RELIGION

The Genesis Group celebrates 50th anniversary

Oct 23, 2021, 11:09 PM | Updated: 11:13 pm

SALT LAKE CITY Black Latter-day Saints are marking a milestone this weekend with a musical tribute at the Tabernacle on Temple Square.

It is a celebration of the history of The Genesis Group.

The Salt Lake Tabernacle will be filled with a distinct Gospel sound on the evening of Saturday, Oct. 22, paying tribute to Black Latter-day Saints.

“Even though we’ve come a long way, you know, as a country, we still have cultural differences,” said Debra Bonner, director of The Unity Gospel Choir.

Bonner sees her choir, which is racially mixed, as messengers of hope.

“The Gospel transcends race, it transcends culture. It’s about loving one another,” she said.

Standing at microphones in front of the choir are three Black men, representing early Black settlers – some free, some not – who tell their stories of faith through a unique hip hop song, written by singer/songwriter Alex Boyé.

“One of my favorite scriptures is, ‘If thou art merry, praise the Lord with singing and dancing!’ So, that’s really what this is, but it’s also a commemoration for those, the giants, who were standing on their shoulders, you know, Darius Gray,” said Boyé.

Darius Gray was one of the founders of The Genesis Group.

He told KSL-TV the story in 2012.

“Three Black men, myself being one of them, met because we were concerned that recent converts this was 1971 recent converts to the Church were falling away. We knelt in prayer and felt led to approach the senior brethren of the Church,” he said.

Joseph Fielding Smith was Church President and Prophet then, and he assigned three Apostles Elders Gordon B. Hinckley, Thomas S. Monson and Boyd K. Packer to oversee the creation of The Genesis Group.

They called it a support branch, meeting the first Sunday of the month, much like a ward, with music, talks and testimonies.

And it was, Gray said, always inclusive – people of all races welcome.

Eventually, other branches of the Genesis Group were created in other states.

“Our mandate was to be a support to Black Latter-day Saints and their friends around the country,” said Gray.

Gray was in that first meeting on June 8, 1971.

Seven years later to the day, President Spencer W. Kimball announced the revelation that gave the priesthood to all men of the faith.

With racial divisions in our country now, KSL’s Carole Mikita asked him, “What do you say to people who are still confused about Black Latter-day Saints?”

Gray said he’s concerned about the rhetoric today.

“We are not coming together as children of God, and that’s reflected in the attitudes towards persons of color in the Church,” he said.

And not just Blacks, but Asian, Hispanic and Polynesian Latter-day Saints.

His advice?

“Your job is not to try and educate or change the minds and hearts of everyone around you who may find some difference or difficulty with you. That’s not your assignment. You are to love them,” he said. “Don’t lose God because someone else has had a distancing from God.”

This 50th anniversary, Darius Gray hopes, can be a reason to bring all Latter-day Saints together.

“Doing that which Father would have us do – support one another, love one another, be patient, be kind and be forgiving,” he said.

The Genesis 50th Anniversary Devotional is this Saturday evening in the Tabernacle.

It will be broadcast live on the Church’s website beginning at 6 p.m.

KSL 5 TV Live

Top Stories

Religion

...
Carole Mikita

Thousands of Virginia Latter-day Saints celebrate the rededicated Washington D.C. Temple

On Sunday morning, thousands of Latter-day Saints filled the D.C temple grounds to be part of the rededication with President Russell M. Nelson.
4 days ago
Zach guarded the Washington, D.C. temple construction site in the 70s. (KSL TV)...
Carole Mikita

Old story of temple guard dog recalled during rededication weekend for Washington D.C. Temple

The Washington, D.C. Temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has been closed for the last four years because of a renovation and then the pandemic. The First Presidency traveled to our nation's capitol this weekend to rededicate the temple.
4 days ago
The outside of the Washington, D.C. Temple on Saturday, August 13, 2022.
(2022 by Intellectual Rese...
Cary Schwanitz

President Nelson Rededicates the House of the Lord in Washington, D.C.

President M. Nelson of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints formally rededicated the Washington, D.C. Temple Sunday morning.
4 days ago
(The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints)...
Eliza Pace

Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints makes changes to ‘tithing settlement’

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints announced a change to its "tithing settlement," an annual end-of-year meeting of church members and their bishop.
7 days ago
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Office Building is pictured in Salt Lake City on Ju...
Tad Walch, Deseret News

Church responds to AP story on abuse of a child and reporting hotline

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints responded Friday to an Associated Press story about how the Church handled child sexual abuse cases in Arizona and West Virginia.
13 days ago
FILE: The Washington DC Temple. (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints)...
Josh Ellis

President Nelson to rededicate Washington DC Temple

The renovated Washington D.C. Temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints will be rededicated on Sunday, Aug. 14, by President Russell M. Nelson.
15 days ago

Sponsored Articles

tips how to quit smoking...

7 Tips How to Quit Smoking | Quitting Smoking Might be One of the Hardest Things You Ever Do but Here’s Where You Can Start

Quitting smoking cigarettes can be incredibly difficult. Here are 7 tips how to quit smoking to help you on your quitting journey.
Photo: Storyblocks...
Blue Stakes of Utah 811

Blue Stakes of Utah 811: 5 Reasons To Call 811 Before You Dig When Working in Your Yard

Call before you dig. Even at home, you could end up with serious injuries or broken utilities just because you didn't call Blue Stakes of Utah 811.
Days of...
Days of '47 Rodeo

TRIVIA: How well do you know your rodeo? Take this quiz before you go to the Days of ’47!

The Utah Days of ’47 Rodeo presented by Zions Bank is a one-of-a-kind Gold Medal Rodeo being held July 20-23, 25 at 7:30 PM. The Days of ’47 Rodeo How well do you know your rodeo trivia? Take the quiz to test your know-all before heading out to the Days of ’47 Rodeo at the […]
cyber security through multi factor authentication setup...
Les Olson IT

How multi factor authentication setup helps companies stay safe

Multi factor authentication (MFA) setup is an important security measure that every company should implement for their workers. It’s also wise to install it for your personal and home accounts.
...
Lighting Design

Check out these stunning lamps with stained glass shades

Lamps with stained glass shades are statement pieces that are more than simply aesthetic. They also meet a functional requirement: to light up a room.
Address Bar of internet browser shows internet access...
AARP Utah

Utah voters 50+ support increased access to Internet

The AARP surveyed Utah voters aged 50 plus about internet access and if they support the expansion of broadband, especially in rural areas currently lacking it.
The Genesis Group celebrates 50th anniversary