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Title: Oral History Interview with Adetola Hassan, December 16, 2001. Interview R-0160. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007): Electronic Edition.
Author: Hassan, Adetola, interviewee
Interview conducted by Copeland, Barbara
Funding from the Institute of Museum and Library Services supported the electronic publication of this interview.
Text encoded by Jennifer Joyner
Sound recordings digitized by Aaron Smithers Southern Folklife Collection
First edition, 2007
Size of electronic edition: 176 Kb
Publisher: The University Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Chapel Hill, North Carolina
2007.
© This work is the property of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. It may be used freely by individuals for research, teaching and personal use as long as this statement of availability is included in the text.
The electronic edition is a part of the UNC-Chapel Hill digital library, Documenting the American South.
Languages used in the text: English
Revision history:
2007-00-00, Celine Noel, Wanda Gunther, and Kristin Martin revised TEIHeader and created catalog record for the electronic edition.
2007-11-28, Jennifer Joyner finished TEI-conformant encoding and final proofing.
Source(s):
Title of recording: Oral History Interview with Adetola Hassan, December 16, 2001. Interview R-0160. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
Title of series: Series R. Special Research Projects. Southern Oral History Program Collection (R-0160)
Author: Barbara Copeland
Title of transcript: Oral History Interview with Adetola Hassan, December 16, 2001. Interview R-0160. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
Title of series: Series R. Special Research Projects. Southern Oral History Program Collection (R-0160)
Author: Adetola Hassan
Description: 208 Mb
Description: 35 p.
Note: Interview conducted on December 16, 2001, by Barbara Copeland; recorded in Durham, North Carolina.
Note: Transcribed by L. Altizer.
Note: Forms part of: Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007): Series R. Special Research Projects, Manuscripts Department, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Note: Original transcript on deposit at the Southern Historical Collection, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
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The text has been entered using double-keying and verified against the original.
The text has been encoded using the recommendations for Level 4 of the TEI in Libraries Guidelines.
Original grammar and spelling have been preserved.
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Interview with Adetola Hassan, December 16, 2001.
Interview R-0160. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
Hassan, Adetola, interviewee


Interview Participants

    ADETOLA HASSAN, interviewee
    BARBARA COPELAND, interviewer

[TAPE 1, SIDE A]


Page 1
[START OF TAPE 1, SIDE A]
BARBARA COPELAND:
I'm conducting with Adetola Hassan a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Today is December 16th, Sunday in the year 2001. Today we'll be talking about African American women within the Mormon Church. Ade, I just wanted to start off by asking a few basic questions. If you could just first tell me how old you are, and you're in school and all of that. Just give me a little bit of just basic information about that.
ADETOLA HASSAN:
I'm seventeen and I'm freshman at [unclear] college at Duke.
BARBARA COPELAND:
Okay. So this is your first year here at Duke. Just wanted to know where are you from originally?
ADETOLA HASSAN:
Okay, my family's Nigerian. I'm a British citizen because my siblings and I were all born there, but I've live in England and Nigeria, and I've lived in the United States for six years.
BARBARA COPELAND:
Okay. So well wanted to know also about how many, how many siblings do you have. How large is your family?
ADETOLA HASSAN:
Okay I have a brother who is younger than I and an older sister and my mom and my dad. So there are five of us.
BARBARA COPELAND:
Okay, five of you. Okay and all of you are here in the United States.
ADETOLA HASSAN:
No, my sister goes to school in Kentucky and I'm here, but my mom and my dad and my littler brother are in Nigeria.
BARBARA COPELAND:
Still in Nigeria. So the sister that you have is she, she's the older one. Okay. What school is she?
ADETOLA HASSAN:
She's at Kentucky State University.
BARBARA COPELAND:
Have your parents ever been here to the United States?
ADETOLA HASSAN:
Yes, actually my mom moved here with my little brother. So all of us lived her besides my dad who came about every other month for four years. All of us were together, but my sister and I have been here six years.
BARBARA COPELAND:
Wow. Okay, now with this being your freshman year where did you stay prior to coming here to Duke.
ADETOLA HASSAN:
I lived in Saint Louis.
BARBARA COPELAND:
Okay and you have family there?

Page 2
ADETOLA HASSAN:
I have an uncle and his family.
BARBARA COPELAND:
Wanted to know also what kind of, what type of work do your parents do?
ADETOLA HASSAN:
My dad is an eye surgeon, and he has an eye hospital in Nigeria, and my mom has a medicine distribution company in Nigeria.
BARBARA COPELAND:
Wanted to know if you could tell me a little bit about your some of the traditions that take place within your family back in Nigeria.
ADETOLA HASSAN:
Okay, well Nigeria has a lot of different traditions. Like when you are born like especially funerals which is probably I guess because my grandfather just died. Usually in Nigeria when someone dies who's lived a long life, they celebrate the life. So the funeral is a pretty big deal. There's a lot of people, and then if the person lived a long life, then they have a big party to celebrate the person's life. When children are born they have celebrations. Like Nigerian weddings are, they're pretty elaborate. They're just, there's a celebration for almost everything really.
BARBARA COPELAND:
Wow. That's interesting. But I guess like just within the home like here in America each family we have different family rituals that we do that maybe separate and apart from what other families do and maybe separate and apart from the Christmas celebrations that we have, Thanksgiving. Sometimes in different families we'll have things that we normally do throughout the week. Like a lot of times some members may within their family may make it a ritual to go to the museum every Sunday or which is not necessarily something standard that every family would do. It's just that that one particular family may decide, ‘Well you know we used to go to the museum every other Sunday,’ or ‘We used to do this,’ or ‘We used to do that’ which I realize that other families didn't do. So in that sense traditionally in that context what were some of the things that you did like within the immediate family that was like a tradition for you all.
ADETOLA HASSAN:
Well, we go to church, which I think is pretty standard, every Sunday. We have something called family home evening, which was usually like every Sunday night. But basically it's one night out of the week where the family just gets together no TV and just talking and spiritual lessons, and I remember that because we've done that for as long as I can remember when we're as a family. Usually we say prayers as a family in the morning and then at night. Eating as a family which I think that's—

Page 3
BARBARA COPELAND:
Eating together. Right. Right. I've also one of the things now that you've mentioned about eating together as a family. One other African family that I interviewed I remember them telling me that it used to be when she was coming up of course she's much, much, much older. But it used to be the tradition that the older members in the family ate first and then the children would eat after the mother, the father and the grandparents ate. How is that within you all's family or is it that everyone sits down and eat at the same time?
ADETOLA HASSAN:
Yeah, it's pretty much everybody eats at the same time. My dad had a bigger family when he was growing up and I think they did some of that. [Recorder is turned off and then back on.]
BARBARA COPELAND:
We were talking about—
ADETOLA HASSAN:
So in my dad's family because that was a pretty big family I know that the older people would eat first and that sort of thing.
BARBARA COPELAND:
During his generation, coming up.
ADETOLA HASSAN:
Yeah.
BARBARA COPELAND:
Oh okay so that must be like a custom or a custom within the African—
ADETOLA HASSAN:
Well, it depends on the family and where you come from I think.
BARBARA COPELAND:
Right because she her family, she grew up in Ghana. So I didn't know if that was just something that was just primarily a tradition throughout or if it was just maybe more or less an individualized type thing.
ADETOLA HASSAN:
I think it's definitely there's some culture to it. Yeah.
BARBARA COPELAND:
And your name Adetola, does that bear a special meaning?
ADETOLA HASSAN:
Yeah it means crown worth honor.
BARBARA COPELAND:
That's beautiful. That's beautiful. Okay so wanted to ask also about your, since you did, you're talking about your religious upbringing, wanted to emphasize a little bit more about that. You talked about family home evenings which was on Monday nights did you say or was there any—
ADETOLA HASSAN:
Usually it was Monday nights, but sometimes it would be Sunday. It was just a time where the whole family could actually get together.
BARBARA COPELAND:
Wanted to know if you could just talk about that a little bit more. I do know that that is one of the main things that is done within each and every Latter Day Saint family because it's a Mormon ideal.

