Declaration of Independence

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. - That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Threats to Religious Freedom

                The liberty principle for this Freedom Friday concerns the threats to religious freedom in the United States. These threats come from several people or groups. I discuss three such groups in this post.

                The first group consists of Muslims who apparently believe that all human beings on the face of the planet Earth must worship as they do – or be killed. This is particularly true of those Muslims who have become radicalized. Muslims are pushing Sharia Law in the United States, and many Americans do not understand that Sharia Law is the exact opposite of the Supreme Law of our land, the Constitution. We must oppose Sharia Law at all times and in all places.

                The second group consists of politicians, such as Hilary Clinton, who says what they need to say to any particular people in order to gain support. In an effort to gain the Mormon vote, she recently wrote an exclusive article for the Deseret News, a newspaper owned by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. She stated in her article, “As Americans, we hold fast to the belief that everyone has the right to worship however he or she sees fit.”

                How does this statement by Clinton mesh with her statement during the sixth annual Women in the World Summit? As reported by The Daily Caller, Clinton “told attendees … that `deep-seated cultural codes, religious beliefs and structural biases have to be changed’ for the sake of giving women access to `reproductive health care and safe childbirth.’” Clinton continued, “Far too many women are denied access to reproductive health care and safe childbirth, and laws don’t count for much if they’re not enforced. Rights have to exist in practice – not just on paper.”

                The third group consists of individuals and religions that are intolerant of people of different religions. A famous case in point includes the many born again Christians who refused to vote for Mitt Romney for President of the United States simply because he is a Mormon. This was very wrong for two reasons: (1) there should be no religious test for our candidates and (2) he is a much better man than the one sitting in the Oval Office.

                I remember hearing as a child that John F. Kennedy would never be elected as President of the United States because he was a Catholic. I did not vote for him for political reasons rather than religious ones. I considered him too liberal for my vote. In retrospect, he was more conservative than many of our Republican leaders today.

                This third group consists of people who refuse to study other religions than their own. I do not understand these people because I enjoy learning about the beliefs of other people. I most likely will not change religions, but I can learn to understand people better by knowing more about what they believe.

                I have a dear friend who is the adopted grandmother to my children. She is a devout Baptist and has been for many years. She was taught that Mormons are terrible people, and our doctrines are from the devil. Because she knows my family, and especially my daughter and her family who live close, she knows that we are not terrible people. She asked for a copy of the Book of Mormon, and she read it, looking for all the false doctrines that she was told are in the book. She did not find any of them. The last I heard, she was reading the Book of Mormon – Another Testament of Jesus Christ a second time looking for truth.

                I have two books that give “counsel and inspiration for each day of the year.” One is Stand A Little Taller by Gordon B. Hinckley, and the other is A Future as Bright as Your Faith by Thomas S. Monson. Today I read the entry for this date in each book and found each appropriate for me.

                In Stand A Little Taller, the entry for today is about the Book of Mormon. The included scripture comes from Doctrine and Covenants 33:16: “And the Book of Mormon and the holy scriptures are given of me for your instruction; and the power of my Spirit quickeneth all things.”

                The accompanying statement from President Hinckley reads as follows: “Believe in the Book of Mormon, as another witness of the Son of God. This book has come forth as an added testimony to the world, of the great truths concerning the Master set forth in the Bible. The Bible is the testament of the Old World. The Book of Mormon is the testament of the New World, and they go hand in hand in testimony of the Lord Jesus Christ. This marvelous book of inspiration affirms the validity and the truth of the divine nature of the Son of God. God be thanked for this precious and wonderful testimony. Let us read it. Let us dwell upon its truths. Let us learn its message and be blessed accordingly.”

                I encourage my readers to study the Book of Mormon – Another Testament of Jesus Christ. You may find that it holds the answers for which you have been searching. You may discover, as my friend did, that it is exactly what it says it is – another testament of Jesus Christ. You may or may not decide to investigate more about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-days Saints, but you will learn that the Book of Mormon is not evil.

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