Of One Heart and One Mind

A Faithful Conversation about Race, Sexual Orientation, and Gender Identity

A special fireside co-sponsored by North Star and Blacks in the Scriptures.

Latter-day Saints endeavor to “mourn with those that mourn” and “comfort those that stand in need of comfort” (Mosiah 18:9). Even among our own, we find that not all feel welcome or wanted, that some carry difficult crosses and need the assistance of our fellow Latter-day Saints to carry the load that God has called upon them to bear.

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Latter-day Saints who deal with same-sex attraction carry a heavy burden, living as they do in a society dominated by those who do not often understand or appreciate their struggle. Recently, three apostles, Elders D. Todd Christofferson, Jeffrey R. Holland, and Dallin H. Oaks, and Sister Neill F. Marriott of the Church’s Young Women general presidency, delivered a press conference that called for Latter-day Saints to support anti-discrimination legislation on behalf of those who identify as gay or lesbian. In conjunction with this, Latter-day Saints have been called upon to use the MormonsandGays.org website to reach out to their SSA/LGBTQ-identified brothers and sisters. Elder Christofferson mentioned that this site has been “underutilized” in our outreach efforts.

Additionally, Latter-day Saints have long endeavored to talk with their fellow Latter-day Saints as well as non-Latter-day Saints about the issues undergirding the priesthood and temple restriction on those of African descent. To assist members in discussing this issue, the First Presidency authorized the release of the Gospel Topics essay entitled, “Race and the Priesthood,” to provide an introductory explanation of the origins, scope, and termination of the restriction.

As members well-versed in these issues and committed to self-improvement, we want to help Latter-day Saints become more conversant in using these resources, as well as understanding the personal experiences of those whom they describe.

To do this, we seek have organized a fireside for March 8, 2015 at 7:00 P.M., in which Latter-day Saints from the African-American community and North Star—a support ministry for those who experience same-sex attraction or gender dysphoria (i.e., transgenderism) and their families—will offer their experiences, insights, and counsel for helping Latter-day Saints improve in their relationships with these minority groups. We seek to build Zion, to bind ourselves into a community that is “of one heart and one mind” (Moses 7:18).

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