Save the Date for the Arrington Lecture at Utah State
Tuesday, Jul. 31, 2018
Darius Gray, an African American convert to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and former president of the church’s Genesis Branch, will present “Redeeming a People: The Critical Role of Historical Examination in Moving Cultural and Moral Trajectories” at 7 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 20, at the Logan LDS Tabernacle, 50 N. Main St. The lecture is free and open to the public.
The event will also feature a performance by the Debra Bonner Unity Gospel Choir. Formerly known as the Genesis Gospel Choir, the group is primarily comprised of members of the LDS Church who sing authentic gospel soul music.
Gray, who joined the LDS Church in 1964, served as a counselor in the Genesis Group beginning in 1971, and as president of the support group for black Latter-day Saints from 1997 to 2003. This June marked four decades since the leadership of the LDS Church announced a revelation allowing all worthy male members to receive the priesthood, and Gray has spoken extensively during the anniversary year about his experiences as a member of the church, both before and after that historic announcement in 1978.
“It has been 40 years since the LDS Church changed its policy regarding allowing all worthy male members, regardless of race, to hold the priesthood,” said longtime USU history professor Ross Peterson, a member of the Arrington Foundation board. “Darius is someone who fought the battle, remained true to the faith, and provided a living example of why the change was necessary.”
A former journalist, Gray has made numerous presentations around the country regarding blacks in the Bible and in the LDS Church. Gray also co-authored a trilogy of historical novels about black Mormons with Margaret Blair Young titled “Standing on the Promises,” and appeared on the PBS documentary “The Mormons” in 2007. In 2014, Gray was presented with a special citation by the Mormon History Association for his “outstanding contributions to Mormon history.”
The annual Leonard J. Arrington Lecture honors the prominent historian, whose papers were donated to USU’s Special Collections and Archives, a division in USU’s University Libraries. Presenting an annual lecture on some facet of Mormon history was part of the gift agreement.