Evangelical and Mormon Leaders Gather

Interfaith Outreach — January 21, 2014

Salt Lake City — Evangelist and author Dr. Ravi Zacharias addressed the topics of faith, family and freedom in a gathering at the Tabernacle on Temple Square on Saturday, 18 January 2014. “We must build our lives on things that are eternal,” Zacharias told more than 3,000 gathered in the Tabernacle in his message titled “Lessons From History, Building a Nation Under God.” During his speech, he related lessons learned from the Bible and compared them to modern-day events.

This is the second time Zacharias has spoken in the Tabernacle and his third visit to Utah since 1994. Zacharias is founder and president of Ravi Zacharias International Ministries, headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia, with offices in Canada, India, Singapore, the United Kingdom, the United Arab Emirates and Hong Kong. The event was presented by Standing Together, a network of evangelical congregations in Utah, and hosted by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to promote religious freedom.

Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles greeted the large audience of religious leaders and “friends of all faiths” in the historic Tabernacle, which has been the setting of worship and inspiring music for 150 years. “World leaders and men and women of many faiths have spoken here, including Dr. Zacharias in 2004,” said Elder Holland. “We’re very, very happy to have him back.”

“I say that, in part, to assure many who may be wondering whether tonight’s gathering of evangelicals and Latter-day Saints under the same roof is being interpreted as clear evidence that the apocalypse is upon us,” he quipped. “Who knows, it may be.”

Elder Holland said those in attendance had a “shared love of Jesus Christ.” “But in an increasingly secular world and facing the attack on religious faith and religious freedom that we see all around us, it is imperative for the extended Christian community to acknowledge that what we have in common is so far-reaching and so potentially powerful in addressing the ills of society and of the soul that the very least we can do is know and understand each other better than we do,” he added.

Zacharias said we have a common cause in trying to create a good moral soil in this culture.  “Moral soil is very critical in which reasoning and art can flourish,” he said during an interview at the Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in Sandy. Zacharias expressed concern about what happens “when the nation is led in a rabid, secularistic way of thinking.” He voiced disappointment in the way academics are treating religious thought around the world. “The key is what we ultimately do with our children,” Zacharias said. He urged parents to guide their children through the “mine field” they encounter in the media, even at a younger age than ever before.

“Before we can clean house in a nation, we actually have to do some soul searching of our own house — what is going on in the house of the Lord, what do we believe, why we believe it and the centrality of God’s purpose for our life,” he said during the interview.

“We have lost our moorings,” Zacharias told the diverse audience in the Tabernacle, as “we live beyond our moral means and our fiscal means and spiritual means.”

“There is only one angle at which you can stand straight and many, many different angles at which you can fall,” he said.

Zacharias travels 200 days a year sharing his message of the gospel of Jesus Christ as a Christian apologist. During an interview earlier in the week, he shared one of his favorite scriptures, which states, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ” (Romans 1:16).

“The gospel gives purpose,” he told the Tabernacle audience. “We don’t change people’s lives. Only God is big enough to do that.”

“We talk so much about one’s rights that we talk so little about what is actually right,” Zacharias stressed to the crowd.

He encouraged the audience to read the scriptures. “Open the scriptures and make a commitment to read the Gospel of John,” Zacharias said. One of his favorite scriptures found in John was instrumental in his conversion to Christianity at the age of 17 while he was growing up in India. He was given a Bible while hospitalized following a suicide attempt. It reads, “Because I live, ye shall live also” (John 14:19).

“Most people cannot think for themselves anymore,” he said. “The world out there is caught in this vortex of relativism.”

“We will never change the outside until we change from within,” Zacharias concluded.  “Redemption is prior to righteousness.”

Gospel singer and songwriter Fernando Ortega of Albuquerque, New Mexico, performed during the program. Temple Square organist Bonnie Goodliffe provided the prelude music.

During his visit to Utah, Zacharias also spoke to students at Brigham Young University in Provo.

Download Photos »
  • “From time to time, societies need to be challenged, corrected and improved. And it is often religious voices that awaken our better selves and act as the conscience of society.”

    Commentary, “The Voice of Religious Conscience”

  • Film & Video

    Feature Film ‘Meet the Mormons’ Makes National Debut

    Learn why for the first time, a documentary-style movie, “Meet the Mormons, was produced by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Discover another first for the Church and who turned out to the film’s Utah premiere.

