The Assembly of God’s CEO, George O. Wood, addressed hundreds of BYU students and Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles on Monday.
A recent push by the Quorum of the Twelve to promote religious freedom has led to much interfaith discussion and many opportunities, including this second lecture of the Faith, Family, and Society series.
Before Wood took the stage, Professor Andrew Skinner, of the Department of Ancient Scripture, introduced Wood as a man of incredible faith and devotion.
“You can feel the Spirit of God with him when you shake his hand,” Skinner said.
Wood shared his lifelong spiritual journey and ministry as a member of the Assembly of God. He gave a brief history of the Assembly of God’s origin in the early 1900s, including the receiving of the gift of tongues. He spent time drawing parallel’s between Latter-day Saints and the Assembly of God.
“Like the LDS we were a very marginalized minority, and even persecuted,” Wood said. “We had preachers that were tarred and feathered and driven out of town because we had this experience that others didn’t understand.”
Elder Holland sat on the stage, listening intently and laughing at the humorous and touching experiences Wood shared.
Wood spoke of an experience he had two years earlier with Elder Holland at a conference in Utah. In response to a question from Wood, Elder Holland expressed that his greatest worry about the young generation was that they would grow coarse to the values and principles taught by Jesus Christ.
“His response immediately bonded my heart to him,” Wood said. “Any Assembly of God preacher could say the same thing. We just absolutely share that in common.”
Wood expressed that the Assembly of God’s 66 million members test out their faith just like Latter-day Saints do. He urged the audience to seek a strong faith through diligent study of the scriptures.
“The question for me in college became, ‘Is experience enough to carry me through?'” Wood said. “I had to have a stronger, intellectual foundation for my faith.”
Wood showed that God is playing a role in all religions and that Christians are more united than they sometimes think.
“The whole aspect of the Christian faith, and my personal faith, rests upon whether or not Jesus Christ rose again from the dead,” Wood said.