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What Mormons Believe about Religious Freedom

By Mormon.org
silhouette of man looking at the spires of different churches

It’s Your Right and It’s Mine

Mormons agree that the freedom for one to believe what they want and worship in a way that complements that belief is a fundamental human right. Joseph Smith—the prophet who instigated the Restoration of Christ’s gospel and founded The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints—penned thirteen articles of faith that serve as a simple summary of Mormon beliefs. One of those articles, the eleventh, states the following: “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.”

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Mormons Are No Strangers to Religious Persecution

Early Mormons suffered severe religious persecution. They were shot, beaten, tarred and feathered, imprisoned, starved, raped, and driven numerous times from their homes by their own countrymen. Finally, they were driven far across the vast plains of the United States and settled permanently in what is now the state of Utah. For this reason, Mormons have a deep appreciation for religious freedom, and it will always hold a special place in their hearts.

Strengthening the Foundation of Religious Freedom

Protecting and promoting religious freedom is of great importance to Mormons. Modern Church leaders have travelled and spoken throughout the United States and around the world to create awareness and initiate support for the cause—and they continue to do so. Elder Dallin H. Oaks has explained the Mormon belief that God inspired the United States Constitution and that the free exercise of religion is foremost among its fundamental principles. He has described religious freedom as necessary for peace and stability in our pluralistic world and advised Church members to “love all people, be good listeners, and show concern for the sincere belief of others.”

Joining the Cause

Because religious freedom is important for everyone, there are things each of us can do to defend and preserve it:

  • Work with those of other faiths. Elder Oaks mentioned the value of being a good listener. When we take the time to listen to one another, we open the door for understanding and love.
  • Be an example. Follow the Golden Rule and treat others as you would like to be treated. Respect goes a long way and, with consistent effort, is often reciprocated.
  • Be civil in your discourse. Whether you’re having face-to-face conversations or blogging online, be kind and courteous.
  • Advocate for religious freedom and morality. Seek opportunities to learn and understand how and where your religious liberties might be being undermined, and find a way to take action. You’ll be doing your part to preserve this precious human right so everyone can continue to enjoy the goodness and blessings it provides.