From good people who take the time to study the United States government.
From God-fearing people who accept and act on the will of God.
From you and from me.
Our country is still a great country, and we should honor its rightful place as the Promised Land, but it has lost its footing and balances precariously along its mountaintop stance. Please read the attached post of ways we can honor our dear country. The writer lists simple, and not so simple, things we should know and do in the political realm. Each of us has the ability. Each of us has the calling. Each one of us loves our country enough to Continue reading →
James Madison, author of the Constitution of the United States of America declared:
“Because we hold it for a fundamental and undeniable truth, that Religion or the duty which we owe to our Creator and the manner of discharging it, can be directed only by reason and convection, not by force or violence. The Religion then of every man must be left to the conviction and conscience of every man: and it is the right of every man to exercise it as these may dictate.” (James Madison A Memorial and Remonstrance, 1785)
With that same spirit, Joseph Smith taught the importance of religious freedom for all men of all faiths when he said:
“If it has been demonstrated that I have been willing to die for a Mormon, I am bold to declare before Heaven that I am just as ready to die in defending the rights of a Presbyterian, a Baptist, or a good man of any denomination; for the same principle which would trample upon the rights of the Latter-day Saints would trample upon the rights of the Roman Catholics, or of any other denomination who may be unpopular and too weak to defend themselves. It is a love of liberty which inspires my soul — civil and religious liberty to the whole of the human race.” (Joseph Smith, 1843)
The hot topic of the day is whether or not to legalize same sex marriage. The problem with hot topics is that emotions often get in the way of thinking things through in a logical and rational manner. The following article by discussingmarriage.org, “Why Should We Support Traditional Marriage?” clears away all the fog and takes us through many of the relevant issues in a logical, rational fashion. Contention can’t solve anything; logical thinking can. The article shows that civil disagreement is possible.
Sister Marriott explained that differences between various groups lead to tensions. All should be included in national debate, and national debate should lead to compromise. Past treatment of LGBT is wrong. God is loving and merciful, and He expects us to treat one another with love. The Church has supported laws that protect the rights of LGBT in housing and employment and continues to do so. Continue reading →
Forefront in the minds of many people, especially those who are of religious faith, is preserving religious liberty. The erosion of this freedom is alarming, to say the least. The First Amendment to the United States Constitution ensures to each individual not only the right to choose or not to choose to adhere to a specific faith or religious belief, but it also provides for the free exercise or practice of that belief. Both specifications are often misunderstood, and are being challenged in court cases across the country.
Freedom of religion in the First Amendment is not stated as “freedom from religion,” although there are increasing numbers who call for God and religious belief to have no bearing on the formation of any laws. “Religion is fine, as long as it is kept private and in your own home,” is a statement frequently made on the Internet and in numerous social media outlets. If you left it up to some who consider themselves “wise” in regards to religion they deem “evil,” they would rather be like the monkeys that don’t want to hear it, speak it, or see it. There seems to be zero tolerance for those that want to exercise the right to voice opposition to what they see as wrong according to their religious belief.
SALT LAKE CITY — The following letter was issued by the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on October 9, 2014, to be read to Church congregations throughout the United States:
There is a serious social debate taking up time in the media, in our homes, in our families, and in our communities. The debate is centered around marriage and has the potential to completely change the character of families, societies, and nations. There are two basic arguments of how marriage should be defined and regulated: the conjugal view and the revisionist view. Continue reading →
Freedom isn’t free. It never has been. It never will be. Someone had to pay a mighty heavy price for those everyday freedoms we enjoy at leisure and without a second thought or hardly a care, and somebody will always have to be its preserver. Many of us while enjoying a Memorial Day holiday at the beach, or a Fourth of July Picnic up at the family cabin might not think even once about a soldier or a patriot, a founding father, the Constitution, or the Declaration of Independence.
