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Speaker: Elder Dallin H. Oaks, Apostles for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

TitleThe Free Exercise of Religion in Our Time

Date: February 9 2016

Location: Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies

Description: Freedom of religion is a fundamental human right. Yet in many seen and unseen ways its validity is challenged at the margins every day. Elder Dallin H. Oaks, member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, will speak about the importance of maintaining and protecting religious liberty in the international sphere. After his remarks he will field questions in an audience Q&A.

Source: This presentation was recorded by Andrew Evans in accordance with District of Columbia law.

Note: As the final question of the evening, Andrew Evans asked Elder Oaks the following question:

Andrew’s Question: “Less than a year ago, right here in Washington, DC, my friend killed himself. He was Mormon and gay. You’ve gone on record that, ‘the Church does not give apologies’. Does religious freedom absolve you from responsibility in the gay Mormon suicide crisis?”

Elder Oaks’ Response: “I think that’s a question that will be answered on judgment day. I can’t answer that beyond what has already been said. I know that those tragic events happen. And it’s not unique simply to the question of sexual preference. There are other cases where people have taken their own lives and blamed a church–my church–or a government, or somebody else for their taking their own lives, and I think those things have to be judged by a higher authority than exists on this earth, and I am ready to be accountable to that authority, but I think part of what my responsibility extends to, is trying to teach people to be loving, and civil and sensitive to one another so that people will not feel driven, whatever the policy disagreements, whatever the rules of the church, or the practices of a church, or any other organization, if they are administered with kindness, at the highest level or at the level of the congregation or the ward, they won’t drive people to take those extreme measures; that’s part of my responsibility to teach that. And beyond that, I will be accountable to higher authority for that. That’s the way I look on that. Nobody is sadder about a case like that than I am. Maybe that’s a good note to end on.”

18 Comments

  1. Bill Jones February 12, 2016 at 1:56 pm - Reply

    My streak is broken. I have listened to every MS episode published. I refuse to listen to this one.

    • John Dehlin February 12, 2016 at 2:39 pm - Reply

      Bill – Bonus episodes don’t count in listening streaks!!!!! Especially this one!!!

    • Plastraa February 12, 2016 at 6:01 pm - Reply

      I tried. I just disagree with the whole religion=morality. And is a construct of religion. So had to stop listening.

    • Wondering Wanderer February 15, 2016 at 3:40 am - Reply

      I am with you, Bill. I don’t have the stomach to listen. Whatever would the church do without its obsession for regulating sex and wielding “inspired” patriarchal control?

  2. Joe February 12, 2016 at 5:17 pm - Reply

    Thanks to Dallin Oaks, I now know why Jesus called Judas Iscariot as an apostle. This man does not speak for God, and like the words of Judas, I reject the teachings of Dallin. I will not harm myself or others by giving this Pharisee another minute attention, no matter what his official church title.

    • MBen February 15, 2016 at 8:32 pm - Reply

      This church is just like the Pharisee church in the old time… Good for you Joe!

  3. Jeremiah February 12, 2016 at 5:20 pm - Reply

    I won’t dwell on the details of how E Oaks’ ministry has screwed me over as an LGBT Mormon. But it amazes me, that after all the decades he has worked on this issue, he is still light-years away from understanding what it is like to be a gay mormon, or from having any desire or understanding how to make our lives better. It’s incredible.

  4. David February 12, 2016 at 5:24 pm - Reply

    So he says it was the goodness of religion that spurred the end of slavery and later the civil rights movement. I wish he would have paused, and then explained how the racist views of the LDS church he’s representing helped push the civil rights movement forward.

    I would like to hear his explanation of why his church reacted a decade later to social pressures, instead of doing whats right under the umbrella of the goodness of religion…

  5. Mark February 12, 2016 at 5:55 pm - Reply

    Dallin Oaks needs to spend more time pondering compassion and love, and less time hanging out across the street at Kitrton and McKonkie. Those lawyers have poisoned his mind. He’s a fallen apostle for sure.

    • MBen February 15, 2016 at 8:34 pm - Reply

      Hmm… I don’t think it’s just him. Aren’t they supposed to be “one heart, one mind”?

    • Aversus February 19, 2016 at 10:43 am - Reply

      I think you mean ponderize

  6. David February 12, 2016 at 6:22 pm - Reply

    So he says it was the goodness of religion that spurred the end of slavery and later the civil rights movement. I wish he would have paused, and then explained how the racist policy/views of the LDS church he’s representing helped push the civil rights movement forward… Can you imagine the church letting the Reverend Martin Luther King speak in the tabernacle in the 60’s?

    If it’s the goodness of religion that advanced progress in civil rights, then I would like to hear his explanation as to why his religion (with a direct line to God) was a decade behind the movement and only changed because of social/governmental pressures…

    He performs a remarkable job of double speak…

    • David Macfarlane February 16, 2016 at 12:20 am - Reply

      Yes, that part really kind of bowled me over. It takes balls to stand up there and say that when your church played no active role in civil rights from the 19th century onward. In 20 years his replacement will argue for religion as a public good and cite the recognition of gays. The Mormons–always at least a few decades behind the curve.

  7. Broseph Smith February 12, 2016 at 9:08 pm - Reply

    “And with this question I think we’ll end it here” What? Your an apostle of the Lord dude. Bear witness and teach God’s children. Don’t just end it there because someone lobbed you a tough question that you completely failed to answer.

  8. Randal February 13, 2016 at 2:10 pm - Reply

    Elder Oaks employs some significant logical fallacies in his argument. He appeals to authority over and over to support his claim that religion is critical in stability and morality of society. He cites no studies that support that. He does cite studies that show the decline of religion in America and subtly uses that to support his appeals to authority. His insulation from criticism and belief of his righteousness shows through to me in this talk. His idea that religion should have special protection doesn’t have any support from anything he cites.

  9. Goddess Divine February 14, 2016 at 11:30 am - Reply

    Dallin Oaks said he is ready to be accountable to a higher authority for his actions when asked about people that are taking their lives. I hope God hears his words and make him accountable soon. As you wish Oaks. Now just wait the justice of God.

  10. Anthony February 15, 2016 at 1:30 pm - Reply

    I wonder if Oakes would be for the rights of the Santo Daime who uses the psychedelic substance ayahuasca as their sacrament?

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