SALT LAKE CITY — This weekend, at the second General Conference where church members participated only through technology, leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints addressed various topics including the 2020 election, the violence that has broken out in nationwide protests, and rooting out racism.
President Russell M. Nelson implored church members at the end of the Sunday morning session.“Please listen carefully to what I am about to say. God does not love one race more than another. His doctrine on this matter is clear. He invites all to come unto him, ‘black and white, bond and free, male and female.”
He assured that one’s standing before God is not determined by skin color.
“I grieve that our Black brothers and sisters the world over are enduring the pains of racism and prejudice,” he said. “Today, I call upon our members everywhere to lead out in abandoning attitudes and actions of prejudice. I plead with you to promote respect for all of God’s children.”
President Nelson also addressed the novel coronavirus and its devastating impact on families.
“I grieve with each of you who has lost a loved one during this time, and I pray for all who are currently suffering,” he said.
Speaking of the growth of the Church, President Nelson said that ground will be broken on 20 new temples.
He then spoke optimistically about humanitarian opportunities that have come about due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We are gratified to report that the Church has provided pandemic humanitarian aid for 895 projects in 150 countries,” said Nelson.
Important life questions were addressed by other church leaders.
“What have we learned during these recent months of lifestyle adjustments and restrictions?” said Elder David A. Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. “What do we need to improve in our lives spiritually, physically, socially, emotionally, and intellectually?”
Sister Michelle D. Craig, First Counselor in the Young Women General Presidency, proposed that people ask themselves, “What am I doing that I should stop doing,” and “what am I not doing that I should start doing?”
Elder Quentin L. Cook of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles said we live in a time of strong division but are all equal to the Lord.
“The Savior’s ministry and message have consistently declared all races and colors are children of God. We are all brothers and sisters,” said Elder Cook.
Elder Gerrit W. Gong delivered his message through a prerecorded video due to his exposure to COVID-19.
President Dallin H. Oaks included in his message that members of the Church must do better to root out racism.
“This country should be better in eliminating racism, not only against Black Americans – who were most visible in the recent protests – but also against Latinos, Asians, and other groups,” said Oaks. “This nation’s history of racism is not a happy one, and we must do better.”
Addressing the upcoming presidential election, President Oaks referenced the Church’s Twelfth Article of Faith, written by the Prophet Joseph Smith after church members suffered severe persecution in Missouri, which talks about obeying and sustaining the law of the land.
He also spoke about Church members accepting the outcome of the election saying, “It also means that we peacefully accept the results of elections. We will not participate in the violence threatened by those disappointed with the outcome.
“In a democratic society, we always have the opportunity and the duty to persist peacefully until the next election,” he said.
President Oaks spoke further on the subject saying that there will always be differences among candidates and policies, but that followers of Christ must forego the anger and hatred in the political process.
He said that peaceful protests are protected under the constitution, but that protesters don’t have a right to destroy or steal property.
President Oaks said that these recent examples from the United States had principles that are applicable worldwide.