Previously U.S. Senate legal counsel and general counsel of Brigham Young University, Judge Thomas B. Griffith was appointed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit by President George W. Bush. President Biden later appointed him to the President’s Commission on the Supreme Court. Judge Griffith authored Lost, Not Stolen: The Conservative Case that Biden Won and Trump Lost the 2020 Presidential Election along with former federal appeals court judges Michael McConnell and Michael Luttig. He is currently a lecturer on law at Harvard and Stanford, a fellow at the Wheatley Institute at BYU, and active in rule-of-law projects in Central and Eastern Europe. Inspired by the scholarship of Elder Matthew Holland, Judge Griffith devotes a great deal of his time to speaking and writing about the need to emphasize “civic charity” in American political life.
After graduating from BYU and before beginning his legal studies at the University of Virginia, Judge Griffith was a full-time employee of the Church Educational System, directing Seminary and Institute of Religion programs in the Baltimore, Maryland area. His service in the Church includes a full-time mission to southern Africa, bishop of a family ward in northern Virginia, president of a campus stake at BYU, and teaching young single adult Institute. He also serves on the advisory board of the Faith Matters Foundation.
A convert to the Church, Brother Griffith married fellow-convert Susan Stell Griffith. They live in rural northern Virginia and are the parents of six and the grandparents of eleven.
02:00 Kurt introduces the episode and Thomas Griffith.
04:20 Thomas introduces himself and his professional and religious background.
07:00 Thomas’ conversion story
13:30 His first career was in the church education system. He later became a lawyer and judge.
15:00 Speaking at the BYU devotional and his popular talk, The Very Root of Christian Doctrine and his time as a stake president. Every talk and every lesson given in the stake needed to have a direct link to the Atonement of Jesus Christ.
23:30 After one year of getting everyone in the stake to make the Atonement the main focus of every single talk and lesson they saw amazing results. The bishops reported back with excitement.
27:15 What it actually means to focus on and teach doctrine at church.
28:00 The most important thing that a bishop can do is put on a GREAT sacrament meeting! When Thomas was bishop he sat down with each speaker to discuss the topic and how to link it to the atonement. It was a lot of work but he focused on the details.
32:15 Where the idea and vision came from to focus more on Christ at church
35:45 The hard work that goes into establishing a culture and vision in our wards and stakes. They had to be persistent and repetitive with their messages.
38:00 Refocus the core message on Jesus and redemption so that people leave feeling uplifted and not bogged down. Speakers should be told that they aren’t there to call people to repentance. “Refresh” people’s hearts and make them feel encouraged and nourished.
43:45 Additional tips for making sacrament meeting great. Everything ought to flow out of the experience that we have partaking of the sacrament. You don’t just take it and then move on.
45:45 Thomas’ time as a judge
47:30 Lessons learned from being a judge that can also be applied to church leadership. We should also always use the counsel system and not make decisions alone. Decisions should be made through the process of discussion and disagreement. This is where revelation happens.
52:20 Thomas shares principles that he learned while serving as stake president at BYU. They wanted a pure religion community instead of the activities committee. Every ward was to form a partnership with a service provider and those would be the church activities.
58:10 You can’t do everything. You can’t emphasize everything in your ward and stake. Make 2 maybe 3 big changes and that’s it.
1:00:50 A leader is a servant. You develop a deep sense of love for others and you use your position to help them. Leadership is about washing people’s feet.
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