Comments about ‘Dan Liljenquist: Religious liberty and the pioneers — Understanding true worth’

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Published: Thursday, July 24 2014 12:00 a.m. MDT

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Salt Lake City, UT

" It seems, in the words of M.J. Sobran, that 'a religious conviction is now a second-class conviction, expected to step deferentially to the back of the bus, and not get uppity about it.' "

From the time when I was a kid in Utah (1950's) until now religion has taken a beating from the sciences. There is just no getting around it. There's a great deal I value from my boyhood in that period, but religion has been knocked back on its heals. It's up to religion to recover.

Irony Guy
Bountiful, Utah

Whence the paranoia, Dan? Nobody is asking anybody to give up their rights to worship God according to conscience. You need to think this through very carefully, as a little history shows.

You weren't born yet in 1964 when the "Christian" Right made precisely the same "religious freedom" arguments to justify denying blacks access to schools, colleges, hotels, restaurants, highways, even hospitals. I remember it clearly. Which side would you have been on in those days, Dan? Would you have been with Goldwater, who voted against the Civil Rights Act because it would "violate the religious conscience" of white people? No doubt you would have, as most Utah Republicans were. That is a bitter memory.

Kearns, UT

I wonder how many of our pioneer ancestors would tell us to stop our whining and realize that we do, in fact, have religious freedom. I wonder how many would be appalled at our unwillingness to allow others the same religious freedom that we claim to be losing. We have not lost any freedoms to worship according to our own dictates; what we see happening is our ability to force others to live according to our beliefs.

To paraphrase a line from one of my favorite books and movies in regards to religious freedom: "You keep using that phrase. I don't think it means what you think it means."

Springville, UT

Fleeing from religious persecution and allowing it when you are the power in control is a common theme in history. Does that mean a true understanding of religious freedom for all, or just for some? It's a fair question, perhaps more useful than patting ourselves on the back.

orem, UT

Science is indifferent to religion. It cannot prove or disprove anything about God and the origin of how we "became so much more advanced than other species", if indeed we are brothers to the brutes.

Science is our best guesses of HOW things became the way they are. Religion tells us WHY.

The study of science increases many people's belief in God and distroys others, therefore it would seem religion has nothing to prove. It is a human problem, not a religion one.

Mike Richards
South Jordan, Utah

Some who demand freedom from religion or who tell us that they have found a new religion which lets them live in a world without God, will never understand the religious bigotry that killed the Prophet Joseph Smith and his brother Hyrum. They will never understand the raid at Hawn's Mill where women and children were molested and men killed. They will overlook the thuggery that was behind driving the Saints from Nauvoo.

Just like in Israel, where the Jews only wanted to live where they could raise their families and worship their God, the Saints left the United States and came to a place that no one else wanted. But, just as soon as the desert blossomed, those who hated God saw that Utah was a place that they wanted.

Today, our religion is mocked. Our worship of God is mocked. Our insistence of making marriage the sacred ceremony and ordinance that God provided to us is mocked.

History repeats.

Here, UT

"The Utah Pioneers understood the true worth of religious liberty. While they experienced religious persecution,..."

--- And today their descendents are involved in persecuting others. Such irony.

"While we should be respectful, kind and compassionate in our dealings with others, we must not be ashamed, abashed or cowed in any way as we stand up for the right to worship God according to the dictates of our own conscience, while allowing others to do the same."

A key phrase here: "while allowing others to do the same."

Mormons would do well to stop persecuting others and stop violating the religious freedom of others.

Here, UT


Religion doesn't tell you WHY, it only makes a guess as to WHY. It's all speculation. At least with science things can be tested.

Salt Lake City, UT

RE: Jeanie "The study of science increases many people's belief in God and distroys others, therefore it would seem religion has nothing to prove. It is a human problem, not a religion one."

Biology has been hard on religion, as religion has had to retreat on matters of race, sexuality, and the origins of life. Religion appears to be adapting, but maybe not fast enough.

Midlothian, VA

Hey cousin! The Wilcox are my ancestors too! I love these stories and the faith that these wonderful people had. Thanks for sharing them.