Page 4
It's a Mormon tradition that each family have one specific evening that they just focus on themselves and within the family and just focus on what it means to be family. Since we're talking about that if you could just expand on that a little bit and talk about your being a member of the Latter Day Saint church within Nigeria.
ADETOLA HASSAN:
Okay. Well first of all family home evening I believe it was one of the prophets of the church that came up with the idea, and it was basically one night a week for the family to get together because families are a very important unit in the church. So one night a week the family gets together and just focuses on spiritual stuff, and I think it really helps as far as making the church or the Gospel part of your life and not just a Sunday thing because it's integrated into what happens every week. As far as being a member of the church in Nigeria I remember I lived in England for the first four years of my life, and then we moved to Saudi Arabia for about a year and a half, and then I came to Nigeria. So up until then I'd always gone to church in England or Saudi Arabia. There's, the first Sunday of every month there is Fast and Testimony Sunday which is where everybody gets if you want you get up and bear your testimony. I remember my first Fast and Testimony Sunday in Nigeria a lady went up and said, she goes, ‘I believe this is the true church,’ and at that point I was still pretty young because I hadn't figured it out that it was the same church. So I was thinking—
BARBARA COPELAND:
And you were about how old?
ADETOLA HASSAN:
I was about five or six. I was thinking I know the church in England was true. Then I was like but I know this one is true too. So I was so confused, and I went up to bear my testimony. I stood there, I can remember it felt like I stood there for almost an hour. I'm sure it was a couple seconds before I could say I know this is the true church because I thought there were two because the one in England that I went to and the one here. So finally I just I spit it out. I'm like, ‘I know this is the true church,’ and I went back to my seat. I thought about it. Later I figured out that it was the same church. It was just a different country.
BARBARA COPELAND:
Exactly. Exactly. Wow. That's really funny. Wanted to know about now you mentioned that there is the Mormon church even in places as Saudi Arabia?
ADETOLA HASSAN:
Right. Christianity is not popular in Saudi Arabia. So it was kind of low key there. I mean because I don't think [unclear] in with their culture.

Page 5
BARBARA COPELAND:
Exactly. So tell me a little bit more about it being low keyed and how convenient it was or how free you felt or the community felt to be able to go and worship and commune together as Latter Day Saints.
ADETOLA HASSAN:
In Saudi Arabia? I think we went on Fridays actually because Friday is the holy day in the Muslim religion. So if I remember correctly we went to church on Sundays, but we had to have it in people's homes because there wasn't a building. The Saudi culture and just government I don't think was really interested in the church. It's not a Christian country. I remember we'd go over to different people's houses. I think it switched almost every week, and I mean we'd still have the same meetings and still have the same classes, but it was very low key, and you'd go home, and you didn't really talk about it with your friends who weren't. There weren't a lot of members but who weren't members of the church you didn't really talk about it just because it wasn't something that.
BARBARA COPELAND:
Exactly. Not something that is just really appreciated in the greater community. Then also in London if you, just tell me a little bit about how did Latter Day Saints feel or is the Mormon church big in London? Did they have the same kinds of pressures in Saudi Arabia?
ADETOLA HASSAN:
Well the [unclear] that I went to church in England that I remember was when I moved back there the second time and that was I think from nine to eleven. Then I, there was an American base there. So there were actually quite a few American people in the church, but I mean there were still a pretty big following of English people. There it was, it was different from Nigeria because it was predominantly white, and I think there was maybe one other black lady who was in the church. It was the church. You had your friends and you had your support group and people were just, they were like your neighbors. They were really close. That was I don't know, at that age I don't think I was aware of race as much. So that was—
BARBARA COPELAND:
Was interested in knowing also are there many of the Mormon churches within London or were there very few?
ADETOLA HASSAN:
There are actually quite a few. Everywhere I've gone there's been a Mormon church. So we lived in Cambridge Hunting then which is pretty small. It's not that small, but there was a church there when we lived there. We lived in I'm trying to remember the place because we just visited this summer. There's a new temple going up in England, and I cannot remember the name for the life of me. But it's

Page 6
only the second temple in England. So we used to live in that area. So I don't remember that from when I was little. But when we visited this summer, we went to the same ward, and I remember some people remembered my family So there was a church there when we lived there, and this one in London because we've been to London for a bit. So everywhere I've gone there's been a church.
BARBARA COPELAND:
Now the six years that you've been here in the United States and the time that you were living with an uncle. Is he also a member of the Latter Day Saints?
ADETOLA HASSAN:
No. He's not.
BARBARA COPELAND:
He's not. Which faith is he from?
ADETOLA HASSAN:
He's Presbyterian I believe.
BARBARA COPELAND:
So how easy or how difficult then was it for you to continue to practice your Mormon faith while living with him?
ADETOLA HASSAN:
Well, we had people from the church would pick us up every Sunday to take us to church. My sister went to seminary, which was something every morning that high school students go to just to review scriptures. I know she got picked up for that by members of the church. If but I know my uncle wasn't not supportive of the church, but he wasn't, he didn't want anything to do with it. So they weren't involved in that. I went to a Presbyterian school for middle school for seventh and eighth grade, and that was probably the first time that I experienced intense hatred of the church.
BARBARA COPELAND:
Oh no.
ADETOLA HASSAN:
Yeah. Do you want me to talk about that?
BARBARA COPELAND:
Yeah sure. Talk about that.
ADETOLA HASSAN:
Well, I know Mormons had experienced a lot of persecutions in the earlier times in Missouri. So I had never really experienced any negativity towards the church. I know we'd have Bible classes. People would say really bad things about the church, and I would just sit there completely shocked and nobody really knew I was Mormon. So when I told my closest friend they were, it was interesting to see how people reacted to that. They'd say things like you're going to hell and the temple was also going up. So that was a big issue. People it was not pretty. So I ended up, the school pretty much told my mom that my eighth grade year that my sister and I had to leave the school unless we said, unless we signed something that said we believed we didn't have a credible Christian testimony. Since I believed that,

Page 7
because I believe in Christ. So I believed that I did have a credible Christian testimony and my sister did as well. So we ended up having to leave the school. So I mean that was definitly a very negative experience, but I think just as far as knowing what I believe and deciding what I believe that was good for me.
BARBARA COPELAND:
Right. Right. And very, yes, yes. I can imagine very enriching for you to be able to look back and say yes this what I did. I stood for this. It would just make you a stronger person as you got older being able to reflect back on that. That's interesting. So now you've come all the way from Saudi Arabia and London and just to come back to the United States where the Mormon church is an American church, and here it is that in the United States you received the most hatred for your religious beliefs. Wanted to know also how did your uncle feel about the school's decision on their mandate that you had to make such a pronouncement that you believed that you didn't have a credible religious belief or Christian belief.
ADETOLA HASSAN:
Well by the time that that happened we had actually bought a house. So I was living with my mom and my brother and sister. So we weren't really living with them. But I mean he didn't obviously support what they did just because it was religious discrimination and that's just wrong no matter what you believe. So he wasn't particularly thrilled with that school. I think he was going to send his kids, but he ended up not sending them to the school even though they were Presbyterian and it is a Presbyterian school.
BARBARA COPELAND:
Because that was going to be my next question. With him being of practicing and just saying or claiming to be a Presbyterian and knowing that you've experienced this kind of hatred within a Presbyterian school was just really curious as to whether or not it had the impact on him that caused him to rethink about the religious tradition that he was in and to maybe even consider the Mormon faith or some other faith after seeing that that had happened.
ADETOLA HASSAN:
Well, it didn't change his faith because it wasn't so much Presbyterian people that did it, it's just a select few because I had one friend that really stuck with me throughout the whole thing, and I mean we, I think our friendship grew a lot from that. We could talk about anything. We'd talk about God and our beliefs and our faith and promises that we made with ourselves and God and just because it was God. It wasn't so much what you believed. So I believed that was the same as him. He saw what the school did, but that didn't make, it wasn't his religion that was saying you're bad because you're Mormon. It was just people.

