Tag Archives: Religious Freedom

Standing By Our Personal Declarations

This post is part of the General Conference Odyssey group. Each week we take a session of conference and share our thoughts and impressions about one or all of the talks given. It’s called Odyssey, because we started with 1971, and hope to continue until the present day (roughly 15 years in the future, by the time we catch up). Every Tuesday morning watch for a new General Conference Odyssey post here at Mormon Women Stand. This post covers the Sunday morning session of the October 1975 General Conference.

 

 

Back in 1975, L. Tom Perry gave a talk entitled For the Time Will Come When They Will Not Endure Sound Doctrine. And here we are, 42 years later. The time has certainly arrived. As a fairly new apostle, he was not only prophesying our day, he was showing us how to stand by our personal declarations.

 

A Nation Under God

Elder Perry explained how, along with several national religious leaders, he was invited to assist in planning the United States of America’s Bicentennial celebration. Gathering with his committee, all being religious leaders, he was alarmed when many of them were hesitant to declare this nation under God, as to not offend the atheists. They claimed, “After all, the atheist has a right to his belief, also.” In his talk, he shared with us his feelings:

 

“Of course, I completely agree that all men must have their right of free agency but I argued vigorously against locking up our own firm convictions just because they could not be accepted by everyone. The more we argued, the more the opposition united against us. We were not able to get ours or any other declaration out of committee.”

 

He returned home resolved to stand by two personal declarations: Continue reading

LDS Church files brief on transgender case with U.S. Supreme Court

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has joined with other major religions in filing a brief on the transgender case Glouchester County School Board vs. G.G. and Dierdre Grimm (full text may be found here). The major religions joining the Church in filing this brief include:

United States Conference of Catholic Bishops
Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America
National Association of Evangelicals
The Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
The Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod
Christian Legal Society

Summary of the Argument

  • Interpreting “sex” to mean gender identity would generate conflicts with religious persons and institutions across a range of fronts. Major religious traditions—including those represented by amici—share the belief that a person’s identity as male or female is created by God and immutable. That belief is contradicted by the U.S. Department of Education’s interpretation of Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, 20 U.S.C. § 1681(a)
  • Our core beliefs and practical experience hold that gender is a given, consisting of attributes intrinsically connected with one’s birth sex—not an individual choice. We and other major religions agree that human beings are the creation of God; that He created them male and female; that to be male or female is an immutable characteristic; and that this characteristic carries certain attributes and responsibilities.
  • One thing is perfectly clear: sacred writings and official statements from several major religions—including those of amici—demonstrate remarkable unanimity on the origin and purpose of gender as immutable and divinely ordained.

     

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Where Does Political Genius Come From?

constitution-scroll-flagWhere does our political genius come from?

  1.  From good people who take the time to study the United States government.
  2.  From God-fearing people who accept and act on the will of God.
  3.  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

Muslims, Mormons, and Freedom

Untitled-2James 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)

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Strength in Understanding the Signs of the Times

scripture-study-258662-wallpaperIn the Book of Revelation, chapter 13, there is much to learn and ponder. The chapter begins by talking about a beast that rises out of the sea. This beast has seven heads and ten horns. The dragon, who is Satan, then gives power unto the beast. Interestingly enough, one of the heads of the beast has a wound that has been healed. All the world wonders at the beast and worships Satan and the Beast. In verses six and seven, still speaking about the beast with the wounded head, it says:

6 And he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme his name, and his tabernacle, and them that dwell in heaven.

7 And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them: and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations.

Another beast then comes that has great power. In verse 14, it says of the second beast,

14 And deceiveth them that dwell on the earth by the means of those miracles which he had power to do in the sight of the beast; saying to them that dwell on the earth, that they should make an image to the beast, which had the wound by a sword, and did live.

The beast with the wounded head is able to get the whole world to worship him. The end of the chapter describes what happens once the world worships the beast:

16 And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads:

17 And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.

In short, unless the people of the world receive a mark in their hands or foreheads, they may not buy or sell. The mark in their hands or foreheads can be interpreted as people’s thoughts and deeds. Knowing that we are in the last days, how then does this relate to us?

file4601279829740Today, the United States of America and much of the whole world seems to be at a tipping point that relates very well to these scriptures. There’s a powerful political lobby that has infiltrated every part of our society and spread quickly across the world. It began on the coasts, in Manhattan, N.Y., in an incidence known as Stonewall and has spread its influence throughout the world. Today, if a person or business is not willing to go along with the demands of a powerfully orchestrated group, they may be refused employment, fired, sued, and stripped of their livelihood.  As time goes on, it has become pretty clear that this will get much worse. Continue reading

What is a Mormon Parent Expected to Do?

