While you might think organizing, conducting, and speaking at a two-day worldwide conference broadcast to millions around the world in over 40 languages would be the enough to keep our Church leaders occupied this past weekend, that wasn't the case. They also met with senior leaders of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) on Friday, October 5, and Saturday, October 6, 2018.
These meetings are part of an ongoing friendship between The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and the NAACP, and the two groups discussed ways they could advance education and employment initiatives together. "The two groups worked on ways to customize the Church’s self-reliance services materials and programs to be most effective for the initiative," a press release from the NAACP states.
Church leaders gather for a breakfast meeting with leaders of the NAACP on Temple Square prior to the first session of general conference, Saturday, October 6, 2018.
In addition to these meetings, the NAACP also attended a breakfast hosted by Church leaders before attending the Saturday morning session of general conference. Dr. Amos C. Brown, who is also a pastor, "particularly enjoyed one of his favorite renditions by The Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square, 'Come, Come, Ye Saints,'" the press release states.
Since the Church and NAACP's first historic meeting this May, the two organizations have worked together to "explore ways . . . our respective members and others can serve and move forward together, lifting our brothers and sisters who need our help just as the Savior Jesus Christ would do," President Russell M. Nelson said.
Leon W. Russell, chairman of the NAACP board of directors (right), with Karen Boykin-Towns, vice chairman of the NAACP board of directors (left), in the Conference Center on Temple Square, Saturday, October 6, 2018.
Leon W. Russell, chairman of the NAACP Board of Directors, called the meeting between the NAACP and Church leaders "God-assisted." "No matter what your belief, sometimes you have to believe there is some direction coming. I believe that spiritually this was directed. It was meant to be, purposeful, and intended," he said. "It was mutual, let's say God-assisted, work. It so happened we were looking for ways to reach out, they were looking for ways to reach out, and we got connected, and so here we are."
About working with Church leaders, President Derrick Johnson said, "We started with the understanding that the loss of civility can paralyze any community. Now it is our opportunity to work with the LDS Church to look at ways we have common interests, common goals, based on our mission. We both think that humanity is important, that all individuals should be treated with dignity, and from our purchase, we are going to pursue ways we can increase the respect of each and every person within this country."