Page 8
BARBARA COPELAND:
Right. Exactly. Because conversely people would say that's why you should probably leave that religion or this religion because look what it stands for. Look what it does. Persecute people and have to not have religious tolerance for other faiths and that sort of thing. So yeah I was just really curious about that. Wanted to know what stands out mostly within the Mormon faith that gives you most of your strength?
ADETOLA HASSAN:
I guess for me now as a teenager I think it's seeing the difference between people my age who are in the church and people who aren't. Because I think for a lot in general I guess in America in general it's less likely to see a teenager who doesn't drink and doesn't have sex and isn't promiscuous. As in the church it's sort of an awkward thing to see somebody who does drink or who is kind of promiscuous. I've seen because I have friends in the church, and I think one of them is sort of going astray I guess. Not to an extent that is terrible, but so that's he's like the one person in our big group of friends as opposed to my friends outside the church who do other things.
BARBARA COPELAND:
You can't really tell, make a huge distinction with that group that's on the outside whether they're in their prospective churches or not. In other words their behaviors are the same to a degree. From what I've seen in viewing some of the younger groups within their prospective faiths their lifestyle in the church is basically the same on the outside. So there isn't that, it's not like that their faith carries over into their outside, their life Monday through Saturday, and then on Sunday's they're completely different when they're in church. So I am seeing this difference that you see that within the Mormon church the lifestyle because it is a lifestyle is what I'm learning, what I have learned about the Mormon tradition, the Mormon ideal is that it's just not something that you live on Sundays. It's a complete lifestyle that you take with you not just from the Sunday meetings or the family nights, but it's just throughout. It's just a complete way of life. So I'm not really seeing that within the other religious traditions. So yeah I have to agree and I do understand what you're saying in regards to that being able to make those distinctions. Wanted to know also for the amount of time that you were raised within the Mormon tradition have you ever been exposed to another or any other Christian religion? Like some families not all of the members are Latter Day Saints. So they have extended family members who were raised in the Protestant tradition. So they may take turns every other Sunday going to different churches that sort of thing. Wanted to know if there was

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any ever any time that you were exposed to other religious faiths, and if so how, what distinctions did you get from those churches?
ADETOLA HASSAN:
Okay well my father's family was Muslim. So half of his [unclear] half of his brothers remained Christian and I'm mean half converted to Christianity and half of them became Muslim. So I know quite a bit about the Muslim culture just because my grandfather was Muslim. My grandmother is Muslim, and I don't, I love learning about different religions. So I mean there's a lot of dedication I think especially in the Muslim religion, they pray five times a day. As far as other Christian religions, my family is the only family unit whose—oh actually, my family was the only LDS, Latter Day Saint family in our whole extended family, but one of my uncles converted on my father's side. Then one of my mom's brothers and his family converted, and so that's about as far as it goes and it's a pretty big family. So—
BARBARA COPELAND:
The rest of them are Muslim?
ADETOLA HASSAN:
Um some of them are, half of them on my father's side are Muslim; half of them on that side are Christian. My uncle in Saint Louis is a Christian. He's Presbyterian. So obviously since I went to Presbyterian school, I've been exposed to the Presbyterian religion. I also went to his church probably two times. I remember at that point I sort of felt like I was being pressured to change my faith. So I didn't really, I didn't enjoy going to church that much.
BARBARA COPELAND:
You weren't as receptive.
ADETOLA HASSAN:
Right. I had my friend who I talked about earlier who our relationship grew after. She was Presbyterian so like through her, I mean she is—. The one thing I noticed as you were talking about was a lot of people at Westminster which is the school I went to, it became very much just a Sunday religion. They'd go out and party and do all that on the weekends even though it was a Christian school. So but I know she was very devout Presbyterian. So it sort of gives you, like just even though she was one person it gives you an optimistic view on that religion. Another religion I guess I've been exposed to is Judaism because my friend, one of my really close friends is a Jew, and I go over to her house every year for Passover and Seder dinner and so.
BARBARA COPELAND:
That's wonderful. That's wonderful. Now when you went to the Presbyterian church twice, what are some of the similarities and what are some of the differences that you see between those church services and the ones that you are grew up in as far as the Latter Day Saint church services?

Page 10
ADETOLA HASSAN:
Let's see. Well there was a focus on Christ which is something that's universal in any Christian religion. The differences for me I felt a lot more comfortable in my church, and that's really because it was my church. But it seemed and this might just be to just that church and not necessarily all Presbyterian religions, but it seemed a bit more detached. Like people didn't—
BARBARA COPELAND:
The Presbyterian church?
ADETOLA HASSAN:
Well, just the church that I went to, my uncle's church. It was really, really big. I mean it was sort of, I don't know how to put it as.
BARBARA COPELAND:
Would you say maybe warmth, a feeling of warmth or just cohesive like the members were.
ADETOLA HASSAN:
Well, not really but I think I just had negative feelings towards that just because of what was going on at that time. I've been, my aunt who lives in America she goes to church, and she goes to I think an Anglican church, and it's actually all Nigerians in the church and that's, everybody knows each other. [unclear] Anglican, I'm trying to remember the name, but it's everybody knows each other. It's still that whole Sunday religion thing because I have cousins who are my age who go there, and so that was different. There was, it was pretty much the preacher talking the whole time, and so there were like teenagers would be like sleeping, and so that was something that was different for me because I'm used to going to Sunday school and going to Young Women's and things like that.
BARBARA COPELAND:
The different sections or portions—
ADETOLA HASSAN:
Of the Sunday meeting that are more directed make it I guess more personal for the different groups. I know they would pass a bowl to put money in which I didn't like because it was sort of in front of everybody.
BARBARA COPELAND:
Taking the tithes.
ADETOLA HASSAN:
They do that in my church, but you take the envelope, and you fill it out and then it's sealed, and you give it to the bishop. So that was different rather than like passing it around in front of people.
BARBARA COPELAND:
Passing it. Right. Right. You mentioned—oh gosh it just escaped me a few seconds ago. You talked about, you mentioned, right, the different sections within the church. You mentioned the Women's Relief Society. Tell me a little bit more about a typical Sunday within the Latter Day Saints, the Church of Jesus Christ. You would have like your early morning service, and then there are other services directly after that. Tell me a little bit about that.

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ADETOLA HASSAN:
The church service lasts three hours. So for the first part is sacrament meeting, which is the most important part, and they past the sacrament which is in remembrance of Christ's crucifixion, and then they have the sacrament meeting in which there are probably about three talks that are given. It's I guess sort of like the sermons. That's the everybody together, the whole congregation.
BARBARA COPELAND:
Now those three talks, is that by the bishop or is that when people go up and give their testimonies?
ADETOLA HASSAN:
Usually the bishopric which is the bishop and his two counselors have I guess picked, assigned people to give talks on a certain topic or sometimes the bishop speaks or one of his counselors. It's basically just a religious message or to something like that. It's ended with a prayer. That lasts about an hour I believe or an hour and a half.
BARBARA COPELAND:
Just for those three short mini-talks.
ADETOLA HASSAN:
Yes. Then you, that's sacrament meeting, and then you go to Sunday school which is by age groups. There's the nursery that takes over the children. There's the, I know for teenagers I think it's twelve to thirteen, fourteen through fifteen. It's broken up into about three groups for teenagers and you go to your Sunday school class. The adults go to whatever Sunday school class that they want. Then that's about an hour. Then the next hour is for the youth. There's young men which is twelve through eighteen, young women's twelve through eighteen, and there's Relief Society which is for the women and Peace Quorum for the men. The youth you go to Young Women's, and you have sort of I guess just announcements and then you say the young woman theme.
BARBARA COPELAND:
And is that how they structure it in the Women's Society. They would have like a women's theme.
ADETOLA HASSAN:
The relief society which I just started going since I got to college, it's you there are announcements. You sing a song, and then there's a lesson given. It's quite a bit different than young woman's. It's on a higher level I think of maturity. They talk about, they give talks just to help women. Like family, rearing a family, dealing with everything in life plus your family, just being a daughter of God. Just it's geared towards women.
BARBARA COPELAND:
Now when you were going to the younger women's group well the younger teenager group, had you at any time ever gone to the Women's Relief Society because you seem to be really, really excited

Page 12
about now being able to. Like this is a huge promotion for you to be able to—I just saw that gleam of expression in your face when you said, ‘Now that I'm in college I'm able to go to the Women's Relief.’ I just thought that was just wonderful that it's, you, they way you look at it it's like an honor now to be able to move to that level. So I was just wondering if you've ever attended any of those at a younger age perhaps maybe with your mom or are children always supposed to go to their respective age groups?
ADETOLA HASSAN:
Yeah, usually I don't think I've been to one before because usually you go to whatever age group. Sometimes little kids hang on to their mothers, and they go, but I haven't.
BARBARA COPELAND:
So this is a new experience for you.
ADETOLA HASSAN:
Yes.
BARBARA COPELAND:
Do you find it to be a whole lot different from the younger group meetings that you went to?
ADETOLA HASSAN:
Well, I mean in Young Women's it differs from the different age groups because there's the twelve to fourteen group and fourteen through sixteen and then sixteen through eighteen. But it's a lot of just preparing you for what's out there and telling you how to live a righteous life and be a daughter of God. But I think when you get, there's definitely a transition because when you get into Relief Society, it's like you're preparing yourself for what lies ahead. So it's not so much sheltered as it is you're a woman.
BARBARA COPELAND:
Exactly. So was just wondering then— [Recorder is turned off and then back on.]
ADETOLA HASSAN:
Just finished Relief Society.
BARBARA COPELAND:
Yeah. So it what I'm now discovering is that in the Women's Relief Society they do continue to talk about the importance then of living the life, living a righteous life. So there is sometimes a theme or a segment of this, the purpose of the Women's Relief Society is then pointed towards helping the not necessarily the young, young group but the new women who have come into the Women's Relief Society to keep them focused and to try to prepare them and to tell them. It's more or less like a messenger to say this is what's out there and this is what you need to do to stay focused. So am I correct in saying that that's basically how or what you're experiences are in being in the Women's Relief Society?
ADETOLA HASSAN:
Right. And since I'm in a singles ward because I'm in a colege ward it's probably a bit different than if I were in a family ward where there were a lot more families and mothers. This is there are a few married couples and a few, very few people with children, but mostly it's people in college who don't have kids yet. So it really is just especially in college where things can be really distracting it's basically

