An apparent press release this morning with news that President Nelson had released a statement apologizing for past racism in the church turned out to be a hoax. Some members of the church were celebrating and even in tears as they considered this a great step in the right direction towards healing wounds from the past.
An unknown person registered the mormon-newsroom.org domain a few days ago and then released an aricle on that site with the headline: “President Nelson Meets With NAACP; Offers Apology for History of Racism.”
It contained a lengthy statement of confession and apology and even included an attached .pdf on church letterhead addressed to “General Authorities and the following leaders in the United States and Canada: Area Seventies; Stake, Mission, and District Presidents; Bishops and Branch Presidents.”
It was a well planned hoax and had many news media outlets fooled as they posted news of the apology without realizing that it was all fake. All of the links on mormon-newsroom.org went to the true mormonnewsroom.org domain, so it was difficult to spot the hoax. At the very bottom of the website the hoaxers left their mark as it states, “Mormon-Newsroom.org is the official pasquinade newsroom of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.”
The Sistas in Zion Facebook page went live after discovering the website was a hoax and shared the pain that they, and countless other members of the church were feeling because of this false statement. They said, “To the people who just retraumatized Black people in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints may God have mercy on your souls.”
Many were faked out by this hoax because members of the NAACP and First Presidency met today and were prepared to release a joint announcement. They gathered together to call for “greater civility and racial harmony.”
They statements they released are found below:
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints continues to affirm its fundamental doctrine—and our heartfelt conviction—that all people are God’s precious children and therefore our brothers and sisters. Nearly a quarter century ago, the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles proclaimed that “All human beings—male and female—are created in the image of God. Each is a beloved spirit son or daughter of heavenly parents, and, as such, each has a divine nature and destiny.”
Today, in unity with such capable and impressive leaders as the national officials of the NAACP, we are impressed to call on people of this nation and, indeed, the entire world to demonstrate greater civility, racial and ethnic harmony and mutual respect. In meetings this morning, we have begun to explore ways—such as education and humanitarian service—in which our respective members and others can serve and move forward together, lifting our brothers and sisters who need our help, just as the Savior, Jesus Christ, would do. These are His words: “I say unto you, be one; and if ye are not one ye are not mine” (Doctrine and Covenants 38:27).
Together we invite all people, organizations and governmental units to work with greater civility, eliminating prejudice of all kinds and focusing more on the many areas and interests that we all have in common. As we lead our people to work cooperatively, we will all achieve the respect, regard and blessings that God seeks for all of His children. Thank you very much.
Derrick Johnson – President and CEO of the NAACP
President Nelson, the statement you just made expresses the very core of our beliefs and mission at the NAACP. We admire and share your optimism that all peoples can work together in harmony and should collaborate more on areas of common interest. Thank you.
To the media, as the NAACP celebrates this 64th anniversary of the landmark decision Brown vs. Board of Education, like the Latter-day Saints, we believe all people, organizations and government representatives should come together to work to secure peace and happiness for all God’s children. Unitedly, we call on all people to work in greater harmony, civility and respect for the beliefs of others to achieve this supreme and universal goal.
We compliment The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints for its good faith efforts to bless not only its members, but people throughout the United States and, indeed, the world in so many ways. The NAACP, through our mission, we are clear that it is our job to speak for those who cannot speak for themselves. And we do so in an advocacy voice, but now with a partner who seeks to pursue harmony and civility within our community. I am proud to stand here today to open up a dialog to seek ways of common interest to work towards a higher purpose. This is a great opportunity. Thank you for this moment.
If you see the article about an LDS Church apology, we encourage you to use your voice to correct people and let them know it was a hoax and that it should not be shared.