zMormon Newsroom

Finding Unity in Diversity

17 December 2018


The First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and the national leadership of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) came together on important issues in 2018. The groups met several times throughout the year to advance efforts on a joint education and employment initiative. In May, both groups called for greater civility and racial harmony. In July, Elder Jack N. Gerard was invited to make remarks at the NAACP 109th annual national meetings in San Antonio, Texas.

"We envision joint NAACP and LDS activities and projects all over this nation,” Elder Gerard told members of the NAACP. “We do not intend to be a flash in the pan; that is not our style, and we know it's not yours."


In June the Church held a celebration for the 40th anniversary of the revelation on the priesthood. The event was titled “Be One,” a reference to Latter-day Saint scripture where Jesus says, “Be one; and if ye are not one ye are not mine” (Doctrine and Covenants 38:27).

“Only the comprehension of the true Fatherhood of God can bring full appreciation of the true brotherhood of men and the true sisterhood of women,” said Church President Russell M. Nelson. “That understanding inspires us with passionate desire to build bridges of cooperation instead of walls of segregation.”


Interfaith outreach for the year included Elder D. Todd Christofferson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles at the G20 Interfaith Forum in Argentina. He spoke about how the Church of Jesus Christ helps foster self-reliance. “Someone who lacks sufficient food cannot pursue an education,” he said. “The ultimate goal is always to foster greater dignity, self-sufficiency, and independence. … People who are self-reliant can better serve in their communities and make valuable contributions to their societies and nations.”

Other interfaith efforts included Jewish leaders touring welfare operations and a new Latter-day Saint temple in Utah, Elder Jeffrey R. Holland with Jewish leaders in Argentina, an interfaith devotional in Hawaii with Marie Osmond and a statement of support for the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh.


In November, Church leaders welcomed the NCAA Common Ground Executive Committee to Temple Square. Common Ground brings together LGBTQ advocates and athletic administrators, largely from faith-based institutions, to explore the issues of religious freedom and sexual orientation on college campuses in the United States.

The same month on the other side of the world, several Church leaders joined more than 200 global religious leaders, politicians and experts in Baghdad, Iraq, for a conference designed to raise worldwide support to end religious persecution.

Return to 2018 Year in Review of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints