Throughout my many travels I'm frequently asked by persons who don't know much about Mormons, Are Mormons Christians? With a smile I always give the same answer, "Yes we are, very much so."

Mormons quite often are referred to as Latter-Day Saint Christians due to the official name of the church which is The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. But it's more than just a name, Latter-Day Saints strive daily to live the life of Christ and abide by his teachings and those of his apostles.

The Bible tells us the disciples were first called Christians in Antioch. (Acts 11:26) The word Christian means “a follower of Christ" but the word disciple means “student” or “pupil.” Hence a true Christian is not someone who simply says they believe in Christ but rather someone who ardently follows and studies the Savior their entire lives. Mormons do exactly that, therefore we are very much Christian in the truest sense of the word.

Monday, June 27, 2016

The story of William Pitt and the Nauvoo Brass Band, who played as the Saints mourned Joseph and Hyrum Smith's deaths

(by Susan McCloud deseretnews.com 6-27-16)

The young convert from England walked off the boat at Nauvoo, Illinois, with his fiddle and flute in his satchel and music in his heart.

William Pitt was a left-handed fiddler, but he could also play the flute and clarinet (see "They Marched Their Way West: The Nauvoo Brass Band," Ensign, July 1980). As Daniel H. Wells commented, “I have thought he had more music in him than any man I have ever known. If there was a musical instrument he could not play, I do not know what it is” (see Journal of Discourses, vol. 15: 44, p. 350).

Pitt was a natural for being selected as leader of Joseph’s City Band, which was formed in 1842, according to "They Marched Their Way West: The Nauvoo Brass Band." The main purpose of this band, in the beginning, was to lend music and spirit to the drills of the Nauvoo Legion on the public parade grounds.

But the members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints were great lovers of music in all its forms. Indeed, the Prophet Joseph had encouraged the establishment of a singing school as early as the Kirtland, Ohio, years (see josephsmithpapers.org). And it was a common entertainment to sing around a piano — families, neighbors and friends. The Saints had a delightful custom of serenading the prominent men in Nauvoo. On the first New Year’s Eve after the Prophet’s family had moved into the Mansion House, Brother Stephen Goddard’s choir came to serenade. In his journal, the Prophet noted: “At midnight, about fifty musicians and singers sang Phelps’ New Year’s Hymn under my window” (see History of the Church 6:153 and "Early Nauvoo festivities simple: Christmas subdued compared to today," LDS Church News, Dec. 16, 1995). The following evening Joseph hosted a party at his home, which ended with music and dancing until morning, according got "early Nauvoo festivities simple."

So the functions of Joseph’s City Band quite naturally grew into performing concerts, playing for patriotic events, socials and even in theatricals given by Phillip Margetts “Deseret Musical and Dramatic Association,” according to "They Marched Their Way West." These energetic players of fiddles, fifes, drums and horns filled the air as the band welcomed important people upon their arrival in the city — and as they welcomed weary travelers from all parts of the world who had embraced the gospel and worked their long way to Nauvoo, according to "They Marched Their Way West."

What had now become Pitt’s Band contained many interesting members, among them: Horace K. Whitney, William Clayton, Robert Burton and Levi W. Hancock. Hancock, who was made the chief musician in the Legion, and who wrote a 12-verse song for the placing of the cornerstones of the Far West Temple in 1838, as Brigham Young University music professor Michael Hicks included in "Mormonism and Music: A History" (University of Illinois Press, 1989). Hancock also signed the testimony to the truthfulness of the Book of Commandments — in pencil, but added the words: “never to be erased” (see "Lost 'Book of Commandments' witnesses found," Deseret News, Oct. 27, 2009).

Interestingly, Hancock with his drum and Brother Whitney with his fife played for a Fourth of July celebration in Carthage, Illinois, one year, when the citizens were unable to provide a band of their own. (see "They Marched Their Way West").

When Joseph and his brother Hyrum Smith rode off to Carthage and did not return, the Saints prayed — in silence — until word came that the brothers had been killed by the mob.

Naturally, reverently, the band members were part of the throng of people who walked out of the city a ways to greet the wagon carrying the bodies of their beloved prophet on June 28, 1844.

And when the heart-broken Saints filed into the Mansion House on June 29, 1844 — one at a time, thousands upon thousands — Pitt’s Band played reverently outside the open doors (see "They Marched Their Way West"). It's comforting to think that its music was like a pillar of strength and a testimony to the stricken men, women and children who entered to take one last view of the prophet they loved.

