Church Leaders Address Division, Racial Injustice During Conference

Oct 3, 2020, 7:18 PM | Updated: Dec 19, 2022, 11:25 pm

SALT LAKE CITY — There were a number of strong messages during the first two sessions of General Conference for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, addressing the need for less strife and contention in society.

Speakers addressed the 2020 election and the nationwide protests over racial injustice over the summer.

It was the second conference where Church members participated only through technology. Saturday’s meetings were broadcast live from a theater inside the Conference Center in Salt Lake City, with leaders wearing masks and social distancing.

Music from the Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square came from previous conference recordings.

President Russell M. Nelson talked about the devastating impact of the novel coronavirus on families and individuals.

“I grieve with each of you who has lost a loved one during this time, and I pray for all who are currently suffering,” she said.

Speaking about the growth of the Church, President Nelson said ground will have been broken on 20 new temples. During the pandemic, he said help has been rendered to thousands in need.

“We are gratified to report that the Church has provided pandemic humanitarian aid for 895 projects in 150 countries,” said Nelson.

Other Church leaders posed important life questions.

“What have we learned during these recent months of lifestyle adjustments and restrictions?” said Elder David A. Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. “What do we need to improve in our lives spiritually, physically, socially, emotionally, and intellectually?”

Sister Michelle D. Craig, First Counselor in the Young Women General Presidency asked people to ponder the questions, “What am I doing that I should stop doing” and “What am I not doing that I should start doing?”

We live in a time of strong divisions, said Elder Quentin L. Cook of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, but are all equal to the Lord.

“The Savior’s ministry and message have consistently declared all races and colors are children of God. We are all brothers and sisters,” said Elder Cook.

Because of potential exposure to COVID-19, Elder Gerrit W. Gong did not attend the Saturday sessions, but delivered a pre-recorded message.

Church leaders addressed current events, including the upcoming election, and the summer’s nationwide protests over racial injustices.

President Dallin H. Oaks said members of the Church must do better at rooting out racism.

He spoke strongly about recent violence and our country’s ongoing concerns about racial discrimination, acknowledging that there have been injustices.

“This country should be better in eliminating racism, not only against Black Americans – who were most visible in the recent protests – but also against Latinos, Asians, and other groups,” said Oaks. “This nation’s history of racism is not a happy one, and we must do better.”

President Oaks also addressed the upcoming presidential election.

He referenced the Church’s Twelfth Article of Faith, written by the Prophet Joseph Smith after severe persecution in Missouri, that talks about obeying and sustaining the law.

“It also means that we peacefully accept the results of elections. We will not participate in the violence threatened by those disappointed with the outcome. In a democratic society, we always have the opportunity and the duty to persist peacefully until the next election,” he said.

President Oaks, a former Utah Supreme Court Justice, said there will always be differences among candidates and policies, but that followers of Christ must forego the anger and hatred in the political process.

He said that the constitution protects peaceful protests, but that protesters don’t have a right to destroy or steal property.

President Oaks said that while his message used recent examples from the United States, the principles he taught are applicable worldwide.

KSL 5 TV Live


Latter-day Saints meet at the home of Ismail Lazaro in Juba, South Sudan, on March 24, 2024, for wo...

Eliza Pace

After 11 years, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints returns to South Sudan

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has legal status in South Sudan for the first time in 11 years.

3 hours ago

Latter-day Saints attending the dedication make their way into the Layton Utah Temple prior to its ...

Josh Ellis

Elder David A. Bednar dedicates Layton Utah Temple

Elder David A. Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles dedicated the Layton Utah Temple on Sunday.

6 hours ago

Longtime announcer Lloyd Newell speaks as Derrick Porter is announced as the new voice of the Taber...

Hanna Seariac, Deseret News

Lloyd Newell bids farewell after 34 years of bringing inspiration from the Crossroads of the West

A few minutes before the broadcast “Music & the Spoken Word” started, Lloyd Newell walked up on stage at the Conference Center, like he’s done many times before. But this time, it was different — it’s his last time.

19 hours ago

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints provided an update on the ongoing renovation projec...

Mark Jones

Church provides update on Temple Square construction progress

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on Friday provided an update on the ongoing renovation project at Temple Square.

2 days ago

Lloyd Newell (left) has been the voice of "Music and the Spoken Word" for 35 years. Derrick Porter ...

Adam Small, KSL NewsRadio

Iconic voice of ‘Music and the Spoken Word’ to present his final program

The voice of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ “Music and the Spoken Word” program is saying goodbye after nearly 35 years.

2 days ago

Elder Gerrit W. Gong of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-d...

Carlysle Price

Elder Gong visits Brazil following floods, new projects in the works

Elder Gerrit W. Gong, an apostle with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, met with officials in Brazil on Thursday to see those affected by flooding, and plan new projects.

3 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Photo courtesy of Artists of Ballet West...

Ballet West

The rising demand for ballet tickets: why they’re harder to get

Ballet West’s box office is experiencing demand they’ve never seen before, leaving many interested patrons unable to secure tickets they want.

Electrician repairing ceiling fan with lamps indoors...

Lighting Design

Stay cool this summer with ceiling fans

When used correctly, ceiling fans help circulate cool and warm air. They can also help you save on utilities.

Side view at diverse group of children sitting in row at school classroom and using laptops...

PC Laptops

5 internet safety tips for kids

Read these tips about internet safety for kids so that your children can use this tool for learning and discovery in positive ways.

Women hold card for scanning key card to access Photocopier Security system concept...

Les Olson

Why printer security should be top of mind for your business

Connected printers have vulnerable endpoints that are an easy target for cyber thieves. Protect your business with these tips.

Modern chandelier hanging from a white slanted ceiling with windows in the backgruond...

Lighting Design

Light up your home with these top lighting trends for 2024

Check out the latest lighting design trends for 2024 and tips on how you can incorporate them into your home.

Technician woman fixing hardware of desktop computer. Close up....

PC Laptops

Tips for hassle-free computer repairs

Experiencing a glitch in your computer can be frustrating, but with these tips you can have your computer repaired without the stress.

Church Leaders Address Division, Racial Injustice During Conference