Genesis Group

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The Genesis Group is an auxiliary organization of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS church) for African-American members and their families. It was first organized in Salt Lake City, Utah, in 1971 to provide members an organization where they could affiliate with fellow African-American members.

The Genesis group provided meetings for black members of the LDS church (Mormons); specifically, Relief Society, Primary, Young Men, Young Women and testimony meetings. Members of Genesis were still expected to attend Sunday meetings in their home wards,[1] which at the time were sacrament meeting, Priesthood meetings, and Sunday School.[2] It was like a branch, a small group of members, but without priesthood authority. The group was led by Ruffin Bridgeforth from 1971 through 1978.[1] Shortly after the church's June 8, 1978, announcement of the revelation extending the priesthood to all worthy male members of the church, the group's attendance dropped, and officially discontinued in 1987. Participation decreased in part because it added additional time commitments to already demanding LDS church membership. In 1985, Marva Collins started a "Genesis II" group in Oakland, California and published a newsletter focused on news about black Mormons until 1988.[1]

The Genesis Group was reorganized in 1996, based on a perception that African Americans still had unique issues and could benefit from a chance to affiliate with one another. Leaders of the group include Darius Gray (1997–2003), Don Harwell (2003–2018), and Davis Stovall (2018-present).[3][4] Stake and High Councilmen were assigned to represent The Genesis Group in local organization, and a General authority was assigned to be a liaison to the group.[5]

Other Genesis groups have existed in Washington, D.C..[1] In 2007, similar support groups existed in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, Cincinnati and Columbus, Ohio, Los Angeles, and Houston.[3]

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  1. ^ a b c d Embry, Jessie L. (1994). Black Saints in a white church : contemporary African American Mormons. Salt Lake City: Signature Books. pp. 183–191. ISBN 1560850442.
  2. ^ Christensen, Tom (18 April 2014). "History of the LDS three-hour Sunday block". Standard-Examiner. Retrieved 17 July 2017.
  3. ^ a b Stack, Peggy Fletcher (7 July 2007). "Faithful witness". The Salt Lake Tribune. Retrieved 17 July 2017.
  4. ^ Walch, Tad (2018-01-07). "LDS Church reorganizes Genesis Group leadership". Retrieved 2018-01-08.
  5. ^ Embry, Jessie L. (1990). "Separate but Equal? Black Branches, Genesis Groups, or Integrated Wards?" (PDF). Dialogue. 23 (1). Retrieved 17 July 2017.

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