23) FREEDOM OF WORSHIP: Why must we understand that there are wicked individuals who seek to deprive the righteous of their freedom?

Questions Answered: Why is it essential to understand that the wicked will continually seek to take away the freedom of worship from the righteous? Do the scriptures teach that one of Satan’s most effective methods of oppressing the Saints through time has been oppressive governments? Why do the wicked seek to put down the righteous?

Prophetic Statements

Wilford Woodruff

[The] Constitution we believe was given by revelation, and whatever laws are passed agreeable to it we desire to honor. It guarantees to all men the right to enjoy their religion, to worship God according to the dictates of their conscience. [1]

Ezra Taft Benson

Freedom is easily replaced by benevolent social programs designed to take care of everyone. [2]

If we do not accept the existence of a Supreme Being; that God is the source of moral law, what more do we have to offer than Marx?…

Freedom is an eternal, God-given principle. There is no genuine happiness without freedom, nor is there any security or peace without freedom. After traveling in practically all of the free countries of the world and several times behind the Iron Curtain, I say that Marxism is the greatest evil in this world and the greatest threat to all we hold dear.

Of all sad things in the world, the saddest is to see a people who have once known liberty and freedom and then lost it. I have seen the unquenchable yearning of the human heart for liberty on two unforgettable occasions. These experiences are indelibly etched on the memory of my soul. 1


1 Nephi 13:5
And the angel said unto me: Behold the formation of a church which is most abominable above all other churches, which slayeth the saints of God, yea, and tortureth them and bindeth them down, and yoketh them with a yoke of iron, and bringeth them down into captivity.

Mosiah 24:8
And now it came to pass that Amulon began to exercise authority over Alma and his brethren, and began to persecute him, and cause that his children should persecute their children.

Alma 2:1-4
And it came to pass in the commencement of the *fifth year of their reign there began to be a contention among the people; for a certain man, being called Amlici, he being a very cunning man, yea, a wise man as to the wisdom of the world, he being after the order of the man that slew Gideon by the sword, who was executed according to the law—

Now this Amlici had, by his cunning, drawn away much people after him; even so much that they began to be very powerful; and they began to endeavor to establish Amlici to be a king over the people.

Now this was alarming to the people of the church, and also to all those who had not been drawn away after the persuasions of Amlici; for they knew that according to their law that such things must be established by the voice of the people.

Therefore, if it were possible that Amlici should gain the voice of the people, he, being a wicked man, would deprive them of their rights and privileges of the church; for it was his intent to destroy the church of God.

Supporting Statements

J. Reuben Clark

I have been preaching against Communism for twenty years. I still warn you against it, and I tell you that we are drifting toward it more rapidly than some of us understand, and I tell you that when Communism comes, the ownership of the things which are necessary to feed your families is going to be taken away from us. I tell you freedom of speech will go, freedom of the press will go, and freedom of religion will go. I have warned you against propaganda and hate. We are in the midst of the greatest exhibition of propaganda that the world has ever seen. Just do not believe all you read or hear. The elect are being deceived. (J. Reuben Clark, Conference Report October 1941)

Improvement Era

The aim of the Communist party has not been abandoned. It has been renewed with more intense vigor than at any time in history. These Satanic forces are working to destroy all Christian principles. We must embark upon a campaign to war against these insidious efforts. Communism takes out of life everything that is sweet, noble, and edifying. This is because it is an enemy to all righteousness. It despises and hates God and his Son Jesus Christ. (Socialism is no different than Communism) [3]

  1. Wilford Woodruff, Journal of Discourses, 24:243
  2. Ezra Taft Benson
  3. Ward Teaching Lesson, Improvement Era June 61
  1. Ezra Taft Benson, Delivered to the International Freedoms Conference. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. October 26, 1979
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