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Dan Liljenquist: Religious liberty and the pioneers — Understanding true worth

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  • Hank Pym SLC, UT
    July 28, 2014 7:36 p.m.

    to Ranch

    "Odin doesn't need "prophets", he speaks directly to each of his creations."

    And he has those Ravens as 'spies'.

  • Hank Pym SLC, UT
    July 28, 2014 7:30 p.m.

    To Mike R (4 nights ago)...

    2 thoughts. 1) The use/context of the word 'We' reminds of post is eerily reminiscent of a Monarch speaking. 2) Him? Again context. Now, Dom Deluise in Cannonball Run comes to mind.

  • my_two_cents_worth university place, WA
    July 28, 2014 1:45 p.m.

    @ArizonaMormon

    "Will private religious institutions such as BYU which maintain the right to hire in accordance with LDS beliefs run into trouble?"

    Only if they want to cash in on lucrative government contracts to deliver services on behalf of the government.

  • GaryO Virginia Beach, VA
    July 28, 2014 9:32 a.m.

    I’m sorry, but I’m really feeling embarrassed for “Conservatives.”

    Here we have a former Senatorial candidate, obviously with further political aspirations, citing his hereditary Mormon qualifications for office. Apparently Liljenquist believes Utahns consider one’s Mormon genealogy more important than the character and ability of the candidate.

    Appealing to feelings of victimhood is such an overdone “Conservative” tactic, isn’t it? Conservative Politicians, especially on the national level, absolutely EXCEL at whining, but they just can’t seem to get around to actually doing anything worthwhile for America.

    And here is Liljenquist running true to form. Yes Dan, Mormons have been persecuted. But they have also persecuted others. Nobody's perfect. Senator Mike Lee and Michael Leavitt both bear the surnames of ancestors who personally participated in the Mountain Meadows Massacre.

    The only reason religious persecution hasn’t been worse in this nation is because of the Separation of Church and State, which “ Conservatives” have now renamed “the Government’s War on Religion.”

    Come on Dan . . . Do you think you “Conservatives” can take a break from the perpetual Pity Party and actually do something worthwhile for America?

  • Ranch Here, UT
    July 28, 2014 8:58 a.m.

    ArizonaMormon says:

    "Religious groups have an interest in hiring according to their beliefs for jobs outside of strictly religiois roles. For example, professors at BYU."

    Then do it with your own money and not federal money. Fine and dandy. But when you use money from taxpayers, why should you be allowed to discriminate?

    "The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints stands for the religious freedom of all."

    Is that why they have worked so diligently to violate the religious rights of LGBT citizens?

  • Ranch Here, UT
    July 28, 2014 8:53 a.m.

    Abeille says:

    "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?"

    Well, Abeille, Proposition 8 and Amendment 3 violates the RELIGIOUS freedom of several religious groups to perform legal same-sex marriages for one.

    @J Thompson;

    Odin is my creator, not Christ or his "father" (such confusion, father-son all-in-one).

    "Christ told us, "if you love me, keep my commandments". "

    "Do unto others" was a commandment buddy.

    "Latter-day prophets told us ..."

    Odin doesn't need "prophets", he speaks directly to each of his creations.

    Mike Richards says:

    "As I see it, you and others who believe in same-sex marriage and want the force of government to provide that to you are in direct conflict with God who defined marriage as being between a man and a woman."

    Odin did NO SUCH THING!!

    "When a religion holds marriage as a sacred ordinance that God Himself defined and ordained,..."

    Why should your god have any more legal precedence than my god?

  • ArizonaMormon Mesa, AZ
    July 27, 2014 11:37 a.m.

    For an example of how religious freedom is under attack, look to President Obama's executive order preventing government contractors from discriminating against members of the LGBT community in hiring. The idea behind it is a noble one, but the law is troubling because it does not contain a religious exemption. Will private religious institutions such as BYU which maintain the right to hire in accordance with LDS beliefs run into trouble? It could be argued that they contract with thefederal government because they participate in federal student financial aid programs. Will BYU students be prevented from receiving Pell Grants?

