Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is the conference about?

Toward a Free and Virtuous Society conferences are intensive seminars for current and future leaders. These conferences offer an introduction to the moral foundations of personal and economic liberty by combining an in-depth treatment of economic principles with principles of social justice and anthropology. They explore the nature of the human person and the created order from the perspectives of Scripture and natural law, examining concepts such as justice, equality, flourishing, stewardship, and virtue. In addition, these seminars focus on applying the principles of economic liberty to complex issues such as poverty, welfare reform, and globalization.

This is a seminar for current and future leaders that combines an in-depth treatment of economic concepts with concerns about social justice. The program is intellectually demanding; participants are required to do advanced reading and must be prepared to offer comments and defend their views during the question and answer sessions.

2. How is the conference organized?

The conference provides a philosophical orientation, tracing the concept of freedom from a natural rights base to its theoretical consequences. From there, the conference builds on this philosophical foundation linking theory to contemporary topics in the Northwest such as the family, the enviornment, millennials, and global development.

Conference schedule and lecture titles

3. Who attends “Toward a Free and Virtuous Society” conferences?

Participants will come from the five states served by the M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust (Alaska, Washington, Idaho, Montana, Oregon) and will be selected from the academy, non-profit organizations, churches, and the business community. All ages are welcome. The number of participants will be limited to 20, who will be expected to stay for the entire event. 

4. How much does the conference cost?

All participants selected to attend will receive a full fellowship, which covers room and board expenses as well as conference fees. A limited number of travel scholarships are available to cover transportation costs to and from the conference. If travel assistance is needed, please note this on your application. In addition, students will receive a selection of books from the Acton Book Shop.

5. Where Is the conference Being held?

From Thursday, April 14 to Saturday, April 16, 2016, The M. J. Murdock Charitable Trust is partnering with the Acton Institute to sponsor an invitation-only event at the lovely Cedar Brook Lodge Conference Center ( Nestled among 11 wooded acres near the Seattle-Tacoma airport, this intimate gathering will focus on “God’s Economy of All Things,” exploring what faith, flourishing, and freedom look like when integrated and lived in the Northwestern United States.