In 1973, a recently baptized African-American man from Selma, Alabama, taught by a fellow soldier in the military, took the unlikely step of attending Ricks College and then transferring to BYU. While there, Robert Lee Stevenson became student body vice president—the first black student at BYU to do so. The news made headlines, and Robert was asked by a New York Times reporter what it was like to be a black man at a white university. He responded: “I don’t know, because I’m not a black person at a white university. I’m a Mormon at a Mormon university.”

That pioneering courage, and a life-long commitment to the gospel, followed Robert from his days as a military policeman to becoming the owner of herbal company Nature’s Sunshine. He passed away on 2 February 2016. Jon Anderson, now president of the Powder Springs Georgia Stake, came to know Robert 17 years ago in a congregation in Carrollton, Georgia. Says Anderson, “He had a tremendous influence on the growth of the Church in this area, and especially among African-Americans. He was a courageous, faithful Latter-day Saint.”

Read more about the life and conversion of Robert Lee Stevenson at https://www.lds.org/ensign/1992/02/four-who-serve?lang=eng

Robert L. Stevenson
BS 1977