SALT LAKE CITY (AP) - Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints leader urged members to make faith an "oasis of unity" and celebrate diversity in speech Saturday at the faith signing conference to be held without the attendees
The speech was delivered as many of the 166 million adherents worldwide live through a toll of racial injustice, particularly in the United States where the police murder of black George Floyd sparked massive protests
Quentin L Cook, a member of a high-level steering committee called the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, did not mention the protests fueled by Black Lives Matter groups but passionately advocated for religion to become a big tent for people. of all racial and cultural origins
“We are all aware that we can do better, and it is our challenge to date We can be a force to uplift and bless society as a whole,” Cook said “At this pivotal moment of 200 years in the history of our church, let us commit as members of the Lord's church to live righteously and be united as never before"
He added: "With our Global Doctrine we can be an oasis of unity and celebrate diversity We can achieve greater unity by fostering an atmosphere of inclusion and respect for diversity
It echoed the message of Church President Russell M Nelson who since taking office in 2018 has preached for more racial harmony and mutual respect Nelson has launched a formal partnership with the NAACP
Cook did not mention the church's past ban on black men in the secular priesthood, a ban rooted in the belief that black skin was a curse The ban lasted until 1978 and remains one of the most sensitive issues in the history of the Faith
The church has disowned the ban and the reasons behind it in a