Page 13
remembering who you are and learning to deal with life. You're in college. People are going out having fun and drinking and just saying you can have fun without having to sacrifice what you believe in.
BARBARA COPELAND:
And make those compromises. Exactly. Now so in the singles meetings this is more or less what is taught or the mode of conversation is it more geared to informing the college students that we know what's out there. But this is, you need to stay focussed or what types of discussions do they just talk about how we can get together and do they just talk about different activities?
ADETOLA HASSAN:
Well, I think something that always is there is just the Gospel. So no matter what [unclear] the gospel fits into that. So there might be talks on things like staying focused, but everything is centered on the Gospel, trying to be Christ like and loving your neighbor and just things like that. That fits into everything I think.
BARBARA COPELAND:
Wonderful. Also wanted to know had you ever thought about or even considered going on a mission. I understand that women can go on missions as well as men. So wanted to know if that was something that you might have ever thought about.
ADETOLA HASSAN:
I've had friends, older friends who have gone on missions. I haven't really thought about it right now. I just started college, and I'm looking. It's like focused on education. I mean I haven't felt the need to do that yet or anything like that.
BARBARA COPELAND:
It's been from what I've been told that they encourage the women not to date until they're at least sixteen.
ADETOLA HASSAN:
Yes, it's actually encouraged for all the youth. Like there's been studies that show people that start dating later are a little less likely to get into trouble, but yeah, that's definitely a pretty strong suggestion because—
BARBARA COPELAND:
I've noticed that in most middle schools students are dating, and they're like twelve, thirteen, fourteen. I would say thirteen, fourteen and they're dating. In fact they're courting pretty much.
ADETOLA HASSAN:
Yeah, most definitely.
BARBARA COPELAND:
So I just thought that was interesting. When I learned that the church encourages the youth to not really start thinking about dating until they're sixteen. And also that the men should not really focus on thinking really hard about dating until after they've come back from their mission. Am I correct in that as well?

Page 121
ADETOLA HASSAN:
Yeah. I think that's probably, I mean obviously people date. Once you're sixteen obviously people are dating, but as far as missionaries I know it's hard to not get involved before you're twenty-one. There are people who are involved, and then they go off on their missions, and they leave girlfriends behind. Either the girls wait for them or they dump them. But it's, I think it can be a distraction.
BARBARA COPELAND:
If they dated—
ADETOLA HASSAN:
If they're in a serious relationship. I mean as far as just dating and having fun that's something, but if you're in a very serious relationship and then have to go away for two years. I think that's a little bit of a distraction for the missionary. It's probably really hard on the girl as well. So I think that's one of the reasons why that it's suggested that they don't get involved heavily.
BARBARA COPELAND:
Also wanted to know now when the singles get together and they have activities what are some of the, what are some of those activities and where are some of the places that they go. I'm thinking in my mind the movies, but nowadays the movies have so many R-rated that are just, some of it is kind of questionable. Even though they say you can get in if you're seventeen or eighteen years old I'm wondering how does that fit in with the Mormon tradition. Some of the movies that our culture says [unclear] . Right.
ADETOLA HASSAN:
I know the church suggests that R-rated movies that you shouldn't watch them just because there's a lot of stuff. I haven't had a chance to really go to any of the singles activities because I'm busy, but I mean they have fliers and stuff. They have dances, and they have like they just go out and do stuff, just get together.
BARBARA COPELAND:
It's in a friendlier environment where you don't feel like your among non-believers wherein you could feel that you'll be pressured to do something that they feel is okay for them but you know that it just doesn't go along with what you believe in. Now tell me have you ever been in any of those situations wherein, of course you're here on campus, and this is not Brigham Young University.
ADETOLA HASSAN:
Definitely.
BARBARA COPELAND:
Of course you're going to be in certain settings and feel certain situations where students or the company that you're in are not really doing some of the things that you hold as your values and that sort of thing. What were some of those circumstances and how were you able to reconcile those differences?
ADETOLA HASSAN:
Right well I think pretty much in tenth grade when people got their cars and people started partying a little harder, there's a lot of pressure to drink and smoke and do stuff like that. My friends pretty

Page 15
much they know that I'm Mormon, and they know when I tell them I don't drink and I explain why, and I told them I don't smoke and I don't do drugs. Surprisingly enough they respect that.
BARBARA COPELAND:
This was in high school.
ADETOLA HASSAN:
This was in high school, and I went to a pretty small school from tenth to twelfth grade, and so stuff gets around a people just knew I didn't do that. If I was a party and somebody didn't know and they'd be like hey do you want a drink and I'd be like I don't drink and they'd be like oh really. They'd drop it. It's like you obviously always have this stupid little friend who's like just drink for me, and you're like go away I'm not doing this for you especially not for you.
[END OF TAPE 1, SIDE A]

[TAPE 1, SIDE B]

[START OF TAPE 1, SIDE B]
ADETOLA HASSAN:
Like that then they're respectful. When I came here, it's a lot of drinking. This dorm is notorious for being a party dorm. I have friends who do drink and people who smoke pot. But they just, if they pretty much I guess my friends knew off the bat and people I hang out with or people I'm acquainted with I mean sooner or later it comes up that you don't do stuff like that. It's amazing how people accept that.
BARBARA COPELAND:
Oh okay. That is amazing. It's amazing for me to even hear that because I know like with my daughter coming up in middle school and especially in high school. She's going to be twenty-one this summer. She was under a tremendous pressure and just tremendous stress. Like when you mentioned about once they get into tenth and eleventh grade this getting the car and that sort of thing, and that's when that really turned the heat up as far as being able to—. A lot of the studeNts they work really hard on keeping their status and being able to stay within certain groups, certain cliques, maintain certain friendships by being able to keep up with the Jones's so to speak. So I know that that's tremendous pressure, and so it's just amazing to hear that people were receptive to your values once they discovered that you are a Latter Day Saint, and that they really didn't try real hard to force you to do things otherwise.
ADETOLA HASSAN:
There are also choices you have to make because I remember in tenth grade the first group of girls or people that approached me and really friendly and they said and I know they asked me, ‘You want to go out to a party.’ I was like I couldn't do it. I was busy that day and the first time I met them people were like yeah I don't smoke and drink and I believed them.
BARBARA COPELAND:
They said that to you.
ADETOLA HASSAN:
Yeah it was just like a topic of conversation at the table, and I mean obviously later as the year went by like that particular group of people I mean I found out they were like hardcore, like hardcore, hardcore like drinkers and smokers and everything. I was still because I don't think you should break friendships because of that because I have different beliefs, but I guess I became a lot closer to another group of people just because I didn't feel very comfortable. The group of friends that I became friends with after that at first some of them didn't drink, but as the year went on, like everybody. I think there were three people in my grade that didn't drink. Still people were, I mean you grow up with people and people

Page 17
make different choices. You just have to accept that. I mean I would never judge them because they drink or smoke or have sex and they won't judge me because I don't.
BARBARA COPELAND:
Oh okay. Well that's good. That's really good because a lot of times on campuses the pressure is just really, really hard especially during the freshman year. This is your first time being away from family, being away from home and you want to be able to fit in, that sort of thing. Over the years assimilation takes place within this new environment and new culture, and so I was just wondering if you had been approached already, and if so just how hard or how heavy was the pressure.
ADETOLA HASSAN:
I think once you make up your mind, I mean I had made up my mind a long time ago that I wasn't going to do that, and so the answer is already there. It's not like I've just been approached randomly and someone's like do you want a drink, and then I have to think about it. For me the response is automatic.
BARBARA COPELAND:
I guess some of that may come from, that decision making may come from just the mere fact that it's not something that you were accustomed to doing prior to.
ADETOLA HASSAN:
Right and it wasn't something I saw my parents doing or my older sister wasn't doing that either.
BARBARA COPELAND:
That's very interesting. Had you ever met or had the opportunity, well of course you always have the opportunity to try to convert and share your Gospel, but wanted to know if any of your friends even considered maybe wanting to know more about the Latter Day Saints.
ADETOLA HASSAN:
I've had a friend who was a very strong Presbyterian. I don't think she was very interested in converting, but she was very interested in the religion, and so she came to church with me a few times and she came to seminary, which is amazing because it's at six-fifteen in the morning, and she was interested. I've seen like there have been friends who just ask about the Gospel and you tell them. You never know what's going to happen. They might not join or convert but in the later on.
BARBARA COPELAND:
They may reconsider. That is, yeah I guess that is something that you keep in mind when someone is asking you or just wanting to know querying you about questions about your faith. Sometimes you never know what it can perhaps maybe lead to a conversion if not right then and there later on down the line. So the importance of being able to share your faith and what your faith means to you. So then you

