Genesis Magazine Article Archive
Presidency Messages
Cover Stories
  • Jane Manning James Monument Dedicated—On Friday, April 1, the Genesis Group—along with the Missouri Mormon Frontier Foundation, under the direction of Hugh J. Barlow and William J. Curtis—dedicated the completed Jane Manning James monument in the Salt Lake Cemetery, located in Salt Lake's Avenues area. Associated articles:
  • Annual Genesis Women's Conference—"Writing Your Own Story. . . Finding the Spirit Through Journaling" was the theme of the April 30 conference, at which members of the Genesis Relief Society presidency taught sisters the importance of writing their experiences in their own words, learning from the relationships in their lives, and creating a spirit in the home conducive to recording the sacred experiences of life.
  • Elder Helvecio Martins Dies in Brazil—Elder Helvecio Martins, 75—the first General Authority of African descent—died May 14 in Sao Paulo, Brazil, of heart problems. In memorializing this humble man of God, Elder Neil L. Andersen of the Seventy, president of the Brazil South Area, said, "Elder Helvecio Martins was a living example of Alma 13:3: 'called and prepared from the foundation of the world according to the foreknowledge of God.'"
  • Gladys Knight Given BET Lifetime Achievement Award—Gladys Knight was given the Black Entertainment Television (BET) Lifetime Achievement Award in a star-studded ceremony at the Kodak Theatre in Hollywood. Read Gladys Knight's acceptance comments, spoken to a standing ovation, which underscore her dedication to the gospel.
  • Nigerian Saints Celebrate Temple Dedication—For Nigerian Latter-day Saints, August 7, 2005, will always be remembered as the day that President Gordon B. Hinckley dedicated the Aba Nigeria Temple as a house of the Lord. More than 7,000 members of the Church crowded into the temple and the adjacent Aba Nigeria Stake Center to participate in one of four dedication sessions.
    • Read the full text of President Hinckley's dedicatory prayer.
    • Find out about how some 1,500 Nigerian Latter-day Saints, wearing traditional African attire and dancing the traditional dances of Africa, celebrated a "Day of Rejoicing" with President Hinckley on the temple grounds the day before the temple was dedicated.
    • Read the reactions of faithful Nigerian Saints as they prepare to begin the temple work they have waited so long to perform in their own land.
  • Church Growth Continues in Africa—In spite of humble beginnings and challenging circumstances, Church membership in Africa is on the rise. As Elder James O. Mason, then of the Seventy, said, “Yes, in spite of challenges, the work of the Lord moves forward steadily in Africa.” Find out about strides the Church is making on the continent, as well as Church membership for individual countries.
  • Harlem's New Building Helps Growing Membership—The new 33,000-square-foot facility was built on the corner of 128th Street and Lenox Avenue, and the two Harlem wards began meeting in the building on Nov. 6., with dedication services on Dec. 4. The creation of the Harlem 1st Branch in July 1997 was an act of mountain-moving faith, and there were times during those early years when it appeared the branch wouldn't survive. In those early days, members and missionaries met in the back room of the world-renowned soul-food restaurant, Sylvia's. Today, distances haven't changed much, but the stunning design of the new meetinghouse represents the dynamic growth of the Church in Harlem. Read about the open house and the reaction of Harlem residents. Read, too, what the New York Times reported about the Church and its new meetinghouse.
  • Conversion and Testimony Series—Finding the Restored Gospel, Keeping Sacred Promises Made to the Lord—"There are several ways to travel down the same straight and narrow path. You can walk with your head high, one foot in front of the other, soaking in the sun and the beauty with every stride. Or, you can inch yourself along on your upset belly, making mud with your tears and wondering when you will stop having the taste of dirt in your mouth. The way we travel down the path has nothing to do with what happens to us along the way; it has everything to do with what we want for ourselves in spite of it." With these words, Lisa Hau'oli Frost begins the story of how she was led to the restored gospel—and how, despite crippling losses in her life, she found the strength to stay true to the promises she had made to the Lord. Enjoy this first in our series of conversion stories and testimonies!
  • "I Have a Dream"—Nation Celebrates Birth, Life, and Dream of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.—It took 15 years to create the federal Martin Luther King, Jr., holiday. Congressman John Conyers, Democrat from Michigan, first introduced legislation for a commemorative holiday four days after King was assassinated in 1968. Conyers and Rep. Shirley Chisholm, Democrat of New York, resubmitted King holiday legislation each subsequent legislative session. Congress passed the holiday legislation in 1983, which was then signed into law by President Ronald Reagan. In his memory, we offer the text of his "I Have a Dream" speech, delivered on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C., on August 28, 1963.
  • Walk of Life: Community Honors Dream, Works of King—At dusk on Provo's Brigham Young University campus, people of all races gathered, took up candles, and participated in the annual "Walk of Life" to honor the dream of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. BYU's Black Student Union led the activities, with choir performances, a recitation of King's "I Have a Dream" speech and guest speakers. BYU law professor and Genesis member Marguerite Drissen said while it's good to honor King and others who came before and after him, it's also important to look forward. "Yes, let us look back, but don't only look back. Look forward to what you want the world to be when you've been gone 30 years, or 40 years, or 50 years," she said. "Go out and be a participant in the dialogue, be a part of the activities." Read what the Provo Daily Herald reported about the event.
  • Black History Month Begins—Celebrate with Jane Manning James Story—A few years before her death, Black pioneer Jane Manning James dictated her life story to Elizabeth J. D. Roundy, concluding it with these words: "[M]y faith in the gospel of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is as strong today—nay, it is if possible stronger—than it was the day I was first baptized. I pay my tithes and offerings, keep the Word of Wisdom. I go to bed early and arise early. I try in my feeble way to set a good example to all." Margaret Blair Young said, “Those of us who have come to love Jane James know that her example has nothing feeble in it. Jane’s life was simply remarkable.” Before finding welcome in the Joseph and Emma Smith household, the Manning family encountered “all kinds of hardship, trial and rebuff,” but Jane focuses on meeting Joseph Smith, who she recognized from a dream she had had in Connecticut. When he found her weeping. he asked, “Why, not crying? We dry up tears here.” To celebrate the beginning of Black History Month, we share her marvelous life here in her own words, as transcribed by Elizabeth J.D. Roundy. Note: "Jane Manning James—Your Sister in the Gospel," the short documentary directed by Scott Freebairn and co-produced with Genesis members Darius Gray and Margaret Young, won third place in the LDS Film Festival 2006, Short Film Competition.
  • Conversion and Testimony Series: Ahmad S. Corbitt—Lighting the Fire Within —African-Americans are the new pioneers of the Church, those who are the first trickle of what will ultimately become a flood. They promise to bring to the Church a new cultural dimension and a broader reach than ever before. And there is perhaps no better embodiment of that reality than Ahmad S. Corbitt, the public affairs director for the northeast area of the Church and the new stake president of the Cherry Hill, New Jersey stake. He is a spokesman for the Church who is not only smart, competent, warm, and disarmingly sincere in his complete devotion to the gospel, but also, incidentally, Black. “I think the Lord’s spirit is being poured out upon all flesh in fulfillment of the prophecy of Joel," he says. "We are seeing a marked increase within the Black community, the Latin American and Hispanic community, among Asians and Polynesians. It thrills me and I think it will only increase. Because of my own personal experience, I absolutely want this joy for others. I feel like Lehi. I’ve partaken of the fruit, I know that it is good. I want to look around and find others and call them to the tree." Read his conversion story, which originally appeared in Meridian Magazine.
  • Alvin B. Jackson, Jr.—The Bishop is Always In—Bishop Alvin B. Jackson’s initial contact with the Church came through his wife, a Mormon who was then a University of Utah student completing an internship in Washington, D.C. When he attended her church for the first time in the Washington DC Ward, he immediately noticed the diversity of the congregation. “They were all different colors, shapes, and sizes,” he recalls, “and I immediately felt welcome.” He agreed to help coach the Young Men basketball program, where he developed an association with LDS teenagers and youth leaders that changed his entire outlook on life. “It was the youth program that drew me into the Church,” he points out, adding that it was the youth who also converted him. “I worked with these young people and learned the basics of the gospel along with them. The more I became involved, the more I saw how the Church changed lives, especially among teenagers. It gave people hope.” Read more about this dynamic bishop in an article that originally appeared in Meridian Magazine. To read excerpts from a recent sermon delivered by Bishop Jackson, click here.
  • Marvin Perkins—How to Reach African-Americans—Two independent studies list African-Americans as the number-one culture in the United States when it comes to seeking religion. One of those studies revealed that African-Americans led in seven of twelve spirituality categories. Why, then, are too many African-Americans refusing to take the missionary discussions? Or to commit to baptism after taking the missionary discussions? And why are too many African-Americans leaving the Church—sometimes years after joining? Marvin Perkins, co-chair of Genesis Public Affairs, gives some compelling reasons why—and provides a solid presentation on how to reach those of our Heavenly Father's children who are struggling with traditional "Black" issues. Included is a summary of scriptures that show we are truly alike unto God, and a discussion of how continuing revelation has provided new understanding. If you're a missionary, a person who is interested in sharing the gospel, a soul who is devoted to understanding the truth, or someone who has struggled with these issues yourself, you can't afford to miss this insightful presentation!
  • Randy Cutliff—Becoming Knitted in Unity and Love—When President Hinckley used his conference address to challenge the Church to overcome racism, many seemed shocked that such attitudes still exist in the Church. President Randy Cutliff, a senior auditor for the Church, explains why racism is such a difficult barrier for some to overcome—and issues a challenge for us to become "knitted in unity and love" as admonished in the scriptures. When Alma and his people succeeded in becoming knitted together, they became "the children of God.” How can we do the same thing with the multitude of different races and cultures that make up the Church of the Saints? Read President Cutliff's comments and ideas here.
  • A Black Man in Zion—Personal Reflections on Race, the Restored Gospel—As a Black man of mixed African and European ancestry, Marcus Martins has been a member of the Church since 1972. He was the first Black to serve a full-time mission after the revelation that extended the priesthood to all worthy men; he was also among the first to be ordained a high priest and to be ordained a bishop. Currently chair of the Department of Religious Education at BYU-Hawaii, he is the first Black to be a religion professor at a Church-owned university. In this thought-provoking essay, read how he has come to terms with "the race issue," and why he has chosen to focus his attention on teaching the gospel and helping others to obey the commandments of God—"the only way to peace and happiness in this life."
  • LDS Cadet Jason Walker Puts Lord First, Excels at Air Force Academy—Cadet First Class Jason Walker serves as the 2007 Cadet Vice Wing Commander, the second-highest-ranking cadet at the United States Air Force Academy. In a student body of nearly 4400 cadets, there are just more than a hundred Latter-day Saints—and only two of them are African-American—but their representation and reputation at the US Air Force Academy far exceeds their proportion in the Cadet Wing. "In leadership positions LDS cadets embrace the opportunity to set an example through righteous living and allow others to come to know who we are as a people," Walker explains. His record at the Academy has been remarkable, and he attributes much of his success to his willingness to serve the Lord first. "Serving a mission has been the defining factor in my performance here at the Academy these last four semesters. While on the Lord's errand I learned how to study with discipline and gained some maturity that has been crucial to my success here. I know that I would not have been ready to be the Vice Wing Commander had I not left for those two years and served." As the squadron training officer, Walker is responsible for organizing training for the 32 fourth-class cadets in his squadron; he also maintains a regular presence on the Dean's and Commandant's Lists for academic, physical, and military excellence. Accompanying these duties Jason attends the off-base singles ward each week and is president of his institute class at the academy. "I cannot begin to describe the additional energy, focus, and success I have when I am fulfilling my callings while seeking success in my academic and professional duties. The work seems to better when I make time for scripture study and home teaching," Walker states. Read more about this accomplished young man and his commitment to the gospel.
  • African Members Strengthen International Church—Samuel Lumore and his cousins Christian Yao and Godwin Kofi Zometsi, all from Kpong, Ghana, discovered the missionaries of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as young schoolboys and were later baptized members of the Church. The three young men from Ghana grew up under the care of their grandmother Aku Hunyametor Pomevor and farmed, peddled farm produce, and tackled many odd jobs to help support the extended family. School tuition was difficult to come by, but the boys continued with their educations, even after their nurturing grandmother passed away. Friends introduced the Church to the orphan cousins when they were in their early teens. Samuel described his first meeting with a congregation of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. “I was welcomed to my satisfaction,” he explained. “I fell in love and wanted to be a member. Once in my lifetime, I felt very important in my shoes.” Those shoes, and those of Samuel’s cousins, Christian and Godwin, are trudging along the roads of Ghana and Nigeria as each of the young men currently serves as a full-time missionary for the Church. As Samuel summarized his preparations for his missionary service, he admitted: “My clothes are worn out, my shoes are not nice, and all my things need replacements, but all these troubles in my poor young life do not make me change my mind or compromise. I will go and serve the Lord.” Learn more about the growth of the Church in Africa in this article from the Church News Service.
  • Letter to a Pastor: What We Believe—After a pastor friend of hers watched the PBS documentary "The Mormons," he still wasn't sure what members of the Church believe. Genesis Public Affairs Co-Chair Margaret Blair Young responded by sitting down and penning him a moving letter—a letter that expresses her testimony of her relationship with a loving Father in Heaven and the comfort she has derived throughout her life from priesthood ordinances. The core of her Mormon life, she concludes, "is Jesus Christ. My life began by being consecrated to Him in the center of that priesthood circle, and it will end with someone dedicating my grave in His name. I hope that His name will also be engraved in the marrow of my bones and in the eternal cells of my immortal soul."
  • Inner City Missionaries Teach the World—Sudan, Eritrea, and Liberia are names of African countries that Salt Lake City resident Darla Isackson had heard little about until recently. Last February, Sister Isackson and her husband were called as part-time Church-service missionaries in the Salt Lake Inner City Project, and they were assigned to a ward in the Rose Park area. Here they found the most unusual Sunday School class they'd ever heard of—a class that consists of five African refugees and one woman from Mexico. Lessons for these students consist not only of gospel principles, but of language and other skills to help them be more self-sufficient in a new country and culture. "We take so much for granted—our free country, our education, our homes, our conveniences, and most of all the depth of our knowledge of the gospel and the scriptures," Sister Isackson says. "These people take nothing for granted. They value every little blessing, and can teach us all such precious lessons of gratitude." Read her moving account, published in Meridian Magazine, here.
  • Faithful Witness: Film, Group Help Blacks Feel at Home in LDS Church—Darius Gray has been answering the same question for 40 years: Why would an African-American join the LDS Church, which didn't allow Blacks to hold the priesthood until 1978? The calls keep coming . . . from people of all races, from every state, and from people who are and are not members of the Church. Gray, the gentle author and businessman who led the Genesis Group for African-American Mormons from 1997 to 2003, has become a kind of helpline. He and others in the group have counseled privately with hundreds of Black members and responded to media queries. He and Margaret Blair Young co-wrote a trilogy, Standing on the Promises, tracing the history of Blacks in the LDS Church. Gray and Young hope the documentary film they've been working on for four years will add important context and move the conversation forward. Nobody Knows: The Untold Story of Black Mormons, due to be completed by the end of the year, explores the African-American presence in the LDS Church from its earliest days and confronts the hard issues that surfaced in the most turbulent years of the civil-rights movement of the 1960s.
  • My Life Really IS Like a Corn Maze—After spending four hours in a muddy, slippery, wet, cold, and yucky corn maze one Saturday night, Genesis member Karyn Dudley arrived home cold, wet, tired, and achy—despite all the fun and the great time she had with friends. She was prompted during the next few days to reflect on her life . . . and she realized that her life was, in many ways, like the experience she had in that corn maze. Moved to write her reflections, she provides all of us with a tender, moving, and thought-provoking way to look at ourselves and our own journey through mortality. Take a few moments to read her extraordinary account, and let her experience guide your own reflections on how to do better each day.
  • "A Right Delayed Is a Right Denied": 2008 Martin Luther King Activities—The University of Utah has announced the activities included in the 24th Annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration. Tied to the theme, "A Right Delayed Is a Right Denied," the activities will be held January 14 through January 21. All events are free and open to the public, and will be held on the University of Utah campus. The keynote address of the celebration will be delivered by Dr. Cornel West on Thursday, January 17, from 12 noon to 1 p.m. in the Olpin Union Ballroom. Dr. West has been described as one of America's most vital and eloquent intellectuals. A noted philosopher, he has taken his struggle for racial equity to the national spotlight, providing a gifted and stimulating voice to the ongoing debate. Dr. West has authored 17 groundbreaking and thought-provoking books, including Race Matters and Democracy Matters, which have changed the course of discussion of race, justice, and democracy. Check here for other activities that are part of the celebration.
  • "Too Precious to Be Left Outside">—Joy Holladay of Las Vegas considered herself to be a woman well-acquainted with the scriptures. She was taught about the things of God, her parents made sure she went to church, and she watched both her grandmothers reading the scriptures daily. As a result, she says, she "knew very well there was a God and that Jesus Christ was my Savior. I was told that 'God had a plan for my life.' However, nobody could tell me what this plan was." After joining The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, she now knows what His plan is for her, and she encourages her Black brothers and sisters to investigate the Church for themselves instead of listening to what others have to say about it. "The gospel has been restored, and Heavenly Father is no respecter of persons. These truths are for ALL of His children, and we as a people are too precious to Him to be left behind or outside the wall," she writes. Sister Holladay, who is a member of Gladys Knight's Saints Unified Voices Choir, shares her conversion story and her stirring testimony here.

