The Rev. Amos C. Brown believes that one way to overcome racial prejudice in society is to “make positive ripples.”

“I don’t mean to make it simplistic, but it is simple: do unto others as you would have them do unto you. We reap what we sow. Injustice anywhere, as Dr. (Martin Luther) King says, gets around to affecting us all everywhere,” the Rev. Brown said. “It is like the ripples of the waves. When you throw a pebble in the water, there are ripples. We ought to be about making positive ripples.”

The thoughtful response regarding how individuals can make a difference in their communities was part of an interview discussion between The Rev. Brown and Elder Jack N. Gerard of the Quorum of the Seventy in the sanctuary of the Third Baptist Church of San Francisco for the September edition of the Liahona, an official church magazine for adult members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, a news release said Thursday.

The Rev. Brown, pastor of the Third Baptist Church, is a longtime advocate of civil rights and a member of the board of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP).

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President Russell M. Nelson and other church leaders have worked with the Rev. Brown and others from the NAACP to promote civility and collaborate on educational and humanitarian projects in recent years.

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In the interview, Elder Gerard and the Rev. Brown discussed topics such as solutions for defeating prejudice and the faith leader’s love of the Latter-day Saint hymn, “Come, Come, Ye Saints.” Part of the interview is featured in a video.

Here are a few questions and answers from the interview transcript on Liahona.ChurchofJesusChrist.org.

How average people can eradicate prejudice in their own lives

Elder Gerard: President Nelson said, “God does not love one race more than another. His doctrine on this matter is clear. He invites all to come unto him.” he has called upon the members of our church to “lead out in abandoning attitudes and actions of prejudice.” In your opinion, what are the best ways for average people to work toward eradicating prejudice in their own lives?

The Rev. Brown: First, the regular person should be good to himself or herself by knowing that God loves them and they don’t have to take shortcuts to importance or to be mean to others by elevating oneself. They need to say, “I’m going to use what I have for the good of others and not just myself.” Many people are dying spiritually because they are focusing only on self, never concerned about the welfare of other selves.

Elder Jack N. Gerard walks arm in arm with the Rev. Amos C. Brown in the sanctuary of the Third Baptist Church of San Francisco.
Elder Jack N. Gerard of the Quorum of the Seventy walks arm in arm with the Rev. Amos C. Brown in the sanctuary of the Third Baptist Church of San Francisco. | The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Why the Rev. Brown loves the hymn, ‘Come, Come, Ye Saints’

Elder Gerard: I’ve been struck by your special love for our hymn “Come, Come, Ye Saints.” What is it about the hymn that means so much to you?

Reverend Brown: That hymn embodies a statement of the struggle of the human family. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints went through struggle. Your congregation did not rest in the ruins of oppression. It did not just survive. It struggled to soar above the persecution that was inflicted by persons who didn’t like you because you were different.

But the prophets kept saying, “Come, come, ye Saints, no toil nor labor fear.” That opening line really impacted me when I first heard it over 50 years ago, and I never forgot it.

The Rev. Brown previously talked about having a “wow moment” when reflecting on the hymn “Come, Come, Ye Saints” in a 2019 video interview.

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