Speaking to a capacity crowd in BYU’s Marriott Center at Education Week, Aug. 16, Elder Jeffrey R. Holland spoke powerfully about the one thing we as Latter-day Saints can do to help preserve religious freedom. Here are his words:

“May we think upon the religious heritage that has been handed down to us, at an incalculable price in many instances, and in so remembering not only cherish that heritage more fervently but live the religious principles we say we want to preserve.  

Only in the living of our religion will the preservation of it have true meaning. It is in that spirit that we seek the good of our fellow men and women and work toward the earthly kingdom of God rolling forth, that the heavenly kingdom of God may come. May our religious privileges be cherished, preserved, and lived, binding us to God and each other until that blessed millennial day comes.”

He said that the word “religion” comes from the Latin word religare meaning to “tie,” or more literally to “re-tie.”

“In that root syllable of ligare you can hear the echo of a word like ligature, which is what a doctor uses to sew us up if we have a wound,” he said. “So, for our purpose today, ‘religion’ is that which unites what was separated or holds together that which might be torn apart, an obvious need for us, individually and collectively, given trials and tribulations we all experience here in mortality.”

“What is equally obvious is that the great conflict between good and evil, right and wrong, the moral and the immoral—conflict which the world’s great faiths and devoted religious believers have historically tried to address—is being intensified in our time and is affecting an ever-wider segment of our culture. And let there be no doubt that the outcome of this conflict truly matters, not only in eternity but in everyday life as well. Will and Ariel Durrant put the issue squarely as they reflected on what they called the “lessons of history.” ‘There is no significant example in history,’ they said, ‘of [any] society successfully maintaining moral life without the aid of religion.’

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