Elder Ronald A. Rasband, senior president of the Quorums of the Seventy, spoke at the campus Devotional Tuesday morning, delivered a message about the importance of religious freedom and fairness. It's a complicated, but important, issue, he acknowledged.
"Some of you might struggle with an understanding of religion?s role in society, politics and civic issues," said Elder Rasband. "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."
Elder Rasband said he wanted to help students understand what the Church means when they talk about religious freedom, and why it is vitally important.
"Despite what you may have heard or read over the years, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has stood consistently for freedom of choice and conscience," said Elder Rasband.
He recalled the success the Church had earlier this year as they worked with the LGBT community in Utah to pass legislation that secured rights like housing and fair employment for everyone.
"Utah - and the Church - received national news coverage and praise for such a historic compromise," said Elder Rasband. "No doctrinal or religious principles were sacrificed. The outcome was fair to all and reflects a consistency in moral standards and teachings and in respect for others."
Elder Rasband suggested three things that can be done to support and promote a message of fairness.
1. View Others Through a Lense of Fairness:
"Being filled with this pure love will guide your thoughts and actions, especially in a political arena that can at times be very contentious. Tensions can flare easily when discussing politics and especially when discussing religious freedom. If we allow these moments to get the better of us we will appear very unchristian to our family, friends, neighbors and acquaintances. Remember how the Savior handled tough questions and challenging viewpoints. He remained calm, showed respect, taught truth, but never forced anyone to live the way He taught."
2. Let Fairness Guide Your Treatment of Others:
"Do not judge people or treat them unfairly because they sin differently than you... You too can be unyielding in right and truth, yet still reach out in kindness."
3. Stand Up for Fairness if You See Another Person's Rights Being Impeded:
"From the time of Joseph Smith to our present day, our legacy is one of reaching out to heal breaches and hurt without compromising the doctrine that is not ours to trade away.
"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.
"We have faith that you will turn to the Savior to understand how to live a Christ-like life while also showing fairness and love to others who do not share your beliefs. We know you want to be a part of something meaningful and we know that you are resilient and collaborative."
Elder Rasband then invited all those listening to reach out to him on Facebook and let him know 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!"
Next Week's Forum
The next BYU Forum address will be held on Tuesday, September 22, at 11:05 a.m., in the Marriott Center.
Baroness Emma Nicholson of Winterbourne, Chairman of the AMAR International Charitable Foundation, will deliver the address.
Her remarks will be broadcast live on BYUtv, BYUtv.org, KBYU-TV 11, Classical 89 FM, BYU Radio.