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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Is polygamy legal? Not any more and not for a long time but there was once no law of the land specifically forbidding it. Was it a part of a religion? Yes it was. Is homosexuality legal? Not for a long time, but I think it is universally now, that is within the United States. Is it a religious practice? No, I don't believe it is, or ever was, a part of any religion in the United States. Yet polygamy was made illegal, and homosexuality was de-criminalized. Religious freedom was a part of the discussion on polygamy but not the latter practice.

Congress has been forbidden to make any law prohibiting the freedom of religion. Polygamy, to be repetitive, was part of a religion, though homosexuality never was that I am aware of. I cannot see where homosexuality has any relevance to the subject of religious freedom, as it is sacrosanct by our first amendment constitutional rights.

You don't have to think homosexuality is wrong; and I don't have to think it is all right. To verbalize or print either view is part of my freedom of speech - and yours.

Salt Lake City, UT

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

Also seen as self-righteous, though of course that really only applies to some of you. Oh, and pretty much everyone has moral standards, we just disagree on some things. New Hampshire has the lowest crime rates in the nation but the highest rates of atheism (looking at all 50 states there's basically no correlation between crime and religiosity). That wouldn't be the case if they didn't have moral standards.


I would like to comment on the practice, already raised in this thread, of medicine in the United States.

Previously no one was forced to visit a doctors' office on any regular basis, so far as I know. Even under "Obamacare", if Congress insists on funding it, we would not be obliged to regularly seek medical opinion as to the state of our health or how doctors think we should treat diagnosed diseases, though quarantining might sometimes be a legal requirement. There are good laws on public water supply and issues affecting contagions and environmantal poisons, but no adult was or will be forced to seek personal medical intervention. We would be forced to pay national medical insurance premiums though.

The idea that medical practice is always benign in practice and intention is false, and so I remain opposed to coercion to accept medical opinion as if law. The issue of children is vexatious; an unborn child can be killed at the request of its mother; children who are not aborted, and their parents, must be subject to doctors' views and practices. Medicine cannot constitutionally be made an effectual established religion.

Newport Beach, CA

"It's meant to keep religion private, as it is intended to be."

Says who?

Really, this sums up the whole reason religious freedom is under attack in the United States. The enemies of true religion want to make religion just another hobby -- something practiced exclusively behind closed doors, having no real effect on any of the significant aspects of one's life.

Religion is absolutely not meant to be private. The American founders, while they opposed establishment of religion (please do look up what that actually means -- a state church, like the Church of England whose bishops the crusty Yankee congregationalists all despised), never meant religion to be completely private. Part of life is public life; ergo, part of religious life is public life. Public religious observance and conversation was the standard practice of the Founders' time, and for years afterwards -- all the way until some anti-Catholic bigots on the Supreme Court (Hugo Black, I'm looking at you) radically reengineered it.

Gail Fitches
Layton, UT

This is a much needed article right now. I enjoyed it.

Deep Space 9, Ut

To "mcbillay" maybe you should listen closer to the message being given by the conservative LDS church representatives. It did say ""We must show mutual respect for others and treat all civilly." Following that up with an attack on the right only shows that maybe there is a lack of civility on the left too.

Here, UT


The main reason for prohibitions against same-sex unions in the OT is that many of the "pagan" religions of the time practiced "temple prostitution" (both heterosexual and homosexual). The Israelites, in order to separate themselves from their neighbors made that observance taboo. So, in that regard, homosexuality and heterosexuality can both be considered "religious" observations.

"I know it" seems to think s/he's the only one around with any morals. There's a scripture about a mote and a beam; it would serve him/her well to read it.

Niskayuna, NY

While I agree with the sentiment generally it seems a little silly to protect any religion which has as doctrine the elimination the right to practice any other religion and which enforces its own doctrine with lethal means.

Boise, ID

To sukiyhtaky: I can see why you wouldn't want to go back to the ward where you heard such things without anyone speaking out. This is not even close to doctrine but teachers sometimes think their personal beliefs that are in opposition to what they're supposed to teach should trump the manual given them, often simply because they're the "teacher" and have a temporary platform to spread their ideologies. I've lived in a few wards where it was particularly uncomfortable because of this. Speaking out is tough and sometimes has hard consequences. Under circumstances where one stands for truth and the person of integrity is vilified for his/her stand, God watches and angels keep track. Remember that nobody in the ward speaks for the entire church unless you're visiting a ward in which the prophet resides. We muck around sometimes and make mistakes on a local level. I hope you'll be willing to recognize your bad experiences are not the way the church is supposed to be. We're all learning to be decent human beings--or, we're supposed to be on that track.

Morgan Hill, CA

@sukiyhtaky: In 40-plus years as LDS, I have never heard any such statement (describing other religious leaders as "minions of Satan") in any LDS class I have attended. The Book of Mormon affirms that all people are given whatever degree of truth and enlightenment that is appropriate for them, and LDS leaders have affirmed the truth found in other religions from the early years of the LDS church to the present day. For most of my life, I have been studying at length about other religions of the world, including Islam, the Baha'i Faith, Sikhs, Eastern Orthodoxy, Zoroastrianism, and others. I look for those things which are "virtuous, lovely, of good report, or praiseworthy,", and I have found much that fits that description.

