“Healing Racism Through Jesus Christ” – Fountain of Living Waters

Dr. Ryan Gabriel, BYU Assistant Professor of Sociology

April 6, 2021 BYU Devotional Address

“My dear sisters and brothers, we have all thought, spoken, or behaved in a prejudiced manner at some point in our lives. The good news is that we can turn to the fountain of living waters—Jesus Christ and His Atonement—for our healing and redemption. His death and triumphant Resurrection not only provide us the ability to reconcile our relationship with Heavenly Father but to reconcile our relationships with each other. We can apologize when we have hurt someone, ask for forgiveness from God, and endeavor every day to love more fully and completely by improving our capacity to personify the great commandment. Through applying the Atonement personally with the intention to live the great commandment, we are collectively contributing to the creation of Zion—a community of “the pure in heart.”

We can also help develop this united Zion community by study and by faith. We can learn about cultures that are different from our own. For instance, we can read works from writers who we might not normally engage with, such as Maya Angelou, who received more than 50 honorary degrees, and Toni Morrison, who won the Nobel Prize in Literature and was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom. We might study the amazing life of Frederick Douglass and the powerful women who contributed to civil rights, such as Ida B. Wells and Fannie Lou Hamer. We can develop authentic, loving friendships with individuals of different races, ethnicities, and backgrounds and humbly listen to and learn from their real-life experiences. In building friendships across lines of difference, it is key to recognize our commonalities. Uniting around our commonalities will go a long way in building bridges of cooperation and lasting friendship. We might offer consistent, heartfelt prayers to have charity for those whose cultural histories are different from ours. In His own way and through His infinite intelligence, Heavenly Father will answer our prayers to be filled with charity. It is my earnest prayer that each of us might have hearts abounding with love for God and for each other.”