The petition for requiring a class on race and ethnicity at Brigham Young University addresses only part of a larger problem.

BYU culture does not exist in a vacuum. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has a history of racist doctrine based on Book of Mormon claims of Lamanites being cursed with a dark skin and of denial of priesthood and temple ordinances to African American members based on the biblical curse of Cain.

The racism of BYU students originates with the teachings and often implicit bias of their good Latter-day Saint parents and youth leaders. Church leaders need to figure out an honest way to deal with racist teachings of the past and write a clear policy disavowing those teachings.

Members need to hear that policy over the pulpit. Until that happens, Latter-day Saints will continue to stumble on racial issues no matter how many statements the church president makes condemning prejudice.

Ann Johnson, Salt Lake City