How many of us know what is in the Constitution, or have even bothered to read it? Are we aware that some of those constitutional, taken for granted liberties, such as freedom of speech, freedom of religion, and the free exercise of said religion at this particular moment in time is at risk and quickly eroding away?
The merits of religious freedom should be unquestionable to any thinking, reasonable person, however its finer, broader interpretations and provisions as stated in law are being argued in courts all over America. Of positive note, just this week as this is being written, the United States Supreme Court affirmed that the owners of a corporate business (Hobby Lobby), had the right to refuse to provide through its company’s health plan “the morning after” pill (an abortion drug) to its employees based on the owners’ religious beliefs and convictions that abortion is wrong (Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc., U.S. Sup. Ct. Case No. 13-354, Slip. Op., (June 30, 2014)).
In the future it will take as strong a soldier or patriot as there ever was to try to safeguard and be in defense of one’s strongly held religious beliefs, as well as a true fighter to stay the course when federal jurisprudence rules in opposition to those beliefs.
Being no stranger to religious persecution, mockery, scorn, public denunciation, and even familial abandonment, there is little wonder the early pioneers of our Latter-day Saint faith deeply cherished the freedom to worship as they chose. It was the Prophet Joseph Smith himself who held religious liberty so dear that in a letter he wrote to the editor of the Chicago Democrat newspaper, John Wentworth, “The Articles of Faith”, which explained to Mr. Wentworth the basic principles and beliefs of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The eleventh article states, “We claim the privilege of worshiping Almighty God according to the dictates of our own conscience and allow all men the same privilege, let them worship how, where, or what they may” (Joseph Smith, Jr., The Pearl of Great Price, The Articles of Faith, 11).
The Prophet Joseph also stated:
If it has been demonstrated that I have been willing before Heaven to die for a “Mormon,” I am bold to declare before Heaven that I am just as ready to die in defending the rights of a Presbytarian [sic], a Baptist, or a good man of any other denomination; for the same principle which would trample upon the rights of the Latter-day Saints would trample upon the rights of the Roman Catholics, or of any other denomination who may be unpopular and too weak to defend themselves (Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph Smith, (2011), 339–48, Chapter 29: “Living with Others in Peace and Harmony”).
Some would say that there is no room or place for God or religious thinking, especially when it comes to making decisions about governing a country or making its laws. Clearly that is quite evident in today’s social media forums on the Internet, where everyone seems to have an open “mic” night, with minimal censure. If a person voices an “opinion” based on his religious conviction, the hate mail replies seem to pour in right away, with labels such as “religious zealot,” “toe the liner,” and “blind obedient follower” being the more tame of the designations.
Elder Neal A. Maxwell, a former member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, in a quote from one of his books, made this very astute observation about our present amoral world: “An otherwise permissive society, which tolerates almost everything, usually will not tolerate speech that challenges its iniquity. Evil is always intolerantly preoccupied with its own perpetuation” (Neal A. Maxwell, That Ye May Believe, Bookcraft (1992) pp. 74-75).
Despite that others may refute the importance of our country’s foundation and framework being built on religious principles, and its founding fathers being men of faith in a Divine Creator, there is ample evidence to support both assertions. Thomas Jefferson, drafter and signer of the Declaration of Independence and third president of the United States stated:
God who gave us life gave us liberty. And can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are of the Gift of God? That they are not made to be violated but with his wrath? I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just, that His justice cannot sleep forever (Query XV111, Jefferson’s Notes on the State of Virginia).
