Top Mormon leaders to meet with NAACP’s national officers

(Trent Nelson | The Salt Lake Tribune) Dallin H. Oaks, Russell M. Nelson, and Henry B. Eyring at a news conference in the lobby of the Church Office Building in Salt Lake City on Tuesday, Jan. 16, 2018. Nelson was named the 17th president of the nearly 16 million-member Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Oaks was named first counselor in the First Presidency and Eyring second counselor.

In a potent symbol of openness, the LDS Church’s governing First Presidency will meet Thursday in Salt Lake City with national officers of the NAACP.

After the two sets of leaders huddle, they will issue “a joint statement,” according to a news release from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

The NAACP leaders’ visit to the Beehive State comes at an auspicious time for Mormon blacks. Next month marks the 40th anniversary of the end to the faith’s centurylong ban on black men and boys being ordained to its all-male priesthood and on black women being allowed in LDS temples.

On June 1, the church is hosting a “celebration” at the Conference Center in downtown Salt Lake City to mark that change.

The evening’s theme is “Be One” and will feature a message from a First Presidency member as well as stories of faith and music from Mormon convert Gladys Knight, Alex Boyé, the Bonner family, the Unity Gospel Choir International and members of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.

On June 2, a group of black Mormon scholars is hosting a daylong conference at 1535 E. Creek Road in Sandy. Titled “The Legacy of Black LDS Pioneers: Building Zion,” it will run from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. and focus on “the struggles, triumphs and overall legacy of black pioneers in the LDS Church.”

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