"For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me.
...Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me."

Matthew 25:35-16, 40
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Howard W. Hunter, 14th President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Defining Religion

An excerpt from President Howard W. Hunter's
October 1961 Semiannual General Conference talk,
Given 2 Years after he was sustained as an Apostle

 

 

 

There is a growing concept among men of the world that religion is something reserved for the Sabbath day, or for the hour spent in places of worship or in prayer. Men distinguish between the everyday affairs that occupy their minds and direct their activities in the busy business world, and those things within the realm of theology. "Don't mix religion with business," some say. Can religion be eliminated from the affairs of everyday living?

As Christians, I suppose we could define religion as a belief in God and a devotion to him, which belief stimulates a love for God and a desire to serve him.

James said, "If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man's religion is vain. Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction and to keep himself unspotted from the world." (James 1:26-27)

In other words, religion is more than a knowledge of God or a confession of faith, and it is more than theology. Religion is the doing of the word of God. It is being our brother's keeper, among other things. To keep unspotted from the world does not mean that one must withdraw from all association with the world, but rather to keep away from the evils of the world; or as more beautifully put in one of our hymns "Freedom from earth stains."