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LDS Church, NAACP presidents meet, call for racial harmony

By Carter Williams, KSL.com | Posted - May 17th, 2018 @ 5:37pm


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SALT LAKE CITY — Presidents for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People met Thursday, calling for greater racial and ethnic harmony and ending prejudice.

"Together we invite all people, organizations and governmental units 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," LDS Church President Russell M. Nelson said. "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 met with NAACP President Derrick Johnson Thursday morning at the Church Administration Building, 47 E. South Temple. This meeting kicked off the NAACP's quarterly board meeting, which, according to the Deseret News, is being held in Salt Lake City for the first time.

The two organizations discussed ways their members could collaborate in education and humanitarian work.

"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," President Nelson said.

Johnson praised the church for the humanitarian, welfare, higher education and other work it has done to advance "the dignity of all people as children of God."

National President Derrick Johnson of the NAACP speaks with media following a press conference with the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Salt Lake City on Thursday, May 17, 2018. (Photo: Ravell Call, KSL)

"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," Johnson added.

The full statements can be read below:

President Nelson, LDS Church president:

"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. Thank you."

Derrick Johnson, NAACP president and CEO:

"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."

A website impersonating the LDS Church issued a statement shortly before the joint announcement. It was determined to be fake. Statements released by the LDS Church can be found at the actual LDS newsroom website, www.mormonnewsroom.org.

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Carter Williams, KSL.com

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