Page 18
would say then for the most part that on this campus here you've not met anyone who's shown any kind of discrimination or just outright hatred towards the Mormon faith like you did at the Presbyterian school
ADETOLA HASSAN:
No not here, and I mean I think it's also because it's a college and people are pretty open or somewhat liberal just because it's a college atmosphere that's a non-religious college atmosphere. So I think—
BARBARA COPELAND:
Although you do have your few individuals who would be definitely against this or that or one thing or the other. I think that some of them exist on just about any college. So I was just wondering if that atmosphere allowed you to be who you feel you are and allowed you to express your faith in the manner that you wanted to express it.
ADETOLA HASSAN:
I'm usually like my friends or people I've become friends before religion comes up. They're like oh my gosh you're Mormon. They're like, I thought Mormons were like. They go through this who like thing that they think Mormons are. They're like you're drinking soda. I'm like what does that have to do with anything. I'm like, they're like. There's so many misconceptions.
BARBARA COPELAND:
Yeah tell me about some of those misconceptions and some that you get from people once they discover or once you tell them that you're Mormon. The preconceptions of what they think or always thought that Mormonism was.
ADETOLA HASSAN:
It ranges. There are very absurd things like do you worship the devil or like—
BARBARA COPELAND:
What do you think that that particular one comes from?
ADETOLA HASSAN:
I think—
BARBARA COPELAND:
Do you ask them well what made you think that?
ADETOLA HASSAN:
I think there's just a lot, I think for almost any different religion there's been a history of hatred. So I think that a lot of times people come up with things just to give that negativity towards the church.
BARBARA COPELAND:
I was wondering if that one particular one that maybe thought that you worshipped or voodoo or something like that. Was there one certain element of the particular church that they became familiar with that made them think that oh well this connotes voodoo worshipping or something like that.
ADETOLA HASSAN:
No there are so many things like it's a cult. Or they're like do you have horns just really like—.

Page 19
BARBARA COPELAND:
Are you serious?
ADETOLA HASSAN:
There are a lot of absurd things. There are just things that people pick up. People make jokes and things like that.
BARBARA COPELAND:
Urban legends that sort of thing.
ADETOLA HASSAN:
I think it's just a very different religion, and so I think with anything different there's negativity.
BARBARA COPELAND:
And fear because they don't know. So when you don't know something especially when it has to do with religions a lot of times it does bring about a lot of fear.
ADETOLA HASSAN:
A lot of times there's anti-Mormon propaganda that's passed out especially when the temple was going up in Saint Louis.
BARBARA COPELAND:
Do you know about the one here in Apex?
ADETOLA HASSAN:
Oh I didn't.
BARBARA COPELAND:
Yeah, two years ago a brand new, a new temple here in Apex is about maybe thirty miles from here.
ADETOLA HASSAN:
Has it already gone up or is it—
BARBARA COPELAND:
It's up. I think it was dedicated maybe two years ago, consecrated.
ADETOLA HASSAN:
Okay yeah then I knew about it. So there's a lot of negative pamphlets handed out, and I know I got one, and I was reading through it, and I was like where do people sit and come up with this stuff. There is, I think that's just some people will hate something.
BARBARA COPELAND:
When they don't really know all about it.
Wanted to know now since we mentioned have spoken about the temple tell me a little about going to the temple. How one is able to go the temple, what are some of the requirements to be able to go to the temple, just the whole significance about going to the temple because that's different and apart from just going to your regular church ward for services.
ADETOLA HASSAN:
Because actually the temple isn't open on Sundays because it's all volunteer work. People do the desk in the front. Usually you have to have a temple recommend and to get your recommend you have to be keeping the laws of the Gospel. You can't be smoking or drinking or doing drugs or having sex. You have to be keeping your morals.
BARBARA COPELAND:
Integrity, chastity.

Page 20
ADETOLA HASSAN:
I know to go to do certain things in the temple you have to have gone through like sacred covenants. Some of the stuff I don't know a lot about like having your (endowments) taken out. I've never done that so I don't. But it's like that's when people get their undergarments that they wear. So I don't know too much about that.
BARBARA COPELAND:
You don't know too much about?
ADETOLA HASSAN:
I don't know, I've never done it. I know you're basically making a covenant that you're going to, like you're not going to do stuff, and it's a pretty strong covenant with God of stuff that you make between you and God. I've never done that so I don't know. I know the youth do a lot of baptisms, and they call it baptisms for the dead. What that is you they believe when you die that your spirit goes to the spirit world, and everybody gets judged but like when Jesus will come. But as far as the spirit world goes it's like there are people who have accepted the Gospel or know the truth, and there are people who don't have the Gospel, and they can't progress I guess. Basically what baptisms for the dead is you're baptized I guess in the name of that person. So they can, it's kind of a complicated thing because we believe like when Jesus died, he went to preach to the spirits because it talks about that in the Bible, and so basically we believe the same. In the spirit world people have the opportunity because God is a fair God. So everybody has the opportunity to know the Gospel. So we believe that up there people are taught the Gospel and things like that. But you need a body to be baptized like Jesus was by immersion. Of course he was perfect so he didn't have to do it, but he did it as a commandment. So basically baptism for the dead is like a person like I guess I would be baptized in the name of somebody, and then we believe that then they can either accept it and be confirmed a member or not. So basically a lot of youth do that because that's what they can do because it's basically the same rules. You have to be keeping the law of chastity and your morals.
BARBARA COPELAND:
The youth do this on behalf of their—
ADETOLA HASSAN:
Ancestors.
BARBARA COPELAND:
Right. Right.
ADETOLA HASSAN:
Or basically just names that people. People all over the world are doing their genealogy. It's just any, they're just, they need people to help because there are so many names. So the youth do that

Page 21
usually, usually you're doing it for people that you don't even know. But I remember I got to do it for my grandmother, and that was very special for me.
BARBARA COPELAND:
So you've been to the temple before. You've participate or performed a baptism for your grandmother.
ADETOLA HASSAN:
Yeah, because I know she was thinking of joining the church, but she died.
BARBARA COPELAND:
Oh okay before she was able to become a Mormon. So then what this baptism does then essentially is gives her the opportunity of becoming a Mormon in the afterlife.
ADETOLA HASSAN:
Yeah. Of course I didn't explain it very refinely. I don't have all of the—
BARBARA COPELAND:
It's okay. It's okay. I had to take a course on Mormonism, and I just took my final yesterday. A lot of the details that takes places within the temple and the details about the temple recommend, getting a temple recommend I had to study for. So I happen to know it, but it's always good to hear coming from a member what their experience is, and so that's why I was asking those questions to see how you interpret it and what those experiences are for you being able to go to the temple. What was the experience like getting a temple recommend?
ADETOLA HASSAN:
Well, I don't have a permanent one. Usually you have to go through an interview with the bishop, and then he says that you can go. It's you just, it's good to know that you can go just because I think if I had done stuff that would have prevented me from doing my grandmother's baptism I think that would've—. But it's basically you just, it's not nobody's looking down on you or saying shame on you or anything like that. You just go and you talk with the bishop, and he asks you some questions.
BARBARA COPELAND:
Then if you are able to answer to those questions favorably, then that's what gives you.
ADETOLA HASSAN:
Right. Right.
BARBARA COPELAND:
Oh okay that's good. Now has your mother and father both been to the temple before.
ADETOLA HASSAN:
Yes.
BARBARA COPELAND:
They have. They have. Were they married in the temple?
ADETOLA HASSAN:
No, they were converted after they were married. They'd been married about a year and a half maybe before they converted. So we were sealed as a family in the temple.
BARBARA COPELAND:
Oh that's wonderful. So what was that experience like?
ADETOLA HASSAN:
Actually I was little so—

