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Seventh-day Adventist Leader Speaks at Brigham Young University

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.”
Simmons said leaders in faith-based education need to help provide teaching aids, content and methodologies to assist educators in the public sector.
Simmons also met with BYU faculty and administrators and viewed the university’s special collection of Bibles while on the Provo campus. Earlier in the week, she met with leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Salt Lake City and toured the Church’s Humanitarian Center, Welfare Square and Family History Library.

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