John Drew Sheard, the Presiding Bishop of the Church of God in Christ (COGIC) has announced a new partnership with the Church of Latter Day Saints (LDS).
In a video post, Bishop Sheard announced that he had visited Salt Lake City, Utah and met with leaders of the Church of Latter Day Saints, including the First President Russell Nelson and the Board of Twelve.
Specific details of the partnership between COGIC and the Church of Latter Day Saints remain unclear. However, Bishop Sheard did share that there was a discussion as to how COGIC and LDS church can partner to impact the world in a positive way.
The Church of God in Christ in the largest Pentecostal denomination in the United States with membership exceeding 6M. It is the second largest primarily Black denomination in America.
The Church of Latter Day Saints, also known as the Mormon Church, is the 4th largest Christian denomination in the US with a membership of 6M people.
The Mormon Church’s Tabernacle Choir is known for their annual, full-orchestra Christmas performance.
In addition, the LDS Church is known for its interconnectivity to DNA testing. Many of the first popular genetic testing kit companies were created by Mormons. While Ancestry.com is a publicly traded company, it still uses records from the LDS Church. All LDS church members receive free memberships to Ancestry.com.
The Church of Latter Day Saints has also struggled with diversity. Only about 1% of its membership today is Black.
Until 1978, the Church actually barred Black people from the Church. The Church’s founder, Joseph Smith, taught that the dark skin of Black African ancestry was a sign of a curse from God. It was only in 2013 that the LDS church disavowed itself from its previous beliefs and teachings on race.
Let’s hope that this historic partnership between COGIC and Church of Latter Day Saints does have a positive impact on the world, including racial understanding and reconciliation in some way.