President Nelson Speaks of Loving Others, Accepting Differences in NAACP Speech

Russell M. Nelson, NAACP
President Nelson speaks at the 110th annual NAACP convention / via Newsroom

President Russell M. Nelson spoke of equality and unity, among other topics, on Sunday at the 110th annual national convention of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP).

“At a press conference . . . I explained that a fundamental doctrine and heartfelt conviction of our religion is that all people are God’s children,” said President Nelson. “We truly believe that we are brothers and sisters—all part of the same divine family.

“At that same press conference, President Derrick Johnson [the NAACP’s president and CEO] and I 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.

“Simply stated, we strive to build bridges of cooperation rather than walls of segregation.”

The Church has made their collaboration with the NAACP a “high priority” over the past year and a half, according to Newsroom. The Church has worked with the NAACP to provide greater education opportunities for underprivileged African Americans, specifically those in inner cities. These efforts included customizing the self-reliance initiative to those specific circumstances.

Acts such as these and many others, including the Church’s push to encourage African American genealogy work, echo the prophet’s words: the Church is striving to build bridges between people of all different backgrounds and beliefs.

“We are all connected, and we have a God-given responsibility to help make life better for those around us,” said President Nelson. “We don’t have to be alike or look alike to have love for each other. We don’t even have to agree with each other to love each other. If we have any hope of reclaiming the goodwill and sense of humanity for which we yearn, it must begin with each of us, one person at a time.”

President Nelson further explained that true community begins “with loving our neighbor; with honoring and serving each other. This is the spirit behind the cooperation shared by the NAACP and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.”

While President Nelson’s speech was somewhat brief at 9 minutes, the message he shared of goodwill and kindness will not soon be forgotten as we strive to implement greater equality and love into all of our interactions with those of other races, faiths, and cultures.