“We may go to jail even sooner than we thought.”
This was a statement made by R. Albert Mohler, Jr., president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, in a forum lecture at BYU Feb. 25.
The Deseret News published an article about the speech Mohler gave.
He spoke about the peril that he said religious liberty is currently facing in our society.
“We are learning anew what the affirmation of religious liberty will demand of us in this dangerous age,” Mohler said.
On the same day, one state away, the BYU-Idaho Center was filled with students and faculty as Elder Dallin H. Oaks of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints gave a devotional speech at the BYU-I campus.
“Today many deny or doubt the existence of a God and insist that all rules of behavior are man-made and can be accepted or rejected at will,” Elder Oaks said.
Oaks spoke of philosophies that are prevalent today, such as secular humanism, atheism and secularism.
Oaks also spoke of the widespread philosophy of moral relativism.
“Behind such ideas [as moral relativism] is the assumption that there is no God or, if there is, He has given no commandments that apply to us today,” Elder Oaks said.
Elder Oaks outlined three steps that believers can take in order to stand as witnesses of God.
First, he said that individuals need to use prayer to bring about the recognition that God is the creator and that the concepts of right and wrong are based on his commandments.
Elder Oaks said that everyone should push against the growing trend of removing religious references from communication.
Second, Elder Oaks said that people should publicly recognize the blessings of God.
Third, Elder Oaks said that believers should contend for the free exercise of religion.
“This is more difficult because it requires cooperative action by believers of various faiths,” he said.
In his forum lecture, Mohler said that there are differences between the theologies of Latter-day Saints and evangelical Christians. He said, however, that the two faiths need
“We can and must take the risk of responsible, respectful and honest conversation. We owe this to each other, and we owe this to the faiths we represent,” Mohler said. “And we had better talk with candor and urgency, for the times demand it.”
Mohler quoted Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, saying, “Men have forgotten God.”
Mohler, like Elder Oaks, spoke of moral relativism.
“The secular worldview relativizes morality, and our society has progressively compromised the moral system on which it depends,” Mohler said.
In his forum lecture, Mohler also spoke of the dignity of human beings.
“If we are not — if every one of us is not — made in God’s image and created for God’s glory, then why is a human infant of greater worth than a pig?” Mohler said.
Mohler referenced a speech he gave in October 2013 at BYU and said that since that time, many things have changed.
“Since then, federal courts in your own state have ruled that your legal prohibitions of both same-sex marriage and polygamy are unconstitutional,”
Mohler said that Evangelicals and Latter-day Saints need to stand together.
“We are now called to defend religious liberty for each other, so that when they come for you, we are there, and so that when they come for us, you are there,” Mohler said.
Sean Cannon, head of the BYU-I Political Science Department said, “The Pew Research Center’s Religion & Public Life Project has noted a steady rise in both social hostility toward religion and government restrictions on the free exercise of religion across the world.”
He said there are things that students can do to establish a political influence.
“Collaborate with like-minded individuals and gros from other faiths to encourage political activism,” Cannon said.
In addition, he said that students can vote and take part in protests and rallies.