Elder D. Todd Christofferson speaking at the Freedom Festival Patriotic Service June 26, 2016.

Elder D. Todd Christofferson speaking at the Freedom Festival Patriotic Service June 26, 2016. via video screenshot

Elder Christofferson urges religious believers to stand up for religious freedom.

The Freedom Festival Patriotic Service organized by America's Freedom Festival saw the 11th most senior apostle in the LDS Church, David Todd Christofferson, talking about religious freedom. The service was held last Sunday (June 26), at the Marriott Center located on the campus of Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah. According to Elder Christofferson, America's great heritage of religious liberty is under attack, and it is vital that the religious believers defend that heritage before it is too late.

Elder Christofferson is a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He is regarded by the members of the Church as a prophet, revelator and seer. Since 1993, he has been a General Authority of the Church.

America's Freedom Festival is a private, non-political and non-profit foundation. It is known for organizing a number of annual patriotic events in and around Provo, Utah.

According to Elder Christofferson, religious freedom is woven into the very soul of America. It is those who do not understand this that question its value and even its legitimacy. Practicing religion publicly is a constitutionally protected freedom. It is also good for the nation. The government policies and laws are based on values, religious, as well as non-religious. Religious organizations have the ability to recognize anti-social forces that threaten the family, faith and freedom. Hence, they can offer unique perspectives in public debates.

Critics, nowadays, question the purpose of religion in American public life. Some, without any sense of history, even accuse religion of violating the constitutional separation of state and Church. It is wise to remember that it was the religious conviction of American colonists that prompted them to leave England for the New World. Also, during the American Revolution, it was the religious teachings that motivated patriots to action. Elder Christofferson also reminded the audience the role played by religion is setting the terms of national debates over emancipation, slavery and the Civil War.

Elder Christofferson further said that religious freedom is not only about the right to worship but also the right to exercise one's faith in daily life. Religion is not something that should be kept in the closet. The concerted efforts that are going on in today's society in shaming and intimidating religious believers is bad enough, what is worse is the participation of government in such efforts.

Elder Christofferson concluded his speech by urging religious believers to stand up and defend their fundamental freedoms.

The speech of Elder Christofferson drew a standing ovation from the crowd. One of the prominent personalities who joined the standing ovation was Elder Richard Norby, despite the fact that he was in a wheelchair because of a leg injury that he suffered during the March 22 Belgium bombings.

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