    Even more troubling is the fact that several major gay rights groups have now pulled their support from ENDA, a law that I support, because it contains a broad religious exemption (which was originally supported, by the way, by Congressman Barney Frank.)

    Religious groups have an interest in hiring according to their beliefs for jobs outside of strictly religiois roles. For example, professors at BYU.

  • ArizonaMormon Mesa, AZ
    July 27, 2014 11:22 a.m.

    A lot of people on here are claiming that Mormons are restricting the religious freedom of others. Could someome please be more specific?

    The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints stands for the religious freedom of all.

  • Karen R. Houston, TX
    July 26, 2014 11:27 a.m.

    Re: Mocking and intolerance

    Mocking, a/k/a free speech, is found in the same Amendment as freedom of religion. This is what allows believers to mock each other's religions - or the lack of belief of nonbelievers - and vice-versa. But the mocking doesn't prevent anyone from attending church (or not).

    To those arguing from the authority of "God/Jesus said": Until you can prove you're right, your take is merely one believer's opinion among many. And pointing to your scriptures doesn't help you because other believers who disagree are relying on the same ones.

    I'm as confident that God isn't real as I am that Zeus isn't real. That's the most I can say. Believers in gods can't do any better than this and remain honest. So try crafting an argument that can stand under its own authority rather than propping it up on an authority you can't truthfully claim to have. This is likely to garner less mockery. Criticism, on the other hand, can't be avoided. Free speech practically guarantees it. Thank goodness.

  • LDS Liberal Farmington, UT
    July 26, 2014 9:54 a.m.

    Being tarred and feathered,
    imprisoned,
    run out at gun point,
    fields burned,
    Extermination orders,
    Johnson's Army,
    Edmunds Tucker Act,

    Get real!
    You all are truly mocking the LDS Pioneers with your "we're being Religiously Persecuted" whining and crying today...

  • Furry1993 Ogden, UT
    July 26, 2014 8:34 a.m.

    @
    Mike Richards 9:25 a.m. July 24, 2014

    ...

    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.

    None of that is true, and none of that is happening. Nobody is contesting the right of people to belong to any religion, to worship as they choose, or to allow a particular religion to set its own standards for marriage (except, of course, the denial of the right of religions that allow the practice to perform same-sex marriages). The only thing that IS happening is the refusal of a lot of people to allow religions to impose, though laws, their dictates on a secular country and their attempts, contrary to the provisions of the US Constitution, to turn that secular country into a theocracy. That must never happen -- we do NOT heed a Christian form of talibanic rule to take over this country.

  • Howard Beal Provo, UT
    July 25, 2014 11:36 p.m.

    I'm sure what religious freedom we've lost. I go to the church I want when I want. Sometimes I don't go and the government doesn't seem to mind. Now as far as back in the olden days, religious groups like the Mormons were forced out place to place and the GOVERNMENT not only did nothing to protect their rights but was directly the agent preventing it. I think actual freedom of religion has progressed in this country, not regressed.

  • L White Springville, UT
    July 25, 2014 7:25 p.m.

    Shaun,

    I wonder if you mind me sticking my nose into your business? Mothers care for their children. They would do almost anything to keep their children safe. They "mother" their children. That means that they watch them. They watch them. They watch them. They warn them about potential danger. They teach them that a stove or an iron will harm them if touched. They "mother" them when the children are too innocent to know that there are real dangers in the world. They don't do those things to keep their children from experiencing life. They do those things so that their children will be strong and healthy enough to enjoy a full and long life.

    You told us that you didn't believe that our living prophets were really prophets. I'm not going to try to convince you that they are prophets. The only thing that matters to me is that God knows that they are His prophets. Just as I love my children, God loves his children. He wants us to live long and happy lives. His prophets tell us how to do that. I hope you'll listen to them.

