The First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and the national leadership of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) are calling for greater civility and racial harmony. Senior Church leaders and the NAACP released a joint statement Thursday morning following a meeting in the Administration Building on Temple Square in Salt Lake City.
“The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints continues to affirm its fundamental doctrine — and our heartfelt conviction — that all people are God’s precious children and therefore brothers and sisters,” said President Nelson.
“We compliment The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints for its good faith efforts to bless not only its members, but people throughout the United States and, indeed, the world in so many ways,” said Derrick Johnson, president and CEO of the NAACP. “These include humanitarian and welfare services, pioneering work in higher education and promoting the dignity of all people as children of God.”
In addition to Johnson, other NAACP leadership in attendance at the meeting included Leon W. Russell, chairman, board of directors; Wilbur O. Colom, senior advisor; Jeanetta Williams, local Utah chapter president; and Dr. Amos Brown, chairman of interfaith relations.
The NAACP and Church leaders are exploring a possible service project where local members of each organization can work together, as the Church does with a number of organizations. Current plans being considered are to increase education and wage improvement among members of a mutually identified community.
On Friday, Church leaders will host a luncheon for the NAACP and invited community members. On Sunday, the group will attend a special performance of “Music and the Spoken Word,” featuring the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and Orchestra at Temple Square.
The NAACP’s visit to Salt Lake City comes two weeks before the Church’s 40th anniversary celebration of the 1978 revelation on the priesthood, scheduled for June 1 at the Conference Center.
Read the full statements below:
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints continues to affirm its fundamental doctrine—and our heartfelt conviction—that all people are God’s precious children and are therefore brothers and sisters. Nearly a quarter century ago, the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles proclaimed that “All human beings—male and female—are created in the image of God. Each is a beloved spirit son or daughter of heavenly parents, and, as such, each has a divine nature and destiny.”
Today, in unity with such capable and impressive leaders as the national officials of the NAACP, we are impressed to call on people of this nation, and indeed, the entire world, to demonstrate greater civility, racial and ethnic harmony, and mutual respect. In meetings this morning, we have begun to explore ways—such as education and humanitarian service—in which our respective members and others can serve and move forward together, lifting our brothers and sisters who need our help, just as our Savior, Jesus Christ, would have us do. These are His words: “I say unto you, be one; and if ye are not one ye are not mine” (Doctrine and Covenants 38:27).
Together we invite all people, organizations, and governments to work with greater civility, eliminating prejudice of all kinds, and focusing more on the many areas and interests that we all have in common. As we lead our people to work cooperatively, we will all achieve the respect, regard, and blessings that God seeks for all of His children.
President Nelson, the statement you just made expresses the very core of our beliefs and mission at the NAACP. We admire and share your optimism that all peoples can work together in harmony and should collaborate more on areas of common interest. Thank you.
Like the Latter-day Saints, we believe all people, organizations and government representatives should come together to work through how to secure peace and happiness for all God’s children. Unitedly, we call on all people to work in greater harmony, civility and respect for the beliefs of others to achieve this supreme and universal goal.
We compliment The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints for its good faith efforts to bless not only its members, but people throughout the United States and, indeed, the world in so many ways. These include humanitarian and welfare services, pioneering work in higher education, and promoting the dignity of all people as children of God. We enthusiastically look forward to continuing association with the Church and its leaders, as indicated. We invite all people and organizations to follow our mutual example in coming together and finding ways to work in harmony and with greater civility. Thank you.