Cecil O. Samuelson Jr., president of Brigham Young University and a General Authority of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, was given the honor to address members of Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh, Scotland, on Wednesday.
Samuelson, who is of Scottish descent and who served as a young man served a full-time mission for the Church in Scotland, was invited by Brian Adam, an LDS member of the Scottish Parliament, to provide what is known as the “time for reflection” before the start of day’s session.
Samuelson’s message was brief and focused on the eternal brotherhood of mankind.
“Central to our theology is the conviction that all people are the spiritual progeny of God and therefore are brothers and sisters in a very literal sense,” he said. “Our faith and trust in Heaven are strongly linked to our respect and responsibility for all people, including those of vastly different backgrounds or persuasions.”
Samuelson concluded his remarks with the unusual act of invoking God’s blessing on the assembled members of Parliament.
“With conviction that heaven smiles upon your consecrated service in this chamber of the people, it is my privilege to invoke a blessing upon you. I bless you, the people you serve and this special land that has given so much to the world with all that is needed to be successful in fulfilling your responsibilities as you serve. I extend these blessings to your families and loved ones with the assurance that God honors those who serve with integrity and humility.”
According to reports filed by the BBC, Samuelson was chastised following his remarks by a member of Parliament who criticized BYU’s policy against homosexual conduct. Mr. Patrick Harvie, a member of the Green Party and an openly gay legislator, was rebuked by chamber’s presiding officer, who asserted that “any member who has heard the speech that Professor Samuelson made today would take absolutely no issue with it whatsoever.”