Elder Oaks: What to Do When Civil Laws Conflict with Divine Laws

Understanding and civility are indispensable ingredients to bring an end to the culture wars that trouble our pluralistic nation. So said Elder Dallin H. Oaks Friday, March 25, 2016, at the Claremont Graduate School's conference, "Religious Freedom in the 21st Century."

In a speech titled "Religious Freedom in a Pluralistic Society" (see full transcript), Elder Oaks, a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints' Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, encouraged religious freedom's defenders and detractors to "understand the other side's point of view" and "avoid leading out with nonnegotiables or extreme positions."

Elder Oaks reminded believers that both divine and civil laws exist, and they should seek to harmonize conflicts between the two whenever possible. “When the two prove to be truly irreconcilable,” he said, “we should join with others of like mind in striving to change the civil law to accommodate the divine.” He added that “in all events, we must be very measured … [and remember that some beliefs] must sometimes be limited by the government’s responsibility to protect the health and safety of all.”

Lead image from Mormon Newsroom.
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