Seventh-day Adventist Leader Speaks on Moral and Political Justice at BYU

I do not always share LDS Newsroom press releases. But when I do, they are about justice.

SALT LAKE CITY — Dr. Ella Smith Simmons, general vice president of the Seventh-day Adventist world church, addressed students, faculty and administrators at Brigham Young University about the importance of education in a just society as part of a lecture series of Faith, Family and Society on Thursday, February 12, 2015.

“It seems as though we’re always searching for that right balance in our community and our neighborhood and our relationships,” Simmons told a gathering in the Varsity Theater in the Wilkinson Student Center. She visited the Provo, Utah, campus with her husband, Nord Simmons, a retired high school teacher. The university is owned and operated by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

“We all would surely agree that justice is important from both moral and political perspectives,” said Simmons. “We probably would not assume that there is an inclusion and assert that justice is an important spiritual concept as well. One may disagree about the nature, basis and legitimate application of justice, but respect for persons is its core.”

“Western philosophers generally regard justice as the most fundamental of all the virtues for ordering and organizing interpersonal relations and establishing and maintaining a stable political society,” she explained.

Simmons said faith-based education is important in our society today. “Perhaps this is one of the greatest roles for faith-based education in today’s world — to interpret humanity for a world that has lost sight of an understanding as it attempts to relativize all things and to do so from a purely human and significantly secular perspective. And while it should not be the case, education is sometimes more powerful than the church and the home.”

According to the Seventh Day Adventist Church website, Simmons is “first woman to serve as a vice president of the Seventh-day Adventist world church” and she is a former professor of education.

It sounds like I need to hunt down the video or text of her address. I see a whole lot of overlapping consensus.

1 reply »

  1. I have been fascinated by several essays and videos on what the role of 7th Day Adventist missionaries see as their role when they go into communities. The building projects are all focused on improving the lives of everyone in the community. They spend much less than we do building a chapel, and instead focus on water, sanitation and a basic structure that can be used by the community for a variety of purposes, often allowing other churches to use the building on Sundays, when they aren’t needed for Seventh Day Adventist services. Almost every building has at least one day where medical treatment care is available for no charge, and in areas with active conflicts they often use the simple buildings as places of peace to negotiate between different factions in a community. I have been pretty impressed with the way that their international education programs work as well. I hope that you can find the video. 🙂

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