Modern prophets cherish religious liberty

Freedom of religion has always been an essential principle of the Church. All the prophets of this dispensation have commented on the importance of religious freedom. Here are some of their statements:

Joseph Smith - But meddle not with any man for his religion: and all governments ought to permit every man to enjoy his religion unmolested. No man is authorized to take away life in consequence of difference of religion, which all laws and governments ought to tolerate and protect, right or wrong. (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 344.)- Brigham Young - Whether our religion is believed by any other people or not, it is by us, and no power or authority in the Government can lawfully or righteously molest us in the peaceable and quiet enjoyment thereof. It cannot be done without law, and surely the Government has no right to make any law concerning it, or to prevent the free exercise thereof. (Discourses of Brigham Young, p. 362.)

John Taylor - There are two things I have always said I would do, and I mean to carry them out. . . . One is to vote for whom I please and the other to worship God as I please. There is a principle of freedom planted in the human mind that has always existed there, and no man nor any power has yet been able to obliterate it. (The Gospel Kingdom, by John Taylor, p. 323.)

Wilford Woodruff - We believe in giving to all men freedom, freedom in spirit and action; we believe in religionists of every creed and faith enjoying the liberty to worship God according to the dictates of their own consciences, which right is guaranteed unto them by God himself; and the man or set of men that would deprive their fellows of this God-given right, assume a responsibility that they must answer for before the bar of God. If I had the power and control of the whole world I would never think of depriving any man, woman or child of this natural, this inherent right, whether their religious views were true or false. (The Discourses of Wilford Woodruff, p. 189.)

Lorenzo Snow - We can trace the providences of the Almighty in raising up certain individuals to establish religious organizations, and we see in these things the workings of the Spirit of God for the general interest of the human family. We look upon George Washington, the father of our country, as an inspired instrument of the Almighty; we can see the all-inspiring Spirit operating upon him. And upon his co-workers in resisting oppression, and in establishing the thirteen colonies as a confederacy; and then again the workings of the same Spirit upon those men who established the Constitution of the United States. (Journal of Discourses, Vol. 14, p. 304.)

Joseph F. Smith - God in his boundless wisdom and gracious mercy has provided means, and has shown the way to the children of men whereby, even in the realms of freedom and the exercise of their own judgment, they may individually go unto God in faith and prayer, and find out what should guide and direct their human judgment and wisdom; and I do not want the Latter-day Saints to forget that this is their privilege. I would rather that they should seek God for a counselor and guide, than to follow the wild harangues of political leaders, or leaders of any other cult. (Gospel Doctrine, by Joseph F. Smith, p. 48.)

Heber J. Grant - I know that any ruler who claims to be the representative of Almighty God who would take away the liberties of his fellowmen, is not a representative from God. You can draw your own conclusions whom he does represent. (Conference Report, April 1918, p. 24.)

George Albert Smith - The Constitution was so framed that everyone might worship according to the dictates of his own conscience, and we see the result of it in the wonderful blessings that have been poured out upon this most favored of all lands. (Sharing the Gospel with Others, p. 168.)

David O. McKay - Man's . . . agency is an eternal principle of progress, and any form of government that curtails or inhibits its free exercise is wrong. Satan's plan in the beginning was one of coercion, and it was rejected because he sought to destroy the agency of man which God had given him. (Conference Report, April 1940, p. 118.)

Joseph Fielding Smith - It is the right of every soul to have equal and unrestricted justice before the law, equal rights to worship according to the dictates of conscience and to labor according to his individual inclinations, independently of coercion or compulsion. (Doctrines of Salvation, by Joseph Fielding Smith, p. 325.)

Harold B. Lee - The kingdom of God must be a continuing revolution against the norms of the society that fall below the standards that are set for us in the gospel of Jesus Christ. In the field of public life, it must be a continuing revolution against proposals that contradict the fundamental principles as laid down in the Constitution of the United States, which was written by men whom God raised up for this very purpose. (Improvement Era, Dec. 1970, p. 104.)

Spencer W. Kimball - It is a real travesty today when we hear the voices of the atheist, the godless, and the anti-Christ who would deny us the right of public expression of our worship of the Master. (The Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball, p. 411.)

Ezra Taft Benson - The Lord recognized that truth will only prosper where religious freedom exists. Religious freedom cannot be fully enjoyed without a full measure of political freedom. So before the gospel was restored, wise and inspired men in North, Central, and South America were raised up who proclaimed the sovereign truth that all men - not just the privileged, the rich, or the rulers - but all men have divine rights. Among these rights are life, liberty (which includes our freedom to worship), and right to property. (The Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson, p. 661.)

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