The LDS Sanctioned Group You Probably Haven't Heard Of - The Genesis Group

According to their official LDS website,


"The Genesis Group was established in October 1971 by the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as a dependent branch to serve the needs of African-American Latter-day Saints. Following the priesthood revelation, or Official Declaration #2, in June 1978, The Genesis Group continues to host meetings on the first Sunday of every month, and other activities, to support and edify all Latter-day Saints, their families and friends, and individuals interested in the LDS Church."

The Genesis Group has it's own leadership and Presidency, but is still under the direction of the First Presidency. Former President of Genesis, Darius Gray, writes:


“Genesis was, and is, a unique unit of the Church. We are like no other Church organization but our existence was brought into being by the direct actions of the First Presidency and The Quorum of the Twelve. We are not an auxiliary like the Relief Society but we are more than a 'fireside' while less than a ward. What fireside has a presidency set apart to a specific purpose? What fireside has its own auxiliaries? . . . Genesis is by design not like any other unit of the Church but there is beauty in that special calling. There is also responsibility. We exist and serve at the pleasure of the leadership of the Lord's Church. Our purpose is the Lord's purpose - we help to bring souls to the Restored Gospel.”


So which members of the First Presidency organized the group? Under President Hinckley, Boyd K. Packer, and Thomas S Monson, the Genesis Group was organized on June 8, 1971. Genesis was born as a kind of quasi-branch, or congregation, with a three-man presidency, where black members could meet monthly with others who looked like them, shared their frustrations, their faith and their, well, animated worship style (complete with shouted “amens,” applause and exuberant praise hymns).



When President Thomas S. Monson passed away, the group felt a considerable loss as the last member of the Church leadership who was part of their organization was gone. 
Alison Faulkner Burch, a member of the Genesis Group, described it as "an expression of their culture" while being able to worship in the restored Gospel. 

Members who have attended The Genesis Group have witnessed “clapping in the chapel and shouting hallelujah and laughing aloud and singing songs of praise with songs of worship, and women wearing hats and head wraps,” Burch wrote in an email, “and [all of] it being acceptable, not disrespectful, as some white members think.”


When thinking about President Thomas S. Monson, the last Church leader to pass away who helped organize the group, she stated that “He was our cultural champion.”


You can join The Genesis Group's Facebook group, and if you're local, join their meetings and see what this Church sanctioned group is like! Click here to join the group:


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