Comments about ‘LDS Church creates new web materials in support of religious freedom’

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Published: Tuesday, Sept. 10 2013 9:15 p.m. MDT

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Rhonda H.
South Jordan, UT

I agree that this is an important message. It's far too easy to close off your heart to someone, to label them as something in particular, and to be unwilling to take the effort to see each as an individual, valued and valuable child of God.

That said, it's also far too easy to think that love means protecting others from natural consequences or agreeing with their decisions. "Mutual" respect is what is needed.

Salt Lake City, UT

Freedom of religion is a constitutionally guaranteed right. The freedom to believe is absolute; the freedom to practice those beliefs is limited.

The right to swing my fist ends where the other man’s nose begins – Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.

I know it. I Live it. I Love it.
Salt Lake City, UT

In the LDS faith, we are often seen as politically oppressive by those who don't have moral standards, or at very least a political philosophy other than moral relativism. Because of this, we are often portrayed as being forceful, despite our strong belief in moral agency.

The truth: Oppress vs Express

A practicing Muslim and a practicing Homosexual can live peacefully as long as both choose to. They may protest whether the state recognizes the other as a religion or a marital institution. Only recently has Italy recognized the LDS Church as a such. They didn't have to. Italians have the right to govern themselves. That isn't our choice, it's theirs.

We don't have to recognize, agree, disagree, or like each others opinions. But in order to live in ANY form of peaceful country, we MUST uphold the freedom of the conscience. WE can take interest in what organizations/institutions OUR government recognizes. To do so does not meddle with the rights of individuals, only how our self-made government recognizes their beliefs.

Expressing, even officially establishing an idea, is not oppressive. Fighting the freedom to live by your conscience is.


Religious freedom is important. However, problems arise when one's "religious freedom" impinges upon another's rights. Which is more important? Which right takes precedence? There are not easy answers to many of these situations:

1) A parent's religion does not believe in seeking medical help. Their child has cancer and they try to pray it away rather than seek medical help. Is this religious freedom or child abuse (or as occurred recently, negligent homicide, when the child dies)?

2) A religious person has a business that serves the public and does not hire gay people because they believe being gay is a sin. Is the business owner's choice religious freedom or discrimination? What if instead of gay, the business owner's religion said blacks were inferior? Where is the line drawn? When does religious freedom give you the right to override other's rights?

3) A religion states that it is alright for girls to marry at 12. If this happens, is it religious freedom or child abuse and sexual assault?

To me, religious freedom stops where other's rights begin. It would be interesting to see where others draw the line.

Eldersburg, MD

This is a very important issue, not just from the rise of religious persecution by law suits, public intimidation, forced removal of symbols, and so forth, but also society is shifting away from basic moral values that offer protection against the very elements contributing to the downfall of every historic civilization.

There is no lasting balance or equality in those who promote tolerance of their agenda at the expense of freedom for everyone. Rather, these parties seek to go many steps further with eradication of public expression as well as negation of private policy long held by religious organizations, through false claims of unconstitutional discrimination.

Our constitution explicitly provides protection for religious organizations to practice according to their own dictates, so long as such is permissible within the laws of the land. But, when so many anti-religion groups or those opposed to aspects of traditional religious values seek to force beliefs upon religious organizations within their own operating space, then this constitutional protection is in jeopardy.

These very conditions are beginning to be a greater reality and future concern for religious organizations. But, many cannot see this fact and instead slander religious organizations as paranoid, ignorant, and discriminatory.

Omaha, NE

@ mcbillay
Agreed that some in the Religious Right need to hear this. But this is a great message for all to hear. Pointed to one group minimizes it and possibly keeps one from learning a better message. Everyone from any viewpoint (Mormons, Baptists, Muslims, Gays, Atheists) etc. needs to hear it. When a pushy or bigoted Religious Right person reads your comment, I strongly suspect that they only see/remember the bigotry among the Left that they've seen and experienced in their life. To say it's not there would only be naive and I am sure you don't believe that yourself.

The best change that one can make, in my opinion, about bigotry and hate is within themselves and possibly within their own circle of friends and associates. Cure the inner vessel first and then these problems will lessen. I certainly will continue to confront it among myself, my associates and friends.

Salt Lake City, UT

How about the far Left? They're trying to crush religion freedom, even to the point of court martial, even requiring the military persons to set aside their own moral and religion values to permit degrading influences on their lives lately.

Here, UT

Religious freedom does NOT give "people of conscience" carte blanche to run rough-shod over other citizens rights in the name of "religious freedom".

The biggest thing that you "people of conscience" are missing is that using your religion to violate the rights of other citizens even violates the commandments of your own god: "Do unto others as YOU WOULD HAVE THEM DO UNTO YOU".

Florien Wineriter
Cottonwood Heights, UT

The freedom of religion is essential. The freedom to believe and practice what ever religious principles give meaning to your life. But that does not mean the freedom to enforce your beliefs and practices on others.

us, CA

Pursuit of Knowledge hit the nail squarely on the head. Hamath as well states that the message of tolerance needs to be heard by all religions. I want to add my voice to that saying that there must...MUST...be mutual respect. I applaud the LDS church for all their outreach as of late, but it all crumbles and is destroyed as mere lip service when people walk into the meetinghouses of the LDS and hear in the Gospel Doctrine class that the pastors of all other faiths are "minions of Satan." Which is exactly what I heard on one Sunday a while back. Not being LDS I thought I must have misunderstood what the teacher was saying and returned the next Sunday only to hear the exact same sentiment. Nobody stood to counter it and I havn't been back since. I brought this up to a member of the Stake Presidency so they would know why I wasn't going back. I like Mormons, but sometimes it is reallllllly hard and really hard to believe their sincerity.