Buffalo SoldierBlack History Month: it's a time set aside for us to celebrate the contributions of African-Americans to the life we now enjoy. There are countless names and faces—and innumerable contributions—for us to learn about, to appreciate, and to reverence. Time and space (and, sadly, sometimes lost information) prevent us from listing all of them here. But take the time this month to check out the following pages and to learn a little more about a heritage that is nothing less than profound.

Martin DelanyAfrican-American Military Heroes—Despite a sometimes hostile reception in official quarters, Blacks have served their country with honor and bravery since the country's earliest days. Read about some notable Black military heroes from throughout American history.

Hale Woodruff artAfrican-American Artists—Throughout American history, Africans and their descendants have contributed richly to the visual arts, producing some of our country's finest paintings, sculptures, collages, prints, and other works. Read about some of the many great Black artists.

Elijah McCoyAfrican-American Inventors—You can't get a blood transfusion, stop at a traffic signal, turn on a lamp, or even put on a pair of shoes without relying on technologies and devices first patented by African-Americans. Here are just a few of the remarkable African-American men and women who changed the way we live our lives.

Golf teesAfrican-American Inventor List—And look here to see a complete list of African-American inventors—the folks that brought us such things as toilet paper, potato chips, helicopters, golf tees, ice cream, wrenches, folding chairs, the smallpox vaccination, and much more!

Alice WalkerAfrican-American Novels—African-American authors wrote some of the most powerful and innovative works of the 20th century. The ten novels discussed here are just some of the gems in African-American literature.

Tiger WoodsAfrican-American Firsts—African-American history is filled with important milestones and breakthrough achievements. The list here includes just a few of the notable "firsts" achieved by African-Americans.

Fannie HamerPBS Offerings—In celebration of Black History Month, PBS will broadcast a lineup of new and encore presentations honoring and exploring African-American history. See the listings here.


But someday somebody'll
Stand up and talk about me
And write about me—
Black and beautiful.

—Langston Hughes

  • Latter-day Saints and Others Need Help in Kenya—At the close of election day in Kenya, riots broke out at the news that Mway Kibaki had been re-elected as Kenya's president. The news brought countless murders, looting, fires, and pain in the faces of thousands of refugees as they fled their slum dwellings for the unreliable safety of unknown territories. Electricity was nonexistent, and cell phone service intermittent. Many Church members from around Nairobi had managed to escape the synchronized bands of machete-wielding terrorists that roamed the streets. Nevertheless, with food and clean water having tripled in purchase price, and since most of the members were day-laborers and could not work, they were without the financial means to care for their families. In an article in Meridian Magazine, Patty Liston—director of Women's Initiatives for Reach the Children and director of partnerships for Children's Way—pleaded for help by asking that families give up one meal during the week and donate the money saved to help those suffering in Kenya. The outpouring was generous. "You may never personally know, in this life, those Kenyans who received rice, beans, sugar, maize and other essentials because of your offering. You will not feel their tears on your neck as they hug you, rock their sleeping babies, clasp the rough, worn hands of a mother, or hear the testimony of those whose prayer you answered," wrote Sister Liston. "But the day will come when we will meet those whom we have helped, along with those who have anonymously helped us, and we will all weep tears of joy." While many have helped, the need is still great.
  • President Spencer Woolley Kimball—As we approach the thirtieth anniversary of the revelation that restored the priesthood to all worthy males, Genesis member Margaret Blair Young reflects on the life of President Spencer W. Kimball, who received the revelation on what some Apostles described as "a day of Pentecost." Young begins with her reflections on the day President Kimball came to her grandparents' home in Idaho Falls, Idaho, to set her grandfather apart as a temple president, including a sweet memory of singing "I Am a Child of God" to President Kimball's piano accompaniment. Drawing a simple portrait of this eloquent and complex man, Young establishes a foundation that helps us understand that this humble servant of God was concerned about prejudice and race relations his entire life.
  • Priesthood Commemoration Celebration Held in Tabernacle—A commemoration of the revelation extending the priesthood to all worthy males was held Sunday, June 8, in the Salt Lake Tabernacle. The revelation occurred on June 1, 1978, in the Salt Lake Temple. The revelation was ratified and announced on June 8, 1978. The program was received with great joy by a capacity crowd that filled the Tabernacle. Speakers at the commemoration included Elder Sheldon F. Child of the Seventy; President Fred Antioni Parker of the Atlanta Georgia Stake; Sister Catherine Stokes, former Assistant Deputy Director of the Illinois Office of Health Care Regulation; and President Ahmad Corbitt of the Cherry Hill New Jersey Stake. Elder Earl C. Tingey of the Seventy conducted the commemoration. Access full transcripts of the addresses here:
    President Fred A. Parker
    Catherine M. Stokes
    President Ahmad S. Corbitt
    Elder Sheldon F. Child
    During the celebration, the Church presented a short video commemorating the momentous revelation. The video included interviews with several Genesis members—among them Darius Gray, Catherine Stokes, and Michael Rice—as well as other African-American Latter-day Saints. Particularly touching were segments featuring the voice of President Spencer W. Kimball, who received the revelation, and a video clip of President N. Eldon Tanner reading the revelation. A multicultural choir under the direction of Mack Wilberg performed two stirring numbers, including "Hark, All Ye Nations!" said to capture the sentiment of the revelation. Genesis member Alex Boye, a member of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, sang solo renditions of "How Great Thou Art" and "I Know That My Redeemer Lives." Messages of both the speakers and the musical numbers focused on both the blessings of the priesthood and our responsibility to emphasize our similarities instead of our differences. In explaining that his patriarchal blessing said he would teach the gospel to "his people," President Corbitt said he expected a mission call to an inner city somewhere in America—since that's where he had grown up—but was shocked to open his letter and find that he had been called to Brazil. "By the time I left," he said, "the Hispanics were my people." He went on to describe the multiethnic composition of his stake, each time calling a different group "my people." We are all, he summarized, "his people"—an attitude we should all carry as we go forth to build the Kingdom of God. To view the Church's video presentation that was shown at the celebration and to read news coverage of the event, click here.
  • First Black African General Authority Called—Elder Joseph W. Sitati of Nairobi, Kenya, was called and sustained at April General Conference as a member of the First Quorum of the Seventy. Elder Sitati is the first Black African General Authority called by the Church. When he received his call, Elder Sitati was serving as president of the Nigeria Calabar Mission. Since joining the Church in 1986, Elder Sitati has served in numerous callings, including counselor to the branch president, branch president, district president, counselor to the mission president, stake president, Area Seventy, and mission president. Elder Sitati earned a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Nairobi, a diploma in accounting and finance from the Association of Certified Accountants, and has also done coursework for an MBA degree. He has worked as an executive for a nongovernmental organization and in several positions with a large oil and gas company. More recently he served as the Church's international director of public affairs in Africa. Elder Sitati and his wife, Gladys Nangoni, are the parents of five. While Elder Sitati is the first Black African General Authority of the Church, he is the third General Authority of Black African descent. The other two were Elder Helvecio Martins of Brazil, who served from April 1990 to September 1995 in the Second Quorum of the Seventy, and Elder Elijah Abel, an African-American, who was ordained in 1839 to the Third Quorum of the Seventy. Also called were two new Area Seventies from Africa. Area Seventies give part-time voluntary Church service within their assigned geographic areas and support area presidencies in international areas. Among the 40 new Area Seventies called during April General Conference were Freebody A. Mensah of Takoradi, Ghana, and Hesbon O. Usi of Nairobi, Kenya.
March/April 2005
  • League of Black Women Tour Program—an event designed to help black women network and replenish their leadership support base
  • New Stake President Called—Fred Antioni Parker (who prefers to be called Tony) of Atlanta, Georgia, an African American Latter-day Saint, has been called as the new president of the Atlanta Georgia Stake
  • Third Annual African American Family History Open House—Commemorating Black History Month, the open house featured a keynote address by Dr. Ronald G. Coleman on "African Americans in Pioneer Utah"
  • Additional statements by Dr. Coleman—Additional comments about African American pioneers and the role of blacks in Utah's history
  • People and Events in Civil Rights Movement—How much do you know about the people and events in the American civil rights movement? Take this quiz from Encarta to find out!
  • Segullah: "Peculiar Treasure"Segullah, a journal designed to encourage literary talent and promote greater understanding and faith among Latter-day Saint women, is now online and soliciting submissions
  • Books for ChildrenMeridian Magazine's list of recommended books that promote diversity, including some picture books appropriate for all ages
  • Gladys Knight: "One Voice"—Entitled “One Voice,” her latest CD enriches her powerful vocal presence with a 100-voice choir celebrating gospel music
  • Riverside, CA: Interfaith Day of Celebration—Marvin Perkins spoke at a devotional as part of an interfaith day of celebration that joined the LDS Church and the St. James Church of God in Christ in a day of fun, service, and shared spirit

