LDS Church Shares Teachings of Joseph Smith to Clarify Position on Religious Freedom

While the official LDS Church takes a neutral position when it comes to 'party' politics, it's willing to get loud in proclaiming its strong position to preserve Religious Freedom -- even bringing the teachings of Founder, Joseph Smith, to the table for clarification. This, just posted on the Mormon Newsroom:

"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. The following statements by Joseph Smith from 1841 and 1843 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 of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, March 1, 1841"

Prophet Writes Bold Letter to Unbeliever on Absolute Truth

Hat tip to Daniel Ortner for posting the link to an incredible First Presidency Message published in a 1978 Ensign -- a must share! The message is actually a letter that then president of the Church, Spencer W. Kimball, wrote to a non-believer (John), on the topic of absolute truth. I can't tell for certain, but in the closing remarks President Kimball gives the impression that the person he was writing to was a member of the Church struggling with his faith, who had many questions that deeply concerned the prophet. He also shared that the content of the  letter is "to all others who may hear it..." Apparently the reason it was published for the entire Church. Here, I will share excerpts:

"I wrote, some time ago, a letter to a disbeliever. Much of what was said in that letter has been on my mind lately and I wish to share the substance of those thoughts. With that explanation you will better understand the point of view assumed and the style in which it is given. Writing to this young man, who was battling with his thoughts, I said: 

An Outsider's Perspective on Mormons and Gay Marriage

This article was written by, Rod Dreher, not of the Mormon faith, and shares some really great insights as to why the majority of members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints will never accept same-sex marriage and not because we're all a bunch of homophobic bigots -- far from it. Rather, we believe in moral absolutes and to deny what we know to be true about marriage goes against everything we understand about God's plan for His children.

"Again, I cannot comment on Mormon theology, but I am struck by how much this parallels the way orthodox Christianity sees marriage and metaphysics. We too believe that male-female marriage is an icon of God and His creative work, and that it cannot be represented any other way. What’s more, marriage is not simply a representation of divine nature, but also participates in it. In other words, complementary marriage (male-female) is really real, in a way that same-sex marriage cannot be. This is not a legal distinction (because same-sex marriage is a legal reality in many countries now), but a metaphysical one. Though orthodox Christians disagree deeply with Mormons over the nature of God, we share the belief eloquently expressed by Jacob Hess that to discard what the faith teaches about the nature of marriage as a way to participate in theosis, or metaphysical unity with God, is to lose something essential to the faith. 
Again, based on what little I know about Mormon theology, the key point to take away here, re: orthodox Christian theology, is that both orthodox Christians and Mormons believe that marriage is not simply the name we give to a specific form of social relationship, but it is also something built into the fabric of reality. As Hess says, you don’t have to believe that story, but if you are going to understand why so many of us on the conservative side of this issue believe as we do, you have to understand that for us, to accept SSM is to deny something we believe is real. And that we cannot do."

It's always nice when people outside of Mormonism get it right. Make sure and read the entire article and consider sharing it:

Kathryn Skaggs