Page 22
BARBARA COPELAND:
You don't remember.
ADETOLA HASSAN:
I only remember being in the playroom.
BARBARA COPELAND:
Well that's interesting to be able to say yes, I've been sealed. My family has been sealed so you all will be guaranteed to be together. I guess I really should be asking you that question. What does it mean to be sealed?
ADETOLA HASSAN:
It means that you have the opportunity to live together as a family. Obviously people don't live up to the Gospel then—
BARBARA COPELAND:
It just basically means that your family as a unit that after the sealing has been done, the sealing ceremony has been done that your family has the opportunity now to be together in the afterlife. That's wonderful. Wanted to ask also, so you mentioned now that your father did convert because he was Islam, he was Muslim.
ADETOLA HASSAN:
He was Muslim but he converted to Christianity during his high school years. Then he became Mormon.
BARBARA COPELAND:
So how long actually were your mom and dad Mormon converts. For how many years would you say?
ADETOLA HASSAN:
Have they been?
BARBARA COPELAND:
Right.
ADETOLA HASSAN:
Okay my mom is forty-six. She was converted when she was twenty-six so twenty years.
BARBARA COPELAND:
Okay. Okay.
So actually for all of your life they've been Mormons. That's wonderful. Wanted to know, let's see there was another question that I had on my mind, and it just escaped me. Okay. Yeah. Wanted to know yeah, do you know anything about the priesthood ban on African American males prior to the year 1978?
ADETOLA HASSAN:
Yes, I've heard about it. It's interesting because, have you heard of Naboo?
BARBARA COPELAND:
Yeah. That's the headquarters for the—
ADETOLA HASSAN:
It was where they moved after they left Missouri. We were there in a pageant, and my dad got really into African Americans in Mormon history. What was weird was there was an African American man who was I think pretty close to Joseph Smith, and it came up that he had had the priesthood, and that was way back when. I know that there had been a ban and I don't know exactly all the details, and I have

Page 23
no idea why that was. I think it was unfortunate because I think that turned a lot of especially African American people away from the church because I mean obviously if you believe everything. [Recorder is turned off and then back on.]
BARBARA COPELAND:
So yeah you were telling me what you thought about the—
ADETOLA HASSAN:
Right.
BARBARA COPELAND:
Priesthood ban prior to 1978.
ADETOLA HASSAN:
Right and I think for a lot of I think African American males especially if you believe everything not being able to get the priesthood that would be a really hard thing. My dad obviously was converted after that. So he didn't have to deal with that. I don't know anybody who had to do that. Yeah. I think—
BARBARA COPELAND:
Did your dad ever talk to you about or did you ever hear him talk about his feelings about what he thought on this priesthood ban prior to '78?
ADETOLA HASSAN:
No. Because I guess he didn't really encounter that. So I don't know how much it affected him or how much he knew about it. So he never did.
BARBARA COPELAND:
I've talked to quite a few people who've really never encountered that who didn't go through that transition. But I just question them and just wanted to know what were their feelings about the incident in general. Just like if I was to ask you what do you feel or how do you feel about the assassination of Martin Luther King. Of course you weren't there, but you have some kind of general feelings about the whole incident and everything that was, the circumstances around it. So basically that's just I just wanted to know how if your dad had ever talked about it and if he had ever mentioned his feelings about that incident. I think one of the things I think that is important is that revelation did come down for them to change it and open the priesthood up to include African American males. What do you see the priesthood position, the significance of the priesthood position being just in general? It doesn't matter whether it's race. It doesn't matter. Just having the significance of being able to have the priesthood.
ADETOLA HASSAN:
Just in general, the priesthood. I think personally it's been a big blessing in my life just having a dad a father that has the priesthood because I don't know why, but I mean it's just like a blanket. It just feels like there is so much power behind it. My dad and it's really encouraged, it encourages respecting your wife and your children and just working together. It's not like I have the priesthood. I am the head. It's like, it's sort of I feel like it brings our family together because especially with the male rule

Page 24
in the world. Like you go out into the [unclear] , I think it stresses the importance of family and being there and not just focuses, I think it helps just focus on you have duties in your family and not just, you've been given this gift. It's not all about what's out there. It's what's spiritually in your family.
BARBARA COPELAND:
Now when did your dad get the priesthood? Did he have it all of your life like before you were born?
ADETOLA HASSAN:
Yeah, he's had it all of my life.
BARBARA COPELAND:
Which priesthood because I understand there are two of them.
ADETOLA HASSAN:
There's Aaronic and there's Melchizedek, and I believe I think when you first get in, you're given the Aaronic if you're the age of twelve or older. I believe he's had the Melchizedek all my life too.
BARBARA COPELAND:
That's wonderful. Now there's certain, they call it having keys to the priesthood. If he has the Melchizedek priesthood that means that he has the keys or the authority and the power to act on behalf of Christ, Jesus Christ to have this, perform in this level of priesthood. Tell me some of the ways that he's been able to demonstrate and use his power, the Melchizedek power and authority within the family.
ADETOLA HASSAN:
Right. I think the most important one for me is blessing which is like just because you go through so many things in your life, and it's always I guess a comfort for me to be able to say Dad can you give me a blessing. I have, I'm dealing with this or I have exams or this is weighing me down and he can do that. For me you can just feel the comfort I guess like the Holy Ghost and I guess just some of the stuff, and I mean it's not just my dad because I know my senior year I lived with another family who was LDS. But it was just like and we were a close family friends, and so I know I was applying for colleges and all this stuff and I asked him for a blessing. I mean the stuff that they say, because he told me he was like, there was going to be I remember a specific thing there's going to be a lot of surprises in store for you this year like that you would never expect. It was something along those lines. I had applied to, I was convinced I was not going to college. My, I was a good student. My GPA wasn't as high as I would like it to be. I was applying to these really prestigious schools, and I remember like just all a lot of stuff happened that year but just acceptance letter after acceptance letter to schools that, I just would think back to that and you're like wow. For me that builds my testimony.
BARBARA COPELAND:
That's powerful. That is so powerful. Just to hear you say that someone was able to come to you and say I know that this, this and this is going to happen for you. Then when it does happen it just—

Page 25
ADETOLA HASSAN:
It definitely builds your testimony.
BARBARA COPELAND:
So now, this was a family member who had the priesthood.
ADETOLA HASSAN:
This was my the person I lived with this year. My dad is usually the person that gives me blessings and just like assurance and stuff like that happens all the time. I mean I think—
BARBARA COPELAND:
The outcomes are always positive.
ADETOLA HASSAN:
It's just I mean especially when I was going through the whole incident with my school.
BARBARA COPELAND:
At the Presbyterian.
ADETOLA HASSAN:
And my dad would give me a blessing and then like sometimes he would say things like everything will work out for the best. For me I know leaving that school and being exposed to the things were such a blessing in disguise.
BARBARA COPELAND:
What are some of the things that you would take from how your parents raised you to incorporate into your life now that you are out on your own?
ADETOLA HASSAN:
About how my parents raised me. My—
BARBARA COPELAND:
That you would say—let's see. I know I wrote that down somewhere. Some of the things that, memorable things that you've gotten from your parents that you want to incorporate into your life.
ADETOLA HASSAN:
Like how would I, like if was to raise my kids a certain way.
BARBARA COPELAND:
Yeah, I guess you could say that. Once you become a mom some of the ways that your parents raised you. What are some of those things that you would draw from how your upbringing things that you would draw from your upbringing that would, you consider that you want to carry on into—
ADETOLA HASSAN:
My life. I think one thing I mean besides the church I guess my culture is something that my parents have always raised me up. They're like, I mean—
BARBARA COPELAND:
African culture and heritage.
ADETOLA HASSAN:
Yeah. That's been like really important to me. Also my parents very much stressed for me to remember who you are especially that you are a daughter of God and that you are worth something. I think that helps so much especially when you're on your own and there's not so much like your support group of closest friends. You don't have people breathing down your neck making sure you're doing something. Just like your parents saying just remember who you are and keep the family flag flying. That

Page 26
it helps keep things in perspective, and I know as far as my parents were big on respecting your elders, and I mean because that here in this country is, I mean living in Africa and [unknown] —
BARBARA COPELAND:
Huge difference.
ADETOLA HASSAN:
That's definitely something that I'm going to carry through all of my life. Especially when I am raising my kids.
BARBARA COPELAND:
The strong discipline.
ADETOLA HASSAN:
Right. I mean I admire my parents like everything that they've done I want to do.
BARBARA COPELAND:
That's wonderful. That's really powerful to be able to say that because think about it. There's a lot of youth your age who say the complete opposite. Like my mom did this, this, this, this. I will never do this when I get older and have children. That is a very powerful statement. Just goes very well in favor of your parents for you to be able to say everything that they've done I want to be able to replicate and to do that as well with my own family. I think that that is really wonderful.
What are some of your goals, some of your goals in looking for a marriageable mate? What are some of the criteria in selecting a marriage partner and that sort of thing?
ADETOLA HASSAN:
Well, obviously I want somebody who is LDS especially—
BARBARA COPELAND:
Latter Day Saints.
ADETOLA HASSAN:
Right. Especially seeing like my dad and how he's lived his life like besides being a goal oriented person, but somebody who places family very high on their list and someone who is going somewhere and has goals for his life and who does live the Gospel as part of his life and not just Sundays and just. Basically someone like my dad.
BARBARA COPELAND:
Who's living the life of the Mormon ideal.
ADETOLA HASSAN:
Right.
BARBARA COPELAND:
Now in the churches that you've gone to do you find, do you see a lot of African American males in the Mormon church?
ADETOLA HASSAN:
There are not as especially in America. I haven't. There's more girls definitely I think.
BARBARA COPELAND:
More African American girls.

