Maybe it was a parting gift or a celebration of time together well spent, but on the night before he left to go back to England, the Rev. Dr. Andrew Teal of the University of Oxford joined Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles in commenting on their ever-growing and mutually appreciated friendship and the importance of interfaith camaraderie.
“To the degree that I have been privileged to observe his life, Andrew truly lives what he preaches in every aspect of his behavior,” Elder Jeffrey R. Holland said, as reported by Church Newsroom.
The two faith leaders both spoke at the BYU International Center for Law and Religion Studies’ 2021 International Advisory Council reception and dinner.
Elder Jeffrey R. Holland first met Rev. Teal in person at an event in London for the AMAR Foundation. Of his initial interactions with Elder Jeffrey R. Holland and Sister Patricia Holland, the Rev. Teal said, “It was like the inflaming of souls who have known each other and been committed to something forever.”
Since then, they have spoken on interfaith panels together and invited each other to speak at their respective faith’s learning institutions—Elder Jeffrey R. Holland gave a Christmas address at Pembroke College Chapel in 2018, and the Rev. Teal gave a forum address at BYU just last month. Rev. Teal has also been living in Provo, Utah, and serving as a visiting scholar since early fall 2021 and working on an academic study of Joseph Smith as a Christian leader.
The Rev. Teal said that speaking at BYU was “an extraordinary experience.” He said that “when it was happening, I knew they weren’t my words. And the message was ‘Don’t get in the way. Don’t block this. Don’t make this about the performance of you.’”
BYU Academic Vice President Shane Reese commented that Elder Jeffrey R. Holland and the Rev. Teal have a “covenant friendship” built on trust and love.
“Friendship transcends that self-interest that can sometimes unwittingly preoccupy us,” Elder Jeffrey R. Holland remarked. “We should all remember why we want people in the Church. It is because their souls are precious and we want the blessings of the gospel available to them. So let us begin that process by being true friends. Those not of our faith are not ‘proselyting objects’ or ‘baptismal objects’ They are sons and daughters of God. Befriending them permanently is friendship with a capital F.”
Read the full release on Church Newsroom.