Baptist minister speaks on overcoming prejudice in LDS church magazine
In an effort that reflects the ongoing friendship and common goals between The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, a special interview on overcoming prejudice is featured in the September digital and print Liahona magazine of the church.
In this unique conversation with The Rev. Amos C. Brown, Elder Jack N. Gerard of the Quorum of the Seventy sat down in the sanctuary of the Third Baptist Church of San Francisco to discuss how one can overcome prejudice.
The message is focused on members of the LDS Church globally.
Latter-day Saint leaders, including President Russell M. Nelson, have worked with Brown and others with the NAACP to promote civility and collaborate on educational and humanitarian projects.
In editor’s notes in the Liahona article, it states, “Overcoming attitudes and actions of prejudice so that we can become one in Christ begins with humility before God, better communication, greater understanding, and a willingness to work together.”
In the interview, the two faith leaders discussed ways that people of different backgrounds, faiths and races can work together to overcome prejudice.
Gerard noted that Nelson has said that individuals need to focus on doing everything they can together as followers of Jesus Christ to root out the evils of racism and prejudice throughout the world.
“We developed this inhumane, dichotomous attitude and actions of them against us, us against them. We have not mastered that pronoun we,” Brown responded. “We are family. We came from one Creator. And as the scripture says, we are all made of one blood.”
“This thing of racism in the world is a man-made, woman-made, nonsense expression,” Brown added. “Regardless of how different we may be with external features, we are one as human beings. Every person is endowed, imbued with the sacred, and we should respect the worth and dignity of all persons. And all peoples means all.”
Brown said that, “When we stay focused on Jesus, we will be able to rid our society, our congregations and the world of this evil action of man and woman’s inhumanity to each other. It’s all about love. What is love? Practical expressions of seeking, laboring untiringly for the best of the beloved.”
That means people need to be engaged with each other. Brown indicated that people tend to fear each other because they do not know each other, resulting in a lack of communication.
“We must communicate with each other, listen to each other, see each other, feel each other’s pain, and celebrate with each other in times of joy and accomplishment,” Brown said.
During the interview with Gerard, Brown noted that he had a special love for the LDS hymn “Come, Come, Ye Saints,” which he heard for the first time more than 50 years ago.
“That hymn embodies a statement of the struggle of the human family,” Brown said. “The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints went through struggle. Your congregation did not rest in the ruins of oppression. It did not just survive. It struggled to soar above the persecution that was inflicted by persons who didn’t like you because you were different.”
Gerard noted that Nelson has said that, “God does not love one race more than another. His doctrine on this matter is clear. He invites all to come unto Him.”
Nelson has called on members of the LDS Church to “lead out in abandoning attitudes and actions of prejudice.”
Gerard asked Brown what the best ways are to overcome prejudice.
“First, the regular person should be good to himself or herself by knowing that God loves them and they don’t have to take shortcuts to importance or to be mean to others by elevating oneself,” Brown said. “They need to say, ‘I’m going to use what I have for the good of others and not just myself.’ Many people are dying spiritually because they are focusing only on self, never concerned about the welfare of other selves.”
Brown said that it is simple: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. We reap what we sow. Injustice anywhere, as Dr. (Martin Luther) King said, gets around to affecting all of us everywhere. It is like the ripples of the waves. When you throw a pebble in the water, there are ripples. We ought to be about making positive ripples.”
“That’s what we have to do. Be kind, do the right thing, and love and respect all people. They are God’s opportunity for you to touch their messy situations and leave them better than they were before,” Brown added.
For the complete text and to see a video of a portion of the discussion between Brown and Gerard, visit http://churchofjesuschrist.org.