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Religious freedom is the foundation of living together in justice and peace, a Latter-day Saint apostle said this week at a religious liberty symposium in Brasília, Brazil.

“The more generous religious freedom laws are, the more broadly religion is empowered to perform good works. This partnership between religion and society engenders more peace,” said Elder Ulisses Soares, a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Church leaders have emphasized both religious freedom and peace recently.

Elder Soares made his remarks during the Second Brazilian Symposium on Religious Freedom. The event was organized by BYU’s International Center for Law and Religion Studies and the Brazilian Center for Studies in Law and Religion. Elder Soares spoke at the inaugural symposium in Rio de Janeiro last year.

Religious freedom provides the architecture diverse societies need to be healthy, Elder Soares says

Elder Soares quoted a Yale legal scholar during his presentation on Tuesday.

“Only religion possesses the majesty, the power, and the sacred language to teach all of us, the religious and the secular, the genuine appreciation for each other on which a successful civility must rest,” Yale’s Stephen L. Carter wrote.

Elder Soares said religion provides important underpinnings for living together in differences.

“As we live our lives in places where people range from Catholic to Pentecostal, atheist to fundamentalist, introvert to missionary, how should we act? By permitting so many expressions of belief, religious freedom may magnify the discomfort of difference. But it also enhances our best human impulses. It frees us up to do good things,” he said.

He added, “When it comes to relating to people of other faiths or no faith at all, religion lifts us out of our selfish desires. The gospel of Jesus Christ teaches me to be answerable to God, to my fellow beings, and to myself.”

Elder Soares also spoke with many of the hundreds of journalists who attended the media open house for the Brasília Brazil Temple last week. And he spoke to church members in Maceio, Brazil, telling them, “God did not send us here to fail.”

My recent stories

Appeals court reinstates James Huntsman’s lawsuit for return of tithing he paid as a Latter-day Saint (Aug. 8)

Elder Jeffrey R. Holland hospitalized for observation, ‘treatment of ongoing health complications’ (Aug. 3)

About the church

Condolences to the Mildenstein family of Miami, Florida. Their son, Liam, who was 19, collapsed and then died while reading his mission call during a family vacation in Provo, Utah. Liam had hoped he would be called to serve in Japan. When he read that he was called to serve in Tokyo, he collapsed, according to KSL.

The church is funding and supporting tetanus vaccination campaigns in high-risk countries.

A family from Highland, Utah, welcomed home their triplet missionaries, who all landed at the Salt Lake Airport within 30 minutes of each other.

The church announced the performance dates for the annual “Luz de las Naciones” in the Conference Center.

A state government in Nigeria commended the church for efforts to curb infant mortality.

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Sister Dorothy H. Brewerton, wife of Elder Teddy E. Brewerton, died at age 89.

On the latest Church News podcast, new Young Women General President Emily Belle Freeman said she hopes to create a community of young women who feel connected to the Savior.

What I’m reading

We are big fans of women’s gymnastics at our house, and it’s incredible to see Simone Biles return to competition at age 26 and dominate again. She is one of the greatest women athletes in history, in my opinion. Here’s a story about her triumphant first competition on a journey that appears like it will lead to next year’s Olympics.

I loved this story (paywall) about autographs. It begins with a story of how Hall of Fame baseball player Harmon Killebrew taught a young Torii Hunter to slow down and sign his name legibly. Hunter taught the same lesson to future Hall of Famer Mike Trout. Killebrew relayed his advice by telling Hunter to imagine kids looking for a ball hit into some trees 100 years in the future. They lose the ball but find another with a scribbled autograph on it. They pick it up and use it to keep playing. Alternatively, the second ball could have Hunter’s neatly written signature and the players look up his name and learn he was a successful player. They take the ball and put it on their mantle and cherish it. “You can be one of those two,” Killebrew told Hunter. “You choose.” Nice story, right?

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