Page 27
ADETOLA HASSAN:
Yeah. I'm sure, like I know in our ward I think Lamont is the only one I think or maybe there's another one. I don't know. Yes, so there's, I don't know about other places because I've only been to church in two places. There's I'm sure like at BYU. It's bigger
BARBARA COPELAND:
Larger number, larger number. So now how does that make you feel or comfortwise seeing the disportionate number of African Americans versus whites within the tradition that the Latter Day Saint tradition that you were born and raised in and now that you don't see a whole lot.
ADETOLA HASSAN:
One thing for me is like I've been to church in Nigeria, and so I have seen guys that are LDS all the time. But I mean it is something that I've thought about and were thinking about wanting to marry somebody who is of the church, and it's easier to marry somebody in your race like and—
BARBARA COPELAND:
Would you consider in other words are you ruling out that you would never perhaps maybe date or marry—
ADETOLA HASSAN:
Someone who wasn't African American.
BARBARA COPELAND:
Right who wasn't black but was Latter Day Saints.
ADETOLA HASSAN:
No, not at all. I mean I think I mean I've had friends who aren't black who are LDS, and I mean whatever the path that God wants me to go. You can't choose.
BARBARA COPELAND:
I guess there are like two controversial issues. Because the pool of marriageable African American men is low to begin with and then when you compound that with looking for a pool of African American male—
ADETOLA HASSAN:
LDS
BARBARA COPELAND:
Mormons. The pool gets even smaller here in the United States. Well, I have to just speak for the southern part. Maybe out west it maybe a larger percentage. Of course I'm sure that it is, but by and large when you look at it as a whole just within the United States the pool is very small. So the two controversies then that an African American, single African American woman who is Mormon, the two controversies that she would be posed with are do I marry outside of my race if I want to definitely stay within the Mormon tradition because there are more white Latter Day Saints than there are African American males Latter Day Saints. So one controversy would be do I marry outside of my race to ensure that I stay within my faith, or do I marry outside of my faith to ensure to meet the other maybe a requirement of wanting to stay within your race. So I guess now since coming from Nigeria where the

Page 28
pool, the African pool is much larger, and in fact from what I'm understanding is that there are more traditionally more African Mormons than there are white Mormons in Nigeria.
ADETOLA HASSAN:
Yes. Most definitely.
BARBARA COPELAND:
So then it's in reverse then in Nigeria of what the kinds of dynamics that you see here in terms of the numbers. So if you went to, if you were in Nigeria that you wouldn't be really faced with those two controversies. But here in American certainly over here in the South where we are considered in the southern belt which is predominantly Protestant Southern Baptist you're going to find more whites in the Mormon church than you would African American. So how do you, how would you for yourself reconcile or try to figure out which way you would go?
ADETOLA HASSAN:
Well, just because I've seen, I mean I've seen people who have married outside of the church, and I've seen people who are married in the church. For the majority of it like the couples that are married in the church it's a lot easier especially for a woman. I would never want to have a house or have children without the priesthood after having that growing up.
BARBARA COPELAND:
That's so important.
ADETOLA HASSAN:
Yeah. I've seen, then I have seen people who even among white couples who married outside the church. Definitely for the most part it's a lot harder, and it causes a lot of stress because the church takes up a lot of your life because it is such a part of your life. There's a lot of I think almost jealousy or animosity towards the spouse that is in the church who is spending so much of their time involved in that. The other person feels left out. So I think for me I would have to make a choice to stay in my faith just because it's so important to me.
BARBARA COPELAND:
Right. Exactly. Exactly. Yeah, it is the two controversies that are being looked at and the other thing that I was wanting to know also because the African American, single African America women are just there's, have this independence about them. It's almost, I almost want to say it's a culture within the African American women themselves. The Church of Jesus Christ, the Mormon church is a hierarchical church, and it's the men are on top with the higher positions, and the women have it's just hierarchical. Although women and men are viewed as equal the women cannot hold priesthood and all of those higher positions. So I'm wondering how do African American women who are Mormon reconcile within themselves and say I'm going to give up my independence, an independence that's so ingrained in

Page 29
their way of being and thinking. How can they reconcile that by being under church leader's authority within a hierarchical church. How do you see that?
ADETOLA HASSAN:
I think especially for me just because I'm very driven. My parents, my dad and my mom have always, education's important. You get out there and you build your life. It's not like you're going to get married when you're nineteen and depend on somebody. So there definitely is that independent spirit of I can do this. But then—
BARBARA COPELAND:
Your parents encourage you to be that way.
ADETOLA HASSAN:
Yes. But at the same time you can never do everything yourself. For me I think my happiness is very dependent on Christ. Like the church like when I see it I don't see it as somebody trying to hold me down. I mean the prophet has said woman because I think there is definitely a trend among single women to just go to BYU and get married, and that's a very big generalization.
BARBARA COPELAND:
Really wow. I never looked at it that way. This is the first time that's being presented.
ADETOLA HASSAN:
This is a huge generalization. But I mean there are girls who are like who just want to get married, and there's nothing wrong with that if that's the path that you choose. But for me and the way that I am I mean you mean even the prophet has said woman get your education. Then there's no guarantee. There is no guarantee. So I mean the church encourages you to be self-sufficient, and I mean obviously the teenagers who are so freewilled they are like why do I have to do what the prophet says. Why do I have to do what the church says? Obviously because there are people in a higher power than you, and you don't make up the rules. But I think part of being in any religion is accepting that there are things. Like for me if I wasn't willing to have somebody tell me don't date until you're sixteen or don't go out and have sex or if I wasn't willing to accept that I can't have the priesthood and things like that then I wouldn't be a member of the church because it's stuff that you choose. As much as I'm independent as I am and as much as I'm like there's nobody telling me what to do there are certain things that I am willing to accept because of my faith.
BARBARA COPELAND:
Now you mentioned that this huge generalization and I am sure that there is a really huge generalization that perhaps there are women who go to BYU that that's their sole purpose, to first find a mate. There's really nothing wrong with making that statement because I think that that applies, that that can apply to just about any college. A lot of women in fact now the generalization that I have heard a—
[END OF TAPE 1, SIDE B]

[TAPE 2, SIDE A]

[START OF TAPE 2, SIDE A]
BARBARA COPELAND:
That a lot of women who well, girls will go to after they have graduated from high school may not necessarily be interested in wanting to go to college just to get that degree or education but because they want to find someone to marry. They want, they feel that that's the perfect arena to find a marriage partner is in college. So a lot of girls go away to school just because they want to meet. They find that it is that arena to meet someone to marry. But now so you mentioned that, but I'm wondering is it the African American women who are going to BYU that you understand that to be or just women in general.
ADETOLA HASSAN:
Just women in general.
BARBARA COPELAND:
Well it certainly does result in a lot of marriages.
ADETOLA HASSAN:
I think it's also because people want to find somebody who is worthy and who they can get [unclear] with. So when you go to a place where there are so many people like that I guess it is more likely that you would find somebody and feel right about getting married. I shouldn't have made the generalization.
BARBARA COPELAND:
So it's like a big singles group.
ADETOLA HASSAN:
Right. Right.
BARBARA COPELAND:
A huge campus of singles groups. It makes a lot of sense though. I appreciate you sharing that because I've never looked at it that way, but it does, it makes a lot of sense.
Wanted to know now in now I don't know if you had thought about seriously dating at this phase in your life since you are still very, very young. You're very very young and this is your freshman year. Wanted to know what are some of the, if you are considering dating now, what are some of the qualities that you are looking for in guys who are in school now with you?
ADETOLA HASSAN:
That's probably one of the reasons why I don't date much because there's a lot of pressure I think to get involved with physically. So that's a big problem. Like guys come up to you and you're pretty much sure, go away, because you know exactly what they want.
BARBARA COPELAND:
Gee that has to be very, very pressuring because, no—. I don't mean to cut you off, but I'm just really interested in wanting to know I'm quite sure you've met some guys who probably appear to be very attractive to you and so how do you, how do you reconcile. You say to yourself now I know what they want. I know what they want and I know what they're looking for. Chances of them being Latter Day Saints is probably going to be very slim. How do you reconcile that?

