Religious Freedom

“Major religions proclaim the existence of a Creator—God—whose power and will are superior to any human construct, including the laws of man. Adherents of faith groups can feel secure in their right to follow divine direction only if a nation’s laws allow freedom of religious expression. Those same laws also protect the rights of others to believe, or not to believe, as they choose. . . . Fundamental religious rights include: the right to believe or disbelieve; the right to worship, either alone or with others; the right to assemble for religious purposes; the right to own or occupy property for the purpose of worship; the right to perform religious ceremonies; the right to possess and distribute religious media; and the right to establish rules for fellowship in a religious society.”

Russell M. Nelson  |  “Freedom to Do and to Be”

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“Religious liberty is essential if we are to raise up righteous children. Morally responsible families will not marginalize religious liberty, they will nurture and protect it.”

Russell M. Nelson

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Joseph Smith Portrait

“While one portion of the human race is judging and condemning the other without mercy, the Great Parent of the universe looks upon the whole of the human family with a fatherly care and paternal regard; He views them as His offspring, and without any of those contracted feelings that influence the children of men, causes ‘His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.’ He holds the reins of judgment in His hands; He is a wise Lawgiver, and will judge all men, not according to the narrow, contracted notions of men, but ‘according to the deeds done in the body whether they be good or evil. . . . We need not doubt the wisdom and intelligence of the Great Jehovah.”

Joseph Smith  |  History of the Church, 4:595–96

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Joseph Smith Portrait

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 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.”

Joseph Smith  |  Joseph Smith - History of the Church, 5:498.

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“I have now been an officer in this Church for a very long time. I am an old man who cannot deny the calendar. I have lived long enough and served in enough different capacities to have removed from my mind, if such were necessary, any doubt of the divinity of this, the work of God. We respect those of other churches. We desire their friendship and hope to render meaningful service with them. We know they all do good, but we unabashedly state—and this frequently brings criticism upon us—that this is the true and living Church of our Father in Heaven and His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ.”

Gordon B. Hinckley  |  Benediction

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“We need to reach out and extend our friendship to others regardless of whether they are interested in the gospel or not. We must not be too selective in identifying those we feel are worthy or appreciative of our attention. The spirit of true Christian fellowship must include everyone. . . Years ago while walking up main street with his father, Elder LeGrand Richards, then the Presiding Bishop of the Church, tipped his hat and greeted everyone. Upon arrival at their destination, President George F. Richards, then the President of the Council of the Twelve, said, “Son, do you know all those people?” Bishop Richards responded, “Yes, Daddy, I know them all – all but their names.”

Elder M. Russell Ballard  |  Ensign, November 1988, pp. 29-30

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Joseph Smith Portrait

“If I esteem mankind to be in error, shall I bear them down? No. I will lift them up, and in their own way too, if I cannot persuade them my way is better; and I will not seek to compel any man to believe as I do, only by the force of reasoning, for truth will cut its own way. Do you believe in Jesus Christ and the Gospel of salvation which he revealed? So do I. Christians should cease wrangling and contending with each other, and cultivate the principles of union and friendship in their midst

Joseph Smith  |  Joseph Smith, History of the Church, 5:499.

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Joseph Smith Portrait

“The inquiry is frequently made of me, ‘Wherein do you differ from others in your religious views?’ In reality and essence we do not differ so far in our religious views, but that we could all drink into one principle of love. One of the grand fundamental principles of ‘Mormonism’ is to receive truth, let it come from whence it may.”

Joseph Smith

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“The Lord said that this is the only true and living Church upon the face of the earth with which He is well-pleased. I didn’t say that. Those are His words. The Prophet Joseph was told that the other sects were wrong. Those are not my words. Those are the Lord’s words. But they are hard words for those of other faiths. We don’t need to exploit them. We just need to be kind and good and gracious people to others, showing by our example the great truth of that which we believe.”

Gordon B. Hinckley

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“We are not born good or evil. We are born free.”

Terryl and Fiona Givens  |  The God Who Weeps (p.49)

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