  • Schnee Salt Lake City, UT
    July 25, 2014 6:19 p.m.

    @Mike Richards
    "if I've read your post correctly, if I and other members of the LDS faith do not accept your ideas about religion, do you have the right to persecute us?"

    You have definitely read it incorrectly. If you're referring to my comment to J Thompson that was expressing my opinion as to what the motives for the persecution were, not any statement of approval of the persecution.

    "Where is the tolerance that you demand from us when you have no tolerance towards Christ's doctrine as revealed by His prophets? "

    I support gender equality but wouldn't support a law that forced churches to have female clergy/priesthood. I'm not sure what sorts of things you're expecting as a display of tolerance. Considering the later questions you seem to want me to not disagree with beliefs that generalize certain family types as inferior.

    "should anyone mock that doctrine?"

    Actually, I believe that God only recognizes marriage between a man and a woman so I'm not mocking it at all. I just also believe that since there's no convincingly constitutional reason to ban same-sex marriage, then it should be allowed.

  • Shaun Sandy, UT
    July 25, 2014 5:07 p.m.

    @mike richards. Again I do not believe Gordon B. Hinckley, Thomas S. Monson, James E. Faust, Boyd K. Packer, L. Tom Perry, David B. Haight, Russell M. Nelson, Dallin H. Oaks, M. Russell Ballard, Joseph B. Wirthlin, Richard G. Scott, Robert D. Hales, Jeffery R. Holland, and Henry B. Eyring are prophets of God.

    I respect your right to believe in and have faith that those men are prophets of God. I believe that all people should be free to choose how they live.

    If two people of the same sex want to get married they should be able to. They are not hurting anyone, as many would claim and as a matter of law, marriage is a contract not a religious event.

    Are you only for freedom when it aligns with your religious convictions?

  • YBH Sugarland, TX
    July 25, 2014 4:41 p.m.

    @L White

    People can have different interpretations for a same Scripture quote. In the past, some believed Bible supports slavery, some argued against; some believed Bible supports segregation, some argued against... they all quoted from the same Bible.

    The reason for such disagreement is not because like you said, some people "disagree with the Script", it is because they disagree with each others' biblical interpretation.

  • L White Springville, UT
    July 25, 2014 3:33 p.m.

    Let me try this one more time. I must have explained my point poorly when I addressed the commenter from Texas.

    When I quote scripture and you disagree with that scripture, are you disagreeing with me, with the scripture or with the author of the scripture? I think that your disagreement is with the author of the scripture, not with me. I would not argue with you if you quoted someone and I didn't agree with the quote. I would automatically know that my disagreement was with the author of that quote.

    One of my favorite scriptures is in Amos where Amos tells us that God will do nothing before first telling His prophet. I can accept that. Can you?

  • YBH Sugarland, TX
    July 25, 2014 3:01 p.m.

    @L White
    "Will you drive me out of Utah?"

    No one will drive you out of Utah. We live in America, where people have religious freedom. You can certainly believe your way of bible interpretation; and other believers can have different interpretation too.

    Just because people have different theology from you, does not mean they disagree with God. They just disagree with you.

  • L White Springville, UT
    July 25, 2014 2:43 p.m.

    Well, I just keep getting drawn back to this thread. Someone from Sugarland, Texas has told us that when I (or you) quote someone that the argument is between between me and the person who does not accept that quote. Do I see someone blaming the messenger here? When God chooses His Prophet, do we vote on that selection or do we choose to sustain or reject God's choice. Everytime I've raised my hand to sustain a Prophet of God, I've also committed to listen to and to obey whatever that Prophet said when He addressed the Chruch.

    When President Hinckley gave us "The Family: A Proclamation to the World", I accepted that proclamation as the word of God. I know that He will hold all people who had opportunity to hear or read that Proclamation responsible to live the principles taught, just as He holds everyone who has access to a Bible to be responsible for His teachings.

