President Oaks of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints speaks at BYU; Addresses racism and COVID-19

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Courtesy of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (ABC4 News) – President Dallin H. Oaks of the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints spoke at Brigham Young University Tuesday morning. During his address, he discussed many topics such as anxiety, COVID-19, and racism.

“The shocking police-produced death of George Floyd in Minnesota last May was surely the trigger for these nationwide protests, whose momentum was carried forward under the message of ‘Black Lives Matter,’” said President Oaks. “Of course, Black lives matter! That is an eternal truth all reasonable people should support.”

During his campus-wide devotional address, Oaks reiterated recent teachings of the Church President Russell M. Nelson such as:

  • “God does not love one race more than another.”
  • “Favor or disfavor with God is dependent upon your devotion to God and His commandments, and not the color of your skin.”
  • We should “build bridges of cooperation instead of walls of segregation.”
  • “Any of us who has prejudice toward another race needs to repent!”
  • Latter-day Saints should “lead out in abandoning attitudes and actions of prejudice toward any group of God’s children.”

“Only the gospel of Jesus Christ can unite and bring peace to people of all races and nationalities,” he said. “We who believe in that gospel — whatever our origins — must unite in love of each other and of our Savior Jesus Christ.”

President Oaks then went on to say that some people’s efforts to erase from history people associated with slavery may ‘accomplish nothing but a bow to the cause of political correctness’. President Oaks then instead encouraged ‘inspiration, education, and clear thinking’.

“The predecessors of many Americans of different backgrounds made great sacrifices to establish this nation,” he said. “Whatever those sacrifices — of freedom, property, or even life — let us now honor them for what they have done for us and forgo quarrelling over the past. Ours is the duty to unite and improve the future we will share.”

President Oaks then went on to discuss the topics of anxiety and COVID-19, especially as it pertains to young adults. He said that at BYU and throughout the Church Education System, that an increasing number of students are seeking counseling or mental health services.

“Whatever the causes of large increases in anxiety and associated mental health diagnoses, our first line of defense is always our faith in the Lord Jesus Christ,” President Oaks said. “Instead of being swept along in the anxiety and fear that is characteristic of your generation, rely on the assurances of a loving Heavenly Father. Rely on the counsel of His loving Son, a Savior who has assured us that ‘if ye are prepared, ye shall not fear’.”

President Oaks concluded his remarks by inviting all to ‘heed our prophet’s call to repent, to change, and to improve’. He went on to say that he wants to help each person to accept the invitation to become more Christlike and to then achieve looking at others, loving them, and acting towards them as Christ would do.

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