Sponsored by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Brigham Young University endorses the doctrine and beliefs of the Church. Those beliefs include, as expressed in scripture and by modern prophets and apostles, that “all are alike unto God,” who is “no respecter of persons” (Acts 10:34). BYU treasures the racial and cultural diversity of its students, faculty, and staff, all of whom contribute to the academic, social, and spiritual experience of the university.
However, the Church’s previous restrictions on the priesthood for men of black African descent, and the theories (since refuted) put forward to justify them, have left some in confusion as to the Church’s—and BYU’s—position on matters of race. (For a more comprehensive history and discussion of race and the priesthood, see the Church’s article, “Race and the Priesthood.”) Since 1978, when President Spencer W. Kimball announced that revelation had been received removing restrictions regarding race, there has come into the Church what Elder Bruce R. McConkie called “new light and knowledge” to replace limited or false understandings and interpretations of the previous restrictions.
This compilation of devotional addresses offers a unique historical and doctrinal perspective on the subject of race in the Church and at BYU. Included are several speeches given shortly after the 1978 revelation, addressing the change in policy and bearing testimony of its divine origin. They give an authentic look into a struggle for understanding within the Church, as well as an outpouring of gratitude among members of all races for a God who answers prayers. Many of these speeches also emphasize, whether given before or after the 1978 revelation, the constant truth that God’s love is irrespective of country or color, as is His commandment for each of us to love, serve, and respect one another.
Brigham Young University and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints condemn racism in theory and practice and seek an educational atmosphere where all are welcomed and valued, not only as students or employees, but as children of God with equally divine potential. The following speeches address this equality and divine potential that make up the fabric and foundation of Brigham Young University.