Religious Freedom

A recent article linked on LDS.org addresses the topic of religious freedom in our world today. The full article is here:

Religious freedom is threatened in our time

I agree fully with the speaker, and feel that our most important and critical freedom is in fact our freedom to worship as we choose. That freedom alone was enough to drive the founders of this nation to living, fighting and dying for this nation.

One issue the speaker addresses is the fact that certain people would like to silence views that differ from their own in the public arena. This may seem like an attack on our freedom of speech, but it is much more. Besides just silencing dissenting views, these parties wish to force everyone to accept their own views or face legal action.

No religious body should be forced to accept the actions or views of another. Our freedom to practice religion as we see fit is core to what makes this country great. All of our freedoms can be traced back to this one, and none of our freedoms could stand without it.

This is a great article, worthy of reading or watching online in its entirety. As for me, I will continue to look for ways to fight for this freedom, even while so many of my freedoms are being attacked. We can and must choose our battles, and religious freedom must be the first and primary battle that we fight. Without religious freedom, all else is lost.

Oct 2009 Mormon General Conference Summary

Summary of the Oct 2009 Mormon General Conference

The 2009 October General Conference for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (the Mormons) has come to a close.  There were sessions on Saturday, October 3rd, and Sunday the 4th.  You can listen to replays at your own convenience, any time, by visiting LDS.org.

The great thing about hearing the conference online is that you can go to any specific portion of the conference that interests you. You may have heard about a specific speaker from a friend or online. By visiting and watching the replays on LDS.org, on demand, you can go right where you want to in the conference.

My thoughts on the conference

One of the most powerful speakers for me personally was Elder Jeffrey R. Holland. His topic was the Book of Mormon, which is a great topic for anyone who is learning about the Mormon church.

Listen to Elder Holland

The Book of Mormon is an ancient text, translated by Joseph Smith from metal plates. It is another testament of Jesus Christ, and contains the full gospel of Jesus Christ as it was had among the ancient inhabitants of the American continents.

In the Book of Mormon, toward the end, there is a promise written by the Prophet Moroni near the year 600 A.D. This promise reads:

Behold, I would exhort you that when ye shall read these things, if it be wisdom in God that ye should read them, that ye would remember how merciful the Lord hath been unto the children of men, from the creation of Adam even down until the time that ye shall receive these things, and ponder it in your hearts. And when ye shall receive these things, I would exhort you that ye would ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are not true; and if ye shall ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, he will manifest the truth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost. And by the power of the Holy Ghost ye may know the truth of all things.

One thing that I love about the Mormon faith is that no one has ever asked me to take their word for it. No on has ever asked me to trust a book, a person, or anything else on this earth. The refrain has ever been “ask God.” Ask God, and He will tell you by the power of His Holy Spirit, whether anything is of Him and true, or not.

The same is true for all who walk the earth. We have come here from our Heavenly Father’s presence, and he has not left us alone. He has provided a way, through the Holy Ghost, whereby we can know for sure what is truth, and what is error. That Holy Ghost can influence us when we pray to our Father, in the name of the Son.

Anyone, anywhere can pray. You don’t have to memorize any words, and you can say whatever is in your heart. A simple prayer might start with “Dear Father in Heaven…” and have phrases such as “thank you for all that I have in my life that is good… thank you for my family, for my children, for my home…” You can also ask for whatever it is you need, such as a blessing on your health or the health of a loved one. You may ask for knowledge, such as “help me to know if this is true and of thee…” You should close your prayer “in the name of Thy Son, Jesus Christ, Amen.”

I sincerely hope you take some time to listen to the conference online, and at the very least the speaker Elder Holland. Feel free to ask any questions here.