President Nelson Calls On Church Members To Abandon Racial Prejudices
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah — President Russell M. Nelson directed some of his comments towards racism and hatred during the October 2020 General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
He prefaced those statements by reminding Church membership that every person has divine potential because each is a child of God.
“Each is equal in His eyes. The implications of this truth are profound,” he said. “I assure you that your standing before God is not determined by the color of your skin. Favor with God is dependent on your devotion to God and His commandments, and not to the color of your skin.”
Then, President Nelson offered heartfelt sorrow and a plea to all Latter-day Saints.
“I grieve that our Black brothers and sisters the world over are enduring the pains of racism and prejudice. Today, I call upon our members everywhere to lead out in abandoning attitudes and actions of prejudice. I plead with you to promote respect for all of God’s children,” he said.
“To hear him speak so clearly, so directly, and so emphatically to Black members of the Church and to the entire Church… that we have a duty and an obligation to see each other as He sees us – I think that’s a journey for all of us to get to that place. It has its challenges,” said Jermaine Sullivan, a stake president in Atlanta, Georgia.
Sullivan said the word from President Nelson and others from General Conference would guide him going forward.
“It certainly provides us with some principles to teach and emphasize, and some things to do to encourage that approach to ministering to one another,” he said.
Other Church leaders shared messages of hope and inspiration, and directly addressed current events like the pandemic, racism, and the political and civil unrest across the country.
The global pandemic required changes to General Conference, being held without a live audience in the Conference Center theater instead of the main auditorium for the second time.
Instead of live performances from the Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square, recordings from previous conferences were used.
In his concluding remarks Sunday afternoon, President Nelson announced plans to construct six new temples, including one in Utah.
“As we build and maintain these temples, we pray that each of you will build and maintain yourself to enter the temple,” said President Nelson.
President M. Russell Ballard, acting president of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, invited Church members to pray for the leaders of nations.
“Pray for the courageous people who are on the front lines in the current battles against social, environmental, political, and biological plagues,” he said.
Church leaders also shared messages of hope and peace during the current challenges facing the world, and called for members to speak more about Christ with those around them — on social media and with fellow Christians.
“Let us genuinely rejoice with them in our shared faith in Jesus Christ and in the New Testament scriptures we all love,” said Elder Neil L. Andersen of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. “In the days ahead, those who believe in Jesus Christ will need the friendship and support of one another.”
“We have every reason to rejoice, for our Lord and Savior is keenly aware of our troubles, cares, and sorrows,” said Sister Lisa L. Harkness, first counselor in the Primary General Presidency.
Many messages focused on encouragement during difficult times. That was seen throughout the conference as Church leaders addressed current events.