Still, the temple needed to be completed and plans made for the Saints to go West. In December 1844, six months after the martyrdom, the Seventies’ Hall was dedicated with the choir on the left, and Pitt’s Brass Band in front. John Taylor in his "Nauvoo Journal" said the contribution of the choir and band had an “excellent melody” (see "John Taylor Nauvoo Journal,” BYU Studies, Vol. 23, 1983)

New challenges arose on every hand. As the began their trek west, the band members generally remained together in the wagon company of Brigham Young, Joseph Smith's successor. The band played to encourage the Saints and performed concerts in the Iowa settlements to raise money for the peoples’ needs. They were well-received. They left a spirit of happiness and hope wherever they went. They worked splitting rails as well as making tunes. They shared with one another. William Clayton, who played the violin, noted in his journal of May 6, 1846: “That he had given other band members some twelve hundred pounds of flour, about four or five hundred pounds of bacon, and other supplies,” according to "They Marched Their Way West."

Once in the Salt Lake Valley the band reorganized with 19 previous members and four new ones, according to "They Marched Their Way West." They repeated the patterns of Nauvoo: meeting new wagon trains of Saints as they entered the Salt Lake Valley, playing for celebrations of the Fourth and now the 24th of July — playing for community and theatrical events.

Pitt's Band was part of the people — part now of their history — part of the sacred memory of all they had been, and of all they, together, had overcome.

What Wells said of Pitt at his funeral in February 1873, could likely be said of the entire membership of this delightful and dedicated organization, who had blessed the Saints with their talents and love: “He was always faithful and cheerful under the most trying circumstances, and no matter what blast blew of difficulty or persecution, brother Pitt was there on hand at a moment’s notice, full of life and music — ready to cheer the hearts of the people” (see Journal of Discourses, vol. 15: 44, p. 350).

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http://www.deseretnews.com/article/865656966/The-story-of-WIlliam-Pitt-and-the-Nauvoo-Brass-Band-who-played-as-the-Saints-mourned-Joseph-and.html?pg=1

'The Assassination of Joseph Smith' shines thought-provoking light on final years of Prophet's life


"THE ASSASSINATION OF JOSEPH SMITH: Innocent Blood on the Banner of Liberty," by Ryan C. Jenkins, Cedar Fort Books, $22.99, 368 pages (nf)

In "The Assassination of Joseph Smith: Innocent Blood on the Banner of Liberty," author Ryan C. Jenkins gives a thought-provoking account of the slain Prophet's life from Oct. 31, 1838, until his martyrdom on June 27, 1844.

Killed by an assassin's bullet at age 38, Joseph Smith led a fascinating yet brief life. He translated the gold plates in 1829, and in 1830 he published the Book of Mormon and organized The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. What followed were years of persecution and strife for Joseph Smith and his followers, who came to number in the thousands.

Jenkins meticulously lays out the scene, opening the day after the Hawn's Mill massacre. Latter-day Saints were about to be forced to surrender their land to the state of Missouri and leave immediately. A flag of truce approached the Mormons in Far West.

Joseph Smith and his associates were then arrested and sentenced to death, though they were ultimately spared and sent to Liberty Jail. Several months later, Joseph escaped and returned to his followers. They proceeded to the small town of Commerce (later named Nauvoo), Illinois.

Other notable events covered in the book include the prophet's trip to Washington, D.C., to seek reparations, his presidential run and the final days leading up to his martyrdom.

Jenkins' decision to write the book in the present tense allows for a more engaging reader experience.
Whether one is a dedicated student of church history or a newcomer, "The Assassination of Joseph Smith" provides an exhaustively detailed and useful overview of some of the most tumultuous years in the Latter-day Saint movement.

The book contains no sexual content but has some generally described violence and mild swearing included in historical quotes.

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http://www.deseretnews.com/article/865656906/Book-review-The-Assassination-of-Joseph-Smith-shines-thought-provoking-light-on-final-years-of.html

Conspiracy at Carthage


"CONSPIRACY AT CARTHAGE: The Plot to Murder Joseph Smith," by Mark Goodmansen, Cedar Fort, $19.99, 343 pages (nf)

In “Conspiracy at Carthage: The Plot to Murder Joseph Smith,” author Mark Goodmansen shares information about events surrounding the martyrdom of the Prophet Joseph Smith and his brother Hyrum on June 27, 1844, in Carthage, Illinois.

