An unprecedented, church-wide celebration on June 1, 2018, celebrating the revelation extending the priesthood to all worthy men in the Church, will feature not only messages from the First Presidency but also performances by the "Empress of Soul" Gladys Knights, Alex Boye, the Unity Gospel Choir International, members of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, and the Bonner family — an LDS family of 10 who previously worked as Baptist ministers in Africa before joining the Church.
The theme of the celebration is "Be One." "I say unto you, be one," the new Church website about the event reads, quoting Doctrine and Covenants 38:27.
As President Russell M. Nelson wrote during his world tour, "We are brothers and sisters in every sense of the word. . . . We are His children, created in His image. We don't look alike. That's good. We have individual identities, spiritually and physically, but we are His children."
Other Church leaders have similarly spoken out about embracing all within the Church. President M. Russell Ballard said, “We need to embrace God’s children compassionately and eliminate any prejudice, including racism, sexism, and nationalism. Let it be said that we truly believe the blessings of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ are for every child of God.”
A new video released by the Church speaks of these powerful truths:
Gladys Knight is a seven-time Grammy Award-winner with a star on the Hollywood walk of fame, and she converted to the LDS Church in 1997 after her daughter joined the Church and invited her to Relief Society. “After a while, Kenya told me, ‘Mom, it’s time for you to talk to the missionaries,’” she says. And so she did.
“When the missionaries came to my house, we had the most beautiful prayer,” Knight recalls. “I loved the fact that when they came in they did not try to sell me on the Church—they just told me about the gospel. My mom, who I consider to be the most spiritual woman I’ve ever met, wasn’t a member, but she said, ‘You go.’ Those were basically her last words.”
YouTube sensation Alex Boye and the Bonner family use their talents to share their faith through music. For tickets to the event go to BeOne.lds.org.
About this website, Mormon Newsroom says:
In scripture, Jesus tells us to “be one; and if ye are not one ye are not mine.” . . .
The 1978 revelation was a truly monumental day in the history of the Church and the world. President Spencer W. Kimball, the Lord’s prophet on the earth at that time, announced that the opportunity to receive all the blessings of the priesthood would be extended to all of God's children everywhere in the world.
While the June celebration will hail the history of black Mormon pioneers and reaffirm the reality that “all are alike unto God” in His global family, the event is intended to be much more than a celebration. It will also be a renewal of our collective commitment to pursue oneness in our relationships with each other and with heaven.
Along with the invitation, the website features the Official Declaration 2, which extended the priesthood to all worthy male members of the Church, and the Church's groundbreaking "Race and the Priesthood" essay, which clarifies Church history and doctrine regarding race, stating, "Today, the Church disavows the theories advanced in the past that black skin is a sign of divine disfavor or curse, or that it reflects unrighteous actions in a premortal life; that mixed-race marriages are a sin; or that blacks or people of any other race or ethnicity are inferior in any way to anyone else. Church leaders today unequivocally condemn all racism, past and present, in any form."
The website also features prominently the stories of black pioneers like Jane Manning James, a convert to the Church who sacrificed much to build up Zion in Illinois and Utah, and Elijah Abel, one of the first black Latter-day Saints to hold the priesthood and the first African-American elder and Seventy in the Church.