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Elder Holland is guest on syndicated radio show

Credit: Alan Gibby
Credit: Alan Gibby

Elder Jeffrey R. Holland was a guest Feb. 27 on the Hugh Hewitt Show, a syndicated radio program broadcast weekly from California and carried by more than 75 stations throughout the United States. On the evening before the show, Elder Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles delivered an address at Chapman University in Orange, California. (Please see related article on this page.)

During the radio program, Mr. Hewitt posed questions on a variety of topics, including Elder Holland’s apostolic oversight of the Church in Africa during past years and his current assignment pertaining to the Church in Asia; missionary work and the family. Much of the program focused on the topic of religious freedom.

Mr. Hewitt asked Elder Holland’s opinion about the climate of openness to religious freedom in the United States. Elder Holland said that as secularism prevails, “in many ways, we’re less reverent, we’re less spiritual, often less religiously affiliated as a nation. But … there is an emerging group, a subset … that I think is more interested in matters of faith and are more willing to listen to our missionaries.” He said that these people may be harder to find but are probably more interested in discussing religion than people were 20 years ago. Something, he said, is getting their attention, and they seem to be saying “perhaps we ought to have more faith, perhaps there ought to be more religion, perhaps there ought to be more devotion in our lives.”

“I do think that probably those who are less interested in religion are large in number and are more obvious in the 21st century, but I think those who do entertain faith are spectacularly loyal, very devoted, and remarkably good people. And whether this latter group joins the LDS Church or not is beside the point. In their own faith or the quest for a new faith, I believe many of these believers are more visible, and I think, more obvious in their devotion than was the case even a quarter of a century ago.”

Discussing instances in which some people’s expressions of religious belief have been suppressed, even to the point of losing jobs, Elder Holland said, “Those are warning signs, and it makes it legitimate to be talking about the future of religious freedom in this country and around the world.”

Further, he said that he doesn’t think the forces that are aligned against religious freedom are incidental. “I don’t think they are insignificant. I think this is a battle. I think this is a fight. But I think it’s a fight we can win. I think it’s a fight we have to win. If the founding fathers meant what they meant, with constitutional provisions for religious protection and free expression, we are obligated as citizens, to say nothing of being Latter-day Saints, to fight this fight.”

Speaking of the challenges faced by families, particularly the rearing of children in today’s world, Mr. Hewitt asked Elder Holland what he is telling young people.

“I’m telling young people to believe,” Elder Holland said. “I’m telling parents to believe. I’m telling them, families and participants in the family of all ages, to believe in God, to believe in heavenly help, to believe in the future and to believe in themselves.”

He said the family is the fundamental unit of society, the fundamental unit of a church and “essentially the fundamental unit of everything. … [If] we can master some principles in that little circle, maybe we can extend them to the state and the nation and the world. But let’s start closer to home, and I believe God will bless us in every way to succeed in that most fundamental mission we all have: to save and bless the next generation.”

— Gerry Avant

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