16 September 2015
In BYU address, Seventy asks students for active involvement on the topic
SALT LAKE CITY — Speaking to students at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah, Tuesday, September 15, 2015, Ronald A. Rasband of the Presidency of the Seventy of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints said, “Our society has become so blind by its quest to redress wrongful discrimination against one class of people that it is now in danger of creating another victimized class: people of faith like you and me.”
Religious freedom is a vitally important topic, and it is attracting more public attention. Elder Rasband said the Church has consistently stood for freedom of choice and conscience. He referred to a statement Joseph Smith made in 1843: “We believe that … all men are created equal, and that all have the privilege of thinking for themselves upon all matters relative to conscience.”
“Some of you,” explained Elder Rasband, “might struggle with an understanding of religion’s role in society, politics and civic issues. Some in your age group wonder why religious groups are involved in politics in the first place and are often skeptical of the motives of religious people when they do so.” He said in recent years the collective voice of groups who feel that religion should not play a role in political deliberation has grown louder.
Earlier this year, Utah — and the Church — received national news coverage and praise for striking a historic compromise benefitting both the LGBT and religious communities. Elder Rasband added, “No doctrinal or religious principles were sacrificed. No changes were made to God’s moral law and our belief that sexual relations should only occur within marriage between a man and a woman. The outcome was fair to all and reflects a consistency in moral standards and teachings and in respect for others.”
He mentioned three ways religious people can support religious freedom and fairness for all.
- View others through a lens of fairness. First acknowledge that Heavenly Father loves all of His children equally. The Savior said, “Love one another, as I have loved you.”
- Let fairness guide your treatment of others. Jesus Christ looked past people’s ethnicity, rank and circumstances in order to teach them simple truth.
- Stand up for fairness if you see another’s rights being impeded.
Elder Rasband told the students that the world needs active involvement from their generation on this topic. “I stand with the leaders of our Lord’s Church when I say that we need your generation’s natural understanding of compassion, respect and fairness. We need your optimism and your determination to work through these complex social issues.”
He invited listeners to visit his Facebook page and share their experiences and successes in creating friendships with those who see life differently than they do.
"In the next few days, will you head to my page on Facebook? I would love for you to leave me a comment about your desires to and experiences of spreading our message of fairness for all," he said. "I want to hear from you!"