Elder Gary E. Stevenson joined the Salt Lake City branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) Monday to celebrate the work of civil rights hero Martin Luther King Jr.
In his keynote luncheon address at the Little America Hotel, the apostle of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints asked “that we fulfill the invitation of the Savior to love one another, for love is of God. … May we all strive to be our brother’s keeper, to foster civility and to emulate Christlike love.”
As he did last May in Washington, D.C., Elder Stevenson commended the NAACP for its work to advance equality and justice in society. He also expressed gratitude for the strong bond shared by the Church and the NAACP.
“We are all part of the same divine family,” Elder Stevenson said. “Our well-being is tied to our neighbor’s well-being.”
Elder Stevenson concluded his remarks by reading a Book of Mormon verse that fixes on the fundamental equality of all men and women in the eyes of God: “He inviteth … all to come unto him and partake of his goodness; and he denieth none that come unto him, black and white, bond and free, male and female; … and all are alike unto God” (2 Nephi 26:33).
Monday’s luncheon is the latest in a series of productive meetings between the two groups. In 2019, Church President Russell M. Nelson addressed the NAACP national convention in Detroit, President M. Russell Ballard of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles visited with NAACP representatives in New York City. In 2018, senior Church leaders joined top NAACP leaders in a joint call for civility. The groups have also gathered several times to consider and carry out joint education efforts in Chicago and San Francisco and other initiatives in Houston and Charlotte. The Church’s self-reliance services materials and programs have been customized to be most effective for the initiative.