Thursday, January 31, 2008
Article of Faith #11
11 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.
(Pearl of Great Price | Articles of Faith 1:11)
This great country of ours was built on the principles of religious freedom and tolerance. Many of our founding fathers came here to escape religious persecutions. This was so important to them, that it became the 1st amendment of the Bill of Rights, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”
In the Doctrine and Covenants 134:4 it states, “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.”
As I look around the world today at all of the various religions, it is hard not to see the religious bigotry and intolerance that is rampant among many if not most religions. I do not need to tear down your religion to make mine look better. I believe that there is a Buddhist saying that states, “A candle loses nothing by lighting another candle.”
As I study the scriptures, I see a God that loves all of His children, and is no respecter of them. In The New Testament, Acts 10:34-35 we read:
34 ¶ Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons:
35 But in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him.
I am grateful to live in a country that allows me the privilege to worship the Lord as I choose.