After months defined by racial tensions, peaceful protests and lawless riots in the United States and in other nations of the earth, President Russell M. Nelson declared that all people are equal in God’s eyes.
“Today, I call upon our members everywhere to lead out in abandoning attitudes and actions of prejudice,” said the leader of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on Sunday morning. “I plead with you to promote respect for all of God’s children.”
“Listen carefully to what I am about to say.”
“God does not love one race more than another,” he emphasized. “His doctrine on this matter is clear. He invites all to come unto Him, ‘black and white, bond and free, male and female’ (2 Nephi 26:33).
“I assure you that your standing before God is not determined by the color of your skin.
“Favor or disfavor with God is dependent upon your devotion to God and His commandments, and not the color of your skin.”
The question for all of God’s children, regardless of race, is the same, he said.
“Are you willing to let God prevail in your life? Are you willing to let God be the most important influence in your life? Will you allow His words, His commandments, and His covenants to influence what you do each day? Will you allow His voice to take priority over any other? Are you willing to let whatever He needs you to do take precedence over every other ambition? Are you willing to have your will swallowed up in His?”
“It certainly provides us with some principles to teach and emphasize, and some things to do to encourage that approach to ministering to one another,” he said.
Other Church leaders shared messages of hope and inspiration, and directly addressed current events like the pandemic, racism, and the political and civil unrest across the country.
The global pandemic required changes to General Conference, being held without a live audience in the Conference Center theater instead of the main auditorium for the second time.
President M. Russell Ballard, acting president of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, invited Church members to pray for the leaders of nations.
“Pray for the courageous people who are on the front lines in the current battles against social, environmental, political, and biological plagues,” he said.
Church leaders also shared messages of hope and peace during the current challenges facing the world, and called for members to speak more about Christ with those around them — on social media and with fellow Christians.
“Let us genuinely rejoice with them in our shared faith in Jesus Christ and in the New Testament scriptures we all love,” said Elder Neil L. Andersen of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. “In the days ahead, those who believe in Jesus Christ will need the friendship and support of one another.”
“We have every reason to rejoice, for our Lord and Savior is keenly aware of our troubles, cares, and sorrows,” said Sister Lisa L. Harkness, first counselor in the Primary General Presidency.
Many messages focused on encouragement during difficult times. That was seen throughout the conference as Church leaders addressed current events.