    Our pioneer ancestors did that and they were driven out of Nauvoo because they believed in Christ. I believe in Christ. Will you drive me out of Utah?

  • YBH Sugarland, TX
    July 25, 2014 2:13 p.m.

    @Mike Richards

    I don’t think Shaun is arguing with God, s/he is arguing with you. Even if you believe God is no your side, no one can tell. Only one thing is sure: you are not God, nor the agent of God.

    Those southern Baptists, southern Methodists who believed segregation is God’s will, slavery is God’s plan back in 1800s, those Christians who believed black and white marriage was ungodly, unnatural, even if they believed God is on their side, well, they were wrong.

  • Mike Richards South Jordan, Utah
    July 25, 2014 11:42 a.m.

    Schnee, if I've read your post correctly, if I and other members of the LDS faith do not accept your ideas about religion, do you have the right to persecute us? Where is the tolerance that you demand from us when you have no tolerance towards Christ's doctrine as revealed by His prophets?

    That is the root of religious tolerance. Tolerance has to go both ways. When a religion holds marriage as a sacred ordinance that God Himself defined and ordained, should anyone mock that doctrine? Isn't that religious intolerance?

    When a religion holds the family sacred with a father and a mother at the head of that family, is it okay with you to mock that doctrine?

    When a prophet of God is given a history of the people who lived in the Americas, is that religious book something to mock, even when Christ told us that there would be mockers in the latter-days?

    When a nation believes that all rights come from our Creator, is it proper to mock the Creator?

    The pioneers were driven from the United States by people who had no religious tolerance.

  • Schnee Salt Lake City, UT
    July 25, 2014 11:24 a.m.

    @Mike Richards
    "As I see it, you and others who believe in same-sex marriage and want the force of government to provide that to you are in direct conflict with God"

    When did God ever tell us to impose the Christian equivalent of Sharia law?

    "You are in direct conflict with Gordon B. Hinckley"

    'Members should feel free to disagree on the issue without fear of sanction.' - Elder Whitney Clayton of the Seventy (in charge of the Prop 8 involvement by the church).

    "Your argument is with God, not with man. "

    For someone to be arguing with God, they have to A: believe in God, and B: believe that the position you state is God's position regarding marriage in civil law. Otherwise, they're just arguing with you.

    @J Thompson
    "That is why "Mormons" were persecuted 150 years ago"

    The Book of Mormon, polygamy, and the communal wave overwhelming towns that didn't care for and feared possible change (think something similar to those protesters against those illegal immigrant kids who fear they'll lead to a decline in their towns) had more to do it than notions on biblical scriptures.

  • Snapdragon Midlothian, VA
    July 25, 2014 11:16 a.m.

    Marco Rubio said it best for those people against traditional marriage supporters,

    “This intolerance in the name of tolerance is hypocrisy.”

  • J Thompson SPRINGVILLE, UT
    July 25, 2014 10:57 a.m.

    Some of the comments about religion were the subject of discussion for our pioneer ancestors. Some wondered whether all people would be saved by the atonement of Christ. Some churches taught that all would be saved while others taught that only some would be saved. What would we have done if we found conflicting opinions? Perhaps we would have searched the Bible. Matthew clearly taught that only a few would be "saved". (Matthew 25.41 and 46)

    Latter-day prophets told us that ALL will be resurrected but only those who keep Christ's commandments and repent of all sins will be candidates to receive His atonement. They teach that Christ's atonement is infinite but that Christ, himself, restricts His atonement's application to those who love him enough to be as little children, quick to repent, quick to learn of Him and quick to keep His commandments.

    That is why "Mormons" were persecuted 150 years ago and that is why many heap ridicule on "Mormons" today. "Mormons" aren't swayed by popular opinion or by concepts taught by those who "shop" religions. "Mormons" believe Christ and they believe in Christ.

  • stevan madrigal murray, UT
    July 25, 2014 10:04 a.m.

    RE; Mike Richards -
    "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."
    Ahem. - Tell that to the indigenous peoples of this state (which was part of Mexico at the time).

  • Lightbearer Brigham City, UT
    July 25, 2014 10:00 a.m.

    Thank heavens, we are blessed not to live in a theocracy. The Koran is not the law of the land, the Vedas, the Upanishads, and the Bhagavad Gita are not the law of the land, the Tripitaka is not the law of the land, the Torah and the Talmud are not the law of the land, the Bible is not the law of the land, the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine & Covenants, the Pearl of Great Price, and "The Family: A Proclaimation to the World" are not the law of the land. In fact, not a single religious text, scripture, or holy book is the law of the land, so no matter how a certain god or gods allegedly define sin, or marriage, or what they allegedly proclaim to be divine truth or divine law, has no bearing on the laws of our republic.

    Even if "The Family: A Proclamation to the World" were signed by Jesus himself, it would still have zero legal relevance. Jesus said that his kingdom was not of this world, but apparently some believers can't follow his teachings unless everyone is compelled to follow them by force of the civil law.

  • Really??? Kearns, UT
    July 25, 2014 9:45 a.m.

    @J Thompson,

    I am sorry, but I was taught that Christ's atonement is universal, infinite, and unconditional. He atoned for everybody; not just those who think they are living a more worthy life than the rest.

    The atonement is the act of uniting that which has be separated or estranged. Some of us wind up more distant than others due to a variety of reasons. Unfortunately, too many are pushed away because of the attitudes of others; people who make them believe there is no place for them within Christ's gospel. The good news is the atonement bridges the gap and works equally for all.

    The important aspect of all of this is that Christ will not compel any of us to follow him. He gave us an invitation, but He wants us to follow Him willingly--not by force of law. That's why religious freedom is so important; we wind up doing things because we want to, not because the law compels us to do it.

  • L White Springville, UT
    July 25, 2014 9:34 a.m.

    My, but things are changing. Dan wrote about the sacrifice his ancestors made to leave a society that oppressed their religious views. They joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Utah where they could live their religion without worldly opposition.

    Now, those who have come to Utah to protest against that Church and Christ's doctrine are telling us that we have to "love" them and that we have to "respect" them.

    I disagree. We love all people because we are all of God's family. We do not respect the actions of all people. If a counterfeiter moved in next door and started passing his counterfeit money around town, would we be compelled to "respect" him? We know that counterfeit money destroys the value of the dollar, and that if it is not stopped, it could destroy a nation.

    Why should we allow counterfeit morality to co-exist with real morality? If counterfeit morality is not stopped, real morality will have no value and a nation will be led astray.

    No respect is owed to those who counterfeit Christ's doctrines. The Mormon Pioneers understood that principle. Do we?

  • FT salt lake city, UT
    July 25, 2014 9:16 a.m.

    @Mike Richards
    Gentiles see your relationship with God and not only respect it but fight to defend it. The issue those of us have, who love our country and respect our constitution, is when your relationship with God dictates how one has to live.
    I've been married 25 years, raised a family and support my community. From what I gather, we live similar lives but where we differ is the respect we show of how others live theirs.

  • J Thompson SPRINGVILLE, UT
    July 25, 2014 9:06 a.m.

    It appears that those who expect those of us who love Christ to love the works of those who oppose Christ. That can't be done. We all know the oldest line ever used, "if you loved me, you would sleep with me". That "line" has nothing to do with love and everything to do with lust. Now some are using the line, "if you loved me as a brother or as a sister, you would stop resisting us as we change the meaning of marriage and of family". That is not love. That has nothing to do with love.

    Christ told us, "if you love me, keep my commandments". That is love for Christ, of Christ and of the things that He has done for us.