Utah Stand for Marriage Rally My husband and I attended our first rally last night. Really, it was our first rally—ever. We had no idea what we were doing there, or what we would see, but as Mormon parents we chose to make a stand. It was exciting to be on the front lines.

As we took our seats, we were handed signs to hold up. There were a few empty seats around us, and the balconies were clear, but overall, the rotunda at the Salt Lake City Capitol Building was pretty full. As the meeting began, we opened with prayer from a local minister, we said the Pledge of Allegiance (which I haven’t had the privilege to say in a long time), and our National Anthem was sung. On our feet, with hands over our hearts, we all felt like patriots and fighters.

This rally was in support of traditional marriage between a man and a woman. As each speaker voiced their strong opinions, they declared that religion should not be political. Commandments are based on God’s will, not the will of the people. For that matter, why is the minority voice so intolerant of the majority voice? We were reminded of the importance to stand up for our rights as citizens, and as a Godly people. We were encouraged to teach our children so the next generation, who would surely be fighting this same fight, would know and understand the difference between right and wrong, truth and error, freedom of religion and uncensored choice. Continue reading

The Faithful Use of Agency

Apr2015GCBednar2Just a few weeks ago in General Conference, Elder Robert D. Hales reminded the members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints that their very ability to use their God-given agency depended upon religious freedom. He said:

“As we walk the path of spiritual liberty in these last days, we must understand that the faithful use of our agency depends upon our having religious freedom.”

“My beloved brothers and sisters,” he continued, “don’t walk! Run! Run to receive the blessings of agency by following the Holy Ghost and exercising the freedoms God has given us to do His will.”1

Today in the United States many feel concern about the erosion of religious freedom. Religious Freedom is being attacked on many fronts: public prayer, public religious displays, the removal of religion from public schools, and laws forcing business owners as wells as public servants such as doctors and lawyers to work for things that go against their closely held religious beliefs. This could be anything from forcing a doctor to provide an abortion to forcing a photographer to photograph a gay wedding.

In this article, I am going to focus on the newer infringements on religious freedom due to the legalization of same sex marriage. Continue reading

We Believe in Religious Freedom

images (1)Jeffrey R Holland proclaimed: “I want you to be proud you are a woman. I want you to feel the reality of what that means, to know who you truly are. You are literally a spirit daughter of heavenly parents with a divine nature and an eternal destiny.  That surpassing truth should be fixed deep in your soul and be fundamental to every decision you make.”

One Christian woman, not of our faith, has made her understanding of heavenly truth “fundamental to every decision.”

Two years ago, Barronelle Stutzman, the sole owner of Arlene’s Flowers in Richland, Washington denied a request to use her artistic talents to solemnize a same sex marriage. Over the years, Stutzman had employed and served members of the homosexual community, but she felt like being a fundamental part of a gay wedding went against her religious, biblical, and Christian beliefs and could not in good conscience be a part of it. She referred the customers to another florist. Continue reading

Religious Freedom and Discrimination Press Conference

LDS News Conference LGBTThe Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints held an historic press conference via the Mormon Newsroom this morning in order to discuss the issues of balance of freedom of religion with that of discrimination for other groups, including LGBT.  Sister Neill F. Marriott, Second Counselor in the Young Women General Presidency, Elder D. Todd Christofferson, Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, and Elder Dallin H. Oaks of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles participated in this news conference.

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

3 Ways You Can Stand as a Witness This Christmas

Christmas is my favorite time of year. It’s full of festivities, music, good food, parties, nativity pageants, beautiful decorations, and great shopping. Even more than this, it’s the perfect time to really remember Jesus Christ. We all know this. However, most times we don’t think of Christmas in terms of how it relates to religious freedom and important religious traditions in our neighborhoods, cities, and countries.

We’re seeing an increasing number of people denying the existence of God or the significance of His commandments. As members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, we know that despite shifting trends in society, we still have a duty to always stand as a witness of God and to act for truth and righteousness. We can do it always—and we can do it this Christmas.

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