SALT LAKE CITY — In a social media post on Monday, President Russell M. Nelson of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints said the church is joining “with many throughout this nation and around the world who are deeply saddened at recent evidences of racism and a blatant disregard for human life.”
Over the last week, protests have been happening throughout the United States and the world over the death of George Floyd, a black man who died while in police custody in Minneapolis. An officer knelt on Floyd’s neck for nearly nine minutes. The officer has been charged.
President Nelson’s message condemns racism, saying, “We abhor the reality that some would deny others respect and the most basic of freedoms because of the color of his or her skin.”
The message also addressed the recent protests that have led to violence in a number of cities, including in Salt Lake City, saying that such acts cannot be tolerated.
“Never has one wrong been corrected by a second wrong,” President Nelson said.
President Nelson’s entire post reads:
“We join with many throughout this nation and around the world who are deeply saddened at recent evidences of racism and a blatant disregard for human life. We abhor the reality that some would deny others respect and the most basic of freedoms because of the color of his or her skin.
“We are also saddened when these assaults on human dignity lead to escalating violence and unrest.
“The creator of us all calls on each of us to abandon attitudes of prejudice against any group of God’s children. Any of us who has prejudice toward another race needs to repent!
“During the Savior’s earthly mission, He constantly ministered to those who were excluded, marginalized, judged, overlooked, abused, and discounted. As his followers, can we do anything less? The answer is no! We believe in freedom, kindness, and fairness for all of god’s children!
“Let us be clear. We are brothers and sisters, each of us the child of a loving Father in Heaven. His son, the Lord Jesus Christ, invites all to come unto Him — ’black and white, bond and free, male and female.’ It behooves each of us to do whatever we can in our spheres of influence to preserve the dignity and respect every son and daughter of God deserves.
“Any nation can only be as great as its people. That requires citizens to cultivate a moral compass that helps them distinguish between right and wrong.
“Illegal acts such as looting, defacing, or destroying public or private property cannot be tolerated. Never has one wrong been corrected by a second wrong. Evil has never been resolved by more evil.
“We need to foster our faith in the Fatherhood of God and the brotherhood of man.
“We need to foster a fundamental respect for the human dignity of every human soul, regardless of their color, creed, or cause.
“And we need to work tirelessly to build bridges of understanding rather than creating walls of segregation.
"I plead with us to work together for peace, for mutual respect, and for an outpouring of love for all of God’s children.”
This is far from the first time President Nelson has made a call for unity and love. Since becoming church president in early 2018, President Nelson has made the relationship with the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and the African-American community a high priority.
In May 2018, he met with NAACP President Derrick Johnson in Salt Lake City to “call on people of this nation, and indeed, the entire world, to demonstrate greater civility, racial and ethnic harmony and mutual respect.”
The church has met with the NAACP to pursue joint education efforts in Chicago and San Francisco as well as employment initiatives in Houston and Charlotte.
In February 2018, the church donated $2 million to the International African American Museum, which is set to open in 2022 in Charleston, South Carolina.
Last July, President Nelson spoke at the NAACP national convention, stating differences among people and cultures shouldn’t be a roadblock to respect and admiration.
“We don’t have to be alike or look alike to have love for each other,” he said at the time. “We don’t even have to agree with each other to love each other. If we have any hope of reclaiming the goodwill and sense of humanity for which we yearn, it must begin with each of us, one person at a time.”
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