The Religious Freedom and Human Dignity Initiative (RFHD) aims to advance understanding and commitment to religious freedom and human dignity consistent with gospel principles for the complete development and flourishing of persons and society.
The RFHD Executive Committee —composed of BYUH students—strives to fulfill the initiative's mission to foster the spread of religious freedom and protection of human dignity by educating students, alumni, and volunteers through events, conferences, and research.
The RFHD Initiative advances the mission of BYUH by promoting its core values: appreciation, tolerance, and esteem (as presented by Elder Romney in 1973 and Elder Holland in 2021). Appreciation involves valuing each individual’s contribution to our communities as they live and worship according to the dictates of their conscience. Tolerance allows and accepts differences. Esteem recognizes the innate dignity of all human beings and their potential to become excellent and worthy.
The basis of human dignity lies in the human soul — its very being and vitality. Dignity, from the Latin dignitas, means worthiness, distinction, esteem. Each human soul is of invaluable worth and thus equally deserves respect and the freedom to pursue happiness and meaning as they deem best.
Human dignity requires religious freedom. Religious freedom, also known as the free exercise of conscience (D&C 134:2), allows individuals to find and adopt values, ideals, and direction that give them meaning and purpose greater than self.
Religious freedom is a foundational freedom that fosters individual and societal flourishing. Where religious liberty is protected, individuals and societies enjoy greater freedoms and security, increased social trust and respect for diversity, higher economic prosperity, and more happiness and peace.
BYUH students and members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints have a responsibility to promote human dignity and religious liberty. President David O. McKay prophesied that BYUH would foster peace internationally. Enduring peace requires respecting human dignity and protecting religious freedom. We can fulfill our responsibility to advance peace by understanding the value of human dignity, identifying threats to religious liberty, and developing the skills to be pro-actively engaged in promoting these concepts worldwide.
The Religious Freedom and Human Dignity Initiative invites students, faculty, and community members of all backgrounds and faiths to volunteer by filling out the survey or emailing RFHD.BYUH@gmail.com.
All are welcome to attend the RFHD events and learn about religious freedom and human dignity.