Goodmansen shares the context of historical events in America in general as well as in the early history of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints leading up to the deaths of the early church leaders at Carthage Jail. He explores how plans for the Prophet's death were largely politically and economically motivated, and how the mob at Carthage included more than 200 militia members, many of whom had connections to local government. He also ties in historical figures such as William Clark, Robert E. Lee and Francis Scott Key.

Goodmansen lays out the history of the surrounding states to explain the buildup and concerns people had against the Mormons that led to the conspiracy against Joseph Smith. His well-researched nonfiction book includes quotes from publications from those times.

The first couple of chapters are full of historical facts and are a bit slow, but the overall story and intertwining events in the book are compelling and interesting.

The topics in “Conspiracy at Carthage” surround murder conspiracies, but there is no detailed violence.

Goodmansen, a South Jordan resident, graduated cum laude from the University of Utah in accounting and has a passion for history, according to biographical information in the books.

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http://www.deseretnews.com/article/865656903/Book-review-Conspiracy-at-Carthage-shares-context-of-US-Mormon-history.html

Joseph Smith or the sword?

(by Daniel Peterson deseretnews.com 6-15-16)


In 1838, Thomas B. Marsh, a onetime senior apostle who became a bitter apostate of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, swore out an affidavit claiming to have heard the Prophet Joseph Smith say that “he would yet tread down his enemies, and walk over their dead bodies; and if he was not let alone, he would be a second Mohammed to this generation, and that he would make it one gore of blood from the Rocky mountains to the Atlantic ocean; that like Mohammed, whose motto in treating for peace was, ‘the Alcoran or the Sword.’ So should it be eventually with us, ‘Joseph Smith or the Sword’” (see “History of the Church” 3:167).

Critics often use this alleged statement (and its misrepresentation of Muhammad) to malign Joseph’s character, to portray the man who was the first president of what is now the LDS Church as an unprincipled would-be tyrant.

But is it authentic?

Maybe. The so-called “1838 Mormon War” was on. Many LDS Church leaders were falling away, including the Book of Mormon witnesses Oliver Cowdery and David Whitmer and apostles such as Marsh and Orson Hyde. The Hawn’s Mill Massacre, which left 17 members of the church dead, occurred on Oct. 30. Joseph and his brother Hyrum Smith, along with others, would be condemned to death on Nov. 1, and then, when Alexander Doniphan refused to obey that order, they were cast into Liberty Jail, where they remained from Dec. 1 until April 6, 1839. Meanwhile, led by Brigham Young, Latter-day Saints fled the state through winter snows, seeking asylum in Illinois.

It’s conceivable that, under such stress, hoping to intimidate Missouri’s anti-Mormons and to persuade them to leave the Saints alone, Joseph Smith might have engaged in exaggerated rhetoric.

It’s much more likely, though, that the statement is false, wholly or in part. Arnold Green and Lawrence Goldrup remarked in 1971 that “this threat was quite probably a mere fabrication by the disgruntled Marsh” (see their “‘Joseph Smith, an American Muhammad?’ An Essay on the Perils of Historical Analogy,” Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought 6/1, Page 47.) “Orson Hyde,” they observe, “who seconded Marsh's allegations in 1838, had a change of heart the following year and confessed that unspecified portions of the affidavit had been invented by Marsh.”

Joseph Smith’s own journal reports of the period that “some excitement was raised in the adjoining Counties … against us, in consequence of the (sudden) departure … of the apostates from this Church, into that vicinity reporting false stories, and statements, but when (the Missourians) come to hear the other side of the question their feeling(s) were all allayed upon that subject” (“The Papers of Joseph Smith,” Vol. 2:255-256, edited by Dean C. Jessee).

“I became jealous of the Prophet,” Marsh himself remarked around the time of his 1857 Utah rebaptism (a rebaptism that’s difficult to explain if he really considered Joseph Smith a bloodthirsty aspiring dictator), “and then I saw double, and overlooked everything that was right, and spent all my time in looking for the evil. … I felt angry and wrathful; and the Spirit of the Lord being gone, as the Scriptures say, I was blinded, and I thought I saw a beam in brother Joseph's eye, but it was nothing but a mote, and my own eye was filled with the beam; but I thought I saw a beam in his, and I wanted to get it out; and, as brother Heber says, I got mad, and I wanted everybody else to be mad” (see “Journal of Discourses,” Vol. 5:207).

