Monday marked the 42nd anniversary of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints extending to all worthy male members the rights of the priesthood. It was formally announced on June 9, 1978.

In a Facebook entry Monday afternoon, President Russell M. Nelson commented on the activities of the past weekend.

“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,” Nelson said. “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.”

Nelson added, “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!”

Just a year ago Nelson was the keynote speaker at the annual convention of the NAACP. At a 2018 press conference in Salt Lake City, NAACP President Derrick Johnson and Nelson issued a joint invitation for all people, organizations and governmental units to work with greater civility to eliminate prejudice of all kinds, and focus on important interests that we have in common.

In his Facebook entry, Nelson reflects on the life and ministry of Jesus Christ and how 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!” Nelson wrote. “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,” (2 Nephi 26:33). 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.”

Nelson noted that 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,” Nelson said. “Never has one wrong been corrected by a second wrong. Evil has never been resolved by more evil.”

Nelson said that individuals need to foster their 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,” Nelson said. “And we need to work tirelessly to build bridges of understanding rather than creating walls of segregation.”

Nelson pleaded for people to work together for peace, for mutual respect, and for an outpouring of love for all of God’s children.

Daily Herald reporter Genelle Pugmire can be contacted at gpugmire@heraldextra.com, (801) 344-2910, Twitter @gpugmire

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