This morning I found an invitation to “like” a page on Facebook. I looked into the page entitled, “Support Religious Freedom” and learned it was an official page of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. I immediately “liked” it, then went to learn more.
In the newsroom at lds.org (mormonnewsroom.org) I found an explanation of the page as well as 3 short videos describing the importance of this relevant issue!
As I watched the 3 vidoes, I found myself somewhat surprised that I had not realized the depth of the problem of society’s decaying religious tolerance. I found myself proud of our church leadership for STANDING UP for this God-given freedom. And I found myself converted to preserving it.
I hope to STAND with my friends and neighbors, regardless of their religion, who also feel the desire to support religious freedom. By standing together, I am being a Christian, with them. I am showing my Catholic and Baptist friends that I, too – a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, am a Christian! By supporting them in their efforts, they will observe Christian-like behavior.
The eleventh Article of Faith states, “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.”
In 1843, the prophet Joseph Smith stated, “If it has been demonstrated that I have been willing, before Heaven, 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 Latter-Day Saints, would trample upon the rights of the Roman Catholics or of any other denomination who would be unpopular and too weak to defend themselves.”
I invite all BELIEVERS OF RELIGIOUS FREEDOM to STAND together and support this essential element of a meaningful life. I invite us to first, learn how to be respectful of others’ religions. Then, let us become actively – not passively – involved in the effort! To become involved, we should place ourselves where we may have opportunities to make a difference. Some of these places might include.
- Local community organizations (Become involved in our community so when issues of religious freedom arise, we are integrated into that organization, possess credibility, and are in a position to help in the decision making process, so religious freedom is protected.)
- Interfaith organizations
- Non-profit work and community outreach with different non-profit organizations
- Chamber of Commerce boards
- Community choirs
- The Fellowship of Christian Athletes
- Charity organizations
- Local school’s Christian club
- Food pantries
- High school clubs and organizations
- Set up our own “Support Religious Freedom” Facebook page.
- Share our beliefs on Twitter and other social media.
We do not need formal training to get involved, stand, and speak up!
Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, of the quorum of the twelve apostles has said the following regarding ACTIVELY protecting religious freedom: “We cannot f lee any longer. We’re going to have to fight – for laws, circumstances and environments that allow the free exercise of religion and are franchised in it.”
Elder Quentin L. Cook, also of the quorum of the twelve, has stated, “My challenge today is that you join with people of all faiths who feel accountable to God in defending religious freedom so it can be a beacon for morality. We caution you to be civil and responsible as you defend religious liberty and moral values. We ask that you do this on the internet and in your personal interactions in the neighborhoods and communities where you live. Be an active participant, not a silent observer.”
My friends, we have been asked to ACT! We have been asked to STAND! As we do so, others will know that we, latter-day saints, are Christian, worship our Savior, Jesus Christ, and believe strongly in preserving the birthright of religious freedom.
I can think of no better way to share our belief in Jesus Christ, than to publicly and actively protect that belief and its expression, as well as the beliefs and practices of others.
Together we must stand!
Feature photo courtesy of http://bit.ly/15X5mMU