Mormons denounce racism twice at church conference

People attend the morning session of the two-day Mormon church conference Saturday, Sept. 30, 2017, in Salt Lake City. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — High-ranking Mormon leaders condemned racism twice during the religion’s conference.

M. Russell Ballard of a top governing body called the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles said in a speech Sunday that people need to “embrace God’s children compassionately and eliminate any prejudice, including racism, sexism, and nationalism.”

Ballard hailed the story of black Mormon pioneer Jane Manning James, daughter of a freed slave who helped establish the religion’s home in Utah.

Fellow Quorum member Quentin L. Cook said on Saturday that anyone claiming superiority based on race, sex, language or economic class is “morally wrong.”

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints still deals with questions about their views on race, in part because the faith banned men of African descent from the lay clergy until 1978.

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