  • Commentaries

    The Voice of Religious Conscience

    Learn how society is better served when we are allowed to pursue our religious conscience.

  • "Charity is more than aid."

    Sharon Eubank, director of Humanitarian Services and LDS Charities

  • Missionary

    Church Expands Use of Digital Devices for Missionary Work

    The Church announces in July that more of its missionaries would use digital devices as they preach the gospel. What missions will go digital and when the implementation will begin.

  • Beliefs & Practices

    Church Provides Context for Recent Media Coverage on Gospel Topics Pages

    See the full list of in-depth essays on points of Church history that gained public and media interest over the past year.

  • Global Church

    Mormonism Online: In Your Own Words (Blog Feature)

    Lindsey Stirling participates in #LDSFace2Face, a live Facebook event for youth around the world. Find out what the world-famous violinist had to say about life’s challenges, her dreams and her faith.

  • “[Recent] court decisions … will have no effect on the doctrinal position or practice of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which is that only marriage between a man and a woman is acceptable to God.”

    Official Church Statement Summarized, October. 6, 2014

  • Global Church

    Church Making Strides Preserving African Family Histories

    Genealogy experts from Africa spoke at this year’s RootsTech, the largest genealogy conference of its kind in the world, on collecting oral histories as family historians grow old. Why they say it’s a race against time.

  • “231 of our volunteers worked a combined total of 645 hours painting, mulching, tree trimming, cleaning, organizing and more at Palmetto Elementary for #MakeaDifference day!”

    Posted on Instagram

  • Interfaith Outreach

    Church Leaders Participate in Historic Vatican Summit

    Religious leaders and scholars representing 14 faith traditions from 23 countries assembled at the Vatican November 17-19. A member of the Church’s First Presidency joined Pope Francis and other faith leaders at the summit. Learn what they said.

  • Beliefs & Practices

    Getting It Right (Blog Feature)

    How does the Mormon Tabernacle Choir do what it does with an all-volunteer ensemble? Rodger Dean Duncan of Forbes provides several reasons, one of which illustrates the ethos of commitment and volunteerism common in the lives of Mormons.

  • Church & Society

    Church Responds to Supreme Court Announcement

    See the response to an October U.S. Supreme Court ruling on same-sex marriage by the Church. Read what Church leaders encouraged members to do.

  • Beliefs & Practices

    Mormonism in Pictures: Temple Square Dressed for Christmas

    This photo essay shows millions of multicolored lights on display, crèches and a live Nativity that mark the Christmas season on Temple Square in Salt Lake City, Utah. See the splendor captured by creative photographers.

  • Beliefs & Practices

    Exhibit Highlights Women in the Scriptures

    View artist Kathleen Peterson’s paintings illustrating significant roles of women in the Old and New Testaments such as Esther, Deborah and Mary, the mother of Jesus. Learn where the original paintings are on display.

  • Humanitarian

    Humanitarian Efforts at the UN

    The United Nations invites Church representatives to a first-of-its-kind meeting. What the director of Humanitarian Services and LDS Charities presented at the Focus on Faith event.

  • Beliefs & Practices

    Temple Garments

    People of faith throughout the centuries have used particular symbols or vestments to draw closer to God. Learn how the temple garment is a physical expression to Mormons of their devotion to God.

  • "We believe that the young people of this Church will continue to say yes to missionary service."

    Elder David F. Evans, First Quorum of the Seventy and executive director of the Church’s Missionary Department

  • Beliefs & Practices

    Mormonism in Pictures: Preparing for a Worldwide General Conference

    What does it take to prepare for more than 100,000 Mormons who attend general conference in Salt Lake City, Utah? This photo essay shows the tremendous planning effort for the worldwide two-day broadcast.

  • Temples

    The Process of Building a Mormon Temple

    View the video and infographic that follows the painstaking step-by-step process of building a Mormon temple, from the decision to build to finding the appropriate land to hiring the best craftsmen and tradesmen to completion.

  • Global Church

    Apostle Calls for Uplifting Social Media Messages to Sweep the Earth

    Find out more about a Mormon apostle’s call to “sweep the earth” with uplifting messages and the flood of people using the #sharegoodness hashtag on social media.

VIEW MORE