American Fork, UT

The thing about the whole 'pioneer' process and religious freedom, from my perspective, is that the utah pioneers more or less found what they were looking for. Inasmuch as there was pretty much no one left here to deny them anything. Today, however, that is not the case. There are people seeking religious freedom in Utah today that are also pioneers.

West Point, UT

Ranch writes:

"Mormons would do well to ... stop violating the religious freedom of others."

Please, enlighten us. Tell me, what RELIGIOUS freedoms are us Mormons violating in others?

J Thompson

Thanks, Dan, for reminding everyone of the sacrifice that thousands made to emigrate to Utah. My ancestors sacrificed all that they had to come to "Zion" to worship their God without having religious bigots interfere.

We have become accustomed to living in a place where we can serve God without interference from others. Sure there are small groups who want to overturn everything that the 13th Article of Faith stands for so that they can worship each other, but that has been going on since recorded history. There have always been those who have had nothing but contempt for God. God still loves them. They are still his children. He still sends Prophets to warn them and missionaries to teach them, but, now, just as in ancient times, they are mostly past hearing.

We celebrate a holiday that honors those who sacrificed so that we could worship God in His prescribed way, following His prescribed doctrine, no matter what the rest of the world thinks and no matter how many detractors try to divert us from His religion.

Sandy, UT

@mike richards. If Mormons want respect and not to be mocked by others in the community then they need to let people of other faiths and especially people of no faith live their lives.

Joseph Smith is not a prophet to many people but a lot of people in this state forget that.

You may say that we heathens are rejecting God by us supporting individual liberties like gay marriage, drinking, smoking, and so on but it is our right to be able to live free.

the truth
Holladay, UT

@Irony Guy

Nobody maybe asking that (though that is questionable),

They are surely asking (demanding) the religious to stop practicing and exercising your religion in the public square.

Something that is wholly unconstitutional and a violation of every liberty and freedom we cherish.

Are the atheist and and secularists and socialists and the communists, and all others who believe in something non-religious or religions or belief systems you do like, are you going to ask they leave their beliefs and conscience at the door of their homes as well?

Our founding fathers welcomed all beliefs systems in public square so the best laws could be debated and the best ides win out.

The religious have just much right as any group to influence the making of law in this country, and live their beliefs publically.

You have the right to not like it and complain all want and try to influence law making,

but not hurt the religious, or take their rights and livelihoods away,

but that is true freedom.

Mike Richards
South Jordan, Utah


You and I have each become exactly what we want to be. We have each used our time, our talents and our desires to follow whomever we wish.

Every pioneer who left familiar faces, familiar towns, familiar jobs to forge a place here in the West became exactly the person that he wanted to become. Those pioneers came here with little food, without jobs, without homes to worship God. That was what drove them here. That is what drives most of the people in Utah. We love God. We worship Him. We serve Him. We invite His spirit into our homes. We teach our children of Him. We forge our lives around His doctrine. We do not apologize for our love of Him and of our devotion to Him.

I'll let Brother Clayton tell why:

"We'll find the place which God for us prepared,
Far away in the West,
Where none shall come to hurt or make afraid;
There the Saints will be blessed.
We'll make the air with music ring,
Shout praises to our God and King;
Above the rest these words we'll tell--
All is well! All is well!"

salt lake, UT


We have all been over this so many time with you, no matter how you try to twist it no one has taken away your right to express yourself in the public square, people have however started to push back against people forcing others to live by their religious dictates by passing laws limiting the freedoms of others based on nothing more then religious dogma.

slc, UT


No matter how much you try to spin it as long as you are using your religion as a weapon to take way others rights you are the aggressor not the victim.

Sandy, UT

@mike richards. I do not have an issue with your relationship with god. I and many other people have an issue when people impose their faith on to others to restrict their freedom and liberties.

On the the flip side churches should not have to accept or marry anyone if they do not want to.

university place, WA

@the Truth

You have the protected right to worship as you please. Your religious rights, however, ARE NOT absolute. You do not have a protected religious right to restrict the rights of others. Your religious right DOES NOT permit you to impose your belief system on others through the force of law. Demanding you respect MY rights in no way restricts your religious rights. Drop the martyrdom act.

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