President Russell M. Nelson honors Martin Luther King Jr. Day online

President Russell M. Nelson honored Martin Luther King Jr. Day Monday by calling on people to abandon prejudiced attitudes and actions, a message repeated across all of the Church of Jesus Christ’s social media accounts. Christ of Latter Day Saints based in Salt Lake City, Utah.

President Nelson also honored his friendship with one of King’s students, the Reverend Dr. Amos C. Brown, himself a civil rights leader and pastor of San Francisco’s Third Baptist Church.

“I like to think that my friend Amos and I are, in a tiny way, the embodiment of Dr. King’s vision that people of different backgrounds and races can ‘sit together at the brotherhood,” President Nelson wrote on Facebook and instagram. (See full message included below).

A shorter message appeared on his Twitter account.

“Our joint efforts have shown that we have much more in common than issues that at first glance might seem to divide us. Both our organizations have learned lessons from the past. We were both willing to listen and learn from each other. Respect and cooperation produced the sweet fruit of reconciliation, admiration, service and sincere love.

Reverend Dr. Brown joined President Nelson last June when the Latter-day Saint leader announced a $9.25 million donation to the NAACP, United Negro College Fund (UNCF), and a scholarship to send students to Ghana to learn more about Black Americans and African History. President Nelson named the scholarship for Reverend Dr. Brown.

President Nelson and Reverend Dr. Brown and other NAACP leaders have made repeated joint calls for racial harmony over the past four years. After the death of George Floyd, they co-wrote an op-ed that called for change to end systemic racism.

In 2019, President Nelson came to the organization’s annual national convention to announce that the church wants to be “dear friends” of the NAACP.

Monday’s social media posts echoed President Nelson’s October 2020 message to the church’s worldwide biannual general conference, when he said, “Today I call upon our members all over the world to lead by example by abandoning prejudiced attitudes and actions. I plead with you to promote respect for all of God’s children.

President Nelson’s Twitter message emphasized that “the Book of Mormon teaches that ‘black and white, bound and free, male and female. . . all are alike to God.’”

The United States celebrates Martin Luther King, Jr. on the third Monday in January each year.

Also on Monday:

The Deseret News ran an op-ed by NAACP National Board Member Theresa A. Dear titled, “We Are Beholden to the Dreamer.” “We are indebted to Dr. King for resisting, rallying and working to repeal programs that are not fair for all,” she wrote.

At BYU, students and others gathered for the annual MLK Campus Community Awareness Day. The Bonner Family Choir performed, and then groups engaged in service projects across Utah County.

The NAACP Salt Lake Branch held its 38th Annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Luncheon and honored longtime civil rights activist Floyd Mori with its Dr. King Award and presented the Rosa Parks Award to the County Mayor of Salt Lake, Jenny Wilson.

Here is President Nelson’s full message as posted on Facebook and Instagram:

Over the past few years, I have developed a treasured friendship with the Reverend Amos C. Brown, pastor of the Third Baptist Church of San Francisco and member of the NAACP board of directors. Although I come from a different background, a different family and a different race, he affectionately refers to me as his “brother from another mother”.

Today we commemorate the birth of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. As one of eight students in the only class taught by Dr. King during his lifetime at Morehouse College, Amos Brown had a front row seat to the history and was shaped as he viewed the events of the civil rights movement through the lens of faith.

Amos and I have had several opportunities to give speeches together, collaborate on projects together, and even write an op-ed together for the Tampa Bay Times. In this article, we wrote the following:

“Our joint efforts have shown that we have much more in common than issues that at first glance might seem to divide us. Both our organizations have learned lessons from the past. We were both willing to listen and learn from each other. Respect and cooperation produced the sweet fruit of reconciliation, admiration, service and sincere love.

“Solutions will come as we open our hearts to those whose lives are different from our own, as we work to build bonds of genuine friendship, and see each other as the brothers and sisters that we are – for we we are all children of one loving God.

I like to think that my friend Amos and I are, in a tiny way, the embodiment of Dr. King’s vision that people of different backgrounds and races can “sit together at the fraternity”.

I reiterate what is taught in the Book of Mormon that “black and white, bond and free, male and female; … all are alike to God” (2 Nephi 26:33). May God continue to bless us as we work together to lead the abandonment of prejudiced attitudes and actions.

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