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Dallin H. Oaks
Works at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
Attended Brigham Young University
Lives in Salt Lake City, UT
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  • The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
    Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, 1984 - present
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Salt Lake City, UT
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Quorum of the Twelve Apostles
Introduction

Elder Dallin H. Oaks has served as a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints since May 1984.

He is a native of Provo, Utah (born on August 12, 1932). He and his late wife, June Dixon Oaks, are the parents of six children. She died July 21, 1998. On August 25, 2000, he married Kristen M. McMain in the Salt Lake Temple.

Elder Oaks is a graduate of Brigham Young University (1954) and of the University of Chicago Law School (1957). He practiced law and taught law in Chicago. He was president of Brigham Young University from 1971 to 1980 and a justice of the Utah Supreme Court from 1980 until his resignation in 1984 to accept his calling to the apostleship.

He has been an officer or member of the board of many business, educational, and charitable organizations. He is the author or co-author of many books and articles on religious and legal subjects. In May, 2013, the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty awarded him the Canterbury Medal for “courage in the defense of religious liberty.”

Education
  • Brigham Young University
    1954
  • University of Chicago Law School
    1957
Basic Information
Gender
Male
Birthday
August 12, 1932

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Dallin H. Oaks

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I am thankful for the opportunity I had to speak in #LDSconf. As I mentioned in my address, all of us experience oppositions that test us. Some of these tests are temptations to sin. Some are mortal challenges apart from personal sin. Some are very great. Some are minor. Some are continuous, and some are mere episodes. None of us is exempt.

Opposition permits us to grow toward what our Heavenly Father would have us become. Through all mortal opposition we have God’s assurance that He will “consecrate [our] afflictions for [our] gain” (2 Nephi 2:2). We have also been taught to understand our mortal experiences and His commandments in the context of His great plan of salvation, which tells us the purpose of life and gives us the assurance of a Savior.

I testify our Savior is the Lord Jesus Christ, the Only Begotten Son of God the Eternal Father, whose atoning sacrifice—whose suffering—pays the price for our sins if we will repent of them.
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Dallin H. Oaks

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I am one of many Church leaders who have often spoken in support of religious freedom. Recently I spoke at Claremont Graduate University (California) on “Religious Freedom in a Pluralistic Society.” The text is posted on MormonNewsroom.org.

Here are a few things I said there:
 
• Religious freedom is not just the concern of religious persons. Others have a strong interest in religious freedom because it is necessary for peace and stability in our pluralistic world.

• Religious teachings and the religiously motivated actions of believers are valuable to society and are deserving of special legal protection.

• Those who advocate nondiscrimination frequently call religious objectors “bigots.” This name-calling assumes that a bigot is anyone whose religious views are in opposition to the name-callers. Ironically, the traditional dictionary definition of a bigot is “a person who is utterly intolerant of any creed, belief, or opinion that differs from his own.” Religious expression should not be shouted down as bigotry by those who fit that definition themselves.

• In the United States, we have a history of tolerant diversity, not perfect but mostly effective at allowing persons with competing visions to live together in peace. We all want effective ways to resolve differences without anger and with mutual understanding and accommodation. We all lose when an atmosphere of hostility or contention prevails.

• We should all follow the gospel teachings to love our neighbor and avoid contention. As followers of Christ, we should be examples of civility.
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Dallin H. Oaks

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Recently I was asked about how I prepare myself to receive answers to my prayers for guidance. We receive personal revelation in different ways, but we should each live so that the Spirit is always with us.

I start my day very early—not because I am ambitious, but because I am old (after a while, you just can’t sleep anymore). I first bow my head and pray that the Spirit will teach me. This is a simple prayer, like one offered before a meal because that is what I am doing. I ask for nourishment from what I am about to partake. Then I study the scriptures.

Throughout my day, impressions come at various times and in various ways. I am blessed by the guidance of the Spirit. It is a precious blessing to “always have His Spirit to be with [us]” (D&C 20:77).
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Dallin H. Oaks

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In my #LDSconf address last week, I discussed how the Atonement of Jesus Christ can be applied to our personal infirmities, sins, and circumstances. It is my hope that we will each ponder about how the Savior’s Atonement applies to our circumstances and challenges.

Whether you face sickness, heartache, addiction, depression, rejection, unemployment, singleness, or other challenges, I invite you to come to Jesus Christ. Having descended beneath it all, He is perfectly positioned to lift us and give us the strength we need to endure our afflictions. We have only to ask. 

Because of Their all-encompassing love, our Heavenly Father and His Beloved Son, Jesus Christ, hear and suitably answer the prayers of all who seek them in faith.  
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Dallin H. Oaks

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In August Kristen and I participated, along with President Russell M. Nelson and others, in the BYU commencement exercise. In my remarks I included these thoughts:

We live in challenging times: wars and rumors of wars, earthquakes, tornadoes, tsunamis, and the prospects of financial disasters. More important, values and standards honored for thousands of years are now being denied or cast aside. Selfishness is replacing service. The fundamental freedoms of speech and religion are being questioned.  Evil is being called good, and good is being called evil.

Though men’s hearts are failing them, you should take heart. There have always been challenging times. All generations have survived daunting challenges, and so will you. The answer to all of these challenges is the same as it has always been. 

We have a Savior, and He has taught us what we should do. At the conclusion of His earthly ministry He declared:

“These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).

