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Monday, July 9, 2007
posted by jason | 7:13 AM | permalink
Thanks to David Brody who took the time to post this great writing by George Romney on the LDS church and Religious Tolerance:

The LDS principles of tolerance are rooted in the teaching that all who have lived, now live, and will yet live on this earth are spirit children of God and are responsible only to God for their religious beliefs and practices. "We claim the privilege of worshipping Almighty God according to the dictates of our own conscience," says Article of Faith 11, "and allow all men the same privilege, let them worship, how, where or what they may." A corollary of this statement is a declaration of belief regarding governments and law, adopted by the Church in 1835. It affirms that governments have no power to prescribe rules of worship to bind the consciences of men or to dictate forms for public or private devotion. In matters of religion, the declaration asserts, "men are amenable to God and to Him only for the exercise of their religious beliefs, unless their religious opinions prompt them to infringe upon the rights and liberties of others" (D&C 134). The Church has maintained these principles while accommodating to secular authority: "We believe in being subject to kings, presidents, rulers, and magistrates, in obeying, honoring and sustaining the law" (A of F 12; cf. D&C 134:1-12).

Related to this is a doctrine of primordial individual freedom. For Latter-day Saints agency is indestructible. All truth is "independent in that sphere in which God has placed it, to act for itself, as all intelligence also" (D&C 93:30). The individual's freedom to search for this truth should not be contravened, and in the last analysis it cannot be. Even God cannot coerce belief. The only power justified on earth or in heaven is loving persuasion (D&C 121:41).

Contrary to stereotypes, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is neither a sect nor a cult. It has an extensive scriptural foundation, but no formalized creeds and no closed canon. As the Prophet Joseph Smith said to Stephen A. Douglas, Latter-day Saints are "ready to believe all true principles that exist, as they are manifest from time to time" (HC 5:215). They are taught to "gather all the good and true principles in the world and treasure them up" (TPJS p. 316). Commitment to truth in this inclusive sense is commitment to the view that all philosophies, religions, and ethical systems have elements of truth and that all persons have a portion of light. This is a buttress for tolerance, goodwill, and fellowship on a worldwide scale (see World Religions [Non Christian] and Mormonism) "If ye will not embrace our religion," Joseph Smith said, "embrace our hospitalities" (WJS 162).
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This should be printed in every newspaper, magazine, blog, news site and broadcast by every talking head out there. A wonderful synopsis of LDS belief on religious tolerance, and why Mormons don't go around tearing down other religions. Way to go, Brody

Thanks for posting this. It provided some insight that I hadn't really thought of about Mormons. Mormons seem to be comfortable with a Presidential candidate of another faith, but for some reason, those other faiths don't seem to be comfortable with them; which seems contrary to how it should be. In fact, this seems a lot more tolerant than those who call Mormons a cult.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at July 9, 2007 at 7:25 PM  

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