May 2005
  • Mormonized "I Have a Dream"—At the February 6 Genesis meeting, newly released Primary president Kathy Hawkins delivered her "Mormonized" version of "I Have a Dream." Read it here.
  • Book Tells Stories of Black Pioneers—In 1965, Darius Gray was one of two black students attending BYU in a studentbody of more than 20,000. Forty years later, Gray returned to campus to share the stories of earlier black pioneers. He and co-author Margaret Young wrote the award-winning historical fiction trilogy, Standing on the Promises, that chronicles the experiences of black Latter-day Saint pioneers.
  • Columbus, OH: Genesis Fireside—Enjoy summaries of talks given at the March 12 Genesis Group fireside in Columbus, Ohio, featuring President Don Harwell, President Darius Gray, and Mat White.
  • Los Angeles, CA: Fireside—Sister Betty Stevenson of the Oakland 9th Branch shared her insights and experiences in a testimony titled, "Transformation: From Drug Dealer to Relief Society President."
  • Riverside, CA: Interfaith Day of Celebration—Read about the Interfaith Day of Celebration in Riverside, and how many months of work the group saved park employees!
  • The Struggle for Acceptance: An Interview—Read the story behind Black and Mormon, along with an interview of Darius Gray about the struggle for acceptance in the Church, reprinted from the Salt Lake Tribune.
  • Finding Roots Via Satellite—Read the report from the May 14 Church News about the Roots Simulcast 2005, a four-hour workshop broadcast in northern California to help beginning African-American genealogists trace their ancestry.
  • Jane Manning James Honored—In a ceremony honoring her as an exemplar of virtue and faith, the Sons of the Utah Pioneers honored Jane Manning James—along with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and Pope John Paul II. Read their comments and see the certificates here.
  • Jamila Cutliff Named Hawes Scholar—Jamila Cutliff has been named one of ten 2005 Hawes Scholars at the Brigham Young University Marriott School. The honor is the highest distinction given to MBA students at BYU. Congratuations, Jamila!
  • Jerri Harwell Honored—Jerri Harwell has been selected from among her peers to receive the prestigious Salt Lake Community College Foundation 2005 Teaching Excellence Award. Jerri, who teaches in the college's Division of Developmental Education, was recognized at a luncheon on April 6, was presented a certificate and cash award, and was honored at the college's faculty convention on April 8. Congratuations, Jerri!
June 2005
  • Gladys Knight Pops in for Church Service—Gladys Knight and her 60-strong Saints United Voice choir flew into Manchester, England, for a whistle-stop performance at the church where her grandson is working as a missionary. Read how locals reacted in the report from the Manchester Evening News.
  • Aba Nigeria Temple Open House—As Saints prepare for the Aba Nigeria temple open house, read what the This Day News in Lagos had to report about the temple and the Church.
  • Africa Pioneers: Monument to Baptisms in Nigeria—With Latter-day Saints in West Africa anticipating the dedication of the Aba Nigeria Temple, members in the Nsit Ubium Nigeria Stake gathered to commemorate the baptisms of 184 African pioneers in a two-day period here 26 years ago. Read the details about the unveiling and dedication of the monument here.
  • California Temple Trips: Join In!—Find out how one southern California sister made a resolution to visit all five temples in the state of California during 2005—and learn how you can join her for the final three!
  • Transformation: Drug Dealer to Relief Society President—In a fireside held in Los Angeles, Sister Betty Stevenson shared her conversion story—and shared what she did to find her place in the Church. Find out what she told the more than 100 attendees here.
  • Levi Coffin: Learn More—The May Genesis meeting featured Laurie Seron, a descendant of Underground Railroad "President" Levi Coffin and his wife, Catherine. Take a few minutes to learn more about this man—for example, did you know that he sheltered "Eliza," whose story is told in Uncle Tom's Cabin?
July 2005
  • Aba Nigeria Temple Opens Doors—The Aba Nigeria Temple has opened its doors to the public. Read about the reactions of guests who have toured the temple—including Clement Nwafor, the deputy governor of Abia State, who said, "I believe the Church is true and that Gordon B. Hinckley is a prophet."
  • Bronson Harwell Graduates from Brighton—Bronson Harwell, son of President Don and Jerri Harwell, has graduated from Brighton High School. Find out about all the honors he received—and learn about the house he helped landscape as part of his training at JATC.
  • Richard Harwell Called to Seminary Council—Richard Harwell, son of President Don and Jerri Harwell, has been called to serve on the Hillcrest High School's Seminary Council for the 2005-06 school year. Find out what he'll be doing and about his other activities.
  • Modesty Can Be Chic—An article published by The Christian Science Monitor reports that increasing numbers of young women are looking for modest clothing—and quotes Heather Gist, a Genesis member who owns Modest By Design Clothing Company with her husband, Genesis Second Counselor Eddie Gist. Read the article here.
  • Genesis Members in Ragtime—Several Genesis members are starring in "Ragtime" at the Hale Center Theater in West Valley City. Find out who's in the starring roles and how to buy tickets.
August 2005
  • 25,095 Tour New Aba Nigeria Temple; Members Now Preparing for Dedication—As the open house for the Aba Nigeria Temple came to a close July 2, many Nigerian saints came a second or third time, bringing more relatives and friends with them. Read what Elder Vern Whisenant and Sister Donna Whisenant of the Africa West Area Public Affairs had to report about the open house.
  • Wilkinsons Welcome Granddaughter, Need Prayers—Genesis Relief Society President Gloria Wilkinson and her husband Winston became grandparents again recently. Their granddaughter, Briana Ashley Simpson, was born three months premature. Prayers would be appreciated for this tiny child!
  • Fosters Welcome Twins—Rob and Carleen Foster—who are now living in North Carolina—are the happy parents of new twins! Get all the details here.
  • California Mom Receives Call—Family Affected by Her Missionary Son—Find out what a California mom has to report about how her son, Elder Kilpatrick, had a special effect on an Idaho family. . .and the "ripple effect" that will bless many.
  • Two New Missions in Africa—Two new missions have been created, located on opposite sides of the African continent. The Ghana Cape Coast Mission and the Uganda Kampala Mission, announced by the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve, are the 340th and 341st missions of the Church. Find out more here.
October 2005
  • Church Offers Genealogy Help at Museum Site—Through a partnership with the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center, the LDS Church has a FamilySearch Center—staffed largely by Mormons—at the museum. More than 1,500 people have used the center to find their family history.
  • Medical School Scholarship for African-Americans—Washington University in St. Louis, the number-two-ranked medical school along with Baltimore's John's Hopkins University Medical School, has scholarships to award to bright African-Americans.
  • Nigerian Youth: Celebrating Church Anniversaries—Some 60 Young Men and Young Women of the Jos Nigeria District gathered June 11 at the Jos District Center to celebrate the 200th birthday of Joseph Smith and the 175th anniversary of the Church.
November 2005
  • Genesis member Robbie Lucas of Houston, Texas, passed away after a lengthy illness. Read her obituary here, and read the eulogy that was offered at her funeral.
  • Oakland Temple Sealer Shares Testimony—Ronald McClain, who was instrumental in setting up Genesis-style meetings in the Oakland area, was recently called to serve as a sealer in the Oakland Temple. Find out about his Church service, and read his touching testimony here.
  • Nigerian Couple Finds Church in the United States—Find out how a couple from Nigeria, visiting their son in the United States, found the church they had been searching for all their lives—and how instantly they recognized its truthfulness. (Article from Meridian Magazine.)
  • BYU Running Back Curtis Brown: A Gridiron Missionary—Read about the missionary feelings and efforts of Curtis Brown and the changes that have come into his life since his baptism a year and a half ago.
  • Walk Benefits Black South African Women with Scholarships—Find out how those who turned out for a benefit walk in Provo are helping send young Black South African women to college—and how you can donate to the scholarship fund.
  • Howell Ordained High Priest—President Orin Howell, first counselor in the Genesis presidency, was ordained a high priest in the North Point First Ward in Salt Lake City on Sunday, September 25. In addition to his calling in the Genesis Group, he also serves as a special assistant to the bishop in the North Point First Ward, where he assists ward members with budgeting and supervises the ward's bulletin.
  • Jackson Called as Bishop—Brother Alvin Jackson of Washington, D.C., was recently called to serve as bishop of the Kensington Ward in the Washington D.C. Stake. Bishop Jackson, his wife Juleen, and their children will be a blessing to the more than 500 ward members as they serve in this capacity. We invite you to offer prayers in their behalf as they adjust to this new and great labor of love.
December 2005
  • California Women Make Dolls for Africa—Thanks to the vision of a California woman who lived in Africa for several years, the Relief Society in Orcutt organized a project in which 600 dolls were made and sent to children in African orphanages and hospitals. Read the report from the Orcutt Pioneer.
  • African-Americans Seek Roots in Arizona—Finding information on African-American history for family genealogy research can be challenging—but a trip to the Black Family Genealogy History Society in Phoenix can provide answers to many questions and offer a lot of friendly support. Read the report from The Arizona Republic.
  • Rosa Parks Dies—Rosa Parks, the woman whose refusal to give up her seat on a Montgomery bus sparked the civil rights movement, has died at 92 of natural causes. She said, "We must double and redouble our efforts to try to say to our youth, to try to give them an inspiration, an incentive and the will to study our heritage and to know what it means to be Black in America today." Find out more about this inspirational woman here.
  • Thurl Bailey Speaks in LA—Former Utah Jazz great Thurl Bailey was the speaker at an African-American Relations fireside in Los Angeles, sharing the story of his "conversion" to basketball as well as to the Church. Find out more here.
  • Bryan Cutliff Receives Mission Call—Bryan Cutliff, son of Randy and Viki CUtliff, received his mission call to the Orlando Florida Spanish Mission. Bryan entered the MTC on December 14.
  • The Mothers of Jesus Christ—At the November Genesis meeting, Sister Karyn Dudley delivered an inspirational presentation on five women in the scriptures who directly contributed to the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ. Read the full text of her remarks here.
  • Perkins Family Welcomes Addition—The newest addition to the Marvin Perkins family arrived on Thursday, Nov. 10, at 12:25 p.m., weighing in at 9 lbs. 4 ozs. and measuring 21 1/2 inches long. Mom and Milan Milagros Perkins are home and doing very well. Congratulations!
  • Christmas in Nigeria—Christmas in Nigeria is a weeklong celebration that involves a rich array of activities. Read this touching piece by Elder Adesina J. Olukanni, Area Seventy and second counselor in the Africa West Area presidency, who was baptized in 1989 and who remembers his favorite Christmas.
February 2006
  • Church Grows in Detroit—According to an article in the Detroit Free Press, the Church is enjoying tremendous growth among African-Americans in Detroit—as well as other areas. See what columnist David Crumm found out after talking to Black members in the area.
  • Segullah Features Items of Interest for Genesis Members—The fall issue of Segullah—a journal designed to encourage literary talent, provoke thought, and promote greater understanding and faith among Latter-day Saint women—features several articles of particular interest to Genesis members. Among them are "Faces of Latter-day Saint Women: A Conversation with Lita Little Giddins"; "Honoring Jane Manning James: Courage on a Stage of Bigotry," by Susan Easton Black; and "The Making of Jane Manning James: Your Sister in the Gospel," by Margaret Blair Young. Read the online issue here.
  • Coretta Scott King Dies—Coretta Scott King, who turned a life shattered by her husband’s assassination into one devoted to enshrining his legacy of human rights and equality, has died. She was 78. Read The Associated Press report here.
  • "Echoes of American Slavery" Presented at UVSC—The play "Echoes of American Slavery" will be presented February 9-11 at 7:30 p.m. in the Utah Valley State College Ragan Theater. The script was derived directly from transcripts of more than 2,300 interviews and 500 photographs from the Slave N
  • Los Angeles Saints and Missionaries March In King Day Parade—Thousands of people of various ethnic and racial backgrounds lined the streets of South Los Angeles on Monday, January 16, to salute slain civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr. The LDS missionaries were one of many entries in the annual Kingdom Day Parade, marching in formation wearing white shirts that have become a symbol of service and carrying the banner of the Church through the tens of thousands that looked and cheered on participants.
  • Four U.S. Presidents Attend King Funeral—Four U.S. presidents, 14 U.S. senators, and various civil rights leaders attended the funeral of Coretta Scott King at the New Birth Missionary Baptist Church just east of Atlanta. Get the details here.
  • Washington D.C. Temple Celebrates Black Heritage Month—On three February weekends during the traditional Black History Month celebrations, Black members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints will speak, teach, and perform at the Washington D.C. Temple Visitors’ Center in Kensington, Maryland. All events are free. Get all the details here.
