The liberty principle for this Freedom Friday is that there is only one way to true freedom – to follow Jesus Christ. America was founded by people who were seeking to practice their religion. The founding fathers adopted the motto “In God We Trust.” The United States was founded on Christian principles. It has fallen into the abyss that we now find ourselves because we have fallen away from following Christ on both the governmental level and the personal level.
prophets warned about falling away from Christ. The same message is given time
after time in the ancient record known as the Book of Mormon – Another
Testament of Jesus Christ, where the message is found numerous times throughout
the one-thousand-year history contained in the book. Here is one of the many samples
of the warning given by the prophet Lehi to his children as reported by his son
5 But, said he, notwithstanding our
afflictions, we have obtained a land of promise, a land which is choice above
all other lands….
7 Wherefore, this land is consecrated unto
him whom he shall bring. And if it so be that they shall serve him according to
the commandments which he hath given, it shall be a land of liberty unto them;
wherefore, they shall never be brought down into captivity; if so, it shall be
because of iniquity; for if iniquity shall abound cursed shall be the land for
their sakes, but unto the righteous it shall be blessed forever….
20 And he hath said that: Inasmuch as ye
shall keep my commandments ye shall prosper in the land; but inasmuch as ye
will not keep my commandments ye shall be cut off from my presence. (2 Nephi
1:5, 7, 20)
the freedom of America depends on how well we keep God’s commandments, how are
we doing? According to Kelsey Dallas in an article in the Deseret News, Pew
Research Center did a recent survey to investigate what is meant when Americans
call themselves “spiritual,” “religious,” “both,” or “neither.”
70% of U.S. adults who can be considered
spiritual in some way, certain beliefs about souls, spirits and science are
generally held in common.
But members of the group have conflicting
ideas about spiritual practices like meditation and varying relationships with
religious institutions and ideas….
For much of U.S. history, describing
yourself as “religious” was about as uncontroversial as calling yourself “American.”
A large majority of adults, as well as children, belonged to a faith group and
attended worship services regularly.
But in recent decades, the term “religious”
has experienced a subtle and then increasingly more significant fall from grace
…. A growing group of Americans is dropping out of organized religion, and even
those who remain active can be uncomfortable with the term…..
Pew’s new report includes evidence to
[back up conclusions]. For one thing, researchers found that Americans often
cite religious concepts like God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit when asked to
explain what “spiritual” means to them.
“Fully 27% give descriptions tied to
organized religion,” Pew reported.
The survey identified a large overlap
between religiosity and spirituality. Most of the 70% of U.S. adults who think
of themselves as spiritual or describe spirituality as important to them also
say they’re religious or that religion is important.
“There is enough overlap between what
people mean by ‘spirituality’ and what they have in mind by ‘religion’ that
nearly half of U.S. adults indicate they are both religious and spiritual,” Pew
Pew’s survey on American spirituality was
conducted from July 31 to Aug. 6 among 11,201 U.S. adults.
In general, Pew found that there’s not a
clear dividing line between spirituality and religion. The 22% of Americans who
fall into the category of spiritual but not religious have much in common with
those who are spiritual and religious….
For example, similarly large shares of the
spiritual but not religious and the religious and spiritual believe that people
have a soul or spirit, that there is something spiritual beyond the natural
world and that unseen spiritual forces exist.
“On many questions, ‘spiritual but not
religious’ Americans … are no more spiritual, on average, than U.S. adults who
are both religious and spiritual,” Pew reported.
Still there are some key differences, such
as that the spiritual but not religious are much less likely than others to
believe in the God of the Bible. But members of this category do often believe
in a higher power or spiritual force, Pew found.
The survey also showed that the spiritual
but not religious are less likely to attend worship services regularly and more
likely to hold negative views of organized religion….
The spiritual but not religious category “holds
together primarily in its negative self-identification as not being religious
rather than with a positive set of practices and beliefs around being spiritual”
Pew’s new report and the broader realm of
spirituality research holds good news and bad news for religious leaders….
The good news is that a large share of
Americans believes in or at least remain interested in religious concepts like
God, the afterlife and miracles. The bad news is that it’s unclear how to get
someone who identifies as spiritual but not religious to come to church….
Pew’s in-depth report could deepen
understanding of how American’s relationship to religion and spirituality is
should be grateful that 70 percent of Americans consider themselves to be
spiritual even though a portion of that percentage are leaving organized
religion behind. They are the people who claim that they can feel as close to God
in the mountains or at the beach as they can in church. However, modern-day
scripture tells us that we should “go to the house of prayer and offer up thy
sacraments upon my holy day; For verily this is a day appointed unto you to
rest from our labors, and to pay thy devotions unto the Most High” (Doctrine
and Covenants 59:9-10). We should do these things with thanksgiving, cheerful
hearts, and cheerful countenances (Doctrine and Covenants 59:15).