Speeches by Topic Topics | Religious Freedom

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  • I am pleased for the opportunity to speak at this BYU devotional. The first BYU devotional I addressed was exactly forty-five years ago, in 1971. That audience included my oldest daughter, just enrolling as a freshman here. Many years later I spoke at this devotional assembly to an audience that included several of my grandchildren. Today this audience includes our oldest great-granddaughter, a ­sophomore here. Time goes on. I. This opportunity comes at a unique time. I am the only General Authority assigned to address this BYU audience between the
  • One of my BYU professors of yesteryear—actually quite a few yesteryears—was Edward L. Hart, who wrote the text of a much-loved hymn in the Church. The second verse of that hymn, Our Savior’s Love, reads this way: The Spirit, voice  Of goodness, whispers to our hearts A better choice  Than evil’s anguished cries. Loud may the sound  Of hope ring till all doubt departs, And we are bound  To him by loving ties.1 An omnibus word familiar to us all that summarizes the
  • My remarks this evening are about America’s great heritage of religious liberty—and about the need for each of us to defend that heritage before it is too late. In 1790, at a time when western Europe excluded Jews from the full rights of citizenship, including the ability to hold public office, President George Washington wrote a memorable letter to the Jewish congregation in Newport, Rhode Island. They had written congratulating him on his election. In reply, Washington assured them that the Government of the United States, which gives to bigotry no sanction, to persecutio
  • Good morning, my dear friends and associates in this great cause. You are an impressive group this morning, with so much potential. I know your participation in these devotionals is highly recommended and encouraged, and many of you have homework, tests, and other commitments, so I thank you for attending and will do my best to make this morning worth your investment of time. One of my Church assignments is to serve on the Public Affairs Committee of the Church. This is a First Presidency–directed committee, and I am very honored to serve under their leadership. The chairman over the
  • Thank you so much, President Samuelson, for that introduction. And thank you all for that extremely warm welcome. It’s great to be here at this beautiful and storied Brigham Young University campus. I must say, President Samuelson, that in listening to your introduction, which was very generous, I thought back to an occasion a few years ago in Washington, DC, when former secretary of state Henry Kissinger was the keynote speaker. The chairman of the meeting got up at the moment Kissinger was going to speak and said, “Henry Kissinger really needs no introduction, so I give you Dr. Hen
  • My dear young brothers and sisters, Kristen and I feel privileged to be with you on this significant occasion. We meet on 9/11, the tenth anniversary of an event that has profoundly influenced our lives and thinking and will do so for many years to come. It is forever associated with the Twin Towers. I have felt impressed to speak this evening about another set of twins, the twin ideas of Truth and Tolerance. These subjects were not chosen because they are uniquely your concern as young adults, like the dating, hanging out, and marriage I described to this audience some years ago. My
  • Thank you for your warm welcome, and thank you, President Samuelson, for your very kind introduction. As you point out, I am the Catholic Archbishop of Chicago and also the President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. This dual role allows me to bring greetings from both the Catholic community of Chicago and from the Catholic bishops of this country to all of you—students, faculty, staff, and administration of this distinguished university, now marking its 135th year of service in higher education, and also to our guests from the surrounding community, many of whom I’m tol
  • I would be remiss on this occasion if I did not express gratitude for the opportunities I have had during one of the great transformative epochs in human history—the decade after the collapse of communism—to visit almost every post-communist country and to work with leaders in their homelands on implementing the ideals of religious freedom. I am grateful beyond measure for blessings that have been given and keys that have been exercised to allow me to participate in the high adventure of opening the doors of nations. Several years ago a close friend and Church leader gave me a blessi
  • Thank you very much, President Oaks; and thank you, sisters, for that lovely music. This is always a great experience for any of us to have. Often, when speaking to student leaders in higher education, I have used the analogy that—in a university—the faculty, staff, and administration are like the natives, and the students are like the tourists. In many ways, a recurring devotional speaker is more like one of the natives. Even so, I thank President Oaks for once again extending this precious privilege to me. You may conclude today, however, that I am becoming more like a tourist, sin
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