  • Exhibit Highlights Lives of Contemporary Black Members—Celebrating "Contemporary Black LDS Pioneers," the theme for 2006 Black Heritage Month, members in the Washington, D.C., area describe how they feel about the Church. Read the account from Church News contributor Carol Petranek.
  • "You are Welcome" Among Nigerian Saints West African Members Faithful, Generous—Nigerians welcome you to their country, their cities, and their homes. Their warmth and generosity of spirit are only matched by their thirst for gospel learning. In fact, in just 27 years since the first 19 members were baptized here, membership has grown to more than 70,000—comprising some 60 percent of the 120,000 members in West Africa. Read this report from the Church News.
  • Gladys Knight Wins Grammy Award—Gladys Knight and the S.U.V. Choir has won the Grammy Award for Best Gospel Choir Or Chorus Album for their album, "One Voice." It was the second gospel project for Knight. Knight—who has won seven Grammy awards in her career—competed against five other gospel albums. Read the report on the nomination from the Deseret News here.
  • Jane Manning James Film Wins Award—"Jane Manning James—Your Sister in the Gospel," the short documentary directed by Scott Freebairn and co-produced with Genesis members Darius Gray and Margaret Young, won third place in the LDS Film Festival 2006, Short Film Competition. Congratulations!
March 2006
  • Church Member Wins NAACP Award—William A. T. Johnson was honored recently by the Corpus Christi Texas Chapter of the NAACP as the 2006 Torchbearer award winner. Each year someone from the community is selected who has met the goals of "lighting the way for civil rights, justice, and community service." Names are submitted annually and recipients are chosen based on achievements and contributions to the community in different ways. A member of the Corpus Christi 2nd Ward, Corpus Christi Texas Stake, Williams is a senior at Texas A&M—Corpus Christi where he is majoring in biomedical science and is president of the student association of the Corpus Christi Institute of Religion.
  • Moons: Pioneers in Reno Ward—When the missionaries stopped to talk to Bill Moon one day while he was working in the front yard of his home in Reno, Nevada, he listened and invited them back. The rest is history: Bill has served on the high council in his stake, and he and his wife, Jane, attend the Reno Nevada Temple. Read about their conversion and their pioneering experiences in this article from the Reno Gazette-Journal.
  • African-American History Conference Held in Harlem—More than 200 people attended the 2nd Annual African-American Family History Conference sponsored by the New York New York Stake. Members hosted the conference in the newly dedicated Harlem meetinghouse. Harlem 1st Ward Bishop Daniel Hiatt called the program "inspired." Read more about it here.
  • African-American history Conference Held in SLC—The Family History Library in Salt Lake City held its forth annual African-American Family History Research Series on Feb. 11; speaking at the conference, Utah Rep. Duane E. Bourdeaux observed, "A people without history are like trees without roots."
  • Black Chamber of Commerce Opens in Salt Lake City—A much-needed support network for Utah's Black business owners, the Utah Black Chamber of Commerce has officially opened its doors in Salt Lake City, offering what it says are necessary support and resources to the community's Black-owned businesses. Find out more about the chamber in this report from the Deseret News.
April 2006
  • Living History: Booker T. Washington Visited Utah—When Booker T. Washington—then head of the Tuskegee Institute—visited Utah in March 1913, he drew two parallels between his own people and Utah's Mormons. Read what he said in this report from the Salt Lake Tribune..
  • First Black Pioneers—Joyce Bridgewater, a descendant of Jane Manning James, collects pictures of her ancestors, who were some of the first Blacks in Utah. Get information about other Black pioneers in this article by St. George writers Jerel Harris and Brian Passey.
  • Harvard Will Pay Tuition for Low-Income Students—Harvard University has announced that it will pay full tuition for honor undergraduate students whose families earn less than $40,000 a year. Find out more here.
  • Maya Angelou: Christians—Maya Angelou has penned a touching poem expressing the feeling Christians have for the Savior. Read it here.
  • Wayne Hotchkiss: Welcome to the Fold!—We’d like to welcome one of the newest members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints: Wayne Hotchkiss of Oxnard, California, was baptized on Saturday, February 25. Read his words that express his feelings about joining the Church here.
  • Elders Quorum President: Really an "Elder"—At 102, Charles Adams just might be the oldest elders quorum president in the Church, said Jimmy L. Largin, president of the Greensboro Branch, Bessemer Alabama Stake. Brother Adams—who has served in the branch presidency three times—often comments that the Lord must have work for him, or he wouldn't have been left here so long. Find out more in this report from the Church news service.
May-August 2006
  • LA Roots Conference Draws Hundreds—More than 400 African-Americans interested in family history attended the fourth annual Discover your Roots African-American Family History Conference in Los Angeles and heard an electrifying address by the Rev. Dr. Cecil “Chip” Murray, former senior pastor of First AME Church of Los Angeles. Get more details here.
  • African-American Pageant Opportunity—With an emphasis on excellence, scholarship, integrity, diversity, and community involvement—and the vision, hopes, dreams, and opportunities that are created from such achievements—New Jersey's Miss Black USA Scholarship Pageant is looking for those who are interested in being a participant, sponsor, mentor, or volunteer. Click here for more information.
  • Audition Opportunity for "Liken the Scriptures"—The studio that produces "Liken the Scriptures" is looking for a young boy and a middle-aged woman who can sing in a strong gospel-style voice. Find out more and learn who to contact for the chance to audition.
  • Utah's Black-Owned Firms Booming—According to a new census report, Black-owned businesses outpaced the business growth of every other minority group in Utah's economy from 1997 to 2002. Read more in this article from the Deseret Morning News.
  • Desire for Modesty Turns into Business—When upstate New York native Michaella Lawson returned from her mission, she became acutely aware that her passion for theater and dinner dates was diminished by her wardrobe. She had nothing to wear—and couldn't find modest enough selections even in Provo. Read this article from the Deseret News to find out how she turned her desire for modesty into a business.
  • New Genesis Mission Leader—Michael Rice has been called to serve as the Genesis Group mission leader. Having served in a variety of leadership positions in the Church, Brother Rice has been involved in missionary work since he was baptized in St. Louis, Missouri, on February 25, 1979. Find out more about him, including how you can contact him for help in sharing the gospel with your family, friends, neighbors, and business associates.
  • Keith Hamilton New Parole Boss—Keith Hamilton, the first Black graduate of BYU's J. Reuben Clark Law School, has been apointed chairman of the Utah Board of Pardons and Parole. He draws inspiration for the task from Ammon and Captain Moroni—"they remind me what one person can do," he says. Find out more about Hamilton here.
  • Sacramento Holds Family History Seminar—A capacity crowd filled the African-American Family History Seminar in Sacramento, California. With a theme of "Families Are Our Strength," the seminar offered classes in beginning, intermediate, and advanced African-American genealogical research. Find out more here.
September 2006
  • Fullerton Member Loses Much, Still Has Hope—"Big Smokey" Nichols, a member of the Cypress Stake, was featured in The Orange County Register for his optimism and hope in the midst of adversity. Read the article here.
  • Kids in the News—Kyra Radcliffe, child of Kerri Radcliffe, was baptized on April 15. And Deshaun, Stefani, and Amaya Helm, children of Michael and Sheri Helm, were sealed to their parents in the Salt Lake Temple on May 16 following their adoption. Congratulations to all!
  • "You Are Home": My Testimony—Forsythia Pouncil of Las Vegas, Nevada, met a pair of Mormons who invited the then-Jehovah's Witness to discuss the Bible. Read her moving story about how she found the Church and learned the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon.
  • Y Players Form Lasting Bond—Bryan Kehl and Zac Erekson met 10 years ago as children attending a BYU football camp. Ever since, it has been their dream to play together at BYU. Find out how that dream was realized—and all they have in common—in this article from the Deseret News.
  • Being a Difference-Maker—In a fireside sponsored by the African-American Affairs Council and the Southern California Public Affairs Council, Brother Ronald McClain challenged us to make a difference within our Church communities. Read a summary of his remarks here.
  • Genesis Picnic in Pictures—The 2006 Annual Genesis Picnic—held June 10 in Midvale—had a good dose of fun for everyone! Whether you joined us or not, enjoy browsing through these pictures taken at the picnic.
  • New Genesis Picnic Pictures!—Scott Bullock sent in a new batch of pictures from the 2006 Annual Genesis Picnic, and we think you'll love them as much as we did! Check out these great shots of kids (and a few adults thrown in for good measure).
  • Church Sponsors Interfaith Forum on Judaism—Five Christian leaders discussed their faiths' views on Judaism and the Jewish people at a groundbreaking interfaith forum co-sponsored by the Church's Southern California Public Affairs Council and the American Jewish Congress. More than 100 Jewish and Christian leaders attended the event. Read more here.
  • AAHGS Organizes Utah Branch—Utah is organizing a chapter of the Afro-American Historical and Genealogical Society (AAHGS) in preparation for the 28th National AAHGS Conference, which will be held in Salt Lake City in October. Find out how you can join and how to sign up if you're interested in networking with historians and genealogists from across the country.
  • Gladys Knight, SUV Entertain in Washington, DC—Gladys Knight led her 100-member choir, Saints Unified Voices, and preached to 3,000 people during two services at the Suitland Stake Center, headquarters for 12 wards in the District of Columbia and Southern Maryland. Read this report on the event from the Washington Post.
  • Clothing, Supplies Needed for Guatemala—Margaret Young will be spending a month this summer in Guatemala, and has received a request for clothing in good condition to be distributed to children and adults in need there. Find out here specifics on what is needed and how you can participate.
  • BYU-Hawaii Choir Sings at LDS Meetinghouse in Harlem—For the first time in history, the BYU-Hawaii Concert Choir sang in Carnegie Hall earlier this month. But, according to choir members, Carnegie paled in comparison with a performance at the LDS meetinghouse in Harlem. Read the report here.
  • LDS Youth Clean Up Austin African-American Cemetery—More than 350 youth volunteers of 20 LDS wards in Austin and San Antonio revitalized a 153-year-old African-American cemetery, prompting one 82-year-old cemetery visitor to proclaim, "I think God sent them." Read the report from the Austin American-Statesman here.
October/November 2006
  • Wife of LDS Apostle Joseph B. Wirthlin Dies—Elisa Young Rogers Wirthlin, wife of Mormon apostle Joseph B. Wirthlin, died in Salt Lake City of causes incident to age. She was 87. "She was a person who made instant friends," recalls Valorie Parker, a member of Wirthlin's LDS ward in the Harvard/Yale area of Salt Lake City. "She never talked down to me or made me feel that she knew more than I did." Read more here.
  • LDS Dancer Wins National Competition—Benji Schwimmer, winner of Fox TV's popular program, "So You Think You Can Dance," is not only a versatile and charismatic dancer, but also an active member of the Church. Through most of the competition, Benji's partner was African-American Donyelle Jones. Read more and see photos from the competition here.
  • Sacramento Temple Dedicated—The new Sacramento Temple was called a "gift of love" and was dedicated as a "house of holy ordinances." Read the full text of the dedicatory prayer here.
  • "More Precious Than Gold": The Sacramento California Temple Youth Cultural Celebration—Gold was discovered by Latter-day Saints and others in the Sacramento region of California in 1848, but on Saturday September 2, 5,000 youth from 21 stakes celebrated something “More Precious than Gold” as they joined to sing and dance their hearts out in the Arco Arena on the eve of the Sacramento Temple dedication. Read the report and see photos here.
December 2006
  • "Preach My Gospel": New Section in Newsletter Will Help All Genesis Members Become Missionaries—One of the greatest joys and responsibilities we have as members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is to share the precious gem of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ with our family, friends, neighbors, and business associates. As the Genesis Mission Leader, Michael Rice has pondered and prayed on how this might be accomplished in the context of the Genesis Group. The result is a new section of the newsletter that will help all Genesis members become more effective missionaries. Find out more here.
  • Allan Jackson Featured in Series—Genesis Member Allan Jackson was featured in the fourth of a series on World War II veterans on December 7 at 7 p.m. on KUED TV (Channel 7). Brother Jackson was also featured in one of the earlier segments; find out more about the series and read a transcript of Brother Jackson's interview here.
January 2007
  • U of U Seeks Nomination for Youth Leadership Award—The Martin Luther King, Jr. Youth Leadership Award honors outstanding students,grades 7 through 12, from across the State of Utah for their dedication to social action, positive change, and building bridges among cultures and communities. The deadline for nominations is December 1; find out here how to nominate a student.