I quote John Adams (first vice-president and second president), as well. “The Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other” (The Works of John Adams, Boston, 1854, vol. 9 pp. 228-9). President Ezra Taft Benson stated in his book, This Nation Shall Endure:
Fifty-six men signed the document (The Declaration of Independence), on August 2, 1776. The document concludes with this pledge, “For the support of the Declaration, with a firm reliance on the Protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our Sacred Honor.” Those signers pledged their lives, and some paid the price for this nation’s birth—and our birthright. . . . The first of the signers to die was John Morton of Pennsylvania. He was at first sympathetic to the British, but finally changed his mind and cast his vote for independence. By doing so, his friends, relatives, and neighbors turned against him. Those who knew him best said this ostracism hastened his death, for he lived only eight months after the signing. His last words were, “tell them that they will live to see the hour when they shall acknowledge it to have been the most glorious service that I ever rendered to my country” (Ezra Taft Benson, This Nation Shall Endure, Deseret Book, Co., (1979) pp. 26-27).
So what can we do to cherish our religious freedoms to which so many have sacrificed in order that we may have them? In 2 Corinthians 3:17 part of the verse states, “And where the Spirit (of the Lord) is, there is liberty.” Also in Ether 2:12 it states that this land of America is a choice land. “Behold, this is a choice land, and whatsoever nation shall possess it shall be free from bondage, and from captivity, and from all other nations under heaven, if they will but serve the God of the land, who is Jesus Christ.”
When civilizations don’t keep the commandments of God, there are so many illustrations throughout scripture where not only are their religious liberties and freedoms lost, but their ultimate fate is their utter destruction. The lesson that can be learned from this is that what we “love” we will then do our upmost to keep.
In an address given at a fireside during the annual J. Reuben Clark Law Society Conference in Washington D.C., on Feb. 15, 2013, Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles placed emphasis on three elements, all of which are of particular interest to Latter-day Saints, and give an even broader and widened scope of what we should all be focused on to bolster the perpetuation of our religious freedoms. And as he states, all three are connected, and one cannot be preserved without the other two. Elder Holland states:
Faith. Family. Freedom. Big Issues with great complexities. Big issues inextricably linked with the hope and promise of democracy. Big issues that are intertwined, interlinked and interlocked so tightly that when one of them is struck, the other two are damaged; so that when one of them is cut, the other two will bleed” (Samuel B. Hislop, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Newsroom, “Mormon Apostle Speaks on “Big Issues” of Faith, Family, Religious Freedom”, (Nov. 1, 2013)).
It is those three things that the adversary would destroy as quickly as possible, and he is using popular culture and popular public opinion to circulate lies and distortions to downplay how vitally essential and critical they all are to bring about Heavenly Father’s purposes and plans for His children. For example, to destroy the family, Satan will place in the minds and hearts of as many as he can doubts about the importance of traditional marriage, or any marriage at all for that matter.
To destroy religious freedom, as stated before, in our secular world, the adversary plants in the thoughts of all who will listen that faith in God is of little value, and that worship of God should be minimal, as it infringes on a person’s more pleasurable pursuits of self-gratification through entertainment and other recreational and leisurely pursuits. We all have to be vigilant. We all have to fully keep the commandments and follow the wise counsel (given on numerous occasions) by the prophet and leaders of the Church. We all have to defend our beliefs, even on that daunting and sometimes scary Internet, “at all times and in all places,” being “steadfast and immovable.”
We are a people of conviction; not just “dangerously conformist”, as members of Mormon Women Stand were recently described to be by a critic. Whoever would have thought that those who faithfully try to keep the covenants they have made with the Lord would be considered “dangerous” in any way? We owe it to ourselves and future generations to not only cherish the legacy of religious freedom and liberty we have been given, but also pass on to our descendants an honorable legacy. May we too pledge “our lives,” “our fortunes,” and “our sacred honor,” if need be, to see that it is accomplished.
“For the Lord God hath said that: Inasmuch as ye shall keep my commandments ye shall prosper in the land; and inasmuch as ye will not keep my commandments ye shall be cut off from my presence” (2 Nephi 4:4). The founding fathers of our great nation understood this to be true. The fourth verse of the patriotic song, My Country ‘tis of Thee, says:
Our fathers’ God, to thee, author of liberty, to thee we sing; long may our land be bright with freedom’s holy light; protect us by thy might, great God, our King.