Additional Resource

Morehouse College Peace Prize Award Acceptance Message

By President Russell M. Nelson


Morehouse College, a historically Black school in Georgia, gave its inaugural Gandhi-King-Mandela Peace Prize to President Russell M. Nelson of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on Thursday, April 13, 2023.

Dear Rev. Dr. Lawrence Edward Carter (Sr.), President David A. Thomas, patrons of the Martin Luther King Jr. International Chapel, and many other distinguished guests, what a privilege it is to join with you on this occasion. I am deeply honored to receive Morehouse College’s Inaugural Gandhi-King-Mandela Peace Prize. The individuals for whom this honor is named establish its significance. Each of these courageous individuals was a pioneer. Each championed human dignity for all men and women. Each lived up to the mission of this renowned chapel that stands as a citadel of peace.

That this distinguished chapel sits on the campus of Morehouse College is also significant. Morehouse College aims to educate students who will strive for academic achievement while also building strong character and high moral values. Thank you for this privilege to be included among those honored by this esteemed institution.

During my earlier career as a heart surgeon, I stood in an operating room thousands of times. I even cared for wounded soldiers in MASH units during the Korean War. I have literally touched the hearts of men and women of many races and nationalities around the world. My prayers to God for His guiding help, and the subsequent inspiration I received from Him, were vital in every instance. In those operating rooms — where life hung in the balance — I came to know that our Heavenly Father cares deeply for every one of His children. That’s because we are His children. Differences in nationality, color and culture do not change the fact that we are truly sons and daughters of God. And as a follower and witness of Jesus Christ, I have only come to understand that divine truth more deeply.

Rev. Carter, in your gracious letter of invitation, you recounted Joseph Smith’s political platform of “Compensation Emancipation” in his run for the American presidency. That was in the year 1844, the very year he gave his life as a martyr. We honor his vision.

Your letter also recounted the courage of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. with his “Drum Major Instinct” for reuniting the broken body of Christ.1

Today, we understand in a profound way, that no man or woman “should be in bondage one to another.”2

Together, we proclaim the nobility of each precious son and daughter of God. I have stated before, and repeat today, that racism, sexism and a host of other “isms” are universally and tragically limiting in the way we regard and treat each other.3

Any abuse or prejudice towards another because of race, nationality, gender, sexual orientation, culture or any other identifier is offensive to our Maker and defies the first and second great commandments — that we should love God with all our hearts and our neighbors as ourselves.4 We firmly believe in the fatherhood of God and the brotherhood of man.

I have traveled to 138 countries in my life. I can state without equivocation that God pours out His Spirit liberally upon all who seek Him. God does not love one race more than another. His feelings of inclusion are very clear. As recorded in the Book of Mormon, which I esteem as companion scripture to the Holy Bible, the Savior “invite(s) all to come unto Him and partake of his goodness; … he (denies) none that come unto him, black and white, bond and free, male and female; … all are alike unto God.”5

You, in representing this historic chapel, are striving to make this heavenly truth an earthly reality. For that, I commend you most sincerely!

We are all connected — very literally — as family. Thus, we have a God-ordained responsibility to make life better for each other.

We do not have to act alike or look alike to love each other. We can disagree on a matter without being disagreeable. If we have any hope of creating the goodwill and sense of humanity for which we all yearn, it must begin with each of us, one person and one interaction at a time.

May we as sons and daughters of God — as eternal brothers and sisters — do all within our power to build up each other, learn from each other and demonstrate respect for all of God’s children. May we link arms in love and brotherhood.

Dear friends, I thank you, love you and pray for you, in the sacred name of Jesus Christ, amen.

1. See Romans 12:5; 1 Corinthians 12:12, 27.

2. Doctrine and Covenants 101:79.

3. See Russell M. Nelson, “Choices for Eternity” [Worldwide Devotional for Young Adults with President Nelson, May 15, 2022],

4. See Matthew 22:37–40.

5. See 2 Nephi 26:33.

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