“A Commitment to Unity and Love,” Ensign, July 2018
Festive music, dance, and faith-promoting messages at the “Be One” celebration, commemorating the 40th anniversary of the 1978 revelation that all worthy male members of the Church could be ordained to the priesthood, served as a reminder of the transcendent power of togetherness through Christ. The event was held in the Conference Center on Friday, June 1, 2018.
President Russell M. Nelson summarized the spirit of the occasion when he said that all are equal in God’s eyes and all have the same opportunities in the gospel. “On every continent and across the isles of the sea, faithful people are being gathered into The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints,” he said. “Differences in culture, language, gender, race, and nationality fade into insignificance as the faithful enter the covenant path and come unto our beloved Redeemer.”
“Be One” was both a call to and a recommitment to unity and love. “We realize that only the comprehension of the true Fatherhood of God can bring full appreciation of the true brotherhood of men and the true sisterhood of women,” President Nelson said. (Read President Nelson’s full remarks.)
President Dallin H. Oaks, First Counselor in the First Presidency, also spoke, describing how he wept for joy when he learned of the revelation. He said it was an event of such magnitude that it is etched in his memory.
He said the revelation brought “new impetus to fulfill the command that we are to teach the everlasting gospel unto all—to ‘all nations, kindreds, tongues and people’ (D&C 42:58),” and said celebrating the 40th anniversary of the revelation is about looking forward, trusting “in the Lord’s promise that ‘he inviteth them all to come unto him and partake of his goodness; and he denieth none that come unto him, black and white, bond and free, male and female’ (2 Nephi 26:33; emphasis added).” (Read President Oaks’s full remarks.)
The celebration featured a wide-ranging variety of singing, music, dancing, and dramatized histories. The histories told of LDS African American pioneers, such as Jane Manning James and Elijah Abel, and Brazilian-born Helvécio Martins, the first General Authority of African descent. They highlighted key figures in the African nations, Brazil, and the Caribbean who built the first foundations of the gospel in their native lands. Prolific missionary work and temple building can now be found in many lands with large populations of African descent.