I am deeply disturbed by the war on Christians in America. Most recently the baker facing jail time if he doesn’t bake a cake for a gay couple. This is a private business for goodness sakes. Also the removal of the cross in San Diego at the war memorial. Many, many other things I am sure you are well aware of. I asked my brother, who is a Bishop, why the church does not take a stand on this issue. We need guidance. He said we just have to worry about our relationship with Christ. I disagree. We should stand up for what is right. This is our land and we are being persecuted.
All of our Latter-day Prophets have told us that this is a wonderful time to be alive and to labor in the Lord’s work. They admonish us to look forward to the future with anticipation and joy.
That being said, we are human beings capable of determining our responses to events. What manner of men ought we to be? How would Christ respond to these things?
We can turn to the Book of Mormon for some examples. I think of the Anti-Nephi-Lehies who laid down their weapons of war. They took great strength in the Lord in their willingness to never shed blood again. They took a more passive approach in their strength.
We can also read about the two thousand sons of Helaman, who were not bound by the oath their parents took, and went to battle in the Lord. They all suffered wounds, but all survived. This much more active role was inspired by their mothers.
We can read about all the turmoil, persecutions, and crimes against the early saints, and Brother Joseph in particular. Did Joseph fight back? Only in self-defense of his life at his martyrdom at Carthage Jail.
Then we can look to the crucifixion of the Savior. He who was greatest among us who was led to the slaughter. Did He put up a fight against His captors? Not according to the Holy Scriptures.
Let us take comfort in D&C 122:8-9:
8 The Son of Man hath descended below them all. Art thou greater than he?
9 Therefore, hold on thy way, and the priesthood shall remain with thee; for their bounds are set, they cannot pass. Thy days are known, and thy years shall not be numbered less; therefore, fear not what man can do, for God shall be with you forever and ever.
My only other concern is in how we treat others in this life. Remember that Christ said on the cross:
Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. And they parted his raiment, and cast lots.
These are the ones who persecuted and crucified the Messiah, and He is praying on their behalf while He is on the cross! How forgiving a Man He is!
Some will take this to mean that we should be more passive. But doesn’t passiveness show weakness? No, that is not the meaning. It means we need to be strong in our convictions, yet treat everyone the way the Savior would have us treat them.
We need to stand for truth in teaching the gospel. We must vote our conscious when it is time to vote. We must never apologize for our convictions, because we are entitled to them.
Standing up for our convictions should not give us reason to tear one another down, lose hope, or be rude to those who have chosen a lifestyle contrary to the commandments of the Lord. When we feel we are in a conflict of values, we must be the better people who choose a higher way. We must be the light shining on a hill, an example of the believers, and we must be cheerful as we do so.
The more that we see “enemies of the gospel” instead of “brothers and sisters who are simply going down a path contrary to the gospel”, we are always going to see the worst side of those towards whom we should be an example. We will always “be on guard” and nervous about what others are trying to manipulate us into doing. We will end up fostering an attitude of hate and intolerance towards those who are different from us. How is living this way helpful for us or them?
As this question is primarily about religious freedoms, let us take counsel from the Church on how to help preserve our religious freedoms.
What We Can Do
Learn about religious freedom — what it is, how it works and the issues that threaten it.
Practice religious freedom — respect the religious beliefs of others and the beliefs and opinions of those with no religion. Be civil in your conversations and interactions, both face to face and on the Internet.
Join with others to promote religious freedom — get involved in your community wherever you feel comfortable. Use the Internet and social media to help others learn about religious freedom.