Las Vegas, NV

I really hope the curch is sincere with this effort. However, I have my doubts since, for example, the church's arguments on gay marriage, e.g., "we will be forced to allow homesexuals to marry in our temples", demonstrates an exceptional misunderstanding or mistatement of very basic principles of religious freedom under the First Amendment. There are certainly enough talented legal minds in the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles to make better sense of the Free Exercise Clause than that. I watched one of the videos referenced in the article, and it encourages citizens to engage in Internet discussions about principles of religious freedom. I tried posting a similar comment to this article over 12 hours ago, and it has not been posted. So, only comments supporting the church's interpretation of the First Amendment are worthy of including in the discussion? Oh the irony . . .


While I appreciate some members of the LDS faith trying to build bridges, I get so tired of hearing that something is not a church doctrine, but just the "individual." Guess what? Your individual members are the public face of your organization - not the 1st Presidency. The vast majority of Americans could not tell you who the leader of the LDS Church is. They could tell you about the Mormon neighbor who wouldn't allow their children to come over to non-members' houses or the person in the next office who told them their grandmother was residing in Hell because she drank coffee (both of these things happened to me) or even calling people who are not LDS "people without morals" as one writer on this thread did. You really need to work on your front line. They are not helping your cause at all.

Bakersfield, CA

@Gracie in Boise-
I think I understand your point to sukiyh, and we all know there's a lot of freedom in Sunday School classes. But why do you think that no one corrected the teacher? If he/she was quoting any early church leader, who was quoting Joseph Smith, that is his direct quote. I have found that many LDS church converts don't always study early church history, and most lifetime members don't have time to carefully study early Mormonism. Much of it is not taught any longer.

Any temple-goer before the mid-80's know how the Protestant minister was portrayed. There are also plenty of church president's commentaries that allude to the total ineffectuality of non-LDS rituals, from baptism to marriage.

@atl- Webster defines moral as "right conduct; doing what is right; in sexual matters, chaste." Where do you think countries got their moral/ethical codes of public conduct? From ancient Greece to modern Stockholm, "morals" are defined differently. England and America had a Biblical plumbline.

@Ranch- Since you and God discuss why He gave the Israelites monogomy, are you going to fight for the FLDS?

Social Mod Fiscal Con
West Jordan, UT


I assume you are talking about the religion of Secular Humanism?
One of it's core doctrine is that all religion is evil and should be purged from society.
Another of its core doctrines is easily accessible abortion on demand, without limitations.

Cedar City, UT

sukiyhtaky & Gracie...The issue of Doctrine of any particular church is a gray area. Has the LDS Church ever rescinded Joseph Smith's testimony of what he was told about other churches? I don't think so.

But that is very common in religions. Every church has zealots, expressing strong testimonies, even though they offend others.

Doctrine is a difficult realm. The LDS Church has standard scriptures. Added to those are modern-day prophetic teachings of living prophets. Throughout the scriptures, and even modern day teachings, are principles never clearly determined to be doctrine. An example is the use of meat in D&C 89. Or staying up late in D&C 88. These may be considered to be trite, but the scriptures are laced with such teachings. I suppose other churches have similar foggy parts of their doctrine.

The answer for those investigating religion is to follow the Spirit and your heart.

Phoenix, AZ

The church leaders need to explain how they think their religious liberties have eroded. To the contrary, it seems the church's religious liberties have grown an expanded wold wide: the church is richer, larger, more politically powerful, more intrusive and controlling than ever; and increasing by the day. It sounds like someone is crying wolf.

Deep Space 9, Ut

To "skeptic" I think the Christians in Iraq, Egypt, and Syria would disagree with you. Thier liberties were removed and they are losing their lives because of the lack of religious freedom.

It is ironic that under dictators the Christians in predominately muslim nations had more freedom than under the so-called islamic freedom movements.

Salt Lake City, UT

Religious liberty has been a recurring theme in DesNews coverage lately, with gay marriage and the ACA contraceptive mandate major concerns.

To a degree, I can understand the contraceptive mandate issue, but not entirely. An employer is only required to provide insurance policies that cover contraception. The employer is not required to pay for contraceptives directly. An employee is not required to buy or use contraceptives. The employer's premiums go into the insurer's account, where they are pooled with other premiums. Some fraction of those pooled funds are used to pay for contraception.

Contrast this with mandatory federal taxes, a portion of which goes towards paying for weapons and wars, which is deeply offensive to many faiths, including Quakers, Mennonites, and many Roman Catholics. As with the contraceptive mandate, there is no direct financial support of the objectionable expense; their tax dollars go into a pool. I don't see a significant difference. Yet this paper is remarkably silent in its coverage of military spending as a religious freedom issue. In keeping with Elder Pack's advice to defend both the popular and unpopular causes, I hope to see more discussion of the war issue in these pages.

John Pack Lambert of Michigan
Ypsilanti, MI

The true test of religious freedom is supporting the right of individuals to do things that you find downright wrong in the name of religion.

It is easy to support those things that you agree with. We need to speak out in favor of things we find questionable. Thus, for example those who really do not approve of women wearing full face coverings revealing only their eyes should see that allowing such is a question or religious freedom and should be allowed.

John Pack Lambert of Michigan
Ypsilanti, MI

If you want to see religious freedom under attack you have to go no further than New Mexico where people have been fined for following the dictates of their religion.

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