  • Wilkinson Fights Racial Barriers—Winston Wilkinson, a member of Genesis and former Salt Lake City councilman, has been a Lutheran, a Muslim, a Mormon. He owned a cleaning company, served in the honor guard at President Kennedy's funeral, and left behind a segregated childhood to later oversee civil-rights protections for millions of people. Read about his journey to the Church and the journey that led him to a high-ranking position in Washington.
  • Genesis Primary Brings Great Blessings—Our most treasured gift is our children, and one of the greatest blessings available is working with the Genesis Primary. Here, the Genesis Primary presidency says that Genesis Primary is the place to be for excitement. "We never know what to expect from one month to the next except to know that we will always be spiritually fed and infused by a great outpouring of the Spirit," they explain. Read more here.
  • Curtis Brown's Religious Journey—From the time Curtis Brown was a young boy, his mother tried to strengthen him spiritually by sending him to religious schools. This preparation opened the door for Brown to find religious peace in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Read about his religious journey in this article from BYU NewsNet.
  • Church Launches African-American Genealogical Web Site—The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has launched a new web site that will make African-American genealogical research easier. Find out more here.
  • Ground Broken for King Memorial—President George Bush lead a groundbreaking ceremony that launched construction of the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial in the National Mall area of Washington, DC. The King memorial will be the first monument for a civilian and Black leader on the large park at Washington's core. Read the report from Associated Press.
  • Scholarships Available for African-Americans—Gates Millennium Scholarships are available to African-American students who are enrolling for the first time in a U.S. accredited college or university; the deadline for application is January 12, 2007. Read this article to find out more about the scholarship and the application requirements.
  • Indian Jews Claim Link to Lost Tribes—A group of dark-skinned people who profess Jewish ancestry have arrived in Israel from India to begin a new life after Jewish leaders accepted them as descendants of one of the lost Biblical tribes. The Bnei Menashe community in India's remote northeastern states trace their lineage to one of the ten "lost tribes" of Israel exiled by the Assyrian empire 27 centuries ago. Find out more.
  • First Female West Point Grad to Die in Iraq Honored—Emily J.T. Perez rose to the top of her high school class and then became the first minority female command sergeant in the history of the U.S. Military Academy. Now she has another distinction. The second lieutenant was buried at the academy, the first female graduate of West Point to die in Iraq. Read this tribute to Lt. Perez from the Washington Post.
  • Free Tuition for Black Men—A program affiliated with Clemson University—and involving ten different colleges and universities—will provide free tuition for Black men who want to become teachers. Find out more about the "Call Me Mister" program here.
  • Scholarships for Graduate Degrees—The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is adding $58 million to expand its Millennium Scholars program to target low-income and minority students seeking a graduate degree in public health. Deadline for application is January 12. Find out more, including how to apply.
February 2007
  • Love Knows No Boundaries—Charity, the pure love of Christ, knows no boundaries, as evidenced by what Relief Society sisters in Riverton, Utah, did to support a young woman in Ethiopia who decided to serve a mission. Find out how love stretched all the way around the world and what you can do to help.
  • Christmas Eve and the Dawn of Light—In recounting the Christmas Eve accident that claimed the lives of three members of a local family, Randy Cutliff reminds us of the blessings that come from forgiveness, as a result of enduring well, and through the Savior of all mankind.
March 2007
  • Delight, Sadness As House Tumbles—Family members embraced and wept as the small ooden house came down, their sadness at losing the home tempered only by the knowledge that better things are on the horizon. Mapleton resident Donna Curtis was born and raised in the small home and later reared five children there. A month from now, Curtis and the two grandchildren who now live with her will return to a new home, donated by local builders and Church members who said they had to get involved after hearing about Curtis's story. Read the article from the Deseret News and see how you can help.
  • Zion's Bank Offers Scholarships—Zions Bank is offering scholarships to high school seniors in Utah and Idaho who want to attend institutions of higher learning in their home state. Click here to find out more about the scholarships, offeredthrough the Zions Bank 2007 Founders Scholarship Program, including contacts at each school.
  • Gladys Knight: "This Is the Light"—At a fireside in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, Gladys Knight and her husband, William McDowell, shared their testimony of the truthfulness of the Church to a packed audience. Read the article, which appeared in Meridian Magazine.
  • Young Women in Africa Serve Others—Gathered in a bush camp in Africa without any modern conveniences, such as running water, 160 young women worked together to give more than 200 people they had never met something those people didn't have. Read the account by Church magazine writer Stephanie E.J. Long.
  • Chula Vista California Stake Forms Cultural Group—The Chula Vista California Stake has formed a cultural group that will sponsor firesides on the fourth Sunday of each month. Find out more about the group and the men who have been called to serve in the presidency.
  • Fifth Annual African-American Research Series Held in Salt Lake City—As part of Black History Month, the fifth annual African-American Research Series was held at the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah. Co-sponsored by the Utah chapter of the Afro-American Historical and Genealogical Society (AAHGS) and the Family History Library, the series focused on the tools available to individuals working on genealogy involving those of African American descent. Read more here.
  • Seminary Teacher Has Unique Approach—Kara "Kai" Sanders, a student at BYU-Hawaii and a volunteer early-morning seminary teacher, has an approach that teaches students to take the lead and put God first. Find out more in this article from Kealaka'i.
April-May 2007
  • Children's Books Teach Black History—Meridian Magazine has updated its list of books for children that captivate and teach as they explore fascinating facets of African-American history. Take a look at what's available from award-winning authors and illustrators in books that are as fun for adultldren.
  • DNA: Trace Your Family Tree—Imagine searching for 13 years using traditional genealogical techniques to learn four generations of your maternal grandmothers' names and where they lived. For Cynthia Wilson, this meant spending her vacations in Virginia and North Carolina courthouses and libraries poring over old deeds, probate records, and birth registries. Now, thanks to a DNA registry, she knows her ancestors hailed from Mali, Africa. Read about the advances that are making it possible to trace family trees.
  • Genesis Singers Perform—The Bountiful Central Stake Center echoed with the soulful sounds of songs like “A Motherless Child,” “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot,” and “If Praying Were a Horse” on February 23. Not the typical music for an LDS stake center, but on this night the music was about Black history. Read the article from the Davis County Clipper.
  • Golden Plates on Display in Bulgaria—The world's oldest multiple-page book has gone on display in Bulgaria's National History Museum. The book was created on metal plates bound together with metal rings, similar to the original source documents that became the Book of Mormon. Experts have dated them to 600 BC, roughly the time Lehi and his family left Jerusalem. Find out more in this article from Meridian Magazine.
  • The Lees: New Baby, New Baptism—It's been a busy couple of months for Genesis members Wayne and Muriel Lee and their family. Read all about their new baby and their daughter's baptism—and join us in offering congratulations!
  • Maybelline Smithee Meets Ambassador—Genesis Young Singles Chairperson Maybelline Smithee was invited to lecture on issues affecting Panama and to attend a private luncheon with Panamanian Ambassador Fredrico A. Humbert. Read more about her experiences here!
  • Black Family Performs in Mesa Arizona Pageant—Hoping to add some "color" to the acclaimed Mesa Arizona Easter Pageant, an entire family from Queen Creek, Arizona, will be performing in this year's production. Find out more about the pageant and the Johnson family here.
  • Garrick Hargrove Achieves Eagle Rank—Garrick Antwan Hargrove, a member of the Rancho San Diego Ward in the El Cajon California Stake, has achieved the rank of Eagle Scout and is awaiting his mission call!
  • Ayan Giddins Is Baptized—Ayan Lucille Giddins was baptized by her father, Kevin Jones Giddins, on March 24, 2007. Congratulations, Ayan, for taking this important step!
  • Faith Is a Guiding Light in Knight's Long Career—Speaking of the gospel, Gladys Knight told a Los Angeles Times reporter, "It's one of the most important things in my life. I get to sing and help spread the word, and it sounds beautiful." Read the tribute to Knight here.
June 2007
  • Which Comes First?—Assistant Mission Leader Jamie Driessen asks a thought-provoking question: which comes first—missionary work or service? Read his insightful article about our need to love others and develop a genuine interest in them as members of our flock, and his warning against labeling people as "non"-anything.
  • Free Tuition for Nursing Program—The University of the District of Columbia (UDC) is offering free tuition, free books, a $250 monthly stipend, and guaranteed job placement as a nurse at Providence Hospital with a starting salary of $40,000 upon graduation from UDC's three-year program. The program is recruiting new students between the ages of 18 and 28 now. For more information, contact Ms. Beshon Smith at 202-266-5481 or email
  • Emily Ojuka: Prom Queen—Congratulations to Genesis member Emily Ojuka, who was named prom queen at Provo High School. This is the first time in the school's history that Provo High has had a Black prom queen. Best wishes, Emily!
  • Job Openings at SLCC—Two job openings are available at Salt Lake Community College, working in the multicultural area helping students of color. For more information, click here.
  • Sheppard Honored, Degreed—Genesis member Natalie Palmer Sheppard has not only been inducted into the National Honor Society, but will graduate from the Master of Social Work Program at the University of Utah on May 3. Please join us in congratulating Natalie on this tremendous accomplishment!
  • New Student Body Officers—Congratulations to Genesis members Vanna and Vera Smith—twin daughters of Keith and Tamu Smith—who have been elected student body officers at Provo High School. Vanna was elected student body president, and Vera was elected vice-president. Way to go!
  • Vanna Smith: Prom Royalty—Congratulations to Genesis member Vanna Smith—daughter of Keith and Tamu Smith—who was named second runner-up to the prom queen at Provo High School. Best wishes, Vanna!
  • Greater Love Hath No Man: Support Relay for Life—Genesis member Karyn Dudley has formed a team to support the Relay for Life Cancer Walk—and she needs your help! Find out how you can support her efforts and contribute to the cause of cancer research.
July/August 2007
  • SL Bus Tour Reveals Black History in Utah—A recent bus tour of Salt Lake City, held in conjunction with the Juneteenth celebration, helped participants learn more about the role of Blacks in the early history of Salt Lake. Find out more here, in a story from the Deseret News with photos by Viki Cutliff.
  • Simone Collett Baptized—Congratulations to Simone Collett, daughter of Jeff and Linda Collett, who was baptized on June 2! Simone's family has attended Genesis since she was six months old. She just completed second grade, plays the piano, sings, and dances. She enjoys soccer, basketball, swimming, and bike riding. Simone has a tender spot in her heart for any person or animal who gets hurt, and she always tries to help—so she's well on her way to fulfilling her baptismal covenants!
September 2007
  • Ethnic Coordinator Named—The Center for Ethnic Student Affairs (CESA) at the University of Utah has named Deanna Blackwell its new African-American Administrative Program Coordinator. Learn more about her and find out how to contact the center.
  • Mariama Kallon: Learning to Hope—Read the touching testimony of Mariama Kallon, a woman who lived through brutal rebel attacks in Sierra Leone to find and embrace the gospel, then serve a mission to Salt Lake City Utah Temple Square. Learn how she found hope through the gospel.
  • Help for Human Trafficking Victims Needed—Help is urgently needed for 25 Thai workers in Salt Lake County who are victims of human trafficking. These people are currently receiving legal help, but are unable to work because of immigration laws. Without income, they need urgent assistance in many areas, including help in paying rent. The Asian Association of Utah has asked for help from Genesis members in a drive for funds, food, and personal care items. Find out here what is needed and how you can help.
  • Maya Smith Baptized—Maya Smith, the daughter of Keith and Tamu Smith, was baptized a member of the Church on Saturday, June 30, in Provo. Maya and her family have been active members of the Genesis Group since Maya was born. Congratulations on this important step, Maya!
  • Ghana's Face of Light—Even before missionaries arrived in Ghana, Joseph W.B. Johnson knew they'd come—and he doggedly taught the gospel. By the time they did arrive in Ghana, he had 1,000 people ready to be baptized. Now a humble and inspiring patriarch, he was called by those early missionaries the "St. Paul of Ghana." Read his amazing story by Maurine Jensen Proctor and Scot Facer Proctor, as published in Meridian Magazine.
  • Immunizations Available for $5—The Care-A-Van mobile immunization clinic travels throughout the state of Utah every February through October. Immunizations are free for children ages 0-35 months and are only $5 per shot for all other children needing immunizations who meet eligibility guidelines. Get more details here.
