From the Church

President Oaks in Rome: Protecting religious freedom leads to other societal successes

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As a former attorney, law professor, university president, and Utah Supreme Court justice, President Dallin H. Oaks has spoken at length to a wide variety of audiences on religious and legal subjects.

Most recently, President Oaks traveled to one of the world’s religious centers, Rome, Italy, and spoke to students and faculty at Sapienza University about the global indispensability of religious freedom.

President Oaks cited the work of Brigham Young University professor Cole Durham and two fellow Apostles and said that protecting religious freedom “correlates not only with the protection of other key rights, but also with other social goods, such as economic freedom, higher per capita gross domestic product, better incomes for women, gender equality, higher literacy rates, better health and education, and consolidation of democracy.”

Quoting Elder D. Todd Christofferson’s address from October 2021, President Oaks said, “The history of religious freedom demonstrates that respect begets respect. Governments that protect religious freedom have fewer social conflicts and greater levels of social cohesion.”

He also took notes from Elder Quentin L. Cook’s June 2021 address at the University of Notre Dame.

“Religious accountability benefits secular society,” he said because there are a “multitude of good works that religion inspires people of faith to perform on behalf of others.” President Oaks shared examples of such service from the Church in 2021:

  • The Church working in more than 575 other COVID-19-related projects in 74 countries.
  • Church members worldwide giving more than 6 million hours of service in Church-sponsored welfare and humanitarian projects.
  • The JustServe website helping more than 655,000 volunteers connect and serve in their communities.
  • The Church’s partnership with the government in India to provide more access to vision services, maternal newborn care and skills training.
  • The Church’s donation of $4 million for oxygen concentrators, ventilators, and other medical equipment.

Read the full article on the Church’s UK Newsroom.

In the Hands of the Lord: The Life of Dallin H. Oaks

Dallin H. Oaks may not have seemed the likeliest choice to become an Apostle. His life path had been anything but conventional. He was only seven when his mother became a widow. His young adulthood saw him joining the National Guard and marrying at nineteen. But all along that path, the Lord was preparing him for the call that would eventually come.

This engaging biography by noted historian Richard E. Turley, Jr. takes the reader on a fascinating journey through the life of an extraordinary leader. It is filled with stories and photographs detailing his boyhood, his family life, his education and military experiences, and his distinguished academic and law career.

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