News Release

Perspectives on Religious Freedom and Truth by BYU Scholar 


Representatives of various faith communities in Melbourne and members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints participated in a reception and presentation by Dr. Daniel C. Peterson, professor of Islamic Studies and Arabic at Brigham Young University (BYU), USA held 29 November 2018. He was accompanied by his wife, Debbie.

Dr. Peterson began by expressing his passionate belief that true believers of all religions need to be supported in their exercise of agency in matters of faith.

“We can be encouraging to all faiths, to defend each other’s right to religious freedom. This is a critical need in a society that is becoming increasingly more secular.”

“We can cooperate with each other, disagree with each other in amicable ways and ‘compete with one another in doing good works’ as it says in the Qur’an.”

He added, “There is a pressing need everywhere in our multicultural society to speak with each other. We’re not hearing the common voice. People who care about religious freedom, need to weigh in.”

Later that evening, Dr. Peterson spoke of the many individuals who were witnesses of the truth and reality of the Book of Mormon. He shared accounts of those who had seen and “hefted” the actual metal plates that were used in the translation of the Book of Mormon.

When asked about the evening, young single adult Helen Tselios responded, “The presentation by Dr. Peterson was amazing. There are many evidences and witnesses of this book.”

“I am motivated to study this great book more in depth,” said Miriam Ceff. “I have gained more confidence in the truth of my beliefs.”

Mitchell Edwards expressed, “I thought the evening was fantastic. Dr. Peterson is very knowledgeable, and he gave secular evidence of the truth of the Book of Mormon in a way that was easy to feel the spirit and truth of what was said.”

“I thought it was an exceptional night,” commented Ashton Curtis. “We live in a day where our faith is frowned upon or mocked at times in the community. To hear a presentation about historical and scholarly pieces of evidence helps to reinforce what I already believe and know.”

Elder Robert J. Dudfield, Area Seventy, concluded the evening by expressing his gratitude for Dr. Peterson’s presentation and challenged those in the congregation to ask themselves, “How can I be a better witness of Christ?”

At this sacred time of year when we celebrate the birth of the Saviour, the Light of the World, we can strive more diligently to give as He gave and to be that better witness and example of Christ in the way we live our lives.

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