Page 31
ADETOLA HASSAN:
Well, I don't think that it's absolutely necessary to date an LDS person, a Latter Day Saint person. I think it might not be a good idea to get incredibly involved to the fact that you would want to get married because if you don't want to marry someone who is not LDS, then that could be an issue. But as far as just finding somebody to date, I think date somebody who will respect you and like is willing to just deal with what you believe in then if not, too bad. It's hard especially because there's a shortage of guys and finding a guy who and guys know it. So they know they can pretty much get whatever they want from whoever will give it to them. So that's hard.
BARBARA COPELAND:
Oh gosh. It is because there's more women than there are men, and they well know it. So they prey on that.
ADETOLA HASSAN:
The funny thing is the double standard because I know I was talking to one of my friends. She's not LDS, but she has pretty high standards, and she was saying I got this guy. He just completely used girls and whatever and then he turned to her and said I'm going to marry somebody like you who is like a virgin and doesn't drink. That's really, they want to have fun, but then when they slow down, they want. There's definitely a double standard.
BARBARA COPELAND:
Now just hearing her tell you that and to come to know that this is how they value, how they place their values and what they really want to settle down with. Then does that make you reflect on well I am a prime choice, and I'm going to keep myself that way because I'm, I know that I'm in his higher category so to speak.
ADETOLA HASSAN:
Well, I guess that's encouraging, but I think mostly it's for me just my self-worth. There's a lot of insecurity I think that comes with sort of selling yourself or not treating yourself the way that you should be treated and the respect that you deserve.
BARBARA COPELAND:
Exactly. Gee it has to be very hard having, just having that one culture inside of another culture on campus and being able to stand your ground, stand firm and say this is the way I've been raised. This is the way I believe in. I have to continue to carry that flag for my family. I'm just here for four years.
ADETOLA HASSAN:
It helps because usually there's a church everywhere. You can find some, and so there's always an immediate support group or an immediate family group sort of—
BARBARA COPELAND:
That you can when you feel like it's just way too much pressure and you just really—

Page 32
ADETOLA HASSAN:
And just need to talk to somebody.
BARBARA COPELAND:
Yeah, yeah gee that's interesting. I did have a couple of more questions.
What do you feel that the Mormon doctrine has to offer single women in determining the ideal roles [Recorder is turned off and then back on.]
ADETOLA HASSAN:
I think even from when you get into women's I think there is a lot of emphasis on self-worth because I think society in general does a lot to degrade women. So I think it just sort of helps and sometimes I think a lot of women base their self-worth on how they're treated especially by males, and I think it definitely helps. It stresses the fact that you are a daughter of God and that you are who you are not because of what other people think or how you dress or who you are. It's focuses a lot on your relationship with God, and so I think that's really positive especially in our society today.
BARBARA COPELAND:
That's a very powerful statement. If all of us could think along those lines and in those terms I think that there things would be a whole lot better most certainly. Just wanted to know also from your point of view can single African American Mormon women abandon their independence by letting men, letting the men provide while they stay at home with children?
ADETOLA HASSAN:
I don't think it's necessary to stay at home just because my mom didn't, and I mean obviously you have to put your family first but which my mom did, but she still had a career, and she was very much a career woman. So I don't think you have to stay at home. I think if that's a choice that you want to make. I don't think that makes you any less of a role because you are taking care of home and that is your job and like no matter what men would like to say they couldn't do it without you. I don't think that that is compromising your independence if that's a choice that you make.
BARBARA COPELAND:
This pattern or just role of independence, do you think that these can be easily broken to give way to accepting and adapting to the Mormon ideal. Like well I know that with the statement that you just said would say no that you really don't have to break, you really don't have to break your independence so to speak. You can so in other words are you saying that you, an African American woman Mormon can still be independent and at the same time still answer or still answer to the Mormon ideal, go along with the hierarchy in the church even if she feels that she should still have the same opportunity to perhaps maybe fulfill some of those same hierarchical priesthood roles?
ADETOLA HASSAN:
I think it's definitely a matter of perspective and if you feel that [Recorder is turned off and then back on.]
BARBARA COPELAND:
And so you were saying it's a matter of perspective.

Page 33
ADETOLA HASSAN:
Yeah if you feel I'm sure because I guess before I used to be like, you should've obviously I've got friends who like I'm going to stay at home and take care of my kids. I'm like why? But because I personally plan on having a career but also taking care of my kids. So it's a matter of what you feel, I think like for me I have chosen to see that you can have—
BARBARA COPELAND:
You can do both.
ADETOLA HASSAN:
Right.
BARBARA COPELAND:
And still be able to live the Mormon ideal and not feel like you're giving up your independence just to fit into that hierarchical church structure.
ADETOLA HASSAN:
There are always people in any religion who think that women should stay in the house. Well that's their point of view.
BARBARA COPELAND:
What is your idea of, what does the idea of community mean to you?
ADETOLA HASSAN:
For me it's I guess like I said earlier on, it's just that especially with church anywhere you go that you can find a group of people who are willing to support you and just take you in and look past anything superficial and just take you in and be willing to accept you and help support you.
BARBARA COPELAND:
Okay, I guess just one other question. Traditionally they say it's said that Mormon families have large families, have a lot of children. So I don't think that there is a particular doctrine against birth control per se within the Mormon scripture, but the tendency is they lean more to say that you really shouldn't try to interfere with, try to stop procreating. So just wanted to know what your opinion is on birth control. I don't know that the Mormon doctrine has anything written in stone about that, but just wanted to know—. One of my reasons is for wanting to ask African American women about that primarily is because there are so many African American single moms who have children and who have had to struggle raising their children for so long. So I would venture to say that there's quite a few of them who would probably not feel at ease by saying that they could not use birth control within this particular, within any particular church that says do not use birth control. They probably would feel uneasy about that because of the experiences of having to raise a child or many children on their own by themselves.
ADETOLA HASSAN:
I don't know. I've never really heard of that because I mean I know that my friends all have three kids. So obviously they're using some form of birth control. I've had older friends who have gotten

Page 34
married and girls talk and you hear them talk about going on the pill and going through all that. I don't know if that was a generation thing because now everybody is on the pill when they first get married.
BARBARA COPELAND:
It's the norm to really consider and think strongly about how many children you want your family, your immediate family is going to have. I think it may to some degree be a generational thing. A lot of the families that I've spoken with, Mormon Latter Day Saints that I've spoken with that have many children are older, older couples that are much, much older even older than I am. So I when I do visit the Mormon church, I do see just about every couple with at least one or two children, but I'm beginning to see more and more the younger couples with lesser children. So and I'm beginning to think then that maybe they are considering or entertaining the notion or the idea at least anyways of planning how many children they want to have and maybe trying to keep it small and in doing so maybe just incorporating birth control. Well Ade you've answered a lot of important questions. This has been a wonderful interview. I have to say just I've really enjoyed this interview. I have been interviewing a lot of much older African American women as I've mentioned to you early on before the interview got going. So I was a little nervous about interviewing someone as young as you are. But you certainly have answered a lot of really what I feel are important questions, but more over you've really have added greatly. You really have added greatly to the bank of questions that I've had and really put a lot of just given me a lot of intuitive thought into some other questions and just to some other notions about the church itself. Things that you've discussed in the interview I've never even thought about or even questions that I've never even thought to raise before. If you noticed, I wasn't even referring back and forth that much to my question bank because your conversation just really helped me to naturally stimulate some questions on my own, and I just thought that that was really wonderful. This certainly was a powerful interview I feel. I really appreciate your spending the time to share with me your most intimate about your religion and hope that you will consider to do a second interview with me next semester. Those forms that I gave you. One is about, it's just giving us a release to use, to go ahead and document the interview at the Wilson Round Library manuscript department at UNC, and so you can take your time to read over the forms. It's basically giving us permission, one is with restriction and one is without, and so you can just take your time and review it and decide that way. Just want to say thank you again.
ADETOLA HASSAN:
Your welcome. It was fun.

Page 35
BARBARA COPELAND:
Was there anything that you wanted to, anything else that you might want to ask me or something else that you didn't get a chance to say that you might want to talk about.
ADETOLA HASSAN:
Not that I can think of.
BARBARA COPELAND:
Okay thank you so much.
ADETOLA HASSAN:
Your welcome.
BARBARA COPELAND:
I really appreciate it. Okay this will end our discussion. Thank you.
END OF INTERVIEW