As His witness I testify that His teachings are true and that the way He has marked out is the way to peace in this world and everlasting life in the world to come.
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Dallin H. Oaks

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I recently assigned missionaries, a sacred responsibility for which we always come fasting. I assigned 240, my share of the 1,047 (which includes young missionaries, senior couples, and senior sisters) whose papers were ready for assignment last week. We are assisted in this sacred experience by a member of the Missionary Department staff, who keeps records and manages the computer screens on which we view the essential information on elders and sisters and the needs (including languages) of our more than 400 missions in the world.
 
These pictures show Dwayne Saviano and I at work in that missionary assignment meeting.
 
To those of you who have served or will serve missions, thanks for your willingness to serve. We pray that the Lord will bless you in and for your missionary labors.
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Dallin H. Oaks

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Last month I quoted a single woman’s frustrations with LDS men who do not seek out the many “capable, beautiful LDS women for good men to choose from.” Predictably, some men responded. I quote wisdom extracted from the letter of one of them.
 
“There are always two sides to an issue. …
 
“I prefer the quote from another sister who observed that if the sisters would treat these [suffering] men like kings, they’ll rise to take the crown. …
 
“A branch president said, ‘Some of you don’t have room in your lives for a man.’ …
 
“Many men are in love with coming and going as they please, and the women are in love with their careers. …
 
“Both genders have been seduced by the doctrine of self-fulfillment. …
 
“The hardest word for singles is surrender.”
 
As I said last month, my young friends, from personal experience, I promise you that the sweetness of marriage and family life is a wonderful gift that should be sought after and not delayed. I encourage you to prayerfully consider what you are doing to work toward this worthy goal.
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Dallin H. Oaks

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I recently spoke to single adults about the importance of dating activities that can lead to marriage, rather than simply “hanging out.” In the days after that talk, I heard from one woman who told how frustrating it can be to desire marriage, while the men around her are more inclined to just want to socialize. These words she shared struck me.
“I want you to know there are a lot of capable, beautiful LDS women for good men to choose from. There are a lot of capable, hard-working, and kind LDS men to do the choosing. But in my 10+ years of young single adult experience and the beginning of my mid-singles experience, there is still a lot of fear, doubt, and childishness which is manifested [by eligible men].
“I recently watched a version of Peter Pan where Wendy is asking Peter to enter a realm of adulthood through feeling love. Peter gets upset and resists by saying: 'I always want to be a little boy and to have fun!' And it’s true. I see that same sort of resistance from our men every day."
My single friends, from personal experience I promise you that the sweetness of marriage and family life is a wonderful gift that should be sought after and not delayed. I encourage you to prayerfully consider what you are doing to work toward this worthy goal.
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Dallin H. Oaks

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A few years ago, I analyzed the Christmas cards I received at my office and home. There were many, so this was not a small sample. Significantly, my sample was biased toward religious images and words by the fact that most of the cards were sent by fellow leaders or members of my faith.

I sorted the cards I received into three groups. In the first group I put the traditional cards—those with an overt mention of Christ and/or pictures evocative of the birth of the Savior. Only 24 percent of the cards I received were of this traditional character.

In the second group were those cards whose pictures and visuals were not at all religious, but they did have the words “Merry Christmas” to identify the religious origin of the holiday. This was the largest group—47 percent. 

In the third group—comprising 29 percent of the cards I received—there was no mention of Christ or Christmas and no religious visuals at all. These cards had words like “Season’s Greetings,” “Happy Holidays,” “Peace in the New Year,” or “Peace and Beauty of the Season.” A few were so daring as to refer to “Peace on Earth” or “Faith, Hope, and Love,” but none had any pictures suggestive of religion.

For Latter-day Saints, Christmas should be a time to celebrate the birth of the Son of God and also to remember His teachings. In reality, His life has had greater impact on every part of this world and its history than any life ever lived. His gifts to us are the greatest gifts ever given—the assurance of immortality and the opportunity for eternal life. Those are the gifts we should celebrate at this and every Christmas.
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Dallin H. Oaks

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Recently I had the opportunity to speak to distinguished religious leaders, judges, and lawyers at the Second Annual Sacramento Court/Clergy Conference.

My thesis was that we all want to live together in happiness, harmony, and peace. To achieve that common goal, and for all contending parties to achieve their most important personal goals, we must learn and practice mutual respect for others whose beliefs, values, and behaviors differ from our own. In addition to that, I made other important points including the following:

The First Amendment provides unique protections for the free exercise of religion by believers and religious institutions. It also assures religion an honorable place in our public life.

All government officers should exercise their civil authority according to the principles and within the limits of civil government. When acting as public officials they are not free to apply personal convictions or preferences—religious or other—in place of the defined responsibilities of their public offices.
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Dallin H. Oaks

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We have lots of Eagle Scouts in our family. Here is the latest, a grandson who is also named Dallin. Congratulations to all our youth who excel in any worthy activity.
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Dallin H. Oaks

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Last week I shared my thoughts on religious freedom before the prestigious Argentina Council for Foreign Relations (CARI) in Buenos Aires. My two major points were: (1) Religious teachings and the religiously motivated actions of believers are valuable to society and deserving of special legal protections. (2) The weakening guarantees of the free exercise of religion stem not from legal causes but from changes in culture, such as the ascendency of moral relativism.
 
I concluded with a call for all who accept the fundamental belief in a Supreme Being and the right and wrong He has established by a Supreme Being to unite more effectively to preserve and strengthen religious freedom, and to do so with civility and concern for the feelings and sincere beliefs of others.
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