodou is so ingrained in Haitian culture, many members see 'the inclusion of Vodou, not as oppositional, but as complementary' to the belief and practice of Mormonism.