Religion Magazine

According To The Dictates Of Our Conscience

By Ldsapologetics
The following Articles of Faith have been on my mind a lot lately. I don't think the ethos behind each one is strictly Mormon. I think it's all part of just being a good person.
But here they are:

11th Article of Faith-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.

It seems this only applies to those who think and feel as we do. We may be right while others may be wrong or we may be wrong while others may be right. But if we judge or condemn we will face the same standard of judgment from The Lord.

We would do better to have a discussion rather than an argument over the differences and similarities in our beliefs. Because in an argument we fight to prove who is right but in a discussion we seek to find what is right.

If we are to be free to worship according to the dictates of our own conscience then it follows logically that in the spirit of fairness and compassion too, we must allow others the same privallege. The price we pay for all of our rights is that we allow others those same rights.

Which brings me to the ballad of Kim Davis of Kentucky. Kim is a county clerk in a courthouse where, since the SCOTUS ruling on marriage, she has refused to grant marriage licenses to any gay or lesbian couple. She is citing "God's authority" as her grounds for refusing service to people who have done nothing more than wanting to marry and start a committed life with the one they love.

She knows none of these people personally, they have in no way wronged her, they simply offend her delicate sensibilities.

If she were denying marriage licenses to interracial couples, would this have ever gone this far before being squelched? I see both examples as being symptoms of the same disease; bigotry. It's easy to say it but what every type of bigotry, every type of sexism, every type of discrimination has one common source and that is the ethos that some people, some lives matter less. Or to paraphrase Orwell; "Everyone is created equal but some are more equal than others."

The bigotry displayed by Kim Davis disturbes me but the millions of people who support her words and actions make me physically ill. Because if one groups' rights can be denied today, then our rights can be denied tomorrow.

Which brings me to the next Article of Faith:

12th Articke of Faith-We believe in being subject to kings, presidents, rulers, and magistrates, in obeying, honoring, and sustaining the law.

This one may sound good now but what of the Saints living in Germany in the 1930's to do? As citizens we do have a responsibility to uphold our communities laws but I think the under ground railroad was a very Christian thing to take part in even if it was disobeying the government we believe we are subject to.

Which is essentially why Kim Davis and others doing the same feel they are in the right. They feel the SCOTUS ruling is immoral and they feel it is at odds with their faith. But this is a false narrative; Jesus taught that we are to love our enemies. He taught this ethos without exceptions. We do not get a pass on this teaching because it's too hard or because we just don't want to, or because our blanky is in the wash and need it to take a nap.

Religion is about controlling oneself, it is not about controlling others.

Why is free agency such a pillar in our faith if we, as a state or even country, legislate our own standards on others? As if you're only free to chose if you "choose the right" and by right I mean what I decide for you to be right.

If you want to abstain from sex, coffee, alcohol and tobacco, amongst other things, then go for it but no one gets to force me, you or anyone else to uphold religious traditions and rituals or even values without consent.

We must allow others the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness as they define it rather than having it defined by others. Because, again, if you decide what others can and can't do today then tomorrow someone else may decide how you are allowed to live and what rights you may and may not retain.

What we have, as a country and as a people, decided is to govern by common consent or democracy. So if we don't agree with a law or set of laws then we must take action legally as in voting representatives out of office or by introducing legislation to change said law or laws. We don't get to decide on our own or to decide for others what the laws they need to follow are.

In Mormon scripture the oreexistence is described. The scence begins with God holding a council to decide how life on Earth would go, how the plan of salvation was to work. Here's the scripture detailing the importance of agency and how central to God's plan it really is:

 Moses 4:And I, the Lord God, spake unto Moses, saying: That Satan, whom thou hast commanded in the name of mine Only Begotten, is the same which was from the beginning, and he came before me, saying—Behold, here am I, send me, I will be thy son, and I will redeem all mankind, that one soul shall not be lost, and surely I will do it; wherefore give me thine honor.

But, behold, my Beloved Son, which was my Beloved and Chosen from the beginning, said unto me—Father, thy will be done, and the glory be thine forever.

Wherefore, because that Satan rebelled against me, and sought to destroy the agency of man, which I, the Lord God, had given him, and also, that I should give unto him mine own power; by the power of mine Only Begotten, I caused that he should be cast down;

If agency is a God given gift then who are we to deny anyone their agency? How can we deny others their God given agency and claim to be doing God's will?

Looks more like the Kim Davis's of the world have created God in their image by creating a God who sanctions their hatred of others, others who are His children and made in His image.

If Jesus forgave the men who crucified them, who are we to condemn any of God's children? Judgement is The Lord's and The Lord's alone. Of us it is required that we forgive one another and love one another as Jesus loves us.

We can do better, which is why we should.

According To The Dictates Of Our Conscience

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