One of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ top leaders encouraged the Brigham Young University community Tuesday to embrace and exercise their right to religious freedom.
“Religious freedom is central to our worship and our work in the kingdom of God,” said Ronald A. Rasband, a member of the church’s Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. “Yet we are seeing the secular world draw boundary lines and set religion and even morality aside.”
Rasband’s Tuesday morning devotional, titled “Free to Choose,” focused on students’ ability to decide between good and evil.
“Our everlasting welfare is dependent on living the laws of God,” he said. “His commandments are fixed. They do not change except as directed by revelation.”
Their agency, Rasband said, depends on religious freedom.
“Satan sought to destroy religious freedom in the pre-earth life, and he is still at it,” he said. “We, as members of the church, must recognize that the erosion of religious freedom will significantly impact our opportunities to grow in strength and gospel knowledge, to be blessed by sacred ordinances and to rely on the Lord to direct His church.”
Rasband said the aspects of religious freedom include the ability to believe, to live their religion and to share their faith with others.
“Freedom of religion allows you to attend this school, unique in all the world for its balance of secular and spiritual knowledge,” Rasband said. “Freedom of religion means you can attend the temples, be sealed as a family, teach gospel principles as outlined by the Lord even in your homes and pray to your Father in heaven and receive personal revelation.”
He pointed to the pilgrims and pioneers as examples of people who had stood for religious freedom, and encouraged students to be like them.
“For us, the opportunity to choose, to live the tenets of the restored gospel is the essence of our freedom of religion,” Rasband said. “It is not an academic exercise held at arm’s length. It is an every day, every hour experience.”