  • Refugee Needs Drive Now Through September 21—Salt Lake's Council on Diversity Affairs and the Salt Lake County Office of Volunteer Program Services are sponsoring a Refugee Needs Drive through September 21 to assist several families that have traveled from dire refugee camp conditions in Africa to resettle in Salt Lake City. Find out what the needs are, how you can help, and where to drop off donations.
December 2007
  • New Initiative Helps Students Get to College—The University of Utah is one of only ten higher education institutions across the country that were awarded funding this year to initiate a program to help underserved students—including first-generation students, students of color, and students facing financial barriers—increase college enrollment rates. Get all the details here.
  • Student, Justice, ACLU Join Up—A Mormon student at a West Virginia university risks losing his scholarship if he serves a mission for the Church. Read about the efforts being made to overturn the decision, as reported by LDSLiving.
  • African-American Family History Conference Held in St. Louis—Darius Gray spoke at an unprecedented African-American Family History Conference in St. Louis. Discover Your Roots included ten classes and two featured speakers and attracted people from the Midwest region and beyond. Read the report from Meridian Magazine.
  • Chula Vista Stake Cultural Group Performs Random Act of Kindness, Enjoys Picnic—After perfoming a Random Act of Kindness to build up their appetite, the Chula Vista Stake Cultural Group held their first annual picnic. Read all about the service they performed—and the fun they had!
January 2008
  • Sam Robinson Baptized—A fruit of missionary labors in southern California, Sam Robinson was baptized a member of the Church on Sunday, November 11, and is the newest member of the Chula Vista Stake Cultural Group. Read what President Anthony Boyd had to say about the event. Welcome, Sam!
  • Church Donation Helps Youth Rise Beyond Ghetto—Playing the violin in a children’s orchestra may have saved seven-year-old Daniel’s life. The boy, orphaned after witnessing his mother’s murder in his slum neighborhood, found safety, comfort, and future direction in the orchestra sponsored by the Child-Citizen Project, to which the Church donates.
  • Study Shows Mormons Benefit From Fasting—A study presented to the American Heart Association indicates that members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints who regularly fast are less likely to have coronary heart disease. There had been a lot of assumptions since the 70s that the reason for the difference was because of the Latter-day Saints’ proscribed use of tobacco and smoking, but now researchers think the benefit may be due to fasting. Find out more here.
February 2008
  • Alex Boyé to Solo—The February 24 broadcast of Music and The Spoken Word featured Genesis member Alex Boyé singing the Negro Spiritual, "I Want Jesus To Walk With Me." Read more about Alex here.
  • Crèches and Carols: Black Angels in St. Louis—At this year's St. Louis Crèches and Carols event, hosted by the St. Louis Missouri Stake with cooperation of other area stakes and community organizations, visitors were able to enjoy several collections of Black angels. Now in its fourth year, Crèches and Carols has blossomed into an annual event that finds common ground, not only among Christians, but people of all faiths and traditions.
  • Villeneuves: New Addition—Ryan and Jessica Villeneuve welcomed Noah Ryan Villeneuve on Monday, December 3; he weighed 6 pounds 12 ounces and was 19 inches long. Dad and Mom and big sister, Brooklyn, are thrilled to have a sweet baby boy, especially during the Christmas season. Congratulations!
  • See the Light and Feel the Warmth—The sun rises and sets each day, regardless of whether we see it. Some days the sun’s rays are blocked by heaven’s clouds, and other days the sun’s rays are blocked by our own clouds. Genesis member Karyn Dudley provides a thoughtful and inspirational look at the warmth of the sun and a parallel we should all appreciate as we welcome the new year.
  • Nekisha Rhodes Awarded—Nekisha Rhodes of St. Louis has won third place in the in the St. Louis Diamond Gospel Idol competition. As one of the top five winners, Nekisha will go on a local church tour with Merdean Gales, Gospel music promoter and BET network host. Read how Nekisha has influenced other members of her ward and stake in participating in their own Gospel choir.
  • Missionaries in Ethiopia: Modern-day Good Samaritans—Genesis member Susie Augenstein shares a touching story of Brother and Sister Giles, senior missionaries in Ethiopia, who demonstrated the love and service of modern-day Good Samaritans. Read the story here.
  • Miracles and a Forever Family—A humble artist in Ethiopia dreamed of having his family sealed for eternity—but because of distance and poverty, he knew it would be a once-in-a-lifetime trip. Find out how senior missionaries and a woman in Salt Lake he had never met made it possible for his dream to come true. It's a story you won't soon forget.
  • Tianna Jolley Sealed—Tianna Nicole Jolley, daughter of Dan and Lori Jolley, was sealed to her parents in the Jordan River Temple on Saturday, January 26. Congratuations!
  • Washington Temple Hosts African-American Exhibit—The Washington Temple Visitors' Center will sponsor “Trails, Tracks, Tarmac: Lives of African-Americans in the History and Culture of Northern Anne Arundel County, 1850 to Present,” which will run through March 2008. This unique and eclectic exhibit highlights the culture, history, and lives of people who lived in African-American communities both large and unincorporated. Find out more here from Meridian Magazine.
  • Available Scholarships: Need Minority Applicants—A number of scholarships are still available, and are specifically asking for minority applicants. There are traditional, reentry, and graduate school scholarships available. Check out the variety of scholarships, and learn how to apply.
  • New Black Facts Calendar—Want to see a fascinating Black "fact" for every day of the year? Take a look at the Black Facts Calendar, linked here. You can reach it permanently on the home page of the web site in the right-hand navigation area. Be patient—it takes longer than usual to load.
March 2008
  • Nekisha Sings at King Festival—Nekisha Rhodes sang "Troubles of the World" by Mahalia Jackson at the Dream Conference, part of the Martin Luther King weekend festivities in St. Louis. Nekisha brought the crowd to their feet in joyous applause. In the audience was well-known gospel artist Dottie Peoples. Nekisha's church affiliation was mentioned when she was introduced. Nekisha also sang at the opening ceremony for the annual Martin Luther King Day march; about a dozen members of Lindell ward joined the march and supported Nekisha. Nekisha is trying out for the Bobby Jones Gospel Music tour. Wish her luck!
  • Michelle Obama Visits Church Headquarters—Mrs. Michelle Obama met with Apostles Elder M. Russell Ballard and Elder Quentin L. Cook shortly after a campaign stop in Salt Lake City on behalf of her husband, Senator Barack Obama. Although the Church is neutral in party politics, it is common for political and government leaders to pay brief calls on Church leadership. The half-hour meeting focused mostly on family values.
  • A Cherished Moment—Genesis member Alex Boye, who sings with the Tabernacle Choir, shares a precious moment in which he and other choir members were invited to a private viewing of President Gordon B. Hinckley's body, along with the prophet's family.
  • Film: Interfaith Celebration of Utah's Black History—Members of the LDS Genesis Group met in the Calvary Baptist Church with its members, as well as with representatives of prominent AME congregations and Seventh-Day Adventists, to celebrate the remarkable lives of seven Black Utahns portrayed in the film, The Wisdom of Our Years. Find out how the 400 people in attendance reacted to the lives of Black Utahns ranging in age from 85 to 104, as well as who was featured in the film.
  • Tabernacle on Trial: Mormons Dismayed by Harsh Spotlightt—Mitt Romney's campaign for the presidency brought more attention to the Church than it has had in years. What the Church discovered was not always heartening. "I don't think that any of us had any idea how much anti-Mormon stuff was out there," said Mormon sociologist Armand Mauss. "The Romney campaign has given the Church a wake-up call. There is the equivalent of anti-Semitism still out there." Read what Mauss and others—including Genesis member Marvin Perkins—had to say in a front-page Wall Street Journal article.
  • My Response to Tabernacle on Trial—How do you feel after reading the Wall Street Journal article, "Tabernacle on Trial"? Dana King shares her thought-provoking response here, originally posted on the blog, "Know Your Neighbor: The Back Porch."
April/May 2008
  • Multicultural Issues Enrich Lives of Writer, Her Family—Margaret Young hasn't been the same since Jane Manning James entered her life. Already an accomplished writer, Young's study of the pioneer woman set her on a course that eventually defined her career and continues to enrich her life professionally, personally, and spiritually. In an article written by Mormon Times Assistant Editor Aaron Shill, read the inspiring story of how a white woman who grew up in Provo, Utah, came to write about—and love—her Black brothers and sisters.
  • Free Tuition for Black Teachers—The "Call Me Mister" program, an effort to address the critical shortage of African-American male teachers—particularly among South Carolina's lowest-performing public schools—offers four years of free tuition to future Black male teachers. To find out more, including how to apply, click here.
    June to August 2008
  • Ghana Saint Shares Testimony—After being asked repeatedly why he had joined the Church, Edward Richard Kwabena Dwemoh wrote his reasons for an article published in the Accra Daily Mail, Ghana's leading daily newspaper. His story is a marvelous testimony by a man who "asked God" with "real intent." Read the article here.
  • Utahn Helping African Girl Realize Dreams—Ask Leah Tsiame what she wants to be and she's quick with an answer. "I'd like to be famous," she says. She doesn't come off as obnoxious when she says this, or precocious, either. Rather, she exudes the level-headed optimism of someone who has already come a long way in a relatively short time and doesn't see why she can't keep right on going. Find out how an Institute of Religion instructor, a host family, and others are helping this delightful young woman realize her dreams in this article by Deseret News writer Lee Benson.
  • Chase Family Baptized—Willie Chase and his three children—Melissa, Nicholas, and Michael—were baptized on June 14. Congratulations, and welcome! Read Genesis Mission Leader Michael Rice's report of the baptism and confirmation.
  • Alex Boye's Road to the Tabernacle Choir—In an interview with LDS Living, Alex Boye talks about his musical career, his decision to serve a mission, and the blessings of sharing the gospel through music.
  • Isaiah Smith Baptized—Isaiah Smith, son of Keith and Tamu Smith, was baptized a member of the Church on Saturday, May 31. Congratulations, Isaiah!
  • Eddie and Heather Gist: Tailoring Modesty Together—Eddie Gist, second counselor in the Genesis Group presidency, and his wife, Heather, have a solid commitment to modesty in dress—and have found a way to encourage women to dress in harmony with Church standards. Read this interview by Rebecca Cressman, originally posted on
  • Genesis Member Jacob Gibson Earns PhD—Genesis member Jacob Gibson is graduating with a PhD in marriage and family therapy from Loma Linda University in southern California. Find out more about Jacob here. Congratulations, Jacob!
  • Stake President Has No Room in Life for Prejudice—Atlanta Stake President Tony Parker relates his unique conversion story—and has wise words of counsel for Blacks who are investigating the Church. Read the article from the Mormon Times.
  • The Priesthood Revelation: Where Were You? And What Has Changed?—Where were you when the priesthood revelation was announced? How did you react? And what has changed since then? Read the responses of a variety of people who were asked those questions, and join us in reflecting on that day of rejoicing.
  • Ex-Black Panther Finds Strength in the Gospel Plan—Once a Black Panther, and now a sealer in the Oakland Temple, Ronald McClain found that his interest in the gospel developed slowly. Baptized in 1985, McClain expresses his testimony and suggests ways in which Black members of the Church can has a positive effect on others. Read the article from the Mormon Times.
  • A Week in the Life of a Mormon Family—Hilary Ekpo says that being Mormon in his country is most likely very similar to the experiences of other Latter-day Saints elsewhere. “The difference is not much,” said Brother Ekpo. “Whether you are in Russia, Nigeria or Utah, the gospel, the Church and the responsibility of parents to teach their children is the same.” Read this article from Meridian Magazine about the Epko family of Nigeria.
  • Alex Boye: "The Song of the Heart"—While most know who Alex Boye is, few are familiar with his driving spirit and the road he took to get where he is today. Find out what took him from his hometown of London and his role in a popular British boy band to the gospel-oriented music he so beautifully sings today.
  • Darron Smith Deployed—Darron Smith is enroute to Kuwait with the Army National Guard; he will be serving his country as a physician assistant for one year doing patient care. He is currently at Ft. Sill, Oklahoma, and his unit heads out in May. Darron could really use some encouragement from his brothers and sisters in the gospel; you can email Darron at
  • Free Tuition for Black Teachers—The "Call Me Mister" program, an effort to address the critical shortage of African-American male teachers—particularly among South Carolina's lowest-performing public schools—offers four years of free tuition to future Black male teachers. To find out more, including how to apply, click here.