Leo Femedlers
El Paso, TX

Interesting.... The church put out The Proclamation on Marriage in 1995 and here we are a decade or so later mired in the constitutionality of that union. Wonder what may be coming down the pike in the not-too-distant future for religious worship?

It is so awesome that we have Seers today. (And we get to hear them again in a few short weeks!)

Kaysville, UT

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints' history indicates they had people and even governments that thwarted their religious freedom that this country had as a valuable principle since the days of the Pilgrims and others that came to this country. These individuals came to a country that was developing a Constitution that would be a hallmark for others to hear about.

Did that prevent bigotry in this country?

The early members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints had to move several times, several of those were by force, as they practiced their beliefs.

I am grateful the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is reemphasizing this principle of religious freedom which is part of all principles of freedom that we enjoy, especially in this country of the United States of America.

With freedoms come a responsibility to promote the same freedoms to others. In a perfect world, people should show love and appreciation for each other. Antagonism does not show love, no matter what side of the fence one is positioned.

We live in a world where governments would take people's freedoms. They disguise their attacks as "safety" for citizens.


I know it says: In the LDS faith, we are often seen as politically oppressive by those who don't have moral standards

Statements like this do not help.

Phoenix, AZ

Perhaps even more important than freedom of religion is freedom from religion. Modern day religion is little more than incorporated big business marketing generic non-sense to the gullible public under the name brand and cloak of religion. It is a very profitable business for the top echelons in both treasure and life style. The church needs a defense for a proclamation of freedom of religion the same as freedom of religion.

Kaysville, UT

Politics is a big area to cover and defined by every person and their perceptions.

One can scrutinize every word of an article to skew anything that may be written or even quoted from someone else.

We need to be retrospective in our approach to what good people try to accomplish. There are plenty of good people that have to defend what they do for the good of the world.

There are just too many real bad things in the world to have one's sensitivity skewed to just one side that the people that do good are doing it for bad reasons.

People need to take away their biases off on both sides of a point of view. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and this newspaper do 99.999% good for the world in all aspects of their existence. Their point of view is for the dissemination to the world in all forms of communication, even Twitter and Facebook.

I am grateful for their attempt at trying to improve the world and the perception members and non-members have in these difficult times.

San Bernardino, CA

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof" (1st Amendment). What this says to me is that the government cannot legislate what is, or what is not, religion, or conscious, and they cannot prohibit citizens from exercising their religious beliefs. But isn't that EXACTLY what the 501C3 Corporation does? Does the government not use said Corporation to define what is acceptable religion and what is not? And do not religions, by participating in government-sanctioned religion, i.e. 501C3 status, denigrate the religious freedoms of others? Does 501C3 recognize a family religion as falling under the definition of the 1st Amendment? Or recognize individual religious beliefs not covered under their creation of 501C3? Is 501C3 religious regulation even permitted under the "Congress make no law respecting establishment of religion" clause of the 1st Amendment? Let's get down to the nitty gritty. Doesn't the 1st Amendment bar the government from defining or regulating religious beliefs or prohibiting the free exercise thereof? Can the 501C3 Status churches please speak up on these questions?

moniker lewinsky
Taylorsville, UT

Everybody's religious liberties are in tact. Our government has not prepared any lions dens in which to throw people to don't follow a certain set of religious beliefs.
I hope that some day in this country (and particularly in our Deseret), secular liberties will be in tact as well. That would really be something.
When people object to organized prayer in school, for example, that is not meant to infringe on anybody's civil liberties. It's meant to keep religion private, as it is intended to be.
I'm a member of a church (Unitarian) that teaches that each person is of worth and that allows or even encourages gay marriage. But I wonder if the people opposing marriage equality on a government level care at all about my supposed religious liberties.
What's not okay is infringing on a person's secular liberties because their beliefs go against your religion. This would be akin to me telling others that they can't have a donut because I'm on a diet (which I violated last night, btw, by eating a donut but it was a hard day- what can I say?).


The materials would be far more persuasive (and have some actual value) if they included anything about religion's duty to not infringe upon our other inalienable rights. The materials emphasize two duties religions should follow: (1) the duty to be civil and (2) the duty to respect other religions' beliefs. Clearly as citizens we owe other duties that may come into direct conflict with religious beliefs.

Simple examples exist all around us. For example, what if my religion says I owe no duty to provide medical care to my children? By not addressing the important issue of where religions should not infringe, these materials do not further the public discussion and provide little insight into how to address the important real-world issues we frequently face.

patriot vet
Cedar City, UT

On this September 11, Patriot Day, it is important to keep both patriotism and religious freedom in proper context. Both have great influence and powerful forces that can bring about vast change in individuals and nations.

The early LDS history was of conflict and discrimination against the Church. Other religions were involved. The boiling conflict subsided after polygamy was outlawed and Utah Territory was certified as complying.

That history highlights the importance of civil law/government having some regulatory value regarding religion. In America, our elected officials create laws that soemtimes seem to impinge on religious freedom. Such as the anti-polygamy law, marriage laws governing minors, where a temple can be built, Muslim women's clothing at the airport, etc.

In order for these laws to be Constitutional, they have to be necessary to to meet a greater need than religion, such as protection of children, protection of others, equal rights for minoities or women.

Patriotic enthusiasm and action must also be within Constitutional limits.

All of us Americans have inalienable rights. But, we must recognize and respect the rights of others.

Corvallis, OR

The Church also needs to support other Constitutional freedom, such as the right to bear arms, be free of unreasonable search and seizure, and not be required to incriminate ourselves. We also need to support our right to be free of priestcraft enforced by the sword, which, in our time, means tax-supported experts who rule us without Constitutional power.

I also hope that LDS people who are working for the NSA in Utah will seek other employment.

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