‘Mormon Land’: Russell M. Nelson didn’t apologize for past racial ban, but actions matter as well, says black LDS professor

(Lennie Mahler | Tribune file photo) LaShawn Williams speaks in a panel discussion in 2015.

Russell M. Nelson, president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, addressed the NAACP’s national convention this week.

His appearance came in the wake of a new partnership formed between the church and the country’s oldest civil rights organization and a year after the faith celebrated the 40th anniversary of the end of its centurylong ban on blacks holding the priesthood and entering temples.

No, Nelson did not apologize for that prohibition. Such words could have been a powerful moment, said LaShawn Williams, an African American Latter-day Saint and an assistant professor of social work at Utah Valley University. But actions count for something, too.

So what did this event signify, and what is the state of race relations within the Utah-based faith?

Williams addresses those questions and more. Listen here: