LDS Church creates new web materials in support of religious freedom

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  • JD Jones Salt Lake City, UT
    Sept. 17, 2013 11:29 a.m.

    There are cases in which a Church should compromise and indeed abandon its principles. Who favors allowing religious believers to avoid medical treatment for their children who will die if they don't receive it? Not me. In such cases, the government should step in and put parents on trial for manslaughter. Does the fashionable, religious right comprehend this?

  • Counter Intelligence Salt Lake City, UT
    Sept. 17, 2013 6:18 a.m.


    there is a vast difference between a Church compromising its own principals and the government forcing them to compromise their principals - a fact that no one on the fashionable intolerant left seems to comprehend

  • Bob K porland, OR
    Sept. 17, 2013 12:39 a.m.

    Two major and popular articles on DN claim that religious freedom is being attacked.

    Actually, the rise of religious influence in politics is the shocking and unfortunate change of recent decades. We used to be content to let the Government do its best to protect the rights and beliefs of all, but, today, this is called "blocking religious freedom"

    60 years ago, it was common in many churches in parts of the USA to preach that the separation of Blacks and Whites was God's plan. To a majority of Americans, especially the younger ones, the issue of how to handle Gay people is settled, but some churches are fighting it, perhaps because they have no convenient way to fit acceptance into their doctrine.

    As for public accomodations -- many States have laws that say a business open to the public must serve everyone. Such laws list particular groups that have been victims of discrimination in the past.

    I think that citizens of Utah and other areas that do not have anti-discrimination laws have no business in the laws of other States. Making up stories about "Gay agenda" etc are beneath members of any Christian church.

  • Joshua H. Bountiful, Utah
    Sept. 16, 2013 1:43 p.m.

    There is far more religious intolerance coming from the left than there is from the right. There are some commentors on here that need to open their eyes to that fact. As an athiest minister the left has forced me to start celebrating christmas because not celebrating christmas is actually an expression of my atheism...and they don't want me expressing my I have to celebrate Theism. hmmmmmmmmm.

  • rightascension Provo, UT
    Sept. 14, 2013 12:16 a.m.

    "we must protect the rights of others, including the most vulnerable and the least popular,"

    Meaning the LDS Church, which these days seems to fit both descriptions.

    This site's purpose is rather obviously transparent. However, if the LDS Church wants to stand its ground against same sex marriage and one sex priesthood -- it will have to in more overly preemptive ways, such as advocating the sort of reforms in housing, work and benefits that would make same sex marriage necessary.

  • Ginger Ravenna, OH
    Sept. 13, 2013 7:59 a.m.


    Many people consider orthodox LDS doctrine as outlandish and isn't that what it is? After all we have "my ways are not your ways, saith the Lord" and we have three full books of canon scripture which are radically revisionary, even revolutionary.

    Sound doctrine is good but it must be the fullness of doctrine not the watered down versions which have become all too popular as the church tries to integrate with evangelicals. Take our doctrine of the Godhead, do other churches respect our right to believe in three distinct beings in the Godhead two of which were once as man is? Some do, many go nonlinear. This is a good example of religious tolerance or lack of it. Does the church stop teaching the doctrine of the Godhead to patch up the differences or does it teach correct doctrine?

  • Gildas LOGAN, UT
    Sept. 12, 2013 10:52 a.m.

    @ Ginger

    I never stated that there was a "script" for teaching I referred to the lesson "guide" which is - a "guide". A teacher's personality and personal supportive experiences legitimately differentiates one class from another, not the doctrines taught or strange lesson material.

    It is not intended that a teacher just read the manual aloud. Questions that inspire uplifting thoughts and participation are the mainstay of each class; the nature of the questions are supplied in the manual. The teacher is to direct the discussion to sound conclusions attended by his testimony.

    It is when personal, non-doctrinal, non-scriptural, ideas are taught, or personal agendas and tangents followed, that the Church has needed to reiterate that church doctrines backed by scripture and authoritative references need to be taught in classes and talks, and the guide followed.

    The idea of a class or a talk is to establish and increase faith in "sound doctrine" not to titillate people with outlandish statements, or wrest scripture to make it seem to support the philosophies of men. I have often challenged these false philosophies when they arose in a class, which sadly they do too often.

  • The Taxman Los Angeles, CA
    Sept. 12, 2013 10:28 a.m.

    Furthermore, during the Prop 8 campaign I spoke up regarding some false materials that were presented in church meetings. Speaking up did little good as I was ignored by the members and leadership alike. The false information on the brochures was quietly changed, but no retractions or corrections were issued.
    The feeling I got was that people feel you are introducing a contentious spirit into meetings if you question things, even if false information is being presented.

  • The Taxman Los Angeles, CA
    Sept. 12, 2013 10:17 a.m.

    Furthermore, during the Prop

  • The Taxman Los Angeles, CA
    Sept. 12, 2013 9:28 a.m.

    "The problem isn't so much teachers or speaker presenting speculative or false doctrine, the problem is the listeners blandly accepting what was said without challenging it."

    In the words I've attended, the members are pretty ignorant as to the doctrine, and certainly as to the history of the church. And the manuals are not that helpful, containing half-truths such as Eliza Snow was Brigham Young's wife (not mentioning that she was first Joseph Smith's wife). So you get a bunch of listeners accepting what is said because they're not intellectually capable or prepared to challenge it.

    And let's face it, a lot of converts would not be members of this church if they possessed personalities that challenge things they hear from others that do not go along with what they've been taught.

  • Kirk R Graves West Jordan, UT
    Sept. 12, 2013 8:31 a.m.

    There are some pretty commonly accepted reasons for instituting government. They generally come down to 2 things. 1 protect the population from predation internally. We solve that through the use of Police and the Court System. 2 Protect the population from attack by external forces. We solve that through the use of Military.
    I think that very few people would agree that the core purpose of government is to guarantee everyone has contraception. So, there is a significant difference between using someone's taxes to pay for war they do not support and requiring someone to violate their religious convictions regarding contraception. The first fulfills the primary role of government, the second fulfills, ..., well, nothing.

  • Ginger Ravenna, OH
    Sept. 12, 2013 8:18 a.m.

    Gildas, you have been deceived. There was and now is no teacher script. The older manuals each contained outlines for three distinct lessons which the teacher could prepare as inspired for his/her class. Deviation was designed in.
    The newer youth courses do away with lesson manuals entirely. The teacher prepares for teaching in the manner of Jesus Christ from an online outline but there is no script. The lectures are being replaced with discussions. See Come Follow Me

    The problem isn't so much teachers or speaker presenting speculative or false doctrine, the problem is the listeners blandly accepting what was said without challenging it. We grown-ups. We need to think when we listen and challenge what isn't right.

    When someone says something disrespectful or false about another religion, that needs to be challenged and corrected. The reason for the decline of religious rights, if any, are that we are uncritically accepting the nonsense that is being shouted at us in the community and the church. The source of this problem is not the president of the church it is those who then re-interpret what he meant.

  • Gracie Boise, ID
    Sept. 12, 2013 2:01 a.m.

    To Shazandra: In answer to your question about why I think nobody called the teacher about his/her spouting false doctrine, I quote sukiyhtaky's Comment: "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 was raised Protestant and became LDS in college so I know the territory pretty well. I loved the churches I went to even though I was looking for much deeper spiritual bedrock. There were, at least a few decades ago, many Protestant ministers who said or wrote the kinds of statements that you refer to. I heard a few of those pronouncements, myself. Whether they currently describe Satan as early Christian artworks depict him is irrelevant to me now. With so much need in the world I think it's best to concentrate on the good we can do as a team within our mutual common ground, working with God-worshipping religions of all kinds.

  • Gildas LOGAN, UT
    Sept. 11, 2013 10:19 p.m.

    The teaching of personal opinion as doctrine in LDS Church organizations:

    This definitely happens at times even though clearly forbidden:

    We have been told in General Conference that no teacher has a right to teach his or her own opinion in lieu of doctrine, or to substitute their personally created lesson rather than following the guide given in the lesson books. I have seen situations when false ideas have been presented in a talk or class when the person so teaching has been corrected publicly (so every one knew the false idea being taught was not doctrinal) by the presiding authority, and even one teacher being relieved of her calling when she continued to proclaim her own agenda.

    The Church in the days of Christ and his apostles warned of false teachers who sneaked in false doctrines. They could still be a problem when not dealt with in a timely manner.

    The President of the Church in a recent General Conference even made sure that members were informed that sometimes even apostles gave their considered opinions in a talk.

  • Ranch Here, UT
    Sept. 11, 2013 8:33 p.m.


    Who said anything about monogamy or speaking with god?

    @John Pack Lambert of Michigan;

    "It is easy to support those things that you agree with. We need to speak out in favor of things we find questionable. ... should see that allowing such is a question or religious freedom and should be allowed."

    --- So you support gay marriage? Since there are many religious organizations that approve of it and, their religious freedom is violated by laws preventing it, right?

  • Christian 24-7 Murray, UT
    Sept. 11, 2013 8:28 p.m.

    Isn't it perversely interesting that those who freely flaunt their sexuality, an intensely private aspect of one's life, in public, find no room to consider the rights of those who wish to simply live their religion 24/7, which includes the hours they are in the view of the public.

    It is also perversely interesting that those who reject religion try to dictate the doctrines the religious people are supposed to believe and follow.

  • george of the jungle goshen, UT
    Sept. 11, 2013 8:26 p.m.

    So what is the 11th Article Of Faith?

  • skeptic Phoenix, AZ
    Sept. 11, 2013 5:00 p.m.

    You have a point, but Islam is also a religion, and it has greatly expanded its religious liberty and power. What is good for the goose is not always so good for the gander when it comes to conflicting religions; and that is one of the many reasons why organized religion and corporate churches should be kept out of politics and the public square. It most often is the innocent who suffer the most from inane religious and church conflics. Also, in my previous post I was referencing the source of the article, nevertheless it pretty much applies across the board.

  • John Pack Lambert of Michigan Ypsilanti, MI
    Sept. 11, 2013 4:39 p.m.

    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.

  • John Pack Lambert of Michigan Ypsilanti, MI
    Sept. 11, 2013 4:30 p.m.

    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.

  • Lagomorph Salt Lake City, UT
    Sept. 11, 2013 3:32 p.m.

    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.

  • Redshirt1701 Deep Space 9, Ut
    Sept. 11, 2013 3:21 p.m.

    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.

  • skeptic Phoenix, AZ
    Sept. 11, 2013 3:00 p.m.

    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.

  • Conservative Cedar City, UT
    Sept. 11, 2013 2:00 p.m.

    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.

  • Social Mod Fiscal Con West Jordan, UT
    Sept. 11, 2013 1:51 p.m.


    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.

  • Shazandra Bakersfield, CA
    Sept. 11, 2013 1:38 p.m.

    @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?

    Sept. 11, 2013 1:26 p.m.

    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.

  • Manzanita Las Vegas, NV
    Sept. 11, 2013 1:22 p.m.

    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 . . .

  • sashabill Morgan Hill, CA
    Sept. 11, 2013 1:05 p.m.

    @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.

  • Gracie Boise, ID
    Sept. 11, 2013 12:16 p.m.

    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.

  • Uncle_Fester Niskayuna, NY
    Sept. 11, 2013 12:07 p.m.

    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.

  • Ranch Here, UT
    Sept. 11, 2013 11:55 a.m.


    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.

  • Redshirt1701 Deep Space 9, Ut
    Sept. 11, 2013 11:54 a.m.

    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.

  • Gail Fitches Layton, UT
    Sept. 11, 2013 11:32 a.m.

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

  • TheProudDuck Newport Beach, CA
    Sept. 11, 2013 11:29 a.m.

    "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.

  • Gildas LOGAN, UT
    Sept. 11, 2013 11:29 a.m.

    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.

  • atl134 Salt Lake City, UT
    Sept. 11, 2013 11:25 a.m.

    @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.

  • Gildas LOGAN, UT
    Sept. 11, 2013 11:07 a.m.

    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.

  • sthomaslewis Corvallis, OR
    Sept. 11, 2013 10:45 a.m.

    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.

  • patriot vet Cedar City, UT
    Sept. 11, 2013 10:01 a.m.

    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.

  • 1aggie SALT LAKE CITY, UT
    Sept. 11, 2013 9:28 a.m.

    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.

  • moniker lewinsky Taylorsville, UT
    Sept. 11, 2013 9:22 a.m.

    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?).

  • oxford San Bernardino, CA
    Sept. 11, 2013 9:20 a.m.

    "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?

  • JWB Kaysville, UT
    Sept. 11, 2013 9:10 a.m.

    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.

  • skeptic Phoenix, AZ
    Sept. 11, 2013 9:02 a.m.

    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.

    Sept. 11, 2013 8:42 a.m.

    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.

  • JWB Kaysville, UT
    Sept. 11, 2013 8:33 a.m.

    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.

  • Leo Femedlers El Paso, TX
    Sept. 11, 2013 8:18 a.m.

    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!)

  • sukiyhtaky us, CA
    Sept. 11, 2013 7:52 a.m.

    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 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.

  • Florien Wineriter Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Sept. 11, 2013 7:10 a.m.

    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.

  • Ranch Here, UT
    Sept. 11, 2013 6:47 a.m.

    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".

  • cemeteryguy Salt Lake City, UT
    Sept. 11, 2013 6:20 a.m.

    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.

  • Hamath Omaha, NE
    Sept. 11, 2013 4:36 a.m.

    @ 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.

  • EternalPerspective Eldersburg, MD
    Sept. 11, 2013 4:17 a.m.

    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.

  • Pursuit_of_Knowledge SALT LAKE CITY, UT
    Sept. 11, 2013 12:25 a.m.

    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.

  • I know it. I Live it. I Love it. Salt Lake City, UT
    Sept. 10, 2013 11:23 p.m.

    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.

  • BlarneyStone Salt Lake City, UT
    Sept. 10, 2013 11:07 p.m.

    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.

  • Rhonda H. South Jordan, UT
    Sept. 10, 2013 10:43 p.m.

    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.