The fact is that Joseph Smith didn’t actually behave in the belligerent manner suggested by this dubious “quotation.” The Mormons couldn’t have conquered Missouri, let alone everything from the Atlantic to the Rockies, and Joseph never showed any inclination to try it. After all, he sued for peace in Missouri (and, as a consequence, was arrested and nearly executed). And during the last month of his life, even after his arrest and imprisonment at Carthage Jail — where he was, in fact, murdered by government militia — he ordered the Nauvoo Legion to stand down (see "Church History In The Fulness Of Times," Chapter 22).

Joseph probably made a comment about Muhammad in Missouri that Marsh misheard, misunderstood or (consciously or not) angrily distorted. David Grua provides seeming corroboration for some such statement in his 2007 essay “Joseph Smith or the Sword!?” published on juvenileinstructor.org.

However, we don’t know whether that seeming corroboration represents genuinely independent testimony. And the precise wording of Joseph’s alleged statement is crucial — but we cannot know it. A secondhand allegation by a hostile witness is an awfully slender thread upon which to base a serious accusation against Joseph Smith and his character.

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http://www.deseretnews.com/article/865656270/Joseph-Smith-or-the-sword.html?pg=1

Friday, June 24, 2016

Levin: America’s Constitutional System Is Hanging by a Thread


(by Joe Setyon cnsnews.com 6-24-16)

On his show Thursday, nationally syndicated radio show host Mark Levin discussed the Supreme Court’s decision to block President Obama’s immigration plan, saying that “our constitutional system is hanging by a thread.”

“What today means is separation of powers is hanging by a thread,” Mark Levin said. “That our constitutional system is hanging by a thread, and the greatest fear that the Framers had: this concentrated power in a centralized government, is here.”

In this monologue, Levin was talking about President Obama’s response to the Supreme Court’s decision, where he said that his administration will not prioritize millions of illegal immigrants for deportation.

See below for a transcript of Levin’s comments:

Mark Levin: “Go ahead.”

President Obama: “Our founders conceived of this country as a refuge for the world.”

Mark Levin: “No they didn’t. They didn’t conceive of the … who said it’s a refuge for the … who said that? They conceived of the nation. So they conceived the nation so it would be a refuge for the world. Who says? They conceived a Republic, where the people would have a say!
“Go ahead.”

President Obama: “More than two centuries, welcoming wave after wave of immigrants has kept us youthful.”

Mark Levin: “No, no, no, no, no. It didn’t work that way. It wasn’t just wave of wave of people who wanted to come in. Now, if you’ve listened to this program you know the history.

“We had waves at some point, and we also had long periods, like the 1930s to 1970s, where there weren’t waves, where there were periods of assimilation. But at all times prior to 1965, prior to the Great Society – which wasn’t so great – at all times the number one principle, the priority, was what’s in the best interest of the nation and the American people.

“We didn’t have this obsession of waves and waves of immigrants coming to the country, changing the culture, changing the demographics, doing this, doing that. That wasn’t the drive behind immigration. Can anybody name a single Founder of this country who said otherwise?

“And why is Obama citing them anyway? Some of them were slaveholders. I thought he hated them.
”Go ahead.”

President Obama: “And dynamic, and entrepreneurial. It has shaped our character, and it has made us stronger.”

Mark Levin: “Some have made us stronger. Some have made us weaker. Doofus.
“Cut 2 go.”

President Obama: “I know a lot of people are going to be disappointed today, but it is important to understand what today means.”

Mark Levin: “I’m disappointed. What today means is separation of powers is hanging by a thread.

That is, our constitutional system is hanging by a thread, and the greatest fear that the Framers had: this concentrated power in a centralized government is here. You’re staring at it.

"Cut 3, go.”

President Obama: “We prioritize criminals. We prioritize gangbangers. We prioritize folks who have just come in.”

Mark Levin: “Oh he’s talking about immigrants. I thought he was talking about the illegal immigrants who he releases into society, that they prioritize criminals, gangbangers and so forth. Ask any local police department about MS-13 problems. Ask them! Ask them!

“He acts like everybody comes in hear picking lettuce and cleaning our homes. That’s not the way it works.

“Cut 4, go.”

President Obama: “Millions of people who have come forward, and worked to get right with the law under this policy – they’ve been living here for years too, in some cases even decades. So leaving the broken system … .”

Mark Levin: “Woah, woah, woah, woah, woah. So they have been defying the law for decades? And notice how he doesn’t differentiate, people who come here and violate their visa status, and others.

Are all those people who come here on student visas, and teaching visas and entertainment visas and business visas – are they all picking lettuce? Are they picking lettuce, Mr. Producer?