  • DVD Answers Hard Questions About Race and the Church—When confronted with the topic of racism and equality in the Church, many members feel as though they are ill-prepared and at a loss for what to say. Marvin Perkins, who with Darius Gray produced a two-DVD set explaining the answers clearly, says, "One of the issues the Church leaders are getting the most heat over is our doctrine on Blacks. One of the greatest things the members can do to sustain the Brethren and alleviate some of the external pressures would be to learn these issues." Read this feature from Meridian Magazine to learn more.
  • A New Beginning: Blacks Giving the Mormon Church a Second Look—The religious pillars of service and community outreach in the LDS Church appealed to 28-year-old Angela Carson, but so did something that may surprise many Blacks: the commitment to diversity she saw at the Church. "I was approached by two younger African-American Mormon missionaries, and it made me think about the Church in a different way," she said. "So many people have asked me why I joined a racist religion, which makes me sad that people would think this faith teaches hate." Read why Blacks are taking a second look at the Church in this report from Columbia News Service.
  • One Man's Effort to Document Black History—When Charles L. Blockson's fourth-grade teacher told him that Black people had made no contributions to history, he refused to believe it—and he set out to prove her wrong. Read the inspiring story of Blockson and his collection of more than 300,000 items, housed at Pennsylvania State University.
  • Leadership Utah Scholarship—The Salt Lake City Human Rights Commission is now accepting applications for the Leadership Utah Scholarship 2008, a $1,300 tuition waiver to attend the Human Rights Commission's Leadership Utah training program. To apply, you must be a resident of Salt Lake City and a member of the diverse community. Application deadline is July 7.
  • Hearst Endowed Fellowships—The Nonprofit Sector and Philanthropy Program of the Aspen Institute in Washington, D.C., is offering the William Randolph Hearst Endowed Fellowship, based on academic excellence and need, to both undergraduate and graduate students of color. For the last two years, Utah has been able to send one of our students to Washington, D.C. Michael Styles will write a letter of recommendation to anyone who is a political science major and who has volunteered for a political campaign or non-profit organizations committed to change. Application deadline is July 15, 2008.
  • African-American History Museum Opens in Northwest—Emotions were high as an African-American museum opened in the northwest—and interest in family history research was particularly high among the more than one thousand first-day visitors. Read all about it here.
  • Elvis Haslem: Working to Bring More Blacks to the Gospel—Elvis Haslem had become dissatisfied and was investigating a number of religions. Find out how an amazing network of support and information combined to help him realize that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is true—and to instill him with the desire to help other Blacks to the truthfulness of the gospel.
January 2009
  • New Bone Marrow Drive Jan. 29 for Leukemia Patient—Marcia Williams, a 37-year-old African-American originally from Jamaica, is suffering from a rare form of leukemia and desperately needs a bone marrow transplant. Her chances are best of finding a donor who is African-American, and a new drive to identify potential donors will be held Thursday, January 29, from 3–7 p.m. at the west side of Rio Tinto Stadium, 9245 South State, Sandy. Find out more about what it takes to be a donor and read a stirring letter from Marcia.
  • Tuskegee Airmen Speak at Sanpete Fly-In—Three members of the Tuskegee Airmen addressed a crowd of more than 400 as part of the Sanpete Fly-in. Read about it here in an article by guest writer Jerri Harwell.
  • Lyman Reunion: Jane Manning James Contribution—When descendants of Apostle Amassa Lyman gathered for a reunion, they heard about—and saw a depiction of—the contribution of Jane Manning James to their family. Read about it here.
  • Natasha and Brandon White Baptized—Natasha White and her 12-year-old son, Brandon Sly, were baptized on Saturday, November 15. Congratulations, Natasha and Brandon, and welcome!
  • Preston Lee Baptized—Congratulations to Preston Charles Lee, who was baptized on Saturday, October 25, 2008, at the Ivins Ward Building in Salt Lake City! Following the baptism, friends and family gathered to celebrate Preston's eighth birthday. Congratulations, Preston!
  • Cindy Chase Baptized—Congratulations to Cindy Chase! On Saturday, September 6, 2008, Cindy Chase was baptized by her husband, Willie, in a beautiful baptismal service attended by the members of the Rose Canyon Herriman 3rd Ward, their family, Genesis members, President and Sister Harwell, Burnie Hill, and Genesis Mission Leader Michael Rice. Read more here and see pictures of those who participated! Welcome to the Church and the Genesis Group, Cindy!
  • Fundraiser Provides Blankets for Ethiopia—A family and a young man who attend Genesis put their heads together, put their shoulders to the wheel, and came up with a great idea for a fundraiser to help their brothers and sisters in Ethiopia. Find out how effort and inspiration came together to make a difference.
  • Giddins Family: Bringing Saints Together—Genesis members Kevin and Lita Gittins and their family have an outstanding attitude toward the Church—and feel that one of their purposes is to gather people to Christ, no matter their color of skin. "White cannot be saved without black and black cannot be saved without white," Kevin said. "Accept my identity but don't segregate me. We feel we are part of the gathering of Israel, helping [the Saints] come together."
  • Genesis Members Appointed to Council—Genesis members Tamu Smith and Marguerite Driessen have been selected as members of the Black Advisory Council, part of the Utah State Office of Ethnic Affairs. Four Ethnic Advisory Councils—the Asian, Black, Hispanic-Latino and Pacific Islander councils, each with 11 to 15 members—meet regularly to discuss recommendations regarding the state government's outreach and services to the ethnic communities. Congratulations, Tamu and Marguerite!
  • Marvin Perkins Featured on CNN's "I Am"—In conjunction with the compelling "Black in America" series that aired on TV in July, CNN has launched an online series entitled "I Am," which seeks to break through stereotypes and unite all through highlighting those who've ignored such barriers. The first interview in this new series was with Genesis Public Affairs Chair Marvin Perkins. Click to hear the interview.
  • What to Expect When You Step Inside a Mormon Meetinghouse—Most first-time visitors to a Latter-day Saint church building comment on the number of rooms. Many expect to find one large interior space, such as in many other Christian denominations' buildings of worship. Read here, in an article from Meridian Magazine, what makes our buildings so different.
  • Why Are You So Dressed Up? What to Say—Somewhere, there is still someone who hasn't yet given in to the sloppy, casual dress downtrend. But sometime today, someone will challenge this brave individual who refuses to conform, asking “Why're you so dressed up?” Here's what to say—and some pretty compelling reasons why it's important to look your best.
  • Andrew Zillale: Modern-day Pioneer—Out of curiosity, Andrew Zillale stopped an American couple on a street in Tanzania inquiring why they were in Africa. Little did he know then that this chance meeting with missionaries of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in 1993 would lead to him becoming a modern-day Mormon pioneer, helping to make the gospel accessible to the people of Tanzania.
  • Grant Available for Black Women—The Florida A&M University Computer Information Sciences Program has received a National Science Foundation grant valued at $552,000 dedicated to recruiting African-American women to computer science and information technology disciplines. The program began operation on July 1 and will run until June 30, 2012. Applications for the program can be requested at or (850) 412-7354. For more information on the program, click here.
April 2009
  • Orem High Elects First Black Studentbody President—Elijah Thomas, son of Genesis members Isaac and Claudia Thomas, has been elected studentbody president at Orem High School—the first Black in the history of the school elected to the position. Read about this remarkable and accomplished young man here.
  • Sister Pat Rogers Passes Away—Sister Pat Rogers, Genesis member and wife of Galen Rogers, passed away March 1 from complications of diabetes. Pat loved Genesis, and it was a great blessing for her and her sons to be able to attend; we will all miss her beautiful countenance and her cheerful smile. Please keep Galen and Pat's sons in your prayers and on your prayer list for the temple. To read the obituary and get more information about Pat, click here.
  • Malaika Vereen Baptism—Malaika Vereen was baptized Saturday, March 1, at the Ben Lomond Stake Center in Ogden. Congratulations on this important step, Malaika—and let's all extend a warm welcome to Malaika at our next Genesis Group meeting!
  • Applicants Sought for Congressional Pages—Applicants are being sought for Pages in the U.S. House of Representatives for the 2009 school year. The deadline for application is March 2009. Pages must be at least 16 years old and have a 3.0 GPA. For more information, click here.
  • Couple Breaks Record with 84-Year Marriage—Here's one for the record books! Herbert and Zelmyra Taylor of Brownsville, North Carolina, have been married 84 years—longer than anyone else on record! “I didn’t know I would be married this long,” Herbert said. “But I lived a nice holy life and go to church every Sunday. Yes sir, anything for her.” To read more about the Taylors, click here.
  • Eyes On Nigeria: One Couple's Efforts—When a senior missionary couple in Nigeria inherited a few dozen magnified reading glasses, they decided to distribute them to people in outlying branches. The project caught on, and "Eyes Over Nigeria" ended up distributing more than 1,500 pairs of eyeglasses—as well as a healthy dose of the Spirit. Find out how it happened in this article from Meridian Magazine.
  • Genesis Choir Member Reflects on Commemoration—Genesis Choir member Ellie Awak offers tender reflections on her experience singing with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir during the Church's commemoration celebration. Read her thoughts here.
May 2009
  • BYU Multicultural Students Offer College Prep Courses in May—BYU's Multicultural Student Services (MSS) Office is hosting its annual college preparation programs for eighth- through tenth-graders during the first three Saturdays in May on the BYU campus. The day-long interactive courses are free of charge and include lunch.
  • Brandon Warren to Graduate—Brandon Warren will graduate June 11 from Rancho Bernardo High School in San Diego, California, after which he will begin studying at Brigham Young University. To find out more about this talented young man, click here.
July 2009
  • Emmanuel McFang Baptized in Salt Lake City—Emmanuel McFang was baptized in Salt Lake City on April 25, and was confirmed a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints on April 26. Emmanuel is from Cameroon, Africa, and currently lives in Atlanta, Georgia. To learn more, and find out how Emmanuel was friendshipped in a Salt Lake City branch, click here.
  • Damion Ainsworth Baptized—Damion Lornell Ainsworth, son of Keisha Ainsworth, was baptized on Saturday, May 2, at the Wilford Stake Center. Congratulations for making such a good choice, Damion, and welcome!
  • Franklin, Historian Who Paved Civil Rights Path, Dies—John Hope Franklin, one of the most prolific and well-respected chroniclers of America's torturous racial odyssey, has died of congestive heart failure at the age of 94 in a North Carolina, hospital. "My challenge," Mr. Franklin once said, "was to weave into the fabric of American history enough of the presence of Blacks so that the story of the United States could be told adequately and fairly." For more information on this influential pioneer, click here.
  • Use Your Cell Phone to Help Save Your Life!—We all carry them—now find out how your cell phone can speak for you in case of emergency. Read about the new system here.
  • Our Hands: What Will We Do?—Sister Karyn Dudley recalls an experience of taking a group of youth to Island Park, Idaho. Asking each to draw a picture of someone with whom he or she was angry, Sister Dudley gave the youth the chance to think about their "enemy"—and to remember exactly what things had happened to cause such anger and upset. The activity continued until the group of youth were gleefully throwing darts at their pictures, taking out their feelings of hurt and anger. What happened next shocked and embarrassed the group—and carried a critical message for each of us just as well as it did those who were gathered on the rustic benches around the roaring bonfire. Read Sister Dudley's thought-provoking message here. And as you ponder her message, take the opportunity to find out what forgiveness means to you, and to think about what you choose to do with your hands each day.
October 2009
  • In Christ Alone: A Testimony of Jesus Christ—"No guilt in life, no fear in death, this is the power of Christ in me. From life’s first cry to final breath, Jesus commands my destiny. No power of hell, no scheme of man can ever pluck me from His hand. Till He returns or calls me home, here in the power of Christ I’ll stand." So conclude the lyrics to "In Christ Alone," a powerful song that expresses a compelling testimony of Jesus Christ, the Savior of all mankind. This month, join the presidency of the Genesis Young Men as they express something we all share and all hold sacred: a testimony that the Savior, who has aken upon Himself all our sins and made possible our successful return from mortality, is the source of our faith and the everlasting reason for our existence.
February 2010
  • Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.: For Today and Tomorrow—Each year on the third Monday of January, we honor the birth of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. This year marks the 24th anniversary of the national holiday in honor of Dr. King's work and marks 42 years since his assassination. Though he has been dead longer than he lived, he lived an extraordinary life. Yet he left a legacy of hope and inspiration that continues and resonates in modern-day society.

