Religion has the “unique capacity” to encourage “a moral accountability that leads to self-control,” according to Elder D. Todd Christofferson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. “I speak of the religious concept of moral agency—that we are each personally accountable to God for our choices and our actions in relation to government and one another. The voluntary discipline of self that is engendered by religious principle is essential, as a practical matter, to the efficient and effective rule of law.”
Elder Christofferson addressed this subject when he was awarded the 2011 Distinguished Public Service Award on October 21 by the San Francisco Bay Area chapters of the BYU Management Society for his business and religious leadership.
He continued: “It is an irony that as agreement on the moral values and obligations that sustain law declines, governments feel compelled to multiply laws and regulations in an attempt to preserve order. In the long run, however, law alone cannot compensate for the absence of morality and self-control on the part of private citizens.”
Prior to being called as a General Authority, Elder Christofferson had a distinguished legal career. He graduated from Brigham Young University, earned a law degree from Duke University, and served as a law clerk in Washington, D.C.