According to a recent article in the Deseret News, Tad Walch writes that “The LDS Church is developing a website to help Mormons understand society’s retreat from religion and provide practical help for talking with friends about the importance of religious freedom.” Though still under construction, the website will be a much-needed resource for members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The page will include real-time examples, videos, and articles on issues facing people of religious belief. According to Michael Frandson, the head of the religious freedom working group in the Church Public Affairs Department, this site will provide “tools for our members to know how to negotiate the challenges that we increasingly face as we try to live our lives as people of faith in a public setting.”
In a time when our deeply held religious beliefs are under increasing scrutiny and attack, this announcement will undoubtedly be welcomed by many. We need help to better understand our rights and to ensure these rights are not downplayed or even dismissed in our communities. Elder Jeffrey R. Holland’s recent talk at BYU Education Week noted the implications of what will happen if not taken seriously. To illustrate the attacks on religious freedom, he quoted a prophetic statement made by Elder Neal A. Maxwell in 1978:
We shall see in our time a maximum … effort … to establish irreligion as the state religion. [These secularists will] use the carefully preserved … freedoms of Western civilization to shrink freedom even as [they reject] the value … of our rich Judeo-Christian heritage. … Your discipleship may see the time come when religious convictions are heavily discounted. … This new irreligious imperialism [will] seek to disallow certain … opinions simply because those opinions grow out of religious convictions.
Of this, Elder Holland then stated the following:
We should be genuinely concerned over the assertion that the single most distinguishing feature of modern life is the rise of secularism with its attendant dismissal of, cynicism toward, or marked disenchantment with religion. … If we are not careful we may find religion at the margins of society rather than the center of it, where religious beliefs and all the good works those beliefs have generated may be tolerated privately but not admitted (or at least certainly not encouraged) publicly.
For more information on the upcoming religious freedom web page, please see LDS Church developing web page to educate Mormons so they can defend religious freedom
For the full text of Elder Holland’s BYU Education Week devotional address, please see https://www.lds.org/prophets-and-apostles/unto-all-the-world/bound-by-loving-ties?lang=eng
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