“How about all those Syrian refugees he wants to bring in? Are they going to be picking carrots? What are they going to be doing? How do they know they love America?

“Is that part of the test when they come into this country: ‘Do you love America?’

“Go ahead.”

President Obama: “That’s not a solution. In fact, that’s the real amnesty: pretending we can deport 11 million people, or build a wall without spending tens of billions of dollars in taxpayer money is abetting, what, really, just factually incorrect.”

Mark Levin: “(Mocking) Factually incorrect. You know, ladies and gentlemen, there is a law on the books – I believe it was passed in 2006 – where Congress said that they were going to build a wall and double fences and do all kinds of stuff with another 700 miles of that southern border, and they won’t do it.

“Here’s my question: If Barack Obama won’t follow the law, if the bureaucracy won’t follow the law, if Congress won’t follow the Constitution and it keeps surrendering its powers, if the Supreme Court won’t follow the law and the Constitution, why should the rest of us?

“If they don’t follow the law, why the hell should we?”

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http://www.cnsnews.com/blog/joe-setyon/levin-americas-constitutional-system-hanging-thread

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If you've never listened to Mr. Levin's radio program please click the link, he is a riot.

http://www.mrctv.org/videos/levin-americas-constitutional-system-hanging-thread

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Are you looking for a church with perfect leaders?

(by Daniel Peterson deseretnews.com 6-9-16)

Should we expect perfection from our church leaders? Stated so bluntly, the question answers itself: Obviously not. And yet, sometimes, we seem to do just that. “Catholics,” goes the joke, “say that the pope is infallible, but no Catholic really believes it. Mormons say that the prophet isn’t infallible, but no Mormon really believes it.”

Our leaders don’t claim perfection, though, and it’s uncharitable for us to claim it on their behalf. Only one perfect person has lived on this planet. Only one person saves. The rest of us, including general authorities of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, require saving.

In stating this indisputable truth, I’m not suggesting that LDS Church leaders have committed terrible acts, now or historically. I’m simply saying that, like all of us, they’re mortal humans. And they’ve been mortal humans from the start:

“I was left to all kinds of temptations,” recalled Joseph Smith of his life immediately following the First Vision (Joseph Smith-History 1:28), “and, mingling with all kinds of society, I frequently fell into many foolish errors, and displayed the weakness of youth, and the foibles of human nature; which, I am sorry to say, led me into divers temptations, offensive in the sight of God. In making this confession, no one need suppose me guilty of any great or malignant sins. … But I was guilty of levity, and sometimes associated with jovial company, etc., not consistent with that character which ought to be maintained by one who was called of God as I had been.”

Before their appointment as general officers of the church, our leaders served — much like many of us, and like those with whom we worship every week — as Sunday School and Primary teachers, missionaries, assistant Scoutmasters, Young Women camp leaders, Relief Society and elders quorum presidents, bishops and stake presidents. They didn’t suddenly, magically become perfect or omniscient when they were sustained in general conference. They’re going through the same mortal probation, the same learning experience as the rest of us.

It has always been so. The letters of “our beloved brother Paul,” says 2 Peter 3:15-16, contain “some things hard to be understood.” According to 2 Corinthians 10:10, many were unimpressed with him: “For his letters, say they, are weighty and powerful; but his bodily presence is weak, and his speech contemptible.”

Speaking at April 2013 general conference, Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles urged listeners to “be kind regarding human frailty — your own as well as that of those who serve with you in a church led by volunteer, mortal men and women. Except in the case of his only perfect Begotten Son, imperfect people are all God has ever had to work with. That must be terribly frustrating to him, but He deals with it. So should we.”

Isaiah 29:21 warned against the very human temptation to “make a man an offender for a word.”
“My disciples, in days of old,” says the Lord in a revelation given at Kirtland, Ohio, in September 1831, “sought occasion against one another and forgave not one another in their hearts; and for this evil they were afflicted and sorely chastened” (Doctrine and Covenants 64:8). Christ’s apostles quarreled over precedence and status (see Matthew 20:20-28; Mark 10:35-45; Luke 22:23-26). Paul clashed with Peter at Antioch (Galatians 2:11-13).

Preparing to seal up the record of his people, Moroni was clearly worried about how it would be received by foreign nations in a far distant time: “If there be faults they be the faults of a man. But behold, we know no fault; nevertheless God knoweth all things; therefore, he that condemneth, let him be aware lest he shall be in danger of hell fire” (Mormon 8:17; he says the same thing on the Book of Mormon’s title page).

