Video: Baptist pastor introduces President Nelson as 'a brother of another mother' at NAACP convention

(Church News, YouTube)

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SALT LAKE CITY — The more Rev. Amos Brown learns about President Russell M. Nelson, the more the Baptist pastor sees "incredible similarities" between himself and the man Latter-day Saint faithful believe to be God’s prophet.

"I have been assigned the task to introduce and present a brother of another mother, a different faith tradition and of a different race," Rev. Brown said before President Nelson spoke Sunday at the annual convention for the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.

Rev. Brown is the 17th pastor of the historic Third Baptist Church in San Francisco while President Nelson is the 17th president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Rev. Brown points out in a video released by The Church News Thursday.

But there’s one similarity between the two men of which Rev. Brown is especially fond. The song "Lift Every Voice and Sing," often known as "The Black National Anthem," and the Latter-day Saint hymn "Come, Come Ye Saints" both tell similar stories, he says.

“These two songs are about a people who, in spite of being oppressed, excelled, achieved and remained loyal to their God,” Rev. Brown remarked.

“Lift Every Voice and Sing,” was written by NAACP leader and civil rights activist James Weldon Johnson, then set to music by Johnson's brother, John. The first time it was performed was in 1900 to celebrate the anniversary of the birth of President Abraham Lincoln at a segregated school in Florida where Johnson was principal.

The song has since come to symbolize black culture and spirit and has even become the official song of the NAACP. The lyrics acknowledge the “stony” road traveled by those in the black community and were written at a pivotal time when Jim Crow laws were replacing slavery.

“Come, Come Ye Saints” is one of the most well-known Latter-day Saint hymns and also tells the story of a people driven from their home and persecuted by mobs. Written by William Clayton 54 years before “Lift Every Voice and Sing” was first performed, the hymn was often sung by Latter-day Saint pioneers who crossed the United States to escape persecution and eventually settled in what is now Utah.

"In that song, they didn’t get bitter, they became better. And they endured, and they sang, 'Come, come ye saints. No toil nor labor fear,'" Rev. Brown says in the video. “I love that phrase that says, 'Grace shall be as your day.' So 'gird up your loins, fresh courage take. Our God will never us forsake. And soon we’ll have this tale to tell — All is well. All is well.'"

The key for that peace today is found in loving cooperation, Rev. Brown added.

“It can be well in this nation when we lock arms, as I locked arms with President Nelson. Not as black and white, not as Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and Baptists, but as children of God who are about loving everybody and bringing hope, happiness and good health to all of God’s children.”

President Nelson echoed Rev. Brown’s sentiments during his address to the NAACP Sunday.

“True community begins … with loving our neighbor; with honoring and serving each other,” President Nelson told those at the convention Sunday. “May we go forward doing our best to exemplify the two great commandments — to love God and love each of His children. Arm in arm and shoulder to shoulder, may we strive to lift our brothers and sisters everywhere, in every way we can.”

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