Islamic compulsion of religion v. Latter-day Saint freedom of religion
After reading this BBC article, “Afghan convert ‘may be released’ Afghan President Hamid Karzai is leading efforts to resolve the issue of a man possibly facing execution for converting to Christianity,” I felt the desire to contrast the articles reporting of Islamic Sharia laws of compulsion of worship with the Latter-day Saints principles of freedom of worship.
The World would be a different place, past, present and future, if nations and peoples adopted the Latter-day Saint’s 11th Article of faith, “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.”
A core foundational principle of the gospel of Jesus Christ is the doctrine of freedom of worship. It is the first priority of any religion or government to establishing its importance, preeminence and superiority, giving it the highest ranking of principles subordinate to none, upon which to build a religion or a nation upon.
Religious freedom is good; compulsion in religion is evil. Lovers of freedom of worship not only choose to enjoy that supreme principle, but also choose and pledge themselves to defend others rights to so like enjoy freedom of worship.
There have been many excuses invented by man to persecute those not of ones faith. History is replete with examples where hatred is fostered and ill will inflamed, resulting in the deaths of countless millions.
When compulsion or force is used to impose a way of worship or some system of belief, we must be bold in denouncing it for what it is, evil. It is incumbent upon American to advocate, support, uphold and sustain freedom of worship for all men. No political system, sect, government, church, group or religion has the right to deny man freedom to worship, which is to allow all men to worship “how, where, or what they may.”
Apostle of the LDS Church, Elder Bruce R. McConkie wrote, “Knowing what Satan sought to do in preexistence, and knowing that freedom of choice and worship is essential to salvation, shall we not affirm that the union of church and state, the use of force in maintaining a self-chosen orthodoxy, and the civil punishment of supposed heresy are not of God, and that they are the proof positive of the universal apostasy promised in the prophetic word.”
In America-Freedom of Worship Is Born, Bruce R. McConkie, wrote, “Freedom of worship was conceived in
during the Renaissance; it gestated inand Western Europe during the Protestant Reformation; but it was born inafter the Constitution of thebecame the supreme law of the land. This establishment of freedom of worship in theheaps no credit upon the original colonizers. They neither wanted it nor sought it. Rather, it was forced upon them by political necessity. Political necessity? Nay, by a divine providence, all in preparation for the restoration of the gospel in the dispensation of the fulness of times. Jesus told the Nephites that the Lord would set up in”a free people by the power of the Father.” ( 3 Nephi 21:4 .)
to escape religious persecution, the original colonists-retaining their various religious persuasions-immediately set up their own separate systems of worship and reached out to condemn and persecute all others. Witches were burned and heretics persecuted as in the. The American colonists had simply transported the traditions of a false and decadent Christendom to new shores. But the Revolutionary War and the need for national survival brought forth the Constitution with this provision: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” Thus, religious freedom was almost thrust upon them by a power beyond their control and the union of church and state was forever banned in the.
“That the Lord’s hand was in all this is axiomatic. “I established the Constitution of this land,” he tells us, “by the hands of wise men whom I raised up unto this very purpose.” Why? That laws might be established and “maintained for the rights and protection of all flesh, according to just and holy principles; that every man may act in doctrine and principle pertaining to futurity, according to the moral agency which I have given unto him, that every man may be accountable for his own sins in the day of judgment.” ( D&C 101:77-80 .) We repeat: There can be no salvation without freedom of worship. To be accountable for their own sins, men must be free to act as they choose. And this is not limited to people in the
alone. “That principle of freedom” the Lord says, which maintains “rights and privileges, belongs to all mankind, and is justifiable before me.” All men are entitled to the same guarantees of freedom as those found in. “And as pertaining to law of man, whatsoever is more or less than this cometh of evil.” The union of church and state is not of God. “I, the Lord God, make you free, therefore ye are free indeed; and the law also maketh you free.” ( D&C 98:5-8 .)
“As devout and devoted believers in freedom of worship and the entire separation of church and state, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints includes the following propositions in its declaration of belief regarding governments and laws in general:
“”We believe that no government can exist in peace, except such laws are framed and held inviolate as will secure to each individual the free exercise of conscience, the right and control of property, and the protection of life. . . .
“”We believe that religion is instituted of God; and that men are amenable to him, and to him only, for the exercise of it, unless their religious opinions prompt them to infringe upon the rights and liberties of others; but we do not believe that human law has a right to interfere in prescribing rules of worship to bind the consciences of men, nor dictate forms for public or private devotion; that the civil magistrate should restrain crime, but never control conscience; should punish guilt, but never suppress the freedom of the soul. . . .
“”We believe that rulers, states, and governments have a right, and are bound to enact laws for the protection of all citizens in the free exercise of their religious belief; but we do not believe that they have a right in justice to deprive citizens of this privilege, or proscribe them in their opinions, so long as a regard and reverence are shown to the laws and such religious opinions do not justify sedition nor conspiracy. . . .
“”We do not believe it just to mingle religious influence with civil government, whereby one religious society is fostered and another proscribed in its spiritual privileges, and the individual rights of its members, as citizens, denied.
“”We believe that all religious societies have a right to deal with their members for disorderly conduct, according to the rules and regulations of such societies; provided that such dealings be for fellowship and good standing; but we do not believe that any religious society has authority to try men on the right of property or life, to take from them this world’s goods, or to put them in jeopardy of either life or limb, or to inflict any physical punishment upon them. They can only excommunicate them from their society, and withdraw from them their fellowship.”” ( D&C 134:2-10 .) A New Witness for the Articles of Faith , p. 678-680