“Condemn me not because of mine imperfection,” he writes, “neither my father, because of his imperfection, neither them who have written before him; but rather give thanks unto God that he hath made manifest unto you our imperfections, that ye may learn to be more wise than we have been” (Mormon 9:31).

There is no doctrine of perfect leaders in the LDS Church. But there is a doctrine of charity: “For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again” (Matthew 7:2). As we sing on Sundays, “Who am I to judge another / When I walk imperfectly?” (see Hymns, No. 220, "Lord, I Would Follow Thee").

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http://www.deseretnews.com/article/865655847/Are-you-looking-for-a-church-with-perfect-leaders.html

Friday, June 10, 2016

At Oxford, Elder Oaks says religion's value evident in refugee crisis


(by Tad Walch deseretnews.com 6-9-16)

The social values provided by religion are so important to societies that a different framework should be considered for the roles of church and state, Elder Dallin H. Oaks of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles said Thursday.

Governments and religions complement each other, the LDS Church leader suggested in a lecture delivered in England at the prestigious University of Oxford, the world's oldest English-speaking school.

"Although religious freedom is unknown in most of the world and threatened from secularism and extremism in the rest," Elder Oaks said, "I speak for the ideal in which the freedoms religion seeks to protect are God-given and inherent but are implemented through mutually complementary relationships with governments who seek the well-being of all their citizens."

He said the global refugee crisis is testing the complementary functions of religion and government, and he provided details about the efforts of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and its members to meet humanitarian needs.

For example, Mormons donated 25 million hours of labor last year alone in welfare, humanitarian and other LDS Church-sponsored projects around the world. Meanwhile, he said, the church has provided about $40 million a year to such projects for more than 30 years.

His suggestion Thursday of a framework of complementarity for the roles of religion and government came nine months after Elder Oaks, a trained attorney and former Utah Supreme Court justice, rejected the idea of a "wall of separation between church and state" in a newsmaking speech to judges and clergy in California.

He reaffirmed the need for a boundary, but said he would replace what he called the unfortunate separation metaphor with a new, collaborative one, a "curtain that defines boundaries but is not a barrier to the passage of light and love and mutual support from one side to another."

On Thursday, Elder Oaks quoted what he called the U.N.'s influential Universal Declaration of Human Rights as he said governments should secure religious freedom for their citizens.

"The complementary responsibilities of religion," he added, "through its adherents, are to observe the laws and respect the culture of the country that secures its freedoms. When religious freedoms are secured, such a response is a debt of gratitude gladly paid."

He said the world is bedeviled with conflicts about those general principles, but argued that they are essential to free and prosperous societies. While some criticize religion, "I, of course, maintain that religion is uniquely valuable to society," he added.

Elder Oaks provided eight examples of the social values of religion — ranging from its concept of inherent human dignity and worth to the way it plays a positive role in economic development.

He also drew a clear distinction about religious freedom and government's responsibility to secure its citizens.

"Governments ... obviously have the right to insist that all organizations, including religions, refrain from teaching hate and from actions that can result in violence or other criminal acts toward others," he said. "No country need offer sanctuary to organizations that promote terrorism. Religious freedom is no barrier to government power in any of these circumstances."

The flow of Muslim refugees bringing a different culture and religion into Europe is testing societies on political, cultural, social, financial and religious fronts, he said. Religious organizations can help.

"For example, in the year 2015 we had 177 emergency response projects in 56 countries. In addition, we had hundreds of projects that impacted more than 1 million people in seven other categories of assistance, such as clean water, immunization and vision care."

The LDS Church avoids one common objection "by rigorously separating our humanitarian services from our worldwide missionary efforts. Our humanitarian aid is given without regard to religious affiliation, because we want our missionary teaching to be received and considered without influence from force or food or other favors."

He said the LDS Church has three advantages. First, missionary service provides committed and experienced volunteers. Of the 25 million church service hours donated by volunteers last year, over 14 million hours were provided by missionaries, nearly 8 million by welfare and humanitarian workers and over 4 million by welfare work in wards.

Second, the financial contributions of church members allow the church to operate nimbly as it coordinates relief efforts with governments and U.N. agencies.

Third, the church can act as a global grassroots organization that can be mobilized immediately. He touched on the church's "I Was a Stranger" website and refugee relief program for all LDS women and girls and others who want to help.

A transcript of Elder Oaks' speech is available at mormonnewsroom.org.

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http://www.deseretnews.com/article/865655946/At-Oxford-Elder-Oaks-says-religions-value-evident-in-refugee-crisis.html