    If we love our brothers and sisters, we will share with them Christ's doctrine. We will tell them of the love He has for each of us, including His willingness to suffer an unimaginable torture as He atoned for our mistakes - on condition that we follow Him and keep His commandments.

    Love exists only within the sphere that Christ defined. Anything else is counterfeit.

  • Really??? Kearns, UT
    July 25, 2014 8:49 a.m.

    "[The LDS] Church has felt the bitter sting of persecution and marginalization early in our history. Therefore, we of all people should be willing to speak out against unkindness toward those who are attracted to others of the same sex. Each Latter-day Saint family and individual should carefully consider whether their attitudes and actions toward others properly reflect Jesus Christ's second great commandment to love one another."

    Official LDS Church Press Release, Oct 2010

    It's too bad there are members of the LDS faith who aren't even aware of this press release statement. This call for kindness should be extended to everyone.

  • Mike Richards South Jordan, Utah
    July 25, 2014 8:20 a.m.

    Shaun,

    As I see it, you and others who believe in same-sex marriage and want the force of government to provide that to you are in direct conflict with God who defined marriage as being between a man and a woman. You are in direct conflict with Gordon B. Hinckley, Thomas S. Monson, James E. Faust, Boyd K. Packer, L. Tom Perry, David B. Haight, Russell M. Nelson, Dallin H. Oaks, M. Russell Ballard, Joseph B. Wirthlin, Richard G. Scott, Robert D. Hales, Jeffery R. Holland, and Henry B. Eyring, Christ's prophets when "The Family: A Proclamation to the World" was given to the entire world. Among those prophets were two University Presidents, one Utah State Supreme Court Justice, one heart surgeon, a nuclear physicist and others who were renowned in their fields of expertise. Those are not men who would be easily fooled into signing a document without knowing personally the author of that document who is Jesus Christ.

    Your argument is with God, not with man. You are telling us that your definition is correct and that God is incorrect.

    I'll side with God.

  • my_two_cents_worth university place, WA
    July 24, 2014 10:52 p.m.

    @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.

  • Shaun Sandy, UT
    July 24, 2014 10:35 p.m.

    @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.

  • intervention slc, UT
    July 24, 2014 10:34 p.m.

    @truth

    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.

  • Tolstoy salt lake, UT
    July 24, 2014 8:13 p.m.

    @truth

    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.

  • Mike Richards South Jordan, Utah
    July 24, 2014 7:52 p.m.

    Shaun,

    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!"

  • the truth Holladay, UT
    July 24, 2014 4:59 p.m.

    @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.

  • Shaun Sandy, UT
    July 24, 2014 4:55 p.m.

    @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.

  • J Thompson SPRINGVILLE, UT
    July 24, 2014 4:52 p.m.

    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.

  • Abeille West Point, UT
    July 24, 2014 4:20 p.m.

    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?

  • Hutterite American Fork, UT
    July 24, 2014 11:51 a.m.

    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.

  • Snapdragon Midlothian, VA
    July 24, 2014 11:33 a.m.

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

  • marxist Salt Lake City, UT
    July 24, 2014 11:28 a.m.

    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.

  • Ranch Here, UT
    July 24, 2014 10:15 a.m.

    @jeanie;

    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.

  • Ranch Here, UT
    July 24, 2014 10:13 a.m.

    "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.

  • Mike Richards South Jordan, Utah
    July 24, 2014 9:25 a.m.

    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.

  • jeanie orem, UT
    July 24, 2014 8:41 a.m.

    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.

  • Esquire Springville, UT
    July 24, 2014 8:34 a.m.

    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.

  • Really??? Kearns, UT
    July 24, 2014 7:54 a.m.

    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."

  • Irony Guy Bountiful, Utah
    July 24, 2014 7:49 a.m.

    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.

  • marxist Salt Lake City, UT
    July 24, 2014 12:33 a.m.

    " 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.