    Dr. King is one of those leasers who never dies. Perhaps we should speak of him not only in the past tense, but also in present and future tenses. His example has inspired excellence in our heart and in our minds.

    The national theme for this observance is “A Day On—Not a Day Off,” reflecting Dr. King’s belief that service to others is a great equalizer and the way to true brotherhood.

    Our Heavenly Father has given us words that we need to understand—and remember—not for just this holiday, but for every day of our life: "And again, the Lord God hath commanded that men should not murder; that they should not lie; that they should not steal; that they should not take the name of the Lord their God in vain; that they should not envy; that they should not have malice; that they should not contend one with another; that they should not commit; whoredoms and that they should do none of these things; for whoso doeth them shall perish. For none of these iniquities come of the Lord; for he doeth that which is good among the children of men; and he doeth nothing save it be plain unto the children of men; and 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; and he remembereth the heathen; and all are alike unto God, both Jew and Gentile" (2 Nephi 26:32–33).

    May we serve one another not just on the day we celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King’s life and legacy, but every day as our Heavenly Father desires us to. Let us commit ourselves to rid our world of bigotry and hatred starting in our homes and community. As we continue through this life, let us do so as brothers and sisters in preparation for our day in Heavenly Father’s kingdom.

    Click here for the text of Dr. King's "I Have a Dream Speech"
    Click here for excerpts from Dr. King's sermon at the Ebenezer Baptist Church
    Click here for children's frequently asked questions about Dr. King
    Click here for a selection of quotes from Dr. King
May 2010
  • Karyn Dudley Featured—Genesis member Karyn Dudley was recently featured in a Mormon Times article as one of a handful of people who talked about what it's like to live near Church historical sites. Read the article here.
  • What Are They Up To?—Any idea what these guys are up to? Laser tag! If you joined the Genesis Youth for this awesome event—or just wish you had—click here to see the group shot that was taken.
  • Allan Jackson Dies at 105—Beloved Genesis centenarian, Allan C. Jackson, died just a few weeks before turning 106 and has been laid to rest in the Salt Lake Cemetery next to his father. His genuine laugh, loving disposition, and valiant testimony will be missed by all of us in the Genesis Group. Read more here, including a tribute featured in the Salt Lake Tribune and an interview about his war experiences conducted by KUED TV.
  • Former Mr. Universe Expounds on Scriptures—Former Mr. Universe, Paul Devine—a member of the Genesis Group since its inception and an award-winning body-builder—spoke at a recent fireside in Los Angeles, where he shared his conversion story and testimony of the gospel. Read more here.
  • First Black Bishop Called in Hattiesburg, MS—Bishop Randall Silas is the first African-American called to the position of bishop in Hattiesburg, Mississippi. Read all about him and share his testimony of the Church in this article that appeared in the Hattiesburg American.
  • Meeting of the Faiths at Utah Church Sites—Two different groups—one Muslim, one Catholic—recently visited Salt Lake and were given tours that included the new Oquirrh Mountain Temple as well as other Church sites. See how they reacted in this article, which originally appeared in the Church News.
  • Swahili Branch Unites LDS Africans in Salt Lake—A Swahili Branch of the Church, which meets every Sunday in Salt Lake City, has been a unifying force for African members, mostly refugees from Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda, Burundi, Uganda, and the Congo. Read here for more about the branch.
  • Scholarship Money for Minorities Unclaimed, Going to Waste—Scholarship money available for minority students is going unclaimed, and the money is being returned to the donating companies and foundations. For a list of 49 scholarships up for grabs (and web sites for information on each), click here.
  • Reflections on Nearing the End—Brother and Sister Norris Mills, who finished their mission on June 30, reflect on a district conference, the difficulty of joining the Church in a Buddhist country, the faithfulness of the members, the valor of the youth, and the joy of a nation now freed of war. Read their final update here.
August 2010
  • Alieshia Dudley Makes List—Alieshia Dudley, daughter of Karen Dudley, finished her sophomore year of college on the dean's list. Alieshia is a student at Utah State University in Logan. Way to go, Alieshia!
  • Rayshaun Cox Graduates—Rayshaun Cox, daughter of Keith and Tamu Smith, started her summer with kudos: she finished out her sophomore year at Provo High with a 4.0 grade-point average. Congratulations, Rayshaun!
  • Natalie Sheppard Graduates—Natalie J. Sheppard, daughter of James and Natalie Sheppard, has graduated from Bingham High School. Congratulations on reaching this awesome milestone, Natalie!
  • Rene Harwell Graduates—Rene Allene Harwell, daughter of President Don and Jerri Harwell, has graduated from Brighton High School in Cottonwood Heights, Utah. She was active in dance for three years and often choreographed dance routines for herself and others for school performances. During her senior year, she was a cheerleader, made Honor Roll twice, and was recognized by the Canyons School District’s Standing Tall Program for Native Americans. She has completed some Concurrent Enrollment classes, giving her college credit, which she will transfer to Dixie State College in St. George, Utah, this fall. Congratuations, Rene!
December 2010
  • Did You Know? The Mormon Tabernacle Choir—Brush up on your knowledge about "America's Choir," with its increasing effort toward diversity. Get the facts here.
  • Alex Boyé Finds His Voice in Mormon Tabernacle Choir—In this special to the Salt Lake Tribune, written by a member of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, Genesis member Alex Boyé recounts his journey from British pop sensation to member of the Church and the choir. Find out his purpose for singing, and read more here.
  • Brother N. Don Dudley Reflects on the Priesthood Revelation—On the anniversary of the priesthood revelation, many are always asked, "Do you remember how you felt that day?" In these touching thoughts, Brother Don Dudley—father of Genesis members Eric, Karyn, and Lyn Dudley—remembers his feelings when he heard the news.
September 2011
  • Yes, Every Member Is a Missionary—When we hear the word missionary, what comes to mind is young men called “Elders” in white shirts, black pants, or black suits and young women called “Sisters” who are dressed modestly—all of them wearing black name tags with white letters. This is how people outside our faith and many within our faith see missionaries of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. But this is only one segment of the missionary picture. Jesus told His disciples, "Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature." This is a responsibility that falls on the shoulders of every member of our faith—man, woman, and child. It is not a responsibility that is to be taken lightly. It’s a responsibility that will last our earth’s life time and continue on the other side of the veil. No matter the circumstances we must earnestly do what we can and when we can. Yes, every member is a missionary, and that means you. To read the entire message and learn all the kinds of missionary work you can do, click here.
November 2012
  • Civil Rights Champion Stephen Parkinson Smoot Dies—Stephen Parkinson Smoot, known for his tireless efforts on behalf of civil rights, died May 16, 2012, after enduring twenty-two years of cancer. Among other things, he was co-founder and president of the Utah chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and 2011 recipient of its Torch of Freedom, Lifetime Achievement Award; board member of numerous civic committees and councils. Read his obituary here.
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