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Devotional: Racism and other challenges

Read the full text of President Oaks’ talk, titled “ Racism and Other Challenges.

President Dallin H. Oaks, First Counselor in the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, delivered Tuesday’s devotional address. He spoke about how to address racism and other current social challenges.

President Oaks first pointed to increased anxiety, which can lead to doubt and despair, as one of the more significant challenges for younger generations. He told a story of a young man studying within a competitive major who questioned his ability to handle projects, tests and assignments. His anxiety caused him to doubt his ability and question if he was good enough, academically, spiritually and socially. He worked very hard, sought competent medical help, prayed, accepted support from friends and loved ones and soon was able to believe more in himself.

“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,” President Oaks said. “Rely on the counsel of His loving Son, a Savior who has assured us that ‘if ye are prepared, ye shall not fear.’”

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic also presents many challenges for society. The pandemic has affected employment, educational, financial and social opportunities. Adults, young and old, have been sick, confined to their living spaces or limited in other endeavors.

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“Please do your part in what is required in these unusual circumstances,” President Oaks said. “And remember that some of the burdensome restrictions, including even the wearing of masks, are not only for your immediate protection but also for the well-being of those around you.”

Another challenge facing the rising generation is the problem of racism. President Oaks emphasized that acting as if one race is better than another goes against God’s law, pointing to President Russell M. Nelson’s recent charge in the latest October general conference for “members everywhere to lead out in abandoning attitudes and actions of prejudice toward any group of God’s children.”

“Of course, Black lives matter!” President Oaks said. “That is an eternal truth all reasonable people should support.”

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Sometimes the words “Black lives matter,” he stated, are used or understood to stand for other things that do not connote this universal support, like abolishing the police or changing the constitutional government. President Oaks said that while these examples are appropriate subjects for advocacy, they don’t all fit under the universally acceptable message of “Black lives matter.”

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

Next Devotional: 

Jamie Jensen, associate professor in the College of Life Sciences, will deliver the devotional at 11:05 a.m. on Tuesday, November 3.

Marriott Center attendance will be limited to students, faculty and staff who acquire ticketed seats. Jensen’s remarks will be broadcast live on BYUtv, BYUtv.org, Classical 89 FM (89.1 FM) and BYUradio (107.9 FM).

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