This year’s Leonard J. Arrington Mormon History Lecture will be presented by Darius Gray. The lecture, titled “Redeeming a People: The Critical Role of Historical Examination in Moving Cultural and Moral Trajectories,” is 7 p.m. today at the Logan Tabernacle, 50 N. Main St. The evening’s events will also include performances by the Deborah Bonner Unity Gospel Choir.
An African-American Latter-day Saint speaker and writer, Darius Gray was born in Colorado Springs, Colorado. He joined The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the mid-1960s and then attended Brigham Young University for a year. After that he transferred to the University of Utah. He worked for a time as a journalist.
Gray was a counselor in the presidency of the Genesis Group when it was formed in 1971, then served as president of the group from 1997 to 2003. He was also the director of the Freedmens Bank Records project for the Church’s Family History Department and is a frequent speaker on African-American genealogy, Blacks in the Bible, and Blacks in the LDS Church. Along with Margaret Blair Young, he co- authored the trilogy Standing on the Promises, a poignant portrait of Black LDS pioneers.
Darius Gray has made presentations throughout the United States and in 2007, he appeared in the PBS documentary, The Mormons. In February 2008, he made an invitation-only presentation at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History in Detroit. President Gray has also served as a developer of the website blacklds.org and as a member of the advisory board of Reach the Children, a humanitarian organization designed to help people in Africa.
There is a panel discussion entitled “Mormonism, Race, Priesthood, and the Temple: The Road to 1978 and Beyond” featuring Max Mueller, Paul Reeve, LaShawn Williams and Ron Coleman, today at 1 p.m. in Room 101 of the Merrill-Cazier Library, followed by a reception and open house at 2:30 p.m. in the Special Collections & Archives section of the Merrill-Cazier Library.