President Dallin H. Oaks: Christians must eschew violence

President Dallin H. Oaks is the first counselor in the First Presidency. He spoke at the 190th Semi-annual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It was a morning session on October 3, 2020. 

In his speech, the renowned cleric stated that differences are bound to arise in a democratic government where choices are free to be made. But as Christians, we must eschew every form of hatred that may prelude our political choices. 

He also noted that obedience to the laws of the land does not totally translate to doing everything the law says. Rather, it implies initial obedience and using a peaceful approach to change it. As the elections are drawing close, Pastor Oaks also pleaded that the results of the election should be accepted peacefully. Christians should not participate in any form of violence. More so, it is our duty to see that there is a stop to racism.

In addition, the revered cleric spoke about the need to love our enemies by not being a part of the evil being perpetrated in the society. By showing love, we are practicing the commandment of God. Also, we are keeping the laws of the land. Followers of Christ must also ignore the hateful words people use in addressing the political choices people make and embrace peace as it is being taught by our maker.

Likewise, the Bible admonishes us to repay evil with good and equally pray for those that hate us. He made this quote from Matthew 5:43-44. However, he admitted that it is not all that easy but it is essential. At times, we are faced with situations that will challenge our faith. Do we allow these challenges to temper with our lives as Christians? 

To buttress his point, he stated that the first step to loving your enemy is to avoid harboring any form of anger and embracing Gods love. He also stated that the teachings of Jesus never encouraged breaking the laws of the land although they were often revolutionary. 

Love is a reality that every mortal must abide with. It has been tested in recent protests in the United States. Oaks feels that there is need for the members of the church to act better so that racism can be flushed out properly.

He also affirmed that there is a provision for peaceful protests in the constitution. However, if the people decide to toe the violent path, that would amount to a state of anarchy. Having that believe that we are all children of God should guide us in the right path. Walking on the right path will give us the grace to rise above prejudice and racism.

In an interview Oaks granted on June 27, 2020 concerning the 2020 Mission Leadership Seminar address, he made mention of the notable sacrifices of missionaries during the COVID-19 pandemic. Even in the pandemic, the words of God never change. God is still faithful and His words are still the same. His plans and purpose for our lives are constant.

About the Speaker:
President Dallin H. Oaks was a law clerk to Chief Justice Earl Warren of the United States Supreme Court. He later served as a justice on the Utah Supreme Court until his call to apostleship in 1984. He was also a former radio announcer and engineer.

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