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Elder Matthew L. Carpenter, President of the Africa Central Area of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, spoke at a panel on religious freedom during the World Interfaith Harmony Conference in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia during February 28 to March 1, 2023.
This conference took place at the headquarters of the Africa Union, an international organization of 55 countries, and gathered hundreds government, NGO, and religious leaders from many African countries. Key themes included the role of religious communities in Africa, advancing peace, human dignity, preservation of the environment, sustainable development, and freedom of religion.
Addressing the conference remotely, Ethiopian President Sahle-Work Zewdie said that religions play an indispensable role in fostering such values as integrity, peace, love, openness, and tolerance in all countries. “We cannot underestimate the importance of religion in this world of ours,” she said.
Elder Carpenter at a panel discussion on religious freedom said, “all religions should work together for the betterment of their people. Currently, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is working with the government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo to amend marriage laws regarding bride price. We encourage our young people to marry legally, but many are unable to meet the bride price expenses. Lowering these fees could bless lives.”
Members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints claim the privilege of worshiping God according to the dictates of their own conscience and extend to all the same privilege to worship how, where, or what they choose.