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Church releases statement on religious freedom

The Church released on Dec. 8 a statement on the importance of religious freedom for people of all religions, using statements made by the Prophet Joseph Smith.

“The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is neutral in regard to party politics and election campaigns. However, it is not neutral in relation to religious freedom,” reads the statement posted on LDS.org. The release included the following statements by Joseph Smith from 1841 and 1843 which are consistent with the Church’s position today:

“If it has been demonstrated that I have been willing to die for a ‘Mormon,’ I am bold to declare before Heaven that I am just as ready to die in defending the rights of a Presbyterian, a Baptist, or a good man of any denomination; for the same principle which would trample upon the rights of the Latter-day Saints would trample upon the rights of the Roman Catholics, or of any other denomination who may be unpopular and too weak to defend themselves. It is a love of liberty which inspires my soul — civil and religious liberty to the whole of the human race.” — Joseph Smith, 1843

“Be it ordained by the City Council of the City of Nauvoo, that the Catholics, Presbyterians, Methodists, Baptists, Latter-day Saints, Quakers, Episcopals, Universalists, Unitarians, Mohammedans [Muslims], and all other religious sects and denominations whatever, shall have free toleration, and equal privileges in this city. ...” — Ordinance in Relation to Religious Societies, City of Nauvoo, [Illinois] headquarters of the Church, March 1, 1841.

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