LDS Ethnic Wards and Branches in the United States : The Advantages and Disadvantages of Language Congregations
Deseret Language and Liguistic Society Symposium
In the 1980s Esmeralda Meraz's parents moved from Mexico to Southern California, seeking better economic possibilities. They moved back and forth between the two countries, finally settling south of San Diego. Her father was a Mormon; her mother converted to the Church. They became leaders in their Spanish-speaking branch. As Meraz (1991) explained, "Though my dad speaks English, he has not mastered the English language and he can't communicate very well. ... My mom has had less schooling than he has" and could say only a few words in English. When asked what she would do if there were no Spanish speaking branch, Esmeralda's mother pleaded in Spanish, "Please don't make me go to the English ward." She continued, "I think it would be a step backward for me. I like to be helping, working in the Church."